Friday, February 24, 2017

Tall, dark and handsome—Fine

Translation: a good-looking guy. 
Years ago, I was chatting with a fellow author and good friend, who is white, about that description.
To me, as an African American, it means exactly what it says, a tall man about six-three, built, and with satiny dark skin, and I would use the word fine to kick it up a notch. We laughed at our interpretation. A man with dark hair came to mind.
Me: Huh?
Most black folks I know have naturally dark hair, so that wouldn’t be descriptive to me. Our men’s hair could be cut in a fade, curly, wavy, twisted, shaven, afro, locks, and more. With publisher’s lack of diversity when it comes to romance in color, I decided to let the pictures tell the story. 

This group of handsome fine men could inspire any of my characters: They aren’t models, but lawyers, doctors, scientist, social workers, and other professionals. I love personality in a character, and they have it. 

As American Black History Month commemoration closes out, I wondered if there was more diversity in romance, more non People of Color would read black romances. After all, there was a time when publishers rejected romances if the characters weren’t white. But blacks read them anyway, because they wanted a good story. Recently, the ABC network announced it will feature a black woman as The Bachelorette for the upcoming season. Critics say it’s been long in coming. 

See what some friends of mine are saying about my Christian romances.
“I really enjoy Pat Simmons' books. The romances don't always come easy for the characters for different reasons. Such as, Pastor Rossi from Love Led by the Spirit. God had shown Rossi what woman He had in mind for him, but he had to wait a long time for that woman. She wasn't a believer and Rossi wouldn't accept anyone who wasn't evenly yoked with him. I find it interesting to read Pat's books also because of her characters. She doesn't push them being African American on the reader. I can read her books and learn about people being people. I can find it interesting that they also have many shades of eye and hair color. I can enter into a different culture and appreciate it. I fell in love with Rossi over those few books. And Jet had a special place in my heart too.”  --Judy DeVries from Just Judy’s Jumbles

Next this was from Inspirational Historical Author Danica Favorite:
“I really enjoyed THE CONFESSION. The author asked me if I would read the book and give her honest feedback as a white woman in terms of how I felt about the racial issues. I'm so glad I read it because it gave me insight into a lot of what it's like to be black, and some differences in our cultures. I really loved the passion I saw between the characters, and how deeply they connect and feel their emotions and care for each other. It was delightful to be immersed in that world and connect with the characters. I think more white people need to read this book, because I learned so much about black history, and it was really eye-opening. I wish they'd teach more of this in schools.” 

I asked some of my readers about their favorite couples:
“Derek & Robyn from Couple by Christmas. They fought divorce, adversity, 
their own stubborn ways and found their way back to each other.” Ceisha

“Karen Wallace and Levi Tolliver from CROWNING GLORY. This was the first time I've ever seen a love story where the woman was the one who once served time and feared that nobody could accept her past. Levi unfortunately proved her right at first, having lost his wife to murder during a robbery, he couldn't find it in him to ever forgive a criminal. I loved how both of them stood their ground—once they got on the same page, that made them unstoppable as a couple.” Maurice
By the way, not only did this book win Best Inspirational Romance for the year, but it was also my favorite.

“Malcolm and Hallie were my favorite because she did what she had to do to get back on track with God. Malcolm surrendered to God because he finally realized he needed Him and Hallie was bonus.” Israelneisha

“Garrett and Shari, because they each had to overcome their own challenges and insecurities and brokenness individually and collectively but NEVER gave up on each other as a whole, they both had to learn about faith, trust, forgiveness, but they both learned never letting go of each other which blossomed into a beautiful relationship.” Nicole

Pictures are worth more than words, so I wanted to just share some from my LOVE IS IN THE AIR board on Pinterest. These black couples are the ones I write about in my stories. See and feel their love, then pick up a black romance and fall in love with my characters. For hundreds more pictures, follow me

Pat Simmons is celebrating ten years as a published author with more than thirty titles. She is a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth who is passionate about researching her ancestors and then casting them in starring roles in her novels, in the hope of tracking down any distant relatives who might happen to pick up her books.
Pat describes the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience. She believes God is the Author who advances the stories she writes.
Pat holds a B.S. in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She has worked in various positions in radio, television, and print media for more than twenty years. Currently, she oversees the media publicity for the annual RT Booklovers Conventions.

In addition to researching her roots and sewing, she has been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country.
Pat has converted her sofa-strapped sports fanatic husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur, and administrative assistant who is constantly on probation. They have a son and a daughter.

Her latest release is LOVE BY DELIVERY.
Senior Accounts Manager Dominique Hayes has it all—money, a car and a condo. Well, almost. She’s starting to believe love has passed her by. One thing for sure, she can’t hurry God, so she continues to wait while losing hope that a special Godly man will ever make his appearance.
Package Courier Ashton Taylor knows a man who finds a wife finds a good thing. The only thing standing in his way of finding the right woman is his long work hours. Or maybe not.
A chance meeting changes everything. When love finally comes knocking, will Dominique open the door and accept Ashton’s special delivery?


  1. Thank you, Pat, for sharing about diversity in this post! As an Asian author, I also appreciate when books have a diverse cast of characters. I can't wait to read one of your books. :)

    1. Amen sister. Isn't wonderful when we see ourselves in stories, or learn about cultures.

  2. Pat, Thanks for your excellent post. And, I LOVE your pinterest board, also.