Friday, October 22, 2010


I try not to get caught up reading reviews of my books. And although I may try hard, I sometimes can’t help but want to know what readers have to say about something I’ve written. Most especially when I’m in the midst of a series and trying to finish a sequel to a previous book. It kind of helps to know what readers loved and what they didn’t.

My very first book review had the potential to end my writing career before it even started. The reviewer essentially hinted that I might not want to give up my day job. I didn’t, but not because I didn’t think that I could write or be successful at it. I understood from the review that I just needed to bring more to the table if I was going to get it right. Numerous accolades and an award later, I feel like I’m headed in the right direction.

Recently I read the following review from a reader who identified herself as “Keepin’ It Real”. She had much to say about my last book, Promises To A Stallion. Her review wasn’t negative but one line struck a nerve.

"I get sick of the "billionaire" Stallion story line, as it’s so annoyingly unrealistic, but it’s a story and if she wants her readers to get caught up in the fantasy realm so be it.”

SIGH! All I could think was she so nailed that one. Don’t get me wrong. I love my Stallion boys. I love their individuality, their respective styles, everything. But I do hate that everything about them has to be so over the top, so annoyingly unrealistic, that Nancy-Next Door can’t fathom that kind of relationship for herself. I hate it so much that writing Stallion Heat, brother Matthew’s story, proved to be particularly difficult. I’m still on the fence about the finished product.

I do want my readers to get caught up, but I want them to get caught up in the magnificent possibility of finding an amazing love and life partner. Let’s be honest. Black men who are billionaires are hardly a dime a dozen, nor does your average black female have the opportunity to hobnob with one. When writing Promises To A Stallion I got slammed by the powers in charge for making the story too realistic. I was told that the discussions between the characters were too every day. The powers didn’t want every day. Travis Stallion, the hero, needed to not only have more wealth but he needed to flaunt it more as well. I whole-heartedly disagreed. I won’t say either of us, the powers or me, was happy with the compromise.

I know that some readers like the fantasy of that which might be unattainable. I also know just as many would like to see a damn good story with a regular Joe stepping up to the plate and being just a really great guy. iIt's mixing the real with the not. Balancing the dynamics of both is proving to be my newest challenge.

And just a quick footnote: The above image was done by Ryohei Hase, an illustrator out of Tokyo Japan. Ryohei specializes in realistic fantasy art. Cowgirl is one of my favorites.


Shirra said...

Personally, I love the Stallion series. I'm really looking forward to the next installment. I know that the average woman probably isn't going to meet a man whose family has a private jet at the ready to whisk them off to an exciting weekend get away. There is more to the guy's than that. They are sometimes stubborn, but alway's diligent in there pursuits. They are fiercly loyal to one another and their circle of friends. Most importantly, in my opinion, they don't flaunt their wealth and are not afraid to get their hands dirty and work to help someone in need. Those traits shouldn't be considered fantasy, they should be standards that we hold our real life men to. Strength of character isn't tied into how much you clear at the end of the work week. Well that's my two cents.

Deborah Mello said...

Shirra, thank you so much for your "two cents". I cannot tell you how much it moves me that you see my Stallion boys the way I intended for them to be seen. From the beginning I have never wanted any of their stories to be about their wealth or their material possessions. And you're right, I wanted them to embody traits that all women should want in a man. I wish the editors and publishers weren't so focused on the "fantasy" of it when a dose of reality is sometimes needed.

Thank you so much for commenting.

Sunflower said...

I absolutely adore The Stallion men. I don’t know if I will ever meet, date, or marry a wealthy man but I do hope to one day marry a man with many of the traits that the Stallion men have. A man doesn’t have to be a billionaire to treat a woman with respect and value her. Nor does he have to be wealthy to court her and treat her like a lady. Being committed and loyal to one woman is something most women want and value in men. I don’t think traits like these should be considered unreal but real traits that we look for and value in our men. I am looking forward to Matthew’s story and I can’t wait to read it.

Janet said...

I agree with Sunflower.. I loved the Stallion boys... I really can't wait for Matthew. Keep up th e good work.. If I can find a man with some of those traits I'll be happy. It's not all about the money. But how he treats thje lady. How dedicated he's going to be.


Ms. Vette said...

I love the Stallion series and I'm waiting impatiently for Matthew's story. I feel that the series has the perfect blend of reality and fantasy involved. I'm addicted to reading great stories where the characters triumph through their trials and conflict to conquer unconditional love.