Ooo, I just love going to cons. It’s always nice being surrounded by folks who love scifi, fantasy and horror as much as I do, so when our Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction (DWASF) group was invited to participate, I was more than happy to go. Some of our members (B. Sharise Moore, K. Ceres Wright and Chad Eric Smith) were on an “Afrofuturism 101” panel (along with Stephanie Burke and Nicky Drayden) that was standing room only!We also had a readings event where DWASF members John Edward Lawson, Stafford Battle, Chad, K. Ceres & I read selections from our works. I read an excerpt of “With These Hands,” that was published in FIYAH Magazine.
We love telling others about our group and had a really fun meet and greet event. We’re talking food, trivia, giveaways and fun. I know I had a great time chatting with attendees about how to submit and where to find markets and about representation in specfic.
Lisa Adler-Golden, who is head of programming for Balticon, stopped through. She shared with us how important to her it was to have these events going forward. “It is not just about straight, white males,” she said. “Our membership is graying and the future of our organization depends upon recognizing the diversity and concerns of our younger members.” Hearing that so many attendees were happy to know our group existed was fantastic!Thank you for having us Balticon! I know that I had a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to returning next year!
Hey there…Just wanted to let y’all know how excited I am about my short story “Here, Kitty” being included in the Black Magic Women: Terrifying Tales by Scary Sisters anthology edited by Sumiko Saulson (Mocha Memoirs Press). For years, Sumiko has been keeping track of us scary sisters out there writing horror and supernatural suspense stories (because we do) with her “Black Women in Horror” series. Black Magic Women is a selection of stories by authors profiled in her guide (me included!)
I support her project and love of the genre and I am proud to be a part of this. You can support Black women horror writers too. Get yourself a copy of this e-book ASAP!
Until next time!
Hey there…I am so hyped to be a part of FIYAH Literary Magazine’s Winter 2018 Issue #5: “Ahistorical Blackness” along with Monique L. Desir, Irette Y. Patterson, Shari Paul, Phenderson Djèlí Clark and cover art by Trevor Fraley!
In addition to fantastic stories, essays and interviews every month, FIYAH releases a Spotify playlist in conjunction with the issue. The FIYAH team asked us to contribute three songs that complement our stories. I don’t know about anyone else, but I sat there for a moment like “Whoa…” as I hadn’t thought about it before. And I’ll be honest, I really enjoyed every minute of trying to decide.
I thought about my story’s themes and decided upon the main ones: freedom, dreaming, beginnings, creating. The lyrics of the songs themselves were also very important. Without telling you much more (you’ve gotta read “With These Hands” for yourself!) I went with Nina Simone‘s “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free”: “I wish I could live/Like I’m longin’ to live/I wish I could do/All the things that I can do/Though I’m way overdue/I’d be starting anew.”
The third song I chose, “Golden” by Jill Scott, has always felt like a celebration of self to me: “I’m taking my freedom/ Pulling it off the shelf/ Putting it on my chain/ Wear it around my neck…”
But the first one, “Fantasy” by Earth, Wind, and Fire, is a true love for me. It is one of the first songs that I ever knew in my life. I sang a part of it (“It’s your day/ shining day/ all your dreams come true”) to my baby when he was born. Its beautiful, hopeful lyrics have always spoken to me of dreaming, freedom and faraway places: “Come see victory, in the land called fantasy/ Loving life, a new decree/
Bring your mind to everlasting liberty.”
Enjoy the playlist and issue and support the hard work of the team at FIYAH by getting a subscription already!
See y’all next time…
I had a really good time at Blerdcon! Our “Afrofuturism and Black Speculative Fiction” panel on June 30 had a really good turnout! Animator and comic artist Uraeus, author K. Ceres Wright, actor/director Chad Eric Smith, and head of the Afrofuturism Network, moderator William Johnson, and I had a great discussion.
We talked about what those terms mean to us, representation in the genre, do’s and don’ts, and our thoughts about being Afrofuturistic content creators. I’ll go more in depth about my own thoughts in future posts.
I have SO much love for Blerdcon. There were some amazing cosplayers there! Many of the panels focused on diversity and inclusion. This was its first year and there was such a laid-back vibe with everyone enjoying themselves and having fun geeking out together. I know I felt like “My peeps!”
It felt good to be there and I look forward to coming back next year! If you’re into comics, gaming, anime and speculative fiction, you should go too!
I am absolutely thrilled to announce that my short story “A Little Not Music” will be in Sycorax’s Daughters (Cedar Grove Publishing), an anthology of Black women horror writers. Out in February 2017, it is edited by Kinitra Brooks, Linda Addison, and Susana Morris.
“A Little Not Music” is set in 1939 Washington, D.C. Its protagonist, a young dancer at the popular club Crystal Caverns (that’s an actual ad for it above!) is dealing with…well, you will have to check it out for yourself!
The “Journey of Hope” exhibit is on the move! My piece “Wildest Dreams” (Hey Grandpas!) is going to be on display at the Hampton University Museum–the oldest African American museum in the U.S. and the first to operate in Virginia–from April 26 to August 24, 2013. If you are going to be in the Hampton Roads area, check it out!
My buddy Chesya told me that my essay “Citizen of Dork Nation” is going to be in an upcoming anthology that she is co-editing entitled Miseducation of the Writer. Comprised of non-fiction essays by genre writers “of color” like myself about the industry and art of writing, I think it will be a really insightful read once it’s out. I know I’m excited about it. While roaming through the Internet jungle that is Google, I found a bright, shiny new cover for Dark Dreams II and a reissue date of October 2012. I kind of did a doubletake. A reissue? Well, OK! It has my favorite story (“Breath of Life”) of the ones that I have in the three anthologies and I hope it’s true as it means folks get to enjoy it all over again.
It also means I need to get cracking, so I started writing again. Having a one-year old crawling everywhere and into everything could distract even dedicated folks. Add to that the fact that I am starting grad school this summer and there’s a lot going on. Even so, I’ve been sitting down writing again anyway. I think every writer suffers from a bit of “Can I do this? Why am I doing this to myself?” and hearing this news and reading other things in regards to my writing just reminded me of what I know I can do.
And it feels good.
Octavia Butler Signing "Fledgling"; Photo by Nikolas Coukouma
My friends Chesya and Kay would probably agree with me about my next statement: When I’m stumped in my writing, I ask myself “WWOD?”… “What Would Octavia Do?” Octavia Butler‘s prodigious talent as an award-winning writer has been such an influence upon us.
Today would have been her birthday. She passed away three years ago and I was so sad to hear of it. Kay had loaned me some of her books around that time, and I just happened to come across them recently. This led to what I can only call an Octavia reading spree. From Imago (1989) to Mind of My Mind (1977) to Clay’s Ark (1984) to Patternmaster (1976), for a week I could not put them down. Back in 2003, I remember flying across the country to my wedding reading the harrowing dystopic Parable of the Sower (1993) and flying back from it reading Parable of the Talents (1998). I had read Kindred (1979) years before.
If you want to know who my biggest influence as a writer is, it was Ms. Butler. Her writing style–almost spare, yet masterful in her treatment of words and the unfolding of the story itself–is a joy for me to read. Visionary and futurist, the stories themselves are engrossing and thought-provoking. As a female African-American writing in the scifi/speculative fiction genre, she was a trailblazer and inspiration to me.
WWOD? Keep on writing.