News: Sycorax’s Daughters

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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.
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“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!

Dusting Off the Cobwebs…

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.

What Would Octavia Do?

Photo by Nikolas Coukouma

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.