What I’ve Read: Trail of Lightning

Hey there everyone. I thought I’d keep on telling you about the stories I’ve been enjoying by specfic writers of color. This week, let’s talk about Rebecca Roanhorse’s debut novel Trail of Lightning! I, like so many others, loved her Hugo, Nebula and Campbell Award-winning short story “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™.” After I finished it, I simply said “Goddamn!” So when she came out with Trail of Lightning, I knew I had to read it.

When writers of color tell the stories of our own worlds, of our own cultures and experiences, readers are treated to something different and new because the well the author is drawing from is deep with unheard stories. The world that Rebecca Roanhorse, who identifies as Black and Pueblo, draws from for her Sixth World series is an Indigenous one filled with Diné mythology, tradition and every day life.

Protagonist Maggie Hoskie is pretty much a loner–or has preferred to be. A no-nonsense monster hunter, she is called upon to investigate the disappearance of a young girl, setting things in motion. Maggie tucks in the ends of her moccasin wraps, puts on her leather jacket, grabs her Boker knife and gets things done. She is not alone, joined by the handsome, smooth-talking, healer-in-training Kai (okay, can we talk about how damn fine Kai is supposed to be??) who, like Maggie, has clan powers that they use to their advantage.

Together, they travel through a Dinétah nation protected from the outside world by a wall constructed with help from the gods. The rest of the U.S. has been devastated by an apocalyptic flood. Who is creating the monstrosities that are running rampant? What the hell is the trickster Coyote/Ma’ii up to now? Where is Neizghání, with whom Maggie had shared so much? What is going on? There are gods and monsters, and she has to deal with them both as they figure it out.

The second book in her Sixth World series, Storm of Locusts, is coming out this April and is now available for pre-order. If you haven’t gotten into them yet, get on it!

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, 2018. Simon & Schuster.
Find out how to get your copy HERE.

***Getting that To Be Read List down one book at a time!***

What I’ve Read: A Ruin of Shadows

What do I know about doing reviews? Nada, as this is my first one, but I can tell you about specfic books and short stories I’ve read lately–especially ones by writers of color like me. My colleagues are putting out some great stuff that you should know about if you don’t already, so I thought I’d start something new for the new year on my blog.

Let’s get this party started with L.D. Lewis’ novella A Ruin of Shadows, which gives new meaning to the lament “I’m too old for this shit.”

Gen. Daynja Édo has been whooping ass and taking names left and right for a long time, doing what has to be done and doing it very well. She has a magical mask that adds to her fame as well as the Shadows, her team of assassins that she personally trained. With folks eyeing her position and questioning if she’s still capable, she is given an official order. Gen. Édo rejects it like “Nope!” and the hunt is on, with the Shadows and a whole army at her heels.

I love that Gen. Édo is an older protagonist. Her bones pop and creak. She runs a hand through gray hair. But the most important thing is that she knows exactly who she is, what she can do, and has the wisdom to see through BS. No wondering and angst. We don’t often get a chance to see older women being as badass as possible in specfic and she definitely is. That whole chase and ending was like “Goddamn!” and had me cheering. Pick it up for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

Hey L., when/if you come out with its sequel…I. Am. So. THERE.

A Ruin of Shadows by L.D. Lewis, 2018. Dancing Star Press.
Find it on
Amazon, B&N, or an independent bookseller near you.

***Getting that To Be Read List down one book at a time***

So Nice It’s Out There Twice…

To start, Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to the Thunderdome…I mean, 2019!

News on my end is that my story “With These Hands: An Account of Uncommon Labour” has been reprinted in the January 2019 issue of Apex Magazine! You’ll be able to read it online on January 24, but you can get a copy of the issue at any time. You know you wanna. I mean, look at this beautiful cover by artist Tangmo Cecchini…

You can also find stories by Beth Dawkins, Lavie Tidhar, Marian Coman, Aja McCullough and an essay by Daniel M. Bensen. Check them out!

LH Moore’s 2018 Awards Eligible Stories

It’s that time of the year and I have works that are eligible for 2018 science fiction, fantasy and horror awards (such as the Nebula, Hugo, and Stoker) this year. Oooo! Ahhhh! I am hyped. I really do hope that you’ll consider them and add them to some lists!

Short Story: “With These Hands: An Account of Uncommon Labour”
FIYAH Magazine, Winter 2018 (Issue #5: “Ahistorical Blackness”)
As the symbol of a new country is constructed, all is not what it seems.

Inspired by a painting and informed by history itself, this story is currently on the Nebula Suggested Reading List and was chosen by Jason Sanford as one of the “Best SF/F Short Fiction, January through June 2018.” Here are some more reviews about it: “Weekly Fiction Rec Roundup 6” by Jeff Xilon and “Quick Sips: FIYAH #5 (Ahistorical Blackness)” by Charles Payseur. (And psst…”Labour” with a “U” in the title is intentional. It was also published like that as well as it is set in the 1790s.)

Novelette: “Peregrination” (co-written with Chesya Burke)
Chiral Mad 4 (Written Backwards), October 2018
Editors: Michael Bailey and Lucy A. Snyder
What makes us special. What we will do to protect the ones we love.

There’s dimensional plane-jumping and spending a little time in the void. Not to mention a twist on what constitutes family (especially when they aren’t quite…human) and the lengths to which they will go. All set during the Red Summer of 1919. Check it out!

And please consider Chiral Mad 4, the groundbreaking anthology that it is a part of, too: four short stories, four novelettes, four novellas and four graphic adaptations–all collaborations. It is seriously something!! More info about Chiral Mad 4 can be found at https://blog.nettirw.com/2018/10/19/chir4l-mad/ or by contacting editor Michael Bailey.

Short Story: “Here, Kitty!”
Black Magic Women: Terrifying Tales by Scary Sisters (Amazon)
(Mocha Memoirs Press)
Editor: Sumiko Saulson
What’s lost should probably not be found.

Wrong place. Wrong time. Or was it? I always enjoyed those “Take a hint, run!”-type stories and had a blast writing one myself. I hope that you will enjoy and consider it too. 

The Black Magic Women anthology is also eligible for awards as well. If you are a juror and would like a free eBook of it please email editor Sumiko Saulson at sumikoska@yahoo.com. For a hard copy, contact publisher Mocha Memoirs at mochamemoirspress@gmail.com

Thank you for considering my work!

BlerdCon 2018

I had a really nice time at BlerdCon again this year. I spoke on the “The Future of Afrofuturism” panel with my DWASF colleague Chad Eric Smith, author V.R. McCoy and moderator William Jones of the Afrofuturism Network.

Our room was full and the audience asked great questions about the genre, movement, and the writing/publishing process. I was at Blerdcon’s first one last year. Seeing the turnout and feeling the excitement was fantastic. It is a personal, inclusive-feeling con and I encourage you all to come to next year’s. I’m already looking forward to it!

Clarion West Write-A-Thon 2018: Sprint #1

twitter-profile-headCW2017WaTSooo…I’m participating in the Clarion West Write-A-Thon again this year! My goals? Get. Stories. DONE. Let’s get this show going…

10:06 PM: I’m doing the first of my hour-long Clarion West Write-A-Thon sprints…now! Word count is zero. I have a story in mind. I am a total pantser writing-wise tonight. As in, totally flying by the seat of ’em.

10:12 PM: Hm. Thing is…I know the very last words of this story’s end. That part I’m certain of.

10:50 PM: Well, I need more info about how birds communicate and the mechanics/physics of how they fly. Things you realize…

11:15 PM: OK! It’s been an hour! That went by fast! Word count is 994 and I’m pretty excited about this one actually. Working title is “Spire.”

11:20 PM: Things (OK…tangents) I thought about:

  • Are worms tasty?
  • Are some birds scared of heights?
  • Hostess CupCakes are delicious and I love them, but I have none and I’m supposed to be good, but ohhh…I want some SO badly.
  • I can’t wait to write more of this one!

Follow my sprint craziness on Saturdays and feel free to sponsor me (and other writers) so that we can keep this great workshop going!

Post-Panel Thoughts: Balticon 2018

balticon
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!2018-05-26 12.11.26We 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.

2018-05-26 13.56.08We 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!2018-05-26 17.35.16Thank you for having us Balticon! I know that I had a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to returning next year!

Be About This Writer Life

“I’m a 46-year old writer who can remember being a 10-year old writer and who expects someday to be an 80-year old writer…” ~Octavia Butler

“I have no ability nor desire to be other than a writer…though the fact is I whistle beautifully.” ~Dorothy West

20170918_112441I loved to write as a kid and here is an excerpt from a story that I wrote in the 4th grade. There are sorcerers, dragons, and even a “flute of dance!” I mean, you just have to include a flute of dance, right?? We’re talking ADVENTURE! Thing is…I kept doing it. I never stopped writing. And I can tell you: It’s never too late.

If you are thinking, I’d like to try my hand at this writing thing, go for it! I am so not a hater. There’s room for us all. There is no one definitive way to be a writer, but there are some basic truths:

Read the works of others and hone your own skills. Take workshops. Join groups. Read books or sites about writing. Talk to other writers. Be nice to other writers! Don’t be that person. Find colleagues. Find your peeps. Get a sense of it all. But most of all? Write! Pen to paper, fingers to keyboard. Pay attention to asked-for formats and guidelines. And when you feel ready, take that plunge and submit! Put yourself out there. You will get rejections. You will have moments of “Why the hell am I doing this?” or “I. SUCK.” I know it’s rough and feels a li’l hellish, but get out of your feelings and keep going because you love what you do. Keep at it. You will get published. Be about this writer life!

What are you waiting for?

See ya next time!

~L.

Post-Panel Thoughts: AwesomeCon 2018

2018-03-31 20.22.06

I am a member of the DC Metro area-based creatives group Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction (DWASF). We are authors, poets, artists, filmmakers, and publishers. That’s us (Diane Williams, K. Ceres Wright, Stafford Battle, Chad Eric Smith, and me; not pictured: John Edward Lawson and Lisa Wood) above at AwesomeCon in DC last weekend. We presented a panel on Black*(Panther+Indie Comics+Characters) and this is what it looked like from my view:

2018-03-31 19.53.52

I loved the hypeness, positivity and energy of the audience. We have done panels together at BlerdCon and Capclave, but this was the first time we’ve done one so large. You walk up on that dais, take a seat, look out into that large room, and wow! It was almost full and no one wanted to leave afterwards! Why? Because the topic that we were discussing–representation–was so meaningful to those there.

When we talk about the phenomenon that is Black Panther, we have to talk about the bigger concepts contributing to it: the profundity of seeing oneself positively, the envisioning of a people and place, and the convergence and timing of an entire movement of futurist and forward-thinking thought. It was like having a conversation with friends with an audience listening and chiming in, and it was great.

I always love to tell audiences about this fantastic quote by Walidah Imarisha (from the book Octavia’s Brood). It gets a collective gasp every time:

“And for those of us from communities with historic collective trauma, we must understand that each of us is already science fiction walking around on two legs. Our ancestors dreamed us up and then bent reality to create us.”

Essentially, our very existence–how we live, our accomplishments, even being free–would have been considered science fiction to our ancestors who could not have possibly imagined our lives today. It is incredibly important that we see ourselves in literature, music, art, and on film as part of a future that we are helping to create and not invisible in favor of the “default.”

It’s like ripples in a pond that keep going and going and going.

For me, as a historian who writes speculative fiction, it is interesting because I see us drawing upon our pasts in the present to inform our representations in the future. You can not disconnect one from the other, and that’s OK.

Many thanks to the attendees out there for helping to make it a great panel! It was a joy.