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…
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For a hard copy, contact publisher Mocha Memoirs at email@example.com.
At some point I’ll talk more about the fact that I’m a historian, but for right now I’ll talk about how being one brought my story “With These Hands: An Account of Uncommon Labour” into being.
A few years ago, I worked at the White House Historical Association and they had a small exhibit of paintings by artist Peter Waddell, who specializes in historically accurate works about historic architecture and events. One of those paintings, “A Vision Takes Form,” is about the construction of the White House. In the lower part of the painting were two Black laborers. I thought “There is a story there…”
…so I wrote one.
It was published in FIYAH Magazine’s “Ahistorical Blackness” issue and recently, author Jason Sanford including it in his list of what he thought was the “Best SF/F Short Fiction, January through June 2018.” I’m in some seriously good company! Please read and consider “With These Hands” in the future if you get a chance.
Then I found out it made the Nebula Awards Suggested Reading List! What?! For all of you jaded folks out there, it’s my first time so I’m pretty damn hyped. HYPED, I tell ya. Even if it doesn’t make it any further (although I sure do hope that it does), it just makes me feel good and like I’m not toiling in absolute obscurity.
I’m just going to leave you with this document. It is a 1795 work for hire document from the National Archives for a laborer (and yes, the “U” in my full story title is intentional) at the White House. George was for hire, but was actually enslaved. All I could think of while writing my story were dreams of freedom and what it meant to be free…
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!
Last weekend I rolled up to NYC for signings in Harlem and Brooklyn for Sycorax’s Daughters! The first was at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. I was joined by authors and poets (from l. to r.) Kiini Ibura Salaam, Nicole Sconiers, Joy Copeland, Amber Doe, Tracey Baptiste, K. Ceres Wright, Zin Rocklyn and Sheree Renee Thomas.We had a really nice turnout and a great crowd! We read excerpts and answered questions and had a lot of fun…
Saturday night we were at Quimby’s Bookstore in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. It’s a great little bookstore that you have to check out if you’re there. Here we (A.J. Locke, Sheree, me and Kiini) are with the shop’s owner Steven Svymbersky…Had a good time laughing and chilling out in the corner with the fantabulous Sheree!
I had so much fun in NYC and it was wonderful meeting and being in the company of so many talented writers and poets. So much good energy going. Hope we cross paths again soon! Thank you to both venues for having and supporting us! Want to read Sycorax’s Daughters? Contact your local bookseller or grab a copy HERE.
I joined K. Ceres Wright, Joy Copeland and L. Penelope at the Howard University Bookstore in DC for the first signing of our anthology Sycorax’s Daughters!We then headed over to Sankofa Video Books & Cafe for the second signing. Being two blocks from where I went to high school felt like being back home! Was I hyped? Yes. Definitely yes. Just look at me…
Sankofa is devoted to writers of African descent, founded by filmmakers Haile and Shirikiana Gerima. The vibe there was so nice and that cafe! Mm-MMM! We have to support independent booksellers!
For this signing, we were also joined by L. Marie Wood. She’s looking pretty serious in this pic, doesn’t she? We were actually smiling and laughing a lot. Book signings are especially exciting when there are more than one of you.
We all really enjoyed reading excerpts and discussing the book with everyone. We had a great time taking questions and talking about the craft and how we view horror and speculative fiction. What you will find in the anthology is a range of what horror can be. To me, it is a redefinition…and that’s a whole other post for another time.
Contact your local bookseller or pick up a copyHERE!
“A powerful, revealing anthology of dark fiction and poetry by Black women writers. The tales of what scares, threatens and shocks them will enlighten and entertain you.
Sycorax’s Daughters’ stories and poems delve into demons and shape shifters from Carole McDonnell’s “How to Speak to the Bogeyman” and Sheree Renée Thomas’ “Tree of the Forest Seven Bells Turns the World Round Midnight” to far future offerings from Kiini Ibura Salaam’s “The Malady of Need”, Valjeanne Jeffers’ steampunk female detective in “Mona Livelong: Paranormal Detective II” and others.
These thought-provoking twenty-eight stories and fourteen poems cover creatures imagined— vampires, ghosts, and mermaids, as well as the unexpected price paid by women struggling for freedom and validation in the past—slavery to science-fiction futures with transhumans and alternate realities.
Leave the lights on and join these amazing authors as they share their unique vision of fear.”
So excited to be a part of this groundbreaking project!
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!
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.