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!***

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!

Capclave 2018

I enjoy going to Capclave, hosted by the Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA), as it tends to be more literary-inclined and about writers and readers. I was busy all day as I was on four panels. *gasp* What?! No, really…I had a blast.

My first panel was about “How We Imagine the Future and What It Says About Us” about scifi’s visionaries since its inception (such as Verne and Wells) and others such as Gernsback, Heinlein and Asimov. I take a historian’s long view on things, such as their writing being a reflection of the concerns, morals and challenges of their times. We talked about technology and governments, dystopic futures and utopias. It was a great panel. My next was about “Overcoming Assumptions” and how we as writers deal with challenges related to gender, LGBTQ identity, disability and race.

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Kenesha Williams and Sherin Nicole of Geek Girl Riot joined the DWASF crew for “Afrofuturism and Black Speculative Fiction.” We were kind of goofing off in this photo. I was doing my poses like Jet magazine*…

CAPCLAVE Afrofuturism
We then had a DWASF Meet and Greet. Lots of fun and good conversations. We showed Chad’s films and had book giveaways. I had to dip out for a moment to go to my last panel of the day about “Writing for Anthologies.” We had a nice discussion with the audience with tips for submitting to and writing for anthologies. Afterwards, I ran back for the rest of our meet and greet. I really enjoy talking to the public. I mean, scifi and speculative fiction…what’s not to like?

Oh and if, you didn’t get my Jet magazine reference, look no further than this clip from Eddie Murphy’s “Boomerang” around 0:42.

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!

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!

Post-Panel Thoughts: AwesomeCon 2018

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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:

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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.

Psst…Nominate Me, Please

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My poem “Vox” (Apex Magazine, Issue 95, April 2017) is eligible for the 2018 Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association’s (SFPA) Rhysling Award!

The catch? I need someone to actually nominate it! This is the first time I’ve been through this process, so psst…

And yeah, that’s me in my favorite chair working on some new ones!

Clarion West Write-a-Thon: Sprint #2

Today was the second Clarion West Write-a-Thon writing sprint. The goal today? An article rough draft. Word count minimum of 500 words. Again, I journaled my spree…

8:15 PM: So, the two Short Dudes are gone. Time to get my writing on. I want to work on a rough draft of an article about speculative fiction for the first issue of Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction (DWASF) Magazine. The catch? My computer’s dead.

8:39 PM: I don’t know how many words I have so far. I’m just flowing. Words down. Get this draft as far as possible. Edit later.

9:00 PM: I just made a Chrissy Teigen face about how often I’ve used a certain word.
9:15 PM: Whew! Made the minimum word count. That’s a nice start and I have a decent rough draft. Not bad for banging it out on my phone! Thanks Word app!

Wanna sponsor me? You can if you want. You can also find out more about Clarion West and the Write-A-thon and how it helps authors to be their best.