It’s that time of the year! Here are my works eligible for the 2020 awards season:
Let’s start with “Roots On Ya” (FIYAH Issue #13, Winter 2020) about a rootworker in rural Virginia in the early 1900s. It is being reprinted in Apex Magazine in January 2021. Reviewer Charles Payseur said “If this were the pilot for a TV show, I’d be sold.”
Next is “Rule of Thirds” (Fireside Quarterly: Winter 2020; Magazine: Issue 77, March 2020) about a scientist who finds out more than she bargained for in unexplored underwater tunnels deep beneath the earth.
And then there’s “A Clink of Crystal Glasses Heard” in the SLAY: Stories of the Vampire Noire anthology, ed. by Nicole Givens Kurtz (Mocha Memoirs Press). A lighthearted coming of age story about legacy and learning about yourself. This story would also be eligible for MG or YA short story awards.
I’m also going to include my nonfiction essay “On Vision and Audacity” and poem “Hidden” that appeared in Chosen Realities (vol. 1), the literary journal of the Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction (DWASF).
I hope you’ll consider nominating these! This has been a tough year for us all and here’s to the next year of more stories, more creativity and more writing accomplishments!
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!
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!
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.