The Gullah-Geechee Film Festival

The International Gullah-Geechee Film Festival is back!

Who are the Gullah-Geechee?

If you’ve read any of my stories, you’ve already had a taste of the Gullah language and Geechee culture.

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The Gullah-Geechee Nation runs from Jacksonville, NC to Jacksonville, FL, encompassing the coastal Sea Islands and some thirty-odd miles inland. We are descendants of varied African groups linked with Indigenous Americans. We’ve been considered “a nation within a nation” from the time of chattel enslavement in the United States until we officially became an internationally recognized nation on July 2, 2000.

W. Kamau Bell’s recent episode of United Shades of America featuring the Gullah-Geechee of South Carolina is bringing more of the culture I grew up with to light. Turns out 90% of Black Americans can trace their roots to this part of the world. The popular series followed Bell as he discovered our past and our present, talking with local artisans and storytellers and walking some of the Charleston roads I grew up playing on.

Even Tracy K. Smith, 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States, had a profound experience among the Gullah-Geechee of Georgia.

In 2006, the passage of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Act enabled preservation of certain Gullah historical sites.

But more of our stories need to be told.

How can you help further the story and preserve the culture of one of the oldest groups of African-Americans in the US? One thing you can do is support the International Gullah Film Festival (TIGFF). TIGFF’s mission is to encourage filmmakers to explore and tell visual stories based on the rich history of Gullah culture. This film festival is as much about pride for people of Gullah descent as it is about our place in the global community.

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My speculative fiction writing, along with the novel The Everlasting by Rasheedah Prioleau — also steeped in Gullah-Geechee culture — show The Black Experience isn’t a monolith.

But it doesn’t happen often on screen.

In 1974, Twentieth Century Fox released the film Conrack starring Jon Voight. This film follows the arrival of a white teacher onto a South Carolina Sea Island.  In 1991, Daughters of the Dust, an epic tale of the Peazant family’s migration from the Sea Islands to the mainland, was released by Julie Dash. In 2017, John Legend introduced a Gullah narrative in the breakout hit television series Underground.

Every twenty years isn’t enough.

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TIGFF goes beyond showing short films, to offer education and experience to youths and young people on filmmaking and how to bring their stories to life. There’s even a contest for screenwriters to win a table read for their screenplay. Other beneficial impacts include adding new jobs to the community, encouraging the use of facilities, increase local cultural tourism, influencing film projects, and showing the area as a desirable film location.​  

Please consider donating and sharing this post and/or the link to the GoFundMe page for TIGFF. We’re trying to raise $2,500 by June 30th to help fund the film festival and its community outreach programs and any amount helps. This is a one-day event, with the potential to become a global advocate and ambassador for the Gullah-Geechee Corridor as a whole, as well as Gullah-Geechee and descendants all over the world.


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Deadly Reads Radio: An Appearance

I’ll be interviewed on Deadly Reads Radio with Linda and Lisa on Wednesday, but you won’t need to stay up. They’re doing a special show to accommodate my time zone. If you’re around at 4:00 pm Eastern, I’d love to have you call in!


Feel free to ask me Southern Gothic horror is or what work I have coming out or my recommended reads for those lovers of the grotesque. I’m even open to chatting about recipes, local eerie legends, and what the heck a Charleston girl is doing in the United Kingdom.

Once the show starts, you can call in to speak with the horror hostesses: (646) 668-2716

You can listen to the show here on Wednesday, January 5th  at 4:00 pm Eastern time–which for me is 9:00 pm here in England.

Let’s get 2017 started!

Graveyard Shift Sister: Me!

Whenever I do an interview and review for the Graveyard Shift Sister website, I also post it here in case there’s someone who follows my blog, but isn’t connected to me on Facebook or Twitter.

Since the last post was about me, I’d neglected to do that.

While I have no issue singing the praises of other authors, I have a hard time promoting my own work. A part of me feels like it’s tooting my own horn and I should be more modest. But blogs and books on writing (and my advice to other authors) state you must get over that.

Gretchen Palmer in the Tales from the Crypt episode "Ear Today, Gone Tomorrow".
Gretchen Palmer in the Tales from the Crypt episode “Ear Today, Gone Tomorrow”.

It takes a lot for me to go against my natural tendencies and promote myself and my work.  Thankfully, the super talented Sumiko Saulson was willing to help.  Sumiko interviewed me via telephone and it was great to be able to chat about writing, trends in horror and my own inspirations.

Read the entire Graveyard Shift Sisters interview with me here.

The Madness of March: An Acceptance

Right on the heels of a fantastic Women in Horror Month, I’m plunging into the Madness of March.

What do I mean by madness?

I typically identify myself as a dark fantasy writer. Or a mystery writer. Occasionally, even as a romance writer. But this short story? It’s neither.

It’s Steampunk.

If you’re unfamiliar with Steampunk as a writing genre, you can find out a little more about it here.

So here’s my official announcement: My short story “The Clockwork Gin” is available in the anthology Gadgets: Dreams of Steam III, the third book in the award-winning Dreams of Steam series published by Kerlak Publishing, Inc.

What’s it’s about? One for my friends calls it a Steampunk Gone With the Wind. And it’s set in my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina instead of the usual Victorian England setting.


here are the covers: Dreams of Steam III  Dreams of Steam III-back


It’s available in print and on Kindle.

The Next Big Thing

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your book? Pain and Ink.  (Emphasis on the “working”.)

Where did the idea come from for the book? It was all a dream.  No, seriously. I was inspired by my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina and some of the native Geechee people there. I wanted to tell a different story of a town that people usually love for its beauty and history. There is a darker side to the Holy City.

What genre does your book fall under? Paranormal mystery with a splash or two of romantic tension.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? This was a hard question for me. Here’s the closest I could get.

Heroine: N’Bushe Wright – Blade N'bushe_Blade

Hero: George Eads – CSI    George

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Against the backdrop of one the South’s most charming cities, a killer is resurrecting the practice of Root, the Carolina’s answer to voodoo.  And not believing in its power is no protection. (Yes, I know that’s two sentences.)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Haven’t gotten there yet, but I hoping for an agency.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Still going…

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? John Berendt’s “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? My family. I wanted to recapture a bit of the mysterious world I grew up in and do my part to keep a language and a way of life alive.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? My great-aunt was a rootworker (read “hoodoo woman”) There are several spells and rituals that I included in this book.  They are altered slightly to prevent any unwanted “results” for anyone that might want to try them.

Before I get back to writing, thanks to Gynger Fyer (The Romance Arsonist) who tagged me for The Next Big Thing.

To spread the love, I’d like to tag:

Dahlia DeWinters (“The Sultry Scribe”)

Horror author Mark Taylor from Filing Words

and Nico Serene

I’d love to hear about your Next Big Thing.