2018 Wrap-Up and What I Wrote

2018 was a wild and crazy ride, full of ups and downs in my writing and personal life. As a result, I don’t have as many short story publications as I did in 2017.

Still, I’m doing an awards eligibility post (for the Hugo,  the Nebula, the Stoker, et al.) and a year end wrap-up because some amazing things did happen.

Like, I got a book deal! *Screams*

My debut novel, TYING THE DEVIL’S SHOESTRINGS, is a middle-grade Southern Gothic historical fantasy about twins learning rootwork, protecting themselves from monsters, and finding their place in the world. And it’s full of Gullah-Geechee tradition and folklore. Set in pre-Civil rights era South Carolina, the inspiration for the novel is stories from my grandmother, my great aunts, and my mother. My writing is so influenced by the place I’m from that I’m going to start referring to this subgenre that I write in as Gullah Gothic.

They want a second middle-grade book as well, which I’m well on my way to completing.

But this is also a 2018 short story award eligibility post, so on to the short stories I had published this year!

  • Every Good-Bye Ain’t Gone (Strange Horizons): My first story with this spectacular magazine! A Southern Gothic w/ love, loss, & food as séance. “…the only time her mother ever cooked was when a person had passed on and someone needed to speak with the dead.”

 

For Southern Girls 3

 

  • One If by Sea (Augur Magazine): One If by Sea (pubbed by Augur Magazine) – Fantasy flash. How far would you go to get your child from the land of the dead? A mother gets instructions. “You want your little girl back or not? I’ma tell you how to do it.” {You’ll have to purchase a copy of the issue to read the entire story, but you can read an excerpt at the above link.}

One if By Sea Collage

 

If you haven’t already, give these stories a read and if any of them move you, please consider nominating them!

 

 

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My 2017 Awards Eligibility Post

Awards season is here and the nominations for the Nebula, Hugo, Horror Writer’s Association, and a number of other writing awards, have opened. Here is what I had published in 2017.

 

A CURE FOR GHOSTS — Fireside Magazine — read here

How do them ghosts smell? Like dirt and damp moss and dank places closed so tight no air ever enters. Like the end. Like everything and nothing.

FOLK — PodCastle #494 — listen here

It is the mark my people use for their handiwork — no, I lie. Only the women use it. It is the women who show their pride this way…

SHINE, BLACKBERRY WINE — Shadows Over Main Street 2 — buy here

My tentacled hair is waving around wildly, growing longer and thicker, then the stalks shoot upward, out of the dream and into… like… real life. 

SOUPIE’S LOVER — Truancy — read here

“You aine gotta worry ‘bout my help no more. I’mma let the hag getcha.”

CRICKETS SING FOR NAOMI — PodCastle #477 — listen here

She took the man’s face in her lap, pulling and tugging at the flesh. It gave under her gnarled fingers, softening like clay, and she smoothed it into something—no, someone—new.

GRAVEROBBING NEGRESS SEEKS EMPLOYMENT — FIYAH Issue #2 — buy here

I pried apart the corpse’s lips, their slackness telling me she’d been dead more than two days, and worked the tip of my finger inside her mouth.

SWEETGRASS BLOOD — Sycorax’s Daughters — buy here

I wound the strands tighter, using the sharpened spoon to push them through each other, the stiff grasses leaving tiny splinters invisible to the eye but not to the flesh.

A LONG WAY FROM THE RITZ — Forever Vacancy — buy here

It was then she decided to put him in a jar. She knew how, had watched her mom and aunties do it many times.

 

This year, I also released a second collection of Southern Gothic horror stories, Spook Lights 2.

In February, in collaboration with Graveyard Shift Sisters, I put together a collection of 28 BLACK WOMEN IN HORROR FICTION HISTORY. Bios, pics, links to their work are in a Google+ collection here.

 

***A huge thing to note is FIYAH: A Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction is eligible for the Best Semiprozine category of the Hugo Awards in their first year! 

As such, please consider nominating:

  • Troy L. Wiggins and Justina Ireland for Best Editor, Short Form for FIYAH
  • Geneva B/Prinnay for Best Fan Artist for all of her stunning covers for FIYAH
  • All of FIYAH‘s fiction and poetry for Nebulas, Hugos, HWAs…

My Interview on Talking With Authors

I do a lot of interviews, I rarely am interviewed myself.

But Curtis Anderson of Talking With Authors reached out and asked me for an interview. I’m so glad he did. We spoke about my influences, Southern Gothic horror in general, and why some people may shy away from horror as a genre. And of course, we spoke about my writing!

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Curtis is a phenomenal interviewer– enthusiastic and engaging, and his questions are thoughtful and fun. For those who are nervous about being interviewed on live audio, he also makes you feel comfortable, and if I may say it… really good about yourself and your work.

Thanks to Curtis for this amazing interview, and for reaching out in the first place. I appreciate all he does to boost and bring attention to our work. Listen to the entire interview below:

 

Crickets Sing for Naomi: A Release

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OMG. I’m so excited to announce that my Southern Gothic fantasy short story “Crickets Sing for Naomi” is up on PodCastle!

I’ve been listening to EscapeArtists Inc.’s podcasts (PodCastle for fantasy, Escape Pod for sci-fi, PseudoPod for horror, and most recently Cast of Wonders for YA.), for ages now and it’s such and honor to have one of my stories accepted there.

The story is read by the golden-voiced Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali, one of the editors for the podcast. She’s done a wonderful job with the voices and the nuances of tone and enunciation. Which isn’t easy when all three speaking characters are women.

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The idea for “Crickets Sing for Naomi” was born when I lived in an apartment in Northern Virginia. For some reason, crickets were everywhere–the sidewalks, the stairs–and they followed me around. At least they seemed to. So much so that one of my friends started calling me a cricket shaman.

As for the title of the story, it’s based on the song “Crickets Sing for Anamaria”, the English-language version of “Os Grilos” (“The Crickets”), written by Brazilian musicians Marcos Valle and Paulo Sérgio Valle.

Head on over to PodCastle and listen to the story for free. While you’re there, have a little nose around at their other stories. I’m sure you’ll find a lot to enjoy.

PodCastle

February Wrap up and Contest Winners

Yes, I know it’s already seven days into March.

But I had a short vacation and am just now getting back to my routine. As such, I’m finally talking about all of the February/Black History Month/Women in Horror Month goings-on. And announcing the winners of my 28 Black Women in Horror History blog series giveaway (in collaboration with Graveyard Shift Sisters) for the most engaged participants.

But first, some catch-up posts.

The Wicked Library podcasted two of my Southern Gothic horror short stories,”Hand of Glory” and “Homegoing”,  in a spot called Southern Fried Horror, featuring the vocal talents of Samantha Pleasant Lebas. Not to mention the custom artwork:

Southern fried horror
The Wicked Colonel by Steven Matiko

 

I chatted with Katara Johnson on her Blag Talk Radio show Katara’s Cafe in February about writing, my inspirations and what it’s like to be a black woman in horror.

February also brought features with me on Gwendolyn Kiste’s blog, Jack Wallen’s blog, SK Gregory’s blog, and even wrote an original flash story for Nina D’Arcangela’s blog.

Spook Lights II, Forever Vacancy, and Syocrax’s Daughters also hit the shelves.

A few amazing moments in the month are when I was interviewed by Cinedump and Google+ about my Southern Gothic horror and my 28 Days of Black Women in Horror History series.

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Now on to the giveaway winners!

Amy Kelly – Colors in Darkness tote and Voodoo Dreams by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Sumiko Saulson – Voodoo Dreams by Jewell Parker Rhodes and Beloved by Toni Morrison

Lori Lopez – signed copy of Spook Lights

Dahlia DeWinters – signed copy of Spook Lights

Each of these winners above shared, reblogged, commented, and in general shouted about the posts featuring these 28 authors. (Some of them are on the lists themselves.)

A huge thank you to everyone who interacted with the 28 Black Women in Horror History series! Just because it’s now March doesn’t mean you can’t still share the work of these phenomenal authors.

Day 18: Toni Morrison

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Toni Morrison was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford on February 18, 1931. A novelist, editor, and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, her work is best known for its epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters.

Beloved (1987) won Morrison the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award, yet is one of the most highly disputed works in terms of genre. Many contend that it is not a work of horror, even though it is a ghost story, and is rife with isolation, violence and paranormal activity. Others, myself included, contend that horror’s definition desperately needs widening, to embrace this masterpiece of a work. As such, it is one of the books in the 28 Days of Black Women in Horror giveaway.

beloved

But Beloved isn’t Morrison’s first foray into speculative fiction.

Morrison points out that with its island of spirits and talking trees, her novel Tar Baby (1981), is more “timeless phantasmagoria” than identifiable present reality. Her latest novel, God Help the Child–her 11th–is a successor of sorts to Tar Baby in theme: beauty, self-image, and blackness.

Pick up Morrison’s books on Amazon. For more about her, head over to her website and follow her on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 17: A.D. Koboah

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A.D. Koboah spent the first few years of her life in Ghana before moving to London, where she has lived ever since. She completed an English Literature degree in 2000, and although she has always written in her spare time, she didn’t start writing full-time until a few years ago.

Her debut novel, Dark Genesis, was inspired by her thoughts on dehumanization, specifically, the ways in which people are able to dehumanize others, the impact it has on the psyche, and if it’s possible for people to find their way back.

Dark Genesis is A Southern Gothic tale, beginning in present-day and moving quickly to the slave plantations of Mississippi. Luna, pregnant with her abusive master’s child, is taken by a tormented creature while on her way back to the plantation, and likely yet another unwanted pregnancy. Sure she won’t survive the night, she is offered the chance to rebuild the life and humanity taken from her.

dark-genesis

 

Dark Genesis, the first book in The Darkling Trilogy is free to download. Find out more about A.D. on her website and follow her on Twitter.