Black Beauty Blog Tour: Random Facts


Constance Burris is the author of the horror short story, Black Beauty, a cautionary tale about putting too much emphasis on one standard of beauty.  I interviewed her for my Graveyard Shift Sisters feature here.  She was kind enough to send me a few random facts about her release for her blog tour.

Plot Summary:

At Vista Apartment Complex, life drastically changes for four of its residents when they decide to do business with Crazy Jade—the supposed voodoo witch who can grant your wish for a price.

Shemeya wants the confidence to stand up against the girls bullying her at school, but she soon has to choose between keeping her dreadlocs or living a normal life. After catching her boyfriend cheating, Latreece just wants to have the same curves as all the other girls. Ashley will do whatever she can to have “White Girl Flow”, but takes her pursuit too far when she steals from Crazy Jade.

Constance was kind enough to share with us a few random facts about her tale, Black Beauty.

Most of Black Beauty is set in an apartment complex in Oklahoma City

I’m from Oklahoma, and I wanted to write about my childhood. Until junior high, my family lived in various apartment complexes across the city. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a very social type of living.  Apartments are a type of ready-made communities where adults and children have no choice but to interact with each other. It’s different living in houses, where you don’t have to talk with your neighbors if you don’t want to.

Medusa was inspired by a fellow author

One of my favorite authors has dreads down her back.  In the TSA line, they patted her hair and treated her dreads like they were snakes. And I thought, “wouldn’t that be a cool if her dreads were snakes.

Music Videos and Body Image

Latreece is affected by the images of black women she sees in music videos: big butties and curvy. What happens if you don’t fit the stereotype?

Reality Is Stranger Than Fiction

One of the reasons I wrote Black Beauty was because I have a teenage daughter. I had to watch as she went through puberty, be verbally assaulted by boys, and be ignored by boys.  Black Beauty is the closest I’ll ever get to a self-help book for her.

There will be sequels

Shemeya, Andre, Ashley, and Crazy Jade will have their own stories.

Get your copy of Black Beauty at the links below:

Amazon: Purchase Link Itunes: Purchase Link Barnes & Noble: Purchase Link Goodreads: Connect about it on Goodreads!  Book Depository: Pick up internationally!

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Graveyard Shift Sister: Constance Burris

Next up on my Graveyard Shift Sisters review and interview series is Constance Burris.

Constance is usually a fantasy author, but when I spoke with her about her latest release, Black Beauty, she said that when she came up with this particular story, she knew it had to be horror.  It’s the prequel to her fantasy tale, Coal, which is doing brilliantly in the rankings for multi-cultural young adult fantasy.

N'Bushe Wright in Blade

N’Bushe Wright in Blade

Read the entire review and interview on the Graveyard Shift Sisters website.

Fall Into Horror with Mocha Memoirs Press

Mocha Memoirs Press is celebrating the new Fall season by showcasing their love of horror and the authors who write it. Please welcome TOM OLBERT as he shares his thoughts on fall and horror.



And fall is here. Only just, but its chill fingers can already be felt creeping up our spines. Before we know it, the leaves will turn, the days will shorten, and the shadow of the equinox will creep in silently in summer’s wake. The time of transition, when, it is said, the veil between this world and the next runs thin, and spirits walk the earth. Time for tales of horror to slip under the wire of our reason and stoke the fires of our nightmares.

Horror takes many forms, both subtle and gross. Ghosts, vampires, werewolves and ghouls. The shadows of arcane superstition that never stop haunting us, even into this digital age. The unknown touching our primal fears from the inky blackness of the dark.

But, there’s another kind of horror, too. The horror of the dark places within the human mind and the dark places buried deep in the human soul, where we fear to look, perhaps even more than we fear the darkness outside. The demons we carry within are the ones we can never escape. Such evil can take many forms. Like the shadowy figure of Jack the Ripper skulking in the shadows of dark, misty, gas lit midnight streets, transcending time and space, a seemingly eternal horror that will always be with us. Because such evil is waiting to be born in the depths of each human soul, and will never die.

In my novella Black Goddess I tried to explore those dark depths we call evil. The evil of the torturer. Of the murderer. The evil of hate and revenge and unimaginable cruelty that defies all reason and devours the soul of both victim and victimizer. Such darkness has been with us from the beginning, in particularly dark chapters of history, taking on forms of evil so pure, so horrific that our darkest dreams pale in comparison.

The eternal question presents itself to a troubled young man who has seen evil up close and intimately: Is evil merely a random perversion of human emotion spawned by violence and chaos, or is evil a primal force, like a dark infection stealing its way into the human soul, feeding on it from within like a parasite, until nothing beside remains?

The protagonist of Black Goddess becomes obsessed with the nature and essence of the evil that has destroyed his life and his faith. His search for answers evolves into a dark quest that is destroying him, little by little. The closer he draws to the dark, forbidden cosmic truth at the heart of the darkness, the more he hungers for it to the exclusion of all else, like a drug addict endlessly seeking his next fix. He has given his life, and possibly his soul to a dark experiment through which he reaches closer and closer to the center of time and space. What will he find at the center of creation? God, or Satan? When he looks into the mirror of the first moment of time, will he find light or darkness at the core of his own soul?

What can any of us expect to find, when we peel back the layers of sanity we show to the world, and face the darkness we carry inside?



Comment below and click on the rafflecopter options below for a chance to win the tour prize, a $25 Amazon Gift Card! a Rafflecopter giveaway Continue on with this FALL INTO HORROR. You can join Mocha Memoirs Press authors and share in their love of horror on Facebook. You can also click on the links below to meet other horror authors:



Mocha Memoirs Press, LLC is a genre-oriented publishing company. Their vision is to provide an outlet for outstanding speculative and romance stories that often fall beneath the radar of traditional publishing houses. They seek to provide quality stories that invigorate the reader’s literary palette like a good, strong coffee. Like great coffee houses, they offer a variety of flavors. They publish stories in the following genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance, including the sub-genres of steampunk, cyberpunk, diesel punk, alternate history, weird westerns, and mash-ups.


Featured Author: Jeff Carroll

It is my pleasure to have on the blog today, Jeff Carroll: author, filmmaker, and hip-hop dating coach.

Yes, you heard that last one correctly. Jeff isn’t on my blog for his dating advice today, but you can find out more about that aspect of his career here.

I had the chance to catchup with Jeff and ask him about his writing, what inspires him, and what he’d like the future of speculative fiction to be.

ER: Thank you so much for granting me this interview. Tell us a bit about yourself and your writing style.

JC: I am a Gemini to the fullest so my stories have deep political subject told with a lot of action and fun. I’ve done a lot of things in my life from leading marches with Rev Sharpton to booking comedy shows with Kevin Hart. I’ve always been a movie fan. When I was 12 years old my cousin and I would see movies on 42nd street and recommend them to our local Harlem movie theater. Since movies are my first love my stories read like movies. People tell me all the time that they would love to see my book as movie.

ER: When did you start writing and what drew you specifically to speculative fiction?

JC: I started writing screenplays in 2003 after my mother had a stroke. I made two movies low budget B movie horrors, Holla If I Kill You and Gold Digger Killer. In 2007 after my second film Gold Digger Killer was released I wrote a tie-in comic book. I sold the comic book while screening my film at film festivals. Finally in 2009 I wrote the novelization of Gold Digger Killer. It was so liberating to write without having to be limited by my production budget that I decided to write another book. After writing the novelization of my movie I fell in love with writing. I even started reading more and learning a the different genres and Black Science fiction.

ER: What was the impetus for your story in The City anthology, “Dreamer’s Recall”?

JC: When I read the City bible outlining all of the elements I felt confined and felt that if I were there in the City I would want somebody to help me escape. So, as a story creator I wanted to tell a story where someone could have that possibility. Dreams have always been a form of escapism for me so that was the entry point for me to starting my story.

ER: How did you perform research for your characters and scenes or did you work from existing knowledge?

JC: I am not necessarily your grandmother’s sci-fi writer. I am a hip hopper. I grew up on movies like Krush Groove and Boyz in the Hood as much as I did Star Wars and Independence Day so I blend the energy of hip hop with the speculation of Sci-fi. With the characters of “Dreamer’s ReCall” I simple said what if there was a couple and one of them started having life changing dreams. I didn’t go as far as Love and Hip Hop but I did want to have something for Streetlit readers who’s stories have a lot of relationship drama.

ER: When using real events and people, how do you decide when to fictionalize and when to stay true to history?

JC: In my book It Happened on Negro Mountain I used the Mountain as my inspiration because it’s name was profound. Sci-fi is the genre which explores the “what ifs” and I use that use question to determine what person or event I fictionalize.

ER: For you, what makes a great tale? What do you like to read?

JC: I love adventures with happy endings. I love good triumphing over evil. I also like the escapism that Sci-fi provides. I like urban stories with a paranormal element. The writer which provided me with the most inspiration was LA Banks. I also like Steven Barnes but my favorite Sci-fi book is Zuro a Tale of Alien avengers. However after writing in the City I am fully turned onto CyberFunk and Afrofuturism. I am planning to write my story “Dreamer’s ReCall” into a novel.

Cover art for the collaborative cyberfunk anthology, The City, which features Jeff's story, Dreamer's ReCall.

Cover art for the collaborative cyberfunk anthology, The City, which features Jeff’s story, Dreamer’s ReCall.

ER: What scares you?

JC: A lot of things scare me. I’m not a sacredly cat because I fight through my fears. I am scared of sharks in the ocean. I am not scared of ghosts or demons. I am scared of people. Psychopaths and serial killers. I am also squeamish so my stomach can’t take realistic operations with lots of organs and blood. However, I was there for the delivery of my son.

ER: Of the works you’ve written, what’s your favorite? Of which are you most proud?

JC: I am proud of all of my writings. I’ve written a piece of myself and my family and friends into each of my stories. I do think my third book It Happened on Negro Mountain was my most unbelievable book to sell and it became the first of my stories to get a publishing deal.

ER: How can African American artists (actors, writers, filmmakers) succeed in speculative fiction circles? Do you feel your work has been received differently?

JC: I think we are at an opportune moment where opportunities for black creators are opening up. I think the main thing a black creator could do is hone their craft and put it out in the market for people to see.

ER: What’s your next project?

JC: I am currently writing a story I had for a movie into a novella. It’s about transgender serial killer in a CyperFunk world. I also have three manuscripts circulating for possible publishing deals so any of those could be my next book. I just released my first collection of short stories this past August called Sci-Fi Streetz.

ER: What’s missing in fiction? What shape would you like to see the future of speculative fiction take?

JC: When I first started reading Sci-fi there were a lack of stories I wanted to read but now there are more books than I can read. I still feel we are on the tip of the iceberg with manifesting our unique African America Sci-fi expression. I think when we fully developing our variation it will be as different as manga (the Japanese comic book form) is. I think black people have a unique worldview and cultural past which inspires our ideas and solutions to the problems and discoveries of the future. I even think we will have a common storytelling pace that will appeal to black people like the TV shows Empire and Scandal.

Negro Mountain

ER: Many black authors of speculative fiction tell me they struggle for fans. What’s your advice?

JC: Thinking of the future is directly connected to your knowledge of the past and because many black people don’t know of the glory of African people they see the future as frustrating as the past. I remember watching Brother From Another Planet feeling that “Dagg, we are slaves in the future too”. Dystopian stories are big right now but for Black people the Black Lives Matter movement makes them feel like we are living in a Dystopian present day world. I think also that since white male writers dominated Sci-fi so much that Black Sci-fi is still new most black people. Once we get that hit book like The Coldest Winter Ever then everybody will know about Black Sci-fi.

ER: What’s the most difficult part of writing for you?

JC: Because I work full time finding the time to write and work social media are the hardest aspects of writing for me. The actual writing process presents its own challenges with each story.

ER: What do you do when you’re not writing?

JC: When I’m not writing I’m reading as much as I can. I make it a point to read Black Sci-fi but not exclusively. I try to read the latest Sci-fi books and I mix it up with old Sci-fi.

ER: Thank you for the interview. Is there anything else you like to mention?

JC: I just want to say that The City is an amazing project and I would like to thank Milton Davis and Balogun Ojetade for creating such a glorious project. Inviting other black writers to share in their universe was a historical move. The City is the first of its kind.

Jeff-Carroll crop

Thanks for the interview, Jeff!  Find out more about Jeff and his work on his blog, Facebook, and on Twitter. 121, Eden Royce

Eden Royce:

So happy to be the featured author on the Horror Addicts podcast! Listen to me reading an excerpt from my short story collection, Spook Lights, some great music, horror con wrap up, and tips for your Halloween prep.

Originally posted on

ha-tagHorror Addicts Episode# 121

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


eden royce | klaus von karlos |
thriller season 1

Find all articles and interviews at:

42 days till halloween

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Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror by Eden Royce

Eden Royce:

What a wonderful review of Spook Lights from Horror Addicts. Thank you, Crystal Connor–I’m beyond flattered.

Originally posted on

51YOUAH3SBL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ This is one of the hardest book reviews I’ve ever had to write. A while ago Eden Royce asked me to review her novel Spook Lights, and after reading it a second time the problem became glaringly clear.

I am completely jealous of how this woman writes.

This makes no sense. Eden and I met when both our stories, The Monster and Devil’s Playground were accepted for publication in Matt Nord’s Strange Tales of Horror and we have been friends ever since. She has been my friend in every aspect of the word, we’ve kept in touch, we’ve reviewed each other’s books and once again we have both have stories that have been slated for film adaptations in the upcoming horror anthology 7 Magpies, the movie.

Sometimes when I am reading a really good book I go from being entertained to being taught, but with Spook Lights I…

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Exsanguinate–World of Blood: A Review

In addition to writing, I love gaming. Mostly tabletop RPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons, but I’ll try just about any game once—board games, card games, online quests to rescue princesses in other castles. That Exsanguinate includes gaming and other geeky culture like writing code and such warms my heart.

Exsanguinate is a beautiful book, and I don’t say that often about horror novels. The cover is stunningly rendered and the inside of the book is no different. Time and attention is paid to the inside fonts and images at the beginning of each chapter.

While there are a few wordage slip ups—gate instead of gait, and palette instead of palate, for example—they don’t detract from the work put into this novel. There are some fantastic extras in the books as well, including a References section listing the movies, music, and even a restaurant that are mentioned in the book.

The stunning cover of Killion Slade's Exsanguinate.

The stunning cover of Killion Slade’s Exsanguinate.

But Exsanguinate is not just horror. There are plenty of bloodshed and horrific scenes like breeding farms and blood orchards—remote areas where vampires keep human victims for food and for procreation—come to mind immediately that will unnerve the reader. But there are elements of high fantasy and courtly romance as well. I enjoy when a story has many genres mixed smoothly into one.

Our ‘fraidy cat protagonist Cheyenne O’Cuinn is being dragged out of the house on Halloween by he horror-loving sisters. To add to the anticipation and fear of the inevitable haunted houses, Cheyenne is due to meet her online boyfriend in person. Scary enough in itself. While at Halloween Scream Night, things go wrong. Cheyenne is attacked and wakes up in a hospital to discover both of her sisters are missing.

Before she can process that information properly, she discovers she’s turning into a vampire. She also finds there are werewolves and dragons in the world. Talk about piling on.

Cheyenne is sympathetic and relatable, especially to members of the geeky community. She is reclusive and most comfortable behind a computer screen. (Know that feeling.) But when her family and friends are in danger, she finds it in herself to push past her hesitance and get things done.

Slade has created a character to cheer for in this first installment of her trilogy, all the while placing her in true dangerous situations where you wonder how she’ll respond. The story ends in a good place, and you feel satisfied as a reader that while there is calm for now, the storm is yet to come. Several plot lines are still available for Slade to weave into any follow-up books.

And I look forward to the rest of the series.