28 Days of Black Women in Horror History

This February—which is both Black History Month and more recently, Women in Horror Month—I wanted to do something special to celebrate both.

Luckily, Ashlee Blackwell of Graveyard Shift Sisters asked if I’d be interested in collaborating with her on a project. I said, “Yes! Would love to.” Only later did I ask, “What is it?”

Well, here’s the reveal: 28 Days of Black Women in Horror History.

newwihm8-logo-1

Each day in February, both Ashlee and I will post a brief bio, photo, and links to these horror sisters. Ashlee will focus on television and film on the Graveyard Shift Sisters site, while I focus on novels, short stories, and poetry here on my blog The Dark Geisha. We’ll throw in any other fun tidbits we find into each post too.

We’ll use the hashtags #Blackwomeninhorror and #WiHM8 in each post. Make sure you do too when you comment and share the posts because there are prizes!

Prizes, you ask? Oooh!

There’s a contest for readers/supporters who actively use the hashtags listed above across social media highlighting their favorite Black women in horror history. Share pictures and/or links of their work with the hashtags. Remember, this is to celebrate us across all media platforms, so include authors, actors, visual artists, directors, and publishers.

Ashlee’s prize: Two of the most actively engaged will receive GSS swag along with the exclusive tote, and a copy of Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight on DVD.

My Prize: One of the most actively engaged will receive a tote bag from Colors in Darkness, the online spot for speculative fiction authors of color, along with a copy of Jewel Parker Rhodes’ Voodoo Dreams. Another actively engaged participant will receive a copy each of Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Jewel Parker Rhodes’ Voodoo Dreams.

bloodbath-891262_640
Come on in…the water’s fine.

Tune into my blog and Graveyard Shift Sisters site beginning February 1st for 28 Days of Black Women in Horror History and celebrate with us.

FIYAH Lit Mag Issue #1: A Review

I was breathless to read the first issue of Fiyah Lit Mag, but I forced myself to wait until I finished reading my current book. That was not easy, I promise you. I’ve felt this was needed for a long time.

Finally, I opened it. I’d kept myself away from reading other reviews of the mag, although I knew it to be astounding because I’ve seen the first seven words of Tweets about its stunning portrayals of POCs in speculative fiction worlds.

I’m with those Tweeters. Believe. But first, that cover:

fiyah_rebirthcover_300-e1483059557683

“Rebirth” is the theme of the first of what I hope will be many issues of this mag. And each author has wound it seamlessly into the story only they can tell. It reads like they all sat around a table, clutching their caffeinated beverage of choice, and brainstormed how to make readers stare at the page in fascination. Which authors? The ToC is below:

Long Time Lurker, First Time Bomber — by Malon Edwards

Police Magic — by Brent Lambert

Revival — by Wendi Dunlap

The Shade Caller — by Davaun Sanders

We Have Ended — by V.H. Galloway

Chesirah — by L.D. Lewis

 

Edward’s “Long Time Lurker, First Time Bomber” is set in a futuristic world of robotics and impermanent death.

“Police Magic” shows us boys on a quest to find a way to end a dark magic taking over the world.

“The Shade Caller” and “We Have Ended” have alternate reality versions of Africa, but hold true to the storytelling traditions and lore.

In “Revival” you think you know what’s going to happen, but the story will take you of guard.

“Chesirah” gives us a strong female protagonist and the lengths she will go to for freedom, surprising even herself.

Each author’s voice is distinct, yet they all call out from within the African diaspora. Premises of freedom, expression, love, and sacrifice abound, dancing equally as well with tech implants as they do with magical creatures. Issue #1 sings, it shouts, it resonates with who we are and what we strive to be. It is the voice of Black spec fic.

It doesn’t shy away from where we’ve been, but its head is turned toward the future, feeling the wind coming off the sea of change on its scalp. And y’all know that feels good.

So pick up a copy of Fiyah Lit Mag, Issue #1. Read these stories of where Black Speculative Fiction is and where it’s going. You’ll want to come along for the ride.

Freeks: Book Release and Blog Tour

blog-tour-banner

I’m so excited to share an excerpt from Amanda Hocking’s new release Freeks out now from St. Martin’s Griffin. I love a carnival setting for a dark, creepy read and Hocking, A New York Times best-selling author, delivers.

How do I know? Here, have an excerpt:

1. premonitions

My feet rested against the dashboard of the Winnebago as we lumbered down the road, the second vehicle in a small caravan of beat-up trailers and motorhomes.

The sun hadn’t completely risen yet, but it was light enough that I could see outside. Not that there was much to see. The bridge stretched on for miles across Lake Tristeaux, and I could see nothing but the water around us, looking gray in the early morning light.

The AC had gone out sometime in Texas, and we wouldn’t have the money to fix it until after this stint in Caudry, if we were lucky. I’d cracked the window, and despite the chill, the air felt thick with humidity. That’s why I never liked traveling to the southeastern part of the country—too humid and too many bugs.

But we took the work that we got, and after a long dry spell waiting in Oklahoma for something to come up, I was grateful for this. We all were. If we hadn’t gotten the recommendation to Caudry, I’m not sure what we would’ve done, but we were spending our last dimes and nickels just to make it down here.

I stared ahead at Gideon’s motorhome in front of us. The whole thing had been painted black with brightly colored designs swirling around it, meant to invoke images of mystery and magic. The name “Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow” was painted across the back and both the sides. Once sparkles had outlined it, but they’d long since worn off. My eyelids began to feel heavy, but I tried to ward off sleep. The radio in the car was playing old Pink Floyd songs that my mom hummed along to, and that wasn’t helping anything.

“You can go lay down in the back,” Mom suggested.

She did look awake, her dark gray eyes wide and a little frantic, and both her hands gripped the wheel. Rings made of painted gold and cheap stones adorned her fingers, glinting as the sun began to rise over the lake, and black vine tattoos wrapped around her hands and down her arms.

For a while, people had mistaken us for sisters since we looked so much alike. The rich caramel skin we both shared helped keep her looking young, but the strain of recent years had begun to wear on her, causing crow’s feet to sprout around her eyes and worried creases to deepen in her brow.

I’d been slouching low in the seat but I sat up straighter. “No, I’m okay.”

“We’re almost there. I’ll be fine,” she insisted.

“You say we’re almost there, but it feels like we’re driving across the Gulf of Mexico,” I said, and she laughed. “We’ve probably reached the Atlantic by now.”

She’d been driving the night shift, which was why I was hesitant to leave her. We normally would’ve switched spots about an hour or two ago, with me driving while she lay down. But since we were so close to our destination, she didn’t see the point in it.

On the worn padded bench beside the dining table, Blossom Mandelbaum snored loudly, as if to remind us we both should be sleeping. I glanced back at her. Her head lay at a weird angle, propped up on a cushion, and her brown curls fell around her face.

Ordinarily, Blossom would be in the Airstream she shared with Carrie Lu, but since Carrie and the Strongman had started dating (and he had begun staying over in their trailer), Blossom had taken to crashing in our trailer sometimes to give them privacy.

It wasn’t much of a bother when she slept here, and in fact, my mom kind of liked it. As one of the oldest members of the carnival—both in age and the length of time she’d been working here—my mom had become a surrogate mother to many of the runaways and lost souls that found us. Blossom was two years younger than me, on the run from a group home that didn’t understand her or what she could do, and my mom had been more than happy to take her under her wing. The only downside was her snoring. Well, that and the telekinesis.

“Mara,” Mom said, her eyes on the rearview mirror. “She’s doing it again.”

“What?” I asked, but I’d already turned around to look back over the seat. At first, I didn’t know what had caught my mom’s eye, but then I saw it—the old toaster we’d left out on the counter was now floating in the air, hovering precariously above Blossom’s head.

The ability to move things with her mind served Blossom well when she worked as the Magician’s Assistant in Gideon’s act, but it could be real problematic sometimes. She had this awful habit of unintentionally pulling things toward her when she was dreaming. At least a dozen times, she’d woken up to books and tapes dropping on her. Once my mom’s favorite coffee mug had smacked her right in the head.

“Got it,” I told my mom, and I unbuckled my seat belt and went over to get it. The toaster floated in front of me, as if suspended by a string, and when I grabbed it, Blossom made a snorting sound and shifted in her sleep. I turned around with the toaster under my arm, and I looked in front of us just in time to see Gideon’s trailer skid to the side of the road and nearly smash into the guardrail.

“Mom! Look out!” I shouted.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Amanda Hocking and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.

freeks-cover

Grab a copy of Freeks from Macmillan, Books-A-Million, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

Find out more about Amanda on her website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, GoodReads, and Pinterest.

 

 

 

Forever Vacancy: A Release

For those that don’t know, I’m one of the founders of Colors in Darkness, a group of dark speculative fiction authors of color and authors who write and read characters of color. CID exists to provide support to authors of color in the speculative fiction genres of horror, paranormal, sci-fi, dark fantasy, and combinations thereof.

We also are a place to find new work to read if you enjoy seeing characters of color in the genres above.

In our Facebook group, we share calls for submissions, writing advice, and provide beta reading for these diverse stories and their authors.

We’re excited to announce our latest project, and anthology of stories from these authors, Forever Vacancy.

15780915_979346828833199_9193920710634278665_n

 

The pre-order link is on Amazon and the book will release on January 13th.

Want to know more? Here’s a bite:

Amid the upheaval of the 1960s, the Kretcher Motel opened in a poor, desolate part of Atlanta. It still serves its original purpose: to lure those souls who are lost, who are troubled, who are evil…to itself. Check in to view these thirteen dark tales of horror, betrayal, fear, and wickedness, all featuring characters of color. You may never want to leave.

TOC:
The Thing in Room 204 – C.W. Blackwell

Karma Suture – Tawanna Sullivan

The Last Day of Jerome Brown – Jordan King-Lacroix

Roost – Kenya Moss-Dyme

Salvation – Ross Baxter

The Honeymoon Suite: Jacob’s Reunion – Sumiko Saulson

A Long Way From the Ritz – Eden Royce

Mister Mackintosh – David Turnbull

Flesh Trap – Querus Abuttu

A Devil of a Deal – David O’Hanlon

Hollygraham – Sy Shanti

The Adjusters – Dahlia DeWinters

Need – Zin E. Rocklyn

 

 

15780743_979346855499863_138501054692637252_n

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!

graveyard-384603_1920

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!