Graveyard Shift Sister: Michele Berger

Horror meets Black hair care.

When I found out about Michele Berger’s latest release, Reenu-You, I knew I had to reach out to her to discuss her inspiration for the book, the strength of sisterhood, and how she’d never before thought of herself as a horror writer.

Well, welcome to the sisterhood, Michele. We’re glad to have you.

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Read the entire review and interview on Graveyard Shift Sisters.

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Graveyard Shift Sister: L.C. Cruell

Talking to artists gets me inspired.

No matter the medium — books, film, paint, digital — speaking with these artists and hearing what keeps them doing what they do drives me forward.

One person whose drive always impresses is L.C. Cruell. (I can’t imagine how she gets it all done.) I’ve had the pleasure of working with Cruell on her 7 Magpies project, a horror film anthology written and directed by Black women, feating a slew of talented authors and directors. It’s still in progress, but I wanted to talk more with her about her ideas, her motivation, and her experience.

You can read the entire interview this amazing filmmaker on Graveyard Shift Sisters.

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While you’re at it, check out some of the trailers for her films:

31 the web series – www.youtube.com/31theseries

I Need You Trailer – https://vimeo.com/97681128.

Cemetery Tales Trailer – https://vimeo.com/158551687

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:

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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 28: Marcia Colette

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Marcia Colette was born and raised in upstate New York, and now lives in the Carolinas with her mom and beautiful daughter. She earned a bachelors in Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute before going on to complete her Masters in Information Technology at American Intercontinental University in Atlanta, GA.

She didn’t discover her love for reading until her late teens when she started reading John Saul, Stephen King, and Laurell K. Hamilton.

Her reading tastes convinced her to write dark paranormals where curses cause people to shift into spiders, psychotic and telekinetic mothers are locked away in attics, and murderous doppelgangers go on rampages. As long as she can make it believable, she doesn’t shy away from the unusual and avoids common tropes.

Colette’s story, The Light at the End of Judgment Day, from Mocha Memoirs Press has been called Touched by an Angel meets The Conjuring. In it, violinist and angel Yvette Mills has spent almost 200 years living among humans while rounding up ghosts to send into Judgment. On the mend from her last confrontation with a malevolent entity, she’s ready to play music again. But when her agent rents a bargain-basement priced office in downtown Charlotte’s Folsom Building,  paranormal presence force her into one last mission. This time, she’s not facing one ghost. She’s facing hundreds with a few demonic entities sprinkled in.

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Find out more about Marcia on her website and follow her on Twitter.

Day 27: Dahlia deWinters

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Dahlia deWinters is a born and bred Jersey girl, which she feels obligates her to be a fan of both Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. To that, the Ivy League graduate adds a love of 80s music, classic rock, post-grunge and alternative metal.

While much of her work is romance at its core, deWinters’ writing has taken a turn for the dark side. Her ability to craft relatable characters serves the horror genre well, making the reader eager to discover their fate. Her heroines tend to be black women, and while they are put through their paces, each story leaves the reader with a sense that occurrences–even the horrific ones– are justified and necessary.

Her short horror fiction has been published in Black Girl Magic Lit Mag’s Horror Issue, Forever Vacancy from Colors in Darkness, of which she is one of the founding members, and in Sirens Call Publications Fifth Annual Women in Horror Month eZine.

Tea and Tomahawks, the first in de Winters’ Southern Gothic romance tales, includes aspects of history, specifically the Seminole Wars, not found in many stories of this type.
It flows seamlessly from modern day, to the 1800s and back again, giving a wonderful Twilight Zone-esque feel. Annie manages to temporarily escape her abusive marriage by staying with her grandmother over the summer. While there, she spies a painting, hauntingly real, and it becomes another escape, this time into a world where she is wanted, needed, even loved. Tea and Tomahawks is a descriptive, immersive novella which blends magic and fate to show that we can escape the horrors of everyday life.

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She writes as Dahlia DeWinters and Olivia DuBelle….so far. Learn more about Dahlia on her blog and follow her on Twitter.

Day 26: Paula D. Ashe

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Originally from Ohio, Paula D. Ashe resides in Indiana with her wife and is a professor of English at a community college while working on the dissertation for her Ph.D. She’s described herself as a writer of dark fiction, a black lesbian feminist, horror nerd, comic book geek, pet mom, and  general shit-starter.

Authors who’ve influenced Ashe’s raw and beautiful work include Clive Barker, Elizabeth Massie, and Toni Morrison. Her award winning dark fiction has been published in several anthologies and been recommended for nomination for the Bram Stoker award. She has also had the distinction of making honorable mention on Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Horror list–twice.  She also had stories appearing in Serial Killers: Iterum and Hell. Her stories have also appeared in the heavy metal horror collection, Axes of Evil II (2015) and the third installment of the Horror World Press series, Eulogies III (2015).

She is also one of seven contributing writers to the 7 Magpies project, the first horror film anthology written and directed by African-American women.

Ashe has said her favorite of her stories is The Mother of All Monsters, because so far, it’s the only story her own mother has really enjoyed. In Mother, an Indiana community is torn apart by the abduction and murder of three little girls. One mother is faced with the undeniable truth about her son and must choose between protecting her beloved child or punishing the monster he may have become.

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For more about Paula, check out her website,  and follow her on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 25: Virginia Hamilton

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Virginia Esther Hamilton (March 12, 1936 – February 19, 2002) grew up in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She was a multi-award winning children’s book author, including the U.S. National Book Award and the Newbery Medal–the first African-American to do so– in 1975.

In 2010, The American Library Association established in 2010 the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award to recognize an African American author, illustrator, or author/illustrator for a body of his or her published books for children and/or young adults who has made a significant and lasting literary contribution.

In her lifetime, Virginia wrote and published 41 books in multiple genres that spanned picture books and folktales, mysteries and science fiction, realistic novels and biography, such as Zeely; The House of Dies Drear; Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush; and The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales . Woven into her books is a deep concern with memory, tradition, and generational legacy, especially as they helped define the lives of African Americans. Virginia described her work as “Liberation Literature.”

After her untimely death from breast cancer on Feb. 19, 2002, three of her books have been published posthumously: Time Pieces, Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl, and Wee Winnie Witch’s Skinny.

Wee Winnie Witch’s Skinny draws on African-American folklore for this scary tale of bewitchment and fright, where young James Lee discovers his Uncle Big Anthony has been cursed by a Wee Winnie Witch, who rides him like a broom across the night sky. But Mamma Granny knows just what to do.

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For more information on Virginia and her books, visit her legacy website.