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!

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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!

Cinched – A Release

It’s been a busy year for me, full of amazing experiences. I managed to get my short story collection Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror out this year, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get anything else out.

But I have!

I’m happy to announce that my short horror story “Basque of the Red Death” is in the multi-genre anthology Cinched: Imagination Unbound available now from Falstaff Books. (And it’s the first story in the antho!)

Cinched book cover
Contains my short story “Basque of the Red Death”. Yeah, you read that right.

 

This collection runs the gamut from steampunk to horror, from steamy romance to weird western, from victorian thriller to contemporary bondage. But they all feature the corset in some way.

My story was inspired by Poe’s classic short story “Masque of the Red Death”, but I’ve set the tale in the South and given it a few additional horrors. If you haven’t read Poe’s original tale, read it for free here.

Then check out Cinched: Imagination Unbound on Amazon for some twisted tales.

Featuring stories by:
John G. Hartness
Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin
Misty Massey
Emily Lavin Leverett
Kimberly Richardson
Sarah Joy Adams
MB Weston
Herika Raymer
Dave Harlequin
RD Stevens
Andrea Judy
Nico Serene
Eden Royce <–That’s me!

 

Chat With Me This Sunday!

I’m honored to announce that Blerd Book Club’s October Book of the Month is my short story collection, Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror! Squee!!!

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I’ll be chatting about the collection on Twitter this Sunday at 3 CST. My inspirations, my inclusion of the Gullah language and Geechee culture, and conjure magics. Even if you haven’t read it yet, stop by and say hello. Or better yet, pick up a copy here first.

The Blerd Book Club is many minds wrapped around a good book. It is a book club for blerds, nerds, bleeks, and geeks to discuss, review, and reflect on the books they love. Find out more about Blerd Book Club (and maybe join!) on Goodreads here.

Join the Blerd Book Club on Goodreads!
Join the Blerd Book Club on Goodreads!

Join me on Sunday, November 1 at 3pm CST (4pm EST) as I chat with Thelonious Legend and Constance Burris about Spook Lights. If you’d like to join the discussion, or ask me questions about the book, use #BlerdBookClub on Twitter.

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.

Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror — A Release

It is finally here!  Seems so long since I’ve posted about my own book release.  This one is especially close to my heart as it is a collection of Southern Gothic horror short stories inspired by my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.

The final cover for Spook Lights. Man, this went through about seven versions...
The final cover for Spook Lights. Man, this went through about seven versions…

Not familiar with Southern Gothic?  It’s a genre of Gothic fiction unique to American literature set in the American South. (Although I’ve taken a few liberties…) Commonly featured are characters who may dabble in hoodoo and conjure magic–like my great-aunt. Other characters practice more devious or violent acts. But all of them are deeply flawed, disturbed or eccentric characters. Much of Southern Gothic focuses on the macabre and grotesque. Maybe that’s why I love the genre.

It isn’t all foreboding haunted plantations, either. Also featured are warped rural–and sometimes urban–communities that reflect the morals, or lack thereof, of the South and showcase sinister events relating to poverty, alienation, racism, crime, and violence.

Southern Gothic isn't all marshes and haunted plantations, but sometimes, it is.  I took this picture at my last family reunion.
Southern Gothic isn’t all marshes and haunted plantations, but sometimes it is.
I took this picture at my last family reunion.

Southern writers in particular are said to craft a strong sense of place, where the setting itself becomes a character and the human characters may be tied to those places. That’s what I hope I’ve done with this collection. Here’s the back cover copy:

Pull up a rocking chair and sit a spell. Soak in these tales of Southern Gothic horror:

Sinister shopkeepers whose goods hold the highest price, a woman’s search for her mother drags her into the binding embrace of a monster, a witchdoctor’s young niece tells him a life-altering secret, an investigator who knows how to keep a 100% confession rate….

These are stories where the setting itself becomes a character—fog laced cemeteries, sulfur rich salt marshes—places housing creatures that defy understanding and where the grotesque and macabre are celebrated.

Pick up a copy for Kindle on Amazon US, Amazon UK or a paperback copy on Lulu.