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 23: Miracle Austin

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Miracle Austin is a Young Adult (YA)/New Adult (NA) cross-genre author, working and residing in Texas. While she doesn’t limit her writing to specific genres, horror and suspense are her favorites, and consequently many adults also enjoy her work.

Her first mini-story, PENS, appeared in leaves-of-ink, its prose in poetic form striking. Her has also had her stories performed on The Wicked Library podcast.

A social worker by trade, she threads social awareness themes into her stories. And her first full length YA novel, Doll, is no exception. Bullying is a struggle that children face on a daily basis, and it can have deeply traumatizing repercussions, even into adulthood, and Austin handles to topic deftly.
Austin packs plenty of magic and mystery into this story and the protagonist, Tomie, a black male high school student, has a refreshing innocence throughout.

It’s rare to see a book where the teenagers take the ramifications of a decision into account before making it and Austin is able to capture in a believable manner the maturity some teens possess. She has also portrayed voodoo, not as evil in and of itself, but as a tool that can be harnessed in a variety of ways depending on the intent of the user, something Hollywood rarely does with conjure magics.

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

Day 22: V.H. Galloway

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Veronica Henry writes speculative fiction under the name V.H. Galloway. Born in the Ft. Greene section of Brooklyn, N.Y., she is a resident of Austin, TX, who has also lived in Ohio, California, and Nevada. From her career in tech, to her fascination with the stars, she is made of and loves all things geek.
In 2008, she traced her African ancestry to Sierra Leone and the subsequent trip still remains one of her proudest moments and her fiction often incorporates African themes.
Her short story “We Have Ended” is an example. It was chosen to be a part of Fiyah Literary Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction’s first issue, “Rebirth,” a review of which you can find earlier on this blog.

Her horror/sci-fi hybrid, The Un-United States Of Z is a trilogy series that even for non-zombie fans has been described as “tasteful insanity.” In this trilogy, Galloway shows that even during the zombie apocalypse, the country remains racially divided. She has said “Reflecting this reality in my work is important because I think that its is only through ongoing dialogue that we can effect change.”

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Learn more about Veronica on her website and follow her on Twitter.

 

 

 

Day 21: Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

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Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825–1911) was born to a free African-American woman in Baltimore, and studied at her uncle’s school, the William Watkins Academy for Negro Youth. She worked briefly as a servant, becoming a teacher in Ohio and Pennsylvania when she was in her mid-to-late twenties.

In 1854, she moved to the Boston area, and became active in abolitionist movement, lecturing publicly against slavery. In that same year, she  published Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects, which sold over ten thousand copies.

In 1859, her story “The Two Offers” was published in Anglo-African Magazine, making her the first African-American woman to publish a short story in the United States.

The story concerns two cousins, Laura and Janette, who consider Laura’s two offers of marriage. Janette suggest her cousin’s hesitation is due to her not wanting either man. Laura feels obligated to marry. Harper does not disclose the race of the the characters, suggesting similarities in how women are viewed and treated in black and white society. Her story provides an alternative to the established gender roles of the age, letting Janette embrace the idea of having her freedom by becoming “an old maid.”

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Some may say this story isn’t horrific enough. Since women of the time faced these choices–marry or live in poverty, I’ve decided to include it. A line from Harper’s story:

A shadow fell around her path; it came between her and the object of her heart’s worship; first a few cold words, estrangement, and then a painful separation; the old story of woman’s pride—digging the sepulchre of her happiness, and then a new-made grave, and her path over it to the spirit world; and thus faded out from that young heart her bright, brief and saddened dream of life.

Read “The Two Offers” online free.

 

Day 20: Octavia Butler

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Octavia Estelle Butler was born in Pasadena, California on June 22, 1947. She received an Associate of Arts degree from Pasadena Community College, and attended California State University in Los Angeles and the University of California.

A multiple recipient of both the Hugo and Nebula awards, Butler was one of the best-known women in the field. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Fellowship, nicknamed the “Genius Grant”.

After writing her now-prophetic novels Parable of the Sower (1993) and Parable of the Talents (1998), Butler had planned to write additional books in the series–Parable of the Trickster, Parable of the Teacher, Parable of Chaos, and Parable of Clay. In interviews, Butler noted that the research and writing of the Parable novels had overwhelmed and depressed her, so she had shifted to something “lightweight” and “fun” instead. Fledgling was born.

Although best known for her award-winning science fiction, Butler’s final novel is a vampire tale, entitled Fledgling. Like most of her work, it has themes of race and otherness.

The novel explores a vampire community living in a host/symbiont relationship  with humans. Fledgling tells of the coming-of-age of a young female hybrid vampire (She’s in her 5os, but looks like an eleven year old). The only survivor of a vicious attack on her family that left her an amnesiac, she must seek justice for her dead, build a new family, and relearn who she is.

 

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Buy Fledgling and find out more about Octavia and study her work with NOLA Wild Seeds, a a feminist-of-color collective that uses speculative fiction and art as a resource for social change.