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: Rebecca R. Pierce

I’ve noticed a trend with my recent posts: there haven’t been many.

Usually, I’m pretty consistent with posting to this blog, but lately, I’ve been focusing on writing. Which is a good thing in the long run, but my contact with the outside world is suffering.

Time to catch up. I’ll be making a flurry of posts to bring the blog back up to date, then going forward…

Well, I’d better not make that promise.

I’ll just leave you with the link to my review and interview with the wonderful Rebecca R. Pierce on Graveyard Shift Sisters. While GSS’s tag line is: Purging the Black female horror fan from the margins, we celebrate the work of all women of color who love horror.

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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 1: Helen Oyeyemi

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Helen Oyeyemi was born in Nigeria in 1984, moved to London with her family at age four. She wrote her first novel while at school studying for her A-levels. For those of us from the US, that’s sort of like study for the SAT in order to be considered for entrance into a college or university. Also while still at school, she got a publishing deal and The Icarus Girl, a ghost story about an eight-year-old girl torn between her British and Nigerian identity, hit the shelves.

Her third novel, White is for Witching–described as having “roots in Henry James and Edgar Allan Poe”–was a Shirley Jackson Award Finalist and won a Somerset Maugham Award. Set in Dover off the South East coast of England, the Silver family house has been home to four generations of women, weaving threads that bind them cross time, space, and death. I loved the points of view in this book–the teenage Miranda’s, her twin brother Eliot’s, and yes…the house itself has it’s own voice.

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Readers are divided about White is for Witching, because it is a bold work. Oyeyemi trusts the reader to be able to follow along without explaining every move, every shift she makes in this Gothic tale. It has subtlety, it has a bite that you might not feel until the welt raises on your skin hours later.

Like much of Oyeyemi’s work, White is for Witching is a commentary on beauty, horror, nationality, and race. Her novel Boy, Snow, Bird is an inventive take on the Snow White and Cinderella fairy tales. Her latest release is a collection of short stories, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, which is on my to-read list. 

Since 2014 Oyeyemi has lived in Prague. Find out more about her work on her website.

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.

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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

 

 

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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!

Horror by POC for All Hallows Read

All Hallows Read is upon us and ’tis the season to give (or acquire for yourself) a scary book to read. If you’re not up on AHR, here’s the FAQ to catch up so you can start posting your recommendations on Twitter at #AllHallowsRead.

So you don’t have to run off to check that hashtag, here are a few of my recommendations for horror written by and about people of color.  Some are older, some newer, and there are even a few links to POC horror you can read immediately.

How’s that for a gift?

Happy Halloween!

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Goth by Otsuichi

Japan has made a name for itself in the horror film scene, but I come across few people who delve into the written (and translated) words of Nippon horror. Details are painted with elegant brutality, all encased in the mores of Japanese society.

Morino is the strangest girl in school – we’ve all been there, haven’t we? – obsessed with murder. The more brutal, the better. Good thing she lives in a town that’s a magnet for serial killers, making it easy to investigate the slayings. But she and doesn’t want to stop the killer, she simply wants to understand…

Mou ichido, onegai shimasu (One more time, please.)

 

Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko

Leslie Marmon Silko is a Native American writer of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, and one of the key figures in the First Wave of what literary critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renaissance. In Almanac, Silko puts Western, Euro-centric culture on trial and the evidence she cites is pretty damning.

This isn’t a feel-good read, or one to approach if you’re tender in any way, but if you can stand the brutality, it is a fierce, eye-opening novel.

Triggers: racism, homophobia, sexism, pedophila.

 

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One Blood by Qwantu Amaru

Voodoo, family curses, political ambitions and a quest for power are dominant in this roller coaster ride set in Louisiana. I don’t recommend books on conjure magic lightly, as many authors aggrandize the practice, and make it something isn’t. But Amaru has done his research, pulling from his experiences living in small town America and in magic-loving countries like Brazil.

Governor Randy Lafitte is popular and beloved after battling back from brain cancer, but his political success has come at a price. When his daughter is kidnapped, Lafitte is confronted with a past he thought died a long time ago. However, what hasn’t caught you, hasn’t passed you. And what comes for Lafitte may be way more than he or the forces behind him can handle as he fights the literal demons from his past.

 

Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

Stephen Graham Jones is a Blackfeet Native American author of experimental fiction, horror fiction, crime fiction, and science fiction.  Mongrels is dark humorous horror about a boy and his family who struggle to survive in a world that shuns and fears them.

They are mongrels, mixed blood, living a life of narrow escapes and midnight runnings to stay ahead of the law. As they free across the South, the boy comes of age and the family has to decide if he is one of their unusual breed or not. Bloody, grisly, and strangely moving.

Prefer to sample some of Graham Jones’ short stories first? Try The Ones that Got Away.

 

 

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Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma

Do you love horror that is gut-wrenching? That will leave you staring blankly at the screen with its beauty, but send you scurrying for a blanket to combat the lingering chill it leaves? Then you want to read Sharma’s short story at the link above.

Triggers: child abuse, incest, rape.

 

Glen Grant’s Chicken Skin Tales: 49 Ghost Stories from Hawaii

The late Glen Grant was a historian of Hawaii and all of her melting rainbow of cultures. If you can’t get to Honolulu to experience on of the ghost tours still occurring today, pick up a copy of this volume. It’s the first in Grant’s series to give the reader “chicken skin” or goosebumps, while celebrating the diversity of fear that is Hawaii.

 

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Crota by Owl Goingback

Crota won the 1996 Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel, and was one of four finalists in the Best Novel category. Bodies are found torn apart in the woods. Some think it’s a bear, but others know the truth: the beast whispered about around campfires for generations, is real. Goingback draws on Choctaw lore to create a monster—ursine, serpentine, ancient.

 

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Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I was lucky enough to get an advanced reading copy of Moreno-Garcia’s upcoming release. Yes, it’s about vampires, but not as Hollywood—or even other bloodsucker literature— has portrayed them: with Aztec heritage.

Atl is a Tlāhuihpochtlin, the last of a clan of matriarchal vamps from the pre-Spanish colonization of Mexico able to take on an avian aspect. Her family slaughtered by a rival clan, Atl’s mission is to escape capture and finally make her way out of Mexico. Weak from lack of food when the young, vampire-obsessed Domingo happens by, he’s a distraction she doesn’t need. Grab a copy when it’s released on October 25th.

 

 

Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal

 The Mittals desperately try to contain the secrets that have been locked behind a mysterious bolted door, but to their shame, the supernatural always finds a way in. Forbidden love and the absolute sacrifice enhance the painful horrors brought about by the oppressive weight of family and of expectation.

Mumbai-born Agarwal’s early writings explored how colonialism and the chaos of dislocation shaped human interaction, but Haunting Bombay delves into the world of the slum-dwellers, prostitutes and hermaphrodites who survive on the peripheries of Indian society.

 

Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong

 Wong is a self-proclaimed writer of tiny horrors. She’s also been a finalist the Bram Stoker & Shirley Jackson Awards. Her short story, which you can read at the link above, won the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Short Story. Bringing a new aspect to shapeshifters, a favorite of the horror genre, Wong threads queer identity and Chinese-American culture into a gruesome, chewy read. As you’ll see, I use the word “chewy” for a reason.