FIYAH Lit Mag: A Publication

It’s here!

Yes, the date is April first, but this is no Fool’s joke. I have a story published in FIYAH, magazine of Black Speculative Fiction!

(Excuse me while I do the Running Man. *Cough* Thank you.)

I did a review on this blog of the first issue: Rebirth, and you can read that here. Not sure if I should review an issue in which one of my own stories appears, but you’ll get my thoughts on the issue soon enough…

Issue Two is themed Spilling Tea. We’re talking literal beverages and we’re talking figurative “T”– you know: telling the truth, no matter how challenging that might be.

First of all, let’s get into this cover:

FIYAH Issue2_300-1

Gorgeous, isn’t it? And the authors in this issue are no joke, either.

Maurice Broaddus

Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

Russell Nichols

Christopher Caldwell

Wole Talabi

Barbara L.W. Myers

Eden Royce <—That’s me! 

I’m so honored to be included in this issue alongside such phenomenal authors. Grab yourself a copy of FIYAH’s second issue, Spilling Tea. Also, check out the Spotify playlist that goes along with the issue. And their indie author spotlight featuring Constance Burris.

Oh, you want to know what my story’s about? Well, FIYAH’s editors, Justine Ireland and Troy L. Wiggins, came up with the perfect way to summarize “Graverobbing Negress Seeks Employment” in all its Southern Gothic glory:

Wanted: one negress to find a certain lost cargo. Welcome to a Charleston of the past filled with a very necessary magic.

And that is what FIYAH is bringing to you with this magazine — necessary magic, necessary stories, and a time when the sound of our voices is very necessary.

Sycorax’s Daughters: A Release and an Appearance

Sycorax’s Daughters the Horror Anthology of fiction & poetry by African-American women, edited by Kinitra Brooks, PhD, Linda D. Addison & Susana Morris, PhD is coming February 2017 from Cedar Grove Books.

In June 2015, editors Brooks and Addison contacted African-American women authors–including me–and poets based on their creative talents in writing about women, race, sexuality, and/or speculative fictions, asking them to consider the vast possibilities that interweaving black women and horror can express.

Brooks, Addison, and Morris are of the contention that peoples of the African diaspora encounter elements of horror on a weekly or even daily basis. Each week, millions of black folks go to church or religious practice and are possessed by the Holy Ghost or ridden by the orishas and loas—what is this if not an Africanized manifestation of spirit possession, a common horror trope?

Sycorax’s Daughters is an opening salvo of what is hoped to be a burgeoning field of black women’s creative horror fiction. There are also plans for a companion volume of new critical horror scholarship by black feminist scholars.

Thought provoking, powerful, and revealing, this anthology is comprised of 28 dark stories and 14 poems written by African American women writers. Tales of what scares, threatens, and shocks them will enlighten and entertain readers. The works delve into demons and shape shifters from the historical to far future imaginings. These pieces cover vampires, ghosts, and mermaids, as well as the unexpected price paid by women struggling for freedom and validation in the past.

sycoraxs-daughters-cover-v1

Contributors include: Tiffany Austin, Tracey Baptiste, Regina N. Bradley, Patricia E. Canterbury,  Crystal Connor, Joy M. Copeland, Amber Doe, Tish Jackson, Valjeanne Jeffers, Tenea D. Johnson,  R. J. Joseph, A. D. Koboah, Nicole Givens Kurtz,  Kai Leakes,  A. J. Locke, Carole McDonnell,  Dana T. McKnight, LH Moore, L. Penelope, Zin E. Rocklyn, Eden Royce, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Andrea Vocab Sanderson,  Nicole D. Sconiers,  Cherene Sherrard,  RaShell R. Smith-Spears,  Sheree Renée Thomas, Lori Titus, Tanesha Nicole Tyler, Deborah Elizabeth Whaley, L. Marie Wood, K. Ceres Wright, Deana Zhollis

Sycorax’s Daughters is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Several in person events are planned for this important release, including the book’s debut at Atlanta’s Auburn Avenue Research Library on February 25th March 18th from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. I’ll be there, along with I won’t be able to make it, but you can chat with many of the other authors and editors who’ll be there to sign books and speak about the project.

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!

 

The Things A Writer Can Learn In Six Months

I am pleased to have urban fantasy and horror author Amy Braun as a guest poster on the blog today. Amy was kind enough to share what she’s learned as a new author this year. Read on for some great info, even if you’ve been in the writing game for a while.

The Things a Writer Can Learn in Six Months  

by Amy Braun

When 2015 started, I decided to take the leap: I would publish a full length novel by myself. I was proud of my standalone novella, Needfire, which served as a way for me to test the waters of the independent world. But of course, the next step was harder.

I didn’t go to school for writing. I don’t have any mind of independent business. Marketing and press boggle my mind. I thought I was going to gain readers and a following by continuing my method of trying my hand at short story submissions. I’ve had some great successes that way– my stories being favored by readers and even winning an Editors award for my macabre short story “Dark Intentions And Blood” in the AMOK! Anthology– but it wasn’t enough. My muse got a little greedy, and I wanted more.

Path of the Horseman became more than a standalone novel to me when I wrote it in 2014’s NaNoWriMo. I knew the moment I finished it that I wanted to share it with as many readers as I could. I took a risk with an emerging cover artist, worked with an editor I trusted, and chose to release it with a major distribution/publishing company that has helped thousands of independent authors get their work out to the world.

Cover for Braun's novel Path of the Horseman
Cover for Braun’s novel Path of the Horseman

Needless, to say, when the release date came, I was both excited and nervous as Hell. I was given a guide about how to go about promoting my book. I learned that nothing was free, patience is an agonizing virtue, and you still have to hunt for acknowledgement.

Despite all that, I gained more positive feedback than I could have imagined, and not just from my family. People I’ll probably never meet praised my book and left reviews that humbled and honored me. I know that you can’t please everyone, and sooner or later I’ll get a negative review that will leave me doubting, but to know the risk would be rewarded brought me a joy that’s hard to describe.

So I took another risk, and released a novel that’s beyond precious to me. Demon’s Daughter, the first in my Cursed series, has been with me for years. Like Path of the Horseman, I know I’ve done something special with it and have received great feedback on it. But this series is my proverbial baby. I’m watching two of my most beloved characters– Constance and Dro– take their first steps into the literary world. I don’t know how they’ll do, and it’s a little worrying to hear what readers will think about a story I’ve poured my soul into.

That being said, I wanted to give Demon’s Daughter the release it deserved. That meant paying extra to work with a fabulous cover design company and go through the trials of printing and proofing physical copies, and learning the joys of proper book formatting. Oh, did I say joys? I meant agonies. I’m not kidding when I say the hardest part of printing paper books for me was getting the damn formatting to line up. I ordered at least two copies of each book, none of which were free. And don’t even get me started on headers and footers. So I learned the hard way to look at each book with excruciating detail before approving said proof. And if you’re going to print with Createspace, have a CMYK version of your cover available so your book cover isn’t filled with sharp, angry colors fighting to share space on the paper.

Demon's Daughter cover Ooooh...ahhhh...
Demon’s Daughter cover
Ooooh…ahhhh…

Most recently, I learned the value of media kits and submitting queries for reviews. I’m still waiting on some of them, but looking back I should have sent out requests for reviews before I started publishing. That being said, I have a couple reviewers lined up who are generally excited about reading my work and have a significant following that will hopefully trickle over to me. I didn’t choose this career for the money, but it’s not easy working for free.

These are lessons I wish I had known earlier, but I’m new to the writing world. I’m learning from my mistakes, and I know I will be better for it when my next release– the sequel to Demon’s Daughter– comes out in December. Like I said, I don’t do this for the money. While my dream is to walk into my favorite bookstore and see my book on the shelves (or even better, see someone reading that book and surprising the hell out of them by explaining that I wrote it), I would be perfectly happy writing independently for the rest of my life.

The year is barely half over, and I know more lessons, good and bad, are on the way. But the most important thing I’ve learned so far is to keep going. I’ve had days where I’ve been frustrated, days where I’ve been lazy, and days where I couldn’t find motivation to write at all (AKA the worst days ever). But when I have those days, I look up at my desk and see the two printed books resting against the wall. I think about the entire process it took to create them, and how endlessly satisfying it is to see them there, knowing I can do it again. Writing a book is a long, sometimes torturous process. But the end result, no matter how you look at it?

Perfect.

************

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Amy Braun is the author of the urban fantasy novels, Path of the Horseman and Demon’s Daughter. She’s been published in anthologies by publishers such as April Moon Books, Ragnarok Publishing, Mocha Memoirs Press, and Breaking Fate Publishing. To find out more about Amy, go to her blog literarybraun. Or you can find her elsewhere online at:

The Horror Addicts Guide to Life: A Release and Podcast

*Best studio announcer voice*

Do you love the horror genre? Are normal people concerned about your love of the macabre?

Worry no more.  The Horror Addicts Guide to Life is now available, chock full of horror news, reading, and scary fun.  This book features articles, artwork , interviews with Midnight Syndicate, Valentine Wolfe, and The Gothic Tea Society.

Oh, and an article written by me about what it’s like to be a horror editor.  *Tremble*

Grab your copy here.

Cover of The Horror Addicts Guide to Life.  Because who doesn't need a little help with the horror?
Cover of The Horror Addicts Guide to Life. Because who doesn’t need a little help with the horror?

As a bonus, Horror Addicts have dedicated an episode of their podcast to the contributors to The Horror Addict’s Guide to Life.

Listen to Episode 111, in which I read an excerpt from my dark fantasy novella, “Containment” at 44:59, but the entire podcast is well worthy of your attention.