Kenya Moss-Dyme began writing short-form horror in her teens and won several scholastic writing awards for her creative tales, whose characters ranged from a grandmother with healing hands to a runaway seeking redemption from the other side.
For Moss-Dyme, short horror stories are a favorite to both read and write because “…you have to hit them hard and fast, and make the shivers last long after the story has ended.”
While she loves zombies and the supernatural, there’s nothing scarier to her than humans and capability of reaching the depths of depravity. These are the depths she explores in her work, and she doesn’t shy away from vivid description of violence, blood, or sex. This is especially evident in her Amazon best-selling dark romance series, A Good Wife. The third installment of the series, entitledA Good Wife: Post Coital, will be available on February 14th, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
She is also one of the founders of Colors in Darkness, a place where authors of color and authors who write characters of color to find support for their dark fiction projects.
In her collection, The Mixtape, Moss-Dyme has compiled seven of her short stories that have previously appeared solely online in various publications or were available as free downloads. The catch is, it’s ONLY available in print through her website or at one of her live appearances.
Nuzo Onoh is a British author from Enugu in the Eastern part of Nigeria, in what was formerly known as the Republic of Biafra. Their civil war with Nigeria, which she experienced firsthand, had an enormous impact on her writing style. In her books The Reluctant Dead and Unhallowed Graves, you get a deep draught of local Nigerian culture and her writing reflects the oral storytelling traditions of the Igbo tribe. Onoh doesn’t shy away from the gritty details when creating trauma to put her characters through.
She states that her goal is to establish African Horror as bona-fide horror subgenre, rather than the general perception of the term as a negative condition of the continent portrayed by the popular media. It is Nuzo’s hope that soon, African Horror will be recognized and enjoyed as other regional horror— Japanese, Korean, and Scandinavian.
Her latest release, The Sleepless is her first novel. Buy it here. (Beware, if you are put off by injury to animals, skip the first few pages.) Her other works, The Reluctant Dead and Unhallowed Graves, are short story collections steeped in actual practices and chronicle the divergent lifestyles–all dread-inducing–of characters in Nigeria.
Onoh publishes her work on June 28th so her readers will always know when to expect more from her. For more information about Nuzo, please visit her website and follow her on Twitter.
Tananarive Due was born in Tallahassee, Florida is a recipient of The American Book Award (for The Living Blood), NAACP Image Award (for the In the Night of the Heat: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel, with Blair Underwood and Steven Barnes), and the Carl Brandon Kindred Award (for the short story collection Ghost Summer).
Due was also nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for The Between (Superior Achievement in a First Novel) and My Soul to Keep (Best Novel). Due, author of twelve novels and a civil rights memoir, was inducted into the Medill School of Journalism’s Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University in 2010.
Danger Word, a short horror film funded by a successful crowdfunding venture, is based on the post-apocalyptic sci-fi short story of the same name by Due and husband Steven Barnes. The short story has also sparked full length YA horror novels Devil’s Wake and Domino Falls.
Featuring an award-winning novella and fifteen stories—one of which has never been published before— her first short story collection, Ghost Summer is a must read. Keep up with Tananarive on her website, her mailing list, and on Twitter.
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.
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 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. I’ll be there, along with many of the other authors and editors to sign books and speak about the project.
Strange: A Dark and Surreal Collection is the latest release from author of the macabre, Mark Taylor. This collection of six stories blends horror with surrealism to create the unexplained, the unbelievable and the shocking.
Mark Taylor’s Strange is a collection of six. Six tales of woe, six tales of terror, six layers of hate. But more, so much more, they are the answers in the darkness, the shades no longer grey…or are they?
Within the trials of Networking and the totalitarian Total Entertainment are the terrifying consequences of technology, and Eternal Light sees the world extinct. Inside and Elizabeth toy with the mind, and that just leaves Dead Game where you might like what you find.
Come, come and visit…come and play…where we are all a little…Strange.
Taylor writes these surreal stories with confidence, something I believe is necessary for an offbeat tale to work for a reader. I could feel the main point of view character’s confusion in each story, sense their disorientation, and the WTF reactions were exactly right.
“Eternal Light” is a stunning piece of writing that shows the beauty in fear and the terror in isolation, all wrapped up in a modern mythology style tale.
“Inside” takes mad scientist to a new level detailing an experiment gone wrong…or did it go according to plan?
Fatty, greasy food is on the menu in “Dead Game”, but that’s not what’s going to kill you.
I love a totalitarian society and as such, “Total Entertainment” was my favorite of the collection. Mix sci-fi with horror and I’m there…with bells on. Taylor has created a world where your job is everything, if you lose it, you’re nothing. Then, you become the entertainment.
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s an excerpt from Strange, from “Total Entertainment” specifically, for your enjoyment.
“Welcome to the Consternation Lounge.”
The calm, soothing voice of the Company echoed along the corridor as the door slid open silently. Massi looked to the ceiling as he listened to it. It was supposed to be a woman, but it was a machine. You could tell.
On the other side of the door a woman waited. She was real, he surmised. She was wearing a slim close-fitting trouser suit, her blond hair tied in a tight bunch at the back of her head. “Mr. Rubens?” She asked, smiling pleasantly, but she knew exactly who he was.
“Yes.” He returned the smile.
“Is this your first time?” The woman stepped forward and held out her hand to show him the way. She couldn’t touch him. That wasn’t allowed. Massi nodded and let her guide him. She led him across the shiny metal floor of the suite—perfectly smooth—his bare feet padding on the warm surface, to the single reclined booth. “There’s nothing to worry about. Have you experienced any of Absorption Entertainment’s catalogue?”
He eyed the booth nervously. “Yeah. ‘Bout two years back I tried one of the Darcy line. The booth looked different to this though.”
“Yes,” the woman nodded, “with each scenario the expected physical reaction is different. Darcy is a much mellower journey.”
“So, what will happen this time?”
“Oh, there really is nothing to worry about.” She gestured to the seat in the booth, “Please. I’ll set up the Experience.”
Massi pushed his doubts aside and slid into the booth, sitting back. This was too expensive to change your mind at the last minute. And besides, it was Absorption Entertainment. The last entertainment company left.
“Now,” she said, “as you have done this before do you want me to run through the procedures?” When he shook his head she continued. “When the play begins your vision will be altered, but not be too disoriented by it. If the last time you rented an Experience was two years ago, you should notice the wonder of the new Integrated Cerebral Platform,” She looked him in the eyes—she was attractive enough that he could have been aroused by her doing so, but she was staring deep beyond his face—looking into him.
“How long will it last?” he asked.
“Around two hours.” She smiled and tilted her head to the side like an air stewardess pandering to a frightened flier.
Then she was gone.
Massi had blinked from one reality to another.
The area smelled wretched. He couldn’t tell when or where he was, but the soft ground was covered in slicks of oil and grime. It looked like the pictures he had seen from the war. From within the darkness came a shuffling of feet…a mutter…followed by several moans.
The woman watched Massi’s vitals as he sank into The Experience, his fingers curling unconsciously around the arms of the booth. She slipped her hand into the Communications Imprint Device, the CIm-Dev, and interfaced with AI. “Client Rubens 4071 is in play.” A holographic countdown coagulated into being above Massi’s twitching body. It read 01:58:15.
Mark Taylor’s debut novel crash landed on planet earth in 2013. Its dark brooding style benchmarked his writing and has led to further releases of novel and short story collection alike. While most of Mark’s work is macabre, occasion has it that he will write about kittens and daisies. Just not very often. Some say he is a product of his environment, others, a product of his own imagination.
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!!!
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 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.
I was updating my media kit recently and I realized I’ve been writing features for the Graveyard Shift Sisters blog for over a year now. For anyone unfamiliar with Graveyard Shift Sisters, it is a site dedicated to purging the black female horror fan from the margins. Before sites such as GSS, many of us had few like minds to discuss our love of the genre with. In talking with other black female horror writers, we also experienced surprise from others–readers and authors alike–and it was much the same:
*You* write horror? Really?
Yes. Yes, I do and I’m not alone.
Those responses were the reason I reached out to the owner of GSS, Ashlee Blackwell, and asked if I could write a feature on the black women who write horror. To my delight she responded with a resounding, “Yes!”.
My posts for these features tend to be my reading a book of the author’s choice and reviewing it, along with sending them an emailed list of questions about their work and inspirations, their experience with horror, and what shape they would like to see future of horror take. I’ve been told it’s one of Graveyard Shift Sisters’ most popular features. *Blush* (Actually, I think it’s badass.)
This time, I had a real treat with the feature. Since I’ve moved to the UK, I’ve not been able to find a strong group of writers to talk shop with and I missed that feeling of camaraderie. So when African horror author Nuzo Onoh emailed me to review her latest release, Unhallowed Graves, I asked her if she’d be open to doing the interview on the phone instead of via email. (My first review/interview with her was via email on her short horror collection, The Reluctant Dead. You can read about it here.)
Nuzo agreed and I’m so glad she did. It’s different conducting an interview on the phone, but it was the right call to make. (Ha!) We had an inspiring talk about writing, writing horror as a woman of African descent, the similarities between her culture (Igbo) and mine (Gullah-Geechee), and the differences between England and America. (That last topic is for another post.)