February Wrap up and Contest Winners

Yes, I know it’s already seven days into March.

But I had a short vacation and am just now getting back to my routine. As such, I’m finally talking about all of the February/Black History Month/Women in Horror Month goings-on. And announcing the winners of my 28 Black Women in Horror History blog series giveaway (in collaboration with Graveyard Shift Sisters) for the most engaged participants.

But first, some catch-up posts.

The Wicked Library podcasted two of my Southern Gothic horror short stories,”Hand of Glory” and “Homegoing”,  in a spot called Southern Fried Horror, featuring the vocal talents of Samantha Pleasant Lebas. Not to mention the custom artwork:

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The Wicked Colonel by Steven Matiko

 

I chatted with Katara Johnson on her Blag Talk Radio show Katara’s Cafe in February about writing, my inspirations and what it’s like to be a black woman in horror.

February also brought features with me on Gwendolyn Kiste’s blog, Jack Wallen’s blog, SK Gregory’s blog, and even wrote an original flash story for Nina D’Arcangela’s blog.

Spook Lights II, Forever Vacancy, and Syocrax’s Daughters also hit the shelves.

A few amazing moments in the month are when I was interviewed by Cinedump and Google+ about my Southern Gothic horror and my 28 Days of Black Women in Horror History series.

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Now on to the giveaway winners!

Amy Kelly – Colors in Darkness tote and Voodoo Dreams by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Sumiko Saulson – Voodoo Dreams by Jewell Parker Rhodes and Beloved by Toni Morrison

Lori Lopez – signed copy of Spook Lights

Dahlia DeWinters – signed copy of Spook Lights

Each of these winners above shared, reblogged, commented, and in general shouted about the posts featuring these 28 authors. (Some of them are on the lists themselves.)

A huge thank you to everyone who interacted with the 28 Black Women in Horror History series! Just because it’s now March doesn’t mean you can’t still share the work of these phenomenal authors.

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 25: Virginia Hamilton

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Virginia Esther Hamilton (March 12, 1936 – February 19, 2002) grew up in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She was a multi-award winning children’s book author, including the U.S. National Book Award and the Newbery Medal–the first African-American to do so– in 1975.

In 2010, The American Library Association established in 2010 the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award to recognize an African American author, illustrator, or author/illustrator for a body of his or her published books for children and/or young adults who has made a significant and lasting literary contribution.

In her lifetime, Virginia wrote and published 41 books in multiple genres that spanned picture books and folktales, mysteries and science fiction, realistic novels and biography, such as Zeely; The House of Dies Drear; Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush; and The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales . Woven into her books is a deep concern with memory, tradition, and generational legacy, especially as they helped define the lives of African Americans. Virginia described her work as “Liberation Literature.”

After her untimely death from breast cancer on Feb. 19, 2002, three of her books have been published posthumously: Time Pieces, Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl, and Wee Winnie Witch’s Skinny.

Wee Winnie Witch’s Skinny draws on African-American folklore for this scary tale of bewitchment and fright, where young James Lee discovers his Uncle Big Anthony has been cursed by a Wee Winnie Witch, who rides him like a broom across the night sky. But Mamma Granny knows just what to do.

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For more information on Virginia and her books, visit her legacy website.

 

 

 

 

 

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 16: Sumiko Saulson

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Sumiko Saulson is a novelist, poet, and artist from Los Angeles, California now living in Oakland, California, who by age 19, had two self-published books of poetry. She is the Oakland Art Scene reporter for the Examiner.com and also a lead vocalist in the alternative rock/crossover band, Stagefright, that combines gothic and alt rock influences with reggae.

Saulson has penned several novels– Solitude (2011), Warmth (2012), Happiness and Other Diseases (2014), Somnalia (2015), and Insatiable (2015). Many of her short stories have been published online or with presses large and small, including Crystal Lake Publishing’s Tales From the Lake Volume Three. In 2016, she won the Horror University’s Scholarship from Hell, given by the Horror Writer’s Association.

She has also compiled a non-fiction book collection of author biographies and interviews called 60 Black Women in Horror (2014), which she is currently in the process of updating the book to add at least another twenty writers.

Her short story anthology Things That Go Bump In My Head (2012), has something for just about any horror lover–a few old-fashioned scares, a ghost story, and dark humor. You can also find her work in the Colors in Darkness anthology of horror featuring characters of color, Forever Vacancy.

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

Day 14: Jewell Parker Rhodes

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Jewell Parker Rhodes, born February 12, 1954 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is an American novelist and educator. While she is best known for her middle grade novels, including Ninth Ward, which received the Coretta Scott King Honor Award, Rhodes has published six novels for adults, including American Book Award winner Douglass’ Women and the Marie Laveau trilogy.

Ever the educator, she is also the author of two instructional guides for black writers: Free Within Ourselves: Fiction Lessons For Black Authors  and The African American Guide to Writing and Publishing Nonfiction. Each is comprehensive and energizing, chock full of excerpts and advice from over 30 black writers. Fiction Lessons is a nurturing book for affirming, bearing witness, leaving a legacy, and celebrating the remarkable journey of the self.

In The African American Guide to Writing and Publishing Nonfiction, Rhodes talks about the cultural heritage that African Americans can trace back hundreds of years to the West African storytellers-musicians-historians called griots. She encourages us to be modern-day griots, acquainting ourselves with the work of earlier writers and committing our own lives and the lives of others to paper.

Her Marie Laveau trilogy begins with Voodoo Season –earlier versions are titled Season–and tells the story of Marie Levant, a great-great granddaughter of Marie Laveau, a medical doctor compelled by unseen forces to relocate to New Orleans. The city’s slave-holding past merges with the present, to reveal that women of color are still being abused, raped, and turned into undead zombie-like Sleeping Beauties in a horrifying revival of the Quadroon Balls. Only Marie can untangle the medical mystery.

Her precise and engrossing style has created a work that celebrates Laveau’s legacy of spiritual empowerment, prophetic vision, and voodoo possession, allowing us “to appreciate truly the glory and wonder of being a woman; powerful; spiritual; in control of her life and body; valuing ancestors, family, and community.”

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Find out more about Jewell at her website and follow her on Twitter.