The Hydra Reading at LitQuake was lit!

•October 17, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Thanks to Audrey T. Williams for taking all of these awesome photos of HYDRA at LitQuake yesterday! Thank you Trey Keeve for putting it all together! Wonderful readings by Duane Horton, Alan Saint Clark, Elwin Michael Cotman and the marvelous Ms Williams.

Check out my poetry on Soundcloud!

•October 10, 2021 • Leave a Comment

If you can’t make it out to one of my many in person and online events in October to hear me read, or pick up a copy of my new book “Within Me, Without Me” you can listen to me reading horror poetry from the book on Soundcloud!

https://soundcloud.com/sumiko-saulson/crematorium-of-the-undead?si=f6d9bf9db2864afeb9d1f87b25f5952e
https://soundcloud.com/sumiko-saulson/under-the-water?si=0548362a1b8b40059f457626c8474ea2
https://soundcloud.com/sumiko-saulson/his-flesh-became-haunted?si=893cbddcebff4b339fb5b17c8af75cad
https://soundcloud.com/sumiko-saulson/shades-of-domesticity?si=a3960406207e49ddb93c7f09e6b2e409
https://soundcloud.com/sumiko-saulson/flesh-wounds?si=377aab12ab854d828a008fa097e625be

October Book Readings!

•October 1, 2021 • Leave a Comment

In Person Readings:

Tuesday, October 12
5 pm to 7 pm PDT
Tales of Horror
San Mateo Public Library
55 W. Third Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94402

Saturday, October 16
1:15 pm to 2:15 pm PDT
Hydra Reading for LitQuake
Yerba Buena Gardens Esplanade
750 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Saturday, October 23
5 pm to 6 pm PDT
LitCrawl
Martuni’s
4 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Online Readings:

Saturday, October 16
Noon to 3:30 pm PDT
Horror Panel for Pikes Peak Writers
Special Event Coming in October: Horror Authors Panel – Pikes Peak Writers
http://Saturday, October 16 Noon to 3:30 pm PDT Horror Panel for Pikes Peak Writers Special Event Coming in October: Horror Authors Panel – Pikes Peak Writers https://pikespeakwriters.com/ppw-events/special-event-coming-in-october-horror-authors-panel/

AfroComicCon

Panel Discussion on Afrocentric/Black-centering Anthologies and Collections with Penelope Flynn, Linda Addison and Nicole Givens Kurtz. https://www.afrocomiccon.org/ The event is Oct 23 and 24 – the day and time of our panel is TBH.

Thursday, October 28

4 pm to 7 pm PDT

Horror of the Humanities

https://las.depaul.edu/centers-and-institutes/depaul-humanities-center/events/horror-of-the-humanities/Pages/default.aspx

The Moon Cried Blood Blog Tour

•September 10, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Are you a book blogger or a book reviewer? Or just somebody who has a blog who wants to do me a solid and be a part of a bookstore involving my books? Maia Gomez at Silver Dagger Book Tours setup a blog tour for my young adult series “The Moon Cried Blood.”

If you are a blogger who wants to participate in the blog tour, sign up here:

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/tour-sign-ups/the-moon-cried-blood-series-tour-sign-ups


The book takes place in Los Angeles in 1975. It’s heroine, Leticia Gordon, is a 13 year old African American and Mexican American Los Angelino who has just discovered that she is a witch and has magic powers that are associated with the phases of the Moon. Evil forces have amassed to try to stop the Teen Witch from achieving her destiny. Deadly forces oh, that are hunting her down through the streets of LA. This series could also be considered Dark Fantasy or Urban Fantasy.


It is a series of 8 short horror novellas, the ebooks sell for $0.99 each. They are arguably appropriate for older midgrade readers as well, although there are intense situations in the book that might make it more appropriate for more mature readers, such as dealing with subjects like mental illness, death and drug addiction.
I am looking for people who would be interested in posting a Blog about the series. You can get review copies from Maia or if you prefer you can get a pre-written blog or two, written by me, and this post that up is content. There will be giveaways as part of this blog series.

So excited for this blog tour!


This could be great for horror blogs or blogs that do not specifically focus on horror that are looking for something spooky for Halloween or the month of October. This will be a October 5th to November 5th blog tour.

Candyman has always been about race

•June 25, 2021 • Leave a Comment

Candyman has always been about race and politics. The original was about a Black man who was murdered and tortured during the Reformation because he had an affair with a white woman and got her pregnant. It’s also about a white woman who goes stomping through a Black housing project, Cabrini Green, and reawakens some old horrors that put its residents at risk.

Jordan Peele has now updated the story, and has the title character murdered by law enforcement. Apparently, some white horror writers are bitching about the police brutality storyline. How dare they – Black people have the right to create horror where we are not othered.

Horror, for more than a hundred years, has been filled with tropes about scary minorities. W.W. Jacobs’ “The Monkey Paw” used the same formula 120 years ago as you see repeatedly in modern horror – strange artifact from a colonized culture has a curse. Oppressed people curse or haunt the oppressors. This formula relies on white guilt / white fear of the Other for its punch.

The original Candyman (written by Bernard Rose, based on Clive Barker’s “Forbidden”) was no different – the wronged Other coming back to kill off the oppressor. In it, Candyman’s interest in dating white women becomes an obsession with white women in his bloodline and a need to kill them off. The horror of Jim Crow and the terror that caused the death of Emmett Till is distilled into Candyman’s origin story, which is then flipped around into Daniel Robitaille (the original Candyman) becoming an actual danger to white women.

When Black writers create horror, we write about what scares us. Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” is based on the true story of Margaret Garner, who killed her own child rather than allow her to be returned to slavery. The house was haunted in “Beloved.” The child haunted her mother.

Black folks have the right to write stories about how slavery, Jim Crow, police brutality and other issues affect us. We should not only be the object of stories other people tell about us. We are allowed to write stories about contemporary horrors like the police murder of Black people, and railroading of innocent people. No one should be coming at us for “politicizing” horror – horror is already a political genre.

It has been for more than 100 years. But nowadays, we get to tell our side of the story.

Thoughts on Juneteenth

•June 18, 2021 • Leave a Comment
My mother Carolyn Saulson with my niece Elisabeta Maria Saulson at Juneteenth in Kimball Park in San Francisco, 2000

Juneteeth is living breathing pushback against revisionist histories glamorizing the Confederacy.

While I am happy that Juneteenth is a national holiday, and while cultural heritage holidays such as Juneteenth can and should be used to educate, I need all of you to understand why this is largely performative and why the performative nature of national cultural heritage holidays is problematic.

For example MLK Day is a holiday, but The Voting Rights Act of 1964 that MLK marched to Selma to get passed was gutted by the Supreme Court and still has not been repaired. Since Biden was elected, regressive backlash laws are being passed to restrict the vote. See the problem?

Despite the conviction for the murder of George Floyd, nothing has been done to reform the system of police violence against African Americans or to stop racial profiling.- Economic inequity, the schools-to-prisons pipeline, the use of prisoners as slave labor, inequity in prosecution (for example, higher penalties for variations of cocaine poor Black people use than for those that white people favor), and many more issues are still very much a problem.

All of these cultural holidays are quickly turned into an opportunity for so-called allies to gorge themselves on alcohol and cultural foods. This time next year, the Dollar Store will probably be selling Pan-African flag (red, black and green) picnic sets. So realize not everyone is happy, and a bunch of people are groaning because they know some folks are going to take things in the same direction as all of those Cinco De Mayo Corona commercials as fast as they possibly can.Well they are correct and allies need to tread lightly.


When I was a little kid in the seventies, my mom had me and my brother out marching to get Martin Luther King Day recognized as a legal holiday. We marched every Martin Luther King Day, for years before it got recognized in 1983. Later, after it was recognized oh, me and my mom and my brother and his kids still march. We were down there with Reverend JR Richardson leading us singing we will overcome together.

Sumiko Saulson (6) and Scott Saulson (5) in 1974

We were in an acting class when Obama was elected president, and everybody in that class knew it was a historical moment. Our teacher, also African-American oh, and my mother’s age oh, was crying because she had not thought that she would see a black president in her lifetime.

My mom told me a lot of things about the struggle. She told me that even though they did not have legal segregation in California like they did in the south, she and her sisters got chased out of restrooms down on Venice Beach in the 60s for being black.

I say this to you because I think a lot of you people who are allies think that you know what I meant in my earlier post about Juneteenth but you don’t know what I am saying. I am happy about Juneteenth being a holiday and I mean what I say. I feel that every single holiday of this kind should serve as something like a reminder of what we have been through in slavery and what we still have to overcome. I think the people should be out in the streets protesting with Black Lives Matter signs singing “We Shall Overcome” and protesting the school-to-prison pipeline that keeps our people enslaved to this very day.

My brother, Scott Saulson, with his daughter, Elisabeta Maria Saulson, at Juneteenth 2000 in Kimball Park in San Francisco

I think Black folks and allies alike are should buy from Black Businesses. I am going to Emmett’s because it is a black owned business, not just cuz I like barbecue which I really do. I think that people who are not African American need to understand that this is a holiday that brings up a lot of complicated feelings for black people. A lot of us celebrated as a black Independence Day.

Since we are celebrating our Liberation from slavery we celebrated with joy. Some of us celebrate as a somber occasion but honestly there are block parties and festivals and picnics. Over the the many years that I have been celebrating Juneteenth since the early 1990s, the Juneteenth fairs and festivals have been almost all black people. The idea that they are going to be invaded by nonblack people who do not understand the significance of the festival makes a lot of Black people feel valid concern. Honestly, allies may chose to honor it in other ways, by supporting Black businesses or through protest.

You may consider it a somber occasion and slavery a painful subject (it is). You may wish to discuss the fact that slavery still exists and Black women are one of the predominant groups affected by it.But you should also, if an ally, have nothing to say at all about Black folks who have a celebratory mood about it. We are also celebrating our freedom. We are allowed to have complex and even joyous feelings about it.

Regarding Systems, Alts, and Identities

•May 15, 2021 • Leave a Comment

C/W: This post is about alternate personalities, aka alters, and systems, which are groups of alternate personalities. People who have them have had serious trauma. The term “fronting” means being aware and having control.

Author Sumiko Saulson (an African American nonbinary person with orange hair) holding a star shaped Mixy Award in hir hands



I made a major life decision recently. I decided to talk to my new therapist and my psychiatrist about my system. My old therapist knew about the system. I have had one since I went to LA Heim in 2016. Maybe it’s more accurate to say I have been aware of having one since then. I have had these symptoms since then. I am somewhat afraid to talk about them because people are really prejudiced against the mentally ill in general. People are also specifically prejudiced against people who have systems.

You should view this as a type of coming out post. More and more people are coming out about having systems. Now this is important to note: neither genderfluidity nor being nonbinary are the same thing as dissociative identities. However, many people who have alternative identities also are non-binary and or gender fluid. As a result, a lot of people under the trans gender umbrella are aware of systems. Systems are what you call groups of personalities. Some people also have subsystems, which are groups of systems that generally act as one or front as one.

Not everyone who has a system has disassociative identity disorder. I do not have it. I do have post-traumatic stress disorder as well as bipolar disorder. PTSD is another condition commonly associated with having a system. I am always aware of what is going on. That is why I am not diagnosed with dissociative personality disorder. I don’t have any blackouts. I am always aware of what is going on. Confronting is when two personalities are running the body at once.
There was a period of time back in 2004 when I had missing time. Other than that I haven’t had missing time ever. It is possible that back in 2004 I was switching identities and I didn’t know what was going on or had blank time because of that. I kept thinking that someone was stealing my cigarettes. I ended up smoking three packs a day because I could not remember buying or smoking the cigarettes. I have never been that disorganized before or since.

I know that this sounds scary. If it is scary to hear about, let me tell you, it was a lot scarier when it first started to happen. Back in the early 2016, I started to have automatic writing. My hand started to write things without my awareness. It was other personalities writing things to me. In late 2015, other voices started to talk out of my face. I was looking in the mirror and another person started to talk out of my face. It was a hostile voice and I was terrified. I had a suicide attempt immediately after.

It is super scary to talk about these things. I know the other people are aware of me talking to myself. My medications control the symptoms but not entirely. I can go for 2 or 3 days without talking to myself in front of people now. But when I am home by myself, my system has conversations with itself. It’s like I have these roommates, but they are in my body.

Over the past year with the pandemic I have had to spend a lot of time alone in my house. It has given me time to try out a new Med, which didn’t work right oh, and to go back on my old meds. I am not sure how well I am going to function when I go back to being social. It is always a struggle, trying to decide whether or not to go out and be around people knowing I talk to myself.

I had to practice radical self-acceptance in order to stop having suicidal ideation. I had to decide that I was going to be okay with me whoever and however I am. That meant I had to tell myself that I could stay alive even though I was constantly embarrassed and upset because people kept making fun of me.

It is dangerous when you can’t control talking to yourself. I had some kid start video taping me with this cell phone. I asked him to stop and he laughed at me. I took out my phone so I can record him recording me, and he threatened to grab my phone and break my phone and hurt me. That happened three or four years ago.

Sometimes I would have an uncontrollable urge to walk around. Sometimes I would be at my family’s house, and I would be trying to control talking to myself, and I couldn’t control it and I would have an urge to walk outside so I could control where I was talking to myself and not do it in front of my family. I had hella cars pulling over trying to pick me up and see if I was a sex worker because they thought I was on drugs. I have had so many cars pull over and try to pick me up, in the tenderloin, in Vallejo, and in Oakland. It is really scary.

I feel that I have been very fortunate, lucky, and blessed to have people in my life who love me. I have been lucky to have people who accept me for who I am. My girlfriend Princess Chris Hughes. Darcy is the first person who introduced me to the term system. I didn’t know where the system was. Unfortunately oh, we were in the car with my good friend Serena, who has since passed away. Serena was afraid of people with systems and said that they’re dishonest. I am not dishonest but I do go back in the closet for two more years because I was afraid of how people would react.

A lot of my horror stories are inspired by different things that I have hallucinated, and experiences that I have had as a system. The people in my system have names, and only about five of them talk to me regularly these days. A lot of them are named after characters in my book, although in the case of Dooky, the character is actually named after Dooky. The Dooky subsystem is a bunch of littles who love stuffed animals. They usually talk in baby voices. Dooky is also really good at driving cars.

Flynn is thoughtful and soft-spoken. Baby is a sweet but catty femme. Anders is a paranoid conspiracy theorist. He says he would rather write than talk, and he hopes you liked “Solitude” because he helped me write it. Pooky likes to make sure I get good self-care… We do self-care together. They cofront with me most of the time so you don’t really know they’re there.

Now that I have gotten this off my chest, you can let me know if you have any questions.

Stop Defending Morrissey’s Racism/Xenophobia

•April 30, 2021 • Leave a Comment
Morrissey being parodied on The Simpsons


In the current global political climate, given the anti-Asian hate crimes that have been taking place since the start of the pandemic, NONE OF US should be making any kind of excuse for anti-Asian hate. While this particular post is inspired by defenses of Morrissey since the airing of the recent episode of “The Simpsons,” where he got roasted for his anti-immigrant views, it is an overall call for members of the Goth community in particular, and people in general, to just do better.

Please DO NOT bring Morrisey’s “value as an artist” into this conversation. This isn’t about his “value” as an artist. This is about him calling an entire ethnic group a subspecies. If you can’t understand that is racist, something is wrong with you. His militant veganism doesn’t excuse his racist commentary. Racist people saying racist things about Chinese people’s dietary habits are racist. That is racism. Stop making excuses for it.

Maybe you feel personally guilty about some racist joke you made back when you thought it was “edgy” and “politically incorrect.” If so, apologize for it and DO BETTER. DO NOT use that as an excuse to defend Morrisey’s behavior while our Asian friends and fam, and especially Chinese people, who he specifically targeted, are getting physically attacked in hate crimes globally since the start of this pandemic. DO BETTER.

Morrisey is also a member of a political party known for its xenophobia and white supremacy. He and other members of said party make racist and xenophobic comments about non-white immigrants on the regular.

If you chose to listen to or play Morrissey can you try to do so without DEFENDING HIS HORRIBLE RACISM? HP Lovecraft was a racist and an antisemite. People can read HP Lovecraft without coming at the marginalized people he made racist and antisemetic things about for outing his racism.

Also “Hong Kong Garden” by Siouxsie and the Banshees is a racist song. “Pure Morning” by Placebo is a racist song. “Turning Japanese” by the Vapors is a racist song. That special pass you THINK you have had for all of these years, that makes you THINK that anti-Asian racism, yellowfacing like Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell, etc. are okay DOES NOT EXIST. Stop telling yourself that it is OK to be racist towards Asian people. It’s NEVER been okay, and with the sheer number of hate crimes their communities have been experiencing, you should be showing SOLIDARITY WITH THE ASIAN COMMUNITY, not with fucking Morrissey.





Black Mental Health Resource Guide

•April 2, 2021 • Leave a Comment

I got this with this letter via email:

Earlier today, I was checking your website for information on resources for the African American community when I found a list of helpful websites on your resource page

And I thought you might be interested in a guide that was created to discuss the impact of Racism, Discrimination, and Systemic Racial Inequities have on the Mental Health of our Black Communities.

As you know, mental health is one of the vital issues facing the Black community in America. Sadly, given the racism and racial injustice African Americans have faced, it’s not surprising that they have become more susceptible to struggle with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

Unfortunately, just 1/3 of Black people will receive the help they need. For some, longstanding racism has hurt their economic prospects and their ability to access affordable, high-quality mental health assistance. Other African Americans are afraid of the stigmas regarding mental illnesses and treatment. The stigmas of mental health have been historically embedded into our culture to signify weakness and instability.

But not finding help can make mental illnesses even worse. One of our goals is to help people find the assistance they need when they need it.

We also want to help ignite the conversation about how racism affects the African American community’s Psychological wellbeing And help to reduce the shame and stigma sometimes associated with seeking mental health and the treatment of mental illness, by spreading awareness through education.

If you are interested in reviewing, please see here:

 Mental Health Issues facing the Black Community

Some Universities that have already shared the resource are:

UC Berkeley, The University of Minnesota, and The University of Michigan.

I would appreciate it if you could add this resource to your page. If you have any questions regarding it, please do not hesitate to contact me.

There is no obligation. I thought we could work together to raise awareness of such a meaningful issue, as this topic is deeply important to many students, staff, and web-visitors.

Thank you for taking the time to review the guide. I look forward to your feedback.

https://www.sunshinebehavioralhealth.com/mental-health-issues-facing-the-black-community/

Interview with EF Schraeder, Author of “Liar”

•January 23, 2021 • 1 Comment

The Author

E.F. Schraeder hails from the rustbelt and loves to get lost in the
woods, but has never gone beyond the aspen. Schraeder’s creative work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Author of the story collection Ghastly Tales of Gaiety and Greed, Liar: Memoir of a Haunting is Schraeder’s first novella.

The Book

Who doesn’t crave a little escape? Dreaming of small town life and rural
charm, Alex and Rainey find a deal on an old rustic home they can’t
resist. But soon after Rainey moves, her preoccupation with weird local
history and the complications of living alone in the woods take a toll.
Alex worries that the long nights and growing isolation are driving her
stir crazy. When the Sugar House is damaged and Rainey goes missing,
Alex doesn’t know where to turn. Was it a storm, vandals, or something
worse? What happened at the Sugar House?

The only thing worse than wondering is finding out.

The Interview

  1. What initially attracted you to the horror genre?
    I’ve been a reader and fan of horror since I was very small, and in many ways my mom fueled that interest. She had some old record albums with creepy tales that I couldn’t get enough of, and she introduced me to a lot of classic horror cinema early in life. As I grew up, I continued to be drawn to and intrigued by work that explores unseen elements and stories that are at least a bit reality adjacent.
  1. How long have you been writing, and is horror your only or predominant genre?
    I’ve been writing for a long time- I think I’ve been telling creepy tales and writing poems for nearly as long as I could pick up pencil. I generally write speculative work, though sometimes in poetry my writing bumps into more realistic themes. Horror has always been my first love in reading, so it’s where I often tend to dwell in writing.
  2. How as the pandemic affected you as a writer over the past year?
    This been a challenging year on a lot of levels. I’ve been grateful for the folks in my life as well as the many artists, musicians, organizations, and others who have found ways to stay connected, share creative work, and build community amidst these many difficulties. In writing, I’ve tried to stay focused and productive, but flexible.
  3. Liar deals with themes of stir-craziness, obsession and the isolation of living in the woods. Do you think that 2020, the pandemic, and shelter in place helped you develop these themes?
    The manuscript was completed before the pandemic, and working through edits and production during this period definitely heightened the resonance of these themes.
  4. Your story is built around the marital woes of Alex and Rainey, a same-sex couple. Do you think queer representation in horror is on the rise these days, and do you feel it is important?
    Thanks so much for asking this question. Diverse representation does seem to be on the rise. It’s definitely an exciting time to be writing and reading as more voices are represented across a variety of perspectives, including folks from the LGBTQ community. I think it’s great to see more diversity in the types of stories being told, because every new perspective adds to the landscape of fear in rich, distinctive ways.
  5. Rainey, the writer, is very wrapped up in the similarities between their lives and different horror genre tropes such as The Last Girl. Was it fun writing such a self-aware/referential character?
    Rainey was a blast, and her POV provided an interesting lens to work with in the narrative. I had a lot of fun building up a character whose fondness for the genre played parallel roles in the story.
  6. What is your favorite character the book and why?
    That’s a tough question because both Rainey and Alex have qualities I came to appreciate, like Rainey’s snarky humor and Alex’s sheer determination. I also came to see the house they purchase as a sort of unwelcome third party in their relationship, and that became very alluring too.
  7. What other projects are you working on?
    I have two projects in the works at different stages: a supernatural mystery and a futuristic book about, among other things, the pitfalls of a world where everything becomes a product.

The Link

Liar is available from Omnium Gatherum:

https://omniumgatherumedia.com/liar-memoir-of-a-haunting