Crossroads Publishing seeking diverse works

•February 21, 2018 • 1 Comment

I spoke with David Wilson at Crossroads Publishing yesterday. He said:

Crossroad Press is seeking out of print books in all genres (all) by persons of varying cultural backgrounds. We specialize in returning back-list titles in digital and in salvaging books orphaned by failed publishers. We pay 80% of all royalties earned on eBooks, 65% on audio and 50% on digital.

I have come to realize that given the incredible inequity in publishing, my company, which is built on reprints and orphaned titles from failed publishers, has become a microcosm of the original problem. I want to rectify that if I can… I don’t want to find authors of color because they are authors of color, but I want them to WANT us to find them, and to be a place that gives a wider voice.

If you are interested, you can contact them at publisher@crossroadpress.com. If you would like to see what they do, their 200 plus authors and 1600 books are at http://www.crossroadpress.com

They need help making sure that the word gets out to a diversity of authors regarding their mission, to rescue orphaned titles from failed publishers. Since most of us only promote things to those we know, they need our help in making sure that the word gets out to minority authors, specifically people of color. However, they are looking for titles from anyone, not just marginalized people. They asked me to help make sure that people in my writer’s circle, which includes many African Americans, know about them. Please repost and make sure that people know who they are, who they help, and that they wish to make sure diverse communities are aware of them.

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Online Release for Black Magic Women

•February 15, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Please join us today for the online launch of Black Magic Women

Happy Valentine’s from Mauskaveli

•February 14, 2018 • 2 Comments

Mauskaveli Valentine 2018

2018 Black Women in Horror List #3

•February 13, 2018 • Leave a Comment

2018 WiHM Black Women in HorrorThis Part Three of the three part 2018 series on Black Women in Horror, a continuation of the Black Women in Horror project that started in 2013 as a part of Women in Horror Month, and lead to the publication of 60 Black Women in Horror in 2014. 20 more women were added to the list in 2017. This year, we have an exciting new 30 Black Women in Horror to add to the list. The new women were discovered largely due to Eden Royce’s 2017 blog series Black Women in Horror on the Dark Geisha, Colors in Darkness and their 2017 anthology Forever Vacancy, Graveyard Sisters,  Kintra Brooks, Linda Addison and Susana M. Morris’ anthology Sycorax’s Daughters, and my project with Nicole Kurtz, Black Magic Women on Mocha Memoirs. Iconoclast Productions will be releasing 100 Black Women in Horror on February 15, the same day Black Magic Women comes out.

  1. Deborah Elizabeth Whaley

Deborah Elisabeth WhaleyShe is the author of Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities about the cultural practices, cultural work, and politics of the oldest historically Black sorority and Black Women in Sequence: Reinking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime which explores the portrayal of women of African heritage comics and the films and television shows based on them. She wrote the horror poems Red Scorpion and Whispers & Liesfor Sycorax’s Daughters, and is working on a compilation of creative essays, images, and poetry tentatively titled Bodyflow, and a monograph, Feeling Her Fragmented Mind: Women, Race, and Dissociative Identities in Popular Culture.

https://www.deborahelizabethwhaley.com/

  1. Ceres Wright

K Ceres WrightCeres Wright is a speculative fiction author and poet who writes sci-fi, dystopian fiction, horror, weird, and dark fiction. She wrote the short horror story Of Sound Mind and Body for Sycorax’s Daughters. She wrote the sci-fi novel Cog, about a futuristic world where personalities can be downloaded at will. Doomed was a nominee for the Rhysling Award, the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s highest honor. Her work has appeared in Hazard Yet Forward; Genesis: An Anthology of Black Science Fiction; Many Genres, One Craft; Far Worlds; Diner Stories; The Dark God’s Gift; FictionVale’s Pick Your Punk (February 2015), and The 2008 Rhysling Anthology. K. Ceres Wright graduated from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program in 2007.

http://www.kcereswright.com/

  1. Deana Zhollis

Deana ZhollisDeana Zhollis is a science-fiction, dark fantasy, paranormal romance, and horror writer. She wrote the horror short Perfect Connection for Sycorax’s Daughters, however her primary genre is sci-fi romance. Her novels include the dark sci-fi romance The Made, which won 1st place in 2001 at the Houston Writers Convention. It became the first in The Calling Series, which also includes Jetta and Creations. Her other titles include Irid, Ruby, Flesh, & Heart, The 9th Symbol, and Tirna Magique. She won 3rd Place and published in PARSEC/Confluence 2002 Contest and Honorable Mention 5th Place in SFWoE (Science Fiction Writers of Earth) Short Story Contest 2002.

http://dreamnotion.zhollis.com/

  1. Alledria Hurt

Alledria HurtAlledria Hurt is horror, fantasy and science fiction writer. She contributed the horror short story The Prizewinner to the horror anthology Black Magic Women. Her books include Chains of Fate, October Sky, Dark King Rising, Objects: Stories of Things, Hush, Ruins of Fate, Blades of Fate, Wearing His Ring, Harmony: A Killer Mystery, Born in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, Alledria Hurt has traveled Europe and the United States. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and her Master of Arts in Liberal and Professional Studies degree from Armstrong Atlantic State University.

http://www.alledriahurt.com/

  1. Delizhia D. Jenkins

Delizhia JenkinsHorror, paranormal, urban fantasy and paranormal romance author Delizhia Jenkins wrote the urban horror story Dark Moon’s Curse for Black Magic Women. She writes paranormal and paranormal romance titles under the name Delizhia D. Jenkins. Her titles include The Dark Royals Series, which includes Blind Salvation; The Vampire Hunter’s Academy Series, which includes The Darkness and The Reckoning; In the Light of Darkness, Viper: The Vampire Assassin, Into The Shadows, Sin: Daughter of the Grim Reaper, Nubia Rising: The Awakening, and Love At Last.

https://m.facebook.com/MissJenkinsAuthor/

  1. Mina Polina

Mina PolinaShe wrote the short story Appreciation for the horror anthology Black Magic Women. Mina Polina has written short stories since high school, and is a newly published author.  Her preferred genres are horror and fantasy with a mixture of realism.  When not writing, Mina Polina also spends her time working on her various Graphic Design projects.  She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

https://www.facebook.com/infernalle/

  1. Tabitha Thompson

Tabitha ThompsonBorn in South Florida, Tabitha Thompson has been writing horror since the age of sixteen. Her first short story Heading West, was picked up by Sirens Call Publications in 2013 for their online magazine issue #12 Dead And Dying. West Nile was released in 2014 also with Sirens Call Publications for their issue #16 Apocalyptic Fiction. For the past few years since then, she has released several horror short stories and flash fiction. Decency Defiled, a workplace based horror short story, was released through J Ellington Ashton Press as her first featured anthology titled Rejected For Content 6: Workplace Relations. She wrote the short medical terror tale Alternative™ for the horror anthology Black Magic Women.

https://tabithathompson391.wordpress.com/

  1. Kenesha Williams

Kenesha WilliamsShe wrote Sweet Justice for Black Magic Women. Kenesha Williams is an independent author, speaker, and Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Black Girl Magic Lit Mag. Her books include Love, Lust, and Letters, Nadine & Agwe: A Passion Denied, Do For Love, she has short stories in the anthologies Something Wicked This Way Comes: Paranormal Boxed Set, and The Scribes of Nyota: Our Voices, Our Imagination, A Compendium, and issues 1, 2, 3, and 5 of Black Girl Magic Lit Mag.

https://www.keneshawilliams.com/

  1. Tyhitia Green

Tyhitia GreenTyhitia Green writes horror, fantasy, and science fiction. She sometimes dabbles in other genres as well. She began writing poetry as a child and ventured into fiction years later. Her horror flash story, Margie, appeared in the July 2009 issue of Necrotic Tissue magazine, and her non-fiction has appeared in Lightspeed magazine and on Black Girl Nerds.com.

https://obfuscationofreality.blogspot.com/

  1. Kinitra Brooks, PhD

Kinitra D Brooks PhDThe author of the Bram Stoker nominated Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror, Dr. Brooks is a scholar who specializes in black female contributions to horror. Searching for Sycorax is a monograph examining the works of women across the African diaspora. She is also one of the editors of Stoker-nominated Sycorax’s Daughters, a horror anthology featuring short stories by black women. She wrote The Black Maternal: Heterogeneity and resistance in literary representations of black mothers in 20th century African American and Afro-Caribbean women’s fiction. She is working on a book called Divinely Monstrous: Black Women Conjuring the Grotesque in Popular Culture.  She is also coediting a volume on black women and horror entitled Towards a Black Women’s Horror Aesthetic: Critical Frameworks with Susana M. Morris and Linda Addison. She has published articles in African American Review, Obsidian, and FEMSPEC.

http://www.kinitradbrooks.com/

February 21, look for the reference book 100 Black Women in Horror!

February 15, look for its companion book, the anthology Black Magic Women.

100+ Black Women in Horror debuts February 21st

•February 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

100 Black Women in Horror print covere

February 21 is the official release date for the biographical reference 100+ Black Women in Horror. Containing the biographies of over one hundred black women who write horror, 100+ Black Women in Horror is a reference guide, a veritable who’s who of female horror writers from the African Diaspora. This volume is an expansion of the original 2014 book 60 Black Women in Horror.

February is African American History Month in the United States as well as Women in Horror Month (WiHM). 100+ Black Women in Horror is a result of the intersection between the two celebrations. It consists of an alphabetical listing of the women with biographies, photos, and web addresses, as well as interviews with 17 of the included women and an essay by David Watson on LA Banks and Octavia Butler. It is not limited to African American authors, but includes women from all over the diaspora!

100+ Black Women in Horror began as a series of blog posts, written for Women in Horror Month and Black History Month, between 2013 and 2018. This book contains seventeen of the interviews originally featured on Sumiko Saulson’s horror blog, Things That Go Bump in My Head, http://www.SumikoSaulson.com.  The women in this release are either primarily authors of horror prose or poetry, such as Tananarive Due and Linda Addison, or women who write in other genres primarily, but have one or more works in the horror genre, such as Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, and Zane.

Free eBooks will be made available to schools and libraries through a special distribution program through Smashwords.

Discounted versions of the book are available exclusively through Lulu.com, through buy links you can find at www.SumikoSaulson.com and the publisher, the non-profit www.IconoclastProductions.com. A free PDF download of Book will be available exclusively through the publisher and author sites listed above.

The book is available everywhere else for the standard price of 99 cents for the eBook, available through Kobo, iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Smashwords; $10 for the Standard Paperback, $12 for the Premium Paperback, and $30 for the Deluxe Hardcover with Case Wrap, perfect for libraries and schools wishing to keep it as a reference guide.

100+ Black Women in Horror will be a great addition to the libraries of horror lovers, African Diaspora or horror scholars, and fans of Black literature.

 

African American Folklore, Magical Realism and Horror in Toni Morrison novels

•February 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

 

2018 WiHM Black Women in Horror

This article is a part of a series of the Fifth Annual Black Women in Horror Month celebration, an annual February presentation of blog articles highlighting black women in horror for Women in Horror Month and Black History Month.  The series will include new lists of black women who write horror, interviews, articles, and book reviews. We are very excited to be presenting the Black Women in Horror project for the fifth year. Iconoclast Productions is the sponsor of the Black Women in Horror project.

This is a reprint of an article written by Sumiko Saulson for HorrorAddicts.net for Black History Month in 2017.

 

Toni Morrison goodreads photo

Toni Morrison photo from Goodreads

Born Chloe Ardelia Wofford in 1931, eight-four year old Toni Morrison is one of the most prominent voices in African American literature. The bestselling author has won the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize, and earned such an enduring place in in American hearts and minds that she’s already a staple of many college English literature course curriculum in her own lifetime. Although her works often defy genre classification, the vagaries of genre politics have her firmly associated with the high-classed literary fiction genre. Literary fiction is the darling of critics and the academia alike.

Speculative fiction, and especially horror and the supernatural, are considered low-classed, tawdry genres. We sit in a dirty little niche corner, along with romance and erotica, as those genres that are just not prestigious enough for the so-called serious writers. Genre prejudice is so deeply ingrained that many do not recognize a horror story for what it is even when its nature is vastly apparent.

In essence, Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a gothic horror story. It is a ghost story set against a backdrop of slavery and the post-Civil War restoration. It takes on the tone of gothic horror immediately at the outset of the story with the line “124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom,” referring to 124 Bluestone Road, the address of the protagonist Sethe’s home. The use of a building, most commonly a house, is a trope commonly associated with the gothic fiction genre.

The story also utilizes many elements of the subgenre American Gothic. English gothic Image result for beloved toni morrisonhorror took place in the Victorian era, the same period of time that the Civil War and the post war Restoration took place in the United States. The dark histories involving the African slave trade and the genocide of New World’s indigenous peoples were primary features of a guilt-ridden American conscience. Wronged native peoples and oppressed African slaves were some of the ghosts and bogeymen of American gothic. That is clearly the case in Beloved, which is about the petulant spirit of Sethe’s murdered two year old daughter, Beloved. Sethe killed her own child to protect her from slavery, and has been haunted ever since.

While Toni Morrison’s overall literary genre is American or African American literary fiction, Beloved is widely categorized as Magical Realism. Magical realism is a genre that involves the insertion of folklore and supernatural elements into otherwise realistic narratives. Beloved is not Toni Morrison’s only venture into magical realism. Song of Solomon, Sula, Jazz, and The Bluest Eye all use elements of the genre.

Image result for sula toni morrisonIf it weren’t for the fact that Sula won a Nobel Prize for American literature, we might think of it as magical realism, as it certainly utilizes many elements of the genre. Many supernatural elements are used to illustrate the town of Bottom’s discomfort with and rejection of the unconventional protagonist Sula Peace. These magical elements are illustrations of the town’s scapegoating behavior. They clearly symbolize the tendency to demonize women for liberal and sexually unrepressed behavior. However, there is a more than superficial resemblance between Sula’s connection to the paranormal occurrences and witchcraft. Sula seems like a witch, and the town seems to be on a witch hunt.

In magical realism, these things are seen as symbolic, not necessarily to be taken literally, as in horror. There is an additional layer of psychological complexity in magical realism, as it is often unclear whether the supernatural is at play, or characters are just superstitious. That mystery is part of what keeps magical realism psychologically terrifying.

The strange appearance of a swarm of agitated birds in Sula is a great example of this. They arrive when she returns to town, and they occur in such unmanageable numbers that some townspeople are driven to sadism in an effort to get rid of them. They are so populous that the birds create a danger to themselves and others. However, the book never explains their mysterious arrival and disappearance. That is where magical realism differs from traditional horror: in horror, a cause, usually a diabolical one is assigned. In Sula, people superstitiously connect the appearance to the protagonist and her sexually loose moral behavior, which includes interracial relationships and sleeping with married men.

Image result for song of solomon toni morrisonToni Morrison’s Song of Solomon opens up with some of the most horrifying scenes I’ve ever read. One involves the hunting of a runaway slave by a pack of dogs, and the other involves an extended analogy about leaping to suicide while attempting to fly away from enslavement. Song of Solomon uses several elements of magical realism. Many of these are directly or indirectly connected with a character named Pilate, a woman who was born without a belly button.  She is guardian angel/earth mother figure in the life of the protagonist, Milkman.

Her lack of a navel suggests a supernatural origin, because bellybuttons are a sign of earthly birth. Created creatures, like angels or golem, wouldn’t need navels. Pilate shows other signs of supernatural knowledge or power, as does the ancient former slave Circe. Circe tells the protagonist Milkman of his great grandfather Solomon, who is the title character. Solomon was said to have literally flown to escape slavery. However, throughout the story, various attempts at flight are ambiguous and often seem more like suicide and less like escape.

Image result for the bluest eye toni morrisonThere is the further complication of determining whether or not supernatural occurrences are real in magical realism. In Toni Morrison’s controversial debut novel The Bluest Eye, Pecola Breedlove, a sexually molested young black girl, retreats into a fantasy world where she feels beautiful because she imagines she has blue eyes. The book has been banned multiple times because it deals with tough subjects like incest and child molestation. However, at the core of it is a deeper truth: our most terrifying monsters are the ones that are real.

Horror as a genre allows its readers to confront subjects that are too hard to look at directly. Like a filter that allows us to look at the sun without going blind, horror softens the impact of unimaginable subjects by replacing horrific human monsters with supernatural creatures. They are less upsetting than the idea that the real monsters are us.

There is a close synergy between magical realism and gothic horror. They are flip sides of the same coin. Magical realism is a genre label usually ascribed to people of color talking about ourselves, and integrating our own folklore, history, legends and mythology into stories that contain both realistic and fantastic elements. Gothic horror, especially American gothic, is written from a white person’s point of view and has to do with outsider fear and suspicion of the same folklore, history, legends and myths.

A novel like Beloved might have been considered gothic horror if it had been written from a white person’s perspective by a white author. A story like Bernard Rose and Clive Barker’s Candyman might have been mystical realism if it were written by a black author and from Candyman’s point of view. Both stories are about a tragic character that died unnecessarily as a result of racism and slavery who returns as an avenging spirit. The change in the point of view character is also key to the genre categorization here: Candyman is about how slavery impacted white people. Beloved is about how it impacted African Americans.

Toni Morrison’s forays into magical realism may not be universally considered horror for the same reason that not everyone considers Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein horror: the monster is so sympathetic that from time to time, human beings seem the real monsters. The monster is the one who has been wronged here. If we feel more sympathy for the monster than it persecutors, then we lose a lot of the fear we associate with the horror genre.

Interview with Tyhitia Green, author of Margie

•February 8, 2018 • Leave a Comment

The Author

Tyhitia GreenTyhitia Green writes horror, fantasy, and science fiction. She sometimes dabbles in other genres as well. She began writing poetry as a child and ventured into fiction years later. Her horror flash story, Margie, appeared in the July 2009 issue of Necrotic Tissue magazine, and her non-fiction has appeared in Lightspeed magazine and on Black Girl Nerds.com.

https://obfuscationofreality.blogspot.com/

The Book

6924723Tyhitia Green’s short story Margie appeared in the July 2009 issue of Necrotic Tissue. It was the 7th Issue of the quarterly horror magazine. Necrotic Tissue got its name from the medical horror genre, and offered a lot of stories in that genre but wasn’t limited to it. This tended to up the gore factor. Generally well-received, the writer-centered publication offered advice to aspiring horror writers, along with an open call that introduced many new and upcoming authors to the genre. It gained a reputation for helping to show where the future in horror lies. It went out of business in 2012 after 18 issues. See a review of Issue 7 below.

The Interview

Q. What can you tell us about your horror story, Margie, which appeared in Necrotic Tissue Magazine in 2009?
 

A. Margie was about an elderly woman whose husband tried to encourage her to go to the doctor because she was very ill. She hid from him and when he found her, it didn’t fare too well for him.

Q What were your non-fiction pieces in Lightspeed magazine and on Black Girl Nerds.com called, and what were they about?

 
A. I conducted two author spotlight interviews for Lightspeed magazine’s special issue: People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction. The interviews were with authors Nick T. Chan and Lisa Allen Agostini, and were in regard to their works that appeared in the special issue, as well as their careers in general.
As for Black Girl Nerds, I wrote a guest post on Black Women and Feminism in Horror Films. This subject is close to my heart for obvious reasons, but I wanted to point out some of the (very few) films in which Black women were seen as heroes and not some type of plot device. Films in which not only did we survive the beginning, but we kicked butt in the end.
 
Q. How long have you been writing horror and what inspired you to start?
 
A. I have been writing horror for a long time. I can’t remember when I first began writing it, but I was inspired to write it after reading Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, Annabel Lee, and William Faulkner’s short story, A Rose for Emily. Both of which I read as a high school freshman.
Q. What are you working on now?
A. I’m currently working on several short stories and I’m researching for my young adult dark fantasy series.
Q. What do you think can be done about the under-representation of black women in horror?
A. Under-representation is a huge problem. Growing up, I didn’t know there were Black folks who even wrote horror because only White males were presented to everyone. That’s who publishers went with. I didn’t discover Black horror writers until I was in college, which was sad, to say the least!
 
I think there needs to be more Black women who are editors, publishers, first readers, etc. Publishers need to realize that not only do Black women read horror, but we also write it. We expect to be taken seriously in this field. We need to be able to tell our own stories, and this is why the #OwnVoices movement and We Need Diverse Books are so vital.
Q. What are some of your favorite horror works (books, television shows, or movies… for instance)?
 
A. Novels: I love My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due, Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, just to name a few.
 
Television: Ash vs. The Evil Dead, The Walking Dead, Channel Zero, American Horror Story, and Superstition; which is more like urban fantasy, but it leans towards horror.
Q. How do you feel about being a part of 100 Black Women in Horror?
A. I feel honored to be placed amongst such an astounding group of writers; some of whom are my favorites!