San Mateo County Fair

•May 9, 2018 • 1 Comment

San Mateo County Fair

I am excited to announce that I won the following literary prizes at the San Mateo County Fair:

Div. 325-05 Literary Essay, Adult Exhibitor 
2nd Place: African American Folklore, Magical Realism and Horror in Toni Morrison Novels, Sumiko Saulson
Div. 326-02 Personal Memoir, Adult Exhibitor
2nd Place: My Life as a Young Adult Urban Fiction Writer, Sumiko Saulson
Div. 329-03 Recorded Lyric Songwriting Contest: Singer/Songwriter/Indie
2nd Place: Sweetest Compassion, Sumiko Saulson 
Div. 335-05 Short Story, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Adult
3rd Place: The Ride of Herne and Hespeth, Sumiko Saulson
San Mateo County Fair rides
I wrote the literary essay, “African American Folklore, Magical Realism and Horror in Toni Morrison” for HorrorAddicts.net in 2017 for their Black History Month blog series. My Life as a Young Adult Urban Fiction Writer, and The Ride of Herne and Hespeth were both written as a contestant in HorrorAddict’s Next Great Horror Writer Contest in 2017. I finished the contest in 6th Place. Jonathan Fortin won, and was awarded a contract with Crystal Lake Publishing for his debut novel Lilitu, coming out in 2019.
I wrote Sweetest Compassion’s lyrics. The music was written by Mangladat. It was performed by my band, Stagefright. It was recorded by Ephriam Galloway at Greybeard Studios.
I’ll also be moderating a diversity panel Thursday, June 14 6pm to 7pm at the San Mateo Fair, with Laurel Anne Hill and Maria Nieto.
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When We First Become Other

•April 13, 2018 • 3 Comments

 

When We First Become Other

By Sumiko Saulson

Winner, Fall 2017 Berkeley City College / BCC Voice Essay Contest, “Reframing the Other”

It is the very nature of human self-awareness which creates Othering. From birth, we see the world from a personal vantage point. We first take in sounds, smells and images of our personal tribe: parents, siblings, neighbors and grandparents. They are the village to which Self belongs. This is true even for those of us mainstream America views as Other. So how does one first become Othered? This occurs through contact with multicultural groups, and with mainstream media. Once we view ourselves through the lens of mass media, it becomes possible to reframe Self as Other.

In late 1970s, watching a television show called The Jeffersons. I noticed their neighbors, the Willises, an interracial couple, had one white actor and one black actress playing their mixed race children. As a biracial black and Jewish child this made feel a bit like a space alien. The constant string of “zebra” jokes about their mixed heritage added to that feeling. Strangers sometimes stopped our mom on the street to ask questions about me and my brother’s heritage, and ask to touch our hair. But this was the first time an outside authority verified the strangeness of being biracial.

When I became a fiction writer, I sought to remedy the absence of multicultural stories by filling my books with them. For me, it seemed unnatural that stories taking place in diverse metropolitan areas like Los Angeles or New York often have predominately white casts.

It wasn’t until I’d been writing novels for a few years that it occurred to me that I might try introducing race later in the narrative. It was after reading an article about how some of Suzanne Collin’s literary fandom was freaking out about Rue being black in the movie. Although the book clearly described her as dark skinned and having African American features, readers subconsciously reframed the character in their minds as white.

As an experiment, I wrote the first two chapters of my book, “Happiness and Other Diseases,” without revealing the ethnicity of the central character, Flynn Keahi. He’s half Chinese and half Hawaiian. Nowadays I am fairly political, so my heritage is a normal topic of conversation. When I was younger, it wouldn’t come up as often in the day to day living of life. That being the case, I decided to have his ethnicity come up when it seemed most natural in the narrative: that is, through the eyes of a third party, his girlfriend’s mother, upon meeting him for the first time. That way the reader had an attachment to the character before any issues regarding ethnicity came up.

In reframing the Other, one might consider the fact that every single other person on the planet views life initially, and primarily, from the vantage of self. Absent of external Othering forces, a person in a self-segregated environment will view him or herself as quite the norm. The eroticizing of those who are perceived as different or unusual due to ethnic heritage, disability, sexual preference, or gender presentation is rooted in our denial of the Othered person’s self. Self being the vantage point from which we all view the world.

In order to ethically reframe the notion of Other, those of us who have for whatever reason, come to view ourselves as “the norm” or what is usual will have to accept the fact that our perception is biased.

Readers of “The Hunger Games” and “Happiness and Other Diseases” alike threw a filter of whiteness as a default setting onto the character. As a cis-gen female, I run into people who resist terms like cis-gen, even while knowing they exist to dispute the idea that we are “default” or “normal.” This is an attitude people must overcome. We cannot have true equality among diverse populations while clinging to the notion that some of us are “normal” – “default” – or “usual.”

People cling to this attitude even where it is statistically disproven: for example, many white people think of white as the default; Western Media sells it as such, yet white people are only 18% of the global population, therefore a statistical minority. If a statistical minority can believe itself the default due to acculturation, then perhaps we should question the notion of who is actually the Other here.

Book Review: Black Magic Women

•February 23, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Kamika Aziza is one of the newer writers and I am tickled pink to see her mentioned here alongside veterans Valjeanne Jeffers and Kenesha Williams.

via Book Review: Black Magic Women

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.

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.