Interview with R. J. Joseph, author of

•January 1, 2018 • Leave a Comment

The Book

rk2_cvrA hanging tree takes the law into its own limbs in “The Tree Servant.” A mother’s love is tested by the walking, crawling and thumb-sucking dead in “Mama’s Babies.” A famous author lays his process bare in “A Writer’s Lot.” Not for the faint of heart, this terrifying batch of Texas horror fiction delivers a host of literary demons who will be hard to shake once they get comfortable.

The second volume of the critically acclaimed Road Kill Series from Eakin Press, featuring seventeen Texas writers. Some of the writers are established and have been published in a variety of mediums, while others are upcoming writers who bring a wealth of talent and imagination. Edited by E.R. Bills and Bret McCormick, this collection of horror stories is sure to bring chills and make the imagination run wild. Writers include Jacklyn Baker, Andrew Kozma, Ralph Robert Moore, Jeremy Hepler, R. J. Joseph, James H. Longmore, Mario E. Martinez, E. R. Bills, Summer Baker, Dennis Pitts, Keith West, S. Kay Nash, Bryce Wilson, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Stephen Patrick, Crystal Brinkerhoff and Hayden Gilbert.

The Author

IMG_0024R. J. Joseph is a Texas based writer and professor who must exorcise the demons of her imagination so they don’t haunt her being. A life long horror fan and writer of many things, she has recently discovered the joys of writing in the academic arena about two important aspects of of her life: horror and black femininity.

When R. J. isn’t writing, teaching, or reading voraciously, she can usually be found wrangling one of various sprouts or sproutlings from her blended family of 11…along with one husband and two furry babies.

R. J. can be found lurking (and occasionally even peeking out) on social media:

https://rjjoseph.wordpress.com/

The Interview

Q. “Where My Girls At: The Absence of Black Femininity from Vampire Culture” and  “Damnation Be The Tie That Binds: The Bondage of Black Femininity in ‘Get Out’  both reflect your views regarding black female representation or lack thereof in horror. Can you tell us about your academic work regarding the horror genre?

A. One of the things I’ve always been acutely aware of, as a lifelong black female horror fan, is how few of the heroines and monsters in horror stories look like me. I would watch movie after movie, and devour all the books I could find, and even though some of these characters were women, they were rarely ever black women. I always wanted to be the monster, because the monster is the strongest being in the story. I wanted to see a black woman get her due as a powerful monster. What I ultimately want is to see the socially created monstrous black woman—because we’ve been given the title of monstrous within society, but none of the sympathy other created monsters are afforded–gain the actual power and sympathy that other monsters get.

Q. What do you think can be done to alleviate misogynoir in horror?

A. One of the biggest things we can do to alleviate the hate for the black woman is first amplify the voices of black women within the genre. If more of us are allowed to write the stories, they will be in our voice, and audiences can learn from the stories we tell about ourselves and our worldview. I think there also has to be some accountability from society that acknowledges that black women have been vilified without much recourse, and an examination and accounting of that vilification has to happen before folks start to see us as human and as being worthy of positive attention and respect.

Q. With titles like “A Woman’s Work,” “Give Her Whatsoever She May Ask” and “Mama’s Babies” your creative fiction also seems to be very centered around the black woman. What are the protagonists in those stories like?

A. Most of the protagonists of my stories struggle with the joys and tribulations of navigating life in a brown body with a vagina, much as I do. They fight fitting into the categories that society wants to place them in, specifically the roles of wife and mother, while cruelly being denied the tools they need to fully embrace and live these ideals in the way they desire. In “Mama’s Babies”, Zenobia Thompson loves her babies but feels the pressure of being a married single parent to three small children, one of whom is disabled. She longs for freedom from her domestic bonds, but when that freedom calls, she finds the decision difficult to make. Sasha, from “A Woman’s Work”, holds the ultimate power to demolish everything around her, but rather than unleash that power, she restricts herself and instead shrinks to fit the wife and mother roles she thinks she should want. Sasha also has to learn that being a good mother doesn’t necessarily translate into being a good wife to a bad husband. All Ingrid wants in “To Give Her Whatsoever She May Ask” is to have a baby, by whatever means necessary. She struggles with the idea that marriage and motherhood may not have been in the cards for her.

Q. The old horror movie trope says that the black character never makes it to the end of the movie. Do you think increased black representation on the production side – writing, directing, producing – is starting to change all that?

A. Absolutely! I think the ultimate goal for any group is to see members of their group thrive and succeed. We have to be able to see ourselves in stories to be able to invest in those stories. One of the issues with not having a lot of black representation on the production side is that we don’t get to root for those characters because they’re rarely developed as whole beings and they don’t make it too far in the story before they’re killed off.

Q. How do you feel about non-black folks portraying black characters in terms of writing the other? Do you think they can have a positive role in alleviating the absence of black characters in general and women in particular, and should they?

A. This is one of those double-edged swords I think about often. On the one hand, great power and unlimited opportunities are available to non-black people in publishing and filmmaking. They can literally write and tell any story they want and their efforts will be received as being better, or even more authentic, than genuine lived experiences. This happens even when all other things considered are equal. Those storytellers are the ones the industry desires, uplifts, and pays. What would be great is if they took those opportunities and empowered black people to tell our own stories. That would be using their influence and positioning in a positive way to bring more female and black artists into the arena.

Unfortunately, many of them won’t do that. I have a huge issue with the current state of affairs in this regard because I’ve seen where black, female writers have these brilliant stories to tell and they have incredible writing abilities and yet their stories aren’t purchased. Publishing and film industry gatekeepers tell them their stories won’t sell or that voices aren’t authentic enough, which really translates into “What we want to give our audiences is the stereotype of what we think you should be rather than who you really are”. If they do make sales, the money doesn’t add up. And the whole awards process is a whole other aspect of this effort to “disappear” black artists from our art.

Q. What are you working on now that you want to tell our readers about?

A. My essay, “I’m That Chick Who Starts the Conversation” will appear in King Shot Press’ January 2018 release, Nasty. Also, I’m currently gearing up for two co-authored paper presentations with my colleague, Elsa Carruthers, at StokerCon 2018 and the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts 2018 conference, discussing femininity and the horror genre. We’re hoping to parlay these papers into a book on the same topic. Also, I have a chapter in the 2018 collection of essays, Stranger Things: Eighties Nostalgia, Cynicism and Innocence, coming out from McFarland. On the fiction front, I’ve finally started on a long put off novella which just might be working itself into a full-fledged novel.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me. It’s an honor to discuss these most perfect interview questions with you! Your work is supremely important and I appreciate that you continue to do it.

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Extended Deadline/Black Magic Women

•January 1, 2018 • 1 Comment

Call for Submissions for Black Magic Women

Black Magic WomenWe’re looking for 20 short horror stories between 3,500 and 5,500 words in length, by black women who write horror. This anthology is in association with 60 Black Women in Horror’s upcoming update, 100 Black Women in Horror, so if you aren’t already part of the Black Women in Horror project, please include a 50 word bio and a photo to be added to it, along with your submission.

Theme: Black Magic Women. This is not only about the black women who write the stories. These stories should include black women in some meaningful way. That doesn’t mean a black woman has to be the main protagonist, but black women or a black woman should be key to the story. We are actively seeking stories with diverse people as the protagonists. Do not send us stories where the diverse characters are tokens and sidelined to secondary or villainous roles.

Magic in the title refers to Black Girl Magic, so bonus points for referencing that in some way in the story. Stories do not necessarily have to incorporate magic, but bonus points for incorporating some sort of magic practice or object into your storyline.

This will be curated and edited by Sumiko Saulson, author of “80 Black Women in Horror, and published on Mocha Memoirs.

We want your best, polished, and ready to publish work. We want fresh, invigorating, and diverse stories. We are actively seeking stories with diverse people as the protagonists.

Pay: $10 Flat Rate, and print books available at cost to author

Terms: First electronic and print rights (no reprints, please). Held 12 months after publication

Extended Deadline: January 15, 2018

Send your submissions in to Sumiko Saulson at sumikoska@yahoo.com. Please format your manuscript 12 point Times New Roman double spaced. Include your name and story name at the top of the manuscript, centered.

Email Nicole Kurtz at mochamemoirspress@gmail.com if you have contract or publishing questions.

Help Save the SF BayView Newspaper!

•December 27, 2017 • Leave a Comment

sfbayviewlogo

Please feel free to share far and wide …

GoFundMe campaign to support the Bay View is ‘trending’

According to GoFundMe, the campaign we launched on Dec. 23 is “trending” because it’s raised $1,295 toward our $10,000 goal in only three days. To join in, go to https://www.gofundme.com/keep-the-bayview-newspaper-in-print. Sharing that link on Facebook and Twitter and by email is another great way to help.

The need is extremely urgent. The December rent and printing bill are still unpaid, and they add up to $4,900 (the cost of printing just went up).

If you can help but want to avoid GoFundMe, or if you want your donation to be tax deductible (to our 501(c)(3) arm), call the Bay View any time, at 415-671-0789.

To encourage you and all those you can share this with to help, Paradise, Oakland’s iconic poet, bless him, wrote this cheerful pitch:

The Bay View is our Freedom Train, our Underground Railroad

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by Richard Moore, aka Paradise Freejahlove Supreme

Stop! Stop whatever you are doing Right Now! And send $5 (five dollars) to the San Francisco Bay View. Ten dollars or twenty dollars would be better. One hundred dollars would be best! But five dollars is within nearly everyone’s capacity. And at least five dollars from you is needed to save the Bay View.

If you have gotten anything out of this Paper Train, this decades-long labor of love, NOW is the time for the Big Payback!

Think about it: The Bay View is our present day Underground Railroad, our Freedom Train! Full of freedom riders! Freedom writers! And freedom fighters!

The Bay View Love Train goes into the darkest and most desolate dungeons, the poorest and most depressed neighborhoods and breaks chains and frees minds and feeds souls and saves lives! And provides a bright beacon of hope during times of great despair.

If you have never, ever sent not one red cent to The View!?#$%! Now Is the Time. Time to break that piggy bank, pass around that church collection plate and donate.

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Lumukanda, local sage and one of our distinguished Elders, who used to own The Key Bookshop and thousands of books in downtown Oakland in the pre-gentrification days, says we need more brothers and sisters engaged in what he calls Black Betterment Works! The San Francisco Bay View has been engaged in Black Betterment Works since its inception in 1976!

Why are we allowing this Distinguished Elder, the Bay View newspaper, a community servant for over four decades, go unsheltered, unclothed, unfed and left out in the winter cold having to beg for spare change?

Are we really the most Conscious Community in America? Is the San Francisco Bay Area really the Last Bastion of Democracy!?! Not for long if we shamefully, unconscionably and neglectfully let this Lone Voice of Truth in the wilderness of Corporate Media propaganda and gerrymandering breathe its last breath!

I know people who have been doing Kwanzaa for 20 years and still act like they don’t know the meaning of Ujima – collective work and responsibility – and Ujamaa – cooperative economics. But I never expected the whole Bay Area to be a mere charade for Kwanzaa! Has Queen Mother, Sister Makinya’s work here been in vain?

2018 promises to be one of the most incredible years ever! And The View will not only be at the forefront of breaking news that you won’t get anywhere else, but we will be making some of that breaking news (!) if your generosity sees fit that we are still here!

Hopefully you will … Do the Right Thing!

Paradise is president of the International Black Writers & Artists Local 5 in Oakland and was honored by the City of Oakland with “Paradise Day,” on Oct. 6, 2007. Find him on Facebook at Paradise Freejah Love Supreme.

Interview with Tabitha Thompson, author of Decency Defiled

•December 18, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The Author

Tabitha Thompson

Tabitha ThompsonTabitha Thompson is an African American horror writer from Florida. 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. She has released several horror short stories and flash fiction. Her latest release, Decency Defiled, a workplace based horror short story, was released through J Ellington Ashton Press as part of the anthology titled Rejected For Content 6: Workplace Relations.

Check out her blog at tabithathompson391.wordpress.com

The Book

36363687Tabitha Thompson’s short story Decency Defiled is a part of Rejected for Content 6: Workplace Relations. Ever had that one job you absolutely hated? Where the thought of getting out of bed in the morning to go to work filled you with dread? Underpaid, underappreciated? Sick of seeing others advance while you stagnate? What about a job you absolutely loved, and couldn’t bear leaving? How about no job at all? No experience. No prospects. No future.

For volume six, Rejected for Content is heading off to work. When good jobs go bad. When bad jobs get worse. Bastard bosses. Disturbed co-workers. Places where the most unhinged of souls would never dream of working in their wildest nightmares. When workplace relations break down beyond fixing. Or strengthen, in ways that are just plain wrong.

Warning: Strong Violence, explicit sex, coarse language, blood and gore.

www.goodreads.com/book/show/36363687-rejected-for-content-6

The Interview

  1. How long have you been writing horror?

I’ve been writing horror for 10 years now and a published writer for 4 years.

2. What inspired you to write in the horror genre?

I became inspired to write the horror genre after reading works from authors Edward Lee, Stephen King, and Jack Ketchum, who all became such huge influences in my writing. However, it managed to fit right in when nothing else worked. Although my early writings were inspired by authors such as Sidney Sheldon and Danielle Steele, romance and drama didn’t quite work out for me so well, so I tried out horror just for fun, and it ended up being the greatest thing I’ve ever done.

3. You’ve written for Apocalyptic Fiction – was that sci-fi and have you written in that genre?

No, the story I wrote for Apocalyptic Fiction titled ‘West Nile’ wasn’t sci-fi, it was based on a real disease that becomes transmitted through mosquitoes, pre-Zika. I haven’t gotten the chance to write any form of sci-fi yet. I really do like and appreciate the genre, so chances are there might be a horror/sci-fi mashup from me sometime in the future.

4. How does being an African American woman inform your writing?

Being a black woman, I find that it just allows me to see my writing through a different lens. When I was younger, I always gravitated towards characters, people, and music that was different than the “norm”, so as I’ve gotten older and started writing more horror, I try to make my characters and come up with different stories in that similar fashion. Regardless of not using myself being a black female as a crutch for my writing, it’s always fun and empowering to break the mold and try something new.

5. How do you feel about being a part of 100 Black Women in Horror?

I’m honored, humbled, and excited to be a part of the 100 Black Women in Horror. When I first started getting work published, I was curious as to what other black women wrote such as horror, or at least had aspects of the genre and the book “60 Black Women in Horror” showed up! So, after reading the novel I felt even more inspired and overjoyed that there were women like me out here changing the game of horror. Being a part of it is very exciting, and I’m honored to be featured amongst some great black female writers.

6. What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m currently working on a story that’s taking place in an asylum titled “Memories of The Insane”, my novel called “Decency Defiled”, based on a short story that had just gotten published this past October in an anthology called Rejected For Content 6: Workplace Relations, and another that I’m still debating on the title. It would either be “Shadows” or “Black Veil”, whichever seems fitting for the words that I place on the page.

7.  Can you tell us more about Decency Defiled? Where was the short story published, what is it called, and what is it about?

Decency Defiled is about a plastic surgeon named Eric Flynn who was raised by his parents to believe in always leaving a great impression and skin is the most beautiful when untouched due to body modifications. After seeing a traumatizing argument between his parents as a teenager, he decides to become a plastic surgeon and later opens his own office. He uses his clients’ needs to change their looks as a means to modify theirs as he saw fit. So after 10 years of “modifying” his patients’ bodies, his office suddenly gets shut down without explanation, and Eric is now unemployed. After many sent applications and only getting back rejections for a whole year, it is in that moment desperation sets in for Eric and he would do whatever it takes to reclaim the job that he had worked so hard to achieve, no matter what. Funny thing is, when I was coming up with the title, I had based it on a Cannibal Corpse song called “Decency Defied”, and figured that writing ‘Defiled’ instead would make for a more interesting plot and title.

8. How will the novel Decency Defiled add to the short story?

The novel would add to the short story by continuing to be more in depth with Eric and the man he has become now that he’s an unemployed plastic surgeon and what he ends up doing to stay afloat along with further explanation about Eric and his family life.

Interview with the Next Great Horror Writer Winner: Jonathan Fortin

•December 15, 2017 • Leave a Comment

via Interview with the Next Great Horror Writer Winner: Jonathan Fortin

Interview with Violette L. Meier, author of Tales of a Numinous Nature

•December 14, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The Author

Violette MeierViolette L. Meier is an Atlanta-based speculative fiction writer, poet, folk artist and published author of eight books. Tales of a Numinous Nature is a spine tingling collection of her short horror stories. She writes horror-tinged paranormal tales like Ruah the Immortal, The First Chronicle of Zayashariya: Out of Night, Angel Crush, and Son of the Rock. Her other titles include: Violette Ardor: A Volume of Poetry, This Sickness We Call Love: Poems  of Love, Lust, & Lamentation, and Loving and Living Life.

www.VioletteMeier.com

The Book

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Tales of a Numinous Nature is a spine tingling collection of short stories that are sure to entertain. Meier’s eerie tales will delight you as you teeter between fear and fancy. Enjoy a world of specters, spooks, and shadows….if you dare!

The Interview

1. How long have you been writing horror and paranormal romance? 
I have been writing horror and paranormal since I was a teen. The supernatural has been an obsession of mine since childhood so it was only natural that I gravitated to that genre. It’s very difficult for me to write any kind of prose without supernatural elements.
Although some of my books have romantic elements, the closest one to a paranormal romance would be Ruah the Immortal.
2. Where do you get your ideas for your monsters and supernatural creatures? 
I love antiquity. Ancient religions, myths, and legends give me the greatest inspiration.
3. Are any of your characters and themes Afrocentric, and are any African Diaspora mythologies used to craft your fictional worlds?
All of the main characters in my novels, except my science fantasy “Out of Night, where the characters are all supernatural creatures” are people of African American descent. Although I am inclusive of others, it is paramount for me to write people who are like me.
4. How do you feel about being included on the Black Women in Horror list?
I am very honored to be included with such innovative and talented women. I’m looking forward to a new found sisterhood.
5. What is your latest (or upcoming, if you’re working on something) work about?
I’m working on “Archfiend” the third book of my “Angel Crush” saga. I’m also working on a few short stories for different anthologies.
6. Tell us more about the “Angel Crush” saga… who are the main players, and would readers need to read the first two books in order to be able to follow along with “Archfiend?”

The Angel Crush saga consists of “Angel Crush”, “Son of the Rock”, and soon “Archfiend”.

In “Angel Crush”, a fallen angel impregnates an Atlanta woman, and her family and friends battle with the horror of it all. In “Son of the Rock”, the child (Khalid) is 8 years old wrecking havoc on everyone around. Death and destruction follows him everywhere. In “Archfiend”, Khalid is now a 16 year old college student and his dark powers are becoming more dangerous by the day.

Each book can stand alone, but reading from the beginning provides more insight and, depth of character.

7. Your book ” Tales of a Numinous Nature: A Short Story Collection” contains horror stories. Are all of the stories in it horror? What kinds of supernatural creatures are in them?

Nine out of ten are horror stories. The book has ghosts, vampires, mysterious spirits, demons, and figments of the imagination.
8. Which of the stories from ” Tales of a Numinous Nature: A Short Story Collection” do you think our readers would find most terrifying, and why?
That’s hard to answer. It’s all according to what scares a person. I have a story called “Bloody Mary” where a dead girl is murdering her murderers. I also have one about a demon taking over a night club ( “The Road Not Taken”). I prefer humorous supernatural like in “The Man Didn’t Get Granddaddy”.

Still looking for black women who write horror

•December 14, 2017 • Leave a Comment

via Submission Call: Black Magic Women by Mocha Memoirs Press