Mention of BEREFT at Bookriot

Alison Peters of the weblog Book Riot includes BEREFT in a list of Coming Out and Coming of Age YA LGBTQ books. It’s great to have my book listed among work by such folks as David Levithan, Francesca Lia Block & Malindo Lo.

Of BEREFT, she says:

It’s every young, closeted/confused gay, black boy’s worst nightmares, all at once.

That’s what I was aiming for–a portrait of the stress of being Other in a hostile environment.

Read the rest of the list here.

 

 

Afro-fantastic Horror Fiction in “Skin Deep Magic”

There are two outright horror stories in Skin Deep Magic.

“Death and Two Maidens” is set in Victorian London, and is about the life—and afterlife of a young charwoman, Prothenia Jenkins. The tonality of the piece borrows heavily from penny-dreadful fiction (example: The Phantom of the Opera, Bram Stoker’s Lair of the White Worm). I won’t say more about it, because, as River Song from Doctor Who says, “Spoilers!”

An Afro-Victorian Lady

“Sugardaddy” was inspired by a couple of things. The narrative convention, which is in the form of a young girl’s journal, is a homage to everything from Stoker’s Dracula to Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. I love the interiority of the technique, and the slow build rhythm. It is a tale that is partially about body horror. I have a couple of (well managed) chronic conditions. Before I was diagnosed, there was a sense of horror as my body began to behave in ways that were unpredictable and unpleasant. “Sugardaddy” was kind of cathartic to write, as I got used to the transformation.

My interview with author Robert Jackson Bennett

COS combine

Check out my interview with two-time Shirley Jackson Award winning author Robert Jackson Bennett at the Washington Independent Review of Books. His new novel, City of Stairs, is really good.

Story Threads: Notes on “Mauve’s Quilt”

The quilters of Gee's Bend

Quilts are functional art. In addition to providing comfort and warmth, they can tell stories. Even in the most abstract level, there’s a narrative unfolding.

Homages to cultural traditions  are echoed in the various patterns found in Amish quilts. 

The AIDS Memorial Quilts are tributes to loved ones, which incorporate photos and clothing onto the squares of fabric.

African American quilts were supposedly used to convey messages to the Underground Railroad network*.

The third story in my collection, “Mauve’s Quilt” is a kind of quilted narrative, weaving two story strands together. The quilt titular also serves as functional art: an (abstract) expression of an interior landscape and a sanctuary.

*Whether or not this is true is debated.

DC Author Festival on October 18th at the MLK Library

author fest

If you want to hear me read a story from SKIN DEEP MAGIC, I will be appearing at DC Author Festival next Saturday.

It will be held at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. Many DC-based authors will be there, including mystery writer George Pelecanos, Tom Doyle and Caroliva Herron. I read at 11 AM, and will be selling copies of my book the rest of the day.

Here is the address:

901 G St. NW

Washington,  D.C.  20001
And the website: http://dclibrary.org/node/45013