I will be attending the World Fantasy Convention this weekend

I will be attending the 2014 World Fantasy Convention this week in DC (actually, in nearby Crystal City. I am scheduled to volunteer in the Hospitality Suite for a few hours, but I will be around the hotel and bar (though I’ll going back home during the nights). I am not on any panels. I hope to meet some fellow authors, reconnect with old friends, and maybe, gain some new readers!


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.

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

Scenes from Tonight’s Reading

The night was a success! I read from the stories “Lyes” and “Zora’s Destiny”. I sold all copies of the book. Thanks to the GallAerie for hosting the reading, and to A Stranger in Alps for the great music!

Pictures by Christian Crowley and Chris Herrmann
Pictures by Christian Crowley and Chris Herrmann



My Green Man story: Notes on “Sapling”

I grew up next to Rock Creek Park, a large, urban park that runs throughout Washington, DC. Deer, possum, raccoons and the occasional owl were as much of my childhood landscape as were heavy traffic, presidential motorcades, and the Smithsonian. As a child, I would often go into the forest and dream up wild adventures for the characters I created in my head. I saw a majestic stag once, who glanced at me for one eerie moment, before bounding away. There were hawks in the park, too, circling above with their impressively long wings. I didn’t need a wardrobe-shaped portal; another world was literally steps away. “Sapling,” my story about a very different kind of Green Man, is an homage to Rock Creek Park, and by extension, all such sanctuaries embedded in the urban terrain.