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Updatery and the Problems of a Black Nerd

Hey all! As you’ve probably noticed by now, I’m an awful blogger. It isn’t that I don’t love you; it is simply that I have so many words, for so many things, that none of those words ever seem to land here. Well, at least not on a regularly scheduled basis.

One of those “so many things” is pretty awesome. I’m doing book reviews on BlackNerdProblems.com.

As I’ve mentioned here, I’m really interested in exploring and popularizing more speculative fiction by people of color. I know so many fans (of all descriptions) who want to expand their reading options, and so many Black readers who are tired of being written out of the narrative. Taking matters into my own hands continues to be the best way to solve the problem: write the books I want to read and review the books I’m glad are there.

So that’s where most of my words will be landing for awhile. The site also features some of the funniest, most insightful Black nerds writing right now, doing reviews and commentary on everything from Dr. Who to Book of Korra. There’s a page for cosplayers and another for interviews and blah blah blah. Click the link. Go read. Then you’ll know why I’m excited.

I’ll still have things to say here now and then, things that won’t fit over there, so don’t unfollow me. Just follow me twice!

Hope the summer is treating you right. My fall is shaping up to be intense, but more on that later. Later!

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Women of Color in Speculative Fiction — Tumblr for the Win

If you read the last post, you know that I’ll be reading from QUEEN OF HUNGER at BayCon this Saturday, May 25th. In addition to that open reading appearance, I’ll also be on the Fans of Color in SF/F Fandom panel earlier in the day.

A friend recently linked me to my new favorite Tumblr feed, Fuck Yeah SciFi/Fantasy WOC (yes that’s President Obama throwing the Vulcan sign with Nichelle Nicols. Because I live in the best of all possible worlds). There I was pointed to this particular post about Scott Lynch and his relationship with his black female character in response to a critique about same. Some thoughts.

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QUEEN OF HUNGER Available Now!

QUEEN OF HUNGER, Tales of the Assembled: Book 1 is available right now on Amazon.com at this handy link:

QUEEN OF HUNGER

I am excited beyond words that I finally have a chance to bring my book to a wider audience. I invite you all to read and enjoy. And if you do enjoy it, please share that with others. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Through your favorite social media would be awesome. I’m even using my own hashtag: #queenofhunger. Spread it around!
  • By following my blog here for future updates, sources of inspiration, unpublished sideline short stories about the characters in the books, and places where you can meet me and hear me read (Events coming soon!).
  • By finding my author pages on Amazon or Goodreads and reading what I’m reading.
  • By reviewing the book in your own way: on your blog, on Amazon, to your fellow public transit rider when they ask you what you’re reading. You know, anyone!
  • By sending me a comment here or an email to cesarcrossed at gmail dot com telling me how much you liked the book. Every comment keeps me writing, perhaps to spite you, but still, writing.

Thank you again for reading. I leave you with one more snippet from the book.

““You see those points of light, all across the sky?”

“Yeah, the stars?”

“Yeah. There are an uncountable number of them,” she said, “have you ever seen so many?”

That wasn’t exactly true, Wyatt knew. There was an estimated number of stars. He just didn’t know what it was. But he had to admit he’d never seen as many with his unaided eye as he saw right then. Teach talked, her voice low and reassuring.

“They are uncountable because each star is an ancestor, one of the people who lived and died and brought you to this place, right here, right now. That is where the ancestors live after they die,” she told him, “in the distance. And that’s where our souls will go in the end when we die.”

She paused. Wyatt knew it was all crap from her religion, but he desperately didn’t want her to stop.

“So the story goes,” he said, expressing disbelief, “that people used to see pictures in the stars, of their gods and such. Just connecting the dots the way they wanted too.” Teach shrugged.

“That’s where the map of your life leads to in the end, to the stars. Each star, and each story, each connected made-up picture, is a signpost on your own personal road. The stars map destiny, Wyatt,” she said, “your future is out there, written in them. Look out there and decide what you want your life to look like…”

I decided what I wanted my life to look like. It included the word “Author”. And now, I am.

Skipping to the Good Part — Queen of Hunger Snippet

I’ve been wrestling with new blog posts for the last two weeks. That’s why there haven’t been any updates.  I’m just so excited about QUEEN OF HUNGER coming out that I can’t seem to think of anything else to say but “WHEEE I’M EXCITED!!” which doesn’t make for very good blog posts or Twitter tweets or any of the rest of it. Everything I’ve written sounds preachy, or marketing-focused, or just plain empty because really, I just want to give you the book and send you out to sit in the sun and enjoy it. What’s there to say beyond this:

I love these characters. I love this world. I want you to enjoy them as much as I do.

Well, there is one thing — I can give you a taste of the characters and world so you can start to fall in love too. So I’m going to do that. All the blog blah blah be damned.

Meet Mona.

Read the rest of this entry

QUEEN OF HUNGER Has a Cover!

As I was putting together my plan for self-publishing, it quickly became clear that task #2, after finishing QUEEN OF HUNGER, was having a great cover done. A cover is the first step in the presentation of a book. And as a new author, convincing new readers to pay a few bucks for my work, I knew I needed to nail that first impression. My cover artist helped me do that to the nines.

If you’re looking for an experienced, fun, creative artist, I present to you Darne Lang. And the cover to my book.

Teach in her world

Cover Art by D.Lang for QUEEN OF HUNGER.

I’m lucky to know an amazing number of skilled artists and craftspeople, both personally and professionally. I know jewelers, pewter-smiths, stained glass setters (is that a glazier? A stained glazier? How does that work, linguistically speaking?), custom seamstresses, and a number of 2-D visual artists in both digital and traditional media. I met my cover artist several years ago, but this is our first collaboration – the first of many I hope. I definitely learned a lot in working with her, most notably that “I don’t know, can you make it more Oakland?” isn’t actually good creative feedback.

Let me know what you think in the Comments. Feel free to share through all your social webs; if not because the QUEEN OF HUNGER is an awesome book, which it is, then because the cover is just good.

Call for Suggested Reading

Now that I’m going to be publishing a book under the aegis of my lucky stars, I’ve started reading other self-published/small press authors. This is my own attempt to not only support other artists in my field, but also to get a feeling for the field itself.

To continue in this little project, I need your help. If you yourself are self-published, or know someone who is, leave me the details of the book in the comments. If the book fits with what I feel like reading, and the price is right, I’ll pick it up. If I have something interesting to say about it, I might just say it here – with a link to the author. I like hearing what other people have to say about my fiction, so it is nice to return that favor to others.

So far I’ve picked up the following (this is not yet a recommendation list, just an information one):

The Shining Cities: An Anthology of Pagan Science Fiction

Under the Amoral Bridge: A Cyberpunk Novel

Poor Man’s Fight

I also have laying around a few small press anthologies that I occasionally return to:

Space Tramps: Full Throttle Space Tales #5

Finding Home: Building Community in Apocalyptic Worlds

Yes, my short story is the closer for Finding Home (all the more reason for me to read all the other stories in the anthology!). My story is called “Jar Cleaning Day” and is completely unassociated with THE QUEEN OF HUNGER. That short centers on Sylvia Crenshaw, a hard-working survivor faced with a novel solution to her entirely not-novel problem. It is a different setting with different characters, but I’m sure sharp readers will make connections – real or imagined.

So you’ve got your assignment: self-pubbed/small press book details in the comments. Give me a list!

Back Cover Blurb

I’ve given you the title, QUEEN OF HUNGER. Now you’re probably wondering: What is this fabulous first novel going to be about? Well, I’ll tell you! Cyberpunk, and urban gods, and Nebraska, and…  maybe I can’t really tell you; that’d be cheating. I do intend to drop a few snippets of the book here over the next few weeks, stay tuned for that, but for right now this is a book desperately in need of a back cover blurb. I’d thought that, as there wouldn’t be an actual “book,” I wouldn’t need one. I was wrong.

I’m sure I’ll rewrite this a hundred times, but  here’s what the back cover might say if I had one.

Surviving, not thriving. That’s Teach. She’s survived her motorcycle meeting the pavement at some obscene speed, leaving her in debt to the local fixer – a situation that’s easy to get into and hard to get out of. She’s out-lived her family and out-run the corporation that killed them. She’s done all that with the voice of a goddess in her head and a bottomless pit in her stomach. Now Teach is in love, real love, with a beautiful woman who doesn’t think she’s crazy. Hopefully she’s right. Everything is changing, including that voice in her head, and Teach doesn’t quite know what to do about any of it. But she knows how to survive — and maybe thriving is just on the other side of that.

Announcing!

If you’re a friend of mine, or even a vague and distant acquaintance, you know that I write. What you might not know is this: I’ll be publishing my book via Amazon Kindle at the end of April!

QUEEN OF HUNGER, Tales of the Assembled: Book 1 is a professionally edited, two-years in the writing, one-year in the fixing, full-length novel. Read the rest of this entry

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