Get Your Read On

The Carl Brandon Society has posted their list of recommended reading for Black History Month (hat tip to SF Author Tobias Buckell):

Black History Month Reading List

The Carl Brandon Society recommends the following books, compiled form suggestions on the Carl Brandon Society list-serve, for Black History Month:

* So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehandir

* The Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

* Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany

* My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due

* The Coyote Kings of the Space Age Bachelor Pad by Minister Faust

* Mindscape by Andrea Hairston

* Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell (hey, that’s a Juno book!)

* Futureland by Walter Mosley

* The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu

* Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu

About the Carl Brandon Society

The idea for the Society first came about at the feminist science fiction convention WisCon ’99 in Madison, WI, when WisCon responded to a request from people of color in the community by scheduling more programming items that addressed race, and by having a focus group where people of color could meet and formulate strategies for increasing the awareness and representation of people of color in the genres and in the community. This request was incited by an article written by Samuel R. Delany: “Racism and Science Fiction” in the New York Review of Science Fiction (August 1998, volume 10 issue 12). This essay was recently republished in the anthology Dark Matter, edited by Sheree R. Thomas. It is available at most bookstores.

Juno Guidelines update

Since I’d posted about Juno being open to submission’s again, I figured I’d let you all know that there’s been a clarification of the guidelines. You can read about it (and Paula’s response to some author questions) in this post.

If you don’t want to click over, here’s the deets:

80-100K words
Female protagonist
Urban setting (much like our current world, or a few years in the future)
Magic can be obvious or on the down-low
It doesn’t have to be all about the kick ass, shoot ’em up

Oh, and you might want to hold off on sending that Underworld-inspired plot to her. Just sayin’.

Cemeteries and Tater Tots

Mercury went direct yesterday morning, and I’m already feeling the effects. The creative portion of my brain went on like a light, and I got more written between 10 pm and 2 am than I did the previous two days. How sad is that? If I ever get to the point where the day job isn’t necessary, but writing schedule will probably be 9pm to 4 am or something like that. I just seem to function better after the sun goes down.

Mercury going direct does bode well for the final push this month, which will involve a writing weekend ensconced in a hotel nearby. I’d thought about going here but may have to save that for a sanity retreat later in the year. And I have the PASIC conference and DragonCon to do this year.

I’m hoping the weekend will be warm enough for me to get out to Oakland Cemetery. I have a very pivotal scene in SHADOWBLADE set there, and I want to describe it faithfully. Shame on me that I visited St. Louis #1 in NoLa but haven’t visited this historic landmark in my own backyard, though I have ridden a MARTA bus past it many times.

I’ll probably wrap that up with a trip to one of my favorite places: the Vortex in Little Five. If you’re ever in Atlanta and jonesing for a mammoth burger and tater tots, this is the place to go. My problem is that I always fill up on the tots and get too full to eat my burger.

Okay, now to bang out a couple of pages before lunch time is done!

Bacon Explosion

Now I like bacon. My friends know not to attempt to sneak a strip off my plate–one was nearly stabbed by my fork, quite unthinkingly on my part. I also love sausage–nothing’s better with a Waffle House waffle than two sausage patties drizzled with syrup.

But this? This clenches my stomach, and not in a good way:

Burnt Finger BBQ's Bacon Explosion

Burnt Finger BBQ's Bacon Explosion

That puppy is made with two pounds of bacon and two pounds of sausage, liberally interlaced with BBQ sauce and rub. My arteries scream just looking at it.

Wanna Write Fantasy?

If you have an urban fantasy that focuses on a female character, you might want to think about submitting to Juno. The guidelines have been updated and posted here.

From the website:

Juno is currently looking for novels from 80,000 to 100,000 words in length. We are interested in fantasy featuring a strong female protagonist set in a world quite like ours except for the intersection/transgression of the numinous (that which is “wholly other”) with/upon the mundane. This world can be open (“magic”, the “supernatural”‘ is known to exist) or closed (where “otherness” is concealed from common knowledge).

You can send an query letter via email with a proposal attached. Proposal is synopsis plus first three chapters.

What's It All About, Alfie?

So I’m coming down from a wonderful week by swimming through emails, watching The Last Templar on NBC, staring at a bottle of Dom Perignon given to me by a wonderful, fantastic and totally awesome set of friends–and basically not writing as much as I should. When will Mercury retrograde be over? Oh yeah, I gotta wait ten more days!

I do want to thank everyone who’s sent me congrats through email, Twitter, and comments. You are all very awesome for sharing my joy with me, and I appreciate it. This series and its sale has been a long time coming and I’m thankful I’ve got wonderful people out there who understand what it means to me. Now the hard part begins–finishing the first book!

One of the repeated questions I’ve been asked is what is my series all about. So, I’ve created a sub-domain on my website, that will be the home of the Shadowchasers series: I’ve got some content over there now, including a bit of background on some of the major players in the first book, SHADOWBLADE. As the weeks and months progress, I’ll keep adding content and background info, including the I-hope-I-get-it-before-DragonCon cover.

For now, feel free to check out this blurb:

Kira Solomon’s life is a delicate balancing act. By day she specializes in identifying and defusing ancient ceremonial magic objects. By night she’s a Shadowchaser–a bounty hunter in service to the Guardians of Light in the eternal struggle against the Shadow of Chaos. She resents her superiors in the Gilead Commission for allowing her previous handler to die, but there aren’t a lot of career choices for a woman who’s unable to touch another living thing without devastating consequences.

Then she meets a man she can touch: a 4,000 year-old Nubian warrior. Problem is, she doesn’t know if he’s her salvation or destruction–especially since someone’s turning Atlanta upside down in search of a mystical blade. An Egyptian blade that happens to be sentient and looking for its master. Kira’s not giving anything up without a fight, and when the gloves comes off, she’s always the last one standing.

I Have News!

So, some of you may have seen this little news item by Publisher’s Weekly yesterday:

Pocket Books has signed a co-publishing agreement with Juno Books through which Juno will release one title per month under its own imprint. Founded in June 2006, Juno has developed a niche in contemporary fantasy novels and its authors include Carole Nelson Douglas, Stacia Kane and Sylvia Kelso. The first title to appear under the new deal is Amazon Ink set for a June release. Juno Books editor Paula Guran will oversee the line along with Pocket senior editor Jennifer Heddle.

You’re probably going, “Yeah.  So?”  Well, here’s the thing: Juno has offered me a contract on an urban fantasy series.


Hello.  Is this thing on?

Yes, I have sold an urban fantasy series to Juno/Pocket!  The first book is called SHADOWBLADE, and will be released in February 2010.  Juno’s books are currently shelved in scifi/fantasy, so it looks like I’m changing neighborhoods too!

Cue the Jefferson’s theme song!

Living the Dream

Today I’m blogging over at ReadersRooms about Living the Dream and what it means to me.  I sure hope you’re able to stop by!

Coming Together: At Last – Now Available!

cover for Coming Together: At Last

Volume One

Volume Two

Phaze, in partnership with editor, Alessia Brio, is proud to announce Coming Together: At Last, a collection of interracial erotic fiction which celebrates the diversity of desire. With an introduction by NYT Bestselling Author L.A. Banks!

Volumes 1 and 2 feature stories by Bridget Midway, Saskia Walker, Seressia Glass, Aliyah Burke, Alessia Brio and Will Belegon, and many more!

All proceeds from the sale of this special anthology will benefit Amnesty International. Coming Together is erotic altruism at its finest!

Buy the eBook for $6.00 or order the trade print edition for $15.95

Volume One

Volume Two

300-calorie meals

From Sparkpeople:

What Do 300-Calorie Meals Look Like?

Wonder what 300 calories looks like? 300 calories look drastically different when you’re eating in instead of dining out. Choosing healthier, more nutritious foods–at home and away–means you can eat much more food and still lose weight. Check out these 18 meal comparisons and forward this eye-opening email to your friends, family and co-workers to help them eat healthier this year!

Breakfast: 300-Calorie Meals & Portions
Here are three morning meals that each weigh in at 300 calories. Healthy and quick homemade meals (left column) pack whole grains, fresh fruit, and protein–a filling combination that will keep you fuller longer. You could only eat a fraction of the comparable restaurant meals (right column) for the same number of calories.

Lunch: 350-Calorie Meals & Portions
These midday meals contain 350 calories each–the perfect amount to keep you going without wrecking your diet. Packing one of the homemade lunches on the left doesn’t take long, and look at all those low-cal and filling veggies you’ll get! Notice how seemingly healthy options like the restaurant foods on the right can be very misleading! Those 350-calorie portions are pretty small.

Dinner: 400-Calorie Meals & Portions
Many people consume a larger meal at night, so we picked 400-calorie dinners here. By combining whole grains with lean protein and vegetables, these homemade dinners (left column) are a snap to prepare–and they’ll keep the late-night munchies at bay! In contrast, the high-fat and high-calorie meals on the right don’t offer much in the way of nutrition or volume.