I like railways!

New Anthology: Bloodchildren

Help support the Octavia E. Butler Scholarship Fund! Buy a copy of Bloodchildren - the new ebook anthology of stories written by the Octavia E. Butler Scholars.

As a member of the Board of Directors of the Carl Brandon Society, what I can tell you is this: the annual cost to send a writer of color to Clarion and to Clarion West is about $8000. Therefore, we are looking for 1000 people to buy one copy each of our new anthology - or 500 to buy two, or - well, you get the idea.

Production and publication of the anthology has been supported by generous donations by SF3, the parent organization of WisCon, and individual donors.

Introducing: A More Diverse Universe Blog Tour

So last week I signed up for this most important event. Why is this important? Aarti explains why.

"I've spoken on this blog (and in other forums) about the lack of diversity in fantasy fiction, particularly fantasy fiction of the epic nature.  If epic fantasy has diversity, it is often present in a fashion that mirrors the stereotypes of Medieval Europe, with Viking-like invaders from the North and Infidels from the East and uneasy peaces and petty wars with those that look most like the heroes of the stories.  This is unfair for many reasons that I hope I don't need to enumerate here.  And of course, there are absolutely amazing authors whose books are populated by characters of every size, shape, color, and species.  But it's still difficult and frustrating to be a fantasy reader who comes up against the same tropes in every book.  Because while fantasy novels can be, well, fantastic, they can also be very repetitive and tell the same story with different character names.  And I can't help but think that at least part of the reason is because of the lack of diversity in fantasy book authorship.  Because it is hard to break into the fantasy genre as a new author, generally.  And even more difficult if your book is about a person of color.  And most difficult of all if you yourself are a person of color writing stories about characters of color.

"Did you know that there are more books in publication about people of color that are by Caucasian authors than there are by people of color authors?!  That means that if you are white and write a book about an Indian girl named Aarti and her life in Chicago (and perhaps a fantastical journey to Fairyland) you are more likely than I am to get that book published.  That's messed up.

"And so a small group of bloggers got together to create an event to fight this.  And, as bloggers do, we decided to organize a blog tour.  For one week in September (the week of the 23rd), we want ALL OF YOU fantasy/sci fi/magical realism readers (with blogs and without) to read a fantasy/sci fi/magical realism novel written by a person of color.  And to write a review of that book.  You know as well as I do that books succeed based on word of mouth and mentions and conversation, and this is where bloggers can help the MOST.  Just read one book.  And share your thoughts on that one book.

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operation cobra

How Racism Works In The Comic Industry

Over on Bleeding Cool, Mr. Easton breaks down beautifully why there's only 3 percent of blacks working in the Big Two companies.

This quote here sums up why the comic industry is in the state it is in now:

"I reflect on the words of my friend Peter Briggs, the “Hellboy” screenwriter who was once asked “Why do Hollywood films suck so often?” Briggs replied, “Incompetence is rife in this business, and egos make it worse. And there’s a culture of poker buddy, frat boy nepotism that fosters ‘who you know’ and filters out genuine talent. And that’s why bad movies get made.”Replace movies with comic books in this equation. Add in egos fueled by bigotry and the sum is about 3.0%"

But this is the quote that really brings it home:

"I’m going to reveal a secret about Black males – a lot of us are naïve idealists. We actually believe that people are going to judge us on the content of our character rather than the color of our skin. What you see is our reaction to constantly having our hearts broken by the realization that yet another White person is counted as an enemy. Disappointment can be worse than hate."

Read this now. And if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go buy and read Mr. Easton's graphic novel Shadowlaw.

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Cross-posted for feedback:

Ladies, I have questions. May I have a moment of your time please?

So for Clarion Write-a-thon, I've been knocking out a lot of writing projects. I just finished a book which I'm currently editing. I'm working on an outline for a publisher. I'm about to work on my next project which I've developed.

An action-packed SF/F story, it's a predominantly female merc crew with a queer black heroine as the central protagonist. In fact, I envision said heroine resembling the lovely and talented Ms. India Arie in the above pic. This is a diverse team that features other women of color, a protagonist of size, as well as a trans heroine. One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that even with most women-centric stories, women of color, particularly black women, are often thrown under the bus and that’s definitely something that never sat well with me. The story is loosely based on an old comic book script I previously wrote. Think a female Expendables meets Birds of Prey in a dystopian setting. 

So my question to the women is this. In an action packed book where the ladies take center stage, what would you like to see more of from writers and what would you like writers to avoid? I basically want to hear your thoughts so I can know what to bear in mind while writing the story.

Your comments will also serve as a great resource to other male writers who genuinely want to do it right. While many of us know to avoid the major tropes and fails, there may be some elements/dynamics that we haven’t considered.

Women of color and queer women, I especially want to hear from you.

Thank you for your time.


Folklore And Other Stories


Exciting news. My good friend Ankhesen Mie is back with an awesome new title that you're going to want to grab:

Middle Child Press is proud to present Folklore and Other Stories:



When young Kazuya Kurosaki orders the disposal of a rival’s favorite, beautiful Amisi Ryan shows up with a "'thank you'...from the dead". Her priceless gift, an approximately four-thousand-year-old solid gold mask, lures Kazuya into a world of myth and intoxicating fantasy, and with each telling of an ancient tale, he finds himself drawn further and further away from everything - and everyone - he knows.


Rory Zheng is a young traveler who arrives at Silver Wood Manor, an enchanting residence atop a mountain where he meets an array of characters. Among them are the mischievous old Irishman who designed the buildings and the chatty nine-year-old daughter of the beautiful, somber landlady of Silver Wood, whose husband is often away....

To unlock the mystery and history of the manor and its people, Rory employs some magic of his own: the art of storytelling.

"The Collection"

The divorce between Jason Rang and his filthy rich, soon-to-be ex-wife Mireille is actually going well. Or at least it does until Jason lets his new fiancée Maribel actually meet Mireille. Invited to Mireille’s newly inherited mansion (fully furnished with all manner of beautiful shirtless young men), Jason and Maribel find themselves lulled into a sensual world where they learn that sometimes - but only sometimes - an entire divorce proceeding can be just another lovers' quarrel.

For those of you who are always stating how you wish there was more diversity in publishing and how you wish you could support more marginalized voices, here's a perfect opportunity to do so. Middle Child Press is a wonderful publisher, Ankhesen Mie is an incredible writer, and voices like theirs need to be uplifted like yesterday.

More information on Folklore can be found here.

"Is 'Game of Thrones' Too White?"

"Is Game of Thrones too White?" subtitled, "Fantasy fiction might have racial problems, but they're just a reflection of America's broader battles." On reading this, I really enjoyed seeing these problems with GOT and the fantasy genre in general laid out so clearly. (With thanks to hand2hand. Content advisory: Mr. Ahmed quotes, among other sections of the novels, a sequence graphically depicting sexual assault.)