Black Writer…White Writer. Who Cares?

The subject of writing diverse characters, especially in science fiction, is circling the wagons like a vulture waiting to see it can unleash a great big dump before devouring its prey. Should white authors write nonwhite characters and should black authors only write their own? I find it asinine in this day and age. Have we not moved forward in all this time?

Well, science fiction is still pretty much an old white male game. But, that is only part of it. You see, I am a black female author who writes LGBT friendly science fiction with mostly non black characters. That is the trifecta of a whammy in this industry.

During a convention, I was confronted as being a traitor to my race because I did not have any black main characters in my novels. Apparently I should be writing Urban Fantasy or some deep, thought provoking literary piece. Here’s the thing; I can easily write about that. It is not much of a challenge for me. But learning other cultures and ethnic groups fascinates me. These fuel my muse.

Plus, Science fiction usually has aliens in them and they do not fall under the human categories for race. Last time I checked, we didn’t have any extra terrestrials camping out in our suburbs.

Why should it matter what ethnicity the is author? We are all writers of FICTION. That means we make stuff up. As long as the character is believable and not created out of ignorance or hate, everything is up for grabs. My hope is that one day this whole discussion will be put to bed for good and becomes a non issue.

So writers….Keep writing what you want. Show everyone the worlds only you can create.

I know I will.

 

 

Advertisements

Curve has taken …a curve. Sigh

karysilan440-72dpi-1500x2000-3

A Curve of Humanity: Book 1

A Curve of Humanity. The 8 book series I am currently in the throes of writing. Last year, Book One: Origins was released unto the masses in all its glorious, yet pitiful, form. The strange hyphenated words waving hello mid sentence. Characters speaking in nonsensical languages because it surely wasn’t proper grammar. And then there was the lackluster amount of Space, Sex, and Gore. My mantra for what each story must include.

Soooo….hence why I say Curve had veered off the rails and the tracks are warped. My little NaNo turd became a big doodee. Fixable? Absolutely! I’m a writer. That’s what I do. Now, since I am crafting the first four books in the series at the same time, this gives me the chance to inject all the fun stuff book one was missing. In comes the beta readers with their feedback and…yep. As I thought, outcries of disappointment for not having meaningful relationships, more technology and of course “Where’s the frickin’ gore?”

With a click on Amazon and a few more on CreateSpace, A Curve of Humanity Book One: Origins was unpublished, removed from sales, dumped by the wayside of a deserted back road like a dead body disposed after a mob hit. (For Curve; You will be given honor in death and rise anew.) Moral of this story? It wasn’t ready. Don’t push something out until it says so because, DRAMA.

Needless to say, the major overhaul is underway. Book one was a little over 43K words and now it sits near the 60K mark with two more chapters to add. Book Two, A Cast of Shadows only needs a couple of scenes added and the last chapter. Book Three: A Hot Mess (No, that’s not the title. It is literally a thorn in my side sitting at a measly 18K. Murder Sequences are hard) and Book Four is yet to be titled but has about 12K words down in it.

My author peeps tell me I am a bit too ambitious, kicking out five books in a year, but I say “Pfllttt!!” Watch me work. Throw me a curve ball and I will zero in with laser focus and hit it out of the park. That’s the plan, Stan. Look for Books 1-4 to come flying out like combat fighters this summer .

In the meantime, you can check out my latest book, Blood Doctrine.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071]

Blood Doctrine

Millennial vampires who get thrown into boarding school by the elders who are fed up with their poor manners. It’s cheeky, sexy, fun, and gore filled. What’s not to love? Right!

Ciao for now and stay tuned for more updates on this grand scheme of mine to write an 8 BOOK SERIES! Madness.

Good Riddance and Happy Trails 2016

Ahh…2016! A year of great accomplishments and a devastating news cycle.

For me, it was an eye opener to what I lacked as an artist/business woman. It forced me to set goals for 2017 that are frightening yet energizing. I did not meet my quota to kick out five books, settling for a mere 2. But, that alone is a great feat as many authors barely get one out every year or more.  It was a time filled with many edits; frustrating, exhausting.

There were a few conventions where my business senses tingled. Author 101 University showed me how to up my game. The trials and tribulations of vending at Science Fiction conventions let me know what to bring and eliminate for future sales. Swag is Queen and finding my true audience; the key.

We saw a lot of icons from the 70s, 80s and 90s eras leave their mortal coils and ascend this world. As a child of those times, it seemed like my generation was being punished for some unseen sin committed without our knowledge. It’s sad but let’s not blame the year. So many factors led to their demise and if we didn’t know them personally, then we cannot and should not judge.

This past year was not all that bad as many of my peers make it out to be. Were there some sketchy moments? Absolutely! They didn’t deter me from my tasks. That being said….

My new motto for 2017 is GO BIG or GO HOME!!

Look forward to many exciting things coming your way from yours truly because the creative juices are flowing and I intend to open the flood gates.

See you on the flipside!

My Recent Interview

Women In Horror Month

WiHM2016Sickle-BlackOnLight-large
Maquel A JacobOriginally from Chicago, author Maquel A. Jacob now resides in “green and lush” Portland, Oregon. As a woman with a quest to learn new things, she boasts qualifications in accounting and business administration, digital film and video, as well as having been a licensed nail technician. But now, as a member of the Northwest Independent Writer’s Association, you’re more likely to find her “hunkered over her widescreen laptop like Quasimodo”. That, or buried in the mosh pit at a rock concert.

Author of the ‘Core’ science fiction trilogy, as well as the Welcome Despair collection of short stories, Maquel A. Jacob writes about monsters ranging from aliens to vampires and demons.

How did you first become interested in horror?
Everything imaginable seemed to frighten me but never the less, I loved the feeling of my soul being ejected out of my skin through every pore. Growing up in the 1970’s I was exposed to the rising boom of B movies. Most of it was either Sci-Fi, Horror or just plain disturbing and by the 80’s they were part of the main stream.

When did you start writing?
At the age of 12 I lost consciousness outside my house and was asleep for a very long time. During that time, I dreamt in a three-part plane of existence and when I woke up, wrote it all down. In the mid 80’s I would take my favorite musical groups and incorporate parts of the dream into all kinds of scenarios. They were my plot and character guinea pigs and when they no longer held the same giddy excitement I moved on. From that day on to present I write down my dreams and interpret them into something tangible for a story. Now a good 90% of my stories come from that.

How does your love of horror show in your sci-fi books?
Since I started publishing my works I felt a need to bring my audience in slowly with a few scenes of gore and despair in every book. (Some of my author friends with weak constitutions refer to one of my books as 50 shades of blood but I don’t see that.) I plan to use my collection of shorts as a medium for the stories that go further down the road of horror. My goal of course is to dive into full blown Sci-Fi Horror the likes of Event Horizon.

What sort of books did you grow up on, and which have influenced your own work the most?
After reading The Stand by Stephen King when I was eleven, I got hooked. Last check, I have read well over twenty, maybe thirty, of his books. Then I read Clive Barker’s works which go deep into the realms of human darkness and became even more fascinated with the genre, especially movies. I wanted to have elements of love, lust, despair and gore all rolled into one as they had done.

You’ve written stories about everything from vampires to aliens to demons. What’s your favourite horror monster?
Aliens rule supreme because my imagination can go wild. We as a species have no clue as to what may lurk in our own galaxy, let alone the universe itself. Now, don’t get me wrong, Demons come in second and I feel Vampires are part of that category. Different from aliens, they are casts from humans. Flawed, deviant animals who prey on others. I feel aliens would see our race as insects and their technology would elevate the methods of torment.

Do you think women have a hard time in the horror and sci-fi genres?
Women absolutely have a hard time in both genres because of one simple fact. We are supposed to be nurturing, maternal and the voice of reason. A woman who can dive into the fantastic or the demented is deemed an anomaly of the gender. I have been accused of having bloodlust based on my writing and find it hilarious. This is the reason I use a pen name that is perceived as male but actually isn’t. It shouldn’t be that way in the 21st century but the truth is men still have the upper hand in the industry.

What are you working on now?
Current works in progress are the first three of an eight book series tentatively titled A Curve of/in Humanity. It’s science fiction that I hope poses the question of what defines being human in the aftermath of alien interbreeding. Book one, Origins, should be out by May 2016, book two in August and the third by December. Next on the list is a vampire story focused on the elders fed up and schooling the new generation on what it means to be a vampire. Looking at Summer for that one to be released. And last is another collection with three stories revolving around religious crisis with elements of science fiction. It’s going to be a busy year.

Find out more at www.maquelajacob.com
Welcome Despair by Maquel A Jacob

Welcome Despair

So, your stomach isn’t strong enough to handle deep horror and gore? Then Welcome Despair is just up your alley. A collection of short stories that takes small steps as you delve into the dark side, dipping your toes into the shallow end of despair.

A young corporate office worker with nothing left to lose finds himself with a group of hunters who don’t discriminate when it comes to prey. Children on a ravaged planet are abducted by the enemy and learn just how strong they can be.  A jaded reporter interviews the leader of a prominent neighborhood. One soul is chased into a plane of existence with no signs of escape.

Each story opens a doorway into fear, pain, sorrow and blood. Looking for happy endings? Not here. Come, settle in and Welcome Despair.

Get Welcome Despair at Amazon

Reflections on 2015

At the start of 2015 I had one main goal: Have 5 books published by the end of the year. I fell short by one but getting four out was not only amazing but a true struggle. My writing took on a life of its own forcing me to accomplish my mission. Not once did I think I would not succeed. Naivety on my part? Possibly. As someone who is anal retentive, striving for perfection, I found that I am not perfect in any way. So many mistakes littered my path yet the journey continued. So, what have I learned?

Editing is a monster. A blackened, ragged creature drenched in the blood of souls and red ink. It is also your BFF. Having such sights to show you deep within your psyche. I knew about proofreading but not the other types of editing. Thus, when I went searching for better ones than my previous experience, I came across that long list of wordsmith experts. I realized that I needed a developmental editor and boy did I find one. He tore my manuscript apart and gave me a what for. Which I needed. After crying and laughing simultaneously at the sea of notes in the comments section, my resolve was clear.

Now, when I write, the words take more thinking before landing in the manuscript. Proofreading is not just about correct spelling and grammar because we all know MS Word misses a lot. I go word by word, line by line, reading my story out loud. Is it tedious? Absolutely! My brain hurts every time I complete this task.

Social Media, the three horned devil. The leviathan lurking in an ocean of terrifying minds bearing all their joy and shame. Yes, I am talking about the unholy trinity of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 2015 found me diving in and barely keeping afloat, constantly gasping for air as I came up from its depths. Not a fan. They are a necessary evil if you want to expand your reach. In conjunction with those demons comes blogs and websites. I am still in the process of tweaking both my sites to maximize my brand.  Blogging is not quite my forte but I am always willing to learn new tricks.

How I write has evolved without my knowledge and it didn’t come to light until NaNoWriMo. I considered myself a pantser because that is how I have done it since the age of twelve. At some point I began to create plot points; the structure border lining on outline. The words flowed and by the time November came around and I wrapped my chunky talons around NaNo, I finished in 17 days. That is the first time that has ever happened in all the years of my doing NaNo. My new title is Plotser. I pants each plot point.

On a personal note, I think my creativity has grown exponentially. Around this time in 2014, I knew very little about publishing a book, let alone marketing. I finished college in January of 2015 with a degree in Business Administration with Emphasis on Entrepreneurship. That program was an eye opener and for some reason I was afraid to implement what I had learned towards my writing. I can tell you that I am no longer afraid.

2016 will be another year of trials and tribulations but I have no intentions of giving up my dreams. My goal for the new year is to have 10 books published by the end of it. So watch me do it in a lack of glittery style and faltering grace (because I am a total klutz). I look forward to bringing you more crazy Space opera with a little bit of Romance and maybe a bigger touch of Gore.

Have a wonderful and prosperous NEW YEAR!!

Worldcon: 73rd Annual Science Fiction Convention

I made the trek, along with fellow author, Madison Keller, to Spokane Washington for our first ever Worldcon. After a stop in Seattle, a bad lunch decision at DQ and nine long hours, we arrived. Let’s just say Spokane is a dirty place on the outskirts of the convention center. Our hotel was in the sketchy parts and I saw some things that reminded me of documentaries on urban city life gone wrong.

Day 0 was a whirlwind of people coming and going as they set up their wares. Not really a day for socializing. More like “Get er done!” Being part of NIWA is a blessing because it meant there were ten of us ready to man our booth in rotation. That allowed us to go to events and not have to worry about coverage. So, when Day 1 came, the real mayhem began. Panels, readings, book signings and the ever popular Meet & Greets (Which is the long wordy version for Parties). I took every chance to hit up a few panels and shmooze with the elite, the upper echelon of SciFi. Many of the programs were happening in the same time blocks so I had to decide which ones I ‘really’ wanted to attend. It was a bit frustrating, considering the layout of the Convention Center.

Where was the Goblin King? I ask because the place is literally a labyrinth. Even some of the staff commented on how the map was a lesson in futility. The only positive outcome of this? I got my exercise in on a daily basis, in conjunction with the long walk from the hotel. If you happen to be in the area and want to workout for free, take a spin around that ginormous place.

Some of the memorable panels I attended: Future Pharmaceuticals, Afrofurturism, Diversity in Science Fiction, How to Edit an Anthology and YA (Where to Draw the Line with Sex and Gore). I took a TON of notes and now feel confident to delve into other genres. Each panel was conducted by experts of the subject matter with a lot of well known names. Yes, I shmoozed there too. Free books were everywhere and made me glad we drove. I feel for the anyone who had to either ship their book purchases of find a way to get them on a plane.

Parties, and more parties. I went to a few of those. The Heinlein Society had three vats of chili, each a different flavor. Big and small press had book signings combined with booze. The best spread goes to the Baen party which was held in a presidential suite of epic proportions. They had a bowl of Rolos. Nuff said.

Book sales? Not so much. Word was that may be the case because Worldon is more about networking and/or fangirling/fanboying. I did manage to sell a few of book one and do some signing which always makes my day. Most of the time, my bootay was sauntering over to meet a well known person I either admired or always wanted to talk to. I could name drop all the great people I met but it would take up most of this post. With that said, I’m looking forward to connecting with them all again at the 2016 Worldcon, MidAmeriCon in Kansas City, MO.