EFNIKS is a hella dope digital magazine, catering to QPOC. Every month, they have a new theme, and I HIGHLY recommend checking out their nonfiction content.
I was honored to have my fiction featured as one of the two stories of the month.
“The Moon and Other Beasts I Keep With Me” is a short story about appropriation with a fantastical twist–our protagonist is a werewolf who, after sharing the secrets of who she was, is heartbroken to find an ex has used it to propel themselves into a fiction career. It asks the same question that we ask ourselves as QPOC on a daily basis–when we are so othered that no one will believe that our experiences are authentic, where does that leave us?
Just a few weeks ago, Black Mask Comics published The Wilds, my first Editor credit on a comic!
After a cataclysmic plague sweeps across America, survivors come together to form citystate-like communities for safety. Daisy Walker is a Runner for The Compound, a mix of post-apocalyptic postal service and black market salvaging operation. It is a Runner’s job to ferry items and people between settlements, and on occasion scavenge through the ruins of the old world. Daisy is the best there is at what she does. Out beyond the settlement walls are innumerable dangers: feral animals, crumbling structures, and Abominations — those that were touched by the plague and became something other. After a decade of surviving, Daisy isn’t phased by any of it — until her lover, another Runner named Heather, goes missing on a job. Desperate to find her, Daisy begins to see that there may be little difference between the world inside the walls and the horrors beyond. From writer Vita Ayala (Bitch Planet: Triple Feature, Wonder Woman Annual) and Emily Pearson (Cult Classic) with colors by Marissa Louise (Spell On Wheels) and covers by Natasha Alterici (Heathen), comes this bold tale of surviving in bleak times.
You can buy the first issue of The Wilds digitally here at comixology, and I’ll update when the next issues/second printings are available!
BONUS READING MATERIAL: Vita Ayala, the writer, is my best friend, and we had the good fortune of being interviewed together by Dany Roth over at SyFy.com about our friendship, collaboration, and how we don’t ACTUALLY look like clones of one another. Check it out here!
I don’t need to get into the details of the ways politics have played a role in the stress of 2017; we’ve all suffered from it. I’m black and queer and hella broke, so you know the score. On top of that, as I wrote over the summer, my father passed. And then another close family member passed. And then ANOTHER got sick. So on a personal level, the fight was to not drown in it all. Misery and anger kind of seeps in for me and turns me into molasses. Slow and sticky and not going anywhere.
But when I look back at the year I’m blown away by how much I’ve actually accomplished. On a writing level, I’d definitely wager I’ve done more this year than I ever have.
I wrote “The Last Exorcist”and FIYAH published it. That’s the biggest of my achievements. It’s the first story that anyone’s paid me for, and it’s one of the stories I’m proudest of. I’ll write more about it soon, but I approached that story different than I have in the past. I was more political. I was strident about the kind of narrator that I wanted to create. Most importantly, I wrote my blackness onto the page in a way I hope continues to resonant with people.
“The Last Exorcist” managed to end up on the Nebula Reading List. I screamed when I found out. I still wibble about it, realizing that more than one person has read it. That when people have talked to me about the parts that stayed with them, it’s the parts I’m proudest of.
I’m editing more and more, both comics and prose. In the upcoming year, I’ve got three projects that I’m editing, and two possible projects. One of my goals in 2018 is to seek out more avenues to learn and grow as an editor.
I’ve got shorties in the works! (Yes, I’m calling my short stories “shorties,” and you should be glad I’m not calling them shawties.) Three, at last count, and my goal is to submit at least TWO of them to a few markets.
And Hood Magic…boy, I’ve been bad about my schedule for editing, and that’s gotta change. I’m hoping to get a lot of work done before the end of the year, and then work on polish. Pray for me, y’all.
There’s another project that’s on the horizon, but I don’t want to chat too much about that yet. Can’t jinx it. I’ll tell you more when I know more 😀
Anyway, the final goal is that you will hear from me more in the new year! I’ll have a lot more to say and share.
A space pseudo-pulp story where a trio of astronauts discover an alien artifact that brings out the beast within…
“What are we looking at, Nichols?”
The voice echoed in Kareem’s comms; all communications, be it between astronauts or from the Bellua, were echoing, staticky things. Modern technology was a joke on a planet like this; suddenly they all sounded like retro-radio shows, the kind that Kareem listened to as a kid. Digital shows made to sound like something from a far-gone era.
Those old shows had nothing on planet G9-3X. G9 wasn’t a callback to the 20th century. It was a callback to the age of dinosaurs. Flora as big as Kareem’s arm was the average, and while they hadn’t seen much fauna, Kareem hadn’t even wanted to fuck with the herbivores they had encountered. Strange, many-legged and brightly furred, or even the eerie gas whose color defied description (Javier insisted it didn’t count as a creature, but Kareem wasn’t so sure, not with the intelligent way it moved, not after the thing stared back at him as he recorded its movements) Continue reading “The Nasty At Bellua, A Free Short Story…”
Check out my story “The Last Exorcist” in the third issue of FIYAH! This issue’s theme is Sundown Towns. In this story, a journalist profiles the last exorcist in America as the legislature makes his life’s work illegal…
Author’s Note: This piece was commissioned and then declined by a prominent magazine. The only information that has been altered/omitted are locations, as those have been deemed a national security risk. Re-post and share at will.
Naheem is our last great exorcist.
When you point this fact out to him, he barely blinks. It is a title he accepts, not with humility or even resignation, but with frustration. “We should have dozens like me out there on the streets,” he argues, “hundreds. It’s why we’re in this mess.”
But I still wrote. I’m still writing. This is where I gained my coping tools, and so I’m going to talk to you the way I talked to myself, and hopefully it’ll help motivate you for the bumpy road ahead.
Don’t let someone take this from you.
I participated in the Gay YA blogathon this summer, and wrote a piece on managing to still write words after the 2016 election results (and everything that came afterwards)
You can read the rest of the piece here, at Gay YA. Let me know what you think!