When I began this journey of becoming a writer, I dreamed and hoped that one day I would be good at it and that folks from all over would read my work. Well, I don’t know if all my dreams have come true but today a story of mine is in the same publication as Nalo Hopkinson and Neil Gaiman, so I think it’s fair to say that I’m at least on my way!!!!
Kamanti’s Child is a story that may ring a little familiar to those who’ve read Toni Morrison’s Beloved. I read that novel many years ago and never could forget it. Julia Rios did an interview with me about this story and its influences.
A number of years ago I made the suggestion that small magazines that pay little to nothing would (might) be a good markets if they were willing to publish more voices. The field responded by handing my ass back to me and nearly ended my career before it began. (Check out these links to see what I mean: this and this and this and this and this and finally Jeff VanderMeer (Bless him!) stepped in to try to put an end to this mess.) Now we have this article and I feel a bit vindicated, I guess.
When my story came out in Terraform I got a lot of flack from folks questioning why I would publish with them. The answer is simple: they asked. And now it turns out that Terraform has one the highest percentages of publishing black authors in the field. According to the report, you have a better chance of winning the NJ lottery than getting published as a black author.
I sent them a story that had been rejected by every major market in the field. I knew intellectually that the story was good, and yet there was (and maybe still is) a voice in the back of my head that told me that it couldn’t be because it had been rejected by so many places. I also think that I’m at the stage in my career where some of the “better” markets should be picking up my work, and that maybe my work should be considered for some of the industry awards. Yet, my story was barely placed on the nominating long list for the Nebula (and I knew to forget about the Hugo.) I know this is the case for most stories… and yet I have this nagging feeling that something is not quite right. It’s hard when you’re thinking about your own work in this way. How can you be sure that the reason a work is being overlooked is because of the work itself or if something else is happening? In this case, I just am not sure…
“I Love Myself When I Am Laughing…and Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive”—Zora Neale Hurston
Saw this review of my story on the Marooned Off Vesta blog and I’ve never been more touched for something said about my work in my life.
Here I am reading from my new novel ELEUSIS which is a work-in-progress. Kris, my agent, was so kind as to record it.