Thursday, June 11, 2020

Spotlight on Black Indie SFF Authors
Being in the writing community, and particularly the Science Fiction and Fantasy community, I saw a lot of wonderful promotion of black SFF authors last week on #blackouttuesday. I saw retweets and posts of recommended reading including big name authors like Octavia Butler, N.K. Jemesin, Nnedi Okorafor, Nisi Shaw, Tomi Adeyemi, Marlon James, Victor LaValle, Dhonielle Clayton, Ta-Nehesi Coates, and Justina Ireland, to name a very few.

But being an indie author myself, my interests and loyalties lie most with that community. The growth of the indie book industry has been due in large part to BIPOC authors who have historically struggled to find fair and equal representation in the traditional publishing industry. In response, they created new means by which to tell and distribute their stories to the masses. Without BIPOC authors, the small publishing and self-publishing world wouldn't have the success, massive selection, diversity, and growing respect it's earning today. Things are changing in traditional publishing, but those dinosaurs are notoriously slow and lumbering. In the meantime, the indie world is rich and abounding in fresh stories told by black authors, and I'm highlighting (with their permissions) a few black indie SFF authors today.

Constance Burris is on a journey to take over the world through writing fantasy, horror, and
science fiction. Her mission is to spread the love of speculative fiction to the masses. She is a proud card carrying blerd (black nerd), mother, and wife. When she is not writing and spending time with her family, she is working hard as an environmental engineer in Oklahoma City.

Elves, Dragons, Shapeshifters, and Dwarves

Everything looked bleak until...

...the situation took a turn for the worse

In the realm of the fey, humans are hated.

And Coal is a human in love with his best friend who is about to become an elven queen. But Princess Chalcedony may not be as set on tradition as he thinks.

Before Coal and Chalcedony can unravel their feelings for one another, their lives are changed forever, and both will have to make terrible choices.

You'll be hooked by a world of elves, dragons, dwarves, and fairies because everyone loves a good fantasy.

Available on Amazon

Tessa is a Giant.

Well, she's almost a giant.

Before she could reach the usual ten feet of most giants, a fey queen offered her a potion to stunt her growth.

And it worked.

Now she's living her best life. Yes, she's six and a half feet tall, but she's passing as human, and she landed her dream job as a lawyer.

Best of all, she's dating her sexy new co-worker who doesn’t mind that she's an inch taller than him, or that she's a virgin (not that she plans on keeping that label for long).

But all of her perfect plans for the future are thrown into jeopardy when the fey queen who controls her potion, forces her to defend a troll in a murder case who uses glamor to appear human.

Now, she’ll have to carefully maneuver her way around a series of lies to keep her job, her secret, and her boyfriend.

Don't miss this exciting new chapter from the best selling Everleaf Series.

Available on Amazon

Jazmin Truesdale is the CEO of Mino Enterprises which comprises of Aza, Jazmin Fitness, Jazmin Angels & Consulting, and many other companies.  Despite her young age she is fast becoming known as the ‘superwoman of superwomen’.  She is a nerd at heart and loves science fiction, comic books, action movies, and the like.  It was her passion for female superheroes that lead her to create Aza, Superheroes for everyone.

I asked Ms. Truesdale for her thoughts about being a black creator in the current political environment and especially in the climate surrounding current protests and social movements. Has what is happening in the country right now affected her as a black creator? Here is her response:
"As a creator, no. Only because everything that is happening right now is what I have always written. It's just that people suddenly decided that they care about black issues when up until last week we were being ignored.
 It's effected me more as a business woman. As I'm growing and developing the brand, developing partnerships, hiring staff and building a company culture, I'm much more discerning. I'm definitely paying attention to the brands and the people who are genuinely supportive and weeding out the 'performance' supporters."
Aza is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Jazmin Truesdale in response to the lack of superheroes that reflect today’s evolving society.  As a fan of comic books she saw that there was a severe lack of epic heroes that were inclusive of gender and ethnic diversity leading her to set out to create a universe to reflect just that.  Using the best in the industry Aza will develop a new generation of heroes for TV, Film, Comics, and Games that will be inclusive of everyone no matter the age, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.

Everyone deserves to see themselves represented in the superhero genre.  We are fast becoming a global culture in which all ethnicities, languages, and nationalities are being embraced by the average individual and it is time that our entertainment reflects that.  Despite the lack of cultural diversity I think that it is a shame that there are so few female superheroes even though women have always been the most marketable in any realm of entertainment.  I plan to change that.

——–Jazmin Truesdale, CEO

Aza Comics brings you a novel with illustrated action scenes for Teens and Adults!
Every 1,000 years a Keeper is chosen by the Gods to protect the universe.  But what happens if that person decides they want the universe for themselves?
In this space opera, discover the origin story of Amaya, Kala, Ixchel, Adanna, and Fenna as they fight to save the universe from the greatest threat it has ever known!
242 pages ; Recommended for Teens and adults
 Digital edition is now available on AmazonGoogle Play, and Barnes & Noble!

Alicia Gaile is the author of YA contemporary fantasy and fairy tale retellings. She wrote her first fairy story at the age of twelve after visiting the Goll Woods Old-Growth forest in Ohio with her aunt and wandered into a dappled glade that was the perfect space for a fairy revel. After receiving a Creative Writing degree from Georgia College & State University she began writing early versions of Trial by Song while living abroad in southeast Asia. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA with her family and two dogs.
Find her on:

"If they caught me they'd drain every ounce of my talent away. If they took my music...." He shivered.

Born with an otherworldly talent for music, Jack Sorley dreams of sharing his incredible gift with the world. But revealing his magic makes him a target of the fae, who will stop at nothing to hide their existence from mankind.

When he sneaks out to perform at the local county fair and his family’s prize-winning cow is stolen right from under his nose, a desperate Jack tries to retrieve her before his brothers find out. Dragged through a portal deep into Faerie, he finds a golden harp that could catapult his talent to even greater heights. If he wants his chance at greatness, he’ll have to take it—but stealing from faeries is never a wise choice.

With danger closing in on every side, Jack must find a way to evade the legendary Wild Hunt, or go back to Faerie and face the music.

Available on Amazon

Alicia is also a talented artist and illustrator. Many of her creations are displayed on her Instagram account, but she gave me permission to share her amazing illustration of Beauty and the Beast.

A native of Southfield, MI, Jelani-Akin moved to Phoenix, AZ in 2005 to pursue his BFAMedia Arts and Animation at The Art Institute of Phoenix. He would go on to complete his MFA in Creative Writing at Full Sail University, and work as both a freelance artist and a self-published sci-fi/adventure novelist.

He currently lives in Tempe, AZ, focusing on his career as a writer and an artist of varying skillsets, including world building, vector illustration, and character design.

When not at work on a hundred projects whilst drowning himself in tea and/or coffee, he can be found composing music in his spare time, or (most likely) gaming or reading manga.

Find out more about Jelani at:
The media doesn’t know what to make of the bug-like vigilante. She leaps through the city at night, chasing the shadows of the Aegis Security Agency, and it’s starting to touch some nerves. She doesn’t care. She didn’t rebuild that high-tech armor to be a hero.

Teen genius Pilar Sands has her hands full with starting college at sixteen, dealing with her brother’s new nosy roommate, and her intrusive classmate, amateur detective Zoe Shinomori. All get in the way of her goal: finding her missing father, a former disgraced employee of Aegis. Unfortunately for her, she isn’t the only one after Aegis, and the enemies of her enemy might be her undoing.

Available on Amazon

Jelani-Akin is currently working on Book 2 in "The Experimental Bug" series and plans to release it in the late fall or winter of 2020.


Mary Fan said...

Yay indie authors!!! Great post, Karissa!

Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

What a great list! With some eye-popping cover art.

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