Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology now available

I joined last year and found it to be a genial, welcoming place filled with incredibly talented, passionate people. They gave me a lot by way of support and I wanted to give a little something back, so when I heard that their first anthology was out, I wanted to spread the word.

Griots is the first anthology dedicated to sword and soul. Sword and Soul is a genre of speculative fiction that combines African traditions, history and culture with adventure, heroic fiction and sorcery - think Conan the Barbarian set in Ancient Ghana or the Empire of Mali. The volume is edited by Charles R. Saunders, author of Imaro, widely considered to be the creator of the genre, and author Milton Davis.

It features 28 of some of the most exciting writers and artists in speculative fiction today including Minister Faust, Geoffrey Thorne, Carole McDonnell, Valjeanne Jeffers and Ronald T. Jones. Some of the artists include Natiq Jalil, Luke McDonnell, Winston Blakely, Stan Weaver, Jr., Wanye Parker and Paul Davey.

Griots made its official debut last month at Onyx Con 3, one of the largest conventions of multi-cultural speculative fiction in the US. and is available on Amazon. I can't wait to pick up a copy and I hope you will too!

Also check out the Black Science Fiction Society, great people there too.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Things I know at 30

Me at 20
I turned 30 nearly a year ago, capping off what had been a tumultuous couple of years. Despite the crying fits and occasional bouts of suicidal depression, I realized that I had learned a lot in my more than a quarter decade of life. In particular, I was inspired by this piece on

I don’t pretend to have all the answers and there are still so many things I need to learn and experience, but I wanted to share some of the insights that have come to me the hard way. Hopefully, you’ll get something out of it too.

1. Pay attention to the warning signs and don’t try to talk yourself out of a gut feeling. Trust your judgement because chances are, your spirit is trying to tell you something important.

2. You’re smarter, prettier and far more capable than you give yourself credit for. Yeah, go ahead and wear that little red mini-skirt.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want; the worst they can say is no.

4. You will mess up and you will fail – sometimes epically – but it’s not your failure that will define you. It’s how you deal with it.

5. Don’t doubt your desires because they seem mundane or impossible, your dreams are always within reach.

6. You can’t change your parents, only how you react to them. Part of growing up is learning how to stop using their standards to judge your life. You’ll never feel true satisfaction until you define what success means for you.

7. Don’t let the fear of being single keep you in a relationship that isn’t working (or isn’t going to work). Heartbreak is painful, but it won’t kill you.

8. Stop comparing yourself to others or to the imagined ideal in your head. The quest for perfection can drive you for a while, but sooner or later you’re going to have to find your motivation within yourself.

9. Happiness isn’t something that will come once you’ve ticked all the boxes. It’s a choice you have to make every day. Like working out, you have to make the effort and commit to it.

10. Karma is one seriously mean bitch. She never forgets and in this life or the next she’ll make you pay. So stay on her good side.

11. You’ll be treated with the respect you command, not the respect you demand. So when appropriate, dress like a grownup, speak articulately, stand up straight and always look at the people you're talking to.

12. For most of us, the struggle to truly know ourselves is lifelong, but rest assured that you know more about your desires, your limits and your motivations than you did 10 years ago.

13. You know when he’s lying. It’s not logical, it’s not rational, but you know. What you choose to do with that knowledge is up to you.

14. Don’t be afraid to feel your emotions fully and deeply. Be aware of them at all times and work to head off bad moods as they begin. You're emotions are far more powerful than you think and feeling good about yourself is the essence of true success.

15. Take every opportunity to travel. It’ll be the one thing that you truly regret when you look back.

16. Anything that wearies your spirit is never right - that goes for jobs or people, and even places. Life is too short to settle for or put up with anything that drains you of your joy.

17. Get it done. Every day you put off doing what you need to do out of fear is another day in your fading youth that you will never get back.

18. Sex can be many things: damaging or liberating, exhilarating or dull, comforting or experimental, but it is never, ever casual.

How about you? What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? What do you wish you had known 20 years ago that you know now? Please don’t hesitate to add your piece of advice.