Super excited to share that Graffiti, which includes an urban fantasy of mine called Suicide Jacq, was released this week. Get your copy and tell them I sent you!
Tamika Thompson, Graffiti's fiction editor, was one of my favorite colleagues from way-back-when at KCET. We've been talking on and off since about any number of things, from parenting to public television. I knew Tamika at the station as a talented journalist and producer and didn't know she was a fiction writer until much later. By then we both had kids, and my participation in Graffiti stems (I think? Tamika?) from our conversations about the difficulties of finding a good, diverse writing group. When she reached out to ask if I had anything for an anthology she was working I was honored and was doubly honored when she accepted my contribution.(Thanks, Tamika!)
That contribution grew out a week 4 or 5 story I wrote at Clarion West back in 2007. The version of Suicide Jacq that appears in Graffiti is part of longer work I've been wrestling with on an off since Seattle. It's finally morphed into a novella-length piece of weird fiction about suicide (it's in the title), but also parenting, black Los Angeles, second chances, and community. (I also think it would make an aces web series?) I started working on it before I had kids but needed to have one (then two) before I could finish it.
While some other writing has appeared in a few books, and while I still work as a periodic critic, it's been a bit of the proverbial long-ass-slog getting any of my fiction out into the world. Part of the issue has been just standard-issue writer-bad-juju, but a lot of it has been that I expected Clarion to change my life when it mostly just transformed my writing. Holding on to a fantasy about what my little stories were going to do for me—what I was desperately convinced I needed them to do for me—left me just holding on to them. And holding on to them, and holding on to them, and holding on to them. It has taken my life being changed a few times by other, unexpected means for me to finally get over that. I hope to keep getting over it.
If you're in Los Angeles on October 19, there is going to be a reading/launch at Skylight Books. Come on through, I would love to see you!