Watch American Horror Stories: Horror as a Reflection of Our Country’s Ills in Times of Unrest

Thursday August 13th at 7pm

Throughout narrative history, horror has been used to reflect the things we are afraid of or are dealing with as a society. From Frankenstein’s reflected fear of the industrial revolution and meddling with nature, to Dracula’s dealings with Victorian ideas of sexuality, to the zombie’s survivalist fear on a dying planet rife with contagion. Four horror authors and editors talk about what they write and publish, and how to move forward as the world dishes out new horrors daily.

A BookSwell event co-hosted by Kate Maruyama & Cody Sisco, featuring Rena Mason, Kate Jonez, Michael Paul Gonzalez, and Nicole Sconiers.

About the Presenters

Michael Paul Gonzalez is the author of the novels ANGEL FALLS and MISS MASSACRE’S GUIDE TO MURDER AND VENGEANCE and the short story collection CARRY ME HOME: STORIES OF HORROR AND HEARTBREAK. He wrote and produced the serial horror audio drama LARKSPUR UNDERGROUND, available for free on iTunes and Stitcher. A member of the Horror Writers Association, his short stories have appeared in print and online, including Lost Signals, Gothic Fantasy: Chilling Horror Stories, the Booked. Podcast Anthology, Tales from the Crust: A Pizza Horror Anthology, HeavyMetal.com, and the Appalachian Undead Anthology. He resides in Los Angeles, a place full of wonders and monsters far stranger than any that live in the imagination. You can visit him online at MichaelPaulGonzalez.com

Stories by Kate Jonez have been nominated three times for the Bram Stoker Award and once for the Shirley Jackson. Her short fiction has appeared in The Best Horror of the Year, Black Static, Pseudopod, Gamut and Haunted Nights edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton. Kate is also the chief editor at the Bram Stoker Award winning small press Omnium Gatherum which is dedicated to publishing unique dark fantasy, weird fiction and horror.

Rena Mason is an American author of Thai-Chinese descent, and the Bram Stoker Award® winning author of The Evolutionist and The Devil’s Throat, as well as a 2014 Stage 32 /The Blood List Search for New Blood Quarter-Finalist. Her horror and dark speculative fiction has been published in various award-winning anthologies and magazines, and she writes a monthly column. For more information visit her website: www.RenaMason.Ink.

Nicole D. Sconiers is the author of Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage, a speculative fiction short-story collection that has been taught at colleges and universities around the country. Her short story “Kim” was published in Sycorax’s Daughters, a black woman’s horror anthology that was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. The story was recently optioned for a YA TV horror anthology series. Ms. Sconiers was a guest columnist for Nightmare magazine’s The H-Word. Her short story “The Eye of Heaven” appeared in the anthology Black from the Future: A Collection of Black Speculative Writing, published by BLF Press. The anthology received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

About the Co-Hosts

Kate Maruyama‘s first novel was Harrowgate (47North, 2013). Her short works have appeared in Arcadia MagazineControlled Burn, and Stoneboat; on SalonDuendeEntropy, and in an upcoming Asimov’s among other journals; as well as in numerous anthologies, including Winter Horror Days (Omnium Gatherum Media, 2015) and Halloween Carnival 3 (Hydra, 2017). Maruyama edited Nicole Sconiers’s speculative short fiction collection, Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage (Spring Lane Publishing, 2011), has been a jury chair for the Bram Stoker Awards, and is a two time juror for the Shirley Jackson Awards. She teaches at Antioch University Los Angeles in the MFA and BA programs among other places. She writes, teaches, cooks, and eats in Los Angeles, where she lives with her family.

Cody Sisco is an author, publisher, and literary community organizer. As an author, Cody’s speculative fiction straddles the divide between plausible and extraordinary. His Resonant Earth Series includes two novels thus far, Broken Mirror and Tortured Echoes, and a short story prequel, Believe and LiveAltered Bodies, the third volume in the series, is due out in 2020. In 2017 Cody co-founded Made in L.A., an indie author co-op dedicated to the support and appreciation of independent authors. His imprint, Resonant Earth Publishing, markets and promotes the Made in L.A. annual fiction anthology. Cody is a Los Angeles Review of Books / USC Publishing Workshop 2017 Fellow and a co-organizer of the Los Angeles Writers Critique Group. His startup, BookSwell, makes the LA literary landscape easier to navigate, introduces readers to new writing, and interweaves digital and real-life literary experiences.

Roxana Preciado reads from her new book of poetry, “Trauma for Sale” in conversation with Cody Sisco

Watch Live Here at 3 pm on July 23

Roxana Preciado is an indie author and artist recognized for her work as a poet and activist. At the age of 12, Roxana started writing poetry as a coping mechanism to deal with her life challenges. She shares her story with others in hope that she can help anyone who is facing similar hardships.

Preciado has published four volumes of autobiographical poetry, most recent being Trauma for Sale. She continues to use her poetry and her story to support community engagement and activism to raise awareness about violence against women.

Learn more

Interview starts at 14m:40s

YOU DOWN FOR THE CAUSE OR WHAT? Writers of color discuss allyship, featuring Sehba Sarwar, Tanya Ko Hong, Lisbeth Coiman, and Chris L. Terry

The Black Lives Matter uprising has inspired people around the world to take to the streets and demand justice and transformational change. Companies and organizations are issuing statements of support. Social media is deluged with posts in support of the movement.

As writers, it’s imperative that we pose penetrating questions not just to others but within ourselves and strive toward honesty and change, even when issues are hidden and obscured.

At this gathering, writers will share their work and create space to discuss questions such as: Has the US has entered a new era of allyship? Has a new generation committed to an anti-racist future? Or are we seeing performative allyship that will fade away with the next news cycle?

In a literary reading featuring Sehba Sarwar, Tanya Ko Hong, Lisbeth Coiman, and Chris L. Terry will raise questions and reflect on what it means to be an ally and how writers of color can generate and examine their work in the context of a larger movement. Audience members are encouraged to bring quotes from Black authors to share in the chat.

The event is free to attend via Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube. All proceeds from pay-what-you-will Eventbrite tickets will be dispersed to Black Lives Matter LA. In addition, the organizers will share direct links to donate to a short list of other social justice organizations.

About the BookSwell Read and Relate series
To keep connections alive between readers and writers during troubled times, BookSwell is organizing Read & Relate, a virtual video chat salon celebrating books, writers, and the literary life.

We’ll be using Zoom to conduct the salon and the feed will also be shared via Facebook Live and YouTube. Audio and video may be recorded and re-shared via BookSwell’s social media channels.

The Exposition Park – Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library of the Los Angeles Public Library system is a collaborating partner on the BookSwell Read & Relate series. The library hosts events online in support of the Library at Home program of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Fundraising

Proceeds from donating through the links below will go to Black Lives Matter LA. Contributions are not tax-deductible.RSVP on Eventbrite – Donations EncouragedDonate via PayPal

Watch Live

Allyship Resources

The Arrival: A Juneteenth Reading with bridgette bianca, F. Douglas Brown, Camari Carter-Hawkins, Natashia Deón, and Ashaki M. Jackson


June 18 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Other Ways to Watch the Replay

According to the National Museum of African American History & Culture: “Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day. Though it has long been celebrated among the African American community, it is a history that has been marginalized and still remains largely unknown to the wider public. The legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of deep hope and urgent organizing in uncertain times.”

People across America and around the world are rising up to demand justice because Black lives matter. We are celebrating Juneteenth, its history and its lessons, with poets who’ll share their words with us. At an online gathering featuring bridgette bianca, F. Douglas Brown, Camari Carter-Hawkins, Natashia Deón, and Ashaki M. Jackson, we’ll be raising money for Black Lives Matter LA and other social justice organizations.

Featured Image

About the BookSwell Read and Relate series

To keep connections alive between readers and writers during troubled times, BookSwell is organizing Read & Relate, a virtual video chat salon celebrating books, writers, and the literary life.

We’ll be using Zoom to conduct the salon and the feed will also be shared via Facebook Live and YouTube. Audio and video may be recorded and re-shared via BookSwell’s social media channels.

The Exposition Park – Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library of the Los Angeles Public Library system is a collaborating partner on the BookSwell Read & Relate series. The library hosts events online in support of the Library at Home program of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Fundraising

This event raised $2,850 for Black Lives Matter LA.

Feeling generous? Consider donating to these organizations as well:

About the Writers

bridgette bianca is a poet and professor from South Central Los Angeles. When she is not sharing her own poetry at venues all around Southern California, she co-curates two literary series, Making Room for Black Women and the Women’s Center for Creative Work Reading Series. be/trouble (Writ Large Press) is her debut collection of poetry.
• website: bridgettebianca.com
• IG: Instagram.com/bridgettebianca
• FB: Facebook.com/bridgettebianca

F. Douglas Brown is the author of two poetry collections, ICON (Writ Large Press, 2018), and Zero to Three (University of Georgia, 2014), winner of the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize selected by US Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith. He also co-authored with poet Geffrey Davis, Begotten (URB Books, 2016), a chapbook of poetry as part of the Floodgate Poetry Series. Brown, an educator for over 20 years, currently teaches English and African American Poetry at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, an all-boys Jesuit school. He is both a Cave Canem and Kundiman fellow, and was selected by Poets & Writers as one of their ten notable Debut Poets of 2014. His poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets, The PBS News Hour, The Virginia Quarterly (VQR), Bat City Review, The Chicago Quarterly Review (CQR), The Southern Humanities Review, The Sugar House Review, Cura Magazine, and Muzzle Magazine. He is co-founder and curator of un::fade::able – The Requiem for Sandra Bland, a quarterly reading series examining restorative justice through poetry as a means to address racism.

Camari Carter-Hawkins is the author of Death by Comb, a stellar body of poetry that seeks to normalize natural hair and find solid ground in an ever-changing world and Write Back to You, a guided journal for writing yourself back into your life. Camari leads journaling workshops all across Los Angeles and beyond. Her poetic works can also be found in Rise: An Anthology of Power and Unity by Vagabond Press and The Best of The Poetry Salon 2013-2018 Anthology. Camari is the 2018 Spoken Word, Voices Heard Women’s Amateur Slam Winner and performs her works nationally. She is the founder of Mama’s Kitchen Press, an anthology press that seeks to publish moments and stories we’ve shared in our mama’s kitchen.
• Instagram: @camaricreative www.instagram.com/CamariCreative
• Website: www.camaricarter.com

Natashia Deón is a NAACP Image Award Nominee and author of the critically-acclaimed novel, GRACE (Counterpoint Press). Awarded the 2017 American Library Association’s Black Caucus Award for Best Debut Fiction, GRACE was also named a New York Times Top Book 2016, a Kirkus ReviewBest Book of 2016, and a Book Riot, The Root, and Entropy Magazine Favorite Book of 2016.

Founder of REDEEMED, a non-profit that pairs professional writers with those who have been convicted of crimes, Deón is a practicing criminal attorney, law professor, and creative writing professor at UCLA and Otis College of Art & Design. Deón is the mother of two and is the creator of the popular L.A.-based reading series’ Dirty Laundry Lit and The Table.

Ashaki M. Jackson is the author of two chapter-length books – Surveillance (Writ Large Press) and Language Lesson (Miel). Jackson is an alumna of Cave Canem and VONA. She is co-founder of Women Who Submit and an executive director for The Offing Magazine. Readers can find her work in Prairie Schooner, Obsidian, 7×7 LA and Faultline among other publications. Jackson earned an MFA (creative writing) from Antioch University Los Angeles and a Ph.D. (psychology) from Claremont Graduate University. She lives in Los Angeles.

BookSwell Intersections Season 2 Episode 2
an interview with Yodassa Williams

The coronavirus crisis can’t stop art!

Cody Sisco interviews Yodassa Williams about her debut fantasy novel, The Goddess Twins, coming of age and finding one’s voice, black girl magic and creativity, and the revelatory experience of going to Burning Man.

Yodassa Williams shows off her new novel, The Goddess Twins, in the magical locale of Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA

Yodassa Williams is a powerful conjurer of black girl magic (70 percent Jedi, 30 percent Sith). A Jamaican American writer, speaker, and award-winning performing storyteller, an alumna of the VONA/Voices Travel Writing program and the Fortify Writer’s Retreat, and the creator of the podcast The Black Girl Magic Files, Yodassa (Yoda) launched Writers Emerging, a wilderness writing retreat for women of color and non-binary people of color, in 2019. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently resides in the Bay Area. The Goddess Twins is her debut novel.

Listen Now

Link to BookSwell Intersections Podcast on Spotify