Made in L.A. & Skylight Books present Art of Transformation, in collaboration with BookSwell

Fri, November 13, 2020
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM PST

Discover Made in L.A. Vol. 3: Art of Transformation with Skylight Books and contributors of stories with a strong Los Angeles setting

About this Event

Made in L.A. Vol. 3: Art of Transformation is a love letter to one of the greatest cities in the world, one that invites, or forces, its inhabitants to transform with it.

We launched our second anthology at Skylight Books to a crowd of devoted readers. This year, we’re coming back online to showcase a set of stories that investigate the art of transformation, something every person and every place in LA undergoes more often than not.

We’ll hear from contributing authors about how LA locales inspired their stories and what it’s like to write fiction that illuminates our beautiful, flawed, transforming home.

An online event hosted by BookSwell in collaboration with Skylight Books.

Times of Thirst and Desire: An Erotic Lit Fundraiser for AIDS Walk 2020

Thursday, September 10, 2020
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM PDT

Explore the erotic landscape of desire as depicted by Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Tai Farnsworth, M. Kiguwa, Yesika Salgado, and Dare Williams in this AIDS Walk LA 2020 fundraiser.

About this Event

Following in the tradition of queer resistance and activism during the AIDS pandemic, we gather to celebrate writers exploring thirst for contact. The COVID-19 pandemic tests the boundaries of danger and desire. The benediction to “stay safe” even as we pursue intimacy feels familiar. We’ve prepared for this. We’ve lived it before.

This reading will explore the erotic landscape of desire as depicted by Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Tai Farnsworth, M. Kiguwa, Yesika Salgado, and Dare Williams. We’ll discuss how our bodies’ intersections are reshaped by social distancing and the appeal of kink and fetish and all types of subversive and defiant sexual relations.

This event is free to attend. All proceeds from pay-what-you-will ticketed donations will go to APLA Health (formerly AIDS Project Los Angeles), an L.A. not-for-profit health services organization that provides a lifeline of care to LGBTQ+ patients and other underserved communities.

About the Writers

Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, author of Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications 2016), and is a former Steinbeck Fellow and Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange winner. Her work is published in Acentos Review, CALYX, and crazyhorse. She is a member of Miresa Collective and cofounder of Women Who Submit.

Tai Farnsworth is a mixed-race, queer writer based in LA. Since earning her MFA, she’s been toiling away in education while working on revisions for her agent. When she’s not writing or poisoning young minds with her liberal agenda, she is reading, practicing yoga, cooking, and tending to her plants. Her work, which focuses heavily on self-acceptance and queerness, can be found in The Evansville Review, Sinister Wisdom, Homology Lit, Drunk Monkeys, and Anastamos. Find her @taionthefly.

M. Kiguwa graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with her master’s in media, communication, and development and has worked in the entertainment industry in the United States, Europe, and Africa for over 10 years. She is currently writing an adventure memoir as a 2020 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow.

Yesika Salgado is a Los Angeles based Salvadoran poet who writes about her family, her culture, her city, and her fat brown body. She has shared her work in venues and campuses throughout the country. Salgado is a 2017 and 2018 National Poetry Slam finalist. Her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Teen Vogue, Univision, CNN, Huffington Post, NPR, TEDx, and many other digital platforms. She is an internationally recognized body-positive activist and the writer of the column Suelta for Remezcla. Yesika is the author of best-sellers Corazón, Tesoro, and Hermosa, published with Not a Cult.

A 2019 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, Dare Williams is a Queer HIV-positive poet, artist, rooted in Southern California. He has received fellowships from John Ashbury Home School and The Frost Place. Dare’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a two-time finalist for Blood Orange Review’s contest. His work has been featured in Cultural Weekly, Bending Genres, THRUSH and Exposition Review. He is currently working on his first poetry collection.

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,, 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

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.


This event raised $400 for Black Lives Matter LA.


Allyship Resources