Long time, no blog. I just wanted to check in and tell everyone about my January publications. First, I have an essay in the January Issue of Fireside Quarterly entitled, Step into the Bad Side: Black Girl Magic Villains.Read More
So, I'm going to be digging into video a little more. I know that I like to know more about my favorite authors and I thought maybe (just maybe) you'd like to know a little bit more about me and what I'm up to. Consider this video the first of many and I apologize that the actual tour is not wide screen, I initially taped it on Snapchat.
The weekend of June 15-16 was the biannual State of Black Science-Fiction run convention now named Blacktasticon. I was so happy to be invited as a featured guest and had the opportunity to sit on two great panels as a panelist. The first panel I sat on was the Octavia Butler panel entitled Patternmaster: The Legacy of Octavia Butler. I have to admit that I was pretty nervous about being on this panel because of the other awesome panelists. We had a New York Times bestseller in John Jennings who is the artist for the amazing graphic novel version of Octavio's book kindred. We also had Linda Addison who not only worked with Octavia Butler but also is a multiple Horror Writers Association Bram Stoker Award winner and had just been given the lifetime achievement award from the H WA as well. We also had Sheree Renee Thomas who not only worked with Octavia Butler closely but also literally wrote the book on Afrofuturism, Dark Matter. If that weren't enough, we also had the wonderful Troy Wiggins the editor-in-chief of Fiyah Literary Magazine, Steamfunk & Science Fiction Author, Valjeanne Jeffers, and myself. After my nerves calmed down and I sat down to the panel it was like having a chat with old friends about a dear one who passed away and as I said on the panel Octavia Butler really does feel like not only a cherished friend and mentor for the Afro-futurism community but also the gateway for many into science fiction by a black woman or a black person in general.
The next panel I was on was on Black Women in Speculative Fiction and it was another powerhouse panel. The panel was graciously moderated by friend, fellow writer, and small press owner Nicole Kurtz of Mocha Memoirs Press. On that panel we had the fabulous: Valjeanne Jeffers, Sheree Renée Thomas, Linda Addison, Myself, Dr. Susana M. Morris, Violette Meier, Kyoko M.,
& Christine Taylor-Butler. The panel turned out wonderful and it was another meeting of old friends and new friends. We talked about our opinions on Black women in speculative fiction, past, present, and future. We also spoke on where we've been and where we feel the genre is going and the frustrations of being a black woman in this genre.
As a panelist there were some panels that I missed but I heard from everyone that attended that all the panels were great. One of the activities that I was unable to go to, but my husband and my children were was the virtual reality room. They told me that they had a lot of fun and the kids were talking about it the entire weekend.
Another great panel I attended which was facilitated by Milton Davis and Kyoko M on marketing and self-publishing. I learned a lot as someone who mainly markets online I was really happy to hear Milton's thoughts on marketing two bookstores especially small black on bookstores that might be receptive to our books. Kyoko M had a lot of great information on establishing your online presence and how to use an online presence to not only market your books but to make friends in your genre. Milton Davis also gave us a lot of sales advice for those that aren't inherently sales people which really helped a lot, as someone who sometimes feels like giving a sales pitch is “bothering" someone.
One of my favorite interactive panels was an “Iron Authors” panel, which was much like the show Iron Chef where the authors had five minutes to create a story through prompts given by the audience. The panel members on that were: Nicole Kurtz, Johnson Kelly, Jeff Carrol, Christine Taylor-Butler, Violette Meier, and they all did a great job. We decided the winners of each round through the scientific process of raising our hands and tallying the hands raised. Each time it was extremely hard to choose a winner because all the stories were really great.
In addition to the wonderful panels was of course the exhibitor hall where there were tables of art, books, comics, and other wares relating to Black speculative fiction. I purchased two comic while I was there and my mother and father, who also attended the event, didn’t come out empty handed. My mom is a huge art collector and bought herself two pieces of art which they're now trying to find an empty wall to place them on. All in all, the convention was really great as a panelist as an attendee and I know that everyone that I talked to during the convention after the convention were really excited about the convention and what it brings to the genre of Black speculative fiction. Learn more about Blacktasticon on FB!
It was great seeing both old and new friends at the convention and I know that there are some great things coming out from a lot of us directly based on the networking and friendships made during the convention.
Oh and SWAG! Lots of swag!
Join me at Boskone (February 16-18, 2018) in Boston, MA for New England's longest running science fiction and fantasy convention. It's going to be a fun weekend filled with discussions of books, film, art, music, games, and more. For more information about Boskone, visit The Boskone Blog, Twitter, and Facebook as well as by going to the Boskone website to register at http://www.boskone.org/register/
Here are a list of my panels/workshop/readings:
17 Feb 2018, Saturday 11:00 - 12:00, Marina 3 (Westin)
Science fiction and fantasy work by black writers is thriving. The environment is slowly (but finally) changing, as more publishers, editors, and artists enter the market every day. Our panelists discuss the lay of the land, the challenges of publishing black-themed content, getting shelf space at large and/or independent bookstores, and more.
Christine Taylor-Butler (M), Kenesha Williams, Justin Key, Gerald L. Coleman, Clarence Young
17 Feb 2018, Saturday 12:00 - 13:00, Marina 3 (Westin)
The throne of the King of Horror seems more secure than ever, with recent releases including the novel Sleeping Beauties (with his son Owen), and movies based on his work including The Dark Tower, It, Gerald's Game, and 1922, plus TV series The Mist and Mr. Mercedes — as well as an anniversary reprint of The Stand plus a Christine video short and a collector’s DVD of The Dead Zone. Stephen King revitalized and sustained the horror genre through a rough period of redefinition and rebranding. What is it about his scary stories that’s so compelling? Why do his characters stand out? Which tales will keep our dark little hearts beating faster for years to come?
Vincent O'Neil (M), Lauren Roy, Kenesha Williams, Paul Tremblay, Jack M. Haringa
17 Feb 2018, Saturday 14:00 - 15:00, Marina 4 (Westin)
Urban fantasy may focus on stories set within cities, but many of these tales come with some sort of mythology or legend at their core. What is it about the mix of ancient mythology and modern city that we find so interesting? How do we blend stories from our rural past into a contemporary cityscape without creating a hot mess?
Kenesha Williams, Erin M. Hartshorn, Elaine Cunningham, James Moore, Beth Meacham
17 Feb 2018, Saturday 16:00 - 17:00, Marina 1 (Westin)
Curating the content of any online periodical comes with its own special opportunities and challenges. Our experienced panelists share what it takes to pull an online magazine together — and how the process may differ from life on Planet Print. They'll also take a look at some of the newest and best zines now online.
Don Pizarro (M), Kate Baker, Shahid Mahmud, Kenesha Williams, Julia Rios
18 Feb 2018, Sunday 10:00 - 11:00, Galleria - DragonsLair (Westin)
Kids work with author Kenesha Williams as they create and stitch together a scary original story.
Kenesha Williams, Persis Thorndike
18 Feb 2018, Sunday 12:00 - 13:00, Burroughs (Westin)
Octavia Butler's prescient dystopian novel Parable of the Sower was written 25 years ago. Set in the 2020s, it presents a society beset by climate change, social and economic collapse, corporate greed, wealth inequality … need we go on? What did Butler’s masterpiece get right — and wrong? How do her beleaguered characters cope? And what can the novel teach us today?
Jennifer Pelland (M), Vandana Singh, Kenesha Williams, Scott Lynch, Marshall Ryan Maresca
18 Feb 2018, Sunday 13:00 - 14:00, Griffin (Westin)
Boskone's Afrofuturism Reading features a wide selection of authors who come together for this special group reading.
William Hayashi (M), Kenesha Williams, Errick Nunnally, Christine Taylor-Butler, Clarence Young
You're an indie writer, and your bread and butter is Amazon.com. Don't argue with me, if you're an indie writer, Amazon is the Top Dog of e-book retailers. You've typed 'The End, ' and your manuscript has been edited (tell me it's been edited) and the first thing you want to do (other than taking a stiff drink) is tell all your friends and family about it. You want to shout from the FB rooftop that your book is available for sale on Amazon.com. But you shouldn't.Read More
My story prodigal daughter is about the contentious relationship between a mother and daughter. The mother is a multi-generational tech company executive who has created a designer daughter in her perfect image, but the daughter doesn't want to follow in her mother's footsteps and enlists into the military.
Although it's a story set in the future it is really a timeless and universal story of mother and daughter disagreeing about how the daughter's life should be lead. The mother has done everything she can to groom her daughter for certain life and her daughter rejects that.
The story is ultimately about the relationship that we have with the people in our lives and how technology can help or harm those relationships. There's a twist ending that is a bit reminiscent of ideas brought on in Black Mirror, but I wrote the story before I'd ever watched an episode.
I think the story also makes us think about what are the ways we can ethically and morally use technology and what things are actually intrinsic to the human experience that technology can't replicate.
Scribes of Nyota can be purchased via Amazon & I will also be offering signed copies on this site soon.
So it's been a week since the Black Spec Arts Movement Convention in Philadelphia and I'm still trying to come down from the high. After a disappointing as hell election, being in the presence of so many Black creators and fans was a bit of a respite of the crazy that the US has descended in to.
The pics above are mainly from a panel that I was on. Many thanks to Maurice from Black Sci-Fi for tapping me for this presentation.
The panel was moderated by Black Sci-Fi and it was entitled 'Our Voices, Our Imagination’ featuring panelists Maurice Waters (President, Black Sci-Fi), Myself (Founder/Editor in Chief, Black Girl Magic Literary Magazine), Shawn Alleyne ( Artist/Owner, Pyroglyphics Studio), Stacey Robinson (Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, University of Illinois), N. Steven Harris (Artist, Scout Comics & Xmoor Studios/Illustrator, Dynamite) and Tim Fielder(Diesel Funk and Animation Director at Bighead Scientists /Adjunct at New York Film Academy). The panel discussed the experience of being a Black Sci-Fi writer/artist/publisher.
It was such an honor to be included on this panel with such great artists and to be able to learn about their motivations to create and their journeys to becoming creators. We also had a swag bag giveaway which included items from all of the panelists and Miles Morales (cosplayer) in my above pic was awarded with it.
If you have a chance to go to a Black Speculative Arts Movement event I highly recommend it and luckily they're have another one soon February 18th in Prairie View, TX. More details here...
Check me out talking about Black Girl Magic Lit Mag, Black Speculative Fiction Month, and my writing on Katara's Cafe, live on Sunday, 16 Oct. 2016.
I recently was interviewed by Max Cole on the Cinema After Dark podcast, where we talked screenwriting, my origin story, Black Girl Magic Lit Mag, and supporting indie creators of color. You can listen on the Cinema After Dark website.
Cinema After Dark is a weekly entertainment podcast and Internet radio show hosted by filmmaker, Max Cole. With an emphasis on thought-provoking independent film discussion, our guests often include filmmakers, actors, producers, cinematographers, editors, makeup artists, agents, manager, entertainment attorneys, casting directors, composers, athletes, musicians, festival directors, etc.
It's been a while, but I've been a bit swamped with Black Girl Magic Lit Mag and all the responsibilities that entails. One of the great things about starting Black Girl Magic Lit Mag is the relationships I've made online with writers and readers and I'm so excited about being able to meet some of those people in real time at the State of Black Science Fiction Convention in Atlanta this weekend. I will be attending the convention and we'll have a table as well in which readers can purchase the first paperback copies of issues 1 & 2.
If you're in the area come on by, I'd love to meet you!
My first podcast interview with RCR Reviews is up where I talk about growing up as a black nerd, Black Girl Magic, and oversharing about anime porn. LOL. I had a great time with the host and the other guests.
I am avid listener of the podcast, Scriptnotes, hosted by John August & Craig Mazin. So, I was extremely excited to hear that they'll be analyzing a full script on Tuesday’s episode. They decided to pick a writer of one of their monthly "Three Page Challenges" and the lucky screenwriter is K.C. Scott and his screenplay This Is Working. John and Craig will be joined by special guest Franklin Leonard and will talk about character, story and thematic issues. I read the script in anticipation of Tuesday's episode and thought I would do a short analysis of the script. I can't wait to hear if John, Craig, and Franklin point out the same things that I noticed while reading This is Working.
SPOILERS AHEAD - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
Title: This is Working
Short Summary: Byron, an insecure artist meets a woman who encourages him to quit his job and set off on his own path.
Plot Points (Longer Summary): Byron who works as a graphic artist at a start up pet product company meets a woman, Amanda, at a diner who gives him the courage to order the breakfast he wants when confronted by a waitress who along with his girlfriend Jane are managing his food intake. Amanda's brash and confident manner intrigue Byron and once he's at work and cannot finish his design for an expensive disposable hummingbird feeder, he gets his assistant Rosa to track her down aided by a drawing that he's completed of her.
Byron takes the advice of Amanda and needing her support tells the staff that she's a consultant on his project. After the new proposal that Byron comes up with aided by Amanda, she meets Jane his girlfriend and Vice President at the company. Jane confides in Amanda how draining Byron's insecurities are and thanks her for helping him. After the success of the campaign, Byron's company offers Amanda a job at the company and Byron a promotion to their Oakland office.
Jane starts to feel threatened by Amanda's presence and influence on Byron and confronts him with his mother, Urlina. They outline rules that Byron must follow in order to see Amanda, including not seeing her alone and having a two hour's notice for any plans including Amanda.
Byron, uninspired by his new position and stuck on one of his paintings, turns to Amanda for advice and comfort. Amanda and Byron share a passionate kiss and decide they don't want to be without each other and that they should quit their jobs and move in together. Amanda finds out that Byron is a trust fund kid and that he only recently moved out of his mother's house before he moved in with Jane and that his two brothers still live with their mother. They then decide to move to Oakland and rent an apartment there.
Once in Oakland, they spend a magical day together that ends with Byron deciding he needs to go back to Jane's and tell her that he's leaving. Jane tells him to leave and he spends the night at a motel. The next day he goes into work and quits his job. He goes home to his new apartment with Amanda where she encourages him to hang up all of his art work. They then go to an art festival which inspires Byron to create a design for t-shirts for the art festival.
Amanda and Byron attempt to build a booth for the festival, but she sends Byron off to the store for supplies because of his lack of handyman skills. On his way back to their house his mother picks him up in order to inspect his new living situation and Amanda. When they arrive at their house Amanda is smoking a blunt and quoting expletive laden 90's hip-hop. Both Amanda and Urlina kick Byron out while they have a one on one. Amanda unaccustomed to be challenged stands up to Urlina and in the process tells her that they don't need Byron's trust fund money.
Later, Byron and Amanda set up their t-shirt booth and get no sales. Byron goes to grab them some beers and his debit card is declined. Amanda doesn't tell Byron about telling his mother that they don't need his trust money, but senses that's why his card was declined. Instead she suggests they go out dancing. Byron insists that he check his account first and when he does he sees it's been reduced to a couple of hundred dollars. He thinks he's been a victim of identity theft until Amanda tells him what she told his mother. Byron panics, but they still go out dancing and while out they run into Rosa.
After dancing at the club they all return to Byron and Amanda's apartment and Byron drunkenly kisses Rosa. The next day ashamed at what he does he doesn't want to face Amanda, but Amanda acts completely un-phased about it. Byron teases out of Amanda that she was jealous and admits that he was acting passive-aggressively because he was angry about her being the cause of him losing his money. Amanda then tells him that Rosa has an idea for improving the t-shirt design.
They go back to the art festival and are selling the new design of the t-shirts and business is so good that they've raised their prices. Later, Amanda tells Byron that she thinks that Rosa should move in with them to help with the business. The next day at the festival they are selling so much that their line is interferring with the flow of festival traffic. A festival official tells them they must get rid of their line and Amanda buys a booth from another vendor. Byron objects to displacing the vendor and then offers to man the previous vendor's booth. This leads to a fight between Byron and Amanda in which they both express their frustration with each other's different degrees of oppressiveness.
The fight between he and Amanda leads Byron to leave their apartment and go back to his mother's house. While at his mother's we meet his brothers who still live at home and still behave like children under their mother's watch. Amanda goes to see Byron and he explains to her that he can't be her burden. She says she understands and leaves.
We fast forward a month and we find Amanda now living with Byron in his mother's house with his brothers like one big happy family.
Characters: I loved all of the characters in This is Working, but I felt like the character of Amanda was very Manic Pixie Dream Girl-ish. Not only did she seem to only exist to enable Byron's growth, but I never saw what quality of Byron's made her fall so madly in love with him that she would move in with him after a few days. It seems like the script hints at her falling for him because of his vulnerability, but there's nothing shown in her personality that she wants a "fixer-upper" type relationship. I would have liked to see more of what she felt like she was getting out of the relationship other than a project.
I did like that all his characters had different voices, I could envision each one of them from the main characters to one off characters like Jane's suburban cousins. I also liked that the characters were very diverse (Black, white, Asian, and Latino).
Overall: Overall I liked the script a lot, but I felt like the third act was the weakest. I don't feel like Byron fulfilled his purpose or journey in this script. The first act tells us we're dealing with a man that can't make a decision on his own without being propped up by some woman who is asserting her dominance over him. Yet, at the end Byron is still being propped up by women. He's living at home under a domineering mother with his equally domineering girlfriend. Although at the end Amanda doesn't give him the answer he wants in relation to a painting he's working on, he still hasn't grown enough by the end of the script, in my opinion.
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Yesterday, HBO announced it has launched the HBOAccess Writing Fellowship, which is seeking emerging writers from diverse backgrounds. Applications for the program will be accepted beginning March 4. Participants will attend a week of master classes at HBO’s Santa Monica campus that will focus on character and story development, pitching ideas and projects, securing an agent, and networking. Each participant will then go on to an eight-month writing phase where he/she will be paired with an HBO development executive and guided through the script development process.
The HBOAccess Writing Fellowship is open to writers 21 and older who must be able to work in the U.S. Prior to the application, the writer must not have been staffed on a network or cable series in excess of 13 episodes and/or had more than one feature film or more than two plays produced.
All submissions must be made through Without A Box. Submission materials must include a resume or bio, a writing sample, a completed release form and a personal essay in 500 words or less explaining how his/her background has influenced his/her storytelling.
I previously had a blog under another url, but I decided it was time to stop dicking around and snatch up my name as my website/blog domain name. I mean I'm not sure exactly how many Kenesha Williams there are in the world, but I do know when I Google myself, besides hits related to me, there is a Jamaican track runner with my name and over my dead body she gets my name as her site name first. So here I am in my new spot. Stay a while.