First, if you’re reading this in the USA and you don’t have a plan to vote, drop everything and figure out a plan to vote. Vote early if you can, if you plan to vote in person. Otherwise, take your mail-in or absentee ballot to an official drop-box if you can, or mail it as soon as you can. Look up your local county, city and state rules for your options and deadlines. Vote.org is a good resource site that can send you to details for your state.
His Magical Pet is now available with my new story in it! “If Not for the Rat” features Raavi and Jonah, who met in my story “Passage, Performance, Passion” in the Circlet Press anthology Like a Spell: Fire. Two years later, Raavi is still opening magical portals, and Jonah is still appreciating the wonders of magic (and Raavi). In a new city, they meet a wererat, and returning him home leads them to a group of people who need their help.
I’ll admit it, “If Not for the Rat,” is fluff. It’s a fun and happy story, where people solve problems with art and words and throwing an awesome dance party. I guess I wrote a bit of a world I’d like to live in.
The other stories look fun too, both in His Magical Pet and in the companion anthology Her Magical Pet. All proceeds from these stories go to OutRight Action International, helping fight for human rights for LGBTIQ people around the world. Please spread the word, and support these anthologies if you can. These collections are for the Kindle only at the moment, but paperbacks will be coming soon.
We live in a diverse world and I try to populate my world with diverse characters. I wrote briefly in my previous blog entry about the work it takes to do that authentically and how educating myself is an ongoing project. I’m going to add a bit more here; however, there are many, many people more qualified than I am to discuss this and I hope you’ll seek them out. One advantage of so many SFF conventions and other events going online this year is that many of them have left their sessions available online for free; a little googling and you’ll come up with a wealth of panels discussing how to write diversely. I learn something new every time I listen to one of these panels.
Also, read diverse authors. There are more non-white, non-straight, etc. authors than ever before getting traction in the speculative fiction space. Some are with mainstream publishers, others are with small independent publishers and some are self-publishing. Whatever sub-genres you’re into, you can find a diverse group of authors writing in that arena.
Once you find an author(s) you like, following them on twitter or other social media is a great way to find other authors of a similar demographic, and once you’ve followed some of those others you’ll have a great pool to read from.
Just a few links to get you started:
Author Olivia Helling has 15+ Must-Read LGBTQ+ Sci Fi and Fantasy Books by BIPOC Authors. In addition to a very solid list of books (I’ve read a few in this list and have my eye on some others), there are some bonus links at the bottom to other lists and YouTube videos. I’m looking forward to checking out the ones I haven’t seen yet.
I’m a fan of Gail Carriger’s work, so I’m definitely checking out her recommendations, especially for Queer Comfort Reads by Black Authors. Gail also has a list of recommended books by Black authors broken down by characteristics of her varied bibliography (steampunk, YA, etc.) with many more lists at the end.
It’s looking to be a long winter so what better time to try out some new, diverse authors. Happy reading!
Update: Fiyah, the magazine for Black Speculative Fiction, and the associated Fiyahcon, just announced the winners of the first Ignyte Awards! The list of nominees and winners is a great way to jump into reading great books with authors from a wide variety of backgrounds.