Workshop Schedule Autumn 2018

Will you be in Baltimore this Thursday, November 1st? If so stop in at the World Fantasy convention for a workshop I’m running with Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction.

dwasflogoWriting Characters of Color (1-3 pm)
Ceres Wright, John Edward Lawson, Stafford Battle, and Diane Williams

As our world is diverse, our writing should reflect that diversity. This workshop is designed to help you write fleshed-out realistic characters of color by building a complex backstory, while avoiding stereotypes.

To be held in Pride, located on the 6th Floor.

This will be the only DWASF event at World Fantasy 2018. You’ll be able to find me elsewhere on the Weird Poetry panel, my solo reading, and the mass autograph session. K. Ceres Wright will also be on the Writing as Sanctuary panel, with fellow Dog Star Books author J.L. Gribble (who also has a workshop and a reading).

The Next Broadkill Retreat

image_6483441Join us at the Broadkill Writers Resort for a weekend of writing fun. The cost for the weekend is $250 which includes Friday, Saturday and Sunday night lodgings, breakfast and a few other meals.

We will be doing writing sprints and workshops/discussions. This will be a small group (max 10 people) so if there’s a particular topic you’d like addressed let us know. Several experienced editors will be on hand and the weekend will be led by author and editor John Edward Lawson.

There are only a few spaces available so message to let us know if you are interested. Payment will be through PayPal.

The Next DWASF Workshop

Join the Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction for our inaugural Wine & Write workshop this December. We’ll have poets, editors, novelists, teachers, and marketers on hand to guide you and answer any questions. Keep an eye on for more details!

On Causing a Scene: Recent Podcasts


Recent Podcasts About Fiction and Representation of Marginalized Groups

At the recent CapClave science fiction and fantasy convention I was part numerous programing items, including the Future of Afrofuturism discussion. You might be familiar with some of the other panelists: K. Ceres Wright, Kenesha Williams, L.H Moore, Shirin Nicole, B. Sharise Moore. It turned out Sherin is part of the Geek Girl Riot team and recorded the panel for their podcast, which just aired last week. Please give our exploration of trends in Afrofuturism a listen at

Have thoughts about Afrofuturism? I, and the other panelists, would love to hear about it in the comments section. And while I love Afrofuturism I’m happy to say Geek Girl Riot is not the only podcast I appear on here.

Headshot_2DjangoConOver the summer I was privileged to meet some people shaking things up in tech. One of them happens to be and I am on her latest #CauseAScene podcast talking about white supremacy, patriarchy, and how their adherents cheat to control all public narratives.

The set up for my discussion with Kim is this two-part examination of extremists perfecting their manipulation of voting and polls in fandom leading up to the 2016 election, featuring Shireen Mitchel and

White supremacists and male supremacists have been organizing for years to shape society by controlling what we see and hear. There’s been a struggle in literature surrounding this. See how it played out in TV first:

I advocate for representing people as they exist in the world throughout all forms of art. It is a boots-on-the-ground struggle. The Nazis and MRAs are trying to pack literary conventions and awards with their people, and I’m working to counter that.

There are editors and authors working behind the scenes to shut down marginalized groups in publishing too. Because authors have day jobs writing all the online and offline advertising, speeches, articles, textbooks, corporate policies, etc. They shape what we view of the world, and how that view is interpreted.

Bearing all that in mind we only just began our conversation in this episode, but you can catch it at and hopefully engage Kim and I with your thoughts on continuing the discussion, and the necessary work stemming from it.

The episode I’m on includes links to resources mentioned in the show. If you want to help us face down these problems, and more, please explore the links. Also please do check out the deep backlist of podcasts archived at!


dwasflogoYou’ll find that on the #CauseAScene podcast we discuss the unfolding Chuck Wendig debacle, where bots where weaponized over a short number of days to convince Disney to fire him as writer of their Star Wars novelizations and comic books.

One person we don’t talk about much is the grandfather of weird fiction, H.P. Lovecraft, and his racism/racist supporters. Jump into the way-back machine with me to revisit my most popular blog post ever, republished this week over at Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction, Racism Wasn’t Lovecraft’s Problem.

It includes details about one of the times white supremacists vowed to kill me when I was a child, so it’s really fun reading. More importantly it touches on the struggle several years ago between white supremacy apologists and all other humans regarding the World Fantasy Award, which figures in setting the stage for battles currently being waged in the fiction scene. Including, but not limited to, the Star Wars fandom.

Capclave 2018

small_dodo_transparentJoin me at the DC metro area speculative fiction convention Capclave 2018

I will be a program participant at Capclave 2018 this weekend in the Washington, DC metro area, alongside Dog Star Books author J.L. Gribble, members of Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction, and many others including guests of honor Nancy Kress and Alyssa Wong.

Here’s where you can find me over the weekend:


8 Toward a More Diverse Genre (Truman)
How do authors portray persons of color, disabilities, and gender in their stories? Science Fiction and Fantasy have come a long way and have often been at the forefront of these issues and sometimes not. What more needs to be done? What’s the next step in portraying a more diverse universe?


3 The Future of Afrofuturism and Black Speculative Fiction (Eisenhower)
Last year’s Afrofuturism was incredibly successful and popular, so we decided to have another one. Discussion on the meanings on Afrofuturism and Black Speculative Fiction. The panelists would discuss the present state of the genre and its future.
4:30 DWASF Meet & Greet (room TBA)
Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction (DWASF)—will host a meet-and-greet to interact with attendees, provide refreshments, and have a giveaway.
7:30 Mass autograph Signing with cash bar and cake (Eisenhower/Jackson)


11 John Edward Lawson reading (Lincoln)
Poetry reading with Q&A.
12 Black Panther (Washington Theater)
The impact of the movie and the comics. The movie was huge. Nnedi Okorafor has just announced she’s writing the new Shuri comic and Ta-Nahesi Coates has written for Black Panther as well. Panelists discuss the cultural significance of Black Panther.

The event is being held at the Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Executive Meeting Center,
1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852-1699. For more information please visit

HWA Guest Post: I Don’t Like Poetry

JELauthor2018This month renowned speculative poet Marge Simon was kind enough to invite my contribution as guest writer of her column Blood & Spades for the Horror Writers Association newsletter. You can read the column at

While you’re there I have a favor to ask. Please click through links to other features in the newsletter to read columns by other working authors and editors, and catch up on HWA happenings. Know anybody who might benefit from being part of the HWA? Or, maybe somebody who is into poetry and would get a kick of my dissection of how werewolf limericks fit into the literary landscape? Please share the column far and wide. Thanks in advance!

A note about the poems included in the column: the bulk of them are from my forthcoming collection Bibliophobia, which will be my seventh book of poetry. Bibliophobia will be available soon from Raw Dog Screaming Press. Would you like a review copy? Please contact

In the meantime, if you feel like enjoying some more poetry here’s a selection of books by some of my influences in the scene, and some of the names to watch. They are available at Any sales through that link help keep Raw Dog Screaming Press in business, Yes, even sales of the books RDSP didn’t publish!

Most importantly please let me know if there are any poets you think I ought to be reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Balticon 2018


Dog Star Books and Raw Dog Screaming Press authors and editors J.L. Gribble, John Edward Lawson, and K. Ceres Wright will appear at Balticon this weekend. Their programming schedules are extensive and varied. Check the listings below for information regarding readings, panels, signings, workshops, socials, and more. We hope to see you there!


Parking: an area expert has informed me that the hotel parking is quite poor. Instead, the parking at 400 East Pratt is recommended. For a map and online reservations visit–md/400-east-pratt.

Topics: have something you’d like to see discussed on the panels listed below? Leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do!

Harassment Policy: the Balticon harassment policy can be viewed at

Awesome: you’re awesome regardless of whether you can make it to the event or not! Want some other way to show your support? Please consider sharing this event with others. Thanks!

Other things to do: if the 300 hours of programming offered by Balticon aren’t enough, or if your friends and family need something to do while you attend the convention, the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel is located in the middle of Baltimore’s Harborplace where you will find restaurants, shops, nightclubs, museums, the National Aquarium, and more.


Gribble photo colorFriday
• The Blurring of Genre Borders (panel) J.L. Gribble
• Freelancing in the Publishing Industry (panel) John Edward Lawson
5pm Introduction to SFF Poetry (panel) John Edward Lawson

6pm There’s No Such Thing as Apolitical Fiction (panel) John Edward Lawson

8pm Microfiction and Micropoetry (panel) John Edward Lawson


authors-kcereswright10am Effective Marketing for the Self-Published Author (panel) John Edward Lawson

11am Running a Small Press (panel) John Edward Lawson

12pm Afrofuturism 101 (panel) K. Ceres Wright

• Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading (J.L. Gribble)
• Readings: Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction (John Edward Lawson, K. Ceres Wright)
2pm Slash of Our Ancestors: A History of Fanfic (panel) J.L. Gribble
• Autograph session with J.L. Gribble & Jay Smith
• Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction (DWASF) Meet & Greet (John Edward Lawson, K. Ceres Wright)
9pm Writing Psychological Horror (panel) K. Ceres Wright


JELauthor2018• Alternate History: Creating Stories by Changing the Past (presentation) J.L. Gribble
• Yourself and Someone Unlike You: Why Representation is Good for Everyone (panel) John Edward Lawson
2 pm Readings: John Edward Lawson, Starla Huchton, Charles Gannon
4 pm Fandom Trolls and How to Vanquish Them (panel) J.L. Gribble
5pm Diversity Readers and Why You Need Them (panel) John Edward Lawson

7pm Readings with J.L. Gribble & Paul E. Cooley

• Long Live the King: The Success of Black Panther (panel) John Edward Lawson
• Taking Off the Training Wheels: Fanfic to Original Fic (panel) J.L. Gribble
9pm Tales From the Slush Pile (panel) John Edward Lawson

10am Writing Compelling Villains (panel) J.L. Gribble
11am How to Keep Writing After the Workshop (panel) J.L. Gribble


Thoughts and Feelings About Black Panther

It’s been a while since I did a film review, but this week I join five other Speculative Chic contributors to discuss Black Panther. My contribution is a mere 500 words, but those are 500 words in which I do manage to coin the phrase: “Once you go to Wakanda, you don’t go back yonder.” I expect to see that appearing on T-shirts and other merchandise posthaste.

Unsurprisingly, all the reviewers had a lot to say about this particular movie. Please join the discussion over at —we look forward to your comments!


Women in Horror Month Poetry Reading

Please join us TONIGHT at 8 p.m. on the Raw Dog Screaming Press YouTube channel for a live poetry reading featuring Stephanie M. Wytovich, Donna Lynch, and Erin Al-Mehairi.

via #WomeninHorrorMonth Live Poetry Reading Tues, Feb 20 – Wytovich, Lynch, and Me (Al-Mehairi)!


The Belko Experiment: A Comparative Review Featuring The Hunger Games, Battle Royale, and Thinky Stuff

I’ve spent the better part of a month piecing together coverage of The Belko Experiment, which has now gone live over at Speculative Chic. Their editorial team did a great job helping me through the process. Much of that involved them being exceedingly patient. Regardless, I think the end result might be of interest to readers of dystopian fiction, fans of the films, and people into pop culture analysis.

BRlogoIf you’ve been a long-time fan of Beat Kitano Takeshi like I have, going on 25 years, then you’re familiar with Battle Royale. Ever since the rise of The Hunger Games series there have been grumbles from Battle Royale fans about how Suzanne Collins’ work is derivative. And now The Belko Experiment hits the scene, purposefully inviting such comparisons, as explained in my review.

Please click through to read the full (lengthy) text. Be warned, though, this is a departure from the typical Speculative Chic review, in that it straps on galoshes and jumps into the rabbit hole of academic overthinking. For me that sorta thing is fun — I mean, I’m doing it all the time in my head while I’m watching commercials, taking kids to Laser Tag, or listening to somebody talk about their day. Don’t worry, if you’ve discussed your day with me I won’t be posting a critical analysis of it online.

As always please let me know what you think in the comments section at and let people interested in the subject know about it when you can! Thanks.belko

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