The Bad Death is my historic paranormal novel with interracial romance. The protagonist is Anika, a slave woman. She's attracted to her master's brother, Julian. She becomes attracted to Marcus, an enslaved man who is a slave driver. A modern woman's spirit takes refuge in Anika's body and influences her mind. In adventure stories the hero prevails through gumption and daring. But how does The Bad Death align with historic reality? As Americans attend and react to 12 Years a Slave, a a new film based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, it seems a good time to examine the treatment of slavery in genre fiction and literature, particularly as it relates to autobiographies written by slaves.
Kindred by Octavia Butler. The heroine, Dana, is a modern African-American. She is repeatedly pulled through time
to the antebellum south in order to protect the white boy destined to father
the Caucasian side of her family. There (and then) Dana's treated as a
slave. Kindred is a good book. I'm glad I read it. I can't say I enjoyed it. Why not? It's grueling. She's
victimized relentlessly. She and her fellow slaves endure terrible conditions. The
antebellum interracial liaisons are exploitative and cruel. Kindred isn't an adventure story.
It is a historically accurate novel in the literary tradition.
The Classic Slave Narratives, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Slaves on South Carolina Lowcountry rice plantations worked under better conditions,
as described in Charles Joyner's history Down by the Riverside: a South Carolina Slave Community. Anika's story is set in
a South Carolina slave community like that documented by Joyner.
I wanted to write a paranormal historical with sexy romance and a crossbow-wielding adventuress. I could have written The
Bad Death more realistically, but then it would be a book in a different genre. Due to the novel's setting,
even the most benevolent white characters have racist viewpoints. I hope
readers understand that these views belong to the characters – not to me. And I hope readers are moved to explore libraries and bookstores. There's great literature out there and inspiring nonfiction accounts of history's real heroes and heroines.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Sunday, October 20, 2013
|The Boo Hag by Ashere http://ashere.deviantart.com/art/The-Boo-Hag-339906658|
Saturday, October 5, 2013
By the time a writer has polished the manuscript, he's lived inside the story so long he's lost objectivity. It's time for someone with fresh eyes. An editor will examine your work from a production perspective, but it saves a lot of time if you've first identified and fixed your story's weaknesses. That's where beta readers can help.
To paraphrase Wikipedia's definition, a beta reader is a person who reads a novel manuscript with a critical eye. A beta reader may highlight plot holes or problems with continuity, characterization or believability; and assist the author with fact-checking.
Many writers request fellow writers to be beta readers. I chose readers who weren't writers because I wanted the customer's reaction. I focused on readers interested in elements present in my novel, such as paranormal romance, the Gullah culture, or ballet. A few curious friends volunteered. I emailed nine potential beta readers. Here's an excerpt:
I'm contacting you because your interests and experiences give you the unique view I'm looking for in a beta reader for The Bad Death. Essentially, The Bad Death is a vampire slayer novel with a Gullah heroine and is slated for publication in summer/fall 2013. The details below give the cover art and synopsis; an explanation of a beta reader's contribution; my novel's characteristics such as length and similarity to its genre sisters; and particulars of the beta-reading period. I also attached the first few chapters. If you say "yes", I'll contact you again May 1.I made a similar appeal on a Goodreads discussion thread, with the moderator's blessing.
In addition to my heartfelt gratitude, I gave each beta reader an autographed copy of the published version, in the format of her choice.