speculative fiction

2017 Awards Eligibility

I’ve never done this before, so I’ll just jump right into it.

Hi, my writing name is R.S.A. Garcia and I have a story eligible for awards this year.

You can read ‘The Bois’ for free at this link.

Really nice people said some really nice things about the story here and here.

There’s a great list of everything published by black authors in 2017 here, which I’m on.

I’m also on the recommended reading list for the Nebulas.

I would love it if you read my story. If you’re a voting member for speculative fiction writing awards and you like it, please consider voting for it.

Thanks for stopping by!

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I’m On the Nebula Awards Recommended Reading List!

The title says it all!

I’m so shocked and SO SO HAPPY!

You can click on this link to see my name up in lights with all the other writers, a lot of whom I admire and can’t believe I’m keeping company with!

I’m recommended reading!

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Me!

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No idea how it happened, but I’m taking it!

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(P.S. apologies for all the exclamation points and gifs, but yeah…you know how it is… ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

New Caribbean Beat Magazine Interview!

Hope you’ve all been behaving yourself while I’m away, putting the final scenes in my latest book.

Remember I mentioned some good things were coming up for me soon? Well, one of them just dropped.

Caribbean Beat magazine, the free in-flight magazine for Caribbean Airlines–one of the largest carriers in the Caribbean–interviewed me a while back. The interview is in the new March/April issue. This one is important to me because it’s a special article about the rise of speculative fiction in the Caribbean and several authors were interviewed. I got to keep company (again!) with Nalo Hopkinson, Tobias Buckell and Karen Lord.

How lucky does one girl get, right?

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You can read the interview here.

Hope you enjoy the article. Feel free to let me know what you think by leaving a comment, or contacting me via the ‘Say Hello’ form on this website.

Stay thirsty, my friends, and see you soon!

The Bookshine Bandit – New LEX TALIONIS Review

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Yes, I know I’m very late. But I’m only one week late in China!

I should have come by at least a couple of times last month, but in my defense, I was writing pretty steadily. I’m still at it and I’ve also been very busy at work, but I have some cool things happening on the writing front, so I thought I’d pop by, say hello and check in with everyone.

Hope you all are having a great year so far, and that only more good things are in your future.

While we’re here, you can check out my latest review for LEX TALIONIS. It’s later than the reviewer intended, but I’ll wait for a 5 star for a pretty long time lol.

You heard that, right? 5 STARS!

You can check it out at The Bookshine Bandit.

I have to say, I think the title of that review will end up being my elevator pitch lol.

See you again soon. Until then, stay thirsty, my friends!

A Wonderful New Review for LEX TALIONIS in Caribbean Beat Magazine

I’m really over the moon about this one!

Caribbean Beat magazine is produced by Caribbean Airlines and given away free on every flight they have, both in and out of the Caribbean, for two months. I’m extremely lucky and grateful to be included in their bookshelf. In the past, I’ve heard about great books like ‘A Brief History Of Seven Killings’–which won the Man Booker prize, among others–from reading the magazine while traveling around the islands on business.

You can read the review here, just scroll down a bit. 

My favourite part? The closing lines:

‘Lex Talionis sings a bloody song of both forgetting and redemption, and of the price we pay for a little tenderness, when least we expect to be taxed for our freedoms.’

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*Squees with joy*

*Dances around*

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programme!

A Few Good Women…

Earlier this year, Barnes and Noble did a great article featuring 7 speculative fiction books that feature strong female characters.

Is it exhaustive? By no means. But it has a nice mix of modern and classic and also had the good sense to include the queen of Caribbean speculative fiction, Nalo Hopkinson. Seriously, if you haven’t read ‘Midnight Robber’ you’ve…well, you’ve robbed yourself of something truly special.

See what I did there?

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Have fun with the list. I have it on good authority all the books are great, even the ones I haven’t read.

What are your favourite scifi or fantasy books with strong female leads? Sound off in the comments below. And if you buy and read (or already read) any of these, be sure to let me know what you think.

Stay thirsty, my friends!

Tantie, Papa And The Mango Tree On Diego Colony

A bit from a story I’m still working on. Funny thing is, I finished another story with the same character and it got an Honourable Mention in the Writers of the Future Contest last year, but for some reason this story is just not cooperating. It won’t tell me how to get to the ending, just yet.

Guess I’ll just have to trunk it until it does…

The day I turn ten, my mother walk into the corrosive sea on the western edge of Diego colony.¬† She used to cut sheself during her depressions, so she wasn’t no stranger to pain.¬† She didn’t even whimper when the hissing lilac waves attack her legs and red stains start to drift ’round her in threads.¬†

I don’t know if I scream or say anything.¬† I remember her sinking into the waves, graceful, graceful, and I remember running toward her.¬† I was lucky–I trip and kilkitay on my face. I fling out my right arm, trying to save myself, just as a wave come toward me.¬† My hand started burning, as if a thousand flames was under it, and I could still see the lilac coming toward my face, hissing all the way.

That was a bad day.  The worst day.  I could deal with anything because of that day.

I keep telling myself that as I walk down to the pier, sand sucking and trapping my shoes all the way.  I have to prepare myself before I get to the crowd on the beach or crapaud smoke my pipe.

I have to forget the waves biting the shore in front me.

I almost reach them when they turn as one to look at me.¬† Resentment and anger shifting and molding so many faces.¬† It fascinating how them faces is every shade between white and brown.¬† You don’t notice them things when you pass people on main street, but here, together, I can’t see nothing else.

I blink and shake off the distraction.  The metal in me like patterns. Is just the wired side of me, fixating, as usual.

The crowd split as someone push they way toward me.¬† Manno.¬† He bare arms shiny with sweat in the midday sunlight.¬† He nutmeg brown face twisted with grief and rage.¬† Big man, Manno, but usually no trouble.¬† Today, with his son John John in a coma back at Diego’s only Clinic, he definitely my biggest problem.

Before the crowd shift and fall back in behind Manno, I see Boyie standing next to the pier. He scared, poor thing. Beyond him, at the end of the metal platform, he tiny ferry rising and falling on the lilac waves. 

“Now you reach?”¬† Manno’s voice almost cracks.¬† “Now?”

“Is Market Day.”¬† I reminded him.¬† “I come when I hear.”

“Well, we don’t need you.”¬† Esther, Manno’s wife, push through behind him and grab he arm.¬† She small and bald with big grey eyes in she cappuccino face.¬† Today, the look she give me make them less beautiful.

“Esther,” I nod my head at her.¬† “I very sorry for what happen, but don’t forget who you talking to.”

“You threatening us?”¬† Esther’s eyes narrow.¬† “Who food you does eat every day?”

“So you exempt?¬† You could do what you like because you run the hydroponics lab?”¬† I shake my head.¬† “Esther, I not Tantie for some–I Tantie for all.”

“You protect him long enough,” Manno says through tight lips.¬† “No more.¬† Not after John John.”

A murmur of agreement goes through the crowd.  I ignore it.  People will talk theyself into anything if you let them.  My job is not to let them.

Wondering if to even bother to finish it. Perhaps I should just move on to other stories instead of wasting my time?

Decisions, decisions…

Stay thirsty, my friends!

Writers Write Different

A while back, there was a conversation on one of my email lists about an award-winning author who had announced her intention to quite the publishing game. I can’t remember her name (it was QUITE a while ago) but I remember she was a British literary writer who had won awards. Her problem, as far as I can remember, was that she felt she couldn’t produce her best work within the timeframe and pressure of publishing deadlines. She was a fairly slow writer who took years to get to the end of a manuscript and the pressure of deadlines was stifling her, so she announced she would no longer be publishing.

What surprised me was the vitriol on my list toward her. I wasn’t participating on the list at the time, due to some deadlines of my own, but I was reading the posts and every one of them went something like, ‘How dare she? I would kill for her publishing deal and the ungrateful [insert uncharitable phrase] is throwing all that away because she’s SLOW?!’ Followed by contemptuous recountings about how many books they could finish a year (ranging from two to one a month), and how she should just suck it up and stop whining.

Personally, I completely get how that writer felt. I’m fairly slow for a writer depending on what I’m doing. I’ve been working on one novel for several years, for example. LEX TALIONIS took me 6 months to write and another 6 months to edit to my satisfaction. It then took me several agent and publisher submissions and huge rewrites over several years to get it edited well enough to publish, but that’s another story. (Hint: You never stop editing. Never. The book will be on the shelf, available for sale for months and you’ll see another typo and pull your hair out.)

However, I also finished a book in one month once, and a story (which I published) in a total of 2 hours writing time and about 3 hours editing time spread out over a week as beta readers responded. I’ve noticed that I wrote more, and faster, when I was younger and making a lot of mistakes, and that as I mature in the craft, I’m getting slower on the bigger projects (like series) and faster on the stand-alones (like stories).

My point is this: writers do not approach writing the same way. Writers write different.¬†And sometimes, the same writer writes different.¬†Some writers take 10 years to finish a novel, and I know a¬†writer who once took 10 days. Some writers do better with deadlines, and some feel pressured and can’t produce at all under one. Some writers can be all of the above on different projects, or days. I’m like that. Sometimes a deadline helps me focus. Other times it paralyzes me. A¬†famous writer once said, the best gift you can give a writer is free time. Without it, I feel pressured to get the housework done, or focus on my paying job, rather than give myself the time needed to write. I know from talking to other writers that I’m not alone.

Look, rather than let our petty jealousies about awards and publishing deals get in the way, let’s give ourselves permission to acknowledge and respect each other’s processes. The writing craft is hard, time intensive and doesn’t ever end. Anyone who has managed to get a book out of it deserves respect. Anyone who has managed to get someone else to pay for that book has accomplished a freaking miracle. And all of us could use support whether we get there or not.

Part of my process involves taking forever on some things, and finishing others in a flash. But quality is not determined by speed of production. A writer should not be condemned because they chose to be honest about the way the publishing world affects their craft or the way they get to a manuscript they feel proud of. In fact, writers can learn a lot from each other and the different ways we go about things. I know the best part of learning to write was all the time I spent reading and making friends with other writers on the OWW. I knew writers there who worked on books for years and others who worked on them for months. They were all eventually published. You know why? Because readers, publishers, agents–they only care about the work.

It would do a lot of beginning writers a lot of good to realise that’s all they should care about too. Criticizing people who already put themselves out there does no one any good and only serves to make you feel self-satisfied.

Here’s a better idea. Learn from other writers. Don’t repeat the mistakes you think they make. Do copy all the things they do right. Respect and support other writers. And most of all, keep writing the way that works best for you. Let the awards fall where they may and the criticism come from elsewhere because you are too busy being true to yourself.

In the words of Kid President, ‘Be Awesome!’

Because, life is too short, you know?

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Stay thirsty, my friends!

My Life As A Panelist or Bocas Lit Fest 2015

So last week was my birthday, and the day after I went to my first literary festival as a panelist. This was all new to me, and I was nervous at first, but lucky me, I had some really lovely people at my side to keep me grounded and help me feel confident. I got to do two readings, exchange ideas and chat with Nalo Hopkinson, Karen Lord and Tobias Buckell, and best of all, got to meet young writers and talk to them about Caribbean speculative fiction. It was very inspiring to be in a room full of people who love reading and writing and want to do nothing else but talk about it.

All in all, the festival ran smoothly and I think I did pretty well. One bookseller ran out of my books and another appeared to have good sales. I gave a couple of autographs. Made some connections. But best of all, I met some great people I think I’ll be corresponding with in the future, and hung out with new friends.

Here are some pics of me being a real writer:

With Tobias and Karen!

All of us at a fiction masterclass.

I have a few others with me on the actual panels where we talked about our books and the history and future of Caribbean speculative fiction, but I will spare you those.

No need to thank me.

Stay thirsty, my friends!

Guest Blog: Limits of the Imagination

I have a new guest blog post up on my friend Tonya’s awesome Spec Fic Genre Love website.

You can check out the Limits of the Imagination by clicking here.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Stay thirsty, my friends!