Deal Announcement Ruby

Now it can be told: How Ruby vs the Robo-Bug came to be

I am beyond excited to finally announce my first book deal! From the notice in Publishers Marketplace:

Science fiction and fantasy writer and media critic K. Tempest Bradford’s [middle grade] RUBY VS. THE ROBO-BUG1, in which an 11-year-old Black girl passionate about entomology finds an alien bug in her backyard and has to rely on her friends, the scientific method, and her instincts to help the alien get home safely, to Grace Kendall at Farrar, Straus Children’s, in a very nice deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2022, by Larissa Melo Pienkowski at Jill Grinberg Literary Management (world English).

I’ve been sitting on this news for months as the slow wheels of publishing turned. I’m glad I can finally be public about it because I am so very excited for this book! I didn’t set out to write a middle grade novel or really any novel that wasn’t the one I’ve been working on for ages. How did we end up here? Settle in and I’ll tell you.

Continue reading “Now it can be told: How Ruby vs the Robo-Bug came to be”


Footnotes

  1. A working title and slightly different from the draft title: Ruby vs. the Big, Red Bug. []
Authors K. Tempest Bradford and Aisha Matthews

I’m on the Science Friday Book Club talking about New Suns

Last week I had the great pleasure of being on WNYC’s Science Friday as part of the #SciFriBookClub. All this month they’re reading and talking about stories from New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction By Writers of Color edited by Nisi Shawl. I got to talk to editor Aisha Matthews and producer Christie Taylor about the story “Dumb House” written by Andrea Hairston.

Any time I get to discuss Andrea’s work with people I’m happy, so I knew going in that this would be fantastic. We ended up having a truly wonderful conversation that went a little over time, so some had to be cut. Still, what’s there captures the essence of what we talked about. You should buy the book, read the story, and listen in.

If you want to listen to the first segment where they talked to Darcie Little Badger about their story, or find the upcoming segments, head to the Science Friday book club website.

World Fantasy, the Convention That Keeps On Failing

On social media (mostly on Twitter, I believe) there are several ongoing conversations about the problems with the initial programming lineup for the 2020 World Fantasy Convention. One of the first people to bring up the vast number of serious issues publicly1 was Miyuki Jane Pinckard. She wrote a long thread on October 4 as she spotted issues, then compiled an open letter which she posted on Google Docs.

As she and others began raising the alarm on panel titles and descriptions, the official Twitter account for the con started posting tone-deaf responses that made it seem as though the con Chair didn’t really grok what might be wrong but also extending an invitation for people, especially marginalized people, to help WFC fix the problematic panels. And if you knew absolutely nothing else about this situation, that might seem reasonable and like some honest mistakes were made.

I’m here to tell you that this is not the case. That, in truth, WFC Chair Ginny Smith was warned that this exact scenario would happen unless she took specific steps to avoid it. This advice, which was based on the experience of many years, was ignored. And so the situation the WFC 2020 convention committee finds itself in right now is not the result of honest mistakes, but willful ignorance and likely some ingrained bigotry.

I’m going to lay out what I know–not just about this World Fantasy debacle, but some of the history behind it. I want people who are, in good faith, trying to fix WFC’s programming and think that they can somehow pull this con out of the tar pit to know that this situation cannot be fixed ad hoc, cannot just be addressed at the level of this one concom, and cannot be solved by continuing to attend.

Continue reading “World Fantasy, the Convention That Keeps On Failing”


Footnotes

  1. Trust, there have been a ton of people backchanneling about this in private spaces. []

Daily Writing Exercises: Preptober + NaNoWriMo 2020

Practice and warm-ups are fundamental to every artistic discipline, writing included. Especially when you’re gearing up to set down 50,000 words in 30 days.

Doing a 10 – 20 minute writing exercise can help kick your brain into creative gear without pressure, give you the chance to try out new craft skills, or simply keep your writing muscles limber on days when you don’t have the time or energy to work on your work in progress.

Whether you’re getting ready for NaNoWriMo, or starting a new long fiction project, or just want to try building a daily writing practice, this course is for you.

Click here to Register

Part 1 – Preptober (Reg Ended)

Starting October 1 you’ll get a short writing exercise via email every day for a month. These exercises will give you an opportunity to play around with voice, point of view, dialogue, and other aspects of craft plus help you get to know your characters better and dig into details of your setting. You can use the exercises to prepare for NaNoWriMo, or a non-NaNo project, or as warm-ups before starting on your current work in progress.

Part 2 – NaNoWriMo

Starting November 1 you’ll get a different set of writing exercises via email every day for a month. The November exercises will all relate directly to your work in progress, diving into the characters, the world, and the plot in ways that will help you keep moving forward.

You can sign up for Part 2 for $45. Grants are still available for those who can’t afford the registration fee.

Grants

There are a total of 10 grants available to writers who need them. Grants are for both parts of class. Five grants are available to Black, Indigenous, and other Writers of Color, five are available to any writer from any identity background.

To apply, fill out this form. You’ll be asked to provide a personal statement (up to 500 words) and a statement of financial need (300 words). Please Note: I define financial need broadly, from those who absolutely can’t pay to those who may have the money but can’t set it aside for a writing course. Don’t self reject!

FAQ

Do I have to be doing NaNo to take this course?

Nope! If you just want a month or two of writing exercises that will help you with your fiction or get you into a daily writing practice, this course is for you.

What are the technical requirements?

Just an email account.

Can I donate so more people get grants?

Yes! And you’d be the absolute best for doing so. Click here to donate via PayPal. You can pay to cover the full grant price or just part of one. Any amount donated is appreciated.

New Webinar: Cultural Appropriation – What It Is and How To Avoid It

Nisi Shawl and I are teaching a webinar on Cultural Appropriation next month. This class has low-cost registrations and a donation/Pay What You Can Afford option to make it more widely available to writers affected by COVID-19. Basic details:

When: May 2, 2020, 10AM – 1PM Pacific Time (Click to see when this happens in your time zone)
Where: Online via Zoom video conference
Price: $20 – $30 or Whatever You Can Afford (Details Below)

Most writers want to avoid Cultural Appropriation but worry that they don’t fully understand what it is or how to ensure their work does not include it. They wonder what the difference is between appropriation and exchange or between appropriation and influence. And they hope avoiding cultural appropriation doesn’t mean only writing stories about people from their same race, culture, or ethnic group.

In this 3 hour webinar, authors Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford will offer concrete answers to those questions and a set of resources to help authors navigate these tricky waters. The webinar includes two short lectures and a lengthy Q&A.

Click here for full details or to register

Managing Social Media for Writers header

New Class: Managing Social Media for Writers

I’m teaching a new class for Cat Rambo’s Academy for Wayward Writers about how to manage social media if you’re a writer. Especially if you DON’T want to be on it. Details:

When: Sunday, May 3, 2020, 1:00-3:00 pm Pacific Time
Where: Online via Video Conference
Price: $99 ($79 for existing Academy students) – scholarships are available

Authors need to use social media for publicity, audience building, and community connection. And yet, social networks are undoubtedly time sinks, distractions, and can sometimes be bad for our mental health. All of which can eat into writing time. Maintaining a balance between time on and off social media is important, especially for authors who want to lean more toward being OFF it. In this class, K. Tempest Bradford will offer tips for how to limit your time on social media without having to delete your account and how to set up a system of auto posting and scheduling that will allow you to maintain an appropriate presence without annoying your friends and followers.

Classes are limited to 15 students. They are taught online and require reliable Internet connection, although in the past participants have logged on from coffee shops, cafes, and even an airplane; a webcam is suggested but not required. Classes are recorded for the benefit of class members only.

Click here to register.

Willamette Writers logo and image of Tempest

I’m teaching at the Willamette Writers Conference

The Willamette Writers community recently announced the lineup of teachers and keynote speakers for their conference this summer, and for the first time I’m one of them! There are a ton of amazing writers, editors, and agents on that list and I’m honored to be listed alongside them. Plus, I’ve been hearing wonderful things about this conference for a while and I’m excited to attend and absorb some knowledge myself.

The conference takes place July 31 – August 2, 2020 and currently the in-person event in Portland, Oregon is still happening. However, there is now a virtual option for the conference and, if need be, the event will go full virtual.

Here’s the list of my Master Class, Panel, and Workshops:

Master Class: Describing the “Other”
Three Sessions: Monday – Wednesday, July 27-29, 5-7 PM Pacific

Writers who want to create fiction with characters from different identities, cultures, and backgrounds often grow anxious when it comes time to describe people from marginalized groups. They wonder which words and phrases they should avoid and which words to use instead. In this Master Class, writers will learn how to avoid these description pitfalls. Through lecture and writing exercises, we’ll go beyond the basics of eliminating food metaphors and other tired/inaccurate clichés and explore how to make conscious, respectful, and inclusive language choices. Writers will come away from the session with a set of resources to help them avoid descriptions that unwittingly reveal or perpetuate bias and oppression. Bring your computer, tablet, or pen and paper for hands-on exercises.

Panel: Current Themes in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Friday, July 31, 2020 9:00 AM-10:30 AM

The world of Science Fiction and Fantasy is imaginative, big, and wild. Join noted SFF authors as they discuss current themes that have found their way into SFF, and how the industry has changed in the last few years.

Workshop: Intersectionality and Characterization
Friday, July 31, 3:45 PM-4:45 PM

When writers first conceptualize characters, they often have one or two aspects of identity firmly in mind. In focusing on one particular aspect of identity – such as race or ability or sexual orientation – you can lose sight of the fact that there are always overlapping areas of identity that affect how a character moves through the world. In this workshop, we’ll discuss how Intersectionality can be used as framework for creating fully-dimensional characters, especially when those characters are from identities and cultures different from your own. There will be hands-on writing exercises, so bring your laptop, tablet, or pen and paper.

Workshop: Writing Outside of Your Experience: Characterization
Saturday, August 1, 10:45 AM-12:15 PM

Representation and creating characters that reflect the diversity of the world we all live in is fundamental to writing great fiction. But writers often find it difficult to represent people whose gender, sexual orientation, racial heritage, or other aspect of identity is very different from their own. This can lead to fear of getting it horribly, offensively wrong and, in the face of that, some think it’s better to not even try. But representation is too important to ignore. In this workshop, K. Tempest Bradford will give you tools and set you on the right path to writing characters who represent the “Other” sensitively and convincingly. There will be hands-on writing exercises, so bring your laptop, tablet, or pen and paper.

In addition, I will attend the Writers of Color Social on Saturday morning at 7:30 if there’s an in-person event.

Registration prices:

  • Online Registration: $299.00
  • Full Conference Registration: $559.00
  • Friday Only Registration: $284.00
  • Saturday & Sunday Only Registration: $404.00

You can find more details and register here. I hope I see some of you this summer!

Standing Still

December Microfiction: Standing Still

This month’s free fiction is in honor of the solstice.

In the hour before dawn a chariot climbed through the desert hills toward the Western mountains, the full moon above illuminating the way. The sky was not yet even the barest pink and every star embedded in the body of Nut winked down at the driver and passenger as they broke the night’s silence. They drove past the sealed tombs in the rock, the monuments to past kings, until the beating of the horses’ hooves echoed off the stone of the new monument ahead. Hatshepsut tapped her driver’s shoulder to indicate where they should stop, then squeezed it to keep balance once they did.

“Here, my king?” the driver asked. They were still many feet from the front of the first ramp.

“Yes, I’ll walk the rest of the way,” Hatshepsut said as she climbed down and dusted herself off. “I won’t need to return to the High House until the sun peaks, so you may return to the river to take part in the festival there.”

Even though they’d discussed this before leaving, the driver still looked uncomfortable leaving her king there all alone.

“I’ll be safe. Go.” She said firmly but with a smile.

Click here to read the rest.

Daily Writing Exercises - New Year's Resolution Edition 2020

Daily Writing Exercises – New Year’s Resolution Edition 2020

Is one of your New Year’s Resolutions to write more? Do you want to try building a daily (or at least regular) writing practice? Looking for some creative inspiration for new stories? This class is for you.

Starting January 15, you’ll get a 10 – 20 minute long writing exercise via email every day for 31 days. For the first few weeks the exercises will lean toward the generative, allowing you to play around with craft and character and setting while planting story seeds in your brain. Once those seeds start to grow, the later exercises will help you know more about your characters and the world they inhabit.

Even if you already have stories or novels in progress, you can use these exercises to kick your brain into creative gear without pressure and get into the habit of practicing every day. Doing a short writing exercise can keep your writing muscles limber on days when you don’t have the time or energy to work on your work in progress.

Because many writers thrive on community and support, all participants will have access to a private chat space on Discord where they can share their experience with the exercises and support each other through the month. This is optional! You can also do the exercises on your own and never speak to anyone else ever. ;)

The course costs $40 and grants are available for those who can’t afford it.

Sound good? Register Now or keep reading for more details.

All the deets.

Originality podcast episode 31

Originality podcast episode #31: Being Transparent About Hating the Process

In this episode Aleen talks to Rosemary Orchard and we discuss getting over barriers to creativity, not holding yourself to impossible standards, and establishing a writing ritual that works for you. Also: do you trust strangers to watch your stuff in coffee shops? (I totally do…)

You can listen to the podcast below or on the episode page where you can see the show notes and also subscribe.