Writing with Pride

Writing With Pride – LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Ruby Finley vs. the Interstellar Invasion

Since it’s Pride Month and Juneteenth season and three months until Ruby Finley comes out, I thought I’d post about an aspect of the book that’s not obvious from the jacket copy but is very important to me, a Black Queer person.

When I first decided to write this book I had specific goals about representation and inclusion. I wanted my protagonist to be Black, to live in a Black community that is functional, safe, and caring, and for that community to have LGBTQ+ people in it as a matter of course. I did this by including parents who are gay and lesbian, and at no point is this ever brought up as a problem or abnormal.

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An Investigator in Ravenloft

Awards Eligibility 2022

I’m quite late in doing one of these posts because I’ve been recovering from Egypt and also focusing on book stuff. (OMG I have book stuff, so excite!)

I did do a thing last year that I think deserves award consideration: Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft

I’m one of several contributors to this, and so we’d all be included in a group nomination for the book. It’s eligible for the Nebula in the Game Writing category and for the Hugo in the Best Related Work category.

I hope you’ll consider adding the book to your ballot because the team did an AMAZING job on every aspect of the book, including being inclusive. I mean, just look at that character above. That’s me except it’s not me but she looks just like me and she’s an example of a type of character and I feel seen. :)

Ravenloft Header

Ravenloft and Har’Akir and Ankhtepot, Oh My!

Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft is out in the world and already there are hundreds of gamers preparing their horror campaigns around it. I am still so excited to have been part of making this book along with a spectacular team, moreso now that it’s out and I’m seeing people’s reactions to it.

I worked on one of the domains, Har’Akir, which is a fantasy realm based on ancient Egypt. If you’re new around here you might not know that I’ve been researching ancient Egypt for years and years for fiction projects and that’s the main reason I was tapped for this. I loved getting the opportunity to reimagine the problematic aspects of the domain that were introduced decades ago based off of media depictions of ancient Egyptian culture and custom that were not very accurate or respectful.

If you’re interested in learning about Har’Akir before deciding to pick up the book, I have some resources for you!

Continue reading “Ravenloft and Har’Akir and Ankhtepot, Oh My!”

Amplify Black Stories Storyteller Cohort

Amplify Black Stories Storyteller Cohort 2021

This week The Brown Bookshelf and the Highlights Foundation announced the inaugural Storyteller Cohort for their Amplify Black Stories initiative. And if you look reeeaaallly close at the image there you’ll see me! In company with 23 other Black writers of kidlit! It’s a wall of Black Excellence! And I’m so honored to be part of it.

The program is focused on supporting Black storytellers, confronting industry challenges, and fostering change. In addition the work the storytellers are doing, the Brown Bookshelf and Highlights will be conducting seminars and talks with the publishers involved with the same goals. It’s really important that all the work isn’t put on authors since we’re not the ones with the marketing departments and ability to allocate marketing funds.

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Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft

Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft and Me

I knew this news was dropping today. What I didn’t know was that Polygon was gonna namecheck me as one of the contributors! EeeEEEeeEEeeeEEE

I’m super proud to be part of the team that created the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons 5E Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft book. I’m in such amazing company; Ajit George, The Strix, Molly Ostertag, Cassandra Khaw, Jessica Price, and many others contributed. Working with F. Wesley Schneider, the design lead, was a great experience. Everyone involved gave me support and wonderful feedback and I loved every minute.

I cannot wait for folks to start playing the adventures in this book (I wanna hear about it!). It comes out in May and is up for pre-order now. You can find more preview information over at Inverse as well as on the DnD site.

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.

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.

The Initiate

November Microfiction: The Initiate

Back to Egypt…


The halls of the temple were quiet; the dawn song sung, the morning light just beginning to peek between the columns. Maatkare passed between them as silently as possible, bare feet barely making a sound on the alabaster floor and just a gentle swish from the linen wrapped around her body. Only sacred sound was permitted here.

The quiet faded the closer she came to the outer courtyard, punctuated by the quacking chirps of the flock waiting for her. She smiled at the sound–it was one reason why she enjoyed this duty above all others. The ibis roamed the courtyard, disturbed by nothing, patient and steady. This flock took a specific path around the upriver end of the city, passing each resting spot with the regularity of the sun. They knew that she, or someone like her, would appear before the heat got intense bearing their favorite food. They also knew – or so she assumed – that she always brought enough for all of them, so they never fought or crowded or menaced her the way geese would. This is why she loved them.

Click here to read the whole story.

Even When We Don't Want to be Ourselves

October Microfiction: Even When We Don’t Want to be Ourselves

The stories in this series are based on the artwork of Chiara Bautista which is amazing and gorgeous and you should look at all of it.


Wolf and Bunny artwork by Chiara Bautista

She discarded the rabbit face in the water where the moon self still cast some light. Now that she was here on the earth she wanted a single identity. To be one of the persons.

No matter. The Earth’s rabbits found her, anyway. In the swamplands they approached her in uncharacteristically untimid ways. They knew her for one of them. And she loved them for that.

She wandered the swamps in a funk. She had detached herself from the night sky and dropped here to get some perspective, yet she still wasn’t happy. Or fulfilled. Or even sure what she wanted. To feel. To be. Nothing got solved.

She came upon the skull, half sunk in the mud and grass. She washed it, pressed a bright red flower to the place where an ear would be. That was enough.

Hello. That was the voice of what was left. A girl. No, a fish girl.

“How did you get here? This isn’t your place.”

This isn’t yours, either.

Click here to continue reading.