The Seers’ Table December 2020
Linda D. Addison, Member of the Diverse Works Inclusion Community
You can see any of The Seers’ Table posts since inception (March 2016) from the menu item “Diverse Works” on the top of the HWA’s main page.
Kate Maruyama introduces:
Grace Chan is a speculative fiction writer and doctor. Her family migrated from Malaysia to Australia where she grew up. She writes near-future science fiction about medical technology, far-future space escapades to strange worlds, and psychological horror where the real and the unconscious blend together.
Her short fiction can be found in Clarkesworld, Black Cranes, Going Down Swinging, Aurealis, AntipodeanSF, Verge: Uncanny, and other places. Her debut novel, Every Version of You, will be published by Affirm Press in 2022. She was shortlisted for Viva la Novella VII. Her short story, “The Mark,” was nominated for the 2019 Aurealis Awards Best Horror Short Story and the 2020 Norma K Hemming Award.
Recommended: From her short ghost story, “Hunger and Fury,” which is featured in Black Cranes (Omnium Gatherum, 2020).
I gasp in the syrupy air.
I’m ankle-deep in the wet pulp of crushed leaves and rotting, burst-open papayas. Fruit flies roam over my sticky skin.
She unfurls from the dense scrub. Tangled black hair obscures her face. Only her lips peek out, pink and symmetrical as a lotus flower. A sweet, rancid fragrance sweeps from her body.
Olive-brown hands tug her collar wide across her shoulders. The dress drops to the ground. A streak of red paint. No, a gash. From her bellybutton, down her pubis, and into the hair at her groin. Black blood pours down the insides of her legs. She puts her fingers into the wound and pulls the lips apart. A wail erupts from her mouth. Something slithers through her hands, spilling into a pulsing heap on the ground. Her guts? I move closer. It has the shape of a baby.
Grace Chan can be found at: https://gracechanwrites.com/ or follow her at: @gracechanwrites.
Theresa Derwin introduces:
Rachel Caine was the pen name of Roxanne Longstreet Conrad (April 27, 1962–November 1, 2020); she was an American writer of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, suspense, and horror novels. She also published media tie-in novels as Julie Fortune.
Caine’s well-known novels include the Weather Warden series, which follows the long-standing Morganville Vampires YA novels. The first in the award-winning series, Glass Houses, is about college freshman Claire Danvers, who has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don’t show many signs of life, but they will have Claire’s back when the town’s deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood. Will she be able to face the town’s terror or will she drown like everyone else?
Rachel has had some great short stories published in various anthologies, including “Home: A Morganville Vampires Story” in Hex Life (Titan Books, 2019).
She was much loved by many writers and readers alike, with her Facebook fan page having over 21k followers. She was a shining light amongst the lovers of all things vampire, and her legacy will live on. Her recent passing has not only left those who knew her feeling bereft, it has unfortunately left financial issues caused by her hospice care. Please consider contributing to these costs by buying any of her books.
Some memorable quotes to entice you:
From Lord of Misrule (The Morganville Vampires, #5)
Claire stretched out against the wall and kissed it. “Glad to see you, too,” she whispered, and pressed her cheek against the smooth surface. It almost felt like it hugged her back.
“Dude, it’s a house,” Shane said from behind her. “Hug somebody who cares.”
From Fall of Night (The Morganville Vampires, #14)
Shane said, “Don’t worry. I’ll protect you.”
Claire hit him in the shoulder. “I don’t need you to protect me.”
“Then why am I going first?”
“So you can take the first punch while I throw the second?”
“So I’m bait? Ouch. You’ve been in Morganville way too long, girl.”
Theresa Derwin introduces:
N.D. Jones, Ed.D. is a USA Today-bestselling author, who lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. In her desire to see more novels with positive, sexy, and three-dimensional African American characters as soul mates, friends, and lovers, she took on that challenge herself. Along with the fantasy romance series Forever Yours, and a contemporary romance trilogy, The Styles of Love, she has authored three paranormal romance series: Winged Warriors, Death and Destiny, and Dragon Shifter Romance.
N.D. is also the founder of Kuumba Publishing, an art, audiobook, e-book, and paperback company that is a forum for creativity, with a special commitment to promoting and encouraging creative works from authors and artists of African descent. Her teenage daughter created the image design for Kuumba Publishing, while her son has written a role-playing game using original characters from a new paranormal romance series and her husband manages the company—making Kuumba Publishing a true family affair.
Recommended: Of Fear and Faith (a novel of destiny, fate, and magical prophecy):
Baltimore, Maryland, Present Day.
“I can smell you, child. You can’t hide from me,” whispered a mangled voice on the other side of the closet door.
Elizabeth Ferrell thought her heart would burst from her chest as those dreaded words smashed through the darkness and found her hiding spot. Sweaty fear rolled down her tiny back, legs cramped and tight from being wedged between the closet wall, dirty clothes hamper, and a toy chest she’d had since she was a girl of five. She was now a big girl of eight, and big girls didn’t hide in closets from imaginary monsters, or so she told herself during the safe light of day.
Elizabeth closed her eyes and tried to reconcile this new reality to what she’d always been led to believe. Unbidden memories flowed forth. Her mother’s soothing words rang in her head, a dead, flat note.
“There are no such things as ghosts, Betsy. Come out of that closet and get back into bed.”
“But Ma, I saw a monster. It had long, pointy teeth, huge claws, a twisted face, and black eyes.”
“Ah, my sweet girl, that’s just your imagination, shadows of things in your room like Elmo here, or your Squishable Pink Poodle over there.”
You can follow N.D. at https://www.ndjonesparanormalpleasure.com; Twitter: @ndjonesauthor; Instagram @ndjonesauthor.