The Seers’ Table April 2023
Linda Addison, Member of the Diverse Works Inclusion Community
You can see any of “The Seers’ Table” posts since inception (March 2016) by going to the HWA main page and selecting menu item “Our Blogs / Diverse Works.”
Kate Maruyama recommends:
Since Latoya Jordan’s sophomore English class in high school, she knew she wanted a career as a writer. However, she didn’t realize she’d be writing by day and by night: in addition to her fiction, poetry, and the occasional essay or reported piece, she works as a professional writer for a local government agency. Her writing has appeared in Anomaly, Literary Mama, Mom Egg Review, Raising Mothers, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, and more. Her flash fiction story “Offering” was chosen as a spotlight story in Best Small Fictions 2021 (Sonder Press) and named Wigleaf’s Top 50 2021. Her essay “The Zig Zag Mother,” appears in My Caesarean: Twenty-One Mothers on the C-Section Experience and After (The Experiment) and another essay, “After Striking a Fixed Object,” published by The Manifest-Station, was listed as “notable” in Best American Essays 2016. She is also the author of Thick-Skinned Sugar (Finishing Line Press), a poetry chapbook. LaToya is currently working on a speculative short-story collection with elements of horror, magic, and fairy tales from the perspectives of Black women and girls about mothering, being mothered, and wanting to mother.
LaToya is a news junkie, pop culture lover, and true crime aficionado, and draws inspiration for her stories from the media, music, and Black American history. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, where she lives with her English teacher husband and their two children—the oldest reads every story she writes, even though they aren’t age appropriate and the youngest helps edit drafts with his crayons. She received an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles and a BS in public relations and journalism from Utica College.
Recommended reading: To The Woman in the Pink Hat out now from Aqueduct Press.
Ayana lifted a long, dark chocolate wig from a cardboard box on the coffee table between them and put it on her shiny bald head. She pulled out a knitted bubblegum pink hat and put it on top of the wig. The image clicked into place. From the neck up, she was recreating the first photo Jada had ever seen of Sarah at the Women’s March. She’d never told Ayana about the photo, so they must’ve dug up the information from news clips or court records. Jada looked down at Ayana’s staff uniform, focusing on the shiny zipper of her navy-blue jacket to ground herself.
“Is there anything you want to say to Sarah?” Even the sound of her voice had changed.
Jada’s body screamed Run! Get out of there fast! but her butt was stuck to the chair. Her legs were sandbags and her arms anchored to the arm rests. She tried to breathe deeply, but the air came in sips. IN her head, she barked orders to her body: Pick up your arms. Feet Get up. Go punch her right in her robot face. Her body disobeyed. She squeezed her eyes shut, repeating to herself this isn’t real, this isn’t real, this isn’t real. High pitched beeps sounded in the room.
Learn more about Latoya at https://latoyajordan.com/ or follow her on Twitter @latoyadjordan or Instagram @latoyajordanwriter.
Lauren Salerno recommends:
Ness Brown was born and sort of raised in New Mexico, a land with long traditions of speculative storytelling and alien conspiracies. During their nomadic childhood, books became their vehicle to worlds unknown, which they continue to explore both creatively and as a career.
Ness came to New York City to study astronomy at Columbia University, where they also found their husband and passion for Wing Chun kung fu. After graduating they spent six years teaching college astronomy and astrobiology, inspiring others to think about what or who else might be out there.
As an astrophysicist, Ness wonders about cosmic dawn and how the first generation of celestial objects affected the universe. As an author, they wonder about how fantastical, horrific, and science-inspired stories affect us.
They are currently pursuing a graduate degree in astrophysics with the help of their two cats, Mephi and Faust.
Recommended Reading: The Scourge Between Stars.
Viktorija hadn’t sent any update on yesterday’s mysterious noises beyond mentioning that Vidal still hadn’t reported back. Jacklyn tried to remember if the pipes from the labs ran this way, if whatever had been rattling around below had been forced upward by ventilation currents or the ship’s heat transfer system. She stepped forward to investigate.
Right away the hairs on her arm stood up. Even though she had moved from the window, the reserve lighting didn’t turn on.
She sat here in the dark often, but moving through the shadowy deck was a different matter. She felt her way around the stargazing benches and came to a stop before the closest bulkhead. The silent, unlit deck was eerie enough that Jacklyn felt a little nervous, and foolish for it. She reached a hand out to the wall, shaking off the gooseflesh trying to rise under her uniform.
As soon as her fingers touched the metal panel, a bang like a gunshot cracked under her touch, making her spring back.
It came again, even louder. This time it was accompanied by a harsh, metallic scraping.
She stared at the horrible noise, like nails scoring the wall from the inside. Pressure-burst metal grinding shrilly against the interior structure? Jettisoned debris accidentally piped through the wrong system? Jacklyn cycled through possible explanations even as she shuddered, more and more unnerved with each deafening bang.
Something seized her arm.
A burst of adrenaline had Jacklyn lashing out instinctually. Her fist glanced off of metal—she hissed, snatching it back to cradle her knuckles.
Watson released its tight grip on her.
Jacklyn’s unease curdled into anger at the sight of the droid. She stuck a smarting finger in the droid’s face. “I told you—“
She forgot the rest when she noticed its eyes were shining the wrong color.
“Watson …?” she asked lowly. The sickly yellow glow in Watson’s face cast a jaundiced light between them, making the droid look wan and sick.
It had the same uncomfortable expression from before. The distress pulling at that familiar face made Jacklyn’s heart skip a painful beat.
“They’re opening the door,” Watson whispered.
Jacklyn’s stomach fell all the way to her boots. Before she could ask what the hell Watson meant, a boom shook the entire ship.
Learn more about Ness at their Web site: https://ness-brown.com/ and follow them on Twitter and Instagram: @NessTheNovelist.
Linda D. Addison recommends:
Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination and a love of story since she was little and convinced that faeries lived in a nearby state park and vampires hid in the abandoned barn outside of town. Learning to read and being encouraged by those around her only made it worse. Her work ranges between genres and she’s had pieces published in multiple magazines and anthologies. Her e-books Mooner, Holly and Ivy, and The Other Man are done by Mocha Memoirs Press, and her collection Lost in the Shadows is co-written by S.H. Roddey. You can find her reviews of graphic novels and manga on various sites, as well. A theatre major with leanings toward costumes and performance, her professional work has covered multiple avenues and a whole lot of weird. She likes her music to rock, her vampires lethal, her faeries to play mind games, and her princesses to have adventures and hold their own.
Recommended Reading: “Whistle a Deadly Tune” (Ladies of Horror Flash Project).
Sasha didn’t know where death was, but it was somewhere behind her. Through the panicked beating of her heart and the rush of blood in her ears, she heard the whistling.
It had started out tuneless when she’d begun her errands, just like the thing in her peripheral vision had begun as a blur and a brief feeling of existential dread.
She’d tried to go about her day, but everywhere she went, it followed. There were no footsteps behind her at the post office, no definite sightings of a stalker at the grocery, but as she navigated what should have been her catch-up time on an otherwise sleepy Saturday morning in small, rural Andersville, it followed. Somehow, she knew that if it caught her, she’d never escape.
Find Selah Janel online: Web site: https://selahjanel.com/; Twitter: @SelahJanel.