The Seers’ Table February 2024
Kate Maruyama, Member of the Diverse Works Inclusion Community
We’ve got some really good reads for you this month, from hauntings to body horror to a woman finding the power of her own voice.
Linda Addison Recommends:
Tracy Cross’ work has been featured in several podcasts, including “Nighty Night with Rabia Chaudry” (advocate and author of the New York Times bestselling book Adnan’s Story). Her work can be found in several anthologies, including Other Terrors, Don’t Break the Oath, Pandemics Unleashed, and 99 Tiny Terrors. Her first book, Rootwork, a folk horror homage to her late grandmother, was published in the fall of 2022. Tracy understands what it feels like to be the 21st Century invisible woman. She creates strong female characters to debunk the stereotype that women should be seen and not heard. Her protagonists are strong, Black women, that any reader can see and support.
She describes her writing as “exciting stories with breadcrumbs” that lead the reader to an unexpected yet rewarding ending. Tracy has been the recipient of the HWA Scholarship from Hell in 2022, a grant from the Ladies of Horror Fiction, the 2019 New Voices Fellowship from the Emerging Writers Festival and participated in a Residency with Under the Volcano in Mexico. She lives in Washington, DC, is an active member of the HWA, and is a huge Prince fan. She loves disco and shares her latest exploits and information on her blog: tracycwritesonline.com.
Cross has an upcoming 2024 book, A Gathering of Weapons, which is a sequel to Rootwork. It is part of the Conjure Trilogy.
Recommended Reading: From Rootwork (Dark Hart Books).
“Hey, y’all, listen,” Ann said. “I got an idea. How ’bout we stop by Pa’s sis’s house on the way to get that chicken?”
Betty and Pee Wee looked at each other.
You done lost your mind!” Pee Wee took the sheet from Betty and dropped it in the basket.“That’s clear on the other side of the pond!”
“I asked if I could work over there this summer.” Ann raised her chin. “And Pa said yes.”
“Bull!” Pee Wee and Betty said in unison.
“He did, and I’m goin’. Probably end of next week.” Ann nodded to emphasize it.
“Ain’t no way,” Betty said. “‘Sides, Ma hates Auntie. Don’t you remember when she brought them bones over here and a bucket a pee? Talkin’ ’bout how we needed protection. When Ma saw ’em under the porch, she like to had a stroke! Can’t say it didn’t work, though. For one week, everything was okay.”
“Bones and pee!” Pee Wee made a face. “Eww!”
“You see them houses painted that ‘haint blue’?” Betty asked. “She gave us that paint too.”
“I heard the sheriff and them white boys in town like her a lot,” Ann said. “Guess it’s because of what she can do.”
Follow the author at: https://tracycrossonline.com/; their blog: tracycwritesonline.com; Facebook: tracya.cross/; Twitter: @tracycwrites; Instagram: @tracycrosswrites. (Author’s photo credit: Mig Dooley.)
Kate Maruyama recommends:
Eve Harms is a writer of freaky fun dark fiction. Her novel Unmuted was published by Unnerving Press in 2021 about which Hailey Piper, Bram Stoker Award®-winning author of Queen of Teeth said, “Transmuted is a fun romp of sex, slime, transformation, and queerness. With the energy of Freaked and a dark side all its own, it’s full of too-real moments mixed with outlandish monstrosity, and it’s a blast.” Harms’ work has appeared in publications such as Vastarien Literary Journal, under Rayna Waxhead, and Creepy Catalog, under Kendra Temples. She is an active member of the HWA and currently resides in Los Angeles with her children’s book illustrator wife and two cats.
Recommended Reading: From Transmuted:
He has me stand up and spread out to take my measurements. My skin crawls as he lays his hands all over my body and says “hm” and “ah.” He measures my facial features with one of those tools that went out of style with phrenology and then instructs me to strip naked and get in the vat. “I’ll turn away for your privacy. The liquid in the athano—” He pauses and clears his throat. “The liquid in the tub is opaque and I won’t be able to see your body.”
Usually, I’d rather die than strip in front of a stranger, but I’ve gotten this far, so I take off my clothes. The coldness of the office presses on my skin, and it feels like the world can see my frumpy, half-manly bod. The liquid in the tub is thick like slime and pitch black. Its goo sucks on my body as I dip in. It’s the warmth of piss and smells like spoiled Silly Putty.
“Let me know when you’re inside.”
My ass hits the smooth bottom of the vat and the bubbling black liquid is up to my collar bone. My hair floats on the surface and tickles my back. I let out a small sigh and stare at the golden orb hanging above my head. “I’m inside.”
“Fantastic.” The sounds of mechanical whirring and electronic beeping fill the air. “You may experience some unpleasant hallucinations. Let me assure you, you are perfectly safe.”
Wait, what? The orb above me vibrates and turns obsidian. A hatch on the surface opens and a mechanical arm with a collar shoots down and snaps around my neck. I cry out and try to pull the collar apart, but it plunges me into the thick goo. I’m holding my breath, squeezing my eyes shut to keep this goo out of my body. What the fuck is happening? Is he going to kill me?
You can learn more at eveharms.com or follow her on Twitter: @EveHarmswrites and on Instagram @eveharmswrites.
Tawana Watson Recommends:
Jessica Cage is an international award-winning, USA Today best-selling Author. She was born and raised in Chicago, IL. For Jessica, writing has always been a passion for her, she dabbles in artistic creations of all sorts but at the end of the day, it’s the pen that her hand itches hold. Jessica had never considered following her dream to be a writer because she was told far too often “There is no money in writing.”
During pregnancy, she asked herself an important question. How would she be able to inspire her unborn son to follow his dreams and reach for the stars, if she never had the guts to do it herself? Jessica decided to take a risk and unleash the plethora of characters and their crazy adventurous worlds that had previously existed only in her mind, into the realm of readers. She did this with hopes of inspiring not only her son but herself. Inviting the world to tag along on her journey to become the writer she has always wanted to be. She hopes to continue writing and bringing her signature Caged Fantasies to readers everywhere.
About The Siren series:
A moment of fear unleashes a power that Syrinada never knew she possessed. Men fall at her feet at the sound of her voice, while a family secret unravels and forces her to go on the run. On top of trying to figure out this new side of herself, Syrinada is asked to choose a mate. As if that is the thing she needs to be worried about while on the run from her murderous father and the coven of witches who all think that she is too powerful to exist. Can she control these new powers in time to save her life?
Recommended Reading: from Siren:
Through the dark driver-side window I met two dark eyes and my stomach lurched. I counted the shadows within. There were five men packed in the car and the driver had his eyes on me. I averted my eyes. Now just five buildings between me and my own, the steps that led up to the front door of my apartment were within view. I was so close to safety that I quickened my pace.
The foolish hope that had filled my heart, the thought I would make it home unharmed snapped with the squealing of worn brakes. The car slowed just enough to make a U-turn at the end of the block before making the slow creep back towards me and my heart raced.
I scanned the streets for any signs of life. It was only 9:30, but with the drop in the temperature, there weren’t too many people eager to hang around outside. There was no one to call, no one to witness what I knew was about to happen. Numb fingers fumbled with my phone; I could call the police. They wouldn’t make it to me in time, but at least someone would know and perhaps would be on the way.
My hands trembled as I tried to unlock the screen and watch as the car neared at the same time …
You can learn more about Jessica at JessicaCage.com or follow her on twitter @jcageauthor or on Instagram @jcageauthor.