Daniel José Older
Crossed Genres (July 2012)
Posts Tagged With: Crossed Genres
My blog is two years old today! Happy Birthday to the blog!
Yes. Two years!
So, 2013 is coming to a close. Another year gone like lightning. At least, that’s how they feel to me, for good or ill.
It’s been a busy writing year. I seem to have really caught the bug for writing and submitting, being rejected and submitting again. And writing again and again. Kinda like it.
As much for my own curiosity as anything, here’s a list of what I wrote and/or had published in 2013.
- “To The Edges” – published in May in Crossed Genres’ Winter Well: Speculative Novellas About Older Women. Starred review in Publisher’s Weekly happened in September.
- “Buccinum Anningiae” – written this summer. Submitted and rejected. Submitted again. No word yet.
- “Mind Over Murder” – also written in the summer. Submitted and ACCEPTED! More news soon.
- “Piper Deez and the Case of the Clanless Woman” – written in 2011. Submitted and ACCEPTED back then. But things got weird with that editor. Long story. Anyway. Submitted three times this year, rejected all three. 😦 Back in development. Planning to resubmit in early 2014.
- “Ketset Kismet” – written this fall. Submitted and rejected (awesome rejection email, though–very encouraging). Looks like I’ll be submitting somewhere else in 2014, maybe in February.
- “Meanwhile, Inc.” – I have a title, an idea, and am about 1000 words in. Another possibility for a February submission.
- The Travelers – the long-suffering novel. Still in process. The whole thing’s outlined now and the final scenes are coming together. Still working on the plan of having this draft finished in the next couple weeks and then spending 2014 rewriting.
Goals for 2014.
- “Breaks Like Glass” – another Piper Deez story, written in 2012. Submitted and rejected three times back then (I’m sensing a trend here.). I want to fix it and submit somewhere next year.
- Write more and submit more!
All those rejections up there seem a little sad, don’t they? But really? Of all the stories I’ve written since 2011, I have an acceptance rate of 43% (7 stories written; 3 accepted). Even if I do the math using number of submissions (12) instead of number of stories (which is probably the more accurate way to do this), I come up with a 25% acceptance rate. That’s ridiculously good.
So, yeah, as far as writing goes, it was a pretty good year in my world. Thanks, everyone, for reading my sporadic posts this year, and maybe even buying the books over there on the right. I wish you all the best in the new. I hope 2014 is as good or better for all of us.
So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted something that doesn’t have a video or a list of links attached to it. It’s been a busy summer, like I’ve said. Care for an update?
Over the last few months, I wrote and submitted two new short stories to a couple of themed anthologies. Still waiting to hear. There’s also been a lot of reading. I’ll be done with the next WOGF Challenge book soon and will have a review. I went old school this time; so far, it’s another good one.
The Travelers continues to limp toward its conclusion. I’ve mainly been typing up (dictating, really–my wrists have been sore lately) pages I’d already hand-written. That’s been interesting: 1) I wrote some of these scenes months ago (maybe longer), so I’m revisiting them with various levels of “cringe” and “oh, that’s not too bad”; and 2) Windows speech recognition doesn’t always hear quite what I said–latest fave mistake: “put a sock fuzz” for “bodhisattvas.”
Alpha Reader and I had a really good brainstorming session last month figuring out where The Travelers should end up. Lots of good questions and conversation. Let’s see if that translates into a good story!
In the realm of already-published business, Winter Well received a starred review from Publishers Weekly! There were good things said about my story “To The Edges,” which made my day, and continues to, even though the review came out last week.
I also ran into the dark side of attempting to get published yesterday, when I discovered that the latest issue of a magazine I’d submitted another story to was just terrible. (TW for rape; it’s on the right) It felt like a backlash against the really cool hashtag #DiversityinSFF that was happening on Twitter last week. Obviously, this place is not the home for my badass space detective. I immediately submitted somewhere else that feels a lot more welcoming to anyone who, you know, doesn’t find assault titillating. Here’s hoping they think my story’s a good fit, too.
In the what’s-happening-next category, I’m going to be posting an interview with Justin Robinson, author of the soon-to-be-published City of Devils. That’s going to happen on the day his book’s coming out, Sept. 24. I hope you’ll tune in for that. Should be fun. There might even be a giveaway!
That’s it for now, I think. How’ve you all been?
Look at my blue eyes, look at my brown hair, look at my color. What color do you see?” he demand [sic] to know. “My mother was 100 per cent white,” Jeffries said, his blue eyes glinting in the New York sun. “My father is Portuguese, Spanish, American Indian, and Negro. How in the hell can I identify myself as one race or another?” – Herb Jeffries
So, it’s Memorial Day here in the U.S. I’m enjoying a long weekend that still has another day after this to go. Long weekends are lovely.
I was thinking that, for today’s music video, I’d go with something related to my novella “To The Edges,” which Crossed Genres published this past Friday. The protagonist, Zed Bleakstead, is a fan of cowboy movies, including some really old ones, even though most of the heroes in those films are all men and all White. At one point in the story, though, she sits down to watch (and fall asleep to) a film called Bronze Buckaroo. The film’s from 1939 and is one of the first westerns in the sound era to star an all-Black cast. Herb Jeffries (credited as Herbert Jeffrey) plays the lead. You can watch the whole thing on Youtube, if you like. It’s an interesting bit of history as well as being a silly, old cowboy movie. And have there been all-Black westerns since then? I know, in my research, just finding westerns with people of color as protagonists was a disappointing task.*
What does that have to do with music, you ask? Well, Herb Jeffries didn’t just play a cowboy, he was a singing cowboy with a beautiful voice. And he’s an interesting person (still alive at this writing–he’s 99) who I want to learn more about. Louis Armstrong discovered him performing in Detroit and suggested he try his luck in Chicago. When he was asked for his background by a prospective employer, Jeffries stated he was “a creole from New Orleans,” choosing to pass as a person of color instead of as a white man, which he could easily have done.
Interesting choice. When he performed, he darkened his skin further. Which is, well, it’s hard not to think “blackface” and wrinkle my nose, but the thing is, he lived as a Black man offstage when American apartheid was in full swing, and he could have done otherwise.
“In those days, my driving force was being a hero to children who didn’t have any heroes to identify with,” Jeffries says. “I felt that dark-skinned children could identify with me and, in “The Bronze Buckaroo,” they could have a hero. Many people don’t realize (to this very day) that in the Old West, one out of every three cowboys was a Black… and there were many Mexican cowboys, too.” —herbjeffries.com
Jeffries succeeded in becoming a hero to a lot of people. Herbie Hancock‘s parents named their son after him, for example. But then, when he married Tempest Storm in 1959, he labeled himself White on the marriage certificate. Jet magazine asked Jeffries about that, which is where the quote at the beginning of this post comes from.
Identity and race are complex things, especially during periods of time when the folks with the most power would prefer that they weren’t.
Hm, has there ever been a time when that wasn’t/isn’t the case? I don’t know.
But I do know that, after he was done playing a singing cowboy, Herb Jeffries went on to sing with Duke Ellington‘s orchestra. Yes, indeedy. Here he is singing his hit “Flamingo.”
And here’s a clip from Bronze Buckaroo with Jeffries and the Four Tones singing “Got the Payday Blues.” Pardon the skipping, please; it’s the best I could find. Beats the hell out of Roy Rogers, though, doesn’t he?
*I didn’t discover this site until after “To The Edges” was done.