Saturday, October 22, 2016

Join me Live on Periscope!

I'll read my latest spooky story on Periscope this Halloween and I want you all to join me and interact. We don't talk enough!

If you want to read it ahead of time you can head over to Wattpad and read at your leisure! Vote, leave me a comment and we can get down like that too!

I'm @srmilesauthor on all of my platforms.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


If you've been rocking with me this entire month for the #iwriteincolor campaign I'm happy to announce that things are going to get even better. You can submit one of your prompts for the #iwriteincolor contest through Wattpad. Just post a comment with your story and you could win an 8GB HD Kindle Fire. The deadline is November 2nd. Good Luck!

Books to read while binge watching JANE THE VIRGIN

I don't know why this came to me, but it did. There have been some great new titles that feature awesome Latina women and girls that have come out this past year they deserve a little love. Readers love stories, so that means we don't just read books, we watch movies and go to plays and the Fall TV season is kicking off and we've got our TV's set for some greatness. If you're like me you've got Netflix and HULU always on the ready, as well. Soooo.... the Season 3 premiere of JANE the Virgin was Monday. Hooray!

Here are a few titles to add to your TBR list while you're watching Season 1 and 2 on repeat.

In the Country We Love by Diane Guerrero
Henry Holt and Company
May, 2016
Star of Jane the Virgin and Orange is the New Black, Diane Guerrero released her memoir over the summer and I can't keep it on my shelves. She details her life in America before and after federal officials deported her parents overnight. With heart and honesty she tells her uniquely American story. Pick it up!

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
Sourcebooks Fire
September, 2016
Here an excerpt from a post I wrote about this wonderful book a few months back.
Alejandra comes from a long line of Bruja's (Broo-hah) and her Deathday, a celebration where her full witchy powers come in and she receives the blessings of her family- living and dead, is approaching. The only problem is that accepting her powers is the last thing she wants to do, they are too hard to control and power has caused her family nothing but trouble. When she meets a dark stranger who helps her to create a canto (spell) that will remove her power the plan backfires and sends her family to another realm. With his help and the desire to make things right she'll have to go to Hell (or an equivalent) and back.
You can also watch my #booktube review here:

Gabi: A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
Cinco Punto Press
October, 2014

The book is Gabi's diary and details her life during her Senior year. She's dealing with a lot, her best friend's pregnancy, her Dad's drug habit, not to mention her low-key food addiction. The story is full of heart and was one of my favorites from 2014.

Friday, October 14, 2016

WILLOW BORN: When You're Willow Born death can be just the beginning

I've returned to Wattpad. Yay!! I know you've been waiting with bated breath. I'm finished with the first installment of the Willow Born series and you can read the first three chapters here.

Years ago, witch hunters came to Carolina and devoured the Willows. Sixteen-year-old Collette, a powerful empath, was one of them. A part of a long line of witches that stretches back as far as the slave auctions of Charleston, she was especially gifted.

Decades later, a series of strange kidnappings prompts a member of her secret coven to make a plea for help and Collette is chosen to answer the call. But things have changed. Angels have come out of the divine closet and everyone is on the lookout for the supernatural.

Snatched from the Void, she has to choose between a normal life and following the warrior path of the Willows, a coven she didn't know she belonged to. Soon, problems pile sky-high as she struggles to keep the boy who could blow her cover at arm’s length and her sanity as family secrets come to light in the midst of a serial killer.

In the end it all comes down to destiny, death and the grey places between good and evil. But then again, when you’re Willow Born death can be just the beginning.
I want to share and engage with you so if you're on Wattpad, please send me your name and I'll follow. You can also get updates on my stories and more by subscribing to the newsletter:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

Iron Cast
Destiny Soria
Amulet Books (October, 2016)

Ada and Corrinne are hemopaths, a secret they hold dear ever since the law against hypnotizing "regs" made using their natural powers of persuasion illegal. Still, that doesn't stop them from mezmerizing paying customers in their Boston nightclub every evening or from pulling the occasional score. It's 1919 and tensions are high as prohibition looms and the fear of hemopaths peaks after the girls pull a risky illusion that puts the city on alert.

With the power to create illusions through poetry, painting and music, hemopaths can be dangerous, but when the girls get wind of secrete experiments being performed on hemopaths in an asylym they realize they may have to go on the offensive.

Iron Cast starts off with a jailbreak and it immediately draws you in. With a fresh take on paranormal we get to see how powers manifest when you have a gift for the arts. A character who can hypnotize with Lewis Carroll? Who wouldn't love that? We also get a dash of diversity as one of the main character's is biracial, but while her inclusion seems genuine (as opposed to a publishing ploy to jump on the so-called diversity "trend") her immigrant background doesn't seem to be given it's proper due with an African mother and Italian father.

Sometimes I think authors make their diverse character biracial to avoid having to speak to a certain experience with authenticity (American black girls can be vicious in their scrutiny [speaking from experience]) and to give their book a better chance at being sold. This really isn't fair to those living the biracial experience. I've also noticed the non-American black parent used in more than one novel. You're avoiding the taint of slavery and the effects of racism on everyday black folks and the way they live. If that's what you're doing it's best to just stick to what you know. The immigrant experience is specific as well and you'll get called out on that too.

The novel is filled with crime and the nature of family and secrets, which can be loads of fun, but the suspense could have been heightened if some scenes were shortened. I wouldn't recommend this to reluctant readers or those looking for a strong romance. However, those fantasy lovers looking for something a little different will definitely like where the author takes them.

This book is perfect for:
  • Fans of Six of Crows ( I know that's everyone's go-to review for everything, but in this case it's true) will love it's fresh take on paranormal powers.
  • Historical fiction lovers who don't get enough of the post World War I era in the US

Discussion Questions
  1. Discuss how a hemopath whose power stems from dance would work.
  2. Hemopaths are allergic to iron, look around the room and discuss how a hemopath would function in the modern world.
  3. Corrinne suggests a kind of coming out of the closet for hemopaths. Why or Why isn't this a good idea?
  4. Gabriel is hiding a big secret, as is everyone else. Is there anyone who can be trusted?
  5. Asylums were presented as humane housing alternatives for undesirable people in 1919. Can you think of any spaces in the modern era that do the same?
If you like this try:
Diverse historical fiction isn't easy to find and you're not always going to be happy with what you get. Many times the fiction can have twinges of racial and cultural stereotypes along with unrealistic situations based on the era. Fear not! You'll love this collection of tales from fantastic YA authors who give you pirates, paranormal and more, all set in the past.

Scott Bradlee's Post-Modern Jukebox

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Hunting Grounds: A Short Story

A fun cross between Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass and a police report from the SWATS, Hunting Grounds, was my entry into the WNDB Short Story Contest.

Now that judging is over I'm sharing with you!

I've posted Part 1 here, but you can read the story in it's entirety on Wattpad here.

The blood on my shirt isn’t mine for once. I have another one in my locker, but sometimes you have to advertise to let folks know to keep their distance.
“Do you want to go to the nurse?” The question is flat. No pity.
I shake my head and keep writing. I write even though my knuckles are swelling so badly it’s almost impossible to hold my pen. I write even though the blisters crack and bleed onto the paper.
Mrs. Carroll doesn’t press me about it. It’s why I like her. She doesn’t try to make it better. It just is.
“Finished.” I rip the page from my notebook, glad for the confetti spray. It’s satisfying to see it fly, as if the poem knows how lit it is before it’s even read. Poetry is my payment for waiting out my judgement in the library instead of the dungeon they call In-School-Suspension, though I don’t think she makes this deal with anyone else.
No shadow, nor a concrete ghost
Does slink and clacker in the ward
All drowsy are the tweakers
No corner boys at their chores

“Beware Ndocky fiendish boy!
The tail that whips, the teeth that tear,
Beware the blue and red that flash
A smart boy would take care”

He took his Golden Gat in hand
Soon come his glory won and fought
He calmly sat, with hooded head
In righteous rage and thought.

Deep in ghetto thoughts he stood
Ndocky with claws and poison fang
Came whistling through the crumbling
And howled as it came!

Rat, tat! Rat, tat! And bubble and
The Golden Gat did spatter
He shot it dead and with its head
The ‘hood did well remember

Will we feast on dreams tonight?
Tell me, my American boy?
Will we drink to fantasy
No longer Democracy’s toy?

No shadow, nor a concrete ghost
Does slink and clacker in the ward
All drowsy are the tweakers
No corner boys at their chores

“You know, Stephen King used to write his nightmares. You’ve gotten better.”
I nod as if that’s got anything to do with the poem. Mrs. Collins doesn’t live around here, but she’s worked in the hood long enough. Superstitions, like accents are easy to pick up. She won’t comment on the beast. She folds the paper neatly in half and hands it back.
“Did you read the biography on Bayard Rustin I gave you?” she asks.
I roll my eyes. Any conversation I have with Mrs. Carroll either begins or ends with some question about some dusty book she gave me, as if James Baldwin or Langston Hughes have some kind of code hidden in their words that will help keep DaDa Taylor from trying to beat my face in.
“I read it.”
“And?” The question sounds salty when she asks.
“And what?”
“You didn’t read it.” It’s not an accusation.
“Okay. I skimmed it. Mark me for the beast.”
She cuts me a look. I mouth an apology for spitting on superstition again. My time is almost up. I’ve got about fifteen minutes before my Mom shows up. I close my eyes and soak up the silence. Well, not completely there is the small music of clicking computer keys. I love it here. Everybody minds their own business.
Soft fingers on my face bring me back and I flinch.
“That’s not from today, is it?”
I don’t answer. She knows an old bruise when she sees one. She’s seen them on me enough. She was my coach freshman year, the last time I actually had real friends at school, before the charter took over and Dobbs High became BEST Boys Prep, the city’s answer to low graduation rates and black boyhood in general. Supposedly single gender classes are supposed to save us from the streets and turn all of us hood boys into scholars.
“Who did it?” Usually she wouldn’t ask, but the fights are coming too often now. I’m drawing too much attention to myself.
“Can’t say.”
“Why not? I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what’s going on.” That’s what they all say. It’s sad they don’t know it’s not true.
“You can’t help me, period.”
She sighs loudly and busy’s herself checking in books. She has hope for me. Her hope is heavy and I can’t afford it. I’ll have to figure out a way to shake it off or I won’t be able to hang out here anymore.
“You don’t like school do you?”
I know I’m supposed to give an answer befitting a former honor student but I don’t.
“The teachers don’t even like me.”
“I don’t think that’s true, but I’m not going to argue with you. Have you ever considered getting your GED and starting college early?”
“What the hell kinda college accepts GED students? GED’s are for losers who gave up.”
She eyes me and I fold. “Sorry.”
Her face holds no humor. “Losers are people who don’t take control of their lives.” She says firmly. Mama would hate her for even suggesting this to me. Mama’s hope is twenty times heavier than hers. It marks me, but there’s no chance of getting rid of that.
Mrs. Carrolls’ face is twisted and I know she’s gearing up for one of her lectures but the disembodied voice of Ms. Plimpton, the school secretary, cuts her off.
“Mrs. Carroll?”
“Send Lewis Jackson to the office please.”
I stand and pack my things.
Completely out of character and unbidden Mrs. Carroll comes out from behind her desk to give me a hug. It feels simultaneously awkward and ominous. A shiver passes over me like when you walk into a cold building after being out in the summer sun too long. I have to rub my arms to get rid of it.
“Beware Ndocky, Lewis,” she whispers. The blessing shocks me, but only a little. I didn’t think Mrs. Carroll believed in the thing, at least not in a real way. There are no beasts in suburbs, on clean streets where folks turn down their music politely before ten. I must really be scaring her.
“Beware Ndocky, Mrs. Carroll.”
The door is about to close behind me when she calls out. “Oh, and by the way, I really do like those shoes.”
When I get to the office I walk up to Ms. Plimpton and slide her an America’s Finest chocolate bar. She throws me a look I’m sure can only be achieved by women who have never been called pretty and then smiles. I don’t know when we started a habit of trading snacks, but it’s definitely a thing now. I don’t know if it helps keep me out of trouble, but it can’t hurt.
The door squeaks when I open it. Mama doesn’t look at me as I sit down. Principal James doesn’t either. They both seemed to have agreed to speak only after some unknown-to-me signal has been given.
“What are you doing to protect my son?” Mama says, picking up where I know she left off. It’s a golden oldie. She begins and ends with this refrain anytime she meets with a school official.
“Ms. Jackson, Lewis broke a boy’s nose this morning and knocked another almost unconscious before the first period bell had a chance to ring. We’re lucky the parents don’t have decided not to press charges.”
My mother, my Queen, gives him that look as if to say, “So?” The fact that he hasn’t answered her question isn’t lost on him. He’s boxed with her before.
“Ms. Jackson,” he sighs with obvious exasperation, “we cannot have this kind of violence at BEST.”
I roll my eyes without any attempt to hide my contempt. When it’s me fighting back it’s violence, but when the fists are flying my way with a backup boy band singing “Faggot” as a soundtrack it’s just roughhousing.
Mama doesn’t miss a beat. “And what about the boys who jumped Lewis last Friday in front of the public library?”
“If it doesn’t happen on school grounds we have little recourse. You can imagine the need for that position with the resurgence of gang activity in our zip code.” He pauses and looks down at some papers on his desk as if he’s trying to find the right words, pretending as if he cares. Most of the time he looks stately with the practiced scowl of righteous anger and determination reserved for civil rights activists and cheesy television personal accident lawyers, but now he just looks constipated.
“With this most recent incident and the repeated dress code infractions...”
Mama cuts him off with a wave of her hand. I knew it.
This is about the shoes.
The men of BEST Prep are allowed to wear dark colored, closed-toe shoes that are not considered sneakers. We are told this at orientation as if this preppy armor will save us from all obstacles, including death, but Principal James no longer believes in real threats. He’s too good for ghetto superstition. He believes in khaki armor against flimy ideas like stereotype threat and underfunding, but if he still lived here he would. To him, my ox-blood colored sequined calf-high off-brand Ugg boots do not convey the image of the BEST man he had in mind. But I know the beast doesn’t give a shit about pressed khakis and loafers.
The tiny mirrors toss winking stars onto the ceiling, a few of them free themselves and latch onto the corners of Principal James’ mouth, bringing it down into a bigger frown.
They argue more for show than anything else and a suspension is given along with the suggestion of an alternative school that might be a “better fit”. On the way home Mama keeps mumbling under her breath, rehashing things she should have said. For the millionth time she threatens to kill me herself before she lets the streets kill me. She doesn’t mention DaDa Taylor’s broken nose.

Read Part 2

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Looking for a Unicorn: The beautiful and elusive Black literary agent

(Updated from February 2016)

So, many authors of color toil at their laptops and spill their hearts over their keys in hopes of producing something mildly readable. Sometimes we succeed and then the hard part is finding someone to pimp your lovely work of art out to the highest bidder. That person is an agent. You must respect your agent, you must connect with your agent and sometimes your work may benefit from having a representative with whom you share a similar background. For example, as a writer who places all her stories in the South I love to see that a prospective agent lives below the Mason-Dixon line. That agent goes to the top of my list. So, the same applies to agents of color.

While my list is small it may help someone out there, even if it is just to highlight disproportionality within the publishing industry. If you know of someone to add to the list, let me know.

Also, just because these folks may be of color does not mean they will fall in love with your work. Pay attention to their submission guidelines and preferences.

Ayanna Coleman at Quill Shift Literary-Quill Shift Literary Agency LLC is a boutique agency representing the intellectual property rights of authors who create quality books for children and young adults. Our clients receive dedicated care to ensure long-term careers.

Regina Brooks at Serendipity Lit - Ms. Regina Brooks is the founder and president of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC, in New York, New York. Her agency is the largest African American owned agency in the country and has represented and established a diverse base of award-winning clients in adult and young adult fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature.

Kemi Fedarin - Kemi Faderin joined DGLM as an intern while pursuing her M.S. in Publishing at NYU. She grew up in Ellicott City, Maryland where she went to college and received her B.A. in English. Shortly after graduation, Kemi moved to New York in early 2015. An internship at Liza Dawson Associates solidified her interest in a career in the publishing industry, especially the
agenting side of it.

Folade Bell at Serendipity Lit - Foladé Bell began her career in publishing shortly after graduating from Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. She brings a multifaceted background to Serendipity. Having worked within several fields, she brings a diverse background in various aspects of media, new media and publishing. A creative activist, Foladé cultivated her sales, negotiation and client management skills within positions at Reed Elsevier, Business Wire and Radio & Records. Since joining Serendipity Literary Agency, she is focused on unearthing the raw potential of new authors ready to enter the collaborative process as well as assisting existing authors advance their careers.

Georgia McBride at Georgia McBride Media Group - Georgia McBride is founder of Georgia McBride Media Group, home of Month9Books, Swoon Romance, and Tantrum Books. She develops content for film and TV, and is also a speculative fiction writer. Georgia founded the #YAlitchat hashtag and weekly chat on Twitter in 2009.

Monica Odom- Monica Odom joined Bradford Literary Agency in 2015. Prior to joining Team Bradford, she worked for five years managing finance, subrights and social media at Liza Dawson Associates, and became an associate agent there in 2013. Monica earned her Masters in Publishing: Digital & Print Media from New York University in 2014, and has a B.A. in English from Montclair State University.

Selena James at Kensington Books - Selena James, Executive Editor, Dafina Books: African-American fiction (street lit, romance, women’s fiction, and historical fiction) and nonfiction. Fiction (contemporary romance, historical romance, erotic romance, mainstream fiction, multicultural fiction, and women’s fiction).

Janell Walden Ageyman at Marie Brown and Associates - Janell is a literary agent with Marie Brown Associates literary services. Since 1992, when her first book deal was published, she has represented fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults.

Tricia Skinner at Fuse Literary - Tri­cia Skin­ner is an Assistant Agent working with Laurie McLean. Raised in Detroit, Tricia obtained her undergraduate degree from the nationally acclaimed Journalism Institute for Media Diversity at Wayne State University. She earned her graduate degree from Southern Methodist University.

Amber Oliver at Dey Street Books - Amber is an editorial assistant at Dey Street Books and William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins. She is open to fiction and non-fiction, specifically in these genres: literary fiction, psychological suspense (especially those written by people of color), thriller/mystery/detective fiction, cultural heritage,speculative fiction, upmarket women's fiction (with complex characters), books about LGTBQ, as well as other underrepresented perspectives. I also have the opportunity to work with Non-fiction. As for this, she's interested in lifestyle (fashion, beauty), music, humor, cultural history, and smart narrative non-fiction.

Queressa Robinson at St. Martin's Press - Queressa is an editor at St. Martin's Press. She's worked in publishing since 2012 and has an interest in commercial fiction - romance, fantasy/science fiction, supernatural/paranormal, women's fiction, and erotica. She also offers private editorial services on her website.

Latoya C. Smith at L. Perkins Agency - Latoya is seeking romance, erotica, erotic fiction, women’s fiction, women’s thriller, LGBTQ romance and erotic fiction, along with advice/how-to/memoir submissions. She also offers editing services at her personal company here.