L D Lewisis creating Black Speculative Fiction
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All patrons at this tier will receive my heartfelt thanks, and access to The Dead Withheld, sneak peeks of coming stories, and exclusive blog posts on writing, industry, and activism.
All patrons will have access to FEINT story releases, sneak peeks of coming stories, and exclusive blog posts on writing, industry, and activism, and I'll do a Q/A and live chat where I'll go over the state of things and we'll hang out every other month.
Patrons at this tier will get The Desert's perks in addition to being entered into a drawing in which 3 of you will be selected for addition to the FEINT canon (details on this in a subsequent post)
You can call me L. Welcome to my [ambitious] Patreon.
I'm a sci-fi/fantasy writer, but you may also recognize me as the Art Director + Project Manager for FIYAH Literary Magazine for Black Speculative Fiction and the occasional "but where are all the Black people???" publishing rants on Twitter. Last year, I released my award-winning novella A RUIN OF SHADOWS with Dancing Star Press, as part of the Three Known Worlds universe introduced in my novelette "Chesirah."
You can check out a more complete List of Written Things if you'd like, but my brand is essentially Black women and femmes in extraordinary worlds with extraordinary powers. You will never have to worry about sexual violence triggers in my work because, on principle, I will never write it. You will never have to worry about racialized gun violence against in my work because, on principle, I will never write it. Characters deserve better. Women, fictional and otherwise, deserve better.
Fantastic violence of other sorts, though? LOADS of that.
Thanks to the gig economy and the general state of... just everything, there isn't enough time in the day for me to do all the writing I want to do alongside all the inclusion-in-publishing projects I'm a part of. Maybe that's where you come in.
I work as a data analyst with subpar (read: rudely expensive) medical benefits, which I need to treat bipolar disorder. I also freelance 508/WCAG consultation, doing things like auditing web content, remediating digital documents etc for UX and accessibility compliance. When I'm not doing either of those things, I'm trying to write. And when I'm not writing, I'm working on FIYAH in all my various capacities (AD, tech support, issue formatting + release, web store maintenance + merch design). When I'm not doing THAT, I'm conducting and participating in market studies that examine and endeavor to rectify the dearth of Black representation in SFF: ( See: #BlackSpecFic research, BSF Writer Survey reporting, POB Score Project coordination...).
All of the community work and FIYAH work I do is unpaid. I've considered it a privilege and a passion to be able to use whatever time and skills I have to do any work at all that opens up avenues for Black writers in genre. But it's to a point now that I have no time to do these things as thoroughly as I'd like, to build them into something authoritative, useful, and self-sustaining. For example, I'm working on turning POB into a more comprehensive resource that provides short SFF markets with tools like centralized submission data collection portals and guidance on how to improve the diversity of their zines. And I want to turn this space into a resource for writers (particularly of color) through some live chats and informal classes on aspects of inclusive worldbuilding and navigating the genre space as a PoC.
Between the day job, this community work, and my own writing, I have had to let my writing lapse the most in order to sustain the other two. And that's no good, since I'm angling toward writing as my full-time gig. I have a novel (series) on submission as of the time of this writing, and when that takes off and saps even *more* of my time (in the best possible way), I don't want to see these projects abandoned. You can help with that.
Practically speaking, I would like to have enough patronage to at least subsidize the annual costs of the software I use to orchestrate these projects: Airtable, Adobe CC, Tableau (~ $1200). The labor to grow my existing community projects is and will continue to be extensive, so patronage will allow me to dial back the hours I spend freelancing. I'm aware that mine is an ambitious Patreon. But I don't exactly do things halfway. :) Would I *love* to quit my job and do this work and write full time? YES. But that's not exactly your problem. But if you take a look at the stretch goals (and I do mean S T R E T C H), you'll get an idea of what else I could be doing with more time.
Let's talk about FEINT.
Feint is my lovely little paranormal neo-noir universe, set in and around the near-future neon city of San Guin. All patrons will be able to read the 18,000 word story that started it —The Dead Withheld— as it's released in installments. Patrons of a certain tier will get to be in a Feint mini-story of their own. Writing them will be useful to me as it requires me to block out time, energy, and imagination for something that is purely writing, and not tied to a mission. I think it'll be a fun experiment in story design.
The Dead Withheld stars Dizzy Carter, a deadwalker witch six years into the hunt for her wife's murderer. A former blues-singer in San Guin, Dizzy's lost her music and has shifted to work as a private investigator for the resources it allows her in tracking the apparent serial killer who took Lonnie from her. The first clue in years connects to a growing infestation of enterprising demons in the city. Aided by her violent nature, the madame of a succubus bordello, and dolls animated by captive souls she owes to the vengeful dead, Dizzy will take on anything to see Lonnie's ghost freed.
Patrons can see themselves cast as secret-wielding pocket bar operators, undead informants, Color Man's disciples, noodle shop mobsters, baby witches with extraordinary powers, werebeast murdering abuelitas...
Details on participation will go up in a subsequent post.
Hopefully some stuff you like along with the warm fuzzies of knowing you're helping a bit to decolonize and increase representation of underserved communities in publishing. All patrons will have access to FEINT story releases, sneak peeks of coming stories, and exclusive blog posts on writing, industry, and activism, and I'll do a Q/A and live chat where I'll go over things and we'll hang out every other month. Other tiers can expect things like entries into drawings to become characters in the FEINT universe, "Sponsor" designation on studies and classes, ARCS, and more!
So thanks for checking this out. Whether you sign on or not, I hope you'll continue to work in your own way toward our shared goals. I can't wait to work with you.
I'll add 1 more character slot to the Feint universe, and begin laying the groundwork for the Resurrected Darlings podcast.