On this glorious Monday I continue my blog series, “Fantastic Books I’ve Edited,” with the extraordinary Ced Pharaoh. Ced has a written a wonderful collection that falls into an unusual sub-genre: SF/horror poetry. Honestly, Ced has penned some of most frightening poetry I’ve ever read…except perhaps since Edgar Allen Poem. And like Poe, his poems are horrific stories that draw the reader in and make him or her wonder (and fear) what’s peeking around the corner. So without further adieu I present an interview with Author and Publisher, Ced Pharaoh…


Who’s Ced Pharaoh?

Born in Chicago, IL and married in front of thousands at The African Festival Of Arts. I’m a Father, Husband and a lifelong bookworm. My earliest favorites were, of course comic books/graphic novels but that branched out into mysteries (Encyclopedia Brown, Sherlock Holmes etc), thrillers, poetry, non-fiction biographies and sci-fi/fantasy! However, a book called The Legend of Tarik by Walter Dean Myers really got me. It wasn’t spelled out, but I KNEW that Tarik was a was a thin book but was packed with excitement and adventure…

I’ve used my love of reading and writing in past marketing positions and opportunities from bios, media releases, advertising copy, voice-over scripts, new media interviews and blog posts. I’ve always written poetry and short stories, in particular Sci-Fi/Fantasy where the only boundaries are the limits of your imagination and the only rules are…there are none! The possibilities are endless!

What are your current projects?

My main focus is The Legacy Chronicles. It is series that mixes sci-fi/fantasy, African Mythology, and influences that take place in modern times. The first book, available on Amazon is Watch The Shadows, a digital book of dark urban fantasy poetry that introduces the reader to some of the characters, ideas and concepts in The Legacy Chronicles. If you like Edgar Allen Poe, horror and such, Watch The Shadows should have the flavor to sink your teeth into. I call it an appetizer.

I can’t wait to publish the second Book which is a full novel called URBAN MAGE: The Legacy Chronicles. I have finished writing, and I am in middle of the second editing draft of the book. Once I’m done with that, I will submit it to an editor for the fine tuning and polishing. Urban Mage is about a young activist named GlyphX who wants to make a difference in his community. During a trip to Africa, he finds his Calling, or did it find him? He learns that his ancestors are the The Keys (Immortal descendants of The Ancient Gods), who are waging a war against Demon Sorcerers of the Chaostic Daemoni Ordo.

Now the Fate of the World is at the tipping point and Chicago is right in the middle of it all! Taking activism to another level, GlyphX trains under the Mystery Systems to tap into mystical powers, overcome his fears and unlock his True Potential! He is one of The Keys to Earth’s survival. He must stay vigilante and Watch The Shadows. Evil exists. He has the Power to stop them, if he believes. GlyphX is the URBAN MAGE!

I am very excited and can’t wait for this book to be released!

I’m also penning short stories to submit to a few anthologies. In addition, I have written a few comic book scripts and story enhancements for clients that hopefully will be released in 2015.

What are your inspirations for writing sci-fi/fantasy?

As I stated, my early love of reading comic books, fantasy/sci -fi novels but also for the void that I felt during those times. The void I speak of was and is the lack of Black characters missing in storytelling mediums; books, movies etc. In terms of reading, as Sword & Sorcery author Charles Saunders said, my visits to the authors’ imaginary worlds were enjoyable for the most part. That lesser part, however, grated like a stone in my shoe. That stone was racism. I realized that my ideas were valid, had weight, and held a unique perspective that could be exciting and entertaining.

Also, I’ve taught public school teenagers that they have an important gift and talent to share with the world. Their voice! Once they understood that they have a right to have their voices and stories heard. You can see it in their faces; the confidence found is a game changer and they seek out other voices and faces that look like them.

How important is it for people to see themselves in the stories and movies of the world? I’d say it is tantamount to the psychological well being and continued success of each and every person. For Black youth, it can be a paradigm shifter of thought and behavior; inspiration from a cultural source that can expand their belief in the possibilities of the future. This is why the lack of heroic and/or adventurers in fiction/science fiction and fantasy are important. It runs parallel to the fact of the historical void of Blacks in nonfiction events that have shaped the World, in particular the U.S., where the accomplishments, heroics and adventures of African/Blacks have been either erased, covered up or minimized.

Lastly, my inspiration is my son, who loves reading as much as I do.


What is your website and other links you can be found?

My author website is and you can read my blog and check out some fan fiction that I’ve written.
Also, my Amazon page is:
And my GoodReads page is:

Contact Valjeanne Jeffers for editing and cover art at:

Valjeanne Jeffers is the author of eight science fiction/fantasy novels, and she has been published in numerous anthologies. Purchase her novels at and Amazon

She is co-owner of with poet and artist Quinton Veal. Contact Valjeanne for editing, and/or cover art at: her reasonable prices will shock and amaze you 🙂


The Outcasts

Steamfunk Short Story. Cover Art by Quinton Veal.
Steamfunk Short Story. Cover Art by Quinton Veal.

In an alternate steamfunk Haiti, at the height of General Toussaint’s revolution, two lovers separated by class and a young woman whose love is forbidden, are thrust into war, sorcery and a quest for liberation on their own terms. . .On the island of Saint-Domingue, in the dead of night, thousands of slaves crept silently along the path through the trees and wiry brush to Bois Caïman.

In the clearing the Houngan Dutty Boukman, a huge, self-educated slave with a fierce countenance, and Mambo Cecile Fatiman, a mulatto slave woman, waited to led them in ceremony. They petitioned the Loa for protection, for deliverance from slavery’s lash—calling upon the darkest spirits. . .  now available for $.99 download at smashwords

Grandmere’s Secret: Conclusion


Look for my steamfunk horror novel Mona Livelong coming later this year :)!

They pulled onto the street in Simone’s Honda at the stroke
of midnight. Although it was pitch dark the house was surrounded
by an indigo aura.

Michelle grabbed Paul’s stick and they stepped out of the
car. The moment their feet touched the pavement, the would-be
owners pushed open the screen door…

A fair haired man and his dusky wife
blurred to the edge of the lawn. They grinned
widely exposing their fangs.

“Oh man—!” Paul breathed.

Yet the creatures’ eyes darted nervously to the monkey palm
stick, the three necklaces and the bag of salt Simone held in her

“Why are you here?” the loup-garou demanded in a raspy
voice. “This land is no longer yours!”

“If you’re human-–which I doubt-–you know I have a legal
right to be here!” Michelle shot back brandishing the stick. “If
you’re not, you better bounce before I beat the hell out of you!”

“Just wait until you meet our master!” the woman hissed.

Michelle, Simone and Paul’s feet stepped on to the lawn,
and a tremor began beneath their feet. The three shook violently-–
dropping to their knees–-as the house and street disappeared… To
be replaced by the Dahomey grasslands under a blood red sun.

A bokor stood before them, his arms folded across his chest.
A giant of man long dead, his ebony skin now gray his eyes
colorless pebbles. The sorcerer clapped his hands and a thousand
warriors sprang from the grass-–White and Black slavers with
whips, chains and muskets.

The sorcerer spoke in a gravelly voice: “Now Angelique you
see my power! You cannot defeat me with monkey palm and salt! I
claim this land in the name of all who rape, pillage and murder with
impunity! I give you your lives, but only if you leave now and
never return! This is my gift and your final warning!”

Michelle stood. The powerful mambo Angelique looked
out of her eyes.

To her left, Simone now possessed by Cosette glared at the
bokor. To her right, stood Paul now possessed by Agadja: Cosette’s
first husband who’d been murdered by the French in Haiti.

Michelle thrust the monkey palm in the ground, at the same
time Simone dropped the bag of salt…it spread in a line behind
them. From its grains scores of ancestors sprang forth…Dahomey
amazons… more who’d been killed in Haiti’s revolution; slaves
who’d died during the middle passage–-all armed with short
machetes and razor swords.

Michelle looked into the bokor’s eyes and saw his fear. It pleased her.
She gave him a smile that was all teeth and raised her arm. The
warriors drummed their feet on the ground in a thunderous roar.

The mambo warrior swung her arm forward and her army
charged into battle with preternatural speed, leaping and flying
about the slaves–-easily dodging the musket fire, whips and chains
of their enemies.

They danced the terrible dance of war, severing heads,
disemboweling the slavers…spilling their black ichor on to the

Michelle caught the Bokor as he tried to flee across the
plains, flew around in front of him and in one swipe severed his
head. He vanished in a rancid, black cloud of smoke.

For an instant, the plains were littered with the bodies of his
army. Then they went the way of their master.

Paul, Michelle and Simone trembled…felt the release as
their loa left them. The streets of New Orleans returned. Their
ancestors fled into the darkness: all but Angelique and Cosette
standing before them as shapely young women. They embraced the
sisters, in turn and kissed them on the cheek.

“My sweet girls, you’ve made me so proud!” said Angelique.

Grandmere and Cosette vanished. Yet the three heard the
faint clang of battle, as their army drove the infestation of
slavers from the city.

Above her house, dawn was breaking. At length Simone
shook her head. “It should be fun trying to explain to Papa and
Mama why the sale fell through.”

“I’d like to be a fly on the wall for that one,” Paul replied.
The three laughed shakily.

“Well,” Simone shrugged, “let’s get Grandmere Aneglique’s
gift, it should be easy now.”

Michelle grinned widely. “We just did.”

Copyright 2010, 2013 Valjeanne Jeffers, Valjeanne Jeffers-Thompson,
Cover art and design Quinton Veal 2010 all rights reserved.

Contact Authors Valjeanne Jeffersand Quinton Veal at
This story has been published in Specular Mythseed and Genesis Science Fiction Magazine
An excerpt was also featured on Black Tribbles Radio Show: Octavia City

Grandmere’s Secret: Part 1

To create a buzz about my new novel I’m dropping this year, Mona Livelong, I’m going to post this story in intsallments on wordpress 🙂

Michelle, a slender, brown girl of 18 leaned against the
magnolia tree watching them. The couple got out of their car: a
white man around 35 with windswept short blond hair and his
elegant wife also in her thirties with shoulder length black hair.
They looked casually rich in their designer jeans that were wrinkled
in all the right places.

They’d parked their jaguar in the driveway and now stood
on the lawn envisioning, Michelle was sure, lofty possibilities for the
house she’d grown up in as a child.

It was a two story sprawling wooden house with a wide
porch and what used to be a swing; before Katrina had splintered it
into shards of wood that now lay tossed over the lawn and steps
like broken teeth.

The demon storm had destroyed the inside of the house too

– photographs, old hats and clothing she and Simone used to play
dress up in, antique furniture, were gone now. All that couldn’t be
salvaged had been gutted and piled in the front of the house.
But the frame, as if immune to the elements had fought the
hurricane and won. Unlike Grandmere Angelique who’d died of a

She pushed her braids out of her face and fought back tears.
Hurricane Katrina in her fury had torn through New Orleans. Like
a woman scorned, she’d ripped and destroyed the city, leaving its
children homeless, hungry, in shock, crying for their brothers and
sisters, mothers and fathers, tossed to the four corners of America

– like their ancestors before them.
Her parents André and Louisa had fled to Baton Rogue.
André had begged his mother to come with them — had tried to
force her out of the house.

But Angelique refused. “I’ve seen storms before, Cherie.
They come and go. I’m not leaving my house, non – it needs me to
keep it safe.”

Michelle had found Angelique’s body in the attic. She’d hid
there when Katrina hit.

And now these people, these strangers, wanted to buy it.
What do they know of the scent of magnolias in the air each morning, or the
taste of the Mississippi?

She’d pleaded with her father to keep the house. But André
had said no. “The water damage is too bad and now the insurance
company won’t pay!” He spat these last words bitterly. “Thirty years,
thirty years Mama pay them bloodsuckers, eh? And now they won’t
fix her house!”

“We can fix it Papa!”

André only shook his head. “No Cherie, it’s just a shell, not
worth saving.”

She remembered playing in the backyard with her sister,
Simone, both running from her grandmother giggling on stubby
little legs, past the vegetable garden and wild roses… until
Angelique would collapse on her white lawn chair laughing with

“Time for a snack, eh?” And grandmere would shoo the
little girls through the backdoor into the kitchen for sweet cakes
and milk.

Michelle remembered the mantelpiece and the sepia
photographs that lined it too. Photos of Angelique when she was
young, and Grandpere Henri who’d died when Simone was just a
baby. There were pictures of her father as a solemn eyed toddler
too, wedding pictures of him and her mother Louisa, of her Great
Grandmere Cosette; and one photo of her lover André.

Angelique told them of their family history: how their roots
could be traced to Dahomey, Africa, where men and women were
great warriors, before the French had enslaved them. Grandmere
told them that their ancestors had fought in the revolution too
under General Toussaint to free Haiti, and some later made their
way to New Orleans.

When they were older, the sisters learned the history of the
house. Cossette had worked as a laundry woman. She was also a
great Vodoun mambo, who’d first met their Great Grandpere André
Dumont, a rich white man, in New Orleans. And Cosette had
petitioned the loa to give André sight into his own heart.

Soon after, he became smitten with her dark beauty and
strength. But to publically proclaim his love would have meant
death for them both. So he hired Cosette as his maid, and on his
deathbed willed her the house.

Michelle remembered her father shouting, when he first
caught grandmere telling his daughters about Cosette. She’d never
seen him so angry!

“You never tell them these things again!” He’d raged, his
café au lait face twisted with emotion. “Such stories to tell little

But when they were 14 and 12 the sisters had snuck away to
a Vodoun ceremony. Michelle remembered holding tight to
Simone’s hand in the moonlight, watching…With the sound of the
drums punctuating his movements, a young man stepped into the
dance court wearing a cane in the crotch of his pants.

The drums accentuating his movements as he skillfully spun
with leaps and pirouettes…suddenly he shuddered, and fell to the
ground as if in the throes of a seizure…then he became an old man,
walking laboriously with a cane.

It was Papa Legba, the ancient loa who stands at the
crossroads of life and death – the honored one who is called before
all others.

One by one, the loa appeared and rode their human horses.
The sisters watched wide eyed as a woman fell to the ground and
became a serpent… as another transformed into a growling

They never forgot that wonderful night. Years later, Simone
dismissed it as imaginary, “just moonlight and drums,” she’d
scoffed. But Michelle knew better.
The couple spotted her, still leaning against the tree and
smiled. She glared back. You don’t belong here!

They coming Cherie, you best make ready.

It was her grandmere’s voice, speaking as if she was
standing right beside her. The girl froze whipping her head around.
But there was no one.

The couple climbed the steps, unlocked the door and
walked inside. Papa gave them keys? They can’t have bought it so soon!

I don’t want no strangers in my house, non.

She bit her lip hard. Be quiet now! You’re not real!

A moment later, the woman, elegant and dark haired,
pushed the screen open and stepped out on the porch, looking at
her. She gazed at Michelle slyly and for a moment, she felt as if the
woman were looking right through her with her gray eyes – as if she
knew her secrets, her pain.

She smiled widely revealing fangs, and licked her lips.

Michelle eyes widened, she was frozen to the spot, held
captive by the woman’s strange eyes, as she moved slowly toward

Run Cherie!

Angelique’s voice broke the spell. Michelle backed away,
turned and ran to her car.

With shaking hands, she unlocked the door of her Honda
and got inside. She glanced back at the porch, and there was no one
there. Shock, that’s what it is. So much has happened. And we were lucky —
luckier than them trapped for weeks after Katrina in that damned super dome,
and those shelters.

Copyright 2010, 2013 Valjeanne Jeffers, Valjeanne Jeffers-Thompson, Cover art and design Quinton Veal all rights reserved.

Contact Authors Valjeanne Jeffersand Quinton Veal at
This story has been published in Specular Mythseed and Genesis Science Fiction Magazine
An excerpt was also featured on Black Tribbles Radio Show: Octavia City

Vampires and Space Helmets…Technology in Fantasy

From the Traveling Round Table of Fantasy Bloggers:

Technology and fantasy: put them together and you have a delicious synergy that’s not quite SF, not quite fantasy. Some of my favorite authors have skirted the divider between fantasy and science fiction. Octavia Butler, for example, while she is almost always described as a science fiction author blended the two quite brilliantly in books like Wild Seed wild seed2

and Clay’s Ark. Nalo Hopkinson also combined them with sheer genius in her novels Brown Girl in The Ring

brown girl in the ring

and Midnight Robber.

The existence of technology in fantasy often results in the co-existence of “science and sorcery,” as Charles Saunders (creator of Sword and Soul) has described my Immortal series. In my novels you have werewolves and vampirestotally in control of their preternatural abilities and using said abilities to protect their universe; but still such characters are most often found in fantasy or horror genres. Yet the Immortal series also has time travel, aliens… and technology to support its futuristic setting. Such as in the excerpt from Immortal book 1:


Karla walked across the wooden floor of her living area into a kitchenette. A press of her fingers on the first sphere of a triangular pod started coffee brewing.

She filled a cup with chicory, walked back into the living area and pushed the second button on her remote, activating a blue panel beside the window. Jazz music filled the apartment. Like her bedroom console the unit kept time, transmitted holographic images and played tapes. Using the third button, she opened the curtains.

Thus, the Immortal novels have been described as both fantasy and science fiction novels. Use a little science and one still can be considered a Fantasy writer. Use a bit more and you’ve inched into the science fiction genre. An excerpt from Colony: A Space Opera (my novel in progress) illustrates this point:

She was born 20 years after Planet Earth’s decline. The same year IST began building the probes: lightweight spacecrafts that humans could live in for years, if need be, and that moved fast enough to break the sound barrier—traveling millions of miles within weeks.

In 2065, global warning had accelerated. The final stage in Earth’s destruction had begun. Temperatures of 150 degrees scorched the planet. Tidal waves, monsoons and cyclones tore it apart. Those who could afford it moved underground. Food became the world’s most valued resource. The rest were herded under the domes.

Scientists scurried to genetically reproduce fruits and vegetables—with horrible side effects. Money still ruled the world. But money was gradually becoming worthless. That’s when the government saw the writing on the wall and created IST and the probes: spacecrafts designed for one purpose, to seek out planets capable of sustaining human life.

When a writer uses technology in fantasy, the lines between the genres are even more gloriously buried. What may be described as science fiction by one reader/writer can just as easily be characterized as fantasy by the next. The only real rule here is to make one’s technology believable; credible; plausible. Although it doesn’t yet existin a kind kind of literary sleight of hand.

Pulling this off, just gives me one more reason to absolutely love speculative fiction…even if no will ever be able to figure out whether I’m a science fiction or fantasy writer. I think I prefer it that way.

Valjeanne is the author of the Immortal series, The Switch II: Clockwork (includes books I and II) and several short works of fiction.

Her fiction has appeared in Steamfunk!, Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology, LuneWing, PurpleMag, Genesis Science Fiction Magazine, Pembroke Magazine, Possibilties, 31 Days of Steamy Mocha, and Griots II: Sisters of the Spear (in press). She works as an editor for Mocha Memoirs Press and is also co-owner of Q and V Affordable editing.

Preview or purchase her novels at:

Food and Fantasy

From The Great Round Table of Fantasy Bloggers
Let’s talk about food in fantasy. We eat when we’re depressed or lonely. We eat to celebrate holidays and rituals. Eating is a part of life just like seeking shelter and intimacy. And, though we often do it just for the fun of it, it’s definitely listed in the category of things we must do to survive. Quite simply we eat to live.

My favorite authors are the ones who manage to create men and women with the most human characteristics–men and women who enjoy roasting a yam over an open fire or sharing a pot of gumbo with a friend. These are the authors whose work I enjoy and the ones I take notes from to improve my own writing skills.

Food, I’ve realized, is part of the mosaic of a character’s life. Food in fantasy, in all fiction, is an extension of one’s plot–an extension of what is driving the novel.

To illustrate my point here are two excerpts from my first novel, Immortal.

Excerpt 1.
At exactly 8:00 he knocked on her door.

This time, Karla had dressed more casually in jeans and a sleeveless shirt, trimmed to reveal her ebony midriff. She wore hoop earrings, and a silver chain was wrapped about her belly. Joseph was dressed in jean and boots, his hair hanging loose about his shoulders.

The flat was decorated with paintings and glazed pottery, but little furniture. There was a futon, and a coffee table. Just outside the kitchenette, stood another table with two chairs. Colorful rugs decorated the wooden floors. Beyond the living area, he glimpsed a four poster bed.

“Did you have any trouble finding me?” Karla asked.

He shook his head. “Nope.” Especially since I spent last night across the hall.

One of her paintings drew Joseph’s eye: hanging on the wall beside the console, was an oil rendition of a dark woman: her eyes were closed and there was a look of rapture upon her face. An arm was wrapped about the neck of the Copper man standing behind her, his intertwined about her waist, his face bent towards hers.

She’s got good taste.

“You like it?”

“Very much; I can’t wait to read your stories.”

Karla averted her eyes. “The food’s ready.”

The table was loaded with vegetables, protein sautéed in buttered garlic and fresh bread. As Joseph sat down, Karla emerged from the kitchen with a carafe of red wine.

“I don’t drink. I’m sorry, I should have told you.”

“No problem, somebody in the building will drink it.” A tiny smile played about her lips. “I don’t drink either. I haven’t for years.” She put the wine back in the cold box, extracted two glasses of cold tea from her liquids machine, and placed them on the table.

Both could feel the tension mounting between them. They were moving into deep waters. Karla knew she must tell him about her dreams.

Excerpt 2.
There was a knock at the door and she jumped. Get it together girl, that’s the twins.

She walked into the living room, picked up her remote and pointed it at the entrance. It slid open and the eight-year-old twins,Carlos Jr. and Ashley, small and brown like their mother, ran inside. Ashley’s shoulder length braids were tied off with ribbons.

“Good morning Karla,” they sang in unison, hugging her.

“Good morning love bugs. What do you want for breakfast?”

”Waffles,” said Ashley.

Carlos Jr. flapped his hand at his sister. “You always want waffles. Make mine French toast.”

When Karla and the twins’ mother had first become friends, Tatiana and Carlos were both working nights, and she’d offered to make breakfast for their children during the week. That was two years ago. Now Tatiana worked as a beautician, although her mate still worked evening shifts at the metal emporium.

But fixing meals for the twins had become a habit Karla didn’t want to break. She was crazy about them, and Topaz’s food prices were next to nothing.

“Coming right up.” The dark woman took milk and breakfast pellets from her cold box, and slid the nuggets into a diamond shaped oven. In twenty seconds, they expanded with heat.

“Done,” the oven announced. The children sat at the table, just outside the kitchenette.

In these two very different passages food is one of the metaphors used to bring my characters together on a very basic and ultimately human level. And are our characters not human? If we prick them do they not bleed upon the printed page? So why shouldn’t they eat? Why shouldn’t they come together to celebrate life, to work out their problems, to enjoy each other’s company?

Indeed they must for the story to become real. For food, in life, brings us together for so many reasons. And art, real art, imitates life.

Valjeanne is the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend, Immortal III: Stealer of Souls, and the steampunk novels Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch II: Clockwork (includes books 1 and 2) and the space opera, Colony.

Valjeanne is a knight in the Traveling Round Table of Bloggers. She is also a graduate of Spelman College, NCCU and a member of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective. She has been published under both Valjeanne Jeffers and Valjeanne Jeffers-Thompson. Her writing has appeared in: The Obamas: Portrait of America’s New First Family, from the Editors of Essence, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Pembroke Magazine, Revelry, Drumvoices Revue 20th Anniversary, and Liberated Muse: How I Freed My Soul Vol. I. She was also semi-finalist for the 2007 Rita Dove Poetry Award.

Valjeanne’s fiction has appeared in Genesis: An Anthology of Black Science Fiction, Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology, LuneWing, PurpleMag, Genesis Science Fiction Magazine, Pembroke Magazine,Possibilities, 31 Days of Steamy Mocha, Griots II: Sisters of the Spear (in press), and Steamfunk! (in press). She works as an editor for Mocha Memoirs Press and is also co-owner of Q & V Affordable editing.

Preview or purchase her novels at her personal site.

Barnes and Noble


And Sony ereaders and Itunes.

Read more from The Great Traveling Round Table of Bloggers

Immortality: A review by Charles Saunders

charles_saunders_photoimmortal 2

This is an excerpt of a review of Immortal and Immortal II: The Time of Legend written by world renown writer Charles Saunders, creator of Sword and Soul, and author of the Imaro series, the Dossouye series and Damballa.

So without further aideu here is Charle’s amazing review: Immortality.

“Consider a world that is much like our own, but better in a ways that matter most, especially considering the ecological chaos, economic malaise and ethnic discontent.

Consider a world that is post-racial, but still acknowledges racial differences.

Consider a world in which shape-changing and sorcery co-exist with advanced technology.

Consider a utopia on the brink of disaster…

Author and poet Valjeanne Jeffers has considered all these things and more, and has synthesized them in the form of two novels: Immortal and Immortal II.

These are novels of magic and multiplicity. Their setting is New World Tundra, which may or may not be an alternate earth, or our earth in the future. The time is the year 3075 — four hundred years after a spasm of war, crime, and pollution came close to destroying the planet. In the wake of this warfare, known as the Time of Legend, Tundra’s population pulls itself back from the brink of destruction and transforms itself in a Great Society.

Here’s how Valjeanne describes it:

‘But in the year of our One 3075, war, crime and pollution didn’t exist.

Contamination of the environment was illegal. Recycling was mandated by planet law. Weapons had been outlawed and purged from New World Tundra.

Only a few remained on display in museums. Prisons had become behavioral clinics where inmates were taught the life skills they needed to be mainstreamed back into society.

It was illegal to have homeless living within one’s borders, and cities were punished with heavy fines if they didn’t house them in private living quarters.

Junkies were the exception to this rule, since so many of them lived in dormitories; and they were locked out if they missed curfew. It was forbidden for a citizen to be unemployed if he could work. Tundra law dictated that every able-bodied man and woman must be given a job, and it was forbidden to pay a citizen less than she needed to buy both necessities, and a few luxuries.

Racism and sexism were also relics that the New World had discarded during the Time of Legend, when everyone had been fighting to survive the holocaust. Then, they were luxuries the planet couldn’t afford.

Now, like the chemical waste that had once poisoned Tundra, they’d been forgotten.’

Race is still recognized on Tundra. But the labels are different. Blacks are ‘Indigos.’ Whites are ‘Fuchsias.’ Native Americans are ‘Coppers.’ Asians are ‘Ambers.’ Hispanics are ‘Bronzes.’ The words are different, but the melody lingers on.

Addictive drugs — an upper called ‘rush’ and a downer called ‘placid’– are legal in the New World. At the same time, admittance to government-sponsored rehabilitation clinics is free.

The protaganist of the Immortal novels is a young, Indigo woman named Karla. She works as a caretaker (healer) at a clinic called CLEAN (Clean Living Experiences and No Chemical Dependency). She’s a former addict who is now helping others to kick their habits.

Karla’s personal life should be as ideal as that of her society. But it isn’t. She is plauged by dreams and hallucinations involving a mysterious Indigo man, a seductive figure who seems to want to take her out of herself.

This dream-man is not a figment of Karla’s imagination. He is real, though his reality is not the material, rational, world of Tundra.

His name is Tehotep. His is Other. And he spells trouble, not only for Karla but also for the benevolent-but-rigid underpinnings of the New World.

Change is the operative word. Karla and her new friend and lover, a Copper artist named Joseph, discover that they can transform themselves into werewolf-like creatures that are immensely fast and powerful, but retain their human intelligence. In the meantime, Tehotep is collecting acolytes and remaking them into nightmarish monsters that obey him without question…

In Immortal II, the shape-shifting lovers find themselves transported to the Tundra of the past…the Tundra of the Time of Legend, ‘The most violent era Tundra had ever known.’

The wars are not only occurring on Tundra. There are another ones as well, between Tehotep and beings known as Guardians–and an incarnation of Karla from another time…

The Immortal novels are multi-racial, multi-cultural, and multi-dimensional. Valjeanne is adept at writing about relationships,everyday activities, conflicts, near-future technology technology, and mind-boggling magic. She can also snap a plot twist on par with the best of the thriller writers. These books are a wonder and a pleasure.”

To read this review in its entirety vist Charles Saunders site and click on Recommended and then Immortality. And check out the rest of Charles’s awesome reviews.

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The Story of Eve: The Genius of Oscar Micheaux

Clip from Body and Soul

As the era rocked on, only one Black dreamweaver survived the competition from Hollywood and even the Great Depression: Oscar Micheaux.

“In 1931, when most black independants were closing up shop he released The Exile, the first all-talking motion picture made by a black company. For almost thirty years, Micheaux wrote, directed, produced almost thirty-four pictures. His last film, The Betrayal, released in 1948 was promoted as ‘the Greatest Negro Photoplay of all time.'” ( Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films, Bogle, 1973, 2001). He is also the author of seven books (e.g. Conquest: The Story of a Negro Pioneer and The Forged Note)

Micheaux’s company would too eventually fold. Small, Black film companies that did not have the same budget and audience as Hollywood could not possibly compete with Tinsel Town. Yet Oscar Micheaux was a genuis. A visionary. And his movies were decades ahead of their time.

Like other independants, Micheaux was trying to entertain a mostly Black audience. But his race movies had a twist. For while his films touted Bourgoise values, he did not shy away from depicting social problems– like intraracism and prostitution. Micheaux’s honesty did not exactly endear him to movie critics (From Sambo to Superspade, Daniel Leab, 1975).

Although he initially received high praise from the Black press, in time critics began to take him to task for his depiction of the African American community (Leab, 1975). Film critic Lester Walton, though he praised the Micheaux movie, The Brute (starring prizefighter Sam Lanford) was offended by the scenes of crap dives and wife beating (Leab, 1975). Walton said in no uncertain terms that scenes like these contributed to negative sterotypes of African Americans, and really weren’t very different from the attitudes of the White press.

Micheaux, for the most part, turned a deaf ear to his critics. And in his portrayal of Black women, he was in a class by himself–even today. He brought women of a different social class to the screen (Bowser, 1970). In The Brute, for example he exposed the rackets, prostitution and inner conflicts about caste and color–his female characters were easy prey for hustlers including a jackleg preacher whose terrian was both urban and rural (Bowser, 1970).

One of Micheaux’s most brilliant creations was Body and Soul, starring the late, great Paul Robeson in his first screen debut. The plot revolves around the Black laundry woman, her daughter and the handsome preacher. The mother has set aside all her savings for her daughter’s eventual marriage to the right man (Bowser, 1970). Yet her uncounscious, sexual fantasies about her daughter’s fiancee are revealed in a nightmare.

That Micheaux would even fimically tackle a subject as weighty as “unconscious sexual fantasy” is testimony to his genuis and vision placing him with– if not above– the best European directors of his day.

Yet it would take more than the dreaweavers portayal of Black folks to make a difference in our oppression. It would take a World War II.

To be continued…
Copyright Valjeanne Jeffers-Thompson, Valjeanne Jeffers 1997, 2012
all rights reserved.

Sir Charles Saunders’s Spectacular Review

The legendary Charles Saunders (The acclaimed Imaro and Damballa series) just dropped a spectacular review of my novels, Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch II: Clockwork. And I am on cloud nine :)!! Here’s an excerpt:

Valjeanne “Sister Moon” Jeffers continues to rise in the ranks of speculative-fiction authors with the release of her latest novels in her interlocking Immortal/Switch series. her writing weaves vivid threads of science fiction, fantasy, horror and erotica into patterns as intricate as those in a kente cloth… read the rest here (click Recommended then Sister Moon Rising)

And you can read excerpts from both novels on wordpress or my personal site

The Switch II: Clockwork…Coming this Spring!

The black-garbed officials soared toward their company hub, their jet-blasters strapped to their backs–flying past the clear tunnels that webbed across the city. York’s beige and white towers were framed by the night sky.
Kilo, the pudgy constable on the right, dipped expertly to avoid a hover craft. “What did you think of her?”
“Who? Ms. high class, stick up her a** Z100?” Dazz asked. He was a thin, swarthy man.
Although there was a quarter mile between them, connection chips in their helmets made their speech clear and sharp.
“No your mother. Yeah, Z.”
Dazz smirked. “Watch your mouth about dear, old mum you putz. I think she’s a sexy b**** who ought to be taught some manners. I’d like to teach her naked; preferably on her hands and knees in handcuffs.”
Kilo chuckled. “Okay, if you’re done with your fantasy, I meant what did you think of her story?”
“It doesn’t matter what I think,” there was a shrug in Dazz’s voice. “She’s powerful enough to have us demoted—she could have our badges if she wanted to.”
“When we get back to the hub, let’s file a report.”
“Hell no.” Dazz said emphatically. “I don’t care if she’s building a bomb in her bathroom. It’s not worth me risking my job over.”
“Look, we can file a curiosity report without taking any heat. It’ll probably be ignored anyway. But just in case something is wrong, we’ll be in the clear. We might even get a promotion…I’d love to see her knocked off her high horse.”
Dazz snickered. “And on all fours?”
“You got it.”
Cover art by Quinton Veal
Copyright 2012 all rights reserved

I’ll release my steampunk/SF novel The Switch II: Clockwork this Spring. It will include the original story as a prologue and the sequel as a full-length novel. Stay tuned :)!

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