The Black Man Can Awards

As many of you are aware, I was interviewed by Brandon Fame of Black Man Can last December and it was a huge honor to be affiliated with such an excellent site.

I can’t implore each and every one of you enough to get involved with this inaugural award event:


Written by BlackCelebrityGiving:

Even as a black woman, I recognize the negative preconceived notions our black men will undoubtedly face. I see the Black Man Can Awards as an amazing opportunity to honor those everyday men who are positively shaping our world and the image of the black man and boy. I am pleased to announce one of our latest projects; The Black Man Can Awards (BMC Awards) with one of my friends and partners Brandon Frame of

Often negative portrayals of black males make indelible impacts on how the people of the world view black men and boys. Media sources are saturated with such negative images, creating false perceptions in the minds of many. Minds from all races have absorbed many of these stereotypical images of our black men and boys; it is time for change. These misconceptions still persist, thus great efforts to challenge the misperception of black men and boys are needed; the BlackManCan Awards will help aid in this effort. Born from the idea that positivity yields positivity, (BMC) and (BCG) are excited to announce the Inaugural Black Man Can Awards! Recognizing accomplishments within the community and professional arenas, the awards will honor black men and boys in more than 10 categories who embody the definition of a positive black male!

The Inaugural BMC Awards will honor and celebrate the positive black male in the following categories: Campus King (College Male Student), Boys II Men (Young Males) under the age of 18, Higher Education, Media (Journalism), K-12 Education, Business, Technology, Non-Profits, Law, Politics, Celebrity and Medicine. Nominations are now being accepted and will remain open until midnight on May 15th, 2012. We encourage you to nominate individuals worthy of one or more of the distinguished BlackManCan Awards right here on BCG. Finalists will be announced May 28th, 2012 via a live Twitter Chat, with voting to take place June 1st- June 15th, 2012. Winners of the 2012 BlackManCan (BMC) Awards will receive an official crystal award trophy, website badge, bragging rights for one year and other sponsored products. Winners will be announced, Sunday June 17th, 2012, Father’s Day.

“The only way to provide the positive contradiction to the prevailing Black Male image of today is to counteract negative images with positives ones,” says Brandon Frame Chief Visionary Officer of

Join in on the Conversation follow Black Celebrity Giving @BlkCelebGiving and the Black Man Can @TheBlackManCan on Twitter. The Official Awards Hash-Tag: #BMCAwards



Norwescon 2012 Report

“A complete stranger has the capacity to alter the life of another irrevocably. This domino effect has the capacity to change the course of an entire world. That is what life is; a chain reaction of individuals colliding with others and influencing their lives without realizing it. A decision that seems miniscule to you, may be monumental to the fate of the world.” -J.D. Stroube

Norwescon couldn’t have been a bigger success for me. I met so many amazing people, networked, and had some really moving and excellent discussions on the panels.

I was blessed to be placed on many of the minority and social justice panels and I got to hear some incredible stories from fellow POCs and LGBTQs. Conversations with both panelists and members of the audience reminded me that we still have our work cut out for us but at the same time some progress has been made. More than a few of the panels were either full or standing room only.

And apparently I was a hit because several people came up to me after the panel and thanked me and wanted to get my info which was both humbling and kinda awesome.

In fact I had one member of the audience tell me that typically young adult and paranormal isn’t her cup of tea but after hearing me speak, she was sold and bought a copy of Hollowstone.

Speaking of which, I’m happy to announce that I sold all of my copies of Hollowstone. Flawless victory is flawless.

And finally, I got to meet some of my awesome Motley Crewmates: [info]loree[info]jeliza[info]drakemonger[info]gement and many other LJ peeps including one [info]lisamantchev who was an absolute hoot on the panels and during the book signings. It was also at the booksignings I had the pleasure of meeting author Satyros Phil Brucato.

And of course no trip to Seattle would be complete without an evening out with longtime peeps Cherie Priest and Aric. We hung in the bar and I also had the pleasure of meeting Shanna Germain, Mary Robinette Kowal, Stina Leicht, Keffy and others. An excellent night indeed.

There were many other awesome peeps who I had the pleasure of meeting, too many to list and I will forget someone. But overall, this trip is hands down one of the highlights of 2012 and I’m so glad I attended and was truly honored to be invited.

Thank you Norwescon. You know it’s amazing how one book has already opened up so many opportunities for me and I’m just getting started. If this is a sign of things to come, then I’m more than excited and I’m ready.

After my last panel, an aspiring writer who had been at my other panels came up to me afterwards and thanked me for speaking out on diversity and told me that I had inspired her to reflect on her novel and she decided she needed to include POCs in the main cast. All because of what I had to share.

Not gonna lie….that was kinda awesome.

Oh yes, Darth Vader overstepped his bounds and tried to step to yours truly. He didn’t realize he didn’t have the midichlorians to step to this. Had to lay down the force on Anakin’s candy ass.

Ani are you okay? Are you okay?


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Norwescon Tweets

@drupkins: Sitting on a plane with hawt gymnastics team. #willnotendwell

@drupkins: FINALLY @drupkins HAS RETURNED TO SEATTLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RT: @nerdwest: The word of the day @norwescon is “Tit Window” thanks @drupkins and all the other panelists for a great discussion”

@drupkins: Sitting in the DC comics New 52 panel. Oh it’s about to go down.

@drupkins: Oh a few of the mods are about to step in it. #divesinfoxhole

@drupkins: Now they are discussing Wonder Woman’s pants. Oh it’s on!!!

@drupkins: Quote of the day: “Batman pays my fucking rent.”

@drupkins: My panels today were a huge success and I had some powerful discussions with some incredible people. Thank you #norwescon

@drupkins: The YA panel was standing room only and went over well. I was in rare form. Finally met the awesome Lisa Mantchev. #norwescon

@drupkins: comment from a guest: “your genre is not my usual thing but after hearing you speak today, you’ve convinced me to buy your novel” #norwescon

@drupkins: Why yes I DID put on my black hoodie during the race in media panel to prove my point. #norwescon

@drupkins: Sold all my books, been a hit on my panels, this is what the kids call “flawless victory.” #norwescon #TeamBringIt #Boots2Asses

@drupkins: @sarahdiemer yep. You are doing it right and you have a following.

@drupkins: Mad props to Steve Barnes who gave this young bro some sage advice. #norwescon

@drupkins: Mr. Barnes told me that in all his years this was the first time he’s shared the green room with another African American. #norwescon

@drupkins: And I just spent the last few minutes opening fire on a room full of kids. The kids shot first. #lazertag #norwescon

@drupkins: Mental note: all eye candy is in the airport.

RT: “@SunderAddams: Back from #NorWesCon. Best. NorWesCon. Ever.” Seconded.

By Dennis R. Upkins

My Norwescon Panel Schedule


If you’re in the Seattle area this weekend, you should definitely stop by Norwescon. I’ll be there this weekend and I’m excited to spend the weekend with many awesome peeps and have some fun. Below is my panel schedule.


Panel Schedule:

Friday 2 pm Cascade 7
Minorities in comics

How do American comics differ from manga or European comics? When will there be less sexism in mainstream comics? Are token minorities better than none at all? What strengths and weaknesses are there in this medium for representing a unique look at these issues?
Dennis R. Upkins (M), Ashley “nerdtastic” Cook, Kate Merriwether Lynch, Charles “Zan” Christensen


Friday 6 pm Cascade 5
Queer Voices in SF/F

Science fiction and fantasy authors often use the fringes of mainstream culture as plot material. How do authors portray gender and sexuality in their works; and how realistic are the works of those who write outside their own identities? Are the tales of early authors who played with gender still relevant? And have these works changed fannish attitudes, and made those in the QUILTBAG community feel welcome?
Dennis R. Upkins (M), Charles “Zan” Christensen, Keffy R. M. Kehrli, Jeliza Patterson

Friday 9 pm Cascade 2
Young & Queer: Beyond The Trevor Project

Some attitudes have changed in the last decade or two; but how is it for those still struggling with their personal and sexual identities? How do we cope with widespread bullying from our peers and elders? What do we say when our personal identities don’t fit into one box or another? We encourage young people with questions about their place in society and fandom to come to talk and share strength with each other and with older fen who’ve been through it themselves.
Loree Parker (M), Gregory Gadow, Dennis R. Upkins, Alexander James Adams
Saturday 10 am Cascade 5
Writing for the Young and Young at Heart

Writing YA is about more than using small words. What does it take to make your YA story shine?
Lisa Mantchev (M), Dennis R. Upkins, Dierdre Phoenix

Saturday 2 pm Grand 2
Autograph Session 1

Meet the writers of all those fabulous SF/F books, share stories, and have them autograph their novels (especially the ones purchased in Norwescon’s wonderful Dealers Room). All of our distinguished Guests of Honor will be present. PLEASE: so that as many fans as possible can participate, we will be enforcing a limit of three books to autograph at a time! Also attending this session: Alma Alexander, K.C. Ball, Clinton Boomer, Satyros Phil Brucato, Ted Butler, Charles “Zan” Christensen, Bruce R Cordell, Elton Elliott, Steve Gillette, Dustin J Gross, Judith Herman, Jean Johnson, Stina Leicht, Grá Linnaea, Pat MacEwen, Lisa Mantchev, Susan Matthews, Tim McDaniel, Julie McGalliard, Mike Shepherd Moscoe, G. David Nordley, Karl “Ultraklystron” Olson, Irene Radford, Cat Rambo, Mary Robinette Kowal, David A. Rodriguez, Jon Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, Lorelei Shannon, Bruce Taylor, Dennis R. Upkins

Saturday 3 pm Cascade 2
Race And Popular Media

Back when our TV sets still had rabbit ears, shows like Star Trek, The Jeffersons, Chico & The Man, Good Times, Welcome Back Kotter, Sanford & Son, and The Cosby Show brought the ordinary, exceptional, and fantastical lives of people of color into American living rooms every night. But from the look of current prime time schedules of the big four networks, those days have passed. What happened? And why? And what can we as media consumers do to bring diversity back to the weeknight lineup?
Sheye Anne Blaze (M), Dennis R. Upkins

Saturday 5 pm Cascade 8
How I Sold My Novel

Some debut novelists discuss the path they took in selling their first novel.

Rhiannon Held (M), Dennis R. Upkins, Christopher Paul Carey

Review: Grifter & Midnighter

So let’s talk about Chuck Dixon and why he fails as both a writer and a human being.

I read Dixon’s work for years long before I learned how outspoken he is about his hatred and disdain for LGBTQs and people of color.

Even way back yonder I always felt his work to be mediocre at best and never understood why he received all the hype he got: Gail Simone’s run of the Birds of Prey was far superior and what he did to Outsiders was unforgivable.

Needless to say I had misgivings about Dixon penning Grifter & Midnighter but against my better judgment I decided to give the miniseries a chance. After all, maybe Dixon would surprise me, in a positive way.

The verdict: trust your instincts.

It gets better…….

Leaving Prism Comics

So this past week some drama went down with Prism Comics and as a result, a few of the editors and I have decided to cut our ties and part ways.

Last week a review of Class Comics’ gay erotic comic The Initiation #2 went live on Prism Comics. And for his efforts, reviewer Adam Hoak was on the receiving end of some vicious and personal attacks by the creator Robert Fraser and his fans. In addition, the Powers-That-Be at Prism threw Hoak under the bus. Not only didn’t they back Hoak but they’ve decided to change their review policies not to allow for any honest reviews that may be deemed negative.

Normally I wouldn’t bother speaking out on this publicly but  I cannot in good conscience be silent on this because if this happened to Hoak, this could’ve happened to myself or any other reviewer.

In an open letter Scott McGrath eloquently explains why Fraser’s bullying and Prism’s policy changes were inappropriate, to put it mildly. And I couldn’t agree more.

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