How To Fall In Love With Your Writing

Puppet Angel

It’s 5:45 a.m. on Monday, November. 30, at the time of writing this article.  For the past few hours I’ve been in writer mode which can best be described as Puppet Angel, hence the pic.

For most people it’s the start of a new week and the final day in the month. But for an intrepid lot, today is essentially Judgment Day.

The final hours of National Novel Writing Month are upon us. NaNoWriMo is perhaps the writing equivalent of Battle Royale/Hunger Games/Mortal Kombat/Thunderdome. Each year, many enter, but only a handful survive.


This is a fact I know firsthand. A few years back, I took my first stab at NaNoWriMo. Not only was I successful, but my debut YA paranormal mystery novel, Hollowstone, is the result. It was also around this time two years ago that I was putting the finishing touches on my urban fantasy sophomore title, West of Sunset.

Both books have become a game changer for me. I’ve traveled the country appearing and speaking at conventions and book signings.  I’ve been blessed to be interviewed, receive freelance gigs, and countless other opportunities. This is all to say that it can happen, I’m living proof of that, and to keep this in mind at anytime you get discouraged during NaNoWriMo or pursuing any goal for that matter.

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By Dennis R. Upkins

Reading Past Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer



[Originally published at The Nerds of Color]

For those of you who aren’t aware, this year marks the 51st anniversary of the Rankin/Bass Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer holiday special which airs annually on CBS. It’s a holiday special that I’ve always found unsettling.

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By Dennis R. Upkins

Excellence Recognizing Excellence

While some people spent most of their day trying to police and dictate my dating life (and failing abysmally), I was busy making moves. In the lab with the pen and the pad, I was doing that thing I do so well.

Celebrating ‪#‎BlackSpeculativeFictionMonth‬, I wrote a piece entitled Character Study: Doctor Martha Jones for The Nerds of Color. Apparently the piece went over very well with readers, including one Freema Agyeman.



Don’t Love Them Hoteps


A great writer by the name of Zora Neale Hurston once said, “All my skinfolk, ain’t kinfolk.”

With civil unrest hitting a fever pitch in the states, and people of color fighting back against racial oppressions, many blacks are experiencing a bit of of an awakening. But even among blacks we have to be ever vigilant against predators within our own communities.

Chief among them, Hoteps. Also known as Ashoteps, Negroes with Ankhs, Sisters with Dashikis, the Soul Police, or even the Ashy 2-inch Dick Squad, these fake black militant double agents will be the first to dehumanize blacks, ignore boundaries and attempt to police others. In short, they engage in the very abuse, misogyny, bodyshaming, homophobia and (internalized) racism that can be expected with white supremacy.

The difference is because these fools think that because they’re burning incense, rocking dreads, and listening to a Kendrick Lamar album somehow that turns their (internalized) racism into pro-blackness. Just as televangelists use the Bible to manipulate and inflict harm on Christians, Hoteps use racial pride with the same malicious intent.

The reality is that some of the people who hate black folks the most are the “pro-black militants.” To quote my buddy Zahir. Some people get involved in social justice because they hate the idea of slavery. Others get involved in social justice because they hate the idea that they aren’t holding the whip.

A prime example would be Hari Ziyad who I recently had to ban after sexual harassment and personal attacks on social media. His issue? Because I just wasn’t into him.
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By Dennis R. Upkins