Seeking Track Directors for Blacktasticon!

SOBSFCon returns in 2018 as Blacktasticon a lot easier to pronounce, huh? – and they are seeking enthusiastic fans, scholars and creators of Black Speculative Fiction, Fashion, Film and Fabrication to work with them as Track Directors.

Track Directors will work directly with Blacktasticon Co-Chairs Balogun Ojetade and Milton Davis to come up with exciting, cutting edge programming for their track.

During the convention, Track Directors will ensure their tracks are running smoothly, that guests and panelists are in place and comfortable and that their track provides a great experience for the fans.

Each track will have several volunteers that will assist in the workings of that track.

So, if you are ready to put in some creativity and hard work, we are looking for YOU! Contact us on the Blacktasticon Facebook event page  and tell us what track you’re interested in. We will make our decisions on Track Directors by the end of this month.

The Blacktasticon Tracks are:


The Media track combines the best of all Black mixed media! From audio podcasting to television to YouTube and beyond, we bring the best and brightest to inform, teach and entertain.

The Media Track features guests and panels where you get to interact with your favorite stars, ask questions, and even nod your head and stomp your feet to some jazz, reggae, hip-hop, ragtime, African drumming, blues or other form of hot Black music.


The Afroretroism Track is the destination for times of “neverwas” and days of “could-have-beens.”

Panels and events showcasing Sword and Soul, Steamfunk, Rococoa, Dieselfunk, and traditional African dance and martial arts are what this Blacktastic track is all about!


The Afrofuturism Track will examine Black/African people in the future and that futuristic representation in literature, film, music and artwork.

Sweet Chariot is going to swing down, stop and let you ride all the way to the worlds of the Dark Universe, Cyberfunk, Cybertrap, infinity and beyond!

Urban Fantasy, Paranormal and Horror

The Urban Fantasy, Paranormal and Horror Track focuses on intriguing storytelling in books and media in a genre where supernatural beings of all varieties often exist side-by-side with humans.

Looking for mystery, the abnormal, and unearthly? On the lookout for ghosts, the unexplained, the unreal and the really scary?

This track features actors, authors, artists, scholars and fans of the wicked, the weird, the fantastical and sometimes grotesque tales and terrors that haunt our imaginations.


The Gaming Track is the place to go for unique and fun pen and paper Role Playing Games such as Ki Khanga: The Sword and Soul Role Playing Game, for board games, card games, videogames, as well as gamer culture in general.

There will be presentations and discussions about games and game technology, development, and artwork as part of the program, as well as people selling games in the dealers room and a few gaming tournaments for prizes, giveaways and bragging rights!


Are you a family with young people between the ages of 5-17? If so, then Blacktasticon has programming for your youth!

Our Youth Track will have “something for everyone” for the children and teenagers that attend Blacktasticon. We are planning activities that explore science, art, costuming, gaming, literature, creative play, as well as movement, music, martial arts and theatre.

The Youth Track is a safe place for our young people to enjoy Blacktasticon on their level while you participate in the convention at your leisure. There will be volunteers from around the world that are experts at working with children, many of whom are teachers or teachers at heart.


Whether you’re into Superheroes, historical costumes, film replicas, interpretations from text or animation, or entirely original designs – if you rock your fandom through clothing, Blacktasticon is the place for you!

This track features workshops that teach practical costuming skills, like how to finish a seam, stitch a period-accurate hem, tailor a garment, or apply stage makeup, as well as panels on cosplaying in non-canon-bodies, overcoming racism, sexism and body shaming in the cosplay community and much more!


The Film Track is the place to be for filmmakers and film-lovers. Blacktasticon will bring you Black science fiction, fantasy, animation, and horror short films as well as a few features – really special Black speculative films you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

Then there are our panels on digital and analog FX, makeup, distribution, advanced film audio techniques, fight choreography and becoming a stuntperson on stage and screen. If you are interested in acting, producing or directing, we’ll have a panel for you!


Video Games on Paper? Black Heroes and Sheroes in Gamebooks!

At the age of ten I discovered Choose Your Own Adventure books. I read them non-stop, almost obsessively, and, when I picture my childhood bookshelf in my mind, I can see whole rows of those thin white paperbacks with the numbers and red bubbles on the side.

If you’ve never read a Choose Your Own Adventure book before, they’re a little hard to explain. They’re not like much else in the “kid lit” market. They sort of resemble chapter books, in terms of length and reading level, but, structurally, they’re something completely different.

The structure of a Choose Your Own Adventure book is designed to make the reading experience immersive. They’re written from the rarely used second-person point-of-view – so the narrator is always referring to the reader as “You.” When a child opens a CYOA book, they’re told something like, “You are a child of the ruler of the famed lost city of Atlantis” or “You are a spy for the Galactic Union, on a smuggler’s spaceship traveling between worlds on a dangerous espionage mission,” thus setting the stage for the adventure to come. The lead character is never described in detail because “YOU” are that character.

After a two-page set-up, the reader is quickly presented with various choices that will dictate where the story can go – i.e. where the “choosing” of one’s own adventure begins. Are you going to stay at your base-camp in the Himalayas or are you going to go looking for your missing friend? Will you fight the giant squid or swim away? Will you join the space circus or carry on with your rocket-ship caravan across the stars? If you chose option A, turn to page 51. If choose pick option B, turn to page 52. And each choice leads to more choices and more choices and, eventually, an ending. And, if you don’t like your ending, you’re encouraged to re-read the book, make different choices, and follow a different path to a different ending.

While CYOA books don’t have the depth of emotion or character that a Newbery Medal-winning chapter book has, they are fantastic tools for introducing children to “branching narratives,” a form of storytelling that is flourishing lately thanks to video games and game apps for mobile devices. In such wildly influential video games like Assassin’s Creed and the Last of Us, children are being exposed to new kinds of interactive storytelling.

In many recent video games, players follow very fleshed-out, very detailed storylines – often written by novelists or screenwriters – and they can then watch those narratives alter or evolve based on the choices they’re making in the game. Video games are often built with multiple plotlines and endings, just so that the player can feel like they really have a hand in directing where the storyline goes. In Mass Effect, for example, the choices you make as your character can influence and customize the events you experience in every game in the series. It is a very modern, very immersive form of storytelling – the branching narrative – and the Choose Your Own Adventure series introduced children to the most basic form of the branching narrative in 1979.

What I loved about Choose Your Own Adventure books was how they gave me a sense of power and ownership over the narrative.

However, what I did NOT love about the books was that I could never fully relate to the characters because all the cover and interior illustrations were showed the hero as white. One cover even shows a defeated Black track star in the background while the foreground shows the image of a white girl, powerful, confident – a champion, ready to win her next race.

It is imperative that Black people – youth and adults – see ourselves in heroic roles, especially in gamebooks like Choose Your Own Adventure, which literally put the reader in the role of the hero.

That is why I have chosen to write an entire line of gamebooks for our youth and will release three this year:

Siafu Saves the World – a gamebook in which YOU are a superhero who must save Atlanta – and the world – from a curse brought on by police brutality; Jagunjagun Lewa – a Cyberfunk/Rococoa hybrid based on the manga I wrote about a warrior who travels with his brother, the mandrill Papio, seeking to make the African martial arts respected and revered around the world; and Siafu vs. The Horde – book 2 in the Black Power: The Superhero Gamebook series.

My CYOA-style book, The Keys, has long been a huge hit with youth and adults at conventions and festivals around the country.

These new series of books, however, not only give you choices, they allow you to do battle with your enemies and to find and use special weapons, tools and other devices to help you during your adventures. These books incorporate the use of a deck of regular playing cards as you read, giving you a fun, video-game like experience as you read and use your imagination.

In these gamebooks, YOU directly impact the world with your own actions. The stories are non-linear, non-sequential and have multiple pathways, divided into a series of numbered sections.

Different choices made within the stories can influence their final outcome.

YOU are the hero or shero. YOU determine how the story progresses and how it ends. YOU fight the bad guy and save the world. YOU see yourself on the cover and within the books pages.

These gamebooks are all about YOU. And all YOU need to do to get in on the fun and edutainment is to pick up a copy of our new and Blacktastic Siafu Saves the World (Black Power: The Superhero Gamebook) or our classic, The Keys and let the fun begin!

Gamebooks: What they are and why Black Youth should Play Them

A gamebook is a book that allows the reader to participate in the story by making choices that affect the course of the narrative, which branches down various paths through the use of numbered paragraphs or pages.

A gamebook is also like a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) videogame on paper. Think World of Warcraft. Think Star Wars: the Old Republic. Think The Last of Us, Call of Duty, and even UFC 2.

At the end of a paragraph or page, you are usually presented with a choice of narrative branches that you can follow, with each option containing a reference to the number of the paragraph or page that should be read next if the option is chosen. You might eventually reach a concluding section, or in some books, even several sections, that will bring the story to an end.

There are three types of gamebooks:

  1. The Branching-Plot Novel
  • The Choose Your Own Adventure series of gamebooks.
  • The Keys is this type of gamebook.
  • The reader makes choices but is otherwise like a regular novel.
  1. The Role-Playing Game Solitaire Adventure
  • The Tunnels and Trolls series of gamebooks.
  • Combines the Branching-Plot Novel with the rules of a role-playing game, allowing the game to be played without a Gamemaster.
  • Requires the purchase of separate manuals.
  1. The Adventure Gamebook
  • Siafu Saves the World! is this type of gamebook.
  • Combines the Branching-Plot Novel with simple role-playing rules included with each book.

At their core, gamebooks are compelling adventure stories where YOU get to choose how the adventure unfolds.

I believe the solution to getting reluctant readers to read lies in gamebooks.

Back in the late 70s through the late 90s, children around the world – particularly boys, who are often reluctant readers – and Black boys, long considered the most reluctant readers – were reading, collecting, trading and discussing the Choose Your Own Adventure books.


Because with gamebooks, children are put in the driver’s seat. They are the mountain climber; they are the abominable snowman hunter; they are the time traveler, deep-sea explorer and the warrior that slays the dragon.

They make the choices, so they read.

Gamebooks are cited by numerous educators as uniquely effective tools for helping students learn to read.  They are popular with, and appealing to, the reluctant reader due to their interactivity.

In the gamebooks authored by Balogun Ojetade, beginning with the Branching-Plot Novel (for ages 12 and older), The Keys, the reader can choose to be either Teresa “Terry” De Fuego, a nineteen year old self-proclaimed extreme journalist of Aztec descent, or Jordan Drummond, nineteen year old math genius and star basketball player of Igbo and Ateke descent.

Whichever of these two strong, independent and cool characters the reader chooses to be, they are encouraged throughout the book to be self-confident enough to forge ahead and complete the adventure, while applying common sense, prudence, and certain moral values in the decision-making process.

In The Keys and in Siafu Saves the World! – the Adventure Gamebook (for ages 8 and older) in which you are the superhero Siafu – courage is of great importance, for unless the hero forges ahead, there is no story.

Reading The Keys  or Siafu Saves the World! also helps to instill confidence in young readers and teaches them to trust themselves to do the right thing.

However, courage and confidence should not rule out caution. The successful hero is prudent – thinking before acting and being patient enough to learn all that may be useful later, asking for expert help when he or she needs it, using common sense, and taking the advice of our elders, who are wiser than us.

So, finally, our youth – and we adults, too – can be the hero in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror stories and we can control how the story unfolds and even how it ends.

What’s the best way to find out what gamebooks are like? Play one! Pick up The Keys or Siafu Saves the World! (or both) today.

Siafu Saves the World: Black Youth Are Powerful Beyond Measure!

The siafu is a species of ant, found in Central, East and South Afrika, that exemplifies the essence of teamwork. There is a soldier class among the workers, which is larger, with a very large head and pincer-like mandibles. They are capable of stinging, but very rarely do so, relying instead on their powerful shearing jaws. Individually each is small, but as a team they can strip a water buffalo down to the bone in less than an hour.
The idea behind Siafu Saves the World, the first book in the Black Power: The Superhero Gamebook series, is that Black youth, much like the siafu ant, may be small in size, but they are powerful beyond measure.
So powerful, in fact, that when they read Siafu Saves the World, THEY decide what powers they will have in the book; THEY decide how the story unfolds; and THEY decide how the story ends.
Siafu Saves the World is written for youth 8-14 years old, but can be enjoyed by all. If you want your 5 year old to experience this Blacktastic gamebook, read it with them, but let him or her make the decisions. It will be fun for both of you.
I’ll end this now, so you can run and grab a copy of Siafu Saves the World for every young person you love. And for yourself… you’re never too old to save the world!
Siafu Saves the World is available NOW, in e-book and paperback formats.

Read Q-T-Pies, the prequel novella to A Haunting in the SWATS, for FREE!

Blood Magic. Mad Science. Fine women. Delicious Pot Pies!

Check out one of the Root Woman’s earliest cases, during Savannah Swan’s first year as the enforcer of the Here Road and Destroyer of the There Road, first seen in A HAUNTING IN THE SWATS!

Life sucks for Derrel Lacey – a hack journalist for a hack magazine.
But Derrel’s luck may be changing.
He discovers Q-T-Pies, a pop-up restaurant run by three of the sexiest women he has ever met. The food is incredible and the women have their customers enthralled. Even Derrel can’t help himself from getting caught up in their flirty, seductive games. But who are they? Why a pop-up restaurant? And who the hell makes a career out of selling pot pies? Derrel has questions but the answers may lead him into a living nightmare because the ladies of Q-T-Pies are cooking up something wicked.
If Derrel isn’t careful he may just end up on the menu.

Q-T-Pies is a stand-alone novella that introduces readers to the thrilling fantasy world of THE SAVANNAH SWAN FILES, Balogun Ojetade’s new urban fantasy thriller series.

Check out Q-T-PIES and other SAVANNAH SWAN FILES novels and novellas today!

To celebrate the successful release of A Haunting in the SWATS, you can read Q-T-Pies for FREE for a limited time and for only $0.99 thereafter!

Get Out and why Black Horror is HOT in the Trump Era

Why do we enjoy having the most negative of negative emotions… fear?

Why do we seek out entertainment in fear, disgust, or anger?

Why is the mega-popular, blockbuster Get Out so mega-popular and a blockbuster, or my novel A Haunting in the SWATS: The Savannah Swan Files, seeing more initial success than any of my other works of fiction?

Does this Era of Trump – one of burgeoning fascism, genderism, sexism and racism – have something to do with it?

It seems to me the crucial thing is that we have no need to act in response to what we fearing in Get Out. Had we been peeping through a window at Chris being hypnotized by Missy, then having his consciousness sent to “the sunken place,” we would hardly have enjoyed the experience. We would have felt we should do something – beat on the window; call 911; whoop Missy’s ass.

In A Haunting in the SWATS, we do not have to save Savannah and her son when they are attacked by a horde of African mole rats, or help her daughter when she is infected with wicked spirits posing as her ancestors.

Not having to act in response to an emotional stimulus leads to pleasure. Having to decide whether to act in response to an emotional stimulus leads to planning, not pleasure.

With Get Out and A Haunting in the SWATS and other instances of negative emotions in literature, experiencing that relaxation, knowing that we won’t have to do anything about these frightening situations, is, in and of itself, pleasurable.


Because we turn to literature, stories, poems, plays, and movies to have our emotions stimulated, even in unpleasurable ways. We do so because we experience a continuing release of psychic energy from knowing, at a cognitive level, that we do not have to act in response to those emotional signals. We know before we enter the movie theater that we will feel unpleasurable fear during the movie or the story, but we also know that we will feel pleasure, even during that fear, because we know we won’t have to do anything about it.

In this Era of Trump, we are living a horror show and our gut tells us we will have to do something about it. We might, in just a few days, be forced to join others in resisting oppression, in freeing ourselves from beneath the boot-heel of a fascist state. This is truly frightening and very unpleasurable. So, little wonder that horror is hot again with people of African descent.

Horror stories – and the understanding of why stories that scare us are attractive to us – is nothing new.

For Black folks with close familial ties to Africa, the Caribbean, and/or the Dirty South – which is damn near ALL of us – stories, beliefs and lore about death, the afterlife, ancestors, ghosts, witches, haunted places and a host of other supernatural entities and events tend to become an everyday thing.

Growing up on the West Side of Chicago had a great impact on me as I witnessed, first-hand, the horrors of murder, drug addiction, gang violence and police brutality. It is something that continues to influence my writing till date, which is why you will find elements of horror in all of my works of fiction.

In the Era of Trump, Get Out and A Haunting in the SWATS, which both deal with possession of the mind, are fitting. To be enslaved, to be oppressed, to be displaced, is to be POSSESSED – to have another have power and control over your thoughts, words and deeds.

Now, more than ever, we authors of Black Speculative Fiction should write more great horror stories; should do our part to help others experience pleasure… before the unpleasurable work of freeing ourselves is at hand.

10 Black Speculative Fiction Anthologies You Should Read

If novels are the meat and bones of Black Speculative Fiction – science fiction, fantasy and horror written by and about people of African descent – then short stories are the lifeblood.

Anthologies are great because the short fiction found within them allows readers to expand their reading horizons in a relatively short amount of time through diverse stories written in a variety of writing styles.

Here are 10 Black Speculative Fiction anthologies that will show you just how Blacktastic science fiction, fantasy and horror storytelling can get.


Black Power: The Superhero Anthology

This groundbreaking anthology brings together twenty authors to craft original short superhero stories.

BLACK POWER: THE SUPERHERO ANTHOLOGY offers BANG-POW-THOOM action, searing satire, and thoughtful social commentary from a people too often overlooked in mainstream comic books and heroic cinema and television.

The superheroes in BLACK POWER: THE SUPERHERO ANTHOLOGY come from all walks of life. Some have superpowers that make them something more, or less, than human, but others face a dangerous world with only their wits and willpower to aid them. Some of the heroes fight against racism, sexism, gang violence and police brutality. Others combat evil on a cosmic scale. ALL of the stories are entertaining and enlightening.

Black Heroes Matter. Read BLACK POWER: THE SUPERHERO ANTHOLOGY and find out just how much!



A witch, more machine than human, judges the character of the wicked and hands out justice in a ravaged Chicago. John Henry wields his mighty hammers in a war against machines and the undead. Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman rule a country of freed slaves that rivals – and often bests – England and France in power and technology. You will find all this – and much more – between the pages of Steamfunk, an anthology of incredible stories by some of today’s greatest authors of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Steamfunk – African and Diaspora-inspired Steampunk.
Editors Milton Davis and Balogun Ojetade have put together a masterful work guaranteed to transport you to new worlds. Worlds of adventure; of terror; of war and wonder; of iron and steam.

Open these pages and traverse the lumineferous aether to the world of Steamfunk!



Where Sword and Soul ends and before Steamfunk begins, there is the Age of Spring Technology and Clockwork.

Imagine an alternate universe where chronomancer Benjamin Banneker crafts a world of automatons, clockwork airships and other marvels; where Nat Turner leads a rebellion, killing hordes of vampire slave owners; where the pirate queen, Black Pitch Pauline joins Jean-Jacques Dessalines in defeating Napoleon during the Haitian Revolution. Think Three Finger’d Jack; the pirate, Black Caesar; the Black Count, Nat Turner, and the Stono Rebellion…THAT is Rococoa!

Fourteen masters of speculative fiction have taken a new genre, embraced its established themes and refashioned them in surprising ways and settings. The result is an anthology that defies its genre even as it defines it.



Take an amazing ride with eight authors as they add a funky twist to the Dieselpunk genre!

The Dieselfunk! anthology fills a void common in most speculative fiction genres, providing a much needed voice from an African/African Diaspora perspective.

Think the Harlem Renaissance meets Science Fiction… think Chalky White (from Boardwalk Empire) doing battle with robots run amok in his territory… think Mob bosses; Nazis; flappers. Jazz; the Tuskegee Airmen; bootleggers; Bessie Coleman; Marcus Garvey; the 761st Tank Battalion; the Tulsa Race Riots… that is Dieselfunk!


The City: A Cyberfunk Anthology

The City anthology is a unique creation – a collection of stories where eighteen different authors share their vision of a single idea. It is Cyberfunk – cyberpunk stories that play with future concepts from an African/Black perspective. Most of all it is engaging, exciting, thought provoking and fun.

Like the inhabitants, the City is perceived in various ways by the various writers. Some stories intersect, some diverge, but they all entertain. The result is a journey into a unique world described by unique and engaging voices.


Dark Universe

The Dark Universe anthology tells the origin story of the Cassad Empire, from its ambitious beginning to its evolution to the first great human Galactic Empire and its eventual fall.

Dark Universe is space opera like you’ve never seen.

The time has come; Dark Universe is here!


Griots: Sisters of the Spear

Griots: Sisters of the Spear picks up where the groundbreaking Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology leaves off.

Charles R. Saunders and Milton J. Davis present seventeen original and exciting Sword and Soul tales focusing on Black women. Just as the Griots anthology broke ground as the first Sword and Soul anthology, Griots: Sisters of the Spear pays homage to the spirit, bravery and compassion of African women.

The griots have returned to sing new songs, and what wonderful songs they are!


Forever Vacancy: A Colors in Darkness Anthology

Colors in Darkness, the premiere online site for dark fiction authors of color presents its first anthology and boy did they bring the thrills and chills!

Amid the upheaval of the 1960s, the Kretcher Motel opened in a poor, desolate part of Atlanta. It still serves its original purpose: to lure those souls who are lost, who are troubled, who are evil… to itself.

Check in to view these thirteen dark tales of horror, betrayal, fear, and wickedness, all featuring characters of color. You may never want to leave.



Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora

Dark Matter was the first series to bring together the works of Black Science Fiction and Fantasy writers and introduce them to generations of readers who never had the chance to explore the scope and diversity of Black writers or Black Speculative Fiction.


Sycorax’s Daughters

Thought-provoking, powerful, and revealing, this anthology is composed of 28 dark stories and 14 poems written by Black women writers. The works delve into demons and shape-shifters to far future offerings. These pieces cover vampires, ghosts, and mermaids, as well as the unexpected price paid by women struggling for freedom and validation in the past.

The NubiaOne Fest Schedule!

Join us June 16 and 17 for a funky, Blacktastic time in Atlanta!

Fans and creators of Black Speculative Fiction and Cosplay are taking over the Auburn Avenue Research Library for the weekend for NubiaOne Fest!

NubiaOne Fest is the brainchild of authors and SOBSFCon/Blacktasticon Co-Chairs Balogun Ojetade and Milton Davis. This Festival is the FREE, fun, funky sister event to Blacktasticon, held during odd years.

Here is the schedule you do NOT want to miss!


Friday, June 16, 2017


The Mahogany Masquerade

Put on your funkiest cosplay, costume, or masquerade and come party and maybe even enter the cosplay contest and win great prizes!

Kick off NubiaOne Fest with old school music; drink; drank; hors d’oeuvres; and Steamfunk, Dieselfunk, Cyberfunk and Black Superhero cosplay!


Saturday, June 17, 2017


Marketplace Opens.



Black Heroes Matter: Black Craft and Consciousness in Comic Books

Join Black comic book creators, publishers, store owners and collectors as they discuss the existence, importance and power of Black imagery in comic books and graphic novels.



Black Women In Speculative Fiction

Black women have long played a significant role in Speculative Fiction – an umbrella term encompassing the more fantastical fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history.

Join our sisters as they discuss the challenges and triumphs of Black women in today’s genre fiction market.



Afrofuturism and Afroretroism: Sword & Soul, Rococoa, Steamfunk, Dieselfunk, Cyberfunk and the Dark Universe

The untold stories of people of Afrikan descent has become a hot topic in the XYZ-punk, science fiction AND alternate history communities. How does this impact creators and their work in Steampunk, Dieselpunk, Science Fiction, Science Fantasy and Alternate History? What issues arise in moving toward a more diverse Afrofuturistic and retrofuturistic community?



Journey to Ki Khanga: A Sword and Soul Performance & Q&A

Authors Milton Davis and Balogun Ojetade and the Afrikan Martial Arts Institute bring you an exciting and original mashup of Afrikan heroic Fantasy, traditional Afrikan Martial Arts and traditional Afrikan Dance in this Sword and Soul stage performance, set in Davis’ and Ojetade’s created world of Ki Khanga!



Mingle in the Marketplace

Continue to meet and greet the guests, vendors and other participants in NubiaOne Fest.



Marketplace Closes.



Closing Remarks / Networking.

The Degentrification of Urban Fantasy

Originally posted by the author on Facebook.

The cosmic. The weird. The fantastic. The spiritual.
Whatever we call it, we all have a profound need to glimpse, experience, or at least believe in, some greater reality beyond our mundane existence.
That is why Urban Fantasy has become one of the most successful genres in modern publishing.
Urban Fantasy is unique in its willingness to see the stuff of horror – the familiar cast of vampires, were-creatures, zombies, demons and other monstrous entities – not simply as horrific and repellent, but also as darkly fascinating and appealing.
Vampires have always embodied the darker aspects of human sexuality, but in urban fantasy, those aspects are allowed full rein to express themselves. However, there is far more to Urban Fantasy than steamy encounters with glittery bloodsuckers.
Authors of African descent are taking Urban Fantasy by storm and, as author Daniel José Older proclaimed in 2015, “the degentrification of Urban Fantasy has begun.”
Here are a few great Urban Fantasy books with Black Protagonists:
A Haunting in the SWATS: The Savannah Swan Files (Book 1), by Balogun Ojetade
Hoodoo. Ritual Murders. Ancient Secrets. Welcome to the SWATS!
Savannah Swan is the Root Woman, charged with enforcing the Road Law in Atlanta. Walk the wrong road and Savannah’s justice will be swift… and deadly.
Beneath the southern hospitality of Atlanta rests a dangerous world where shifters, demons, witches and gods, old and new, all vie for power.
And Southwest Atlanta – known as the SWATS – is the most dangerous area.
For generations, the Root Woman – given great power, both mundane and arcane, by the mayor – has protected the SWATS, but now a wave of ritual child murders has struck the city and corpses are appearing with strange occult symbols etched into their flesh. Something ancient, powerful and malevolent is behind it all, threatening to destroy the city and Savannah’s family; a family that might just break the Road Law to save themselves, Savannah and the SWATS.
A HAUNTING IN THE SWATS is the first novel in the Dark Urban Fantasy SAVANNAH SWAN FILES series.
If you like action packed supernatural thrillers brimming with magic, spine-chilling southern horror and otherworldly monsters, then you will love this book!
Amber and the Hidden City, by Milton Davis
Thirteen year old Amber Robinson’s life is full of changes. Her parents are sending her to a private school away from her friends, and high school looms before her. But little does she know that her biggest change awaits in a mysterious city hidden from the world for a thousand years.
Why? Amber’s grandmother is a princess from this magical kingdom of Marai. She has been summoned home to use her special abilities to select the new king but she no longer has the gift, and her daughter was never trained for the task. That leaves only one person with the ability to save the city: Amber! But there are those who are determined that Amber never reaches Marai and they will do anything to stop her.
Prepare yourself for an exciting adventure that spans from the Atlanta suburbs to the grasslands of Mali. It is a story of a girl who discovers her hidden abilities and heritage in a way that surprises and entertains.
Legend of the Orange Scepter (Age of Redd) (Volume 1), by Marcus Haynes
What would YOU do if you had the power to control the elements?
Teenagers De, M, Rod, and Mo already have an answer to that question: save the world.
When the evil android A.G. begins her takeover of the planet Colorius De, M, Rod, and Mo, along with the engineering prodigy Don, take it upon themselves to bring down A.G. and her army of androids before it is too late. Their journey takes them all over their home of Redd Continent, pitting them against several different foes as well as each other, but only by banding together can they truly earn the title of Elemental heroes.
Can they do it? Or will the Age of Redd end with them?
Urban FantasyBrookwater’s Curse, by Steven Van Patten
Christian Brookwater is a former Georgia plantation slave who became a vampire during the 1860s. His long, tumultuous life takes a complicated turn when he is forced to travel to modern-day Senegal to rescue a child from a vengeful werewolf prince. It is here that Christian uncovers a plot that would throw the entire vampire nation into a civil war. To stop this, Christian must betray his best friend and mentor, an influential Italian vampire who nurtured him during his vampiric infancy.
Christian also suffers from a rare condition that makes intercourse with human females especially dangerous.
In the 2nd novel in the series, the civil war Christian Brookwater sought to prevent has become a harsh reality.
In the 3rd novel, Christian Brookwater has spent the last four years helping to cure the werewolves of their insatiable bloodlust. The only problem is that his funding is coming from vampire taxes. Christian is about to be called on the mat for it and must defend himself on national vampire television!
Personal drama also unfolds as Christian and his second in command, Helen, each find themselves embroiled in separate but equally volatile love triangles. Secret alliances will be revealed, deals will be brokered, villains will emerge and heroes will rise. Most shocking of all, Christian Brookwater will come to learn that he is, and always has been, more than just a vampire!
Immortal, by Valjeanne Jeffers
In the first book in this Urban Fantasy series, we meet Karla and Joseph, lovers who have been separated by time and space. Karla and Joseph are werewolves empowered to protect their world from a powerful evil that has been unleashed.
The first novel builds the groundwork for the communes of supernatural beings, good and evil, that make their appearance throughout the series.
In the second book, we meet Karla and Joseph’s kindred, who are also the saviors of the world.
In the third book, another key player emerges: Annabelle, a vampire with her own agenda and her own stake in the planet’s survival.
In the fourth book, the characters find themselves in a sinister Steampunk realm without their memories.
Brown Girl in the Ring, by Nalo Hopkinson
Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring is set in 21st century Toronto, which has been barricaded behind roadblocks, abandoned by its rich, predominantly white, residents and left to crumble.
The inner city has to rediscover the old ways – farming, barter, herb lore. But now the wealthy need a harvest of bodies, so they prey upon the helpless of the streets.
With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother.
She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.
Taurus Moon: Relic Hunter, by D.K. Gaston (Keith Gaston)
Taurus Moon is a relic hunter, who will work for pretty much anyone if they can afford him.
He is financially strapped most of the time, lives in a run-down apartment in Detroit and always seems to be in trouble.
The artifacts he searches for are not found in the jungles of the Yucatan or the deserts of Egypt. He searches for lost supernatural artifacts that may or may not be located on Earth, with his quests often taking him through the grittier parts of urbanized cities where even the toughest of thugs fear to tread. Forgotten relics once thought of as only myths and legends can be found, if you know where to look, and have the guts to go searching into dark and deadly places; Taurus Moon has such guts and knows exactly where to look.
The Taurus Moon novels blend action, fantasy, science fiction and humor. Fairy tales, mythologies, and legends are not stories to Taurus Moon, but his reality.
The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan, by Zig Zag Claybourne (Clarence Young)
ADVENTURE… just got 35% cooler!
Milo Jetstream. Ramses Jetstream. Coming to save the world one last damn time against the False Prophet Buford in the battle to save the Earth, preserve the soul, and make sure folks get home in one piece…
Secret cabals; Fae folk in Walmart; and a psychic whale that was poured into the oceans when the world first cooled from creation.
This is the stuff of the amazing, the life transforming Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan!
Adventure doesn’t need a new name. It needs a vacation!
Redeemer: The Cross Chronicles, by Balogun Ojetade
Ezekiel Cross is handsome, strong, intelligent and a cold blooded killer.
For most of his life, Ezekiel has been a killer, trained to enforce the whims of his boss. But Ezekiel is tired – tired of the lies to his wife, Mali; tired of not having the normal life he craves. He longs for the day that he can hang up his guns and live a normal life with his wife Mali. So he decides to end his career as a professional assassin; to hang up his guns and raise a family.
But the life of a killer is never his own. Ezekiel is called to do one last hit, but instead of closing the deal he finds himself a target. He’s sent back in time in what is meant as an experiment as well as punishment.
Initially distraught, he decides to change his fate by saving himself and his family from the events that led him to a lifetime of crime. Along the way, he meets some of the coolest, sexiest, deadliest and craziest characters to ever grace the pages of a book and ultimately finds himself in a situation that could change his life forever…or end it.
Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor
Akata Witch weaves together a heart-pounding tale of magic, mystery, and finding one’s place in the world.
Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born in the United States.
Her features are African, but she is albino. She is a terrific athlete, but cannot go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in.
And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. Soon she is part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality.
But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?
Shadowshaper, by Daniel José Older
Paint a mural. Start a battle. Change the world.
Sierra Santiago planned an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears… Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.
With the help of a fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one – and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret. Now she must unravel her family’s past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for generations to come.
Full of a joyful, defiant spirit and masterful writing, Shadowshaper introduces a heroine and magic unlike anything else in fantasy fiction, and marks the YA debut of a bold new voice in Urban Fantasy.
It Happened on Negro Mountain, by Jeff Carroll
Matthew Abraham is a drug dealer being forced out of his empire in Baltimore. Rather than submit to the pressures of the younger dealers, he decides to destroy his empire and leave his neighborhood turf. He takes his seven year old daughter Destiny and her mother with him – leaving behind a gang war – and takes up residence in Negro Mountain, located along the Mason-Dixon Line.
Destiny, disturbed and frightened by her parents’ gang-banging lifestyle, turns to the spirits of her departed grandmother, and the spirits of Negro Mountain, that speak to Destiny through the dolls she plays with, and bestow upon her powers to manipulate nature through her prayers.
The saying goes, “Negro Mountain is a place where bad things happen to bad people,” so when negative energy meets with the energy resting in Negro Mountain, the outcome is always the same…
The Mountain wins… as does the reader of this Blacktastic book!


Dark Urban Fantasy novel “A Haunting in the SWATS” available NOW!

Hoodoo. Ritual Murders. Ancient Secrets. Welcome to the SWATS!

Savannah Swan is the Root Woman, charged with enforcing the Road Law in Atlanta. Walk the wrong road and Savannah’s justice will be swift… and deadly.

Beneath the southern hospitality of Atlanta rests a dangerous world where shifters, demons, witches and gods, old and new, all vie for power.

And Southwest Atlanta – known as the SWATS – is the most dangerous area of all.

For generations, the Root Woman – given great power, both mundane and arcane, by Atlanta’s mayor, Jedediah Green – has protected the SWATS, but now a wave of ritual child murders has struck the city and corpses are appearing with strange occult symbols etched into their flesh. Something ancient, powerful and malevolent is behind it all, threatening to destroy the city and Savannah’s family; a family that might just break the Road Law to save themselves, Savannah and the SWATS.

A HAUNTING IN THE SWATS is the first novel in the Dark Urban Fantasy SAVANNAH SWAN FILES series.

If you like action packed supernatural thrillers brimming with magic, spine-chilling southern horror and otherworldly monsters, then you will love this book!

Available now in paperback AND e-book formats!