Saaaay. Why AREN’T there brown elves?

Was trying to think of something to write for a blog post, and all I can come up with are reactions to stuff other people have written. Pathetic! What kind of writer am I? Must try harder.

Anyway, one reaction is to this article, written by the ever-thought-provoking “coffeeandink”, though quoting another gentleman:

Also, fantasy and sci-fi does frequently explore issues of racism, disability, addiction, etcetera, but through analogies, metaphors or substitutes. A story about a half-elf who feels as though she’s not fully accepted by either humans or elves can convey similar feelings as a literary novel about a pale-skinned mulatto struggling with being accepted by black or white cultures in the 1950’s, etcetera.

My initial reaction to this is noted in the thread, and I’m in agreement with coffeeandink on the wrongness of this allegory. But my secondary reaction is kind of tangential: why are we using elves as an allegory for skin color issues? Why the heck don’t elves have varied colors themselves?
Continue reading ›


From the latest Orbit press release:

THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS, by N.K. Jemisin, is a brilliantly original debut fantasy. A young woman vies to become the heir to the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and must bargain with the gods themselves to save her life – and her people.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get enough of seeing this in print. =)
Continue reading ›

New story up at BAEN’S UNIVERSE!

My story “Playing Nice With God’s Bowling Ball”, about a very smart little boy who has a very dumb friend, oh and there’s a black hole in it, is up at Baen’s Universe in the August issue! (I’m in the “Introducing” section, for new authors.) Go read it! (Subscription required.)

Transcriptase is GO!

Hi, folks. Apologies for being all hush-hush about this in the past few weeks, but we wanted to keep things on the downlow until we were ready for launch. That time has come.

For those who are aware of the great Helix meltdown of lo some two weeks ago — and those who aren’t aware — please now turn your browsers toward Transcriptase, the archive of those authors who no longer wish to be associated with William Sanders or his unprofessional, offensive behavior.

A lot of people worked unbelievably hard to get this up and running, and I’m unbelievably proud to have been a part of this. Hope you all enjoy. =)

Testing, 1-2-3

Pay no attention to the woman behind the HTML. K. Tempest Bradford was kind enough to help me get the site up and running, but me being the inveterate tinkerer that I am, I’ve decided to try and figure out as much of this stuff as I could. So today we’re testing the Livejournal Crossposting tool, which I think I’ve finally managed to install and configure properly.

And wait! This blog post isn’t purely irrelevant! Have begun tracking progress on BrightGod:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4,040 / 100,000

Giving it 100,000 words because I’ve never, ever, written a novel shorter than that. So here we go!

ETA: …The hell? Not sure why the word meter works in LJ but not WordPress… anybody know?


So you’ve found my blog. Good for you! Hopefully you intended to find the blog of N. K. Jemisin, author. I have a number of short stories out, and my first novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, is due out in February of 2010. It’s the first of a trilogy; just finished Book 2, and am well into Book 3.

Just one note: to prevent spam and the like, I have comments set to moderate. The first time you post here, your comment must be approved, but after that you’re golden.

If, uh, you were looking for some other blog and blundered here by mistake, I dunno what to tell ya.

Prospective cover photos

So, I had to get author photos, for possible use on the cover and other promo of the books. Since I hate hate hate taking photos, this represented a significant source of stress for me. -_- During the retreat a few weeks back, fellow writing-group mate Tempest took some photos of me using my digital camera. One of them’s a good “candid moment” photo; the rest I hate (no fault of T’s, but I was in a funky mood that day). But I wanted at least one professionalish, me-looking-at-the-camera headshot.

At which point other fellow writing-group mate Eugene stepped up, with his spiffy professional camera (using actual film!), an itchy trigger finger, and an artistic eye. He took a lot of great photos, but I hate most of them. (Did I mention I hate taking photos? Again, no fault of the photographer; just my own peculiar neurosis.) However, I loved one of them, and liked two others pretty darn well, too. See if you can guess which one I liked.

(You wouldn’t believe how scary it is for me to post these publicly, BTW. Took me a few days to work up to it. Irrational, I know, considering these are for a book that will be published in at least two countries, but what’s rationality got to do with it?)

[Photos removed — folks keep “borrowing” the ones I don’t like. =( ]

Bonus! Those of you who haven’t seen me for awhile can see my new hair color! Which is soooo not the blonde I’d asked for, but it looks OK anyway.

Random observation of the day

My multiculturalism, let me show you it! Conversation in my office:

Boss (who is from Australia): Would you like a crumpet?
Me: What the hell is a crumpet? Oh, those English muffin-looking things. I’ve seen them at Trader Joe’s.
Boss: Those aren’t crumpets.
Me: Yes they are! It says so on the package.
Boss: Biscuit, then. Do you want a biscuit? ::offers::

(I’m not really like this. Was just feeling silly today. He laughed.)

I’m going to miss this job.

Sale, progress report

Occurs to me I haven’t talked about writing as much as I should have, lately. =)

Woke up this morning to an acceptance on “Red Riding-Hood’s Child”, which has been on hold with PodCastle for several months. Yay! Ought to be interesting, the feedback on that one.

I’m liking Podcastle more and more, though; they’re starting to take some risks. Good for them.

Writing wise, all is well. I’m pretty much done with the revisions to 100K; have added about 5K to the story overall. Now need to go back and do some smoothing and polishing to make sure it fits neatly.

Started BrightGod for the third time a couple of weeks ago, but haven’t worked on it as much as 100K. I think it bugs me to have the shadow of the first book looming overhead; once I get that out of the way I’ll feel more free to proceed with book 2.

Had dinner with my agent last week, which was for the win; we had a lot of fun. This time it was me taking her out, to thank her for being so kickass in the auction and elsewhere. Yes, I know that’s her job. But that doesn’t mean she has to be good, and she is, and I believe in rewarding hard work. Thanks again, L!

(I have no idea how or why so many pro authors — not newbies, pros — proclaim that they don’t need an agent. I think that’s complete BS, now that I’ve seen how much agents do. But that’s a rant for another day.)

Today am going on a tour of an old subway line found in Brooklyn, along with other members of Altered Fluid. Have been advised to bring a flashlight, and watch out for C.H.U.D. Should be fun!

The goods, the bads, and the irrelevancies


Auction to help KGB Fantastic Fiction! The Fantastic Fiction readings were my introduction to New York’s dynamic spec fic community; each month two different established and up-and-coming writers read their work to an audience of fans and their fellow pros. It’s a great place to meet people and best of all hear good stuff. (I got to hear an excerpt from Naomi Novik’s fifth Temeraire novel last year! I’m still squeeing over that one.) So help the organizers keep bringing cool people… and while you’re at it, bid on some truly awesome stuff. (Seriously. Awesome. Go look.)

– Getting a check from Baen’s Universe for “Playing Nice With God’s Bowling Ball,” which is due out in the August issue. This is the biggest check I’ve ever gotten for a short story publication! And just in time; going down to ATL in a couple of weeks for my family reunion — yeah, there’s a whole bunch of Jemisins out there, scary — and since it’s Atlanta, I’m going to need to rent a car. (I’d dearly love to spend it on something more glamorous, but that’s how life is.)

-The better still: having my first new published story in six months coming out soon! Was beginning to forget how it felt. Note: Baen’s is a subscription market, so if you want to read it, consider subscribing.

-Oh, went to see “Wall-E” this weekend. Pretty good.

-Went to see “Hancock” too. Not as good as I was hoping, but not bad enough to qualify for the “Bad” category. Speakinowhich…


– I’m so utterly, utterly tired of discovering bigots under every effing rock in the SF world. Today is literally the third time in three days, across three different online sites. I have to keep reminding myself that these people are the minority by a large margin; to pay more attention to the bajillions of good people I’ve met than the handful of horrorshows. But it wears you down, if you let it. ::sigh:: I can’t let it.


– I had a nightmare last night: I was in the world of my book (100K, not BrightGod), at a concert being performed by Queen. They were singing something vaguely reminiscent of the “Highlander” and “Flash Gordon” themes, only it was about my characters. The really scary part? It was kind of catchy, and didn’t sound half bad. ::twitch::

– Oh, hai! I has a eggie. Gacked from multiple people over on LJ. Click on it to make it hatch. (Just think of it as a kind of HTML Pokemon, OK?)
Adopt one today!