Monday, May 3, 2021

The Eleanor Taylor Bland Award for Emerging BIPOC Crime Writers Could be Your Entry Into Traditional Book Publishing Success.

Sisters in Crime, a literary organization that promotes the advancement, recognition, and professional development of women crime writers, is seeking applicants for its eighth annual Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award. 

Noting a study which found only 11% of published books were authored by writers of color, Sisters in Crime President, Sandra Wong, added, “This grant serves a greater purpose in highlighting and uplifting work which shares valuable perspectives from writers in, and of, communities sorely under-represented in publishing." 

Sisters in Crime was founded in 1986 by 26 women crime writers who faced roadblocks in getting their novels published. The organization has grown to more than 4,000 members worldwide. 

Sisters in Crime created the grant to celebrate excellence and diversity in crime writing. It honors the trailblazing African-American crime fiction writer Eleanor Taylor Bland, who used the genre as a platform to introduce characters that were largely marginalized or excluded from crime fiction novels. The $2,000 grant is intended to help an emerging BIPOC writer with a novel-in-progress or early-career work of crime fiction. It also supports developmental opportunities, including workshops, online courses and research. 

“Authors like Ms. Bland have shown me that women of color—writers of color—can be authors in any genre they want and really bridge gaps,” said Sisters in Crime’s 2020 winner Yasmin A. McClinton. McClinton considered quitting writing until she heard about the Bland award. She submitted her opening pages of her manuscript, a revenge and redemption story about a female Ghanaian assassin, expecting rejection. However, the judging panel of bestselling authors Rachel Howzell Hall, Alex Segura and 2019’s winner Jessica Martinez, restored her dream in becoming a published author when they selected her manuscript. Since winning the award, McClinton landed a two-book publishing deal with Thomas and Mercer as well as a book option for a television series. She was also selected as a 2021 judge along with Clark and Edgar-nominated “Winter Counts” author David Heska Wanbli Weiden. 

Mia P. Manansala found an agent and landed a publishing deal since she won the same award in 2018. Her debut, “Arsenic and Adobo,” releases on May 4, 2021 with Berkley. "Without Sisters in Crime and the Bland Award, my debut novel might never have existed," said Manansala. 

The no-fee submission is open from March 15 to May 15, 2021. Applicants should not have more than 2 published novels and 10 published works of short fiction. Submission form available at The winner will be announced in Summer 2021 and honored during Bouchercon, the world mystery convention. The winner will also be featured in Sisters in Crime’s quarterly newsletter, inSinC.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Book Review: Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

" many aunties we could have an auntie team" - Kanye West (old Ye, never current day Ye) 

I have a lot of aunts and like the book's protagonist, Meddelin, they try to stay in my business. Unfortunately - but often fortunately for Meddy - they succeed in doing just that. When she accidentally kills her date, her aunts and her mother don't even blink an eye when she asks for help. Low key it made me wonder if they'd disposed of a few bodies before. Hijinks ensue as Meddy and her aunts try to balance running their various wedding-related businesses and keep the deceased hidden long enough to get rid of him. 

 Sutanto gives readers a perfect blend of family relationships, fated romances, cultural identity and quirkiness. I can't recommend Dial A for Aunties enough and I can't wait to see what comes next for Meddy and her aunts because I'm already desperately hoping for a series featuring these ladies.