From Fan to Writer: F.C. Yee on Developing the Story of Avatar Kyoshi

Water. Earth. Fire. Air.

These elements are known to kick off the beginning of episodes of the beloved Nickelodeon animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and its sequel series, The Legend of Korra. While fans everywhere seem to know Avatar Aang and Avatar Korra, they also know that there were many other avatars preceding them, all with stories of their own. While we’ve heard the stories of some of these other avatars like Roku and Wan, there is one that fans are familiar with, but by way of only a tiny bit of information: Avatar Kyoshi. Continue reading “From Fan to Writer: F.C. Yee on Developing the Story of Avatar Kyoshi”

Spider-Man, Pokémon, and Star-Crossed Lovers: Mixed Race Characters Take the Lead

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the films, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Detective Pikachu, and The Sun Is Also a Star.

Although Loving v. Virginia officially abolished all remaining anti-miscegenation laws in the United States in 1967, it really hasn’t been until recently where the portrayals of mixed race characters and interracial couples on the big screen have improved significantly. Within the last six months alone, several films have had either mixed race characters as the leads or interracial relationships as the central focus. An added dimension to some of them is that apart from some of the characters being of the younger generation, the focus wasn’t on their race(s). That didn’t, however, stop these films from acknowledging their backgrounds. While it’s good that films like Aquaman are out there that get really real about being mixed, not all mixed race protagonists need to go on a journey of self discovery to that extent.

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Southern Fried Asian: Soman Chainani

Southern Fried Asian returns with a brand new episode! Keith is joined by Soman Chainani, the New York Times-bestselling author of the hit children’s fantasy series, the School For Good and Evil. The fifth book in the series, A Crystal of Time, is available now wherever books are sold.

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The Stars of ‘The Sun is Also a Star’ Answer Your Questions, Plus, a Chance to Attend the LA Premiere

The Sun is Also a Star is set to release next month! So, we got to know the stars from the romantic teen drama, Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton as they answer some questions fans have for them. From their guilty pleasures to their love for their parents, Shahidi and Melton reveal it all just for The Nerds Of Color! 

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‘The Sun is Also a Star’ Trailer: A Timely Love Story

Based on the acclaimed bestseller by Everything, Everything author Nicola Yoon, The Sun is Also a Star has finally revealed their first one-sheet and trailer.

Starring Yara Shahidi (Grown-ish) as Natasha and Charles Melton (Riverdale) as Daniel, The Sun is Also a Star has college-bound Korean American Daniel Bae and Jamaica-born pragmatist Natasha Kingsley fall in love with each other over 24 hours on the streets of New York. With just a few hours until her deportation back to Jamaica, Natasha is fighting against her family’s deportation as fiercely as she’s fighting her budding feelings for Daniel, who is working just as hard to convince her they are destined to be together. In this modern-day love story about finding love against all odds, The Sun Is Also a Starexplores whether our lives are determined by fate or the random events of the universe.” 

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‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Kevin Kwan Doesn’t Want to Talk About a Sequel… Yet

With the successful weekend box office of Crazy Rich Asians, it’s safe to assume there might be a sequel in the works. Within five days of its opening, the film earned an estimated $35 million, making it number one at the box office and the best debut for a comedy this year. With the success so far, many have been predicting a sequel may be in the works.

Of course, Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan is very superstitious about the idea of sequels and told me days before the release that he hasn’t thought about it.

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An Ode to Anthony Bourdain

When I was eleven years old, I bought Kitchen Confidential from the tiny bookstore in my tiny hometown. At that moment in time, I was a picky eater, not well-traveled, and in desperate need of a Mother’s Day present. My mother had mentioned a man named Anthony Bourdain and a book he had written. So that was her gift for that year; she still has it to this day.

At some point after I bought the book, my mother and I started watching No Reservations on the Travel Channel. I always appreciated Anthony Bourdain as a storyteller, a host, and as a critic. Over the years, I grew out of my selective eating habits, I traveled extensively, and I began acting. Now, I live in New York City, I’ll eat almost anything, and I write for blogs.

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Southern Fried Asian: Jenny Han

On this week’s Southern Fried Asian, Keith sits down with fellow Virginian  Jenny Han, the New York Times-bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy as well as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before soon to be a movie on Netflix — and its subsequent sequels!

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Follow and Win the ‘Ready Player One’ Novel

No one appreciates nerd nostalgia like we do at The Nerds of Color, so you’d think Ready Player One would be tailor-made for us. Well, at least Lena Waithe and Win Morisaki are in the movie?

Still, there’s no denying that Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel — which serves as the basis for the Steven Spielberg-directed blockbuster coming out this Friday — was a massive hit. Now, you can get your hands on the book that inspired the movie by following us on twitter!

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Lifewriting 101

One of my New Years resolutions was dedicating this year to leveling up, specifically as an author and artist. Or rather as an auteur.  😉

Breaking personal records and churning out more pieces than ever, I’ve spent the better part of the year in nonstop writer mode which of course is the equivalent of Puppet Angel.

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Queer Tropes Redux

As many of you know, June is the month of LGBTQ Pride and I couldn’t think of a better time to call out a few tropes that inundate comics and media when it comes LGBTQ characters/themes.

Tropes that if I never see again for the rest of my existence, I’d be eternally grateful. While this by no means covers every trope/issue/fail, it definitely hits the major ones.

Take thorough notes, I’m gonna move fast, and this will not be pretty. Class in session and you’re about to get schooled by Prof. Upkins himself!!!

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Navigating Through Race: The Plight of Storytellers of Color

Originally published at Fangs for the Fantasy

A gent by the name of Malcolm X once said, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

Many people often wonder how I’m able to reconcile being a spec fic author with being a social justice activist. Malcolm X’s quote is that very reason.

Because while the media has the power to control the minds of the masses, it’s also a platform to hold a mirror and expose inconvenient truths such as bigotry to a society who is still plugged into the proverbial Matrix of privilege and institutional oppression.

But in order share the truth, marginalized artists have to make many decisions that can play an impact on our careers, our art and its potential impact on society.

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Writing to a Non-Existing Audience

Originally published at Thagomizer

Recently I was having a conversation with a couple of friends and acquaintances regarding the release of my novel, Hollowstone. As I explained the premise behind the book, they expressed it was a novel they would be very interested in reading.

They then expressed that they don’t read books. As the conversation continued, they explained it was in large part to their horrors in school. Horror stories I was all too familiar with. The others elaborated that they hated being forced to read classic literature which usually translated works written by old dead white men and ergo deemed as the only type of “literature” worth reading.

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My Steps To Creating Characters And Building Worlds

Originally published at Twinjas Book Reviews

One of the questions I’m constantly asked (which admittedly I never get tired of answering) is what  my process in terms of world building and developing complex characters.

My approach to world-building and character development ultimately corresponds to my overall approach to storytelling. As a writer, I personally belong to the school of character = story. What truth do we discover along the character’s journey? More than that, whether it’s fiction, articles or blog posts, I generally have three mandates which I dub E-Cubed: Enlighten, entertain and empower.

Needless to say that E-Cubed has led to other techniques which has only enhanced my storytelling abilities over the years.

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Congratulations Kid, You Have Arrived

One cannot truly celebrate #BlackExcellence and look to the future without taking a moment to honor those who paved a way for us to journey forward.

Case in point, author, philosopher, life coach and fellow Wakandan, Steven Barnes, who is celebrating a birthday today.

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Color Commentary: Fifty Shades of Grey

 Color Commentary is back and in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re critiquing  the 2015 major motion picture, 50 Shades of Grey. In the tradition of Honest Trailers and Mystery Science Theater 3000, this commentary is done in complete satire, is intended for a mature audience and is meant for entertainment purposes. In other words, if you take any of this seriously, you are a fracking idiot.

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CTRL+ALT: A Culture Lab on Imagined Futures, This Weekend in New York City

Like the rest of the nation, I woke up this morning to an unfathomable reality. Despite our best efforts, the country has chosen hate and division. Those dystopian science-fiction novels don’t feel so far off anymore. Still, we at The Nerds of Color must soldier on. I’m doing that by participating in CTRL+ALT, the Smithsonian’s pop-up Culture Lab on imagined futures this weekend in New York City. Though, to be honest, I’m having a difficult time imagining the present, much the less the future.

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Modern Filipino Children’s Stories Gets a Kickstart

The Philippines has 181 languages yet most children’s stories in the Philippines are written in only 2 languages, Tagalog and English. Sari-Sari Storybooks has Kickstarted a project to bring those under-represented Philippine language groups life through children’s stories. We interview Christina Newhard about the project.

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Luke Cage: Dig a Little Deeper

My sister, Dr. Tara Betts, dropped the Luke Cage syllabus over at Black Nerd Problems. It is a must read. I wanted to add to this wealth of knowledge by offering my own “special features” companion piece to Cage. I will present the following without description as I do not want to taint anyone’s experience. This is only a small amount if what is actually out there. I mentioned other books in my reflections on the series. You can read it here.

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The Martian View of Cultural Appropriation

Let’s say you’re a Martian. Let’s say you’ve been sent to Earth to study human society and culture. Let’s say you have a universal translator.

Let’s say you landed on Earth, randomly, a week or so ago in Brisbane, Australia, and followed the crowds to the Brisbane Writers Festival (culture! perfect!) just in time to hear Lionel Shriver’s keynote address about how cultural appropriation isn’t a thing and fiction writers get to have all the freedom. How is this going to sound to you?

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Harry Potter and the Magic Loving Black Girl

Not so long ago, my family and I went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, in Southern California. In a word, it was amazing. Despite my being too broad-shouldered (and totally crushed) that I couldn’t fit into the seat for “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” (my wife and daughter said it was the single best ride of their lives), the trip was worth the drive to get there. So was waiting in the horrendous lines. What rendered moot any complaints of inconvenience was the near-constant look of awe and wonder on my daughter’s face.

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