What does it feel like to be really old knowing that death is imminent?

Stan Hayward, Film/TV/Book writer: 

I am really old, and I know death is imminent.

Most of my friends have passed away, and of those remaining, they suffer from health problems in some way
I am myself totally deaf and partially blind. I live by myself

I am writing this at 6am in the morning
Today, if the weather is fine
I will go for a walk
I will chat with friends
I will do my shopping
I will do my laundry
I will feed the cat
I will tidy up what needs to be done
I will put out the garbage

I will do what most people do who are not really old and know that death is imminent
Because there is no feeling of being old

There is a feeling that you can’t do what you used to do
There is a feeling that you might lose your independence, or if you already have, a feeling that you should try and do as much as you can by yourself
There is a feeling that you should spend as much time as possible with those you like to be with

There is a feeling that time is precious. Of course it always was, but one becomes more aware of it
There is a feeling that many things one does will be done for the last time

There are passing thoughts about those who respect you because you are old, and about those that dismiss you because you are old

There is the aspect that life is changing fast with all the new advances that inundate us daily
There is the aspect of life that nothing changes

Mothers still smile at their babies
Children are still enthralled with their first pet
Learning to ride a bike is still as much fun as starting a company
Blowing out your birthday candles is still as satisfying at eighty as it was at eight

It is not that death is imminent that is important, but that when the curtain comes down, the audience leaves with a sense of satisfaction

As someone once said
The World is a stage
You played your part for what it was worth
You take your bow
and leave

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I am surprised at the number of responses this answer has recieved, and in particular from young people concerned about getting old

I am 84. My generation is probably the last generation to get old in the usual sense of ‘getting old’

My predicted life expectancy is 81.5 years so I am already living on borrowed time
But 1 in 4 people will live past 100, and the first person to live to 150 is alive now. It may be me
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/scien…

But living for a long while is not the same as getting old
The normal image for an old person is:

  • Loneliness
  • Loss of faculties
  • Becoming dependent on others
  • Being out of touch with the world
  • Constant illness
  • Confusion
  • Being house bound
  • Not being able to contribute to society
  • Unmotivated
  • Losing close friends
  • Living in the past
  • Finding young people impatient
  • Not being catered for in the world generally

But perhaps the worst thing is being viewed as old

I used to practice judo, but I don’t now. That’s because I haven’t practised for many years. But age is not the problem. Here is someone teaching it well past 100
http://luzijian.com/

I used to play guitar in a band. I don’t now. But I could if I wanted to. There are plenty of professional musicians of my age and older who do. Les Paul was still playing at 90

I used to go scuba diving. I don’t now. But I could. My friend Reg Vallintine was teaching into his 80’s and is still active in the field
https://www.google.co.uk/search?…

I used to be a sailor, but I am not now, though I could be
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/…

It is not age that prevents one doing these things, providing ones health is OK, but ones priorities with the time available

I am a writer. I have published two books this year, and have others with publishers. I have nine websites and blog, and write daily on Quora

I have a friend who at 78 met his old sweetheart of sixty years ago at college. She was a great grandmother, now a widow. He had never married. They fell in love again and married. He says he has never been happier

I have a friend of 81 who out of loneliness took up dancing a year ago. He is now training to be a dance teacher and courting a dance teacher half his age

I have a lady friend of 76 who dates guys on the internet and then dumps them as frequently as any twenty year old

Most of my friends of my generation are fully active.
They always were fifty or sixty years ago when I first knew them. It was because of their positive attitude to life that we became friends in the first place

Why you will never grow old

With the internet etc. you will never be lonely in the traditional sense;
With the many advances in medical appliances and related fields you will be able to care for yourself well into old age, or will allow others to care for you much easier than now;

With home surveillance and the internet of things, you will be largely self-dependent, secure, and in touch with those you need be;

As a matter of course you will become more aware of your needs to eat well, be active, and generally take care of yourself

Your work will be less stressful than the past, and you will work shorter hours. There will be more activities for you to participate in and more social events for you to join

In all, though you will get old you will not be old.
You will die when your time comes, but you will not be forgotten because your life will be digitally immortalised;

Be thankful that your great, great, great, great, grandchildren will be able to know you, and that you live on in their genes.

Stan Hayward

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Zen and the Art of Dying Well

Tech Prison copy

We used to say Death was Nature’s way of telling you to slow down. But no more. People have just about slowed to a crawl these days. Now we sit around avoiding life, hiding in our homes with our media systems, tablets, smartphones and social media sites. We have our food delivered, our books downloaded and we make friends online in video games. We schedule meetings and outings by text and then flake when our social anxiety from meeting actual people flares up and we stay home promising we’ll go out next time. (But we never do.)

Death. You cannot escape it. (There, I said it. Now you can’t say you weren’t told.)

I write about it in my fiction all the time. Some of my favorite pieces revolve around the Grim Reaper, his agents, his occupation, his perspective, his inexorable tread into the lives of mortal men.  Sometimes I am even obsessed with it. But not the way you might think. My obsession with Death, (and when I am speaking of the metaphysical potential, the larger than life presence of the entity of Death, I capitalize it as a way of paying respect to something larger than us all) is because I was not expected to survive my childhood.

Sickly, I struggled with allergies and asthma. Small and a bit scrawny coming up, I was the subject of humiliation and abuse both by family and enemies in the schoolyard. Living in the South Bronx during the 1970s, the lifespan of a child from those neighborhoods said 1 in 4 of us would not make it to 18. 1 in 6 of us wouldn’t make it to 25. Most of the people I grew up with are already imprisoned, on drugs or dead. More than a few of my relatives and childhood friends are already dead. My mother and stepfather died from cancer very early, relatively speaking, both were in their late 50s. Some of my close military friends have died as well.

I have a very close relationship with Death. I have seen Him up close and personal at several junctions in my life. I have fallen out of a third story window as a child and people have marveled at my survival in a terrible motorcycle accident where I broke a significant number of bones (all have healed nicely, thank you). I decided the reason I think I survived, is because I had nothing to lose. Having lost so many friends and loved ones, I was able to see myself dying and being okay with it.

But I didn’t die. And I am okay with that, too. The incident changed my view of living and dying. I accept it is the natural order of things and now I am intent on maximizing the time I have left. I intend to draw it out, too.

I intend to make Death chase me across the globe, make Him hike up mountain trails and inhabit pumas I intend to outrun, make him take on the shape of ticks with lyme disease, I plan to outfox him by wearing high socks and taping off my pants legs. I may look strange but I won’t have tick bites. I plan to go scuba diving in places with sharks and tease him with the chance to bite me.

I plan to live dangerously. Otherwise what is the point?

I could hide in my apartment with safety furniture and still slip in the bathtub. (More people die in the tub than you realize, if you don’t have a rubber safety mat and a support rail in your shower, you are taking your life in your hands, you fool! Safety experts say a slip in the bathtub is six times more likely to kill the average American than a storm…)

Death, the cessation of all things in the Universe, (sometimes called Entropy by those accursed scientists) will claim all things, all life, even that which might claim immortality because ultimately, energy is necessary for life, without energy, there is no life. (At least not as we understand it, I may write a story about a creature who attempts to live without the use of energy as a means of surviving the end of the Universe.)

Death will claim the stars, the galaxies, the quasars, the supermassive black holes hiding in the center of galaxies, invisible to the naked eye. Death and the loss of energy will eventually claim even the dark matter and dark energy, the hidden 95% of our Universe will too exhaust itself.

Then only Death and the stinking, rotting corpse of our Universe shall remain.

As Death closes the door on the Universe, will it look back at the past at all the Lives which have come into existence, thrived for a short while (from His perspective) and then faded away? Will it feel remorse at our passing? Will the energy and the essence of our having lived matter to him/her/it in any way? Or will it be a question of how well we lived before we died that mattered? Is our contribution to the Universe our ability to make profit until we can’t breathe the air, drink the water or eat the food?

I suspect Death would not weigh in on this subject since, in the job description, probably right in the top line, would be: Seeking candidate with the ability to be completely passionate about their work, but maintaining an objective perspective on the critical nature of the job. If this image moves you, you probably won’t get the job:

PussInBoots

I suspect the description might continue: Not seeking glory hounds nor shirkers; this job isn’t a good fit for the shy and retiring and the candidate has to be willing to travel 100% of the time while on duty. Perks of the job include, meeting interesting entities from all walks of life and from everywhere, (unfortunately, killing them shortly afterward) travel across the known Universe, all expenses paid travel, and deluxe accommodations. Death has to be an Every-guy or girl, no pretense, no false modesty. Able to walk with kings and still keeping the Common touch. Able to deliver bad news with aplomb, and still know how to party (many cultures celebrate the death of a friend or relative) and Death would have to be able to hold their liquor.

What’s funny to me is that as I get older, I become more like the being I am describing as Death. I am more willing to do things I once said I would never do. I have lost my shyness, speaking up on subjects I have always been passionate about, and having done my research feel good in speaking on the topics. I have learned to be completely passionate about whatever I am doing but maintain the ability to be objective. Getting closer to dying has made me prioritize things, people, ideas, and given me a new perspective on how much SHIT I am willing to put up with from anyone.

In case you were wondering, that is NONE. Zero, zilch, nada, zip! Nunca más.

Life is too short for that. I am committed to living as full and a satisfying life in the time I have left. I plan to sing in the streets, dance in the rain, yodel in the mountains, run with scissors, demand respect from my fellow citizens, participate in my society and consider the legacy I plan to leave on Earth. When I found this quote from Caitlin Moran, I was moved because it is why I don’t do religion.

I don’t need God to make me behave in a moral fashion. As far as I am concerned, if you do, if you are suggesting that the only way for a person to be moral is through religion, you are painting a picture of a lesser kind of human. True humans help their fellow man, stand up for what’s right, acknowledge when things are being done that are wrong or have wronged people and they do this because it is the right thing to do, not because a mystical force which is believed to have created the Universe says so.

It’s that simple. As far as I am concerned, you should live your life as if you only have one. And that every minute should be filled with life-altering choices of significance. You know, paper or plastic, ice cream or cake, birth control or viagra, Superman or Batman, Life or Death.

Because if it isn’t you’re not doing it right.

LIVE, INTENSELY. (Not with drama but with significance. If you are fighting over why you lock your phone to your girlfriend, that is drama, NOT significance. Get a new girlfriend or boyfriend who is not going to have that petty behavior and get back to living your life with significance. If you aren’t sure what it means to live a life of significance, then I guess we’ll have to refer you to a different essay.)

Live, so that when people die, they are affected by your passing.

Live, so that your enemies cheer your death and then quietly toast your demise recognizing they will never see your like again.

Live so that your allies mourn you and wonder what they will do without you by their side. Then they remember you prepared them for the day when you wouldn’t be.

Live, so that when you die, you can tell everyone: I did what I wanted in a fashion that made the world a better place than when I found it.

That is how I live now. I realize it has been how I have always lived.

When I die, I want it written on my tombstone: I LEFT THE WORLD BETTER THAN I FOUND IT.

I’ll insist they add in small letters: Don’t fuck it up. I know how I left things…

Enjoy the visual poetry that is Zen Pencils interpretation of Caitlin Moran’s musings.

dying for life

Art by Zen Pencils artist Gavin Aung Than, 2013

Quote by Caitlin Moran

“The real problem here is that we’re all dying. All of us. Every day the cells weaken and the fibres stretch and the heart gets closer to its last beat. The real cost of living is dying, and we’re spending days like millionaires: a week here, a month there, casually spunked until all you have left are the two pennies on your eyes.

Personally, I like the fact we’re going to die. There’s nothing more exhilarating than waking up every morning and going ‘WOW! THIS IS IT! THIS IS REALLY IT!’ It focuses the mind wonderfully. It makes you love vividly, work intensely, and realise that, in the scheme of things, you really don’t have time to sit on the sofa in your pants watching Homes Under the Hammer.

Death is not a release, but an incentive. The more focused you are on your death, the more righteously you live your life. My traditional closing-time rant – after the one where I cry that they closed that amazing chippy on Tollington Road; the one that did the pickled eggs – is that humans still believe in an afterlife. I genuinely think it’s the biggest philosophical problem the earth faces. Even avowedly non-religious people think they’ll be meeting up with nana and their dead dog, Crackers, when they finally keel over. Everyone thinks they’re getting a harp.

But believing in an afterlife totally negates your current existence. It’s like an insidious and destabilizing mental illness. Underneath every day – every action, every word – you think it doesn’t really matter if you screw up this time around because you can just sort it all out in paradise. You make it up with your parents, and become a better person and lose that final stone in heaven. And learn how to speak French. You’ll have time, after all! It’s eternity! And you’ll have wings, and it’ll be sunny! So, really, who cares what you do now? This is really just some lacklustre waiting room you’re only going to be in for 20 minutes, during which you will have no wings at all, and are forced to walk around, on your feet, like pigs do.

If we wonder why people are so apathetic and casual about every eminently avoidable horror in the world – famine, war, disease, the seas gradually turning piss-yellow and filling with ringpulls and shattered fax machines – it’s right there. Heaven. The biggest waste of our time we ever invented, outside of jigsaws.

Only when the majority of the people on this planet believe – absolutely – that they are dying, minute by minute, will we actually start behaving like fully sentient, rational and compassionate beings. For whilst the appeal of ‘being good’ is strong, the terror of hurtling, unstoppably, into unending nullity is a lot more effective. I’m really holding out for us all to get The Fear. The Fear is my Second Coming. When everyone in the world admits they’re going to die, we’ll really start getting some stuff done.”

Your First Contract…

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Letterhead from THE UNIVERSE

Life Form #126GV29APZ23
Planet Earth
Sol System
Milky Way Galaxy
Virgo Supercluster
Dear Life Form,

You have been selected for the role of EXISTENCE. We are proud to offer this highly coveted position and applaud you on overcoming the immense odds to be with us. You are about to enter a highly competitive work environment filled with natural wonders, millions of diverse species, astronomical treasures and personal tragedies and triumphs.

Your position will begin starting AT BIRTH and will last until DEATH. You have been given the following tools in your starter kit:

– Large, highly developed brain
– Opposable Thumbs
– Bipedalism
– Complex Social Networks.

Now that you’re ready to begin, we suggest you make the most of your time. You may want to start by cultivating social relationships and improving conditions for other newcomers.

If you have questions, please consult your assigned advisor, SCIENCE. We wish you the best of luck during your time with us and look forward to seeing you in another form once your contract has expired.

Sincerely,

The Universe.

Black Science Fiction with a Cappuccino

The State of Black Science Fiction 2012

I was asked to write a bit about why I decided to participate in the State of Black Science Fiction 2012 and when I started writing I ended up with yesterday’s entry: Black History Month sends the wrong message. I opted to participate because I believe in the need for positive representations of People of Color. After meeting many of the writers who are involved on the Black Science Fiction Society’s Ning site, I was impressed by their stories and wondered why I had never heard of them. Their work was exemplary. Then I remembered. See yesterday’s entry…. Collective Action is how we make a difference.

I know some people hate that expression, People of Color, but until the systems of the dominant culture begin to address all people who are different (whatever that difference might be) that is my way of being all-inclusive. Technically we are all People of Color and that is my point. A lot of people ask me how I ended up creating my book and strangely enough, I had already written about that in great detail. So we will let week four of the State of Black Science fiction continues with a short story from my recent release of my collection of short stories, Hayward’s Reach. The story talks about an event that binds us all together and no amount of money or privileged can prevent. But it doesn’t mean you couldn’t try…

A Cappuccino with Charon

Charon © 2010-2011 ~fo3the13th (JOEL AMAT GÜELL)

I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop, dodging my workplace, when I saw Him come in. I wasn’t quite sure what I was seeing at first, because, well, this is San Francisco, and you are liable to see almost anything here. He was wearing the equivalent of a long ragged cloak, stained with age and reeking of an unspeakable odor.

It was the scent of a recently opened grave, and while I had not been near one in a while, I had put a dead raccoon in my garbage can once and left it there for a week in the hot sun. Worst thing I have ever smelled. I was only too happy when the garbage man came. It was worse than that. No one else seemed to notice.

His cloak hid is face, but it was safe to assume I didn’t really want to look too deep in there, anyway. He was carrying a pole with a strange watermark on it and two runnels near the top. His hands were strong looking, like a weightlifter’s, with veins running through them. I could not see much else of him, but he was big, much bigger than I had imagined him to be.

See, I figured this had to be the Boatman of the River Styx.

“Cappuccino,” he said in a scary baritone.

“Four seventy-five, please.”

“Surely you jest?” was his response.

“Uh. Yes.”

He reached into his pocket and put pennies on the counter. Lots of pennies.

“Sir, we can’t take those.”

“They’re still currency, aren’t they?”

“Sir, they’re pennies.”

“I get paid in pennies.”

“Excuse me, miss, I will take care of this.” I found myself reaching into my pocket and paying with a five. “Keep the change.” The crowd was getting kind of hostile, and I wasn’t sure what might happen if he got pissed off. He looked at her, reached across the counter with his large, ham-like hand, and touched her chin.

“Rebecca Montez, angry boyfriend, six years from now, lamp. Unfortunate.” She looked at him as if he were crazy, but did not move. Almost as if she were under a spell.

He turned to me and said, “Thank you, Daniel Simmons.”

“How do you know my name?” I already knew the answer.

“I know all of your names.” That voice was really starting to work me. The rhythm of the shop resumed and people went back to typing.

“What are they seeing? How is it only I can see you?”

“Cappuccino, up.”

“Uh, that’s you.”

“Let’s sit and talk, Daniel Simmons.”

“Okaaaaay.” Didn’t like where this was going.

I sat down at the table and tried to hide my face behind the screen of my laptop so I could resist the temptation to look into his cowl. He reached across the table and closed my laptop, gently.

“So, Charon, can I call you Charon? What brings you up for coffee? And why is it no one else can see you?”
“Mmmmm. Good cappuccino. Very nice.” The cup disappeared into his cowl and did not come back out. “People deny their mortality. Part of my gift, people simply refuse to see Death for what it is, a part of Life. No one can see me because to them, I am some unfortunate hobo having coffee with an overdressed preppy. That would be you. As to why I am here? I need a guide, and since you can see me, you are volunteered.”

“And I can see you because?”

“Embolism, three weeks from now.”

Sobering. What could I know about that he would need a guide for?

“I am looking to franchise my infernal service.”

“Excuse me?”

“Earth is very busy these days, lots of dying, and humans keep making new ways to kill each other off. I can’t keep up. Look at this bicep.” He pulled back his sleeve and showed me this massive arm that would not have looked out of place on the Incredible Hulk. “Go on, touch it.”

“Um, no thanks.”

“I used to be scraps of bone and flesh; now I have biceps from pushing that thing.” He points outside the window.

For a moment I saw the flash of a large gondola-like boat, about the size of an eighteen wheeler. Off in the distance, I could see people, thousands of them, tens of thousands, standing patiently, wearing clothing from what looked like medieval times. When I looked harder, I could see dozens of different eras standing and waiting patiently for their turn to cross into the Afterlife. Then the street returned to its mundane appearance.

“Yes, I just cleared the backlog from the Black Plague last week. Do you know how long it takes to move seventy five million people by gondola? But I still have the Civil War, the Spanish Flu, World Wars I and II, Korea and every other little bush conflict modern governments feel justified in creating.” He was starting to sound a little hysterical and maybe pissed off.

“Uh, what about other death-oriented entities like yourself? Aren’t there others out there harvesting the dead?”

“Valkyries are still working, but they only want the valiant dead, so they swoop in and pluck one guy out of thousands, put him on their flying horse and they’re gone. I’ve tried shouting out, ‘Hey, you could grab a few more,’ but they keep mentioning something about Valhalla having a quality assurance clause, and then they’re gone.

When I complained to the Niflheim Residency Committee, they indicated they aren’t responsible for all of these people. They closed their doors when the last of the Vikings bought the farm. Something about Niflheim having a purity standard.”

“There are certainly other death agents, yes?”

“Heaven only takes devout Christians. Let’s just say that number isn’t going up. Same with the other sects. People don’t seem to have a desire for really rigid religious structures anymore, so most of those places are closing their doors, or waiting for a management decision from on high. Hell, well, it’s just overflowing. They even changed the sign. Used to say ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here.’ Now it says, ‘Abandon hope all ye who thought to enter here. Entry denied due to overcrowding.’ So, I keep going, moving the Dead into their afterlife of Last Resort. But I am starting to fall behind, so I hoped someone here might have some idea how to franchise this operation.”

“So you’re hoping to find people willing to help you ferry the Dead, for a fee. What kind of benefits would you be offering? You need a good benefits package if you are trying to recruit these days.”

“I am not trying to enter into management. I do not want to take responsibility for their work. I want to hand off a section of the workload to other interested parties.”

“That’s the problem. Who’s going to be interested in buying into a business where your job is to move the Dead across the River Styx into the Afterlife of Last Resort? What do they get out of the deal?”

“As long as they work for the Company, they can avoid dying of anything, as long as they manage their company effectively. If I have to pick up their slack, I will carry them across the Threshold myself. I am not interested in who they hire, as long as they get the job done.”

“Effectively immortal, long term job security, open hours, free hand in hiring, no micromanaging. I think I am going to quit my job. Okay, what’s the cost to buy into this program?”

“Two pennies.”

This guy has no money sense. How can you run a business on two pennies a soul? “Okay, first things first. We’re going to get you a suit and a bath. After that we are going to work together to increase the cost of dying. What we need to do is get a cut of the funeral home business…”

the end (for now…)

About the Art: Charon is a very popular guy on the internet. I found many pictures of him but nothing that quite did him justice the way I wanted. I decided on this one by fo3the13th because he showed him as a muscular man rather than a skeleton pushing a boat. I liked the somber tones and clean lines. Joel Amat Guell is a professional artist and retains all copyrights to his art.

Thaddeus Howze Atreides
@ebonstorm (twitter)
@ebonstorm@gmail.com

Thaddeus Howze, Authoris a veteran of the IT and Communications industry with over 26 years of experience retooling computers to best serve human needs. Unknown to humanity, our computers have another agenda. Thaddeus recently released his first collection of short stories, Hayward Reach. In a coded format, he has secretly informed Humanity of the impending computerized apocalypse. You can read parts of the code here: https://ebonstorm.wordpress.com or http://ebonstorm.weebly.com. You can read excerpts and other short stories at Hub City Blues

Part of a series of essays on: The State of Black Science Fiction
Check out the other members of this Online Black History Month Event

Winston Blakely, Artist/Writer – is a Fine Arts/Comic Book artist, having a career spanning 20 years, whose achievements have included working for Valiant Comics and Rich Buckler’s Visage Studios. He is also the creator of Little Miss Strange, the world’s first black alien sorceress and the all- genre anthology entitled – Immortal Fantasy. Both graphic albums are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other online book store outlets. Visit him: http://blakelyworks.blogspot.com/ or http://blakelyworkstudio.weebly.com/

L. M. Davis, Author – began her love affair with fantasy in the second grade.  Her first novel, Interlopers: A Shifters Novel, was released in 2010, and the follow-up Posers: A Shifters Novel will be released this spring. For more information visit her blog: http://shiftersseries.wordpress.com/ or her website www.shiftersnovelseries.com.

Ja Ja (DjaDja) N Medjay, Author – DjaDja Medjay is the author of The Renpet Sci-Fi Series. Shiatsu Practitioner. Holistic AfroFuturistic Rising in Excellence. http://authordjadja.wordpress.com/ Transmissions from The Future Earth can be found at: www.renpetscifi.com  or on Facebook – www.facebook.com/RenpetSciFiNovel or on Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/Khonsugo.

Milton Davis, Author – Milton Davis is owner/publisher of MVmedia, LLC . As an author he specializes in science fiction and fantasy and is the author of Meji Book One, Meji Book Two and Changa’s Safari. Visit him: www.mvmediaatl.com and www.wagadu.ning.com.

Margaret Fieland, Author – lives and writes in the suburbs west of Boston, MA with her partner and five dogs. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines: http://tinyurl.com/LifelinesPoetry/is available from Amazon.com  Her book, “Relocated,” will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in July, 2012. The Angry Little Boy,” will be published by 4RV publishing in early 2013. You may visit her website, http://www.margaretfieland.com.

Valjeanne Jeffers, Author – is an editor and the author of the SF/fantasy novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. Her fourth and fifth novels: Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds and The Switch: Clockwork will be released this spring. Visit her at: http://valjeanne.wordpress.com and http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com/

Alicia McCalla, Author – writes for both young adults and adults with her brand of multicultural science fiction, urban fantasy, and futurism. Her debut novel, Breaking Free will be available February 1, 2012. The Breaking Free theme song created by Asante McCalla is available for immediate download on itunes and Amazon. Visit her at: www.aliciamccalla.com

Carole McDonnell, Author – She writes Christian, speculative fiction, and multicultural stories. Her first novel is Wind Follower. Her short fiction has appeared in many anthologies and have been collected in an ebook, Spirit Fruit: Collected Speculative Fiction. Visit Carole: http://carolemcdonnell.blogspot.com/ or http://writersofcolorblogtour.blogspot.com/

Balogun Ojetade, Author – of the bestselling “Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within” (non-fiction), “Moses: TheChronicles of Harriet Tubman” (Steampunk) and the feature film, “A Single Link”. Visit him: http://chroniclesofharriet.wordpress.com/

Rasheedah Phillips, Author – is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair in Philly. She plans to debut her first spec/sci-fic novel Recurrence Plot in Spring 2012. You may catch her ruminating from time to time on her blog, AstroMythoLosophy.com.

Nicole Sconiers, Author – is also a screenwriter living in the sunny jungle of L.A. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she recently published Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage. Visit her: http://nicolesconiers.com/index.html

Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed. – is owner & operator of TheDigitalBrothers.com, BlackScienceFictionSociety.com & BlackCommunityEntertainment.com. Visit him: http://www.blacksciencefictionsociety.com/profiles/blog/list?user=2stjwb1h216fd