reading/writing/loving #1 🍿

Vagrant Queen, Lous & The Yakuza, and an exclusive #DavidMogo short story.

reading/writing/loving is all the good stuff I’ve been engaging with over the past half-month.


Hello there.

July has so far been split evenly for me. The first week, I was still nose-deep into revisions for my forthcoming epic fantasy The Nameless Republic trilogy (which I turned in to my editor at the week’s end—getting closer, guys). The week after was me coming up for air to see everything remains as shitty as ever out here. This is how I’ve been getting through it all. Hold tight with me, folks.

watching 📺

  • Killing Eve (BBC America) S03: Excuse me while I faint and revive myself over Villanelle’s wardrobe choices. Taffeta suits? SIGN ME UP! (Also: watch the show, it’s good. Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are phenomenal-with-a-capital-P).

  • Vagrant Queen (SYFY) S01: A space opera that’s somewhere between trying-so-hard-it’s-hilarious and is-this-a-parody? I think part of its power lies there—the show is unafraid to make fun of itself. But its biggest strength is its very likeable protagonists, especially the cute awkward romance between dogged queen-on-the-run, Elida, and her quirky mechanic, Amae (played by South-African Alex McGregor, who literally steals this whole show). It’s low-stakes TV I expect few to enjoy at the beginning, but you may just end up clamouring for a new season at the end.

  • The Old Guard (Netflix film): Saw this over the weekend. Charlize Theron is an immortal furiosa with an axe so badass it should have its own name. Conceptually, an immortal crew trying to fix history’s problems isn’t particularly novel, but most of this movie’s bright spots came from how human the story and characters are, especially for immortal newcomer Nile (played by Kiki Layne, If Beale Street Could Talk, Native Son). This is the first comic book adaptation directed by a Black woman (Gina Prince-Bythewood, Love & Basketball), so it’s not too surprising that it’s effortlessly inclusive.

  • Warrior Nun (Netflix) S01: Another dope comic book adaptation that sadly suffers from what I’ve come to think of as Netflixitis—cool concept, not-so-great writing. A draggy Chosen One trope, twists that make no sense, and a massive cliffhanger ending mar this a bit, but the leading women of the Order of the Cruciform Sword—ninja-like nuns kicking human + demon ass and taking names—are phenomenal! Main characters Ava (who erroneously gets a powerful angel’s halo implanted inside her), Shotgun Mary, Sisters Beatrice, Lilith & Camilla, and Mother Superion make this a worthy watch, especially when you throw in the setting of small-town Spain and other picturesque locales. Sign me up any day.

reading 📖

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Casiopeia Tun is too big for the shoes she was dealt in 1920s Mexico. She’s supposed to be this submissive little woman and scrub her grandfather’s toilets with her mouth shut while her cousin routinely shoves her head into his armpits. But she unwittingly awakens the Mayan god of death, whom she should fear, but of whom she first thinks, Meh, then later thinks, Oooh, damn bruh. So she journeys with him to retrieve his kingdom, but also so she can remove a shard of his bone from her finger that may kill her. Silvia’s writing bangs, and her descriptions are lush, from Yucatán to Mexico City to the Mayan underworld. Casiopeia’s wit and her inclination to question everything makes her endearing too. Check out Silvia’s other hits, Signal To Noise, Certain Dark Things, and the newly-released Mexican Gothic (which just made the NYT Bestseller List).

playing 🎮

Assassin’s Creed: Origins: Bought it on sale right after finishing God of War, and only just getting to it. Gameplay requires a little more dexterity than I’m cut out for, but I’m enjoying the worldbuilding a lot, especially as someone currently writing epic fantasy.

listening 🎧

  • Marvel’s “Wolverine: The Long Night” (Stitcher, Spotify): One of the best radio drama podcasts I’ve heard in a while. Acting + production = 100%. Season 2 (The Lost Trail) is running now.

  • Lous and the Yakuza: A Belgian-Congolese trap singer whose music can best be described as “regal, yet streetwise.” In the chorus of her hit song, Dilemme (video below), she’s singing: Si je pouvais je vivrais seule / Loin de mes chaines et des gens que j'aime, meaning, If I could live alone, away from my chains and the people I love. The verses dive into the dilemma between her chains and people, which is shorthand for how she feels living among her colonizers (Belgium) as a Congolese. Don’t let the fact that it’s a bop deceive you. This 24-year-old is deep. Check out her other tracks: Tout est gore and Solo.

writing ✍🏿

My editor @ Orbit and I are thick into final-stage revisions for Book #1 of The Nameless Republic trilogy (we’re still in a five-way tussle over titles, lol). Received illustrations last week, and let me tell you: you will never be ready enough for what I’ve seen! Anyway, for my in-between days now, I’ve started a YA fantasy novel set in Southern Nigeria. A girl goes to a “magical school.” Sort of. At least, that's what she thinks. We'll see how that works out for her.

hacks 🛠️

Back in April, I talked about How To Finish Everything You Start (3:58).

🌟 *exclusive: new David Mogo short story 🌟

*Here’s a free taste of the kind of content that’ll be for paying subscribers only when some parts of this letter go paid in the future.

Earlier in the year, while fires razed across Australia, I auctioned a new David Mogo short story to raise donations. The winner of the auction, as part of the prize, got written into the story as a character themselves (can you guess which?). Now that the statute of limitations on that story has expired, I've decided to give y'all David Mogo lovers this little bonus, put a little light back into the world in these wild times.

It's titled, "David Mogo: Beneath the Spider's Web," and it features a certain deity from the Akan/Ghanaian pantheon that, if you look closely at the title, you'll surely figure out who it is. Let me know what you enjoyed in the comments!

shameless self-promo 🤷🏿‍♂️

Nothing new from me right now, but here’s some recent stuff you might’ve missed:

What are y’all reading/writing/loving/creating? Let’s exchange faves below!

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Suyi. ❤️