Tag: Cybil Lewis series

Cybil Lewis is Back!

Silenced_A Cybil Lewis NovelMy iconic character is back! Cybil Lewis’s series began with the first novel, SILENCED, which was previously published by Parker Publishing. Out of print since 2015, Cybil’s first thriller is back in print, courtesy of Mocha Memoirs Press.

Here’s what the critics had to say about SILENCED.

“Silenced” is a great combination of science fiction and murder mystery…” Amazon 5 Star Review

“…As a reader who really enjoys science fiction/fantasy books, I need to have solid characters in a very convincing fantasy world conquering real life battles. Kurtz has done this with Silenced. The Cybil Lewis series is definitely a series not to be missed…” 5 Star Review by LisaLovesBigBooks


SILENCED: A Cybil Lewis Novel is available in e-book and in print.

Blurb: In the ruins of the collapsed United States, private inspector, Cybil Lewis and her inspector-in-training, Jane, fill a need. When Jane insiste they look into her cousin’s disappearance , Cybil agrees and is catapulted into a world of lies and deceit. As they investigate, they move far into the reaches of the divided states and deep into the upper crest of political turmoil. Caught up in the maelstrom of betrayal and corruption, Cybil and Jane unearth long buried secrets and survive attempts on their lives.

As they move closer to the truth, they discover that the people, who are entrusted with the safety of the territories, will do anything to keep their secrets, including murder. Especially murder.

Cybil and Jane will do what they must to get to the truth. They will never be SILENCED.

Follow Cybil at her spot on the web, http://www.cybillewisseries.blogspot.com

AfroFuturism, Blerds, and Black Twitter-A Brief Reference Guide

While at illogicon this weekend, one of the panels I’ve participated in was AfroFuturism, Blerds, and BlackTwitter. We also provided a brief overview of the cinematic history of African-Americans in speculative fiction. Below is the list of references that provide a brief introduction AfroFuturistm, Blerds, and Black Twitter.

Please note, this isn’t a complete list. It’s just a quick guide I compiled for introductory reasons. If you have suggestions or better resources, feel free to email or Tweet me (@nicolegkurtz).


Blerds-black nerds

Afrofuturism-Afrofuturism is a literary and cultural aesthetic that combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western cosmologies in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas of people of color, but also to revise, interrogate, and re-examine the historical events of the past. First coined by Mark Dery in 1993, and explored in the late 1990s through conversations led by scholar Alondra Nelson.

Steamfunk-is defined as a philosophy or style of writing and visual aesthetic that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and/or steampunk fiction and cosplay.

Black Twitter- a cultural identity on the Twitter social network focused on issues of interest to the black community, particularly in the United States.


What is Afrofuturism?



What is Afrofuturism?



Nalo Hopkinson on Racial and Gender



The Rise of the Black Nerd in Pop Culture



What is Steamfunk?






The Truth about Black Twitter




Black Girl Nerds                                                http://www.blackgirlnerds.com

We Need Diverse Books!                                  http://www.weneeddiversebookgs.org

BlackScienceFiction Society                              http://www.blacksciencesociety.com

iafronfuturism.com                                          http://www.iafrofuturism.com

The Chronicles of Harriet                                 http://chroniclesofharriet.com

MV Media                                                        http://mvmediaatl.com/


Popular Black Speculative Twitter Hashtags and People to Follow

#afrofuturism               #diversesff       #BlackComics   #steamfunk      #blackpulp       #blacksf           #BlackTwitter


@blackgirlnerds           @GraveyardSister         @GeekSoulBrother      

Pulp Fiction Fridays Focus: POWERS (SuperCharged Pulp)

Trey from Cybil Lewis Series (c) Laura Givens
Trey from Cybil Lewis Series (c) Laura Givens

Continuing in the tradition of focusing on fantastic two-fisted action, Pulp genre, Pulp Fiction Fridays focuses on POWERS, the comic series by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Oeming. 

I love pulp. I’ve been a fan of detective mysteries, cozy mysteries, high tech mysteries, and all points in between. I love a good whodunit, and I love private detectives that are self-directed, they march to their own drummer, and often to their detriment. Law & Order’s character Logan would forever be the pinnacle of this brash, but diligent detective. Law & Order SUV’s Elliot also fell right in step with the rogue detective, breaking rules and following his own code to justice.

Cybil 1And it cost him. Just as my protagonist in my Cybil Lewis series, Cybil handles her own issues and marches to her own drummer. She has a moral code that is patched together from her own trials and tribulations. She struggles to do the right thing, even when that means breaking the violations erected in post-apocalyptic D.C.

I also love comics. Comics + detectives=Major Love from Nicole.

Enter Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Oeming’s Powers comics.

powers2Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim are two polar opposites, not unlike my Cybil and Jane characters. Each balances the other, and over time, a well-oiled friendship steeped in mutual respect, rivalry, and platonic love emerges between them. This series is special because it takes some that Alan Moore’s Watchmen prompted in the early 80s and rooted in the real world.

What if super heroes were real?

If they were real, who would police them? A common problem for Justice League’s Batman was that the league was too powerful. He wanted procedures in place to deal with the league when the meta-humans became too powerful. As an ordinary man, Bruce was keenly aware of this danger and planned accordingly.
Christian Walker, an ordinary human, who once has a super power and was known as Diamond, now serves as a detective capturing and bringing those with powers to justice. Walker is the protagonist of POWERS, and he carries the weight of the loss of his powers. Initially, Walker is very much a man haunted by a glorious past that lingers. A washed up quarterback. A former star. He’s all those things and more.

Saddled with a spunky and impulsive partner in Deena Pilgrim, Christian, along with a host of secondary characters both powers (meta humans) and humans, investigate super-powered crimes. The world-building is amazing. The evolution of Deena and Christian throughout the series also demonstrates Bendis’ writing skills unchecked by someone else’s cannon or Powerscharacter.

POWERS is Bendis set free. It is what independent comic book creators are doing every single day. Breaking the mold of traditional DC and Marvel comic’s storytelling.

POWERS is two-fisted action. Sex. Violence. Mystery. Origin Story. Redemption.

And it is glorious. Gritty. Dark. Delicious. Every single freakin’ bite.

In a word, it’s pulp noir at its absolute sharpest. The writing slices through traditional stereotypes with razor precision, and at times when it looks as if Bendis is feeding right into a traditional storyline or characterization, he kicks the legs out from under it.

Recently POWERS made its live-action debut on Playstation Network (PSN). The casting director kept the characters, but cast Deena Pilgrim as a black woman. In fact, t felt like they’d blended Detective Sunshine and Deena into one character.  It didn’t change my feelings for the show, or my love for Deena. In fact, Deena’s troubles seem much more plausible as an African-American female given the amount of challenges we face in our everyday life.

It’s hard to transition a comic book to live action Netflix’s Daredevil not withstanding. Because it was streamed via PSN, Bendis’s baby, POWERS, didn’t have the budget necessary to fully realize Bendis’s world-building. The actor portraying Christian Walker didn’t have the build, swagger, or anything else to make me identify him as WALKER.

So, honestly, I checked out of it fairly soon. It has been granted a season 2, so I will most likely make another attempt to watch the actual series.

For now, I returned to the POWERS comic and re-read them. Revisiting the world I found most enjoyable and Oeming’s illustrations. I knew those characters. I knew their stories. They spoke to me about the challenges of responsibility, class, racism, poverty, sexism, and all the other –isms that plague humanity.

It also had loyalty, redemption, and sacrifice.

Those wonderful other powers that resonate in each human being.

And if POWERS taught me anything, it’s that I don’t have to be a meta-human to use them.