The HWA graciously allowed me to write about this talented author for their column The Seer’s Table. They spotlight authors outside of the mainstream so everybody can get a hold of their work. Tenea has been writing commercially since at least the early 2000’s. I came across her work the first time in the first anthology I was ever published in, Brandon Massey’s Dark Dreams 3: Whispers in the Night. I was over the MOON to be included with REAL authors and read every story in that book that wasn’t mine. Tenea’s story The Taken was rough. Brutal. It was about a kind of vengeance that I wasn’t sure was warranted. And yet…it reminded me of one of my favorite movies Bamboozled. It reminded me of Spike Lee’s version of the Mau Mau’s, a group so noble and proud of their Blackness and yet so troubled. Her characters had a premise that I could admire, but there was an undercurrent of dismay because I knew they were going too far and would come to a bad end. Today, being waaaaay older (lol) I wonder if my unnamed discomfort was because even then I was afraid of the repercussions that would be suffered for harming the “virginal” white girl, even in fiction. However, the reason I never forgot that story is because Tenea had me THINKING. Her writing made my brain work, twisting and turning thoughts and ideas into somersaults of what ifs…and I loved it.
Soooo fast forward to 2017 and lo and behold! We ended up in another anthology together, Sycorax’s Daughters created and edited by Dr. Kinitra Brooks. This time, the story was a little closer to home and it hit me harder. I read her story Foundling over and over when I first came across it. Every time I found something new to take in. When it came out, President Chump was just getting his ridiculousness underway and his administration seemed to make her story come true in a horrible way. Without any spoilers given, The Foundling is about a government worker who has a special talent that allows her to extract people from disaster sites. However, she begins to notice that sometimes people she saved from said disasters…disappear after rescue. Chump’s outright theft of children from the parents at the border reminded me of this story so much. After the tragedy of PizzaGate, here was a real life monster stealing children for nefarious purposes. In the open! In front of the world! Tenea’s story was like a premonition of this administration’s dastardly deeds and I was enthralled even before Chump began stealing other people’s children and giving them to his cronies. She has a talent for pulling at something inside a reader with her words and her storytelling, making her story linger in your consciousness long after the words themselves have ended.
I encourage you to seek out here work and enrich your book-reading world.