Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Feb 17, 2023

Mark interviews writer, narrator, and creative Alicia McCalla about her work creating thrilling stories of courage, bravery and strength featuring kick-ass Black women leads in SciFi, Fantasy & Romance.

Prior to the main segment, Mark reads comments from recent episodes, thanks new Patrons, shares a personal update, and a few words about this episode's sponsor.

You can learn more about how you can get your audiobooks distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

During their chat, Mark and Alicia talk about:

  • How Alicia is two different versions of a superwoman and the way her brand is quite powerful
  • Courage, bravery, and strength
  • The strong women in Alicia's life, and her legacy
  • Sharing badass, strong, and powerful black women who use their spunkiness, brains, and abilities
  • Recognizing the power of a black Star Trek captain
  • Dressing up in cosplay as a Starfleet captain when going to get a Covid booster shot
  • How ground-breaking Nichelle Nichols' role in the original Star Trek was, and what happened when she wanted to quit
  • The importance of having a superhero who looks like you, and Alicia's husband's experience with wanting to go to school for Halloween as Spider-Man, but being told by another child he couldn't be Spider-Man because he was black
  • How the Civil Rights Movement could really be understood as a Women's movement
  • Some of the differences between White Feminism and the approach to feminism taken by Black women
  • The difference between Feminism and Female Empowerment
  • The Miles Morales Into the Spiderverse movie
  • The toxicity and racism that exists within science-fiction fandom
  • Alicia's experience sitting on a panel at Dragon Con with a white male participant who claimed they didn't "see" the differences between white and black people and that "race" doesn't matter
  • Crying unabashedly when seeing the Black Futurism in the movie Black Panther
  • The experience of Alicia and her husband giving away their Black Panther and Wonder Woman watches to children in Ghana
  • How selling direct can be both empowering and terrifying
  • The exclusive audio available only via Alicia's website for those dedicated fans who really want it
  • Having an international audience of readers all over the world and how the public library of South Africa is a place that many readers seem to be consumed her books
  • Not being able to finish a book project because of a character who was deeply based on her grandfather who Alicia lost
  • Narrating under the pen name Alicia Speaks


After the interview, Mark reflects on the importance of understanding how something that seems normal or just "fits" for one person, might not be experienced in the same way for another. Case in point: Both Mark and Alicia's husband dressed up as Spider-Man when they were children, but Mark wasn't told that he couldn't because of the color of his skin.


Links of Interest:


Alicia McCalla is a creative entrepreneur who writes, narrates and creates merchandise for readers and customers who love thrilling stories of courage, bravery and strength featuring badass, spunky and smart Black women main characters. If you are a Blerd or Nerd who loves talking about strong Black women and female empowerment in  SciFi, Fantasy, Romance and sometimes Horror then join in on Alicia's blog discussions or follow her on social media.

Alicia began writing and self-publishing professionally in 2012. In the beginning, she wrote part-time while she worked full-time as a School Media Specialist. Tragedy struck and her only child, an officer in the US Navy was lost at sea. This single event changed everything. With the overwhelming intensity of her grief brain, she had to re-learn how to live fully while honoring her son’s legacy (he was one of her largest supporters and champions. He even produced a theme song for her work). She often takes the time to acknowledge her grief journey in her blog posts.

Now, Alicia is a full-time writer, audiobook narrator & merchandiser sharing stories and products of courageous, brave and strong Black women warriors.  She enjoys writing kick-ass sistas with skills, swords & superpowers. Alicia is Black Girl Nerd and regularly Cosplays strong female superheroes, warriors and maybe even a fairy. Because of her love of fan merchandise and desire to see Black women represented in SciFi and Fantasy Merchandise, she launched her shop  Alicia McCalla’s Emporium featuring superheroines, vigilantes, huntresses and much more. 

Alicia's influences include Octavia Butler, LA Banks, Faith Hunter, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Patricia Briggs.

She is an activist in the movement towards diversifying Science fiction and Fantasy (#diversityinSFF). She created the first "State of Black Science Fiction 2012" blog tour, is an active member in the State of Black Science Fiction FaceBook group and has a Pinterest account where she actively curates topics related to Black Warrior Women, Black Science Fiction, Fantasy and more.

Alicia writes for adults with her brand of Black superheroes, dark fantasy, Urban Fantasy, paranormal, and horror.  She is a former Women Marine-Reservist and a decorated war veteran. Alicia is a native Detroiter who currently resides in metro Atlanta with her loving husband and many nieces and nephews. Sign-up  on for free reads, updates, sneak peeks, and merchandise coupons.


The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0