The Rise of the Ravenisha is a 101k word #Ownvoices fantasy/science fiction novel with series potential created with vibrant female characters on the brink of individual and collective power. Teddy, an ex-cop with the Atlanta PD has seen a thing or two. She always knew she was different. She wasn’t like her sisters of the Old Generation Ravenisha–an ancient tribe of African warrior women who long ago struck a bargain with the dark spirit La Panthère Noire. Their supernatural strength made them the perfect bargaining chips for their queen, Idia, to betray and sell them into American slavery to bolster her own rise to power. Now living with her sister Fredi in modern-day Ravenswood, Alabama, Teddy is still grappling with that haunted legacy, and the lingering feeling that she and Fredi do not belong with the rest of their kin.
She soon learns that her natural instincts ring true: Teddy and Fredi were not born into the Ravenisha naturally, but rather were created by a wicked experimenter named Rufus, attempting to birth a new generation of Ravenisha women into the world who are born into obedience. What Rufus does not know is that the sisters were prophesied, the dawn of a new order that bears with it the power to overthrow Idia and claim freedom for the Ravenisha for the first time in centuries.
Learning of their betrayal by their trusted friend, the Old Generation Ravenisha are determined to seize their only chance to finally taste life beyond the collars around their necks. But Idia, well aware of the prophecy herself, has been growing her own werepanther army, clinging to power with everything she has. Torn between the two, twenty-eight year old Teddy and almost thirteen year old Fredi find themselves with the chance to free their lineage… or sentence them to eternal slavery.
Present-day Southern United States, Ravenswood, Alabama
Honeycutt Highway (formerly Eutaw Crossroads
To outsiders, the three women picking poke salat, a southern delicacy that can be fatal if not prepared correctly, and wild onions along the side of the country road looked like relics from bygone days. The women, who were now always cold due to their loss of body fat, wore long cotton dresses. Large straw hats protected their heads from the unrelenting Alabama sun that was just rising on the horizon, painting the sky a beautiful smorgasbord of mauves, oranges, corals, and yellows. Dew sprinkled the grass and foliage and the air smelled of the unlikely mixture of pine cones and honeysuckles. Now and then, a woodpecker tapping on bark or the call of a wren or sparrow broke the peaceful silence. A motor growled in the distance, polluting the air with its sound. The women looked up, did a collective eye roll and resumed the task at hand.
“What does he want now?” one woman mumbled under her breath, stabbing her hoe into the ground with extra vigor.
They had to pay attention to what they were doing, for poke salat looked like any other weed. Mature poke salat weeds were distinctive. The stalks were tall and purple with likewise violet berries. This was when the plant was at its most toxic. Therefore, the women focused on harvesting the immature tender shoots, whose stalks were green and berries white. They used their hoes to avoid the root, which was poisonous.
All three Black women were striking. Their skin tones ranged from honey to chocolate to ebony. Their features were as diverse as their skin color—a sharp blend of Caucasian, African and Asian elements. All had beautiful high cheekbones, though some appeared razor-sharp because of the drastic weight loss. Their movements were sinewy, cat-like, and at odds with the clunky, baggy clothes they were wearing. While they looked like old women, there was something about them that belied their age.
Ceola Lulabelle Eudora Furie wasn’t the tallest of the group. In fact, she was rather petite, but still, she clearly was the group’s leader. While she wasn’t as fierce-looking as the one called Matilda, a quiet menace radiated off of her, and humans instinctively avoided her before they even got the full blast of her stormy green eyes.
Matilda “Tildy” Arvelle Arceneaux, was an intimidating presence. Even though she had a buzz cut, there was no mistaking her gender. Her high cheekbones and full, sensual lips were all female, while her alert green eyes constantly surveilled her surroundings.
The third woman, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Sarah Gadsden, was distinguishable from the others by her mane of long, dreadlocked hair. Her kind, and clear green eyes often lulled people into trusting her with their deepest secrets and her Ph.D. in psychology had come in handy on many occasions over the years.
A black SUV pulled to a halt on the road’s shoulder, kicking up gusts of red dust that blew everywhere. The back door opened, and a tall, late-middle-aged, cadaverously thin man stepped out. The women’s captor, torturer, rapist, and arch nemesis had arrived.
About The Author
A Talladega, Alabama native, Pamela Lawson received her Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley. After threatening to write a book for twenty plus years, Pamela finally did so, with Rise of the Ravenisha being her maiden novel. The second book, Rogue Ravenisha is well underway, and there are plans for a third installment, tentatively titled Revenge of the Ravenisha.
Pamela has been a fan of horror since childhood: staying up many a weekend watching creature features and reading books written by authors, such as Edgar Allen Poe and Mary Shelley. Pamela’s literary interests are far-ranging, from authors such as Stephen King, Anne Rice, PD James, Walter Mosley, James Lee Burke, Kathy Reichs, and Louise Penny to James Baldwin and Zora Neale Hurston.
Pamela lives in Northern California with her two felines, Ferg and Nikos. A horse crazy adult, she dabbles in dressage.
- What inspired you to become a writer?
How I became a writer is quite a story, but I’ll try to condense it as much as possible. Several people had suggested that I write a novel over the years, but I ignored them all. I didn’t see myself as a writer and was still invested in doing something in forensics. Finally, while at a family reunion in the Poconos, the universe said, Enough! I’ve given you hints over the years, which you ignored. You will write.
- How did Rise of the Ravenisha come about?
I fell in the Poconos, and while writhing around in bed in the most intense pain I’ve ever experienced, I distracted myself by wondering, What if there were these warrior women? What if they shapeshifted into werepanthers and ate humans? Thus, the genesis for Rise of the Ravenisha.
- What is your writing process?
I start by building a basic outline detailing what the story is about in the broadest possible terms. I sketch a beginning, middle, and end. I then conduct research, and finally, I start writing the first draft. I’m still working to consistently get up at the same time every day and write something. Writing truly is a process.
- Why do you include horses in your stories?
I was a horse-crazy little girl. One of my earliest memories is of my paternal grandfather astride his white horse named Sandy. My maternal grandfather bought me a Shetland Pony who bucked me off so much, my father gave him away. I started taking riding lessons in my 30’s. It was always something I wanted to do and the Sacramento area has a surprising number of dressage and hunter/jumper training facilities. I would often be the only African American taking lessons at these facilities, where I stood out like a sore thumb because I was a big Black woman. When I started riding Tennessee Walking Horses, I learned of black riding groups. I have no doubt we’d be a huge presence in the equestrian world if the sport were not so exclusive. Riding improved my confidence, posture, determination, and health. I decided that while I’d never be pencil thin, I would lose weight and get in shape.
- Why did I make the characters so diverse?
One reviewer noted the only negative thing she saw was, “The characters seemed intentionally picked.” I have always embraced the notion of diversity and it shows in my stories. My German pen pal and I have been corresponding for over 40 years. We have visited each other in person and I consider her a friend. I live in an ethnically diverse neighborhood and have diverse friends.
- What advice do you have for people considering self-publication?
Be prepared to work very hard. Writing the story is the easy part, believe it or not. In today’s market, a writer must also be a business person, a marketing specialist, have social media accounts, etc. My self-publishing consultant said, “Nobody is going to just buy your book because you published it.” She was right. You have to make people want to buy and read your book.
- Are there plans for future Ravenisha books?
Yes, Rogue Ravenisha is complete. It just needs to go through the editing process. There are plans for Revenge of the Ravenisha, Reign of the Ravenisha, and others.
Contact The Author
P. Grace Lawson, Author
Rise of the Ravenisha (Available on Amazon)