Alaya (rhymes with “papaya”) lives, writes, cooks and (perhaps most importantly) eats in New York City. Her literary loves are all forms of speculative fiction, historical fiction, and the occasional highbrow novel. Her culinary loves are all kinds of ethnic food, particularly South Indian, which she feels must be close to ambrosia. She graduated from Columbia University in 2004 with a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures, and has lived and traveled extensively in Japan.
The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories of the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). The editor, selected by SFWA’s anthology Committee (chaired by Mike Resnick), is American science fiction and fantasy writer Mercedes Lackey. This year’s Nebula winners are Ursula Vernon, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Nancy Kress, and Jeff VanderMeer, with Alaya Dawn Johnson winning the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book.
In this page-turning follow up to Moonshine, it’s summer in the city and most vampires are drunk on the blood-based intoxicant Faust. The mayor has tied his political fortunes to legalizing the brew, but Zephyr Hollis has dedicated herself to the cause of Faust prohibition--at least when she isn’t knocking back sidecars in speakeasies.
But the game changes when dozens of vampires end up in the city morgue after drinking Faust. Are they succumbing to natural causes, or have they been deliberately poisoned? When an anonymous tip convinces the police of her guilt, Zephyr has to save her reputation, her freedom and possibly her life. Someone is after her blood--and this time it isn’t a vampire.
Imagining vampires at the heart of the social struggles of 1920s, Moonshine blends a tempestuous romance with dramatic historical fiction, populated by a lively mythology inhabiting the gritty New York City streets
Zephyr Hollis is an underfed, overzealous social activist who teaches night school to the underprivileged of the Lower East Side. Strapped for cash, Zephyr agrees to help a student, the mysterious Amir, who proposes she use her charity worker cover to bring down a notorious vampire mob boss. What he doesn’t tell her is why. Soon enough she’s tutoring a child criminal with an angelic voice, dodging vampires high on a new blood-based street drug, and trying to determine the real reason behind Amir’s request—not to mention attempting to resist (often unsuccessfully) his dark, inhuman charm.
In The Burning City, Alaya Dawn Johnson continues the trilogy begun with her debut, Racing the Dark, delving deeper into the world of magic wielded by women who understand the dark trade-offs of power and sacrifice. Lana, the heroine, has become the black ange l —a harbinger of destruction unheard of in the islands for 500 years. Nui'ahi, the sleeping volcano of the great city Essel, has erupted. In the chaos, the city is reshaping itself and violence threatens from all corners. A rebel movement has formed in the destroyed heart of the city, determined to oust Kohaku, the mad Mo'i of Essel. Lana wants no part of the rebels' cause — the death spirit still chases her, and the great witch Akua has kidnapped Lana's mother. But the more Lana looks for her mother, the more she is drawn into the city's political conflicts. As Kohaku descends deeper into madness, determined to subdue the city by any means necessary, his wife has run away to the fire temple, where she too is slowly converted to the rebel's cause. When long-running tensions spill over into civil war, Lana must make her hardest decision yet: her mother's life, or a city's freedom?
Like the other women of her island, Lana expected to become a diver, harvesting jewels from a native fish. But during her initiation dive, she finds a blood-red jewel that marks her as someone with power. Though she hides the jewel, the mark it represents will drive her away from her home island and into an apprenticeship with a one-armed witch. Alaya Dawn Johnson has created an unforgettable coming-of-age story set in a world where wielding the power of magic requires understanding the true meaning of sacrifice.