Growing Up Other
Shy, anxious, and awkward as a child, I felt other even before such a concept existed in my vocabulary. There were costs to my childhood, but also huge gains. Left mostly to myself, I devoured what surrounded me–music of all genres, art, and books, especially science fiction, horror, and fantasy. I never felt lonely, even when building solitary sandcastles on the beaches of the Caribbean. Monsters from the mysterious depths of the ocean were always on hand to storm the ramparts or stop by for a l’il skylarking with space-conquering aliens. Conversations and characters in my head were natural first steps to writing and drawing the fantastic. Growing up surrounded by island superstitions, that lore gave hidden undertones to my stories.
By the time I moved to the United States, where the color of my skin and island accent defined me, I had become used to being other. Although, I would never get used to the bullying. I survived, as most of us do who find ourselves not fitting in until we find our people later in life. These days, I spend my second childhood writing and drawing science-fiction, fantasy, and supernatural stories, peppered with a spicy marinade of multicultural myths.
I’ve learned over the years that I am not alone in feeling other. If this speaks to you, I hope you’ll give my stories a try. I hope you’ll find a place where you feel you belong.
PRESS: Born in Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles to Trinidadian parents, Sheryl Kaleo lived in St. Croix, Virgin Islands until she moved to Louisiana to finish high school. She then completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science with a Biology minor at Boston University, followed by Graphic Design certification at MassArt. In CZT training with Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, she learned to use their Zentangle™ method to create textured pen and ink illustrations. She has won many pre-publishing awards including the Linda Howard Award of Excellence and a nomination for the RWA Golden Heart.
Mixed-race and multi-cultural, Sheryl feels a deep connection to people who don’t fit the norm. As such, she writes mixed-genre speculative fiction set in fantastic worlds where anything is possible that is inclusive and future-hopeful, while exploring the ugly truths society would rather ignore.
Treasures I Revisit Often…
FICTION & GRAPHIC NOVELS
The Black Company Series by Glen Cook, Foundation Series by Asimov, Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler, Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein, Strange the Dreamer by Liani Taylor, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Chronicles of Vladimer Tod by Heather Brewer, Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor.
Story by Robert McKee, anything by Lisa Cron, Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, anything on myths and symbols by Joseph Campbell and Karl Jung.
Bliss More by Light Watkins, The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield, DBT Skills Training: Handouts and Worksheets by Marsha M. Linehan.
MOVIES , ANIME, & SERIES
Arrival, Foundation, Dune, Attack on Titan, Marvel Universe, DC Universe, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Jujutsu Kaisen, Moana, Lilo & Stitch.
-And He Built a Crooked House by Heinlein, The Sixth Palace by Robert Silverberg.
WORKSHOPS & SEMINARS
Any workshops by Laurie Schnebly Campbell, any by Laura Baker, Flash Fiction by Holly Lisle, The Edits System by Margie Lawson, Identity to Essence by Michael Hauge, Story by Robert McKee.
The Tiger Wizard, Christian Scott, aTunde Ajuah, Joshua Redman, Snarky Puppy, Nate Smith, Bill Laurence, Måneskin, Aiida, Tyler Christian, Grace Perhman, P!nk, Avatar, Metallica, India, Bruno Mars, Sumi Jo, anything Motown, anything Soca or Calypso especially Patrice Roberts, Tarkan, anything 70s especially Earth Wind & Fire, the 80s, the 90s and 2000s especially Missy Elliot and Anita Baker.
“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” -Steven Pressfield,
“Do the next right thing.” – Frozen 2, The Next Right Thing by Kristen Bell, Clark’s three laws, especially “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”