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December 5, 2017

Badass Ladies You Should Know: Johnnie Jae

Kate Hart
headshot of Johnnie Jae
Over the past three years, I've had the honor of sharing 65 profiles of amazing ladies with you, and while I'm sad to be putting the project on indefinite hiatus for health reasons, I couldn't be more pleased to be ending the series with a bang -- or, more accurately, a Brown Ball of Fury. Johnnie Jae is an Indigenerd force of nature, bringing Native people, projects, and issues to national attention. From geek and pop culture to suicide prevention and political advocacy, Johnnie is an incredibly badass lady, and I'm thrilled she's capping off the Badass Ladies You Should Know project.

Thank you for all your support!


A Tribe Called Geek logo
Kate: Describe your career(s) and/or current projects. What path(s) and passions led you there?

Johnnie As Indigenous people, we are around 2% of the entire U.S population and the hypervisibility of mascots, stereotypes and whitewashed history has rendered us invisible in our own lands. This has impacted the way that non-native society views and interacts with us and it also impacts the way we view and value ourselves.

I believe that representation matters and the more voices we have speaking up, the harder it is for our struggles, achievements and humanity to be ignored. So, all of the work that I do is centered around creating platforms that encourage and empower us to reclaim our narratives, tell our own stories and challenge the rampant misrepresentation.

I’m the founder and CEO of A Tribe Called Geek, a multimedia company dedicated to showcasing and encouraging Indigenous contributions to geek & pop culture as well as STEM fields. Being a lifelong Indigenerd, I felt that it was important to create a platform that would allow us to celebrate our existence and contributions within these spaces, while also allowing us to create a community…..the league of Indigenerds, if you will.

This is really where my focus has been over the last few years because as with any other facet of society, we are severely underrepresented and misrepresented as Indigenous people within Geek culture and STEM. But the most important part of my work through A Tribe Called Geek is #Indigenerds4Hope, which is our suicide awareness & prevention initiative. Through #Indigenerds4Hope, I host workshops for our native youth that address suicide and mental illness in age appropriate manners, but the ultimate goal is to create a STEM camp to help further engage and encourage their involvement in STEM.

Kate: Do you have any (other) creative outlets? How do they influence/affect your main work (if at all)? 

Johnnie I have quite a few creative outlets. I love to doodle and color because it helps me to manage my stress and anxiety. I love doing graphic & web design, photography, sock puppeting, and I love to sing….badly and as loud as possible. I also have a bad habit of doing some pretty ridonkulous and random videos on both instagram and youtube. I wouldn’t say my creative outlets influence my work, but being able to do photography, graphic & web design saves money because we can do everything in-house.

"Dear Native Youth" graphicKate: What's your biggest challenge?

Johnnie My health and inability to accept that there are limits to what I can do. I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus when I was 9 years old. Every single day, I fight against pain, sickness and the way I feel about myself when my face is rashy and poofy. I fight against every limit, even when it hurts and even when I know it will just makes things worse. I spend every day fighting just to have some semblance of a normal life and it’s absolutely exhausting. I’m like a human mogwai with all the rules that need to be followed for my care, even more so when you take into account that I’m photosensitive.

Johnnie's beauty tutorial failKate: Tell us about a time that you bounced back from failure.

Johnnie I am always bouncing back from failure thanks to youtube beauty tutorials. But seriously, failure is inevitable and a matter of perspective. While I am not always proud of my failures, I am grateful for them because they give me the opportunity to grow, to do and be better.

Kate: Tell us something that makes you proud.

Johnnie Nothing makes me prouder than seeing our Native people rise! To see us achieving and thriving despite all the struggles and obstacles that we face, to see us creating opportunity and miracles from little to nothing. The love, laughter and survival of our communities is what makes me so incredibly proud and hopeful.

Johnnie at the capitolLightning round: Tell us what you’re…    (just answer the ones you like)

reading: In the Light of Justice: The Rise of Human Rights in Native America and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
listening to: Paramore “Hard Times”
wearing: no pants cuz this is how I do 99.8% of all my interviews
wishing for: the day when our native nations are no longer living in survival mode and fighting tooth and nail to keep our languages, traditions, water, lands and people from being destroyed.
wanting: a new computer and lifetime supply of BLK water.
loving: the growing resistance against hate and oppression.

Kate: Who are some other badass ladies we need to know & why? 

Johnnie Well, I definitely think Jack Malstrom aka Jack the Pima is definitely a badass woman that people need to know. Aside from being my co-host for the ATCG podcast, she’s a two-spirit advocate who does amazing work regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act. You can find her on twitter at @jackthepima.

There’s also Maggie Hundley, who is the chicken soup to my soul. She’s one of our co-founding board members for Not Your Mascots and host for the commUNITY Talks podcast. She has one of the most compassionate voices when it comes to understanding and discussing black/native identities as well as the importance of solidarity and community building.

Patricia Gordon and her granddaughter Prairie Gordon, who run the Indian Youth of America Summer Camps. This is a camp that for 41 years now has been providing such a wonderful service to our native youth.

images from the March for Racial JusticeKate: What are the best ways to support other women?

Johnnie Uplift, empower, and invest in each other. We need to support and encourage each other because as women we often prioritize the needs and well-being of our loved ones and our communities over our own. So, we need to look out for each, check in and make sure that we are taking care of ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually. We need to help each other heal and empower each other to reclaim our power. We need to be invested in each other’s growth and success because as we often say in our native communities, when one rises, we all rise.

Kate: What is your advice to aspiring badasses?

Johnnie You have to live with a purpose beyond just surviving the day in front of you. You must always consider the extraordinary measures that you are willing to take or withhold in order to be well, to be happy; to not just survive, but thrive. We are our ancestors’ wildest dream, we owe it to them, to our future generations and to ourselves to live extraordinary, purpose driven lives.


Known as the Brown Ball of Fury, Johnnie Jae is a profoundly driven and unstoppable Indigenerd from the Otoe-Missouria and Choctaw tribes of Oklahoma. She is a writer, speaker, technologist, advocate, community builder and entrepreneur that loves empowering others to follow their passions and create for healing and positive change in the world.

Currently, she is the founder and CEO of A Tribe Called Geek, an emerging multimedia company that is dedicated to showcasing and encouraging Indigenous contributions to geek & pop culture as well as STEM fields. Jae, also, co-hosts the ATCG name sake podcast with Jackie Malstrom aka Jack the Pima, where they often discuss native representation or the lack thereof in mainstream geekery with fellow Indigenerds from across Turtle Island.

Jae has also contributed her skills Native Max Magazine, Native News Online, Complex, Good Men Project and the Success Native Style Radio Network.

In addition to her entrepreneurial pursuits, Jae is an advocate for many Indigenous and human rights issues, mainly focusing on youth empowerment, suicide prevention, gender & racial equity, violence towards Indigenous people, human trafficking, police brutality, reconciliation & solidarity, and Indigenous representation in the media.

She is a Founding Board Member of Not Your Mascots and LiveIndigenousOK. She is also a member of the Women Warriors Work Collective and served as co-chair for the March for Racial Justice.

Her ability to seamlessly shift from humor and pop culture to advocacy and business has made her a much-sought after speaker, panelist, and commentator. She has taught numerous workshops that address suicide awareness & prevention, mascots & stereotypes, digital activism, Indigenous journalism & media, and the utilization of social & digital media for business and activism. Her work has been discussed in many media outlets, such as Indian Country Today, ATPN, CBC, USA Today, Women’s E-News, and Upworthy. She has been a guest on several radio shows and podcasts, including Native America Calling, Native Trailblazers, Black Girl Nerds, BBC World Have Your Say and ICI Radio.

Facebook: /johnniejae & /tribecalledgeek
Twitter: @johnniejae & @tribecalledgeek
Instagram: @johnniejae & @atribecalledgeek


Want more Badass Ladies? 
Check out more profiles, or follow and boost from any of these accounts:

October 30, 2017

BOOk Pumpkins 2017

Kate Hart

~ It's that time of year again ~

Pick a pattern and carve your favorite cover into a kidlit jack o'lantern!

Don't see your favorite book? 

Check the index or just browse year by year: 
2011  //  2012  //  2013  //  2014  //  2015  //  2016

If you need further instructions, scroll to the end of this post -- and please tag me with a picture of the finished project. Happy carving!

Creepy Contemporary

All That Was by Karen Rivers; The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan

When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn; Valley Girls by Sarah Nicole Lemon

After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay; The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 

Dress Codes For Small Towns by Courtney Stevens; Far From The Tree by Robin Benway

Frightening Fantasy

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore; The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Flame In The Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Wild Wild West

Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely; All The Wind In The World by Samantha Mabry 

Horrifying Historical
Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

Scary Suspense

Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda; Murder Trending by Gretchen McNeil

Murderous Middle Grade

The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani DasGupta; Rules For Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu
Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt; Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

My family's 2017 pumpkins:
left: The Raven King by Thomas (age 11)
middle: All That Was, Fish In A Tree, and Gunslinger Girl by me
right: Crenshaw by William (age 9)

How to use these patterns: 

1. Click the image to expand, then right click and save to your computer. (You can also download from Google Docs here.)

2. Print at whatever size fits your pumpkin, then pin the pattern to it.

3. Use a toothpick or pushpin to poke holes around the edges of the design (more holes = easier to see the lines).

4. Remove the pattern and rub flour or powder over the holes to make them show up better.

5. Cut out the black sections. Gray sections should be scraped to half-thickness -- don't cut all the way through!

6. Take a picture and tweet it at me or tag me on Instagram!

August 23, 2017

Badass Ladies You Should Know: Rebecca Barrow

Kate Hart
Rebecca Barrow's upcoming YA debut, You Don't Know Me But I Know You, releases next week. The fact that it takes on abortion and adoption is enough to qualify Rebecca as a badass, but if you follow her anywhere online, you know that's just the tip of the badass iceberg. Read on to learn how she became a writer, her take on feminism, who she names as fellow badass ladies -- and don't forget to enter her giveaway at the end, open internationally!


cover of You Don't Know Me But I Know You
Kate: Describe your career(s) and/or current projects. What path(s) and passions led you there?

Rebecca: I’m a YA author and my first book is coming out VERY SOON! It wasn’t really a complicated path to get here: I’ve always written stories (terrible ones) and when I was sixteen I decided that my former career dreams of fashion buyer/screenwriter/nurse were out and author was in. I actually decided not to go to university, even though I already had a place and everything, because I just really wanted to write and didn’t want to get into debt taking lectures I wasn’t interested in that would be no guarantee of me getting published. It was a big risk and I don’t necessarily recommend it for everyone! But it’s starting to pay off. Sometimes I think the only thing that got me from that sixteen-year-old to published author was sheer stubbornness. (I am every inch the Scorpio.) I had decided to do this and therefore I had to make it work. Obviously I got the other two parts of the equation, luck and timing, but even now when I’m being hard on myself and thinking you’ll never be successful, this other part of me is like Oh yeah? Fucking watch me.

cross-stitch of the word "bitch" surrounded by flowers
Kate: Do you have any (other) creative outlets? How do they influence/affect your main work (if at all)?

Rebecca: I play the piano; I started like so many people, when I was six or so, and did all my grades, briefly considered getting a diploma in music, and then quickly realized it was not for me. I still play but not as often, and only for myself. I’m not good at composing, so I only play pieces written by other people, and I actually find that a relief. Writing is so much creating things from nothing, but playing music is just a matter of taking what’s already there and making it come alive. I also go through phases of needle-based crafts—last was knitting, now it’s cross stitch. Again, I just follow patterns—it’s this feeling of satisfaction knowing that all I have to do is follow the instructions and I’ll end up with a pretty thing. Sadly there are no instructions for writing books and what I end up with is rarely pretty, at least not before I take six months to a year to make it that way. So it’s nice to have other outlets where the creation is beyond my control.

Rebecca playing piano
Kate: What's your biggest challenge?

Rebecca: Worrying about what other people think of me. Constantly. And what they think of my work, and should I change this or that to appease their imaginary opinions of me, and will that make them like me/my work or take me more seriously…am I cool author, do readers like me, should I be more like X or Y to be successful? It’s EXHAUSTING.

Kate: Tell us something that makes you proud.

Rebecca: I’m proud that I’ve gotten this far in my writing career. It’s hard sometimes to remember how impossible this all seemed—I think that’s a trap many creative people fall into. Failing to stop and appreciate how far you’ve come, and instead focusing on how far you have to go until the next goal. A few years ago all I wanted was to get a literary agent. A few years before that, it was to write a book-length thing. Now I have written more manuscripts that I’d like to remember, gotten an agent, sold a book that’s very important to me, and that book is coming out into the world. Ten-years-ago me would be astounded, and I think present-me should remember that.

Also I do love when people say my book made them cry. Sorry not sorry for playing with your emotions!

Kate: Did you have any defining moments that galvanized your understanding of and/or commitment to feminism? How does it inform/inspire your work? 

Rebecca: I don’t think I’ve had any BAM moments—it’s been more a slow opening of my eyes. I think I’ve always considered myself a feminist, and I was definitely raised to think of myself as a feminist, but as I get older and read and learn more, my definition and understanding of that word expands. I think all of my work is feminist, even in ways I don’t explicitly intend. I write about teenage girls, mostly mixed race/black, dealing with reproductive health issues, mental health, relationships, sexuality—even if I wasn’t doing it intentionally, these things are viewed through such a lens of Politics anyway. But I am doing it purposefully and with intention, and I hope that always comes through.

Lightning round: Tell us what you’re…    

reading: Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr
watching: Pretty Little Liars, always
listening to: Christina Aguilera’s third album Back to Basics. Where is the next album???
eating: Skittles
doing: thinking about the next book
wearing: Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner in Blackest Black
wishing for: Miu Miu jeweled acetate sunglasses in blue
wanting: stability, sunshine
loving: my pets

Kate: Who are some other badass ladies we need to know & why? 

  • Nicolette Mason—fashion writer and blogger talking about body positivity, fat fashion, queer issues. site | twitter
  • Ruby Tandoh—food writer talking about body positivity, the politics of food and the diet industry, mental health, queer issues. twitter | her books
  • Alice Fanchiang—poet, ray of sunshine, Hamilton superfan, geek fashion queen. IG | her poem Skin

first pass pages for You Don't Know Me But I Know You
Kate: What are the best ways to support other women?

Rebecca: Listening and amplifying other voices. Support their work—buy their books, music, creations; share their stories, in their own words. Ask what is needed of you and then do it.

Kate: What is your advice to aspiring badasses?

Rebecca: Find people who get you and understand what you want to do. You won’t feel so alone.


A finished copy of You Don't Know Me But I Know You + a print of its characters
open internationally!


Rebecca Barrow writes stories about girls and all the wonders they can be. A lipstick obsessive with the ability to quote the entirety of Mean Girls, she lives in England, where it rains a considerable amount more than in the fictional worlds of her characters. She collects tattoos, cats, and more books than she could ever possibly read. YOU DON'T KNOW ME BUT I KNOW YOU is her first novel.  //  twitter  //  instagram
goodreads  //  amazon  //  bn


Want more Badass Ladies? 
Check out more profiles, or follow and boost from any of these accounts:

August 17, 2017

Available ARCs ~ August 2017

Kate Hart
Man, what a damn mess we have in the US right now. My social media feeds are 85% horror at the news, 5% memes, and 10% fellow authors wondering how the hell they're supposed to promote their books and make a living in this climate.

For the record, I think we've reached the point where it's 100% okay to tweet promo and politics at the same time (if you didn't, you'd be waiting until 2045 to get a word in edgewise, and that's an optimistic prediction). However, I'm also keenly aware that it's awkward to promote yourself even in the best of circumstances -- and I know book bloggers and readers are having a hard time finding new titles through all the news.

So! Here is one small assist. I cruised through NetGalley and Edelweiss and made a list of ARCs available for request, organized by genre. This list does not even attempt to be exhaustive (and please don't hate me if I missed your book. There are a lot.) I have not read any of these, so my selection criteria includes but is not limited to:
  • POC/NDN/LGBTQ/disability/other marginalized rep (success of which may be up for debate)
  • author is notable, notorious, and/or an award-winner
  • description sounds unique and/or interesting
  • cover looked cool
  • because I felt like it.

If you are wondering "what the hell are NetGalley and Edelweiss," no worries: The Book BratzLili's Reflections, and Stacked have the help you need. And if you find this list helpful, please let me know -- I'd be happy to do similar posts in the future if they're useful (maybe monthly, so the post isn't quite so long?).

Sharing is always appreciated!



Behind the Song edited by K. M. Walton; Buzz Books 2017 Fall/WinterFeral Youth edited by Shaun Hutchinson (NG, EW); Meet Cute by various authors; Three Sides of a Heart edited by Natalie Parker




Being Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer; The Closest I've Come by Fred Aceves; The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed (NG, EW)

dating and sex


Kaleidoscope Song by Fox Benwell (NG, EW); Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann; This Is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell; You Don't Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow

American Panda by Gloria Chao; Calling My Name by Liara Tamani; Far From the Tree by Robin Benwell; Frankie by Shivaun Plozza
Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga; Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (NG US, NG Canada, EW); Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (NG, EW); Right Where You Left Me by Calla Devlin (NG, EW); You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon



Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills; Neighborhood Girls by Jessie Ann Foley

mental health


Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp; Madness by Zac Brewer; Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman (NG, EW)


A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo; The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin (NG, EW); Echo After Echo by Amy Rose Capetta; On the Free by Coert Voorhees; This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis



Autoboyography by Christina Lauren (NG, EW); Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story by Sonia Patel; Prince In Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm



Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor; An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson; Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi; Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows; Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao; One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

graphic novel

I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings
("The Hate You Give + The Lovely Bones" -- whoa)



Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz; The Girl With the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke; The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe; No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear



The Devils You Know by M. C. Atwood; Uncanny by David Macinnis Gill

magical realism


All The Wind In The World by Samantha Mabry (NG, EW); The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace; The November Girl by Lydia Kang


The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater; Not Your Princess by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

sci fi


All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis; Landscape With Invisible Hand by M. T. Anderson; Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster (NGEW); Thirteen Rising by Romina Russell;  Tool of War by Paolo Bacigalupi; Zero Repeat Forever by G. S. Prendergast (NG UK, NG Canada, NG US, EW)


Want your e-ARC in a future roundup? Email katehartbooks at gmail dot com with a link + "ARC roundup" in the subject line. 

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