National bestselling and award-winning author Cerece Rennie Murphy fell in love with science fiction at the age of seven while watching "Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back". Since debuting her first novel, Order of the Seers (Book 1) in 2011, Ms. Murphy has published eleven speculative fiction novels, short stories, and children's books, including her latest release Enchanted: 5 Tales of Magic In The Everyday. Ms. Murphy is also the founder of Virtuous Con, an online sci-fi and comic culture convention that celebrates the excellence of BIPOC creators in speculative fiction. Ms. Murphy is the recipient of Black Pearl Magazine's Author of the Year Award for Children's Literature, the National Best Sellers designation from the African American Literature Book Club (AALBC), and the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA)'s Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award for significant contributions to the science fiction, fantasy, and related genres community. Created in 2008, Ms. Murphy joins the ranks of distinguished previous Solstice Award winners, including Petra Mayer, Carl Sagan, Octavia Butler, and Gardner Dozois. To learn more about the author and her upcoming projects, please visit her website at

The Wolf Queen Book 1: The Hope of Aferi by Cerece Rennie Murphy

In the Land of Yet

At the edge of the Forbidden Forest

A young woman lives alone.

Forced to fend for herself after the brutal murder of her family, Ameenah Yemini lives a quiet life as a farmer and master tanner, only venturing into the world to earn her living then return to the safety of her home.

Until a chance encounter brings her work to the attention of the powerful Hir

And her careful life begins to unravel.

Drawn to the hidden magic that lingers in everything she touches, the Hir tries to force Ameenah and the ancient power she possesses into his grasp. But, when she realizes that her greatest enemy may hold the key to a secret she thought lost to her forever, Ameenah is determined to reclaim her stolen past. But, at what cost? As the legacy of the Amasiti waits to be unleashed, Ameenah must decide between awakening a new magic or delivering it into the hands of evil.


A bestselling and award-winning author, uplifting BIPOC creators as the founder of Virtuous Con, Cerece Rennie Murphy is a force in the genre that cannot be ignored. The Wolf Queen duology is no different, a must-read Black fantasy adventure that combines what you love about traditional fantasy storytelling with an Afrocentric world and protagonist. – Zelda Knight



  • "There is much to enjoy with this novel: the world building, the protagonist, the pacing. It's well done and enjoyable. I was invested in Ameenah's story and enjoyed her as a protagonist. We don't often see fantasy fiction that's not based on a strictly western European frame of reference and that was very refreshing."

    – H. Cummings
  • "I was not prepared for the quality of this writing! The world building is excellent. You can hear the shouts of bargainers in the market stalls. You can feel the cool, quiet of the forest as Ameenah hurries on her way. The characters are well developed with distinct voices. The action is easy to visualize and understand. This is right up there with N.K. Jemison and Nnendi Okrafor. I look forward to book two eagerly."

    – Amazon Reader
  • "Page turner alert! Warning- if you have important things to do don't start this book! You'll come down with a serious case of letting stuff go so you can read. The heroine and the story of her lineage is fascinating and riveting. The last scene was a stunning development I didn't see coming. OMG. Looking forward to the second book sooo much!"

    – Lynn Emery, Paranormal Mystery and Science Fiction author



AMEENAH STEPPED OFF of her front porch and into the pale light of the first sun, finally ready to face the journey ahead. She had been looking forward to her trip to the market in Djobi for two months. Tradesmen throughout the five provinces of Yet fought over the privilege of selling her work, and she was happy to let them do so, for the right price. But the biggest market was in the city of Djobi on the northern coast of the province of Mir. Ameenah always saved the best of her wares for Djobi and carried them there herself.

The time it took to weave the coveted baskets and leather goods for which she was known was considerable, which made it impossible to manage more than two or three trips a year. But the long months in between trips were good for her. It allowed Ameenah time to gather the courage to leave her farm on the edge of the Forbidden Forest and venture out into the world.

The day of her trip, she rose before dawn and worked all morning, oiling her leathers, tightening her basket knots, and inspecting each item until she was sure it was worthy of the most discerning customer. After, Ameenah changed out of her simple brown dress into her more sturdy traveling clothes: a pair of rough cotton pants, a long-sleeved tunic, and a frayed strip of mud-cloth to hold back her hair.

Then, she loaded her wagon. The heavier baskets made of stained soursop leaves went in first, stacked on top of one another in three perfect rows that lined the frame of the wagon. Inside the top baskets, she tucked and folded her leather goods—satchels, pouches, containers, belts, pants, vests, and tunics—all as hard as wood or as supple as silk depending on what would suit their purpose best.

The cost of just one of her creations would cover a year's worth of one farmhand's wages. Anywhere else in Yet, people would have scoffed at her prices, but in Djobi, the vendors and artisans catered to wealthy traders, emissaries of royalty and high-rolling thieves who traveled to Yet's northern shores from around the world. These customers did not travel to Yet for a bargain. They came for the exceptional and offered nothing but praise for her extraordinary craftsmanship when they paid her, which was part of the reason she made the trip.

By the time Ameenah finished hoisting all her supplies and the colorful silks she would wear once she reached Djobi into the narrow aisle between her baskets, the second sun was just beginning to bath the sky in saffron light, signaling across the lush green of her home that midday was almost here. Ameenah stretched her arms to the heavens and sighed, twisting her body to coax the tension from muscles that had been lifting and bending all morning.

"The trip to Djobi will do me well." Ameenah smiled as her stomach fluttered in anticipation. The chance to earn almost half a year's income in just one day was not her only reason for making the trip. A part of her that was larger than she cared to admit hungered for the sights and sounds of the marketplace, the people she would meet, and the stories they would tell her.

Yes, I'm ready to go, she thought.

But the loud rumble in her stomach said otherwise.

When last did I eat, she wondered.

A soft chuckle in a familiar cadence rang out behind her.

With the exception of her farm manager, Opa Maru, there was no one around for miles to help her, which was exactly how Ameenah wanted it. She always left for trips on her workers' day off to avoid prying eyes. And after years of refusing his help, Opa finally stopped offering his assistance.

"You're all packed, I see," Opa said, coming to stand beside her with a sly grin. Ameenah's begrudging smile at his teasing quickly faded as the scent of injera and her favorite lentils wafted up towards her from the steaming bowl in Opa's hands.

The laugh he gave at her wide eyes, delighted her though she would never tell him so.

"I thought you might be hungry."

Ameenah rushed over to the trough of fresh water she kept just outside her front gate and cleaned her hands.

"Thank you!" she said while reaching for the bowl. Her hands were still dripping with water when she folded the first delicious bite into her mouth.

"Hmmm," Opa replied, inspecting her wagon. "You've done well. Of course, with another pair of hands to help, you could have been halfway to Djobi by now."

Ameenah lowered her eyes.

"I know," she began, hesitating over her food. "But I've told you before, I'll be traveling alone. You won't be there if I need help. I need to make sure I can manage everything on my own."

The older man answered her with eyes that were sad and silent. He knew Ameenah well enough to know she'd meant no harm, but her words still stung. They had worked together for five years with an ease between them that, on most days, felt more like family than friends. Yet, their bond had never been strong enough to break through Ameenah's instinct to hold herself at a distance from those closest to her.

"I could come with you," Opa offered gently. "The roads are not safe."

Ameenah smiled as she moved closer, allowing herself a moment to enjoy the way his arm came up to squeeze her shoulder. A part of her welcomed his company. His presence on the long road to Djobi and back would have been warm and familiar, like all the comforts she'd trained herself to do without.

Ameenah had been on her own since she was twelve years old, longer if you counted from the day her family was murdered. Life since then had not been easy, but at twenty-two, Ameenah took solace in knowing that the experience of having lost the people she loved most in the world had forced her to become a woman who could fend for herself. Though she knew Opa meant well, Ameenah couldn't afford to depend on him more than she already did.

"Thank you, Opa, truly, but I need you here to take care of things while I'm away."

Knowing there was nothing more he could do to change her mind, Opa nodded silently and said no more. When she had cleaned her bowl, Opa took it from her and bid Ameenah the Mother's blessings on her travels.

After securing the wagon, Ameenah checked the house one last time before leaving. Opa would see that the chickens were fed and the land was cared for during her three-day journey to Djobi and back, but Ameenah was nothing if not meticulous. Almost everything she cared about was in the small cottage, the fields, and the earth that she called home. Leaving it filled her with a slow, burning dread that would linger until she returned.

"Opa will watch over the place," Ameenah whispered to the deep brown and white speckled horse beside her. Shifting her eyes to the forest's edge, Ameenah sighed. "And the wolf, too." She could not explain how she knew, but Ameenah was sure that somewhere within the woods, her strange tawny friend was watching.