20 Words

Darrell Shaffer Jr is an unhinged author that can’t decide on a single genre to write, but he’s not trying.

45 Words

Darrell Shaffer Jr has been writing his entire life, but chose to work towards publishing his first book after a creative writing professor spent complaining about self-published authors ruining traditional publishing. Self-publishing has been a rough journey for him, but he has found it rewarding.

151 Words

Darrell Shaffer Jr has always been a reader. It was only natural that he developed a love of writing. Crime, science fiction, fantasy, and adventure are some of his favorite genres. The themes of processing trauma, finding family, overcoming the pressures of traditional society and learning to love yourself frequently appear in his works. Growing up in Indianapolis, he still has a fondness for the Midwest where many of his stories take place, when they aren’t jumping between planets or portals. Before focusing on a career in writing fiction, he worked to create Blerds Online, one of the front runners in the popularization of Black nerds. He is also the creator of Ultra Black, a YouTube series focused on sharing history lessons surrounding history throughout the Black Diaspora. In his spare time he enjoys playing video games; especially RPGs, professional wrestling, reading and being nothing short of a menace on Twitter.


Darrell Shaffer Jr was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. Two constants in his life were a never-ending love of reading and an imagination that he could get lost in for hours at a time. On more than one occasion his parents received a note stating that he spent too much time daydreaming and looking out of the window in class.

It was only natural that he would develop a love for writing as well. Scribbling short stories through notebooks or creating character bios in the margins of his notes. The idea of becoming an author crossed his mind many times but the obstacles seemed to large to climb.  Still he maintained an interest in the idea. After a taking a creative writing elective in college the idea of self publishing was introduced to him by a professor who hated the idea. He set forward motivated to try his hand at self publishing. His first novel Phantasmagorical didn’t sell great, but it sold enough for him to realize that it was possible to make a career or at least spending money through writing. Since then he’s gone on to release several books in different genres. He’s found a niche in writing web serials, most notably the urban fantasy anthology series Exsanguinate that crisscrosses the Midwest and Intercosmic, a true space opera that jumps across the Milky Way Galaxy with the looming threat of personal trauma instead of the world’s end.

In addition to exploits as an author, he also found time to create Blerds Online, which has been nothing if not authentic in the Black Nerd community for over a decade. Through Blerds Online he also became one of the hosts of Powerbomb Jutsu, a professional wrestling podcast that is anything but professional. Most recently he's also created Ultra Black, a YouTube channel that looks to present history from and in and out of the Black Diaspora with honesty.

The themes of processing trauma, found families, overcoming the pressures of traditional society and learning to love yourself frequently play key roles in his work. He’s been adamant about the idea that fiction helps us to understand the world and people around us, think outside the box and develop empathy for those in situations beyond what we are used to. 


Why do you write in different genres?

I hate the idea of limiting myself to a single genre. Especially when most books don't fall directly into a single genre. I just write what I want because it makes me happy.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you can give about writing

Your style is your style. It doesn’t need to be super flowery and beautifully written metaphors. It’s perfectly fine to be a sledge hammer. Sometimes things need to be smashed with a sledge hammer, not a 600,000 word metaphor about the evils of capitalism.

What are common traps for new authors

Getting stuck on stupid stuff like “show don’t tell,” pantser or a plotter, and all of that. You don’t need to have everything figured out before you type the first sentence. You’re a writer. You get a lead character, a goal and a starting point then you open up word and write. It's perfectly fine to have an outline, but you don't need to follow it religiously. Writing is more important than outlining.

Where do you get ideas?

Everywhere. Movies, TV Shows, other books. The idea for Intercosmic came from watching Star Wars and thinking, “I hate all of these characters,” and “What if the world wasn’t ending in every military sci-fi? What if he just had PTSD?"

Do you see writing as spiritual or therapeutic

We are our most free when writing what society has forbid us from expressing.


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Various Projects