I'm super excited!
If you read it, I hope you enjoy. :D
I'm super excited!
If you read it, I hope you enjoy. :D
My website hasn't been cross-posting the past few months; not sure what's going on, but this I can at least share here. :D (Thanks for the heads-up, csecooney!)
Originally posted by ajodasso at Strange Horizons Dec 2014 / Jan 2015 Poetry Acceptances:
Originally published at Author Shveta Thakrar. You can comment here or there.
You can buy Kaleidoscope today! I’m so excited; I’ve been waiting to share my color vampire story with you for a while, and now I can. It’s a story about hunger and art and sisters and belonging. And eating colors, of course.
I have a guest post up at Visibility Fiction on why I wrote “Krishna Blue” and a brief interview at DiversifYA.
And while we’re at it, here’s a sample of the story!
Neha blinked back her tears. That ignorant jerk wanted to see her heritage in her work. Which to him meant melodramatic imagery from the kind of red-sari literature she couldn’t stand. And instead of refusing, she’d frozen.
A thought unfolded. Her heritage, huh? Her palette with its bold smears of color was the artist’s version of her mother’s steel spice box, the same way her mother’s canvas was the tongue. There, multihued pools of fragrance and flavor joined to create something even more sensual and complex.
In the same way, Neha could blend the paints that would create the shades of turmeric and chilli and garam masala, amchur and cumin and coriander.
She uncapped another tube. Turmeric yellow oozed out, making her gasp. It was so bright, so beautiful. Its golden glow promised to fill her, to illuminate the corridors of her arteries and veins and soothe the dark, lonely chambers of her heart.
Images and ideas slipped through her mind in dreamy golden waves. If turmeric was like paint, then paint was like turmeric . . .
Stupid. Oil paint was toxic. How many teachers had drilled that into her head? Neha shook her head and reached for a paper towel.
Turmeric, something within her insisted. Somehow, instead of the paper towel, she’d seized the blob of paint. The tip of her index finger glistened yellow.
Neha paused, trapped between possibilities, teetering between potential universes. She might hate her life, but she didn’t want to die.
Yet her finger was at her lips now, parting them. She was so sick of everyone knowing better than her. She wanted to do this for herself, to taste turmeric yellow.
At the brush of her lips, the color exploded, bursting over her taste buds and splashing liquid saffron into her bloodstream.
Everywhere Neha looked she saw sunlight. The yellow was hers now, bright and bubbling. She twirled joyfully, radiant with it.
Then she glanced at the smudge on her finger. Horror and wonder fought to leave her breathless.
The paint had turned a lifeless gray.
Originally published at Author Shveta Thakrar. You can comment here or there.
Hi, everyone! I hope you’re having a good summer (or winter, depending on where you are). I am, though it’s flying by. I’ll tell you why below, but first, some news!
I recently had my first ever poem sale—“The Nagini’s Night Song,” to issue 1.3 of Mythic Delirium! I could not be more excited about this and am super grateful to C.S.E. Cooney, Julia Rios, and Mike Allen for their editorial guidance. I can’t wait to share it with all of you.
Okay, on to the recap of July!
On the weekend of the fourth my friend and super-talented jeweler Meenoo Mishra and her husband came to visit, and I bought one of her gorgeous mythic necklaces. I’m modeling it in the picture! We baked cupcakes and ate and laughed a lot. Good times.
Then it was off to Readercon in Burlington, Massachusetts, to catch up with dear friends, make new ones, and give readings! I read from “Krishna Blue” during the Midnight Speakeasy reading, and even though I was the last one to go, I’d say it got quite a great reception. The other readers were wonderful, too, and one of them won the Shirley Jackson Award!
Me, Patty Templeton, and Matt Kressel (Matt’s camera)
Our haunted Midnight Speakeasy reading! (Marco’s camera)
Then just a few days after returning from Boston, I boarded a train bound for New York City to attend the monthly KGB Bar Fantastic Fiction reading. (The readers were Sofia Samatar and Victor LaValle.) I got to see lots of wonderful people and meet one of my Viable Paradise roommates-to-be! And tour the offices of TOR, thanks to the always lovely Marco Palmieri.
Tempest Bradford and me (Tempest’s camera)
Then I gave a talk to a group of kids at my local library. They all perked up when we talked about horror, I read them a bit of “Krishna Blue,” and they wrote the beginnings to their own (horror-inspired) stories. That was all a little nerve-wracking at first, but I did it, so yay! (And who knows; maybe I inspired some of them to give writing a try.) I also raffled off a copy of an Amar Chitra Katha comic.
Asking what books this reader likes and why (Miss B’s camera)
Reading from “Krishna Blue” (Miss B’s camera)
And then I went to my brother-in-law’s fifties-themed wedding. I wore a borrowed fascinator and a polka-dot dress and round-toe heels. We ate lots, and I danced with my nieces and nephews. Fun! (Meeting my newest niece and having her select me as her dancing partner was the best part.)
Rocking the netting and polka dots (my camera)
And now I can collapse (or else return to work on Star Daughter). Whew! Well, until Friday, anyway, when I go see Mike Allen, Anita Devi Allen, and Nicole Kornher-Stace for Mike’s reading from his upcoming story collection Unseaming . . .
How’s your summer so far?
Originally published at Author Shveta Thakrar. You can comment here or there.
Sometimes you write short stories about color vampires and sleeping beneath blankets of sea, sometimes you critique other people’s equally odd and wonderful stories, and sometimes, well, sometimes you apply for writing workshops and find out you got in.
In other words, I’ve been accepted to Viable Paradise XVIII!
Dear readers, I am so excited. I get to have a story workshopped among speculative fiction pros like Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear, and Sherwood Smith (and many others)! I get to talk about writing and books and narrative and YA fantasy for a whole week! On beautiful Martha’s Vineyard in the autumn! I get to eat delicious dinners prepared for us every night and take walks to see bioluminescent jellyfish! I get to meet writers I don’t yet know and room with them! I haven’t done anything like this since I attended Clarion back in 2006, and I can’t wait!
Just before I learned I’d been accepted last week, I visited my incredibly talented friends C.S.E. Cooney and Julia Rios and read them the story I’ll be workshopping at VP (which was also my application story). We also wrote, watched Firefly, discussed what makes a poem work, and ate lots of vanilla ice cream drizzled with Bailey’s Irish Cream. If you haven’t tried that last, do. It makes writing retreats even . . . sweeter.
And I’ve been reading so many wonderful books. Stories–the core of a writer’s diet. It’s like you’re a butter churn, and you fill yourself with rainbows and pieces of sky and end up with new seeds of your own stories. The latest on my to-read pile: Welcome to Bordertown, Zombies Vs. Unicorns, Dark Metropolis, Otherbound, and Stargazing for Dummies. Check them out if you haven't!
Anyway, back to work! I’ve got a novel draft to finish, after all.
Originally published at Author Shveta Thakrar. You can comment here or there.
I’m so delighted to announce that my short story “Krishna Blue” will be in the amazing lineup of the forthcoming YA speculative fiction anthology Kaleidoscope. Check it out below!
(Yay, wonderful diverse fiction that isn’t just about being diverse!)
This story is particularly dear to my heart; I began it in 2006 at Clarion, when I had the idea of an artist who eats colors, and then I kept rewriting it over the years until I finally got it right. And now it’s in . . .
(Laini’s Ladies “Blue Wings”)
I am committed to living a magical, creative life. I’m a writer, as you know. Writing’s not always easy, and I don’t do it as regularly as I wish, but I am a writer, and I make stories. But there are other ways creativity manifests in my life, and I want to talk about them now.
When I was younger, I drew and painted and made things out of Sculpey clay. I came up with magical adventures I went on both in my backyard and in my head. I put myself into the stories I read. If in life I thought something bad might happen, I brainstormed many different, richly detailed potential solutions. I imagined objects that no one had invented yet (I was so excited the day I learned there was a thing like GPS after years of yearning for it!). My thoughts narrated my life as though I were the heroine in a novel. I felt magic in the air around me. In short, I was a very creative child.
But in high school, when I had to draw a portrait, when I had to draw a plant from, when I had to do a cut-paper record album, and everyone else in my art class was clearly so much better at all those things, my already bruised and beaten self-confidence crumbled. (I had a terrible, terrible time in high school.) I wasn’t anywhere close to what some of the other students could do without even trying, and so, I quit art altogether.
I was terrible, so why bother, right?
The sad thing is, there was no one to tell me I had talent and just needed more practice, more training. That I could do this, too, if I just stuck with it. That maybe I didn’t know the difference between a 2H pencil and a 4B, but my shapes and my eye were good. So I went off to college, became even more intimidated, and then spent most of my adulthood convinced I was not creative.
That’s right; the incredibly imaginative child grew into an adult who thought she wasn’t creative. And she suffered for it.
As a kid, I wanted to learn how to dance. I wanted to learn how to sing. As an adult, I had no idea how people made things, how they played instruments, how they envisioned things. That was totally beyond me, right?
Any time I did dare to start something, I never stuck with it. I couldn’t make myself, not when I didn’t believe in myself. Instead, I just felt like a failure and quietly envied others.
But in 2006, I wanted to write fantasy starring people who looked like me, and somehow I applied and got into the Clarion workshop, and I began to study the craft of writing. I’ve been learning ever since.
Yet I still didn’t think of myself as a creative person. In 2010, I felt the strangest nudge inside me: it suggested I should take harp lessons! I had no musical training, no idea how to read music, no clue what the levers were for. But I found a teacher, I leased a harp, and I started learning how to pluck the strings–and for a year, I kept the whole thing a secret, just to show myself I could do it.
And I started to learn songs! Me, who thought she could never do anything like that!
In 2012, I began dabbling in the crafting I so admired other people doing: paper crafts, felt pillows, hair accessories. And to my surprise, I found I could do it. My anxious mind loved coming up with ideas, and I kept trying them out, and the cycle began to feed itself.
Last month, I decided it was time to commit to learning how to draw. Enough of saying I couldn’t do it. Sure, I wish I hadn’t quit when I was seventeen, but I did, so all I can do now is move forward.
And I am. It’s frustrating, and of course I would love to be a lot further along than I am, but the only way to get there is to keep going. I’ve sprinkled the still lifes I’ve done recently throughout the post, mistakes and all. (Note: I’m not looking for critique on the art. It’s scary enough making these public!) I know they’re flawed. But I think it’s worth sharing them to prove that you really can start doing what you want at any age.
As poetess Mary Oliver said, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do/With your one wild and precious life?”
Dreams aren’t just important; they’re vital. When we live our passions, when we use our gifts, we add to the beauty and light in the world, and we inspire others to do the same. Whether or not reincarnation exists, we only live this particular life once, so we might as well live it to the fullest.
If I can do this, so can you.
So tell me, what are the things you’ve always wanted to do but never have? And what’s stopping you from doing them now?
One of the greatest things about the Internet is the ability to talk honestly about life, to make yourself vulnerable and know you might be helping someone in the process. I can’t count the times seeing someone tell their truth has let me know I wasn’t alone. That affirmation, especially in this age of social media, where it seems like everyone else has found the secret to a perfect golden life—well, it’s a balm for my heart and a reining-in of my depressive tendencies.
So let me tell you a secret, and maybe it’ll help you, too.
I had a birthday in the late fall, and one of the things I promised myself was that I wouldn’t stop believing in my dreams, even if it seems like there’s no chance they’ll ever come true—that the closer I get, the faster they move away.
The other day I broke that promise. I woke up anxious to a rainy gray sky, and in my chest, something tugged. It pulled at things outside me, things I have no control over. It felt wistful and sad. It turned me into an outsider again, as I’ve been for most of my life. I tried to distract myself with errands and a book, and reminding myself of what I’d done thus far in my writing career, both publicly and privately. But none of it helped. I wandered into a library and just knew my books would never be on that shelf.
And it made me want to cry.
If you’re on this website, you know I’m a writer. Writers write, and writers usually want to sell their stories and see their books published. What’s scarier than the idea that the book you poured your heart and many years into might not go anywhere at all?
Is it because you wrote about brown people and used “weird” names for your characters?
Is it because you should have known better and gone straight to a niche publisher as you were advised, because writing about brown people with “weird” names immediately makes your book niche?
Is it because you just can’t write, despite all the years you’ve put into honing your craft?
Is it because you’re too strange in the way you see the world, so no one can relate to the stories you have to tell?
Or is it just because no one cares about those stories?
I’ve cried a lot this past year. Privately, in the company of my husband and friends, but I have cried. And I’ve said more than once that I want to give up, because who cares, anyway?
Even typing that is hard; the world insists I should be shoving down all this fear and wearing my game face. Never let anyone see I doubted even for a second. A professional doesn’t do that, even when things are stuck in limbo.
And things are in limbo, and I’m scared. Here’s where my narrative arc says I’m supposed to put on a bright smile and soldier forward. I’m doing that; I haven’t given up, and I do believe in my dreams, even if I falter. But I am scared. Scared that they might not come true after all.
My arc isn’t done yet, of course, “improper” as it may be, and I don’t know where I’ll end up. On bookstore and library shelves, I hope, as I work hard at putting down more words about weird-named characters who look like me. I can’t see the end of the story until I get there.
E.T.A.: Some of you have expressed concern to me after reading this post, and I thank you, but I want to stress that I’m doing fine and have no plans to give up. I just wanted to address some things that don’t get talked about enough. We all struggle on our artistic path in some way or another, and I personally find hearing I’m not alone in having doubts from time to time really helpful, so I’m sharing mine for anyone else who could benefit.
So I have two exciting things to kick off this October: First, my dear, dear friend Jennifer Walkup is officially a published novelist! Her debut YA paranormal, Second Verse, is out in the world as of yesterday, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It turned out so beautifully, just as beautiful as the words inside. I [...]
Hello, hello! Life’s been here and there and everywhere, but today I’m back on the blog with a treat for you. Copper artist and debut author Clovia Shaw has graciously agreed to write a guest post about what inspired her to write her new urban fantasy novel, Nogitsune. Lincoln Black is nogitsune–a “field fox” cast aside by [...]
I’m super excited to be going to Readercon (www.readercon.org) for the first time! It’s a fun convention for people who love books, and it takes place in the Boston/Burlington, MA area from 11 to 14 July. Four whole days of talking to awesome people, eating good food, thinking about books, and generally having a blast! Some friends I can’t wait to see again, and others I’ll be meeting for the first time.
Here’s my schedule, in case you’re in the area. Hope to see you!
Spring! Hooray, it’s spring (even if a bit of chill lingers like a unwanted memory of winter, haunting and gray around the edges but fading with each day that passes). And with spring comes the need to wake up, stretch, and refresh the creative spirit with movement. Like the purple crocuses dotting my lawn, I find myself eager to rise from my winter hibernation, tilt my head skyward, and greedily drink up every cheery yellow ray of the sun.
There are so many colors coming back to life that I find I’m deeply inspired to play with them and make my own version. I’d already tried my hand at paper crafts, which I still love, but now I wanted to branch out—not to mention I’d accumulated a pile of felt squares I had no idea what to do with. So I turned to a couple projects I’d bookmarked months ago and challenged myself to make them. (The Internet is amazing! So many creative, generous people just bursting to share their vision with you.)
First we have this happy flag bunting. (You can find the tutorial here, if you want to make your own.) I’ve loved flag bunting for a while now, and the smaller flags were perfect for my house, vivid and eye-catching without dominating the walls. I don’t know much about sewing—yet—and my little stitches came out crooked. Plus I didn’t have any red thread handy, so I used white. But a red Sharpie came to my rescue, and now you’d never know. *grin* Every time I see the bunting, the colors and the letters remind me to, well, be happy!
As some of you know, I love cupcakes, and my kitchen is decorated with a cupcake theme. So when I found this tutorial for felt cupcakes, I knew I’d have to adapt that to make a garland to hang in my kitchen. And I did! I’m really pleased with the results.
A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine was going through a very difficult time, and I wanted to surprise her with a gift, one I’d made myself. So knowing her favorite color is yellow, and she really loves flowers, I experimented and eventually came up with this magnet. It made her day, which in turn made mine! (A goal we share is to continually work on ourselves, blooming one petal at a time.) Also, how pretty is copper glitter?
Finally, my niece just celebrated her seventh birthday, so I made this sparkly butterfly barrette (tutorial here). I attached it to a bobby pin. It looked so sweet in her hair!
So yes, lots of crafting lately. It’s fun and intensely gratifying, and the more I do it, the more inspired I get! It’s been a wonderful outlet in many ways, because it’s mostly just for me, and there’s something so empowering about looking at something and thinking, I made that! What should I try next that I used to think I couldn’t do?
Creativity really is a form of magic. You imagine something, you bring it into being, and then it exists where nothing was before.
Of course, let’s not forget my favorite medium of all, words. I’m cooking up a feast of story ideas and getting ready to start my second novel . . . more on that soon.
For now, what are your favorite arts and crafts? Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but never have? Then why not give it a try now? You might be surprised and delighted by what you come up with!
I’ve basically fallen off the face of the earth lately, thanks to freelance deadlines and other things, but I am thrilled to be back long enough to share some wonderful news with you. My dear, dear friend Jennifer Walkup has been given the go-ahead to share the cover for her debut YA novel Second Verse.
I read Second Verse while it was in draft form, and I’m super excited for this wonderful part ghost story, part thriller to appear on shelves this October, just in time for Halloween!
So you can share in the joy, Jenn’s having a giveaway to go along with the reveal! Read on for details.
* * *
Cover Reveal for Jennifer Walkup’s Second Verse–with an Epic Giveaway Contest!
Check out the cover for Jennifer Walkup’s Second Verse and click below to enter the Epic Cover Reveal Contest over at Me, My Shelf and I–she’s giving away signed ARCs, signed bookmarks and an Amazon gift card!
Bad things come in threes. In Shady Springs, that includes murder.
Lange Crawford’s move to Shady Springs, Pennsylvania, lands her a group of awesome friends, a major crush on songwriter Vaughn, and life in a haunted, 200-year-old farmhouse. It also brings The Hunt: an infamous murder mystery festival where students solve a fake, gruesome murder scheme during the week of Halloween. Well, supposedly fake.
Weeks before The Hunt, Lange and her friends hold a séance in the farmhouse’s eerie barn. When a voice rushes through, whispering haunting words that only she and Vaughn can hear, Lange realizes it’s begging for help. The mysterious voice leads Lange and Vaughn to uncover letters and photos left behind by a murdered girl, Ginny, and they become obsessed with her story and the horrifying threats that led to her murder.
Murder Yet to Come
But someone doesn’t like their snooping, and Lange and Vaughn begin receiving the same threats that Ginny once did. The mysterious words from the barn become crucial to figuring out Ginny’s past and their own, and how closely the two are connected. They must work fast to uncover the truth or risk finding out if history really does repeat itself.
CLICK HERE FOR THE CONTEST, AND GOOD LUCK! http://www.memyshelfandi.com/
From Friday’s fortune cookie: “Through greater effort and hard work a precious dream comes true.”
That could not have come at a better time!
I’m feeling a bit at loose ends right now, since along with eating Chinese food on Friday, I also finished the final pass of my novel Sipping the Moon and sent out my first batch of queries to literary agents. (Eek!) Wow, I can’t believe it’s finally at that stage. I’d worked on the novel since 2007, tossing out drafts and starting over until it finally felt book shaped and the best I could make it. So now it’s time to trust, to go read other people’s words, and to write more of my own.
First, though, I want to take stock. So far 2013′s been intense, with some ups and downs, but one of the highlights was a visit a couple weekends ago from friends, amazing author and performer C.S.E. Cooney–GO READ HER STUFF!–and equally wonderful artist Katie Redding. We chatted and ate yummy Indian food and laughed and baked cupcakes in my cupcake-themed kitchen and drank tea and generally filled my house with light. It was so lovely. I forget sometimes how inspiring it is to be surrounded by other creative people. I’m still glowing.
And let me sign off with a plug for a couple awesome fantasy novels not steeped in Western mythology:
First, The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda. Basically, Chadda picks up from where the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, left off, adapting it for modern-day India. His hero, a thirteen-year-old boy from the UK, Ash (Ashoka), quickly learns just how relevant the old myths can be, especially once he discovers who he was in them. Rich and action packed. Tagline: “Heroes aren’t made. They’re reborn.” SO GOOD. I cannot wait for books two and three! In fact, I loved the first one so much, I’m going to leave a review for it on Amazon, which I usually don’t do.
Secondly, I’m reading Ellen Oh’s Prophecy, a young adult high fantasy based on Korean culture. I’m really enjoying it so far! Kira, the heroine, is the only female warrior in the king’s army, and she’s also a secret demon slayer and an outcast. Can’t wait to see where Oh goes with this.
Obviously I want to see books like these be the norm, not the exception, so please consider giving them a read, whether you buy them or get them from your library. And then talk about them!
And now for some vacuuming and putting away of laundry. Oh, the glamorous life of a writer . . .
It’s time for this to stop. Time for the hoary, horrid misrepresentation clichés to be pointed out and examined; and for genuine, non-dismissive conversations to start.
Accordingly, here’s a handy bingo card for Western Cultural Imperialism–and we wish we could say we’ve made it all up, but unfortunately every single comment on this card was seen on the Internet.
Card designed by Aliette de Bodard, Joyce Chng, Kate Elliott, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, @requireshate, Charles Tan, @automathic and @mizHalle. Launch orchestrated with the help of Zen Cho and Ekaterina Sedia in addition to above authors (and an army of willing signal boosters whom we wish to thank very much!)
Per aliettedb: "Would very much appreciate signal boosting of any kinds (reposts, links, RTs, …). Thanks in advance!"
Cultural appropriation isn’t simply the "taking or borrowing of some aspects of another culture from someone outside that culture". Cultures throughout time have traded, adapted, and borrowed artefacts, symbols, technologies and narratives from one another. The issue isn’t the aesthetic and material mingling of cultures, hybridity, or that human creativity crosses cultural boundaries. Those are aesthetic and perhaps moral issues, separate from the real political issue of cultural appropriation.
The problem isn’t that cultures intermingle, it’s the terms on which they do so and the part that plays in the power relations between cultures. The problem isn’t "taking" or "borrowing", the problem is racism, imperialism, white supremacy, and colonialism. The problem is how elements of culture get taken up in disempowering, unequal ways that deny oppressed people autonomy and dignity. Cultural appropriation only occurs in the context of the domination of one society over another, otherwise known as imperialism. Cultural appropriation is an act of domination, which is distinct from 'borrowing', syncretism, hybrid cultures, the cultures of assimilated/integrated populations, and the reappropriation of dominant cultures by oppressed peoples.
It is with the utmost glee that I announce the release of How to Flirt in Faerieland & Other Wild Rhymes. This collection of fantastic poetry by C.S.E. Cooney is a combination of reprinted and original work by a woman whose talent never ceases to amaze me. Rebecca Huston has done an incredible job of capturing the essence of this book, and therefore the essence of faerieland, in the illustration she created for the cover. And Amal El-Mohtar of Goblin Fruit fame has written an introduction that will lure you and woo you and convince you that here you have entered faerieland. (Whether or not you are able to leave is up to you.)
As with all of Papaveria’s books, I accepted this collection for publication because I loved it. There is not a poem among the seventeen gathered here that did not make me smile, make me laugh, make me cry, or make me want to get up and dance. If you click on through to the portfolio page for this title, you can read what others have to say — I agree with every one of them. You will also see the full table of contents, with links to several of the poems that were previously published online.
Poetry is often a serious art; it delves into the secret parts of life and death and all that dwells in between. But it can also be an act of utter joy. While there is sorrow here in Cooney’s collection, there is also a steady undercurrent of whimsy, where myyth and fairy tales unite and part in a wonderful array of emotion. These are old folk tales, yet they are new tales created under the sure nib of Cooney’s pen.
If you would like a free pdf for purposes of review, all you have to do is contact me. I’ll be more than happy to open the way to faerieland for you.