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Peeking into the box of forgotten dreams

February 13th, 2014 (12:00 pm)
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Originally published at Author Shveta Thakrar. You can comment here or there.

(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?



photo (15)


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?


photo (23)


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!


photo (25)


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?”


photo (24)


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?

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

Telling the truth

February 5th, 2014 (10:30 am)
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Originally published at Author Shveta Thakrar. You can comment here or there.

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.

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

Two exciting things!

October 2nd, 2013 (11:57 pm)
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Originally published at Author Shveta Thakrar. You can comment here or there.

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 [...]

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Guest post with author Clovia Shaw and giveaway of her new book!

September 6th, 2013 (04:06 pm)
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Originally published at Author Shveta Thakrar. You can comment here or there.

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 [...]

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My Readercon schedule

June 26th, 2013 (02:23 pm)
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Originally published at Author Shveta Thakrar. You can comment here or there.

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!

Saturday, July 13

10:00 AM    F    To YA or Not to YA. Jordan Hamessley, E.C. Myers, Phoebe North, Charles Oberndorf, Veronica Schanoes (leader), Shveta Thakrar. There are plenty of adult books with teen heroes, like Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex and Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. Some books that were not aimed at teens when they came out are mostly read by them today, like Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. Some books are marketed as YA in one country and adult in another. So what makes a book “a YA book”? Do we just know it when we see it, or is there a way to pin this down beyond listening to marketing campaigns?

Sunday, July 14

12:00 PM    G    Writing for Younger Readers. Lisa Janice (LJ) Cohen, Jordan Hamessley, Alaya Dawn Johnson, E.C. Myers (leader), Phoebe North, Shveta Thakrar. How do middle grade (MG) and young adult (YA) authors and editors write for children and teen readers? How do they make science fiction more accessible for kids, build complex fantasy worlds, and develop authentic characters with diverse backgrounds? This panel is ideal for anyone writing MG or YA or interested in finding books with plots as rich and complex as any novel targeted to adult readers.
Proposed by E.C. Myers.
2:00 PM    G    Teen Violence, Teen Sex. Steve Berman, Gwendolyn Clare, Jack M. Haringa (leader), Donald G. Keller, Phoebe North, Shveta Thakrar. As seen in bestsellers like The Hunger Games and The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, today’s literary teen heroes, and especially its heroines, are more likely to commit violence than to have sex. Coming of age and coming into your own is often marked in YA spec fic by survival and destruction rather than sexual awakening. How is the exploration of violence in books related to consensual sexual exploration, and cultural anxieties and mores around it, in real teens’ lives?

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

Arts and Crafts and Spring!

April 7th, 2013 (10:18 pm)
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Originally published at Author Shveta Thakrar. You can comment here or there.

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!

photo (9)

 

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.

 

Cupcake garland

 

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?

 

Bloom Flower Magnet
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!

 

photo (8)

 

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!

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

Cover Reveal: Jennifer Walkup’s SECOND VERSE

March 18th, 2013 (03:51 pm)
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Originally published at Author Shveta Thakrar. You can comment here or there.

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!

 

SECONDVERSE_FINALCOVER (1)

 

Bad things come in threes. In Shady Springs, that includes murder.

Murder Now
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.

Murder Then
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/

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

Shimmering warm and bright

January 14th, 2013 (07:26 pm)
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Originally published at Author Shveta Thakrar. You can comment here or there.

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! :D

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 . . .

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

Reposting someone else's news: Our novel, "Stranger," has SOLD!

September 18th, 2012 (10:26 pm)


I could not be more thrilled. Wahooooo!

Originally posted by rachelmanija at Our novel, "Stranger," has SOLD!

I am delighted to announce that Stranger, the post-apocalyptic YA novel that I co-wrote with Sherwood Smith, will be published by Viking (Penguin Group) in Winter 2014.

The acquiring editor is Sharyn November. I have wanted to work with her ever since we met twelve years ago, at World Fantasy Con in Corpus Christi, Texas. She said that she was reprinting classic children's fantasies. I grabbed her by the shoulder and said, no doubt with a mad gleam in my eye, "Lloyd Alexander's Westmark! Elizabeth Wein's The Winter Prince! Patricia McKillip's The Changeling Sea" She smiled and said, "We're doing all three. Got any other suggestions?" Sharyn, thank you so much for championing our book.

Also, thank you very much, Eddie Gamarra and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein of the Gotham Group!

Yes, it's the Yes Gay YA book. Here's a little more about it:

Many generations ago, a mysterious cataclysm struck the world. Governments collapsed and people scattered, to rebuild where they could. A mutation, "the Change,” arose, granting some people unique powers. Though the area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, its technological marvels have faded into legend. "Las Anclas" now resembles a Wild West frontier town… where the Sheriff possesses superhuman strength, the doctor can warp time to heal his patients, and the distant ruins of an ancient city bristle with deadly crystalline trees that take their jewel-like colors from the clothes of the people they killed.

Teenage prospector Ross Juarez’s best find ever – an ancient book he doesn’t know how to read – nearly costs him his life when a bounty hunter is set on him to kill him and steal the book. Ross barely makes it to Las Anclas, bringing with him a precious artifact, a power no one has ever had before, and a whole lot of trouble.

There are five main characters. One is Ross, who knows all about prospecting, fighting, and desert survival, but hasn't had to interact with other human beings on a regular basis since he was twelve. The others are teenagers from Las Anclas: Mia Lee, introverted genius and town oddball, who can design six different weapons before breakfast; Yuki Nakamura, an aspiring prospector who is dying to get out of his small town and explore the rest of the world; Jennie Riley, Changed telekinetic and over-achiever, who must choose between becoming the teacher of the one-room schoolhouse or joining the elite military Rangers; and Felicite Wolfe, the Mayor's narcissistic daughter, who likes to spy on people with the help of her pet mutant rat.

And yes. Yuki is still gay. So is his boyfriend, Paco Diaz, the drummer in the town band. And Brisa Preciado, who has the power to make rocks explode, is still dating shy Becky Callahan, who works after school waiting tables at the saloon. As you can see, this isn't so much a "gay book" or a "straight book" as an ensemble book.

Sherwood and I wanted to write something fun and exciting, with adventure and romance and mutant powers and martial arts and a vivid sense of place. And we wanted it to be about the people who are so often left out of those sorts of books: Latinos and African-Americans, Jews and Asian-Americans, gay boys and lesbian girls, multiracial teenagers and teenagers with physical and mental disabilities. We didn't do this to fulfill some imaginary quota, but because we wanted to write about teenagers like the real ones we know, the real ones in Los Angeles, the real ones we were.

We hope that, however flawed it may be, our novel will make even a few of those teenagers happy.

This is a very personal project for me. People often ask me if I'm ever going to write about coming back to America, after spending most of my childhood in an ashram in India. In a metaphoric sense, this is that book. To tell the story of what it was like for Ross to come to Las Anclas, I drew upon my own experiences of stumbling into an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar rules, beset by memories I couldn't bear to recall and reactions I didn't understand, longing for connection but with no idea of how to relate to people.

Stranger is a post-apocalyptic adventure, not an issue novel. But all stories have their genesis somewhere, and for me, it was my wish to say, "It's okay. You're okay. You'll get better. You'll make friends. You'll fall in love. You can be a hero." I hope it finds its way to the people to whom it will speak.

If you would like to be notified when the book actually comes out, please comment to this post to say so. I will reply to your comment when the book is published, and you should get an email notification. Or you can leave your email address in a comment. (I can copy the address, then delete or screen the comment.) If you're not on LJ/DW, you can comment anonymously (or email me) with an email address where I can reach you.

Incidentally, I am putting out an e-book anthology of my short stories and poetry in a couple months. If you'd like to be notified when that's available, please comment to say so.

If you're interested in reading our book, you may also be interested in this list of YA science fiction and fantasy with major LGBTQ characters. And here's a list of YA fantasy and science fiction with protagonists who aren't white..

I would be happy to answer any questions you might have, about the novel or anything else.

Finally, please feel free to Tweet, link to, or otherwise promulgate this post. Lots of people mentioned during Yes Gay YA that they would like to know what happened to this book, but the vast majority probably don't read my blog.

Crossposted to http://rachelmanija.dreamwidth.org/1070729.html. Comment here or there.

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

Interview and giveaway: Pearl North's The Book of the Night!

September 15th, 2012 (01:22 pm)
current location: The Victorian Dollhouse
current music: Qntal's "Spiegelglas"

I am delighted to have Pearl North join us again as she celebrates the release of the third and final book in her Libyrinth trilogy, The Book of the Night. (Read my first interview with her here.)

Pearl and her publisher, Tor Teen, have generously offered up three copies of The Book of the Night to commenters in the U.S. and Canada! Just leave a comment at the bottom of this entry or its Dreamwidth mirror by 11:59 EST on Saturday, 22 September, and I'll use www.random.org to pick the winners.

The blurb: "The world of the Libyrinth has experienced a series of wrenching changes. After the Libyrarians and their longtime foes the Singers discovered their common heritage, a young healer named Po found the Lion's Bloom, an ancient and enormously powerful artifact capable of rewriting reality.

Behind the mysteries of their shrouded past has always been the legendary Book of the Night. Sought for generations, both feared and revered, it is the key to this world of wonders. When vain, grasping Queen Thela steals the Lion’s Bloom and imperils the very reality of the world, only the Book can heal what she has rent asunder. An epic journey through strange lands, a perilous encounter in a clockwork city, and the revelation of the truth beyond reality will lead those who find the Book to a moment when their world will either be saved...or cease to exist.

Told with the grace and skill that only Pearl North can bring to the tale, The Book of the Night is a breathtaking adventure that will linger in the memory long after the final page is turned."

And now, onto the interview!




Congratulations on finishing the trilogy, Pearl! Now that I've had a chance to read the book, which I really enjoyed, I have some questions for you.

1. First of all, without spoiling anything, you seem to play with tropes: what is fantasy, what is science fiction, even what is the meaning of story and myth? Could you talk a little about that?


Sure. I like to examine my assumptions as much as my awareness of them will allow. Any time I make a story decision automatically, without debating over it at all, that's a red flag to me. So it seems natural that in the course of this trilogy, which is by far the most complicated thing I'd ever written, I'd eventually get around to questioning all kinds of things. As you say, what is story? Is it something separate from what we call reality, or is reality really just another story? Yeah, it can get kind of deep inside my head. :)


2. There's a steampunk city in the Libyrinth universe! With lots of gears and dangerous springs! What was the inspiration behind that?

I'm a bit of a pantser, so I sometimes surprise myself. For example I didn't know much at all about Thesia when I first mentioned it in Libyrinth, the first book of the trilogy. By the time I got to The Book of the Night, I knew that Thesia was where the minerals and metal goods came from on my world. And then into the story came the Tollkeeper. He just sprang right out of my head and on onto the page, and lo and behold, he was all decked out in Victorian garb and was messing around with gears and such. I said to myself, well, I guess the Thesians are steampunks.


3. Finding your own family seems to be a prominent theme in the novels: Selene chooses the Libyrinth, Queen Thela chooses Jolaz to replace her, and of course, Haly and Clauda rely on each other. Could you speak a bit to that?

The drive to find a place and a group where we are valued as ourselves is something that I have always identified with. It is a theme that shows up in my work again and again. I find something at once painful and beautiful in that search, and I experience, still, a strong emotional catharsis when my characters find their true home.


4. The Ancients have pretty sophisticated technology. Whether that is a positive or negative thing, I'll leave up to the reader, but what do you as author think about technology and our future?

I love technology! No, I'm not entirely uncritical of it, and I do think it is important to thoroughly examine the ramifications of technological developments and the process by which technology is made. But I and many others who are dear to me would not be alive today without technology. And on a slightly less dramatic note, the internet and the rise of ebooks has vastly improved my life as an author.

There's something deeply ironic about the fact that at the same time I was writing the Libyrinth novels, which valorize print books, I was also exploring ebooks and digital publishing in a different genre. The technological shift in publishing happened so fast that by the time I was writing The Book of the Night, it was an entirely different landscape from the one in which I initially conceived of the idea for the Libyrinth. I hope that the conclusion of the trilogy leaves room for a broader perspective on both books and technology--and books as technology.


5. The question of balance comes up often. Balance between faiths, between genders, between peoples, balance between those with enough to eat and those without. Do you think we can ever really find true balance between all those things?

Perfect balance would probably mean stasis, which would probably mean death, though we're speaking quite abstractly here. I think that in real life, balance is a process, not a state. We are always adjusting, correcting, balancing--moving. That's what's important I think. Keep moving!


6. Finally, on a much less philosophical note, what can we expect from you in the future?

That's hard to say. I have no immediate plans for another Pearl North book at this time, but I am always writing. At the moment I am working on a science fiction romance under another name. You can always check out my website, http://anneharris.net, for links to all of my current projects.




Thanks so much, Pearl! And as I said before, readers in the U.S. and Canada, just post a comment (including a way for me to contact you) to be entered to win one of three copies of The Book of the Night!

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

Dead Can (Still) Dance!

August 27th, 2012 (11:25 am)
ecstatic

current location: The Victorian Dollhouse
current mood: delighted
current music: Dead Can Dance's "Children of the Sun"

Hey, everyone! *blows the dust off this LiveJournal* I haven't felt much like posting these past couple months, but the concert I went to last night was fabulous enough that I had to write about it.

As some of you know, I am a huge Dead Can Dance fan. My husband introduced me to them via a mix CD he sent me when I was living in Germany back in 2000. I listened to it and thought, Wow, I really love these songs. Only once I came back to the States did I ask him who the various bands were. It turns out the song "Cantara," which I'd adored, was by this group I'd never heard of called Dead Can Dance. Ed had listened to them since he was seventeen.

I borrowed all their CDs from him and loved almost every song. Just one, "American Dreaming," seemed off to me, and I always skipped it. :P I loved their gloomy, otherworldly sound, the way they incorporated instruments and flavors from all over the world into their music. And Lisa Gerrard's voice, her glossolalia, always sounded like magical spells, like gold and silver notes floating into the air, promising enchantment and secrets if I just knew how to hear the words. It was a doorway to the fey, no matter what culture the listener came from, no matter what form the fey took for that person, because it contained so much from so many places within it.

So it's no surprise that Lisa and Lata Mangeshkar (totally different sound, obviously!) provide the soundtrack to my novel.

I'd been heartbroken to learn they'd broken up and never stopped hoping they'd get back together, so I could hear them in person. So of course, when they did get back together to put out a new album and tour, I grabbed us tickets right away.

DCD has a big goth following, so I wasn't surprised to see so many people turned out in their black and often Victorian-esque best. I had to do my part, of course, so I showed up in a black dress with spaghetti straps and a peacock feather barrette.

Our seats were in the middle of the first row of the second tier, so we had a bird's-eye view. I couldn't have picked better ones, unless we'd actually been on the ground. I was thrilled.

And the show, oh, the show was amazing. As much as I'd loved the music before, it couldn't compare to hearing the band live. And when Lisa opened her mouth and sang, the sheer power of her voice sent chills up my spine. Brendan was as deep and evocative as ever, and even their new songs were interesting, but it was Lisa's voice, as always, that did it for me. I found myself so full, I kept sighing, which made me laugh.

They played a lot of crowd favorites, a couple songs I didn't know, which I'm guessing are from their solo albums, and a few from the new CD. It was a good selection, giving both Lisa and Brendan chances to shine.

Somebody insisted on fiddling with her cell phone next to us, which was annoying, but whatever. I was too happy, drinking in the sounds and the colors of the beautiful lighted backdrop (which ranged from whirling suns to twinkling stars to a cityscape), to really care. Even Ed, who hadn't been feeling well, was sucked in.

And we got three encores! Three! At the end, Lisa blew us kisses and told us to have beautiful dreams, and that we were very, very special. Someone gave her a bouquet of roses, and she pressed his hand. Someone else yelled out, "I love you, Lisa!"

Of course, I had to buy the new CD on our way out. Ed said I was grinning so much and looked so in my own world, he'd better take it, since I was unintentionally holding it out like an offering to the streets of Philly.

I know this entry doesn't even begin to describe how great it was, so let me give you a song instead. Two songs, actually, just for comparison's sake. :)





Lisa Gerrard with Dead Can Dance



Lata Mangeshkar, Queen of Hindi film music

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

Presenting the Cultural Imperialism Bingo Card

June 12th, 2012 (06:56 pm)
tired

current location: The Victorian Dollhouse
current mood: tired
current music: David Sylvian's "

If you think colonialism is dead… think again. Globalisation has indeed made the world smaller–furthering the dominance of the West over the developing world, shrinking and devaluing local cultures, and uniformising everything to Western values and Western ways of life. This is a pernicious, omnipresent state of things that leads to the same unfounded things being said, over and over, to people from developing countries and/or on developing countries.

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!"



And via qian:

[personal profile] ardhra's brilliant essay What is cultural appropriation is now public.

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.


Per qian, "Read it all -- it's the best explanation of cultural appropriation I've seen. I read an earlier version of the essay and it was one of those moments where it's like something goes click in your brain and suddenly the world makes more sense."

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

The key to the queendom

June 11th, 2012 (04:13 pm)
contemplative

current location: The Victorian Dollhouse
current mood: contemplative
current music: "Love or Above"

Or csecooney's invitation to me to post again. How can I refuse when it comes with my very own key? ♥

The other impetus for this post is the panic attack I had yesterday, on and off for hours. I hadn't had one in months and months, and I've grown enough spiritually and emotionally that they only come now in response to a specific trigger--fear of making a mistake that messes everything else up for good. Luckily for me, I didn't, not outside the scenario painstakingly detailed in my looping, crazed thoughts, and also luckily, I have dear friends who listened and empathized until I was able to calm down. People I can trust with my most shameful self and who love me, anyway. Or even because of it. Because a lot of that "shameful" stuff is just the part of being human most of us don't talk about openly.

I decided to write this post about telling truth, because I really and truly believe if more of us were open about the not-so-nice things that happen to us, there would be a lot less pressure to pretend everything is fine all the time. We could relax and just be real, because we weren't alone. I know that one of the worst things of all for me has been thinking I'm the only one: the only one who had messed-up friendships, whether my fault or the other person's; the only one who didn't understand people; the only one who struggled; the only one who made mistakes. The only one who didn't get it. The only one on the outside with no way in.

Learning that wasn't true has been so incredibly freeing, I can't believe it. It's not that I'm glad other people have gone through their version of this pain; in fact, hearing that wakes my empathy. But it is comforting to be reminded that we're all on this journey. It's not like everyone else was born knowing how to live life, while I somehow missed the manual. We're all learning, every day, every minute. We all do things we wish we hadn't or have other people do things to us. It's just part of living.

And if I had just known that sooner, it would have saved me a hell of a lot of grief and self-loathing. I'm still learning how to have compassion for myself, how to allow myself have the good things I've always yearned for. Something wonderful happened on the personal front a few weeks ago, and at first, I simply could not accept it. I panicked! Why? Because it didn't fit into my still-entrenched (though not as much as before) worldview that insists I'm always on the outside, always on the fringe of things. The worldview that kept me from finishing my novel and getting it out into the world, because good things like book deals happened to other people, not me. The worldview that said I didn't have friends.

Well, that last definitely isn't true anymore. It actually hasn't been true for a while, but I couldn't let myself see that. I'm still learning social cues, still trying to understand why people do the things they do. But to be heard and understood with love and compassion--wow. I stop wanting to censor myself so much, stop wanting to stay hidden because what if something thinks I'm horrible? I start to be braver and more of who I am, all because I was received just the way I was. That's a huge, amazing blessing.

I try to do the same for others, because I do know the truth sets you free. It's a matter of finding the right person to tell it to. If we just judged less and accepted more, the world would be alight with peaceful people. Instead, we carry these things inside, ashamed to speak of them, because what if someone thinks badly of us? And we feel alone and hopeless.

It's funny, but being heard without judgment is like a magic spell. The parts of me that carried so much weight suddenly become like feathers. Some I can even put down for good. Some I'm not ready to put down yet, but I get a sense that maybe one day, I will be. And that frees up so much energy for the things I do want to come into my life. I've become a lot more crafty (paper crafts, anyone?), for example, and I'm nudging myself to finally start dabbling in natural perfumery, something I've wanted to play with for years.

Speaking of writing, I did get the fourth draft of my novel done. I set myself the month of May to do it in, and that was a hard, hard month. Legions of old doubts and fears came up, and it was . . . not fun. But I'm proud to say I met my deadline, thanks in part to the loving encouragement of friends and my husband, in part to my own determination. Seeing I could do it was so validating, even if I'm nervous about the forthcoming feedback. (That's just normal, I think.) So yay!

I'm going to tell you another secret. I'm scared of interaction on the Internet, scared that I'm doing something wrong when I enter an ongoing Twitter conversation or leave a joking comment on someone's LJ. I get really, really scared that I'm going to say or do the wrong thing, and that'll be that. That trigger I mentioned above? Yeah. This did happen to me when I was much younger, and letting that stay in the past instead of coloring my perception of now is challenging, especially when I feel threatened by circumstances. But neural pathways don't get changed overnight, and trauma doesn't go away that fast, either. I'm doing my best, even when I forget that.

That fear of wondering what's okay and what's not has made me stay away from LiveJournal these past couple of months, and even now, I'm asking myself if I really want to press "post" when I finish this entry. So why even make it? Because maybe I'm not the only person with these fears. And if my brave friend and fellow writer Jessica Corra can make a post like this one, then surely I can share a couple of my own secrets, especially if there's a chance that hearing them might help someone else.

Thanks for reading. I send you all love and compassion. ♥

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

How to Flirt in Faerieland

May 7th, 2012 (02:30 pm)

Originally posted by papaveriapress at How to Flirt in Faerieland

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/PapaveriaPress/~3/2z-UwrlT-g8/

http://www.papaveria.com/?p=403

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.)


How to Flirt in Faerieland & Other Wild Rhymes by C.S.E. Cooney


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.


Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

Gonna Go Back In Time: Wisconsin's Legalized Sexism

April 10th, 2012 (11:51 am)

I have a lot of my own thoughts about all the ugliness raging in the U.S. around race and women and the economy, but this is a good place to start. (Spoiler: What the hell?!)


Originally posted by catvalenteat Gonna Go Back In Time: Wisconsin's Legalized Sexism

It’s ok. You guys can tell me.


We all secretly went back in time, right?


That’s the only way I can get my head around Wisconsin’s repeal of their Equal Pay Act on the argument that “Money is more important to men”, piled on top of the birth control “debate” and Georgia passing legislation based on the idea that women are anatomically and ethically identical to pigs and cows. We fell through a time vortex and it’s 1959 and half of the twentieth century didn’t happen.


That is, of course, what Scott Walker and the rest of the charming gentlemen who are signing these grotesque reversions into law without mandate or recourse want. Hey, if we take away their birth control and don’t pay them for work, everything will go back to the way it was when pwecious Scotty was a kid and women will just stay at home and back cookies for everyone. Yay! No one will be gay anymore and America will drink its milk and be big and strong and we won’t have to worry about recycling and breast cancer (ew breasts!) and unwhite people and that rock n’ roll music the kids listen to. We can law it all away.


Yeah. And fuck you, too. And fuck you to everyone who told me to stop swearing about this on Twitter last night. WE SHOULD ALL BE SWEARING. We should all be laying down so much shit that fucking roses grow on Twitter. WE SHOULD CARE ABOUT THIS AT LEAST AS MUCH AS WE CARED ABOUT SOPA. Funny how I don’t see anyone shutting down portions of the Internet in protest, though. I mean, it’s only women. The headline on Reddit about this is: “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that prohibits workers from collecting damages in employment discrimination cases.” No outrage, no commentary, just a link. No mention of Walker’s contention that women don’t work as hard, aren’t “go go go” like men, and shouldn’t be paid as much. Women not even mentioned, despite being the clear and stated target of the legislation. Why get upset? Should be fine!


After all, there’s no war on women. The Republicans promise there isn’t. Just because the massive portion of their efforts are bent toward reducing the rights and freedoms of a single group within the American population doesn’t mean it’s a war. Not like the War on Drugs is a war. After all, drugs are bad and need to be controlled or else society will fall apart. Just like the ladies. This is just Good, Small Government. Why, next week, they’ll be repealing the Equal Pay for Caterpillars Act.


The conservatives are at least partly right: birth control and equal pay (somewhat equal, anyway) were the great victories of first and second wave feminism. They are trying everything in their power to take those things away, in the hopes that it’ll activate a Time Turner that will erase the source of those changes as well as the changes themselves. They say we are pigs, they say we don’t need any silly pin money, they say these things and they should be embarrassed, they should be ashamed at what just came out of their mouths, but no one is shaming them. The news treats it like a simple partisan debate. Point for blue, point for red. But no matter what young folks might say, these men know we’re not in a post-sexist or post-racist culture, that they can rely on old, ugly misogyny and the reluctance to stand up for women’s rights that has tinted gender relations in this country for pretty much ever to lube their legislation up nice and slick. When women are outraged, you don’t have to listen, after all. Bitches be crazy.


I know Walker will almost certainly be recalled in November. Doesn’t really matter–he’s fiat’d this into law and there’s an inertia there. I’ve heard rumors that Walker is a top candidate for the GOP VP slot, so don’t get smug in the knowledge that he’s going away. I shouldn’t be surprised, you shouldn’t be surprised–but we should all be terrified. And angry.


I’ve seen a lot of people saying things like “only in the US” and “America is crazy” and “thank god I don’t live there” flitting around, both here and on my gendered online discourse post. (And I want to thank the BSFA for proving my point, that the sexist jackasses, they live everywhere.) And I want to say: knock it off. First of all, no matter how much we like to take credit for things, Americans did not invent sexism. I promise, it could not “only happen in the US.” Many countries, if not all of them, have huge gender problems and many of those are boiling over with regressive assholes in power. And since the UK, Canada, and Australia are all having trouble with conservatives in their government pissing in the punchbowl, I wouldn’t get too excited about your immunity to this kind of crap.


But more importantly–stop thinking you’re special and it can never happen in your country. That is how America got like this in the first place. By thinking we were special, specially liberated and enlightened and awesome and only those other lamer countries had problems. That arrogance allows us to continue to let everything circle the drain, because we’re the best and OBVIOUSLY we’re not really sexist and stuff, it’ll get fixed, don’t worry. Our system can’t have been redesigned to let a few people destroy our economy–we have the best economy! USA! Everything’s fine! GROWTH 4EVAH.


I hate that shit. I know you hate that shit. So stop telling me Americans are so weird and where you live this could never happen. It could. If you’re not vigilant, like we haven’t been, it will.


Doesn’t mean I know what vigilance looks like. I’ve been told not to call myself a feminist my whole life, well before the current skirmishes. I’ve seen vast swathes of young women grow up couching every sentence defending their right to exist in “I’m not a feminist, but…” Because feminists are bad and they hate men and they’re ugly. But I’ve also been told: well, obviously you’re not serious about marriage if you don’t take your husband’s name, if you must be pro-choice make sure you insist that you could never make that choice for yourself, don’t make the first move or boys will think you’re a slut (also you will be a slut), you can have a full time job but don’t think that means you get to slack off on cooking, cleaning, and childrearing, you lazy baby-hungry girl. Men work so hard. They shouldn’t have to worry about the home. After all, you’re just naturally better at cleaning–men just don’t see clutter like you do!


But everything’s fine in America now and all feminism should worry about are the poor ladies living in the Middle East so why are you complaining that you only get 80 cents to the male dollar? YOU GOT 80 CENTS, BITCH, AREN’T YOU HAPPY?


So yeah. I feel fucking miserable and helpless. The fact is that our system is only loosely democratic at this point. We vote nationally on a President and that’s it. We as citizens have no recourse when executive branches decide to get all War on Caterpillars on our asses, and it’s been made abundantly clear that not one fuck is given about organized protest at that level of government.


This is why Wikipedia shut down to protest SOPA. Because that’s all we have, really. Disrupt commerce and consumer culture. But I just can’t see that kind of concentrated action happening in defense of women, no matter how much what happens to us happens to the whole culture. Go ahead: take our birth control and our jobs and call us pigs, tell us to obey the Catholic Church’s most panicked and regressive ideas whether or not we are Catholic. Take our humanity and wipe Congress’s asses with it.


But don’t you dare take away smoothly torrenting Mad Men episodes. How else will we get new ideas for how the country should look?


Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

My heart is still breaking on this first day of spring.

March 20th, 2012 (02:55 pm)

It's been breaking, and I've been crying ever since I heard about Trayvon Martin's murder. I keep thinking, he was just a baby. Just a kid out for some snacks, enjoying life, and someone who could only see ugly stereotypes thought to destroy that with a gun.

I believe very much in love and compassion, and I also believe all beings deserve respect and empathy. That poor boy did not deserve to die. He was a light in the world, a world I want to see all babies grow up to enjoy equally, to be able to live in without fear. We're damn far away from that right now, but we can call a spade a spade and say it is never okay to go after someone with a gun for being "suspicious" (black). We can say that we are tired of watching ugliness happen in our world. It doesn't have to. It really doesn't.

We need to be lights in the world, too, to speak up when we know something is wrong, to help when others are in trouble. To be sympathetic and compassionate and kind and brave. Every one of us needs to do that. We need to see Zimmerman face justice and realize the enormity of what he's done--he killed a defenseless child.

But go read this. Mikki Kendall says it much better than I can.

"The mother in me worries, not just for my son, but also for all the sons of my friends. The idea that the fat babies I’ve rocked, the wild toddlers I’ve chased, the half grown boys I’ve nagged about chores could wind up dead on a slab hurts me in ways that I can’t explain fully to anyone but another black mother. We walk tight ropes with our children, wanting them to experience life to the fullest while also wishing we could wrap them in a bubble of protection for the rest of their lives. Our sons don’t have to commit actual crimes, or even face a judge and jury to be executed. All they have to do is be black men in America, and if the police response to George Zimmerman’s claims of self defense are any indication? Their killers won’t even face a cursory prosecution. Instead, they’ll be sent home without so much as a slap on the wrist."

That's not the world I want to live in, nor the one I think you do. Please, please, remember we all have to take Gandhiji's advice to heart and be the change we want to see in this world. We all have to speak up. We all have to act.

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

Today is my lovely husband's birthday.

March 16th, 2012 (01:25 pm)
Tags: ,

Unfortunately, he's sick, so celebrating will have to wait until later this weekend, when we go out for dinner and drinks. We've also been meaning to see the new Studio Ghibli movie, Karigurashi no Arrietty (The Secret World of Arrietty in English). Has anyone seen it yet? If so, what did you think?

In other happy news, a dear friend asked me to be a bridesmaid in her rainbow wedding. I am thrilled. :D Her influence has helped to wake the artistic urge in me, and I couldn't be more grateful. Plus I love rainbows.

Happy Friday with love and sparkles!

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

What I've been making lately, or, Glitter glue, where have you been all my life??

March 13th, 2012 (10:10 am)
creative

current location: Not the Victorian Dollhouse
current mood: creative
current music: None

I've been pretty quiet on here because my energy's gone elsewhere, into living that creative, magical life I keep talking about. I'm trying to live my days as an act of conscious creativity, being aware of what I do and how it brings about what I want and don't want. And I'm making things!

I've spent the last couple months diving into paper crafts, and I am in love. (My friend skogkatt knows what I'm talking about!) So I thought I'd share my latest project with you, a mobile I made for my niece's birthday. I'm very proud of how it turned out and can't wait to try something else!



Aunt and niece paper dolls. The flowers and heart spell out "trust in magic." And you can't really tell in these pictures, but the dolls are wearing sparkly emerald and ruby slippers, respectively.



See the rest of the mobile objects beneath the cut.Collapse )



And best of all, aunt and niece celebrating together.

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

Another quick post about other people's stories

February 13th, 2012 (09:57 pm)
ecstatic

current location: Not the Victorian Dollhouse
current mood: delighted
current music: None

. . . because this is too cool not to share.

The second issue of Demeter's Spicebox is now up, and it includes two new stories that track the progress of the chappals (sandals) from my story "Lavanya and Deepika" and the teapot from Mari Ness's "Sister and Bones." Both pieces are based on the fairy tale types 510 and 923, about salt.

I just finished reading "The Salt of Aksum" by Mae Empson and loved what she did with my chappals and my yaksha (nature spirit). :) I can't wait to read Joshua Gage's "Salt" tomorrow.

I hope you'll check both stories out, too!

Demeter's Spicebox, issue two

Shveta, bursting with stars ॐ [userpic]

"Jack, Jack, Jack, head in a sack..."

February 13th, 2012 (03:16 pm)

Eventually I'll have a post of my own again, I promise, but for now, an awesome deal. (I heard Claire read aloud from Jack in person . . . and whoa, you should rush out to download the audiobook. Seriously.

Originally posted by csecooney at "Jack, Jack, Jack, head in a sack..."

Oh, my gosh! I'm SO EXCITED to announce that the AUDIOBOOK of Jack o' the Hills "Part One: STONE SHOES" is available for purchase and download!!!

The audiobook includes an original song "Master Jack" with my lyrics and music by Jeremy Cooney. He performs it BEAUTIFULLY. It's very creepy and jolly.

The publisher Erzebet ANNOUNCES HERE:

Welcome to 2012! I return from an extended online hiatus to bring you tidings of Jack Yap, as promised in "You Don't Know Jack!, in which the author discusses the making of the audiobook itself.

Jack Yap is “his Marm’s good boy, maple-syrup mouth, toffee-tongue, such sweetness” — or is he? He’s a rascal, a rapscallion, a downright ragamuffin, and he’s one of the most memorable characters I’ve ever read. It is therefore with great delight that I announce the release of the audiobook of “Stone Shoes”, the first of the two tales that make up Jack o’ the Hills, read by author C.S.E. Cooney and arranged by Jeremy Cooney. Many thanks go out to Jeremy, who also helped with “this GarageBand mumbojumbo”.

The audiobook can be purchased exclusively from Papaveria for the outrageously low cost of £1.69 — that’s approximately $2.99 for our American friends. Visit Circle Six to get a copy of your own.


PLEASE ENJOY!

PLEASE SIGNAL BOOST IF IT SUITS YOU!!!

What folks are saying about Jack o' the Hills

“The best story from the online Summer issue is also dark fantasy, this time blackly humorous: ‘Stone Shoes’, by C. S. E. Cooney, about Jack Yap and his brother Pudding and their Marm and a skinchanger’s egg — linguistically inventive, and slyly vicious.”

–Rich Horton, from the January 2008 Locus

“Claire Cooney spins tales of Grimm horror with elvish gold gleaming in their darkness. They have the vivid colors of an extremely good nightmare, a fertile and vernal radiance all their own: funny and horrifying and moving by turns — and sometimes out of turn. If you’ve forgotten why you love fantasy, these stories of Jack Yap and Shapechanger Tam will remind you.”

–James Enge, author of Blood of Ambrose, nominated for the 2009 World Fantasy Award.

“Stunningly delicious! Cruel, beautiful and irresistible are C.S.E. Cooney’s characters and prose. Just when you thought fantasy had devolved into endless repetition, ’Jack o’ the Hills’ blows us all over the next hill and into the kingdom beyond. C.S.E. Cooney is a rare and exciting new talent. Whatever she offers us next, I’ll waiting in line to read.”

– Ellen Kushner, author of Thomas the Rhymer

- Francesca Forrest

- Charles Tan

- Alexandra Erin

- Amazon.com reviews

***