New story up at the Hanging Garden Stories Tumblr!

The prompt for this story, titled “So Sweet a Changeling,” was “Shakespeare with a sci-fi twist.” Enjoy!

When Titania took the boy away, it wasn’t so bad, not really.

A stolen child, a changeling. The faeries had told him stories like that. It was fun to fall inside one. To pretend.

She wore gowns of gossamer and a flower crown; it smelled like lavender and roses. She gave him his own bright garden to play in and told him he was the child of a raja, a father who was too busy to spend time with him. She put wings on his back and glitter on his cheeks and kept him close. They wove daisy chains and napped in her butterfly-sprinkled bower.

It wasn’t so bad, not really. In fact, sometimes the boy had fun. Most of the time, even. But sometimes he remembered shiny steel objects and white spaces, even a cage with a rat in it. Sometimes he dreamed he was in the cage, and then everything got cloudy.

New anthology sale: TOIL & TROUBLE!

I’m so excited to share that I’m going to have a story in Toil & Trouble, an anthology about witches that’s going to be awesome! Just look at the editors and the lineup!

From here: Michael Strother at HarlequinTeen has acquired Toil & Trouble, an anthology of feminist stories of witchcraft, co-edited by Tess Sharpe (l.) and Jessica Spotswood and featuring contributions from Brandy Colbert, Zoraida Cordova, Andrea Cremer, Kate Hart, Emery Lord, Elizabeth May, Anna-Marie McLemore, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Karuna Riazi, Lindsay Smith, Nova Ren Suma, Robin Talley, Shveta Thakrar, Tristina Wright, and Brenna Yovanoff. The book will be published in fall 2018; Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret brokered the deal for world rights.

My essay “#beautifulresistance” will be in the next issue of UNCANNY!

I sold my essay titled “#beautifulresistance” to Uncanny magazine as part of its ongoing Protesting 101 campaign, and it will be out in issue 15. I’m really, really honored and pleased, and I can’t wait to share it with you. (Spoiler: I reference The Legend of Zelda. Yes, really.)

In the meantime, I’m writing as best I can and keeping my heart open, and I send you all love.

An introductory reading list for South Asian literature!

So if you recall, I was fortunate enough to teach part of a lesson on the Beastly Bride (ATU tale type 400, “The Quest for the Lost Bride”) lesson as part of the Carterhaugh School’s fairy tale course. (Such a great course; Brittany and Sara are super smart, funny, and excellent teachers, and I’m learning so much! I highly recommend signing up for their future offerings.) I spoke about “Ganga and Shantanu” from the Mahabharata and a couple other beastly women stories, and the reception was so enthusiastic, with the students asking where they could find more, I went to my fellow desi writers, got their suggestions, and put together a reading list.

Then I mentioned it on Twitter as part of a larger thread, and again, people asked where they might find these stories, and could they see this list? Yes, they–and you–can! I’m sharing the transcribed thread here for you along with the list.

Because story is how we change minds, I’m compiling a list of Mahabharata and Ramayana (originals, retellings, and comics) texts and other bits of mythology and folktales for the Carterhaugh School fairy tale class. We, particularly we Americans, really do need to become familiar with art and narrative from all over the world, not just Western stuff. Sometimes we diaspora even don’t know the stories from our heritage because of colonization and assimilation and Western stuff always being promoted instead. We all need to understand where other cultures and peoples are coming from and not just think the American/Western gaze is universal.

And the best way to do that is–say it with me!–through art and story.

Because everything we believe IS a story. We’ve internalized the stories we know until they’re mental wallpaper, quietly influencing how we think. We tend to believe the values we’ve learned are the only ones and always the right ones. But really, just they’re a set of stories we’ve been taught. One limited way of looking at the world. One limited way of thinking about other people. So we need to branch out and reach for other art and story. Watch other films. Get the work in translation, or get what people are writing in English elsewhere. Look at their art, and learn its history. Make “art history” global. #beautifulresistance

And now, the list!

This list is a place to start from, not an exhaustive compilation! (There’s so much I haven’t even mentioned.) Some may be more difficult to find than others, but check the Internet and your library’s interlibrary loan service.

Note that some of the novels and comics and such are told from a religious point of view, and others are not. Do your research and find out about different versions and learn how they differ from region to region and era to era; understanding context and how it applies to a story is vital! 🙂 And of course, have fun.

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Books and mythology info:

Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari.

The Mahabharata (Penguin Classics has a pretty good abridged and translated version by John D. Smith).

Bibek Debroy has a more recent and more thoroughly footnoted Mahabharata translation (second-ever full-length version).

English translations of the Mahabharata and Ramayana are online for free (ask Google for more!):

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/26788 (lovely albeit flawed public domain translations of the Ramayana, Kumarasambhava, and others)

Vikramorvishyam by Kalidasa (the epic drama about the apsara Urvashi and her human lover Pururavas): http://www.sanskritebooks.org/2010/05/vikramorvasiyam-of-kalidasa-sanskrit-text-english-translation/

Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol by Sri Aurobindo (the epic poem about Savitri and how she rescued her love Satyavan from death): http://savitrithepoem.com/poem.html

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/16659

http://claysanskritlibrary.org

http://murtylibrary.com

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More general:

Ashok Banker has so many books narrating Hindu mythology, he gets his own listing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashok_Banker.

Ramesh Menon also has plenty: http://www.paperbackswap.com/Ramesh-Menon/author/.

Devdutt Pattanaik is a mythology scholar: www.devdutt.com.

Indian Demonology: The Inverted Pantheon by N. N. Bhattacharyya

Indian Serpent Lore: Or the Nagas in Hindu Legend by J. Vogel

Sanjay Patel’s books for children, including one on the Ramayana: http://www.gheehappy.com/.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_mythology

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Comics and graphic novels:

Amar Chitra Katha comics: www.amarchitrakatha.com.

Adi Parva: Churning of the Ocean and Sauptik: Blood and Flowers by Amruta Patil (visually gorgeous graphic novels, and more of a philosophical musing on episodes of the Mahabharata).

Krishna: A Long Journey Within by Abhishek Singh (graphic novel).

The Ravanayana comic series by Vijayendra Mohanty and Vivek Goel.

http://www.campfire.co.in/t/genre/mythology

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Folktales:

Panchatantra (ancient Sanskrit collection of animal fables)
Hitopadesha Tales (collection of fables)
Jataka Tales (Buddhist morality fables)
Folktales From India by A. K. Ramanujan

Birbal stories: http://www.english-for-students.com/Birbal-Stories.html

Folk-Tales of Bengal: With 32 illus. in colour by Warwick Goble: https://archive.org/stream/folktalesofbenga00dayluoft…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folklore_of_India

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For later reading (as these reinterpret and play with the originals):

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Divakaruni (the Mahabharata from Draupadi’s point of view)
Asura: Tale of the Vanquished by Anand Neelakantan (the Ramayana from the villain Ravana’s point of view)
Sitayana by K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar (the Ramayana from Sita’s point of view)
The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor (a funny send-up of the Mahabharata)
The Aryavarta Chronicles trilogy by Krishna Udayasankar (a retelling of the Mahabharata that sometimes turns it on its head)
“The Difficulty of Being Good” by Gurcharan Das is a great intro to the Mahabharata as a work of ethical philosophy.

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Secondary reading:

There is plenty of literature on the epics and source texts by various scholars. Ask Google, or pick a book online and go though its bibliography for more resources.

Happy book birthday to HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD!

I’m so happy to announce that the wonderful anthology I’m in, along with so many other brilliant and necessary voices, is out today: Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World. Edited by Kelly Jensen of Book Riot, this book contains essays, comics, interviews, and lists discussing intersectional feminism for teens (and I’d argue also for adults!) in a compassionate, thoughtful, and inspiring way. Even if I didn’t have an essay in it, I’d recommend it wholeheartedly; it’s just the book we need right now as we in America attempt to make sense of what’s happening here and figure out what we want to say, both for ourselves and others, and how to make our voices heard for the greater good.

I’m not the only one who thinks so; the volume got four starred reviews from trade journals!

“A progressive antidote to the ancient teen health textbooks that mull over the dry basics of teen identity . . . a stellar collection  . . . With its thoughtful, scrapbooklike design and variety of socio-economic and cultural perspectives, the book invites young readers to engage in this roundtable discussion. An embarrassment of riches.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Sophisticated yet entirely accessible, the collection is valuable both for the breadth of thought and perspective it represents and for the support it directs toward readers.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Earnest, conversational, and dauntlessly unapologetic . . . An education unto itself, the message of inclusion and strength is invaluable.”
Booklist, starred review

“Fantastic . . . There is something here for everyone. This celebratory examination of feminism is a much-needed addition to teen collections.”
School Library Journal, starred review

Anyway, happy birthday, delightful book!

Awards eligibility post for 2016 work!

A wonderful friend of mine reminded me I needed to do this, so here’s what I published in 2016, in case you happened to like and want to nominate any of it. 🙂

I am still eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Fiction:

“The Shadow Collector” in Uncanny

“By Thread of Night and Starlight Needle” in Clockwork Phoenix 5

“Songbird” in Flash Fiction Online

“Hungry” on the Hanging Garden Stories Tumblr and reprinted in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination
Poetry:

“जंगली गुलाब/Jangli Gulaab (Briar Rose)” in Ad Astra

 

Welcome to the Hanging Garden!

I’m delighted to announce I’m part of the fantastic 2017 lineup of writers for the Hanging Garden stories Tumblr. We’ll be writing to prompts and GIFs, and I’m excited about the challenge (as well as the deadlines!). I hope you’ll join us for the fun.

About the Garden:

In brief: 8 authors writing short fiction inspired by GIFs.

In not-so-brief: we, the ladies of The Hanging Garden, debuted as YA authors in 2014. At the time, we signed a one-year contract (metaphorically speaking) to write several short stories over the course of said debut year, pair them with GIFs, and post them here. That year has come and gone, but the Hanging Garden remains, filling with experimental short fiction every week.

Fresh GIFtion posts every Monday. We’d dig it if you joined us. Here and/or on Twitter (@THGstories).

Online fairy tale course (with me helping!)

If you’re looking for an awesome activity to help you get through the doldrums of winter, I have just the thing! Expert folklorists and authors Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman have thrown open the doors to their online academy of folklore, the Carterhaugh School, and their next offering will be a (incredibly reasonably priced) long course called “The Fairy Tale.” It begins this January and runs into February and will include tangible beautiful objects as well as knowledge.

Tentative Schedule for the Upcoming Fairy-Tale Course!

I’m so, so, so excited about this. I got to see Sara and Brittany present on folklore in the movie Labyrinth this past FaerieCon, and it was amazing. They’re smart, funny, and know how to present their material in an accessible way. I can’t wait to go back and rewatch the movie with all the things I learned in mind.

So I was already incredibly excited when they announced they would be doing this course, but then they asked me to help with one of the lessons! I’m over the moon to tell you now that I’ll be presenting a portion of lesson four, the Beastly Bride.

Lesson Four: January 26th, 2017
Beastly Bride Day – The Swan Maiden / The Crane Wife / The Loathly Lady / The Story of Uloopi and Arjuna

There’s still time to sign up for the course, and it makes a great gift, whether for you or a fellow lover of fairy tales, folklore, and all things enchanted! I hope to see you there in the mysterious, moon-silvered halls of the Carterhaugh School.

A little bit of happy news on a cloudy day

My prize package for my tiny story in Katherine Harbour’s Hallowe’en contest just arrived. If you haven’t read her work, Katherine writes deliciously dark folklore-infused books, and I won a signed set along with some other goodies. Pictures below!

I wrote a hundred-word story about a painting she did using the five terms she stipulated, and I’m posting it here. (Writing that short was a fun challenge!):

When the poison sank into his bones, he gasped at the mirror. She had drawn on him, scrawled secrets, all graceful loops and fine lines. Hers was a venom no less deadly than truth; she’d shaded and cross-hatched until half his skin dissolved, revealing another’s rich brown flesh.

Another time, another life. Him. He remembered now—her virtuous nature, his restless heart. Hands knotting, he collapsed onto the cold checkered floor.

Across the hall, the Scarlet Scourge smiled. “You wanted to know who you are. Once you loved me. Then you left me. Now? Now you, too, break in half.”

(picture by Katherine Harbour)

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(a sparkly butterfly mask, a Fata flower wreath headband, an original art print, a fortune-telling game, a complete signed set of the Night and Nothing trilogy, and a lost short story/chapter from the first book, Thorn Jack)

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What a lovely pick-me-up on a gray, cold day! Thank you, Katherine. 💖

My nagini doll in ART DOLL QUARTERLY!


By “my,” I mean my commission from the extremely talented Divya Gupta of Sapphire Fantasy Arts. Divya is a sculptress living in India who is inspired by all things fantasy and creates one-of-a-kind dolls in incredible detail. So of course I turned to her for a nagini doll to shine inspiration through my dreaming room/writing space.

And just look at what she came up with! I remain in utter awe.

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Even better, Art Doll Quarterly accepted Divya’s nagini sculpt for its mythological creatures challenge, and now this beautiful doll beams out from the winter 2017 issue (currently available in bookstores).

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Isn’t that amazing? I love her so, and I’m delighted so many other people get to meet my nagini, too! Thank you, Divya, for such a gorgeous piece!