So, this is my first year of eligibility for the Hugos and Nebulas (!!!). Below, you can find a link to the stories in full. I’ve also included some of my favorite short stories of the year.

Short Stories

The Star Maiden” in Shimmer Magazine, which was a retelling of a Filipino folklore and a story about the fraught, but loving, experiences of two generations. “The Star Maiden” is currently on the longlist for the BFSA.

The Wives of Azhar” in Strange Horizons, which was a retelling of the Bluebeard tale from the perspective of his wives.

And since it’s my first year of publication, I’m also eligible for the John W. Campbell Award!

Recommended Works

The Universe, Sung in Stars” by Kat Howard

The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn” by Usman Malik

Ballroom Blitz” by Veronica Schanoes

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I am long overdue on a blog post!

Since Thanksgiving, everything has been wildly busy in a wildly wonderful way. First, the mastermind Hafsah Faizal over at IceyDesigns created a beautiful new website that’s dedicated to all Star-Touched Queen content. If you haven’t seen the new site, you can find it here!

www.startouched.roshanichokshi.com

In the upcoming months, I’ll be posting makeup looks and a Myth Monday feature that will delve a little deeper into the beings you’ll meet in the book.

I also traveled to the Philippines and had an incredible time with my family. The Philippines is such a gorgeous country. I can’t wait to visit again soon!

Last day in Philippines spent well!

A photo posted by Roshani Chokshi (@roshanichokshi) on

#nofilter

A photo posted by Roshani Chokshi (@roshanichokshi) on

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I meant to share this post much earlier, but I’m only recently emerging from my post-Thanksgiving food coma. Our Thanksgiving was delicious and delightful. Lots of pies. Lots of food. Lots of pomegranate seeds.

This was a very different Thanksgiving from last year. Last year, I was in my first year of law school and preparing for exams. It was like learning to speak a new language when the whole world expects you to be fluent a month later. Pure hell. My brain was full of outlines, “issue-spotting,” the elements of negligence, calculating damages, and…rejections. Last Thanksgiving, I had only been on submission for a month, and already it was the most harrowing thing ever. I was in a constant battle of self-doubt made worse by the lack of sunlight and winter cold creeping through my bones.

This Thanksgiving was pure heaven. I got to be angsty about different things. Like whether my eyeliner was doing the thing where it magically travels to the space beneath my eyebrows; if my teeth looked blood-stained from all the pomegranate seeds; how to disappear with the wine bottle. I’m deeply grateful for this Thanksgiving and even the hellish one of last year because it showed me just how much can change in a year. Listing the things I am grateful for is like taking out my talismans. These bright pieces of my life keep me whole, and I think I should list them more often as reminders to myself:

  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. Panda whiskers
  4. Favorite sentences in beloved books
  5. The calligraphy of cream when it hits coffee
  6. A square of sunlight in the piano room
  7. The smell of my house: mustard seeds, coffee grinds and turmeric
  8. A certain someone’s cologne which smells like Christmas Eve
  9. That gasp-hiccup-astonishment of a new idea
  10. Turning on the car radio to the beginning of my favorite song
  11. Gel eyeliner
  12. My agent, and now, my editor
  13. New books that are not mine
  14. New books that are mine 🙂
  15. Discovery
  16. Readers

I hope your Thanksgiving was magical. Even if it wasn’t, I promise you that a lot can change in one year.

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November can be downright terrifying for a writer. First, this is the time of the year when we go to reunions and stumble around trying to explain what we do to our well-meaning, but sometimes bemused family members. (“So what are you writing about?” “um. Well. There’s this girl. And…” *head desk*). And then they pat you on the head, shuffle along, and sometimes point you in the direction of the wine.

Secondly, this month transforms into a cathedral of writerly woe. It is the time of NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. Its shadow looms large, staining the dregs of October until you’re just pacing about your laptop…fingers itching…eyes showing their whites just so you can pull your teeth out for some strangled sentences.

I think NaNoWriMo is sadistic and wonderful because it forces you to do the most important thing:

FINISH SOMETHING.

When asked about advice for writing, Neil Gaiman perfectly summed it up as this: “You write. You finish what you write.”

That’s all there is to it. You learn by finishing. You learn your characters along the way, their quirks and foibles, their insecurities and lives. Is their morning ritual a cup of coffee, or a frenzied, but lonely Macarena? You learn the world you craft as you finish: Are its mountains azure and not really mountains at all but the baby teeth of a frost giant? You learn about yourself as you finish. What does it take out of you? Who are you by the time you complete a project?

I’m still very new at this. And even though last month I successfully inflicted my own NaNoWriMo frenzied schedule, I was plagued by the doubt that many new writers have: Will I finish this?

It’s scary. And I still don’t know if I have it in me to finish a project even though I’ve done it in the past. But let yourself be surprised. Share your work with others. Don’t be scared about the monstrosity of a draft you create. You can tame it in revisions. There’s no rush.

So for all of you participating in NaNoWriMo, you have my deepest respect. I believe in you! Don’t worry about the trees, look at the forest. Don’t worry about whether your novel bears more of a resemblance to a smashed potato than a book. Just keep going. Write it. Finish it.

I’m participating in my own way by fiddling with an adult fantasy project. Here’s a little snippet of it.

A strange menu. Don't we all want to dine on fairytales?

A strange menu. Don’t we all want to dine on fairytales?

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COVER!

IT’S HERE!!!!! HOORAY! Here’s the link.

Thank you so much to everyone who made this cover reveal a success. Many thanks especially to the artist behind this gorgeous cover: Danielle Christopher Fiorella. I was tempted to record my responses, but after flailing like a gleeful Muppet and smacking my hand on a lamp, I decided against it.

I think the cover is perfect for the book. I think it captures its hopeful, romantic and determined nature. And I am so excited to share it with you!

I also wanted to let you know that we’re updating the site, and including some really fun features, so stay tuned. I’ll also be hosting some giveaways starting next month on Twitter and Goodreads. So if you’ve pre-ordered the book, hold onto your receipt. And if you haven’t pre-ordered, you just might win a copy (and some super awesome swag). Seriously. The prizes are so great I’ve taken to hiding them in the house because my mom and sister keep pining/scurrying/wheedling them away from me.

Have a fun, and safe, Halloween weekend! <3

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A lot of you have been asking about the cover for The Star-Touched Queen, and *drum-roll* it will be revealed this Wednesday (10/28)! Hypable.com will be hosting the exclusive cover reveal. Tune in soon! I am so excited to share it with you 🙂

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I had the chance to write a guest post for Shelly’s Month of Diversity, in which I talked about writing as a person of color, and how culture informs but not defines my goals as an author. Feel free to check it out here!

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