Tag Archive for Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn

“Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn” made a “Best of 2014” list!

I am so very jazzed and so very humbled to see “Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn” on Best of 2014: Medievalpoc Fiction Week Masterpost.  Check out the graphic below.


And of course a lot of my excitement is seeing it listed with some utterly amazing works from the last year – Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon, Willow G. Wilson’s Ms. Marvel, and Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga just to name a few. All of them personal favorites. I now also have some great NEW books to add to my “To Read” list. Yay!

But perhaps most of all, I ADORE Medieval POC and it has been a favorite Tumblr of mine for years. To see my book and name included on their page is probably one of the most awesome things I’ve had happen this year. And it’s only January!!!

PS If you haven’t heard of Medieval POC you should check them out:

The focus of the [Medieval POC] blog is to showcase works of art from European history that feature People of Color. All too often, these works go unseen in museums, Art History classes, online galleries, and other venues because of retroactive whitewashing of Medieval Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia. Sometimes it’s just about really looking at artworks you’ve seen many times before, with a fresh perspective…

…The ubiquity in modern media to display a fictitiously all-white Europe is often thoughtlessly and inaccurately justified by claims of “historical accuracy”; this blog is here to emphasize the modern racism that retroactively erases gigantic swaths of truth and beauty.

Giving Voice to Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn – Actress Deepti Gupta (@theDeeptiGupta)

Actress Deepti GuptaThis is a bit late as the formal announcement has been out for some months, but at the same time I do want to share my personal excitement. International actress and voice talent Deepti Gupta will be reading Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn. As a blind person, the vast majority of the books I read are audio books so for me in particular, it was especially important to find the right person to narrate the book.

I knew I wanted a woman to read as I pictured it coming from the voice of Morgiana, the djinni. I also wanted someone who could capture the sing-song style of an oral narrative. Deepti’s acting and voiceover career spans across India, Singapore, Pakistan and the United States so she seemed a good choice.  🙂 What do you think? I’m thrilled.

If you cannot play the audio, it can also be heard at: http://ghostinthemachinepodcast.com/?p=520

Praised by The New York Times for her performance in the feature film ‘Walkaway’, Deepti also stars in ‘Record/Play’ (a sci-fi love story) which was an official selection at SUNDANCE 2013.  And last year she wrote and directed her first short film, ‘Happy and You Know It’, about a woman’s journey to celebrating her pregnancy which you can see the trailer for below.

TRAILER – Happy and You Know It from Hamari Films on Vimeo.

Pretty cool, yes? I’m looking forward to seeing Deepti’s full film which is due to be released in November.

BabaAli CoverAnd of course, in closing, if I do not put in the traditional promotional plug at the end, I will not be doing my job as an author.  🙂

Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn is a steampunk retelling of the classic “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, from 1001 Arabian Nights. To learn more about the book and/or purchase your own copy, please visit: http://dayalmohamed.com/wordpress/baba-ali-and-the-clockwork-djinn/ or get it directly from Amazon.

For those of you who have already bought and/or read it, thank you! You rock and you’re the reason I do this. I love feedback both good and not-so-good (it IS the only way to improve) so just drop me a note.

Outside Posts Brought Home: #Diversity and Writing the Neutral that Never Was

Color PencilsSo, one of the fun things about writing a novel, and part of the promotion of it, is getting the opportunity to guest post on other people’s blogs.  And lately, I’ve had some amazing opportunities to meet some fabulous people. Of course, the down side of that is that I find I don’t always have as much time to blog on my own website.  However, I recently put together a post on author Anne E. Johnson‘s site that I would love to highlight here.

The subject:  Diversity and Writing the Neutral that Never Was

The post is in some ways inspired by a recent article by Valerie Alexander titled: World Cup Soccer Stats Erase The Sport’s Most Dominant Players: Women

I thought she made some very good points and poignantly hit the reader in his/her assumptions. :-)  But I wanted bring it into the writing realm.

We’re taught to think to the default and that default is white, male, and heterosexual.

A great example via Valerie Alexander: In the World Cup, commentators regularly referred to Landon Donovan as the “all-time U.S. leading goal scorer.” He has 57 international goals. Abby Wambach has 167. The second highest scorer is Mia Hamm at 158 and Kristine Lilly at 130. Notice something? They’re all women. When we talk and think about the sport, the “neutral” is men’s.

So what does that mean when we write characters?  Authors don’t want be told they have to include diversity. Many complain that we’re encouraging tokenism and check-boxes.  At the same time, not doing anything, is saying something.  It is writing to the default, and that default isn’t neutral.

Writing a book set in another part of the world with characters of a different ethnicity in “Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn” was a conscious effort to try and escape that kind of limited thinking. In some ways, I think we didn’t quite push far enough and in others, I think we were more successful than we ever anticipated.

Check out the full post at Jester Harley’s Manuscript Page.

Baba Ali Research (Book Secrets): Open Sesame

Sesame PlantNotes from my time writing “Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn” and fun tidbits.

This is definitely a “Book Secret.”  :)  Most people know “Open Sesame” from their own experiences or childhood familiarity with the 1001 Nights (or Arabian Nights) tale Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. They are the magic words to open the treasure cave.  What is interesting is that those words, as a magical means to open the cave, first appeared in Antoine Galland’s 1700s translation of the 1001 Nights. They didn’t exist in any earlier oral or written variants of the tale.