magistrate: The arc of the Earth in dark space. (Default)
[personal profile] magistrate
[personal profile] thebonesofferalletters: Writing wise, what do you do to help you get in "the zone"?

Ramit Sethi, the author of the fantastically useful personal finance book I Will Teach You To Be Rich, has this saying: "Would you rather be sexy, or rich?" What he means is, do you want to do all the flashy stuff so you can talk about investing and how your stock performs and things that will impress people at cocktail parties, or do you want the boring but effective stuff that helps you save money and make more money?

I kinda feel like that with a few of these questions. <_< The best way I have to get myself into the writing groove isn't particularly interesting or attractive. I would love to say that having a cup of my favorite tea and a handcrafted playlist for my project and a clean desk and sunlight pouring in the window helps me write, but while those things make me feel great, they don't actually have any correlation to how well I'm able to get myself writing. Instead, the method that most consistently gets me cranking out the words is this:

  1. Close everything on my computer except for iTunes or a (minimized) MyNoise generator, and
  2. Open up my story file.

And I'm not being flippant with #2. I often have a great resistance to starting, so if I sit down and a file isn't open, well, then, path of least resistance says "Meh, no writing today." But if I look at what I'm doing (or... not doing), and open up a file with intent, it's easier to get started.

What I'm doing is setting up micro-barriers to distraction (so, if I want to browse the internet, I have to go and open Firefox or whatever), and removing micro-barriers to writing (the page is right there, and I can't command-tab to any other open program). The effect is a bit like settling your wagon wheels into a well-worn groove in the path. It's easier to go forward than it is to change direction. I guess it's even easier just to sit there and do nothing, but doing nothing is awfully boring, so I usually end up writing instead.

The secret third thing I do to get myself into the writing flow – which I need to get back into the habit of doing – is: Write every day.

I was writing 800 words a day in October, planning to write 900 a day in November and 1,000 a day in December, but November knocked me out of it, so I'm thinking of starting back at 500 a day in January and increasing by 100 a day every month. And what happens when you write every day is that you learn to write every day. You sit down in front of the page and your brain starts going "Oh. Right, I know what to do, here." And so, while there are still easier days and harder days, the overall level of difficulty goes down over time.

But for the longest time before I was cranking out most of one K (and sometimes much more than that), I was doing... 20 words a day. That was the minimum, and once I hit that, I had a deal with myself that I would celebrate that achievement. I wasn't allowed to badmouth it. I couldn't say "Well, that was only 20 words, that was pathetic." And hose 20 words could be on anything – they didn't have to be on the project I was currently working on. They could be 20 words of stream-of-consciousness, or story seed, or anything. I just had to get 20 words out.

And it's hard to be intimidated by 20 words. (Like it's hard to be intimidated by one minute of meditation.) But those 20 words were the Trojan horse of a habit; once I got used to doing 20 words a day, I was used to sitting down and writing every day. And getting started is so often the hardest part, that that 20 word habit was a major victory.

It's a lot easier to grow a small habit than it is to institute a giant habit. That's why so many New Year's resolutions fail: people go "I'm going to get in shape this year so I'm going to go to the gym five times a week and run a mile every day before work!", and that's just too much if you're trying to go from a sedentary lifestyle to that. It's a shock to the system, and you get overwhelmed, and you drop the habit. (When I was walking a mile every day, I had grown that habit from a habit that just said: Go outside every day. Walk to the end of the block and back. And once I was in the habit of walking to the end of the block and back, around the block wasn't a big deal. Once I was walking around the block, around two blocks wasn't a big deal. And so it grew.)

So, that's my writing process secret! A bunch of really tiny and somewhat pedestrian things. But they work for me, so.

This post has been brought to you as a service of the December Posting Meme.

Write a story about the sum...

Dec. 20th, 2014 11:56 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
A primary school test asked me "write a story about the sum 6+4=10". I had no idea what it was asking me to do, so I made a guess and wrote "One day 6+4=10 went for a walk. Then it came back. The end."

(no subject)

Dec. 20th, 2014 12:51 pm
copperbadge: (chicago City Boy)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Apparently the secret to last-minute Christmas shopping is to get up at the asscrack of dawn the Saturday before Christmas and be done by noon. My morning was bananas, but I can't deny I Got Shit Done.

It was a banner morning for shopping. I caught the bus into the loop and picked up a few sacks of popcorn at Garrett's, which is a Chicago franchise popcorn shop that I'm pretty sure uses crack in their cooking process somewhere. My stepfather wanted some for Christmas, so it's now sealed up in ziplock bags in my luggage.

Then I went to Macy's, which is much like a fool returning to his folly, because Macy's on State is hellish at the best of times due to its ancient building layout and elevators to nowhere. But it opens at 7am on holiday shopping weekends, and at 9am was still essentially empty. I couldn't quite believe my luck but I wasn't going to push it, either, so after picking up a couple of ornaments as small gifts, I bushwhacked my way down to the basement and chilled in the food court for a while.

The nice thing about Macy's is that it connects via the Pedway to Block 37, the mall across the street, which ALSO connects via the Pedway to Daley Plaza, home of the Giant Picasso Baboon, which is where they hold Christkindlmarkt every year. For an idea of what Christkindlmarkt is truly like in Chicago, may I recommend my fanfic Christkindlfuckup. It is exactly like that.

The Markt is actually really pleasant early in December, especially before dark, but it gets busier and busier as Christmas draws near. People were actually queuing up at 10:30 for access to the ORNAMENT SHACK where all the Christmas Ornaments are sold (most of the Markt is open booths, but there are two giant ORNAMENT SHACKS where you enter slowly and do a lap while you select which hilariously hideous ornaments you wish to buy). There were also long waits for pretzels, wine served in ceramic shoes, and pastries of many kinds. I skipped it all and homed in on the kitsch, because Mum wanted a new centerpiece for the table, and then bought a fluffy hat, because I have a problem when it comes to winterwear. The struggle is real.

AND THEN I went and bought some seasonings for a cooking project at the grocery store, and had the singular experience of walking into Trader Joe's, which has a big NO PRESERVATIVES NO MSG sign outside their entry, while carrying a shaker of MSG in my backpack.

So now I am home with a new hat, a giant sack of popcorn, all the German Kitsch, a week's worth of protein bars from Trader Joe's, and a shaker of MSG.

Winning at Saturday!
yasaman: picture of jasmine flower, with text yasaman (Default)
[personal profile] yasaman
In a confluence of terrible timing, tonight is Craig Ferguson's last show as host of the Late Late Show, and I also just got my period. I am leaking tears and they will not stop. I mean, I'm laughing, but I'm also crying and genuinely upset about this. I WASN'T READY TO LET YOU GO CRAIG ;______________________;

Thanks for the memories, Craig. I've loved your show for ten years, and I'm going to miss it a lot.

And as if that's not enough, it was also Stephen Colbert's last Colbert Report last night. Goodbye to "Stephen Colbert" too! You gave us some of the best satire when we needed it the most.

Seriously, this is too much change at once in my late night landscape ;_____; Who will I watch now? NO ONE. Well, no one but Chris Hardwick with @midnight, I guess. And maybe Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers sometimes.

Yeah, no, still crying. Please, can we blame this on the hormones?
alias_sqbr: (dagna)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
I've been thinking that maybe all the current races are elves who've been cut off from the Fade to various extents and in different ways.
Read more... )

Just saw the Korra finale :D :D

Dec. 20th, 2014 02:21 pm
alias_sqbr: Zuko with a fish on his head (avatar)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
Overall the show ended really well, and if you gave up in books 1 or 2 it has gotten much better since then.

The main issue with this season is that it gave me what I wanted, eg one of the weirdly hot animated morally ambiguous badass butch brunette women is in her 30s instead of super young or super old...and she's basically Hitler. THANKS SHOW. THAT TOTALLY MAKES ME FEEL LESS WEIRD.
Read more... )

The Saga of the Ruined Fudge

Dec. 19th, 2014 11:06 pm
raanve: (FAILURE)
[personal profile] raanve
So I'm at my parents' house - I came up this morning for the annual day of baking. One of the duties involved in this for the last few years has been to help my gma make the homemade fudge. Last year it went pretty well. This year... not so much.

She left me largely on my own this year, and I thought I had it under control. But we made too many changes at once, I think. We started with doubling the recipe, which necessitated a different/larger pot, plus I'm cooking on my mother's stove which has these weird fancy burners and I can't adequately estimate how hot things get how quickly. The cascading chain of events went something like this:

- Trying to bring the initial mixture up to temperature (232 degrees - using a candy thermometer rather than gma's standard 'soft ball' method), I realized that it didn't smell quite right... at which point we realized that although it was nowhere near hot enough yet, the stuff on the bottom of the pan was burnt. Seriously burnt. My mom did some quick thinking and we transferred the mixture so at least the batch wasn't ruined. (Just then.) The bottom of the pan, though, had hardcore near-plastic candy-tar thoroughly caked in.

- We kept mixing it and eventually determined it was ready to pour onto the plates to cool & cut, and took the plates outside since there's no room in the fridge. I started the next batch (since we were planning three total batches). I was in the middle of mixing it when gma & mom went outside and determined that the first double-batch wasn't setting.

- We tried every trick we could think of/find on the internet to set what to do to, and resorted to trying to heat it up a second time. Gma had one pot going on one burner and I had the other on another, I had the thermometer in mine and she was checking with the soft ball method. She poured hers out on plates eventually, though we were getting burning again.

** By this time, we'd been at it for probably about 2 hours.**

- I got mine up to temperature and took it off the heat, took the pan and the thermometer to the sink to rinse off the thermometer and keep stirring. Rinsed the thermometer and noticed that there was... fudge inside the thermometer. Because it had broken. In the fudge. Which meant that there was GLASS IN THE FUDGE. (The mercury was fine, thank god.) And so we had to toss the whole pan.

- The double batch is slightly improved but still won't set. "It's taffy" my mom and gma keep saying.

I have never experienced so spectacular a failure. I just can't believe that it's like 6 pounds of messed up fudge. We were laughing and annoyed and upset all at once. Mom is going to try again tomorrow.

Buy ALL the groceries!

Dec. 20th, 2014 12:40 pm
skud: (Default)
[personal profile] skud
This is a crosspost from Chez Skud. You can comment here or there.

Remember when, back in the day, I used to post pics of my market haul? I was inspired by the excellent book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats which shows photographs of families from around the world with a week’s groceries.

Well, today I did what passes for a Christmas shop at my place, which is to say I went to the shops with the main intention of buying tasty things to see me through the next week or so, and without being too finicky about the budget. I wound up spending $93, which is about the national average for an adult’s food for the week, but way more than my usual (which is half that or less). That’s okay; I got lots of tasty stuff, plus I restocked a few pricier items that I’ve run out of lately.

groceries laid out on a table

The full haul: $93 worth.

Read the rest of this entry  )

(no subject)

Dec. 19th, 2014 07:34 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
All the best fine dining establishments offer a cat snoozing on the chair next to you to accent your meal.

Read more... )

quick note

Dec. 19th, 2014 09:14 am
inlovewithnight: (Default)
[personal profile] inlovewithnight
Some more things went wrong in life, and I had to finish up bandom_hols and Yuletide and get them posted, and I am very tired, but I'm alive and I will catch up on the meme this weekend, hopefully, unless something else goes wrong?



Wrapping up the year

Dec. 19th, 2014 08:16 pm
skud: (Default)
[personal profile] skud
This is a crosspost from Chez Skud. You can comment here or there.

It’s a cliche to blog about how seldom you blog, so I won’t. Instead I’ll just take the opportunity to reflect a bit on 2014 in terms of my home life.

It’s been a dog of a year. It’s been difficult to focus on anything much, let alone communicate about it. The first half of the year I was buried in personal stuff, and the second half of the year had more of that and then a lot of travel and busy-ness piled on top.

Most days I’m happy if I eat regular meals. I’ve had some great food this year, but mostly it just seems like a slog, trying to balance my body’s need for fuel, my inner self’s food-related hangups and issues, and the logistics of having food in the house, and having space and time to prepare it. I’ve had to cut myself a fair bit of slack on convenience foods and on food waste. Sometimes it’s better to buy a pile of fruit and vegetables just so I have them as an option, even if in the end I don’t eat them all and some of them wind up in the compost. Or to open a jar of something perishable so I can eat well now, even if I’m going away tomorrow or the next day and know I can’t finish it.

When times are hard I just keep trying to slog through it, do what I can, and remember nobody’s standing over me with a clipboard awarding points or writing down criticisms in red pen.

Some things I cooked/ate this year and didn’t post to the blog:

broad beans and leek from the garden, with ham, on homemade sourdough

broad beans and leek from the garden, with ham, on homemade sourdough

salad with red rice, sprouted lentils, tomato, kale, fetta, olives, and marinated artichoke hearts

salad with red rice, sprouted lentils, tomato, kale, fetta, olives, and marinated artichoke hearts

nettle soup

virulently green nettle soup with potato and ham


nachos with black beans and fresh jalapeno peppers from the garden

birthday lunch of ethical pork and beef ribs, corn bread, and coleslaw (eaten in a blanket fort! best birthday lunch!)

birthday lunch of ethical pork and beef ribs, corn bread, and coleslaw (eaten in a blanket fort! best birthday lunch!)

I’ve been doing a lot, a lot, of knitting and other crafts. Not least because I’ve had periods where all I can do is watch soothing TV and do something calm and repetitive. I’ve not been good at posting about it, though, nor updating Ravelry, and I have to admit that I’ve been casting on an awful lot of things for the “whee!” feeling of a new project, and not completing them. By my count I currently have at least 17 WIPs, most of which haven’t yet hit the “half done” mark.

I’ve instituted a kanban board on the wall of my living room for my craft projects (with an extra, innovative “> 1/2 DONE” column, because casting on and then putting it aside is a big issue for me) so I can see how many I have to finish. Sadly, it doesn’t work all that well to stop me casting on new things, because I just conveniently “forget” to add a sticker for the new project. Sigh. Oh well, at least every so often I can bring it up to date and it helps me remember what I have going, better than a pile of mystery project bags in the coffee table drawers ever could.

A week or so back I decided to try and reduce my WIPs considerably. My new rule (and let’s see how long I stick to it) is to have one large and one small/portable project out and work-on-able at any time, choosing the easiest to complete at any given time, according to the debt snowball method. Right now I’m working on a pair of fingerless mitts made from the tail ends of two colours of Mountain Colors Bearfoot, and a deathly dull product-knitting slog: a black hoodie in Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic 8 ply and in mostly stocking stitch. Both are made-up patterns, the hoodie being vaguely EPS-based, and the mittens basically just tubes with thumb-trick thumbs.

half-finished black hoodie

boring hoodie of boringness

red and brown striped fingerless mitts in progress

slightly less boring, but only just

My only escape from the “get through some bloody WIPs” effort is that I’ve told myself that I can knit hats for charity using wool from my charity-knitting basket, which I gathered up from all the odd scattered places and put in one pile last week. A hat usually takes about 2 evenings and is a quick distraction if I really must cast on something new. There’s at least a dozen hats worth of wool there, or roughly one for each reasonably-finishable project on the WIP list. (Some of the WIPs aren’t reasonably finishable, as they’re things like a mitred sock yarn blanket that will take years to gather odds and ends to make, or are super low priority, like the charming half-finished Scandinavian cross stitch table runner I found at a craft swap day — I have no qualms about that sitting quietly where it is for a long time.)

As for the garden… it’s a mess, and I’m late with planting everything, and that’s okay. I’m eating from it if not every day, then definitely every few days, and I have tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant coming along nicely for later in the summer. No clipboard, no red pen, right?

One thing that has been going well for me is that I’ve been making a pretty steady practice of getting rid of stuff. Somehow I’ve got to a point where it gives me a good, clean feeling to finish something and not have it any more, or to put something unused in the pile for the op shop (which seldom gets bigger than I can carry in my bike basket). Yesterday I had a momentary bout of “what if I applied for this amazing job and had to move house again?” and it made me think even more about how much stuff I have that I don’t need. I’m not going to apply for the job, but it did give me a kick in the pants about all my stuff.

A friend’s recently been talking up a decluttering guru who talks about getting rid of things that don’t spark joy, and it’s been good for me to think of my excess stuff in that way. It makes it much easier to say “no”. I don’t think I’m anywhere near Japanese minimalism (lol, no) but it does make it easier to get rid of things I’m keeping out of a sense of “ought”.

Finally, today I got a cleaner in, and she’s going to be coming regularly. I’ll be interested to see how much it changes my sense of overwhelmedness and whether it helps me get back on a more even keel with some of the other stuff I want to spend my energy on. I’ll give it a few months and then evaluate the costs/benefits; it’s a big chunk of my fairly tight budget, but I hope a worthwhile one for my mental health, which in turn is good for my so-called “actual” work.

I’m not going to make any new year’s resolutions, because they don’t work well for me. But here’s hoping 2015 is a good one!

skud: (Default)
[personal profile] skud
I'm afraid I'm going to have to mostly bail on [personal profile] liv's question, asking me to talk about "when mainstream feminism goes around reproducing lots of other hierarchies and oppressions", because I've been turning it over for a few days and I'm really not sure what to say.

I guess the short answer is: this is something I've been learning about and working on for the past 5 years, and I've been trying to improve my own practice around it, and to speak to people when they do faily things and I think I can usefully help out as an ally. The other thing, I suppose, is that I don't really engage much with "mainstream feminism" if by that you mean the sort of institutionally established liberal feminism that's out there; my feminism is Internet feminism, informed by fandom and geekdom and twitter and tumblr, and I'm not very involved in the stuff that actually gets covered in mainstream media or gets funding from mainstream bodies or whatever. And the feminism I am involved in is pretty aware of "other hierarchies and oppressions" most of the time, I hope.

Anyway I think this answer crosses over a bit with what I wrote for [personal profile] transcendancing under how my feminism has changed over time so I'll just point you there as well.

Sorry I couldn't write more :(
rhivolution: Beverly Crusher in the captain's chair. Text reads 'Status report: no fucks left to give.' (all the fucks I do not give: Beverly Cru)
[personal profile] rhivolution
In case you've been wondering where I've been and don't follow me on Twitter, I came down with the flu* on the night of the 8th and have been dealing with it ever since. Give-a-damn about everything basically flew out the window, and I've been signed off work, went through a bunch of nights where I barely slept, and had chills and sweats for longer than I'd have liked.

I will spare you the remainder of the play-by-play. Recuperation mode's now in effect and I just have a nasty cough, exhaustion, and a bit of brain fog that I'm struggling to clear away.

Suffice it to say, I'm fucking shelling out for that jab next year and every year forthcoming. I don't care about the cost or how much they try to tell me I don't need it. Know what I don't need? Over a week and a half of being fucking miserable and useless, missing appointments and work and holiday prep. That's what I don't need.

I did manage to read a lot, though, and watch some TNG, including the episode referenced in my Dreamwidth icon. I'm hoping to get blog posty about my reads soon.

* I seriously suspect it's flu as Matt's not been ill, thank god, and he gets the jab on the NHS for medical reasons.
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
[personal profile] raven
This vid was made for another vid project being run by [personal profile] silly_cleo (see "Landsailor" and Aims.) This time around, each vidder is making a vid for a song on Taylor Swift's new album, 1989. This vid is - well, you'll see. I'm very grateful to [personal profile] purplefringe for her kind commentary and help with it.

[vid] This Love (alive back from the dead) [Pushing Daisies]
by Raven
"Stop saying that! I'm not a murderer!" A Pushing Daisies AU.

music: "This Love", Taylor Swift, from 1989
content notes: some canon-typical deaths and silly body horror; no outside source
stream at tumblr; nothing else works right now! apparently mediafire streams also! / download from mediafire, 75MB

lyrics )

Oh, almost forgot...

Dec. 18th, 2014 12:40 pm
alexandraerin: (Default)
[personal profile] alexandraerin
...I had a nice conversation with Michael of yesterday.

For those who have missed me talking about it before, ILYS is a web-based writing tool that helps promote word flow. They let you set a word count goal and do not let you edit your work until you reach it. The psychology behind this is that editor-mode in your brain is more critical than writer-mode. Self-doubt, analysis paralysis, impostor syndrome... all of these things can force writer-brain into hiding. Editing can require you to be ruthless that is toxic to the actual act of creativity, so ILYS helps you build a firewall between them.

The feature that makes ILYS into a real killer app in my mind, though, is the one I see less talk about from the psychological side, and that is: it doesn't let you see what you're writing. The classic version gave you one letter at a time, which I think was important for sort of building trust? The new and improved version has a "ninja style" where all you can see is your word count, which ticks upward like a high score every time you get another word out.

It sounds kind of scary, it sounds kind of ridiculous... but man, few things are more daunting than a blank white page. You can sneak a peek at what you've been writing (useful if you get interrupted and lose your place), but while you're typing, you're not looking at what you've written, which means you're not judging it, either.

Anyway, while I was working yesterday, I noticed there was a feedback form on the dashboard that was just a box saying "Talk to us!" So I did. I explained that the multi-story saving feature wasn't what I'd hoped it would be and without the ability to re-open saved stories/previous sessions and edit them, it wasn't very useful for how I use the site.

The thing is, I've been using ILYS, but I haven't bothered with the saving feature for much of the writing I've done on the site, because I've found it easier to transfer it to an editor while it's unsaved.

Anyway, I got a reply within minutes suggesting that more robust save features were in the works but asking me if I could describe in more detail what I was looking for, so I did. Michael thanked me for my feedback and for the clear context I provided for it, and outlined some improvements he'll be making to meet my needs, which he said he would be implementing shortly.

Now, since ILYS launched their pro version after NaNo ended, I have noticed what I would call a steady commitment to improvement. Little things here and there show that people are paying attention and tightening the bolts. The one that stands out to me is that at launch, I couldn't type HTML tags (because it would automatically encode the angle brackets as their own HTML macros), but that was fixed pretty quickly.

This was phenomenal, though. The level of responsiveness and attentiveness was outstanding. It sounds like something like what I was looking for would have been on its way anyway, which I had kind of expected? But he took the time to listen to what I was looking for and then tell me what he was thinking for addressing it, and then assured me it was a priority. That is some top-notch customer service right there.

Thursday, December 18th

Dec. 18th, 2014 11:38 am
alexandraerin: (Default)
[personal profile] alexandraerin
The Daily Report

So I got the podcast recorded last night, but then encountered significant hurdles getting it off my phone and onto my desktop for editing. First, the USB connection wasn't recognized. Then it kept stalling out when I tried to upload it to Dropbox. I ended up staying up later than I'd expected trying to even get the dang thing onto my computer, by which point I was well into the second wind of insomnia.

I finally did get it into Dropbox when I had the bright idea to turn off my phone's WiFi and and use the data connection. By the time this happened, though, I was too wiped to even listen to the thing, much less cut it together.

So, I'll be doing that today and tomorrow with an eye towards putting it up tomorrow.

The State of the Me

Kind of frazzled, kind of tired.

Plans For Today

Despite coming into the day a little flagged, I'm in good shape for wrapping up the update I started yesterday, which will leave us at a good break point for the holidays.

eyes under the prize

Dec. 18th, 2014 07:52 am
metaphortunate: (Default)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
Okay, [personal profile] gabbysilang has got me concerned. Eyebrows? Of all the bits of my body that I have wasted my life fruitlessly wishing were smaller, higher, smoother, less painful, more functional, less hairy or stronger, eyebrows are like the one thing it never occurred to me to wish were otherwise than they were. They...uh, do their job, I guess? They sit on my forehead between my eyes and my hairline. I can raise the left one by itself, sort of! Is that not enough? Should I be demanding more of them? Is there a way to get them to pick up wifi?


Dec. 18th, 2014 03:49 pm
qian: Tiny pink head of a Katamari character (Default)
[personal profile] qian

I tell a lie. My agent Caitlin Blasdell sold my book to Ace/Roc Books in the US, and they sold it to Pan Macmillan/Tor in the UK. I didn’t do any selling myself, just fingernail-biting and jumping around in excitement. The book’s called SORCERER TO THE CROWN, and I’m to write two more in the same world.

The book

SORCERER TO THE CROWN is set in London in the early 1800s and it’s about Zacharias Wythe, England’s first black Sorcerer Royal. (As in, he’s a black guy. Not as in black magic. Zacharias is very virtuous!) But his life sucks. England is running out of magic, his colleagues are mean and racist, and everyone thinks he killed his predecessor.

When ambitious (and inconveniently magical) orphan Prunella Gentleman demands that he take her away from the school where she’s drudged all her life, Zacharias refuses, of course. But Prunella’s stumbled upon English magic’s greatest discovery in centuries, and things are about to get a whole lot more complicated for the both of them.

This is, of course, postcolonial fluff for book nerds (made-up genre of my heart!). It’s what happened when I mashed up Wodehouse and Heyer and my childhood puzzlement about people in books who were described as “dark” when they were clearly white. It’s got secret dragons and schoolgirl hijinks and confrontations at balls and bossy witch aunties. It’s even got pontianak, because why not.

My feels

What can I say about this?

It will be my first published novel. It’s due to release in autumn 2015.

It feels like I’ve worked harder on this book than I’ve worked on anything else in my liiife, but that’s probably not true. I probably worked harder in Chinese school. (Nothing in my life so far has managed to beat Chinese school. If you wish to make your children traumatised strong, send them to Chinese school!)

Anyway, I am SO READY to do more of this work. I was thinking about something I saw on my dwircle yesterday — “the reward for good work is more work” — and gosh, if I could be so lucky! The best thing would be to be able to work hard on dragon hijinks forever.

To be able to share those dragon hijinks with other people is the next best thing. I hope the book comes out. (I am of course convinced that the Earth is going to be hit by an asteroid just in time to prevent actual publication.) I hope people read it and like it. :O

My new release mailing list

If you would like to receive an email notification when the book is out, you can sign up to my brand spanking new mailing list! I’m planning only to send out emails when I’ve published a new thing that you can buy and/or read. So you’ll get an email when this book is out, and also when other projects I’ve got in the works are published.

I’m also considering possibly sending out mailing list extras in future — the occasional free short story, say, or deleted scenes from the book. But otherwise I will be silent! I won’t spam you or give your address to anyone else, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

The official press release(s)

ETA: Press releases from the publishers!

Ace Books to publish an all-new historical fantasy trilogy from John W. Campbell nominated author Zen Cho

Pan Macmillan buys new trilogy in the tradition of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

(Though I should say that my book can only suffer from juxtaposition with the incomparable JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL. Clarke was definitely an influence (and Stephen Black and Arabella Strange, MY FAVOURITES), but SORCERER is, let us say, an homage. Though it’s also a lot of other things!)

Mirrored from Zen Cho.


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November 2014


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