qian: Tiny pink head of a Katamari character (Default)
[personal profile] qian

As I said in my last post in this series, once I had a complete novel manuscript I had rewritten once, line-edited and proofread, I started querying agents with it.

I’d once read a blog post by a published novelist who said that they’d queried around 40 agents before signing with one, and the process had taken 18 months. Totally arbitrarily, I decided I would only think about rehauling my manuscript and/or giving it all up and running away to the circus after I’d queried 40 agents and/or 18 months had passed without my receiving an offer of representation.

This might seem an odd way to do things, but I find with writing that you really just want to figure out a way to trick your brain into not worrying about the publishing side of things, so that it can get on with the work. (The work is the writing. The writing is the most important thing. I know I keep saying this, but it’s true!) The idea was to buy myself 18 months of peace of mind. As you’ll see, though, I never got a chance to find out if it would have worked!

I’ll talk about my query in detail in another post, but it was pretty standard US-style: I explained what the story was about, talked briefly about myself and ended by offering to send a partial or full manuscript if they were interested. Funnily enough, the chief thing that helped me draft my query letter (and actually just figure out what the book should be about) was Linda Colley’s Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 — but I’ll explain that in that other post!

I sent off my queries to 10 agents, eight of whom I’d basically just found on the Internet, and two of whom I’d been introduced to by author friends. Then I sat back, feeling contented with a good nine months’ work, and started thinking about the next project. It was going to be a space opera novella set in a world inspired by the maritime kingdoms of classical Southeast Asia (working title: Space Villette). I figured I’d have time to make a good start on a novella before I started hearing back from agents — heck, I’d probably be able to draft the entire thing by the time I had to think about Sorcerer to the Crown again, either because I had an offer of rep, or because I’d been rejected by 40 agents and had to rethink my approach.

So, er, I was wrong about that.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Zen Cho.

lnhammer: animation of the kanji for four seasonal birds fading into each other in endless cycle (Japanese poetry)
[personal profile] lnhammer posting in [community profile] poetry
A poem on the beginning of spring by the Nijô Empress (KKS I.4)

    Spring has indeed come,
though snow is still around us.
    So will it be now
that the bush warbler's teardrops,
long frozen, finally melt?

yuki no uchi ni
haru wa kinikeri
uguisu no
kôreru namida
ima ya tokuramu

Fujiwara no Takaiko (842-910) was niece and adopted daughter of Fujiwara no Yoshifusa, the regent of Emperor Seiwa (ruled 858-876). She married Seiwa in 866, and their son succeeded him as Emperor Yôzei in 876. As an emperor’s mother, she was called the Nijô Empress from the palace where she resided, and was a power behind the throne until Yôzei was deposed in 884 for mental instability. She was stripped of the title Empress in 896 because of a scandalous affair. The uguisu or Japanese bush warbler (Cettia diphone) is one of the first songbirds of spring, often heard before other signs of thaw.
qian: Tiny pink head of a Katamari character (Default)
[personal profile] qian

I am going to have copies of the super rare and totally awesome SPIRITS ABROAD and CYBERPUNK: MALAYSIA paperbacks at Nine Worlds! A few of them are already reserved:


I KNEW I was going to find a retrospective excuse for having bought these incredibly cute post-it notes at Daiso.


And here’s what CYBERPUNK: MALAYSIA looks like in the flesh. Shiny and chrome!

I’m hoping the books will be available at the Nine Worlds dealers’ room, but I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to arrange that. However, you can place an order for the books now and/or buy them from me directly at the con!

I am selling the books for £5.00 each, and I am happy to sign and personalise them for you. You can even ask me to do a doodle! I can only draw friendly elephants, though. Also, there will be ultra secret, super exclusive SORCERER TO THE CROWN swag, which I will totally give you FOR FREE. (I mean, I don’t want to inflate expectations. It’s just stationery. But I think it’s going to be nice stationery!)

If you think you’d like to buy them from me in person, I will beg you now to bring a £5 note if at all possible. Of course, it’s easiest if you pre-order using the form below — that will enable me to put aside a copy for you, as stocks are limited. And also it means I don’t have scrounge up £5 bills!


Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Zen Cho.

goodbye productivity

Jul. 30th, 2015 07:08 pm
marina: (stand alone)
[personal profile] marina
I have been swallowed up by a blog as though it was a novel. In a way I'm happy - I've been really stressed about original writing lately, and couldn't find a TV show or a fic to take my mind off, and here suddenly, 6 years worth of blog posts I simply can't put down.

The blog is What Now?: A Candid Account Of My Experience With Foster/Adopting A Teenager in Los Angeles. It's written by a woman who, along with her husband, decided to adopt an older teenager from the foster care system (so, basically a lot like The Fosters minus the lesbians). The blog starts when she first enters the system, in 2008, through meeting and adopting her son (and then adopting his brother), and was last updated this May. Her eldest son is now 21.

I... can't really explain why I love this blog so much - it's certainly well written, but I've been reading it with the urgency and addiction of really, really excellent fic - except that, you all know my weakness for narratives about psychology and troubled teenagers, and well. There's so, so, so much packed into this blog, it's so honest and so introspective. It's teenagers getting over substance abuse and trauma and PTSD and sexual abuse and complicated relationships with their biological relatives mediated by extreme poverty and drug addiction. It's the author, who, while she enters this with her eyes open and relatively well prepared, slowly undergoes a process of... if not relinquishing her privilege then slowly having her world view shifted as she understands realities middle class white women like her don't get to experience.

I'm currently up to the point where her eldest son is nearing 18 (yes, I've read every entry because I CANNOT QUIT READING THIS BLOG), and over the course of seeing her son's life disrupted over and over and over again, at extremely high cost (imagine putting a kid who's trying to kick drugs and has a host of mental disorders in an overcrowded jail for a week for no reason), largely due to systemic racism, her understanding of right and wrong, her faith of the overall justice and balance of the criminal system, slowly waivers. She says at one point that she and her husband have trouble reconciling their son's petty crime habit - theft, mostly - while they have no fundamental, moral qualms about his drinking or drug use - because they grew up seeing the issue as very clear cut. Over time her perception, her understanding of the appeal of petty crime to marginalized teenagers, changes.

It's also very clear, at the point where I'm at, that her son was headed for the school-to-prison pipeline, and if it hadn't been for his adoptive parents would have quickly ended up in jail. Despite living with his white, middle class parents for years, he's still arrested in an exaggerated, humiliating way, taken to prison, denied medication for days, sentenced to house arrest for a month and not provided with legal counsel, despite having clear-cut, irrefutable evidence, provided to the system within days of his arrest, that he couldn't have committed the crime he's charged with.

I found particularly striking the odd trajectory that emerges over the years - this boy becomes slowly ever more hopeful, optimistic, joyful, as every time the system or his demons knock him down, his parents are there to help him get up again. When terrible things befall him his parents are shocked to find him in much better spirits than they expect, where despair is replaced by hopefulness and cheer, because each time they come for him, and that signifies a fundamental improvement in his relationship with the universe.

The parents, on the other hand, go from optimistic, hopeful and trusting of the system (even after the hellish bureaucracy of Children's Services reveals itself) to ever more cynical and jaded. This is a journey down for them, on the scale of privilege. They're exposed first-hand (despite knowing all this in theory beforehand) to what being poor and Black means in their country/city, and the realizations take their toll. It's just sort of amazing to me, when you realize a few years, their son has become a kind of guide for them, who tells them to cheer up every time he ends up in custody or booted out of somewhere for purely racist reasons. He doesn't really understand why they're so upset by the simple facts of life.

It's impossible to summarize what I love about this blog - partially because I'm barely half done reading it - because there's just so much. I mean, I binge watched World's Strictest Parents, I think you get the picture. I think it's also interesting that when reading, I saw some of myself and a lot of the people I grew up with in the traumatized teenager, and I liked the author (or wouldn't have kept up with the blog), but the moment I had the strongest reaction to was probably when he has his first serious breakdown, a real, complete crisis, and the parents manage to call in an emergency team of psychiatrists to evaluate him/help resolve the situation.

spoilers )
lnhammer: animation of the kanji for four seasonal birds fading into each other in endless cycle (Japanese poetry)
[personal profile] lnhammer posting in [community profile] poetry
Shirome - Written while seeing off Minamoto no Sane at Yamazaki when he was traveling to Tsukushi to bathe in the hot springs (KKS VIII.387)

    If only our lives
somehow corresponded to
    our hearts' desires,
would separation still be
something so agonizing?

inochi dani
kokoro ni kanau
mono naraba
nani ka wakare no

Shirome (also called Shiro in Tales of Yamato) was a ukareme or female entertainer active in the reign of Emperor Uda (r. 887-897), but no other personal details are recorded. Minamoto no Sane had a career as middling courtier between 880 and his death in 900. Tsukushi was a province corresponding to modern Fukuoka Prefecture but could also refer to the island of Kyushu as a whole, and Yamazaki on the Yodo/Uji River (it's a waterway that frequently changes name), downstream from the capital of Kyoto at the border of modern Kyoto and Osaka prefectures, was the embarkation point for travelers to the western provinces. An ukareme (later called an asobi) could be commoner or of aristocratic birth, but either way she had more freedom of behavior than a court lady, which explains how she could travel so far with Sane. As for the poem itself, it's ambiguous whose life is being discussed, choices being hers, his, or both—hers is the traditional reading, reasonably enough given the poetic trope of the Lonely Lady, but the arduousness of the journey to Kyushu suggests the hot-springs are intended as a cure for serious health issues, making his also a topic of concern.

Mikuni no Machi - Topic unknown

Jul. 29th, 2015 07:53 am
lnhammer: animation of the kanji for four seasonal birds fading into each other in endless cycle (Japanese poetry)
[personal profile] lnhammer posting in [community profile] poetry
Mikuni no Machi - Topic unknown (KKS III.152)

    Hey, wait a moment—
I want to send a message,
    O mountain cuckoo:
say, "I've wearied of living
within this world of ours."

yayoya mate
ware yo no naka ni
sumi-wabinu to yo

Mikuni no Machi ("three-province road") was a daughter of Ki no Natora and a concubine of Emperor Ninmyô (reigned 833-850), and is probably identifiable as a use-name of Ki no Kaneko, who was also Natora's daughter and Ninmyô's concubine. Her birth date is unknown, but under the Machi name she was dismissed as concubine in 845, and Kaneko's son Prince Tsuneyasu must have been an adult when he took Buddhist orders upon Ninmyô's death in 850; Kaneko is recorded as dying in 869. The Lesser Cuckoos native to Japan were believed to travel between this and the after world, but it's also possible (especially given the colloquial opening) that she's sending a message to a hermit in the mountains.

Umrao Jaan (1981)

Jul. 29th, 2015 03:37 pm
marina: (check this shit out)
[personal profile] marina
I thought I'd make a writing-related post today (a new trick I've stumbled on) but I'm not really ready to put it into words yet, so, movie review!

I first heard about Umrao Jaan from [personal profile] stepquietly, when I was staying with her in Mumbai. I knew there was a remake that wasn't very popular, and one day we were in a video store (I've enjoyed a lot of Indian films and finding them online with English subtitles, especially older stuff, is always a hassle, so being in Mumbai I was really happy to buy some) and I bought a bunch of films, this one included.

I... tend not to like movies made before I was born, unless they were made in the country of my birth or somewhere adjacent to it. Look, everyone in film school had a sin, and this was mine, OK? It is EXTREMELY difficult to convince myself to watch old movies I didn't grow up with. So, despite the fact that I've enjoyed old movies before (my response to a lot of "classics' being screened at film school was 'well, that wasn't that bad!') I never have high expectations, and in this case thought the movie would be nice, I'd enjoy the anthropological value of Bollywood in the 70s/80s, and that's it.

It ended up liking this movie a lot, a lot, a lot more than I expected.

spoilers? )
lnhammer: animation of the kanji for four seasonal birds fading into each other in endless cycle (Japanese poetry)
[personal profile] lnhammer posting in [community profile] poetry
Written by his mother when Ono no Chifuru left to become Vice-Governor of Michinoku (KKS VIII.368)

    You barrier gates,
at least don't stop this heart of
    a doting parent
that accompanies her child
as protection from dangers.

tarachine no
oya no mamori to
kokoro bakari wa
seki na todome so

Chifuru and his mother are otherwise unknown. Michinoku was the northernmost province of the main island of Honshu, comprising modern Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, and Aomori prefectures—a frontier post to a region only recently conquered by the southern capital, with control still uncertain. Officials and aristocrats needed travel permits to pass the barrier gates or check-points between administrative regions.

rydra_wong: black coat, green stripy stockings, and a strip of bare skin just above the knee (knees)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] poetry
To live on charm, one must be courteous.
To live on others’ love, one must be lovable.
Some get away with murder being beautiful.

Girls love a sick child or a healthy animal.
A man who’s both itches them like an incubus,
But I, for one, have had a bellyful

of giving reassurances and obvious
advice with scrambled eggs and cereal;
then bad debts, broken dates, and lecherous

onanistic dreams of estival
nights when some high-strung, well-hung, penurious
boy, not knowing what he’d get, could be more generous.

Cursed day

Jul. 28th, 2015 11:33 am
marina: (stand alone)
[personal profile] marina
My roommate got a job (she's been unemployed for a while), which she's apparently going to quit after 3 days, but the adjustment in routine has meant me waking up 1.5 hours before my alarm every day >_< especially this morning, when her alarm started ringing while she was showering, and her door was open, and I mistook her alarm for mine, and got up and aughhhhhh.

I know partially this is my own fault for going to sleep late, which in turn keeps happening because I'm too stressed, which keeps happening because I am indeed Doing Cool Things. Doing cool things is great, but it's slowly winding me up to where my anxiety is off the charts and I need to figure out how to deal with that.

In addition tonight I'm going to see a ballet (cool things!), which is great except that it means less time to exercise (good for anxiety) and going to sleep late again and ughhhhh.

In other news, I watched Spy. I liked it a lot.

spoilers? )
lnhammer: animation of the kanji for four seasonal birds fading into each other in endless cycle (Japanese poetry)
[personal profile] lnhammer posting in [community profile] poetry
A week of poetry by women of Heian-era Japan, including court ladies, a courtesan, and an empress. All poems are from the Kokinshu anthology (compiled around 905), and all the poets, at least those we can date, were active in the late 9th century.

Ise - Written on plum trees blooming beside the water (KKS I.43)

    Shall I, every spring,
see the flowing river
    as blooming flowers
and once again soak my sleeve
in waters I cannot pick?

harugoto ni
nagaruru kawa o
hana to mite
orarenu mizu ni
sode ya nurenamu

Ise was the daughter of Fujiwara no Tsugukage, a governor of Ise Province (modern Mie Prefecture), from which she gets her use-name. Her personal name is unknown and dates are uncertain, but she became a lady-in-waiting to Atsuko, the empress of Emperor Uda, around 890 when she was in her teens, and was still in the service of Atsuko's daughter Kinshi in 930—having had, in the interim, affairs with Atsuko's brother, Uda himself, and Kinshi's husband. She was the leading woman poet of her generation, being especially noted for her love poems. According to the headnote in Ise's collected poems, the water in question is a stream in Emperor Uda's palace.
qian: Tiny pink head of a Katamari character (Default)
[personal profile] qian

In the last episode, I wrote two books and chucked them because they sucked, and then I produced a very rough first draft of a Regency romance/fantasy crossover. This, unfortunately, sucked as well. But I could see within it the bones of something that could maybe not suck, so I thought I’d see what I could do to draw that out.

I put the draft novel aside for a month to rest in its juices, and in that month I researched. When writing the first draft I’d based my conception of the world on all the Regency and Regency-set books I’d read: Austen, Heyer, O’Brian. Now I read actual history books: books on Britain and its inhabitants in that interesting time, but also books about the transatlantic slave trade, Chinese emperors and Mughal India. I also read fiction and nonfiction from the actual period (thank you, Gutenberg!) — one of the best parts of writing historical fiction, IMO.

My head brimming with Regency-appropriate slang, I then re-outlined the book and wrote a second draft, cannibalising a fair amount of the first. By mid-2013 I had a complete redrafted manuscript that was as good as I could make it by myself. I wrote a query and synopsis, made a list of agents, and queried the first eight or so on the list.

(There is an additional step I could’ve taken between completing the second draft and querying agents. I should really, if I’d been properly conscientious, have asked a couple of my smart, generous writing friends to beta-read my manuscript, and done another revision pass based on their comments. I didn’t lor. I was too impatient! Anyway, you cannot escape the work that has to be done, as you’ll see later.)

On how I chose agents to query: I looked in the acknowledgments pages of books by authors I liked, who had careers I would like to have, and whose books were similar in some way to mine. I picked out their agents’ names and googled them to see if they were taking new clients, and if they were I added them to my list. Also, kind of randomly, I looked at QueryTracker’s Top 10 Most Queried Agents list and picked a couple to query, on the assumption that all those other queriers must have done their research and known what they were doing.

There are a couple of things I should mention for context, that happened around this time.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Zen Cho.

qian: Tiny pink head of a Katamari character (Default)
[personal profile] qian

You can now request an electronic review copy of SORCERER TO THE CROWN on NetGalley!


This is the American version (though they left me my British spelling because it’s historical fiction \o/) so US and Canadian residents are preferred, but I am hearing from non-US/Canadian readers who are getting their requests approved. So you may as well try! I believe Macmillan will be getting the UK & Commonwealth version up on NetGalley soon as well.

Speaking of Macmillan, I went in yesterday to sign a few UK galleys and they let me take this away …


It’s a printed proof of the UK cover! The gold stuff is embossed. It is SO beautiful. Every time I look at it I swell with maternal pride.

Mirrored from Zen Cho.

(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2015 12:17 am
marina: (sexy vamps)
[personal profile] marina
So, my life has been terribly boring lately in a good way, I suppose. This week has been work, writing, more writing, exercise, sleep, work again. Possibly with some cooking mixed in there, where I tell myself I'll just make a simple little dish and spend the next 1.5 hours in the kitchen making... a pretty simple little dish.

Anyway, I have submitted my first short story in several years! The magazine should reject me within 6 weeks, which is certainly reasonable. So much has changed since I last tried to do writing professionally - the minimum wage for writers has gone up! I remember when pro rate for short SFF stories was 0.05$, but now it's 0.06$! Services I remember as being free are now paid and other free services have sprung up. It's really surreal to leave a scene for a few years and come back to see so many changes, considering this particular scene has been around for decades.

Anyway, thank you again to everyone who helped with the story. I hugely, hugely appreciate it.

Meanwhile, I'm trying an exciting new thing with my original writing where I don't let a single rejection (or a few rejections) completely discourage me and make me hide under a table for the next 5 years. I mean this, really, is the scariest thing, because I've done all the rest of it before, so. We'll see if I manage not to give up this time. ([personal profile] shedonit has been invaluable on chat every day for like 2 weeks now, cheerleading and providing Therapy For The Anxious Writer.)

Anyway, I hate writing short stories and am not very good at it (I think I have about 3 rejections for 3 different stories to show for myself on that front?) but I am currently in the swing of things, so.

I dug up an old story from 2010 that was the first short story I wrote as an adult, and actually did reasonably well with the anthology it was written for (it made the cut from hundreds of stories to 20, but not the final cut to 10). It's been through several rounds of beta and I've dusted it off and edited it myself as well this time around, but I'd still really love it if someone could take a look at it before I start sending it places? For prose, worldbuilding, IDK, whatever. Partially it's that I was different and the world was different 5 years ago, and I just need some current feedback.

The story is 3,200 words long, scifi, plays around with gender. Do let me know if you'd be interested in looking it over in the next few days?

Where I’ll be in August

Jul. 22nd, 2015 11:00 am
qian: Tiny pink head of a Katamari character (Default)
[personal profile] qian

August is when genre throws a huge party in London. Here’s what I’ll be doing!

Fantasy in the Court
Thursday 6 August, 6:00pm – 9:00pm at Cecil Court

I’m going to be at SFF author/fan gathering Fantasy in the Court for the first time this year! It’s hosted by Goldsboro Books in association with Hodderscape. I’ve been to Goldsboro Books a couple of times now for book launches and have happy memories talking books with nice people over drinks. Hopefully this will be more of the same!

Nine Worlds Geekfest 2015
Friday 7 August to Sunday 9 August at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Heathrow

It’ll be my third Nine Worlds and I expect it’ll be as fun as ever. My elevator pitch for Nine Worlds is “it’s like Tumblr in real life”, which can elicit varied reactions. But the nice parts of Tumblr, really!

Friday, 7 August

“Waiter, you spilt some sci-fi in my fantasy”
Commonwealth West, 3:15pm – 4:30pm (All of the Books)

It feels like every other week there’s a new sub-genre to better define fantasy, sci-fi or horror but are those genres still specific and how much do they bleed into each other? This panel will explore the crossing of genre boundaries.

Adrian Tchaikovsky, James Smythe, Gaie Sebold, James Oswald, Zen Cho (Moderator)

New Voices
Royal C&D, 10:15pm – 11:30pm (All of the Books)

Stark Holborn hosts readings by debut authors Al Robertson, Francesca Haig, Tom Toner and Lucy Hounsom. And me! I’ll read something from Sorcerer to the Crown, of course.

Saturday, 8 August

“The dead will rise again” – Resurgence of Gothic Literature
Room 38, 5:00pm – 6:15pm (All of the Books)

Some of the greatest monsters just can’t stay dead. Here, we explore the pull of Gothic literature.

Charlie Fletcher, Zen Cho, Lavie Tidhar, Laurell K Hamilton, Sarah Lotz, John J Johnstone (Moderator)

The Fantasy Of White History – Race and racism in historically based fiction
Connaught B, 6:45pm – 8:00pm (Race and Culture)

Breaking down the myth of “historical accuracy” meaning no PoC, and un-whitewashing history.

Zen Cho, Georgiana Jackson-Callen, Meg Jayanth, Jade Tebble


Here’s my schedule on their app if you are using that to organise yourself. And if you’re non-white and thinking of trying out the con, I believe Con or Bust still has a number of free Nine Worlds memberships going

I’m also arranging to have copies of Spirits Abroad and Cyberpunk: Malaysia to hawk at the con. These are a little tricky to get outside Malaysia, so if you’d like to get a signed copy for a v. reasonable price, watch this space!

Mirrored from Zen Cho.

Volunteers still needed!

Jul. 21st, 2015 09:48 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic posting in [community profile] poetry
So, the signup queue ran out of signups a little while ago and I haven't had time to post about it!

Are people still interested in doing weekly hosts, or shall we just switch over to "post when you feel like it"?

Déjeuner du Matin | Jacques Prévert

Jul. 21st, 2015 11:25 pm
kaberett: curled decorative end of curtain rail casts a heart-shaped shadow on a wall (heartfruit)
[personal profile] kaberett posting in [community profile] poetry
Il a mis le café
Dans la tasse
Il a mis le lait
Dans la tasse de café
Il a mis le sucre
Dans le café au lait
Avec la petite cuiller
Il a tourné
Il a bu le café au lait
Et il a reposé la tasse
Sans me parler
Il a allumé
Une cigarette
Il a fait des ronds
Avec la fumée
Il a mis les cendres
Dans le cendrier
Sans me parler
Sans me regarder
Il s'est levé
Il a mis
Son chapeau sur sa tête
Il a mis
Son manteau de pluie
Parce qu'il pleuvait
Et il est parti
Sous la pluie
Sans une parole
Sans me regarder
Et moi j'ai pris
Ma tête dans ma main
Et j'ai pleuré.
He poured the coffee
Into the cup
He poured the milk
Into the cup of coffee
He put sugar
Into the cafe au lait
With a teaspoon
He stirred it
He drank the cafe au lait
And he put down the cup
Without speaking to me
He lit
A cigarette
He blew rings
With the smoke
He tapped the ashes
Into the ashtray
Without speaking to me
Without looking at me
He stood up
He placed
His hat upon his head
He picked up
His raincoat
Because it was raining
And he left
Into the rain
Without an umbrella
Without looking at me
And me, I took
My head in my hands
And I wept.

(no subject)

Jul. 19th, 2015 10:29 am
marina: (tea)
[personal profile] marina
So, the weekend has passed. My greatest hope for this week: my new roommate will not freak out about cleaning the apartment again. She did last week, but that was our first week together and it's perfectly understandable that there were some misunderstandings, I just really hope this week can pass without drama about how many times each surface in the apartment needs to be scrubbed.

I mean, current!roommate is already way way better about pretty much everything than my former roommate, so even if it does go there it'll be better than what I was used to, but. Crossing my fingers.

On Friday I got an unnatural, inhuman hour for a weekend and took the train home, to my parents', and we along with my uncle's family went to visit my grandparents' graves, in honor of my grandfather's birthday. After that my mom needed cheered up, so my parents and cousin and I went to Jaffa to take care of some errands and eat at a lovely restaurant with a seaside view.

big photos under the cut )

It was a very touristy place, so overpriced food and central location with a great view.

After that I came home, gave myself 1.5 hours to unwind, and went back to writing (as I'd been doing every day after work). In the middle I managed to cook my first fries-and-salmon meal (frozen commodities I love that work really well for quick weekend meals) in the new apartment and make iced tea for the first time! I wanted the tea to not have actually caffeine in it, so it could be drunk any time, so I used some chamomile tea packets, ground cinnamon (god, BEST CHOICE. BEST.), bits of nectarine and a tablespoon of sugar for the whole pot. If I'd had ANY SORT OF HERBS it would have been tons better, of course, but I made do with what was in the fridge and that was its own victory.

In the evening [personal profile] roga came over and we watched the first half of The Sound of Music, which I'd never seen before. I was mostly impressed with Christopher Plummer's acting (I think because I'd been exposed to a lot less of him from that movie than Julie Andrews, through pop culture) and the amazing, AMAZING goat puppets from the children's play. I didn't even register the song because the goats were so amazing. TINY FLUFFY TAILS.

Sound of Music stuff )

On Saturday I kinda-sorta got more sleep, then flopped around for a bit, did some writing (very, very basic amount because I was so tired and needed a break from Doing Things, but whatever, even half an hour of productive writing time is better than nothing) and then went to the beach! I haven't been to the beach in a while, since Israel has been awash with jellyfish (we've become a prime vacation spot for an increasing number of varieties) but it seems the water was finally clear, so.

The sea is the best, the end. Had so, so much fun in the water.

In the (later) evening, went to see an opera concert with [personal profile] roga. It was a free performance outside the Opera House, which I guess has now replaced the Israeli Opera's excellent Opera in the Park yearly event? Anyway, unlike Opera in the Park, which is an actual opera performed beginning to end, this concert was a bunch of opera singers doing famous showtunes and arias. There was a ridiculous, ridiculous traffic jam near the theater, so instead of arriving at 8:40 (only ten minutes late!) I arrived at 9:20, and even then only because [personal profile] roga found a functioning parking lot before I could drive all the way back home.

The performance itself was really great. The entire space was filled with chairs, the speakers were really well placed for a large outdoor venue so the sound was great, the song choices were good (I am now yearning to watch Cabaret again and hearing "The Man I Love" performed by an opera singer was a revelation). They did a beautiful, ethereal rendition of "Over the Rainbow" and then a really fun version of "Funiculì, Funiculà" for the finale, which was also really great.

Anyway, of course I got home much later than I meant to, and woke up half dead for work again.


In writing related news, I've been recently thinking about the paradox of getting feedback.

just some rambly thoughts )

San Diego Comic-Con 2015: a report

Jul. 18th, 2015 03:00 pm
qian: Tiny pink head of a Katamari character (Default)
[personal profile] qian

I’ve been kind of anxious to bash out a con report for SDCC because I knew it would never happen if I let life get ahead of me. Chuck Wendig did his the day after! Some people are so efficient.

I try to avoid having blog posts publish on weekends because apparently people look at the Internet less during the weekend (why? what are you all out doing??), but SDCC is OLD NEWS now so let’s get it out.

I’d known SDCC would be big and crowded and overwhelming, but I don’t think I’d realised what an institution it was. We took the train down from LA to San Diego on the Thursday and the train driver announced that there were extra carriages because of Comic-Con, and could everyone be sure to fill out all available seats because the train was going to be crowded. And these weren’t little UK train carriages, right — these were hulking two-storey behemoths.

And when we arrived in San Diego, everything was Comic-Con! There were banners everywhere and ads for geeky things on buses and people in costume and/or geeky T-shirts waiting at all the traffic lights.

San Diego itself is sun-drenched and relaxed. We looked around ourselves and decided to go to the zoo.


‘Nuff said about that!

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Zen Cho.


oncejadedtwicesnarked: Spivak is looking disgruntled and pissed. (Default)

March 2012


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