nalohop's blog

New novel underway

School's sort of out for the summer -- which for UCR means till the end of September -- so, aside from marking and meetings and general admin, I've been able to begin work on the new novel that side-swiped me after the news of winning the Norton Award. I had been trying to continue work on one of the two novels I've had on the back burner for a few years now, when my concept for one of them began to change. In fact, it changed so much that it's no longer anything like the novel I'd planned. At all. The decade and the protagonist's name and sex are the same, but that's about it. Different location, different storyline, different characters, different dilemma, different solution. There was another key change as well; for the first time in a very, very long time, I didn't feel my energy ebbing away as I began to contemplate all the research, thought and writing a novel entails. I wrote up a two-page summary for my agent and began research and writing immediately. As of today's 471 words, I'm now 3,110 words in. Agent likes the idea, thinks it needs fleshing out. So do I. We'll have a telephone writing conference together sometime over the summer. Here are some of today's words:

Clara folded her dress and smalls around her pistol. She laid them down atop her boots in an alcove that stank of beer piss and dried jism. Her belly grumbled. All animal ichors smelled like food to the creature. Clara went over to Samuel. Knelt by his side. The beast inside sent a surge of joy. Yes. Prey. Feast. And then a bile of disappointment when it realized Clara was going to do nothing of the sort. Instead, she examined Samuel’s clothes. Not much blood on them. Some on the collar.

So, this happened...

Last weekend I attended the Nebula Awards in San Jose, California. To my surprise and utter delight, I returned with the Norton Award for young adult science fiction and fantasy. For Sister Mine. It's a decidedly adult novel, if you consider some of the sexual content. However, the protagonist, though adult, is only just about to make the step of living away from her family. So in that way, it's apt. You can watch the video of the Nebula proceedings here. Ellen Klages made a great MC (plus she looked amazing in her tux and cummerbund). Samuel R. Delany was given the Grand Master Award, and women swept the fiction awards, for what I think is the first time!

And someday soon, I'll stop cradling my award like it's a baby.

Day off so far

  • Woke. Sleep app (Sleep Cycle) says my sleep quality was 89% last night. Vast improvement over the past few weeks, where it's been hovering between 35% and 54%. Guess last night's hot bath worked.
  • Checked email. Emailed permission for a prof to include one of my short stories in a course packet.
  • Checked the condition of plaster casts I left to cure overnight. (I'm teaching myself plaster casting.) Learned a) don't pour the plaster past the midline, or it affects the clarity of the cast; b) mold release is my friend. Failing that, a hammer. c) Don't make a mold out of anything I'm not willing to destroy.
  • Washed two loads of dishes; one by hand, one in the mini countertop dishwasher.
  • Breakfast: tasty, though unbalanced: bacon, castelvetrano olives, a cherimoya.
  • Started writing. Got stuck on an historical detail (where would 19th C travelling circuses have gotten the water they must have needed daily for cooking, laundry, feeding animals, doing dishes?). Managed to abort the resulting web trance and continue writing. Footnoted places where I need to research circus water sources and when a word/phrase came into usage.
  • Wrote just over a page, iow 262 words. Low by size queen standards, but twice what my capacity has been lately. Another sign my mental stamina may be improving. Amazing what a regular paycheque can do to improve sleep, alleviate hunger, raise iron levels, afford medication, reduce stress! Noticed that I write narrative by figuring out protagonist's bodily sensations with each new action/experience, and deciding which sensations to describe/invent, and how to write them. I find that so much more effective than naming emotion after emotion.
  • Washed another load of dishes. Things get kind of hairy during the teaching week; dishes get done not so much.
  • Jay Lake's cancer fighting fundraiser; please help if you can

    Oh yes, I did

    Opened Blackheart Man file tonight. Couldn't face it. Instead wrote 500+ words of a story about chicken pieces. Oh yes, I did. Had fun, too.

    That's my secret

    (Pace the Hulk.)

    NTS: look up how tinderboxes work

    Took a few minutes' break from work stuff just now to write a couple new pages in Blackheart Man. But now it's well after midnight, and a long day tomorrow. Me for bath and bed.

    U of Cali Riverside seeking creative writing profs in noir, poetry

    ...and apparently, if your application is a high priority but you don't have a terminal degree, we (the Creative Writing Department) can make a case for hiring you, especially if you have strong publications and relevant teaching experience. More information here.

    "Obtain Checks" on Twitter has hijacked my Twitter name

    Long story, but suffice to say, @nalohopkinson on Twitter is no longer me. Under that name, you'll find some kind of spammy get-rich-quick scheme. I'm now using the Twitter handle @Nalo_Hopkinson, and you can find my Twitter posts here. Yes, I've probably done everything you could think of to suggest. I'm also in the process of appealing to Twitter. So far, they seem to be of the opinion that simply using the same name as another person isn't theft. However, my name is unique in the world, and as a sole proprietor and author, it is my brand. Someone else who uses it is, for all intents and purposes, claiming to be me. I will keep plugging at this. Wish me luck.