nalohop's blog

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.

do it like

Today, what with the wrist brace, the arch supports, the bunion cushioning, and the usual foundation bra, I feel like nothing so much as a collection of mechanical supports cinctured around a fleshly integument.

Yet, perhaps counterintuitively, I feel like dancing. Have been working out choreography in my head to "Do It Like A Dude."

Busy day

Just taped an interview with Shelagh Rogers for CBC Radio. She was in the CBC Toronto studios, and I was at UCR's radio station, KUCR. Thanks much to Eddy in the KUCR studio.

Now I have office hours, then a couple hours of teaching, and right after that, a Skype discussion with Merle Collins's class at U. Maryland. All on four hours' sleep.

I could have scheduled this day better, is all I'm saying. But I'm having so much fun! Plus, walking back from the radio station, a plot insight I had last night about Blackheart Man opened up into a characterisation insight on my protagonist, and loose ideas for a bunch of new scenes to write.

French macarons; almost Paradise

The wrist I injured a week ago has been feeling much better today. It's still a bit swollen, but nowhere near as painful, and I can type again.

I declared this weekend one of forbidden foods. In other words, foods that aggravate my fibromyalgia and that I mostly avoid. I've been taking advantage of the temporary shift in diet to practise making French macarons. No, not macaroons. Those are made with shredded coconut. Macarons are made by combining meringue (whipped egg whites & sugar) with ground almonds to make little cookie sandwiches which are then filled with, for instance, flavored buttercream. Macarons are crunchy on the outside, a little chewy farther in, and then sweet and creamy at the centre. And addictive. There are only a few steps to making them, but they are finicky. It usually takes a few tries to get the hang of making a delicate meringue that's slightly glossy and perfectly smooth on top, not cracked or overly browned. Today was my fifth try. Here's how mine, alas, did not look:

But I'm getting closer. I'm finally getting something that looks more or less like macarons, though cosmetically, they are flawed; rough and matte on top, some of them cracked, many of them too browned, and none of them have the characteristic "feet" of a perfect macaron. But they look approximately right, and they taste delicious. There's a pic below. I made three flavours of buttercream filling; lime (added lime juice & zest), ginger (infused with fresh grated ginger), and balsamic sour cherry (sour cherry preserves mixed with cherry bordeau balsamic vinegar).

Recipe; gluten-free lemon raisin cookies


(Typing thanks to Windows Speech Recognition)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


  • 1 1/4 cups sweet rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons potato flour (not potato starch)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon or lime zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins

  • Blend dry ingredients.
  • In separate bowl, cream butter & sugar.
  • Add eggs. Blend well.
  • Add vanilla and lemon zest. Blend.
  • Mix dry ingredients into wet.
  • Stir in raisins.
  • Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Scoop up cookie dough by the tablespoonful. Place onto cookie sheets. Flatten each slightly with the back of the spoon.
  • Bake until golden brown (about 10 - 12 minutes).
  • Cool before eating.
  • Gluing pixels together

    Spent the evening mocking up a page for the comic I'm oh, so very slowly working on. Just to give myself a sense of how I might use my source images. (I plan to use a lot of historical ephemera.) It felt as though I was cheerfully wasting time, but then I realized that this is my work. Sometimes I remember that I have one of the best jobs ever.

    Learning curve in yuh rass!

    I've been working for about an hour, but I doubt I've even written 200 words. Microsoft speech recognition and I are trying to train each other. It's being a job of work. Look at that! It got "job of work" in one go, but I still can't get it to understand "train each other". Only now it has. Bugger learns quickly. (I am also trying to teach it swear words, since I use so many of those in my writing.) It doesn't do so well with contractions, but I'm impressed that it's dealing relatively well with my speech patterns and accent. That's better than Siri can. Her speech recognition is so U.S.-centric that I've given up trying to talk to her at all. She can't help me with shite. (Now I'm having to teach the programme that "shite" isn't the same as "Shiite.")

    But I will have to teach it my Caribbean British spelling conventions, much as I have to do with many American copy-editors. I wonder whether it does HTML? Something to research. I've already learned that it doesn't work with Open Office. I guess it's no surprise that a Microsoft programme doesn't work with a rival open source programme.

    Using the MVR feels like when my teachers in primary school used to give us dictation. I'm trying the programme out, not only because my hands hurt, but because when I'm stuck in a writing project, it can help to switch modes. It can give you a new perspective on the piece, thus showing you a new way in. For instance, going from writing on the screen to writing by hand in a notebook. And perhaps going from visual to audio. We'll see. I've been teaching it the names of my characters in Blackheart Man, and also any neologisms I've created for the novel. I guess that's an issue peculiar to science fiction and fantasy writers.