Apparitions, Conventions, Cyberpunk: Malaysia, Sorcerer to the Crown, Spirits Abroad

Nine Worlds 2015 update + book preorders

Nine Worldzzzz

On top of my three panels and a reading, I’ll now also be on Paul Cornell’s Only A Moment quiz panel on Saturday night at Nine Worlds. It’s a take-off of a well-known British radio and TV show. You’re supposed to talk for one minute on a topic given to you without hesitation, deviation or repetition. Those are my three greatest strengths in conversation! Updated full schedule here — do come and watch my inevitable downfall.

Thanks to everyone who’s ordered copies of SPIRITS ABROAD and CYBERPUNK: MALAYSIA for receipt at Nine Worlds. I’ll be there from Friday and will try to set aside some time per day to just sit in the lobby or another easy-to-find public area with the books, so people can come pick them up from me. I’ll say where I am on Twitter, so keep an eye on that. I’ll also contact pre-orderers directly.

The books will be available in the dealers’ room for those who haven’t pre-ordered. Each will come with a SORCERER TO THE CROWN postcard inside it, like this:

A photo posted by Zen (@zenaldehyde) on

I haven’t got that many of these, but if you catch me at the con and would like a postcard, just ask — I might have a few left!

Sorcerer to the Crown limited first editions

Fabulous first edition bookshop Goldsboro Books is going to be stocking a limited edition of SORCERER TO THE CROWN! It will be hardcover, signed and numbered and will have SPRAYED EDGES. (If you don’t know what sprayed edges are, this great Hodderscape post on the physical make-up of a book will tell you.)

I have to say that I am personally a practical ebook/mass market paperback sort of person: small, affordable, portable paperbacks are the books I grew up on, and I’ve only started buying hardcovers recently to support people I know. It’s kind of dumb because I then end up not reading them, since my only real reading time nowadays is on my commute and I am already mean enough to my back and shoulders, not to haul around the sort of tome my friends and acquaintances produce. (THANKS, KEN LIU.)

But it is very exciting to think that SORCERER will have sprayed edges, and having seen the cover proof, I can tell you with confidence that the book is going to be a beautiful object — whatever you think of its contents! There will be only 250 copies of the limited edition. You can pre-order one here.

Standard
Publishing Journey, Sorcerer to the Crown, Writing, Writing Process

My publishing journey: How I wrote three novels and binned two of them

After I figured out how to write regularly and how to sell short fiction, I decided I wanted to write novels. There was only one minor hitch to the plan. I didn’t actually know how to do it.

It seemed like it should be a straightforward exercise. After all, I’d read enough of the damn things. (It might give you some idea of my childhood when I say I don’t remember any of my classmates from Standard 4, but I remember the books I read. I also don’t remember anything I learnt in Kemahiran Hidup in secondary school, but I remember the book my Form 1 KH teacher confiscated because I was reading it under my desk while she was trying to tell us how often we were supposed to change our bedsheets. It was Dickens’s Hard Times and I was only halfway through. >:( Now I write novels set in 19th century Britain and I never change my bedsheets, so take that, cikgu!)

But I couldn’t work it out. It took me three years to complete a 25,000-word fanfic I’d started when I was 16: length was not my strong point when it came to writing. But your average novel is a little longer than 25,000 words and I knew that was what I wanted to do, so I resolved to write a drawer novel. (A drawer novel is a book you write and then put in the drawer, rather than selling it or letting anyone else read it.) It would be a bit depressing investing all that work and time in something that would never be seen by anyone else, but I knew I would never start if I had the pressure of thinking, am I going to sell it, how do I make it good enough to sell, who do I submit this to, etc. I just needed to know I could write something of the approximate length of a novel.

So that’s what I did.  Continue reading

Standard
Conventions

San Diego Comic-Con

Somewhat to my own bemusement, I am going to be at San Diego Comic-Con this year. Penguin Random House are giving out free galleys of Sorcerer to the Crown and if you swing by booths #1514-1515 at the following times, you can get them signed by me!

Friday, 10 July, 2.00 – 3.00 pm — Del Rey booth signing with Naomi Novik (Booth #1515)

Naomi will be signing His Majesty’s Dragon and I will be nobly refraining from telling her/everyone all my favourite parts of Uprooted.

Saturday, 11 July, 11.00 am – 12.00 pm — Penguin booth signing (Booth #1514)

I think I’m on my own for this one. ^_^;;

Come say hi if you’ll be there!

Standard
Calls for submissions, Interviews, SFF, Sorcerer to the Crown

Link roundup: SORCERER TO THE CROWN &c.

Sorcerer to the Crown UK cover Sorcerer to the Crown US cover

I was interviewed by Australian fantasy blog Smash Dragons! I talk about Sorcerer to the Crown, explain what measures I’d institute as Empress of the Earth, and quote Diana Wynne Jones and S. I. Rosenbaum on historical novels and writing respectively.

Smash Dragons interview – Zen Cho

A couple of nice mentions of Sorcerer to the Crown in the book press:

It was one of Publishers Weekly’s top 10 SFF picks for Fall 2015, along with such fabulous books as Aliette de Bodard’s The House of Shattered Wings and Fran Wilde’s exciting-sounding Updraft. You need a PW subscription to read the piece, but it calls Sorcerer a “glorious debut”. :D

And it showed up in Kirkus‘s feature on What to Read in the Second Half of 2015. Again, Sorcerer is in fabulous company, cited alongside, among others, Cindy Pon’s Serpentine and Kate Elliott’s two (!) new books this year, The Black Wolves and her YA debut Court of Fives.

An excerpt of Sorcerer will also be included in Apex Magazine’s special world-themed issue this September, guest-edited by Cristina Jurado. There’ll be interviews with me and Escape from Baghdad author Saad Hossain.

Finally, a new pro-rate SFF magazine from the fine folks behind Rosarium Publishing: Shattered Prism will open to submissions in August for its first issue, due out in November. Check it out! Write! Submit!

Standard
Sorcerer to the Crown

SORCERER TO THE CROWN UK cover reveal!

I’m thrilled to be able to share the gorgeous UK cover for SORCERER TO THE CROWN! Here is a teaser:

smallpiece
 

You can view the whole at the Tor UK post:

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho – UK Cover Reveal!

It’s so pretty and shiny and ornate. *_*

The UK edition is available for pre-order now at all the usual book retailers:

Pan Macmillan (click on “Other sellers” for links to all major UK retailers, print and digital)
Foyles
Blackwell’s
Waterstones
WH Smith
Book Depository (free shipping worldwide)
Amazon UK

And of course, don’t forget your friendly local indie bookstore, if that’s an option! Big Green Bookshop is a nice one in North London. The book’s out in September.

Standard
About

Interview with Kitaab

Singapore writer and bookseller Felicia Low-Jimenez kindly interviewed me for Kitaab, a website for Asian writing in English. I talked about Sorcerer to the Crown, how I’m not any of the immigrant Chang Es in The Four Generations of Chang E, how writing made me better at being a lawyer (and vice versa), and more. You can read it here:

Kitaab interview with Zen Cho: “I write stories as a way of asking questions”

New publishing journey post going up soon! I’m going to be werry organised and schedule a post every week on Friday. *crosses fingers* In the meantime, don’t forget to enter my Sorcerer to the Crown ARC giveaway before it closes on Sunday!

Standard
Books, Giveaways, Sorcerer to the Crown

Win a signed ARC of SORCERER TO THE CROWN

The time has come to give away free books!

You’ve already seen what the SORCERER TO THE CROWN galley from Ace looks like …

SorcererGalley

The back also features a familiar (in more than one sense) dragon!

IMG_20150530_182651

 

All you’ve got to do to have a chance to win is log in via Rafflecopter. You have to answer a question because that’s the way Rafflecopter works. You do not have to sign up to my mailing list in order to participate, but if you do subscribe (or confirm that you are already a subscriber), that raises your chances in the prize draw. Further details below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway details

  • Open worldwide.
  • Giveaway closes at the end of the day on Sunday, 7 June 2015 (00:00 British Summer Time).
  • 2 winners will receive an Ace Books advance reading copy (ARC) of my debut novel SORCERER TO THE CROWN signed by me. The ARCs are uncorrected proofs and are not for sale.
  • Entrants must log in via Rafflecopter and answer the question. This is the only mandatory task. You can gain extra entries in the draw by subscribing to my mailing list, or confirming your email address if you are already a subscriber.
  • The winners will be chosen at random with Rafflecopter’s help.
  • I will inform the winners by email within 7 days of the closing date, and may also announce the winners’ names on social media. Winners must respond within 14 days of notification to claim their prize. I will dispatch the prize within 14 days of receiving confirmation of your address.

Good luck! The book is out in September from Ace in the US and Pan Macmillan in the UK and Commonwealth, and you can find out all about it here.

Standard
Malaysian writing, My Stories, SFF, Sorcerer to the Crown, Spirits Abroad, Writing

ARCs, giveaways, reviews, conversations

I’m sure the title of this post is terrible for SEO (search engine minimisation??) but it is going to be a grab-bag of things I’m catching up on. If you would like to get updates on writing stuff in REAL TIME, Twitter is generally my first port of call for reporting book news (I am zenaldehyde!) and I cross-post to Facebook as well nowadays, though the posts aren’t identical because Facebook permits me to be as verbose as I naturally am. I can be found here on Facebook: my profile is public so anyone can follow it, but if you’d like to be friended do drop me a message to let me know who you are.

On to the news!

Sorcerer to the Crown: galleys, giveaways and more!

Ace/Roc sent me galleys of the book! My gosh. It looks like a REAL BOOK. And it is covered with quotes by authors I admire hugely!

SorcererGalley

Naomi Novik! Ann Leckie! Courtney Milan! Karen Lord! Charles Stross! Kate Elliott (on the other side with the dragon, you can’t see it in this picture)!

And as of today, awardwinning YA author Justine Larbalestier, who says Sorcerer is:

Georgette Heyer meets Anthony Trollope with some Edward Said and a very big dash of feminism. Romance, magic, frocks, intrigue and lots of politics … I was in heaven. More please!

If you’re in the US, you can enter the Penguin BEA 2015 sweepstakes for a chance to win five new releases from Penguin Random House, which just might include Sorcerer to the Crown and/or Aliette de Bodard’s fabulous new novel The House of Shattered Wings. You don’t have to be at BEA to sign up — you just have to be resident in the States. (If you’re not in the US and want Aliette’s book, you can join the 500 people jostling for a free copy over at her own ARC giveaway!)

Otherwise, watch this space, because I am going to do a galley giveaway here soon. Subscribers to my mailing list will get a MAGICAL ADVANTAGE, so sign up now! It’s a new release mailing list so you don’t get regular news when you’re on it — I just send out an email when I’ve got new fiction out that you can read or order. Here’s a previous example.

The House of Aunts and Naomi Novik’s Uprooted

Speaking of writers I admire hugely, Naomi Novik wrote a really kind post about The House of Aunts on Tor.com:

A New Reality: The Optimism of Zen Cho

You feel as you read that the author wants you to be happy, even if she is not going to lie to you to make you feel more comfortable. … As a reader, when I feel a writer has those goals, it creates a kind of trust that carries me along with them. Even when they take me to difficult or uncomfortable or sad places, I still feel they are doing so because it’s where the story belongs, and even then still with the underlying desire to give satisfaction.

Naomi links this to fanfic writers and writing, and I thought it was interesting because it’s precisely this quality that I like in Naomi’s work. (This must sound like the most sickening logrolling! But long-term fandom friends will vouch for the fact that I was reading and squealing over Naomi’s stories since I was 16. (I actually went to look at the earliest story by her that I remember reading when it was being posted, and that was in 2000, so I was actually 14. 14 years old.))

I spent most of her newest book Uprooted with every part of me clenched in terror lest everything would not turn out OK, but I also simultaneously knew that everything would not only be OK but more than OK — marvellously, eucatastrophically more-than-OK. And the author saw me through, as I knew she would. You should read Uprooted.

Interviews and roundtables

The Star interviewed me, KL Noir: Yellow editor and Cyberpunk: Malaysia writer Kris Williamson, and romance author RodieR about the increasing popularity of genre fiction in Malaysia:

Is genre fiction picking up steam with Malaysian readers?

Our books are all finalists in the Popular-The Star Readers’ Choice Awards. Voting closes on 31 May so you still have a couple of days to vote for the winners!

And I spoke with Charles Tan, Aliette de Bodard, M Sereno, Bogi Takács and JY Yang for a roundtable on “diversity” and the kind of conversations we’d like to have for the Book Smugglers’ SFF in Conversation feature:

On Diversity

Actual fiction (kind of)

Finally, my new post went up at Where Ghost Words Dwell today! This is a group project I’m doing with a bunch of other cool SFF writers, where we string our discarded writing together on a blog, along with links and images. Today’s contribution is a piece of lost text from The House of Aunts:

At age 16, in Lubuk Udang

You can check out this explanation to get an idea of what the project is about, or better yet, read the whole blog through.

Standard