My Stories, Writing

Bloody Fabulous and a title poll

Rather belated, but urban fantasy anthology about fashion Bloody Fabulous, ed. Ekaterina Sedia, was out in October. My story is in it! You can get a copy from Amazon or Book Depository, and there’s an ebook version as well. My story THE FIRST WITCH OF DAMANSARA is about annoying family members and pretty dresses.

Vivian’s late grandmother was a witch–which is just a way of saying she was a woman of unusual insight. Vivian, in contrast, had a mind like a hi-tech blender. She was sharp and purposeful, but she did not understand magic.

This used to be a problem. Magic ran in the family. Even her mother’s second cousin who was adopted did small spells on the side. She sold these from a stall in Kota Bharu. Her main wares were various types of fruit fried in batter, but if you bought five pisang or cempedak goreng, she threw in a jampi for free.

Vivian is an accountant. I’ve realised I use accountants too often in my stories, as a sort of symbol of order and rationality. I must diversify. Why should accountants take on all the fictive burden of championing order? Why not plumbers, transfer pricing specialists, fish feed salespeople, corporate communications executives?


I am trying to decide what I would call a collection of short stories by me. Awesome Title of Awesomeness is the current working title, but it probably won’t do. What proposed title do you like best?

1) Here, There and Elsewhere (I think this is a bit boring, but Cephas likes it. It’s because the collection would be organised according to setting, with stories set in Malaysia, overseas, and in other places (e.g. the Moon) grouped accordingly.)

2) Between Worlds

3) The House of Aunts

4) One-Day Travelcard for Fairyland

5) First National Forum on the Position of Minorities in Malaysia

They are none of them too good, are they? I would like something quite hip, but not offensively so. I am open to suggestions! My stories are mostly about sensible girls or women dealing with a puzzling world. Maybe I should call it The Book of Accountants.

Food, Zen's Vegetarian Life

Zen’s Vegetarian Life

I’ve just moved in with a (mostly) vegetarian who has lower standards for food than I do, which means a) I will be doing most of the cooking and b) I guess some of the cooking will have to be vegetarian???

So to explain where I’m coming from on this — you know how families have nicknames or roles for each of the members, like one kid is the baby and one kid is the responsible one, or maybe one kid is sporty and the other is academic, or one kid is the pretty one and one is the plain one? In my family, I am the meat eater. (We all eat meat. But I’m the meat eater.)

Still, as with the other familial roles I listed, it’s something you can outgrow, and I’d say I’m probably one of the most open-minded eaters in the family now — I profoundly enjoy meat when I do have it (which is … most of the time …). But I don’t insist on having it with every meal or anything like that, or feel like I haven’t had a real meal if there wasn’t any meat in it. (Note that I am subject to the influence of, respectively, a) a food culture that finds the concept of vegetarianism so challenging that it has produced restaurants whose metier is serving tofu made to look like fish and b) a food culture that puts tiny prawns in everything. EVERYTHING. See: colorblue‘s sad experience eating instant noodles at a medan selera where nothing didn’t have udang.)

I’m unlikely to become a vegetarian, since my partner is only mostly a vegetarian and doesn’t care if I make stuff for both of us and then add steak to my plate. But I am going to try and report back on my efforts! I foresee my initial forays will be heavy on mushrooms.

Food photos below the jump, hobviously.

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