Waking Up Unpleasantly Early to Write

Sydney has been in lockdown for a while. It started at the beginning of the term break and we were hoping it would end before the third term of our 6 year old’s school started. But it didn’t, and it was announced that school was moving online. My husband and I knew from our experience with online school last year that this simply meant not being able to do as much of our own work during the day. And back then, it meant that I ended up putting off any writing of the third Oddfits book entirely – I simply didn’t have the uninterrupted concentration or time required for the task.

This time round, I’m determined not to lose momentum again. I’ve finished the first draft, typed it all out, started revising, and am genuinely excited about finishing it. So instead of trying to work on it frustratedly during the day in between helping my 6 year old do schoolwork, taking him outdoors for exercise, and entertaining him because being cooped up in an apartment with no friends is getting rather old, I’ve made the unpleasant decision to wake up at 5:15am every weekday morning to write. It gives me about an hour and a half of uninterrupted time to focus. But, I must say, I really dislike it. I’ve been at it for about a week and a half now. Every morning when my eyes fly open in the dark at the beeping of my alarm clock, I think about how I really am not an early morning person and how maybe, only for today, I’ll just go back to sleep. Surprisingly, I’ve never gone back to sleep yet. Instead, I lie there for a bit, crawl out of bed, wash my face and change, make myself a cup of coffee, and start writing. It’s going slowly, but steadily – the momentum of a ball on a flat surface being nudged daily, but moving!

Nonetheless, this new schedule really isn’t ideal.

The Disordered Spring, or Oddfits 3

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated my news. A looooooooong time. I’m so sorry. I’m hoping to change this because I’m trying to decrease my reliance on Twitter and Instagram, and instead have a separate way of keeping people updated (and keeping track of my own news myself)! In short, I’m hoping to return to regular old-school updates via this news blog. Especially since there are a few big developments coming up….

The biggest one of which is: believe or not, I finished the first (extremely rough) draft of Oddfits 3! Which now has a title that I truly adore: The Disordered Spring. I hereby announce a prize to the first person who either knows or does a search for what this title is a reference to. The prize is a free signed set of the entire complete Oddfits trilogy, including The Disordered Spring…when some lucky publisher out there realises their luck and snaps up all three books. As you know, the Oddfits books are now seeking a new publisher, but my agent has held off making a real push because she thinks it will be more effective if we have the third book to dangle as the proverbial carrot. I think she may be right. Anyway….if you know the answer and you’re the first person, send me an email!

Also, I’m so excited about how The Disordered Spring is shaping up, it isn’t even funny. My last novel was mesmerising to work on, but in a completely different way. With The Disordered Spring, as with previous two Oddfits novels, I feel positively gleeful when I’m writing. Y’know, happy. As opposed to feeling submerged in a dark sea of emotion. The draft contains a total of 18 chapters plus a coda. Just so you know where I am in drafting round 2: I’m in the middle of revising Chapter 6.

Other recent news include:

  • I spent 2020 translating a really amazing short-story collection by the Indonesian author Budi Darma. It will be coming out with Penguin Classics in Spring 2022 under the title People from Bloomington.
  • I’m currently in the editing process for another short-story collection I’ve translated, by Norman Erikson Pasaribu. This one will be coming out in November this year from Tilted Axis Press as Happy Stories, Mostly.

The Majesties is launching on January 21st!

I know I should probably be making this announcement on the actual day of publication as opposed to five days before. But I mean, when have I ever been practical. Plus, I know that if I don’t make an announcement now, I will most likely forget.

Sooo….yes! The Majesties will be coming out on January 21st, 2020 in the US. It is actually the US edition of my novel, Under Your Wings, which was published by Viking in Australia. But thanks to the weirdness that is territorial rights in the publishing industry, I can experience the thrill of a new novel coming out without having to finish one. (Still hammering happily away on the third Oddfits book!)

Excitingly, The Majesties has made it onto several “most anticipated books of 2020” lists at Salon, The Millions, and CrimeReads, not to mention this very cool reading challenge list of books by 52 women of color to read in 52 weeks.

It’s gotten some really good pre-publication reviews so far too! Here are a few from Publishers Weekly, Smithsonian Book Dragon (for Shelf Awareness), and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal.

And I’ve been really grateful for all the Instagram love from the book blogging community. A huge shout out to them and their passionate bookishness!

For those wondering about the gorgeous book jacket, all praise goes to the cover designer James Iacobelli and artist Joseph Lee. (Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!)

That’s all for now! On the actual day of, my current celebration plan is to treat myself to a slice of rose and earl grey chiffon cake from the cafe round the corner from my apartment.

The Oddfits Series to Change Publishers

After receiving an email from a reader of the Oddfits series enquiring why the books were no longer available on Kindle from Amazon, I’ve decided to provide a public explanation about why this is! The short story: in order to ensure the publication of the third and final instalment of the series, I’ve had to start the process of changing publishers.

I will forever be grateful to Gabriella Page-Fort at Amazon Crossing, who acquired The Oddfits because she loved it so much. Amazon Crossing technically is Amazon Publishing’s literature-in-translation imprint and usually only publishes books published in languages besides English.

Sometime after I signed the contract for the second book in the series, The More Known World, something changed policy-wise at Amazon Crossing which appears to now prevent them from publishing any more books originally written in English. Hence, although I have enjoyed being an Amazon Crossing writer immensely, if I want to publish the third and final novel in the Oddfits series, which I do, I have to find a new publisher.

Because all the books are part of a series, this means I have to relocate the entire trilogy to a new publisher who would be willing to publish all three books, including the new one. And the first step in the process has been getting Amazon Crossing to revert all rights back to me, which means that the e-book is no longer available from them and hard copies will soon be unavailable too as they sell whatever remaining stock they have.

So, all Oddfits fans out there, thank you for your patience and support, and know that this temporary state of uncertainty stems from the fact that I want to complete the series in the satisfying, kick-ass manner it deserves. I’ve plotted the third book out and have been writing steadily every day, and I am very, very happy with how it is turning out. Follow me on twitter at @TiffTsao for the occasional Oddfits 3 writing update!

On that note, if you know any publishers who may be interested in acquiring the Oddfits series, or if you yourself are such a publisher, please do contact me! See my bio on the home page of this site for my email address.