Monday, 27 February 2012


(Today's post title is a reference to the film Return to Oz, just in case anyone missed that. Sometimes I realise that most of you guys didn't grow up in the 80s and then I feel ooooold).
I know it's exciting that I'm back, but don't lose your head! (Also a Return to Oz joke)
Hello, hello, hello, Dear Readers! Welcome back to The Zoë-Trope after my week away. You'll be very pleased to hear (or, I hope you will, anyway) that during the hiatus I got some really good work done on Katana Book #2 (which, by the way, does have a title - I'm just being cagey about it for now) and that I also completed the passpages/copyedit for FrostFire.

Passpages basically means that they sent me loose pages which very closely resemble the finished book - the manuscript has been 'typeset' and made ready to go to the printers. So, for the first time, I got to see the internal design of the book and ZO. MIEN. GOTT. Hands up who thought the inside of Shadows on the Moon was really pretty, with the cherry blossom design? Yeah, what they've done with FrostFire is going to blow you away. I actually had to snuggle the pages. Just a little.

Okay, a lot.

So now that the copyedits are finished, the typeset manuscript goes back to my lovely, lovely editor and then on to be made into a real, honest-to-goodness book. I can't wait to hold a copy in my own sweaty, inkstained hands.

In the meantime, some thoughts about the future of the blog. We talked about me adding a permanent page in which all the writing posts would be linked according to topic (Plotting, characterisation, prose, etc.) and I haven't forgotten about that, so look for it some time...soonish. Oh, and I also realised that I'd managed to forget about my folder of reader emails again, so once again, I'll try to get to it. If you're waiting for a response, please don't give up.

The other thing I'm contemplating with regard to the blog is likely to be less popular, and I really hope you're not going to hate me when I put this forward.

I'm thinking of cutting down from three posts a week to two.

*Throws up dustbin lid to sheild self from shower of rotten vegetables*

Got that out of your system? Okay, then hear me out.

The first reason that I'm thinking about this has to do with my father. As some of you (although probably not all) will know, I'm a carer for my dad, who deals very bravely with chronic illness and serious disability. Now, we've just been told that in the next couple of weeks he's going to be moving to a new form of treatment which ought to make him more comfortable, and this is great. It means that he can spend a lot less time in the hospital. However, that also means he's going to need to have certain treatments administered to him at home by - you guessed it - me. This is likely to be two to three hours every day in addition to the time that I already spend looking after him. That's pretty much all the 'spare' time that I devote to the blog gone in one fell swoop.

I've always believed that if something is important to you, you blooming well MAKE time for it, and I fully intend to continue to do this for my Dear Readers. But at the same time, as a human being, I'm forced to acknowlege that there are actually only twenty-four hours in the day, and that writing books does need to be top priority in those ones I have left over. So that's the biggest factor.

The other factor is that I sometimes feel, these days, that at least one of my three posts each week is filler material. This is literally true at least twice a month on RetroFridays, when I'm reposting old stuff in the hopes that new readers might like it. But there isn't an indefinite archive, and I worry that soon I'm going to run out of old posts to present to you guys. It seems better to quit when I'm ahead, and instead concentrate on providing new stuff, just a little less often. That doesn't mean I won't perhaps bring out the occasional old post if I find something good when I'm wandering through the archives, but it will be a less frequent occurrence.

My plan is to move from the Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule to a Tuesday-Thursday one, just because I like things to be symmetrical. I'd also love it if people would ask more questions in the comments, whether those questions are about reading, writing, books, being a writer...whatever. Question posts are probably my favourite ones to write, and I get a lot less chance to do them these days.

Well, that's everything off my chest. What do you all think?


amy_celestia said...

If you feel that doing two posts a week would work better for you, then go for it. So long as you keep posting, because your blog is awesome :D

Nattasha said...

I hope the new treaments works well for your dad Zoe. I am almost finished reading Shadows on the Moon which I love :). I'm often amazed that stories that can come out of someones imagination.

Questions, hmm lets see, Okay I got one how exactly do you conduct your reseach, do you just find it all in books? (I'm kinda stuck on how to go about mine other than reading it)

As ever good luck with everything and I look forward to reading frost fire :D

Jenni said...

I think that all sounds very sensible. Life must always come before things like blogs, and your reasons for cutting back are really big important reasons so you're absolutely doing the right thing. Really hope the new treatment for your dad works well for him.

I haven't asked questions in the past 'cos I always thought you were so busy that I'd be a nuisance for asking, so I shall try and remember the ones I haven't asked :)

Emma Pass said...

I agree with Jenni - real life stuff should always come before blogs etc. I hope your dad's new treatments go well and that it isn't too stressful for either of you. I hope the writing goes well too. Take care of yourself, too.

Rebecca Lindsay said...

Welcome back! :D
I think it is sensible to cut the posts down if it's the right thing for you. And like Amy said, we love your blog so any posts are better than no posts :)
P.S. I've seen "Return to Oz" too and I'm a 90's kid, you're not old lol :)

Megz said...

Hey Zoe!

First, I am SOOOO sorry that I haven't been commenting. I still read all your posts - I use a website that sends blog posts, from popular blog services like Blogger and Wordpress, straight to your email. I've used it for ages, so I know everything you're posting. But I just haven't had time to comment - it's chaos here at Megz World. I hope you didn't feel bad that I haven't been commenting. (Though, you know, who would miss ME?)

OK, next, about you posting less. I obviously love reading your blog posts. It would be Blog Heaven for me if you posted everyday, but I think - no, I *recommend* that you right now just spend more time with your dad, because he needs you more than us. (Of course, I NEED to read your posts too, but you get what I mean.)

I also agree with what you said about RetroFriday. You don't have infinite words-of-wisdom-posts in your blog archive so I'm pretty sure it'll just go looping round. I'm fine with it, though. Like Rebecca said, anything's better than nothing.

Rebecca Lindsay said...

When will the new rota start?

Zoë Marriott said...

Amy: Thanks :)

Nattasha: I'm so glad that you're liking Shadows! Thanks for the question - I'll make a note of it.

Jenni: No, it really helps to have other ppl coming up with blog topics for me! Ask away!

Emma: Thanks. With any luck seeing my dad feeling better ought to mnake me a lot happier, so fingers crossed.

Rebecca: I bet it wasn't as scary for you, though, right? Those wheelers probably seemed a bit tame to a sophisticated 90s kid. And I think that we'll start the new posting schedule from next week. Just because I've already posted today and so I might as well go on as normal!

Megha: is that you? It's so nice to see you commenting again! I did miss you, but I know that ppl have their own lives and they must be allowed to come and go, so no worries.

Megz said...

I feel great to be back, it's like I've been away from a whole new world! And yes, Megz is Megha. I'm glad you recognised my craziness. Ha. But really, I do feel like I've been at a completely different place, a lonely and scary one. It's so wonderful to come back to people who are so welcoming :)

Just quickly, can you tell me if Isabel's been commenting recently? We've both been really busy these days so I don't get a chance to answer her mails and vice versa. So I'd like to know if she's absolutely gone like poof or whatever. I hope she's alive. (Just kidding, I'm pretty sure she is!)

I feel like I've met a long lost friend or something...

Zoë Marriott said...

Megha: Well, you're always welcome here, my ducky. And Isabel is around pretty often, yes - she said she was going to be busy this week, so I don't think she'll be commenting, but she's definitely about.

Jesse Owen said...

I think this is a very good idea - you can't be superwoman (though you are in many respects ;) )

I hope the new treatment works out well!

Zoë Marriott said...

Jesse: Ha! Thanks, but I'd rather avoid spandex if at all possible!

Elissa Sussman said...

That scene in Return To Oz totally gave me nightmares for years. Luckily I'm totally over it...I'll probably only have to sleep with the lights on for week.

Also, us, your dear readers will still love you, whether its three posts a week or two or even one. Or even once every other week. Or once a month! We'll still be here.

AmieSalmon said...

Ahh I love Return To Oz. One of my favourite family films, which I still cannot watch alone because it freaks me out on many occasions.

So glad to hear the writing's going well. Cannot wait for Frost Fire!

And as for the posting, I would be happy if you posted if and when you can...your regularity just shows how awesome you are that you make time for your readers. My Mum was a full-time carer to my Dad, so I know how much time it can take up. I hope the treatments work well for your Dad, then he can defo be home more.

Now to round this essay of a comment up, I do have a random question for you. How do you know when a story is good enough? When it works? The word cliché has been thrown around at Uni a lot lately and I'm wondering how do you not be cliché? It's quite a debate we've been having. (I'm sure there were more components to this question and if I remember I'll get back to you.)

Now I'm done :)

Isabel said...

Hopefully the new schedule will leave you enough time to write! I'm so glad your week off was productive.

Zoë Marriott said...

Elissa: Sorry! If it's any comfort, it totally freaked me out too - I scared myself while I was looking for photo-images. And thank you :)

Amie: Thank you very much. Caring for someone does take a lot of time and energy - and I'm a lot better able to do it with a bit of cheerfulness if I'm not feeling guilty about running out of things to post about! I'll make a note of your question and hopefully get to it this week or next week - thank you again!

Isabel: Thanks, honey. I hope you're having a fun week as well.

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