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The Unexpected Shape Café

Public • 407 • Free

16 contributions to The Unexpected Shape Café
Debut Novel Available for Pre-order!
Hi folks, I'm happy to announce that my debut novel Dear Haider is scheduled for publication on June 1, 2024, by Baraka Books! https://www.barakabooks.com/catalogue/dear-haider/ It's one of those stories that came to me fully formed in a flash, as I was recovering from a severe mental health crisis. I was at the time in school, but had a break between undergrad and grad school, and wrote most of the first draft in that two month period. I wasn't fully satisfied with my draft however, and due to the demands of grad school, left the manuscript alone for almost 5 years. Then, a close friend of mine, who works as a medical copywriter, generously offered to edit my manuscript with me. It was the pandemic, so we went on Zoom every Sunday and worked on 2-3 chapters for a few hours at a time, for a period of four months. I will be forever indebted to her. Then, I think I did things quite backwards. Instead of trying agents and big publishers first, which I didn't have confidence to shoot for, I submitted to two small presses. One of them, whose founder happened to be my parents' friend and neighbour, immediately made an offer. And the rest is history. I'm happy to share more about my writing/publishing journey, so if you're interested, let me know and feel free to ask questions!
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New comment Jun 6
0 likes • Feb 16
@Monique Gonzalez Thanks for your kind words!
1 like • Jun 6
@Dan Stephensen Thank you! My book launch is on June 12, for anyone who is interested! It is located in Montreal, Canada, but will also be live-streamed (please email info@barakabooks.com for the zoom link).
WINS. I want your WINS!
The past couple of weeks I've been working 4.5 jobs and my head has been spinning; this week is marginally less hectic, thank goodness. So what I really need right now is to check in with my superstar authors here in the Café and find out: What are your WINS for the past week? Triumphs! Tales of Success! Share your glories with me! YOU ARE MIGHTY! <3
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New comment Mar 13
1 like • Mar 12
I had a few rough weeks as well, starting with a break up with a partner of 4 years, followed by an ugly falling out with someone I thought was a friend, and then a hard conversation with my mom that ended in a fight. There is a silver lining though: despite the pain I'm in, and perhaps because of it, I've been feeling very creative, and have been expanding on and reworking my current writing project, my second novel. Perhaps everything happens for a reason, and we just have to wait and find out. It's not always true, of course, but I need to tell myself this right now.
1 like • Mar 13
@Dan Stephensen Thanks, Dan, for your kind words. Yes, I'm in the middle of processing the grief. Given what had happened, I'm actually not doing so badly, so that's a positive.
Art Inspiring Art
I was wondering where other writers find their inspiration outside of prose/poetry. I love visiting my local art museum and sitting under Agnes Martin's "Wind." I also take ceramic classes and create pieces exploring the themes of my writing. How about you all?
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New comment Feb 6
1 like • Feb 6
For me, it's always been the real life stories of people I know. I know quite a few interesting people who had some unusual experiences, and perhaps because I'm a good listener, they all felt compelled to share their life story with me. Sometimes these stories are so fantastical that I have trouble believing them. But my principle is, if they believe it's true, then it is true, at least, to them. And these stories have been a major fuel for me.
Let's Celebrate Our Wins!
Every week is full of ups and downs, and since we're human we tend to focus on the negative as a survival strategy — we need to remember where the bears and lions are! So how about we celebrate our wins for the week? Thursday is a great day to celebrate wins. What are your wins for this week? Anything at all, even the teeniest little win truly counts!
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New comment Jan 12
4 likes • Jan 4
Great thread! For my part, I've decided to take my yoga practice to the next level and do it every day instead of once in a blue moon, because I know it makes me feel good every time I do it. I've been managing to do at least a few minutes of yoga daily for the past two weeks!
0 likes • Jan 12
@Neva Talladen Happy to hear!
Help! Dealing with conflicts with your publisher
Hi! I'm in a bit of a bind right now. My publisher got a cover designer to make 5 book cover options for my novel, and they prefer one while I strongly feel for another. First they agreed to go with my choice. But now they are backing off, saying that the sales reps, who know best what sells, also prefer their choice, and would make my book a key title if only I agree to use their choice of cover. But I don't like their choice, both because I feel like it reveals the ending of my book and because I find it plain ugly/in bad taste. I'm not sure whether I should stand my ground, or defer to their decision *because they have more experience than me*. Anyone has experience with this kind of issues? Thanks a lot!
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New comment Jan 11
2 likes • Jan 10
Final update: My publisher ended up coming up with something equally horrible after returning to the drawing board. In the end, I found a pre-made cover on Book Cover Zone that worked for everyone, and paid out of my own pocket. But here is my cover, finally! (And the blurb for the book too, if you're interested.)
0 likes • Jan 11
@Neva Talladen Thank you!
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@lili-zeng-7402
Aspiring writer

Active 9h ago
Joined Sep 30, 2023
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