Tags: my fancypants apartment, photos, really real conversations, terra, them fuzzy things
On March 25th, I called my mom to ask for a ride to some cat shelters in a nearby town.
CORINNE: Should we take the cat carriage?
MOM: Nah, we’re just looking for now.
We drove up to Zaandam during rush hour, which meant one shelter was closing just as we arrived. We checked out the other one, which I’d checked out beforehand online. One of their cats, Misty, appealed to me in particular. For one, she was already an adult, and was described as being fearful and requiring a lot of love and attention. Since I work at home and live on my own, my apartment is the perfect place for a Project™.
For another, she’s got a tiny spot on her nose.
When we arrived, she watched us with huge eyes–well, eye, since she was hiding–and we made soothing sounds at her. “It’s all right,” the shelter lady said at one point. “You can pet her.”
I opened the cage and she bolted to a different box. I reached out. Misty cringed. I very carefully stroked her head.
MOM: Take the cat.
CORINNE: Wait, what?
MOM: Listen to that purring! Take the cat.
CORINNE: I thought we were just going to look. We don’t even have the carriage with us.
MOM: Shelter lady! Do you have transport boxes?
SHELTER LADY: Affirmative.
MOM: Take. The. Cat.
I took the cat.
MISTY: *stops purring*
Misty’s description on the shelter website had said that she’d been there for about half a year after being dropped off because she couldn’t get along with the other cats in the house. A different family adopted her, then returned her within two weeks because she wasn’t social enough and stayed in the same spot in the house 24/7. Anyone who adopted her would have to provide her with a quiet, stable environment, and not expect her to be a lap cat straightaway.
The first day, she actually did better than we’d expected–she wandered around the house sniffing and rubbing up against absolutely everything, and even allowed very brief cuddles before finding a hiding spot in the bathroom and surgically attaching herself to it.
The hiding spot was behind a bucket. It was deeply cute.
I tried to mostly ignore her that first day to let her get settled in at her own pace. I cleaned up, sat at my computer for a while, watched some TV.
MISTY: My own pace is lap time. RTFN.
CORINNE: The shelter lied!
CORINNE: This cat is well-adjusted! False advertising!
CORINNE: I can live with it tho’.
She made herself fairly comfortable over the next few days and weeks, and did not particularly seem to mind my dubbing her Terra rather than Misty.
I’ll wait till you’re done squeeing, and yes, that is a little cat tongue in that third photo. I know. I know.
Unfortunately, for all her endearing sleeping poses, high-volume purring, and insatiable love of cuddles, she’s not as well-adjusted as I initially thought. At night, she’s clingy. I don’t let her into my bedroom, so she spends forever scratching at my door and yowling. During the day, though, I can only approach her when she’s on the couch, and then only if I make eye contact and talk to her in a soft voice. The rest of the time, she won’t let me come near. When I walk through the apartment, I have to give her a wide berth or she’ll scramble out of the way. Anything within three feet is risky.
I can live with that–though I hope it improves, since this can’t be relaxed for her. Worse is her reaction to–well–anyone not me. One or two visitors, and she’s behind the couch. Not scared, but very, very cautious. If there are more people than that, like when I had my family over on Sunday, and she’s genuinely terrified. Crouching in a corner, ears flat, pitiful mewling.
Even the sounds of the doorbell or the neighbors coming home send her into hiding:
CORINNE: You are not very good at hiding.
TERRA: I am invisible!
CORINNE: Your tail. It’s like. Right there.
CORINNE: I feel like you’d be waggling your eyebrows right now if you had any.
TERRA: They would be invisible eyebrows.
It’s only been a little over a month, so I’m giving it time, and hopefully she’ll learn that there’s nothing to worry about. If any of you happen to be cat experts, though, I welcome advice.
In the meantime, we’re both enjoying our evening couch cuddles.
Lastly, I should point out that–as obsessed as I am with my apartment and color-coordination–I did not select Terra purely because she matches my sexy floor.
… but gotta say, I like it.
Dagan Books released various electronic versions of its anthology FISH earlier this year, and I’m ever so pleased to pass on the news that the paper version is now available as well.
The book has a fantastic line-up, including my lovely fellow Clarion West 2011 classmate Maria Romasco-Moore (whose story in the anthology is one of my favorites!) and heavy-hitters like Ken Liu and Cat Rambo. The stories are beautiful and dangerous and deliciously weird, and if you’re at all into speculative short fiction, I highly suggest you take a look. My own story, “The Applause of Others,” has received excellent reviews so far from both SF Signal and A Fantastical Librarian.
As far as my story goes: “The Applause of Others” was written in my final week at Clarion West, almost two years ago now. It was my first time consciously threading in certain themes and metaphors, and while I’m still not sure how successful it was, it was fantastic practice.
I had a lot of fun writing about my home town, too; I’ve written novels set in Amsterdam before, but they’re not likely to see the light of day anytime soon. If you want to hear me wax poetic about canals, here’s your chance.
Lastly, in case anyone reads the story and blinks at the MC calling her dads by their first names… During Clarion West, one classmate pointed out that they were dubious about that aspect. Why wouldn’t Floor simply call them ‘Dad’ or some variation thereof? Wouldn’t she do that under other circumstances?
Basically, the answer to that is ‘no.’ When I drafted the story, her parents were a straight couple, and Floor did the same thing. (I took a look, and it turns out I actually shared an excerpt at the time. Ha!) Floor’s parents see themselves as being all modern and cool, and being on a first-name basis comes with the territory. I think this happens in the United States, too, but perhaps to a lesser degree?
When I waved my author wand and turned not!Mom into not!Dad, I didn’t immediately realize how calling them by their first names might be perceived given the different context. After some waffling, I ended up keeping it as is. It just fit them in my head. In addition, when I researched whether kids being on a first-name basis with their parents was indeed more common in NL vs US, I stumbled upon several queer parents who go by their first names for practical reasons, which set my mind at ease.
Anyway, if anyone did raise an eyebrow at it, I hope this clears up the what and why
With few exceptions, I only purchase paperbacks. Some days, that’s harder to stick with than others. Here’s a list (incomplete, naturally) of books already out in hardback that I’m chomping at the bit for.
(And if any of these lovely covers change for the paperbacks, I will be very upset. Be warned, publishers. Be. Warned.)
Tankborn by Karen Sandler
Best friends Kayla and Mishalla know they will be separated for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. GENs are gestated in a tank and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen.
When Kayla is Assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds secrets and surprises; not least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul’s great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night.
After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan to save the disappearing children. Yet can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, revealing secrets no one is ready to face.
The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George
Jesse cuts her own hair with a Swiss Army knife. She wears big green fisherman’s boots. She’s the founding (and only) member of NOLAW, the National Organization to Liberate All Weirdos. Emily wears sweaters with faux pearl buttons. She’s vice president of the student council. She has a boyfriend.
These two girls have nothing in common, except the passionate “private time” they share every Tuesday afternoon. Jesse wishes their relationship could be out in the open, but Emily feels she has too much to lose. When they find themselves on opposite sides of a heated school conflict, they each have to decide what’s more important: what you believe in, or the one you love?
When We Wake by Karen Healey
Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027–she’s happiest when playing the guitar, she’s falling in love for the first time, and she’s joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.
But on what should have been the best day of Tegan’s life, she dies–and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.
Tegan is the first government guinea pig to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity–even though all she wants to do is try to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. But the future isn’t all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future?
Adaptation by Malinda Lo
Reese can’t remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: She’s different now.
Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded.
Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David are in Arizona when it happens. Everyone knows the world will never be the same. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway at night in the middle of Nevada, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won’t tell them what happened, where they are—or how they’ve been miraculously healed.
Things become even stranger when Reese returns home. San Francisco feels like a different place with police enforcing curfew, hazmat teams collecting dead birds, and a strange presence that seems to be following her. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction—and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.
Geeks, Girls and Secret Identities by Mike Jung
Vincent Wu is Captain Stupendous’s No. 1 Fan, but even he has to admit that Captain Stupendous has been a little off lately. During Professor Mayhem’s latest attack, Captain Stupendous barely made it out alive – although he did manage to save Vincent from a giant monster robot. It’s Vincent’s dream come true… until he finds out Captain Stupendous’s secret identity: It’s Polly Winnicott-Lee, the girl Vincent happens to have a crush on. Captain Stupendous’s powers were recently transferred to Polly in a fluke accident, and so while she has all of his super strength and super speed, she doesn’t know how to use them, and she definitely doesn’t know all the strengths and weaknesses of his many nemeses.
But Vincent and his friends are just the right fan club to train up their favorite superhero before he (she?) has to face Professor Mayhem again. And if they make it through this battle for the safety of Copperplate City, Vincent might just get up the courage to ask Polly on a date.
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil.
The lush city of Palmares Tres shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.
Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Tres will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.
Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.
Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.
Above by Leah Bobet
Matthew has loved Ariel from the moment he found her in the tunnels, her bee’s wings falling away. They live in Safe, an underground refuge for those fleeing the city Above—like Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, and Jack Flash, who can shoot lightning from his fingers.
But one terrifying night, an old enemy invades Safe with an army of shadows, and only Matthew, Ariel, and a few friends escape Above. As Matthew unravels the mystery of Safe’s history and the shadows’ attack, he realizes he must find a way to remake his home—not just for himself, but for Ariel, who needs him more than ever before.
Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. She will dance and summon her tribe’s deity, who will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But when the dance ends, Liyana is still there. Her tribe is furious–and sure that it is Liyana’s fault. Abandoned by her tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.
Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. The desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.
The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice–she must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate–or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.
Fair Coin by E.C. Myers
An exciting adventure across parallel worlds! Ephraim discovers a strange coin that makes his wishes come true each time he flips it. His best friend becomes obsessed with the coin, and the world begins to change in unexpected ways.
After the retreat, Kimberly Welchons, Natalie Parker, Tessa Gratton, and moi got in a car and headed into Austin, had lunch, then promptly drove north to see an awesome cave. Photos are just a click away~
Tags: friends, photos, retreat, the trip of rhyming cities, vacation
Previously, I left y’all on a cliffhanger.
Worry no more! The trip to Texas miraculously healed my feet.
(Sorry about that anticlimax.)
Anyway, my carefully ordered day-to-day reports will now end, on account of there being no rhyme or logic to writing retreats, merely writing and drinking, and it is easy to lose track of time that way.
Anyway, a bunch of us took a bus:
To a house:
A seriously pretty house:
With an even prettier view:
People spent a lot of time talking…
And looking pensive…
And diligently working…
And, in general, being completely lovely.
(I, on the other hand, spent a lot of time chasing down squirrels and geckos.)
The absolute highlight of the retreat, of course, was Beth Revis shocking Victoria Schwab and Amy Plum TO THEIR VERY CORES by… actually really enjoying the salty liquorice I brought.
Beth, you have most excellent taste.
Tags: agent joan, editor maggie, friends, photos, really real conversations, the trip of rhyming cities, vacation
The first half of my trip consisted of a few days in Boston with my delightful friend and CP Helen Corcoran. Photos below!
Tags: lilo is, people know i exist, retreat, reviews of my stuff, short stories, the applause of others, vacation
One day soon, I hope to make a proper post of my US trip–photos! the works!–but presently I have the excuse of jetlag, and will thus take the easy route and drop off a few links.
Man, that house was pretty. It’s especially pretty compared to my current environment, which is cold and wet, and will soon suffer from more gross wet snow.
Dear Netherlands: I like you. I would like you better if I wouldn’t have to wear a winter coat twice my size for most of the year.
In non-retreat news, I got two lovely reviews of short stories while I was out of the country.
First, Mieneke van der Salm–Dutch spec lovers unite!–reviewed FISH (now out from Dagan Books) the other day. This anthology features my short story “The Applause of Others,” about which Mieneke said:
I adored this story almost as much for its setting as its narrative. It’s set in Amsterdam and is written not with the eye of a stranger but someone familiar with the city and its character [...]
For the rest of the review, which includes lovely things about the rest of the anthology’s stories–including “Quick Karma” by April L’Orange, a personal favorite–check out her in-depth review.
Next, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam reviewed the upcoming Clockwork Phoenix 4 anthology (coming soon from Mythic Delirium Books). She listed my story “Lilo Is” as one of the highlights, which makes me all warm and fuzzy. Check it out.
That’s two for two as far as reviews for this anthology goes. Not bad!
Now, off to make a dent in my reading pile before my edit letter arrives…
Tags: lilo is, me on the interwebs, onefourkidlit, otherbound, people know i exist, publication, reviews of my stuff, short stories, the applause of others, the trip of rhyming cities
I’m traveling to the US for two weeks come Tuesday, so this is a bit of a drive-by post. That means the return of my old friends, BULLET POINTS:
- The Clockwork Phoenix 4 anthology won’t be out for several months–but we just got our first review! Lois Tilton takes a look at the anthology at Locus Online, and has good things to say:
The tone ranges from dark to heartwarming and simple. The overall quality is high (…) Several of the pieces are quite challenging. Readers will do well to pick up a copy.
An excerpt from her thoughts on my story “Lilo Is”:
A surprisingly real and sad story.
- The e-version of the FISH anthology is live! I was holding off on posting an official announcement about this until the paper version came out, but I didn’t want to leave it out of this round-up. FISH contains my week six story from Clarion West, “The Applause of Others,” which is set in Amsterdam, and contains a magic eel and a teen girl.
The stories in this anthology are wild and varied and lovely. If you’re interested in whimsical fantasy and science-fiction, you should definitely check it out. For a full table of contents and various ways of purchasing a copy, check the publisher website.
- The FISH publisher also interviewed each author in the anthology. Find my interview here.
- Story notes will come when the paper version is out.
- In YA news: These past few months, I’ve been active as a moderator of the OneFourKidLit group–a fantastic group of MG/YA authors debuting in 2014. We’re all introducing ourselves before we really get the content going. Here’s my introductory post with some fun Otherbound details, and I highly suggest you take a look at the other intro posts as well. These books, man. These books. My wallet is going to weep throughout all of 2014.
- This upcoming trip of mine contains stops in Boston, New York, and Austin, and meet-ups with friends, Agentlady Joan, and Editorlady Maggie. I will also consume copious amounts of frozen yoghurt. I’m beyond excited!
When I finished the first draft of Otherbound, I got myself a little gift: a drawing of one of the two PoV characters, Nolan. That drawing has been gracing the Otherbound page for a long time now. I love it, but he’s a little lonely.
So when the book deal happened, I got myself another little gift: a drawing of two other major characters. The artist is Nicc Balce, who’s done commissions for me before, and I am ever so pleased with the result. Meet Amara and Cilla:
Is that awesome or is that awesome? (hint: IT’S AWESOME~)
(Also, I guess not everyone has read this book yet, given that it’s… not out for another year… I keep forgetting that. SO ANYWAY, the girl on the left = Amara = the mute servant girl from the pitch = the second PoV character. Girl on the right = Cilla.)
Tags: all about me, autism, real life excitement, shiny book where people die a lot
As most of you know, I’m autistic. As fewer of you know, I’m 23, and just moved out of my mother’s house into my own apartment. It is a lovely apartment, and (silverfish and noisy neighbors aside) I couldn’t be happier with it.
Unfortunately, this whole living-on-my-own gig also comes with a lot more responsibility than I’m used to, so it’s taking me a while to adjust. Because of the autism, I handle some things better than others would, and some things, notsomuch. All the chaos around the move and adjusting meant I couldn’t start my new novel until late December.
The good was that that novel? Went so damn fast. I’m a speedy drafter, so I was comfortably past 56k words in record time.
The bad was that that novel was also not right, so I had to scrap everything I’d written and rework my outline from scratch.
The also bad is that now my brain is too tired from drafting the wrong words to start drafting the right ones. Combine that with adjusting to the house, a messed up sleep schedule, and other obligations, and I’m having a hell of a time getting my life in order.
What’s tricky about mental disorders and illnesses is that you have to monitor yourself carefully. Push yourself too hard, and things snap. You can–you need to–pick up on the warning signs, but it’s more complicated than that. You’ll always ask yourself questions. Am I taking things too easy on myself? Could I write this novel now if I pushed myself, or would pushing myself just result in a breakdown? If I did succeed, would I have enough mental energy left for all the things I have to do next month? Should I take it slowly so I’ll at least get some work done, or should I stop entirely so that I have time to recharge?
That’s where I am right now: exhausted and figuring out my next move. It’s not conducive to either writing or blog posts. (It’s very conducive to ‘sleeping in until 2PM’ and ‘playing Pokémon’ and ‘staring at the vacuum cleaner but being unable to bring myself to pick it up.’)
On the bright side, there is a chance a lot of this will improve over the coming years. For one, I’ll get more used to managing the apartment. For another, I’ve known for a couple of years that I likely have ADD in addition to the autism, but never pursued a diagnosis. Now that I have to deal with deadlines and an apartment, I think it’s worth looking into a diagnosis and medication to see if that will help me manage my time and energy levels better.
I’m saying all of this in part because I am a chronic over-explainer, but also because I think it’s important to talk about. There’s no shame in having a brain that works differently from other people, or struggling with that on occasion. No one should think they’re alone or a failure because they can’t manage everything the rest of the world seems to manage.
I’m around on Twitter if you want to see what I’m up to, and hopefully I’ll be back in business soon. Until then, please excuse the blog silence. I’m alive, I promise!