My Week in Pictures

Mar 03, 2012 1:26 pm
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Well, two weeks, at this point. I’m such a slacker.

In lieu of actual blog content, let me show you what I’ve been up to…

… witnessed my dad and stepmom’s new Thai restaurant being blessed by a Buddhist monk. (My stepmom is the lady in blue–my dad’s not in these photos. All the elderly people are family, though. The man setting next to me is my granddad.)

… revised BLINK and sent it back out to betas. Here’s a comparison of different versions of the first few chapters. I… very badly want to be done with this book.

… started “The Tales of Sigma City”–a pulpy ’50s superhero novella–from scratch. This is how I envision my main character, Joan. She needs a hug.

… biked into town so I could work on the above novella in the Central Library. On the way there, I encountered this bike parking boat, which is the coolest thing ever. It is out-Dutched only by our habit of pointing at a significant body of water and going, “That. That right there is where I’m going to build a house.”

(The floating flower market visible in this picture is also high up there, though.)


Christmas In Amsterdamtown

Dec 24, 2011 4:46 pm
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In the Netherlands, Christmas is a big deal–but not quite as big as in the US. Often families don’t celebrate it, instead celebrating Sinterklaas, another “hanging out with the family and giving kids presents, also there’s an old bearded dude involved” kind of holiday early December.

Our family did both. /spoiled

Officially, though, we have Christmas Eve and Day on the same days as the US, with an important distinction in that a) when there’s presents, we’ll do them on Christmas Eve instead of the following morning (at least in my family), and b) we have two Christmas days; Second Christmas Day, December 26th, is just as important as First Christmas Day, December 25th. That gives us time to celebrate with both sides of the family.

And get extra presents.

/even more spoiled

In my family we’ve sort of given up on the presents part, since most of the kids in the family are fully grown, but I’ve still got a full enough Christmas planned: tonight, I’m going out to dinner with my paternal grandparents, my dad, his wife, and my mother; tomorrow, I’m going to my mother’s where we’ll brunch with her side of the family; Monday, I’m headed to my mother’s again where the two of us will hang out, watch a movie, and gourmetten, which is similar to raclette but with meat, fish, and vegetables instead of cheese.

Basically, a meal in miniature form. That you cook yourself. On teeny little pans. It is the absolute cutest.

For now, though, it’s Life As Usual, except for:

a) All the Christmas music playing from street organs.

b) The view of a camel from my (well, my sister’s) front door.


I admit, I had to do a double-take on that one.

More tomorrow. For now, if you celebrate, I hope you have an awesome couple of days! :)


The Christmas Post!

Dec 24, 2010 9:09 pm
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Well, the Christmas Eve dinner is over. Tomorrow: visiting the relatives. (The ones that live alllll the way across the country. You know, a one-hour drive from here.)

So to those who celebrate Christmas: I hope you have a wonderful few days.

I’m going to keep this short and leave you with a few more photos of all the white stuff outside — or rather, the fuzzy creatures who run around in it. I took these photos today, which means that, yes, we’ve got a white Christmas! This is very rare here, and this is the first time in over a century that we’ve had more than one white Christmas in a row. Pretty epic!

Yes, his head was *that* big. And yes, I was *that* close.


Winter Wonderland, Amsterdam-style

Dec 19, 2010 4:18 pm
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Adventurous Milla in the backyard

We’ve had a good nine or ten inches of snow in the past few days, and it’s awesome.

Aside from it being all cold and wet. (I’m a summer kinda girl.)

But still, it’s pretty enough that I felt compelled to take some pictures and spam the blog. You can’t blame me for that, can you?

I actually went outside the other day. Shocker!

Amsterdam means bikes. There is no way around it.

Teeny snowman and snow-kitty!

Ice on the bus window.

Amsterdam being, er, Amsterdam-y.

Lastly, I absolutely must share a dog video. Because, well. Dogs. And snow. It’s a match made in heaven. (This video was actually made a few weeks ago, which is why the snow isn’t as thick as it is now.)


WIP Wednesday & Amsterdam Pride

Jul 29, 2009 4:18 pm
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To boot? Many of our drug-related problems are, in fact, caused by tourists from countries with less liberal drug policies than ours. Just thought I’d casually point that out.

Yesterday, I polished and submitted a flash piece I’ve been working on for the past to weeks or so, In The Details. I don’t do a lot of flash, but I really enjoyed it. I’ll definitely need to give it another try.

This means that on the writing front, I’ve just got my short story Rule of Threes left to edit and submit before I can get back to working on Wielders. In WIP Wednesday tradition, here are the opening paragraphs from Rule of Threes.

(To jog your memory: man-eating salamanders.)

      Only one bar left in the upper-right corner of the screen. The battery wouldn’t last much longer. In the left corner were no bars at all — there hadn’t been since Cath’s arrival the day before. Angular green numbers told the time: nearly ten at night.
      Cath lowered her mobile. In the distance, the tower jutted high into the air, already fading into the background with the sun no more than a glimmer in the distance. It would go dark soon.
      She couldn’t see them in the dark.

My blog also got a make-over. It’s still very basic, but it fits my website now. More importantly, it doesn’t squeeze together the truckload of images I posted yesterday like my other layout did. One of these days, when I find a bit of spare time under the couch, I’ll make it prettier.


Wherein The Native Dutchwoman Ponders Complicated Choices

Jun 30, 2009 10:42 am
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World-building is one of the skills I’ve always admired in writers who can handle it well. Ranging from creating entirely new worlds to bringing an existing environment to life and anything in-between – if it becomes a real, fleshed out setting that’s a character all its own, you’ll really, really have to mess up with the rest of your book if you want to lose me as a reader. It’s made me hang in there with books like Children of Men, which started slow, but has so many details about the world and people’s reaction to it that I stayed entertained despite it; it’s why I was completely appalled to hear that people have read Watchmen without reading the supplemented materials. (See? You even made the Watchmen Crimebusters all emo.)

No matter how much I love it as a reader, it’s one of those things I can only sigh wistfully at, knowing I likely won’t be able to achieve it as a writer.

Which just makes me want to give it a whirl, and make world-building a priority in my next book.

I pondered current and upcoming projects of mine. The post-apocalyptic sci-fi, I thought, would definitely need a lot of world-building, but that’s a book I won’t be ready to write until at least a year or two from now. Next, it occurred to me I could make LA a much more relevant part of the cosy mystery I’ll be tackling this year, but was somewhat unsure; I have, after all, never actually been to LA.

Unless the plot demands otherwise, my contemporary fantasies are automatically set in the USA to increase the appeal to the US market. Why shoot yourself in the foot if you don’t have to, right? The only problem with that is that I’ve been to the US a grand total of twice, and despite my complete immersion into American pop culture, still do silly things like have my characters pick up mineral water from a gas station or mention them passing job centres. (I’m still wrapping my head around their non-existence in the US.)

Of course, I could always research like hell, visit again – which I intend to – or ask friends of mine for details, as I’m doing with the Wielders scenes set in Chicago. Still, brief visits or second-hand info are sketchy to rely on, and I’m not sure it’d give my book the same immersive feel as Bon Temps in True Blood (forgive me, I haven’t read the books) or Miami in the Dexter series (which I have read, but remains very intertwined with the TV series for me).

So what kind of setting could I use? Something unique to the fantasy genre, that I still know enough about to write authentically?

Oh, right. I’ve lived in this quaint little town called Amsterdam since the second I was born.

And last year, I wrote this funny little book called Always Read the Fae Print which just so happens to be set in Amsterdam.

Honestly, how do I even remember to breathe and feed myself?

All of this is doubles as an elaborate intro to the photos I took on a boat trip last Sunday. I never quite realised just how very Dutch The Netherlands can be at times. Sometimes, I really do love my country.

… even if this last picture quite aptly illustrates why we’re all going to drown within the next 100 years.


I Leave You With Calf

May 26, 2009 10:59 am
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As some of you may know, I own a dog: a three year old Akita named Razzi. As an Akita – and a big one at that – he needs to be walked frequently, for long stretches at a time. Near my house is a nature area called the Oeverlanden, right by a lake called the Nieuwe Meer, which is a fabulous place for him to run around, do crazy dog things, go into the water whenever it’s too hot, et cetera.

The Oeverlanden happen to have a herd of Scottish Highlanders walking around freely.

I love these animals. They’re huge, regularly block the biking paths, scare the crap out of all the dogs, and generally don’t really care what happens around them. They’re awesome.

Since it’s spring, I’ve been furiously hoping to see a brand-new little calf around soon. After weeks of mental nagging, guess what was lying under a tree yesterday?

Too cute!

These critters make a brief appearance in Always Read the Fae Print, too. I mean, how could I leave them out?

Off to the airport with me! Sunny Kos awaits. See you lot in ten days.