Writing for the heart.

Dear reader,

I agree this is a rather unusual title. I’m good at coming up with unusual things but that’s not the point of this post.  Read on and find out…

Writing for the heart.

red heartThe writing for the heart that I mean is not for my heart. It’s for the heart of the people who read what I’ve put to electronic paper. Let me tell you the story of one of those people. I’ll not mention her name. She will be MC.

Writing for the heart of MC.

One day, several years ago, I received an e-mail from someone who had read the entire series of my wicked witch. MC told me she used to be an artist, a painter, who then was in hospital because of many ailments. Since a few years (!) she was in an oxygen tent and reading books was impossible for her; her eyes had been affected by all the medication. A few good friends had bought her an e-reader (adjustable font size, you know) and on that she could read again. On that e-reader they’d installed the first few books of Hilda.

After reading them, MC asked a friend to write me that e-mail. In it she told me how much good my stories had done for her. And… then she asked: “If ever I am well enough again to paint, would you allow me to paint a few scenes from your stories?”

Bam

That is how that question hit me. Something I had written and put out into the world had such a profound impact on that person, profound enough for her to get that e-mail to me, with her story and her request.

You cannot imagine how that affected me. I hadn’t even ever dared to dream of anything like that to happen.

MC was not the only person who wrote to me about how my stories helped her along and made her happy. I’m not going to list all of them but there have been many. E-mails that touched me, made me smile, made me cry.

E-mails that made me happy, proud and humble. Humble because of the awe that I can do something like that for people I’ve never seen, that I’ll never meet. And they take the time to write to me. To tell me what my stories mean to them.

That is what I mean when I say writing for the heart. Maybe there are more hearts that my stories have touched, hearts that don’t want or dare to write to me. That’s okay. As long as the magic of words does magic to people’s hearts, that’s what counts.

MC, so I’ve learnt, has left this Earthly plane several years ago. An end to her pains and sickness. But knowing how books with stories have made a difference for her… touches my heart…

 

Magic, witches, Hilda.

Dear reader,

It is time again for an update since the last update was updated quite a while ago. Let’s talk witches. And wizards. And cats. My cats, who incidentally (cough, cough) have the same names as those of Hilda and William, who incidentally (cough, cough) are the witch and wizard I would like to talk about.

Hilda. 20.

Original HildaYes. Hilda 20. Book twenty in the continuing saga about the wicked witch.

We’re going strong, my editor Carol and I. Most chapters have been ‘processed’ already and it looks as if we can keep this up.

I know all Hilda fans are waiting desperately for more news and adventures. Trust me, we’re doing what we can but there are only so many candles in a box. I mean feathers on a bird. Ehm… hours in a day perhaps? That sounds more likely.

Since there is not a real, clear publication date for this book, I decided to show you a little part of the cover image. I understand that this is not what you’re waiting for but I promise you that this bit is better than the backside of it (which is basically a white square and for that kind of boring).

So here is a small part of the cover image. Tada. (Imagine a beautiful trumpet sound, unless you prefer a bugle sound, in that case you can imagine a beautiful bugle sound.)

Part Cover Hilda 20

How would you like it if a book was looking at you?

Hilda. 21.

Yes. This book also exists in a raw form. I’m currently reworking the text and at this moment of writing I have finished 4 chapters of it.

There’s not much I can show you of this book unfortunately. Perhaps this is exciting:

Chapters Hilda 21

Hmm. I guess not. At least you can see there are 33 chapters in this book. (Hilda 20 ‘only’ has 27.) I’m not done pondering the cover for this book but there’s still time (and a lot of work to be done). Let’s first get book 20 out there!

Hilda. 22.

Yikes. But yes. I’m working on this one also since the witch won’t leave me alone. As I may have said before, Hilda 22 will bring a dramatic change. I went out on a limb trying this. I’m a few chapters into the story now and I have a trusted alpha-reader (someone who gets the chapters as they’re produced). She told me this is very, very beautiful.

So there you have it. I’m working on 3 Hilda books at the same time. Who’d have thought that when I wrote that first short story about a witch with a big mouth…

Surprised? Me? Hell yeah…

Is it bad to promote your own books?

Hi everyone,

RecommendA while ago I had an interesting e-mail exchange with someone who also writes books. This happens in writer circles, would you believe it? In one of the mails he wrote, “I’d like to recommend some of my books but since I’m the author…”

This raised the next  question with me:

Is it bad to recommend your own books?

Self-promotion and self-publishing.

I know, it’s bad to say self-publishing since it’s preferred to say Indie publishing. But that would make the first part “Indie-promotion” and that looks weird, doesn’t it?

So, back to self-promo for self/Indie publishers.

Promotion

After some thinking of the brainy kind I reached the conclusion that it’s not only a smart thing to do but even a necessary thing to do. It’s not done trying to flog your books to other writers, but there is a difference between “Hey, you, buy my book!” (which feels as if there is an “or else” coming up right after it) and talking about a specific, interesting kind of book and you’ve happened to have written some stuff in that realm.

And why is this a smart and necessary thing to do, you might ask.

Well… self and indie publishing kind of says it all, doesn’t it? You do it yourself. Independently. Which makes it easy in the following way:

If you don’t do it, who will?!

If you don’t open your trap about what you do, no one will do it, except your fans. Don’t just rely on your fans. Some are quiet so there’s not always much to hear from them. Self-promotion is part of marketing and marketing is something most writers aren’t good at. I mean, look at me: I don’t do nearly enough in that field so do as I say, not as I do, okay? (And let me know how you succeeded!)

Recommend. Really. Do it.

Tooting your own horn isn’t considered the nice thing to do but unless you have horn-tooting folk who can, want to and will handle that for you, it all comes down to you. Even if you have horn-tooters who stand up for you, it’s good to stand up and tell the world, “Hey, world. Listen up. Look at me and look at what I did.” It’s part of your branding. (Note to self: read this later. It looks damned helpful.) It’s not the book or books you are selling. You’re selling yourself.

So recommend your own work if and where you can. Do keep an eye on the circumstances. Don’t recommend your book on second degree algebra in a discussion about game consoles. This is highly recommended.

Recommend

 

Writing is time travelling.

Yes, dear reader, this is a truth. Writing is time travelling. I just got back from such a trip.

time tunnel logoWhat happened?

Why did you go? And why did you come back? Was it not fun in the future? Or in the past? Or in the wherever the hell you’ve been?

Let me start at the beginning.

In the beginning there was nothing.

Oh. Wait. That’s a bit far back. Sorry, sometimes even my memory slips a few billion years. Where were we…

I am writing one of my many stories – because that’s what I do when I write: I write many stories at the almost same time – when I decided I got stuck. A man comes into the kitchen, his wife gets a scare, relaxes when it’s ‘only’ him, and he asks what her problem is. (Do note that this is part of the story I was referring to, not some random bit of coconut that goes on a journey to Jamaica. That’s another story.)

Man and woman in kitchenOkay, so these two, like the ones on your right, are in the kitchen. She’s hiding something. How does she react to his question?

The answer: I had no idea at all.

But you are the writer! You have all the answers!

I do, of course, but only after a bit of time travelling. So I got into my time machine. It looks like a bicycle. Don’t let that fool you. It’s cunning. Clever. Well disguised. Dr Who phone boxAnd the phone box was already taken by Dr. Who, so that kind of limited my options. Anyway, onwards: I left man and woman in their kitchen and fast-forwarded to where the woman tells him what actually happened.

I’ve discovered that it’s nice to know that ahead of time so I can justify her odd, scared, shocked behaviour which rouses suspicion with the husband.

The bike ride time travelling proved to be a good idea. I was there, saw what happened while the husband wasn’t conscious (he was actually sleeping off his night shift, so he was there but didn’t know what happened).

And that is how and why I made my trip back to the future.

Hmm… Maybe a Delorean isn’t a bad idea. Looks spiffier than a bike, huh?

The get-together

Dear reader,

Imagine an alternate universe, reserved for characters in books. And in that universe there’s a bar where they can all come together. What would it be like? In this blog post I’ll try to give you a glimpse of such a first occasion…

Let me transport you to this alternate universe where you become a character in a book and the characters from  books are having a drink and a chat…

The place was rather empty. Behind the bar were Billow and Willow, who usually ran the tavern in Sunrise. “They’re late,” said Billow. His wife reminded him that some of the guests had to come from far away, and that the witch and her wizard had their own time table.

The door opened. “Ehm.” A reptilian-looking woman peeked inside. “Is this the backroom bar?”

“Reny, it has to be,” said Sabas who pushed the door open wide.

“Welcome,” Willow said as she came from behind the bar. “Find a seat. Can I get you anything to drink? I’m Willow. There’s Billow. You’re the first ones here so your round’s free.”

“Willow…” Billow didn’t like his wife’s generosity too much. It was bad for business.

Slowly the bar filled up. Eric Paul Carmichael and his wife Sandy came in, relieved that they were out of their spaceship for a while, followed by Clara in her red dress and Ron, the man who’d initially painted her. “It looks nice here,” said Clara. Ron complained about the smell, to Willow’s dismay. She assumed  it was the stew she was preparing but Clara told her not to worry. “If he doesn’t smell paint he’s not happy.”

Then a cat came in, followed by a young woman carrying a bunch of paper. “Frankie, get off that table! I’m so sorry about that,” the woman apologised.

“Don’t worry about that,” said Willow. “We’re used to cats.”

Slowly the bar filled up with people and creatures who found places to sit, things to drink and others to talk to. The main topic was of course all the situations that their mental father put them in.

Ron: “Can you imagine how odd it was to end up inside a painting?”

“What? That’s weird.” Sabas scratched his head. “I got the better end of it.” He reached for Reny’s hand and had to explain how he’d gotten the strange skin. By the time he was almost done, Hilda and William came in. Obsi and Grim were with them, who joined Frankie on the table. It was as if the three had arranged to meet there.

“Crappedy crap. Crowded in here. Where’s my coffee?”

Billow waved at the witch. “Coming right up and you’ll love this. The real deal.” The wicked witch watched him make a serious mug of coffee and asked William if they could have such a machine at  home.

The wizard said they could but… “We don’t have electricity to run it on so it would be just a waste of space.”

Hilda agreed. “The kitchen probably wouldn’t take well to it either. It’s too different from what we have.” She took the cup from Billow’s hand and smelled. “Hmmm. It’s different.” The witch frowned. “I think I’ve gotten used to what you make, wizard. Billow, better give me some tea. I have my personal coffee wizard with me.”

All characters mingled and chatted, exchanging ideas and problems they’d run into. Everyone had wonderful advice for the others, but the problem of course was that in the world of Sabas and Reny, magic didn’t exist, while for Ron and Clara the concept of huge Walkers and fights with Lergesh were impossible to grasp. Despite all their differences they got along fine, and the time to go home to their own homes and stories was there before they had scratched the surface of their accounts.

As Willow and Billow stood near the door, everyone said goodbye and promised they’d do their best to come back to the backroom bar another time.

An amazing bout of energy in the early morning

Yes, amazing bouts of energy…

Earlt morning sky

This was what I saw when I got up. I admit, it’s not the time for normal people to get up but then, I’ve never claimed to be one of those. I took this picture at 4:23 in the Ante Meridian, also know as silly o’clock.

There were two reasons to be up this early. One was an incredible amount of sirens around 4am. That hardly ever happens here so something big (bad…) must have happened. I still don’t know what the upheaval was.

The other reason was that I was awake, which is as good a reason as any to get up. I like getting up early. It gives me views as the picture above.

Wanted: adventurer

I’m still working on getting all the edits for that in place. Carol’s been working very hard to locate every typo and mistake I carefully hid in the text. She’s doing an extraordinary job at nit picking so I may have to find some better nits…

Wanted: hero “Wanted: adventurer” is, as you may have guessed, the sequel to “Wanted: hero“. At first I was very reluctant about writing this second book, but comments and gentle pressure from some sides made me give in. It’s better to start a new book with all your fingers attached to the proper hands to write it, trust me.

And so this book is becoming a reality. The cover is still underway but I hope to see that soon(ish). There’s still enough work to do on this book. This morning I sat myself down and worked out more three chapters with edits. That inevitably resulted in some changes, tweaks and other adjustments, but all for the greater glory of Sabas and Reny.

I have 8 more chapters to go through, then I’m putting the book aside again and read it from start to end, to see if there’s anything that still needs a wiggle.

And that’s about it for this tiny update.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Paul

I know there’s a severe shortage of imagery from Hilda’s world…

Really. I know. You want more pictures of the witch, William, Baba Yaga, Shevaughn, Charisma and Green.

Sorry. That’s not going to happen for a while. Really, I’m sorry about that.

BUT!

Not all is gloomy at yonder… something. I’ve been working on Secret Project Beta X. It’s a yonder something from Hilda’s world. And today you’re invited to come and have a look…

Continue reading “I know there’s a severe shortage of imagery from Hilda’s world…”

Reasons to be cheerful. Am I really that good?

Dear reader,

Tooting my own horn
Tooting instrument.

I have the need to toot my own horn.

It has happened a few times already that my writing has been compared to that of other writers. So was “The Story of the Mimosa” compared to the “Hitch hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy “by no one less than Douglas Adams. Such praise is amazing and always welcome for a writer.

A few days ago, on a social medium called Ello, I was mentioned by someone so I had a look at the post. What I found there surprised me in the best way.

Someone wrote:

Since Terry Pratchett is gone I found on Ello a new favorite writer for fantasy literature. @paulkater

lucky me: he is alive and very creative… and I didn’t read all of his books, so I will have some more to read. but I took a new one with me called ‘The Magic of The Bull’. I read seldom the little texts on the backside of books, so I didn’t know anything about it. I read this book in two days, it’s so amazing. The beginning sketch a normal family with two kids in the funny age and the usual fightings between brother and sister. All is normal and not fantasy like until to a thunderstorm. Step by step send Paul Kater the heroes of this story on their way in the history of their living place…

I can only say: read it!

@paulkater thank you for this book, I had a great time to read it!

This is the kind of praise that touches me deeply. Being compared to the man that I admire highly, Sir Terry Pratchett, is more than I had dared to dream of.

Sir Terry Prachett
Sir Terry Prachett

I think I’ve read most of his books. The famous Discworld series is something that will stay in my memories forever. The witches he has developed and portrayed, the noble men of the Nightwatch, the great turtle Atuin on which the entire world travels through space, all of them are things that make me happy.

After finding that amazing review I found it too good not to share so I dropped a tiny bit of it on Twitter, and what happened:

Discovered on Twitter

Someone agrees.

I’m almost inclined to believe that it’s true. (And if it’s not true I’ll ignore your comments to that respect and float off in my little, happy bubble, knowing that there are at least a few people on this earth who know the truth! 😉 )

Anyway, this is where the tooting ends and the real work of a writer continues. Writing. Coming up with more stories. Working on continuing the dream.

I’ll leave you with a quote from one of Sir PTerry’s books:

‘Ankh-Morpork!
Brawling city of a hundred thousand souls! And, as the Patrician privately observed, ten times that number of actual people.’

– Guards! Guards!

Wishing you a wonderful day…

Paul

It looks like I’m doing nothing, doesn’t it?

Dear reader,

Time flies by like a clock on steroids.

Hilda 19 is out since a while and you hear little from me. Part of that has to do with things in life. Things involving jobs, new jobs, other workplaces and so on. Those take up time and energy. Still I hope that someday I’ll be as good a writer as for instance Stephen King or Ursula Le Guin. That’s something for later, when I grow up. As I try to write this, my cat Grimalkin is walking over the keyboard, attracting attention.

So what’s happening in the area of real interest: books.

I’m working on book 20 of Hilda which is always a pleasure. Carol and I are still working on getting the sequel to “Wanted: hero” out there. The next book to come out will the “The Magic of the Bull”, which might be closer than you think. 🙂

In between all that I have also updated the cover for “Charisma, the young witch.”

I think this looks a lot better than what was there before!

 

 

Do you remember Sandy?

Dear reader,

A Girl Named SandyLong time ago, in March 2014, I published a book called “A girl named Sandy“. Until this day I still consider this one of my best books.

The story has an open ending. Somehow that just happened. Of course this begs for a sequel. A few people mentioned that to me also, which is understandable. Who doesn’t want to know what happens to Sandy and Paul after everything they went though?

At some point in 2015 I started writing a sequel. The start of that looked promising but the further the story progressed, the more I lost interest. It wasn’t what I was looking for. After a few more attempts to revive the story I thought, “Bugger this. This isn’t going to work.” And so I left the not even half complete manuscript lying around on a hard disk where it refused to collect dust. (This is because hard disks are made to be dust free.)

 

Now, fast forward from 2015 to the start of this week.

On the way to work (yes, your favourite author still has a daytime job to manage the bills and such) I sat thinking about a world that’s not just Science Fiction and not just Fantasy but an intriguing mix of the two.

Can you see it in your mind already? You can?? Let me see! Oh, right. That’s interesting enough but… 😉

Grimalkin, a.k.a. Grim

Anyways, that idea popped back into my head when I was out doing some grocery shopping today (don’t ask me how my mind works, I don’t know either but it gets me through the days) and then I remember the dustless manuscript of the Sandy sequel. And a star was born! Or at least an idea. I shall retire the entire failed manuscript and start from scratch. (Hmm, suddenly one of my cats comes along for a scratch. Is she reading along here?)

So, to everyone who’s looking forward to a sequel to Sandy, there might actually be one someday. Don’t expect it to be out soon, though, Carol and I are still working on the sequel to “Wanted: hero” and there are some other things on the stove. (Why do I think of Hilda’s kitchen now?) But it’s definitely maybe going to happen!