News from the writer’s cave

Dear reader,

Paperback news

What fun is there to report? First of all I’ve taken a small step for man but a giant step – oh, wait. Wrong note. Sorry, Mr Armstrong. At least the small step is true. Until a while ago I put all the paper books on Lulu.com. Amazon now has a paperback system in place and I’ve initiated the process of putting Hilda’s first adventure out there on paper. So far I must say I like the way Amazon has created the system and I’m looking forward to receiving the print proof of the booklet. It should reach me on February 20th or 21st.

I’ve added a new cover to that book. If it all looks nice I’m going to update the cover for the e-book as well. This is what the new cover will look like:

More Hilda news:

I’m almost done reworking the chapters for Hilda 21 so there’s nice progress there. Writing Hilda 22 is going well also, I may be approaching the end of book 22 soon. After that, indeed, the reworking starts again but it will be different. 21 will then be 22. 😀

Baba Yaga news

As you may recall, I started writing Baba Yaga’s story last November. It’s still not done, although I am crawling towards the end on that story also. It’s a very different type than the Hilda series, which keeps surprising me. It does fit the story though, so I’m hopeful that everyone who read it (when I’m finally all done with it) will agree.

A question to you

Which stories do you like best? The Hilda’s? The Wanted books? The Steampunk books? Anything else? I’m really curious because I think it’s time to mainly focus on the kind of books people really want to read. At times it feels as if I’m spreading myself too thin by writing so many different genres.

I’m looking forward to your reactions!

Paul

What a writer does in the new year

Yes, what does a writer do in a new year?

He writes. Unless the writer is a lady, in that case she writes.

That’s about it in a nutshell. Of course I’d be a poor writer if I left it at that.

First of course there’s my darling Hilda. Hilda and I are doing well. Carol’s still working on checking the 21st story, and I’m busy writing number 22.

Twenty-two Hilda stories… Imagine that. I had never thought nor even dare to think of a series about the wicked witch when I put that first little story online. What a ride. Or rather: what a flight!

Broom

But there’s more! There’s still last year’s NanoWrimo story!

Baba Yaga
This probably isn’t Baba Yaga.

That’s true.

In November 2017 I challenged myself to write two Nanowrimo stories, one in Dutch and one in English. The English one is going really well. The story of Baba Yaga when she was gone from Rompford for some years is growing. It’s well over 160 pages now.

I seriously appreciate how this story is unfolding. It surprises me. It’s also very unlike the lighthearted Hilda-stories. Just so you know. But that doesn’t make it less of a story, I think. Baba Yaga, after all, is a totally other personality than Grimhilda is, and this story shows a lot of what shaped her.

So you see, I’m busy as busy can be. I’m still trying to write faster than you can read but so far I’m failing miserably. Do forgive me.

Paul

 

As the year draws nearer to the end…

Yes, dear reader,

2017. Fare thee well.

2017

There’s no escape. 2017 is almost behind us. Just today, tonight, and tomorrow. Then it’s done. Wrapped up.

Did this year bring you good things? Things you hoped for? I can only hope so. My year was lots of things.

Entertaining. I started a new job this year. So far so good, we’ll see what the future brings.

Writing. Several new books came out this year, something I’m always proud of. Writing is one thing for a writer. Getting the book all ready and out into the world is different beast. So far I feel I’m on the right track. There are several books in the pipeline as I type this, including a very interesting SciFi story that I’m so far calling Story X. Simply because I have no clue what the title will be.

Right, I’m not going to make this a mile-long post about everything that happened and should have happened and didn’t happen and such. I’ll simply wish you a great end of this year and a fabulous start of the new year. May that bring you good things and beautiful books. 🙂

Life, the universe and everything

Life, the universe and everything

Yes, I thought this a nice one to use as a title. It’s a great book by the late Douglas Adams in his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. If you don’t know it but you laughed about The Story of the Mimosa, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Nanowrimo is in the past but life isn’t

So I have returned to writing the way I prefer to write. Not like a November Maniac but like the more ordinary kind of maniac. Things like work and offline life occasionally make that hard, but also the fact that I was publishing a new Dutch book took up some time. Especially laying out the inside of the book took some time but the cover was a lot of work too.

470 pages of words up there. The title, translated into English, is “Sunworld, Shadowworld”. It turned into an urban fantasy. Yes, at first I wasn’t sure what it would be.

But back to English

I’ve returned to Hilda. Book 21 for edits and book 22 for writing. It’s all going well, even when after November I had to reread a few parts to get back into story 22.

The Baba Yaga story is still growing and goodness, does that have a few surprises up its pages! More than once I stopped writing and sat here with an “okay… what?” Once again: this book is not the funny stuff you’re used to with Hilda. There’s some really grim reaping going on with Babs, but I promise it’s nothing you can’t handle. Well, let me put that differently: I hope it’s nothing you can’t handle.

Stuff…

Next to all that I’ve started writing down things about a science fiction story I’ve been messing with in my head. I blame podcasts for that. I’ve fallen in love with Stuff you should know, Stuff they don’t want you to know and the Stuff to blow your mind podcasts. They are great to learn stuff and with me they trigger all kinds of finicky things to put into a story. Or two. Who knows.

Here’s a little taste of a part of the first chapter I wrote in Story X, which is my code name for it. (Simply because I don’t have a proper title yet.)

“Grahau,” she cursed while she made the bionic fingers slide back into her palms. With those things unsheathed she’d destroy her face by simply rubbing it.

“Zaeden, you and your foul mouth…” Gayla blinked his eyes as he looked at her. “When are you finally going out with me? You excite me. I know this great holo-bar where you can get into all kinds of shit without getting into trouble. And I could show you my new…”

“Shut it, Gayla,” she said as she hoisted herself to her feet. “I’m not interested in your holo-crap nor in whatever modifications you had done to yourself.”

cyborg-girl-alter-ego

That’s the update for now. Have a great weekend, and stay warm when you’re in the northern hemisphere!

 

Nanowrimo update and a short book review

Hello everyone,

It’s the reading writer again. Or the writing reader. Anyway works.

A few days ago I finished reading a book by Naomi Novick called ‘Uprooted’. The title was provoking enough for me. It is totally different from her Temeraire books but amazing in its own way. If you like magic, good characters, wicked evil and plots in plots, this is a read for you.

Uprooted

Next: Nanowrimo. Going strong and Baba Yaga is meeting more and more people. I’m still trying to find my way into getting her into the adventures she’s already mentioned but the story isn’t in a hurry. I hope that’s fine with you as you will have to read through all of that. I promise you it’s not boring though!

So far I’ve done 105 pages of the story and it’s going strong. So much for this update, I hope that next time will have something more interesting. Let me leave you with this snippet from the Baba Yaga story:

The wagoneers had a fast way of doing things. While the first half went for food, the other half dealt with unloading things that would stay in the town. Those were only a few crates and boxes. By the time they were done the other half was done eating and the unloaders went to eat. Supplies were bought and stored. By the time that was done everyone was ready to leave. Bearskin man, who introduced himself as Alexey (“Call me Al”) told Baba to get up on the driver’s seat of the first wagon. He grabbed the reins of the horses and climbed up as well. The other wagoneers gathered around and watched as he explained Baba how to guide the horses. “Slowly does it. They do the work. Just make sure you don’t jerk the reins.”

Babs felt quite insecure at first and at times wondered if she should throw in some magic to keep the two horses under control, but once she had figure out the movement and the way to steer them, the animal almost moved by themselves. “This is fun,” she said in the end.

“I know,” Al said. “And you have a feel for them, I can tell. Dolopov will be pleased to learn that a cute girl is taking control of his wagon.”

“Dolopov? That’s an odd name.”

Al nodded. “It’s from up north. He is too. Now turn this thing around, get us back and then put the wagon at the front of the line again.”

That of course was easier said than done but with some tips and tricks from Alexey she managed it. When the wagon was ‘parked’ Babs felt some sweat trickle down her neck. “That was… interesting.” Al praised her though. He said it was some fancy driving she’d done, which wasn’t bad for a newbie.

“Where are you heading to?” Al asked after they’d climbed down from the wagon.

“I’m not sure. I’m on an adventure journey,” Babs said, sticking to the truth. She realised her reply sounded strange.

An update on the Nanowrimo goings on.

Yes, dear reader, it’s still going strong. Nanowrimo in all its madness. And I’m still working on both stories, the English one and the Dutch one. The Dutch one has taken the lead in word count but that’s fine. Both stories are about witches, my favourite subject.

The story of Baba Yaga surprised me quite a lot already. I hope it will do so for you as well but you’ll have to wait for it “a little longer”. It’s not done yet, which is one of the best reasons. 😉

I hadn’t thought that Babs’ journey would be such an interesting one. I can’t emphasise it enough: it is not a fun and laughter story like the Hilda books but it feels like a very good story.

So far I’ve written 62.000 words of the needed 50.000 but considering that I’m doing 2 stories I am aiming for 100.000 words of course. Well, let’s get on with it (after chasing my cat Obsi through the hall a few times; he’s begging for that!)

Obsidian (a.k.a. Obsi)

The first Nanowrimo update

Dear reader,

The madness is going well. I’ve written scandalous amounts of words in the past days. In total my Nanowrimo loot is over 11.000 words for the two stories I’m writing, and day 3 isn’t over yet. The Dutch story at the moment is in the lead in number of words, but the English story isn’t far behind.

The difference in style of the two stories is remarkable and I have to make a conscious switch when I go from one to the other. I’ve found that this is even harder than writing the same story in two languages simultaneously.

So far however I’m having fun!

And before you get confused: the image is one that I am temporarily using as a ‘fake cover’ for the Baba Yaga story. Could you see Babs like that in her younger years?

Hilda, adventurers and other stuff that’s going on.

Dear reader,

Yes! Hilda is coming! Soon too!

No need to excuse my enthusiasm. Live with it or run away screaming. In the latter case please send me a recording of your screams as I collect interesting vocal expressions.

Tomorrow is the day! Hilda’s 20th adventure will hit the e-shelves! And it’s a book about a book! A book of Dragons! Real, live, big, dragony fly-beasts! If you want to know how to get one, buy the book and find out!

And what’s this adventurer stuff then?

Wanted: heroThat’s coming too, be it a little later. I hope by the end of November. I’m talking about the sequel to “Wanted: hero“. It will be called “Wanted: adventurer”. It was a really difficult book to write which threw surprise after surprise at me. All came out well in the end, despite a lot of dust, cracks and airborne problems. Maybe you remember Reny and Sebastian, also known as Sabas to throw the ugly Lergesh off his trail. There are more adventures (well, duh) lined up for them. And yes: there will be Nordrish too. 😀

The last bits of things: Nanowrimo!

Winter is coming to the north, as we all know (except for Jon Snow; he knows nothing). But November also means Nanowrimo. Despite the fact that I’m working on 2 Hilda books (one in edit and one in writing) I plan on starting another book about Hilda’s world. This one will be different though. You may remember Baba Yaga’s absence from her bestest girlfriend’s life. Well, this book is going to detail where she went and what happened during that time.

Until all that is done you can either read one of the many books all those writer types from around the world have created especially for you, or you can join the Night’s Watch and wait for the Army of the Dead to arrive. Up to you.

But whatever you choose to do: stay alive and enjoy it!

Paul

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…