How writing a sequel can be scary

Dear reader,

A Girl Named Sandy

I have started to write a sequel to “A Girl named Sandy“. I knew this would happen as I left the ending of the first book wide open. The amazing thing though is that it scared me to start this second book. Why would it scare me to write this next book after putting out so many other books?

The reason may sound too simple: “Sandy” for me is the best book I’ve ever written. Now I am facing the challenge to top that book, or at least make it as good as the first book. And that is not an easy task, the more as I am still at the foot of that mountain I intend to climb.

I’ll keep you informed of the progress that I make, the problems and challenges I encounter and maybe even the great things I discovered!

Wizard checking in. About cats.

Hi there.

You probably know we have cats. Two of them, black as can be except their eyes.
Do you know how tough it is to have cats that possess magic?

Hilda and I are still baffled about how we ended up with them. One day you’re battling an evil witch and the next day you fly off with cats that somehow got involved in the fight and since then act as if they were part of the plan and your life from the beginning. It took some getting used to them. Just like it took me some time to get used to being a wizard instead of a book salesman. But as with everything, if you’re exposed to it long enough you learn to love it. Or it kills you. So far we’ve been on the lively end of that scale.

Do you have cats? Magical ones?

Wizard checking in – Herbs, and what not to do.

quill&ink

Hey, it’s you again. Isn’t that grand, because it’s me again as well.

Today I thought I’d tell you a bit about herbs. Not because you know all about them already, but because I am learning about them. Here in Fairyland there are lots more herbs than you can shake a stick at. I’m certain there are even more than in your world out there, but I’m not taking bets, okay?

Hilda’s keen on herbs. She uses them. There are herbs in the garden for that reason. Well, garden is perhaps overstated, but the herbs are there, almost all around the house.

I never knew much about these things before I came here. Hilda taught me a lot of stuff, also (mostly) about the herbs you have to be careful with. Some of them put you to sleep for a while, some do that forever. No, they don’t kill you; they literally put you to sleep forever. Weird thought, isn’t it? Of course there are also herbs to kill people, like the 6-leaf clover, but we don’t use them. Not so far, anyway. This particular clover is a tricky one, by the way. It looks like a 4-leaf one. The other 2 are folded away beneath the 4. Always pays to watch one of them carefully when you collect stuff for clover soup!

Weird wordification. You’ll want.

Dear reader,

Today’s wordification talks about the gentle care that many users of the English language display when addressing something that you want. Most of the time you don’t even know that you want it, but they’ll point you to it. It’s a mode of expressing that I have mostly encountered in North America.

The word in this case is: you’ll want. When you drive somewhere and someone is next to you, pointing where to go, it is common to hear “you’ll want to go left here”. (Unless you’ll want to go right, or straight on, depending on the situation of course.) There is no question about it, you will want to go that way, even if you don’t want to (but no one bothers to ask about that).

The point that the speaker wants (!) to make of course is that you need tomust, should or have to go in that direction. Otherwise you won’t reach your destination. I keep being surprised by the carefulness that so many people feel they have to (or will want to?) display when directing something. What’s wrong with saying you ‘have to’, or ‘need to’ do something? Why ‘will you want’ something? Is this a form of deranged political correctness? (Excuse me for this error, political correctness is already deranged.)

I sincerely hope that this way of expressing oneself doesn’t get any worse than what we’ll want, because if we ‘might consider the option to agree with the idea of maybe wanting to turn into this or that direction, unless you desire to discuss this option and weigh it against potential alternatives‘, we’ll shoot past our goals more and more…

Nanowrimo and a few questions.

nanowrimo

Dear reader,

If you’ve visited my site / blog more than a few times you’ll be aware of this mad phenomenon called Nanowrimo. National Novel Writer’s Month. The crazy scheme to write a novel in one month, being November.

Today, as I was walking down some stairs and up some others, I suddenly realised that I don’t really have a theme for November yet. I have several plans for books to write, but nothing solid to prepare for when November hits. That is why this post came to be. Well, consider yourself lucky, for I’m going to put the burden of this November on your shoulders, dear reader.

No, that doesn’t mean that you will write a 50,000 (or more) word book in a month, but I do hope that you will help me in deciding which book I should start in November.

For now the options are:

  1. A sequel to “A Girl Named Sandy”.
  2. A sequel to “Lily Marin – the Novel”.
  3. A sequel to “The Story of the Mimosa”.
  4. A book about Hilda’s youth.

If you have a preference, please let me know your choice! Either through a comment to this post, an e-mail, or a message via Facebook, Twitter or Google+. I’d appreciate it.

Snow White Revisited revisited.

hilda02_320

Dear reader,

If you have read this book before, you may encounter a few slight differences in the current version. The text has been cleaned up, the spells have been checked (thank you, Hilda and Barbara), and also… the seven dwarfs have new names! I discovered that Snow White’s name is free to use for everyone as that’s part of the original story from 1892. No more copyright rests on that. The names of the dwarfs however are copyrighted by Disney, and to prevent any legal difficulties I had to resort to this step.

 

Wizard checking in – about trees and Ents

Hi folks,

quill&inkIt’s me again, William the Wizard, all the way from Fairyland.

I’ve decided that this world and your world have something in common: not everything is what it seems. And the worrying thing is that this goes for here more than for there where you are. At least you folks can rely on something being a tree when you see one. Gods, those were the days. Here you have to check twice in some cases. Remember the Ents from Tolkien’s stories? They’re real. They’re here.

Ent

Ent

And believe me, you’ll do anything to stay on good terms with these guys.

They’re not just tree-things. They live, they think and they influence more than you’d say at first. Almost everything made of wood will listen to them. Got that picture? Now imagine you pissed one off and you’re flying along on your broom. Remember what real brooms are made of? See, I knew you were clever like that!

A few days ago the sweetwitch and I were visiting one of her friends, who’s almost one of mine by now too, and she told us how she’d heard that a friend of hers had seen how an Ent slapped at a passing sorcerer. Nope, that wasn’t a pretty sight from what she told us. So here’s my wise-guy advise for you guys: be careful around trees. If they get you, they get you for real!

Broom

Suppose you were able to visit Hilda and William…

Dear reader,

Hilda the wicked witchYes, this is a serious question. Suppose you were able to visit the dynamic duo of magicals and their cats, brooms, the talking house and perhaps even Babs.

What would you ask them?

Where would you like to go with them?

Is there anything else you can think of to do, say, ask or see when you’re there?

You may wonder about all these questions. Perhaps you think that I am running out of ideas and inspiration for the Hilda the Wicked Witch series.

None of that, though, dear reader, none of that at all.

The reason why I ask all this is that it’s the privilege of the (independent) author to ask his or her fans/readers. To get a feeling of what you, distinguished reader, would like to see happening in one of the next Hilda books. For instance, Book 13, Hilda – The House, emerged from a spontaneous e-mail that a fan sent me, asking if there was a possibility to put a little more focus on the House. And behold: it happened.

As you, dear follower of Hilda’s antics, are aware by now, there’s not much that can’t happen in her world, so if you feel you have a great, grand or even a fun idea for something you’d like to encounter together with our two heroes (oh, sorry, the cats insist so make that four heroes) then do let me know, either in the comments below, or take the bold step to send me an e-mail!

Weird wordification – Ranch Dressing.

Dear reader,

You may know my habit of doing odd things with words. Today I had an encounter with an expression that probably every American citizen has encountered (and many more people around the world as well).
ranch-dressing

 

Ranch dressing.

These words appeared with someone holding a bowl. Immediately I wondered if that one bowl would be large enough to contain enough fabric to dress an entire ranch in it!

I delight in little things like that. My mind makes strange turns and finds the strangest paths behind words, thus finding hidden meanings behind them.

The next thing I thought of was: how would one go about to dress as a ranch? Unfortunately the interwebz did not have an answer for that, so I just assume it will involve a lot of wood that one fashions into a portable version of a ranch. That, sandpaper and a good lick of paint on the inside to prevent splinters. And suspenders. One needs suspenders to move about while dressed as a ranch.

Wizard checking in

Hi folks,
quill&inkSome of you may have seen that I somehow managed to get through to this world through Hilda’s crystal ball. Not knowing more or better I put up a few bits of information on another weblog. But then the impossible happened! Our scribe came to visit! Yeah, we’re still shocked and stunned about that. (Best not to let him know that, or he’ll think we didn’t appreciate it, and it was a good laugh for us. Afterwards.)

He should have known better than to just knock on the door and all that, but there he was. And we weren’t.

Well, all that got settled, he survived and now it’s business as usual. With a small change. The scribe thought it better to put my experiences down here, so before he left we managed to do something to the things inside the crystal ball and now I can write down my things here, isn’t that all kinds of magical?

Broom