Happy new year. 2016 is here.

Happy new year. 2016 is here.

Dear reader,

By most of the world has slipped into the new year. 2016. Most of it? Yes, some Arabic countries follow a different one. They had new year a few months ago; in our October of last year they went from 1436 to 1437. See, you learnt something new already this new year! It’s that easy.

BooksHave you been good and read many books? I only want to hear yes‘s to this of course, so I’ll block my ears for the nay-sayers who have their chance now.

And stop. Nay-sayer-time’s up.

Thank you for reading many books. Not only is this a thank you on my behalf, but on behalf of all the Indie writers, editors, formatters and cover designers who are working hard to deliver many pages of quality entertainment to you, day after week.

I’m looking forward to a new year of books. Books I have yet to read, and some books that I very much want to read again, just because they’re amazing. And books I have yet to write, edit, and publish. Hilda 17 is the next one on the conveyor belt to come out, I think. Might take a while, but it’s coming. On Twitter I already made a comment about the title. The title for Hilda’s 17th book will be “Wytches Roone”. Now if that doesn’t sound the same, you’re pronouncing it incorrectly. Trust me on this. There’s also a lot ado about a new Dutch book, which is getting some attention on my Dutch website, and the latest idea I got (last year, on December 31st in the morning actually) is the final push for a new story about Lily Marin, our Masked Woman.

May you all have a wonderful, happy, healthy, Bosporus – I mean prosperous – and great New Year. May the books be with you.

Christmas and stuff

Hi folks,

William the wizard here for a change. Hilda and I would like to take the opportunity to wish all of you a magical Christmas with lots of fun, happiness, good food and wine – even if you have to water it down a bit, you know. It’s something you get used to see.

To stay in the spirit a bit Hilda asked me to get you a bit of present, a bit of Christmas and a bit of dragon, so there you go.

Christmas Dragon

And of course no festive day is complete with cats.

cats

Happy holidays everyone. And keep things shiny! (Guess who made me say that.)

William the Wizard.

Nanowrimo, day 25. Things mix up.

Dear reader,

endtitleThe month is almost over. Nanowrimo is coming to an end soon. I’m not worried about making the fifty thousand words – I managed that last week. There is however an unforeseen complication to the story. The point where I hoped it would end has already happened, about halfway through the book. That’s of course a bit unfortunate because there are other things that still need to happen, but the ‘finale’ already found its place. Usually a fin-ale has a connection to a finish, not the middle of a book. I guess there is a midd-ale here, and the challenge is to find a new finale for the book that’s even bigger, better, worse and intense, and also located at the end of the book where it belongs…

NaNoWriMo 2015

Nanowrimo, day 19. There be progress.

Nanowrimo, day 19. There be progress.

Dear reader,

NaNoWriMo 2015The first days (weeks) of this crazy month didn’t fill me with much confidence about the story I’m writing. I suspect that will show in the first 10 chapters that I produced, with the consequence that those will need a lot of attention in order to make them legible, understandable and in some way interesting.

Time will tell.

Lately I feel better about the flow of words but the basic plan I made for the story has been thrown upside down, leftside right and generally it became the laugh of the week. I am currently writing what should be the end of the story while I’m only halfway into it! This means that there has to be a second end while the end isn’t what it set out to be.

plan a, plan bWhen will this teach me that making plans for a story is something I should avoid at all cost?

Please, wish me luck in finding my way out of this strange situation. The characters involved will definitely appreciate that.

Nanowrimo. Day 13. Not all is bad luck.

Nanowrimo. Day 13. Not all is bad luck.

Dear reader,

NaNoWriMo 2015Let me give you another update on the progress of this wrimo. A wrimo is a person engaged in Nanowrimo – this for your learning pleasure. You can now say you learnt something today (unless you already knew this fact).

At the moment of writing this blog post the story in total stands at 53164 words. 37404 of those have been written this month as part of the aforementioned crazy dash of words. Honesty demands me to state that I am not at all confident in the validity of the chapters I wrote before the current one and the one before that (being 17 and 16. If you paid attention you know why I state the numbers this way). For that reason I enlisted the help of a good friend who will have a look at the potential or possible garbage that came out of my fingers and had to pass through the keyboard. We’ll find out how much damage I have wrought, even though I shouldn’t worry about that as this is nano. Not something that should immediately produce a decent piece of text.

Friday-13 black catBut as I said up there somewhere, not all is bad. After all it is Friday the 13th, which is a good day. It means the weekend is close.

And I just discovered that I have written 1.9 million words since I started keeping track in April 2013. Is it therefore a miracle that I am on my third keyboard since then?

Well, it’s time for me to return to Sabas and Reny, who managed to get themselves locked up somewhere with a group of others and they’re trying to find a way out. Wouldn’t you if there was no food and water around, and all you have is what you carry with you? Which is about enough for another week?

Have a great Friday 13th, and if you are ever out looking for a cat, please go to a shelter. There are lots of lovely cats there who are looking for their golden home. And from the bottom of my heart: consider a black one. They’re really lovely and no, they don’t mean bad luck. Black cats are magical. Just ask Hilda and William. Or me.

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Nanowrimo. Day 10. Surprises for everyone.

Nanowrimo. Day 10. Surprises for everyone.

Dear reader,

NaNoWriMo 2015It has taken me a considerable time to get all my pawns in place for the real problem of the book. The problem they will have to face. Yes, as any good writer can tell you, it is a lot of work to prepare all the misery for the characters in a story. However, once all that is in place there is no stopping the story. That is where I’ve come. Sabas and Reny don’t know what’s in store for them. I do. At least most of it, because I’m the kind of writer who likes to leave some surprises for myself as well.

This is one of the slowest Nanowrimo challenges ever for me. Usually I write at least 4000 words per day for Nanowrimo. I’m far below that average and that’s fine with me. The story’s getting a great boost and that’s important.

I am also working on another project, in Dutch, which cuts into the writing time for Nanorwimo. Usually I woudn’t do this but this is a project dear to my heart so Nano has to suffer. But now onwards. More words. More pages.

More troubles for everyone who lost their way and found themselves in the new book!

Nanowrimo. Start of day 7.

Nanowrimo. Start of day 7.

Dear reader,Environment

Today starts day 7 of Nanowrimo. So far things are going well. I’m pleased with my progress, which at this point shows 18.150 words. Sabas and Reny are travelling, and to give you an idea of the area they’re about to face I have added a picture of my recent vacation to the island of Lanzarote at the top of this post. Isn’t that just charming and inviting?

The story has progressed to chapter 11 by now. Do keep in mind that I already had part of this written, so not all chapters are official Nanowrimo chapters. I am however keeping track of the specific words written this month.

You will understand (perhaps not appreciate) that during this month work on other projects (like Hilda book 18) has come to a full stop. These projects won’t be forgotten though; they’re just on the back burner for a while. I’ll now leave you to your schedule, which might include interesting things like household chores, cleaning your flame thrower and sharpening your swords. I’ll check in again when there’s progress and/or something interesting to report.

Nanowrimo. Day 3.

Nanowrimo. Day 3.

Yes, dear reader, you may have noticed that I am not posting something new here every Nano-day. Today however, obviously, I do.

NaNoWriMo 2015The writing goes quite well. I finally feel at ease with this story, which may strike you as odd. After all, I managed to write the first book too. Indeed, and that is the big hurdle. The first book with Sebastian and Reny is – for me – one of the best books I’ve written so far, and now I am going to write something that has to be at least as good. That is not just writing a book. It’s something daunting, looming.

Still I have good hopes that this book will be worth a read as well. It will have a different feel to it as it’s beginning in a ‘settled’ world. Sebastian has been here for a while, so there are many things he knows already. That doesn’t mean he knows everything yet. There are still places to explore, people to meet and surprises to face. And of course there are things that matter to him and Reny both; things that aren’t always easy to deal with. But how all that ends… for that we all have to wait for this book to be finished and done. Believe me; even I don’t yet know everything that will happen to them! (Although I have some prior knowledge!)

And at the moment of writing this blog post, the word count for the new story stands at 8,027… I’m ready to add some more to that number.

Nanowrimo 2015, day 1.

Nanowrimo 2015, day 1.

nanowrimo

Yes, dear reader. It is that time of the year again where thousands of people sit down every day to let hundreds, thousands, or maybe even dozens of words per hour flow from their fingers in order to write a novel in a month. A mad enterprise but a fulfilling one. I’m able to claim that as I’ve done this for several years.

Wanted: heroThe plan for this month is to write a sequel to the science fiction story “Wanted: hero“.

If you’ve read this book you will know how Sebastian changed careers from consultant to fighter of alien creatures. The next book will continue the story on how Sebastian will face the challenge of making a new life and living on this planet.

As I write this post, the first 13 words have been added to the story. Only 1765 more to get to the minimum average required on a regular Nanowrimo day.

Let’s get to it.

Donna – My first book: Second Death

Dear Reader,

Here is the second part in the short series in which my fellow members of the APG tell what made them write their first book. This time: Donna K. Fitch.


Second Death CoverOut loud: “Yes, may I help you?” In my head: “Where is the librarian who’s supposed to be watching the reference desk?”

“I just have a quick question,” the man said, sticking his head in my office doorway.

It was summer, and the university library where I worked was nearly deserted. I was deep in—something or other—when he interrupted me. I don’t even remember what his question was, because of what happened next.

I stood up quickly to show him where whatever he needed was—stepped on the hem of my wide-legged trousers, and fell, slamming into the air handling unit under the window on the way down. My left shoulder was a flame of agony, and I realized my arm had popped out of the socket. I groaned something in response to the patron’s anxious question. When I moved my arm, the joint slipped back into place. My ankle grabbed my attention next. It was throbbing in time to my heartbeat.

Things happened quickly after that. The patron returned with the library director, who had already called an ambulance. As the paramedics strapped me to a board and cushioned my neck with a brace, despite my insistence that I hadn’t hit my head, the librarian who was supposed to be on duty walked up and said the universal line, “But I was only gone a few minutes.”

Two months of physical therapy on my shoulder followed, and not nearly as much on my sprained ankle. The therapy consisted of manipulation of the joint by the therapist, and exercises at home. But at the end of each session, came the part I actually enjoyed. I would lie on the table and have either an ice pack or electric therapy applied to my shoulder. (I’m not sure what the therapy is really called; it was tiny, tingly electric shocks.) In that awkward position, I couldn’t read comfortably. Kindles hadn’t been invented yet. All I could do was lie there and let my mind roam.

And roam it did. I’ve always loved to write, since I was about twelve, and I took creative writing in high school, but I’d never written anything substantial. For some reason, though, bits of a novel started creeping into my head.

What if an ordinary person suddenly felt like he was a soldier in the American Civil War, being pursued by someone who wanted to kill him?

That seed started what is now Second Death. (At various times it was called Already Dead and A Debt Past Due.) As the head of reference in an academic library, I had plenty of opportunity for research. Although I read lots of books on how to write, I didn’t really know how. Second Death went through about twelve drafts before I figured out the story’s direction, and another seven or so drafts to come to the conclusion.

I spent what seemed to me to be a great deal of money to have it professionally edited, but I was proud of it and wanted it to be the best it could be. People who read it, whose opinion I trusted, as well as my editor, thought it was excellent. I shopped it around with high hopes.

Nope. Nobody wanted it. Not what they wanted.

I wrote another novel, The Source of Lightning, in the meantime, and some short stories and novellas.

I joined the Indie Publishing Revolution and published both novels myself in a circumstance that’s a whole ‘nother story in itself. The traditional route may be fine for some people, but it’s not for me. I’ve learned so much on the journey, about writing and editing and marketing. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Except maybe the shoulder dislocation part.