Alot. Yes, that.

Dear reader,

Have you heard of alot? If not then I hope you have amoment to read this post. Alot is creeping into the words of the world more and more. More than ayear ago this already happened. When I first encountered it I thought; “Alot is not aword.” But the world proved me wrong. Alot is here and it looks as if it’s here to stay.

And as we’re on the subject of alot, maybe we can have aword about more improvements and speed-ups to the English language. Why don’t we remove the space between ‘the’ and nouns as well? Then we can talk about thebook and thewriting process (or even thewritingprocess) which should make the many supporters of alot alot happier.

Long words

Don’t worry about getting long words like theinstrumentarium or therailwaystationmanagersoffice. You’ll get used to that soon enough, and your language could do with a few longer words. Dutch and German have a great history on that, although I have to admit that thehabit of that is falling apart as well. Some people can actually confuse me by breaking up theword on thesigns they put up. Then I don’t know what they mean and that is very annoying.

For example afew days ago I saw asign that announced “free range eggs”. In Dutch this would be one word. Or two. Depending on the meaning. The way it was splattered on thesign however gave me the options of ‘range eggs’ that were free or eggs coming from ‘afree range’.

vrije uitloop eierenAnd here is theproof (in Dutch) that even shops are scared of creating proper words these days. This is exactly how I saw it on thesign. Theway to write this correctly would be ‘vrije-uitloopeieren’. I am sure there will even be Dutch people who will stare at this in surprise and disbelief, but TheDutchWikipedia agrees with me.

So don’t worry, dear Englishspeakingpeople, there is no problem with thelongwords (I’m really getting thehang of this!)

So now go out and assemble alot of thewords that can go alongway. I hope I handed you athing or two to ponder, and whenever you see alot written down that you will remember thispost (why not?) where I explained thebenefits of alot alittle!

Scifi, fantasy and portals

Food for happy thoughts.

Recently I read a post online that made me happy. The post dealt with things that are often seen as bad things in scifi and fantasy writing. One of the ‘bad’ things discussed was portals.

Why are portals considered bad?

Probably because they are easy. Portals can just be there without any further explanation. No one knows how it got there, nor who built it. The fun is to figure out if it still works, how it works, and how to get yourself out of the mess once you went through it.

Why do certain critics insist that writers should come up with other, more credible bits of equipment to get their characters into trouble? It will only add to the size of the book because the whole thing needs to be explained, invented, put into place, made credible. All that will draw the attention away from the actual story.

Of course, at times coming up with a new way to go from one place to another can be bunches of fun, but then that whole experience should be part of the story.  No such thing needed with a portal. Bam. It’s there. We’re in trouble Now what?

 

My own portals.

Seriously, I love portals. I’ve used one in Francis and Frankie for instance. And the times that Hilda and William travelled from Fairyland to ours and back, for instance in The Wytches Roone, that didn’t happen because of well-defined physics and other particle storm entities. Portal. Get them there and make the story happen. The titles I mentioned up here were fantasy stories. My Scifi story “Wanted: hero” also uses a portal to get to another planet. No space ships, no FTL-drives (Faster Than Light, another thing mentioned on the article I referred to). Without portals many stories would not have happened, and I’m not just referring to my own stories here.

A famous portal.

Sg1 stargate frontDo you remember the first Stargate film? What else is that star gate but a big, old portal? An entire network of them even!

As the series went on, the origin of the star gate was divulged, little by little. A great way to do this because it gave the people writing the series time to come up with credible parts to make this sound plausible. For me they did a great job with that.

(And since I’m a book lover: did you know that there are books published about the Stargate universe? Really! Follow the link and be surprised if you’re a fan and didn’t know about this yet!)

Gimme my portal and no one gets hurt.

Portals. I love them. Because they’re so convenient and versatile. How do you feel about portals in fiction (and film) to move to other places, other times, other worlds? Heck, maybe I’ll write a book called Portal World some day. I can see interesting things happening in such a place…

Hilda and her younger years

Dear reader,

Hilda16_the youngeryears_320I am certain that many of you, who are Hilda fans or even Hildaholics, have by now read that infamous book about Hilda when she wasn’t yet the wicked witch she is now.

You may have seen that there are a number of references to older books and stories in book number 16. This was only partly my intention, but as the story grew I saw more and more opportunity to clarify how certain things had come to pass in Hilda’s life and history.

I have now taken it upon myself to outline the references to the older books as I did take notes on them. Are you ready for them? I am curious if you have found the same ones, and if you perhaps discovered something that I missed!

Reference number 1. Chapter 1. Rompford.

medieval villageThis one primarily goes to book 8, Dragon Master, where Hilda mentions her town of birth for the first time.

Another reference here would be book 11, Rock ‘n’ Troll which acts out almost entirely in Rompford. I still hope to see a Rompfordian football match…

I admit, this was quite an obvious reference, perhaps even so obvious you missed it. No worries though, there are many more to come.

Reference number 2. Chapter 2. Special wood.

Hilda 13 the house 320In this chapter Hilda’s dad goes out to acquire some ‘special wood’. This of course is wood from the Squeamish which is brought to our attention in book 13, The House. This is actually something I thought of later, after having written that particular chapter already.

The house that Zoraia and Ludwig live in was a talking house – remember that it talked with Hilda on occasion? That suddenly reminded me there had to be a connection to Squeamish wood, so I had to send Ludwig out shopping for that particular kind of wood. Which he did.

Reference number 3. Chapter 3. The school of magic.

schoolHere we have references to several books again. First of course there is book 7, Back to School.

But also book 10, Magic on the Rocks, is definitely meant to be referenced here. As you may remember, the school was quite an interesting place for Hilda and also Baba Yaga. I really enjoyed working out the classes, the other class mates and their quirks and habits, and the problems someone can have with flying a broom.

I’m still grateful for the writers of Arabian stories who came up with flying carpets…

Reference number 4. Chapter 4. Two vanishing cats.

Two-black-catsThis was a tricky one to spot, I am sure. In chapter 4 Zoraia casts a spell onto two cats that were tormented by a few village boys and those cats disappeared – but where to? Well, they went to book 4 for starters, Hilda and Zelda. This is the first place where I originally made the two black cats appear, seemingly out of nowhere. Now, magical cats do wild things but they need to come from somewhere. Now you know where that somewhere was: the marketplace of Rompford, when Hilda was small. Another reference to the two cats was of course Hilda book 5: Cats. Now that was an easier one, wasn’t it?

Reference number 5. Chapter 4. Big sister.

But that’s not all for this chapter. In chapter 4 Hilda also learns that she’s ‘the older sister’ now and that she has to take care of her baby sister. Hidden in here is a reference to The House, again, where Hilda realises she has to do what her parents told her to do: take care of Charisma!

Reference number 6. Chapter 5. A hut on legs.

In chapter 6 of Hilda’s Younger Years Hilda sees the hut of Babs’s parents for the first time. A hut on legs. Where does this point at? Believe it or not, this goes to book 3, The Challenge, where William appears and faces Baba Yaga’s living environment for the first time. Another reference here is Phargene, book 14, where Hilda meets Baba Yaga’s parents, Papa Yaga and Mama Yaga.

Reference number 7. Chapter 7. Where we meet tailors.

tailorThis chapter references the Zola family, the famous tailors who fell victim to burglary in Hilda’s adventure Rock ‘n’ Troll. Do you remember how Hilda and William went into the store of Gorgon Zola and his wife, for Hilda to order a new dress?

I had far too much fun with that tailor. I thought Zola was quite an interesting name as it’s not very common, and then I thought of the famous cheese, Gorgonzola, and now you know how the good clothes maker got his first name…

Reference number 8. Chapter 10. A heady teacher.

You have probably recognised Hepatia Strunk, the not so beloved head teacher at the Magic School. Here of course we have a reference to Back to School as well as Magic on the Rocks again.

Reference number 9. Chapter 10. Meeting an old friend.

JennealYes, two references in this same chapter, and all to different books. In chapter 10 of the Younger Years Hilda meets Jenneal, the red-dressed, red-haired witch with a fox fixation.

This points us back to Rock ‘n’ Troll again where William and Hilda visit Jenneal and actually recruit her to battle the huge walking rock men that are threatening the village of Rompford.

There actually is a link from Rock ‘n’ Troll to the latest book, The Wytches Roone as well. I didn’t know that when I was taking these notes, but the twins with their harps on the carts in Rock ‘n’ Troll are based on the same Harp Twins that play a major part in the The Wytches Roone!

Don’t worry, we’re getting to the end of the references. Somewhere…

Reference number 10. Chapter 13. Witch meets Goddess.

CirceThis is probably one of the very easy ones to spot. Hilda meets Circe for the first time in chapter 13.

Circe, the Greek Goddess who calls for Hilda’s help in Hilda – Aiaia.

It was very entertaining to bring Circe back into the story since Hilda told William about how she’d met Circe in school, how she’d been late for the start of the lessons, and the strange manner in which she’d seen Circe’s parents back then.

Reference number 11. Chapter 18. Wet clothes.

In this chapter Hilda gets fished out of the water. That was a very terrifying experience for her as you can imagine. The reference here, believe it or not, is Phargene. Can you spot why? Think back to the story and the flooding tunnels where witch and wizard are trying to shut the valves…

Reference number 12. Chapter 19. The Ring.

ringThis is a feeble reference, I’ll admit that. The ring that Hilda gets from Circe, the dachtilìdi. It’s a bit of a pointer to Charisma, the young witch, who steals that very same ring from her older sister and has adventures with her friends.

Reference number 13. Chapter 21. Scary Mountain.

Who doesn’t remember the scene in Hilda 2, Snow White revisited, where Hilda and Babs are performing their magical arts at the witches meeting on Scary Mountain?

Reference number 14. Chapter 25. Back to School.

Really, they don’t come easier than this one. The title of the chapter is the same as that of book 7. Back to School, so let’s immediately roll on to

reference number 14. Chapter 25 again. A hut in the water.

Here is a nice reference to Rock ‘n’ Troll again, to the time when Hilda and Jenneal remember the time that the hut of Baba Yaga’s parents had walked into the river. 🙂

Reference number 15. Chapter 28. Finally…

foxThe last one. You must be relieved. In this chapter Jenneal has her affair with the fox and the hunters. Yes, we’re once again back at Rock ‘n’ Troll.

You made it!

Well, that was it for Hilda’s Younger Years. Did you recall or remember the events I described? If so, I hope you had fun travelling through Hilda’s history with me. If not I suggest you go back to book 1 and start reading again.

(Joking of course!)

Have a wonderful day, from Paul, Hilda, William, and the cats. And the rest of the crew!

 

Did I stop writing books?

Absolutely not, dear reader.

My bookmaking adventures are not on hold, not have they stopped in any other way. The reason for my silence on this site is that I’m working on a Dutch book, and for Dutch news I have my Dutch site. Which, when you think of it, makes sense.

Over on Facebook I am slowly revealing the cover of this Dutch book. Each day I post a new picture of it, in which more and more of the cover is shown. Yesterday’s version looks like this:

puzzel11

If you want to keep up with the revelation, you can follow me on Facebook if you want. I usually post the image to Google+ as well if you feel better there.

The image over the book cover is my cat Grimalkin. Her name might sound familiar, because she and her brother are named after the cats who live with Hilda the Wicked Witch and her partner William. (I’ve added this tidbit for your convenience.)

The book is about my home town Cuijk which everyone has heard of, of course. Everyone living near here, that is.

lilyMarin
This however does not mean that I am not doing anything in the English book arena. I’m working on Hilda 18 and 19, and also I am adding words to the new Lily Marin novel which is going as slowly as the first one.

Lily keeps surprising me with her complexity. It’s great to write about her and to go on adventures with the Masked Woman, but for some reason she doesn’t make all this very easy. Things with her and Billy go well though, and this book also will come to a good end.

The last project I would like to mention here is the sequel to Wanted Hero. I’m currently reworking that and at the same time writing it in Dutch. This has proven to be a good way to do this kind of work as I think about the text. Many original English parts are replaced by much better English parts.

That is the news from me for now, and I will definitely report back in soon. The gaps between me checking in have gotten too large, for which I apologize.

Wishing you a wonderful day,

Paul

 

Everyday things of importance

Yes, dear reader.

postmanEveryday things can be of importance. Especially for writers who pay attention to detail. One of those occasions happened to me a few days ago as I walked home from the library. The rain had just stopped for a few minutes at that point. I saw a mail woman putting mail in the designated locations. Mail slots. Indeed. But that wasn’t so important. The important part started when suddenly she looked into the street and started waving. She was not waving at me. Then she called out, “Isn’t this great?”

This, dear reader, had me sort of puzzled. What is so great about handling mail? Granted, envelopes come in all colours these days, but still… the answer to this came a few moments later, when a fellow mail man came by on his bike. He replied something to his female counterpart which I could not understand, but then I understood.

These people are outside all the time. Also in the rain. And that very rain had just stopped falling down. That is something which makes mail people happy. It’s an everyday thing that not many may catch, but I think it’s precious. It’s something that might be useful in a story, as a little detail. But it could be an important one.

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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