Category Archives: Writing

My first book. Christine Ardigo.

Dear reader,

Christine is one of the precious romance writers who live at the Alexandria Publishing Group. I asked how what drove her to writing her first book, and the answer was quite a surprise! Her first romance novel is called “Cheating to Survive“. It’s not your typical contemporary romance novel. There are no billionaires, no heaving bosoms and also no women wanting to end it all because their husbands dumped them for their twenty-year-old secretary.

cheatingtosurviveCheating to Survive puts the women in power:

What happens when three co-workers decide to cheat on their husbands? Will they find happiness, or will they be destroyed by the consequences?

Christine said:

I came up with the idea one summer, after driving my two daughters to camp every morning. The 30-minute commute at 7:30am, with two exhausted, cranky girls in tow left us with a lot of radio listening. Unfortunately, my then fourteen and nine year old took an interest in shows like “To Catch a Cheater” or “War of the Roses,” where listeners called in to catch their significant other in the act of cheating.

As much as I hated listening to it, I took it as an opportunity to teach them both a lesson in love and relationships. What I noticed about the majority of these calls, was that most of the callers were women. Pathetic women who’s boyfriends/husbands were not only cheating on them, but the men were arrogant about it. Some laughing when they got caught.

What was worse, once they caught the men red-handed, some of them went as low as to insult the women, tell them it was their fault, said “too bad deal with it” and a host of other derogatory statements. The worst part, after the women were humiliated on public radio, some of them begged their men to take them back or cried because they still loved them! And the men laughed harder.

I discussed each show with my daughters daily, but the images stuck with me. Hence, the creation of Cheating to Survive. Let’s turn the tables. Let’s have the women cheat on the men this time. Let them enjoy it. Fully. Let them skip down the halls, dance in the middle of the cafeteria, laugh behind their husbands’ backs.

But of course, in life, nothing is that seamless.

Meet Victoria…Heather…and Catherine, three dietitians working in the same hospital for a horrendous boss, and married to husbands anyone would want to strangle, dump in the trash, and watch the garbage truck pulverize along with the maggots.

Will the three of them be triumphant with their scheming, or are they headed down a wrong way path?

The outcomes could be worse than they imagined.

Well, there you have it. Are you curious about the book already? If so, you can head over to Amazon.com and have a closer look at the book. Who knows, you might love it.

Big words, small words. For writers.

Dear reader – and especially writer. Because this post is intended for writers for a change.

What’s this odd title, you may wonder. Because you know the difference between BigwordsSmallwords

If you wonder about this then read on. Or better, read on anyway. This post originates in a little exchange I had with Ksenia Anske that I had not so long ago. We both are writing in English and for both of us English is not our native language. She’s Russian, I’m Dutch. We talked about learning new words and how to memorise and use them. There’s hardly anything wrong with that, right?

Then I started thinking broader. We’re writing in what is not our native tongue, but that also means that we (and you!) are writing for people for whom English is not their native tongue. And that thought brought the big words back to my attention. Big words are the ones that sophisticated, mostly well-read people like yourself know. You have seen those words before:

  • Intransigent (uncompromising, stubborn)
  • Debilitating (weakening, crippling)
  • Vociferous (loud, noisy)

Stuff like that. And there is a lot more of them. Of course, for most native English speakers these words would not present any problem. At least I assume so much although I have seen some shreds of evidence that this isn’t always the case.

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Let me now turn the tables. You have mastered a fair amount of Russian and you pick up a book by your favourite Russian author, e.g. Dostoyevsky. And you try to enjoy the book. But then you run into these big Russian words that require a dictionary before you can enjoy the book. Words like калі ласка or здратвуите. (Bear with me, I have no idea what they mean as I only know a few Russian words. These are specifically for demonstrative purposes.) Would you still try to enjoy the book by your favourite Russian author? Or would you try to find a good translation in English so the reading isn’t so difficult?

Either way, what I want to say here is that using big, clever words isn’t always the smartest thing. Of course, it will show that you know them, but I suddenly realised (and this happened while I was waiting in line at the supermarket actually) that you should also take the grasp of words of your readers into account. If you plan to write for Harvard graduates only you can throw in the occasional profligate sycophant, but if you want to create something that all the world should be able to enjoy then keep in mind that all the world should be able to read your work without eating dictionaries for breakfast every day.

This doesn’t mean you should abstain from big words. Make things a bit interesting and challenging. Just don’t go overboard on them.

(By the way, a profligate sycophant is an extremely wasteful and highly immoral person who sucks up to others. I looked that up for you.)

 

Book review – Avalon Revisited

Title: Avalon Revisited
Author: O.M. Grey
Genre: Steampunk/Vampire/Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Avalon Revisited cover

This book was a surprise for me. The first chapter wasn’t what I had expected but there was something about the main character that made me read on. And I don’t regret that for a second. Such a smart book! Good dialogue, an interesting plot and dirigibles. That is a lot of good for a book. The way the vampire part is worked out is also well done and I appreciate that the author was not afraid to retain the authentic, old values of that ‘race’.

Definitely worth the time to read!

Cover A Girl Named Sandy

About book covers

Mimosa320Small cover Clara's Eyes A Girl Named Sandy

Dear reader,

Have you ever considered the work that goes into a book cover? We take them for granted, these works of art that tug at your attention and beg you to have another look.

I make some covers myself but the very good ones so far all come from the hand – or computer – of a very talented lady called Renée Barratt. A cover tells a lot about the story that’s behind it but there’s only so much space to tell it, and you also don’t want to give away the entire plot of the book through the cover. That makes designing a good cover a serious art form.

If I need a cover made by someone else I usually start asking at least 2 months before I need it. That is how much time can go into getting the cover right. You have to explain the story to the graphics designer, he or she has to get the idea for it, create a first impression and usually there are things not right. Which is understandable. As a writer you have the story in your head and somehow you have to convey the key elements of it to the designer. It’s a tough job sometimes, but when the cover is done it’s something to be proud of for both the author and the designer. And as you may be able to tell from the three images up here: I am very proud of my covers!

Now here’s a challenge

Dear reader,

Do you know Ksenia Anske? Say yes. Well done, dear reader. Of course you know the person who wrote such amazing stories like Rosehead and Irkadura. She is, like I am, a fantasy writer.

Why do I mention her? Of course firstly because she’s a great writer and a very interesting person (follow her on Twitter or Google+ if you want) and secondly because yesterday she posted this on Twitter:

TwitterYou know what I’m dying to do? I’m dying to write a book about a talking cat, once I’m done writing all these other damn books I planned.

This of course could not go unrewarded, so I replied:

Twitter@kseniaanske I’m going to write a book about a writer who plans to write about a talking cat after she wrote all the other books she planned

upon which I received this in return:

Twitter@paul__kater Deal. Can’t wait.

 

This has to end in a story of course, and here is how it starts:

“You know it’s not going to happen, don’t you?” asked Frankie the cat as he stretched out a paw. The claws came out as they were up for an inspection.

“Of course it will,” Francis replied. “I just have to get all this other stuff written, edited, proofed and published, and then I’m going to do it.”

“Nu-huh,” Frankie continued after licking his paw a few times. “By the time you’ll have time for that I’ll be through most of my nine lives.”

“Don’t count on that. I can write fast and furious.”

“And torment people on Twitter,” Frankie taunted her. “And you need to write another blog post. Will it be about me?”

“Shut up. You’re a cat. You know nothing. You shouldn’t even be talking to me,” Francis said as she pretended to slap Frankie, something she wouldn’t do as she knew his claws from various close encounters.

 

Hilda 17. Yes. Really.

Dear reader,

17A while ago I was in my car, driving home. I was thinking about life, the universe and everything (I know, I shouldn’t read The HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in my mind while driving) when I suddenly had the best idea for the next Wicked Witch book. And that’s not book 15 because that’s already written. It’s also not book 16, because that’s already written. It’s for book 17. Because that’s not written yet.

(I may not always make sense but I have my numbers in order. So far.) What happened, you may wonder. Or not.

As I was going along I was thinking about the e-mails I have received from some of you. (Yes, at times I get e-mails from Hilda-fans.) Without going into too much detail (as book 17 still has to be written) I thought that I should dedicate this book to the people in dire circumstances who find some joy and support in the adventures of the witch and the wizard. The hospitalised people, the people who are ill without having to spend time in hospital beds too often.

Hilda the wicked witch Their stories, some of them heart-wrenching, are so touching and incredible that this is something I feel I have to do. So Hilda book 17 will honour those people. To give them even more support from the witch and the wizard.

I sincerely hope that they are able to read this, that they hear about this in some way or another. You all are wonderful people and if there is anything I can do for you in my writing to make your life a little nicer then I will do that.

Love,

Paul, Hilda, William, Babs, Charisma, Obsi and Grim.

Proud to be a writer

Pride. Pride? Yes. Pride.

Yes, dear reader, it doesn’t happen often but today I feel the need to convey this. I’m proud of the books I’ve written and what they mean to many people.

I get e-mails from people around the world who tell me that my books make their life better. Among them are people who suffer from illnesses, and my books help them. There are also people who appreciate the books I write because they simply (is that really simply?) put them in a new world where they can experience new things.

I am proud of that. Happy for them. I am also proud that so many people buy my books and ask for more. It tells me that I’m doing something right. And even when I’m not getting rich of it financially, that’s fine. The emotions that come from the mails, letters and comments of so many people are worth so much more than money can ever be.

Maybe the only way I can put it is this way:

I may be a 5 star writer, you are a 10 star audience!

A huge step

Last week Saturday I took a huge step. It has to do with books.

I have published a Dutch SciFi which is doing somewhat quite well online, considering that I’m an unknown writer in my own country. (Yes, take some time to laugh. The English version is still in the works, by the way.)

Today I took a few copies to the local library, showed them and asked how it could be done to get the books on their shelves. It would be fun to have my books in the library of my own town. :-)
The people there were lovely! Very kind, interested and helpful! They had great advice, handed me a number of e-mail addresses, told me to get in touch with local newspapers and simply tell them about my book. Papers seem to love hearing about new talent. “You may even get interviewed,” they said. (OH NO!) And maybe there is an opportunity for me to do a reading at the library, or something like that.
After that I packed up the two copies of the book I had brought and… went to a local book store. I showed them the books and told them about me. They immediately wanted to put them up in their store. We discussed a price and their margin, and there the books went. Whoa Nelly.

I came home, pinched myself, said ouch and ordered a bunch more copies. Just in case. As an investment in what may come. I’m still in a daze about it… And yes, I sent mails to the newspapers and the Dutch Library Service to see if they want to read and rate my book for library purposes…

Cas Peace

The Challenge by Cas Peace

CHALLENGE TOUR

Dear reader,
Cas PeaceI have something special for you.

Do you know Cas Peace? (This is her on the left, by the way.)

She is the author of a very good fantasy series called Artesans of Albia.

 About The Author – Cas Peace:

Cas Peace was born in Hampshire UK, in 1957, and has lived there most of her life. Her first career was as a horse-riding instructor, and horses remain very close to her heart. She then spent 13 years working for the British Civil Service before leaving the UK to live in Italy for three years, 1991-1994. She speaks passable but by no means perfect Italian, and loves to return to Italy whenever she can.

Cas’s other great loves are anything to do with animals, especially dogs and horses, (she supports many animal charities) and also singing.

Cas loves folk songs and along with her husband, who plays guitar, has performed in many a Southern England folk club. Sometimes they even asked her back! She writes folk songs to accompany her fantasy novels, and offers them as free downloads from her website.

Website: http://www.caspeace.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cas.peace?fref=ts

Book Songs: http://www.caspeace.com/downloads/songs

Linked In | Facebook | YouTube | Blogger |Twitter |Website


 

Cas is bringing out a new book which I’m proud to share with you. It’s called “The Challenge”.

Artesans of Albia Series Synopsis:

On a foolhardy foray into a foreign realm, Taran Elijah is attacked by a terrible weapon known as the Staff. Killing its wielder, he escapes into Albia, inadvertently carrying the Staff.

Concerned by the vicious raids that follow Taran’s actions, Major Sullyan of the High King’s forces crosses into Andaryon to seek diplomatic resolution to the crisis. She is captured and tortured by Lord Rykan, aspirant to the Andaryon throne. Slowly dying, Sullyan escapes his clutches. She offers her skills to the Hierarch in defense of his throne, finally confronting Rykan on the field of battle.

Her handsome Captain and lover, Robin Tamsen, embarks on a desperate quest to recover the Staff. But Rykan’s greedy General, Sonten, is two steps ahead of him. If Robin cannot lay hold of the weapon before Sonten does, Sullyan’s life and the lives of all Artesans are forfeit.

The race for the Staff has begun.


TheChallengeNow about the new book.

“The Challenge” is book one of the Circle of Conspiracy which in turn is the fourth book in the triple-trilogy Artesans of Albia fantasy series.

Friend against friend, lover against lover, ally against ally. Conflict is coming …

Nine months have passed since Brynne Sullyan helped forge an alliance between the realms of Albia and Andaryon. A fragile peace reigns as both sides recover from the events of the previous year. Then mysterious raiders strike Andaryon villages. Attempts are made on the life of Albia’s High King. As Sullyan scrambles to find those responsible, unseen enemies threaten to pull apart everything she has worked for, including her marriage.

The alliance begins to crumble, and Sullyan finds herself caught between two monarchs: the king she’s sworn allegiance to, and the man she loves as a father. To betray either one would break her heart, but if conflict is inevitable, she must make a choice…


 

You can find this brand new e-book at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, and the paperback is also available through Amazon.com.


 

Review Quotes:

“Cas Peace has a most beguiling method of pulling you into this very well thought out world she has created. You simply fall in love with her characters, and then you cannot put the book down.” P C Dodge, Amazon Reviewer.

“If you enjoy being whisked away to the realm of fantasy, I strongly suggest this unique, special read! Hands down, one of the best fantasy series I have ever read!”Ashley L. Knight, author of FALWYN

“I have just loved this entire series. Cas Peace is a master storyteller, providing a depth and breadth of information about her worlds and their people that is just staggering. Her characters are complex and multi-dimensional, and I have very much enjoyed reading this series. I am also looking forward with great anticipation to her next novel in this series. I heartily recommend this series to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy, strong world-building and beautiful storytelling. Highly recommended!” K. Sozaeva, Amazon Vine Voice and Top 1000 Reviewer.

Cas Peace’s Artesans of Albia trilogy immediately sweeps you away:  the drama starts with King’s Envoy, continues unabated in King’s Champion, and climaxes in King’s Artesan, yet each volume is complete, satisfying.  The Artesan series propels you into a world so deftly written that you see, feel, touch, and even smell each twist and turn. These nesting novels are evocative, hauntingly real.  Smart.  Powerful.  Compelling.  The trilogy teems with finely drawn characters, heroes and villains and societies worth knowing; with stories so organic and yet iconic you know you’ve found another home—in Albia.

Now there’s a fourth book on Albia’s horizon:  The Challenge, also Book One in Peace’s forthcoming sub-series, the Circle of Conspiracy trilogy, proof of more Albian tales on the way.  So start reading now.  I, for one, can’t wait to find out what will happen next.Janet Morris: The Sacred Band of Stepsons; the Dream Dancer series; I, the Sun; Outpassage


 

Trilogy 1 – Artesans of Albia

King’s Envoy

U.K.

E-BOOK: Amazon.co.uk

PAPERBACK: Amazon.co.uk

U.S.

E-BOOK: Amazon.com

PAPERBACK: createspace.com

PAPERBACK: Amazon.com

King’s Champion

U.K.

E-BOOK: Amazon.co.uk

PAPERBACK: Amazon.co.uk

U.S.

E-BOOK: Amazon.com

PAPERBACK: createspace.com

PAPERBACK: Amazon.com

King’s Artesan

U.K.

E-BOOK: Amazon.co.uk

PAPERBACK: Amazon.co.uk

U.S.

E-BOOK: Amazon.com

PAPERBACK: createspace.com

PAPERBACK: Amazon.com

Trilogy 2 – Circle Of Conspiracy

The Challenge

U.K.

E-BOOK: Amazon.co.uk

U.S.

E-BOOK: Amazon.com

PAPERBACK: Amazon.com


This post was made possible with the help of:

button-amy-tours

Nano 2014

Nanowrimo. 5-day update number 6

Dear reader,

Nano 2014

The madness is over. The 50.000 words (well, a bit more in my case) are written.

Nanowrimo 2014 is officially behind me.

I’ve ended this month with a story of 83815 words which in all honesty is a lot more than I had dared to hope for. And the story’s not done yet.

So, here’s the last run-down of things that have flown or crawled by in this story. You may recognise some of them once the book is out. (Which won’t be next month, I can promise you that. I first have to get Hilda 15 to a proper end.)

  • We learn more about the origins about walking huts;
  • swamp gas can smell like different things;
  • Hilda makes a prediction about her future without knowing it;
  • there’s something happening with oranges;
  • there’s also a real magic show;
  • and there is a form of disappointment. Magic isn’t all fun and laughter.

I hope you enjoyed this little walk along the path of this year’s Nanowrimo experience!