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.

Perhaps you remember Lily Marin…

Dear reader,

Lily Marin Novel CoverYes, Lily Marin. After six short stories and a novel, there is news about this remarkable singer from the Victorian era we like to call Steampunk.

It’s been a while, but I have finally gathered enough ideas, material and courage to dedicate a new novel to Lily and her friends. We’ll encounter her original nemesis in this story, and Dr Calgori is there again of course. I have only just started the new book, the third chapter is currently being penned down, so it will take a while before this new work will be out in the world. However I thought this worthy of announcing.

If you have any questions about Lily Marin, I would advise you to read the short stories I wrote about her. These are free on Smashwords (all you need is an account there and that’s also free); Barnes & Noble (book 1, book 2, equally free) and on Apple Itunes (book 1, book 2, both free). Amazon unfortunately doesn’t allow me to make the books free, but you can find a Kindle version on Smashwords. Just locate the .mobi file. And if you get hooked and you want more, there’s always the first proper novel!

Book review – Terminal World, Alastair Reynolds.

Title: Terminal World
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Genre: Steampunk
Rating: 5 of 5 stars

terminal world

Terminal World is classified as a steampunk book. I agree with that but it has a large amount of future in it so it also is science fiction for me.

Terminal World was worth reading. We meet all kinds of fascinating people and not-people in the story, which starts in a very complicated, high structure called Spearpoint. As the story progresses, steampunk becomes more prominent (steam, airships etc). The pace of the story is good, I like how it flowed along, and also the way Mr Reynolds managed to express himself in descriptions is very nice. At some point in the story I feared that things would turn into a ‘Mad Max’ environment as the Skullboys made their appearance but that proved to be not so. Such a relief.
The end of this book was very good, amazing in some places even (I name Tulwar and Nimcha in particular). And I definitely liked the Mad Machines.

If you are in search of a great story to read, I can recommend Terminal World.

Hilda – the movie. (I know… dream on, writer)

Dear reader,
Hilda the wicked witchIt’s not my intention to give you hopes that may never come true. I just want to share a dream with you. Perhaps a dream we can only dream, but at least I’ll be in good dreaming company.

It is the dream of almost every writer I know to hear that his or her work will be transformed into a film. It probably won’t come as a surprise that I would love to see Hilda on the big screen. And the smaller ones after that. So much has happened after the first short story about the wicked witch that I think she has earned the right to appear in a film. And that brought me to asking around a bit. The question I had was:

“Who would be a good actress to play Hilda?”

I had several responses, and I would like to share those with you. A very good one was:

bette midler
Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus

Bette Midler.

She did a great witch in “Hocus Pocus”.

I can see her do wonderful Hilda provided the teeth are altered a little bit. 😉

evanna-lynch
Evanna Lynch in Harry Potter

Evanna Lynch.

Known to most people from the Harry Potter films. She has the right amount of oddness (she proved that) and quirkiness to be Hilda.

Yes. A Hilda the Wicked Witch film. Really. I’ll dream on a little longer and then go back to writing book 18 in the series…

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.