Lily Marin – the novel. An update.

Dear reader,

You may already know Lily Marin, my steampunk heroine. Maybe you don’t. Either way, the novel is progressing fabulously. The novel is mostly through the editing process and I’m very pleased with the result.

Did you know that Marin originally is a Romanian name? I didn’t know that until someone told me this. You might be surprised to hear who told me. It was Lily Marin. No, not the lady in the book but a real, living Lily Marin who located and contacted me through this uncanny medium called the Interwebs.

Steampunk device to power the Interwebs

Even when there is no Internet in Lily Marin’s world (the Lily in the book, that is), it’s fun to know that “she” is out there. It will be even more fun when the book is out, which I know won’t be too long any more.  I’m aware there are fans already waiting for it since far too long. I’m terribly sorry about that. The good news: my editor let me know she’s all done with the checking and word-poking. I’ve already applied lots of her edits, so soon I can do the final checks and start building the actual ‘book’. I really hope it will be all done and ready in May.

For all those waiting: here’s a masked woman to help you pass the time.

Old wine in new packaging?

Dear reader,

Very long ago, in a galaxy very close to us (because it was our own) a man from the Netherlands was invited to join an international mailing list of amateur writers. After reading many of the stories that people posted there, he took the virtual pen in hand (it was a word processor, not exactly the thing you expect in a hand) and started writing his own first ‘serious’ story. This happened over 7 years ago, in 2006.

celtic village

Image via

The story told of a young man from a small village in Britain, just before and during the time of the Roman invasions; a young man whose name was Rhys. For a while now I’ve been pondering that story, and I’ve decided that somehow I will revive Rhys. I’ll write the story again – at least I’m planning to take the beginning of that idea and start with that. I’m curious how that will work out, and if it will follow the same path as Rhys took more than 7 years ago…

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About-the-BookIn the rubble-strewn wasteland of Alphabet City, a squalid tenement conceals a treasure “beyond all imagining”– an immaculately preserved, fifth century codex. The sole repository of ancient Hermetic lore, it contains the alchemical rituals for transforming thought into substance, transmuting matter at will…and attaining eternal life.

When Rose, a sex and pain addicted East Village tattoo artist has a torrid encounter with Martin, a battle-hardened loner, they discover they are unwitting pawns on opposing sides of a battle that has shaped the course of human history. At the center of the conflict is Paul, the villainous overlord of an underground feudal society, who guards the book’s occult secrets in preparation for the fulfillment of an apocalyptic prophecy.

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Meet Richard Paul

Richard-authorRichard Long writes to exorcise the demons of his past and manifest the dreams of his future.

His debut novel, The Book of Paul, is a dark, thrilling, and psychologically rich supernatural horror/thriller that blends mythology, science and mystery into a page-turning addiction.

Richard is also writing a YA novel, The Dream Palace, primarily so that his children can read his books.

He lives in Manhattan with his wife, two amazing children and their wicked black cat, Merlin.

Find and Follow Richard:

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More laughter – a new story


Yes, dear reader, if you follow my movements on twitter, Google+ or Facebook you may have run into the strange acronym TDUDJ. It’s not something that one of my cats produced while taking a walk over the keyboard.




My cats. Yes, I’m proud of them so I show them off today. If you don’t know them: Obsi on the left, and Grim on the right.




So, back to TDUDJ. It’s a humorous story. I found that I’m not half bad at writing funny stories so I ventured into this, a new one. It’s also a paranormal / ghost story. I’ve not gone into that realm before so it’s a challenge, but so far someone who does the test-reading for it is rather positive about it.

TDUDJ stands for the opposite that you often here at a wedding, which is “Til Death Us Do Part“. The story’s name will (probably) be “Til Death Us Do Join“. Who will be joined to whom after death? I’m not going to tell you yet. You’ll have to wait for TDUDJ to come out…

Writing madness

Dear reader,

don't panic

I have not gone mad. At least I think I didn’t. Of course, trying to decide on that from inside a mad state would be rather mad, don’t you agree? I’ve not started writing about madness either, although the previous part might be proof to the contrary.

I’m talking about the madness that can come up from around writing. The madness I am now experiencing comes from the occasional bout of wonder if I will ever be able to do everything I’m working on now. (I’m not even looking at what’s in store in the future!)

As I am writing “Hilda 13″ and a new story which I’ll code-name LAD (it’s going to be a paranormal funny) I’m putting the last 15 chapters of the Sandy/Bristol story in the e-book file. Also I’m doing the last reread of the Dutch Sebastian/Hero story before I dare send it off to a publisher. After that (or perhaps during that) I plan on going over the English Sebastian/Hero version to keep my editor busy, who by then will have sent back the novel of Lily Marin to keep me busy. And when that’s all done – or maybe not – there’s the story about Clara’s Eyes that I wrote during last year’s Nanowrimo, which is waiting for a good look-over and partly rewrite.

All that may mean that I’m not writing as much as I could or should, but the stories that are written need that bit of spit-and-polish to make them suitable for all you people who will hopefully enjoy them.

I sometimes wonder…

Dear reader,

It goes without saying that you enjoy the books you read. Why else would you read them? Perhaps I should exclude text books here, those don’t necessarily contain entertaining material, and I speak (or rather: write) from experience.

Something that dawned on me a while ago however is: maybe a writer enjoys writing a book even more than a reader reading a book. Don’t get me wrong, writing can be a frustrating experience when these pesky characters decide to do things their way, but for a writer (like me) who doesn’t plan every moment in a story before writing it, there are so many surprises hidden in a story.

The writer often takes the lead for the characters in the book (that is how it feels to me anyway). The writer opens a door – or leaves it closed. Do the characters go left (and what lies hidden there?) or do they go right (where the same question applies)? Does the antagonist maintain his or her evil demeanour or does he/she suddenly show a human trait? (Or a trait that’s at least considered gentle among their species?)

A lot of time spent writing a book can vanish into this kind of musing. Exploring all the possibilities where a story could go, and then boldly rush in to see what’s hiding inside the nooks and crannies of a building, a cave or in the mind of a character. Of course, going about a story this way may mean that a lot of time is spent on the ‘what-ifs’ coming from a specific situation, but as a writer you get to explore all of those, dismiss many of them and find the one that (hopefully) will suit the story best.

It’s a bit like exploring alternate time-lines, deciding, like a little god, where the story moves to, and finally making everything come together (or fall apart) in the best way.

I’m busy with words.

Dear reader,

It’s a bit insane at the moment. I may have written a little too much lately! At the moment I am slowly doing final checks on a story which will be named “A girl named Sandy (and then things changed)”. It’s a science fiction involving aliens, spaceships and an astrophysicist. And no, his name is not Sandy. This is probably the next book that comes out when Hilda 12 is in the stores. The story starts like this:

“Doctor Carmichael, please tell me that this was an accident.”

Paul Eric Carmichael, the man who was supposed to answer the question, was still blinking his eyes after the blinding flash that had come from the monitor. “It was an accident, professor. I hope you are content with that.”

“I am certainly not. Are you in any way aware of the cost of the equipment that you just attempted to reduce to useless parts?” the first man asked. This was Professor Doctor Sams, leading the astrophysics department of the University of Bristol.

“Hardly attempted,” a third voice joined the conversation from behind a moderate mountain of displays and measuring equipment, on which most lights had gone out. “Sorry, professor, but it looks as if we actually managed it.”

I’m also working on correcting the Dutch version of the “Sebastian” stories, which includes altering many things in the English version as well. That story might get the title: “Wanted: hero. Experience optional“, but that’s not certain yet. Those two books are up for publication after “A girl named Sandy“. And after those I’ll get to work on the Nanowrimo story of last year, “Clara’s Eyes“. That requires a lot of rework. And in between all those projects I’ll continue writing Hilda 13 and try to finish the novel about Lily Marin.


An emotional drain

Dear reader,

In my previous post I went on and on about the privilege of a writer probably having more fun creating a book than the reader has with the finished product.

There is of course a ‘dark’ side to this. Dark is perhaps the wrong word for it, but there are moments in creating a story that can take a bigger toll on a writer than other moments. As usual, this isn’t applicable to every writer but I have heard from many others that they go through the same (e)motions. And that is what I am referring to. Emotions.

It’s probably different from one person to the other, but for me, writing an emotional scene is very draining. Not because it’s boring to write, far from that: emotional scenes are the most fascinating ones to do. The moment that you tap into the core, the heart and soul of a character is when the character really comes alive. It’s also the moment where the reader gets to know who is inside that person on the pages. For the writer however this can become hard work. Often it’s not just one character who becomes emotional, but two, three, or even more. As the person who created all these characters, the writer is responsible for the sum of their emotions but also for each character’s personal experience of them. It’s one thing to write that someone cries, but when you want to make it clear what causes that crying, when you go inside that person and ‘live through the pain’… that is where the emotional drain appears. When something like that comes into the story, I /am/ that character. I feel her or his pains and sorrows, yet I have to keep a distance to write it all down. And then the pain can continue in another character, who experiences it in another way – and then the living through it starts again. A fellow writer told me about that: “If you leave something of yourself on a page, you wrote it well.” In that light I can proudly say that I leave plenty of myself on such pages.

Another odd emotional drain can happen when finishing a story, especially one that took a long time to write, where lots of emotion has gone into. Imagine living intimately with a few people, being inside their heads for a year or more, having all kinds of adventures with them. They tend to become a part of you that way. And then there are these two simple words “The End”. They don’t just mean that the story’s over to me. They mean an end to that time of intimately living together with a bunch of people, characters that didn’t exist before you invented them, but who’ve become a part of you through their trials and tribulations that you put them through. It’s odd that you don’t just see them suffer – you suffer with them. There’s a strong bond with them. And then they’re gone, usually living happily ever after. And the writer is left with “The End.” It can hurt. But it’s a good hurt, a sign that you did something right. When there’s no feeling in a story, it’s not a good story I would almost say. It’s strange, it’s pain, but I say: let it come. It’s a pain that shows that my heart went into it.


Dear reader,

I agree that “Bristol” is a very strange title for a blog post. Still it has significance for me. It’s a reference to a story that I dreamed of when I was in Bristol in 2012. One night I had a dream about a story, dismissed that as not important, and two days later I was writing like crazy to get the story’s mainline down. It took a while, but today my editor returned the last set of chapters to me and her response to the entire story was:

I loved it, was really good and a good few twists and turns that kept it interesting and I did wonder where it was going at times.

Getting such feedback from an editor is a good sign, I hope the story will be as good for everyone who reads it. I’m now going on with looking over her edit-remarks, change a bunch of things she pointed out (consistency sometimes runs off to play outside) and I’m going to see if I can decide on a proper title for the story. Just “Bristol” isn’t exactly something that appeals as the title for a science fiction story, I think.

Do let me know if you think differently. And with this post I’m leaving you to enjoy the last bits of 2013 (unless you already moved on, in which case I wish you happy 2014)!

What’s brewing

Dear reader,

I think it’s time for a small update of what is going on in my writer’s software at the moment. As usual it’s far too much, but there is progress on the horizon.

In order of randomness:

  • Book 12 of Hilda the Wicked Witch, “Hilda Extreme” is halfway through editing and the cover is done. I still hope that this book can come out in January 2014 but due to circumstances beyond my control this is not yet certain.
  • After Hilda 12, all attention for editing goes to a Science Fiction story about an astrophysicist at the University of Bristol who makes a shocking discovery that will change his life.  The title for this book will probably be “A girl named Sandy (and then everything changed)”. And no, the astrophysicist is not called Sandy.
  • The mad dash called Nanowrimo has resulted in what I think is a rather special story. It became an urban fantasy called “Clara’s Eyes”. It needs to be reworked of course, but I’m giving that some time.
  • I have finished the first draft of a Science Fiction story that for now has the title “Sebastian”. Or “Help”. Or “Book friend”. As you see, that’s not entirely clear yet. This is a story I wrote simultaneously in English and Dutch. This is my first attempt to write a book in Dutch and it may even be published through an official Dutch publisher. So far the lady who checks and proofs the separate Dutch chapters is quite enthusiastic about the story (as a comment “Exciting!” shows), but these stories need a lot of aftercare as well.
  • Even though Hilda’s 12th adventure isn’t published yet, there is a new Hilda in the works. Hilda 13. No title yet, but fans and supporters of Hilda’s talking house will enjoy this one very much. More from Baba Yaga’s past will be revealed in this book, and there’s a visit from someone special which of course will mean a handful of work for our magical couple.
  • The novel around Lily Marin, my steampunk heroine, is progressing well. Everyone who has read and enjoyed her short stories will look forward to this book and I am pleased with how it is developing. Dr. Calgori, Master Wilfred and Billy will all be present again, and adventures and surprises are guaranteed.
  • And then there is secret project X, a fantasy story about people on a planet where you travel by giant spiders, fly on wasps, and where butterflies are very vicious creatures indeed!

Oh. Did I say ‘small update‘? I hope you enjoy this update and live in anticipation of publications!