Y. Yes. #AtoZChallenge

azbloggingY. Yes

Dear reader,

Yes! That is all I can say to this strange road that lies behind me. Behind me? Yes! Behind me. Almost four years of actual book-publishing lie behind me, and yes, it was an incredible journey. Even more yes, because I’m ready for more of this.

There will be more adventures of Hilda the Wicked Witch and if possible there will also be a sequel to the first Lily Marin novel. More science fiction and fantasy. I can only say yes to all that, and all this came to pass because of a writing contest I did with a few friends, someone who kept nagging me to publish that first little Hilda book, and because of all of you, dear readers. My heartfelt thanks for each and every one of you who have bought and downloaded my books, and who have sent me such encouraging words, such lovely and touching e-mails and so on. Also a big thank you to everyone at the Alexandria Publishing Group for their support, camaraderie and advice.

It’s taken many years before I reached the point where I could truly understand and embrace my love for writing. I’ve always loved books and reading, but writing added an amazing dimension to the world of words and I’ll be eternally grateful for getting there. Maybe there’s something of a lesson for each of us in this, dear reader. No matter how long something takes, if it’s meant to be, if there is love for something in your heart, it will find a way.

So what is more appropriate than to end this post with Yes, and their hit single Love will find a way:

X. X-factor #AtoZChallenge

azbloggingX. X-factor

Dear reader,

What is the X-factor in writing? It’s probably something different for each writer. Just as there is a different book in the hands of each reader, I am sure.

For me it is the surprise that is around every corner of the story. What will the next paragraph bring? Where will the characters end up this time? Of course not everything is hidden in fog. I know a few places, stations, where the train with characters will have to pass through and also the end station is set, but all the happenings in between those… This is what makes the journey of writing a story such a pleasure for me. It’s as much fun as reading a book – I don’t know every single, tiny step of the way yet; it is as much an exploration for me as it is for you when you open the book and start reading.

Some writers plot and plan their book from A to Z, like this blogging challenge, they know what is going to happen everywhere even before they start writing. That’s not how my stories come to life. That is my X-factor.

V. For Vocabulary, which is important to writers #AtoZChallenge

azbloggingV. Vocabulary

Dear reader,

I had a good, long thought about the letter V. Finally I decided on Vocabulary. Not very surprising maybe as that is one of the most powerful tools of a writer. It’s easy to jot down a sentence, but to add the proper ‘pizzazz’ to it, one needs to know the right words. A sentence has to say something, it has to bring you, the reader, into the state of mind that makes a story come alive. “Joe walks down the street” conveys exactly what Joe is doing, and where he does it, but this way he’s just an average Joe, a man in the street.


Did you see what happened just now? I used some specific vocabulary, drawing in some common expressions to give Joe some ‘body’. He’s not Joe the banker, he an ‘average Joe’. To make it even more obvious, he’s mostly a typical person, a ‘man in the street’. By simply using these common expressions (I am sure that most of you know them and even use them occasionally), I have given Joe some appearance, a social environment.

How different does it feel when you see “Mr Joe walks down the street”? Mr Joe. Well, that’s not your average Joe. This is probably someone who stepped out of the suit department. Isn’t it fabulous how much difference such a small word can make? This is where writers have most fun – and also most problems. What is the right word for a specific scene, situation, problem or person? And that question can come up for at least 25% of the words in a book. With a count of let’s assume 75,000 words for a book we’re talking about 18,750 times this question. What is the right word here? Of course it’s not always very dramatic but it can be. For that writers need a broad  vocabulary. And that gets worse when a story tells about a field that has a specific jargon. Usually a writer will have to dig deep to get the proper words out in the open, yet at the same time make the word clear to the people who are not into that field, so they know what the ‘bleep‘ this scientist, mechanic or quantum-physicist is talking about! Luckily this can be a lot of fun. :-) (Can be… 😉 )

U. Unlimited places for the mind to wander – #AtoZChallenge

azbloggingU. Unlimited

Dear reader,

Have you ever considered where the limits of your imagination are? How wild and strange the places can be that your mind can bring to you, almost so vividly that your mind seems to take you to those places? That is how creating new stories feels to me. There are no boundaries, no limits. The only ones that might appear are those that the events in a story bring about.

ray bradburyIn that respect I follow the (to me wise) words of a genius author. His name? Ray Bradbury. In his book Zen in the art of writing he advocates the total absence of fear and limits. A person should be able to write without boundaries, about anything at all. Maybe there’s no one who will buy the story, not a person in the world who wants to read it.

This tells me that when the need to write that story is there, it has to be written. If only to get it out of one’s system. If you keep the words inside, don’t let them out of your system, they will start to revolt and block other words from appearing. (Writer’s block could be a result, literally.)

Somehow the boldness of writing with no holds or bars seems to work for me. When I look at the long line of Hilda the Wicked Witch books that are already out in the world, and the slew of them that are still to be written, that says something. A spin-off in the shape of the story about a ship that sails through space and time. It works. Of course, not every book is as successful as the average Stephen King novel but that is why he’s not me. I want to give him a chance as well. His writing is unlimited too (look at Carrie, or the Dark Tower series). Anything that needs limits will appear in the story. Stories don’t need those writing people to put limits on them. That would seriously limit the stories.

T. Tools #AtoZChallenge

azbloggingT. Tools

Tools. Indeed, dear reader, even a writer has tools. Hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, I think the entire tool kit can be brought out into the open when a writer is at work. Of course these devices look a bit different from those:


The actual tools are things like notepad, tiny scraps of paper with notes all over them. Tools can look like a program (word processor, special writers’ software), but also like a lawn with a writer lying down on it while it looks as if this writing person does nothing. Often those are the hardest tools to use. These are needed when something needs to be hammered into shape. A scene or an entire chapter can fight back, and needs to be approached with care, mental gloves and a strong hammer. Which, indeed, are applied while spread out on a lawn, or sitting on a chair whilst staring out a window. Don’t be fooled by a writer in such a position, dear reader. Those are often the crucial moments where most work is done. Because contrary to popular belief, the act of writing is not the biggest effort when one writes a book. It’s what goes ahead, around, through and beneath it. It’s the legwork of the mind. Because yes, the mind is one of the most powerful ad versatile tools of a writer. The mind that summons the stories grates away at the words, chisels the ideas and polishes the sentences. And when something’s gone wrong, that mind-tool puts all the chipped-off parts back and finds a new approach to make the story work. Which again may involve a chair and a window, or a lawn, or a stroll through a park.

As you see, a writer uses many a tool. All of them are needed, all of them have their place in the creation of a book, an artwork that the writer creates. For you.

A trilogy?

Dear reader,

A while ago I wrote about an old story that I’m reviving by writing anew from scratch. I’ve started writing and it’s going very well I may say. As this is a story I’ve written before (and this may look as odd to you as it does to me) I know where it’s going. That is, if the characters in the new version play nice and cooperate with what I have in mind. That often is a battle in itself.

Based on this idea I have the feeling that the new version of the story will be packaged in a trilogy. Putting everything I foresee now in one book would make it a very large book. Shrinking the very large book down would take away a lot of story goodness, and that would be a shame.

I found it very interesting to have this sudden realisation. Never before have I actually planned writing more than 1 book about a character (not even Hilda), and now it just happened…

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 http://www.museumwales.ac.uk

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…

The Book of Paul Book Blast

Welcome to The Book of Paul Book Blast.

With 170 reviews, and an average of 4.1 out of 5 stars, the Book of Paul is a blockbuster in the making.  Memorable characters, a great storyline and a blending of mythologies, this deftly woven novel is currently $0.99.

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.

The action is relentless as Rose and Martin fight to escape Paul’s clutches and Martin’s destiny as the chosen recipient of Paul’s sinister legacy.  Science and magic, mythology and technology converge in a monumental battle where the stakes couldn’t be higher: control of the ultimate power in the universe–the Maelstrom.

The Book of Paul is the first of seven volumes in a sweeping mythological narrative tracing the mystical connections between Hermes Trismegistus in ancient Egypt, Sophia, the female counterpart of Christ, and the Celtic druids of Clan Kelly.

With production values matching that of a movie, the Book of Paul Trailer is as epic as the book!



“Everything you’ve ever believed about yourself…about the description of reality you’ve clung to so stubbornly all your life…all of it…every bit of it…is an illusion.” 

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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:

Twitter | Facebook | Website | Pinterest | Tumblr

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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…