Writing for the heart.

Dear reader,

I agree this is a rather unusual title. I’m good at coming up with unusual things but that’s not the point of this post.  Read on and find out…

Writing for the heart.

red heartThe writing for the heart that I mean is not for my heart. It’s for the heart of the people who read what I’ve put to electronic paper. Let me tell you the story of one of those people. I’ll not mention her name. She will be MC.

Writing for the heart of MC.

One day, several years ago, I received an e-mail from someone who had read the entire series of my wicked witch. MC told me she used to be an artist, a painter, who then was in hospital because of many ailments. Since a few years (!) she was in an oxygen tent and reading books was impossible for her; her eyes had been affected by all the medication. A few good friends had bought her an e-reader (adjustable font size, you know) and on that she could read again. On that e-reader they’d installed the first few books of Hilda.

After reading them, MC asked a friend to write me that e-mail. In it she told me how much good my stories had done for her. And… then she asked: “If ever I am well enough again to paint, would you allow me to paint a few scenes from your stories?”

Bam

That is how that question hit me. Something I had written and put out into the world had such a profound impact on that person, profound enough for her to get that e-mail to me, with her story and her request.

You cannot imagine how that affected me. I hadn’t even ever dared to dream of anything like that to happen.

MC was not the only person who wrote to me about how my stories helped her along and made her happy. I’m not going to list all of them but there have been many. E-mails that touched me, made me smile, made me cry.

E-mails that made me happy, proud and humble. Humble because of the awe that I can do something like that for people I’ve never seen, that I’ll never meet. And they take the time to write to me. To tell me what my stories mean to them.

That is what I mean when I say writing for the heart. Maybe there are more hearts that my stories have touched, hearts that don’t want or dare to write to me. That’s okay. As long as the magic of words does magic to people’s hearts, that’s what counts.

MC, so I’ve learnt, has left this Earthly plane several years ago. An end to her pains and sickness. But knowing how books with stories have made a difference for her… touches my heart…

 

It looks like I’m doing nothing, doesn’t it?

Dear reader,

Time flies by like a clock on steroids.

Hilda 19 is out since a while and you hear little from me. Part of that has to do with things in life. Things involving jobs, new jobs, other workplaces and so on. Those take up time and energy. Still I hope that someday I’ll be as good a writer as for instance Stephen King or Ursula Le Guin. That’s something for later, when I grow up. As I try to write this, my cat Grimalkin is walking over the keyboard, attracting attention.

So what’s happening in the area of real interest: books.

I’m working on book 20 of Hilda which is always a pleasure. Carol and I are still working on getting the sequel to “Wanted: hero” out there. The next book to come out will the “The Magic of the Bull”, which might be closer than you think. 🙂

In between all that I have also updated the cover for “Charisma, the young witch.”

I think this looks a lot better than what was there before!

 

 

What’s going on?

Vacation

Dear reader,

It’s been silent again for some time. First of all I was on a two week vacation to Great Britain, something I thoroughly enjoyed.

england

I’ve spent a nice time in Dorset, which is located in the south of England. From there I drove up to Bristol where I met a good friend. She is actually the lady who gave our beloved wicked witch her face! We went to Cardiff to visit the Dr Who experience, which was an amazing experience indeed. I’m quite the Dr Who fan so that was a treat.

dr who experience

After Bristol I went up even more north to North Wales where I enjoyed a stay with the editor of my English books. I don’t meet my British friends nearly enough so this was absolutely delightful.

Book things

Furthermore I have been busy promoting my latest Dutch book which is received very well. So well in fact that many English speaking people have asked me when the ‘international’ version is ready. I have to admit that I had no plans to rewrite that book in English, but with so many enquiries I have decided to review those intentions. The work on rewriting the book in English has started, the first 2 chapters are already done. Only 31 more to go!

Book 18 of Hilda the Wicked Witch is approaching its final stages, text-wise. Carol is almost done with the edits. The big hurdle I am still facing is the cover image, but that will be done. I hope you can still hang on to whatever you’re hanging on to: book 18 is coming.

A little update on… Hilda, book 18.

Dear reader.

Hilda the wicked witchIt may not come as a shock that there will actually be an 18th story about Hilda and William. A story full of surprises, I might add, but which ones will still be covered under a purple wizard’s cloak.

Private matters in the life of my editor have delayed progress on the appearance of this book.

We are however working on making this book a reality so don’t despair just yet. I’ll give you proper warning ample time in advance if your worrying is required.

If there was one question you could ask about this new book, which question would it be? Please don’t ask ‘when will it be available’; I’ll give you the answer on that right now: as soon as it’s done. I know that’s a bit of a dead give-away but some things in the life of a person can’t be rushed.

To ease your curiosity a little however I’ll drop a tiny hint on what you will encounter in the new book. What… I should rather say ‘who’.

Pirates
Note: this is a hint. Arrr.

Incidentally the hat you see in this picture also is referred to in the story. This however is quite coincidental as I had no idea I would locate this image while I was writing about the hat and the person beneath it.

If this hint was not clear enough then I will also drop the words “September 19th” here. (That date falls on a Monday this year.) Employ your search engine skills and you might discover more than you bargained for!

 

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

 

July is Fantasy-month!

Dear reader,

Heart of the GodsYou may not know it but on Facebook, at this very moment, there’s an event taking place called Fantasy in July. You are cordially invited to join the event where many fantasy writers are talking about their work, offering their work even at discounts and the occasional announcement for new works coming out soon pass by as well.

You might find a mention of “The Source of Lightning“, an epic steampunk adventure by Donna K. Fitch, for instance. Or there’s Katherine Lee Pierret Perkins’ “Dawn of Steam” (indeed, more steampunk). But there is also proper fantasy, like “Servant of the Gods” by Valerie Douglas (a gorgeous book if I say so myself).

If you like fantasy and Egypt, then “Heart of the Gods” would be a good choice. So if you feel like indulging in something special then don’t hesitate and come have a look!

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!

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…

A real book. Is it what you hold in your hands?

Dear reader,

Many a question’s being asked about what is a book. A real book. I think that’s a valid question, and also something that only can be answered from the right point of view. Books

A book always used to be something made of paper, with a cover around it, and words inside that smell of ink.

 

 

 

 

ebook

The digital revolution bestowed the e-book upon us, with a cover around it that looks like a little machine (e.g. e-reader, tablet or even a smartphone), and the smell of ink is absent for now (but wait for it, technology will catch up on that!).

So what is a book? Is it the medium that carries the story, the paper, the ink, the weight that comes with it? Or is it the story that’s conveyed, regardless of the medium it’s read from? Do you read a book or do you read a story? I think it’s fair to say that both options are true and real, and books are books, be they paper or e. As for the weight that comes with a book… e-readers have weight too and that can be a blessing for people who have problems holding up the big paper tomes.

There will always be paper books. There will always be e-books. And that’s the grand thing. Stories appear on both media, so you can take your pick. There is no absolute in what’s the best. The absolute could be your personal preference, and that’s not even a fixed point because there are people who appreciate a heavy, smelly book when they’re at home, but who take their e-reading device along when they travel (for instance when they don’t want to risk damaging the paper version).

The choice is yours.