I don’t make people disappear. Not often.

Today I did. Okay, not an actual person, but a character I had introduced in Hilda’s 23rd story. I thought I had the need for a knight so I brought in a knight. One of the queens in the story, however, didn’t need a knight so I sat here with a surplus knight who didn’t add anything to the story.

And what do you do with knights you don’t need?

The Dalek solution to any problem

Indeed. You exterminate him. And that is what I am currently doing. A good thing is that he didn’t add much to the story, meaning he didn’t make many an appearance in it, so removing his remains (ahem) is easy enough.

This does mean the end of Martin of Lower Loxley. If this reminds you of some man named Robin who is also related to the Loxleys, you’re right. Marty was sort of created in the image (make that caricature) of Robin Hood.

I do need to warn you: don’t be disappointed. Marty wasn’t as gallant as Robin Hood. He was more of a loose cannon, be it that cannons aren’t in fashion in Hilda’s world. In the end he became so annoying that I am actually glad he’d gone.

It’s the first time, I think, that I removed a character so thoroughly from a story (once I’m done). He’s not entirely gone yet, I still have 5 chapters to go, but the story improves. In case you care to remember old Marty: when you read Hilda’s 23rd and you see a servant called Segomar make an appearance, that is where Marty often was. Some of the remarks are too good to remove, and Segomar was the perfect choice to pick those up.

Well, so far the news about Hilda and Martin of Lower Loxley.

Onwards, I tell my keyboard. Let’s get rid of Marty. Maybe he will serve another purpose, somewhere in the future…

Nudity in art.

Whoa, what’s this? Where are we going?

I can imagine you’re surprised about the title of this blog post. Read on and you will find out the reason for it. Feel free to stop reading if you are not at all interested in the subject, or if you’re allergic to nudity. Or art.

So what is this about? Nudity? Or art?

Birth of Venus, by Botticelli
‘David’ by Michelangelo

Nudity has been since long a part of art. As the image up here demonstrates. But not only paintings have touched on the subject. Also sculptures, like the famous one of David by Michelangelo, obviously aren’t covered in clothes. They celebrate the human form.

Of course, these two examples lead somewhere. Yes, and they lead to… books.

Books? About nudity?

Yes, most definitely, and I don’t mean large hardcover books with nothing pictures of nude people, although that would fall in this category as well.

I am actually talking about actual fiction books, stories like you read in so many books – fantasy, science fiction, adventure – but these stories involve naked people. Not people that are into all kinds of sexual adventures. If you expect that, then congratulations, Internet, for ruining another person’s train of thought.

This is about naturism, or as the US says: nudism.

Naturists on a beach

Are you still reading? Good for you, and thank you for the trust (these days trust seems to be necessary when the word nudity is used).

There is a broad range of books in that category available, in many genres.

You may wonder how I know this. (Really? Do you?) It is because I am a naturist myself, and I have written several books in that category too. For that, I use a pen name.

No one is going to force you to see or learn more about this, but if you are curious, you can follow this link to find out more. Word of warning despite everything: remember that naturism means naked people.

It’s been a long time coming… Baba Yaga

Yes. It’s actually happening.

The story is written. It is edited. It is formatted. It is compiled into an e-book. And it is on its way out to the shops. Amazon and Smashwords both have approved the new book, and the latter is currently pushing the book to the other stores.

Behold. The cover. I think it’s beautiful. Thank you, Sophie Cohen, for creating it.

The story tells about Baba Yaga and the time she’s been in her home country, after leaving school and Hilda’s village. It’s become a story that is much ‘darker’ than the Hilda books, but it turned out well, I think. Of course, it’s up to you, the reader, to pass the final judgment on that.

As soon as the book is more widely available, I’ll post the links to where you can find it. For now, you can hop over to Amazon or Smashwords. I’m still working on the paperback; that will be done later.

I really hope you will like this spin-off book, this companion to the Hilda series.

Paul

Here’s another What’s Going On post

I know, it’s been silent here. Off-line life’s taking up more and more time, with studies, exams, work and other bits and pieces.

Despite that, the writing life is continuing, be it not as rapidly as we all would like.

Baba Yaga

The editing is going on. We’re almost there, so hang in there please! I have found someone in Finland who makes wonderful art, and she is creating the cover image for the book. That is coming along nicely, I can tell you.

I know that many people don’t like the main character on a cover, so they can create their own image of the person. Bad news: Babs is on the cover. Good news: she’s on the cover and you only see her from the back. I guess that evens things out, right? 🙂

Sneak peek of a part of the cover for Baba Yaga.

Tindaya

That’s getting closer to publishing too. A story about two people who discover all kinds of amazing things around a sacred mountain. I am still working on the cover for it. Deciding on some details took me a long time but that’s now a done deal. All I have to do is actually create that cover. Most of it is ready, but the devil is always in the details.

Kobie

You may know I put out a first book about a young woman who encounters witchcraft:

Kobie – Witch’s Training

I am working on an English version of the book at the moment. I have progressed to chapter 5 so far and all looks well at this point.

And so here it is. Kobie’s first chapter

I have promised this on Facebook and some other social media already: once I have translated the first chapter of the first book about Kobie, I will post it here, so people can let me know if they want to see more of it.

In other words: would you like a complete English version of this story?

Let me know, either in comments, through the contact form or any other form you fine palatable!

I’m not dumping the chapter in here just like that. If you want to avoid seeing it, simply don’t click below. Otherwise… do it!

Click here to read the chapter!

I declare Nanowrimo over

Yes, it’s November, if only for a few more hours from where I sit.

I wrote. For the mad race against self. I ended up with over 54.000 new words for Kobie 2. Alas for you, another new Dutch book, so it won’t bring you much unless you can read Dutch.

Original Hilda

From now on, the coming 11 months will be more of the normal writing, like Hilda 23 which is over 30.000 words at the moment (I did add to that story in November as well because I don’t want an angry witch on my tail!)

I have noticed that the speed at which I write has dropped a bit since I changed jobs. The new job comes with new knowledge which has to be acquired through studying. That, inevitably, means less time to write. A good thing is that the first part of the studies is coming to an end, so I just need to repeat some difficult bits and do the exam. And hope to pass that!

The Dutch Kobie-books are coming out quite nicely. They made me wonder if there would be people who’d like to read an English version. Kobie is a witch but very unlike Hilda. Kobie has a bike and a smartphone, and she doesn’t believe brooms are in any way convenient.

What would you say? An English Kobie? I’d really like to hear from you!

Review of “Dragon Prey”

Dragon Prey: A Cloud Lands NovellaDragon Prey: A Cloud Lands Novella by Hannah Steenbock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fascinating look into the world where humans and dragons are still strangers to each others.
And considering the title of the book, I’ll leave it up to you who’s winning so far.

This was a really good read, with lots of action, a great pace, real people to believe in, and of course: dragons. If you think any dragons is a good dragon, think again. Read up on the things Sidren and her tribe face and then you’ll know.

Definitely a commendable book for people into fantasy, dragons and human(ish) relations.

View all my reviews

I am William. I became a wizard.

Doesn’t that intro title hit you like something from Alcoholics Anonymous?

It’s true though. The weird thing is I wasn’t a wizard always.

I used to be a fairly regular guy from Pennsylvania, with a regular education and a regular job. I bought and sold books. Usually special books. I loved (and still love) books.

What got me into books? Better ask who. Some writers have the ability to pull you in.

The ones I liked did so and thus my love for the written word was born. Some people live for the smell of coffee in the morning (I know; I’m married to one these days). Give me tea and a book.

In a while I’ll come back and tell you a bit more about myself. Got to fly now. (No kidding!)

Good news is on its way.

Cover Hilda 22 Butterfly Gardens

It’s actually going to happen. Soon. Book 22 in the Hilda ‘saga’.

I’m not going to write down the title of the book. That’s something you will have to figure out for yourself, but something tells me that’s not too difficult at this point.

The e-book will be available as soon as possible. Okay, the paperback will be too, but as usual, that takes a little longer. If there are any candidates who think the paperback should come out first, please let me know. 😉

I have taken a gamble with this book. When I started writing it, I wasn’t certain if the idea would actually work, so I evaluated the story ‘so far’ after five chapters. Called in support teams. Spent time meditating about it in solitary caves in India (funny how a couch can become a cave in India when you need it). Thought about future options concerning this road I was about to take with Hilda and William. (No, I didn’t actually go to the future. I don’t have a Delorean!)

If you go back to the future, do it in style!

But… the future is here. I’m writing Hilda 23 and the road ahead looks good. Bumpy. What else can you expect from our wicked witch?

Just now I have unleashed a command on my computer:

Hilda_22$ pandoc *md -o ~/tmp/Hilda22.odt

This may not seem like much, but it is the start of creating the actual books. I’m a command line junkie in many respects. Well, for now I’ll spare you more of this nonsense and I’ll continue making a proper e-book from the result of said command.

We(*) all hope you’re going to experience a wonderful weekend!

Paul

* – Hilda, William, Grim, Obsi, Johanna, Baba Yaga, Charisma and lots of others!


Why reading is important

Yes. Reading is important. That’s not because authors and publishers want to sell more books (of course they want that) but because it is a beneficial training for the brain and therefore a good influence on a person’s development.

new idseasReading makes people encounter new words. New visions. New ideas.

New words are important because the world evolves, changes. Everything is named and reading is a great way to get to know these new things that are developed.

New visions and ideas keep coming up. These are described with, exactly, words. Often complicated words. If someone’s vocabulary is limited to ‘and then I like, ehh, like, you know, sort kinda dug it‘, there’s a good chance the basics of new visions and concepts go totally over a person’s head, simply because their vocabulary is too limited to understand what’s being said – or written.

text language
Texting language

Try to explain the concepts of Plato’s philosophy when you’re used to scribbles like what you see up here. Or Newton’s laws of physics.

Would Einstein’s relativity theory (E=MC2) be adequately described with “When you go like real fast and things go like real slow“?

This makes a simple thing like reading so important.  If you can’t explain complex things, how can you invent them? It’s brain training. Even if the reader doesn’t even actively look up the word (s)he doesn’t understand, if those words come back often enough, their meaning will become clear (up to a certain point) through the contexts it appears in.

So yes, reading is important.