O. Obsidian #AtoZChallenge

azbloggingO. Obsidian

Obsi
Obsi

Dear reader,

Since I’ve introduced you to Grim (Grimalkin), it’s now time to introduce her brother, Obsidian. Obsi for short. Dedicated readers of Hilda and William will know this name already.

Obsi is the daredevil of the two, he’s always the first one to try something new. A funny detail is that he’s more easily scared of things than Grim is. Noises scare him very much, so all the fireworks around New Year are a serious problem for him.

He’s a great cat, a big good boy who loves lying in my lap when I watch something on my television. 🙂

N. Names #AtoZChallenge

azbloggingN. Names

Dear reader,

What’s in a name? The question is asked often. Some say nothing, some say that a name makes a person. In this 14th post of the A-Z blogging challenge I want to tell you a bit more about some of the names I’ve invented for the stories, or where they came from.

First of course Hilda. You may just know her as Grimhilda (in which case you are not her friend). When I started the first story about the wicked witch, I needed a witchy name so I simply asked Mr Google about witch names, and Grimhilda was one of the first to appear. As I didn’t have much time to think of names at that point I decided to go with Grimhilda. Hilda for friends.

If you’ve read The Story of the Mimosa you have encountered Barthomeu. Little surprise probably that this is merely a deviation of Bartholomew.

In Hilda Lycadea we encounter an odd person by the name of Davdrew. I needed an odd name for him and tried to come up with something by saying aloud all the things that I saw lying around in my room. Believe it or not, one of them was a box marked DVD+RW. Drop the + and say it with me: DVDRW. There you go! Davdrew was born!

 

In Bactine there are a few names as well. Daniel Zacharias, for instance. I had already decided on a last name with Z when I heard a song by Elton John called ‘Daniel’. There I had my name. Another odd name in the book, for an animal this time, is the Kotrvayk. The story behind this has to do with the car I had then, with the licence plate “77 TR VK”. TRVK is difficult to pronounce and also boring to write, so I wanted to make the word sound more balanced. I added the last letter to the front (KTRVK) and while playing with the sound a bit (I am sure that must have sounded very odd) I ended up with Kotrvayk.

Image courtesy of
channelavi.com

 

Finally I want to touch Green Haven. The main character in there is called Priscilla, or ‘Prissa‘ for short. Her name is based on that of a character in the film Blade Runner, Priss. I had just watched that film again (it’s one of my favourite films) and I thought that Prissa would be a good name for my female main character. She, like Priss, has some abilities that you wouldn’t think of when you first meet her.

 

M. Music #AtoZChallenge

azbloggingM. Music

Dear reader,

You may wonder “Why music?”. What does music have to do with writing? For me: a lot. First of all I love music in many forms. Often I need music playing in the background when I’m writing. Music that fits the story even. I find that writing action-filled Hilda scenes goes very well with the music of Edenbridge, Leaves’ Eyes or even Krypteria. Lily Marin’s novel was written with lots of music from Unwoman and Abney Park.

Many of my books even contain little hints to songs, and some have hints that are quite clear, for example the hard to miss mention of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in Hilda – Cats.

What many people may not know is that I also play music. I’ve had musical lessons for accordeon (some write this as accordion, I’ll forgive you) for many years, I can play piano and organ, as well as native american flute and Bodhran. Yes. Music is important to me.

L. Lily Marin #AtoZChallenge

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L. Lily Marin

Dear reader,

You may be familiar with this lady. She appears in 6 short stories that I wrote. They are in the steampunk genre, and to my surprise they were quite well received. That unexpected success gave me the motivation to write a proper novel about this woman who is a singer in daytime and resembles a steampunk heroine at night.

Why steampunk? I’ve loved steampunk since I discovered it. It’s an amazing coming together of (mainly Victorian) history and science fiction, where scientists (mad or in another variety), airships, courtesy and the most outrageous inventions become a possibility.

Lily Marin Novel Cover

And while I’m mentioning Lily Marin and steampunk, let me inform you that the book is well on its way, and so I take the liberty to give you a small sneak peek of the cover. 🙂

K. K #AtoZChallenge

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K. K

Dear reader,

kI really wondered what to write about for this letter, the letter ‘K’. It’s interesting for me, not being a native English speaker, that there are so many words in the English language but the number of them that start with ‘K’ is relatively small (at least that is how it seems to me). Of course, there are words like Kindergarten, Knife and Komodo dragon but those don’t really sound like something worthwhile to blog about in this A-Z challenge. I’m after all a writer, I do things with words and books, not with kindergartens. The Dutch language (my native tongue) has many words starting with ‘K’. One of the products the Netherlands is famous for, cheese, starts with ‘K’ in Dutch: kaas. (You can pronounce it when you say ‘cast’ -with the a as in bar- and then drop the ‘t’. There, you learnt a Dutch word!)

Many English words starting with ‘C’ have a Dutch counterpart starting with ‘K’, like canon (kanon) or card (kaart). Incidentally also many German words share this trait (Kanone, Karte).

Hmm. Maybe I should write about Kings. Kings are interesting creatures. Perhaps next time.

 

J. Jokes #AtoZChallenge

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J. Jokes

Dear reader,

Welcome to the J. The jokes. I love jokes. Jokes are good, jokes make people laugh and brighten the day. I put jokes in my books. Maybe you’ve discovered one here and there. The Hilda books and also The Story of the Mimosa are quite good reads for jokes. If you like to laugh here and there, of course, otherwise I would advise you to read War and Peace by Mr Leo Tolstoy.

Jokes can be miracles of entertainment wrapped in a careful selection of words, and the fun part in it is that the reader only notices there’s a joke coming at the very end.

Did you know that there are differences in how jokes are perceived all through the world? I’m no expert on “everywhere” but I know that Americans often like jokes that are ‘hidden’, where the fun bit only pops out at the end. This is entirely different to many French people, who want to be able to see the joke coming from the very first word. British jokes are often different again because many Brits possess a dry humour, something that not everyone appreciates (nor understands for that matter).

Here’s an American joke for you:

A blonde was driving down a street under the scorching sun. She had an important meeting and when she reached the building where the meeting was going to be held, she discovered that there was no vacant space to park her car.
Desperate and confused, she looked up and said, “God, take pity on me and find me a parking place. If you do so, I will visit the church daily, donate half of my this month’s salary and give up alcohol for the rest of my life.”
Miraculously, an empty parking place appeared out of nowhere in front of the blonde. The blonde pleased by the discovery, looked up and said, “Nevermind, I found one myself!”

And here’s a British joke:

A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. ”But why?” they asked, as they moved off. ”because,” he said ”I can’t stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.”

Have a fun day!

I. Images. #AtoZChallenge

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I. Images

Dear reader,

Maybe you’ll find images a strange title for a blog post by a writer. Let me show you why it’s not.

What is the first thing you see when you look at a book? The cover. Image. Ah! There’s an image! Well, that concludes this post. Or perhaps not.

Mimosa320Hilda ExtremeMidsummer Night Adventure

An image tells a thousand words, and with books that’s the same. The image on the front needs to convey the message without telling it all. It is meant to attract you, the reader. And once you’re lured inside there are words waiting for you. Words that paint images on the inside of your imagination, taking you down colourful corridors and into the rooms, villages and countries of people you would never have met, had you stayed outside this book.

For some books, the Hilda series and a few others, I create the cover images myself. For other books I rely on the art, skill and wisdom of a wonderful lady in the US who creates the most amazing covers, not only for me but also for many other people. Her name is Renée Barratt and her company is The Cover Counts. It absolutely counts for me, and with this post I’d like to thank her for her fantastic creations.

H. Hilda #AtoZChallenge

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H. Hilda

Hilda the wicked witch

This should come as no surprise, dear reader. If you know anything about me, that would be the wickedest of witches who at one point in history escaped from my brain, and who’s not left my side ever since.

Hilda the Wicked Witch has changed my life. From the many reactions of readers that I was allowed to receive, I can state that she didn’t just change mine but she also affected the lives of many other people.

That is something which still amazes me. Everything that started moving and happening after I wrote that first short story about Hilda has been an exciting journey and a beautiful experience for me, and I hope that it will keep going for many more years.

After twelve books about Hilda, William and their friends I’m still looking forward to writing more about their adventures. Book 13 is well on its way, book 14 is waving from the shadows, and who knows what will come after that. It could well be book 15, but when a wicked witch is involved that’s anyone’s guess!

I trust that you, dear reader, will let me know when you’ve had enough of Hilda, William and Babs. I count on you.

G. Grimalkin #AtoZChallenge

azbloggingG. Grimalkin

Dear reader,

You may think this a very strange title for a blog post. Unless you’ve read Hilda’s stories, then you know that she’s owned by a cat called Grimalkin. In that respect Hilda and I share a trait: I am also owned by a cat called Grimalkin:

Grimalkin
Grimalkin (Grim)

I rescued her and her brother (Obsidian) from an animal shelter. They were left there by a family who had a child with a cat allergy. These people were all crying that they had to let these two cats go, and after these two animals have lived with me for more than a year I can tell why these people felt that way. Grim and Obsi are the most wonderful cats I can imagine. They’re 8.5 years old now, sweet and a part of my family and my heart. I hope they’ll be with me for a long time to come. 🙂

F. Fantasy or Future? #AtoZChallenge

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F. Fantasy or Future?

Dear reader,

Image courtesy of Renders Gamers

 

For the letter “F” I couldn’t make up my mind, as you can plainly see. Fantasy is an important part of my writing, as I may refer to the antics of Hilda the Wicked Witch. Future however is important too, as that’s where we’re all heading from here. And it has a reference to Science Fiction, which is something I like to write about as well.

I think the biggest F in here is still Fantasy. It’s my favourite genre to read and also to write. For that reason I have started a new fantasy book about – hmm, perhaps I shouldn’t reveal that yet. Not to worry, Hilda and William aren’t going to disappear nor suffer from this new book. Also there’s an urban Fantasy in the works, so for the fantasy lovers there’s enough coming. At least I hope it’s enough!