Signs. Incarnations. You believe in them or you don’t.

I do.

The other day, I told a friend some news that had me set back and she responded not only with an encouraging note but told me she’d seen a hawk that day while thinking of me – vision, power, rebirth, teamwork – and a lone goose – bravery, confidence, communication, determination. That lifted my spirits.

Another friend had some powerful stuff happening at the exact same time I had the same powerful stuff happening. It forged a close bond between us.


It happens too when I write my books. While working on my debut Deedee’s Revenge (De wraak van Deedee), a crow with an important role cropped up in the story. The next morning a crow settled on a branch in the tree outside my office. It came back every day and left when I handed in the manuscript.


Now, I’m researching the third book of my Boreas series, the middle grade adventure about the twelve-year-old who sails the seas, and in my room is a painting of a maritime signal flag. Four squares, two white and two red, representing the letter ‘U’.

Now, signal flags represent not just a letter but each one has a meaning and this one’s is: ‘You are running into danger.’ Unsettling, right? That’s what I thought, so I quickly ran downstairs to the lobby where more flags were displayed to pick one that was more to my liking. I studied the flags. Would I go for the ‘V’ (I require assistance)? Or maybe the ‘O’ (Man overboard)?

But no. I decided on the ‘J’ flag: I am on fire.


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Truth be told there’s more to the J flag than just ‘I am on fire’ but hey isn’t it a writer’s prerogative to only pick what he needs?