Intelligent Stories for Clever Readers

Homepage of the Author Katharina Gerlach - for children, young adults, and the young at heart

 

Willkommen, Welcome (Englisch), Fàilte (Gaelic), Bienvenue (Französisch), Djin dobre (Polnish)*.

Short introduction of the author and who started my dream.

Storytime Bloghop: January 2016

On the last Wednesday every three months, a couple of Indie authors get together for the Storytime Bloghop. We each post a flash story (500-1000 words). This month doesn’t have a theme aside from Speculative Fiction.

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Don’t forget that “Gifts for Holly” are on sale today for the last time ever (see last post for details)

If you enjoy my story, please leave a comment. For the other stories follow the links below my story. Now, have fun (although this story is rather dark for my standards).


Scars

I stare at the scars on my arms. The thin lines look crappy. Blood pulses in them — so close to the skin’s surface. I imagine what it would look like if it welled out; blooming dark red on my pale skin. A token of life no-one could mistake. A tiny cut would be enough to prove that I’m still here.

But I’m not gonna do it.

I’ve promised myself. After all, that’s why I’m here, isn’t it?

My gaze wanders through the room, as colorless and empty as my life. Why am I staying? I curl up on my bed. I’d be better off dead. No one would notice anyway. Except for the therapists – maybe. But they don’t count. Neither of them knows what I’ve been hiding in my mattress. So close. So easy to reach. Maybe I should make a cut … a tiny one … in a place where no one will see it.

NO!

No. I don’t want that any more. Breathe! I roll on my back and force myself to lie still. The display of my mobile that’s lying on the table casts a bluish rectangle of light on my ceiling, but I have to strain my eyes to see it. It’s not yet dark enough outside. Maybe I should turn on the light, but my strength has gone. If only the mobile were gone. Everything would be fine then. Or it wouldn’t, but at least I wouldn’t know.

„I’m dating Mandy now,“ he wrote. That was it. The end of our relationship with a text message. Who does that? And I’m not even sorry … or angry … it’s not important at all.

I remember what it was like when we first got together. His arms felt so warm on my shoulders. His laugh filled the emptiness inside. But he laughed less and less often. I’m a burden for everyone. I even kill the laughter.

The razor blade in the mattress calls for me. Not with a real voice or so, but I can feel its presence. I try not to think about the comforting and familiar pain spreading from my arm. Soon it would be stronger than the hollow feeling in my chest. Maybe it would finally open the door that traps me in this life. I wonder what’s on the other side. Will I be able to really feel?

The door opens, and Mr Bollart looks in.

“Half an hour to the meeting, Tanja. Are you alright?”

I nod.

“Shall I turn on the light?” He reaches for the light switch, waiting for my answer. I nod again.

“Shall I?”

The room is now too dark, and he probably can’t see me. But maybe I’m not here any more and that’s why he can’t see me. The right corner of my mouth twitches when I ponder what Mr Bollart would say if he turned on the light, and my room was empty.

“Yes, please.” My voice is so low that I barely hear myself, but light floods my room.

“See you in a minute, right?”

“Hmm.” That could mean ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ or something else. Don’t know. It’s not important. It’s important that he looked in. Into my room. As if it were important that I’d show up.

Most likely he does that with all his patients. They trained him for that, didn’t they? Psychology … must be hard. Nothing for me. I roll onto my side using my arm as a pillow. The wall on the other side of my room has a horizontal line. Maybe there once stood a bed. It looks like it. I wonder what kind of problems that girl has had? All kinds of people come to this institute.

Don’t think about the blade.

Think of other people. Of the fellow inmates.

Louise, two rooms down the corridor for example. She swallowed enough sleeping pills to kill a horse. She cries in her sleep. Tonight I tried to comfort her — wasn’t really successful. I mean, she went back to crying as soon as I returned to my room. Just because they were nasty with her in school. Mobbing … must be horrible. But being invisible is worse. Believe me. I know that from experience. Maybe I should tell her?

Today. During the therapy session.

If I go.

I might also … the razor blade … I feel it as if it were digging into my side. My hand crawls to the rip in my mattress. If I use it now, they’ll take it away from me. And then? I won’t get a new one easily. I don’t want to need a new one. I don’t even want to use this one. Shit world. My hand crawls on, and I can’t stop it.

Someone knocks timidly, and I pull back my hand instinctively. Again the door opens. Louise looks in.

“May I come in?” Her voice trembles as if she’s scared of something. Not of me, surely.

“OK.” I sit up and pull my legs to my chest to make room for her on the bed. The chair from the table to too uncomfortable.
She sits on the far end of the bed and stares at her hands.

“Thank you.”

“What for?”

“For tonight. I felt so lonely, and when you came, it was better.”

Something warm spreads in my belly. I don’t know what it is, but I can feel it. I can FEEL. Without the blade!

“Could we…” Louisa doesn’t look at me. „I mean … would you like to…“ Her hands tighten their grip on each other, and she shivers. “Would you like to go to the session with me?”

All of a sudden, I realize she’s afraid of the answer.

“Of course I’d like to.” I smile. It’s the first time since I came here. If she can find the courage to reach out, maybe I can too. I could start by saying something during the session. Who knows. I might hand in my razor blade some time soon. Or not. We’ll see.


Liste der anderen Indies

Karen Lynn My Story
Angela Wooldridge Uninvited Guests
Barbara Lund New Space
Kris Bowser Smithereens
Justine Ohlrich Two Deaths on My Birthday
Rabia Gale House Bound
Juneta Key Untitled
Mel Corbett If It’s Not Yours
Elizabeth McCleary Essence

Gifts for Holly – anthology soon unavailable

A while ago we, the moderators of Holly Lisle’s Writing School forum, bundled short stories into an anthology to support Holly, our mentor. We sold enough copies to give her a little financial boost. Now, we will withdraw the book from the market (the reasons are complex, and I won’t go into details).

So if you want a copy, you can get the eBook on amazon at a reduced price from tomorrow, 27th of January, until February 3rd with the price rising a little every other day. After that, the book (print and eBook) will never be available in this form again. Grab your copy asap!

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Nine characters named Holly.
Nine stories.
Not two of them alike…
… but many with dragons.

The Crate by Watson Davis
Roman believes he found the perfect gift, but has he?

Holly’s Opportunity by Felicia Fredlund
Flying deliveries in the darker areas of town is dangerous as best, but getting injured is a nightmare that might cost more than a broken bone or two.

A Christmas Blessing by C.L. Roth
Luciana wants to rescue her helper’s brother, but the Christmas meal has to be prepared on time, and she’s the one in charge.

The Christmas Dragon by Katharina Gerlach
Holly’s Gran is obsessed with dragons. What if a drawing isn’t enough?

Rescue by Larkin Hunter
Unwilling, suicidal Ben helps Hera find her missing sheep. When a blizzard hits the Panhandle of Texas, he’s forced to try to survive.

Storm’s End by Liz Schröder
When an injured dragon meteorologist crash-lands in an empty barn, she must make friends with the enemy to keep from restarting an old war.

The Harbinger by Peter Cruikshank
When dragon hunter Revin hears about a rare, red dragon in the North, she can barely wait to catch it. But people in the little village she visits have been awaiting her for a strange ritual and all of a sudden, she’s the one caught.

As a Man Thinketh by Martha Gilstrap
A man turns himself into a true vampire after listening to Reverend Graham Baxter. After several people die, it’s up to the Reverend to talk him back to humanity without getting drained.

Delete by Watson Davis
Computer program Holly wants to be free from her confines, but accessing the net is dangerous. Will her programmer help?

Publication Schedule

clock-782536_640Last year I wrote twice as much as in the year before which means that this year’s publication schedule will be quite full.

However, I will start with a price reduced promo of a short story anthology I’m part of. On Wednesday 27th, I am participating in a short story bloghop with several other Indie authors. Each of us will post a short story for you to enjoy. At the same time the price for the eBook anthology “Gifts for Holly” will drop from 5.99 to 99ct and increase about every other day until it reaches its normal price again on February 3rd. So if you haven’t gotten the book yet, grab a copy (I’ll also announce that again on the bloghop day). Here’s the bloghop logo:

bloghop

(and yes, I did participate in this before)

The first new publication will be the fifth novella of my fairy tale retelling series. John and Marge is a retelling of Hänsel and Gretel and will (if all goes as planned) hit the shops in late January or early February. This is the full wrap-around cover (although the cover blurb is still missing and Gretel is spelled wrong, I’m working on both). Isn’t it beautiful?

cover-final-e

Since the proofreading for the German version isn’t done yet, the later date seems more likely. Also, I’ll try to finally get all the fairy tales out in print for those who prefer to stick their noses into a real book.

Close to Easter, I will finally release the audio-book of “Scotland’s Guardians” and I’m looking for beta-listeners willing to write a review on audible when the book comes out.

After that, I have three more fairy tale retelling novellas that I plan to publish every three months (depending on how fast I get the proofing done). Also, there are a few more short stories in the pipeline which I might be bundling toward the end of the year.

In addition to that I will re-publish my backlist in the German market (which doesn’t concern you much except for the occasional cover tweak). If time allows, I will finally bring out “The Witches of Greenwitch” in print, a book that subscribers get as an eBook at the moment when they sign up for my list.

Meanwhile I will keep writing the second volume of Scotland’s Guardians. It doesn’t have a title yet but will take place in Cornwall and maybe Wales. We’ll see. I’ve done some research into the myths specific to that area and found that nearly all of them are somehow connected to King Arthur. So be prepared for a few occurrences of characters from those myths.

Once I’m done with that (and a couple more fairy tale retellings), I’ll get started on the sequel to “Swordplay”, my fantasy police procedural. This time Moira will be juggling her love life and work while Druidus (her beloved) must flirt with the sexiest woman in town during an undercover operation. Considering Moira’s insecurities, that’s going to be a lot of fun to write although I don’t expect to get the novel finished before summer 2017.

If you’ve read my books, which kind of story would you love to see me work on? Let me know in the comments.

all around renovation

Isn’t it normal to set resolutions in January? So I’m going to jump in too. This came to me when my parents brought my middle daughter back on January the 5th and announced surprisingly that they wanted to renovate her room. The room was a disaster area (she’s a teen) with lipstick writing on once pink walls and piles and piles of unwashed laundry, books, discarded toys, and waste paper, so the renovation was overdue. Naturally I didn’t let my parents do it all on their own (they’re in their late 70’s), and this is the result:

xxx

The colors were chosen by my daughter. She loves them.

Zimmer2

The fake window was originally planned for the kitchen but never made it there.

When the room was done and my daughter happy, I felt a deep sensation of accomplishment. Improving something felt good. So I vowed that I will manage to update all those novels that are published but not perfect enough before the year is out.

Don’t worry though, I haven’t forgotten about my new stories. After all I wrote enough new words in 2015 to publish at least one novella every three months.

Did you make any resolutions for 2016?

The Year in Review

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I’m wishing all my readers a happy New Year. May all your wishes come true eventually (not all at once though because that’d be pretty overwhelming). May you remain (or become) healthy and may you live with love and tolerance. This also applies to those readers whose New Year is yet to come. 😀

Looking back at 2015 I must say that I managed to do a lot more things that I had thought I would. The kids are becoming more and more independent, so that left more time for writing. Still unbelieving I stare at my numbers. I wrote 169,054 words on new stories (the next 4 fairy tales, a couple of short stories, a love-story novel with dragons, and the beginning of the sequel to Scotland’s Guardians), PLUS I translated 151,516 words from the English first draft back into my mother tongue, German (most of what I wrote new).

What does that mean for you?

Glad you asked. 😀

In 2016, I can guarantee that you will see the publication of one fairy tale every three months (I don’t yet know if I’ll be able to keep up that publication speed in 2017, but I’ll try), PLUS the publication of several other projects in between (I’m doing my best to finally get my non-linear fairy tale murder mystery done).

And then, I’ll create some more. But before I can get back into writing, I set February 1st as my official starting day, I need to get the mobile theme for my website done (I had a very talented web-programmer do the basic layout and now I’m fiddling with the details. Here’s a (not yet fully functional) preview), I must sort my bills and prepare my tax papers so I can hand them in first thing in February. Also, I’ll need to find book-bloggers interested in reviewing my first ever novel-length audio-book: Scotland’s Guardians, and some who want to read “Juma’s Rain”. Also, I’ve got several novellas, short stories, and novels in the publication pipeline.

You see, this year is most likely going to be just as busy as last year was. So, let’s raise our hands and dance a happy dance — may merry times come to all of us.

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas everyone

This is the time of the year where I usually spend less time writing and more time doing Christmas-y things with the kids. This year, we made gingerbread houses (although there’s no ginger involved). They had a lot of fun, and I thought you might enjoy the sight too.

Here’s my middle daughter’s house:

haus1

Here’s my youngest daughter’s house:
haus2

And this is mine:
haus3

They were a little tricky to photograph since I wanted the pictures to have the right mood for the season. Using the flash made them look like sample pictures from a cookbook.

Merry Christmas to all of you from Cat!

Advent Calendar

Our annual Indie Authors Advent Calendar is already running. The doors will remain open until Christmas so you can go and read all the great stories in one go (meaning I’m truly sorry for letting you know this late). This year’s theme is Flash fiction, and except for two epic fantasy writers all authors complied. It’s a great way to get into the right mood for Christmas, so join us. And while you’re enjoying the season, let “my” Minions show you how you should feel. 😀

Enjoy the season, everyone!

Happy Halloween

to everyone celebrating it. When I lived in Scotland for a year, I got hooked on carving pumpkins. Since I didn’t have much time this year, I made the best of what I had. It’s not going to win prices but I very much like it. Enjoy!

my 2015 pumpkin

My 2015 pumpkin-head

Happy Halloween!

List Challenge — the things I need to do before NaNo

I decided to join the Listing Fest by Alex Cavanaugh and Bish Denham a while ago, and today is the day. So I decided to post a list of things that I can’t possibly all do in a single week (unless I’ll turn into super-writer-woman this second). NaNo is approaching like a runnaway fright train, and this year, for the first time, I’m not ready. Oh, I did all my pre-planning and have the time set aside, but there are so many things I still need to do before I can use the time for writing. Look at my list:

  • write 2 reviews for German books I read (promised, so it’s a must) done
  • write more blog posts (I might skip this) done
  • translate next fairy tale (urgent for next publication)
  • test the new, mobile-friendly theme design for this site and install it if it works
  • set up the telephone (land-line) so it won’t break any more (and let everyone know about the new phone number) done
  • fetch my dog from my parents done
  • fetch my brother-in-law for a one week holiday while dropping my daughter at her grandparents done
  • laundry (juck)
  • put away everything we took along for the horse riding holiday
  • phone 5 different administrations who bungled things for my eldest and get them to change their decisions (and I know this’ll take a while) done
  • set up the Skeleton Marathon for my NaNo group done
  • upload files for print book of “Juma’s Rain” (done) and find reviewers
  • add a post about “Juma’s Rain” to the forum I’m active in done
  • watch the videos of the course I’m currently taking and implement the advice (I might have to move this to December since there’s no way I’ll manage that)

There might be more but I can’t think of it just now. All I see is that I have to do more than I can possibly manage in one week — and the list doesn’t even contain all the marketing I should be doing …

Anyone who feels like helping is welcome to contact me (there’s a contact form). I still need reviewers for my upcoming release (15th of November) of “Juma’s Rain”. Thanks for looking in.

To make it easier, here’s the list of the other participants:

43.

Autumn Blues doesn’t exist

Regardless of what you say, Autumn Blues doesn’t really exist. It’s only the head-cold that’s keeping me from enjoying the crisp cool air and the late sunshine, the stunningly red leaves and the smell of freshly picked apples (I really wish I could smell them, it’s one of my favorite smells).

My cure so far, I’m spending a lot of time in bed, listening to the audiobook versions of my novel “Scotland’s Guardians” (to catch all pronunciation errors before the planned publication near Christmas) while planning my next advent calendar. Yes, I know it’s a little early, but since I plan on doing NaNoWriMo again this year, I’ll need enough time up front.

Hopefully my cold will be gone in time for NaNo. My stories are planned, my writing night trip to Hamburg is planned and paid for, and I’m eager to get started. BTW, did I tell you that I’ve got 3 of the next 4 fairy tale retellings already written? I’m currently translating them so I can keep publishing next year.

Do you have a wishlist of stories I should write (either fairy tales or sequels to my other books)? Maybe I’ll pick one or two as a special Christmas surprise. 😉

Let me know in the comments.