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.

It’s my life (Bon Jovi) … in songs

I woke up with the crazy idea that it should be possible to tell my life’s story in song titles. Since it’s my birthday today, I’m going to do just that. And because I’m bilingual, I’m going to use German and English songs. 😀

What happened so far (condensed version):
Birth: (Here I am, rocked you like a ) Hurricane, Scorpions
Childhood: Wenn ich König von Deutschland wär (if I were king of Germany), Rio Reiser
School: Die pure Lust am Leben (the undiluted joy of living), Geier Sturzflug
Puberty: Smooth Criminal, Michael Jackson
A-Levels: Love is in the air, John Paul Young
Apprenticeship: Die Regenballade (the rain ballad), Achim Reichel & Ina Seidel
University: Life is Live, opus
Scotland: Lord of the Dance, 19th century Shaker tune (here by The Dubliners, and I know they’re NOT Scottish)
PhD: Wishing you were here, Pink Floyd
Wedding: Wolke 4 (cloud 4, its a love song that emphasizes that cloud 7 is mightily high up 😉 ), Philipp Dittberner & Marv
1st Child: Wie schön du bist (how beautiful you are), Sarah Connor
2nd & 3rd Child: Keine ruhige Minute (not a peaceful moment), Reinhard Mey
Writing: Nothing Else Matters, Metallica
Ever since: Paperback Writer, Beatles

Still to come:
Sustainable Success: We are the Champions, Queen
Husband’s Retirement: Wind of Change, Scorpions
The Inevitable End: Sound of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel

Theme:
My Way, Frank Sinatra
and Geh aus mein Herz und suche Freud (go my heart and look for joy), German hymn by Paul Gerhard

I hope you’ll enjoy listening to those songs. They’re a good representation of the styles I enjoy (it’s a little short on classic music which didn’t really fit the idea). And now, I’m challenging William L. Hahn, Rabia Gale, Elizabeth McCleary, Patricia Jankowsky, Jaqueline Spieweg, and David Pawn to show us the playlist of their lives with a minimum of 5 songs plus a live-theme. I’m looking forward to those! 😀

Mark the day in your calendar

On August 26th, you’re going to get a special treat. A couple of authors (me included) have decided to do a Story-Time bloghop which means you’ll get tons of interesting, well written (I know that for sure), brand new and FREE short or flash stories. All are speculative fiction (SciFi and/or Fantasy), all will be online for one week only. So if you want to read the stories, mark August 26th, come to this blog, read my story, and follow one of the links provided to another story (all blogs will be linked in all posts).

MIA – problems piling up unexpectedly

The world gremlins decided to have a go at me. Everything I did aside from writing seems doomed. My motorbike, in urgent need of an MOT, won’t start any more after I took the back wheel out and put it back in. There’s no reasonable explanation why it’d stop working because of that action. My youngest daughter will have to go to the hospital for a few days for an MRI because her feet are turned inward, and I’m worried sick that it might be something serious. And then, there’s the trouble with my middle daughter’s flight to the US in a few weeks:

Anger boiled in her chest hotter than the heatwave outside. A thousand dollars? Where should she take them without stealing? When she booked the flight for her daughter in January, she had thought that the special service required for an under-age child had been booked too, but somehow there had been a hickup. Now, changing the flight would mean buying a new ticket – three weeks before the trip. A nightmare!
How was she going to face her daughter’s disappointment? Bile rose in her chest and her heart hammered like a steam engine. At the same time, her throat constricted and her vision blurred.
She’d tried contacting the travel agency but they’d been playing muzak on the phone for close to 15min so far without anyone feeling the necessity to pick up the receiver and help her. Her annoyance grew. It’d be an effort not to scream at whoever would finally be at the other end – if at all. Grinding her teeth, she tried to ignore the perversely happy song blaring from the phone’s speaker.
Finally, a voice … a young man who let her anger roll off him like water off a duck’s back.
“Yes, Mam, you did send an eMail regarding the special service. Let me see what happened … please hold the line.”
Slightly calmer, she searched her Outbox. There was the eMail in question. How could she have forgotten all about it? Did that mean everything was fine now? The eMail she had answered said something about a fee that needed to be paid. A quick scan of her pass sheets revealed no payment. Had the travel agency answered her eMail in January? She couldn’t remember. She’d have to ask the friendly clerk when he picked up the phone again … toot toot toot – the line went dead.
NO! NOT NOW!
Shaking with anger, she dialed the travel agency’s number again. After maneuvering through the voice guided menu, the artificial announcer said, “Your waiting time is ten minutes.”
By now, she’d been on the phone for close to an hour already and her patience was wearing very, very thin. She closed her eyes and breathed while the muzak kept squawking “summer feelings”.
She needed to DO something or she’d go crazy. Another ten minutes of forced repose would drive her up the walls.
So she opened a document and began to write.
The anger subsided … little by little.
The song became bearable.
Fifteen minutes and counting.
Breathing deeply, not thinking about all the things she still needed to do today seemed to help – a little.
Twenty minutes …
Drat, she had left the eReader on the attic. Did she dare run upstairs? No, better not. It must be any minute now.
Hopefully.
Thirty-five minutes – at least her husband had been so kind to fetch her eReader. Waiting was boring but reading calmed her nerves.
Forty-three minutes – another clerk.
She sighed and repeated her problem, this time making sure they got her phone number to call her back just in case the line broke down again. More waiting while the clerk inquired about her problem, then the reassurance that she’d done everything right. Still, the problem wasn’t solved yet. Someone higher up in the hierarchy had to get back with her to find out why she had neither gotten confirmation for the special service nor the bill that needed to be paid. But for now, it looked as if everything would be sorted out in time for the flight. They promised to call her back tomorrow.

FYI – they haven’t called back yet. Neither have they sent an eMail. Right at this moment, I’m in the waiting line again. No time estimate this time.

FYI-Update – Everything is sorted. The fault lies with American Airlines – they didn’t tell us, that the combination we booked wasn#t possible in their system. At least they waived the horrendous fees they first requested for re-booking the flight, and the travel agency will issue a complaint as well. Still, the fee we’ll have to pay now is ca. 200 € higher than what it would have been in January, but my daughter can fly as planned. So, we’ll have to tighten our belts a little over the next few weeks – or you could buy more books 😀

Despic… I mean Popular Me

It seems I’m getting more popular lately. 😀

Two blogs did Interviews with me, one in German and the other one in English. On DJ Mills’ blog, I return to my starting days and discuss the twisted path I took. The German blog focuses more on my books and how I write them (naturally that interview is in German).

In August, I’ll be participating in a blog hop where several fantasy authors will post a short story on their blogs on the same day. The stories will stay up for one week, and then be pulled. So if you want to read them all, and there are some crazily talented authors participating, mark August the 26th on your calendars.

See you there.

my 3 most important rules for Fantasy

Writing (and reading) Fantasy is supped to be fun. But lately, I find myself not finishing books because imho the author ignored the most important rules. The fist one is the most important one. If it works, I can skip blunders of the other two rules.

Rule 1: Thu shalt not bore the reader

Obviously, this rule applies to all genres not just Fantasy. Unfortunately there are plenty of authors who don’t adhere to this rule. This is an instant “Won’t Buy” sign for me.

Rule 2: If you create something unusual (flying donkeys, two moons or three suns), it must have consequences in your Fantasyworld

Like many people’s, my education was scientifically biased. I always enjoyed the logic behind it. Therefore, nothing annoys me quite as much as a Fantasy-novel where basic rules of nature are ignored without giving a proper reason and without consequences for the world. Consider how many religions surround our single moon. What do your think would happen if you’ve got two moos (regardless the strange effects on ebb and flow)?

Rule 3: Magic complicates matters and doesn’t solve problems

Most Fantasy-novels contain a magical element. Of course, that’s cool and surely one reason why people read Fantasy. Still, an author shouldn’t make the mistake to use Magic to clear away obstacles for the hero (or heroine). On the contrary. To achieve rule one, it is essential that magic complicates the main character’s problems. That can happen for example through “costs” of magic (bodily exhaustion, increased ageing) or through mistakes when used (see Disney’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice, originally written by Göthe).

Of course, these rules (aside from rule one) aren’t similarly important to all readers. So, tell me, how do you feel about rules? Which ones are important to you when you read (or write) stories?

revamping Urchin King

As you might have noticed from the number of covers (see here), my first Indie release (Urchin King) is a sort of tryout book for me. I keep fiddling with the cover, the formatting, the blurb… anything, to see what works best so I can apply it to the other books as well.

This time, I decided that the last cover I did, as beautiful as I think it is, doesn’t reach the intended audience (Young Adult). I came up with a completely new cover. Do you think it’s better suited to reach the intended audience? Can you tell how many pictures I used to create it? Do you like it? Do you think the KBR-seal should be bigger (and maybe in a different place)?

Here’s the new cover (I’ll still need to change the German words for their English cousins, don’t worry about that for now). We’ll get to the new blurb soon.

new cover for Urchin King

Cosplayer Twenty-Three

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and another costume that made me shiver…

There were plenty more wonderful costumes (I even met Mononoke Hime from Miazaki’s Princess Mononoke film, and it was my favorite costume), but my camera fell down and didn’t work properly any more after that. I was quite sorry about that, but enjoyed the costumes nonetheless.

Cosplayer Twenty-Two

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sexy hexies

This is the second to last post with cosplayer costumes from the book fair. The last one will be on Wednesday. I hope you liked them all.

Cosplayer Twenty-One

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cosplaying isn’t just for kids

Cosplayer Twenty

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I would have loved this as a wedding dress