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.

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:


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.

Better late than never

I know, I should be posting more often again, especially since the summer is over. Strangely enough, time seems to have accelerated and, after an initial lag I’m whizzing along (like in those newer Star Trek movies where the light of the power-units expands while the Enterprise seems to be stuck in one place for a second before it zooms away with warp-speed). Not that I like it, mind, but there are so many things I didn’t get done in the summer (due to the heatwave and a couple of personal catastrophes), that the mountain of work barely shrinks.

Still, I just discovered that I completely and utterly forgot to let you know about my upcoming release of “Juma’s Rain” (you might remember the posts I did about the NOK-culture and Stone Age tools and weapons). I’m currently in the process of coding the eBook and print book and will hopefully be able to post the link to the pre-order page some time soon. For now, I’ll share with you the gorgeous cover, Hendry Iwanaga made for me (well, he drew the picture, I did the fonts etc.):

eBook cover for Juma's Rain

eBook cover

And this will be the full cover, front and back, for the print version:

wrap around print cover for Juma's Rain

wrap around print cover

Oh, and I’m currently releasing another 99ct short-story too. It’s about a gen-designed newt-human who has to escape two hunters. Here’s the cover and the blurb for “Newtling“:

Newtling-coverI love my webbed fingers and my ability to stay under water for a long time…
I don’t mind that my backside is blue with brownish dots and my belly bright orange…
Neither do I care that me and my family are much smaller than our creator though we share his genes…
But what I do hate is being hunted … especially since I’m unarmed and running through the local swamp. Can a newtling like me outsmart two hunters and their state-of-the-art hunting gear?

This short story takes you into the mind of a genetically engineered newt-human-crossover and lets you witness his struggle to survive.

15 page short story with an XXL reading sample of “Paralan’s Children”, a YA scifi murder mystery.

Something cool after this heat-wave :D

I asked my friend Thea van Diepen from Canada to tell me about a weird place she read in. This is her reply. Have fun.

Why You Should Read at Hockey Games by Thea van Diepen

Canadian Minion?

Canadians are supposed to love hockey. When we attend hockey games, we’re supposed to cheer on a team or an individual with vim and vigour, especially when we’re in another country. They must know we are not American Canadian, after all. What we’re not supposed to do during a hockey game is read a book.

When I was about eleven, in the middle of my family’s three years in Alabama, we found out about a hockey game happening in town. So my parents bought tickets.

At the time, I was busy working my way through all of the science fiction and fantasy books our local library had in its MG/YA section. I’d take out as many as I was allowed at a time (aka, a lot) and read them all in a couple days. The book I was in the middle of when the hockey game even occurred was Colors in the Dreamweaver’s Loom by Beth Hilgartner, which had me fascinated. So fascinated that, book lover as I am, I brought it with me to the game despite lingering guilt.

It’s hard to explain to someone who isn’t Canadian exactly how… Canadian hockey is. Tim Horton’s, the coffee and doughnuts chain that has also been a Canadian Thing, was started by a hockey player and its ads and commercials would feature kids playing hockey. It’s our official winter sport. It’s all over TV and social media when the season hits, during draft picks, whenever anyone might have the slightest excuse to mention it. And, yes, it was invented in Canada, no matter what anyone else might say.


Still, I am not a hockey person. Shocking, I know.

I would have not gone to the game at all, if possible, but my parents cajoled me.

“There are a bunch of Canadian players on both teams,” they said.

Which, as far as cajoling goes, worked. Moving to another country had been hard for me, and I was determined not to lose my Canadianness while there. Maybe it’d be interesting enough that I wouldn’t have to read to relieve boredom.

We went in, found our seats, and commented about how we never thought we’d find a real ice rink in Alabama. I’m not sure how much of this I joined in, as I opened my book as soon as I possibly could. And, swoosh, I was sucked right into the story. Hockey didn’t even stand a chance.

Outside of the world of the book and Zan’s adventures in an alternate world, hockey players made goals. Half-time happened. Canadians did cool things on the ice. Other vague events occurred.

Inside the book, I travelled with Zan as she both dealt with grief after her father’s death and tried to find a way to help the Orathi keep their land from being taken. There were shapeshifters, spirit-gifts, gods, and the Dreamweaver doing her best to help using a loom that can affect the actions and choices of others. With the last being the coolest world detail ever. There were characters that I loved and connected with. I wanted them to succeed. I wanted them to find happiness.

(And then there was the ending, but I won’t spoil that one for you. Just, if you do decide to read it, keep in mind that there’s a sequel… the author doesn’t hate you, promise.)

Even in the action and excitement around me, it all paled next to the book that had me riveted.

It’s easy to read a book and enjoy it when life is calm and you sit in a pleasant garden by yourself on a warm day.

But, from time to time, you may want to try reading a book during a hockey game. That’s when you know you have magic in your hands.
When have you been sucked into a story this way? What book was it?

Storytime Bloghop: Canned Food

Welcome to our little Bloghop. Here, you’ll find 15 participating blogs (find the links under this story) who posted one story today. The stories will be available for one week only. So make sure you’ll read them fast! Enjoy.

I’ll leave this post online until the 9th of September. After that, I’ll be cutting it down to the beginning. I’ll leave the links though.

Canned Food

© Katharina Gerlach

baby-dragon“You will not eat my son!” When Mother roared at Elder, I knew the tribe didn’t want me. I was too small. I mean, Mother wasn’t very big either. The tips of her wings barely reached the shoulder blades of a red-deer, but at least she wasn’t disabled. She hovered in the air in front of Elder and spat tiny flames at him.

“He wouldn’t make a good sized snack even if I top him off with a wild boar,” Elder roared back.

“He’s a true dragon.” Mother’s voice shook with anger, and I feared she’d attack him in her rage. She wouldn’t stand a chance. After all, he was at least three times her age and thus three times her size as well. I lowered my head and crawled toward the cave’s exit avoiding the rest of the tribe as best I could.

“What do you expect,” a matron said. “His father’s a wyrm.” She swiped her tail out of my way as if I were contagious. With a sigh, I returned to the nest waiting for the tribe’s verdict. I no longer thought Mother would be successful, and everybody knew what happened to those fledglings who didn’t get accepted. It was either the cookfires or the lizards. I really, really hoped for the cookfires. At least death would be quick then.

… this story will be published in December in time fro Christmas with a second story about a dragon. If you want to be notified about the release, join my reader team.


14 More Stories:

Rabia Gale: Spark
K. A. Petentler: The Twisted Tale of Isabel
Shana Blueming: Paper & Glue
Amy Keeley: To Be Prepared For Chocolate
Cherie “Jade” Arbuckle: After I Died
Karen Lynn: The Family Book
Angela Wooldridge: An Alternative to Frog
Thea van Diepen: Are You Sure It’s That Way?
Paula de Carvalho: Body Double
Kris Bowser: Tantrums
Virginia McClain: Rakko’s Storm
Grace Robinette: Georg Grembl
Elizabeth McCleary: The Door
Dale Cozort: Two Letters In A Fireproof Box


Help needed for a German title

If you’ve got a German Amazon account, I need your help. With my newest release (in German, the English version will follow in September) I’m participating in Amazon’s German Storyteller Award. To get through the first round, I’ll need as many downloads as I can get. So I set the introductory price at 99ct (Euro). If you’ve got a German Amazon account, please buy the book. Here are the details:

Ein Fantasy Liebesroman aus dem steinzeitlichen Afrika

Die Sonne brennt auf Juma hernieder, als sie ihre Familie zum größten Dorf des Stammes führt. Nichts und niemand soll sie daran hindern, Schülerin der Stammesführerin zu werden. Also ignoriert sie die Hitze. Am See wird alles besser sein. Doch die Felder, die jetzt eigentlich grünen sollten, liegen trocken vor ihr; die Erde ist rissig und spröde. Sogar der See, dessen Quellen endlos schienen, schwindet langsam.

Juma entdeckt, dass der Feuergott Mubuntu daran Schuld hat und dass die Regengöttin immer noch schläft. Doch nur Netinu, der Sohn der Stammesführerin glaubt ihr und scheint mehr Interesse daran zu haben, sie zu umwerben, als dem Stamm zu helfen. Dazu kommt, dass ihr magisches Talent sie dazu verdammt, Schülerin der Dorfzauberin zu werden. Es ist schwer, die Schadenfreude ihrer Rivalin zu verdrängen. Noch schwerer ist es, Netinu’s Werbung abzuweisen, denn Jumas Herz hat sich längst entschieden. Um den Stamm und Netinu zu retten, versucht sie alles, um der Dorfzauberin zu helfen, die Regengöttin zu wecken. Vergeblich.

Während ihre Träume in Flammen aufgehen, bereitet sich Juma darauf vor, gegen den Feuergott zu kämpfen und die Göttin zu wecken – und vielleicht, um zu beweisen, dass sie die richtige Wahl für eine Nachfolgerin der Stammesführerin wäre.

Thank you for your support!

P.S.: If you can read German and post a review in the 4 weeks after buying this book, send me your receipt and I’ll refund your money.

My very own summer nightmare

In January, I booked a flight for my middle daughter (13) to the US where she wanted to spend time with close friends of mine. The booking went through, and I got an eMail asking me to also book an accompanying service for her at the price of $300 payable upon departure. I did. After all, I want my child to be safe.

In July, I phoned the airline to ask if I could please accompany my daughter to the gate. However, they told my my daughter can’t travel at all because I didn’t book an accompanying service. I’d have to book a new flight plus the service and that’d cost me $1,700 for the flight and $300 for the service. Shocked and frustrated, I called my travel agency and they sorted things out for me (or so I thought). It turned out that the computer system American Airways is using is not compatible with the one US Airways are using, so no one told US Airwaiys that I booked the service. But also, no one told my travel agent or me. After a lot of shouting and insisting, American Airways booked my flight anew, directly through the US Airways system. They charged me $400 (which I thought was way better than close to $2K). So I paid, and they told me that with US Airways, kids under 15 but over 13 can travel unaccompanied so I wouldn’t have to pay the $300. Fine, I thought, all sorted out.

On August 10th I took my daughter to Schipol airport (some 5hrs drive from us) because that was the only place in the North where I could get a direct flight to her destination. I checked her in and asked again if I could walk with her to the gate since she was only 13 and travelling on her own. The clerk informed me that this wasn’t possible because I didn’t have a boarding pass. So when the time came that she had to leave or miss the plane, I hugged her with a heavy heart and let her walk off. She looked so terribly grown up…

Then, I went to search for my car (a feat in itself) and drove 1 1/2 hours to visit an uncle. We ate lunch and talked and had fun, which took my mind off my worries, until a phone call interrupted us. The friend who was taking care of my other daughter told me that the airline had refused to board my daughter and that she was still sitting in Schipol.

After a nervous breakdown, countless phone calls and hectic action, the airline finally admitted that the fault was theirs because no one had told me to go to a ticketing officer to get the REQUIRED!!! accompanying service and pay the fee. I was close to bursting with frustration at that point. Surprisingly, as soon as they found out how terribly misinformed and upset I was, they asked me to come back to Schipol. They checked us into a nice hotel, paid for all expenses, waived the service fee, and let my daughter board the plane on the next day. All I had to do was sign a form.

Naturally, this time I waited until the plane was in the air and the checking clerk confirmed that my daughter was aboard. She’s now with my friends and obviously very happy.

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

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).