all-age

Storytime Bloghop: The Day I was Clever

It’s time again for the quarterly Storytime Bloghop. This time I did something a little different. Easter, my brothers (I’ve got three) and I were fooling around with a new gadget one of them had gotten. We took some really crazy pictures. So I included one of those at the end of the story. Since it is the punchline, you might want to not look at it until you read the story first. 😀

The Day I was Clever

When I arrived in our kitchen that morning, staring bleary eyed at the wood furniture and the stone counter, Dad gave me NewReality™ glasses.

“It’s time for you to see the world a little differently”, he said and vanished. I think he might have left for work, although his vanishing did feel slightly spooky to me.

Due to too little sleep (I’d played with my 3D virtual reality game half the night), my brain wasn’t working yet so I put them on, and the world changed. Now I stood in a kitchen made of white marble and chrome. Where my bowl of cereal had stood, a plate with artfully decorated pancakes waited for me. I dug in, slightly disappointed that they still tasted like my cereal.

The way to school had changed too. The bus had turned into a sleek limousine, my classmates were wearing spiffy suits or skirts and blouses, and everyone wore a tie. When they saw me, they smiled like friends. I knew they weren’t, so the roaring laughter in the background made sense somehow. I just didn’t know what they were laughing about.

At school, I sank into the seat beside my best friend who grinned at me.

“My, do you look strange,” he said. “If you’d brought your mobile, we could’ve taken pictures.”

“They’re just my new glasses.” I answered. They couldn’t be that bad, could they?

Only when the teacher arrived did I realize that I’d forgotten to bring my books. At least I’d brought my homework so I didn’t get a black mark, but everybody was laughing about me. And when I say everybody, I mean everybody.

As I passed through the hall on my way to my next class, people I’d never met more than in passing came to me to shake my hand. As long as I was looking at them, they just smiled, but as soon as they moved on to pass me to the next person, they burst out laughing – even the teachers snickered when they walked past me. I didn’t see it but I heard them.

After the second break, I had enough. Knowing I’d be in big trouble later, I still sneaked off the school grounds and set out to walk home, staring at the ground to keep others from seeing my face. What were the new glasses doing to it that everyone was laughing so hard?

I turned a corner and stopped in surprise. I’d accidentally walked in the wrong direction. Heat surged into my cheeks as I turned around again. I had barely reached the gates of the school when a car pulled up beside me. To me it looked like a beautiful convertible, but it sounded like a robot with asthma. The tinted driver window rolled down, and my mother’s face smiled at me. She looked like an angel in a flowing blue evening dress, so I smiled back involuntarily.

“Get in the car,” she said, and I obeyed wordlessly.

In our new kitchen, she ordered me to sit on a chair, prepared a hot cocoa for me and a mug of coffee for herself. My stomach turned to ice. I know I was in trouble now. Still, she kept smiling – or were the glasses just changing her expression like they’d changed the kitchen?

“How often have I told you not to turn night into day with your gaming?” Her voice sounded cold and distant, but I felt her anger underneath. I lowered my head and apologized, but it was no good. “And now you’re even wearing gaming glasses to school! Don’t you know how ridiculous that looks?”

“Dad gave me those this morning,” I protested.

“That isn’t possible.” Now, Mom sounded more annoyed than angry. “He left for a business trip to Paris last week. Don’t you ever listen to anything I tell you?”

I had to admit that listening wasn’t my strongest trait.

“Now, give me those glasses and go to bed.” Resignation filled her tone although the face I saw was still smiling. “I’ll write an explanation for your teacher. But no more gaming this week.”

I groaned and took of the glasses. Immediately, my mother’s blue dress turned back into the faded jeans and oversized T-shirt she always wore. I yawned and handed her the glasses reluctantly.

“Let me show you how stupid you look with these,” she said and put them on. “Gosh. How did you manage not to run into things with these? Everything’s completely blurry.”

Although I wondered about her last remark, I burst out laughing when I saw her face with the glasses.

This is how clever Mom looked. I still wonder about me.

 

 

That was my story. I hope you liked it. And her are the links to the bloghop’s other participants. If it is anything like the last hops, you’ll find many great stories. Go and read them:

Never kid a kidder by Angela Wooldridge
The Color Of … by Chris Makowski
Nightmare by Erica Damon
Pick Up Lines by Bill Bush
The Scorpius Gate by Sandra Fikes
V is for Vortex by Elizabeth McCleary
Deep Dive by Juneta Key
Bugs by Gina Fabio
Secret by J. Q. Rose
Journal of Anah by J Lenni Dorner
The Vineyard at Mar Mozambique by Karen Lynn
Stealing Space by Barbara Lund

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spring cleaning (late) & book fairs

Ever since spring I had meant to add all the books I published last year, but I only get round to it now. Somehow time seems to go faster with every year (Help! I’m getting old). Yesterday I got started.

The overview of my books is done, but some of the individual book pages are still missing. Therefore you’ll stumble over an “Under Construction” sign in some places for a while. Don’t be annoyed. It was the only way to avoid dead links.

I promise to work as quickly as I can, after all I want to be done before November. As always I’m starting NaNoWriMo, a month where authors all over the world try to write 50,000 words, on November 1st. If one can write every day, one needs to get 1667 words per day. Since I have to take the weekends off (due to my children), I need to write 2381 words. That doesn’t sound like much but is hard work if the words are supposed to make sense. copying the word NaNoWriMo 50,000 times is not an option for me. 😀

By the way, next week there’ll be another episode of our quarter annual Storytime Bloghop. My story will be in English and German (as always) and only available for a limited time. I hope you’re looking forward to it.

Last but not least, I’ll be at two books fairs. The first will be the BuCon in Dreieich near Frankfurt (Main) next Saturday where I’ll be reading at 2:00pm in Deep Space 4 from my Amadi-Trilogy. And on the first weekend in November I’ll be at the schriftGut in Dresden where I’ll be reading too. You can hear about Juma’s Rain Saturday, November 5th at 1:00pm on Bühne 1. For those that are in the area (however unlikely that might be) it’s a good chance to meet me in person.

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Camp NaNo and Writing Time

I should be writing, translating, or at least creating covers, but …

In June I decided to participate in Camp NaNo in July. There, a writer can set an individual goal and write toward it, communicating with other writers that are assigned to the cabin. I jumped right in on July 1st and wrote quite a lot. But then the time I have for things like this got shorter and shorter and shorter. The kids are on summer holiday. Somehow that influences all and everything.

 

I love having my kids around, and since we can’t go on a summer trip this year, I’m trying to do small things with them that they can enjoy (like going to the cinema, visiting Hamburg for a day, etc.). Strangely enough, not getting my writing done leaves an empty feeling in my heart. It’s as if my Muse is jealous. When I manage to sit down to write, it takes quite a while to tease her out of hiding. It’s hard to make her understand that my family will always come first.

I’m doing my best to adjust my routine to accommodate the kids’ needs and my Muse’s desires. Do you have a similar problem? Or are your children grown? Are you a reader and find it hard to make time for the next book? Share your struggle with me in the comments. I might learn something from it.

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Gentle Reminder

Today’s the day (I bet you forgot, so here’s the reminder)
 
promo-grafic
Come on over and choose from more than 150 eBooks in the Genres Fantasy and SciFi. Remember that my YA Fantasy Romance novel, “Juma’s Rain“, is on sale too.
 
eBook cover

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cheap is not cheap

as in “inferior”. That’s why I finally took a jump and joined Patty Jansen for her monthly SciFi and Fantasy Book promotion.
 
promo-grafic
This time, more than 150 authors signed up their books. I decided to reduce the price of “Juma’s Rain” for the occasion. It will drop from $4.99 to $0.99 on those two days. All you need to do is go to amazon and get your copy. You’ll find find my eBook and 150+ others participating in Patty Jansen’s SciFi and Fantasy promo on the 7th and 8th of May.

So if you’ve been wanting to read the book, this is your chance to get it cheap. It’ll never be cheaper than that. And in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s more information on “Juma’s Rain.”

eBook coverA Fantasy Romance novel set in Stone Age Africa

“An enjoyable fantasy with a complex heroine set in an unusual time period. Especially enjoyable are the complexity of the matriarchal society and the intricacies of the world of the gods. Gerlach’s prose has a mythical feel as it moves effortlessly between the real and spirit realms.” – Kirkus Review

The sun’s rays parch Juma as she leads her all male family toward the main village. Nothing and no one will stop her from becoming the chieftess’ apprentice. So she ignores the heat. Everything will be better near the lake. But the fields that should sprout green by now lie bare, with precious soil cracked and dry. Even the lake, thought to be everlasting, dwindles.

Juma discovers that heat dæmon Mubuntu is out of control and that the rain goddess is still sleeping. But only Netinu, the chieftess’ son, believes her, and he seems more interested in courting her than in the welfare of the tribe.

With her dreams going up in flames, Juma prepares to battle the dæmon and wake the goddess – and maybe, in the process, prove herself worthy of becoming chieftess.

The eBook also contains the novella “The Rain Maiden” by Theodor Storm

The promotion is scheduled for the 7th and 8th of May only. The price will drop from $4.99 to $0.99 on those two days and go back up right after. So if you want the book cheap, head over to amazon on the 7th and 8th of May and grab your copy. You’ll find more books in the promo on Patty Jansen’s promo hub.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

*cough*

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?

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