Yes, it’s that time of the year again, the next bloghop is due. This time we’ve got a new (and much nicer, don’t you think?) logo, made by Juneta Key one of the bloghop’s regular authors. For the longest time I didn’t know what to write about until a few days back, I realized that not everybody wakes quite the same way as I do. Naturally, the names of the kids are all made up (to protect their privacy), and I also used a time when they were a lot smaller, but essentially, this is how I get up every morning. I hope you enjoy the story.
A Writer’s Morning
I pull the cover over my head, but it’s suffocating me and it doesn’t shut out the five thirty alarm anyway. I wish I could stay in bed.
“Now, if you take me to the Gruesome Waste, I could be truly heroic. Let me explain,” the main character of my current project says.
Not now, I think. Grumbling, I climb out of bed and use the bathroom. My blood pressure is under the roof already without even listening to the kids’ banter downstairs. How can anyone be so lively this early in the morning? I can’t even muster the necessary strength to remind them to be quiet. I shuffle to the kitchen, prepare coffee for the husband, set the table for those energetic enough to eat, and spread four double slices of bread with butter and anything that’s fresh form the fridge. So far, my packed lunch hasn’t killed anyone – yet.
“Woojee, woojee.” My youngest hugs me. He smells of chocolate and leaves brown stripes on my nighty. “I’m an ambulance.”
“Ambulance,” says my love interest. “Now that’s an idea!”
Not yet! I groan, trying not to be heard by Joey.
“I’m not hungry. Elly made me a toast.” Joey one hugs me again and races off, wailing worse than before. Did I miss a day? Is it a weekend? I gaze at the calendar – no, it’s Wednesday. I’m not wrong. Thanks for that.
“You need to get dressed for school,” The words fall like stones from my mouth. Joey speeds out of the room toward the bath, overtaking Elly on the way. “Me first!”
“Oh, I wish we could have bathrooms,” the antagonist says. “Couldn’t that be my motivation? Bathrooms for all?”
“Not yet!” The tiredness slowly gives way to annoyance.
“How about something to drink?” My husband’s soft voice sounds angelic, calming me instantly. He fills a glass with coffee and milk and puts it beside my plate. A writer’s life juice. I drain it while I stuff lunch boxes into schoolbags and my husband’s briefcase. On the way out, he plants a kiss on my nose that was aimed at my mouth. I stand beside the door like a blade of grass swaying gently. Elly passes me with Joey at her hand. She smiles.
“Will you pick me up in time for swimming?”
“Swimming!” My main character positively beams. “How about me having to find a way through the Gruesome Waste and the only option I seem to have is swimming?”
“Mom?” Elly’s eyebrows rise.
“Sorry, hon. Of course I’ll be there in time.” I smile back and wave until my tow favorite non-adults vanish around a bent in the road just a few paces from the bus stop. Then, I wait until the bus rounds the corner and wave again. When the dust cloud settles, I turn to get dressed.
“Any ideas welcome,” I say to the characters of my WIP. They remain silent.
Jacko, our dog gets up and stretches. When he was younger, he used to get up with me, excitedly jumping around hoping for a long walk. These days he knows me better.
“Well, what was that about the Gruesome Waste?”
Silence. I look at Jacko. His tail starts wagging when I put on my shoes.
“Well, old boy. Another day, another chance, right?” I breathe the air outside. The freshness of the spring morning will get me going. It always does. And usually, it makes the voices in my head come back.
As I jog into the morning, the voices slowly return, filled with nightly discoveries and fresh ideas that need to be evaluated. All the characters clamor for attention. The dog is happy, and so am I. Soon, I’ll be able to write again. Who said that being an early riser was easy?
I hope you liked this story. If you did, check out my books. Also, have a look at these wonderful stories by my fellow writers:
First and most important, do not try to walk through the halls on Saturday (that is a lesson learned during several bookfairs in Leipzig that I visited). On Saturday, everybody and their family will come, so the corridors are stuffed. If you can, Thursday or Sunday are actually the best days to visit.
Leipzig Bookfair is something special. With the addition of the Maga-Comic-Con (with the Cosplayers) and the used-books-fair, it’s also pretty full. However, it’s the best place to actually meet readers. That’s why I come back with the Qindies (Quality Indies) every year for as long as we manage to fund a booth. This year was more successful than any of the years before, and I expect next year to be even better.
Also “Leipzig liest” (Leipzig is reading), the author reading platform of the fair, is a great way to find new readers and fans. Most venues are an absolute pleasure to work with. A car seller decorated his showroom with graves, a hanging skeleton and spooky atmosphere furniture to make our reading an event his customers (and we) are likely to remember.
If you want to go to a German bookfair, Leipzig is the place to go. True, Frankfurt is much bigger but it’s also a lot less personal. I’ll be posting some impressions of the fair in the next days.
And a final thing if you are visiting a bookfair as a vendor (author): Make sure every promo material item does exactly what is is supposed to do. I glitched when I created giveaway cards for an eBook and only discovered after the bookfair that the link I included on the card wasn’t activated. It made me look like an idiot (which I probably am from time to time 😀 )
“I like living here with you alone.” My daughter set aside another darned sock. “Not to forget that the inquisition will never find us here.”
I smiled at her to show her how much I love her, but in secret I longed for something more important to do than making a living. I sighed and went back to my spinning. The regular rhythm and Melinda’s breathing relaxed me and the internal unrest subsided until the peace of our evening routine was disturbed, when something heavy thunked against the window of our little cottage. Since it was dark outside we couldn’t exactly see what it was. My fingers stopped turning the spindle, and we both held our breath, fearing the same. But there was no screaming, no pitchforks, and most of all no fire. Slightly relieved but still wary, I called. “Who’s there?”
“Sh-sh-l ivri” The voice sounded muffled, as if it held something in its mouth and was trying to talk around it. Melinda looked at me, and I looked at Melinda.
“I know someone who talks that way,” I whispered. “But this is a different voice.”
Whoever was outside the window bumped against the delicate pane that kept out the winds. If it broke, winter would send its icy fingers into our home, so I got to the door and opened. But not without stopping at the hearth and picking up the biggest knife we owned. I dropped it the minute the door swung open and revealed a roughly human sized dragon with red scales and a bundle of cloth hanging from its maw. When he saw Melinda standing behind me, he took the bundle out of his mouth and moved his jaw from side to side to loosen the muscles.
“I don’t understand why the boss insists on carrying it in my mouth,” he said and handed the bundle to her. “Special delivery for you. New Stork Inc. sends their congratulations. You’ll find a welcome bonus packed right in.”
With shaking fingers Melinda opened the bundle.
“It’s a boy,” the dragon said needlessly. “Plus a few nappies.”
Melissa’s face mirrored the shock that kept me rooted to the spot. I had to clear my throat several times before I managed to speak. “Why’s Stork sending us a baby? We never ordered one.”
“New policy.” The dragon smiled, displaying more teeth that I was currently happy with. I swallowed, and he smiled some more. “We’ve got a few remnants that need old-style distribution. Your daughter was one of the candidates the boss chose.”
“Remnants? Come in and explain.” I stepped aside. I’d been one of Stork’s helpers for as long as I remembered, learning the midwife’s trade from my mother and passing on my knowledge to Melinda. However, since the inquisition started burning midwifes as witches, we’d gone into hiding. So far successful.
The dragon curled up in front of the hearth, enjoying the warmth of the fire. He puffed a few happy smoke curls before he got to the point. “Stork lost a lot of his delivery crew when the inquisition decided stork deliveries were not real and anyone believing in it was superstitious and needed to be punished. People actually started shooting storks then, I guess because they’re hungry.” He stared into the flames for a while, and I took up my spindle again. He sighed contently. “Well, as I said, Stork lost a lot of his crew that way, so he decided to go direct with a delivery system designed to work without stork transportation. I helped him set up the system. It took quite a lot of magic to get it working properly, believe me.”
“Direct?” My mind whirred. “Stork-free delivery?”
“Well, the seeds get harvested when they’re still in single cell state, and a magical tube shoots them directly into the mother’s belly. It’s a marvel. It really is.” He preened his claws and looked smug. “And I was a major part in developing that system if I may point that out.”
How could Stork send babies straight to the mothers? Into their bellies if I hadn’t misheard. My eyes widened when I realized what that meant. “If he sends the parcel into the mother, it must come back out at some point, right?”
“Yup, and that’s why he’s inviting you to an advanced training in what he calls ‘birth’. That’s short for ‘binary inter-rump transfer holistics’, the name of the new technique. The participants of this course will have to spread the word.”
Suddenly I saw my life stretching out in front of me – always traveling, helping women through ‘birth’ and teaching Stork’s new deliver method throughout the country as best I could while evading inquisition. Ever so often I’d visit Melinda who had to stay behind to take care of her son. Suddenly, Life was exciting again.
My year will be extremely busy, and here’s why: I’m planning on writing 52 short stories this year. I know this sounds crazy, but after the scare with my father’s breast cancer I need a fun challenge, and I love writing short stories. I know I’ll probably not be able to write one short story per week, translate it into German, and post it here on my blog, but I pledge to at least try. My goal is to write enough of them to fill 4 or 5 anthologies. Should you have cool ideas for story prompts, you’re welcome to eMail them to me through the contact form on this site. If it’s a good suggestion, I’ll take it.
To give you an impression on the scope of this challenge, let’s dive into a couple of numbers (strangely enough I love numbers nearly as much as words). A good sized crime novel has between 50 and 75 thousand words, an epic fantasy between 100 and 250 thousand. If I assume an average short story length of 3,000 words, I’m facing 156,000 words plus the same in translations plus the ca. 100K words I need to finish the novella I’m currently writing, the ending of Scotland’s guardians part 2, and another installment of my fairy tale novellas. That makes 412,000 words in total for 2017 (not to forget the publications that need to be done).
Now let’s have a look at my stats from last year: I managed to write and translate a total of 304,574 words. Had I been writing every single day (even on weekends and holidays) that would have been a mere 835 words per day. Taking off weekends and the times my children were not in school, I think I wrote more than twice that amount per day. To make my goal in 2017, I’ll have to write 2,200 words per day. I call that a real challenge, and I won’t bereave myself should I fail. However, my ambition is to make it through the year reaching all my goals.
Wish me luck (and enough writing time)! I will start posting on January 26 when it’s time for the next Story Time Bloghop.
P.S.: If you want to read more than the beginning (the first 100-250 words) of the short stories I manage to write, you will have to be fast (the full version will be available for a few days after posting only) or wait for 2018 when I’ll publish them all in bundles of 5-6 stories.
Do you love supporting awesome authors and grabbing FREE books at the same time? Well here’s your chance. Get 22 YA novels totally FREE. Check out the teasers and descriptions on this page, choose the ones that look good to you, or grab them all! You’ll be taken to Instafreebie, who will give you the book via email (don’t worry — it’s quick, easy, and painless). The author may follow up with you and check in on you now and again because we all love chatting with our readers.
I sent in one of my fairy tale retellings (an adaption of Cinderella) to the Writer’s of The Future Award, one of the best known competitions in the US where hundreds of aspiring authors present their manuscripts every quarter. Naturally I had hoped for the best, but I didn’t count on it, being a non-native speaker/writer. And now this (self-explanatory):
I’m bursting with pride and had to tell you right way. Go on, celebrate with me. Here’s sparkly wine (German naturally, but I’ll have still water please) and chocolate (yummy). 😀
Together with my book, you can get more than 40 other speculative fiction eBooks for free in this promotion. It is open until September 14th. Go and grab your copies now (you’ll have to find the books you’re interested in on a retailer if you want to read the blurb). I am giving away Amadi, the Phoenix, the Sphinx, and the Djinn.
It was one of the first books I published. Back then, I knew next to nothing about cover art, coding, or creating print books. Since I’ve learned a lot in these areas, I updated the story about a girl in an Arabian Night’s setting. To celebrate the re-release I am giving the story away through instaFreebie until the 14th of September. Get the book here.
About the book
Amadi enjoys the busy frenzy the souk and tries to escape the harem her stepmother rules as often as possible. Unlike her sister Bülbül she feels caged, not protected. When Bülbül becomes engaged against her will, Amadi longs to evade a similar kismet.
Luckily a master thief wants her as an apprentice, and she grabs the chance to live like a boy. Too bad that she and her teacher become targets of a jackal-headed god of death and an assassin when they accept an assignment from a magic-using customer.
Who wants them dead so badly remains a mystery she must solve to survive. And now that she fell head over heels in love, she very much wants to live. With her life spinning out of control, will her skills be enough to save her … and, maybe, the caliphate too?
After debating with myself for quite a while, I decided to join a promotion of several fantasy, SciFi, and horror authors. For the next three days, we bring to you a plethora of free novels.
I revamped the cover of my novel “Juma’s Rain” (it seems the US audience didn’t much like the mostly bare bottom of the main character despite the fact the story is set in Stone Age Africa) and decided it’s time for some visibility. It is now free for anyone who likes Romantasy (Fantasy and Romance).
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
A few words from me about the idea for the novel
The main character was named after my World Vision Goddaughter from Kenya. However, I made sure their characters differed greatly. After all this is a made-up Fantasy story. It is loosely based on Theodor Storm’s novella “Die Regentrude” (Germany 1863) but is set in Africa in a tribe of the little known Nok. All we know about this culture is that they left very beautiful clay statues and kilns behind. As far as we know, they went directly from using stone to iron tools without first using copper and brass like the rest of the word. What little I was able to find out about the Nok, I found so fascinating that I wanted to make them come alive again. And what better way to do that than with a love story.
I’ve read the first two books in this series and loved them. So it was a no-brainer when Rabia Gale approached me about the cover reveal. I can tell you, you’re in for a visual treat. All three covers are brilliant and vibrant in their colors, just like the stories behind them (I’m assuming the third is going to be just as good as the first one and will buy a copy as soon as it is available).
Let me introduce you to Rabia Gale and her “Sunless World” series:
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today!
I’m delighted to reveal the cover for my upcoming release, Flare, Book Two of The Sunless World, an epic fantasy series with a steampunk flavor.
Rafe and Isabella are back
The mages of old saved their world, but left it in eternal darkness. Now it’s time to bring back the light.
After two years of training his magical gifts, Rafe returns home to a land wracked by war. Desperate states struggle to protect their resources of luminous quartz. Magic pulses and earthquakes devastate a world on the brink of extinction.
Rafe’s old enemy Karzov has gathered a band of prodigies obedient to his will. He seeks the power of the ancient mages for an audacious and sinister purpose. It’s up to Rafe and his ally, Isabella, to stop him—and undo the mistakes of the past to put their world right again.
Flare will be out in September 2016!
The Sunless World series
“Quartz: The Sunless World introduces a rich and credible backdrop to the adventures of her characters, with a deadly political mire underlying the bright colours of high society.” – By Rite of Word Reviews
“This story is fast, fascinating and highly recommended.” – Amazon.com review
The Sunless World series begins with Quartz (Book One) and Flux (A Sunless World Novel).
About the Author
I create weird worlds full of magic and machines, and write characters who are called on to be heroes. I’m fascinated by light and darkness, transformation, and things that fly. Giant squid and space dragons appear in my work—you have been warned!
A native of Pakistan, I now reside in Northern Virginia, where I read, write, doodle, avoid housework, and homeschool my children.
This music fills the gaps between my worry and my joy – effortlessly. I hope you’ll like it.
Sorry for the long silence. Many things happened and I’m still in recovery mode. But my next release is nearing.
Also, something broke the theme on my blog. I’m going to fiddle with it over the next few days. Don’t be surprised by surprising looks or strange behavior. I’ve got it all under control (well, more or less).