Wouldn’t the header for this post make a great title for a book? So, what happened?
On Tuesday, my day went haywire. First I went to a wonderful exhibition with my husband about a Roman/Germanic battlefield from 335 a.D. It was discovered a few years back and shocked the scientists since they had been sure that Romans had never been this far into Germany since Varus lost 3 legions in 9 a.D. The exhibition was great and we enjoyed it a lot.
Since it took us all morning and the lunch break too, to go there, look at it and return, we had given our middle daughter (12) a key so she could get in when she came back from school at 12am. Unfortunately, she left the key in the house when her friend came and requested her to help catch their sheep (4 of the herd had broken free from their compound).
We spend two hours waiting for the car service to come and open the door to my husband’s car (the key was in the house too) where we had a spare key to the front door. Of course, everybody was starving by then, so I had to cook and walk the dog (which had been in urgent need). Well, with shopping and a few telephone calls, the day was gone before I realized I hadn’t been on my PC at all. Strange feeling but not unwelcome.
Now, I’m back on track. The revision of my newest novel, “Juma’s Rain”, is nearly done and the first 50 pages are already translated. If all goes as planned, it will be available in the usual shops early next year.
Have you ever had a day like this? Tell me. I’m happy about every comment I get.
Yesterday, I was interviewed by Voice Over artist Katie Adler. Before the show started I wondered, “How will we fill a whole hour? I’m not really that interesting.” Man, was I wrong. Time flew by, and I even surprised myself with some of the answers I gave. Truth be told, you only get a good interview if the interviewer knows how to ask good questions. I had a lot of fun and highly recommend her site. She has this kind of podcast every first Sunday in the month (mine was a week late due to technical problems).
You can find the short stories I wrote (two 500 word flash stories) on Katie’s site:
Have you ever been to the Baltic Sea? I went very often when I was a kid. My father’s side of the family lived a long time in the (then) GDR, and he had friends that we visited every year. There was a forced money exchange of 25 DM per day and grown-up (1 DM for one GRD-Mark), children were a little less expensive. So, staying there for a fortnight with 2 parents and 4 kids was just as expensive as flying abroad would have been. But I gained some of my most favorite memories there (despite possibly spying neighbors). Those memories sparked “The Witches of Greenwitch”, the novel you can get for free if you join my no-spam mailing list. This is what it looks like (except these days there are many more people around, bathing in the sun or the sea).
I am officially leaving the day after tomorrow and will spend two whole weeks there with no Internet access (yay), no writing(boo), no husband (boo), my kids (yay), my brother (yay), his wife (yay), and his boys (yay again).
Unfortunately with the upcoming anthology, there was so much to do that I did not manage to schedule posts in advance. So you’ve got to live without me till the beginning of August. I promise to be back shortly after my birthday. I think I’ll post some pictures when I return.
I am doing the happy dance today. There were so many good things that happened today (and one unshared older news) that I just have to tell you.
Two of my short stories have been accepted for (paid) publication in anthologies in the US.
One story will be published in an anthology by Freedom Forge Press, the other made it into the “Think Sideways Writers Anthology” of writing teacher Holly Lisle. Isn’t the cover just awesome?
The Adventure of Creation Think Sideways Writers Anthology
Also, my Wattpad story “Swordplay”, a YA fantasy murder mystery, made it into the final round in “The Write Awards 2013”. This contest is looking for well crafted stories on Wattpad, and the competition was fierce. We started out with nearly 100 participants and have been narrowed down to 10 by now. Mid-August, they will announce the winner.
On the third day, I took most of my photos. There were so many beautiful and interesting things to see. First we visited Hailsham Grange, a former vicarage from the early 18th century with an incredibly wonderful garden. It is not very big but effortlessly merged the formality of British gardening traditions with wild growth and carefully selected color schemes. The owner and creator of the garden, Noel Thompson, graciously leads visitors through his domain and explains the ideas behind his garden. The visit is rounded off with tea or coffee. I was as delighted by the hospitality as by the beauty of the garden.
a formal area in front of the main house
a more natural area with a lovely spot to sit and enjoy the garden
Our next stop was Old Clergy House, the first ever house to be acquired by the national Trust of England (they paid ten pounds for it at the time). The house was built by a yeoman (small, free landowner for all non-Brits) and was later sold to the church as a vicarage. Inside, a woman in a traditional farmer wife’s costume explained about the architecture and answered all our questions. Outside, a glorious garden, much wilder than the other ones we had seen, surrounded the cottage.
I loved the old timber framing. It’s so different from the timber framing I know from Germany
Colorful flowerbeds surround the house
Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum)
Last but not least, we visited Hever Castle, where Anne Boleyn grew up. The more formal cut boxwoods cluster near the castle while the wild Rhododendron compositions spread out to the side in a huge park. There also is a lovely lake at the bottom of the garden with a Chinese pagoda. I marveled most at a poplar so wide that two people’s arms wouldn’t have been long enough to embrace it.
Hever Castle, the home of Anne Boleyn
Rhododendrons in bloom – most marvelous
I hope you still like my pictures because there’s two more days to go. 😉
Let me know in the comments where you prefer to travel to,
The second day was sunny, and I nearly got sunburnt. I didn’t expect that much sun in England, not in spring. 😉
The first stop was Sissinghurst Gardens, designed and maintained by a friend of Virginia Woolf. The different gardens around a central double tower impressed me.
Also, there was a room, called Virginia Woolf’s room, I very much liked. Guess why?
In the traditional cut boxwood hedges, countless Robins hopped around. Some were so tame we could entice them with breadcrumbs.
Later, we drove to Great Dixter. Those gardens were less formal, although there were also the typical flowerbeds framed with boxwood hedges. The combination of colors was most impressive. The strange houses in the picture are oasts (barns to dry hop). The top rotates in the wind allowing air to continuously circle through the barn.
Last, we visited the fisher village Rye in East Sussex. Originally, it stood right beside the sea. Nowadays, it’s nearly 2 miles to the coast. This incredible motorbike stood in one of the shop windows. It’s completely made of willow. An incredible piece of art!
On Friday, I’ll post more pictures. I hope I’m not boring you.
For the last week, I’ve been to Kent in England, GB. It was a wonderful trip. I have to say there’s a reason why it’s called “England’s Garden”. Also, I was lucky with the weather. The first few days were very sunny, and the rest at least dry. Only the last day was rainy, but since we spent it mostly indoors in Windsor Castle, it didn’t bother me at all.
Over the next week, I’ll post a couple of my photos to give you an impression of what it was like. I’m still sorting through my memories, trying to store the multitude of new ideas that flooded my imaginative mind. 😉
Look how close the cars (and we as travellers) were to the end of the ship.
If you haven’t seen the Cliffs of Dover, they’re well worth a visit.
On the first day, we visited Canterbury and walked around the Cathedral. After nearly 1000km travelling by car, it was a welcome break. I loved the way some houses were really, really twisted and wondered how that could happen. My Muse suggested that the houses would run around at night playing hide and seek with the Cathedral. When they return to their place, some are too tired to stand up straight.
I loved the Cathedral’s gardens best. Framed by the ancient masonry, they looked even more splendid.
I’ll post more on Wednesday and Friday, and hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I do.
I am going on a holiday to visit gardens and castles in Kent, England! It will be the first time since my marriage nearly 20 years ago that I’ll be travelling without my husband and kids. I’m scared stiff to say the least.
What if hubby doesn’t manage to handle the kids? After all, they’re both in puberty and very easily annoyed. What if they have to live on muesli and pancakes for the whole week? What if it keeps raining and our house is flooded? What if my dog stops eating because he misses me so much? What if… But probably not.
My mind knows exactly that everything will go well. It’s just this over-active imagination dumping horrors on me. I wonder how people who aren’t authors cope with these things. I can sit down and write a story where all the bad things happen increasing the catastrophes until the world explodes. After that, I can set aside my worries because my emotional side finally understands how unlikely these things are. But what do you do (no, not you, author. The one beside you)? Let me know, please. I’m curious.
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. Lao Tse
I should take this to heart a bit more. I’m trying so hard to get everything done at once (new WIP, revision, preparation for publication, marketing, private life) that I feel rather drained these days. Before I became an independent publisher, I knew that I needn’t hurry, just work constantly at my own pace. I seem to have lost sight of that, so this quote came at the right time.
Yesterday, I discovered a feature on my Goodreads profile that allows me to invite my Facebook and Twitter friends. I was reluctant to use it since it felt a little spammy to me. Then, I thought, “But they’re my friends already and if they don’t want to follow me on Goodreads, they don’t have to.” I clicked the button. This morning, I woke up nearly 100 new friends. My eyes nearly popped out of my head.
Thank you so much, friends!
Now, if some of you have actually read stories by me and liked them, please stay informed by joining my newsletter (you’ll get a full YA Fantasy novel by me plus two short stories by fellow authors as a reward). It’s guaranteed spam-free. I’ll only mail when I’ve got news for you (releases and special offers). Sign up now. Thanks.