The Leipzig Book Fair is approaching fast; it’ll start next Thursday already. I’M already very excited. The books of several fellow authors from the German Indie-publisher platform Qindie have all arrived (as far as I can tell) and are waiting to be loaded into my car. Since we’ll start setting up our booth at 8:00am on Thursday, I’ll have to leave home by half past five latest. That means I’ve got to go to bead early on Wednesday.
If you’re in Leipzig, Germany, at that time and want to meet me there, I will be in Hall 5 Booth B302 with the Qindies. We’ve got a Meet and Greet on Saturday, 14th of March at 1:15p.m. in the Autorenlounge Hall5 Room B413. If you’re there, come by and say hello.
If possible, I’ll post something about the book fair every day here on my blog. Should I have problems getting access to the Internet, I’ll post a very long report after my return. Promised.
I’ve been nominated again by Elizabeth McCleary, but will not post everything again that I’ve already posted. I’ll just answer her questions.
What color shirt are you wearing right now?
My jumper is bright red and the T-Shirt blue.
Have you traveled outside your native country? If so, where’d you go?
America, Scotland, France, Denmark, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Austria (for five minutes 😀 ), Switzerland, Netherlands
I think that’s all; at least it’s all I can think of.
You’re all writers. Tell me your primary genre, any secondary genres, and what genres you prefer to read. (Not all writers read in their own genre.)
I love to READ anything Fantasy and SciFi and some Romance as long as it is well written with interesting characters, plus I love good Non-fiction especially all things history.
I write mostly Fantasy with some SciFi and Historical novels on the side. At the moment, I’m writing Fairy Tale Retellings (that reminds me, I’ve got to put up the page about the next release on March 12th)
Who or what has been the biggest inspiration for your writing?
My overactive imagination 😀
Computer or longhand?
Computer, longhand hurts after a while.
Location of your ideal writer’s retreat. Where would you go to just write? Would you take someone with you, or go alone?
I don’t need to go away to work. I would go to my tiny office (2.5sqm) and I will need my family in the afternoons but not while I’m working.
Aside from writing, what other creative pursuits do you enjoy?
I used to make dolls, but haven’t done so since the kids were born. The last toy I made was a donkey with a music box inside for my baby (which is now 13 years!).
If your life was a movie, who would you want to have play you?
She’d have the right size to do it.
If your book/story was a movie, who would you want to have play your main character and/or antagonist?
I’ve written many books, so this is a tough question. I’m going to answer this for my novel “Paralan’s Children“. For the antagonist I’d like to get either Merryl Streep or Jamie Lee Curtis (obviously they’d need to wear a wig), and for the protagonist, I’d like Kirsten Dunst.
Coffee? Tea? Soda? Wine? Water? Double bourbon, no rocks? What is your beverage of choice?
Plain water, unflavored
Roller coaster or carousel?
Roller coaster — I love the mixture of speed and safety
What interesting writing rituals do you have? Include anything you want… music you listen to, habits you have, whether the TV is on in the background, whether you pour coffee and let it sit there getting cold while you’re working (like I do). Whatever. The question is wide open.
I write from 7:30am to 1pm. First I’ll answer my eMails, go through the forum where I’m moderator once. Next, I’ll write 1500-2000 words on a new project. If I’ve got a new release planned or need to write a new blogpost, I’ll work on that next. If I’ve got nothing scheduled, I translate. I need silence for working but can listen to music when doing other stuff.
Wizard of Ends is a fantasy novella series packed with adventure, magic, dark creatures, some life lessons and more. Today I have the pleasure to host Vanessa for the release of the second novel in the series: Dark Creature
Vanessa created a unique kind of magic and found that magic isn’t as unreal as wen might think. In the article below, she will explain her reasoning.
Modern Science and Ancient Magic are One and the Same Guest post by Vanessa Finaughty
Between 1543 and 1687, textbooks tell us, there was a 150-year window in which modern thinking transformed from magic and superstition to what we now call science. Many believe that modern science is, in fact, driven by cosmology and magical philosophy.
I think most of us have heard the hype about the Age of Enlightenment that many believe began on 21 or 22 December 2012. Why do so many believe we are now in this age, however, and what exactly can we expect if these people are right? Countless ancient texts across the world tell us to ‘awaken and remember’, and predict a time during which the ‘veil will be lifted’, bringing in a new world. It does seem as if science and spirituality no longer oppose each other as they once did. Not so long ago, most people believed that to believe in science was to lack belief in a higher power. Today, nothing could be further from the truth. Is it because the stars are now aligned to bring in the Age of Enlightenment, enabling our consciousnesses to rise to new levels so we can see the world through new eyes?
I believe that humanity has lost much ancient knowledge that we are slowly beginning to rediscover. Almost all ancient humans had vast knowledge of the stars and science, as is evident by ancient texts, hieroglyphs and other archaeological finds, such as ancient batteries and evidence that suggests the pyramids were once giant power generators.
In ancient times, science was called by other names, like alchemy, magic or sorcery. Whatever we call it, it is the same thing: knowledge sought by the same or similar means. Ancient alchemists and sorcerers were insatiably curious. Combined with their deeply philosophical outlook on nature, this enabled them to gain a greater understanding of not only our world, but the entire universe, thus empowering them to perform ‘magical’ feats like healing the sick. Ancient alchemists also had advanced knowledge of chemistry, consciousness, hypnosis and trances, and even other worlds that modern science is only beginning to understand via quantum physics.
I think part of the reason much of this knowledge was lost is due to religious institutes deeming it ‘evil’ and ‘of the Devil’, and thanks to human politics. This means that ancient scientists – or sorcerers, if you will – had to hide their insights in coded texts and symbols to avoid being labeled evil and condemned for it. An example of this can be found in Galileo, the father of modern physics and astronomy. Once he had discovered planets and gained knowledge of their orbits, among other things, he was ordered to go to Rome to stand trial for heresy, after which he was forced to spend his remaining days on this Earth under house arrest!
Many believe that another reason much ancient knowledge was lost is due to an ‘elite’ group of humans in power persecuting those who wanted to share this knowledge with all of humanity. These conspiracy theorists believe that all the persecutions were an attempt to prevent ‘the rest of us’ from benefiting from these ancient secrets, for, if everyone knew what the elite knew, the elite would no longer be elite and would lose the control they still have over the masses. I can’t say for sure, but this theory does have a ring of truth to it, don’t you think? Then again, some believe that Atlantis was real and Atlanteans were wiped out because they abused this ancient knowledge. If this is the case, perhaps the elite are trying to protect us from ourselves. This, too, could be true, considering humanity’s abuse of our advancements – using nuclear power to create weapons that could destroy humanity and Earth a few times over is a perfect example. Then again, it’s the said elite who wanted the nuclear weapons in the first place….
Modern scientists have not only done much research into ‘supernatural powers’ like human psychic abilities and remote viewing, but have made breakthroughs into tapping into these and other ‘magical’ powers. Modern science has proven that was once considered magic is real – real science! It’s been scientifically proven that almost anyone can be taught to project their consciousness to other places or times in order to view the goings on there. Of course, rather than teaching everyone who is interested, this knowledge is being used for espionage.
We have no way – currently – of knowing the ultimate truth. However, I believe that, one day, we will know everything ancient humans did and will once again be able to harness the full power of our universe. One day, life will once more be filled with magic. I just hope we don’t use it to destroy ourselves.
About the Books
In “Wizard of Ends“, book 1 of the series, Lashlor Leaflin, who is new to the Land of Ends, happens across two men abducting the Queen of Ends and is compelled to help her. Thus starts his magical adventure, leading to a confrontation with a deadly sorceress who believes the crown to be rightfully hers.
In “Dark Creature“, book 2 in the series, Lashlor finds himself trapped in the Mountains of Eclador with no way to help his queen, who will be forever trapped in the form of a dark creature if he does not return to Ends. To make matters worse, thinking the Wizard of Ends will not return from the mountains, King Lanaran Dragonsbane attempts to undo the curse on his wife – something Lashlor warned him against.
When I learned to read, I inhaled fairy tales. The first book I ever wrote (now sleeping peacefully in a drawer) was a fairy tale kind of story. Many of my early attempts, handed in to editors with a hopeful heart, reminded of fairy tales. And then… nothing for many, many years. I wrote Fantasy, SciFi, Urban Fantasy, Historical novels and even Non-Fiction, but never a fairy tale any more. I guess it was because of all the rejections I got and that basically said, fairy tales don’t sell.
The Dwarf and the Twins
These days, I believe differently. So when my Muse (my creative side) offered me a series of fairy tale retellings at novella length (100 pages max.), I was delighted. In three months, I wrote three stories, revised them and translated two of them. There are more to come since I already got ideas for at least two more stories set in the same world. I’m having a blast.
But for now, I have the pleasure to announce the release of the first volume in my “Treasures Retold” series: The Dwarf and the Twins, a retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” by the Brothers Grimm.
The original story tells of two innocent maidens who help a talking bear through the winter. They also help a vicious dwarf despite his bouts of anger. In this tale, the dwarf is a little different, as is the bear…
Martin lives a solitary life in the kingdom’s big forest. One day, he encounters a pregnant woman who is fleeing from the king’s soldiers. Little does he know that helping her will change his life forever, for the twins she bears will not stand idly by when his life is threatened.
The books in this series will all contain the retelling, a bonus story and the original tale (for some fairy tales will be quite unknown).
I hope you will have as much fun reading the tale as I had writing it. Please help me spread the word.
As the central kingdom of the Lands of Hope languishes without rule or reason under a worsening pall of chaos, most Children of Hope stand by and do nothing. The few who would dare are outcasts and strangers, either too high up, or too far inside, or still too young to help. Worse, all their scattered mysteries seem unconnected.
Treaman the Woodsman struggles to guide his companions through ensorcelled wildlands to safety. The poorest knight in the city prays by Conar’s statue for weeks without ceasing, as though his life depends on it. The young scribe Anteris copies histories for his master by day, dreams of adventure till sunset, and searches the stars by night for the riddle of his future. A noble Conarian heir seeks to join a lost legendary Order, putting his duty before his life. A gentle Elvish sage confronts the greatest of puzzles, the closed door barring the way to friendship with his greatest, and most dangerous pupil.
For Solemn Judgement, the Man in Grey, is learning that names are indeed important when he shows… Strength of Conviction.
Go and grab it, and if you like it, please leave a review and buy the second book too. He needs all the help you can give.
I think it is now time to tell you a little bit more about my friend Will.
William L. Hahn
Will Hahn has been in love with heroic tales since age four, when his father read him the Lays of Ancient Rome and the Tales of King Arthur. He taught Ancient-Medieval History for years, but the line between this world and others has always been thin; the far reaches of fantasy, like the distant past, still bring him face to face with people like us, who have choices to make.
Will didn’t always make the right choices when he was young. Any stick or vaguely-sticklike object became a sword in his hands, to the great dismay of his five sisters. Everyone survived, in part by virtue of a rule forbidding him from handling umbrellas, ski poles, curtain rods and more.
Will has written about the Lands of Hope since his college days (which by now are also part of ancient history). With the publication of Judgement’s Tale Part One, Games of Chance, he begins at last to tell the tale of the Land’s most unique hero, The Man in Grey.
My friend William L. Hahn is one of the few authors of Epic Fantasy whose books I truly enjoy reading. Usually, book in this genre bore me after a short while. The pacing is slow due to overbearing descriptions and side-stories. But not in Will’s books. With him, every single word moves the overall story forward.
I’m all the more delighted that he trusts my small publishing company “The Independent Bookworm” with the publication of his masterpiece “Judgement’s Tale”. Follow us into his world: “The Lands of Hope”.
In Will’s words:
William L. Hahn
I am deeply pleased and honored to address Cat’s followers today, for she has been a dear friend and an invaluable colleague directly responsible for much of my success. It’s only fitting that the excerpt for this post is the title-character of my upcoming novel, Judgement’s Tale.
As you may know, I followed the Lands of Hope for a long time – seriously more than 25 years – without trying to “write” about it in the sense of tales. Notes, yes copious notes, almost obsessive details, but never with an eye towards authoring a story. The Lands were always real to me – took a long time to admit that – and it was simply too BIG a job. There are more than five thousand years of history, a continent ten thousand kilometers long, and a population currently near five million persons. Where to start?
Long story short – I did start, by chronicling some of the spectacular events close to the current day in the Lands, what the sages are now calling the Age of Adventure: and they don’t mean that as a compliment! Adventurers are rare and unloved, they upset people and break with honored customs to follow rumors and hunches. But even outcasts, it seems, need company – they usually go about in small groups, and can be incredibly loyal to each other. I followed the deeds of several bands of these remarkable persons in my early chronicles.
But throughout my notes there was one fellow, unique even for them, maybe not properly an adventurer at all. He was a pariah, regarded with fear and loathing though he seemed to do nothing wrong. I was taken in by his driven nature, his terrible alone-ness – even other adventurers seemed to reject the one all knew as The Man in Grey. I wondered about that – to my eye, he was a combination of admirable and frightening qualities. Intelligent, brave and courteous, but also tightly-wound, inflexible and seemingly humorless. Solemn Judgement, the infamous Man in Grey wandered through every kingdom and touched briefly on the lives of nearly all the heroes, because he like them seemed to seek out danger in the furthest corners of The Lands.
Then as I looked at him more closely, I realized – he was not nearly as old as everyone took him to be, indeed, just a youth. How did this happen, and where did he come from? Even after twenty-five years of study, I had to admit I didn’t know the answer, I had never dared to look. But I began, and the result, several years later, is this novel.
In this excerpt, nearly the beginning of the tale, you can meet Solemn Judgement for the first time and perhaps begin to see how his spirit was formed from his first day in the Lands. I hope you enjoy Judgement’s Tale Part One: Games of Chance.
As we say in The Lands, Ar Aralte! (Hope Forever)
Excerpt of Games of Chance: Solemn Judgement
At forest’s edge, the gypsy band huddled and watched a boy on the seashore burying his father.
Clouds ripped overhead in shreds of slate; below, the endless Western Sea reflected leaden chop without a white edge to relieve the monochrome sense of threat. Yet the boy outdid them both. He laid his father’s corpse in a pose of dignity, and stubbornly hacked a fire-trench behind the tide-line scrub. All the while his posture, his pace, his entire demeanor radiated a total lack of color. The gypsies could have explained the ashen tint of his tunic, the dusty charcoal of his breeks and high leather boots. Salt water might have bleached his long, straight hair to dark silver, as well. But they could all sense it was otherwise- the boy was grey, through and through. And they came no closer yet, though the Rom were a hospitable people by nature.
“Grandmother, can they really have sailed from the West?” said Yellin the knife-thrower to the troupe’s leader. The thin, tightly-wrinkled woman shrugged for answer, in annoyance not indecision. He continued “But no one has crossed the ocean to the Lands since…”
“Since the advent of Hope, if we are to believe the stories,” said Mari the tambour-player; and at this everyone nodded, for to the gypsy a story is the blood of life.
“Yet see you the skiff,” insisted Yellin. “Well made and trim, to be sure, but so small, and with a crew of only two.”
Now the leader bestirred herself and pointed with her stick to the skies, where a lone hawk circled and cried. “We have had strange storms this month,” said Grandmother Valeria, “lightnings of many colors and winds that blew in circles, it seemed. And the hawk portends long journeys, the lone hunter who rules the signs of the Air. I think this young man comes of a land further, yet not the same, as those our heroes set out from.”
The band stood in silence after the grandmother had spoken- a new story unfolded now and none would interrupt it. Instead they watched as the young man completed the trench, then faced the skiff with arms akimbo. After three moments, he decided; bracing his leg under the mast-board for leverage, he hauled hard and began to break up the beautiful craft for firewood.
The Gypsies watched him still, an hour later near dusk and by the light of the burning pyre. Munching apples and crusts, they took in his every move, like watching a play: the boy piled the planks in a half-pyramid, put his father’s body on the keelboard, and hauled it to the top with driftwood-rollers and all his strength. He had set the flame and now stood leaning on a half-length of the skiff’s mast, serving him as a thick quarterstaff.
“He is not a man,” said Mari, “not fifteen I bet.”
“Old enough to see his father die perhaps,” Yellin nodded. “But to bury him… and now?”
“Now, he is alone in all this world,” said Grandmother Valeria “For he is not of the Lands, I can feel it.”
Again no one answered her, and the story continued in silence. The son had put aside some of his father’s belongings, and with the funeral flame fully set he knelt briefly, then rose to take them. As the flicker-toothed fire ate the setting sun, the grey stranger put on the iron-hued broad-brimmed hat, hung the silver symbol around his neck and donned the full-length charcoal cloak, with all the gravity of a man putting on armor. He took up the staff, and faced the fire on the beach once again. For a moment, he seemed to sag, as if under some nameless weight. The wind died down, but a single report of thunder signaled it was merely the quiet before the storm.
“He is a castaway, an orphan now,” said Geltar the fire-eater.
“And so, he is one of us,” finished Valeria, and before anyone could stop her, she stepped from the edge of the trees and into the story, gesturing to the boy on the sand. At first, he appeared not to notice, but after dipping to one knee a final time in a gesture of respect, he turned and strode steadily in her direction. From that moment, he never looked back at the fire or the sun, the father or the sea. The rest of the gypsy band shuffled from cover in response, and before long they were together. At this close range, the Rom could see that his eyes were large gems of silver, gazing hawk-like from beneath his ashen brows.
“Do you speak the Common Tongue, boy?” Valeria asked, holding her hand palm-up in a gesture of friendship.
For a moment, it was as if she spoke to a statue of a boy, his body unmoving and his face yielding no more comprehension than that of an animal to her speech. But as she prepared to try again, the grey youth said “Aye, though thy tongue is somewhat odd, I trow I do gain the meaning of thee, mistress.” It was Common, as the gypsies knew it, but of an older dialect, such as the scholars in Conar might speak.
“Do you know any other speech, then?” Valeria asked, and in response the stranger tried first a smooth-flowing tongue, which had no meaning for any of the band, and then another, somewhat harder and more clipped. He spoke with fluency to judge from his ease; but on his third try, every tone hummed like a rung bell, and some of his listeners actually stepped back a pace from the resonance and strength of it.
“Those words!” started Yellin, “Is he singing? I never-” but the leader of the band interrupted him, her face shining with wonder and fear.
“It is Ancient, I’ll be bound. I know it not but I’ve heard enough before, in the courts and at trials. This boy speaks the tongue of power like a native.”
The stranger stopped to hear this dialogue, a puzzled expression on his face. “Ye- know somewhat of those last words? I have little training in them-”
“And you should not speak it again, except at need,” returned Valeria. “It is the Ancient speech, which our heroes used, the tongue of dragons and other beings of power, and one cannot lie while speaking it.”
The boy raised a single brow. “Or in any other tongue, certes.”
After a moment, a quiet chuckle made its way among the gypsies, the first hint of levity these entertainers had felt this day. Valeria too smiled, and said “Assuredly. We have seen you from afar, traveler, and we welcome you to our band for as long as you may wish to stay. Tell us, what are you called?”
The young stranger stood even taller than before as he swept off his hat and answered in the manner of a captive soldier. “Mine name be Solemn Judgement, mistress. Son of… of Final Judgement, once of…” and here for a time the boy could not continue. As he stood in silent struggle, the weather broke and a storm came lashing down on him. The gypsies stood just under the lee of the forest and were mostly untouched, but the grey stranger’s face was soon speckled with rain. Valeria scrutinized him closely, yet saw nothing but sky-water on his cheeks: the heavens granted a sign of grief he could not provide himself. “He was- my teacher, mistress. Every day, as we sailed- he taught … I seek knowledge,” he finished stiffly.
Valeria stepped forward then, and as her band gasped she reached for the young man with both arms. The same stick-hand which had just yesterday cracked Geltar’s skull when he offered an impertinence in jest, the fingers which had turned the tarot cards in merciless judgment of her own people over the decades she had ruled the clan; these same limbs she now used to enfold the stranger, holding him close as if she would shelter him from the rain. And for all he bent in any human reaction to her welcome, she may as well have embraced his staff. But when she turned and led him by the arm, Solemn Judgement went along with the gypsy band, stepping east with them into the forest, further into the story, and fully onto the Lands of Hope.
About Judgement’s Tale: Games of Chance
For twenty centuries the Lands of Hope prospered from their Heroes’ peace, but suffer now from their absence as a curse thickens over the central kingdom known as the Percentalion. An immortal omniscient conspirator schemes to escape the extra-worldly prison restraining his tide of undeath, using a demonic ally in a plot to bring back hell on earth. Solemn Judgement steps onto these Lands both a stranger and an orphan, driven to complete the lore his father died to give him.
In a world beset with increasing chaos, the bravest Children of Hope must take mortal risks. A young woodsman’s spear-cast, a desperate bid to save his comrades; the Healers Guildmistress’ cheery smile, hiding a grim secret and a heavy burden of guilt; the prince of Shilar’s speech in a foreign tongue, a gambit to avoid bloodshed or even war. As a new generation of heroes, scattered across the kingdoms, bets their lives and more, Solemn Judgement- soon to be known as The Man in Grey- must learn to play … Games of Chance: Part One of Judgement’s Tale
This is a call to action. I’m trying to get enough funds to finance a print run for the German translation of reMIND, a graphic novel. Since the story is freely available online and suitable for all reading ages, it makes perfect learning material for anyone studying the language.
Of course, if you’ve got relatives or friends who still read German, or if you’ve got relatives over here, in my home country, please let them know about this campaign. I need as many people to support it as possible.
Smashwords starts its annual Read an eBook Week again, and I entered all the books I published with them. Some are discounted, others are completely free. The coupon codes are valid from midnight on March 2nd till 11:59pm on March 8th Pacific time. You will find them directly on the book description page. They are exclusive to Smashwords.com and will not work anywhere else.
Here are the direct links to my titles. The banner picture will take you to my Smashwords author page. Beware that not all books I published are available through Smashwords.
Meanwhile, I’m sitting at my PC, tired but happy, and write my next story. This time, it’s a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” set in a steampunk world. I love the genre. If you’ve never tried it I advise you to watch the film “Wild Wild West” with Will Smith or read the free online-Comic “Girl Genius” (highly recommended but quite long by now).
Next Saturday (Sunday at the latest) I’m going to draw the winners of the giveaway. Please be patient until then. And finally, I’d like to thank all the wonderful people who helped to make this tour a success for me. Hugs to all.