I’m going to apply this theme to the books I published and I’ll be keeping it short. It’s been a very hard week. My MIL (80) cracked a vertebrae falling from a ladder she had no business to be on, and my husband crashed his bicycle, ripped open his leg from the knee to the ankle, bumped and bruised his shoulder, and ruined his helmet (which he thankfully wore, it most likely saved his head). Also I’m a tad busy with some client work, two anthologies in German for charity, and my own publications. So without further ado, here are my favorite covers in the order from loved to most loved.

I adore the covers Corona (no, not the virus) Zschusschen did for my fairy tale retelling series. However, they probably don’t speak to the people who love fairy tale reltellings, so I’ll most likely revamp the whole series some time next year. What do you think? Are they awesome?

 

I still love the covers for my “High School Dragon” trilogy even though a group of professional designers ripped them apart (they said they looked like cheap clip-art put together). I love the simplicity and the contrast between the flaming heart and the dragon silhouettes. “Thankfully tastes differ”, said the monkey and ate the soap. What do you think about these covers?

 

Truth be told, there isn’t a single book where I don’t love the cover, but without a doubt the most beautiful are the audiobook covers for Will Hahn’s “Shard of Light” series (and the narration by the author is superb, even though he’s redoing volume one, the perfectionist :D).

 

 

And now to this month’s publication (where I also love the cover!). It’s another short story collection. The first book of this series came out in March, that’s how long it took me to get this baby ready. But I promise that for the next two or three months you’ll get more of my short stories. Enjoy!

An unhappy Death, murder in the name of an ancient god, and a bridge where dogs die. The world has room for all, but not unchecked.

Even though each world has a dark side, there will always be those who will give their lives to keep innocents out of harm’s way.
Quantum physics opens doors that would better have stayed closed, putting more than one soul in peril.
An Ancient god longs for tranquility when his new acolyte goes too far.
One of the many Deaths is grumbling. He’s in love with life and hates his job. But then he gets accidentally pulled into the soul collector.
A security guard calls Death to ask for a favor when his sins catch up with him. Now the life of his niece and sister are part of the gamble.
A conflicted officer of the magical police must catch a murderer stealing hearts – literally.
A handicapped fairy police officer is sent to investigate an emergency call at Overtoun Bridge, annoyed that she’s got a new partner, a dwarf.
When a child summons The Lady of Slaughter, the goddess must face her biggest enemy: herself.
A young guard is dreaming of other worlds when unwanted visitors show up at the entrance to the forgotten temple.

In these eight short stories, Katharina shows creatures that only partially qualify as people. Writers of the Future judge Dave Farland told Katharina, “Your writing is excellent and you pulled me in from the start.”

To get to know slightly inhuman creatures, buy the book now.

 

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Favorite quotes I have a few, but only two changed me considerably. The first one was pivotal for my writing and I heard it a million times from many sources and in varying phrases before it sank in. The gist is:
„First drafts are always crap!“

GedankenspieleMy first published novel took a long, long time to finish. While that was partially due to research, after all it was a historical novel, a good portion was stage fright too. Perfectionism stalled me again and again. So writing the first draft was a daunting process because I wanted to produce the best possible book I was capable of writing.

I still want this to this day. However, I no longer aim to get the manuscript perfect during writing the first draft. I hammer out the story as fast as I can without thinking too much about it, and then I go back and revise it to the vision I had in my head when I started writing. This change of attitude has freed my writing and led to much faster publications without sacrificing the quality.

The second quote is from my great-grandmother who died when I was ten. She suffered from dementia and didn’t remember the most recent events in her live (like falling down a stair one night or how long the time between two meals was), but she was a happy woman with principles. She often told me that one should always strive to look at a situation (or anything else) until one found the bright side. Her motto was:
„Es ist nichts so schlecht wie irgend gut für!“ = Nothing is as bad as it is good!

That became my life’s motto too. As a child, I’ve trained myself to always find the bright side. By now I do it automatically without much thinking about it, and it helps me to cope with all the bad things I see in the world: the selfishness of humanity, the deliberate ignorance of powerful people, the casual cruelty and greedy destruction. Without my great-grandmother’s saying, I would have succumbed to depression long ago, because the world is not fair. It never has been and it never will be.

But even in the biggest disaster you can find a grain of beauty if you’re just willing to look close enough. And while that won’t help to address the problems at hand immediately, it can give you the amount of hope you’ll need to make the world around you just a teeny, tiny bit better.
That’s what I’m striving for with my life and my writing. Thank you, Uromi!

 

About the WIP:
My novel is growing, slowly but steadily. Meanwhile, my grandson is keeping me on my feet and the monthly publications also need their time.

 

Publication:

Maybe you’re interested in the second volume of the “Waldmann Family Saga”. I’ve re-published the historical novel Victor’s Rage with improved readability, an expanded appendix, and a new cover.

 

About the Book:
A forced courtship. A legacy’s honor under threat. Will the truth destroy a young girl’s chance at real love?

Northern Germany, 1848. Young Rieke Waldmann knows the man she loves and hopes to marry doesn’t meet her mother’s standards. Though the radical idealist is willing to prove himself a suitable husband by striking out on his own to earn money, Rieke must also accept her mother’s request to get to know the local miller’s son. Surprised to discover her new suitor is far more considerate than she expected, Rieke’s forced courtship reveals a deeper personal crisis: Her late father kept secrets that could ruin her dreams.

With the German Revolution plunging the country into turmoil, the young woman’s search for an affordable farm overturns yet more disturbing puzzle pieces. And increasingly distant from the love of her heart, these fresh allegations only add to the weighty burden on Rieke’s spirit.

With her father’s legacy on the line, where will Rieke’s loyalty lie?

 

You can find the book on Amazon and other platforms.

#faktastischeraugust #faktastisches2020 #faktastischdurchdasjahr #wirsindfaktastisch

 

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If you’ve read my recent blog posts, you’ll know that I’ve been keeping up with publishing one book per month. Feel free to check out the previous blog posts announcing the new releases. But now, it’s time for our quarterly “Storytime Bloghop” again. Read free flash stories from me and 9 other participants. I hope you’ll like mine even though it’s somewhat longer this time, and as always, remember to visit the other participants (list below the story).

The Guardian of the Sandsnake’s Temple

There was once a land of sand, and sand, and sand, and sand, and sand.

Gaspard stood at the entrance to the sand-goddess’ temple, the five fingers of his right hand clutched around a javelin, and his two bare feet firmly planted into the sand. Watching out for pilgrims, he was not expecting anyone. The bones of last person to make his way through the endless sea of sand were long ground to dust by the endless wind. According to the goddess, he had been a bad man, hurting his wife and nearly killing his child on his quest for gold.

As if gold held any value. Gaspard’s biggest dream was of meeting someone—anyone—at least once in his life, but chances were slim. He wondered about the guardian before him. Had she ever seen a world with more colors than brown, beige, white, and blue, and shades thereof? Had she died? Or had she fled her duties?

He imagined what it must be like to finally meet creatures like the ones from the books the goddess gave him for his education. The long-horned antelopes with their slender necks and the three long fingered hands from Quasrom fascinated him, as did the flying whales from Whattler III or the feathered dinosaurs from Permia.

The sound of the Final Klaxon ripped him from his daydreams.

A visitor?

A group of Praying Mules lifted their spiked front hoofs in prayer on the top of the final hill where the klaxon was magically fixed to a pillar of sand. The long ears with the soft fur fell back from their raised faces with the long snouts. Their soft furred, upright bodies radiated health.

Gaspard’s jaw dropped. Even in his books, Qumrands had only been mentioned as a rumor. The fur on their cheeks and snouts glowed nearly white in the glaring sunlight, a sign that they were high caste—if Gaspard’s books had it right.

After a few moments, four of the Praying Mules bent down and picked up something white and dome shaped they’d obviously set down before. The fifth took the lead. All of them were dressed in rags, barely covering their loins, but the many waterskins hanging around their bodies told Gaspard they’d come well prepared.

He watched with awe, as the group clomped the last few hundred yards of desert landscape toward the base of the enormous cliff of prehistoric sand that held the temple’s entrance.

The white, dome-like structure they carried turned out to be a stretcher covered with once white fabric. They were chanting the ancient songs, melodies Gaspard had never heard sung by anyone but himself.

The mules were approaching fast, and arrived just as Gaspard remembered his duty.

“Halt, in the name of the goddess!” He lowered his javelin and pointed the iron tip at the first mule’s muscular, furred chest. “State your business.”

For a few heartbeats, no one spoke, and Gaspard wondered if he could really stop five determined Praying Mules.

“We have come to bargain with the goddess”, the leading Mule said.

Before Gaspard could say anything, a Sandsnake as big as the leading Mule rose beside him. Her obsidian scales hissed gently as sand ran down her body. Gaspard had to force himself not to flinch. It had been a while since the goddess had appeared in her favorite form.

“I have been waiting for you for so long, Gardella,” she said in her warm, lilting alto. “Have you never considered what your absence must mean to him?”

The white fabric of the dome was pushed aside by a five fingered hand the color of wet sand, revealing a person with fur-free skin, a slender body, and long, black and white hair. Where the mules’ eyes looked mostly sideways, her eyes faced front, and there was a clear distinction between her nose and mouth. Gaspard saw a similar face in the mirror every morning.

He struggled not to stare at the human woman. His heart raced and for reasons unknown he was very afraid all of a sudden. He slipped closer to the Sandsnake’s warm body and the tip of her tail began to caress his back in a way that must be invisible from where the group stood. Gaspard was grateful and slightly comforted.

“I meant to come back earlier,” the woman called Gardella said. “But I fell ill. And once I’d recovered, Mission Command wouldn’t let me leave. They sent me to another quadrant altogether, claiming I’d gone mad for the loss of husband and child. And when I quit, they made it really hard for me to travel. If it hadn’t been for these wonderful people,” she pointed to the Praying Mules, “I’d never have made it back. I’m sorry, Zulussa.”

The great snake trembled. Was she crying? Gaspard’s throat went dry. What did that mean?

“He’s mine now. I raised him. I slowed time for him so he would heal and live.” The goddess’ voice shook. “I’ll fight for him.”

Gardella swung her feet from the stretcher and hobbled forward. One of her legs was twisted and gnarled like one kind of fossil in the temple’s sand. “I did not come to steal your child.” She smiled, but her gaze was sad. “My child.”

As she blinked away some tears, Gaspard’s world crumbled as if the ground under his feet had vanished.

“I have not been much of a mother to you, Gaspard. I never got the chance.” Her gaze met his, and her love washed over him just like Zulussa’s that he’d always taken for granted. “But I’ve come to give you the freedom to travel the world. The Praying Mules owe me much. They will do anything for you and show you everything.” She turned to the goddess. “And I will stay here with you, Zulussa. You will never be alone for as long as I live. Plus, I’ve got tons of new stories to tell.”

The Sandsnake shifted her form, and a rotund woman with beige hair and obsidian skin flung her arms around Gardella. “I missed you so, my love.”

And all of a sudden, all the tiny pieces of the puzzle made sense to Gaspard. The nameless man, whose bones were flying with the wind, the goddess who had been his mother, and his absent mother. His heart went out to the two women who were his family. Yes, he would travel with the Mules. He would spread the word about a forgotten temple in the sand, and upon his return, loneliness would be a thing of the past for all of them.

 

If you liked the story or want to comment with anything else that’s on your mind, feel free to do so. I’ll answer as soon as I can. Meanwhile read the stories of the other participants:

The Right Tracks by VS Stark
The Last One by Jemma Weir
The Pooka Plays Pool by Nic Steven
The Longest Night by Sabrina Rosen
Near Success by Bill Bush
Alexa by Barbara Lund
What They Wanted by Karen Lynn
Night at the Museum by Vanessa Wells
TRIBULATION Culled, eclipsed by COVID19 (A Poem) by Juneta Key

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