And another one of those… I seem to be too busy in between the bloghops to post much. Pleas forgive me. The latest in a row of catastrophes was the death of my youngest’s pet rat and a second pet rat injured himself when he fell out of the cage. Somehow my days fly past and I don’t get much writing done. Only translations (English-German) are feasible and cover art for some clients.

That’s the reason why my entry today is only the beginning of a story. The rest is still in my head. Enjoy, and don’t forget to visit the other participants too.

Under the Bridge

The water fifty meters below me was black as tar as it flowed toward the sea. This high up in the crisscrossing steel beams of the bridge’s construction, it looked like tarmac. A strong breeze tugged at my breeches, carrying the scent of salt, seaweed, and crustaceans with it. Instinctively my long, flexible toes dug deeper into the steel. It groaned. Together with the thrumming of the passing cars, the sound reminded me of a lazy jazz piece.

I smiled, glad I didn’t have to hide my tusks. As necessary as it was, I was tired of lying about what—who—I was. But down here, there was less light than in the shady bar my human friends and I—naturally in my human disguise—frequented. I enjoyed my true shape.

Hoicking up a considerable amount of snot and spit, I let it fly into the night … never saw or heard it hit the water. I sat and dangled my feet over the gray steel balustrade, marveling at the size of the rivets—also gray and bigger than the palm of my hand. And I did have a big hands all things considered.

It was surprising that humans, these frail creatures, had created something so … so solid. I stroked the metal disregarding a few splinters of rust and paint digging into my green flesh. What’s a little pain if you know you’re doomed no matter what.
Not caring one bit (after all everybody was doomed one way or the other) I spat at the river again. It looked like the road to hell.

And on nights like this it was.

Been there, done than. Only Hell doesn’t do T-Shirts—especially not my size. My low laugh shook the steel beams, but then I shuddered. It hadn’t been the best of times. And now I was waiting for an old … well, you couldn’t exactly call someone from hell a friend, but he’d been the closest to a friend I’d had at that time.

Maybe I’d take him to that shady bar. With his horns and cloven hoof hidden, he’d clean up much nicer as a human than I ever would, and he’d smell nicer. Not of rotting meat and dumpster like I did.

But who cared? I was the one who collected the bridge toll which meant I was the one with enough cash to pay for drinks.

It didn’t matter how good my disguise smelled, only that I had one. What innkeeper in his right mind would let an eight foot troll with a three foot devil in tow into his establishment, even when all customers were lying with their heads in pools of vomit and stinking of alcohol and piss?

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Don’t forget to visit the other participants. Enjoy their stories:

Story Suds and Scales by Eileen Mueller
Black and White, by Bill Bush
Summer Siren, by Elizabeth McCleary
The Birch Tree, by Juneta Key
The Zoning Zone, by Vanessa Wells
Secrets, by Elizabeth Winfield
Team Building Exercise, by Samantha Bryant
Another Time, by J. Q. Rose
Beginning Again, by Karen Lynn

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I’m sure you’ve heard of GDPR (German DSGVO) that became enforceable law on the 25th of May. This law has been issued to better protect the data of Internet users (like you and me). Unfortunately it went unnoticed for the longest time, and now many site owners are frantically trying to the their sites compliant. I was incredibly annoyed that none of my hosting companies pointed me to that law with enough time to act. After all it’s been around more or less since 2013!

I’ve always been careful to gather as little data as possible. Therefore I’m all in favor aof the GDPR even though adjusting to it was a lot of work. For more than a month I did nothing but change websites (mine and those of friends) to make them compatible with the new law. I was quite amazed (and not pleasantly) where data was transfered without me even knowing (e.g. When showing share-buttons; I knew that data gets transfered when you click, but already while showing? Well, I found a plugin and the trasfer of data before you click a link is no longer possible.). In that regard especially, the new law is good.

I also used the opportunity to clean up behind the scenes. I also added the books I published in the last two year but never got round to add to my website. Now, everything is up to date again.

Soon, I’m going to change my hosting service. Tigertech is incredible when it comes to service, however they don’t issue data usage contracts as required by EU law. Until I can move my pages, they disabled the collection of data completely. This means that no IP-addresses are stored and no other data either. That makes my sites compliant with GDPR but unfortunately it leaves me without statistics about my visitors that I can analyze to improve my web-presence. When I move my sites, there might be some bumps along the road but I don’t expect any major crashes.

And now that everything here is spiffy again and I got used to the chaos in my life, I promise I’ll blog more often again. 😀

 

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I know, I know. I’ve been unduly “lazy”. The next bloghop is due, and I haven’t posted ANYTHING in between. My excuse? My life exploded mid 2017. I’ve been trying hard to keep everything together but couldn’t prevent some major issues that needed solving. And then, my husband had to go to a rehab hospital for eight weeks (which means diminished pay) and my father’s breast cancer reared its ugly head again, and my writing time flew out of the window (figuratively).

As a final straw, the EU has decided on a new data protection law — in general a very good and much needed one, but the problem is that they want everything documented. It’s a huge amount of work for me since I am running (or help running) nine sites (of those only 2 can be deleted). For me, that means I’ll be busy until May 25th to get this site (and all the others) compliant with the law so you can be absolutely sure that neither I now anyone I employ (even as a third party plugin or some such) will mess with your personal data. For you, it means the number of publications will diminish a little since I have even less writing time right now.

Still, I managed a piece for the Bloghop. I hope you’ll enjoy the story.

A Snow White Morning

As she left the village behind, the houses huddled together like chicken surrounded by foxes, Nancy breathed the icy air with delight. It tasted of snow – a lot of it, which was confirmed by the mass of dark clouds hanging over the wide valley that connected two mountains high enough to kiss the sky.

Just like Nick and me, she thought. A tiny smile tugged at the corners of her mouth mirroring the wind that pulled at her simple woolen coat. She let it drop to the ground and enjoyed the North wind’s caress on the pale skin of her naked arms. How she’d missed walking in a light shift on a day like this. Had she really been so besotted with Nick that she’d forgot her first love? Well, her swollen belly answered that question without a doubt.

Kicking off her shoes, she gasped as the soles of her feet touched the needle-like spikes of last year’s grass, frozen by the wind’s breath. Like a sleepwalker, she found her way higher up the craggy slopes of the Northern mountain. The need to reach the part where life clung to tiny gaps in seas of rock and stone pulled her along.

Her flexible toes dug into the smallest fissures as she climbed the steep slope, keeping her grounded while the wind played with her long, straight hair, growing wilder by the minute.

When the clouds split and hurled tiny ice crystals toward the ground, she stopped and put her head back to look up at the whirling, coiling mass. With a happy sigh she reached for the star shaped wonders.

One snowflake settled on the palm of her left hand like an icy kiss while others condensed around her into a gown she hadn’t worn for way too long. She hadn’t expected a welcome like this. A tear, driven by nostalgia, formed on her cheek, freezing before it could roll over her skin. She wiped it away. It felt good to be home.

Buffeted by winds gusting from every side and surrounded by a cloud of snowflakes, she found the perfect spot. Snow drifted gently over a flat granite the size of Nick’s bed surrounded by boulders that kept the howling of the winds at bay just enough that a newborn wouldn’t be scared by it. She sat down on the coarse stone, arranging the snow in soft pillows and blankets around her.

As the snow reached the humans she’d left behind, the villagers’ fear rode on the winds and filled her with pain, joining the first pangs of labor. The snowstorm filled her and her world – the perfect weather for the birth of her daughter.

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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:

The Letter, by Juneta Key
Trick or Treacle, by Angela Wooldridge
Sugar in the Raw, by Karen Lynn
Inferno, by Fanni Soto
Tae, by Barbara Lund
Interstellar Student Exchange, by Raven O’Fiernan
The Ghost Fighter, by Bill Bush
Hare, by Elizabeth McCleary
The Widow, by Vanessa Wells

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