This is just to let you know that one of my short stories is a Semi-Finalist in the 4th quarter of the 2019 “Writers of the Future” competition. I got personal feedback from David Farland (!) and he said the story would have been a finalist if there had been fewer entries in that quarter. I’m 100% flabbergasted and excited too. Here are his words:

Dear Author:
Congratulations on being a semi-finalist in quarter four of the 2019 L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. This was the largest quarter of the contest ever, and as a result the competition was very fierce. Many fine stories that deserve publication didn’t quite make it into our finalist round.
Your writing is excellent and you pulled me in from the start. I loved a lot of things about it.
My only concerns were minor. I really wanted just a bit more detail in the story—particularly in the form of stronger visuals.
This one was really close to a finalist. If the quarter hadn’t been so strong, it would have been. So polish it up and send it out. I think you’ll find a good home for it.
I look forward to seeing a story from you again soon!
Sincerely,
Dave Wolverton/aka David Farland

 

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It’s time for the Storytime Blog Hop again already. Why does it always surprise me so? This time I’m quite unprepared what with my grandson’s birthday and so on. We’ve had several small parties (with his father, with his great-grandparents, with his friends) and now he thinks he’s gong to get presents forever. I’m seeing a big disappointment in his future. 😀 But now we’ll get to the reason you’re here: my story for the blog hop. It’s a mini fairy tale retelling. I hope you’ll like it. As always, remember to visit the other participants (list below the story).

Rogue Ring

I woke up in a different place and heard people whisper outside my window, just as I had planned. The one thing I hadn’t expected was the fact that I didn’t understand a word of what was said. How could that happen? Had I done something wrong? I looked at the ring on the low table beside the cushiony something that should have been my bed – bed as in “the bed I had slept in for years before dad got himself caught by my Beast.”

No, I wouldn’t think of him. I got up and dressed. Luckily, some of my nicest clothes had come along with the ring. I put it back on my finger. One day was all he had agreed to, so I’d better make the best of it. I opened the shutters in front of the window and sunlight fell in. It was my room and it wasn’t at the same time. Pictures painted on paper as thin and smooth as the thinnest leather I had ever seen hung on the wall. They showed demons with spiked, colorful hair and metal studs all over their faces. Still, below all that, they did look vaguely human.

Like Beast – if it would be possible to remove the ugly and scary bits. I turned and looked out the window. Two kids sat in the grass dressed like the demons in the strange paintings. Hardly older than my sisters when I left them, they were trying to eat each other mumbling gobbledegook. I watched them a while until I realized they were kissing, not eating. Blushing, I closed the shutters silently. I tiptoed out of my room and down the stairs. A real painting hung at the wall half way down. I stopped in amazement. It was my face staring at me. A black veil surrounded my head like a sad halo, and words in my father’s familiar hand sagged along the bottom. I bent down to read.

In memoriam of a daughter who did more than her duty for her guilty father.

A giant fist squeezed my heart.

“You like it?” A boy, surely no more than six or seven, grinned at me from the bottom of the stairs. I’d never seen him, but he spoke my language. He wore short, blue pants and nothing else and dripped water all over the floor. Where did he come from? My gaze went past him. How much this part of my home had changed! The floor was no longer stamped earth and cobbles as it used to be. Shiny wooden floorboards, soft carpets and comfortable looking furniture made my home resemble that of the ugly love I had left behind.

“Hello-o… Do you like it?” The boy climbed the stairs.

I nodded, meaning the house, not the picture but he obviously misunderstood.

“It’s my great-great-great-and some-grandaunt Belle. She was eaten by a monster, and no one has ever found her corpse. Maybe it ate all of her, hair and bones and all.” His eyes sparkled with excitement.

He could have hit me with a hammer and I wouldn’t have felt worse. Great-great-great-and some-grandaunt? What had happened? Where had all the time gone? Beast must be frantic. Then, it dawned on me. Beast would be dead after all this time.

“Say,” the boy had reached the step below me. “You look awfully like her.”

I stared at the ring. Would it be strong enough to take me back to my time? Without a word, I fled up the stairs toward the bedroom that had once been mine. I had to go to sleep. I had to!

After locking the door to keep out the boy, I slammed the ring on the nightstand and flopped on the soft bed. A single beam of light fell through the shutters onto my face. I tried hard, but sleep wouldn’t come. The sunlight was my greatest enemy.

 

Visit the other participants:

Shores of Lamentation by Melanie Drake
Syrojax Lends a Claw by Nic Steven
Culture Sharing by Angela Wooldridge
Sisters by Barbara Lund
Grim Failures by Bill Bush
Secrets by Gina Fabio
The Daughter of Disappearing Creek by Karen Lynn
The Gynnos Seeker Project by Juneta Key
Mugging Morpheus by Vanessa Wells
A Little Off the Top by Tyler Vawter

 

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I’ve always written, there’s no doubt about it. My first baby steps happened during first grade and the results (DIN A4, illustrated by me, letters ca. 3cm high) are well hidden in a box in my home.

by Greg Montani, Pixabay

When I got to know my (now) best friend Anke Waldmann (who lived near Osnabrück) during our time at university, I began writing in earnest. She had rediscovered her farm’s archive that held documents back to the 15th century and started to learn the old German Handwriting so she could type the texts into the computer. She uncovered a treasure trove of stories.

When she found court records about the family’s struggle to gain their freedom from serfdom that contained most of the gossip of the area from 1799 to 1804, we decided to turn that story into a novel. In this case it was a stroke of luck that both parties had dragged every possible fact in front of the judge to ruin the other side’s reputation.

We researched and wrote for nearly five long years. My most important task was to depict life at that time as accurately as possible. The people of that time weren’t all than much different from us, but the time was a lot less hectic. Nearly everything was done with patience, and no one left the area if they didn’t have to.

The more I learned about the time, the more it fascinated me. It was quite difficult to stop myself from stuffing all my research results into the novel, but we wanted the story to be entertaining and authentic. Luckily Anke found all the places that weren’t engaging (in her opinion) or that wandered too far from the facts.

When the manuscript was done, we found an agent with less problems than I’d thought. Delighted with the project, he contacted the big German publishers, but all declined, stating that their readers only wanted to read stories set in the Middle Ages. Finally the agent gave up, but Anke and I believed in the story and kept going.

In the end, „Ann Angel’s Freedom“ found a home with a small regional publisher, who published the print version with a nice cover. They were counting on selling around 100-200 books. In the end, they sold nearly a thousand.

When the so called eBook-revolution began, I published the eBook myself in English and German as best I could. Two years ago the publisher folded and I managed to get all rights back. Therefore, the German version was re-published a little while back with a new cover and an improved editorial appendix. It’s waiting for readers who are interested in more than just the Middle Ages. I’m lagging behind with the English version but it is in the works. Watch out for it.

Here’s a short evolution of the cover (German, but the English were similar):

Our publisher focused on older readers for the book even though it is an all age novel. The cover for the eBook was one of my first tries at cover design and it’s a big fail (even though I still like the background). The newest version was done with the help of a pro cover designer and is aimed at younger readers. I think it’s wonderful.

At the end of the 18th century, fifteen-year-old Anna Angel Waldmann has to work hard. Even though her father, a farmer in the Osnabrücker Land, is wealthy and well liked in the neighborhood, there are never enough hands to finish all the work. But Angel is happy because her best friend lives close and her crush, Adam Averbeck, works with them as a farm hand. Therefore she isn’t bothered by being a serf of the Count of Langelage.

But everything changes when the count promises her father with a binding handshake that they can buy their freedom. After a lot of consideration, Angel’s father wants to agree to the deal only to learn that he’s been sold. To force the issue, he drags the count to court, and Angel’s life becomes a nightmare. How can the freedom her father craves improve her life if she loses her best friend and Adam?

Very well researched and fully authentic, the novel illuminates a fascinating time. It is based on true events in the Waldmann family. Ann Angel’s Freedom is the perfect mix of work, friendship, daily problems and love.

At the moment, only the old English version with its slightly bumpy language is available through Amazon, but I’m working on the re-release. Unfortunately I cannot do magic. 😀

 

#faktastischerjanuar #faktastisches2020 #faktastischdurchdasjahr #wirsindfaktastisch

 

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Liebster Blog Award 2011