I’m wishing all my readers a happy New Year. May all your wishes come true eventually (not all at once though because that’d be pretty overwhelming). May you remain (or become) healthy and may you live with love and tolerance. This also applies to those readers whose New Year is yet to come. 😀
Looking back at 2015 I must say that I managed to do a lot more things that I had thought I would. The kids are becoming more and more independent, so that left more time for writing. Still unbelieving I stare at my numbers. I wrote 169,054 words on new stories (the next 4 fairy tales, a couple of short stories, a love-story novel with dragons, and the beginning of the sequel to Scotland’s Guardians), PLUS I translated 151,516 words from the English first draft back into my mother tongue, German (most of what I wrote new).
What does that mean for you?
Glad you asked. 😀
In 2016, I can guarantee that you will see the publication of one fairy tale every three months (I don’t yet know if I’ll be able to keep up that publication speed in 2017, but I’ll try), PLUS the publication of several other projects in between (I’m doing my best to finally get my non-linear fairy tale murder mystery done).
And then, I’ll create some more. But before I can get back into writing, I set February 1st as my official starting day, I need to get the mobile theme for my website done (I had a very talented web-programmer do the basic layout and now I’m fiddling with the details. Here’s a (not yet fully functional) preview), I must sort my bills and prepare my tax papers so I can hand them in first thing in February. Also, I’ll need to find book-bloggers interested in reviewing my first ever novel-length audio-book: Scotland’s Guardians, and some who want to read “Juma’s Rain”. Also, I’ve got several novellas, short stories, and novels in the publication pipeline.
You see, this year is most likely going to be just as busy as last year was. So, let’s raise our hands and dance a happy dance — may merry times come to all of us.
Regardless of what you say, Autumn Blues doesn’t really exist. It’s only the head-cold that’s keeping me from enjoying the crisp cool air and the late sunshine, the stunningly red leaves and the smell of freshly picked apples (I really wish I could smell them, it’s one of my favorite smells).
My cure so far, I’m spending a lot of time in bed, listening to the audiobook versions of my novel “Scotland’s Guardians” (to catch all pronunciation errors before the planned publication near Christmas) while planning my next advent calendar. Yes, I know it’s a little early, but since I plan on doing NaNoWriMo again this year, I’ll need enough time up front.
Hopefully my cold will be gone in time for NaNo. My stories are planned, my writing night trip to Hamburg is planned and paid for, and I’m eager to get started. BTW, did I tell you that I’ve got 3 of the next 4 fairy tale retellings already written? I’m currently translating them so I can keep publishing next year.
Do you have a wishlist of stories I should write (either fairy tales or sequels to my other books)? Maybe I’ll pick one or two as a special Christmas surprise. 😉
I know, I should be posting more often again, especially since the summer is over. Strangely enough, time seems to have accelerated and, after an initial lag I’m whizzing along (like in those newer Star Trek movies where the light of the power-units expands while the Enterprise seems to be stuck in one place for a second before it zooms away with warp-speed). Not that I like it, mind, but there are so many things I didn’t get done in the summer (due to the heatwave and a couple of personal catastrophes), that the mountain of work barely shrinks.
Still, I just discovered that I completely and utterly forgot to let you know about my upcoming release of “Juma’s Rain” (you might remember the posts I did about the NOK-culture and Stone Age tools and weapons). I’m currently in the process of coding the eBook and print book and will hopefully be able to post the link to the pre-order page some time soon. For now, I’ll share with you the gorgeous cover, Hendry Iwanaga made for me (well, he drew the picture, I did the fonts etc.):
And this will be the full cover, front and back, for the print version:
wrap around print cover
Oh, and I’m currently releasing another 99ct short-story too. It’s about a gen-designed newt-human who has to escape two hunters. Here’s the cover and the blurb for “Newtling“:
I love my webbed fingers and my ability to stay under water for a long time…
I don’t mind that my backside is blue with brownish dots and my belly bright orange…
Neither do I care that me and my family are much smaller than our creator though we share his genes…
But what I do hate is being hunted … especially since I’m unarmed and running through the local swamp. Can a newtling like me outsmart two hunters and their state-of-the-art hunting gear?
This short story takes you into the mind of a genetically engineered newt-human-crossover and lets you witness his struggle to survive.
15 page short story with an XXL reading sample of “Paralan’s Children”, a YA scifi murder mystery.
I asked my friend Thea van Diepen from Canada to tell me about a weird place she read in. This is her reply. Have fun.
Why You Should Read at Hockey Games by Thea van Diepen
Canadians are supposed to love hockey. When we attend hockey games, we’re supposed to cheer on a team or an individual with vim and vigour, especially when we’re in another country. They must know we are not American Canadian, after all. What we’re not supposed to do during a hockey game is read a book.
When I was about eleven, in the middle of my family’s three years in Alabama, we found out about a hockey game happening in town. So my parents bought tickets.
At the time, I was busy working my way through all of the science fiction and fantasy books our local library had in its MG/YA section. I’d take out as many as I was allowed at a time (aka, a lot) and read them all in a couple days. The book I was in the middle of when the hockey game even occurred was Colors in the Dreamweaver’s Loom by Beth Hilgartner, which had me fascinated. So fascinated that, book lover as I am, I brought it with me to the game despite lingering guilt.
It’s hard to explain to someone who isn’t Canadian exactly how… Canadian hockey is. Tim Horton’s, the coffee and doughnuts chain that has also been a Canadian Thing, was started by a hockey player and its ads and commercials would feature kids playing hockey. It’s our official winter sport. It’s all over TV and social media when the season hits, during draft picks, whenever anyone might have the slightest excuse to mention it. And, yes, it was invented in Canada, no matter what anyone else might say.
Still, I am not a hockey person. Shocking, I know.
I would have not gone to the game at all, if possible, but my parents cajoled me.
“There are a bunch of Canadian players on both teams,” they said.
Which, as far as cajoling goes, worked. Moving to another country had been hard for me, and I was determined not to lose my Canadianness while there. Maybe it’d be interesting enough that I wouldn’t have to read to relieve boredom.
We went in, found our seats, and commented about how we never thought we’d find a real ice rink in Alabama. I’m not sure how much of this I joined in, as I opened my book as soon as I possibly could. And, swoosh, I was sucked right into the story. Hockey didn’t even stand a chance.
Outside of the world of the book and Zan’s adventures in an alternate world, hockey players made goals. Half-time happened. Canadians did cool things on the ice. Other vague events occurred.
Inside the book, I travelled with Zan as she both dealt with grief after her father’s death and tried to find a way to help the Orathi keep their land from being taken. There were shapeshifters, spirit-gifts, gods, and the Dreamweaver doing her best to help using a loom that can affect the actions and choices of others. With the last being the coolest world detail ever. There were characters that I loved and connected with. I wanted them to succeed. I wanted them to find happiness.
(And then there was the ending, but I won’t spoil that one for you. Just, if you do decide to read it, keep in mind that there’s a sequel… the author doesn’t hate you, promise.)
Even in the action and excitement around me, it all paled next to the book that had me riveted.
It’s easy to read a book and enjoy it when life is calm and you sit in a pleasant garden by yourself on a warm day.
But, from time to time, you may want to try reading a book during a hockey game. That’s when you know you have magic in your hands.
When have you been sucked into a story this way? What book was it?
Welcome to our little Bloghop. Here, you’ll find 15 participating blogs (find the links under this story) who posted one story today. The stories will be available for one week only. So make sure you’ll read them fast! Enjoy.
I’ll leave this post online until the 9th of September. After that, I’ll be cutting it down to the beginning. I’ll leave the links though.
“You will not eat my son!” When Mother roared at Elder, I knew the tribe didn’t want me. I was too small. I mean, Mother wasn’t very big either. The tips of her wings barely reached the shoulder blades of a red-deer, but at least she wasn’t disabled. She hovered in the air in front of Elder and spat tiny flames at him.
“He wouldn’t make a good sized snack even if I top him off with a wild boar,” Elder roared back.
“He’s a true dragon.” Mother’s voice shook with anger, and I feared she’d attack him in her rage. She wouldn’t stand a chance. After all, he was at least three times her age and thus three times her size as well. I lowered my head and crawled toward the cave’s exit avoiding the rest of the tribe as best I could.
“What do you expect,” a matron said. “His father’s a wyrm.” She swiped her tail out of my way as if I were contagious. With a sigh, I returned to the nest waiting for the tribe’s verdict. I no longer thought Mother would be successful, and everybody knew what happened to those fledglings who didn’t get accepted. It was either the cookfires or the lizards. I really, really hoped for the cookfires. At least death would be quick then.
… this story will be published in December in time fro Christmas with a second story about a dragon. If you want to be notified about the release, join my reader team.
Writing (and reading) Fantasy is supped to be fun. But lately, I find myself not finishing books because imho the author ignored the most important rules. The fist one is the most important one. If it works, I can skip blunders of the other two rules.
Rule 1: Thu shalt not bore the reader
Obviously, this rule applies to all genres not just Fantasy. Unfortunately there are plenty of authors who don’t adhere to this rule. This is an instant “Won’t Buy” sign for me.
Rule 2: If you create something unusual (flying donkeys, two moons or three suns), it must have consequences in your Fantasyworld
Like many people’s, my education was scientifically biased. I always enjoyed the logic behind it. Therefore, nothing annoys me quite as much as a Fantasy-novel where basic rules of nature are ignored without giving a proper reason and without consequences for the world. Consider how many religions surround our single moon. What do your think would happen if you’ve got two moos (regardless the strange effects on ebb and flow)?
Rule 3: Magic complicates matters and doesn’t solve problems
Most Fantasy-novels contain a magical element. Of course, that’s cool and surely one reason why people read Fantasy. Still, an author shouldn’t make the mistake to use Magic to clear away obstacles for the hero (or heroine). On the contrary. To achieve rule one, it is essential that magic complicates the main character’s problems. That can happen for example through “costs” of magic (bodily exhaustion, increased ageing) or through mistakes when used (see Disney’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice, originally written by Göthe).
Of course, these rules (aside from rule one) aren’t similarly important to all readers. So, tell me, how do you feel about rules? Which ones are important to you when you read (or write) stories?
Sorry for the delay in posting about the final day of the book fair. When I sat down to write it yesterday, I opened my Inbox to 160 eMails with only a very small percentage of spam. Also, I had forgotten about an important meeting I had to go to in my lunch break. So instead of getting things done, I helped my kids with their appointments. Life happens. 😉
Now to the book fair. The final day was less busy than the Saturday. Still, the book fair had a new visitor record. Two hundred and ten thousand people wanted to see what’s new. When I roamed the halls, I had the feeling that at least a third of them came dressed up, although I’m sure it only felt that way.
The Sunday was also the best day for selling books, especially since we were allowed to sell them without paying a commission to the mess after 3pm. Naturally, we didn’t sell quite as many books as we wanted or had taken along, but we did sell some. And more important, we were seen. I managed to give away more than 300 free eBooks (printed and signed, see picture). Since the idea of a printed eBook is relatively unheard of so far in Germany, I’m sure that most people will download the eBook and read it. I already see spikes in my download statistic. I just hope that the readers will move on to my other books as well. 😉
Toward evening, the crowd began to thin out. I saw the best Cosplay costume (Mononoke Hime from the film Princess Mononoke) but couldn’t take a photo because I had left my camera at the booth. Sigh… Still, I can picture it in my mind and it was truly gorgeous.
I was extremely grateful for the two colleagues who stayed to the end with me and helped to empty the booth. We were done in record time and I was home before my kids went to sleep. That was a wonderful conclusion to a great weekend. I hope I’ll be able to repeat that next year.
Over the next few days, I’ll post a couple of the Cosplayers I photographed to showcase how much time and effort some people put into their costumes. I’ll also post the promised pictured of our booth, of Boris, and of my fellow German Qindie-authors.
Up to this weekend, the weather has been much to my liking; not too warm, not too cold, not too dry and not too wet. However, this Pentecost weekend is growing hotter and dryer by the minute. I’m really happy that we insulated our house or I’d have dried out by now.
With the summer came an avalanche of work. Ever since I opened my kickstarter (btw, it’s still running a few more days), I started connecting with people I never would have thought of. Even if the campaign doesn’t fund, it looks as if my dream-project will still come true. We’ll see. As soon as I’ve got something definite, I will keep you posted, promised.
Meanwhile, I’m preparing for the release of my friend Will Hahn’s novel. I’ll be featuring him and his release here on this blog on the 17th of June (please come by and win something). At the same time, I’m preparing some of my short stories for release. Proofreading took much longer than I had anticipated though, but that shouldn’t delay the release for long. And last but not least, I finished planning the overall structure of my first planned series. The first volume is already written (has been for a while) and I’m currently translating it.
You see, I’m so terribly busy I simply forgot to post on my blog. I’m sorry and blame it all on the weather. Who do you blame if you can’t keep up with the requirements of life?
I read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken first when I was twelve, and it was one of my favorites immediately. I keep rereading the whole series all the time and still find it fascinating.
About the Book:
Wicked wolves and a grim governess threaten Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia when Bonnie’s parents leave Willoughby Chase for a sea voyage. Left in the care of the cruel Miss Slighcarp, the girls can hardly believe what is happening to their once happy home. The servants are dismissed, the furniture is sold, and Bonnie and Sylvia are sent to a prison-like orphan school. It seems as if the endless hours of drudgery will never cease. With the help of Simon the gooseboy and his flock, they escape. But how will they ever get Willoughby Chase free from the clutches of the evil Miss Slighcarp?
These were truly believable characters, and they were dropped into a really nasty situation. No one likes losing their parents, but adding the loss of their home topped it all. I loved the way the two girls never let themselves get down. They fought back with everything they had. Since this story takes place in an England with slightly alternate history, the story also taught me (unconsciously) about the way of live in GB. Joan Aiken is a genius. What I loved best about this series is that she took one minor character from the first book and made him the hero of the next and so on. That way, there was always room for the characters to grow, and I was never bored. I might borrow this idea some day. 😉