no April Fool’s joke

From now on, I’m author of the month on a German publishing platform:
adm-gruen-april15When they asked me, I was naturally quite surprised. Of course I was quite happy about it and answered readily all the questions they asked my in an interview. It seemed that the plan alone to visit the Leipzig Book Fair was enough to attract some attention. Now, that I’m back, I get more eMails, more sales, and introduced to more nice people. Being an author might not always make you financially richer right away but it doubtlessly made my life emotionally richer.

Here’s a quote from my interview (Nothing sells books like reviews). If you speak German, come over to read it.

banner-kgerlach

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the final day

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.

my FlyerThe 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.

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Leipzig Book Fair

Buchmesse

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.

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more Liebster questions

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?
Roseanne 😀
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.

Thanks for the questions, Elizabeth.

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Liebster Award

I was nominated by Juneta Key for the Liebster Award. Sure, this blog already got it once, way back when I was starting out, but these questions are new, so I’m going to give it a go.

Here are the rules:

Who is your favorite author?
Diana Wynne Jones

If you had 3 wishes what would they be?
Health for my family.
A remote control that allows me to pause my live on hold while I write.
Compassion and tolerance for all people lacking in that department (because I think if every person in the world would think a little more about other people and be tolerant of their way of live, our species might, with a lot of luck, manage to survive).

If you were given a free round trip ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
Scotland, Canada, Kamschatka – and I’d take hubby and the kids

Would you rather live near the ocean, forest, mountains or the fourth option?
Forest – isn’t that obvious? I’m a studied forester 😀

What is your favorite genre of music?
Classic, Blues, Rock, and Heavy Metal (yes, I know the mix is a bit strange)

Plane, Train, Boat, Car or other for vacation travel?
Travel? What for if I can sit in my garden typing at my next novel and enjoying the sun?

Where is your favorite place to escape from the daily grind to?
That’s my office – I’m fleeing RealWorld(TM) when I write.

What is your best memory?
I was a small kid of maybe 2 or 3 years. My mother took me to bed, as always. The one bit I remember vividly is her long, brown hair tickling my cheek. It’s an extremely strong memory that I love a lot even though it’s only short.

Do you have a hobbit? if not, what would you like to do for a hobby? ROFL @ SELF  okay this error was too good to correct—go ahead tell me who is your favorite hobbit?
My favorite hobbit… Sigh… I wish I had more time for the poor tyke. 😀
I love to go for rides on my motorbike, but have not been able to do this often in the last few years. First because the kids were still too small, then because there was a bug in the electricity that took my brother and me nearly a year to find. But the machine is running again now. I’ll see how much time I can make this year.

What is the most memorable book you have read, or movie if not a big reader?
I couldn’t say. I’ve read way too many, and a lot of them still stick in my mind.

Would you travel around the world in 80 days if you could?
As long as I have access to the Internet and a laptop for writing, sure. Why not?

11 random facts
I’m a dog person but cats like me
I’ve got a PhD in science
my two younger kids hate me (they’re in puberty 😉 )
I hate household chores but most of all laundry
hubby and I have been an item for 30 years this year
I’ve got three nephews and one nice, three daughters, one husband, and one dog
most people get along with me
the ones who don’t don’t know what they’re missing 😀
I regularly get lost in strange worlds, but don’t worry, people there know me well
I love all things fantasy (except for most of the current Epic Fantasy tales)
My muse likes shiny, new, but I force her to finish stories before starting something new… sometimes I fail

Nominations
I will only nominate 2 Blogger, since most of the ones I would have suggested were already nominated by Juneta. Also, half of the blogs I nominate will be in German. After all, I’m bilingual. 😀

William L. Hahn
Marny Leifers fantastische Bücherwelt
Please answer the same question I answered.

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back from the summer with alien news…

Usually, I wouldn’t write anything specific about my private life (that’s why it’s called private, you know) but this time, I’m going to make an exception. For a reason.

Most of you might know how much I love to combine knowledge and fun. I like nothing better than reading a book I thoroughly enjoy only to find at the end that I learned something too. I’m trying to do the same in many of my books, especially the historical fiction.

During the summer holidays, I participated in a night walk through a Slovakian forest that achieved just that. Like most kids, yours might not like going out for a walk even if it is at night and in a forest. My kids at least weren’t very keen on the idea. With a forester for a grandfather, they thought they’d seen it all. However, I knew they were in for a treat. First, we were in Slovakia at that time (and their forests are a little different from ours), and second, a group of locals had prepared an elaborate background to make this walk more interesting for kids. The tour was open for children from 8-13, but since my girls are not good enough with their English (yet), I was allowed to accompany them.

The organizers pretended that an UFO had crash landed in the forest. Men in Black were searching the area trying to find the one surviving alien. Their scientists were examining the UFO’s energy source. Luckily, a group of people had decided to help the alien get back his energy so he could return home. They were the ones leading the kids through the forest.

the crashed UFO

the crashed UFO

At the place we had gathered, there was a tent with information about stars, galaxies, the universe, and the biology of the alien who crashed the UFO (for obviously, some of its comrades had not survived). We set out in small groups of 3-5 children and passed 9 stations where the kids had to perform small tasks. The first was an astrologist who explained the stars and where the alien had come from. At the second station, the kids had to steal the UFO’s energy bulbs (little glowing plastic containers) from the lab. At one point, we were captured by MIB’s who searched unsuccessfully for the energy bulbs (the kids were delighted they hid them well enough) and took photos and finger prints. Another time, the army, in charge of the safety of the area, lead us on a detour through a low tunnel and past the crashed ship (illuminated with flickering Christmas lights – unfortunately the photo didn’t turn out well, see above).

After much cross country walking in the dark (we crossed a brook twice), we reached the alien, and it was the highlight of the walk (see picture). It was extremely thankful for the help. Each kid got a little reward, and then we could go home. I was delighted by this little play. My kids never noticed how fast two hours had passed.

the alien

the alien

Advice for teachers: if you want kids to learn something, make it fun. My kids are still talking about stars and galaxies two weeks later.

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Summer is coming

Wow, I’m just taking my A-levels (Abitur in German) and whoosh, 25 years have passed. The worst/best is that I know my husband even longer than that. 😉

So, obedient little girl that I am (snort), I have been to the celebrations of the silver anniversary. It was so nice to see all my old classmates again, but it also made it clear that I still don’t have much in common with them. There are but a few overlapping interests. Still, I learned a lot of new things about subjects I knew next to nothing about (I also learned from the speech of the new director of my old school that one shouldn’t hold a speech if one’s speaking like a machine gun).

Some of my classmates were quite well informed about what happened to people from other classes (with a few surprises like the guy I went to the theater workshop with an who now writes scripts for some well respected films in German TV). Maybe I should get active and feign an interest in gossip after all. It’s really nice to know where they all went. On the other hand, some gossip is rather nasty and I don’t really want to know it. It’s probably best to restrict my gossiping to events like the silver anniversary and stick to my writing meanwhile.

Apropos, with the summer holidays looming (two and a half weeks to go), I will shut down soon. There’s no way I’ll be able to write when the kids are home. Let’s just hope the weather will be nice enough so we can go to the pool a lot.

After the holidays, I will start publishing like mad. I’ve got so many new stories to share. Enjoy the sun if you can.

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It’s my daughters’ fault

Now, I haven’t posted in quite a while. You could say it was my daughter’s fault. I always push them to spend as much time outdoors as they can because it’s healthy and trains their imagination. But two of three are in puberty  at the moment, and they accuse me of forcing them to do something I’m not doing myself. They are right (partially).

I worked a lot this year (new novels and short stories, becoming an Independent Publisher, Webdesign, several publications, marketing plus a course and much more), which meant I spent a lot of time in front of my computer. Incidentally, it’s a desktop PC and cannot be carried outdoors.

The kids have been on holiday for the last two weeks, and I tried to make amends and be a good example for them. One week we went horse riding on a pony farm we have been visiting for the last few years. By now, the kids are capable enough to go riding on their own (with a mobile in their pocket and us walking somewhere close). The days flew past so fast, I barely noticed.

One questions remains: How can it be that my garden is still a mess despite the time I spent outdoors?

How about you? Do you have a garden? Do you like to roam around outdoors like my kids (if they’re not throwing a puberty-related tantrum)? Let me know and enjoy the golden autumn.
Unterschrift

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“Hangover” — have you ever listened to the lyrics?

When I drove to the shopping center yesterday, I head the song “Hangover” by Taio Cruz on the radio. For the first time, I really listened to the lyrics and was shocked. There’s a boy singing about getting drunk and linking it. He’s even asking for more. No wonder that so many kids think that binge drinking is OK.

Why doesn’t anyone ever make a song that’s just as addictive (the music alone is wonderful and memorable)  about the dangers of alcohol? Why not devote a song to FASD-children who are born with severe handicaps because their mothers drank alcohol during the pregnancy (and it doesn’t even have to be much alcohol since the drug goes through the placenta unhindered and kills the fetus’ cells — mostly brain cells)?

These are the steps of drinking alcohol. Believe me, it’s not much fun at a party to have someone around like this:

Alien Happy Alien Sad Alien Wasted
 

Remember that it’s your body and it will have to last for a hundred years (best case scenario). And, what’s worse, your alcohol drinking habits will affect your children directly (FASD) or indirectly (“following in your footsteps”-mentality).

Rant over (for now),
my signature

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