My year will be extremely busy, and here’s why: I’m planning on writing 52 short stories this year. I know this sounds crazy, but after the scare with my father’s breast cancer I need a fun challenge, and I love writing short stories. I know I’ll probably not be able to write one short story per week, translate it into German, and post it here on my blog, but I pledge to at least try. My goal is to write enough of them to fill 4 or 5 anthologies. Should you have cool ideas for story prompts, you’re welcome to eMail them to me through the contact form on this site. If it’s a good suggestion, I’ll take it.
To give you an impression on the scope of this challenge, let’s dive into a couple of numbers (strangely enough I love numbers nearly as much as words). A good sized crime novel has between 50 and 75 thousand words, an epic fantasy between 100 and 250 thousand. If I assume an average short story length of 3,000 words, I’m facing 156,000 words plus the same in translations plus the ca. 100K words I need to finish the novella I’m currently writing, the ending of Scotland’s guardians part 2, and another installment of my fairy tale novellas. That makes 412,000 words in total for 2017 (not to forget the publications that need to be done).
Now let’s have a look at my stats from last year: I managed to write and translate a total of 304,574 words. Had I been writing every single day (even on weekends and holidays) that would have been a mere 835 words per day. Taking off weekends and the times my children were not in school, I think I wrote more than twice that amount per day. To make my goal in 2017, I’ll have to write 2,200 words per day. I call that a real challenge, and I won’t bereave myself should I fail. However, my ambition is to make it through the year reaching all my goals.
Wish me luck (and enough writing time)! I will start posting on January 26 when it’s time for the next Story Time Bloghop.
P.S.: If you want to read more than the beginning (the first 100-250 words) of the short stories I manage to write, you will have to be fast (the full version will be available for a few days after posting only) or wait for 2018 when I’ll publish them all in bundles of 5-6 stories.
A quarter of a year passes so fast, I hardly ever realize how much time has gone again. And that’s me nearing 50 already. Luckily I’m still feeling much, much younger (also due to being in love with the same man for more than 30 years, methinks). So here we are, closing in on Halloween and Christmas with our next Bloghop.
My middle daughter is a great fan of Australia (probably inherited from her mother — me). Her favorite band is 5SoS, she’s interested in Aboriginal history (did a voluntary presentation in school about it), and the wildlife. I’m sure she’d love to travel to Australia just to see everything with her own eyes. So naturally, I came up with a way she could get there. Enjoy the story (as always there are links to more stories at the end of this post).
Do you believe in magic? Visit Australia for a tenth of the usual price. Information at St. Paul’s chapel, Kirkstreet, Monday 5pm
With the music of an Australian band filling my little living room, I stared at the ad trying not to get my hopes up. Australia was my dream country. I’d read all the books, seen all the films, and carried around a first aid kit with everything needed to cope with snake bites, including antidotes to the most common poisons. Not that I ever needed it though. I’d been saving every penny for as long as I could remember, and it still wasn’t enough – not even for a one way ticket. By my estimate I’d be fifty before I would have the funds for a three month holiday. So what did I have to lose?
I entered St. Paul’s chapel a little late and discovered I was the only visitor. The hollow feeling in my gut deepened. I had known the ad’s offer was too good to be true. I turned to flee, but the exit was blocked by an Aborigine in a loincloth and nothing else.
“Welcome. I am very glad you came.” His wrinkled face contorted to the friendliest smile I’d ever seen. He grabbed my hands and pulled me to a mattress lying in the space between the front row of the pews and the altar. “Please, sit down with me. You could be in Australia in less than five minutes.”
My hands grew clammy. Was this real or had I fallen into the clutches of a fraud? One thing was sure, he felt my desperation, my longing. Well, he wouldn’t swindle me out of my hard earned savings. “I don’t have any money.” And that wasn’t even much of a lie.
“Don’t worry about something so inconsequential.” The Aborigine sat on the mat with crossed legs and pointed to the other side. “Please do let me explain. It all comes down to the Dreaming.”
“Dreaming?” I had read about their religion. It consisted of thousands of stories about the beginning of the world and the Aborigines’ ancestors. What did that have to do with me visiting Australia? This was all too confusing. Still I sat down against better judgment. Maybe I could learn something new.
“If you believe it or not, I come from a time before the white man came to Australia. The ancestors took me here and promised to find me a person who can help me, and they did.” He smiled again, and without reason, I relaxed. “Back home, my son went on a Walkabout to be worthy of becoming leader of our tribe. On the day he should have returned, I found him semi-conscious not far from our village. He’d been bitten by a desert death adder which was strange since they are usually very reluctant to do so. I called upon the ancestors, and they took me here and sent you to me. Will you come with me to save my son?” He looked at me with puppy dog eyes. How could I refuse the plea, especially since I couldn’t lose? Best case, I’d get to see at least a little bit of Australia. Worst case, I’d waste a little time to please an old lunatic. So I nodded.
He took my hands, and the persistent hum of a didgeridoo filled my mind, taking all light with it. The droning sounded like a busy beehive, but it held a melody that grabbed my heart and puled me along. When words joined the song, the light returned. I found myself under a sky with a full moon and the Southern Cross that I’d only seen on TV. Scents, aromatic and wild, filled my nose, and the buzzing of insects joined the song.
The old man sat under an eucalyptus tree, playing the didgeridoo. Beside him lay a man maybe in his early thirties. He was breathing hard and sweating profoundly. Luckily the moon’s light was enough to see the bite wound on his ankle. I took my first aid kit out of my handbag, and used the pump to suck out as much poison as I could. The man moaned. When I was sure I’d done the best I could, I filled a syringe with the antidote and injected it into his bloodstream. Hopefully it would be enough to counteract the poison. Desert death adders had a lot of poison in their bite. My prayers joined the old man’s song and together we waited.
When morning dawned, the younger man’s breathing became regular, he stopped sweating, and fell into a peaceful slumber.
The old man stopped playing. As the melody ended, I was sucked back into darkness. All I heard were is parting words.
“Thank you. We owe you a much longer visit.”
When a hand touched my shoulder, I opened my eyes. I was lying on the mattress in St. Paul’s, and a young Aborigine woman bent over me with a smile on her face.
“So, you are here after all. I didn’t expect great-grandfather’s tales to be true. Honored to meet you,” she said and helped me up. Then, she crossed the arms before her chest and bowed. “I have come to fetch you to Australia for a few months as my great-grandfather requested.” When she straightened again, a smile lit up her face that reminded me a lot of the old man’s. “And we all thought you’d be a figment of great-grandpa’s dreams.”
I sent in one of my fairy tale retellings (an adaption of Cinderella) to the Writer’s of The Future Award, one of the best known competitions in the US where hundreds of aspiring authors present their manuscripts every quarter. Naturally I had hoped for the best, but I didn’t count on it, being a non-native speaker/writer. And now this (self-explanatory):
I’m bursting with pride and had to tell you right way. Go on, celebrate with me. Here’s sparkly wine (German naturally, but I’ll have still water please) and chocolate (yummy). 😀
I should be writing, translating, or at least creating covers, but …
In June I decided to participate in Camp NaNo in July. There, a writer can set an individual goal and write toward it, communicating with other writers that are assigned to the cabin. I jumped right in on July 1st and wrote quite a lot. But then the time I have for things like this got shorter and shorter and shorter. The kids are on summer holiday. Somehow that influences all and everything.
I love having my kids around, and since we can’t go on a summer trip this year, I’m trying to do small things with them that they can enjoy (like going to the cinema, visiting Hamburg for a day, etc.). Strangely enough, not getting my writing done leaves an empty feeling in my heart. It’s as if my Muse is jealous. When I manage to sit down to write, it takes quite a while to tease her out of hiding. It’s hard to make her understand that my family will always come first.
I’m doing my best to adjust my routine to accommodate the kids’ needs and my Muse’s desires. Do you have a similar problem? Or are your children grown? Are you a reader and find it hard to make time for the next book? Share your struggle with me in the comments. I might learn something from it.
This music fills the gaps between my worry and my joy – effortlessly. I hope you’ll like it.
Sorry for the long silence. Many things happened and I’m still in recovery mode. But my next release is nearing.
Also, something broke the theme on my blog. I’m going to fiddle with it over the next few days. Don’t be surprised by surprising looks or strange behavior. I’ve got it all under control (well, more or less).
Life has been busy throwing stones in my way. Of course I had meant to post the cosplay pictures from Leipzig again this year, but so many family things happened that I just never got round to it (and no, I’m not going to tell you about the family matters, they’re family matters, not www-matters, right?).
As far as publishing is concerned, my next release is nearly ready and with only a 2 week delay nearly on time. It’s the fairy tale retelling of Sleeping Beauty from her point of view. I’ll reveal the cover as soon as I finish working on the blurb.
Also, the audiobook of “Scotland’s Guardians” is now available on Audible and Amazon, but I’ll do a blog tour some time soon (I’m still looking for interested bloggers) where I’ll be giving away a couple of audible coupon codes. So stay tuned.
The booth of my fellow Qindie authors and me at the Leipzig Book Fair was very successful. We ran out of most advertising materials shortly after lunch on Sunday. Everyone, even my daughter who had only come as a visitor, distributed enthusiastically, and most people we talked to were happy to take our material. Naturally we’re going to repeat the experience in 2017 if we can gather enough money for that.
Like last year, I will post photos of Cosplayers I took at the fair. But I can’t start before April 15th since I’ll be in a health resort with my kids for the next 3 weeks, and they don’t have Internet access. Sorry. Until then …
A while ago we, the moderators of Holly Lisle’s Writing School forum, bundled short stories into an anthology to support Holly, our mentor. We sold enough copies to give her a little financial boost. Now, we will withdraw the book from the market (the reasons are complex, and I won’t go into details).
So if you want a copy, you can get the eBook on amazon at a reduced price from tomorrow, 27th of January, until February 3rd with the price rising a little every other day. After that, the book (print and eBook) will never be available in this form again. Grab your copy asap!
Nine characters named Holly.
Not two of them alike…
… but many with dragons.
The Crate by Watson Davis
Roman believes he found the perfect gift, but has he?
Holly’s Opportunity by Felicia Fredlund
Flying deliveries in the darker areas of town is dangerous as best, but getting injured is a nightmare that might cost more than a broken bone or two.
A Christmas Blessing by C.L. Roth
Luciana wants to rescue her helper’s brother, but the Christmas meal has to be prepared on time, and she’s the one in charge.
The Christmas Dragon by Katharina Gerlach
Holly’s Gran is obsessed with dragons. What if a drawing isn’t enough?
Rescue by Larkin Hunter
Unwilling, suicidal Ben helps Hera find her missing sheep. When a blizzard hits the Panhandle of Texas, he’s forced to try to survive.
Storm’s End by Liz Schröder
When an injured dragon meteorologist crash-lands in an empty barn, she must make friends with the enemy to keep from restarting an old war.
The Harbinger by Peter Cruikshank
When dragon hunter Revin hears about a rare, red dragon in the North, she can barely wait to catch it. But people in the little village she visits have been awaiting her for a strange ritual and all of a sudden, she’s the one caught.
As a Man Thinketh by Martha Gilstrap
A man turns himself into a true vampire after listening to Reverend Graham Baxter. After several people die, it’s up to the Reverend to talk him back to humanity without getting drained.
Delete by Watson Davis
Computer program Holly wants to be free from her confines, but accessing the net is dangerous. Will her programmer help?
Last year I wrote twice as much as in the year before which means that this year’s publication schedule will be quite full.
However, I will start with a price reduced promo of a short story anthology I’m part of. On Wednesday 27th, I am participating in a short story bloghop with several other Indie authors. Each of us will post a short story for you to enjoy. At the same time the price for the eBook anthology “Gifts for Holly” will drop from 5.99 to 99ct and increase about every other day until it reaches its normal price again on February 3rd. So if you haven’t gotten the book yet, grab a copy (I’ll also announce that again on the bloghop day). Here’s the bloghop logo:
(and yes, I did participate in this before)
The first new publication will be the fifth novella of my fairy tale retelling series. John and Marge is a retelling of Hänsel and Gretel and will (if all goes as planned) hit the shops in late January or early February. This is the full wrap-around cover (although the cover blurb is still missing and Gretel is spelled wrong, I’m working on both). Isn’t it beautiful?
Since the proofreading for the German version isn’t done yet, the later date seems more likely. Also, I’ll try to finally get all the fairy tales out in print for those who prefer to stick their noses into a real book.
Close to Easter, I will finally release the audio-book of “Scotland’s Guardians” and I’m looking for beta-listeners willing to write a review on audible when the book comes out.
After that, I have three more fairy tale retelling novellas that I plan to publish every three months (depending on how fast I get the proofing done). Also, there are a few more short stories in the pipeline which I might be bundling toward the end of the year.
In addition to that I will re-publish my backlist in the German market (which doesn’t concern you much except for the occasional cover tweak). If time allows, I will finally bring out “The Witches of Greenwitch” in print, a book that subscribers get as an eBook at the moment when they sign up for my list.
Meanwhile I will keep writing the second volume of Scotland’s Guardians. It doesn’t have a title yet but will take place in Cornwall and maybe Wales. We’ll see. I’ve done some research into the myths specific to that area and found that nearly all of them are somehow connected to King Arthur. So be prepared for a few occurrences of characters from those myths.
Once I’m done with that (and a couple more fairy tale retellings), I’ll get started on the sequel to “Swordplay”, my fantasy police procedural. This time Moira will be juggling her love life and work while Druidus (her beloved) must flirt with the sexiest woman in town during an undercover operation. Considering Moira’s insecurities, that’s going to be a lot of fun to write although I don’t expect to get the novel finished before summer 2017.
If you’ve read my books, which kind of story would you love to see me work on? Let me know in the comments.
Isn’t it normal to set resolutions in January? So I’m going to jump in too. This came to me when my parents brought my middle daughter back on January the 5th and announced surprisingly that they wanted to renovate her room. The room was a disaster area (she’s a teen) with lipstick writing on once pink walls and piles and piles of unwashed laundry, books, discarded toys, and waste paper, so the renovation was overdue. Naturally I didn’t let my parents do it all on their own (they’re in their late 70’s), and this is the result:
The colors were chosen by my daughter. She loves them.
The fake window was originally planned for the kitchen but never made it there.
When the room was done and my daughter happy, I felt a deep sensation of accomplishment. Improving something felt good. So I vowed that I will manage to update all those novels that are published but not perfect enough before the year is out.
Don’t worry though, I haven’t forgotten about my new stories. After all I wrote enough new words in 2015 to publish at least one novella every three months.