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.
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.
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:
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).
Wouldn’t the header for this post make a great title for a book? So, what happened?
On Tuesday, my day went haywire. First I went to a wonderful exhibition with my husband about a Roman/Germanic battlefield from 335 a.D. It was discovered a few years back and shocked the scientists since they had been sure that Romans had never been this far into Germany since Varus lost 3 legions in 9 a.D. The exhibition was great and we enjoyed it a lot.
Since it took us all morning and the lunch break too, to go there, look at it and return, we had given our middle daughter (12) a key so she could get in when she came back from school at 12am. Unfortunately, she left the key in the house when her friend came and requested her to help catch their sheep (4 of the herd had broken free from their compound).
We spend two hours waiting for the car service to come and open the door to my husband’s car (the key was in the house too) where we had a spare key to the front door. Of course, everybody was starving by then, so I had to cook and walk the dog (which had been in urgent need). Well, with shopping and a few telephone calls, the day was gone before I realized I hadn’t been on my PC at all. Strange feeling but not unwelcome.
Now, I’m back on track. The revision of my newest novel, “Juma’s Rain”, is nearly done and the first 50 pages are already translated. If all goes as planned, it will be available in the usual shops early next year.
Have you ever had a day like this? Tell me. I’m happy about every comment I get.
Yesterday, I was interviewed by Voice Over artist Katie Adler. Before the show started I wondered, “How will we fill a whole hour? I’m not really that interesting.” Man, was I wrong. Time flew by, and I even surprised myself with some of the answers I gave. Truth be told, you only get a good interview if the interviewer knows how to ask good questions. I had a lot of fun and highly recommend her site. She has this kind of podcast every first Sunday in the month (mine was a week late due to technical problems).
You can find the short stories I wrote (two 500 word flash stories) on Katie’s site:
Have you ever been to the Baltic Sea? I went very often when I was a kid. My father’s side of the family lived a long time in the (then) GDR, and he had friends that we visited every year. There was a forced money exchange of 25 DM per day and grown-up (1 DM for one GRD-Mark), children were a little less expensive. So, staying there for a fortnight with 2 parents and 4 kids was just as expensive as flying abroad would have been. But I gained some of my most favorite memories there (despite possibly spying neighbors). Those memories sparked “The Witches of Greenwitch”, the novel you can get for free if you join my no-spam mailing list. This is what it looks like (except these days there are many more people around, bathing in the sun or the sea).
I am officially leaving the day after tomorrow and will spend two whole weeks there with no Internet access (yay), no writing(boo), no husband (boo), my kids (yay), my brother (yay), his wife (yay), and his boys (yay again).
Unfortunately with the upcoming anthology, there was so much to do that I did not manage to schedule posts in advance. So you’ve got to live without me till the beginning of August. I promise to be back shortly after my birthday. I think I’ll post some pictures when I return.
I am doing the happy dance today. There were so many good things that happened today (and one unshared older news) that I just have to tell you.
Two of my short stories have been accepted for (paid) publication in anthologies in the US.
One story will be published in an anthology by Freedom Forge Press, the other made it into the “Think Sideways Writers Anthology” of writing teacher Holly Lisle. Isn’t the cover just awesome?
The Adventure of Creation Think Sideways Writers Anthology
Also, my Wattpad story “Swordplay”, a YA fantasy murder mystery, made it into the final round in “The Write Awards 2013”. This contest is looking for well crafted stories on Wattpad, and the competition was fierce. We started out with nearly 100 participants and have been narrowed down to 10 by now. Mid-August, they will announce the winner.
On the third day, I took most of my photos. There were so many beautiful and interesting things to see. First we visited Hailsham Grange, a former vicarage from the early 18th century with an incredibly wonderful garden. It is not very big but effortlessly merged the formality of British gardening traditions with wild growth and carefully selected color schemes. The owner and creator of the garden, Noel Thompson, graciously leads visitors through his domain and explains the ideas behind his garden. The visit is rounded off with tea or coffee. I was as delighted by the hospitality as by the beauty of the garden.
a formal area in front of the main house
a more natural area with a lovely spot to sit and enjoy the garden
Our next stop was Old Clergy House, the first ever house to be acquired by the national Trust of England (they paid ten pounds for it at the time). The house was built by a yeoman (small, free landowner for all non-Brits) and was later sold to the church as a vicarage. Inside, a woman in a traditional farmer wife’s costume explained about the architecture and answered all our questions. Outside, a glorious garden, much wilder than the other ones we had seen, surrounded the cottage.
I loved the old timber framing. It’s so different from the timber framing I know from Germany
Colorful flowerbeds surround the house
Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum)
Last but not least, we visited Hever Castle, where Anne Boleyn grew up. The more formal cut boxwoods cluster near the castle while the wild Rhododendron compositions spread out to the side in a huge park. There also is a lovely lake at the bottom of the garden with a Chinese pagoda. I marveled most at a poplar so wide that two people’s arms wouldn’t have been long enough to embrace it.
Hever Castle, the home of Anne Boleyn
Rhododendrons in bloom – most marvelous
I hope you still like my pictures because there’s two more days to go. 😉
Let me know in the comments where you prefer to travel to,
The second day was sunny, and I nearly got sunburnt. I didn’t expect that much sun in England, not in spring. 😉
The first stop was Sissinghurst Gardens, designed and maintained by a friend of Virginia Woolf. The different gardens around a central double tower impressed me.
Also, there was a room, called Virginia Woolf’s room, I very much liked. Guess why?
In the traditional cut boxwood hedges, countless Robins hopped around. Some were so tame we could entice them with breadcrumbs.
Later, we drove to Great Dixter. Those gardens were less formal, although there were also the typical flowerbeds framed with boxwood hedges. The combination of colors was most impressive. The strange houses in the picture are oasts (barns to dry hop). The top rotates in the wind allowing air to continuously circle through the barn.
Last, we visited the fisher village Rye in East Sussex. Originally, it stood right beside the sea. Nowadays, it’s nearly 2 miles to the coast. This incredible motorbike stood in one of the shop windows. It’s completely made of willow. An incredible piece of art!
On Friday, I’ll post more pictures. I hope I’m not boring you.
For the last week, I’ve been to Kent in England, GB. It was a wonderful trip. I have to say there’s a reason why it’s called “England’s Garden”. Also, I was lucky with the weather. The first few days were very sunny, and the rest at least dry. Only the last day was rainy, but since we spent it mostly indoors in Windsor Castle, it didn’t bother me at all.
Over the next week, I’ll post a couple of my photos to give you an impression of what it was like. I’m still sorting through my memories, trying to store the multitude of new ideas that flooded my imaginative mind. 😉
Look how close the cars (and we as travellers) were to the end of the ship.
If you haven’t seen the Cliffs of Dover, they’re well worth a visit.
On the first day, we visited Canterbury and walked around the Cathedral. After nearly 1000km travelling by car, it was a welcome break. I loved the way some houses were really, really twisted and wondered how that could happen. My Muse suggested that the houses would run around at night playing hide and seek with the Cathedral. When they return to their place, some are too tired to stand up straight.
I loved the Cathedral’s gardens best. Framed by the ancient masonry, they looked even more splendid.
I’ll post more on Wednesday and Friday, and hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I do.