Strangely enough, the bookfriends I had were all from other people’s books. Among my favorites were Anne of Green Gables, Atreju from the “Neverending Story”, and Death from the graphic novels “Sandman” by Neil Gaiman. These days it’s “Boris and Olga” from a so named Steampunk-series by German author Selma J. Spieweg. There were many more since I’ve read thousands of books (two thousand of those are in my personal library), and most of them are still dear to my heart today.
The interesting fact about this is that aspects of them bleed into my own stories. That is not a conscious process and it’s not a copyright infringement if you’re worrying about that. What happens is that some aspects of the dear friends I used to have in books merge with aspects of people I know in real life (strangers, friends, and family) to become something new, someone new, someone who might one day become the bookfriend of another reader.
And that is the true power of stories, and something I find really, really cool!
Information about my current WIP:
The first novel in the new series I’m planning to write under my new pseudonym is thoroughly planned and the first few scenes are written. In the fist volume of “The Paladins” a dedicated healer, determined to eradicate death, falls for the Paladin of Death.
As the world might have noticed by now, the book fair in Leipzig, the biggest reader oriented book fair in Germany, has been canceled due to the Corona virus threat. To say I was devastated is putting it mildly. I’ve got boxes of new books, printed reading samples, flyers and more that I’d meant to distribute there.
Enter the community of German bloggers: in slightly over 10 days they organized several online events, written interviews, video recordings of readings or interviews, and much more. I’m still stunned.
I decided to move March’s “themed month” post a week forward (it’ll appear on the 22nd) and tell you some more about the generous support we got. Of course, participation was a lot of work, but I do think it was worth it. If you understand German decent enough, check out all the places I had the chance to present myself (as Katharina Gerlach or with my new pen name Leonie Joy) or my author group (Qindie):
– Yesterday I did a live online reading (To see me, you’ll have to fast forward the movie to roughly 1:40hrs and watch from there) from a soon-to-be-published short story (the only cat story I’ve written so far).
– I’ve got three pages on the fakriro LBMreloaded site. One for Katharina Gerlach, one for Leonie Joy, and one for Qindie. I was also tagged for a mini-interview.
– At 3pm, Julia posted something about my historical Romantasy “Juma’s Rain”.
– Kathis Lesewelt will present me and my tiny publishing company, the Independent Bookworm (a link will follow as soon as the post goes life).
– Soon, there will be memes from my book “Kissed by Fire” (German version) on ACs bunte Bücherwelt on FB and Instagram. I’ll post the direct links as soon as I get them. Meanwhile check out what else she has.
Well, genre is one of my big problems. Due to the fact that I’m interested in everything (aside from long-winded analyses of Soccer games and Documentaries about WWII [it’s not that I’m not interested in those, I just can’t watch them without getting nightmares for days]), a lot of subjects can be found in my books.
For example, I worked my love for Scotland’s mythology and all things Scottish into my book „Scotland’s Guardians“, and in „Juma’s Rain“, I added all the interesting facts I’d found about an African Stone Age culture called Nok. In the novel „Urchin King“, I used medieval Europe as a jumping point, and „Amadi, the Phoenix, the Sphinx and the Djinn“ features a lot of everyday life in Arabian countries.
There’s only one genre I like that allows for such a wide variety of interests: Speculative Fiction (Fantasy, SciFi, and Horror [if rarely]. All of my stories contain a core from our world, from my experiences. My favorite is adding bits and pieces of our history, because there are so many fascinating times to be explored. There’s a reason the word “history” contains the word “story”. The best part of history are the stores about the people living through it. Add a little fantasy, and you get very interesting novels.
If someone would have told me, I’d ever research history of my own, free will, I’d have laughed at them. 😀
Unfortunately, “common sense in marketing“ points out that it is only possible to make a living off your books if you stay true to one sub- (or sub-sub-sub)-genre and provide your fans with stories they’ve come to love (preferably in a series).
I do understand that (which is part of the reason I’m currently writing a potentially neverending Romantasy series under my new pen name Leonie Joy) but it won’t stop me from writing what I love, regardless how diverse. Of course, I’ll keep adding fantasy. I am pretty sure there are many readers who love to read more than one trope. How about you? Do you have a favorite genre?
Information about my current WIP:
Centennial Sisters is done (revised, and edited) and the cover is ready too. The first few scenes of my new novel (still without title) are written. However, I’ll be publishing all those stories a lot later under my new pen name: Leonie Joy (that reminds me that I’ll need a website for that too).
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!
Dave Wolverton/aka David Farland
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. 😀
The German bloggers of “Our Favorite Books” (Facebook and Webseite) had a genius idea. A whole group of authors and bloggers will each write monthly posts to the following themes:
Since I’ve had problems blogging regularly (blush), I promised myself to be active this time. At least once a month I’ll write something so you’ll know what’s going on. Aside from the themes posted above, I’ll inform you about where I am with my current writing project.
My posts will go life on the 15th of each month here on this website. This is not a New Year resolution (those always fail), but something I’ll do long term. I’d love to see you comment once or thrice because I enjoy feedback of every kind.
This year hasn’t been good to me. I’ve been out with an illness that was supposed to be a minor nuisance but turned into nearly half a year of convalescence. I did finish “High School Dragons 3: Crowned by Fire” (more on that later) and just got it back from the editor. Getting it published asap is my highest priority. At the same time preparations for the Indie Authors’ Advent Calendar are underway (this year’s theme: dragons!), as well as the preparation of my NaNo novel. You see, I’m very, very busy.
That doesn’t stop me from participating in the Storytime Blog Hop again. This episode will also be featured in one of the two Halloween episodes of the “Alone in a Room With Invisible People” Podcast (FB page is here). Check it out, it’s awesome. So without further ado, my whimsical story for the hop. I hope you’ll like it. As always, remember to visit the other participants (list below the story).
Edda’s Second Chance
Edda didn’t want to leave the afterlife to become an invisible friend. Not even the reward, a day of being human again, excited her. She only agreed after securing another boon.
As a slave, sex toy, and food tester for a rich Roman, she hadn’t enjoyed life. Her only fond memory was of his face, as he realized she’d poisoned the wine.
Grinning at the memory, Edda slipped into a little girl’s room. Only in second grade, Suzie already was victim to severe bullying. Edda wondered how she might help.
It turned out to be easy. Suzie was still young enough to believe in her. So Edda scouted routes, kept Suzie away from the two bullies, and encouraged her to learn Judo, which did wonders for Suzie’s self-esteem.
Halloween rolled around.
Since Edda didn’t feel like having a day off, she and Suzie devised a plan. In human form, Edda hid behind trees and followed Suzie as she and her best friend collected sweets. As expected, the bullies showed up soon.
Edda jumped out of her hiding place, grabbed the boys’ bags, knocked them over hard, and pretended to attack Suzie. As discussed, Suzie grabbed her lapels, and threw her over her shoulder. Edda dropped the bags and fled. Suzie handed the boys their bags.
After that, they protected her, and Edda was assigned a new case.
James father came home drunk every night, and James prayed half the day that he’d be too tired to hit his mom. But that hardly ever happened. Edda did her best to hide the three year old, but James’ mother’s screams found him everywhere. Every night, the boy fell asleep crying, no matter what Edda tried.
One day, she hid him in the garage under the car, and James climbed into the motor compartment. Something ripped and squirted oil, so she convinced James to hide someplace else.
The next day, his father had a car accident which kept him in the hospital for months. Unfortunately that saved his life because the doctors discovered a heart problem.
During his absence, James bloomed, making friends and even laughing. His mother, too, looked healthier and happier—until the day her husband returned and the beating commenced.
A decision grew in Edda’s heart. She could barely wait for Halloween. Rising early, she hugged James and told him to hide in the garden shed at nightfall. He complied. Then, she called in her second boon.
When the moon rose, she turned into the Grim Reaper—scythe and all—and knocked at the door of James’ home.
The father opened. Already drunk, he swore and staggered. “No party here.” He lifted his meaty fist to slam it into her face. With a laugh, she lifted her head so he could look under her hood into the non-existent face.
He paled, gurgled, and clutched his chest. With his family hiding, there would be no help. Edda walked away smiling.
Maybe being an invisible friend wasn’t too bad after all.
Sometimes, we’ve got emerging writers participating that don’t (yet) have their own blog. That’s when one of the organizers or participants hosts the new writer’s story. Here’s one by Rebecca Anne Dillon, a student of Holly Lisle’s. She normally writes very long family stories. Enjoy her story.
Very Thin Line
by Rebecca Anne Dillon
In 1869 on All Hallows Eve, ten-year-old Jasper Remington is dressed in a ghost costume, and has finished trick or treating on the streets of Ohio. He carries his little hessian sack with pennies in it, heading home… but he never arrives.
A hundred and fifty years later on All Hallows Eve, he is wearing the same costume, carrying the same sack, and he’s knocking on doors, still trying to get more pennies for his sack, but no adult can see him. However, at one house he’s seen by the family dog, Lady Penelope, who begins whimpering and shivering. When he moves toward her, she hides under the chair in the hallway and refuses to come out.
In that same house, ten-year-old William Remington comes downstairs wearing an old white sheet with eye holes and a mouth hole cut out.
“Mom, here is my costume!” he says, “Can I please take Lady Penelope out trick or treating?”
His mother smiles. “Of course.”
But it’s a ghost costume… and when Lady Penelope sees it, she goes back under the chair in the hallway, and stays there until William leaves with his jack ‘o lantern candy basket. She refuses to go with him. So William leaves alone, and trick-or-treats alone.
He has just left one front door with more candy when he sees a kid in a ghost costume like his with a little burlap sack sitting on the sidewalk crying. William asks the kid, “Why are you crying?”
The boy says, “No one opens the door when I knock. And dogs bark at me, or run and hide. Like your dog. When she saw me, she ran under a chair in your hallway.”
William sits on the sidewalk next to the boy so he can talk to him. He asks, “What’s your name?”
And the boy answers, “Jasper Remington.”
William says, “My name is William Remington. I wonder if we’re related?” And suddenly he realizes that he can see a bit of the sidewalk right through Jasper. The more he looks, the more he can see through the other boy. He whispers, “Grown-ups can’t see you, and Penelope is afraid of you, because you’re a real ghost…”
Jasper gets very angry. He doesn’t want to be a real ghost. But he’s happy that this one boy can see him. Can talk to him. Because the more he looks at William, the more Jasper realizes that he can see through William, too.
Jasper pushes up against William, and both boys blend.
Jasper can feel himself breath in for the first time in forever. He shouts, “I’m alive!” And he locks William way down deep, so deep he’ll never escape.
Because on All Hallow’s Eve, life calls to death, and blood calls to blood. And on All Hallows Eve, the very thin line between life and death merges.
I know you’ve been waiting patiently, and I appreciate that. I meant to publish the final volume at the beginning of this year but as you can read if you go to the older posts, that just didn’t work out.
But now, I’m finally able to sit again which means I’m working on the revision. During the time I spent on my belly (roughly from May till now), I translated the chapters I already had using dictation. That went fine, but revision is something that just doesn’t work with dictation. At least not for me.
After I stopped writing the first draft in November last year, I added sentences for the missing scenes so I’d know what needed to be written. Now I’m pretending that I already did write those scenes (7-8 in total) and started on the revision. Naturally I’m using my abbreviated version of How To Revise Your Novel for that since this book is a mess (unwritten scenes, missing clues that are needed for the ending, a superfluous character, and more).
But as my beta readers can attest you, I’m fast when it comes to revision (at least now that I’m more or less healthy again). Therefore I’m aiming for a release in late September. It’s a tight schedule, but I should be able to pull it off IF Murphy doesn’t throw some additional stuff my way (like the broken central heating that needed replacing and that is getting repaired today – grrr). So please don’t get angry should the book get delayed a little more than that. I’m doing my best, working as fast as I can.
As a thank you for your patience, I’m already showing you the cover and hope you like it as much as I do.
Whoosh … there went the time and it’s summer already. I did manage to get most of the final volume of the High School Trilogy written and translated and hope to finish the end this month. If all goes as planned, the release will be some time in early autumn.
But now, it’s time for the Storytime Blog Hop again. Don’t forget to visit the other participants (the list is below my story).
The Salem Witch Trials and what we can learn from them
by Amalia Tenner, class 4c
Witches have always been hunted and killed without good reason. In Europe the main time for killing witches was from 1550 to 1650, but America did not kill witches before the Salem Witch Trials – well, not many that is.
It seems that the people who initi started the trails didn’t want women to ride brooms and go to parties with men they didn’t know, in particular the deivl. They thought that atrocious, and I’ve often wondered why that led to the torture of 55 people and the killing of 20 supposed witches, mostly women.
So here comes my reasoning.
I’ve heard Pa tell Mom that he’d like her to ride his broom again, and she blushed and giggled. So it probably was something I wasn’t meant to hear. After some research, I found that “riding a broom” sometimes refers to the sexual act. Which is kinda strange because, you know, it also refers to using a broom to clean the house and to go flying through the air on an oldfashioend broom with a wooden brush.
So I think that during the Witch Trials, women and men were talking about different things. Men didn’t want their wives and daughters to have sex, especially not with people they didn’t know. But women wanted to clean their houses. After all, a dirty house isn’t very nice, especially if you wanted to invite neighbors for a party.
Conclusion (what we can learn):
We can learn that we should always be very clear about what we’re talking about. Misunderstandings lead to arguing and that can easily go bad fast. So better be careful what you say, or else…
Sandra Tenner put down her daughter’s homework, wiping tears of laughter from her eyes. Then she pointed at the stapled sheets and spoke a Word of Command. The piece of lined paper with the round writing obediently vanished and reappeared in Amalia’s school bag beside the table in class.