Cosplayer Two

IMG_5517
The rear entrance hall seemed to be a point where cosplayers met because there were so many of them.

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This is what you waited for, right?

The first Cosplayers I found were busy doing things. Later, I found several who actually posed for me. Enjoy the costumes and feel free to share. The boys and girls put so much effort into their costumes that they’re quite happy to share them with the world.

cosplayer

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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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choking hazard

There were so many people on third day of the book fair (Saturday) that the corridors between the stalls were choking. Sometimes, it was impossible to move more than one tiny step every other minute. I missed two of the three events I had meant to visit this way.
As recompensation, many people were bored waiting for the cues to move and stopped at our stall to talk, grab some flyers, and buy books. Thus, I’m considering this day as the most successful.
At one point, I thought all my flyers had gone but then found one more cardboard box in my car with more flyers. I was quite relieved knowing there were some more for the final day. I just wish I’d found a spare set of feet in my car as well… 😀

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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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Guest Author: Vanessa Finaughty

Let me introduce you to Vanessa Finaughty, an Indie author from South Africa. She currently released the first book in her Wizard of Ends series.

Wizard of Ends is a fantasy novella series packed with adventure, magic, dark creatures, some life lessons and more. Today I have the pleasure to host Vanessa for the release of the second novel in the series: Dark Creature

Vanessa created a unique kind of magic and found that magic isn’t as unreal as wen might think. In the article below, she will explain her reasoning.

Modern Science and Ancient Magic are One and the Same Guest post by Vanessa Finaughty

Between 1543 and 1687, textbooks tell us, there was a 150-year window in which modern thinking transformed from magic and superstition to what we now call science. Many believe that modern science is, in fact, driven by cosmology and magical philosophy.

I think most of us have heard the hype about the Age of Enlightenment that many believe began on 21 or 22 December 2012. Why do so many believe we are now in this age, however, and what exactly can we expect if these people are right? Countless ancient texts across the world tell us to ‘awaken and remember’, and predict a time during which the ‘veil will be lifted’, bringing in a new world. It does seem as if science and spirituality no longer oppose each other as they once did. Not so long ago, most people believed that to believe in science was to lack belief in a higher power. Today, nothing could be further from the truth. Is it because the stars are now aligned to bring in the Age of Enlightenment, enabling our consciousnesses to rise to new levels so we can see the world through new eyes?

I believe that humanity has lost much ancient knowledge that we are slowly beginning to rediscover. Almost all ancient humans had vast knowledge of the stars and science, as is evident by ancient texts, hieroglyphs and other archaeological finds, such as ancient batteries and evidence that suggests the pyramids were once giant power generators.

In ancient times, science was called by other names, like alchemy, magic or sorcery. Whatever we call it, it is the same thing: knowledge sought by the same or similar means. Ancient alchemists and sorcerers were insatiably curious. Combined with their deeply philosophical outlook on nature, this enabled them to gain a greater understanding of not only our world, but the entire universe, thus empowering them to perform ‘magical’ feats like healing the sick. Ancient alchemists also had advanced knowledge of chemistry, consciousness, hypnosis and trances, and even other worlds that modern science is only beginning to understand via quantum physics.

I think part of the reason much of this knowledge was lost is due to religious institutes deeming it ‘evil’ and ‘of the Devil’, and thanks to human politics. This means that ancient scientists – or sorcerers, if you will – had to hide their insights in coded texts and symbols to avoid being labeled evil and condemned for it. An example of this can be found in Galileo, the father of modern physics and astronomy. Once he had discovered planets and gained knowledge of their orbits, among other things, he was ordered to go to Rome to stand trial for heresy, after which he was forced to spend his remaining days on this Earth under house arrest!

Many believe that another reason much ancient knowledge was lost is due to an ‘elite’ group of humans in power persecuting those who wanted to share this knowledge with all of humanity. These conspiracy theorists believe that all the persecutions were an attempt to prevent ‘the rest of us’ from benefiting from these ancient secrets, for, if everyone knew what the elite knew, the elite would no longer be elite and would lose the control they still have over the masses. I can’t say for sure, but this theory does have a ring of truth to it, don’t you think? Then again, some believe that Atlantis was real and Atlanteans were wiped out because they abused this ancient knowledge. If this is the case, perhaps the elite are trying to protect us from ourselves. This, too, could be true, considering humanity’s abuse of our advancements – using nuclear power to create weapons that could destroy humanity and Earth a few times over is a perfect example. Then again, it’s the said elite who wanted the nuclear weapons in the first place….

Modern scientists have not only done much research into ‘supernatural powers’ like human psychic abilities and remote viewing, but have made breakthroughs into tapping into these and other ‘magical’ powers. Modern science has proven that was once considered magic is real – real science! It’s been scientifically proven that almost anyone can be taught to project their consciousness to other places or times in order to view the goings on there. Of course, rather than teaching everyone who is interested, this knowledge is being used for espionage.

We have no way – currently – of knowing the ultimate truth. However, I believe that, one day, we will know everything ancient humans did and will once again be able to harness the full power of our universe. One day, life will once more be filled with magic. I just hope we don’t use it to destroy ourselves.

About the Books

cover artIn “Wizard of Ends“, book 1 of the series, Lashlor Leaflin, who is new to the Land of Ends, happens across two men abducting the Queen of Ends and is compelled to help her. Thus starts his magical adventure, leading to a confrontation with a deadly sorceress who believes the crown to be rightfully hers.

 

In “Dark Creature“, book 2 in the series, Lashlor finds himself trapped in the Mountains of Eclador with no way to help his queen, who will be forever trapped in the form of a dark creature if he does not return to Ends. To make matters worse, thinking the Wizard of Ends will not return from the mountains, King Lanaran Dragonsbane attempts to undo the curse on his wife – something Lashlor warned him against.

You can find more information about the author and her many books on her Author website, her Author blog, Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook. You can buy her books on Smashwords, iBooks and Barnes & Noble

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Freak’s Fun Friday: Tweaking Covers

Since I can’t afford to hire a top-of-the-art cover designer, I have to do my own covers. Since I was never quite happy with the results, but couldn’t say why, I took a course on how to create professional looking covers. It opened my eyes.

With only a few minor tweaks, my covers changed from good but not spectacular Indie covers to professional looking covers. Let’s take Scotland’s Guardians as an example. The artist I hired captured exactly what I wanted, and still the cover did not satisfy me.

Then, I tweaked it a little bit. The changes are barely noticeable if you don’t have the covers side by side. But the new version looks much more like I wanted it.

cover for Scotland's Guardians before / after

The best example of my learning curve (from when I started out 2 1/2 years ago) to now is Urchin King. The first cover is extremely busy and indicates historical novel rather than fantasy. Also, it has no color scheme whatsoever and not much to do with actions in the book. The second cover at least tries to show what the book is about (the royal twins). But it is clearly visible that the designer (me) was an amateur. Again, it didn’t even begin to hint at fantasy.

Urchin King old covers

The third cover is a little better, although it still doesn’t hint at the fantasy genre. For the fourth cover, I finally found the right piece of art. But even with a fantasy feel to the picture, the cover still didn’t look like one by a traditional publisher. The fifth and final version does.

uk-d

Let me know what you think. Can you deduct what I learned just by looking at the pictures?

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Get a free eBook

Judgement’s Tale vol. 2:
Strength of Conviction

My friend William L. Hahn releases his new eBook “Strength of Conviction” today. It is the second volume in the “Judgement’s Tale” series. To celebrate it, you can get the first volume for free until the 3rd of October on Amazon. Please help us spread the word.

About the Book

As the central kingdom of the Lands of Hope languishes without rule or reason under a worsening pall of chaos, most Children of Hope stand by and do nothing. The few who would dare are outcasts and strangers, either too high up, or too far inside, or still too young to help. Worse, all their scattered mysteries seem unconnected.

Treaman the Woodsman struggles to guide his companions through ensorcelled wildlands to safety. The poorest knight in the city prays by Conar’s statue for weeks without ceasing, as though his life depends on it. The young scribe Anteris copies histories for his master by day, dreams of adventure till sunset, and searches the stars by night for the riddle of his future. A noble Conarian heir seeks to join a lost legendary Order, putting his duty before his life. A gentle Elvish sage confronts the greatest of puzzles, the closed door barring the way to friendship with his greatest, and most dangerous pupil.

For Solemn Judgement, the Man in Grey, is learning that names are indeed important when he shows… Strength of Conviction.

Go and grab it, and if you like it, please leave a review and buy the second book too. He needs all the help you can give.

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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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Liebster Blog Award 2011