Sunday, December 28, 2008

interim

Hi,

I am currently revising the second volume of my Waldmann-Family-Saga and -as a Christmas present- I already translated part of the first chapter. My friend Anke Waldmann who does a large part of the research, put it up both in German and English in her Advent-Calendar. If you want to read a sample check it out.

It will take me at least till march to finish the revision because I am also writing another YA Fantasy-novel that needs to be done by mid-January. Luckily there isn't much left to the first draft (only the show-down and that usually writes itself). And with the one-pass-revision I learned in Holly Lisles "How to Think Sideways" I'll get it done in time.

I hope you'll all make it to 2009 save and sound,
Cat

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas

Hi,

this year Christmas seems to be far away although it is but a few days to go. My children are fighting each other at every turn and nothing I do stops them. So I decided that Christmas should probably be without gifts this year. I wonder if that will make them understand that there is enough love for all three of them to last them a lifetime and more.

Also I caught a cold and find it hard to concentrate on writing. I am working my way through the revision of "Victors Wut" (Victor's Rage) and the more problems I find the less I want to keep looking. This isn't normal for me because usually I love revision. I love it when the bare bones of a story fill out to something other people might like. To get my passion back I translated the first chapter into English (It will be available for download in my friend Anke Waldmann's Adventcalendar on the 24th).

I also made myself a cover. I know that the cover it will eventually get will differ a lot from this one but I like it so much that I want to share:


With my participitation on How to Think Sideways drawing to an end (only a few more weeks to go) I realize that I am far more tired that I thought. I had planned to start writing another "33 mistakes"-book this month but decided to put it on hold till January. I will concentrate on the Waldman-revision and getting the first draft of "Thicker Than Water" (look at the "novel information tab) done.

So with all that in mind I decided to take a holiday from my Blog and my Homepages till January (I got 3: women in forestry, the German translation of "No Rest for The Wicked"-webcomic and my personal Homepage)

I wish all my readers a merry and blessed Christmas and a very happy New Year. I will see (read) you in 2009.

Cat

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Not much to say

Hi,

I finally got all the Christmas-presents. That is very late for me. Sometimes I have them as early as mid-September. Well, can't be helped and it is on time after all.

I am truly looking forward to see my whole family for Christmas. Last year my hubby had to work (sewage doesn't stop just because its a holiday) and so we stayed at home. This year, we are free to visit our families. The kids are very excited.

I wish you all the best for the last two weeks of advent.
Cat

Thursday, December 4, 2008

How to Think Sideways opens its gates II

Hi,

after winning NaNo I took a few days off to recover (and tidy up my house again). I will still need a week or two to truly finish my novel "Thicker Than Water" before I can return to the revision of my historical novel (eagerly awaited by some). One thing is for sure: had I but known all the secrets Holly Lisle shared with us during her course "How to Think Sideways" revision of my historical novel wouldn't be half as daunting. Here is a little video with Holly where she is asking some really important questions (if you want to write seriously that is):



If you are interested in the course look at my Homepage. I dedicated a whole page to How to Think Sideways and I threw a $3 gift-certificate for my "33 Mistakes ... About Mother Nature" into the bargain.

Never give up on your dreams,
Cat

Friday, November 28, 2008

I won!!


I finished the 50,000 words today and I cheated but little (I summarized the last few scenes). I will work the summarized scenes into real scenes in December but right now I don't have the time. The weekend will by very busy with family affairs. I'm so happy I made it and "Thicker Than Water" is such a lovely story to write. I loved the way the characters (for once) behaved the way I wanted them to and the storyline deviated but little from what I had planned. Even the length seems to be ok. If all scenes are expanded I think I'll end up with 60-65K which would be just fine for a YA.

I will now stop writing immediately and celebrate my finished first draft with my kids and my hubby with the leftover cake from my daughter's birthday. And than I shall sleep... and tomorrow I will go swimming and than I might sit down again to write some more. It's nice to know that there is no more pressure on my writing through December. I am looking forward to do a lot of cookie-baking, decorating, doing handcrafts with the kids and the usual stuff I do before Christmas.

I wish all of you a blessed advent, lots of fun, harmonic family life, no hustle at work and may all our dreams come true (as long as they are peaceful).
Cat

Saturday, November 22, 2008

worn out

Hi,

It took me a long time to find the other cool quote I meant to post. I'm so tired that I just couldn't remember where I put it. I only managed half of the words I wanted to do today but I'm not sorry. I needed a break and the story is still running smoothly.

Back to the quote. It's by Margaret Atwood and came with this week's NaNo-prep-talk:
"A word after a word after a word is power."
Reading that I got myself together and wrote 1012 words today from 4pm to 6pm. Very slow going - guess I'll go to bed really early tonight.

Keep following your dreams,
Cat

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

progress

Hi,

I am doing fine at the moment. My NaNo-project is coming up nicely, as you can see on the left (if you reload the page, that is) and my best friend is "shredding" the first draft of my historical novel (actually she is writing her criticisms in the margins). At the beginning of December I will pick up the pieces and start putting the whole thing back together hopefully ending with a better version.

First drafts are always messy. Sometimes they meander in directions that are just not what you wanted when you set out to write the novel. If this ever happens to you don't stop writing, don't go back to change things - make a comment (like: need x to go to y on page zz) and keep writing. Changing your text is part of revision. First drafts need to be finished before you can get to rewriting. It is as someone during NaNo last year pointed out: You can't revise an empty page (can't remember who said that but it definitely isn't from me - wish it was though).

Oh, and here is a little something for your amusement. Find out how accurate your vision is.

Have fun,
Cat

Thursday, November 6, 2008

surprises

Hi,

the last two month I hurried to get my first draft and the revision of the first 50 pages of the second volume of the Waldmann-Saga done only to discover -surprise, surprise- that the deadline for the contest I want to send it to has been extended to the 30th of March. Well, that just means that I will have more time for revision than I thought.

For those interested, my nanowrimo-novel surprises me even more. Last year I had big problems to manage the 1667 words a day. This year I am writing between 1800 and 2300 a day without problems - even without abandoning my family for days on end. The progress meter on the right shows how I'm doing - just in case anyone is interested.

My kids surprised me as well. Today they played without a single fight! Guess, I'll have to mark this day in my calendar. It doesn't happen too often.

That's all for now, I got to write some more,
Cat

Saturday, November 1, 2008

How to Think Sideways opens its gates

Hi,

Holly Lisle's "How to Think Sideways" course is now open for good. You have the choice of joining for a whole year (lessons every second week) or half a year (lessons once a week). This course is worth every penny I put into it (and it isn't very expensive either!!). Go, look at it. Look at the Eureka-board where current students wrote about their success - or just believe my word that taking the course helped me getting an agent.

Well, having said this I will now deliver the bad news ;-):
Since I am doing NaNoWriMo again this month my updates might become even more sporadic than they have already been. NaNo is a crazy month of novel writing, trying to finish a novel with a minimum word count of 50.000! That means that I will have to write 1.667 words a day without a break (or 2.500 words if I keep the weekends free for my family). With roughly 6 letters per word that makes ca. 6 (9) normed pages (30 rows at 60 letters is the German normed page). That is a LOT to write in one day!!

So keep your fingers crossed for me. I'll try to give my best.
Cat

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

caught up by the past

When I was a kid I read a book with weird stories. Included was a story of a man who turned out to be his own grandfather. Today I stumbled about this film:



Enjoy, it's really funny and really complicated.
Cat

Monday, October 27, 2008

milling

Hi,

in the historical novel I am currently writing (wrapping up the last few pages and getting started on the rewrite) I am describing part of a water-mill. Through my research I found a very well illustrated page (in German) with 3 little films (without words). If you are interested in stuff like that just click "Film" on this page.

Have fun,
Cat

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Query Letters

Hi,

most writers get to the point where they want to send their stories or novels to an agent or publisher. This is the time where they (me included) frantically search for advice on how to write a good query letter and an even better synopsis. Well, I did find a very good blog-post about how to write queries by Chuck Sambuchino. It is short and very helpful.

Enjoy your day,
Cat

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Back from a long week

Hi,

finally I am back from a week at my friends. We needed to get together to sort out some details of my historical novel and since she is doing big chunks of the research I need to see her sometimes.

When I came back I found a link to this article in my Inbox. It is a great outlook on how the book-industry in the US works and I suspect that it isn't all that different form Germany.

Sorry for not writing more. I'm really tired.
I'll write some more soon,
Cat

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hi,

As I said before, Holly Lisle's "How to Think Sideways" course will be open for a 1-week registration period from October 6th through October 13th, for a maximum of 200 students. I have posted all relevant information on my homepage. If you choose to participate using my link you will also get a special offer on "The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Mother Nature"

I hope I will see you in the forums,
Cat

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

tagged

Hi,

I've been tagged by another mother-of-three blogger.
Here are the questions that I had to answer (as truthfully as possible):

1. What are your nicknames?
Cat, because I’m a dog lover.

2. What do you do before bedtime?
I can’t remember that I had time for bed in the last few weeks.

3. What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD form?
A Czech Fairy Tale.

4. What is your favorite scent?
I have two: my husband and freshly cut wood.

5. If you had a million dollars that you could only spend on yourself, what would you do with it?
I don’t think I could enjoy so much money if I weren’t allowed to share it with those I love.

6. What one place have you visited that you can't forget and want to go back to?
The Isle of Colonsay, Scotland

7. Do you trust easily?
More often than not.

8. Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think?
Both in equal measures.

9. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
The death of my next-door-neighbor, a very close friend.

10. Do you have a good body-image?
What else would I need a digital camera for?

11. What is your favorite fruit?
Any fruit will be just fine.

12. What websites do you visit daily?
Holly Lisle’s Think Sideways Forum and the blog Pub Rants.

13. What have you been seriously addicted to lately?
Webcomics like No Rest For The Wicked (which I am translating into German), Phoenix Requiem, Inverloch or Pastel Defender Heliotrope.

14. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
A busy one since she is doing the same course I do. She won’t have much time for anything besides.

15. What’s the last song that got stuck in your head?
Hmmm, that has been quite a while ... lets see ... I remember some lyrics and the melody but not the title. It went "Everything is coming up roses".

16. What’s your favorite item of clothing?
Nothingness ;-)

17. Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy?
Weeeeelllll, my kids like them

18. What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground?
Step on it before someone can pull the string that’s attached to it

19. What items could you not go without during the day?
Something I can write on

20. What should you be doing right now?
writing

See you around in a few days,
Cat

Monday, September 29, 2008

Holly Lisle's "How to Think Sideways"

Hi,

First off, Holly Lisle's "How to Think Sideways" course will be open for a 1-week registration period from October 6th through October 13th, for a maximum of 200 students. I can't recommend this course highly enough. It not only is fun to do, it's also dead cheap. You get a lifetime worth of experience in half a year and you only pay $47 a month (or if you decide to do the 12-month course its $25 a month).

If you want do read some Eureka moments of the current students, you can go to the forum which is quite active. A big part of the fun in the course is to use the forums. Most people will help you if they can and you don't have to be active to learn from other peoples mistakes.

Since it would be too much to post on this site, I will soon post a link to a report that has many more details on the course. I'll also throw in a special offer. If you decide to buy through my affiliate link in the report you will be able to get my The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Mother Nature for $6 (you will save $3).

I'd be delighted to see you in the course,
Cat

Monday, September 22, 2008

nearing the end

Hi,

I wrote five pages of the second Waldmann novel today! It was a great feeling and I could have gone on for hours. But then life interrupted - as usual. I am not sorry about this. The kids are wonderful and the house does need some cleaning once in a while. Maybe I can sneak in some more writing time tonight.

Currently, I am writing a scene where one of those timber-frame houses has to be rebuild. I knew that it wasn't done in a day but I never expected it to be so much work. I was quite surprised by my research. I am having great fun getting the scene down on paper, including most of the details about the work. But it is harder than I thought to keep it interesting. I guess a fist fight and another burning house might just do the trick.

Enjoy your days.
Cat

Thursday, September 18, 2008

conflict and twist

Hi,

I wish I would find the time to do this more regularly. But the days have but 24 hours and I would need many more to get everything done. I had to catch up with all the house work that I didn't do when I was ill and I'm still not well enough to do it any faster.

Also I need to finish my historical novel by the end of this month because my friend will come to criticize. If I don't manage to get enough words written down she'll have nothing to do ;-)

Also, I started planning a new project that keeps me occupied. I might try to write it during the NaNoWriMo. If you haven't heard of it, it is a crazy scheme to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. To succeed my plot needs to be very well prepared or I will run into dead ends. I am not the organic kind of writer who just sits down and starts writing with most of the story still in the mist. I need to know where my story will take me. Of course, I am not overplanning either because then I would loose the fun in writing the story. Sometimes it is hard to find the right balance. Well, I got most of the plot nailed down (32 scenes with an average planned length of 2500 words should be enough) and all that's left to do is the basic research of times and places. That shouldn't take too long since it is not a historical novel. It'll be fun writing something else again for a change.

What I just learned is that for every scene I need conflict that drives the story forward. I also need many twists - especially since I am writing YA this time. Young readers usually are rather annoyed if the story isn't interesting enough. So I am learning trying this new technique I learned from Holly Lisles How to Think Sideways course.

If you are dreaming of a career in writing I can heartily recommend this course. I learned so many things from it.

OK, the kids are calling again.
That's me back to my duty (and my loved ones),
Cat

Monday, September 8, 2008

work is wonder

Hi,

I was down with a flue over the weekend and still find it hard to concentrate on the historical novel. So I decided to come back to my blog and share an amazing thing that happened to me Saturday night.

I was tossing and turning with fever and couldn't sleep, so I started daydreaming. All of a sudden, about 10 summaries for scenes to a novel that I am not yet working on (it is lined up to be next) appeared out of the blue (I mean out of the night-black). And they were still there in the morning when the fever was down enough so I could scribble them down on the next best piece of paper.

When I looked them over today I realized that they were better than I thought they would be. Very often things that I thought good when I was dreaming were less so in bright daylight but this stuff was different. Now I know where my next novel is heading to and that will make planning it a lot easier.

I count this as a success from a course I am currently taking: Holly Lisles "How to Think Sideways - survival school for writers". The course is currently full but I will let you know if/when new seats will be available. By the way, Holly is the US-author who also hosts a shop with my historical novel Ann Angel's Freedom as an English-e-book and my non-fiction The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Mother Nature.

I wish you a wonderful week,
Cat

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

back again

Hi,

Sorry for being so late. I was away on a seminar in Slovakia. As always it was very interesting and the people were friendly and welcoming. Add to that the wonderful landscape and lots of sun and you can guess how much I enjoyed it.

Since I didn't have much time to write I post a picture of an online-comic that I like to read if I have the time. The artist is really good!
It is called Fallen and was drawn by *artsangel who's got a page at deviantART:


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Working again

Hi,

I finally settled down to finish the historical novel (the sequel to my novel Ann Angel's Freedom). So far I had done all of the events that take place in 1848, the year of the German Revolution and I will have to write the flashbacks into the years 1810-1844 now. Just when I started I got my monthly writing-newsletter The Tempest (German only) and guess what: one of the biggest German paperback-publishers just started a competition to find the best historical novel. As if that isn't a sign...

Of course I will now focus on getting the first draft finished as fast as possible. I hope to polish the first 50 pages to the deadline and finish the rest of the rewrite before x-mas. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

Cat

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

it's a girl

Hi,

I am a bit late with posting but the last few days have been a bit more than I had planned. The most important thing that kept me from posting was the birth of my niece Maggy. Now all of my brothers have at least one child. I am ever so happy that the baby and her mother are well and healthy. Of course my brother is the proudest father ever.

Also I wrote two short-stories that might grow into another novel (as if I hadn't enough of them to start with *grin*). Holly's "Think Sideways"-course is really helping me to focus on my writing. Even when I am not writing I am singing and juggling ideas, scenes or contemplating research results. I feel wonderful.

It could be even better if there weren't more windows to clean before my middle daughter starts school next week ;-)

Cat

Saturday, August 9, 2008

you can fly, too

Hi,

I am currently taking a course by Holly Lisle called "Thinking Sideways - survival school for writers". It does help me a lot to concentrate on my writing. It has just started so I can't tell you much about it, yet, but I found a wonderful posting in the forum. It is by a woman called driftsmoke who lives somewhere in Texas. Here it is:

Anyway, the point of all this is (right on top of my head, see? Laughing ) that it's what you make of it. You love Texas and you feel like you've found your niche, so it's not a negative place. It's where you belong. (I'll tell you it's nice to see someone from "away" not complaining.) Texas is what it is, and that is part of what's cool about it, I think. I call it home because not only is it the only home I've ever known, but also because I wouldn't rather be anywhere else. I'll take it warts (i.e, heat, humidity, crazy rednecks, long drives, insane traffic, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, snakes, mosquitos) and all. These endless two lane highways and lonely stretches claim my heart and soul.

IME (in my experience), the writing is the same thing. It's what you make of it. I've found, personally, that I have to go to the writing--to take it warts and all. I'm not going to go into my little office and find a cup of steaming java and my favorite music waiting for me. I've got to open my mind, breathe in my muse, and start typing. And it feels so good once I start. It is another world, one where I set the rules and create the characters. That alone makes it my niche. I make it or break it; I do it or don't do it--every day. I treat it more like a job than the one I get paid to do because the writing is the job that saves me from myself, poverty of the soul, whatever you want to call it. When I'm writing, I am all I ever wanted to be. And that's enough.

Sometimes stepping into that thousand foot drop is the best thing you can do. You might just fly, you know?

Enjoy the day, it's so nice out there,
Cat

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

being 40

Yesterday I took my eldest, her friend and my nephew to a fun-fair park to celebrate my 40th birthday. We had so much fun getting wet that we didn't even mind the rain in the afternoon. Sunshine dried us fast enough after it.

I was surprised to see how relaxed my eldest can be when the two little ones aren't around. She was even cuddly. I sincerely wish I could have more time with her alone but with the grandparents living 150 km away that isn't easily done.

My current novel is close to the final rewrite and I started to think about new projects. I will write another "33 mistakes" until mid September and a novel set in a 1001 Arabian Nights setting for kids. I'll do some brainstorming over the next week and see what I will come up with. It's always interesting to see what my mind does when I'm not looking.

Keep writing,
Cat

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Help with Writing

Hi,

when I started to write there was nothing in the area of Creative Writing in Germany. Later, a few books were translated which helped me a bit. I read several good books in English and put up with an agency that also did classes for beginning writers. I spent a whole lot of money only to discover that the agency wasn't really interested in getting a publisher for my stories but to keep milking me for more money. So I quit! That was one of my best decisions.

Nowadays I do not fall for that any more. Whenever I try to contact an agent or a publisher in the US or UK I got to the website of Preditors & Editors to make sure they are decent. For German agents and publishers I look at the Uschtrin-site.

I still enjoy learning more about how writing works. Therefore I highly recommend Holly Lisles Writing Clinics. They provide easy step-by-step tutorials that helped my a lot in writing a novel.

I am currently doing the last rewrite of a Fantasy novel, so there isn't much to say about that. But as soon as I start on my next project I will tell you about the way I write novels. It might not be the way others do it and it surely is not the one and only right way. But it works for me and I would be delighted if it helps you along, too.

Cat

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bookrelease

This is a short film circling in the book industry recently. Since I am currently looking for ways to make people aware of my books, too, I found this extremely funny.

Enjoy,
Cat

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Welcome

Welcome to my Blog. This is the first time ever that I am writing one so bear with me if it isn't perfect, yet. I will do my best to provide you with something interesting, entertaining or worth knowing whenever I update.

So who am I? I am a mother of three kids living in a rural area south of Hanover in Germany. My husband is working hard to keep us going while I -although equipped with a PhD in Science- am not able to find a suitable job. So I started to turn my hobby -writing and telling stories- into a job, with some success. I have had several short stories published and my historical novel is doing well both in German (Engels Freiheit) and in English (Ann Angel's Freedom).

Just recently I had a non-fiction book published by Holly Lisle. "The 33 Worst Mistakes a Writer Makes About Mother Nature" is an E-book about Ecology aimed at writers who need to create worlds.

Currently I am rewriting a Fantasy-novel about Scotland and a sequel to my historical novel. I am also researching for another E-book in Holly Lisles "33 Mistake"-Series.

Have a nice day,
Cat