Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Goals


The New Year is approaching fast, only a few hours left, and I need to get clear on my goals. I read a blog post by Jeff Ambrose today and was stunned by his numbers. He plans to write 600,000 words next year!

I write 500 words an hour on average, and I work from 8am. to 1pm. Monday to Friday. Still, I couldn't make those numbers. First, he didn't schedule time for revision – my novels need revision, plenty of it. That would half my writing time easily. Next, he didn't take into account all the time Indies need to promote their published novels (blog posts, twitter interaction, trying to connect with readers) which also takes away from my writing time. My tax papers alone will eat up at least one week of writing.
So I sat down and calculated the number of words I could write in an average year taking into consideration the need to let people know my books exist, the time my kids need from me, administrative duties, walks with the dog, and everything else that comes up for me to handle. The result still surprised me. In an average year, I should be able to write 250,000 words!

After digesting this number, I decided to put this to the test. I've got 4 novels finished in German with roughly 295,000 words. They don't need more revision, only translation. So my goal is to translate as many of the novels my agent thought good enough for publication but couldn't place here in Germany. I already finished half of "Amadi, the Phoenix, the Sphinx, and the Djin" (ca. 35K). When that's done, I'll tackle the other novels. Also, I want to finish my African themed YA Work in Progress and the revision of "Chasing the Grimm Reaper" before March.

If I manage to finish translating them all by the end of the year despite my other commitments, I will email Jeff Ambrose and eat crow. I wouldn't mind at all because that would give me six novels to publish before 2012 is out. I'm skeptical to say the least, but I'll try my best to do it.

What are your goals?

Friday, December 16, 2011

What I learned compiling an anthology

Wow, putting the "Campaigner Challenges 2011" together as eBook and POD book was more work than I had anticipated. So far, I've sold 14 eBook copies on Smashwords, 37 eBook copies on Amazon, and 35 POD copies through Createspace/Amazon. With that, we raised roughly 180,-USD so far (there is a bug in Smashword's spreadsheet so I can't see the exact royalties yet. I hope they'll solve that soon).
I learned several things through this.
  • I'm not good at line editing; I missed too many mistakes. That means for me, I'll have to hire an editor for my own books.

  • People, no matter how willing, don't follow guidelines. I don't think there is anything I can do about this though.

  • PoD books sell just as well as eBooks. Therefore, I will publish "Urchin King" as a PoD book soon.

  • Putting together an eBook in a day is easy if you know what to do. I recommend following Guido Henkel's eBook formatting guidelines. Once you've created a clean HTML file, you can easily turn it back into a Smashwords compatible word-document (see below if you're interested in the details)

  • People are generous. I've had 81 participants donate 176 stories in total. An amazing number. Thank you!

  • I love doing this. If I find the time to participate next year, I might do it again – but then with another person who's good at line-editing.

Regardless the obstacles, I am proud of the result. Of course, I wouldn't mind more sales. After all, Harry Moseley's cancer research charity is a worthy course, but every dollar counts. I'm grateful for the support I got from my fellow writers and other people, which is a gain for me too. Next step is to put CC2011 up on rabmad, and return to my regular revision.

I'll do that after Christmas. Enjoy the season,

P.S.: Cross posted on both of my blogs
P.S.S.: Instructions on how to turn the HTML-file into a document with MS-word:
  • Open the HTML-file with a normal text editor (e.g. notepad if you're using Windows).

  • Add the following in the first line of the HTML-file

    < html xmlns:o="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" xmlns:w="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:word" xmlns="" >

  • delete this expression < html >, save the file, and close it.

  • Open the file in word.

  • Use the menu item "File" -> "Save As…"

  • Select "doc" as file-type and save the file.

  • If you now select "View" "Page Layout" (or something like that), you will see what the file will look like as a "normal" Wordfile

I hope this helped.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

short notice


this is just a short notice to let you know that "Campaigner Challenges 2011", the charity anthology for Harry Moseley's charity, is now available in print too.

I'll be back with my NaNo experiences and other tidbits next week. At the moment, I've got a cold, a Mount Everest of laundry to fold, and a house that urgently needs scrubbing -- the usual post-NaNo chaos.

Have a great day,

Monday, November 14, 2011

More for Charity


I "stumbled over" an eleven year old boy who taught me how much can be achieved by doing small steps every day persistently. His name was Harry Moseley, and he passed away peacefully in his mother’s arms on Saturday 8 October 2011 at 11.10pm. The most amazing thing about Harry (in case you haven’t heard yet) is that he single handedly raised over £85,000 (that’s roughly 137,000 USD) for brain cancer research by fund-raising and selling hand-made bracelets. Awed by this boy who looked death in the eye but who was determined to enjoy every day, I decided to raise funds for people in need too.

During Rachael Harrie’s Campaign, I had read many really great flash fiction stories, so I came up with the idea to collect them into an anthology. Rachael and I issued the call, an lo and behold, many participants answered. It was a lot of work to sort the stories, streamline the layout, insert the lin to the author’s blogs, and create as well as publish the eBook, but I finished today. We can now proudly present to you “Campaigner Challenges 2011″.

buy at: Smashwords, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble (link will follow soon)

Please buy a copy and tell as many friends about this as you can. All proceeds will go to "Help Harry Help Others" to fund more research on Brain Cancer.

Go ahead, it's only 1.7ct per story (2.99USD in total).
Read a book, make a difference!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

grab a copy


Christmas is approaching and with it the time of baking, and the time of helping others. With the Charity Cookbook Sweet Sunshine, you can do both in one go, AND you can have fun too. There are many short stories spread throughout the book, the recipes are great, and (best of all) there are childhood memories of featured authors (me too ;-) ).

I highly recommend this book because all proceeds will go to to the Sunshine Foundation of Canada. Also, for the time until Christmas, the price is less than 15USD!

Recipes include; Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Desserts, Fudge & Smoothies!
Have a sweet time,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful For... Little Dott


today, I'm taking part in a contest by Beth Revis (yes, that Beth Revis). She is giving away 19! books -- and I'm not only a bookworm (Independent to be precise) but also a book-pack-rat. I've got nearly 2000 books on long shelves in my attic, half of them are in English. I'd love to win those books.

For obvious reasons (I read my way through 3 libraries as a kid), it's hard to pick a favorite. There are so many I loved, and you probably won't have heard about half of them. But when I sat down to think about it, I realized it had to be "Die wunderbaren Fahrten und Abenteuer der kleinen Dott" by Tamara Ramsay.

In a magical night, willful Dott disobeys her parents and follows them for a dance around the bonfire. She leaves her younger siblings unattended although one is ill. When they show up at the fire looking for their parents and Dott, she wants to confess but everybody ignores her. She finds out that a magical flower fell into her shoes and made invisible to all she loves. As compensation, she understands the language of animals who tell her to look for the goddess (I forgot her name) who might be able to help. She makes many friends on the way (mostly animals), discovers ancient times (through dreams and/or time travel), visits many of the most beautiful cities and landscapes in Northern Germany, and learns a lot about animals and their way of life. When she finally returns home, she has changed from a self centered girl into a caring, open minded young woman.

I adore this book and re-read it on a regular basis. Not only does it depict some of my favorite spots in a part of Germany that's not half as well known abroad as Bavaria, it also teaches many things without being preachy about it. I love the way, Tamara Ramsay interweaves story, history, and science into a magical tale. I know how the book ends, I can see her friend the boy playing his violin happily after he broke his curse, but I still get lost in the pages and discover new things with every read. This is exactly the kind of book I want to write. Entertaining, emotional, and educational -- but never boring.

Do you have a favorite book like this? Why don't you participate in this contest too? No, don't I want to win all the books!!!

Have a nice day,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What’s worth most?


When I started to write, I didn't think much about whether people liked what I wrote or not. I had to get the stories out of my mind. But as soon as I reached the point where I decided to have a career not a hobby, I looked at published stories in my genres. Yes, there were moments when I thought 'How could they publish this rubbish' but more often I wondered why no publisher brought anything different from what was there.

Then, J.K. Rowling proved to publishers that readers do read stuff that's different and filled with new ideas. I thought everything would change now -- far from it. Again, publishers were chasing trends, this time in Fantasy. My (enthusiastic) agent has offered five different manuscripts to German publishers, and even when the editors liked it, we got a polite "No thanks, it's too different/wrong time" (depending on the genre).

Frustrated, I began to hone my English and started writing my stories in my second language. Lo and behold, I got recognized. Readers of samples, flash and short stories told me they loved what I did. I even got shortlisted for two awards. So, when the eBook revolution opened a whole new set of opportunities, I took my chances. My first eBook "Urchin King" sells slowly but continually. I'm not earning millions, but I get feedback from readers who love my story. This pushes me to write faster, so I can publish another one soon.

Sometimes at night, I am wondering. I read an online article recently where an author's contract was canceled because she self-published with amazon. Would it have been better to wait for "The Deal"?

I don't think so. Sure, I'd have gotten a lump payment up front but what then? I'd have to start writing my stories the way my publishers want, and if readers need time to find me and connect with me, traditional publishers won't give much time to me. They pulp books if they don't sell fast enough. Where does that leave the midlist and the longseller?

What do you think? Are authors better off on their own? Or with a traditional publisher? Or is a mix of both the best option? I love the independence eBook publishing gives me, but I'm not fully set against tradition publishers. After all, money is tight in these times.

Tell me your opinion.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

hey-ho... holiday


for the next two weeks I'll be away. My kids are on holiday, and we'll go horse riding the first week. I'm not sure if I'll get much writing done but if I look back, I wrote and revised two 35K novels and wrote a 60K non-linear novel this year. With NaNo still ahead of us, I think I could call this a successful year.

I scheduled two posts over on my homepage blog. The one that goes up on the 21st is my entry for Brenda Drake's "Can you leave us breathless" Blogfest, and it's a snippet from my current RiP (revision in Progress). The one that goes up on the 24th is my snippet for a "Choose Your Own Adventure Bloghop" started by Kerri Cuevas

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

your last chance


remember how I have been gushing about Holly Lisle's courses "How to Think Sideways" and "How to Revise Your Novel"? Well, she decided to stop teaching. She'll close all her courses the way they are now for good and turn them into eBook self-teaching courses. I understand her very much, after all, her passion (like mine) lies in creating stories, not in teaching. I respect her decision, but I thought I'd let you know that if you act before the end of January 2012, you can still join the courses the way they were meant to be (and get lifetime access to the incredibly helpful forums as well).

I'm not urging anyone to take the courses but I highly recommend them. They taught me all I ever needed to know about writing. Even my German agent agreed that my stories improved considerably. Also, I don't re-write half as much as I used to -- not due to laziness but because there are less faults to start with. Do yourself a favor, join the courses. The pricing is reasonable (maybe give yourself a nice x-mas present).

For me, "How to Think Sideways" and "How to Revise Your Novel" are the best writing courses I ever took, and I only wish they had been around years earlier. They would have saved me a lot of sweat and work.

Enjoy the autumn,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's finally out there.


I am so excited, I could burst. My first English eBook, "Urchin King", is available at Smashwords. Amazon will take another day to put it up on their site, and Barnes&Noble refuses to take clients from outside the US. So I'll have to wait for Smashword's premium distribution to get my book up on their site.

I you're interested in reading a story about a teen-aged boy who grew up on the streets and has to stand in for his twin brother, the crown prince, head over to Smashwords and get it. I promise, there is magic in it, a whiff of medieval Europe, and some likable characters.

Thank you for being interested,

Sunday, October 2, 2011

On October the 4th, my husband's birthday, I'll take my first step toward Indie publishing. "Urchin King", my first novel, is roughly 71K words long and will be available at Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble. I'm terribly excited.

For fourteen years, street-urchin Paul's miserable existence has kept him safe from an ancient law that sentences all second-born twins to death. When he learns he is the younger twin of the mentally handicapped Crown Prince who's in danger of being killed for his disability, he agrees to play the role of the miraculously healed royal heir. Paul struggles to learn how to act like a born ruler, but finds that his greatest skill, getting by unnoticed, is now his greatest liability. He knows if he is discovered, he will be executed like all second-born twins.

No, I didn't realize that this story's beginning resembles "The Prince and The Pauper" which I read ages ago in school. I only noticed when someone pointed it out to me. But the resemblance of the ragamuffin turned king is vague at best. In "Urchin King", the main character Paul, a second born twin, shouldn't exist due to a brutal law. And the story has got magic in it, a sorcerer with a vengeance, and an unpredictable evil spirit. To add authenticity, I included many details about everyday life in Europe during the Middle Ages. I hope you will like it.

I entered this novel 2010 under its former title "Thicker Than Water" to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's Colorado Gold Competition and was shortlisted in the category "Speculative Fiction" (the only non-Colorado finalist!)

The son of a friend of mine agreed to be my cover-page model (never thought I'd need one), and the castle in the background is from a holiday shot. I think the cover shrinks well. Do you like as much as I do?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Second Campaign Challenge

I took up Rachael Harrie's dare. Please go to her linky page and LIKE me (Number 71) if you like my entry. The entries at the top have many likes already, and the ones near the (current) bottom are falling flat although many are really good. So, please, please go and read entries and vote for those you really like.

Here's the challenge:
Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should include the word "imago" in the title, and include the following words: "miasma," "lacuna," "oscitate," "synchronicity". If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post. For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!

Of course as a German, I had to look up all the obligatory words (except Imago; I'm a forester and I have had more experience with those than I care for), and it took my quite a while to figure out that 'oscitate' means 'to yawn'. Well, why use a simple word when a difficult one will do.

Here's my entry (crossposted from my homepage blog). I hope you like it. It's got all the requirements (obligatory words, mirror, and 200 word restriction). This time, it's more or less non-fiction (albeit with a little added imagination).

The winged Imago

Slumber receded. Light registered on her brain. She oscitated. Was it time to wake already? If she opened her cell too early, the miasma of the breeding pond would kill her. If she left it too late, her strength might not suffice. She twisted and stretched. The cell was awfully tight, and her back itched. She rubbed it against the upper side of her confinement. Yes, that helped.

A tear in the fabric of her cell. Oh dear. She stopped moving. Was it safe? Her ears listened to the slightest sounds from outside. Birdsong – far away, thank the Mighty Blue. Not a single frog croaked below – didn't mean there weren’t any.

She couldn't stay in here forever. Did she dare? Carefully as not to disturb the world outside, she left her cell. It proved harder than she had expected. She arched her back, pulled out one dainty leg after the other, and stood there – waiting – listening. The lacuna she had left, an empty shell beside her. A hunger pang shot though her abdomen. She needed to hunt as soon as her body hardened. In perfect synchronicity, the dragon-fly spread her wings and soared over the blue mirror of her kingdom.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nearly Done!!


I've nearly finished my Non-Linear Fairy tale Murder Mystery "Chasing the Grimm Reaper". Less then 2000 words to go. I also created the cover art for it. Do you like it? The spooky picture in the background is by cherryblossoms24.

Now I will only need to get through the revision and then, it'll go up on Amazon and Smashwords. I'm really looking forward to that, although revision is bound to be a nightmare.

Also, I stumbled over a flash-app where you can create cute ponies. Look at my forest-unicorn. Isn't it absolutely cuddly and sweet?

People who program something like this must be very dedicated, and I appreciate it. Try it out for yourself if you want.

Enjoy the day,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Campaign Bloghop


as a campaigner (Why do I always want to write champaigner?) I decided to become part of a bloghop (actually more like a ring or circle), where every participant (eleven in total) links to the next in the chain. Out theme is "Who started your dream?" and I just posted my entry on my homepage-blog. Check it out of you're interested.


P.S. I got another award, the Versatile Blogger award. Before I can put it up, I've got to do some research. Since I'm very busy writing the end of "Chasing the Grimm Reaper" (see the widget at the sidebar?), I'll cope with that at a later date. Promised!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Flash story -- please vote for me


in the course of the campaign mentioned below, I took part in the first challenge. We had to write a flash story with 200 words max and the opening phrase of "The door swung open". If we wanted to make it harder on ourselves, we could make the story exactly 200 words and/or add the ending phrase "the door swung shut." Want to read what I came up with? Check out my website and if you like the story, hop over to Rachel's blog and vote for number 186 (that's me).

Enjoy my tiny wee free story,

Saturday, September 3, 2011

totally non related to writing -- is it?


pondering what to write next, I realized how many people talk about the weather when they don't know what to say. I decided that for once, this is probably a veritable subject. If you look at how freakish this summer has been... In Germany, temperatures went from 7°C in the morning to 29°C in the afternoon. Hurricanes and tropical storms seem to be on TV more often than politicians these days. I call that crazy.

Does this come as a surprise? Not to me. Many people have been warning us for such a long time that climate changes will come. Well, here they are, and I fear they're here to stay. Is there anything we can do about it? I don't know but I do sincerely hope so. I want my kids (and not yet born grandkids) to grow up in a world where they don't have to fight unfavorable weather conditions to survive. I try to teach my children to treat nature with more care. Why not use the bike or your own two feet rather than the car? Why not wear another jumper so I can keep the central heating down a bit?

I know those are drops on a hot stone. But a wise man once said: If a lot of small people in a lot of small places to a lot of small things, they can change the face of the world.

I know it works. I am currently seeing traditional publishers (even the BIG ones) look around in confusion not comprehending the Indie-eBook-publisher Revolution. Those are small people in small places and change already started.

Let's get the ball rolling for nature too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Authors, do you want to grow your platform?

I found a great opportunity for all writers. Rachael Harrie hosts a campaign to help other author/bloggers to grow their following. It's called the "Third Writers' Platform-Building Campaign" where authors learn to help each other. If you're an author who also loves to read (and all authors should), you can still sign up until the 31st of August. The Campaign will run from now till the 31st of October, and bloggers from all over the world will participate.

Count me in!
campaign sigil

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

for all writers of kidlit


just a quick one to remind you that WriteOnCon has begun. The first day is already over, but the content is still there. You can watch the videos, read and re-read chats and articles. It's awesome content for absolutely free. And you can enter give-aways (manuscript/query critiques, books, other stuff).

Go right now, I command you. (Well, I would if I could) And if you've got a dime, donate too, so the ladies can bring WriteOnCon back next year.


P.S.: School will start again tomorrow, that means my writing and my posting will get more regular again.
P.S.S.: I wonder why the blogger editor always puts weird hyperlink-text into my posts. I don't tell it to.

Friday, August 12, 2011

films galore -- well, two actually


I just discovered the fun of Twitter (I'm CatGerlach over there) where I stumbled over two really wonderful videos. I thought I'd share.

The first one is a 90sec feature film of Neil Gaiman's "Graveyard Book" made and acted out by a group of kids in Toronto Canada. I loved it. See for yourselves:

The second one is an advert, but it's the funniest advert I've seen in a long, long time. Enjoy:

Dirt Devil-The Exorcist from MrPrice2U on Vimeo.

Have a wonderful weekand,

Friday, August 5, 2011

feedback needed for a blog contest


Gabriela Lessa has announced a blog contest, and there aren't all that many entries yet. The judges are editors from Sourcebooks, so check it out. To be elegible, you need to follow her blog (which is very interesting) and sign up through a link provided on her post.

Now, to make my entries shine, I need feedback on the 30 word pitch sentence and the first paragraph of my stories. I post them here hoping you've got something to say about them.

Thanks in advance for your help,

The launching post went up!

Here are the three stories I'm going to enter:
I revised the pitch for Urchin King. Do you think it's clear now?

Title: Urchin King, YA historical fantasy

One-sentence pitch:
Despite an ancient law demanding the death of second born twins, street-urchin Paul battles a vengeful magician to save his life and his twin brother, the crown prince.

First paragraph:
Paul felt the town's outer wall against his back. Hunger still gnawed at his intestines like a wolf and made sleeping impossible, but that was not new to him. He coped with the pain by remembering his lucky day two weeks back. Lilla had given him a whole loaf of bread, and he had been able to steal another later. He had shared the last, moldy slice two days ago. Now he wished he had more. He pulled his skinny legs closer until the pain subsided. Then, he sat up and looked at his friends sleeping on the bare ground beside him. All of them were skinny, unkempt and smelled of stale sweat and dirt.

Title: The tootle-hen and the goshawk, picture book

One-sentence pitch:
Grain wants to sing in the woods but she is too chicken to go alone, and when she follows a tiny bird, she must overcome her fear of the goshawk.

First paragraph:
Grain loved to sing but the other tootle-hens hated it. The woods on the meadow's far end beckoned Grain to visit their lush green.
"The goshawk lives there. He will eat you," Aunty said.

Title: Terry and the Folding Rule of Time, MG historical fantasy with time travel

One-sentence pitch:
Twelve-year-old Terry time-travels to 1866 Germany, causing her great-great-grandfather to forget about emigration; now, she has to get him on his way to America, or her future will vanish forever.

First paragraph:
Second bell for science -- I hated old Bodger on the best of days but most of all on a Monday morning. I slammed the door of my locker hard enough that it bounced open again. Chewing on a strand of my straw-colored bangs, I closed my locker more gently and sauntered to our classroom. I looked forward to old Bodger’s face when he plopped onto a cold, wet chair. I smiled a little. Not too much. That would alert him, and he’d guess right away it was me who snuck into class before first bell. I eased into my chair, stretching my gangly legs, feeling smug and satisfied until the door opened.

Friday, July 29, 2011

just a short note


I'm currently busy preparing the christening of my youngest daughter, so I haven't got much time for the Internet. Still, I stumbled over an incredible booktrailer. Maybe, some of you have already seen it? It's awesome! For the first time ever, I am contemplating buying a book just because I watched its trailer. I hope mine will be just as irresistible.

Enjoy the video,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Realisation of defeat


I finally have to admit (as it was probably obvious to most of my followers anyway), that I'll never be really good at blogging. I just don't get the "regular posting" routine. Whenever I remember that I've got a blog where I should post, I end up doing countless things instead.

The last two weeks, I spent with my kids (summer holidays) and wrote like a maniac whenever I had the time. I plan on releasing my first story through Independent Bookworm at the beginning of next month (BTW, you can join my list and get a free novel plus two short stories as a thank you) and the work seems to get more the more I do.

Is there anyone out there who can double the length of a day? Or someone who'll take my kids for a few hours? I'm longing for school to start again. As much as I love my kids, I miss my regular writing hours. At least, the move of my webpage is nearly complete. I'll let you know when the site goes up so you can check it out.

That's it for now. I am sure that my bloggin will get a little more regular when school starts but I'm not too confident. Somehow, writing my novels seems more important at the moment.

Hope your summer writing/reading runs more smoothly than mine.
Enjoy the day despite drawbacks,

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Going Indie 3

It's been a while since I posted but I hope you are still looking in once in a while.

Now, it's official. my friends and I opened an independent publishing company named Independent Bookworm(TM). The first two stories by my colleague William L. Hahn are already out. He writes heroic fantasy. Debbie Mumford will publish next, she concentrates on romance and fantasy (usually with a historical angle). I'll go life with a full 90K novel at the beginning of next month, depending on when my book trailer is done (yes, someone is making a truly great booktrailer for me, and she's so good... I'll promote her in a different blogpost. Promised).

If you are interested in reading stories from Will, Debbie or me, join our mailing list. You'll get a free eBook with my novelette "The Witches of Greenwitch" (incl. 52 pictures and the reason why I wrote the story in the first place) plus a short story each from Will and Debbie.

I'm looking forward to hear from you,

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hollywood, here I come!


guess what, a very talented fellow writer who is just starting her own business is making a trailer for one of my novels. She is currently sc the scenes. Oh, I'm terribly excited. But it's still secret -- that means I'm not going to tell you which novel or any other details. I will post it on this blog as soon as everything is done, and I will release the novel soon after on my publishing website Independent Bookworm (I think I forgot to link it from here, or did I?).

So many things are happening. Stay tuned and enjoy your life,

Thursday, June 23, 2011



Have you ever watched any of the "Burnistoun" episodes at YouTube? I admit that if you're not used to it, the Scotish accent is difficult to understand. But the humor is so ... Scottish. I cried from laughing. It's so addictive (for me at least) that I had to force myself to finsih my daily wordcount before watching another one. This is by far my most favorite: Voice-recognition elevator


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Going Indie again


I just opened the doors to a website I will be sharing with two other authors. Maybe, we'll have more join us at a later time, but we'll start out with us three. We will focus on Fantasy and Historical Novels with the occasional Science Fiction thrown in. My first co-Indie-author, Will Hahn, has just put up his first story "The Ring and the Flag" at Smashwords. Since I was one of his beta-readers, I know it fairly well and can only recommend it. I loved it although I usually don't much care for Heroic Fantasy. Will is an expert at keeping the story interesting even through the bits that would be boring by other authors.

My projects are back on track after I had to put them aside for a week for a requested project. It was fun coming up with an idea based on several requested features, but smoothing out the bumps might take a little longer. At least, I wrote the requested reading sample of 20 pages in 3 1/2 days. And I will be caught up with all my other projects by the end of this week.

Now, give Will's story a try, and enjoy the rest of the week,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Going Indie, guest post and overtime


over the last few weeks, I've been terribly busy. Since I decided to go Indie in July, there were so many things to do and to consider that it ate into my family time already. Then, I got a request for a book proposal that needs to be done asap -- hand in date next Monday. I love the concept I came up with but writing 20 quality pages (not first draft material) in a single week is exhausting because I couldn't put aside the other stuff that needs to get done (like setting up the website for my Indie business, finishing my WIP, the middle grade ghost story, keeping up with my household and being there for my kids ... of course, the kids are first priority, the the writing).

When I felt too tired, I found this little bit of wisdom by the daughter of one of my crit partners:
Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain. Krisz daughter
It is soooooo true. I printed it out and hung it over my snoopy-newspaper-clip on the wall where I can see it whenever I sit down to write. I'm feeling more relaxed already.

So I was quite happy, when I got another request for a guest blog-post. Sherry Soule will present her paranormal romance novel "Beautifully Broken" on this blog in a few weeks. I so much like the cover.

So, this is me back to work. I decided I will enjoy the storm while it lasts, and try to finish as much as I can without going nuts. I'll keep you posted on the going Indie stuff,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I hate summer holidays


with worry I saw the summer holidays drawing nearer every day. When the kids are home, I don't get much writing done regardless of how much I had planned. At least, this summer is supposed to be a warm one. Maybe, I can take my tomboys to the pool every day. There are some really nice, shaded areas where I could write.

So far, my plans for going Indie are coming around the way I want them. I designed the website for the books (I will focus on Fantasy, SciFi and historical novels), found a partner or two and decided on how to attract readers. It won't be much longer until the first story goes live, and I hope many of you will like it.

Until then,

P.S.: and heads up, summer holidays will be over in no time.

Thursday, June 2, 2011



I'm slightly disappointed that only two people came up with a possible title. I liked both of them, and would have loved to read some more. But since that's the way it is, the winning title for my NLFTMM is "Chasing the Grimm Reaper". Congrats Marty. Still, I'll award second and third place to Natalie and Thea for posting. Marty will get the full manuscript if he wants (once it's finished - please send your contact details to and the other two will get the first thirty-something pages asap if they want (I need your contact info too).

Enjoy the wonderful weather,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm still working and the contest is still running too


I'm working on my novels when a flash of (literary) lightning struck. So I wrote a 2700 word short story over the weekend and translated it into German. It's about Katie who moves into a house with a lovely wild garden, only to discover that the neighbor is trying to make Katie's mother turn their lovely garden into a geometrical abnormality like hers. It was fun to write, but as always, the translation was tedious. I'll send the German version to a competition soon, and decided to use the English version as a bonus to my first e-book.

The NLFTMM is coming along nicely. I just discovered that one of my characters is a RSS agent. Well, that was quite a surprise, even for myself. Now, I've got even more paths to travel to finish this story. But it's great fun. BTW, I'm still looking for a title. Why don't you post your suggestion in my little contest to win the first draft. It's a bit boring to choose a winner from just two entries.

Even the ghost story is growing slowly. In the evening hours, when the world is blue, my mood is right for working a little bit on it.

Enjoy your week,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

an interesting approach


here is a very interesting approach to vizualize the tension of different threads of your manuscript. Check out this link. It's really worth the read.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

summer is coming - win a first draft


for the last few weeks, I've been focusing on getting back into writing my ghost story. Unfortunately, with the summer coming nearer every day (the local pool just opened this weekend), I am not getting the mood right. Today, I decided to let it sit for a while. If I force the story, I only have much more to clear up in revision. So, now, I will start writing the "Non-Linear Fairy Tale Murder Mystery" I have been planning ever since January. I decided to write it in English and translate what I have written into German the same day. Thus, I've got two finished first drafts at the end.

But I need help. "Non-Linear Fairy Tale Murder Mystery" is too long and NLFTMM wouldn't make sense to most people. Please help me find a title. If I pick yours, you will get the full NLFTMM for free, and before anyone else will be able to buy it (or you can be a beta-reader, giving feedback on the first draft). Up to May 31st, you can post a title suggestion in the comments. I'll announce a winner on June 1st.

Some facts about the story:
- the main character is the reader (but I won't use 2nd person POV)
- (s)he takes on a job that Sherlock Holmes declined
- the story features many popular Grimm fairy tales (e.g. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rumpelstiltskin and many more)
- and a couple of characters from more adult stories (e.g. Ogers, Fantomas, Beauty and Beast)
- the main character will not return to the real world before the mystery is solved (unless (s)he chose so)

I'm looking forward to your suggestions,

P.S.: If I combine two titles, both commenters will get the the price.

Friday, May 6, 2011

as promised


here are the photos I promised. As you can see, we were really lucky with the weather.
The first picture is me - with a Star-Trek-like visor. ;-)

Next is the Olympic Tower in Munich (the little figure at the bottom is my daughter)

Castle Linderhof, where King Ludwig from Bavaria lived (the one who built Neuschwanstein)

Mountains that are not hills (like the ones we've got up north). If you look closely, you can see my two girls playing half naked in a shallow stream of ice water. Brrrrrr

One of two skeletons in the cloister church in Fürstenfeldbruck. The kids loved them - so scary...

Our snail "Nanni", she always tried to escape, but after an afternoon of fun (more for the kids less for the snail), my daughters set her free.

The church of Cloister Andechs. After a long, long walk up the hill, we took this photo, had something to eat and walked all the way back. I think it was worth it.

Evening at the Ammersee

The Siegesturm in Bayreuth, up the hill from the Wagner-Festival-Opera Hall.

OK, that's all the information you'll get about my private life for now. I bet you'd have liked to come along, right? Bavaria is beautiful - if only the people wouldn't speak so weird. ;-)

Enjoy your weekend,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Back to work


I'm back from an amazing trip down South. Two of my kids and I took the speed train ICE

(photo published by Sebastian Terfloth with a CC license with some right reserved)

to Munich where we visited some relatives and friends. I was thoroughly surprised that the kids didn't fight for most of the holiday (only a few squabbles on the way back). One day, we went for a walk close to the Alps, and they were suitably impressed by the height of the mountains. We returned on 1st of May, and it took me all of yesterday to catch up on emails and stuff.

Today, I returned to my current project (the ghost story) and managed to write 599 words which isn't much but a start. It was rather difficult to get back into the story. The revision of my time travel story took so long that I had to re-read most of what I had written. It's not as bad as I remembered. ;-) Still, revision on this one will most likely spread oveer most of my summer. That would leave me with enough time to plan an new NaNoWriMo novel.

Anyway, I will try to post some pictures of my holiday before the end of the week.
Till then, enjoy life,

Thursday, April 21, 2011



I'm away for a few days. I took my kids to Munich until the 1st of May. It's the first really long holiday trip in a long, long time. I'll post again in May. Till then, I wish all my readers a wonderful Easter time.

Enjoy the season,

Friday, April 15, 2011

My very first guest: Traci Bell


Entangled by Traci Belltoday, we welcome Traci Bell, the author of Entangled. Traci’s fantasy romance debuted last month from Crescent Moon Press and is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Entangled is about a teacher who’s pulled to another world by her soul mate, where she must suspend her disbelief in order to stop natural disasters that aren’t natural. Since a very important part of Traci's book is the suspension of disbelief, it is the subject of her post. Feel free to comment.

Suspension of Disbelief

Definition: The temporary acceptance as believable of events or characters that would ordinarily be seen as incredible. This is usually to allow an audience to appreciate works of literature or drama that are exploring unusual ideas.

Being a fantasy and paranormal romance writer, I’m fascinated with the concept of suspending disbelief. How do successful authors do it? How far can you take the reader before he/she pulls back and puts a book down in disgust?

I know when I get frustrated with a book, television show, or movie, it is because the writer did not stay true to its reality, or its characters. I’ve walked away from plenty of shows that made a character do something for ratings, something that the character would never have done based on previous ethics and values that governed that characters behavior.

In my novel, Entangled, my heroine is a teacher from earth who must travel to another universe to save the hero’s people from natural disasters. Without the reader’s ability to suspend disbelief the book would be a difficult read. After all, no one in the real world is strong enough to change the weather.

So the first thing I tried to do was make the heroine someone readers could relate with. She’s a divorced teacher. She’s curious, empathetic, and just a tad dissatisfied with her life. Do you know anyone with those qualities? Do you share any of them yourself? Are her reactions to the choice given her natural for a divorced teacher with those qualities? If I’d made her a die-hard cynic, would you have believed she would even attempt to help the hero?

Second, I slowly threaded in details that explain how it just might be possible for someone to impact something as powerful as the weather. I threaded in ‘rules’ that govern how the universe works in the parallel world. Then I forced myself to stay consistent with those rules. Readers are smart – they catch those glitches : )

As a reader, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What has a book, television show, or movie done that made you walk away and not care what happened next because you could no longer willingly suspend your disbelief?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011



just in case you haven't noticed, I'm giving away a full HtRYN scholarship on Guide to Literary Agents for those who are interested.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

guest blogger


I might have my first ever guest-blogger, but I'm not yet sure if I will post her on this blog or on my "Witches of Greenwitch" one. I'm super excited.

Also, I'm finally nearing the end of my next "33 Mistakes Writers Make About". The subject this time (after "Mother Nature") is "Germany and the Germans". I don't think I can cover all in just 33 chapters (some much longer than the suggested half page). So I included a bonus chapter and a rather long introduction. Anything in particular you'd be interested in? I might add another bonus or two if you tell me what you want.

Have a great day,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011



I went to the small town of Wolfenbüttel last weekend to attend a seminar on Creative Writing. It was very instructive and intense. Combined with the flue that plagues me since January, I felt very light headed upon return.

And then, spring struck ... and with it an idea.

I thought, what if I use the flexibility of the Internet-language HTML to create a true non-linear story. My Muse already fed me quite a lot of interesting scenarios. I would like to write a Fairy-Tale Murder Mystery. Would you be interested? I don't know yet how I'm going to publish it. The only thing that's for sure is that traditional publishing doesn't really work. I remember those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books, but even if I liked the story, the flipping of pages and 2nd person POV ruined the fun. So I will use hyperlinks (which means it's going to be some sort of e-book) and 1st person POV (since I don't know if the reader is male or female). I have already filled 5 pages in my notebook.

Since I'm still in the planning stages, I accept suggestions. Anything you're particularly interested in? Something that you think might fit into a crazy project like that? Any favorite fairly tales? Feel free to leave me a comment with your suggestions and/or ideas. I might not manage to get it all into the one story but I'll definitely consider.

Hooray for my spring time Muse.
Enjoy the day,

Monday, March 14, 2011



I'm glad you're all still there. I have to confess that I'm not really good at a regular Blog schedule. Currently, I am revising "Terry and the Folding Rule of Time", write the missing chapters of "The 33 Worst Mistakes ... about Germany" and try to add the last few chapters to my NaNo-novel. Often, I get sucked into writing so deeply that I forget the time, and when I look up, my kids are back from school. From then on, I'm hardly anywhere near my PC for the rest of the day. There is food to cook, laundry to fold, floors to clean and other necessary but unwelcome stuff. As much as I would like to post more regularly, it is impossible at the moment.

I will do my very best to keep you informed. Maybe, I'll manage one post a week, I'll do my very best. If you've got questions you think I might be able to answer, please let me know in the comments.

Oh, one final writing related note: my free online Fantasy Novel "The Witches of Greenwitch" will post it's last chapter tomorrow, and Eszti has managed to catch up with her art. Check it out if you don't know it already. Also, please tell your Fantasy loving friends about it. It's free - no hooks attached.

I'll post more soon (promised),

Tuesday, February 22, 2011



I am sorry that I will not be able to post for a little while. I just got a request from an editor at one of the bigger German publishing houses for the full manuscript of a novel I wrote. Of course, checking it one final time before sending has priority. I’ll try to be as fast about it as I can possibly be.

Now, Kid Tip 2:
If you move to a new house/flat or if you take in a foster child, make sure the kids bed is placed in a similar position as in his/her last room. Getting the same kind of light as before makes it easier for the child to get used to the new surroundings.

Sorry again,

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Writing Related Ecology 1


since I am currently revising my MG time travel novel, I wanted to point out something that has annoyed me no end. I always print my manuscript - single sided - because it's so much easier to find mistakes or to rearrange paragraphs (real cut and paste with scissors and glue). Many people I know have expressed their concern, calling this wasteful.

It isn't.

1. A lot of the pulp needed for making paper comes from recycled paper.
2. The timber used for paper comes from trees that are either too thin or too irregular to be used for anything else (from furniture to plywood). Thus, the money earned with it helps to keep forest-workers in their jobs.
3. If you still worry, make sure that you buy paper with timber from sustainable forestry (with the FSC-certified logo ).

A wasteful use of paper is to print out things you don't need to print. But if I want to get my novel as good as I can possibly get it, I need to see my manuscript printed on a paper. Far more difficult is the great amount of ink that is needed to print the lot. To minimize the negative effect the ink has on nature, I use EcoFont. That is a font resembling Arial but it has many, tiny holes in the letters. On screen it is unreadable but in printing it saves a lot of ink, and you don't notice the difference unless you print really huge letters.

I hope this helps,

P.S.: I thought I had figured out how this scheduling thing works on blogger, but I can't seem to get it right. I start a new post, write it, and change the "Post Options" to the date and time I want it published. But when I just save it, it goes up as draft, and if I click "Publish", it gets published right away. What am I doing wrong?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

new post schedule and Kid Tip 1


I finally found out how to schedule posts in blogger. I had already decided to move the entire thing over to wordpress when I did. ;-)
So, after a rather long weird kind of flue (I never became really ill with fever or so, but I was weak and unmotivated and found it hard to stay awake - not a good way to be when you have children to care for), I am finally back to blogging. Since I know now how to schedule posts, I will blog two posts a week. A short one about kids (Kid Tips) on Thursdays, and a longer one about the Science needed for wordbulding or knowledge about something else writing related (regardless of genre) on Mondays. Feel free to ask me what subjects you would be interested in. I love to hear from you.

Now, for our first Kid Tip:
Fostering children is very demanding, but the reward is unbelievably cool (the love of a child always is). BUT if you plan to foster children, get as many informations as you can possibly think of.

For example: the parents of our foster child are both alcoholics (although they are very friendly and cooperative when sober). The mother drank during her pregnancy which we didn't know because no one had told us. When she started school, she began to throw tantrums like a two year old when she had to do homework. It took us a long time to discover that she was not up to the task. She is mentally handicapped through FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders), the only avoidable disability in the world. As soon as we moved her to a school for kids with special needs, she was happy and began to like school and to progress. If we had known about this, we could have diagnosed her much earlier which would have saved her a lot of frustration. So, do your research when you decide to foster a child.

By the way, I never regretted it for a single second that we took her in. Her love more than makes up for the troubles we had.

Have a great week,

Friday, February 11, 2011



I always loved Egypt although I've never been there. All the more, I'm fascinated by what's happening there at the moment. My heart goes out to the young (and not so young) people fighting for a new way of life. After the speech last night, I was worried that things would get messy but the people kept their temper despite their growing frustration. I draw my hat to that. It is absolutely incredible.

The more I watch the demonstrations and speeches the more it reminds me of the protest of my Eastern German fellows in 1989/90. Oh, there are many differences but there are also some similarities. Like in the GDR, a single spark - a misjudged situation, an uncaring official, an ignorant bureaucrat - could start a catastrophe, and I am worried sick. But I also see how brave the people of Egypt are, and how well they manage to contain their rage. Sure, it's not much, but I adore the way they handle this, and I pray (regardless of religion, religion shouldn't limit our compassion) that their revolution will end successfully and peacefully.

And now, I'll return to watching the news.
So should you.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

illness hits

Sorry, but I have to delay my plans for at least this week. My hubby is ill and my youngest daughter too, and I'm not feeling too well either. Also, my eldest wants to celebrate her 16th birthday, and the only one fit enough to bake a cake is my 9-yr-old. I'll be back as soon as possible.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

I won a Blog-award! My first one ever! Thank you so much. I hereby present to you:

Seven things about me

1. I hate big cities and wouldn't visit New York for all the money in the world.
2. I would visit New York for a meeting with an agent or a publisher (hate sucks).
3. I definitely wouldn't take my kids to New York or any other super sized city.
4. I love daydreaming, preferably in a forest.
5. I'm still a member of "women in forestry" although I haven't worked in forestry since my PhD.
6. Despite my undersized figure, I'm not eating all the time and I love sport (Nordic Walking, swimming, cycling, walking the dog) as long as I don't call it sport.
7. More than anything in the wolrd, I love my family (all included)

I think that should do. Do you think you know me better now?
Oh, before you go, please read the previous post again and help me decide what to blog about in the future.

Have a wonderful day,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blog post 101 and a question


I should have celebrated my last blog post. It was the 100th, and since I never thought I'd write that many, I really should have noticed. But I didn't. Also, with the end of the year drawing close, there were many more things to take care of. So, when I opened my blog today, to finally get going on my New Year resolution, blogger told me that I would now be writing my 101th blog post. So with that, I welcome (back) all readers near and far. May 2011 be gentle to you.

On New Year's eve, I decided to improve my blog and I spent hours thinking about the how-to. There are many things I'm interested in, but I wasn't too sure if my readers would enjoy the same things. Finally, I realized that I could ask. Stupid of me, really. I have seen other people ask on their blogs but never realized I could do, too. That's the old "control-freak" sneaking up on my again when I thought I had defeated him last year. ;-)

So, here we go. I know that I won't be able to write a blog post every day. As much as I would like to do that, it just can't be done. With the sort of family I have, I can probably manage two or three posts a week - at least that's what I am aiming for. Now, for the subjects:
  1. I have a degree in forestry and a PhD in science. Should I write regularly about a subject of science (biology, ecology, even chemistry, physics or math) if I promise not to make it boring?
  2. Also, I'm a foster mother of two children with handicaps. Anyone interested in how my family copes with that? I've learned some neat little tricks in the last 8 years.
  3. My writing is good enough that I am agented (in German at least). I know the ins and outs of my trade, and I'm really good at plotting. Shall I write about writing?
  4. I have noticed that there are many good blogs and websites "out there" (no, not the universe, the Internet). How about writing reviews of those sites as a sort of road map ("How to find what you're looking for")?

If you would like me to write about something you think I might know anything about, leave me a comment. If you want one of my suggestions, please leave me the numbers in a comment. My plan is to have a structure before the end of the month and schedule some posts that will hopefully interest many readers.

Join me on this journey and please help,