2017 – let’s get crackin’

First of all, happy new year everyone. I know we’re already three weeks into the new year, but you may have noticed by now, I’m moving a little slower than mostly everybody I know. But it’s been a peaceful three weeks, mostly. It’s been a helpful three weeks and I feel more inclined to take on the world now that the sky hasn’t fallen. It hasn’t fallen in my little cave of an apartment – I know the world looks differently today.

As a writer, I have high hopes for 2017, but so far no concrete plans. So far, I haven’t really written anything though I’m planning every day to sit down and do. You do see, how the title of this post is kinda misleading, right? I want to write, but I’m kind of in a bubble, a cozy one where I don’t wanna stir stuff.

the-matter-of-a-secret-kiss-wOf course, as of yesterday, stuff has been stirred. I got an email from a publisher that a short story I submitted for an anthology has been turned down. Disappointing, for sure, but not the end of the world. I already put The Matter of a Secret Kiss up on my writing platforms (you may read it on Wattpad, Inkitt, or Tablo, just as you please). I hope you read and like, maybe write me a note.

I’m working on Halfway Home, making revisions. This story has been lying around for over a year, burning a hole into my brain. I feel like it’s time to work on it, finish it, send it away on its journey. It’s a novel, as of yet 75k words strong. I’m excited about it, I hope you’ll be too at some point.

There’s nothing much else. I’m trying to sort through my ideas, see what’s worth going after, what to abandon. I’m trying to make concrete plans, trying to concentrate. There’re a lot of things going on in ‘real life’ and I’m distracted.

I have to smile at this, you know. The title is so contradictory to how I feel. I’m looking at it through a Sunday haze. Maybe I’m still sleepy, maybe I had too much sleep. I can’t even say. Hopefully, I haven’t bored you to tears with it. I guess, it’s just to say: I’m still here, I’m working.

Skipping Ahead

Well, now it’s almost Christmas, and now it’s almost time to reminisce in time for New Year’s. NaNoWriMo is over and I’m sorry that I haven’t updated at least one more time, but I’ve kept putting it off and then stuff happened in life and now… I’ve written 32,330 words this NaNo which is about 2,000 more than last year. So while it wasn’t a complete success, I’m not disappointed.

savingdanvers1This year’s NaNo was mostly about fanfiction for me. Fanfiction and Supergirl (or Supergays, as I tend to lovingly call it). I’m neck-deep in the evolution of Alex Danvers’ character, I just love that tiny gay bean. And I’m so close to watching again from the beginning, just to be able to explore her more thoroughly. She’s one of the few aspects of tv that didn’t disappoint (so far) and I hope Supergirl will keep up the good work. I watched a lot of Arrow this year, some The Flash, the pilot of Legends of Tomorrow, but Supergirl is my favorite DC show to date. And I may have jumped the Marvel ship completely, because they don’t invest enough time or money in their female heroes (cancelling Agent Carter, seriously?).

I’m a fan, I tend to get invested. And it affects my writing as well. At the moment, writing fanfiction is a sanctuary, a safe place.

But, of course, I’m always trying to find my own characters and story lines. I’m currently thinking about another YA series I’d like to write. It’s post-apocalyptic stuff and I guess it fits well into current times, with political leaders showing how little they care about people… and I’m prone to seeing all the bad stuff and imagine how it all will end. Also, I love the genre. Aside from horror, it might be my favorite. I’m rereading Legend by Marie Lu and The Hunger Games series might be next.

Apart from that, I also started revisions on Halfway Home. It’s been lying around for a year now and Halfway Home.altcoming back to it is strange and wonderful. I still love the characters so much and I think it’s a great story. It’s all romance and fluff, but it makes me hopeful at the end of a year which saw little of that. I hope I’ll be able to finish it mid-January.

Today’s winter solstice – the shortest day of the year. I’ve been awake since three a.m., so it won’t really be a short day for me, but I like sitting and working when nobody else is awake and by 8 p.m. I’m usually pooped enough to go to bed. The next two weeks will see a lot of family time and food, but I hope I’ll get some work done – probably in the form of fanfiction. I haven’t decided on anything I want to write next year, but hopefully it will be more productive than 2016. Hopefully, it will be more of anything good than 2016.

NaNoWriMo Update [2016.1]

Here we are again – one year later, maybe even one year wiser. National Novel Writing Month started a week ago and so far, I’ve written 5,724 words (update’s update 7,082 words).

trouble%c2%b2You can see on my NaNo-profile that my NaNo-novel is Trouble² – with a nice cover including two favorite characters from a favorite tv show, Root and Shaw from Person of Interest (no copyright infringement etc. etc.) – which you could, I guess, call a AU fanfiction in progress. But then, there isn’t that much progress. I’m not really writing a novel, or maybe I’m writing several. And a Bechloe fanfiction, and a short story.

This year, I just can’t settle down on one project so I’m pretty much all over the place. And there might yet be a Supergirl fanfic coming along, because I really can’t fight my Sanvers feelings these days. But I guess that’s okay. Considering how little I got done this year, me writing bits and pieces this NaNo fits the theme.

So I’ve given myself the NaNo-rebel badge and am traipsing along through the jungle of stories I’ve got burning in different corners. One corner is still Ghosts of Helltown, as I haven’t finished that. Yeah, I know I promised that one to you for next year, but it’s on hold until I can get my shit together. And who knows if it’s going to get published then… I really messed this up, but I’m still working on it. I guess I have hope, a tiny spark in the darkness so to speak. (And just for the record, it’s a day later from that earlier stuff and I’m on my way to drunk, ’cause the election is officially over – bear with me.)

My Bechloe fanfiction in progress is Six Degrees of Queer – it’s basically Beca finding out sixdegreesofqueershe’s gay for Chloe and her friends trying to support her, mostly. Fanfiction is part of my writing life and Bechloe is still a great inspiration (with the possibility of it getting to be canon in the third movie – YAY! [let’s hope]). Writing fanfiction for WriMo is actually a cool thing because you don’t have to do any preparation other than watch your favorite show or movie – no excuse to not write, is what I’m saying!

I started a short story back in… I forgot. For an anthology that’s already been published. It was about summer love and I called my story Im Sommer – which is German for In Summer. It’s a story about an American girl, Angela, who visits German wine country for summer vacation and meets a German girl, Judith. It’s summer, there’s wine and just a little bit of a language barrier as these young women get their groove on… or something like that. I’m still working on it, or it wouldn’t be on this list. Hopefully, it will be available for free after NaNo… at Christmas, maybe? (I’ll keep you posted.)

The last corner (for now), is Trouble². It’s the story of a bondsperson and a P.I. who have a hard time working together to find a guy named Roy Bunting. They find out that Bunting is in even deeper doo-doo than they thought and that will also get these two women in trouble. Trouble², in fact, ’cause you know… I’m not sure where I’m going with this, maybe nowhere, but I like playing with these two characters in my head and giving them the happy ending they deserved.

Jumping between those stories was my first week of NaNo. How do you get along? Are you a traditionalist  or a rebel like me? Any other NaNo-thoughts? Tell me in the comments.

And just a word about this election: wherever you are, whoever you are, if you’re devastated by the American election results: please take care of yourself. Whatever happens in the time to come, you are important, you are cherished. Stay safe, stay strong, stay united.

Have some colorful hope and Anna Kendrick:

 

Why I Write

writing1

These last two months, I haven’t written much. I wanted to, of course, but haven’t. A paralyzing bout of depression has made it impossible, and I still don’t know if I’m back, or to what capacity I’m back. Looking back, it’s like a blur, these weeks of doing nothing but playing facebook games and watching tv shows. There’s little variation, there’s no guarantee it’s over.

I didn’t mean this post to be this dark, sorry. But it’s the place where I’m at. Not writing, or not writing much, is part of the problem for me, because I’m always happier when I write. Really write. Every day. Several hours, words by the hundreds, then thousands, because that’s what happens: if you write every day, you write more, faster, hopefully better too.

But when you don’t write, things just stop. Maybe that’s already one reason I write, because life goes on. Writing is part of my life, and life usually happens much more when I write. Confidence has a lot to do with that because I really hold that writing does take confidence. And maybe I’m stating the obvious here, but it’s usually so much clearer when you don’t have it that you need it.

Note: Writing is life.

As a kid, I was about 11, I guess, I started telling myself bedtime stories. Usually, I’d fall book2asleep in the middle of it just as it should be with bedtime stories, but sometimes it got so intense that I would get up two hours later, walk into the living room or my parent’s bedroom (depending on if they’d already gone to bed) and tell my mom I couldn’t sleep. I never told her that the reason of not being able to sleep was that I told myself stories and my mind just wouldn’t shut down. She’d give me something to drink, put me back to bed. Sometimes, I would continue the story. Other times, I’d force myself not to and fall asleep.

Not being able to shut stories out, is another reason why I write. Sure, I could’ve just continued to tell myself my stories and never tell another soul about them. But as I continued my education, I found I had a knack for telling stories, I wanted to tell them, not just to myself, though I’m still my favorite audience.

If you know writers you probably heard them say that they cannot not write. It’s because stories keep coming. It’s how we process everything that’s happening in the course of one day, how we cope.

Note: Stories won’t stop telling themselves in my head – I need to get them out of there.

I was about 16 when I wrote a short story for a competition (I never sent it in, but I still wrote that story, finished it). The competition’s head line was ‘The dream of the magic word’ – it doesn’t really make that much sense, but I figured they wanted a sappy love story. What I wrote instead was a story about a woman how had HIV. After I finished it, I told a class mate about it (one of those rare moments where I opened up and shared a secret, I guess). She wanted to read it, I didn’t really want her to read it, but she was persuasive so I gave it to her – handwritten at the time. A few days later, I get a call from her. She’d shown the story to her mom and her mom had cried. I can honestly say, I’d never been as proud of myself as I was in that moment.

Note: I like making people cry. And laugh. Feel with my characters.

I’m not saying this is a complete list of reasons. And they vary so much through the times I’ve lived, for different reasons. I’ll never forgot the pride in my mom’s eyes when she held my first published work in her hands. Or the time a friend texted me that she was reading my book and was delighted that she shared a character’s name. Amazon reviews, praise from your math teacher, some distant relative asking for a signed copy of your work, those are all reasons for writing, too.

I just needed to remind myself why I write. Because there’s only one reason I do not write, one reason that shuts me down in life. And that’s – I’m afraid.

So why do you write? And do you partake in NaNo? Tell me in the comments.

NaNoWriMo Prep [2016]

typewriter1

Ah, yes, it’s late in September. The temperatures are going down, though we had a rather late summer and we still get the occasional hot day. I’m really hoping for a balmy October, Indian Summer style. It’s also time for thinking about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for those who do not know).

In November, writerlings all over the globe are going to retreat into their chambers, balance their portable devices on their laps and in their hands and write a novel – hopefully. 50,000 words, to be exact, is the aim. The excitement of newbies is already palpable, while repeat offenders are still busy doing other stuff and probably start preparations in the last week of October, just put it in before Halloween.

Well, I’ve started thinking about some projects, that is if I’m able to complete my current project before November (please, please, let me finish it before NaNo!) I’m actually trying to overhaul my writing regimen (if you can call it that) these days, and I’m almost back to book1writing every day, writing about 2,000 words a day. It feels good, but it’s not set in stone, because my mental health is unstable to say the least.

But, I’m still planning, still thinking about possible novels/novellas I’d like to write/finish for NaNo. Will it be the Austenesque love story I started ages ago and would so like to finish? Or maybe 2015’s NaNo attempt at a time traveller novel? Yes? No? Maybe I’ll be writing a thriller about a bondsperson and a P.I. who really need to get a room and solve the mystery around a small-time ciminal. Or what about that thing with the two women who were… ah, never mind. It’s all really vague, but I’m still excited about the concept of NaNo.

What about you? Do you have plans to participate again or for the first time? Are you already outlining your novel, or are you writing by the seat of your pants? Genre? Tell me in the comments. And if you need a writing buddy: Corikane‘s the name.

And if you’ve never come across NaNo, here’s a helpful link: www.Nanowrimo.org

See you there.

I’m writing [5]

Looking up which number to put into the brackets, I realized that the last installment of ‘I’m writing’ was in November. I’m such a slacker but I’m trying not to be on my own case so much. After all, it’s my time – I don’t wanna spend it nagging at myself.

And I am writing and I am proud of my progress.

Ghosts of Helltown1I’ve already told you about Ghosts of Helltown a little. It’s the story of Jennifer Clarke who is a kind of superhero. She works for a company that uses her powers for the Greater Good, at least that what Jen thinks is happening. When Alice Watson, a reporter fresh off the British isles, moves in next to her Jen starts rethinking a lot of her former beliefs. There’s a love story in there, and a big explosive showdown with the villains.

The thing about Ghosts of Helltown is that it’s really old. I started writing this over ten years ago.It was the first novel I intended to write in English. There are so many mistakes in the current draft but on the whole… it’s not half-bad. And that’s why I ultimately came back to it.

If you’re a writer you probably have projects like this on your computer: ideas, unfinished manuscripts, maybe even finished drafts which haven’t yet made it to the front of your revision-line. Maybe like me, you have a folder ‘unfinished’ on your computer. Maybe you have folder named ‘unlikely candidates’ too? They’re the rejects of an overstimulated mind.

But you do have stories started, projects imagined on your PC or in your mind that you just can’t forget about. I think it’s good to go back to them every once in a while. Maybe your imagination wasn’t ready for it yet, maybe you lacked experience or didn’t want to do the research. Maybe you thought you were lacking in some other department of the brain. Well, it’s still there, you know. You could give it another try. Or you could leave it lying just a little bit longer.

As for Ghosts of Helltown, its time has come. I’m working feverishly on its completion. And ghostit makes me incredibly happy to have come back to it. Some manuscripts are just worth getting back to. I’m sure you have a couple of those as well. Wanna tell me about them in the comments? Go ahead.

Publication date for Ghosts of Helltown is April 2017 by Ylva Publishing.

[The cover you see above I created myself, it’s not the official cover. The copyright for the photo lies with Paramount Pictures (not making any money with it, guys, I just borrowed it to play around with some ideas), from the film Aeon Flux with Charlize Theron.]

 

Wrote Trip / Finding Ms. Write Blog Tour

This post is part of the Finding Ms. Write blog tour, promoting this fabulous anthology by Ylva Publishing about ‘book people.’ Since I’m biased, I feel that you should totally buy and read this wonderful piece of work which has been put together by Jae and Jove Belle and includes stories by twelve authors of lesbian fiction, including yours truly.

wrote tripNow, my story, Wrote Trip, is about writer Pat Rogers who lost her muse. She’s trying to get her back by going on a road trip and then picks up a hitchhiker, Jen Chan.

I must confess here and now that I’ve never been on a muse-searching road trip like that since I don’t even have a driver’s license. Still, the loss of a muse seems a topic universal among writers. Even if you believe in the daily routine of a writing excercise, you would know days when the right words elude you, when nothing seems to fit, when your imagination runs dry.

Metaphorical batteries need to be recharged. Some do it by reading, some by meeting people, others sit and binge watch their favorite shows until they’re once again inspired and can return to their work in progress. When I lose my inspiration, I try to load up on fodder. I do all of the above, or go watch a movie, read fanfiction, whatever tickles the next story out of me.

I guess I understand Wrote Trip more like the state of mind when you write, when you’re really in the zone, as they say. It’s a place where time loses meaning, a moment of complete and utter self-abandonment, you are your story. It’s those times we really write for, because we write our best then.

My main character, Pat, loses this crazy writer’s haven and goes on a road trip. She needs time away from her computer, looming over her empty mind like a watchful sentinel. Seriously, who can work under that knd of pressure? Pat can’t and escapes. But her workaholic editor Kasey isn’t happy with her and the road trip takes an unexpected turn notebook1when she picks up Jen. But will the young student be of help or a distraction from what Pat needs to accomplish to get back to work?

You can find out reading the anthology. And if you leave a comment on any of the listed posts below (or this one 🙂 ) you can even win an ebook copy since Ylva gives away five of them. Personally, I think that’s awesome since I’m a sucker for free books. But if you’d rather purchase your copy right now and not wait until the blog tour is over to win, here’s where you can do that.

If you want to find out more about the anthology, you are welcome to look at all the other blog posts on the tour. Here’s a list. Make sure to come back tomorrow for Chris Zett’s post. Her story Romance on a Side Note is an excellent read. It might make you wanna read Little Women again, so be forewarned.

The Blog Tour Schedule

Finding Ms. Write500x800Twelve authors of lesbian fiction bring you a collection of romantic short stories about “book people”—heroines who are somehow involved in the publishing industry.

From a novelist with the world’s biggest crush on her editor to a beta reader connecting with her cabinmate on a cruise, from a woman seeking rare books who finds love instead to a bookstore owner who’s drawn to the shy writer sitting by the shop’s window every day, this anthology is full of stories guaranteed to have a happy ending.

Step into our world of books and enjoy a glimpse into the lives of writers who are chasing deadlines…and finding love.

Includes stories by A.L. Brooks, Anastasia Vitsky, Chris Zett, Cori Kane, Elaine Burnes, Hazel Yeats, Jacelle Scott, Jae, Jove Belle, Kathy Brodland, Lea Daley, and Melissa Grace.

 

 

Yesterday’s Poem [5]

So, maybe I wasn’t in the best place yesterday. I watched Kill Your Darlings and got a little swept away by the world sorrow.

I see a dream

written on the wall.

It has no end,

no beginning,

is all middle.


The sour sting of drink,

I tumble over forgotten chains

tied to my wrists.

The charm of the ever-believer.

The curse of my paralysis.


Have you been to war

like I have?

Have you fucked

your closest foe?


There's no string in the shoe box

to tie me down

beside you.

We have been high and drunk.

We tried on life.


I pause the movie, the illusion of my genius.

There's no written consent,

no formal request

to overcome my demons.


It's all in a dream

and the sneakers under your bed.

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Congratulations, it’s a short story

oldwriter1

People have preconceptions, fast beliefs that may not be of much importance, but are all the more difficult to change. I know because I have many, had more, am always curiously surprised when one of them falls. I like to think of myself as open-minded, but then I’m a stubborn s-o-b who clings desperately to things I feel rather than know.

Literature is a special place within this paradox, both in reading and writing. As a German, I’m predestined to be a snob about it. We have, after all, the history to prove that we’re literary geniuses. And thus, we read with distinction. Or so, our teachers taught us from first grade on. Or maybe not taught us, but strongly implied it, and forced LITERATURE down our throats.

If I write LITERATURE, it’s implied that it’s high brow. You know, Goethe, Schiller, a little bit of all the Manns, and possibly Büchner. Know your Faust, everything else is Trivialliteratur (trivial literature, low brow). And it’s so very hard to get over these beliefs, these implied distinctions.

But some of them were never even implied to me, some I simply made up. One, that poetry is easy as pie and therefore nothing worth. Two, that the novel is the highest form of writing, but only because plays are for enacting not reading. Three, that short stories are not worth the effort it takes to open a book for them. As I said, I’m a snob.

The Matter of a Secret KissI’m also a writer, or like to think of myself as one. Or maybe I’m simply a scribbler. Be that as it may, I always aimed for the most rewarding medium, the novel. To me, most rewarding. Yes, I wrote poetry, but only to fill time, only if I couldn’t write anything else at the time. I did it in class, I did it on the bus, I did it sometimes while walking through my hometown in the evening (and that’s a beautiful thing to do), making it up in my mind, not even writing it down. Poetry to go.

Short stories, tho… no. Didn’t have time for that. And what for? Can’t publish just one short story (and, no, I hadn’t even heard of anthologies). Short stories were things they might make us write as homework, a punishment in itself. Write about your holidays, if you didn’t go on holiday, make something up. Punishment, indeed. And how do you learn to change such a belief if your education system fails you so thoroughly?

I don’t know. There was this one short story I read and I just loved. The Waltz by Dorothy Parker. I guess I went from there. But I still wouldn’t write short stories, still thought they were a waste of my time.

Well, somehow I did change. Maybe seeing that you can publish one short story in an anthology with other stories by other authors (this concept remains strange in my family, I don’t think even my mother who’s an avid reader understands why such books exist), better authors, better stories than yours. I find the concept compelling, thrilling even. And so, I wrote another short story and maybe it will appear in an anthology, maybe not. The important thing is that I change my view of things, whether these views are German (due to an unimaginitive and old-fashioned education system), or simply working class (because I haven’t been brought up in an academic household), or maybe just stubborn ideas of someone who so wanted to appear educated.

I don’t know. This post is not quite what I imagined it to be. I merely wanted to tell you how great it is to write a short story, to disappear in a small slice of imagination, to know more than the story could contain, to be god to that little piece of the world you just put on paper. Instead I wax (almost) poetic. I guess I’m just astounded by the ways my views change. But really, short stories are awesome!

What’s happening?

I guess I took the title of my last post too literally; I took an unselfconscious break from blogging here. Books have been read since, hardly any words written, though. I’ve worked a little, helped others out, painted and drew. I feel creative, stuff is happening.

As far as writing goes, yeah well. I haven’t done much, but I feel that I’m on my way to remedy that. I’ll be doing some rewriting these next two months, also some editing.

Let me tell you about that: my short story Wrote Trip has been accepted for publication in the anthology Finding Ms. Write by Ylva Publishing. I’m so proud. Look at the beautiful Finding Ms. Write500x800cover! Anyway, that story needs some editing before the anthology’s going to come out in June. It’s the simply story of two women meeting as one of them hitchhikes a ride from the other. I like simple stories, I’m fascinated by the meeting of souls who cling to each other instinctively.

The rewriting project is a superhero story, or rather superheroine. Ghosts of Helltown is pretty old. It’s actually my first writing project that I wrote in English, hence the intensive rewriting! But I’ve started and it’s not entirely hopeless, though as of yet unfinished. I’m excited about this story. For once, it brought me back to drawing and painting, as I’m trying to figure out a costume for my superhero. That’s just a hobby, and I haven’t done any of it for far too long.ghost

And then, there’s of course the genre. I find myself a little obsessed with superheroes lately. As the billboards tell us, I’m not the only one. And as so many others, I’m more of a Marvel person than DC. I never liked Batman much and these days, all that comes out from DC seems to take itself far too seriously. That’s my take. Of course, both franchises are guilty of favoring white, straight dudes (yeah, I know Deadpool is pansexual, but obviously he’s the exception to the rule).

Well, this novella/novel series by Ylva will be all about female heroes who love other females, maybe heroes too, maybe sidekicks, maybe villains? Well, I’m looking forward to reading them all. But first I’ll be going down to Hell(town) and write my own. EXCITED!!!