Once and future readings

October 1st, 2014

I went to two readings last month. The first one took place at Fark Convention , a wonderfully nerdy event in an old mine near Saarbrücken. I can only recommend it to everyone. There was role playing, a post-apocalyptic camp with impressive homemade end of time cars, much Steampunk, much costuming, a humungous dealers’ area and of course: readings. And it was all for a good cause, too. The event managed to make – and donate over € 20,000 to a children’s hospice. So not just fun, but help for those who need it. What could be better?


I was scheduled for two readings. I read from my novel “Schwingen aus Stein” and also from my “Cinderella” interpretation published in the photopraphic + short story project “Wahre Märchen 2” (True Fairy Tales). I had a nice, interested audience both times.


This is unfortunately not always the case. Only two weeks later a reading scored 2:0. Two authors – zero audience. That too can happen to writers sometimes, and one may be miffed about it, but if it turns out that there had been no advertising done for the event, then it can hardly be surprising. If no one knows that will be reading somewhere, no one will show up. Obviously.

The next reading will certainly not lack an audience. It will take place at this year’s BuCon (Frankfurt Book Fair convention). On Book Fair Saturday at 12:00 a.m., you can come and hear me read.

In any case, I strongly recommend this entire event. It’s been going and growing for many years, and it is the meeting point of pretty much all the German fantasy-authors, bloggers, critics, specialist publishers, etc. In the evening, the Deutsche Phantastik Preis (German Speculative Fiction Award – comparable to the Hugo) is awarded to the deserving winners, and you can enjoy an awards ceremony that could not be more unlike the Oscar night. And I mean that with a wink and a smile.

This time I’m not nominated. But I have already been awarded the SERAPH in March. Two awards for the same book would probably be immodest. And, dear me, we can’t allow that.

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Meissen Literary Festival

June 8th, 2014

Meissen is a wonderful town, mostly famous for its porcelain manufacture which started out in 1710 at the somewhat brutal instigation of Augustus the Strong (Elector of Saxony and King of Poland). The city also has a marvellous literary festival. Four years ago, I did a reading there. The sun was shining just as brilliantly down on the late medieval buildings which are lined up in perfect historical harmony all the way up to the cathedral hill. Quaint and wonderful. The town looks a bit like the best effort of a mad modeller to whom you would like to give the advice not to overdo it because real towns just aren’t that pretty. You’d be wrong, though.

restaurant-ausschnitt _klein

Our reading was set at the Meissner Obscurum. This is a medieval dungeon-like vaulted cellar and the venue for quite some events. Two vaults invite the horror-fans to stay and enjoy. The larger room was the location for the readings, stylishly arranged in candle light and next to a cut off hand. The other room houses the bar and a nice morgue slab with cut off limbs and an ancient foot pedal driven dentist drill. Fluffy toy rats are livening up the ceiling right above you. And Aunty Kaethe is sitting in an old wicker wheelchair thinking back to those enlightened times when she was more than just a bare skeleton. Well, not totally bare, she is wearing a nice hat which would look well on any (preferably female) steampunker.
skelett_t-kaethe-klein arm-klein

The original schedule included for readings by three Olivers and myself. Unfortunately one of the Olivers got sick and I had to make to with the remaining two.

– Oliver Graute read from „Wahre Märchen 2“ (True fairy tales)
– Oliver Plaschka read from „Kristallpalast“ (The Crystal Palace)
– And I from „Schwingen aus Stein“ (Wings of Stone)

cover-kristallpalast lesung_olli_klein

I don’t think I have ever read in a more horror inspiring setting. It was great fun. And what’s more: the place was packed. They had to turn people away because the dungeon could not hold any more people – not even if we could have arranged them on the slab which we rather used as the book selling platform. Morgue slab, black velvet and good fantasy books – that was truly stylish.

Another nice thing that happened was that I met someone I’d met years ago at a filk con. C. invited me for breakfast the next day and we had a lovely time chatting. It’s great to get reminded that the world is a) a small place and b) full of wonderful people. (Comment from the Olivers: And who is she? –The Lord Mayor’s wife. – And how do you know her? – Filk. – Oh. Filk.)

The journey back was a bit of a drag because my train was delayed by one and a half hours. But what the heck? I had a lovely time. And I do hope they’ll invite me again to Meissen some day.

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Dungeons and Readings

May 27th, 2014

Last year, the Meissen Literature Festival had to be cancelled due to flooding. East Germany and parts of Eastern Bavaria were submerged in rather too much water in places where water was not at all welcome.

This year the festival will (hopefully!) be held again. And I’ll be reading there again. I last read in Meissen four years ago, but I remember how pretty and nice everything was. I am sure it still is. This time it is even more thrilling, because this time, Feder & Schwert Publishing has been granted a special event, the “Fantasy Night of Feder & Schwert”: Oliver Plaschka, Oliver Hoffmann, Oliver Graute and I read from our novels. – And even though my name is not Oliver, I shall be there. The Fantasy Night will be held on Friday, 06 June 2014. The entire festival runs from Thursday to Monday.

I am particularly thrilled with the location, the Meissner Obscurum, a vaulted cellar – well “a real dungeon”, which will certainly provide a wonderful setting for works of speculative fiction. So come and listen – and have fun at this very special evening.

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May 18th, 2014

Last weekend I was invited to read in Ilmenau at the local Technical University. Phantopia organised this. They are a quite wonderful club that invites authors regularly and spoils them rotten. It was my second reading there. And again it was thoroughly enjoyable. I went home happy, fed and with some lovely gifts and I hope to be able to read there again someday. Simply wonderful hosts!

Fresh out of the – well, not press but pixel machine – is the e-book “Exotische Welten” (Exotic Worlds) published by O’Connellpress. It’s a wonderful collection of very different stories that fit this topic, from SF to fantasy. My story takes the reader into late 19th century London and from there into a world that is a poem in every sense of the word. Here you can order the e-book directly . It is, of course, in German.

And in June we expect the release of the next story book. It is called ” Wahre Märchen 2 ” (True Fairy Tales 2) and is a wonderful photo book with photographs by Annie Bertram showing a world of dark gothic romanicism. These deep and eerie photographs set the stage for a collection of modern fairy tales by Markus Heitz, Christian von Aster, Julia Becker, Oliver Graute, Diana Kinne, Lea Melcher, Iris Meyer, Björn Springorum, Isa Theobald, Rona Walter – and me. Images and stories intertwine to make this book a work of art. I’d like to say something like that never happened before, but it is already the second volume of this project. Whoever loves the dark romance of our time – this book is just right for you.

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… and the winner is … me …

March 18th, 2014

And what was it like? It was great. Exhausting, but quite overwhelming.

Last week, I went to Leipzig Book Fair. I only tend to go to big fairs, when I have something to do there. Just strolling from booth to booth would be a little too tedious for me. But this year, I really could not complain. Four readings. A Meet & Greet with literary bloggers at the Heyne (Random House) stand. An interview with a nice blogger couple. And several visits to my agent, who this time had his own booth.

The big news, however, is: I won the SERAPH – Best Book 2014 !


Together with Oliver Plaschka , who was also was nominated, I sat in the audience and waited for the decision. I really did not believe I would win the award. Accordingly, I was pretty speechless when “Schwingen aus Stein” (Wings of Stone) was announced to be the winner. A book set in the Bavarian forest – that was a bit weird and unusual, but it may just have helped to make “Schwingen aus Stein” the winner.
I probably spouted a lot of nonsensical blather as I accepted the trophy handed over by Kai Meyer. I truly don’t remember what I said. At least I did not shed any tears, but I truly hope my ramblings will not make the rounds on YouTube.

Anyway, I was happy and overwhelmed and – ah – not speechless although I somehow wish I had been. The pretty statuette now lives on my shelf together with the Deutsche Phantastik Preis (German Speculative Fiction Award) which I got back in 2009 for ” Obsidianherz” (Obsidian Heart), flanked by a SAM and a Pegasus Award, which I got for filk songs I wrote.

The award for the best newcomer novel went to Catherine Hartwell “Das fremde Meer“ (The alien sea).

After the ceremony we went into the city. The special Seraph reading was to take place at the Stadtwerke Leipzig, who had sponsored the newcomer award. It took us a long time to get there after the show because there were traffic jams all around the fair. I was scared that we would never get there. But we somehow managed and the event was very enjoyable. I was rather tired – if you get up at 04:30 clock , travel and run around all day at the show, you are no longer fresh as a daisy – but sleep is for the weak and sickly.

There was a second SERAPH winners’ reading on Saturday morning at the fair. Here we had a really humungous amount of listeners, a fact we probably have to thank Kai Meyer for, who was on before us and sort of shared his numerous fans with us (they were waiting for the signing). Thank you, Kai!

The utter disinterest of the “traditional” press was not precisely a surprise. They either completely forgot about the event or decided not to grace it with their culturally superior attendance. The so called “quality journalism” only reported about those events they predictably feature every single year. NEWS looks much better when it is a little dusty and people know what to expect.

My last reading was at the RPG Exhibitors’ Party. The RPG people always offer gaming rounds at the Leipzig Book Fair. The party was held in the premises of a very cozy student pub – in Leipzig readings are always distributed all across the city. Very nice people. I read from “Die Quellen der Malicorn” (The wells of the Malicorn). I believe the role players liked it.

On the way home on the train on Sunday, I really wanted to work on my new book, but I fear I was wrestled down by Mr. Sandman who had rather convincing arguments.


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March 3rd, 2014

And here is a small preview of my endeavours planned for the Leipzig Book Fair:

I shall have my first reading on Thursday, March 13, at 12:30 a.m.
reading from “Schwingen aus Stein” (Wings of Stone)
Fantasy Reading Island , Hall 2, Stand H309/K309

Also, on the same day there will be the SEARPH award ceremony with a (surprise) reading by the two winners. Since I made it to the shortlist, I will of course be there, sitting around nervously. You may keep your fingers crossed.

SERAPH Awards Ceremony 2014
13 March 2014 | 17:00 – 18:00 h
Awards for the best fantasy novels and novel newcomer of the year and awarding the SERAPH
Location : Reading island Fantasy hall 2, booth H309/K309

SERAPH Award winner reading at Stadtwerke Leipzig
13 March 2014 | 20:00
Location: Stadtwerke, Energie- und Umweltzentrum , Katharinenstraße 17 , 04109 , Leipzig ( center )

And then I shall read again on Saturday night, but this will be at a private functin.

Friday at 17:00 clock you may find me at the Heyne stand.
All in all, I’m going to haunt the fair for three days, wandering around and gracing this or that stand with my presence. And I should be glad to see you there, perhaps for a chat or a coffee.

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Steampunk reading in Frankfurt

February 19th, 2014

Yesterday, there was a Steampunk reading on at the FAB (Frankfurt Art Bar http://www.frankfurtartbar.de ) in Frankfurt. The event was great fun. The following authors read from their Steampunk ( or 19th century gothic novel) books:

– Oliver Plaschka: Der Kristallpalast (The Crystal Palace)


– Judith & Christian Vogt: Die zerbrochene Puppe (The broken doll)

– And I: Schwingen aus Stein (Wings of Stone)

The FAB is a wonderful culture and music pub in Frankfurt and Janice, the landlady, had kindly let us loose among her clientele. There were many steampunk friends, some in Steampunk costume. The Feder&Schwert Publishing had sent a donation of books for us to hand to the winners of the costuming competition and these beautiful Steampunk novels now all have found a good steampunky home.


We enjoyed the evening immensely and so, I think, did the audience. A similar event featuring the same authors is scheduled for April 11 in the Drachenwinkel , a book shop (dragon nook book shop)

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Ju Honisch



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