June 19th, 2015

The finalists for the Deutscher Phantastik Preis (German Award for Speculative Literature = the German “Hugo”) have been posted. Indirectly, I am among the finalists: I wrote one of the stories in “Exotische Welten” (Susanne & Sean O’Connell [Hg] – O’Connell Press), an anthology of short stories. My story combines steampunk elements with classical poetry.

“Im Bilde (=In the picture)” (Mr Jenkins inherits a house in London with a large painting in his study. Through this painting he finds an access to a fabulous kingdom. Against all reason he is seized by a strong desire to go exploring…). The story was inspired by the Coleridge poem “Kubla Khan”.

“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea …”

If you liked “Exotische Welten”, please vote for the collection . The final ballot runs from June 20 to July 19.

If you are not familiar with the anthology, then you can learn more about it here .

We would be delighted if you liked our stories. And we would all of us be very happy, if you expressed your opinion by voting for us. Thank you.

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Love and other things

April 22nd, 2015

It’s time for: The LOVE scene. I can no longer put it off in the current book project. Somehow books can’t do without them. Love tends to be an integral part of the plot, at least in my books.Do I like writing love scenes? Not really. This is not because I have squeamish scruples, but rather has to do with the constant concern that one might stray from the extremely narrow path of good taste in favour of too blatant details on one hand or too flowery metaphors&similes on the other.

I still believe that the “pillow talk” between Cérise and Arpad “Das Obsidianherz” was the most successful love scene in all my books. Its first version was very long and it grew more exciting with every sentence I cut from it. What remained were just 25% of the original text. (Somewhere I still have the long version, but I will never ever show it to anyone.)

So now hero and heroine are getting down to business. And right after that: pirates.

By the way, I find many love scenes in books or movies quite unerotic. Again I do not think this is because of my prudishness, but sometimes you really want to close your eyes and complain: “Oh no, not like that!”. Did you ever notice that kissing noises in movies are always dubbed with the exact same squelchy smacking sound? All over the world, they are probably using this one single recording, a universal, DIN/CEN/ISO-certified squidgy slurp.

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The daily chores of a writer

April 14th, 2015

Patrick Süßmeier, a literary blogger who writes about speculative fiction, has asked a number of German SF/F authors about their “normal day”. A number of us already described their workday to him. I did – and so did Anja Bagus, Sandra Baumgärtner, Nadine d’Arachart, & Sarah Wedler, Markus Heitz, Ann-Kathrin Karschnick, Piper Marou, Henning Mützlitz, Nicole Schuhmacher. The list is stille growing.
So if you’d like to know what the gory details of writing are about, you can find the answer here.

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Group reading

January 12th, 2015

“Schwingen aus Stein” (Wings of Stone), my last novel, won a SERAPH at the Leipzig Bookfair last spring. This was a great honour and brought me a whole number of readings at interesting places before interesting people last year. I should like to thank the organisers and the listeners!

The book turned out to be a little tardy in gathering attention otherwise: a few more reviews would be nice. I am paging the ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere here who do such an excellent – and usually unpaid – job of reviewing those books that do not come with the advertising budget of the mainstream bestseller list.

So now we venture forth into this year with a new group reading of the book starting January 16. I shall take part in the event and I would be delighted if a great many people would join this. Those of you who have the novel sitting on the bedside table waiting to be read or simply want to purchase it because Father Christmas was remiss in his duty to bring it – you now have the opportunity to read the book together with a nice group of people, to discuss it, voice your opinion or get my answers to specific questions. I’ll be there. And this is where you’ll find me. – The book and the discussion will be in German.

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My three cents worth …

December 11th, 2014

What is a troll? No, I’m not talking about the naked giants from the Hobbit movie. I am talking about the people who annoy us online with their malevolent, disparaging opinions based on cluelessness, spiteful frustration and zero relevance. Those we call trolls.

There are trolls to be found in online (book) reviews. They are some few people who basically only ever write bad reviews, and who do not stop at disparaging the medium (book, film, etc.), but also launch massive personal attacks on the authors and media makers and on all those who have the audacity to like what they dislike.

It is perfectly all right not to like a book or a movie. We cannot all like the same things. We also do not necessarily all have to like Tolkien. And it is equally acceptable to say so and state the reason for your dislike.

Massive attacks on the creative minds behind – whatever – medium plus on those who confess to like the creative product will, however, put the reviewer very much in the proximity of trolldom.

Mr. Frank (Spiegel Online) seems very close to overstepping this troll borderline line in his critique about the last Hobbit movie. He not only criticizes the movie – I have not seen the movie, so I cannot comment on that, maybe it is bad? – but he goes on criticizing everything and everyone who might somehow lurk and work in the “vicinity”, including those creative in the area as much as those who like the products of this genre. One full scale round of kicks in the shins. We are all stupid. He is the only one who is wise.

That tends to be the overall problem with trolls. It’s never about the actual opinion but basically all about self-manifestation. But should one really use one’s considerable media clout to flaunt one’s somewhat dusty 70s culturally highbrow ego and offend large groups of the population in order to portray oneself as a kind of aloof and windswept King of Culture?

Fairy tales and legends have always existed. They belong to humanity. Archetypes are fixed in our thinking and feeling. Mr. Frank surely knows the word.

Yes, fantasy – or rather speculative fiction – is entertainment. But entertainment is not necessarily objectionable as such. Mankind has always been entertained, has run competitions, told stories and made music. All this is entertainment. Only in Puritanism and comparably rigid religious or ideological systems is this a “sin”. Escapism is the derogatory term used in modern parlance. Everything is escapist. But let’s face it, even driving an SUV in a big city is already escapism, since you will not need your four-wheel-drive to brave the wilderness of suburbia.

In the 70s there was a literary theory of Christian Enzensberger (not Hans-Magnus, that was his brother), the theory of sense deficit. To give a very simple and short explanation, this was the approach that EVERY kind of literature only served to embellish and mask the absurdity of the world through fiction. With this approach practically ALL literature would be escapist.

But declaring escapism to be the sole purpose of speculative literature has already been chewed over many times and rightly disappeared into oblivion – particularly since the works and contents of speculative literature have evolved their own academic study field in which the researching academics actually know what they are talking about. Escapism – my goodness, does one really have to go back that far to find some ammunition for self-complimenting literary bigotry?

They say that we, the “fantasy fans”, cannot distinguish between reality and unreality. But we can. We can because we know BOTH. It is the unimaginative “realists” that generally tend to fall for religious / ideological extremist groups, because they take the ludicrous at face value and have no experience with the reception of the fictitious. It is the “fantastic” that fine-tunes our sense of reality.

Last but not least let me say a word about the LARPERS – so much disliked by Mr Frank: I much prefer people playing fairytales with plastic swords for recreation on the odd weekend to those who want to beat reality into shape with the right-wing slogans and oh so real baseball bats.

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November 9th, 2014

I write. I sing. Write songs. And sometimes – very rarely – I paint. But that is just for relaxation really.
I two weeks’ time I shall read at Dreieich Con. And together with a good friend I shall have a stand at the con. Now, she is the real artist. Jela. I am merely a colour punk. So if you come to Dreieich con and still need some nice little Christmas presents, come to Jela.

Oh, and I shall have my CDs on sale and books (signed) – and for the first time – paintings.

Dreieich Con, 22. – 23 November, Samstag 17:00 – 18:00 Uhr, Stadtbücherei Dreieich, Bürgerhaus Dreieich-Sprendlingen, Fichtestr. 50, 63303 Dreieich.


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Lovelybooks Leserpreis

November 6th, 2014

Since I have joined Lovelybooks (the German equivalent of Goodreads), my books may be nominated for the Lovelybooks award. If you liked “Die Quellen der Malicorn” or “Schwingen aus Stein”, then I would be happy if you could nominate the book. This is where you have to go. Thank you!


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Frankfurt Book Fair

October 16th, 2014

The main event of last week was Frankfurt Book Fair and, successively, BuCon, the Book Fair Convention. The actual fair saw me only for one day. But this was enough to show my face and to meet some nice people. Towards the evening it was getting even more interesting. After the traditional fantasy authors’ Chinese food run, we continued to party at the Galactic Forum. This promising name has been given to the annual Perry Rhodan Publisher’s Party. It was the second time they invited me – Thank you, I hope you will invite me again, folks!)

I’m not really an ardent party goer and tend to feel lost and overwhelmed very quickly at big dos. But this party is really nice: cozy enough to feel welcome and frequented enough to meet everyone who is someone in this scene and in this genre. I won’t go into name-dropping mode here. Favourable result: a new and interesting short story project did come my way, because at this meeting you have more direct contact with your “peers” than at the huge trade fair itself.

As always, the Saturday belonged to BuCon the “Buchmesse (=Book Fair) Convent”. If you are used to calling this type of event a convention, please be advised by veteran German SF fans that this is all wrong (in German). At this point I will refrain from joining a time-worn (and very boring) discussion about grammar and etymology. Whoever organises the event is free to decide what it should be called. However, the term “Convent” to me always tends to convey the image of colourful young men in full 19th century student union regalia or non-colourful old women with a pious mien.

Neither of the aforementioned were present, though. Gathered here was the speculative fiction family for their very own kind of autumn rite. If I started name-dropping at this point, I would have to expand this blog post by several pages. Let’s try a different approach. Had Noah wanted to save all German speculative fiction writers from the flood he would have been able to tick off his list here without having to hunt around for stray specimens. And he would not even miss out on the dinosaurs.

I did a reading at lunch time and enjoyed it quite a bit. So, I hope, did the audience. Well, they bought quite a number of my books afterwards, so one can assume that they might not have been too bored.

Eventually I lost track of the event a little. I still had fun, though. Mind you, maybe I should plan my conversations a tiny bit more diligently in the future, because for some reason I obviously succeeded in NOT making it onto a single photograph or video clip, let alone managed to engage the media people for an interview or article (newspaper or blog). I am still a little miffed at that – or rather at me for my sudden PR-unawareness. Obviously I am good at being invisible. Should I need to establish an alibi for Saturday the police would scan the photos and report material and not find any hint that I was there at all. So: go to jail, directly.

But I was there. Honest.

The highlight of the evening was, as always, the German Speculative Fiction Award (Deutscher Phantastik Preis) Ceremony. The winners are listed here . I congratulate all those who won and of course all the final nominees.

As an additional event Tom Finn got awarded the “BuCon Preis”, which was given out for the first time this year. It is a kind of general creativity award for lifetime achievement (to date. We hope Tom Finn goes on being creative many more years.).

Later that evening I went out to dinner with the short story authors of “Eis & Dampf” (Ice & Steam), who I would like to again congratulate for winning the German Speculative Fiction Award for the best anthology. Nice people. Nice food. Dreadful drive home.

Now it is over again, that fifth season for book lovers. So now we can once again focus on the aspect of book-biz which is closest to our hearts: the actual writing.

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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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Loncon 3

August 29th, 2014

LonCon is over and both memories and souvenirs are good

– met lots of friends
– met interesting new people
– listened to enlightening discussions
– listened to wonderful concerts
– was part of – hopefully – enlightening discussions wonderful concerts
– two new books
– one new hat
and on the down side_
– con crud.

I reviewed the event in “Zauberspiegel. The article is in German.

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