Ruins of Castle Hanstein near Bornhagen, Germany

Visiting the ruins of Hanstein takes us back to medieval times - Castle Hanstein near Bornhagen, Germany in 2012 More »

Vietnam War protestors demonstrate - Wichita, KS, 1967.

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Solingen, Germany after the bombing, November 1944. - Stadtarchiv Solingen

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My grandmother Grete with her sisters in the early 1920s in Germany.

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B17 Bomber above German Airfield in WWII

U.S. Bomber flies above German airfield in WWII. More »


Category Archives: Middle Ages

Something New

audio book cover for civil war novel 'everything we lose'Recording of ‘Everything We Lose’ Audiobook Finished

Alan Taylor has completed narration of ‘Everything We Lose,’ my civil war adventure. Alan’s voice truly brings Adam’s and Tip’s adventurous plight to life and I can’t wait to share it with the world. Just a few more weeks until administration and distribution are complete. I’ll keep you posted and will soon share an exciting audio sample!

holsten gate in Lübeck

Holsten Gate, the only remaining city gate, completed in 1478

Visiting the Lübeck Dom

Lübeck, an ancient German trading town, located at the East Sea, is a beautiful place to visit. Its entire Altstadt (old city), an Unesco World Heritage site, is located on an island, surrounded by the river Trave and a canal. Many old buildings like the famous Holsten Gate still offer a medieval flavor of what life was like hundreds of years ago.

brick church in Lübeck

Lübeck Dom, started in 1173 by Henry the Lion

But that’s not why I visited. I actually went to the Lübeck Dom because it is said that Knight Werner von Hanstein, one of the heroes in the Escape from the Past trilogy is buried here. The Dom is giant and built entirely of red brick. Inside dozens of sarcophagi are part of the floor. I walked through the church searching for Knight Werner’s remains, but sadly was unable to because many of the stones have badly deteriorated. No wonder, if you imagine the number of people walking across them since the year 1485 (Werner von Hanstein’s burial year). I did track down the Dom’s administrator who is currently searching for a listing of all burial sites and promised to share his findings. I’m carrying his business card in a safe place.

First Draft of ‘The Italian’s Daughter’

I’m happy to report that a first draft of ‘The Italian’s Daughter’ will be completed very soon. However, a first draft is just the beginning of a lengthy process of rewriting. That is the price to pay when writing historical fiction. In order to bring a historical novel to life, in this case, the U.S. prohibition in the 1920s, every detail has to be researched. It is a slow process and to be honest, I sometimes wish I could enjoy writing a different and ‘faster’ genre. But then, I love immersing myself into a historic world, try to imagine what life was like. As always I’m interested in illuminating what it was like for the common folk because unlike the wealthy who had ways to maneuver the inhumane laws, average people were the ones suffering and dealing with a crazy world.


Castle – Burg Hanstein Revisited

brochure about reading from surviving the fatherland bookReading/presentation of ‘Surviving the Fatherland‘ at VHS Solingen on April 19, 2018 at 19:00. The story is based on my parents growing up during WWII in Solingen. I’ll be sharing selected passages from the book that relate to certain occurrences in the war in general and in Solingen in particular.

Please stay tuned for future readings as well as the German version of ‘Surviving the Fatherland.’

What: Reading/Presentation Surviving the Fatherland

When: April 19, 2018 at 7 pm

Where: VHS Solingen, Mummstr., Forum



medieval restaurant

Klausenhof Inn in Winter Sleep

When I visited Burg Hanstein the first time in 2012, I was so awed that it inspired me to write the time travel trilogy, Escape from the Past.

Last month we were nearby visiting friends and the former East-West German border and I had to make another stop. It was an icy and windy day with snowflakes drifting between the old stones. Living here in medieval times must have been so cold. And dark. But oh, it makes for a great story. Unfortunately, the Klausenhof Inn which plays an important role in the novels, was closed for winter break.

medieval castle ruins

Still Fused to the Rock: Wintry Castle Hanstein

The Hanstein descendants have been repairing parts of the outer wall of the keep and tower. It must cost a fortune to rebuild the 6 to 8-foot deep walls in reddish sandstone. By the way, I found another cellar off the large hall on the right where a few torture instruments, including a rack have been set up. I don’t believe Hanstein ever had a torture chamber, but it was a nice touch. Within the large hall on the main floor—from here you can access the only intact tower, courtesy of the East-German government—the history of Hanstein is presented along one wall.

medieval ruins

Kitchen at Castle Hanstein

Not much is told about the time, my nerdy protagonist, Max, arrives here in 1471. But Knight Werner is mentioned upstairs in one of the reconstructed rooms off the tower. That’s where I first read about him feuding with Duke Schwarzburg over a beautiful woman. In my story, that is Lady Clara.

If you love time-travel and the Middle Ages, check out the Escape from the Past trilogy. You won’t regret it. For me I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of visiting Hanstein.

medieval ruins

Pathway to the Inner Bailey