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: Travel

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.

 

On the Path of History – Germany, Month Two

portrait of martin luther

Martin Luther in 1529

Well, my friends, it’s been a busy month. Aside from attempting to tame the German bureaucracy or what Germans call the ‘Amtsschimmel,’ I’ve been working hard on prepping for the publication of my Civil War novel. ‘Broken Journey: A Civil War Adventure’ is in editing which means I’m working on wording for the back cover and all online sales outlets. A first look at what that sounds like so far can be found on my upcoming novels page.

photo of old buildings in Germany

Bishop and St. Lullus in Bad Hersfeld, Germany

Of course, that isn’t all. Early in 2017 I began a story set during prohibition. I find this period of U.S. history absolutely fascinating. It is one of those examples of total governmental failure, opening the way to career criminals like Al Capone and George Remus. I decided I’d try a female protagonist this time and give the story a more romantic twist. Thus this is not going to be Young Adult, but historical fiction with a heavy dose of romance.

medieval tower in Rotenburg

Witches Tower in Rotenburg (Fulda)

On another front I’m attempting to settle into the German language and my role as a German-speaking and -writing author. Part of that process is to teach again. Just a few days ago, I was able to schedule new writing workshops with the local VHS, a learning community which one could best characterize as a blend of community college and Parks and Recreation program. I also scheduled my first reading—albeit in English—from my bestselling novel, Surviving the Fatherland.

medieval door

The door to the Witches Tower

I was also fortunate to visit the historic town of Bad Hersfeld and Rotenburg south of Kassel. Both towns have long histories, in fact, Bad Hersfeld dates back to the year 769 when Lullus, who later became a bishop and saint, reestablished an abbey here. On one of our wanderings to the remains of a nearby castle tower, we learned that Martin Luther passed by here in 1521 and held a service at the abbey. Martin Luther celebrates his 500-year anniversary this year because he published his 95 theses in 1517 and many credit him with ending the Middle Ages.

woman next to war memorial

WWII memorial about war children – in Rotenburg

Well, I could go on, but suffice it to say that I collected new ideas for future books. I’m even thinking about a series of non-fiction children’s books about important figures not often mentioned. For instance, Bad Hersfeld is home to two prominent men: Konrad Zuse who is credited worldwide with the invention of the computer and Konrad Duden, a man we can thank for unifying the German language and whose name permanently adorns German dictionaries.

Enough said. Now I must figure out a way to pack more hours into each day.

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