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: Writing

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.


Another Chapter

People might wonder what I’ve been up to since moving to Europe last fall. In some ways little has happened, in other ways a lot. My answer is a bit cryptic, so let me explain.

In September I returned to Europe, specifically to my hometown Solingen near Düsseldorf and Cologne. I’d been gone for nearly 31 years. Why? Various reasons come to mind. I wanted to be close to my elderly father, feel more secure in a nurturing society, but most of all, I wanted to become a truly bilingual author.

Capturing the German Thing

pen on paperTo date all six published novels are written in English. Returning to Europe allowed me to reconnect with the German language and kindle my ability to write in German. Within months I started translating my bestselling biographical novel, Surviving the Fatherland, into German. During this process I felt like I was treading in one spot. Not advancing, not writing anything new, just plugging through 370 pages of a story I’d written and rewritten dozens of times. Often, I felt so much closer to the English language than to the German. I kept plugging, kept reading German books, kept filing and tweaking one sentence at a time. Winter stretched, became elastic and seemed to never end.

Then in May of this year something amazing happened. I finished. It felt like I’d climbed a mountain without adequate gear, but I made it through. All of a sudden I felt like I’d done a lot.

My One-Lane Mind

computer screen laptopStrange, right? Well, it’s all in the perception and our own expectations. I had been wanting to write a new novel—more about that in a minute—and instead I revisited my old manuscript. It felt like I wasn’t progressing and my creative side begged for attention. I expected more from myself. Why couldn’t I write a new story AND translate the other. Sorry, impossible. I’m not a multi-tasker. I only do one thing at a time if I want to have a chance to do it well. Of course, how well shall be seen. After another review, I’m now ready to work with an editor.

Which editor will depend on whether I’ll find a literary agent here in Germany and/or a publisher. That’s the next step. And while I wait I finally get to do something different and creative again.

A New Project

I’ll be writing a story about a young woman losing her mother during the prohibition and taking off to find her missing brother, The Italian’s Daughter. Last summer I’d stopped writing because I got stuck. The story line was not progressing and I couldn’t think of how to continue. I guess my subconscious was busy while I translated and came up with new ideas.

So I’m back…in another chapter. In full swing. A new novel with a cool female protagonist: Sam…short for Samantha. I’m still curious where she leads me. As you know I’m a pantser, so I don’t outline. My characters create their own stories. So much fun!

Trust in Yourself

old dog lying on floorSo while it sometimes appears as if we don’t progress, we often do in ways we don’t understand at that moment. Allow yourself to trust in the process, allow your mind to do its thing. Allow yourself a break. Things are moving forward. Your subconscious is powerful and extremely smart.

Believe in it! Believe in yourself!