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

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!

 

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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

*FREE*

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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

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