The Grave Digger in Japan

There is something special about the Grave Digger 😉 Though at the same time, sorry, Grave Digger, but you have never been my band number one. LOL. However, Grave Digger has always been there, somewhere, among my top ten bands. The band does have a special personal importance to me, since one of their albums was the inspiration for in total over one thousand pages of novel = my Hagen Patterson Trilogy: She Should have Called Him Siegfried, To Mix and to Stir and Give Substance to a Thought. Those musings were the result of Grave Digger’s take on the Ring of the Nibelungen Saga in form of their album Rheingold, which let me find a Nibelungen story of my own.

Also, one of their songs “Excalibur” is among my top ten songs of all times. The guitar riff of that song is a killer and has an undisputed place in my pantheon.


I missed their gigs quite often and only rather late, in 2017, I had the privilege to see the Grave Digger for the first time live during 70,000 Tons of Metal, then, the same year in Wacken (yeah!) and now finally finally in Japan.
That band is around since 1980 (!), next year they will have their 40th (!) anniversary, or rather the singer, Chris Boltendahl will have his 40th band anniversary, since he is the only constant band member. The guy is now 57 years old.
I am not sure why they did not come to Japan for a staggering 23 years. Last time they were in Japan it was 1996! Wow! But yesterday, finally, they played at the Evoked Fest with Alestorm as the headliner.
Note the drums of Alestorm with the joke on it: Drave Gigger 😉


I hope it doesn’t take another 23 years for the Grave Digger to come to Japan again. I surely enjoyed banging my head to Excalibur and the Tunes of War last night. Well done guys! See you again soon, hopefully 😉 And thanks for writing that Rheingold album 😉

Out Now – Red Angel 42

It is done! About one and a half years after Jeronimo, the Red Angel 42 is out there in the ether. 🙂

You can order it in Kindle format or as a paperback from Amazon in the US, EU or Japan.

Earth’s controlled environment is failing, and humanity’s last hope lies with New Earth, the planet the Keepers of Jeronimo and their followers fled to a thousand years ago. One ship of the 81 that were sent, the Red Angel 42, finds New Earth and sends the happy message home once reaching orbit. Humanity’s survival is ensured, or so they think. Captain Sumari’s crew will have two years to prepare what they can for the arrival of colonists. Once planetside, Captain Sumari and his crew make contact with the descendants of the Jeronimo loyals only to discover they have no machines, no metal, and no memory of their ancestors… or Earth.
The only one not surprised to see them is a young woman named Nimo. She sees millions of people in the Dome of Souls – an entity bestowing revelations both personal and powerful to a chosen few – and so is quite open to the strangers’ arrival. Nimo quickly finds herself torn between her people and the Earthlings, and becomes entangled in the fight for survival Sumari and his crew face against the hazards of the new planet and Nimo’s superstitious people.

Red Angel 42 – Proof Ordered

The “proof” is ordered 🙂
The proof of the paperback version of the Red Angel 42 is on the way to my address and when everything looks good I shall press the “publish” button and the book will be available in a week or ten days or so 🙂
It’s been quite a journey as always. I wrote the first draft of the Red Angel 42 two years ago. The Dome of Souls novel series is running now since 2011 when I published its first volume Dome Child. The whole idea is around since a whopping 22 years now. As mentioned in earlier blog entries, the Dome of Souls story started as TV series scripts with Jeronimo – which I published in 2017, 20 years after its initial version. Looking at my old records, the Red Angel 42 is some 13 years old now. I wrote its TV series version in 2006. OMG! Time flies 😉
Of course much has changed since 2006, but the main characters Sumari, Nimo, Lavalle and the brothers Jurley and Jero already existed back then. What they do on the planet and how they interact with the locals has changed a lot though from the TV script to the novel version.
I’m very pleased to see the Red Angel’s crew and the inhabitants of Nirvana so changed and improved.
The Red Angel 42 is the one Dome of Souls novel that does not have a Dome Revelation by the way! And yet, the Dome plays (of course) an essential part in the characters’ lives.
If you look back at the Dome Child and the first Dome Revelation of good old Jove Hendricks – yes, “Nirvana” is the red planet he sees.
Then he sees another planet, a dark and sinister one, that has a ring around it. That’s Bahrein! Actually I have already written the first draft of the 5th Dome of Souls novel, which will take us to Bahrein, as hinted at in the epilogue of the Red Angel 42. Writing the Bahrein novel has been a very pleasant experience, because it was/is the one Dome of Souls novel which was/is most vividly in my head with lots of details ready. I’ll of course brood a while over rewrites and edits, but I’m rather certain that I can publish it in 2020.
But for now it’s the time of the Red Angel 42 and I’m very thrilled to be able to push the “publish” button soon 🙂

Out Soon – Red Angel 42

My fourth “Dome of Souls” novel – “Red Angel 42” will see the light of day soon.
Here’s its “blurb” 🙂

Earth’s controlled environment is failing, and humanity’s last hope lies with New Earth, the planet the Keepers of Jeronimo and their followers fled to a thousand years ago. One ship of the 80 that were sent, the Red Angel 42, finds New Earth and sends the happy message home once reaching orbit. Humanity’s survival is ensured, or so they think. Captain Sumari’s crew will have two years to prepare what they can for the arrival of colonists.
Once planetside, Captain Sumari and his crew make contact with the descendants of the Jeronimo loyals only to discover they have no machines, no metal, and no memory of their ancestors… or Earth.
The only one not surprised to see them is a young woman named Nimo. She sees millions of people in the Dome of Souls – an entity bestowing revelations both personal and powerful to a chosen few – and so is quite open to the strangers’ arrival. Nimo quickly finds herself torn between her people and the Earthlings, and becomes entangled in the fight for survival Sumari and his crew face against the hazards of the new planet and Nimo’s superstitious people.

As usual, the cover was painted by the great Naoyuki Katoh. 🙂

The previous Dome of Souls series novels are:
Dome Child
The Anatomy of Anarchy
Jeronimo

Writing Progress Report

I haven’t posted a book progress update in a while. So here is one. The fourth Dome of Souls novel is all but ready. It’s proofread, I have a cover, only thing I need to do is to format it and start the publishing process.
Under my pseudonym, I also have a cover for the latest beast and it is ready and currently at the proofreader. Once I get it back, I have to make the final changes and then that one will be good to go too.
So what’s keeping me from doing the final steps of the fourth Dome of Souls novel? The fifth one! 😉 I’m in the process of writing its first draft and it’s been going very smoothly and quickly and I’m already at 75,000 words. I expect the beast to have between 90,000 and 100,000 words in the end, so not much more to go. I’m pushing for the completion of the first draft to stay in the nice and steady creation flow it is in now. While Dome 3 = Jeronimo and Dome 4 = “title to be announced soon”, took a while to write, Dome 5 is like Dome 2 = The Anatomy of Anarchy, it practically wrote itself, because the story was all very clear in my head already.
It was and is a great pleasure to be writing Dome 5 due to this “the book writes” itself aspect. I’m at it for seven weeks now and I suppose the first draft will be finished after ten weeks or so. That would be my second quickest time ever for finishing the first draft of a novel, the fastest being and probably remaining “To Mix and To Stir”, the second Hagen Patterson novel, which took me a mere five weeks to write.
I’m always talking about the initial drafts here, the self-editing etc. process is so much longer than the first draft. “To Mix and To Stir” remains the fastest book also in the department of the overall process including self-editing, and editing/proofreading by someone else. To Mix and To Stir came out nine months after I started with the beast.
The pseudonym book coming out soon is the second fastest. Since I suppose it will be ready in January or February, it took/will take 13 or 14 months from writing to putting it out there. So far so good! I better get back to Dome 5, because I am itching to finish that first draft :-)
Dome 4 will probably come out in January or February too, once I get around to formatting it 😉 Cheers!

Writing Update

I’ve not announced a writing update in an age! So here is one. 🙂 I’m in the last stages of review for my fourth Dome of Souls novel before I will hand it over to a proofreader. Meaning the beast will come out before the end of the year, I hope. My alter ego (I’m also writing books under a pseudonym) is in the same stage with the (maybe) last installation of a trilogy. Theoretically there would be room for another part of the story, but for the moment it’s done. But back to Regina. So the fourth Dome of Souls novel: Remember when the sacked Keepers of Jeronimo left for the freshly found New Earth without telling the revolutionists back home where it is?
We are making a jump into the future again and a thousand years after the fall of Jeronimo, the Earthlings are finding their lost brothers on New Earth. However, what they find is not exactly what they imagined they would. Evil grin.

I must say I struggled a bit through the writing of this beast, since it represented the challenge of two cultures clashing and how to portray those, which is an aspect absent from the three earlier Dome of Souls novels where everything happened within one culture which was in the process of changing itself from within. The culture clash this time was of course interesting and a new aspect, but I did fight with how to, in my opinion, “correctly” portray such a culture clash. It is however a nice preparation for the fifth book, which will (finally) take us to Bahrein. I’m greatly looking forward to writing that beast and since it’s quite detailed in my mind (at least to a much larger extent than number four was when I started), I think the writing process will be quite fast and smooth for the Bahreinian one, though you never know. I guess I can start working on that beast in autumn.

Other than that there are two stand-alone novels slumbering. One has been shopped around agents already without a result, the other is ready to be shopped around with agents, but I’m not finding the patience and energy to write the agent advertising package for that one.
Both stand-alones have the disadvantage of being rather short, just 65,000 words, and most publishers want stuff that’s longer than 70,000 words. Ridiculous that a story can be judged by something like this, but…
I’ll try to send one off to a few publishers, the other to a few agents and after a while give up and bring them out myself again. Though I’m undecided yet whether they’ll be under my name or the pseudonym.
So, I’m busy as usual and my pseudonym has gotten a few fans on whatpadd, just five people or so, but nevertheless it feels good to get encouragement from people who don’t know me personally 😉
And thus the never-ending writing journey continues!

Japan Writers Conference 2017 Report

It’s been a while since I attended the Japan Writer’s Conference, but since it happened in Tokyo this year, I was able to go for one of its two days.
It was great to meet some old friends and acquaintances.
The seminars were a pleasure to attend and a nice distraction from the day job.

The first seminar I went to by Marie Orise dealt with the “downdraft” and the “updraft” of a work of fiction. The downdraft is the first draft, the updraft is the refining, self-editing part of the fiction writing process. Marie made a poll concerning who has more trouble getting the story on paper and who has more trouble refining it. The audience was divided nearly fifty-fifty. I definitely belong into the category of finding the updraft harder to do. I have no problem at all getting a story written. But then refining it, oh my, what an act.
Some hints from Marie what to look for in the updraft were:
If something doesn’t “spark joy”, delete it.
Delete mundane details, no matter how much you like them.
Sometimes it helps to keep the three unities of theater in the back of your mind: The unities of action, place and time and to streamline your story with their help.
Always ask yourself what you want to say, how much of it and in what order.
I shall keep on struggling with the updraft and thanks for the tips, Marie.

Hans Brinckmann did a great seminar on how he turned his WW2 memoirs into two publications and it was fascinating to listen to his memories of when he was a twelve year old boy in Nazi Germany occupied Holland. It’s been a while since I listened to an eye witness report from WW2.

SciFi trilogy author Eli K.P. William’s topic was author voice and other voices like the narrator’s or the characters’ voices in a work of fiction.
Especially since I’m writing in a foreign language, I think it’s difficult to acquire a distinctive author’s voice. I was especially grateful for Eli’s tips on how to make your different characters sound less “the same”. His suggestions were: make “rules” for each character what kind of words they use (e.g. Someone has a Scottish accent), major characters have “dialogue tags” (e.g. Someone says “Oh Lord” all the time and you know it’s that guy speaking and you don’t need an “Z said” so often.), vary the rhythm of speech, imagine characters voices in your head while you write and edit, never let your character say something that’s obvious to the others present (also known as the “as you know, Bob” phenomenon. ) though sometimes this is very tricky, when you have characters explaining essential plot things to each other.
Let’s see if I can implement that into my future stories 😉

The last seminar I attended was on how to get an anthology together. Susan Laura Sullivan and Suzanne Kamata presented their long journeys as anthology editors and I admire the persistence and stamina they had in putting these anthologies together. I especially liked the cover of Susan’s anthology. That’s one nice display of muscles which I’d like to have 😉

The evening dinner had a special feature to offer too, five writers, including the author Peter Marsh, performed songs for a musical Peter wrote. Now that’s something you don’t get to hear or see every day! Congrats to a great performance!

Even though the next Japan Writers Conference will be held in Hokkaido, I hope to be able to attend!

And Then There Were Three

I just received the proof copy of Jeronimo and all looks fine. So I pushed the publication button and the novel should be available on Amazon worldwide within the next few days.
The trio looks good! 🙂
IMG_1480

For Jeronimo, the Keeper’s tower is actually in the center of the picture, but since the picture bends around the spine, just looking at the cover, the tower seems off center. But, I kind of like it because the centrist world of Jeronimo is about to be unbalanced mightily by the course of events 😉
IMG_1481

The trio looks good from every angle and it also shows the mightiness of the Anatomy of Anarchy, which is a bit longer than its two brothers Dome Child and Jeronimo 😉
IMG_1482

I’m already looking forward to add number four to the bunch – I’m writing it right now. The fourth Dome of Souls novel will be called “Red Angel 42”.

I’m now working on the Kindle conversion of Jeronimo. Let’s see how long that will take, since the process seems to be changed compared to a year ago. Well, it’ll work somehow!
In the meantime I’ll have a juka2 (I wish) and enjoy the ride.
Happy birthday, Jeronimo!

Twenty Years of the “Dome”

As long as twenty years ago, I had the first idea for the “Dome of Souls” series.
It all started with the world of Jeronimo, and twenty years on, the story will finally see the official day of light. It has changed a lot over those twenty years.
Here is the gorgeous cover by Katho Sensei.
JeronimoCoverFinal
Jeronimo started as a television series screenplay, became a role playing game for a few session, then continued as a screenplay.

After Jeronimo, I wrote (in screenplay format) it’s prequel The Anatomy of Anarchy, which saw the light of day last year, then I wrote two sequels, which are not yet published.
Next, I abandoned the whole series and switched from screenplays to novels. I wrote the pre-prequel of Jeronimo, the Dome Child and published it in 2011.
After Dome Child came out, I thought I was done with the Dome for good and turned to other stories, some of which have been published under my name, others under a pseudonym.
But then, in around 2014, the Dome bug bit me again. This story has been with me my entire adult life and it wanted to make its way out into the world. This time I stayed in chronological order and completely rewrote the Anatomy of Anarchy without even looking again at its old screenplay version. I highly enjoyed writing the Anatomy and it flowed very well. I published it exactly one year ago, then turned to the center piece, to the idea and world that started it all and I found rewriting Jeronimo to be a tough job. Maybe half of its original version was scrapped.
In the next few weeks, I’ll proudly publish the new Jeronimo, twenty years after its first version. Many of its characters feel almost like real people to me. I know them for twenty years! Most of all the protagonist of course, Jiroemon, or short Jiro. Jiro actually did not change too much from his original version, but the story around him changed quite massively over the course of time. He’s like my younger brother, kind of 😉

At the moment I am rewriting the Jeronimo sequel from scratch, which is also a tough exercise, since the Jeronimo sequels have to change a lot after the changes applied to Jeronimo. But I’m getting there, I think, 200 pages of the first Jeronimo sequel are already written. At the moment six Dome of Souls novels are concretely planned, three and a half are written. Considering writing time, I might be finished with the Dome of Souls series after twenty-five years. Well, only five more to go and twenty behind me.
Good luck out there in the big world, Jiro, I hope a few people read about you 😉
It truly does feel like I’m releasing my little brother who I cared for and nursed twenty long years out into the wild!
And when you read Jeronimo, you will finally find out why my homepage is called juka-productions, some ten years or so since it came into existence. 😉

Novel Gardening

They say that there are two basic author types, the architects and the gardeners. The architects construct the plot, framework, outline of their next novel in detail and when they start writing they “follow the plan” and fill the skeleton with flesh. The gardeners start from a naked field and let things grow as they go along without much outlining, structuring, chapter lists etc.

I always considered myself a hybrid between those two, there was usually some planning going on. For some novels I have made a chapter by chapter outline, thus being quite an architect, although I often didn’t stick to the original plan and threw the chapter by chapter outline over board to let gardening take over.
My newest endeavor though, which is as of today 48,000 words long, is the most extreme case of gardening I have done so far and I’m surprised at myself 😉

I had a vague idea for a novel about a year ago and wrote down only a few sentences in my novel idea collection file then simply started writing it out of the blue in July.
Zero outline, zero chapter list, zero plan, just an idea. I wasn’t even sure whether this was novel or novella material but simply felt the urge to start. I am amazed by the free flow of ideas for this project. At around page 80 it completely changed direction, at page 130, I introduced another POV (point of view) character that had not existed until page 120. Now the thing has, or rather will have three parts (just parts within a novel, not sequels or a series). Part one told from POV character A, part two told from newly born, never thought of before POV character B, and for the last part I’ll alternate the POV between those two major characters of whom one, to repeat myself, didn’t exist until page 120.

I still have no clue how this novel will end. It’s incredibly awesome to write it, since every page is a surprise. I have no idea what will happen next, I’ll see as I go along. I had to reverse engineer part one a bit after finishing part two a few days ago, let’s see if I have to reverse engineer some more after the entire thing is done.
It’s also, I believe, my quirkiest novel as of yet. It’s sort of science fantasy by the way. And since I have no clue where this will go, it’s great fun to write this novel!

It’s becoming clear to me though that, at least in my case, the material determines the approach. Some stories have to be outlined but some thrive better if there is no elaborate plan. Plot-based material needs to be constructed, but idea-based material needs more freedom to develop. I’m thrilled to see what the new beast will become 😉

A Big Thanks to the Characters of the Anatomy of Anarchy

Five years after the “Dome Child” the second “Dome of Souls” novel “The Anatomy of Anarchy” is now out there in the ether.
Of the books I have published so far, this is the one that causes the fuzziest feelings. The characters in this book all feel like relatives or at least good old friends. And good old friends they are, the first version of the Anatomy dates back from around the year 2001. I invented them a bloody damn 15 years ago. No wonder they feel like family. The original version of the Anatomy was written in screenplay format then abandoned, until the “Dome” bug bit me again and I pulled the Anatomy back out in 2014 and rewrote it from scratch.

The characters have much evolved since their first infant version in 2001. They truly have grown and become adults.
Master Darnar, my good old villain buddy. What a wonderful asshole he is, cunning and shrewd plus a bit crazy.
His brutal side-kick Mortimer.
The loud and shiny Juggernaut.
My wonderful Dome Guild Master – Eveless – the bitchy white goddess.
Her side-kick Henry, whom you just want to hug and kiss on the cheek.
Eveless’ melancholic partner Marusar who you just want to slap and shake the whole time.
The slippery Zero, Master of the “Bottom Guild”.
My wise and too honest alien, Lofgar.
Darryl, that old coward of a sect guru.
The nasty, slimy inquisitor Brother Mathew.
That unbearable brat Rila.
The prudish and tragic Claude.
The always drugged inventor Talip.
The weird Bottomers – the Admiral, Creeper, Pinky and Zora.
The mutants… oh, the mutants.
And the one who holds them all together – my tragic hero Floyd Takashimoto. Floyd feels more like a brother to me than my actual brother. Floyd who tries to do good, who only wants the best, but never quite makes it. Floyd, who has brilliant moments and qualities that have never been nurtured, as Master Darnar once says.

It’s quite an ensemble in the Anatomy of Anarchy and all play their part in the inevitable outcome. It felt overwhelming and a too big task to write this book, my longest and most complicated as of yet, but once I was again surrounded by all those familiar guys and girls who I invented 15 years ago, the inevitable ending pulled everything in place like a center of gravity.

It’s been great fun writing you guys. I’m kinda sad that it’s done now.
But the “Dome” continues and “Jeronimo” awaits, which is the true center of gravity and which was the beginning of the “Dome” idea in 1997… OMG! Next year, 20 years on, the plan is to finally, finally get this off my chest. Like the Anatomy, Jeronimo was originally a screenplay, last year it became a novel, written from scratch again like the Anatomy and after some more polishing it shall come out next year.
But for now – here’s: The Anatomy of Anarchy
And thank you my dear characters, I’ve had a great time with you!
Anatomy-Small

Dome Child – Revised and Abridged

It’s almost five years since I released my novel Dome Child into the harsh world out there. Back then I thought Dome Child would be a stand alone and that I would not go back to the Dome of Souls world, which has been with me since – OMG – around 1997 (!). I wrote the Dome of Souls stories in screenplay format and only the Dome Child, which I started in 2007, was originally written as a novel.
Dome Child Cover small
After the release of Dome Child, I thought I was done with the Dome of Souls world, but before long the bug bit me again and I decided to rewrite everything from scratch and this time in novel format.
I wrote four TV series, the first is called Jeronimo (the J is deliberate), the central piece of the Dome of Souls world. Next I wrote a prequel to Jeronimo called The Anatomy of Anarchy, then the two sequels of Jeronimo.
Things stopped there because I was turning away from screenplay format and wrote the pre-prequel of Jeronimo: Dome Child as a novel. A sixth story always spooked in my head but has so far never been written down.
Rewriting the Anatomy of Anarchy from scratch into novel format was much more fun than expected and it changed quite dramatically compared to the screenplay version.

The Anatomy is now finally ready for release and will come out in July (I hope… I’d like to bring it out in June already, but I will be on a longish international business trip plus some holidays that will interfere with the publishing plans)
Taking the release of the Anatomy as a trigger – five years after Dome Child, I took up the Dome Child again and revised it.
I was very pleased that I am still fully behind the story, the plot, and the characters of Dome Child, but the revision was very necessary, since I’ve learned a lot about writing the past 5 years. I reduced the Dome Child from from 397 to 371 pages, deleting some scenes, shortening others, revising wording. None of the shortening affects the overall plot. These are my greatest problems, I think, over-wordy sentences (I blame my German mother tongue for that) and repetition. I suffer from the phenomenon: some things are so “awesome”, they need to be said a couple of times in other words…
I am confident that the revised Dome Child is more compact and flows better now, but the process made me kinda wonder just how much I would throw out if I were to repeat this revision process in another five years? 😉
Anyway, to prepare for the release of the Anatomy – here is the revised Dome Child.
I am contemplating whether to open another Wattpad account (I have one for books published under a pseudonym) and whether to make the Dome Child available for free in that format… for the moment that decision is postponed to July when I’ll be back from that longish business trip/holidays.

All in all I am very happy with having revised the Dome Child and am determined to finally “finish” the Dome of Souls series. Jeronimo is already written anew from scratch (and it changed even more dramatically than the Anatomy), its two sequels that already existed in screenplay format are not yet done and the last novel, the never yet written book, also awaits. Even if I manage to release one Dome of Souls novel per year, it’ll be 2020 until the thing is done! And how knows, maybe number 6 won’t be the last word? You never know with the Dome of Souls.
For now – here is the revised Dome Child and the Anatomy will see the light of day in July 🙂

Revision Drive

I cannot put a finger on what exactly triggered my current “revision drive”, but 2 days after I returned from my big trip to India, I spontaneously and seemingly out of the blue took out a novel that I had abandoned as a “failure” in 2012. I read it again, got an idea how to fix it and worked on it intensively for two weeks. I abandoned one aspect and rewrote the ending. Next I jumped immediately into a novel that I abandoned half a year ago and got an idea how to fix this one too, even more radical than the 2012 one. With the 2015 novel I threw out the main character and am making now two side characters into the main ones while keeping the general story idea.
I am quite amazed by my radical revision, I haven’t changed the main character in a novel yet. I am enthralled by what’s going on and I wonder what the hell triggered this radical revising?

I talked with a friend about it and he suggested – the general chaos in India that I saw? After giving that some thought, I tend to agree with him. The astounding chaos I encountered in India showed me another lifestyle, other problems, other possibilities than my European and Japanese background offers. I cannot even fathom how deep the Japanese influence goes, since I’m too far emerged into the Japanese lifestyle after more than 15 years out here, but India was such a sharp contrast to the in its own way heavily regulated and orderly life in Japan that it triggered a different point of view. It opened up a path of possibilities.

Throwing out the main character? OMG! Hm… actually, why not? What would happen if I center the story around those two side characters? Aren’t they actually much more interesting? Haven’t you abandoned the story because it doesn’t work, is too passive? Won’t it become much more active when you focus on those other guys? Won’t there be a completely different dynamic if you do that? The answer is “yes!” – at least in this case and I am enthusiastically rewriting the entire novel and have fallen in love with those two former side characters.

In the case of the 2012 novel I changed something about the world. I originally wanted it to be a tidally locked planet, but the mechanics didn’t work out. Now I suddenly thought, why the heck does it have to be a tidally locked planet? The story and the characters will work on any planet, in fact they’ll work better if that tidally locked planet idea is thrown overboard.

So, this is what I’m doing since 27th of December, heavily rewriting those two novels and I’m suddenly feeling very good about both of them.
They also make me postpone some publishing plans, yes, sure, but what the heck, I gotta use that current revision drive 😉
What I do have to say though is a big thank you to India for opening up my mind to other possibilities. Traveling is one of the most inspiring and wonderful things to do. I haven’t decided yet where I’ll go next 😉

Writing Progress

I’ve not done a writing progress update in a while, so here it is 🙂

I’m busy as always.
Right now I’m working on the final revisions of the second Dome of Souls novel. The first one is Dome Child and already 4 years old. Now, finally, there will be a second one, I hope the beast will be ready around January or February 2016?
Then I’m also polishing a stand-alone second-world contemporary fantasy which I want to send into the submission gauntlet… Not much hope for such endeavors, but… “never give up, never surrender!”

There is a high fantasy novel lying in the archives of Dark Quest Books with a vague promise at publication, but I haven’t heard from the decision maker yet in the entirety of 2015, despite emailing him some 30 times. No further comment…………….

Then there is stuff going on under the pseudonym! One novel out, one novel under submission under that name and if nobody wants it, I’ll put that one out next. The (very nice) cover for it already exists 🙂
I’ve written part two of the first novel published under the pseudonym this summer, and at the moment that first draft is resting. I have a very good feeling about this part 2 and shall get back to it shortly.

Dome of Souls novel number 3 is also already done (the hardest first draft I ever wrote so far) and will follow the second Dome of Souls novel at the end of 2016, perhaps?

Then I’m going back a bit back to screenplays 😉 I just made scripts out of two of my unpublished short stories for a possible collaboration with a movie maker. It was great fun to go back to the screenplay format after a pause of a staggering eight years. Let’s see if something comes out of this project.

New short stories? No thanks. I just love the longer form and want to write novels, period.

I haven’t submitted anything to agents and publishers for more than 12 months out of frustration and have resumed with that last month, finally, quite disillusioned though about the chances of success.

Nevertheless, the writing continues and I’m eager to finish all the current revising, since I have already a new stand-alone science fiction novel in my head and several books to write in several series – Dome of Souls 4 and 5 and maybe even 6, then books 3 in two series that are at the moment destined for the pseudonym.
= there is a lot to write, a lot to do, so little time, and there is no drying up of the juices in sight anywhere!
Thus are the troubles of the prolific writer, so much to write, hardly anybody to read it………. yet… I’m still saying “yet”! Cheers!

Why I am Bothering to Write Fiction in this Day and Age

Author Kameron Hurley is writing for Locus once in a while and I really liked her latest article, but I feel the urge to write a „response“ from the other end of the spectrum.

Yes, I do have hundreds of rejections slips at home, yes, I have workshopped my work in peer groups extensively in the Tokyo Writers Workshop in the past and also Odyssey Online for five years. Yes, I have leveled up extensively over the past years and my novels now are a lot better than five years ago. Yes, I do believe in continuous learning, refining the craft, etc., and I am sure my novels will be better in five years than my novels are right now. But… I still haven’t „made it“. (let me define having „made it“ as having a major publishing house churning out your stuff and being repped by a reputable agent)
It’s pointless to speculate on the issue of why. Although I can throw a few attempts at reasons into the room:
1) I don’t live in the US or UK
2) I am not a US or UK citizen
3) I am not a native speaker of the beautiful English language
4) I am not good at schmoozing with editors and agents at the few conventions I used to go to
5) I don’t really like short fiction and despite having sold some short stories, I didn’t manage to place them in the two/three big magazines out there, and instead focus(ed) on long-fiction, my real passion.
6) I am not of the kind who loves writing the perfect query letter and the perfect synopsis.

Despite that, I have managed to be published by two small presses in Canada and the US. However, the response times of both publishers are a joke, to put it mildly. I haven’t heard from the publisher in the US in nine months or so, despite emailing him every other week. Their, sorry to say, unprofessional working style drives me nuts.
So, yes, I have resorted to self-publishing – why? To get rid of the stuff! To have it off my desk, out of my mind, done with it, gone, bye, sayonara, to free up space for the next project.

So far all the first books in a series I have self-published went through the submission gauntlet and the workshopping gauntlet. Actually it’s only three – Dome Child, She Should Have Called Him Siegfried and now a space opera published under a pseudonym. I cannot really „count“ To Mix and To Stir and Give Substance to a Thought, because they are parts two and three of the Hagen Patterson trilogy that started with She Should Have Called Him Siegfried.

A fourth start of a series (that I will put out this autumn under that pseudonym) is the most extensively workshopped and edited thing I have written so far. It is good, damn it, a very emotional story in my opinion that suffers only from being fuzzy genre-wise. I call it a second-world historical-fantasy, its second part will be SciFi since it happens 1000 years after the first one. Rejection slip after rejection slip, several almosts and I’m just fxxing tired of them!
Ironically, the books I self-published so far are actually far better edited, workshopped and cared for than the three novellas I managed to publish with small publishers.

I am frustrated with the publishing world, yes, and I strongly believe that the publishing world, as the whole rest of the world, are grossly unfair. On top of that I have geographical and other disadvantages.
I have another book in the pipeline (a stand alone, could be the start of a series though) that I shall send into the submission gauntlet again, whilst pushing out all the other stuff and here is finally why I am in the „game“:

I want to tell stories. I don’t have the ambition to be a master writer like Kameron, I just want to tell all the stories that I have in my head and entertain myself as well as a few other (the dream is many) people with them.
I can’t sit forever on a novel and refine it to death. All novels are abandoned. Maybe I abandon them too early, but there is too much stuff I want to tell to forever linger on the previous book. I’m in it for the fun of writing down a story, I’m in it because it’s awesome to construct entire worlds. I’m in it because I love my characters. For me Jove, Shavendra, Hagen, Al, Juliana, Floyd, Darnar, Talip, Lofgar, Marusar, Jaiah, Sina, Jyrus, Marlan, Hriff and Flin and and and are like people I know and they are asking me to tell their stories. Of course I want people to read them, but I’m doing this to entertain myself, because I laugh, love, and cry together with my characters and I’d like to thank them from the bottom of my heart for their existence, for urging me to write about them and for inspiring me.