Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fights anyone? Another sneak peek of No Wings Attached

As you know I'm editing my light paranormal romantic comedy. Here's a scene from Chapter Fifteen. I hope you enjoy it.

This is temporarily a mock cover

He takes me in his arms, holding me tightly. 'I love you,' he whispers.
'Oh what a heart breaking scene,' I hear a voice saying.
I crane my neck and scan the street. It's empty, apart from one man who slowly walks in the shadows of a broken lamp.
'Excuse me?' I ask.
He stops, turns around but doesn't come nearer.
'What did you just say?' I feel anger rising in me. These muggers are just everywhere.
Tom looks at me, startled and then his eyes move to the stranger.
'Celia, what's wrong? Nobody said anything.' Now, the man stares at Tom.
'That's interesting.' The voice again.
'Don't you think you're being extremely rude?' I ask the stranger.
Tom gazes at me, then at the man.
'What's going on here?' I can hear he's worried.
The man comes nearer, his dark eyes on Tom. I recognise him; it's the guy who passed us the other day, who I'd thought I knew from somewhere. He's about the same size as Tom, a slender but athletic figure, early thirties maybe.
'Celia, don't bother, we better go.' Tom tries to pull me with him, but I stop in my tracks. I now recognise the voice, he's been following me for a while, I need to know what this is about and put an end to it once and for all.
'What do you want?' I ask him.
He doesn't show any reaction, his eyes boring into Tom's. I stiffen in panic; my heart is racing. Tom pushes me behind him. The stranger stands a few feet away from us, hands relaxed to his sides, staring at us with a cold expression.
I step aside to see better what is happening. Now, he fixates me and I feel provoked.
'What? Do you want to fight for your boyfriend?'
I snort, barely able to contain my anger. Why me? Doesn't he realise I have a boyfriend? It was such a nice evening. This seriously can't be happening! Tom turns round to check that I'm safe. That's when the man thrusts his palm into our direction. Something, that looks like a blue and blurry flash is thrown at Tom. And before I can warn him he flies backwards and lands on the pavement with a thud. He winces and tries to get up, without success.
The stranger laughs watching him struggle.
'Tom! Are you all right? I scream. I don't know what to do, but I want to help.
Again, the man lets out a dark, nasty laugh. Furious, I turn to the guy who hasn't moved, now looking at me, challenging. I step towards him. He laughs louder
'Celia. No!' Tom shouts. 'Stay here. Don't go near him. He's dangerous.'
The stranger's eyes flicker to Tom, then back to me. I stand here, fury raging in me. Adrenalin takes over and I'm determined to let him pay back for what he just did.
'Oh how angry she is,' he says.
'You bet I am,' I growl.
'Celia! Stop this. Now! You will get hurt!' Tom shouts panic stricken.
I briefly look behind me, he's just scrambling to his feet, then I turn back.
'Leave it to me,' I say, my eyes on the stranger.
'Celia, please!'
I don't hear him anymore.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A different side to me

A while ago, I asked a question on a forum: how do you think about authors writing in different genres?
The answer was that readers are very open, which put my mind at ease; they would read a crime thriller and a romance by the same author, if that's both what they enjoy. If they like one book, they are inclined to try out the other one.

As soon as I began writing, I was perceived as a humorist. Though it's quite flattering, I am a bit worried people will begin to think of fun books when they hear my name.
Don't get me wrong, I do like writing humour and I certainly have laughed so hard while editing my short story collection that I had tears streaming down my face. No joke.

But I write other genres as well. My latest novel for instance hasn't got any comedy in it. It's rather serious and explores thoughts of two people, flashes back into their pasts and deals with issues and feelings, perhaps many people can relate to. I have classified this book as literary fiction with a twist. 
I also have some more novels in the planning that explore humans psyche. Why some of us interact with others and how their past influences them.

In Random Short Stories, you will find some stories with a different tone. One person saw Blindsided, a romance story, and asked me if she could showcase it on her blog since she really liked it. It's now to see on her blog called Ocean Blue Press.

Please pop over and say hello, and if you have short stories as well, why not get in touch with her?

If you find many mistakes in this post, please forgive me, I'm so tired, I can't even think straight, let alone type ;-)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sneak peek on a later chapter of No Wings Attached:

My next book No Wings Attached, a paranormal romantic comedy will be out end of next month/beginning of June. It's my first novel which originally started out as a complete different book and I have no idea how I ended up with this story, but while I'm editing, I'm with my characters again, I laugh, I cry, I feel my heart swell up and live through them. This shows me I've done the right thing when I tore up my first chapter after my friend ripped it to pieces.

Here's an excerpt of chapter eleven, a romantic picnic scene: (Please keep in mind that it's going to be proof read to sort out my Germish.) But I would love to know what you think. Enjoy:

'If this is my punishment I'll never behave again,' I manage to breathe out. He chuckles, twisting his hands into my hair and pressing his mouth to mine with a bit more force than I expected. A groan comes from deep inside of me � I'm filled with eagerness to kiss him back. Tangled into each other's arms, we're forgetting the world around us. After an immeasurable amount of time, he pulls away, lightly kissing my cheekbone, then drifting to my collarbone. He takes my hand in his and kisses my wrist. 'You're beautiful, Celia, do you know that?'
I shake my head, not being able to answer. I'm so dizzy that I actually have the feeling I'm hovering. He smiles and kisses me again. I wrap my arms around his neck as we lie side by side now. When we stop kissing I roll onto my back breathing deeply in and out. My head is spinning. I close my eyes. Is this really happening? There is a strong possibility that I'm simply dreaming. Tom puts his head on my chest as if he's listening to my heart. I stroke his hair, enjoying the closeness to each other. He starts humming again. I feel the tone running through my body and smile.
'This is so perfect,' I whisper.
He stops. 'Yes, everything is perfect,' he replies.
Then he continues humming. Lost in thoughts, I let my fingers trail his face, ears and run them through his hair. Everything is great today. This place, the man, the food, the spirit, and my feelings for him. When I'm with him, I forget all my worries about my life. He makes me feel loved. Now he starts another melody. It's his favourite song, Nefeli. I listen silently with eyes closed continuing to stroke him.
Then he goes quiet.
'How did you find this place here?' I ask.
'I was driving around one day. Needed to think about something and wanted to go for a walk. I wanted to turn the car and discovered this little way into the woods where I parked earlier.'
'By accident?' I ask. 'Wow that's a coincident.'
'Yes, I got out, saw this path and was curious, so I followed it and was stunned when I came out here.'
'I can imagine. It's overwhelming when you step out of the woods.'
'It is indeed. I spent a whole afternoon and half of the night here,' he says.
'I'll bet it's even more beautiful on a clear, warm night, when you're able to watch the stars.' I look up to the sky.
'We can do this one night if you'd like, but let's wait until it gets get warmer. Or we'll have to take massive blankets with us.' He chuckles.
'Yes, in the summer would be a better time. I hate to freeze.'
We go quiet again. He's holding my hand in his again, kissing it gently.
It tickles and comfortably envelops my heart.
Suddenly, he laughs, because my tummy is shouting for some food.
'Looks like somebody is hungry.' He grins, sitting up. 'Shall we eat the fruit.'
'Yes, the strawberries look delicious.' I pop one into my mouth thinking about how wonderful this day is. I take another one, being miles away. A low groan brings me back.
'What?' I'm bewildered.
'Are you trying to seduce me?'
I look at him, stunned. Then I see what he means and push the whole fruit into my mouth and swallow. Just in time as his lips are on mine again. I laugh lightly and kiss him back. He tastes like basil and his soft and warm lips feel so familiar, kissing him is like heaven. His arms are holding me close to him. I feel his hands on my back, stroking up and down. His mouth moves to my neck and gently kisses the arch of it. Shivers are running through me. I bury my head in his hair and breathe in deeply. He smells so sweet. I love being with him so much.
He pauses to look at me and starts tracing my face with his fingertips, following the line of my jaw, my nose and the contours of my lips. Another never ending kiss and I have to pull away, because I'm seriously in danger of losing control.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My big iguana in the sun

Since the lamp in Zorro's home imploded the other day, I had to order a new one. For those who are not familiar with reptile equipment: I need a ceramic fixture that is heat resistant. I've got two 100Watt basking spots and a 150Watt ceramic heat emitter in his viviarium.

Because he seems to be in mating season, meaning being a lot more aggressive than normal, I had to get him out and roam around. Not that I was able to do a step without him chasing me. I grabbed him and sat him onto my bed, so he could enjoy the natural sun and look out of the window, then I climbed into his house to do the cable work.

Here are some pictures I've taken.

Top: He just lay down and threw his arms back. That's a sign of relaxing.
Middle: He doesn't like being touched and leans into my hand. One wrong move and I could easily end up in the A&E.
Right: you can see how big he is. My bed is 137cm

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A little push, please?

I'd love to make the 100 by end of this week. Not years, don't be silly -- followers, I mean.

But that's not why I'm posting. I've got some exciting news. No, no publisher approached me with an offer to give me a million as an advance and a contract for all my books. Ha! If they knew what they're missing out on. Okay okay, I'll get off my high horse, riding gives me terrible muscle ache.

Right, from here, down on earth, there are some fantastic things happening, in a small way, but it's a start. First off: The caf� which helps me with my cause and supports me as a local authors has surprisingly sold three books. When I called last time, they still had the five books I handed in for a trial. I've now ordered ten more to see how it goes. I was quite flabbergasted, to be honest. I think if I'd go to a pub one day and find a person reading my book, I'd just faint out of excitement.
I've also been approached by a two people who quite like what I'm writing. One will feature one of my (not funny) short stories on her blog next week and the other one is building up a showcase website. Feel free to pop by and say hello.. We both have participated on the charity anthology Words to Music. If you'd like, you can read Serendipity here:

In addition to this, I have received an e-mail. Now you will think, so what? I get e-mails on a daily basis. Yes! But I got an e-mail from a reader who said she really enjoyed my book. I can't tell you how this feels. Wonderful, heart-warming and just over-the-moon in general. It was my first one, in the end. So a big cheers to the lovely Chitra. Thank you for getting in touch.

And now the last news: I've given business cards to a friend of mine who's got a fruit stall in my area, he's handing them out to selected customers. And I've also brought a copy to my local newspaper, Hackney Citizen, for them to review the book. Speaking of reviews: I've now got five 5-star reviews and one 4-star review on This also came as a total surprise. Only one review still on

All the while, I'm working on my paranormal romantic comedy novel, No Wings Attached, as it will be the next book out. I can't wait to see the reaction to it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I've got this issue in the bag

Something that has annoyed me for quite a while now is the thoughtless use of plastic carrier bags. Being from Germany, I'm used to cotton bags, baskets, collapsible plastic boxes or little trolleys you can fill up to the brim. If you don't bring you own you can buy one. Here in the UK you get a bag even if you only buy some chewing gum. If you go into a shop, watch the assistant behind the till, the repeated move they make is either licking their index-finger or tapping it onto a wet sponge in order to get the often blue carrier bags open. My regular response is, 'No bag, please, save the environment.'

Even more upsetting is the sight in the supermarkets: before the person at the check out will scan your goods, the more important duty is to build up a mountain of plastic bags and when I see the amount of people who use them, I feel sick. If they at least would use them again, but no, I guess, they just chuck them into the bin. All ten of them.

A familiar sight

Don't get me wrong, I'm not an eco-warrior and walk around in self-knitted undercrackers, but there are certain things we could do to help. I'm all for supermarkets to charge for bags. This might help to get people to use more environment-friendly versions, like in Germany for instance. Supermarkets offer them already for under a pound and you can use them until they fall apart. I have two big re-usable bags and I easily fit the contents of two to three plastic bags in one of them. It's a matter of smart packing. Not to mention that they are much prettier.

Same goes for energy saving bulbs, switching off lights in rooms you are not in. Not only has it a positive effect on the environment, it also will be in favour of your energy bill. I find people need to think a little bit more ahead. They bring children into the world they are not looking after.
So next time you go to the supermarkets or shops, try to take a bag with you.



Saturday, April 16, 2011

Random thoughts about my self-publishing experience

It has been great so far, really. As a writer I want to be read, want to entertain people, make them laugh or cry. With my humorous short stories, I hope I have managed both: to make people cry with laughter, which would be nice. But with hitting the 'publish' button the work begins.

A handy device that has changed the publishing industry.

There are the links to the book which need to be added to every online profile; there is the shouting off roof tops about it; there is networking on several fora, interacting with readers -- one of the best things if you ask me; I love to say thank you to those who buy and read my book; there is the research and connecting with bloggers who are on lookout for authors to be interviewed, reviewers searching for books, and there is the general marketing, being visible.

I'm showcased here and interviewed here. Please pop by and say hello.

It involves a lot of work, but it's all worth it. To have the immediate contact to readers who enjoyed my book is just wonderful. But then I must say it feels surreal. People actually pay money to read my scribblings and get back to me saying they loved it? To be honest, it hasn't hit home yet. Though I have sold over 240 in just over a month, which, to an outsider, sounds awfully little, to the insider it's quite a success for a new author. In the end of the day, I'm a nobody in the writing-world. If I will be well-known one day, I don't know. I hope so, because I love to write, I love to entertain people and it's a way to communicate. If I can make a living from it, even better. But even then, I know I will remain the same Stella I am now.

At the moment, I'm working to get my novel No Wings Attached ready for publication. You can expect a generous portion of humour, lots of romance and some surprising paranormal elements. This is going to be a series. Read an excerpt here.

And of course it will be available as an e-book. :-)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A meal to seduce you

If you had a bit too much meat recently, there's almost nothing better than a vegetable stir fry with noodles. Light, delicious and uplifting.

You need:
sweet red and orange peppers  
spring onions
red chilli
sesame seeds (toasted)
soy sauce
toasted sesame oil
Chinese egg noodles

Cut the peppers and carrots into thin slices and the spring onions into 1-inch-long pieces.
Slice the garlic thinly and the chilli into little pieces.
Bring a pot with salted water to the boil.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry hot wok until golden. Careful, they jump a little bit. Then set aside.
Add some oil to the still hot wok and add the vegetables, stir for a minute, then add the garlic. Again stir for a minute.
Cook the Chinese noodles for three to four minutes while you're stirring the vegetables.
Add a little water, soy sauce and the honey, then the sesame oil. Turn the heat down, stir from time to time.
When the noodles are ready, drain and add to the wok. Mix all together and serve with the sesame seeds.


Monday, April 11, 2011

I'll just stick my book on kindle...

...and then I'll be famous! If you really think that's how it works, let me get a few things straight here.

First off, as a new indie author, it's not as easy as you think. There are many readers out there, but there are also many writers. Once you have your work on kindle, you need to become familiar with networking. Best would be if you have a blog, facebook and twitter account and, if you like and have some extra time, with any other authors' websites. Networking means interacting with others, not slamming them your book around the face. It's certainly all right to promote your novel on fora, how else should readers find it? In the end of the day, you don't have a name yet, so nobody would bother to google author Henry Smith.

If you join a new community, look around first, don't jump in and plug your book on all fora, or post a link to it after every comment you make, that puts people off. I will freely admit that I've overdone it a bit in the beginning, because I wanted to get as much money together as possible for the charity. Luckily, people forgave me and even support (they still do) the good cause.
Also keep your conversations professional at any time. It doesn't mean you can't have a laugh, but don't get into arguments or into too personal matters. Remember: your author name is a brand you are presenting. If you ruin your reputation, you've done all the work for nothing. Marketing is hard work and time consuming. Each sale is the result of your efforts and the more time you spend on networking, the better the sales, given you have a product that is polished and marketable.You then can search for indie-friendly blogs that do reviews or interviews. I've got two interviews, one showcase and two reviews lined up.

In addition to that, I have now designed and ordered business cards for the book to be handed out. Here's how they will look like:

The lovely guy who has a stall at the local market is putting them into customer's bags when they buy their fruits from him. They will also go with the paperback the cafe will sell.
If you have friends who support you, ask them to spread the word. Not sell the book, but tell people about it, word of mouth has always been the most effective way to get a product known.

I must admit, that I went into this kindle-business as blind as a bat. According to others, I've done well, but that's down to the charity aspect. Mind you, I'm really anxious to see how my novel is going to turn out, it's the proof stripped bare. Is my writing/story good enough? I will see some time in May, I suppose.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Come a bit closer, I'd like to tell you a secret


I'm an barbecue-addict! Yes! As soon as the first sun comes out in March/April, I will get out my electric BBQ and buy heaps of meat and vegetables. I will barbecue every single day, throughout the summer. It's that bad, really. My friends usually grin about this habit, but I just love the simplicity of cooking your meat this way. Well, to an Australian, it might be normal, but since I'm from a country that has cold winters with snow, I am only able to do it properly in the warmer months.

I'm from Germany where big BBQ-gatherings are the norm in the summer. Which means, everyone invited provides something to add to the party. Either a salad, and we have lots of varieties, Turkish bread of French Sticks, sauces (tzaziki), vegetable kebabs, etc. The supermarkets are full of marinated meat, there are at least ten different marinades and they all are more than gorgeous, gee, just writing about it makes my mouth water. Everyone brings their own meat; sauces and beer/wine is usually the host's responsibility.

If you would like to give a little twist to your barbecue this summer, why not try to make a cucumber salad and tzaziki sauce? It's easy:

Tzaziki: Pour quark or greek yoghurt into a bowl, peel a cucumber and grate and add it. Press one to three cloves of garlic into the mixture, season with salt and pepper, then mix everything and put it into the fridge. Tip: this sauce tastes much better the next day. Best with meat or Turkish (toasted) bread.

Cucumber salad: Peel the cucumber, slice it thinly into a bowl, chop charlottes finely and add. Season with Salt, pepper and sugar (fruitsugar works best), add the juice of half a lemon, good quality olive oil and let it rest.

Try it out and surprise your friends. By the way, the thin Chippola sausages and thick leek sausages are wonderful if grilled.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

154 and more support by one of my local caf�s!

Even my big boy was curious

I've been in high spirits today: Excuse me, where is the exit? sold 145 copies when I left the house to bring one of the paperbacks to a friend of mine who repeatedly asked for it.
On my way back, I popped into a local caf� to buy a fresh rye bread, when some sort of genius hit me as I was about to mount my bike.

I went back into the shop and asked if they would help the good cause by selling by book. The lovely girl behind the counter called for the manager Alex, who came to see what I wanted. We had a really nice chat and I proposed to leave some copies in the shop, which he could sell. He was immediately excited by the idea of helping in this way. Not only Japan, but also a local author, even asked me sign the copy which I left with him for further discussions with his business partner. He also declined my suggestion to pay him for his kindness. He said, 'I don't want your money, I'm just happy to help.'
Wow! I was somewhat gobsmacked. Just in this moment I'm writing this I have my tears welling up. I'm amazed, I'm humbled, I'm genuinly teary because of all the support. And it might sound a bit soppy, but I don't really care. The readers on the amazon/kindle forum, facebook, everyone, basically are more than wonderful and help spreading the word.

When I came back, I heard that another quake has hit Japan. I've got three people I care for personally and they are always the first I think of, let alone the rest of the poor people who have been through enough already. My heart is with those who lost everything in the past quake/tsunami and with all those who unfortunately have to re-live the fears of yet another one.

I hope it will be the last in a very long time.

Thank you again, all of you who help.



Monday, April 4, 2011

From: The diary of an iguana

Huh? Damn, another a brutal wake-up call. Though I was awake already, the sudden blinding sun irritates me every time. I blink sleepily, not daring to move. Nothing better than doze a little longer in my comfy position. It's quite warm; I like that. A quick look around shows me that I'm not going to be disturbed any time soon, which fills me with relief. I need my time to wake up properly and I do that in stages. First, I lay here for a while, then I change position, move to the other part of my home where I have a good overview of my surroundings. Feet back, tightly along my body, I doze off again.
When I open my eyes next, I feel the urge to fill my stomach, but first things first, I need to lay under the sun, my favourite place. I can spend ages being lazy. Hourly enjoyment of doing nothing but snoozing, interrupted by eating and well, being disturbed by her. With an inner sigh, I get up and drag myself onto the level below. A tail is a great asset, you can basically slide down without losing you balance. Now it's only a few steps to lower myself again. Feet into a comfortable position, head neatly moulded into the gap, I wait for the ugly creature to drop by.
Man, am I bored! I glance straight ahead and wonder who this intruder might be. I lift myself to show him who is bigger. It's a male of my kind and he talks to me, tells me to leave. Has he lost his marbles? This is my house and I won't go anywhere. I'll show you, my friend and with one leap I am snout-to-snout with him. Not that it scares him. He continues to threaten me. What an idiot! Surely, a quick bite will do the trick? But I'm brutally stopped by something hard. Ouch! Why is it that I can't see what's usually in this place? Normally there is big light and moving things, which makes it interesting to lie here.
And I can watch her doing nothing. Seems our lives aren't as different. She just sits in one position and stares at something for the better part of the day. Sometimes, she will look up and make funny noises. I then tell her quickly that she should stay away. Which, of course, she doesn't.
As if she has heard my thoughts, she appears where the intruder was beforehand and the proximity of her, combined with the anger of being disturbed makes me want to sink my teeth into her flesh. But before I am ready to attack, she's gone. This is a good sign. I don't move as I'm standing right in the place where she drops the mouth watering greens.
Hurry up, is all I can think. There, eventually she comes. Oh my gosh, this looks great! I'm so excited I almost fall into the food. I can't wait and dig my head directly into the rustling thing that contains the leaves. Heaven! No, no, no! Stop tickling and tugging at me! I really want to bite her, but I love eating more. And the orange stuff, and the red stuff. I bite into one of them, but it moves away, confused, I give it another go, with the same result. Reluctant food? One more time and finally I got this sweet and juicy thing. I want more!
The creature makes funny noises again and comes very close with her mouth. I stop what I'm doing and snap at her. Just to warn her off, I let out a quick hiss. It does the job. She retreats and walks away, but...only to come back with what I've decided is sort of an enemy.
Gee, can't an iguana just finish his meal in peace? No! It now rains, pisses down to be frank and I can't see anything. Where's a shelter when you need one? I try to fight the thing she waves in front of me, but the rain doesn't stop. Ha! I will pay you back soon, I feel it coming: filling the front, something in back must go and here it comes. Ah, what a relief!
With that, I'm shushed away from where I am and reluctantly, I follow, one eye on the remaining food. After a few moments, my slave has cleaned up and sits in her favourite spot, which assures me it's safe to return to the feeding spot. I tuck into the rest, tell her what I think of her, then make my way back to have a snooze under the sun. I love my life.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hey, next-door-neighbour, this is for you, and only for you!

Since three weeks I've been left in peace. Almost. My upstairs neighbours left and I must say, I really enjoyed the silence that moved in instead. Most of the days.

Now, as I said before I have this rather inconsiderate neighbour living next door. He will be quiet for a long while, I guess when he's sleeping or not at home, but on every other occasion he is willing to do anything he can to prove he exists.
I noticed that is somehow stuck in the 80s and seems to have only three CDs: some mix of rock like Guns N' Roses

or a bit moe modern, Nickelback.

I'm forever done with this sort of music after having to listen to it every day. Same goes for Santana and Dido. As if this wasn't enough, his stereo only has got one volume: very loud.

If he's not listening to loud music, he sits in front of the telly all day and laughs like a machine gun. Very annoying. I don't know what could be so funny to watch all day, every day, but maybe the cannabis plants, or rather the end product might do the job, I wouldn't know.

Me, I'm sitting here, listening to my music on headphones, same goes when I watch movies or practice the piano. I'm sure he hears me, too once in a while when I'm on the phone or singing, so this might give him a little hint, that it works the other way round, too.

By the way: I've left him a note with the address of my blog. :-)

Neighbour, perhaps you might want to go for a beer one day, knock three times and maybe we find a way to talk this through over a pint or two.

I'll keep you updated.