Thursday, 30 December 2010

End-of-the-year musings

I usually don't reflect on the year that has passed, but this year, I feel I need to do it. Much has happened, good things and not so good things. Overall, it was an okay year which certainly can be topped 2011.

What I'm really glad about is, that I met so many lovely author friends I keep in touch with regularly. Some, I met again, some I met for the first time.
I have sort of, finished my collection of comical short stories, that seem to have found a home, I have started a new novel, which will be finished 1st of March 2011 the latest. That is my deadline and I've learned that I stick to them usually. Well, then it needs to go through the editing-process, but I will love it, since I really love this book.

My editing-business received wonderful comments and I'm really proud to have such loyal clients who don't get tired to recommend me.

One of my close friends left me, going back to Spain, but he is blossoming there and it was the best thing he could ever do, so I'm happy for him.

Zorro has been a nightmare, but has calmed down a lot. From hopeless case to adorable again. Though I still have to watch my hands, fingers and face when dealing with him. He's also survived two GA when he had surgery, but he is healthy, big and strong and has grown and put on a lot of weight, too.

I began with piano lessons in April and was told I'm learning extremely quick and am talented, that's a formidable compliment, I think. Unfortunately, I had to put the lessons on ice for several reasons, but I will go ahead with them next year, when I have found a new teacher. I'd rather keep my old one, but she had to give her piano away. Shame, really.

Other plans for next year include to co-author a book with a dear friend, then begin with the next book that has been screaming about in my head for quite some time now. Again, literary fiction. I have the title already. Brilliant, huh?

I hope you will get into the new year safely. See you there.



Thursday, 23 December 2010

The end is in sight, sort of.

The end of my novel, that is. I'm at about 49k now and I aim at roughly 70k. It's been a long journey so far, but even if it hurt a lot of times, sitting in front of the laptop, not being able to write a single word in thirty minutes, then finish writing, a few hours later, having only written 244 words. But I'd rather write little that is brilliant, than 2440 words that are not up to my standards.

I'm very proud of this book, its uniqueness, the style and that I actually am writing it. Close to my heart, I still manage to stand back and watch the two MCs interacting. Though, I admit, there are quite a few parts where a lot of me went into it and will certainly continue to go in.

Christmas is going to be used to push it further up the word-count-ladder and I'm looking forward to it. I love the peace on those days.

Wish you all a good time, too.



Tuesday, 21 December 2010

I'm hot!

Yes, I am, but only because I have a sunburn. I went to a short trip into the sun. Very short nine-minutes-trip, to be precise. Sunbed is a great thing if you are in need of an energy boost. It's good for your immune system and even better for your soul. But never overdo it! Every now and again is fine, though.

Apparently, I was the only one who used this sunbed (bed is the wrong word here, they are those stand-in thingies) yesterday and they gave me three minutes extra. When I looked at the girl a little puzzled, she said, 'It's cold in there.' 
'And I'm going to burn my arse,' I replied.
Nevertheless, I took the coins and turned myself into the proverbial lobster. After all I'm invited to a party on New Year's Eve and don't want to scare other guests with my ghost-like looks.

Luckily, I got home without the visual effect, but in the evening, I turned red and I felt reasonably warm.
For the next days, it means fresh carrot juice to help my body with the melanin-production.

How I wished to live in a county that is always sunny....

Saturday, 18 December 2010

London covered in a dust of snow

Today, I woke up to discover it snowed like manic. Everything was covered in white, even the roads. It's freezing cold and all I'm thinking of is summer. I want summer!
Since I was little I was dragged along to winter holidays, skiing and taking long walks in the snow and that for the first sixteen years of my life. I'm done with snow, really, I am.
Though, I admit it looks pretty with the trees covered in a white dust and it's certainly brilliant for the children, I would rather have summer all year.

Now, that's not going to happen in London, is it? Well, lucky me, I'll go, skid would be the more accurate word, grocery shopping and then hide behind my laptop with a hot chocolate or two. Have some writing to do. Pretty pleased with what I've done so far. About 45k, which means 5k to go until end of this year.

These picture show the view from my windows: London in dirty-white.

Wish you all a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Stella is Italian

It means star and that's what I think I am. A star cook, in fact. No, I'm exaggerating, but I recently discovered my love for home made pizza. Yes, that's right, me, the one who loves to cook never did them myself. I hate the ones available to order or them horrible things you can purchase at the supermarket. If I eat pizza, either at an Italian restaurant or made by me. Well, I made pizza once with friends of mine, but I always fear things that contain yeast and go into the oven, since I turn anything supposed to be baked into charcoal.

Tonight, I made a wonderful pizza. It doesn't take much longer than ordering one and it's much more fun.

Dough for one tray:
200g plain flour
1 small cup of warm water
1 teasp. yeast
Pinch of salt
Drizzle of olive oil

Mix all together and knead for at least five minutes, then cover the bowl with clingfilm and put into warm place for about 30-40 minutes. Knead again a couple of times, then roll out on a floured surface. Try to get as thin as possible.

On the pizza:
Tomato puree
Some passata or tomatoes
 Cooked ham
Sliced mushrooms
Sliced onions
Chillies (you decide if mild or hot)
Cheese (I use grated Mozzarella)
Wild rocket to finish it off.
Olive oil

Of course you can put onto it whatever you like. Bake until cheese has melted and the dough looks crispy.

Buon appetito!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

A Guinness, one cider and black and no writing

I've been out yesterday. A catch up with my friend Bobby as we haven't seen each other for what seems like years. He did see the vivarium for the first time and was absolutely stunned by its size. And Zorro's size, too. He saw him when I got him, age three, two and a half years ago. And he was little.

We went to a pub near my house, which isn't too difficult, since in London, you have either a pub, a church or a betting shop every twenty metres. It was wonderful to meet up, but I actually planned to spend the night writing. Needless to say, that didn't happen. After one sexy Guinness and one cider and black, I went home and watched movies. Couldn't care less about writing.

It's Sunday, a perfect day to relax and that I will do, but tonight, I will be back at my novel otherwise I won't manage my 50k target until the 31st.

Wish you a wonderful Sunday. Take it easy.



Saturday, 11 December 2010

Name: Zorro - Occupation: lazy bugger

I don't know what went into the ugly creature that provides me with delicious food every day, but somehow, I felt she's taking the piss, to be frank. Not only did I sit here with one sun, instead of two, but her services were poorly.
When I wake up, I want to be left in peace, well, so far, she obeys by these rules. But when I've sun-bathed and are all warm and fuzzy, I get hungry. And that means I'm almost starving. I could eat her, if only she would stand still for long enough.

So there I lay, lazy butt held into the warmth, waiting for her to come and serve me. Ha! She was nowhere to be seen, nor heard. But what could I do? Well, I climbed, jumped and walked around my house. This usually gets her attention. But still: nothing. Okay, then, I'll just wait until she pops her head into my home and makes those funny noises, I thought. I've learned that when she does this, food is on its way.

She kindly appeared an eternity later. I was so angry and upset at this stage, that I simply headed for her. She just about managed to jump backwards. Ha ha ha. Got you scared there, eh? My inner grin planted itself onto my ego. She walked out of sight and I became all excited. Gosh I was so looking forward to some fresh green stuff, I held my nose right out of my house. But I had to be careful, I could fall deep and that's certainly not in my interest. All I wanted is juicy greens and some other stuff she usually brings. Did I mention she does a good job with this?

Here she comes, I thought, now almost falling from my high seat. A huge heap was placed in front of me and I tucked in as if there's no tomorrow. Aaah, gorgeous. I didn't even mind her touching me, if it wasn't for the length she always does it. Then, she left me alone. Damn time, woman!

Of course not for long. As soon as I've finished, I actually planned to laze about, maybe snooze off a little, but I needed to do my business. Sorry, peeps, but it had to be done. And it keeps her on her toes, too. Yeah, I know, I'm mean. But that's what personal slaves are for, no?

Yep. She came running to clean after me. Good girl. I sat there, proud and big-headed when she waved something at me. I closed my eyes to pretend it's not happening and when I opened them, I panicked! I couldn't see and I wanted to scream. Blindfolded! I sat still, didn't dare to move. She made crazy noises and then took the blindfold off me. Silly game, that.

All I want to do is lay down, digest the good meal and dream of an iguana-perfect world.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Another rare share - sneak peak of my WIP

As you know, I'm busy writing on my current literary fiction novel. I've decided to share another excerpt with you and I guess many know exactly what my MC just goes through. Enjoy.

Every spare moment should be used to fill the gaps with letters, words of importance forming sentences of meaning. The characters must get a personality, a life to live and talk to the reader. Writing a book is hard work, if you do it on your own, or with a partner.

As often, you have difficulties to get into the head of your protagonists, they stare back at you in silence. A most frustrating situation if you only have so few spare days. How much you wish you could sit down and begin to type, letting your fingers take over.

It is not to be compared with the so called writer's block, it is deeper. Fear of failure lets you stiffen with every try to erase the blank space in front of you. Closing your eyes, you take a deep breath. When you open them again, you type out an idea, then delete it again.

Your perfectionism is a bully. Like at school, when you were the most afraid of the older boys waiting around the corner, they would jump in your way when you approach. Anger thuds in your temples. Nothing seems good enough for you today.

When you come up with the next line, you write it again, swap it around, exchange words for others, read them aloud. They experience the same fate. 'Useless,' you say, louder than you wanted. It is as if your mind is set on automatic diversion.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

I'm a winner!

You don't believe me? Well, I hardly can believe it myself. I've entered and won the big Christmas Giveaway competition which Jenni James has done to help our friend M.M. Bennetts. So, naturally, I promoted the competition as much as I could.

I'm absolutely surprised. When I got Jenni's e-mail I couldn't believe it. I never win anything, apart from the two writing contests recently.
Hope the lottery ticket I bought will continue the lucky streak.

Wish me luck.

Oh an do pop by on Jenni's blog, she has a video of her singing Santa Baby which makes you giggle, guaranteed. She's also one to watch since she'll bring out her books, The Jane Austen Diaries, next year.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Are you German?

Dann fuehl Dich eingeladen einen Kommentar zu hinterlassen. Gefaellt Dir meine Seite?
Du kannst auch gerne auf Deutsch schreiben.

Gruesse aus London,


Saturday, 4 December 2010

Who needs presents if you have friends?

Some of you might know that I loathe Christmas. I just can't stand all the fuss that people make, the commercial side to it and the constant moaning.
What I don't understand is, why almost everyone gets so stressed out when all they need to do is sit together with their loved ones and yes, I mean it this way and spend a great few days together. When I watch the hectic ones, trying to gather all presents for members of the family they will argue with like every year, I wonder if they have forgotten what Christmas is all about.

Peace and quietness, love and happiness. But why does it have to be reduced to these days? I do have 365 days per year to tell my friends that I love them. And I do tell them, often. And I do have 365 days per year to give them a little something, something that comes from the heart, something I think is perfect for them.

I got something very special the other day. My friend, who's bought a house with her partner, and I spoke about Zorro. And everybody knows how much I love this little bugger, biting machine or not. He's my everything and I would do everything for him. So I asked her if, in case something happens to me, she would take him and look after him until he dies and she said yes. Even if I would get another one, she would look after them.
Now that's a real present to me. Friends, I mean. She has been a really good friend for almost a decade now, but this was one of the grandest present she could have made me.
I always said: I don't want any presents for my birthdays or other occasions, I've got my friends and they're the best, no need for anything else.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Christmas Markets

I love them. I admit. Nothing better than standing in the cold, wrapped up in several layers, holding a glass of mulled wine. Well, actually sipping it would be more appropriate.
There you are, huddled up with strangers and friends, everyone with one goal: warm their insides.

The Bremer Weihnachtsmarkt in North Germany is one of the most gorgeous ones and trust me, I've been to many over the decades. It's not too big, not too nick-knacky and it has a good mixture of everything, from food to decoration and loads of craft on offer, wood, china, knitting, glass, you name it.
I personally am quite partial to some Bratwurst in a bun with loads of mustard or some deep fried Brussels sprouts with garlic sauce. After that, it's time for the mulled wine with either, Amaretto, Peach or Cointreau in it. That warms the cockles, you have to trust me here.

To fight the growing hunger, or better: appetite, you need some Schmalzkuchen. It is some sort of little doughnuts, deep fried, decorated with loads if icing sugar and then eaten while hot.

So if you wonder what I've been doing for the past two you know. Oh and don't you dare to think I'm into Christmas. No, I'm not and here's the proof: