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Inspiring book – Higher Call

Have you ever read a book that has inspired you in some way?
A book – a story that you will never forget?
I read a book called A Higher Call. It’s an incredible true story about human decency and honour between ‘enemies’ Franz Stigler and Charlie Brown.
A story that would never have been told if it wasn’t for Adam Makos with Larry Alexander who started out interviewing relatives and locals about their war stories.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to glorify war and that’s not what this story is about.
This story is about one individual who had a choice – to gun down a plane that he realised was barely holding together, to take out the ‘enemy’ but instead he went with his heart – with human decency and flew alongside the plane knowing that German antiaircraft units would not target it. He had tried to get Brown to land the plane at a German airfield and surrender or divert to Sweden which was nearby – so that he and his crew would receive medical treatment. But Brown couldn’t understand his message.
Stigler flew alongside the American bomber to escort them to safety as far as the North Sea where he saluted them and departed.

The bomber landed safely in England with all 10 crew members alive. This mans’ act, not just saved 10 lives but each man went on to have a family. None of which would have happened if he made a different choice.

Both men always wondered what happened to the other. Brown was never able to locate any reports of the incident. Some 40 years later, two young men gathering stories from the aged veterans, wrote of Charlies story and it was published in a magazine.

The two men were finally united in 1990 and remained very close friends until their deaths in 2008.

Our choices – the smallest decisions we make – can determine not just our character – but can shape our future and the future of others. I hope there will be many more Franz Stiglers in this world every day.

Featured

Interview With An Author – Kim Rylee

I am thrilled to say that the wonderful Kim Rylee (https://kimryleewriter.wixsite.com/author-blog) has set time from her busy schedule to answer my questions about writing, publishing, advice, fairy garden and other hobbies.
I have met Kim a few times now – and although it wasn’t writing that brought us together, it was Kim who encouraged me to start putting pen to paper and for that, I am very grateful.
Reading the answers below, I feel the passion and drive that Kim has for writing..
I hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as I have. I hope that reading it inspires you as much as it inspires me.
Let the inspiration begin…….

1. When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

I started writing when my mother said to me: “Wouldn’t it be nice, if you write a poem for aunties’ birthday?“
That was at the age of 11. So I started writing poems every time when we celebrated family anniversaries. And believe me, I have a big family … 😉
I began my first Novel 2 years later, but stopped it immediately, after some of my friends had read it without asking me. I felt ashamed, that somebody just read the story…
After all, it contained  feelings and  the fantasy of a teenager, about first love etc.
Although all of them loved it, they encouraged me to finish it, which I never did.
Nevertheless, I always had stories in my head.
My first novel I started during the 90‘s. I love Science Fiction, but there was no good movie or series on TV anymore. Therefore I started writing one. This story is still in my drawer …
Alongside I wrote short stories and started taking part in several competitions. By the time, some of my short stories landed on the podium, I was ready for releasing novels.

2. How long does it take you to write a book?

I know authors who publish 2 books in a year.
For me, this is impossible, as I am also working full time in order to feed the fridge.
My very first novel the thriller “Kalte Gefühle“ (Cold Feelings) took 8 months. Originally it was supposed to be a short story which should have taken part in a short-story-competition.
During my research about a psychological disease called Alexithymia, I found so many interesting things, that I skipped the competition and decided to turn it into a novel. I was very surprised that it won a prize called “Planet Award“ and became “Crime novel of the year 2016“.
“Fated Shadow – Die Jagd“ (Fated Shadow – The Chase) took much longer. About 15 months. Though in Fantasy you have more freedom, as you may play god, you want the readers to get the same images, that you have in mind. So as a writer you have to explain the story in a magical way in order to tie up the readers.
Generally speaking, for me it takes about 1 year to publish a book.

3. Who were your favourite authors as a child or teen and why?

When I was a child I loved comics! Especially Lucky Luke and Asterix were my favourites.
Nowadays I love reading Cody McFadyen, Chris Carter, John Katzenbach, Sebastian Fitzek, Markus Heitz, to name a few. Mainly thriller and fantasy 😉

4. What are the key points that can make good storytelling?

That is a very good question. I suppose, nowadays there is no story that has not been told.
Each author has his own style of storytelling. This is what makes the writer unique. Some readers love stories where the author explains how green the grass is and its length, others have a faster way where the reader has to put the book aside for a moment, in order to catch breath – all independently from the genre.
This is what makes writing so exciting! And also for the readers to provide a vast range of possibilities for them to adventure.

5. What are the biggest mistakes that an author can make in their book?

Loosing the storyline or having faceless characters.
But if you work with an editor who is not your best buddy … than you may be on the safe side. It always needs a critical eye, because as an author, you are too much involved, so that you oversee important things. It does not help to ask a good friend or family member for his opinion, as they are more or less subjective. Normally they like, what you have written and want to encourage you and not hurt your feelings.
But the script needs an impartial stranger to turn it into a story that makes sense and be interesting for readers.

6. What advice would you give to someone who would like to start writing?

Not everybody is straight away a Jessica Fletcher, Jane Austin or a Ken Follet, so that a publishing company knocks your door down in order to publish your book. Often, you need a long breath and abundance of patience!  Success rarely comes over night, as there are too many books published every month.
Especially, if you take the decision to become a selfpublisher. In any case, you have to find a conspicuous way to approach readers to make your book seen and that readers take interest in it.
But when you are passionate about it, you will find your way to attract the public.

7. What preparations do you make when you get an idea for a story?

First of all I make some notes. Either in my ultrabook while on the move,  record it on my smartphone or type it in my laptop at home.
This is not a guarantee, that I will start the story. I have about 7 ideas in the drawer, which are waiting. When the time is right, I will take them out and start finishing them.

8. Do you like to read in your spare time? 

I like reading. But even more I love listening to audio books. They are my favourites.

9. What is the easiest part of writing for you?

To be honest, there is no easy part in writing. Believe it or not, writing is craftmanship. It consumes a lot of time and a lot of yourself.
But what I love is to develop the characters which are evolving during the process.

10. And the hardest?

To give the script into the capable hands of an editor. It is the first time, that the script leaves you – and you’ll never know the outcome, when you get it back.

11. How do you come up with the ideas for all of your books?

It may sound dull, but the whole world is my inspiration. It may be a house that attracts my attention, or  some kind of clothes, up to sitting in the tube, listening to people’s conversation …

12. Do you have to do research for your books?

Definitely yes! As I am writing thriller, there is a lot of research to do in advance and during the writing process. Same applies for my urban fantasy stories, as they are based at real places.
Research takes up to one third of the time.

13. How do you structure or build your stories to make them into a book?

Many people say, that you have to plot a story. This is something I defenitly don’t do.
I write from the gut. I have an idea and how the story will end. During the writing process my characters develop more and more. So does the story. Many times I have to skip a chapter, as the story goes into another direction than originally planned.  My characters are starting to become almost alive – well, in my head of course. They act on their own accord. This is why writing is so exciting. It is like a seed you put into the earth, hardly knowing, what may come out of it until it blossoms.

14. How do you decide on design covers and artwork for your books?

This is the reason, why I love selfpublishing!
I have the control over the whole process. Starting with the research – over writing and finally chosing the cover until it is released.
I work with @vercodesign. Andrea is a wonderful cover designer. We have been on the same wavelength right from the beginning. She knows, what I like – meets my taste – and, if I have no idea, she comes up with brilliant proposals, so that I often spoiled for choice.
My favourite covers made by her are “Fated Shadow III – Kreuzgang“ (Fated Shadow III – Crosspath) and “Bring mich ans Licht“ (Unearth the truth). She did magnificent artwork!

15. Once you have finished a book – how do you get it published?

As a selfpublisher, I have to think of a strategy before publishing it. A few months before, I distribute some hints via my homepage and social media channels.
My ebooks are distributed via ‘Bookrix’. They take care, that the ebooks are available in every on-line store including Amazon.
My prints are released via ‘Books on Demand’. They to the same for the prints as Bookrix does for my ebooks.
I also have prints at home, in case, somebody wants to order directly from me. If requested, in this case it can also be signed without a problem. 🙂
I could do the distribution of ebooks by myself, but this would eaten up even more time. Time, that I want to spare for writing and promoting the books with i.e. on-line readings or organising book tables and readings on conventions, bookshops and other possibilities that cross my way.

16. Do you have a specific writing space?

Usually I sit at home in the livingroom at my desk with a wonderful view into my garden.
At work, I use my lunch break for writing, while eating in a Restaurant or having a coffee in a coffee shop. When it is warm and sunny outside, I take a walk at the river Elbe and sit at the stairs writing.

17. Do you have a routine or a specific piece of music you like to listen to while you write?

If I would listen to Music while I am writing, my concentration would follow the Music rather than the words 😉 
As I am writing thrilling stories, I have to keep my senses together, especially by writing fighting sequences or chapters with many characters in order not to lose the thread.
No, I am not following any routine. In  a routine you repeat things. For me that equals standstill, but I like to move on.

18. You have written children’s, thrillers and fantasy books – which is your favourite to write?

I love thrilling stories. Therefore thriller and thrilling fantasy are my favourites to write.
The children’s book was more an  ‘accident’. 😉 For “Jimmy – verzweifelt gesucht“ (Desperately seeking Jimmy) it took me more time to publish, than for a novel. Mainly because I had to find an illustrator, who was affordable.

19. What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

I like gardening. It feels just so good, when you can go into your garden and get your own salad, herbs and vegetables for the meal.
My latest project is a Mini-Fairy-Garden. 😉
It is also nice going out for dinner with my husband, trying new restaurants. 
And I also love sewing fancy clothes.

20. All of your work is currently published in German. How would you go about getting your work published in English so that it would be available to a wider reading audience?

I would love to have my books published in English! But my literary English is non existant. And to find somebody who is able to translate it, costs a lot of money. At least for me – who selfpublishes the novels while some of my short-stories are released by a publisher.
But if there is anybody out there, who is able to do the translation, please get in contact with me. We might find a solution together, if you are an idealist, as I am.  🙂

21. Netflix are great for doing tv series these days. If they chose to make your Fated Shadow books into a series – what actors would you like to see portray the main characters?

LOL – You should have asked me that question for Cold Feelings! For the part of Viktoria Stern I would love to have Eva Green as the leading character.
For the Fated Shadow books … let me think …
Aveline … hm … Cara Delevingne would be a nice choice.
Azrael …  I would go for Chris Hemsworth .
And for Samael … I think Johnny Depp would be smashing in this role. 😀

22. Now that the 3rd Fated Shadow book is on sale. have you started working on a new book?

My storytelling brain never rests. Sometimes not even at night …
As a matter of fact, I am working on two projects.
One is a thriller and the other one is a fantasy/dystopia story.
I am not sure, which one will be next on the market. This depends on the inspiration and the mood … 😉

Appreciation


Working within a hospital environment is always eventful and brings to the forefront the vulnerabilities of the human body and mind.

I am very lucky as I work in an office and am away from the wards and intensive care units. Some of our co-workers though haven’t been as fortunate and have been constantly at risk of being struck down with the Covid 19 Corona virus and some indeed ended up very seriously ill.

I would like to express my gratitude to all those who worked and put themselves at risk in the hope of helping others.

To those who lost loved ones, the tragic loss you feel, i hope that wound repairs through time with the help of joyous memories of those that you have lost.

To those who were struck with covid 19, I wish you all a full recovery.

And to those who are suffering with anxiety and stress.. to those who lost jobs.. I hope you have a brighter day dawning in front of you and may your worries ease and your situation improve.

I am worried still about the virus, even though it has eased in Ireland at the moment. I choose to wear a 3 layer mask. It still feels strange but in a sense, i feel safer.

Try to help others in all small ways possible. Try to be understanding. Everyone is suffering in so many different ways. I wish you all the very best of all that is good.

Treasure those around you

It speaks volumes about the persona of a young 23 year old man when 100’s who knew him, are sadly struck by the loss of the tragic and sudden end to a wonderful life.
All those from the youngest to those over 80 years old all knew Lewis for his friendly manner, banter, happy spirit, wonderful talent at Gaelic Football and at Soccer. His name is Lewis Fay-Cooper and he was a kind-hearted soul.
Before I go any further, let me offer my sincere condolences to his parents, brother, extended family and extensive friends, work colleagues, teammates and club members.
In the short time that I knew him, I witnessed a person who met everyone with a smile, had an indepth knowledge of the sports that he loved and shared conversations and laughs with people of all ages.
His sudden departure reminds me, once again that we must never take those around us for granted. We should look at all the small things that we have and remember that they are the greatest gifts and the biggest blessings.
Rest well Lewie, you will always be remembered.

Catchup Time

Good day to you all. I hope you are all safe and well. As a healthcare worker, I have been very preoccupied during this Covid 19 virus time. It’s a very serious time. For those of you who have spare time at the moment, try to use it for as much positive things as you can. Be it helping others or helping yourself if you don’t often get a chance, playing music, reading, gardening, exercise or just getting some quality time with your loved ones. Time is precious and we can never get it back. I am still working fulltime and studying – as well as getting an opportunity to do some training (I am a part of a martial arts group in Ireland called SPK martial arts and we train in Giron Arnis Escrima as well as empty hands combat training) and of course getting to spend quality time with my elderly father. He will be 84 in 6 weeks. I am blessed to still have him in my life.

I have been trying to stay in writing form. I have written some interview questions for the wonderful Kim Rylee (quite a few questions) and am sending them to her and when she get’s an opportunity, she will respond. I’m very excited about this. I would love for her books to be available in english so many more people can enjoy her work.

I have also been following a blog by a lady called Michelle at https://www.blessingsbyme.com/ she has some wonderful moneysaving tips, recipies and great ideas. It’s well worth checking out.

Currently reading… I am currently reading A Higher Call. A true story about how a German pilot risked his life to save the crew of a struggling American Bomber during World War II. Amazing story.

So, that’s it for now – It’s not easy to make regular posts at the moment but I will just have to make the effort. I hope you are all staying safe and don’t be afraid to reach out to others if you need anything – even if it’s just company – and don’t be afraid to reach out with a smile or a message to a stranger even if you might not normally do so – you could make a big difference to their day. Stay safe every one. XX

Interviewing Authors

I am currently compiling a list of questions to interview the wonderful German author of the Fated Shadow series, Kim Rylee who has kindly agreed to be interviewed and will take time out of her busy schedule to answer them. It’s very interesting to compile the questions because it triggers me to think of the answers from my own point of view.
Who knows, it might lead to me to an opportunity to interview more authors.
I would have loved to interview Edgar Alan Poe. I used to read his books in my early teens. Mary Shelly is another that I would like to go back in time to interview – especially being an author in a time when women were not expected to succeed.
Very though provoking stuff. Happy Sunday everyone.

Writers block

I got caught up with everyday stresses and worries and left my writing to the side but the longer i left it, the harder it got to return to it.

I thought i should continue with the short stories i was writing and couldn’t get on board the idea. But what actually worked for me is to write down a couple of things that i enjoy doing and something that i would love to do. The flow has started once again. More of a trickle at the moment but all tiny streams kead to the vast ocean so fingers crossed. I hope this will help anyone who has had a bit of difficulty in the matter.

Writing tips – creative exercise

The last couple of exercises that I did for myself, were the description of the approach to a house in both sinister and a nice approach and then the entering of the house. I found once again, some pictures of the inside of a house that really appealed to me. The sinister description wasn’t so easy as the pictures of the house were very warming to look at.
Another exercise that I am going to try is to pick a line from a book – any book. I’m going to let it fall open to a random page and the first full line on the page on the right is the line that i will start a paragraph on it.
The book I have chosen from a shelf here in the house is called Sleeping Beauties by Jo Spain. It fell open at a page where the 1st line on the right hand page is “You crazy kids”, Tom said. So I guess that’s the start of my next exercise.
I’m really enjoying these little exercises and am open to ideas if anyone has any.

Writing tips – writing exercise

Jeff Goins and many others seem to suggest writing regularly – preferably every day.
A busy schedule means that daily writing isn’t always possible.
In order to keep to regular writing – I have devised a little exercise for myself.
I wanted to start a story with an approach to a house. In order to do this I found images of certain houses that really appealed. I wrote 2 different types of description – one warm, and one slightly sinister. My next exercise will be to describe entering the house in both different manners.