Five years since Crumple Zone testing

In 2008. JJ and I decided to meet ‘half-way’ between Australia and Germany and settled on Chile. So we met in Santiago before heading north toward the Atacama Desert

Hand

I almost got our brave X-Trail and ourselves squashed once before when I barely managed to pull off the road to avoid an oncoming monster truck:

X-Trail Monster Truck

Toward the end of our trip, it did happen… Squashed between a tomato truck and a liquid gas truck isn’t exactly how I envisioned our wonderful trip to end.

Squashed

For more photos, check out my flickr.com page.

Of course such an experience inspired a new novel. Crumple Zone is now available in English and German:

Knautschzone

Caught up in Translation

It feels like I’ve been mainly translating for a whole year now. End of October last year, I carefully felt my way into translating Strays of Rio from English into German. Kind of strange when you have to get on sure footing with your mother tongue again. In January I released the book via Neobooks.com and it made first place (best rated by the community) in the second quarter competition for entering the slush pile at Droemer Knaur, one of the few German publishers who realized the publishing world is changing and it won’t do any longer to ask authors to send in printouts and wait for months and longer, without even being guaranteed a response. I’m still waiting to hear back from them, but it’ll only be another week or two.

Next, I translated Adventure Trek I, not yet published in English. Oh boy, what a disaster. When I was done, I had a great idea how to tighten the story and cut a meandering subplot. Of course that meant fixing two versions. Ugh. Pure pain.

Then I received the first assignments from writing buddies. Suddenly I had to work the other way round for the first time when I translated Jutta Wölk’s Mrs. Commingdale I from German into English. Around the same time, I received the first substantial English novel to translate: The Stasi File by Peter Bernhardt. Not that my books don’t have substance, but they are usually much shorter. ;-)

I really expected that I would be ready for a writing fix after that one, but instead I tackled Crumple Zone to get the German edition out there for the fifth anniversary (Oct 1) of our accident in Chile, which inspired the novel. Now I should have been more than ready for a break, but instead I suggested to Kathrin Brückmann that I would translate her excellent short story 2:17 from German to English if she proofread my German translation of Adventure Trek I after I had made quite a few changes. So here I was translating again.

A short trip to the Alps and an editing project ended my translation spree at least for a while, but the former is over and the latter will soon be completed as well and then what? Translate Adventure Trek II or write Adventure Trek III? Write something completely different? In which language?

Any bets? I have no idea.

Visitors: invited and uninvited

During August and September we often had our neighbors’ tortoises sunbathing on our balcony, but they were dead set on climbing out. No luck though:

Tortoises Getaway

And since a few weeks we’re having a squirrel visiting out balcony. It loves to munch on our young cornflowers, which we sowed late in the year for the tortoises, who didn’t care for them. Just shows how one thing leads to another. :-)

Cheeky Squirrel

Long Doom Calling released

Cover Long Doom Calling

Double Dragon Publishing released the fourth book in the Higher Ground Series: Long Doom Calling.

Cerridwen and her band of adventurers reach the derelict city of Long Doom, where horrors roam dark alleys and ramshackle buildings. A street-wise girl guides them to the dark waters of down under. Cerridwen dives to lift powerful Egyptian jewellery meant to help her prevent war raging through Britland. The Grey Wolves, ruling gang in Long Doom, close in on the country bumpkins from Corn World while Lord Oxenford’s army marches towards the city.

Interviewing Jocelyn Adams

I’m happy and proud to interview fellow author Jocelyn Adams. Her urban fantasy Stone Chameleon has been released by MuseItUp Publishing on May 24 and is available from amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online stores. Congrats, Jocelyn, and welcome to my blog.

JA: Thanks for having me. I’m really excited about this series.

Q: The excitement hasn’t worn off two weeks after the release?

JA: I’m not sure the excitement ever wears off for me, which is awesome. Even before I sent my query out for Stone Chameleon, I was already working hard on book two along with a few other projects I hope to query in the fall.

JocelynAdams
Cover Stone Chameleon

Q: I love your one-line teaser for Stone Chameleon: Damned if she does, dead if she doesn’t–Lou Hudson’s monster-whispering skills might not be enough to save her this time. A fun wordplay to start with, then wham, you hit us with lethal danger. Can we expect a mix of humor and suspense in your urban fantasy?

JA: Thanks! It sums up her life quite handily. She’s a preternatural pest control expert, and as a jinn, a condemned species, she has to hide her heritage. It poses a lot of dilemmas for her when she gets herself into dangerous situations. She could use her abilities, but to do so would be a death sentence if anyone saw her. And yes, I like to combine humor, suspense and lots of action along with a thread of romance that runs through the series. I hope to keep my readers at the edge of their seats and leave them with a smile on their faces, any author’s dream, really.

Q: This is the first book in the Ironhill Jinn Series. How far are you with the next book(s)?

JA: Book two, Stone Cold, is finished in first draft, and I’m about 1/3 of the way through Soul Stone, which is book three. I hope to finish book three and four finished before the end of the year.

Q: Do you find it easier to continue a series or to come up with a completely new story? And which is more fun?

JA: In some ways it’s easier to continue a series and some ways not so much. The easy comes from already having a general backstory and voice on the characters. The hard comes when having to think many moves ahead like in chess, laying seeds for future conflicts and relationships. That’s why I like to finish a few books ahead so if I need to change details in an early book, I can still do that before it’s published. I think it’s more fun to write a series even though it is quite a bit harder, giving me much more time to dig deep into character’s lives and personalities.

Q: When and how did your passion for writing spark?

JA: My calling came later in life. Back in 2009, my career took a left turn. To fill my time, I started reading a series by Laurel K. Hamilton, fell in love with the genre, and thought…I can do that. After a writing course and some lurking on a peer critiquing site, I was off and running.

Q: On your website, you call yourself a former IT geek. Does that mean you only use your computer as a tool now and have stopped tinkering with it for fun? I’m asking because I used to work in IT and now as a full-time writer, I just want the computer to do its job, which of course doesn’t always happen.

JA: I worked in IT for about thirteen years, but now I’m on the other side of the desk so to speak. I work in an office at a high school where I use my PC for registering students and such, and I have a laptop for writing. The fixing I leave for someone else. Though I still fix my own at home when the need calls for it. I just got tired of the constant learning and, of course, nobody ever calls an IT person unless there’s something wrong. It’s nice being away from that. It wears on the psyche after a while to work in what essentially is the complaint department.

Q: What do you do for fun when you aren’t writing?

JA: I have a seven year old daughter, so we do lots of crafts and things, go for walks and such in the great outdoors. I also used to be a competitive archer, though I don’t shoot as much as I used to. Most of my fun, though, happens on the page.

Thanks so much for visiting and I wish you great success with the Ironhill Jinn series.

JA: This was fun, I enjoyed our chat.

Review: Lennox by Craig Russell

As a fan of Craig Russell’s Jan Fabel mystery series, set in Hamburg, I was curious about his fairly new Lennox series set in Glasgow. Lennox is a very different main character, a Scottish Philip Marlow, who actually grew up in Canada and returned to Scotland after World War II. This way the reader can see postwar Scotland through the eyes of an outsider and really ease into the times and setting.

The witty, charming antihero, a tension-filled plot and a fascinating setting make for a fun read. Beware, it’s highly addictive. As soon as I’d finished the read, I simply had to get The Long Glasgow Kiss.

Review: Burn in Hell by Marian Lanouette

Burn in Hell had me hooked from the start although I haven’t read the first book in the series. Kyra, a gambling addict on the verge of ruining her life, takes the spot light. Despite her flaws or because of them, the reader simply has to root for her. She’s an engaging character showing how a slot machine can cause addictive excitement until it’s time to pay the debt.

If only she wasn’t falling for a cop at the same time, she might be able to cope with the situation. It just gets worse when Jake Carrington has to take over a missing person case, which leads to the man who thinks he owns Kyra because she couldn’t pay up.

Unlike Jake, the reader knows early on what dangers Kyra is facing. Burn in Hell is not your average Whodunnit, but a suspense mystery with human drama at its core. The real question is if and how the guilty victim can survive and get out of the mess she’s landed herself in.

Jake too is a very convincing character torn between two women, but he’d never let Kyra down if only she trusted him. There’s no black and white in this book. Marian Lanouette weaves an intricate and intriguing yarn.

The banner says it all

Now if only I had my copies yet. Hurry up Amazon!

Banner Strays of Rio Paperback

Released: Golden Submarine

Golden Submarine Cover

The third book in the Higher Ground Series has been released by Double Dragon Publishing. Yay!

Back Cover:
After the great flood destroyed civilization, Cerridwen gains the unlikely support of a band of adventurers on her quest to lead Britland into a better future. As they row along the coast of Corn World to reach Long Doom and find a powerful ring, they face dangerous, mysterious, and bizarre adventures. Lured by the Gold Lord’s treasure, Sasha endangers their lives and Britland’s fate.

Coming soon: Long Doom Calling

Strays of Rio for only $0.99

My thriller Strays of Rio is Today’s Featured ebook at the MuseItUp bookstore and available at a real bargain price of only $0.99 USD. If you haven’t snatched up a copy yet, the book won’t get any cheaper.

Death squads, drug lords, homeless kids, and one woman vigilante: an explosive mix on the streets of Rio.

Cover Strays of Rio

Back Cover:
Lisa Kerry witnesses a private death squad attack street kids close to her bookstore. When the police take no action, she vows to purge Rio of the ruthless killers. To keep him out of the line of fire, she must quell her affection for the one man cut out to exorcise the demons of her past. Drawing strength and rage from the abuse she suffered as a young girl in a juvenile detention center, Lisa closes in on her marks.

Unable to get to the rich and powerful leader of the recreational killers, she enlists the older brother of one of her street urchin friends—a drug lord. Lisa’s pursuit of justice spirals into a violent struggle to survive, for herself, her young charges, and the man she loves.

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