Category Archives: Germany

We have to learn the rules before we break them #amwriting #RRBC

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Week #3: Rules

Or: Learn Them Before Breaking Them

(This is Part 3 of a six-part series. Here is Part 1 and Part 2)

Last post we brainstormed the appetizer and the beginning of the story. Better said, we threw a soup together and slammed a thousand words into a word document. The soup simmers away on the back burner. The story turns over in the back of my mind along with feedback from friends who’ve added their grease to the plot.

Now things are getting serious. I proposed to grill an expensive piece of venison for the main course. I am not a meat eater therefore I am not a meat cooker. I am a meat destroyer. I have never made an edible roast except to plunk a chunk into a slow cooker overnight. Am I overreaching my area of expertise? Should I just forget about it and make a tofu stir fry?

This is the point where I need to seek help. There are plenty of well-meaning meat eaters out there who readily and graciously share their experiences. Teachers of the trade who are willing to impart their wisdom, share their rules born from trial and failure. Scientific rules–the ability to cook is really an understanding of chemical processes, reactions of certain substances as they are combined, heated and cooled.

Like my story. We have two women meeting after two years in a restaurant called Tragic Hearts. And we have a dead body. Oh no! It’s becoming a murder mystery? I’m not a mystery writer! Well, I’ve never written a mystery before but murder has now become the hub of the conflict. Here too I need to seek help: writers who blog and write how-to books, sharing their tricks for us to read and expound on. And writing a mystery involves understanding certain reactions as words form paragraphs and paragraphs form structured ideas. One should flow with purpose into the next as an understandable, working, concise story forms. Emotions are heated, cooled, causing certain reactions.

Refreshing rules is a constant venture, yes, but now is not the time to learn them. Structuring the story is for me like preparing this piece of venison; much too costly and time-consuming to screw it up. I better have a game plan before I start. All the work and investment will be for naught if I get this wrong. Or force me to throw the whole thing out and start over.

Grilling meat on this rainy November afternoon is out of the question. So I petition our experts (surf the internet) and find that this piece of meat I bought can be successfully browned on the stove and then cured to perfection in the oven for two hours at 80° C (175° F.) I think even I can handle that. I have a workspace where this project can unfold, come what may. And I’ve decided on mashed potatoes today–adds a bit of creamy, buttery comfort on this chilly autumn day. Peeling potatoes is also a therapeutic, mechanical movement just right for daydreaming. And I’m hell-bent on making a savory chocolate sauce, just because I want to throw a conflicting, unexpected twist into the whole experience. I now have a structure to use the next two hours effectively.

I need my story to flow in a similar fashion. I love to free write but I need a plan to move within. An outline. For me the structure of the story is not only like cooking a meal but also comparable to building a house. I have the framework, the walls, the doors, the windows. Once the structure stands, I can move in and decorate as I see fit. An outline for a short story can be a few sentences describing what I intend to achieve. For a novel, the outline is more involved.

I am a big fan of NaNoWriMo. The novel I am now working on is a product of that. And this is just the right time of year to be discussing that, now that November is right in front of us. The first NaNo that I participated in and finished was accomplished with moderate planning. The characters were already alive and the story half-formed. I made a tentative outline as I went along and made it through to 50,000 words. Last year, though, I took the whole month of October and outlined and researched so that November could be dedicated to free writing. Out of that came a 50,000 word first draft, bare bones, start to finish.

The venison roasts in the oven. Protein coagulates, juices brown, a tasty crust forms on the surface of the roast. Potatoes soften in boiling water just waiting to be slathered in butter and creamed to perfection. After skimming and discarding the recipe for Mexican Mole, I set to creating the perfect chocolate sauce. Onions brown in oil with a few spicy chilies. Add garlic to the hot oil, inhale and slake with homemade venison broth, not caring that the smells of browning meat permeate every inch of my body, my hair and the house. Add tomatoes, roasted nuts and puree the whole lot in the mixer. Pour the sauce back into the pot. Break off 70% baking chocolate, let a piece melt on my tongue and feel wanton longing rising in my heart as I sink the chocolate into the hot mixture and see its melted godliness spread on the surface.

I remove the venison from the oven and stand over it like a defendant awaiting a verdict. Touch the knife to the meat’s surface. The juryman hands the decision to the judge. The knife slides through the meat as if it was hot butter. A smile escapes the judge’s usual stoic expression. A muffled cheer bubbles up from awaiting friends and family in the courtroom. Absolution clears the clouds and an angelic ray of sunshine pierces the dirty windows of the courthouse. Music and birdsong crescendo and then echo and the scene fades to black. Roll the credits.

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What Are We Hungry For? #amwriting #MondayBlogs

ab4db-hugoWeek #1: Idea

Or:  What Are We Hungry For?

Writing is much like the art of cooking a fine meal or baking a tasty cake. Our tastes grow, change and become more refined as we hone our skills. Not only are they both fun but they are life sustaining. There’s a certain amount of creativity, a joy of experimentation as well as trial, error and experience that goes into both disciplines. Each finished product is the result of a process. And each process starts with an idea, one based on our personal habits, whether we’re cooking a meal for unknown guests or writing a story for unknown readers.

Before I started seriously writing I had to look at my own reading habits. I’ll ask you these same questions: What sort of reader are you? Do you read one book from start to finish? Do you leave books unfinished? Do you read multiple books at the same time? Do you supplement your literary diet with short stories? Do you favor one genre or do you read just about anything? And, as a writer, how do you think this will this affect your readers?

I personally read just about anything. I read multiple books from different genres all at the same time, setting them aside when I’m not submersed in the story. I prefer to read obscure writers. Right now, I read a lot of historical fiction and nonfiction mainly because I am writing historical fiction. But I sneak a bit of chick-lit, suspense or erotica in there just to make it interesting.

So, compare this to cooking: what are my eating habits and how will that affect my guests? What am I hungry for vs. what should I feed these people?

Are you a picky eater? That will limit the choice of foods you have to choose from. Do you detest veggies? A certain fresh characteristic may be missing from the meal. Do you leave meals unfinished while others are asking for more? Or do you maybe have special needs, allergies or morals that reduce the types of foods you can ingest?

My eating habits are similar to my current reading habits: I would eat just about anything. But for some reason, mostly health issues, I reduced myself to a vegan diet last year. It works for me right now, but once in a while, there is nothing else to eat and I have to set my issues aside and eat whatever is offered. Also keeps things interesting.

Notice I ask myself what am I hungry for vs. what should I feed these people. I need to take them into consideration when I’m cooking and when I’m writing. But I can’t get too caught up in this. The main person I have to please is myself. Our ideas come from our personal tastes, experiences, capabilities, from our hearts and souls, a problem we need to solve. Is everyone else going to like it? We’ll keep that thought in the back of our minds right now. But the first step is to formulize the idea, get it rolling and make it personally palatable.

I am seldom stuck for an idea of what to write or what to cook but it’s getting it tangible and edible that is sometimes a problem. I know what I want it to taste like, to smell like, to feel like. I can just about touch the atmosphere I want to create and how I want to make my audience or my guests feel. But sometimes I need a bit of guidance: a recipe, a plan. A writing prompt. Last night’s dream or a smell on the wind can trigger me off. Something someone said on the train. A random title generator can help me solidify the idea, too.

And the right tools. I cook in a tiny kitchen with a wood stove, a slow cooker and two electric hot plates. That means I need a clear workspace because any clutter will hold me up. While I clear and arrange my tools, I am thinking of how I want my creation to take form. I check my cupboards to see what ingredients I have, if I have enough of everything and, of course enough time.

The same goes for the writing process. I need a block of time, a not-so cluttered workspace and my laptop. I don’t like to write free hand. And I like to have a block of time so I can unfold. I’d rather take one day and write for eight hours than write an hour a day. But of course all rules are made to be broken. In cooking and in writing there are no absolutes for me. Flexibility and the ability to change direction mid-stream are key.

Do I have the right ingredients? Do I have enough knowledge of what I’m writing about or do I have to research? Am I writing a short story? Should I write a series of short stories and see if there’s enough material to write a novel? Can I even write a novel?

Will I be making a salad for myself or will I just put on a pot of noodles for the family? Is this going to be an intimate dinner for two? Am I having guests expecting a three-course perfect dinner? Well, if I am inviting four people for the perfect dinner, I will have to plan. If I’m writing a novel I will have to plan. But if I’m only cooking for the family, it will be more informal and the planning will not have to be as extensive.

So, here’s my proposed project for the next three months:  I’m going to write a short story for you with a beginning, a middle and an end. At the same time, I’ll work through the practice round of a three-course meal for some four unknown guests, a beginning, a middle and an end. I’ll describe my process here and compare them where I can.

I’ll post the recipes, some of my favorites, on my blog in their chaotic style. For the story, I’ve taken a title from this random title generator, The Women of Tragic Hearts. I want it to be about a restaurant owner and her recently-surfaced old friend who cook a meal together and how the evening changes their lives.

So, let’s raise a toast to our project with an aperitif. I’ll offer an Aperol Spritz or a Hugo, all the rage here in Germany right now, along with a sparkling non-alcoholic drink for those who wish not to imbibe.

d1638-aperolTry an Aperol Spritz:
(Aka lovely, poison-orange liquid in a wine glass.) Here’s the 3-2-1 principle. Three parts white wine or prosecco, two parts Aperol and one part sparkling water. For example: 60 ml wine, 40 ml Aperol and one splash of sparkling water. Add an orange slice and some ice and you’re set!

Or try a Hugo:
(could be compared to a Mojito, but fruitier and much lighter) Why don’t we mix a pitcher while we’re at it? Take 500 ml prosecco, 100 ml elder blossom syrup, 3 limes, some mint leaves and a splash of sparkling water. Crush the mint leaves and the lime in the bottom of a glass pitcher. Slowly add the prosecco, then the elder blossom syrup and top it off with a shot of sparkling water. Can also be served in a wine glass but a cocktail glass will do fine.

Non-alcoholic Hugo can be prepared with an alcohol-free prosecco or with a sparkling water.

Join me for the Aperitif of this six-part post that first appeared at the Mslexia Blog!

The theme of my blog residency is The Love of Writing Compared to The Love of Cooking. Now what do these two things have in common? Everything starts with a dilemma; a problem that needs solving. Out springs a bright idea that I think is as good as when the wheel was invented. This evolves to some sort of planning, then chaos, then the clean-up and an eventual surrender to discipline. And this results in a readable story or an edible meal. So I hope.

Part 2 of the series

Part 3 of the series

Part 4 of the series

5***** #review for #historicalfiction novel THE SOLDIER’S RETURN #germany

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Author’s new book receives a warm literary welcome.

Readers’ Favorite announces the review of the Fiction – Historical – Personage book “The Soldier’s Return” by Laura Libricz, currently available for Kindle and in paperback at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0999146017.

Readers’ Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.

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Reviewed By Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite:

After ten years, a young Dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, is returning to Amsterdam in chains, after being captured and imprisoned in the Spice Islands. But he can’t stay in Amsterdam. After his escape, the only place he hopes to find solace is Sichardtshof, a farm in Franconia, Germany. But after being away for ten years, will it still be the same and will he still find the hospitality and warmth of the patrician, Herr Tucher, and his maid, Katarina? Follow the protagonist during a period of turbulence, of conflict between Catholics and Protestants. It is against this backdrop that Pieter navigates through deadly traps and dangerous terrain to find refuge, but can he? The Soldier’s Return by Laura Libricz is a powerful historical novel with a strong setting and memorable characters.

The language is what first caught my attention: it is beautiful, at times poetic, and it unveils elements of the religious, historical, and cultural settings in intelligent and relevant ways. Apart from writing a gripping story, Laura Libricz has taken readers on a historic ride to relive the religious conflicts of the seventeen century, weaving into her narrative great social, religious, and political commentaries. I enjoyed the descriptive style of the narrative, the well-written dialogues, and the surprises and twists in the plot. The tone is unique and compelling, the conflict huge and masterfully handled. It is no wonder that The Soldier’s Return will appeal immensely to fans of historical novels with great settings and compelling characters.

 

What this #author learned by completing the second novel #MondayBlogs #RRBC @4WillsPub

Thanks to Suzanne Burke for hosting the second day of my blog tour! Check it out here and don’t forget to say hello!

Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke.

LAURA LIBRICZ COMPLETE TOUR MEME

Hello, and welcome to this October 2nd leg of author Laura Libricz’s Tour.

What this #author learned by completing the second novel @lauralibricz

This last year has formed my writing more than any of those past. These five lessons I’ve learned have pushed me from a novice to an advanced novice. For the first time, I am proud of my project. I say that with a humble heart because without those who work with me, this project would never be in the form it is now.

1. I can take criticism.

This last year, I learned how to take criticism. This was the most important lesson. Finally, I am able to dampen that personal, precious attachment I feel about my project. I am separate, a living person, and the project is just that, a piece of work. It is not me. I originally wanted to release The Soldier’s Return in…

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#releaseday THE SOLDIER’S RETURN #historicalfiction

 

The Soldier’s Return

Book 2 in the HEAVEN’S POND Trilogy is now available in paperback, for your Kindle, and FREE with the Kindle Unlimited lending library.

The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.

The young dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, returns to Amsterdam in chains after a period of imprisonment in the Spice Islands. He manages to escape but must leave Amsterdam in a hurry. Soldiers are in demand in Germany and he decides to travel with a regiment until he can desert. His hope of survival is to reach Sichardtshof, the farm in Franconia, Germany; the farm he left ten years ago. His desire to seek refuge with them lies in his fond memories of the maid Katarina and her master, the humanist patrician Herr Tucher. But ten years is a long time and the farm has changed. Franconia is not only torn by war but falling victim to a church-driven witch hunt. The Jesuit priest, Ralf, has his sights set on Sichardtshof as well. Ralf believes that ridding the area of evil will be his saving grace. Can Pieter, Katarina and Herr Tucher unite to fight against a senseless war out of control?

 

 

Why Bubenreuth? A brief look at a fascinating village #Germany #History

Bubenretuh

At first glance, Bubenreuth is just another small town near Nuremberg in Southern Germany. A closer look however reveals a town well known as an important centre of musical instrument manufacture.

Before World War II, Schönbach, Graslitz, Markneukichen and Klingenthal were part of the Saxon-Bohemian ‘Musical Corner’ or Musikwinkel, one of the most important musical instrument making regions in the world. When musical instrument production was revived after World War II, these instrument makers from Czechoslovakia were resettled in the Nuremberg area. The community council of Bubenreuth – then a village of fewer than 500 inhabitants – decided in October 1949 that about 2000 displaced luthiers, bow and part makers, string spinners, tonewood dealers, lacquer and rosin producers, and instrument manufacturers from Schönbach would be allowed to resettle there over the following ten years.

Thus, Bubenreuth was transformed from a small farming village into the main centre of German string instrument making. Violins, lutes, mandolins, banjos, zithers and guitars of all kinds (classical, western, archtop, semi-acoustic and electric) were made here. Among companies and luthiers active were Dörfler, Framus, Glassl, Hanika, Hannabach, Hirsch, Höfner, Hoyer, Klier, Mettal, Paesold, Placht, Pyramid, Roth, Sandner, Schuster, Teller and Wilfer.

Without this small village in Germany, the European and, in particular, UK music scene in the 1950s and 60s would have been very different. Both the ‘Beat Boom’ and the ‘British Invasion’ owed their sounds to Bubenreuth with most of the guitars and basses played originating here. Members of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Pink Floyd and guitar heroes Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore, along with many others played instruments from Höfner and Framus, two of the biggest makers then in Bubenreuth.

Today Bubenreuth still retains its importance in the musical instrument making world and to honour this a museum was formed in order to maintain the cultural heritage of Bubenreuth.

To see the Museum website please click here:  http://www.bubenreutheum.de/en

Thanks to Dr. Christian Hoyer for the information on Bubenreuth

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Hutchins Guitars are proud to still be hand making guitars and basses in a town where so much musical history originated.

The Hutchins Workshops are in the old Hofner building, Bubenreuth.

We offer sales, set-up and repair services at our Bubenreuth workshops.

Please ring us to make an appointment or e-mail us using the contact sheet here

+49 (0) 9131 9085802

In unseren Bubenreuth-Werkstätten bieten wir Verkaufs-, Installations- und Reparaturleistungen an.

Bitte rufen Sie uns an, 09131 9085802, um einen Termin zu vereinbaren oder schicken Sie eine E-Mail mit dem Kontaktformular hier.

 

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#Bubenreuth CROWDFUNDING FOR THE HISTORICAL VIOLIN COLLECTION #germany

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The Crowdfunding project COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL VIOLINS has started!

In order to collect donations at all, the Bubenreutheum e.V.  needs 100 “fans” for the project “Stringed Instrument Collection” within 2 weeks.

Here you can register and become a fan:

https://vr-bank-ehh.viele-schaffen-mehr.de/saiteninstrumentensammlung

We need as many fans as possible to show the bank that the project is popular with the population and has success prospects. Therefore, we would like to cordially thank you for helping to start the project through your non-binding registration.

With your registration as a “fan” you have no obligations.

YOUR PERSONAL DETAILS WILL NOT BE USED BY THE VR-BANK EHH OR BY THE ASSOCIATION BUBENREUTHEUM E.V. FOR ADVERTISING PURPOSES!

Please support us. Thank you very much!

Here in German:

Unser Crowdfunding Projekt Saiteninstrumentensammlung ist gestartet!

Um überhaupt Spenden sammeln zu können, benötigen wir 100 „Fans“ für unser Projekt „Saiteninstrumentensammlung“ innerhalb von 2 Wochen.

Hier können Sie sich registrieren und Fan werden:

https://vr-bank-ehh.viele-schaffen-mehr.de/saiteninstrumentensammlung

Möglichst viele Fans zeigen der Bank und uns, dass das Projekt in der Bevölkerung Zuspruch erfährt und Erfolgsaussichten hat. Deshalb bitten wir Sie sehr herzlich, durch Ihre unverbindliche Registrierung dazu beizutragen, das Projekt starten zu können.

Mit Ihrer Registrierung als “Fan” gehen Sie noch keinerlei Verpflichtung ein.

IHRE PERSÖNLICHEN ANGABEN WERDEN WEDER VON DER VR-BANK EHH NOCH VOM VEREIN BUBENREUTHEUM E.V. FÜR WERBEZWECKE VERWENDET!

Bitte motivieren Sie auch Freunde und Bekannte uns zu unterstützen.

Herzlichen Dank!