September round-up

30 Sep

This September was kind of ridiculous, in a good way.

First, I went to a friend’s birthday party in my old hometown, and on that occasion also met my sister and her family.

Then said friend and I went on a trip to Bruges in Belgium.

The next weekend, I participated in my first obstacle race.

(Some pictures taken by Richard, some by Sportograf.)

After that, we visited Sicily, or mainly Catania, where we had secured a lovely flat for a week.

And only today, I met my word count for the next “Magic behind the mountains” adventure, completed edits while I was at it and am now ready to send everything out to my test readers in the coming days. I have also started collecting material for the cover picture.

The working title is “Skeleton blues”. And yes, my mother got me the bones of a complete roasted suckling pig.

So, this is the life. This is pretty much what people dream of – adventures, accomplishments, fun times and great food. I wonder whether it will get any better than this. I mean, next month I will be at my first book fair as a traditionally published author, and I hope to complete my first 10K race in under 60 minutes. And next year I intend to publish three more books, get started querying for the ones after “Magic behind the mountains” has ended and drag Richard on a new trip – this time it is my turn to choose, and I am thinking: Prague or Norway? ^^


I have magical powers!

14 Sep

By that I do not just mean the ability to make huge amounts of cheese disappear. ^^

We were sitting in the car on our way back from Bruges last Sunday. My friend Stephanie and I had spent a weekend away from everything, to catch up, look at old houses, and eat everything Belgium has to offer (namely waffles, fries, chocolate, and beer). Anyway, we had seen all we wanted to see, eaten all we wanted to eat, and walked more kilometers than any reasonable person would plan to, and the duck was sitting on the dashboard looking out at the highway.

Me, “By the way, I have magical powers.”

Her, “You don’t say.”

Me, “Do you remember that tiny hut at the edge of the woods, around the corner from our flat? The one I had used as a safe place for that stupid teenager in my last book?”

Her, “What about it?”

Me, “They demolished it.”

Riverton, in the real world (and in the original German novels) is my current hometown Bonn. And I frequently use places one can walk past in real life, with as much detail as I remember while writing. So far:

  • the bank mentioned in book one has been destroyed and replaced with a new building;
  • the conference center has been turned into a hotel;
  • the former embassy Helena is sitting on at the beginning of book one has been turned into luxury apartments;
  • the “Institute of Cryptozoology” has been sold and renovated;
  • the townhall is under critical assessment due to supposedly unstable structures, either to be demolished or renovated;
  • the place where the first dead body is presented in book four has been turned into a construction site for apartments;
  • the hut from book five has been demolished.

Basically I renovate the town by writing about certain buildings. It is kind of cool, right? However, I am havong doubts about book seven – it was supposed to take place in and around the castle in Stephanie’s hometown, where my family used to live. I mean, that castle has been around for about a thousand years. What could a single fantasy writer do about it? We may find out.

And now – which building would you write new?

Making the most of it

5 Sep

We got a few days off at the office, and I am trying to make the most of it. So far I have visited my older sister and my oldest friend, gone on more runs that any reasonable person would admit to, made muffins, visited some more friends and spent a lot of time catching up on “Orphan Black”. Oh, and I have been writing. But you guessed that already, right?

So, that’s basically it. In my few spare minutes I have been reading up on green witchcraft. Recently … for the past year or two, I guess … I have found most books on witchcraft lacking. Either they are poorly researched, or they portray a kind of witchcraft that is mostly aimed at privileged people with lots of free time and money to waste on crafts material – or maybe I have read the wrong kind of books? I wish there was more material on how to truly merge everyday life and witchcraft in a way that is open to everyone who wishes to travel this path. Playing at fairy-dancing under the full moon (there is a full moon tonight, by chance) is all good and fun, but I still dream of witchcraft to change and better and … heal the world.

The ramblings of an undercaffeinated writer. ^^

FML – Feminist Manhating Lesbians are taking over the world!

8 Aug

And obviously I am one of them. ^^

Okay, three steps back. The coffee is kicking in. You may have noticed that I occasionally engage in the futile hobby of arguing with people on the internet – I just can’t let hate and discrimination stand on their own, I have to counterprop them (is that even a word?) with arguments and a bit of comic relief. Anyway, once the other people run out of arguments, they resort to the master class of discussion: Insulting your opponent.

I used to be the “ugly, fat chick”.

Now, I am the “ugly, man-haired, dirty hippie Lesbian”.

Because you know, no heterosexual, boring woman in her right mind would go and get herself a reasonable haircut when we all know that men value us purely based on the length of our lucious hair. Right?

I ignore the “ugly” comment, for that is just white-noise rambling to me. I’m smart and funny, what else do I need?

I argue the hair thing – if I had man hair, my hairdressing appointments would cost way less! (This is unfair, by the way.)

I confirm the “dirty hippie” thing – no way denying, right? I love everyone, protect the environment, practice witchcraft, eat my vegetables, … what else could I be?

BUT. I never argue with the “Lesbian” thing. I really, really, really do not want to act as if that was an insult, for it shouldn’t be – it should not matter whom (or how many) you love, and it should not matter whether your play genital memory or genital lock-picking at home, or how many participants your game has.

Come on, people, up your insult game!

On the power of words

4 Aug

Words have power. That’s why we have to use them wisely. I’m a translator, an author, and a smart-ass, so I know what I am talking about.

Let me give you an example:

Two years ago, when I was weighing rougly 200 pounds, at some point I decided that “fat” would by MY word. I started using it to describe myself in conversation with friends or store clerks when I went out shopping. Sentences such as, “Why don’t you have anything for fat people?”, became normal. And some people felt hugely uncomfortable – “No, you can’t say that! Why would you be so mean to yourself?” Others were disappointed because “fat” did not work as an insult anymore. And my other fat friends kind of just went along with it. Some thought it was cool. Some started doing it themselves.
Now that I have lost weight (by exercise in combination with caloric restriction, the old-fashioned way) and am in the range of “normal” or healthy weight, I have noticed a difference in reactions. And I have realized that the empowering use of “fat” is not a thing for me anymore. For a few weeks, when I have said “fat” (I still have a tummy and thighs, after all), people tended to be shocked or offended. Obviously they thought I was mocking different people, because to the public eye I am now the traditional white, non-fat woman.
So I have decided to un-train myself from saying “fat” when talking about my body, for words have meaning outside of what we intend to say – communication is a two-way street with loops and dead end roads and super highways and funny loopings where you would not expect them.
I’ll find a new revolutionary self-empowerment word. “Old”, maybe. Or, “hairy”.^^

Anyway, this was not supposed to be a bragging post – that will come around mid-September, when I will hopefully complete my first obstacle race. I’ll have plenty to brag about then!!!

No, instead I was going to say, words do have power, and you must choose them wisely, and you can gain power through your words. Witches know that, or they learn it quickly when wording their first spells (like when, as a young woman, I witched for “someone to love me” and ended up with two stalkers – what can I say? Sometimes I’m dumb. ^^) And this is important in everyday conversations as well. It’s not for nothing that being politically correct has become such a huge issue. Okay, sometimes they are overdoing it, but most of the time people who dismiss “this stupid PC talk” are basically saying, “I don’t want to worry about how the things I say affect others, for my communication is just me spewing words at the world, and no one else matters.”

And in the end, this is why songs and stories and poems hold magic, and why we should listen before we talk, and why being fat or thin or wrinkled or hairy is something you should own – instead of giving your power away.


26 Jul

Well, okay, no. Maybe not for everything. But I think I may be on to something that can make all our lives better, so bear with me.

You know I am an alternative health nut with a healthy scepticism of alternative medicine. I love using herbal cures that have been proven to work, and that may even have a scientific explanation. I hold a completely irrational hate for homeopathic medicines, “superfoods”, and exotic plants pressed into pills that may mostly contain sawdust and toenail clippings.

Now comes the science:

You have probably heard that if you want to gain muscle, you should eat more protein. Do you know who else should eat more protein? Everybody with an immune system. Everybody with hair, and skin, and general human tissue.

Because – and that is what no one ever told you in quite these words – not just muscle is made of protein. Every single frigging cell in your body consists of different kinds of protein. And your body, marvellous as it may be, cannot make all the protein brands it needs on its own.

Is this an attempt to sell you some weird protein meal replacement stuff (that may also contain sawdust and toenail clippings)?

Gods, no!

Unless you have weird dietary restrictions or kidney problems – in these cases you should consult your medical expert, and keep on reading – the recommendation is that you should consume at least 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of your target weight (which is your current weight, unless you want to gain or lose, of course). If you are physically active, you should aim for 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram target weight.

Maybe a year ago I started keeping track of my protein intake, and upping it considerably – to the point where I get at least 75 grams of protein, every day. This coincided with the discovery that too many carbs trigger nasty migraines, so basically I tilted my food pyramid and shook it a bit until my head did not hurt anymore.

I have not had the flu all winter.

My hair and nails grow like crazy, and they are less brittle.

My skin is the epitome of – ah well, I still look like a pale woman in her mid-thirties who does not care enough about her lotion regime. But I am under the impression that cuts and such heal better.

Let me guess – you are intrigued, and panically calculating the costs of all the steak and chicken you will have to eat, all while quietly crying about all the murder in your pantry. Don’t worry. I do love steak, and chicken, and things that can be ground up for sauces and pies. I also do have a limited budget and a crazy love for books and cocktails, so during the work week I spend maybe thirty bucks on food for my sorry self by mostly eating dairy-based meals. As I am lactose-intolerant (sorry, lactose!), the dairy products I use are slightly more expensive than the regulars, and I splurge on frozen raspberries and peanuts rosted without oil and salt and such. I also like eggs, which, when paired with potatoes, have an exceptionally useful protein composition.

Meal examples (mind you, I am still trying to lose some weight):

  • 150 g cottage cheese with 30 g dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts – combined with a cup of vegetable broth if I want some “more” (like, more taste or more warmth or … just “more”);
  • 250 g “Magerquark” (low-fat curd cheese/quark – most non-Germans are puzzled about this food, which is a special kind of very young cheese which we turn into dips and desserts and cakes … a US blogger compared the taste to that of US “sour cream”, which obviously is very different from our “saure Sahne” (literally translated as “sour cream”)) with 100 g berries or other fruit according to taste;
  • 150 g boiled potatoes with a boiled (or fried, I’m not a saint) egg and a giant heap of vegetables with a little dressing or, if they are oven-roasted vegetables, some freshly grated parmegiano cheese;
  • Beans and lentils in all varieties (stews, soups, salads, … );
  • A reasonable piece of chicken or (non-fried) fish with a heap of vegetables and maybe a little rice;
  • Steak strips on a huge salad;
  • Scrambled eggs with all the veggies you can find (spinach, mushrooms, onions, … );

If you are not trying to lose weight and have no carb-migraine war going on, never worry about the rest of your meals – as long as you get enough protein, that is. Maybe just try it and see how you feel after a month.

There is some more science going on with essential and non-essential amino acids (which make up proteins, which make up us) – essential amino acids are those your body cannot make on its own, so you have to get them from food sources, and they are mostly found in animal-based products – but if you eat a varied diet with different sources of protein, you should have them covered.

Isn’t that great? No expensive pills or syrups to buy, no difficult calculations – just make sure you eat the right things, and you should feel better in a matter of days.

(Disclaimer: If you have any kind of serious condition – or if you are not sure whether you have a serious condition – go and see a specialist. I am not a specialist. Okay, I am a food-intake specialist, as you could see from the numbers on my scale, but I have no medical training whatsoever and only a head full of weird ideas.)

Making time and having it all

18 Jul

What a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, it hardly ever works out this way. I still fondly remember the times when, during summer vacation, I read a thousand-pages book in a day, sitting in our garden and completely forgetting the coffee next to me. This year I decided to track my reading, and so far I have completed twenty-one books. That’s not all that bad, but I wish it could have been more.

I also haven’t run as much as I would like, haven’t written as much as I would like, haven’t witched as much as I would like, and haven’t made as many pretty cakes as I would like. Everyday life keeps getting in the way. It also keeps me from meeting friends and family. or getting enough sleep, or watching all the TV shows I would like to watch.

And I KNOW this is a first-world problem. My comfortable office job, which pays not too bad, keeps me from pursuing all my hobbies and dreams. I am sorry. I will stop complaining now. Just know that I am not yet dead. I am not yet famous, either, but working on that.

Oh, and I am training our cats to jump through hoops. Best use of my time ever.

Anyway, what have you been up to?