Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Der Steinmetz und die Malerin - für die deutschsprachigen Leseratten

Für die deutschsprachigen Leser, die es noch nicht wissen: das zweite Buch meiner Familienportrait-Trilogie ist nun ebenfalls auf Deutsch erhältlich, als eBook und, seit kurzem, auch als Taschenbuch.

Für die junge Malerin Karla Bocelli gehört Verlust zum Alltag. Mit fünf Jahren verlor sie ihre Mutter bei einem Autounfall im Süden der Schweiz. Ihr peruanischer Vater lebt am anderen Ende der Welt und vor einem Jahr starb auch die Tante, die sie großgezogen hatte. Jetzt, im Alter von vierundzwanzig Jahren, wird sie beinahe von einem rasenden Auto angefahren. Als ob das allein nicht schicksalhaft genug wäre, ist der Fahrer des Wagen, Andreas, ein Bildhauer und Gestalter von Grabsteinen. Trotz seines Berufs ist Andreas alles andere als morbide. Hitzig und intensiv, strahlt er eine wilde Energie aus. Nach dem stürmischen Anfang ihrer Beziehung wird Andreas für Karla zum „Felsen“ ihres Lebens, das perfekte Antidot zu ihren Ängsten des Verlassenwerdens und den Depressionsanfällen. Andreas hat jedoch mit seinen eigenen Problemen zu kämpfen: einem alkoholkranken Vater, der ihn als Kind misshandelte, und seiner Neigung zu Wutanfällen. Gemeinsam müssen sich die beiden Künstler mit ihren Dämonen auseinandersetzen.

 DER STEINMETZ UND DIE MALERIN handelt vom Kampf zweier Künstler mit der Vergangenheit, ihren Familien, ihrer Kreativität und ihrer Liebe zu einander. Die Geschichte führt den Leser auf eine Reise der Sinne vom Süden der Schweiz nach Italien und in die peruanischen Anden.

Das Buch ist bei Amazon erhältlich:
Taschenbuch, Druckformat:

Das erste Buch der Trilogie, Eine ungewöhnliche Familie, ist ebenfalls auf Deutsch erhältlich:
Taschenbuch, Druckformat:

Für die Leser, die es vorziehen, die Bücher in der englischen Originalfassung zu lesen, hier ist meine Autorenseite auf Amazon:

Viel Vergnügen beim Lesen oder Happy Reading!

Wenn Ihnen das eine oder andere Buch gefallen hat, würde ich mich für eine kurze Bewertung/Rezension auf Amazon freuen. So werden andere Leser auf das Buch aufmerksam!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Hype and hoopla...

William Shakespeare, b.23 April 1564 Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England (observed) d.23 April 1616. Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. Playwright, poet, actor.
The Bard
Amidst all the hype and hoopla about the newest trashy novel and blockbuster movie, it has become obvious, once again, that it is not self-publishing or the independent author who destroys literature, nor is it the traditional publishing industry as a whole. It is those in the business who cater to the lowest common denominator and set out to appeal to our base instincts who diminish literature and art. And it is above all consumers with questionable taste who support this kind of industry. But only for a limited time. Quality books and movies may not bring in the big bucks--at least not all at once--but as history has shown again and again: the best of them will be around for a long time--long after 50 Piles of Garbage have sunk into oblivion and, fortunately, disappeared from our consciousness.

Virginia Woolf in 1902, photo taken by George Charles Beresford. #virginiawoolf
Virginia Woolf
The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (1924)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo, California, with the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ

I fell in love with the small town of El Segundo, a community with plenty of free street parking (hard to find anywhere in California) with a great choice of restaurants, bars, small stores. This town invites you to take a leisurely stroll, stop for a cup of coffee, a meal, a drink, or, visit the cultural treasure, called Old Town Music Hall!

The Old Town Music Hall celebrates the classic period of American cinema and music. The manager and other talented musicians play the Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe organ. The theater itself is lovingly decorated in the old style with beautiful chandeliers, tapestry, and all kinds of memorability.

After a nice dinner at a nearby restaurant, my friends and I went to listen to old cinema music and watched the classic black-and-white film 42nd Street. It was a blast!

In case you're in the neighborhood, drop by and let yourself be transported into the Roaring Twenties with old-fashioned popcorn and delicious coconut muffins from a nearby bakery!

More information and pictures here:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Last impressions of Switzerland

I spent a little over two months at my first home in the German part of Switzerland, visiting family and friends. I was looking forward to a change of climate from sunny southern California (which turned out not quite as sunny and warm over the holidays, as I saw on the internet) to real Winter. Having grown up in Switzerland, Christmas in my subconscious mind is still associated with snow and cold, a Christmas tree with candles, roaring fires in the wood stove or fireplace, hearty meals and a few glasses of excellent wine. So when I first arrived here in the beginning of November, snow was nowhere to be seen. In fact, not even the mountains had much of the precious white and the tourist industry in the ski areas were all gloom and doom.

After a short holiday in a castle in the Piedmont (see my last blog entry), it was back to Switzerland and my dreams of white Christmas seemed to kind of evaporate--

Pretty, but more like Autumn than Winter

  until the second day of Christmas and then the dream became reality.

and with it the work of shoveling shoveling shoveling ...

And, of course, a real Christmas tree with real candles!

and one of those yummy gloggs or mulled wines (hot red wine with spices and fruit)

A visit to my niece's tea and coffee lounge with the addition of a vegetarian buffet at restaurant Limalimon in Bremgarten, Aargau. Although I'm not a vegetarian, I really enjoy these delicious dishes!

And above all, I'm very grateful for the company of family and so many friends.

Wishing you peace, health, and happiness in the New Year, dear friends. May your dreams come true in 2015!

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ghost lore at the Castello di Pavone in Piemonte, Italy

I'm staying in Switzerland at my second home for a while. My nephew had an important birthday and his niece, my great-niece, organized a wonderful trip for the family to an old castle in the Piedmont region, Italy, just south of Switzerland.

The castle was renovated and turned into a hotel and restaurant. However, whatever could be kept of the medieval structure was left intact. You could get lost on the inside of the buildings with its many hallways and secret pathways. Pictures of the predecessors of the castle looked down from the walls of every room and I swear I heard a ghost at night, rattling in the hallways. Hmmm?

Il pavone, the peacock is the symbol of the castle.

The towns below are Pavone and Ivrea.

Gorgeous suites and bedrooms, all in the old style with paintings from the original castle.

View from the castle.

The gardens are well kept but natural.

Dinner and breakfast were served in a vaulted cellar.

Very romantic and special. Who knows, my next novel may take place in the Piedmont in Italy!
More about the castle and its history:

Monday, October 13, 2014

WIP is at the editor - what now?

I just sent off my WIP, The Italian Sister, to the editor. 

It's a great feeling to have the manuscript I have been laboring over out of my hair for a while. After a sigh of relief, panic sets in. WHAT NOW? I feel oddly abandoned without my work. Besides, I'm totally stuck on the sequel I was planning to write. And I mean STUCK!

Okay, I know, lots of writers go through this. I do have a few options, I guess:



1) I forget about writing for a while and enjoy a piece of chocolate instead. But that only takes a few minutes and then what?

2) A cup of coffee? A few more minutes. And then what?

3) I go on vacation--wait, you need money for this... Hmm.

4) It's cheaper to just go for a walk in my beautiful neighborhood:

Okay, done that. Now what?

5) Read, but I do this all the time anyway. And reading can also be an escape to keep from writing. 

Gee, this is getting difficult. I'm running out of options.

I guess there is only one option left:


Unless, dear writer/reader, you can come up with a better idea. What do you do when you're stuck?


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mystery, Thriller, or Suspense?

I am working on my WIP with the title The Italian Sister. It started out as a family drama, but on the way, it developed into a .... and that's my dilemma, what do I call it? Here is the temporary blurb:

"Standing at her father's grave in California, Sofia Laverne mourns his untimely demise. Barely recovered from her recent divorce, she has to come to term with the loss of another family member. Imagine Sofia's shock and surprise when she finds out that her father had had an affair in Italy many years before, that Sofia has a ten year younger sister and inherited part of a vineyard in Tuscany. Eager to meet fourteen-year old Julietta, Sofia packs her bags and takes off for Italy. When she arrives in the small hill town of Vignaverde, she is greeted by olive groves, neat rows of grape vines, green and rust-colored hills, and picturesque houses. Some of the inhabitants of this beautiful estate are, however, less welcoming and resent her intrusion into their family business. Soon, strange occurrences begin to frighten Sofia. When a suspicious accidents lands her in the hospital, Sofia fears for her life.

A suspenseful family drama, The Italian Sister takes us on a wild journey from California to Tuscany and provides glimpses into the exiting world of winemaking."

First, I was going to call it "part family drama/part mystery," but one of my beta readers pointed out that it wasn't a mystery in the strict sense, and she is right. It was more of a thriller. Hmm. "thriller"? The word thriller always evokes some murderous, blood-curdling events and that isn't the case in my WIP. There is suspense, to be sure, but "thriller?" 

I needed to do some more research in this area. So I found a few definitions on the Internet and I was relieved to find out that I'm not the only one who is confused about the terms. 

Mystery:  The protagonist (a detective, private investigator or an amateur sleuth) is trying to solve the truth about an event, usually a murder. He/she is searching for clues and eventually solves the puzzle. The reader doesn't know any more than the protagonist and the truth is slowly or suddenly revealed to both the protagonist and the reader. The protagonist is only in moderate danger. Great examples are the mysteries of Agatha Christie.

Thriller: The protagonist is in danger from the beginning. The reader usually knows who the killer is and the fascination of the story is watching the cat-and-mouse game between the killer and the protagonist. The plot is characterized by car chases, violence, anything that gives the reader a "thrill."

Suspense novel: The protagonist becomes aware of the danger only gradually. The reader, however, knows more than the protagonist. The reader knows who the killer is.

Here are the links to the different definitions:

Of course, many novels incorporate elements of mystery, thrillers, and suspense. So what is The Italian Sister?

The mystery aspect: The reader does not know more than Sofia, the protagonist. However, it is not a mystery because there is no murder/crime in the beginning and Sofia does not go hunting for clues.

Thriller? Well, the story may thrill (I hope it does). 

Suspense? Sofia does become aware of the danger only gradually. That's true. However, the reader does not know more than the protagonist. 

So what is the poor writer to do? Fortunately *** wiping the sweat from my forehead *** I came across another definition of a genre: ROMANTIC SUSPENSE.

"The romantic suspense novel is a modern emergence of early Gothic writing. This genre evolved in the 1950s with writers such as Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. … The genre is recognizable when contrasted with other writing. It is not a detective mystery story because the law (police) rarely gets involved in the action. It also differs from traditional … suspense novels because it moves more slowly and has more character interplay and psychological conflict than the fast-paced violence of [most] suspense thrillers."

That's sounds more like my WIP, which also has a love story. Now, I just have to finish this darn thing.

What is your experience with genre labels? I hate them and one of the reasons is the fact that my novels cross genres. That makes classification difficult. But labels are here to stay, so I might as well get used to them. 

Happy writing and reading, my fellow bookies and "novellers."