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Friday, July 30, 2010

Love of a Stonemason released as paperback

Great news: My novel just got published as paperback. It’s available at Amazon.

It turned out really great. I formatted and designed it myself with the help of my artist friend, Susan Deming, who also provided the photo and the design for the front cover. Those of you who were kind enough to write a review on Amazon, based on the Kindle version, will get a complementary, personally signed copy of the paperback book.

I think I’m now not only an Indie author but a micro Indie publisher. The company name is Bookworm Press (which fits me perfectly).

I am also featured on a new blog for independent authors. In addition, I was interviewed at Jess C Scott's author blog. Drop by and have a look. There are some very interesting authors and books there.

Oh, and don't forget to click the FOLLOW button on the right!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Authors supporting other authors

Hello fellow Indie Authors!

August 12, 2010: This is an update to an earlier post (see below): There are 37 authors represented on Scott Nicholson's Indie Books Blog now. Great new stuff. Come by, sample the work, leave a comment once in a while, and don't forget to acknowledge a comment by someone else. If you like a book, write a review on Amazon or wherever it is sold. Remember: we are in this together.

My novel Love of a Stonemason is featured there as well.

You may have found your way here through my Twitter post about Scott Nicholson’s indie books blog. Scott was kind enough to set up a blog for independent authors like us. Now, it’s up to us to make it work to our advantage.

Since we are “independent,” we can’t depend on agents and publishers to represent us. We have to do it ourselves. So, we could start by supporting each other.

“What? Authors supporting other authors. Where have you been?!” someone said, tongue-in-cheek. Well, yes, of course. But this is not just about helping others - I don’t expect authors to be that altruistic - but by helping someone else, we also help ourselves. We draw attention to our own work and, perhaps, if we are lucky, someone else will read our book.

There are as of today, Sunday, July 18, twenty authors featured on the blog (if I counted correctly). If each one of us read one other book on the blog, left a comment, and wrote a brief review on Amazon or wherever the book is sold, that makes twenty reviews. If we pick two, that makes forty reviews, and so on. And slowly but surely, the reviews add up, we find new readers, and the rating will increase.

There is a wide variety of genres present, from the more traditional romance to paranormal romance, to books for the younger audience, to mysteries, thrillers and more. Most of us have a favorite genre and probably write in that genre as well. My own book, Love of a Stonemason, deals with love, art, and relationships, so it has romance elements. I decided to explore books from other genres. I came across Scott Nicholson’s works and loved them. I discovered Jess C. Scott’s “paranormal novella” The Devilin Fey (featured on the blog). I have never read a paranormal novella, but I figured why not? I wasn’t disappointed. I loved it. It’s an excellent work and I hope to read more from that author. I also put a review on Amazon.

Now, we can either let ourselves be featured, never come back to the blog, twiddle our thumbs, and hope for the best or we can make a little effort and, bingo, IT MAY WORK! It’s up to us.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Trina Polkinhorn at the Horn Camp in Los Angeles

I am a Polkinhorn by an earlier marriage and I am proud of my USA family. They are full of talented, great people. Trina Polkinhorn, my young niece, is an excellent French horn musician. She took part in a camp in Los Angeles and they made it into a You Tube video. Here is the link:

Beethoven Mass Horn Ensemble

Trina is the girl with the long dark hair in very left row, second from the front. She just graduated from UC Irvine.

Go, Trina!

"Baby It's You" by director John Sayles with Rosanna Arquette and Vincent Spano

I saw this film together with my movie buddies Ken and Karen. It was a fascinating "coming-of-age" movie with excellent actors:

Here is a short review by Ken Hense on

Title: Best Coming of Age Film
"For me, one of the top ten films ever made. I feel that I know Jill Rosen (Rosanna Arquette) better than most people I have known in real life. Jill is an A student. The streetwise boyfriend she discovers is not dumb. They are both very young. One wonders if either of them ever got it together. So many endearing lines from Jill! Her college room "It's small but it's ugly." The funky gold star on the door. And when she gets drunk! I think maybe this film says when we have the least we have the most." Ken Hense

Friday, July 9, 2010

Love of a Stonemason

My novel Love of a Stonemason is featured on Indie Blog. Come and have a look!.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Two excellent movies

Today, I would like to introduce the movies I mentioned in my last post. Both of them deal with young boys, who have a special gift and who try, each in his own way, to fulfill a dream.

Vitus is a Swiss film about a gifted young boy born into a middle-class family, who is not only the best student in his class with an extraordinary high IQ but a talented pianist. His proud parents do everything to further his talents. But Vitus, a lonely boy, wants nothing more than being a normal kid. Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat wrote an excellent review of the film. The young actors who play Vitus at different ages are wonderful. Bruno Ganz, one of my favorite Swiss actors, does a great job as grandfather.

Bruno Ganz started his career as actor in the theater. His stage background is visible in all his performances. He is an excellent character actor and one of his most famous roles is as Hitler in the movie Downfall (German: Der Untergang). What struck me most about his performance is the fact that he was able to portray Hitler as a human being, not an abstraction of Evil, as we tend to think of him. What we witness is the slow deterioration of a sick, misguided, and deeply troubled man.

Vitus is a wonderful mix of the real and the magical. It's a movie with a lot of heart. Available on DVD in German with English subtitles, at

The second movie, Billy Elliot, takes place in a small coal mining town in the north of England, far away from the middle-class Swiss background of Vitus. The protagonist is again a young boy who has a dream that couldn’t be any more at odds with his working-class background and his macho environment.

Here is an editorial review by Philip Kemp at Amazon:
“Foursquare in the gritty-but-heartwarming tradition of Brassed Off and The Full Monty comes Billy Elliot, the first film from noted British theatrical director Stephen Daldry. The setting is County Durham in 1984, and things "up north" are even grimmer than usual: the miners' strike is in full rancorous swing, and 11-year-old Billy's dad and older brother, miners both, are on the picket lines. Billy's got problems of his own. His dad has scraped together the fees to send him to boxing lessons, but Billy has discovered a different aptitude: a genius for ballet dancing. Since admitting to such an activity is tantamount, in this fiercely macho culture, to holding up a sign reading "I Am Gay," Billy keeps it quiet. But his teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson (Julie Walters, wearily undaunted), thinks he should audition for ballet school in London. Family ructions are inevitable.

Daldry's film sidesteps some of the politics, both sexual and otherwise, but scores with its laconic dialogue (credit to screenwriter Lee Hall) and a cracking performance from newcomer Jamie Bell as Billy. His powerhouse dance routines, more Gene Kelly than Nureyev, carry an irresistible sense of exhilaration and self-discovery. Among a flawless supporting cast, Stuart Wells stands out as Billy's sweet gay friend Michael. And if the miners' strike serves largely as background color, the brief episode when visored and truncheon-wielding cops rampage through neat little terraced houses captures one of the most spiteful episodes in recent British history.” Philip Kemp

This is the kind of movie, you can watch many times. The very last scene always sends shivers down my back.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Blog Revival

Welcome! Now that I lured you to my blog, I hope you’ll click the “Follow” button on the right side underneath my books. That way, I won’t feel so lonely out here in cyberspace. In order to “Follow” a blog, you have to have a Google account. If you have a blog of your own, chances are you already have an account. If not, you are prompted to create one. It’s simple and free and as far as I know, there are no privacy concerns. When it prompts you to create a Google account, you just enter the email address you already use and create a password. Easy.

I want to start with a short introduction to two books and two movies that are very different from each other but are related by a common theme: growing up as a young boy, who doesn’t really “fit in,” the struggle to be true to yourself and at the same time find a place in society.

The two books are The Red Church and Drummer Boy by Scott Nicholson. I found Scott Nicholson by pure chance on the internet when I was looking for an editor for my manuscript. His novels take place in the Appalachian Mountains and are full of mysterious happenings and Appalachian folklore. Here is the beginning of the description of The Red Church on

“For 13-year-old Ronnie Day, life is full of problems: Mom and Dad have separated, his brother Tim is a constant pest, Melanie Ward either loves him or hates him, and Jesus Christ won't stay in his heart. Plus he has to walk past the red church every day, where the Bell Monster hides with its wings and claws and livers for eyes. But the biggest problem is that Archer McFall is the new preacher at the church, and Mom wants Ronnie to attend midnight services with her.”

The Red Church is great book and I wrote a review for it on Amazon. I just realized that my review is listed as one of the most helpful ones (don’t know how I got that honor). But here it is:
“I am not exactly a "thriller" or "horror" fan, so when I came across The Red Church by Scott Nicholson I hesitated at first, thinking I probably wouldn't like it. After the first few pages into the book, I realized how limiting and inaccurate such labels really are. To be sure, there is plenty of blood-curdling and scary stuff in the novel. However, there is much more to the book than "blood and gore." A tight, fast-moving plot, vivid, psychologically complex characters that jump off the page and are so real you remember them long after you finish reading the book, and a very accurate depiction of the emotional and mental powers that religious fanatics or new-age gurus can yield over their trusting victims make this book a truly fascinating read. I can only recommend it.”

Drummer Boy has similarities with The Red Church. The main characters are again young boys, a “misfit kid” and his friends, and some of the characters from The Red Church appear in this book as well. Here is a brief summary from Scott's website and from Amazon:

"One misfit kid is all that stands between an Appalachian Mountain town and a chilling supernatural force. On an Appalachian Mountain ridge, young Vernon Ray Davis hears the rattling of a snare drum deep inside a cave known as “The Jangling Hole,” and the wind carries a whispered name. According to legend, the Hole is home to a group of Civil War soldiers buried by a long-ago avalanche. Everyone, especially Vernon Ray's dad, laughs at him...because he's different.
On the eve of an annual Civil War re-enactment, the town of Titusville prepares for a mock battle. But inside the Hole, disturbed spirits are rising from their dark slumber, and one of them is heading home.
And Vernon Ray stands between the battle lines of the living and the dead, caught between a world where he doesn't a belong and world from which he can never return...”

Both books are available as Kindle and paperback versions. To find out more about those and other novels by Scott Nicholson, go to his website and/or to

I am in the process of translating one of his latest novels, The Skull Ring (a real page turner!) into German.

And here finally a little self-promoting. Scott also edited my debut novel Love of a Stonemason, available as ebook for the Kindle on Amazon and soon to be available as paperback from CreateSpace (to be announced). It is also available in a lot of other ebook versions on Smashwords.

I mentioned in the beginning that I would talk about a couple of movies, which also deal with adolescent boys, but something came up, so I’ll save that for the next post. Instead, I want to announce another real treat. It's a play written by Jack Grapes, a former poetry teacher of mine. Jack is not only an excellent teacher but a great poet as well as fabulous actor and playwright. The play is called Circle of Will. I saw it many years ago and it’s hilarious!

That’s how it is described:
“Circle of Will is a bizarre metaphysical comedy about the lost years of Will Shakespeare.”
National Public Radio: “a spectacular tour-de-force.”
San Francisco Chronicle: “the cleverest original work seen in a long time.”
Jack says: “I wrote CIRCLE OF WILL while holed up in a cabin high in the Sierras in the dead of winter, wolves howling at my door. How a bizarre metaphysical comedy came out of that, I'll never know, but it did. Shakespeare as Jackie Gleason, Richard Burbage as Art Carney!
As one reviewer said, it's ‘a piece of metaphysical insanity, in which I was carried away on waves of sympathy and laughter. This play is a certified thought-provoking riot!’”

I’m definitely going to see it again. It’s playing at the Macha Theatre in West Hollywood, Los Angeles. It runs from July 16 to Aug 15 with a preview on July 15. If you’re interested you can get further information and order tickets at

Those of you who live in the area: you don’t want to miss this!

Have a wonderful week! And don't forget to click that "Follow" button up on the right side!