Two More Awards for Paralian

IAN Awards

Today, it was announced that Paralian won not just one, but two more book awards. This makes five altogether!
Over the moon doesn’t even begin to cover how delighted I felt when I saw the email this morning. Over the galaxies was more like it (and this after I had almost deleted said email, thinking it was spam).
Both latest awards have been bestowed by the Independent Authors Network. Thank you so much for this honor!

1st Award is 2nd Place in their main category,
“Book of the Year”!!!

2nd Award is for “Outstanding Non-Fiction”

I am especially glad that these two as well as the last award were ‘mainstream’ book awards. Finally, Paralian was recognized as a high quality non-fiction book, an outstanding memoir – not just in the LGBT niche but in general. And rightly so, because this is an entire life journey. It’s always been important to me to emphasize that my story is not just about being transgender. It is a big and important part of it, yes. But at its core, Paralian is a story about being human, facing adversity, and finding your place in this world.

As JJ Marsh wrote for Bookmuse UK a little while ago “It is the extraordinary tale of an exceptional life. Any one of the barbed wire fences Klenk has overcome might be enough to define an average person, but this journey is as far from average as can be imagined.
Born into the wrong body, adopted by dysfunctional parents, battling spasticity, marrying for convenience, living as an agnostic with Mormons, undergoing gender reassignment, suffering heartbreak and embracing career changes while digging deep for a true identity, this is an epic journey. An odyssey.”

Paralian is a true story everyone can identify with if they just dive into the adventure and open the book to the first page…

The Perfect Moment

2006 lunch on dhiddu

The perfect moment. Sunshine. A group of delighted scuba divers whom I had guided throughout the morning. Jackfish. Chilli Sauce. Sand as soft a velvet. Palm Trees. A blazing azure sky and turquoise sea all around us.

I enjoyed myself. Enjoyed to guide, coach, and drink in our surroundings with all my senses. It didn’t really matter who we all were that day. Social status, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation and all those things tending to divide us, gave way to simply breathing in the untainted tropical air and enjoying life together. Just for a little while, yesterday and tomorrow became so insignificant as to be non-existent.

My 2nd Book

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My 2nd book will be a fun, deep, and inspiring read all at the same time… A collection of stories about the animal companions I had throughout my life.
The very first was Gulliver, a little mouse who taught me a lot. So currently, the working title is “Word of Mouse”. Because that’s how it all began…
Each chapter will tell a special story about each of the animals and the impact they had on my life. The lessons I learned.
I’ll be the narrator, but in a sense it is as much or even more about the animals than it is about me.
Readers will be able to enjoy the true stories either as a collection of unusual animal tales…
Or, if they want to think deeper, they will quickly realize that the book is about life, about being human, and about the life lessons we can learn if we open our minds and hearts to the world around us.

It’ll still take up to a year to finish writing and editing, and get the book published.
Watch this space. I’ll share anecdotes, and I’ll keep you updated on my progress and the adventures of trying to find a publisher and/or literary agent!

When I Found Home

devils tear liam and hanna

When I found home…

“Our relationship had grown like a table coral – and still did. Tree-like, it fanned out, each tiny branch connecting to others to build a magnificent structure – tough and brittle at the same time.
Both of us knew how easily such a delicate formation could break. For the first time, however, I was confident to have found a partner who was as committed to our common cause as I was. We were different in so many ways, yet together our universe expanded. We challenged and supported each other in equal measure.” (Excerpt from Paralian, Chapter 33)

… And five years later, we’re still braving life’s turbulences together.
Thank you for being the beautiful soul you are. Thank you for being in my life.

Writing Continues…

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So, here is the plan for the coming months:
After a short summer time writing sabbatical, I’ll re-double my efforts. From now on, I’ll hole up in this cozy space for most of my spare time, to continue writing my 2nd book “Word of Mouse”.
A friend of mine (who happens to be a phenomenally talented artist) has agreed to work on drawings for the book cover as well as for the title pages of each chapter. I have no idea how he will interpret what I have written. And I must admit, it’s exciting not knowing at this point. Can’t wait to be surprised by his designs…
As for the first draft, I am aiming to have it finished by December 2017 at the latest. Then, beginning of next year, I’ll start editing…
In the next few months, I’ll also start contacting publishers and agents. I am very curious if I’ll manage to find someone this time who will be interested in representing me. If not, I’ll just publish independently again. I certainly won’t give up. This is what I am meant to be doing. So watch this space my friends. I’ll share more about content and process as time goes by…

A Medal in the Mailbox

liam and readers favorite medal 1

Look what I got in the mail today  I had to take this pic. It’s not every day one gets a medal  Almost feel like I’ve won the Olympics. Thanks Readers Favorite for recognizing my 1st book with this awesome award!
https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/paralian

Happy 7th Anniversary to The House of Dancing Water

russian swing practice

Today’s post is dedicated to the entire cast and crew – past and present – of The House of Dancing Water in Macau. The show is celebrating its 7th Anniversary. On the 16th of September 2010, we introduced our creation to the world. An island of magic, fairy tales, water, and light.

The show is still running strong.

I devoted four years of my life to this adventure. One thing, above all, I have learned, thanks to my amazing show family: with dedication, vision, and passion, everything is possible.

Here is a little excerpt from Paralian about my experience:

“The learning curve of my Macau years had been exponential. While listening to coaches and performers over the years, what had struck me the most was their decision-making process. The key to executing a stunt perfectly, and more importantly, safely, was commitment.

During Russian Swing for example, pushers and fliers would push together in perfect harmony, bringing the swing higher with each concerted effort. The swing needed to be high enough. At the same time, too much momentum meant loss of control. It was the flier who needed to feel for the perfect moment, to enable him to soar through the air in the most magnificent arc while remaining in control. When the flier felt this moment arrive, he would loudly call, “Up!”

Both pushers and the flier would put everything they had into one last, strong, synchronized push. Only a few seconds later, the flier would let go and get catapulted high and wide, performing a series of spins and turns. In the end, he would land gracefully in the water.

Acrobatics is characterized by many such moments of no return. In this example, the flier needs to commit. More than anything, he needs to believe in himself without any doubt. Once he shouts, “Up!” he cannot change his mind. The momentum of the swing has grown too powerful to resist. Stopping the swing at this point can mean injury, or even death.

From the very first day of my exposure to acrobatics and coaching, I saw them as a metaphor of life. Once you commit to something, you need to forge ahead with confidence. And, more often than not, going forward is far better then turning back.

Many acrobatics acts also require diligent teamwork and a trust so deep, you literally put your life into someone else’s hands. No matter how confident you are, without pushers who are just as committed as you, dedicated to a common cause, you will not fly far. But even a solo act is never truly solo. If no pushers are visible, then the successful performance of the acrobat rests in the hands of the technicians who have prepared his equipment and assisted him behind the scenes.

I treasured such insights with all my heart. Working in close proximity to individuals who risked their very lives for their profession on a daily basis, made me appreciate more than ever how important it is to believe in ourselves. We need to be clear in our intentions, make our decisions with conviction, and overcome fear. We need to trust others, too. They’re out there, the pushers with common goals, just as we can become pushers for someone who needs us. And whatever our circumstances, we need to live life to the fullest. No doubts. No regrets.”

Congratulations and happy anniversary to us all! Let’s keep reaching for the stars and do the impossible!