Tag Archives: #wordofmouse

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!

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…

Moments of Connecting

sam and me

When traveling with my dad through Europe, he used to point out all the historical buildings and sites. He was fascinated with the styles and epochs and would lecture mom and me for hours, pointing at the houses we passed, explaining the structure and peculiarities of each and how we could tell in which century or decade it was built. While buildings came alive for Dad, they were just dead, meaningless structures to me. I remember tuning him out and gazing at trees, bushes, birds, clouds, and butterflies instead.

When I began traveling by myself, I stayed the same. Predominantly focused on nature, on characters. I still am. Whenever there are encounters with human beings, flora, and fauna, I am fascinated. Even more so, I feel happy and glad to be alive. Years later, what I remember most, what sustains me, are these moments of connecting.

Like here, I can’t even remember where exactly this was. Just that it was somewhere in Illinois, in 2004. I was there for a friend’s wedding, but I can’t remember the names of the towns the Greyhound bus took us through. Even the actual wedding with its glitter and room full of strangers is but a faint, misty image in my mind. What I remember most from this trip is meeting this little guy. His name was Sam. He was the bride’s nephew and he was fascinated with horses. However, he hadn’t had much chance of getting close to them in the town where he lived. I ended up staying a couple of hours at this paddock with Sam, teaching him how to gently wait for the horses to come closer. How to not spook them with fast movements, and how to soothingly talk with them, letting them get used to his presence. Then we stole some apples and fed them to the delighted animals. Sam’s sparkling eyes made my weekend. I can still hear the pounding of hooves, feel the dust on my tongue as the small team of five horses thundered past us, and smell their strong scent as they slowly approached us in the end. Alert. Majestic. Powerful.

Mondays are Writing Days

liam at breakfast

Mondays are my writing days. I am slowly getting into it today, cuddling Nacho, while Pushka is contentedly snoring on the chair behind me. All the while, little Fellini is sitting on top of the fridge, fixing me with his most intense, unblinking stare, no doubt wondering when the silly bi-ped is going to stop fiddling with the rectangular, glowing box so he can have a second round of breakfast.
I am tackling the sixth chapter of Word of Mouse today. As I am developing the book, I am wondering where it’ll go. But then, the next instant, I go “Nah”, stop thinking, and just write. Most important for now is to go with the flow and get my 1st draft done. All fine-tuning will come during the dozens of drafts that are sure to follow.
I won’t rest until it’s an awesome, authentic, gripping read. That’s a promise.

Suzy

suzy and pup 1

In April this year, my wife and I went to Lembongan to do some Scuba diving. The coral reefs surrounding this small island off the coast of Bali have always been amongst my favorite sanctuaries.

On one of our afternoon hikes exploring the island, we came across Suzy, a small dog with five puppies. They little ones looked healthy, chubby, and cute. Suzy, however, gave us a start. Her eyes were milky as she seemed to have gone blind after an eye infection had remained untreated for weeks. A hole in her left hip was populated with worms. Worst of all, she was skin and bone. Even though she lived in the backyard of a local family they seemed to not feed her enough. All of Suzy’s meager reserves went into milk production for her by then only four-week old puppies. While we were there, the pups constantly suckled, literally draining Suzy of life energy. Barely able to see anymore, Suzy navigated by smell, keeping them all together, lovingly licking them and encouraging them to keep drinking. What an amazing, brave mom. It seemed she was hanging on by a thread just for them, prepared to give them the last of her strength, if necessary.

During the remainder of our stay we visited Suzy and her pups every day. We brought her Nasi Goring and mixed it with raw egg and tuna to supply her with as much energy and protein as we could. With the help of a local organization, Paws of Lembongan, we managed to organize a vet who came and looked at Suzy. He gave her antibiotics, treated her injuries and still infected eyes, and gave her some high-energy supplements.

Soon we had to leave. We kept thinking about Suzy and her little family and were glad to receive updates and photographs from our friends on the island. Soon it was obvious Suzy was going to make it. Her ribcage started to fill out and her wounds closed. She’ll remain blind, but we are still glad she’ll be able to experience her babies growing up and continue to roam the streets of Lembongan.

You can find more infos about the efforts of Paws of Lembongan here.

Sparks and Dreams

2017 liam on a train

Ever since I began writing Paralian four years ago, my childhood dreams have come alive again. A storyteller is what I always wanted to be. I’ve longed to write and publish books for as long as I can remember.

Since I began doing just that, finding enough money and time to keep on writing has been a tight wire act. What day job should I take so I don’t get too disenchanted, too disillusioned about life? How can I commute with thousands of others every day, whilst at the same time remaining inspired, creative sparks lighting up my horizon like millions of fireflies on a warm summer’s night? How far can I reduce working hours to keep on writing but still be ok and provide for my family? Do I need to worry about being almost fifty years old, with no savings and no real life plan to speak of?

Mostly, I am following my gut. It is telling me, at this point I need not be concerned with financial success. It is telling me to ignore my age and live life to the fullest. I have a supportive partner who loves me no matter what and believes in me. This alone makes me wake up with a smile every single day and gives me strength. I need to keep up the momentum. No one who has played it safe has ever gotten anywhere. Being dedicated, focused, and trusting the process is essential. Working hard and never giving up on my dream will in the end make me happier than any material wealth ever could.

Paralian is a first book I can be proud of. I tapped into something magical while writing it. If I just keep going, I will be able to create a few more books over the years. Maybe, at some point, those books will even be sold in actual book stores with posters saying “coming soon” and people asking for the latest “Klenk”, then heading to a quiet corner to immerse themselves for a couple of hours. Maybe, some of them will even be unable to stop and read through the night, just to see what happens next.

Imagine that…

Benji

Benji 3

Here, finally, an excerpt from the 1st draft of the book I am currently working on. This chapter tells about my first canine companion, a cute albeit rather enormous English Mastiff puppy I was given at the age of 7. Sadly, his stay with us was brief, but he will never be forgotten:

“Oh no, he’s done it again.”

My dad looked a curious mix between erupting volcano and deflated marathon runner, arriving last over the finish line.

I followed his gaze downward and saw a fresh layer of deep scratches marking the inside of our wooden front door. Following my dad’s gaze further, I saw books lying shredded in the hallway all the way to the artificial horizon created by the far wall. Puddles of pee glistened on the tile floor like miniature golden ponds. Scraps of torn book pages floated in them like water lilies. If not for the acrid, far too intense toilet smell, this could have been a rather romantic scenario.

Dad sighed a deep rumbling sigh. We had only been away for half an hour to buy groceries at the corner store. I did my best to look understanding and crestfallen even though I relished this rebellion and disaster more than I dared even admit to myself.

We slowly went further into the apartment, coming across what looked like the remains of what looked like one of Mom’s shirts and our TV remote control.

Finally, in the living room sat the culprit. Clearly aware that he had done something he shouldn’t, for otherwise he’d have greeted us at the door. Nevertheless, considering the circumstances, he looked far too delighted to see us back. Tail wagging; thump, thump, thump, into another puddle of pee right behind him. Little, golden drops flying in all directions.

(From ‘Word of Mouse’, Chapter 3, Benji)

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