Category Archives: Writing

It Has Been A Long Time

 
When I wrote my post about the KISS concert in Hamburg last June, I knew that I was about to go on a “blogging pause”. However, I never imagined that the said pause would last seven months!

So what happened? We sold our flat, bought an old house and renovated it. It sounds pretty straightforward, but it became my full time job for the next five months and then I needed a bit of time to recover from the stress of renovating and moving… I will tell more about the actual work – so many stories I could easily write another book! – but for now, let’s just say I am really glad my “worksite boss” job is over and that I can resume with my various projects.

First of all, I am sending Foundation, my first novel and the opening book of The Crossing Lives Trilogy, to the next batch of literary agents for consideration. I never did hear back from the one who requested the full manuscript last year and received only rejections from other agents. I still remain positive and hope that this new year will bring good news!

I am also impatient to begin with Book Two – Resilience. The opening scene has been playing in my mind for a little while now and I cannot wait to get writing.

The next project is setting up a new website dedicated more specifically to my photography and my writing. I have the name, the layout and lots of photos waiting to be published, now I just have to find a minute to actually do it…

Finally, the end of January should see the start of a great new freelance opportunity. I am quite excited but would rather wait until everything is confirmed before saying more about it.

As for Funky Wellies Random Thoughts, I will still keep it going, but with a couple of posts a week only, as the other projects now take priority.

It is nice to be back, though, and I will leave you with a few photos taken on walks with Cute Doggy. I am sure you can see why I fell in love with the area we now live in…
 
 
PS: responding to comments takes a lot of time, and not many readers come back to look at the replies… I will therefore stop replying from now on, but will catch up with you on social media to thank you, as you taking the time to comment means a lot to me! 🙂
 
 
Convent ruins in the sunBench with grass and treesMansion park with majestic treesPond detail in the sunTree reflection in a pondSunlight in the forest
 
 
 
 

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The 20 Most Beautiful Villas In Italy |
Published In Print

 
It is a fantastic feeling to discover the words you have written in a book. An actual book. No, I am not talking about Foundation, my first novel. I am still waiting to hear back from the agent I sent the complete manuscript to in March. But I can now add “print” instead of just “online” to my writing portfolio.

I have been working with Casa in Italia for a few years now. Casa in Italia is a company with a fabulous selection of holiday properties to rent – you guessed it – in Italy. Amongst other mandates, I have written various posts for the blog on their website. Italy is part of my roots and I love the country, so the inspiration comes easily to describe regions nestled inland or near the sea, some jaw-dropping houses or the numerous facets of Italian culture.
 
The twenty most beautiful villas in Italy - Casa in Italia
Casa in Italia recently had the lovely idea to gather twenty of these magical properties under one roof and so “The 20 most beautiful villas in Italy” was born. Casa in Italia asked me to work on the introduction and when I received my copy, I was delighted to find out that all the other texts in the book had been written by me as well. A few of them can be found on my “Around The World” page. As for the photography, I would dare you not to start day-dreaming…

Hopefully the next time I see my stories in a book it will be my novel. 🙂
 
The 20 most beautiful villas in Italy - Casa in Italia
 
 
 
 

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Nikki Young Writes

 

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The Crossing Lives Trilogy |
Book One – Foundation |
Complete!

 
My first novel, Foundation, contains two distinct stories and in late spring last year, I realised one of them simply was not working. In my opinion, the tale of Kathleen and Lorenz was much weaker than the one of Keira and Liam. My impression was confirmed by some beta readers and literary agents so I decided to re-write Kathleen and Lorenz’s adventures. Some aspects that did work I kept, but basically I started from scratch again. I am so pleased I did. I am now equally satisfied with both stories and received a fantastic feedback, as well as some useful suggestions, from the person who kindly proofread my manuscript. Lesley, thank you so very much for doing this, it was greatly appreciated!

TheCrossingLivesTrilogyBookOneFoundationComplete_1The lovely notebook I received from a friend. I use it for book ideas and character development.

Two elements helped me finish this first novel. First, I set myself a non-negotiable deadline, just as if someone else had set it for me. The writing had to be finished by the end of January and the editing by the end of February. I managed to keep both deadlines, looking a bit dishevelled and obsessed on January 31st! After printing off Foundation and reading it through again, I still found some little things that needed to be corrected or improved. Last week I put the final touches to my book and sent it off to a literary agent in London, whom I had met at the Frankfurt Book Fair last October. She had read the first four chapters already and requested the full manuscript.

MacBook Air and XQUISIT Bluetooth speakerMy MacBook Air and XQUISIT Bluetooth speaker

The second element was Sexy Hubby making an executive decision mid-December: he went out and bought me a MacBook Air. It may sound silly, but it changed everything. I love my office and my iMac, but to be able to go out and write in a café, or simply in another room in our home, really did help with the inspiration. The cute XQISIT Bluetooth speaker that he purchased too was also a brilliant idea and made listening to my favourite foreign radio stations on my phone a lot more fun! Many loving thanks to Sexy Hubby for these awesome gifts and his constant support.

The Crossing Lives Trilogy - Book One - Foundation - Final WordcountThe final word count

While I am waiting to hear back from London, I am taking March “off”. I am looking forward to catching up with my blog and a million other things that were just put aside while I was completing Foundation. And in April, after a ten-day break in the South of France, I will be starting with Book Two – Resilience

 
 
 
 

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Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 |
All About Authors

 
Two days at the Frankfurt Book Fair really were not enough. There is so much to see, so many people to talk to, so many sessions and events on offer… With the creation of the brand new Business Club this year there was even more to choose from. The planning of my visit took quite some time and ended up being strongly authors related, but I also put aside enough time to immerse myself in the atmosphere. I have posted some impressions here.

My first “appointment” on Thursday was to attend the opening of the Authors Lounge, another novelty this year. A private oasis for authors from all over the world, the Lounge is also a space for discussions. Danish author Janne Teller organised an “Undercover” meeting, where a selection of international authors discussed political issues. I had the pleasure of meeting Janne as well as Juergen Boos, President / CEO of the Franfurt Book Fair, and some of the authors invited.

Next was Ken Follett’s presentation of Edge of Eternity, the last chapter of his Century trilogy, on the Open Stage. The books I love most are the ones that transport me into another universe and Ken Follett’s novels do just that. Once I start a new one, every possible minute I can dedicate to reading will be used for that purpose.

The conversation between Ken Follett and Margarete von Schwarzkopf lasted an hour and it was over too quickly. The author is a fantastic storyteller not only on paper but also on stage. He had his audience riveted the whole time, reading an extract of Edge of Eternity or describing his research for the trilogy with plenty of poignant or funny anecdotes. For example his own grandfather also started working in a coal mine aged 13. Or telling us how he uses words a real historical character actually said in a conversation with a fictional character. I ended up taking lots of notes on my phone, as you can see in the photo below!

It was then time for a book signing session. I had brought with me my beloved copy of The Pillars of the Earth – so well-worn that I had to glue it back together the night before! – and World Without End for First Daughter. I was a bit emotional when Ken Follett handed the books back to me and needless to say, I am a pretty cool Mum right now…

This whole part of the day meant that I missed the no doubt very interesting talk with Brian Murray, CEO of Harper-Collins. I had very much enjoyed the one with Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, last year. I also missed the discussion between Paulo Coelho and Juergen Boos, to my great regret. As I said, decisions, decisions…

On Thursday I was thrilled to join David Nicholls international book launch, as David is another favourite author of mine. It was an absolute pleasure listening to David answering Joerg Thadeusz’s questions in a funny and unassuming manner. I especially loved when the author said that “writing is like an office job, you have to turn up”. So true! He also told the audience about his experience of using a programme called “Write or Die”… You set it with a number of words or a time and if you stop writing, it starts deleting your words. It sounds pretty scary to me and obviously to David too, as he quickly gave up using the software.

David shared with us the writing process for Us, which lasted six years. One of the things he said during that part of the interview was that “it was five years of false start, faffing, etc. and one year of writing”. He ended up by telling us that “it was a blessing to be allowed time to get this one right”.

Again the end of the event arrived too fast and some time was allowed for book signing. David Nicholls was lovely, always ready for a quick chat and with a kind word for everyone. I left the room with a big smile on my face and I am very much looking forward to reading Us

As I am finishing this post, re-living the whole experience, I can tell you one thing: I cannot wait for the 2015 edition of the Frankfurt Book Fair.
 
 
Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 - Frankfurter Buchmesse 2014 - Impression
 
Zwei Tage auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse waren wirklich nicht genug. Es gibt so viel zu sehen, so viele Leute, mit denen man reden möchte, so eine riesige Auswahl an Sitzungen und Events… Mit der Schaffung des ganz neuen Business Clubs in diesem Jahr war das Angebot noch größer. Meine Planung für die Messe dauerte ziemlich lang und war zwar am Ende stärk auf Autoren fokussiert, aber ich hatte mir dennoch genug Zeit freigehalten, um in die Atmosphäre einzutauchen. Ihr könnt hier ein paar Impressionen finden.

Mein erster “Termin” am Donnerstag war die Teilnahme an der Eröffnung der Authors Lounge, eine weitere Neuheit in diesem Jahr. Eine private Oase für Autoren aus der ganzen Welt ist die Lounge aber auch ein Ort für Diskussionen. Die Dänische Autorin Janne Teller organisierte ein “Undercover”-Meeting, bei dem eine Auswahl von internationalen Autoren über politischen Belange redeten. Es hat mich gefreut, Janne, Juergen Boos, den Präsidenten / CEO der Frankfurter Buchmesse, und einige der eingeladenen Autoren zu treffen.

Es folgte Ken Folletts Präsentation von Kinder der Freiheit, dem letzten Kapitel seiner Century-Trilogie, auf der Open Stage. Die Bücher, die ich am meisten liebe, sind die, die mich in ein anderes Universum transportieren, und Ken Folletts Romane tun das. Immer wenn ich einen neuen zu lesen beginne, verbringe ich jede freie Minute, die ich dem Lesen widmen kann, damit.

Das Gespräch zwischen Ken Follett und Margarete von Schwarzkopf dauerte eine Stunde, und es war viel zu schnell vorbei. Der Autor ist ein fantastischer Geschichtenerzähler, nicht nur auf Papier sondern auch auf der Bühne. Er fesselte sein Publikum die ganze Zeit, indem er eine Passage aus Kinder der Freiheit las oder seine Recherchen für die Trilogie mit vielen ergreifenden oder lustigen Anekdoten beschrieb. Zum Beispiel hatte sein eigener Großvater auch mit 13 in einem Kohlenbergwerk zu arbeiten angefangen. Oder wie er Wörter, die ein realer, historischer Charakter gesagt hat, in einer Konversation mit einem fiktiven Charakter benutzt. Ich habe viele Notizen in mein Handy getippt, wie Ihr auf dem Foto unten gesehen könnt!

Es war dann Zeit für eine Autogrammstunde. Ich hatte meine geliebte Ausgabe von Die Säulen der Erde mitgebracht – ein total zerlesenes Buch, dass ich am Abend vorher wieder zusammen kleben musste! – und Die Tore der Welt für meine Tochter. Ich war ein bisschen emotional als Ken Follett mir die Bücher zurückgab und selbstverständlich bin ich im Moment eine sehr coole Mama…

Dieser ganze Teil des Tages hatte zur Folge, dass ich das zweifellos sehr interessante Gespräch mit Brian Murray, dem CEO von Harper-Collins, versäumte. Ich hatte die Sitzung mit Markus Dohle, dem CEO von Penguin Random House, letztes Jahr sehr genossen. Ich habe zu meinem großen Bedauern auch die Unterhaltung zwischen Paulo Coelho und Juergen Boos verpasst. Wie gesagt: Entscheidungen, Entscheidungen…

Am Donnerstag war ich begeistert, David Nicholls internationale Buchpräsentation zu besuchen, weil David auch einer meiner Lieblingsautoren ist. Es war ein absolutes Vergnügen, die Antworten von David auf die Fragen von Joerg Thadeusz in seiner lustigen, bescheidenen Art und Weise zu hören. Besonders hat es mir gefallen, als der Autor sagte “zu schreiben ist wie einen Bürojob, Du musst erscheinen“. So wahr! Er ließ sein Publikum an seiner Erfahrung mit einer Software namens “Schreib oder Stirb” teilhaben… Man legt eine Anzahl Wörter oder ein bestimmtes Zeitlimit fest und wenn man aufhört zu schreiben, fängt das Programm an, Wörter zu löschen… Für mich klingt das ziemlich erschreckend und offensichtlich für David auch, denn er gab es schnell auf, diese Software zu benutzen.

David berichtete während des Interviews vom Schreibprozess für Drei auf Reisen, der sechs Jahre gedauert hat: “Es waren fünf Jahre mit Fehlstarts, Rumgemurkse, usw. und ein Jahr schreiben”. Zum Schluss sagte er: “Es war ein Segen, dass mir die Zeit mir gegeben wurde, dieses Buch richtig hinzukriegen”.

Wieder einmal endete die Veranstaltung viel zu schnell, aber es wurde noch etwas Zeit für eine Signierstunde eingeräumt. David Nicholls was großartig, immer zu einem Plauschchen bereit und mit einem freundlichen Wort für jeden. Ich habe den Raum mit einem riesigen Lächeln verlassen und ich freue mich schon darauf, Drei auf Reisen zu lesen.

Jetzt, wo mit diesem Post zum Schluss komme und mich an das ganze Erlebnis erinnere, kann ich Euch nur eines sagen: Ich kann die Frankfurter Buchmesse 2015 kaum erwarten.
 
 

Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 - Frankfurter Buchmesse 2014 - Juergen Boos and Janne Teller opening the Authors LoungeJuergen Boos and Janne Teller opening the Authors Lounge

Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 - Frankfurter Buchmesse 2014 - International Authors in the Authors Lounge

Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 - Frankfurter Buchmesse 2014 - Ken Follett and Margarete von SchwarzkopfKen Follett and Margarete von Schwarzkopf

 Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 - Frankfurter Buchmesse 2014 - Audience listening to Ken FollettPhoto courtesy of the Frankfurt Book Fair

Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 - Frankfurter Buchmesse 2014 - Ken Follett signing books

FrankfurtBookFair2014AllAboutAuthors_6

Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 - Frankfurter Buchmesse 2014 - David Nicholls and Joerg ThadeuszDavid Nicholls and Joerg Thadeusz

Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 - Frankfurter Buchmesse 2014 - David Nicholls presenting Us

Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 - Frankfurter Buchmesse 2014 - David Nicholls