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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Dragon's Curse: Free Days!

Free 12/31-1/4
The beginning of my The Dragon and the Scholar saga, Dragon's Curse, will be free from New Year's Eve through January 4th. If you haven't yet, pick up a copy! If you have, thanks so much! I hoped you liked it and would appreciate if you left a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or both! Also, do you have any friends who like dragons? Maybe send them a free copy!

Click below to see the book on Amazon.
Dragon's Curse (The Dragon and the Scholar Book 1)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Book Quote of the Week

Friday, December 26, 2014

Now Technically a Best Seller!!!

Look what book is at Number One in the "Children's Steampunk" category today! Yep, that's me, with Beggar Magic!

The book is 99 cents through the 28th, so if you want to check out the new YA Steampunk Fantasy by me, H. L. Burke, click the link below and pick up your copy.

Beggar Magic

linked here

Interview with Katharina Gerlach: Author of the Stepmother

What can you tell me about your most recent project?
I'm currently writing a series of fairy tale retellings that are all set in the same world where magic and technology clash. This gives me the freedom to write stories that range from more traditional, magic based tales to steampunk stories. It's a lot of fun, and I get to revisit many of my favorite stories from my youth (be prepared for some rather obscure tales surfacing here and there)

Do you have favorite characters? Do you identify with your characters?
I do have a favorite character in each book, but none of them do I like better than all my other favorite characters. I don't identify with my characters in the way a readers does, it's more that they're parts of me. Some resemble me a lot, others are a negative copy and yet others mirror facets of myself. Of course, I also mix in a good helping of people I observe in the streets, of friends and family and of strangers I see on TV. Hopefully this mix makes my characters come alive as real people (at least that's my intent).

I notice you have works available in German and English. Do you have a preference for which language you write in?
I write in English and translate it back into German. Way back, I did it the other way round and found that the English then sounds quite stilted. We Germans have strange ways of phrasing out sentences with a lot more wriggle room in sentence structure. There's a one page story by Kafka (a very famous German writer, long dead) which is written in a single, comprehensive sentence. That's something I call mastery of the language. ;-)

Does one language or the other lend better to certain sorts of stories?
Very rarely is there a story that refuses to be written in English, but it happens. In that case, I write it in German, sometimes not translating it at all, sometimes re-writing it in English at a later point. But as I saod, it's a very rare occasion.

What is your educational and professional background and how does that affect your writing?
I was born as the daughter of an extremely creative full time mother and a forester father. Does it surprise you that I am writing stories after studying forestry (ending that with a PhD in science)?
Even as a kid I found it annoying when I read fantasy stories with several suns or moons that never had anything to do with the storyline. I mean, even in our world with only one moon and one sun, there are countless cults that are tied to them. How much more so would it be if there really were more of either?
The more science I learned, the more knowledge I amassed about what's possible in the universe and what is not very likely (no one rules out anything completely at this point, after all we can't (yet) travel the universe to verify theories). In my stories, even the fantasy ones, I try to make the worlds believable. So if there are two moons or three suns, it has consequences in my worlds and complicates the lives of my characters (actually, I've only had two suns once, so far, and that was in Paralan's Children).

What inspires you? Do you have any tricks for dealing with writer's block?
Everything – the problem is to decide which interesting fact to read up upon and which to ignore. I can spend ages just amassing more semi-useless knowledge which might make great stories. A day only has 24 hours and most of those are taken up by my family, so I have to make the most of what little time remains. That#s also the reason why I just don't have writer's block. I'm too busy writing. If one project insists on being difficult, I'd write a couple hundred words and then turn to translating some other story, or writing a blog post, or creating a cover, or editing a first draft... There's always too much to do anyway. The only thing I make sure is that I write at least a little bit on the difficult story each day. I hardly ever abandon stories.

If you could enter into the worlds of your stories, would you do so?
Most definitely: YES! I'd love to get to know all the crazy creatures I dream up. Of course, I'd only go if I'm guaranteed to come back out alive. ;-)

Where can we find out more about your work?
The easiest way to keep up with my publishing schedule is by leaving your eMail address with me (you'll get a free eBook as a thank you). Or you can have a look at my amazon page or my homepage. I'm also on Facebook, Pinterest, and (occasionally) on Twitter.

About Katharina
Born and raised German with a generous helping of an adopted Scottish heritage, Katharina started writing at age seven (although she didn't get serious until much later) when the tomboy adventures she lived in her father's forest weren't enough for her imagination any more.
Writing about balloon people, flying hearts, giant spiders, and more was her lifeline to sanity and Real Life™ all through her education. After finishing with a PhD in science, marriage and the start of a beloved but distracting family, she returned to her life-long vocation.
These days, Katharina lives for stolen moments of writing happiness in two languages while juggling her husband, two girls in puberty, a fledgling daughter that just left the house, a dog, and … laundry.

Find her online: Homepage, Facebook, Goodreads and Pinterest

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Christmas Gift for YOU, 99 cent promotion for Beggar Magic!

As a special "post-Christmas" present, Beggar Magic will be available at the bargain price of 99 cents December 26th-28th. Pick up your copy through the link below.
Beggar Magic

Friday, December 19, 2014

Guest posts: Reunion of Souls, by William L. Hahn

Reunion of Souls
With a world in crisis, its heroes reach out to find companions, to take stock for the struggle ahead, and to look beneath the surface at clues that may make the difference between a person’s fame and a nation’s doom.
On the fringe of the cursed Percentalion, Treaman’s adventuring band revives the glory-days of Trainertown, celebrated by all—except themselves—as the hand of destiny. Somewhere in the remote Marble Swords, Sir Renan abandons name and fortune to seek a brotherhood that no one else believes exists. Near the forests north of Shilar, Prince Gareth wrestles with the choice to preserve his honor alone, or rejoin his royal father’s house and in so doing, cause a war between the children of Hope.
Now at the heart of Conar—safest city in the Lands—Solemn Judgement, the Man in Grey, uncovers the gateway to peril; he is thrown among adventurers that include his only friend, the woman who refused to teach him, and a man who has vowed his death, in… Reunion of Souls.

Anteris: A Tale Told Backwards
One thing that greatly impressed me at the start of the Age of Adventure in the Lands of Hope is how painfully young some of the main figures were when they were drawn into danger. Trekelny, the great Stealthic who opened the change in eras around 1992 ADR, was about eighteen at the time and was already something of a legend by 1995 (the date most sages officially use for the end of the Age of Peace). Treaman the Woodsman played a pivotal role in breaking the Percentalion’s curse, and was nineteen in that year. As prince of Shilar, Gareth was just seventeen yet found himself thrust into the midst of tense negotiations between his nation and the nomadic Bordbeyonds across the River Sweeping. And the main character of the epic Judgement’s Tale, Solemn Judgement was probably just fifteen on his landing (his friends declared the night of the 10th of the Tenth month to be his sixteenth birthday, just before he faced off against the liche Wolga Vrule for the first time).
Much of the fate of the Lands rests on the shoulders of those who are hardly adults by our standards today. But most of what we know about this period of history comes from the hand of a scribe younger than all of them: Anteris of Trainertown, who begins to pen the Kingdom Chronicle in 1995 and 1996, was only fourteen years old when the tale began. Yet while Trekelny possesses superlative skill, and Treaman guides a party of adventurers who can protect each other, and even Judgement has his intelligence, resolve and untapped power to call on when needed… Anteris is just the scribe’s apprentice, a youth who dreams of adventure without knowing the reality.
Anteris is a quick study and loves his chores as a scribe’s assistant; Valenthur his master and guardian notes how deftly Anteris can set type, the first instance of “telling a tale backwards”. As on the printed page, so it is for the history of the Lands, Valenthur notes; one must see the entire year first to be sure, then go back to the start and explain what happened. Anteris remembers this in later days, as confused and chaotic events emanate from the Percentalion south of Trainertown where he lives.
When work is through, Anteris loves to run through town to the south gate, where with other children he watches until sunset for any sign of a returning adventurer from the chaos-lands, meanwhile drinking in tales of adventure from a few older veterans. Valenthur frets about his acolyte’s love of heroic deeds, but indulges him out of admiration for his hard work and obedience during work hours. Valenthur writes a pretty dry history, truth be told—things pick up when Anteris takes over the entries late in 1995 (as detailed at the start of The Eye of Kog). Beyond his youthful outlook, Anteris’ style carries a certain authority, though where he could have gained it is not immediately clear. But we are to understand that by early 1996, Anteris at just fourteen years of age is operating the presses and continuing to produce the Kingdom Chronicle, at least for the interim.
Outside of work, Anteris is very fleet of foot, regularly winning the nightly race of apprentices to the south gate. He’s nimble as are many youths his age; they use a form of parkour—taking advantage of existing objects to accelerate and elevate one’s course usually through a man-made environment. Trainertown, once a city of nearly thirty thousand persons, is less than half that size in the present day: empty houses and streets are fair game for running youths to grab poles, rails, sills and more in a mad dash to wherever they need to go. Anteris uses these abilities to help win the races, and they will prove to be life-skills before all is said and done. His good friend Forge, the smith’s apprentice, is not as fast but even more acrobatic, with especially accurate aim and an openly fearless attitude.
Whereas Forge is competitive and brave, Anteris is more a deliberate thinker. He speaks with the imposing itinerant preacher Alaetar on many occasions, learning about astrology and the heroic tales, things his master Valenthur is still reluctant to let him focus on. Anteris is one of the very few people who can see a new star in the heavens, red and menacing, and he keeps this knowledge to himself as he ponders its meaning. He knows a little of the Ancient tongue, so hard to speak and translate, and tries to help Treaman decipher a riddle in the ancient map his party found, without apparent success.
Chiefly it seems that Anteris is a witness to part of history, which suits him to write about it later. He’s right in the front row, in part four of Judgement’s Tale, Clash of Wills, to hear the tangled, horrifying story of Canith and Piree, refugees from the Percentalion. He gets their account in garbled, backwards order as they relay the things which happened most recently first to the attending crowd. But to Anteris, this seems to make sense; like all of us his own experiences come first, while news of others’ deeds will come to his ears later, as he ponders what to write in the chronicle.
And I feel confident as the epic tale continues to unfold, that this bright young lad will unravel many such mysteries, setting them in proper order once he’s experienced them in reverse the first time. Maybe it will help us, to do the same in our own lives.

Will Hahn has been in love with heroic tales since age four, when his father read him the Lays of Ancient Rome and the Tales of King Arthur. He taught Ancient-Medieval History for years, but the line between this world and others has always been thin; the far reaches of fantasy, like the distant past, still bring him face to face with people like us, who have choices to make.
Will didn't always make the right choices when he was young. Any stick or vaguely-sticklike object became a sword in his hands, to the great dismay of his five sisters. Everyone survived, in part by virtue of a rule forbidding him from handling umbrellas, ski poles, curtain rods and more.
Will has written about the Lands of Hope since his college days (which by now are also part of ancient history). His current epic is Judgement’s Tale; parts one and two, Games of Chance and Strength of Conviction came out in 2014 and part three, Reunion of Souls is available starting December 26th.
Will’s Weirdly Whimsical Website is where he posts news about upcoming releases and blogs about writing, classic fantasy works you’ve never read and the unique photo-based series “It Figures”.
The Lands of Hope Facebook page contains a chronology of the Lands.

Will’s Tales of Hope are available at many online retailers:


COMING DECEMBER 26th! Reunion of Souls- Despair's threat makes strange companions of the Children of Hope. But do they know enough as they move closer to the heart of danger? Part Three of Judgement's Tale

Games of Chance- As a dread curse worsens over the Land of One Hundred Castles, an orphaned youth from across the sea must find his way in a strange world. Part One of Judgement's Tale
Strength of Conviction
- The plot of Despair moves closer to fruition, but the present-day heroes of the Lands are scattered far, their clues few and cryptic. Part Two of Judgement's Tale

Will Hahn at Smashwords:

The Plane of Dreams- A band of adventuring companions finds their greatest challenge comes when the quest has ended. See the trailer!
The Ring and the Flag-  Captain Justin races to save a rebellious barony from itself, with men who think he isn't worthy to lead. Shards of Light Part One
Fencing Reputation- The renowned Stealthic Feldspar tries to unearth a dangerous artifact, and still keep his identity hidden, perhaps even from himself. Shards of Light Part Two
Three Minutes to Midnight- If Trekelny is to steal the temple's greatest treasure, he must take the love of its High Priestess with him. A brief tale of the early days.
The Book of Tales- A short illustrated tome of legends from the distant past of the Lands, featuring magical beasts and heroes.

The Compendium of the Lands and the Maps of Hopeare freely available at his site.

The Lands of Hope Facebook Page has a chronology of events in the Lands.

Will's Blog Thoughts- Including tales of a happy childhood (which continues), hopes for a writer's journey, and analysis of Classics You've Never Read

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Claire and Santa

Today we went to the library just to go to the library and found out it was Santa Day at story time. Coryn loudly announced that Santa wasn't real, but I told her not to ruin it for little kids and she subsided. However, Claire had the oddest reaction to the whole thing. I know Claire has seen Santa in books and on television, but we haven't exactly told her about him, and it is so hard to peg what she knows and doesn't know (Claire does not really talk. Probably because she almost always has a pacifier in her mouth.).
Still the moment she saw the guy in the big red suit, Claire was entranced. She sat quietly through story time, which is normally not something she can do. Claire is one of those kids who likes to turn the pages and point at things in the book and do all sorts of other things not allowed in group story times. Today, however, she glued herself onto my lap and just stared as Santa read a story. Then when kids started to get on his lap, she edged towards the front of the room.
When her turn came she just sat on his lap and soaked it in. She didn't talk. She didn't act frightened or excited. She just chilled on Santa's lap for a minute or two while he talked to her about bringing her presents for Christmas. Then she got down and went about her day.
I don't really care one way or another about Santa. It wasn't a tradition growing up, but I'm not opposed to the idea either. I just kind of let Coryn make up her own mind which led to her being vaguely interested (when she was Claire's age she called him Ho Ho and would point him out in pictures) followed by a swift realization that he wasn't a real thing. Claire can be standoffish with strangers, but for some reason, Santa was an exception. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ranking Excitement

Just a quick YAY! But Beggar Magic made #5 in its subcategory on release day.  

Pretty sweet, huh?

You can purchase the book on Amazon through the link below:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Release Day Nerves

I'll probably check my sales page 200 times today. It's too early to look for reviews, but sales . . .I'm hopeful. Anyway, here I am drinking coffee instead  of cleaning the bathrooms, but it doesn't matter.


Thanks to my advanced readers, the book already has five reviews on Goodreads and one on Amazon, and so far it has been well received. I loved having advanced readers. It just felt so "professional". 

You can purchase the ebook through the link below (it takes the hard copy a while to show up on Amazon).

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I'm going to answer questions!

Here's a video announcement but to summarize, I'll be answering reader questions in quick videos here and there up which will be released during the Beggar Magic release day party. You can ask me in the comments of this post or the above video. You can also ask on Facebook.

Also, sign up to attend the Beggar Magic facebook party and you'll  get special behind the scenes events and other goodies (including some cool prizes).

Monday, December 1, 2014

New Review: Book Troll's Real Escape Book Blog

There's a wonderful advanced review of Beggar Magic up on the Book Troll's Real Escape Book Blog today. Check it out and leave some comment love for the reviewers!

Beggar Magic will be available in Paperback and eBook on December 9th. You can pre-order through the link below.
Beggar Magic

linked here and here and here

Update: Christmas is Coming Edition

So to start off, I won NaNoWriMo in that I finished my 50k word count.

However, I'm in no way finished with Lands of Ash. I'm not even close. Usually I come out of November with 50k and a finished novel, or at least an almost finished novel. I passed 50k and I think I'm roughly at the novel's halfway point as far as plot progression and what not goes. I've never written anything this long before. I like it.

I took a little bit of a break when I hit 50k and plan to slowly start up again writing to  the end of the piece, but with Christmas and the release of Beggar Magic coming up quickly, I'm going to pace myself. Honestly, the only reason I finished NaNo this year was the shirt. I really wanted that shirt.
See? It has a dragon on it!

There was a part of me about halfway  through that thought, "You know, I've proven I can do this two years in a row. I have also proven I can regularly produce work without the pressure of this event. Why am I trying to push myself to put out double my  usual word count every day? I should just not and rest on my laurels."

And then I saw the shirt. I can't resist dragons, and it would be unethical  to buy the shirt if I didn't actually win, so I pushed onward.

Anyway, that's done. Now I have other things up coming, including Christmas.
Being a somewhat obsessive online shopper, I'm done with that (and have been done with it for a while. I generally start thinking of Christmas shopping around Halloween), but nothing is decorated and won't be for a while because  of remodels of various degrees.

Matt's been finishing the living room/dining room floor so we had Thanksgiving in the kitchen, which for a family of four wasn't so bad. It's almost done
but we are planning to also paint it before we put up the tree and what not, so no decorations for another couple of weeks. We're going to be right up next to Christmas. I'll get a few smaller things out for the kitchen and family room (we were seduced by the low property rates in our area into buying a house with way too many rooms to clean. Seriously, I want to live in a two room cabin next time), but the tree and most of the fun stuff is still in the garage at this point.

The girls brought home these three beauties today, so we have some crafting planned. I'm torn between painting them and covering them in birdseed.
Also the question of "How many days left 'til Christmas?" was starting to  get really old so I made this chain with a paperlink for each day remaining. There's a small Christmas activity (bake cookies, watch a Christmas movies, give the neighbors a gift) on each link.

So what else is going on. . . Claire is finally showing some interest in potty training and it has been equal parts amusing and frustrating.
About half the Halloween candy is gone, but it is mostly the stuff no one likes like twizzlers and laffy taffy left.
I've been messing around with different promotion types. I still need likes for my thunderclaps.
If you want to help out this one supports my Free Day promotion for Dragon's Curse and this one does a release day shout out for Beggar Magic. 
Oh! And I'm really excited about Beggar Magic which is releasing in 8 days! You can join the Facebook launch party here.
Pre-orders have been lower for Beggar Magic than they were for Dragon's Bride, but I am hoping this just means more people will buy it on the actual release day. If you do want to pre-order you can by  clicking the link below.
Beggar Magic

Anyway, Merry Christmas and I'll be checking in with you again soon!