My Patreon Page – How You Can Easily Support Me

Patreon and link

It’s been a while since I created my Patreon page, but I finally decided what to do with it:

I’m giving you stories before I publish them, and I’m posting updates about what I’m working on. I tried posting what I wrote every day, and that worked only as long as I was steadily writing one novel at a time.

I’m no longer doing that. I’m jumping between stories, between chapters, between everything. Since I finished the Wolf series, my writing has become chaotic, as I’m trying to find something new to focus on. Apologies also for… some mental health breaks.

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My Brand New Online Bookstore

Bookstore blog post illustration

Yes, that’s right. I just finished setting up an online bookstore via PayHip where you can buy books directly from me. Right now, it only has six books (my Winds and Pillars), but I’ll be adding more in the next few weeks.

Setting it all up wasn’t entirely easy, although there were plenty of good guides and help files. With everything to do, it took me about a week to get it all done. Some of it was really tricky, such as adding a subdomain to my DNS files.

Why my own bookstore?

If you’ve followed me or even just looked at my books and the links, you already know that I sell through a lot of stores, such as Amazon, Apple, Kobo, B&N and even Tolino. Among authors this is called “being wide”.

I never liked to keep all my eggs in just one basket (which in this case would be called “Amazon”). That means I’m foregoing a few perks that Amazon only offers to those authors who work exclusively through them.

Creating my own bookstore takes me even “wider”, if you forgive the pun. It means that readers can buy directly from me, giving me a little more money per sale than the bigger stores or libraries (yes, my books are also in library systems).

Best of all, I don’t have to wait two or three months to get the money I earned through the sales, unlike with all the other stores.

How does the bookstore work?

It’s really simple, actually, because it’s just an online store. You click on a book, and then you can buy it (or download it if it’s free). Payment is through credit card (Stripe) or through PayPal. Easy enough.

I went with a slightly more complicated option for fulfillment, because in the end, it’s easier for everyone involved. Let me explain:

I use BookFunnel to deliver my eBooks (and in the future, my audio-books). They have a whole help desk to help you, my reader, if something goes wrong. Or if you can’t figure out how to get the darn eBook to your Kindle (or other eReader). Yes, you can get any eBook you buy from me to your Kindle, and it’s easy peasy.

If you buy a book from my store, you get to download a PDF with instructions, but you’ll also receive an email from BookFunnel with the download options for the eBook. In addition, the book will always be in your very own BookFunnel library, just in case your computer crashes and you lose all your data.

Where can I find that bookstore?

Simple. I added the link to my books menu, but I’ll also dump it into this post. Here you go:

Hannah’s Bookstore

I’m trying to keep it clean and easy to navigate. Fortunately, PayHip does offer nice ways of organizing the products.

If you are missing a book of mine that you really want to get – let me know. Write a comment, drop me an email, and I’ll do my best to add it as fast as I can. For now, I’m working my way through my series, basically in order of how well they sell. My short stories will probably be last. (But as I said, I’m flexible.)

Unfortunately, I cannot add my store link to those wonderful Books2Read Universal links. I did ask, but it’s just not in the cards. So please, bookmark my store page if you intend to use it.

If you’d rather buy from a big store, don’t feel bad. I’m still earning money, and you can find all my books right here: Hannah’s Universal Book Link. I do understand that it can be much more convenient.

Not a bookstore – the newsletter not-a-pop-up

So that’s it for today, but if you feel like never missing a new release, or any other big news about my books, consider signing up to my newsletter through this form. I send it out once a month (unless I have really big news or a sale). Oh, and you get the Ember Tale, stories about my little red dragon familiar that are exclusive to the newsletter.

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February 2024 Progress Report

Decoration for the Progress Report February 2024

Image shows a pond, with bare trees on the shore, rhododendron in the foreground and the spire of a church in the far background.

In this progress report, I have quite a bit of good news for you. First of all, I am finally feeling better. I’ve done a lot of admin stuff – still some ways to go, but the really difficult things are done.

I’m developing some new habits to keep my mind in a positive state, and it’s making quite a difference. I really hope I can keep that going. But let’s dive into all the other news first!

Winds and Pillars Progress Report

Sky Falls is out!

I’ll repeat the description, even though I already posted it last month. But hey, no need to click back, so here you go:

A daring escape. An unlikely ally. A wicked betrayal.

When the day of his sacrifice draws near, Sky Falcon has nothing left to lose. Daring the wrath of the Priests, he escapes through a clever application of his magic, taking the love of his life with him.

Together, they hatch a desperate and daring plan: After escaping the Holy Empire through different routes, they vow to reunite near Jungle Fortress in the south.

On his own, Sky makes an unfortunate mistake which leads him down the road to doom. Can he escape once more or will he find himself bound on top of a Pyramid, after all?

“Sky Falls” takes you on yet another intense and fast-paced ride through the world of the Winds and Pillars, with familiar characters lending a hand.

If you adore being sucked into a tale of magic, adventure, love and battle, you will devour the second book of the Pillars of the Empire by Hannah Steenbock.

And yeah, I’m not above giving you a purchase link, either (ebook all stores, print from Amazon):

Grab Sky Falls here!

Of course, I’m already writing the next book, Sun Burns. I’m 25k in, so that’s about half-way, and he’s about to sneak out of the Holy Empire. And get into trouble. (What else is new about my characters?)

Wolf Shifter Progress Report

I will admit I haven’t done much since the release of A Wolf’s Christmas. Yes, I know the next book up will be A Wolf’s Hacker, and I already know Shane and Dylan, their backgrounds and quite a bit of the plot. I’ve written a few scenes, and if you have read my Wolf series, you already met Shane – he’s one of the villains in A Wolf’s Peril. Here, he gets his own book and a redemption arc.

Right now, Sun wants my attention, but I promise, I’ll get back to Shane and Dylan. And I have plenty more ideas for more shifters, including Mustangs. I hope I’ll get to them soon.

Penumbra Progress Report

Okay, there is awesome progress to report, because I bought covers! Yes, that’s right. I spotted an insane deal, and I have covers for the first three books.

And the cover for “Lion’s Battle” has already inspired a plot point – now I know how Leander’s dark hair actually turned white and why. I also know where they get their leather jackets. I love it when that happens.


I really hope you like them as much as I do. I saw these and simply had to grab them. The designer is James from GoOnWrite.

Life Progress Report

I started doing something that I call “Bed Yoga”, very firmly tongue in cheek. It’s basically just tightening the muscles in a body part for 15-20 seconds, and then relaxing – and feeling that relaxation. (Yes, I stole a page from Jacobson, if you know that kind of thing.)

It’s having amazing results. I’m such a slouch that even doing so little has been improving my muscles, I’m sleeping better and my tense shoulders are easing up. Feel free to grab the idea.

In addition, I’m working hard on breaking my limiting beliefs on being happy. (Yes. I had a therapy practice. I know how those work. If you want to know, I’m doing the tapping thing on those.) And I’m seeing results there, as well. It feels really good.

Enter Ember! (Not a progress report.)

You know this part. It’s where I tell you about my newsletter instead of installing a pop-up, simply because I hate pop-ups.

It goes out once a month. It has updates about me, some book deals and of course, the Ember Tale, which you cannot get anywhere else, not here nor on Patreon. If you want to have it drop into your mailbox, subscribe below.

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Sky Falls – the new, powerful book 6 in the Winds and Pillars Series

Yes, it’s true! Sky Falls, Pillars of the Empire Book 2, is finally out and available in all stores, with print via Amazon.

I will say that Sky is also a character dear to my heart, at the same level as West. He’s just so much fun, so curious, so sweet. In fact, he’s pretty much a scientist in mind, he loves to experiment and try out new things.

Of course, once he escapes the Sacred Square, he does get a little overwhelmed with all the new things he has to learn.

Once again, Taire Morrigan has created an awesome cover for me and the series. I really think it captures the essence of Sky – all of his power in the flash of lighting, but also his intelligence and quick understanding of situations.

For this book, I also had a wonderful beta-reader. I have to thank them for catching quite a few errors and typos – so if there are any left, you have to blame me for them.

I really hope you’ll like Sky Falls as much as I do. And well… don’t start this story in the evening because you may not get a lot of sleep that night.

But see for yourself!

Sky Falls cover

Description for Sky Falls:

A daring escape. An unlikely ally. A wicked betrayal.

When the day of his sacrifice draws near, Sky Falcon has nothing left to lose. Daring the wrath of the Priests, he escapes through a clever application of his magic, taking the love of his life with him.

Together, they hatch a desperate and daring plan: After escaping the Holy Empire through different routes, they vow to reunite near Jungle Fortress in the south.

On his own, Sky makes an unfortunate mistake which leads him down the road to doom. Can he escape once more or will he find himself bound on top of a Pyramid, after all?

“Sky Falls” takes you on yet another intense and fast-paced ride through the world of the Winds and Pillars, with familiar characters lending a hand.

What people say about Sky Falls:

“Just plowed through Sky Falls. Thank you for this wonderful book! It calmed me when I needed calming (even though a part of me wants to see those priests BURN).”

Links for Sky Falls:

Amazon | Google | Apple | All other stores | Print

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Progress Report January 2024

A view in the park, showing ice building on the pond. Some snow is on the ground, the whole image creates a sense of bleak winter.

Illustration for the progress report.

There is plenty to talk about in this progress report, even though January has been a frazzling month so far.

I did spend the rest of December with my sister, which has been a balm and a recovery period for me. I lazed around quite a lot, read a lot, did an editing pass for Sky (more on that in a moment) and actually ate a lot healthier than I generally do at home. I’m trying to carry that over into life here in the north.

Winds and Pillars Progress Report

I’m still putting the final touches on Sky, after my awesome beta reader has discovered quite a few more typos and pointed out a few sentences that weren’t clear. I’m so grateful for that! (Incidentally, if you find typos in my books, I love hearing about them. Especially the ebooks are easy to fix, but even print isn’t hard to do, thanks to Atticus, the formatting software I use.)

I still need to commission the cover – did I mention that January has been frazzling – but I’m fairly hopeful I can get Sky published by the end of the month. Here’s the description for his book:

A daring escape. An unlikely ally. A wicked betrayal.

When the day of his sacrifice draws near, Sky Falcon has nothing left to lose. Daring the wrath of the Priests, he escapes through a clever application of his magic, taking the love of his life with him.

Together, they hatch a desperate and daring plan: After escaping the Holy Empire through different routes, they vow to reunite near Jungle Fortress in the south.

On his own, Sky makes an unfortunate mistake which leads him down the road to doom. Can he escape once more or will he find himself bound on top of a Pyramid, after all?

“Sky Falls” takes you on yet another intense and fast-paced ride through the world of the Winds and Pillars, with familiar characters lending a hand.

If you adore being sucked into a tale of magic, adventure, love and battle, you will devour the second book of the Pillars of the Empire by Hannah Steenbock.

Wolves Progress Report

A Wolf’s Christmas is doing nicely, but I haven’t seen any reviews yet. That’s fine, I’m sure a few people grabbed it and never found the time to read it over the holidays.

However, if you enjoyed the book, it would be awesome to let people know what you thought about it. Reviews make such a huge difference for visibility.

If you haven’t read it yet, well, here’s the link. Check it out – it takes place in Germany!

A Wolf’s Christmas in all stores.

I already know the next Wolf book and have started writing it. It’s going to be called A Wolf’s Hacker – and the main character is Shane. Yes, the same guy who had the zoo in A Wolf’s Peril. He has a new life in Ashton, but lives in shame about everything he did. It takes danger to one of the few friends he has to draw him out of his funk. I also know the basic plot, but haven’t found the urgency to write it yet.

Help me out? Do you want another wolf book now?

Penumbra Progress Report

I’ve stalled out a bit on the vampires, alas. I’m shifting their story into the near future, and worldbuilding that has been fun. A lot can happen in 20+ years, after all. I have rearranged our world quite a bit, and yes, the climate crisis is getting worse.

A few scenes are done, I’m reworking them to fit the year 2042. It’s not easy, because I have to create my own version of a future that’s very much uncertain right now. I hope I can tell you more in the next progress report.

I hope to turn this into hope punk, but first, I need to unfrazzle my mind.

Life Progress Report

Life has been throwing me curveballs that I’m trying to solve, mitigate and turn into something positive. However, my little autistic brain doesn’t do well with quite a bit of this stuff.

You see, I react badly to loud noise. And we had two very noise, honking, rumbling protests where farmers ran their tractors through town, intimidating everyone.

In very good news, the three ladies who won a signed copy of South Breaks can now expect their packages. It did take me an entire week to sort out packaging and shipping labels (I hate websites that time out *just* when you hit the buy button), but it’s all done now. Phew.

And next time I persuade myself to offer signed copies, please hit me with a 2×4, someone.

Next week, I’ll have to change to a new version of MailerLite. Sadly, that will kill the archive, which means you won’t be able to go back and read all the old Ember tales anymore.

Would you like me to pull them all together in a little ebook? Let me know!

And talking about Ember, here she comes:

The Ember Pop-up

As usual, this is not really part of the progress report, but instead, the monthly reminder to subscribe to my newsletter.

You’ll get an email on every 13th of the month, with this writing report, more book news, sales offers, and of course, the Ember Tale. Just fill in the form below.

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Progress Report December 2023

December Progress Report 2023
Snow days in the park.

I have great news in this progress report: I published a new book this month!

But first things first:

I didn’t finish NaNoWriMo. The Wolf story ended before I could reach the 50k words, and that was just fine with me. I wanted a Christmas novella, after all, and that’s what I got. I put the rest of the month into editing and formatting that tale.

Which leads me directly to the…

Wolves Progress Report

A Wolf’s Christmas came out on December 2nd (depending a little on the sales channel).

Cover of A Wolf's Christmas, part of the Wolves progress report

It was great fun to write, seriously. Thing is, I deliberately set the story in a small town in Germany that I know (not really that well, but Google maps help).

I also used the opportunity to show off some German Christmas traditions, as festive decoration of the story. And of course, Fred and Mark have a problem to solve and get into trouble – like all my Wolves.

They do good work, as always, and yes, there is a romance subplot. How could there not be, considering it’s a Christmas novella?

Here’s the link if you feel like buying the book: A Wolf’s Christmas in all stores.

And yes, I’m still writing the story of Shane and Dylan, A Wolf’s Hacker. I do think I can manage to get it all done and published next year.

And no, I’m not forgetting all the other shifters. I wish I could write faster, because I love all those ideas.

Winds and Pillars Progress Report

Okay, not writing those right now (we’ll get to that soon), but I have plans to edit Sky Falls during my Christmas vacation. It’s basically written, and just needs cleaning up and editing a few bits and bobbles. I have high hopes I can get it published in January (February at the latest).

Sky is also a character I fell in love with (nothing special, I love them all), and I really hope you’ll like him, as well. And I can promise cameos by other beloved characters.

Sun’s story is also almost done, and I already know quite a few things about Moon. So rest assured, I will finish this series.

Lit RPG Progress Report

Yes, that’s one of those series I’ve kept hidden on my backburner. It’s called The Mengarian Conspiracy and it’s pretty much a tale of a party of adventurers having, well, adventures, doing good and eventually (no idea how long or how many books that’ll take) uncovering a conspiracy to murder the current king and queen. I have three finished books, but I’m being held back by the (always rather stressful) search for a cover designer I can actually afford.

In very good news, I have a beta-reader for book 1 (who already told me they like it), so maybe I can figure out the cover problem. There might soon be more progress to report.

New Vampire Series Progress Report

It was bound to happen. I mean, I’ve been reading vampire books for a while now, and Writer Brain does read along. I have a series name already – Penumbra – and I have a few main characters and a few side characters. I also have titles (which might change slightly) for four books. There will probably be more, with the MCs changing in every book, in the Romance series fashion. That also means the books will be stand-alones, but tied in with the other books.

A Lion’s Battle
A Warrior’s Dream
A Breath of Spring
A Librarian’s Wish

It won’t be the classic vampire stuff, instead I thought of a twist. You see, my vampires are actually Children of the Sun and they fight the Hunters of the Night. They were created to defend humanity from evil, and to be reminded of that, they need to feed on blood. They also have some of the classic vampire abilities (strength, speed, fast healing), while their foes have other classic vampire features (can’t stand sunlight, turn into bats, not photos or mirror images). Oh, and Old Souls also matter.

Writing Book 1 now and having much fun with it. At least I’m back to writing every day, even if the word count isn’t entirely impressive.

Life Progress Report

Two words: Daylight Lamp.

As long as I can remember to turn it on in my mornings, it does make a huge difference in how I feel during the day. I definitely battle with SAD, and let me tell you, the days in Northern Germany are DARK in winter. (And right now, we’re having few sunny days. Can’t wait for the Winter Solstice.

I’m definitely looking forward to the Christmas break from the day job. Also seeing family, which is always nice.

November was a dreadful month for sales, but December is coming along nicely so far. And somehow, seeing sales and the occasional review really makes me happy. It is a validation in a way, and a relief that people do like my books.

Ember Progress Report

Well, no. This is just your usual reminder that you can get my news through the newsletter I send out every month on the 13th. It has my book and writing news, it has opportunities to grab other books and it has the Ember Tale. There is no other way to get those.

Sign up here:

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Progress Report November 2023

Progress Report November 2023

Image shows a pond in a park, with a big tree framing it to the left and leaves on the right. At the other side of the pond trees show off fall colors, underneath a blue sky with thin white clouds.
The park where I like to walk – taken today.

I’ll start this progress report with the best news ever: I’m writing again and I’m having a lot of fun with it!

A big part of that is NaNoWriMo. I’ve done it several times, and it usually is enough external motivation to get me writing again. I failed it last year, and I’ll probably fail it this year, but it still is an incentive to write more than I have been.

Because this year has been rather frustrating with writing. I’ve had years like that before, where nothing really drew me into stories. And I still have that now. It’s hard doing it all alone, after all.

I’m trying to find author friends, trying to establish connections here in town. I’ve failing at that, as well. But at least, the ideas are coming again.

More about that below, in the individual progress reports.

Winds and Pillars Progress Report

You probably saw that I finally got Earth Splits published. I’m very much relieved, even though I had to do a quick fix to the epub when a friend told me about an unedited chapter. That was embarrassing. Fortunately, they caught it before I published the print book. Phew.

Sky Burns is next, and his story is mostly done, it just needs some cleaning and possibly filling in some blanks. I’m definitely hoping I can get it published in January next year. And just like all the others, Sky is special and dear to my heart. He even gives West a run for his money.

I’m still in the process of writing Sun (Burns). Sun is… precious in a very different way, and where he ends up was as much a surprise to me as it was for him. I’m learning about a very different aspect of history through him and his adventure, and that’s wonderful. I think I’ll be able to share his story in spring.

Even Moon has already said hi. (Moon Rises). She’s quite a character, cocky, strong, determined and often wrong. It’ll take her a while to learn to temper her arrogance and admit that the world isn’t quite as she thought it was. And I already know she’ll meet someone quite fascinating – and related to a side char in one of the other books. Yes, I’m being mean and won’t tell you anytime soon.

Wolves Progress Report

This is where I have some exciting news. You see, I’m racing to finish A Wolf’s Christmas in time to release it, well, before Christmas. That’s what I’m writing for NaNo, and I’m about halfway done. Mark and Fred have also become dear to me (guess it happens with all my MCs, or I can’t write them. And in this book, you’re getting a taste of Germany.

Shane and Dylan have been pushed back, but I think I’ll be able to finish their story in time for a release in early spring, between Sky and Sun.

Because I have a lot of plans for the world my Wolves live in. LOTS.

Shifter World Progress Report

You see, when I started writing NaNo, Writer Brain took that as a signal to shower me with all the story ideas. And I mean ALL. I’m serious.

I already started the first story in a spin-off series I’ll call Mustangs of the West. Yep, those will be stories about horse shifters. Don’t be surprised, you know West. I couldn’t let him be the only one, okay?

So “A Mustang’s Dream” will be the first, and while I’m still looking for a name for the MMC, I already know where they live – out in Oregon, close to plenty of Herd Management Areas. That gives me plenty of opportunities for them to run in the desert.

But that’s not all. Writer Brain also showed me a Tiger shifter who has been kidnapped and needs to be rescued – and he might be part of the Shifters of the North spin-off. That will feature big creatures from the northern hemisphere, bears, lynxes, maybe moose. Not sure yet, but that is definitely a plot kernel I want to explore.

Even that isn’t all, though.

You see, I finally found an origin myth for my Wolves, and while I won’t spoil more just yet, I already have a name for that third spin-off series: Wolves of the Past. That will be alternate history, and yes, it’ll come with a lot of research. So much fun.

Life Progress Report

Life is not… an area where I’m making a lot of progress.

Loneliness is still getting me, I find it difficult to get everything done that should be done, and right now, it seems that making RL friends here in town is beyond me. I have days when self-care is hard.

And I’m being open about it because authors are real people, and we’re more than just the books we put out. I managed, I’m independent, I’ll carry on, but it can be hard, and that does impact how much I can write on a given day. If my energy goes into holding the big black dog at bay, it’s not going into my stories.

I suppose that’s a roundabout way of apologizing that I haven’t published more this year.

Social Media Progress Report

I’m starting to move more and more into the Fediverse. I’ve been on Mastodon for a year, and it’s quickly become my favorite place on the web. I just added a Lemmy community – partially because the enshittification of Facebook is building and I don’t know for how much longer I can stomach it. I love my fan group there, but I’m building one away from commercial internet.

So now there are Hannah’s Dragonriders in the Fediverse, and you can actually follow that message board thingie (it does look ugly, sorry) from Mastodon, just put this into the search bar: !

Newsletter – Not a Progress Report

And as usual, this is your not-Popup asking you to sign up to my Newsletter, just so you won’t miss any release or other important news. It comes out once a month, on the 13th.

I compile writing news, book recommendations, links to book deals and – some people say this is the best part – an Ember story. Ember is my little red dragon familiar, and she has an adventure in every newsletter. It’s the only way you can read it.

So… sign up below!

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Progress Report October 2023

Progress Report decorative image

Image shows a green valley with rocky slopes, under a nice blue sky with white clouds.

Decorative Image created with ArtBreeder

I actually have quite a few nice things to tell you in this Progress Report. I’m feeling better, I’m writing more – and I actually published another book! Yes, I finally got Earth Splits out, more about that in the Winds and Pillars report section. And there is more news about the Wolves.

In addition, I’m letting you in on some deeper thoughts I’m having that are not necessarily writing related. But I’m a human being living in this world, and I do have thoughts and ideas about that. Humor me, and if you have similar thoughts, feel free to share them with me.

Oh, and in even funnier news, it seems that what I write (hopeful stuff, repressed people rising up, the good guys winning, happy or at least good endings) actually has an overarching genre name: Noblebright.

To be honest, I’m not sure it’s really a good fit. That name makes me think of a Prince on a white horse, and well… Zell is not a prince, although West could be. Right? And Dorelle rides a dragon, so she’s close.

Mindset Progress Report

I’m seriously better. I feel excited about writing again, I’m very happy with the new release and I have finally found a way to deal with my exhaustion. It’s so simple that… it feels silly.

You see, I’m just making sure I sleep more.

It’s not really that easy, though. It does mean I need to consciously do my evening posts in social media earlier. It means no last minute writing, and that in turn means planning writing times earlier in the day. I’m not really good with that yet, but I am doing more morning sprints. Which gets me word count, which in turn makes me feel better.

Yes, I’m trying to turn this into an upward spiral. Here’s hoping.

Winds and Pillars Progress Report

It finally happened! I finally published Earth Splits! It went live on October 8th.

I’m still working on the print edition (it’s coming, very soon), but the ebook is out and available in all stores. I even fixed a very stupid mistake today (thanks to a friend pointing it out to me over on Mastodon), and the new version is live practically everywhere already.

So go and grab it: Earth Splits (pick your favorite store)

There’s even a first review up already for Earth, and it’s a lovely 5-star one. (On Amazon COM, if you want to check it out.)

There is more news. Sky Falls is about 90% done, and I really hope I can get it to you in January. I’m also already writing Sun Burns (50% done), and I know who Moon is, who stars in Moon Rises, obviously.

I even got a really sweet idea for the end of Spirit Sings (Book 9) through a post in my reader group on FB (Hannah’s Dragonriders). There might be a dragon in that universe after all. (*smug grin*)

Wolves Progress Report

Yes, I am having fun writing A Wolf’s Christmas, although I really need to push a little and write faster. At least I do have a nice little plot for Mark and Fred to survive. (Mwuahahahah.)

I’m also basing them in a little town I actually know (and which is close to the location of one plot point I definitely have to hit): Duderstadt.

Yes, yes, I know, who cares? But it really tickles my funny bone to use a location that’s close to my childhood home and that I have visited more than a few times. It’ll take a few rounds with Google Maps to pick a home for them. It’s also a beautiful town with a nice town wall and several really old buildings. The old town hall even has a dungeon.

Even so, it’s quite a switch from the Pillars – most of all because the Wolves are written in first person POV, while the Pillars use third person. I really messed that up in the first chapter and had to rewrite it. And then I threw out the second chapter and wrote something else instead… it’s going well, as you can see.

Life Progress Report

Well, life. The world isn’t getting any better these days, and I am thinking a lot about what needs to be done and what I can contribute.

Simply said, a LOT needs to be done, and I cannot contribute much, to be honest. Not a good feeling.

But – just let me throw this out here, I need to put it somewhere – we really need to find a better way to handle things than blatant capitalism. We need to stop using money as the yardstick for success in everything.

Because… we’re human beings living on a planet filled with many other living beings. We need to put the well-being of ourselves and our environment (including all creatures and plants) first. Our very survival depends on it. This is becoming more and more obvious. And more money in fewer hands definitely is NOT the solution.

But I don’t even have a name for that new paradigm, so how can I talk about it?

The name needs to include that care for all living things, a holistic, all-encompassing need for the well-being of everything and everyone around us. Feel free to comment if you have any idea. (Any comment bashing this idea will be deleted, don’t bother.)

The Ember Not-Popup (not a Progress Report, obviously)

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Progress Report September 2023

Progress Report September 2023

Image shows an enchanted forest, dark with some lush green in the center.

Decorative Image created with ArtBreeder

For this progress report it matters that August was a fairly busy month. At least September promises to be a little slower (but I do need to catch up on very important admin stuff these weeks). I have more ideas about my stories, specifically Sun (more about that below) and the Wolves.

I also have a new book out. There will definitely be more about that below, as well.

Mindset Progress Report

Most nights, I’m doing a nice visualization which helps me to sleep and which actually puts me into a good mood prior to falling asleep. IF – and that’s the big thing – I actually do it. I’m also making a better effort to do more walking.

You see, I have a deal with my sister that I walk down to the Aquarium once a week and send her a picture of the seals that live there. It’s a distance that tends to get me 10k steps. I know walking is good for me. I’m really trying to get back to my morning walks in the park, as well.

And I’m getting in more walks after my office days, in an attempt to make those less stressful.

It seems to help somewhat, because Writer Brain is actually giving me ideas again. And when I actually I get into writing, the words that come out are good.

Winds and Pillars Progress Report

For once, I can actually report progress. That does feel good!

I finished Earth (book 5). I finally wrapped my mind around the big reunion at the end of the tale (not saying more, because spoilers). Now I just have to clean up the final chapters, get it formatted, tell my suffering cover designer how many pages it came out to – and then I can publish it!

I really want to get it done before the end of September.

I’m also getting very nice ideas for the climax of Sun (book 7). The poor guy will get traumatized – but it will be so worth it! Yes, I have big plans for Sun and he will become central to the big plot in big ways.

And since Sky (book 6) is pretty much done already, I really hope I can get Sky published before the end of the year. If not, definitely January.

Wolves Progress Report

There is some news about the Wolves, too!

I’ve decided to change the order of writing the new Wolf books. You see, one of them is set to take place in Germany, A Wolf’s Christmas. It’s the story of Mark and Fred, who will get into some nasty trouble over here (not of their making).

But because time is rushing towards the end of the year and I do want to get it published in time for the holidays, I had to push A Wolf’s Hacker back to next year. Much as I love Shane and Dylan, they’ll just have to wait.

In fact, I have started writing A Wolf’s Christmas and I’ll share the first two chapters on Patreon very soon.

Publishing Progress Report

Der Ritter von Lar Elien

I do have a new book out! I repeat, I have a new book out.

Sadly, for most of you, it’s in German.

You see, my mastermind friend nudged me to actually go and publish all those lovely books that are lounging on my hard drive. I tend to keep them there until a series is mostly finished, but that’s not really a smart idea.

And since the first three books of my old, old Germany epic fantasy tale are basically finished and because I can end the series there if nobody buys it, I decided to just get them out.

They are certainly not my best work. Those stories were the first novels I ever wrote, they meander a bit, they are loooong and they are not as crisp and tight as my English-language ones.

Even so, Andert is very close to my heart, after all he was my first ever main character. Do check out Der Ritter von Lar Elien, if you read German. It’s very much a book of my heart. (And it earned me representation by a literary agency for some years…)

Short Story Progress Report

It’s dead, Jim.

Definitely on the backburner, now that I have Pillars and Wolves to take care of. I love my LitRPG series and really want to get it out, but honestly, that’s something for next year. I even found a cover designer I’d love to use for that series, but I haven’t dared to ask him about his prices yet.

But hey, if you want to see a meandering series of quests and adventures with a lively cast of a Fighter, a Mage, a Goblin, a Bard, an Assassin, a Druid and assorted pets, tell me so. They are fun, I know, but… energy is hard to come by these days.

Life Progress Report

Life is settling down into fall. The Equinox is near, and even though we had a nasty heatwave last week, temperatures are going down, the days are definitely shortening and I have to wrap my mind around going into the dark part of the year.

Usually, I don’t mind that much. I love candles, I love reading in my armchair snuggled in with a blanket, I love hot chocolate – but the loneliness is worse during those long nights. So I’m looking at activities that might actually get me out of the house once or twice a week. (No! Office days don’t count!)

Ember Progress Report

Yep. The inevitable newsletter non-popup.

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Progress Report August 2023

Progress Report August 2023 decorative image.

It shows a mountain lake with dark, billowing clouds overhead and strange fir trees growing on the hills towering over the lake.

Decorative Image created through ArtBreeder.

In this Progress Report for August, I’m actually a bit more hopeful than last month. I’ve been taking it easy with writing, and I’m having some vacation days with my sister being here and keeping me company (and making me walk more than I usually would).

Mindset Progress Report

I’m doing better. Feeling less lonely and actually a little happier.

There are a few visualizations I do at night before falling asleep, and they seem to help, as well. Of course, as I write this, my sister is visiting (which is a nice break from being alone), and we’re doing a lot of things (which I would not do on my own, either). So additional exercise is probably also adding to the improved mood.

Winds and Pillars Progress Report

While there are still no new words, I’m actually figuring out plot points. I know the epilogue for Earth Splits. (And yes, there will be more anxiety for East). I have more ideas for the final book Spirit Sings, which is rather challenging to set up. It will take PoVs from several if not all of my main characters.

Even more important, thinking of Earth and the others is actually spawning some joy, which means Writer Brain is coming back on board for writing those tales. Now I just have to take it gently and easy in order to avoid slipping back into burnout.

Oh, I have a bit of a gift for you this month: You can grab West Flows for free through a BookFunnel promotion (which does require you to sign up to my newsletter, there’s the catch). Follow this link to a bunch of great magic-themed books:

Witches and Wizards: A Fantasy & SciFi Giveaway Full of Magic

Wolves Progress Report

Shane and Dylan (A Wolf’s Hacker) are still on hold, as are Mark and Fred. However, the plots of both stories are basically clear (of course, they will surprise me, I’m sure). I do hope I can write both fast enough to release Mark and Fred’s story in time for Christmas.

After all, that’s in their title: A Wolf’s Christmas. I honestly can’t wait to write that tale.

Short Story Progress Report

I missed the deadline. *sigh*

Fortunately, it’s not dead. I have the plot down, I have some scenes in mind, I figured out more names – now I just have to write it. It’ll make a nice spin-off and character intro for Besilya.

Besilya is part of the crew of the LitRPG series I’ve been keeping on the back burner, The Mengarian Conspiracy. I’ve finished three novels and one short story already, a prequel and this one are in the works. I even have someone I would love to commission the covers with. (Need to find out how expensive they are – which gives me anxiety. Argh.)

Life Progress Report

I did get my DE-Ticket and that feels wonderful. In case you don’t know what it is all about, it’s a monthly subscription to all regional public transport in Germany, at an extremely reasonable price. That means I can use practically all buses, all regional trains (and incidentally the small ferries on the Kiel Fjord) for free. The sense of utter freedom this gives me is… amazing and almost indescribable. Public transport for the win.

At the end of this month, I’m visiting a friend to celebrate her 60th birthday. This is the friend who encouraged me to be a writer in the first place – so we all owe her thanks. I’m planning to get the very first book I ever wrote (in German) up and ready as an ebook in time for it, and I hope I can get a print version into her hands at her birthday. That would be soooo cool! (But it’ll be a lot of work.) I’ll let you know how it goes.

Ember Progress Report

Okay, not much of a progress report, because this is my newsletter promotion.

Ember is well and her cheeky self, of course. This month, she has an adventure at the farmers’ market we visited today.

If you’d like to read her tales, keep up to date with my writing life and receive opportunities to grab free and reduced books every month – sign up below.

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August 2023 Review: The Crystal Pawn by Deborah Jarvis – straightforward, fast-paced read

Cover of The Crystal Pawn by Deborah Jarvis

A woman stands in an enchanted forest with a white wolf. Her back is turned to the viewer. The whole scene is cut to the outline of a chess pawn.

The Crystal Pawn is the first book in an Epic Fantasy series. It revolves around a young woman from Earth who discovers that her father is actually a Lord from a fantastic realm where magic is real.

In fact, Deidre is the only hope the kingdom of Keyralithsmus has in beating back an evil Empire that’s posed to invade. According to legend, she is one of the few people who might be able to call the dragons and persuade them to help the kingdom.

Soon, intrigue and murder surround Deidre, even as she finds a few allies and makes new friends. Together, they begin the arduous journey south to find the dragons.

What I liked about The Crystal Pawn

I really enjoyed the rich worldbuilding in this book. It has everything fantasy (except Tolkineque races), including minotaurs, centaurs, talking animals and shape shifters. Hints of other, diverse connections to Earth are strewn across the story which I thought was clever because they make Deidre less of a one-time wonder.

My favorite character is actually Vex (Vexatious is his full name), a talking horse. There is also a rather clever talking wolf who is one of Deidre’s best friends and advisors.

What I would have liked to see more in the Crystal Pawn

Set against that rich tapestry of a magical world I would have liked to see more depth to the characters and more actual growth in personality. The villains especially seem rather one-dimensional and sometimes more bloodthirsty than smart.

Even so, the story itself is straightforward, enjoyable and moves at a fast pace. It will be interesting to see how it develops and how Deidre will handle encountering the dragons.

Where to buy The Crystal Pawn

At the moment, The Crystal Pawn is only available through Amazon, as it is in KU (and thus included if you pay for Kindle Unlimited).

The Crystal Pawn: Amazon Link

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