Book review “If there be thorns”/ Buchbesprechung “Dornen des Gluecks”

There is an affiliated link in this post with Wordery

September 2017

Uh, I loved this book. This entry was first posted in March 2012.

If There Be Thorns (Dollanganger, #3)If There Be Thorns by V.C. Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I stepped over this one by accident. It was displayed in the library and I just had the feeling I should read it. Not so sure if it was a good idea to read the 3. book in the series (Dollanganger) first though. Well I did not know it is a series ~ I did not look that far :-).

But I have never read a book so disturbing and so entertaining as this one. Well written, characters who you just want to know how they will fare and if they can have peace in the end and suspense like no other.

It is a dark book with secrets around every corner that 14 year old Jory will find out in the end. But where will the vivid imagination of his 9 year old brother Bart lead him?

If There be Thorns” is a book for lovers of horror books and I am sure I will read the whole series.

Deutscher Titel “Dornen des Gluecks”

Ich bin aus Versehen ueber dieses Buch in der Buecherei gestolpert. Es war in einem der Regale ausgestellt und irgendwie hatte ich das Gefuehl ich muesste es lesen. Bin mir aber nicht sicher, ob es eine gute Idee war, das dritte Buch der Serie (Das Erbe von Foxworth Hall)zuerst zu lesen. Tja ich wusste nicht, dass es eine Serie ist ~ So weit hatte ich gar nicht geschaut.

Aber ich habe noch nie ein Buch gelesen, das so verstoerend und so unterhaltsam war. Gut geschrieben, Figuren, deren Schicksal man einfach wissen muss und man hofft sie werden am Ende etwas Frieden finden und grossartige Spannung.

Es ist ein dunkles Buch mit Geheimnissen um jede Ecke, die der 14 jaehrige Jory am Ende entdecken wird. Aber wohin wird die lebendige Fantasie seines 9 jaehrigen Bruders Bart ihn fuehren?

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Ingermanson on Mapping our your Story


Craft: Mapping Out Your Series

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 16,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit

Readers like a series, so it’s good marketing sense to write your novels in a series.

But that raises a question. How do you map out a series of novels?

Mapping out one novel is hard enough that many novelists choose not to do it. They write their novels without a plan, and then work extra hard on the editing to build in a plan retroactively. That works for a standalone novel, and if that’s your style, then that’s your style. Do what works for you.

But can you get away with not planning a series?

The answer is that it depends.

There are two extremes in a series:

  • Each novel stands alone, and the series is essentially a collection of one-book stories built around a setting or a character. For example, the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.
  • All the novels in the series work together to form one gigantic story. For example, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

If you’re writing a series of standalone novels, then you really don’t need to plan out the series. You can write each book as it comes along, and your instincts will guide you just fine. Romance series and mystery series often fall in this camp.

If the books need to work together to tell a larger story, then you’re going to need to plan things out in advance. But how do you do that?

There are two separate issues you need to think about:

  • The character arc in a series
  • The plot arc in a series

The Character Arc in a Series

Normally, a standalone novel shows a character making some fundamental change through the course of a book.

But that’s a problem in a series. If you show massive character change in Book 1 of your series, what do you do for an encore in Book 2?

The more amazing your character change in Book 1, the less room you have for character change in Book 2.

This tells us that we’re going to have to manage character arcs differently in a series than we would in a standalone novel.

Let’s look at a couple of examples to see how the masters of the craft have handled their series.

In The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien weaves together multiple story threads.  The story thread for the lead character Frodo takes up only a fraction of the total story. Frodo does change by the end—so much that he’s now too big for the Shire he loves. But The Lord of the Rings is a single story told in three volumes, not three different novels in a true series. Tolkien shows us one character arc for Frodo—strung out across three volumes where Frodo doesn’t get full air-time. If you’re doing a single story in multiple volumes, this is a good way to do it.

In the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling has the advantage that she’s starting with an eleven-year-old boy, so she has some room to grow him up to an adult. But even so, the changes aren’t radical. Harry is a decent kid at eleven, and he grows up into a decent adult with better control of his emotions. Most of his changes are what you’d expect for a kid growing into an adult. Of course, he has magical powers, and those get more mature through the series, but magical powers don’t make a character arc.

But something is changing in the Potter series.

What changes is the portrayal of the story world itself. Each book has a mystery to be solved by Harry, gradually revealing a much more complicated world than appeared at first sight.

In Book 1, the magical world seems small and childish. Fun and games. Yes, there are trolls to be dealt with. Yes, there are bad witches and wizards. Yes, there’s a bit of unpleasantness long ago with Lord Voldemort, but that’s all apparently in the past.

As the series continues, Lord Voldemort begins to make a comeback. And it becomes clear that those pesky bad witches and wizards are not merely naughty, they’re Evil Incarnate. The Death Eaters are growing in power. Lord Voldemort gets a body, followers, a government, a plan, a path to victory.

All of this takes time. It doesn’t happen all at once. Book by book, the story world grows up from a kid’s story into an adult’s story.

And characters who seemed in Book 1 to be one-dimensional are slowly revealed to be much more complex. As the series unfolds, we learn some major surprises about Sirius Black, Severus Snape, and Albus Dumbledore. Even Harry’s parents, James and Lily Potter, turn out to be more than we had imagined.

If you want to have a character arc in a series, that’s a good way to do it—you keep growing the story world and the other characters, and you make your lead character evolve along with them, bit by bit. Evolution, not revolution.

But a series is not only about characters. It’s also about plot. Let’s look at that next.

The Plot Arc in a Series

Plot matters in a novel. If there’s a higher-level story that guides your series, then your series needs to have a plot. How is it structured?

I believe it should be structured much like the Three-Act Structure in a novel, but with one important difference.

Let’s review how it works in a novel. In a novel, you think of your story as if it were the four quarters of a football game. We call the first quarter of your story Act 1. By the end of Act 1, your lead character commits to the full story. The second and third quarters of your story are called Act 2. By the end of Act 2, your lead character (and your villain if you have one) commit to some final showdown. The fourth quarter is called Act 3, in which you take your lead character through the final showdown to either victory or defeat, and then you wrap things up.

Now how do you structure the plot of a series?

Again you have an Act 1, an Act 2, and an Act 3.

Act 1 is the first book in the series.

Act 3 is the last book in the series.

Act 2 is all the books in between.

Note that this does not apply to The Lord of the Rings, which is not really a series—it’s one single story in three volumes. Act 1 ends at the Council of Elrond, when Frodo commits to taking the Ring to Mount Doom. Act 3 begins when he and Sam enter Mordor.

But it does apply to the Harry Potter series.

Act 1 ends at the conclusion of Book 1, when Harry defeats Professor Quirrell, but learns that the spirit of Lord Voldemort is in fact alive on the earth, and it means Harry harm. Harry realizes that he’s going to be in an ongoing battle with Voldemort, whether he likes it or not.

Act 2 covers all of Harry’s adventures in Books 2 through 6, up to the point when Professor Dumbledore shows Harry the only possible way to finally defeat Lord Voldemort. Harry must find and destroy all of Voldemort’s horcruxes—evil talismans that contain the shards of Voldemort’s shattered soul. Harry learns that if all the horcruxes were destroyed, Voldemort could at last be killed and he would stay dead.

Act 3 is Book 7 of the series, in which Harry and his friends search out and destroy one horcrux after another, culminating in a devastating discovery that forces the final showdown between Harry and Voldemort.

As I noted above, this is similar to the way the acts are structured in a novel. The only difference is in the proportions. Act 1 and Act 3 in a series are typically one book apiece, no matter how many other books are in the series. Whereas in a novel, they’re each very roughly a quarter of the book.


  1. Are you working on a series of novels?
  2. If so, do the novels in the series stand alone, or do they work together to form a larger story?
  3. If they form a larger story, how do you handle the character arc of your lead character? And how do you handle the plot arc?

Wordless Wednesday in Cromer


A couple of weeks ago in Cromer, UK


This post takes part in Wordless Wednesday

How I wrote an Idyll #poem


On Monday I gave you a short introduction into writing an Idyll poem. And I challenged you and myself to write one.

The way I went about it was to add an Acrostic: I used the letters of the word Idyll as the beginning of my lines. That is three Idylls and one I to get to the 16 lines I was aiming for. Then I started to fill the lines. I chose to stay pretty freestyle without rhymes and or a meter even though that is probably a very free interpretation of the form. I suspect as it is an ancient form it usually uses the pentameter and some rhymes too. But there is no reason why we cannot “refresh” and newly interpret the Idyll as a poetry form.

This is what came about:


In morning light

Dear husband

You and I

Linger on the beach

Linger in our memories


In our memories

Dreams of subtle waves

You and I

Linger at the water’s edge

Linger hand in hand


In Hand

Developing a

You and I

Long ago

Love filled

Iridescent lives


I am not quite sure if that is a particularly good example of an idyll as it does not describe a landscape or setting in particular. I  mention the sea, the waves and let the reader develop an image for him or herself. However, I describe the importance of little things, of a husband and wife going for a walk at the beach, standing hand in hand and remembering how it all began. I might have another go later in the week.

And what about your try with an idyll poem?

Care to share?

Animated books/ Animierte Buecher


thanks for the video to  via

To order the book please go to


Das blaue leise Buch von Maia Walzak

Diese Illustrationen und die Geschichte sind von Maia Walczak, Ihr koennt hier mehr von ihr sehen:

Die Musik ist von Amy Hiller, hier koennt Ihr mehr von ihr hoeren

Die Animation ist von Tim Hall. Hier koennt Ihr mehr von ihm sehen

5 Newspapers and their Book Reviews/5 Tageszeitungen und Ihre Buchbesprechungen


September 2017

I posted this entry at first in February 2012, however, as I am back into reviewing books I want to share these links with you again:

February 2012

As I am more active in Goodreads and doing book reviews I was wondering how to do them in a way that is interesting. I tried a few pages which explain how to do it but they are somehow utterly boring. So I decided to read book reviews where ever I can get them which has the positive side effect that I learn something about new books and what is hot ……

So here are some links where to find them:

The Melbourne Age

September 2017

Ich habe diesen Beitrag zum erstenmal im Februar 2012 veroeffentlicht, da ich aber wieder mehr Buecher bespreche mochte ich diese Links nochmals mit Euch teilen:

Februar 2012

Da ich mehr und mehr aktive auf Goodreads bin und auch mehr Buchbesprechungen schreibe, wollte ich gerne wissen, wie man sie interessant gestaltet. Ich hatte mir ein paar Homepages zu dem Thema angesehen aber die waren total langweilig und so habe ich mich entschieden einfach mehr Buchsprechungen von Zeitungen zu lesen. Das hat den positiven Nebeneffect, dass ich auch noch rausfinde, was in ist……

Hier sind also einige Links, die mir hoffentlich helfen:



Youtube Tuesday/ Youtube Dienstag


This entry was first posted in December 2011:

Origins and Philosophy of Occupy Movement

Video thanks to 

Occupy Bankfurt

Dieser Beitrag wurde zum erstenmal im Dezember 2011 veroeffentlicht

Dank fuer das Video an 

India with Sanjeev Bhaskar/ Indien mit Sanjeev Bhaskar

This post includes an affiliated link with Wordery

September 2017

I posted this book review for the first time in 2012. The book is a wonderful introduction to India and even though we do not want to go anymore I would read this book time and time again:

India with Sanjeev BhaskarIndia with Sanjeev Bhaskar by Sanjeev Bhaskar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sanjeev Bhaskar known from the hilarious sitcom “The Kumars at No 42″ traveled to India and let us take part with his personal and funny way of telling about it. The pictures are beautiful and many of his encounters with the people of India as well as Pakistan are really touching.
He remembers his visits to India as a child when he met his extended family both on fathers and mothers side but also tries to find out more about the events in 1947 when India and Pakistan were created and which impacted his family greatly. He tells us about the millions of people who had to leave places they have lived all of their lives and had to experience a lot of violence due to the political insecurities. He also gives us an insight in Indian culture, the modern India as well as giving a lively image of the places he visited. “India with Sanjeev Bhaskar” is a book I would love to own
Sanjeev Bhaskar, der in Grossbritannien von der Serie “Die Kumars von Nummer 42” bekannt ist, reiste nach Indien und laesst uns daran teilhaben durch seine sehr persoenlichen und lustigen Erzaelungen. Die Bilder sind wunderschoen und seine Begegnungen mit den Menschen von Indien wie auch Pakistan sind sehr beruehrend. Er erinnert sich an seine Reisen nach Indien als Kind, als er seinen weiteren Familienkreis sowohl vom Vater als auch der Mutter besuchte. Er versucht mehr ueber die Ereignisse in Indien 1947, als Indien und Pakistan getrennt wurden, heraus zu finden. Er erzaehlt von den Menschenmassen, die ihre Heimat verlassen mussten, in der sie ihr ganzes Leben verbrachten haben und die Gewalt erfahren haben, die durch die unsichere politische Lage hervorgerufen wurde. Er gibt uns auch einen Einblick in die indische Kultur, das “neue” Indien und zeichnet ein lebendiges Bild von den Plaetzen, die er besucht hat. Dies ist ein Buch das ich gerne besitzen wuerde!

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Tiny Bookreview/Buchbesprechung: Dust of Tombstone ~ K.F. Kirwin


September 2017

I posted this review for the first time in February 2012:

Dust of TombstoneDust of Tombstone by K.F. Kirwin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When John Fuhr got send to Tombstone, Cochise County Arizona, by his newspaper boss to write a travel report he did not fathom what he got himself into.
A little tourist town with an old theatre and game shoot-outs for tourists it seems to be a quiet enough place. But after visiting the Birdcage Theatre he meets up with Bill who’s grandmother used to work in the theatre and the trouble begins.
There are ghosts and an ex-wife who seems to be a bit of a power dripping person but no matter what you start believing in ghosts after a while.

I loved the story as it leads you along to creepy places and situations and I just wanted to know how it ends (no I don’t tell you….). You just have to like the main characters John and Bill who easily become friends after what they went through. There is also John’s brother Sam who comes to save the day and Bill’s wife and children who are a bit suspicious at first but start to love John as well as they realise he is a down to earth kind of journalist.

But I was missing more descriptions of the surroundings and sometimes of the characters as well as you can create a lot of atmosphere with those. With the story though you can see K.F. Kirwin’s talent and as it is a first publication there is plenty of space for improvement.

What I have missed has not spoilt my joy of reading the book as I love ghost stories and I just wanted the main characters to get through it and have a happy ever after. Well, you need to have a look into the book yourself to find out if that was possible for them.


Als John Fuhr nach Tombstone, Cochise County Arizona, von seinem Zeitungs Chef geschickt wird, um einen Reise Report zu schreiben, konnte er sich nicht ausmalen, wo er hineingeraten wuerde. Die Stadt ist ein kleiner Touristenort mit einem Theater und gespielten Schiessereien und scheint ziemlich ruhig zu sein. Nachdem er jedoch das Birdcage Theatre besucht hat, lernt er Bill kennen, dessen Grossmutter in diesem Theater gearbeitet hat und der Aerger beginnt. Da gibt es Geister und eine Ex-Frau, die gerne die Zuegel in der Hand haelt aber egal nach einigem Lesen beginnt man an Geister zu glauben.

Ich mag die Geschichte, weil sie einen zu gruseligen Orten und Situationen fuehrt und weil ich einfach wissen wollte, wie sie endet (Nein ich verrate es nicht…..). Man muss einfach die Hauptpersonen John und Bill moegen, die so schnell Freunde wurden, nach allem, was sie erlebten. Da ist auch John’s Bruder Sam, der zur Rettung eilt und Bill’s Frau und Familie, die zuerst ein wenig argwoehnisch sind aber denn lernen, dass John ein ganz unkomplizierter Journalist ist.

Was ich aber ein bischen vermisst habe, sind die Beschreibungen der Umgebung und manchmal auch der Charaktere, was zur Atmosphaere beigetragen haette. Die Geschichte zeigt jedoch J.K. Kirwin’s Talent und da es ihre erste Veroeffentlichung ist, gibt es noch jede Menge Platz fuer Verbesserungen.

Das hat mir den Spass am Lesen jedoch nicht verdorben, weil ich Geistergeschichten mag und ich einfach wollte, dass die Hauptpersonen durch alles durchkommen und dann gluecklich bis ans Ende ihrer Tage leben. Naja Ihr muesst das Buch selber lesen, um herauszufinden, ob ihnen das vergoennt ist.

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ABC of Poetic Forms: The Idyll


As 2017 is the “Year of Finishing Unfinished Projects” I am going back to my “ABC of Poetic Forms” which as far as I can see ended at the letter H in 2012. I have re-posted several of the posts already and so it is just fitting to go on with the letter I.

The first form I came across that starts with the letter I is a lovely poetic form that probably has lost its appeal a long time ago: the Idyll. Poem of quotes describes it as this:

Idyll (Idyl)Poetry that either depicts a peaceful, idealized country scene or a long poem telling a story about heroes of a bye gone age.

Read more about 55 Types of Poetry Forms by

While says this about the form:


An Idyll poem is a short poem that creates a story and paints a picture of everyday life, while making things that at first seem simple much more important. In a world that always seems to be moving so fast, this type of poem is great because it helps the poet and the reader to appreciate the small things in life. Sometimes, you just need to stop and smell the roses!

Quick stats

Idyll poems are short: Approx. 16 lines
Topics focus on the importance of the small things in daily life
Ingredients usually include: People and animals in a natural surroundings
Dates back to: Ancient Greece

Examples: “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” or “It is the Season” 

You can find suggestions on how to write it with them too: Tips for writing and Idyll poem

More information about it is at:


So this week I challenge you and me to write an idyll poem with 16 lines. Choose a natural setting, with animals and/or humans and concentrate on the importance of the little things in life. It does not matter if it rhymes or has a meter. That is for you to choose.

Good Luck!