Friday, March 12, 2010


I've been very bad about posting these past two weeks. BORDERLINE has just come out and I'm racing against a first draft deadline for my new novel. (Title initials G.R.A.) I know, excuses, excuses. And okay, my official deadline is really May 1, but I'm going to be away in Vietnam and Cambodia as of next Friday, so I made this unofficial deadline to kick my ass in gear. I have never been late for a deadline in my life, and as an Obsessive/Compulsive that fact exerts ever growing pressure on me as I age. I have this idea that if I was ever late my life would completely fall apart and I'd never get anything completed again, ever. Okay, I know that's irrational, but there you are. :)

Anyway here are some shots of what's inspiring my latest -- a Middle School-and-up fantasy set in the Middle Ages. You'll recognize the top photo either as the Disneyland or the castle of King Ludwig of Bavaria. Actually it's the real deal -- Disneyland used it as its inspiration for the Magic Kingdom. Here's another shot:

The following shot of 'the far mountains' -- the Bavarian Alps in real life -- came from a castle parapet leading to a simulated grotto under a castle theatre. Upstairs they'd be playing Wagner, while Ludwig would listen from his grotto and brood.

Ludwig was reputed to be crazy, but I personally think he was just very much in the closet. Think Michael Jackson, without the music or the sex charges, or... well, okay there are a lot of differences, and maybe he was a little crazy too. But still. He built these amazing piles in Bavaria, and even if he ruined Bavaria's finances, the people loved him because building all those castles meant they had full employment. Call it "Stimulus Spending" in the nineteenth century. He drowned in a very shallow lake, despite being a fine swimmer. At least that's what the doctor who was with him said. Calling Nancy Grace. Well, not her -- AAA! -- but Bavaria Vice, say.

More impressive than the Disneyland castle, at least on the inside, is this castle, where Ludwig actually lived. Every room is mirrored on all sides, with a jungle of gilt swans and lilies rising up from all the corners and over the roof. He lived here totally alone in the middle of nowhere with his male servants. They'd sleep all day, then drink and go on all-night sleigh rides. I asked my tour guide about my theory that Ludwig was maybe a little bit gay. She said she'd never heard that before. I pointed at the gilt swans and the lilies and the mirrors and said, "Uh, have you taken a look around?"

Here is his parents castle. Ludwig's Disneyland place is on the mountain above. Freud would have a field day.

And here's part of a medieval fence in Oberammergau where they do the Passion Play every ten years because apparently god spared the village from the plague. Everyone in town paints murals of fairy tales all over their houses. It's quite a sight.

Oh, and here's the town square of Bremen, which in how I imagine market square in my fantasy capital of Nebelstad. (Did I mention I took these on a reading tour of Germany for my German publisher dtv? DTV is great. And so is Bremen! I heartily recommend a visit, as well as the Ludwig tour you can get out of Munich.)

And here are two shots of the great forest Finsterholz (my name) -- which you'll recall from my trip to Argentina. (Love that rubber tree in Recoleta.)

This mountain cliff below, though, is a view from one of Ludwig's turrets. Check out the (still used) rope bridge on the middle right,

And now I better race back to my draft.

BOOK GIVEAWAY ALERT: Holly Cupala has a book giveaway for my new novel, BORDERLINE, at her site: The post is dated March 11, and the contest runs till Monday.


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