Monthly Archives: February 2015

Countdown to the first self-published novel: 10

I love countdowns to the books by my favourite authors.

And now I am starting my very own countdown!

While starting into space they start with 10, so I will also start with ten. Self-publishing my very first novel is for me not less than starting a space shuttle or a rocket into space. If anything, it feels like much more.

Since this is a weekly post and we start as bespoke with 10, my first novel “The Truth about Family” will be available for purchase as an e-book and in print in ten weeks or less. My goal is to publish it this spring and I give myself ten weeks to do so.

Please excuse me if I forget and sneak a blog post outside of the countdown series. I am sure you will enjoy those too. Apart from that there will be some shortcuts in the countdown as well, like one post for 6 and 5 for example. Or maybe it will be 3 and 2? I have no idea when this will be. We will discover this together.

The countdown will be about the process of self-publishing. I find it so exciting, that I simply have to share it. And I will share some quotes from the book, with each of these posts. Further I will share photographs of my father, which are mentioned in the book, and/or which inspired various scenes in the book.

So, here it goes…

The process:

I am working with a wonderful editor on my book and enjoy seeing the transformation of the text in the book. It is the same text, the same story, but better. Difficult to describe. Yes, as many writers I was scared to open the edited files, but when I started going through them change by change, I started to enjoy what I saw. Very inspiring experience.

The cover is also almost ready. My family were the main advisers in brainstorming the cover. My editor, who is also the cover designer, has brought the whole cover to a very rounded concept.

More details on the whole team of helpers and supporters of the book will be of course in the acknowledgments section.

I will learn formatting the inside of the book soon. The text-books and resources found are in place. I am quite excited to see how the book’s text will take shapes of an e-book and a book for print. It is scary, but very exciting. If you are interested what I will use for it, here is the information. I will use the widely used writer’s software Scrivener ( I must admit I became its addict. It is fun to use and write in it. This blog post is also written using Scrivener.


Today I will share not a quote directly, but the back cover blurb of the book. I think it worth sharing in order to introduce the book to the new readers and remind the supporters of this page what it is about. At some point this description will replace the one on the homepage. But right now, you are the first to read the almost ready draft.

Misha lost his family.
He can’t rest until he has found them,
if only to find himself.

Inspired by true events in the life of the author’s father, Mihail Ikizli, this remarkable novel tells the story of an orphanage graduate, who set out from a village in Soviet Moldova, to the University of Odessa, Ukraine, in the hopes of finding the family he had lost as a toddler during World War II.

His quest will not be in vain. But will what he discovers bring him a much  longed-for peace, or will it only bring him misery? Little does Misha know what he will find out – not only of his own past, but also about the orphanage; a place he believed he had left behind for ever.


Working at the orphanage’s workshop. My father is the first from the right.



All will fall into place

I discovered today something I have written last September to good friends and colleagues of a group, I’ve been a part, after completing a big task:

The biggest lesson I learned here is to let the things ripe by themselves. To start with those you know how to do and what to do to fulfill them; and the other will fall into place, all by themselves.

What do you think?

Picture: I took this picture last December while bridging the time until I was to pick up my daughter from the intensive care ward and bring her to the room I was stationed at. I remember something close to the thought above coming then to my mind.


Taken care of by a small child – Part 3

As for many fresh big brothers and sisters with their mothers and younger siblings, my pregnancy and Emma’s birth was a big change for Niklas. The larger my belly grew the more seldom Niklas wanted me to bring him in the evenings to bed. He preferred his father. And as I guessed that this could have to do with this big change, I promised him that I will do everything in my power to give him time and moments, which will remind him of how it was earlier. Just for him.

Upon this, he immediately asked, “Will you carry me then again?”

I realized then that carrying him in my arms was one of the most important comfort identifiers for him. I said, “Yes, I will. Maybe not as often as before, because you grow bigger every day, but I will carry and lift you at least time to time. I’ll surprise you. OK?”

He smiled and nodded.

So, two days ago, I suggested to carry him from his room upstairs to the living room.

“No, I’ll go by myself.”

Except he didn’t. He wrestled playfully with me, while I tickled him. After a few suggestions to go downstairs and explaining that Emma was there and without a baby-alarm we wouldn’t be able to hear her if she cried, Niklas still stayed in bed and played with his duvet. I realized that he didn’t want to walk the stairs. So again I suggested to carry him.

“Are you sure?” Niklas looked at me, his eyes fixed on me.

“Yes, the doctors allow it now and I feel well enough. I would like to try, if you are up to it,” I said.




After a few steps, his sweet head appeared on my shoulder and Niklas tried to look into my face. “Mama, are you OK? Is it going well for you with carrying me?”

My heart melted. “Yes, sweetheart, it works very well. And for you?”

“Yes, for me too. And when I will become an adult and be big as Papa, I will carry you.”

Picture: A sequel to the picture posted two weeks ago. This picture was taken when Niklas noticed me taking pictures of him and Emma. The picture’s quality is not very good since I caught him in the act, but his smile was perfect and absolutely infectious. I had a big smile on my face behind the camera.


A surprising memory

34It occurred to me today that I haven’t shared my memories since October. So today I decided to look into old pictures and see which one and what it would prompt me to write.

I chose this one:34

This picture was taken in 1980 or 1981 somewhere in the Algerian Sahara. The tent behind me belonged to a nomadic family making a stop there. There were several tents of this kind in this temporary village. Neither my mother nor I am sure where this was. My guess is that it was not far from Ghardaia, which is situated about 600 km further south from Algiers, the capital of Algeria, and more than 800 km toward south from Annaba, the city on the Mediterranean coast, where my parents and I spent three years from 1979 to 1982.

This nomadic family or community opened their homes to tourists, so we could take a look at their homes inside. They left wonderful memories of walls and floors covered with colourful carpets with intricate ornaments. I remember feeling at home there and not quite wanting to leave. Some of the tents were empty and in one there was a dog. This dog followed me outside and posed for the photograph above.

I always had respect for dogs and still do. I don’t think I was afraid of them, well, maybe of the really big ones, but I was always aware that they have their own will and I preferred to let them decide whether they liked me or not. I don’t know why but I thought that the latter was mostly the case.

But not for this dog. He (somehow I thought that it was a ‘him’, although I would never know) followed me everywhere we went around this nomadic village until we climbed into our car and left. I remember waving to him as we left. He didn’t chase our car. He just stood there and watched.

This last sight of him came up today when I looked at this long forgotten picture. What a sweet surprise to recall a friend whom I knew for just a very short while.