Monthly Archives: January 2016

Sharing secrets: Prequel to series “A Life Upside Down” is out, and we are going to celebrate it

A secret surprise. I’ve pressed “Submit for Publishing” twice today. Once with Kindle Direct Publishing (e-book) and once with CreateSpace (paperback).

Both for the prequel to the series “A Life Upside Down”. It is a short story and its title is “Seven Broken Pieces”.

You can find its description here or directly on

The first book in the series “A Spy’s Daughter” was published shortly before Christmas.


How it feels. I’ve published “The Truth About Family” during the night and “A Spy’s Daughter” during the day.  It is three o’clock in the morning as I write this, which is less than half an hour after pressing the button “Publish” or the second time today for the “Seven Broken Pieces”.

So I’ve published again during the night.

It does feel special and somehow very intimate. Just me and my book. I’d say this feels like celebrating a New Year’s Eve in an empty house or flat, alone with one’s sweetheart.

The two of us here, the rest of the world out there.

Or sleeping. Like the three sweetest people in my home right now. I’m smiling as I think about telling my family that I sent my third book for publication.


How we are going to celebrate. The digital launches are quiet, without clinking of glasses with Champaign, sharing chocolate and cake, and readings in a bookstore. But they are still very special. Particularly for the authors. So there is a wish to celebrate, to offer more surprises.

This is what I have planned already for quite some time and glad that I can finally tell you about it.

The e-book price for the “Seven Broken Pieces” will be (and remain most of the time) 0.99 $ at

This was of course not the part of the celebration I meant.

Here it is: I have arranged that from February 10 to February 17 the price for “The Truth About Family” and “A Spy’s Daughter” will be set down to 0.99 $ each.

It means that in this time-frame you will be able to buy (currently) all of my three e-books (”The Truth About Family”, “A Spy’s Daughter”, and “Seven Broken Pieces”) for 2.97 $, which is less than the regular e-book price for “The Truth About Family” or “A Spy’s Daughter”, which is currently 2.99 $ each.

Right before this promotion starts, I will notify you again on this, so that you can purchase one or another of my e-books at a discounted price, if you didn’t purchase it (or them) yet, but would like to.


What I am up to now. The next project, which will see the light soon, is also a short story, which I will offer as a free e-book on my site. It is called “Between Grace and Abyss”. And of course there are few other projects in writing. But this news will come in another letter.


In the meanwhile, here is the e-book cover for my new short story

front cover - seven broken pieces

P.S. Great thanks to my brilliant cover designer, Alice Jago, for another wonderful creation for my books.


Optimist Writer’s Business News: January 2016


Similar to this month’s writing news, also the business site of my venture was very busy since mid December.

For the business part there are two projects, which I have been pursuing in December and now in January: Resources on generic Business Rules overview and S1000D Business Rules step-by-step guide.

The generic Business Rules resource has been completed and I will start preparing it soon for publication. This means that I will self-edit it (a couple of times), send it for reading to friends and colleagues, who also deal in their life with business rules and maybe also someone who doesn’t know about business rules but would like to.

A call-out here to you, who is new to business rules but you are whether also a business owner or responsible for a project or product in your organization and need an overview of a product life-cycle and also of business processes around it. Then you might be interested to beta-read my Business Rules book. Beta-reading means that you would read an early copy of it and provide comments for its improvements. What’s in it for you? You’ll learn a lot, of both what is there, but also by analyzing the content in the book you will gain practical skills on business rules definitions, since their definition is nothing else but analysis, structuring and content generation, all mixed up together. And there is a little something extra. I usually send a signed paperback copy of my book as a thank you gift to my beta-readers and all other who actively participate in shaping my books. So take a look at the resource here, and if its content appeals to you and you would like to participate in beta-reading of this book, then contact me at

Due to the generic Business Rules overview being finished now in its first draft, I will focus the generation of business content on the S1000D business rules step-by-step guide. Since the  last newsletter it has been already reworked twice. One change was in respect to the numbering of the links with the specification for separate BRDPs. They are not sequential anymore but show which place in the chain the given BRDP occupies. And the second change is that I started structuring the S1000D Business Rules step-by-step guide in a similar way how I structured the generic Business Rules guide. This is also a great test for the second one in action.

A lot is happening right now in publishing, teaching and marketing parts of my business, so I will reduce the frequency of blog posting again to once a week for each category: one post on writing and one post on business topics.

Before I finish, I would like to mention another resource I am planning for the nearest future. It will be a short white paper or rather a short e-book on project dis-entanglement. More precisely, a collection of questions and tips, which by answering and applying will help you to find solutions for your stagnating projects. I will offer this resource for free download on my web-site. And as subscribers to this site you will be the ones of the very first to find out about this and to receive a copy of it.

I wish you success in your endeavours and look forward to further interact with you here, through the coaching services I offer, or other ways of collaboration and communication.

January 2016 News on writing from the Optimist Writer

Dear friends,

The time since the last newsletter (mid December) was one of the busiest I ever had in my professional life. And not only due to the holidays. Or rather less because of the holidays. They were as wonderful and recharging as always when we celebrate it with the family.

The busy side comes neither from external projects, since just like my family and me, most people took a break from work.

I did take a break from work (that is business side of my work), but I continued writing (and publishing), which helped me finish and start several projects in January.

You’ve heard already about the launch of “A Spy’s Daughter” a few days before Christmas. The freshest additional news here is that I have already received the edits on the prequel and my cover designer, Alice Jago, is working on the cover this week. So the prequel to the series “A Life Upside Down” called “Seven Broken Pieces” will see the light in February.

The free story “Nothing is As it Seems” is also well on the way and its end is near. I am very curious how exactly it will be.

I have also re-worked my very first short story and after that sent it to my editor. And I got the edits back this past weekend. This story was already published on my blog, but I have adjusted and edited it heavily. So it improved a lot and I will offer to download it free on my site soon.

My motivational resource for writers, “Cheerleading for Writers” is also taking shape. The three introductory and the first of the twenty-six alphabetically ordered posts are published and receive positive wave of likes and retweets on  If I write it in similar pace as now (one post a week or most every two weeks) I might finish it this year. I am very excited to see how it will develop.

Besides continuing writing my works-in-progress and preparing those finished for publication, I learn a lot about promotion and marketing. I am working with BooksGoSocial to promote my first book “The Truth About Family” on various social media. It is very exciting to see many tweets about my book and see how the whole community there is supporting each member. I became a member of their two groups on Facebook and started supporting other writers there and on Twitter as well. I still got to look into other Social media they advertise at. There is so much to learn and find out. I am very excited because this is truly a new world to me. Here is the link this service created for my book. Apart from the description you can also read the first page of the book there.

And then there are many extremely exciting things awaiting me in February. Writing and publishing are two of them. But I am also thrilled about my collaboration with the South Gate Society (SGS) School of Creative Writing  here in Aalborg. On the one hand, I’ll be involved into their teaching process. Last year I have given an introductory course on Creative Nonfiction for their students and this year I’ll teach several courses on various topics. On the other hand, LeAnne Kline Chistiansen, the CEO and founder of the SGS, offered to organize an author evening for me, at which I will read from my books and share stories of my life as a writer. This is so extremely exciting! (How many times write I say exciting or excited in this post already? ;)) It will be the very first reading from my published books. I’ll report in the newsletter next month how it went.

In the meanwhile have a wonderful second month of the year 2016, enjoy reading, writing, your families, dear and loved ones, your work and any other passion you have in your lives!


Picture: A guest in our garden.

Business rules type, which ties it all up and lets you press the button “Execute”


I must admit that I procrastinated writing this article for almost two days. This post is the last one in the project.

There is something daunting about finishing a project. And finishing business rules definition is not different. It might appear even more daunting because the actual production and the service launch is about start. So you will have an end and a beginning at the same time.

By now you have planned your product or service by defining business rules from its scope, its design to the termination and eventual discarding.

There might have been a decision or two, and probably many more, which you could not define immediately and left to decide upon later. You might have forgotten about them. This can and does happen for all products and services. Since you simply can’t take everything in account at once, but also because some decisions need longer time to happen than the others. Some of these can be for example deciding and acquiring copyright or patents. I consider these as part of the business rules definition and not production, because they have to be in place before production.

The first and foremost what you have to do at this final stage of business rules definition, is jotting down and agreeing upon criteria when the “Execute” button can be pressed. You need to decide on the minimum must-have decisions in place, so that you can start the production process or roll-out your service.

The next step here is to see what decisions you already have taken from M to T in “Manipulate”, from Management to Termination.

  • Did you define the scope of your product?
  • Did you compare the customer requirements with what you initially had in your company, which could be utilized for your product or service?
  • Did you define the team inside and outside your company (including the representatives of the customer side)?
  • Do you know what needs to be acquired for the production/roll-out process to start? Did you already purchase a part of it? Can the rest be acquired after the pressing “Execute” button?
  • Did you plan the structure and access points to your product service?
  • Did you define the steps to be taken for the production start and service roll-out?
  • Did you plan the routine fabrication/creation and quality assurance, as well as trouble-shooting steps for your product service?
  • Did you clearly explain to all involved how the product/service must be used (customers, operators, maintainers, etc.)?
  • Did you clarify all the legal matters for your product or service? Does it and its production, use, and other processes follow corresponding laws and regulations? Did you get the necessary copyrights, patents, allowances and qualifications to start the process?
  • Did you legalize the business rules? My guess would be that at this stage this can not have happened yet, since you are reviewing them now. So the stamp needs to wait and will be put right before you press the “Execute” button.
  • Did you define all the necessary look and feel rules for your product? Do you know how exactly it will look like? Or are you still waiting for the corresponding definitions from your subcontractor. The best here would be to get some test samples or already some of the equipment for the service available and installed, so that you can test it.
  • Did you decide on the criteria dictating when to terminate/give up/replace your product or service? What do you have to communicate to the customer in this case? Do you have to let the customer know this already when you launch your product/service? The latter is quite a common practice with software and web-applications’ use agreements, which a customer has to consent to. They all have definitions of conditions for the regular and irregular contract termination.

How do all the above play together? Do you have to adjust one or another or all so that they fit? By now you have probably already made numerous adjustments at each of the steps as you went from one business rules type to another. But you need to review them again at the end of the business rules definition and you just did so.

So whenever you are ready press the button “Execute” or cut the ribbon and enjoy the ride.

And don’t forget to update the business rules along your production/service journey. Keep the checklists — which your business rules in fact are — up-to-date, then you will truly be able to enjoy and overview the process.

P.S. This was the final post for the Business Rules: General resource. The next steps for me here are self-edits and revision, beta-reading, professional edit and publication of the book. I will let you know as soon as the book is published. Your comments during this revision process will be highly appreciated since they will help me to improve the content in this book.

This post is a part of “Business rules: General”, copyright © 2016 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels

“Nothing is As it Seems” Chapter 10

Elizabeth’s arms fell to her sides. She gasped for air and whispered. “My mother? She…she hasn’t died?… Is she really my mother? I…thought my mother’s name was—”

“Klara,” Patrick said. His voice low and powerless. “That’s how papa used to call her.” He shook his head as if refusing to say more. Then suddenly he raised his head and looked at Alice. “How did she find out? Did you tell her?” There was no anger in his voice. It seemed to be just a question.

Alice shook her head. “No. I think this is none of my business. It was only up to you to do so.”

Patrick’s face colour returned and deepened immediately.

Alice let Patrick’s arm go and turned her hand revealing an open palm. With a shrug she said, “It was Lily who told her Liza was here. And before that Claire saw Liza sleeping outside the other day and recognized her.”

Elizabeth’s jaw dropped. She noticed it, pulled it up and said, “She recognized me? After all these years? But why…” Why didn’t she try to find me? Elizabeth couldn’t pronounce her thought out loud.

Patrick shook his head without raising his head.

“I think you better go to Claire and find out for yourself,” Alice said.

Elizabeth nodded. She stood up and looked at Patrick. She hoped he wouldn’t come with her.

He kept on shaking his head, looking on the floor. What was wrong with him?

“You can speak to Patrick afterwards, if you like,” said Alice.

I don’t! Elizabeth hoped that this thought wasn’t too obvious.

“If you like,” said Patrick.

This started Elizabeth. Was this an offer to talk? After he almost threw her out of the house?! “Are you sure?” She couldn’t take her eyes off Patrick, even if looking at him still sent chills to her spine.

“No, I’m not. And I don’t want to.” He glanced at her, his eyes red and tired. “But probably we should.”

“Liza,” said Alice. “You should go now and talk to Claire. She becomes tired very fast. So you better talk to her before she takes her next nap.”

“Is she ill?” Then for the first time of their acquaintance she saw something close to restlessness in Alice’s eyes, so she added, “Oh sorry, I didn’t mean to be so pushy. Where should I go?”

“You are not at all pushy. Don’t worry,” Alice said. “Claire’s room is on the second floor. I’ll show you.” With this she went out of the kitchen.

Elizabeth followed Alice up the stairs. She recalled how the handrail felt many years ago. Further then that should couldn’t tell what she saw or felt as she climbed the stairs. She tried to remember how her mother looked like when she, Elizabeth, was small and simultaneously to imagine how her mother looked like now.

Her vain attempt to see her mother in her memories and now was stopped by Alice’s back, into which Elizabeth almost bumped. She managed to stop one inch behind it. “Oh sorry, I—”

“Wait a second here, OK?” Alice smiled as she took a step away and turned to face Elizabeth.

“Yes, yes.” Elizabeth backed a step too.

Alice left the door open. Elizabeth heard Alice saying, “Claire, Liza is here. Shall I call her in?”

Silence followed.

In the next moment Alice appeared in the gap of the opened door. “You can go in now.” Then she ran down the stairs without making a sound.

Elizabeth turned to the door and knocked. I should knock, right? Even if allowed to come in?

Again, silence.

Elizabeth entered the room and in the first moment she thought it was empty. In the next she heard a quiet sound of typing on a keyboard at her right.

Elizabeth turned and saw a woman in a wheelchair. The typing stopped. The corner of the room, where she sat was dark, but Elizabeth still could see her features clearly. Either the darkness or something else made Claire’s face soft.

She had grey hair, Patrick’s eyes, and a smile. A frozen smile. After she stopped typing, not a single muscle of her body seemed to move.

Her gaze darted somewhere and then back to meet Elizabeth’s eyes. Elizabeth frowned. Claire repeated the movement. Looking somewhere away then back at Elizabeth.

As Claire was about to make the same movement again, Elizabeth decided to follow her gaze. She looked at her left and discovered a white wall with a brightly lit spot. On it, the words were projected, and started to multiply, “Hello Liza. I am so glad you found your way here.”

Elizabeth turned to the woman in the wheelchair. She had tears in her eyes.


Picture: At a bus stop in the centre of Aalborg.

P.S. Chapter 11 will be written and posted latest in two weeks time.

P.P.S. You can find the complete story written so far at “Free Online Books”.

P.P.P.S. If you think your friends might this story, then let them know about it and forward it to them.

Everything except one paragraph  (1st paragraph in Chapter 1) of “Nothing is As it Seems” is under copyright © 2016 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels