Monday, August 4, 2008

Book Giveaway - The Badenweiler Waltz

If you guys remember, I'd previously mentioned this book before including an excerpt and the author, G. W. Kroeker, had also graciously consented to do a guest post. While the book is still in my to-review pile, the author got in touch with me regarding a giveaway of this book. More on this towards the end of this post.

The Badenweiler Waltz
Author: G. W. Kroeker
Paperback: 330 pages
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing

Haunting, beautiful and wise, The Badenweiler Waltz by G.W. Kroeker is a tender glimpse at the healing powers of love and one woman's courage as she learns to celebrate life after she is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Elizabeth Kurz is a shy, easily daunted forty-something woman who has spent the bulk of her life being intimidated.

A teacher by trade, she always dreamed of being a writer, and as her final farewell nears she travels to a quaint spa town in Germany's Black Forest where both Stephen Crane and Anton Chekhov spent their final days. Believing that even though her talents have not enabled her to live as a writer, she could at least die like one. Upon her arrival she feels alien and out of sorts; dejected, she considers returning to the States until she meets a series of characters who open her mind to new ways of seeing her illness, life, and death.


The author has generously offered 2 lucky readers a copy of his book. Being himself an American residing in Germany, the author has opened up this giveaway to people of North America and Europe! So spread the word!

Here's how to enter. It's quite simple really. Just go read the excerpt and the author's guest post to get an idea of both the book and its creator. Then come back to this post and leave a thoughtful question for the author to answer. That's it.

Giveaway ends, midnight CST of August 18th.

Good luck!
Current Giveaway(s) 
Book Review and Giveaway - Immortals: The Crossing by Joy Nash
Book Review and Giveaway - The Night Villa by Carol Goodman
Guest Post - Phyllis Zimbler Miller (and a Giveaway)


  1. Here is my question for G.W. Kroeker. You mention that you still like to write poetry. Are there any new poetry collections from you on their way to publishing?


  2. You mention that this book gives a different view of Germany than the ordinary view in American fiction. What are the most important differences that we, as Americans, should note in order to truly widen our cultural horizons?

    hallelshalom (at) gmail (dot) com

  3. At what point in your life, did you become interested in reading/writing poetry. Is there a type of poetry or subject that you prefer? Thanks, Cindi

  4. My husband longs to visit/live in Germany, how was/is Germany for you? An inspiration as I can grasp from reading your post! Why not submit more poetry for publication?

    phillipsonlygirl at gmail dot com

  5. Alessandra,

    Yes, I write quite a bit of poetry, but there are no plans to have a new book published in the near future. When I feel that I have enough really good poems to do a "New and Selected Poems" book, I'll do it, but I don't think much about it. Should you or anyone else be interested, there are sample poems for all three of my published collections: "Vernal Calibrations"(1992), "A Darkness Defined" (1994) and "The Monika Poems"(2007). You can find them at

    Thanks for you question.

    G.W. Kroeker

  6. Lin,

    Oh my, I could write a book--another book, I suppose, and have thought about it often. Of course I love Germany, and coming here and being here with that set of "eye", I may see things differently. First, though, I find the Germans very friendly and helpful people, and when one tries to speak a bit of their language, even at the most rudimentary level, they really appreciate it. This is a truly beautiful country, and gets over looked as a tourist destination I feel. The food is one of the big surprises for many Americans (I've proved this over and over among my own American friends who have traveled here with me or have come to visit since I moved her in 2000. The food is wonderful, normally very fresh, and goes far beyond bratwurst and beer. The beer, though is exceptional, as is the wine, and "World Class," for those who don't know any thing about it. I think the different approach to health care is also exceptional (which plays a role in TBW), the best of homeopathic and traditional medicine.
    I could go on, but if you read The Badenweiler Waltz, I'm sure you see lots more along those lines.


    G.W. Kroeker

  7. windycindy

    I think I really got interested in poetry during my sophomore year in college, because of a wonderful teacher, Irene Imbler, bless her, during a course on Modern Poetry. I loved her and the class, I suppose, and have written poetry ever since really. I was fortunate enough to have some things published early on and won some contests, enough adulation, I suppose, to keep me going. I did have a dead period, though, for almost twenty years I wrote hardly poetry--just hack fiction--, but then a turn around came, and I've written and published a gob since. Again, if you check out my website at, you'll be able to see the kind of thing I do.

    Thank you for the question.

    G.W. Kroeker

  8. Kristinia,

    Oh my! Yes, an inspiration beyond my wife! In 1983 I was driving toward the Rhine in a rental car from Frankfurt Airport, and had as close as a "religious" experience as I have ever hand--I felt that I had come home! And I felt that we every trip that I had made since, and I feel that now having moved here in 2000. I feel connected to this place, which astounds my German friends (Why would you live here when you could live in California!). Some of my answer you might read above. As for the poetry. It is so complicated mailing batches of poetry to the U.S., and record keeping is a bother. And the time for response had become longer and longer. I still publish a few things, but only in magazines that I know well, who look forward to to poems from me: Bellowing Ark, Ciderpress Review, The Orange Room Review, just a couple. Again, to see what I write, you might check out my website at I hope you and your husband get her one day--it is a truly beautiful land with warm and loving people, and German still has the best innkeepers in the world as far as I am concerned. Those little family run hotels cannot be beat. Check out my The Magi at Christmas to get a sense of such a place beyond The Badenweiler Waltz. After its publication the most frequently asked question from readers was, "Is the hotel Drei Könige real? If so, how do I get there!"

    Good luck.

    G.W. Kroeker

  9. "If you knew you were to die of some sort of disease that can strike you any moment, how would you spend your life?"

    Diana Dang

    faked_sugartone at

  10. Since this book was of such a sensitive nature, what do you think your next book will be about?

  11. Diana,

    I would like to think that I would make few changes in the way I live my life. What Hemingway said of writing, one should write every day as if it were the last day of your life. I have always tried to live in that spirit, although I have not always been successful, but for the last fifteen years or so, I have come very close. If you would make some radical change in your life just because you thought you were going to die soon, as some people do, and some whom I have known, then you haven't been giving life your all, soaking up every precious moment, appreciating the greatest to the smallest gift. Fortunately, my wife (who died of complications of breast cancer in 2005) shared such a view, and were "alive" in every waking moment the the world around us. Hopefully The Badenweiler Waltz illustrates the idea behind such a life.

    Thanks for you question, and best of luck.

    G.W. Kroeker

  12. Anita,

    I am at work on a very long short story, over 14,000 words--I didn't know if it wanted to be a novel or a long short story, but "short story" is winning. It is about a man who is a true Jane Austen addict, spends hours reading her and reading about here, watching DVD's of filmed adaptations of her works and the like. After he steps in front of a car and spends some time in hospital with a concussion, he begins to have hallucinations that Jane Austen comes to visit him. The story explores the borders between what is real "experience" and what is "perceived as real". There is a bit of a love story there, but deeper questions, and a surprise or two. I'm always pushing myself, the write difficult things that test my limits. This is doing it, especially trying to put dialog into the mouth of a woman who could be Jane Austen. As in answer to a previous question, I think I am always attempting to explore life at some deeper level, trying to git at the essence of what is important, for it seems to me that we live in rather frivolous times.

    I appreciate your question, and hope you are satisfied with the answer.

    G.W. Kroeker

  13. What is your favorite poem and why, and what is a favorite poem that YOU wrote and why?

    Michele R.(CA)

  14. Michelle,

    Thanks for your question, but it is a hard one for me, since there are so many poems that I love. Let me answer it be telling you that the first poem I loved enough to memorize it was A.E. Housman's "Lovelies of Trees," wish is both a young man's poem, as it was for me when I first read it, and an old man's poem, as I am now. As far as an almost perfect poem in terms of sound and sense and effect would be Yeats' "Sailing to Byzantium," which surprisingly has a kind of revival among a small following, since part of it's opening line has been used as the title of a movie--"No Country For Old Men."

    Rather than give you a favorite poem of my own that you might not be able to track down, I'll give you a couple that you can find on my website,, "On Her Balcony" or "Ritual", on the Sample Poems page. As you might guess, they are very personal, but their sentiments and feelings must rise above the personal for them to be good poems, which I believe these are.

    I hope you are a lover of poetry and just an asker of questions, but I appreciate the question, which ever you are, for it gave me the opportunity to share something that I love.

    All the best.

    G.W. Kroeker

  15. Have you had a personal experience with a friend or loved one at the end of his or her life?
    pintolinda (at) hotmail (dot) com

  16. Just dropping by to let you guys know I've posted this at Win a Book. No need to enter me; I'm way too far behind as it is!

  17. Pintolinda,

    Yes, my wife died from complications of breast cancer in 2005. Meeting in 1998 in Germany, I an American, she German, and then a Transatlantic courtship, and eventually a second marriage for both of us, which involved risks all the way around, knowing that she was a breast cancer survivor, first cancer in 1994, I an American living in California, and deciding to move to German. Then the recurrences, and the long struggle against the disease. But as short as our life was together, we lived every day to the fullest, and found that even though love could not conquer physical death, it certainly continues beyond it. I am at work on a memoir about our life together. The life that we had together keeps unfolding in so many different and surprising ways.

    Thanks for the question.

    All best wishes.

    G.W. Kroeker

  18. I am so sorry for your loss. Your wife sounds like a remarkable woman. My question is, "Was it difficult to make the decision to move to a different country? Do you ever plan on returning to America to live?

    Warm regards,


    (I have posted this giveaway and question opportunity on my book blog too.)

  19. Holly,

    Thank you not only for your question, but for you kind condolences. Yes, my wife was an exceptional woman. As for the decision to move to a different country--the decision was not hard to make, but the move itself was not easy. Moving is never easy (one of my least favorite things to do), but such a move has complications and contingencies that one simply has not planned for. But because I was moving to be with my new wife, and moving to a country that I loved and had visited many times, made it all so much easier, and worth all the small consternations along the way. I do not know if I could ever move back to the States, even though the only things I really miss are there--my children and grandchildren, my friends and extended family (and good Mexican food!). I am so much at home here, and have a lovely condo, which is still infused with the memories and momentoes of my wife and our life here together. And my wife's adult children love me like a father, and need me in a way that my own children no longer do. One should never say "never," but I seriously doubt that I would ever move back to the U.S. Germany feels more like "home," I'm afraid than southern California ever did.

    Thank you again for you question and you thoughtful comments. I wish you all the best.

    G.W. Kroeker

  20. I'm so sorry to hear about your wife, but how amazing that you were able to come through it all and have a wonderful work of art to show for it as well as the personal memories. (hugs)

    My question is, if your wife had not supported your writing do you think you would have still gone on to write this book eventually?

    I can't wait to pick up a copy. It sounds really good.


    littleminx at cox dot net

  21. Rebekah,

    Thank you for your question, but especially for your kind thoughts and comments. I cannot conceive of writing this book without my wife's involvement, for not only did she encourage me, but through discussions and readings of drafts, she actually participated in its coming to be--so there would probably have been a book, since that is what I do, write, but not "this book," I am sure. But her encouragement has been very special, since her dream for me was that when I moved here I would have all the time I wanted to write, and the freedom to do it, and her encouragement grew out of the believe that I was a wonderful writer, whether it was published or not. I had lived for too much of my life with a woman who wanted me to write, but made it almost impossible to find the time to do it, and only wanted me to sell what I had written--I know that she was disappointed in our marriage, for I imagine she believed that she had hitched her wagon to a rising star, only to discover that the "literary" and "quality" stories I wrote did not sell, and that poetry makes no money at all. Under such circumstances I "sold" far too much trash in those days, and only "found" my writing self after our divorce.

    What a wonderful thing, then, to meet this woman who didn't care whether I sold what I wrote, and encouraged me to write to satisfy myself.

    Sorry, more than you probably wanted to know, but I owe a great deal to my deceased wife, not only for The Badenweiler Waltz, but for the sense that I now write for two, and am living out her dream for me.

    Thank you, Rebekah, and all best wishes.

    G.W. Kroeker

  22. I am looking forward to reading this book. I am wondering if the character of Elizabeth has any resemblance to the author's wife Monika? Did going through the progression of cancer with your wife help understand the depth grief even survivors feel?

  23. Calgirl,

    No, as a matter of fact the long short story that the novel grew out of was begun long before I ever met may German wife Monika. Of course one cannot understand living with a terminal disease from the outside in, and much of that sensitivity, hopefully, went into the novel. I think it also helped me to understand the difficulty of the doctor who treats Elizabeth, the vulnerability that one must open himself/herself to, which I do know something about, since I knew that Monika was battling cancer when we met. But I am indebted to her in so many ways, all the pain and grief balanced out by joy and fulfillment beyond belief.

    Thanks for you question, and hope my answer satisfied you. All the best.

    G.W. Kroeker