More Stuff I’ve Written

I don’t just babble about metal online and write absurd novels. I’m a freelance writer and blogger for several magazines and companies. Over 3000 of my articles, stories and poems appear in print and online. Here are some of my favorites:


Over the years I’ve had some great columns and guest blogs on other sites. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • I have a regular column on about wedding planning, and a fun column on Empty Easel about promoting your artwork. 
  • My column Cvlt Status on the Lip Service Webzine covered heavy metal fashion and lifestyle. If you haven’t heard of Lip Service before, they are the number 1 worldwide alternative clothing label. If you see a goth or metalhead looking particularly fierce, chances are they’re wearing some Lip Service gear. 
  • I’ve blogged about the music industry and making it as an indie musician for Think Like a Label and MadeLoud. I also contribute occasional articles about extreme metal to No Clean Singing, the best blog around for honest metal reviews and tips on achieving Nigerian Riches. 
  • Green in a Grey World: I write a bi-monthly column over at about living with achromatopsia, a rare genetic condition rendering me completely color-blind, light-sensitive and legally blind. You won’t find any “woe is me” tales. On Green in a Grey World I share the humorous stories of life with achromatopsia. 
  • I’ve contributed a number of posts to The Disabled Shop Blog on living with various disabilities. 
  • Some of my raddest guest blogs have been for Problogger, including: Blog Accessibility Essentials: The Complete Guide, and 40 Cool Things to Do With Your Blog Post AFTER You Hit Publish. 
  • I was a regular contributor to Waxing UNlyrical – the communications blog of PR specialist and all-round awesome lady Shonali Burke.

Articles and Essays

I’ve published thousands of articles on various subjects in print and online. My specialty topics include: music and subculture, the writing craft, disability awareness, archaeology and travel.

I’m a regular contributor to 2 for Couples, the number 1 lifestyle magazine and iPad application for modern couples in wuv. If you want to read some of my best articles, including “When Music and Marriage Collide”, “I’m Married to a Serial Hobbyist” and “Long-Distance Lovin’”, as well as some stunning and hilarious writers, I strongly advise you to check out this magazine.

I’ve also been a regular reviewer and writer for Nocturne Magazine, New Zealand’s premier print resource of dark art and subculture. My favorite article I wrote for them was ‘Aether Aesthetic: the World of Steampunk’. Nocturne Magazine, back in 2008.

Here are some other pieces I’m proud of:

  • ‘12 Tips for Surviving your First European Metal Festival’, Matador Nights, May 2009
  • ‘Your First Rock Concert’. Kiki Magazine, March 2009.
  • ‘Elven Lays and Powerchords: Chaos, Revellry and Community in Tolkien-themed heavy metal’. Strange Horizons, Janruary 2009.
  • ‘City of the Beast: a Heavy Metal Tour of London’. Go NOMAD, November, 2008.
  • ‘Become a Band Manager’. Dabbling Mum, November, 2008.
  • ‘Writers Annoymous: the 12-Step programme for recovering writers’ (reprint), Writing World, August 2010.
  • ‘Promoting Your Book with Twitter’, Writers Weekly, December 2009.
  • ‘Wedding Bliss and Paychecks’. WritersWeekly, Janruary 2009.
  • ‘Writing for Writers Works’. WritersWeekly, December 2008.
  • ‘Bio-logy: Anatomy of an Author Bio’. Writers’ News, November 2008
  • ‘5 Tips for Visually Impaired Travellers’. Traveller’s Notebook. January, 2009.
  • ‘Well-Stocked Larders: the food and diet of Hobbits’. Strange Horizons, Feb 11 Issue, 2008.

Fiction and Poetry

I don’t write much short fiction or poetry these days, as I’m concentrating on my novels, but you can find some of my stories in the following magazines:

  • ‘Zombie Tolkien takes in a Move’. From the Asylum. August 2009.
  • ‘23 Stab Wounds’, Sinister Tales, Volume 4.1, May 2009.
  • ‘Over the Edge’ (reprint), Mindflights anthology, Issue 4, 2009.
  • ‘Window Eye’ and ‘Beautiful Girl’. Ilumen. Sam’s Dot Publishing. April, 2009.
  • ‘She’ll be Right’. Big Pulp Magazine, Spring, 2009.
  • ‘Urban Funeral’. Breath and Shadow. Volume 6, No. 2. Spring, 2009.
  • ‘Court of the Litterfey’. Reflections Edge, December, 2008.
  • ‘Over the Edge’. Mindflights, November, 2008.
  • ‘An Open McLetter’. Big Pulp Magazine, October, 2008.
  • ‘Essay’, ‘Sense of a Man’ and ‘You and You’. Breath and Shadow, Volume 5, No. 5. July, 2008
  • ‘His-story’. Haruah: Breath of Heaven. Double-Edged Publishing. Issue 17. Spring, 2008.

Many of these stories have been republished in my anthology: The Good, The Bad, and The Utterly Screwed

Awards & Prizes

I don’t like to blow my own trumpet, as they say, but that’s kind of what this page is for.

  • My novel ‘Thorn’ was one of ten novels short-listed for the War of the Words, run by Tor UK in 2008.
  • My blog post, Eulogy to my Miniscope, won first place in the Disabled Shop Blog Competition, in 2010.
  • ‘WACK’, a short story about zombie penguins in Antartica, was a shortlisted finalist in the Oceanview Short Story Competition in 2008.
  • My short story ‘Into the Light’ won honorable mention in the Australian Slippery When Wet Short Story Competition, 2007.
  • And my war poem, ”Thermopylae’ won third place in O’Rorke Poetry Competition.

Email me if you’ve got an idea for an article, or you’d like me to write for your company or blog. I’m always keen to work with new folks and I love a writing challenge!



Funky fashion socks and hosiery for sockaholics and wicked soles.


Advice and lots of pretty pictures for alternative wedding planning.

June 15, 2011

Steff Metal’s Epic German Adventure: Itinerary

Tr00 Metal Life

One of the reasons I started this blog in the first place was to document our Epic Europe (and Middle East) adventure. In 2009, myself, the Cantankerous Drummer Husband and two friends rented a campervan for two months and drove across Europe, visiting Germany, Austria, Italy, England, Leitchenstein, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Then, we said goodbye to our friends and continued on through Turkey, Syria, Jordan and finished in Egypt, the country I’ve wished to see since I was seven years old. You can read about some of our adventures in these old posts:

5 Metal Things to do in Palymra, Syria

5 Metal Things to do in Hamburg, Germany

5 Metal Things to do in Egypt

Steff Metal in Scandinavia

Last night, I slept in a Cave

Steff Metal in Syria


Well, it's not like I can hit much in the desert, can I?


Love this Swedish sign!

Now, two years on, we’re returning to Germany for another, slightly smaller adventure. We fly out the 16 July for a month, with an itinerary packed with metal, mischief and archaeology. I am posting our plans here, so anyone looking for more info on planning a metal adventure to Germany can use this as a resource, and, if anyone of you happen to be in the same place at the same time as us, I’d love to meet up!

Departure: We leave NZ on the 16, spend 30 some hours watching America’s Next Top Model reruns and eating food in individually-wrapped packages on the plane, before landing in Munich.

Munich – 2 nights

Staying: A cheap hotel, I forget the name. It’s a 10min train ride out of the city centre, but this will help us sleep off our jet lag.

Seeing: I’m utterly open for suggestions, but I’d like to see the Ägyptischer Museum (Egpytian Museum – includes some fine coffics, some coptic art, and apparently quite an impressive erotic art collection), the Palaeontological Museum (free admission, and they have a complete skeleton of archaeopteryx), spend a lazy afternoon sitting in a beer garden, and go on the Munich ghost tour.

Nuremburg: 2 nights

Staying: ArtHotel City. I chose this boutique hotel based on budget, the beautiful art on the walls, and its proximity to the Germany Railway Museum.

Seeing: We don’t really know what to see in Nuremburg, apart from the railway museum. I see on the Third Reich in Ruins site a couple of WWII sites I might like to check out, like the Zeppelinfeld. Suggestions welcome!

On our last day in Nuremburg we pick up a little Volkswagen Polo and drive to …

Plech – 3 nights

Staying: Gasthaus Goldenes-Herz. We’re staying here because it came quite highly recommened, and all the accommodation in Veldenstein was booked out.

Seeing: Blackmore’s Night perform at Castle Veldenstein, followed by a day to explore the area, where we’re hoping to go hiking and fossil hunting, or visit the Teufelshohle caves (although, in all honesty, I’d rather see more deserted caves), or go fossil hunting in Naturpark Altmuhltal. We’re then back at the castle for the Veldensteiner Festival (Eluveitie, Letzte Instanz, Subway to Sally), which I‘ll be covering for the blog. Then we drive off to …


Cave exit

Colmburg – 2 nights

Staying: Caslte Colmburg, in the historic Burghurr room. We chose this castle because I really wanted to stay in a castle hotel, but a bunch of silly bands are staying at Veldenstein while we’re there, so they have no rooms available, and this is the next cheapest castle in the area. It also comes highly recommended as a stunning game restaurant, which I must admit I’m quite excited about.


Castle Colmburg





Seeing: No idea. We might just stay on the castle grounds and relax, take photographs, read books, and go walking.

??? – 2 nights

We have two nights of nothing planned, nothing booked. We’re hoping to pick up suggestiosn as we go. If you’re familiar with this part of Germany shout out in the comments.

Seeing: possibly heading down to explore Schloss Lichtenstein, the limestone caves at Laichingen Tiefenhohle, and hear the Gregorian chanting at Kloster Beuron.


Schloss Litchenstein

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Staying:Haus Karin: this Gasthaus came with glowing recommendations, and at just €22 per person per night including breakfast and a fridge stocked with drinks and beer, I’m looking forward to it.

Seeing: Rothenburg is an exquisitely preserved medieval village, so we’ll spend our first day wandering around here. On Fri 29th we’re at the Rock of Ages festival, seeing, among others, Jethro Tull and Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash.

??? – 2 days

We leave Rothenburg with our little car in tow and have two days to drive up to Hamburg.

Staying: Not a sodden clue.

Seeing: Not much – probably a lot of Auto-bahn. If we have time, we might stop and see something like the Mittelwerk v-1 / v-2 Rocket Factory in Nordhausen.

Hamburg – 2 nights

Staying: with a wonderful German friend we met at Wacken last year.

Seeing: Mostly, we’re catching up with friends from last year, dropping off our car, and picking up our campervan and assorted friends arriving from New Zealand. I hope to see the Erotic Art Museum, and maybe catch one of the pre-Wacken shows. Any metalheads arriving who want to meet up for a drink, let me know!

Wacken – 5 nights

Staying: Campervanowar!

Seeing: Wacken Open Air – Oh, you know, just Blind Guardian, Apocalyptica, Morbid Angel, Shining, Helloween, Ensiferum, Avantasia, Deadlock, Iced Earth, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Kataklysm, Kreator, Kyuss Lives, Mayhem, Moonsorrow, Motorhead, Rhapsody of Fire, Saltatio Mortis, Sirenia, Subway to Sally, Skeletonwitch, Sodom, Suidakra, Tokyo Blade, Van Canto, Vreid … and that’s not to mention all the associated Wacken fun – drinking and sausages in the sun (or rain), metal karaoke, campground antics, metal market and medieval goodness, delicious wacken food, and new friends galore.

Because our group is so large (six from New Zealand, plus a couple of maybes, plus our Hamburg friends, their partners, brothers and friends, and another group of Germans from Saxony), we get there on the 2nd August to secure a good camping spot. If you’re going to Wacken this year and want to meet up, email me, and I will give you my cell number and we’ll organize a proper blog meeting. Our site will be pretty easy to spot as we’re bringing over some blow-up sheep.

Hamburg 1-2 days

Staying: with friends

Seeing: After Wacken we drop our campervan off and might spend a couple more days enjoying Hamburg, probably walking around the city, doing some shopping, and going back to Miniatur Wunderland.

??? – 3-4 days

Staying: We’re not sure, again, where we’ll go and what we’ll do.

Seeing: CDH is keen to see Bremen and the Bremehaven Maritime Museum (U-boat! , so we’ll probably be there for a couple of days.

13-14 Aug – Hamburg

Staying: friends

Seeing: a medieval festival in Lubeck, an hour or so north of Wacken. We went to a Mittelalter Kultur Festival last time we came to Germany and it was absolute magic! So we’re stoked to be able to attend another one on our very last day.

On the 14 Aug we say goodbye to our wonderful friends and drag our tired but happy bodies back onto the plane. 2 days, one overnight in Dubai at the Isis Hotel (Isis is a hotel chain – nothing fancy, but a nice soft bed) and a hell of a lot of peanuts later, we arrive home again.

If you’re going to be in Germany around this time and would like to meet up at any point, or have some great ideas for what we might like to do in any of these places (hint, we love metal shows, abandoned buildings, tunnels, bunkers and mines, archaeology (especially old sites that aren’t swarming with tourists), weird museums, and good food and beer. Our budget is pretty tight so any tips would be greatly appreciated.

I’ll be reporting in whenever I can with updates and envy-inducing photographs. It’s only a month away – I’m quite excited!

7 Comments on “Steff Metal’s Epic German Adventure: Itinerary

June 19, 2011 at 8:23 pm

I want a Castle!

Lex Mosgrove
June 16, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Berlin, what else. :)

However, if you get a chance to drive down the Rhine river, don’t miss the part that goes through Rheinland-Pfalz. Most beautiful part of Germany. Pick up some wine on the way.

Which reminds me, Linz am Rhein used to have a permanent exhibition with costumes and props from Elvis to Star Wars to Alien, and it had a torture chamber, too (looking only, no using it ;) ). It’s called the Kinoptikum, and it’s been a while since I was there, so I’m not 100% sure it still exists (I can check it out for you if you’re interested). Linz itself also has a nice old city center.

Then there’s Idar-Oberstein – if you’re interested in goldsmithing and especially precious stones (you can also buy them there, and usually for comparatively low prices), this is the place to go. Also, it’s got a castle and a nice old city center.

There’s more, but that’s all I could come up with at 7AM after a sleepless night. *grabs coffee*

June 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm

We went to Berlin last time. So possibly no Berlin this time. :(

I really want to go down the Rhine, but am not sure we’ll have time. I wanted to go to the black forest, too. I think we’re just going to have to plan another trip. Oh no, so sad!

June 15, 2011 at 5:01 am

Did I write “industrial industry”? Oh dear, I meant “industrial history” of course ;) The coal mines are all closed down, that’s why they’re open for visitors…

June 15, 2011 at 2:18 am

Wow, you’ve got a lot of stuff in the deep south planned… ;)

Have you ever been to the Ruhrpott (e.g. Essen)? It’s got a rich industrial industry where you can visit former coal mines and stuff like that:

Essen is also the heart of the Ruhr area, the most densely populated area in Germany. Lots of metalheads there too, and the Turock is a nice club.

Other than that you might enjoy the Dome in Cologne, though I as a Düsseldorfer am always reluctant to speak positively of Cologne ;)
More on that here:
(But I would like to correct that Düsseldorf is NOT as catholic as Cologne – at all!)

Since you have to get from Bavaria to Hamburg in two days, such a long detour might not be convenient. I guess you’ll more likely come along Frankfurt, Fulda, Kassel, Göttingen and Hannover, but most of those are terribly boring cities (just my opinion). The German Fairy Tale Road is also more or less en route, but if you ask me it’s all a bit of a tourist rip-off. There’s nothing interactive to see, you can merely look at some castles (mostly from the outside) or statues.

You might enjoy the Reinhardswald though.

Or maybe Hameln and the pied piper stories (sounds way more exciting than it is):

My mother has vacation apartments in the area (one hour drive), let me know if you need the address.

Anyway, if you happen to be in the Rhine-Ruhr area and need company, you can also always let me know.

June 15, 2011 at 4:27 am

Thank you so much for all of these ideas! I shall talk them over with the husband when he gets back from Quakeville. Essen sounds like our kind of place …


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