Crow and cat get their own book

Dahlia’s Pet Detectives (Dalia si micii detectivi) will be in the spotlight at the end of next week (Thursday 31st May, Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd June) when my new book is launched at Bucuresti’s Bookfest (Romexpo).

It’s my third children’s book published by Booklet Fiction, and the second set in the village of Hay, which looks amazingly like Magura…

If you read Floss the lost puppy, you’ll recognise the village of Fân (Hay) where Dahlia and Chip are neighbours and schoolmates of Thea and Tudor Thimble. A completely new story, but set in the same Transylvanian village, high up in the Carpathian Mountains.

Dalia cover

I have a Pinterest board devoted to pictures of cats like Onyx, and crows like Gossip. So you can see what Dahlia’s friends look like as you read their adventures…

I’ll be waiting to meet you on the Booklet Fiction stand on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at midday, ready to sign your copies. Come and say hello!

Read more about Dahlia and her friends here!

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Undogged

 

Papi, or Not-My-Dog, has vanished. Along with Codita, his canine friend up the hill, Papi has not been seen all week.

The last time he went missing, he’d been down in the valley chasing sheep with his girlfriend. A neighbour said the farmer who owned the sheep tried to spear Papi with a hayfork, but missed him by a whisker. The farmer complained to my neighbours, Papi’s owners, and threatened to charge them for any sheep killed.

Stupid damned dog! He has a fabulous life, free to roam, fed by three households, friend to all, and left to snooze in the grass for much of the day. He is only required to chase off foxes and birds of prey, and warn of strangers coming close.

The sheep-chasing incident got him chained up for two weeks, and only by a lot of begging did I persuade my kind neighbour to liberate him. But if the fool dog has gone sheep-chasing again, it’s very possible that this time he and Codita didn’t escape the wrath of the farmer. We may never know.

So my visitors’ companion on long walks, my loyal friend who chased off unwanted dogs and cats (and bears and wild boar who came too close), and the familiar black-and-tan figure who came to greet me when I drove down to the house – Papi may be no more than fond memories. Of course he may just be off on a spring jaunt, and might be back, exhausted, starving and happy…

Papi leads the way home

Papi loved taking visitors on walks around Magura

La multi ani, România!

Romania’s National Day – 99 years since the union. A day of pride and warm emotions, some regrets and many wishes for a brighter future.

Lots of posts on Facebook today have been wishing that Romanians abroad would come home and help drive their country forward; other posts by the diaspora around the world are about remembering the good with great fondness and regretting the frustrations of a country with such potential and so many rare assets, thwarted from development by its own government…

One of the most common comments I get from readers of this book is that my enthusiasm for the country reminds readers of what they love about Romania, and so many wonderful aspects that they’d forgotten.

It’s not a sentimental book, but it seems to prompt strong sentiments in those who read it. A good book to read on 1st December…

 

I’ve just brought out another book, this time for children aged 7-10. It’s a sweet Christmas story, based on truth, set in a village rather like mine, in the Carpathian Mountains. I’m donating my author’s royalties to two fabulous charities: Eli Pet Transport, and Romanian Animal Rescue, which do so much amazing work to rescue and save dogs and cats. So every copy you buy will help a homeless dog or cat– do buy lots!

Floss cover 2.jpg

Book going cheap for Black November!

Din Liverpool in Carpati-2-final-smallGrab the chance to get my book cheap, in time for Mos Craciun, with the lovely discounts at librarie.ro! The online bookshop is almost giving the book away – a lifelong present for the cost of a couple of coffees. How could you resist?

Readers have said:

“…extrem de sensibilă în fața miracolului naturii, împovărată de un trecut cu lumini și umbre, frământată de griji cotidiene, o femeie despre care cred însă că nu e conștientă de farmecul pe care-l posedă fiind timidă și în prea mare măsură rezervată.”

“You lend us your sharp eyes and understanding. You make us understand ourselves better, you make us better understand you. You give us importance by understanding us better than we sometimes do. Your book gives us hope in a world where we have lost heaven.

A real painter in touch with the pure essence of things and beings. I found myself immersed into a dialogue with you, dear Arabella, about solitude, the energy that comes from living close to nature, the joy of being present to the sounds of the forest.”

I simply love the way in which it is written, the fact that the words can make me actually SEE/FEEL your world, is just brilliant!”

I’ve appreciated both your humour and your self-irony or the finger pointed at various strange characters you’ve come across … I got carried away…”

“The book is unlike anything I’ve read, full of emotion, in which the author puts her heart out for you, so it’s impossible not to be moved. And the language is so normal, alive, it’s like a friend whom you haven’t seen in a long time.”

“I had a ‘white’ night last night. I couldn’t take my hands off your book. It made me laugh, it made me cry or both at the same time. Regardless of what this country has been giving you, I am sure I speak on behalf of all of your Romanian friends when saying: “Thank you for what YOU give us.”

“Honest, deeply sensitive, beautifully expressed. What a fabulous book this is.”

“…the quality of your writing is top-notch and I adore the naturalness of your use of metaphor: ‘longing for dreamless oblivion cradled in the city’s roar’, ‘I’m a molecule on the skin of the earth’ and your precise punctuation, which gives your writing such a lovely flow.”

“Really, it’s wonderful – you’ve basically opened the door to a different way of seeing and understanding Romania.”

“…fascinating, and it reads just as you talk, flows so naturally. … Your chapter on Ginny was painful to read,  powerful and compelling as the reader joins you every step of the way as you navigate the darkest of times.”

Pita the puppy gets his own book!

Do you remember the story of the abandoned puppy I rescued? Here’s the start of the story.

Now Pita (which stands for Pain In The A*se) has his story immortalised in print and the book will be published in November at the big book fair in Bucharest.

floss cover cropped

Floss the lost puppy, or Floss, catelusul pierdut is published by Booklet Fiction, illustrated by Andreea Chele, and is bilingual (English and Romanian). Pita’s story is 100% true, but I’ve turned myself into a Romanian family: the narrator is Thea, a 10-yr old girl and her 7-yr old brother Tudor. Read more here.

Ideal for Romanian students starting to learn English (aged 7+), or for English-speaking students learning Romanian, come to that. You can order direct from the publisher, on +40 (0)21 430 30 95, but if you would like to buy in volume, let me know and I’ll arrange a discount (% varies depending how many books you’d like).

Come to the launch at the end of November! I’ll put a general invitation here and on Floss and Thea’s own blog as soon as the time and day are fixed.

 

Writing: What if you’re not brave enough to publish a memoir using your own name? 

An interesting read. Bloggers and authors talk about ways to handle your memoirs if you feel you can’t put your own name to them.

Writing: What if you’re not brave enough to publish a memoir using your own name? | Self-Publishing Advice Center

What do you think? Have I been properly honest in writing about my part in this book? Some readers have been shocked at my openness over mental health, and so on. But why should we be scared to be honest? Mental illness (and most unplanned life events are not crimes, they’re usually not our fault, and usually they are very common experiences. We need to discuss difficult bits of life. How would you handle it?

 

I live in a fairytale

It’s true: I know it, and am grateful every day. My brother Charles and his family came to Magura this month for their first visit, and he was utterly bewitched by the place. He told all my neighbours that it was magical, like a fairytale. And not just the beauty of the landscape, but the survival of so many traditions: folklore, traditional dress, time-proven skills, food and the whole way of life.

Roxana & girls singingHe was fascinated by my neighbour Viorel’s skill with the scythe (I’ll post a video later), and was captivated by a happy moment when Viorel’s wife Roxana and a little chorus of children stopped on their way to a village wedding to give us a preview of the song they would sing for the bride.

I love it here. Wouldn’t you?

Dandelion season – here’s how to use them

The meadows all around my house are dotted with splashes of sunshine – dandelions. Heralds of Spring, these little sunny plants are crammed full of nutrients and have lots of healing properties. So don’t curse them, don’t poison them or dig them up… pick them and eat them, make syrup, salves and tea with them. Along with nettles, the first great gift of the natural year.

I came across things to do with dandelions on Pinterest – you can get a free ebook of ways to exploit these wonderful plants, so get cracking!

What’s your favourite way to use dandelions?

Dragons in the catalogue

Dragons - Booklet catalogue

If you’re keen to get your copy ASAP, you can pre-order straight from the publisher, Booklet Fiction. Either:  call the order line: 021 430 30 95 Or email:  comenzi@booklet.ro

You’ll be able to order online, straight from the website, in the next few weeks.

The book is in Romanian and English, as a bilingual edition (one page Romanian, one page English). Most readers will be Romanians learning English, but if you’re an English speaker learning Romanian, this would work too! This is what the blurb says:

Dragons over London  We begin in the 11th century. After travelling around the world, the imperial Chinese dragon Xiaolong settles in the Tower of London, not long after it was built by William the Conqueror. But London’s own dragons do not want a foreigner on their patch and, for many centuries, do their best to kill the Chinese invader. With so many enemies around, Xiaolong badly needs a bodyguard. And a friend. These roles are taken on with pride by George, only a common-as-muck mouse who lives in the Tower, but the most brave and loyal companion of all. Nearly 400 generations of Georges devote their lives to Xiaolong, from George I in 1086, until today when we meet George CCCLXXXVIII. An action adventure written with humour, Dragons over London is a wonderful opportunity to read an alternative history of London (almost entirely based on known facts), with a dramatic climax in the skies over Britain’s capital city.

Here’s George, beautifully illustrated by Andreea Chele:

George 1

New book news!

I’m delighted to be able to tell you that my next book – something rather different to the last – will be published in the next few weeks.

COVER dragoni

 

It will have its own book blog which will launch after Easter, so keep an eye out for the link.