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.

 

Do you judge a book by its cover?

book cover selection

Most of us do, for sure. The art and science of cover design is getting ever more sophisticated and there are some brilliant designers and illustrators working in the market. Each genre is building its own visual vocabulary, so that someone looking for a fantasy novel would never pick up a crime novel or a romance by mistake. Book buyers unconsciously learn the visual shorthand and all the clues which point to the kind of book they enjoy. At least in the UK – if you live elsewhere, is this true for your local publishing world ?

I’d love to know what you think of these covers on my Pinterest board (click for more covers at larger size). They are all covers I like, sometimes adore.

• Which are your favourites – and can you say why?

• Do you like the modern ones, or prefer the earlier design periods – 1960s, 1950s?

• Do the styles of particular geographic regions appeal, eg East European or Scandinavian?

• Are there covers here that put you off?

•Which do you dislike, and are there any you hate?

• Which covers make you want to go to a bookstore and buy the book?

Look forward to your thoughts.

 

Simplă, tristă și veselă

A thorough and very favourable review has been published on the blog cyberculture.ro by George Hari Popescu.

straine-pe-net

“Cartea pare o colecție de schițe, dar întîmplările se adună frumos, pentru a crea tabloul general al despărțirii autoarei de țara natală și integrării ei în satul românesc. Arabella McIntyre Brown îmbină evocarea cu observația și liricul. După ce explică de ce a decis să emigreze, povestește greutățile prin care a trecut ca să vîndă totul acolo și să o ia de la capăt aici. Ne descrie în detaliu modul în care a renovat micuța casă din Măgura. Ne face părtași la primele ei constatări despre așezare, oameni, satul și statul român. Unele capitole sunt mici lecții de botanică și zoologie, altele sunt scurte lucrări de etnografie și folclor. Aproape fiecare “schiță” se încheie cu bucuria ei de a fi acolo și din volum transpare o oarecare stimă de sină determinată de faptul că a avut curajul de a se muta.

“Cred că veți fi surprinși de faptul că această englezoaică face o radiografie foarte exactă a României și a satului românesc, după cîțiva ani de ședere la Măgura. Mai mult decît atît, veți constata că Arabella McIntyre Brown pur și simplu iubește aceste locuri și se simte integrată aproape perfect. Pe un ton amabil și cald, ea ne îndeamnă în mod subtil să apreciem ce avem lîngă noi și să ne simțim privilegiați că încă avem valori care au pierit de mult din alte părți ale Europei.

“Recomand cartea pentru că…..

Read the whole review here.

Happy everything in 2017!

Wishing you the best of everything, exciting new things, rewards for being lovely, a basis of contentment pierced with lots of fleeting joys, balance with enough upsets to stir your soul, a little chaos to spark creations, ideas and new directions; frequent and uncontrollable laughter, and much love.

Hope in a world where we have lost heaven

Silviu Schuster, a Romanian friend who introduced me to my publisher, has sent a wonderful response to the book. It was read out at the Brasov book launch and it brought a tear to my eye, as you can imagine. Thank you, Silviu, for everything you’ve done for me, and for your warm and generous response which means so much to me.

Here’s an extract  you can read the whole thing here.

I met a phrase they say Leo Tolstoi has written it: “There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth.”   În timpul călătoriei am întâlnit o frază care i se atribuie lui Lev Tolstoi: „Nu există măreție acolo unde nu e simplitate, bunătate și adevăr.”

Not that the book is simple, but it has a simplicity that is contagious, what in German would be “Leichtigkeit”, which might be “easiness” in English. Nu că ar fi cartea simplă, dar are o simplitate care este contagioasă, ceea ce în germană s-ar numi „Leichtigkeit”, ce ar fi „ușurință” în română.

You borrow 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. Not that you only answer that untold questions, but you made me ask some deep questions about myself, my life, my deeds. And I do love all this in a good book. Ne împrumuți ochii tăi ageri și înțelegerea ta. Ne faci să ne înțelegem pe noi înșine mai bine, să te înțelegem pe tine mai bine. Ne dai importanță înțelegându-ne uneori mai bine decât ne înțelegem noi pe noi înșine. Nu numai că răspunzi la întrebări nerostite, dar m-ai făcut să îmi pun câteva întrebări profunde despre mine, viața mea, faptele mele. Și asta este ce iubesc într-o carte bună.

Your book gives us hope in a world where we have lost heaven. It shows us that it is worthy to stand up when you feel down, that a tiny ray of hope can activate powers one never thought they lie in oneself. Life might be bad, but we must make it better. Cartea ta ne dă speranță într-o lume în care am pierdut paradisul. Ne arată că merită să te ridici atunci când te simți la pământ, că o diafană rază de speranță poate activa forțe pe care nu ne-am fi gândit niciodată că există în noi. Viața poate fi rea, dar noi trebuie să o facem mai bună.

Wowee – the book has charted!

no-96-in-elefant-chartsMy new book has made it into the Top 100! Just a month after publication, the book is at No.96 in retailer elefant.ro’s  charts. Hot diggety dog…

Let’s hope it goes further up the charts – do please spread the word!