Weeds and cholesterol

19095332_1601402143267072_3596137347554648961_oHere’s my piece in the first edition of the new print magazine OZB (O Zi Buna). The English-language mag, well-illustrated, is produced by a British-Dutch-Romanian team for Romania’s international community (aka immigrants / expats) and is a lively read. Get stuck in – if you’ve got a story of your own, or know of one that needs telling, get in touch with editor Douglas Williams. And if you can distribute copies (they’re free), let him know that, too.

Here’s my piece on food, wild and otherwise. I’d love your feedback…

Snowmelt produces stunning patterns

The snow’s melting fast – but boy-oh-boy, is there a lot to melt!

I noticed amazing patterns on the foothill slopes as the thaw progresses – like some fabulous markings of a giant green creature.

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Reflections of a leopard shark?

Animal skin patterns on slopes of mountain

Stunning patterns like shark skin appear in the thaw

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.

 

New Year, new book

Exciting day! After a much-needed break, today is the start of work on a new book…

Working title: Dragons over London. The sharp-eyed among you will spot three different kinds of dragon in these pictures: White English, Red Celtic (Welsh) and Golden Chinese.

This book will be something very different to Din Liverpool in Carpati – this is a children’s story, set in London over the centuries, with a climax in the City of today.

The book will be in English and Romanian, designed as a way to help Romanian kids to learn English – and English kids to learn Romanian.

Full of adventure, thrills, fire, deadly peril and looming terror, heroes and villains, all in the great and historic City of London with a heart-thumping climax that will leave you breathless.

So the adventure begins today…

 

 

 

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.

TEDx Brasov loves imagination

Last May I was a presenter (so nervous I kept my eyes shut throughout) at TEDx Brasov, talking about the three steps in turning ideas into reality: imagination, creation, innovation. Judging from what people said to me after the show, it inspired some new thinking, which is fantastic.

I’d love to know what your most recent idea was – what are you looking to create?

Here’s the current TEDx Brasov magazine, with an article on my idea-about-ideas, written by Miruna Tudor.

arabella-mcintyre-brown-from-financial-times