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.

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Pita-Bertie Christmas update

Remember Pita the rescued pup? There’s a whole chapter in the book about his adventures over the winter of 2015/16 and you can see pictures of him (and read an extract) here on the blog. Fast forward (there was a happy ending!) to yesterday, and the pre-Christmas BATH. Bertie (Pita as was) loves splashing through muddy puddles and rolling in the smelliest substances he can find. He’s a dog. So although his very fluffy coat didn’t show the evidence, one’s nose detected it. So it was time for a bath before going to visit relatives for Christmas. Well done to Vanda and Vicki for valiant bathing techniques, and all credit to Bertie for balmy bath behaviour. He smelled and felt wonderful for the last third of the day – but this morning he and Vicki are back out in the park, so mud will doubtless be clinging to his fur once more.

Sunteti in Brasov? Petrecere, vineri! / Are you in and around Brasov? Party on Friday evening!

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În seara de vineri, 16 decembrie, are loc în Braşov lansarea cărţii mele şi m-aş bucura tare mult dacă mi-aţi fi alături.

Vă veţi putea bucura de:

  • o tombolă cu multe premii delicioase
  • un interviu telefonic cu Ranulph Fiennes, cel mai mare explorator în viaţă din lume (şi văr al actorilor Ralph şi Joe), care a semnat Cuvântul-înainte al cărții
  • colinde cântate de copiii de la şcoala din Măgura (îmbrăcaţi în costume populare)
  • o scurtă, dar fascinantă intervenţie a lui Dan Marin, unul dintre cei buni ghizi turistici din lume
  • ocazia de a-mi pune orice întrebare doriţi în legătură cu volumul sau cu viaţa mea în Transilvania
  • gustul minunat al chutney-ul de casă pregătit chiar de mine, din mere româneşti, alături de brânza organică făcută de păstorii din Zărneşti, precum şi de o prăjitură de casă delicioasă.

Programul va fi distractiv, dar scurt, aşa încât vom avea timp pentru a ne relaxa şi a discuta pe îndelete. Vă veţi întâlni cu câteva dintre personajele din carte, putând, totodată, să achiziţionaţi o mulţime de exemplare – cadouri minunate de sărbători, cu care îi veţi încânta pe cei dragi… mai ales că vor purta autograful autoarei!

Evenimentul va avea loc la Librăria Okian (Str Mureşenilor, lângă Orange, telefon 0728 728 315) și începe la ora 6pm (18.00). Am rugămintea de a vă confirma prezența, precum și de a mă anunța de câți prieteni veți fi însoțiți. Nu întârziați, riscați să pierdeți lucruri absolut minunate… Ne vedem acolo! xx

English:

Next Friday evening, 16th December, my book is being launched in Brasov and I’d love it if you could be there with us.

You will find:

– a prize draw with lots of delicious things to win

– a phone interview with Ranulph Fiennes, the world’s greatest living explorer (and cousin to actors Ralph and Joe), who wrote the foreword to the book

– colinde sung by children from Magura school (in traditional dress)

– a short but fascinating talk by Dan Marin, one of the world’s top tourist guides

– the chance to ask me any questions you have about the book or my life in Transylvania

– a taste of my home-made Christmas apple chutney with some organic cheese from Zarnesti’s shepherds, plus my home-made cake.

We’re keeping the programme entertaining, but short, so we all have plenty of time to relax and talk, meet some of the characters from the book, buy lots of books to cross all the names off your Christmas present list… and get them signed!

The event is at Okian librarie (Str Muresenilor, next to Orange, tel 0728 728 315) and starts at 6pm (18.00). Please let me know if you are coming, and how many friends you are bringing along. Don’t be late or you might miss something… See you there! xx

What’s the answer to your Christmas present dilemma?

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…and may I suggest one that every Romanian will love? It’s a feel-good book that is keeping readers up all night until they reach the last full stop… see for yourselves in the feedback page! Cristina said:

“I was looking forward to your book, I had already read some paragraphes and they caught my attention. So, I didn’t waist any moment and I ordered it immediately. Today, in the morning, happy to have received it, I poured myself a cup of coffee and I started reading it and I couldn’t put it down. I will finish it by tonight”!

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So what is this page-turning, feel-good book that will make you laugh and make you cry? I’ll give you three guesses…

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Honest and vivid, says a reader

Andreea in Cristian said: “I’ve enjoyed every bit of it – 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 by the events you so candidly or vividly or magically depict.”

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

Low cloud, mist, Magura, autumn weather, Transylvania

Low cloud washes down into the folds of Piatra Craiului

How much more autumnal can a place be? Fiery leaves, soft cloud, summer’s haystack… This is how 12th October looks in Magura.

Listen to this!

My friend, journalist Diana Mesesan, has produced a wonderful, colourful soundscape of Magura, with me talking about the first snow of the autumn/winter. Diana’s partner in the project Revin în 5 minute, illustrator Alexandra Gavrila, has produced these beautiful images specially, to go with the soundscape. Called Phone call from a snowy planet, listen for the green woodpecker, and the crackling fire, and much more.  Listen to it here. Massive thanks to both of them…! A talented pair – I’ll look forward to their next five-minute escape.

Where do you want to escape to – even for five minutes?

Warm and happy Monday!

Piatra Craiului, Magura, mountain scenery, Transylvania, Carpathian Mountains, weather, October weather, autumn weather, sunny weather, sun on snow, snowy mountain

Piatra Craiului shining in the early sun

Good morning! And what a morning – the sun is blazing down on Magura, and the ridge of Piatra Craiului, covered in fresh snow, is shining star-white over the autumn-glow of the turning  leaves. This is the view from my kitchen window. How lucky does that make me? What view would you like from your kitchen window – mountain, sea, city or desert…?

Cover blurb mashup – better?

Book cover, blurb, tempting sales copy, publishing

Back cover blurb

Thanks to all your feedback, book clan, I’ve mashed up versions 1 and 2 of the cover blurb and now present this new version for your constructive criticism. With the front cover illustration – does this do the job? What do you think?

This candid and engaging book is nothing less than a love letter to Romania. Fleeing from a colourful British city to a half-built wooden house on a hillside in the Carpathian mountains, eight kilometres from a shop and a world away from her busy life as a writer and journalist in Liverpool, should have been a disaster. In her fifties, with no steady income, no pension and no Plan B, she was quizzed by her new neighbours and every Romanian she met. Why? How? … and alone? Triggered by a spate of family funerals, the truth behind her flight from England had its roots in a troubled childhood. Everything suggested she’d fail. Instead, she found the secret of happiness in Transylvania.

In a deeply personal account of her mutation from urbanite to happy Carpathian recluse, Arabella reveals the magic of rural Transylvania in a way that will melt the heart of every Romanian.

Does the cover tell the story?

Book cover, Din Liverpool in Carpati, Arabella McIntyre-Brown, Transilvania

So here it is – the book cover! Something a little different from the usual cover design in Romania? A huge thank you to Andra Penescu for such a bright and cheery statement of the book’s content.

I’m working on the back cover blurb, with the help of all your valuable feedback, so soon you’ll have both sides of the argument…

For now – what do you think, book clan? Imagine the book sitting on a shelf amongst other titles – would this cover make you curious enough to pick it up?