Which would you pick up?

Can you help me? I’m about to commission a cover for the English version of my book. The Romanian title was Din Liverpool in Carpati, and the English title is A stake in Transylvania.

But what style of cover will people like most, do you think? I’ve picked some covers that I like – they are not all about the same subjects as my book, and are not all modern. I like them for all sorts of reasons.

But… which two of these covers would you pick up off the table in the bookshop? Which would pique your curiosity and make you look at the back cover?

Have a quick look and go with your first instincts. In a bookshop it takes one or two seconds for someone to choose a book to pick up and look at – so first impressions are crucial. Don’t think about it too hard!

Let me know the titles in the comments below – and if you have a moment, tell me why you like them.

Thank you!

Book world in the spotlight

Following on from Bucharest’s spring fair Bookfest, I wrote the cover feature for OZB magazine.

I plan to write more, to give an airing to various aspects of Romania’s book world – not just to give readers a better idea of how much value they get for their 40 lei, but to spot opportunities in the publishing world and to highlight good practice and book world stars. What do you think of the article? I’d love to read your candid comments.

 

 

Dahlia and friends take a bow

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).

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.

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!Dalia cover

Greenly warmer

Magura, Transylvania

IMG_5406Spring is well sprung. Compared to last year, when the end of April saw me wading through knee-deep snow in late April, wrapped in thermal layers against the -8C freeze, this year it was sun, and no rain all month so we were beginning to face the horrible prospect of drought.

But early May has seen lots of gentle rain and the very occasional thunderstorm, which is perfect for the earth and growing things. ‘Nori si soare’ says the weather forecast. Occasional ‘furtuna’ warnings with lightning symbols lancing through the cloud, and so it’s proving. Perfect mixed weather for the cycle of wildflower meadows and sweet hay, and happy herbivores munching through lush spring grass. Glorious.

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Will I be at the London Book Fair?

LBF logoThat’s the plan… I should be with the Romanian Cultural Institute on 10th April to launch their LBF event at 1pm in the Olympia venue – and again that evening at Waterstones Gower Street. Have a look at the event link here.

But will I make it? I’m waiting to hear from my housesitters, due to arrive in Romania today to look after my animals while I’m away. But there’s no word tonight, and I’m feeling very twitchy…

What happens if they don’t turn up? Do I leave the animals  untended, to be fed by neighbours? Do I not go to London? What would you do?

It’s white and cold – still February

A writer’s day in a Carpathian mountain village.

Magura, Transylvania

This was today. This is winter in the village. Saturday – I woke up late (10am, shameful) to find more snow falling. Forecast is dire. Fridge close to empty, gas bottle getting light. If I don’t go down to Zarnesti NOW, I might be stuck for weeks. So…

Car under tarpaulin so that’s okay – no shovelling of snow off the vehicle. But the battery is dead as the proverbial dodo. Trudge up to the neighbour and beg for help. He’s happy, as ever, and cracks open the crocodile clips and the power pack with the longest cable imaginable – about half a mile of it, seemingly. Bonnet up, clips clipped to battery, men retire to shed, I sit in chilly car while juice flows to battery. Now then I try the ignition and slowly, slowly, there are signs of life. After 20 minutes, the ignition roars. I hoot for…

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Official: I’m an eccentric, says Kanal D

screen shot of KanalD

Another little TV slot – this time on Kanal D – which has brought some more enthusiastic Romanians to my digital door. Thank you, Kanal D!

I love the caption to my silliest photo (can you see I’m typing in ski mitts?): “She gave a kingdom for a Romanian hamlet.”

George Cat, Papi Dog, my neighbour Georgi and her two cows all appear. Let me know what you think…

 

 

Marketing myths for the debut author

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Your first book is published. Fame at last! Followed swiftly by fortune, one hopes. But will your publisher help you along the way to fame? Unlikely, unless you’re already famous. This article outlines the truth of book marketing for unknown authors, but be prepared for unvarnished truth you might find deeply depressing.

All that effort to get the book written, perfected, and published… and the copies sit on the warehouse shelves waiting for the news to get out. Book signings, lit festivals, blog tours, press releases, book trailers, social media campaigns, celeb endorsements, reviews… the publisher’s job, yes?

No. For an unknown first-timer, no. Publishers’ marketing budgets go on big name authors, not newbies. A hard fact of the writing life.

But…  [read more]

Digi24 comes to tea

Beautiful TV presenter Ioana Mihalca and her expert crew came to see me in Magura last month, and made a charming 8-minute film from their afternoon’s visit. They also talked to my neighbour Roxana, and my friends from Zarnesti, Dan and Luminita Marin.

The resulting film was broadcast on the show Bonton at the end of November.

What do you think?

 

Help me save a dog for Christmas!

Floss cover 2I’m donating royalties from my new book, Floss the lost puppy, to two fabulous animal charities here in Romania.

Every book you buy will help save a dog (or a cat) that is homeless, sick or injured.

Romania Animal Rescue is an amazing group of vets at the Centre of Hope in Bucharest – see what they do every day to save dogs and cats.

Eli Pet Transport is a Romanian-British charity that rescues dogs from all over Romania, socialises them till they’re ready for a new home, then takes them to the UK to their new families.

All the people involved are stellar human beings who have devoted their lives, their homes, their careers to the welfare of cats and dogs.

If you love animals, buy a book, donate direct to their websites, spread the word about what they do, teach kids about the value of pets and how to care for them – help in any way you can…

Thank you!!!

PS: You can find out more about Floss on his website, and read reviews of the book here.