Ginger cats really hate this book

Mary & Weasley
Weasley was so disgusted by this point that Mary couldn’t keep him still

While Mary Estes loved the book and couldn’t put it down, Weasley the ginger cat was disgusted by all the mice, and there is a point in the book that most cats turn off. You’ll have to read it to find out which bit, but I’d advise you not to read it to your cat. Especially if your cat is ginger…

Celebrate George’s Day with a dragon!

18010111_10155187063807359_941950006086771224_nTo England, 23rd April (today) is St George’s Day, dedicated to the country’s patron saint.

It’s always upset me that mean old George was so horrible to the poor dragon.  It was even worse when the ultra-right neo-fascist idiots used the English flag of St George to demonstrate English supremacy over the world, and all foreigners. Idiots. Don’t get me started on their xenophobic bigotry. They don’t have any idea where the ‘English’ came from…

BUT these days I celebrate this day not just as William Shakespeare’s birth (and death) day, but as the special day for my little George and his spectacular dragon, Xiaolong.

COVER dragoniThey both feature in my new book, published by Booklet Fiction in May, all about these two heroes and some other more villainous dragons, all vying for victory in the skies of London.

Not only that… here’s something that most readers won’t get to know. But towards the end of the book, something happens on this very day, Sunday 23rd April 2017. What’s going on in London today? The London Marathon. I’m going to say nothing more about it here – you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Actually, the precise date doesn’t matter too much, but when I was doing my research and calculations for the book, this was the date I fixed on. So now you know…

George and Xiaolong are talking
Brave, loyal mouse George hushes the imperial dragon

 

 

 

 

Getting close to publication day!

The book is going to print next week… here’s a sneak preview of the cover, and more information about the book.

Dragons - Booklet catalogue

As you can tell, the book is mostly for Romanians learning English, but it would be good for English speakers learning Romanian, too!

For native English speakers, this is the translation of the boo blurb you can see above:

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.

Published by Booklet Fiction, Dragoni per cerul Londrei will be out in the next few weeks – when I have a precise date I’ll let you know, of course. And when we have some events organised – readings at schools and bookshops, for instance – I’ll tell you about those, too.

If you’d like a reading at your place, let me know!

 

New Year at the Tower of London

On the sunny 2nd January 2017… what else but a trip to the Tower? Could have spent the whole day there – too much to see. I must only have seen 20% of what’s there for visitors, and had no time for just mooching around watching and looking. Tickets seem expensive at £25 but actually it’s fantastic value. From the 11th century well in the basement to Henry VIII’s armour , it’s an astonishing slug of over 1,000 years of English history, all in one place.

I last went to the Tower as a child – my father’s firm supplied slaked lime to the Tower in the early 1960s for the repair of the stone walls, so we were given free entry – quite some privilege! I hadn’t been back for 50 years, but it was worth the wait.

 

And the reason for the visit? I wanted to do some vital research for my new book, Dragons over London, which will be set in London (the clue’s in the title), and mostly at the Tower, where my hero, the Chinese dragon Xiaolong, has been living since he arrived in 1086. The Tower has changed a bit in nearly 1,000 years of turbulent history, but not that much. Built by William the Conqueror, it was at the heart of London’s history for over 600 years as the most important royal palace and the greatest building in London.

It’s very easy to imagine a dragon lying on the roof and taking off from that parapet to glide through the London sky…