Monday, 13 January 2014

Love at first sight

I'm not talking about romantic love here, although that can feel pretty good too. This week I received a surprise parcel from my German publisher, Ullstein, containing ten beautifully packaged copies of my new paperback. I fell for it hook, line and sinker. I'm still so new to this game that a well-designed cover affects me like Cupid's arrow. The heady feeling was swiftly followed by frustration. I wanted to dive in and sample the first few paragraphs but my German leaves a lot to be desired. I will have to bribe my stepson's girlfriend to tell me how the translation flows. Until then the love will be unrequited. I can look at it adoringly, but it can't say much in reply.

The experience got me thinking about covers in general. I always loved the monochrome Penguins which lined the walls of the living room in the London house where I grew up in the Seventies. Book jackets were much less complex then. You knew the genre you were buying from the orange or green dust jackets, and my father would come home from the library, arms loaded with bright yellow Gollancz thrillers. Maybe it was the distinctive covers that always made me steal them when his back was turned. The love affair continues to this day.

And speaking of love affairs. My stepson Matt called today, to say that he's just been on a date for the first time in a while. Maybe there's something in the air!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Wide Open Sky

It's been an exciting start to 2014, here in Cambridge. It's rained incessantly, the fens full to bursting, and swans have been teaching their cygnets to land on the river Cam, a hundred metres behind my house. So I was particularly pleased that Martin Edwards has this week accepted one of my crime short stories, set in the fens, 'The Wide Open Sky' for the CWA 2014 anthology. The story's close to my heart because it's set in the flat and elemental landscape of Cambridgeshire, which I've grown so fond of. Martin's email of acceptance made me do a brief victory dance! I love writing short stories, but it's a relatively new form for me, so it's great to get an endorsement.

I started the new year with a resolution to become more media savvy, which will be quite a stretch, at first! My website has been redesigned, with links to my facebook and twitter pages, so if you're interested, I'd love it if you check out some of the pages.

By the way, if you're wondering about the photo, my husband Dave took it while out on a bike ride along the river Cam to the village of Waterbeach today.