TITLE IT RIGHT — HOW TO GRAB READERS

June 23, 2015

Picking the right title can make all the difference when your book goes on sale. But how do you find it? The possibilities are endless, as David Baird discovered.

What do these phrases have in common?

Sunstruck, Fiesta fever, Follow that mule!, Whitewash and olives, The vintage years, Is there a Spaniard in the pueblo?, Everything under the sun, The blossoms of spring, The sunshine life, The donkey that roared…

Answer: they are all suggested titles for a new book. Read the rest of this entry »


AN ESCAPIST FINDS A NIGHTMARE IN SPAIN!

February 14, 2015

WE’RE ALL ESCAPISTS AT HEART, dreaming of another life in another place without the nagging worries that go with our daily routine.Fiesta frontcover
However, if you take the big step and launch yourself into a new life, a “simple life” in a totally different environment, it can turn out rather more complicated than you expected.
In the case of one not-so-innocent Britisher, his escapist dream turn turns into a dramatic adventure with sinister surprises lying in wait.
Don’t Miss The Fiesta!, a thriller set in a Spanish village, takes the lid off the surprises that could await a stranger in an outwardly tranquil Andalusian pueblo. Read the rest of this entry »


Caviar — from Spain

January 22, 2015

For more than 50 years residents of Spain’s Granada province have known where to go for the finest fresh trout. They have flocked to the restaurants of Riofrío, a hamlet on the main highway between Granada and Málaga, to eat trout nurtured by a fish farm.

Trade is still brisk, but — unbeknown to most visitors — just a few metres away from the trout tanks a whole new industry has been created. While not abandoning the trout, the Piscifactoría de Sierra Nevada has invested in a big way in producing top-quality caviar. Read the rest of this entry »


TYPHOON HITS HONG KONG

October 8, 2014

NOSTALGIC for the old days? Well, maybe not, after reading David Baird’s latest novel.  The author vividly captures the atmosphere of the so-called Pearl of the Orient thanks to his years working in Hong Kong as a journalist — both when it was a British colony and later when it returned to Chinese rule.

From the first lines of  Typhoon Season, you’ll find yourself on a roller-coaster ride, encountering a body floating in the South China Sea, a missing heroin stash, a doomed love affair, corruption in high places… Typhoon Season cover

After years away Clive Spillman is returning to Hong Kong. Memories flood back as not-so-heroic hero Clive Spillman reflects : “A crazy time to visit. The air would be as thick as soup, the humidity overpowering.”

Even as the Cathay Pacific Jumbo banked over the South China Sea for the approach, he wasn’t sure why he was returning…. Read the rest of this entry »


LAURIE LEE IN SPAIN

July 27, 2014

WANDER along the seafront of a certain lesser-known Spanish resort and you will find a phallic-looking structure bearing a small plaque.

It honours a penniless youth whose writings helped put the town, Almuñecar in Granada province, on the tourist map.

“Laurie Lee? Who he?” Spanish visitors may ask.

But in his native England Lee is a celebrity — and this year the centenary of his birth has been celebrated with special events and the publishing of new editions of his books. Read the rest of this entry »


SPAIN’S HISTORIC MEMORY — What it’s all about

March 22, 2014

DECADES after Spain tore itself apart in a civil war the pain lingers on. The Ley de la Memoria Histórica, a recently enacted law, aims to heal some of the old wounds but has only succeeded in exacerbating the fierce debate. Guerrilla leaflet 1945,b&w

Passions are still fierce, not just about the war itself but about the repression that followed during the long years of dictatorship. The country has yet to come to terms with events that occurred more than 50 years ago, not least those of a desperate guerrilla conflict which raged in the 1940s.

Thus, Between Two Fires — Guerrilla war in the Spanish sierras could not be more timely. This important  book throws fresh light on a struggle which — thanks to strict censorship — went largely unreported both in Spain or in the rest of the world. Read the rest of this entry »


WHERE NOISE IS A WAY OF LIFE

February 15, 2014

SILENCE is not just golden. It is a commodity they don’t make any more. Noise has become inescapable.

Climb the highest mountain and you will be buzzed by lowflying aircraft, find the loneliest beach and sound systems or speedboats will shatter the calm, plunge into Alpine wilderness and snowmobile hooligans will assault your solitude.

Spain is the perfect place to study noise because it has so much of it. In fact, the Spanish press frequently reminds readers – with a touch of pride? – that after Japan this is the world’s noisiest country. Read the rest of this entry »


Seeking Winter Sun — A Spanish Travel Adventure

August 4, 2013

EVERYBODY remembers the first time they stepped on to Spanish soil. Dazzling light, dramatic landscapes, colourful personalities, pungent smells…they make an impact on the most travel-jaded.

You may be exhilarated or exasperated, enthralled or appalled, but you cannot remain indifferent, for this is a land which invites extreme emotions.

However, my first visit contradicted all the stereotypes for I came away convinced that the rain in Spain fell mostly on green, misty hills inhabited by short, broad people who wore large berets and carried black umbrellas everywhere. This impression arose from a day trip from France to San Sebastian. Read the rest of this entry »


Between Two Fires wins acclaim in US

June 30, 2013

Between Two Fires — Guerrilla war in the Spanish sierras, a poignant account of how a  village was trapped in a brutal conflict for years after the Civil War, has been setting sales records in the United States.

Since it became available in the Lightning Source edition, which can be ordered through Amazon online, it has been selling steadily to American readers keen to know more about this forgotten war — a war which went virtually unreported due to strict censorship.

The book has won critical praise from across the world. “As exciting as any thriller yet deeply moving, it deserves to be read by everyone concerned with the history of contemporary  Spain,”says historian Paul Preston, author of The Spanish Civil War and Franco – A Biography. Read the rest of this entry »


MYSTERY — WHO WAS MASTERMIND OF THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY?

March 2, 2013

SIXTY YEARS on the Great Train Robbery continues to make news. And mystery still surrounds the big question: who was the mastermind?

One of the robbers, Bruce Reynolds, has just died at the age of 81. Police claim that he was the brains behind the daring heist — but is that the whole truth?

More than £2.5 million was stolen from a Royal Mail train en route from Glasgow to London on August 8, 1963.

Most of the gang were swiftly rounded up and jailed. Reynolds escaped to Mexico, but eventually he too ended behind bars. At least two of the robbers have been murdered in gangland vendettas. Read the rest of this entry »