Monday, 24 January 2011


It's too easy to catalogue trials and woes — those that exist or those my imagination conjures for me daily in relation to Rosa Mira Books. So here's what I'm grateful for today: sun at last; the smell of dinner cooking as I work on (and the unstinting support the cook has offered me all year); the lively, gritty, life-affirming novel The Glass Harmonica; the interested, listening ear at Creative New Zealand this morning (might I be able to gain some funding/time/help?); Jason of meBooks to whom I've consigned the latest formatting puzzle; Dani who's sending out our NZ media releases tonight; Hugh who patiently added details to the website while cooking an Indian meal for hordes; friends who have been patient, encouraging, soothing and, never least, playful.

This month I'm determined to edit a story a day towards the collection of Slightly Peculiar Love Stories; that's my peculiar delight amongst many routine details — sampling again the particular flavour of each — this afternoon the slant, piquant tale of a man looking out through an office window in (it might be) Buenos Aires at a boy washing the glass six floors below. Oh, and that makes me think of another thank-you: to my Facebook friends who are there online, chatting away — a quiet background buzz in the home office, and who tonight flew to save me from a translation conundrum.

Dinner's ready and here, I've said grace.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Galloping on

It's a week now since Rosa Mira Books went online, and we've had the chance to iron out a wrinkle or two, hear some happy murmurs from early readers, and plan for the youtube trailer we're having made in Berlin, of all places. Gloves will be peeled from slender hands, and wet fingers poised over spinning glasses; the eerie tones of the glass harmonica will help us announce the novel to the reading world.

Launching the site and The Glass Harmonica: A Sensualist's Tale was excting, if a mite chaotic when I tried to add a skype conference to the mix. Still, we had time to hear from author Dorothee Kocks and assembled friends in Utah, and to sense again the international quality of our endeavours. Thank you to all who raised their glasses, mugs, or hats at that moment, wherever in the world you were. The name Rosa Mira brought a few roses through the front door, not to mention lilies and other floral delights. I was floating that first twenty-four hours on a cloud of benevolence, and thought about the many people who have been vital to this journey, starting with the terrific women of Longacre Press who published my YA fiction and memoir, and employed me as editor, during which years I learned to trust my critical capacities, and to deepen my knowledge of the craft of writing.

There's more to be said (I'll be back soon), but even more to be done — I'm going to have to figure out how to bend time to manage it all. Tips are welcome.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Phew again

Okay, so you can now buy with iPads and iPods . . . but we are still fixing one or two semantic problems: do we have exactly the right wording for instructional buttons?

Last night was such a buzz, and I'm buoyed by the confidence and benevolence expressed by so many, here, at home and abroad. Meanwhile, being on line has taken busy-ness to another level, so it might be a day or two before I come back and tell you all about the lovely launch.

Thank you, everyone.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Phew . . .

Well, it's been a wonderful, buoyant day — Rosa Mira is live and underway. The Glass Harmonica is launched, and friends and well-wishers have been fantastic — and it (the day) has had its inevitable snags . . . the nifty animated 'buy' button is proving a challenge for iPads and iPods. Please be patient if you've tried to buy that way. Don't give up. I'll post here as soon as we've got them going.

Thank you everyone. Kisses. I'm off to bed.


How neat those numbers look. It feels like just the right day to send Rosa Mira Books out into the world, along with The Glass Harmonica. I woke too early, abuzz with mental lists, but I don't think much remains to be done, except to butter bread and whip around with the vacuum cleaner. And fuss. And tweet. And cast an eye over the website once more.

I hope anyone who wants to will join us, here or wherever they are, raising mug or glass and good wishes at 5.30 p.m. NZ Daylight time. That's 1.30 a.m. in Buenos Aires; 4.30 a.m. in Edinburgh; 10 a.m. in Delhi; 3.30 p.m. in Sydney; 12.30 p.m. in Hong Kong;  and it's still the 10th January in Utah: 9.30 p.m.

Speed now, eBook, and make yourself known wherever the wind blows free (and even where it doesn't). Never before has your like been published. A thousand hands will grasp you with desire and read you with great attention. (With apologies to Hartmann Schedel.)

Saturday, 8 January 2011


It's not unlike anticipating a birth — these last days before Rosa Mira Books goes live and The Glass Harmonica wings its way into the world. The one labouring is not always rational at this late stage; she frets about everything or about one tiny odd thing, she shouts at the midwife, she wants to turn back. One horrid night this week I tossed about for hours and faced the inevitable question: what if I called the whole thing off?

I faced the worst, breathed deeply, and the storm passed over. I'm glued 12 hours a day to the laptop, but now I'm jiggling like a kid as I prepare announcements and press releases, impatient to introduce readers to Chjara Vallé. Here are extracts from this week's review by Eion Flynn of the Irish Sun:  

If Dorothee Kocks’ novel The Glass Harmonica were only about a singular theme – that of the intoxication of losing oneself in music – that would probably be enough to satisfy any reader and have them return for more. But this debut offering from Rosa Mira books contrasts that luxurious pleasure with darker desires . . .  The manifest undercurrent of shame and the lies that spring from that shame charge the reader with dread and anticipation at their inevitable out. 

The Glass Harmonica is rich fare for the senses . . .  a most engaging piece of literature.

Are you curious to know what the glass 'armonica' sounded like? While I find it acceptable in small doses, I was entranced to find its ethereal tones perfectly matched to The Sugar Plum Fairy.

One more thing: if any of you treasured blog followers could find cause to mention The Glass Harmonica by Dorothee Kocks, and link that mention to Rosa Mira Books on your own blogs, I'm told that'll help raise the book's profile, and that has to be a good thing.

Here's another big thank you for the warm support you've all offered this year, commenting, following, or simply tip-toeing across these pages.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Only seven more sleeps


At 5.30 p.m. on Tuesday the 11th (NZ Daylight time — 4.30 a.m. GMT) all those of us awake and aware will raise mugs, glasses, energy and goodwill for the setting forth of Rosa Mira Books and The Glass Harmonica: A Sensualist's Tale.

Sterling Watson, author of Fighting in the Shade, wrote of the novel: "Bawdy, geographically vast, heroic, and sensual indeed, Dorothee Kocks's The Glass Harmonica perfectly combines the novelist's and the historian's skills. It is an unforgettable saga." 
 It opens thus:

'On the morning Chjara Vallé quickened in her mother’s womb, the sun reached its red fingers over the Mediterranean Sea, onto the shore of Bastia, Corsica. Light rose up the cathedral’s bell tower, which recently had been painted apricot. Chjara’s mother swept the courtyard – feet swollen, breasts like anchors. Inside the cathedral, five men stood with shoulders together and eyes closed, rehearsing the chant for the dead, their voices resonating against the stone walls.

'The great doors hung open to a breeze carrying salt and sage, and the early light failed to hide that a woman was leaving the priest’s private quarters. She hesitated. She was tall and narrow, with simple shoes and hair a flourish of dark curls. Her hand tarried on the priest’s doorknob and she looked so solitary, there against the blooming vine and the black sea wall. She was the priest’s concubine, the mother of his son, and the secret of their affair was known to everyone in the village including the five men watching through the open doors. Usually the lovers were more discreet. Here she was, daring to leave in the light of day, as the gossips would soon report.

'For a long moment she stood, summoning strength. She was doubly grieved today: her father was the one for whom the singers practiced the funeral chant. Her father was dead and she’d taken comfort in the arms of the man who could never be her husband. Now she had to walk across the broad swath of the cathedral courtyard in front of the world that judged her. Her shoulders caved toward her chest, her neck bowed. She was long-legged as the red deer, and when she turned, her face brave and grief-stricken, the men sang to her. They sang, led by the bassist who was Chjara’s father, their voices reaching deep to where notes roll over themselves like stones rolling in the wash of the sea. They assured her that life was so sad as to be worth living, and the blooms in the courtyard wilted with their feeling.'

Thank you, Dorothee, for the privilege of sending out this novel that fulfils Rosa Mira's dream to find and publish work that bears: the mark of talent  . . .  a sense of beauty, broad scope, profundity of thought, sharpness of insight, purity of heart, or a joyful spirit  alongside a keen awareness of the world's darker depths.