More About Foreign Rights

Last week I wrote about the Independent Book Publishers Association’s coop exhibit at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Bob Erdmann, an independent consultant, offers another possibility. He produces an annual catalog that he sends out to foreign publishers and agents worldwide. It will also be posted on his website for a full year in September.
Let him know if you’d like to be included for 2017 and he’ll email the registration forms. Deadline is July 31. Participation fee for this program is $195 per title. He will receive a 15% commission on the royalty advance for any sales that he makes or 20% commission if one of his foreign agents is involved. For more information, go to
Bob Erdmann, President
Columbine Communications & Publications
1116 Oakmont Drive, Suite 6
Walnut Creek, California USA 94595
Ph: 925/274-1348
Web Site:

Ethiopia for Real

Several years ago I spent two weeks in Ethiopia, a fascinating country steeped in history. Its first king, Menelik I, is said to be the child of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. Every king since then is supposedly a direct descendant. According to legend, the Ark of the Covenant is hidden in a tomb in Ethiopia.

My hosts hired a guide to take us into the mountains near Lalibella, a fascinating historic site of underground churches carved out of rock. We drove into the mountains and stopped alongside the road. Our guide whistled and a dozen children appeared who were given blankets and bags of food we had bought in the market in town. We began our trek across meadows up to two mud huts of a local family. One was for sleeping; the other for cooking, eating, and housing the animals. In rural areas, the Ethiopians don’t build a house with several rooms; instead they build several huts, each with a different function. There was no electricity and no facilities.

With dawning horror, I realized that we were going to spend the night in these huts with this family. The family comprised two teenage daughters, and everyone was very nice. The father spoke some English, and the girls had studied English in school but could or would not speak it. That evening, we sat around a small fire where our food was cooked. Looking over our shoulders were three sheep, two cows, a mule, several chickens and a cat. It was very Biblical. hut-2

We survived the night but it was very cold and we slept on eucalyptus leaves. Outside a dog howled much of the night. The door of the hut was locked, so even though I really wanted a bathroom break, I would have to brave the dog and whatever else was outside to find a rock behind which to pee.

So it is with interest that I read an email from my Ethiopian host, Lucy Steinitz, writing from an Ethiopian Airlines plane, traveling to Zimbabwe via Addis Ababa. She had just watched a movie called Lamb on the plane. It has been commercially released in the US and may be on Netflix.

She writes, “If you ever want to show someone a little bit about what rural Ethiopian life is like – including our night of sleeping in the hut – this film comes pretty close. It plays near Gonder, so it’s not quite the same area where we were, but it is a beautifully crafted film (except for a rather lame ending, in my opinion). Many themes emerge from the film about the effects of climate change, parental death, gender roles, tradition versus modernity, etc. I highly recommend it, in any case.”

The Reach of High School

You may think you can escape high school by graduating, but no. You’ll get reunion notices and who knows what all to take you back. I’m not complaining. This week I received an invitation from Bonny Barry Sanders, who graduated in my class from Annapolis High School, Annapolis, MD.

Bonny will be reading from her book of poetry, October House, and signing books at the Eastport-Annapolis Neck Branch Library in Annapolis MD. Date is Saturday, August 13, at 1 p.m. Drop by if you’re in the neighborhood.