‘Портрет Незнакомца’

‘Portrait of a Stranger’ is being translated into Russian! Start with the Prologue HERE – the story is being updated chapter by chapter on regular basis.

portrait of a stranger_russian

Many years ago, Mina was very fortunate to meet that rare creature: a translator who doesn’t just have a good command of both languages but has poetic affinity as well – a must for translating fiction well.

Meet Victoria Degtiareva. Victoria lives and works in Russia. She is an English to Russian translator of non-fiction and shows for TV, while in her spare time, she translates fan fiction and original fiction for pleasure. She was the first reader of our debut novel and both the topic and style appealed to her enough to inspire her to offer the book to Russian-speaking readers.

Hers is a labor of love and we, too, are happy for the book to reach a new audience – the beginning of ‘Portrait of a Stranger’ is available for free to the Russian speaking community of readers.

Once the entire book is translated we will be looking for ways to be able to share it in its entirety. In the meantime, we hope new readers will enjoy Charlie and Pip’s unique journey. It is very rewarding for us to see so many people comment with enthusiasm and love for story!

Mina still retains some knowledge of the beautiful Russian language and she has found this new ‘version’ of Charlie and Pip endearing in a brand new way. Victoria’s translation has stayed truthful to the nature of the characters, the sense of atmosphere, and the general feel of the story, so we are immensely grateful to her for both sending Charlie and Pip into the arms of new readers and doing it so skillfully. Thank you, Vic.

You can find Victoria at her blog here.

New Year’s Weekend Sale!

To celebrate the release of our book we are having a sale of ‘Portrait of a Stranger’ at $0.99 on Friday and Saturday, December 4-5, 2019!

It is not easy being an independent writer. There is so much to learn as you go along. For instance, we were planning a New Year’s day sale but as it turned out, were late to the party. (Pun semi-intended.)

All that is to say, we would love to reach more readers and we would appreciate it very much if you took the time to leave a review on amazon, brief as it may be. It is a big world out there and while there is a place in it for all of us, writers and readers, a good word goes a long, long way – especially for two budding authors.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Portrait of a Stranger

First Reader Reviews

We have our first reader reviews!

First, for an informal review. Back in the day when she was writing for fandom, Mina was lucky to have some of her works translated into Russian by someone who was able to convey her writing masterfully in that beautiful language, Victoria Degtiareva. She has now become the first reader of ‘Portrait of a Stranger’ and wrote to us to say:

“Both of your characters are absolutely lovely, especially Pip. I really liked how you portrayed Charlie’s growing up in the story, his important realizations about himself, his movement towards independence. It was also very interesting to read about life in modern London, about the different social backgrounds of your characters. I love stories about good people and good things happening to them; warm stories that are romantic but not too soppy, and mainly – very well written. I got all that in your novel, and it was so enjoyable!”

Now, for the first review we had on Amazon! It is a five-star review by J. Forsythe-Crane who said:

The gentle development of the relationship that provides the heart of this book was a delight to follow. The characters feel familiar in all the best ways; I was rooting for them as a couple, of course, but as individuals as well. I’m so appreciative of authors who not only clearly understand the importance of representing multiple experiences and perspectives but who execute that representation with grace, nuance, and thoughtfulness. I felt at home as a reader with this story and I know I will return to it for future rereads. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys love stories and I am VERY excited to see what else these authors have in store for us.

Victoria and J. Forsythe-Crane, we are very grateful for your words, so important for any new author in their early days. We’ll never forget your encouragement.

Book Cover

The art work for our book cover is here! Meet our lovely Pip:


We were very lucky to have an amazing artist do the artwork for our book cover. We both have strong ties to the world of fandom and once upon a time, when FandomAid was having a charity auction to send aid to Nepal, Mags bid very generously and Rose knit her a Captain America: Winter Soldier-themed tea cozy! Now here we are, a few years later. We think the fortune is entirely ours!


Mags Kulbicka was born in Gdańsk, Poland, and as a child emigrated with her family to Australia. She studied Fine Art at RMIT, Melbourne where she lives and works as a freelance portrait artist and illustrator.

You can follow her and find links to more of her evocative work on Twitter and on Etsy,  where she sells her commissions.

Thank you, Mags, for listening so closely to us and giving our boy a face.

To celebrate the release of our book, its beautiful cover, and 2019, we are having a three-day sale of ‘Portrait of a Stranger‘ for $0.99 on the first weekend of the new year!

Getting Started

Self-publishing is a lot of work.

‘I sit at a type-writer and curse a bit.’ One of the authors, Mina, cites this quote by P.G. Wodehouse as her favorite about writing. You think, and you think, and you type, and you edit, polish, delete, type again, all the while cursing a bit and clinging to the belief that this is the hard part.

True, no publishing can exist without a story while a story can take to the streets in a bunch of pages printed at the local Xerox place and still be read. But now that our first novel ‘Portrait of a Stranger’ is completed, we are staring into the vastness of the virtual world of self-promotion and self-publishing, slowly but surely comprehending this is going to take a different kind of tenacity and effort actual writing did.

Check our blog for regular updates on how we are getting on. We hope to have the book out there by the end of the year!