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Greedily Gathering Greatness

Now then, this is not some kind of self-edification ...nor is it a new hobby of autograph collections. No, dear friends, I am simply becoming have become a Kindle fan extraordinaire. If the number of volumes packed into my tiny device could be extricated and piled up for all to see, I'd be daunted by the challenge I have set myself for 2014 - to read every print novel and Kindle book I now own.

Having read most of Christmas with Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly, I want to read the other four titles in the Austen Addicts series. So, I've downloaded them. The first is A Weekend with Mr Darcy. I plan to read it after I've finished Small Island. But over the festive period I am going to wallow in Christmas fiction. Watch this small place for my reviews in the New Year.

Have a wonderful Christmas or whatever way you celebrate the midwinter festival that is now upon us.

Festive Fiction Festival

The Time of Year


So, it's nearly Christmas Day. You are busy with gifts, decorations and food, drinks, parties ...how on earth are you supposed to fit reading in?

Easily, as it happens. Have you got a Kindle, or a tablet, or a smartphone? By using your Amazon account, you can download novellas and short stories that have the romance of Christmas at the heart of the stories.

Christmas Stories


I have just finished my first one: Christmas at the Beach Cafe is written by Lucy Diamond. This novella is a seasonal sequel to The Beach Cafe which I have not read. I could sense the back story but my understanding of the Christmas book was not impaired in any way. However, it has made me want to read more Lucy Diamond stories!

The theme is romantic - lovers, friends & family, unexpected Christmastime pleasures - all set in a cafe beside the beach in Cornwall. This may be winter but you are all invited to join the characters in their Christmas story - there was no room at the inn but there is plenty at the cafe!

Your Own Reading


Please consider adding novellas and short stories into your To Be Read pile/Kindle list. Sometimes a couple of hours is more satisfying than a long slog of a book. Sometimes ...I'm not giving up on my love of literary fiction yet! But the appeal of shorter Festive Fiction has caught up with me.

Exceptional Exercise Elicits Ennui, in Me

Now then, what does that word 'exercise' mean to you at first glance? Think for a moment or two.
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For me, it immediately develops a minds-eye image of a pristine school book awaiting my scrawl. Aged about five, that would be handwriting practice on sugar paper pages, using a thick wax crayon. Later Primary School years had me writing from the blackboard as we were 'taught' history, geography and science. Words, all words. Exercise books aplenty; hand-on experience, zilch.

Today the word 'exercise' more often refers to knees-bent, iron-pumping, heart-pounding efforts of bodily exertion. Which is not a description of bed sex or a bad description of sex. It is the kind of exertion that passes me by these days. Walking around the bungalow is an achievement. Too much of that good thing certainly elicits ennui, in me. Flat out on my back for days - and that is not related to sex, either.

So I am back to the exercises of my youth. The things I'm good at. As my husband tells me, 'you are a wordsmith, Mrs D'. Indeed I am and proud of it.




Daily Dilemmas Can Be So Demanding

An excuse


My post frequency is indicative of my busy life - not! But it is the result of frequent ill-health and the festive (or is that feverish?) time of year. Plus the demands my other two loves (creatively-speaking), papercrafting and writing that have had me catching up with cardmaking and writing my novel (again - same one, again).

So, back to the series of A-Z themes. Oh yes, have you spotted it yet? Not original but it was truly accidental. Now we're stuck with it, for a while.

I have a wee confession to make now. I am Shirley Davis and I am having an affair with my Kindle. Love real printed books as I do, my Kindle has surprised me this year and swept me off my feet. Page-turning on Kindle is so wonderful. No textural distractions, just the text to concentrate on.

Not only am I able to buy novels, including a few duplicates of huge long tomes that seem so much more approachable in my slim black screen that calls itself an e-reader, but I have also discovered the pleasure of novellas and short stories in this format.

A Book Review

The first Kindle eBook I read was This Time Next Year by Liz Hinds, and honesty compels me to tell you I know the author. We have been following each other's road to literary success - hers, not mine - since the late 90s when we 'met' on my first virtual venue, a creative writing chatroom.

This was before the days of broadband and wi-fi. The interaction of the site gave us the dubious ability to upload our writing in text format only. Many trolls abounded and the site sadly fell into the pit of despair that so many writers are familiar with.

However, Liz and I met for real and she has continued to visit me over the years. A busy lady with grandchildren, Liz is an accomplished writer of monologues. She knew publishing success a few years ago, both alone and with her daughter, a freelance copywriter with great talent.

This story pulled me in immediately. Alison is recently divorced and facing her upcoming fiftieth birthday. She is also a hapless secretary in a law firm, and quite frankly needs a new man in her life.

Alison has good friends, a mother who is 'normal' (as in, overbearingly keen to see her daughter happy again), and two children who, though adults, have divided loyalties to their parents. This causes Adam & Chloe no problems but Alison is struggling to see her ex with his new love and to understand that her children are still able to enjoy his company.

Other women in the same position will resonate with Chloe. And so do I having faced the same dilemma ten years ago. I met a few dates, ditched the disasters and then found the man who married me on my fiftieth birthday.

Back to our book - it took a while not to want more action/dialogue. Sometimes the recounting of events wasn’t quite enough – and then, I got it! The form carried me along after that, I relaxed, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. And knowing the author was great. I could ‘hear her’ voice clearly.

Give Alison a chance this Christmas - get her onto your Kindle and see the quality of Liz Hinds' writing!

What Next for Me & My Kindle?


I am now reading Small Island by Andrea Levy. So far, this has few parallels with the above read other than the clarity of the first person viewpoints.

Communication Conundrums

Having committed myself to a

My Blog Theme (have you spotted it yet?) 


I have to wait for the right set of circumstances to unite and give me my post title. This one is happening today, in abundance.

Communication 


for many of us has become complex. We talk, listen, write, read, text, email, post letters (?), create Internet text, phone using landlines and cyberspace ... on and on we go finding more ways to complicate the human need to interact with each other using spoken and written language.

So, today the Davis household is drowning in communication

Conundrums


  • husband is trying to work out how to keep the apps and contacts on his increasingly disloyal mobile phone. I've joined in and about to see if the file I've downloaded will enable him to sync his phone with the PC or laptop, thus enabling him to backup his files - we'll see ...
  • good friend's email address was hacked overnight resulting in dodgy links arriving in her contacts' Inboxes this morning, allegedly posting as her but clearly nothing to do with the friend we all know, love & trust. Said friend is battling cancer right now - she did not need this ...
  • yours truly has been attempting to place her own URL in the window above this blog - you reckon that sounds easy? Logically, it is. Navigating the various 'help' pages is proving complex beyond all belief. I've worked with PCs for over 15 years now but it has all got more involved than the last time I pointed my blog to my own (other) URL ...

Conclusion


Every time Man discovers a new way to communicate, the pre-existing systems interrelate immediately so that they all become more complex, harder for Oswald & Olive Ordinary to navigate.

What part of the communication system is a conundrum to you? Please comment ...



Blessed Bloggers

No, I am not swearing! I truly bless other bloggers, the ones that educate, entertain, journalise and let off steam by way of keeping an online diary that we know as a blog. They are varied, so let's examine them with the oft-used device,

What, Why, When & Where?


What is a Blog?


According to the Wikipedia link above, a blog is
'(a truncation of the expression web log)[1]'
and goes on to say
'a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries ("posts")'

Why Write a Blog?


I can only write for myself as clearly there are as many reasons as there are blogs. 

My first blog discussed my health. I was acclimatising to a life with MS having been retired early from school teaching, on medical grounds.

As the years rolled on, I wrote again and again in yet another new blog. I knew this was rather precocious behaviour but I wasn't settled. For all the words I churned out about a stuffed toy lamb called Lola (cue cute photo, left), myself, my writing ... for all the comments I made on other blogs ... there was something missing in terms of achievement and peace.

Then, dear readers, I married the hobby of papercrafting. Now there was something to write about and to show the world. Ha!

I restarted one or two or three blogs and now regret the loss of material through such a butterfly approach to craft blogging. The Web is full of wonderful craft blogs, bulging with clever photos of gorgeous creations - greeting cards, scrapbooks, altered art - using simple and difficult techniques, a myriad of products - collectively known as 'stash'. 

And so I am back to my first love. Here I am writing simply because it is what I love doing best.


When Do You Write a Blog?


Hats off to the bloggers who write daily for theirs will be the kingdom of the Web. What is more they do not seem to run out of ideas for they are using the medium for what it was designed - they write an open-air diary of events, thoughts, feelings and the Human Predicament or their consuming passion, be it literary, the arts, technology or science.

Me? I write when I have something to day and that is not every day. When I am not posting, I am being true to myself and not pouring my heart out to you all.


Where Can You Write a Blog?


 photo Twitter.pngClearly, you must be wired or wi-fied (is this a word?) up to the Internet with a bespoke space that you've customised to suit your requirements. Once established, you can email your piece, write online by PC, laptop, netbook, tablet or smartphone. 

You can also write by hand and then type into your blog space by one of the methods listed above. I wonder how many of us do that?
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Of course, ardent bloggers will plan their campaign, sorry - compositions - and schedule their posts to suit their plan of attack.

Many businesses are being run online or promoted via the web using the wide opportunities that Social Media offer us.

 photo Pinterest.pngBlogging is here to stay, it seems. Does being published online have more say about our motives than we'd all care to admit?




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Abandoned Already?

How come if:


  • I am online EVERY day, reading other people's blogs
  • I LOVE writing
  • I LOVE reading
  • I WANT this blog to grow

You tell me why:

  • I WASTE so much time online doing anything but writing
  • I BEHAVE as though writing does not matter a jot
  • I EVEN read less than I could
  • I'm not a BIT surprised this blog isn't growing

So:

  • no BIG promises or pledges or laying my soul on the line


But:


Jolly GOOD LUCK to all of you!

Now then, Davis, take a leaf from their books.




The Inaugural Admission

Blogs, I've had a few 


...too many to mention. But only one remains in view ShirleyDavisCrafts (and even that blog has had many facelifts). The latest post tells you the crafter in me is having a sabbatical.

True. I am having a break

 

from crafting publicly and from writing about it. The purpose of this break is to allow time for the writing I love.

How it all began


At the beginning of infant school, we made patterns with a wax crayon in a big sugar paper book ( handmade for each pupil by the teacher). I tried to keep a straight line, to copy exactly the pattern on the blackboard at the front of the classroom.

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Once the practicalities were in place, my lifelong love of writing began. I wrote stories in little books at home and, later, I loved to make notes for history, geography and science, and to draw the necessary diagrams and maps. Indeed, my memories of those pages outlives the books themselves as they went to landfill heaven many years ago.

Back to my admission


I've had blogs about writing itself, about a little lamb called Lola, about my crafting life and, at one point, I bemoaned my state of health. All now wiped from the screen in front of you, irretrievable, cosmic dust floating in the voids of space and time.

So, what are we doing here?


Having a readership, an audience with a reader, any kind of contact with reality, gives the writer a reason to sit down and convey a message. While I am having a sabbatical from crafting online, I am continuing with a novel I began many years ago. It has had a facelift and lives in me, itching to get out. By having this blog, I have an exercise pad where I can practise, think and connect with other writes.

No tweaking allowed


My previous blogs suffered the fate of being overworked. The creative spirit fiddled with style and appearance more liberally than it created content. This time will be different.