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 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.
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.