Update Dec 2019

Hi Everyone!

OUT AND ABOUT:
Aside from visiting family over Christmas time seemed to get away from us, though we managed our annual trip to Killerton House, a National Trust Property, to see the themed decorations. This year was The Night Before Christmas but we were a little disappointed when comparing with the previous years. Still, the day we went was perfect with crisp sunny weather, particularly when in the days after much of the UK would see nothing but rain.

FILM/TV:
Have started Daredevil having watched the other Marvel series and so far find this to be my favourite, though I have one pet hate that seems to run through many television shows. There’s not a second to spare but the characters have time for a long heart-felt discussion.

Also spent time with our favourite Christmas films which invariably includes two black and white originals, It’s a Wonderful Life, and The Bishop’s Wife. Both have several messages as appropriate today as they’ve always been.

Though we enjoyed the BBC adaptations of His Dark Materials, and The War of the Worlds to various degrees and though I freely admit to only seeing the second part, I disliked their updated version of A Christmas Carol which I found distasteful and boring.

READING:
The Salmon of Doubt, Douglas Adams
A collection of essays and a well put-together but incomplete last Dirk Gently novel, I can see how this will always garner mixed reviews. Overall, I enjoyed this book as there’s something poignant about reading Adams’ words one last time that makes this a fond farewell, but the lack of an end to the Dirk Gently book left me disappointed and wistful, but the story was shaping up so well I’m glad to know as little as I now do. Maybe one for true aficionados but a touching book to add to a collection.

The Cabin at the End of the World, Paul Trembley
My first read by this author but not my last. I wasn’t sure about the style at first but that made it different and I was so quickly drawn in and almost instantly riveted. A cabin in the woods, end of the world, hostage situational horror story with a twist and real uncertainty that digs into surprisingly emotional depths, and an end I found satisfying. If this is indicative of this author’s work, I’m in for a treat with his other titles.

The Reddening, Adam L.G. Nevill
The Reddening paints a highly descriptive portrait of the South Devon coastline unlike any I’ve read before, bringing the setting to life and creating a realistic landscape in which anything, even the horrors of the book, seem possible. Nevill’s way of writing horror through not only what is said, but also what’s not said, and left to the imagination, is perhaps worse than the words on the page. Several scenes had me so engrossed I even jumped once when I lost track of time disturbed by someone coming home and opening the front door. Nevill writes intellectual horror enhanced with a rich vocabulary.

The Bishop’s Wife, Robert Nathan
As a fan of the original black & white film, I was curious to read the story. Only able to find this as a 99p download, I took the opportunity. Though the basis of the plot are present in both, they are very different expressing both similar and yet varying philosophies. I have to accept I prefer the film which injects humour and perhaps a greater depth to the story.

I’m reading two other works I’ll review in the new year.

WRITING:
My short story, Remnant of a Haunting, a follow-up to my novel, A Very Private Haunting, is now available as an exclusive edition anthology, Loose Ends, from Candy Jar Books.

A re-write and extended edition of a work I’m editing seems to want to change tense on me. I’ll be annoyed if I change my mind and have to set it back but it is tightening the story.

Happy Reading!
Sharon x

Peace

There’s often an argument this time of the year over the politically correct way to send wishes. For me, it’s simply Merry Christmas. But more than that, for everyone out there I wish you peace.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing or not doing, whoever you are with or not with peace to you and a Happy New Year.

Only the Dead…

Having had a cold all last week, looking like death warmed up, and having difficulty lying down, it’s maybe little surprise I should recall a snippet of information once told to me by a National Trust volunteer. I cannot recall which property we were in but we lingered to look at a rather short double bed.

“How many people do you think slept in that?” the volunteer asked us.

Aware this must be a question with an unusual answer, we suggested, “Four?” Our thinking was that perhaps as there were no other sleeping arrangements and for warmth the parents kept their children in the bed with them.

“Six.”

I have to admit I blinked at the bed, mentally trying to calculate the extraordinary positions or height variations required to make them all fit but failed to come up with anything short of a nocturnal game of Twister. “Six?”

“Yes. How did they all fit?” She echoed the question revolving in my head. The answer is simple and one that explains why this sprang to mind last week.

They sat up because only the dead lay down.

Such was their belief but forced to sit to sleep all last week, the risk of drowning in unspeakable fluids while I slept too great, all I could do was to grumble at the idea. I hate having to sleep sitting up; the thought of doing it voluntarily makes me shiver with more dread than the notion ‘only the dead’ take up a horizontal position.

Too soon?

My rule is no Christmas in the shops until after Guy Fawkes, and none in the home until December. So, though it came out just a few days ago, it’s okay for me to share this now.

If you never heard of Pentatonix, check them out. Even if you don’t like Christmas, they have other albums with so much more to offer. If someone hadn’t shared them, I would never have known of their existence so passing along.