Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Forthcoming Events

There are a couple of events in November at which I shall be making a personal appearance.

The first is the Ealing Arts and Crafts Fair, where I shall be selling (and signing) copies of What is Myrrh Anyway? The fair is being held at St James' Church on Saturday 7 November, and I'll be there between 10.00am and 4.00pm, apparently in a marquee outside - so pray for good weather for me!

And then on Tuesday 10 November I shall be appearing at the Beyond Words Festival, at University College School from 2.30-3.30pm. I shall be talking briefly about the how I came to write What is Myrrh Anyway? and will then be hosting a fun - but challenging - Christmas quiz, as well as signing copies of my books. To reserve your ticket for this event, ring the UCS Box Office on 020 7433 2219.

Maybe I'll see you at one or the other? If you do pop along, say "Hi!" and tell me the blog sent you!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Yule never guess

Apologies for the pun, but today I want to talk to you about Yule, or rather more specifically the traditions surrounding the Yule log.

Did you know that the Yule log was once associated with the Norse god Thor, who had a mysterious connection to oak trees, or that in the counties of Devon and Somerset, in the UK, it was known as the Great Ashen Faggot?

No? Well there's lots more where that came from in Christmas Miscellany out soon from Skyhorse Publishing.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

A personalised Christmas story starring your child and Santa - the perfect Christmas gift?

Being a writer myself, I'm not sure how much I should really be promoting something like this but if you would like to give a Christmas gift this year that your child will remember for years to come, then why not check out www.myadventurebooks.com?

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas

Looking for something a little different to give your loved ones this Christmas? Perhaps one of your family is a closet Dickens/Zombie horror fan. Well, if so, then I Am Scrooge could be the answer to all your Christmas gift-buying problems.

Marley was dead. Again.
The legendary Ebenezeer Scrooge sits in his house counting money. The boards that he has nailed up over the doors and the windows shudder and shake under the blows from the endless zombie hordes that crowd the streets hungering for his flesh and his miserly braaaaiiiiiinns!

Just how did the happiest day of the year slip into a welter of blood, innards and shambling, ravenous undead on the snowy streets of old London town?

Will the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future be able to stop the world from drowning under a top-hatted and crinolined zombie horde?

Was Tiny Tim's illness something infinitely more sinister than mere rickets and consumption?
Can Scrooge be persuaded to go back to his evil ways, travel back to Christmas past and destroy the brain stem of the tiny, irritatingly cheery Patient Zero?

It's the Dickensian Zombie Apocalypse - God Bless us, one and all!

To buy your copy of I Am Scrooge, click here.

Bah.... Bahhhh.... Brahhh.... Braaiiinnss!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Chocolate Rudolphs & Minty Snowballs

Chocolate Rudolphs

Half almonds
Glace cherries (halved)
Silver balls
Jelly strips
170g / 6 oz Chocolate

Melt the chocolate over a bowl of hot water. Spoon out dollops of chocolate onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Before the chocolate sets make Rudolph's face using the halved almonds for the ears, he jelly strips for his antlers, half a glace cherry for his nose and silver balls for eyes. Then simply leave them to set. Easy!

Minty Snowballs

Peppermint essence
One egg white
340g / 12 oz Icing Sugar

Whisk the egg white, adding in four teaspoons of peppermint essence. Add the egg white to the sugar and mix it all together, then form into a ball. Divide the ball into pieces roughly the size of large marbles, form these pieces into snowballs and then leave them to harden overnight. Done!

Disney's A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens' perennial Christmas classic - the tale of the miserly Scrooge and his ultimate redemption thanks to the intervention of three festive ghosts - is coming to the big screen this November. Again.

There have been at least six movie adaptations of A Christmas Carol already, and that's not including such versions as The Muppet Christmas Carol. So why do we need another? What's so different about this one?

Well, the director behind this latest adaptation is Robert Zemeckis, pioneer of the 'performance capture' method of movie-making. In other words, special cameras hooked up to a whole host of computers record the movements of actors wearing ridiculous spot-dotted outfits and then translate that movement onto a digital model. Animators can then do all sorts of wild and wonderful things to the actors (such as making Ray Winstone look buff) and place them in a minutely detailed digitally-created world.

Disney's A Christmas Carol stars Jim Carrey in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events mode as not only Scrooge, but the ghosts as well. Oh, and it's going to be in 3D.

Reindeer Racing

How cool does this look? I mean, who wouldn't want to be pulled along, on skis, over snow by a galloping reindeer?

Having missed out on the opportunity to become a cross-country reindeer racer when I was young, I have instead, many years later, found myself writing about the reindeer (or rangifer tarandus for the classically inclined) in Christmas Miscellany.

For example, did you know that a reindeer calf can outrun a man at only one day old, or that the Finns once measured distance in terms of how far a reindeer could run without having to stop for a pee?

You can find more riveting reindeer facts like these hidden within the pages of
Christmas Miscellany - the perfect stocking filler for this Christmas!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Christmas Miscellany is here!

A parcel arrived this morning from the good old U S of A, containing a couple of copies of Christmas Miscellany, sent by those very kind people at Skyhorse Publishing.