S R Silcox - Author

Blog updated every Sunday - more often than not.

Tag: Christmas Fiction

My favourite Christmas books

One of my favourite things to do this time of year (apart from having a quiet beer in front of the TV while watching the cricket) is to revisit some of my favourite books. There’s nothing quite like cracking open the cover of an old favourite to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
And since Christmas is the time for giving and sharing, I thought I’d share with you some of the books I’ll be reading again this year. Not all of them are related to Christmas, but they’re all on my list of favourite books. (Links to the amazon store in the titles).

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Okay, I’ll probably be watching whatever version of this comes on TV this year, but I do love this Charles Dickens classic about Scrooge and the ghosts and Tiny Tim. It’s Dickens at his finest and a true Christmas classic. And I do have a paperback copy of the book on my shelf just waiting to be read.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
I love the humour of Roald Dahl and grew up sneaking his books out of the library when I was a kid. I’m lucky enough to have a niece who finds his humour funny as well, so she’ll be getting this one and a few others in her stocking this year, so we can read them over Christmas and laugh at the absurdity of Dahl’s stories.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling
I discovered Harry Potter after they became the huge phenomenon they are now and thought they’d be perfect for one of my nephews. As is my usual practice, I try to read the books I buy for the children in my life, and I fell in love with this series myself. I was one of those mad people who stayed up all night to read the last three books from start to finish on the day they were released.
There’s something about this series that has stuck with me, and this first book is my favourite of all of them. I think it’s because of the wonder Harry experiences in his first year at Hogwarts that reminds me of the wonder children feel when they experience Christmas as they get older and know what it’s about. And you can’t go past Harry’s first Christmas at Hogwarts, which I think is one of the most amazing and coolest parts of the book (and the movie).

Four Fires – Bryce Courtenay
Every Christmas, if you’re a booklover in Australia, you were almost guaranteed to get at least one copy of Bryce Courtenay’s latest book, because that’s when his hardbacks were traditionally released. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2012, just before his final book was released. Four Fires, for me, was one of the greatest books he ever wrote. The line that stuck with me out of the whole huge 800 page tome was “Don’t leave the spoon in the sink, Mole.” (And you’ll just have to read it to find out what it means!)

Hogfather – Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett is another author with an absurdly insane sense of humour. I haven’t yet read all of his Discworld books, but out of the ones I’ve read, this is my favourite. What could be more ridiculous than Death impersonating the Hogfather on Hogswatch? And the movie that was made based on the book isn’t half-bad either.

Well, that’s it from me until the New Year. Have a wonderful Christmas, and feel free to let me know what your favourite books for Christmas are in the comments.

 

 

A Christmas Special

Three Wishes - Low res (2)

(If you’re a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ll already know this).

In the spirit of Christmas, I’ve discounted my Christmas-themed novella, Three Wishes, down to 99c for the entire month of December. If you haven’t got yourself a copy yet, now’s the time to get one cheap.

It’s for sale at all the usual online stores, but some of them (B&N, Apple etc) may be a bit slow on the price adjustment as I distribute to those stores via Smashwords.

It’s on sale at the following stores now:

Amazon
Kobo
Smashwords

I’ll be sending out an email next week to subscribers with my favourite Christmas reads, as well as some other recommendations, so if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up on the Newsletter page.

 

The Story Behind the Story – How a 10 day deadline became my debut novella, Three Wishes

Three Wishes - Low res (2)

Monday the 9th of December saw me press publish on my first novella, Three Wishes. It’s up on amazon, and hopefully up on kobo soon. It was a rush to see it up on it’s own little page with my name on the cover.

This little book is so far from what I usually write, but I loved every minute of it. It’s conception was completely different to my other stories, so I decided to share the story behind the story.

For the better part of a year, I’ve been working on 2 series (both urban fantasies) and a couple of YA contemporary ideas, and getting stuck on all of them. I promised my wife that I’d have “something” published by the end of the year, and as the weeks and days ticked over, I realised I wasn’t going to be able to keep that promise.

I knew my wife would be upset, because from her point of view, my first year of being a full-time writer was a waste. I’ve written a lot of words and been able to find my ‘voice’, so I don’t think it was a complete waste of time, but I guess I can see why my wife would think that. I had nothing tangible to show for my efforts.

So, I said to myself, “Self, what would make your wife not be angry with you, and allow you to keep your promise?”

Self replied, “Write her a book. Women love that shit.”

So it was that I came up with the idea to completely forget about all that had come before for the time being, and come up with something entirely new. I gave myself 10 days to come up with a short story or novella that was of a publishable standard. It wouldn’t be enough to just have a story finished – I would have to be happy enough with it to want to share it with others ie publish it so the world could crap on it.

Apart from appeasing my wife, it would also serve as a way to prove to myself that I could come up with something from nothing, and that I could write fast if I wanted to. It would also double-up as a Christmas present, so how could I not go ahead with it?

Let me tell you, it was exciting and exhausting and fun and terrifying, all at once.

After tossing around ideas for a few hours, I came up with the one I used – a character so excited about Christmas and a believer in Santa who wanted to prove to others that Santa exists. That’s my wife to a T, although the character of Sophie isn’t really based on my wife (though she will probably tell you differently!)

I then gave myself another day to come up with the plot from start to finish. I had a minimum and maximum word count (7,500-12,000) to keep me from blathering on, and then came up with the characters and the general plot. I wrote one sentence about each chapter, flipped those chapters around so they worked better and then started writing.

The twist didn’t come to me until I was writing the chapter where it happens (I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t yet read the book). When that happened, I sat back and thought, “Huh, well there you go.” I didn’t second guess it, even though it changed my ending. I also didn’t second-guess it when another character appeared out of the blue and changed the course of Mac’s story.

All up, I hit the 10-day time-frame I gave myself to have it publish-ready. It took an extra few days to commission the cover art and get my beta readers and an editor friend of mine to look over it, and another day to teach myself how to format the file to upload it to amazon and kobo, which proved easier than I first thought.

Then came the time for the big reveal. I had tossed around just giving it to my wife on Christmas morning, but that meant that I couldn’t tell anyone about it, even if I published it, because my wife would find out. While it was an exciting prospect to wait and give her the best present ever, I really wanted my family and friends to know that all my talking about writing wasn’t me just talking crap.

I wanted validation, and I wanted to release my little book on the world and see if it could make its own friends.

I decided to print out the story and compile it into a little booklet, complete with a ribbon tying the pages in place.

Three Wishes - Original Print version (One of a kind!)

Three Wishes – Original Print version (One of a kind!)

I was extremely nervous giving the book to her, because I knew how much I wanted her to like it. The thing about my wife is, she can’t fake it. If she didn’t like it, she wouldn’t tell me she did, just to make me feel better. Having said that, we had the following conversation:

Wife: So is this just for me or for publishing?

Me: If you like it, I’ll publish it if you want me to. If you don’t I won’t.

Wife: That’s too much pressure! I’m going to lie to you. If I don’t like it, I’m going to tell you I do, just so you publish it anyway.

Lucky for us both, she liked it.

I sat beside her as she read it, and she seemed to laugh in all the right places. And because she liked it, I published it.

After all of that excitement, I’m not exactly sure how I can top that for a Christmas present, but I have just over a week to come up with something.

I’ll be quiet on the blog for the next few weeks because of the Christmas holidays and working on the 2 urban fantasy projects, and then we’re off with my niece on a 2 week holiday to Tasmania in January. I’ll still be writing during that time, but I probably won’t find time to update the blog until the end of January.

Until then, I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.

My debut novella, Three Wishes, is on special on amazon until Boxing Day for just 99c. You can buy it by clicking on the cover at the top of this post, or clicking here.

Free shipping in Australia! Due to the cost of overseas shipping, all orders outside of Australia will incur a $15AU shipping fee per item. All prices in Australian dollars. Dismiss