Tag Archives: Xmas

Quintette of Questions: SM Spencer

This week’s romance release interview is with:

SM Spencer

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

A Chance for Snow.  I wanted to keep to the theme of “A Chance …” and knew this was to be a story set around Christmas, so this worked well. It wasn’t hard to pick the title, just took a bit of tweaking.

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

Hugh Jackman would make a fabulous Jim Mitchell!  And Rose Byrne would make a great Debra Franklin. As for the kids, perhaps a young Liam Hemsworth for Porter, and Emily Browning as Megan. (An all Australian cast, for certain!)

3. What five words best describe your story?

Moving, Dreamy, Surprising, Entwining, Genuine

4. Who is your favourite fictional couple?

Well, if I were to base it on the number of times I watched the movie and never seemed to tire of it, I think it would have to be Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. My favourite quote from the movie, “big mistake”. Who doesn’t know where she says that, who she’s talking to at the time, and why she says it? It’s a classic line!

5. What song always makes you cry? 

The song Angel (sometimes known as In the Arms of an Angel) by Sarah McLachlan always make me teary; every time I hear it. I love all versions of the song, but perhaps my favourite would be the one with Pink, from the American Music Awards, 2008.

I’m glad you asked this question as it prompted me to look up the history of the song—there’s a good reason it brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.

About A Chance for Snow

With a double wedding and Christmas fast approaching, love is in the air—or is it?

Of course Debra Franklin is looking forward to her best friend’s wedding; she just wishes she wasn’t dateless again, because even though she’s made plans to leave the small-town gossips behind, she knows the wedding photos with her looking like a spinster will last forever. But when the tall-dark-and-handsome Jim Mitchell, with his cobalt blue eyes shadowed by an American cowboy hat, appears on the scene just a week before the wedding, she reckons her problem of being dateless might just be solved.

Megan Saunders has always wanted a White Christmas, and this year she’s having one—in Canada. But getting her wish is a double-edged sword as it means having less time with her best friend, Porter Murray, before he leaves for university. She’s getting her childhood wish fulfilled, so why does her future feel as bleak as a dusty road leading nowhere?

As Debra’s and Jim’s paths cross with the teenagers, they form unusual friendships—and their lives are changed in surprising ways.

About S M Spencer

Growing up, S M Spencer wanted two things: a horse, and a writing career. After years of hard work, she’s got both. Living the Dream!

Follow S M Spencer

Buy A Chance for Snow

Xmas Gifts for Writers: The Journal of Infinite Possibility

img_6469It’s only November, I know, but Christmas is coming anyway, with all the inevitability of sunrise, vampires in fiction, and a writer’s need for either coffee or wine (or both).

Speaking of writer’s needs, here’s a really neat gift idea for the writer in your life. Whether they’ve got thirty books under their sparkly belt or they’re still experimenting with style, form and pen name, you can’t go wrong with an inspirational journal.

And oh look, here’s one that Clan Destine Press prepared earlier!

The Journal of Infinite Possibility is a gorgeous little journal indeed. For a start, it’s full of pages waiting to be filled!

Mind you, the creators of this journal are writers and artists themselves and well know the terrifying tyranny of the blank page. That’s why the pages here aren’t exactly blank.

img_6463Instead, every page of The Journal of Infinite Possibility contains a picture, a quote, a prompt. Places to doodle when the words aren’t wording, images to colour in when doodles aren’t even doodling.

Actually, there’s plenty of space here for artists as well as writers, or for those scarily talented people who do both! They’ll certainly be inspired by the gorgeous covers and corner illustrations by Sarah Pain, Ashlea Bechaz, Vicky Pratt, Loraine Cooper and Ran Valerhon! (Two of that august list have created covers for my books with Clan Destine!)

img_6470A few of the pages are shown in part here so you can see how gorgeous this whole package is. The only real danger is that the writer who gets this won’t want to ink up the pretty pages. But ink it up, folks! Make it messy and crazy and bursting to full with your own  ideas sparked by these words and pictures and blank spaces just begging to be decorated with words, lines, lists, scrawls, sketches and the seeds of something bigger.

What the hell. Don’t get it for some other writer. Get it for yourself.

It’s what I’ve done.

New Sherlock Holmes Xmas story

mx-anthology-xmas-adventuresI’m delighted to announce that I have another short story coming out this year. What’s more, it’s in a Sherlock Holmes anthology that is raising funds for a school housed in Arthur Conan Doyle’s old home, Undershaw.

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Part V: Christmas Adventures is the latest anthology from MX Publishing. The book is, as the name implies, the newest of the MX anthology series containing trraditional, canon-era adventures, with sale proceeds all going to support the Stepping Stones school for children with learning difficulties. (This means that I and my fellow writers have waived payment to ensure the maximum funds go to this project.)

The anthology is edited by well-known Holmesian writer, David Marcum, and its contributors include Wendy C. Fries (author of The Day They Met), Denis O. Smith and James Lovegrove, with forwards by Jonathan Kellerman and Steve Emecz, among others.

Kickstarter

You can back this project up until 21 October 2016 on its Kickstarter. (After that date, you’ll be able to get the anthology, along with its predecessors, online at MX Publishing or through Amazon.)

There are plenty of options, including a PDF, a paperback or a hardcover copy of the book. You can even back it by getting Volumes 1-5 as a paperback or hardback set.

Find out more or back the book at:

As a bit of a taster of what you’ll find in the anthology, here’s an excerpt from The Christmas Card Mystery:

The mantelpiece was as cluttered as ever with pipes and the Persian slipper, a few stray plugs of tobacco held against his morning smoke, unopened correspondence, the clock, a collection of curved wooden shapes of obscure function, and a retort containing pale yellow fluid sitting in a cradle – some half completed or completely forgotten experiment, no doubt. The morocco case was thankfully not to be seen. An engaging case, then.

Sitting among all of this habitual detritus were five Christmas cards, each depicting scenes of a macabre humour. A frog that had stabbed its fellow, two naked-plucked geese with a man on a roasting spit, a wasp chasing two children with the unlikely subtitle A Joyous New Year, a savage white bear crushing an explorer in A Hearty Welcome, and a dead robin which read May yours be a joyful Christmas. The latter at least hearkened to the Christ story, the rest to a certain black wit about Holmes’s profession.

It seemed likely to me that one card had been sent by Lestrade, others by Gregson or Jones. I took up the card depicting the frog-murder but found it inscribed merely with To my dear friend at the top and Mrs Inke Pullitts underneath. The script was disorderly, as though done in haste, and struck me as more a masculine than a feminine hand.

I was startled out of my examination when the door flew open and Sherlock Holmes strode through it, a dozen newspapers under his arm.

“Ah, Watson, I see you are making yourself at home! No, no, my dear fellow, go right ahead, and tell me what you make of my Yuletide correspondence while I pour us a brandy. It’s a cruel day out, and my blood’s in need of warming.”

He abandoned the papers over the arm of his chair. His pale cheeks were rosy with the cold he’d just escaped, and his grey eyes sparkled with the merriment I had long associated with an intriguing case.

“I had thought our friends at Scotland Yard were sending you cards,” I admitted, “But I realise I must be quite wrong. They’ve never sent you any before now.” In fact, Holmes rarely received such personal missives, except from me and Mary or his brother Mycroft Holmes. “Did you retain the envelope?”

Holmes placed two glasses on the table and fetched five envelopes from beneath a book on folklore. The topmost he gave to me. I examined it closely – it was addressed in the same untidy hand as the card to the attention of Mr S Holmes, though scrawled so untidily as to appear to read ‘Mrs Hulmes’. The paper was inexpensive, matching the quality of the card, and bore no return address. The corner of the envelope was marked, fore and aft, with a peculiar indentation, as though it had contained something other than the greeting. I saw a similar mark upon the matching card. I sniffed the paper, as I had seen Holmes do in his investigations, but it told me nothing and made me feel foolish. I couldn’t bring myself to dab the tip of my tongue to the paper, another of Holmes’s investigative techniques.

“What was in it?” I asked.


Once more – you can find out more or back the book at:

Gifts for the Writer in Your Life

BlainMineChristmasCatChristmas is 12 days away, which ought to prompt me to some kind of ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ doggerel, but honestly. I like you all too much to subject you to such dire yuletide whims. (I did once rewrite The Night Before Christmas, with our cat Petra in the leading role, and if my doggerel amnesty fails, I’ll subject you to that at a later date.)

The organised amongst you will have completed your Christmas shopping, while the rest of us are in the process of staring, aghast, at the calendar and wailing OH MY GOD, NO, I’M NOT READY, I’M NOT READY, I WILL NEVER BE READY!

I can’t do much to help you with that, I’m afraid, except offer a few suggestions of what you might get for the writer in your life. It breaks down into two categories: time and stuff.

Time

If the writer in your life is anything like me, the thing they need most of is time. Time to write. Time to plan. Time to just sit and think and think and think in an attempt to sort out that plot point that simply will not resolve itself in five minute snatches of contemplation over a cup of tea. If the writer in your life is a parent, and has a lot of household responsibilities as well, a little alone time for thinking is especially precious.

Some years ago, my dear friend Jehni and I arranged to take our mutual dear friend, Yvon, away for a weekend for her birthday. We went to a farm stay, a long way away from shops, cinemas or any other distractions. Meals were included, and we could look at the cows until they came home, if that was our desire. I think we puzzled the host family a little by essentially just bedding down in the guest section of the house and writing for three days. Yvon, who normally supported her husband’s business in the office as well as taking care of the home and feeding the family, had three clear days in which she didn’t even have to do the dishes. She wrote up a storm. Jehni and I weren’t too slack either.

Okay, so maybe this Christmas it’s not possible to give your writer honey three clear days without other responsibilities, but you can find other ways to gift them time. Perhaps you can offer a standing arrangement one night a week that you make dinner, do the chores and the running around, all those things, while they lock the door to their office and get five straight hours of writing done. Maybe you can take on breakfast duties and give them an extra half hour every morning. Perhaps you can come up with the cash and the time to send them off on a writer’s retreat after all.

Talk to them first, of course, to find out how best to arrange such time so that they can make the most of it. You’ll probably come up with some other useful ways to help your cherished writer find more time for their craft. It may seem intangible, but the results will be words on pages, and a happier honey.

Stuff

It’s possible, however, that the writer in your life is already managing their time well, or that it really isn’t possible to  gift them extra time in some way. Never fear – there is always fabulous writerly STUFF to be had!

The Sentence First shop sells T-shirts and cups based on wordplay, including the delicious “Inventing words is squingulously efflumberant”.

The Literary Gift Company has always been a favourite, too, with its quotable chocolate bars, word-related jewellery, and even author-themed gifts (here’s an amusing collection of items related to Agatha Christie,  Arthur Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes and Jane Austen. The Literary Ties are pretty neat too.

Of course, there are also the stationery standbys, like Smiggle, Kikki K and Typo. Those are good if you’re worried that an online purchase won’t reach you in time, as there are plenty of Real World™ stores to find.

So good luck with your shopping, and with your writing – and whatever the festive season brings (and however you celebrate it, or not) let your new year bring you inspiration, free WiFi and all the right words in the right order.

Merry Xmas!