Archives for the month of: December, 2015

Hi all:
I know I’ve been telling you for a while that I had reviews pending to share, and I thought as you might have a bit of time to read over the holidays (ha!) I’d bring you some before the year ends. (Doesn’t time fly!)
Here two books that although very different share fabulous plots, strong female characters and a good deal of ‘magic’, ‘secrets’ and very unexpected things. Both writers are also great bloggers and I’m sure will keep coming back.
First:

Alchemy by Ailsa Abraham

Alchemy by Ailsa Abraham

Alchemy by Ailsa Abraham. Sometimes perfect solutions bring unexpected problems.

Ailsa Abraham’s novel Alchemy starts with a premise that would be the perfect ending for many novels, in appearance promising an idyllic utopian future for all. With a mysterious thriller-like beginning, a discovery that for once falls in the right hands, and a deal too good for all governments to ignore, one wonders where the story will go from there. Fascinating and enlightened characters appear and then quickly get to work, and new characters, whose relationship to the previous ones is not always evident at first, make an entry.

There is magic related to Pagan religious practice, and we follow two young children, a boy and a girl, as they discover their faith and are trained to reach the highest ranks. Do not worry if you’re not very versed in the different pagan practices and groups, as Adrian, a Professor in Ancient Religious Studies and once born (not magical) and his girlfriend, Helen, a thriller writer, serve as a point of contact and questioning guides into the ins and outs of the new world religious order. And if you thought everything seemed too nice to be true, there’s evil at work and dangerous alliances that put humanity at risk. A pair of unlikely hero and heroine will have to step forward and pay the price.

If you think fights over fuel and religious wars are responsible for all that’s wrong in our world, read this book and you might think again. Alchemy is a novel that combines a plot interesting from an ethical and philosophical point of view, with a good story and fascinating characters that I hope will be further developed in other books in the series. And if you like a good romantic story of impossible love, Riga and Iamo are far more interesting than Romeo and Juliette. (And two of the most intriguing characters I’ve met in recent times).

If you have an open mind and like to explore big questions whilst being transported to worlds both familiar and completely alien to ours, you should read this book. If you love adventures that go beyond the usual, don’t miss it. If you love beautifully written books with great characters, this one is for you too. In summary, if you have a bit of imagination and enjoy reading, give it a go. I am looking forward to reviewing Shaman’s Drum soon.

Links:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I3A4HCQ/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00I3A4HCQ/

Paper:

http://www.amazon.com/Alchemy-Ailsa-Abraham/dp/1909841501/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alchemy-Ailsa-Abraham/dp/1909841501/

Here, her Amazon page so you can keep up with her news. And don’t forget to follow!

http://www.amazon.com/Ailsa-Abraham/e/B00AYKUBQ4/

And her blog:

http://ailsaabraham.com/

And:

Bad Moon by Anita Dawes

Bad Moon by Anita Dawes (and Jaye Marie, her sister, as they are a team)

Bad Moon by Anita Dawes. Blood Ties and an Unforgiving Fate.

Bad Moon is narrated in the first person by Annie, a young girl who lives happily with her family: mother (Ruby), father (Jed), and older brother (Nathan). She adores her father, although her mother’s behaviour is far from exemplary (she regularly invites other men to her home and that results in incidents with her husband, who takes it out on the men and seem remarkably tolerant of his wife’s behaviour). At first, Annie is worried that she might end up becoming a woman like her mother when she grows up and thinks it is all due to her mother’s family (her father says that her mother was born under a ‘bad moon’ and she comes from ‘the Hills’ where people seem to have their own morality and rules of behaviour). The inhabitants of the Hills seem to be directly related to those of The Hills Have Eyes or the banjo players in Deliverance. What Annie doesn’t know is that things are worse than she ever could imagine. She has lived all her life in a world of lies and secrets. She is convinced she must learn the truth to avoid history repeating itself and is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve that. The costs are high indeed.

Annie does not have much formal schooling (she decides to leave school when she realises things aren’t as they should) but she is extremely articulate, and some of the descriptions of the landscape surrounding her home, of her experiences and dreams, her mystical feelings on visiting the caves previously inhabited by a Native-American tribe, and her reflections are beautiful and lyrical. We might disagree with some of her decisions but it is difficult not to admire her determination. She never tries to be liked or makes excuses for her own behaviour (she might blame others at times, but despite not being a believer or having much in the way of role models, she does question her actions and tries to make things better), and she is neither all good nor all bad. It’s a testimony to the skill of the author that although Annie’s head is not a pleasant place to be in, we can’t help but wish she’ll succeed and live to see another day.

With themes including incest, rape, infanticide, murder, cannibalism, paedophilia and plenty of violence, this is not a gentle novel or an easy read. There is sex and violence, although these are not graphically rendered, but anybody with a modicum of imagination will be left with many powerful images difficult to forget. The strong intuition of the main character, the roles of fate, blood and family history and the communities portrayed turn this book into a tragedy where instead of kings and gods we have as protagonists a family in the outskirts of society and outside of history. (The historical period of the story and the outside society are not described in detail and this adds to the sense of claustrophobia an entrapment.)

If Annie is a heroine, a tragic hero or an anti-hero is open to interpretation and I haven’t decided yet. I’m not sure I’d like to meet her in real life, but I know I’d like to read more about her.

Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Moon-Anita-Dawes-ebook/dp/B009BK3AYS/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Moon-Anita-Dawes-ebook/dp/B009BK3AYS/

Paper:

http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Moon-Anita-Dawes/dp/1326330179/

 

Here is her Amazon page to keep up with her news. And don’t forget to follow!:

http://www.amazon.com/Anita-Dawes/e/B0034NUE10/

And her (and sister Jaye Marie’s) blogs:

http://jenanita01.com/

http://anitajaydawes.blogspot.co.uk/

Thanks to the authors for two great books, thanks to you all for reading, and don’t forget to share, like, comment, and CLICK! And Keep Reading!

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Hola a todos.

Como todos los viernes, hoy os traigo una novedad literaria.

Estrella Cardona Gamio ya ha visitado mi blog en varias ocasiones, pero ví que había publicado un nuevo libro que me intrigó muchísimo (se que Estrella y su hermana Concha están my interesadas en el bienestar de los animales y el tema me pareció fascinante).

Y aquí os lo traigo:

El perro de porcelana de Estrella Cardona Gamio

El perro de porcelona de Estrella Cardona Gamio

El perro de porcelona de Estrella Cardona Gamio

Comentario de la autora:
En esta novela de ficción fantástica, se desarrolla un argumento en el cual se narra la aventura de un perro que por salvar a su dueña, es capaz de viajar a través de los siglos para encontrar ayuda, pero, ¿quién puede dársela si esa aventura es increíble?
La intriga está servida, ¡no te la pierdas!

ADVERTENCIA:
Como sé que existe la costumbre de saltarse las introducciones y los prefacios, y puesto que imagino que en este caso lo haréis, aconsejo a los lectores, una vez concluida EL PERRO DE PORCELANA, que se tomen la molestia de leerlos, porque aún les queda algo por descubrir.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018OO8JHE/

http://www.amazon.es/dp/B018OO8JHE/

http://www.amazon.mx/dp/B018OO8JHE/

Por si no conocéis a Estrella o queréis repasar su obra, aquí os dejo su página en Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Estrella-Cardona-Gamio/e/B007ZT0JWS/

Muchas gracias a Estrella por traernos su nueva novela, gracias a todos vosotros por leer, y si os ha interesado, dadle al me gusta, comentad, compartid y haced CLICK!

Y, por cierto, la semana que viene compartiré una reseña de otro libro de esta autora que me ha gustado mucho.

Hi all:

As you know on Fridays I bring you new books and new authors. Today I do both. I met Ana Spoke through her blog, where she shares her adventures in writing, promoting, creating covers… She tells it all exactly as it is, and will give you names, numbers and everything in between. Here is her blog, if you don’t believe me.

After reading about her adventures in publishing, promoting and about her book, I knew I had to bring her here, as I was convinced if you hadn’t met her you’d enjoy it as much as I do.

So, here she is:

Author Ana Spoke

Author Ana Spoke

Ana Spoke is the author of Shizzle, Inc, which has been prominently featured in Top 100 Amazon bestseller lists since its release in September 2015. She is currently working on the second instalment of the Isa Maxwell series. Ana lives in Australia with her fiancé.

You can connect with Ana on her:

Blog:http://anaspoke.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14260090.Ana_Spoke
Twitter: @spokeana

Amazon pagehttp://www.amazon.com/Ana-Spoke/e/B0152TTNYC/

And her book, Shizzle, Inc. 

Shizzle, Inc. by Ana Spoke

Shizzle, Inc. by Ana Spoke

Isa Maxwell is an average busty blonde, a recent graduate of a community college, and rap-loving, gun-toting, self-proclaimed badass. More than anything else, Isa wants to be discovered, so that she can solve her financial woes and win back Brad, the love of her life.
Thanks to her clumsiness, street smarts, and an unbelievable bit of luck, Isa lands a dream job at Shizzle, Inc. Things start to look up when Mr. Hue, the playboy billionaire owner of Shizzle, Inc takes Isa under his wing. Isa even gets a number of new love interests, but all is not what it seems. In fact, absolutely nothing is what it seems.
Can Isa survive the tough world of corporate intrigue and constant looming bodily harm? Or will her efforts be the end of Shizzle, Inc and possibly her life?

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B014XFQPZ6/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B014XFQPZ6/

http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B014XFQPZ6/

Thanks so much to Ana for her book, thanks to all of you for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment, and CLICK!

Hola a todos:

No sé si recordaréis que os he hablado un par de veces de Seebooks que me parecen una gran oportunidad para promocionar los libros digitales pero de una manera más directa y tangible (se pueden firmar, tocar, enviar, regalar…).

Aquí el video…

Por si se me olvida, su página web está aquí.

Aparte de los Seebooks también están expandiendo y ofrecen una gran variedad de productos, incluyendo guías para museos, audios…

No os voy a contar lo difícil que es promocionar libros, especialmente la versión digital de libros en foros como presentaciones, conferencias, lecturas, ferias… Por eso su idea de puntos de libros que le permiten descargar un 33% del libro al lector gratuitamente, me pareció excelente. Es un recordatorio visual y es un regalo.

Aquí os explican un poco más:


He tenido la suerte de conocer a Rosa Sala, la CEO de la compañía y una autora que decidió buscar la manera de ayudar a promocionar los libros digitales que pueda llegar a gente que no está tan acostumbrada a la lectura en formato digital (con las ventajas del papel, pero sin los inconvenientes del peso y el espacio).

Yo estoy colaborando con  ellos para promocionar Seebooks e intentar expandirlos al Reino Unido. Aquí están los míos…

grupo-seebook-indie-Olgaing

Y los puntos de libro:

marcapaginas-ing

Si queréis más información, con mucho gusto os cuento algo, os envío alguno (aunque están en inglés) y si no, podéis investigar vosotros mismos.

Podéis dejar vuestros comentarios aquí o enviarme un correo a:

olga@seebook.eu

Gracias por leer y si os ha interesado, dadle al me gusta, comentad, compartid y haced CLIC!

Hi all:

Some of you might remember that a few months back I brought you something I had come across in Twitter, called Seebooks (click here for a reminder of the post). I told you at the time that I had been exchanging information with Rosa Sala, the CEO, and I hoped to meet her in person in Barcelona.

Well, we met in September, and since I’ve been trying to give them a hand to bring the product to the UK (and hopefully many other places).

There are working on other products (including museum guides, audios…) and continuously renovating. And happy to hear new ideas.

Let me explain a bit more….

Seebooks look like a postcard and have the book cover at the front, at the back similar information to the back of the book (blurb, author picture if you like, and information about the author) and inside a code and QR for the book to be downloaded in a variety of formats. You can of course sign it or add a personal dedication to it. And, you can add bonus content (another story about the same characters, a video, a bit of audio, deleted chapters, PDFs with extra information… anything). You can send them to reviewers, readers, gift them as part of giveaways and take them with you to book launches or signings (and that way you can offer a less expensive alternative to your paperbacks). (Of course if you know bookshops or gift shops that might be willing to sell them there, they don’t take up a lot of space so… I’m wondering about card shops too.)

Here is a video (I just like the guy!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Fm6rwJ-0KU

And they’ve just in introduced ‘Seebookmarks’ a bookmark that has the cover of the book at the front and a snippet of information about it (the author logo if you want, too), and at the back the QR and code that allows for the 33% of the book to be downloaded. When the readers get to the end of the sample, they get the links to buy it in all the shops where they’re available. You can use them like you’d use a personal card, with the advantage that it contains a gift and can hook the reader! I have talked to the local library where I live and they’re happy to have them there and to send them to the other branches. In Spain Seebook have a deal with the libraries in Barcelona and they‘re distributing Seebookmarks there (and exploring other places too).

Here is a presentation with a bit more detail about Seebookmarks:

http://bit.ly/1QCzGrG

Seebook have a virtual shop, and they collect information (about downloads: who, times, where, etc.), produce very detailed reports that they will send to you, and are happy to e-mail people who have already downloaded your books for future campaigns.

After chatting to them and working with them, they produced some Seebooks for me. Let me show them to you:

grupo-seebook-indie-Olgaing

And Seebookmarks:

marcapaginas-ing

As I was saying they are keen on seeing what authors in other places think about it, and have ask me to investigate (they call me their UK representative, but that’s only a big name). What it means is that if you’re interested in the product (check their website here) I can chat to you about it, send you samples, and offer you discounts.

You can leave you comments here, or contact me via e-mail:

 

olga@seebook.eu

or

mmxrynz@hotmail.com

And readers, I’m giving away five of my own Seebooks (and I’ll throw bookmarks in too) to five of you, in advance to the official publication of the single volume version of my YA series (due the 15th of December). Just contact me! (I’ll need addresses!)

Thanks so much to Rosa and Seebook for the Seebooks and for this opportunity, thanks to you all for reading, and you know, you can like, share, comment and CLICK!

Hola a todos:

Hoy es viernes, y como sabéis toca autora invitada y nuevo libro. Acabo de conocer a la autora, Teresa Guirado, en Twitter, pero cuando descubrí su libro, tuve que traéroslo, porque tiene un título iressistible y muy buenos comentarios. Así que, aquí está:

Jodidamente especial de Teresa Guirado

Jodidamente especial de Teresa Guirado

Jodidamente especial  Teresa Guirado 

¿Qué haces cuando encuentras a alguien ‘jodidamente especial’?

Amat es el máximo responsable de su empresa en España. Da siempre la impresión de tenerlo todo controlado. Tiene un trabajo envidiable, una novia guapísima y una casa magnífica aunque, quizás, no sea eso exactamente lo que anhela.
Vera es como una gata, nunca sabes si va o viene. Pequeña y de aspecto dulce esconde una gran fortaleza y muchos secretos. Cree tener las cosas muy claras. Está convencida de que tiene que pagar las fatales consecuencias de sus actos.

Ambos parecen tener el camino trazado: una existencia tranquila, repetitiva, sin sobresaltos… pero algo cambia en ellos cuando se cruzan en la bonita ciudad de Valencia
Tendrán que colaborar para cumplir su objetivo, sólo tienen 15 días.

Dos semanas y un puñado de canciones que pondrán sus vidas del revés.
*     *     *
El amor en la vida real es más complicado de lo que nos gustaría.
Los romances están llenos de dudas e indecisiones, de alegrías y anhelos, de desilusiones y nuevas esperanzas.
Vera y Amat están dentro de todos y cada uno de nosotros y, ahora, puedes escuchar sus voces, más claramente que nunca, en este libro.

Los blogs cuentan…
“Algo debe tener esta novela que siendo la opera prima de Teresa Guirado se ha estado moviendo entre los Top 10 de los bestsellers del Concurso Indie de Amazon. ” ERIGINAL BOOKS

“Saber reconocer a tiempo nuestro sincero deseo nos aventura un futuro de felicidad. ”    LIBREANDO CON CRISTINA PARDO

” Es una bonita, divertida y desastrada historia sobre amor.”  EDUCACION 2.0

Los lectores opinan…

“Leído de una sentada! muy bello, muy humano, muy real.”
“Necesario para todas esas personas que dudan de la posibilidad de amar.”
“Adictiva. Enamora con unos protagonistas deliciosos, un lenguaje cuidado y una historia magnífica.”
“Te engancha, te atrapa y te lleva con los personajes hasta el último capítulo.”
“Un libro 100% recomendable, en el que viajas con los personajes, te mezclas con su entorno, oyes su música, en una mezcla perfecta de descripción y narración”
“Sencillamente nuevo. Creo que inédito. Me ha sorprendido la composición de la narrativa”
“Me ha cautivado con la magnífica descripción de los personajes.”
“Gracias por haberme devuelto la pasión por la lectura.”
“Preciosa historia ambientada en Valencia que engancha desde el primer momento por su excelente narrativa.”
“Invita también a la reflexión personal. No me ha dejado indiferente”
“Recomiendo 100% la novela.”
“Los personajes están muy bien definidos y quedan perfectamente reflejados”.
“Bonita historia de amor a “fuego lento” que atrapa con unos personajes cercanos y muy reales”

Enlaces:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B011EEXGTM/

http://www.amazon.es/dp/B011EEXGTM/

http://www.amazon.mx/dp/B011EEXGTM/

Y aquí un poco de información sobre la escritora:

Autora Teresa Guirado

Autora Teresa Guirado

Teresa Guirado nace en Madrid y se traslada a Valencia a la edad de ocho años, ambas ciudades en España. A pesar de sus estudios de ingeniería siempre ha amado la literatura. Lectora voraz y gran viajera, su fantasía finalmente toma cuerpo en su primera novela , ‘Jodidamente especial’, que ha logrado posiciones lideres en las ventas de Amazon.es durante semanas.

http://www.amazon.com/Teresa-Guirado/e/B0125LIP9O/

Muchas gracias a Teresa Guirado por traernos su libro, gracias a vosotros por leer, y si os ha interesado, dadle al me gusta, comentad, compartid, y haced CLIC!

Hi all:

It’s Friday, and as you know, on Fridays I bring you guest authors and new books. Today I have the pleasure to bring you an author, blogger and friend (so far we’ve only met in the blogosphere, but we keep talking about meeting in person at some point soon), Sally Cronin. Her blog is unmissable. You can find there advice on nutrition and health issues, interviews and features about authors, artists, musicians… advice on publishing and writing, special features and series (like her Christmas Grotto suggestions for Christmas presents), and her own stories. Recently she shared with her readers her magical Tales from the Garden and after much insistence from her readers she decided to publish them in book format. And here they are. When I offered Sally to feature her new book here she send me this ‘Behind the Scenes’ feature especially for you. I hope you enjoy it!

Tales From the Garden small- Cover

Tales from the Garden by Sally Cronin

Tales From The Garden – Behind the scenes – by Sally Cronin

 My thanks to Olga for sharing her blog with me today so that I can cover some more behind the scenes background on the guardians from my latest book Tales from the Garden.

The gardener, who stayed on when the previous owners left the house, had obviously been following their instructions to hide Snow White and the seven dwarves on a back ledge out of sight. To be fair we did try to get rid of them to various friends over the years that had children, but without much success.

Eventually we felt sorry for them as they looked so forlorn on the windswept ledge where they were being used as target practice by the swallows. Snow white had been released from exile and was on one of the front balconies and judging by the mischievous looks on the dwarves faces it may have been out of choice.

There is a corner at the top of the garden with a stone table and bench seats. It gets shade in the hot summers and is a perfect place for children to play safely. We relocated the boys up there including one which seemed to have formed an attachment to a rather large rabbit. When I was coming up with names for the various gardens I felt that I would not get away with calling it Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, so Pearly Girl and the Stoned Band came into being.

They became an integral part of several of the stories and I have become very attached to them. Here they are in their new spot in the garden. 

05-05a_dwarf_band_tuning_up

Stoned Band in action!

About Tales from the Garden. 

Tales from the Garden is a collection of fairy stories and 80 illustrations, for children of all ages, from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden forever.

The tales reveal the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees and you will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories.

The guardians who have kept this sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.

The book is available at a substantial discount via my own website: http://moyhill.com/tales

Also at Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0180Q6CKM

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0180Q6CKM

Author Sally Cronin

Author Sally Cronin

About Sally Cronin.

Sally Cronin spent a number of years in each of the following industries – Retail, Advertising and Telecommunications, Radio & Television; and has taken a great deal of inspiration from each.

She has written short stories and poetry since a very young age and contributed to media in the UK and Spain. In 1996 Sally began studying nutrition to inspire her to lose 150 lbs. and her first book, Size Matters published in 2001, told the story of that journey back to health. This was followed by another seven books across a number of genres including health, humour and romance. These include Just Food For Health, Size Matters, Just an Odd Job Girl, Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, Flights of Fancy anthology, Turning Back the Clock and Media Training.

All these can be found on Amazon or Smashwords.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

 

For the last two years Sally has written a daily blog covering the subjects close to her heart including writing, health and music: Smorgasbord Invitation – Variety is the Spice of Life. You can link to it from here: smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com.

 

Connect to Sally on social media.

http://moyhill.com/tales/

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1
https://twitter.com/sgc58
https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin
https://www.facebook.com/sallygeorginacronin
https://plus.google.com/+SallyCronin/about

 

Thank you again Olga for allowing me to share my guardians here today.

Thanks to Sally for bringing us her enchanting book, thanks to all of you for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, you know what to do, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Hola a todos:

IMG_0969

Me pidieron que escribiera un artículo sobre las Navidades para un par de sitios web dedicados a emigrantes ingleses que viven en otros países (sí, ya sé que no soy inglesa, pero les interesan las experiencias de todos los emigrantes).

IMG_0974

Como le comenté a Susan, las Navidades no son mi época favorita del año, desde hace tiempo. Me hacían ilusión cuando era pequeña, pero ahora… Cuando trabajaba en hospitales me tocó muchas veces estar de guardia en esa época, más vale que no hablemos de la comercialización de las fiestas, de la presión por estar felices y contentos (y hay gente para quienes éste es un período del año particularmente difícil), y una vez incluso me asaltaron el día de Navidad en Washington D.C. (esa es otra historia).IMG_0978

Pero como le comenté, una de las cosas que me gustan de las Navidades (de las pocas) son los mercadillos que se montan por Navidad y las ferias de artesanía y regalos.IMG_0985

Hace unos años descubrí en Penistone una exhibición de artesanía y arte (Art in the Altar, Arte en el altar) que suele tener lugar en Noviembre, con la idea de animar a la gente a hacer compras de regalos navideños. El marco es fabuloso, la iglesia de St John en Penistone (en Facebook) y el grupo que lo organiza Hens Teeth es un colectivo de artistas locales, que dona un 20% de las ventas a caridad. IMG_0980

Hay un poco de todo: textiles, cerámica, vidrio, madera, libros, postales, hierro forjado, joyería, objetos de decoración, grabados y pinturas, bufandas y tejidos, decoraciones navideñas…IMG_0981

Si por casualidad pasáis por esta zona suelen organizar eventos en la región, y si no, ¿por qué no le echáis un vistazo a lo que organizan los artesanos y artistas de vuestra zona? Son regalos más originales, conoceréis a gente fantástica, y no estaréis haciendo colas en los grandes almacenes.IMG_0979

Gracias por leer, y ya sabéis, si os ha gustado, dadle al me gusta, comentad, compartid y haced CLIC! IMG_0984

Ah, si queréis echarle un vistazo a la experiencia en 360 grados, aquí os dejo el enlace. http://www.hensteeth.org.uk/art_at_the_altar.html (Es del año 2010)

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Hi all:

IMG_0969

Susan Allen from The English Informer in the UK and The English Informer in France asked me if I could contribute an article to her web magazines on the subject of Christmas. I had to admit I’ve never been overly fond of Christmas, or at least not since I’ve been a grown up. I don’t have a large family and we aren’t particularly traditional either. Due to my job I worked quite a few Christmases (hospitals don’t close) and once I was assaulted on Christmas Day (in Washington DC, just outside Arlington Cemetery. But that’s another story). I won’t moan about the commercialisation of Christmas (you’re welcome to add your thoughts) but there’s a sense of duty to be in the seasonal spirit and a forced cheerfulness that only makes people whose circumstance might not be that merry feel worse. But now that I’ve put you on a happy mood, let me talk about something I like about Christmas and very local to me.

IMG_0974

Among the joys (?) of Christmas are the traditional Christmas cards and Christmas presents. And although trying to get presents if you leave it too close to the date can be stressful and challenging, there are also options that make for an interesting experience and can broaden our horizons. I like Christmas markets (although again you might want to avoid high peaks of activity if you can), and there are also smaller events that make the best out of the season.

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A few years back we had plenty of snow in November (we had the first snow of the year recently too) and I decided not to drive over the weekend. It wasn’t the first year I’d seen something called ‘Art at the Altar’ advertised at St John’s Church in Penistone.  (Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Penstjohns/) The church is well-worth a visit in its own right and is very active locally (including recently hosting a beer festival) but at that point I had never managed to go visit ‘Art in the Altar’. But that year I did, and since I’ve become a big fan.

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The event, organised by Hens Teeth  a collective of local artist, offers the opportunity to see lovely craft items exhibited in the wonderful setting of the church, and they are for sale, so you can buy unique gifts for Christmas, at reasonable prices, and support local artists and charity (as 20% of the sales go to charitable organisations). There are also drinks and cakes available, so you can make a day (or at least a morning or an afternoon) of it.

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You can find a bit of all: textiles, glass, pottery, jewellery, illustrated books, wood, scarfs and handbags, Christmas decorations, paintings and drawings…

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I include a few of my pictures (you might notice I am somewhat partial to owls) for this  year’s event but Hens Teeth also provide a link in their website to experience a 360 degree view of the 2010 event. Click here and have a look!  http://www.hensteeth.org.uk/art_at_the_altar.html

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If you are near, check their page as they have events organised around the region, and if you’re not, explore the area where you live as you’re likely to find talented artist and craft events a stone’s throw from you. You won’t only be supporting local artists and crafts but you’ll also have a great time.

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Thank you all for reading and remember to like, share, comment and CLICK!

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