Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

OK, now it's Christmas. My creche is at one end of the big table in the living room, and the Magi are at the other end, to be moved a bit closer each day until Epiphany.

Book View Cafe is having a sale starting tomorrow. There was considerable debate about what to call it, because nobody believes all the customers are Christian. I admit that I rather liked "The Twelve Days of Book View Cafe," but after considerable debate as to whether everyone knows what Boxing Day is, it was finally agreed to use that. (My position is that when I see half-price eBook sale, if I don't know what Boxing Day is, I'm not going to care--and if I really want to know I can always look it up.) One thing we all agreed on was that we liked the "discount magically applied by our checkout fairies." Now if only we could find some "site update fairies"....

The sale includes MZB's The Complete Lythande, which I spent most of last week turning into an iBook. I got three books and a short story (to test the process without having to re-format more than 100,000 words of book) into the queue before iTunes Connect shut down for Christmas, but only The Complete Lythande made it as far as the iTunes store. It will be interesting to see how long it takes the rest of them to make the journey.

Speaking of late-December holidays, I read a really good book last weekend: An Unlikely Witch, by Debora Geary. It's the latest in her series about an extended family of witches living in Berkeley, California (and Nova Scotia, Canada--teleportation spells are so useful). I downloaded it on the day of the solstice, started reading it before I went to sleep, picked it up again when I woke up, and finished it just as the sun rose the next morning. This was appropriate, because it is about the celebration of the Winter Solstice and about a child that had appeared in a magical vision the day his parents met each other. It's now several years later, and they're anxiously waiting for his arrival. Debora has been writing about these characters for years (this is her third series about them, and I believe there are thirteen books as well as a handful of short stories), and while she says that this book is not intended to stand on its own, she does a good enough job of sprinkling in background material that I don't think you'd be totally lost if it were the first one you read. But it is more fun to read (or re-read) them in order. I'm now starting the entire sequence over again. The book that first hooked me is a prequel to the Modern Witch series (books 1-7), called To Have and to Code. I'm more interested in computer programming than witchcraft, but I love the way she combines computers and magic. And An Unlikely Witch serves as a reminder that, regardless of the holiday you celebrate, the birth of a child is a miracle.