I've come over all Christmasy... - Mari Biella

It’s (almost) that time of year again, when the entire Western world embarks upon a huge sweaty orgy of buying and selling, and we all demand to have our stockings well and truly stuffed. When having fun is mandatory, and rapidly-sobering revellers are admitted to A&E Departments after attempting injudiciously ambitious dance moves at office parties. It’s...

No, wait! There’s no way I can say it as well as this gentleman:

Let the Festive foolishness begin!

I try to hate Christmas, I really do. I fulminate against the crass commercialism of it all, at the way a jolly Midwinter festival has been hijacked by the crazed forces of global hyper-Capitalism. But the moment I see a twinkly Christmas tree or hear the strains of Jingle Bell Rock, all is in vain. Sooner or later, my inner Scrooge always gets socked in the mouth by my inner six-year-old.

He's not going down without a fight, though...

Someone – it might have been my inner six-year-old, come to think of it – once told me that I really ought to lighten up a bit. I was outraged for a moment, but then I found myself wondering if that person might have had a point. Is a little bit of fun and frivolity really so bad? Do we have to take things obsessively seriously all the bleedin’ time?

In fiction, let it be said, I tend to wander around somewhere on the dark side. Not on the really dark side, just in a sort of murky, foggy zone where there are no real heroes or villains, and where everyone and everything is sort of ambiguous. This fits in with my experience of the world so far. I’m convinced that there really aren’t many people out there who are either truly good or truly bad. In my experience, people are truly complicated. The same person can be both kind and cruel, sometimes simultaneously.

Sometimes, I wander out of that zone, and shuffle forward, blinking, into the light. Not radiant, uncomplicated light, exactly – that would shrivel my gothic heart and strike me dead – but into a world where most people, though still ambiguous, are rather more kind than cruel. It’s a world where not everyone is hiding some hideous secret (though some people are), and people at least attempt to get along. A world where Christmas can truly be a time of great peace and joy, at least as soon as you’ve escaped from the maniac who was trying to kill you...

That last bit probably doesn’t make much sense to you. It soon may, at least if you follow me to the end of this post. If the preceding paragraph has induced a bout of Exorcist-style projectile vomiting in you, on the other hand, it’s probably better for your own sanity if you don’t read any further. A little musical interlude follows, to allow you time to run screaming from this post.

Still here? Well, you have been warned. Let us proceed.

I’ve written a book, you see. Nothing odd about that, since writing books, or at least attempting to write them, is what it’s all about in my world. Most of those books, let it be said, never make it out into the big wide world; they either die prematurely or are strangled at birth, usually as an act of mercy. Every so often, though, one of them manages to escape, which is just what this 'ere book has done.

And here it is.

Perhaps I just overlooked it. It’s a slender little book, a mere 32,000 words or so. And it’s fun (well, I think it is, anyway). It’s not really that serious. It’s The Famous Five for grown-ups. Yup, it’s like Anne from the Famous Five grew up, got married, got divorced, took up journalism and got into a hair-raising adventure as a result of her tiresome busybody snooping determined quest for the truth. Make of that what you will. Some of you may be itching to slap me. Sorry.

Anyway, it being Christmas (almost) I’m running a special offer. If you fancy reading The Famous Five for grown-ups – think Five Have a Jolly Spine-chilling Christmas and you’re getting close – Wintergreen is currently available on Amazon, free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers and 99c/99p to buy. Or I can send out review copies to anyone who fancies one and is willing to put together an honest write-up for Amazon and/or Goodreads: please send me an email at mari.biella@gmail.com.

In any case, have a very Merry Christmas, and a prosperous New Year!


Bill Kirton said…
Oh dear, you've sort of anticipated my posting for the 7th but, needless to say because I'm not nearly as nice as you, mine takes a different tack. My 6 year old is still active, too, but I've always been strict with my kids. Oh and, as you know, I've got Wintergreen and will get round to reviewing it soon.
Lydia Bennet said…
Gosh I always felt Anne from the FF would benefit from one of your darker tales situations... Wintergreen sounds fun anyway, will open a bottle of ginger beer, grab a few hard boiled eggs and give it a go. thanks Mari, enjoyable post, and it's very gothic and also strange how the famously over-indulging Shane M is still going strong, and even has new teeth, while tragically Kirsty M who looks milkmaid-healthy on the vid is no longer with us.
Mari Biella said…
Thank you, Bill and Valerie - I hope you enjoy the book! (And enjoy your boiled eggs and lashings of ginger beer, Valerie.)
glitter noir said…
Great advert for Wintergreen, which I'll get to a.s.a.p. Sounds like fun.
Lydia Bennet said…
Have bought Wintergreen, perfect winter arvo reading!
glitter noir said…
Don't forget the three-step program, all:
1) Order
2) Read
3)...er, what's the third? :)
cally phillips said…
Hurrah... a new story from Mari! I'll download it forthwith and look forward to reading it.
Other Xmasy reading which might interest AE'ers is over at McStorytellers. There's a daily 'Advent' calendar - open a different door each day for a different memory from the pen of Kirsty Eccles (catch up quick as I think she's about at the age 6 now and it will get a lot, lot darker!) and also there's a great McCompetition which should sort out the well read from the not so well-read - and give you a chance to see how well you can gauge 'style'. All free and all short form to fit into busy lives... enjoy!

cally phillips said…
oops. meant to leave an easy link to the McStortellers site It is


(And I'm still not a robot - that I know of. but I can thoroughly recommend fellow ex AE'er Rosalie Warren's recent book 'Lena's Nest' for anyone looking for a 'beyond' sci fi experience!
Mari Biella said…
Thank you, everyone - and I hope that Wintergreen does not disappoint! 'Lena's Nest' sounds interesting, Cally - I'll have to look into that.

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