Sunday, December 29, 2013


Over the Christmas holidays I watched three versions of Dickens, A Christmas Carol. First, I watched the version with Alistair Sim playing Scrooge. Next, a film made in 1935 with Seymour Hicks playing Scrooge. Third, George C. Scott playing Scrooge.

I cast my vote for Alistair Sim playing Scrooge. He was a superb actor and had a wonderful cast playing all the parts. Kathleen Nesbitt who played Scrooge's housekeeper stole every scene she was in. In the other versions the housekeeper had no part. I don't know who cast her and made sure she had a good part to play should have a pat on the head and a raise in salary. If you have time, you're sure to find A Christmas Carol starring Alistair Sim available.

The 1935 version was well done. Seymour Hicks had an evil countenance to start and played Scrooge as a miserable, man who bullied his employee Bob Cratchit and made his life as miserable as possible while allowing him to have Christmas  Day off. The film was simply made but the message was clear. Change is possible when Scrooge had three ghosts revealing his life, making him understand how badly he had treated his sister, his sweetheart and his nephew. In 1935 the film makers didn't have fancy tricks to move the story along. A great film version, worth watching.

George C. Scott made a fine Scrooge in brightly filmed version of A Christmas Carol. His Scrooge pulled out all the stops especially the scene where the Ghost of Christmas Present flipped his gown open to reveal two pitiful starving children, one is ignorance - I forget the other, but the scene was a show stopper. Scott was excellent but the cast of supporting characters could not match those in the Alistair Sim version.

Miles Mallenson (probably spelled wrong)as the character buying the bed draperies from and other items stole from Scrooge's home after he'd died. Wonderful acting. Of course, the housekeeper, was perfect as she passed the items to be appraised. Just watch the two of them bartering.

To see acting of a high calibre, download a copy of, "A Christmas Carol,"starring Alistair Sim. Enjoy.

2014 is with days of coming to life. Enjoy the Old Year ending and the New Year beginning.
Enjoy being alive and continue reading. Reading is good for the soul.


Thursday, December 19, 2013


This is a short note. Did anyone read my Christmas story on my last post? Writing it brought back so many memories I suggest you write your own Christmas story, good or ill. Some Christmases of which I've heard were truly awful when an alcoholic parents goes on a rampage and ruins the holiday.
Let's not think about that. Bringing back memories is good for your soul.
Did you see the television coverage of a Canadian Forces helicopter rescuing a crane operator clinging to the top end of the crane while a raging fire roared beneath him. It was a truly amazing rescue.

I'm editing my Ghost Writer Mystery. I paid a professional editor to work on my book. She did some work on it but we were at odds on things like "point of view." Also she thought there was too much going on so I decided it wasn't worth continuing. I paid her, of course, for her work. I'll see if I can e-publish it when I finish the edit.

Have a gentle few days before Christmas so you will have lots of energy to enjoy the feast. Unless you are of a different faith. In that case  enjoy watching your neighbours having a great celebration.

My romance novel ISABELLE is a great gift for a reading lady on your Christmas list. It's not too late to purchase a copy.

Anita Birt

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Christmas and I go a long way a back. Back to when I was a child in London, Ontario. Long before television. Long before air travel became common. Back to a time when only wealthy people travelled very far. Ordinary folk in cold Canada stayed home to tend the furnace. My parents banked up the coals at night to keep heat coursing through the house.
We greeted winter and the first snowfall with joy. In London there was lots of snow and ice. No salting trucks spoiled our fun. Few cars dared the snowy streets. We kids made great long icy slides on the sidewalks. After a long run we’d land feet first on the ice and balancing like acrobats fly joyfully to the end.
Sometimes a crotchety old dame spread ashes on our slide. A sacrilege, never forgotten. On summer nights we’d ring her doorbell and run.
My mother was Scottish. Her mother lived with us. Two Scots in one house meant two Christmases for my brother and me. In Scotland, Christmas was more of a religious holiday. New Year’s Eve, Hogmanay, was the time to whoop it up. On Christmas Eve, we hung up our stockings as lovely pine scent from the freshly cut Christmas tree filled the house.
Harry, my brother, was eighteen months younger than I was. We were like twins, doing everything together. We managed to get into lots of trouble. My sister, Helen Edna, five years older, ignored us when she could.
One special Christmas Harry and I wakened at 4:30 am. It was pitch dark. We crept downstairs and turned on the living room light. Under the tree were our stockings stuffed with goodies. Unwrapped and shiny new, with my name on them - a pair of skates! I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Harry had a new sled. I had to try on my skates. He had to try his sled.
Dressing to face a freezing dark winter morning in those days was not a quick and easy task. No natty snowsuits. First I had to put on long underwear, then a liberty bodice with suspenders. I had to wriggle into long ribbed cotton stockings and snap them to the liberty bodice.
Imagine if you will, trying to keep my long underwear tight around my ankles with one hand and peeling my stockings up over the underwear with the other. Girls in my day had strong characters. We learned patience and gained strength struggling against the gods who invented long underwear and cotton stockings.
Finally with my underwear rumpled under my stockings (I was in a hurry) I pulled on a sweater and a warm skirt. Harry was lucky he had woolen britches to wear over his long underwear. Girls did not wear pants as they do now)
I dragged on thick socks, headed for the back door and laced up my skates. Stars shone like diamonds in the still dark sky. Harry belly flopped on his sled and whizzed down the icy driveway. I skated after him, falling twice into snowbanks.
It was heaven. New skates. No present ever meant as much to me as my new skates. My first real skates.
On New Year’s Eve we hung up our stockings again, only this time at the end of our beds not at the downstairs fireplace. When we wakened to welcome a New Year our stockings lay bulging and enticing at the foot of our beds. They were filled with small toys, an orange and a bag of nuts.
It was a precious time to be a child.
Copyright 2013 Anita Birt

Friday, December 6, 2013


Friends and acquaintances have asked how I began writing romance novels when I was in my late seventies?  I wrote my non-fiction book, THE HOUSE AT BRIDAL VEIL (available at ABE books or as used books.) It's a very interesting history about four nuns belonging to The Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, all professionally qualified as teachers, dieticians, engineers and one with building experience.

How I met them is an interesting story that will take too long for me to tell right now. If you want to know, leave a comment. I did a lot of interviewing to find all the people who had lived in the run down mansion the Sisters hope to buy for their Mother House. It was built in 1917. Elegant, graceful inside and out in a glorious setting, a large heated swimming pool. It was a wreck.

There's a little bit of the House at Bridal Veil. Seek out a used copy of the book. It really is a wonderful story of how the four nuns, through hard, hard work, brought the run down old mansion back to life. Much work still to be down. It was a start.

There I was. I'd never written a book. I had a computer and printer and looked around book stores to see what was selling. ROMANCE NOVELS, of course. I had never read one. I picked up a Harlequin romance, read it and decided I could do that.

I sent off the first three chapters and waited for the mail to tell me my story was excellent and offered me a contract. Of course, I was rejected. Humbly I began to go to writing workshops, I joined the Romance Writers of America. I went to conferences all over the States. My writing was critiqued and found wanting.

I soldiered on until the magical day when Ellora's Cave offered me a contract to publish, A VERY DIFFICULT MAN, as an  e-book. E-publishing was very new at the time but I jumped at the chance. And the rest is history. I was thrilled to have my five romance novels published in e-format and now they are available in trade paperback. Do have a look at ISABELLE, the latest of my books in print.

That's part of my life story. I'm continuing to write and hoping, hoping, hoping to have, "A GHOST WRITER MYSTERY, find its way into print. E-published or book format. I'll accept whatever is offered.