December 9th, 2012

What, you may be wondering, makes an advent calendar “bad”? Crumbly chocolate? Surreal pictures? Glitter that flakes off too easily? Windows that won’t open unless you use a penknife?

Oh, there is something much, much worse.

An advent calendar that does not have all the days. I know! I hear your gasps! But such a thing has happened to me this very year. Our advent calendar — which may look exactly like the one pictured above — has no window for December 7, and again no opening for December 16. And yes, I’m sure. We’re not talking about a very big piece of real estate, and two frantic, incredulous adults turned that thing inside out (metaphorically speaking — we couldn’t, after all, risk accidentally opening any other windows), and believe me, days 7 and 16 are simply not there.

Well. Let us move quickly on to a more cheerful topic, namely what makes a good advent calendar. A good advent calendar has all the days! And fun prizes and surprises. And I just happen to know of a good example: The Smutter’s Advent Calendar. This one offers something different every day — a book teaser, a joke, a prize, a quiz, perhaps — with each day sponsored by a different erotic writer or business. Tomorrow, December 10, is my day. If you can answer the quiz questions correctly (google allowed!) you could win a free book. But it’s only good on one day, December 10; after that, the envelope closes back up. So be sure to stop by, not only on December 10 but on the subsequent days as well.

I promise they’re all there.

That link again: http://advent.smutters.co.uk

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This entry was posted on Sunday, December 9th, 2012 at 10:14 pm and is filed under • Bad Advent Calendar, Good Advent Calendar. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Bad Advent Calendar, Good Advent Calendar”

Mia Savage Says:

My kids loved these. I am not sure we would have survived had there been windows missing. I feel for you and two missing is just wrong on so many levels. :)

Graham Bruce Fletcher Says:

I came here on December 11th, at 10.30 GMT (London, UK) to look for the promotion on ‘A Skiff of Snow’ offering the story ‘free’ for a limited time, contingent on successfully completing a ‘quiz’.

I didn’t find the quiz, either here, on the Amazon.com or the Amazon.co.uk page, but I did pay ninety-seven British pennies for the story anyway. I liked the blurb about the difference between “English and English” which (as a Brit writer with a story published by Sizzler in the USA) made me laugh; we are certainly ‘two nations divided by a common language’.

In British English the expression ‘A skiff of snow’ would almost immediately betray the user as a US English speaker; the most common (though rather specialised) usage of ‘skiff’ in British English describes a small light rowing boat.

Things get quite hilarious in ‘erotic’ writing. For Brits, ‘fanny’ means vagina, and what the Americans call an ‘ass’ the Brits call a ‘bum’.

But I really like the idea of making a ‘free’ story conditional on correctly answering a quiz, or even simply ‘honestly’ responding to a questionnaire. That way the story still has a ‘cost’ to the reader, and maybe you can either ensure that the readers are (with a quiz) of a suitable mind-set to enjoy the story, or (with a questionnaire) you can get some research done concerning the kind of stuff that floats readers’ boats (or skiffs) for your future writing success!

That’s an idea worth stealing!

It reminds me of the story of a poorly educated Englishman who went to the US, got himself a green-card and applied for job as a security man. At the front-desk, he was told that, before they would interview him, he must first fill in a questionnire. He promptly went to the front door and beat the doorman to a pulp.

Shar1 Says:

Oh, no! And the Americans would say, “A day late and a dollar short”! I hope you don’t mind too much about the 97 p. ;) The quiz wasn’t at Amazon, sorry, but at the Smutters Advent Calendar, which is still going on here: http://advent.smutters.co.uk . Each day is different; I heard that I was the first quiz. If you too are a quiz fan, I can tell you that December 20 is also a quiz, because, well, it’s me again, in a different guise. That one is potentially two free stories — you have to pick up the first free story, read it, and then answer questions in order to get the second story. Reading comprehension! Next I might do math. Although then how would I grade it …

My first erotica collection was published by Fanny Press, which always makes Brits smile. The one British term in erotica I struggle with is “snog.” It just doesn’t sound like a kiss to me!

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