Saturday, May 28, 2016

Zeena And The Phoenix - officially released today!

"After all their recent adventures, Zeena and Saarik aren’t surprised when a plea for help comes again; this time from a phoenix named Uri. But the two friends have more than the freeing of the fire fairy, Tandie, and the safety of the fire creatures who live in the volcano to worry about. An elven village lies near the base of the now very unstable volcano, and the fate of the elves is in Zeena and Saarik’s hands."

That's the synopsis for "Zeena And The Phoenix" - the fourth, and final, book in my "Zeena Dragon Fae" series - which is officially released today!

You can already buy it as an eBook via Smashwords in all formats they offer, as well as from some of the other eBook retailers Smashwords distributes to, such as Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, and Kobo. It should become available on the other retailers Smashwords distributes to in the near future. So, regardless of your prefered method of reading eBooks - be it with a particular eReader or tablet, or on your computer - there's a format that will work for you.

The paperback will become available as soon as it can be arranged.

Friday, May 27, 2016

#Furkid Friday: Keep Your #Pets Safe And Cool This #Summer

Hi humans, rodents, and anyone else reading this.

This is Star the rat.

With all the warmer days we've had lately, it's made us - and, thankfully, the human caretakers - think about just how hot it got last Summer.

So, I wanted to take this oppertunity to remind you that most animals don't deal with heat too well, and if you have furry family members of your own, you should make sure to keep temperatures in a comfortable range for them, provide cool places in shade for them to rest, and also provide plenty of cool water for them to drink.

Some animals - like rats and chinchillas, for example - especially struggle with heat. Chinchillas have such thick fur coats that they just can't cope with extreme heat in general, and we rats can't pant and don't sweat, so can't use either of those methods to cool ourselves down. So, you should take things like that in to consideration too.

Also, always be on the lookout for signs of the heat getting to your furry family member, even if you're sure you've been doing all you can to keep them cool... You can't be too cautious!

Keep yourselves, and your furry friends, safe and cool this Summer!

Squeak soon,
Star

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

#Writing Wednesday - May 25th 2016

Congratulations... It's a first draft! Now it's time to start the revisions. You don't always need to cut as much of what you've written as the author did in the post I just linked to, but there will almost certainly be some cutting and changing required... Maybe even a change of name for one of your characters... Hey, it happens! That's why the revision (or re-write) stages exist. I'm in those stages right now with one of the three stories I'm currently working on (one is just getting the first re-write, one is now ready to start going through the editing phases, and I'm still working on the first draft of the third). Some people say the writing of the first draft is the hardest part. For me though it's revisions... A part of me always wants to just move on to the next story. But, they have to be done. That's why I usually have at least two stories on the go at once; I reward myself with some time working on the first draft of one story after I've spent some time on the revisions of another. That way of doing things may not work for everyone, but it works great for me. Plus, it means I don't have to keep my readers waiting for ages for a new story. Not that there's anything wrong with it taking ages for a book to be written... Every writer is different, and works at different speeds... But I think you get the point. At least, I hope you do.

So, what about you? If you're a writer too, how's your latest work in progress coming along? If it's going well, great! If not, what's up? Is it a problem of can't Vs don't? I hope not, but if it is, I hope you can find a way to change your mindset, and realize that you actually can do those things.

If, on the other hand, you just need some inspiration, you may be interested in taking a look at this writing prompts Twitter feed (I think you should be able to still view it if you don't have Twitter). Unlike the other one I posted about recently, the prompts on this one are designed to be able to be used as inspiration for poetry too.

That's all I've got for you this week; it's been a quiet week for writing related links, but a busy one for other things. So, I'm going to let this do for today's post.

Monday, May 23, 2016

#Ocean #Photos And #Canine #Memories



The photo above is a photo I've been meaning to share since late February. Like the rest of those in this post, it's one we took of the ocean, but never got around to sharing. In this case, during a sunset near the end of February.

This next one was taken while the sun was setting too, but - unlike the rest of the photos in this post - this one was taken from street level, rather than out of one of our windows. This one is a bit more recent too, since it's from April.



The first sunset photo was taken after a not-so-nice day. The second was taken after a beautiful day.

These next three were taken back in March, during some stormy weather, though not one of our worst storms.


Were he still alive, Kero would have been twelve years old today. He loved outside, and enjoyed when we took him to walk along the beach (as long as we didn't go too near the ocean itself; he didn't like "the big water" - not that he was big on smaller bodies of water either, to be honest). I think he'd have appreciated his birthday being marked with ocean photos... Since he's not around to be in the photos himself. He loved photo shoots, especially if he was in the photos, and I can just picture him walking along the beach, sniffing everything in sight, wagging his tail, and wearing his best doggy grin... Just like he used to do.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

13th wedding anniversary

I've now been married for 13 years!

That's right. This time thirteen years ago, we were getting ready to go get married. Well, no. Because of the time difference, since we were in Canada at the time, if we went back exactly thirteen years, it would be a little after three in the morning, so we would have been sleeping then, since Kelly didn't work the night before, and I actually slept at night back then (apart from the odd insomniac night). But you get the point, I'm sure.

It doesn't seem possible that thirteen years have gone by already, but it's really true.

Though why Kelly's put up with me for this long is a mystery to me.

Here's hoping he puts up with me for several more years yet. *wink*

Friday, May 20, 2016

#Furkid Friday: Jacob The #Degu's 7 Tips For #Training Your Humans (FD)

Hi humans, rodent types, and anyone else reading this.

This is Jacob the degu, and these are my seven tips for fellow rodents attempting to train their humans:



1. When offered a nibble - even if it's your favourite treat - don't take it immediately every single time. I know it's tempting to do so... Especially with nibbles like Cheerios... But you must resist sometimes. Humans need to be reminded that things are on your terms, and that you're doing things because you want to do them, and when you want to do them, not because they said you should.

2. Whenever your cage door gets opened, try and escape, even if you know it's not the time you usually get "out of cage" time. This keeps the humans alert. If you manage to escape too easily, this is clear evidence that your human needs some serious work on training. Just keep escaping, and eventually they'll get the idea and start paying proper attention to you.

3. When you get "out of cage" time, don't make it too easy for the humans to catch you. They need the exercise they get from trying to catch you, and it's fun giving them a bit of a run around. Don't tire yourself out too much though, and remember that they become frustrated if this goes on for too long. So, make them chase you for a minut or two, and then stay still, allowing them to catch you and put you back in your cage.

4. From time to time, give your humans a gentle nip. Not hard enough to break the skin, but hard enough to remind them you have teeth, and could hurt them if you wanted to. This will make sure your human remembers that even domesticated animals need to be treated with respect, and can defend themselves if they feel it necessary to do so.

5. Even if your humans put everything in your cage back where it was after cage cleaning, make a point of moving things around a little once they're done. This will remind your humans that it's your cage, and - just like they decide the placement of items in their own homes - you have the right to rearrange the items they place inside it. This also helps you to get your scent on everything fully again. If you liked the placement of the items, simply move them back again after you've made your point.

6. If you feel your humans haven't paid enough attention to you today, get their attention by making a lot of noise. If you're able to, squeaking loudly works. Alternatively, stamping your feet, banging on your food bowl, or doing anything else in your cage that makes a lot of noise, are all good options. I knew a gerbil, for example, who got the humans' attention by spinning his bowl in the metal ring that atatches it to the side of his cage.

7. From time to time, throw things out of your cage through the cage bars. This will both keep the humans busy, and provide you with entertainment (watching humans scramble about to clean up is extremely amusing). Never throw out anything important. However, bits of food you aren't so keen on from your rodent mix, poop, and bits of sawdust, are all good options.

Squeak soon,
Jacob

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

#Writing Wednesday - May 18th 2016

Great news for fans of my "Zeena Dragon Fae" series: book four is almost here!

That's right, "Zeena And The Phoenix" is finally ready to be let loose in to the big wide world for your reading pleasure.

I've pre-released it for Saturday May 28th 2016... That's just ten days away!

I'm excited about this book for two reasons. First, because it's the final book in the series, and it feels great to be able to say I've finnished the series. Secondly, because it's the longest of my books to date.

Anyway... Now that I'm done writing the "Zeena Dragon Fae" series, I have plenty more plot bunnies to work with, including a couple of stories I have in various stages of completion, so there will be plenty keeping me writing in the near future, and plenty more for you to read in the future too.

But, what about you? If you're a writer too, are you having issues with writers' block? If so, try these 5 tips. Also, this article on the 10 types of writers' block, and how to overcome them is a really good one, which you may find very useful. If your trouble is too many ideas fighting for your attention, you may want to take a look at this post to get some ideas on how to deal with too many ideas syndrome.

What viewpoint are you writing from? Are you writing in a first-person viewpoint? If so, here's a bit of advice on how to describe a first-person protagonist.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Of tea and tables (FD)

A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to afternoon tea.

The people who invited us to tea, Lorna and Andy, are a couple we became friends with a little over a year ago. We met them when they were going to buy the building we lived in before this one, after it went up for sale when our landlord at the time died. They never did buy it (for reasons I won't go in to) but they've kept in touch, and we've spoken to and seen them a couple of times since we moved out of the old place in late February 2015. During that time, they've been trying to actually successfully buy a place (long story, which I won't go in to... It's not my story to tell). Anyway, they FINALLY have a place, and invited us to see it, and to have afternoon tea with them.

I didn't look around the house. Kelly let Andy take him on a tour, but I said it would probably be easier for me to wait until things were a little more organized before I went exploring. All I got was that it's very spacious, and they're happy with it (despite it needing a fair amount of work). That's good enough for me. I'll let them take me on a tour when things are more organized, but it would just be too confusing for me to do a before and after tour, to be honest. I mean, I know they're excited to show it off. But right now it's just a bunch of rooms with furniture and boxes of stuff in them to me. It will be easier if I try to make sense of the place better when things are in their places. Fair play to them though... They successfully guided me around all the obsticles they needed to, without me ending up with so much as a bump or bruise. That's more than I manage in my own home, where everything's familiar, some days, LOL!

Anyway, it was a very pleasant afternoon, and we'd been there more than an hour before we realized it... Just drinking tea, nibbling on sandwiches and cakes, and talking. Kelly and Andy drank regular tea, while Lorna and I were drinking jasmine tea.

All food items were vegetarian friendly, since most of us are vegetarians. Kelly is the only one of us not a vegetarian. But he was a good sport, and tried the vegetarian ham and cheese sandwiches (made with a vegetarian friendly ham substitute) and said he actually enjoyed them. I never had any of those, because there were egg and cress sandwiches, and I absolutely adore egg and cress sandwiches. There was also carrot cake (iced, with little walnut pieces on it) and mini jam swiss rolls. I'm a big fan of carrot cake, so I admit I grabbed a couple of pieces of that.

While we were there, they offered to give us a nice Edwardian table they had, which they didn't need. It seems they've been gathering bits and pieces of furniture while house hunting, so as to make sure they have what they need, and that it works with the style of the house they ended up with in the end, with the result they now have several bits and pieces of furniture they neither want or need.

Unfortunately, part of the hallway in this building is too narrow to bring in solid tables, and the table they offered us doesn't come apart. So we couldn't have it after all. We didn't realize until they got it here. I felt bad having them bring it all the way here on their car's roof rack, just for us not to be able to have it after all. But there wasn't anything any of us could do about it, since that table just wasn't fitting... Kelly and Andy tried everything they could think of. They even tried removing the door from the hallway to see if it would get through without the door in the way... It wouldn't (and we almost ended up calling the landlord to help us put the door back on, because we had trouble doing so... We managed to get it back on in the end though). So, Lorna and Andy had to take the table back home.

However, as it turned out, that wasn't the only spare table they had.

They planned to bring us a different table the following day... A smaller one, with legs that could be removed, which would mean it would easily fit through that narrow hallway. But the lovely weather we'd been having at the time changed, the rain returned, and it was too late in the afternoon by the time it dried up enough to do it without everyone - plus the table - getting soaked.

The next day (this past Wednesday) was foggy, but dry. So they brought the table over for us that afternoon.

It's not a really solid, old fashioned table, like the one they originally offered us. But it's a nice little table, it's sturdy enough that I can knock in to it without anything on it - and the table itself - going everywhere, and we're really grateful to them for it. I mean, we didn't have one before... We'd been eating at our computer desks... So any table would have been an improvement over that. But, as I said, it's a nice little table, which is actually ideal for our little apartment, because it has a hinged top that allows you to either have it as a table that's only big enough for two, or extend it so twice as many people can fit around it. Since there's just the two of us living here, we're using it with the top folded away.

Here's a photo of it how we usually have it:


I didn't bother to get a shot of it extended.

They did also offer us chairs. But we have a set of four matching chairs already, so declined that offer.

The chairs we have (two of which you can see in the above photo) are ones we picked up when we needed something to sit on to use our computers (when I first switched back to using a desktop, and Kelly's computer chair broke). We'd only wanted two at the time, but ended up getting all four, since they wouldn't let just half the set go, and those were the most comfortable looking chairs they had available at the time. One of them is currently still being used for Kelly (he's getting a new computer chair soon though). The other three have just been waiting patiently in our living room for a table to go around. Now two of them are permanently at the table, with the third to the side where it can be grabbed quickly when needed.

Is it weird that I'm so excited to have a table?

Well... Even if it is weird to be so excited about having a table, I am! You have no idea how exciting pieces of furniture that are used daily can be if you've been without them for a long time. I think you have to go without them to realize how wonderful it is to have them though. It's one of those situations where you realize just how lucky you are to have the things you do, because you've had time to experience life without them. It might sound strange to think like that about something like a table. But that's sort of my point. I think people take so much for granted these days, and tables are one of the most widely used - yet least appreciated, in my opinion - things.

Anyway... Even though I'm pretty sure they won't read this, I'd like to end this by saying "thank you" to Lorna and Andy for our new table.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Help me send some thoughts and prayers

I know of a couple of people who have friends or family members who are really sick right now. People they are close to, who have had an extremely bumpy road health-wise over the past couple of years, and are now at a point where they may not be around much longer, or will never be fully well again even if they live for many years yet.

So, this post is to request some positive thoughts - or prayers, if you prefer to call them that - for those people who are sick, and the people close to them. To show those people someone is there for them if they need someone to lean on while they in turn are offering their own shoulders to their sick loved ones, and pray that the sick can at least be comfortable, even if there's no chance of anything more than that.

Friday, May 13, 2016

#Furkid Friday: A #Degu's Eye View Of #Birds

Hi humans, rodents, and anyone else reading this.

This is Joshua the degu.

Did you know that birds are a degu's biggest predator in the wild?

It's true! Wild degus have more to fear from birds than any other animals!

Now that you know that, I'm sure you can understand why we degus were especially terrified the first time we saw a seagull perch just outside of the window of the very room our cage is in, which happened for the first time shortly after we moved to this place with our humans a little over a year ago.

Well, my other rodent siblings find the birds a bit scary too, to be honest. Although, my ratty sisters quickly decided they weren't scary, and are no longer bothered in the slightest by the sight of the large birds perched outside. In fact, Star even likes to watch them sometimes, and shows no sign of fear while doing so (I've actually known her to grab a nibble, and sit there snacking while watching the birds, just like she would if it was a nature show on TV).

Birds on TV have never bothered us. In fact, Animal Planet is one of our favourite channels, and we'll happily sit and watch shows about birds, cats... Whatever. But the sight of the birds sat outside the window bothered us a lot.

I mean, we'd heard the cries of sea birds for as long as we could remember, but we hadn't realized until then that the strange screaching cries we kept hearing came from gigantic birds. We weren't too happy when we figured this out, let me tell you!

My degu brothers and I squeaked in terror every time it happened for the first couple of months, sure the bird would swoop in and find some way to gobble us up... Even with us being locked up tightly in our cage.

We are now at a point where we aren't so frightened. Though we do still watch those birds carefully... Just in case.

Squeak soon,
Joshua

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A seagull limerick for National Limerick Day 2016

In honour of it being National Limerick Day today, I thought I'd share a fun limerick about a seagull I wrote recently. Enjoy!

There once was a seagull named Billy,
Who everyone thought was quite silly.
He’d caw and he’d screech,
As he flew over the beach,
Diving down to steal scraps willy-nilly.

© 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

#Writing Wednesday - May 11th 2016

Struggling with writers' block? Read this inspirational post. If you still need some help getting over your writers' block, check out these top 5 tips for getting words written.

Feel better? Feel like you can keep going now? Great!

So, are you writing a fantasy story? If so, check out these useful resources for fantasy authors. The sites cover everything from naming your characters, to creating your fantasy world.

Regardless of what you write, bear in mind, reduce, reuse, recycle, can also apply to your writing.

Above all... Always remember... Editors are useful. But, at the end of the day, the work is your own. Bear this in mind when you get the response from your editor. Although, obviously, there are some things you absolutely should fix if they're pointed out (typos and spelling mistakes, for example).

***

Did you know that May 12th is National Limerick Day? Well, if you didn't know before, you do now!

Monday, May 09, 2016

Of Mothers' Day, thermal cups, and cards (kinda FD)

Yesterday (May 8th 2016) was - as you probably know - Mothers' Day in Canada, and several other countries. Not here in the UK though... That was a couple of months ago over here. But we acknowledge both, since Kelly's Mom is in Canada, and my Mam is in the UK.

I doubt she'll read this, since she doesn't get online much. But I'm going to say "happy Mothers' Day" to Kelly's Mom on here, just like I did for my Mam back in March. So... Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

I hope all the Moms out there had a very happy Mothers' Day yesterday.

***

Remember how I got myself one of these thermal cups? Well, Kelly thought my red thermal cup was great, so I got him a blue one like it. He loves it as much as I love my red one!

Actually, we now both have two of them: two red ones for me, and two blue ones for Kelly. I got us extra ones, because they're good for keeping cold drinks cold too, so we use one for hot drinks, and the other for cold drinks.

So, thanks Rita, for recommending them!

I also want to thank Rita for this wonderful card we got in the mail last month:


So, thanks for that too, Rita!

***

I never got around to taking a photo of the Easter card we got from my Nan (Dad's Mother) this year. So, since I finally took one, here it is:


She won't see this, but... Thanks, Nan!

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Anniversary #eBook #sale - final day!

Today is your last chance to take advantage of my eBook sale to celebrate being a published author for four years, and blogging for ten years.

So, for the final time... In case you missed them before, or don't remember and would rather not go looking... The books on sale, their sale prices, and the coupon codes to use if you want to take advantage of the sale prices, are as follows:

Asha's Big Adventure
Regular price: $3.99
Promotional price: $1.00
Coupon Code: YT67K

Cubby And The Beanstalk
Regular price: $3.99
Promotional price: $1.00
Coupon Code: ES33K

Filicity The Musical Platypus
Regular price: $2.99
Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: SL83N

Snowball The Oddball Kobold
Regular price: $2.99
Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: PJ83K

NOTE:
*To grab your copy of any of the above mentioned books, simply click on its title to go to the book's Smashwords page, add it to your cart, and enter the coupon code in the box provided for that purpose, before taking the book through checkout.
*The coupon codes above are valid for use on Smashwords only, and will not work on any of the other retailers that carry my books. However, my books are available in multiple eBook formats via Smashwords, and a purchase from Smashwords gives you access to all of these formats, which means you can still grab a copy in a format that works for reading on the computer, or that works best for your eReader of choice (mobi for Kindle, or epub for Nook, for example).
*These coupons are valid from April 20th 2016 to May 7th 2016 only.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Furkid Friday: Mollie and Maizie

We recently added two new members to our rodent gang.

I'm not sure whether I think it's unfortunate that this happened now, or fortunate. On the one hand it's unfortunate, because there's a part of me that feels guilty for being pleased with new additions to the family when we just lost Bilbo. On the other hand, I think it's fortunate, because it gives us something positive to focus on.

The new additions are a pair of charcoal short haired chinchillas.

Well, I say "a pair" but they're not a proper pair, because they aren't littermates or anything like that... Not like how our pair of rats are a proper pair, because they're littermates, and have been together since birth. No. The chinchillas aren't littermates, and they've only been together for a few weeks. They bonded quickly though.

Mollie is three months older than Maizie; Mollie is almost seven months old, and Maizie is almost four months old. But they were put together shortly before we got them, because Mollie was becoming depressed being by herself. That's part of the reason why, even though they've officialy been ours since early April, it took until the last Tuesday in April before we finally brought them home.

It was me who named them though. They're just names I like (Mollie, especially, I've liked since I was a child). For the benifit of those who - like me - are interested in the origins and meanings of names, however, here are the details for each name:

Mollie (like the original spelling, Molly) developed as a pet form of the name Mary, although today both Mollie and Molly are independently given names in their own right. The name can mean "beloved" or "bitter" depending on the origin you go with (baby name sites disagree on the true origin of the name).

Maizie is a phonetically spelt version of the name Maisy, which means "light's creation" or "child of light" depending on whether you go with the Latin or Persian origin.

Mollie is still suffering with some issues from her depression, but she's doing better than she was; between attention from us, and Maizie's companionship, she's improving nicely.

Anyway, here's their cage all set up:


I took two shots, one more to one side than the other, and the other more to the other side, to make sure everything was included in at least one of the photos. Just in case you're wondering why there are two photos of the cage.

Since the photos for this post were taken, however, we've removed the ladder - or ramp, if you prefer - between the second and third levels. Well, actually, Maizie removed it, and we decided not to bother with putting it back any more. Apparently Maizie felt it was in the way of where she wanted to stretch out on the second level, so she kept shoving at it until the hooks holding it came loose (no matter how well we anchored it) and, after putting it back a few times, and realizing Maizie was most likely going to keep doing it... In fact, she seemed to figure it out quicker each time... We decided it would be better to have them need to jump between levels, than to risk Maizie doing that when Mollie is in the way of the falling ladder. Besides, chinchillas are good climbers and jumpers, so it's a really easy jump for them. We had a similar issue with ladders with the degus, and never even bothered to attempt putting ladders in the degu cage when they moved in to the cage they currently have (which they've now been in for close to two years).

Anyway...

Here's a photo I managed to get of them just after we got them home:


Only one of them is facing the camera, but at least they're both in the shot.

And here's one taken really early in the morning a couple of days later:


Mollie is slightly lighter in colour than Maizie. They're both considered charcoal, like I said, but Maizie is such a dark charcoal she's almost dark enough to be considered ebony instead. With that in mind, you might be wondering why I didn't name them the other way around. Sure, it would have made sense. But... Well... For one thing, I didn't know about the difference in colour shading when I picked the names (I knew Mollie was charcoal, but didn't know at that point what colour Maizie was). For another thing, I think Maizie's name fits because she was a ray of light that came in to Mollie's life to help with her depression. Plus, Maizie has such a cheerful and outgoing personality, that it just felt right to name them this way around.

Anyway...

This one is Maizie:


And this one is Mollie:


There would have been more photos, but Mollie tends to hide after a while, and Maizie isn't always good at staying still for long.

So, there you go. Now you've met the two newest members of the family. You'll get to hear and see more of them in the near future, when we take more photos, and they get their turns at doing posts.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

#Writing Wednesday - May 4th 2016

If you haven't already taken advantage of the discounted prices of the eBook versions of some of my books, you may want to do so now, because there are only a couple of days left: the sale ends this Saturday!

For details of the titles on sale, their Smashwords page links, their sale prices, and the coupon codes you'll need in order to take advantage of those prices, you need to take a look at the post I did two weeks ago.

***

Did you set yourself a NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) goal for April? Was it a writing goal, or a reading goal? Or, perhaps, you had a reading or writing goal of some other kind? If so, how did you do?

My unofficial writing goal was to write at least four poems during April. I managed to write three.

I've also made good progress with finnishing up "Zeena And The Phoenix" (the fourth "Zeena Dragon Fae" book). I hope to be able to have a release date for it soon. Plus, I've made progress on the other stories I've been working on too, and the story that started life as a piece of flash fiction during my trip to Wales in late February, is pretty close to being finnished. I should be able to have that one ready a month or two after the final Zeena book.

So, April was a pretty good month when it comes to writing, I think.

***

Working on a book of your own? Check out these tips for how to build a story in 20 easy steps, and this practical advice for writing dialect.

Alternatively, if you're thinking of co-writing something, you may want to read these tips on how to survive co-writing.

Regardless of whether you're writing something by yourself, or planning to co-author, if you plan to have a blind character in your story, you might want to read this post on writing a blind character. Also, if there's anything about blind people that's not answered in this post, which you'd like clarification on, feel free to ask me. I can't promise to have the answers, but I'll answer your questions if I can. Oh, and... For the record... I'm happily married, could have a guide dog but don't have one because I choose not to have one, do as much for myself as I can, can't use echolocation though I wish I could, have learned to read braille and sometimes do use it for non-essential reading (just not very often... In other words, not as much as I would if technology wasn't what it is) and have always hated wearing sunglasses (even when I still had sight and they would have probably helped with my sensativity to light).

Monday, May 02, 2016

Of nice days by the ocean, motorbikes, birthdays, and bloggerversaries (FD)



The above photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, while looking out of the window in the computer room (which is beside me while I'm at my computer). The day before had been quite stormy, but this particular day was a beautiful one, where plenty of our neighbours were out enjoying being able to be beside the ocean in the sunshine; many of them with their dogs for company. The ocean birds - especially the seagulls, of course - were also having a great day; enjoying all the people being out there, because most people take snacks, and many people are willing to share them with the birds.

I love days like that, when it's warm and dry, but not hot. So, I'm pleased to be able to say that we've had a decent scattering of days like it in the past month or so. There have still been storms, but not constant ones, and they haven't been as bad in the past couple of weeks. We've had a lot of days like the one pictured above. Summer is coming!

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There's an anual event where on the May Day bank holiday (first Monday in May) they have some sort of motorbike festival going on in town, where bikers come from all over the place to show off their motorbikes, and do whatever else it is bikers do when they get together.

Now, I like motorbikes, don't get me wrong. But we're in a position to hear many of them heading to town, since the road between us and the ocean is one of the main ways in to town. So, while the first few are exciting, and I have some interest for the next few dozen, by the time we've had a few hundred motorbikes go past, I can't help longing for the end of the day. Bearing in mind, last year there were around ten thousand bikers in town with their bikes. So, I'm sure you can see why I was sick of motorbikes by the end of the day last year.

Since today is this year's May Day bank holiday, I expect to be feeling the same way by the end of today. At the moment though, I'm still at the point where I'm enjoying hearing the motorbikes go past. Like I said... At the moment!

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Today is also Kelly's birthday, and tomorrow is my 10th bloggerversary.

Yes, it counts, even though my blog was private for a while a couple of years ago. I mean, I was still blogging, even if you couldn't see it, so this blog has been going since May 3rd 2006.

The very first thing I ever posted was a late "happy birthday" post for Kelly. After that, especially for the first couple of months, my posts were mostly about my furkids, since I wasn't sure what to post about at first, and we were in the process of getting my Chance cat at the time I started my blog. Chance was around eight months old when we got him... Hard to believe he'd be almost 11 years old if he was still alive now. But then, Kero was nine weeks old when we got him (three weeks old the first time I held him) and would have been coming 12 if he was still alive. Time flies, doesn't it? Also, I can't believe how much I miss my boys! I mean, I miss the other furkids I've lost too, but I miss my boys most of all... Especially Kero.

OK... Enough of that...

Like I said, today is Kelly's birthday. So... Happy birthday, Kelly!

He wanted money to spend on some of the stuff he wants to do with his games (credits for those games that allow you to buy them, and pdfs for some of the other types of games). So that's what I gave him. I'm also giving him the night off from cooking by letting him order take-away tonight. Since I'm giving him the choice, it will most likely be either chicken or pizza that he has (if he goes with the chicken, I'll be having a veggie burger or something like that).

I had planned to do something special for my bloggerversary this year too... Especially with it being the 10th. But I've had so much going on recently that I never ended up arranging anything. Well, other than the eBook giveaway I have going on right now, but I'd planned to do something more. Maybe I'll make up for it next year? We'll see...

In the meantime... You may want to go and check out which of my books are on sale, if you haven't already done so.

Also... If you've had your birthday recently, or it's coming up really soon, consider this paragraph to be a birthday message directed at you. I hope you had/have an amazing birthday!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Furkid Friday: have you seen my brother?

Hello everyone. This is Baggins the gerbil.

Sorry for the lack of my usual enthusiasm, but I'm one very sad gerbil right now. You see, my gerbil brother, Bilbo, went away. I don't know where, and I don't understand why. All I know is that he's been gone for more than a week now, and I can't find him anywhere I've looked. I even tried checking inside all of the tunnels I dug recently, just in case I accidentally buried him in sawdust... That happened several times in the past, after all. But I've had no luck in figuring out where he went.

My degu brothers haven't seen our gerbil brother either, and they miss him too. Especially Jacob, who was Bilbo's pal. Jacob and I have been trying to comfort each other by sitting together like Bilbo and Jacob used to; sometimes just the two of us, sometimes with the other three of our degu brothers as well. But it's just not the same... Especially for me. At least Jacob has the other degus to give him comfort.

The human caretakers have been giving me extra attention. But, still... Like I said... It's not the same. I miss Bilbo!

Actually, we all miss him. Me most, but we all miss him, and we're all a little confused about it all. Plus, we're a little sad, because we remember that something like this happened a couple of years ago with the big, white, Kero dog, and we never ever saw him again. Will that be the case for Bilbo?

If Bilbo doesn't come back, I hope my brother is happy wherever he is, has access to his favourite nibbles, and has plenty of places to dig.

The human caretakers say they're sure he has everything that makes him happy in the place where he's gone, and that I'll see him soon, but they hope not too soon, because they'll miss me. I hope they're right about my brother being happy where he is, though I'm a bit confused about why he had to go at all... Especially if the human caretakers don't want me to go with him any time soon.

Anyway... If you see my brother before I do, tell him I miss him. Also, if it's at all possible, tell him I want him to come home

Squeak soon,
Baggins

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

#Writing Wednesday - April 27th 2016

Happy Tell A Story Day!

I don't have a story to tell about my day, or my life, but I do have plenty of stories to tell in general, and... As you may remember... In celebration of four years of being published, and ten years of blogging, the eBook versions of some of my books are still on sale until May 7th 2016. Read this post for more details (the post includes titles, links, and coupon codes).

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Just in case you need them, here are 39 things to remember while struggling to build your writing career.

Next... When you - or your publisher - are ready to write your book's description, you may want to check out these three common mistakes made in book descriptions, in hopes you can avoid making them too.

Also, as boring and frustrating as it is, marketing is essential if you're going to make it as an author. So... Listen up authors; here are six tips for people "trying" to promote their work.

Most importantly, however, you should always remember to write books, not war! The words you put out in to the world will be judged, and you will be judged for saying/typing them. So, just bear that in mind.

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When writing your own stories, you might want to make use of these powerful writing techniques, which will help to get your readers hooked, and give them an even more enjoyable reading experience. Or, perhaps, these 12 ways to improve your writing (right now, for free) could be useful to you?

Struggling with writers' block? Did you know that some people use research as writing inspiration, and the cure for writers' block? Well, they do! You should try it too some time.

Another thing that may help you to get over your writers' block - especially if you write for children or teenagers - is to remember that you are writing the future. Of course, this isn't only true for books aimed at children and teenagers. One day, your book may inspire greatness in someone who reads it. Now, doesn't that thought make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and make you want to get back to your writing? I better let you do so then...

Before you go though...

This is how to be taken seriously as a writer (which can also apply to artists). Plus, if you have kids under ten, here are some tips on how to get some writing time in, without losing your mind (which can also apply to time for doing artwork, crafts, and other hobbies where you don't want the kids "helping" you). Yes, it is possible... Even when they aren't in school. It's a little more difficult, but it is possible. Still, I'm sure - if you have kids - that you wouldn't trade them for all the writing/drawing time in the world.

Speaking of children... Next month is National Get Caught Reading Month, which is an anual month long event set up to encourage children to enjoy reading, and show them that reading is a fun and cool thing to do. Check out the post I just linked to for more details, and to find out how you can get involved.

Monday, April 25, 2016

TV talk and movie mutterings - April 2016

Time for this month's post of new to me movies and TV shows.

Well, actually, just movies, since the only TV shows I watched were ones I've mentioned liking already, so the only new thing about them was the newer episodes I saw of some of them.

But, anyway...

As with the similar posts from the recent past, I've not written very detailed reviews, but instead just given my opinion of the movie in question, so I've included links to where you can find out more about the movie, if you want to... Just click on the title of it, and you'll go right there.

So...

Penguins Of Madagascar (movie):
I thought these penguins were quite cute, and extremely entertaining, when they appeared in Madagascar, and have enjoyed a few episodes of the TV series about them, so it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed this movie. Besides... Who doesn't love penguins? Especially talking penguins!

Inside Out (movie):
I've been dying to see this one, and am relieved to report that I was not disappointed. It was a great movie; fun and entertaining, but also potentially useful for helping children deal with their emotions should they find themselves in a similar situation.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (movie):
I used to love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons, so wanted to watch this movie. Quite frankly, I'm glad I watched it on Sky instead of wasting my money going to see it at the cinema. It was absolute rubbish! They changed the origin story (not a whole lot, but enough that someone familiar with the original would notice) and the movie itself wasn't all that good, even if you ignore that fact. Like I said, I'm glad I didn't waste any money on seeing it; it's one I certainly won't be bothering to watch again, that's for sure.

Finally, here's a little something for the Harry Potter fans who read my blog:

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Vegetarian recipes via Deanna and me (FD)

Almost a month ago, Deanna gathered together her vegetarian recipes; all in one post. I thought I'd post a link here for the benifit of anyone who reads my blog posts but not hers, and may want to check out some vegetarian recipes (either because of being vegetarian, or just wanting to cut down on the amount of meat in their diet, or whatever). One of the recipes is actually one I gave her when I did a guest post on her old blog a couple of years ago.

You may also want to check out these 11 ways to use roasted veggies; most of which are vegetarian friendly. It may be aimed at getting kids to eat their veggies, but that doesn't stop adults from enjoying the meals too!

Plus, don't forget, if you want to see my collection of vegetarian friendly recipes, check out my website's recipe section; most of the recipes there are vegetarian friendly.