Friday, July 31, 2015

Furkid Friday - July 31st 2015 (kinda FD)

Hi humans, rats, and other rodent types.

This is Star the rat.

A strange human with lots of head fur, who the humans called Carl, came to see our humans a few days ago, and we got to come out of our cage to say "hi" to him. I loved it, but my ratty sister, Skye, was a bit scared of him; she's always a bit scared of anything new, or anything that differs from her normal routine.

Here's a picture of the Carl human holding me:


Skye had a cuddle with him too, but she was nervous, as I mentioned, so wouldn't stay still long enough for a photo to be taken. I think the Carl human was a bit disappointed, because he'd been hoping for some of the kisses Skye gives to people she likes. She gave lots to the Mummy human, and later to the Daddy human, but she was too scared of the Carl human to be affectionate. He seemed to enjoy cuddling me though, and I loved the attention; it's not often we get cuddles from the visiting humans.

My degu brothers got up to see what all the fuss was about. Here's Jacob trying to see what's going on:


But, when the Daddy human went to get one of the boys for the Carl human to cuddle, Jacob wouldn't come out to see him. Joshua was happy to go and meet him though, so the Carl human got to cuddle him for a bit. Here's a photo of them:


Even the other female human - my degu brothers tell me the Kero dog who they used to know said she was called "Mamgu" or something like that - came quite close to us this time; she wouldn't go anywhere near us last time she came for a visit. She wouldn't pet us, and when I turned to look at her while sat on the Mummy human's shoulder she got scared and backed away. But the Mummy human and the Carl human seemed impressed she'd even got that close. She also went over to the cages of my degu brothers and my gerbil brothers, and talked to them a bit. The Mamgu human then came close again to bring the box over for the Carl human to give me and skye some Cheerios. Both times she was so close I could have easily jumped from the Mummy human's shoulder to hers. But I'm pretty sure she'd have made more fuss if I did that than Jasper makes when a storm is coming... Which, if you know my degu brother, Jasper, you'll know is a lot; you should have heard the fuss he made when we had the big storm last Friday night... It's no wonder the humans didn't sleep much that night!

That's all for today.

Squeak soon,
Star

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings: #eBook #sale on #Smashwords ends soon!

There are just a few more days to take advantage of the Smashwords 2015 Summer/Winter sale!

As I mentioned before, you can see which of my books are enrolled in it by reading this post.

Don’t forget that plenty of other authors have their books enrolled too, which you can see here. Authors like Jackie Small, for example, who has her children's books at half price as part of the sale; children's books that are excellent reads, I might add.

And, remember: Smashwords provides books in multiple eBook formats, so you can get your eBooks from them whether you use a Kindle, a Nook, an iPad, or some other sort of eReader to read your books. They even have formats that work on your average PC (either with a word processor, or by using your internet browser to read them).

Like I said, there’s just a few more days left... The Sale ends on July 31st... So hurry!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday's random mutterings - July 27th 2015 (FD)

My Mam, and my brother, Carl, came for a visit this past weekend.

We’d planned to go to Battle for the day Saturday, and have a picnic on the beach on Sunday, before going in to town to see what we could catch of this year's Pirate Day events (which was the original purpose of their visit being planned for this particular weekend). But the weather didn’t co-operate with us. There was a pretty good storm Friday night in to Saturday morrning, so we had to change our plans, since what we'd planned to do wasn't really advisable in slippery mud. Plus, it looked like it would rain again any moment, so we didn't want to be in the middle of things where we couldn't get in the dry again quickly if it did rain more. It didn't until Sunday, as it turned out, but everything was damp and muddy, and the black storm clouds were an ever-present threat. These things happen though, and we made the best of things, and had a pretty good weekend regardless.

On Saturday, the first thing we did was go for breakfast together. Carl and Mam had cooked breakfasts (egg, sausage, toast, mushrooms, bacon, hash browns, and a choice of beans or tomatoes; I never asked which they chose), I had an egg baguette, and Kelly had chicken pie with fries and peas. Yeah, I know Kelly’s wasn’t what you’d usually consider breakfast food, but it was available on the menu and he wanted it, so... *Shrugs*

Anyway, after breakfast we went to a few stores in the old part of town, as well as to a cute little coffee place that’s in that part of town; for a drink and a sit down. I think Kelly and I got bored of the stores before they did, but we get bored with shopping quickly anyway, and - though they do sell some unusual things - since we live around here, they aren't really a novelty to us, so it's hardly surprising. I did get some pirate treasure and some anseed balls though, so I was happy. Plus, the little coffee place was nice.

While in town, Carl and I made friends with a metal serpent...


I have no idea why there was a metal serpent there, but it was there, so we went to see it. Mam thought it was a snake, but I'm calling it a serpent, because it looks more like the sea serpents from old stories and legends than a snake to me... Or, perhaps, one of the versions of the dragons from old myths and legends; I've seen Chinese dragons that look sort of similar. Although, the head doesn't seem right for a dragon, which is why I'm more inclined to think sea serpent.

We also checked out a chess set that was set up there for some reason, which had plastic chess pieces that were a little over a foot high. Mam did get a few photos of that too, but I didn't bother getting Kelly to help me grab those off her Facebook.

Anyway, after that we went our own ways for a while, since Mam and Carl wanted to look in a couple of places really close to our apartment, so we decided to leave them to it and go check on the rodent gang (who appeared to be behaving themselves, and not too bothered by our disappearance). The other reason we seporated for a while is that none of us had slept well the night before, so everyone needed a bit of a nap.

We met up again in the evening and went for dinner at the cafe that’s at the hotel Mam and Carl were staying at. The food was really good. Carl had a beef and ale pie with mashed potatoes and peas, Mam had gammon and eggs with fries and peas, I had a red pepper and red onion quiche with fries and salad, and Kelly had smothered chicken with fries, coleslaw and salad. Kelly’s dinner also had a piece of garlic bread with it, but he gave it to me; he does like garlic bread, but he knows I love the stuff, and since they hadn’t put it anywhere near his chicken on his plate, I was quite happy to eat it for him. Dessert was oreo cream pie for Kelly, and cherry and apple crumble for the rest of us; with custard for me, and with ice-cream for Mam and Carl.

None of us slept all that well Saturday night either - most likely because we all had those afternoon naps - so Mam and Carl ended up getting bored and going to the beach in the early hours of Sunday morning, while it was dry enough to do so, and stopped in to say "hi" while they were nearby, since they saw we were up. This was Carl's first visit to our new place, and I know he's jealous of us being able to hear the ocean so well from our apartment; even with the windows closed.

Carl made friends with some of the rodent gang while they were here, and even Mam got brave enough to be within leaping distance for the rats while they were out of their cage. More on that in Friday's post.

We were going to have the picnic that was planned for Sunday at our place, but Mam and Carl decided to just pay us a quick visit, and bring me the jazz drops they'd fetched for me from one of the old style sweet shops that's near here, which they went to before coming to us, before heading back to Norwich (where Carl lives) since the bad weather that had been threatening to return had done so. Plus, I think they wanted to get back there before my Mam got too tired to do the drive.

So, that was my weekend, and - since nothing else worth mentioning happened recently - that's all I've got to say today, really.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Furkid Friday - July 24th 2015

Hi humans, rodent types, and anyone of any other species who reads this.

This is Jacob the degu.

Sorry to be so late with today's bloggy post thing. The humans didn't have this computery thing turned on earlier, and we rodents didn't know the password to make it work.

Besides, Joshua and I were sorting out a problem with our wheel, which turned out to just be that one of our degu brothers - I'm pretty sure it was Jenks - had lodged our log roll thing under it to stop it going. It took the humans a while to figure out what we were making such a fuss about though, so they were slow coming to help us. But they got it pulled out in the end, and our wheel works again... YAY!

Anyway...

My degu brothers are recovered from their big fight that happened a few weeks ago - though I think they might have scars from it for the rest of their lives - but apparently they didn't learn from it, since they haven't stopped fighting. They haven't had any fights as nasty as the one that left all three of them with cuts though, thankfully. The humans and I hope they never have a bad fight like that again. No. They're just back to shoving each other, stealing from each other, etc. This is better than the nasty fighting, but still not a good thing, really.

I hate when they fight, and most of the time I go over to talk to my gerbil brothers when they start up. Their cage is right beside ours, and one of our ledges puts me at just the right height to be on a level with them if they go on the top level of their own cage, so it's perfect. I especially enjoy talking to Bilbo, who's always ready to lend a sympathetic ear when I want to talk. I do like Baggins too, but he's not so good at sitting still long enough for a decent chat; Baggins is an energetic little gerbil, and only stays still when he's eating or sleeping.

My gerbil brothers don't fight like my degu brothers do, that's why I like them so much; I'm a lover, not a fighter. My ratty sisters don't fight as much as my degu brothers either, though they fight more than my gerbil brothers do. So, why do my degu brothers like to fight so much? I don't get it!

I mean, it's obvious they love each other as much as I love them, since they're concerned about each other if they realize afterwards they hurt the other, and they get upset like I do if one of us is out of the cage without the others. They're even as eager as me for us to all sleep together every nap time.

This is why the humans don't seporate us; because between times we make it very obvious we're all very close, and would suffer terribly if we had to be parted. They've come close, but they can see my brothers and I love each other... Despite my brothers fighting so often over every single little thing.

The humans don't understand why my brothers fight so much either, and I guess if I can't figure it out then they have no chance of doing so. I really don't know why it is though... Sometimes it's just as hard to understand the behaviour of my own species as it is to understand humans. In other words, it's impossible!

Squeak soon,
Jacob

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - July 22nd 2015

The second "Zeena Dragon Fae" book is coming along nicely, but isn't as far along as it should be, because I got distracted by other writing projects during my writing time. It is coming along though,, and that's what really matters at the end of the day. Hopefully I'll be able to say more about its progress soon, and give you an idea of when I think it will be ready. But not just yet.

The only other thing I have to say with regards my own books right now is a reminder that the Smashwords 2015 Summer/Winter sale is still on, and those books of mine are still on sale. If you've forgotten which ones, read this post.

Since I don't have anything more exciting to say right now, let's move on to those writer links...

To hyphenate or not to hyphenate, that is the question; if it's a question you find yourself asking a lot when you're writing, read this post for some tips on how to figure out whether you should hyphenate or not. Also, here are some tips on editing for consistancy.

Hey, how about learning how to write a bestseller like the ancient bards? Hmmm... Maybe not... Though it would be nice if writers had the same status the ancient bards had.

I recently read this article on writing for the ages, and happen to agree with it. Yes, it's good to get your facts straight and be as accurate as possible. However, it's impossible to predict whether your facts will be accurate 20 years from now. So, at the end of the day, what really matters is that you write the best story you can.

Wondering what the secret art of reaching "the end" is? Well, it's not exactly a huge secret really, and if it was, it isn't now. Read the article if you want to see what it is anyway.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A quick peek inside our apartment

Today I thought I'd share a few photos of the apartment with you. After all, we've been here several months, and I did say I'd sort some photos when we'd had a bit more time to settle in.

I warn you, things are still sort of chaotic here, with boxes still packed, or only half unpacked, etc. Not to mention we still haven't replaced our computer chairs, sorted the rail for the curtains in the computer room, or done a few other similar things.

I think Kelly tried to avoid getting the chaos in the photos, plus these are just quick snaps, so they don't show every feature, and may not be great quality shots. But I figured a few snapsshots would be better than nothing to those of you who are dying to see the inside of where I live now, rather than just getting to see the view from our windows.

Anyway...

This is the living room:


(Which, as you can no doubt see from the photos, is also where the rodent gang lives).

And here's the little kitchen area that leads off of it:


(The sink is to your left, but since it's just the sink and the bins for garbage and recycling over there, we didn't bother to get a shot; I don't think you can see the fridge to the far right either).

This is the computer room, and the Disney Princess wallpaper that's on one of its walls:


I expect you can easily figure out which computer is mine, and which is Kelly's?

This is me in the hallway that seporates the bedroom, bathroom, and utility area from the other rooms:


The utility area where the washing machine lives is sort of behind me, and so is the door to the bathroom.

And this is our bedroom:


So, there you go. A quick peek in to the apartment we moved in to at the end of February.

Maybe you'll get better shots at some point in the future. But, for now, at least you can say you know what our place looks like.

Well, sort of...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Furkid Friday - July 17th 2015

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

This is Jasper the degu.

Mine and Joshua's cuts have healed enough that they don't bother us now, so we're back to our old selves, and are playing, climbing, jumping, and wrestling as much as we always have; ignoring the humans repeated requests that we don't play so rough.

The constant changing of the weather from hot to stormy has us a bit upset. Especially me, because I hate storms. But other than that, we're all happy little critters, and doing just fine.

Well, my ratty sister, Star, got a little bit of what the humans called "the sniffles" at the start of the week. It only lasted a couple of days though, and she seems to be over it now. None of the rest of us caught it.

Squeak soon,
Jasper

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - July 15th 2015

Don't forget: some of my eBooks are still available at discounted prices as part of the 2015 Smashwords Summer/Winter sale!

Thanks to Chris The Story Reading Ape, Amber Fox, Kevin Morris, and Alex Butcher, for helping to spread the word.

Alex Butcher has some of her books in the Smashwords Summer/Winter sale too, as do several other Smashwords authors. So, don't forget to go check Smashwords for some great eBook deals before the end of this month.

***

This is a great explanation of a story arc, which you should read if you're a writer who needs some help with story structure.

So, you have your main character figured out, and now he or she needs a supporting cast. Well... Here's a 5 step recipe to create your protagonist's inner circle; follow this recipe, and you'll have a great cast of characters in no time.

Speaking of characters... Here are some tips on how to survive your fictional characters' all night bickering in six easy ways; for those nights when your characters refuse to shut up, and you have to get up early the next morning. This one's not a problem for me, because if my characters keep me up all night, I just sleep in the day. Ha! Take that imaginary voices in my head!

Anyway... Your book is written, now it's time to get it sold. Of course, the first thing you probably did was tell all your friends and family, and then post about it on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. But if you'd like to do a bit more, here are 5 ways to market your book without social media.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday's random mutterings - July 13th 2015 (FD)

I finally got to spend some time down near the ocean on Tuesday.

The weather wasn't as beautiful as it has been, but it was nice enough to be out (despite the storm that was threatening) and, in some ways, the weather not being fantastic was better, because the beach wasn't so packed with people. Well, it being the middle of a weekday would have helped with that a little too, but on really nice days it seems everyone who doesn't have to be in work or school is on the beach, and it can get quite noisy and crowded. I prefer to have room to breathe, if you know what I mean, so I was glad to have an almost deserted stretch of beach to enjoy in peace. Besides, the weather wasn't too bad. I mean, it was obvious that storm was on the way; we could feel it and smell it in the air. But it was warm and dry enough that we didn't need jackets, and not too windy either.

Anyway, I sat down there by myself for a bit... Just enjoying feeling the breeze from the ocean, while listening to the waves crash against the shore, and the sea birds calling... While Kelly went to fetch lunch.

Kelly had chicken, I had an egg baguette, and we shared some fries. We gave the birds some of the fries too... The pigeons and gulls love when you throw them fries. Well, actually, they love when you throw them any food.

After lunch, we took a leisurely walk along the promonade for a while before heading home, and some of the birds followed us until we went up to the street. I think they hoped we had more lunch to share with them, but obviously gave up on us when they saw we were leaving.

We also saw a bird that may have been a Rosiate Tern. We're almost certain it was one... We're not bird experts, but we're as certain as we can be without a photo, or the bird itself, sitting in front of us to be compared with the pictures on the site. Of course, we didn't have our camera with us, hence the lack of photo.

Oh, and.. In case you're wondering... We made it home in plenty of time before the storm showed up. We'd been home about an hour when the wind picked up, and the storm happened some time later.

***

I've started roleplaying with my brother, Carl, my Dad, and a family friend named Gareth.

Since Dad and Gareth are the only two anywhere near each other, we're doing it via TeamSpeak, because it's a bit easier to use than Skype (especially for Carl and I, who are using screen readers). I mean, Jaws does work with Skype, but it works better with TeamSpeak. Besides, I think Dad likes TeamSpeak better.

We're playing the 7th edition of Call of Cthulhu at the moment. The guys had already had a couple of sessions when I joined in, but there wasn't all that much for me to catch up on, really. Just about two sessions, I think.

There's supposed to be a game about twice a month. This first session was last Monday afternoon, and the next will be on a Monday too (a week today). The day's meant to be changing after that though, since Monday afternoons are no longer good for Carl. So, I think we're changing to a Thursday afternoon instead.

Anyway, I'm playing a nurse named Roisin. It's set in the 1920s, so I'm playing a nurse of Irish descent (her name is the Irish for rose) who was a nurse in the 1st World War, because she wanted to be one so she could follow her fiance when he had to go to war. Although, if her luck continues like it did last week, I won't be playing her for long, since she's already quite beaten up... Apparently the luck of the Irish wasn't with her last Monday.

But, despite that, I did enjoy my first session of Call of Cthulhu. In fact, as I said on Facebook just after the session ended... It's probably the only time I'm ever going to be saying I had fun while having my arm torn open by the lethal claw of a flying monster thing, and then hitting my head on a stone grave marker so hard I almost passed out.

See... I said she was quite beaten up.

Still, it could have been worse... Those things could have been happening to me, rather than just to my character!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Furkid Friday - July 10th 2015

Hi humans, rodents, and anyone else.

This is Joshua the degu.

Remember how Jenks told you Jasper and I got really nasty cuts?

Well, they're still sore!

They're not infected or anything, so the humans aren't worried. But they're sore enough that Jasper and I get upset if something rubs against them, because it hurts when that happens.

Jasper even gave the Mummy human a slight nip on the finger, because he burrowed his head in her hand to stop the Daddy human looking at his cut, and it hurt when her hand touched his cut.

She told him that wasn't nice, but she didn't really get cross about it because he didn't do it hard enough to even leave a mark; just enough to let the humans know it hurt, and he wasn't happy about that... So, nothing like the nips our gerbil brother, Bilbo, gives.

He only did it once though, and I've been even better, because I didn't even try to nip the humans once... Even though my cut still hurts too.

Squeak soon,
Joshua

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - July 8th 2015

It's time for this year's Smashwords Summer/Winter sale, which they hold every July, and which I've enrolled a dozen of my books in this year; 6 are 75% off, and another 6 are 50% off.

If you missed the post I put up about it on Sunday, then go here for details of which books I've enrolled, how much they'll cost while they're on sale, and the coupon codes to use to get the sale price.

Please note that the sale only applies to the eBook versions of my books, and that the coupon codes are exclusively for use on Smashwords during July 2015.

Plenty of other authors also have their books on sale. Some are 25% off, some are 50% off, some are 75% off, and others are completely free. So, browse the books on sale and maybe you'll find a great deal on your next read!

***

Here’s an interesting article about “drive – the surprising truth about what motivates us”... What’s your answer to the question at the end? “What did you want to be when you were a child, and does it relate at all to what you are doing now? Can you see any connection between what you love doing now, and what your childhood aspirations were?” Seriously... I'm curious, so I'd love to get your answers to that question.

Sometimes we have to admit that there are things we are not good at, which we need to work on. Remember: though it can be difficult learning new things, it can also be fun sometimes. Plus, if it helps us to reach our dream, it's worth it, isn't it?

Speaking of learning things... Are you unsure what hooks, plants, and book-end closures are? Well, that article will give you a short explanation of each.

Do you publish your books exclusively on Amazon, and also publish extracts of your work on your blog? If so, you might want to be aware of what can happen if Amazon find out - apparently they don't like it.

Wondering if you're doing enough to be a successful author? Here are 50 questions to ask yourself about your author platform, which will help you to figure out what - if anything - you need to work harder on.

Also... Here are 100 questions to ask yourself before you write your novel, and some questions for beta readers.

OK, so your book is done, and you want some reviews... Understandably. Well, there are plenty of book bloggers out there who may be interested in doing one for you. Once you find a potential book blogger, here are a few little tips for increasing your chances of getting them to review your book.

And, finally, here's a website that boasts 7 strategies, and over 100 tools, to help self-published authors find readers and reviewers, which appears to be worth taking a look at.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Monday's random mutterings - July 6th 2015 (LBE)

I hope you had a happy 4th of July weekend!

Did you see lots of fireworks?

If you didn't see many - or, any - fireworks... Or, if you did, but you love fireworks so much you want to see more... Then you'll be glad to hear we finally got those firework photos sorted out a couple of days ago.

Here they are:


There were a few more, but we only kept the good ones.

I heard a few fireworks Saturday night too.

I'm not sure why, since we don't celebrate the 4th of July. But around here it seems to be a case of any excuse to have fireworks, so it could be just about anything.

We didn't bother to get photos that time though.

***

Here's the anniversary card my Grandma made us for our wedding anniversary back in May:


Yeah, I know... It's taken ages for me to sort out a photo of it.

First we kept forgetting to take the photo of it, and then it was waiting patiently on the camera card with the firework photos.

We got there in the end though, so that's what counts.

Anyway... Thanks, Grandma!

***

They sent someone out to take a look at the internet on Wednesday.

Bearing in mind, I've been telling them something's not right since it was set up when we moved here, but they kept insisting I just needed to give it time to settle, because it's a new connection and all that.

I know new connections need time to settle, but it shouldn't need several months. Besides, if anything it was getting worse.

Turns out our hub wasn't working properly, and likely hasn't worked properly since we got it.

I suspected as much, because we kept getting a green light, and that's not meant to happen. Well, the light is allowed to go green for a second or two when you first turn the hub on, but after that it's supposed to be blue (if you have a working internet connection) or amber (if you don't). But ours kept randomly turning green for a few seconds, and when it did that we'd have no internet access for anything from a few seconds to an hour afterwards.

Bearing in mind, this is the new hub that we were given when we moved here.

Anyway, I finally got them to agree that it wasn't working properly, so they sent out a replacement, which arrived on Friday.

So far, so good!

The internet is working a lot better than it was... Hopefully it will continue to do so.

***

The April reading challenge on one of the groups I'm a member of over on Goodreads was to complete at least one of the following:

-Read 1500 words
-Read a book by an Author you haven't read before
-Read a book that has a character with your name in it.

I completed two of the three things.

I read 30 books (details of which can be found on my "read" shelf on Goodreads). So that covered the 1500 words part.

Plus, I read a couple of new to me authors, but went with "Revan" by Drew Karpyshyn as the one I mentioned for the challenge.

I'm late posting about this one, because we get a badge when we complete challenges on this group, and I was waiting for the badge. Here it is:


June's reading challenge on the same Goodreads group was to complete at least one of the following:

-Read a new genre, one you haven't read before.
-Read one of June's readers addict nominated books
-Read a book that has been recommended to you.
-Read a book that has been sitting on your TBR shelf for over 6 months
-Read 1500 words.

(If you're wondering about number 2 on that list... The group is called "Reading Addicts" and it refers to one of the group's books of the month, of which there are usually about four, I think).

I completed the part about reading a book that's been sitting on my to-read shelf for more than six months, by reading "The Lightning Thief" (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan - a book which has been waiting on my to-read shelf since November 2012.

I also read enough that I know for a fact I read more than 1500 words... Again, LOL!

Anyway... Here's my badge for completing June's challenge:


***

In case you didn't notice, but would like to know...

I moved the couple of links to where you can find Kelly and myself elsewhere, which I previously had on the sidebar, to a tab/page of their own.

So, to find us on other sites, or if you want to be able to e-mail us, and don't have an e-mail address you can use - or, had one, but lost it - just check out the "Contact Us or Find Us Elsewhere" tab near the top of this page, and you'll find all the links you need, as well as links you can click on to e-mail either of us.

The information can also be found on our profile pages on our website.

***

It’s been really hot here most of this past week, and the degus and I have been cranky.

Perhaps that was the reason for their fight a little over a week ago?

I don’t do well with too much heat, so anything above 20C (72F) will have me feeling uncomfortable and grumpy.

Our weather for most of this past week or so has been way above that point. It was 26C (84F) at 1:00am Thursday morning, for example. It should not be allowed to be that hot at night!

We brought a fan, since we don't have air conditioning, and the fan we had broke a while back (we were moving it from room to room as needed, and I'm thinking all the moving around didn't agree with it). We have it in the computer room, and will get another two as soon as we can, so we can have one in the bedroom and one in the living room too, and avoid having to keep moving the fan from room to room.

The new fan arrived on Saturday morning. So, naturally, Sunday (yesterday) then turned out to be a miserable day (weather wise, I mean). It wasn't all that warm, and was quite wet and stormy. Well, most of it... It got dry again, and warmed back up a little, about mid to late afternoon.

Of course!

Not only had we just got a fan to deal with the heat, but we'd planned to go sit down by the ocean in the morning.

You see, we couldn't go down to the beach earlier in the week, since we had to be in to wait for the engineer guy for the internet, the call from the company to discuss the engineer's visit, the delivery of our new hub, and the delivery of the fan. But we had nothing we needed to be doing yesterday. No housework we were behind on. No visitors coming. Nothing! Plus, it was Sunday, so there was no risk of us missing any packages.

Not to mention, I had a good sleep the evening before, so the chances were high that I'd be up in the morning, with enough energy to feel up to going out, and - more to the point - feel up to facing climbing three flights of stairs afterwards... Which, as it turned out, I was. But, of course, about the time it dried up again I was ready for a nap.

We heard a bird outside our bedroom window making a sound that sounded like laughter shortly before the storm arrived. Now I'm even more certain it was laughter; the bird knew the storm was coming, and knew my plans for the day, and found it funny that fate had dealt the hand it had.

It is kind of funny, if you think about it.

Or, maybe it's just me who thinks so?

Never mind.

Sure, I wanted to spend some time down on the beach, and am a bit disappointed that I ended up waiting around for people, phone calls, and packages, all week instead. But it's not like we haven't been down there several times since we moved here - both while we were at the old place, and since we moved even closer to the ocean - and we get a lot of the benifits of the beach even without leaving this apartment. Plus, I dare say there will be plenty of oppertunities to spend time on the beach again in the very near future.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Smashwords Summer/Winter sale 2015

I've enrolled the eBook versions of some of my books in the 2015 Smashwords Summer/Winter sale.


75% off – with coupon code SSW75:
Asha's Big Adventure (sale price: $1)
Cubby And The Beanstalk (sale price: $1)
Jinx And The Faerie Dragons (sale price: $1.25)
Mr. Pumpkin-Head And Other Poems (sale price: $1)
Yua And The Great Wizard Hunt (sale price: $1.25)
Zeena And The Dryad (sale price: $1.265)

50% off – with coupon code SSW50:
Filicity The Musical Platypus (sale price: $1.50)
Goodies For Grandmother (sale price: $1.50)
Home Squeak Home (sale price: $1.50)
Isabelle's Runaway Racehorse (sale price: $1.50)
Snowball The Oddball Kobold (sale price: $1.50)
Vinnie The Vegetarian Zombie (sale price: $0.99)

All coupons are valid until July 31st 2015, are exclusively for use on Smashwords, and give you access to all the eBook formats Smashwords offers (which means they can be read on the computer, on a Kindle or Nook, on an iPad or iPhone, or on just about any other device).

Click on the book title from the list above to go to the Smashwords page for the book in question, where you can purchase your copy.

Feel free to share these coupons with your family, friends, book loving pets, neighbours, random people you meet on the street... Anyone, really.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Furkid Friday - July 3rd 2015 (FD)

Hi there humans, rodents, and readers of any other species.

This is Jenks the degu.

Jasper, Joshua and I got in to a really big fight on Saturday.

I don't remember what it was about, and the humans haven't a clue, so there's no point asking them, but it was bad enough that I have some scratches on my face, and Jasper and Joshua have a nasty cut that goes from their mouth right up to their ear (one on one side of his face, the other on the other side).

My scratches aren't too bad, and started healing quickly, but the humans were worried enough about Jasper and Joshua that they called the vet; who told them to just clean the cuts, and keep an eye on them in case they got an infection.

Jasper got really quiet, which worried the humans, but they were more worried by Joshua, who had a bit of a temperature, was refusing food (even peanuts), and just kept laying on the floor of the cage and crying.

The humans were half convinced Joshua at least wasn't going to make it to Sunday, and when we were all a bit more sleepy than normal on Sunday morning, the Mummy human was worried enough that she came and nudged us all awake, just to make sure we were all still alive; something she doesn't usually do, since she prefers to leave us alone if we're sleepy and quiet.

We complained about being woken, of course, but she gave us some Cheerios, so we decided to forgive her for waking us up, ate our Cheerios, and went back to bed for a while.

I was back to my old self by lunch time on Sunday, and Jasper and Joshua were back to their old selves by Sunday evening. Also, their wounds had closed over by that point, and Joshua's temperature had gone back down to normal. Plus, the humans could see we were all eating well again by that point; even Joshua.

So it all turned out OK in the end.

The humans say they wish we could have all been more like Jacob though, since Jacob does all he can to avoid fighting... He was the only one of us not involved, and not marked by the fight. Jacob usually goes to talk to our gerbil brother, Bilbo, or hides in the nesting box when the rest of us are fighting. He was quick enough to get in on some cuddles from the humans when they were checking us and cleaning our wounds though.

Squeak soon,
Jenks

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - July 1st 2015

Happy Canada Day!

The following books of mine are now also available to buy as paperbacks from CreateSpace and Amazon:

*Cubby And The Beanstalk
*Filicity The Musical Platypus
*Home Squeak Home
*Isabelle's Runaway Racehorse
*Jinx And The Faerie Dragons
*Mr. Pumpkin-Head And Other Poems
*My Friends Of Fur And Feather
*The Leaf Monster And Other Children's Poems
*The Light Of Dawn And Other Poems
*Thistle The Fairy Trickster
*Waves Of Broken Dreams And Other Poems
*Yua And The Great Wizard Hunt

(Click on the titles for the CreateSpace links).

That's 29 of my books that are now available in paperback! :)

Anyway...

I didn't find many interesting writing related articles this past week, but this one on making the leap from blogger to book author is a pretty good one, which some of you may find it worthwhile to take a look at.

Since I have nothing more to say, I'll let this do for this week.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday's random mutterings - June 29th 2015

When my Mam came to visit a couple of weeks back, she brought two pairs of red curtains with her for me to put in my living room.

The living room has two windows, almost side by side, so I wanted curtains that matched. Plus, we only had one pair of curtains that fits the windows in this place, and another pair that's too small for any of our windows.

So, I have my Mam's red curtains, and she took the blue pair I had that's too small for any of our windows, since her windows are smaller (the red curtains are from her old place, and a bit too big for the windows of her new place).

Anyway, we finally got the curtains put up at the start of last week, and they fit the living room windows perfectly. I'm told they also go pretty well with the blue theme of the room, which is good.

The other pair I have - which are a sort of peach colour with flowers all over them - will go up in our computer room... Just as soon as we get a curtain rail for in here, since there isn't one for some reason. The couple who were going to buy the place we just moved out of gave the curtains to us. They don't match the room perfectly, but I think they should look OK. There's Disney Princess wallpaper on one of the walls, and the other three walls are white.

Our bedroom already has both the rail and a pair of curtains, so we'll leave that one alone... Even though the bedroom is decorated in pink, which isn't really what we'd have chosen, since neither of us are huge fans of pink.

Mind you, we wouldn't have chosen the shade of blue used in the living room either, nor the Disney Princess theme of the computer room (it's not the nicest shade of blue, and I prefer fairies to princesses). But we aren't going to worry about redecorating. We're just doing what "needs" doing, and leaving it at that.

***

Our microwave stopped working about a week ago.

It would turn on, and count the time down until it was time for it to ding to say it was done, but would no longer heat things up; no matter how long you set the timer for, or what temperature setting was used.

We've had it for about six years now, and it's not been working too great for a couple of months, so it no longer working wasn't a huge shock. But it was a pain, since we'd hoped it would last a little while longer.

Anyway, we got a new microwave on Friday.

It's almost exactly the same as the old one. Hopefully it will work for several years like the old one did.

It's working well so far, anyway.

***

The weather's been beautiful, and the neighbours and their dogs have been enjoying themselves on the beach.

We've not really been out there with them, since we had grocery shopping to do Tuesday, the repair guys were working in the hallway on Wednesday and getting past them would have been tricky to say the least, we had a friend visit on Thursday as you'll know if you read Baggins' post from last Friday, the microwave was being delivered on Friday, and we had an eventful weekend that you'll learn about in Jenks' post this coming Friday.

Perhaps, if we're lucky, we'll get some time to enjoy a trip down to sit by the ocean this coming week? We'll see!

I know... You'd think with the beach being right there we'd be down there just about every day, wouldn't you?

I'd like to be. But between things happening and my irregular sleep schedule, the only way I'd get a daily trip down to the beach is to go in the middle of the night most of the time. Something I don't plan to make a habit of.

If I could only sleep regular hours, I could make sure to free up some beach time every day. But I don't, so I can't, which means I'll just have to settle for being able to smell and hear the ocean through my open windows, and enjoy listening to laughing children and yapping dogs while I'm up here working.

***

There were some fantastic fireworks a little over a week ago. Kelly went all the way down the three flights of stairs to go and stand somewhere where he could try and get me some good photos to post, since we could hear them really well from our apartement, but couldn't see them very well because of being at just the wrong angle to do so.

I'd hoped to post the photos today, but we haven't had time to sort them, and with how the internet's been playing up lately, I'm not sure if I could get them posted right now anyway.

I'll try and get them sorted and posted soon.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Furkid Friday - June 26th 2015

Hellooo everyone!

This is Baggins the gerbil.

A human came to visit us yesterday. She's one of the pair of humans who were going to buy the house we used to live in, but now it looks like she's becoming friendly with my humans, since she's visited a couple of times since we moved here.

I don't mind though, because she was also being friendly with us rodent types.

She especially seemed to like me and my ratty sister, Skye, and was talking to us while trying to pet us through the bars of our cage.

Skye even got a tummy rub.

I'm not a big fan of tummy rubs myself, but would have liked a little more attention; I was enjoying having her making a fuss of me... Until my brother, Bilbo, tried to bite her fingers, which made her decide that was enough attention for us gerbils for one day.

I was a bit annoyed with Bilbo for trying to bite the nice human, but Bilbo doesn't care; he bites anyone and anything, and doesn't care what anyone thinks of him for it. It doesn't matter how many times the humans tell him biting is bad.

I hope Bilbo's attempt at biting her didn't make her dislike us gerbils, since I'd like her to make a fuss of me if she visits again.

Maybe next time Bilbo will stay out of the way, rather than trying to bite her? I can but hope!

Squeak soon,
Baggins

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - June 24th 2015

It's possible I might have writeritis... I have many of the symptoms. Here are 20 symptoms of writeritis, in case you want to check if you have it too.

Here are some tips on twisting the plot, in case you could use some advice on how to add some exciting plot twists to your story.

Always remember... There are only so many hours in the day, and just because you're good at something, doesn't mean you have to be the one to do it all... Sometimes it's OK to ask someone else to do the things we're good at.

Finally, here are some annoying things only writers will understand.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday's random mutterings - June 22nd 2015

Yesterday (Sunday, June 21st 2015) was Fathers' Day. So, a belated happy Fathers' Day to my Dad, Kelly's Dad, and all the other Dads out there.

Yesterday was also the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere, which would mean it was the Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere. So, a belated blessed Solstice to all who read this.

***

That storm I said was coming broke far enough out to sea that we didn't see much evidence of it, so we've been enjoying some really nice weather all week; the temperature's been all over the place though.

Until today.

It started to pour with rain in the early hours of this morning, and it's still raining now.

***

I was meant to have my hospital appointment to sort my other wisdom tooth this past Wednesday, but I still wasn't feeling well when Monday rolled around, so I thought I better reschedule, since they like to have as much notice as possible if you can't make your appointment.

Unfortunately, the soonest they can fit me in again is the end of July.

My new appointment is for July 29th 2015 at 3:15pm.

Well, at least that gives me plenty of time to shake the last of this cold.

Luckily, the wisdom tooth this is about isn't really causing any problems at the moment, so at least I'm not in serious pain while waiting to be sorted (like I was with that other tooth). I get a slight twinge - which is more discomfort than pain - from it every now and then, but it doesn't happen very often, and it's mild enough to ignore. As long as nothing changes between now and the end of July, I should be able to have them get it out before I start having any real pain from it.

And, hey, if not, at least I won't be sufferring with it for nearly as long as I did with that other tooth... I still can't believe it took them six months to sort that one out!

***

Remember the giveaway I posted about a little over a week ago?

I won!

Well, OK, I wasn't the only winner; other people won stuff too. But, still...

I won my choice of a free copy of any of the books from the series. So, since I already have the first book in the series, I asked for the second... Evolution.

I'm really excited about reading it, since I really enjoyed the first book in the E series!

Also... YAY for winning a free book!

***

I've been a member of a group on Goodreads called Children's Books for a while.

It's never been a very active group, but lately it's been even quieter. I learned why when another member ealized the moderator had disappeared, so the group no longer had one, and he decided to pick up the reigns.

To cut a long story short... After I thanked him for doing so, and we exchanged a couple of messages, we decided to be co-moderators, so we're now both running the group, and working on attempting to breathe new life in to it by encouraging the members to start - and participate in - discussions.

Anyway, I just thought I'd mention it so that anyone who reads this can go check the group out if they like.

As the name suggests, it's a group for authors and readers of children's books, where people can hang out and chat about their favourite children's books from childhood, or children's books they've read more recently. Plus - in the case of members who are authors of children's books - have an oppertunity to talk about their books somewhere they have a chance of getting potential new readers.

I also plan to organize the ocasional reading challenge for the group members.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Furkid Friday - June 19th 2015

Hello humans, rodent types, and anyone of any other species who happens to be reading this.

This is Bilbo the gerbil.

The humans replaced the water bottle that I accidentally broke while checking if it was edible. Turns out it was quite edible, though the Mummy human says I shouldn't make a habit of sampling plastic; apparently it's not good for my tummy.

Anyway, the bit that atatches the new water bottle to the cage isn't so easy to chew, so for now I've given up on it, and decided to focus on the gnawing block and wooden items the humans give us to chew on.

Maybe I'll try again with eating the new water bottle atatchment another time.

Squeak soon,
Bilbo

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - June 17th 2015 (FD)

Guess what?

The following books are now also available as paperbacks from CreateSpace and Amazon:

*Bluebell The Fairy Guide
*Frank The Friendly Ogre
*Goodies For Grandmother
*Lonely Little Princess
*Rodent Rhymes And Pussycat Poems
*The Forgotten Angel
*The Great Tadpole Rescue
*Vinnie The Vegetarian Zombie

(Click on the book title for the CreateSpace link).

We're almost half way there, and more of my books will be available in paperback soon... At this rate it won't be many more weeks before we're all caught up with making my entire backlist available in paperback!

In the meantime... Here are some writing related links:

If you self-publish, like I do, here are some tips for staying sane in a self-publishing world. Also, these are the 10 things that really matter when it comes to judging your success.

Struggling to get your writing time in? Check out these productivity tips for writers.

Plenty of real life social activities involve food and/or drink: catching up with friends over coffee, ordering a pizza to share with your partner on date night, taking your kids out for a burger and fries on the weekend... You get the idea, I'm sure! In fact, some solo activities involve food and/or drink too. I mean, I bet most people reading this at least have a drink beside them right now... I know I do. So adding food in to your fiction can help to bring some life to some of your scenes. Here are some tips on using food in fiction, which explain this in more detail.

Should we stick to the old saying about writing what you know? Or should we be teaching a writed new tricks? Personally, I'm all for learning new things while writing; the research can be fun!

Speaking of learning new things... Are you writing for children? Be sure your character grows, so that your young readers can learn and grow alongside your character.

Formatting matters, so here are some tips on formatting your book. They're aimed at eBooks, but formatting matters in other formats too. I try to keep the formatting as simple as possible, while - I hope - making it easy to read my books; that's the advice I'd give you too.

If you've written your book, and think it would be the perfect book for someone to take on holiday with them, here are 7 top tips for promoting your novel as a holiday read.

Finally... What do we mean by selling? (A post for writers, not salespeople).