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).

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday's random mutterings - June 15th 2015 (FD)

We've had some awesome storms lately, but this was the view from our window this past Thursday...


The weather was really nice, the ocean was bluer and calmer than it had been in ages, and plenty of our neighbours - those who live close by, and those who live a little further away - were out there enjoying it; not that I blame them in the least.

I love listening to the people enjoying themselves on the beach. Especially when there are dogs or children involved; listening to the delighted squeals of children paddling and splashing in the ocean, or the excited barks of dogs playing fetch or trying to chase the waves, always makes me smile.

Another reason I enjoy listening to the children out there is because I love hearing some of the things they say, or the games they invent to play, many of which make me laugh when I hear them drifting up through my open window; children have excellent imaginations.

It's just a shame that some of it is interrupted by the sounds of traffic going past us on the road between our building and the promonade; the sounds of cars, busses, and trucks isn't quite as pleasant to listen to, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Anyway, the next day (Friday) it was really hot and humid, and the rest of the weekend was overcast and very windy (Well, Saturday was very windy; Sunday was quite nice). It's meant to stay nice all week, but personally I think there's another storm coming; it's been trying to break since Friday.

***

My Mam and a family friend named Jo came for a visit over the weekend.

They were supposed to arrive with us about lunch time on Saturday, and I was going to go out for coffee with them. Well, OK... I wouldn't have had coffee; I'd have had tea or a soft drink, since I don't really like coffee. But you know what I mean, I'm sure.

Except they decided to drive down Friday evening instead, with plans to stay somewhere nearby for the night, and then come to us to take us to breakfast on Saturday morning.

But, as it turned out, that also didn't end up happening, because they couldn't find anywhere with an empty room, so they ended up arriving with us around 2:00am Saturday morning.

Mam and I had trouble sleeping. Well, actually, Mam had trouble sleeping, and I just didn't manage to sleep at all, so we ended up going for a walk down to the ocean at around 5:00am. Those who have me on Facebook might already know this, since we messed about with the camera on my Mam's phone, and she posted the photos up on Facebook after we got back. I don't have copies, or I'd have put them in this post. Yeah, I know I could grab them off Facebook, but it's not very easy for me to do, and I don't feel like trying to do it; not for photos that were just us messing about.

Anyway...

After that, Mam managed to get a bit of sleep, while I read for a while, until it was late enough for us to go for breakfast; which Mam paid for.

We went to one of our favourite cafes, which is only about a block and a half away from us. Mam and Jo had full cooked breakfasts, I had an egg baguette, and Kelly just had to be different and have a burger for breakfast. But, hey, we all enjoyed our breakfasts, and that's what matters.

They didn't stick around after breakfast, since they wanted to go in to town and look around some of the shops. I expect they'd have been happy for us to join them, but I was just about ready for a nap, so they went to do some shopping, and Kelly and I came home.

I did go for a nap, but didn't sleep much.

But, anyway, after nap time, Kelly and I sampled the cheese scones Jo had made, and the peanut butter cookies my Mam had made; both of which were quite tasty.

We didn't see them again, even though they were in the area until Sunday, because they had other plans, and actually had somewhere to sleep Saturday night besides our living room; which I'm sure they were pleased about, since it meant they had beds, plus didn't have to share a room with the rodent gang (neither my Mam or Jo really like rats, and the rodent gang's cages are all in the living room).

It's probably just as well, since it was Sunday morning before I got any sleep worth mentioning.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

"Eden" by Kate Wrath - includes giveaway!

Announcing the release of the third book in the E series, Eden, by Kate Wrath:

Cover of Eden

THE THIRD BOOK IN THE E SERIES

Both friends and enemies are keen to get their hands on the information inside Eden’s head—information that could take down the Sentries and change the world. But there are costs that no one realized, and Eden’s not so sure she’s willing to pay them. Refusing to do so could create dangerous problems within the tribe she’s only just come back to.

Eden has her own agenda for learning Lily’s secrets. With hope refusing to die, she’s spurred forward by memories of Oscar and thoughts of finding him again. But Lily’s hold on her is greater than she knows, compelling her to chase after strange clues and confusing visions. With love and longing weighing on her, Eden must determine the reality of her fractured identity in order to decide which path to take. The choices she makes could tear her away from Jonas and Apollon, from everything she’s ever known.

Eden’s future will not be determined solely by choices. Fate has her own cards to play, and they just might take the game.



An excerpt from Eden:

I glance at his face. He's not looking at me, but off down the street, taking in everything in that relaxed sort of way one does when everything is good and at ease. He looks at me now, sensing me looking at him. His smile is so easy. So real and natural. It's the perfect time to ask him, when he's like this. But that would bring all the weight back in. His smile would disappear. Maybe we'll walk just a moment more.

But a moment, and a moment, and a moment. It's not enough of this. When I let all my thoughts go—when I let them float away on the breeze like a cobweb—there's just the filmy sparkle of their passing. And behind, sunshine. Smiles. Something warm and good inside me that I don't want to give up. Yes, there are tuggings and pullings and longings deep within, but if I pay them no attention, I can just be here in this moment. I can just feel what it's like to be smiled at by him.

I sigh and lean into his shoulder as we walk. He murmurs something—some wordless something—an unimportant comment or offhand observation. I feel outside of language, right now. It's the tone that's important. The being.

So we walk, and I drink it all in.

Forever later—an instant later—we find ourselves at one of the warehouses with the trees.

"They're mostly in bloom," he says, drawing me through the door.

Inside is a secret forest of blossom and nectar and sunshine. We walk through the rows of trees, observing their flowers and the occasional fruit. It's a quiet place in and of itself, and our voices are gone for a long time.

There is a single orange dangling off the end of a branch, right at face level. We stop, and I caress it with my finger tips, leaning in to smell it. There is something about that smell. My eyes flutter closed as I inhale, drinking in the perfume of citrus. When I draw back, exhaling slowly, opening my eyes, Jonas is looking at me from the other side of the orange. A soft, soft smile is painted across his face.

And I don't want to let go of this moment. But I have to ask. He knows so much more about everything here, than me. "What can you tell me about oranges?"

His eyebrows go up a touch with surprise. He considers. "They're our main source of trade."

"Yes." I suppose I knew that. But what does it mean?

"...And you like them," he adds. "A lot." He takes hold of the orange and plucks it from the branch, holds it out to me. It rolls off his palm and comes to rest in the cup of his curved fingers.

I look at the orange for a moment, a little chill running up my spine. "Yes," I say again, taking it from him and raising it to my nose. I meet his gaze as I breathe in the lovely smell one more time, smiling behind the orange. "I do."

He laughs and turns away, touching a dangling branch of blossoms from the next tree over. "We used to come here," he murmurs, and though the words are quiet, I hear him well. He glances back over his shoulder at me, and a line has etched itself across his brow. "I wish we had a place just for us," he says. "That wasn't ever anyone else's."

"We have a river," I say, before I know what I'm saying. "And a spot on a raft in the morning, with the sun just rising."

An open-lipped smile stretches slowly across his face. "Next time I take you back there, it will be just you and me on the raft."

Now I laugh and move because I'm blushing and if I don't move I might pass out. And because there's too much pain in this joy. And too much uncertainty.

We walk for the door like we've made an unspoken agreement.

***

You can purchase Eden on Amazon.
It's also available on Amazon UK and Amazon Canada



About the Author:

Kate WrathKate Wrath lives in the Southwestern US. Much like other authors, she has both a [family] and a [pet].

[family = three crazy-but-lovable, exceedingly adorable people with longer eyelashes and better sense of humor than Kate]

[pet = lovable-but-crazy giant German Shepherd who seems to be able to read, but pretends not to understand when something is required of him]

Kate is the author of the E series: E (Book #1), Evolution (Book #2), Eden (Book #3, June 13, 2015), and Jason and Lily (prequel, July 23, 2015). She has also written two fantasy novels that are soon to be released.

Kate believes in literature as an art form, world peace, and animal rights, but aspires to write total trash that is full of senseless violence, with characters who eat house pets.

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***Giveaway***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Furkid Friday - June 12th 2015

Um... Hi everyone. This is Skye the rat.

I don't really have anything to say, if I'm honest. But I have a couple of photos of me and my sister, Star, to show you. So, here they are:





Enjoy!

Squeak soon,
Skye

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - June 10th 2015 (LBE)

As you'll no doubt already knowif you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, but may not if you don't...

The first of my books is available in print!

Here's me holding the first book to arrive:

(Sorry if I'm not looking too great in the photo; I wasn't feeling too well... Still not, really, though I'm feeling a lot better than I was. I had to have a photo of me with the first book to arrive though, didn't I?)

And here's a close-up of the book in question:


It's one of the books in my "Degu Days Duo" series; the series about my degu boys, Jacob, Jasper, Jenks, and Joshua.

"A Very Degu Christmas" is now available to buy from CreateSpace, Amazon UK, Amazon.Com, and a bunch of other Amazon sites.

"The Great Degu Round-Up" (the other degu book) arrived the following day, and is also now available to buy in paperback from CreateSpace, and Amazon.

They will also eventually be available for other bookstores (independant and otherwise) and libraries to order copies to stock - should they wish to do so, or should you request that they do so - though it will take a couple of months for that to be an option (CreateSpace say about six to eight weeks).


Thanks again to Kevin, and Alex, and Chris, for posting to tell everyone that my books are starting to become available in paperback; your help with getting the word out is very much appreciated.

By the way... Because of the way things work with ISBNs, most places will probably list the publisher as "CreateSpace" - like how most places list the publisher of my eBooks as Smashwords - but I actually got to pick a company name, and am publishing them under the company name "Keroberous Publishing" in honour of my beloved Westie, and it says "published by Keroberous Publishing on CreateSpace" on the copyright page of the paperback versions of my books.

Speaking of Kero...

The entire "Kero's World" series is also available in paperback from CreateSpace now too, and will be available on Amazon in the next couple of days.

The books for that series are:

1. Kero Goes Walkies
2. Kero Celebrates His Birthday
3. Kero Gets Sick
4. Kero Celebrates Halloween
5. Kero Goes To Town
6. Kero Celebrates Christmas
7. Kero Crosses The Rainbow Bridge

(Click on the book titles for the CreateSpace links).

More of my books will be available in paperback soon!

But... That's not all!

As you'll know if you saw my post on Saturday, the eBook version of "Zeena And The Dryad" is now officially released, and available from all the usual eBook retailers who stock my eBooks, such as Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo (among others).

It's been an exciting week!

Now for those writing links...

I don't have problems generating ideas, but if you could use a bit of help, here are 3 surefire ways to generate book ideas. Also, remember to pedal your bike to pedal your mind.

Are you thinking of making up an alien or fantasy language for your story? If so, check out this post entitled "thoughts on writing - creating fantasy languages" for some useful tips.

Ready to edit? Here are 8 tips for editing a manuscript, and a post called "for the Love of Comma" with some information on use of punctuation. Also, if you plan to use Beta readers, here are 6 tips for using beta readers.

Once your book is ready, it's time to figure out the price, and to answer the big question: "to offer it free or not" and, if not, how much to charge? Personally, I have one story available for free as an eBook, and have a pricing system I've worked out based on word count for the rest of them. I've tried to be fair with my prices - and also tried to be fair when figuring out a pricing system for my paperback versions - and hope people think I have been.

OK, so... You've published your book, and find yourself saying "I'm a published author, but no one in my family cares," while waiting for requests for autographs, etc. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but that's the most likely outcome for most writers. Don't get me wrong, I have some family members and friends who are very supportive, but I have to admit that the kind of comment made by the daughter at the end of the post I just linked to is about what I get most of the time; sometimes not even that. I wish you the best of luck with your books, but would like to remind you that most writers don't get lucky enough to become rich and famous, so if you're in it for fame and fortune, you should probably go do something else. Write because you love it, and that pleasure will be its own reward.

Last but not least, everyone loves a contest, so here are 9 tips for holding fun (and successful) contests to help you get the most of any contests you hold for your fans.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Monday's random mutterings - June 8th 2015



The above photo of the boats on the ocean was taken some time in May.

***

For May's monthly challenge on one of the groups I'm a member of over on Goodreads, we had to complete at least one of the following:

- Spell the month of May (Using either title or author name).
-Rate 4 books using each of the ratings (4 stars, 3 stars, 2 stars, 1 star)
-read 1500 words
-Read 2 books of the same series

I went with the option of reading two books from the same series. These are the books I read:
*Precipice (Star Wars Lost Tribe of the Sith, #1) by John Jackson Miller
*Skyborn (Star Wars Lost Tribe of the Sith, #2) by John Jackson Miller

I probably read the 1500 words and then some too, considering how much I read (I read 28 books in May).

Anyway, this group gives out badges, so here's my badge to say I completed the challenge:


***

Yesterday (June 7th) was my Grandma's birthday.

I don't know if she'll see this - sometimes she reads my blog posts, other times she doesn't - but I'll say it anyway...

Happy birthday for yesterday, Grandma!

It's also my Mother-In-Law's birthday tomorrow (June 9th) and my Dad's birthday on Saturday (June 13th).

Like with my Grandma, I don't know if they'll see this or not... Probably not, to be honest. But I'll say it anyway...

Happy birthday for tomorrow, Mom!

And...

Happy birthday for Saturday, Dad!

***

This will be short, because I've not really done anything much worth mentioning (other than book related stuff, which I'll tell you about on Wednesday). Unless you want to hear about boring stuff like household chores?

Yep, my day to day life is quite boring at the moment... The non-book related parts of it are, anyway.

Besides, I'm not feeling 100% at the moment. Nothing serious... I just have one of those annoying types of colds. You know? The ones that get just bad enough that you feel really yucky, but not so bad that you can't just about function.

I've had it for a little over a week now, but started feeling a bit more human recently, so hopefully it will go away soon.

Actually, I could really do with it being gone by next week, since I have the appointment to have my other wisdom tooth removed next week, and really don't want to have to reschedule; it's taken long enough to get this done as it is.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Zeena And The Dryad - officially released today!

"Zeena the faerie dragon doesn’t think she’s special, even though she’s the only one of her kind to have mastered the magic for all five elements equally. But when a dryad named Kishi comes to her for help, she doesn’t hesitate. Together with her best friend – a mischievous pixie named Saarik – Zeena sets off to free Heidi the earth fairy, as well as to save the woods and the creatures of Earth."

That's the synopsis for my latest book, which is officially released today!

The book is called "Zeena And The Dryad" and is the first book in the “Zeena Dragon Fae” series; a fantasy series containing four books. Well, it will contain four books when I'm finished writing them, anyway.

"Zeena And The Dryad" is now available to buy as an eBook from Smashwords in all formats they offer, as well as from other eBook retailers who carry my books, such as Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo, among others. It will be available elsewhere soon.

It will also be available in print in the near future; just as soon as this can be arranged.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Furkid Friday - June 5th 2015

Hi humans, rats, other rodent types, and anyone else who's reading this.

This is Star the rat.

My humans put this strange thing in our cage a few weeks back. They say it's called a "wheel" and that we're supposed to run on it. I can't figure out why we'd want to run on it though, and neither can my sister, Skye.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's a great climbing toy; though it's easier to climb if we put one of our wooden toys on it to stop it moving. It also makes a nice seat. But we see no point in running on it.

We did try, but running on it got us nowhere, and what's the point of running when you're not going to get anywhere? It's a waste of time, if you ask me!

The boys run on their wheel quite often, and it doesn't get them anywhere either.

Well, our brothers might be daft enough to fall for that running in one place trick of the humans, but we rats aren't; my sister and I are much too smart for that.

I mean, I'm not sure what the purpose of that trick was - though there's bound to be one; there usually is with humans. But, whatever the humans had hoped to achieve, it won't work... Not with me and Skye!

Squeak soon,
Star

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - June 3rd 2015

I'm still not able to give you details of exactly when my books will be available to buy in print. Hopefully I'll have some news for you about this soon.

In the meantime, the eBook version of the first "Zeena Dragon Fae" book will be officially released this coming Saturday, and I'm working on writing the second book in the series.

That's all the news I have about my own writing this week though.

So, on to those writing links...

This is a new twist on giving you tips on how to get noticed as an author... Read these tips on how not to get noticed, and then do the opposite. Of course, as the article says, doing the opposite may not guarantee you get noticed. But, you never know.

As you no doubt know, editing is a very important part of the book creation process, and there are all sorts of options available to help with editing; various types of editing software included. The writer should take what editors and editing software have to say in to consideration, but - in most cases - make up their own mind in the end. This article, entitled "Aliens and guillotines- 6 reasons to break the editing rules," explains why.

Speaking of rules... There are certain rules you need to stick to in order to write in a certain genre, but sometimes the rules people say you need to follow are based on what someone wants in order to make your book just like another book they loved - these are not rules of fantasy, for example. Like with all writing rules, you need to figure out for yourself which ones must be followed, and which ones are more flexible - or are fine to ignore completely.

Still sticking with the topic of writing rules... Here are the rules on how not to start your children's book according to one author and reader. Personally, I don't see any problem with setting the scene a little first; as long as something will be happening soon. But everyone's entitled to their opinions, and - if nothing else - it's worth knowing what rules are out there. I mean, if you're going to break writing rules, you should at least know what rules your breaking, right?

OK, moving on...

Need some help with promoting your book? Here are 10 ways to raise the bar on book promotion to help you out. Number nine on the list mentions promotion on other sites/blogs, which is something a couple of people I know try to encourage. If you're wondering why this is such a good idea - and why you usually get asked about yourself more than just your books when you participate - then here's why.

Do you find yourself asking the question "what's an independant author?" Or, perhaps, you're unsure whether or not to take a chance on a book you've spotted by one? Hesitate no longer... Read the post, then read the book you were hesitating about picking up just because of the method in which it was published. There's no more risk in trying a new independant author than there is in trying a new traditionally published author.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Monday's random mutterings - June 1st 2015 (FD and kinda LBE)

I know... The last two Mondays I sort of cheated with my Monday posts, since I posted about my website's recipe section and nothing else two weeks ago, and then did a post about a newly released book last week.

You're getting a "proper" random mutterings post today though.

***

If you read my post from last Wednesday, then you'll know I mentioned computer issues in it.

You see, my laptop - well, actually, it's a "netbook" if I'm honest - isn't working properly any more.

For one thing, it doesn't have much memory. This was fine when I got it, because I was only doing a bit of writing and blogging for fun, and answering the odd e-mail too, of course. But now that I'm doing more, sometimes need to have a couple of windows open when I'm working on a story (during the re-write phases, when I need to check facts, for example) and need to upload files for my books on a regular basis, it just isn't enough; the poor thing couldn't cope, and kept crashing. Actually, sometimes just opening more than JAWS would cause it to crash.

On top of that, I've stepped on it several times, and did some damage after the first couple of times. The screen was in a bad way for a start (not an issue for me as a rule, but it meant Kelly couldn't help me out with anything when I needed him to). This may have contributed to its regular crashes, since I'm not sure exactly how much damage I did with stepping on it. The damage I did to it may be fixable, but since the low memory means I could do with an upgrade anyway, and it would probably cost a lot to fix, we decided to just get me a new computer.

We decided on a desktop this time though. For one thing, it means better specs for less money. For another thing, the machine needs to stay out of the way of my feet, which means it's safer if I'm using a desk, so it's pointless spending extra money on a laptop when it's just going to be sat on a desk anyway.

I got a new desk last month, and a new computer this month. I've now had the computer a little over a week, and it's working really well.

My only complaint is that I had to upgrade to Windows 8. I hate having to upgrade to new versions of Windows! I feel like I only just have one type figured out, and I have to figure out a whole new one. OK, I could have got one with no operating system installed, then got hold of a copy of Windows 7 to put on it. But doing so would have put the cost above the price range we could afford at the moment. Plus, I'd need to update sooner or later anyway... Whether I want to or not... So I figured I might as well get it over with.

I was a bit worried about JAWS working, but the site for the company who makes JAWS insisted that JAWS 15 and above work on Windows 8 (they're on JAWS 16 now) and I have JAWS 15, since I updated it last year, so they said I should be fine. Thankfully, they were right, and JAWS is working just fine with the new version of Windows.

It's taking me a while to figure out how to make JAWS do some things though. Like turning the computer off... It took me TWO HOURS to figure out how to make JAWS navigate to the "power options" button! I figured it out in the end though, so I guess that's what's important.

I still hate having to change operating systems though...

***

Sticking with technology for the visually impaired for a moment...

Kevin told me about an add on for Firefox designed to make things easier for the visually impaired. Actually, I should say "even easier" since Firefox is already the easiest browser to navigate with a screen reader.

Anyway, the WebVisum add on helps with things like solving word verification, etc... There's a list of features on the site.

I downloaded it of course; anything to make my life easier!

I know Kelly's happy to help with what I need help with, but that's not the point.

You have to send them a message to get a code to register, because they want to be sure you're not a robot, or a cartoon character who wants to take over the world.

So I sent them a message saying that I'm pretty sure I'm not a robot - despite recent concerns about possibly being one - and that taking over the world not only sounds like too much work, but that there's not enough chocolate in the world to help me deal with the grief involved in being the one to blame for all the world's problems.

I guess they liked my message, because they were really quick to send me my registration code.

***

The weather continues to be weird, with storms one minute, and beautiful sunshine the next.

Hey, at least we don't get a chance to get too sick of one particular type of weather.

Shame I missed out on snow this year though... Maybe I'll have better luck next Winter?

***

A few months ago - I think it was early February, though it might have been late January - my Dad sent me some lemon marmalade, which he'd made a few weeks before. He sent me three jars of it.

It was really tasty, but now it's all gone.

I plan to make my own - admittedly with a bit of help from Kelly - but just haven't had time.

I'm not going to make lemon though... I'll pick another fruit. After all, I don't want to be having the same flavour all the time.

Maybe I'll do something with berries in it?

***

I joined in with the A-Z title reading challenge on one of the groups I'm a member of over on Goodreads again this year.

For those not familiar with the rules: you have to read books with titles that work for the letters of the alphabet. You can decide for yourself whether to use or ignore the words "A" and "The" if a title starts with one of those, and when it comes to the "Q" and "X" all that matters is that they appear in the title somewhere.

The challenge lasts from January 1st 2015 to December 31st 2015, but - me being me, and reading as much as I do - I finnished it before we even got half way through the year... I finnished it about a week and a half ago.

So, here are the books I read for the challenge:

A ~ Anne Hawksmoor: The Time Traveller (Anne Hawksmoor, #1) by K.C. Harry.
B ~ Bleak House by Charles Dickens.
C ~ Charm: An Amazing Story Of A Little Black Cat by Leyla Atke.
D ~ Dogs In Space (Astro's Adventures, #8) by Susan Day.
E ~ Eric & The Black Axes (The Sanctum Series, #4) by Katrina Cope.
F ~ From The Ashes (Ravenwood Detective Agency Mystery, #1) by Sabrina Flynn.
G ~ The Great Ghost Rescue by Eva Ibbotson.
H ~ A Horse Called September by Anne Digby.
I ~ I Am Touch by David Estes.
J ~ Jo's Boys (Little Women, #3) by Louisa May Alcott.
K ~ The Kingmaker's Daughter (The Cousin's War, #4) by Philippa Gregory.
L ~ Little Women (Little Women, #1) by Louisa May Alcott.
M ~ Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH (Rats Of NIMH, #1) by Robert C. O'Brien.
N ~ Neptune's Trident (Astro's Adventures, #7) by Susan Day.
O ~ Old Jack's Tale by Walter Lazo.
P ~ Pathfinder #6—Rise of the Runelords Chapter 6: "Spires of Xin-Shalast" by Greg A. Vaughan & James L. Sutter.
Q ~ The White Queen (The Cousins' War, #1) by Philippa Gregory.
R ~ Rampaging Rats (Astro's Adventures, #3) by Susan Day.
S ~ Stanley Scotch And The Land Of Giants by Kit Jenson.
T ~ The Alien Chronicles by Autumn Kalquist, Hugh Howey, B.V. Larson, Jennifer Foehner Wells, Daniel Arenson, Blair Babylon, Annie Bellet, Peter Cawdron, WJ Davies, Patrice Fitzgerald, Moira Katson, Samuel Peralta, Will Swardstrom, Geoffrey Wakeling, Nicolas Wilson, David Gatewood, & Stefan Bolz.
U ~ Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
V ~ Villainous Vic (Bogamus And Friends, #2) by Nathan A. Jones.
W ~ Where's Lolly? (Class Heroes, #3) by Stephen Henning.
X ~ The Ix by Andrew P. Weston.
Y ~ The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1) by Marie Lu.
Z ~ Zombie Moon Rising (A Peter Brannigan Novella) by Claire Farrell.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Katrina Cope

Katrina is a quiet, bordering on shy, person until relaxed with company or after a couple of her favourite reds (Yes, that is all it takes).

She resides in Queensland Australia and is a loyal friend once you pass the barrier. Her three teen/preteen boys and husband of over fifteen years treat her like a princess. Unfortunately though, this princess still has to do domestic chores. 

She holds a 2nd Dan in Taekwondo, which she likes to incorporate the experience into her stories. When she has enough time away from her writing to commit to training, she will be going for her 3rd Dan. 

From birth, she has been a very creative person and has spent many years travelling the world and observing many different personalities and cultures. Her favourite personalities have been the strange ones yet the ones under the radar also hold a place in her heart. During her last extensive travels, she spent 16 nights in a bomb shelter on a Kibbutz 8 kilometers off the Lebanese border. It was to avoid Katyusha bombs that the resident volunteers decided to name her after (she is still trying to work out why).  

PS. Do NOT try to scare her in a dark alleyway even as a joke. Just saying!

Author links:
http://katrenee11.wix.com/katrina-cope-author
https://www.facebook.com/Author.Katrina.Cope
http://www.amazon.com/Katrina-Cope/e/B00F00JF9M/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7265107.Katrina_Cope
https://twitter.com/k_copefunread

Katrina's books:

The Afterlife Series (YA Urban Fantasy)

Fledgling (Afterlife #1)
http://www.amazon.com/Fledgling-Book-Afterlife-Katrina-Cope-ebook/dp/B00XEPYDRY/

Blurb:
"The earth as we know it is changing. Each day, unknown forces are taking over the human race. Evil is growing stronger, and innocence is the victim. If
not stopped, the future of humankind is bleak. 

With current protection angels being stretched past their limits, a new wave of protection is being developed. A new breed of angel is being trained to
fight. 

Fledgling is one of them. She did not ask for this life. After living three short lives as a human, she was chosen. With a mind of an eighteen-year-old, she struggles to adapt to her new life surrounded by angelic rules.

All contact with her past life is ruled prohibited, and romance outlawed. Yet she still finds herself torn between her kind-hearted trainee friend, who has gorgeous blue wings with matching eyes, and the love of her human lives. Her human love is on the verge of either joining the angels or becoming lost to her forever. She is forbidden to intervene. 

Despite her qualms, she is passionate about saving the innocent. Will she be able to place aside her struggles in order to fulfil her passion and new life, or will she become exiled from succumbing to her temptations?"

The Sanctum Series (Preteen Spy Thriller/Sci-fi)

Jayden & the Mysterious Mountain (The Sanctum Series #1):
http://www.amazon.com/Jayden-Mysterious-Mountain-Book-Sanctum-ebook/dp/B00EYSKMF2/

Blurb:
"When a rich grandfather figure, strangely appears in the dark street, to rescue the young boy Jayden from homelessness, a life better than his dreams has come true. He is taken to a five star hotel - no, actually a school called The Sanctum, camouflaged in the mountains. The students build and operate high tech equipment, including surrogate robots all to fight against terrorism. Or are they?

By the way, you don’t want to annoy Scarlet who runs the general operations of the building. She is one cheeky AI and plays nasty if you cross her."

Scarlet's Escape (The Sanctum Series #2):
http://www.amazon.com/Scarlets-Escape-Book-2-Sanctum-ebook/dp/B00L8KYSUO/

Blurb:
"Over a year has passed since Avando rescued Jayden from homelessness. Strange things are happening within The Sanctum, and their movements to fight terrorism are continually being jeopardised. 

Secrets are discovered at Ernest State College. On the surface, they appear to be working for the good side, but what are they hiding? 

What’s up with Scarlet? Has she blown her mainframe?" 

Taylor's Plight (The Sanctum Series #3)
http://www.amazon.com/Taylors-Plight-Book-Sanctum-Series-ebook/dp/B00N6N9XFQ/

Blurb:
"THE ACTION INCREASES AS THE PLOT THICKENS. 

Taylor, the renowned bully of Jayden and his friends, has been acting peculiar. He had disappeared for a couple of days, then reappeared and went on a rampage. 

Meanwhile, Scarlet is having the fight of a lifetime. She is under attack from an experienced hacker. Will she be able to fight them off? 

Mysterious things are found at Ernest State College that have nothing to do with who Dr Ernest is tracking. Brendan, the surrogate, goes on a field trip with Hayley, Liam and Dryden. What they discover rocks Brendan’s world and significantly changes the future."

Eric & the Black Axes (The Sanctum Series #4)
http://www.amazon.com/Eric-Black-Axes-Sanctum-Series-ebook/dp/B00R5HS5PS/

Blurb:
"THE EVIL PROFESSOR WAS NOT BLUFFING. HE HAS FOUND AN ALLY. 

Will the two schools unite to fight the organisers of terrorism, or will the secrets of each school cause them to fight each other? 

What mischief will Scarlet get up to with her new toy?"

Friday, May 29, 2015

Furkid Friday - May 29th 2015

Hi humans, rodents, and anyone of any other species who happens to be reading this post.

This is Jacob the degu. It was meant to be my turn to do one of these bloggy post things last week, but the Mummy human wanted to post about the pet section her website now has, so I agreed to let her do that first.

My degu brothers and I have decided to allow the humans to pet us a little more, and to ask for cuddles a bit more often; something the humans have been trying to persuade us to agree to for some time.

It's not that we don't like being petted and cuddled; we do. But we like to be on our own four paws as much as possible, and prefer nibbles to petting.

However, we've been watching our ratty sisters getting petted and cuddled, and thought it looked kinda nice. So, we figured we'd get in on all the attention too.

Jasper and I especially have been making a huge effort to encourage the humans to give us attention.

And, you know what?

It feels really good!

We've been missing out these past couple of years with our insistance on only tolerating a little petting, and only wanting cuddles when the humans absolutely insist, or something scary or upsetting happened.

I'm glad we saw how much our ratty sisters were loving it, and realized we were missing out on something so good.

Squeak soon,
Jacob

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - May 27th 2015

I did a better job of getting my writing time in during this past week, despite computer issues, and being busy arranging for my books to become available in print.

I'm able to do the interior files myself (now that I've figured out how to do so) and Iggy is very kindly helping me with the cover files, since doing so is impossible for me with lack of sight.

Thanks so much for helping, Iggy... I really appreciate it!

So... I'm now waiting for a stack of proof copies of my books to arrive. They will be available to buy after they're approved to be sent out in to the big wide world, which will happen once they get here, and I can get Kelly to take a look for me to make sure there aren't any issues that need fixing (there shouldn't be, but you never know). How long this will take is anyone's guess at the moment, since it depends how long the proofs take to arrive, and whether they need anything done (which would mean fixing the issue, and then ordering a new proof copy).

I'll give you details of where you can buy them once the first books become available.

For now though... Time for those writing links...

So... How many tools are in your writing toolbox?

Do you feel your story is too short? Well, here are 5 ways to stretch your word count, which should help you make it a bit longer.

Trying to decide if you should start doing author interviews? Here are 10 reasons why you should interview your fellow fiction authors. I've never interviewed another author, though I do often do author or book spotlights; especially if it's an author I like. However, I have been interviewed by several authors myself, and am generally happy to accept interview invitations from people if they ask me directly. Oh, speaking of author spotlights though... Come back on Saturday for one I'm putting up for another author.

Staying on the theme of learning about an author for the moment... This article gives some tips on writing and placing your author biographies - useful if you're not sure what to put in that "about the author" box, on the profile page of your website, etc.

Also, here's some advice on how to promote your books, but keep your friends.

Finally, always remember: keep cracking yourself open, because - while doing so may not guarantee you'll be a best seller - it will increase the chances that those who read your book will love it, and that they'll not only come back for more, but also talk to their friends about your book.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Heroika 1 - Dragon Eaters



The art of dragon killing:

Dragons have been eating humans for centuries. Now heroes throughout history stalk their legendary foe. Learn how to hunt, kill, and eat the wild dragon. Never before has revenge tasted so good. A literary feast for the bloody-minded.

In Janet Morris' anthology on the art of dragon killing, seventeen writers bring you so close to dragons you can smell their fetid breath. Tales for the bold among you.

HEROIKA 1 -- DRAGON EATERS, an anthology of heroic fiction edited by Janet Morris, features original stories by Janet Morris and Chris Morris, S. E. Lindberg, Jack William Finley, Travis Ludvigson, Tom Barczak, J. P. Wilder, Joe Bonadonna, Milton Davis, Alexandra Butcher, William Hiles, M Harold Page, Walter Rhein, Cas Peace, Beth Waggoner Patterson, Bruce Durham, and Mark Finn.



Check out this U-tube link: http://youtu.be/JbmtCQJsKIU

Grab your copy today, from Amazon.com or Amazon UK, or Amazon Canada.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Why I'm happy and sad at the same time

Yesterday was our 12th wedding anniversary.

I'm not sure how Kelly's managed to put up with me for so many years, but I'm glad he has.

We were going to celebrate by going to see the new Avengers movie before it stops showing in our nearest movie theatre, since we both want to see it; we enjoyed the first Avengers movie, so figure we've got a good chance of enjoying the second. But I'm waiting for a delivery that might have come yesterday, and couldn't take the chance of missing it. So, we just had a quiet day at home with some take-away, and will get the movie on DVD when it comes out.

Besides, I'm kind of torn between being happy that we've just celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary, and being sad because we always celebrated our anniversary and Kero's birthday as one big celebration... Until this year, of course.

You see, today would have been Kero's 11th birthday.

Kelly brought Kero for me for our first anniversary. Well, I had him late, but that was because we had to find the perfect puppy for me, and wait for him to be ready. But he was still an anniversary gift from Kelly... My gorgeous Westie boy! Though I mostly just called him "Kero" is name was actually Keroberous, which means loyal protector... And there never was a more loyal dog than my Kero.

Chance was an anniversary gift too; I got him two years later. I was supposed to have had Dakoda (Chocolate Point Siamese cat) but ended up with Chance (Oriental cat) instead. Actually, that's how come Chance got his name... Because we got him by Chance. That wasn't his official title on his GCCF papers, but it was what we called him most. Though I did use his "real" name of Silva Flame sometimes; especially for vet trips, and when he was naughty.

My boys were the best gifts anyone could have ever had, and I miss them more than words could ever express.

So, while I'm happy to be able to celebrate 12 years with my wonderful hubby - who's been through a lot with me, and put up with a lot from me - I'm also sad that my boys are no longer here to help us celebrate.

Don't get me wrong, I miss the other furry, feathered, and scaled family members we've lost too. But my boys were special to me, and I always had a closer bond with them than with any of our other babies... Especially with Kero, who would howl as if the world was ending whenever I left him to go anywhere he couldn't come.

Rest in peace my beloved boys, and know you're never far from my thoughts, and always in my heart.

Also, happy anniversary to Kelly... Thank you for giving me the gift of our boys, and for putting up with me for 12 years.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Furkid Friday: the pet section is up! (kinda LBE)

The pet section of our website is completed at last!

There's not very much information on some of the pets, but all the following pets are featured:

Birds:
Squalker AKA Snowy
Rosie
Diamond
Gem
Charlie's Angel

Cats:
Third Time Lucky AKA Lucky
Samantha AKA "Katie The Kitten"
Treacle Topping Sparkles Moglyn AKA Topsi
Shadow
Tinkerbell AKA Tinkers
Sakura Avalon
Ayla Malaika
Megan Zara Rose
Myskanco Dakoda Diero AKA Koda
Myscanco Chance Silva Flame AKA Chance
Cara Crookeshanks

Degus:
Luna
Jacob
Jasper
Jenks
Joshua

Dogs:
Bella Shadow-Thorn
Castellan Keroberous AKA Kero
Jayde Bramblerose
Lucy Blackthorn

Fish:
Bill
Ben
Angel
Smash
Snatch
Bert
Kian
Katie
Comet
Seren
Nemo
Flounder
Alpha
Bravo
Alex
Cody
Blue

Gerbils:
Bilbo
Baggins

Guinea Pigs:
Gwydion

Hamsters:
Teddy
Sampson Jamie AKA Sammy
Jessica Marie AKA Jessie
Hugo De Hamsta
Hamlet De Hammie
Butterscotch Pudding AKA Butters
Mr. Sirius Black

Rabbits:
Bubbles
Samhain Magik
Little Shiloh
Stew Pot AKA Stewie

Rats:
Skye
Star

(Yes, I name fish; I name pretty much everything, so if you're surprised, you obviously haven't had time to get to know me properly yet, LOL!)

To read about any of the animals listed in this post, and to see photos of those we have photos of, check out the pet section linked to above, or - for the direct links to pages for the species in question - follow the links below:

Birds: http://www.zigler.co.uk/birdss.htm
Cats: http://www.zigler.co.uk/cats.htm
Degus: http://www.zigler.co.uk/degus.htm
Dogs: http://www.zigler.co.uk/dogss.htm
Fish: http://www.zigler.co.uk/fish.htm
Gerbils: http://www.zigler.co.uk/gerbils.htm
Guinea Pigs: http://www.zigler.co.uk/guineapigs.htm
Hamsters: http://www.zigler.co.uk/hamsterss.htm
Rabbits: http://www.zigler.co.uk/rabbits.htm
Rats: http://www.zigler.co.uk/rats.htm

If you have anything you'd like to ask about any of the pets, which I didn't cover in the write-ups about each of them, ask away. I'll answer if I can, or provide a reason why I can't if I'm unable to do so; even if that reason is that I don't remember.

***

I feel sad seeing the number of pets we ended up rehoming for one reason or another; I miss them all, and hope they understand that I did what I thought was best for them at the time, and it wasn't always my choice to make.

I miss those who have crossed the rainbow bridge too; especially my boys, Chance and Kero. Rest in peace furry, feathered, and scaled friends!