Friday, March 16, 2018

#FurkidFriday: Joshua The #Degu Gets Comforted (FD)

Hi everyone. This is Joshua the degu.

The other day I suddenly started to miss my brothers again and feel lonely. I get like that sometimes. I can't help it. Ever since my brothers went to that rainbow bridge place I get sad sometimes. Mostly I'm happy by myself, but sometimes... Especially on nights when it's stormy, and there's nobody to cuddle up to for comfort... I just really miss them, and then I get upset and lonely.

This particular night it was very stormy, and I got upset enough that I was squealing in the middle of the night, and woke up the human caretakers with my squealing. I didn't mean to, but I was sad and lonely, and I just couldn't help it.

The Daddy human came to check on me, but other than being upset there was nothing wrong, and I just ignored him and kept on squealing, so he went away after a while.

But then the Mummy human came, and it was her I wanted, so I stopped squealing and cuddled her hand when she put it in my cage. Her hands are usually nice and warm, and cuddling up to them makes me feel good. It's not as good as having my brothers back... She's not furry, for a start... But it helps. I felt better after that, and felt even better still after she gave me a special nibble, because nibbles make everything better - especially Shreddies.

Then she made sure the TV box had something I liked on it. She couldn't find NCIS - which me and my Chinchilla sisters love - but she found CSI, which is almost as good. So I settled down with my nibble to watch it, able to forget about the storm once I'd been comforted, and she went away. I think she went back to bed. I don't mind though, because I didn't want to be cuddled and petted any more anyhow, since I was feeling better by that point.

I'm glad she came to me when I needed her to though. It made me feel loads better. Oh, and the Shreddie helped too.

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

#WriterWednesday - March 14th 2018

The eBook version of "Puppy Poems And Rodent Rhymes" is now available, as you no doubt figured out from last week's post. The proof for the paperback version is on its way to me, so it shouldn't be too long before the paperback edition is also available. It will take a bit longer for the audio version though.

You know... I'm very familiar with the sense of creative urgency non-writers just can't understand, but lucky that the people I have the most to do with just accept it as being part of who I am. If you're a writer too, I hope you have people in your life who are as willing to accept it, even if they just can't understand.

Either way, if you're working on a story of your own, and worried it's too similar to the plot of something that inspired it, you may like to take a look at this post on how to make an old plot new.

Have you heard the term Noblebright Fantasy before? Don't worry if you hadn't. I hadn't until I read the post I just linked to. I like it though.

Regardless of the way you want to catagorize your story, here are some word count guidelines to help you figure out the generally accepted word count for your story's type, age range, and genre - worth knowing, even if you don't plan to stick to those guidelines.

Regardless of what you write, or how long it is, here's a post that discusses some of the most common plot holes and pot holes, and gives some advice on how to fix/avoid them.

Alternatively, if you write poetry, here's a post you may find interesting that talks about making music with words.

By the way, if you're an author who uses social media - as so many people do these days - here's a post that asks the question, "How many accounts is too many?" Personally, I have my website and blog, and I'm on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ - just in case you were wondering.

No matter where you can be found online, if you're going through some kind of life change right now, here are some tips for writing during a life change, which you may find helpful. You should also remember that you can't do everything, especially not all the time. Go easy on yourself.

Oh, and stop searching for an easy way through... There isn't one. So, how do you know if you’re writing your best work when there’s no one around to critique it? The post I just linked to gives some insight in to that question.

Last, but certainly not least, if you're an author with a book you want to promote, you should give your characters some time in the spotlight by taking advantage of this open invitation. Character interviews are fun to do, and Lisa's posts are generally pretty popular, so it really is an opportunity not to be missed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

#YA Cover Reveal: "The Gemini Connection" by Teri Polen - #SciFi #Thriller

The Gemini Connection
by Teri Polen
Paperback Release Date: May 31, 2018
E-book Release Date: June 7, 2018
Young Adult > Sci-Fi/Fantasy > Thriller

Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is.

On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.

When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing.

A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.

The Gemini Connection paperback is available for preorder at the following locations:

Barnes & Noble
And for a discount at Black Rose Writing

You can find Teri at the following locations:

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest / Goodreads / Amazon

Monday, March 12, 2018

Of #StormEmma, Grandad, And #Space Littering (FD + Kinda R/WP)

There were a lot of weather warnings in the week that ended February and started March. I told you in my post from yesterday about the snow we had from February 26th to March 1st. But I didn't mention the red alert weather warning that was issued because "Storm Emma" was scheduled to hit some time on March 1st 2018, with warnings about not travelling unless you had no choice all over the news.

It was my Grandad's funeral on March 2nd.

It didn't happen sooner than that because my Uncle Patrick (the eldest of my Mam's siblings, and the one who was closest to Grandad) was away in Africa when Grandad died, and things had to be delayed until he could get home.

Anyway, I didn't go.

Not because of the weather though. I mean, I probably would have decided it was safer not to go with how the weather was anyhow, because it would have meant spending several hours on the 1st making a train journey across the South of England, from where I live in the South-East, to where a lot of the family lives - and my Grandad lived - in the South-West, and then hoping I could get back home again on the 3rd, after the storm had hopefully passed and finished causing any damage it was going to. But I'd already decided even before the first snowflake fell that I wouldn't be going to the funeral.

Funerals, in my opinion, are a chance for you to remember the person and say, "Goodbye."

Except, I feel like I already did that even before Uncle Patrick came home with what I posted on my blog.

Like I said in my post at the end of January, I wasn't close to Grandad. I didn't see a lot of him as a child, and saw him even less as an adult. I'm sad that he's gone, because he was my Grandad, and because death is always a sad thing. But I didn't feel I needed to be at his funeral.

Of course, then I felt guilty for being able to lay my Grandad to rest so easily, when I struggle with many memories of other things. I hate how my head works sometimes. I don't regret not going though. Like I said, I didn't feel I needed to be there. Even if part of me felt a bit guilty for feeling that way when it was my Grandad.

I actually wondered at one point if it would be rescheduled because of the weather. Do people do that with funerals? I actually don't know much about how these things work. Still, as I said, I wondered if it would be. It wasn't though, so a couple of people who had planned to be there ended up not managing to be, which is a shame.

As already mentioned, I'd have been staying home anyhow, because of the weather. Travelling so far would have been an ordeal for me without the added complication of snow and severe weather warnings. I wasn't really concerned about the storm itself as such. I'm not saying I didn't take it seriously: I kept an eye on weather reports for our area, and made sure we were fine for supplies for us and the furkids before it hit, etc. My main concern was in the fact that the UK tends to panic easily about weather warnings, and things get shut down at the slightest sign of severe weather, including long-distance transport options, bearing in mind that trains are unreliable in this country as it is. I didn't want to get stuck somewhere that wasn't my own home if this happened. Especially since I'd have had to go without Kelly, because he'd have had to stay home with Joshua, Mollie, Maizie, and Lilie.

I understand the concern. I really do. And, to be honest, I wouldn't think twice about them worrying so much if people were sensible about what they did. Most people rush out to empty the shelves of their nearest shops, which seems to be common all over the world in the event of severe storm warnings. Getting supplies is sensable. Unfortunately, people don't use sense when gathering said supplies. The shelves of canned and non-perishable items remain largely untouched, while supplies with short shelf lives - in particular things like milk - are brought in bulk, despite the fact they not only have short shelf lives to start with, but will last even less time if the power goes out and the fridge stops working. Buying extra milk and those kinds of things are logical if you're having extra guests visiting. For potential storm supplies... Not so much. If it was nuts, dried and canned fruit, or things like crisps (potato chips) and chocolate bars, that would make sense. If people were stocking up on extra bottled water or pop too, that would also make sense. The kinds of things people buy in their panic don't make sense. I think the whole country needs some tips on surviving storms, especially considering how many bad ones we've had in the past couple of years, because I think it's the lack of knowledge on what they should actually do - combined with the media offering no more advice than, "Stay indoors unless absolutely necessary" - that causes most of the UK to panic, make stupid choices when trying to prepare for a coming storm, and cause accidents in their attempts to do so. I heard several emergency vehicle sirens even before the bad weather actually hit. Most likely hurrying to deal with accidents caused by people who were rushing to do whatever they felt they should be doing before a storm. Accidents that may have been avoidable if people didn't panic so.

I'm not saying the UK is the only country that does it. It happens elsewhere too. I'm also not saying making sure people actually know what to do in the event of a storm will completely stop this kind of thing from happening. It won't. But I know the UK panics big time, and feel I can say this with confidence, having lived in a few different parts of the UK myself throughout my life, and witnessed it first hand. Storm survival tips wouldn't prevent it all, as I already said, but it might help. It may also reduce the number of deaths that actually occur during the storms. It may not. But wouldn't it be a good idea to try it and see? Wouldn't it be sensible to arm people with the knowledge they need to be safe in these situations? I know not everyone would listen to the advice. But if it saved even one life per storm, wouldn't it be worth it?

I know there's no way to completely avoid death from storms and other natural disasters. But I still think there are ways we could reduce the death tolls by being more prepared, and educating people better on how to be more prepared themselves. Not to mention, ways we could reduce the death tolls from manmade disasters. As I already said, I think it would be worthwhile putting in the time and effort required to educate the masses better... Even if it only saved some of the lives that might otherwise have been lost.

On a sort of related note...

While reading "Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery" at the end of last month, something occurred to me: mankind has hardly started to set foot in space, and we've already started littering up there.

While it's true that much of the space litter will be burned up during its time orbiting the Earth... At least, after a certain amount of time... That's not true of all of it. There are already satalites and things floating about up there, reminding me of scenes of rusted old washing machines and prams, left in gardens because nobody could be bothered to arrange for their proper disposal.

So, even as we praise the efforts of people like Trash Girl here on Earth, we're littering in not only our own backyards and streets, but also the galactic highways of space.

It's taken polution levels increasing a lot to make people start becoming aware that something needs to be done about littering here on Earth, and even then many people still don't care. What will it take to make people find an alternative to littering in space too? Considering how life-threateningly dangerous floating debris is in space, I hope a solution to this space littering is created before we have to find out!

Anyway... Returning to the topic of the storm...

I know Storm Emma caused chaos and damage in some areas: it was mentioned on the bits of news I caught. But in my immediate area it only seemed to be freezing temperatures that felt even colder than they were because of the strong gusts of icy wind. At least, I didn't hear of anything worse than that in my immediate area, despite predictions of gale force winds, more snow, etc. By the morning of March 2nd, the weather warning had changed to an amber alert, and - as I already said - we didn't actually get anything worse than a very cold and blustery day. Also, a lot of my snow was gone by the morning of March 2nd, and more disappeared throughout that day, with no more falling to replace it.

March 3rd was another day with temperatures below freezing, but still no more snow. That day started out with really thick fog though. But that had mostly cleared by mid morning. Since then it's been cold, but nothing interesting has happened weather wise. In other words, no more snow or storms.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

February 26th 2018 - March 1st 2018's #Snow By The #Ocean

It's been really cold here. A few times it got up as warm as 10 degrees C (52 degrees F) but it's mostly been only just above freezing, with temperatures most days hovering between -6 degrees C (27 degrees F) and 3 degrees C (38 degrees F). I don't mind too much, since I'd rather it be too cold than too hot. I think I'm in the minority on that one though. Haha!

You know one of the reasons I like cold better though, right? SNOW!

With all the cold weather, we got more snow! YAY!

Kelly took this video late on February 26th 2018 from our back window:

He tried for photos that night too, but they didn't work out too well. I'd have kept them if the snow had been gone by morning, but it was still there, so I won't bother with the ones Kelly says are awful from the night the snow arrived (our guess is the camera was trying to focus on something other than the snow in night mode, and failing to focus properly on anything in the attempt; pictures were either really blurry or we had to have the light on in here and it was causing reflection issues). That's why Kelly did the above video: hoping it would work better (which it did).

Just in case the snow was gone by morning, I made a snowball from what I could reach from the window. I'd have gone down to see it, but Lilie isn't very good at going downstairs quietly, I wasn't sure how she'd react to me attempting to creep downstairs without her - she might have been fine, since Kelly would have been with her, but we aren't 100% certain - and it was nearly midnight. We figured it wasn't fair on our neighbours to have Lilie either boundingdown the stairs like a maniac or potentially barking... Not at that time of night. So I made a snowball from what I could gather from the windowsill with the window open, and gave it to Lilie... Who promptly ate it.

Anyway, when we got up in the morning (February 27th 2018) the view from the back window looked like this:

While the view from the front - where we can actually see the ocean - looked like this:

One of our neighbours started running daily a little over a year ago. We've been paying attention, because we wondered how long he'd keep it up. He's certainly commited to doing it daily. We've seen him out there in sun, rain, and now snow:

We don't know who he is, but we're proud of him for being so commited. Go, Running Guy, go!

Naturally, Lilie and I had to go out and see the snow too...

Kelly even got a short video of us doing so:

Lilie and I did see more of the snow than you see photos and video time. But there weren't any more photos or videos to share.

Anyway, we expected the snow to be gone next day. It wasn't!

This is how it looked next day (February 28th 2018) from our back windows:

And this is how it looked from the front windows, with the ocean view:

Some of the snow was gone the following morning (March 1st 2018). But, just as I was sulking about that, it started snowing a little again. It led to me having a conversation with Kelly - which I posted on Tsocial media - that went like this:

Me: "Missing: #snow. If found, please return to St Leonards seafront."
Hubby: "It's snowing again."
Me: "Hey, someone brought it back already!"

We actually ended up with a good four inches of snow... I think possibly even more than that. But the sunny spells in between snow showers, combined with the salt in the air from the ocean, kept melting the top layer of snow, so we never had all that much on the ground at any given time. The most we had on the ground in one go was about two inches, I think, though it may not have been quite that much, and most of the time we only had about an inch on the ground at any given time. Still, it was "real" snow, and lots of it. Plus, it stuck around for several days, which Lilie and I thought was great!

Friday, March 09, 2018

#Furkid Friday: Joshua The #Degu Turns 5 (FD)

Hi everyone. This is Joshua the degu.

(Above photo of me taken yesterday... March 8th 2018).

Today is my birthday. I'm five human years old. For a degu that's a good age.

I mean, degus can live as old as seven or eight. Some have even made it to about ten. But we're like rabbits and guinea pigs and often don't even make it to five, let alone past that. So the human caretakers are very happy that I'm around to celebrate turning five, especially since I'm currently nice and healthy, and pretty happy. As happy as I can be living by myself anyway.

So... Happy birthday to me!

I haven't had my extra birthday nibbles yet, but I know I'll get some... The human caretakers always hand out extra nibbles when birthdays happen, so I better go, just in case they're planning to do that right now. I'm hoping for extra Shreddies, or possibly some oatmeal, or maybe a chinchilla cookie or two. Keep your paws crossed for me, OK?

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

New #Pet Themed #Poetry #Book Release: Puppy Poems And Rodent Rhymes

A collection of poems of various lengths and styles, all written for some of the various pets my hubby and I have had.

The pets mentioned in this collection include 4 degus, 2 rats, 2 chinchillas, and 2 dogs. All poems are captioned with details of the pets they are about.

Today is the official release date for my latest book, which - as you have probably figured out from the title of this post, as well as the book blurb above - is called "Puppy Poems And Rodent Rhymes" and is a collection of pet themed poetry.

You can already buy the book from Smashwords, where it's available in multiple Ebook formats, including mobi, epub, pdf, and html. This means there's a format available from Smashwords that will work for you, regardless of the device you use to read eBooks. In fact, the html version makes it possible for you to read the book on a web browser, which means anyone who can read this post can read the book.

If you buy "Puppy Poems And Rodent Rhymes" from Smashwords between now and March 10th 2018, you can get it for just $0.99 with coupon code RAE50 as part of Smashwords 9th annual Read An eBook Week. To take advantage of this offer, just enter the coupon code in the box provided during checkout, or click on "buy with coupon" on the book's Smashwords page. This offer only applies if you buy the eBook via Smashwords, and is only valid from now through March 10th 2018.

Though the offer only applies on Smashwords, the eBook version of this book is also available at its regular price via other online retailers, which Smashwords distributes to. For example, if you have a Nook, iPad, or Kobo eReader, and would rather buy the book from the eStore associated with your particular device, you'll be pleased to learn that you can also buy the book on Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

Paperback and audio versions will become available as soon as they can be arranged.

If you're on Goodreads, you may also be interested to know that the book has a Goodreads page.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Seri, Google Home, And Amazon Alexa Echo

I'm sure you're familiar with Seri: the voice assistant that comes on many devices, such as iPhones and iPads. You probably also know about Google Home and Amazon Alexa Echo by now too: the systems you can set up in your home to have them control things like your lights, the speakers on your music system, etc. If you haven't heard of them, look it up; there's plenty of information out there on them if you just do a simple online search.

I have Seri on my iPhone, and Alexa on my Kindle, because my iPhone came with Seri on it, and Alexa came with an update several months back. I don't use them as much as I potentially could, but I've spent a reasonable amount of time "playing" with them both. I also had some fun trying out my Mam's Google Home system, and saw Dad's Alexa setup in action, while I was in Wales at the start of January.

I'm not going to go in to details on a comparison, becauseI don't see the point. Quite frankly, the main difference I can see is that Seri isn't as advanced as the other two, so can't perform as many functions. Other than that, they all seem the same to me. Maybe I'm missing something? I don't know. But from what I can tell, they all do basically the same things, but Google Home and Alexa take us a step closer to the houses controlled by technology that were invisioned for mankind's future, and often appear in science fiction stories. Plenty of others seem to have gone in to more detail on comparisons though, so you'll find those posts in your online search - assuming you're interested enough to do one.

My Dad swears by his Alexa though, and proudly tells everyone about it whenever he can. I'm not complaining, and don't blame him really: it is a cool system. But I mention it because of something that happened during my visit to Wales.

At dinner on the Saturday, having already told us adults about it, my Dad decided to go and tell Bird, Pip, and Dolly. Those are the children of my cousin, Shane, and his wife, Donna. No. Those aren't their real names. Those are the names they get called most though, and I'm not 100% certain how to spell Bird and Dolly's real names, so I'm sticking with those names.

Anyway, my Dad explained to them how having Alexa is, "Like having a little person to do things for you around the house."

Now, for Bird, who's about ten years old if I'm remembering correctly, this was an easy concept to grasp. I think Pip, who recently turned seven, got it too (though since he said very little, I'm not entirely certain of his thoughts). However, Dolly, who's about four, misunderstood.

The three children ran over to tell Donna - who was sat next to me - all about Alexa, and how wonderful she sounds. Adding that they get to play with her the following day, since my Dad had promised them they could do so.

A conversation followed where Bird repeated my Dad's words on the capabilities of Alexa, while Dolly just kept repeating that they'd get to play with her next day, and it became increasingly obvious that - while Dolly had grasped that Alexa wasn't a person in the same sense that we all were - the little girl was expecting a person of some sort to be waiting to play with her at my Dad's place next day. When questioned about what she thought Alexa looked like, she even kept insisting Alexa was, "Like a little person, but round."

In an attempt to make it clear that Alexa was actually a machine, Donna started explaining some of the things my Dad had said she could do. Finishing with, "She can turn the lights on too, Dolly."

To which Dolly replied, in a voice of utter amazement, "Can she reach?"

Once Donna and I could stop laughing long enough, Donna pulled out her phone and went online to find a picture of what the Amazon Alexa Echo really looks like, and showed it to Dolly.

Dolly was very disappointed to find it's just a square box, and not like a little person at all.

After that she lost interest in talking about Alexa. Some of her enthusiasm returned when she was putting Alexa through her paces with Bird and Pip at my Dad's place the following morning though.

Monday, March 05, 2018

#Music Monday: Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews - Baby, Its Cold Outside

It's been really cold here, with temperatures only a few degrees above freezing at best... Often below freezing. With all the cold weather we've had lately, I just had to go with Tom Jones And Cerys Matthews singing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" - it's been playing in my head a lot, after all. So, here it is... Enjoy!

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Tori's February 2018 #Book #Reviews (LBE)

It's time to take a look at what I read in February.

As with the previous posts like this one, if you want to know more about the book, or the author, click on whichever it is you want to learn more about, and it will take you to the appropriate page on Goodreads. Clicking on my rating should take you to my actual Goodreads review for the book in question.

Don't forget: the format I've reviewed may not be the format I read. Also, please remember that I read across multiple genres and age ranges, so you should always check if a book is suitable for the intended reader, especially when children are involved. Sometimes reading the book's description on its Goodreads page will be enough for this, but other times you may need to check elsewhere to figure out the genre and/or recommended reading level.

OK... On to the reviews!

The Forgetting (The Forgetting, #1)The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I picked this one up after seeing some of my friends talking about it rather enthusiastically. I don't always follow the herd, but they made it sound like a good read, and the plot sounded interesting. So I read it. I'm so incredibly glad I did! It was an absolutely fantastic read, and I can't wait to read book two!

The Knowing (The Forgetting, #2)The Knowing by Sharon Cameron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was a fantastic read. Even so, I didn't think it was quite as good as the first one. Still a five star read though, with wonderful world building, an interesting and unique plot, and a great cast of characters.

The NightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
WWII is one of the periods of history I'm most interested in. Even so, I struggled to get in to this book at first. After a few chapters though, I was glad I stuck with it, because it became a fascinating and touching story. This is not just a story about some of the events that happened during the war, but also about the inner strength that exists in all of us, and shows itself when we need it to. It's also a story about family, friendship, love, and holding on to those things against the odds.

The Ghostly Writes Valentines Anthology 2017The Ghostly Writes Valentines Anthology 2017 by C.A. Keith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In my opinion, most of the stories in this collection were just "OK" stories, or stories that might have been better had they not felt like they were just a scene taken from a longer piece. There was only one story in this collection I really loved. Thankfully, since the story I loved was the last one, I was able to at least end the book on a positive note. I'm not saying the other stories were bad. It's more they either felt like they weren't finished, or didn't really appeal to me.

Pathfinder Legends: Curse of the Crimson Throne, Chapter 3 - Escape from Old KorvosaPathfinder Legends: Curse of the Crimson Throne, Chapter 3 - Escape from Old Korvosa by David Bryher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was an excellent addition to the adventures in this series.

Pathfinder Legends: Curse of the Crimson Throne, Chapter 4 - A History of AshesPathfinder Legends: Curse of the Crimson Throne, Chapter 4 - A History of Ashes by David Bryher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is another excellent addition to this series, which is both entertaining and enjoyable to read.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Once again, this book is an excellent addition to this series. I love the main characters that are the adventurers I've been following from the start, and certain other characters will stick with me for some time, that's for sure.

Pathfinder Legends: CURSE OF THE CRIMSON THRONE, Chapter 6 - CROWN OF FANGSPathfinder Legends: CURSE OF THE CRIMSON THRONE, Chapter 6 - CROWN OF FANGS by David Bryher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was another excellent and entertaining chapter in the adventures of this group of characters. I hope it won't be the last.

VAMPYRIE: Origin of the VampireVAMPYRIE: Origin of the Vampire by Tina Frisco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I found the author's take on the origin of the vampire myth to be an interesting one, and thought this book was a pretty good read for the most part. The only reason I don't give it the full five stars is that there were times when I felt the characters were behaving in ways designed to steer the plot in a certain direction, even if it went against what should have been right for the character based on what we'd been led to believe about him or her previously. The main character in particular was supposed to be an intelligent woman who had been studying both the physical and mental aspects of martial arts since childhood, and yet often behaved in a way that made her seem like a spoiled and naive child who's prone to being wreckless and getting herself in to trouble because she either doesn't think before acting or is unaware of her surroundings.

Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of DiscoveryEndurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was an extremely fascinating read, which I highly recommend to anyone who has an interest in space exploration, as well as anyone planning to write science fiction (the latter because the author's descriptions will prove to be valuable tools for research purposes).

Friday, March 02, 2018

#Furkid Friday: Lilie The #Westie's Ear

Hi everyone. This is Lilie the Westie.

Yeah, I know it's meant to be the turn of the squeaky Maizie creature. But the squeaky things in cages admit themselves they don't have as much to say as I do, and I need to tell you about my ear, so you get to hear from me instead. Lucky you!


My ear started bugging me a couple of weeks ago. I was scratching at it a lot, shaking my head, and rubbing my ear on things. I even yelped in pain when Mummy touched it while we were playing. Bearing in mind, I'm not the kind of dog who whines and yelps in pain that often, even when the humans say they don't understand why I'm not doing so. I can run in to a wall and it only makes me change direction, fall off a bed and bounce right back up, etc. Like I said, I'm a tough little thing, and not one to whine or yelp for no reason. So, as you can imagine, me yelping when Mummy touched my ear got her worried enough that she called Daddy over to have a look at it.

It was all dirty, but that could just have been from me scratching at it and rubbing it on things. So Daddy had to clean it before he could look properly. I didn't mind too much though, because the little balls he used felt nice in my ear. Plus, I was getting attention, so... YAY! It did hurt a bit when he did it though, and I whined to tel him so.

Anyway, it looked sore, but he wasn't sure if I'd just cut myself while scratching, or if there was more to it. So the humans decided they better take me to the vet to have it looked at. That was fine by me, since I love vet trips!

Well, I didn't enjoy all of the one where that overly bouncy dog was there. But he wasn't, and everybody who was wanted to be my friend in ways I found acceptable, so that was good.

Anyhow, the vet said I either had an infection in my ear that Daddy's cleaning job had helped to clear up, but my ear was sore and inflamed from it - and from me scratching at it - or was allergic to something. I'm not too sure what all that means, but the vet gave Daddy some stuff in a bottle that I had to have in my ear two times a day, and said to come back a week later so the vet could see if my ear was better.

I didn't like how it felt when the stuff from the bottle went in my ear. I tried to be good about it for Daddy to put it in. I even managed to be good for the first couple of days. But after that I decided I'd had enough, so Mummy had to hold me down while Daddy put the stuff in my ear. I couldn't help it. I just didn't like that stuff getting squirted in my ear. I'm sure you'd hate it if someone was squirting wet stuff from a bottle in to your ear too!

Anyway, I went back after the week was up to have the vet take a look at my ear again, and he said it was all better, so there's a good chance it was to do with an infection. But he also said that Daddy should still put the stuff from the bottle in my ear once a day for a few more days. I don't see why I had to still have stuff in my ear if it was all better, and tried to tell the humans so. But nobody listened to me, and they kept right on doing it. They've stopped... They appear to have stopped now anyhow. I hope they don't start doing it again!

Lots of licks,

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

#Writing Wednesday - February 28th 2018

In case you missed my post from yesterday: "Rhubarb The Red-Nosed Rabbit" is now available in audio from Audible, Amazon, and iTunes, narrated by Jerry Fischer. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, Easter is only a little over a month away, so it's just in time to add it to your reading list; perfect for those who like to read seasonally, or those with young children or grandchildren they want to enjoy a book with as part of any Easter celebrations. Regardless of whether you'd prefer the audio version, a paperback, or an eBook, links are in yesterday's post.

In other book related news: my new poetry collection will finally be released next week. Well, the eBook version will. You'll have to wait a bit longer for the paperback and audio versions, of course. This is the pet themed poetry collection I've been promising for a couple of months now, which includes poems written for and about our chinchillas, degus, and rats, as well as both Kero and Lilie. It's called "Puppy Poems And Rodent Rhymes" and - as already mentioned - officially releases next week. The release date is March 7th 2018.

Anyway, to kick off the writing related links for this week, here's a post about how observations can help you with character and plot inspiration when it comes to writing your own story.

If you're writing about some of the animals most commonly feared by humans, you might want to bear these things in mind when it comes to serpents of various sizes, spiders, and bats. Personally, I only fear one of the three, but I do know someone who's afraid of all three, and do agree that they're commonly feared and misrepresented animals. Well, snakes and bats are misrepresented... I think spiders deserve what they get. If you had any doubts as to which of the three I have issues with, I expect that's no longer the case. *wink*

Regardless of the kinds of creatures in your story though, you should do your research. If you're inventing creatures for your world, don't forget that nature videos are a useful tool for monster creation, as well as for any other animals in your story - real or imagined.

Anyway, here's an interesting post about the challenge of describing scents in your writing.

Next, here are some tips on how to write historical fiction, as well as a reminder to be careful of misusing period words, and other mistakes you might make if you don't do your research properly. Check your facts, and then check them again, just in case. It's better to have it take longer than you'd like for your story to be finished, but for you to be certain you have things right, than for you to neglect your research and make mistakes that will spoil things for your readers. Bear in mind though that not all of those facts need to make it in to the final version of your book. These bits of advice can apply to other genres too.

By the way, speaking of advice: here's a bit of advice for you if you're still trying to figure out how to write the perfect story, or if you want to know the secret to writing something original.

Finally, remember that everything changes when writing becomes your full time job, and that's OK.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

#KidLit #Holiday #Book - Rhubarb The Red-Nosed Rabbit Now In #Audio! #Easter #Animals #Rabbits

I’m sure you’ve heard all about the red-nosed reindeer that saved Christmas. But, have you ever heard the story of the red-nosed rabbit that saved Easter?

Everybunny has always teased Rhubarb because of his bright red nose, even though it’s not his fault he was born different. But when a misty night threatens to stop the Easter Bunny from making his yearly delivery of Easter eggs to the children of the world, Rhubarb’s red nose may be the only thing that can save Easter.

Previously made available in eBook and paperback, “Rhubarb The Red-Nosed Rabbit" is now also available in audio, read for you by Jerry Fischer - just in time for you to add it to your Easter reading list for this year, since Easter is only a little over a month away.

Regardless of which format you prefer, here are the main places where you can buy the book:

Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, iTunes, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, and The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Monday, February 26, 2018

#MondayMotivation And #Inspiration - February 2018 Edition

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.
~Henry Ford

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.
~Albert Einstein

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.
~Aristotle Onassis

If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.
~Oprah Winfrey

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.
~Jimmy Dean

Little by little, one travels far.
~J.R.R. Tolkien

Sunday, February 25, 2018

February 2018 #TV Talk And #Movie Mutterings

It's time to take a look at what I watched in February.

As with the previous posts like this one, just click on the titles to go to a page where you can find out more details about the movie or TV show in question; the title links will usually take you to a page on IMDB.

Don't forget: I watch things across multiple genres, as well as for different age ranges, so you should always check before viewing to make certain something is suitable for the intended audience, especially when children are involved. IMDB will usually provide this information for you, but you'll have to look elsewhere if you can't find it on the page I link to.

OK... On to the reviews!

Pokémon: The Movie 2000 (1999 movie):
I found this to be an entertaining movie, which Pokémon fans of all ages can enjoy. Not quite as good as the first Pokémon movie though. I give this movie four out of five stars.

Pokémon 3: The Movie (2000 movie):
This was another entertaining movie, which Pokémon fans of all ages will enjoy. As good as the first movie this time too. I give this movie five out of five stars.


My only other movie and TV watching this month has involved movies I've seen before, and episodes of TV shows I've already mentioned enjoying - mainly NCIS, which I'm still slowly attempting to get caught up on.

Friday, February 23, 2018

#Furkid Friday: Mollie The #Chinchilla Tells Tales

Hi everyone. This is Mollie the chinchilla.

My chinchilla sister, Maizie, keeps on teasing the Lilie dog. I told her to quit, but she doesn't listen. She thinks it's funny, and the Lilie dog seems to think the game is fun too. Stupid dog!

I don't!

I don't like the Lilie dog so close to the cage, and get upset when she bounces about and jumps up. The human caretakers don't really like her to do it either. But Maizie calls her and encourages her to do it when she thinks the human caretakers aren't paying attention, and sometimes even when she knows they are.

When I know they aren't paying attention, I call them over to stop it. Maizie says I'm spoiling her fun, but I don't care. I'm not having dogs jumping up at my cage... Even if I know the dog is doing it all in fun.

Maizie used to agree with me; she used to get upset when the Lilie dog was bouncing about too close to our cage, just like I still do. But somewhere along the line Maizie decided she liked the Lilie dog after all, and started what she calls playing with her, which looks more like teasing to me. She even started letting the Lilie dog give her slobbery doggy kisses through the bars of the cage! Gross!

Thankfully, both the human caretakers are on my side, and don't like the Lilie dog being near our cage. At least they have some sense. Well, in this case anyhow.

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

#Writing Wednesday - February 21st 2018

"Jinx And The Faerie Dragons" is now available in audio - just in case you missed seeing my post about that on Sunday. You can buy it from Audible, Amazon, and iTunes; see the post I just linked to for links, as well as details about where you can buy the book in other formats if you prefer. The narrator is Andrew Pond, who you can learn more about in his recent narrator interview.

Speaking of my audiobooks: I went ahead and listed the poetry book projects on ACX. I was going to hold off a bit on listing them until all the stories were produced, but changed my mind. Anyway, I'm working with narrator Jane Hopkins on one of them, and narrator Carol Weakland on the other seven.

With all the books from my backlist in various stages of production, I have quiet moments between messages and samples from narrators, which I hope to make use of to get some actual writing done, as well as arrange for a cover to be sorted for the pet themed poetry collection I want to publish, which I've now got the final edits and formatting sorted for, so can publish once it has a cover. I know which of my cover artists I want to use for it, but have to check if he's able to do a cover for me right now... I haven't spoken to him about it yet, but plan to do so soon.

If you're dealing with any editing yourself, or are in the revision stage with your current writing project, here's a post that talks about why you should make time to write while editing and revising.

Remember: you will not use your writing time wisely if you do not plan ahead. Now, it might seem strange for someone like me who can't stick to a schedule for long to be agreeing with this. I mean, the routine I had when I did the post about my writing routine at the end of November no longer applies, as I warned in the post would probably be the case. But bear with me here. The thing is, the article makes a good point, and some kind of planning for writing time is required if you want to actually get any writing done. Whether that be planning a longterm routine that you stick to at all times, or doing what I usually end up doing and planning my writing time for each day on the day in question (based on what I want/need to get done each day, whether any of it is time sensative and what times those things need to be done at or by, and what my current sleeping schedule is). Either way, it all comes down to having some kind of plan for your writing. My longterm "plan" is pretty vague, and my schedule is unpredictable, but I still have a plan of sorts, and you should too.

So, you have your plan. Now it's time to work on that story! Come on. What are you afraid of?

Now you've established what the cause of your fear is, and hopefully managed to move past it, here are some things to consider when choosing the perfect setting for your novel (or short story, or whatever).

Regardless of setting: do your characters talk too much? The postI just linked to gives some tips on ways to avoid your book looking like a screenplay without stage directions, and will help you avoid the talking head syndrome that irritates so many readers.

Speaking of your characters, here's a post about the hero's journey and the real world. Also, don't forget that your villain needs a heart, because everyone has one, even if it's not always obvious.

Next, here are some tips to being dramatic in fiction, because most stories could benifit from at least a little drama, and sometimes a lot of it.

By the way, if you publish paperbacks via CreateSpace, and are interested in moving your books to KDP Print, here's how to do it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Random Ramblings - February 2018 Edition (LBE & FD)

When I first started blogging, things were different to how they are now, and people worried less about whether what they were blogging about would be of interest to potential followers/readers.

I feel like I should be sitting in a rocking chair, nodding sagely while saying things like, "When I was a girl, people blogged about whatever they wanted to blog about." Or, "In my day, we had to wait fifteen minutes for a photo to load on Blogger." Or maybe, "I remember when people just blogged, and there was none of this nonsense about worrying how interesting their posts were."

It's true though! Well, OK, the fifteen minutes for a photo to load might be a bit of an exageration. Not as big a one as you might think though, since I do know of times I went to make a cup of tea while a photo I wanted to post in a blog post was uploading, and still ended up sat at my desk waiting for it a while after I was done making my tea. Although, come to think of it, that one still sometimes happens now, just not as often.

My point is that when I first started blogging back in 2006, I posted about whatever I felt like posting about. If the most interesting thing I had to say was that I walked the dog and did the dishes, I posted about it. If the only thing I really did that day was take online quizzes, and I felt like sharing my results on my blog, I posted my results. If I had a random question I wanted to put out there, I posted that too. Some posts got read and commented on a lot, some didn't get commented on at all. But it didn't matter.

Somewhere along the way I started worrying about whether what I had to say was interesting to potential readers. Do people really care what my weather's like? Are people really interested in what my health is like right now? Is anyone out there actually interested in the random thoughts and questions that pop in to my head?

Apparently the answer is, "Yes."

According to comments people have made on this blog, interactions I've had when I've posted random things on Twitter and Facebook to test the waters, and the responses a couple of online friends had when they asked these questions recently, people are still just as interested in those random posts. Apparently the day to day life of others is still interesting enough that even weather reports from other parts of the country/world are worth reading.

It must be another example of the curious nature of humankind. After all, it's clear by the "what if" questions that have sparked so many inventions and story ideas over the years that humans are curious creatures. Well, that and people posting about their lives online gives us a way to be nosy without getting in trouble. Either way, people want to know what's going on in the lives of others, no matter how boring it seems to the person it's happening to.

So... Here's what's been going on in my boring life. I did mean to do one of these posts sooner, but... Well, as it is I've had to use most Tuesdays in order to get everything I wanted to post posted. This should calm down once I've managed to get the audio book production caught up, since part of it is because of book announcement posts going up, and there won't be so many of those once I'm not announcing audiobook availability almost constantly. Anyway...

The first half of January was taken up with me getting ready to go to Wales, being in Wales, and then trying to catch up on the mountain of eMails and blog posts I had waiting for me to read them when I got home. The second half of January, and most of February, have mmainly passed in a blur of exhaustion, mingled with attempts to cross as many of the "publisher tasks" as I could off my to-do list for the year, some reading, a bit of DVD watching, a couple of short writing sessions, and the day to day happenings of housework, furkid care and playtime, etc.

Just something random: I tried cashew butter towards the end of January. No reason other than I hadn't, so I figured I would. I mean, I like cashews, and I like peanut butter, so why not, right? It was nice. Nothing special though. Tasted like I expected it to: like cashew flavoured peanut butter. Like I said, it was nice, but nothing special. I just thought I'd mention that I tried it, and liked it. Didn't love it, but I don't love peanut butter either, so... *Shrugs*

Anyway, I've been sleeping well most of the time - even with people keep waking me - which is nice. Well, the people keep waking me isn't, but the fact I've been getting plenty of sleep despite it is. I've not always been sleeping at the right times, but whatever. That doesn't help much with the exhaustion though. My health has never been great, and these days it seems I'm unwell more often than not. I try not to mention it much online, because I worry people will think I'm after sympathy or something. Yep. We're back to the worrying again. I'm good at worrying about things. I even worry about whether I worry too much. I'm told I really do worry too much, and also that I think too much sometimes. It's probably true, but when it takes very little for you to feel physically exhausted, but your mind's not so quick to want to rest, it's a natural course of action really. Anyway, this is just a long way of saying that I'm not well, but that's unlikely to change any time soon. I've never been totally well, just better at hiding it than I am now. But, hey, I know I'm lucky to have survived to grow up, and lucky to still be here... Even if I don't feel it sometimes... Plus, at least I didn't get that nasty virus thing that's been going around. Makes a change to be honest. Not that I'm complaining.

It's been cold here most of the time. I'm not complaining about that either. It's mainly only been a few degrees above freezing, sometimes even dipping slightly below freezing. Almost constantly in single digits, but I don't really mind the cold. We even finally got some more snow on February 5th. We woke up to it snowing. This is what we woke up to:

Here's a little snowy video clip done about the same time the photo I just shared was taken:

It was "real" snow! The kind that comes down in fluffy flakes, and settles, and can be played with! I didn't get to spend as much time out playing in it as I'd have liked though. But then, I never do get as much snow time as I'd like.

It didn't stick around for long, and there was no more snow before and after that (and that part I am complaining about). Some places not too far from us got a lot more snow than us. Like I said, we got some snow at the start of February, but the rest of the time we've just had rain, hail, and strong winds. You'd think I'd be longing for warmer weather rather than snow, but I like snow. I like storms too, so at least I've had plenty of those to enjoy. I still want more snow though. There's still time, but I'm not holding my breath. I'll just have to keep enjoying my storms, and be grateful for the snow we did get, I guess.

Even though I love a good storm, I do know they often cause a lot of damage. In fact, we were worried one had caused some damage to our roof a couple of weeks ago. It doesn't look like it though. At least, no obvious damage was visible when the landlords sent someone to check, and the rain and hail we've had since have stayed outside where they belong. It does make me wonder what the worrying bangs were that night though, since we know they came from overhead. I'm hoping it was just something like some of the junk in the attic from people who lived here in the past fell over, otherwise it means there's a problem that has yet to be spotted, which could cause trouble later.

Speaking of trouble: our heating stopped working. The boiler - which was only installed last year, as those who have been following my blog since then may remember - was saying it was on, but the heating wouldn't come on, which was weird, because the gas safety inspector had checked everything out the day before, and he said it was all fine. It was off though, and we were cold. As I said, the temperatures have only been a few degrees above freezing most of the time recently. We had to sit in the cold for several hours. It would have been longer, except the heating started working again. We didn't mention the fact it had started working again to the people who were meant to be coming to look at it, figuring it might be an idea to have it looked at anyhow, in the hopes of avoiding the issue happening again. So we waited for them to come out. Let's just say it's lucky the heating did start working again, because they still hadn't come out after 72 hours. Actually, had it not started working again, I never would have left it that long before chasing up where they were. I wanted to chase it up though, because it only seemed to be working sometimes, which we thought was strange. Anyway, we learned when we called why they didn't come out. Basically, we called two days before the 12 month warranty ran out to get them to come and fix it, so they dragged their feet so they could tell us we were no longer within the 12 months, so if we wanted them to come out it would cost us £85 plus VAT. I got rather annoyed at this, because they'd been called out in plenty of time to be here before the 12 months was up. Officially they're meant to be out within 24 hours, and they had 36 hours notice even if you work on the assumption that the warranty would end at midnight. I told them I wanted them to come out and see to it for free, since the warranty wasn't up when they were called. Then - since it's not our responsibility to pay for things like this anyhow - I told them if that couldn't happen they better call and talk to the landlords, but that I wasn't impressed that they were willing to allow a disabled person to sit in the cold for a whole weekend just so they could have an excuse to then charge for the callout. I guess that did the trick, because someone came out that afternoon, and no more was said about a bill for the callout. As it turned out though, all that was wrong was that the settings had been changed. The thing is, we had the boiler set to maintain a certain temperature, with us adjusting it using the thermastat. It had been set like that since the boiler was installed. We had no idea how to do anything else with it. It was set like that on purpose because all the fancy new digital bits in boilers and things these days means my accessability with them is limited, but turning the thermastat knob until I'm getting heat is something I can easily do. Anyway, we're guessing when the gas safety inspector guy was here he changed the settings, because it was set on timer. But since I couldn't see to check, and Kelly had no idea how to, we didn't realize. Erm... Oops! I guess it's a good thing I did persist in getting the free callout, or the landlords may not have been too happy with me. Like I said... Oops! The guy showed Kelly how to check and fix that himself in future, so hopefully we won't have anything like that be the issue again.

You know, I think heating systems and drains might have it in for us! It seems it's one or the other - often both - in every single place we've live, and often it's something small causing what seems at the time like a larger issue. *Sigh*

The council is trying to make landlords ensure they meet certain standards now. They're making them get certain things up to code, doing health and safety checks, and making them pass all the inspections to earn a special certificate if they want to continue being landlords. We had a health and safety check near the start of the month. The only issues the guy had with our place - other than the fact he noticed the window issue, which we did tell him the landlords are working on - was the need for another smoke alarm because of where they installed it when they put a new one in a few months back, and the fact he wants us to have one of our doors replaced with a fire door. So someone will likely be coming out soon to sort those things. They're supposed to, anyhow.

They're meant to sort the windows properly in a few months time too... When the weather warms up, and the winds from storms are potentially less likely to be an issue, in theory. I'm both looking forward to them sorting the windows, and dreading it. Looking forward to it because I'd like it to finally get done, and we'll save even more on heating next Winter if they get it done properly this year. Dreading it because it means more workman interruptions, which means a lot of unproductive time for me, since it's impossible for me to do anything with workmen around making a noise.

Anyway... Let's see, what else...

I've been trying to have Saturday's as my "day off" each week, but it hasn't worked too well most weeks so far. I keep ending up at least spending part of the day needing to sort things out. This is another thing that should slow down when I'm caught up on audiobook production, since nine times out of ten it's checking for things from narrators that's had me turning the computer on, and then I see other eMails I think I should just quickly see to, and then... Well, I'm sure you know how it goes.

Last Tuesday was pancake day, AKA Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Call it which you like. The end result in my house is the same: an excuse to have pancakes for dinner. Not that I need an excuse, since I love pancakes. I'm not sure I'd eat them every single day, but I certainly wouldn't complain if I had them more often than I do, and there's no way I was going to miss out on a day that actually tells me I should be eating them. So, pancakes for dinner it was. My plan was to have them all with maple syrup, because... Well, it tastes good, and I'm married to a Canadian, so it seemed right. But I had less maple syrup than I thought, and ran out before I ran out of pancakes, so I had the rest with honey. I also enjoy my pancakes with lemon and sugar, or with jam (as in jelly or fruit preserve... Whichever they call it wherever you are).

Speaking of holidays: we didn't do anything special for Valentine's Day. We rarely do. We do nice things for each other all year though, so it's no big deal. We did have take-away a few days later as a late celebration though. Like with the pancakes, we take any excuse for pizza or Chinese food in this house... Especially pizza!

Still sticking on the theme of holidays: our friends, Lorna and Andy, were unwell over Christmas, and in to the new year. But we had a present for them, and they had one for us. Neither of us wanted them to come here while they were so sick though. They weren't really feeling up to it, and they didn't want to give me anything extra to deal with, since it was a very nasty virus they had, and I was already dealing with both a chest infection and kidney infection. Actually, they were avoiding people as much as possible so as to avoid giving it to anyone. Anyway, we finally exchanged our Christmas presents on February 1st. They got us a really nice set of fancy pasta bowls. Now, if only the rest of our tableware was as nice. Haha!

OK... Well... Either nothing else has happened around here, or I'm unable to think of it right now. In my defence, Lilie is currently throwing a ball against my shin, which hurts. She's trying to tell me I've been on the computer for long enough and should go play with her. It wouldn't be so bad, except her passion for chewing toys means we have to buy her the sturdy kind meant for big dogs if we want them to last more than five minutes - and even then their days are numbered - which means the ball currently bouncing off my shin is a solid rubber one. So... Yeah... I think I'm going to end this post and go play with her. If I've forgotten to tell you anything, I can do so in another post later.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Taking the NYT By the #Book Quiz - #AmReading

Jeanie did a post a couple of weeks ago where she took the "By the book" quiz/questionnaire thing from the New York Times - you can see her post here. Not being someone who gets and reads the New York Times, I didn't know the quiz even existed, but it looked like fun, so I thought I'd do it too. So, here are my answers, using the questions Jeanie posted.

*What books are on your nightstand?

All the ones in my Kindle, since that's where my Kindle is nine times out of ten. My Kindle only moves from there if I'm using it elsewhere.

*What are you reading right now?

This will have changed by the time this post actually goes live, but at the time I'm writing it I'm reading "The Forgetting" by Sharon Cameron. For the most up to date information on whatI'm reading though, you'd be better off checking out my Goodreads profile.

*What is the last great book you read?

Once again, this answer probably won't be entirely correct by the time this post goes live, but at the time I'm writing it, the last great book I read was "The Princelings of the North" by Jemima Pett, which is an imaginative story that's part of a series where the characters are guinea pigs. If you love stories like that... Think Wind In The Willows, or Redwall... You should totally check it out!

*What do you read for solace? For escape? For sheer pleasure?

Anything and everything I can get my hands on. Fiction, non-fiction... Whatever I feel like reading at any given time.

*What are your favorite books on a favorite subject?

That depends on the subject. Give me a subject, and I'll tell you if I have favourite books on it, and what they might be.

*What are your favorite genres and which don't you particularly like?

My favourite genre is fantasy, regardless of the age it's aimed for. I'll read most genres though, including mysteries, horror, science fiction, romance,, historical... Even the odd thriller from time to time. As I said with the fantasy books: regardless of genre, I don't care about age range in the books I read, and will read children's books, young adult books, or books aimed at an adult audience. It depends how the mood takes me, if the book sounds good, and if I can get an accessable to me copy.

The only genre I usually try to stay clear of is Christian fiction. Though even that I've read a little of when it overlapped with another genre and the blurb made it sound interesting enough for me to give it a chance.

I'll also read non-fiction books sometimes, if they're on a subject that interests me. As with my fiction books, I don't really care what age range they're aimed at. I mean, some non-fiction books aimed at children can teach adults things they didn't know sometimes too.

*What book did you think was overrated or just didn't like?

There have been several books over the years I've read and then wondered why people were making such a fuss about them, or how they got so many positive reviews. One I read recently was Lord Of The Flies by William Golding. I'm sorry, but I just didn't think it was as great as people were saying, and actually found it a little disturbing, especially considering how many people were exposed to that while still in school.

*How do you like to read? Paper or electronic? Morning or Night? Where do you like to read?

I prefer either braille books or a document on my computer (such as a PDF) for non-fiction, and audiobooks or Kindle friendly eBooks for fiction. Braille books and PDFs are easier to navigate to different sections in, making them good options for me for non-fiction books, where I might need to skip back and fourth between sections (especially when using them for research). However, braille books are bulky and awkward, and the read out loud option on my computer isn't as customizable as it is on an eReader, meaning that the reading experience in itself is better with audiobooks or eBooks read on an eReader, making them better options for me for enjoying a fiction book (especially in the case of an audiobook, where an actual person will be reading it to me, rather than a computerized voice). That's not to say I never let them overlap. I mean, I do have some fiction books in braille, for example. I do have my preferences though, as I just explained.

I'll read anywhere. As a general rule though, I'll be sat in my computer chair when reading something on my computer, either on my bed or in the armchair in the livingroom when reading a braille book, on my bed when listening to an audiobook that's on CD, and either on my bed or pottering about the house doing housework while listening to books on my Kindle.

My irregular sleeping pattern makes answering the question about when I read difficult. I can say though that I always put an audiobook in the CD player to listen to when I go for a sleep, even if I have to put one on that's been listened to countless times before, since I fall asleep better listening to a story. Plus, I tend to use reading as my main go to activity if I'm awake in the night. Beyond that, I just read whenever I get a chance, and when that will be depends on my sleep schedule at the time, what else is going on in my life, etc.

*What's the best book you ever received as a gift?

I've had a lot of books brought for me over the years. One that sticks with me though is "Which Witch?" by Eva Ibotson. I loved it so much it was one of the first books I set out to replace in audio when I could no longer see to read my paperback version, and have re-read it so many times I've lost count.

*What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you most?

I was the child who'd rather sit in the corner with a book than join in with the other children, who spent break time in the library whenever I could get away with it, got excited about getting books for my birthday and Christmas, and... Well, you get the idea, I'm sure. Basically, I read as much then as I do now. In fact, I read so much when I was younger that a teacher actually quizzed me on some books after I reviewed more than she thought I should have been able to in a given time period for homework.

If you're curious: I got every answer right, and she never doubted me again. In fact, after that she started looking out for books that might interest me whenever she knew about library sales and things like that, so that I got in the habit of keeping some of my pocket money in my schoolbag to pay her back for any books she grabbed for me.

My favourite authors - in no particular order - were Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter, Enid Blyton, Hans Christian Anderson, Jill Murphy, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Monica Dickens, and Bonnie Bryant, to name but a few. My favourite Roald Dahl book remains to this day, Matilda. My favourite Beatrix Potter and Hans Christian Anderson stories are more difficult, since I love so many of them. My favourite Enid Blyton stories are difficult too, but I know I loved her Magic Wishing Chair and Faraway Tree stories a lot. With Jill Murphy it was her Worst Witch series I loved. As for Monica Dickens and Bonnie Bryant, they wrote stories about horses, and I was absolutely horse crazy, so loved their books very much, especially Monica Dickens' World's End series, and Bonnie Bryant's Pony Tails books. I still love those authors and books today, especially my favourite by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which was - and remains today - her book A Little Princess.

*You're organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?

My answer to this one changes so often it will most likely have changed again between the time I'm answering the questions in this post, and the time this post goes live. If you asked me right now though, my answer would be Terry Pratchett, Michelle Paver, and Beatrix Potter. Terry Pratchett's sense of humour could come in handy to keep the mood fun and light, Michelle Paver will no doubt have plenty of wonderful stories to share with us about her travels while researching her books, and Beatrix Potter is just someone I would love to have been able to meet and talk to.