Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Voyage Of The Crimson Sail - #NewRelease #KidLit #Book #Pirate And #Rat #Adventure


After weeks at sea with nothing to show for it, the crew of the Crimson Sail is growing restless, and ready to mutiny. Only the promise of a treasure worth more than gold keep the pirates from making their own captain walk the plank, along with his beloved rats, Star and Skye.

But when a violent storm comes out of nowhere, delaying their journey to the island where the promised treasure can be found, and the treasure isn’t what any of them expected, will Star and Skye’s plan be enough to stop the pirates from leaving Captain Charlie marooned on the island? Or will their attempts to save him send them – along with the rest of the crew - to Davey Jones’ locker?

That's the description for my newest release, "Voyage Of The Crimson Sail" - the long awaited pirate themed adventure story, featuring my own ratty girls, Star and Skye - which is now available to buy as both a paperback and an eBook.

You can buy it from Smashwords in all formats they offer, grab a copy from Barnes & Noble, get it on iBooks, buy it from Kobo, grab it from Chapters-Indigo, or get it as both a Kindle version and paperback via Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, Amazon.com, or whatever your nearest Amazon is. It's also available anywhere else Smashwords and Amazon books are distributed to.

If you grab a copy, it would be great if you could leave a review after you've read it, either on the retailer you purchased it from, on the book's Goodreads page, or both.

For those of you who prefer audio books: don't worry. I haven't forgotten about you; an audio version will become available in the near future... I'll be starting to arrange the production of that soon. Watch this blog for news of it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

#Vegan And #Vegetarian Friendly Food Themed Thoughts - September 2019 Edition

When I announced on Facebook and Twitter that I had decided to become vegan, I was given all sorts of tips and resources by the online vegan community. Today I'm going to talk about some of them, along with a couple of recent local eating experiences.

This is by no means a complete list of resources and tips. But it's a great starting point.

I know most of my readers aren't vegan, or even considering becoming vegan, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a vegan meal now and then, right? Plus, there may be some who find the information in this post useful, or just interesting.

Websites:
Vegan Food UK is a great site, especially for those just starting out on their vegan journey. They've got a great Facebook group too, where the members are really supportive, and usually helpful if you have any questions, or want meal recommendations, or whatever. A vegan friend recommended them to me, and I'm glad she did.

On The Path To Zen is a recipe blog I've been following for a while, which belongs to a friend of a friend. I was introduced to the one who ran it when I was still vegetarian, and put out a call for some quick and easy vegetarian friendly meals, and have been following it ever since. There are some great recipes on there. I might have mentioned this one before, but if I did it's not been for a while, and it's worth mentioning again.

Connoisseurus Veg is another one I've been following for a while - long before I became vegan - and might have mentioned on here before. It's worth mentioning again though, because it's got some fantastic recipes. Some are pretty simple, and some are quite unique, but all I've tried from there have been very tasty. Not that I've tried loads of her recipes, but I've tried a few, and I recommend you do too, whether you're vegan or not.

The Cheap Lazy Vegan is the one that was most often recommended to me, especially given my request for meals that are quick and easy to prepare in particular. She has some great recipes on the site, and some helpful information for new vegans too. She even has a YouTube channel, in case you do better following videos, as well as a couple of eBooks full of recipes. I'm not sure how good the eBooks are, because I haven't brought them. But her site is great, I'm following her on social media now, and I've had some excellent recipe ideas from her. Like making a tofu based substitute for an egg-mayo sandwich filler, which I was definitely eager to try, considering how I'd been a fan of egg-mayo sandwiches when I was still vegetarian. It was a very tasty and satisfactory alternative to the egg-mayo, if you're wondering. Also, I experimented with some of the leftovers, and discovered the mixture can make a great tofu scramble if cooked a little in the microwave (or frying pan).

Aaron Calder Vegan is another great one for meal inspiration. His site - and social media feeds - are especially useful if you want tips on making sure you're getting all your different vitamins without having to resort to the use of supplements, like I am.

Deliciously Ella has some great recipes too. She also has a recipe book available, I think. Plus, I know for a fact you can buy some of her stuff ready made in a lot of places (at least, you can in the UK... Not sure about elsewhere). Personally, I'm interested more in the recipes, but her stuff is a great option if you want something ready made that's also going to be healthy, and she's good for recipes too, which is why I'm also following her on YouTube and social media.

You can also find tips and things on Veganuary. Including some suggestions for filling your cupboard with vegan friendly staples, like various grains, beans, pulses, dried fruits and nuts, etc. They've also got a starter kit and some recipes, along with a lot of other potentially useful information.

You'll be surprised what you can find in most supermarkets for vegans these days. However, for those harder to find items, try The Vegan Kind, or somewhere similar. If you're in the UK, and try The Vegan Kind spacifically, clicking on the link in this post will tell them I refered you, which will earn me some reward points when you sign up and make an order. Plus, you can use NEWBIE15 to get 15% off your first order, and will get 50 points immediately for signing up yourself. Reward points add up to give you money off later purchases. Anyway, they have some great stuff on there that's hard to find elsewhere, including vegan gummy bears, which I'm super pleased about, since I haven't been able to have gummy bears since becoming vegetarian. Sweets aren't the only things on there, but they were the thing I was most excited about finding. They also have lots of jackfruit, which I'm pleased about too.

Also, just because I can, I'd like to remind you that there are recipes on my own recipe page, and some of those are vegan friendly, while many others are vegetarian friendly and potentially easily adaptable for vegans. Some are omni recipes though, since they're on there for Kelly, so just bear that in mind if you go take a look. Like I said though, most of them are easily adaptable for vegans. For example: the vegan friendly cookies I've been making for the past couple of months just use the basic biscuit recipe I have on there, with the dairy ingredients exchanged for vegan alternatives, some extra plant milk in place of the egg, and then whatever spices and such I decide to add.

Tips:
Someone suggested I use neutritional yeast to make a cheese sauce. I tried this myself, using neutritional yeast and oat milk, and happen to think it made a really nice cheese sauce. I had it with cauliflower and broccoli cheese and a baked potato, but it would work well with pasta too, I think.

If you're looking for a cheese alternative that will give you a similar texture to actual cheese, try VioLife. It's a mild cheese, which is good enough that my Mam now eats it, despite being neither vegan nor vegetarian. They also have a feta version of it, which is very close in flavour and texture to dairy versions of feta, so ideal if that's your cheese of choice. I've tried both their original and feta, which I'd highly recommend. I haven't tried any of their other varieties yet, though I know they do have others.

Miss cheese, and don't want to buy a vegan cheese alternative? Use nuts! Either make cashew Parmesan...Just whizz up cashews, salt, garlic and nutritional yeast in a food processor. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Sprinkle onto anything . Or, grate Brazil nuts on top of pasta dishes and sprinkle generously with himalayan salt. Looks like parmesan, and you get all of the benefits of the Brazil nuts without the squeakiness of eating whole ones. So, two more great alternatives for cheesy flavours. At least, they're great if you don't have nut allergies.

If you find falafels too dry, try cooking them in the microwave instead of the oven. It makes them softer and moister. Or so I'm told. I haven't tried it myself.

Not a fan of tofu as an egg replacement? Try chickpeas, vegan mayo, and onion. The result of those things blended together is something like egg mayo sandwich fillers. Haven't taste tested this one yet, but the person who suggested it assures me it's the case.

Blend together 1 cup of toasted sesame seeds and 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and you have your own homemade Tahini paste/butter.

Several people have assured me you can make a thick paste with flour and water to stick bread crumbs to things. Dipping what you're using in plant-based milk before rolling it in the bread crumbs also works. I haven't tried either, but know of loads of people who have tried one or the other with great success.

If you want some crispy tofu chunks for salads, stir frys, etc, coating your tofu chunks in corn flour (cornstarch; same thing, different name) will help them crisp up nicely when cooking. Yes, I've tried this one, and it works; it makes for lovely crispy tofu chunks.

Corn flour makes a great thickener for sauces, gravy, and jam. I've tried this too; I was already using this before becoming vegan.

I'm told real Cocoa powder, combined with avocado, makes amazing chocolate mousse. I have yet to try this, but I don't doubt it's the case, since I know avocados are the right texture, and don't doubt they'd blend well with the cocoa powder. Apparently you can also freeze it to make chocolate ice cream.

If you want a frozen treat, you can apparently whizz frozen berries in dairy-free yogurt for delicious ice cream. Alternatively, blending frozen fruits - like banana or pineapple - will make sorbet. Haven't tried either myself yet, but it's something I'm glad to know.

A lot of people commented on how some plant based milk can seporate when added to hot drinks. Someone mentioned they'd had good luck with avoiding this by adding the milk first. I've been doing that, and experienced no curdling, despite having now tried a variety of plant-based milks, including almond, cashew, coconut, hazelnut, oat, rice, and soya. If you're wondering: my favourite is the hazelnut milk, which is so good that Kelly - definitely not vegan - now likes to have that in his coffee sometimes, after he tried it when he ran out of his own milk, and decided he'd ask me to get more of that for his use. But it's oat that tastes most like cows' milk, if you're looking for that particular taste. That also seems to be the one people are saying is least likely to have issues with mixing in hot drinks.

When you've no plant milk and want a brew, you can apparently make some homemade oat milk by sticking some rolled oats in the blender with plenty of water, and blitzing it... Its obviously not perfect as you haven't strained it, but I'm assured it will work. Haven't tried it myself yet though.

Finding your meals boring? Experiment with different herbs and spices. A little seasoning can turn an otherwise bland dish in to a taste sensation, and you'll be surprised what works well together. You can find recipes to start you off, but remember: most of those came about when the cooks experimented, and you can do the same. Sure, you might get some kitchen disasters, but you might also find your new favourite taste combination.

Local Eating:
Oscars - our favourite cafe - are still our favourite. I was pretty sure they carried vegan mayo, and was right, so they were easily able to veganize the jackfruit poorboy I have most times I go, and were more than happy to do it. Regardless of whether you're vegetarian, vegan, or whatever, I'd still highly recommend Oscars On The Square if you're ever in the area.

The Goats Ledge still proves to be a good option for vegans. They have a lovely vegan breakfast roll they call a "Vegan Sunrise Burger" or something like that, and do a very tasty tofu burger. They aren't the cheapest place around, but they're definitely worth the money.

Kassa Koffee is another great place, with plenty of options, and a willingness to veganize anything from their menu they can. I had a humous and salad wrap from them recently, which was the best humous experience I've ever had. They make it themselves, and serve it slightly warm. I really enjoyed it.

I also recently discovered that our local bakery sells two different versions of vegan sausage roll. One is a sage and onion one, the other tomato. Both made using vegan quorn, if I remember correctly (they did tell us at the time). The tomato one is better, in my opinion. They also assured me that all their bread is 100% vegan friendly, so that's nice too.

Speaking of bakeries, we discovered when in town that the 1066 bakery in town has a few vegan pastries. I haven't tried them, because I was looking for something savoury at the time, and they only had sweet. But it's good to know they have options should I fancy a pastry when in town at any point.

Take-out options are thin on the ground, despite both Just Eat and Deliveroo claiming their vegan options are increasing. What options there actually are mostly involve vegan pizza, or various forms of salad or humous raps. They're also quite expensive. The good thing about this is it makes me much less likely to just be lazy and call for a takeaway, which is good, because I am trying to mostly make everything from scratch. Although, I can personally recommend the vegan garden party pizza from Papa John's, and have seen plenty of other vegans recommending that too.

I did also learn recently that there are a lot of other vegan friendly places around here that I hadn't found yet - both near me, and in town. But I haven't had a chance to properly investigate further.

***DISCLAIMER: all advice and recommendations in this post are my own, or were passed on to me by fellow vegans via Twitter and Facebook. I am nnot an expert, and I'm pretty sure none of the people who gave me advice are either, though most have been vegan for many years. Neither am I being compensated in any way for any websites or cafes I recommend, except for any reward points I might get if you sign up to The Vegan Kind using the link in this post.

Monday, September 16, 2019

#MondayMotivation, #Inspiration, And #Wisdom - #Hygge #Quotes For September 16th 2019

Do not spoil the wonder with haste.
~Legolas

Someone… somewhere… is hoping and wishing for the things you take for granted. Take time today to be grateful.
~Charles Orlando

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
~Epicurus

Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like.
~Will Smith

We seek happiness in external things without realizing that they don’t help when we have problems within. We need to focus instead on the joy that comes with peace of mind that allows us to remain happy whatever happens.
~Dalai Lama

The opposite of play is not work—the opposite of play is depression.
~Brene Brown

Start each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart.
~Roy T. Bennett

Friday, September 13, 2019

Friends Of #FurkidFriday: Daisy Mae

Hi everyone. This is Lilie the Westie.

I've got another new friend for you to meet today. Her name is Daisy Mae.

Hey, Daisy Mae, that's a pretty name. Is there an interesting story behind it? If so, I'd love to hear it.

Yes there is a story. My name means flower but I obviously wasn't named for the meaning of my name. No, the real story comes how I came to get a furever home and how I got my name.

You see one night My Mamma told me we were going on a little field trip only in the evening. My Mamma said to me, I know this house where there are people who feed cats like you and since you have good lungs you meow as loud as you can until they take you in. The man will be the hardest so really work on him. Well since my owner was working that night, her parents were really nice and went and picked her up. When they came home my now owner came out of the garage and her parents said, see if you can hear what sounds like a kitten meowing. She did and sure enough they took me in. Well I was put in a warm garage.

Then a few days later, some more of the family came over for the nephew's fourth birthday party. That
1 was on September 12, 2006. The scary part was when the adults let the nieces and nephew name me but as it turns out, I got a real good name.

What's even funnier is, the man of the house which was my owner's father said and I quote "I will let another animal in the house when pigs fly". Well I got a furever home so pigs must have flown. My Mamma kept coming around until she was sure I was being taken care of real good.

That's a great story, with a very happy ending. So, what species and breed are you? I'm guessing cat by that story, right? But what kind of cat are you?

I'm strictly an indoor cat and I think I am a Tuxedo cat due to my coloring and it looks like I'm wearing a tuxedo.

Really? Describe your appearance.

Well I'm a very dark charcoal or black with a white chin chopper, White down my chest, White fur throughout the dark color and my paws are White with pink pads. In my opinion, I'm a little cutie.

You sound like it... For a cat. Mummy sure thinks you sound like a little cutie anyhow. Oh, and here's a photo of you for those who can see photos to see how much of a cutie you are.


By the way, what sort of place do you live in? Who do you share it with?

I live in a house that is 100+ years old. So you know the house has all kinds of places for a cat to explore. I have been rescued so many times because I get myself in tight spots. But O it is fun to explore an old house. I love it.

I share this wonderful old house with three other people. I used to share it with three other people and a Rescue Tabby Cat named Tigger but she went to Rainbow Bridge on 9-11-2015. The three people I share it with are wonderful people and owners.

Sorry about Tigger, but glad the people are wonderful, and you have fun exploring the house. Speaking of fun things, what's your favourite thing to do?

When I was a kitten I loved playing and exploring but now that I am soon to be 13 years old well, I still play, explore and I do a lot of sleeping. But then what cat doesn't? MOL.

I don't know many cats, but Mummy says that sounds about right for a cat, so I'll take her word for it - and yours. Anyway, when you do play, do you have a favourite toy?

Yes I do. My favourite toy is playing pole. Let me try to explain. You see the pole I play with has a feather or something at the end of the pole. I really like hiding in bushes then I go after it.

That sounds like fun! Hey, speaking of favourite things, what's your favourite food?

Well it used to be Fancy Feast of the Classic variety and the kind was
3 Chicken Feast. However according to my owner, they discontinued my favourite kind of food so now my new favourite kind of food is Fancy Feast of the Classic Pate` and the kind is Chicken Feast. Can you believe they discontinued a cat's favourite kind of food?

That's terrible! I'd hate for them to discontinue my favourite food! I'm sure the humans would find me something tasty to have instead, but I still don't like the thought of it. You know what? Let's focus on something more pleasant. So, Daisy Mae, what's the one thing your human does that you love most?

She leaves her closet door open so I can lay right inside the closet when I want. I love laying right inside her closet because the sun comes through the window and hits me just right.

That's really nice of her. Humans are great sometimes, aren't they? Well, most of the time actually. Sometimes they do things that aren't so great though, so what's the one thing your human does that you hate most?

Well there are two that are tied. But if I have to pick one, I hate it when she picks me up even though I don't want picked up. I'm not a "Pick Me Up" cat.

Yeah, I can see how that would be annoying. By the way, speaking of your human: I happen to know your human is a writer/blogger. Has she written anything about you? If yes, can you tell us about it? If no, do you think she will in the future?

Yes she has written about me. She has not only blogged about me but has written a short story about me. Actually it was about both Tigger, a Rescue Tabby Cat she had many years before I came along and how I was named and therefore came about getting a furever family and home. That short story was called TIGGER AND DAISY MAE. Do I think she will write about me in the future? I absolutely think she will.

Oh, that's great! So, what do you do while your human writes?

I sleep. I sometimes even take a kitty cat nap on her lap.

Nice! OK, Daisy Mae, before we end this, is there anything else you'd like people to know about you?

My owners may have to guess of when I was born because I around 4 weeks old when they rescued me/took me in. I used to live with another rescue cat named Tigger. Tigger was a Senior Tabby cat I played with for many years. We had a lot of good years together until she died on 9-11-2015.

I still like to go exploring especially in the basement. I get the zoomies still sometimes when there is cooler weather. I love the sun and sunpuddles I can lay in. At night, I love to lay in the middle or almost in the middle of the hallway by "Big Bear". The scary and dangerous part even with the nightlight on is, wondering if someone will step on me by accident. You see I am actually so dark unless some of my white feet or chin is showing you can't see me until you're almost on top of me. I love finding new favorite spots and staying there for a while and playing hide and seek with my owners. I know I'm no spring chicken anymore because this month I'll be 13.



I also help my Mother/Sister/Owner with her 2 blogs. That is right I have 2 blogs I help with. The first one is called CRYSTAL AND DAISY MAE'S PHOTO-BLOGGING SITE and the site address is: http://crystalsphotobloggingsite.wordpress.com, and WELCOME TO CRYSTAL'S SITE(ORIGINALLY COUNTRY LIVING) and the site address for that blog is: http://daisymae2017.wordpress.com. So what are both of these blogs about? Both blogs are about Animals first and we also write about just about everything on our mind with the exception of politics. Both blogs are not strictly photo-blogging sites. We participate in blog hops, do book reviews, sometimes even write poetry. We started blogging in January 2017 with our first blog and had so much fun we started another blog in April 2017. We've taken Blogging courses and had fun doing it.

As a Tuxedo Cat, I like to feel like royalty all the time so I play Queen of the house daily. I keep telling my owner who likes to write and has written 2 books and on her third book. She has written many poems and a few short stories but she is unpublished because she is new. I keep telling her if she really wants to do it, keep striving for it until you reach your goal. She's taking my advice so far which is good. I like being a positive influence in my owners life because it gives me a feeling I'm not only accomplishing something but I feel myself getting happy. It feels like that feeling that I'm finally getting a furever home and trust me, there's no greater feeling than that.

I'm also a very finicky cat that tries to train my owner.

Thanks for all that information, Daisy Mae. I hope your owner does listen to you, and makes her dreams of being published come true. It was nice getting to know you today. Oh, and I'm told it was your birthday yesterday, so... Happy birthday!

***~~~***

I hope you enjoyed getting to know my new friend, Daisy Mae, and hearing a little about the humans she shares her life with.

By the way, we're looking for more friends to come over for a visit. So, if you're a bird, cat, chinchilla, degu, dog, gerbil, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, rat, or other animal, share your home with a human who calls themselves a writer or blogger, and want to be featured as a Friend of Furkid Friday too, get in touch with us. Details on how to do that can be found on the "Friends Of Furkid Friday" page, where you can also see the posts for all the friends we've had over for a visit.

Lots of licks,
Lilie

Thursday, September 12, 2019

#AmReading + #AmWatching - September 12th 2019 #Reviews

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it.
~Edward P. Morgan

It's time to take a look at what I've been reading and watching during this past week.

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. Please bear in mind that the format I've reviewed on Goodreads may not be the format I actually read.

Alternatively, if it's a movie or TV show you want to know more about, just click on the title 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 read and watch things across multiple genres, as well as for different age ranges, so you should always check before reading or viewing, to make certain something is suitable for the intended audience, especially when children are involved.

OK...

Here's what I read this week:

The Selected Poems of K MorrisThe Selected Poems of K Morris by K. Morris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a wonderful collection of poems by this author. I remember many of them from other collections I’ve read by him, but didn’t mind reading those again. It was difficult to pick favourites to mention in this review, because I have half a dozen favourites just from section one (the book is split in to several sections). I really love the poem “Why Do I Write?” though. “Lost” and “Raining” are also favourites of mine.

As for what I've been watching:

Other than some "Friends" and "NCIS" reruns, and episodes of "Futurama" and "The Simpsons" that were on when I was in the living room at various points throughout the week, I haven't watched anything. I was only half watching those things even, since it's just that they happened to be what was on TV when I was in there. I did plan to watch some DVDs on the weekend, but when I realized how close I was to having my new book ready for publication, I had a working weekend so I could finish getting it ready.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

#WriterWednesday - September 11th 2019

I've got a lot to share today, so make yourself comfortable, maybe grab a snack or something.

First of all, in case you missed my post from two weeks ago: one of my pet themed poetry collections is now available in audio. Yes, "My Friends Of Fur And Feather" is now available as an audio book, narrated by Carol Weakland. You can click on the post I just linked to for full details, as well as for purchase links in all available formats, but
here's the book's Audible page, in case you just want to go there and grab a copy.

If you grab a copy, I hope you enjoy it. Also, if you could review it, either where you buy it, on Goodreads, on your blog, or wherever else you review books, that would be great. Reviews help authors sell books, after all, and are a great way to support your favourite authors, of which I hope I'm one. *smiles*

In other news: despite procrastination, genuine things cutting in to my writing time, the need to file my taxes twice because being blind is apparently no longer a valid reason to have someone else sign the paperwork for you (even if they have legal authority to sign when you ask them to, and have been allowed to do so for the last six years) and temperatures both recently and a couple of months ago that were hot enough to require me to wear sunscreen just so I could sit at my desk - oh, how I wish that last one was a joke - the end is finally in sight for my pirate themed adventure story. Yes, that's right, "Voyage Of The Crimson Sail" is coming! In fact, the Crimson Sail is even now sailing on to the virtual shelves! Jacob sent me the covers last week, and I finally finished the editing on the weekend, so I spent most of Monday formatting and uploading the eBook manuscripts to Smashwords and Amazon. I've set it up to release next week. I usually prefer to set up a pre-release a couple of months in advance now the option to do so exists, but since this one has been so long in being completed that I haven't published anything new in over a year, and Talk Like A Pirate Day is next week, I decided I wasn't going to make you wait longer than that. People have been waiting long enough for this one already. At least, I hope those people who were eagerly awaiting it when I first mentioned it are still out there waiting for it...

Alright. Enough about me... Let's talk about you. So... How's your writing going? Is it going well? Do you need to throw away your writing to-do list?

This just in: you can love writing and also find it hard.
~V.E. Schwav

No matter how your writing is going, and whether your writing is blog posts, stories, poetry, or something else, here are some potentially useful productivity tips. They're officially aimed at blogging and promoting your blog, in particular if you work full time. However, they could work for blogging of any sort, and some of them could potentially be useful for writing in general too, whether you work full time, work part time, or whatever. Also, here's what I don't have time to write that sometimes means, and a post about how you're totally wasting your writing time doing these things.

Regardless of how your schedule works, and how good you are at time management, if you're a blogger - especially, though not exclusively, if you're an author blogger - here's some advice on how to keep on blogging, as well as some tips for keeping your author blog fresh, and ideas for ending an idea drought.

Also, if you're a writer with a blog, and if it's stories you write, you might want to check out this post on writing for books vs writing for a blog. Writing stories to post directly to my blog isn't something I'm considering doing myself, but you might be considering it, so I thought I'd share the post.

No matter how you publish it, if you're considering using some kind of transformation with some - or all - of the characters in your story, check out this post discussing the different schools of body transformation, and another containing some tips and advice for when your characters are going to be transforming objects.

Next, here are some tips for if you need to de-enthasize characters, which you may want to make use of if your story contains too many of them.

Whoever's in your story, here's a suggestion for keeping up to date with the events in your story.

Everything you can imagine is real.
~Pablo Picasso

Next, here's some advice for when you hate your own writing, because it happens to everyone sometimes.

Remember: it's really hard to have a dream, but you should keep dreaming anyway. Will you ever be the great writer you've always hoped to be? Maybe, maybe not. Whichever is the case, just do the best you can, and be proud of whatever you achieve. Most importantly, never forget that it's OK if you don't want to write for a living, so if your dream is to write, but you want to just do it for yourself, that doesn't make you any less of a writer. Plus, whether you write for yourself, or publish what you write, you don't even have to write every single day to call yourself a writer. Regularly, yes. Every day, no.

Are you still struggling with self-doubt? Or, perhaps, it's the topic of the story that has you scared? Either way, don't forget that to write a masterpiece, you must first make a mess. Then, check out these tips for how to love (almost) everything you write, writing through your fear, and how to write stories that scare you. After all, writing is a performance, and the show must go on! So, rise, hustle, repeat.

Remember though: the wand chooses the wizard!

Don't listen to people who tell you that very few people get published and you won't be one of them... Keep writing, keep faith in the idea that you have unique stories to tell, and tell them.
~Robin Hobb

Now, here's a bit of advice on how to find your voice.

Whatever your writing voice may be, I'm going to assume you plan to publish your book once you've written it, so here are some book marketing tips for effective authors, and some more things to consider for book promotion and building your author brand. You might also want to check out this post about setting up your Amazon author page, as well as this one on being part of the Goodreads author programme. Oh, and you might also like to take a look at this simple timeline for holiday sales, especially with the holidays coming up fast.

Why doesn't anyone tell you about the pressures that come with being an unknown writer? I don't know. But one thing I do know is that the post I just linked to is right: it's hard, but all you can do is your best, and remember you're not alone.

Commit yourself to the process, NOT the project. Don’t be afraid to write badly, everyone does. Invest yourself in the lifestyle ... NOT in the particular piece of work.
~Frank Conroy

So, you need to write a blurb for your novel? Then check out the post I just linked to for a few tips.

No matter what stage of your writing you're at though, check out these tips to improve your writing.

Finally - and most importantly - remember that a writer can't always be on, so you should take some time to rest and recharge. You can do that however you like, but make sure you do it. You need it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Vogue Parody: 73 Questions About Me

I found this in this post on The Strawberry Post. Of course, I had to play along. If you'd like to play along too, feel free to do so. Just let me know, so I can come check out your answers. For now though, here are mine:

73 Questions About Me

1. What’s your usual Starbucks order?

I haven't been to Starbucks in a very long time. Last time I went it was new here, and there weren't many options. I do remember though that I had a lovely hot chocolate and some delicious carrot cake. I'd have to pick something else now though, since those aren't vegan friendly. I know they have some Vegan options though, since I saw some people talking about it on a UK vegan group on Facebook. If nothing else, I know they have tea, and do almond milk, so I could have that. No idea when I'll go again though, since it's not really somewhere I go much, so it doesn't matter.

2. What does your workstation look like?

We have an office/computer room. It's not a big one, but it's big enough for the two of us.

I've got a little desk near a window that looks out over the ocean. On it is my computer, a couple of coasters for my drinks (one each for hot and cold drinks) and the camera. When I was still using a laptop, my red brailler was on it too, but that's somewhere else right now because of space. I also had a talking clock in the shape of an apple, but it broke, and I haven't gotten around to replacing it yet. I usually have the phones - my mobile phone, and the chordless home phone - on the desk beside me when I'm sat at it as well.

It's not a fancy desk, but there's a little drawer and a small two shelf cupboard in the desk, where I keep computer related stuff, such as spare cables, headphones, backup disks, etc. Also, under the desk is a basket, where Logan usually sleeps when I'm on the computer (if he's not curled up under my swivel chair).

Nearby is a single basic shelving unit with holiday decorations, the proofs of all my books, paperwork, and Harry Potter figurines and stuff on it. Plus a fan for warmer days, a bed for Lilie, more shelves with stuff of Kelly's on them, and Kelly's fan, swivel chair and computer desk.

3. Favourite food?

Depending on my mood, toast or chips (fries).

4. Favourite author?

There are too many to choose, and it changes depending on my mood, what I read recently, and so on.

5. What do you think of open relationships?

If everyone involved is happy to do that, that's up to them, and I'm fine with them doing it, as long as everyone involved knows it's what's happening, and is fine with it too. That kind of thing isn't for me though. Never has been, and never will be. I'm the exclusive relationships only type.

6. What is your favourite video game?

I'm currently addicted to a quiz game on my phone called, "Quizoid" - does that count?

7. Guilty pleasure treat?

Depending on my mood, doughnuts, fudge, or chocolate. This has not changed with me switching to a vegan diet. The only changes are that I no longer have to suffer stomach ache for enjoying a chocolate bar or some fudge, and in the case of the doughnuts it's easier to make my own than go buy some.

8. Favourite movie?

I have several favourites, but if I have to pick just one, it's Practical Magic. Though there are several others I adore too, like I said, such as the Harry Potter movies, The Craft, Frozen, Moana, etc.

9. Favourite book?

I've got loads of them! But, if I have to pick just one, it's "A Little Princess" by Frances Hogeson Burnett. But I have loads of favourites, as I said, which can change with my mood, and depending on what I recently read sometimes too, so could give you a long list, which will have likely changed a bit between when I'm writing this and when it goes live. I also always feel bad for those I don't pick, so tend to struggle to limit my choices.

10. Twitter or Instagram?

Twitter. It's the only one of the two I have. As someone who has to rely on text, it's also a bit easier for me to work with, though even with Twitter I experience the frustration of posts that aren't accessable because they're images only.

11. Desktop or laptop?

I use a desktop at the moment, but really wish I had a laptop instead. I used to have one, but I stepped on it one too many times, and it died. I want a new one.

12. Best advice you’ve ever received?

About what? The thing is, I've been given a lot of advice, some good and some bad, about a lot of things.

The best advice I ever got about relationships is that, "If nobody in a relationship ever argues, someone is lying," which is comforting in those times between disagreements and making up. It was something someone told me soon after I started blogging, when I'd been married a few years, which they'd been told the day they got married.

The best advice I ever got about writing is that, "The first draft is always rubbish," and you should always "Write first, edit later," which are both good things to remember when I read through the first drafts of my story, and spot all kinds of typos, and worse issues, I wish didn't exist, and wonder if my writing is really any good.

13. What project are you working on right now?

I'm finishing up the final stages of a middle grade pirate themed adventure story I've been working on, slowly writing poems to put together another collection, finishing the painting on an ornamental alicorn, working on blog posts for the near future, answering some questions for an upcoming author interview, and still working on some training with Logan the Cavapoo. Um... I think that's everything.

14. Favorite color?

Purple. Closely followed by blue and red.

15. Did you get good grades in school?

Yes. My grades and schoolwork weren't anything to do with why I only have one GCSE. But that's something I don't want to go in to full details on. Short version: I loved schoolwork, but ended up being homeschooled, and only bothered to do my English GCSE. I also did other courses, but didn't bother with my other GCSEs. My grades were good though. I was good enough at maths, for example, that I used to do my older brother's homework.

The only subjects I didn't do well at were geography, R.E. (religious education) and P.E. (physical education). But I did just fine with everything else. I struggled with geography because I just don't get on well with maps, failed in R.E. because my teacher wanted us all to share her views and I didn't, and health issues and disability made P.E. difficult (despite the schools' best efforts at getting me involved with sports in some way).

16. Dream job?

An author who works with animals or young children. Since I spend my days mostly doing the author thing in between playing with the furkids - and doing chores, but we won't talk about that - I'm basically doing my dream job now. Although, I often wish I could get someone else to do the chores, so I could have a bit more time for the author and pet related stuff.

17. Play any sports?

Not at all now - unless fetch with the dogs counts - and only sort of in the past.

When I was still in primary school (elementary school) the school tried to have me playing rounders (it's kind of like baseball, for those not in the UK) but that didn't work too well for them. They also put me on the school netball team, but that was just to make up numbers, and they mostly just gave me a ball and sent me off to a clear area to play with it, since it was easier and safer. After an eventful race, where I was cheered despite coming last, for my sheer determination to complete it, I didn't even do sports day during most of my schooling, because everyone decided it was easier and safer for me to sit it out. That was fine by me, since they'd usually tell me to read or something while everyone was training for sports day, which I was happy to do.

I did do some horse riding and judo though., and actually loved doing those, plus got fully involved in them. The horse riding and judo weren't anything to do with school. I was just horse crazy, so wanted to do horse riding, and tried judo when I went to a VICTA (Visually Impaired Children Taking Action) session, and loved it, so wanted to do more.

But these days I don't do anything other than watch sports, and that I don't do much, even though I technically follow the Toronto Raptors basketball team, and Liverpool football (soccer) team.

18. Do you have a degree?

No. I've got an English GCSE, a FIT (Foundation in Information Technology) certificate, and a certificate that says I completed a Welsh language course I went on just to help my Mam with it (I already spoke Welsh). But no degrees.

19. Nationality?

British. Born and raised in Wales to English parents, now living in England with a Canadian husband. If you go back further, there's some Irish in there, and also some Scottish and French. Maybe some others too, from other parts of Europe, but I'm not sure beyond that. My Dad would know, since he's done a lot of family history research.

20. What is your favourite kind of blog post?

It depends what I've gone to the blog looking for. The thing is, I like a variety of blog posts. I love reading people's answers to things like this. I love getting glimpses in to the lives of the friends I follow via their general blog posts about their day to day life. I also love informative posts, recipe shares, etc. The main thing to me is that the posts need to be accessable to me, and written clearly enough for me to understand what's being said. Perhaps it would be easier to tell you what would make me unlikely to enjoy a blog post?

  • Infographics. I'm sure they're great... If you can see them. However, since I can't, it's really irritating when I see an interesting post title, click on it, and find I can't enjoy the post, because it's just a bunch of pictures without any descriptions.
  • Posts full of curse words. The odd one being slipped in when you're upset and angry about something... OK. Otherwise, I don't think they need to appear in a final version of a post. I can ignore them if they only appear from time to time, but those posts where it seems you're cursing every other word... No thanks!
  • An apparent lack of knowledge of how to string words together. I'm not asking you to be an expert in grammar, be perfect at spelling, etc. But if you're going to post in a particular language, please make sure you at least have a basic grasp of it, and are able to string words together in a way that makes it possible for people to understand what you're saying.

Other than those things, I enjoy most types of posts, though I do have posts I enjoy more than others, of course. Even my favourite blogs do posts I enjoy more some days than others... It's how it always goes.

21. What do you like to collect?

Books, DVDs, Harry Potter stuff, cuddly toys, gems and crystals, ideas for stories and poems, and happy memories.

22. Describe yourself in three words?

Creative, stubbourn, inquisitive.

23. If you were a rapper what would your stage name be?

Um... I have no idea. I'm not even going to attempt to come up with one.

24. Who was the last person you DM?

My friend, Barb, to make sure she saw an article about her favourite actor being in an upcoming movie. That was a few weeks ago... I don't use messenger much. I texted my Mam a day or so ago though.

25. What’s on top of your wish list right now?

Apart from the obvious things like world peace, which aren't under my control, but I still wish for them, on top of my wishlist right now is a new laptop. There are more important things to buy first, but it's what I wish I could have.

26. Sorting house?

Ravenclaw, according to the old Warner Bros Harry Potter website, and Pottermore. That's just fine by me, since it's the one I'd like to be in anyhow. Not that I have anything against the other houses.

27. How many tattoos do you have?

Two. One on my right upper arm of a Welsh dragon, which matches the one my brother, Carl, has in the same spot, and was done at the same time as he had his done. Another on my left upper arm, which is a heart, some blue flowers, and a bone with "Kero" written on it, for my West Highland White Terrier, Castellan Keroberous (more commonly just known as Kero).

28. What are you most grateful for this year?

That I finally won the battle with the gynecologists, got my hysterectomy, and my health is improving.

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?

The month has only just started, and nothing has really had time to happen because of when I'm writing this. The best thing that happened to me last month though was finally getting that dentist appointment I've been waiting for since April out of the way. Yes, it took from the end of April until the middle of August for them to deal with it. Ridiculous, I know. I'm sure that knowledge is enough to tell you why I count it as a good enough thing to mention.

30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?

Given the time this will be going live, about all that will have happened between me getting up and it going live is playing with the dogs and having breakfast. Those are great things though.

31. What’s the best thing ever?

That time in the evening between Lilie and Logan settling for the night, and me settling for sleep myself, when I'm curled up on the bed with the two of them, enjoying some reading time before going to sleep.

32. Favourite season?

There are things I love about them all. If I have to pick though, I choose Winter, because it's most likely not to be hot, and there's a good chance we'll get snow, which I love.

33. Favourite holiday?

I can't choose between Halloween and Christmas. On the one hand, Christmas, because I love the decorations, sweet mince pies, and the fact people make that extra effort to think about others. On the other hand, Halloween has trick-or-treaters in cute or spooky costumes, and pumpkin carving. So, both Halloween and Christmas get the top spot, and which I'd pick if you asked me to pick just one of them would depend on how I was feeling at the time. Today it's Halloween I'd pick, if you want to know.

34. What fictional character do you relate to most?

I have to pick two: Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books. The bookaholic side of me relates to Hermione, with her love of books, and thirst for knowledge. But there are parts of me where I relate to Luna most, with her unique way of looking at the world, and inability to fully fit in.

35. Do you like surprises?

It depends on the kind of surprise. There are good and bad surprises.

36. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had?

That a lot of people are actually eager to read my books. I love writing them, and had hoped people would love reading them, but it was a nice surprise to learn they really do. At least, if the reviews I've had are anything to go by.

37. Which surprise made you cry?

The keeper for a day experience I was gifted a couple of years ago. It was an amazing experience.

38. What’s the best surprise you’ve given somebody else?

I'm not sure. I've surprised people with things that made them happy, but I'm not sure any one of them is better than the others. It might be to the person in question, but you'd have to ask them.

39. Do you like muffins?

Savoury or sweet? Well, either way, it depends on the type and flavour. As a general rule though, yes to both. Especially if you're offering either a toasted muffin with something spread on it, or a blueberry muffin. No chocolate ones though, please.

40. Do you cook often?

That's a difficult one to answer. On the one hand, yes, pretty much every day. On the other hand, since Kelly prefers to do the parts of cooking involving the oven, you might say I only do the prep work, and he's the one who does the cooking. He counts it as me doing it though, so I'm going to as well, which means I cook almost every day, and bake regularly too, especially since I became vegan. The only days I don't are the odd time when we either eat out or get take-away, if I have leftovers I can just heat up, or if my dinner that night doesn't involve any actual cooking.

41. What’s your favourite dessert?

Rhubarb crumble. Luckily it's something that was easy to veganize. Even more luckily, vegan custard and ice-cream exist.

42. Is there a dessert you don’t like?

Only really chocolate cake. Sorry, but I can't eat it. Not even if you make me a vegan friendly one. I explained why in a post a couple of weeks ago. Short answer: the thought of doing so makes me feel physically sick.

43. Cake or pie?

Depends on my mood, and what flavours you're offering. I like cakes, pies, tarts, and quiches, but which I'll want will depend what flavours you're offering, and which I fancy at the time.

44. What’s your least favourite food?

Celery. I'll only eat celery or lettuce if they've got something on them, but out of those two things, it's celery I'm most reluctant to eat, since at least lettuce isn't so bad with a nice dressing on it. Celery I only tolerate, and then only when I have to.

Besides those things, though I have foods I enjoy more than others, and ways I prefer things cooked or prepared, there's not really much I won't eat in the way of fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts, and seeds.

45. What’s your favourite condiment?

It used to be tomato ketchup, but I haven't had that in a while. These days it seems to be vegan mayo.

46. It’s 4 am on a random Saturday. What are you eating?

If I'm up, probably either toast, nuts, seeds, fruit (fresh or dried) or some kind of cake or biscuit.

47. If you could teach a college class what would it be called?

Interacting with blind people 101. I hope a lot of people would want to take the class, and would learn from it.

48. Best animated film?

There are too many to choose. Frozen, Moana, Bambi, The Lion King... All great movies, but not the only ones.

49. What has a guy done or said to impress you?

I'm not sure. Kelly must have done or said something though, otherwise I wouldn't have married him. *wink*

50. Best thing to do on a first date?

Dinner - whether a meal at a cafe or something, or a picnic somewhere - and a movie. Of course, it's best to find out the kinds of foods and movies the person likes before planning the date, otherwise it will turn in to a bad date quickly.

51. Worst thing to do on a first date?

Definitely do not talk about your ex, if you have one. Leave the ex related baggage for when you're more committed to one another. Better yet, move on, and don't talk about your ex at all, unless you have a very good reason to because of something that happened in your past.

53. Best comic book character?

Batman. He's the best comicbook character, and the best superhero.

54. Name three things which can always be found in your purse

It depends which kind of purse you mean. If you mean the British version, so what Americans call a wallet, money, bank card, and loyalty cards for some places we shop at regularly. If you mean the kind the Americans call a purse, which the British call a handbag, I don't carry one, but the backpack I use instead usually has my inhalers, my Kindle, and a bottle of water in it whenever I'm going anywhere.

55. Favourite drink?

Tea, of course. Doesn't matter if it's regular tea, or a fruity or herbal tea.

56. If you could play a historical character in a movie who would it be?

Nobody. They'd make me wear a dress during filming, and modern dresses are bad enough.

57. Kittens or puppies?

This is a tough one, since I love both, and think both are just as adorable as each other. But I think Lilie and Logan would be disappointed if I didn't pick puppies, so I'm going to go with puppies.

58. Favourite sushi roll?

I don’t eat it. Never have.

59. What lipstick do you use?

I don't use any. I might sometimes use a lip balm, but that's about it, and I haven't even done that in ages.

60. What foundation do you use?

I don't use any. I'm not big on make-up related stuff. I wasn't ever all that interested in any make-up besides nail polish, and am allergic to most of it anyhow, even the supposedly hypo-allergenic stuff.

61. Blow dry or air dry?

Air dry. I don't even own a hair dryer. I used to have a purple travel one, but didn't use it much, let someone borrow it, and never got it back. That's happened with a lot of things. It's why I don't let people borrow my stuff any more. One of these days I might get around to getting a new one. Maybe. Doubt I'll use it much if I do though.

62. Who is your fashion icon?

I don't know - or care - much about fashion.

63. Favourite Disney Character?

Wait, what? I have to pick just one? Nooo! Don't make me do it! How can I choose between Elsa and Olaf from Frozen, Simba from The Lion King, Dory from Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, Chip from Beauty And The Beast, Thumper from Bambi, and all my other favourites? The answer is, I can't!

64. What are you doing tomorrow?

Working on making progress with my writing project... I hope!

65. Movie you laughed the hardest through?

This is a tough one. Liar Liar, Mrs Doubtfire, and Daddy Daycare all made me laugh a lot. But how can you not laugh at anything involving Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, and Eddie Murphy?

66. Movie that made you cry?

Bolt. It gets me every time. Partially because it makes me think of Kero, but also because there's a part in it where it would be tough for anyone who loves animals not to cry. I've watched it loads of times, and never got through it without tears.

67. If you could sing a duet with anybody, who would you choose?

I suppose it depends on the kind of song. If we're talking something romantic, Ronan Keating for sure. If we're talking something where we're just singing together, "Just because," it would be either Ronan Keating again, or Dolly Parton. Or Tom Jones... I could do Cerys Matthews' part in "Baby It's Cold Outside" no problem.

68. If your life was a song what would the title be?

If I had to pick one that I know already exists, "Life Is A Rollercoaster" by Ronan Keating. If you want me to make one up, "Home Is A Hospital Bed" would fit, going by how much time I've spent in a hospital throughout most of my life. I'm hoping to change it to "Her Chance To Live Came At Last" though... It would be a much happier song.

69. What’s your favourite animal?

My absolute favourite is a lion. But I also love rats, horses, dogs, and other types of cats.

70. Favourite illustrator?

I don't really have one. Although, I used to love Quentin Blake's illustrations in my Roald Dahl books.

71. The person you want to have coffee with?

Nobody, because I don't like coffee. However, if you mean it in the, "Let's go out for coffee," sense, where it can mean any drink, I'd love to meet up with J K Rowling or Michelle Paver for a drink and a chat. J K Rowling, because Harry Potter. Michelle Paver, because she's been on some amazing trips while researching her books, and I'd love to hear about them.

72. What country would you like to visit?

Egypt, to see the pyramids. Also, France, because I want to go to Paris and see the sights there, as well as go to Disneyland.

73. Best way to decompress?

A nice long bubble bath, and then curl up with a book, a warm drink, and the dogs.

Monday, September 09, 2019

#MondayMotivation, #Inspiration, And #Wisdom - #Quotes For September 9th 2019

Caution is one thing and wavering is another.
~Aragorn

Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.
~John Gardner

The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.
~Voltaire

Don't look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.
~Anne Lamott

The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.
~George Carlin

Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.
~Roy T. Bennett

Friday, September 06, 2019

#FurkidFriday: August 2019's #Photos And #Video Of Lilie The #Westie And Logan The #Cavapoo

Hi everyone. This is Lilie the Westie.

Something terrible happened last week: my ball got lost. It was my most favourite ball in the whole world. The yellow rubbery one, that bounces real good. I was so sad when it got lost. It was all OK in the end though. Mummy and Daddy eventually found where it was. It took them a very long time to get it unstuck from where it was though. I was starting to think they wouldn't be able to. But they did it - even though it took hours and hours - and I got my ball back in the end. I was so happy!

Anyway, speaking of toys, a few weeks ago, on August 15th, Mummy got us some dinosaur toys. She gets us toys every time she has to get us food or anything from the petstore place, whether it's the one in town I sometimes go to with Daddy, or the one that makes the stuff come to us in boxes. Sometimes she takes photos, other times she just gives them to us without bothering to grab the flashy thing. But this time it was dinosaurs, and she did take photos. So, here are some photos of us when she gave them to us:


We love getting new toys, even if the toys somehow fall apart when we're playing with them. Totally not our faults... We have no idea how it happens. It couldn't possibly be us chewing on them or anything like that. Nope... Not us!

Ahem... Anyway...

My little brother, Logan, finally became smart. He has finally decided he loves the idea of walkies. He's now excited to go out for walkies, and disappointed when it's time to go home. You know? Like a normal dog. He even actually walks during it all, instead of expecting Mummy to carry him. Does the stairs himself now too. About time, if you ask me.

Since he'll now walk properly, Mummy and Daddy started taking him on to the beach. Here are some photos they took of Mummy taking him on to the beach during his first proper explore of the beach a few weeks ago, on August 20th:


Also, because I'm so super cute, here's a photo of me, which was taken the same day, when we were still on the beach:


Oh, and - since you can never have enough photos of us, so Mummy and I figured you'd like a couple more - here's a photo each of me and Logan on the beach a few days later, on August 23rd:


We haven't taken Logan close enough to really investigate the big water yet. He's not sure he wants to go too close to that much water anyhow - he's a big whimp about water - but mostly it's because either there have been lots of people out there, or the big water has been doing that thing where it's really far away when we're there. Mummy says we'll hopefully take him to check that out soon though. Probably when what she calls "Tourist season" is over, so there aren't so many people between us and the big water, and it will be easier to just go when it will be further up the beach.

Anyway, here's another picture of Logan, this one taken on August 25th. He does this cute thing where he smiles, so Daddy was trying to get a photo of that. I do cute things too, but they find it hard to get photos, because I stop when the flashy thing is pointing at me. But here's Logan:


A few days later - on August 28th - Logan got a new big boy collar. So, here are a couple of photos of Logan, who - if you're trying to keep track - by this time was four and a half months old, in his new big boy collar:


He got a new harness and lead too, because he was almost grown out of those as well. We took him to the park on August 30th to try those out. He hadn't been to the park before. He seemed to really enjoy it though. Here are a few photos of him exploring at the park:


Daddy did a video too, though you can't hear anything but the nice wind we had that day. I say it's a nice wind, because we were very glad of it after how hot some days have been, and it felt great in my fur. Anyway, here's the video:






Next, here are some photos of both me and Logan at the park:


Anyway, Logan got a new coat when he got his other new clothes too, but he hasn't needed to wear it yet. Mummy did try it on him to make sure it fits, but didn't get photos. She didn't end up getting photos of him in his baby coat either, because they didn't take the flashy thing with them when he had to wear it. Not that he wore his baby coat much, because we only wear our coats when it's really cold or wet out, and it hasn't been either of those things much lately. Some days it even got so hot there was no walkies at all, because Mummy and Daddy said it wasn't safe. I don't really understand why.

I didn't get any new clothes. I was a bit sad about that. OK, so I did get another new toy (sorry, no photos) and some treats as well. But that's totally not the point. I felt like I should have got new clothes too. I mean, there's nothing wrong with my old ones, but I felt a bit left out. It was the same day it took Mummy and Daddy hours to get my ball from where it was, so Mummy asked if that counted for anything. I told her it didn't. I felt better afterwards though, when Mummy played ball with me while Logan was still trying to do his sweetie ball.

At least I usually get included. For example: Mummy says we'll be going to town later. She says me and Logan both have an appointment with the groomer this afternoon at 1:00pm. It will be my little brother's first time being groomed. I hope he behaves. I know I will... I'm a good girl!

Before I go, here's one more photo of me, which was taken on the evening of September 4th:


Hope you enjoyed the video, and all the photos.

Lots of licks,
Lilie

Thursday, September 05, 2019

#AmReading + #AmWatching - September 5th 2019 #Reviews

You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.
~Paul Sweeney

It's time to take a look at what I've been reading and watching during this past week.

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. Please bear in mind that the format I've reviewed on Goodreads may not be the format I actually read.

Alternatively, if it's a movie or TV show you want to know more about, just click on the title 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 read and watch things across multiple genres, as well as for different age ranges, so you should always check before reading or viewing, to make certain something is suitable for the intended audience, especially when children are involved.

OK...

Here's what I read this week:

Scorned (Valkyrie Academy Dragon Alliance, #3)Scorned by Katrina Cope
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is definitely another excellent addition to this series. Dragons and teenage drama all in one fantastic package, with great characters you'll be glad to get to hang out with.
*NOTE: I was given a free advanced copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinion of the book, or the contents of this review.

Inflicted (Valkyrie Academy Dragon Alliance, #4)Inflicted by Katrina Cope
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another awesome book by this author, and another excellent addition to this series. It's fantastic getting to see the characters - and their relationships with one another - evolving throughout the series, as the entertaining and action-packed plot unfolds. If you love dragons, you should definitely consider giving this one a read.
*NOTE: I was given a free advanced copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. This fact has in no way influenced either my opinion of the book, or the contents of this review.

As for what I've been watching:

I only watched one DVD during the past week: the second disk of season one of The Shannara Chronicles.

Actually, that's all I watched all week, unless you count snatches of episodes of various TV shows that were on when I was in the living room for whatever reason. But I wasn't paying much attention to those, so I'm not even going to bother mentioning what they were; I only paid enough attention to know what was on each time, if I'm honest. So... Yeah... They definitely don't count.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

#WriterWednesday: #Quotes About #Reading And #Writing

I tell my students: If you are a writer, you have more power than the greatest tyrant in the world because of punctuation. You get to tell people how to breathe.
~Alicia Anstead

…write without looking over [your] shoulder. Write it as if no one is going to read it. That’s what frees you. If you can stop thinking about critics, and your editor, and whether your book’s going to make it into the Times, and how long it is going to be on the list, I mean, that can totally free you up.
~Terry McMillan

Don’t over-describe things. Part of the enjoyment of stories is building your own picture from the clues the author provides. One interesting bit of detail is worth far more than ten bland ones.
~Chris D’Lacey

Sometimes the author's first job is to just type and have the story tell itself to the reader. Authors are a vessel for our stories to travel in.
~Joy Fanning

The author & the reader "know" each other: they meet on the bridge of words
~Madeleine L' Engle

A book acts as the getaway car when you need to escape. Even when you're the one writing it.
~Julie Wright

…the book doesn’t only belong to the writer, it belongs to the reader as well, and then together you make it what it is.
~Paul Auster

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Day To Day Life, August 27th - September 2nd 2019

I'm not going to give you every detail of every day for the past week. That would be long and boring. Not to mention, often rather repetative, since there are things - like reading before bed for a while, pet care, a lot of the housework, etc - that happen every day. But here's an overview of how each day went during this past week, plus daily weather reports. Just to give you a bit of a peek in to my day to day life, which I hope at least some of you will find interesting.

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Tuesday the 27th of August was incredibly hot. Hot enough I had to use sunscreen to be able to sit at my computer, or I'd have risked getting sunburned. I even pulled the curtain closed after a while, deciding less air circulation was better than that much sun directly on me. That was not fun. I think the official temperature was something like 28 degrees C, but it felt hotter, and I know it registered in the mid 30s in our place.

I mostly spent the day just feeling hot and miserable, while trying not to let the furkids suffer from it. I'm sure it was really hard on Mollie especially, though I did all I could to make things as easy for them all as possible. At one point I was even sat on the floor by a fan, using a damp cloth to give the dogs a rub down, since they seemed to appreciate it. That shows how hot it was, since Logan especially was loving that, and he's the least keen on water of the pair of them. I may have used the cloth a bit on myself too. *wink*

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The 28th of August was cooler, which was nice. But it was one of those days when it keeps raining on and off, but is quite warm, so the world is sticky and humid. It was a relief after the day before's heat though. Still not nice, but better. It was around 21 degrees C that day, so would have been OK if not for the humidity. That's on the higher end of the temperatures I can comfortably deal with, but much nicer than the day before had been, so I was relieved.

I'd planned to make it a writing day, but that didn't work out.

First the landlords wanted to come and fetch the rent (since they hadn't made it over the week before). While they were fetching the rent, we reminded them about the hob still needing to be replaced, and the skylight still needing to be fixed. Apparently they didn't realize he hadn't gotten to those things yet. The landlords promised to send someone around when they could, and apologized for it not having been done yet. As of the time I'm writing this post - which is nearly a week after the conversation took place - we still haven't had someone come sort the things though, nor do we have any idea when it might happen. *sigh*

Anyway, the other thing that happened was that the tax guy had to come back for me to sign my papers, since we had to file my tax paperwork again, because the head office has decided Kelly's no longer allowed to sign them on my behalf, despite his being legally allowed to usually if I request it, and having signed them with no problem every year since publishing my books meant I had to do tax paperwork. I'm not sure why they didn't give the guy that memo when things changed before, since his whole job is helping people with disabilities fill out tax paperwork, so you'd think they'd have told him. Whatever... It's done now. They'll just have to put up with my scribbled attempt at a signature. Honestly though, part of me was pleased they don't think blindness is a reason for me not to be allowed to sign for myself, since it gets a bit annoying when everyone prefers to defer to a sighted representative. It made me feel a bit more important.

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August 29th thankfully wasn't overly hot, or humid. It was sunny, and about 20 degrees C at its hottest point, which was only for a while in the early afternoon... It was around 18 degrees C or lower during the morning, and 19 degrees C or lower in the late afternoon. So I decided to take advantage of this more comfortable weather to do some baking, just in case it got hot again.

I made Kelly some pumpkin-spice brownies, and some cinnamon cake. But I also made some vegan friendly stuff for myself, which was a lemon spice cake, and some lavender cookies. I'm pleased with how my cake and cookies turned out, though must remember next time to go a bit lighter on the lavender. Tip for anyone thinking of using that in baking: a little goes a long way, and you don't need much to get a lot of flavour. Anyway, I didn't take photos of Kelly's cakes, but here are some photos of my lemon spice cake and lavender cookies:


Lilie and Logan had been racing each other around the living room while we were baking - likely taking advantage of the cooler day themselves - which meant they crashed out for a nap after I sat down at the computer with a cup of tea and a sample of my cake and cookies. So I took advantage of their nap to get that writing time I hadn't gotten the day before, and finally finished the pirate themed adventure story I've been working on for close to two years... Or is it more than two years? You know, I actually don't remember for sure... Yeah, that just shows how long it's been.

I also found out I'd won a gift card in a giveaway one of my favourite authors was doing. So it was a good day in many ways.

I considered changing Mollie's post for last Friday - which I'd written the previous week - to mention the hot start to the week, since it talked about how temperatures had cooled down here recently. But I decided not to, since it seemed to have cooled back down again anyhow. Plus, Lilie and Logan woke up from their nap before I got a chance, and I didn't fancy trying to do it with them trying to get my attention... That's doable, but never much fun for any of us, so I avoid it when possible. It's always much easier to just do what I can during puppy nap time, unless I really "have to" do something time sensative while attempting to ensure they aren't causing mischief, which I thankfully don't have to do very often, but bribe them with treat balls when I do. Adding a note to Mollie's post about the hot start to the week just didn't seem like something important enough to worry about getting puppy co-operation for me to do. I only mention it now to clarify why her post says it had cooled down, and this one mentions hot weather. It probably doesn't bother you... You most likely didn't give it a thought... But it popped in to my head while I was writing this, and I feel better for clarifying.

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It rained a bit in the early hours of the morning of August 30th, but was dry and sunny by the time we were up. Then the temperatures hovered around 19 degrees C. So, the temperature was comfortable, and even more so with the lovely breeze we had.

We took Lilie and Logan to the nearby park. Logan hadn't been to the park before, since we'd been walking along the seafront, but he seemed to love it. It tired him out though. Actually, both dogs were ready for a nap by the time we got home. Photos (and a video) of the dogs at the park will be in Lilie's post this coming Friday, but here are some flower photos we also took while at the park... I don't know what kind they are.


While Lilie and Logan took a nice long nap after our trip to the park, I uploaded their photos and video, got some blog posts you'll be seeing in the future written and scheduled, finally remembered to post on the threads I have on the groups I'm on over on Goodreads that my latest audio book was available, and then sorted some eMails. I did have an interview I was meant to be filling in, but the other things needed doing too, and my inbox was getting to be even more scary than normal, which is saying something considering how it looks most of the time.

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August 31st was a bit warmer, with temperatures officially at 21 degrees C during the hottest part of the day, and only a degree or so hotter in our place. At the high end of what I can deal with, but it was tolerable heat, and at least there was a nice breeze coming in off the ocean that we could enjoy, so it didn't feel overly hot.

We made it a day to catch up with things we hadn't gotten to in the week. Mainly housework and eMails, so nothing fun.

By the way, if you ever wonder what a vegan might use the egg compartment some fridges have for, the top five answers are storing garlic bulbs, tomatoes, lemons, limes, and small fruits like kiwi. At least, they are according to the comments on a thread I saw on a vegan Facebook group, which was started when one member jokingly said how cool it was that her new fridge came with somewhere special for her kiwis to be stored. So, if you were wondering - which you probably weren't, but you might have been - now you know.

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September 1st was a sunny Sunday. It was officially only 19 degrees C, but felt hotter. Honestly, until I checked what the actual temperature was, I thought it had to be in the mid 20s. There wasn't much in the way of cloud cover or a breeze though, so that will be why it felt hotter than it actually was.

I was disappointed not to be on the Hogwarts Express - like I am every year. Yeah, I know it's fiction, but I'd still eagerly go to Hogwarts if I could, and can't help a slight pang of disappointment each year when 11:00am on September 1st rolls around, and I know the Hogwarts Express will have left without me once again. But, alas, no Hogwarts for me... I'm still waiting for my letter. Judging by the response to my Facebook post on the subject, I'm not alone in my disappointment each year, and it's not only 11 year olds who still wait for their letter each Summer.

Anyway, since I wasn't going to Hogwarts - again - I watched some Shannara Chronicles. I almost broke out the Harry Potter DVDs instead, but decided to keep that for closer to Halloween, since those are great movies to watch while enjoying pumpkin themed treats. Plus, I was in the middle of watching season one of The Shannara Chronicles already. It was tempting to watch Harry Potter though, so I could at least go to Hogwarts that way.

I didn't do much else that day. Hey, it was Sunday, and Sundays are meant to be my days off, so... *shrugs*

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Monday August 2nd (yesterday) started off quite cool. It was only 14 degrees C when I checked the temperature about an hour after I got up. Bearing in mind, Lilie and Logan get me up around 8:00am most mornings, and yesterday was no exception, so it would have been around 9:00am when I checked the temperature. It was lovely! It did warm up some, but thankfully not too much; the official temperature never went above 18 degrees C. At least, it hasn't gone above that up until the point I'm finalizing this post, which is on Monday afternoon. There's a nice breeze coming in off the ocean too, so it feels a bit cooler than it actually is, which is fine by me.

It was a laundry day, so I was especially glad it was a cooler one, since we unfortunately have little choice but to use the tumble dryer to dry our clothes. We do have an indoor airer, but between finding somewhere it can dry the clothes where I won't bump in to it, and our sock-thief puppies, it's not ideal to use that option, so we rarely do, even though I wish we could be using the tumble dryer less.

While the laundry was doing its thing, I first played with Lilie and Logan a bit, and then - when they were napping - got a couple of book reviews written for books I finished over the weekend, sorted some eMails, and finalized this blog post so it could be scheduled to go up at 9:00am on Tuesday morning. At the time I'm writing this, they're still napping, so I'm going to go sort some more eMails while that's still the case, since my day off yesterday means they've piled up again.

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I hope you enjoyed this peek in to my day to day life.