Wednesday, December 31, 2014

4th quarter reading challenge 2014 - clear your clutter/Buried Treasure

The reading challenge for the fourth quarter of 2014 on one of the groups I'm on over on Goodreads was to clear some books off your Goodreads to-read shelf. Meaning, books that were on your Goodreads to-read shelf before the start of the challenge.

My Kindle dying and forcing me to read books on my computer helped me get a good start on this challenge, since I had several books I hadn't gotten around to reading that I have pdf copies of on the computer; most of which I have copies of in mobi format, or access to other formats via Smashwords, but not all due to some Smashwords authors deciding to unpublish books from time to time. Almost all of them were quite short books, which was ideal for quick reads for the computer, as well as being ideal for clearing off a decent chunk of the large list of books on my Goodreads to-read shelf.

Anyway, these are the books I cleared off my to-read shelf between October 1st and December 31st of this year:

1. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift ~ marked as to read on January 7th 2013; read on October 1st 2014.
2. Brew (Salem's Revenge, #1) by David Estes ~ marked as to read on June 10th 2013; read on October 2nd 2014.
3. Boil (Salem's Revenge, #2) by David Estes ~ marked as to read on August 19th 2014; read on October 3rd 2014.
4. 900 Miles: A Zombie Novel by S. Johnathan Davis ~ marked as to read on February 15th 2013; read on October 4th 2014.
5. Upside Down Fairy Stories: Wolfie And The Red Hoods by Janine Everall ~ marked as to read on March 7th 2013; read on October 5th 2014.
6. Blue Haired Alien Girlfriend by John H. Carroll ~ marked as to read on January 7th 2013; read on October 5th 2014.
7. The Tombstone Stranger by Robert C. Mason ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 5th 2014.
8. Time Immortal: Tales Of Marcus, The Blind Vampire by Laura A. Ellison ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 6th 2014.
9. The Land Never Promised by Sam Seudo ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 9th 2014.
10. Wedding March And Other Ghost Stories by Timothy Frost ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 9th 2014.
11. The Punishment Of Phoebus Apollo by Brenna Lyons ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 10th 2014.
12. Fortune Smiles by Amber D. Sistla ~ marked as to read on March 15th 2013; read on October 10th 2014.
13. Amy's Angels by Amy Adams ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 11th 2014.
14. Into The Rift by Brett James Irvine ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2014; read on October 12th 2014.
15. The Ramblers by Catherine E. Chapman ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 12th 2014.
16. In The Footsteps Of Giants We Can Hear Echos by Christopher Humpherys ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 12th 2014.
17. Marcella, Vampire Mage by Elizabeth Loraine ~ marked as to read on March 15th 2013; read on October 13th 2014.
18. Two And A Half Dragons: Three Dragon Tales by Emma Laybourn ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2014; read on October 13th 2014.
19. Dappled Harmony by Jae Loren ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 13th 2014.
20. The Stone Shepherd's Son by James Comins ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 13th 2014.
21. The Tale Of One Tree by Rachael Long ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 14th 2014.
22. Ryann by Paul Dorset ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 15th 2014.
23. The World Beyond The Door by Steven Larson & Margaret Larson ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 15th 2014.
24. The Vampire castle by Malla Duncan ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 15th 2014.
25. The Forgotten Village by Lyssa Medana ~ marked as to read on January 12th 2013; read on October 15th 2014.
26. Madison And The Missing Moon by Jamie Busby ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 16th 2014.
27. The Lady In The Forest by Jeanné Olivier ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 16th 2014.
28. Inverse Fall by Katie M John ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 16th 2014.
29. The Ice Princess by Katie M John ~ marked as to read on January 10th 2013; read on October 17th 2014.
30. Secret Santa, Agent Of X.M.A.S. by Guy Bass ~ marked as to read on January 5th 2013; read on October 17th 2014.
31. The Eye Of The World (The Wheel Of Time, #1) by Robert Jordan ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2013; read on November 20th 2014.
32. The Great Hunt (The Wheel Of Time, #2) by Robert Jordan ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2013; read on November 22nd 2014.
33. The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel Of Time, #3) by Robert Jordan ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2013; read on November 25th 2014.
34. The Shadow Rising (The Wheel Of Time, #4) by Robert Jordan ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2013; read on November 28th 2014.
35. Pathfinder #5—Rise of the Runelords Chapter 5: "Sins of the Saviors" (Rise of the Runelords #5) by Stephen S. Greer, Brian Cortijo, Tim Hitchcock, Nicolas Logue, Mike McArtor, Sean K. Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Owen K.C. Stephens, and James L. Sutter ~ marked as to read on April 17th 2014; read on November 29th 2014.
36. The Fires Of Heaven (The Wheel Of Time, #5) by Robert Jordan ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2013; read on December 1st 2014.
37. Lord Of Chaos (The Wheel Of Time, #6) by Robert Jordan ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2013; read on December 4th 2014.
38. A Crown Of Swords (The Wheel Of Time, #7) by Robert Jordan ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2013; read on December 9th 2014.
39. The Path Of Daggers (The Wheel Of Time, #8) by Robert Jordan ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2013; read on December 11th 2014.
40. Winter's Heart (The Wheel Of Time, #9) by Robert Jordan ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2013; read on December 13th 2014.
41. Crossroads Of Twilight (The Wheel Of Time, #10) by Robert Jordan ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2013; read on December 16th 2014.
42. Knife Of Dreams (The Wheel Of Time, #11) by Robert Jordan ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2013; read on December 18th 2014.
43. The Gathering Storm (The Wheel Of Time, #12) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2013; read on December 20th 2014.
44. Towers Of Midnight (The Wheel Of Time, #13) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2013; read on December 22nd 2014.
45. A Memory Of Light (The Wheel Of Time, #14) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson ~ marked as to read on March 14th 2013; read on December 26th 2014.
46. Slip (Slip, #1) by David Estes ~ marked as to read on May 16th 2014; read on December 30th 2014.

I know there are still several hours left in the year, and that means there's time for me to finnish reading the book I'm currently reading, but I'm posting this now because the book I'm currently reading won't count for this challenge, and even if I start another that was on my to-read list before the start of October before today is out, I won't get it completely read in time for it to be counted.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Me and Kelly out for lunch (FD)

Here are a couple of photos of Kelly and me:

They were taken by the waitress at one of our favourite local cafes back in November.

It's only a small cafe that does simple things like burgers, omlettes, fries, and that sort of thing, and doesn't have a huge vegetarian menu, but it has some vegetarian options, and what it does have usually tastes fantastic. Also, the waitress and the guy who does most of the cooking are really nice.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Crafty update - December 27th 2014 (LBE)

My brother, Carl, and his girlfriend, Tory, said they were going to celebrate Hogswatch this year; if you don't know what it is, read Terry Pratchett's "Hogfather" or watch the movie of the same name based on the book. Anyway, since they were doing Hogswatch, I decided to make them a Hogswatch card instead of a Christmas card:


This is the Christmas card I made for my Grandma and her Yorkshire Terrier, Jayde:


I made these two Christmas cards for a couple of online friends who are animal lovers:


Then I made a selection of different cards, which were sent to various family members and friends. But I won't say who each one was for; you'll know which is yours if you've gotten it.

Some random ones:


Some snowy scene cards:


Some snowflake and glitter cards:


And, last but not least, here's a blanket I knitted for Jayde:


I'd started knitting it for Kero earlier in the year, and decided to finnish it for my Grandma's Yorkshire Terrier, Jayde, rather than let the work I'd done on it go to waste. So, I gave it to Jayde for Christmas.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Random facts - Christmas 2014 (FD)

A few holiday facts for you:

*According to the Guinness world records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a 221-foot Douglas fir that was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.

*The world’s largest Christmas stocking measured 106 feet and 9 inches (32.56 m) long and 49 feet and 1 inch (14.97 m) wide. It weighed as much as five reindeer and held almost 1,000 presents. It was made by the Children’s Society in London on December 14, 2007.

*Many European countries believed that spirits, both good and evil, were active during the Twelve Days of Christmas. These spirits eventually evolved into Santa’s elves, especially under the influence of Clement C. Moore’s The Night Before Christmas (1779-1863) illustrated by Thomas Nast (1840-1902).

*Mistletoe (Viscum album) is from the Anglo-Saxon word misteltan, which means “little dung twig” because the plant spreads like bird droppings. Ancient peoples, such as the Druids, considered mistletoe sacred because it remains green and bears fruit during the winter when all other plants appear to die. Druids would cut the plant with golden sickles and never let it touch the ground. They thought it had the power to cure infertility and nervous diseases and to ward off evil.

*Evergreens (from the Old English word aefie meaning “always” and gowan meaning “to grow”) have been symbols of eternal life and rebirth since ancient times. The pagan use and worship of evergreen boughs and trees has evolved into the Christianized Christmas tree.

*In many households, part of the fun of eating Christmas pudding is finding a trinket that predicts your fortune for the coming year. For instance, finding a coin means you will become wealthy. A ring means you will get married; while a button predicts bachelorhood. The idea of hiding something in the pudding comes from the tradition in the Middle Ages of hiding a bean in a cake that was served on Twelfth Night. Whoever found the bean became "king" for the rest of the night.

*Frumenty was a spiced porridge, enjoyed by both rich and poor. It was a forerunner of modern Christmas puddings. It is linked in legend to the Celtic god Dagda, who stirred a porridge made up of all the good things of the earth.

*In Greek legend, malicious creatures called Kallikantzaroi sometimes play troublesome pranks at Christmas time. In order to get rid of them, salt or an old shoe is burnt. The pungent burning stench drives off, or at least helps discourage, the Kallikantzaroi. Other techniques include hanging a pig’s jawbone by the door and keeping a large fire so they can’t sneak down the chimney.

*In the Ukraine, if you find a spider web in the house on Christmas morning, it is believed to be a harbinger of good luck! There once lived a woman so poor, says a Ukrainian folk tale, that she could not afford Christmas decorations for her family. One Christmas morning, she awoke to find that spiders had trimmed her children’s tree with their webs. When the morning sun shone on them, the webs turned to silver and gold. An artificial spider and web are often included in the decorations on Ukrainian Christmas trees.

*In Germany, Heiligabend, or Christmas Eve, is said to be a magical time when the pure in heart can hear animals talking.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Forgotten Angel - Officially released at last!

"Left behind in the attic, Holly the Christmas angel sets off to claim her usual place on top of the Christmas tree. But doing this isn’t going to be as easy as it sounds; just finding the right room will be tricky."

That's the synopsis for my latest book "The Forgotten Angel" which is officially released today.

Yes, that's right! After two years of her tale being put on the back burner in favour of the stories of others, Holly the Christmas angel finally gets to share her story with the world... Just in time for Christmas too!

You can already buy "The Forgotten Angel" from Smashwords in all formats they offer, as well as from many other ebook retailers.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice 2014

The times when the Sun is at its furthest from the celestial equator are called the summer and winter solstices and these occur in mid-summer and mid-winter. The word 'solstice' comes from the Latin solstitium meaning 'Sun stands still' because the apparent movement of the Sun's path north or south stops before changing direction.

This year the Winter Solstice falls on 21st December in the Northern hemisphere. The exact time astronomers would give for the Winter Solstice this year is 23:03 UTC (GMT)... 12 hours from now.

So... Happy Winter Solstice!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Crafty update - December 19th 2014

Ta-da! I finally got Kelly to take photos of the blanket I made myself:


Kelly's sister, Sherry, celebrated her birrthday near the end of November. This is the card I made her:


Today is my Mam's birthday. This is the card I made for her:


I also made this knitted bear, but I haven't decided what I'm doing with it yet.