Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - September 30th 2015

I usually aim my stories at the kindergarten to middle grade age groups; exactly which one of those depends on the book in question. If at least some of your work is aimed at middle grade readers too, here are 8 tips on middle grade writing to get you started. They're not the best tips in the world, but they're a decent starting point for you to work from.

Speaking of writing tips... Here are 33 awesome tips for writing just about anything, which you may also find useful; especially if you're just starting out on your writing journey.

Also, here's a list of 10 surefire ways to nail a first draft. I disagree with most of them, but they're entertaining, so worth reading for that reason if nothing else. I do agree with number 10 though... When you've finnished your first draft - in fact, any long stretch of writing - it is nice to do something for the neglected partners, or other family members, who put up with being ignored, and often also yelled at, while you worked on your writing. I'm lucky in that my hubby considers my writing time to be time when he can play his video games without me bothering him, so we both win. But, even if you're as lucky as me, you should make a point of doing something nice for - and with - your family during writing breaks. The best option being to have some time set aside for both writing and family time every day, whenever possible; and this includes the furry or feathered family members you may have, since they need your time too. My rodent gang are pretty good about it, as long as I pay attention to them during writing breaks, and stop writing to go and comfort them if a storm rolls in and upsets them. That last is a shame, since I love both reading and writing during a storm, but I still go to them, and offer what comfort I can. My point is, you should always make time for other things as well as writing. The author of these 6 essential tips on time management for writers and bloggers obviously agrees with me; if the 6th tip is anything to go by, anyway.

Finally, here's how to Become a Goodreads Power User (and why you'd want to).

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday's random mutterings - September 28th 2015

We had family visiting over the weekend.

Actually, at the time when this post - which I scheduled a few days ago - will go live, they may still be visiting.

As it happens, it's a good thing I sometimes write these posts ahead of time, and lucky I happened to do so with several this past month.


Because, a couple of weeks ago, my computer's keyboard broke. Well, to be exact, it was only the down arrow that broke: it stuck, and when we tried to get it unstuck it came off. But the arrow keys are important to my computer use; I use them to navigate around pages, and to scroll up and down text I'm trying to read. This meant that I couldn't use my PC.

My Kindle can go online, but accessability is limited, since the speaking software it has isn't designed to do much online browsing. Still, I wanted to get in some practise with touch-screen, so I had a go at using it.

I actually didn't do too badly. Although, my typing with the touch-screen keyboard is painfully slow... I haven't been such a slow typer since before I had touch-typing lessons, which was more than 18 years ago! My typing is usually quite quick. I don't know how many words a minute I can type, since I've never bothered to time it, but I know I have a pretty good typing speed. At least, I do with a standard keyboard, LOL!

Anyway, though I spent several hours attempting to get the hang of using the touch-screen technology, I didn't really get much done. So, as I said, it was a good thing I already had posts scheduled for that week.

By the time a new keyboard for my PC arrived a few days later, I had a rather large stack of e-mails waiting for me to sort them, and ended up spending the rest of that weekend attempting to catch up with them.


We had a roleplaying session scheduled for the Thursday of that week, so Kelly let me use his PC.

But Kelly doesn't have JAWS on his PC, nor the talking dice programme I use. Which is called "GMA Dice" if you're interested.

Yes, I know we could have put the stuff on Kelly's computer. But we didn't want to install the stuff just for one afternoon if we could help it; especially since it would mean using one of my JAWS authorizations. I can have up to three of those before I have to call the people who do JAWS and request that they be cleared. Every time JAWS is installed on a computer in anything other than demo mode I have to use one... Even if it's re-installing it on the same computer, and clearing them means they get cleared on all computers, and JAWS has to be re-authorized on any computer you still want it to work properly on. And, the thing is, I think I've used my three, so unless I wanted to have to worry about sorting the authorization again on my PC when the keyboard arrived, it was easier to leave it... I'll worry about whether or not my authorizations need clearing the next time I need to install - or re-install - JAWS on a computer of my own.

Before you ask... No. Running JAWS in demo wode wouldn't have been an option. You have 40 minutes from when the computer first starts to load Windows before JAWS will shut down and not work again until you re-start the computer. This means that - by the time you factor in time for things to load, and allow plenty of time to shut down the computer with it still talking - you only get a little over half an hour before a re-start is required. So, it was deal with a re-start every half an hour or so, or just have Kelly sign me in to TeamSpeak so I could talk to them, and have Dad be in charge of my character sheet and dice. Bearing in mind, even on a normal session we play for between three and four hours. That's a lot of re-starts!

So, Kelly signed me in on his computer, and we arranged for my Dad to be in charge of my character sheet, and rolling my dice, while I just made the decisions on what my character would do. This meant that Dad was keeping track of three character sheets, since he has two characters of his own. But it was that or we didn't play.

And we really wanted to play, since we'd almost finnished that part of the adventure. In fact, we actually managed to finnish that part of the adventure during that session, despite the extra time involved in waiting for Dad to juggle the extra character sheet. Though we had a longer than usual session to do it.

I dare say Kelly was glad to get his computer back at the end of it.

Anyway, we'll start the next part of it next time (this coming Thursday, in theory). Although, one of Gareth's characters won't be a part of it, since she's so close to being insane that she's had to go away for a while to recover. But that's the risk you run in Cthulhu. Besides, none of us died in the end, so we actually got lucky, LOL!


In other news...

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

1. Read 1500 pages.
2. Read three books in one series.
3. Read a book with 500 or more pages.
4. Read a book with a season in the title (for example: Summer love).
5. Read a book that was recommended to you.

I managed to complete three of them, so here are the ones I completed, and the books I read for them:

*Read three books in one series.
Dralin (Dralin #1) by John H. Carroll
Ebudae (Dralin #2) by John H. Carroll
Pelya (Dralin #3) by John H. Carroll

*Read a book with 500 or more pages.
American Gods (American Gods, #1) by Neil Gaiman

*Read a book with a season in the title (for example: Summer love).
Norbert's Summer Holiday (Norbert the Horse, #2) by James Sutherland

I probably also did the 1500 pages, since American Gods alone was over 600, but I didn't bother to count my pages.

Anyway... This is the group where we get awards for completing the challenges, so here's my award for August:


I haven't watched many movies lately, but Kelly and I watched "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" recently. It was a really good movie, but I think the first Avengers movie was better, and Kelly appears to agree with me.

I also re-watched "Practical Magic" and "The Witches Of Eastwick" - movies I really love, and have seen several times. I've watched "Practical Magic" even more than "The Witches Of Eastwick" since it's one of my favourite movies.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Furkid Friday - September 25th 2015

Hi humans, rats, and anyone else reading this.

This is Star the rat.

My ratty sister, Skye, and I had something called a birthday a few weeks ago.

Now, I'm not too sure what a birthday is, but on the day we were told we were having one we had some extra nibbles, and got a new hammock, so if that's what happens when birthdays happen, we're totally fine with them, and they can happen as often as they like.

Our pink hammock was getting a bit tattered from our claws catching it when we climbed in and out, turned over in our sleep, etc, so it needed to be replaced.

This is our new purple hammock:

Our degu brothers did have blue ones like it, but they kept pulling them down, and the humans got fed up of putting them up just to find them pulled down five minutes later, so they let the degus have them as blankets for their nesting box instead, since that seems to be what they want to do with them.

Skye and I don't understand why, since we love to stretch out in our hammock for a nap. But those degus are strange, and we try not to let their unusual behaviour bother us.

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - September 23rd 2015

In case you missed Saturday's post...

"Zeena And The Gryphon" (Zeena Dragon Fae, #2) is now officially released in eBook format, and available to buy from eBook retailers such as Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and the Apple iBook store. In other words, it's available in an accessible to you format, regardless of your eReader of choice. In fact, because of the wide variety of formats Smashwords offers, all of which I allow it to become available in, if you can read this post, you can read the book.

I'll let you know when the paperback is available... Please be patient though, as that part takes longer to arrange.

In the meantime, I have some writing and publishing related links for you...

First of all, in order to have a story, you need conflict. If you're asking "conflict, exactly what is that?" I suggest you read the article I just linked to, which explains it very well.

Also, here are some things writers should know about dialogue, and a couple more tips for using dialogue.

Let's talk about editing for a moment... Which kind(s) of editing does your novel need? It's up to you. But it will need some kind of editing; even the best author needs to have their work edited at least a little. It's always a good idea to at least have some kind of proof reading happen... Even if it is just using someone to read it when you're finnished. Although, if you're going to get a family member or friend to help with this, make sure you can trust them to be honest about any issues they notice, since some will be reluctant to point them out for fear of offending or upsetting you... Despite the fact that doing so actually doesn't help anyone.

However you edit, once you're sure your book is ready, it will be time to publish! Will you go with a traditional publisher, or self-publish? This post answers the question "what is being an indie author all about?" - if that's the option you were thinking of going with. Also, here are the 5 biggest self-published author mistakes that kill sales and a post on 10 learnings over 4 years of publishing.

Regardless of how you publish... Always remember: it's important to make some effort to do some marketing, but don't let it take up so much of your time that you don't have time to write. Are you an author or an eBook marketer? Your answer to that question will determine whether you should be focussing more on writing or promotion. After all, if you're a writer, then you need to actually write; there's not much point in building up a nice fan base if you'll have nothing new to offer them once you have them interested. Besides, as mentioned in this article, where the parallels between writing and running are explored: you have to work to be good at something, so if you don't write, you don't improve, and you have no chance at all of reaching your personal goals as a writer.

Last, but by no means least... When trying to get a following, don't forget to think about what's in it for them.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday's random mutterings: ocean musings

They say that on a very clear day, and if you stand in just the right spot, those with good enough eyesight can just about see a spec in the distance that is the French coast.

Whether or not it's true, I have no idea. My eyesight was never good enough at its very best for me to try it out for myself, and I don't know anyone confident enough in their own sight to be sure if the spec they can see really could be the French coast. In fact, most say all they can see is the ocean, and it's quite likely that the spec out to sea is actually just a far off boat, or one of the smaller islands off the British shore.

Goodness knows there are plenty of small islands out there, and almost always plenty of fishing boats too.

True or not, however, it's an interesting thought.

Also, if it isn't true, what started it? Was it a need to reach beyond our own shores?

I wonder if the French ever stand on their shore trying to see the British coast?

Or, perhaps, it's only those of us who live on small islands who so often attempt to look beyond our own shores?

Regardless, standing by the ocean on a beautiful day is a pleasant experience.

Although, to be honest, I like the ocean in all of her moods.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Zeena And The Gryphon - officially released today!

"With their quest to free the earth fairy barely completed, Zeena and Saarik are approached by another creature in need of their help; this time a gryphon named Aquillo. So the two friends set off on a quest to free the air fairy, Ora, and save the mountain dwelling creatures from the goblins."

The above is the synopsis for "Zeena And The Gryphon" which is my latest release, and is the second book in the “Zeena Dragon Fae” series, which is a four book series about a faerie dragon and a pixie trying to keep the world safe from the jealous Spirit fairy.

"Zeena And The Gryphon" is now available from Smashwords in all formats they offer, as well as from other eBook retailers, and will become available as a paperback in the near future.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Furkid Friday - September 18th 2015

Hi humans, rodents, and anyone else reading this.

This is Jacob the degu.

I don't have much to say today, but I have a couple of new photos of me and my degu brothers to show you.

Here's one of me with my brother, Jasper:

And here's one of my other two degu brothers, Joshua and Jenks:

I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - September 16th 2015

"Zeena And The Gryphon" (the second book in my "Zeena Dragon Fae" series) is finally going to be released!

In fact, it's already uploaded to Smashwords, and should already be available to pre-order from sites like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and the Apple iBook store, with the official release date being this coming Saturday.

At least, that's when the eBook will officially become available... It's going to take a bit longer for the paperback, though I'm hoping to have the paperback version of "Zeena And The Gryphon" arranged in the near future - along with paperback versions of all my other previously published titles that aren't yet available in paperback.

In the meantime, I'm working on writing "Zeena And The Mermaid" (the third book in the "Zeena Dragon Fae" series).

I'm always working on something... I have a misbehaving mind, which always comes up with plenty of ideas. So, don't worry, there will be plenty more stories once I'm done writing this series. There will be more poems too, though I'm waiting to have enough to make another collection of them worthwhile before I publish those.

Despite how many ideas I have, I don't join up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) when it rolls around each November. I sometimes set myself a personal goal - or set of goals - for the month, but I don't officially participate. If, however, you plan to do so, you may want to read this post about the expectations vs reality of NaNoWriMo.

Whether you plan to participate in NaNoWriMo or not, if you've written a book - or, if you're working on writing one - here are some tips on looking for readers in all the right places.

Before you start sending out advanced review copies of your books though, you need to make sure you've done all you can to catch any editing issues. One of the ways you can do this is by using text-to-speach software. Personally, I use something called JAWS, because it's the one I use to be able to do things on the computer normally, and I don't see the point in looking for another to use when I have that. It's quite expensive though, so if you just need your text-to-speach software for editing, you probably don't want to pay the amount JAWS costs... I only pay it because I have to, otherwise my computer and internet accessibility will be even more restricted than it already is. But, for those of you who don't have that problem, here's a post about some cheap and free options for using text-to-speach as an editing aid for writers instead.

Bear in mind, that there are some grammar rules that are acceptable to ignore, especially in certain types of writing. Which grammar rules do you ignore? Because, if you're going to ignore the rules, you should at least know you're doing so.

Above all, always remember writer = reader... No exceptions!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday's random mutterings - September 14th 2015 (LBE & FD)

September 2nd 2015 was my appointment to get my second wisdom tooth removed.

As you'll know if you're a regular reader of my blog, I've been trying to get this one tooth removed since April, after spending several months waiting for the first wisdom tooth, and another tooth that I was in pain with, to be removed; I first went to the dentist shortly before Christmas 2014, in pain, and had to wait for several months to get an outpatient appointment at the hospital, since my anemia made the regular dentist reluctant to risk pulling any of my teeth without a doctor being on hand to authorize a blood transfusion if things didn't go smoothly. There isn't a huge risk of it happening, but it is a possibility, and if that happened, there was a risk of me staying in hospital for a couple of days, so I set up a bunch of blog posts to keep you entertained... Just in case.

As it happened, I needn't have bothered, since I did get to come home. But I left the posts I'd scheduled up anyway. Although, I admitI added a couple more links to Wednesday's post.

But... About the appointment...

Things didn't go too badly, though they didn't go smoothly either.

I lost a bit more blood than I should have... My mouth was pouring with blood from the moment the first needle was jabbed in to me to start trying to numb the area. Speaking of which... It took four of those little capsules of anasthetic stuff to numb the area, by which time everywhere on that side of the face was numb... Including that side of my tongue. Plus, the tooth broke, so the dentist had to pull me about while trying to grab all the little bits of tooth. That last didn't surprise me, since I knew it was close to breaking like the other wisdom tooth had done. Not that I was all that surprised about the difficulty in numbing the area either, if I'm honest, since we had that trouble last time too.

I wonder if all the times I've had anasthetic for surgeries is making my body build up some resistance to the anasthetic stuff? I know that's the reason they give for my quick recovery from the anasthetic after surgery... *Shrugs*


They asked me afterwards if I was OK, and I said yes. I was too... Until I stood up. At that point I didn't feel so great any more, but I was able to walk without feeling like I was attempting to get used to being on board a ship at sea, so I figured I'd be fine to go home, and said nothing.

I felt so bad by the time I got home though, that I wondered briefly if I should have said something, but then I just curled up on my bed for a while, figuring I'd go back to the hospital later if I didn't start to feel better.

Honestly, if it had been up to Kelly, I wouldn't have even left the hospital that day. But the rule is that if I can stay on my feet long enough to walk out of there without the floor trying to rush up and meet me, I can leave... Even if doing so probably wasn't a smart decision on my part. So, I got to go home.

In my defence, I wasn't too bad... Until I had to do the stairs. Walking up three flights of stairs when you're feeling a bit light headed from anasthetic injections and blood loss - not to mention, a bit sick from being bumped about in a taxi while feeling that way - is not a good idea... I hadn't thought about that when I was insisting I was fine to go home, and by the time I did think about it I was a few stairs up, so figured I might as well keep going.


When the anasthetic stuff wore off, I started to notice the pain from having my mouth pulled about. So, I grabbed a painkiller, and curled up again; grateful I'd had the sense to make sure we had some before the pharmacy closed.

I woke up six hours later, feeling a lot better. I mean, I still wasn't feeling too great, but I felt a lot better than I did when I first curled up there, if that makes sense, so that was good enough for me. Although, by that time the painkiller had worn off, so the first thing I did when I got up was grab another.

Then I noticed I was hungry, so I went looking for food. I had something soft, but it was still kind of painful eating. I was hungry enough not to care too much about it at the time though.

Yeah... That day was not fun.

Still, at least things didn't go bad enough for me to end up needing a hospital stay... Though, I admit, it was a close call, and if I wasn't so stubbourn I probably would have at least spent the night in hospital.

I just really didn't want yet another hospital stay... I hate hospitals, and am sick of spending my time in them!

Besides, it all worked out, and I was prepared to go back there if I wasn't feeling any better by the time I woke up from my nap. Not that I'd have had much of a choice at that point, since I think Kelly would have made me go back... Even if he had to drag me down the stairs to a waiting ambulance.

It took nearly a week for me to stop feeling yucky, and longer for my mouth to stop feeling sore. In fact, even now it's not fully healed, though it's more a feeling of discomfort than actual pain now.


There should have been roleplaying the day after my appointment, but my Dad had to cancel short notice, so I just had a long chat over Teamspeak with Carl instead; despite being in pain.

But, despite the pain, we had a nice chat, and laughed about my ability to spell Cthulhu, when so many of the shorter - and more frequently used - words are difficult for me to spell.

My Dad found it amusing when I mentioned it to him the following day too.

Anyway... There should be roleplaying again this coming Thursday; as long as nobody has to cancel short notice, which doesn't happen often, so we should be good to go.


Our new fridge-freezer arrived a week before my appointment, and is working well.

We had them take the old fridge away with them, since it wasn't working properly anyway, and we were offered a "recycling of old appliance" service for a small extra fee when we brought the new fridge-freezer. We figured we might as well take advantage of it, since it was cheaper than it would have been to get someone out especially to do it, as well as meaning we didn't have to have a fridge in some random spot - most likely getting in the way - while waiting for someone to pick it up.

Of course, this meant we had to have the fridge unplugged and emptied, and the ice-box part of it defrosted and cleared of water from the melted ice, before they came to fetch the fridge and drop off the fridge-freezer. We tried to make sure there wasn't going to be much in the fridge to leave out, but there were some things left, which we had to leave out on the counter for most of that day. Luckily, the weather co-operated, and it turned out to be one of the cooler days. Something we were glad of with the need to have things like milk and cheese out on the counter, and the delivery guys were glad of with the need to carry a fridge-freezer up three flights of stairs.

We also have a new tumble dryer.

Well, I say "new" but we haven't had one in years, so I suppose I should just say that we also now have a tumble dryer.

Either way...

Not having a dryer was fine when we had a washing line to use on dry days, so only had to use the airer if we needed to get things washed and dried when the weather was too wet. But we don't have a washing line here, which means using the airer all the time; not a big deal for smaller items, but larger items take absolutely ages to dry on the airer, because you can't spread them out properly like you can on a washing line. Not to mention, always having the airer set up with a constant rotation of laundry isn't practical with a blind person in the house... Airers hurt when you walk in to them... In case you didn't know.

So, we decided we needed a tumble dryer, and now we have one.

It came last week, and is so far working well. Plus, we're all caught up properly on laundry again, which is nice, and the airer's put away so I won't walk in to it, which is even nicer.


You may remember me mentioning that we had a bit of a leaky roof?

Well, apparently, the reason the roof was leaking was something to do with the fact there's a skylight in the attic, and water is coming through near it. I'm not 100% certain on details, but it's something to do with damage to the area around the window allowing water to get in.

We didn't know about it, because we didn't even know there was a window up there. Heck, I didn't even know there was an attic (nor that it's full of boxes someone left up there at some point in the past).

Anyway, they needed a dry day to sort it out, which they got a couple of weeks ago (on the last Friday of August).

Hopefully, that will be the end of the leaky roof... At least for the foreseeable future.

We've not noticed any more leaking from it so far, and it's rained several times since they sorted it, which is a good sign. So... Fingers crossed!


I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'd knitted a couple of cushion covers. Well, here they are:

I also mentioned having finnished the first of the two blankets I was making. So, here's a photo of that too:

The photo is of the top half of the blanket. The colourful stripes continue to the bottom of the blanket, but we didn't see the point of taking another photo just to show you that this is the case.

I've now got the wool for the other blanket, so I've made a start on knitting that. It's coming along nicely, despite having been started twice, since I dropped my knitting and dropped so many stitches in the process of picking it up that I could tell at once it would be easier to start over than it would to try and pick up all the dropped stitches.

I also got some more toy stuffing, since I ran out. I like making knitted toys, so I thought I'd make some more after I finnish the blanket. I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but I like making them, and it gives me something to do with my hands. I'll probably give them as gifts; that's what I usually end up doing with them.


The purple thermal cup I got a couple of months ago turned out not to be very good, and quickly started leaking. So, I started looking for a new one.

I had this one recommended to me by Rita, after I asked her about the one that's a regular feature on her blog. So I ordered one.

It's not purple, but red is the next best thing in my opinion.

It arrived a little over a week ago...

I've tried it out a couple of times, but not used it much yet. It so far seems to be a really good cup though.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Furkid Friday: a sneak peek of a story

Hello humans, rodent types, and anyone else who's out there. This is Jenks the degu.

The Mummy human is working on finnishing a book that's about a couple of degus. It's not about us though, which I was a bit disappointed about at first. But then I found out my degu brothers and I were the inspiration for the story, so I guess that makes up for it... At least a little.

Anyway, the Mummy human and I talked about it, and we agreed to let you see a small piece of the story.

Here it is:

Oscar jerked backwards, almost falling over as he pulled away from the door in shock.

It wasn’t supposed to move.

It was supposed to be locked firmly, so that no amount of throwing yourself against it would open it.

Oscar knew that all too well; he’d tried.

Cautiously, he reached out with a paw and gave the door a nudge.

Sure enough, he felt it move again.

Sitting back on his haunches, Oscar stared in amazement at the now slightly open cage door.

“Hey, Romeo,” he called after a while.

But Romeo ignored him, and when Oscar looked behind himself for his brother, he found him busily searching through the contents of their food bowls, while muttering to himself about finding more peanuts.

For a moment, Oscar considered going over to his brother to get his attention, but then he decided against it.

It would take some effort to get Romeo’s mind off food, and there might never be another chance like this one.

What if, while Oscar was trying to convince Romeo to go exploring with him, one of the human caretakers noticed the cage door wasn’t closed properly?

They’d close it for sure, and Oscar would lose his chance.

No. He wasn’t going to risk that.

So, taking a deep breath, Oscar pushed more firmly against the cage door, which swung open easily.

If you want to read more, you'll have to wait for the book to be on sale. I hope you enjoyed your sneak peek though. If you have any comments to make on the story snippet, feel free to post them.

Oh, yeah... The Mummy human told me to tell you that, though there shouldn't be any drastic changes, potential tweaks during the final edit may result in the above scene looking slightly different in the final version of the book. It probably won't, but she wanted me to tell you there's a possibility of it... Just in case. So, please don't get annoyed with her - or me - if that happens.

Anyway, if you want to read more degu stories while you wait for this one to be available, and haven't already done so, you should check out the "Degu Days Duo" books. These ones are actually about me and my brothers, and are available as ebooks in multiple formats, accessable regardless of your eReader of choice, from Smashwords and a few other eBook retailers, as well as being available as paperbacks from CreateSpace and Amazon.

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - September 9th 2015

I've got several links to share with you this week, but this post contains the best writing advice you'll ever get... I'm still going to share the other articles though. Like this one that explains how there are benifits to being able to write blind. Well, if that's the case, that's one positive thing about no longer being able to see, I guess.

So... Do you write too? Are you an alchemist of words? If so, you might agree with these 13 reasons why being a writer feels like something from Harry Potter, as well as this quote about how sometimes the less a writer knows about his story the better, and will definitely be familiar with the struggles of keeping the writer's fear in check. Although, for those times when you can't keep it in check, and it causes writers block, here are some things to do when you're suffering from writer's block.

There are many reasons why writers write, here are 6 of them. Also, I'm curious to know, which of these 15 compelling reasons to be a writer motivates you? I write because I feel I have to, and because I love to write, though I also hope to entertain people. The flexible lifestyle helps with my very unpredictible sleeping pattern too. How about you?

Regardless of your motivation for writing, you need to figure out your own writing process. Once you've done that, here are 10 common writing errors that make you look like a newbie, 10 ways to keep readers hooked, and some tips on avoiding the writers' up-front info dump, to help you out. Also, don't forget to use your senses in your writing.

They mention research in one of the articles linked to in the above paragraph... Research can be fun, but it can also be a lot of work sometimes. If you're not sure where to start when it comes to research, here are 8 ways you can research your novel and characters to get you started.

Those who write stories - be they short stories or full length novels - may be interested in these tips for understanding the minor character's role, and how to write sound, as well as this post about why every story needs its own pit of snakes. You may also find these practical tips on writing a book, from 23 brilliant authors worth reading; bear in mind that some may work for you, and others may not though... These are just what worked for the authors in question.

Or, if it's poetry you write, here's how to make a living as a poet. Although, in all honesty, the lessons could apply to writers of most types of writing, and some are good lessons to live by in general, I think.

Regardless of whether you write stories or poems... If, like me, you self-publish, bear in mind that when it comes to our books, we are the gatekeepers; if we don't do all we can to make our book the best it can be, and help others to do the same, nobody will. So, be honest... Both with yourself, and with others. I always try to be... It's why I never give anything the full five stars if its poorly edited; no matter how fantastic the story was otherwise.

Finally... No matter what... Keep on writing!

Monday, September 07, 2015

Spell it out for Summer reading challenge (LBE)

I normally do posts about the reading challenges I participate in as part of my Monday posts, but since this one is so long, I thought I'd post it on its own. Anyway...

The reading challenge for July and August on one of the groups I'm a member of over on Goodreads was to pick a word - or a couple of words - from a list of words to do with Summer, and read books to spell out the words.

I picked "sand castle" to do at first, but quickly added more words; partially just because I could, and partially because I was reading books that worked for the letters, so figured I might as well. In the end I ended up just trying to do as many of the words as I could.

Bearing in mind, I also had a personal Summer reading goal of attempting to make a dent in my to-read list by reading as many as I could of the books that have been sat on my Kindle for a while, since some of the eBooks I have are ones I got when I first got my original Kindle a couple of years ago. I figured, since a lot of those are shorter books, I could increase my chances at getting the letters for all the words, while also managing to read a large number of the books I've had copies of for anything up to two and a half years. Not all were books I've had for a while though. Some were newer ones by authors of the books I've had copies of for ages, others were just newer books in general. But a large chunk of the books I used for this challenge are ones I've at least had on my to-read list for several months - longer in many cases. A large number of them are really short books too, though not all; some are quite long, like "American Gods" which is a little over 600 pages.

Anyway, here are the words, and the books I read to spell them out:

Sand castle:
S ~ The Secret Of The Old clock (Nancy Drew, #1) by Carolyn Keene
A ~ A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
N ~ Never Ending Bad Day (Lady Jenniviere's Quill, #4) by Lady Jenniviere
D ~ Dog On The Highway (Ant and Cleo, #5) by Dominic Green

C ~ Claudia And The New Girl (The Baby-Sitters Club, #12) by Ann M. Martin
A ~ American Gods (American Gods, #1) by Neil Gaiman
S ~ The Shiny House by Trevor Mountney
T ~ The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew, #2) by Carolyn Keene
L ~ Long Ago And Far Away by Rosemary J. Peel
E ~ Evolution (E, #2) by Kate Wrath

F ~ Flat Cats by Rosemary J. Peel
I ~ The Invasion of the Pumpkin People by Steven Tuttle
R ~ Rangeela Finds a Home -Story 1 in the Rangeela Tales Series by Gita V. Reddy
E ~ Eden (E, #3) by Kate Wrath
W ~ Wolfie Goes to Town by Lucas Hosby
O ~ The Old Mansion by Walter Lazo
R ~ Rangeela Flies Away -Story 2 in the Rangeela Tales Series by Gita V. Reddy
K ~ Kristy And The Snobs (The Baby-Sitters Club, #11) by Ann M. Martin
S ~ Santa's Silliness Syndrome by Jackie Small

S ~ The Silver Shawl (Mrs. Meade Mysteries #1) by Elisabeth Grace Foley
U ~ Uh-oh... We turned our brother into a Zombie? by K.B. Miller
N ~ Norbert (Norbert the Horse, #1) by James Sutherland

O ~ Oh Henry! by Harold Wilson
C ~ The Cry Bear by Rosemary J. Peel
E ~ Emily Of new Moon (Emily Of New Moon, #1) by L. M. Montgomery
A ~ Anansi Boys (American Gods, #2) by Neil Gaiman
N ~ Norbert's Summer Holiday (Norbert the Horse, #2) by James Sutherland

B ~ The Blackbird That Couldn't Sing by Rosemary J. Peel
E ~ Emily Climbs (Emily Of New Moon, #2) by L. M. Montgomery
A ~ Alfie Goes To Uni by Rosemary J. Peel
C ~ The Competition by Rosemary J. Peel
H ~ Holiday Blues by Rosemary J. Peel

S ~ The Special Fairy by Jackie Small
U ~ Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit by Joel Chandler Harris
R ~ The Reaper by Rich Feitelberg
F ~ Fluff Gang Tales by Rosemary J. Peel

S ~ The Shy Toad by Jackie Small
A ~ The Adventures of Tamisin by Madeline Reynolds
N ~ Norbert to the Rescue! (Norbert the Horse, #4) by James Sutherland
D ~ The Dark Shadow of Spring (The Young Sorcerers Guild, #1) by G.L. Breedon

P ~ Paradise Park by Iris Gower
I ~ Ice Gods by Helen Scott Taylor
C ~ Costumes (Lady Jenniviere's Quill, #6) by Lady Jenniviere
N ~ Noble Sacrifice (Pathfinder Tales) by Richard Ford
I ~ The Island (The Island, #1) by Jen Minkman
C ~ Cosmic Camel by Emma Laybourn

B ~ Bongo Goes To School by Lucas Hosby
B ~ The Bird Who Wanted To Nest In The Clouds by Jackie Small
Q ~ Emily's Quest (Emily Of New Moon, #3) by L. M. Montgomery

G ~ Get Well Before It Gets You: Learning the importance of community (Lady Jenniviere's Quill, #7) by Lady Jenniviere
R ~ Rangeela and the Bully -Story 3 in the Rangeela Tales Series by Gita V. Reddy
I ~ Igglepop by Shaun Allan
L ~ The Last Fight of the Dwarves by Walter Lazo
L ~ The Lost Pathfinder (Pathfinder Tales) by Dave Gross

L ~ The Legend of ELPanda Paws by M. C. Arvanitis
E ~ Earth Giant by Rosemary J. Peel
M ~ The Magic Colouring Book by Jackie Small
O ~ One Thousand Lollipops by Emma Laybourn
N ~ Norbert's Spooky Night (Norbert the Horse, #5) by James Sutherland
A ~ And What Do You Want For Christmas? by Rosemary J. Peel
D ~ Dralin (Dralin #1) by John H. Carroll
E ~ The Elephant's First Day of School by Jackie Small

Iced tea:
I ~ I Can't See You by Emma Laybourn
C ~ Christmas with Norbert (Norbert the Horse, #3) by James Sutherland
E ~ Ebudae (Dralin #2) by John H. Carroll
D ~ The Deep (The Island #3) by Jen Minkman

T ~ They're Not Real, Grandma by Rosemary J. Peel
E ~ Eye of Dominion (Labyrinth of Labyrinths, #2) by David M. Staniforth
A ~ A Squirrel Called Cyril by Rosemary J. Peel

S ~ The Slow Tortoise by Jackie Small
M ~ The Magnificent Rainbow by Jackie Small
O ~ Of Mice and Mobiles by Shaun Allan
R ~ Rangeela Says No to Adventure -Story 4 in the Rangeela Tales Series by Gita V.Reddy
E ~ The Emo Bunny That Should by John H. Carroll
S ~ Summer's Cauldron (Young Sorcerers Guild, #2) by G.L. Breedon

P ~ The Perfectinians: A New World. A New Species by Jackie Small
O ~ Once There Were Lions by Roger Hurn
O ~ The Old Man & The Monkey by George Polley
L ~ Little Foxes by Michael Morpurgo

Flip flops:
F ~ The Fluff Gang And The New Neighbour by Rosemary J. Peel
L ~ Lord of Penance (Pathfinder Tales) by Richard Lee Byers
I ~ It's just a job by Walter Lazo
P ~ Pretty As A Picture by Rosemary J Peel

F ~ The Forgotten Toy Soldier by Liz Armond
L ~ The Leaf Pendant by C. Hollis Gunter
O ~ The Old Lady by Sean Sullivan
P ~ PC Mouse by Rosemary J. Peel
S ~ Southern Fried Wiccan by S.P. Sipal

B ~ Bianca by Rosemary J. Peel
O ~ Of Ants and Dinosaurs by Liu Cixin
A ~ A Prickly Problem by Rosemary J. Peel
R ~ Rojuun (Willden #1) by John H. Carroll
D ~ The Dream Catcher (Journey into the Realm, #4) by Markelle Grabo
W ~ The Wizard of Time (Wizard of Time, #1) by G.L. Breedon
A ~ Anilyia (Willden #2) by John H. Carroll
L ~ The Library: The Complete Series by Amy Cross
K ~ Kethril (Willden #3) by John H. Carroll

If you're wondering... Yes, those were all the words on the list. Plus, I did make a nice dent in my "to-read" pile. So, all in all, a pretty good couple of months work there, if I do say so myself.

It looks like so many books when you see them all listed like this... Hmmm... I really do read a lot, don't I?

Well, I have to... How else will I have any chance of reading all the books on my "to-read" list?

Besides, I make other authors happy when I buy and read their books, which has to be a good thing, right?

Sunday, September 06, 2015

My thoughts on unpublished eBooks (R/WP)

Recently, I went to go and leave a review for an eBook I’d read, only to discover the author had unpublished it. In fact, the author had unpublished every eBook he had previously published.

This isn’t the first time this has happened; I’ve seen several authors who have simply unpublished their books and gone on their merry way.


I can understand changing publishers or a change of the retailers that carry your books, or authors who have been using more than one pen name combining their work under one pen name, and I can understand when paperback and hardback books go out of print. Though the going out of print and changing the retailers you distribute through is a bit frustrating; I can understand it though, even though it can sometimes be a pain, since changing retailers can sometimes make it more difficult for people to buy your books. For example, if I was buying your books on Smashwords, but now you only have them on Amazon, I can still get them, because I do have a Kindle, but I lose the ability to have them in other formats, and those who don't have a Kindle - and don't want to have to grab the Kindle ap, which not everyone does want to do, by the way - can't get your books any more. I don't think I need to explain why discovering a book is out of print is frustrating in general.

But, anyway, I don’t understand why an eBook should no longer be available at all. Especially since, I know from asking a few of these authors directly, that the most common reason for removing them is that they weren’t selling enough copies for their liking.

Maybe they weren’t. But, here’s the thing... They’re certainly not going to sell copies if you keep unpublishing any that don’t sell x amount of copies in y amount of time (where x is the number you think should get sold, and y is the amount of time you’ve allowed for this to happen).

Like I said, I can generally understand it with print books, because they require physical shelf space to store the copies, so it’s understandable if you don’t want to be storing loads of copies of books that aren’t selling. Though books published using print on demand services – like I use – don’t have this issue, and it is a little annoying when you hear about a great book only to find it's no longer in print.

But eBooks take up no physical space - just a bit of virtual space on the server of the publishing platform, and on the Kindle or other eReader the person trying to read your book is using - so why not leave them there in the hopes you’ll sell more copies in the future? Especially since you have the option on eBook publishing platforms to upload updated versions, so if your issue is that you want to upload a better cover, or you feel you can improve the story, you just need to create the improved version of the cover or interior files, and then upload them. Simple!

That way, people like me who brought your eBook, and wanted to be able to tell you – and my friends – that I enjoyed it, can still do so. I mean, if I’d been able to post that review, someone might have stumbled across the book, seen my review, decided if I enjoyed it they might too, and brought it. But now that it’s been unpublished, that can’t happen. This means, you may have just lost a potential sale of your book. The same thing applies for books people have heard about and made a note that they want to get, but by the time they are able to, you've gone and unpublished the book in question; sort of like how it is when paperback and hardback books go out of print.

Or, perhaps the author got a bad review and didn’t like it? If so... Well... For one thing, if you can’t take a bad review or two, you shouldn’t be publishing your book in the first place, because sooner or later, a bad review will come your way. For another thing, even some of the most popular authors out there got bad reviews from time to time. JRR Tolkien and J K Rowling, for example, have had their share of bad reviews on the Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter books, and look how popular they are. So, if your issue was that you got a bad review or two... Put your big boy pants on, and suck it up. Bad reviews happen, so just see if you can learn anything from them for future writing projects (especially if you get a couple of reviews complaining about the same issue) and maybe buy yourself something nice to make yourself feel better, then move on.

Harsh? Perhaps. But this whole publishing your books thing is a harsh business. You'll never please everyone - no matter how amazing your book is - so if you're going to let it out in to the big wide world in the first place, you need to be prepared for the possibility that, sooner or later, someone is going to give it a bad review.

Also, if you're going to let it out in to the big wide world in the first place, why change your mind later, just because it's not selling x amount of copies in y amount of time? It just doesn't make sense, and it's frustrating for people who either brought your book and wanted to tell others about it, or heard about your book and wanted to grab a copy of it, which they now can't do.

OK, rant over.

I'm sorry if anyone isn't happy by my posting this, but it's been bugging me, and I wanted to get it off my chest.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Furkid Friday - September 4th 2015 (FD)

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

This is Joshua the degu.

My ratty sisters, Skye and Star, had one of those birthday things on Monday. It was their first ever birthday.

My degu brothers and I have already had two of them, and seen other furry siblings having them too, so we've figured out that "birthday" means extra nibbles, and sometimes a new toy as well. We're not sure why these birthday things happen exactly... We haven't been able to figure that part out... But we like that whoever is having one gets spoiled, and the rest of us get an extra nibble as well; which the humans say is just so we don't feel left out.

Not just any nibbles, but things we're only allowed from time to time... "Treats" as the humans call them.

It's almost as good as when that Santa Paws guy visits, except the presents come from our human caretakers when it's birthday time.

I hope someone has another one of those birthday things soon, and that peanuts are involved...

Squeak soon,

Thursday, September 03, 2015

1, 2, happy birthday to you

August 23rd was the birthday of Kelly's cousin, Holly.

Today (September 3rd) is the 10th birthday of my Grandma's Yorkshire Terrier, Jayde Bramblerose.

Plus, Saturday (September 5th) will be my Father-In-Law's birthday.


Happy birthday, Holly, Jayde, and Dad!

Also... If I missed your birthday recently, then happy birthday to you too.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Wednesdays writing related ramblings - Poem: The Rhyme That Slipped Away

The Rhyme That Slipped Away

Some time during the night (though I don’t know what time)
I lay awake, and in my head, appeared a perfect rhyme.
I had no way to write it down, and so I went to sleep,
Thinking morning would come soon, and the rhyme would surely keep.

But when I awoke next morning, I realized with dismay,
That while I slept, the rhyme, had simply slipped away.

I tried hard to remember it, and then I tried some more;
In fact, I tried so much, my head became quite sore.
But nothing worked, the rhyme was gone, to I do not know where,
And though I searched and searched my mind, it just wasn’t there.

So, let that be a lesson, both to you and to me:
Write down your ideas, while you know they’re in your memory.

© 2015 ~ Victoria Zigler

The above is one of the poems I wrote recently; in case my name at the bottom of it isn't enough to tell you that. I hope you enjoyed it.

This poem will probably be included in the next poetry collection I put together... Whenever that happens (which will be when I have enough poems to make putting one together worthwhile, though I'm not sure when that will be exactly).

If you'd like to read more of my poetry in the meantime, and haven't already done so, check out the poetry collections I've already published. There are six of them to date, and they are available as ebooks in multiple formats, accessable regardless of your eReader of choice, from Smashwords and a few other eBook retailers, as well as being available as paperbacks from CreateSpace and Amazon.