Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween 2015

Ghosts, Zombies, Witches, And More

Ghastly ghosts and alien creatures,
Zombies and ghouls with rotting features;
Oh, what a dreadful sight!
Vicious werewolves and vampire bats,
Wicked witches with their black cats;
They'll all be out tonight.

Yes, ghosts, zombies, witches, and more,
May soon come a knocking at your door,
Shouting, “Trick-or-treat!”
But don’t you worry; it’s OK!
Each of them will soon go away,
If you give them something sweet.

© 2015

Just a little poem I wrote recently, which I thought I'd share with you today... Enjoy!

Oh, and... Happy Halloween!

Or, to any Pagan friends, family, fans, or followers... Blessed Samhain!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Furkid Friday: Halloween edition (FD)

Hi humans, rodents, and anyone else reading this. This is Joshua the degu.

I heard that Halloween is happening tomorrow.

I'm not really sure what it's all about, but I know the human caretakers do things involving eating sweet things, and attacking then eating pumpkins. Plus they talk about something called trick-or-treaters, and often watch or read scary things.

I know this because I saw it last year, and also the year before. Plus, the Kero dog told me it happens every year about this time... When he was still around, I mean.

My degu brothers and I have tried to figure it all out, so have our gerbil brothers, as well as our ratty sisters. But none of us can figure it out. Mind you, our ratty sisters wouldn't remember last year, since they weren't living with us yet, and were too little to pay attention to what the humans where they did live were up to. But they're quite smart, which is why we included them.

All we could figure out was what I already mentioned though.

Oh, and the fact the humans go around saying "Happy Halloween" for some reason.

We figure maybe we should say it too. So... Happy Halloween from the whole rodent gang.

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - October 28th 2015

Are you a writer? Not sure? Well, here are 11 signs you're a writer. I admit I don't carry a notebook and pen around anymore, or collect notebooks. But it's only because they're no good to me now I can't see... I've been searching for a good replacement since I lost my sight. I have, however, been making use of the notes feature on my iPhone since I got it... Despite my typing on that being much slower than on a keyboard. I mean, sometimes the computer is too far away, or you don't want to start it up just to jot down a short note... I'm sure any writers reading this will understand...

Anyway, if you are awriter, especially if the stories you write are aimed at children, you may be interested in this guest post on making sure your ending works.


Do you plan to make an author appearance in the hopes of selling some books? Or, perhaps, you plan to set up a stall at a convention of some kind, craft show, or other event? If any of those apply to you, check out these tips for setting out your stall.

Speaking of getting noticed...

If you're an author who uses Twitter, here are the best hashtags for indie authors, which will hopefully help you to get your Tweets noticed better.


I know I've asked before, but... Will you be participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

If you are, it's time to make sure you're prepared, since there are only a few more days to go until the start of November. So, figure out your checklist of everything you'll need, and make sure it's all ready to go.

This applies whether you're officially signing up to participate, joining in but not officially signing up, or just making up your own writing challenge - or challenges - for the month.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A-Z with me, part 4: V-Z (FD)

If you missed the other posts in this series, go here for A-G, go here for H-N, and go here for O-U.


V is for vegetables.

I'm a vegetarian, so these make up the bulk of what I eat.

I know some people who think vegetables are boring, but they really aren't! It's surprising just how many different things you can do with vegetables, and if you add some herbs to the meals, you can do even more. Even something as simple as a soup or a veggie bake can be made new and exciting just by slightly changing a few ingredients, and that's half the fun of cooking anyway, so it's a great result all round.

Some of my favourite veggies include sprouts, runner beans, parsnips, and carrots... Among others.

I'm always open to hearing about new vegetarian friendly recipes, so if you have any, feel free to share!


W is for writing.

We can't have a post about things important to me without including that, after all, can we?

In case you don't know, I've loved to write since I learned how, though I admit it was only when I started publishing my books in 2012 that I started making more than a passing mention of my writing on my blog. More than three years later, however, and I've got a few hundred writing themed posts, and have published more than 40 books. Plus, I have plenty more ideas to keep me writing for years yet!

My books are a long way from making me rich and famous, but I enjoy writing them, and those people who read them seem to enjoy doing so, which is what really matters.

Also, even I can see that there's some improvement in my writing from my first book. In fact, even my blog posts are looking better. At least, i think they are... They're certainly better edited, anyway, LOL!


X is for xylophone.

Well, not xylophones themselves, but the word. I like weird sounding words, like xylophone, platypus, and other funny sounding words like those. I don't know why, but they amuse me.


Y is for yoga and meditation.

I've never been to yoga class, but I've taught myself some of the more basic poses, though I don't really do them these days, since my body won't co-operate with me. However, I still use the breathing exercises a lot.

For one thing, I meditate regularly; usually using incense or scented candles - most often incense - to help with the initial relaxation process, though sometimes without them.

For another thing, I've learned that the yoga breathing exercises are very helpful when my asthma is causing problems (which mostly only happens during the times when I have a chest infection, or if I get overly stressed or excited). Focussing on your breathing is extremely helpful in preventing asthma attacks. Or, at least, calming them down slightly. Although, I dare say the technique may not be quite as effective for those with more severe asthma issues than my own. In fact, I'd be surprised if it was. Also, please don't think I'm suggesting it as a substitute for an inhaler; I'm not. I'm just saying it can help... At least a little.


Z is for Zodiacs and astrology.

This is an interest of mine I don't indulge in very often, but I do find it fascinating to see how close horoscopes came to predicting things accurately. Perhaps because I have an interest in doing so with divination in general? I know many frown on such things, but I find them fascinating. They aren't always correct, since they can't always be, due to the fact our futures change with every action we take. But I like to see how close they come to being correct, and find it interesting to compare what a person is like to what their sign profile says they should be like.

If you're interested, I'm a Scorpio.


I hope you enjoyed this series of posts. If you want to know more about anything I've mentioned in them, feel free to ask. I'll answer any questions I can; as long as I know the answers, or don't have a good reason to refuse to answer.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Donna Maguire

The following is from Donna herself:

"I just started writing and self-publishing children’s books in March and the first became available on Amazon in July of 2015. It may seem a bit odd that I now have four books. The reason is simple. I wrote and produced initially without plans for publishing. It was a combination of therapy and something to share with my grand babies. It wasn’t until I met an author who looked at my books and encouraged me to publish them as well.

Here’s a little of my story.

After a personal loss I moved to Nevada to help care for my grand babies. It turns out that they helped care for me. The reason is simple. I believe in reading to children often and from an early age. This helps nurture a joy of reading, and from a selfish perspective, I love to watch their reactions as the characters from the story come to life. Something happened as a result. My grand babies ended up helping to care for me as my passion, creativity and imagination came to life. It seemed only natural to funnel this new found passion into something I always wanted to do - writing children’s books.

I had several goals for the books, including: (1) promoting literacy by helping to nurture a joy of reading through fun, humorous story telling, (2) providing a message of love and friendship, not just for others but for the children reading the books as well, and (3) igniting the young readers’ natural curiosity for the world, the environment and the creatures that inhabit it.

My Basset Hound, Silly Willy Winston, is the perfect muse and unlikely hero for the books. He has the biggest ears ever, a stout frame, huge paws and a super large snout. He trips over his ears and paws often, which makes him a bit of a clown. Rather than bothering him he views people’s laughter as an invitation to make friends. If you ask me he is a perfect example of self-acceptance and empowerment. My Basset Hound’s traits and the way he accepts and uses them to his advantage also make him an ideal character to help children understand, face and protect themselves against bullying. They can be used to ask if a child feels that they feel different like Silly Willy Winston, what makes them different, how they feel about it  and what special powers or unique gifts they gain from their differences. Whether or not they feel different. Parents and loved ones might want to ask if there is any one they know that is different, why and what unique qualities those children have. Both of these open up the conversation that some children can pick on other children that are different. From there parents and loved ones are able to do what they do, be the good parents and caregivers they are and prepare children to protect themselves, and others, against bullying through awareness, confidence, calm and respect.

Each book contains natural mysteries, rare animals and little known facts to stimulate curiosity and inspire a love of learning along the way. My hope is that young readers have so much fun with the stories that the messages blend seamlessly with the humor."

Website & Social Media Links:

Links to Purchase Books:
Paperbacks from Website:
Paperbacks & Kindle Editions on Amazon:
iBook - Silly Willy Winston in the Adventures of Inspector Snout. The case of the missing tadpole.:
iBook - The Adventures of Silly Willy Winston as Explorer Snout in a Tale of Two Deserts.:

Friday, October 23, 2015

Furkid Friday - October 23rd 2015

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

This is Jasper the degu.

We've really had lots of human visitors lately!

First we had the furry Carl human bring his Tory human for a visit, as well as this other human that our humans were calling "Dad" for some reason. That was a fun weekend, despite us being a bit confused by the two types of humans with similar sounding names.

Then, a couple of weeks later, this other human came to visit. This one was a Kevin human, and he brought a dog named Trigger with him.

The Kevin human gave my ratty sister, Star, and my degu brother, Jacob, cuddles. Then he talked and talked with the Mummy human, while the Daddy human tried to convince the Trigger dog that there was no way he was going to get to play with us; no matter what he found to use as a trade item.

Mostly we degus just pretended the Trigger dog didn't exist. Our ratty sisters were more curious about him though, since they've not met dogs before and wondered what he was. Our gerbil brothers thought he was much too big and scary, so their cage got moved out in to the kitchen so they could have some piece and quiet.

Anyway... It's certainly been an eventful few weeks!

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - October 21st 2015

Zombies are coming; it's a gathering of hordes!
But I am quite certain you won't need your swords,
Instead of "brains" they're all yelling " cheers!"
And each is loaded down with spirits and beers.
This is different; this is something new...
It seems they plan to celebrate with you!
Every single zombie came all this way,
Just to wish you a very happy birthday!
But be warned: when this day is done,
They'll be back to normal; each and every one!

I sent that to my brother this past Friday to wish him a happy birthday. I thought it would be more fun than just, "happy birthday," or something like that. Not that there's anything wrong with just saying that, but... Well, I was feeling creative, and my brother is a huge zombie fan, has a big enough sword collection to arm quite a large party of survivors in the event of a zombie attack, and usually includes at least one alcaholic drink in his celebrations for most things. So, when tailoring the birthday greeting to his tastes, that's what I came up with.

His response was, "Ahhh... My poor tasty brains!"


Speaking of Zombies... Not to mention other ghastly creatures often associated with holidays like Halloween...

Writer's Treasure Chest are holding their first Halloween poem contest right now.

If you write poetry, you may want to check it out, and maybe enter a poem of your own.


Last week I posted about CreateSpace expanding their distribution. This week it's Smashwords.

I was informed at the end of last week that Smashwords announced a distribution expansion - click on the link for full details.


Feeling frustrated with your writing? Maybe you're about to throw what's known as a creative strop? I wouldn't blame you for doing so... Artists of all kinds have them... In fact, here are 10 benifits of having a creative strop; in case you need a reason - or 10 - to justify it. I bet you feel better already, don't you?

OK, now you're feeling better...

Are you writing a stand-alone story? Or will your book be part of a series? If you haven't thought about it, here are some reasons to consider a series. A series won't work for all books; sometimes there's just no more story to tell. But it's something to consider, if it will work for your book, and if you feel it's the right option for you.

Oh, is your book finnished? Well, if so, here's a 3-step formula for writing blurbs, to help you write a blurb that will increase the chances that people who stumble across your book will be eager to pick it up.

Monday, October 19, 2015

A-Z with me, part 3: O-U (LBE)

If you missed the first to, go here for A-G, and go here for H-N.


O is for outings.

I don't go on many outings, really, but I enjoy the ones I do go on. Perhaps I even enjoy them more for the fact they don't happen constantly?

When I say "outings" here, I'm not including trips to the local store.

We go out for breakfast when we can, and about once a month we go in to town to some of the places that sell things we can't get locally. But, other than that, we don't go out much.

I had a full day out at the end of September though.

Actually, I had a busy weekend in general, since my brother, Carl, Carl's girlfriend, Tory, my Dad, Dad's girlfriend, Cath, and my Nan (Dad's Mother) all came for a visit that weekend.

We got lucky with the weather. It had been really bad, but was quite nice that weekend; a little chillier than some would have liked, perhaps, but dry; perfect Autumn/Fall weather, I thought.


On the Friday evening, Carl and Tory helped us to start getting my iPhone all set up while we waited for the others to arrive, and then we all went and ate take-out down on the beach by moonlight. After that, they all went to the caravan they were staying at - since our second bedroom is a computer room, and couldn't sleep five adults even if it was set up as a guest room - and we came home.

On the Saturday we met up for breakfast at the cafe we took them to for breakfast when they visited last year, which they seem to like as much as we do. Then we all went to the aquarium - where we found Nemo - and had a bit of a walk around town (I have some photos, but I'll share those in another post, in a couple of weeks time, since this post will be long enough without them). I was getting really tired before they were done looking around town, and my leg was hurting, so - since Kelly and I go there regularly, which meant exploring town was more interesting to them - Kelly and I went home, ordered and ate dinner, and then took a nap.

On the Sunday we were all meant to go to Battle, but where the weather had been so wet, Kelly and I weren't eager to go. We can go quite easily any time, to be honest, which is why we were willing to let the poor conditions stop us from going. The others can't visit it so easily though, so decided to go anyway. They went there in the daytime, then most of them came to see us in the evening; Nan and Cath didn't, because they were exhausted from their day out. This is also when we said "goodbye" to Carl and Tory, since they had planned to go straight to the station on the Monday morning, since it was easier than them coming to us for just the few moments needed to say our goodbyes.

On the Monday we didn't see much of the three still in the area. They just came to say "goodbye" and for Dad to grab some stuff we were giving him; nothing special, really... Just some stuff we thought he'd like that we no longer wanted.

It was an exhausting weekend for me, but a good one!

I also had lunch out at a cafe near where we live this past Saturday (October 17th). It was with Kelly and Kevin. Kevin is a fellow blind author, who came for a visit for the afternoon, bringing his guide dog, Trigger, with him, of course.


P is for people.

The people in my life are all important to me; whether they're a small part of my life, or a large part of it. I don't always do a good job of keeping up with how everyone is doing, but my family and friends are always in my thoughts.

It was my brother's birthday on Friday (October 16th) and will be our niece's birthday in a little over a week (October 28th). So, belated happy birthday wishes to you, Carl, and happy early birthday wishes to you, Tamara!

Anyway... I appreciate every one of you; from my hubby, right down to those who only show up to read my posts from time to time, but never comment. Whether you be someone who once left me a review but never bothered with me afterwards, a follower I don't really know, someone I consider a good friend, or a family member, thank you for being you, and please remember that you matter.


Q is for quizzes.

As in, online quizzes.

I've eased off on this a bit recently, but I still love taking those online quizzes. I used to be addicted to them, and you can see many of the results of ones I took in the past on this very blog. These days I manage to control my addiction, and only take the odd online quiz. I don't know what it is about them... Most of them are for silly things... But they're very addictive, and I can't help myself sometimes.

My brother found an accessable quiz game for the iPhone, and I had him download it on to my iPhone while he was here. I haven't gotten as addicted to it as I was to the online quizzes though... At least, not yet!


R is for rats.

Spacifically my ratty girls, Skye and Star.

I'd wanted a pet rat for years and years, but Kelly always said "no" when I asked. Finally, almost a year ago, he gave in. Actually, he just came home one day announcing I could have rats. I didn't argue, or question his reasons at the time, though I found out later it was an attempt to cheer me up after we lost Kero a few months before.

Anyway, even Kelly admits that our girls are sweet little things, and very affectionate.


S is for scrabble.

I'm addicted to Scrabble!

It started because I wanted to get better at Scrabble so I could beat my brother, Carl, and grew in to an addiction. I have a Scrabble game on the computer, you see, and I have a nasty habit of playing it when I'm meant to be doing other things. Still, it has helped me with my spelling, and I did achieve my goal of managing to beat my brother at Scrabble, so it's not entirely a bad thing.


T is for TV shows.

My favourites being "The Big Bang Theory" and "CSI" among others. I'm also quite partial to cartoons... Call me a big kid for that one if you like. The other kinds of TV shows I really enjoy watching are nature shows, like the kinds you get on Discovery channel, or ones about animals, like the kind you get on Animal Planet.

I haven't been able to watch TV recently though, since there's a problem with the arial, and we haven't had a chance to do anything about getting it fixed. Besides, since we're in a place that allows it now, we're considering having more than just freeview again, so we can have more channels. We haven't decided for sure yet though.


U is for unanswered questions.

I'm always asking questions - sometimes just in my head, other times out loud - and seeking answers to them. I also enjoy solving riddles and brainteaser puzzles. Mostly though it's just finding the answers to random questions that happen to pop in to my head at any given time; which isn't as rare an occurance as you might think.

Anyway, this is a process made a lot easier with the internet being so easy to access... All the answers are out there somewhere; it just might take a bit to find them. It's fun looking though, and I love confusing the internet Gods with my random searches, so that they don't know what to recommend to me based on my browsing history.

Some of my random questions, and some of the random things I decided to look up, can be found among my old blog posts.


Come back next week for part 4, where I tell you about V-Z.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ellie Firestone

"Ellie Firestone lives in the beautiful rolling hills of the English Cotswolds, where she spends her days reading, swimming, and writing her stories.

She also visits her grandparents in Texas for weeks at a time, and it's here that she rides horses, goes fishing, swims, and writes even more stories.

She has several pets, including some fish that breed like rabbits, and a super-cute English Toy Terrier named Bonnie, whose hobbies include playing Fetch and eating various articles of clothing."

Ellie is a fellow children's author, whose Super Sporty stories I was recently introduced to; and which I enjoyed. Well, I've enjoyed the ones I've read so far from the series, anyway.

If you want to connect with Ellie, or find out more about her and her books, you can do so using any of the following links:

Amazon Author Page:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Furkid Friday - October 16th 2015 (FD)

Hellooo everyone!

This is Baggins the gerbil.

As you know by now, since the Mummy human has mentioned it a couple of times, and my ratty sister, Skye, also mentioned it a couple of weeks ago, we had some humans come to visit us. One we'd seen before, another we hadn't ever seen.

The one we'd seen before was that furry Carl human, who we boys have met a couple of times before, and my ratty sisters met for the first time a couple of months ago. The other was a female human who seemed to belong to him, that the humans called Tory.

The Tory human loved all of us even more than the Carl human seems to, and was eagerly handing out Cheerios.

My humans asked me to show her how I hold my Cheerio in both paws, and carefully nibble around the edge. But I got all shy, so I just took my Cheerio and ran off with it to eat it in peace. She didn't seem to mind though.

We rodents really like these humans; they're so friendly, and eager to hand out nibbles!

Squeak soon,

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Awards are us

At the end of September, Barb mentioned that she'd been given the Creative Blogger award. When I congratulated her on her shiny award via the Goodreads version of her post about it, she told me to grab it too. So, I did, and here it is:

Thanks, Barb! :)

The Creative Blogger Award rules are:

1. Display the Creative Blogger Award logo on your blog
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs and notify all nominees via their social media/blogs
3. Thank and post the link of the blog that nominated you (very important)
4. Pass these rules on to them

I've already shown you the award, and posted links to Barb's blog - including both versions of the link to the post mentioning the award. Plus, I already thanked her, both in this post, and where she posted that I should grab the award. So, I have those steps covered.

Now, all that's left is to give it to others.

I know several people who deserve an award, but I'm not sure who to give it to, since a lot of people I know don't do awards. So, I'm going to go with the same option as Barb did...

If you're reading this post, and have a blog, the award is for you... If you want it.

All i ask is that you link back to this post when you put the award and rules above on your own blog, so that everyone knows who gave it to you, and whoever you give it to knows what they need to do.


Speaking of awards...

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

1. Read 2 or more of this months Reading Addicts BOTM (books of the month).
2. Read 2000 pages.
3. Read a book with water in the title or on the cover.
4. Read a new series.
5. Read a book that has been self published.

I did number five, by reading "Wyvern" (Wyvern Trilogy, #1) by John H. Carroll, which was self-published. I also did number four, by reading "The Story Girl" and "The Golden Road" - the two books in "The Story Girl" series, by L.M. Montgomery.

What does this have to do with awards?

Well... This is the group where we get badges, so...

Here's my award for September:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - October 14th 2015

A couple of days ago, I was informed by CreateSpace - who I use to publish the paperback versions of my books - that they now distribute directly to Amazon Canada.

Canadians wishing to buy CreateSpace produced paperbacks via Amazon used to have to buy them via the US version of their site, but they can now buy from Canada's own version of Amazon.

This doesn't make any difference to most of my readers. However, I thought I'd make it known, for the benifit of any Canadians who may follow me, and have plans to buy my books at any point in the future.


Struggling to write right now? Just keep going... You'll finnish that book in the end, especially if you make yourself find the discipline to write.

There's always a lot of debating going on about whether or not you should outline. Personally, I don't outline. I know there's no point, since I won't stick to it. Besides, though I know the gist of where the story is heading, as well as who the main character is, I never know exactly what will happen in my stories until it happens. But, should you write an outline? Only you can decide!

Regardless of how you got it written... Are you on a budget, but in need of some publicity for your work? If so, here are 10 ways to promote your novel for free, which could work regardless of the type of writing you do, or the genre you write for. Bear in mind though that no tips are guaranteed, and what works for some people doesn't always work for others. Still, it doesn't hurt to try, does it?

Speaking of marketing.... Here are some tips for keeping your author marketing sanity, and some tips on how to make your blog book promos more effective.

Finally, always remember: If you put yourself in the public's eye - which, let's face it, is difficult not to do with the internet; especially if you publish your writing - you need to think carefully about what you say, and do. The thing is, there's always a question of perception, and sometimes what's considered amusing to some, wil actually be offensive to others. Just something to bear in mind.

Monday, October 12, 2015

A-Z with me, part 2: H-N (LBE)

If you missed part 1, go here.


H is for history.

I find certain parts of history fascinating, especially Egyptian and Stone Age history. I also really like the dinosaurs, my favourite being the Triceratops, and find a few other parts of history interesting too; the Tudor period, WWII, Victorian times, and the battle of Hastings, for example.

Mostly I learn about historical facts by looking things up when the inspiration to do so hits me. Though I do remember some of what I learned at school too.

You can actually find references to - and often also articles about - some of the things I've looked up among my old posts; not just the historical stuff, but things on other topics too. If you're interested, just look through my archives. It will take you a while to just generally read through, so you may want to do this by clicking on the appropriate label, which will greatly decrease the number of posts for you to read through. Or, you could use the search box, which is also on my sidebar, to do something similar. Although, if you feel like reading through all my old posts, then feel free to do so. I've done more than 2500 posts though (I'd have to go and check my dashboard for the exact number, which I can't be bothered to do). So, if you only have an interest in certain topics, I strongly advise using the labels or search box.


I is for iPhone.

I recently caught up with most of the rest of the world, and got an iPhone.

Well, OK, "most of the rest of the world" is a bit of an exageration, but I think you get the point.

Anyway, I dug my heels in when it came to getting one, but my brother, Carl, finally persuaded me. I was reluctant because of the fact touch-screen technology isn't all that easy when you can't see. But Carl insisted it was easier to use than the Kindle, and was willing to let me buy his iPhone off him for a reasonable price (since he just got an upgrade) as well as teach me the basics of how to use it, so I gave in. He brought it with him when he came to visit at the end of September, and got me all set up. So, now I just have to get the hang of using it.

I got in some practice with touch-screen technology when my keyboard broke a couple of weeks before, so that helped. Still, using the iPhone is a slow process, and requires me to be very patient. I think I'm getting the hang of it though. I also think Carl is right... The iPhone is easier to navigate than the Kindle.

Unfortunately, my brother showed me some accessable games for the iPhone... Great for options for things for me to do when I'm waiting for anyone when I'm out, but not so great for preventing me from getting distracted when I'm meant to be doing other things. There's a crossword one, and one where I'm a dragon, which I'm particularly enthusiastic about; I can't decide if this is a good thing or not.


J is for JAWS.

Which had to be included, because without it this post wouldn't even be possible, since JAWS - which stands for Java Access With Speach - is the software that makes it possible for me to use the computer and internet.

OK, fine, I admit it... I couldn't think of a better "J" word.

Anyway, I was first introduced to JAWS as a teenager, when Carl and I were given a computer for our homework which had JAWS on it. Carl continued to use JAWS from that point. Then, when I lost the last of my sight, Carl helped me to get JAWS for myself. It's an expensive bit of software, but it works well - most of the time, anyway.


K is for knitting.

I do a lot of knitting while my Kindle reads to me. I'm currently working on a blanket for my Grandma, which is coming along nicely, if I do say so myself.

I hope Grandma likes the colours, since they were ones I picked based on what she said to me when I first said I'd make her one. Well, it's not my fault if she's changed her mind about what colours she wanted. Mind you, she likes homemade things, so she'll probably love it even if she's changed her mind about the colours.

Anyway, my Nan (Dad's Mother) taught me to knit when I was about nine or ten years old, but at that point I only made blankets and scarves for Jo-Jo, using leftover wool from Nan's knitting projects. Since then I've made several blankets, scarves, wooly hats, and knitted gloves (I'm better at mittens than the kinds with fingers in them).

But my favourite thing to knit is soft toys. Partially because they come together reasonably quickly, and partially because I get to be more creative with them, since I tend to make up the patterns for some of them. Not all, because I do have braille knitting patterns for some cuddly animals. But most are based roughly on the patterns I have; especially one I have for an elephant, which I first adapted for a dog, with great results, if I do say so myself. I've never had complaints about my soft toys, but have had requests to make some for people after they saw others I've made, so I think it's safe to assume I'm right. To date, I've knitted a couple of different dogs, an elephant, a mouse, a horse, a unicorn, a dinosaur, a couple of planes, a soft ball, a set of soft shapes that were like knitted versions of the wooden blocks you can buy for toddlers to play with, a bear, and a couple of penguins. I think that's all... That's all I remember making, anyway.


L is for legends.

As in, myths and legends.

I really enjoy hearing the folklore, myths and legends of different places. It doesn't matter to me if they're about fairies and pixies, werewolves and vampires, or something else entirely. My favourite legend is that of the Loch Ness monster.

If, like me, you're interested in myths and legends, you may be interested in reading this post about shapeshifters in Irish mythology. You'll especially enjoy the post if you like to read the myths and legends surrounding werewolves.


M is for movies.

My favourite movies, which I've watched so many times I know them by heart, are "Practical Magic" and "The Craft" - despite the fact that the list of movies I really like is almost as long as my list of favourite books.

My favourite movies, like my favourite books, usually have a fantasy element to them, or are aimed at children. Although - again, like with my taste in books - I will watch most things at least once. I mean, how can I know if I like it or not if I don't give it a chance?


N is for nature.

I love all aspects of nature: plants and animals alike. I love living close enough to the ocean to hear it all the time, and used to love wandering the mountains and fields of Wales while growing up.

I can't pick one favourite part of nature over another; I can't even pick one favourite season over another, since they all have their good and bad points. But my favourite animals are cats of all kinds (especially lions), dogs, horses, and rodents, though the only kinds of animals I don't really like at all are spiders and insects. I'd even prefer to make friends with a snake than a spider!


Come back next week for part three, where I tell you about O-U.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Furkid Friday - October 9th 2015 (FD)

Hi humans, rodents, and anyone else.

This is Bilbo the gerbil.

I've got some photos of me and my gerbil brother, Baggins, to show you. They were taken about a month ago.

Here we are by our water bottle:

And here we are by our food bowl, enjoying our breakfast together:

We love nibbles - especially Cheerios, pumpkin seeds, cheese, and berries - so by our food bowl is where you'll often find us.

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - October 7th 2015

I've not managed to get much writing done in the past couple of weeks.

Although, I did go on an outing on the last Saturday of September that would technically count for research, since we went to the aquarium, and I'm currently working on writing "Zeena And The Mermaid" (the third "Zeena Dragon Fae" book) which is a story that will take place at least partially underwater; in the depths of the ocean, to be exact.

Perhaps some of the wonderful ocean creatures we saw at the aquarium will make it in to my story? Maybe the shark who swam above our heads when we walked through the tunnel that took us below the largest tank so it was like we were underwater? Or, perhaps, the sting ray who was attempting to climb out of its tank? We shall see!

Anyway, despite Halloween being at the end of it, this month was meant to be a quieter one when it comes to offline activities. So, my plan was to make the most of that to make up for it. However, it's looking like this month won't be quite as quiet as we first thought it would be, so we shall see exactly what happens, and exactly how much writing I actually get done.

Speaking of writing...

As a general rule, I would say that there's no one right way to write. However, I recently read a post on the right way to write that will both prove and disprove my comment. Read it yourself, and you'll understand what I mean.

Also, it's nearly NaNoWriMo time again. Will you be participating? If so, will you be signing up? Or, will you set a smaller goal for yourself, as I did a couple of years ago, and call that your personal NaNoWriMo challenge?

Monday, October 05, 2015

A-Z with me, part 1: A-G (FD)

Jeanie did a post on her blog a couple of weeks ago that listed the A-Z of things she likes, are important to her for some reason, or are happening in her life right now. It looked like fun, so I thought I'd do it too. Only, I'm going to do it as a series of four shorter posts instead of one really long one, since the posts will be long enough as it is.


A is for audiobooks.

A decent chunk of the books I own are on audio, and I listen to part of an audiobook before I go to sleep every night (or day, if I'm on day sleeps). At one point almost all my books were audiobooks... Before I got my Kindle. Now it's just a lot of them, since audiobooks are, unfortunately, often expensive.

I don't always have an audiobook I haven't yet listened to for my sleep time listening, so I end up re-listening to my favourites over and over again. I don't mind too much though. Oh, and, no... I don't count the audiobooks I've already listened to in the past when figuring out how many books I've read in a year; I never count re-reads of any format.

My most recent audiobook purchase was the final Discworld novel, which was released in August, and which I brought at the end of last month. I have all the other books in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series on audiobook, so wanted this one on audio too.


B is for braille.

I learned braille while still at school, and used it exclusively in school at one point. I don't use it all that often these days, but I do still have my old red brailler on my desk beside my computer. I also do have a few braille books, but braille books are bulky, so they aren't my favourite book format. On the other hand, braille books are handy to read when there's no electric to run the stereo or computer, and the Kindle has a dead battery.

Braille is also useful for putting labels on things, which helps me to know what they are. Many of my audiobooks have labels on their cases, for example. It should be all of them that do, but I got behind on my label-making... I plan to label the others at some point though.


C is for clay.

I love working with clay, though I haven't done so in a while.

I have little interest in pottery, but I like to make clay models of things; animals especially. These days I use proper modeling clay, but I was perfectly content to use anything you can easily make in to shapes in the past. Even gluetack... Which is a favourite clay substitute of my brother, Carl, as it happens.

Now I've made myself want to play with my clay again... I'll have to make some time for that some time soon, I think.


D is for degus.

As in, our four J boys, Jacob, Jasper, Jenks, and Joshua.

Degus are the kinds of animals that are a lot of work to keep happy, but I love our boys... Even though they fight a lot, seem to delight in throwing things out of their cage for us to pick up, and delight in confusing me so as to get extra nibbles. Mostly they're sweet little guys though, as long as we remember to keep something on for them to listen to constantly, and make sure we're aware of sunrise and sunset times to be sure they don't find themselves in the dark. Unless a storm comes, then they get upset no matter what we do; especially Jasper.


E is for eBooks.

Since I got my first Kindle, most of my book collection has been made up of eBooks. In some ways I prefer audiobooks, but eBooks are much cheaper, and many books are available as eBooks but not as audiobooks or braille books, which gives me more chance of getting copies of the books I'm desperate to read. Also, as I mentioned, they're a lot cheaper, which helps when feeding my couple of hundred books a year reading habit.

Judging by this post about the 10 reasons why people who read books are more successful, that expensive reading habit of mine is a good thing to have. Not that it would stop me from wanting to keep reading a lot if it wasn't, if I'm honest.

I usually get at least a couple of new eBooks each month. Some I get for free (either during promotions, or in exchange for writing reviews) and others I buy. Some come from Amazon, others come from Smashwords, and others - usually the ones I get in exchange for reviews - are sent to me directly by the author.

My most recently aquired eBook is the second in Katrina Cope's Afterlife series, which she gave me in exchange for a review.


F is for fruit.

My favourite fruits - in no particular order - are berries of any type, cherries, rhubarb, and grapes, though those aren't the only fruits I enjoy. For example, I'm quite fond of kiwis and plums, can often be found eating apples and oranges, and also like other fruits such as grapefruit and bananas.

Mostly I eat my fruit as is, though sometimes I'll put it in a crumble, or some other kind of desert. Rhubarb crumble is my absolute favourite fruity desert; served on its own, or with custard or ice-cream.


G is for gerbils.

As in, our little gerbil boys, Bilbo and Baggins.

The gerbils are actually supposed to be Kelly's gerbils, but we share them.

Anyway... They can be quick with their teeth, but our gerbils are cute little guys, and I love them... Especially when they do something cute or amusing. Like when Bilbo hangs from the cage bars like a gerbil acrobat, or when Baggins sits there carefully nibbling the edge of a Cheerio - turning it when required - like doing this slowly and carefully is the most important task of his day.

They're a lot more low maintenance than the degus, let me tell you!


Come back next week for part 2, where I tell you about H-N.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Furkid Friday - October 2nd 2015 (FD)

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

We got some visitors last weekend.

That furry Carl human came to see us again, and he brought a female human with him. The humans called this female human Tory, which we thought was funny, because that's just like what the humans call the Mummy human.

Anyway, Star and I played with the humans, and got cuddles from them both. I even played in the Carl human's really long head fur a bit, since it made a great place to hide and play.

All of us got some Cheerios from the Tory human, who loved all eight of us rodents, and was happy to give us plenty of attention.

The degus even behaved themselves; taking their Cheerios nicely, and not fighting over who got to go up and get one first. Jasper actually allowed the Tory human to give him a cuddle, and Jacob allowed both the Tory human and the Carl human to give him cuddles... But we all know Jacob likes attention. Joshua and Jenks weren't interested in cuddles though.

Those humans seem to love us almost as much as our own humans do, which is fine with us, because we really like them too; they're very friendly, and hand out nibbles, after all. What's not to like?

OK, this is enough excitement for me... I think I'll go take a nap.

Squeak soon,

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Enjoying Autumn while looking ahead to Halloween and Thanksgiving (FD)

Autumn - or Fall, if you prefer - is here; changing the colours of the leaves, and bringing cooler, and darker, mornings and evenings with it. Pretty soon the trees will be bare, and the crisp mornings and evenings wil turn to frosty ones.

And that means Halloween is just around the corner, with Thanksgiving snapping at its heels.

What are your plans? Have you decided?

Have you thought about which sweet treats you'll get in for any potential trick-or-treaters this Halloween? Will your plans include decorating? Perhaps a party? Maybe you'll have a Harry Potter themed Halloween feast, like I did a few years back? Or a Thanksgiving dinner with all your family and friends? Or, perhaps, just bake some tasty treats for yourself? I know some good recipes, many of which would work well for both Halloween and Thanksgiving, that you can find among those on my website's recipe section, if you like.

Regardless of what your plans are, or whether you've even made them yet - in fact, especially if you haven't made them yet - you might want to check out Jeanie's recent looking ahead to October post; there are some great ideas for celebrating Halloween in it, as well as ideas that will work well for Thanksgiving.

Also, Deanna has a Fabulous Fall series going on over on her blog, to help us all to get the most out of the season.

If you have any ideas of your own - either for celebrating Halloween, or just making the most of the season - feel free to share them with Jeanie, Deanna, or myself.