Monday, August 31, 2015

Happy 1st birthday, Ratty girls

Today is the first birthday of our ratty girls, Skye and Star!

I know, hasn't it gone fast?

I can't believe we brought our little three month old ratty girls home nine months ago already... But we did!

And I'm glad we did, because they're sweet little girls, and very affectionate. I know a lot of people struggle to believe that about rats, but it really is true... I'm not just saying it because they're my baby girls either; I've met other sweet natured and affectionate rats in the past.

Anyway...

Happy 1st birthday, Skye and Star!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Furkid Friday - August 28th 2015

Hi humans, rodent types, and anyone else reading this. This is Jasper the degu.

I don’t like the weather we’ve been having lately! It’s either been too hot, which makes me and my rodent siblings feel uncomfortable and cross, or stormy, which makes us feel really scared.

The worst was one time when the storm came and the human caretakers weren’t home. I’m not sure what was worse about that day: the fact we didn’t have the human caretakers around when we were so frightened, or the fact the storm made our radio go off.

I didn’t even know storms could turn radios off like that, but that one did, and my degu brothers and I weren’t happy. Our gerbil brothers weren’t bothered about the radio being off, but they didn’t like us being upset, so they started stamping to call the human caretakers. But, of course, they were out somewhere, so they didn’t come. Our ratty sisters just hid in their house until the human caretakers came home, then asked for cuddles.

I will say one thing for the human caretakers though: they came straight to us to make us feel better when they got home, and put our radio back on too. In fact, they did such a good job of making us feel better that, even though the storm was still happening, by the time they’d been home five minutes, we’d all calmed down and were feeling a bit better. Not 100% better, but enough that my degu brothers and I were able to calm down enough to curl up in our nesting box and go to sleep, the gerbils stopped stamping and went in to one of their burrows, and our ratty sisters moved to their hammock (which is their favourite napping place).

I hate storms!

Squeak soon,
Jasper

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - August 26th 2015

There are many different kinds of writers, and most of us have a writing process that works for us. However, if you're confused by all the articles telling you how you should write, here are 8 steps to discover your perfect writing process, in the hopes they will help you figure out what's right for you.

***

Looking for a way to make marketing more fun? How about rewarding your fans with a bit of flash fiction from time to time?

If you're not convinced this will help, here are 5 awesome benifits to writing flash fiction for your e-mail subscribers, or blog followers, to help you decide if it's something you want to try.

Hmmm... Maybe I should do that on my blog from time to time?

***

Have you been given the oppertunity for a radio or podcast interview? If so, here are some tips to help you get the most out of the oppertunity. Hopefully they will help you if you're nervous about it too... But, then again, maybe not.

I mean, I was really nervous when I did the interview with Indie Writers Review a while back, even though I had the questions ahead of time, and had listened to some of their other interviews. All the blog and website interviews I'd done before then hadn't fully prepared me for a live interview, and I knew it. Still, it all went alright on the night, so to speak, and turned out to be a lot of fun.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday's random mutterings - August 24th 2015

Our weather has been crazy this past week. Actually, this past month, if I'm honest.

It can't decide whether to be hot or cool, and has been alternating between beautiful clear weather, and impressive storms.

Luckily, we now have a fan for the bedroom too, so at least we've had that to help on the really hot days.

The leaky roof isn't fixed yet though, but it's a very small leak, so not causing any real problem at the moment.

***

When we moved here at the end of February, we left our fridge freezer behind, because there was a fridge with an ice box in it already here, as well as a seporate freezer; both bigger than the little fridge freezer we had.

They were left here by the previous tenants, and since they aren't officially part of the property, it's our responsibility to replace them if anything happens to them. In fact, it was up to us whether we bothered to keep them or not in the first place.

Unfortunately for us, the fridge is no longer working properly.

So, we have a new fridge freezer coming on Wednesday.

We went with a new fridge freezer, even though we have that other freezer, because the fridge no longer working properly has made us wonder how long the freezer will last, and it's cheaper to get a new fridge freezer now, than to get a new fridge now, then need a new freezer in a few months time.

Plus, the freezer not working any more would be a bigger problem than the fridge not working, as I'm sure you can imagine.

***

I've finnished one of the blankets I was knitting, as well as a couple of cushion covers I decided to knit.

I haven't started the other blanket, because I don't have the wool for it yet. I'm hoping to get it at the end of this week, so I should be able to start the other blanket on the weekend.

I know who the blankets are going to, but I'm not sure what to do with the cushion covers yet. I might keep them, but I might not.

Anyway, I haven't got photos of the ones I've finnished yet. I'll have Kelly sort them when I can.

***

I'm so far enjoying my roleplaying sessions with Dad, Carl, and Gareth.

My character hasn't died yet, though she does have a badly injured arm, and a cold. Yes, characters in roleplaying games can have things like that happen to them. It's as part of the consequences GMs often add in to the game when you get bad dice rolls... Partially to make it more realistic, and partially for their own amusement.

I mean, you have to admit it is kind of funny when there's a scary monster running loose, but what causes you problems is catching a cold while out in the snow for too long looking for clues. Or, perhaps, it's just me who finds that thought amusing?

My character is in better shape than one of Gareth's characters though... One of his characters is slowly going insane.

Yes, I did say "one of" his characters. Dad and Gareth are both running two characters. Personally I think one is enough, but they decided to do two each, since we're such a small roleplaying group.

Carl, as you might have guessed from the fact the rest of us have characters, is the GM (games master). At least , he is for the Cthulhu game we're playing... Carl won't be the GM every time though.

Hmmm... Should I be concerned that I didn't need to look up the spelling of the word Cthulhu?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Furkid Friday - August 21st 2015 (FD)

Hellooo everyone!

This is Baggins the gerbil.

The humans let us have one of those little round blue things they call blueberries the other day. We don't get them often; the humans say berries contain too much sugar for us to have them a lot. We love them when we get them though.

Actually, my degu brothers aren't allowed them at all, because they have what the Mummy human calls "special dietry requirements" that mean they can't have things like berries. They're not even allowed cheese! Can you believe that? My gerbil brother, Bilbo, and our ratty sisters, Skye and Star, were the only ones other than me allowed one of those blueberry things. Actually, I think the girls got two, but since the girls are so much bigger than me and Bilbo, we don't mind.

My degu brothers had some uncooked pasta instead. The Mummy human says it's better for them than berries, and they enjoy gnawing on it enough not to mind. They only get upset if they get nothing when we get nibbles they aren't allowed, but I don't blame them for that one. That doesn't usually happen though, since the Mummy human makes sure we all get something... Even if what we get is different, which it quite often has to be, due to those different "dietry requirements" the Mummy human often talks about.

Plus, we all have our favourites, and things we don't like. Bilbo and I, for example, love cheerios, cheese, pumpkin seeds, and berries. But we aren't too keen on nuts, nor dry pasta. Our degu brothers love nuts, cheerios, and dry pasta. But they aren't too keen on seeds, nor on any of the fresh veggies they're supposed to be allowed to eat. As for our ratty sisters... They love most food; especially cheerios, cheese, fruit, and egg. But they don't really like dry pasta, nor seeds.

OK... All this talk of food is making me hungry, so I'm going to go find something to nibble on.

Squeak soon,
Baggins

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - August 19th 2015

I've moved forward a bit with current writing projects, but not by much, so there's not much to tell you this week.

"Zeena And The Gryphon" is still being edited.

"Degu's Day Out" just needs one more read through, and its cover is in the early stages of its creation process.

I haven't made much progress with the writing of "Zeena And The Mermaid" yet.

That's about it. Like I said... There's not much to tell you this week.

So...

Do you write for children like I do? If so, here are some tips on writing fiction for children, which may be of interest to you.

Also... Realistic writing - it's all in the suffering - so show us how tired your character is getting from all the hard work he or she is doing while attempting to complete that quest.

Finally, here are some tips to help you out if you're looking for a title

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday's random mutterings - August 17th 2015

I set up a treasure hunt challenge on the Children's Books group over on Goodreads. An idea I got from the treasure hunt challenge that was done on another Goodreads group, though I allowed a longer duration for the challenge to be completed, had four less items on the list, and insisted that all the books were children's books.

Anyway, the rules were as follows:

1. The book must be a children's book, though any age range is fine (from 0 to 12 years).

2. A book can only count for one item on the list. So, if the book would work for more than one item, you have to decide which to use it for, and find another book for the other item(s) from the list.

3. You can join the challenge any time after the start date and before the finnish date. So, any time between July 1st 2015 and December 31st 2015.

4. The book must be one you read between July 1st 2015 and December 31st 2015.

5. The book doesn’t count if you didn’t finnish it for any reason; only completed books count.

6. If you're an author, you cannot use your own books for this challenge. Books by any author other than yourself are fine.

These were the challenge levels:

1-4 books: Curious Kitten
5-8 books: Eager Beaver
9-12 books: Enthusiastic Puppy
13-16 books: Cunning Fox

And this was the list:

*Pawprint: Read a book where the main character is an animal.
*Leaf: Read a book about nature, or where the main character spends a lot of time outside.
*Flower: Read a book with fairies or pixies in it.
*Rainbow: Read a book containing mythological creatures (such as dragons, or leprechauns, or unicorns).
*Fang: Read a scary book, or read a book containing monsters or zombies.
*Pencil: Read a book of children's poetry, or a rhyming story.
*Calculator: Read a non-fiction book, or a book where the story takes place at school.
*Wheelchair: Read a book where the main character has some kind of disability.
*Cloud: Read a book about dreams, or about using your imagination.
*Star: Read a book about space.
*Sun: Read a book where the main character goes on vacation.
*Train: Read a book with a train in it.
*Bottle: Read a book with a baby in it.
*Cake: Read a book where the main character celebrates their birthday.
*Pumpkin: Read a book about Halloween.
*Snowflake: Read a book about Christmas.

Even though I set the challenge, I joined in too, and - me being me - I finnished ages before the challenge deadline. So, here's what I read for each one:

*Pawprint: The Blackbird That Couldn't Sing by Rosemary J. Peel
*Leaf: The Competition by Rosemary J. Peel
*Flower: The Special Fairy by Jackie Small
*Rainbow: Treasure Hunt (Lady Jenniviere's Quill, #5) by Lady Jenniviere
*Fang: Uh-oh... We turned our brother into a Zombie? by K.B. Miller
*Pencil: Fluff Gang Tales by Rosemary J. Peel
*Calculator: Bongo Goes To School by Lucas Hosby
*Wheelchair: Flat Cats by Rosemary J. Peel
*Cloud: The Slow Tortoise by Jackie Small
*Star: Cosmic Camel by Emma Laybourn
*Sun: Never Ending Bad Day (Lady Jenniviere's Quill, #4) by Lady Jenniviere
*Train: The Forgotten Toy Soldier by Liz Armond
*Bottle: And What Do You Want For Christmas? by Rosemary J. Peel
*Cake: Time Line by Rosemary J. Peel
*Pumpkin: The Invasion of the Pumpkin People by Steven Tuttle
*Snowflake: Santa's Silliness Syndrome by Jackie Small

There's still plenty of time for anyone working on the challenge to get it done, or for anyone who didn't know about it and is interested in joining in to do so.

***

I've done really well with book giveaways lately.

I entered three in the last few months, and won all three of them.

I know I mentioned winning the first, but don't remember if I mentioned the second, and know I didn't mention the third.

The first was the one where I won an eBook copy of one of the books in Kate Wrath's "E" series. The second was for an audio download of "The Moon Dwellers" by David Estes. The third was for an eBook copy of "Another Earth" by Madeline Reynolds.

Like I said, I entered and won all three.

Well, there were other winners too; all of them had at least a handful of winners. But I was one of the winners.

***

We had a lot of rain last week, and a couple of impressive thunder storms too.

It rained almost constantly for three days.

During all this rain, we discovered that there's a small leak in the roof, so the landlord is arranging for someone to deal with that. It's not much of one at the moment, so hopefully they'll get it sorted before it becomes more of an issue.

We were out during the storm on Thursday, and got soaked, even though we were inside buildings or cars most of the time we were out. Just getting from the shopping center to one of the taxis at the taxi stand outside it was enough to get us soaked.

***

I don't really have anything more exciting to say, so I guess I'll let this do for today.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Furkid Friday - August 14th 2015

Hi there humans, rodents, and anyone of any other species who's reading this.

This is Bilbo the gerbil.

My degu brother, Jacob, told me the other degus seem to think all that fighting they do is fun, even though they got hurt bad not too long ago. So I decided to try it out on my gerbil brother, Baggins. Jacob said I shouldn't, but I did anyway

I stopped quickly though, because it's not as fun as the degus make it look, and all that happened is our nest got messed up, so we had to build it all over again; now that was fun... The rebuilding of the nest, I mean.

Next time, I think I'll skip to the nest rebuilding part, and not bother with the fight, since that was the only fun part of it anyway.

If you're wondering... No, I didn't hurt Baggins. We got bored of the fight before doing more than giving each other a few shoves.

Squeak soon,
Bilbo

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - August 12th 2015

I have a story just needing the final edits, another in the middle of re-writes, and another I’ve just started writing.

The one just needing final edits is one I wrote about a degu who gets out of his cage when his humans don’t close the cage door properly. It was inspired by the same thing almost happening here a few weeks ago (we got the cage door secured before our degus noticed though). I’m calling it “Degu’s Day Out” – unless I come up with a better title between now and when I discuss the cover with one of my cover artists (which I plan to do in the next couple of weeks). I have to decide exactly what I want on the cover too...

Anyway, the one in the middle of re-writes is “Zeena And The Gryphon” (the second “Zeena Dragon Fae” book) and the one I’ve just started writing is “Zeena And The Mermaid” (the third “Zeena Dragon Fae” book).

So, I have plenty of writing projects keeping me busy. Not to mention, there are still plenty of plot bunnies waiting impatiently for my attention.

If you're a writer too, how's your writing coming along?

Is your writing not going too well today? Here are the 5 stages of the writer's nap; it really does help sometimes!

If, however, the writer's nap didn't help, and you're still struggling to get your creative juices flowing, these 20 writing prompts might help you out. Still stuck? Here are another 20 writing prompts. There are also many more writing prompts to be found on the blog I got those from. Some may work as general blog prompts too.

This is how to always be a passionate writer... In case your problem is that you feel you've lost your passion for writing.

You could also try this writing exercise; be it to get your creative juices flowing again, or just for a change of pace.

Once you have your creative juices flowing again, these 5 techniques for amazing internal dialogue might come in handy. Also, here are some thoughts on how the little details count.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A year ago today... (kinda R/WP)

A year ago today, I said goodbye to my beloved West Highland White Terrier, Castellan Keroberous.

Kero was more than just a dog to me. He was my best friend, and my baby.

Even though it's been a year, I still miss him like it was just yesterday, and feel like a part of myself is missing.

I can't believe how much it still hurts...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday's random mutterings - August 10th 2015

Remember how I mentioned last Monday about the thing I'd heard about our doctor surgery being closed?

Tuesday I called our doctor surgery, in hopes there would be a recorded message telling me where to call to see some other doctor; not because I needed to see one, but because I needed to know whether we had a doctor so I could find one if we didn't.

There wasn't... I got to speak to an actual person.

It turns out we do have a doctor. I have no idea what his or her name is, but we have one.

Apparently our doctor surgery was only closed for a short time - about a week, I think - due to a slight delay between when the old doctors and nurses were removed, and the new ones started working there.

I'm not entirely certain if they had taken the time to send out letters, or make phonecalls, to tell the patients about this. But, if they did, we wouldn't have gotten ours, since - as I suspectede - they still had the old details. So, I gave them the new address and phone number (again) while I was on the phone. Hopefully they got it this time.

***

The July 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 a YA book.
2)Read a book released this month.
3) Read a book that has blue on the cover (Either the word, or the colour).
4) Read a book that takes place during summer.
5) Read 1500 pages.

I did numbers 1 and 4.

I read "Evolution" (E, #2) by Kate Wrath, which is a Young Adult book. Plus, I read "Summer's Cauldron" (Young Sorcerers Guild, #2) by G.L. Breedon, which is a story that takes place during Summer.

Since this is the group that hands out awards if you complete challenges, here's my award for completing this one:


I've also finnished my Goodreads 2015 reading goal.

Originally the goal was set for 150 books, but a few months ago - April, I think - I increased it to 200 books.

I've now read more than 200 books this year.

OK, I admit it... Part of this is due to many of them being short. But there's no rule about how long the books have to be, and they weren't all short books... A couple were well over 500 pages long, and many others weren't much shorter.

I sometimes wonder if I read too much.

But then I decide I don't care, and pick up the next book...

***

Conversation between my Mam and Emma (aged 5) while reading "A Very Degu Christmas" (one of my books):

Emma: "Nana, who is Santa Paws?"
My Mam: "You know who Santa Claus is?"
Emma: "Oh, yes!"
My Mam: "Well, Santa Paws is just Santa Claus for animals."
Emma (in a tone of utter amazement): "WOW! Santa just loves everyone, doesn't he?"

Slight pause while Emma thinks about something.

Emma: "Well... If you're good, anyway."

Friday, August 07, 2015

Furkid Friday - August 7th 2015 (FD)

Um... Hi everyone.

This is Skye the rat.

As Star told you in her post last week, our humans got a visit from some other humans. We've seen the Mamgu human once before, but we've never met the Carl human before.

The Carl human seemed to really like us, and wanted to be friends. I kind of did too, but he was new and scary, so I wanted to go back to the Mummy human almost as soon as the Carl human was holding me. I couldn't help it; it was just so scary!

I was happy to accept the Cheerios he handed out when we were being put back in our cage though, and felt a bit better about him holding me when he did it again when they came back a few hours later.

I might be a nervous little ratty girl, but I do love my nibbles, and humans who give me some are just fine by me!

I hope he realizes it will take a lot more nibbles before I completely get over my fear of him. Although, the process might go more quickly if he hands out cheese next time.... Just saying!

Squeak soon,
Skye

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Wednesday's writing related ramblings - August 5th 2015

The following books of mine are now available as paperbacks from CreateSpace and Amazon:

The Magical Chapters Trilogy, book 1: Witchlet
Toby's Tales, book 1: Toby's New World
Toby's Tales, book 2: Toby's Monsters
Toby's Tales, book 3: Toby's Outing

So, that's 33 of my 40 published titles now available as paperbacks!

***

What's holding you back from writing? If you have a story or poem in you, write it. Don't let anything stop you... Especially not the fear of potential failure.

If your real problem is time management, then it's about time you did something about that; read those tips to get some ideas on how.

Also, when writers' block rears its ugly head, and you find yourself asking if you should give up writing... Don't be in too much of a hurry to do so. I mean, if you really feel you no longer want to write... Fine. But be sure it's what you really want before giving up, because you don't want to spend the rest of your life regretting the choice you made.

Of course, if you decide to keep writing, and decide you want to put your work out there for others to read, you need to also decide the answer to one of the big questions in publishing... Do you go with indi or traditional publishing?

Monday, August 03, 2015

Monday's random mutterings: a medical rant (R/WP)

At the start of last week, I made sure there were blog posts set up for the rest of that week, and for this week, because I had my dentist appointment at the hospital to get the other wisdom tooth removed.

Or, I thought I did.

However, when I got there, I was informed that it had been cancelled and rescheduled for August 12th. According to their system, they spoke to me on the phone about it.

I had no such phone conversation. I mean, I had one in June about the June appointment I cancelled because I had that Summer cold – which was when I made the one that should have happened on July 29th – but that was the last time I knew of any changes being made to the time and date of my appointment. Besides, if I had changed it, I wouldn’t have made it for the 12th of August, because I have somewhere I have to be on August 13th in the morning, so I’m not exactly going to book an appointment that may potentially result in my ending up in hospital for a few days, and then arrange to be somewhere else the very next morning. And, no, I can’t reschedule that other appointment; it’s very important that I go to it.

Yes, I pointed all this out to the receptionist.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, my appointment with the hospital dentist is now on September 2nd 2015 at 2:15pm, because it’s the first available one they have after the one I can’t make it to on August 12th.

Of course, even though being blind means I’m entitled to free hospital transport to and from the hospital (and allowed someone with me to assist me if I choose, though they’ll assist me if I’m alone) they were reluctant to give me the hospital transport, because I can’t give them a straight answer as to whether I’ll be coming home after my appointment or not, so we ended up paying for a taxi to and from the hospital. Meaning, I wasted all that money on a trip I could have avoided taking.

Needless to say, I wasn’t too happy about it all.

If that wasn’t enough...

While in the taxi on the way to the hospital last Wednesday, I happened to catch the news on the radio.

That was how I learned that we currently don’t have a general doctor, because the doctor surgery we use is currently closed. I’m not sure if it will be open again in the future with different doctors, but I can tell you for sure it won’t be any time soon, since it’s closed because the doctors were idiots.

No, really... I’m being serious! It’s closed because the doctors weren’t doing their jobs properly, and there have been enough complaints about patients not receiving proper care to make someone do a proper investigation in to it.

I guess my claims that my doctor was an idiot weren’t as much of an exaggeration as I thought... *frowns*

Anyway, I’m not sure if nobody thought to tell the patients, or if they did tell the patients, but for some reason sent our letters to our old address. Either way, I guess I need to find us a new doctor.

You know you’ve had a bad day when you wish you’d had your tooth pulled instead... LOL!

Actually, the whole week was one of those where you want to just go back to the beginning and start again. Nothing really bad happened as such... Just lots of little things that all add up, you know?

Oh, and... If you’re wondering... The post I had scheduled for today has been rescheduled for use at the start of September when I “hopefully” will actually get this other wisdom tooth out.