Friday, April 29, 2016

Furkid Friday: have you seen my brother?

Hello everyone. This is Baggins the gerbil.

Sorry for the lack of my usual enthusiasm, but I'm one very sad gerbil right now. You see, my gerbil brother, Bilbo, went away. I don't know where, and I don't understand why. All I know is that he's been gone for more than a week now, and I can't find him anywhere I've looked. I even tried checking inside all of the tunnels I dug recently, just in case I accidentally buried him in sawdust... That happened several times in the past, after all. But I've had no luck in figuring out where he went.

My degu brothers haven't seen our gerbil brother either, and they miss him too. Especially Jacob, who was Bilbo's pal. Jacob and I have been trying to comfort each other by sitting together like Bilbo and Jacob used to; sometimes just the two of us, sometimes with the other three of our degu brothers as well. But it's just not the same... Especially for me. At least Jacob has the other degus to give him comfort.

The human caretakers have been giving me extra attention. But, still... Like I said... It's not the same. I miss Bilbo!

Actually, we all miss him. Me most, but we all miss him, and we're all a little confused about it all. Plus, we're a little sad, because we remember that something like this happened a couple of years ago with the big, white, Kero dog, and we never ever saw him again. Will that be the case for Bilbo?

If Bilbo doesn't come back, I hope my brother is happy wherever he is, has access to his favourite nibbles, and has plenty of places to dig.

The human caretakers say they're sure he has everything that makes him happy in the place where he's gone, and that I'll see him soon, but they hope not too soon, because they'll miss me. I hope they're right about my brother being happy where he is, though I'm a bit confused about why he had to go at all... Especially if the human caretakers don't want me to go with him any time soon.

Anyway... If you see my brother before I do, tell him I miss him. Also, if it's at all possible, tell him I want him to come home

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

#Writing Wednesday - April 27th 2016

Happy Tell A Story Day!

I don't have a story to tell about my day, or my life, but I do have plenty of stories to tell in general, and... As you may remember... In celebration of four years of being published, and ten years of blogging, the eBook versions of some of my books are still on sale until May 7th 2016. Read this post for more details (the post includes titles, links, and coupon codes).


Just in case you need them, here are 39 things to remember while struggling to build your writing career.

Next... When you - or your publisher - are ready to write your book's description, you may want to check out these three common mistakes made in book descriptions, in hopes you can avoid making them too.

Also, as boring and frustrating as it is, marketing is essential if you're going to make it as an author. So... Listen up authors; here are six tips for people "trying" to promote their work.

Most importantly, however, you should always remember to write books, not war! The words you put out in to the world will be judged, and you will be judged for saying/typing them. So, just bear that in mind.


When writing your own stories, you might want to make use of these powerful writing techniques, which will help to get your readers hooked, and give them an even more enjoyable reading experience. Or, perhaps, these 12 ways to improve your writing (right now, for free) could be useful to you?

Struggling with writers' block? Did you know that some people use research as writing inspiration, and the cure for writers' block? Well, they do! You should try it too some time.

Another thing that may help you to get over your writers' block - especially if you write for children or teenagers - is to remember that you are writing the future. Of course, this isn't only true for books aimed at children and teenagers. One day, your book may inspire greatness in someone who reads it. Now, doesn't that thought make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and make you want to get back to your writing? I better let you do so then...

Before you go though...

This is how to be taken seriously as a writer (which can also apply to artists). Plus, if you have kids under ten, here are some tips on how to get some writing time in, without losing your mind (which can also apply to time for doing artwork, crafts, and other hobbies where you don't want the kids "helping" you). Yes, it is possible... Even when they aren't in school. It's a little more difficult, but it is possible. Still, I'm sure - if you have kids - that you wouldn't trade them for all the writing/drawing time in the world.

Speaking of children... Next month is National Get Caught Reading Month, which is an anual month long event set up to encourage children to enjoy reading, and show them that reading is a fun and cool thing to do. Check out the post I just linked to for more details, and to find out how you can get involved.

Monday, April 25, 2016

TV talk and movie mutterings - April 2016

Time for this month's post of new to me movies and TV shows.

Well, actually, just movies, since the only TV shows I watched were ones I've mentioned liking already, so the only new thing about them was the newer episodes I saw of some of them.

But, anyway...

As with the similar posts from the recent past, I've not written very detailed reviews, but instead just given my opinion of the movie in question, so I've included links to where you can find out more about the movie, if you want to... Just click on the title of it, and you'll go right there.


Penguins Of Madagascar (movie):
I thought these penguins were quite cute, and extremely entertaining, when they appeared in Madagascar, and have enjoyed a few episodes of the TV series about them, so it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed this movie. Besides... Who doesn't love penguins? Especially talking penguins!

Inside Out (movie):
I've been dying to see this one, and am relieved to report that I was not disappointed. It was a great movie; fun and entertaining, but also potentially useful for helping children deal with their emotions should they find themselves in a similar situation.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (movie):
I used to love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons, so wanted to watch this movie. Quite frankly, I'm glad I watched it on Sky instead of wasting my money going to see it at the cinema. It was absolute rubbish! They changed the origin story (not a whole lot, but enough that someone familiar with the original would notice) and the movie itself wasn't all that good, even if you ignore that fact. Like I said, I'm glad I didn't waste any money on seeing it; it's one I certainly won't be bothering to watch again, that's for sure.

Finally, here's a little something for the Harry Potter fans who read my blog:

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Vegetarian recipes via Deanna and me (FD)

Almost a month ago, Deanna gathered together her vegetarian recipes; all in one post. I thought I'd post a link here for the benifit of anyone who reads my blog posts but not hers, and may want to check out some vegetarian recipes (either because of being vegetarian, or just wanting to cut down on the amount of meat in their diet, or whatever). One of the recipes is actually one I gave her when I did a guest post on her old blog a couple of years ago.

You may also want to check out these 11 ways to use roasted veggies; most of which are vegetarian friendly. It may be aimed at getting kids to eat their veggies, but that doesn't stop adults from enjoying the meals too!

Plus, don't forget, if you want to see my collection of vegetarian friendly recipes, check out my website's recipe section; most of the recipes there are vegetarian friendly.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Firkid Friday: words (FD)

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

This is Jenks the degu.

I've heard humans say that they sometimes struggle to understand what the furries in their lives want. But, you know what? We have trouble understanding what humans want sometimes too. Especially when you humans stand there talking away to us, using words we haven't learned to make sense of.

Like you humans, we learn to understand some stuff after a while, just from observing your behaviour. However, I still often find myself turning to my brothers and asking them, "do you have any idea what they just said?" I get asked the same by them too, and our gerbil brothers and ratty sisters have the same problem.

As I said though, the beahaviour of our humans teaches us some word meanings, so we've learned to recognize certain words based on what happens after the human caretakers use them.

Here are some of our favourite words:

Nibbles - this word means something tasty is coming our way, and is our most favourite word out of all the words we know. Sometimes it will apply to the four words I'll be mentioning next, but other times it will mean our regular food, or some other kind of edible item. Either way, when we hear the word "nibbles" we all give the humans our attention immediately.

Cheerios - a favourite nibble of all of ours. I hear it's popular among humans too.

Oatmeal - another favourite nibble of all of ours, which is sometimes given to us by hand, and sometimes added to our food bowls.

Pasta - a hard treat we degus love, but which our ratty sisters and gerbil brother aren't too keen on.

Cheese - our ratty sisters' favourite nibble, but something we degus aren't allowed. When our ratty sisters and gerbil brother get the cheese stuff, we degus get pasta instead.

Sand bath - a metal tub filled with special sand stuff, where we degus get our dry bath... Fun to play in, as well as useful to get the oils out of our fur. Our ratty sisters and gerbil brothers don't play in one; the gerbils get extra sawdust to dig in instead, and the rats showed no interest when offered oppertunities to play in a sand bath, so the humans stopped bothering. We degus never could understand the rats' lack of interest... Sand baths are fun!

We do also recognize other words, like "TV" and "radio" for example. We also recognize our names, and the name of our species. Plus, the word "buddy" which is what the humans use - especially the Mummy human - when they aren't too sure which of us is trying to get their attention (this is especially used for us degus, since my degu brothers and I are tricky to tell apart unless you can get a good look at the markings on our noses). But the words listed above are our six favourite human words.

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

#Writing Wednesday: anniversary #eBook #SALE

This coming Friday (April 22nd 2016) is the 4th anniversary of the day I published my first book via Smashwords. eleven days later (May 3rd 2016) will be the 10th anniversary of when I first started this blog.

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who has been so supportive since I started publishing my books. Be it by buying and/or reviewing copies, helping with cover design and creation, helping to spread the word about my books, or simply by offering words of support and encouragement. I would also like to thank those who have been loyal followers of my blog for so many years. So, thank you... For being there, and for being you!

Secondly... To celebrate both of these things, four of my eBooks are on sale from today (April 20th 2016) until May 7th 2016.

The books on sale, their sale prices, and the coupon codes to use if you want to take advantage of the sale prices, are as follows:

Asha's Big Adventure
Regular price: $3.99
Promotional price: $1.00
Coupon Code: YT67K

Cubby And The Beanstalk
Regular price: $3.99
Promotional price: $1.00
Coupon Code: ES33K

Filicity The Musical Platypus
Regular price: $2.99
Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: SL83N

Snowball The Oddball Kobold
Regular price: $2.99
Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: PJ83K

*To grab your copy of any of the above mentioned books, simply click on its title to go to the book's Smashwords page, add it to your cart, and enter the coupon code in the box provided for that purpose, before taking the book through checkout.
*The coupon codes above are valid for use on Smashwords only, and will not work on any of the other retailers that carry my books. However, my books are available in multiple eBook formats via Smashwords, and a purchase from Smashwords gives you access to all of these formats, which means you can still grab a copy in a format that works for reading on the computer, or that works best for your eReader of choice (mobi for Kindle, or epub for Nook, for example).
*These coupons are valid from April 20th 2016 to May 7th 2016 only.

Feel free to share this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform, or use any other method of sharing these coupons with anyone you think may be interested, such as your family, your friends, your neighbours, any book loving pets you might have, or even random people you meet in the street. In fact, I'd appreciate it very much if you shared this post with as many people as possible, in as many places as possible. So, if you do... Thank you!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

R.I.P. Bilbo

Late this afternoon, we discovered that one of our gerbils, Bilbo, wasn't doing too well. He hadn't been completely himself since January, but he was really bad today: not very responsive, and showing no interest in any attempts we - or his gerbil brother, Baggins - were making to get him to interact with us.

As the evening wore on, he got worse, despite the best efforts of Kelly, myself, and Baggins. Then, a few moments ago, we found he'd slipped in to that final sleep... The one that would take him across the rainbow bridge.

Goodbye, little gerbil pal. You were a good gerbil, and you will be missed.

R.I.P. Bilbo
January 6th 2014 - April 19th 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Crafty chatter - April 2016

I haven't updated you on craft projects for a couple of months, so figured it was about time I did so, especially since I've finnished a few projects. All small items, but still.

I mentioned in a previous craft related update - though I can't remember if it was at the end of last year, or the very start of this one - that I'd knitted a Westie, but hadn't sorted it out any eyes yet. Well, it has eyes now, so here it is:

I also made this knitted Westie head tree decoration, so we can have Kero as part of our Christmas decorations from now on:

After that, I decided to make a few more knitted decorations ready for when Christmas rolls around again.

A knitted bauble:

A knitted candy cane, and a small gift:

And a knitted stocking:

I actually made two sets of the bauble, candy cane, gift, and stocking. But I only got photos of one set. The other set is as identical as it's possible for handmade items to be. At least, in everything but size; the other set's slightly smaller. I don't have the other set any more though, since I gave them to my Mam. But this set I'm keeping for myself.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Haiku with an ocean theme, for National Haiku Poetry Day 2016

As you probably know, it's National Poetry Month this month. On top of that, as I was reminded this morning by this post by Annette Rochelle Aben, today is National Haiku Poetry Day.

In celebration, I thought I'd share a couple of my own haiku style poems, both of which were inspired by listening to the ocean at different times (though, I'm not sure why I'm bothering to say so, since you'd have easily figured that out by reading them).


This first one I wrote last year:

Sea birds call
Foamy waves crash
Cold wind howls

© 2015

And this one I wrote more recently:

Youngsters laugh and play,
Splashing in the chilly sea,
Making watchers smile.

© 2016

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Boudicca, Britain’s Queen of the Iceni by Laurel A. Rockefeller - now available in multiple languages (including Welsh)

Boudicca, Britain’s Queen of the Iceni was the first book written in the Legendary Women of World History Series. Originally published 20 March 2014 in digital and paperback and 8 September 2014 as an audiobook narrated by Richard Mann, Boudicca has grown globally with editions published in English, Chinese, Italian and now Welsh!

Translated by Gwenlli Haf, Welsh language readers can finally enjoy this heroic story in the modern form of the very language Boudicca herself spoke. Available in both Welsh and side by side Welsh-English editions.

Book description:
Stori wir syfrdanol am arwres Prydain yn yr hen oes – ar gael i’w darllen yn Gymraeg a Saesneg mewn un gyfrol ddwyieithog!

Yn 43 OC mae Rhufain bron yn sicr o’u concwest dros Brydain – nes i Prasutagus, Brenin yr Iceni, ddigwydd cyfarfod caethforwyn o dras frenhinol llwyth yr Aedui yng Ng├ól wedi iddi ddianc oddi wrth ei meistres Rufeinig. Newidiodd y cyfarfod hwn dynged Ynys Prydain am byth.

Yn berffaith ar gyfer dysgwyr Cymraeg a Saesneg, gallwch wella’ch sgiliau iaith wrth ddysgu am hanes Lloegr, Cymru, a’r Alban wrth i’r concwest Rhufeinig ledled Ynys Prydain uno’r llwythau rhyfelgar yn erbyn gelyn cyffredin.

Wedi’i ysgrifennu’n wych gan yr hanesydd Laurel A. Rockefeller, o gyfres Merched Chwedlonol yn Hanes y Byd, ac wedi’i gyfieithu i’r Gymraeg gan Gwenlli Haf.

The fascinating true story of ancient Britain's greatest heroine -- now told in both Welsh and English in one bilingual volume!

In 43 CE Roman conquest of Britannia seems all but certain -- until a chance meeting between King Prasutagus of the Iceni and a runaway slave of royal decent from the Aedui tribe in Gaul changes the fate of the British islands forever.

Perfect for students of both Welsh and English, improve your language proficiency while you learn about ancient England, Wales, and Scotland as the Roman invasions of the entire island unite enemy nations against a common foe.

Beautifully written by historian Laurel A. Rockefeller of the Legendary Women of World History Series and translated into Welsh by Gwenlli Haf.


Chinese –,
Italian --,
Stage version --,

Author social media:


Author pages:
Barnes and Noble:
Fiberead English:            

*NOTE: For any urls that do not appear as proper links, just copy and paste the url in to your browser's address bar.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Furkid Friday: one day, a storm will mean the end of the world

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

As anyone who knows me well will be able to tell you, I hate storms. I mean, i really, really, REALLY hate storms! I can always tell when one is coming, and get so upset even before it actually arrives that the human caretakers say I'm just like having their own personal storm warning system.

Some of the storms we've had in recent months though have been so bad that my other rodent siblings have been upset by them too. Even my ratty sisters - who enjoy sitting somewhere high up in their cage where they can see out of the window and watch the ocean, even when it's a bit rough - have been seriously upset by these storms, and by the size of the enormous waves the storms cause.

In fact, even the sea birds we always hear have been looking for shelter, or perhaps going elsewhere, during many of these storms. That in itself is worrying, since the smaller storms usually get them excited, and we hear them out there, doing whatever it is that sea birds do... Looking for nibbles, probably; the human caretakers say some kinds of storms make this easier for them. I don't understand why.

But, anyway...

Every time a bad storm comes, we're sure it will be the end of the world, or at least the end of us; sure it will tear the building apart, rip us from our cosy cages, and cast us out in to the unforgiving world. This hasn't happened yet. But every time a bad storm comes, we're sure that it will - this time. And every time it doesn't, we feel as though we escaped that thing you humans call the apocalypse.

I, especially, am positive that, one day, a storm will mean the end of the world.

I'm just crossing my paws that it isn't going to be any time soon...

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

#Writing Wednesday - April 13th 2016

I didn't have a lot of luck with writing during most of March. But, as the month drew to a close, I was finally able to get a decent amount of writing done. I got "Zeena And The Phoenix" (the fourth, and final, book in my "Zeena Dragon Fae" series) to the re-writing and editing phases, along with the story I came up with during my trip to Wales. Plus, I wrote a couple of poems, and completed the first draft of another story, which I'll tell you more about some other time. So, March may not have started out well, but I made up for it in the last week or so of the month.

Now we're almost half way through April. This month has so far been spent focussing on the re-writes and edits for the stories mentioned above. Well, I'm focussing mainly on sorting the Zeena book, since I want to have that finnished soon; I hope to be able to publish that one in the next couple of months. But I have also started the first draft of an adventure story, and written a couple more new poems. So, a good start to the month, I think.

That's not all though!

The paperback version of "Rhubarb The Red-Nosed Rabbit" is now available to buy from CreateSpace and Amazon, and will soon also be available from Barnes & Noble, as well as a few other places that CreateSpace makes books available to. As usual, clicking on the book's title will take you to the CreateSpace page for it.


When I write the first drafts of my stories, I mostly just tell rather than showing. That's part of why I won't let people see my first drafts. Well, that and the huge number of typos, spelling mistakes, etc, that appear in my first drafts. But, anyway... It's only when I do the second draft that I take the time to show rather than tell. Not sure what I mean by this? Read this "show me" post; it will both explain what I mean, and provide you with some tips on how to do it yourself.

Also, here are 21 proofreading and editing tips for writers; ideal for if you do your own editing and proofreading, but also useful if you employ an editor and/or proofreader.


Do you write creative non-fiction? If so, this article contains some tips to help you stay out of trouble. It also explains what creative non-fiction is, for the benifit of anyone who isn't sure.

Or, if you write science fiction, you may want to take a look at these 43 must-visit sci-fi websites for writers, so that - among other things - you can make sure you get your facts right. Actually, if you have any interest at all in science, the advancement of technology, space exploration, and that kind of thing, you might want to go look anyway, since some of those sites seem to be quite interesting. Not to mention, some of them could be useful for other genres too... Like creative non-fiction, for example.

Alternatively, if you're writing for children - especially if you're writing rhyming stories for them - you might want to check out this post on how (not) to write a rhyming picture book.


Do you struggle to get everything done each day? If so, do you think some time management tips would help? If you answered "yes" to both of those, you might want to check out this time management toolbox. It's an excellent place to start... Writer or not!

Also, if you're getting stressed, and need to relax, try this meditation for writers (which, once again, you may find useful whether you're a writer or not).

Speaking of stressful things. These are things that bloggers need to stop getting stressed about, many of which apply to writing in general.


In case you missed it, and want to read it, my latest interview can be found by clicking here.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Interview with Madeline

I was recently interviewed by fellow author, Madeline Reynolds.

Maddy is a young writer, who is already a published author, despite her youth. And, for the record, I read her book "The Adventures Of Tamisin" last year, and it's really good; she could be something special one day!

Anyway, in case you missed seeing it, my interview with her went up on her blog yesterday (April 10th 2016).

If you want to read it, you can do so by clicking here.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

2016 first quarter reading challenge: clear your clutter

One of the groups I'm a member of over on Goodreads made their reading challenge for the first quarter of 2016 a clear your clutter type challenge where the goal was to read as many books as you could from your to read list during the three months the challenge ran for. The only rule being that the book had to have been on your Goodreads to read shelf for a minimum of three months at the start of the challenge.

You pick your own challenge level, and since it was winter when it started, it was a winter theme for the challenge levels, which - given the weather most of us have had since the start of the year - were very appropriate; I know of someone who reached blustery blizard while in the middle of one, for example. Anyway, the challenge levels were as follows:

1-3 books Sparkling Snowflake
4-6 books Shiny Icicle
7-9 books Snappy Snowman
10-12 books Blustery Blizzard
13+ books Stately Snow Mountain

At the start of the challenge, while naming the level I was aiming for, I said I wanted to aim for Blustery Blizard, but was hoping to actually reach Stately Snow Mountain, since I wanted to make sure to be reading a lot of books I'd been meaning to read for some time. As it turned out, I actually reached Stately Snow Mountain before the challenge was half over.

So, here are the books I read, along with both the dates they were added to my to read shelf, and the dates I finnished reading them:

1. Ever After (The Hollows, #11) by Kim Harrison ~ marked as to read on December 30th 2012; read on January 10th 2016.
2. Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer ~ marked as to read on January 5th 2013; read on January 12th 2016.
3. The Undead Pool (The Hollows, #12) by Kim Harrison ~ marked as to read on March 5th 2013; read on January 16th 2016.
4. The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1) by Rick Riordan ~ marked as to read on September 23rd 2015; read on January 17th 2016.
5. Angels Club by Courtney Vail & Sandra J. Howell ~ marked as to read on July 30th 2014; read on January 19th 2016.
6. The Bungalow Mystery (Nancy Drew, #3) by Carolyn Keene ~ marked as to read on March 18th 2015; read on January 20th 2016.
7. Revenge of the Living Dummy (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #1) by R.L. Stine ~ marked as to read on January 15th 2013; read on January 23rd 2016.
8. Creep from the Deep (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #2) by R.L. Stine ~ marked as to read on January 15th 2013; read on January 24th 2016.
9. The Magic City by E. Nesbit ~ marked as to read on December 31st 2012; read on January 24th 2016.
10. Monster Blood For Breakfast! (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #3) by R.L. Stine ~ marked as to read on January 15th 2013; read on January 25th 2016.
11. Scat the Scaredy Cat by Sheryl Tidlund ~ marked as to read on March 27th 2015; read on January 25th 2016.
12. The Scream of the Haunted Mask (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #4) by R.L. Stine ~ marked as to read on January 15th 2013; read on January 26th 2016.
13. Dr. Maniac vs. Robby Schwartz (Goosebumps HorrorLand #5) by R.L. Stine ~ marked as to read on January 15th 2013; read on January 27th 2016.
14. A Bitter Draught (Ravenwood Detective Agency Mystery #2) by Sabrina Flynn ~ marked as to read on September 1st 2015; read on January 27th 2016.

Getting books I've had waiting to be read for ages actually read is one of my reading goals for the year, which means I planned to do this anyway, so I'm continuing to focus my reading time on reading books that I've had on my to-read shelf for three months or longer, and have read several more books that would have counted for this challenge since the end of January. But I stopped checking in to add the titles and dates to my list on the challenge thread once I'd reached the highest level for the challenge, since there didn't seem much point in continuing to do so.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Furkid Friday: call Skye - or maybe Sky?

Hi there humans, rats, and any other types of rodents - or any other kind of creature for that matter - who happens to be reading this.

This is Star the rat.

A couple of weeks ago, the humans were watching TV, and I was watching it with them. Then, all of a sudden, the Mummy human turned to me and said something about the Daddy human needing to remind her to call Skye, and wanting me to remind him to remind her.

Well, I wasn't sure what this was all about, but I heard my sister's name mentioned, so I went to where she was taking a nap in the hammock, smacked her across the head to wake her up, and made her come with me to the side of the cage closest to where the human caretakers were.

For some reason, which we rats didn't understand at the time, this made the human caretakers laugh.

When they stopped laughing, the Mummy human explained that she'd meant Sky TV and not Skye the rat.

Well, she should have said that then, shouldn't she?

Humans can be confusing sometimes!

Squeak soon,


Human's note: I swear this really happened. A couple of weeks ago, we were watching TV, and something we needed help with to do with the Sky TV box came up during one of our commercial break discussions, but it was a weekend, so we decided we'd call them on Monday. We'd been meaning to call about it for a while and kept forgetting (I'd ask Kelly to remind me, and we'd both forget). I jokingly said I'd have to get one of the rodent gang to remind Kelly to remind me, and - since I knew Star was hanging on the side of the cage beside where I was sat, watching TV with us - turned towards the rat cage and said, "Star, remind Daddy to tell me to call Sky on Monday," and Star promptly jumped down and went to fetch Skye and make her come see what we wanted. I'm thinking the only words she recognized were her own name, the word "Daddy" and what she thought was the name "Skye" - all three being words she is familiar with, and responds to - and thought I was saying her Daddy wanted to know where her sister was, or something like that. ~Tori

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

#Writing Wednesday - April 6th 2016 (LBE)

A long post this week, with several links... Make yourself comfortable!

Ready? OK...

It's April, which means it's National Poetry Month, or National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) if you're a writer of poetry, as well as a reader of it. Whichever you want to call it... It's celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

So... Will you be taking part in the celebration of poetry in some way this month? Perhaps by writing some of your own? Perhaps by reading the poetry of others? If so, I'd love to hear about it.

There are some other writing challenges happening this month too. Including Camp NaNoWriMo, and one I heard about where your goal is to write a novel in 8 days.

I'm not officially participating in any challenges myself. But, as I said, I'd be interested to hear if you are. If you are, which ones? Or, if you're doing your own personal challenge, what are you doing? Also, if you are doing a challenge of some sort, how's it going so far? Like I said, I'd love to hear about it.

I'd originally planned to be publishing a new poetry collection this month. But it isn't ready. I've got enough poems that I could do one, but haven't had a chance to do anything towards sorting the cover beyond having an idea for what I'd like to have appear on it. So I guess it will have to wait. In the meantime, I'll work on adding a couple more poems to it. After all, I'm sure nobody will object to it having more poems in it than originally planned. My goal is to have at least one poem written each week during April; more if possible.

Did you know: There are several personal benifits of writing poetry. So, if it's not something you already do, but you've been considering it, maybe reading those benifits will be enough to encourage you to try? Go on... You know you want to!

Also, if you're interested in knowing facts about the history of poetry, check out this post on rhyming traditions from early China to modern day rap.

If you found the previous article interesting, you may find this one on how upper and lower case letters changed the world interesting too.


Want to write, but don't think you're good enough? Stop that! The only thing stopping you from writing is yourself. So, here are 5 steps to fighting off writer's insecurity. OK, so... Are you ready to tackle that writing project now? You are? Great!

First of all, here's a helpful metaphor for writers (and other creative professionals). I'm not so good with number four. I'd like to be, but I always find myself focussing more on the other three legs of the table. As the writer friend whose blog I spotted the post linked on said... Maybe I should buy a hat!

OK... Now it's time to start working on that book. We'll start by creating your world, and fleshing out the details for it. This also applies if you're writing things set in modern times, but is especially important if you're writing a historical or futuristic story. So, take a look at this worldbuilding checklist to make sure you've covered everything. Yes, I am aware that it's the same one linked to in the first of the two posts in this paragraph; I thought I'd put the link in my post too, to make it easier to go straight to it in the future.

After that, you'll need to decide on the viewpoint you'll be writing from. If you're choice is to write in first person, these tips will help you to produce amazing results. But, regardless of the viewpoint you choose, this post will help you with mapping your character. It's always great when your characters talk to you; helps you get to know them, and turn them in to "real" people.

Next, here's how to describe an object, and why it matters in your story.

When you're done writing your story, you can use Grammar Check to help you check your grammar (just in case the name of the site wasn't a big enough clue as to what you'd use it for).

Of course, you're going to need a title at some point too. So, here's a post that will give you some tools to create titles that will hook your readers.

After that, you need to decide how you're going to publish. The Guardian published an article recently that prompted a fellow author to write a post giving his thoughts on the claim that real writers don't self-publish. Want to know my thoughts? Well, I'll tell you anyway. Here's the thing: different forms of publishing are best for different people. For some, traditional publishing is the route to go down. For others, self-publishing is the best option. But, regardless of which you choose, there are no guarantees of success, nor of failure. Both options have equal chances of making you a successful author, or of making you one of those people who only manages to sell a couple of books (and those to family and friends). The thing is though that both options are just as valid as one another. In other words: it doesn't matter which you choose at the end of the day. Just pick the option you feel is the right one for you, be proud you even managed to finnish your book, and good luck to you with whichever path to publication you choose to follow. If, however, your choice is to self-publish, here are 8 questions to answer before you self-publish.

Published - traditionally or otherwise - but struggling to get book sales? Here are some tips on finding new readers. The chances of them resulting in you having enough readers to become the next J K Rowling are slim, if I'm honest. But the post is good advice to give you a chance at increasing your readership, I think. Apparently, these tips on lessons from the silver screen, which can be used for books too, will ensure your book's success. But, as I already said, nothing is guaranteed. Oh, and here's a message about common sense book marketing, which you might want to read too.


I recently read this post about how continuing to use paper increases productivity, which I found quite interesting. I actually agree with most of the points raised in it, and think the article is well worth the read.

Unfortunately, for reasons that should be obvious, I have no choice but to go paper-free, since the only methods for taking quick notes that are available to me are by using digital devices. In the past, I've tried various versions of taking notes in braille. However, the brailler is bulky (not to mention, noisy like the old typewriters, so not something you'd want to be using to take notes in the early hours of the morning) and the braille writing frames are awkward to use (not to mention, it takes so long to do each letter with them that you've forgotten your idea by the time you've finnished the first word). It took me getting my iPhone and trying out its "notes" function before I found anything that I could use to take notes reasonably quickly without being sat in front of my computer.

If, however, you have nothing stopping you from making doing something similar to what's suggested in the article possible, I would advise that you do so. If nothing else, it will help you to avoid the distractions of social media.


Before I end this post, I want to say a quick "thank you" to fellow author, Amber Fox, who runs the Everywhere Indies site, and who did a post about the release of "Rhubarb The Red-Nosed Rabbit" for me last week. So... Thanks, Amber!

Monday, April 04, 2016

The Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales by Alexandra Butcher

The Fire-Side Tales Collection

The Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales – six short tales of mayhem and mischief.

Naughty imps, missing socks, cunning thieves and baffled gods feature in this collection of short fantasy fiction.

Grab your Kindle friendly copy today from Amazon.Com, or from Amazon UK. Alternatively, you can grab a copy of the eBook in some other format via Smashwords. It should be appearing on those other eBook retailers Smashwords distributes to shortly.

Also... There's an audio version coming soon!

Alexandra Butcher - author of The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles and other fantasy stories - can be found at

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Reading Addicts October to December 2015 Challenges

I'm quite late posting this, because I was waiting for the awards, which were delayed by the person in charge of them having some really bad health issues, and nobody else being in a position to pick up the slack for her. I can understand complications and delays caused by health issues like that, so I'm making no complaints about it. I'm simply telling you so you know why I'm so behind on posting about these challenges.

However, the person is still having health issues, and the awards are still not created, so I'm just going to go ahead and post this. I'll post the awards when she gets to them. I can just link back to this post in the post they go in.


The October 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 2000 pages.
2. Read a book that has Halloween in the title, and or a story that has Halloween in it.
3. Read a book that made you laugh, or cry.
4. Read a book that has an unexpected twist.
5. Read a story that ends on a cliffhanger.

For number five, I read "Pathfinder Legends — Mummy's Mask #1 The Half-Dead City" by Paizo Inc. (the first in a new series of audio dramas, which Paizo are releasing, based on the adventures in their Pathfinder roleplaying system). Trust me, if it was a TV series, the words "to be continued" would have so been on the screen at the end! I actually sort of hate cliffhangers. I mean, I understand why they're used... And know they work... But they still frustrate me. Yes, even though I know any roleplaying adventure would have them as you complete each part of it.

I read "RENOVO" by Geoffrey Wakeling for number five; you never know what will happen next in Geoffrey Wakeling's books!

I also read "When the Lights Go Out - Ink Slingers' Halloween Anthology" by Joleene Naylor, DM Yates, Maegan Provan, Tricia Drammeh, Anne Franklin, L.C. Cooper, Rami Ungar, Barbara G. Tarn, Russ Towne, Yawatta Hosby, C.G. Coppola, Adan Ramie, Bonnie Mutchler, Carolyn Cason, Christopher Mitchell, Jason Gilbert, Nikki Hess, Roger Lawrence, Sean Morain, and Terry Compton. It's an anthology of creepy Halloween stories, so counts for number two both because of the mention of Halloween in the stories, and because it has Halloween in the title.

Plus, I read "The Shepherd's Crown" (Discworld, #41; Tiffany Aching, #5) by Terry Pratchett for number three; it both made me laugh and cry. I laughed because it was full of the entertaining and amusing scenes all the Discworld novels contain, and I cried because it's the last book, as well as because of a certain scene not too far from the start, which anyone who has gotten to know and love the Discworld characters would cry about. I'm not saying what it is though, because I don't do spoilers; anyone who's read the book will understand, I'm sure.

I'm also as positive as I can be without sitting down and counting pages, which I don't want to do, that I read the 2000 pages mentioned in number one. How do I know this if I didn't sit down and add up the pages? Well, I know several of the books I read during October were 400 pages or longer, from seeing the page counts while doing the ratings on Goodreads, and since I can be 100% certain that this is the case for at least five of the books I read, plus I read several other books of lengths I'm not as sure of afterwards, I'm positive I reached the 2000 page mark. Besides, you all know I read a lot, so it's not difficult to imagine how likely it is for me to read 2000 pages, is it?

So... Yeah... I think I had the October reading challenge covered.

The November reading challenge on the same group was to complete at least one of the following:

1. Read 1500 pages
2. Read a book with an animal on the cover
3. Read a new released book (One that has been released in November)
4. Read two books with the main character having the same name. (So if the main character is Luke in one book than read another book that has the main character called Luke)
5. Read a book that you rate 5 stars.

So, which ones did I do?

I read "Pathfinder Legends - Mummy's Mask, chapter 2 Empty Graves" by Cavan Scott, which I rated five stars, so that counts for number five.

I also read both "The Vampire Prince" and "Hunters of the Dusk" (Cirque Du Freak, #6 and #7) by Darren Shan, which obviously both have a character named Darren in them, since they're part of the same series following the character of Darren Shan. So, they count for number four.

That was enough for me to say I completed the challenge, since the rules say "at least one" item from the list, and I completed two of them. So, at that point I called it done, and didn't bother doing any more for the November challenge.

And then there was the December reading challenge for the same group, which was to complete at least one of the following:

1. Read a book with snow in the story, or on the cover
2. Read a book that has Christmas in it
3. Read a book with a book cover that has the colors Red and white on it.
4. read 1500 pages
5. Read a book that has new year celebration in it

For this one I read "The Entirely Strange and Miraculously True Christmas Tails of MIA and Eve" by Rob Duder, and "Merry Christmas, Mister Wolf" by Steph Bennion, which I counted for numbers one and two respectively. They technically both worked for either one, since they're both Christmas stories featuring snow, but the snow is real in Rob Duder's book, so I think that one should be the one used for the snow book (the snow in Steph Bennion's book is artificial).

As with the November challenge, I called it done after doing those two, since they were enough to say I completed the December challenge.

As I said, this is from the group where we usually get badges. So, I'll post the badges whenever they end up being created, and link back to this post when I do. I have absolutely no idea when that will be though.