Sunday, December 31, 2017

#FREE #KidLit #Audiobooks

If you missed my post from Tuesday, you may want to check that out. There's still time to take advantage of the chance to get all my books as eBooks for half price.

On the other hand, if you're the kind of person who prefers audiobooks, this post is for you.

You see, I've still got some codes left for some of my audiobooks, and I want you to have them.

Yes... You!

I have codes for and codes for Audible UK for the five books in my Toby's Tales series, the two books in my Degu Days Duo, and the seven books in my Kero's World series. You can request codes for one series, or all three.

In case you don't know: My Toby's Tales series is a series about a little boy named Toby's struggles to adjust after sight loss, and deal with the fears and frustrations of being blind. My Degu Days Duo is a short series that tells the story of two different days in the life of a group of degus, based on the lives of my own degus, Jacob, Jasper, Jenks, and Joshua. And my Kero'sWorld series is a series of stories based on events that happened in the life of my West Highland White Terrier, Castellan Keroberous.

All you have to do to get your free copies of these books is to send an eMail with the subject "free books" to (the subject requirement is to make sure I don't dismiss your eMail as potential spam). Please tell me in the eMail which series you want, or that you want all three, and whether you want your codes to be for or Audible UK. I will then reply with your codes and links.

No catch. It really is as simple as that. As long as you get in touch before the codes run out, they're yours!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

When Zeena Met Fizzle

Zeena lay back against the trunk of the tree, her amethyst scales glittering like jewels in the shaft of sunlight that shone down on her from a gap in the tree’s leafy canopy.  Glancing at the apple held in one front claw, the faerie dragon licked her lips as she anticipated the sweet and refreshing snack she was about to enjoy.  Then she tossed the apple in to the air, preparing to catch it in her open jaws.
However, the apple’s journey from her claw to her mouth was never completed, as something invisible came out of nowhere and caught the apple in mid-air.
“Saarik? Is that you?” Zeena asked, squinting in the direction her apple had gone, as though she could see through the invisibility cloaking the creature to the pixie she was sure had just stolen her snack.  “Show yourself.”
But as soon as the creature revealed itself, the faerie dragon knew she’d been mistaken about the identity of the apple thief.
Fizzle wiped his mouth on a leaf as the purple-scaled drite gazed around the unfamiliar surroundings. The crimson dragonfly wings on his back repeatedly fluttered to help him balance on the thin branch. At the sight of the other dragon, he cocked his head to the side and let out a puff of rainbow smoke from his nostrils. The other creature looked like a drite, but there was something different about her that he could not put his finger on.
“Sorry about apple. Fizzle got hungry,” he said, scratching his head with his long tail. “Fizzle lost. Followed friends to big battle. Big things attack and make mess. Fizzle need find friends. Almost drite see friends? One girl with blue hair. Other big man. Another girl smell like magic. Fizzle hope they okay.”
“Oh, you are a drite, not a pixie,” Zeena observed.  “It is fine about the apple.  I thought you were my friend up to mischief.”  She paused then as the words of the other form of dragon fae registered.  “Big battle?” She asked, her eyes widening with alarm.
“Yup . . . Though not here,” Fizzle explained, the strange scents warning him the he was not in his world. He darted above the canopy and went limp to fall back into the trees. “This not Windemere forest. You safe. Fizzle and friends travel long to beat bad man. Many tests and fights. Now, we ready to face bad man. He win then world his. Fizzle and friends win then he die. People already go mad. Not good.”
“That sounds terrible,” Zeena said, despite her relief that her world was safe from the battle of which the drite spoke.  “Tell me more about these friends of yours.  If it is easier for you, you can do so in draconic.  I assume you speak it?”
“Fizzle can speak. Never sure if others know,” the purple-scaled drite admitted as his cheeks turned a little red. He cleared his throat until his voice was much deeper and gruff. “I am traveling with six people who are fairly easy to spot. Aside from those who physically stand out like Timoran with his barbarian height and Dariana with her silver hair, they are not very good at keeping a low profile. If it is not Sari starting a party or Luke getting into trouble then Nyx causes a scene with her temper. She has improved a lot since I first met her, which is good considering the amount of magic that she wields. The one you might miss is Delvin, who you might mistake for a knight and tends to be the most low key of the champions. He does have an enticing scent for anyone with a magical sensitivity. Considering you are asking for a description, I assume they have not come through here.”
“I am afraid not,” Zeena replied, also in Draconic, ignoring the drite’s embarrassment and shaking her head regretfully.  “As you say, I would remember such a group.”  Frowning slightly, the faerie dragon gave the drite a quizzical look.  “They must be really special for you to be so keen to find them.  No offence, but I was under the impression that a drite was more like a pixie in attention span, and unlikely to stick with someone for long unless something forged a strong bond between them.”
“Fizzle know rumor. Not all true,” he replied, returning to Tradespeak out of habit. “Drites not big on wandering. Some get curious. Yet, we stay with forest. Fizzle protect Visindor for long time. When meet Luke, Fizzle see he needed. Fizzle have friend. Friend save forest and world. So, Fizzle help friend. Simple as that.”
“I see,” Zeena replied, also reverting back to the more commonly used Tradespeak.  “Well, if you are going to find your friends in time to join that battle you mentioned, you should probably get back to looking for them,” she suggested.  “There is an apple tree over there if you would like to grab another apple to keep you going until you do,” the faerie dragon added as an afterthought, pointing in the direction of the tree in question.
“Thank you,” Fizzle said before he darted to the tree and returned with an apple in each claw. Still feeling bad about the one he stole, the drite placed one on the branch. “Fizzle hope you have good day. If hear battle, stay safe. Fizzle no know if danger spread. Bye-bye.”

Author Bio & Social Media
Charles E. Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN

Friday, December 29, 2017

#Furkid Friday: Lilie The #Westie's 1st #Christmas (FD)

Hi everyone. This is Lilie the Westie.

Well, I never saw him. Santa Paws, I mean. The squeaky things in cages say they aren't surprised, since they haven't ever spotted him either. He must have come to visit at some point though, because our stockings were full, and the humans said he'd been. I mean, they seem to know all about him, so I suppose they'd know, wouldn't they? How he got past me is a mystery though. Either way, he came, and he obviously agreed that trying to be good counts, because I had lots of toys and treats.

My stocking had treats in it, as well as this fluffy squeaky snowball:

And this squeaky toy the humans say is what Santa looks like:

(I'm still not sure how I missed someone wearing a bright outfit like that coming in to our home in the middle of the night).

There were other presents to open too...

...Like this rawhide candycane, which is what I'm opening in the above video...

...Plus other treats - which the humans wouldn't let me have all of - and loads of toys. By the end of it, I had a nice stack of new toys that included balls, squeaky toys, tuggy toys, and some that doubled as more than one thing (squeaky balls, for example). Here I am checking them out where I gathered them together on the big bed the humans insist is their bed:

Later, there was honey roast ham as well. It was amazing!

I love this Christmas thing! Can we do it again?

Lots of licks,

Thursday, December 28, 2017

#KidLit #Book - Filicity The Musical Platypus Now In #Audio! #Animals #Platypus

Filicity is a platypus who loves music and has only one question on her mind... Why can’t a platypus be musical?

She’s heard the birds singing, she’s heard the music coming from the wonderful musical box with buttons that the humans call an ipod, and she’s heard the instruments of the travelling musicians on their way to the nearby town. All of them sound beautiful to her, and she longs to make music too!

Determined to find a way to be musical, Filicity sets off on a quest to find a way she can make the music she loves so much. After all, there has to be a way for a platypus to be musical too... Doesn’t there?

Previously only available as an eBook or paperback, "Filicity The Musical Platypus" is now also available as an audiobook, read for you by Jenny Bacon.

Here are the main places where you can buy the book, regardless of the format you'd prefer:

Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, iTunes, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

You can also find the book on Goodreads.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

#Writing Wednesday: Looking Back At 2017

OK, so... Let's take a look at what 2017 was like for me as an author, shall we?

As I said in this post from January 2017, my goals for 2017 as an author were as follows:

*Complete production of the paperback version of "Ulrike's Christmas" as soon as possible.
*Add to already written poems so as to publish a new poetry collection.
*Continue working on stories, and publish at least one.
*Spend a bit more time on marketing.

So, how did I do?

*"Ulrike's Christmas" is available in paperback. In fact, it's also now available in audio.
*I published a poetry collection in April 2017 called "Catching Snowflakes And Other Poems" and have even written a few new poems since.
*I published a stand alone story called "How To Trust Your Human" in July 2017, and even have it available in paperback and audiobook as well as eBook already. I've made some progress with working on other stories too, though not as much as I'd have liked to have done, nor as much as I'd hoped/planned to do. Still, any progress is a good thing, right?
*I did several guest posts and interviews, as well as a couple of blog tours. I even attempted a live Facebook event during one of my blog tours. I know of a few other things I could have done, but it's an improvement on previous years, when I only did the odd guest post or interview from time to time. Plus, some of the things I could have done are things I don't plan to do... Not every marketing option works for everyone, after all.

I also did something that wasn't part of my goals list, which was to arrange for a large chunk of my books to be made available in audio. Almost half my books are now available in audio, with several others in various stages of production, and the rest awaiting their turn to be produced. I've been working with a great bunch of narrators to make this possible.

So, the writing and publishing of new stories wasn't quite as successful as I'd hoped it would be, the same goes for marketing. On the other hand, I hadn't planned when I'd be starting audiobook production, yet I've made great progress with organizing that, which helps to counter the fact I didn't do quite as well as I'd hoped to with other things. Besides, even though I'd hoped to do better with actual writing progress, I did meet my goals for the year, so I can't complain, and it does seem - looking back over the year - that 2017 was a successful year for me as an author.

Next week I'll share my goals for 2018. In the meantime, if you had any writing/publishing goals of your own in 2017, how did you do with them? Are you joining me in looking back or moving forward? I'd love to hear how you did. Let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

#Smashwords End Of Year #eBook #SALE - My #KidLit And #Poetry Is All Enrolled

Did you - or your children/grandchildren - get a new eReader for Christmas? Do you want to fill that eReader with some discounted eBooks? Or, perhaps, you just love books and want to get as many as you can with the money someone gave you for Christmas?

Regardless of which of those applies to you - or whatever other reason you might have for wanting to buy more books (not that you really need a reason) - you're in luck!

Smashwords is doing its first ever end of year sale, and several authors have enrolled, including me.

How it works:

At one minute past midnight Pacific time on December 25, the special Smashwords End of Year promotion catalog goes live on the Smashwords home page.  Readers can browse the catalog and search by coupon code levels and categories.  After 11:59pm Pacific time on January 1, the catalog disappears.

The coupon codes only work at Smashwords and will not affect prices at other retailers.

I've enrolled all my books at 50% off, which makes some of them free, many of them just $0.99, and all of them $2.50 or less.

Yes, this does include my poetry as well as my childrens' stories.

You can find my books via my Smashwords author profile. Simply choose your book, add it to your basket, and then enter coupon code SEY50 before taking the books through the checkout. Yes, it is the same code for all the books, and you can use it for as many of the books as you like.

I enable all formats Smashwords allows, which means my books are available in multiple eBook formats, including mobi (for Kindle) and ePub (for Nook) as well as a couple of formats that will work on your computer (such as PDF and HTML). This means there's a format that will work for you, regardless of your eReader of choice. In fact, if you can read this post, you can read my books.

To see what books other authors have enrolled in the sale, and get your hands on some great eBook bargains, go to Smashwords' website and browse the catalogue of books on sale.

Hurry! The sale will be ending soon!

Oh, and... Don't forget to tell your friends!

Monday, December 25, 2017

#MondayMotivation And #Inspiration - #Christmas Edition

When we remember a special Christmas, it is not the presents that made it special, but the laughter, the feeling of love, and the togetherness of friends and family that made that Christmas special.
~Catherine Pulsifer

Christmas is more than just presents, it's love and harmony.
~Julie Hebert

Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values.
~Thomas S. Monson

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
~Charles Dickens

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
~orman Vincent Peale

If I could wish a wish for you, it would be for peace and happiness not only now, but for the whole year through!
~Catherine Pulsifer

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

#Christmas #Music

I'm not a Christian by any stretch of the imagination. But I do enjoy Christmas music - even those songs with a religeous tone to them - and happen to think most Christmas music is beautiful. I also think the music is even more beautiful still when children are singing the songs. With that in mind, here are a couple of videos of Claire Ryann singing Christmas songs. She's four years old in the first, but turned five by the time the second was done. Anyway... Enjoy!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

A #Christmas #Poem By Lilie The #Westie #Puppy

Christmas Lilie

I thought she planned to play with me
When I saw she had a ball,
But she attached it to my collar
(Which made no sense at all).

When I saw the thing she called tinsel,
I once more thought we'd play,
But it turned out she had other things
Planned for me that day.

She attached that to my collar too,
Then she tied it in a bow.
She said I looked real festive,
But I just don't know...

I thought I looked a little silly,
And the degu said I was right,
While the chinchillas squealed with laughter,
And said I'd made their night.

I've heard it said this time of year
Many humans decorate a tree.
Well I guess she got a bit confused,
Because she decorated me.

Though, if I’m being really honest,
I thought it was kind of fun.
My favourite part though was the treat
I got when she was done.

© 2017 Victoria "Tori" Zigler
~Written on behalf of Lilie the West Highland White Terrier.

Friday, December 22, 2017

#Furkid Friday: Lilie The #Westie's Letter To #SantaPaws (FD)

Originally posted on Sue Vincent's Daily Echo as part of Ani's advent. You can see the original post here.


Dear Santa Paws,

The humans and the squeaky things in cages say you’re coming for a visit, and that you plan to bring toys and treats. I love visitors, especially if they bring stuff like toys and treats with them, so I hope you’re coming real soon.

I’m not sure how this works, because this is my first time writing to you, but I’m told I should tell you how good I’ve been and what I want you to bring when you visit. Apparently if I haven’t been good you won’t bring me toys and treats. That’s OK, because I really have been good. OK, mostly. Well, I’ve tried to be good, and since I’m only a puppy that counts, right? I mean, it wasn’t my fault about the audio book. The thing with the slippers wasn’t my fault either. Besides, I already went to puppy jail for those things, so it wouldn’t be fair if I had to go without toys and treats when I was punished already.

Anyway, you can bring me any toys and treats you want. I’m especially fond of chicken though, and my favourite toys are balls and the kinds of toys that go squeak when you grab them in the right place... Just so you know. Oh, and I really do need new toys, since I’m getting low on them because of how they keep falling apart when I’m playing with them – also not my fault!

I hope you’re coming to visit soon. I can do stairs now, so I’ll come greet you at the door when you arrive. If you remember the toys and treats, I’ll even do my happy wiggle dance for you.

Lots of licks,

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Blessed #WinterSolstice 2017

Today is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere: the darkest day of the year.

Apparently, the exact time and date of the Winter Solstice this year in the Northern Hemisphere - as in, the astronomical event that occurs at the time we call the Winter Solstice - will be at 16:28 (that's 4:28pm) on Thursday 21st December 2017.

Of course, that's based on UK time, so you have to adjust that time depending on where exactly you happen to be in the Northern Hemisphere. If it helps with your calculations, this post is scheduled to go live 6 hours and 28 minutes before that time.

Anyway... Whether you celebrate/acknowledge it or not...

Blessed Winter Solstice!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - December 20th 2017

In case you missed the posts about them...

"Home Squeak Home" is now available in audio, narrated by Jerry Fischer, who you can learn a bit more about by checking out his recent narrator interview.


Just in time for you to count it among your holiday reading/listening for this year, "The Forgotten Angel" is now in audio, narrated by Jenny Bacon, with Beatrice Turner as the voices of Holly and the children.

Both books are now available to buy in audio from Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Links for those - along with links for the eBook and paperback versions, should you prefer those - can be found in the posts linked to above.

If you have books of your own you want to produce in audio, you may be interested to know that there's more than Audible available for you to use to do so. Personally, I'm sticking with ACX/Audible to do mine, but it doesn't hurt to be aware of having other options.

Regardless of whether you're aware of the various options you can choose from when it comes to sharing your work, I'm sure you're aware that the end of the year is approaching. Are you looking back on the past year? Are you making plans for next year? Most people are. If you're a writer doing this, here are some thoughts from one author on how he handles the end of the year as an author. How do you handle it?

However you view your writing, here are some excellent guidelines for if you using familiar faces in newer works.

Struggling to think of ideas for something to write? Want your story to have a holiday theme? Then check out these writing prompts for holiday inspiration. Some of these can potentially be adapted to work for blogging prompts too, especially if they trigger memories of your own past holidays.

On the other hand, if ideas aren't your problem, but you're still feeling uninspired, and like you want to quit writing the book you're working on, revisit your old favourites.

Always remember: if you're a lonely writer, you're not alone. Also, if you're a writer who worries about, check out this list of things writers really need to stop worrying about.

Finally, here's some advice on how to survive discovering your story idea has been written before - in case you need it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Random Ramblings - December 2017 (FD)

(The photo above shows Lilie stood at the top of our stairs, looking longingly at the front door, waiting for her Daddy).

Many dogs will form a stronger bond with one person in their "pack" over the others. In Lilie's case, this person is Kelly.

She's happy to be with me. In fact, she loves to have both of us nearby. But she absolutely adores her Daddy, and will go to him over me almost every time. Sometimes I can tempt her to me with food - assuming I have some food she wants, and he doesn't have anything edible at all - but most often even food isn't enough to make her pick me over her Daddy.

The photo above is exactly how she is every time he goes out without her. There's a flight of stairs as soon as you come in our door, and she waits at the top of them, looking longingly at the door, ready to race down to it the moment it opens and her Daddy comes home. Then she'll greet him with her best wiggle dance, and often some excited yips.

Sometimes - especially if he's out for a long time - she'll whine a bit as though wondering out loud what's taking him so long, but mostly she waits there in silence. It's the stillest - not to mention quietest - she ever is while awake.


A few months ago, I saw this recipe for Pumpkin, Mushroom, and Spinach Tater Tot Casserole. It sounded tasty, so I decided I wanted to make it.

I originally planned to make it around Halloween, but with the caravan holiday Lilie and I went on with my Mam happening so close to Halloween, I didn't end up doing so.

Then I thought I'd make it for Thanksgiving. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here - and, if we did, like we have a couple of times over the years, it would be Canadian Thanksgiving, since Kelly's Canadian - but I didn't see why I couldn't make something nice for that date. Except life happened, and I didn't end up making it then either.

Finally, about a week ago, I got around to making it, and learned I was right that it's very tasty. Something to bear in mind if you're looking for more pumpkin recipes ready for next pumpkin season, have some frozen/canned pumpkin to use up, or whatever. Especially if you're looking for vegetarian friendly recipes.


It's my Mam's birthday today.

I've actually been really bad about posting about birthdays on here in the past couple of months, even though there have been several. I used to remember to post about everyone who had a birthday, but lately it's not been happening. I mean, it took me two weeks to post about my own birthday. LOL!

So, while I'm actually remembering to do so, let me take this opportunity to say, "happy birthday," to my Mam, and to anyone reading this who celebrated their birthday in the past couple of months.


We haven't had any more snow yet, unfortunately. I'm crossing my fingers that the next week will involve some snow, but not holding my breath, since I know the chances are slim.

It has been really cold here though. As in, cold enough that I've been wearing fluffy socks most days. Those who have followed me for a long time may remember that I hate having things on my feet, and go barefoot at home, except when the weather gets cold, when I'll wear fluffy socks. Sometimes slippers make an appearance too, but more often than not it's just the socks. Especially since Lilie ate my Cthulhu slippers.

I do have another pair of slippers. They're purple with dogs on them. But the Cthulhu ones were more comfortable, and better at keeping cold toes warm. Mind you, I prefer to just go with the fluffy socks most of the time anyhow. I still wish she hadn't eaten the Cthulhu slippers though.

Anyway, the temperature has been sticking around 5 degrees C (42 degrees F) most of the time - give or take a couple of degrees in either direction - and the wind has been quite strong at times, even on those days when the rain stays away. I don't really mind though. I like the cold weather better than the hot weather, and would much rather the temperatures we've been having to those Kelly's cousin, Holly, says she's been having in Australia.


Want to help raise money for The Dog's Trust?

Hugh is collecting links, and donating money to The Dog's Trust for each link he collects. Isn't that nice?

For more details, or to get involved, check out Hugh's post from yesterday.

Monday, December 18, 2017

#KidLit #Holiday #Book - The Forgotten Angel Now in #Audio! #Christmas #Angels

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

Previously only available as an eBook or paperback, "The Forgotten Angel" is now also available as an audiobook, read for you by Jenny Bacon, with Beatrice Turner as the voices of Holly and the children.

Here are the main places where you can buy the book, regardless of the format you'd prefer:

Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, iTunes, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

#Snow By The #Ocean AKA Lilie The #Westie's First Real Snowfall

When we got the light dusting of snow on December 9th, they had more in Wales. I told my Mam it wasn't fair that Wales was getting better snow now I don't live there any more. She reminded me that I have the ocean practically right outside my window, and that I have that all year round - snow or not.

"That's true," I said. "But I want both... I want snowy beaches!"

Two days later, I got my wish:

OK, so there wasn't loads of snow, but we woke up on that Monday morning (December 11th) to see snow on the beach - as shown in the above photo, taken from our livingroom window - and this scene outside our back window:

Lilie and I headed outside to check it out, dragging Kelly along with us so he could take photos. The snow on the ground was more like icy slush where people had been walking on it and it was having trouble sticking from the rain, but Lilie checked it out anyhow...

It was still snowing a little at this point... Kelly says you can see it a little in this photo of me:

But it was sticking best on the cars and things...

So - since they'd want the snow off their car eventually anyhow, and most of our neighbours are nice enough that I knew they wouldn't mind - I grabbed some snow off one of the neighbours' car roofs...

And made snowballs for Lilie (and for my own enjoyment too). We didn't get a shot of Lilie chasing the snowballs, since Kelly didn't know I was going to throw some for her, so wasn't ready with the camera. But here she is checking out some snow, and eating it:

It did snow a bit more after these shots were taken. I think we got something like an inch in the end. But the snow changed to rain before Kelly got a chance to take more photos, and what we were left with afterwards was icy slush, which I figured you probably didn't want photos of. If I'm wrong, and you did want to see some slush, just look closely at the photos of Lilie above, and you should see some around her paws.

Friday, December 15, 2017

#Furkid Friday: Maizie The #Chinchilla's Letter To #SantaPaws (FD)

Dear Santa Paws,

I've been a really good chinchilla this year.

Well, OK... Mostly.

I mean, there were the things with the Lilie dog, but I was playing with her, not teasing her. Oh, and the other time... She was getting on my nerves keep bothering me and Mollie. Besides, the human caretakers thought it was funny when I smacked her, so it can't have been that bad, can it? Certainly not bad enough to put me on the naughty list or anything like that. If it is, it's not fair, because the Lilie dog was bad much more times than I was, and I'm nice to my chinchilla sister, Mollie, even when she's cranky, which should make up for anything bad I do to the Lilie dog. Not that I have done anything bad to her... Not really. Like I said, I was only playing...

So, since I'm sure I should be on the nice list, I better tell you what I'd like you to bring me this year. Or, rather, what I'd like you to bring for me and Mollie. See, I'm thinking of my adopted sister, which is a nice thing to do. I told you I'm a good chinchilla.

Anyway, we would like some more wooden toys to gnaw on, since they're great for our teeth, and gnawing on things helps give us something to do while we watch TV. Also, Mollie and I both really love oatmeal and chinchilla cookies, so if we could get some of those too, that would be great. Feel free to add anything extra you'd like to... I promise I'll be very grateful if you do. Thanks!

Squeak soon,

Thursday, December 14, 2017

#KidLit #Book - Home Squeak Home Now In #Audio! #Pets #Gerbils

Moving to a new home can be a scary experience; especially if you’re very small. That’s how it is for Sooty and Scamp; a pair of gerbils chosen by a little boy named Matthew to be the ones to leave the pet shop and their other two brothers to go home with him.

Most people agree that getting a new pet is an exciting experience for any child; or adult, for that matter. But have you ever stopped to wonder how the pet feels during this time? This is the story of two little gerbils, and how they learned to adjust after a little boy took them home. The story is based on the behaviour of a pair of real gerbils, and events are shown from their point of view.

Previously only available in eBook and paperback, my book "Home Squeak Home" is now available in audio too, read for you by Jerry Fischer.

Regardless of which format you'd prefer, here are the main places where you can buy the book:

Audible, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, iTunes, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

You can also find the book listed on Goodreads.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - December 13th 2017

I had planned to do two more blog tours. One to promote my Magical Chapters Trilogy, and the other to promote my Zeena Dragon Fae series. They've been out as eBooks and paperbacks for a while, of course, but I was going to promote those books as they became available in audio - like I did for my other series books. But I've cancelled the other two tours I was going to do. I will post an announcement when the books are available - like I've been doing for my stand alone stories - but won't be doing the actual blog tours.

The main reason they're cancelled is that delays in production mean we're behind schedule on those particular books. I won't bore you with the details as to what caused the delays. All you need to know is that the delays exist, but production is moving along slowly.

I did consider just delaying the blog tours, but in the end decided to just cancel them completely, because it's easier that way, and I have to think of what's easier for myself sometimes, in order to preserve whatever still remains of my health and sanity - neither of which are in particularly good shape these days, but we won't get in to discussions about that right now.

Besides, the three blog tours I did do - combined with how many times I've mentioned it on here, as well as on Twitter and Facebook - should make it clear that I'm working on getting my backlist of books all available in audio, and it will give people a break from seeing me appear on those other blogs for a while. Maybe they'll be glad to see me back when I actually have something new published? I hope they will, anyhow.

In the meantime, audiobook production continues to move forward - in fact, I'll be posting about two more of my books being available in audio during this next week - and I continue to attempt to get some actual writing time in.

Speaking of writing...

Are you a writer who writes fantasy? Then you may like to take a look at these eight tips for writing a fantasy novel.

On the other hand, if it's mystery you write, you may like to check out these eight tips for writing a mystery novel.

Regardless of the genre your writing usually falls under, if you're struggling to get your muse to visit, try these ways to goose your muse, and you should soon have plenty of ideas to work with.

When you finally get the ideas flowwing, remember that every story needs closure of some kind, so here's a post that lists some different types of closure. Also, this post may help you to determine if your book needs an epilogue.

No matter what you write, or how you plan to end it, if you say you're going to write it tomorrow, make sure you really mean it, and then make sure you follow through. If you feel you can't for some reason, chances are you're probably over thinking it - again.

Last, but certainly not least, be careful of writer burnout. Take care of yourself first!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Of #Holiday Plans And #Snow (FD)

You've probably noticed, but December is almost half over, and the Winter holidays are coming up fast; Hanukkah starts tonight, the Winter Solstice is in a little over a week, and Christmas Day is less than two weeks away now.

We don't celebrate Hanukkah, but we do celebrate both the Winter Solstice and Christmas. As usual, we aren't doing very much to celebrate either of the Winter holidays we celebrate, though we'll at least do something to acknowledge both.

We plan to have something nice to eat to celebrate the Winter Solstice, and make sure we have some nice nibbles - cakes, biscuits, chocolate, oranges, and some savoury nibbles like cheese and crackers and the like - available to have on Christmas Day between phonecalls to various people, and then cook our Christmas dinner on Boxing Day, like we always do. I'll also do the meditation ritual I do for the Winter Solstice, and will spend Christmas eve watching holiday movies and reading Christmasy books, especially since I have a bit of a tradition of watching "Santa Clause - The Movie" and reading "The Bear Father Christmas Forgot" each Christmas Eve (usually while enjoying hot cocoa and some kind of tasty snack). But that's about it for our plans.

No, we aren't spending Christmas with family. We call many of them to say, "Merry Christmas," and have a little chat on the day - those are the above mentioned phonecalls - but we won't actually see any of them. It will just be me, Kelly, Lilie, Joshua, Mollie, and Maizie. This will be Lilie's first Christmas. I wonder what she'll make of it?

Our holiday shopping is done, apart from some of the food items that need to be brought closer to the day, and some of what we're buying for each other (because that's waiting until after the holidays are over). Most importantly, the presents and cards we're sending to various family members and friends - and their pets, in some cases - are brought and either already with them or on their way to their destinations, so there will be no scrambling to get it all done at the last moment for us. That's one benifit to needing to make sure things are posted to people: you tend to make sure it's done in plenty of time to allow for postal delays. At least, I do.

I'm hoping for a white Winter Solstice and Christmas. Or even just one of those. But then, aren't I always?

We did get some snow on Saturday, but we didn't take photos since we weren't awake for most of it coming down, and it didn't settle very well (probably due to everything being damp from recent storms coming in off the sea, and the salt that would have come with that). Still, at least we did get some, along with more storms; there was another big storm Saturday night, with lots of wind and rain. I enjoy a good storm, but would love more snow! Something the universe apparently took note of this year. But I'll tell you more about that another day.

Saturday's snow was Lilie's first snowfall, but - as already mentioned - we missed seeing most of it fall, and it didn't settle well, so she didn't get to see much snow. To be honest, she didn't even appear to notice the snow existed; she showed as little interest in it as she had in the frost when she first encountered that in early November. At least, that's how she was with what we got on Saturday. She was more enthusiastic yesterday (Monday). But - as already mentioned - I'll tell you more about that another day.

How about you? Have you had snow? Also, what are your plans for the holidays? Are you ready for them? How's the shopping going?

Oh, and... Happy Hanukkah if you celebrate it!

Monday, December 11, 2017

All About The Wires

These days I make full use of the option to schedule posts, and very rarely publish a post on the same day I've written it. Most of my posts are written a couple of days in advance. In fact, some of my posts are written about a week before they go live these days, though I will often go in to a post and edit or add something if needed based on the post topic and recent events. I originally started doing this because I had a lot of things in draft that I wanted to get posted, so I was scheduling posts as I wrote them. But I continued doing it because it then means I can have my posts go up at a regular time, giving consistancy to my readers for when to expect content, even if my routine changes. Plus, the links part of my writing posts needs to be done this way, because I collect links throughout the week.

There's another benifit to doing this, and it's one I was reminded of recently. You see, having posts scheduled ahead of time means my posts will still go up, even if I can't get on the computer to write a post, which was the case for several days at the end of November, after Lilie decided that chewing cables was a good idea.

It was actually Kelly's cable she chewed. The one connecting his computer to the modem. The thing is though, I have the ability to do some things - like keep my eMail under control - using my phone and Kindle. Kelly, on the other hand, doesn't own a phone - smart or otherwise - and the only Kindle he owns only connects to the internet to access the Amazon store. So we unplugged my modem cable and atatched it to Kelly's computer, and I made do with doing what I could with my phone and Kindle while we waited for a replacement cable to arrive.

We actually do have extra cables, but none of them are long enough to reach where they need to. At least, none of them were before we brought an extra one while buying one to replace the chewed one. At least now, if Lilie eats the cable again, we do have a spare that can be used. Although, since we changed how the cables are placed, we're hopeful that she actually won't be repeating her cable chewing any time soon.

She did chew on another cable too, but thankfully not for anything important. She chewed the plug off the paper shredder. Luckily for her, the paper shredder hasn't worked properly for a while, and these days I keep it unplugged for safety reasons (it no longer shuts off fully when done shredding a piece of paper). We needed a new shredder anyhow, but still... *sigh*

Maybe I should just employ Lilie as a paper shredder? She seems to love chewing things, after all...

Anyway, add to this the fire department coming to sort out a new fire alarm system, as well as the fact an inspection of the wiring arranged by the landlords to "make sure everything is up to code" revealed that our wiring isn't, which meant the place had to be rewired, so we've had a couple of days when electricians have been here, and even more when we've been waiting for them and they haven't shown up - when we could have been doing stuff online, but didn't want to be in to anything as they'd need to turn off the power to work - and you'll understand why I'm glad there's an option to schedule posts ahead of time, and why I make full use of it.

It may be Winter and cold... Temperatures haven't been much above freezing lately... But apparently the repair work is still going on. I'm not complaining, because I'm glad the landlords are getting the work done. But, as I said, it does make me glad for the option to schedule posts ahead of time, since I can make sure posts are written on days when I know nobody's coming to do anything. At least, I can now we've replaced the cable Lilie chewed. Well, when she'll let me...

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Question About #Blog Topics

Quick question for followers of my blog. Well, OK, three questions, if I'm honest. Either way...

*Do I do any regular posts on my blog you especially enjoy and want me to continue?
*Is there anything I've done as a one-off post that you wish I'd make a regular thing?
*Are there any topics you wish I'd expand on, or wish I'd post about more often?

If you could take a few moments to answer in the comments section of this post, I'd be extremely grateful.

Thank you in advance.


Friday, December 08, 2017

#Furkid Friday: Mollie The #Chinchilla's Letter To #SantaPaws (FD)

Dear Santa Paws,

I've been a very good chinchilla this year. At least, I tried to be. I know I sometimes get cross and upset for what everyone else thinks is no good reason, but I can't help it. Depression sneaks up on you when you least expect it, and it's sometimes hard not to be cranky when you feel sad. But I try... I really do!

You brought me some really great nibbles and wooden toys last Christmas, so if you could do the same this year, that would be great. Remember, Maizie and I especially love wooden toys we can gnaw on, and nibbles like oatmeal and chinchilla cookies, so those are what I'd most like you to bring. Thanks!

Squeak soon,

Thursday, December 07, 2017

#Poetry #Book Now In #Audio - My Old Clock I Wind By Kevin Morris

The following was sent to me by fellow poet, Kevin Morris, and I am delighted to share it with the poetry fans among my readers:

I am pleased to announce that my collection of poetry, “My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems” is now available, as an audio download from and

“My Old Clock I Wind” derives its title from the clock which sits, in pride of place, on the bookcase in my living room. The title poem reads as follows:

“My old clock I wind
And much philosophy therein find.
I can bring
The pendulum’s swing
To a stop with my hand;
Yet I can not command
Time to default
On his duty and halt
The passing of the years.
He has no ears
For our laughter and tears
And his sickle will swing on
Long after we are gone”.

About The Author
I was born in Liverpool in 1969, a year best known of course for my birth. Well no, actually it is better known for the moon landings which certain peculiar
conspiracy theorists still maintain never took place (the moon landings that is, not my birth!).

It was from my grandfather that I derived my first love of literature and I have many happy memories of him reading to me. As I grew older I learned to
read Braille which opened up the world of independent reading and I still remember how amazing it was to me, as a young boy, to be able to sit with a book
on my knee reading for myself.

I attended school in Liverpool and later went on to read history and politics at university. Having obtained my BA, I went on to gain an MA in political

Since 1994 I have lived and worked in London. I find that I cannot write with background noise, other than the singing of birds, and am lucky that my home
overlooks a large garden and an historic park in Crystal Palace, famed for it's steep hills and fresh air.

Where to buy “My Old Clock I Wind”
Audible (UK) - -
Amazon (US) -
Amazon (UK) -
Moyhill Publishing -
The royal National Institute of Blind People (braille edition) - or call 0303 123 9999, quoting order number 25870603.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - December 6th 2017

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, how did you do? Let me know in the comments.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I didn't participate in NaNoWriMo. I did participate in another author interview recently though, which you can read by going here.

In other news, and just in case you missed my posts about it:

My Battle of Hastings story, "Eadweard - A Story Of 1066" is now in audio, narrated by Danny Letham, who you can get to know more about by reading his recent narrator interview.


"Asha's Big Adventure" is now available in audio, narrated by Patricia DeBruhl.

The audio editions of both books can now be purchased via Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Links for those - as well as the main links for the eBook and paperback versions - can be found in the posts linked to above.

By the way, I still have several free copies available of the audiobooks for my Toby's Tales series, Degu Days Duo, and Kero's World series. So feel free to still enter the giveaways for those. As a general rule though, here's why your favourite author probably can't give you a free book.

Finally, here are a few thoughts on Optimistic Authorship, and here's some advice for when you feel like your writing is going nowhere.

Monday, December 04, 2017


When I first heard this song, I hadn't yet seen the movie it's from. I have since watched "Moana" - having recently got it on DVD - and really loved it. However, though I loved the movie, and really enjoyed the version of this song that's in the movie, I love this version more. I mean, there's just something about listening to an adorable - and talented - little one singing something that makes even the most beautiful of songs that much more beautiful. Don't you agree?

Well, whether you agree or not, I hope you enjoy listening to the song I'm sharing with you today.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Tori's November 2017 #Book #Reviews (LBE)

It's time to take a look at what I read in November.

Before we do though, I just thought I'd share this post that lists 7 unexpected benefits of being a bookworm


As with the previous posts like this one, if you want to know more about the book, or the author, click on whichever it is you want to learn more about, and it will take you to the appropriate page on Goodreads. Clicking on my rating should take you to my actual Goodreads review for the book in question.

Don't forget: the format I've reviewed may not be the format I read. Also, please remember that I read across multiple genres and age ranges, so you should always check if a book is suitable for the intended reader, especially when children are involved. Sometimes reading the book's description on its Goodreads page will be enough for this, but other times you may need to check elsewhere to figure out the genre and/or recommended reading level.

OK... On to the reviews!

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016 by Claire Plaisted
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Like with most anthologies of this sort, there were stories I enjoyed more than others. Some of the stories were really good, some of them were just OK, and others might have appealed to me more if they hadn't ended with the words "to be continued" and a cliffhanger. Overall though, this is a fun and creepy read.

The Pirate Spy: The Journeys of Nathanial DurantThe Pirate Spy: The Journeys of Nathanial Durant by Steven Allan Pease
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It took me a bit to get in to this one, and the plot is quite slow paced throughout, which is something many readers may not like. The book has an interesting plot overall though, as well as a great cast of characters. Unfortunately, the author does have a habit of switching from past to present tense randomly, which is what stops me giving it the full five star rating.

The Dangers of the Tallest Snow, The Adventures of Rocky and the Bear Claw Club: The Legend of the Pirate Blackbear's Lost Gold PineconeThe Dangers of the Tallest Snow, The Adventures of Rocky and the Bear Claw Club: The Legend of the Pirate Blackbear's Lost Gold Pinecone by Steven Allan Pease
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
First of all, if you haven't read the first book in this series, you should make sure to do so before reading this one. It would be best to read the prequel before this one too. Anyway, like the first book in this series, along with the prequel, this is a slow paced read, but an enjoyable one, with an interesting plot and a great cast of characters. I struggled to decide on a rating for this book ,since it suffers from the same issues as the first in the series: I don't like cliffhanger endings, and the author tends to get his tenses mixed up. However, since there's obvious improvement as regards the tenses thing, and the ending does feel more neatly wrapped up than it did in the previous book (despite still being left wide open ready for the next book in the series) I decided to award it the full five stars, since I never do half ratings, and there is obvious improvement when compared to the earlier books.

The Book of PiratesThe Book of Pirates by Howard Pyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An interesting read. I enjoyed reading some of the pirates' tales more than others, but that's usually the case in books with multiple tales to tell.

The Coral IslandThe Coral Island by R.M. Ballantyne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For the most part I felt this book was a great read, which was a fun adventure that was sometimes educational. However, there were parts I felt were rather more detailed than you would expect in a book for this sort of age range, and other parts where I thought the book got overly preachy about God, especially in the last quarter or so of the book. I also felt the ending had a serious case of Deus Ex Machina, and was disappointed that the boys didn't have anything to do with the solution that got them out of the situation they were in.

Lifemarked (The Fatemarked Epic, #5)Lifemarked by David Estes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is an awesome read in its own right, and a totally awesome end to the series! The plot is so gripping that every time I had to put the book down was torture. The characters feel like real people, and watching them grow as the series developed has been a wonderful experience. Also, the writing itself is fantastic! Even though the ending was so well done, I didn't want to leave the world, so was glad of the chance to linger a little longer via the epilogue stories.

The Case of the Missing Cell Phone (Davey & Derek Junior Detectives #1)The Case of the Missing Cell Phone by Janice Spina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An entertaining and well-written book, which was a fun read. I look forward to reading more of the boys' adventures.

The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat (Davey & Derek Junior Detectives #2)The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat by Janice Spina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A magical mystery that is an excellent read.

Pathfinder Legends 3.1: Curse of the Crimson Throne - Edge of AnarchyPathfinder Legends 3.1: Curse of the Crimson Throne - Edge of Anarchy by David Bryher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed getting to join these characters on their adventures again. This is a great one for fans of the Pathfinder roleplaying system, as well as for fans of fantasy themed adventure stories in general.

The Case of the Magical Ivory Elephant (Davey & Derek Junior Detectives #3)The Case of the Magical Ivory Elephant by Janice Spina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is a great addition to this series, and an enjoyable read in its own right. I love these magical mysteries!

The Case of the Brown Scraggly Dog (Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series Book 4)The Case of the Brown Scraggly Dog by Janice Spina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a well-written and excellent magical mystery story.

The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost (Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series Book 5)The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost by Janice Spina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is another excellent addition to this magical mystery series, which has a great cast of characters.

Pathfinder Legends 3.2: Curse of the Crimson Throne - Seven Days to the GravePathfinder Legends 3.2: Curse of the Crimson Throne - Seven Days to the Grave by David Bryher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I didn't enjoy this one as much as the others with these characters. I mean, there were parts of it I thought were great, but I felt like we were just getting started on this part of the adventure when it was over, and the ending felt too sudden even for an adventure like this. So, I enjoyed it, but didn't love it.

My Sister's KeeperMy Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A beautiful and touching story, which will tug at your heartstrings.