Monday, July 31, 2017

How My Love Of Chips Helped Me Finally Meet Alex Lester (FD)

Often, when I can't sleep at night and don't feel like reading or writing, I turn to the radio for company and entertainment. My favourite show being Alex Lester's "Best Time Of The Day" show. Well, that was my favourite. It was on BBC 2 until recent budget cuts made them decide to axe it, which totally sucks.

I knew Alex lived in - or not too far from - the area we now live in, which we moved to almost six years ago, and really wanted to meet him. I almost had the chance to do so a few years ago, when I knew for a fact he'd be at a local event that was happening literally up the road from where I lived at that time (this was before our last move). Unfortunately, as it happened, I didn't end up going to the event after all, so missed out on meeting him.

Kelly went to the event and met him, and even ran in to him a few times while out and about - always when I wasn't with him though, of course. But I was having no luck running in to him.

Until a chance meeting a couple of weeks ago.

We were walking with Lilie along the pomonade towards the peer. Officially we were going to check out some of the entertainment happening that day (more on that in next Monday's post) but we'd left home early in order to stop and have some chips (fries) from the fish and chip shop that's practically on the beach before walking the rest of the way to the peer. It's quite a long walk for me and Lilie, though many people would say it's not too bad of a walk (it's a little under a mile). But the lure of the chips at the half way point, combined with the weather - which was warm and sunny when we left home, even if storm clouds were starting to role in by the time we made it to the peer - made it a pleasant walk. Besides, there are benches set at intervals along the promonade, as well as at street level along the same stretch of road, so there were plenty of chances to rest for a moment or two.

So, we walked down the steps from street level to the promonade, and started walking towards the peer. Suddenly, there was Alex Lester, starting to walk past us.

He stopped to pet Lilie - most people do - and was nice enough to stay and chat for a few moments, and even kind enough to agree to let Kelly take a photo of me with him. So, here's the photo:

It's awesome to have finally got to meet him!

Just think though: If I hadn't wanted those chips so badly, we wouldn't have been walking that way at that particular time. Lucky I'm a sucker for a portion of chips, isn't it?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

#Smashwords #SummerWinterSale2017 Ends Soon!

The Smashwords 2017 Summer/Winter Sale is almost over!

As I've mentioned several times over the past couple of weeks, my books are all enrolled at 50% off. This means they'll range in price from absolutely free to $2.50. Either way, you have the potential chance to snap up a great bargain during this event.

To grab your copies of any of my books, simply go to my Smashwords page, pick your book, add it to your cart, and enter coupon code SSW50 in the box at checkout.

Yes, it is the same code for all of my books. This is a sitewide promotion, so the code is used to get any books that are 50% off during this event, which means all of mine, and many by other authors too.

Yes, you can use the code multiple times. As I said, it's a sitewide promotion, so it's the same code for all books that are 50% off during the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale.

Yes, that purchase does give you access to all formats Smashwords offers, which means there will be a format that works for you, regardless of your tablet or eReader of choice. In fact, if you can read this post, you can read my books.

Yes, this is exclusively on Smashwords. But creating an account with them is free and easy, so you could always sign up if you don't have an account but want to take advantage of the discounted eBooks.

Plenty of other authors have their books enrolled too, so don't forget to browse the list of books on sale. Remember to double check the available formats from other authors though, since - unlike me - some authors don't take advantage of all the options for available formats.

The sale ends on July 31st 2017, so you better hurry if you want to get your hands on some free and discounted eBooks!

Friday, July 28, 2017

#Furkid Friday: Lilie's First Baths And #Vet Trips

Hi everyone! This is Lilie the Westie.

The day after the humans picked me up from my Furmama's house, they put this harness thing on me...

And took me to a place called "the vet" that's just a short car ride from my new home. I didn't mind that car ride so much, because it wasn't a long one, and I was allowed to be in the Mummy human's arms looking out of the window. I'm not sure what the harness thing was on me for though. I mean, that thing is for walkies time, apparently, but I wasn't allowed to go down on the ground to walk and sniff, so I don't know why they put it on me.

Anyway, they adored me at the vet, and everyone said how cute I was and gave me cuddles and attention. I loved that! I also got a treat from one of the people there, which I loved too, of course.

The one who gave me the treat weighed me, and I weighed 1.8 kilos (that's about 4.5 lbs). I was also pulled about and examined, which I didn't mind too much. I didn't even mind all that much when they stuck something sharp in my neck... I was too busy eating the treat. I wasn't entirely happy about them squirting something funny smelling on my neck afterwards though, even though they said it was to stop me getting fleas, and I certainly did not approve of the humans squirting nasty tasting stuff in to my mouth for the next couple of days. I'm told that stuff was important too - something about worms - but that didn't stop me fighting them to try and avoid taking it (apparently I can have things that taste better when I'm bigger, but I'm too little to have that stuff right now... I think they should have just waited until I was bigger, rather than punishing me for being little).

Anyway, the next week the humans gave me my first bath. They took this video to show you:

They said it was because I needed a bath. Something about how I shouldn't lay down on the puppy pads after I use them. I'm not sure on details though, since I wasn't really paying attention.

Anyway, I like water. Playing in it is fun! But I don't like being made to stay in there for a long time while the humans get me wet from nose to tail. Even worse than that was the stuff they called "shampoo" that they put on me right after they stopped doing the video. I REALLY hated that part! I was glad when bath time was over, and the humans put my collar back on and helped me dry off. Look at me, all wet and cuddled in a towel:

I have to admit though, I did smell good after, and my fur was super soft, especially after the Mummy human brushed me. Brushing is fun... I like to try and grab the brush while the humans are using it on me. We all have a great time with that game!

Anyhow, I had to go back to that vet place again a couple of weeks after my first appointment. Something about how I needed to finish my puppy treatment before I could go walkies. So we got in one of those car things again, and I got to watch the world going by out of the window as we went back to the vet place.

I got a couple of treats this time, because I had to have two sharp things stuck in my neck. I wasn't so impressed about it this time. I got upset as soon as I saw the sharp thing coming, and yelped when they stuck it in me. I yelped even harder with the second one, because it was a bigger one and made me bleed. The humans say the first one was the rest of my puppy treatment so I'm safe to be going out for walkies (I'd had the first half of that while enjoying my treat the last time I went) and the second was to put some kind of chip in me so I could be found if I got lost. Personally, I think the best way to put something in me is by letting me eat it, but apparently the humans disagreed.

They also used something - I'm not sure what, because they wouldn't let me have it to check it out - to cut my nails, because they were quite long and I kept getting them caught on things. I tried to stay still for that... I really did... But I'm not very good at staying still, so the Mummy human had to hold me for the vet to do my nail trimming.

Also, while I was there, they weighed me again, and I was 2.23 kilos (a tiny bit over 5.5 lbs). Apparently that's a good thing, but it still made me too little for the tasty stuff they said I could have when I was bigger. Since they seemed to be talking about that in connection with worms again for some reason, I was worried that would mean I'd have to have the nasty stuff squirted in my mouth again, but apparently not. Since I was over 2 kilos, I was able to have something that tasted a little better, which the humans mixed in my food. I was fine with that. It did make my food taste a bit funny, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to eat it at first, but I soon decided it wasn't a bad taste, so ate it all up. They had to do it for a few days again, and then again a couple of weeks later. Apparently now I'm over three months old I don't have to have that kind of stuff as often, though I have to make it to 5 kilos before I can have the really tasty one, because even then they would have to break the lowest dose in half for me. I don't think it's fair that I have to go without just because I'm so little. I mean, I can't help being little, can I? Still, at least the new stuff doesn't taste too bad.

I didn't feel too good after that second vet trip. I cuddled up with the Mummy human all that day, and didn't want to do much of anything; I wasn't even really interested in food or drink. I felt better by the folowing morning, though wasn't too impressed when I got put in the bath again the day after that. I mean, it wasn't my fault there was blood in my fur from the sharp thing going in my neck... If they didn't want my white fur stained red, they shouldn't have stuck the things in my neck, should they? OK, so I didn't want my white fur all bloody either, but that's not the point. Besides, I wouldn't mind the bath so much if they'd skip the shampoo part, and if they didn't make it take so long.

Anyway, we went back to the vet place again in June, but we only went there for the humans to pick something up. I was mostly just along for the outing, which was fine by me. At least, it was until I realized they were picking up more of that wet stuff to put on my neck, and pmore of the nasty tasting stuff.

You'd think that would be enough vet trips to be going on with. But, no!

I had to go yet again last week. Apparently we needed more of that wet stuff for my neck. We didn't get the nasty tasting stuff where they say about worms, but I did hear the humans talking about those worms again, and I got a special treat next morning. Not that I'm complaining. Anyway, I had to be weighed before I could have the stuff they picked up from the vet. I'm getting much bigger now... I now weigh 3.8 kilos (9.5 lbs). Also, the humans said my claws had to be trimmed again, because they grow so fast, and then they get caught on things. I didn't want them done again though, so tried to get away. It didn't work too well. The humans ganged up on me and held me still. Nasty, eh? I mean, I'm growing well, but I'm still a little dog, and there were three of them against just one of me. Three against one is totally unfair, especially when they're so much bigger than me!

I like the vet thing for the outing, the car ride, and all the people who say how cute I am. But I could do without the nail trimming, sharp things being stuck in me, wet stuff being put on my neck, and nasty tasting stuff I'm forced to swallow afterwards.

Lots of licks,

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - July 26th 2017

Do you have the title gene? If you don't, get help from someone who does when deciding on your final title, so you can find the title that will work best for your book. Personally, I love playing around with titles to make them stand out a little, and increase their chances of sounding interesting enough to grab the attention of potential readers.

Speaking of trying to improve how something reads, and how appealing it might be to potential readers: Check out this post on how to give your narration flavor, and this one on how to instantly add depth to your story. Also, here are some tips on where to start and what to consider when it comes to world building.

Of course, all that adding depth and stuff comes after your first draft is completed. When it comes to your first draft, you should always ask yourself the question, "What would you write if no one was looking?"

Speaking of your early drafts, this post on how to outline by the seat of your pants shows a great way to find a balance between writing with an outline and avoiding using one. Actually, the method isn't all that much different from the one I use to write what I call my rough drafts, though I've never thought of it as an outline myself.

Regardless of your method of writing - and regardless of what it is you're writing - remember to edit when you're done. Everyone makes mistakes; even the best editors can sometimes miss something. Do all you can to avoid letting those typos and grammatical errors slip past you though. Remember: If you don't care about grammar, you don't care about writing.

If you're having a bad writing day - which, let's face it, we all do from time to time - you should read the first of the two posts I'm linking to in this paragraph. There's some cursing in the post, just so you know, but it's a great reminder that having a bad writing day - or several of them - is something that happens to even the best writers. Always remember not to underestimate the importance of mastering the art of taking a break!

By the way, do you want to connect with fellow authors on Twitter? Or, perhaps, you just want to make the best use of hashtags to promote your own book? Either way, check out these author hashtags for Twitter.

Speaking of marketing and promotion: Have you considered Finding peripheral sales channels for your book. If not, you probably should. Either way though, check out the post for a few tips on doing so.

Also, if you work from home, here are five rules that will help you work more productively from home. The article was officially written for those who work from home by being paid for blogging, but could apply just as easily to any kind of situation where you work from home, including - but not limited to - the writing of other content besides blog posts.

Finally, if you missed seeing my post about it, and my mention of it last week, you may be interested to know that the Smashwords 2017 Summer/Winter Sale is now on. Check out my post for more details, and to get your hands on some great bargains.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Random Question: The #Wombles Meet #HarryPotter

Though sleep is never guaranteed for me (see yesterday's post) I fall asleep best with something to listen to while I drift off. But I don't like to use books that are on my Kindle for this purpose. Yes, I can either have text to speach enabled so it reads an eBook to me - which is how I have to read them anyhow - or listen to an audible audiobook, so I could use my Kindle for this purpose... And have done in the past. My preference, however, is to listen to an audio CD. This means I often find myself listening to ones I've already listened to, since I don't always have something new on CD to listen to. A few months ago I did though, and was listening to those new ones, one of which was a CD of Womble stories. Right now, however, I'm working my way through Harry Potter again.

This post will make most sense to those who are familiar with both the wombles and Harry Potter and his world, or at least one of those things. You should get the gist even without that knowledge, however.

So... A few weeks ago - well, it's a bit more than that now, but exactly when it was isn't important - when I was relistening to the start of the fourth Harry Potter book, and got to the part where portkeys are first mentioned to Harry, something occurred to me:

Portkeys are designed to automatically transport a witch or wizard somewhere if they can't - or would prefer not to - Apparate to their destination. In most cases with a prearranged time to activate and transport the witch or wizard to the destination in question. When left in previously arranged places for this purpose, they are intentionally objects that muggles would consider rubbish - like old boots, rusty cans, etc - so wouldn't pick up. A womble, on the other hand, would pick one up, since they pick up anything left lying around, whether it appears to be rubbish or not. That's the main point of a womble.

With that in mind...

What would happen if a womble picked up a portkey by mistake, and found itself transported to the destination in the place of the witch or wizard? What would the womble think? Also, how do you think the magical community would react to finding themselves dealing with what would most likely be a rather confused womble? Would they subject it to a memory modification charm like they would for a muggle? Or would the womble be allowed to remember its adventure?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Random Question: Sleep

Every so often I get lucky and manage to have something resembling a sleep pattern going on. During that time I even usually sleep well. Then, all of a sudden, I find myself unable to sleep, the pattern disappears, and my hours become random. Sometimes this just means a shift in sleep times, other times this actually means me getting little to no sleep. It's kind of a little annoying. OK, it's very annoying. But I'm not surprised when it happens any more, because it's just how things are to me these days (and nights).

My reason for mentioning it today is that I was recently - during one of those nights when I couldn't sleep, despite having been up all day, and despite being tired so wanting to very badly - thinking about the longest I've gone without sleep. I know there have been a few times I've gone 72 hours without any sleep, but I'm pretty sure there haven't been any times longer than that - thankfully. Yeah... I probably don't need to tell you that I'm glad that one doesn't happen too often. Actually, it's been a few years since I've gone that long without sleep. But, let me tell you, when it does happen it's no fun, and not very good for my brain, which needs me to sleep sometimes so it can do the thing brains do with chemicals to keep them functioning. I can't remember the details of the thing brains do with chemicals - and don't feel like looking it up - but it's something to do with sleep being needed because a certain chemical is released during sleep that cleans up the mess of the brain from all the hard thinking it's had to do during waking hours, and how this process keeps the brain functioning.

I was going to add the word "normally" there, but several people insist that word doesn't apply to me in any shape or form, especially when it comes to the function of my brain. They might be right.


After spending some time considering how long I'd gone without sleep, I started to wonder about other people. As you do. Well, I do, because I'm nosy like that. So...

What's the longest you've ever been without sleep? Was it intentional?

Friday, July 21, 2017

#Furkid Friday: Of #Chinchilla Hay Balls And Bells (FD)

Hi everyone! This is Maizie the chinchilla.

We chinchillas need lots of hay to eat. But my chinchilla sister, Mollie, and I don't really like to sleep in it, since we get too warm. Because of that, we have a habit of throwing it out of our bed, and then it ends up in places where we can't eat it (up to, and including, the floor around our cage). So the human caretakers got us this special ball to have hay from:

It's a toy and a hay rack in one, and hangs from our cage bars. Actually, it can be used for any nibbles the human caretakers don't want to just put in our food bowl - like fresh veggies, for example - but our human caretakers brought it especially to use for hay, and only use it for that so far.

They had to move my bell to put it where it is, because there was another place where the bell could go, but the size of that made it difficult to find another good place for it in our cage. I don't mind too much though. I mean, I'd complain if they took the bell away, but they haven't done that, and have given us this fun way to get hay. I say "my" bell, because Mollie doesn't play with the bell. I love it though, and use it both to play with and to get the attention of the human caretakers. They can tell which I'm doing by how I ring it: soft rings for play time, harder ones for attention.

Anyway, the human caretakers have tried getting a photo of us checking out the hay ball, but - as Mollie once said - we're not dogs, and we don't pose on command. We could if we wanted to, but we don't see why we should, and don't fall for the tricks they use on the Lilie dog. In other words, we're too smart for them, always know when they're coming with the flashy thing, and avoid being near it when they have the flashy thing ready. I have to give them credit though: they don't give up... They're still trying to get the photo they want. Well, let them try. Who knows, maybe one day we'll take pitty on them and let them get the photo after all? You never know...

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - July 19th 2017

The paperback proof for "How To Trust Your Human" is on its way to me - in fact, the proof should arrive with me pretty soon - and all my other books are available as both eBooks and paperbacks already. So, now that I'm all caught up with getting the books available in both of those formats, I've decided to look in to getting my books available in audio too. Because, you know, I just like torturing myself by giving myself loads of work to do catching up with making my backlist of books available in a new format, since apparently juggling all the other writing related tasks in between the other things I do each day isn't enough for me.

Seriously though, audiobooks are pretty popular in general, as well as being a format that's popular with the visually impaired, so I've wanted to do this for a while. It would be cool if one day I could do braille too, but I'll worry about that later. For nowI'm looking in to getting my books available in audio via ACX, which makes the audiobooks available via Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

Anyway, it might take a while - and not just because I have more than 50 titles out now - since I'm still figuring out how I'm meant to do it, and then I actually have to do the things required to go from wanting to have the books in audio to actually having them in audio. You can see what those things are via this checklist on the ACX site. So, as you can see, I'm starting to seriously look in to what's required. I'm even looking for extra tips by reading posts like this one on what you should know about audiobooks, and this interview from a narrator that gives some advice on how to get your books recorded as audiobooks, as well as getting tips from an author friend who also self-publishes and has her books available in audio.

Actually, to be honest, I set up the project pages for the first few books on the weekend. I've even had someone - in fact, a couple of people - interested in doing auditions for me already. As of yesterday (Tuesday) I have eight people who have auditioned, and am deciding which of the ones I like best I'm going to offer the job of narrator to. So, all being well, the first few books will be available in audio very soon. I'm starting with my "Toby's Tales" series, since that's the series I'm most eager to have easily accessable to the visually impaired, because the series deals with adapting after sight loss, as well as finding ways to make things accessable to blind people, so it seemed appropriate to do those books first.

I'm planning on starting work on the others soon, and am hoping to have several of them - at least - available before the end of this year. Basically, the plan is to do them a few at a time until I get caught up with my backlist, and then get new books produced as soon as possible after the release of the eBook versions. Regardless of how long it ends up taking, I'll let you know when each of my books start becoming available in audio, and provide details of where you'll be able to get copies if you want them.

In the meantime, I'm slowly attempting to make progress with writing that pirate story, which I'm also hoping to have available in at least eBook and paperback before the end of the year. Progress on it is slower than I'd like, but it's mostly my own fault. Some days I really don't have time to work on it, or am so exhausted all attempts to do so result in me sitting there doing nothing with the document open in front of me. But there have been times when I could have worked on it, and just didn't. Sometimes, I admit, this is because I decide to have some puppy play time instead of working. The story will get written though... Honest! If you're wondering, I'm not mentioning it by title, because I don't really have one I'm happy with yet.

I have been writing the odd poem from time to time too. Not many, but I've written a couple over the past few months, and will write more soon, I'm sure. You never know, I may also be ready to get that new pet themed poetry collection I mentioned earlier this year ready to be released before the end of this year too... I only need a couple more poems to make it long enough to be worthwhile publishing. But then, I might not do it until next year. We shall see. My priority for now is working on the pirate story and at least making a start on audiobook production arrangements.

Anyhow, as I said last week, if you missed seeing my post about the Smashwords 2017 Summer/Winter Sale, you may want to check that out, and take advantage of the chance to get some great book bargains.

Monday, July 17, 2017

St Leonards Festival 2017 (FD)

On July 1st 2017, we went to the anual local festival. Well, part of it. There was stuff happening the night before, stuff happening later that day, and plenty of other stuff happening in other parts of town at the same time as the stuff we went too as well, but some of it we didn't know about in time to go to, and some of it we didn't want to go to. Regardless, we found ourselves spending several hours of Saturday July 1st on the beach, eating chips (as in fries) and ice-cream, while enjoying the entertainment. It was perfect weather for it too: warm but not hot, and dry (well, until later some time, when it rained, but we were home by then so I don't care about that).

Anyway, we arrived just as this guy was starting his performance:

His name is David Mosey. He was pretty good. Not a musician I'd rush out to buy music by, perhaps, but certainly entertaining.

Lilie was with us, of course. This was her first time going to anything like this, and she dealt with it really well. She handled the crowds and the noises better than a lot of dogs do. I think she enjoyed herself meeting dogs and people of all kinds, being petted and admired, and sometimes getting one of the treats she knew I had for her in my pocket...

Lilie wasn't even concerned by the giant balloon man, who we also watched perform...

She didn'd even flinch when some of his balloons popped.

She wasn't quite so fond of the marching band from the parade though. When it was marching past at a bit of a distance, she was fine. But it came so close to us I could have reached out and touched them at one point, and apparently that was too close for her liking. She didn't mind us following the parade home - which we did, since their route took them past our place, and there wasn't much to see where we were after they'd gone, so we figured we might as well - but when they stopped to perform for a while near to our building, so we overtook them, she got scared again. Maizie, on the other hand, was spotted moving to the beat of the marching band (though she stopped the moment she realized she was being watched, and tried to look innocent). Anyway, here are some photos of the parade:

I can't help but wonder if the neighbours who saw us walking along behind the parade thought we were part of it. Wouldn't it be funny if they did?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

#Furkid Friday: The #Chinchilla Cooling Slab

Hi everyone. This is Mollie the chinchilla.

To help me and my chinchilla sister, Maizie, deal with the hot weather, the human caretakers got us a special slab that gives us something cool to lay on. They put it under the arch of our log house, since that's our favourite place to be. Here are a couple of photos of us on it. The first one is me, the second is Maizie. You can see the slab under me the best.

We absolutely love having it to lay on, and - combined with the fan the human caretakers have set up right near our cage to keep the air circulating, and stop the heat getting to us too much - it's really helped us to deal with those hot days. Air conditioning would be even better, but the human caretakers don't have that, so they're doing the best they can with what they have. Even if we get cranky when we get too hot, we do appreciate the fact they're trying to keep us cool and comfortable.

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - July 12th 2017

"Killing your darlings" - as they put it - is hard. Every writer knows that. So, here are four ways to make a scene matter, which will give your scenes a chance to avoid ending up on the cutting room floor, so to speak. Another thing that might help save your scene is by reading this post on filter words and phrases to avoid in writing fiction, and seeing how the tips in it can help you. Actually, that post will potentially help in the re-writing and editing phases, regardless of whether your scene is in danger of being deleted or not.

Speaking of editing - and whether you plan to hire a professional editor or not - you may wish to check out these useful tips for self-editing a manuscript.

Of course, before you can edit, you need to write something. So, let's focus on that for a moment...

OK, so... Here's a little reminder to stop changing hats when it comes to your characters. In other words, don't force your character to become something they're not to fit the way you want the story to go. If you can't be consistent with your character and still have the story head in the direction you wanted to, you need to find some other way to make it work. Either that, or you have to change your plans for the story.

Another thing you should avoid is information dumping. One way to avoid this is to have a bard in your story. This works best in fantasy, but it can work in other genres too. So... Have you been considering including a bard in your story? If you have, here are some tips to writing bards in fiction.

Regardless of what kinds of characters your book contains though, you might want to distinguish your characters with dialect.

Also, don't forget that - regardless of whether your ideas come from real life experiences or not - you need to write fiction that is believable.

Finally, if you missed seeing my post from Sunday about the Smashwords 2017 Summer/Winter Sale, you may want to go check that out.

Monday, July 10, 2017

#Fantasy #Book: "The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks" by @cyallowitz

Spend your summer with Ichabod Brooks in this 11 story collection! $2.99 on Amazon!

[caption id="attachment_20595" align="aligncenter" width="630"] Cover Art by Circecorp[/caption]

Enter the world of Windemere with 11 action adventure short stories featuring a man who is out to make an honest living.

Some heroes seek fame. Some seek fortune. Others simply want to save the world. Ichabod Brooks only wants to put food on the table for his family.

Known and respected as the man who can get any job done, Ichabod has seen his share of adventure. Most of which have been highly exaggerated by bards. Still, the man has his famous reputation for a reason. Whether it be climbing a temperamental mountain for eggs or escorting orphans to their new homes, Ichabod takes every job seriously and makes sure he is as prepared as he can be. Not that it helps since things always take a turn for the worse.

Available on Amazon!
Add it on Goodreads!

Excerpt: Preparing for Galaces

“Is this any way to greet an old friend?” a dwarf in dark gray chainmail asks before plugging his ears with his dark red beard. Wanting the bard to stop, the mountaineer marches over and puts a hand over the young woman’s mouth. “Are you supposed to use her as bait? I did hear there’s a hobgoblin pack that moved in a few months ago. You know how those drooling scavengers love elf flesh.”

“Sorry about that, Dex. She latched on at my last stop and I haven’t been able to shake her off,” Ichabod replies, shaking his guide’s hand. He rubs his own black and white beard at the sight of how his friend shows no sign of graying. “I have to give this one credit for tenacity, but this is where we part ways. Galaces Mountain is not a place to go unless you have experience, an excellent guide, and common sense. So far, I don’t see you having any of those things and I’m not going to babysit.”

“I must go. That’s the only way I can write about your newest adventure,” the bard insists, unwittingly proving Ichabod right. She crosses her arms and meets the icy stare of the dwarf, who she considers leaving out of her tale. “Being the first to speak of your climb will help my reputation. I promise not to cause any trouble and pull my own weight. Elves are graceful and agile, which makes us perfect companions for whatever it is you’re doing. Besides, Galaces Mountain doesn’t look like that bad a climb. The stories must be nothing more than colorful exaggerations.”

Ichabod puts on a pair of white-palmed gloves and slips a blue band on his finger, a charge going through his body to enhance his lungs. “I suddenly relate very well to this mountain. Take a look at the empty space between us and Galaces. You’ll see why this place has earned a reputation.”

The bard puts her lute over her shoulder and walks to the yellow rope, which sparks with a mild magic. At first, she is unsure of what she is supposed to pay attention to among the shrubs and fallen rocks. It takes the elf a few minutes to recognize weather worn bones sticking out from under a boulder. The limbs are splayed since the climber plummeted with the rough stone pressed against his back and the landing embedded him in the ground. Knowing what to look for, the bard realizes that there are at least ten old corpses hidden by the mountain’s litter. The bard spots the fresh body of a yellow-skinned creature sitting behind a shrub, the armored creature crumpled from landing butt first after its fall. She is about to ask a question when a small pain runs up her arm and she collapses into a magical slumber.

“Guess that’s more humane than knocking her on the head,” Dex mentions while Ichabod carries the young woman to the dwarf’s cart. He shields his eyes as he stares at the churning clouds that have been trapped around the peak. “Looks like the eagles captured a storm beneath their nest this year. Means the winds are going to be brutal and the tunnels are infested with horned spiders and revelers. Not going to be an easy trip. Sure, you don’t want someone else to take this contract?”

“I’d love to hand this off to someone else, but Chef Zyrk always insists that I take the job. I have no injuries, diseases, or family events, so I’m here,” Ichabod replies, sheathing his sleep-inducing shortsword. As an afterthought, he grabs a horse blanket and tosses it over the bard to hide her from view. “The Starwind Eagles lay eggs every ten years and now is the time to get to them. Wait any longer and the mountain will be crawling with hunters. A youngster wouldn’t know that or have you as a guide.”

The dwarf grins as he lifts the rope and gestures for his friend to lead the way. “They also don’t have your wife making deals that you can’t say no to. She mentioned that you’re getting three times the usual pay because this baby is going to be prepared for Duke Solomon’s wedding. Personally, I’m looking forward to your wife’s cooking after this. Surprised your gut isn’t huge considering that woman can make a pot roast even the gods would praise. Did you happen to bring some of her dishes for the road?”

“I can cook too, you know.”

“You can bake, Ichabod. Not the same as cooking in my book.”

“So you don’t want the cookies I brought.”

“Oatmeal and cranberry?”

“With a touch of cinnamon.”


About the Author:

Charles 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.

Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz

Sunday, July 09, 2017

#Smashwords #SummerWinterSale2017 - #eBooks For #FREE And On #SALE!

It's time for the Smashwords 2017 Summer/Winter Sale!

All of my books - including my new release - are enrolled at 50% off. This means they'll range in price from absolutely free to $2.50. Either way, you have the potential chance to snap up a great bargain during this event.

To grab your copies of any of my books, simply go to my Smashwords page, pick your book, add it to your cart, and enter coupon code SSW50 in the box at checkout.

Yes, it is the same code for all of my books. This is a sitewide promotion, so the code is used to get any books that are 50% off during this event, which means all of mine, and many by other authors too.

Yes, you can use the code multiple times. As I said, it's a sitewide promotion, so it's the same code for all books that are 50% off during the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale.

Yes, that purchase does give you access to all formats Smashwords offers, which means there will be a format that works for you, regardless of your tablet or eReader of choice. In fact, if you can read this post, you can read my books.

Yes, this is exclusively on Smashwords. But creating an account with them is free and easy, so you could always sign up if you don't have an account but want to take advantage of the discounted eBooks.

Plenty of other authors have their books enrolled too, so don't forget to browse the list of books on sale. Remember to double check the available formats from other authors though, since - unlike me - some authors don't take advantage of all the options for available formats.

The sale ends on July 31st 2017, so you have until then to get your hands on some free and discounted eBooks.

Tell your friends, family, neighbours, co-workers, random people you meet on the street... Anyone really!

Friday, July 07, 2017

#Furkid Friday: About Joshua The #Degu's #Book

Hi everyone. This is Joshua the degu.

I don't know if you heard, but the Mummy human and I released a book together at the start of this week. Click here tosee the post she wrote about it. Her post gives you full details on where you can buy it, but here's the book's Smashwords link for you again, since it's half price on there with coupon code SSW50 until July 31st 2017.

It says it's about a degu named Buddy, but it's actually my story, and explains about how I learned to trust the human caretakers again after losing my brothers. In case you're wondering: I'm using the name Buddy for the book so as not to confuse it with the books I appear in with my brothers. Buddy is a name the Mummy human especially has always used for us, which my brothers and I all answered to; Buddy is what the human caretakers used to call us if they weren't too sure which of us they were talking to - since we were tough to tell apart - and they still use it for me now sometimes... Out of habit, I suppose. For more about me and the book, take a look at the links in the Mummy human's post from Wednesday.

Anyway, I really hope you'll at least consider buying my book, as well as the two I'm in with my brothers - which are called "The Great Degu Round-Up" and "A Very Degu Christmas" - if you haven't already done so. Oh, and tell your friends about them too, OK?

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - July 5th 2017

In case you missed Monday's post....

The story of how I taught Joshua the degu to trust me again after we lost his brothers last year - which is called "How To Trust Your Human" - is now officially released!

If you're interested, why not hop over to Chris The Story Reading Ape's blog and check out my guest post on the inspiration behind the book. By the way, thanks for putting that post up, Chris, and thanks to everyone who shared it.

My thanks also go out to Alex for the post on her blog, and Kevin for the post on his blog, which helped spread the word about the release, as well as to everyone who took the time to share my posts and theirs.

Finally, if you brought the book - or do so in the near future - then my thanks go out to you too. If you do buy a copy, I'd really appreciate it if you could take a moment to leave a review. It's not required, but reviews help both authors and readers, so I would be extremely grateful if you did so. Thanks in advance! For more on this, check out Chris's post on the subject of leaving reviews.

Monday, July 03, 2017

#Children's #Pet Themed #Book Release: How To Trust Your Human

Losing a sibling is hard. Losing three of them is even harder. Repairing a broken bond of trust is harder still.

After his three brothers disappeared, one after another, gone to a mysterious place known only as The Rainbow Bridge, Buddy the degu is all alone in his cage. Confused and frightened, he knows only one thing for certain: he last saw his brothers in the hands of the human caretaker. That knowledge breaks the bond of trust forged between Buddy and his human in the years since he was a pup, and leaves him convinced that letting her get her hands on him will mean he disappears too. Somehow, she has to convince him he’s wrong, and earn back his trust.

Based on actual events that took place in the life of one of the author’s own degus, and told from the point of view of a degu, this is the story of how patience and love taught a confused and terrified rodent how to trust again.

The above are the cover and book blurb for "How To Trust Your Human" - my latest book, which is a semi-fictionalized account of my attempts at earning back the trust of our degu, Joshua, after we lost his three brothers last year. I don't often do dedications in my books, but this book is dedicated to Joshua, as well as to the memory of his brothers, Jasper, Jenks, and Jacob. Oh, and... Yes. That is Joshua on the cover.

You can already buy the book from Smashwords in all formats they offer, so 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 the book. Alternatively, the eBook is also available via a few other eBook retailers, such as Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks.

For those who prefer a physical book: the paperback is coming soon. Assuming there are no issues when I'm sorting it, it "should" be available by the end of the month. Anyway, watch my Wednesday posts for an announcement of its availability.

Regardless of your format preferences though, here's the book's Goodreads page.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Tori's June 2017 #Book #Reviews, Plus A #Reading Challenge Update (LBE)

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

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!

Fatemarked Origins: Volume II (The Fatemarked Epic, #2.5)Fatemarked Origins: Volume II by David Estes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I fell in love with the main characters from these stories during the main books of the series, so enjoyed learning more about their pasts in these tales. The stories in this collection make a great addition to the series, as well as being entertaining reads in their own right.

Fatemarked Origins: Volume III (The Fatemarked Epic, #3.5)Fatemarked Origins: Volume III by David Estes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another well-written and interesting collection of stories, which make an excellent addition to the series, and give more insight in to some of the main characters by revealing more of their pasts.

Darkest DaysDarkest Days by N.W. Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Like the first three books in this series, this book is a great read, though not one for those with weak stomaches. If you can handle a few scenes with gory descriptions in them, however, then you will be able to see that it's a well-written book, with an interesting plot that moves at a nice pace, believable characters with relationships that grow and evolve as the series progresses, and wonderfully detailed descriptions. The story is one that will grab and hold your attention from start to finish, and the ending is a great one.
*Note: I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This fact has had no influence on my opinion of the book, or the contents of this review.

Missing at Sea  (Anna Davies Mystery Series #2)Missing at Sea by Rita Lee Chapman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is part mystery story, part romance, and part amazing travel adventure. The description of the experience of the cruise is so wonderful I felt as though I was there, the characters are believable, and their relationships with one another are realistic and develop well throughout the story. As for the mystery itself: it was done so well that I never figured out all of the details before they were revealed at the end, and yet the clues were all there so that it made sense for things to have happened the way they did. All in all, this was a really great read, though one some may find difficult to read if they're sensative to certain subjects.

Under a Vampire Moon (Argeneau #16)Under a Vampire Moon by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For the most part, I enjoyed this book. But I felt the ending was too abrupt, and left some unanswered questions. Based on the fact I know from having followed the series from the start that characters from earlier books appear in later ones, I assume we'll find out the answers to those questions in a later book, but that's just an assumption, and I frankly found it frustrating that the book ended where it did.

The Lady is a Vamp (Argeneau, #17)The Lady is a Vamp by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is an excellent addition to the series. The plot is great, and the main characters are wonderful... Especially the adorable Livy.

My Old Clock I Wind and Other PoemsMy Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems by K. Morris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is another excellent collection of poems by this author. Some are amusing, like the poem “Howling At The Moon” (one of my favourites of this collection) while others are extremely thought-provoking, like “Evening Walk” (another favourite of mine from this collection). In other words, this collection is a pleasant read, filled with poems which will have you either chuckling in amusement, or lost in musings on topics most can relate to even if they haven’t spent much time considering them before.
*NOTE: I was given a free advanced copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. This fact has in no way influenced either my opinion of this book, nor the contents of my review.

Immortal Ever After (Argeneau, #18)Immortal Ever After by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A great addition to the series, with an exciting - and sometimes amusing - plot.

One Lucky Vampire (Argeneau, #19)One Lucky Vampire by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It took me a while to get in to this one properly. The plot is interesting, but I didn't feel the spark that's usually there to get me invested in one - often both - of the characters until about a third of the way in to the book (give or take) and that lack of connection meant I was slow to care about their future together. Things improved after that though.

Vampire Most Wanted (Argeneau, #20)Vampire Most Wanted by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The descriptions of the violence of one character described to another by a thirdd near the end of the book - while thankfully not as detailed as they might have been - were unpleasant to read. In fact, some would say the entire last few chapters are a bit disturbing as the truth is revealed. However, I did take some comfort from the fact it's made clear that this sort of behaviour is not considered acceptable, so I was able to push past those things and focus on enjoying the rest of the book. Still, those things make me feel I can't give this book the full five stars.

The Immortal Who Loved Me (Argeneau #21)The Immortal Who Loved Me by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One of the characters - who has been mentioned in at least two other books earlier in the series - is constantly being called a different name in this book to the name she was previously called. Also, there was one thing at the end of the book that wasn't resolved properly, which I would have liked to know the outcome of. Other than those things, however, I found this book to be an enjoyable read, and a great addition to the series.

About a Vampire (Argeneau #22)About a Vampire by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An entertaining and enjoyable addition to the series, with an interesting - and often amusing - plot, as well as a fantastic cast of characters.


We're half way through the year, and I'm behind on my Goodreads reading challenge by several books. As in, more than 20 books. Oops! I still have time to catch up, so I'm hoping I can do so and meet my goal of reading 217 books in 2017 after all. The way things are going though, I'm either going to be doing it by the skin of my teeth, as they say, or not quite making it. Oh well, I've enjoyed most of what I've read so far this year, and that's what matters most at the end of the day anyhow. Still, I'm going to try.

I'm doing better with the other challenges I set myself for this year though. My to-read list hasn't shrunk much, but I'm reading more books than I'm buying, so some of the books I've been planning to read for a couple of years now are finally getting read, and that's the important part of that particular goal. Also, I only need five or six more letters - depending on whether I finish the book I started yesterday before this post goes live - to complete the A-Z reading challenge for this year, and have books waiting on my Kindle to be read for most - if not all - of the letters I'm missing.