Friday, November 22, 2019

Friends Of #FurkidFriday: Duke

Hi everyone. This is Logan the Cavapoo.

It's my turn to have a friend come to visit. His name is Duke. Are you ready to meet him?

Hey, Duke, how did you get your name? I know the humans have reasons for naming us what they do, so I thought I'd ask.

My parents didn’t name me, I was already named Duke when they picked me up from the shelter. They said if they had gotten to name me, my name would be Hoover, because I inhale food like a vacuum cleaner. My dad’s nickname for me is Duke E. Pants. My mom’s nickname for me is Dukeolos, kind of like my dad’s name, Nicholas.

I don't blame you on the food thing... I love food too! Also, I have nicknames as well, though obviously different ones to yours. Oh, Mummy says she likes the one where your name sounds similar to your Dad's name. Anyway, what species and breed are you?

I’m a dog, though my parents also say I’m part pig. I’m a mix of Boxer, Great Dane, and Lab. No pig. My parents are wrong about that. Though, I wouldn’t mind trying pig food.

Pigs get their own special food? I have to try that! Erm... Sorry... Yes, you were saying you're a mixed breed dog... Right. Can you describe your appearance, so everyone knows what you look like? I know you've sent a photo - and I'll share that in a moment - but please describe yourself too, for the benefit of those who can’t see the photo.

I’m super cute, and I’m really good at using that to my advantage, mostly to get treats. I’m white with lots of black spots, I have one big black spot near my tail that is the perfect “scratch here” spot. I love to be scratched and rubbed there! I also only have three legs because I had to have my front right leg amputated. I get around perfectly fine, but it’s great for getting people in the park to give me treats.

Using your cuteness to get extra treats... I love it! Good for you. Anyway, here's that photo, for those who can see it:


So, Duke, what sort of place do you live in? Who do you share it with?

I live in a house with my mom and dad, my dog brother, and six cat siblings. We have a fenced in backyard that I like to play in with my dog brother. Sometimes I’m naughty and leave the fence without permission, but my parents have done a lot of work on the fence to keep me from doing that, so I’ve been pretty good lately. My grampy says all they need is razor wire, and they could keep inmates in our backyard. I don’t know about that, but I do know that we live really close to lots of fast food restaurants. I can smell them from the backyard. They smell so yummy!

Well, no wonder you want to get out of the yard if you can smell those! We live near lots too, so I know how yummy the food smells. How do the humans expect us to ignore that? Anyway, what’s your favourite thing to do?

Eat!!!! I love food! It’s just so delicious! Sometimes mom takes me to work with her, and I really like that. I don’t know why she isn’t more excited to go to work every day. Whenever I go, people feed me treats and cookies. Once a very nice lady knew I was coming, and she brought me a gigantic bone that was delicious. Then usually someone takes me on a nice long walk. Some of the other people in the building have a lot more keys and cards than Mom does, so they take me on really cool walks to different places. They also sneak me extra treats Mom doesn’t know about. After my walk I usually take a nap in Mom’s office. So going to work is pretty awesome. The other thing I really love is cuddling on the couch with Dad. He lets me lay on top of him, even though I’m big. He’s the person I love the most in the world, so I’m really happy when I’m cuddled up with him.

Eating, exploring, and cuddling... Ah! A dog after my own heart! Although, I like to cuddle with Mummy best. Anyway, do you like to play with toys too? If you do, do you have a favourite toy? If yes, what is it?

I like most of my plush squeaky toys, but my favourite toy is a big plush parrot my parents bought me when we went on vacation last year. It’s nice and big, and I like the sound the squeaker makes.

Oh, yes, the squeaker sound is great, isn't it? The only thing better than a squeaky toy is a tuggy toy, if you ask me, but squeaky toys are awesome! Speaking of things that are awesome, since it's the best thing ever, let's talk about food again, OK? So, Duke, tell me, what’s your favourite food?

Do you really expect me to pick just ONE?!?! I LOVE food. Let’s see, I love cheeseburgers. Sometimes they buy me one when we go for a ride in the car, and I love that. Drive-thrus are so much fun! I’ve stolen a lot of food in my time, so I’ve tried a lot of things. Some of my favourites have been King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls (I ate two big packages Mom and Dad had bought for a party), pumpkin pie, pineapple upside down cake, and a hot dog with chili. Oh, peanut butter is another good one! They put that in my Kong sometimes, and I love it.

I totally understand it being hard to choose. I'd have a tough time too. Great choices though... Especially the hotdog and peanut butter. Though I haven't tried a hotdog with chilli on. Even Mummy has peanut butter lots though, and she's good at sharing. I'm training her well, and she does lots of stuff like that, which I love. Hey, Duke, speaking of great things the humans do, what’s the one thing your human does that you love most?

Feed me!!!! Other than that, I love it when they let me sleep in the bed between them, and they both pet me.

You're definitely a dog after my own heart! I'm sure it's not always food and cuddle time though, since they sometimes do things we don't like - no matter how well trained we think they are. So, what’s the one thing your human does that you hate most?

Listen to the vet when he says I need to go on a diet. Dad’s more of a stickler about that, but sometimes Mom tries it too.

Oh, no! I've been told that means treat rationing... I don't like the sound of that! Hope they don't do that often. I also hope mine don't try anything like that. By the way, speaking of your humans, I happen to know your human is a writer/blogger. Has she written anything about you? If yes, can you tell us about it? If no, do you think she will in the future?

My mom has written a few blog posts about me. She wrote about me when they first brought me home to foster me, and when they decided they couldn’t live without me and adopted me. She also writes about me sometimes when I steal food. And she likes to put my pictures on her blog. I’m cute, so I understand why.

Oh, absolutely! I'm glad you get lots of posts about you on her blog, and am sure you get as many nice comments about your photos as me and Lilie do about ours. So, when she's writing those, what do you do?

If Dad is home I cuddle up with him because Mom usually writes at night, and there’s more room in the bed when she’s not in it. If Dad isn’t home, I sit next to Mom on the couch.

Sounds like a great plan. Speaking of plans, Mummy is doing something in the kitchen with food, and I plan to try and get some, so we need to end this. Before we do though, is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?

My first family didn’t take care of me, and I got really sick. They left me at a shelter. The people there were really nice, but it was still kind of scary, and I really wanted my own house to rest and get better in. That shelter got in touch with another shelter, and they found my mom and dad to come get me from the shelter. I had to go to the vet a lot, and I felt really bad for a long time, but I eventually got better. My leg that was amputated was in really bad shape then, too, and I felt a lot better, and could move around a lot more, once they amputated it. Sometimes people tell my parents they think it must be really hard to have a handicapped dog, or to have spent so much time taking care of me when I was sick. It’s not hard for them, though. I’m just like any other dog, I just look a little different. Please don’t feel sorry for dogs who are considered handicapped. We live full and happy lives. If you want a dog to be part of your family I really think you should get one from the shelter, especially if there’s somebody who’s sick or hurt and you’re able to take care of them. It’s really nice to have your own home to get better in, and your own family to love you. They’ll repay you with more love than you can imagine. Also, I love it when people feed me.

I'm sorry your first family didn't take care of you properly, but I'm glad you got better, and found a home where you could get better in comfort and safety, as well as get lots of love and food. I hope lots of other dogs get to be as lucky as you, and that people realize only having three legs doesn't stop dogs being happy and active family members.

***~~~***

Duke's Mom, Danielle, blogs at http://sweetteareads.blogspot.com/, so pop over there and get to know her.

***~~~***

I hope you enjoyed getting to meet Duke, and learning more about him and his human, Danielle. Show them you did by commenting on or sharing this post. Better yet, do both... I'm sure they'd like that. I know I would!

By the way, we're always looking for new friends to get to know better. So, if you're a bird, cat, chinchilla, degu, dog, gerbil, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, rat, or other non-human creature, and you share your life with a human calling themselves a writer - yes, blogging counts - check out the "Friends Of FurkidFriday" page, where you can find out how to have your turn in the spotlight, and meet all the friends we've featured in the past.

Lots of licks,
Logan

Thursday, November 21, 2019

#AmReading + #AmWatching + #AmListening - #Reviews For November 21st 2019

I don't believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.
~J.K. Rowling

Welcome to the new look weekly media shares and reviews post!

*Disclaimer: no matter what's being reviewed, all opinions in this post are entirely my own, and I reserve the right to have them, regardless of who may or may not share them. Feel free to express your own in the comments, but please respect my right - and the rights of other commenters - to have opinions that might differ from yours, and to express those opinions too.

Also, please remember that I read/watch/listen to things in a variety of genres, and for all ages, so you should make sure you check that the book/movie/show/song is suitable for the intended audience before reading/watching/listening to it, especially if children are involved. I take no responsibility for anything which may happen as a result of failing to do so.

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. Please bear in mind that the format I've reviewed on Goodreads may not be the format I actually read.

Alternatively, if it's a movie or TV show you want to know more about, just click on the title to go to a page where you can find out more details about the movie or TV show in question; the title links will usually take you to a page on IMDB.

Unless otherwise stated, all music videos are via YouTube.


OK, so... Let's see what I've been reading, watching, and listening to, shall we?

This week I read...

X (Kinsey Millhone, #24)X by Sue Grafton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I haven't read most of the previous books in this series, but do intend to go back and read them all, despite the fact my actual rating is 3.5 stars, and it only got four stars because I rounded up. This is a really slow-paced book, and I sometimes felt like we had way more than we needed of each character's backstory when they first appeared on the scene, to the point I often wished we could just get on with the story already. Other than that though, it was an enjoyable read.

Zom-BZom-B by Darren Shan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The events of the first three quarters of the book were dragged out more than they needed to be, so it took until the last part of the book for the story to really get going, and then it was action-packed and gory. I enjoyed the book enough that I want to know what happens next, but sure hope the other books in the series are more like the last quarter when it comes to plot pacing.

As for what I've been watching this week...

I watched the second disk of season 2 of "The Big Bang Theory" on DVD. I also watched a movie with Kelly, which he'd recorded on the Sky box, because he wanted to watch it. It was one of those I kind of wanted to see too, so it was an ideal oppertunity to watch a movie together. I also decided to make use of the movie and TV show watching part of my Amazon Prime for a change, and watched the first episode of season 1 of "Rugrats" and a Christmas movie, just because I felt like it. Anyway, since both movies were new to me movies, here are what they were, and my reviews for them:

Venom (2018 movie):
This was an enjoyable movie, with plenty of action, and some entertaining moments. Kelly - the bigger action movie fan of the two of us - enjoyed it more than I did, but we definitely both really liked it, and are both glad we watched it. We both agree there was room for improvement, but it was really great, so wouldn't have needed much. When asked, Kelly said he'd give it four and a half stars out of five, but I didn't enjoy it quite as much as him, like I already mentioned. So, I give this movie four out of five stars.

Crown For Christmas (2015 TV movie):
This movie was kind of predictable, as most movies of this type are. But sometimes you need that, especially in a holiday movie. So, if you're the kind of person who enjoys the Hallmark style holiday movies, you'll enjoy this one. I did. My only complaint is that I felt like we missed out on some of the attempts by the heroine to win over the child. But given the length of the movie, and the fact the romance always takes center stage in these kinds of movies, I wasn't entirely surprised by that. Anyway, I give this movie four out of five stars.

Last, but not least, this week I've been listening to...

Actually, not much, if I'm honest. I've listened to a few songs in the mornings, but not been listening to tunes for so long in the mornings during the past week, because I had so much I wanted to catch up on with eMails and things. But I listened to a few country tunes while sorting my breakfast and such, so here's one of them, which even Kelly - not really a country fan - enjoys listening to:

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

#WriterWednesday - November 20th 2019

I approved the final version of the audio for "Voyage Of The Crimson Sail" from Emma Thorpe a few days ago, so - assuming it sails through ACX's own checks smoothely - my pirate themed adventure story, featuring my own ratty girls, will be available as an audio book in a few weeks time. In theory during the first week of December - just in time for Christmas.

I also got a narrator arranged for the one other book of mine not yet in audio yet. The audio contract for "Puppy Poems And Rodent Rhymes" - one of my pet themed poetry collections - was given to someone over the weekend. So, Suzan K Hennen should now be working on producing that one, which will become available in audio early next year, since we're getting a bit too close to the end of 2019 for it to be done before this year is out. As I've mentioned in the past, I had hoped Carol Weakland, who did my similar title, "Rodent Rhymes And Pussycat Poems" - along with most of my other poetry books - would be narrating this one too. But she unfortunately isn't in a position to do so, hence me spending the past few weeks looking for an alternative narrator, and giving the contract to Suzan a few days ago, since I felt she was the best of those who auditioned for it. I'm sure she'll do a great job, and know she's eager to work on it.

Anyway, nothing else has happened as regards my books and writing during the past week. I've had some great reviews recently from fellow author, Robbie Cheadle, which a couple of other bloggers have been sharing about, and which led to me being featured in Sally's cafe and bookstore a couple of weeks ago - thanks for that, by the way, Robbie and Sally - but I don't have anything more than that to say about my own books and writing, since life stuff - AKA going to a firework display, spending most of the day after it sorting out firework videos, and then having a surprise visitor - has kept me busy, especially when combined with playing and caring for the furkids, and all the other day to day things, so I haven't had any writing time.

There are ideas though. Lots of ideas. I even wandered off during a conversation last week to go write some of them down. Much to the amusement of the person who had sparked the ideas in question.

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.
~Vladimir Nabakov

Also, since I've been kept so busy with other things, I'm behind on reading through all the links and articles that appear in my inbox every day, and make up the writerly links parts of these posts, as I'm sure you can understand. But let's see what I've managed to find for you to check out among those I have had time to read this week anyhow, shall we?

First, here are some things all writers struggle with sometimes (even when they won't admit it) and some things you, a writer, might not have heard in a while (but need to).

So, what is the point? Short answer: to keep writing, for whatever reason you write for.

"What if I write when I don't feel like writing and it turns out terrible?" I hear you ask. Does it really matter?

By the way, are you struggling with how much you should write, and how often? Here's a post you should read, which discusses perspectives on daily word count, and reminds you that what works for one writer doesn't always work for another.

Finally, what triggers inspiration in you? Whatever it is, don't try and use it to force ideas, but let it inspire you naturally. Sometimes ideas don't like to be chased too much.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Of #Puppy Cuddles, My Birthday, #Roleplaying Sessions, Dentists, Weather Reports, And The Start Of #Christmas Preparations



The photo above is of me on my computer chair covered with dogs; both Lilie and Logan wanted up in my arms. Yes, I'm under there somewhere. Haha! Kelly took it at the end of October, but I'm only now getting a chance to share it.

That photo is an example of why I often don't get as much computer time as I hope to.

No, I don't mind really. They're just too cute to resist... How can I say, "No," when they want cuddle time with Mummy? The answer is, I can't. So I end up waiting until puppy nap time to attempt to keep up with things on the computer.

Mostly I manage to keep up with things. But, if I'm behind on reading your blog posts at any point, now you know why. *wink*

At least, it's why most of the time. But this past week I got behind on things online for a completely different reason.

As some of you know, it was my birthday last Wednesday.

Speaking of which: before I go on, I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sent birthday messages, cards, or presents, regardless of how and what you sent. Each one was very much appreciated.

Anyway, I had one surprise in particular the day before my birthday, which is the reason I spent hardly any time online last week, and am still behind on eMails and blog posts at this point, though the fact I was already a bit behind before it happened doesn't help matters, but that's beside the point. Either way...

My Dad came for a visit.

He showed up on our doorstep unexpectedly on Tuesday morning, having arrived in the area the evening before, and was with us - apart from the time he spent at his hotel - until Friday, when he headed back to Wales.

We spent most of the time chatting and roleplaying. On Tuesday and Wednesday we played the Starfinder roleplaying system, which - for those who don't know, but might want to - is a version of Pathfinder (similar to the old Dungeons And Dragon system) set in space. Since there were so few of us, we played two characters each. I played a mechanic and a mystic, and Kelly played an operative and a techno mage. It was fun. On Thursday we started discussing the characters we'll be using for the roleplaying sessions we plan to start in the near future over the internet, like we used to play (something we've been meaning to figure out the details for, but hadn't gotten around to before).

Also, I ended up not cooking for three days. On Tuesday we had Indian food. On Wednesday we had Chinese. On Thursday, Kelly and I had already planned to go to Oscars for my birthday meal in the afternoon, so Dad came too, and paid for the meal for us. Yeah, I know... Not the healthiest of menus, but better than some options out there. Plus, it was nice to have no food prep or cooking, and minimal cleanup afterwards, to do for those few days. The Indian and the food at Oscars was delicious (the food at Oscars always is). The Chinese was good, but not great.

While we were at Oscars, we booked our Christmas dinner with them, so we could make sure a vegan option was set up for me. We knew they'd still have slots at that point, so thought it was a good time to sort it out. It turns out their slots are filling up fast this year, so it's lucky we did book when we did. Anyway, we're all booked in for Monday December 23rd at 1:00pm. "All" being me, Kelly, Lilie, and Logan, if you didn't figure that out.

Anyway, I did have a little birthday cake, but it was just a small piece Kelly got for me from the local bakery, so I didn't share it with anyone. I offered Kelly a bit, but I was eating it at breakfast time when Dad was at his hotel, and didn't think to offer him some afterwards. The only vegan cake Kelly could find at the bakery was chocolate, since they seem to think that's the cake all vegans must want. This is a little unfortunate, because I'm not a fan of chocolate cake, and struggle to eat it for reasons I won't go in to today. But I ate it anyway, even though it took me three days of having a little and then setting it aside to eat one small piece of cake, because it was the only way I could face it, and it was only the fact Kelly had gone to the trouble to find me some vegan cake that I ate it. It wasn't bad for chocolate cake. I just have issues with chocolate cake, and wish there had been a way to have a non-chocolate cake without either paying a fortune to special order one, or making my own. But it's the thought that counts at the end of the day, and at least it was vegan cake I hadn't needed to make myself. Still, if any bakery near me wants to make some vegan cake that's something else, like carrot cake, lemon drizzle cake, or whatever, that would be great. Just saying.

So, that was my three day birthday.

It was nice to see Dad. Even if the unexpectedness of it meant it actually took me a while to realize it was him (a situation not helped by the excitedly yapping puppies who wanted to know who was at the door). But when I learned Kelly, who had been heading out to mail something when he arrived, had just walked past him without realizing it was him too, I felt a bit better about that. Dad found the situation highly amusing, and was still chuckling about it when he left, in case you're curious what he thought of us not realizing it was him at first.

So, I got three birthday cards. Well, technically four, but one of them isn't yet in my posession. I also got money I haven't spent yet, seasons 11 through 13 of NCIS, some unicorn cookie cutters I used to make breaded tofu unicorns for dinner last night, a couple of books, some Pokemon figures, and a new CD player for the bedroom (since my old one's not doing so well any more, so needed replacing; I'd told Dad about it, and that's what I got from him and my Nan, along with the pokemon figures). There's the tickets my Mam got me to see Jason Donovan next year too, of course... Can't forget about those!

I meant to get a photo of the cards, but haven't had a chance. I'll sort that when I can.

In other news:

I had a dentist appointment at the end of October. The day before Halloween, to be exact.

I thought I'd broken a tooth a couple of weeks before when I didn't soak some beans long enough, and frying them resulted in the still kind of hard beans becoming rock hard. It turned out though I'd just dislodged an old filling, which it wouldn't take much to fix, so they offered to try and sort it for me then and there to save me coming back another time.

Despite my history of issues with the area being properly numbed, I agreed, hoping to get it over and done with out of the way, and avoid the four month wait I had last time I needed something done. Then mentally praid the shot would work.

Thankfully, it did. Well, mostly anyhow. The shot to numb the area worked well enough that they were able to do it without more than minor pain for me, and I could tell them I was fine, even if it hurt a bit. It was at least tolerable, and I felt the bit of pain was worth it to get it over with. Well, mostly worth it... Pain is never completely worth it. But I think you know what I mean. The point is, the pain was tolerable, they sorted the filling then and there, and now it's over. So, YAY!

Since I had no other issues with my teeth, they aren't expecting to see me again for another six months. Also YAY! *wink*

I made my next appointment while I was there, since they asked and I figured I might as well. It's for May 1st at 11:20am.

Kelly has a dentist appointment soon too. His is November 26th at 10:00am. He's not been in quite a while, and our dentist has a thing about making you call a few weeks in advance if you haven't been seen in over a year, or he'd have had an earlier appointment. It's a thing they do to try and encourage you not to miss your six month check-ups, I guess. Kind of strange though... I'd have thought not having seen someone in a while would make them want to see you quicker. But whatever.

Not much has really happened apart from that.

The weather's been cold, and often stormy. They got some snow in Wales last week, but we haven't seen anything more than hail, enough rain that we've spent most of the past month under a flood warning, and a lot of wind. If things continue the way they have been though, my chances of a white Christmas - or at least some snow this Winter at some point - are going to be quite high. Since we don't plan to go anywhere for Christmas, I wouldn't mind a bunch of snow at Christmas. Although, I'm sure my brother, Carl, is hoping for the opposite. Not because he doesn't like snow, but because he's going to Wales from Norwich for Christmas, and I'm sure would rather not get stuck somewhere because of the snow. But we live far enough from both areas that it would be fine if it snowed here and not with them. As long as I get some snow though, I don't mind when. I just hope I have better snow than last Winter, since it was the blink and you miss it type snow we got last year. You know... The type that turns to slushy mess by the time it hits the ground, so you can't get to enjoy it, and then it freezes and becomes really bad ice. I hate that kind!

Anyway, as you may have figured out from some of the previous comments in this post - and the last part of the title - we've started thinking about Christmas plans. Well, I mean, it is five weeks to Christmas Eve today, after all, so you should probably start at least thinking about it too, if you haven't already. Just saying. Either way, we've even done a little Christmas shopping, and were able to send my Nan's present back with Dad, to save us posting it to her. We hadn't wrapped it, but he's happy to do that for us, which is nice of him, and saves us needing to worry about it.

For now though, this is all I have to say, since the only other thing that happened over the past couple of weeks was the firework display I posted about last week. Well, and the usual day to day stuff like pet care, chores - which adults even have to do on their birthday, unfortunately - and so on. Since that's the case, I'll end this now, and go sort some eMails, or read some blog posts, or - as will probably end up being the case - a bit of both.

Monday, November 18, 2019

#MondayMotivation, #Inspiration, And #Wisdom - #Quotes For November 18th 2019

The most attractive thing about you should have less to do with your face or body and more to do with your attitude and how you treat people.
~Germany Kent

istraction is the greatest thief of time.
~Robin Sharma

My heart is at ease knowing that what is meant for me will never miss me, and that which misses me was never meant for me.
~Imam Al-Shafi’i

And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.
~John Steinbeck

Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness.
~Deborah Day

Being extremely honest with oneself is a good exercise.
~Sigmund Freud

In three words I can sum up everything I have learned about life: it goes on.
~Robert Frost

Friday, November 15, 2019

#FurkidFriday: Mummy Went Away During All The #Fireworks

Hi everyone. This is Logan the Cavapoo.



Apart from days when it's been all windy and rainy, there have been lots of scary noises going on.

Mummy says they're called "Fireworks," and I should just ignore them. But I can't. They're loud, and make all sorts of pop, bang, and fizzy noises. Sometimes whistly noises too. I really don't like it. Even my Westie sister, Lilie, sometimes gets upset about them, and she's much more brave than me.

OK, so Lilie mostly only gets upset after I do, and then it's only with the big noises. But that's still getting upset.

Anyway, Mummy gives me cuddles when they happen, and we listen to stories together. It helps some, and I'm starting to get a bit braver about them. Well, it helps me feel better and braver about the smaller ones anyway. Sometimes the firework things get too much for even cuddles and story time to help with though. But it's good she's trying, and there when I need her to cuddle me.

Except one time, when she wasn't...

It was a few days ago. Lilie says it was Sunday. I'm not so good with days and numbers and times and things, so I'll just take Lilie's word for it. Mummy says I'm best at bouncing and running, and Lilie's best at being smart, even though I sometimes do smart things (like when I figured out to just put my paw through the bars of the gate to grab my toy that was the other side of it, instead of just barking for the gate to get opened like Lilie does). But Mummy says it's OK if I'm not so smart most times, because everyone's good at their own thing. I'm glad it's OK.

Oh, wait... I was telling you about when Mummy wasn't there to give me cuddles... Right...

So, anyway, it was Sunday, Lilie says, and we'd been hearing the firework things nearly every night for lots of nights. They only don't seem to happen at the moment when lots of windy and rainy weather happens instead. I don't know why. Anyway, I don't know how many nights they've happened for, and it doesn't matter. The point is, we figured they'd probably happen again that night, and they did. Except Mummy went somewhere before they did. She went somewhere before dinner time, and she didn't come back until lots of time was gone, and it was toast and sweetie ball time.

What?

Oh, Lilie says I should explain about toast and sweetie ball time.

See, before we go to bed, Mummy has some toast, and she lets me have a bit. Lilie too if she wants, but mostly Lilie doesn't. More for me. Anyway, we have our toast, and then we have a sweetie ball, and Mummy has her special book that talks to her. After that we go to sleep. I don't know when it happens, but if it feels like a long time since dinner, and Mummy isn't doing toast and sweetie ball time, I remind her. You know, in case she forgot.

Anyway, like I said, Mummy went away somewhere for lots of time. She went before dinner time, and didn't come back until toast and sweetie ball time. I don't know where she went, but I didn't like it. I mean, it was bad enough she went away in the first place, which I hate, because Mummy going away makes me sad. I cry to tell her not to go. I cry and cry. But she still does. I don't know why. But this time it was worse, because of the fireworks.

OK, so I wasn't by myself. Daddy was here with me and Lilie the whole time. The squeaky things in cages were here too, in case you wondered. But Mummy wasn't, and I didn't like that. I never like when that happens, but I liked it even less when the firework things were happening and she was gone. What if they got her? What if she didn't come home? I was so sad and scared!

Daddy tried to make me feel better, and made sure there was dinner, but it didn't help. I wanted Mummy!

Well, OK. It sort of helped. I mean, I was able to not cry after a while, and just be sad quietly. After all, he did give me chicken, and cuddles. So I wanted Mummy real bad, and was really sad, but after a while I was sad quietly, while sitting by the gate at the top of the stairs, hoping it wouldn't be long before I'd see Mummy coming back up them.

At least I wasn't sat there all by myself, since Lilie came to sit there with me after a bit, and we waited for Mummy together, while pretending we couldn't hear those awful firework things happening all around us.

I was so relieved when Mummy finally did come home. I think Lilie was too.

I didn't even mind that Mummy didn't have toast, because she said her tummy was full, which meant she didn't need any. After all, she was home, and she did give me and Lilie our sweetie balls, so I was happy to just cuddle up with her after I was done with my sweetie ball, and go to sleep, which is what Lilie did too.

Anyway, I hope she doesn't go somewhere without me again. Especially not when the firework things are happening.

Lots of licks,
Logan

Thursday, November 14, 2019

#AmReading + #AmWatching + #AmListening - Reviews For November 14th 2019

A book is a device to ignite the imagination.
~Alan Bennett

It's time to take a look at what I've been reading and watching during this past week. It's also time to see which song I've decided to put in the spotlight from those I've listened to over the past week. So...

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. Please bear in mind that the format I've reviewed on Goodreads may not be the format I actually read.

Alternatively, if it's a movie or TV show you want to know more about, just click on the title to go to a page where you can find out more details about the movie or TV show in question; the title links will usually take you to a page on IMDB.

Don't forget: I read and watch things across multiple genres, as well as for different age ranges, so you should always check before reading or viewing, to make certain something is suitable for the intended audience, especially when children are involved.

OK...

Here's what I read this week:

ArsonArson by C.S. Boyack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is another great read by this author, which weaves elements of science-fiction with romance, and keeps you turning the pages until the end. Not to mention, the plot and characters are fascinating, and described so well you can easily imagine you're right there in the world, standing beside the characters while events unfold. Unfortunately, it's let down by the need for more editing, which is why I can't give this one the full five stars. It's still well worth the read though.

Viral Blues (The Hat #2)Viral Blues by C.S. Boyack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is an excellent read! It's a fantastic paranormal story, with a plot that's a wonderful mixture of action and humour, which will suck you in from the first page, and hold you until the very end. It was great to see more of some of the characters from other books by the author, especially Lisa, Lizzie, and The Hat. Only the presence of a few editing issues - which were a bit annoying, but didn't stop me from being absorbed by the story - made me hesitate before awarding this book that final star. So, my actual rating is 4.5 stars, but I rounded up, because the issue that almost stopped me giving it the full five stars is such a minor thing, and I like to round up when that's the case.

SerangSerang by C.S. Boyack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a fantastic story, which I can’t recommend enough. It’s a gripping read, and a wonderful coming of age story. Though it’s meant as a companion novel to “Voyage of the Lanternfish” - and is an excellent one - it could easily be enjoyed without having read that one.

***For anyone who wants to know: I let editing reduce the rating in one title and not another because of the amount of editing required. In the book I still gave five stars to, it was only a few minor issues. The other book, on the other hand, could have done with a lot more editing. So it's all in the amount of errors. Just thought I'd mention that.

Anyway... As for what I've been watching...

I watched five more DVDs of "The Big Bang Theory" during this past week: the four DVDs that make up season 2, and the first disk of season 3. That's all I watched during the past week though. Unless you count a few YouTube videos I caught up on from channels I follow, and snatches of a couple of movies I caught while in and out of the living room, which I wasn't going to bother counting. Five DVDs is a good number for one week though, so I'm certainly not complaining.

As for what I've been listening to...

I've heard this song several times over the past few weeks, and quite a few times before that. I think it's a beautiful - though sad - song, and thought it was an appropriate one to share this week, what with Sunday being Remembrance Day here in the UK, and Monday being Veteran's Day in the US (and possibly elsewhere too, even if called by another name). I hope you agree.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

#WriterWednesday - November 13th 2019

In case you didn't see last week's post: "Mr. Pumpkin-Head And Other Poems" is now available in audio, narrated by Carol Weakland. Full details and purchase links for all formats can be found in the post I just linked to. Alternatively, you can just go grab your copy from Audible. No, that's not the only place you can get the audio version; for the iTunes or Amazon audiobook purchase links, please see the first link in this post.

In other audiobook news: though "Voyage Of The Crimson Sail" is almost done (I should get the final version to approve in a few days time) I'm still looking for a narrator for my pet themed poetry collection, "Puppy Poems And Rodent Rhymes." I had hoped Carol would be able to do that one too, especially since she did "Rodent Rhymes And Pussycat Poems" and they sort of go together. But she's unable to do so, which means I'm looking for someone else. I've had a couple of auditions, but nobody that stands out yet. So, if you're an ACX narrator looking for a relatively short royalty share project, I'd love for you to submit your audition. I'm taking auditions until Friday (November 15th).

In the meantime, I've been taking a rather relaxed view towards writing over the past couple of weeks, and just been adding a few words here and there to a couple of projects. Part of me would like to be writing more, but the rest of me is enjoying just playing too much to care, and knows I need to keep it this way for now. So, I'm going to let myself "play" until the end of 2019, and then I'll make myself commit to one of my writing projects properly. I just need this more relaxed approach right now, in the interests of self care.

Sometimes writing books feels like trying to drink a lake, one teacup at a time.
~V.E. Schwab

Anyway, we're almost half way through the month. If you're doing NaNoWriMo, how's it going? Are you on track so far? I hope so.

Whether you're doing NaNoWriMo or not, there are going to be times when you sit down to write, and just can't seem to do it. In short, moments of writers' block. So, can you still write when the words won't come? Short answer: yes. Sure, what you write might be terrible. But, at least if you write something, there will be something you can tidy up later, and turn in to something good, which is how it works with writing anyway, so... *shrugs*

I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.
~Shannon Hale

Remember: don't write 'perfect,' write better!

With that in mind, this is how to be a more productive writer, and a guide to self-doubt.

So, you have exactly 15 minutes free. Will you use it to write? Hint: you probably should, especially if you've been struggling to get your writing time in. Just saying.

If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.
~Margaret Atwood

Anyway, check out these tips for writing that first chapter, which will hopefully help you figure out where your story should start.

No matter how your story starts, here are some ideas for adding suspense to your story, to make sure those readers you hope to have one day will keep turning the pages.

By the way, is one of the characters in your story autistic? If so, here's a useful guide to writing autistic characters, which you might want to check out, so you can make sure you get your facts right.

Regardless of the kinds of characters in your story, here's a bit of advice for when your characters won't behave.

I don’t have ugly ducklings turning into swans in my stories. I have ugly ducklings turning into confident ducks.
~Maeve Binchy

Last, but certainly not least, here are some thoughts on research - how deep do you go?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

#BonfireNight Again, The #Moon, #Vegetarian & #Vegan BBQs, And #Fireworks

As I said last week, it was Bonfire Night last Tuesday (November 5th).

I had hoped the combination of bad weather, and the fact it fell on a weekday this year, would mean it wasn't so bad for fireworks. No such luck. The fireworks started going off as soon as it was getting even a little dark (so about 5:30pm) and went on until a little after 10:00pm, despite it being quite windy and a bit wet out there too (though admitedly not as wet as it has been a lot of the time lately; it was only a bit drizzly, rather than raining heavily).

A lot of the fireworks were big ones too. In fact, the fireworks were so bad that night that even Lilie - usually pretty relaxed about them - got distressed. Someone suggested part of it might have been that she was upset by how upset Logan was, which is quite likely, but she definitely wasn't liking the bigger fireworks we had at one point. Some of them sounded like they were right outside, even though Kelly looked, and could tell they were coming from at least a few streets away. It was an evening of attempting to comfort puppies, while making sure either the TV or a book was playing to muffle the sound some. I even put the laundry I'd planned to dry the following morning in the dryer, in hopes the dryer noise would cover some of it. It helped with the smaller fireworks anyway, so that's something.

There's talk about making it that only the official events can do fireworks, like it used to be at one point. To be honest, I'd back that in a heartbeat. Yes, I love fireworks, but still. Apart from anything else, we'd have a better idea of exactly when they'd be starting, and which day they'd be coming from which direction. They also probably wouldn't happen in the week if Bonfire Night fell in the week, since the organized events for it are usually held on the weekend... Most of the big events are when possible.

There's also talk about silent fireworks, which I'm not so enthusiastic about. From the point of view of the animals, and how it would help them, I'm all for it. However, speaking as a blind person, I have to point out here how that would exclude me - and other visually impaired people - from enjoying them. So... Yeah. There are pros and cons to that idea.

Either way, despite everything, I did go to a private firework display this year, since I was invited to one.

Our friends, Lorna and Andy, did a firework display and BBQ this past weekend, and I was invited, as I said. Officially Kelly was invited too, but since we couldn't take Lilie and Logan (especially with how scared Logan is of fireworks) and Kelly's less enthusiastic about fireworks than I am, it was decided only I would go, and Kelly would stay home with the furkids. We don't leave them home alone anyhow - neither have been left totally alone for more than five minutes in the time they've lived with us - but definitely wouldn't have during firework season. Poor babies were distressed enough when they had someone there to comfort them. I wouldn't like to think how much worse they'd be if they were here alone during it.

Of course, even without the nearby fireworks to upset him, Logan wasn't at all happy about me being out for so long, but he'd have been even less happy being so close to the fireworks - even though he is starting to get a little more used to them now that we've had them going off near us so much. I can't always stay home to spare his feelings, even if it seriously tugs at my heartstrings to walk away when I hear him cry as I walk out of the door. I went through the same thing with Kero. So, Logan's feelings aside, I went to the late Bonfire Night firework display and BBQ at Lorna and Andy's place.

It should have been happening Saturday, but was rescheduled for Sunday due to rain. Of course, it being the UK, there was a chance we'd have rain Sunday too, but we got lucky, and Sunday evening was perfect weather for it, with no rain, and hardly any breeze. In fact, here's a couple of pictures of the almost full moon, which I took that evening:



The BBQ that was part of the evening was an entirely meat-free BBQ, since Lorna and Andy are vegetarians, and don't have meat or fish in their home. But, despite it being a vegetarian BBQ, I did take some stuff for myself at Lorna's request, just to be 100% certain I had burgers and sausages I could/would eat, because a lot of the ones they get involve dairy or eggs. I don't usually buy the ready made burgers or sausages, but found some promising looking ones from Birds Eye that I'd seen other vegans mentioning as being good, and having been eaten by them at a BBQ, so I grabbed some of those. Had them in buns with my favourite vegan mayo and vegan cheese alternative (Helmans and VioLife respectively) and some onion and tomato. Lorna and Andy had baked some potatoes, so I had one of those with some vegan mayo in place of butter, as well as some onion and tomato. It was all delicious. So, I didn't mind when Lorna gave me back the leftovers of the vegan stuff to take home, since it meant I could have the rest of those burgers and sausages for my dinner the following evening.

Lorna and Andy also had some vegan milks, which they sent home with me afterwards too. So I was able to have a nice cup of tea with almond milk in it, and have some extra almond milk, oat milk, and soya milk, which is never a problem, since I use all three in either my cups of tea, smoothies, or cereal. They've usually got herbal tea of some kind anyhow, so it wouldn't have been a big deal if they hadn't had those milks. It was nice that they did though.

Anyway, as you might have guessed by the above moon photos, I also took the camera with me, since Lorna and Andy said I could, so here are some fireworks for those of you who enjoy them... Before pressing play, please ensure any pets aren't in the room, or use headphones or something. I didn't end up getting the bigger fireworks in any of the clips. Partially because they're too difficult to follow when two people are attempting to work together to operate a camera - thanks to Annie for the camera operation assistance, and firework descriptions, by the way - and partially because with all the clips I took (what I'm about to share is just the good ones we got, which were considered worth keeping) the camera was running out of battery by the end. Take a look at all these firework clips, and you'll understand why. Each one is short, but there are a lot of them.

OK, so... Are the pets out of the room? Great! Then here are the clips:



















































































































































































There were sparklers too, and I had to have one, of course...







By the way, forgive the chatter and appearance of other guests at times... It was unavoidable.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the fireworks.

Monday, November 11, 2019

#MondayMotivation, #Inspiration, And #Wisdom - #Hygge #Quotes For November 11th 2019

The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.
~Mark Twain

The best kind of hugs are the ones that make you forget about everything except how amazing you feel at that very moment.
~Brigitte Nicole

Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.
~E.B. White

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.
~Etty Hillesum

If you are having a tough day, feeling sad, misunderstood, lonely, know that you are never truly alone. Beautiful angels surround you & are ready to comfort you whenever you ask. Breathe deeply & remember tomorrow is another day where anything is possible.
~Anna Taylor

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
~Theodore Roosevelt

The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.
~?Emily Dickinson

Friday, November 08, 2019

Friends Of #FurkidFriday: Chuzoo

Hi everyone. This is Lilie the Westie.

I've got another new friend for you to meet today. He has an unusual name, so let's ask him about that, shall we?

Hi, new friend. What's your name again? I know it's an unusual name, so I’d love to hear about what your name means, or the story behind it, and I'm sure everyone else would too. So please can you share that with us?

My name is Chuzoo (it’s pronounced chew-zoo). I originally lived with my grandparents, but they moved and didn’t think I’d like the new place, so I moved in with my mom and dad. When my grammy got me they told her I was part Chihuahua and part Shih Tzu. My grammy and grampy thought Chuzoo was a cute play on those two breeds. It’s kind of weird, and very unique, which definitely suits me.

Yes, that's definitely a unique name. What species and breed are you again?

I’m a dog. The people my grammy got me from were wrong. The vet says I’m mostly Rat Terrier. I like to pretend I’m a cat, though.

Hey, whatever makes you happy. I don't suppose it really matters what you are. I tell you what though, describe your appearance for us. I've got a photo to share with those who can see it in a moment, but please describe yourself too, for the benefit of those who can’t see the photo.

I’m mostly brown, but I have white legs, and white around my chest and neck. I have gigantic ears. When I’m happy they stand straight up. When I’m sad or scared they deflate. Most of the time they stand straight up.

Well, since you say your ears standing up means you're happy, I guess that means you're mostly happy, and I'd say that's a good thing. Anyway, here's that photo for those who can see it:


By the way, Chuzoo, what sort of place do you live in? Who do you share it with?

I live in a house with my mom and dad, my dog brother, and my six cat siblings. Our house has a backyard with a fence, and I like to play there with my dog brother. The cats have their own bedroom that Mom and Dad rudely keep me out of. They put a cat door in the door, and I don’t fit through it, so I can only get in there if they forget to close the door. I check every single day, lots of times, to see if they’ve left the door open, but they almost never do.

That doesn't sound very fair, the cats getting their own room like that, and you not even being allowed in there. I'm sure you'd love to play with them. Speaking of things you'd love, what’s your favourite thing to do?

I hate to be alone, even for a second, so I love to follow my dog brother Duke around. I also love to play with my cat brother Howard. He’s one of my very best friends. We groom each other sometimes, which I really like. I also LOVE to steal cat food, but I don’t get to do that very often. And I really like sitting on the couch with my parents to watch TV.

That all sounds like great fun! I don't like being alone either. Hey, do you have a favourite toy? If yes, what is it?

I prefer playing with other pets and people, so I don’t play with toys much. I do like it when Mom and Dad put the squirty cheese in my Kong, though, because that’s really yummy.

Fair enough. Treats in Kongs is a great thing... They put some really tasty things in those sometimes, don't they? Speaking of which, what’s your favourite food?

CAT FOOD!!!! Have you tried it? Seriously, they have the BEST food EVER!!! I really wish I was a cat so I could eat as much cat food as I want. I almost never get cat food, though, so cheeseburgers are another favourite. Sometimes we go for a ride and get a cheeseburger while we’re out. I like that.

No. I've never tried cat food. I'm with you on the cheeseburger thing though. I love when they do things like take us out for dinner! On the subject of things the humans do, what’s the one thing your human does that you love most?

I love it whenever they accidentally leave the cat room open, but they don’t do that very often. I love it whenever they let me sit in their laps on the couch. I like to be held and cuddled. And I love it when we go on walks.

Walks are the best! It sounds like your humans do lots of great things for you though. But I bet it's not all great. So, tell us, what’s the one thing your human does that you hate most?

When they put the flea and heart worm prevention stuff on me. I HATE it!!! It’s called Revolution, but I call it TORTURE. It doesn’t actually hurt, but it feels wet and kind of oily. I used to roll around in the yard to rub it off when they do it, but now they don’t let me go outside until it dries. I really don’t like that.

Oh, I don't blame you! I hate the wet stuff. I tolerate it, but... Yuck! You know what? I don't even want to think about it too much, so let's talk about something else, OK? Mummy says your human is a blogger. Has she written anything about you? If yes, can you tell us about it? If no, do you think she will in the future?

Mom has written about me some, and she puts my pictures on the blog a lot. I usually end up in a lot of the same pictures as Howard since we’re buddies. I’d have to ask Duke if he thinks Mom will write more about us.

Hey, that's great! At least you get a mention, and I'm sure everyone loves when she posts the photos. I have to wonder though, since these humans spend a lot of time on the computer thingy, what do you do while your human writes?

Usually I check to make sure she didn’t decide to open the door to the cat room for inspiration. If she didn’t (she never does), I sit next to her on the couch. She pets me some, and then I fall asleep. It seems kind of boring when she writes her blog. I’m pretty sure she’s not writing cat food recipes, so I’m not very interested in it.

Sorry she doesn't leave the cat room door open, or write anything you're interested in. At least you get some petting time, and can relax for a nap knowing she won't be going anywhere any time soon. Speaking of going places though, we should probably end this so you can go check if she left the cat room door open, or a cat left you some food, or whatever. Before we do though, is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?

I hate to be alone, and I really like having another dog to be in charge and decide what we’re going to do for the day. I really love cats. I wish I was a cat. I like how they sleep on the back of the couch, and I love their food. I also love to bark; at other dogs, the UPS truck, the garbage truck, you name it. I’m kind of a chicken, though, so I make sure Duke is close by to take care of things before I bark at anything. And if you want to feed me cat food, that would make me really happy.

You sound like you'd get on with my little brother, Logan. He loves bossing other dogs around, and would be happy to be in charge. Of course, he'd probably love to eat your share of the cat food too, so that might put you off him a little bit. Anyway, thanks for visiting. It was great getting to know you.

***~~~***

Chuzoo's Mom, Danielle, blogs at http://sweetteareads.blogspot.com/, so pop over there and get to know her.

***~~~***

I hope you enjoyed getting to meet Chuzoo, and learning more about him and his human, Danielle. Show them you did by commenting on or sharing this post. Better yet, do both... I'm sure they'd like that. I know I would!

By the way, we're always looking for new friends to get to know better. So, if you're a bird, cat, chinchilla, degu, dog, gerbil, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, rat, or other non-human creature, and you share your life with a human calling themselves a writer - yes, blogging counts - check out the "Friends Of Furkid Friday" page, where you can find out how to have your turn in the spotlight, and meet all the friends we've featured in the past.

Lots of licks,
Lilie

Thursday, November 07, 2019

#AmReading + #AmWatching + #AmListening - November 7th 2019 #Reviews

Ways to support a book:
—Buy it
—Borrow it
—Review it
—Memorize the opening pages and go about reciting them on corners and in cafes and in strangers’ ears and stop at the best part and when they ask what happens next, lean close to whisper in their ear and shout READ THE BOOK.
~V.E. Schwab

It's time to take a look at what I've been reading and watching during this past week. It's also time to see which song I've decided to put in the spotlight from those I've listened to over the past week. So...

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. Please bear in mind that the format I've reviewed on Goodreads may not be the format I actually read.

Alternatively, if it's a movie or TV show you want to know more about, just click on the title to go to a page where you can find out more details about the movie or TV show in question; the title links will usually take you to a page on IMDB.

Don't forget: I read and watch things across multiple genres, as well as for different age ranges, so you should always check before reading or viewing, to make certain something is suitable for the intended audience, especially when children are involved.

OK...

Here's what I read this week:

PanamaPanama by C.S. Boyack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a great paranormal adventure, with a strong western feel. The characters and plot are believable and well-fleshed out, and it all moves at a nice pace. It does have a bit more of the gun fight type western feel than I like, but that's a personal preference thing, and if you like that kind of thing - and are open to the addition of paranormal elements to that kind of story - you should definitely check out this book.

Wild ConceptWild Concept by C.S. Boyack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is an excellent story, with a fantastic plot, and a wonderful main character who's easy to connect with and relate to (despite being a robot). I highly recommend this book.

Ambushed (Valkyrie Academy Dragon Alliance, #6)Ambushed by Katrina Cope
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is yet another excellent addition to this series, which makes for a gripping read for fans of dragons, magic, and mythology. The plot and worldbuilding are fantastic, and the way the characters and their relationships with one another are growing and evolving throughout the series is wonderful. The main character of this book is someone you can both relate to, and learn a lot from. I can't wait to see what's next!
*NOTE: I was given a free advanced copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review. This fact has in no way influenced either my opinion of the book or the contents of this review.

As for what I've been watching:

I watched five DVDs: two movies, and the first three disks of "The Big Bang Theory" (all of the 1st season). The movies were "Madagascar" and "Life Of Pi" - both movies I've already seen, but hadn't watched my actual copies of.

I also watched some random episodes of "Friends" and "Star Trek Voyager" that happened to be on TV when I was doing something in the living room and the TV was on. Plus, I watched a new to me movie that was on one of the Sky cinema channels around Halloween, so it turns out I do have a movie review for you this week after all. Here it is:

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018 movie):
I really enjoyed the first movie, but this second one wasn't quite as good. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, and it was a really good movie, so it will be getting a decent rating from me. But the first movie was better. There was nothing wrong with this movie really: it had plenty of action, some comedic scenes, some great characters, and an interesting plot. It just suffered from second movie syndrome, if you know what I mean. Those who are already Goosebumps fans will probably really enjoy it, but others might not be so impressed. Anyway, after a bit of thought, and only a little hesitation, I give this movie four out of five stars.

As for what I've been listening to...

For some reason I can't quite figure out, when I asked Alexa to play me some Halloween music on Halloween, she started playing songs from "Beauty And The Beast" to me. Being a fan of that movie, I went with it and listened to them - even though they weren't my original listening plan. So, since Alexa insists, this week is going to be a Beauty And The Beast music week. With that in mind, here's my favourite song from the movie:

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

#Poetry #Book - Mr. Pumpkin-Head And Other Poems Now In #Audio!


A collection of poems – many with a hint of humour – about nature, magic, emotions, and the world around us.

Previously only made available in eBook and paperback, "Mr. Pumpkin-Head And Other Poems" is now available as an audiobook, read for you by Carol Weakland.

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

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

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Reviews help authors sell books, so if you grab a copy - regardless of the format you grab it in - it would be great if you could take a few moments to leave a review, either where you brought it, on Goodreads, or wherever else you post reviews. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

#BonfireNight Thoughts, And Celebrating #Halloween 2019

It's Bonfire Night here in the UK. Though you'd have thought it was this past weekend with all the fireworks that were happening when the weather was allowing for it. I also happen to know people are doing fireworks this coming weekend.

Not that I'm complaining. I mean, I enjoy fireworks, and I'm hopefully going to one of the ones happening next weekend, assuming the weather is better than it has been a lot of the time lately, and it doesn't get rained off. But I'll tell you about that another day. At least, I'll tell you about it if it does end up happening (it's meant to be, as of the time I'm writing this post; I've just spoken to the people regarding my transport arrangements).

Anyway, I'm torn when it comes to fireworks, because I feel bad for the animals that don't like them - like Logan, apparently - and all the wild animals with nowhere dark and quiet to hide. For their sakes I do wish there weren't so many fireworks happening. Still, I can't help enjoying them. It's like snow: I love it, despite knowing it causes so many problems for some people, especially when there's a lot of it, and even while I acknowledge that, can't help feeling you can never have too much of it.

I actually kind of wish we could all arrange our fireworks displays on the same night. The animals would still get scared, but at least it would just be once. That's not a 100% perfect solution, but it would be better than the scattered displays the animals have to deal with these days.

But, despite the date, and the firework themed introduction to this post, today's post is actually supposed to be about my Halloween celebrations for this year. So let's talk about those now, shall we?

So... I put up my Halloween decorations the Monday before Halloween.

I don't have loads of them, but I have a couple I've had for a few years, and a few new ones. So I set up displays in the living room windows, since it seemed like a good place that was out of reach of the dogs. Plus, I liked the thought that if someone looked up, they might be able to see and enjoy some of them too. It's not very likely, since people almost never look up. But it was a nice thought, and you never know...

Anyway, here are my Halloween window displays:


In the first photo: the beware sign and maple leaf I've had for a while. The bat is a wooden one Kelly helped me decorate a couple of years ago. The lit up black pumpkin is the one I picked up when we took the dogs for their grooming session at the start of September. The ghost, pumpkin lights, orange pumpkin, candle, and Frankenstein figure are new.

In the second photo: the skull in the frame is the quilling one I made last year. The witch and Frankenstein masks are old masks I turned in to decorations a few years ago. But the hanging skeleton and those little candles are new.

There should have been some little bats too. Two on the window sill with the skeleton theme, and four on the pumpkin themed window sill. But Kelly took the photos before I'd added those, we didn't think to grab new photos, and the decorations were put away over the weekend, so it's too late now.

I forgot to get a photo of the Fall themed table runner we stitched on the table too, and didn't keep it on there because Kelly's working on some figures, and I didn't want him getting stuff all over it. But you can see that in this post, if you want to see it, and missed doing so when I shared it among the other things in that post at the time it was finished.

I did get you a photo of this year's Mr. Pumpkin-Head though. I almost didn't get to do one this year, because our local fruit and veg shop ran out of pumpkins. Luckily the supermarket still had some, and Kelly grabbed one when he was doing his shopping. Quite an impressive one too. So, here's a photo of this year's Mr. Pumpkin-Head once he was finished, and all lit up:


Lilie's a fan of the "big orange ball"...


(Don't worry, the candle was removed before the pumpkin was put where she could check it out, and anyway it's a battery one - one of the ones you see in the above photos - so wouldn't have done her any harm anyhow).

We managed to get Lilie to pose with the pumpkin, but Logan wasn't feeling co-operative... I don't think he was sure what to make of it. So this is the best we could do for a photo of both the dogs posing with Mr. Pumpkin-Head:


For more puppy Halloween photos, check out Lilie's post from last Friday (if you haven't already read that post) where you can see photos of Lilie and Logan in their Halloween costumes.

Anyway, Mr. Pumpkin-Head went back to his favourite job of being a jack-o-lantern after the photos of him with the dogs were done. Though it took me lifting her up so she could check him out in his new spot, and the destraction of her favourite ball, before Lilie would leave him alone, since she kept yapping at him to come back down on the floor and play with her. Even with the destraction of her favourite ball, it took a while before she completely gave up trying to persuade him to come play. Like I said, I think she liked him. Haha!

Naturally, there had to be some pumpkin themed baking. In fact, it's sort of a tradition for me these days to do pasta with pumpkin sage sauce on or around Halloween. So, since this was my first Halloween as a vegan, I veganized my pumpkin sage sauce recipe. It wasn't difficult, since it just meant swapping out the milk for a plant-based milk (I used a can of coconut milk) and the butter for a vegan butter. The latter of which I'd actually done for the past couple of years anyhow. So, I had pasta with pumpkin sage sauce, sprinkled with some vegan cheese, for dinner on Halloween and the day after.

I also had my first attempt at a vegan pumpkin pie. I don't make pumpkin pie every year, but wanted to this year, partially for the challenge of veganizing it, and partially because I fancied some. I brought some evaporated coconut milk as a vegan friendly alternative to the evaporated milk usually used, and used cornflour in place of the eggs to help the filling set (a tablespoon of cornflour for each egg the recipe I was adapting called for). The rest of the ingredients were just pumpkin puree, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice anyhow. And the pastry, of course, which I just used my usual basic pastry recipe for. Anyway, here's a photo of it freshly baked:


When it had fully cooled, I served it with a soya based squirty cream...


The vegetarian friendly versions of both recipes can be found on my website's recipe section already. When I can, I'll get the full vegan pumpkin pie recipe posted up there too. I won't be bothering with a vegan version of the pumpkin sage sauce recipe though, since it's straight-forward to veganize, so I figure you can work it out for yourself.

Anyway, I had also considered making some pumpkin spice cake, and maybe some cookies too. But decided not to. I mean, I already had the pumpkin pie, after all. I'll make cake and cookies another time.

I did make myself another pumpkin themed treat though: a pumpkin pie smoothie. One of the vegan recipe sites I get newsletters for posted about it leading up to Halloween, and I couldn't resist. It's milk (they recommend coconut, but I used almond, and my Mam tried it with dairy milk) a bit of pumpkin puree, some pumpkin pie spice, a banana and a bit of maple syrup (that last being optional; I did choose to add it, but my Mam didn't) blended together in a smoothie. Well, they say to sprinkle the pumpkin pie spice on top, but I went ahead and threw it in my smoothie maker with the rest of the ingredients, since I drink my smoothies out of a bottle anyhow. I'm pretty sure Mam threw hers in her smoothie maker when blending too.

It was all delicious. Mam seems to have enjoyed her version of the smoothie too. I wasn't worried about whether the smoothie or pumpkin sage sauce would turn out to be good, but I do confess I was a little bit worried about the pumpkin pie. I mean, I was pretty sure my plan for the pie would work, but it was an experiment, so... Yeah. Sometimes those work, and sometimes they don't. But I got lucky. The pumpkin pie turned out great. Kelly even had a very tiny taste of the pumpkin pie - only enough so he could tell me how well it compared to traditional pumpkin pie, since he generally shys away from eating most of what I bake or buy that's clearly vegan alternatives to things he usually likes - and agreed it had turned out really well; Kelly says it looks and tastes like a pumpkin pie should, though is a bit darker in colour than most are, which is probably because I used unrefined cane sugar instead of caster sugar. So I have it from a Canadian that I did a good job with my pumpkin pie. That's good enough for me!

Anyway, that's about it for my Halloween celebrations. I didn't expect any trick-or-treaters. We don't generally get them here, because of the type of building and where it is. I think it's a shame, because I'd love to have some trick-or-treaters. But there you go. I usually get a bunch of treats in, "Just in case," and then eat them myself when nobody comes. But I resisted that urge this year, deciding I had enough in the way of treats with the pumpkin pie I'd be having pretty much to myself.

So, what about you? Did you do anything for Halloween? If you did, I'd love to hear about it. Tell me about it in the comments.

Monday, November 04, 2019

#MondayMotivation, #Inspiration, And #Wisdom - #Quotes For November 4th 2019

I can face the winter with calm. I'd been thinking of the winter as a horrid, wet, dreary time. Now I can see other things-crisp and sparkling days, long pleasant evenings, cheery fires. Good work shall be done this winter. Life shall be lived well.
~A.A. Milne

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
~Marcel Proust

Our visit to this planet is short, so we should use our time meaningfully, which we can do by helping others wherever possible. And if we cannot help others, at least we should try not to create pain and suffering for them.
~Dalai Lama

Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.
~L. R. Knost

Don't you know yet? It is Your Light that lights the worlds.
~Rumi

Stars can't shine without darkness
~D.H. Sidebottom

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
~Dolly Parton