Monday, March 31, 2014

2014 1st quarterly reading challenge

The first quarterly challenge for this year on one of the groups I'm a member of on Goodreads was to read books that have been on your to read list for a long time; they have to have been on your to read list for at least three months at the start of this year, so anything that's been on my to read list since before the end of September 2013 counts.

The highest level they gave was 12 books, but since I'd already planned to work on reading as many of the books I'd had on my to read list for ages as I could this year - with a few new additions thrown in from time to time - and I read a lot, my plan was to just see how many I managed before the challenge was over.

Well, today's the last day of the challenge, and I managed 50 books for it, as well as reading some that didn't count because I'd added them to my to read list too recently or they were re-reads, which I never count at all. Not bad, if I do say so myself!

Many of them have also been used for other challenges I've finished this year, but some were only used for this challenge.

Anyway, here's my list:

1. Blood Reaction by D.L. Atha (Added February 27th 2013; read January 1st 2014).
2. The Catalyst (Preternaturals, #3) by Zoe Winters (added July 13th 2012; read January 2nd 2014).
3. Life Cycle (Preternaturals, #4) by Zoe Winters (added July 13th 2012; read January 4th 2014).
4. Losing Agir by Liz Fisher-Frank (added February 16th 2013; read January 5th 2014).
5. The Little Book Of Bizarre Bedtime Stories by S P Feates (added February 13th 2013; read January 6th 2014).
6. Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (added March 14th 2013; read January 11th 2014).
7. The Trouble Upstream by A.L. Means (added July 7th 2013; read January 13th 2014).
8. Queen-A-Bella Finds A Best Friend by Lisl Fair (added March 3rd 2013; read January 14th 2014).
9. A Friend Like Annabel by Alan Davidson (added March 1st 2013; read January 15th 2014).
10. The Folklore Of Discworld by Terry Pratchett & Jacqueline Simpson (added January 19th 2013; read January 19th 2014).
11. The Adventures Of Tom Bombadil by J.R.R. Tolkien (added March 13th 2013; read January 20th 2014).
12. Master Stargazer by Kristopher Mallory (added March 19th 2013; read January 20th 2014).
13. Schoolgirl Apocalypse by John Cairns (added March 1st 2013; read January 21st 2014).
14. The Wishing Tree by Peter Nuttall (added March 7th 2013; read January 22nd 2014).
15. Millicent Marie Is Not My Name by Karen Pokras Toz (added February 26th 2013; read January 23rd 2014).
16. Finding My Molly (The Kitty Tales Trilogy, #1) by Peggy Krause (added March 9th 2013; read January 24th 2014).
17. The Scruffy Little Crumb Grabbers (The Kitty Tales Trilogy, #2) by Peggy Krause (added March 9th 2013; read January 25th 2014).
18. Wild Beau And Her Kittens (The Kitty Tales Trilogy, #3) by Peggy Krause (added March 9th 2013; read January 26th 2014).
19. Girl Perfect by Jo Jenkins (added February 12th 2013; read January 27th 2014).
20. Candy Wars: The Tooth Fairies vs The Candy King by R.G. Cordiner (added March 20th 2013; read February 7th 2014).
21. Candy Wars II: Sweet Revenge by R.G. Cordiner (added March 20th 2013; read February 7th 2014).
22. Cress (Lunar Chronicles, #3) by Marissa Meyer (added January 5th 2013; read February 10th 2014).
23. King Of The Cloud Forests by Michael Morpurgo (added January 7th 2013; read February 11th 2014).
24. Innocent Hearts by Jess Mountifield (added January 16th 2013; read February 12th 2014).
25. The Ogre Of Ogrefort by Eva Ibbotson (added January 4th 2013; read February 14th 2014).
26. Raising Steam (Discworld, #40) by Terry Pratchett (added December 30th 2012; read February 15th 2014).
27. The Suitcase Kid by Jaqueline Wilson (added January 4th 2013; read February 16th 2014).
28. Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson (added January 4th 2013; read February 16th 2014).
29. Mr Splendiferous And The Troublesome Trolls by Rosen Trevithick (added May 29th 2013; read February 17th 2014).
30. Dolphins Of Expedor by Paul Anthony Barker (added February 3rd 2013; read February 18th 2014).
31. Under The Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott (added December 30th 2012; read February 20th 2014).
32. Isabella Rockwell's War by Hannah Parry (added February 21st 2013; read February 21st 2014).
33. Love And Freindship by Jane Austen (added January 7th 2013; read February 22nd 2014).
34. Prince Caspian (The Chronicles Of Narnia, #2 or #4; publication and chronalogical order respectively) by C.S. Lewis (added December 30th 2012; read February 22nd 2014).
35. The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader (The Chronicles Of Narnia, #3 or #5; publication and chronalogical order respectively) by C.S. Lewis (added December 30th 2012; read February 23rd 2014).
36. Farmer Giles Of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien (added March 13th 2013; read February 24th 2014).
37. The Silver Chair (The Chronicles Of Narnia, #4 or #6; publication and chronalogical order respectively) by C.S. Lewis (added December 30th 2012; read February 25th 2014).
38. The Last Battle (The Chronicles Of Narnia, #7) by C.S. Lewis (added December 30th 2012; read February 26th 2014).
39. King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard (added March 14th 2013; read February 27th 2014).
40. The Last Hero (Discworld, #27) by Terry Pratchett (added December 30th 2012; read February 28th 2014).
41. Robin: Lady Of Legend (The Classic Adventures Of The Girl Who Became Robin Hood) by R.M. ArceJaeger (added February 22nd 2013; read March 8th 2014).
42. Harriet's Hare by Dick King-Smith (added January 4th 2013; read March 9th 2014).
43. Podwitch by Nick Poulton (added March 17th 2013; read March 11th 2014).
44. Charlotte And The Army Of Wolves by Kevin Barry (added July 8th 2013; read March 12th 2014).
45. Until Dawn by A.J. Diaz (added March 19th 2013; read March 13th 2014).
46. The End by Robert Bartlett (added March 20th 2013; read March 17th 2014).
47. Lauren Versus The Leprechauns by J Sevil (added January 10th 2013; read March 22nd 2014).
48. Year Of The Dead (Sustainable Earth, #1) by Jack J. Lee (added February 16th 2013; read March 25th 2014).
49. Death By Revelation (Sustainable Earth, #2) by Jack J. Lee (added February 16th 2013; read March 27th 2014).
50. Blood Fed Gods (Sustainable Earth, #3) by Jack J. Lee (added February 16th 2013; read March 29th 2014).

Sunday, March 30, 2014

UK Mother's Day 2014

Today is Mother's Day in the UK, so I thought I'd take the time to say "Happy Mother's Day" to my Mam.

So... Happy Mother's Day, Mam!

And, happy Mother's day to all the Mothers out there... Whether you're in the UK or not.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Rita's birthday 2014

Today is Rita's birthday.

Not the Rita I had an interview with, but my blog friend Rita, who posts at Soul Comfort's Corner and is the human slave of an entertaining and lovable kitty named Karma.

So, happy birthday, Rita!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Kero's medical update - March 2014

Kero is still scratching and biting at himself.

We've given him loads of flea treatments, bathed him in shampoo special for dogs like Westies that get skin irritation, and put anticeptic cream on his sores.

If anything he's biting and scratching at himself more now; he's making himself yelp and bleed.

So, we cancelled his grooming appointment - since we figured a haircut when he's so sore probably wasn't something he'd be too happy about - and we took him to the vet today.

The vet couldn't find any sign of fleas, so it looks like we got rid of those. And other than being covered in these sores he's perfectly healthy. He's even lost 1kg (2.2lbs) that he needed to lose.

That leaves us with two options. Either he made himself so sore while scratching from the fleas that he now has sores that are itching while trying to heal, so he's biting and scratching at them and making them worse. Or, he's managed to end up with one of the skin irritation issues Westies are known for getting, which could have happened from him scratching with the fleas, or could have happened at the same time but without the two things being connected.

Either way, he's got some antibiotics and steroid pills to take for a couple of weeks. The antibiotics are because - despite my efforts with the anticeptic cream - there's signs of infection in his sores. The steroids are to hopefully stop the itching (or, at least calm it down enough that he's not scratching and biting at himself all the time).

If it's sores from him scratching because of the fleas, we "should" see signs of them healing by the time the pills run out. If it's general skin irritation he may need to be treated for it for the rest of his life.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

2014 A-Z character reading challenge - completed

Last night, I finished the last book I needed to read for the 2014 A-Z character reading challenge I've been doing since the start of the year on one of my Goodreads groups. The goal for the challenge is to read books with characters who have names for each of the letters of the alphabet. I actually had all year to do it, but I'm already finished, LOL!

Anyway, here's my list, complete with the title of the book the character came from:

A - Annalice (Blood Reaction).
B - Beaver (The Trouble Upstream).
C - Cress (Cress).
D - Davran (Fuel To The Fire)
E - Elin (Girl Perfect).
F - Frankie (The Scruffy Little Crumb Grabbers).
G - Greybeard (The Wizard Of Crescent Moon Mountain: Elven Resurrection).
H - Havelock Vetinari (Raising Steam).
I - Isabella (Isabella Rockwell's War)
J - Jayden (Jayden & The Mysterious Mountain).
K - Kate (A Friend Like Annabel).
L - Liza (Innocent Hearts).
M - Millicent Marie (Millicent Marie Is Not My Name).
N - Nathan (Alloria)
O - Oily Pongbottom (Mr Splendiferous And The Troublesome Trolls).
P - Priscilla (Cinderella's Escape).
Q - Queen-A-Bella (Queen-A-Bella Finds A Best Friend).
R - Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov  (Crime And Punishment).
S - Sakura (Schoolgirl Apocalypse).
T - Tamara (Life Cycle).
U - Ulf (The Ogre Of Ogrefort).
V - Vicky (Vicky Angel).
W - Woody (Legend Of Mace)
X - Xander (The Chariot Stone)
Y - Yusmuth (Elemental Cascade)
Z - Z (The Catalyst).

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March reading challenge - luck of the Irish

The reading challenge for March on one of the groups I'm a member of on Goodreads was based on a St Patrick's Day theme, since that holiday falls this month. The challenge was to read books with titles that spelled out the letters of a word based on the theme. We were given a list of words to choose from, with the level of difficulty of the challenge based on how many letters your word has. I decided to pick "Leprechaun" for my word.

I finished the last book I needed to complete the challenge early this morning, so...

L - Legend Of Mace (Mace Of The Apocalypse, #4) by Daniel J. Williams (Read March 1st 2014).
E - Elemental Cascade (Fuel To The Fire, #3) by David Staniforth (read March 16th 2014).
P - Podwitch by Nick Poulton (read March 11th 2014).
R - Robin: Lady Of Legend (The Classic Adventures Of The Girl Who Became Robin Hood) by R.M. ArceJaeger (read March 8th 2014).
E - The End by Robert Bartlett (read March 17th 2014).
C - Charlotte And The Army Of Wolves by Kevin Barry (read March 12th 2014).
H - Harriet's Hare by Dick King-Smith (read March 9th 2014).
A - Alloria (Labyrinth Of Labyrinths, #1) by David Staniforth (read March 5th 2014).
U - Until Dawn by A.J. Diaz (read March 13th 2014).
N - Nanny McPhee And The Big Bang by Emma Thompson (read March 19th 2014).

Oh, and a belated happy St Patrick's day to you! :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A School Nightz & Song Kindred Release Day Blitz

A Banner SchoolNightz

SCHOOL NIGHTZ ©MichelleCornwellJordan (NIGHTSCHOOL VAMPIRE HUNTER TRILOGY COMPILATION) Written by Michelle Cornwell-Jordan 3CM Media Release Date March 18th & GOTH-ROCK ARTIST CECILE MONIQUE’S Upcoming single Official song of School Nightz KINDRED ©CecileMonique (Inspired by the second novella in the series Kindred) Set to release March 2014

Buy the School Nightz compilation from


a fun plus 101

Thank-you’s & Much gratitude! An Incredible Team!

Special Thanks Editing Line Editing: HJ’s Editing Services (Digital & Print Edition Versions) Line Editing: Shamrock Editing (Erin Potter) (Digital Edition Version) JamieB Proofreading (Fiverr Gig) Polishing of Angel: Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy novella#1: Authors Jamie White& C.P. Bialois editing Kindred: Night SchoolVampire Hunter novella#2 ************* BETA READERS Beta Readers: (The Avid Reader’s) Nancy Storey Allen and Author Victoria Zigler ************* GRAPHIC ARTIST/PHOTOGRAPHY School Nightz Print Edition The cover was created by the amazing (Amy Rooney-CVWriterDesigns) Website: Photography by the fantabulous (Tiffany McDonald- Anecdote Photography) Website: Graphic Artist: Next Artist: Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy) (Digital) Photography: Venickwa Penigar: (Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy) (Digital) ************************* MODELS Models Brianna Jordan (Digital & Print Edition Versions) & Adam Becerra(Digital & Print Edition Versions)


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March 18th-March 31st

Winner announced April 01st

Enter Rafflecopter Giveway for a chance to win! Grand Prize winner: Signed Print Copy of SchoolNightz & the music single Kindred©CecileMonique! 1 Book winner: Signed Print Copy of SchoolNightz 1 Music winner of Kindred©CecileMonique! 1 Winner of a School Nightz Calender 2014 a Rafflecopter giveaway


A Official School Nightz Cover February 2014 Michelle Cornwell-Jordan

Synopsis Night School Vampire Hunter (Novella#1) Fifteen year old Dasheen Bellamy’s world is turned upside down, when she is accused of killing her father and godmother. Dasheen cannot remember the events of the night her world is destroyed, but she feels inside that she is innocent; due to lack of evidence against her and with no other family; Dasheen and her younger brother Jordan, are sent to the elusive and mysterious Ame’ Academy ; a residential school where all is not what it appears. There all goes well, until Jordan, begins to become distant and behave strangely as if he is afraid of something or someone. Jordan is transferred to Ame’ Academy’s Night School track, which is usually only open to special cases. In order to discover what is happening with her brother, Dasheen is finally allowed to also transfer, attending classes in the evening while the rest of the world sleeps. Soon Dasheen’s world changes again as she discovers that things out of fairytales and horror stories exist, that she has ancient powers and is the major player in a mystical prophecy; and then she falls in love with a boy, whose mission is to see that she is destroyed before her destiny is fulfilled… Kindred (Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy) Novella#2 The Kindred is the second novella in The Night School Vampire Hunter trilogy. Angel and her friends at Ame Academy, a boarding school for preternatural and humans are back, and they are preparing for battle against the dark forces that kidnapped Angel’s younger brother Jordan. Angel had recently discovered that she was a Hunter and that she alone has a special weapon against her enemies, her blood, which is discovered to be toxic to her enemies. Angel is prepared to use her training and all that is at her disposal in order to save Jordan, even if that means joining forces with the strange and mysterious Rafael, who at their first meeting, she recognized him as the boy she had dreamed about for weeks prior to his arrival at the school. Angel cannot shake the feeling that she knew Rafael before, and is hopelessly drawn to her extremely handsome fellow hunter. Rafael frightens her, he hints of a secret; another time and another life lived. Can love survive two lifetimes? Events unfold that provides the answers to who Rafael really is and what they mean to one another; and along with these strange and blossoming emotions for Rafael, along with guilt and fear for her brothers safety; Angel discovers that she is more than just a Vampire Hunter, and that she plays a major role in a ancient prophecy, which she must fulfill by facing a force so evil that survival is not promised. But she will face the Dark One, Angel will sacrifice all, if it means saving all whom she loves. Many questions are answered, but the drama is just beginning… Redemption (Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy) Novella#3 Darkness fell over Ame’ Academy when Angel plummeted into the gaping twilight of the abyss. Ismet, Bella Donna, Elin and Rafael were now left to pick up the pieces. But those that loved Angel refused to believe she was gone; so the search for her and the truth begins. Plus the clock is counting down; the Beast has escaped its pit and so the group of friends, with the help of unlikely allies must face an ancient evil, and once again face the heartache of losing someone they love, to save the world from destruction once and for all. The highly anticipated and surprising finale to the Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy! ABOUT THE AUTHOR M-Jordan-headshot2-300x257 ME Michelle Cornwell-Jordan is a Young Adult/ New Adult author. Her titles include the Teen Paranormal novella series Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy, (Print compilation School Nightz set to release March 18th). Full length novel, Teen Fantasy/Dystopian Chrysalis, (New Adult Novelette) Gothic Romance Tourmentin and a contribution to the HerStory Anthology (Pagans Writers Press) She is also the producer/host of the online radio segment, IndieReview Behind the Scenes, where she and her co-host Author Jamie White interview Indie authors and musicians. Michelle has been married for seventeen years and has a fifteen-year-old daughter. A book lover, her favorite genre has always been paranormal adventures. Author Links: Purchase titles by Michelle Cornwell-Jordan: Find out more about her on her website! Follow her on twitter at @mcjordan37 Fan her on FaceBook at IndieWritersreview YA blog



a fun 101

Official SchoolNightz Song Much gratitude & Heartfelt thanks to artist Cecile Monique! Contact Cecile Monique Website BIO Cecile Monique is a Canadian vocalist/songwriter/composer of original Gothic Rock & Symphonic Metal music. With her powerful, yet angelic voice and unmistakable charisma, Cecile Monique is a multi-talented musical artist ready to make her mark on the international music scene. Cecile Monique is not only an accomplished vocalist; she is also a skilled writer, composer, and arranger of her own original music. Her years of formal classical vocal training provided the foundation, but her singular creativity, diverse musical influences, and her fresh, youthful style have provided the fuel to create the distinctive fusion of rich, classically-influenced vocals with modern, innovative instrumentation that exist together in perfect harmony and have become Cecile Monique’s signature, genre-bending sound. In addition to her impressive musical talent, Cecile’s cosmopolitan personality and multicultural roots (half European and half Hispanic) also broaden her appeal to an international audience; Cecile is fluent in several languages and has recorded and performed songs in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Czech, and Latin. In 2010, Cecile Monique was awarded the prestigious FACTOR New Talent Award in support of her self-titled EP release featuring three of her original compositions, which was recorded at Metalworks Studios, Canada’s #1 recording studio. With the launch of her new EP now available on iTunes worldwide, and a myriad of new projects on the horizon, Cecile Monique is a rising star poised to become an international phenomenon. Official SchoolNightz SONG RELEASE Teaser trailer of KINDRED ©2014 Cecile Monique (March 2014)

a fun plus 101

SPECIAL FEATURES The Making of Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy Michelle Cornwell-Jordan “Before concentrating on my writing and publishing, I was the Director of an before and after-school program for grades fifth thru eighth grade. The idea to focus my writing and on-line publishing endeavors… combining music and reading… actually stemmed from the kids. I had been repeatedly told by my Center kids, that kids that read do not listen to “cool” music and vice versa, so I wanted to show my kids something different. I launched a blog in January 2011 which interviews and spotlights Musicians and Authors…and I also began an on-line internet radio program called IndieReview Behind The Scenes Internet Radio through Blogtalk in March 2012. This past November of 2013 we celebrated over 100,000 listens! I have since then acquired a co-host, Author Jamie White and three guest hosts for various segments, and music plays a huge part in all I do. Our goal is to have a platform and bring the readers and music listeners together. It has become a very successful venture, it which I am very grateful. Cecile Monique, a very talented music artist #GothRock has been extremely gracious to also take a hold of this vision, has jumped in bringing the vision of Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy to a new level with her single #Kindred inspired by the second novella in the series. I believe that a feature such as this, which deals the emerging and thriving on-line Indie community of Musicians and Authors, the local aspect and the Book plus the CD will make for a interesting feature for all ages.” So for all my kid (readers) past and present…”Books & Cool Music really CAN go together!”



Night School Vampire Hunter #Superhero Feature In the third novella #Redemption several new characters visited with the gang at Ame Academy! In a Special Reader Appreciation Feature which I hosted there were two wonderful readers of the series Author Victoria Zigler and (The Avid Reader’s) Nancy Storey Allen who participated by submitting their characters to be featured in the chapters marked Alliance. Both ladies retain full rights to the two characters Novite Felecia Grace Tyler submitted by Author Victoria Zigler and Novite Nanena Allen submitted by Nancy Storey Allen. Both ladies have given permission for the use of the characters. Although story content of Night school Vampire Hunter Trilogy and Alliance Chapters in Redemption (Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy) Novella#3 Copyright ©2014 Michelle Cornwell-Jordan Illustrations completed by Illustrations created by Julia Antoinette Macaranas- Fiverr Gig: *************************************** Redemption: Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy novella #3 Novite Felecia Grace Tyler- creator Victoria Zigler A author book feature Felecia 1st year Alliance Student Level: Novite/Warrior Class: WereLioness/Were Shifter Novite Nanena Allen- creator Nancy Storey Allen A Author Book Feature Nan 3 (2) 1st year Alliance Student Level: Novite/Mystic Class: Tlaciques Witch/Vampire (Originate Mexico) Coming Soon! Hunter Series: Legends of the Eclipse (Illustrated Novel) Summer 2014 Origins (An Alliance Novella) Spring 2015! a aweosm brianna shoot 11 Series: Legends of the Eclipse (Illustrated Novel) Summer 2014 Angel Angel Graphic Novel And Rafael Rafael Graphic Novel Join the Hunters Alliance on Face Book Hunter Series Fan Club is a society of Teen and Adults (Hunters) brought together through the Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy/Hunter Series novellas/books by Michelle Cornwell-Jordan. Join and have first peek at news and updates, plus sneak peeks from the author on her books and projects! Also receive updates from the Alliance Youth Service Club (Inspired by Night School Vampire Hunter Trilogy/Hunter Series Novellas)…check to see whether one of these awesome Community Service initiatives is in your area…or learn how to start one! Contact: to get you name on the Hunter roster for some great deals! Check out the World of Bid’ABan (Home of the Alliance) on Pinterest! ****************************************** SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL THOSE THAT HELPED WITH TODAY’S BLITZ! All the authors and bloggers and special, special thanks to Tonya over at a fun plus 101 Follow the Blitz here:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Pet antics (kinda FD)

I keep meaning to post some of our pets' antics on here, but I keep forgetting. I didn't, for example, get around to telling you about how Luna used to push my hand away with her paw and give an annoyed squeak if I tried to pet her, but would stick her paw through the bars of her cage to get Kelly's attention so he could pet her and lean her head in to his hand while she was being petted and scratched. Or how Cara would end up chewing on her own back paws and tail because she'd seen them move and grabbed them. So, I thought I'd post to tell you about some recent pet antics.

Our degu boys are all from the same litter, so they share a cage.  It's a large one with three levels and a sort of look-out ledge.  They also have two bowls, because they have a habit of sitting in the bowl and making it difficult for the others to get at the food, so having the two bowls means they actually stand a chance of all getting at the food.  The bowls go on the top level, because it's easier for me to access them without the degus escaping when I'm grabbing the bowls (not that this is fool-proof, since degus are rather bright rodents, but it's harder for them to escape out of the top opening than out of the doors on the front).  The thing is though, they move their stuff around, so although I put the bowls away from the opening leading to the ramp down to the next level, the bowls don't stay away from that opening.  Anyway, the other day one of the degus was sat on the edge of one of the bowls near the opening at the top of the ramp.  He must have shifted his weight wrongly or something, because the next thing we knew the bowl had flipped over.  The bowl tumbled down the ramp, and the degu was just quick enough to grab the edge of the opening and swing himself back up on to the top level, where he stood looking down in confusion at the bowl below him, obviously puzzled about what had happened.

We heard a bit of a squeaking argument going on near the degu wheel and looked over to see what was going on.  It turned out that one degu was trying to run while another tried to use the wheel as a grinding stone for his teeth.  The one trying to run was getting really annoyed with the one trying to grind his teeth, because it was making it very difficult for him to run.

When we brought the gerbils home and put their cage near the degus' cage, the degus ignored them at first.  But then, a few hours later, one of the degus was in the sand bath when he caught sight of movement from the gerbil cage.  He sat in the sand bath staring for a moment, raced up the ramp to tell one of his brothers and try and get him to come see (he wouldn't come) and then raced back down the ramp and dove in to the sand bath to resume staring at the gerbil cage.  Then he started trying to dig through the side of the sand bath to get to the gerbil cage.  It didn't take too long before he figured out he was getting nowhere though, so he gave up and lost interest.

Our gerbils share a cage too, since they're both from the same litter.  They have a cage with a large bottom area for digging and tunneling in, then two other levels with ramps to access them.  They're happy to share a bowl, but they have two houses because gerbils like having lots of places to hide.  Bilbo was in one of the houses arranging things, since he loves to do that, and Baggins was looking for him.  When he poked his head out to see what was happening outside, Baggins spotted him and leaped on him, knocking him backwards.

Another time, we gave the gerbils a cardboard tube to play with.  We put it on the top level of their cage, and Bilbo patiently rolled it down both ramps to the bottom where he could chew it up for nesting materials.  Much to his annoyance, Baggins decided it had been put in the cage for him to run through, so poor Bilbo had to keep stopping to let Baggins run through it as he couldn't carry or roll it with his brother inside it.

When we put some hay in the gerbil cage the other day, Baggins dove in to the hay pile like a child would do with a pile of leaves.

Bilbo obviously got fed up of running up and down the ramp with his cheek pouches full of food, because he decided to try and take the whole bowl of food down with him.  Never mind the fact the bowl is big enough for him to climb in, or the fact it's actually attached to the side of the cage.  Needless to say, it didn't work very well, and the bowl stayed put.

Kero wants to be friends with everyone, and tries to say "hi" to the degus and gerbils.  When they actually come over to the bars of their cages to see him, he's so happy you'd swear he'd just been given the best gift in the universe.

When we give Kero a treat, he often puts it aside for later.  Then he forgets where he put it.  When he found a treat left on his bed the other day he started throwing it up in the air and catching it again, tail wagging frantically.  He was the one who'd put it there a little while before, but from the way he was acting you'd swear we did it secretly while he was out in the yard or something.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Wayne's birthday 2014

Today is my big brother, Wayne's birthday.

So, I thought I'd take a moment to say "happy birthday" to him.

Happy birthday, Wayne!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Luna, Cara and Tinkers

I know they're no longer with us, but since I never posted photos of them, I thought I'd show you photos of Luna and Cara, just so those of you who never saw them can see what they looked like.

This is Luna:

And this is Cara Crookeshanks:

I'm pretty sure I never posted a photo of Tinkers before either. Tinkers was the cat Kelly, his Mom and his Aunt Sue had when I went to live with them in Canada for a while. We left her with Kelly's Mom and Aunt Sue when we came back to the UK. She was a great cat, and very opinionated; but then, aren't all cats very opinionated? LOL!

Anyway, this is Tinkers:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bilbo and Baggins

These are Bilbo and Baggins. They're a pair of Mongolian Gerbils. They are brothers and littermates, and were named for Bilbo Baggins the hobbit from the Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings books and movies.

I looked up the name "Bilbo" online and discovered that it’s a Basque name. It took some searching to find a meaning for the name, but eventually we learned that it's most likely a combination of the names "Bill" which can mean either "strong mind" or "protection" and "Bo" which means "wave-like" – so Bilbo probably means “wave-like protection with a strong mind” or something like that. I couldn't find any meaning for the name "Baggins" though.

Bilbo and Baggins are Kelly's gerbils. He was missing Luna badly, so I agreed that he could have a new pet if he wanted; especially since my degus often won't allow him to pick them up, so he wasn't getting any comfort from them. I said he could have anything that lives in a cage or tank as long as it's not a snake or spider. He decided on a gerbil, but since gerbils - like degus - do better with company, so he got a pair.

They're a little over nine weeks old now; they were born January 6th 2014.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Happy birthday Jacob Blackmon

Today is the birthday of one of my friends and cover artists.

He did the cover for my latest book "Goodies For Grandmother" actually, and is working on the cover for another book I'm working on.

I have it on good authority that he's an amazing artist.

His name is Jacob Blackmon.

I added his last name to make sure nobody gets confused about whether I'm talking about Jacob the degu. Yes, that has happened a few times, LOL!

Anyway, happy birthday Jacob!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Goodies For Grandmother

"Brownies share the woods with the fairies, but – unlike the fairies – the brownies are very naughty. They love playing tricks, love stealing anything travellers happen to be carrying through the woods, and love getting people lost. So when one of them spots Ella carrying a basket of goodies, he just can’t resist trying to steal them from her. But Ella isn’t going to let him near it. Bob the brownie quickly figures out that he’ll have to come up with a sneakier plan to get his little hands on that basket of goodies."

"Based on the well-known story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ but with no big bad wolf to eat Grandmother, nor woodcutter to save her, ‘Goodies For Grandmother’ tells the story of a little girl in purple, a sick Grandmother, a naughty little brownie, and a clever little fairy."

This is the synopsis for another of my books. It's called "Goodies For Grandmother" and is officially released today!

This is the one I mentioned that was posted on my blog here before, but which has had a fair bit of editing since then. If you want to read the original version then you can do so by searching my archives for the post it's in, but if you'd prefer the most recent version you'd be better off buying this book, LOL!

It's already available via Smashwords and a couple of other sites, and will be available elsewhere soon.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Degu buddies turn 1

It's hard to believe, but it's true... My little degu buddies are a year old today!

Seems like only yesterday I brought them home as little 12 week old babies, and now they're all grown up!

For those who haven't seen any photos of them, here they are on top of their latest house/nesting box.

The photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, and the house is the third they've had since we got them. The third because we replaced the original in January using a coupon Pets At Home gave us at Christmas time after we ordered the pets' Christmas presents, but they ate that one, so we had to buy another one again. The first was a wooden one like the one in the above photo, but the second one - the one they ate - was a grass one. We thought it would last a bit since it was designed for larger rodents than the degus, but apparently it was very tasty and we were very wrong, LOL!

We also brought them some rodent balls. Only two have arrived so far, but they seem pleased with them even though they have to share right now.

Here's Kero checking out the ball while Jasper's in it:

Anyway, this will do for now, so...

Happy 1st birthday Jacob, Jasper, Jenks and Joshua!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Read an ebook week 2014: free and bargain ebooks

As part of Smashwords' read an ebook week promotion, you can get my books on offer all this week.

Some are actually free!

Go to my Smashwords author page at and check out the books.

NOTE: you'll need to go on to the page for the individual book to see what's free and what's just on offer.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

R.I.P. Luna

Last Sunday Luna seemed out of sorts, but everyone has off days, so we didn't think anything of it.

Monday morning we got up to find her sat at the top of her ramp to the top level of her cage and not moving. Her eyes were closed, and she felt quite cold. The first thing we did was get her warmed up, then we did things to try and keep her warm: gave her extra hay to snuggle in to, gave her the warmer hammock she has, and put a blanket over the top of her cage to trap heat in. We were worried though that she didn't seem to have eaten much (degus love food). But when I offered her a peanut after warming her up she took it and ate it, so we figured if we gave her a couple of days and kept her warm she'd be fine.

She doesn't travel well, and the stress of visiting a vet can cause more harm than the vet can do good with small animals, if you know what I mean, so we wanted to give a couple of days before taking her to a vet. We did make sure to get a recommendation from where we got the boys as to which vet was best for degus though, just in case.

Up until last night (Friday night), our plan seemed to be working; she wasn't eating and drinking as much as she should, and she wasn't as active as she should have been, but we saw her moving about and doing things in her cage a little, so we were hopeful.

But last night she was just laying there again.

Worried about dehydration, we got some water in her with a surringe. Most of it just dribbled back out of her mouth, but some of it seemed to make it in to her. We weren't sure what else to do, so I held her (so she could get the heat from my hands) while Kelly called the vet.

The vet told us to continue to do what we were doing: keeping her warm and trying to get water at least in to her, but also food too if possible. If she was no better by Monday morning we were to take her to see the vet.

Iggy had given me some goat's wool a while back, and I'd knitted some of it in to a strip to go in a blanket I'm going to be making myself one of these days. But, remembering how warm and snuggly it felt, I decided to grab it to snuggle Luna in to. I was sure Igggy wouldn't mind since he's a big animal lover himself, and I was sure he'd understand why it became a degu blanket.

So, Kelly snuggled Luna in to the goat's wool and I held her to try and warm her up. She's always been Kelly's degu, but my hands are usually quite warm, where as his are often quite cold, so I was holding her so she could get heat from my hands as well as her new blanket. It's the first time since she became Kelly's degu when we took her in that she's been happy to go to me rather than him; she always wanted him rather than me, and would actually push me away if I tried to pet and cuddle her like he did, yet she'd seek out his attention several times a day.

Neither the blanket nor the heat of my hands helped though; Luna died at 3:00am this morning, still wrapped in her goat's wool blanket in my hands.

At least she was comfy and had company at the end.

Rest in peace, Luna, and know you will be missed!

October 1st 2011 - March 1st 2014.