Sunday, August 31, 2014

Character interview: Cubby the polar bear

Cubby the polar bear from my latest book "Cubby And The Beanstalk" is being interviewed today over at Creative Barbwire

You can check out the interview by going to if you want to know more about Cubby.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 2014 reading challenge - new authors

One of the groups I'm on over on Goodreads had a reading challenge for August to encourage you to try books by new authors (as in, authors that are new to you). A pretty good challenge, I think! So, I joined in... Here are the authors that made my new-to-me list this month, as well as the book(s) I read by said authors:

1. Laurel A. Rockefeller.
A New Start In The Niobrara For Mr. And Mrs. O'Malley ~ read on August 1st 2014.
Boudicca: Britain's Queen of the Iceni (The Legendary Women of World History, #1) ~ read on August 5th 2014.
Catherine de Valois (The Legendary Women of World History, #2) ~ read on August 5th 2014.

2. Kevin Andrew Murphy.
Penny Dreadful ~ read on August 4th 2014.
Pathfinder Tales: The Secret of the Rose and Glove ~ read on August 9th 2014.

3. Josephine Heltemes.
Will You Call My Name ~ read on August 24th 2014.
Santa in a Shopping Cart ~ read on August 24th 2014.
The Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Guide to Revenge ~ read on August 24th 2014.

4. Alessandra Nadudvari.
Nicky and the Lost Templar (Adventures Of Nicky, #1) ~ read on August 25th 2014.

5. Michael James Ploof.
Billy Coatbutton and the Wheel of Destiny (The Sock Gnome Chronicles, #1) ~ read on August 25th 2014.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Me and Barb last week

Here are the promised photos from when I met fellow indipendant author, Barb, a week ago.

Barb writes under a couple of different pen names, including the one I've read books by, which is Barbara G.Tarn. To learn more about her and her books, check out her blog at

We were by the seafront not far from Hastings peer, and if our hair looks a bit messy, it's because it was rather windy. It was threatening to rain too, but we did manage to avoid getting wet.

Oh, and you see the knitted unicorn in the photo? His name is Victory (Barb named him) and I made him to give to Barb as a gift. Barb loves unicorns... Check out her blog tomorrow and you'll see what I mean.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cubby And The Beanstalk - officially released today!

"When Cubby’s Mother tells him to take their old goat to market and sell her so they can buy food, Cubby ends up trading the goat for a bag of magic wishing beans. His Mother is furious, and in her rage throws the beans outside and sends Cubby to bed. You may think that was the end, but you’d be wrong! In fact, it’s just the beginning!

Loosely based on the stories of ‘Jack And The Beanstalk’ and ‘The Magic Cooking Pot’, this is the story of a hungry little polar bear and his journey up the beanstalk to the home of the magical giant skybears."

That's the synopsis for my latest book, which is officially released today. It's called "Cubby And The Beanstalk" (in case the title of the post didn't make that obvious). Anyway, if you want to find out what happens when Cubby the polar bear goes up the beanstalk, grab your copy today!

It's available from Smashwords in all formats they offer, as well as from many other retailers.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Random happenings - August 24th 2014 (kinda FD)

In the past two weeks we've been to "The Love Cafe" - which is the cafe we used to go to with Kero - twice, "Alpha Cafe" three times, "Costa Coffee" once, "The Coffee Bean" once, and the cafe in Waterstones bookstore once. We'd be reluctant to go back to the cafe in Waterstones, because it's rather expensive, and we were quite glad at the time we only went there for a drink and a sit down. But we'll be happy to go back to the others any time!

We've also walked along the seafront a couple of times, walked around town a couple of times (including going to Hastings' weekly market this past Thursday) and walked to a couple of places more local. Also, I got an audiobook of Miss Marple stories when we were in Waterstones, and we went to Asda to do the grocery shopping. Plus, we've ridden the train a few times, and someone let me check out his motorbike - which was really cool, and had skulls for headlights!

Thursday's outing wasn't just the two of us though, since we met up with a fellow author who I met through Goodreads. Her name is Barb, she's from Italy, and she was visiting the UK so said she'd come down to Hastings to meet up with us. She writes under a couple of different pen names, but if you want to check her out, her blog is at and you can find other links to do with her from there. I'll put up the pictures Kelly got of the two of us together once we get them off the camera.

On Friday my ankle made it perfectly clear that it had been walked on enough. I'm surprised it took so long, actually! But we'd already planned to stay home this weekend anyway, so it's no big deal. Besides, I needed to catch up on a bit of reading before I end up behind on my reading goal for the year, and wanted to do some work on a knitted blanket I'm making for myself (which I want to complete in time for this Winter); both of which were things I could do at the same time thanks to text to speech on my Kindle, and both of which were things I could do while resting my ankle. I actually ended up doing a bit of writing this weekend too!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Inside my head - August 20th 2014 (kinda R/WP)

It's strange. When I sat down to write Kero's story, I knew straight away what I wanted to say, and the words just flowed from me; my fingers tapping away at the keys almost as fast as I could think. But today I've been trying to write a simple post about what I've been up to in the past week, and I'm struggling to do so. All I wanted to do was tell you about the outings and walks we've been on, tell you about how we've been cleaning and reorganizing things (as well as figuring out what needs to be repaired or replaced around here), and how I haven't done much reading and writing in the past few days.

Why is it so difficult to write something that simple?

Is it because a part of me feels guilty for having enjoyed myself when Kero is gone? Is it because it's been so long since I've just blogged about random day to day stuff, and a part of me feels people won't be interested in hearing about it? Or, perhaps, it's a bit of both? Or, maybe, something else entirely? I just don't know!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Grandma Sarah's obituary - published in the Edmonton Journal

"ZIGLER, Sarah "Sadie" Isabela (Kennedy)
July 1, 1918 ~ August 8, 2014
On August 8, 2014, Sadie passed away at the Venta Care Centre in Edmonton at the age of 96.
Sarah will be remembered by her son Clarence; daughter Carolyn; grandchildren Kelly (Tori), Sherry (Warren), Vincent, Holly (Damion), Stacey (Joel), Lorren, Rehana (Sam), and Josh; great- grandchildren Tamara, Devon, Chelsea, Austin, Jeremy, Cynthia, Jarid, Ella, Jessica, Jacob, Jax-si, and Hunter. She will also be missed by Ruth Hart, Heather Bennett, as well as many other nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
Sarah was predeceased by her husband Lee in 1986; daughter Ivy, as well as her siblings Jim, Howard, and Eileen.
Sarah was born and raised on a ranch near Simpson, Saskatchewan. Sarah helped work the ranch and enjoyed attending school. Later Sarah moved to Edmonton, Alberta where she helped her mother with many business ventures. Sarah worked hard and prided herself on being a good mother, wife and home maker. Sarah enjoyed staying active with friends by joining a travel club, the Edmonton legions, and many cribbage tournaments.
A Funeral Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at Howard McBride Chapel of Chimes, 10179 - 108 Street, with a Viewing one half hour prior, a Reception to follow and an Interment at Westlawn Memorial Gardens.
The family would like to thank the staff at Venta Care Centre for the care and compassion shown to Mom during her stay."

Published in The Edmonton Journal on Aug. 12, 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Random thoughts - August 14th 2014 (FD & R/WP)

I miss Kero; especially at sleep time! Kero always slept with me, and not having him beside me feels wrong!

The neighbours two doors down are doing some work on their place. On Tuesday there were people and vehicles coming and going and making noise all day. But it still seemed too quiet to me as Kero would have been barking at those kinds of things so much that I'd have ended up with a headache. It might sound strange to complain that I didn't get a headache, but I really missed the barking, and despite the noise of the workmen and neighbours coming and going it was much too quiet here on Tuesday.

Kelly and I went out today for a drink and a bit of air. We also went out yesterday (Wednesday). We needed the outings, I think. Today we went for a drink at my favourite cafe, which is called "The Love Cafe" and sat outside. Yesterday we went to eat at a cafe called "Alpha Cafe" which is near where we get the train in to town, then we went to town on the train and ran a couple of errands. We both had burger meals at the café yesterday, though mine was a veggie burger, of course. "Alpha Café" has several vegetarian friendly options as it turns out.

While we were out yesterday, we picked up a couple of things the degus and gerbils could have a nibble on (wood chews, and a gnawing block for the degus, who have already gone through that big one we got them a few months back). Jacob needed a present; I think he misses Kero too, because he's been a bit down, and he was squeaking a lot in the way they do when they're upset. His gift seems to have cheered him up though.

Early this morning I wrote something that was the most difficult piece of writing I've ever done. Yet it was also the piece I knew the words for the best. What I wrote was the 7th and final book for the "Kero's World" series. I hadn't planned on writing a 7th book for the series, but I felt like I needed to write it. Iggy made the cover for me yesterday, which I really appreciate. I know Kero meant a lot to him, and if I didn't know it already then his recent post would have told me so. Kelly read the story this afternoon and said it was beautiful and that he could see why I needed to write it. I think Kero would appreciate it; he loved being the center of attention, and always got excited when I talked about his books (probably because his name was mentioned). I plan to publish the story on September 11th. I know that's already a signifecant date, and hope people understand that I'm not publishing it then because of what the date means to most people, but because that will be exactly a month from the day we lost Kero.

Monday, August 11, 2014

R.I.P. Castellan Keroberous

R.I.P. Castellan Keroberous
May 23rd 2004 - August 11th 2014.


Both before we had Kero and when he was a puppy I knew of dogs who were kept alive despite several health issues that made them miserable, so when Kero was a puppy I made him a promise. I promised him that if we were in a position where he was suffering and I had to decide between letting him suffer so I could have more time with him or putting him to sleep, then I would put him to sleep. I promised him he would never suffer when it could be avoided, and that I'd put what was best for him before anything else.

Today I kept my promise.

Kero hasn't been doing too well lately, so we took him to the vet today. He had chronic skin disease, and there wasn't much that could be done. The vet said it was the worst case she'd seen, and that she's never known a dog go from having clear skin to being really bad in such a short amount of time. I'm not sure of the cause of his other issues (the confusion, for example) but the skin disease would have been reason enough to end his suffering. So, I kept my promise and had him put to sleep.

I stayed with him through it, because I know he would have wanted me by his side.

He was a great dog; the best dog anyone could ask for. And I'm going to miss him dreadfully!

Rest in peace Castellan Keroberous. The little over 10 years you gave me were wonderful, and I'll never forget you!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

R.I.P. Grandma Sarah

We learned yesterday (Saturday) that Kelly's Grandma, Sarah (his Dad's Mother) died on Friday.

It wasn't entirely unexpected, since she's had several health issues for some years, and hasn't been well at all for a while now. Also, she was somewhere in her 90s. But knowing she was very sick and quite old doesn't make her loss easier.

I didn't really know her myself; in fact, I never actually met her. But I know Kelly was really fond of her. His cousin Holly was too, and they've both taken it pretty hard. I don't know about the rest of the family, though from what I can tell she was very much loved and will be missed a lot by everyone who knew her.

R.I.P. Grandma Sarah!

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Super Kero!

This is Kero's "super dog" photo from the other day.

His "cape" (aka blanket) is hiding most of his sores, so with his doggy grin he almost seemed like his old self for a while there. Poor little guy went back to feeling sore and miserable within a few moments of the above photo being taken though. It was nice to see the old Kero... Even if it was just for a few moments!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Rodent themed photos - August 7th 2014

I have some rodent themed photos for you today.

Jacob the degu meets Bilbo and Baggins the gerbils:

They've met like that several times since, and the other degus have gotten in on it too. Though it's Jacob who's most desperate to be friends with the gerbils, and who will try and get free to jump on to the top of their cage when you open the top of the degu cage.

I do also have a photo of just Bilbo meeting Jacob, but Blogger is refusing to allow me to upload it for some reason; despite it going up on Facebook just fine a few days ago.

Anyway... Now for some sleepy rodent photos...

Sleepy degus:

And a sleepy gerbil:

Bilbo is sleeping behind Baggins, but you can't see him in the photo.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Kero update and photos - August 6th 2014

A couple of photos of Kero for you.

First, here's a photo of Kero with the blue elephant he picked out when we took him to the pet shop for his birthday back at the end of May:

And here's a slightly more recent photo of Kero:

He could do with a haircut, but we haven't had his groomer come because of the sores he has all over him. They weren't too bad when the above photos were taken, but in the past couple of weeks they've gotten much worse so that he's a mess; especially on his chest. He's losing fur in clumps too, so that his fur is much too long in some places and non-existant in others. He's not a happy boy, and I can't say I blame him.

He's not been himself lately in general to be honest. In the past month or so he's stopped showing any interest in playing with his toys, has to be persuaded to go out (in fact, he has to be physically placed outside most of the time), isn't eating properly (even when offered his favourite foods and treats), keeps getting confused, and seems to have forgotten the training done when he was a puppy.

We did get a brief glimpse of his old self last night when we put a blanket over him and he sat up so it looked like he was wearing a cape. We called him "super dog" and he gave his best doggy grin and started posing and showing off. We grabbed a photo, but it's still on the camera. This didn't last long, but it was nice to see him enthusiastic about something; even if it was only briefly.

Anyway, we're taking him to the vet next week.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Of flowers and photo uploading issues

I've taken longer to post this picture than planned, but here's a photo of the flowers Kelly got me for our anniversary back at the end of May:

They smelled really pretty, since Kelly spacifically asked them to make sure the flowers had strong and pleasant scents so I could enjoy them even though I can't see them.

There is another photo of the flowers, but Blogger is absolutely refusing to upload it, and after trying for two hours I've had enough!

Blogger is also completely refusing to post the photos I wanted to share of the cards I've made in the past couple of months. They were the birthday cards I've made for family members, as well as the Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day cards for both my parents and Kelly's parents. I have absolutely no idea why it won't let me upload them, since they uploaded on Facebook with no problems at all, but there you go.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Random thoughts: Welsh influence in stories

When I did my radio interview at the start of June, one of the questions I was asked was whether growing up in Wales had influenced my writing. I said it hadn't; at least no more than in the sence that it would have influenced me as a person.

At the time I was writing "Cubby And The Beanstalk" (which is now pre-released, and will be officially available at the end of this month). I hadn't gotten very far with it, and since I don't have story outlines so the story develops for me as I write it, I wasn't 100% certain what would end up happening in what I hadn't written of the story at that point.

It was only when I came to doing the edits for "Cubby And The Beanstalk" before pre-releasing it that I realized that in the case of this particular story my Welsh upbringging certainly has influenced the tale. I didn't think of it as I was writing it; I just wrote.

It ended up that the giant skybears that Cubby the polar bear meets when he goes up the beanstalk have Welsh names, and the magical chant that one of them uses is in Welsh.

So, I guess the answer to the question about my Welsh upbringing influencing my writing would be "yes" now? LOL!