Wednesday, August 30, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - August 30th 2017

My pirate themed adventure story is glaring at me with such intensity that I can see the accusation in the stare even without sight. Mind you, just the fact something without physical substance, let alone eyes, is able to glare is impressive in itself. Regardless, I see the accusation in the stare, and hear the claims of neglect. I’m trying to offer it reassurances that it’s not being neglected, and it will get the attention it deserves soon. I don’t think I’m doing a very good job of convincing it though, since I’ve done very little with it over the past couple of months.

What I have done though is to get the various guest posts, character interviews, and other promotional posts - including those for my own blog - for the blog tours I'm doing for promotion of each of my five series, as close to being ready to go live as I can without the purchase links for the audio editions of the books. I also need some stuff from the narrators to go in most of them, but my part of writing them is done. All I need to work on now is a couple of character interviews that are being done slightly differently so require me to wait for someone else, and gathering the audiobook purchase links as they become available so I can add them to the posts. Oh, and there's getting the stuff from the rest of the narrators and adding those to the posts too.

I've also been working on the production notes ready for doing the audio editions of the rest of my backlist of books, including my poetry books, and gathering all the eBook and paperback purchase links together for them all (since I plan to include those in the posts, along with the audiobook links, as I'm doing with the posts for the series books). All of the audiobook production notes are ready now; I finished sorting those out over the weekend. So I'll be able to start setting them up for production when I'm ready to. I'm obviously not about to set them all up at once, but I wanted the notes and lists of links ready now so there's a little less work to do when I'm setting them up. While I wait to set those projects up, I can think about how I'm going to approach promotion for those titles without making people sick of hearing my name. I'm considering just doing basic announcements on my own blog for those, so as to not take advantage of those people helping with promotion so much that everyone gets sick of me. Maybe I'll just post for each on my blog, and then do some kind of post to say all my stuff is now in audio afterwards? Mind you, maybe people will get the hint that I'm making my backlist available in audio with the five sets of posts already going up? Anyone out there have any thoughts on the matter? Input would be very much appreciated.

Either way, now those tasks are all done, it frees up a bit more time for me to give that story the attention it's demanding. I can work on it while waiting for audio samples to listen to, audiobook links becoming available, etc. I think my plan of having it completely ready to be published before the end of the year isn't going to happen though. I mean, I could get it done, but I feel like it's a long way from being finished, and I don't want to rush it. Maybe that's a good thing though, since it gives me time to catch up on audiobook production before having a brand new book to announce. Actually, I might hold off on publishing it until next year even if it is ready before then, just so I can focus on promoting the old titles as they become available as audiobooks. Besides, it would probably get lost among the announcements of audio versions of older titles otherwise.

Anyway, if you're a writer too - and regardless of what stage your own writing is at - here's a great article on how to survive and thrive in the writer's discomfort zone.

Finally, check out this excellent post on how to write a book.

Monday, August 28, 2017

August 2017 #TV Talk And #Movie Mutterings

It's time to take a look at what I've been watching over the past couple of months. Not that there's much to say, but still...

As with the previous posts like this one, just click on the titles 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 watch things across multiple genres, as well as for different age ranges, so you should always check before viewing to make certain something is suitable for the intended audience, especially when children are involved. IMDB will usually provide this information for you, but you'll have to look elsewhere if you can't find it on the page I link to.

OK... On to the reviews!

Beauty and the Beast (2017 movie):
I absolutely loved this movie! I know some people didn't feel Emma Watson was a suitable Belle, since she doesn't have the figure for how they think the character should look (not naming names on that one, but that's what someone said to me). Personally, however, I thought she made a great Belle. Also, I had no idea she could sing like that... WOW! The rest of the cast worked for me too, and I enjoyed the little plot changes they did to make it different from the animated version I remember watching dozens of times growing up. I also happen to know that my Mam - who has always loved the Beauty and the Beast story - absolutely loved this movie too. I'm quite certain she agrees with me when I say it was AMAZING! I give this movie a well deserved five out of five stars.

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract ( 2017 movie):
I wasn't as impressed with this movie as I expected to be. Kelly picked it up because we'd enjoyed the 2003 Teen Titans TV series, so he thought it would be a good one for us to watch together. We were both a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong, it had its moments where it was fun and entertaining and all that, but it also had moments where it dragged so that we wondered why they didn't just make it in to an episode for the new version of the TV series (which I haven't seen yet). Quite frankly, the latter was more common, and we spent a lot of the movie wondering how long was left. Sorry, but I only give this movie three out of five stars.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Band On The Seafront - July 2017

On the evening of July 25th 2017, we heard the marching band that usually signals an approaching parade drawing near. There didn't really seem to be any kind of parade with them, and they just stayed outside on the street not far from our building playing for a while. I didn't know why then, and I still don't know why now. But we got photos of them while they were there, so I figured I'd go ahead and post them. So, here they are... Enjoy!

Friday, August 25, 2017

#Furkid Friday: A #Photo And #Videos Of Joshua The #Degu

Hi everyone. This is Joshua the degu again.

My wheel needed replacing. It's one my brothers and I got when we weren't much more than pups, and it just wasn't running well any more. So the human caretakers got me a new one. Here's a photo of me on it:

When they gave me the new wheel, the human caretakers moved things around in my cage a little. I like the new layout. After things were moved around, the human caretakers took a couple of videos of me playing in my cage, so here they are:

Yes, that's the little white Lilie dog you can hear in the background; Lilie barks once at the start of the second video, and you can hear the bell on her collar throughout both of them. She was playing nearby when the videos were being done.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the photo and videos.

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - August 23rd 2017

I was a guest over on Sue's blog last Thursday (August 17th 2017). If you'd like to read the post - and read my poem about defining reality, which appears in my most recent poetry collection "Catching Snowflakes And Other Poems" - you can do so by clicking here.


How do you choose your character names? Personally, I search for names that have meaning for the characters. Regardless of what you do though, here's a post with some thoughts on considering what's in a name.

Writing a story with swords in it? Then check out these tips to using swords. Also, here's some information on different types of shields and bows and things.

Regardless of the weapons your story may or may not contain, if it has dragons in it you might like to check out these ways to keep your dragon fresh, so you can make your dragon stand out from the crowd of other dragons out there.

Next, here's a post with a bit of advice in it about using the five senses in creative writing, and one about writing characters without all five senses. For the record - as I mention in the comments of the latter post - I'm happy to assist in any way I can if a fellow author is wishing to do research for a blind character. Just get in touch and I'll help as much as I can. I have first hand experience with the daily life of a blind person, of course, as well as with using three different types of white cane (though I won't pretend to be knowledgeable in all aspects of mobility for the visually impaired) and can read and write braille.

Finally, if you publish via Smashwords, here's some potential good news for you that might help with your marketing plans: Smashwords have introduced a “Special Deals" feature, increasing the potential visibility of your book during any sale you might run using their coupons.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Some Scenic #Photos Taken While Out And About

(Both above photos show a shingled beach with a rocky outcrop - looking something like a low rock wall - leading down to the ocean).

We have some nice options for walking with Lilie without going far from home. Many of you will already know that we live so close to the ocean we can literally see it out of the windows on the front of the building. But we also have a park not far from us. There's also another park a little further away - though still in walking distance officially - but we haven't taken her there yet, since we haven't felt the need to do the longer walk to get to it when there's one closer. Neither park is enormous... We are in a town, after all... But they're plenty big enough to give Lilie some decent exercise in a nice setting. Plus, there's plenty of beach to walk on, and you can't beat walks on the beach.

(Both of the above two photos show views of the beach that include some of the rock pools - sometimes called tide pools or rock reefs - which are visible on the beach because the tide has gone out past a certain point).

As you can probably guess, the two photos at the top of this post were taken during one of our trips to walk on the beach. Actually, they were taken during the evening we took Lilie to see the ocean for the first time. The next two photos are photos taken of the rock pools on the beach when we were there for the festival at the start of July. The photo below is of part of the nearest park - the part we usually walk in - and was taken the first time we took Lilie to it.

(The above photo shows a park with flowers in it).

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Why I'll Never Recommend Bakers #Dog Products Again (kinda FD, but PTMI alert)

I fed Kero on Bakers food and treats for most of his life. They were good quality stuff.

Note the use of the word "were" there.

You see, Bakers have a "new and improved" recipe, which was created between the time we lost Kero and the time we got Lilie. Except, it's not improved, which is something we only learned when we looked more closely in to what was in this new recipe after starting to give the food to Lilie when we first brought her home.

The first issue was that Lilie was - to put it nicely - having such an upset tummy that she was extremely sore from it. She seemed to always be pooping, and the irritation from that was causing her to bleed. The second issue was that she was also getting so hyper you'd swear we'd just given her a caffine loaded energy drink or something. Had it just been the second thing, we might have assumed she was just a very energetic puppy. But the first of those issues worried us, as I'm sure you can imagine.

It was suggested we switch her to an all natural grain fre food. The pet shop we use was even willing to give us a week's worth of free samples of their own version so we could try her on it. So that's what we did.

A change in diet can upset anyone's tummy - be they dog, human, or whatever - and yet there was an instant improvement in her tummy troubles. It's saying something when the tummy upset that's common with changes in diet is an improvement, don't you think?

There was some improvement in her behaviour too. I mean, she's still a puppy - this was all going on soon after we got her a couple of months ago, and she's only now coming up for five months old - so she obviously didn't suddenly become a perfect little angel. Yet there was some improvement.

Most important to us though was the fact her tummy troubles went away, and the irritation - and bleeding - she was experiencing due to them disappeared. She's been on the pet shop's natural and grain free food ever since, and her tummy troubles have never returned.

We've banned Bakers products from our home. I'll not buy them for any dog again, and won't recommend them to others either. I actualy threw away what we had left. I don't usually like to throw things away. Any time we've had leftover food I know none of my furkids are able to make use of, I usually give it to someone else who can make use of it. But I threw away the remaining Bakers products.

Friday, August 18, 2017

#FurkidFriday: Joshua The #Degu's #Book In #Paperback

Hi everyone. This is Joshua the degu.

The Mummy human already mentioned this, but I thought I'd mention it too - just in case you missed when she said it.

You can now get a paper version of my book!

The human caretakers wouldn't let me get my paws on the paper version. Something about how I'd take getting my teeth in to a good book too literally, and it would be bad for me. But they did buy me some wooden dinosaurs with money they got from selling copies already, and I was allowed to gnaw on those, which I enjoyed doing.

Hey, do you think they'd buy me more stuff if more copies get sold? You could always buy a copy so we can find out... What do you think?

If you'd like to do that - whether you want a paper copy, or the kind the human caretakers call "eBooks" - you can get your copy by going to Smashwords, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads, if you want to leave a review so others might buy copies too.

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - August 16th 2017

I'm now working with five different narrators to produce some of my books as audiobooks, and production is going well. I told you about Joseph, James, Giles, and Natalee, but I didn't tell you before that Tiffany Marz has kindly agreed to narrate my "Zeena Dragon Fae" series.

For those who might like an update: The "Toby's Tales" series is ahead of its production schedule, and the other books look to be on track at the moment. That's why I set up the Zeena books: I felt things had moved ahead enough on some of the other books that it was time to get them started. Besides, I'd need to start them soon if I want to guarantee they're done in time to fit in with my marketing schedule. I've allowed time in my marketing schedule for any potential delays though... Just in case!

The marketing schedule I've set up gives a nice gap between each series' promotional posts, so each series - or "batch of books" in the case of the degu ones - can get its time in the spotlight, and "hopefully" people won't get sick of seeing my name. So I've set up a schedule that has one series being promoted each month from September through next January. I haven't figured out how I'm going to handle promotion for the poetry books and the other 18 stand alone stories yet, but I'll worry about that later. Let's get this lot sorted first.

Sticking with the marketing theme: This is a really good motivational post about authors and marketing fatigue. Yeah, I hate marketing too. But I also want people to know my books are out there, and hope at least some of those people will buy them. That's why I'm taking advantage of releasing my books in audio to do a big marketing push for each series or title. That's why I've been collecting people, and why I've been devoting so much time lately to organizing and writing promotional posts, and that kind of thing.

Yes, I'd like to be devoting more time to writing new stories and poems - that pirate adventure story in particular keeps shouting at me to come and finish writing it - but I also want to give the older titles the attention they deserve, which they never got during their initial release, and which the release of the audio editions has provided a perfect excuse for me to do now. Luckily for me, some wonderful people have agreed to post stuff for me on their own blogs around the dates I plan to do the big marketing push for each. This means I have a lot of posts to write - since I want each one to be at least slightly different - which means more time taken away from story and poem writing. But it's a good thing, so I don't mind. In fact, I'm very pleased they all agreed to do it, and grateful to them for doing so. Most of them are authors themselves, so I'm sure they know how much I appreciate the extra help in getting the word out there about my books. If you're one of those people though, and happen to be reading this... Thank you!

Speaking of authors and blogs: Are you an author who doesn't have a blog? Have you thought about getting one? Whether you have thought about it or not, take a look at these ten reasons to start an author blog.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Wombles - Season 1, Episode 1 Orinoco and the Big Black Umbrella

OK, after yesterday's post, we need something more cheerful. So, here's something fun for you.

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed the Wombles in this post. In the comments of the post in question, I promised to do a Womble themed post for the benifit of those not familiar with what they are. So...

For those not familiar with the Wombles - as well as for those who love them and are happy to take any excuse to watch the show again - here's a clip of the first episode of the show I found online for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Don't feel this gave you a proper understanding of them, or simply want to see more? There are plenty more episodes online. Go watch them. Go on, you know you want to!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Thoughts Of Kero And Ebonie (Kinda R/WP)

I've been trying to keep myself busy enough to distract myself from the fact it was the three year anniversary of when I lost Kero two days ago (August 11th).

It's not working.

I've been doing a great job of keeping busy. But I'm having no luck distracting myself from the date.

I miss all the furry babies I've lost over the years. It's harder with Kero though. I've loved all my furkids, but Kero... Kero was special. The bond we shared was so much more than the bonds I've formed with any of my other furry babies. It's always hurt so much more with Kero, and time has done little to heal the wounds of his passing.

It still feels as though I lost him only recently. It feels as though I should be grieving right now along with my Mam, who lost her English Cocker Spaniel on July 3rd 2017.

Although, at least I have the comfort of knowing I had ten years with Kero. Ebonie wasn't even two years old. She would have been two on September 19th. Mam took her to the groomer, expecting to pick her up an hour or so later looking all clean and beautiful. But Ebonie collapsed while at the groomer, and she couldn't be revived. Nobody's entirely certain why, even after a post mortum examination. All we know is she's gone. She was an apparently perfectly healthy dog - she'd had her most recent vet checkup just a few months before, and was declared perfectly healthy - and now she's gone. She's crossed the rainbow bridge to wait with the other furry babies my Mam has lost, and maybe with my own too. Perhaps she's even now chasing after my Mam's previous dog, a Labrador named Willow, or playing with a ball with Kero?

Why though? She was still essentially a puppy. Had she been an old dog, or been sick like Kero was, it would at least make sense. But she wasn't. So... Why?

I'm not posting this for sympathy for myself, but because I wanted to tell you about Ebonie, and I couldn't explain how I feel about her making that journey across the rainbow bridge without mentioning how much my heart still aches for Kero. Well, I could, I suppose. I mean, I managed to when we lost Bilbo, Jasper, Jenks, Jacob, Skye, Star, and Baggins. But when I tried the words didn't feel right. Perhaps it's because Ebonie is a dog, so it's more difficult to seporate the two? All I know for sure is that I can't hear of a furry baby crossing the rainbow bridge without feeling the pain of losing my boy once again, and the question of why this could happen to a dog who wasn't really out of puppyhood properly yet makes it even harder.

I'm trying not to dwell on Ebonie's passing, or the anniversary of Kero's passing, or the passing of the other furry babies we've lost over the years - those mentioned in this post, and those not mentioned here. Like I said, I'm trying to keep busy. But it's hard. Too hard sometimes. And it's not working. I'll keep trying though. I have to. Perhaps, one day, it will get easier. Perhaps, one day, I'll be able to hear of another furry baby crossing the rainbow bridge without feeling the pain of losing Kero again. But now is not that time; today is not that day.

Rest in peace, Ebonie. Kero and Willow will look after you until your Mami's time comes to join you on the other side of the rainbow bridge. Keep my baby boy company while he waits for me.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Furkid Friday: Random #Photos And #Videos Of Lilie The #Westie #Puppy (Kinda LBE)

Hi everyone. This is Lilie the Westie.

Yes... Again! I know it's not really my turn to do one of these bloggy post things. I had my turn last week, and the week before too. But the things in the cages don't have as much to say as I do, and I've got some photos and videos to catch up on showing you, so they said I could have another turn to get you all caught up. So, here I am.

First, here are a couple of photos of me in puppy jail...

I swear I was innocent of whatever I was behind bars for that time... And the other times too. I was framed... Honest! The humans wouldn't listen though, and made me stay in puppy jail until they felt I'd done my time. It's so unfair!

Also, as a point, it would be easier for us dogs not to do bad things if you humans didn't have so many rules we're supposed to try to remember. I'm only a puppy after all... Just saying!

I should be on the same side of the bars as the humans... Just like I am in this photo:

Anyway, it's not all rules and doggy jail. For example, here's a video of me barking while playing with the Daddy human:

I love to play with the humans! I play different games with the Mummy human to the games I play with the Daddy human. That's fine by me though, as long as I get to play and get attention.

And - speaking of playing - here I am playing with a cuddly squeaky carrot toy the humans got me:

I have a banana toy that goes with it, but the humans didn't get a photo of me playing with that one. I love them both though.

Speaking of toys I love... Here I am sat on the big bed with my squirrel toy, which I love so much I keep taking it in to the bedroom with me at night. I don't sleep cuddled up with it, but it's close by when I settle for sleep.

The humans brought me my own special squeaky slipper. I think they were hoping doing so would make me leave their shoes and slippers alone. It didn't. I do like it though. Anyway, you can see it beside me in these next two photos:

Also, here are a few photos of me with my Gromit tuggy toy:

And here I am playing with my piggy toy:

In fact, here's a video of me playing with piggy too...

Next, here's a photo taken right after the humans first put my big girl collar on me when I was a little over three months old. It was a little loose on me at the time, but I've grown in to it now. My baby collar - which they'd actually expected me to grow out of a couple of weeks before this - was starting to get a bit tighter than it should be, and the humans thought it better that I had a collar that was a bit loose rather than one that was a bit tight, especially with me still growing. So they put my big girl collar on me, and then they sat me in the chair the Mummy human uses when she's doing whatever it is she does while on this computer thing for hours. I've not been able to figure out exactly what she's up to. Anyway, here's the photo:

And here's a photo taken when we were hanging out near the beach one day. The humans had let me have what they call my "extending lead" on. It's purple like my normal lead, but lets me run around a bit more freely, even if the humans are being lazy and sitting down. I like being on that when we're out for walkies; I hate how the other one stops me going places when I want to check out an interesting smell or something. Anyway, here's the photo:

Here are a couple of photos the humans took of me in my little purple doggy bed:

Oh, and here are a few photos the humans took of me in my toy box. They seemed to think it was cute. I'm not sure why. I mean, I was just in there to get a particular toy I wanted to play with, which was hard to reach. But, anyway, here you go:

Finally, here are a couple of photos of me having some cuddle time with the Daddy human. He was trying to use his computer, but I didn't care. I love my Daddy, and wanted cuddle time with him. So, here are the photos:

I hope you enjoyed all the photos and videos.

Lots of licks,

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - August 9th 2017

I was a guest in Sally's Cafe And Bookstore yesterday (August 8th 2017). If you want to read the post, you can do so by clicking here.


So, you want to be a writer? This post will help you get started.

Are you already a writer, but struggling with writers' block? Hmmm... Maybe! But, you see, here's the thing about writers' block. So, I'll ask again... Are you struggling with writers' block? Yeah, that's what I thought... If you're losing momentum - snap out of it! If, on the other hand, you're just lacking inspiration, here's a post containing a couple of ideas for figuring out what you're book's going to be about.

Either way, when you've written something, you'll need to do some revisions. Love 'em or hate 'em, they're something you'll have to do. So, here are some important things to consider during revision. Also, don't forget the importance of historical research for writers. This is especially important if you're writing historical fiction, but checking your facts is a good idea regardless of the genre you write in. Yes, even fantasy writers need to consider doing a little research.

Next, here's a post containing some tips on creating compelling characters.

Oh, and... If you don't want to write under your real name, here's some advice on how to choose and set up a pen name.

Regardless of the name you write under though, this post gives some advice on knowing your social media audience.

By the way, does part of your marketing plan involve public appearances? Then take a look at these three steps to crafting your public persona for an author speaking engagement.

Finally, here's a note for readers on how to help an author... Just in case you're unsure, or need reminding. Reviews help authors a lot, and knowing people are reading our stories - or poems - makes us happy!

Monday, August 07, 2017

#Hastings #PirateDay 2017

July 16th 2017 was this year's Hastings Pirate Day. The town does this every year; we're world record holders for the most people dressed as pirates in a given location at any one time. There are always pirate themed events all over the town, and a large number of the residents - along with plenty of people who travel some distance especially for the event - attend in full or partial pirate costumes. Several people also attend without pirate costumes. We were among those not in costume, but I do have plenty of photos for you of people who did dress up, including some pirate dogs. Here you go:

As I said, there are always events happening all over town. This year was no exception. We only went to part of it though. We just went to check out what was happening on the peer. There was some pirate themed entertainment, of course, and this giant blow up whale:

The big event on the peer though - at least, the one I was most eager to be there for - was when some sky divers were jumping out of a plane above the peer. We got some photos of the plane as it circled above us...

And a short video too...

We also got some photos of the sky divers...

I never can understand why people would want to jump out of a perfectly good plane. Only way I'd jump out of one is if staying in it meant certain death, while jumping meant a chance of survival. Even then you might have to give me a bit of a push. However, since I like planes - and thought the idea of combining planes with pirate celebrations was cool - I wanted to be there.

If you're wondering: Yes, Lilie was with us. In fact, here's a photo of her we took during one of the restss she and I took during the walk to the peer. There was a low wall by the bench I was sat on, and she decided it made a perfect spot where she could watch the world go by. We didn't get her a pirate bandana though. Maybe next year? Anyway, here she is:

Lilie didn't mind all the pirates, an was happy and eager to greet and be petted by them. As for the plane... It didn't bother her in the slightest. She was far more interested in whether the people and dogs on the ground were coming to see her, or just passing by. I think I was more bothered by the crowds and noise than she was.