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
http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/edmontonjournal/obituary.aspx?n=sarah-zigler&pid=172075155&

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!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 2014 reading challenge - Summer Vacation

One of the groups I'm on on Goodreads had a reading challenge this month where you spell out the name of somewhere you'd like to be this Summer using book titles. You use the first letter of the title, and can either use "a" or "the" as part of the name, or not, depending on your personal preference and the letters you need. For example, "The Pineapple Loving Dragon" could either count for the letter "p" or the letter "t"... Get it?

Anyway, I went with the word - well, words, technically - "the seaside" for where I'd like to spend at least some of my time this Summer. So, here are the books I read for the challenge:

T - Tanequil (High Druid Of Shannara, #2) by Terry Brooks ~ read on July 8th 2014.
H - The Homework That Time Forgot by J. Smith ~ read on July 16th 2014.
E - Enter: Ten Tales For Tweens by M.J.A. Ware and others ~ read on July 12th 2014.

S - Straken (High Druid Of Shannara, #3) by Terry Brooks ~ read on July 9th 2014.
E - Escape To Mars by GregKrehbiel ~ read on July 15th 2014.
A - Antrax (Voyage Of The Jerle Shannara, #2) by Terry Brooks ~ read on July 4th 2014.
S - Scarlet's Escape (The Sanctum Series, #2) by Katrina Cope ~ read on July 13th 2014.
I - Ilse Witch (Voyage Of The Jerle Shannara, #1) by Terry Brooks ~ read on July 2nd 2014.
D - Drippy The Peg-Legged Rainbow by John H. Carrol ~ read on July 16th 2014.
E - Esmerelda The Witch by Pacze Moj ~ read on July 17th 2014.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Can you solve these riddles without reading the answers?

Riddle 1: What looks like a star, falls off a tail and burns in the air?

Riddle 2: What swirls, loops, and circles on your fingertips, yet never moves?

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Scroll down for the answers.

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Answer 1: Dust and gravel from comet tails.

Answer 2: Fingerprints.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Space weekend

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the moon landing, this weekend is space weekend on one of the TV channels we get.

So, I've spent most of today watching shows about NASA's various trips in to space: from the first shuttle launch, to the building of the space station.

I also watched something about the different weathers on other planets: the acid rains of Venus, the storms of Saturn, etc. This show compared the weather to the weather we have here on Earth, and discussed what would possibly happen to our planet if we had similar weather.

Plus, I watched a documentary about the possibility that life used to exist on Mars, and some of it possibly made it to Earth on an asteroid.

All very interesting.

There are more shows on tomorrow. If it's anything like dinosaur weekend was they'll be the same ones, but if they are then I'll just watch them again, LOL!

Edited on Sunday July 20th 2014 at 2:12pm to add:
Nope! They're different shows! Today it's about how the universe works: from the big bang theory and how the universe evolved after it, to what will possibly happen to the universe in the future.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Random things on my mind - July 15th 2014 (FD)

I have no idea where this year has gone. Did someone put the world on fast forward again? I wish people would stop doing that, LOL!

***

It's a beautiful day today. Probably one of the warmer ones we've had this year, which is bad when you consider the fact it's only somewhere around 20 degrees C (about 72 degrees F).

***

I've been dying for some kiwi fruit, but for some reason we've had trouble getting any. No idea why. We managed to get a couple of these tubs of prepared fruit with a few grapes, a couple of chunks of kiwi, and several chunks of pineapple in them. Those were nice, but not what I wanted. Finally found some kiwis today though, and it wasn't long after they were in the house before I was eating one.

***

The camera has some photos on it, but we haven't had a chance to sort them out. I admit this is partially because my computer is the one with the card reader so it has to be done through mine, and I've been engrossed in reading and writing. On the bright side, I'm more than half way through my 2014 reading challenge, ahead of schedule on the books I promised to read and review, and ahead of my own writing schedule when it comes to the writing and editing of my own stories.

Speaking of my stories... Don't forget that all my books are 50% off until the end of July 2014 on Smashwords. Just go to my Smashwords author page, pick your books, and put coupon code SSW50 in the boxes beside each book at checkout.

***

Kero's still all itchy. I think we're going to have to have tests done on him to see if more can be done to help him. Poor little guy! I don't think it helps that he's in need of grooming, but I haven't had him booked for a grooming session so far this year. We've been bathing him, but he's not had a haircut. I don't know how well she could manage with him covered in sores and being all grumpy, so I haven't had his groomer come cut his fur. Anyway, Kero hates the vet, but I think we're going to have to take him back pretty soon. He's not been his usual self in general to be honest. I'm hoping it's just where the itchyness is making him uncomfortable, but since he hasn't been quite right since when he got that doggy virus last October, and he is 10 years old after all... Well, you know what I mean, I'm sure.

***

OK, that's enough of the random things on my mind for now.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale 2014

I've enrolled my books in the 2014 Smashwords Summer/Winter sale.

Until the end of July, my books are on sale at 50% off!

Go to my Smashwords author page and grab a bargain while you can!

Just add any of my books to your cart, and enter coupon code SSW50 at checkout to get the book at half the regular price. The code works for all my books, and can be used for as many of them as you want.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Jinx And The Faerie Dragons - Officially released today!

"Jinx’s little sister, Ayla, has warned him time and time again that one day his mischief making will get him in to serious trouble. But Jinx isn’t interested in his sister’s warnings; not even when the trouble she warns him about is a cave full of goblins.

Like most pixies, Jinx loves to play tricks and explore. But, unlike most pixies, Jinx takes his tricks too far on a regular basis, causing chaos and taking risks that no other pixie would even consider, much to the amusement of his faerie dragon friends, Caia and Draco, and the annoyance of just about everyone else; especially Ayla. Now Jinx and his faerie dragon friends are off on a treasure hunt, and not even the threat of being captured and eaten by goblins is enough to stop them answering the call of adventure."
That's the synopsis for my latest book. It's called 'Jinx And The Faerie Dragons' and is officially released today. You can already buy it from Smashwords in all formats they offer, as well as from a few other ebook retailers (such as Barnes And Noble), and will be able to buy it from others that carry my books soon.

I'm proud of this book for two reasons. For one thing, this is the 30th book I've published; 25th children's story, but 30th book total. For another thing, this is the longest story I've published.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Meet My Character Blog Tour

This tour highlights a main character from one of the WIP (works in progress), recently published, or soon to be published works of the authors tagged. A week ago, I was tagged in this event by Alexandra Butcher. Here' are her bio and links:

"A.L Butcher is the British author of fantasy series The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles in which "a beautiful young elven sorceress flees for her life in a dark world where magic is forbidden and elves live as slaves." Her books have been described as: "Dark" and "gritty" and that "The story is very much a romance at heart, with plenty of steamy graphic sex to keep erotica fans happy." She also has several short stories published in fantasy and romance anthologies."

Website/blog: http://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430414.A_L_Butcher
Twitter:@libraryoferana
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarkFantasyBeyondTheStorm
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexandra-Butcher/e/B008BQFCC6/

***

Now it's my turn...

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

“My character’s name is Jinx. Jinx is a pixie; a pixie rogue, to be exact. I’m not going to get in to a debate as to whether or nnot pixies exist, but this particular pixie is fictional. Jinx is based on a combination of my own opinions on what pixies should be, and how they’re portrayed in the Pathfinder roleplaying system (which I used to help me design the character and decide on his skills and abilities).”

2) When and where is the story set?

“I suppose, if I have to pick a time and place, I’d have to say that the story is set back when forests and woodlands were less frequently visited by people, and that it’s set in one of those woods, as well as in a cave on the edge of that wood. Beyond that, I can’t really tell you when and where it’s set, since there’s no clearly defined date or location for the story, and both the woods and the cave are pulled from my imagination.”

3) What should we know about him/her?

“Jinx is a charming and kind-hearted pixie really, but – like most pixies – he’s fond of tricks and mischief. Unfortunately for everyone around him, Jinx is more fond of these things than your average pixie, and is always causing chaos wherever he goes; sometimes just because he’s bored and thinks it will liven things up a bit. He’s also very fond of exploring, and having adventures.”

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

“Jinx’s little sister, Ayla, is always trying to get him to behave, and constantly warning him that he’ll get in to serious trouble one day. As far as Jinx is concerned, she’s just jealous that he has more fun than she does, and he finds her constant reminders of possible danger annoying. There are also the goblins who live in the cave Jinx and his faerie dragons want to explore, who add an element of extra danger to his thirst for adventure. Not that Jinx is concerned, since he never takes the possibility of danger seriously.”

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

“Jinx’s goal is to fit as much fun and as many adventures as possible in to his life, despite his little sister’s constant warnings.”

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

“The title of the story is ‘Jinx And The Faerie Dragons’ and I’ve mentioned it a few times in posts and interviews lately. It’s already pre-released, so Smashwords and any other ebook retailers that already carry it have the synopsis listed, as does Goodreads. Also, you can read a sample of the first 20% of the story on Smashwords via the link mentioned below.”

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

“The book is already pre-released, and is scheduled for official release on July 1st 2014. The Smashwords link is http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/447528 (for other sites, such as Barnes And Noble, you’ll have to go search for it, since I don’t have the link).”

***

I'm only tagging one person today, and the person I'm going to tag is Rita Lee Chapmen. Here are her bio and links:

"Rita Lee Chapman was born in the UK and migrated to Australia in her early twenties. It was only when she retired that she wrote her first novel Missing in Egypt a romantic travel mystery. Her second book Winston - a Horse's Tale is for horse lovers from teenagers upwards. Told by Winston himself it relates his life experiences in Australia, as well as those of other horses he meets along the way. Rita enjoys playing tennis, reading, swimming, walking and the theatre."

Website: http://www.ritaleechapman.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5834608.Rita_Lee_Chapman

Don't forget to check out Alexandra's post from last week to see which character she was talking about. Also, remember to check out Rita's website next week to see which character she'll be telling us about.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Writing news - June 16th 2014

'Jinx And The Faerie Dragons' is completed at last, and pre-released too! It's scheduled for official release on July 1st 2014. It took a bit longer to get done than I planned for it to, but I enjoyed writing it, and I'm pleased with it, so I don't mind. I hope everyone who reads it enjoys doing so as much as I enjoyed writing it.

So, what's next?

Well, next is officially 'Wyrd Worlds 2' (the collection of fantasy and sci-fi stories I'm contributing to). But since I've completed and submitted my story for that several weeks ago I don't need to do anything for that right now. Because of that, 'Cubby And The Beanstalk' is next. I mean, I will be working on other projects too, since I've always got at least two writing projects going at the same time. But 'Cubby And The Beanstalk' will be the one I focus most of my energy on.

Actually, 'Cubby And The Beanstalk' is about half written already.

I'll tell you more about both 'Wyrd Worlds 2' and 'Cubby And The Beanstalk' closer to their publication dates.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day 2014

Today is Father's Day.

Now, I'm not sure if my Dad will see this, and I'd be very surprised if my Father-In-Law saw it, but I wanted to post it anyway.

On behalf of Kelly and myself... Happy Father's Day to both our Dads!

Also, happy Father's Day to all the other Dads out there.

Friday, June 13, 2014

My Dad's birthday 2014

Today is my Dad's birthday, and I just wanted to take a moment to wish him a happy birthday. So... Happy birthday, Dad!

Monday, June 09, 2014

Grandma and Mom's birthdays 2014

Saturday (June 7th) was my Grandma's birthday, and today (June 9th) is my Mother-In-Law's birthday.

I doubt either of them will read this, but I wanted to take a moment to say "happy birthday" to them both. Or, "happy belated birthday" in my Grandma's case.

So...

Happy birthday, Grandma and Mom!