Friday, June 24, 2016

#Furkid Friday: Just A Few #Degu #Photos

Hi humans, rodent types, and anyone else reading this.

This is Jenks the degu.

One of my degu brothers, Jasper, has gone away. We don't understand why, or where. We're just hoping this isn't like when our gerbil brother, Bilbo, went away a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, it's starting to look like it might be, since Jasper has been gone for close to a week now.

The thing is, not only do we really miss our brother, but Jasper was supposed to be posting some recent photos of us degus today. They were taken a couple of weeks back, when Jasper was still here. But, since Jasper isn't here to post them, I guess I'll have to do it. Not that I mind really... I'm just worried about where my brother is.

Anyway...

First, here's a photo with all four of us in it:


And here are a couple where only three of the four of us were in the line of sight for the flashy thing:




(In case you can't tell, there are two degus running together on the wheel in that last photo).

Hope you enjoyed the photos.

If you see Jasper, tell him to come home... We've tried calling him, but he isn't answering. Jacob, especially, is really missing our brother, and calling for him to come home.

Squeak soon,
Jenks

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

#Writing Wednesday - June 22nd 2016

The following books of mine are now also available in paperback via CreateSpace and Amazon:

*Asha's Big Adventure
*The Magical Chapters Trilogy, Book 2: The Pineapple Loving Dragon
*The Magical Chapters Trilogy, Book 3: A Magical Storm
*Zeena Dragon Fae, Book 4: Zeena And The Phoenix

(Click on the book titles for the CreateSpace links).

The above mentioned four books will soon also be available in paperback from Barnes & Noble, and a few other places who accept orders of books published via CreateSpace.

So, that's every single one of my books for which the release date has been and gone, available to buy in not only multiple eBook formats - which will, one way or another, cater to your needs, regardless of your prefered method of reading eBooks; it doesn't matter if you prefer to use a Kindle, a Nook, some other kind of eReader, or your computer, because there's a format that will work for you - but also, for those who prefer a physical book, they're in paperback too!

For anyone who doesn't know, or needs reminding:

You can buy my books in multiple eBook formats via Smashwords, and the various retailers they distribute to (including Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, and several others). They're also available to order through several libraries that support eBook lending. Of course, you'd have to check with your own local library to see if this includes yours.

You can also buy my books in paperback via CreateSpace, and the various places they distribute to (which includes the Amazon sites for many countries, Barnes & Noble, and The Book Depositary, among others). Also, like with my eBooks, my paperback books are available to request from many libraries. Once again, you'd have to check with your own local library to see if that includes yours.

***

Hey, fellow authors. Do you want to help encourage some young people to enjoy reading? Then donate just one book - or more, if you wish! It doesn't matter what genre you write in, as long as your books are suitable for young adult readers or younger. Basically, if the book is suitable for school children to read, then they will be very glad to get a copy.

Actually, you don't need to be an author to donate books. Know of a book - or a few of them - that would be perfect for this library project? Donate it! Yep, it's that simple.

Monday, June 20, 2016

June 2016 #Roleplaying Ramblings: #Cthulhu And #Pathfinder

The Thursday Call Of Cthulhu sessions I was playing ended with a bang. Or, more to the point, with almost every single character either insane or dead (or, as in the case of one of mine, going insane and then dying). In other words, they ended in typical Cthulhu fashion. *wink*

Around the time that game ended, things changed so that we switched the game day from Thursday to Tuesday. Also, Gareth (a family friend who had been playing the Cthulhu game with us) got a job that meant he wasn't able to play for a while. Since he wasn't going to be around. So, instead of the World Of Darkness game we had been planning to play with him (he was going to be the GM for it) Kelly, Dad, Carl (my brother) and I arranged to start up a Pathfinder game. Dad is the GM (games master), and Carl, Kelly and I are all playing two characters each, because a larger party is generally better. My characters are a pair of halflings. One is a rogue named Iby, the other is a ranger named Clover. Carl's playing a pair of gnomes (a female bard named Lorna, and a male sorcerer named Taln). Kelly is playing a female human paladin named Adrianna, and a female elf druid named Zarlera. We've also just aquired the services of a female kobold ranger named Sesserak, who is a party member now, but being played as an NPC (non-player character). Other than Sesserak, who is a third level character, we're all now level two characters, having gone up a level during this past Tuesday's gaming session.

Yeah, I know. As a general rule, you'd normally kill kobolds, not work with them. In fact, we had been doing just that with the few we ran in to previously. But after her comrades were slaughtered, Sesserak offered her services and some answers to questions we had in exchange for her life, and we decided to accept her offer. Of course, we're watching her closely right now, but the offer sounded good to us, and our sense motive checks showed she seems to genuinely want to be on our side. So... *shrugs* If she double-crosses us, we can always kill her later. I feel kind of bad saying that after we lost Jasper over the weekend. But it's the case. Plus, in my defence, I originally wrote this last Wednesday.

Anyway, in other gaming news...

For the game we started up on Saturday evenings, we decided to play Cthulhu By Gaslight, which is basically Cthulhu set in Victorian times. For that one, it's me, Carl, Tory (Carl's girlfriend), Dad, and a couple of friends called Johnny and Ollie. We only have one character each for this one, since there are enough people playing to make up a decent sized party. Carl is GM at the moment, but he's planning to do a rotation thing with Dad and Johnny, so one of them will take over soon. All three have actual characters of their own in the party, so whoever is GM just plays their character as if it was a NPC when they're the GM. Anyway, my character for this game is a Victorian taxi driver named Joseph Beechworth; he drives a growler pulled by a pair of horses named Blackjack and Ebony, and generally acts as the main mode of transportation for the party. I planned this type of character on purpose. Partially so the party was guaranteed to have transportation in a time when a large number of people had none but their own feet. Secondly, because then I could have horses. Haha! Anyway, I don't have a detailed party list like I do for the Tuesday game, but I can tell you that everyone except Carl's Tory is playing male characters, and the characters the rest are playing are: Chester Maynard (Dad), Rhys (Carl), Francesca Cattermole (Tory), Octavius (Johnny) and Samuel (Ollie).

Anyway, The Cthulhu By Gaslight game started in April, and we've already finished one adventure. Everyone survived intact and mostly sane too, so... YAY! We've just started a new adventure, so we'll see who survives this time. *wink*

The Pathfinder game started around mid May, and everybody's still alive in that one as well. So, again... YAY! Like I said, we even managed to recently level up in that one, as wel as earn enough money for some gear improvements, which is awesome!

Although, with both games there have been a few close calls when it comes to deaths, and at least one character in each has been either unconcious or close to it, with hardly any characters escaping injury completely. But, hey, that's the risk you take when you go out chasing monsters... Especially if you're doing it on a regular basis. *wink*

Saturday, June 18, 2016

R.I.P. Jasper

Around 8:30pm today (Saturday, June 18th 2016) we lost one of our degus.

The degu in question was Jasper... My food loving, storm sensative little degu buddy.

I'm not entirely sure what happened. He was fine this morning. Yesterday he even gave me his customary advanced warning of the coming storm. Then, like I said, he was fine this morning... I fed him Cheerios at breakfast time. In fact, he was fine this afternoon too. But this evening we found him lying in the degus' nesting box, ignoring our attempts to offer him nibbles. On closer inspection, we realized he was struggling to breathe. We couldn't find any reason for this... His airways were clear, etc. He was just not breathing properly, and all I could do was hold him in my arms while he gasped out his last breaths.

Rest in peace little degu buddy, and know you will be missed; I'll think of you every time there's a storm.

R.I.P. Jasper
March 9th 2013 - June 18th 2016.

Friday, June 17, 2016

#Furkid Friday: #Toys for #Chinchillas and other #Rodents

Hellooo everyone! This is Maizie the chinchilla.



I absolutely love to play! My chinchilla sister, Mollie, plays some too. But she seems to enjoy watching me more than actually joining in. It's a shame, but luckily the human caretakers in this place have provided me with plenty of things I can play with by myself, including a wheel, and a bell.

Actually, I've had two different wheels. The Mummy human said we should have one like the degus have, but the lady at the petstore insisted otherwise. The human caretakers gave in, and got us a solid plastic wheel... You may have noticed it in some of our photos? Anyway, it would have been a perfect wheel for us if we were hamsters or something. But we aren't hamsters, and chinchillas are heavy enough that our weight as we move on the wheel while running is enough to make the wheel tip. I think you can guess where I'm going with this. You guessed it... Every time I tried to run on it, the wheel tipped. If I did anything other than just use it as a seat, it tipped. So, the human caretakers got us a metal one with tight mesh like the degus have after all, and it works much better; I can run on it now!

Here I am standing on the new wheel:


The human caretakers were trying to get a shot of me running on it. But every time I realized they were pointing the flashy thing in my direction, I refused to run, and sometimes even got off the wheel and went to play with something else. The moment they lowered the flashy thing, or turned it off all together, I was back on the wheel. I was having a great time teasing the human caretakers. Luckily, they also found it funny.

Anyway...

The human caretakers have also provided Mollie and me with lots of options for things to chew on, since we chinchillas just adore chewing on things. We've got an actual gnawing block, a constant supply of cardboard tubes, and a selection of wooden things to chew on. The wooden things are our favourites. Luckily, the human caretakers seem to realize this, because they keep us supplied with wooden things to gnaw on, including a wooden ring, willow sticks, a hanging toy made up of bits of wood, and these really cool wooden dinosaurs:



Of course, none of the wooden things stays in one piece for long in our cage... The human caretakers say we're worse than our degu brothers for chewing up our toys quickly. But, hey, we have to keep our teeth from getting too long, don't we?

From what we can tell, the other rodents in this place have similar toys. Although, with a few minor adjustments because of availability of certain toys when our stuff needs replacing, differences in our sizes, and our preferences.

Plus, I happen to think that simply jumping and climbing all over the place in general is great fun too, and spend a lot of time just doing that... Because I can!

Oh, yeah... I almost forgot... Like our degu brothers, we chinchillas also have our sandbath, which we both love. Our ratty sisters were offered one, but wouldn't go in it, and got upset whenever the human caretakers tried to make them do so, and so the human caretakers stopped bothering with one for them. Our gerbil brother doesn't have one either, but spends a lot of time digging in the really deep layer of sawdust he has instead. We chinchillas, and our degu brothers, think our sandbaths are awesome though! We make a lot of mess when we go in the sandbath... Sand goes everywhere... But we don't care. Having someone to clean up after us is one of the reasons we have human caretakers, after all, isn't it?

Squeak soon,
Maizie

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#Writing Wednesday - June 15th 2016 (FD)

As a general rule, my stories fall in to one of three catagories: animal stories, fairy tales, or fantasy stories.

I did stray away from that with my "Toby's Tales" series (which, if you don't know, is a series about a little boy adjusting to life after sight loss) and with both "Vinnie The Vegetarian Zombie" (which, if you can't figure it out by the title, is a zombie story) and "The Forgotten Angel" (which, if you don't know, is a story where inanimate objects come to life; an angel ornament, a bear, and a toy soldier). But, as a general rule, if I'm not writing poetry, I'm writing in one of the three above mentioned catagories; often with an overlap, since animals feature in some of the other stories too. I mean, out of the 46 titles I've published, six are poetry collections, seven are the ones I just mentioned in this paragraph (there are five "Toby's Tales" books) and the other 33 - that's 33 including the story I published as part of an anthology, by the way - fall in to one or more of those three catagories.

However, this year I'm straying from my usual catagories again, since I've written my first ever science fiction story, as well as my first ever piece of historical fiction.

The science fiction story is the story I mentioned having first created as a pece of flash fiction back in February (if you don't remember, don't worry about it). It's called "Jeffrey The Orange Alien" and is about an alien who thinks it will be great to visit Earth, except his visit doesn't go quite as he planned. Jacob did the cover for me a couple of weeks ago, so I'll pre-release it as soon as it's been through the proofreading stage, and the file is formatted ready for uploading.

The historical fiction piece I mentioned having written is called "Eadweard - A Story Of 1066" and is a story about the Battle Of Hastings. This year marks its 950th anniversary, so I've written a story in honour of that, which I plan to publish on the actual anniversary of the battle, this coming October. It's in the revision stage at the moment, having just been read by a beta reader who is generally reliable when it comes to historical facts (something I know from knowing him as a person) and is a writer himself. So once that's done, and it gets its edits and such, I'll be able to pre-release it for the date that is the actual 950th anniversary of the battle, since I already have a cover ready for it, thanks to Iggy, who created the cover for me earlier this month.

I'm also in the very early stages with the first drafts of a couple of other stories. But they aren't far enough along for me to be talking about them just yet. After all, at this stage, I don't know the whole story myself.


How about you? If you're a writer too, how's your writing going?

On a similar theme to my update on my own writing, here's a great post about not allowing fear to stop you growing as a writer.

Regardless of your chosen age level or genre, are there barbarians in your story? If so, here are 7 tips for writing about barbarians, which will help you bring your barbarian characters to life.

Also, if you're putting together - or contributing to - an anthology of stories or poems, here's a post that gives a little advice on making sure the anthology flows well.

***

Check out these tips many authors may practice, but won't admit to doing. I'm not ashamed to admit it... I do number one every chance I get. I'd love to do number four more often too... There are plenty of cafes nearby I could go sit in, including a few that look out over the ocean. But I don't do more than make a few notes when I'm out and about, because it's more difficult when technology or bulky braillers are required. Sure, I could use the notes function on my iPhone or Kindle (preferably iPhone, since it's easier to use, in my opinion). But they're only good for short pieces, since the touch-screen keyboard slows me down, and makes writing more than a short message frustrating. If I didn't have that problem, you can bet I'd make it a regular thing to go sit at one of the nearby cafes to write, and probably spend hours there with something to drink and my writing supplies... Plus the odd cookie, cake, or other kind of snack, of course! In fact, just last week I was tweeting about how I wished I could be sat down on the beach doing my writing, because the weather was so beautiful I wanted to be out there, enjoying it while I wrote. I did have the sun - and the breeze from the ocean - coming in from my open window right beside my computer. But I still would have liked to be out on the beach, or at one of the seafront cafes, instead.

Anyway... On the subject of your writing taking you somewhere other than your home.... If you ever find yourself lucky enough to be doing a temporary author/artist residency, here are some great tips to help things run smoothly.

On the subject of tips... Before I end today's post, I'll leave you with some tips for using Twitter, which are mostly aimed at authors using Twitter, but most of which can actually apply to anyone who uses Twitter.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Of #Birthdays And #Holidays

June 7th was my Grandma's birthday, June 9th was Kelly's Mom's birthday, and today (June 13th) is my Dad's birthday. I don't know if any of them will see this, but... Happy birthday, Grandma, Mom, and Dad!

Also, as you probably know, Fathers' Day is coming up. It's this coming Sunday (June 19th 2016). Unlike with Mothers' Day, that date is the same for both the UK and Canada. Why they don't just make Mothers' Day the same too, I have no idea. But, there you go. I'm not the one in charge of these things, so it's not up to me how it's done. I do happen to think it would be less confusing if the dates were the same though. But, anyway... Again, I don't know if they'll see this, but... An early "happy Fathers' Day" to Kelly's Dad in Canada, and my Dad in Wales.

Fairy Day is coming up too... It's June 24th. I think it's cool that there's a day called "Fairy Day" at all. Mind you, there's a holiday for quite a few things; some cool, some just stupid. Another one I thought was great was Love A Tree Day (which was on May 16th, if you're interested, and didn't know). But, anyway, if you want to do something fun to celebrate Fairy Day, you could read some of the fairy themed posts linked to here, and maybe try some of the crafty ideas mentioned among them.

OK, before I end this short post, I just want to say... "Happy birthday" to you if I missed your birthday, or if you have a birthday coming up soon. Plus, "happy Fathers' Day" to all the Dad's out there for this coming Sunday. Not forgetting.. "Happy fairy day" to everyone for June 24th!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The #Hastings #SkyParade And A #Beach #Photo



Excuse the slight crookedness to the above photo... I wasn't holding my iPhone as straight as I thought I was. But, since Kelly says the slight crookedness is the only real problem with the photo, I figured I'd go ahead and post this picture of the beach anyhow. It's probably not an awesome photo, but I'm sure those of you who love the beach will appreciate the gesture.

Anyway...

Yesterday (Friday) morning, a parade marched along the street that seporates the building I live in from the beach.

I hadn't been paying much attention to what was going to be going on around here, so I wasn't entirely sure what it was for. Plus, since we weren't expecting any parades or anything, Kelly wasn't around with his camera to take photos, and there wasn't time to get him by the time I realized it was a parade. So, I did my best using my iPhone and TapTapSee.

I managed to get these two photos:


The second photo is just the tail end of the parade. Like I said, I wasn't ready for it. Plus, it wasn't a very long parade. Still, though the photos aren't fantastic, only one of the photos I took was no good at all... It was a very crooked shot of the various people - many my neighbours, I expect - who were lined up in the street watching the parade go by. But, hey, since I was trying to be quick, and doing the photos by myself, I think two out of three attempts being reasonably successful is an excellent thing!

Oh, and... In case you're wondering... It was the "Hastings Sky Parade" and those people were marching to the recently re-opened peer (which was finally repaired and renovated after having burned down something like six years ago).

For more details on what it was all about - and better pictures - check out this page from the Hastings Observer (the local newspaper).

Friday, June 10, 2016

#Furkid Friday: Mollie The #Chinchilla's Battle With #Depression (FD)

Hi humans, rodents, and anyone else reading this.

This is Mollie the chinchilla.

When I first left my fur family, I thought I'd get a forever home right away. I mean, I'm cute, and everyone loves to cuddle up with soft furry creatures, right? But nobody wanted me, and as time went on, I became more and more lonely and extremely depressed. I lost interest in playing, stopped caring about the people walking past my cage, slept most of the time, and only ate and drank what I needed to in order to keep myself alive.

Then Maizie came.





That's obviously us in the above photos... I'm the lighter one (it's always easier to tell which of us is which when you have the other one to compare us with, if you know what I mean).

Anyway, Maizie is three months younger than me, and still full of the enthusiasm and curiosity I was filled with when I first left my fur family. She encouraged me to get up and show an interest in the world around me again, which made me more interested in the people around us, as well as in eating and drinking more than was absolutely essential. I also learned to play again (though I'm not nearly as in to this playing thing as Maizie is; a lot of the time I prefer to just watch her).

Even better, soon after Maizie became my adopted sister, we found ourselves in a real home, with human caretakers of our very own. Well, we have to share them with some other rodents, but they make sure to give us some attention a few times each day, and we've noticed they never give attention or nibbles to one of us without giving to the others. Plus, the nibbles they hand out are really great... Cheerios, Shreddies, and this white stuff called oatmeal, especially!

There are plenty of fun things to chew on in this place too.

I still struggle to find the same enthusiasm and curiosity Maizie has for everything around us. But I kinda like these human caretakers. They're patient with me on days when I don't feel very sociable, and don't yell at me if I'm feeling cross so grumble at them; they even still let me have whatever nibble is on offer afterwards. I do try to be friendly with them though... I've even climbed in to the arms of the female one they call "Mummy human" a couple of times for a cuddle, which she seems to love, and which always earns me another nibble as well as the cuddle time.

Since we got to this new place, the time that was toughest for me was when the human caretakers had to change things around in our cage after they brought us a different wheel (the old one was giving Maizie some problems; she'll explain next week). I REALLY hated having our stuff moved about, and was upset afterwards. Maizie didn't like it at first either, but she got over it quickly, and was soon playing quite happily again. Not me though. It took me a couple of days.

Mostly I'm doing OK though. I just need time and patience, and I'll come around. Depression just isn't something you get over quickly, you know? It's also something that comes back, so it's possible I may never be as outgoing and enthusiastic about life as my adopted sister. But at least now I feel like I have a reason to do something other than sleep.

Squeak soon,
Mollie

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

#Writing Wednesday - June 8th 2016

The poetry collection I've been promising you since the start of this year is finally coming!

It's called "The Ocean's Lullaby And Other Poems" and is scheduled for official release on July 9th 2016.

The collection is longer than originally planned, since I wrote about a dozen more poems while attempting to get a good enough photo for the front cover (which I ended up not doing anyway, but luckily Iggy was able to help me out). I'm sure nobody will complain about having more poems in the collection though. At least, I would hope not... I know I wouldn't if I was the reader.

Anyway... It's pre-released now, and you should be able to pre-order it from sites like Barnes & Noble and Apple iBooks soon. That is, if you can't already do so, which you may be able to, since it was accepted for distribution on Monday.

I'll soon have a couple of stories ready too. But I'll tell you about those next week.

***

So, you want to be a writer too? Then write!

"It's not that simple," I hear you say.

Well, guess what? It actually is.

The thing is, if you want to write that badly, you'll find the time. Even ten minutes or so during your lunch break each day, or getting up half an hour earlier to fit in thirty minutes of writing time before you have to get ready for work or whatever, eventually adds up to a whole lot of writing time. So, stop making excuses why you can't do it, choose your writing tools, and write already. Because, if it's important enough to you, you'll find a way to make the time.

So, get out of your own way.

Also, if you find yourself having one of those days when you just don't want to get out of bed to write, here are 18 things you can do to get yourself out of bed, and motivated to write.

***

Sometimes, you might want to do more than just give a passing mention to music in your story. Maybe your character is a big music lover? Or, perhaps, a song just happens to come on the radio, and the way your character reacts to it is important to the story for some reason? Whatever the case, your best option is to write the lyrics yourself. Why? Well, read this post on how and why to write song lyrics for your book, and all will become clear. Here's an extra tip for you though: the rules for writing song lyrics are very similar to those for writing poetry.

On a similar theme, you may find it benificial to re-invent the way you write, using sound. You may not, but it's certainly something worth considering trying. I especially think act one is a good idea to help you bring your stories to life.

***

Don't forget about my "Zeena Dragon Fae" sale! The sale ends on June 12th 2016, and you can find all the details you'll need about it by reading my post about it (if you haven't already done so).

Monday, June 06, 2016

#Author: Jackie Small

Jackie Small is an author of fiction across multiple genres, including inspiration, drama, short stories and children’s books.

She has lived in Scotland since moving up from England in 1999.

Jackie loves animals, puzzle games and music and enjoys walking in her spare time.

Children's Stories & Activity Book
Keep your children occupied with this fun packed 6 in 1 book. This wonderful paperback includes exciting children's stories and a range of engaging activities that relate to each story. A fantastic all-round entertainment package ideal for travelling and a great boredom buster for any time of the year!

• Stories
• Crosswords
• Word Searches
• Colouring
• Drawing

Grab your copy:
Amazon paperback
Barnes & Noble paperback
CreateSpace paperback

Short Stories: Inspiration, Crime, Drama
What lengths would you go to discover the contents of a mysterious box? How do you tell your best friend her bad choices are hurting more than just herself? When does the end of oppressive bullying for many justify the murder of one?
In this series of short stories, Jackie Small deftly explores our moments of shared humanity, through uplifting tales of triumph over tragedy and misfortune with the support of family and friends, to the darker side of human nature when individual desires overcome the sanctity of life.

Grab your copy:
Amazon eBook or paperback
Apple eBook
Barnes & Noble eBook
CreateSpace paperback
Kobo eBook
Lulu eBook
Smashwords eBook



Enjoy these... And many more titles... By grabbing copies of Jackie's books directly from the retailers, or by purchasing them via her website at www.jackieauthor.com today!

You can also find Jackie on Goodreads, or follow her on Twitter: @jackieian98.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

The 2016 A-Z #Reading Challenge

As usual, one of the groups I'm a member of over on Goodreads had an A-Z reading challenge, where you have to read a book for each of the letters of the alphabet.

With letters like "Q" and "X" the letter just needs to be in the title somewhere. Also, if the title starts with the words "a" or "the" you can ignore them if you like (for example, "A Magical Storm" can count for either the letter "A" or the letter "M" and "The Pineapple Loving Dragon" can count for either the letter "P" or the letter "T").

Anyway, you're allowed to start doing the challenge at any point during the year. Plus, if you didn't start it until a little way in to the year, you're allowed to use books you read before starting it... As long as they were read in 2016, of course.

Naturally, me being me, and reading as much as I do, I've finnished the challenge already... Even though we're not yet half way through the year. So, here's what I read for it this year:

A ~ Angels Club by Courtney Vail & Sandra J. Howell
B ~ The Bungalow Mystery (Nancy Drew, #3) by Carolyn Keene
C ~ Creep from the Deep (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #2) by R.L. Stine
D ~ Doomsday Diary (The Cloud Brother's Short Stories) by James Field
E ~ Enslaved (The Last Orphans #3) by N.W. Harris
F ~ The Forever Queen (Pendragon, #2) by Nicola S. Dorrington
G ~ Globular Van der Graff's Goblin Tales for Adults by Jack Eason
H ~ Home by Brenda Kearns
I ~ Illusion (The Grimoire Saga #4) by S.M. Boyce
J ~ Jason and Lily (E, prequel) by Kate Wrath
K ~ King's Folly (Legends of Fyrsta #2) by Sabrina Flynn
L ~ Lost in the labyrinth of my mind by K. Morris
M ~ The Magic City by E. Nesbit
N ~ Nicky and the Lost Star (Adventures Of Nicky, #2) by Alessandra Nadudvari
O ~ Outside the Walls by A.L. Butcher & Diana L. Wicker
P ~ Pathfinder Legends - Mummy's Mask, Chapter 3: Shifting Sands by Caban Scott
Q ~ Queen Elizabeth Tudor: Journey to Gloriana (Legendary Women of World History, #4) by Laurel A. Rockefeller
R ~ Revenge of the Living Dummy (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #1) by R.L. Stine
S ~ The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1) by Rick Riordan
T ~ The Adventures of Silly Willy Winston as Explorer Snout in a Tale of Two Deserts by Donna Maguire
U ~ The Undead Pool (The Hollows, #12) by Kim Harrison
V ~ Volcano Watch (The Forensic Geology Series, #3) by Toni Dwiggins
W ~ Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer
X ~ Ixeos (Ixeos Trilogy, #1) by Jennings Wright
Y ~ The Young Demon Keeper by Bob Simms
Z ~ Zombie Messiah by Eric Mead

Friday, June 03, 2016

#Furkid Friday: #Rats and #Chinchillas In The House

Um... Hi everyone. This is Skye the rat.



You probably heard, but... My ratty sister, Star, and I are no longer the only females in the rodent gang, since two other female rodents joined the family a little over a month ago. Hard to believe it's been that long already, but it has. Anyway...

Back near the start of April, the human caretakers set up this new cage beside ours, which we thought was strange... Especially since it stayed empty for what seemed like ages and ages (especially to us).

Then, finally, the human caretakers brought a pair of rodents home that looked like nothing we'd ever seen before. They sort of look like a cross between a cat and a rabbit, and are called "chinchillas" apparently.

Here they are... In case you missed when the human caretakers introduced them before...

This is the one called Mollie:


And this is the one called Maizie:


Our gerbil brother, Baggins, and our four degu brothers, aren't very interested in our new chinchilla sisters... Possibly because their cages are further away. But Star and I spend a lot of time watching them, trying to figure them out.

One of them... The one called Maizie... Is interested enough to come say "hi" to us sometimes, but the other one... The one called Mollie... Tends to hang back and watch us from a distance. That's if they do bother to take notice. Mostly they're too busy seeing what else is going on in the world, or playing, to be all that interested in us though. We kind of wish they'd come talk to us more often, but we also enjoy watching them play. You should see them bounce around in their cage... They're nuts!

Squeak soon,
Skye

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

#Writing Wednesday - June 1st 2016

Just in case you missed my post about it on Saturday...

The eBook version of the fourth, and final, "Zeena Dragon Fae" book is now officially released! You can now buy "Zeena And The Phoenix" from Smashwords in all formats they offer, as well as from some other eBook retailers (including Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo). So, regardless of your prefered method of reading eBooks - be it with a particular eReader or tablet, or on your computer - there's a format that will work for you.

Yes, it will become available as a paperback. I can't give you a date when that will happen at this moment in time though... Paperbacks always take longer to organize. However, the paperback version is in production, and "should" become available soon. Basically, I'm waiting for the proof, so when that gets here - assuming it all looks fine - I can make the paperback available.

In the meantime...

The eBook versions of the other three books are on sale until June 12th 2016. For more details, check out my post from Sunday (if you haven't already done so).

Anyway, I hope those who grab copies enjoy it; whether you grab a copy of the eBook now, or wait for the paperback.

I'll let this do for this week's post. I'm off to do more work on my other stories (which I'll tell you more about soon). I just have one more thing to say today: write on!

Monday, May 30, 2016

#TV Talk And #Movie Mutterings - May 2016

My Mam got us a new DVD player for our wedding anniversary. To be honest, it was about time we had a new one, since the one we had was the one I'd had since before we were married, and it was getting rather tempremental. I was still using it though, because when I did get a new one about seven or so years ago, it wasn't as multi-region as it was meant to be, and I actually ended up giving it to my Dad to use as the CD part of his hi-fi system when his CD player broke. The thing is, since a large chunk of our DVD collection is region 1, which isn't the standard region for the UK, we needed a multi-region DVD player. Anyway, this new one appears to be happy to play most formats of disk (it's played everything we've tried on it, anyway). I don't know if it does blue-ray, since I don't have any blue-ray disks to try. But I don't mind about that. As long as it plays things we already own, and isn't as tempremental as the old one had become, I'm happy. Anyway, we got it early... We've had it since the start of the month... But it was still an anniversary present. So, thanks, Mam!

Like when we got the new TV at the start of this year, the first thing I noticed about it was the huge size difference between the old and new ones. The new DVD player is maybe... At most... About a quarter of the size of the old one, and it's remote control is half the size of the one I'd always thought was small that the old DVD player had. I sat there for like ten minutes... Perhaps longer... When I got it out of the box just commenting on how cute and tiny it was. In fact, it actually took less time to plug in and set up the DVD player than it did for me to stop saying, "Awwww! It's so cute and tiny!"

OK... On that note... I think it's time for this month's post of new to me movies and TV shows.

Well, actually, just movies, since the only TV shows I watched were wildlife documentaries I've seen before (I was watching them again because they're fascinating) and TV shows I've mentioned liking already, so the only new thing about them was the newer episodes I saw of some of them.

But, anyway...

As with the similar posts from the recent past, I've not written very detailed reviews, but instead just given my opinion of the movie in question, so I've included links to where you can find out more about the movie, if you want to... Just click on the title of it, and you'll go right there.

So...

Mars Needs Moms (movie):
This was a great movie; interesting and entertaining from start to finnish, with a really sweet ending.

Barnyard (movie):
I wasn't sure how I felt about this one for the first half of the movie; it was funny in places, but that was about all it had going for it. It picked up in the second half though, and became a pretty decent movie. Not one of the better ones I've seen recently, but reasonably entertaining, and with a great lesson to teach about the importance of taking your responsibilities seriously.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (movie):
I'd been dying to see this one, so the moment it was out on DVD, I grabbed a copy. It was one of the disks I tried the new DVD player out on. So, what did I think? To be honest, I'm not sure. On the one hand it was Star Wars, so... YAY! On the other hand, it was about 20 minutes in to the movie - or, at least close to that - before we had a name for any character other than the droid, and could be sure of what was going on. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad movie, and I liked it. In fact, the second half of the movie was actually really great. But the confusion in the first part spoiled the first half of the movie for me, and this movie certainly won't be getting the top spot of my favourite of the Star Wars movies... Despite Harrison Ford being in it.

Home (movie):
I really enjoyed this one. It was entertaining and amusing, with a great ending.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Zeena Dragon Fae #eBook #SALE!

It's taken me what feels like a very long time to get here, but all four of my "Zeena Dragon Fae" books are written, and released. So...

To celebrate the release of the fourth, and final, book in my "Zeena Dragon Fae" series yesterday (May 28th 2016) - which you hopefully saw the announcement for - I've put the eBook versions of the other three books in the series on sale.

Here are the details... Click on the book's title to go to the page where you can buy the book in question.

Book 1: Zeena And The Dryad
Regular price: $4.99
Promotional price: $2.74
Coupon Code: BJ77W

Book 2: Zeena And The Gryphon
Regular price: $4.99
Promotional price: $3.49
Coupon Code: YL57D

Book 3: Zeena And The Mermaid
Regular price: $4.99
Promotional price: $4.24
Coupon Code: XG57N

All coupons are valid until June 12th 2016.

The coupons are only valid for use on Smashwords, but since Smashwords offers multiple formats, finding one that works for you won't be a problem. In fact, if you can read this post, you can read the books, since the formats not only cover options spacifically for use on certain popular eReaders and tablets, but also formats that work on your computer.

The new one, Zeena And The Phoenix, is still at its regular price of $4.99.

However, that's still a total cost of $15.46 instead of $19.96 for all four, saving you a total of $4.50 if you buy all four books at once. In other words, this is a perfect oppertunity for those of you who usually prefer to buy boxsets so as to save on the overall cost of buying the books. Remember though, this offer is only available until June 12th 2016.

Please share this post with anyone you know who might be interested in taking advantage of this offer.

And, a huge thank you from me to you, for anyone who buys copies of these books, or any of my others.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Zeena And The Phoenix - officially released today!

"After all their recent adventures, Zeena and Saarik aren’t surprised when a plea for help comes again; this time from a phoenix named Uri. But the two friends have more than the freeing of the fire fairy, Tandie, and the safety of the fire creatures who live in the volcano to worry about. An elven village lies near the base of the now very unstable volcano, and the fate of the elves is in Zeena and Saarik’s hands."

That's the synopsis for "Zeena And The Phoenix" - the fourth, and final, book in my "Zeena Dragon Fae" series - which is officially released today!

You can already buy it as an eBook via Smashwords in all formats they offer, as well as from some of the other eBook retailers Smashwords distributes to, such as Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, and Kobo. It should become available on the other retailers Smashwords distributes to in the near future. So, regardless of your prefered method of reading eBooks - be it with a particular eReader or tablet, or on your computer - there's a format that will work for you.

The paperback will become available as soon as it can be arranged.

Friday, May 27, 2016

#Furkid Friday: Keep Your #Pets Safe And Cool This #Summer

Hi humans, rodents, and anyone else reading this.

This is Star the rat.

With all the warmer days we've had lately, it's made us - and, thankfully, the human caretakers - think about just how hot it got last Summer.

So, I wanted to take this oppertunity to remind you that most animals don't deal with heat too well, and if you have furry family members of your own, you should make sure to keep temperatures in a comfortable range for them, provide cool places in shade for them to rest, and also provide plenty of cool water for them to drink.

Some animals - like rats and chinchillas, for example - especially struggle with heat. Chinchillas have such thick fur coats that they just can't cope with extreme heat in general, and we rats can't pant and don't sweat, so can't use either of those methods to cool ourselves down. So, you should take things like that in to consideration too.

Also, always be on the lookout for signs of the heat getting to your furry family member, even if you're sure you've been doing all you can to keep them cool... You can't be too cautious!

Keep yourselves, and your furry friends, safe and cool this Summer!

Squeak soon,
Star

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

#Writing Wednesday - May 25th 2016

Congratulations... It's a first draft! Now it's time to start the revisions. You don't always need to cut as much of what you've written as the author did in the post I just linked to, but there will almost certainly be some cutting and changing required... Maybe even a change of name for one of your characters... Hey, it happens! That's why the revision (or re-write) stages exist. I'm in those stages right now with one of the three stories I'm currently working on (one is just getting the first re-write, one is now ready to start going through the editing phases, and I'm still working on the first draft of the third). Some people say the writing of the first draft is the hardest part. For me though it's revisions... A part of me always wants to just move on to the next story. But, they have to be done. That's why I usually have at least two stories on the go at once; I reward myself with some time working on the first draft of one story after I've spent some time on the revisions of another. That way of doing things may not work for everyone, but it works great for me. Plus, it means I don't have to keep my readers waiting for ages for a new story. Not that there's anything wrong with it taking ages for a book to be written... Every writer is different, and works at different speeds... But I think you get the point. At least, I hope you do.

So, what about you? If you're a writer too, how's your latest work in progress coming along? If it's going well, great! If not, what's up? Is it a problem of can't Vs don't? I hope not, but if it is, I hope you can find a way to change your mindset, and realize that you actually can do those things.

If, on the other hand, you just need some inspiration, you may be interested in taking a look at this writing prompts Twitter feed (I think you should be able to still view it if you don't have Twitter). Unlike the other one I posted about recently, the prompts on this one are designed to be able to be used as inspiration for poetry too.

That's all I've got for you this week; it's been a quiet week for writing related links, but a busy one for other things. So, I'm going to let this do for today's post.

Monday, May 23, 2016

#Ocean #Photos And #Canine #Memories



The photo above is a photo I've been meaning to share since late February. Like the rest of those in this post, it's one we took of the ocean, but never got around to sharing. In this case, during a sunset near the end of February.

This next one was taken while the sun was setting too, but - unlike the rest of the photos in this post - this one was taken from street level, rather than out of one of our windows. This one is a bit more recent too, since it's from April.



The first sunset photo was taken after a not-so-nice day. The second was taken after a beautiful day.

These next three were taken back in March, during some stormy weather, though not one of our worst storms.


Were he still alive, Kero would have been twelve years old today. He loved outside, and enjoyed when we took him to walk along the beach (as long as we didn't go too near the ocean itself; he didn't like "the big water" - not that he was big on smaller bodies of water either, to be honest). I think he'd have appreciated his birthday being marked with ocean photos... Since he's not around to be in the photos himself. He loved photo shoots, especially if he was in the photos, and I can just picture him walking along the beach, sniffing everything in sight, wagging his tail, and wearing his best doggy grin... Just like he used to do.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

13th wedding anniversary

I've now been married for 13 years!

That's right. This time thirteen years ago, we were getting ready to go get married. Well, no. Because of the time difference, since we were in Canada at the time, if we went back exactly thirteen years, it would be a little after three in the morning, so we would have been sleeping then, since Kelly didn't work the night before, and I actually slept at night back then (apart from the odd insomniac night). But you get the point, I'm sure.

It doesn't seem possible that thirteen years have gone by already, but it's really true.

Though why Kelly's put up with me for this long is a mystery to me.

Here's hoping he puts up with me for several more years yet. *wink*