Monday, February 20, 2017

February 2017 Check-In: #AmReading, #AmWriting, #MondayBlogs

I thought I'd do one of those check-in posts some people are doing. So...

I'm Reading -- Less than is normal for me. I'm a little behind on my reading goal for the year, though not so much that I think I'll have trouble making up the books before the year is over. I'm only a couple of books behind schedule. It's possible not increasing my reading goal much this year was a smart move on my part though. It's certainly looking that way at the moment, anyway. There's plenty of time for that to change between now and the end of the year though, so we'll see what happens. In the meantime, if you want to see what I read during January, check out my January book reviews post. My February one will be posted in early March.

I'm Feeling -- A little sad. My Auntie Sylvie died in January (Great Aunt, really... She was my Mother's aunt) and her little Yorkshire Terrier x West Highland White Terrier, Teddy, was laid to rest with her. Plus, my friend Rita lost her kitty, Karma, last month too. I wasn't exactly close with Auntie Sylvie, and hadn't seen her in a good few years, and I'd never met Teddy or Karma. But I'm still sad that they're gone. Not to mention, I miss our ratty girl, Skye, who we lost at the very end of January, and her sister, Star, who we lost a couple of days later. It's been a rough few months for losses of famous people again too, from what I've seen on social media. *sigh*

I'm Creating -- Nothing, I guess. Well, I'm writing, so I suppose that counts for creating something. But I haven't been doing any crafty type projects in a while. Actually, even the writing is going more slowly than is normal for me at the moment. There's just been so much going on. But I've not done any crafty projects in absolutely ages, so if writing doesn't count, I guess I've not been creating anything.

I'm Anticipating -- My trip to Drusillas Park in March. I'm getting a keeper for the day experience on March 22nd 2017, which was arranged for me by a very good friend. I'm very excited about it! Not only is it an awesome gift for someone who loves animals as much as I do, but having it to look forward to has really helped with all the recent losses; it's good to have something so awesome to be eagerly anticipating!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

#Frozen #Music - Let It Go

I don't know what it is about this song that makes me love it so much, but I've been absolutely obsessed with it since I saw the "Frozen" movie for the first time a little over a year ago. I've since seen the movie half a dozen more times (and will likely watch it several more times, especially now I have my own copy) and listened to the song enough times that I lost count of how many. I swear I'm addicted to it or something...

Anyway, enjoy!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

#Character #Interview: Saarik On Lisa Burton Radio

Saarik the pixie, from my four book "Zeena Dragon Fae" series, was interviewed by Lisa the robot girl, host of Lisa Burton Radio.

Despite the name of the feature, the interview is a text one, done in a manner that suggests it's the text version of a radio interview. Anyway, it was posted last Thursday (February 16th 2017) over on this site.

If you missed seeing the post, and want to check out Saarik's interview, you can click here to read it.

Then, when you're done, why not grab the books, and learn what really happened.

Friday, February 17, 2017

#Furkid Friday: 5 Facts About My Home Squeak Home #Book

Throughout February, in place of my usual "Furkid Friday" posts, I'll be sharing some facts about certain animal stories my furry family members have inspired. You may already know these facts, but I thought I'd share them, just in case you don't and are interested. I hope you enjoy these posts.

This week it's the turn of one of my stand-alone stories, Home Squeak Home.

1. The story is a semi-fictionalized account of us bringing home our own gerbils, Bilbo and Baggins, and them settling in to our home. Both gerbils survived to see the book published, though we lost Bilbo in April 2016. At the time of this post going live, however, we still have Baggins.

2. As I mentioned above, the real gerbils names are Bilbo and Baggins, but I changed the names for the story, since I didn't want to risk being in trouble for using names so obviously from JRR Tolkien's books in my own books. So Bilbo is named Sooty for the story, and Baggins is named Scamp.

3. The picture on the cover of the book is an actual photo of our gerbils.

4. The pair of gerbils left behind at the petstore at the start of the story really exist. Our gerbils were part of a litter of four: two black, one brown, one white. We brought home the brown one (Baggins) and one of the black ones (Bilbo). I don't know what happened to the other two, though I assume they found nice homes to go to afterwards. I named them in the story just because I could.

5. The little boy who brings home the gerbils is loosely based on my hubby, though obviously with some imagination on my part to turn him in to a child. He even carries my hubby's middle name. I made sure my hubby read the story before anyone else saw it, just to be sure he had no problems with the character. Luckily, he was really pleased about being in the story with his gerbils.


Want to buy your own copy of Home Squeak Home? Or, any of my other books, for that matter.

You can buy all of my books as eBooks from Smashwords, as well as from Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, and a few other eBook retailers. Alternatively, you can buy them as paperbacks from CreateSpace, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a couple of other online retailers. They're also available to order from libraries in any format, assuming your library supports this feature, and either already carries them, or is willing to get copies.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Guest post: #Infographics

The current trend is to post picture heavy posts and infographics on your blog, in place of the text filled posts blogs used to mainly consist of. As a blind blogger, who reads the blogs of several others, this is something I find frustrating.

Do you want to know exactly what my thoughts are on the matter? Or, perhaps, you'd like to know how to label your pictures so visually impaired readers of your blog don't feel so excluded when your post is full of them?

If you answered yes to either - or both - of those, go check out my guest post on Sue Vincent's blog.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - February 15th 2017

Personally, I have no problem coming up with story ideas. The problem I have is finding time to write down all the stories in my head. I'm certainly trying to achieve that, but there are only so many hours in a day. Anyway, if you're the kind of person who does have trouble finding ideas, you may want to take a look at these tips on finding the stories around us.

Once you have your ideas, and are writing away, have you ever found yourself writing a story, only to find the story going in a direction you hadn't expected? It happens to me a lot (possibly due to the fact I don't outline). But I enjoy discovering what the story is really about as I'm writing it. How about you?

Always remember though: things don't just happen (in fiction, anyway). So, wherever your story goes, you need to have a reason for it to go in that direction.

So, you want to use flashbacks in your story? First, read these tips on using flashbacks in writing.

Is it fantasy you write? If so, make sure your story contains the three elements of a memorable fantasy story. Mind you, those three elements are good ones to try and include in any story as a rule, regardless of genre. Let's stick with talking about fantasy for a moment though, as we take a look at the technical aspects of writing dragons.

Regardless of your book's genre, you may want to try storytelling with the magic of threes.

Anyhow, if you're posting an Amazon link to your book, generate a universal Amazon link, and make things easier for your readers, by allowing them to go directly to the recommended Amazon site for their country.

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo back in November? Well, if you did, here's some advice on what to do while your NaNo novel rests. Of course, this advice can be used whether you participated in NaNoWriMo, or have just finished a writing project in general.

Last, but certainly not least, here's a great article on writing in difficult times.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Show The #Love Everyday, Not Just #Valentine's Day

Tomorrow, as you no doubt know, is Valentine's Day. A day to celebrate love.

Because apparently you can't do that the rest of the year.

Just like with Christmas, where the spirit of the season brings out the generous side of most humans, only for it to be locked away again when the holidays are over, and then taken out of storage once the holidays are drawing near again, as though it's packed away with the holiday decorations, Valentine's Day has become a trigger for grand gestures of love, which you won't see again until the following year, and which you'll be made to feel guilty if you don't perform.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

Every day can be a day to show kindness to a fellow human being without expecting anything in return, to give to those in need, or to show someone you love just how much they mean to you (whether that be a partner, a family member, or a friend). You don't have to wait for a particular date or time of year to do so.

I'm not saying you shouldn't celebrate Valentine's Day. In fact, I encourage you to celebrate it. There's nothing wrong with doing something extra special on Valentine's Day, or when some other special date rolls around. Not to mention, a day to celebrate love is a beautiful concept.

Just remember that, while those grand holiday gestures are usually appreciated, the things you do "just because" rather than because the date requires it, or because you feel you should, mean so much more, and every day should be a day to celebrate love in all its forms, and show others how special they are.

If you need some ideas of ways to show your partner how much you love them any day of the year, you should check out this list of 52 ways to show love to your spouse that Dara posted on her blog at the start of the month.

Oh, and... It's also International Book Giving Day tomorrow. So, why not include the love of books in your attempts to spread the love? Again, you don't have to only do this kind of thing on February 14th... Any day will do!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Embrace #Hygge, And Create A Beautiful Life (FD)

Last month, I read this post from Jeanie about Hygge. Jeanie links to more information on it in her post, so I won't bother doing so, since you can just check out the links in her post. I wasn't aware of it until I saw Jeanie's post (despite the fact it's supposedly everywhere over here). But I think it's a wonderful concept. Kind of like Deanna's mission of creating a beautiful life.

The short version though, for those who want it, is that Hygge is comfort. It's creating a cozy atmosphere for yourself and your family, and turning the place you live in from a house in to a home. It's finding a few moments of peace, in an otherwise stress filled day. It's indulging in your favourite things, just because you can.

Though I hadn't heard of Hygge until I read Jeanie's post, I'd been embracing it for a while without knowing I was, because I was following Deanna's advice about creating a beautiful life, and that's what Hygge is. Hygge is doing the things that make you feel happy and content, like curling up with a mug of cocoa while reading or watching TV, taking a long bubble bath, sitting down with a mug of tea and taking the time to just enjoy it, cooking a fancy meal from scratch even though you're the only one who'll be eating it, or just relaxing in the company of those you care about (whether that be family, friends, pets, or whatever). But it's also creating a sanctuary where, for just a short while, you and your loved ones can enjoy some peace from the chaos of the world.

So, embrace Hygge for yourself, and create your own beautiful life.

Friday, February 10, 2017

#Furkid Friday: 7 Facts About My Kero's World #Books

Throughout February, in place of my usual "Furkid Friday" posts, I'll be sharing some facts about certain animal stories my furry family members have inspired. You may already know these facts, but I thought I'd share them, just in case you don't and are interested. I hope you enjoy these posts.

This week it's the turn of my Kero's World series.

1. The series is based on actual events that happened in the life of my own West Highland White Terrier, though they have been slightly fictionalized, as well as being mixed up to form actual stories, rather than just being seporate memories. I still had the dog in question at the time of the original publication of the first six books in the series, though we lost him in August 2014, so he never lived to see his books in physical form, since I was still only doing eBooks at that point.

2. Though his official name was Castellan Keroberous, and Kero was just what we called him a lot of the time, I decided to use only the shortened form of his name for the books, since I figured it would be easier for people to say.

3. The series was only supposed to contain the first six books, but I wrote and published a seventh book as a way of saying, "goodbye," after we had to put him to sleep. It's the book of mine that got from idea to finished product the fastest: the release date of the seventh book in my Kero's World series is a month to the day from the date we lost our beloved dog.

4. The pictures on the front of all seven books in the series are actual photos of Kero, which were taken at various points during his life. As with my "Degu Days Duo" books, the quality of most of them could have been better, but they were the best I had that would fit the story at the time, and I wouldn't change them afterwards.

5. My main motivation for writing the series was because I was taking a blogging break at the time, and I was missing the posts I used to do from Kero's point of view on this blog.

6. The title of the series was inspired by the title Iggy gave a video he made for me a couple of years before. The video was a slideshow of photos of Kero, along with Gwydion (the guinea pig we had at the time) with a short snippet of Kero barking and Gwydion squeaking playing on a loop as it cycled through the images. It seemed right for the series, since I was doing something similar with memories to what Iggy had done with photos and audio clips.

7. "Kero Crosses The Rainbow Bridge" - the seventh book - has sold more copies than any other book in the series to date. It's also the only book in the series my hubby has read.


Want to buy your own copies of the books in the Kero's World series? Or, any of my other books, for that matter.

You can buy all of my books as eBooks from Smashwords, as well as from Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, and a few other eBook retailers. Alternatively, you can buy them as paperbacks from CreateSpace, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a couple of other online retailers. They're also available to order from libraries in any format, assuming your library supports this feature, and either already carries them, or is willing to get copies.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - February 8th 2017

Are you someone who wants to find time to work on, or take up, a creative hobby? It doesn't matter if it's writing, drawing, or whatever. If this applies to you, here are some tips on how to make time for creativity. Perhaps they can help you find the time to work on some artwork, or write that story you want to write.

When it comes to my own writing, I like the names of my characters to have some meaning for them, and usually choose them carefully. However, sometimes they choose themselves, as this post illustrates.

Are you having trouble making your own deadlines? Then take a look at this post on how to train yourself to make your own deadlines. Also, here's why you should still write when everything around you is going to hell... Just in case you need the reminder. These tips on finding your garret may be useful to you too.

Finally, stop "shoulding" on yourself.

Monday, February 06, 2017

#Medieval Monday Index - For #History Lovers

A fellow blogger with a passion for medieval history does a regular feature called "Medieval Monday" on her blog, where she posts some interesting facts about medieval history (as the title of the feature suggests).

I've found these posts interesting, and shared a couple of them in the past. But I'm sure I haven't shared more than a few. So I thought I'd take advantage of the fact she's created a post to act as an index, where you can access all her Medieval Monday posts, and link to that for those of you who may be interested in reading them.

If you want to check it out the Medieval Monday index can be found here.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Tori's January 2017 #Book #Reviews (LBE)

It's time to take a look at what I read in January.

As with the previous posts like this one, if you want to know more about the book, or the author, click on whichever it is you want to learn more about, and it will take you to the appropriate page on Goodreads. Clicking on my rating should take you to my actual Goodreads review for the book in question.

Don't forget: the format I've reviewed may not be the format I read. Also, please remember that I read across multiple genres and age ranges, so you should always check if a book is suitable for the intended reader, especially when children are involved. Sometimes reading the book's description on its Goodreads page will be enough for this, but other times you may need to check elsewhere to figure out the genre and/or recommended reading level.

OK... On to the reviews!

A Quick Bite (Argeneau #1)A Quick Bite by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a well-written book, which makes for an enjoyable read. At least, assuming you like vampire themed romances.

Psycho-analysisPsycho-analysis by Rosemary J. Peel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a well-written collection of creepy stories. The only reason I don't give it the full five stars is because a couple of them feel like they should be expanded on; a couple of the tales feel more like the start of something longer, rather than a full story in their own right. Other than that, however, I think this is an excellent collection of stories, which will appeal to lovers of weird and creepy tales.

Johnny Morris, Bedtime Stories With, (Vintage Beeb)Johnny Morris, Bedtime Stories With, by Johnny Morris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The stories are cute and entertaining, and the way Johnny tells them and does the voices is fantastic!

Tales of the Faie: The Beginning of DaysTales of the Faie: The Beginning of Days by Diana L. Wicker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a beautifully written collection of tales, which flow together perfectly.

Johnny Morris Reads More Bedtime Stories (Vintage Beeb)Johnny Morris Reads More Bedtime Stories by Johnny Morris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Once again, this is a cute and entertaining collection of stories, and the way Johnny reads them and does the voices is fantastic!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original ScreenplayFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
OK... I love this book! Also, I want to find some way of getting my hands on Newt's case and it's contents (if you know me, and have read this book, or seen the movie, you'll understand why). Anyway, the book was awesome, and now I'm even more eager to see the movie than I was before.

Love Bites (Argeneau #2)Love Bites by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is an enjoyable read, which is often entertaining, and has a great cast of characters. If you like vampires in your romance novels, you'll want to read this one.

Womble Stories (Vintage Beeb)Womble Stories by Elisabeth Beresford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A great collection of stories, which bring back fond memories of watching the Wombles on TV.

The WomblesThe Wombles by Elisabeth Beresford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I only realized afterwards that I'd read this one and the other collection of womble stories I had the wrong way around. It doesn't matter though, since it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the stories; I still loved them, and they still evoked fond memories of watching The Wombles on TV as a child.

Around the World in Eighty Days (Extraordinary Voyages, #11)Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This wasn't a bad read, but it wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be; I didn't feel the sense of urgency I'd have thought would be present in the plot.

Single White Vampire (Argeneau #3)Single White Vampire by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is another great addition to the series, though I often found myself wanting to bang the main characters' heads together because of their stubbourness.

Tall, Dark & Hungry (Argeneau #4)Tall, Dark & Hungry by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Once again, this book was a great addition to the series, which would make an excellent addition to the book collection of anyone who enjoys vampire themed paranormal romances.

Sunbolt (The Sunbolt Chronicles, #1)Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a fast paced and enjoyable read.

Memories of Ash (The Sunbolt Chronicles, #2)Memories of Ash by Intisar Khanani
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was a great read. The plot moved at a nice pace and kept my attention well, the characters are believable, and the story is interesting. The only thing I was disappointed with was the ending, since I felt it was a bit sudden. I know there's another book to follow this one, but I didn't think everything was as resolved as it should have been, even for a book that's part of a series.

A Bite to Remember (Argeneau #5)A Bite to Remember by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Possibly the best of the series so far, with a really interesting plot, and a great cast of characters (old and new). An excellent read for those who enjoy vampire themed romances, especially if you also enjoy mysteries.

Friday, February 03, 2017

#Furkid Friday: 6 Facts About My #Degu Days Duo #Books

Throughout February, in place of my usual "Furkid Friday" posts, I'll be sharing some facts about certain animal stories my furry family members have inspired. You may already know these facts, but I thought I'd share them, just in case you don't and are interested. I hope you enjoy these posts.

I'm kicking things off with some facts about my Degu Days Duo.

1. The degus in the stories are based on my actual degus, and were even given their names. At the time the books were released, we still had all four of them. We unfortunately lost Jasper, Jenks, and Jacob, during 2016 (in June, September, and November, respectively) but still have Joshua at the time of this post going live.

2. The pictures on the covers are actual photos of my boys. The photo on "The Great Degu Round-Up" actually contains all four of them, while the one on "A Very Degu Christmas" is of Jacob and Jenks. The quality could be better, but they were the best photos I had of them at the time, and I didn't want to change the covers afterwards. It was suggested, but I refused.

3. The first book in the series was based on the actual chaos that was my attempts at keeping all four degus in one place while my hubby cleaned their cage. We put them in the bath (with the plug in, but no water in it) because the slippery sides made it more difficult for them to jump out, and therefore easier for me to keep them in a small area where I could do a regular headcount unaided. They would still sometimes make a bid for freedom, but it was easier for me to realize and capture the escaping degu than it would have been had they had free run of a large area.

4. I originally only planned to write the one book, but couldn't resist doing their version of the Christmas story that is part of my "Kero's World" series. Hence the addition of the second book after all.

5. My Degu Days Duo books were the first I made available in paperback, because I'd had a request from a reader for paperback versions of those particular books at the time I was deciding which books to make available in paperback first.

6. At the time of this post going live, the only book of mine that has sold more copies than my Degu Days Duo is my stand-alone degu story, Degu's Day Out.


Want to buy your own copies of the books in the Degu Days Duo? Or, any of my other books, for that matter.

You can buy all of my books as eBooks from Smashwords, as well as from Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, and a few other eBook retailers. Alternatively, you can buy them as paperbacks from CreateSpace, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a couple of other online retailers. They're also available to order from libraries in any format, assuming your library supports this feature, and either already carries them, or is willing to get copies.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

R.I.P. Star

Yesterday (Wednesday February 1st 2017) we took our other ratty girl, Star, to the vet, because we noticed she had a lump too, and wanted it checked out. Turned out she had a chest infection, as well as not one, but two, tumours.

She spent last night at the vet, because she found the ride to the vet very stressful, and seemed more relaxed in the vet than she was on the way there, so we wanted to avoid putting her through more trips to and from the vet than necessary, and hoped she'd find spending the night at the vet less stressful than coming home only to have to make the journey back there this morning.

Anyway, she was scheduled to have a chest x-ray today, so that the vet could determine whether surgery to remove the tumors, followed by a course of antibiotics to get rid of the chest infection, was an option for her, or whether it would be better to let her go. Bearing in mind, she wasn't exactly young by rat standards (she would have been two and a half in a few weeks time).

The vet called us this morning to tell us that Stars x-rays looked good - there was no sign of either the infection or tumours having spread enough to be a serious problem that surgery and antibiotics couldn't fix - so there was a good chance surgery would go well for her. Obviously there were still risks (there always are in general, and there are especially with her age, and the fact she was going under anasthetic with a chest infection) but she had a good chance. Since she had a good chance, I gave him permission to go ahead and do the surgery.

Unfortunately, Star didn't make it.

Between the tumours turning out to be worse than they'd looked on the x-ray, the chest infection, her age, and the fact she ended up losing more blood than they'd have liked during the surgery attempt, she died under anasthetic.

I'm trying to take comfort from the fact she's no longer suffering, as well as the fact we did everything we could to give her a chance. Those thoughts aren't helping much though.

I'll miss you, my little superstar.

R.I.P. Star: August 31st 2014 - February 2nd 2017

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - February 1st 2017

The reason there hasn't been much in the way of writing reports from me is because there's not much to tell. I've written a couple of poems (one being the one about snowflakes I posted about a week and a half ago) and made some progress on one of the stories I'm working on. That's about it though. I know there are those who will say I'm simply guilty of excuses and the fine art of self sabotage. They'd be right, to a certain extent. Some of it is just me allowing myself to make excuses. Some of the excuses are out of my control though, since I spent a lot of January working to the timetables of others, which does tend to complicate matters. Basically, there is progress, just not much of it. So, while you wait for me to have something worth saying in regards to my own writing, please enjoy the links I've gathered together for you this week.

Not that I have many for you this week, but...

Regardless of what you're writing, you may want to take a look at these three tips for describing eyes in a story.

Also, if you've reached the editing phase with your current writing project, here are ten editing tips that may help you out. They're officially aimed at writers of short stories, but are a great place to start regardless of the length of your work. As a point though, number three may not apply, especially if you write stories for younger readers, where repetition is actually encouraged.

At some point you're going to need to decide the answer to the question, "Does your book need a sequel?" Which is something you can decide at any point during the writing or book production process. As the post explains, it's sometimes fans who will make you think about it, but it's something only you can really answer, and you shouldn't do it if your book doesn't need one and your heart isn't in it.

Finally, if you're interested, here's a list of poetry forms; useful if you write poetry, or want to do so, and potentially interesting if you enjoy reading poetry. Of course, there are poems that break all the rules, and don't fit properly in to any of those... Isn't that the case with all types of writing? But that post is a good one to get you started on identifying types of poetry forms, so I thought I'd share it for anyone interested in checking it out.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

R.I.P. Skye

This morning we took our ratty girl, Skye, to the vet. We came home without her.

Her overall health was getting worse: she wasn't as active as she had been, had lost about a third of her body weight (around 100 grams) despite the fact we know she was eating, her fur had lost some of its colouring and she was starting to lose some of it, and her bladder control had become poor. On top of that, she'd damaged her leg recently, and we discovered a lump on her chest over the weekend.

Her lump was a cyst they could have probably removed, which was most likely caused by a hormonal shift; it's a regular thing in female rats of a certain age who haven't been spayed. But her overall poor health and weak state - which mostly seemed to just be age catching up with her - made her chances of surviving the procedure so slim it was decided we'd be better off putting her to sleep. After all, just the stress of the vet taking a small sample of the lump to check out what it was seemed to sap her strength, and I know from personal experience that having to have anasthetic takes a lot out of you when you're at full strength, and is even harder to deal with when you aren't. It hurts to do, but letting her go now saved a lot of stress and suffering for everyone, and was the kindest option. So, that's what we did.

We will miss you, sweet ratty girl.

R.I.P. Skye: August 31st 2014 - January 31st 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

January 2017 #TV Talk And #Movie Mutterings

It's time for this month's new to me movies post, which will contain movies from December too, since not only did I not watch many new to me movies during December... Or January, for that matter... But I had a lot of other stuff I wanted to post about, so I decided to just keep the couple of movies I watched last month to go in a post with this month's new to me movies. I had planned on there being more movies being reviewed, since I'd planned to watch all my new birthday and Christmas DVDs during January, but life happened, and I didn't end up doing what I'd planned to do.


As with the previous posts like this one, just click on the movie titles to go to a page where you can find out more details about the movie in question; the movie title links will usually take you to a page on IMDB.


Jingle All The Way 2 (2014 movie/video):
Though it wasn't absolutely amazing, this was a pretty good movie, with several funny scenes; a great one for lovers of holiday themed comedies, in my opinion. I give this movie four out of five stars.

Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever (2014 TV movie):
I thought this would be an entertaining movie. I mean, come on, it's a holiday movie where the star is an animal. But, to be perfectly honest, I thought it was rubbish. OK, there were a couple of entertaining scenes, but that's about all it had going for it. I only watched the whole thing so I could honestly say I'd done so, even though I was tempted to stop watching before I was even a quarter of the way in to the movie. I nearly gave it only one star, but - for the sake of the few scenes that actually were entertaining - I give this movie two out of five stars.

In The Heart Of The Sea (2015 movie):
I've read "Moby Dick" so was interested to see this one. It turned out to be a pretty good movie. Not absolutely amazing, but worth watching, in my opinion. As a warning though, it's not one for the squeemish, or for those with weak stomaches. Consider yourself warned. Anyway, I give this movie four out of five stars.

Stardust (2007 movie):
Now this movie, which I didn't realize at first was based on a book, I haven't read the book for. Although, after watching the movie, I now want to read it. I stumbled upon this movie by accident, having turned the TV on just right to catch a scene or two, which I liked the look of, and made me want to see when it would be on again, so I could watch it from the start. I've actually been meaning to watch this one since Halloween, but took a while to get around to it. I'm glad I did so eventually though, because I thought it was a fantastic movie. It would have made a great one to watch around Halloween, but I enjoyed it well enough when I saw it between Christmas and the new year. There are several scenes that aren't for the squeemish though, just to warn you. I give this movie five out of five stars.

The Last Dragonslayer (2016 TV movie):
I'm torn on this one. On the one hand it was a pretty good movie, with several entertaining scenes, and an interesting plot. On the other hand, they seemed to focus more on the comedy aspect, and less on the fantasy adventure, and I felt like they were so busy trying to be funny that they forgot everything else. I haven't read the book, so I can't say if the book was the same. However, I can tell you that I give this movie three out of five stars.

Ant-Man (2015 movie):
This was a really good movie. It was action-packed, and had several entertaining scenes. It's not one of those amazing movies I'm going to be desperate to watch over and over again, so it won't be making its way in to my list of favourites. But it was really good. I give this movie four out of five stars.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

My Reader Interview On Library Of Erana - #AmReading

I strongly believe that a writer should be a reader first and foremost, and anyone who has been following me for any length of time will know I'm an avid reader. For this reason, I participated in a reader interview over on the blog of fellow author, Alex Butcher, to give everyone a peek in to some of my habits and preferences when it comes to reading.

The interview went live on Alex's blog yesterday. So, if you'd like to read it, just click here.

When you've read my interview, take a look around. Alex has some excellent interviews on her blog - reader and otherwise - as well as other great posts. Plus, if you're a fan of fantasy with an adult theme to it, you may want to check out her books.

Friday, January 27, 2017

#Furkid Friday: Mollie The #Chinchilla On Organization And Home Repairs

Um... Hi everyone. This is Mollie the chinchilla.

The human caretakers have been doing what they call "organizing" a lot lately. Personally, what I call it is "annoying" (not to mention often noisy). I mean, how's a chinchilla supposed to get her beauty sleep in with all that moving things around, back and forth carrying things to various places, and all those bumping and banging noises that go along with it all? Chinchillas are nocturnal creatures... Don't these humans know the meaning of the word nocturnal?

Not to mention, there have been strange humans coming in and out poking around and muttering things that the human caretakers seem to understand, but which make no sense to us rodent types... Something about boilers and heating systems, and something else about windows. I don't understand any of it, personally. All I know is that the humans are making more noise than we like, and me and Maizie wish they'd let us sleep in peace.

A couple of strange humans even walked out with our freezer yesterday! I mean, sure, the human caretakers hadn't been using it for at least a little while. But we couldn't believe it when they just stood there and watched while two other humans walked out carrying it. Whatever next?

The human caretakers say hopefully it will all be sorted soon, and Maizie and I can get back to getting our beauty sleep in each day. But that's not much comfort, especially when they use words like "hopefully" when saying it.

Well, I suppose all we can do for now is put up with it, and cross our paws that it really will be over with soon, and that no strange human visitors walk out of here with anything that belongs to us rodent types. I'm seriously considering biting anyone who tries to do that. I know we're not supposed to bite, but my rodent siblings and I have all agreed that biting would be acceptable if humans start trying to steal our stuff. Consider yourself warned!

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - January 25th 2017

If you're an author, or even if you aren't, but are promoting the books of one, when you post any links to Amazon on your blog or social media sites, please try to make sure you're cleaning up your Amazon links.

Speaking of promotion - in particular authors promoting authors - fantasy author, Alex Butcher, has some new promotional opportunities available, which you may want to check out. Some are free, some cost, all are excellent opportunities for marketing/promotion.

Oh, and, by the way, if you're an author who spends time on social media, you should probably read these five mistakes authors make on social media, and avoid making them yourself. I'm pretty sure I don't do those things... Well, some of them I know for sure I don't do, and others I try not to do, and hope I succeed in avoiding doing them...

But... Anyway...

Why does your protagonist matter? Find out by reading the post I just linked to. Don't forget though... Antagonists are people too! Also, regardless of whether we're talking about your protagonist, your antagonist, or one of the supporting characters, if you need to get to know your characters more, you should check out the ultimate character questionaire, and have them reveal all to you as the questions are answered, so you can improve the reading experience of your fans by adding in some extra details to make your characters feel like real people. Oh, and don't forget your minor characters.

Speaking of all those extra details... Are you an underwriter who needs to flesh out your story? If so, here are the perils of being an underwriter, with some tips on how to expand on your story.

No matter what kind of writer you are though, here's a great post from one of the STORYSTORM gang on titlestorming... Just in case you could use some help coming up with a title for your work in progress.

Hey, are you bookclub ready? If so, great! If not, the post I just linked to contains some ideas for if you want to change that. Also, if you aren't, don't feel bad... I don't have bookclub questions/study guides for any of my books yet either. I may consider changing that at some point, but we'll see. In the meantime, any bookclubs out there can feel free to use this list of generic questions as prompts to discuss any of my books.

By the way, if you made some writing goals at the start of the year, and are already struggling to keep them, you may want to take a look at these tips to help you keep your writing resolutions, and these tips for tackling a new year of challenges
. Also, though I don't want to discourage you, please bear in mind the sweat and tears in writing... It takes work to turn a story idea in to a book fit to be read by others, so be prepared for that if you plan on writing a book.

Finally, if you want to write great fiction, stop using the "logical" side of your brain.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Of January 2017 #Snow And #Birthday Wishes

We got snow!

(Above photo taken from our living room window on the evening of January 12th 2017, when we realized the weather reports were actually right - for a change - and it was trying to snow ).

OK, it wasn't much, but it was snow, and that's what counts.

There was enough so I could go down and catch some snowflakes, which Kelly managed to figure out my phone's camera enough - with a little help from me talking him through it - to snap a photo of...

Catching Snowflakes

Hand held out to catch the snow,
While a bitter wind doth blow,
Making falling snowflakes swirl;
See them dance, and spin, and twirl!
There, for just a moment, in your hand,
The most delicate thing in all the land.

© 2017 ~ Victoria Zigler

So, anyway, I was really happy, because catching snowflakes is fun!

There was a bit more snow than you see in the above photos that evening. But we forgot how to work the flash on our regular camera (again) so it only showed darkness when we tried taking photos with it, we haven't got a new camera yet, and the couple of shots above were enough to kill what power was in my iPhone, since TapTapSee and Voiceover combined being on really eats up the battery power quickly (and the battery isn't great any more in general). So you don't get to see the evidence of that, I'm afraid. We really need to get that new camera... *Sigh*

But.. Anyway... YAY for snow!

It snowed a little more the following day. Not much, but enough to say it really was doing so. I didn't get photos though, because I was too busy catching snowflakes, and Kelly was sleeping.

OK, to most of you what we had would be considered a light dusting. I mean, there was only like an inch or so on the 12th, and there wasn't much more added to it on the 13th... Maybe half an inch? Plus, the days before had been all over the place weatherwise, so conditions weren't right for it to stick properly, and it was gone pretty quickly, especially in my immediate area (where the rough ocean and strong wind were combining to scatter salty sea spray over the area, melting the snow before it could come to much). But it snowed!


A couple of my online friends celebrated their birthdays around the new year. Those friends are Chris and Sarah, who celebrated their birthdays on December 31st and January 1st respectively.

Also, my Auntie Lizzie celebrated her birthday on January 6th, an online friend named Kevin celebrated his birthday on the same day, my Nan (Dad's Mother) celebrated her birthday on January 8th, and another online friend, Kati, celebrated her birthday yesterday (January 22nd).

So, belated happy birthday wishes go out to Chris, Sarah, Auntie Lizzie, Kevin, Nan, and Kati!

I know there are others, so...

If you celebrated your birthday recently too, or are about to do so, then I'd also like to wish you a very happy birthday. I hope it is - or was - a wonderful one, filled with all your favourite people, and all the good things you deserve.