Monday, September 25, 2017

Meet The #Narrator: Joseph A. Batzel

As I mentioned in yesterday's post - not to mention, in several of my "recent"Writing Wednesday" posts - Joseph A. Batzel is the narrator for my "Toby's Tales" series. I thought you'd like to get to know him a little, so here's a little bit about Joseph - in his own words:

Joseph Batzel has a BA and an MA from Brigham Young University in Film and Theater. He is also a professional actor for stage and film for over thirty years. Joseph has over 150 voice- over credits including radio, TV, audiobooks, and animation. He has traveled extensively throughout the US teaching voice over workshops. Joseph is a dialectician and can perform most American regional dialects and most foreign accents.

Mr. Batzel has just joined Deyan audio one of the world’s largest Independent producer of Audiobooks as one of their narrators.

He is married to his wife Alice of forty-four years, she is a published playwright and working on her first novel. They have two sons and five grandchildren.

He presently lives in Brigham City, Utah where he currently works as an adjunct instructor at Utah State University teaching courses in Creative Arts and Public Speaking. 

Joseph is excited about being involved in producing the audiobook narration for “Toby’s Tales” and working with Victoria Zigler, the author.

You can get to know Joseph a little more by checking out his recent interview on Library Of Erana.

Also, he's doing a live Facebook event in a couple of days time, which you can find details of here. He has some more copies of the audiobooks to give away during the event.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

#KidLit #Books - The Toby's Tales Series By @VictoriaZigler Now In #Audio! Plus A #Giveaway! #Blindness #SightLoss (LBE)

Thanks to the skills of narrator Joseph A. Batzel, my “Toby’s Tales” books are now available in audio!

For those who don't know: My "Toby's Tales" series is a five book series designed to show children - and adults too - the struggles and challenges faced by people who are blind, or who are adjusting to sight loss, while also being useful tools to show anyone who finds themselves in Toby's situation that they aren't alone in facing those struggles and challenges.

***~~~***

Book 1 - Toby’s New World
Toby has just learned he’ll never see again. Now he’s learning just how frustrating it can be doing even simple things when you’re blind. And it doesn’t help when his big brother Jake, and little sister Emma laugh at him when things don’t go right. But there’s always a way to make things easier… Isn’t there?

Buy "Toby's New World" as an audiobook, eBook, or paperback - in some cases two or more of these formats - from Audible, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, iTunes, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

***~~~***

Book 2 - Toby’s Monsters
Toby’s world is scary and full of monsters his mind has created. If he wasn’t blind he could see what the monsters really are, but he is, so he can’t. Can he find a way to battle his monsters? Or will he spend the rest of his life afraid of every unexplained noise?

Buy "Toby's Monsters" as an audiobook, eBook, or paperback - in some cases two or more of these formats - from Audible, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, iTunes, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

***~~~***

Book 3 - Toby’s Outing
Everyone is excited about the trip to the aquarium. But not Toby. Toby’s sure he won’t have fun, after all, aquariums can’t be fun for blind people… Can they?

Buy "Toby's Outing" as an audiobook, eBook, or paperback - in some cases two or more of these formats - from Audible, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, iTunes, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

***~~~***

Book 4 - Toby’s Games
Now that he can’t see, Toby can’t play with his big brother Jake like he used to, and every time he tries to he just gets frustrated, upset or hurt. He’s starting to feel like he can’t do anything fun any more. Is he right? Or can he find a way to still do the things he enjoys?

Buy "Toby's Games" as an audiobook, eBook, or paperback - in some cases two or more of these formats - from Audible, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, iTunes, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

***~~~***

Book 5 - Toby’s Special School
Toby’s starting to feel like he’s the only blind boy in the world, so when his first day at his new special school comes around, he’s sure the other children will tease him because he can’t see. But when he gets there he soon learns just why they call it a “special” school, and even manages to make a new friend.

Buy "Toby's Special School" as an audiobook, eBook, or paperback - in some cases two or more of these formats - from Audible, Smashwords, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, iTunes, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

***~~~***

Want a free set of the audio versions of the books in this series?

You're in luck! I have some free copies to give away via Audible, and I'm giving you a couple of chances to win them.

Today is your first chance. So...

To get a free copy of each of the five books in my "Toby's Tales" series, simply send me an eMail with the answer to the following question in it:

What is the name of the eye condition Toby and I share?

If you're one of the first six people to send an eMail to keroberous2004@gmail.com with the subject "Toby's Tales" and the correct answer to the question, I'll eMail you back with the codes to claim free copies for all five books.

The codes will be one use only codes for either Audible.com or Audible.co.uk. Please let me know whether you would prefer codes for Audible.com or Audible.co.uk in your eMail.

Friday, September 22, 2017

#Furkid Friday: Herbal Remedies For #Pets

Here's an interesting post from my friend, Sally.

It discusses the use of some herbal remedies for pets.

Go check it out, especially if you have furkids of your own.

Sally has several other great posts under the pet health tag on her blog, so you may wish to take a look at the other posts too.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - September 20th 2017

Thanks to the skills of Joseph A. Batzel, my "Toby's Tales" series are now all available in audio. I'll be sharing links, doing guest posts, offering chances to get your hands on free copies, etc, all next week. Some of this will take place on my own blog, some will take place on the blogs of others. I'll do a round-up of the posts once they're all live so you can make sure you didn't miss any of them. If you're in a hurry to grab your copies though, you can find them on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Oh, and Joseph is doing a live event next week on Facebook. You can see the event details here. I'm going to do my very best to be there for it.

The audio versions of some of the other books I'd set up for production are now headed to retail and will also be available soon, so I'll be able to add their links to their posts, and get those posts sent out to the people who have generously agreed to host me. I have blog tours scheduled to start every four weeks starting from this coming Sunday, with the last of them scheduled for January.

With that being the case, I'm starting to think about dealing with the production and promotion of my stand alone stories and poetry books. I've decided not to ask people to host guest posts and things for me for those, since I don't want to make their readers sick of hearing my name. So I'll just be posting about the stand alone stories and poetry books on my own blog, as well as all over my own social media accounts. I'm sure the narrators will post about them on their own blogs and social media accounts too - assuming they have them. When I next publish something new, I'll plan another book tour to promote the new title, and mention in it that all my books are available in audio. That seems like the best option to me. Oh, and... No. I'm not only saying that because it means less promotional posts for me to put together (AKA less work for me). I genuinely think it will be the best way to avoid making people so sick of hearing my name on other sites that they start ignoring anything that mentions me. As it is I worry followers of my own blog will start getting sick of book announcement posts before I'm done. But I have to post them somewhere, so I'll be posting announcements for the stand alone stories and poetry books as and when they're available, probably between the tours for the series books initially. I promise to make sure to get some posts that aren't about the availability of audiobooks in among them though. Just bear with me over the next few months, OK?

Anyway, if you have books you want to make available in audio too, here's a guide to self-publishing an audiobook. Bear in mind that the amount of time required for doing it will actually depend on the length of the book. The author of this article, for example, quotes an average of eight hours listening time for the finished book, where as my own books - which are children's stories so much shorter than your average novel - don't even come close to that length. You need to make sure you allow the time you'll need to set everything up, deal with auditions and any questions your narrator might have, listen to the sample they'll send you first, and then listen to the final version. Not to mention, extra time if something needs to be changed that means you have to do the listening stages all over again, or if ACX spots an issue when your book goes to their review process. It's quite time consuming even for someone like me with shorter books to deal with, so just bear that in mind if you plan to join me on the audiobook production path.

Oh, and since Audible recently introduced the Audible.Ca platform, your audiobooks will now be available to even more listeners.

Monday, September 18, 2017

#Fantasy #Book Release - "Path of the Traitors" By @cyallowitz

On the eve of destiny, the fate of the champions are in the hands of those they once called Enemy.

[caption id="attachment_21575" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Cover Art by Jason Pedersen[/caption]

Hated and distrusted, Queen Trinity must leave the shadows and reach for redemption.

With their final battle on the horizon, the champions are faced with a long-lost piece of the prophecy. Unable to search for the crests that are rumored to be the key to survival, they must turn to a band of their former enemies for help. Sinister desires and hopes for redemption collide as Queen Trinity of the Chaos Elves leads the hunt and struggles to keep her companions on the path of heroism. Monsters, traps, mysteries, and their own pasts will rise up to stand in the way of these people who have spent their entire lives committing sins. Throughout it all, another old enemy is lurking in the shadows and determined to claim her own delicious prize.

By the end of their journey, those who survive will learn that being a hero is more than simply stepping into the light.

Dive into the adventure on Amazon for $2.99!
Find it on Goodreads!

Excerpt: The Aura Syphon

A gurgling causes the two women to pause and look into the pit where the shadows are swirling among the jagged stones. Two black tentacles lance out of the ground and wrap around Yola’s waist, the ooze-dripping projections turning silver at the taste of her magic. Attracted to the stronger energy, the aura syphon yanks the immortal into its slime-covered maw and becomes a metallic beast. With its armored skin, the camouflaged predator is now visible and resembles a sea anemone with the body of a beetle. The jagged rocks are fused to the animal’s exoskeleton and there are six jointed legs that help it scurry out of the pit. Standing over Trinity, the creature opens a faint crease on its body to reveal a bulbous eye with a star-shaped pupil. It pauses to shove a few tentacles into its mouth and hit Yola with pulses of electricity to stop her from struggling. It changes from silver to gold when she attempts to break free, her efforts being quickly drained by the monster.

“Let the crazy woman go before you get killed,” Trinity whispers to the aura syphon. She creates a fireball in the hopes of getting its mouth open, but her spell is ignored. “No reason to have a snack when you have an eternal meal in your belly. Maybe we can have a trade. Can’t believe I’m trying to bargain with this thing. Well, I gave you a chance, so I’m going to blow you up before things get worse. Hope you heard that Yola and are bracing yourself.”

The beast gurgles before releasing a blast of sticky strands that lock Trinity in place. Instead of going after the trapped chaos elf, the creature turns its attention to the helpless army. Having had its fill of magic, the aura syphon is ready to gorge on fresh meat and opens a second mouth that is filled with knife-like teeth. Heading for Sir Harbiss, it is stopped when a chunk of earth erupts beneath it and flips it back into the pit. Unsure of where the attack came from, the aura syphon leaps out and reveals several eye stalks that search for an unseen enemy. A cutting wind lops off half of the projections, but Yola’s potent energy revives them and protects the crystalline armor plates. When the spell comes back around, it bounces off the new defense and bursts against a hill. Blasts of fire strike the beast from behind, so it sprouts a fan-shaped tail of water that douses the flames.

Looking around, the aura syphon stops when it sees that Trinity is nowhere to be seen and there is a hole where she once stood. Spikes grow from the predator’s belly and it slams against the ground in the hopes of impaling the chaos elf. The hiss of escaping gas is heard an instant before an explosion sends the shrieking animal into the sky. Careening towards a solitary cloud that is very low to the ground, the beast catches the scent of an aura that revives the one currently in its gut. Passing through the cloud, it finds its legs caught in a net that runs down to where Trinity is hiding behind a hill. With enhanced strength, the channeler slams the aura syphon into the ground and delivers a leaping stomp to its soft upper body. Instead of ejecting Yola, the creature opens its skin to swallow the chaos elf’s leg up the knee.

“Fine. Backup plan it is,” Trinity mutters, synching her aura to that of the imprisoned immortal.

Releasing as much magic as she can without killing herself, the channeler creates a power surge within the aura syphon. Unable to absorb or redirect so much energy at once, the predator tries to reject the grinning chaos elf. Plunging her fingers into its flesh, Trinity refuses to be thrown off and continues her assault. Blisters appear on the hard exoskeleton and the metallic color flakes off to reveal the natural black of the tentacles. Without warning, the gold returns and the animal explodes with enough force to collapse the ground. Before she can escape, the channeler falls into the pit and is buried beneath the icy dirt.

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning? Then click on the picture below! First book, 'Beginning of a Hero' is free!

[caption id="attachment_21548" align="aligncenter" width="640"] CLICK FOR AMAZON SITE[/caption]

Ready for the newest adventure in Windemere? Find out if Queen Trinity earns redemption or will return to the Baron's side!

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

Sunday, September 17, 2017

#HobbitWeek And #HobbitDay (FD)

Hobbit Day is this coming Friday. So, with today being the Sunday of the week in which Hobbit Day will fall, that makes this week Hobbit Week.

What are Hobbit Day and Hobbit Week?

Well, here's what it says on the Hobbit Day page on Holiday Insights:

Date When celebrated : Always September 22

Hobbit Day is today. It is the birthday of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, two of the main hobbit characters from The Lord of the Rings. There also is a Hobbit Week, which occurs on the Sunday through Saturday where Hobbit Day falls.

Hobbits are little guys, and little gals, just two to four feet tall. They are our heroes in the Lord of the Ring movies, performing great acts heroism and courage. Notably, Hobbits go around barefoot, and eat seven meals a day. They also like to dance, have parties, and enjoy fireworks. The movie "The Fellowship of the Ring" opened in this manner, celebrating Bilbo Baggins birthday.

You can celebrate this special holiday, by going to a Lord of the Rings movie, or reading any of author J.R.R. Tolkien's books that include hobbits. You can hold a Hobbit party.... don't forget the fireworks. You may also chose to walk around barefoot all day. That sounds like fun. As for me, I will celebrate this day enjoying seven meals.

It actually depends whether you go by the books or movies to whether it's six or seven meals. Either way, here are the details about what the meals are, taken from this page on Ask About Middle Earth:

• 7:00am – Breakfast
• 9:00am – Second Breakfast
• 11:00am – Elevenses
• 1:00pm – Luncheon
• 4:00pm – Afternoon Tea
• 6:00pm – Dinner
• 8:00pm – Supper 

((EDIT: Pippin lists all these meals in the Peter Jackson movie adaptation, but in the books “dinner” and “supper” are two words for the same meal, so it’s actually 6 meals that hobbits aspire to. In fact, the actual quote from the LotR Prologue is this: “And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them).” So it’s implied that hobbits don’t always manage to have all six meals.))

Looking for a Hobbit themed menu? Try making some of these Middle Earth Recipes during your hobbit celebrations.

Happy Hobbit Week, and an early Happy Hobbit Day!

Friday, September 15, 2017

#Furkid Friday: Lilie The #Westie On Toys, Treats, And Doggy Clothing (FD)

Hi everyone. This is Lilie the Westie.

(The above photo of me sat in the Mummy human's chair was taken the weekend I turned 19 weeks old).

The things in cages like to chew on sticks. I don't blame them... Sticks are fun! I like chewing on them too, but it's also fun to play fetch with them, like I'm doing in this photo:


I still love my cuddly toys with squeakrs in them, and still absolutely adore balls. As you can imagine, with my love of balls I was super excited when a human friend named Lorna came to visit with two new balls for me. One was a tennis ball with a special stick that goes with it called a "ball launcher" - maybe it will help the Mummy human actually manage a decent throw? I hope so, because her throws are rubbish... I hardly have to run at all to fetch a ball she's thrown! Anyway, the other is the purple ball I'm playing with in these next three photos:


The humans noticed I also had a liking for toys I can get my teeth in to. So they got me this rubber bone:


I love it!

They also got me some other toys I can chew on without them breaking too easily, including three different rubber balls. This is the biggest of the rubber balls:


That one doesn't do anything special, but I love it anyhow, because it's a ball. One of the others is like that one, but a bit smaller and with a bell in it. The other one is my favourite though, because it has a hole in the middle, and the Mummy human sometimes puts something tasty inside it for me to find and pull out to eat. I love when she does that! Whoever came up with the idea of having a treat and a ball in one needs a treat themselves for being so clever! They can't have my treats though, because they're mine, and I don't want to share.

Besides, I earned my treats with letting them do things like put a cute shirt on me...


OK, so it's cute. Also, it's right: I do give free kisses. Still, I'm not the kind of dog who likes to play dressup. My coat that stops the wet stuff from the sky from landing on me is fine, but I'd rather that be all the doggy clothes, thank you very much. The humans are lucky they give nice treats, and that I'm generally a friendly dog, otherwise I might have had some not nice things to say about them wanting to play dress-up. I just hope they don't plan on making a habit of it, that's all.

Lots of licks,
Lilie

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - September 13th 2017

I was interviewed by Teri Polen as part of her "Indie Author Friday" series on Friday September 8th 2017. If you want to check it out, you can read my interview here.

***

Whether you plan it or not, your life experiences will influence your writing. However, if you want to conciously write about real events, here are some things to think about when deciding whether to write memoir or fiction.

Do you write for children like I do? If so, here's a post that explains the difference between the various children's literature genres.

No matter what age you write for though, when it comes to fiction writing, you may want to consider this advice on naming people and places, as well as these tips on how to handle those times when stories run alongside each other. Also, here's some advice on what to do when YAY becomes YUCK.

Regardless of whether you write fiction or non-fiction, you need to consider your setting, and think about the best way to bring it to life. Dialogue matters too.

As you probably already know, as well as children's stories, I write poetry. If you're a poet too, here are some tips on how to write a Tanka poem in English, for any fellow poets out there who want to have a go, but aren't sure how to do it.

No matter what it is you write, if you've taken a longer writing break than you planned to and are having some trouble getting back in to your writing, here's how to reboot your writing.

By the way, if you plan to do some guest posts, or plan to host others on your blog, you may want to read the tips in this post on guesting and hosting.

Before I end this week's post, I'd like to remind any fellow writers out there who are feeling jealous of another writer's success that there are things you can do instead of feeling jealous. Some writers may make it look like their path to success was simple, but they were all where you were at some point.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Of Continued Repair Work, Buckets, And The Weather

The repair saga in the downstairs hallway of our building continues. I think they may have found and stopped the leak issue now, but I'm not entirely certain - and am not holding my breath, given past experiences with them supposedly having fixed the issue - but they've started redecorating the hallways again, so they obviously think they've sorted it. I wonder if they really have fixed it, or if it's just because we've had so much nice weather? Only time will tell. I hope it's fixed, because then the scaffolding can go away.

Still nothing on them sorting the issues with the windows though. I hope the landlords are able to get those sorted before Winter comes, especially the one in the computer room that doesn't close properly any more. If not, we're in for a chilly Winter (especially if Winter is as stormy or cold as it has been the past couple of years). I'd planned to give the landlords a nudge to remind them about the windows when they came to pick up last month's rent, but they beat me to the punch, asked if we'd had any progress with people showing up to do that yet, and - when we said we hadn't - said they'd give the people who are meant to be sorting that a nudge. So, at least they are trying to get the window issue sorted, and they obviously haven't forgotten about it.

I brought a new bucket for my mop. Again. The one I had before had only been brought at the end of last year, but given the state it was in from being down in the hallway to help with the leak, we decided to just buy another one. Our old one is still down in the hallway. The only good thing is, I got a red bucket out of it. That doesn't stop me being a little annoyed that we had to go buy a new bucket in the first place, but it does help a little, since the only thing better than a red bucket would have been a purple one. Purple household items are often tough to find though. I remember finding the odd purple item when I was setting up my first place. Ended up with a rainbow coloured kitchen, because I couldn't get a whole set of anything in purple, didn't want to not have anything purple when there were some purple options, and it bothered my Mam. She wanted everything to match, and said it looked wrong for some stuff to be one colour and the rest another. We met in the middle, so to speak, and I made sure everything was a different colour. She wasn't entirely happy, but she did agree that the fact nothing matched made it work in a strange sort of way. I think it still bothers her that I show little concern for whether things match properly, but never mind.

Our weather's mostly been nice, though we've had a few days that have been too hot for my liking, and a few small storms or drizzly days. Our storms aren't really worth mentioning compared to the ones some places are getting though. I have friends who have been dealing with the hurricanes in the past couple of weeks, or friends with family or friends of their own in those areas. Even if I didn't though, I'd still be sad at the devestation the storms are causing. I like storms, but I don't like the damage they cause. It makes me sad to think of the lives torn apart by the devestation the weather has caused in some places.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

#KidLit #Author - Melody Bremen

Room 42
Only four months left, then Dave Martinez is a free man.

Dave is an eighth-grader at Lakeville Boarding School, the school for boys with unexplored potential (aka losers). If he can control his impulse to steal, he can return home and attend regular public school. If he doesn’t, he will be sent to Birmingham High, the worst high school on the planet, and his life will be doomed forever. For just a few more months, he needs to stay out of trouble and keep a low profile. And he’s pretty good at that.

Then Dave gets a new roommate, Tom Grant. Tom is allergic to boring and doesn’t know how to listen to rules. His wild plans involve all of his roommates, especially Dave. They’re dragged along with Tom as he hunts animals (and teachers in pajamas), goes sledding on cafeteria trays, and drives bulldozers through the night. Dave’s chances of keeping a low profile are going down the drain.

Buy your copy today on Amazon UK or Amazon US.

***~~~***

The Boy Who Painted the World
Indigo is a boy with a dream.He spends his mornings in a refrigerator box, his afternoons shoveling snow, and his nights in the basement of a homeless shelter. But during every free moment, he draws and dreams of becoming a famous artist.

His best friend Jade looks after him, but she is arrested for shoplifting and he’s left all alone. With his box of pencils under his arm, he sets out on a quest to search for Jade and discovers a whole new world… full of the art he loves.

His journey brings him friendship, family, and the courage to hold onto his dreams.

Buy your copy today on Amazon UK or Amazon US

***~~~***

About the author
Melody J. Bremen writes books for middle grade and young adult readers. She lives on a distant planet where all they do is write and read books. (Sometimes they eat jelly beans.) She has a faithful computer named Oswald.

Website: http://www.melodyjbremen.com
Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8649697.Melody_J_Bremen
Pinterest profile: https://www.pinterest.com/melody_bremen/

Friday, September 08, 2017

#Furkid Friday: New #Chinchilla #Photos (FD)

Hi everyone. This is Maizie the chinchilla.

I have a couple of new photos of me and my chinchilla sister, Mollie, to show you.

These first two are both photos of us in our cage. Well, actually, all the photos in today's post are of us in our cage, but these first two are of us just sort of sitting around in our cage. One of us is in our log house, the other is on top of it. The human caretakers were trying to get a photo of us with our hay ball again, but we moved away from it the moment we saw them coming with the flashy thing, and these photos are all we'd let them take that day.


However, a couple of weeks later, I took pitty on the human caretakers and let them get this next photo:


It's of me near the hay ball. I wouldn't let them get a photo of me actually grabbing some hay to nibble on, but they were trying so hard I figured they deserved something for their efforts. Besides, the Mummy human had just refilled the hay ball, and I was so eager to go to it that I was slow to notice the flashy thing was pointing at me. Yes, I'd had my dinner nibbles not long before, but I do love my hay, and thing this ball thing they now put it in is great!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Squeak soon,
Maizie

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - September 6th 2017

I wonder if many people will realize that today is both Fight Procrastination Day and Read A Book Day? Seems funny to me to have both days on the same day. I suppose, if the thing you've been putting off is catching up on your reading, it works well. Otherwise you'll have to just celebrate one or the other, I suppose.

Anyway...

Some people say it's essential for a writer to write every day. I'm not sure that's really true. It's a good thing - and something I generally try to do, even if I don't always manage it or my writing focusses on the writing of promotional posts and blog content - but not essential. I think it's one of those rules where it's different for everyone, and that's just fine. Having said that, here's one argument for writing every day.

Regardless of how often you were writing during the process, are you done writing your first draft? If so, are you ready to start revisions? Then check out this post that discusses how to edit a first draft. You may also like to read this post about the six most common writing mistakes that are missed when editing.

Next, here are some tips you might find useful while writing the middle (muddle) of your novel.

No matter what stage your writing is at though, you might like to take a look at these tips on what to avoid and where to focus when it comes to your characters. Also, here are some figures of speech to colour your characters.

Need to have someone else handle something in place of your heroes? This post will give you some advice on handling the "meanwhile" volume if you're writing a series. The advice could apply in a stand alone story as well.

Next, here are ten great ten minute fixes to ten common plot problems.

Oh, and here are some ways to practice descriptive writing and ways to get inspiration, for those days when the words don't flow so well. Also, this post contains a simple solution for when your story hits the wall (strong language is used at least once during that last post).

On the other hand, as mentioned in this post on writers' block and depression, sometimes you do actually need to just go with it and take some time out to relax and recharge. In other words: Use caution when pushing past writers' block, and remember to consider both your physical and mental health.

Finally, take a look at these seven reasons to smile when your book is not a bestseller.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Alexis-Hope, Lilie, and Jayde Bramblerose



My Mam got a new puppy. That's her in the above photo, tucked up with her teddy and a blanket. She's a white Labrador x Retriever (her Mother is a Chocolate Labrador, her Father is a Golden Retriever). The puppy's name is Alexis-Hope, but she mostly gets called "Alexis" or "Lexi" (depending on who it is speaking to or about her). She was six weeks old in the photo; the photo was taken before Mam brought her home. Lexi's now a little over nine weeks old, so Mam hasn't had her long. I don't have any photos of her that are more recent than that. Actually, that's the only photo I have of her. I know Mam has others, but she loves this photo, hence the above photo being the one Mam sent me when I asked for a photo of Lexi to put in this post. Anyway, I haven't met Lexi yet, but am meant to be getting a visit from Mam and Lexi in a couple of months time (they're meant to be coming for a visit at the start of November).

Lilie is scheduled to be spayed this month. She's booked in for September 20th 2017. She won't quite be six months old when that date rolls around, but she'll be close enough that the vet is happy to spay her. I want to get her spayed as soon as she's old enough so as to avoid any potential accidents, if you know what I mean. Plus, this way she'll have time to heal thoroughly from the surgery before Mam and Lexi come for their visit.

While we're on the subject of dogs: Yesterday (September 3rd) was the 12th birthday of my Grandma's Yorkshire Terrier, Jayde Bramblerose. Jayde spent some time at the vet recently having teeth pulled, and was very unwell afterwards, so we're all rather relieved she made it to her 12th birthday. She seems to be doing better now though, so that's good. Anyway, belated happy birthday to you, Jayde!

Sunday, September 03, 2017

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

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

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!

Deathmarked (The Fatemarked Epic, #4)Deathmarked by David Estes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I usually hate when books have cliffhanger endings, but this book is such an awesome read I find I can forgive the author for leaving me hanging like this. The worldbuilding is amazing, the plot is an action-packed rollercoaster, and a fantastic cast of characters rounds off the whole thing perfectly.

The Boy Who Painted the WorldThe Boy Who Painted the World by Melody J. Bremen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a beautifully written and touching story, which I highly recommend. Indigo is a wonderful character, and his story will capture your attention - not to mention, your heart - from the start.
*NOTE: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. This fact has in no way influenced either my opinion of the book or the contents of this review.

The Runaway SchoolhouseThe Runaway Schoolhouse by Maria Matthews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An imaginative and entertaining story.

Tales of Erana: Just One MistakeTales of Erana: Just One Mistake by A.L. Butcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is an enjoyable addition to the series. It contains an interesting cast of characters, as well as some very detailed World building and descriptions.

Ichabod Brooks & the City of BeastsIchabod Brooks & the City of Beasts by Charles E. Yallowitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Ichabod is an excellent character, and his story is entertaining and told well.

The Life & Times of Ichabod BrooksThe Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks by Charles E. Yallowitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a well-written collection of stories, which I found to be both creative and entertaining. I love the character of Ichabod, and found joining him on more of his adventures to be an enjoyable experience.

Prodigy of Rainbow Tower (Legends of Windemere, #2)Prodigy of Rainbow Tower by Charles E. Yallowitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a well-written book, which has an interesting and exciting plot, as well as a fantastic cast of fun and well-rounded characters. It grabs your attention from the start, and holds it until the very last word, entertaining you while taking you on an amazing adventure.

Allure of the Gypsies (Legends of Windemere, #3)Allure of the Gypsies by Charles E. Yallowitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An excellent addition to the series, with a plot that will keep you guessing while sending you on an emotional rollercoaster ride.

Family of the Tri-Rune (Legends of Windemere, #4)Family of the Tri-Rune by Charles E. Yallowitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another excellent addition to the series; I'm enjoying the adventure, and love how well the characters and their relationships with one another evolve as the series progresses.

The Compass Key (Legends of Windemere, #5)The Compass Key by Charles E. Yallowitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Another excellent addition to the series, with a wonderful and well-rounded cast of characters, and a fantastic action-packed plot.

Curse of the Dark Wind (Legends of Windemere, #6)Curse of the Dark Wind by Charles E. Yallowitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a well-written story, with an action-packed plot that's full of surprises, and an excellent cast of characters. It's a great addition to the series, as well as being an enjoyable read in its own right.

Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue (Legends of Windemere, #7)Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue by Charles E. Yallowitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is another well-written and action-packed addition to the series. I love the exciting plot with its surprises and emotional rollercoaster rides, think the descriptions and worldbuilding are excellent, and enjoy getting to know the interesting characters and seeing their relationships grow and evolve. I especially enjoyed the creativity of the way the secret door was revealed, and the encounter with the dragon. I won't say more than that, because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't read this book yet.

The Merchant of Nevra Coil (Legends of Windemere, #8)The Merchant of Nevra Coil by Charles E. Yallowitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book! The plot is creative and fun, and grabs and holds your attention from the first page to the last. An excellent addition to the series.

Friday, September 01, 2017

#Furkid Friday: "Joshua Started It; The Human Caretakers Finished It!" (FD)

Hi everyone. This is Mollie the chinchilla.

So... The little white Lilie dog started paying a bit more attention to us.

This is probably because of my degu brother, Joshua. He decided it would be fun to throw things - poop mainly, but also bits of hay and nibbles sometimes too - through his cage bars at the Lilie dog. Why he'd want to waste hay and other nibbles in this way is a mystery to me, but whatever! At least he has the sense not to waste cereal like this.

Anyway, at first the Lilie dog just ignored Joshua, and then she decided he was trying to play with her, so she started barking at him. It doesn't bother him though. He just gives her his best, "I'm up here, you're down there... What are you going to do about it?" look. Then, when he gets bored, just turns his back on her and pretends she doesn't exist. He's really good at it too. Pretending she doesn't exist, I mean.

Of course, because Joshua was doing that, the Lilie dog came to ask Maizie and me to play with her too. She doesn't seem to understand that we chinchillas are not interested. We don't want to play with a dog - not even a really small one like she is - and don't really like it when she barks at us.

Luckily for us, the human caretakers seem to understand that we don't like it. They use angry words to her when she comes and barks at us, and - if she doesn't stop when they use the angry words - they give something called "time out" to her. To tell you the truth, I'm not too sure what a "time out" is, but it seems to involve them taking her out of the room we're in for a while, and closing the gate - which is kept closed when the human caretakers aren't able to watch her anyhow, so she can't be in with us by herself. By the time she comes back in the room after this time out thing, she's completely forgotten she was trying to play with us, so goes to play with her toys or something, leaving us in peace.

I have to admit, we kind of like when that happens, especially since the Mummy human always comes to see us while the Lilie dog is having the time out thing. We get petted, the chance for some cuddle time - if we want it - and sometimes even an extra nibble. Like I said, we like when that happens. But it's her having the time out thing we like, not the bit that comes before it. That part is way too noisy!

Despite the fact we get extra attention because of it, we do wish she'd stop yelling at us to come play with her, and are glad the human caretakers appear to understand that we feel that way, and seem to be trying to make her stop it. She is getting better at listening when the human caretakers use the angry words to her to make her stop - especially if it's the Daddy human using those words, since she seems to listen to him best - so I guess that's a good sign. It would be even better if she didn't do it to start with though.

The other thing the human caretakers did was to move things around so she can't reach us. You see, our pen was between our cage and the Mummy human's favourite chair, and the Lilie dog figured out that she could climb on the chair, run across the top of the pen, and be at the same level as us that way. So she'd do that and then bark at us. We really hated it. So the human caretakers moved things around so the Lilie dog doesn't have any way to get on top of our pen any more, and now she can't reach us. She still tries to get away with barking at us from time to time, but we feel a bit safer how things are now, so it's easier to ignore her.

Still... I love my degu brother, Joshua. But I really wish he hadn't started her doing this. Boys!

Squeak soon,
Mollie

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - August 30th 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 28, 2017

August 2017 #TV Talk And #Movie Mutterings

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

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

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

OK... On to the reviews!

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

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

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Band On The Seafront - July 2017

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

Friday, August 25, 2017

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

Hi everyone. This is Joshua the degu again.

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


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













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

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the photo and videos.

Squeak soon,
Joshua

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - August 23rd 2017

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

***~~~***

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 21, 2017

Some Scenic #Photos Taken While Out And About


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

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


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

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


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