Monday, October 20, 2014

Kindle accessability continued

Next month is my birthday, so Kelly said I could have my Kindle as my birthday present from him, but I could have it early.

As it turned out, the Kindle I had from my Dad to use while figuring out the best option for me to have for a new ereader and the Kindle Fire 6 we ordered me as an early birthday present arrived at the same time. I thought it would take Amazon longer to get my Kindle to me, but apparently they decided I needed it quickly. Not that I'm complaining, LOL!

Anyway, the Kindle Fire 6 does speak like it's supposed to. In fact, when we turned the accessability features on it immediately brought up a tutorial to show you how to make it work, which I was impressed about, and which gave me a nice head start on figuring out how to make touch screen technology work when you can't see what you're doing.

I've not quite gotten the hang of it yet. In fact, I have a couple of things I spacifically need to figure out how to do (see below). But I managed to find some books I put on there via USB, pick one, and read some of it (both in continuous reading mode, and by having it select something and tell me what I selected from the book's text). So, I'd say that's a pretty successful start!

It's not linked to my Amazon account yet, because I haven't figured out the touch screen keyboard, and for some reason Amazon doesn't appear to automatically register them any more. So, that's something I need to sort out pretty soon.

Also, the time on it is out by an hour right now, because it doesn't seem to have figured out the difference between standard time and Summer time. But since the clocks will be changing soon anyway, I'm not going to worry about trying to change it. Hopefully it will stay as it is when the clocks go back an hour, and then I can worry about how to fix it when the clocks go forward again in March. That way it gives me time to figure out what I'm doing properly... And maybe by then I'll know how to change the time on it? LOL!

The other thing I'm trying to figure out and haven't yet is the fact it keeps insisting on having a constant connection to the internet (thankfully through my home internet, so it's not costing me anything). I wouldn't mind this, but keeping it connected really eats up the battery life, and since the battery goes quickly when you have to have any kind of speaking software activated on a battery powered device anyway... Well, I'm sure you get my point. So, I need to figure out how to make it stay set to only connect when I ask it to. It will be in the settings somewhere... I've just got to find it.

I think though, that since I've only had it since Thursday, I'm doing well with figuring it out. And, anyway, it's talking to me, I haven't had to ask Kelly to tell me what it wants since the accessability feature got turned on, and I haven't broken anything, so that's what really matters, right?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Toby character profile

Want to know a few things about my character, Toby, from my "Toby's Tales" series?

Then go to http://peersofbeinan.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/character-profile-toby-tobys-tales/ and check out his character profile.

It's not a character interview; more a character profile. But you may learn something you didn't know about young Toby.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

All about a birthday and ereaders

Today is my brother's birthday. I doubt he'll read this, but I'm going to say it anyway... Happy birthday, Carl!

****

I've decided I'm going to try out the Kindle accessability first.

The Kindles are cheaper (not always by much; depending on the model) so I figure I'll try the cheaper option first. If Amazon's information is correct, I should be able to get one for a reasonable price that I can use. Though, I will have to adapt to using touch screen. But, I'd have to do that either way, and Carl manages to use touch screen, so I know it can be done by the blind; I'll just need time to get used to it.

My Dad wants to upgrade his Kindle to one with a backlit screen (which the Kindle Keyboards don't have) so I'm having his 3 year old Kindle Keyboard from him to use while I sort out a new ereader for myself, since we know the Keyboard definitely works for me (that's what I had that died). It's supposed to get here today.

When I get sorted out with a new ereader that works for me, Kelly's going to have Dad's old one, because he only wants an ereader to read pdfs of rulebooks on (mostly for roleplaying games; he gets a lot of them from DriveThrough RPG). I didn't use pdfs on my Kindle, but I know it does read them. Anyway, we were going to get Kelly a cheap ereader for his pdfs, but we figure this way I guarantee to have ereader accessability back quickly. Plus, I know Dad's Kindle currently works perfectly (it's never had the glitch mine had when I got it two years ago, and doesn't get nearly as much use as mine did). Later on - like when Dad's old Kindle stops working - we'll get Kelly a new one.

So, I'll have a Kindle I can use by the end of today, and Kelly will have one pretty soon too!

There has been one positive thing about my lack of a Kindle though... I've gotten through most of the short books I had as pdfs on my computer in this past week and a half, and put a nice dent in my "to read" pile. I'll get a couple more read today. Most of them I do have copies of for the Kindle too, but some I only had as pdfs, which - as I already mentioned - I don't usually put on the Kindle.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

To Kill A Curse is LIVE!

"Roberta’s had a year of hell. From fighting a deadly curse, to discovering a parallel realm hiding in the shadows of her own world, she’s narrowly missed death on many occasions. As both friends and foe have fallen, she’s miraculously survived. Though, with giant wolves, doppelgängers and her greatest nemesis’s minions around every corner, she’s not sure how.

Now, torn from her loved ones and trying to survive in an alien land, she’s tasked with her most difficult challenge to date; destroy an ancient evil and save two worlds whilst she’s at it.

In the world of Gathin, Roberta’s had to rely on those once considered the enemy, and their relationships are strained even further in her last attempt to find vengeance for those she’s lost. Meanwhile, with Susan and Sam battling to protect Ridgewood from it’s greatest ever threat, the burden to survive and conquer until the bitter end is once again placed upon Roberta’s shoulders."

Grab the final book in the "Inside Evil" series today:
Amazon Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Kill-Curse-Inside-Evil-Book-ebook/dp/B00OHNC9LE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1413310680&sr=1-1&keywords=to+kill+a+curse
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00OHNC9LE/?tag=gwweb-20
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OHNC9LE/?tag=gwweb-20

My review:
"With an interesting and believable cast of characters, a plot that will keep you guessing until the end, plus fantastic descriptions, this was an excellent ending to the series, and as well-written as the other books in the series; maybe even better!"

***~~~***

About the author:
"Geoff Wakeling lives in London and escapes the smog of the city through his writing. The Inside Evil, even though being dark and mysterious, was a way to escape the drudgery of every day life and indulge in something a little more fantastical.

With a degree in Zoology, Wakeling is animal mad and has three cats, fish and five chickens in his London home. He is a keen gardener and conservationist. He is also still awaiting the arrival of his Hogwart’s Owl!"

Find him on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GeoffreyWakeling
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GWakelingWriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5781929.Geoffrey_Wakeling
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Geoffrey-Wakeling/e/B007JNTZLG/
Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/GeoffWakeling
Website: http://geoffreywakeling.com/

Monday, October 13, 2014

Questions nobody asked me

I've done a lot of author interviews, and answered many questions. But, just because I can, here are a couple of questions I've seen asked in author interviews, or on "ask the author" threads, but don't remember being asked myself, and the answers I'd have given to them if someone had asked me:

1. How do you come up with your character names, and the titles for your books?

"When it comes to titles, some of my titles just come to me, others come after some serious thinking time. But all have one thing in common: they reference either an important event from the story, the main character, or both. For example, ‘Quest For The Purple Pumpkin’ refers to the fact that Polly goes on a quest to find the purple pumpkin, and ‘Vinnie The Vegetarian Zombie’ is a book about a vegetarian turned zombie named Vinnie.

When it comes to character names, mostly I pick them for their meanings, and search baby name sites for names that mean things that fit the type of characters, or look up words in other languages that have the meaning I'm looking for (that's how I got the name for Neige from 'Cubby And The Beanstalk'). Other times I pick them because they're the name of the pet I'm basing my story on (like with Kero from the 'Kero's World' series). They also sometimes pick themselves, and I only change them if they don’t feel right to me, or if my association with the name, or the meaning of the name, is all wrong for how I view the character. There have also been a few names I got by either randomly putting together syllables associated with names for those races in popular fiction (which is how I got the names for Arael and Derwyn from ‘Quest For The Purple Pumpkin’) or using the name generating option on the Hero Lab program for the Pathfinder roleplaying system, when I use it to help along my character creation process (which is how I got the names for Ardul and Rith from 'Snowball The Oddball Kobold'). However I pick the name though, I look for one I like, one that feels right for the character, and one that's not too difficult to pronounce."

2. If you could visit - or live in - any fantasy world, which one would you pick? Why?

"Narnia, because then I could be surrounded by talking animals, and meet Aslan the lion."

3. If you could have lunch with a fictional character, who would you pick? Why?

"I'd like to pick two: Aslan and Luna Lovegood. Aslan from the Narnia books, because he's a talking lion, and also very wise, so would quite likely have some interesting things to say. Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books, because I like her unique way of looking at the world, and I think she would make lunch fun and entertaining."

Friday, October 10, 2014

Kindle update

So, yeah... My Kindle is dead. After several days of attempted charges (with two different chargers) and attempts at connecting it to the computer, we're getting nothing. And, yes, Kelly had a look too, in case it just decided to stop talking and needs that turned back on (which happened once).

I also tried the Kindle for PC thing again, in case the recently updated Jaws will work with it. But it won't. It will navigate the menus now, which is a start, but that's it. I tried every single keystroke that's meant to make it read things out, and it was having none of it. So, the Kindle for PC thing is out, as I suspected.

We looked at the Kindles on Amazon. Of course, the ones with all the features I need are the newer ones, which naturally makes them the more expensive options. Big surprise there, I don't think!

With that in mind, I decided to talk to Apple, since I know for a fact the "Speak Screen" software their ipods and ipads come with as standard works for the visually impaired, since my brother, Carl, has an iPhone, which he manages to use (he was fiddling with it when he was visiting a couple of weeks ago). So, I called Apple and the guy actually tried out the accessability of the Kindle App using his own Apple iPad-mini while I was on the phone with him. And, yes, it worked; the speaking software read out the book he opened up.

This leaves me with two options:

1. Get a Kindle, and hope it works, though I may have limited accessability when it comes to most features. Amazon insist there will be no issue with accessability though.

2. Pay just a little more, get an iPad, know it works, and that other features it has will work for me.

It's nice to have options. Though kind of frustrating that either way it's going to cost me a couple of hundred pounds.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Kindle accessability

I think there's something wrong with my Kindle. I'm trying to give it a good charge and hope that helps, but so far it's not really doing much. It's had this little glitch where it turns off randomly since I got it. I don't mean going on standby with the screensaver thing, which many ereaders do. I mean actually just suddenly going from being in the middle of reading something to being completely turned off (without even so much as a "turning off" - which is what I usually hear when turning it off). But that wasn't really causing me more than a minor inconvenience from time to time, so I ignored it. Plus, since I got my Kindle Keyboard when Amazon were no longer making them, I got it off ebay, and with that there was no guarantee it was definitely brand new (and I'm pretty sure it wasn't, but was just "as new"). It's worked hard for me in the pretty close to 2 years I've had it!

Luckily, many of my ebooks are from Smashwords where they have multiple formats, so while I figure it out I don't have to ignore the pile of books waiting for me to read them, since I still have things I can read using my computer. Many others need a Kindle though. Before anyone mentions it... The Kindle for PC thing doesn't work. Well, I mean, it does work, but JAWS (my screen reader) won't read the text of the books, and the text to speech feature isn't part of it.

Anyway, just in case I have no luck persuading my Kindle to work, I contacted Amazon. They think it might be dead too, but I managed to find out some interesting information for if - as we suspect - I need to replace it.

It turns out Amazon have now started thinking about accessability for the visually impaired. Most likely because Apple were stealing their customers. But, regardless of the reason, they are.

I got the following information from them about it:

***

With accessibility features, you can navigate your Fire with special gestures and read aloud the selections you make onscreen.

Fire 2nd Generation and Fire HD 1st Generation have the following accessibility features:
- Voice Guide allows you to hear spoken menus, selectable items, and descriptions when touching the screen.
- Explore by Touch allows you to use special gestures while navigating your Fire.
- Orientation Lock disables screen rotation.

To turn on accessibility features:
1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to open Quick Settings, and then tap More.
2. Tap Accessibility.

Fire HD and Fire HDX have the following accessibility features:
- Screen Reader allows you to hear spoken menus, selectable items, and descriptions when touching the screen.
- Reading Speed allows you to adjust the speed of the speaking voice when Screen Reader is turned.
- Explore by Touch allows you to use special gestures while navigating their Fire.
- Screen Magnifier allows you to zoom in the screen.
- Use Large Font Size increases the size of menu items.
- Closed Captioning adds captions to videos when available.
- Convert Stereo to Mono plays all audio through a single channel.

To turn on accessibility features:
1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to open Quick Actions, and then tap Settings.
2. Tap Accessibility.

To turn on Screen Reader and Explore by Touch from any screen, press the Power button until you hear an alert, and then place two fingers (slightly apart) on the screen and hold for five seconds.

To learn more about accessibility on our all-new Fire devices, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/feature.html?docId=1000756063

***

The above is the contents of an e-mail I was sent to confirm what we discussed on the phone.

I thought I'd share the information for the benifit of anyone interested, or anyone else who may need to know about the accessability of ereaders for blind and partially sighted book lovers.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Stormy Monday - October 6th 2014 (FD)

It's a stormy Monday morning; perfect for water dwelling creatures, like ducks, water sprites, and sea fairies. Not so nice for the foxes, squirrels, and pixies, who prefer dryer weather (pixies can't fly if they're wings get wet). But, regardless of the inconvenience to pixies, ice giants are blowing their chilly breath across the land, while skybears water the Earth from up in the clouds they call home.

I, on the other hand, am sitting at my desk pretending to be doing something useful, when I'm actually just writing this blog post. I'd say not to tell anyone, but since I'm publishing this online, where anyone can see it, that would be a pointless request, don't you think?

It's not like I really have anything important - or, even very interesting - to post about, since all I've really done in the past couple of days is the usual day to day stuff: feed and play with the degus and gerbils, do housework, etc. But, I'm writing a post anyway.

This morning, for example, I made sure I was up to date with sorting ratings and reviews on Goodreads for what I read over the weekend, had some egg on toast for breakfast, then I spent some time looking up names with certain meanings for characters for upcoming stories, and pretty soon I'll be working on some writing. I've also made a start on todays chores, and given the degus and gerbils breakfast and a bit of attention. Once I'm done writing, I'll do some more chores, then either read and then take a nap, or nap and then read, depending on if I'm tired and sleepy or not. Then it will be dinner time for me.

Like I said, nothing either exciting or interesting. I just thought I'd stop by and post something.

Well, there is one interesting thing about today... Today is AliceKay's birthday! So, happy birthday, AliceKay!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Random ramblings - October 3rd 2014 (FD)

How did we get a couple of days in to October already?

***

I often mean to sit down and do a blog post about how my day has been, or what I've been up to lately. But I somehow never get to it.

Not that I really have anything exciting to say about most days, since my days mostly contain the same activities but in different orders. I sometimes think of the people out there who read blogs as a way to take a peek in to the lives of others though.

I used to do blog posts like those all the time, but - like I said - I somehow don't end up doing them these days.

Well, I'm still not really doing one of those posts today, but I am going to give you a bit of a change from all the book related posts I've posted over the past couple of weeks, and post a few random bits and pieces I'd have mentioned if I'd been doing the posts about my day to day life I was just talking about.

***

My Dad, Dad's girlfriend, my Nan, and one of my brothers (Carl) came for a visit last weekend.

We had take-away Friday night; Indian food for most of us, but Kelly had pizza and Nan had fish and chips (neither of them are that keen on Indian food). Then we had breakfast at the café by the train station that's called "Alpha Cafe" on Saturday morning; cooked breakfasts for everyone but me (I just had an egg baguette).

On Friday evening we also tried out the new "Star Wars: Edge Of The Empire" roleplaying system. It was fun, and a pretty simple system to get to grips with. At least, I thought so.

Click here to watch a clip for the game on YouTube.

After breakfast on Saturday we all caught a taxi in to the old part of town (where Kelly and I don't usually go, since we usually go in on the train and it's quite a walk from the station to that part of town). We were also going to go along the seafront and take some photos, but by the time we'd gone through town I just wanted to go home and rest.

***

Kelly and I were playing with some online quizzes the other day. Apparently...

According to two different quizzes... The mythological creature I have living inside me is a dragon, and I should be a fire dragon if I'm an elemental dragon. Funnily enough, we were discussing what creature I'd be if I could be a non-human creature on my Goodreads author of the month thread only the day before I did those quizzes, and it was a dragon I picked.

According to two other quizzes, the member of the X-Men I would be is Kitty Pride, and I'd be a Wookie if I was in Star Wars.

Also, I'm officially considered weird according to a quiz to see how weird you are.

***

We ended up replacing the degu cage. The cage was only a year old, but we noticed rust on it and thought it best to replace it before it got worse (especially with all our attempts to stop the degus gnawing on the bars being unsuccessful).

I don't begrudge the degus a penny of the money the cages cost, but I couldn't help having a bit of a moan about the fact they cost so much, yet don't last like they should. It can't be helped though; if that's what they cost, then that's what we have to pay... Whether I like it or not. It's ridiculous though!

Anyway, we should have a couple of photos of the new cage on the camera, which we'll sort out some time soon.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Brew and Boil release bash

Salem’s Revenge strikes without warning or mercy, ravaging the powerless human race under the forces of united gangs of witches, wizards, and warlocks. During the slaughter, Rhett Carter's foster parents and sister are killed, and his best friend and girlfriend are abducted by a gang of witches calling themselves the Necromancers, who deal in the dark magic of raising the dead. Rhett’s sword-wielding neighbor with a mysterious past saves Rhett from becoming another casualty of the massacre and teaches him the skills he needs to survive in this new world.

Rhett is broken, his normal high school life of book blogging and football playing shoved in a witch-apocalyptic blender. The only thing he has left is his burning desire for revenge. Armed with his new witch hunting skills and a loyal, magic powered dog named Hex, he sets out into the unknown with one mission: hunt and destroy those who took away everyone he ever loved.

But Rhett isn’t just a witch hunter; He has secrets of his own that he has yet to discover, secrets that his enemies will stop at nothing to keep him from.

And discovering the truth about himself is the human race’s only hope.
Revenge. That’s all that’s left for witch hunter Rhett Carter. The magic-born have stripped everything from him - killed his friends, cursed his warlock father, shattered his future - leaving him bare and broken, but not dead. Their mistake.

When Rhett and Laney are suddenly thrust in different directions, Rhett must decide who to trust and who to kill. Backed by his trusty canine sidekick Hex, Rhett will embark on his deadliest mission yet, one that will lead him directly toward those who want him dead, pushing his unique resistance to magic to the edge and back again as he tries to remove his father’s curse.

Separated from Rhett, Laney seeks to understand the strange changes to her sister, Trish, who’s believed to be the last living Clairvoyant, and what role she’s destined to play in the future of humankind.

Wrapped around everything are four major groups: the Necromancers, the Changelings, the witch hunters, and New America, the remnants of humanity. When the major forces are brought together for an epic battle, the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

https://www.goodreads.com/series/115327-salem-s-revenge Click to purchase BREW http://www.amazon.com/Boil-Salems-Revenge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00NXFPMPC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411722568&sr=1-1&keywords=Boil+Estes

Get both Brew and its sequel, Boil, the first two books in the Salem's Revenge series, for a special price of $0.99 each for a limited time only (Amazon Kindle exclusive: Brew until October 17th; Boil until October 7th) Click on the above buttons to take advantage of this limited time deal!




Goodreads  ●  David's Blog    Twitter  ●  Facebook    Tumblr  and his  Goodreads Fan Group      

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. They now live together in their dream location, Hawaii. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David's a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.


http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Country-The-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B00B7VTXFO https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16160701-fire-country

To celebrate the launch of Brew and Boil, David Estes is also giving away FREE Kindle copies of his popular YA dystopian AND adventure book, Fire Country. Just click the above link to nab your free copy.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 2014's reading challenge

You're probably not surprised to hear this, but one of the groups I'm a member of on Goodreads had a reading challenge for this month.

The goal this time was to read books for certain September holidays. There are a couple I didn't get to, and September is just about over, so I know I won't get any more of the challenge done in time, and because of that, I might as well post this now. Anyway, here's what I managed to get read:

*'S' is for September: Read a book that starts with 'S' or a book whose author's first or last name starts with 'S'.

I read "Songbird" by Angela Fristoe, on September 13th 2014.

*International - Chocolate Day (Sept 13): Read a book about something you love to do or something you are secretly addicted to? (can be anything)

I read "Books Of The Immortals - Earth" (Books Of The Immortals, #5) by Barbara G.Tarn, on September 4th 2014.

*International Literacy Day (Sept. 8): Read a book, any book!

I read "On The Way To Everywhere" by Kirsten B. Feldman, on September 5th 2014.

*Swap Ideas Day (Sept. 10): Borrow an idea from a fellow group member, read a book you found on another member's shelf. Or read a book to participate in a group/buddy read and swap your ideas about that book.

I read "In A Handful Of Dust" (Not A Drop To Drink, #2) by Mindy McGinnis, on September 25th 2014.

*Positive Thinking Day (Sept. 13): Read a happy or funny book.

I read "The Imaginary Invasion" by Ubiquitous Bubba, on September 27th 2014.

*Ask a Stupid Question Day (Sept. 28): Ever see a book and wonder why you've never read it? Find out - read it!

I read "Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson, on September 17th 2014.

*Reader's Choice: Read any book of your choosing!

I read "E" (E, #1) by Kate Wrath, on September 7th 2014.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Character interview: Arael

Here's another character interview!

This time it's with Arael the elf, from the "Quest For The Purple Pumpkin" story (published in the "Wyrd Worlds II" anthology).

So, if you want to learn more about Arael and her world, go to https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/character-interview-number-twenty-seven-arael-fantasyyachildrens-books/

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Character interview: Polly

It's time for another character interview!

So...

If you want to meet Polly from my "Quest For The Purple Pumpkin" story (published in the "Wyrd Worlds II" anthology) then just go to http://creativebarbwire.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/sunday-surprise-72/

Friday, September 26, 2014

2014 Third Quarter Challenge - The Chinese Zodiac

One of the groups I'm a member of on Goodreads had a challenge for this quarter based on the Chinese zodiac. The challenge goal was to read books based on the character traits given to the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. The challenge was from July 1st 2014 to September 30th 2014, and we were to read books for as many as we could in that time.

Here are the details for the type of books we were to try and read, along with the details for the books I read for them:

1. The Horse. On January 31, 2014, it becomes the Year of the Horse! Horses like being the center of attention. Read a book where the main character is famous OR read a memoir about or a biography of a celebrity.

I read "Boudicca: Britain's Queen of the Iceni" (The Legendary Women of World History, #1) by Laurel A. Rockefeller on August 5th 2014.

2. The Goat. Home is where Goats feel the most comfortable. Read a book that takes place in the country you were born in.

I read "Art Pengriffin & The Curse Of The Four" by Norman Revill on July 23rd 2014.

3. The Monkey. Monkeys are the masters of practical jokes. Read a humorous book.

I read "Unholy Cow" by John H. Carrol on July 18th 2014.

4. The Rooster. Roosters tend to "tell it like it is." Read a non-fiction book.

I read "Meditations Through the Year: Nature's Cycle of the Seasons in Guided Visualization" by Dorothea Breitzter-Kings on August 2nd 2014.

5. The Dog. While loyal and faithful, Dogs have trouble finding mates. Read a book that contains a troubled romance.

I read "Persuasion" by Jane Austen on August 23rd 2014.

6. The Pig. Pigs love to have fun but tend to prefer spending to saving. Read a book you have purchased (rather than borrowed).

I read "Pathfinder #3 — Rise of the Runelords Chapter 3: "The Hook Mountain Massacre"" (Rise of the Runelords #3) by Nicolas Logue, Mike McArtor, and James L. Sutter on August 1st 2014.

7. The Rat. Constantly seeking knowledge, Rats are curious and clever. Read a book that teaches you something.

I read "Emma Learns To Sprout" by Shir Guez on July 24th 2014.

8. The Ox. Oxen aren't very sociable and prefer life-long friendships to casual acquaintances. Read a book in which the main character could be described as an introvert.

I read "Books Of The Immortals - Earth" (Books Of The Immortals, #5) by Barbara G.Tarn, on September 4th 2014.

9. The Tiger. Tigers love to be challenged. Read a book you find challenging in some way maybe because of its length, style, or subject matter.

I read "The Man In The Moon" by Luke Spychalla on July 30th 2014. The difficulty was that the text was embedded in the pictures, which made it impossible for me to read the text.

10. The Rabbit. Rabbits tend to enjoy meeting people from different places and learning about different cultures. Read a book about a culture not your own.

I read "Stories The Iroquois Tell Their Children" by Mabel Powers, on September 24th 2014.

11. The Dragon. The Dragon is often considered to be the strongest sign, and the only one that is a mythical animal. Read a book that contains a mythical or paranormal creature.

I read "Ilse Witch" (Voyage Of The Jerle Shannara, #1) by Terry Brooks on July 2nd 2014.

12. The Snake. Snakes work hard but tend to be easily bored. To prevent boredom, read a short book (i.e., one with fewer than 100 pages).

I read "Drippy The Peg-Legged Rainbow" by John H. Carrol on July 16th 2014.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hurry! Book sale ends soon!

There's less than a week left in which to take advantage of my free and half price ebooks!

So...

To get your free copy of "Kero Goes Walkies" go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/312873, add it to your cart, and enter coupon code PQ38G at checkout.

To get your free copy of "Kero Celebrates His Birthday" go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/319037, add it to your cart, and enter coupon code ZS89S at checkout.

To get your free copy of "Kero Gets Sick" go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/324875, add it to your cart, and enter coupon code WP58U at checkout.

To get your free copy of "Kero Celebrates Halloween" go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/342194, add it to your cart, and enter coupon code DY54E at checkout.

To get your free copy of "Kero Goes To Town" go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/344560, add it to your cart, and enter coupon code BD89P at checkout.

To get your free copy of "Kero Celebrates Christmas" go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/344566, add it to your cart, and enter coupon code UK65U at checkout.

You can also...

Get "Jinx And The Faerrie Dragons" half price by going to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/447528, adding it to your cart, and entering coupon code KY48Z at checkout.

Get "Cubby And The Beanstalk" half price by going to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/459061, adding it to your cart, and entering coupon code JE87N at checkout.

Please feel free to share the above links and coupon codes with your family, friends, book-loving pets, neighbours, strangers you meet on the street, or anyone else you think might be interested in grabbing copies of the books.

Remember: the coupon codes will only work until September 30th 2014.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni

Journey back in time to discover how the Caledonii, Brigantes, and Votadini tribes of Scotland and their dealing with the Roman invasions of Britannia two thousand years ago also helped decide the fate of the British islands ever since.

It’s all part of Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni, the must-have creative non-fiction history book and audio book of the year!



In the USA in audio edition at http://tinyurl.com/AudibleBoudicca-USA and in the UK at http://tinyurl.com/UKBoudiccaAudible or on iTunes at http://tinyurl.com/UKBoudiccaAudible or on iTunes at http://tinyurl.com/itunesBoudicca-RM.

Second grade reading level; audio edition suitable for ages 5+.

Download the kindle edition at http://viewBook.at/Boudiccakindle and get BOTH the audio and kindle edition for less than $7/£5.



Educators: get a FREE audio copy for your class in exchange for your review. Email peersofbeinan@gmail.com to request your free audio copy from audible narrated by Richard Mann.

Check out a trailer for the book by going to http://youtu.be/aIoeN87IBN8

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Wyrd Worlds II gang

Meet the authors who wrote the stories in Wyrd Worlds II.

* * *

Steph Bennion
Publisher and editor, plus author of "Rock Of Ages"

Steph Bennion is a writer, civil servant and occasional musician, born and bred in the Black Country but now living in the big, bad city of London, England. Her witty space-opera mysteries for young adults and adults young-at-heart are written as a reaction to the dearth of alternative heroes amidst bookshelves swamped by tales of the supernatural. Paw-Prints Of The Gods, a sequel to her debut novel Hollow Moon, was published in 2013.

Website: www.wyrdstar.co.uk

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Ubiquitous Bubba
Author of "Humanity Was Delicious"

Ubiquitous Bubba spends a significant amount of time surrounded by imaginary characters from bizarre universes. He’s been known to hold conversations with animals, inanimate objects and food, which frequently diverge into philosophy, speculations on the nature of Reality/Unreality, and the proper role of cheese in society. He enjoys relaxing at home with his wife and three kids. His debut novel, Reality Challenged, was published in 2012.

Website: UbiquitousBubba.wordpress.com

* * *

A.L. Butcher
Author of "Free Will" and "The Joy Of Socks"

Alexandra Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genre, including the mythic Tales of Erana. She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys.

Website: libraryoferana.wordpress.com

* * *

Clark Graham
Author of "At The Bottom Of The Lake"

Clark Graham is a writer of fantasy. His book Dwarves of Elvenshore started it all. Now there are six books in the Elvenshore series and a standalone novel, Slayer of the Osgarth.

Website: elvenshore.blogspot.com

* * *

Ross Harrison
Cover artist, plus author of "Horizon"

Ross Harrison is a writer of, primarily, science fantasy. He has been writing since childhood without thought of publication. When the idea was planted by his grandmother to do so, it grew rapidly, and here sits the fruit. The NEXUS series is his main body of work, but he has made brief forays into steampunk with Kira, and noir thriller with Acts of Violence. Ross lives on the UK/Eire border in Ireland, hoping the rain will help his hair grow back.

Website: www.ross-harrison.com


* * *

L.J. Hick
Author of "Irrevocable"

L.J. Hick is an author, guitarist and former advisor to major banks. Born in Birmingham, he now lives in Warwickshire, England with his wife and three children. His debut novel Gods and Monsters is the first book in his series The Last Days of Planet Earth, which concerns myths, religion, the environment and politics, delivered in a humorous style. The second book in the series is due for release later this year.

Website: thelastdaysofplanetearth.co.uk

* * *

Josh Karaczewski
Author of "Changing Everything"

Josh Karaczewski sometimes feels like he is the only writer living in San Leandro, California, but that’s only until he can retire somewhere warmer. His stories have been published in several literary journals, while his books include the seriocomic novel Alexander Murphy’s Home for Wayward Celebrities and My Governor’s House and other stories. Until the riches pour in, he will continue forcing high school students to read, write and think.

Website: www.oralrandomly.blogspot.com

* * *

Peter Lean
Author of "Gy"

Peter Lean is the pen-name used by the author for his fiction works. Jurist in ‘real life’ and author of several law books in his native Italian, he started recently to write fiction. He has published a number of ebooks, including his collection of short stories Photographs: A Journey Through Space, Time, and More. His debut novel The Guns Of Napoleon, based on his short story that appeared in Wyrd Worlds, was published 2013.

Website: www.goodreads.com/book/show/18009911-photographs

* * *

Stan Morris
Author of "Sasha And The Collared Girl"

Stan Morris was born in Linwood, California. At age twenty-one he moved to New Mexico, where he met the teenager he later married. Now with two sons, they have since moved to Maui where he retired after years of assembling computers. He is the author of seven books: Surviving the Fog, Surviving the Fog – Kathy’s Recollections, Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure, The Colors of Passion and Love, Sam’s Winnings, Kate’s Movie Star, and Amy’s Hero.

Website: sites.google.com/site/stanandrene/home

* * *

Michael Puttonen
Author of "The Diner"

Michael Puttonen is a Minnesota native and author of young adult adventure/fantasy novels, short stories, and children’s tales. His Sanyel series tells the story of a gifted teenage girl born into a dangerous world. Seven and One Tales for Young Readers is a collection of thought-provoking stories for young children. Michael, a U.S. Air Force veteran, considers himself an philosopher of life. He also dabbles as a cartoonist, albeit one with debatable artistic aptitude.

Website: www.michlputtonen.com

* * *

Laurel A. Rockefeller
Author of "Poisoned Ground"

Laurel A. Rockefeller was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. After receiving her bachelor of arts in psychology and history, she moved across the United States, perfecting her craft with life experiences. In 2012 she launched her medieval sci-fi series The Peers of Beinan. More recently, she released the first of The Legendary Women of World History series; Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni. Laurel currently lives in western Pennsylvania.

Website: www.peersofbeinan.com

* * *

Douglas Schwartz
Author of "A World Taken Over"

Douglas Schwartz lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and two children. He funnels his creativity into fiction writing and tabletop game design. Checkered Scissors, his first novel, was published in October 2013, and he has a short-story collection due out very soon. His quirky, imaginative writing style has been described as the “They Might Be Giants of prose”. An avid Whovian, Doug also considers himself a chronological time traveler.

Website: www.checkeredscissors.com

* * *

Neil Shooter
Author of "Homeless" and "The Visitor"

Neil Shooter grew up in northern England and now lives in a quiet suburban corner of Ontario, Canada. After the stunning success he has not had over the past eighteen months of self-publishing, Neil finds himself limited by reality, but escapes whenever possible into one fantastical realm or another.

Website: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/neilshooter

* * *

Barbara G. Tarn
Author of "Guisarme"

Barbara G. Tarn is a writer, sometimes artist, mostly a world-creator and storyteller. She’s been building her world of Silvery Earth for a number of years: stories, comprise shorts, novels and graphic novels. Her Silvery Earth novella The Hooded Man received a honorable mention at the Writers of the Future contest. Used to multiple projects – a graphic novel is always on the side of the prose – she writes, draws, blogs and ignores her day job.

Website: creativebarbwire.wordpress.com

* * *

Zach Tyo
Author of "My Last Day"

Zach Tyo is an American author from the Ohio Valley area. Though his first loves are his wife and son, he found a third two years ago in writing. Having been an avid reader all his life he dove head first into writing ‘the great American novel’, but quickly discovered he had no idea what that meant. He is currently working on several short stories, due in September 2014, that are connected via a love for a happy ending wrapped in tragedy.

Website: ztyoauthor.com

* * *

L.L. Watkin
Authors of "The Colonial Plague"

L.L. Watkin is the pen name for writing partnership Liz and Louise Smith, two sisters from the North of England who have been writing fantasy, paranormal and science fiction for nearly ten years. To date they have published four novels and several short stories in two series Leviathan and The Handmaiden, plus numerous other short stories. As well as writing they publish a couple of fanzines, blog a bit and enjoy spoiling their rabbit, Buzz Lightyear.

Website: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LLWatkin

* * *

Victoria Zigler
Author of "Quest For The Purple Pumpkin"

Victoria Zigler is a blind author of children’s fiction and poetry. When she remembers to spend time in the real world, it’s with her hubby and pets, though she sometimes indulges in other interests such as crafts, music, movies, figure and role-playing games, and doing a little cooking and baking. Victoria was born in the shadow of the Black Mountains in Wales and has been writing since she knew how. She became a self-published author in 2012.

Website: www.zigler.co.uk

* * * * *

Click here to find out more about Wyrd Worlds II, and where you can get it.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Wyrd Worlds II

"WYRD WORLDS II is the work of an international collection of science fiction and fantasy writers, independent authors old and new, who have come together through the book recommendations site Goodreads to contribute to this anthology. This ebook contains a bumper 19 short stories from 17 independent authors from around the world, encompassing a wide range of science fiction and fantasy. Here lurks tales of the future, steampunk and time travel; of magical realms and fantastical deeds; and of things so weird they defy categorisation. The original WYRD WORLDS rode upon a new wave of indie collaborations; and now we're back!"

Here's the list of the stories contained in this anthology:

Horizon by Ross Harrison
The Visitor by Neil Shooter
A World Taken Over by Douglas Schwartz
The Joy Of Socks by A.L. Butcher
The Colonial Plague by L.L. Watkin
Humanity Was Delicious by Ubiquitous Bubba
My Last Day by Zach Tyo
Guisarme by Barbara G. Tarn
Rock Of Ages by Steph Bennion
The Diner by Michael Puttonen
Homeless by Neil Shooter
Gy by Peter Lean
Irrevocable by L.J. Hick
Poisoned Ground by Laurel A. Rockefeller
Sasha And The Collared Girl by Stan Morris
Quest For The Purple Pumpkin by Victoria Zigler
Free Will by A.L. Butcher
At The Bottom Of The Lake by Clark Graham
Changing Everything by Josh Karaczewski

You can get a copy for free from most ebook retailers, such as...

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/478114
Apple iBook Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wyrd-worlds-ii/id921732504
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wyrd-worlds-ii-various-authors/1120385530
The UK Nook store: http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/wyrd-worlds-ii-by-various-authors/2940046185157
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/wyrd-worlds-ii
Amazon Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Wyrd-Worlds-II-Various-Authors-ebook/dp/B00NVU9MZ0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411733313&sr=1-1&keywords=wyrd+worlds+ii
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wyrd-Worlds-II-Various-Authors-ebook/dp/B00NVU9MZ0/ref=sr_1_1
Amazon USA: http://www.amazon.com/Wyrd-Worlds-II-Various-Authors-ebook/dp/B00NVU9MZ0/ref=sr_1_1

***

Click here to meet the Wyrd Worlds II gang.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rodent photos - September 16th 2014 (FD and LBE)

Some new gerbil and degu photos for you...

The degus love their nesting box - what they haven't eaten of it... Especially if one of them will volunteer as a pillow for the others...


Bilbo loves the gnawing block...


And Joshua loves the new degu mix we've been getting them lately...


Jenks just thinks he's the toughest degu in the world...


While Bilbo thinks he's an acrobat, and can often be found hanging from the roof of his cage by his front paws; sometimes also while chewing on the bars, but sometimes just hanging there like a child would hang from a climbing toy at a playground. We have no idea why, and have yet to see Baggins do the same, but Bilbo seems to enjoy doing it... Whatever makes him happy, I guess! *Shrugs*


When we had corn on the cob one time we thought we'd give the corn cobs to the boys to see what they'd think of them. I washed them thoroughly first though, so there was no butter left on them (butter is not a big deal for the gerbils, but it's not good for the degus to have).

The degus came to check it out, and at least one of them nibbled it a bit, but they didn't seem to be too fussed with it, and we eventually ended up throwing theirs away.


Bilbo got stuck in straight away though, and seemed to absolutely love it...


Baggins had a good nibble on it too, but for some reason he decided we weren't allowed a photo of him eating it. Every time we tried to get one, he'd run and hide, then sneak back for a nibble on the corn cob when we put the camera away, LOL!

Baggins was perfectly happy to just look cute for the camera though...


Bilbo says he's cute too...


The degus may not have been too interested in the corn cob, but they were very pleased with the chewable wooden toy we got them, and played with and chewed on it for ages.


That toy is looking a bit worse for ware already... Not that I'm surprised, LOL!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Crafty update - September 15th 2014 (kinda LBE)

You probably saw Victory AKA Vic (the unicorn I knitted for my friend and fellow author, Barbara G.Tarn last month) when I posted the photos of the two of us together. Or, perhaps, you visited her blog and saw him there? But whether you did or not, here are the photos we took of him before he was put in the bag he hid in while waiting to be given to Barb:


Here are some photos of a blanket I knitted for Kelly:


And here are my recent card creations:


Well, I say "recent" but some of those cards I've been trying to get Blogger to let me post on and off for some time now. Ah well, better late than never, right? Anyway, they all seem to be here, so I guess Blogger is feeling co-operative today... YAY!

Among the cards are birthday cards for family members - including my Grandma's Yorkshire Terrier, Jayde, who turned 9 on September 3rd 2014 - and online friends, as well as the cards for both my parents and Kelly's parents for Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day this year... Which will tell you how long I've been trying to get Blogger to post the card photos for me, LOL!