Monday, May 21, 2018

#Music Monday: Sonny & Cher - I Got You Babe

Tomorrow is our 15th wedding anniversary.

A few weeks ago, I asked Kelly why he'd put up with me for so long, and informed him that he could do better.

His response was to say, "I've got you."

He then attempted to sing part of "I Got You Babe" to me. It was clear from his attempt that my hubby's no singer, but I still thought it was sweet.

With that in mind, and considering the fact tomorrow's our anniversary, I can't think of a better topic for today's post than that very song, sung by the talented duo, Sonny and Cher. So... Enjoy!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Guest Post: 10 Tips How to Make Your #Child's #Education More Interesting

10 Tips How to Make Your Child's Education More Interesting
By Emily Watts

By nature kids are very playful and free-spirited beings. They fancy many things, including colors, animals and everything that catches their attention. As parents, we always desire the best for our children. Thus, some of our greatest sense of fulfillment comes from providing them with the best, and education is not an exception. Watching our kids learning new things every day and getting worthy grades puts a smile on the face of every parent.
But sometimes, we may find out that our kids are not catching up with their school tasks. Or they are finding them boring, and just go with the motions without enjoying the process, due to their age or other factors. What to do in this case and how you can help? Here are a few tips that will aid us in spicing up studying process for them:

1.       Little rewards
A little pat on the back for having pristine grades can be a huge source of inspiration to some kids. Usually they work harder when they realize that their efforts will be rewarded. Applaud their efforts and encourage them to do better can make your child become a solid person.
2.       Music
If your daughter, for instance, has a hard time learning by heart her multiplication tables or current affairs info, you can facilitate this process by creating a song together. Children get easily captivated by the music and could learn the required information while singing it. Such way is especially helpful for toddlers, pre-schoolers and most kids before they turn twelve. A good number of education-themed songs have helped children learning various subjects. It’s worth the try.
3.       Videos
There are educational websites for students that offer tons of videos covering subjects found in the school’s program for your kids. For subjects with tons of new words like the Sciences, History and others. Videos can be a good option.
4.       Games
Just like music and videos, there are also games specifically designed to help kids with learning the basics of the certain subjects. Children love playing and having fun. Some of these games can be found on various educational websites. It’s like searching for the term assignment help Melbourne; “educational games” might be the exact thing your child needs to assimilate better.
5.       Excursions
Excursions are very vital tools in child education. It helps when the child gets a glimpse of what he is taught within class walls. Of course, you cannot take your child to a laboratory; but you can visit a museum together and see some things described in history books. Or you could take them to a science-themed amusement park with fun rides describing planets or body system. Either way, it’s a win-win for everyone – education coupled with a good time out.
6.       Storybooks
No, not the school ones. Get your children interesting novels written based on a particular subject e.g. Chemistry, Biology, Physics. Depending on the age, there are a good number of children’s novels that can help them understand different subjects while challenging their imaginations.
7.       Other things aside from the books
Anyone could get bored with excessive reading or studying. This is why parents get advised to search out the other things that interest their children. Things like soccer, ballet classes, martial arts, etc. Children who take part in their favorite activities tend to be more relaxed, as well as have a sense of satisfaction. This puts them in a perfect spot for assimilating their school tasks.
8.       Nutrition
Breakfast is seen as the most important meal of the day because it provides glucose boost, which your brain needs to function. Proper nutrition is very essential; kids education and nutrition experts would tell you that certain food affects the brain’s ability to store information. Fruit and vegetables could help increase your child’s focus levels in the class. Water intake should also be implemented.
9.       Talking with the teacher
While at school, each teacher’s duty is to observe kid’s behavior. Talking with your child’s instructor clarify the challenges he/she might be facing while studying. This gives you both the chance to agree on strategies that can improve performance, and can easily be applied both at home and in school.
10.   Get involved
As guardians, we can make sure our kids eat and exercise good – but to the kids it might not make so much impact until we get involved. Have your child told you about his day, show interest in helping out with homework? Even if it takes time to help your child with homework, the effort will be worth it. Children flourish when they have a solid backup. Thus, is there a better backup they  can get than their parents?

Friday, May 18, 2018

#FurkidFriday: Maizie The #Chinchilla Checks In

Hi everyone. This is Maizie the chinchilla.

To be honest, I don't really have much to say. Mostly all I've been doing is hanging out watching NCIS, and a few other shows that keep ending up on between episodes of NCIS. Personally, I'd be happy with NCIS 24 hours a day, but the human caretakers say I have to put up with waiting until the TV puts it on. I wish they'd give me that thing they call a "TV remote" so I could pick my shows myself. Maybe then I could find NCIS all the time?

Anyway, I just wanted to check in, let you know I'm doing OK, and that kind of thing. So I'll let this do for today.

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

#KidLit #Book - Vinnie The Vegetarian Zombie Now In #Audio! #Zombies #Vegetarian

When Vinnie the zombie smashes his way in to the fruit and vegetable shop where six year old Annie is waiting in hiding for her Mother to come back for her, Annie isn’t sure what to do. But Vinnie isn’t like other zombies. A vegetarian in life, it looks like Vinnie may also be one in death, and it may not be Annie who’s in danger after all.

Previously only available as an eBook or paperback, "Vinnie The Vegetarian Zombie" is now also available as an audiobook, read for you by Jenny Bacon.

Regardless of the format you'd prefer, here are the main places where you can buy the book:

Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, iTunes, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, and The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Random Ramblings - May 14th 2018 (FD)

There's not much to say beyond what I wrote in yesterday's post, but here's a post to say it anyhow.

I've taken advantage of a bit of time I had when I didn't feel like I was going to pass out to schedule several posts to go up on Sundays and Mondays over the next couple of months, just in case I'm not around to sort them, or not feeling well enough, or whatever. Well, my book review and movie review posts are sort of work in progress type things, but they'll go up with whatever reviews are in them at the time they're due to go live. I've scheduled some Friday posts too, though those are hard to do, since they're supposed to be pet related updates. Wednesdays are harder still, because those posts are generally links I've collected throughout the week, apart from when I've used those posts for book announcements. So I'm sorry if I end up missing posting on a Wednesday or Friday at any point.

I did this because I didn't want you to have to miss out on posts if - or when - I end up back inhospital. When I'm around to do update posts, I can reschedule something to clear a slot. In the meantime, I feel better knowing you'll have things to read during my promised regular posting slots, even if I'm dealing with doctors on those days.

Like I said though, sorry if I miss a slot. Also, sorry if I get behind on anything else too. I'm doing my best.


The weather's been all over the place in this past month.

Some days it's been rainy, with temperatures only a few degrees above freezing, while other days it's been warm and sunny.

One time it even got up to about 27 degrees C (88 F). But that was only once. Mostly it's been 20 degrees C (72 F) or lower. In fact, until this past week, the most common temperatures had been between 12 degrees C (56 F) and 16 degrees C (64 F). We started seeing temperatures of 19 degrees C (70 F) and higher more often during this past week though. This time last week, for example, it was 21 degrees C (74 F) and got hotter as the day wore on. I think it got up to 25 degrees C (82 F) for a while at one point... Not for long though, thankfully.

Not too hot as a rule, but warmer than I like sometimes, and much warmer than it was just a couple of months ago. I wonder if we'll get a really hot Summer, like we did last year? I kind of hope not. Sunny weather is fine, but I don't like when it gets too hot. If things continue as they've been going though, we'll be dealing with those hot temperatures for sure. I hope I'm not in hospital when we do... It's always much too hot for my liking in hospitals as it is.

Anyway, in the meantime, some of the rainy days have come with strong winds too, so we've had a few mild storms. No big ones though. At least, not unless I slept through them, and didn't hear about them afterwards, which is possible with how much I've been sleeping lately, and how poorly I've been doing at keeping up with what's going on outside my own home.


I've now finished reading the five "Game Of Thrones" books that are out. As I've said in my reviews - the last of which will be in my May reviews post - I think they're better than the TV series. Much easier to follow, which helps in itself.

I did have one issue I didn't mention in my reviews though: the author is much too free with his use of a certain four lettered "C" word for my liking.

Actually, it bothers me that authors swear so much in books these days in general. But that particular word is my least favourite word, and it really bothers me how often it was used. It bothers me even more than how often the four lettered "F" word was used. I'd rather the "F" word than the "C" word any time.

I didn't mention it in my reviews though, because I know this is just my issue, and those who follow my reviews on Goodreads are probably sick of me complaining about the over-use of curse words in books. I felt the need to mention it somewhere though, and this post on my blog seems as good a place as any.

I'm still going to finish the series when - or if - the books for it get finished and published though.


I wanted to try Thai food. No reason other than that I haven't done so to my knowledge, and there are a couple of Thai places near here that deliver. So, we placed an order via one of them recently.

I ordered some jasmine rice with Pad Khing Tao Hoo (stir fried tofu with mushrooms, onions, ginger & spring onions).

I ordered that partially because it sounded good, and partially because it was a vegetarian dish that was mild on spices, and I didn't want anything too spicy. I like some spice, but have learned through ordering Chinese and Indian food to be cautious of the hotter foods... They're not usually for me. That's part of why it's taken me so long to try Thai food.

I really enjoyed it, though perhaps not as much as I usually enjoy Chinese or Indian food. Still, it was good, and I'd eat it again. Plus, I feel good being able to honestly say I've tried some kind of Thai food. I think I was right to be cautious on the spices though, so don't plan to try the hotter stuff they do.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Medical Mutterings - May 2018 Edition (PTMI & LBE)

WARNING: this post carries a PTMI (possibly too much information) warning. This especially applies to male readers, and those who are squeemish about blood. Feel free to read on, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Firstly, here's an update on everyone else:

My Mam's leg was healing well, but then it got infected again. She'd gotten to the stage where she could be without bandages, but now she's back to bandages and strong antibiotics again. At least she gets to stay home though. They've told her this could keep happening, and that even when it calms down, she'll probably always need a walking aid of some kind (such as a frame, crutches, etc). Even if she gets to the point where she can hobble around the house without using any kind of walking aid, she'll need one when she goes out. This isn't the best news, but it's better than the potentially losing her leg they were talking about not long ago. Now we're crossing our fingers that the new antibiotics clear up the infection again quickly, and she doesn't get another infection any time soon.

Kelly's lump is going to be drained, which is what he was hoping for. He's waiting for an appointment, which should come in the next few weeks. The procedure itself should only take about half an hour, so he'll just be spending a few hours with the doctors while they cut it open, drain it, make sure it's not going to bleed too much, and then stitch his head back up. He'll be allowed back home after that, to return about a week later for his stitches to come out. All being well, that will be the end of it for him for doctor visits for a while.

Also, my Grandma's doing OK, but had a "funny turn" that meant a doctor visiting her at home to give her a lecture about doing too much, since that was what likely caused it. When she remembers she's almost 80 (she'll be 80 in June) and doesn't try and do too much, she's doing OK though.

As for me...

So far, there's hope for my new asthma nurse, who I saw on April 25th.

First of all, she was annoyed to learn that my inhalers ever got taken away, especially when she learned the reason the doctor had given for doing so. She's assured me she wouldn't ever advise that - especially given my medical history - though she would like to have me needing to have them less often. Like maybe once or twice a day, instead of the four times a day I've been needing them. Obviously, those numbers aren't including asthma attacks, but refer to the preventative doses, if that makes sense. Cutting down I don't mind, since I'd still have them on hand in case of asthma attacks, and be having regular doses of the steroid medication they contain. So I'm fine with that plan.

She also realised that - due to the dizziness from the anemia and bleeding - I'm not taking deep enough breaths to get the full dose in, which is part of why I need the inhalers so frequently, get out of breath so easily, and am struggling to get asthma attacks under control as easily as I used to be able to. When she asked me about it, I explained about the anemia, and how I can't get it under control because of the bleeding, and told her how it makes the dizziness worse to take really deep breaths, so she's given me a spacer thing to help with that.

For those who don't know: a spacer is a plastic thing that goes between the inhaler and your mouth. As long as you keep it in your mouth, the steroids squirted from the inhaler stay inside it, so you can take it in over a few shallower breaths, rather than not getting it all because you didn't take a big enough breath. I even have one of the newer ones, which makes a noise if your breaths are coming too quick to give you a good chance of getting all the medication.

I have to go back to see her on June 6th to see how I'm getting on with that. Personally, I think it might be helping. I've had no asthma attacks since I started using the new inhaler and the spacer thing anyhow, which I know is a good thing.

Anyway, I was weighed while I was at the medical centre, and was delighted to learn that I'm lighter than I thought I was. Still heavier than I should really be, but that's still a good thing, since I was basing my weight on the last time I was weighed. I was also pleased that she didn't lecture me on my weight, and thought the idea of blaming my weight for my asthma was ridiculous, especially considering I've had asthma since childhood.

Like I said: so far, there's hope for my new asthma nurse. Now I just have to hope I get to keep her.

Unfortunately, things aren't going quite so smoothly with sorting out the issues that are aggrivating my anemia. Although, there is some potential progress in that area, even if the road I'm travelling is rather more bumpy, if you know what I mean.

I ended up making another trip in to A and E in the early hours of April 28th. I went because of what happened with the bleeding.

For those who don't know: my bleeding has been bad since I first started my periods, but I used to have breaks in between. Even then it was an issue, so I've been seeing doctors about it since I was still in primary school, and having to take time off school during my heavier days. But these days it's worse, because I'm always bleeding. As in, have a non-stop period. Sometimes it's heavy, sometimes it's light. The point is, there's always blood.

Lately, my bleeding's been really bad. Even worse than it used to be, I mean. Bad enough that I'm getting circulation issues that are causing me to lose feeling in my feet. At first it only happened when I sat in certain positions for too long, but now it happens at random times. It happened as I was getting out of the bath a couple of times, for example. I also keep getting so dizzy that some days I can't even sit up for long because of it. After I nearly fell because of the, "Can't feel my feet," issue a few times, I decided I should make a trip back to A and E, which is what I did in the early hours of the morning of April 28th.

Of course, the moment I got there, the bleeding slackened off. That keeps happening, so they keep missing out on seeing the bleeding at its worse. It's really frustrating. Still, it was heavy enough that when they went to try and send me home with pills again without doing anything more (since my iron level was high enough that I didn't need a blood transfusion during that visit, even if it was only just) showing them what light bleeding for me is like was enough to get them to accept it might be an idea to do more. They still weren't as helpful as I'd have liked, but it was progress.

Despite the fact they agreed to do more in the long-term, they still sent me home with some of the pills I've had a hundred times before, and the pills still did nothing, as I'd expected would be the case. But they also gave me an appointment for an emergency scan, which I had on May 2nd, and while I was there for that they got a better demonstration of my bleeding. It still wasn't my heaviest bleeding, but it was enough to have the nurses needing to mop up a lot of blood, and show them I wasn't kidding when I said what I call light bleeding and what they do are two different things.

Anyway, I didn't expect the scan to show anything, because I've had several scans over the years, and my scans are usually clear. So I was expecting to have to fight to get them to do anything. But this time it looks like I'm having issues with polyps and possible fibroids, so they want me seen by a new gynecologist as soon as possible.

Fair play to them, they tried to actually make me an appointment while I was there, but the clinic refused to let them without my doctor referring me. So I had to call my doctor and ask for an emergency referral. They wrote to him too, because they wanted to make sure he knew it was an emergency case. I was pleased about that, since it helps my case.

Kelly's seen our new doctor, and says he's a nice guy who listens to you. I ended up talking to one of the other doctors from the surgery instead of my own new doctor though, because I couldn't get to talk to my own. They'd told me the first day I called that I could if I called first thing in the morning, but when I did they said he was already booked up. Bearing in mind, I called as soon as they opened. I was a bit annoyed about that... Why tell me I can get to talk to him if I can't? But at least I could get to speak to a doctor, I suppose. Plus, the doctor actually listened to me when I explained the situation, which makes a nice change. Looks like my surgery got some better doctors.

If you're wondering: the reason I didn't make an appointment for a future day instead is that our doctor is booked up for the next couple of weeks apart from potential call slots if you call early enough in the morning. Plus, I wanted to just do a phonecall, since the bleeding makes going out a lot of hastle and stress for me. Made worse by the fact I'm blind, and have to rely on others to take me places, make sure I'm not covered in blood, etc. So, I decided to just accept a call from one of the other doctors, since it would get things done more quickly, and there wasn't really a valid reason why I couldn't talk to one of them instead. So, since I'd be dealing with another doctor anyhow, it was easier for me to just accept a call from one, which is what I did on May 4th.

I've told them I've had enough and want a hysterectomy.

I said it to the doctors and nurses when I was at the hospital (both on April 28th, and on May 2nd) and I said it again to the doctor on the phone too.

I've told them this before, but I'm now five years older, and have the issues with polyps and fibroids to add to the hormonal issues I was already dealing with. Their arguments before were about the risks of surgery (especially on someone overweight and asthmatic) and me still being young enough to have children. But those arguments no longer carry as much weight now that I'm almost in to my mid 30s, my scan is no longer clear, and my quality of life is starting to suffer enough that I'm at risk if left as I am. I also pointed out that I'm essentially needing constant babysitting because I can't see to be sure I've cleaned up all the blood. Not to mention, I'm in constant pain from stomach cramps, and the dehydration caused by the amount of blood loss can't be good for my kidneys (which are already not as good as they should be). So I'm hoping I'll have better luck this time around. I feel like I was having better luck with the doctor this time, so I'm crossing my fingers the same holds true when I see the gynecologist.

Considering I once longed for children, it probably seems strange for me to be pushing for something like this. But we tried for children, and failed to get any. The hormonal issues made the chances I'd have any so slim I'd resigned myself to not having any a little over five years ago, and the presence of polyps and fibroids decreases the already low chances even more. So, as far as I'm concerned, the ship has sailed on that particular potential future. Now the main thing is to make the bleeding go away, try and get my anemia under control before something really bad happens - which will be easier without the bleeding - and give myself a chance at improving my quality of life while I'm still young enough to appreciate and enjoy it.

Anyway, the doctor said he would organize my referral letter. In fact, it should have been sorted last week. I'm just waiting for my appointment, which should be happening some time between now and the end of the month, but I don't know when it will be at the time I'm writing this post. I should hear when it is any day now though. Once I know for sure what's going to happen, I'll let you know. As I said, I'm crossing my fingers for a result that will finally let me see an end to this issue, even if it means a guaranteed end to the chances of me being a Mother.

Friday, May 11, 2018

#FurkidFriday: Mollie The #Chinchilla Decides The Daddy Human's Not So Bad

Hi everyone. This is Mollie the chinchilla.

I've decided the Daddy human might not be so bad after all.

I mean, he does feed us when the Mummy human keeps doing those disappearing acts she's been doing. Him doing it isn't the same as the Mummy human doing it, but he does OK.

I still prefer the Mummy human, but I've decided I like the Daddy human too.

I even let him pick me up and give me some cuddle time the other day. He liked that. I kinda did too.

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

#WriterWednesday - May 9th 2018

If you're a writer, I hope your writing projects are going well.

There's not much progress with my own writing projects. Audio book production is still moving along nicely, but my hopes for catching up with writing in May have so far come to nothing, and I'm not sure how successful I'll be at getting in my writing time over the next few months. I won't go in to details in this post, but I'm sure you'll understand when you read the post I have scheduled to go up this coming Sunday. In the meantime, since I don't have anything much to say, on to those links...

Firstly, are there birds in your book? If so, you might want to go check out the post I just linked to. Actually, you might want to if you just like birds too.

Whether your book contains birds or not, here's a post you might like to read if you want to know more about the basic plot of a comedy. Useful to know regardless, but especially useful if you're actually writing a comedy.

Regardless of your book's plot though, remember that getting published is not a race to the finish line. No matter what you write, or which method of publication you plan to look in to, there's no rush. It will happen when it's time. Oh, and here are some self-publishing myths that need to die... If you're thinking self-publishing is not for you, read the post before you decide for sure, because not everything you hear about it is true.

Right. I'll end today's post with a piece about how writing helps us make sense of the things we otherwise can't - something many writers will understand - and another that talks about the right way to write.

Monday, May 07, 2018

#Music Monday: Rocket Girl - Doc Walker

I first heard Doc Walker's "Rocket Girl" in the days when I was listening to - and later doing - streams. That's a sort of online radio, for the benifit of anyone who doesn't know. I fell in love with the song from the first time I heard it, and since it mentions Alberta, I thought this month would be an appropriate month to share it in. Why? Because Kelly's birthday and our wedding anniversary are both celebrated this month, and both his birth and our marriage took place in Alberta, Canada. Like I said, it's appropriate. So, here it is... Enjoy!

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Tori's April 2018 #Book #Reviews - #AmReading

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

You'd think this would be one of those months where I have loads of reviews for you, since I took my Kindle with me to hospital, along with the set of headphones I call my "travel headphones" so I could listen to my books without disturbing other patients. When I realized I'd be staying in, I thought the same. I mean, I could read between doctors and nurses wanting to do things to me, and wouldn't have anything else to do, right? Yeah... That was wrong. I actually had a lot less reading time in hospital than you might think, since nurses kept wanting to do things like check my blood pressure, take or give me blood, etc, every time I tried to read. At least, that's how it felt. I know I wasn't far off with that at first, since I was being checked or seeing a doctor every hour for the first couple of days. I might have had a lot of reading time while waiting to get test results and discharge papers during the last 24 hours or so of my time in hospital, but Emma and I were keeping each other company and watching things on her phone, so I didn't end up reading much during that part of the hospital stay either. Then, when I got home, I was in pain and trying to avoid getting too far behind on things as best as I could on my phone, before needing to catch up properly when I could sit at the computer without crying. On top of that, the books I was reading were quite long. So this will be a short review post this month. In fact, I think this explanation is longer than the reviews part of the post. Haha!

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

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

OK... On to the reviews!

A Clash of Kings  (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A pretty good read. I'm definitely enjoying these books more than I did the TV series, that's for sure!

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3)A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There are parts of this book I didn't enjoy as much as other parts, but I know those were due to personal Preferences, rather than A reflection on the author. Besides, there were parts I loved, which made up for it somewhat.

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A good addition to the series, though not my favourite of the books so far, and I wish we'd heard more from certain characters I care about the fates of.

Friday, May 04, 2018

#FurkidFriday: Joshua The #Degu On Keeping Your #Pets Cool This #Summer (FD)

Hi humans. This is Joshua the degu.

With the warmer weather starting to happen - well, some days anyhow - I wanted to remind you about keeping your furry and feathered family members cool this Summer. Even if you like hot weather, you need to think about ways to keep them cool, because chances are they don't enjoy the heat, and will suffer if you don't do things to keep them cool.

There are the obvious things like providing shade and cool water for them to enjoy. But there are other things you can do too. Exactly what else you can - or should - do will depend on what species your furry or feathered family member is. For example:

I can tolerate some heat, but have my limits, so the human caretakers have a fan set up near my cage. Plus, I get frozen peas when it gets really hot, which is kind of like you eating those things humans call "ice-cream" and "ice-lollies" to keep cool. I'm not allowed ice-cream or ice-lollies though, which is why I have frozen peas instead.

My chinchilla sisters, Mollie and Maizie, on the other hand, can't tolerate heat at all. Not only do they have an extra fan to me, and get frozen peas like I do, but they also have a special cooling slab in their cage to stretch out on when they need to cool down. It's made of some kind of stone, and they love to lay on it on hot days.

On the other hand, the Lilie dog shares the fans the human caretakers use, and sometimes gets taken to play in the big water to cool off. Plus, I'm pretty sure she sometimes gets to share the human caretakers' ice-cream. Oh, and they just chopped her fur off, which I'm sure she's pleased about now we're getting warmer weather.

Those are just examples. There are other things too, of course.

Remember: you signed up to be responsible for your furry or feathered family member by bringing them home. Take that responsibility seriously, and be a good human caretaker.

Heat can kill. Don't let it kill your furry or feathered family members!

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

#WriterWednesday - May 2nd 2018

So... I helped fellow author, Charles Yallowitz, promote his book with this post, and then took advantage of a couple of mine becoming available in audio to fill my Wednesday slots, meaning I didn't need to worry about putting a "Writer Wednesday" post together throughout most of April. I wasn't being lazy, as you'll know if you've been reading my other posts, where I mentioned having been in hospital, and being unwell for a while afterwards. Then there was trying to catch up with things... You know how it goes, I'm sure. If you don't... Lucky you! Anyway, I was really glad I'd taken the time to set up the posts for my audio book announcements after I got the contracts sorted with the narrators, so all I had to do was find the right post among my drafts, add the links for the audio version, and schedule them for the day I wanted them to go up.

I probably don't need to tell you that I didn't get any writing done in that time. I'd hoped to get a decent amount of writing done in April, but it was not to be. First I wasn't feeling well enough to do much of anything, and then I was trying to catch up on posts and eMails and such. By the time I was caught up, April was over. Maybe I'll have better luck this month? Can but hope, right? It does mean though that it's looking like my pirate adventure story won't be ready for the Summer. Actually, the way the year's going, I'll be lucky to have it ready for the end of the year. Good thing I never announced a planned release date, isn't it? *Sigh*

Good news is though, audio book production is going well. Four more of my books are now in audio, as you probably noticed from the posts I put up announcing the fact over the past few weeks. A few others should become available very soon too. In the meantime, if you missed the posts for any reason, the newly available audio books are:

*"The Leaf Monster And Other Children's Poems" (narrated by Jane Hopkins)
*"Rodent Rhymes And Pussycat Poems" (narrated by Carol Weakland)
*"The Light Of Dawn And Other Poems" (narrated by Carol Weakland)
*"Isabelle's Runaway Racehorse" (narrated by JD Kelly)

Click on the book titles to go to the blog posts for each book, where you can find purchase links.

Carol Weakland is an author as well as a narrator, and she was interviewed a few weeks back on Barb's blog. So, if you'd like to get to know her, go read her author interview.

Anyway... I had loads of eMails to sort through from the places where I get the posts and articles I share in my "Writer Wednesday" posts. As is always the case, I considered some more worth sharing than others. That's not to say the others weren't interesting, well-written, or whatever. But I only share the ones I consider to be the best of the selection, because it takes enough time to do as much as I do. If you want to read all the links from the blogs/websites, you can always start following them yourself. Although, if you do, I hope you still come back here to read my posts. OK, let's see what links I've gathered together for you...

First, check out this list of things a writer needs before they sit down to write, and make sure you have them all. Oh, and here's a suggestion for the best way to spend the first 15 minutes of every writing session, in case it's something you want to do.

Next, here are a couple of things to bear in mind if you're a writer: your life will never be normal, and you will always find something new to distract you. I hope neither of those is enough to make you change your mind about being a writer, but if it is... Well, you should go find something else to do.

If you still insist on being a writer, you may be able to help your writing sessions be more productive by checking out this post on how to create your own personal 'writing bubble' - or whatever you want to call your writing space.

Speaking of your writing sessions: writing every day - is it advice you should actually follow? It's up to you. But, no matter how you feel about writing every day, sometimes it actually is a good idea to step away from your keyboard for a day, so bear that in mind when figuring out your writing routine. Mind you, regardless of your writing routine, if you're thinking of taking a break, you should ask yourself these things first.

Oh, and don't forget there are things you can (and can't) control as a writer. Try not to stress over the things you can't control.

OK... Moving on... Check out this post discussing the basic plot of a tragedy. You may not be planning to write one, but it doesn't hurt to know how each of the different types of basic plots works, and the tragedy is no exception.

Regardless of the plot of your story, here are two foreshadowing techniques to reduce new information overload, and 4 ways to get your setting right - even if you haven't been there.

Editing? Ask yourself this. Also, don't forget to think about what's missing from your self-editing.

OK. In the words of Porky Pig, "Th-th-that's all folks!"

Monday, April 30, 2018

#MondayMotivation And #Inspiration - April 2018 Edition

A diamond with a flaw is worth more than a pebble without imperfections.
~Ancient Chinese proverb

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
~Thorin Oakenshield

There is a power in nature that man has ignored. And the result has been heartache and pain.
~Asazi Foundation

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...
~Dr. Seuss

I advocate passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you… you never know where you might end up. Just be aware that the next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery. Which is why you should be careful of long-term dreams. If you focus too far in front of you, you won’t see the shiny thing out the corner of your eye. Right?
~Tim Minchin

Sunday, April 29, 2018

April 2018 #TV Talk And #Movie Mutterings - #AmWatching

It's time to take a look at what I watched in March and April. Not that there's a lot to take a look at, since most of what I watched over the past couple of months has been movies I've seen before, or episodes of TV shows I've already mentioned that I enjoy watching, and I'm not bothering to mention those, since this post is meant as a review post for things I haven't watched before.

Anyway, 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!

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003 movie):
I'd seen bits of this one before, but never sat down and watched the whole thing... Until now. I wouldn't go as far as to say I'm super happy I finally got to see it, since I didn't think it was totally amazing or anything like that. But I did really enjoy the movie, and would willingly watch it again. I give this movie four out of five stars.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006 movie):
This is another one I'd seen bits and pieces of before, but only recently sat down and watched all of. Like with the previous Pirates of the Caribbean movie, I thought it was a really great movie, and would willingly watch it again. Also like the previous movie, I give this movie four out of five stars.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007 movie):
This movie had several entertaining scenes, which made it better than the previous two in some places. Not enough that I'd call it an amazing movie, though I think this is my favourite of these movies so far. However, I still only give this movie four out of five stars.

Friday, April 27, 2018

#FurkidFriday: Lilie The #Westie's First Grooming Session

Hi everyone. This is Lilie the Westie.

Last week, I had something the humans called a "grooming session" for the first time. I wasn't sure what they were talking about when they said I was going for one, and was a bit worried, but it turned out to be great!

First I got a car ride in to town with Daddy, which was great in itself. I love going places with Daddy, especially if it's in to town. Also, car rides are interesting and kind of fun too.

Then I went in to a place with lots of smells something like when the humans give me a bath, and other dogs. I like baths - as long as my head doesn't get wet - and I love making new friends, so I was fine with this. I was a little confused by Daddy leaving me, but the humans in this place were giving me a lot of attention, so I decided I didn't mind too much.

They bathed me, trimmed my nails, and made my fur shorter. With how warm it was that day, I was especially glad about that last one. The only bit I didn't like was when they used the noisy thing they called a "hairdryer" to dry my fur. But one of the humans talked to me and gave me attention while the other one was using that thing, and that made it not seem so bad.

After that, Daddy came to get me and take me home, where I got to show off my new haircut to Mummy. At that point the humans took a photo of me so you can all see too, so here it is:

They tried to get one where I was stood up and you could see my new haircut properly, but I was so excited I couldn't stay still properly until Mummy offered me a treat if I did, which is when I posed for the photo above.

Anyway, I think I might like grooming sessions. Also, with how warm the weather's been over the past week, I think they took me to get all that extra fur off just in time.

Lots of licks,

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

#KidLit #Book - Isabelle’s Runaway Racehorse Now In #Audio! #Animals #Horses

Used to being the only horse, Jet finds it difficult to accept the addition of the newest member of the family. Jealous and hurt by how the new mare is stealing the affections of his beloved owner, Isabelle, and her sister, Charlotte, he decides to run away; determined to find a place where he can be the only horse and regain the love and attention he’s always had. But Jet soon begins to miss the comfortable life he’s always known, and to wonder if running away was a good idea after all.

Previously made available in eBook and paperback, "Isabelle's Runaway Racehorse" is now also available in audio, read for you by JD Kelly.

Regardless of which format you prefer, here are the main places where you can buy the book:

Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, iTunes, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, and The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Random Ramblings - April 23rd 2018

I was really glad for two things earlier this month. The first was the fact I schedule posts ahead of time, so write them in advance (even if I sometimes go in and edit details closer to the post's publication date). The second was that some of my books became available for sale in audio, so I needed to post the announcements for those. If it hadn't been for these things, my posts for most of April would have been a couple of quick notes explaining that I wasn't well, because it was all I could do to add the bit I did about how I ended up in hospital to the post I'd started working on before going in, and add the audio book purchase links to those other posts before scheduling them to go up in the slots I hadn't filled yet. This past week was the first time I felt up to doing more than that, and I'm sure you can imagine how much I have to catch up on with a couple of weeks of limited online activity. It's lucky I had the sense to do a few bits here and there on my phone, that's all I can say!

So... The infection I got while in hospital - the one that had me going back to A and E a few days after being released - had me in so much pain I wasn't good for much, and sitting at my computer was so out of the question. I haven't had one that bad in years. Thankfully, it seems to have cleared up now, so I guess the antibiotics the doctor at the hospital prescribed for me did the trick. I'm rather relieved about that, as I'm sure you can imagine. Although, I'm a bit annoyed that he gave me a prescription I couldn't get sorted until the following morning, and then just sent me home, even though I was in so much pain I was crying. I get that the hospital's pharmacy was closed, but I also know they have stuff on hand that the doctors and nurses can give out. He could have at least given me a stronger painkiller or something.

Anyhow, I have to go to the asthma nurse on Wednesday (April 25th). Turns out the doctor at the hospital didn't write down the names of the inhalers they gave me, and the doctor won't give me refills without me seeing the asthma nurse and showing her - or him, I suppose... Could be either for all I know right now - the inhalers I have from the hospital. While I'm there, I'll have to nag about getting more iron tablets, because when I asked for more of those, the doctor quite literally gave me enough to last the two weeks between when I was asking for more (because the hospital only gave me enough for two weeks) and when I see the asthma nurse this week. Mind you, she insisted on calling me before she'd even do that, despite Kelly handing her the letter from the hospital when requesting refills for me earlier in the day, just to ask if I still needed the stuff, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Yep, they're already asking if I'm sure I still need them. My answer was that I've needed them since I was a child. She pointed out I hadn't had them in ages. So I pointed out that I'd just spent my Easter weekend in hospital because of that. She decided I probably did need them, and gave me the two weeks of pills and an appointment with the asthma nurse. It's a start.

In other medical news:

My Grandma was in hospital for four nights. She's now home, and doing OK, though she's on new heart medication, and dealing with follow-up appointments to keep an eye on her and make sure the new medication is working. She's coming up for 80 though, and has some other health problems. Hopefully none of those will have her back in the hospital any time soon.

My Mam is out of hospital now too. She has to use a frame to walk, is on painkillers and antibiotics, and has honey patches on her legs that a nurse has to come in and change regularly (they're to help with the healing process). But at least she was finally able to go home Wednesday. She was in hospital for almost four weeks. Now she gets to finish the healing process at home, which she's probably very pleased about.

My new friend (Emma) is still in hospital too. I went to visit Emma about a week and a half after being released myself... Basically, when the infection had cleared up enough that I'd be able to sit and talk with her for a bit without crying. Our friends Lorna and Andy took me in to see her, while Kelly stayed home with Lilie. I didn't go visit Mam and Grandma because I couldn't. Mam was in hospital in Wales, and Grandma was in hospital in Devon. long journeys like that are tough on me normally, so doing one right now would have been stupid. They'd have ended up reserving me a bed in their hospital if I'd tried. Plus, when Grandma was in hospital I was in too much pain from the infection to even be able to sit up. But Emma's at the hospital I was at... Which is how I met her... And that's only about ten minutes or so from where I live, so I could manage that. Though I'm grateful to Lorna and Andy for making it easier on me.

Anyway, with all of us ending up going in to hospital for one thing or another, Kelly decided he should probably pay attention to the reminder from the doctor that he hasn't had his health checked in way too long. So he made an appointment to go in for a health check. He went in to see the nurse this past Wednesday (April 18th) while I stayed home with Lilie. Lilie wasn't too happy about it, because she hates her Daddy leaving, but I think he did the right thing in going for a health check. Turns out he got the all clear. Well, he did get some suggestions on lifestyle changes he should make, since some of his results were at the point where they were fine at the moment, but wouldn't be if he doesn't make a few changes. Plus he has a lump on his head the doctor needs to look at. We aren't really concerned about it. He's had it a while, and the doctor said it's just where fluid has blocked some of the pores in his skin or something... My Nan had similar lumps at one point... But it's grown, so we want the doctor to take a look. Plus, the doctor did say it should be drained/removed if it grew, so that might be what needs to happen now. But other than that he got the all clear. He has an appointment to get the lump looked at on Friday (April 27th).


It was Earth Day yesterday. Did you remember? I don't suppose it matters. I mean, I think it's great that there's a day set aside to celebrate the Earth, and remind everyone to take care of it. But doing it just one day a year isn't going to do a lot, so you should think about the future of the planet all year round. If you do that, it won't matter if you remember when Earth Day is, and we'll stand a better chance of leaving something for future generations to enjoy. As it is several species of animal are now extinct. What will we destroy next? With the people currently in power both in the UK and in the US, I dread to think!

Anyway, on a more cheerful note: yesterday was also the 6th anniversary of when I started publishing my books, and my blog's 12th anniversary is ten days away (May 3rd).

Time flies, doesn't it?

I was going to do something to celebrate them, but never got around to arranging anything. That keeps happening to me. Maybe if I start thinking about it now, I'll actually make it in time to arrange something for this time next year? Then again, I think I've said that before... Haha!

Anyway, the day before my bloggerversary - so, May 2nd - is Kelly's birthday. So an early happy birthday to Kelly! Also, happy birthday to anyone else who recently had theirs, or is about to.


Do you ever find yourself wondering why we use a particular phrase or word for something? Or, perhaps you've found yourself wondering why a seemingly unconnected thing will have an almost identical word to describe it?

If either of those is the case, or if you're someone who has an interest in the English language for some other random reason, you may want to take a look at the blog English Language Thoughts.

It's a blog that discusses words and phrases used in the English language, going in to their origins and history. I've been enjoying the posts, and think you might too.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

#Poetry #Book - The Light Of Dawn And Other Poems Now In #Audio!

A collection of poems of different lengths and styles – some with a hint of humour, others of a more serious nature – about animals, nature, magic, emotions, and the world around us.

Previously only made available in eBook and paperback, "The Light Of Dawn And Other Poems" is now available as an audiobook, read for you by Carol Weakland.

Regardless of the format you'd prefer, here's where you can buy the book:

Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, iTunes, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, and The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Friday, April 20, 2018

#FurkidFriday: "We Don't Understand, But We Don't Like It!"

Hi everyone. This is Maizie the chinchilla.

I don't know what happened, but I know we didn't like it one bit!

It was the end of March. Me and my chinchilla sister, Mollie, were sleeping, while our degu brother, Joshua, was playing on his wheel. It was lovely and peaceful, because the human caretakers and the Lilie dog were taking a nap too.

Then, all of a sudden, there was lots of loud beeping noises going on, and the human caretakers were saying something about "fire alarms" even though none of us could smell any smoke. They stopped outside the living room - which is where our cages were - and I heard the Mummy human say she was sorry for some reason, and then she picked up the Lilie dog, and the human caretakers left. A little while later, the beeping went away.

Shortly after that, the human caretakers and the Lilie dog came back in, which we were glad about. At least, we were until we realized the Mummy human wasn't breathing right. I don't know what happened, but she was really struggling, and we all got worried. None of us knew what to do for her, but luckily the Daddy human did, because he told the plastic ringing thing about it, and some strange people showed up and did some things we don't understand to the Mummy human.

We were glad when they seemed to be making her breathe again, but not so happy when they took her away. Especially since she didn't even stop to say anything to us before she went, and then was gone for the whole weekend.

We didn't like the Mummy human being gone. Me and Mollie, I mean. Joshua didn't mind too much, because the Daddy human was still handing out nibbles and making sure we had everything we needed. And the Lilie dog didn't mind too much either, because she loves the Daddy human best anyhow . But me and Mollie were very upset about it. We banged our bowl on the side of the cage, threw stuff out through the bars, and everything. None of it made her come back though.

When she finally came back she smelled funny... Kind of like that vet place the Lilie dog goes to regularly. We didn't like it, but were glad she was home, so tried not to make a fuss about how she smelled. We were glad when she had a bath and smelled more like herself though. Well, like herself and flowers, but flowery smells seem to be normal for her, and are better than the smell of the vet place.

Like I said, we don't know what all that was about, but we didn't like it one bit! I hope nothing like that happens again any time soon, and the Mummy human stays home where she belongs.

Squeak soon,

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

#Pet Themed #Poetry #Book - Rodent Rhymes And Pussycat Poems Now In #Audio! #Animals

A small collection of short poems, all written for some of the various pets my hubby and I have had.

The pets mentioned in this collection include 5 degus, 2 gerbils, 2 rats, and a cat. All poems are captioned with details of the pets they are about.

Previously only available in eBook and paperback, my pet themed poetry collection, "Rodent Rhymes And Pussycat Poems" is now available as an audiobook, read for you by Carol Weakland.

Regardless of the format you'd prefer to read it in, here are the main places where you can buy the book:

Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, iTunes, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, and The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Monday, April 16, 2018

#Music Monday: Tomorrow (Song from Annie) - 5-Year-Old Claire Ryann Crosby

I love the movie, Annie, and the song "Tomorrow" from that movie. I also love listening to Claire Ryann singing. So, of course, I had to share this one. Enjoy!