Friday, December 15, 2017

#Furkid Friday: Maizie The #Chinchilla's Letter To #SantaPaws (FD)

Dear Santa Paws,

I've been a really good chinchilla this year.

Well, OK... Mostly.

I mean, there were the things with the Lilie dog, but I was playing with her, not teasing her. Oh, and the other time... She was getting on my nerves keep bothering me and Mollie. Besides, the human caretakers thought it was funny when I smacked her, so it can't have been that bad, can it? Certainly not bad enough to put me on the naughty list or anything like that. If it is, it's not fair, because the Lilie dog was bad much more times than I was, and I'm nice to my chinchilla sister, Mollie, even when she's cranky, which should make up for anything bad I do to the Lilie dog. Not that I have done anything bad to her... Not really. Like I said, I was only playing...

So, since I'm sure I should be on the nice list, I better tell you what I'd like you to bring me this year. Or, rather, what I'd like you to bring for me and Mollie. See, I'm thinking of my adopted sister, which is a nice thing to do. I told you I'm a good chinchilla.

Anyway, we would like some more wooden toys to gnaw on, since they're great for our teeth, and gnawing on things helps give us something to do while we watch TV. Also, Mollie and I both really love oatmeal and chinchilla cookies, so if we could get some of those too, that would be great. Feel free to add anything extra you'd like to... I promise I'll be very grateful if you do. Thanks!

Squeak soon,
Maizie

Thursday, December 14, 2017

#KidLit #Book - Home Squeak Home Now In #Audio! #Pets #Gerbils



Moving to a new home can be a scary experience; especially if you’re very small. That’s how it is for Sooty and Scamp; a pair of gerbils chosen by a little boy named Matthew to be the ones to leave the pet shop and their other two brothers to go home with him.

Most people agree that getting a new pet is an exciting experience for any child; or adult, for that matter. But have you ever stopped to wonder how the pet feels during this time? This is the story of two little gerbils, and how they learned to adjust after a little boy took them home. The story is based on the behaviour of a pair of real gerbils, and events are shown from their point of view.

Previously only available in eBook and paperback, my book "Home Squeak Home" is now available in audio too, read for you by Jerry Fischer.

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

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

You can also find the book listed on Goodreads.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - December 13th 2017

I had planned to do two more blog tours. One to promote my Magical Chapters Trilogy, and the other to promote my Zeena Dragon Fae series. They've been out as eBooks and paperbacks for a while, of course, but I was going to promote those books as they became available in audio - like I did for my other series books. But I've cancelled the other two tours I was going to do. I will post an announcement when the books are available - like I've been doing for my stand alone stories - but won't be doing the actual blog tours.

The main reason they're cancelled is that delays in production mean we're behind schedule on those particular books. I won't bore you with the details as to what caused the delays. All you need to know is that the delays exist, but production is moving along slowly.

I did consider just delaying the blog tours, but in the end decided to just cancel them completely, because it's easier that way, and I have to think of what's easier for myself sometimes, in order to preserve whatever still remains of my health and sanity - neither of which are in particularly good shape these days, but we won't get in to discussions about that right now.

Besides, the three blog tours I did do - combined with how many times I've mentioned it on here, as well as on Twitter and Facebook - should make it clear that I'm working on getting my backlist of books all available in audio, and it will give people a break from seeing me appear on those other blogs for a while. Maybe they'll be glad to see me back when I actually have something new published? I hope they will, anyhow.

In the meantime, audiobook production continues to move forward - in fact, I'll be posting about two more of my books being available in audio during this next week - and I continue to attempt to get some actual writing time in.

Speaking of writing...

Are you a writer who writes fantasy? Then you may like to take a look at these eight tips for writing a fantasy novel.

On the other hand, if it's mystery you write, you may like to check out these eight tips for writing a mystery novel.

Regardless of the genre your writing usually falls under, if you're struggling to get your muse to visit, try these ways to goose your muse, and you should soon have plenty of ideas to work with.

When you finally get the ideas flowwing, remember that every story needs closure of some kind, so here's a post that lists some different types of closure. Also, this post may help you to determine if your book needs an epilogue.

No matter what you write, or how you plan to end it, if you say you're going to write it tomorrow, make sure you really mean it, and then make sure you follow through. If you feel you can't for some reason, chances are you're probably over thinking it - again.

Last, but certainly not least, be careful of writer burnout. Take care of yourself first!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Of #Holiday Plans And #Snow (FD)

You've probably noticed, but December is almost half over, and the Winter holidays are coming up fast; Hanukkah starts tonight, the Winter Solstice is in a little over a week, and Christmas Day is less than two weeks away now.

We don't celebrate Hanukkah, but we do celebrate both the Winter Solstice and Christmas. As usual, we aren't doing very much to celebrate either of the Winter holidays we celebrate, though we'll at least do something to acknowledge both.

We plan to have something nice to eat to celebrate the Winter Solstice, and make sure we have some nice nibbles - cakes, biscuits, chocolate, oranges, and some savoury nibbles like cheese and crackers and the like - available to have on Christmas Day between phonecalls to various people, and then cook our Christmas dinner on Boxing Day, like we always do. I'll also do the meditation ritual I do for the Winter Solstice, and will spend Christmas eve watching holiday movies and reading Christmasy books, especially since I have a bit of a tradition of watching "Santa Clause - The Movie" and reading "The Bear Father Christmas Forgot" each Christmas Eve (usually while enjoying hot cocoa and some kind of tasty snack). But that's about it for our plans.

No, we aren't spending Christmas with family. We call many of them to say, "Merry Christmas," and have a little chat on the day - those are the above mentioned phonecalls - but we won't actually see any of them. It will just be me, Kelly, Lilie, Joshua, Mollie, and Maizie. This will be Lilie's first Christmas. I wonder what she'll make of it?

Our holiday shopping is done, apart from some of the food items that need to be brought closer to the day, and some of what we're buying for each other (because that's waiting until after the holidays are over). Most importantly, the presents and cards we're sending to various family members and friends - and their pets, in some cases - are brought and either already with them or on their way to their destinations, so there will be no scrambling to get it all done at the last moment for us. That's one benifit to needing to make sure things are posted to people: you tend to make sure it's done in plenty of time to allow for postal delays. At least, I do.

I'm hoping for a white Winter Solstice and Christmas. Or even just one of those. But then, aren't I always?

We did get some snow on Saturday, but we didn't take photos since we weren't awake for most of it coming down, and it didn't settle very well (probably due to everything being damp from recent storms coming in off the sea, and the salt that would have come with that). Still, at least we did get some, along with more storms; there was another big storm Saturday night, with lots of wind and rain. I enjoy a good storm, but would love more snow! Something the universe apparently took note of this year. But I'll tell you more about that another day.

Saturday's snow was Lilie's first snowfall, but - as already mentioned - we missed seeing most of it fall, and it didn't settle well, so she didn't get to see much snow. To be honest, she didn't even appear to notice the snow existed; she showed as little interest in it as she had in the frost when she first encountered that in early November. At least, that's how she was with what we got on Saturday. She was more enthusiastic yesterday (Monday). But - as already mentioned - I'll tell you more about that another day.

How about you? Have you had snow? Also, what are your plans for the holidays? Are you ready for them? How's the shopping going?

Oh, and... Happy Hanukkah if you celebrate it!

Monday, December 11, 2017

All About The Wires

These days I make full use of the option to schedule posts, and very rarely publish a post on the same day I've written it. Most of my posts are written a couple of days in advance. In fact, some of my posts are written about a week before they go live these days, though I will often go in to a post and edit or add something if needed based on the post topic and recent events. I originally started doing this because I had a lot of things in draft that I wanted to get posted, so I was scheduling posts as I wrote them. But I continued doing it because it then means I can have my posts go up at a regular time, giving consistancy to my readers for when to expect content, even if my routine changes. Plus, the links part of my writing posts needs to be done this way, because I collect links throughout the week.

There's another benifit to doing this, and it's one I was reminded of recently. You see, having posts scheduled ahead of time means my posts will still go up, even if I can't get on the computer to write a post, which was the case for several days at the end of November, after Lilie decided that chewing cables was a good idea.

It was actually Kelly's cable she chewed. The one connecting his computer to the modem. The thing is though, I have the ability to do some things - like keep my eMail under control - using my phone and Kindle. Kelly, on the other hand, doesn't own a phone - smart or otherwise - and the only Kindle he owns only connects to the internet to access the Amazon store. So we unplugged my modem cable and atatched it to Kelly's computer, and I made do with doing what I could with my phone and Kindle while we waited for a replacement cable to arrive.

We actually do have extra cables, but none of them are long enough to reach where they need to. At least, none of them were before we brought an extra one while buying one to replace the chewed one. At least now, if Lilie eats the cable again, we do have a spare that can be used. Although, since we changed how the cables are placed, we're hopeful that she actually won't be repeating her cable chewing any time soon.

She did chew on another cable too, but thankfully not for anything important. She chewed the plug off the paper shredder. Luckily for her, the paper shredder hasn't worked properly for a while, and these days I keep it unplugged for safety reasons (it no longer shuts off fully when done shredding a piece of paper). We needed a new shredder anyhow, but still... *sigh*

Maybe I should just employ Lilie as a paper shredder? She seems to love chewing things, after all...

Anyway, add to this the fire department coming to sort out a new fire alarm system, as well as the fact an inspection of the wiring arranged by the landlords to "make sure everything is up to code" revealed that our wiring isn't, which meant the place had to be rewired, so we've had a couple of days when electricians have been here, and even more when we've been waiting for them and they haven't shown up - when we could have been doing stuff online, but didn't want to be in to anything as they'd need to turn off the power to work - and you'll understand why I'm glad there's an option to schedule posts ahead of time, and why I make full use of it.

It may be Winter and cold... Temperatures haven't been much above freezing lately... But apparently the repair work is still going on. I'm not complaining, because I'm glad the landlords are getting the work done. But, as I said, it does make me glad for the option to schedule posts ahead of time, since I can make sure posts are written on days when I know nobody's coming to do anything. At least, I can now we've replaced the cable Lilie chewed. Well, when she'll let me...

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Question About #Blog Topics

Quick question for followers of my blog. Well, OK, three questions, if I'm honest. Either way...

*Do I do any regular posts on my blog you especially enjoy and want me to continue?
*Is there anything I've done as a one-off post that you wish I'd make a regular thing?
*Are there any topics you wish I'd expand on, or wish I'd post about more often?

If you could take a few moments to answer in the comments section of this post, I'd be extremely grateful.

Thank you in advance.

Tori

Friday, December 08, 2017

#Furkid Friday: Mollie The #Chinchilla's Letter To #SantaPaws (FD)

Dear Santa Paws,

I've been a very good chinchilla this year. At least, I tried to be. I know I sometimes get cross and upset for what everyone else thinks is no good reason, but I can't help it. Depression sneaks up on you when you least expect it, and it's sometimes hard not to be cranky when you feel sad. But I try... I really do!

You brought me some really great nibbles and wooden toys last Christmas, so if you could do the same this year, that would be great. Remember, Maizie and I especially love wooden toys we can gnaw on, and nibbles like oatmeal and chinchilla cookies, so those are what I'd most like you to bring. Thanks!

Squeak soon,
Mollie

Thursday, December 07, 2017

#Poetry #Book Now In #Audio - My Old Clock I Wind By Kevin Morris

The following was sent to me by fellow poet, Kevin Morris, and I am delighted to share it with the poetry fans among my readers:

I am pleased to announce that my collection of poetry, “My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems” is now available, as an audio download from audible.co.uk and audible.com.

“My Old Clock I Wind” derives its title from the clock which sits, in pride of place, on the bookcase in my living room. The title poem reads as follows:

“My old clock I wind
And much philosophy therein find.
I can bring
The pendulum’s swing
To a stop with my hand;
Yet I can not command
Time to default
On his duty and halt
The passing of the years.
He has no ears
For our laughter and tears
And his sickle will swing on
Long after we are gone”.

About The Author
I was born in Liverpool in 1969, a year best known of course for my birth. Well no, actually it is better known for the moon landings which certain peculiar
conspiracy theorists still maintain never took place (the moon landings that is, not my birth!).

It was from my grandfather that I derived my first love of literature and I have many happy memories of him reading to me. As I grew older I learned to
read Braille which opened up the world of independent reading and I still remember how amazing it was to me, as a young boy, to be able to sit with a book
on my knee reading for myself.

I attended school in Liverpool and later went on to read history and politics at university. Having obtained my BA, I went on to gain an MA in political
theory.

Since 1994 I have lived and worked in London. I find that I cannot write with background noise, other than the singing of birds, and am lucky that my home
overlooks a large garden and an historic park in Crystal Palace, famed for it's steep hills and fresh air.

Where to buy “My Old Clock I Wind”
Audible (UK) - https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Arts-Entertainment/My-Old-Clock-I-Wind-and-Other-Poems-Audiobook/B077VYT3X6/
Audible.com - https://www.audible.com/pd/Drama-Poetry/My-Old-Clock-I-Wind-and-Other-Poems-Audiobook/B077VS5CTN/
Amazon (US) - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0735JBVBG
Amazon (UK) - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0735JBVBG
Moyhill Publishing - http://moyhill.com/clock/
The royal National Institute of Blind People (braille edition) - http://shop.rnib.org.uk/ or call 0303 123 9999, quoting order number 25870603.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - December 6th 2017

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, how did you do? Let me know in the comments.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I didn't participate in NaNoWriMo. I did participate in another author interview recently though, which you can read by going here.

In other news, and just in case you missed my posts about it:

My Battle of Hastings story, "Eadweard - A Story Of 1066" is now in audio, narrated by Danny Letham, who you can get to know more about by reading his recent narrator interview.

And...

"Asha's Big Adventure" is now available in audio, narrated by Patricia DeBruhl.

The audio editions of both books can now be purchased via Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Links for those - as well as the main links for the eBook and paperback versions - can be found in the posts linked to above.

By the way, I still have several free copies available of the audiobooks for my Toby's Tales series, Degu Days Duo, and Kero's World series. So feel free to still enter the giveaways for those. As a general rule though, here's why your favourite author probably can't give you a free book.

Finally, here are a few thoughts on Optimistic Authorship, and here's some advice for when you feel like your writing is going nowhere.

Monday, December 04, 2017

HOW FAR I'LL GO - DISNEY'S MOANA (COVER BY 4-YEAR OLD CLAIRE RYANN) - #Music

When I first heard this song, I hadn't yet seen the movie it's from. I have since watched "Moana" - having recently got it on DVD - and really loved it. However, though I loved the movie, and really enjoyed the version of this song that's in the movie, I love this version more. I mean, there's just something about listening to an adorable - and talented - little one singing something that makes even the most beautiful of songs that much more beautiful. Don't you agree?

Well, whether you agree or not, I hope you enjoy listening to the song I'm sharing with you today.


Sunday, December 03, 2017

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

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

Before we do though, I just thought I'd share this post that lists 7 unexpected benefits of being a bookworm

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!

Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016Ghostly Writes Anthology 2016 by Claire Plaisted
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Like with most anthologies of this sort, there were stories I enjoyed more than others. Some of the stories were really good, some of them were just OK, and others might have appealed to me more if they hadn't ended with the words "to be continued" and a cliffhanger. Overall though, this is a fun and creepy read.

The Pirate Spy: The Journeys of Nathanial DurantThe Pirate Spy: The Journeys of Nathanial Durant by Steven Allan Pease
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It took me a bit to get in to this one, and the plot is quite slow paced throughout, which is something many readers may not like. The book has an interesting plot overall though, as well as a great cast of characters. Unfortunately, the author does have a habit of switching from past to present tense randomly, which is what stops me giving it the full five star rating.

The Dangers of the Tallest Snow, The Adventures of Rocky and the Bear Claw Club: The Legend of the Pirate Blackbear's Lost Gold PineconeThe Dangers of the Tallest Snow, The Adventures of Rocky and the Bear Claw Club: The Legend of the Pirate Blackbear's Lost Gold Pinecone by Steven Allan Pease
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
First of all, if you haven't read the first book in this series, you should make sure to do so before reading this one. It would be best to read the prequel before this one too. Anyway, like the first book in this series, along with the prequel, this is a slow paced read, but an enjoyable one, with an interesting plot and a great cast of characters. I struggled to decide on a rating for this book ,since it suffers from the same issues as the first in the series: I don't like cliffhanger endings, and the author tends to get his tenses mixed up. However, since there's obvious improvement as regards the tenses thing, and the ending does feel more neatly wrapped up than it did in the previous book (despite still being left wide open ready for the next book in the series) I decided to award it the full five stars, since I never do half ratings, and there is obvious improvement when compared to the earlier books.

The Book of PiratesThe Book of Pirates by Howard Pyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An interesting read. I enjoyed reading some of the pirates' tales more than others, but that's usually the case in books with multiple tales to tell.

The Coral IslandThe Coral Island by R.M. Ballantyne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For the most part I felt this book was a great read, which was a fun adventure that was sometimes educational. However, there were parts I felt were rather more detailed than you would expect in a book for this sort of age range, and other parts where I thought the book got overly preachy about God, especially in the last quarter or so of the book. I also felt the ending had a serious case of Deus Ex Machina, and was disappointed that the boys didn't have anything to do with the solution that got them out of the situation they were in.

Lifemarked (The Fatemarked Epic, #5)Lifemarked by David Estes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is an awesome read in its own right, and a totally awesome end to the series! The plot is so gripping that every time I had to put the book down was torture. The characters feel like real people, and watching them grow as the series developed has been a wonderful experience. Also, the writing itself is fantastic! Even though the ending was so well done, I didn't want to leave the world, so was glad of the chance to linger a little longer via the epilogue stories.

The Case of the Missing Cell Phone (Davey & Derek Junior Detectives #1)The Case of the Missing Cell Phone by Janice Spina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An entertaining and well-written book, which was a fun read. I look forward to reading more of the boys' adventures.

The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat (Davey & Derek Junior Detectives #2)The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat by Janice Spina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A magical mystery that is an excellent read.

Pathfinder Legends 3.1: Curse of the Crimson Throne - Edge of AnarchyPathfinder Legends 3.1: Curse of the Crimson Throne - Edge of Anarchy by David Bryher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I really enjoyed getting to join these characters on their adventures again. This is a great one for fans of the Pathfinder roleplaying system, as well as for fans of fantasy themed adventure stories in general.

The Case of the Magical Ivory Elephant (Davey & Derek Junior Detectives #3)The Case of the Magical Ivory Elephant by Janice Spina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is a great addition to this series, and an enjoyable read in its own right. I love these magical mysteries!

The Case of the Brown Scraggly Dog (Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series Book 4)The Case of the Brown Scraggly Dog by Janice Spina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a well-written and excellent magical mystery story.

The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost (Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series Book 5)The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost by Janice Spina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is another excellent addition to this magical mystery series, which has a great cast of characters.

Pathfinder Legends 3.2: Curse of the Crimson Throne - Seven Days to the GravePathfinder Legends 3.2: Curse of the Crimson Throne - Seven Days to the Grave by David Bryher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I didn't enjoy this one as much as the others with these characters. I mean, there were parts of it I thought were great, but I felt like we were just getting started on this part of the adventure when it was over, and the ending felt too sudden even for an adventure like this. So, I enjoyed it, but didn't love it.

My Sister's KeeperMy Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A beautiful and touching story, which will tug at your heartstrings.

Friday, December 01, 2017

#Furkid Friday: Joshua The #Degu's Letter To #SantaPaws

Dear Santa Paws,

I've been a very good degu this year. I'm even trying really hard to trust the human caretakers again, and almost let the Mummy human pick me up several times. The trouble is, the thing I most want for Christmas is something the human caretakers say you can't bring me, and - since you didn't bring it when it was what I wanted last Christmas too - I'm going to have to take their word for it.

The thing I most want is to have my brothers back. I miss them so much. I try to be happy, and there are times when having the cage to myself is great. But mostly I miss my brothers. I especially miss them on cold nights when we would have been curled up in our nesting box together. The human caretakers make sure I have plenty of hay to snuggle with, especially when the weather gets cold like it has been lately, but it's just not the same.

Like I said, that's the thing I want most of all. Apparently you only deal in nibbles and toys though. So, since you can't bring me what I want most, I'll be happy with whatever nibbles and new toys you want to bring me. Just please, Santa Paws, don't forget your little degu Buddy.

Squeak soon,
Joshua

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - The Kero's World Post Round-Up - #KidLit #Pets

Not only were there some posts last week on my own blog about my "Kero's World" series to celebrate the fact they're now available as audiobooks, but several wonderful bloggers - many of them authors themselves - have taken the time to post stuff for me on their own blogs recently. When I sent the posts to each person, I tried to make them different enough that you can take a little something new away from each post. So, if you missed any of them, you might want to check them out. With that in mind, here's a round-up of the posts:

Posts from my blog:
#KidLit #Books - The Kero's World Series By @VictoriaZigler Now In #Audio! Plus A #Giveaway!
#KidLit #Pets - Kero The #Westie
#Writing Wednesday - A Kero's World Teaser - #KidLit #Pets

Posts from around the web:
Sunday Surprise: An Interview With Kero
Kero Audio Promo
Kero’s World by Victoria Zigler Now in Audiobook
Series Spotlight – The Kero’s World Series
Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Victoria Zigler, V.L. McBeath and Sacha de Black
KERO, The West Highland White Terrier – Guest Post by, Victoria (Tori) Zigler
Victoria Zigler – Kero Audiobook Promo!
Guest author: Victoria Zigler – Kero’s World
Kero’s World – now in audio book

Thank you to those wonderful bloggers who gave me a spot on their blogs, as well as to those people who took the time to share any of the posts that appeared on either my own blog or someone else's blog.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The #Writing Ritual Tag (FD)

A couple of weeks ago, I saw this post on Rachel Poli's blog, and thought the writing ritual tag looked fun. So, I'm joining in. I'm not tagging anyone though, so just join in if you feel like it, and - as Rachel says in her post - leave me a link in the comments section if you do, that way I can check out your post... I'd really love to be able to read your answers if you play along.

Of course, with my lack of routine, my writing habits do change a bit from time to time, so this is just how things stand at the moment, or what the answer generally is. Anyway...

1. When do you write? (time of day, day of week)

I try to write every day, whether it be just a few words, or several pages. As for when... Well, that depends on what my sleep schedule is like at the time, what else is going on, and when the furkids - especially our little Westie pup, Lilie, who can be quite demanding - will allow me to do so. At the time I'm writing this post it seems to mostly be late morning or early afternoon, but that could change at any time.

2. How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?

I don't really. But since I don't socialize much, it's mostly just family - furry and otherwise - or the postman who could potentially disturb me most days anyhow. Actually, if I'm honest, it's mostly Lilie, who thinks regular puppy playtime breaks are essential, and doesn't understand my desire to have longer gaps between said breaks.

3. How do you review what you wrote the previous day?

I technically don't. I usually only read the last paragraph or two, just to be sure of where I left off, which isn't really reviewing what I wrote the day before. At least, I don't think it is. I don't review the whole thing until I'm doing the next draft, unless it's been a very long time since I worked on the project in question, which I'm assuming wouldn't be the case if I worked on it the previous day.

4. What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?

I can't say I have one. There are songs that speak to me, but I wouldn't say I listen to a spacific song when I'm feeling uninspired. Actually, I've not been listening to much music in general lately. When I do listen to music though, it's usually either country music, pop/rock (the lighter side of rock) or - if I'm in the right mood for it - a piece of classical music.

5. What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch youtube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?

I'll either go work on another writing project, take a furkid play break, or go do something like read or watch TV and try again tomorrow. Either that, or I'll decide it's probably that I'm tired, in which case I'll take a nap.

6. What tools do you use when you’re writing?

Microsoft Word to do the actual writing, and JAWS to know what I'm writing (JAWS being my screen reader, without which my computer would just be a box with buttons and wires to me, since I wouldn't be able to tell what was on the screen).

7. What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?

I'm not sure there's anything. As long as I have a way to write, and a way to read what I just wrote if I want/need to, I'm good to go. I do like to have a drink to hand while I write, but I could write without one if I needed to, so I wouldn't say that counts.

8. How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?

As mentioned above, I usually have a drink on hand, be it tea, pop/soda, or juice - sometimes both a hot drink and a cold one. Snacks vary though. Sometimes I have them on hand, sometimes I don't, depending on if I fancy something. If I do have snacks, it would be either cookies/biscuits, crisps/potato chips, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, or some combination of those things.

9. How do you know when you’re done writing?

With stories, I know when I'm done because the story feels like it's finished. I don't worry about word count or anything like that while writing. I just write, and stop when it feels done.

It's basically the same with poetry, except I get to that point where it feels done much quicker.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Celebrating My Birthday 2017 (FD)

I had a birthday.

Well, actually, I've had several birthdays, what with being in my 30s and all. But I'm talking about the fact I had one recently. Two weeks ago, to be exact.

We'd planned on celebrating by going out for lunch at Oscar's (the new Southern style place that opened on the seafront earlier in the year). Unfortunately, it seems they've closed for the season, so that wasn't an option, and it was too cold to go to one of the places where we can sit outside with Lilie (Lilie is actually allowed in Oscar's, so it being cold wouldn't have been an issue). So we ordered pizza instead. Then we went in to town the next day so I could have a McDonalds milkshake. I'm not a fan of the food at McDonalds. They don't have much in the way of options for vegetarians, my choice is limited even more by the fact most of their vegetarian options are far more spicy than I like, and I don't think what they do actually do that I'll eat tastes all that great. However, I absolutely love their milkshakes. So Kelly grabbed us a milkshake each, and we sat and drank them somewhere else while enjoying burgers - or, in Lilie's case, a hot dog - from a place in the middle of town that does a veggie burger they call a "crunchy veg" that I really enjoy. It was still pretty cold out, but the outside tables in that area were more sheltered, so it wasn't quite so bad. Plus, McDonalds milkshake...

Anyway, I had absolutely loads of birthday messages, phonecalls, etc... Thanks for those, by the way. I had a few cards too.

These two are from my Dad and my Nan (Dad's Mother):


The one from Nan is the one with the stitched writing on it, and the butterfly one is the one from Dad. My Dad did both the writing and the butterfly on his card with a cool new toy he has. It's a special pen that works something like a combination between a 3D printer and a normal pen, so it makes tactile writing or shapes out of a sort of plastic stuff. Really cool in general, and very useful for him for making cards for me and my brother, Carl (since both of us are blind).

With these next two, the one with the birds on it is from our friends, Lorna and Andy, and the other one is from my Grandma (Mam's Mother) and her Yorkshire Terrier, Jayde Bramblerose:


As for these last two, one is from my Mam, the other is from Rita and her kitty, Annie:


As for what I had for my birthday...

I mostly got books and DVDs, as well as some money I used to buy more books and DVDs. Because you can never have too many of either in my opinion. But I also got these soap flowers from my Mam:


And these soaps and bath salts that Nan made when she tried out soapmaking in a craft group she was involved in for a while:


Plus, I was meant to get this cutting board last Christmas. It's made from recycled wood, and has the word "Bara" on it. Bara, for those who don't know, is the Welsh word for bread. Anyway, it was made by a friend of Dad's girlfriend at the time, but left with Dad to give to me. Except it arrived too late for last Christmas, so he sent it to me for my birthday instead. So, here it is:


He also sent me this cute little seahorse, complete with a shell for it to go in, and a starfish and dolphin to keep it company. This was one of those "I saw it and thought of you" type presents, and he thought of me because it combines my love of horses with my love of the ocean. Plus, it's cool because I like having things to play with while thinking when writing, or while listening to things; my hands sometimes get bored if I'm listening to something and don't have something to fiddle with. Anyhow, here's the seahorse and the bits that came with it:


There was cake too, of corse. Kelly picked me up one of the lemon drizzle cakes our local bakery does, which I really love. That cake is becoming my traditional birthday cake. Not that I'm complaining. Haha!

So, that was my birthday. Perhaps not the most exciting of birthdays, but I enjoyed it, and that's all that matters, right?

Oh, and... No. I don't feel any older. But then, that's hardly surprising, since I feel physically older than my actual age most of the time - we won't go in to details about my mental age. *wink*

Thank you again to those who sent me anything. Whether it was a card, a present, a birthday message, or some combination of those things. I appreciate all gestures - great or small.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

November 2017 #TV Talk And #Movie Mutterings

I've missed a couple of months, partially because I haven't watched much, and partially because I've had a lot I wanted to post about as it is. But now it's FINALLY time to take a look at what I've been watching over the past couple of months.

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!

Ghost In The Shell (2017 movie):
I only watched this one because Kelly - who happens to be a big fan - got the DVD. I wasn't as impressed with it as he was. I think it's a pretty good movie for its genre, but I suspected it wasn't going to appeal much to me from the start, and I was right. With that being the case, I'm disregarding my personal enjoyment level when deciding on the rating for this one, and basing my rating on Kelly's reaction to it, combined with what I know is expected from a movie in this genre. So, with that in mind, I'm giving this movie four out of five stars.

The Boss Baby (2017 movie):
I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to. This was a very entertaining movie, with some touching scenes, and a great ending. I give this movie five out of five stars.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012 movie):
Not the best Batman movie, but not the worst either. I enjoyed it, but didn't absolutely love it. I'm giving this movie four out of five stars.

The Smurfs (2011 movie):
I used to watch the Smurfs cartoon as a child, but I'm not sure I'd have watched this one if I hadn't been doing so with my Mam (who absolutely loved it, by the way). Still, I have to admit this movie was pretty entertaining, with a great message to share. I give it four out of five stars.

The Smurfs 2 (2013 movie):
Like with the first movie, I'm not sure I'd have watched this one if I hadn't been doing so with my Mam (who loved this one as much as she'd loved the first, by the way). Still, I have to admit I thought this was an entertaining movie with a great message to share. I give this movie four out of five stars.

The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016 movie):
This was an interesting one, with some sweet moments, some entertaining moments, and plenty of action. I enjoyed it, though I didn't love it. I give this movie four out of five stars.

Moana (2016 movie):
Loved this movie! It alternates between being touching and being entertaining, and is well worth watching in my opinion. It also carries a great message about being true to yourself. I give this movie five out of five stars.

Other than watching the above mentioned movies, I've also been continuing to attempt to catch up on watching episodes of NCIS. That's going slower than planned, since I'm not spending as much time watching them as I'd hoped/planned to be doing. There's progress though, and I'm enjoying watching them when I get a chance to do so, which is what really matters.

Oh, and my Mam brought a couple of boxes of DVDs to me when she came for the caravan holiday at the start of the month. Mostly they're Disney movies. A lot of them are ones I've seen but didn't have copies of (and wouldn't mind seeing again). But there were a few among them I've never seen. Regardless, I have a large stack of DVDs to watch now. Not that I'm complaining. Now I just need to find/make time to watch them all.

Friday, November 24, 2017

#Furkid Friday: Lilie Goes On A Caravan Holiday (FD)

Hi everyone! This is Lilie the Westie.


(The above photo was taken two days after I turned seven months old, which was almost a month ago).

I had a bit of an adventure earlier this month. I went on something the humans called a "caravan holiday" with the Mummy human, and the Nana human (who I sometimes hear talking out of the plastic ringing thing).

Caravan holidays, from what I can tell, mean a long car ride followed by a couple of days in a house on wheels that's smaller than the flat we live in, but without most of my toys and things. Although, the Nana human did bring me this new bed, which I got to use first while on the caravan holiday, and then got to bring home with me afterwards:


The bed belonged to a different dog before, and now it's mine. I don't know why it's mine now, but I had a good time sniffing at all the scents on it. I don't know any of them; whoever the bed belonged to before isn't a dog I know. I don't care though, because it's mine now, and I like sleeping on my new bed.

I got some new blankets for all my beds after we got home. I don't know why I didn't get them the same time as the bed, but they smelled different to the bed, and came in a box the postman brought instead of being brought by the Nana human. They don't smell like other dogs. I like them though. They're all purple and soft and fluffy. I'm sure you'll get to see them in a photo of me some time soon.

Anyway, back to my holiday...

I also got to get some practice in with steps, which I'm now really great at (I wasn't too good at going down steps before) and had lots of time on my long lead that means I don't have to stay beside the humans when they're being lazy and not wanting to do much actual walking while we're out for walkies. There was lots and lots of grass for me to play in:


I did have fun, but I was a bit upset about my routine being messed with. At least the Mummy human remembered to bring my special red ball for bed time, and the Nana human filled it with something the Mummy human didn't like the smell of, but which I thought tasted amazing. It was something called "liver patty" or something like that. I'm not sure who patty is, but she shared her liver with me, so she must be really nice. Mummy human and Nana human made sure I had other good things to eat too, so I guess that was OK. I was sort of glad when it was time to go home though, even though there were lots of interesting smells in that grass (actually, the house on wheels had lots of interesting smells in it too). Having a holiday in a caravan was fun, but I was starting to miss my other toys, and my Daddy human.

There were lots of those firework things while we were there. I wasn't bothered though. I don't mind those things. I've heard most dogs complain about them being loud and scary, but I don't understand why. It's not like they're drums or anything. I just sat and watched them with the humans until I got bored and took a nap. I don't know why there were so many fireworks... There aren't usually that much at a time. The humans kept talking about bones on fire though. At least, I think that's what they said, except I didn't see any bones, on fire or otherwise. Humans confuse me sometimes!

Something else that confused me was the weird thing that happened to the world right before we went home. The ground got all cold, white, and slippery. It smelled different too. The humans said it was called "frost" or something like that. I didn't really care what it was called though. I thought it was strange, but only checked it out a little bit. I mean, it confused me when the world was white and I slipped a bit when I went to run down the steps, and normally I might have been more interested, but at that moment I was much more interested in the news we were going home. There has been more of that frost stuff since then. It makes things smell different, and makes my paws a bit cold, but otherwise doesn't seem to do much. I've decided it's not anything to worry about. I'm still confused about what it's for, but there are too many more exciting things to check out during walkies to worry about it.

Anyway, back to what I was saying...

I was even more excited about going home when my Daddy human was there waiting for me. I love my Daddy human, and really missed him when we were at that caravan holiday place. He had to stay behind to look after the things in cages, which I was sad about. I wish he'd been able to come to the caravan holiday place with us. I might not have minded staying longer if Daddy had been with us, despite walkies only being on my long lead while the humans sat or stood by the steps.

Lots of licks,
Lilie

P.S. For those thinking I've grown a lot... You're right! I got weighed when I went to the vet place again last week, and I now weigh 8kilos (20lbs). That means I'm now more than four times the size I was when I came to live with these humans.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

#Writing Wednesday - A Kero's World Teaser - #KidLit #Pets

Kero thought it was a bit odd that Santa Paws was going to visit while they were sleeping. It sounded a bit suspicious to him. What kind of a creature sneaks in to someone’s house while they were sleeping? No. Kero did not like the sound of that at all.

After thinking about it for a while, Kero decided there was only one thing for it. He would have to stay awake all night to watch for this Santa Paws. Nobody was going to sneak in to his home while his human was sleeping... Even if he did plan on leaving toys and treats for them!

That evening Kero’s human showed him the stockings.

“When you get up in the morning this will be full of treats from Santa Paws,” she said.

Kero licked his lips. He liked the sound of that.

He decided not to tell his human about his plan to stay up and watch for Santa Paws. Instead he watched her set out the snacks for Santa Paws, then he went along with the usual bedtime routine: going out to the garden, having his bedtime treats, then settling beside his human as if he planned to sleep with her.

Once he was sure she was asleep, Kero quietly got up and went in to the living room where the stockings were.

He settled himself on the back of the sofa where he’d have a good view of the window and the stockings.
~Above from "Kero Celebrates Christmas" by Victoria Zigler.

Enjoy what you just read? Want to read more about Kero - not to mention, learn if he managed to stay awake to spot the mysterious Santa Paws? Then grab your copies of my "Kero's World" books!

The books are available as eBooks, in paperback, and now also in audio - read by Giles Miller.

Regardless of the format you'd prefer, here's where you can find them:

Book 1 - Kero Goes Walkies
iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Book 2 - Kero Celebrates His Birthday
iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Book 3 - Kero Gets Sick
iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Book 4 - Kero Celebrates Halloween
iTunes, Audible Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Book 5 - Kero Goes To Town
iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Book 6 - Kero Celebrates Christmas
iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Book 7 - Kero Crosses The Rainbow Bridge
iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

#KidLit #FairyTale #Book - Asha's Big Adventure Now In #Audio!


This is the story of a little girl who loves exploring, a hungry wolf, three brave little pigs, three nervous goats, a troll with a toothache, and three misunderstood bears.

Based on the author’s own takes on three well-known fairy tales, “Asha’s Big Adventure” tells the story of a little girl named Asha who ignores her parents’ warnings about going exploring in the woods near where they live. Asha soon finds herself getting lost, being chased by a hungry wolf, unable to cross a bridge because of a grumpy troll, and proven guilty of breaking and entering by an angry family of bears.

"Asha's Big Adventure" is now available in audio, read for you by Patricia DeBruhl. The previously published eBook and paperback versions of the book are also still available for those who would rather those formats.

Regardless of your prefered format, 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, or The Book Depository.

You can also find the book listed on Goodreads.

Monday, November 20, 2017

#KidLit #Pets - Kero The #Westie

I've mentioned Kero so many times everywhere - especially on this blog - that it almost seems pointless to write a post to tell you who he was. However, for the benifit of newcomers to this blog: He was a West Highland White Terrier who was very special to me, and who crossed the rainbow bridge a little over three years ago.

Also, for the benifit of anyone who isn't totally familiar with the breed, here's what the Kennel Club has to say about a Westie:

The breed was developed from Cairn terrier ancestry and it was the Malcolms of Poltalloch in Argyllshire who developed a white strain of Cairns in the mid 19th century. Many breeders of Cairns had been in the practice of culling white puppies but the Malcolms asserted that they were easier to see when working on the moors. The West Highland White was eventually developed to become a little shorter in the body and with a higher tail carriage than the Cairn.

Early names for the breed were the Poltalloch terrier, and the Roseneath terrier – after a strain developed on the Duke of Argyll's Roseneath Estate.

Recognised by the Kennel Club in 1907, the West Highland White remains one of the most popular breeds in the group.

Breed Group: Terrier
Vulnerable Native Breed: No
Size: Small
How much exercise?: Up to 1 hour per day
Length of coat: Medium
How much grooming?: More than once a week
Supposedly sheds? : Yes
Town or Country: Either
Type of home: Flat
Minimum Garden Size: Small/Medium
Lifespan: Over 12 Years
~Above from this page on the Kennel Club's website.

Want to read Kero's adventures? Then grab your copies of my "Kero's World" books! The books are available as eBooks, in paperback, and now also in audio - read by Giles Miller.

Regardless of the format you'd prefer, here's where you can find them:

Book 1 - Kero Goes Walkies
iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Book 2 - Kero Celebrates His Birthday
iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Book 3 - Kero Gets Sick
iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Book 4 - Kero Celebrates Halloween
iTunes, Audible Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Book 5 - Kero Goes To Town
iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Book 6 - Kero Celebrates Christmas
iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.

Book 7 - Kero Crosses The Rainbow Bridge
iTunes, Audible, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Chapters-Indigo, iBooks, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, or The Book Depository.

The book also has a page on Goodreads.