Saturday, 26 November 2016

Becoming a writer – three years on

This month’s featured post is the first Random Jottings blog I wrote just after publishing my first book, ‘Angel with Drumsticks’.

Looking back, I remember feeling very proud of my accomplishment but also unsure if it was good enough to share bookshelves with other authors. I was fortunate to find some reviewers willing to read the story and they gave my work some very kind reviews. This gave me the confidence to publish my second book ‘For the Love of a Dingo’

I read as much as I could about Indie (independent) or self-published authors and the need to promote not only your books but yourself. There were two key areas I have focused on. 

  • Building relationships with other authors
  • Social media and internet presence

Meeting and sharing with other authors is beneficial in many ways. My small circle have honestly reviewed each other’s books, shared each other’s social media posts and freely offered advice on a range of topics relating to writing and publishing.

More recently, I joined my local branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW). Not only is my writing critiqued, and therefore improving, I have found a group of people who are friendly, sharing and encouraging. I get inspiration, learning and friendship.

Three years ago I published one little eBook. Last year I published my second book. I am now researching my next book, writing three blogs, compose short pieces for the local FAW magazine on given topics, review books for other Indie authors, administer four Facebook pages related to my writing and actively post on other social media forums.

Life as a writer does not have to be a lonely existence.   

Excerpts of both books, copies of the reviews, links to my other blogs and social media pages are on my website


As my original blog post explains, originally “Angel” was only published as an eBook. Today, both books also have print editions and “Angel” has also been translated into Italian.

This has been made possible thanks to Ingram Spark’s easy to use print on demand process and my husband’s patience in laying out the books to meet their requirements. (

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Think about your pets this holiday season

It is November and the shop shelves have been stacked with Christmas and holiday season treats, decorations and gift ideas for over a month. In Australia it is Spring and from now until the end of Summer we are out and about enjoying the warm weather, visiting friends and partying.

Sadly, it is also a time of year our beloved pets get left at home alone. As much as we love our pets we can't take them everywhere.

However, leaving them alone in the house can get boring, and boredom can lead to misbehaviour. So to help keep your dog occupied and content while they're on their own, and therefore keep them from chewing, digging, or playing up, try some of these ideas to keep them busy while you're out.  

Treats Dispenser: Treat dispensers will keep your pets entertained for hours. There are dispensers for both cats and dogs.

Digging Box: If your dog loves digging, you could always build them a digging box. In the corner of the garden distinctly mark out an area and fill it will soil or sand, you can then bury toys inside to reward your dog for digging in the right place. This can keep some dogs busy for hours and helps focus their digging desires to one controllable area.

New Toys: Studies suggest dogs will get bored with each toy in time although some dogs will stay interested longer than others and some have a toy that becomes a contestant favourite, but most will get excited with each new one. When introducing a new toy, take away some of the old ones to be reintroduced at another time.

Room with a View: Being able to watch people on the street or birds in the yard can interest cats and dogs for extended periods of time. Many pets also love to nap on the window sill to bask in the sunlight. But, we aware of your dog’s behaviour in reacting to people outside. Some dogs who have watch dog or guard dog instinct may damage the house if they get over excited in addition to barking and disturbing the neighbours.

Chew Toys: Chew toys focus a dog’s behaviour on what they are allowed to chew. And are a healthy activity for their teeth and gums.

Dog Walker: If you know your will be away frequently for an extended time and can afford the cost, hiring a professional, trained dog walker will give the dog exercise and company.

Want to get some affordable toys online? Check out the Taufer shop on eBay

Disclaimer: the information presented in this article is of a general nature and not intended to be a substitute for professional healthcare advice. Please consult your veterinarian for more professional advice.

And for Australia and other countries heading into summer - never leave your dog in the car

The RSPCA advises:
The temperature inside a car can reach higher than 50°C after only five minutes when the temperature outside is 32.5°C (in tests conducted by the RACQ). During this test, the inside temperature reached over 75°C in less than two hours. The tests also showed that the colour of the car, the tint on the windows or even leaving the windows open did not reduce the cabin temperature by a significant amount, nor did parking it in the shade.

Dogs suffering from heat stress may pant, drool and become restless. Over time, they become weak and the colour of their gums may change. They may also start to stagger and experience vomiting, diarrhoea or seizures.
Heat stroke is an emergency and your dog needs to be checked by a veterinarian. Emergency treatment is aimed at bringing the body temperature down at a steady rate; spray cool water onto your dog’s body and use a fan. Don't use ice or ice-cold water as this may cool your dog down too rapidly.