Victoria Zigler's Blog: Zigler News

October 26, 2016

The Christmas story I'm writing - which I'll tell you more about soon - is coming along nicely. It's now in the stage where I'm starting to put it through the various editing processes. While I work on arranging that, Jacob Blackmon is working on the cover for me. I had hoped to have all the editing done by now, but the past couple of months have been busy, so I'm a bit behind my original schedule. There's still plenty of time for me to have it ready for an official release right before Christmas though, so it's all good. Yes, there's time, even though there's only eight and a half weeks to go until Christmas.

Uh-huh, I went there. Sorry folks, but it's true... Christmas is only eight and a half weeks away. If you haven't already done so, you may want to start thinking about it... Especially if you're an author planning a Christmasy release or promotion . Although, you might want to do so regardless... Just saying.

That's right, it's almost November already. So, whether you're ready for Christmas or not, are you ready for NaNoWriMo? I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year, officially or otherwise, but I know several people who are. As the post I just linked to said, remember to worry about only the writing part for now... You can worry about rewrites and edits later, like when NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month) rolls around in March. For now, just make sure you're ready to put pen to paper, or fingers to keys, when November rolls around in just under a week. Here are five lessons one author learned from NaNoWriMo, and some tips from another author for keeping your word count up, in case you're interested.


This may not be what you want to hear, but here are some truths about what you should think about if you've decided to start writing a book. If you really love to write, don't let anything stop you. If you're doing it for fame and/or fortune, you should probably do something else. Just saying.

If you've decided writing is for you, no matter what, and are starting the rewrites and edits for your own work, check out this post on mastering the art of the scene, and this one on how to make your writing better by changing one word. Then, when you're ready to do the formatting, remember to give your eBook as much love as your paperback. Of course, this doesn't have to mean fancy formatting, since you can just keep things simple like I do. The point is, do all you can to try and make sure your eBook will look good too, and bear in mind that some things don't work well on some eReaders, especially the older models.

Planning to self-publish? Check out the basics every indie author needs before publishing a book. Trust me, having those things in place - or, when it comes to the social media part, as many as you think you can realistically handle - before you publish, will help when it comes to marketing your book once it's released. Also, here are some "Do this, not that," promotional tips, based on things one author has learned from personal experience, in the hopes they will help you avoid the same mistakes. Oh, and remember to think outside the bookstore when it comes to release or promotional events.

Next, here's a great - and fun - way to flesh out your character(s) for your story: get to know your character over coffee. Character interviews of any kind are interesting ways to flesh out character profiles, and it's surprising what you can learn about someone in the time it takes to share a cup of coffee (or tea, if you're like me and can't stand coffee) and maybe a cake... Just to keep your energy levels up... *Wink* If you're lucky, taking the time to have coffee with your character will mean you can avoid the need to tame a wild character. No promises though. This list of ways you can explore your characters' traits could also prove useful to you in getting to know your characters, and may even help with your efforts in taming the wild ones. Oh, and here's a pretty good post for if you're struggling with naming your darlings.
Or, perhaps you write poetry? If so, check out this post on writing haiku, which contains a short list of tricks any poet needs in their writing toolbox.

Last, but by no means least, and regardless of the kinds of things you write... Always remember that illustrating a children's book is a real job, and so is being an artist of any kind. So bear that in mind when working with your cover artist, illustrator, or whatever, and don't take advantage of their talents.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on October 26, 2016 02:37 • 1 view

October 24, 2016

Rosie from Everything's Coming Up Rosie does these "if we were having coffee/tea" posts from time to time, where she updates her readers on random things happening in her life. This post is going to be a bit like that. So...


After moving things around in the living room to make room for it properly, we set up the run mentioned in Mollie's post from Friday last month, and filled it with toys of all sorts, most notably: a play tunnel, a log arch, a selection of wooden toys, and a cardboard box. What's the most popular toy of the lot? I bet those who've had a lot of experience with pets and/or small children can guess. That's right... The cardboard box. Haha!


We had planned to go to some of the events happening to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings during Hastings week. My brother, Carl, and his girlfriend, Tory, were even going to come for a visit to go to some of it with us. But they didn't end up coming for their visit after all, and then we ended up not going. A part of me was disappointed, but I actually wasn't as disappointed as I thought I might have been. Sure, it would have been nice to be there, especially on a big anniversary like the 950th, but... *Shrugs* Maybe another time? We'd have made sure to go if Carl and Tory had been here, but since they didn't come down, and I wasn't feeling well, we didn't bother . We did hear the fireworks though. Well, Kelly heard them all, and I heard some of them as I drifted in and out of sleep, since the combination of tiredness and cough medicine made staying awake properly impossible for me. But I enjoyed what I heard between dozes. Oh, and, no, we don't have photos... Sorry.


We were discussing potential plans for the upcoming holidays recently on Deanna's blog, and I made myself feel old. I mean, I swear I sounded just like my Nan. There's all these people making big holiday plans, and I'm basically saying, "Just a nice cup of tea and a little treat for tea. That will make the day nice and special." There's also a good chance I could fall asleep in my chair while watching holiday movies afterwards. Unfortunately, these days that kind of thing is my reality... See above paragraph... And chances are I won't be feeling up to doing much more than that. You know what though? Despite my initial shocked reaction on realizing this, I actually don't mind, and having a nice treat then falling asleep in my chair watching holiday movies actually sounds pretty good to me.


We went for afternoon tea with Lorna and Andy again, and they remembered how pleased I'd been about egg and cress sandwiches being available before, so made sure they had some of those for me. Don't you just love when hosts/friends take notice like that? Anyway, they made egg and cress sandwiches, as I said, as well as some with cheese and a vegetarian ham substitute in them. We also had toasted teacakes. The tea was lovely. Look at me, sounding like an old lady again... Do people even say things like, "It was really quite lovely," any more? Regardless, it really was! The loaf of homemade seed bread they sent home with us - which was baking when we arrived, so that we walked in to that wonderful freshly baked bread smell - was too.


I saw this Autumn tag on Rosie's blog. I'm not doing it properly, but I will share with you that the thing that tells me Autumn is here is that crisp scent to the air that promises frosty mornings to come. You knowthe scent I mean, right? That's my favourite Autumn scent too. Oh, and my favourite Autumn activity is pumpkin carving... I look forward to that every year; it's great fun! Hmmm... Maybe I'm not quite old yet after all... Haha!


I know some people either had birthdays recently, or are about to have them, so... If I missed your birthday, or you have one coming up... Happy birthday! I especially want to say a belated happy birthday to my friend, AliceKay, for October 6th, as well as to my brother, Carl, for October 16th. Also, belated happy birthday to my friend, Pia, for October 19th, as well as to her little boy, Max, for October 17th. Plus, happy birthday to another friend, Louise, who celebrates her birthday today (October 24th) as well as to our niece, Tamara, who will be celebrating her birthday on Friday (October 28th). Finally, happy birthday to my good friend, Iggy, who will be celebrating his birthday on November 4th. Yeah, I know that last one is a couple of weeks away, but I figured I'd go ahead and mention it now, while I'm doing birthdays.


Last, but not least... Just a friendly reminder to never stop learning.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on October 24, 2016 02:14 • 1 view

October 23, 2016

Extract of an interesting article that was brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago:

Canute is tackling the decline in Braille literacy - and everyone should care.

Being able to read is one of the most precious of skills: Books free the imagination and inspire creativity – they allow people to learn independently, and relax after a hard day.

But not everyone has that luxury.

This week is National Braille Week: a week dedicated to the raised dots that allow blind people to read letters, numbers, punctuation and words.

But Braille is on the decline.

In the ’60s up to 50% of blind school children in the US were able to read Braille, but this figure is now closer to 10%.

Today one company hopes to turn this around, with a device that’s fit for the digital age.

Get ready to meet Canute.

Read the full article here.

"National Braille Week" is obviously long since over, but I didn't want to interrupt all the "Battlefield 1066" stuff with this post. Plus, it was either over or almost so by the time I knew of this article anyway, so... *Shrugs*

Anyway, I expect some of you at least will be interested in my thoughts?

I think I heard something about this a little while ago, so it's nice to see evidence that there's progress on it, and that it's now being tested in schools and things. It really would be a shame if the number of braille users declined even more, and it's great to see efforts are being made to stop that happening. Modern technology is often a wonderful thing, but I think it's sad that most people aren't being taught how to do things without technology these days, and those still in school right now would be lost without their computers and things.

So, my thoughts on the device itself...

On the one hand, I think this is great, and look forward to when they make one a bit smaller, so it actually is portable, and I can maybe get one. Yes, I can read braille, as those who have been following my blog for some time know already. It would be great to be able to read a book without it announcing to the world what I'm reading, or the need for headphones. Also, see my comments above about not wanting the number of braille readers to decline further.

On the other hand, I hate that they consider the £600 price tag to be cheap and affordable, because that is not cheap, and is not easily affordable by most people. I mean, sure, it's cheap when compared to a lot of the devices, which come in at £1000 and above, but that's still a lot of money. I hope, when they bring out the more portable one, they also manage to do something to lower the cost a bit, otherwise it's going to be out of the price range of many. I get it being more expensive than your average Kindle, but since most Kindles are a third of that price, often cheaper again, you'd think they could knock the price tag down a bit. Especially if their aim is to encourage people to buy this option rather than relying on text to speach software (which, by the way, isn't always cheap... Just saying). Yeah, I know, I get it, it costs a lot of money to make things like this. Blah, blah, blah. I've heard that argument before, and I'll give you the same response I give whenever I hear it: they'd make their money back far easier selling several at lower prices that most people can actually afford, rather than struggling to sell more than a hanfful because most people can't afford to buy them. I mean, there's several pieces of technology I'd just love to own, but just can't afford, which is a problem plenty of others have too, and I wish they'd consider that before insisting £600 price tags are cheap.

Beyond that, the main thing I'm wondering is... Will this work for any books? Or will it be like text to speach is on my actual Kindle, where it doesn't work with some books? I think it's meant to be the former, which would be great, but if it's the latter, will something be done to make sure "text to braille" becomes more readily available on books in the future?
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on October 23, 2016 02:03 • 1 view

October 21, 2016

Um... Hi everyone. This is Mollie the chinchilla.

See... This is me:

I was moving closer to check out one of the flashy things our human caretakers have when the above photo was taken. The Mummy human was using a version of the flashy thing she calls "iPhone" and it kept talking, so I came to check it out. I tried nibbling it at first, but it tasted awful, so I decided to see if I could figure out how the Mummy human was making it talk. I saw she was pawing at it, so decided to try too. It worked! Every time I put my paw on it, it talked. I thought it was great, so spent some time pawing at it to make it talk to me. The Mummy human said she was trying to do something, and I wasn't helping, but I don't understand what she said she was doing, and frankly don't care, since I was having a fantastic time. The Mummy human says she's going to blame me for any unusual calls on her iPhone. I don't even know what that means, but she was laughing when she said it, so I'm not worried.

Anyway, as you may already know, I had one of those birthday things a little over a week ago. This meant an extra special treat for me... YAY! My other rodent siblings got a little something too, because the human caretakers don't like to give nibbles to one of us and not give anything to the others. For that reason, my chinchilla sister, Maizie, got to share in my extra special treat. I don't mind though, because not only am I really fond of her - she's my bestest friend in the whole world - but the human caretakers said it will be the same when Maizie gets her first ever birthday in a couple of months time. They say it's only right, since we're sharing a cage, that we both get the same. We're not going to argue, since these human caretakers give out great nibbles. Our favourites are cereal and chinchilla cookies.

If it wasn't exciting enough that I had a birthday thing and we got an extra treat because of it, we also had something fun happen a couple of weeks before my birthday, which has been happening regularly ever since. The human caretakers call it "pen time" (for reasons that will become clear when you read on).

The human caretakers got this pen thing they said was called a "rabbit run" for some reason. We didn't understand why at first, since there are no rabbits in our family. But we watched with interest as they set it up and put some fun looking toys in it. Here it is, all set up:

Then, to our delight, we were told it was just for us chinchillas. Apparently it's been set up as a playpen for us, which means it's a safe area where we can get some decent out of cage exercise while being kept away from things like wires, which would be dangerous to us. It's not nearly as tall as our cage, but it has space for us to actually run around in it, where as our cage doesn't have much running space (but makes up for it with climbing and jumping room). Plus, the playpen has toys in it that we only get to play with when we're in it, some of which are different from what we have in our cage.

Maizie was extremely eager to try it out, and happy to allow the human caretakers to pick her up and put her in there right away. Here she is inside the playpen:

I wasn't so eager, and was reluctant to leave the safety of our cage. I take longer to adjust to new things, and felt safer watching from inside our cage while Maizie checked out the new playpen; Maizie's the more inquisitive of the two of us, and she's braver too. I got up the courage to join her after she'd been in there a couple of times though:

I learned quickly that Maizie was right about pen time being fun, so here I am enjoying myself in the playpen:

So, now we have a safe - and fun - place where we can run around and play outside of our cage, which we think is great. I mean, pets and cuddles from the human caretakers are nice, and Maizie and I also enjoy sitting on the Mummy human's shoulder. But having the freedom to run around and burn off some energy like that is even better, and we love our pen time!

Squeak soon,
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on October 21, 2016 02:37 • 1 view

October 19, 2016

To make sure you didn't miss anything, here's a round-up of the posts that went up on my blog over this past week to celebrate the release of stories written by myself and other Smashwords authors based around the Battle Of Hastings, and published on the battle's 950th anniversary.

October 13th: Battle Of Hastings Timeline
October 14th: My Battle Of Hastings Children's HistoricalFiction Book Release: Eadweard - A Story Of 1066
October 15th: "Norman Blood" - A HistoricalFantasy Book by Author Barbara G. Tarn
October 16th: "They Marvel at the Star" A HistoricalFiction Book by Author L J Hick
October 17th: "The Battles Of Hastings" - A SciFi Book by Author STEPH BENNION
October 18th: My Battle Of Hastings Author And Character Interviews

You may also want to check out the following:
A spotlight post by Les
A spotlight post by author Ross Harrison
A Wyrd Worlds: Battlefield 1066 post by Steph
The author questions thread on the Goodreads Smashwords Authors group
Barb's "Hastings 1066" posts
A spotlight post by author Kevin Morris
Chris The Story Reading Ape's repost of Kevin's spotlight post
Alex Butcher's "Battlefield 1066" posts

If you helped with promotion, either by putting something up on your own blog, by sharing our posts, or whatever, thank you! If you took the time to ask us questions, or do so in the time remaining before the month is out, thank you for that too! Also, if you brought copies of any of our books, or do so in the near future, thank you for that as well!
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on October 19, 2016 02:13 • 1 view

October 18, 2016

As part of our multi-author promotion for the Battle of Hastings stories written by some of us Wyrd Worlds authors, I did an author interview with Barb, which went live on Friday (October 14th 2016). You can read it at

I also did both a character interview and an author interview with Alex. Well, the character interview is technically Eadweard's interview. But, anyway, the interviews went live on Sunday (October 16th 2016) and you can read the post they're in by going to

Plus, don't forget, you can ask me, along with the other authors involved in "Wyrd Worlds: Battlefield 1066" questions all month. The thread for it is at
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on October 18, 2016 02:00 • 1 view

October 17, 2016

The Battles Of Hastings

Who really won the Battle of Hastings? Eighteen-year-old Jane Kennedy, a twenty-first-century Chicago girl on her first field assignment, had expected a simple mission to gently ease her into the time-bending realities of her new job. Yet here she was, lying semi-conscious amidst the wounded and dying
of a particularly gruesome battle, wondering what the hell she had let herself in for. In this novella based on Jane’s memoirs, follow her strange journey through multiple realities as her fellow time travellers each realise they come from a future with a different past. Is there a rogue on the loose out to change history? The Battles Of Hastings is a romp through alternate time lines in England 1066 to mark the 950th anniversary of the invasion that shaped Britain and Europe today.

Buy it from Smashwords in multiple eBook formats, which will work on your computer, or on pretty much any eReader or tablet.

Find out more about Steph and her books by visiting her website.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on October 17, 2016 02:42 • 1 view

October 16, 2016

They Marvel at the Star
By L J Hick

Thomas is a member of the Fyrd and is recruited into Harold Godwinson's army to confront Duke William II of Normandy. He is befriended by a blond-haired man called Kauko as they march to war. Thomas has no time for lords, kings or gods of any kind but Kauko seems to have a large amount of time for Thomas. Why is Kauko so interested in the welfare of a farmer's son, and just what does he intend to do with him? As the relationship develops and the pair of them confront the stupidity and darkness of war, Thomas comes to realise that they did not meet by chance. In fact, Kauko has been preparing for this for a long time.

Buy it from Smashwords in multiple eBook formats, suitable for reading on your PC, or on just about any eReader or tablet.

Learn more about Les and his books via his Smashwords profile or his website.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on October 16, 2016 02:25 • 1 view

October 15, 2016

Norman Blood
By Barbara G. Tarn

Nineteen-year-old Robert Malet followed William the Bastard to England to claim the English throne. The battle near the small town of Hastings is the beginning of the Norman conquest of England, but also of Robert's second life.

A vampire in 12th century Europe traveling, fighting and meeting his siblings in darkness, changing names through the years when his mortal life is gone. Follow Robert Malet, Brother Geoffrey, Robert Capuchon and Mercadier through the years. History and fantasy based on medieval chronicles for a Vampires Through the Centuries novella.

Buy it from Smashwords in multiple formats that work on a variety of eReaders and other devices, as well as from Barnes & Noble, from Amazon US or UK, or from Kobo.

You can learn more about Barb and her books by going to or
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on October 15, 2016 02:22 • 1 view

October 14, 2016

It’s October 14th 1066, and King Harold’s Saxon army is about to go in to battle against Duke William’s invading Norman army. Among the ranks of the Saxons are two boys who shouldn’t be there: Eadweard, and his best friend, Cerdic.

Daydreams of becoming great war heroes had the boys convinced to disobey their Fathers and go to war, despite the possibility of punishment if they were caught. Now it’s time for the battle to begin, and Eadweard is starting to wish he’d stayed home after all. But it’s too late to turn back now, and Eadweard finds himself witnessing the events of the battle that would later be called The Battle Of Hastings, and learning how different from his imaginings the reality of war actually is.

*Note: This is a work of fiction, which is based on actual events. It tells the story of the battle between King Harold’s Saxon army and Duke William’s Norman army, which took place a short distance away from the town of Hastings on October 14th 1066, in a place now known simply as Battle. Though this is a children’s story, the recommended reading age for this book is eight years and over, since it is a story that takes place on a battlefield, and therefore contains scenes of violence that are not suitable for younger, or more sensitive, readers.

That's the description for "Eadweard - A Story Of 1066" - my first historical fiction book, which is officially released today, in honour of today being the 950th anniversary of The Battle Of Hastings.

You can already buy the eBook from Smashwords in all formats they offer, as well as from a few other eBook retailers (such as Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, and a few others). So, regardless of your prefered method of reading eBooks, there will be a format that works for you via one of those sites.

For those who prefer a physical book... Fear not! A paperback version will become available as soon as possible in the near future; watch my Wednesday blog posts for an announcement of its availability.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on October 14, 2016 02:00 • 1 view

Zigler News

Victoria Zigler
Author and book news for children's author and poet, Victoria Zigler, as well as general news from the life of the Zigler family; furry and otherwise!
Follow Victoria Zigler's blog with rss.