A Bit of Fitness

I describe myself as a nerd. And, in my opinion, nerds don’t do sport. In fact, I can safely say that I hate sport. I hate doing it. I hate watching it. I hate talking about it. I hate everything about it. Always have.

Yet, strangely, I bought a Fitbit with my Christmas money. Crazy, I know. I cannot get my head around that, but I’ve wanted one for over 18 months. Maybe it’s just a fad. We’ll see.

Anyway, after taking some time to set it up, I placed it on my wrist and did my normal thing. I’m always pottering about, so I guessed my numbers would be high. Not 10,000 steps high, but close to it.

I got a shock.

My numbers were very, VERY low.

Nerd or not, I was not impressed with myself and immediately set a goal to improve my activity level. I started out slow and steady (because that’s how I do things) and gradually turned the dial up. Now, six weeks later, I am proud to say that I am hitting 10,000 steps every day. That may sound silly or trivial to you, but for me, it’s a big step up (excuse the pun).

Yesterday, I did another crazy thing. I dragged out a piece of gym equipment that hasn’t seen the light of day for five years. After getting the dirt and cobwebs off it, I set another goal. This one is to strengthen my arms and legs because I’m weak as a newborn kitten.

I still hate sport, but I do realise that I need to take care of myself and be fit if I want to stay strong and healthy in my senior years, which are steadily approaching.

Seedlings of Life

The seedlings are sprouting.

Seven days ago I sowed some seeds. In case you haven’t read my previous post, I am attempting to grow herbs and vegetables from seed. They include onion, cress, dill, tomatoes, parsley, thyme, radish, chamomile, oregano and chives.

Day 8 shows new life is sprouting. The cress came out fighting on day three. The onion and radishes are also doing well. I’m pleased to say the dill, chamomile and thyme are showing signs of life too. However, nothing is happening with the parsley, oregano or chives, but it is early days.

The tomatoes I grew from seeds haven’t done anything in the last week and, unfortunately, two died. That was a little worrying because I believed they are meant to grow fast but not mine. I do understand that I can’t expect all of them to make it to full-grown, tomato bearing plants though. Perhaps it’s still a little chilly for them. I remain hopeful.

But there’s more, the regular tomato plant that my son gave me has doubled in size. Thrilled about that.

And, to top everything off, there are two cucumbers on my little cucumber plant. Can’t stop smiling as I didn’t expect it so soon. The plant is small, so fingers crossed they make it to harvest time.

More updates to follow over coming weeks, months.

Seeds of Life

The seeds have been planted

Reading and writing form a massive part of my life. In fact, just about everything I do is centred around one of these two things. Of course, I do enjoy other hobbies such as walking, family time, nature, and catching up with friends. However, in recent months, I was given some plants that a friend had grown from cuttings, and that sparked a new interest for me.

Those cuttings are doing well. I love colour, and those plants have produced an array of colour. I have gotten a lot of enjoyment out of seeing them grow this spring.

Then I found myself wanting to take things a step further, and I planted seeds from a cherry tomato. Believing they wouldn’t actually take, I planted around 40 seeds and ended up with about 30 seedlings. They are currently two to three inches in height.

On 11 November, I decided to also plant onion, radish, cress, dill, parsley, chamomile, oregano, thyme and chives.

And finally, on 9 November, my son gave me a regular tomato plant, which was roughly a foot high. The next day, I was at a nursery and saw a baby cucumber plant for a few dollars. If I’m going to have a heap of tomatoes, I figured I would also need cucumbers, so I splurged and treated myself.

The photo at the top is all the plants together. The photo was taken on 11 November, and I’m calling it Day 1. Stay tuned, I’ll give updates and share my successes and failures on this little side adventure.

FREE book reviews for authors

If you have visited this site before, or if you check the archives, you will notice that I write a lot of book reviews. Normally, I write a review for every book I read.

I have decided to offer my services to indie authors and publishers. If you want a book reviewed, then I may be able to help. Naturally, I will not accept everything and anything. I have a life and I also love to write. But I will consider your book if it is something that interests me.

This service is free of charge. The only expectation I have is that you provide me with a review copy of your book. The free copy can be a paperback, epub or mobi version.

Please read my Book Review Policy for more details on what I will consider, what I will reject and what information I would like from you in order to decide if I’m interested in your book or not.

Why I Write

Everyone is different. Everyone finds peace and tranquility in different ways. Some like to go fishing, bush walking or jogging. Others like to surround themselves with friends and go to parties, picnics, or out clubbing. And then there are those who prefer to meditate, read, or sew. Me? I like to write.

I started writing to escape the real world. That’s why I started out writing fantasy stories. I could go somewhere nobody would ever find me. I could experience anything my imagination was brave enough to conjure. As a result, I wrote for me alone. No one, ever, was ever meant to discover my worlds and find me.

But then I no longer had to escape. The real world became a good place to be, so I no longer had the desire to “disappear”. As a result, I stopped writing.

Yet, once I had started, I found it difficult to give up. The necessity was gone, but the desire remained. And I also discovered that I wanted to share my worlds. The written word called to me. It was easy to respond and return to writing.

It wasn’t an easy journey. Writer’s block caught hold of me, or so I thought. In fact, difficult and sometimes horrible events in my life disguised themselves as writer’s block. The pain and grief I felt took me over, leaving me feeling exhausted and worthless. It took me a while to recognise the true “block” was of my own doing. And when I acknowledged that, and accepted it, I began writing once again.

Someone once asked me if I wrote to become rich and famous? Even now I laugh at that. Very few writers become rich and famous authors. Very few indeed.

I want neither fame nor fortune. You scoff at that, I know, but it is true. However, I do want people to read my books and enjoy them. It would be nice to earn enough money from my writing to live comfortably. But I am a reserved person, who enjoys not being “seen” and I honestly do not feel I would cope well with fame. The fortune would never go astray, of course. But you cannot have one without the other. And I enjoy being alone too much, so I do not want fame.

Why do I write? I write to share words, worlds, ideas and characters. I invite the reader into my worlds, hoping they find something they like. And although I no longer feel the need to escape this world, sometimes it is still fun to wander into other worlds and live a life that would never be possible here. Besides, as a reserved person, writing allows me to be braver, louder, and more outgoing than I would ever be in real life.

Why do you write?

Rant: Fallout 76

Image copyright to Bethesda.net

I have been into gaming since time began … or since gaming began, at least. I have all the PlayStation consoles (PS1 through to PS4) and I have over a thousand games. I’m not joking.

I love gaming. I’m a loyal PlayStation fan. However, this is my first rant in regards to gaming.

For Christmas, I received more games than books last year. I think my family wanted to buy something different, so each present (almost) was a new game. Honestly, I was in my glory.

This was especially so when I tore open a present and found a Fallout game. My family laughed and said my eyes lit up. Sounds a bit evil to me! 😊 Anyway, last year, I played Fallout 4 for several months. I became totally addicted. It was brilliant and I couldn’t get enough of it. But eventually all good things must come to an end and I was disappointed on the day I had to admit the game had run its course and I had to admit I had completed it. *sigh*

So when I opened Fallout 76 on Christmas Day, I was excited. I could return to a well known place and legitimately become engrossed in a new adventure, through a game I loved.

To savour the moment, I played the other games first!

Yesterday, I pulled Fallout 76 out and sat patiently for four hours while the system downloaded and updated the latest patch. When I finally gained control of the game and it was about to launch me into the world I’d eagerly waited for, I was over the moon.

I pressed any key as instructed … and that’s where my rant really begins. I could have, of course, started my rant at the stage where I had to wait four hours for the patch to download, but I was willing to let that go. So my rant starts here…

When I pressed any key to start the game, instead of being taken to the start of the game — as one would expect — I was taken to a subscription page. I scanned the page, decided I didn’t want a subscription (thanks for asking) and pressed the key to go on to the game. Instead I was returned to the main PlayStation start up page.

Right, now I’m confused, something must have gone wrong. I started again. I was offered the subscription, I rejected the subscription, and ended up back at the start up page.

Now I’m concerned, what’s wrong? Maybe I have to find the “No Thanks” option on the subscription page. I go through the steps again, search the subscription page to find no other options, except purchase options. Yes, I end back at the main start up page.

I head to the internet. What am I doing wrong? And naturally I found the answer pretty quickly.

Nothing.

That’s right, I was doing nothing wrong. You cannot play Fallout 76 without purchasing a subscription!

What a bloody cheek. A family member has purchased the game for me and it cannot be played unless I’m online and have a PlayStore+ subscription. The dirty, rotten mongrels.

Of course, I later discovered that it does say that on the front cover of the game. In tiny letters, that no one is going to read. In my opinion, this is important information and that wording should be large and bold and highlighted in every way. Look at me. Read here. Only buy this game if you like playing online and you have (or want) a subscription. If not, put me down now and don’t waste your money.

I feel I’ve been ripped off. Totally. No, I didn’t buy the game, but someone did in good faith. They threw money away. I will not be forced to purchase a subscription. And if this is the way of future gaming, I think I’m going to swap over to the anti-gaming campaign. All those gaming companies out there have to remember that not everyone has an internet connection, for one thing. Not everyone wants to play online with strangers. I’ve always been quite happy to go solo, and that’s the way I prefer it to stay. I should have the choice. Not everyone wants to, or can afford to, purchase the subscription.

Right now I’m disappointed in PlayStation and Bethesda. But mostly, I’m disappointed because I will NOT be playing Fallout 76. And now I’m angry too.

Free Ebooks Available – Limited Time

As you know, there are three books in The Land of Miu series. They are:

  • The Land of Miu
  • The King’s Riddle
  • The Lion Gods

All three books will be available for FREE download from Smashwords from 12.01am on 25 December 2018 until 11.59pm on 1 January 2019. That is US Pacific Time. As I live in Australia, I honestly don’t know what that means for the rest of the world. But I urge you to visit my profile and download them all, as soon as they become available.

For your convenience, here’s the link to my profile on Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/karenleefield

And if you do read and enjoy my books, please take a moment or two to write a review. It helps other readers find my work. Thank you.