Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Turning on the Nightlight

Writing is a hard enough job without having to manage a chronic illness around it.

For nearly ten years now I have suffered from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Migraines. The day to day pain and exhaustion from the fibro is torture, but the frequent migraines… I honestly have no words for the agony I’ve suffered. 

It’s like having your head in a vice while someone spoons your eyeballs out of your head repeatedly. It’s not being able to sit up because movement of any kind will make you vomit. It’s medicines that are supposed to help but only make you sicker. It’s hiding in the dark with a pillow over your ears and a cold cloth over your eyes for hours until you can finally manage at some semblance of a human being.

It’s awful.

Many times the migraine is tolerable though. Yes, I’m miserable and in pain, but I’m capable of sitting up and even walking about getting chores done, albeit in the dark or as near dark as possible. When you have a migrain you avoid the light as best you can. I’ve learned over the years that it is mainly the harsh blue light from electronics and bright fluorescents that stab at my eyes the worse.

Most phones these days have a blue light filter that you can activate by swiping down and opening the drop-down tray (with flashlight, bluetooth, ect) and clicking the blue light filter button. It's mainly for use before bed to help your brain settle before going to sleep. Blue light keeps the brain active and hyper and many will find it more difficult to sleep soundly if they use their phone before bed.

I’ve found when having a headache, activating the blue light filter lessens the stabby pain if I need to use my phone. So I got to thinking how wonderful it would be to have this feature on the PC so even if I was having a mild migraine I could still work on my writing projects from the comfort of my darkened room.

Simply turning down the brightness isn’t enough.

So I went to my system settings in windows 10 to see if I could recreate a blue light filter on my PC and found Nightlight.

To activate go to your settings>display> and right under brightness and color, you will see the option to toggle on Nightlight. Below the toggle on you have more settings that when clicked will take you to a new settings page where you can set up a time for a nightlight, set the strength, or just switch it on and off. This feature is extremely useful to all those who suffer headaches and migraines.

Filtering out the blue light makes it possible to sit at the PC even if you have a mild migraine. Granted a full-blown monster migraine won’t allow you such amenities but if you are in the throws of one of those meanies, I doubt you’ll be worried about your writing, or anything aside from just breathing and surviving.

This nightlight is also handy if you spend a lot of time at the PC to prevent headaches and eyestrain as well, so even if you don’t presently have a migraine, you may want to try it out.

I hope you find this useful! Let me know in the comments how this handy feature works for you.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Following My Daughter's Example

The house is quiet except for the occasional giggle of my son. Almost too quiet. His big sister isn’t tormenting him or pestering him. I tiptoe to the mess of a bedroom she calls her evil lair, peek around the corner, and see her. She’s sitting on her bed writing in a notebook.
Loudly I exclaim “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!”
The surprise attack has the desired effect.
She jumps nearly off the bed then glares at me. “Moooooom!”
Snickering I again ask what she is up to.
She explains she is writing a book.

That’s right folks. My daughter has become a writer! *Insert proud mom face here*

She and her friends had started writing a story together about a zombie apocalypse or something of that sort, and she had fallen in love with the act of storytelling. I now can find her curled up in her favorite corners about the house writing in her notebook and proudly telling me each night how many chapters she was able to get done. She has always had a love for reading, ever since I taught her when she was three because she simply could not wait for pre-k to learn to read. She was already piecing words together from billboards or road signs. Now she is using her creativity to use those words and make her own stories come to life!

I’m impressed. I’m Proud. I’m... jealous?

I admittedly am quite jealous. She has that joy of writing that I lost years ago when I moved from Abilene. I’m not sure how I lost it really, but writing became a chore. I put it off. Made excuses. Eventually, I quit trying at all.

After watching her work on her story the past few weeks I started feeling that urge to work on my own stories. I’ve always got some ideas brewing, and have quite a few notes and scribbles in my notebook, but have never had the drive to follow them down the rabbit hole again, until now.

The last two weeks all I can think of is stories. Reading stories, editing stories, fleshing out new stories. I want my stories to live! I want to share them and say I did something.

So I’m back at it again. Working through the mood that I am nothing special, and breathing life back into my stories, and I have my amazing, beautiful, creative daughter to thank for lighting that spark once more!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

New Additions and The Adventures of Po

I've had this blog for quite some time now. Even though blogging has become less popular for the aspiring writer, I have continued to pay for my web name and contribute to the page when I am in a mood. Generally coming up with an off the wall topic once a month or so. Lately, I have been stepping away from this being a writers blog and making it more of an everything about me blog.

If you know anything about me by now, you know I'm into many hobbies. Art, gaming, reading, and writing are only a few of the many things I entertain myself with. This year I have tried to veer more towards allowing my blog to reflect the variety that is my interests. Now I plan for so much more. I'm bringing my daughter in for her own writings. She plans to start working on a type of foodie blog which I told her she is welcome to use a page from my site to write it. (Can you say proud mom?)

She is also joining me in my favorite MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV as the young Miqo'te adventurer Swaggiekawaii Potatoe (Po for short). We plan to do co-streams this summer and we will be making a page here to chronical the adventures of Po.

So please keep an eye out for our streams and check back here for more information on The Adventures of Po!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

AT&T is run by zombies... change my mind.

Last week I posted about my stream dreams and aspirations and made mention of my internet woes. After many hours on the phone and in web chat... I am still facing the same troubles.

Oh, my tech guy came out and promptly identified the problem. He was wonderful. Seems our neighbors, whose yard the electrical pole resides in and which the phone lines are run through, had weed eat our internet line. So we have been getting only half of what we paid for, and with the recent weather it had worn down to where it was constantly losing connection.

The first zombie I encountered ensured me it was a network issue that could be fixed where they sat. I waited and waited. The internet going off and on throughout our conversation. Eventually either the zombie lost connection or they got tired of dealing with me because we were disconnected after over an hour of not being helped at all.

The next zombie was positive that my issue was with my modem. It needed to be replaced with the newest version. Fast forward to the arrival of the new modem, and low and behold... It's the exact same model.

The next zombie was of some help. They actually managed to get a tech guy out to my house. That went great as mentioned above he had found where our problem was and ran a temporary line to the house and promise someone would be out soon to bury it.

A week later, same crappy issues and now with a trip hazard (not something you want when a klutz and her klutzlings are constantly having to walk by) laid out across my walkway, I contact yet another zombie.

I am promised a tech will call in 5- 10 minutes. 24 hours later, I'm back on the line with yet another zombie.

By this time I'm breathing fire. Zombies hate fire. They also hate being told you are taking your business elsewhere. I am told that a mistake had happened and my dig guy had not been scheduled. I'm sure the zombie saw the explosion from across the ocean because they assured me that it would be fixed. Today.

I assured them that if it wasn't, I was done with them.

Now, most would say, one bad experience with a company doesn't make a bad company. I agree.

This is not my first bad experience with them. When I first signed up, they signed me up for a phone line I did not want and told them several times that I did not want it. They installed it anyway. Then I had to pay an installation fee for it. Then it took two months of me calling and chewing them out that I never wanted it to begin with before the braindead numbskulls finally removed it from my account. I still was forced to pay the bill that I had the service for those two months. So you see, it's not just a one-time thing.

As promised, if this is not promptly taken care of, I will be removing myself from their customer list.

I write this now to warn others. If you can help it, don't choose AT&T. Unfortunately, at the time there were no other internet providers in our area. Thankfully now we have other options open to us and I've made AT&T aware I will not put up with this crap any longer!

Hopefully, my next post will be of happiness and rainbows and unicorns... but today I'm signing off angry dragon of fire and destruction.


Update: They sent a tech guy not a dig guy so I am still having problems... Tech guys has sworn to me he will personally call the dig guy and try to get this line buried immediately. I'll keep you updated on tomorrow's tech adventure, but for now I have a headache and a deep desire to drown myself in wine...

Update 2/1/19: The dig guy finally arrived and took a whole 30 minutes to bury a line. Then shortly after my tech guy showed up to attach it to the house. As of today I should have a strong, stable connection just in time for my kids four day weekend in which we plan to have at least one stream day! It will be a perfect time to test out the internet connection. They also have assured me that because of all the horrible customer service my bill's will be forever reduced. Must have been the threats to dump them and go with the new fiber company in town. Depending on my service from here on, that may still be the direction we are headed. We only have a few months left on this contract and we can freely switch if need be. Fingers crossed I don't have any more issues out of AT&T.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Streaming to Affiliate

As I have mentioned a few times here now, I'm looking into becoming a streamer.

Sounds fun right? Sit in front of a screen and do what you love for the entertainment of others. A dream come true, right? Bahahaha! NO!

I created my own overlays

I am a super shy, super awkward little person, and going on stream really makes that good ol' anxiety monster squirm. See, she doesn't like to be put in the spotlight. She would rather hide in her dark den and growl and snarl at all those who attempt to disrupt her solitude... including her own family at times.

Also did my own logo and buttons for the stream info page

This is one of many reasons I have taken up streaming. I'm there to talk to an audience. Now, I'm not so bad as Mia Thermopolis in Princess Diaries. I don't get sick from being "on stage" so to speak. But while I'm on stream my nerves are stressed, my anxiety spikes, and it often leaves me exhausted and sore thanks to the Fibro. Doesn't mean I'm going to give up though. I hope to one day be able to create great entertainment that people love. Like my art, my writing, and all my other creative activities, I like to make people happy.

Photoshop stream layout and also will be used for writing stream

Right now I am working towards Twitch Affiliate. You get more perks than the average member, including subs and bits which can earn you money. After that, I would like to try for partner. Push myself as far as I can. Build a community and hopefully make some new friends, all the while doing things that I love like art, writing and of course gaming.

But I need help and support.

I need followers, I need people to come to my channel and chat with me and the other viewers, and I really need everyone behind me pushing me to keep at it, and not give up just because I'm scared.

So if you have a chance to stop into Araili's Den, please do! Come say hi, ask me questions, create an account and give me a follow. It will alert you when I go live! I also have a Discord that will be an official hangout for all those who wish to follow.

Hopefully, after the internet is fixed (insert internet provider drama here) and I can get back to streaming more regularly, I can set up a schedule so you can catch your favorite streams. Until then you can check out my channel, discord, and twitter to stay up to date on my streaming activities!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Writing in the dark

My FFXIV Character Aralina Arai'li

As most of you know I’m a pretty avid gamer. My ultimate game being the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV.


In this game, there are free companies, or what most people call guilds in other games. It’s a group of players who band together to help each other out in game. Our FC is large and one of the top FCs on our server. We also have several social media outlets to stay in contact with each other. Many of them I am in charge of as an officer of our FC. One of these outlets is Discord. A voice and text chat app. You can talk with your friends while running content in game for quicker easier communication or just sit and BS.

What does this have to do with writing? Wait just a moment, I’m getting there.

So I’m working on my edits late one night in an empty house. One of my writing quirks is I like to watch paranormal shows and spooky movies while I write. I’m making progress, chugging along through the WIP and all of a sudden I hear a loud and boisterous “Ahoy, Aralina!”

Aralina and Siegfried

My Chihuahua and I jumped clear out of the chair.

I realize that somehow Discord had connected of its own accord and my friend Siegfried had popped into the channel I was unwittingly sitting in to check in on me. Flustered, I closed the chat without a reply. This prompted Sieg to message me to see if I was ok (because he is a super sweet dude!) and I then had to explain how he had scared the pee out of me and my little dog too…

So kids, lesson learned. Always ensure discord is disconnected when writing horror in a dark empty house while watching paranormal shows.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Clawing my way back

I’ve been quiet far too long. I had given up. I didn’t feel I could or should write, I didn’t think I was much of an artist, and my overall faith in my own worth was at an all-time low.

That has changed. My family is building me back up. They push me to be better, not for their sake, but for my own well being. They push me to write, drag me out of the house and insist on spending time with me. They are extremely vocal about my capabilities as a writer, to a point where I am clawing my way back to the keyboard each day to tackle, “just one more chapter…”

I want to do this for myself. I want to succeed and show myself how wrong I am about myself. I guess you could say I am starting my new year's resolution a month early. My goals are to finish my edits for Wild Fire, outline and write the sequel, finish writing Mommas Here, and of course more blogging!

I have many things to write about these days, from the armored combat league our family is obsessed with, to my attempts at streaming and gaming, and then there is the writing and the writing stream I've been working on. I’m getting excited just typing this!

Yep, it’s time to change my way of thinking. This isn’t work. This is fun. I’m a lucky girl to have such supportive family to remind me of what a gift I have!

I hope you will bear with me as I excavate this talent, and share with me in the rediscovery of my love of writing!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Creating Happy

It's been a rough start to a new year. It seems like whatever can go wrong... will go wrong. Not going to lie, it's taken nearly all the steam I had built up just to keep my lil' noggin above the water and keep from drowning.

As usual, I turn to creativity to rejuvenate that steam. I don't know why making art of any form seems to pull me from the gloom I settle into. It starts with doodles on paper, then progresses to photoshop paintings, and if I'm lucky I pick up enough momentum to write.

This week I have opened up Wild Fire for the absolute final edit. Everyone will be happy and I can go on to work on my other works without complaint that I should finish WF first. I'm chugging right along on the edits, though, and after such a long absence from this story, I'm actually enjoying the read through.

I've started to stream my art from time to time. It's not much right now because I haven't been consistent, but I hope to make a real go at it. It pushes me out of the shy shell and forces me to socialize a bit. Keep an eye out for my next stream!

I'm also contemplating opening up art commissions... Something I've never done and am nearly terrified of doing. I still carry plenty of self-doubts that I'm good enough to attempt that venture. I did, however, learn to make twitch emotes today, and gifted a streamer I was watching the first one I ever made. He was cracking me up while playing FFXIV and his cat wanted in his way. He kept yelling "CAT! No cat not now!"

So I did what I do when something amuses me, and doodled it. Then since I was studying how to make emotes, I turned it into one.

The streamer thought it was so cute and thanked me on stream! Yay!

I'll take all the happy I can get right now, even if it is giving away free emotes to strangers. What can I say, making other people happy, makes me happy!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Spontaneous Nanowrimo! Go! Go! Go!

It's that time of year again. The leaves are falling, the air is chilled, the days are shorter, and the pumpkin spice craze is running rampant. It's also nearly the end of October.

Goodbye Halloween decorations. Goodbye haunted houses and zombie laser tag. Goodbye all the wonderfully spooky horror flicks.

And Hello Nanowrimo.

Ah yes, that crazy month where writers add to the crazy that is the holiday season with adding a 50,000 word count to their novel.

Now it's no secret I've struggled with writing these past couple years. I've been admonished from family, friends, and even my own children a time or two. I bet if my animals could talk, they too would have something to say about my total lack of writing.

But no more.

Today while transferring files over from my DinoDell to my NewPretty I passed through some old NanoPrep files. That started the itch. I got my Scrivener file with my latest WF2 outline (the old had been scrapped) updated and saved conveniently to my desktop. I visited TweetDeck for the first time in probably two years. I also updated MyWriteClub, and of course my Nanowrimo dashboard. I even downloaded Write-o-meter on my phone for pomodoro sprints.

I figure the best way to get back into writing is to do like we do when swimming at the creek. Just jump all in. Face first if you have to.

While setting things up my daughter got curious about what I was doing. I explained Nanowrimo to her and told her that there was even a version for kids.

Now there are two McBays scrambling to get prepped in time for Nano!

She has already toyed with her own stories, and her teacher is quite proud of her creativity, so I know she will really enjoy this challenge.

Wish us luck and a bountiful word count!

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Journey So Far...

It's no secret I have been a little off my game. I'm not writing, I've only recently started reading more, and my art has been even more sporadic. I've not even been interested in my favorite MMORPG lately! Is it depression? I dunno.

I've dealt with some major headaches and migraines lately that has me in a rather grumpy mood most of the time. Top it off with the fibro monster nipping at my ... well everything, and can you blame me for being a little down in the dumps?

I've had amazing support from my family. Lots of hugs and soft cuddles. Just knowing I'm loved, and they are quietly waiting for me to feel better is super comforting. Even so, sometimes I have to retreat to my dark lair recover on my own like a wounded wolf.

Within the past couple weeks I've taken on a new project. It started as helping a friend with a logo for her new business venture, and has snowballed. I've gotten to totally re-brand her! Full overhaul! Website, Wordpress, business logo, ya know the works. It's been super exciting working in graphics again. I feel fulfilled.

Hubz always says I'm more myself when the creative juices are flowing. Maybe he is right... Shhh! Don't tell him I said so.

At any rate, I'm trying.

I read. I make art. I live.

Hopefully this will spill over into the realm of writing once more. Until then I'm happy rediscovering myself, and managing each day the best I can.

P.S. If you are looking for a Certified Personal Trainer go check out my gal Kande.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


How long has it been since I last blogged? Since I last wrote for the joy of writing? Somehow writing became another chore that I had to do, instead of something I had the pleasure to do. It's been a fair busy couple of years since we moved from Abilene. I think it was that move that disrupted my writing. It was so hard to get any done at all after that. Sanger was a great town to live in at the time. However, it was far from family, my husband was constantly on the road, and I was left at home with two children to raise. I got pretty good at being on my own.

Now we are living in Oklahoma, surrounded by family. My husband has a great new job with tons of opportunities. He's home every night to help me with tucking the kids into bed, and every weekend to enjoy together as a family. His relationship with his kids grows, as does the bond he and I have. We are all closer, and happier in our little country holler home.

We are happy.

I still play my video games. I'm a geek. That will never change. Nor would my Hubz ever ask me to! He knows how much I love immersing myself into a fantasy world. Be it Final Fantasy XIV, or a book. It's a happy place.

Lately, however, we have found a hobby we both enjoy.

Motorcycles! Vroom!

We got the itch from getting to ride Hubz Dad's after Hubz fixed it and cleaned it for him. My dad had wanted us to ride since first moving to Oklahoma, but it took a while for Hubz to get over the drag racing. Now he is all in. As always he never can go just half way. And when I showed interest in learning to ride, he traded two of his project cars in for a 1996 Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 for me.

It's a small bike, but with enough power to keep up on the highway should we decide to cruise.

And did I mention? I'm totally in love with it!

I read up on everything I could about motorcycles since we got it last Saturday. Then last night we went to my dad's house. I was going to learn to ride.

I was excited, my dad was nervous, and so was Hubz.

They ran me through the basics. Talked about what to do about different situations. Had me start it, and shift through a few times. Then, with helmet and safety jacket, I kicked off on my own.

Words can not describe the joy I felt riding this machine. All my life I rode back seat, but now here I was, in control, guiding a motorcycle around my dad's large yard. I couldn't stop grinning. Around and around I went, until the sun started to sink, and I was forced to call it a night.

I was proud. I had set myself a challenge, and passed it. I had waited all my life for that moment when I could ride on my own, and I look forward to the days to come, riding alongside the love of my life, finding new adventures together.

Who knows, maybe this was just the inspiration my writing was needing. Maybe now, I have found that spark once more, and with my new joy, I can return to writing and finish the books I have neglected this past year.

One thing I have learned this week with this little bike, is if you don't challenge yourself, you will never go anywhere. So here I go again, pushing off, and hoping to stay upright!

Friday, December 4, 2015

My Biggest Adventure

Eight years ago today something happened that changed my life forever. I was young, an adventurist, I was serving my country proudly, and being the best I could. And I was pregnant.

I had just returned from a thanksgiving trip home to Oklahoma from Hawaii and was continuing my day like any other, with a few blood glucose tests and then work in the fuels shop as usual. My people were protective of me and refused to allow me to do anything but sit at a desk. Occasionally I was taken for a car ride around base for some fresh air and sunshine, but then was promptly to my little corner in the break-room where I had been sentenced for the past few months updating all the manuals and books. I was living off base in a shared house with room mates who were seldom home. It was there I returned that day, tired and just a little crampy.

The cramp persisted through the day and on into evening, so I called my Mom to see if I should be concerned. We decided to wait it out and see if it got worse. Shortly after the cramps became much worse, but it was nothing compared to the extreme cramps I deal with on a monthly basis. Still, to be on the safe side I decided to go to the hospital. Tripler, or Cripler as the airmen were fond of calling it, was on the other side of the island, farther than I felt I could manage on my own in my condition, so I call my friends to see if they could take me. After a few people didn't answer, I finally reached Mac. He rushed over in his little pickup, and off we went to the hospital.

I don't know if it was the excitement or just a few wrong turns but we soon found ourselves headed in the wrong direction. It took us nearly thirty minutes to reach the hospital.

"I forgot my ID." He told me.

Being Tripler is a military hospital ID is required for all persons within the vehicle.

"You may have to fake labor pains for us to get in." he laughed.

By this point I was gripping the 'Oh shit' handle so tight I thought it would come ripping off.

"I don't think I will have to 'fake' anything!"

I could see the panic flare in his eyes.

The guard allowed us through with only my ID, and Mac sped us through the parking lot to the emergency entrance.

"Uh? Can you walk or should I carry you?" He asked opening my door for me.

I walked with him holding onto my elbow, surely afraid I would collapse at any moment.

We signed in at the front desk, and I was promptly ushered into a tiny room while Mac waited in the waiting room. I changed into the drafty paper dress as instructed and was soon introduced to an airman medical personnel, or in other words a male nurse.
Being the modest girl that I am, this made me extremely uncomfortable, but it was not the time to be picky over the gender of my nurse, so I allowed him to examine me. He poked around a bit on my abdominal before propping up my legs and getting a look under the hood.

"Oh SHIT!" He yelled, and darted out of the room leaving me spread eagle on the exam table.

My heart dropped, my stomach clenched, and dread set in. What had he seen? Was my baby OK? Where did he run off to? Should I poke my head out and call for someone?

I was just sitting up and about to barge out of the room and demand an explanation when a woman in scrubs entered and in a calm voice introduced herself as a doctor.

I was told that what her nurse had failed to inform me before dashing out of the room to quickly find a doctor, was that my child was on the way, and that instead of coming headfirst as they should, she was coming feet first. I was then informed that I would be prepped immediately for a c-section.

Great. Here I was on an island away from family, and my babies father was deployed. I had the nurse send for Mac and told him what was happening.

"Don't worry, I'm here." He said, and suited up in a paper outfit usually meant for the fathers.

He did a great job capturing EVERY moment! Thanks again Mac!

He called my Mom, who instantly bought a flight from Oklahoma to Hawaii for that night. Then he called our supervisor who insured Daniel would be notified overseas.
It was time.

They rolled me back and put a mask on me to help me breath. I was given an epidural, and laid on a table.

Mac held my hand as they cut open my belly. I couldn't help but laugh, even through the terror I was feeling, at Mac's face as they pulled my daughter out. I doubt the poor guy ever has kids of his own. I have scarred him for life. I couldn't help but feel so grateful to this amazing friend who was standing by my side in one of the scariest situations a woman could experience.


They clipped the cord and rushed my baby to a warming table. It was quiet, and I had only seen a quick glance at her. It wasn't until I heard her start to cry that I started to breath again, and lay back content to let the doctor sew me back up. They afforded me another glance before taking her to the NICU unit, and rolling me down the hall to recovery.

The hall was filled with friends and co-workers, cheering and offering me congratulations.

I wanted to cry, but I was so tired I just smiled as they rolled me away.
As tired as I was, I didn't make for an easy patient that night. Every hour I demanded to be taken to my baby. I wanted to see her, wanted to hold her.

Each time a nurse checked on me I asked and I was told I needed to rest. Later the nurses realized how stubborn a patient I was when I tried to sit up and get out of bed on my own. I didn't care if I had to walk every hall to find her, I was going to see my baby. The nurse brought a wheel chair and wheeled me to the NICU.

I stared in wonder at the tiny baby under the heat lamp. Three pounds, two ounces I was told. She was no bigger than a half a loaf of bread. She had wires connected all over her tiny body, and I couldn't help the tears as I looked at her. Nine weeks early she still needed time to breathe on  her own, and to grow just a little more. She would have to stay in the hospital until her conditions were better.

Content she was being well cared for, I allowed my nurse to wheel me back to my room. Passing the other healing mother's with babies in their arms, or sleeping nearby in a little bed, I felt jealous. Like I was missing out on one of my rights as a mother. Look how happy they were, smiling down on their little one, while I had to return with empty arms to a dark room where I was instructed to sleep or they would not take me back to the NICU in the morning.

So I slept.

When I woke I was surrounded with friends. My co-workers had all stopped in to check on me and left behind gifts for my baby girl. Even the commander stopped in to congratulate me and informed me that Daniel had been notified. He shook my hand and left as quickly as he arrived.
I was allowed one more quick trip to my baby's side before being told once again that I needed to rest.

Later that day my Mom arrived. She helped me through the next few weeks. Healing from the c-section was a slow painful process, and I tended to try and do to much for my body to handle. I was pumping milk as best I could in hopes of it helping to make my baby girl stronger so she could come home with me, though my home had quickly become an apartment on base since my roommate suddenly had to leave. Friends and co-workers helped move my things while my mother managed everything. We visited Allyssa three times a day, suffering morning and evening Honolulu traffic, and my mother who had once dreamed of island life, quickly came to understand how I was less than thrilled to be stuck on this particular island. Far too many people, and not enough space. After a month Mom had to return to Oklahoma. I was able to manage on me own, and Allyssa was in good health and on the verge of being released. Not long after, I got to take her home, and I became a parent.

I love to tell people her birth story. I will never forget a single moment of it. It's humorous to me now after eight years, though at the time I often wondered how I would get through it all. With the help of my Mother, and the wonderful friends, more like brothers really, that I made during my time in the military I doubt I could have managed it alone. It was with their help I was able to start the biggest adventure of my life, and my gratitude and love for them is everlasting!

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!
Love always,

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG: I'm Thrivin!

It's that time again! Time for Insecure Writer's Support Group founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh and designed for writer's to help writers in all the trials of writing. For more information follow the link

It's November and for writers that means it's time for NaNoWriMo! A time when most writers are striving for that 50k word goal. I'm currently plugging away. The past few years it was tough for me to write. My fibro fog made it difficult to remember certain words I needed to use, and where I was going with a scene. I would waste precious time staring at my screen trying to work through the fog. My chronic pain and fatigue worked against the flow of words, and I would often just get up and leave, frustrated and feeling like a failure.

Then my husband gets me to try Thrive by Le-vel. His buddy promotes the stuff and when he heard about my problems he sent a trial pack.

To be honest, I didn't believe it would work. I thought "oh it's just another weight loss program promising energy."

I was wrong.

The first day I tried it, I felt I was just having a good day. My pain was minimal, but I still needed that afternoon tea pick me up. The second day I was bouncing off the walls, full of energy, and for the first time since high school, I felt hyper!

So I ordered an eight week pack, hoping the energy would help me get though NaNoWriMo. After the mental fog lifted, I was up first thing in the morning typing. I feel fantastic! 

So far I have kept up with my word counts (actually I'm ahead!), the story is flowing so well, and my imagination is coming up with ideas so easily that I feel I'm able to slip into the story world. I'm enjoying writing again! All this time I thought I was terrible. I felt like a failure because I couldn't churn out ideas like everyone else seemed to do so easily and unlike other who seemed to live in their books, I was dragging mine kicking and screaming into the world, but really it was the fog that was causing all the problems.

The greatest thing is waking up in the morning with the energy and clear head. I've never been a morning person. I would wake up feeling like I didn't sleep at all, and frustrated for the waste of time sleeping seemed to be. Now I wake up refreshed, and after getting my daughter to school I'm ready to write. Even after the cold front this week caused me some aches and fatigues, I was able to push through and stay ahead of my goal.

I'm not currently promoting for Le-vel, meaning I'm not selling the stuff, but I certainly would give it a try. At least the patches for energy and mental clarity. It has certainly helped me!

Now! Back to that NaNoNovel!!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

#NaNoPrep 2014

NaNoWriMo is fast approaching. For those who don't know, every November there is a writing challenge where writers race to write 50k words. Crazy right? It's the perfect time to challenge yourself and have a large chunk of the writing community writing along with you. I'm super excited this time around and am in hopes of coming away with not only a finished first draft, but also a better writing habit, since lately my habit is next to zip...

Aside from write-in's, word sprints, and all the buddies you make, if you don't have a plan, your going to have a tougher time of it (just my experience). Feel free to add me as a buddy!

This year I've spent most of October for #NaNoPrep.

First I chose a stand alone horror story that has haunted me for a couple years now. It's had plenty of time to brew, so writing out plot points only took one evening. I then set out to S&S the entire outline. This takes a bit more brain power, but will be like a GPS vs a printed road map. I wrote this in my little NaNo Survival planner, along with mind maps, research, names, a NaNoWriMo calendar, and of course reward stickers. I then plug that outline into Scrivener, and set the target goals.

Outline, check!

Next I downloaded every Pomodoro app I could find in the app store. The Pomodoro technique is great for focus. You work in 25 minute intervals, and are rewarded a 5 minute break. After 4 complete Pomodoro you get a 15 minute break. Toss in a couple of rewards like cookies and you have yourself a great tool to keep your butt-in-chair!

I have an Android (Samsung Galaxy S4) and only found a few apps that worked the way I wanted. The top three in order of most favorite to least is Simple Pomodoro, TimeWise, and Clockwork Tomato. Simple Pomodoro is just that... Simple. It does have an awesome way of keeping you from getting internet distracted by turning off your phones internet. If you like widgets though, you may prefer using Clockwork Tomato. Check them out, and see what works for you. If you are on the computer and want to keep from using the net, I suggest Cold Turkey. Set up a time for when you are working and it will lock you out of the net until the time is complete.

Timer, check!

I'm a graphic artist as well, so I'm inspired by images. So anytime I am working a novel, it helps if I do up a cover. Here is the one I did for my NaNoNovel.

Cover, check!

Next week I will be preparing pre-made freezer meals. It will take up an entire day to get the shopping done, put the food together, and store them all in the deep freeze. This is so I have more time to write and the family wont starve while Mom is on a writing binge... You can check out Pinterest for hundred of great meals.

Food, check!

Backup. I like to store my writing in several places after a session. I have a USB, my laptop, my desktop, and my GDrive for on the cloud storage. Make sure you back it up! Nothing worse than getting to the 50k mark and then losing all that hard work because of hardware failure, or tiny button pushing hands... In Scrivener you can set up your automatic backup to go to your dropbox or GDrive file by going to tools > Options > Backups > Backup Locations and choose the file you want it to save to.

Backup, check!

I'm a mega tech junkie so I write on several platforms. All have to be updated and prepped for writing. That means Scrivener is updated and backups are set up to go to my GDrive file so that I have auto backups to the cloud. My Ellipsis 7 tablet has a word processor and plenty of space on my SD card. The bluetooth keyboard is charged and ready to go. When I do decide to hit up a coffee shop for a write-in or whatever, I won't have to waste a ton of time getting things ready to go. Just grab my bag and go!

Tech, check!

I'm sure I will have plenty more to add to my prep list, but for now I think I am ready for a month of binge writing.

How do you prepare for NaNoWriMo?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Main Character Blog Hop

I was tagged for the Main Character Blog Hop by the lovely Katie Doyle at Writing, Reading, and Life! First let's get to know this amazing lady.


Katie Doyle is an avid reader, writer of Young Adult fiction, a mom to two tornadoes that resemble an eight and five year old, and pet to a tuxedo cat named Oz and a German Shepherd/Boxer rescue named Charlie. If she's not reading, writing, or getting Oz out of a tree, she's staring out the window daydreaming about magic and mythical creatures.

Go check out what her character had to say for the blog hop.

Now for the questions:
What is your name? Are you fictional/historical?
Lina Townsend, but it was Evalina Ross before my murder. Fictional or Historical? Well, I suppose if I were you, I would think my life too crazy to be real too...
When and where is your story set?
In the small town of Libby Montana.

What should we know about you?
The genetic key was broken and I’m the result. The first of my kind.

What is screwing up your life?
Well these other voices in my head are pretty distracting. This isn’t your average case of split personality you know… No Eva, I will not tell the nice people ‘Hi’ for you. *sigh*

What is your goal?
To find out what I am, who created me, and why. Also it would be nice to get control over these other personalities before they make me do something really terrible.
What is the title of your book?
Wild Fire
So, when will the book be published?
I’m still doing the last round of edits, but hopefully soon. 2015 for sure!

Now I was supposed to tag some people to do the challenge, but I forgot (fish brain) to ask around and see if anyone wanted to participate... (Most of my blogger friends are currently dashing around doing editing, and prepping for NaNo).

So instead, if you are reading this consider yourself tagged ;) Copy the questions above, and answer in your main character's own voice!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG: Do what makes you happy

It's been a few month's since I was last able to make an IWSG post. The Insecure Writer's Support Group is there for writers to support one another in all the trials of writing. For more about IWSG follow the link.

I've been away from writing for some time. More than I like to admit. With Hubby's sudden job change and the move, I let writing slid right out of my life. As a result I started to suffer some pretty intense depression symptoms. I never knew how much writing was helping keep those hurtful feelings at bay.

We are finally starting to get things settled in this new tiny town. If it weren't for my online friends I'm sure I would have lost it already. The hubby's job keeps him away a lot, which leaves me home alone with the kiddies. I never know when he will be home. One week away turns to two, then four. It's lonely, but at least I have my books and my writing to escape into.

It got to a point that my Hubby told me I needed to get back to my writing.

"Do what makes you happy," he told me one night after an wave of irrational anger sent me to my room, hiding behind a closed door until I could get control over it.

The past couple weeks I have tried my best to make a better writing habit, be it working on my edits, filling out my outline for NaNoWriMo, or keeping up with my blog. Either these stronger meds the Doc gave me for my fibromyalgia and depression are working perfectly, or my new writing habit have resulted in a happier me. I'm not sad, angry, or self- loathing as much anymore. Getting back into Morning Pages and dumping all those negative feelings first thing in the morning have also helped, leaving my mind fresh and ready to create.

I'm happy right now, and it feels great!

Now all I have to do is work on my workout routine!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Filo Fun for NaNoWriMo

If you are a writer or know any writers, then you have probably heard about NaNoWriMo. It's a fantastic writing challenge where writers commit to writing 50,000 words in just 30 days. Crazy right? Well apparently I'm just that kind of crazy. NaNoWriMo is coming up in November, and I plan to write my little heart out. 

Yeah, I know. I've said that the past two years but always dropped out around mid point, but here is why I didn't really make it. I was working a book in a series that I really wasn't able to plan out, because I was still working the first book of that series. Also last year sucked. I mean it. 2013 was the most unlucky year I have ever had, though 2014 is trying her best to do the same. 

This year is different. This year I have a plan.

I'll be working on my stand alone adult horror that is currently being called Ghost Mom until I can think up a catchy title. I have spent a lot of time working on an outline that wont leave me hanging. This story has been in my story nuggets file for a while. Another one of my weird and wonderful little dreams. 

I hope to attend more write-ins this year, being that I'm close to the Dallas area and there are more writing peeps in the area. For this I wanted to minimize the amount of crap I would have to tote around. My back is in bad enough shape...

A while back I saw that a writer had posted a pic of her on-the-go writing gear. It consisted of an alphasmart, a pen, and a filofax filled with her outline, character sketches, and writing notes. Ever since I have wanted a filofax for that purpose, but refused to buy one because they weren't 'just right' or were expensive (I'm frugal to the max).

Then I found this little beauty at a garage sale for $1.

It is just what I was looking for, except for the little Starz logo on the side. But hey! It's cheap and works, so I bought it, and as soon as I got home I went to filling it with note paper. Then I decided to add a calendar so I could keep goals, and word counts and stickers. When I was done with that I added in a few inspirational quotes, some blank sheets for mind mapping, fold outs for Plot Planners, and pens (my best pens). I'm in love. It's like a little writing survival kit!

This is is my mobile writers gear for NaNoWriMo. Just toss in a bag and go!

Do you have gear set up for on-the-go writing? What works best for you?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Blogger or WordPress: Part 2

This week I spent a ton of time deciding if I was going to make the move to WordPress. I looked at other blogs, other writers, and statistics. I also did a ton of pricing since I don't have a ton of cash to throw at this venture just yet.

As it is now with the funds I have to put towards the building of my brand, I just can't see spending over a hundred bucks a year on a blog. Right now I pay 10 bucks a year for my blogger domain name through GoDaddy. With it I have my own .com and a professional looking email that I can check through google. I can easily add pages as needed for when I finally get my books out and start selling. Links to the sites where my books can be purchased can be added, so there is really no need for the extra hubbub that WordPress provides.

I'm a simple.

I did however spend a day redesigning my blog to give it a more mature and professional feel. I'm doing my best to build my brand to best suit my nature. As you can see up top, this included the designing of a new header. Like it?

This branding adventure will include a new blog every week called Fact Friday where I will divulge a new fact about myself each Friday so you can learn more about me. This will start next Friday, so be sure to pop in and check it out!

I hope you enjoy the changes being made here as I continually learn and grow my blog! Thank you for being a part of my life!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Blogger or WordPress?

I'm finding myself stuck with the difficult decision of keeping my old domain at Blogger or moving to WordPress. I have heard several great things about WordPress over the years. Heck I started out on a cheapo WordPress blog page, then moved to blogger, cause that's where all the cool kids were. But now I find myself drawn back to WordPress. Over the years it has grown and flourished, while blogger... well it's not changed at all. Even the Mobile Apps are better suited to a blogger on the go.
I spent some time doing a mock up blog on one of Wordpress's free blogs, and I have to say, it is very tempting.  This temp blog isn't where my permanent blog would be if I were to make the move. Instead, I would just move my domain amymcbay.com over (for a small fee of course).

I'm in hopes that the switch would make my blog more visible, look more professional, and encourage me to write more. But it's a tough choice. Do I strike out into the wild unknown, braving the uncertainties of an entirely different platform, or do I stick with whats known and never changing? What would you do if you had the choice?

P.S. I changed the look here. Let me know what you think!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Accountability and Keeping Track

Nothing helps keep a writer writing like peer pressure. Several books I read on writing even recommends you tell your family and friends about your goals so you have that pressure of keeping that deadline. I mean, it's not like writing is that hard, right? (Joking!)

I've found that putting my goals, and my accomplishments up where others can hold me accountable keeps that butt in the chair (or the yoga ball if you have back problems like me...)

Here are a few sites I've found to track word count and goals:

myWriteClub is a great place for writers to cheer each other on. You can update you goals, and comment on other writers goals. It's still in beta mode as of the day I post this, so many changes may be made until it is officially released. Still, it's a great site!

Write Track is a Facebook app that keeps track of your word counts and page counts, and posts a progress bar on your timeline for all your friends and family to see. To find the app type Write Track in the search bar at the top and click on the icon with a colorful feather.

Last is Write-Track. Not to be confused with the one we just covered. This is a goal oriented tacking system that allows writers to log when they wrote, how long they wrote, and how much they wrote. You can set up as many goals as you like, and once you have accomplished that goal you can click the star and write up a little diddy about how that session went. Like myWriteClub you can make friends and comment on their goals. This site is also in beta (soon to go live within a week or so), but from what I've witnessed from it, Write-Track will be an extremely useful tool in keeping up with all the goals I've set for myself this year.

This list does not even begin to cover all the word counting apps, sites, and programs out there, but is more geared to holding the writer accountable through peer pressure. I hope you find these sites useful!

If you do join these sites, look me up under user name AMcBay or Amy McBay. I'd love to join your cheer squad!