Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Vroom

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,
Mom


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.

About 

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!

Friday, July 25, 2014

I'm Back!

"Hello boys, I'm Baaaack!"
It took longer than expected, but I am mostly moved. We still have a few things to go back for, and a few things to fix around the old place, but I'm living in Sanger now. Small town, Sanger. In Suburbia...

It's a temporary stop, until we can find our permanent forever home.

The unpacking is going as well as can be expected. The computers are up (thankfully still in tact even after Hubz dropped it), and writing areas have been selected and set up. Yes, it was number one on the list of to-dos! I gave up my office space, but made room in the dining area for a desk, and then another is in my room. At least there is a lock on the bedroom door. I'm sure that will come in very handy!

We hit a small road block when my grandma had a stroke and we went to Tulsa to visit her. Good news, she is doing well, and just settled into her room at rehab for a few months of physical therapy.

I've had a nice weeks vacation since my dad took the kids for a week, and I even got some editing done on WF. The little monsters will be home tomorrow so quiet time will be few and far between.

I will try to get a new blog post up weekly, but with things still a bit chaotic, I wouldn't hold my breath.





Monday, June 9, 2014

Away From Blog



As you may know we are moving, and until further notice I am away from blog. All writing is packed away, and soon will be loaded onto a moving truck with all the rest of our belongings and moved to Sanger TX. Writing life will resume when reno and move are complete. See you on the other side!

Monday, April 14, 2014

App Love: iPP Podcast Player



I love podcast. When I'm not listening to audio books from audible or the robot tone of my kindle 3rd gen, I'm listening to podcast. I have them for gaming and writing and self-publishing. If you are not listening to podcast, you are missing out.

The problem though was that most of my podcast were on iTunes, and I have an Android tablet and phone. Ugh! So, aside from loading my entire podcast folder onto my SD card (yep it's possible) and wasting all that space, I could only listen from my computer. Lame!


After searching for a way around this I stumbled upon an app called iPP Podcast Player. It searches though the iTunes store for the podcast you are missing on your Android device.

Simply type in the name of your podcast in the search bar and viola. Hit the bookmark button to subscribe.


Now go out into the world and listen to your podcast!

A short list of my favorite Writing podcast:

  • Writing Excuses
  • I Should Be Writing
  • Grammar Girl
  • The Self-publishing Podcast
  • The Creative Penn
  • Word Play

Friday, April 11, 2014

Calengoo


Life can get a little hectic, and for a gal dealing with fibro fog on a daily basis, I tend to forget important tasks. Seriously. My Mom and I joke that we are a couple of fish, because they have about a five second memory. Whenever we remember something we yell "fish!" If it weren't for my phone, I wouldn't know what day it was.

I've always been drawn to planners. The pretty stationary, the organized sleeves, the fancy pens, and the colorful tabs... Yeah, I have a slight problem with office supplies.

The only problem is either I don't have room in my purse/ huge bag, or like my journal, I just don't stay devoted to it. Folks spend hours keeping up with their perfect little planners. I don't have that much time to invest.

Then I got my Ellipses 7 from Verizon for Christmas. I searched the web and the Google PlayStore looking for something that would work like a FiloFax. I played with a dozen different apps. Finally I stumbled on a blog post about Calengoo. It was basically a FiloFax in app form!


Calengoo's number one feature in my book is that it syncs with your Google Calendar. I can easily add new events and tasks via the PC and it is instantly updated to my tablet, which I never go anywhere without. I have several calendars set up in my Google account for all the different aspects of my life. I have one for keeping track of my word counts/page counts/writing, I have one for house chores, one for appointments, and one for family events.


Another useful tool in the arsenal is the Task lists. I love to-do lists. Every morning I get up and plan my day. I don't like wasted time. Calengoo allows you to make several lists complete with check boxes, because who doesn't like checking things off the lists? Hooray productivity!


With Calengoo you can plan your day down to the very last second! And did I mention the widgets? Awesome!

After only a few weeks with this Bad-A little app, I'm totally in love. It's certainly moved to my top 5 can't live without apps.

It's available on itunes and Play Store, so head on over and give it a try.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Why I refuse to give up my Kindle 3rd Gen

The e-book revolution has evolved. I've been reading e-books for nearly five years. As soon as I discovered them, I had to have them, and it has been a happy obsession ever since. I was reading e-books before it was cool.

Now everyone is doing it.

Every year though our devices are upgraded. Now everyone prefers to read on tablets. Here's why that is a big nuh-uh for me. With the distractions of the social apps, and the mega eyestrain of looking at an LCD screen, it's hard to stay focused for more than twenty minutes let alone the hours that I prefer to immerse myself.

For reading, I still adore my little 3rd Generation Kindle.

I love it's lightweight, the easy to read e-ink pages, the long lasting battery (with wi-fi turned off it can last days), I can load my manuscripts and those of my critique partners on it, I can take notes and highlight,
and I especially love the text-to-speech function (you grow accustomed to the robo-voice.)

That last one is the kicker as to why I will never upgrade from my 3rd gen. I use the text-to-speech all the time. Take this week for instance. I just spent the last three days painting my house getting it ready to put on the market, and in that time I also read a book, cover to cover. My hands were busy, and my mind was occupied.

I've started to rely on the text-to-speech to read to me all through the day, and as a result, I'm making a dent in my reading list! Go me!

What is your favorite reading device and why?

Don't forget to sign up for my mailing list! I promise no spam, and junk mail, only updates on giveaways and book release dates. And speaking of giveaways, after collecting 50 addresses I will do a drawing for an amazon gift card!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What the move means for the writer in me

Picture provided by Geoffap @ Mourge File

So by now you all know we are free of the military, and Hubz has an amazing dream job he never thought he would ever get to have in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area (only 3 hours from home from family!), but what does this mean for me and my writing?

Well, first let's take a moment to see where I am in my writing adventure.

When I first started writing, I had no clue what I was doing. I was a bookworm with a story, and though I churned that story out, I had a long way to go on the road to becoming a writer. I devoured writing books, suggested blog posts, and latched on to other writer all in hopes of learning. My book has been shredded by my loving but brutally honest Critique Group. These ladies have become some of my closest friends because not only have they seen into me, but they were willing to nurture me. For that, I could never repay them.

Then a few months ago I won a free edit of my manuscript by K.M. Weiland. I'm still in shock! Another chance to learn from one of the Internets greats!

But then life took a huge dooky in my lap, and with the stress and worry, writing slipped from my daily routine.

Life is getting better though. I'm not stressing on making that meager paycheck stretch, not worrying over what bills can get paid and which will just have to wait. I'm slowly pulling back into writing. Getting blog posts up, studying, reading, and when I can, I write.

I know I'm a long way from being where I planned to be, getting back up to where I was before the crap hit the fan, but with our new future, I'm seeing all the possibilities opening up to me. I'm making new plans, that can be started as soon as we settle.

I'm close to being done with my Final Edits, and am nearly halfway done with the first draft of another book. Publishing is on the horizon! I have been working a few years towards that goal, and not just by writing. I am getting out there, getting known, building a readership, building a platform, and learning the ways of self-publishing. I'm working towards a career! Something I can be proud of!

Can you think of a better area to start this adventure than the Dallas/ Fort worth area? Such a vast area with so much potential. Even Kim Harrison toured there! All I can think is somehow, we managed to get on the road we were always meant to travel!

I am free to create, to take on this mission with no guilt. I have always had the support of my hubz, but I couldn't help but worry over how we would budget. That worry is gone!

I want to thank the man who thought to bring us down, because without him, my husband wouldn't have his dream job, and I wouldn't be this much closer to my dream. Karma dude... It doesn't lie.

I have been blessed over and over again on this writing adventure, from good friends and critique partners, to a position as a writing mentor, to having an edit I wasn't able to afford being given to me, to the support of my family, and I want thank you all. You are the reason I keep going, keep dreaming, and keep writing.

Happy thoughts people!

Don't forget to sign up for my mailing list in the side bar. Once I get 50 addresses on my list, I will do an amazon gift card giveaway!

Friday, March 21, 2014

On My Own


Whoa! Where have the past two months gone?!?

Time is flying by now, and I'm sure you can all guess why. I'm on a *dun dun dunnnnn* deadline.

I have about two months to get this house ready to sell/rent (paint, new floors, ect.), find a new home in the Dallas area (preferably outside city limits), and pack all our stuff, all while taking on all the family duties all by my lonesome. 

Hubz is off making money to support the family at his fancy, wonderful, big paying, new job and wont get to come home for a visit for a few weeks. No big for us since we have already tackled deployments and all, but still... I miss big people talk.



On the writing side of things, I'm currently reading a book by John Truby called The Anatomy of Story. I was told by my best bud and crit partner extraordinar, Marisa Hopkins, that the homework sections will help outline a novel in a whole new way that you hear angels sing when your done! So of course, I have to study it. It's pretty intense!

 Find it on Amazon

I also started an art journal where I plan to add something new at least once a week. It gives me a chance to unwind and express myself, and my feelings. So far it has turned out to be quite therapeutic, and even the kids enjoy art time. We pull out the water colors and pencils, and just spend an hour a day playing.

My reading list is getting rather crowded as I try to finish book three of the Game of thrones, and the newly released Kim Harrison book Undead Pool, with Patricia Briggs and her newest Mercy Thompson book following close on their heals. All great authors, and great (often huge) books. If only I didn't have all these real life things going on!
 
With all that's going on I've had to drop a massive amount of TV time (not sorry I did), and cancel my FFXI account until I have time to play. I'm already going through withdraws, but it's amazing how much more you get done when the TV isn't on. I'm filling that time with art, studying, singing with the kids, playing outside with the kids, and getting stuff done! My new motto lately is "Quit slackin and make it happen."

And that is just what I'm gonna do!

Oh! And one more thing, I'm trying to build an email list for future news updates, giveaways, and leading up to when I finally get my book edited and published. If you would, please check the side bar -> 
and sign up. Once I reach 50 addresses on my list I will do a giveaway!

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Horizons


I've been saying for a while now that I can't discuss what is going on with my family and the stress we have been under these past few months. I still can't go into detail, not until it's all said and done. There is still a chance that those who are out to make our lives miserable to try and ruin it all for us.

In short, we were screwed over, and will be leaving the military. I'm sad it's come to this, but I feel the military is no longer what it once was. I'm not proud of how it is being run, which reminds me too much of the politics of congressmen. I remember the core values of the USAF, and live by them still. Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. I'm ashamed of the acts I've witnessed of what was my military. Everyone is out for themselves, and those that you call friend are just waiting to stab you in the back, to make themselves look better.

I'm livid that someone would take my hospitality and good deeds and try to claim it as their own, all to get ahead. This is one of those forgiveness things I need to work on and I'm sorry to say, but I'm just not up to that just yet. The wound is still too fresh. There is more to the story, but at this time it is not all mine to share, but it all ends the same. We are leaving the military.

Sure, we could stay and fight. We could stay and make sure that those who are in the wrong are punished, but why? Why should we continue to suffer, just to bring down a few corrupt people? No, we have decided to leave it all behind. To move on with our lives.

I'm in hopes that this chaos leads to better things. So far we are looking at a brighter horizon. So although we have had hard times, lost friends, and have been worried over how we are going to make it, we can now see that it was leading us in a direction that will in short make us happier.

Come summer we will be moving (again >.<) to Dallas. I'm excited because not only will we be closer, but my husband will no longer have to deploy. I wont have to worry about him volunteering for dangerous missions and nearly getting killed. He will have a great job (Thanks to his best bud for getting him the opportunity), and we will have better benefits than the military could ever give us (No more military docs! YAY!)

And the best part? We are going to be closer to family! No more lonely holidays, no more homesickness, and no more listening to the kids beg to go visit family. We will be able to go visit whenever we want.

So even though our family suffered a lot in 2013, we are looking at a brighter 2014. This will be the year that we settle our family for good. This year we have a direction for change, and we are going to make the most of it!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ellipsis 7



Verizon was having a great sale for Black Friday where you could add a line to your existing plan (10 bucks a month) and get a free Ellipsis 7 tablet. So my husband, knowing the tech geek that I am, got it for me.

I flippin love this little tablet.

Most reviews of it are more on the negative side, but for what I use it for, it's perfect. Before I was using a Kindle Fire (which I gave to the Hubz, and he loves it). Not the HD one, the first gen. I had it rooted to run jellybean, because the OS sucked.

The Ellipsis 7 is faster by far, even though it just has a 1.2GHz Quad-Core Processor. It has a 7" screen, which is perfect for me. I don't like those huge 10" screens. They make the device bulky to hold for long periods of time and it's more difficult to carry around with you.

I take my tablet everywhere.

With the 4g LTE I can connect to the internet, or even turn my tablet into a hot spot and share my internet with friends. Since at home I always use my router, I never really use much of my data plan.


When I first got the tablet I went on Amazon to get some accessories for it, but they don't carry much for the new device. I did manage to find a Bluetooth Sharkk Keyboard cheap. While most Bluetooth keyboards cost $30 and up, this one cost me about 9 bucks. It's super smooth to type on, and has a rechargeable battery instead of having to use AA batteries like most. It's now priced around $20, so I am happy to have made such a deal.


On my Fire I was using Quickoffice app to write, but with the Christmas season OfficeSuite Pro 7 was having a sell on their app. It is basically like Office on the go. It even syncs with my Google Drive so I can save documents there. Then I found out how to print from Officesuite by setting up my printer to be shared. So I can be at a coffee shop across town, print a document, and have it sitting in my printer tray at home.



Did I mention I love my tablet?


I also loaded it with the Day by Day app. This app is like having a digital planner. Have you seen those ridiculously awesome planners on Pinterest? Well this does basically the same thing. except I don't have to carry around another clunky binder. Did I mention it syncs with my Google Calendar? All of my tasks, goals, word counts for the day, family appointments, and other agendas are easily brought up in a tap.

Here is a list of other great apps that are perfect for my needs.


  • Blogger
  • Feedly (for reading blogs)
  • Ubersocial (replaces Hootsuite and TweetDeck)
  • Google+
  • Facebook and Pinterest (duh!)
  • Kindle (my library goes where I go)
  • Pandora
  • iDeviant
These apps keep me connected, and keep me inspired.

I see myself escaping to a quiet coffee shop often this year. It's all part of the plan!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Digging In

Today I got serious about getting into my edits. I found all that red wasn't nearly as frightening as I thought it to be. There are some great ideas flowing, and I'm learning a lot on the way.


If you are wondering why I printed it in landscape, it's for two reasons. Number one, I'm a lefty. Writing in binders is a pain in the arse for us poor lefties. Two, it allows me to better view the comments without miniaturizing the page and text. In short, it works for me.

I would love to hear from other lefties about techniques they use to adapt to a right handed world.