Friday, December 31, 2010

Horses and kitties oh my!



Its been over three years since my butt was seated in a saddle, but yesterday my dad and I got the chance to go for a ride. It was wonderful, exhilarating, and scary as hell! Riding a horse is nothing like riding a bike. You can't just hop up and ride. I had forgotten the how to sit in the saddle, and I was on my dads horse champ who is 16 hands. For those not in the know of horses, that's a damn big horse. I'm 5'5, and can't look over his back. He is a great horse though, and took it easy on me, that is until my dad decided to run them. Having forgotten how to sit lower in the saddle and move with the horse, I was bounced high on a very big horse. It felt to me like jumping from a second story window.  I pulled up fast but decided to give it another go after a few moments. Nope, that horse was just too big. It wasn't until after I had kicked him out that Dad told me Champ usually bucked when you made him run. Thankfully, Champ was in a good mood for a run and took off without throwing me in the dirt. The rest of the ride we walked and talked which my dad and I rarely get to do anymore. It was a great ride and well worth the tender tush this morning.

Tomorrow we travel back to Texas.  Thanks to my wonderful hubby I get to finally have my cat come home with me. I got Oreo in high school and he has lived with my mom since I left for the military. He is one of my best friends, my baby, and I'm so excited to be bringing him home.

As for the kindle skins I have been working on, we almost have them sized perfectly, if only we could get the mutogh machine to work properly...

Lastly, I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year and that all your resolutions come true!

Ta!

A.McBay

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A new year


With Christmas over and all the craziness that goes along with it, you wait in anticipation as the new year draws near. For many that means new resolutions, and I am not exempt.  I have several new resolutions this year, but the biggest is to finally be done with my first draft, complete revisions, and send in my first quarry.  I had hoped to be done with WF by the end of the year, but I guess it wasn't to be. It took a while to get over that blasted brick wall. The only good I got from getting stuck at chapter 24 was that I was able to get a jump on a new novels outline. I may or may not be writing that novel next. It depends on how WF turns out. I might go on to make it a series.

Another resolution my husband and I made was to find a more reasonable place to live. Our rent is outrageous at the moment and we are getting sick of tossing money down the drain. With our lease up, we decided to try the market for a house. We are already preapproved, and will start the search as soon as we get back to Texas.  I hoping we find a place where I can make a nice office with a backyard view so that I can watch the kids while I work. If we can't get that perfect office, our plan is to get a manufactured building to put in the back yard that's big enough for my desk, a vynle printer,and my cutting table. Lastly it will have to have a huge window so I can see the babies play. I can dream.

These are only a few resolutions for the new year. What are your resolutions? Did you complete last years resolution?

I'm off to work this morning! Testing out my new design layouts while I have the shops vynle printer at my disposal.  I'm making custom kindle, phone, and laptop skins. If you have a device you would like a skin for just send me an email with the device name and the picture you would like me to use. Prices have yet to be set since we are still in the early stages of this new project but I'm sure we could work something out. I'll. Try to make a new post later today with pictures if the product turns out good. If not then I will be back to perfecting it...

I hope you have a fabulous new year!

Ta!

A.McBay


Friday, December 17, 2010

a mama's best friend

Any mom should love having a dog. They make cleaning thrown food clean up simple, they are great for guarding the kids while they play in the back yard, and they are wonderful comforters when you have been stressed to the limit. I don't think I could make it through the day without my Jasper. Since bringing him home as a rescue puppy, he has been the sweetest, most reliable companion I could ever have hoped for. Yes, he still manages to get into trouble, like chewing, but its well worth the little extra cleaning to have a friend who can always sense when you need a cuddle. Jasper is there when I write, warming my feet under my desk, and he is there when I clean, following me room to room. He pouts when I leave, and goes ecstatic when I’m get back. He plays with the babies, allowing Bubby to ride him like a pony. Jasper is the best dog you could ask for.
I’m a firm believer in rescue animals. I forbid my husband to go out and buy a registered animal. He knows that the only way any animal comes into this home is if it is from a rescue group, or he rescued it from the street (he gets bonus points for rescuing the animal himself.)
Rescued animals seem to know how fortunate they are, and are often the most loyal pets you could ever have. I have helped my mother in her rescue endeavors for many years now, bottle feeding puppies and kitties whose eyes have yet to open, training foster animals to potty outside or in a litter box, and even helping out at the local shelter during spay and neuter clinic. I have had some of my rescue babies “put down” after having nursed them back to health because of a petty animal shelter worker. Some people simply don't care about the animals even if they say they do. I'm a believer in actions speek louder than words, at least in most instances. The most important thing is that we have enriched the lives of so many animals and humans. That is the greatest reward for rescuing animals.
My mom is currently nursing a puppy that just opened his eyes a few days ago. He goes to work with her, and like any infant she gets up several times a night to feed him and make sure he is clean. I don’t think people realize the work and love put into rescue animals.
If it were not for my mom’s devotion to rescue animals, we would never have found Jasper. He brightens my day.
So the next time you want to expand your family with an animal, I hope you choose to look up one of the many rescue groups around the nation, or visit petfinder.com the leading animal adoption site. Save a life, and find your new forever friend.

Ta!
A.McBay

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A case of the blargs

I would like to take a line from the fabulous LKH, and say thank you to the plague monkey that shared this nasty little bug. Next time, keep your sick ass home…

Last night I came down with a stomach bug that kept me up sick until four when I was finally able to get to sleep. The sickness did a great job throwing my back out and putting me in even more pain. What's more, my husband came down with the same bug, and any woman can tell you, men are the biggest babies when they are sick. So, I'm back to waiting on him while taking care of the kids while I myself am still sick. Joy.

The only good thing is that it's a beautiful day and I can keep the backdoor open and watch the babies from the couch while watching a back to the future series.

Ah well… Mothers never catch a break…

Ta!

A.McBay

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Window Seat

Ignoring the yucky puke green walls, my window seat is a wonderful place to work. I can watch the kids play in the back yard, my dog sits at my feet, and most importantly I'm just a few steps away from the coffee pot. If I'm writing or designing, my desktop is my creation station. With pictures of loved ones surrounding my screen, I am constantly reminded of those who support me the most. It pushes me to keep going, and to continuously reach for my dreams.
I have tried moving my desktop to other spots in the house to try and find a quiet place to work, but with a 1 year old and a 2 year old quiet is an impossibility, and my work space always ends up back in the kitchen window. I have my Pappy Plant to remind me of Pap, and a few baby banana trees that my mom gave me. I think the nanner trees are surviving the winter... (I don't have a green thumb like my mother)
So there you have it, my creation station!
That's the extent of my blogging today. Unfortunately, with a migraine and sinus ick, my writing is pretty sucky...
Hopefully tomorrow will bring better words.
Ta!
A.McBay

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fruits of procrastination

Last night was the squadron CE Christmas party, and after getting in late, not sleeping much because of hubby's snoring, and then getting up early with a cranky lil' boy, I was in no mood for writing. Instead I spent my morning checking out some writer's programs, and catching up on laundry. There are a few that I really enjoyed working with. Few are free, but most of them have a free trial, and are priced under $100.

The top pick would have to be Scrivener- This program allows you to break your writing down into chapters, and even has the index cards for easy outlining. There are plenty of features this program offers all for a nice little fee of about fifty bucks. http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php and here for the windows beta http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivenerforwindows/


Xmind is a nice mind mapping program, if you're into that kind of thing, and free of charge. http://www.xmind.net/

Ywriter is free software that can be better described as a simplified Scrivener. Did I mention it's free? This program was made by a published author and participator in Nanowrimo. He has also developed yedit2 for counting down your words. Plug in your goal for the day, and the program will count down to 0. You can pick both of these up here http://www.spacejock.com/

Liquid Story Binder is like Scrivener but with attitude. Outlining, chapters, pictures, you name it. This program is loaded. http://www.blackobelisksoftware.com/

I have yet to pick a program that suites me.

What program works best for you?

Ta!

A.McBay

Friday, December 10, 2010

NWIP

Yesterday I started a new project based only on a dream that I had. It was so vivid and detailed that I had no problem writing the premis for the outline. I was so excited I called my mom and explained it to her in all the detail that I remembered it. I don't know if she was as enthused as I was though. I'm sure she's just worried about me starting a new project while I am so close to the end of another, even though she was the one to tell me to step away from WF, and see if when I came back to it if the problems would be more apparent to me. So I am setting it aside for a short while, and working on an outline for the new project. I'm in high hopes of making it a YA fantasy/paranormal about two families that must learn from two girls how to put aside grudges and work together to survive. Yeah, pretty basic so far, but hopefully I can share the good parts when the outline is completed.

As for grudges, I guess that is something I myself need to work on. I'm a terrible grudge holder. The deeper the hurt, the tighter I hold on. It's something I have been working on for a while now, but I still have a few that I'm just not ready to let go of.

On a brighter note, Christmas vacation is nearly here. We had planned on being in OK by now, but thanks to the military doctors/idiots, we can't leave until after my husband's appointment. Dramaw was sad today when Allyssa called her to say "Dramaw, come get me! I wanna go your house."

Dramaw was upset to have to wait another week before her grandbabies arrived.

I guess that means I will be spending the week preparing the house, catching up on laundry, and packing. (And trying to squeeze in some TPR sessions when I get the chance!)

I hope everyone's Christmas plans go wonderfully!

Ta!

A.McBay

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dreamer

Family and friends are always asking me where my ideas for stories come from, and are shocked when I show them my dream file. I have always been a very vivid, very imaginative dreamer. When I was little, I dreamed I was friends with Freddy Krueger, and he would beat up my bullies and shrink down so I could drive him in a remote control car. I suppose the fact that instead of watching Sesame Street, and instead was watching Nightmare on Elm Street was a good start to my bizarre imagination.

Another fuel to the fire would be my love for reading. My grandmother taught me to read and shared with me her obsession for books, and all my life I have been hopelessly addicted. Before my husband got me my kindle, I had a hard time every year cleaning off my book shelves and taking books I had read that year to the local used bookstore. Luckily, Chris would take the books and give me store credit to purchase more books.

In Jr. High, my taste in books was more towards fantasy, and in High School I came to love paranormal and sci-fy themed books. When my classmates where struggling to do their book reports on 200 page books, I was finding ways to do mine over book series that were published in one book with over 1k pages. My teachers were always impressed with my dedication to books.

After having some incredible reoccurring dreams, and after reading several books that left me thinking "I could have wrote better", I finally started writing. At first, I wrote my dreams on any piece of paper that was near me when I woke up, but soon I needed a better way to file these little treasures. Now if I wake in the middle of the night, I grab my laptop, which is always by my bedside when I go to bed, and file the dreams in a file called Novel Ideas. When I get up the next morning, the file is copied to my USB for safer storage.

That is where all of my story ideas are drawn from. My current WIP started from a dream, and has been built around other dreams that I have had since the first one that had started it all.

Where do you draw your story ideas from? Are you one to remember your dreams, and if so what are the most reoccurring themes in your dreams? Do you have dreams that haunt you long after you wake up? If so, put those dreams to work for you. You may have a bestseller just waiting to be shared!

Ta!

A.McBay

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

TV blockes the creativity


The past few weeks I have watched a lot more TV than I normally do. I blame this on my husband being home all day. Its just as much my own fault for getting sucked in to his shows, but I have noticed a huge block in creativity. It may or may not be related. With so much more TV time I am loosing time from my favorite and much more helpful hobby of reading. Without reading, I find it harder to write. So I have delved into the study of outlining, which I completed today. I plan to work on my new outline the rest of the week, cut the majority of my TV time, listen to more music, and read as much as I possibly can! Hopefully this will bring my creativity back from the underworld, and will allow me to get back to my WIP. What helps you to create?

Ta!

A.McBay

Outline study and late night TV



I'm having a hard time waking up this morning. Last night, after the gals at TPR gave me the link I spent nearly an hour browsing Kelly Armstrong's forums. It's packed with useful info. After a while I started to print a couple of pages before realizing that I was wasting paper and ink, and just needed to load it to my kindle. After slapping myself for being so silly, I managed to get a PDF made, and loaded to my kindle. The rest of the night was spent studying Kelly's technique for outlines.

I'm sure my husband thinks I am nuts when I chew myself out. He was also concerned when he got up late and found me still awake watching Warehouse 13, and Ghost Adventures, unable to sleep because I was still obsessed with outlines. He finds it hard to believe that I do my best learning from the internet and reading instead of college courses. I have a hard time concentrating on school work. I have taken online art classes but I had a hard time connecting with the course and the teachers. I will return to the course at some point, probably when I don't have two screaming kids hanging off each leg.

Excuse me, I have to go chase down bubby who just made off with my wireless mouse…

Mouse rescued.

My life right now is just too chaotic for school, although I would love to take a course to help with writing.

Now, I again want to brag about how much I love my Kindle! It's so wonderful having a devise to read from, and work from. I have a wish list full of books that I want for recreational and educational reading. Hopefully my husband takes my hints and instead of getting me gifts he just gives me an Amazon gift card for more books! He asked if I wanted the new Kindle 3 and I told him that yes I would love the new K3 but I didn't need it. My K2 still works wonderfully and I will probably use it until it dies. My kindle goes everywhere I go. If you are looking for a great e-reader, you can't go wrong with a Kindle.

Ta!
A.McBay

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Allyssa passed the torch


With my daughter graduating to the tyrannous threes, she has passed the torch for her baby brother to get a jump start on the terrible twos. Although he just turned one a couple of months ago, he has remarkably shown that he is quite capable of throwing a fit to equal any two year old. His walking has only doubled his trouble making capabilities. I can't cook or do dishes without him literally between my legs. There's no telling what the boy will do. For instance, this morning I go to get a spoon for breakfast, and find our apples in the silverware drawer. He is constantly in the dog food and water bowls, and if I'm not paying attention he will dig in the trash. Last night I was putting the books he had pulled off my bookshelf when I noticed chew marks along the spine of a few of the books. He's teething on my books!
Being that my hubbers just had surgery and is on medical leave for a few weeks, he has been witness to the craziness of my day to day life. He commented last night that the most said phrase throughout the day is "Bubby, NO!" Be it that he is pulling down the Christmas tree, or has his big sister in a head lock, the kid is in constant trouble.
He is still a mama's boy though. He thinks he has to occupy my lap anytime I am sitting, be it on the couch or at the computer. He loves to give big wet slobbery kisses, and a wallowing hug.
My day to day life is anything but boring with him around. He brightens my day, and makes sure I have plenty of cleaning to do. There he goes with dad's shoe on his arm…
Ta!
A.McBay

Monday, December 6, 2010

It’s just not working…

I got up this morning to an email from my mom. She has been the one I have read and review the book. Since the beginning she has loved every chapter, but now she feels the same as I do, chapter 24 just isn't working out. I don't know if I was trying to push it instead of letting it come to me or what the problem was. The new personality added in this chapter has got to go. I need to learn how I can merge all of the main's personalities into one without creating a new one. They need to work together to create a stronger, more confident main. As it is now, it is just too confusing to add a new one.

Instead of pushing this time, I think I will just let it come to me. To do this I will read other authors that inspire me more, go on walks with my kids, soak in the bath, and just allowing the creativity to go wherever it wants. If it leads me to designing, I will design. If it leads me to drawing, I will draw, and if it leads me to writing, I will write.

I will have to relax my mind even though I am unable to relax my body. With two sick babies, who are going to the doc today, and an injured hubbers, I'm constantly being pulled in separate directions.

Hopefully, I will figure this chapter out and can finally move on with the story. Until then, I remain stuck in the muck of my own writing. Perhaps it's time to pull out the all powerful Anne McCaffrey books for inspiration.

Ta!

A.McBay

Thursday, December 2, 2010

On the couch

Tuesday my husband went in to have his ankle surgery. They ended up having to peel back some of the ankle, cut out a cyst, and then after finding a hole in the bone, filled the hole with artificial bone. My poor hubby has been in so much pain, it wakes him at night. I have taken to sleeping on the couch so that I don't hurt his leg in my sleep (we have a small bed.) Really it hasn't been too bad since the couch pulls out into a bed. The dogs think they need to sleep next to me, so there is little room to roll after the wedge me in. On top of my husband's gimpy foot, the kids have come down with a cold. Some sort of stuffy nose ickyness that has them feeling pretty irritable. Last night I fixed my first successful homemade chicken noodle soup. Everyone sucked up the warm chicken goodness, and was feeling quite satisfied and sleepy by the end of the night.

As far as writing, I have had little time to work on the book. It has been hard enough to find any time to do a blog. I am still doing the love dare. It is teaching me so much about myself and my husband. It's just been tough to sit down and write about my missions every day. For one of my missions I was to get my hubby a gift that he would love. After thinking a long time on what I should get him, I decided he would really like a new pair of house shoes. He is always stealing mine and wearing them out before I get them back from him. So while at Wal-Mart (also known as the gateway to hell here in Abilene), I went in search for a nice pair of house shoes. At first I was going to get him a pair of memory foam shoes, until I saw a pair of longhorn shoes. My husband is a big Texas fan. He was so excited when I gave them to him. He wore them everywhere. The gift showed him that I was thinking about him, I cared about him, and that I paid enough attention to him that I knew his likes and dislikes.

I have been working on several things in the dare. It has taught me to be a kind, selfless, non irritable, appreciative, non jealous, and encouraging spouse. It's not been an easy journey. Sometimes I wonder why I try, when it feels like what I do is unappreciated. That's when I say a little serenity prayer, and move on. One thing I have learned is that love is not easy. Its hard work and dedication, but the rewards are well worth it!

Today I have to get my house chores done before I can go to my practice room sessions. There are two that I can participate in. One is scheduled at 3 est and the other at 8 est, and I want to be able to work on my book for each session. Hopefully the kids will allow me some writing time. They have been really cranky, and have been crying at me all morning.

This Saturday is my baby girl's third birthday. We are planning to have friends over for cake and ice cream. Dramaw has already made a banner and mailed it to us for the event. I already got her gift, and just need to wrap it. She is into Barbie now so we are having a Barbie princess party. Dramaw calls her princess Abby Dabby. A nick name she has had before birth when I was trying to pick out a name. I had wanted to name her Abigail, but my hubby like the name Allyssa, so we compromised and he picked the first name and I picked her middle name Raye after her Papa Hoho. Bubby was the same. He picked Aydan, and I chose Charles after my papa corky and pappy who passed just before Aydan's birth, hence why some people call him Charlie or Chuck.

I have much to do today so that I can write later so I had best wrap this up now. Maybe I will even get some reading time in. I am still reading Laurel K Hamilton's The Laughing Corpse. LKH is a huge inspiration.

Until the next chance I get to blog,

Ta!

A.McBay