Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IWSG: Guilt


It's that time of month again! Time for Insecure Writer's Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. A support group to help writers with all the woes of writing. Don't let my upbeat attitude fool you, I have plenty of writerly issues!
When I started writing it was purely a hobby. As my story grew so did my dream of actually becoming a writer.I wanted to have my book published and read by others, to share my dreams with the world. A dream all writers share I’m sure.
I started out writing only at night, in my own time, when the family was asleep and no one demanded my attention. I was a closet writer, and not even my Hubz knew what I was doing up late every night. Then I started to study the craft more, and my writing took up more of my time. I was quickly becoming obsessed with this creative power I had, and eventually I was found out. My Hubz was angry at first that I hid this part of me, but as he did with my art, he was supportive.
I decided I wanted writing to be more than just a hobby, but I still only write in my free time. I can’t write while there are chores to be done, or family to tend to. I feel guilty if I leave the dishes in the sink so that I can write. At this very moment my house is a disaster from decorating my daughters room for her birthday, and it is just eating me up to be sitting here writing when I have so much house work to do. I have the permission to write, but I can’t overcome the guilt I feel when I put my writing first.
Is it because it still feels like a hobby, that I still find it enjoyable, that it still feels like a reward to be claimed at the end of the day when I have completed all of my tasks? I want to be able to turn that other part of me off when it comes time to write, to not be nagged by the things I can get to later. It’s hard enough working around the family.
Last month I dropped everything for writing. I had easy pre-made meals, my house was less than perfectly clean (yes, I’m a neat freak), and for the first time ever, writing was number one on my task list.
I got up, took my daughter to school, fixed my son breakfast, then settled in at my keyboard with a cup of coffee. It was hard. I couldn’t stay focused. So I started doing chores at night so the house didn’t look so bad the next day. That took time from the Hubz who after a long day at work, wanted to just be around me and be my focus of attention.
It feels like no matter where I schedule my writing time, I always find something else I should be doing, or someone else I should be paying attention to.
When does the guilt stop?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

November: time writers disappear


I love October. It's filled with ghost and ghouls and monsters of all types. All the spooky movies and shows are played nearly all day, every day. But what I love most about October, is the month that follows it.

Blessed November! The time when about 90% of the writing community disappear into their writing caves to pound out words. Some are doing Nanonwrimo, a 50,000 word novel in a month, and some are just using the writing vibes and comradery of the Nano'ers to finish a WIP. What ever the reasons, November is a month for writing.

So this blog post is for my family and friends.



Don't expect to see me much this month. In fact, lower your expectations for me for the month of November. I hope to use the month of November to finish WF. To get all notes from critiques covered, to get all rewrites finished, and to get this book out to betas. I hope to get started on book two. I hope to take all that I have learned in the writing of book one to flourish with book two. I hope to send my books out into the world, where I can share my story with everyone.

I love you all, but November is the one month of the year where I have to be just a little bit selfish, and take some time for myself and my writing.

I'll see you at the end of the tunnel on December 1st

All my love.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I give you my heart


I have a hard time working with emotion, so when my Crit Partners came back saying my MS’s middle was lacking, I went on the hunt for the emotions I needed to amp up the scenes and keep the middle from sagging from lack of conflict. Normally I would hop over to The Bookshelf Muse or open up The Emotion Thesaurus for help with figuring out what my characters should be doing. I still stumbled through these chapters, unclear how to get the emotion to the page.

didn't have to wait long before I was wammied with enough emotion I thought my head would explode.

I’m still recovering from the initial shock of what is happening within my family, but through this terrible turn of events, I was given exactly what I needed for my story. Rage, disappointment, heartache, shock, and so many other emotions are poring through me. What was to be a happy occasion has turned into what feels like a funeral.

So I turned to my writing.

The most fantastic thing about writer’s is that if you give us happiness, we can write happiness, and if you give us pain, we give you our hearts on a page. This is a blessing for me. If I didn't have an outlet for the darkness, I’m sure I would succumb to it. Instead, I torture my MC, to the point that I’m crying for her, then I wipe my tears, and continue on.

I’m thankful God gave me this gift. He must have known just what I needed to survive.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

IWSG: Insecure Writers Support Group



This is the first time I've posted for the IWSG hosted byAlex J. Cavanaugh, and the first time I have posted on my blog in a long while, but I certainly could use the therapy.

My biggest insecurity, and that of any writer I would guess, is that I will finally get my book published, only to have it fail miserably. I’m terrified no one will like it. Perhaps this is the true reason when I sit down to work on my rewrites my brain shuts down. Is it my own fear that is getting in the way of me completing this book?
What if I send it out to betas and an editor and they hate it?

I love my book. I love the story and the characters so much I want to live in that world forever, but I fear I may be the only one.

The hardest thing I have done as a writer so far was to find a critique group and submit my writing. The women in my group are brilliant wonderful people with fabulous stories of their own, and I feel so blessed to be a part of their group. They have taught me so much! The advice in their critiques is crucial to my rewrites. Without it I would have no direction. I wouldn't know what to fix, what to cut, and what to add. It’s thanks to them I have made it this far.

But now I am looking at the end of the rewrite tunnel, and the light is blinding and scary as heck. I know what comes next. I have to send it out. I have to share.

I’ll do this. No matter how afraid I am. Even if there is the possibility no one will love it as I do. I will face my fear, because that is what we writers do. We throw ourselves out there. We pray that little piece of our soul will be loved, and welcomed into someone else’s heart. That is a prize that will make it all worthwhile.

What is your biggest fear as a writer? 

Ta!
A.McBay

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Change


It’s that time of year again. School time. Many parents have been shipping their kids off to school for years now, for others it’s only just begun.


That’s where I am. Yesterday was my Baby Girl’s first day of Pre-K. No problem for her, she was quite ready to leave poor Mom for a fun day of learning. I on the other hand, am still getting used to this drastic change in my life. Up at five, get ready, drink my coffee, wake the kids, dress them, do BG’s hair, get everyone’s shoes on, out the door at 7:35am, walk 15 minutes to the school, sign BG in, and walk 15 minutes back home with my son. After that it’s cleaning and writing until 1:50pm when I get to walk back to the school to get BG.

The kids have acclimated wonderfully. They enjoy the rides in the Jeep stroller, and it’s wonderful exercise for me.I may actually loose that pudge I gained over the summer! *fingers crossed*
Jeep double jogging stroller

I also have more time in the morning for writing while Disney Jr distracts Bubby.I’m sure once we have a set routine I will be more productive. Until then it’s just trying to figure out when is a good time to clean, when is Bubby distracted enough for me to write,and how fatigued am I feeling.

Change is hard, but it is life. Everything changes. Our babies grow up, go to school, then eventually no longer need us at all. Change is what you make of it. You can moop about it, or you can bend it to do your bidding, and I intend to make the most of this!

I have an opportunity to get more work done without being interrupted by BG every five minutes, I have the opportunity to better my health and fitness, and I have the opportunity to get some one on one time with my son.

I look forward to all that this change can do for me, and for my family.

What changes are being made in your life this school year, and what are you doing to insure a positive outcome?

Ta!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Banshees part 2

A few months back I shared why I call my children banshees. Today I want to continue sharing with this little segment of our evening. I don't know why these kids love to scream...


Saturday, August 11, 2012

WriteOnCon: I did it! I posted

WriteOnCon.com is huge in the writing community. It's an online writer's conference filled with fantastic writing advice, camaraderie, and even Ninja Agents. Many flock to the site each year to post up tid bits of their writing in hopes of being selected by an agent.

Last year, I mostly just attended the events, and gleaned as much as I possibly could from all the awesomeness. This year, I bucked up and put WILD FIRE's first five pages up for Critique.

Oh my GEEZY! I'm so nervous! I can only cross my fingers, down a glass of whine, and hope people like it as much as my crit group.

Did you post anything for WriteOnCon? If so link it so I can visit ;)


Ta!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Common Courtesy


“With great power, comes great responsibility” is a quote I learned as a young nerd, and writer’s need to remember that their words can carry great power. I was rather upset this morning to see an author I once admired abusing her power.
A reader had made a mistake, and instead of privately correcting the mistake, the author posted it on facebook and twitter, openly ridiculing the reader. Not only was the author laughing at this reader but now all 100,000 plus fans were laughing as well.
It was an innocent enough comment, but I still felt bad for the reader.
This is a form of cyber bulling, and I wonder if the author is aware of that fact. No she didn’t name the person, but I’m sure they probably read her comment, and is now extremely humiliated to have their simple mistake mocked by hundreds of people. No matter the mistake, the author had no right posting it, declaring it open season on the reader. Instead she should have just sent a message back explaining the mistake. The more famous you become, the higher the standards you are held.
What is it mothers always try to teach their children?
“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
And
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
We should all think about that before we post. The internet would be a better place.

Monday, July 23, 2012

For the Animals!

Anyone who knows me, knows how important my animals are to me. I take great care of them and often spoil them rotten. They are a major part of our family. Why else have animals, but to love them?





It's almost August, the hottest month of the year. For many of us, the heat has tipped into triple digits several times. I know, I've seen everyone moaning about it on facebook. So what do we do to cool off? Stay inside, crank up the AC, and enjoy some iced beverages.

But what about the animals. Some pets have to suffer out in this heat while their owners are out to work with nothing but a bowl of water to cool themselves off. If you don't know already, dogs and cats have no sweat glands. It's harder for them to cool down than us. So if you have an animal outside in the heat all day please ensure they are comfortable. Here are a few things you can do to help them keep cool.

~ Lots of water! My recommendation, go to Wal-mart and buy a little plastic pool. Not only will your dog have plenty of water but if it gets too hot they can take a swim. Also, the birds and other wildlife will enjoy getting a little drink. Make sure your animal can get in and out of the pool. If you have a puppy or kitten the wading pool may be too much water for them. They must be capable of getting in and out effortlessly.


~ Shade! Make sure your animal has a way to get out of the sun. They can get sunburns, and heat strokes just like us!

~ Sand. In a shady spot in the yard, dump a bag of sand and lightly moisten it each day. Your animal may be sandy and need brushed down when they come in, but it is a comfortable, cheap solution to keeping them cool all day.


~ There are also special cooling beds you can purchase if you feel like shelling out the bucks.

~ Ice cube treats. Putting a few goodies in an ice cube and letting your animal lick off the ice can be a wonderful way to cool down.


~ Give them a haircut. It helps a ton for those with longer fur.

~ NEVER, EVER leave your animal in a car unsupervised! Temperatures inside a car rise fast, and your animal can die.

Animals are like children, they need us to take care of them. So please, do all that you can to ensure the animals are well cared for!

What other advise do you have to keeping our companions cool this summer?


Friday, June 29, 2012

Staying Grounded


Do you remember that scene in Twister, when the tornado was tearing through a shed that held our hero and heroine, and all they had to keep them grounded was a leather strap and some rusty pipes sticking out of the ground? I sometimes relate that scene to my life.

My kids can destroy a house faster than an F-5 tornado. With no warning they turn into wailing banshees, and start throwing things around, shredding paper, and dumping drawers. It’s not pretty, and usually ends with me locking them in their rooms for time outs, and me hiding in my bathroom. I swear, they are possessed. As babies both kids would make the Grudge noise from their cribs late at night. Freaked me out....

I love the expression I get when I tell someone what it is I do. That look of “is that it?”

Is that it? I get up and spend my day cleaning up after others, wiping their butts, feeding them, teaching them, bathing them, making sure they get enough exercise, listening to them fight and scream, trying to break up the fights before they escalate into baby smacdown, listening to non-stop "mom, mom, mom, mom," and then tucking their butts into bed and trying to make sure they stay there. By the end of the day I’m on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

Then let’s add writing a novel to that to-do list.

The only time I have to write is after I put the kids to bed, and I’m usually so tired I just want to crawl into bed and pass out, but I try and resist, because for me writing is like that rusty pipe. It’s what keeps me grounded.

Writing keeps me from getting sucked into the chaos of my life.  I look forward to the hour of quiet in the dark when everyone is asleep and I can reconnect with my fantasy world, even if by the time I do get to bed the Hubz is fast asleep and doing his best Vader impression. It’s worth it. With writing holding me down, I’m able to look into the chaos, and see the beauty inside.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a stay at home mom. I get to actually raise my kids. I am teaching them their numbers, and I taught them their ABC’s.  I’m teaching them that creativity is wonderful, and to dream big. My four year old is already starting to read and can write her name, and is so in love with books already. They are both extremely talented, love to sing and dance, love to draw and paint, and love making up fantastic stories.

I love what I do. I love that I have the opportunity to be with my kids. No we aren't rich, and I can't run out and go shoe shopping whenever I want (not that I'm big on shoes... maybe books...) 

So yes, I am a very proud stay at home mom, and a writer.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Never Surrender!




To celebrate Elana Johnson's release of her second book SURRENDER, I wanted to participate in the Never Surrender Blogfest and share a time when I didn't surrender. This book jumped to the top of my reading list! You can pick up POSSESSION and SURRENDER and start reading this fantastic series today!

Deciding to join the military was a big choice in my life. If I had not joined, I would never have met my best friends, I would never have met my Hubz, and I would never have had my two amazing children. I loved the military, and loved how it helped me grow as a woman. 


Basic training wasn't easy for me. I sprained my ankle only a few weeks before, and had a hard time making the run. I wasn't a runner anyway, and running on a sprained ankle was hell. I was also put on Latrine crew (cleaning the bathrooms... ewwwww) and the serving crew at chow time (which meant I was always last to eat and had less than 5 minutes to do so). I spent more time counting down the time until my next meal than how many weeks I had left of training, and was always so hungry! Top that off with TI's that like to get in your face and try to break you down, and a letter from home saying there was a wager on if I would make it. Odds were against me and I'll admit, I shed a couple tears. 


Anyone who knows me, knows how stubborn I can be. I come from a long line of stubborn. I used that to push on. While having two TI's yell into each ear that I was no longer daddy's little girl, I kept my mouth shut, my eyes forward, and my head high. They don't know me! I will always be my dad's little girl!


I continued to push myself on the run. Eventually my ankle healed enough that I passed the run time.

Who knew all those years hanging out in the country with my dad had prepared me for obstical courses and camping, or what the girls called hell week (I think I was the only one disappointed to be back at the dorm where there was a latrine to be cleaned.) It was so funny to walk across logs 10 feet off the ground as if I were Catwoman on Gotham rooftops while the others flailed and crawled. Ok, so I enjoyed the misery of the girls I was forced to live with (you would too if you had to clean up after them... girls can be so gross!) 


In the end I made it to graduation, and my TI still didn't know my name, which my parents thought was hilarious when they tried shaking her hand, and she asked if had always been her troop.

So even though the odds were against me, I didn't surrender!

What is one of the times you didn't surrender?





Thursday, June 7, 2012

Git'er Done!


Just a little warning here, I wont be blogging as much this month. I’ve dedicated all my time to getting the rewrites done, and so far so good! To quote Larry the Cable Guy “Git'er Done!”

So I’m not commenting this month on blogs, though I do read other blogs from my Kindle Fire greader app, and I’m not spending anytime on this blog, except for what you see here. I’ve given myself a time frame to have this draft done at the end of the month. Then after the whole thing has been S&S’ed, I’m going to print it out and do the Margie Lawson EDITS system on it. It shouldn’t need much more work after July, and I will be able to get it out to Beta’s and an editor (BTW if your interested in being a Beta feel free to comment or email me!)

My biggest goal is to have my book completely done and ready for publishing by the New Year. A ton of work ahead of me, but I’m diggin in my heals, and getting to it.

Wish me luck!

Ta!

A.McBay

Monday, April 30, 2012

Bo



Now I am pack Alpha to 3 dogs. My dear Hubz finally talked me into getting a puppy for our daughter. So we went yesterday and picked up a little female Pit Lab mix (The same breeds in our other dog, Jasper).



Meet Bo. Named after the SyFy Succubus in Lost Girl. I have a feeling puppy training will drain the life out of me… or the last bit of sanity ;)


So far, everyone loves her. Jasper is happy to have someone to play with (Neon does little more than lay on the couch), and the kids love running with her in the back yard.

Here’s to my future of puppy piddle and chewed up belongings….

Ta!
A.McBay

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wattpad

Following a link from an ol' Inkpopper buddy last night, I found myself cruisin around Wattpad. It's similar to the Inkpop concept where writers can share their stories and get feedback. I suppose several Inkpoppers must have migrated here since the merge of Inkpop and Figment. I wasn't really around for that having quit long before the merge, but I got the e-mail.

Wattpad intrigued me in the fact that it has apps. I downloaded it onto my phone and was reading my friends book just as I would a book from my kindle app. I then went on to add a few Wolfy books to my library and started to read them.


Granted there is a lot of rough material out there, even a bit of fan-fiction for those who like that kind of stuff.

If you enjoy the community stuff there are tons of groups or clubs you can follow.

And of course if your brave, you can add your own writing to see how the masses judge it.

Overall, Wattpad seems like a polished version of both Inkpop and Figment. I think I'll nose around a bit and see what other goodies I can uncover ;)

Ta!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Scrivener : Beauty


I can’t help but gush when I write about Scrivener. I mean, it’s such a gosh darn sexy program! It has the brains of a processor designed for writers, and the beauty to dress it up how you like. I feel comfortable writing with this program.


The above screen shot allows you to see my preferred color scheme and font choices. I love red. My office is a cave of red.


And that’s just how I like it. So, how do I change the look of Scrivener? Easy peasy lemon squeezy!


First, you’re going to go to TOOLS, then OPTIONS. That’s going to open you’r options box on the GENERAL tab. Click on the APPEARANCE tab. From there you get to have all sorts of fun deciding what you want to change. For instance, if you want to change the color of the binder, click BINDER, then right under where it says BINDER BACKGROUND, click the color swatch. It will bring up your color selector.


Pick your color, add it to custom colors for quicker coloring later, and click OK. After that you can click APPLY to see how it looks on your Scrivener, or click OK if you are done selecting colors and are ready to get to work.

You can also change up the fonts if your feeling particularly frisky. It follows the same basic guidelines, so I wont insult your intelligence by going into detail about it.

So there you have it! How to change up the look of Scrivener. I hope you enjoy!

Ta!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Silver Bullet


I've used the same red 4gb USB since 2006. I originally bought it to save art work to. Now, it holds my writing. Scrivener files, Word docs, picture prompts, story ideas, outlines... well, you get the point. It's precious to me.

But, it's OLD! In computer years this thing should have fried out five years ago. Which is why I started my quest to find a new USB to replace it so that I could retired Ol' Red.

I've searched a long time, wanting that special one that screamed out to me. These days you can get a USB in your jewelry, as a figurine, or even a tiny car. They come in ever shape and size. So what does a girl who writes about werewolves buy?

A silver bullet!


I LOLed when I first saw it on Amazon, but cruised on. After not finding anything that else that spoke to me, I went back and checked out the specs. 8gb (Not a ton, but more that my 4gb), Metal (my writing will be safe), and with a keychain (I can make it into a necklace with one of Hubz extra dog tags).

So yeah, I'm a lil' spazy to finally have found Ol'Red's replacement.

What's your ideal USB?


Ta!

A.McBay

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Alive


It’s been a little quiet around the blog the past few weeks. It’s been very busy with graphic designs (that I honestly don’t feel up to anymore), Ninja posts (we are doing the A-Z challenge and I got blessed with all the fun letters like D, I, N, and Z, and it’s been a fun challenge), and then revisions which I am happily obsessed with!

My first chapter was cut into two chapters and so much was changed and added. My characters stand out much more clearly than before, and the excitement I feel of finally feeling like I could actually do this, make a life as a writer, it’s a little breathtaking at times. I’m in love with the idea, the reality I am making of it.

I’m adding new pages to the blog. A page of the writing craft books I own, and a page about Scene and Sequel and my before and after first chapter. Hopefully it will help others see how amazing S&S can be for their writing.

Now I’m off to get more writing done! If I don’t update here much this month, consider it a good thing. I’ll be deep in my story world.



Ta!

A.McBay

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hubz


The Hubz
Have I told you about my Hubz? Probably not. I don’t write much about him on my blog because I don’t want to embarrass him, but I should. I should embarrass the hell out of him. Not because I want him to suffer, but because I want everyone to know just how freakin awesome he is! So I think I will. Today I want to gush about my wonderful, handsome, loving hubby, who lets me be me, even when I’ve lost sight of who I am.

Until this weekend, I don’t think I ever truly understood what drew my hubby to me. I didn’t understand that he loved my creativity. I had always seen it as a burden to him, a waste of time. I felt a failure. My kids were always screaming, the house was always a mess, I had let my art slide, and my book was never ending. Then the Hubz stepped in. You have not failed, he told me. We have two incredibly smart children because of you, we have a beautiful house because of you!

Yeah, ok, but I still suck as an artist.

That’s when he told me. It was the artist he fell in love with. Not the housewife/mother, though he loved those too. It was the day dreamer. He said it amazed him how I could turn a blank page into a picture, or pull a story from a dream.

He has faith in me, and wants me to be me. He allows me to be me by letting me stay at home with the kids so that I can paint, so that I can write.

I started sketching this weekend while I was thinking about him. I started to draw two tribal wolves, tail to tail. I explained it to my Hubz that though he and I go round and round, one thing is always for certain, He has my tail and I have his. He loved the idea so much that he said when I finished it he wanted to get it as a tattoo.

In case you don’t know Hubz, I love you. More than I can put in words, more than I can put into a picture.

Thank you for loving me for me, and for giving me the gift to dream everyday!
For you, I will continue my art, and for you, I will finish this book! Because you have so much faith in me, I can have faith in myself.

Ta!
A.McBay

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I've missed that Itch


I’ve been working hard on learning M-R units, and Scene and Sequel the last couple of months and trying to figure out how to apply it to my revisions. It’s been a long road, with many brick walls, but I finally sat down today and rewrote chapter one in S&S form. And ya know what? I like it. It’s not grade A, but it’s better than before. I have my character and I have her goal and she is started on a path of destruction.

What helped me the most wasn’t all the studying or the massive amounts of head banging, but going back to books that give me the itch to write. You know the ones. We all have our favorites. Mine are the James Scott Bell books. He always gives me that boost of confidence I need to hop back in that chair, and start pounding keys.
Writing Fiction for All You're Worth: Strategies and Techniques for Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level
http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Fiction-Youre-Worth-ebook/dp/B004URTI52/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_t_4 
 
So I’ve ignored the laundry today, and the dishes have yet to be done, I have my passion back. I’m moving forward in my story! It’s changing and shifting and doing such marvelous things. I can’t wait to share it with my CPs to see if I’m on the right track and if all our hard work is paying off. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time!

What books give you the itch to write and inspire you to keep moving forward?

Ta!
A.McBay

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Banshee Wail

I know I'm double posting today, but I promised to share why I call my children my little banshees.

Here is but a minute of my day. WARNING! You may want to turn your sound down :)




Ta!

2 Years as a Writer

Many of you may know by now that it was not my life ambition when I was young to write. I wrote short stories once or twice, but my passion was drawing and going on to work at the family graphics business. I aced art through school, and taught myself photoshop while I was serving in the military. I loved it! I still get a little geeked out when working graphics, but I'm leaning more to the writer's side these days. Things have happened in my life that I no longer have the hope and desire to work the graphics biz, and needing a new hope I heavily leaned on my writing.

I started as a closet writer, not even my hubby knew I was staying up late to write fiction. About halfway through the first draft he found out, and was so excited for me, he wanted to read what I wrote. He loved it, which fueled the fire for my new obsession. I began buying whatever books I could find on writing, read every blog that google search engine could find for me.

It's been a little over two years now since I started writing, and I am still working on that same novel. Am I ashamed?

NO!

I'm still learning. Everyday, I learn something new. I'm still buying up every book I can find on the craft (there are 65 on my kindle), I still blog hop in hopes of finding a new nugget to add to my toolbox, and I even have a fabulous Crit Group to learn with.

Kim Harrisson, an author I adore, spent six years with her first novel. The way I see it, I have plenty of time to learn with my novel before sending it out into the world, because I love it enough to want it to be the absolute best it can be.

Until then, I will keep studying the craft! I will keep reading, I will keep practicing, and I will keep smiling. This is my new dream, and I want it to be beautiful!

Ta!


Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Fun

I'm not gonna lie, it's been a very rough week, but it's Friday! Meaning this week is officially over! *happy dances*


Ok! Now on to the fun. First off, Congratulations to Kathleen Doyle who won the giveaway this week! I loved the opportunity to share a beautiful book with someone else. I hope you enjoy it Kathleen.


As for the Cover Art Votes, it was a tie between Cover 2 and Cover 3! I suppose I could send it to the Sign Man, and see which he likes best for the tie breaker.


Lastly, Ali Cross is spreading the sunshine today! Sunshine awards! That were given to her by Kathleen. Yep ^(^.^) That Kathleen that just won the giveaway. Just another example of good Karma! Good Happens! I'm going to make that my motto, or chant I think.


Now, bring on the personal questions!


Favorite Color: Red! The deeper the red the better ;)

Favorite Animal: Dragons! Ask my daughter, they are real and considered an animal.

Favorite Number: 13...I just like it k... it's not that weird...

Favorite Non-Alcoholic Drink: I love Coke! Hopelessly addicted. Hubby told me I should quit... I told him to quit smoking first... I win!

Facebook or Twitter: I'm on both, but lately I have been on Twitter more. That's where my book peeps hang!

My Passions: My family! They are my world. After them it would be writing, reading, and graphic arts. I used to be a big gamer but there's just not enough time in the day anymore to waste it on game >.< (never thought I would ever say that!)

Getting or Giving Presents: Giving :P Makes me all happy inside! ^(^.^) thus the giveaway this week, cause I needed me some happy.

Favorite Pattern: Wow, um, lets see. *looks around* Lined paper! I love the look of blank lined paper :P a fresh canvas ready and waiting.


Favorite Day of the Week: Saturdays. I sometimes get to sleep in and I usually skimp a bit on the chores. Sunday is a close second, because I often just lay around in my jammies and read :D

Favorite Flower: The Rose. It's so elegant and romantic! But I don't like getting flowers unless its the whole bush. They will just die and I hate seeing something beautiful waste away in front of me...



Like Ali, I'm gonna just spread the sunshine! Grab an award and let me know in the comments so I can pop over to your blog and check it out!


Happy Friday, Ya'll!



Ta!


~(^.^)^ Check the new Siggy!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wild Fire Cover Art Vote


Today I  compared my WF cover art with my WH cover art. They were similar in many aspects, which is good. That's what I was trying for, but you can still tell were I have grown in the years between of when they were made. So I dug out the old Photoshop file buried deep in my Documents file and got to tweaking WF. I came up with 2 new possibilities, but as usual I can't decide which I like more and which I want to represent WF from now on. So I figured I would hold a vote and let you decide for me! Tell me which you like the best Cover 1 (the original), Cover 2, or Cover 3 and enter to win a Kindle Edition of Become by Ali Cross!


Ok, yes this is also an excuse for me to do my first giveaway and share some book love! 


Cover Art 1 (Original)


Cover Art 2

Cover Art 3



Monday, February 20, 2012

Kindle Junkie




I love my kindle. It goes everywhere I go, I spoil it with new covers and skins, and I fall asleep most nights with my Kindle in hand.

I do a lot more than just read on my Kindle. Lately I have been studying the Margie Lawson packets that I formatted to my Kindle. I’m able to highlight my favorite parts to read later on. It’s easy to take the highlights you made and drag them onto your desktop to read as a text doc. I take handwritten notes, and it’s much easier to do while only holding a slim Kindle and clip board, than to handle a clip board and 3-ring binder of 300 pages or more.

I love the text-to-speech feature. I jack my Kindle into my surround sound system in the living room, and listen to books while I do my every day chores. The voice that reads to you is monotone, but you soon get accustomed to that. There are also audio books you can buy from Audible.com. I loved getting to listen to Stephen King’s On Writing spoken in his own voice.

Most people love the touch and smell of paper books. Don’t get me wrong, I love the feel of pages that slide through my fingers as I turn the page, though I don’t miss the smell, since of course I am nose blind. Reading on a Kindle however is an experience of it’s own. The softness of the silicone skin, the press of the button, the instant flip of the page, and the light weight of an entire library.

As a writer, the kindle has been a great tool. I have 63 writing books on my Kindle (many found for free or under $4), 2 Margie Lawson Packets, Poets & Writer’s Magazine,3 friends manuscripts,and several Blog clippings that I like to go back and read for help or inspiration. I even take notes on a notepad by 7Dragons I bought on the Kindle. So when I’m reading in bed and have an idea for my WIP I don’t have to get up and hunt for pen and paper to write it down. I’ve even woken from a particularly fantastic dream and grabbed my Kindle to jot it down before it slipped away from me. Oh, and reading your own manuscript is super useful! It's much more different than reading a print-out, and you are able to listen for the rhythm and cadence of your story in text-to-speech mode.

If you haven’t gotten a Kindle yet, I hope you do, I hope you find it as wonderful as I do, and I hope you fall in love as I have.

What method do you prefer to read by? Old school paper, or do you have an e-reader, and if you do, what kind?


Ta!
A.McBay

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Scrivener makes me spaz


Raise of hands, who loves Scrivener? *raises both hands* What? You don’t know about Scrivener? Why, it’s only the most awesome writing program out there! I came across it back when the Windows version was still in beta, and as of yesterday am now a registered user! I had a geek-tacular spaz attack when I noticed I no longer need to use MobiCreator to convert my doc files into .mobi files. Scrivener does it and faster.

As many know, I’m in the throws of revision… dun dun dunnnnn… but in reality with Scrivener it’s not been too bad. At the moment I’m breaking each chapter into smaller scenes. After that I can manipulate my scenes where I see they work the best. on either the binder or in cork board.


Now ain’t that just the purdiest thang!

Scrivener allows you to change the look of the program so that it’s more pleasing to the eye, unlike Word that has only 3 settings. 

So, whats the first thing you should do when you open Scrivener? Well, I went and bought David Hewson’s book that explains all the goodies Scrivener has to offer writers. Then I nabbed his layout for free HERE. I'll go over how to get started.

Got the layout? Open the folder and double click on Sample Project, then go to file, and save as <whatever your books name it>.

Click on the PART folder and then on title page. Easy peasy, fill in your books title page, then click CHAPTER and OPENING. After that you can follow along with Mr. Hewson’s instructions or start writing.
Scrivener is made to be simple on the writer, but I highly recommend getting Mr. Hewson’s book if you want to know all the in’s and out’s of the program. Like going to Project -> Project targets to set goals for your work, or Project -> Project Statistics to get your word count, character count, and page count on your project or scene. So many tools!


Scrivener even has a free 30 day trial which you can stretch out if you don't close the program daily ;) so you can get a feel for if this program is for you or not.

I’m really enjoying being able to mark up my MS on screen and not having to worry about those marks showing in print. When I compile, I get to choose all that I want or don't want and how. It’s so amazing.

Oh, and did I mention automatic saves AND backups? No? Well it has that too!

I highly recommend getting your tushie over to Literature and Latte and download this program… Now! Go,go,go,go!

Ta!
A.McBay

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Showin some Love!


Valentines day is not just a day to celebrate that special sweetheart in your life. It’s also a day to show the people you’re close to that you love them, and appreciate them being in your life.

I had few friends in school, but the ones I had were the best. Sure we had our silly little tiffs from time to time, but we always banded together when one needed extra support. That’s just what true friends do for each other.

In the military I made new friends (after basic, because I couldn’t stand the girls I was forced to live with in basic.) I adopted my military friends as brothers and remain close to them today. Even now I have the military wives that welcomed me the moment I arrived in Texas. They are very good about dragging me from my cave once a month to socialize.


Then there are my writing friends who have taken me in as one of their own and supported me on my adventures. My TPR friends who over the past two years (has it really been two years?) have pushed me along and taught me to unplug from the world in order to write,and the Writing Ninjas where I am sharing what I have learned on a weekly basis. I’m really surprised at myself for actually having the nerve to apply for a position there, and even more for being so accepted. They are a wonderful community of people committed to writing.

I love making new friends! I love having people who want to chat off and on throughout the day. Being a writer and a stay at home mom can be a very lonely occupation at times, that worsens when my husband has to work all the time. So if your bord and just want to chat or need someone to listen to a rant, feel free to look me up. Being the tech geek that I am, I’m rarely far from a computer, and I always have my smart phone!

Ta!
A.McBay

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm a Ninja!


In an old post I made the announcement that I was joining Ali Cross’s Writing Ninja Dojo. I soon became an AWOL ninja,only showing up occasionally and hardly tweeting. Then I got serious about my writing again. I joined back up with the ninjas, meeting with them every chance I could, and building my twitter presence the best way I knew how, by chatting.

The Ninjas grew, and Ali grew into an author. The Ninjas needed their own site to meet at, and Ali made it so. She gave them a new website, and with the help of Angela Kulig, they put on a writing conference called NINOCON. And it was FANTASTIC!

Last month Ali posted that she was looking for people who want to post regularly on the new Ninjas Write website. What a great chance to force myself to grow! So I filled out the application form, wrote my sample piece, and waited for the email that said sorry but your just not what we are looking for.

To my surprise it never came. Instead, I woke up one morning to find an email saying that I was accepted for the position. Wow! I still consider myself a nooby writer, and am still working on that little thing called confidence, so the acceptance to be a leader on the Ninjas Write site totally blew me away! I grinned all day, I told my closest friends, and of course, I called my Mom. I’m so honored!

Starting Friday I will have the opportunity to share what I have learned about writing at Ninjas Write, starting with the very piece that got me accepted. I hope you will stop by this week and show some love to the other leaders that will also be sharing this week, and join us next Thursday for Ninja Chat. Also, you can still read up on all the NINOCON goodness!

Now you’ll have to excuse me, I have to go spaz some more :P…

Ta!
A.McBay

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

NINOCON !

Ninocon is this weekend! I hope you have cleared your day for all the writerly awesomeness Ali Cross has in store for us!



Monday, January 30, 2012

I want a Zen Life

Last week was a bust for me. I was tired, stressed, in pain, sick, uninspired, and practically ready to give up on all hobbies. Thankfully, I have my Critters to pull me out of my dark pit. We reviewed my chapters and I had a realization about myself from them. I don’t know how to show my emotions. It shows in my writing. Somewhere along the line I became so accustomed to keeping things to myself, I forgot how to convey my emotions through body language. Crazy huh? No wonder my CE gals are always teasing me for not smiling.

So I’m changing things up a bit over the next few weeks. I’m getting back into my morning pages (they really do help, and I got a finger shaken at me for not doing them. Thanks, M!), I’m getting control over my pain through eating better and doing Yoga (the kids love doing this with me. So cute!), I’m eliminating as much of the stress from my life as possible, and I’ll be studying people’s emotions.

I want a zen garden too... Maybe outside my office window (hint hint, hubz)

I’m still going to physical therapy, but I do not like it one bit. For some reason I come out worse than when I went in. So I’ll try Yoga, and perhaps even Zumba, it looks fun. I’m looking for a work out buddy, if anyone is interested.

As for writing, I’m planning to finish this draft by Sunday. I would like to get it printed out and ready for MRU’s and Scene and Sequence by next weekend. My wonderful Critters kept me from tossing it into the trash bin, and once again I’m feeling inspired to bring it into the world. I want to share my dreams with the world.

I have other fantastic, wonderful writerly news, but it’s gonna have to wait until later this week!

*dangles tantalizing news over heads*

So stay tuned ;)

Ta!
AMcBay