Welcome to TraceyTobin.WordPress.com!

Some time ago, I went through my online presence, disposed of a great deal of excess, and created NoPageLeftBlank.wordpress.com as a place to bring what was most important to me into one spot. At the time it worked wonders, but over the years that have passed since then quite a lot has changed. I am now a published author and a growing YouTuber, and as a result of those things my online presence has once again gotten convoluted. So, with that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to what I’m hoping will be my new-and-improved personal space.

This blog will not be specifically for me as an author, or me as a YouTuber, and it will not be a place specifically meant for blogging or marketing or any other individual issue. TraceyTobin.Wordpress.com will be for me, in whatever form that takes. I will talk about the writing process and what’s happening with my books, I’ll share my YouTube videos and other geeky nonsense as I see fit, and I’ll blog as I desire. This site will be me in my entirety, as I see fit.

So if you’ve come here from NoPageLeftBlank.wordpress.com, thank you very much for following me into this new venture, and if you’re new, welcome! You may see some strange things happening here in the following weeks as I create back-dated posts to share older YouTube videos, but moving forward expect to see lots more of, well…me!

Cheers!

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Goals 2019: Week 7 in Review

plansandgoals2019weeklyreview

Another week, another report, and before I get into it this week I thought I’d give a quick health update.

So the good news is that the blood pressure meds I was prescribed are working quite well. I only needed a low dose option as well, so they’re both affordable and aren’t hitting me with a bunch of annoying side effects. So that’s definitely great and a huge relief to my mental state. Unfortunately, trial and error has revealed something that’s not so pleasant. It turns out that somewhere along the line I must have developed some kind of sensitivity to caffeine. Every time I have a coffee, for example, my blood pressure spikes by about 20/10 points and I start to get that funny flutter in my chest again.

You guys, I can’t express how much of a kick in the head it is to suddenly have to cut out caffeine all together. I can easily go without things like pop and energy drinks, but I’ve been drinking tea and coffee for years and it’s hard getting used to going without them. Sure I can still have things like herbal tea, which I do like as well, but when you’ve had coffee every morning since your daughter was born it’s a bit of a punch to the brain to suddenly have to go without it.

That said, I’m NOT SUPPOSED TO BE LETTING STRESS GET TO ME, so let’s just get this report post over with so I can go back to forcing myself to relax.

Goal #1: Write half a million words.

Phew! I, uh…I honestly could have sworn that I wrote more this past week, but apparently I’m just losing my mind. I wrote 3762 words all together, which isn’t exactly horrible, but man…I really would have sworn that I did more than that. It was once again less than half of what my Pacemaker.press account wanted me to write, so that’s frustrating. Luckily the coming week is asking me for lower numbers, so hopefully I’ll be able to actually pull that one off.

  • Goal #1a: Write at least a quarter million fictional words.  On the plus side of a low-word week, about two thirds of my word count was fictional this time around. 2598 words came across my Final Fantasy novelization and a bit of work toward the sister-book to Nowhere to Hide: Nowhere to Run.

Goal #2: Read at least 50 books.

Reading has slowed down a little bit in the past week, mainly because my brain has been slow from lack of caffeine and I keep drifting whenever I try. That said, I’ve been picking through There’s No Place Like Oz in the Dorothy Must Die series during my lunch breaks at work, and I’m loving it. I definitely intend to go through the entire series because it’s a very fun little imagining of what happens when Dorothy returns to Oz.

Goal #3: Build my social media communities…EVERYWHERE!

Social media has been all over the place recently. I’ve definitely been spending a lot of time on Twitter, mostly because New York Toy Fair is on and I love sharing all the awesome new toys and collectibles different companies are showing off. Instagram, on the other hand, has been a slow slog, mostly because, well…I’ve been too lazy to take pictures. #SorryNotSorry

Additionally, my SnapChat account is on a temporary hiatus because the front-facing camera on my phone is busted. And yes, I realize that SnapChat isn’t all about selfies and that I can use the rear-facing camera to take pics for it, but for some reason SnapChat doesn’t accept that explanation. It keeps glitching up every time I open it, showing a black screen whether I put it on front or rear camera. So until I figure that one out, SnapChat will just have to be put on the back burner.

So what about the actual numbers?

  • The YouTube channel went up 17 subscribers
  • The YouTube Twitter account gained 5 followers
  • The YouTube Instagram account went down 1 follower
  • The Snapchat account’s score changed by x points
  • The Author Twitter account stayed the exact same
  • The Author Instagram account went down 2 followers

I must say that it’s nice to see the YouTube channel get a little boost, and I can’t complain about the Twitter accounts, but I’m obviously annoyed with the Instagram accounts. I really can’t whine though, since I’ve been neglecting both of them pretty badly. I definitely need to try to fix that in the coming week.

Goal #4: Play more (proper) video games. 

One thing I definitely did a good bit of last week was play video games. (Hello, I’m relaxing!) I didn’t get back into Shadow of the Colossus yet because Jason’s been playing Resident Evil 2 on the PS4, but I’ve been getting back into Breath of the Wild, and I’ve become obsessed with Tetris 99. If you haven’t heard of it, Nintendo just released it as a free download on the Switch, and it’s basically Tetris battle royale. You’re playing against 98 other people, and their completed lines become attacks that throw incomplete lines into other people’s screens. It can be extraordinarily frustrating, but is also super-fun, and I swear I won’t rest until I’ve gotten first place at least once. So far my record is 3rd, which is just close enough to make me want to beat my head against a wall, but not actually stop playing.

Goal #5: Put more time, focus, and energy into the YouTube channel.

YouTube has been very slow lately, but part of that is due to my work hours making it extraordinarily difficult to find the time required to film, and part is that I’m refusing to STRESS myself into filming. However, I did manage to film a short update video last week that went over pretty well, and then Jason and I did a Valentine’s Day video courtesy of Entertainment Earth. Those two videos are more than I’d pulled off in the previous two weeks combined, so yay for that. There’s lots more that I want to do though, so hopefully things start to settle out a little soon and I find my groove again. Fingers crossed!


Looking back through what I’ve written for this post, I have to conclude that it wasn’t exactly the best week by a long shot, but at least I got a bit of writing and a couple of videos done. Now if I could just find an alternative to caffeine, maybe we’d be getting somewhere in the coming weeks!

How was your week? Did you accomplish any goals? Make any new ones? Do anything else that made you feel awesome and accomplished? Feel free to share in the comments!

Entertainment Earth Sent Us A Dozen “Roses” for Valentines Day!

Jason and I don’t really make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day, honestly, because we both know the value of showing your love all year through. But that’s not to say that we can’t have fun with the holiday!

This year we got a Valentine’s Day surprise in the form of a package from our friends over at Entertainment Earth! To say that this package made us giggle would be a massive understatement. To whomever came up with the idea for this holiday sale and it’s accompanying pun-to-end-all-puns, I salute you. I wasn’t sure I was ever going to stop snickering over this one. XD

Happy Valentine’s Day, fellow geeks! Whether you’re celebrating with a special someone, or snuggling alone on the couch for a well-deserved night of relaxation, I hope you’ve had a great day!

Goals 2019: Week 6 in Review

plansandgoals2019weeklyreview

Okay, let’s start off this weekly review with a little recap for anyone who may have missed this post from a couple of days ago. The important information is thus: I had a couple of scary days in a row during which my blood pressure was rising into genuine hypertension levels, followed by a trip to outpatients where I found out that my BP had, in fact, gone into “holy shit” territory. It was extremely frightening, but luckily all the tests they did showed that I wasn’t having a heart attack or any other extremely concerning situation. Basically it all came down to (presumably) a mixture of genetics and stress, and probably also a little bit the fact that I eat like crap. So after a good scare, I got myself a shiny new prescription to keep my blood pressure down, along with orders to relax.

I’m not good at relaxing, you guys. I mentioned that in the aforementioned previous post. In particular, I’m not good at relaxing when I feel like I’ve been failing to accomplish things. Hence, doing these weekly reviews is going to require a lot of deep breathing and doing my very best not to get worked up over any perceived “failures”.

TLDR; bear with me while I try to grin my way through and appreciate that some accomplishment is still accomplishment. Look at me being totally not stressed at all! *cough*


Goal #1: Write half a million words.

As you might imagine, those few days during which I was panicking over my health took a bit out of me, both physically and mentally. On the one hand I obviously didn’t feel like doing anything other than curling in a ball under a blanket and rocking back and forth. On the other hand, I physically couldn’t do much because I caught a bug while I was at the hospital, and the mixture of that and my new prescription working into my system had me feeling like I’d been run over by a transfer truck.

But it’s not all bad, since I did get a bit done before my body tried to off itself, and a bit done afterward as well once the bug passed. All total I wrote 3963 words throughout week 6. That’s not even half of the 9526 words my Pacemaker.press account wanted me to write, but it’s still pretty decent considering I was totally out for the count for three straight days.

  • Goal #1a: Write at least a quarter million fictional words. Thhhhiiiiiissss one was pretty down for this week, however. Of those nearly 4k words, only 594 of them were fictional words, scribbled down toward my Final Fantasy 3 novelization.  Everything else was blog posts, but in this situation I think I can give myself a pass. I did write quite a bit concerning my health once I had begun to perk up.

Goal #2: Read at least 50 books.

BOOKS! Books-a-plenty! Believe it or not, I’m actually ahead of schedule on my Goodreads challenge! Mind you, that’s because four of the seven books I’ve read so far were manga, but screw you, Goodreads says they count, so I’m counting them! 😛

In all seriousness though, I read the second and third volumes of Sailor Moon last week, along with Stephen King’s Elevation, and I’ve started reading the first in the Dorothy Must Die series. I’m not doing half-bad! I could get used to this actually-getting-stuff-read thing!

Goal #3: Build my social media communities…EVERYWHERE!

Social media started off slow in the week, but believe it or not it actually blossomed pretty well after my little heart scare. Transitioning to my blood pressure meds seems to have rectified the extreme lethargy I’d developed in the days leading up to hospital day, so I’ve found myself spending more time browsing fun tweets, chatting with people, and taking fun pics for both Instagram accounts. Plus I’ve become re-addicted to Snapchat filters. Damn you Snapchat filters for making me act like a goofy teenager!

  • The YouTube channel went up 5 subscribers
  • The YouTube Twitter account gained 6  followers
  • The YouTube Instagram account went up 3 followers
  • The Snapchat account’s score raised by 6 points
  • The Author Twitter account gained 1 follower
  • The Author Instagram account went up 1 follower

And here we have….wait a minute…is this the first week I’ve had where everything went up? I think it might be! o.o I mean, those aren’t exactly bragging numbers, but they’re ALL forward momentum! That’s actually awesome! I’ve gotta keep this up!

Goal #4: Play more (proper) video games. 

I’m honestly drawing a blank here… I don’t think I played any video games this week! *thinks about it* No, wait, wait…yes! I played a bit of Pikachu Let’s Go with the little one! And about five minutes of River City Rampage before I rage-quit! XD

But seriously, there were bits and pieces of gaming (I was playing Smash Bros Ultimate with the family before my hospital visit); just nothing really worth mentioning. When I have my day off this week I hope to get back into Shadow of the Colossus before I forget the basic movements.

Goal #5: Put more time, focus, and energy into the YouTube channel.

You can probably go ahead and take a wild guess as to where this entry is headed right away. Yeah, although I did continue doing things like the social media, I definitely turned my entire brain off concerning the channel in the days leading up to and away from my hospital trip. Much as I love doing YouTube, it’s definitely a stressor in many ways that I just didn’t need this past week.

That said, I did eventually relax, give myself permission to not be AWESOME, and filmed a little update vid on the weekend. It should be up some time this evening, and basically states why there’s been no videos lately, what we intend to do about it, and what we have going on in the immediate future. In the coming week (assuming we can manage it with my stupid, stupid work schedule) we plan to do a fair bit of filming, in particular some long-overdue mail and a couple of awesome items we were sent by the awesome people over at Entertainment Earth. So, hopefully, look forward to that!


And coming from a totally I’m-not-stressing-YOU’RE-stressing! standpoint, I can honestly say that week 6 wasn’t really all that bad at all. It would have been nice if I’d gotten more writing done, but everything else is actually pretty on par, and hopefully I’ll be able to find more time to scribble out some words in the coming week to catch up. Wish me luck! (And a healthy heart!)

How was your week? Did you accomplish any goals? Make any new ones? Do anything else that made you feel awesome and accomplished? Feel free to share in the comments!

Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart

They say that you’re only as old as you feel. It’s a bit of a silly saying, but also true in a lot of ways. I personally feel that my love of toys, video games, YA books, and so on keeps me young. After all, if you’re not having fun in life, you’re just spiraling inexorably toward the end of it.

That said, from a purely chronological and biological standpoint, I can’t deny the fact that I am, indeed, growing older. Oh, I’m not making plans for my inevitable stay at the old folk’s home or anything. Thirty-four is still plenty young. But it’s old enough to realize that, at least from that biological standpoint, you’re definitely not a kid anymore. In the mid-thirties things start to happen that force you to look in the mirror, cringe a little, and admit, “Dammit, I’m getting old.”

One such moment occurred for me this past week, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t at least a little bit scary.

I’ve always had excellent blood pressure (we’re talking an average of 125/70), but in the past few years, without me really realizing it, it had started to sneak upward. I didn’t test it often, but every now and then there would be a doctor’s appointment or a medical for a job that would inform me that I’d crawled up into 135/75 territory, and eventually into the 140s/80s range. I never worried about it too much because I felt fine. End of thought process. Stubborn, “I’m too young for this shit” nonsense.

But in the past several months in particular, I found that I’d worked up into the 150s/90s area, and that started to bother me a bit. More bothersome, though, was the fact that I started to feel very random little flutters in my chest. To this day I can’t really describe exactly what they feel like. It’s not pain, not tightness, just….flutters. The best way I can put it into words is that it feels a bit like I’ve lost my breath for just a moment, but simultaneously it feels like my chest is as full of air as it can be. They were just tiny little flutters at first, enough to be noticed but not enough to be particularly concerned about.

But then, a few days ago while I was at work, the flutters seemed like they were coming all at once. I felt a bit like there was a hand on my breastbone, pressing in; not enough to call it “tightness”, but definitely a “this isn’t right” kind of feeling. I tested my blood pressure (there’s a machine where I work) and it was higher than I’d ever seen it, at about 162/91. I checked it again an hour later and it had gone up to about 173/93. That definitely concerned me, but my coworker told me to sit down, take some deep breaths, and take it easy for a bit before trying again. I did, and sure enough when I tested it again it had gone back down into the 160s, and then eventually back down into the 150s. Even still, it was freaky, so I made an appointment with my doctor for the following week.

However, the following day I decided that I couldn’t wait for that appointment. I’d gone the day at work with little to no incident, checking my pressure every so often and finding that it stayed in the 150s, but that evening at home things got scary. We’d just finished supper, and Jason, Adrianna, and I were relaxing in the living room, playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate together. I was having fun, and had no reason to be worked up or stressed out, but after a few matches I began to feel very off. I was getting flutters, and that hand-on-my-breastbone feeling again. Adrianna’s yelling at the game started to feel like physical punches to my ribs, and my heart felt like it was beating way too fast, even though a pulse check told me it wasn’t much higher than 80 bpm. I decided to take the chance at looking foolish and head to outpatients at our local hospital.

I’m quite certain that the triage nurse who saw me first thought that I was overreacting, and perhaps a little bit of a hypochondriac. She asked tons of questions before actually checking my blood pressure, including asking if I was in any pain and getting a bit of a look on her face when I said no. But then she finally did check my blood pressure. Twice.

193/112.

For those of you who don’t really understand blood pressure measurements, that reading is just shy of “if I cut you, your blood will gush out like in a Quentin Tarantino movie”.

I was immediately brought into the back for an EKG, a bunch of blood work, and a chest X-ray, and after a few more questions from the doctor on hand I was given two different blood pressure medications as well as an anti-anxiety med and told to lay down and rest until they gave me the okay to leave.

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If that’s not a scary situation to find yourself in, I really don’t know what is. I tossed out a few messages to friends and coworkers, and tweeted about the incident on the YouTube channel account, and if you asked the people who saw those things they’d probably say that I seemed pretty calm about it all, but I can’t lie and say that I was. I was pretty freaked out. I’d always assumed that my blood pressure would get bad eventually, since the entirety of both sides of my family suffer from it, but I didn’t expect it to happen in my mid-30s, and I definitely didn’t expect it to go so high all at once. When I saw that 193/112 pop up on the monitor screen, I seriously thought I was taking a heart attack or something.

Luckily, that wasn’t the case. All of the other tests came back fine, I was deemed to be perfectly healthy aside from the blood pressure itself, and whatever that anti-anxiety med was it worked so well that I actually passed out and slept in the hospital bed for nearly two hours. When I awoke my blood pressure had dropped down into the 140s/90s area, and I was given a shiny new prescription for a daily blood pressure med and told that I could go home.

In the end, the experience came down to one very small pill that I have to take every morning to keep my pipes open enough for the pressure to stay down (which it has: my blood pressure actually dropped to 129/80 yesterday for the first time in goodness knows how long). But the experience as a whole was definitely life-changing in other ways. For instance, I’ve concerned myself with what goes in my body before, but generally only because I was looking to lose weight or avoid things that bother my stomach. Now I find myself looking for heart-healthy solutions and keeping track of the amount of salt I take in.

But the even bigger one? Stress. Definitely stress. For years I denied the very concept that I could possibly be depressed, until I very nearly broke down completely, and luckily had a life-changing moment that worked out for the best. Stress is a very similar deal with me. Even now, as I sit here writing this, I’d swear to you that I don’t feel stressed. Maybe a little concerned about finances, maybe a little annoyed with current situations, maybe even a little PO’ed at some things…but stressed? Psh. I’m not stressed.

Except I absolutely am. I hate to admit it – to the point that I rarely ever do admit it out loud – but I definitely qualify as a stressed-out person. Going on my antidepressants has changed a lot in the level of damns I give about some things (mean comment on my YouTube video? Psh. I don’t know you and couldn’t give two shakes of a rat’s arse-hairs), but other things are a lot more deep-rooted. In particular, I have this constant voice in the back of my head screaming about all the things that need doing that I’ve failed to get done. And the thing is, most of them aren’t even important things – like, at all – but they’re still on that list that my inner-stress-monkey shrieks at me non-stop. Even at this moment, while admitting that they’re totally unimportant things that don’t NEED to be done, the voice is reminding me that I went three days this week without writing anything, and I haven’t shared any toy-pics on the YT Instagram account in ages, and I’ve got a pile of comics and books that I haven’t scanned into my tracker yet, and oh man, it’s getting close to supper and I haven’t decided what I’m making yet, and Jesus, woman, you let your damn tea get cold again, why don’t you just fucking drink it?! 

Stress, you guys. Stupid, pointless stress as it may be, but stress none-the-less.

So I guess the moral of this post comes down to the fact that I have to learn to control that pointless stress. Obviously there are things that are worth getting stressed about, and obviously there are things that I can’t just give up on in the name of staying stress-free, but there are a lot of things in my life that stress me out that just shouldn’t. Who cares if I didn’t tweet anything today? Who cares if the laundry stays unfolded for another day? Who cares if I got caught up in reading a book and forgot about writing one for a day or two? In the end all that really matters enough to get stressed over is my family, making enough of a living to keep us all alive, and our general happiness. And if I have all that, I shouldn’t really be stressed at all, now should I?

Well, I’m still gonna be anyway, but all those other smaller things can just kiss my ass.

Final Fantasy: Balance & Ruin PART ONE NOW AVAILABLE!

Terra - Chocobo Mount

Some time ago I began a fun project of novelizing one of my all-time favorite video games ever: Final Fantasy 3 (6 in Japan). I played through the classic SNES game so many times I couldn’t even take a guess as to how many hours I’ve spent with it, and I loved every second of it. The game has amazing characters, an amazing story, and lots of fun twists and turns. So I decided that, instead of a traditional kind of fan fiction in which the author focus on favorite characters and tells their own stories with them, I would write the Final Fantasy 3 story as though it was a novel, with lots of depth, intricate details, and focus on the inner struggles of the characters.

The first version of the story, begun way back in high school, was tripe. Fun to write, but definitely tripe. Later on I began rewriting it with a little more skill under my belt, but it still lacked in a number of ways, and I eventually drifted away from it for bigger and better things.

Lately, however, I’ve been longing for that story, wanting to actually do it the justice it deserves, and also wanting to share it with the world (in a way that won’t get me sued *cough cough*). And so I’ve begun the rewrite again, this time with more focus and the skills and knowledge I’ve gained since the last time I worked on the project.

I decided that I’m going to share the story, in parts, as exclusive content on my Buy Me a Coffee page. Each part will contain between 3k and 5k words (depending on where chapters end) and will be my gift to you in exchange for one “coffee” (i.e. approximately $3 US). The first part I’ve released contains the Prologue as well as Chapter One of the story, which outlines the opening scenes of the game in significantly greater detail. I think it’s fun, interesting, and quite a bit more adult than those who grew up with the game might remember, and I sincerely hope you’ll support my page and enjoy it!

Part 2 will be coming as soon as possible, so grab Part 1 now to be on top of things!

P.S. Funds from my Buy Me a Coffee page will be going toward commissioning of the cover art for The Other World: Book Two, so if you’re looking forward to that release, this is one way you can help get it out there sooner!