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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Plans and Goals 2018: Weeks, Uh…46 Through 48

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“Dear Tracey: Where the hell have you been? Sincerely, Everyone.”

So the good news is that I’m alive. I’m going to go ahead and assume that you managed to figure that much on your own. The bad news is that I’m pretty sure both my mind and body have been completely fried in these past few weeks.

Let’s go back a tad. You remember how I’m always saying that this time of year is really busy for me at the best of times? Well it hasn’t been the best of times. That’s not to say that I’m in a bad place mentally or anything; it’s just been extra busy this year for a variety of reasons. First, as I mentioned in a previous post, our older kitty passed on, which resulted in a few days of just not giving a damn about doing anything. Then I started a part-time job to make some extra cash for Christmas, and that job, while relatively simple, involves a lot of physical labor and has me working odd evening shifts that leave me pretty exhausted. There was also my daughter’s birthday, which tends to wear me the hell out even when I’m trying my best not to stress. And on top of that there’s been a lot of visitors lately, what with my parents coming home from their Alberta job, the inlaws coming up for the niece’s hockey games, and all that good stuff. PLUS we’ve been trying to clean and decorate and get the house ready for Christmas, which has been stymied by the fact that we’ve got large items for sale laying all over the house because the interested buyers keep just not showing up, omfg I hate Kijiji. 

The long and short of it all is that today is honestly the first day I’ve had in the past three weeks or so when I’ve actually felt like I could sit down, take a breath, and do some things I want to do, rather than things I need to do. It’s bloody glorious, honestly. I’m typing this on my laptop while sitting on the couch with a fuzzy blanket and a coffee, and it’s glorious

That said, this is going to be a very vague kind of report, because I haven’t caught up on my personal “bookkeeping”, so I’m not even sure what I’m going to report exactly, and also because these past few weeks have been so busy that I haven’t really got much done worth reporting. But hell, we’ll give it a try!

This will also be my last of these posts for the year until the final one looking back at all of 2018. I’d like to write the last few weeks in, but right at the moment I see it as a needless waste as I’m going to have little – if anything – to report.


Plan #1: Focus more on Writing.
Hoo-boy…okay, let’s start off with the absolute worst one! The truth is that the last time you heard from me is practically the last time that I wrote anything. I may have scribbled a few things here and there, but this is the “bookkeeping” I haven’t caught up on, so I can’t tell you exactly what.

  • Goal #1: Write half a million words throughout the year. I don’t have an exact number, but I think I can safely say that the grand total for the past three weeks is somewhere in the “couple of hundred”‘s range. Seriously, there has been no writing going on. There just hasn’t been any time at all lately. I keep telling myself that I’m going to write during my lunch breaks at work, but it never happens because the time just seems to up and vanish from me by the time I’m finished eating and checking my phone messages. When last we checked I hadn’t even hit half of this goal yet, so it’s pretty damn safe to say that it’s a bust for the year, but hey…I did write a good few books worth of words, and I learned some things for the coming year. So there’s that!
  • Goal #2: Sell more books. Book sales have been dead lately, which is annoying given that it’s Christmas and people should be buying gifts for their bookish friends. But that said, I haven’t exactly been putting a lot of effort into publicizing myself lately. So yeah, it’s likely my fault. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a few moments to breathe in the coming weeks and maybe grab a few sales from people. Fingers crossed!
  • Goal #3: Complete and publish The Other World: Book Two. Here’s another goal that won’t be completed in 2018, but I’m not terribly disappointed with myself. Given how deep into the year it took before I was able to really get some work going on this one, I’m happy with what I did manage. I’ve got notes back from one of my beta-readers – just waiting on the other three – and I plan to put my nose to the grindstone in the new year and get this done and published ASAP.

Plan #2: Focus more on YouTube.
Given the state of the part-time job I mentioned earlier in the post, you can probably take a wild stab at where this one is going.

  • Goal #1: Film more often. It has been really difficult to find time to film these past weeks. The evenings after Adrianna has going to bed are one of our best filming times, but I’ve been at work during those hours more often than not recently. School hours can be good too, but between some shifts Jason picked up, the need to run around for errands during business hours, and the fact that we’ve had family coming back and forth a lot lately, it’s been practically impossible to string enough moments together to actually be able to film a whole video. We only actually published, like…2 vids since my last update post, and that’s flabbergasting, but also not surprising given all the circumstances. Keep your fingers crossed for us to find a breath or two sometime this week while I have a couple of nights off!
  • Goal #2: Put more focus into, and have more fun with, the social media aspect.  Social media definitely went out the door for a little while as well, although I think I’ve managed to work myself back into it. Everything went dead silent for about two weeks, except for a small few Instagram posts made by Jason. In the past week, though, I’ve managed to start squeezing posts in, in between work breaks and waiting for supper to cook and things like that. The author accounts have still been pretty dead, but I’m working back toward it.

#3: Focus more on myself. 
Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha….

  • Goal #1: Take time daily to read/watch/play. The closest I’ve gotten to any of these things lately is playing a round or two of Sailor Drops on my phone during my 15-minute breaks at work. Jason and I also managed to watch the most recent season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, but only because we watched it in parts while eating supper or laying in bed at night waiting to pass out. Last night was the first time I’d touched a book in ages, and it was one of Adrianna’s; we started reading “Young Scrooge” together.
  • Goal #2: Stay active, but don’t obsess. Go right to hell on this one.
    Seriously though, my job has been so physically demanding (lots of walking back and forth, lifting and carrying things) that I’m calling it a win and refusing to do any more. End of story.

And there you have it. Three weeks of “I didn’t have time to do anything”, basically. And somehow I stretched it out into a pretty lengthy post. Go me. There’s my accomplishment for the week. 😛

How was your week? Were you able to accomplish anything? Do anything fun? Make any progress toward your own goals? Feel free to share!

Saying Goodbye to Our “Puppy-Cat”

This morning, sometime just past 6 am, we buried our kitty, Commadus, better known as Comma. We called him the “puppy-cat”, because he was more like a happy, playful puppy than he was ever like a cat.

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He was somewhere near 16 years old. I adopted him and his brother, Maximus, as kittens while I was in college. Max passed from illness when he was only about 3 years old, but Comma has been with me ever since, and always did his best to coexist peacefully with our third cat, Little B (you can guess what the B stands for).

He was an exceptionally snugly cat who loved hugs and being carried. He was the perfect cat for a growing child; patient to a fault, and wouldn’t hurt a fly. He was our “buddy”.

He was always following Adrianna around, especially when she had food. He’d paw at Jason’s face to wake him up in the morning, and reach out to snatch my hands whenever I was trying to get ready in the washroom. He loved his cat laser, and would show his ferocious side whenever we sprayed a toy mouse with catnip. He was a wuss to the n’th degree; he’d sometimes come out on the back porch with us, but would get spooked and run inside if the wind blew the wrong way. He loved to curl up on top of any of us if we were sitting in the living room. Sometimes he’d try to sneak into our beds.

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He was Jason’s fuzzy buddy. He was my fur-baby. He was Adrianna’s best friend.

A few days ago he started acting strange; slower, less enthusiastic, and was eating very little. By Saturday night he wasn’t eating anything at all, and I suspected what was coming. By the time I’d left for work Sunday afternoon, he was curling up in hiding places – behind the couch, under our bed – and we were confident it was time. Jason pulled through by giving Adrianna a talk about what was happening. It had to be incredibly hard for him, but I’m glad he did it because I know I wouldn’t have been able to without breaking, and it was better that she had some kind of warning.

When I got home from work late last night, he was under the bottom edge of our bed. He wiggled out enough to let me pet him, but I could tell he had no energy and it was too much for him to even keep his head up for long. I laid with him for a while, and Jason sat with him for a while, but after a time he started slinking deeper under the bed, so Jason slid a blanket under for him, hoping he’d rest on that.

At around 5:30 am, Adrianna came into our room and snuggled under our blankets. I’d swear Comma was waiting for this moment for us to all be together, because no sooner did Adrianna start talking to me, than he began to yowl. We all jumped out of bed to check on him. He’d laid on the blanket Jason had left him, so we slid him out, and as he let out his last few breaths we all petted him and told him we loved him, and then he was gone.

I’d be lying if I said I was fine. I know that he was old, he had a good life, and he had to go sometime. And I’m grateful for the fact that he was able to hang on until we were all there together with him. But I also feel a hole inside knowing that he’s not going to peek in the shower at me, or sook me for literally everything I cook, or wake Jason up with swats to the face, or snuggle with Adrianna inside the laundry basket. For a little creature that took up less room than a pillow, the house feels ridiculously empty without him.

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We’ll miss you, puppy-cat. You’ve left a paw-shaped hole in our hearts, but we’ll never forget you.

Cryptozoic DC Bombshells Series 3 & Lil Bombshells Backpack Clips Unboxing!

Did you know that I’m a bit in love with Cryptozoic’s take on the DC Bombshells? You didn’t? Where the heck have you been?!

We recently got our hands on Series 3 of the line, thanks to our awesome friends at Cryptozoic, and I was super-excited to check them out! The third series includes Mera, Black Canary, and a new take on Harley Quinn, and they’re all just as beautiful as the previous series’. PLUS Cryptozoic sent us the first line of Lil’ Bombshells Backpack Clips to take a look at! Check it all out in our unboxing video, let us know which characters are your favorite, and check out the links in the description box to learn more about these products!

Aliens “Game Over” Collection Titans Vinyl Blind Boxes – Full Case Unboxing from Entertainment Earth

You simply cannot have too many xenomorphs. That’s my opinion, anyway! Therefore I was more than happy to check out the “Game Over” Collection of Titans Vinyls blind boxes which were sent our way by the awesome people at Entertainment Earth! This set includes two human characters, one android (plus his rare chase option), one vehicle, and a whole slew of aliens, including three different chase variants. They’re awesome little figures, especially the Alien Queen and the Chestburster, but you really have to see them, so check out the vid! Then let us know in the comment section which ones were your favorites, whether you have any yourself, and check out the description box for a link to where you can grab a case! Let the invasion begin!

Plans and Goals 2018: Week 45 Review

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It’s Monday morning. I woke up today to the first snow of the season. Then I ran to Walmart for cat food and found that they were playing Christmas songs. And you know what?

I’M IN A BLOODY GOOD MOOD, SO THERE!

The frustrating truth is that I tend to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder during the winter months in Eastern Canada, but right now, at this moment, sitting in front of my laptop with a coffee while shivering from the cold…I’m actually in a really decent mood. I’m not entirely sure what’s up with that, but let’s run with it, shall we?

Week 45 was a busy one, although now that I’m looking back on it I couldn’t quite tell you what it was that made it busy. It just seems as though I was nonstop throughout the week. So let’s have a look-see and try to determine what took up all my time.


Plan #1: Focus more on Writing.
Though there are always going to be distractions, the thing I love about National Novel Writing Month time is that it gives me a sense of motivation to do better. I see all these people on social media just killing their word counts and it makes me think, “Dammit, I can do that too!” I’m not always able to actually pull off what I’m seeing other people pull off, but it’s definitely a huge boost to my willpower.

  • Goal #1: Write half a million words throughout the year. I’ll be totally honest and say that I was hoping to do better on my word counts this past week, but that’s not to say that I didn’t do well. In fact, I did quite excellent! I wrote 3201 words toward blog posts for this site and TraceysBasement.com, and I wrote an awesome 8699 fiction words toward The Other World Book Three, and an as-yet-unnamed ghost story that I’ve been playing with. Woo! That gives me a week’s total of 11900, which is just 17 words shy of being my second best week of the year so far. Not too shabby at all! Those words also bring my year’s total up to 231699, and my daily average up to 735. Yeah! The average is still going up!
  • Goal #2: Sell more books. I don’t wanna talk about it, dudes.
    Seriously though, I’ve had a total down-slide on book sales recently. I’m not sure what’s up, but there’s been absolutely nothing. Obviously I need to do some holiday pimping myself out.
  • Goal #3: Complete and publish The Other World: Book Two. Continuing on from previous weeks, I must repeat that my manuscript is currently with my beta-readers. That said, I’m going to go ahead and say that the book will likely not be “complete and published” by the end of the year. I was hoping to have it out for Christmas, but chances are that I’m going to want to make a bunch of changes after my beta-readers are through with it, plus I need to commission the cover art, plus I need to go through the new Kindle publishing process, wait for a proof copy, and confirm that everything is all good. That’s not all likely to happen in the next seven weeks. Plausible, sure, but I also don’t want to rush and end up screwing something up. So let’s take it a little easy and say that the book will be ready sometime in early 2019.

Plan #2: Focus more on YouTube.
The focus has been in and out on YouTube for the past few weeks, as you likely already know. We’re trying to psyche ourselves up, try some new things, and engage followers more, but it’s also the busiest time of the year for us, plus I’m starting a new job shortly, so YouTube naturally lags a bit as a result.

  • Goal #1: Film more often. We managed to get two videos filmed, edited, and uploaded in the past week. One of those was a bit of a time-consumer too, since it involved lugging a bunch of discounted Halloween purchases around and trying to work out how to lay them out so we could record everything. The other was another full case blind box opening, too, and those are never super-quick because of the bulk involved. So yeah, we definitely could have done more in the past week, but I’m happy with the two vids we managed to get up.
  • Goal #2: Put more focus into, and have more fun with, the social media aspect.  I think we did enough with the social media late yesterday to qualify for an awesome week overall. 😛
    Jason went absolutely mad with Instagram pics, which I then shared on the Twitter account as well, so it was a very social-intensive night. That said, the week in general wasn’t too shabby either. I may have drifted off from the social media a bit recently because of the amount of time I’ve been spending trying to get some writing done, but I’m still always there, tweeting away and sharing pictures when I have picture ideas to share. All is going well.

#3: Focus more on myself. 
Focus on myself, in recent weeks, has been delegated down to basically just trying to get done all the stuff I want to be done. As mentioned, this is a very, very busy time of year for us, what with the holidays coming up, plus both Jason and Adrianna’s birthdays, plus my stubborn insistence on participating in NaNoWriMo, so it’s definitely hard to find a moment or two to actually focus on myself.

  • Goal #1: Take time daily to read/watch/play. Something I did manage to sneak in this past week was the time to finish reading Carrie, and I can officially say that I love it. I won’t say too much because I might find the time to write an actual review post, but I’ll definitely say that if you’re a King fan and you haven’t read his original, first published novel, you need to. Especially if you are, or were, a teenage girl. Absolutely awesome.
    I did try recently to sit down and play a little bit of the Nintendo Switch, but it only lasted about two minutes before I decided there was stuff that needed doing.
    As for “watching”? Well it hasn’t been me time, but rather us time with Jason, but I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this ridiculous Food Wars anime we’ve been watching. It’s a ludicrous, over-sexed cooking anime, of all things, and I’ve been totally hooked. We watched almost the entire first season over the course of a few days.
  • Goal #2: Stay active, but don’t obsess. Though I haven’t been doing any actual runs or “real” exercise, I’ve actually been fairly active of late. In particular, I spent a good chunk of the weekend as a whirlwind blowing around the house, trying to get it more-or-less clean.
    It’s starting to get genuinely cold out now, so I doubt I’ll be going for any runs in the near future, but I might still manage a decent bit of walking. The job I mentioned above is located only a 15 minute walk from my house, so I’ll probably walk to and from most of the time to avoid taking the car away from Jason and Adrianna, and the job itself involves pretty  much constant movement and a lot of lifting. So here’s to “free” exercise! Ha!

Having gone through it all now I’m still not exactly sure where I was so busy throughout the week, but I’ll settle for knowing that I had a decently productive one. Here’s hoping I can continue that on through the next seven weeks. I tend to lose any semblance of productivity the closer we get to Christmas, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

How was your week? Were you able to accomplish anything? Do anything fun? Make any progress toward your own goals? Feel free to share!