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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Threads Box #2: Effigy Box!

What’s this? Another Threads box already? Well, yes! Due to circumstances of which I am not a party, we got two Threads boxes within a week of each other, and I’m okay with that!

This second box contained another awesome shirt design that I am totally not going to let Jason get his hands on, as well as a one-shot graphic novel called “Effigy” that sounds incredibly interesting. Both items gave me a huge smile and are definitely well worth the subscription price of £10!

So again I say: go check out the vid, and when you’re interested in checking out Threads for yourself, click the link in the description box to get £5 off your first box. You can’t beat a deal like that, you guys!

 

Book Review: “Bonfire” by Krysten Ritter [SPOILER-FREE]

bonfire

It’s been a while since I’ve written a book review, which is a sin since I’ve actually been reading a good bit lately. So I thought I’d dive back into it with one of my favorite books of 2019 so far, and that is Krysten Ritter’s debut, Bonfire.

Wait…Krysten Ritter as in “Jessica Jones”?

Before I get into the actual review, I feel the need to address the fact that, yes, the author of this book is also the actress who portrays “Jessica Jones” in the Marvel series of the same name. I don’t bring this up because I think it should matter who, specifically, the author is. I bring it up because while I was reading the book I had absolutely no idea. It just never occurred to me when I saw the name “Krysten Ritter” on the front of the book that it was the same “Krysten Ritter” who is an actress. After all, it’s not as though there are no other Krysten Ritters in the world.

So, that’s just an extra little bit of info that may (or may not) affect how you feel about my review. I had no idea who the author was, and therefore had no bias one way or the other as to whether her book would be any good. Just the way it should be, in my opinion!

The Plot:

Bonfire’s narrator, Abby Williams, works with environmental law and has been placed in a bit of an awkward position. She will be investigating Optimal Plastics, the company which is the beating heart of her hometown of Barrens, Indiana. It’s a sticky situation to begin with, without adding in the fact that Abby doesn’t exactly have fond memories of the town and the people there she grew up with. And just in case that wasn’t enough to be dealing with, emotionally, she soon begins to uncover a strange scandal involving a classmate who ran away from home immediately following graduation. Where all this will lead is down a rabbit-hole of declining mental and emotional stability the further Abby presses on.

First Impressions:

I’m going to be perfectly honest: upon first picking up this book I wasn’t sure if it was something I was going to be able to enjoy because it’s so different from the kind of thing I normally read. I tend to focus on supernatural and fantasy stuff, whereas Bonfire is very much focused in the realm of reality. Most of what I read is third-person, past tense, and Bonfire is first-person, present-tense. I’m sure these seem like small, insignificant things when concerning a well-written story, but I do tend to be picky. So when I began reading, it was with a sense of concern.

Second Impressions:

Luckily, my first impressions/concern were complete and absolute nonsense.

I very quickly got used to the present-tense style of storytelling, and before I knew it I’d fallen in love with Abby as a character. What’s wonderful about her is that she’s an incredibly complex character. She’s very clearly the “good guy” in the context of this story, but she has plenty of failings as well, as we soon learn. Expanding upon that, some of her failings are very clearly of her own making, while others are very clearly the result of a less-than-stellar childhood.

This aspect of Abby also makes her very easy for me to relate to. My own childhood may not have been as rough as what Abby describes, but I can definitely understand quite a lot of what she’s gone through, such as bullying and unhealthy relationships.

To put it simply, Abby is the kind of character you can absolutely imagine being a real person. She is absolutely believable and makes you feel like someone you could have grown up with yourself.

The Plot Thickens:

As the story moves on, we become engrossed in lots of twists and turns that, quite frankly, will break your mind. Abby, because of the emotional roller-coaster she exists on, is an unreliable narrator who regularly spins us off in confusing directions. It is rather difficult at times to tell what is really happening, and what is all in Abby’s head. Chapter by chapter little bits of information are mixed into her investigation, and we’re never quite sure what is really happening in the background. Oftentimes throughout the book I found myself thinking that I knew how things were going to turn out, only to have something get flipped around on me a few pages later. In the end some things did turn out how I was expecting, but not before I’d been fooled into changing my mind half a dozen or more times. In other words, I was definitely kept on my toes with this book.

Final Thoughts:

It’s difficult to say too much about a book like Bonfire without ruining the suspense and intrigue, so I’ve kept things very vague. But the fact of the matter is that within the first few chapters I was completely hooked and desperate to know what was going to happen next. I ended up being completely engrossed and I devoured the book as quickly as I was able because I needed to know how things turned out in the end.

Ritter’s debut novel was a breakaway hit, at least in my opinion. Her ability to tell a story has been cemented with this first publication, and I’m going to be very interested to see what she comes up with next.

I highly recommend this book and would love to hear what other readers think about it. Let me know in the comment section, or add me on Goodreads: Tracey Lynn Tobin!


Want to check out Bonfire for yourself? Click right here to order!
Already read it? Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comment section below!

Unboxing! Zavvi Threads Monthly Subscription Box

We’ve previously done unboxings of Zavvi’s geeky subscription box, ZBox. But now there’s another! “Threads” by ZBox is an offshoot service that focuses on wearables and readables. Each box contains a licensed shirt and either a book or a graphic novel, both for just £10. A heck of a deal, in my opinion!

Zavvi asked me if I’d like to check out this service, and I heartily agreed because I love reading, and I love geeky clothes. It’s a perfect fit! Take a look at my vid to see what it’s all about, and if you’re interested click the link in the description box to get half off your first box!

Goals 2019: Week 23 in Review

plansandgoals2019weeklyreview

It’s a new week, and a new weekly review post, so what shall I talk about today? Hmm…let me see…

Hmm…uhh…damn, did anything happen last week?

Okay, okay, let’s mention some random good stuff then!

Firstly, I seem to have broken through the plateau I created for myself when I broke Keto last weekend. It took several days, but I finally saw a bit of weight-change yesterday morning and this morning, so yay! Remind me not to have any more cheat days any time soon, because getting yourself back into Keto is a pain in the butt.

On a related note, a friend saw that I’d tried out the K-Energy powder from a company called Yummy Sports, and suggested that I try out their protein powders too, which are made to taste like big-time junk food, but without the sugar (or carbs in general). I picked up their “Creamy Eggs” flavor last week and gave it a go, and I absolutely fell in love. It seriously does taste JUST like Cadbury Creme Eggs! So I get my protein boost after a good workout, and I get a “treat” at the same time! Wicked-sauce!

On an unrelated note, I’m getting closer and closer to the new job I mentioned previously, which is a very good thing because Walmart’s hours (in every department) have been chopped to an absolutely ridiculous extent. I went from 30+ hours two weeks in a row, to only 12 hours this week, and that’s after I took a 4-hour shift a coworker needed to get rid of. Jeebus. But, point being, the new job will be coming in a few weeks. Woo!

Okay, that’s enough random personal talk for now. Let’s go to the actual goals.


Goal #1: Write half a million words.

DAMMIT. I honestly thought I was going to do pretty good last week, but, uh…things happened. And by things I mean mostly no things.

Okay, okay, in my defense I did work quite a few hours last week, had a last-minute trip to the inlaws (1.5 hour each way) on the weekend, and needed to do some fairly major last-minute house-cleaning. But still, I definitely could have done better if I’d actually sat my ass down in front of the laptop.

For the record, I did write 4207 words, all of them blog and TraceysBasement.com posts and a bit of journal scribbling. That’s not terrible at all, but it’s also a far cry from the 15,030 words Pacemaker.press wanted me to write.

Related note: is anyone else who uses Pacemaker.press having any trouble with it? When I try to access my account on the website it tells me I’ve been logged out due to inactivity, then when I try to log back in it tells me my password is wrong, but when I try to reset the password nothing happens. Meanwhile, if I go to the bookmark I have on my phone…it just logs right in automatically, no issues. :\

  • Goal #1a: Write at least a quarter million fictional words. Nope. Nada. Nill. As mentioned above, all the words I wrote last week were blog and website posts, plus a little bit of journaling that was also very much non-fiction. I’m a bit annoyed with myself for that, because it’s been ages since I actually sat down and wrote some fiction now, but I’ve got plans for the coming week, so I’ll give myself a bit of a break for now. That said, if I come here next week and tell you that I still haven’t written any fiction, please feel free to beat me within an inch of my life.

Goal #2: Read at least 50 books.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve been destroying this goal recently, but I’ve still got a steady progress happening, so that’s good! My most recent read was Bonfire, by Krysten Ritter, which was recommended to me by a friend and turned out to be genuinely great. I wasn’t sure about it at first because it’s quite a bit different from what I generally read in a number of ways, but I ended up getting hooked and devouring it. It was a great story with a very damaged protagonist, which appeals to me for lots of reasons. Excellent recommendation, Amy!

Side note: my daughter is definitely going to destroy us all in the Goodreads challenge. All of her books are so short, dammit! It’s adorable to see her uploading all her progress though. That’s my little reader-miss!

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

Bit by bit I’m getting better at juggling social media with the rest of everything else. Bit by bit, I say! Okay, I have good days and bad days, but yesterday – which was still part of last week! – was a really good day, so nyah nyah nyah!

Last week’s numbers are as follows:

  • The YouTube channel gained 14 subscribers
  • The YouTube Twitter account went down 3 followers
  • The YouTube Instagram account went up 2 followers
  • The Snapchat account’s score went up 13 points
  • The Author Twitter account gained 2 follower
  • The Author Instagram account went up 10 followers

Dammit! Those numbers would be so good if it weren’t for that dang YT Twitter account! Okay, the numbers are still good and I’m quite happy with them, but still. Damn you, Twitter! *shakes fist* I wonder what I’ve done on that account recently to deserve three people walking away from me? Maybe they’re sick of my daily workout selfies. 😛

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

Video games are still on the back-burner, although I have been picking up Tetris 99 every so often (*shakes fist again*). That said, it’s currently E3 time and we just got an announcement that a FREE DLC is coming for Borderlands 2 in preparation for Borderlands 3, so I might have to figure out what’s glitching out my game so I can dive back into that.

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

Okay, it’s still slow-going, but I’m getting there! I did manage to film a vid late last week for a new box we’ve begun getting: Threads, by ZBox. That got uploaded pretty quickly and is doing okay for views and engagement, so yay for that! Meanwhile, a second Threads box actually showed up just a few days later, so I’ve got that to do soon as well. With that said, I definitely have to dive deeper into doing vids this week, especially considering what I mentioned earlier about having almost no work hours to deal with.


So there, as always, was the review for the week. Not enormously productive, but definitely a few steps forward in the proper direction, so let’s keep moving and see where we can end up!

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!

Who Needs Sleep? – An IWSG Post

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

It feels like it’s been ages since I wrote a post for the IWSG…probably because it has been ages. In fact, it’s been so long that I had to re-add myself to their Linky list. (Not for the first time, likely not for the last time.)

I haven’t been writing a lot of any kind of posts – aside from my weekly update posts – on this blog for a while now, as a matter of fact. So when I happened to scroll past an IWSG post someone had shared on Twitter, I thought it was about time.

And “about time” is the conversation I’m bringing to the table today.

As a writer who is not, unfortunately, able to make a living from writing, where does one go about finding the time necessary to actually, you know…write?

One of my favorite quotes from Stephen King’s “On Writing” is (paraphrased), “if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write”. That really resonated with me, and I fully believe it. Reading is a necessary part of writing for numerous reasons, so you have to make time to do it, which is why it’s part of my 2019 goals, even if it’s time-consuming.

The problem is that there are lots of other time-consuming things in the life of a (mostly)unpaid writer as well. For myself, personally, I work full-time to pay the bills. I also have a husband and daughter who require and deserve my attention. There are things I have to do as a responsible adult and homeowner, like running errands and doing chores. There are exercises I’ve committed myself to in order to take care of my health. There are other tasks – such as my YouTube channel – which are important enough to me to demand a portion of my time and effort.

What it all comes down to in the end is, when do I find the time to write?

And the answer is, quite simply, that I don’t. Instead of sitting down at a desk every day for several hours and plucking keys or scrawling in journals, I snatch at tiny moments captured while doing everything else I have to do. I scribble in a notebook while on my breaks at work. I record ideas in my phone while playing games with my daughter. I pluck out blog posts one paragraph at a time while I’m doing laundry, cooking supper, and helping my husband edit videos.

This sort of thing, I think, is why a lot of writers drink.

That’s probably making light of the bad situations some people have found themselves in, but you know what I’m getting at. It’s so easy, with all the other things that one has to deal with in life, to find writing getting pushed aside, no matter how important it is to you to do it.

Yet we keep dealing with it, because we must. We must find the time. We must write, no matter what, even if it means losing sleep and expending non-existent energy.

We are writers, and we are stubborn AF.


So when do you write? Where do you find the time? How do you make your best use of that time? Please share, because I’d genuinely love to know.