Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Journal July Challenge!! #JournalJulyChallenge!!

I posted a little something about this to Instagram almost a week ago. (Yes, I'm on Instagram now. Have been for a little over a year. Here's my profile.) I'd been watching the YouTube channel Inky Leaves for a bit and was very into their journaling videos. In one video, Becky mentioned that she had been journaling for....I believe it was 180 consecutive days or something of the like. I thought that was am amazing idea but, even as an avid journaler, I was rather intimidated. So I decided that for June I would challenge myself to write every single day of the month. That was 30 days. Surely, I could do that. Well, turns out I did!! And I actually had journaled every day for the last week of May so I ended up with 36 days by the end of this challenge. And by then, it was really becoming ingrained into me as a habit. So after that, I decided I wanted to carry on this challenge into July. I kept this challenge to myself in June but I wanted to extend it to all of you in July!!

So here is my Journal July Challenge!!

It's quite simple. I challenge you all to journal 3 times a week for the rest of the month of July. That's 12 times for the rest of the month. Now, here's something important: do NOT stress about this challenge. I'm sharing it with you all because I love to journal and thought it would be cool to have a little challenge all together. If you don't journal three times a week, honestly, who cares?? What is the worse that can happen if you don't? The point is to TRY.

You can share posts on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.) with the hashtag #JournalJulyChallenge . If you want to share it in your Instagram stories each day you do journal, that's great, too. You can just share posts or you can share pictures, posts and pictures etc. Your choice!! If you want to do short blog posts about it if you find benefits from it, that would be awesome. However you want to share, just tag the post #JournalJulyChallenge . And you can tag me in your posts if you like. I'll link my social media below. Before those, here are 23 prompts to help get you started if you need a little help getting started. Remember, no one else has to see it. It's your journal. It doesn't have to be "good". The handwriting can suck. You can write in sentences or bullet points or rhyme. Whatever. It can be ten pages or three or one or two lines!! Washi tape? Go for it! Not your thing. Leave it out! It's about trying and about how you want to try to journal. Play around and have fun!!

  23 Journal Prompts:

1. Introduce yourself to your journal.
2. Favorite hobbies and why.
3. Favorite books and why. (Top five if you can't narrow it down.)
4. Favorite song/music and why.
5. Favorite memory.
6. Tell your journal about your family.
7. Tell your journal about your best friends.
8. What did you want to be when you were a child?
9. Favorite film and why.
10. Favorite television show and why.
11. Your goals for the rest of the year.
12. Write a poem. (It doesn't have to be good!!)
13. Intentions for the day.
14. Write your dream day.
15. Ten biggest goals for your life.
16. Where do you most want to travel?
17. Write out one of your dreams.
18. List ten things you're grateful for. 
19. Copy down the lyrics to a favorite song.
20. Copy down a favorite poem.
21. List five favorite quotes.
22. Make a list of things you want to do this summer.
23. Write out some positive affirmations. 

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Sunday, June 30, 2019

My Top Ten Favorite YouTubers

Hello, loves!! I'm going to be honest with you, I'm just starting out on this blogging once a week thing. Cross your fingers for me. For the first one I did pick a topic which would be a little bit easier to put together. I really like YouTube and there are some favorite YouTubers of mine that I thought I'd share in a quick blog post today. I'm going to list them out and tell a little tidbit about what they do. Each channel will also be linked if you click on their name. I hope you enjoy. And let me know some of your favorite YouTubers below. :)

Lifestyle, organization, wellness, travel.

2. Koze
Daily coffee talks every other month.

Self-Publishing advice, writing advice, planners, advice on making and sticking to goals.

Lifestyle, wellness, creativity.

BookTuber and AuthorTuber. Reading and writing vlogs, book hauls, etc.

AuthorTuber. Lots of writing vlogs. Does writing experiments where she writes like a famous author for a day.

Mindset, business, social media, manifestation.

Lifestyle, organization, motivation, routines.

AuthorTuber. Writing vlogs, writing and publishing tips.

Health, lifestyle, DIY, organization, motivation.

Summing up, four are AuthorTubers and/or BookTubers (not surprising, since I am an author). Five are mostly to do with lifestyle, organization, and the like. And one is a combination of lifestyle. manifestation, and business. And there are other YouTubers I really like but I was trying to make this my top ten. It wasn't super hard but it wasn't super easy. I pretty much went by who I've been watching most often this year. I also watch a lot of Marvel related videos. And a lot of interviews with Tom Hiddleston, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Junior, and David Tennant. As well as random writing, and planning videos. So do you follow anyone listed above? Any other YouTubers you love that you want to share? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!! <3

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Interview with Alyson Hale | Author of the Rock Her Series

Amanda: Give us a quick introduction to you. Published books, what you write, etc.
Alyson: Hi everybody, I’m Alyson Hale and I write contemporary, erotic & rock star romance. So far I have published a short story anthology, the first three books of the Rock Her Series and Ready for Him, a standalone single dad/nanny romance.

Amanda: Favorite book you’ve published so far?
Alyson: Eddie and Elyza from Rock Her Long have really resonated, not only with me but also with readers. It was the first book where I said “screw it, I’m writing what I want to write” and it ended up being better than my other ones, so that’s my new author motto.

Amanda: Most fun character to write? Favorite character to write? (Because they can definitely be different. ;) ) Hardest to write?
Alyson: Writing Damien and Alex was fun because they’re so naughty and adventurous. I was able to bend the rules of the genre a little bit with them, which I liked. My favorite character will always be Madison Landers (Daley), the heroine of my current WIP (details coming soon!). Madison is also the hardest to write because her story is so complex.
Amanda: Did you like to read as a child? Favorite book? Do you still have that book or reread it now?
Alyson: I’ve been obsessed with books ever since I started reading at age four. My favorite book was Little Women. I read it so many times my copy fell apart, but I do have another version of it. Sadly, it’s not quite the same. I would love to reread it when I have time to sit down and do so.
Amanda: Little Women is also one of my favorites. 

Amanda: Have you always been a writer/storyteller? How did you start?
Alyson: I started writing when I was 14. My English teacher noticed I had a knack for storytelling and encouraged me to write a memoir. I couldn’t get through the memoir due to some events in my childhood being too fresh, but I do intend to write that someday. Before that, most of my storytelling was done in my private diary.
Amanda: Writing my memoir is on my list, too, but it's quite daunting.

Amanda: Do you write to music? If so, what kind? I love to hear about new music!
Alyson: I write to rock music (old and new, usually a specific playlist I’ve made for that book), 2000’s pop (especially P!nk and Kelly Clarkson), and Lindsey Stirling if I’m feeling whimsical.
Amanda: I love P!nk, Kelly Clarkson AND Lindsey Stirling!!

Amanda: I know for me, there have been some funny stories since I’ve been deep in the trenches of writing. Like a realization about a work in progress or characters (the funniest has to do with the song Mirrors by JT.) Do you have any funny stories that you’d like to share?
Alyson: Honestly, when I get done with a book it all feels like a fog. I couldn’t tell you even if there were. The act of writing a book is so exhausting!
But my husband does have a lovely quirk of looking right over my shoulder when I’m trying to write a sex scene. He always manages to pop up right at the wrong moment. So...that’s fun.

Amanda: Do you have a typical process or any writing rituals? Anything you have to have with you while writing? (Besides computer, paper, typewriter, whichever…)
Alyson: I usually have a billion Google Docs open with an outline, character sketches, the previous draft...I am a textbook plotter and it shows in the disorganized chaos that is my Google Drive.

Amanda: Who is a character that has influenced you (not from your books)?
Alyson: Jo March from Little Women. She is the first character that made me believe I could be a writer.
Amanda: I love Jo March.

Amanda: Which of your characters would you least want to go on a road trip with? Why? Most want to?
Alyson: Celeste Norman from my current WIP. She is a nightmare. I would totally rock the open road with Madison.

Amanda: Top three favorite books and authors right now.
Alyson: Most recently, I really enjoyed Hard Lesson by Savannah Skye, Pretty Reckless by Jane Anthony, and The Roommate Agreement by Emma Hart.

Amanda: Favorite writing craft book?
Alyson: Story Genius by Lisa Cron
This or that:
Strawberry vs. Chocolate - Chocolate
Poetry vs. Fiction - Fiction
First draft vs. Editing - First draft
T. V. Show vs. Movie - TV Show
Book vs. Movie - Book
Hero vs. Villain - Depends! But usually hero
Villiain vs. Anti-Hero - Anti-hero all the way
Witch vs. Vampire - Witch
E-book vs. Physical Book - Physical book
Tea vs. Coffee - Coffee

Amanda: Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on now?
Alyson: My current WIP is a rewrite of my first published work as a YA author under a different pseudonym. This time it’s 18+ and the storyline has more depth and romance and less of what I like to call “fluff drama.”

Amanda: Any last comments to share? :)
Alyson: You are the best, Amanda!! Thanks so much for having me.
Amanda: So glad to have you!! Thank you so much for being on the blog!! :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Release Blitz | Vengeance by Vic Tyler

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𝐕𝐄𝐍𝐆𝐄𝐀𝐍𝐂𝐄: 𝐃𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐞𝐧’𝐬 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐞
By @AuthorVicTyler

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Grab your next binge read today!
Read for #FREE in #KindleUnlimited!

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✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦⁣⁣


Welcome to our corner of the underworld
where everything you love
can and will be used
to destroy you.


Once upon a time, an angel crashed a demons' party.
Bruised, battered, and broken - she begged us to shed blood on her behalf.

For justice.

Sweet, pure Adriana is the angel who was prepared to die for her revenge.
And I'm the demon who was raised to live for mine.

When I look at her, I see everything I didn’t have to lose.
I see my last chance at redemption.

She doesn't belong in my world, and I'll free her if it's the last thing I do.
Even if it means destroying everything she loves.

** This book contains adult content intended for mature readers, including but not limited to graphic violence, potential triggers, and explicit sexual content. **

About Vic Tyler:

Vic Tyler is a new author of contemporary romance novels.

She likes to think she weaves intricate stories about complex characters who come to life, but that's the roundabout way of saying she writes too much and overshoots her estimated word count by 45%.
(See? Concision is very hard for her.)
So if you want a fantastic (and very hot) bang for your buck, you came to the right place.

When she's not writing, VT is a compulsive orange eater who's a little too obsessed with finding the right espresso-to-milk balance for her lattes.
She's fond of exploring all kinds of things (except caves), baking 'til her kitchen's a mess, and laughing at the questionably funny.
Oh, and she also enjoys doing puzzles, which is why you'll often find her breaking her characters' hearts and finding new ways to piece them together again.

✵ ✵ ✵ ✵ ✵

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Talking About My Journey with Anxiety and OCD

I'm not good at sharing. I'm starting with that sentence so if this doesn't seem like I'm sharing much you know why. It doesn't come naturally to me. I tend to keep things close to the vest. Here's an example. When I'm in the hospital the only reason my friends and extended family find out is if my mom tells them. I might not even mention it after it happens. So they may never know if it weren't for someone else telling them. That's just the way I am. So to share is not a natural thing for me. Maybe this has to do with my social anxiety, I don't know. Anyway, I know that we as a society have such a hurtful stigma against mental illness. Just the term often brings about feelings of shame. I want to change that. I can't do it single handedly but I can be a part of it, I can help. And I think that helping starts with sharing my story. Even if it's just some of it. You have to start somewhere, right?

I know it looks like I'm choking my cat here, I'm not. hahaha. Just hugging him and having him protest. He actually lets me hug and cuddle and kiss him quite a bit and does the same to me quite often. What does this have to do with anything? Well, Sawyer (my cat) is something that helps me immensely. Just petting him and cuddling with him calms me down. Oh, how I love this little guy. <3

So, my mom says she noticed signs of my anxiety and OCD (which is technically an anxiety disorder) from the time I was quite young. I don't really remember doing anything compulsive when I was younger, but that may just be because it was normal to me.

Wait. Before we go on, let me put the definition of OCD right here:
"Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), and behaviors that drive them to do something over and over (compulsions).
Often the person carries out the behaviors to get rid of the obsessive thoughts. But this only provides short-term relief. Not doing the obsessive rituals can cause great anxiety and distress."
This definition is taken from MedlinePlus. I include it because too many people believe that OCD only encompasses wanting things neat, orderly, tidy, et cetera. Like when you see someone line up their pencils in a perfect row. I'm not saying that isn't part of it I just want it to be clear that it is much different than what society tends to portray it as. A well known example would be someone who has to repeatedly wash their hands. For no apparent reason, they just keep washing. There are infinite numbers of compulsions, though. Counting is a popular one. And it's one that I share to a degree. Which I find sort of ironic because I hate math. (Just trying to diffuse a little humor...) My number of choice is 4. I count things in rounds of 4. Once I get to 4, I start again. I sometimes count my steps.

I prefer even numbers to odd. I find it hard to do anything in odd numbers. To give an example. the volume on the television. It has to be on an even number. If it starts on 26 I can't go up to 27, I have to turn it up to 28. Now, to throw a wrench in what I just said, there are exceptions to this even number rule of mine. One is if someone else puts the volume on an odd number. Then I don't have to change it because it wasn't me who did it. Something else, though. Well, it's hard to explain. There are certain odd numbers I'm okay with, but there are very specific reasons for it. The number 7, for example. I'm okay with that number. Why? Well, in history 7 is meant to be a powerful magical number. There are also 7 Harry Potter books. So, I'm okay with that one. There are others, too.

I'm not being neat and orderly isn't part of it for me. I do often have to straighten things out that are uneven. Like pencils. I fix the books on the shelves in Barnes and Noble. And I can't even tell you how many times I've said my room is messy and anyone there strongly disagrees and says it looks neater than their room ever has.

Trying to explain your compulsions to people, oh boy, is that a nightmare. Many people (including me) often try to hide these things, but sometimes it's just not possible because you HAVE to do it. You HAVE to. Why? Because if you don't, whatever the obsessive thought is will then happen. Does that make sense? No. And I'm well aware of that. But it's almost like two separate parts of my brain. Two separate voices. Two little beings on my shoulder. One telling me I don't have to and one telling me I need to, or else that thing will happen. The second voice tends to win out. What causes OCD? There's the kicker. We don't know yet. Here's another snippet from MedlinePlus.

"Health care providers do not know the exact cause of OCD. Factors that may play a role include head injury, infections, and abnormal function in certain areas of the brain. Genes (family history) seems to play a strong role."
It's often infuriating. I think some people may be able to do the compulsion a certain number of times and then go on. With me, yes, a number comes into play but I have to do it right. If I don't, I need to repeat the compulsion over and over until I do get it right. What's worse? Usually, I'm not even sure what right means. Something in my brain just clicks to tell me that I got it right and then I can move on with my day. I have spent fairly significant amounts of time trying to get it right. As I said, infuriating. And to try to explain it...might be more infuriating because it's so hard to explain. But the jury is out on that.

That brings us to anxiety. General and Social Anxiety. The first panic attack I remember having I was seventeen. We were going to Florida. I was on an airplane. I'm terrified of flying. I started having a panic attack because it wasn't as if I could get off that plane, and I was stuck doing something that terrified me to the bone. Even just writing that brings up some of that panic in me.

Things went pretty well for a while. What's interesting is, looking back, it's quite possible I had smaller anxiety attacks in the years between this one and my next big one.

This panic attack took place in college. I was twenty-one, sitting in the library with a few friends. I'm not sure to this day what brought it on. I know that my friend brought me home. I thought maybe it was because of the people around but I'd been in the library countless times.

I also remember sitting in my Poetry class after having been in the hospital and starting to feel a panic attack come on. Shortness of breath, light headed, this feeling in my's so hard to describe, so hard to do justice to it. I got up and nearly ran outside to get fresh air. Mind you, it was February. I had on a sweatshirt but I had a coat, too because it was freezing. I didn't bring my coat with me, I needed that cold air hitting my skin.

In one of my Literature classes, I felt the symptoms come on once more. I got out of class as quickly as I could and locked myself in a bathroom stall to ride it out. I think I threw up that time, as well.

Another time, I didn't catch the symptoms in enough time to get away and ride it out. I'd just come back from the ladies room, I thought everything was fine. I sat down in my Spanish class and it came on quite suddenly this time. My Spanish professor noticed and came over to my desk. She picked up my things and told me to come with her to her office. I sat there with her and she actually told me to call someone to take me home, that was how bad it was.

Social Anxiety. This is something I remember having for well, as long as I can remember. I didn't call it social anxiety I just remember always being nervous around people. I most definitely still am and would usually prefer to be alone. Or just with a small group. Again, just thinking about this makes me a little nervous. Honestly, there are very few people I've never been nervous around. Even the people I love.

I think my General Anxiety and OCD have gotten a bit better. What's difficult is trying to pin point why, what did it. I think routine is a part of it, at least for my anxiety. A lot of the time, my anxiety would stem from being literally paralyzed by not knowing what to do first. To the point that I just did none of it. This did not work so well for me. With a routine, I know what to do when. Maybe it sounds restrictive but it's really not. It's not a down to the minute plan every minute detail routine. It gives me enough structure to know when I'm doing my morning ritual, when I'm setting up medicine for the night, when I'm working on content or when I'm writing or editing, when I'm off of work for the day. And it's not rigid, I honestly believe it's more about the order of the things.

My mindset is another thing. And I'm sure some of you are rolling your eyes. I get it. I don't think mindset can cure anxiety disorders like some people do but I DO believe that it can help. Having a morning ritual with some meditation (by the way, it's only 2-5 minutes), reading and journaling has honestly done wonders. I also do yoga nearly every day now. I try to workout every day, too (and have been pretty consistent) but yoga is something I've grown to love. It's sort of another form of meditation. And carving out more time for writing my books is helping a lot. That's something I've quite recently started. I decided I was too focused on the media and not the writing. So I decided to change that and it's helped a lot. I mean, the writing is what I love to do. It's what I'm here to do.

Gratitude. Thinking about all the wonderful things and people I already have in my life. All the experiences. The books I've written, people I've met. The fact that I'm still here even though my doctors gave me until age sixteen when I was diagnosed with Nephropathic Cystinosis. I feel immensely grateful and I realize how amazing life is.

Trying to go easy on myself when I have a bad day. Sometimes it's going to happen. It'll be a struggle to get one thing done. Or even to get dressed. I'm making a more conscious effort not to beat myself up about it.

Music helps quite a lot. It's hard to be anxious belting out a song. Or if I am anxious (or irritable, etc.) by the middle of the song I'm usually fine. Reading, books, stories. Any type of storytelling helps. It always has. I'm quite attached to many fictional characters, as you know, but did you know those characters ease my anxiety and even my OCD at times?

I think over the past five years my anxiety and OCD has gradually gotten better. And in the last year I've seen myself make huge progress. It will never go away, and that is okay. It's a day to day thing. And I'm proud of how far I've come.

If you want to talk you can send me a message on Facebook, Instagram or through email. But remember, I am not a mental health professional. If you need to reach out to someone (and it is totally OKAY if you do) please look for someone in your area. Or, if you'd rather check into online counseling, BetterHealth is one site you could check out.

Here's a link to a free anthology where people write letters to their mental illnesses. It's a powerful book and it shows that you are not alone. Far from it.