31 July 2014

Want to Win Some California Ranch Olive Oil? [Giveaway ends 8/20]




Over on my review blog, Fancy That! I am reviewing California Olive Oil and I want to invite all my readers to hop on over and see what I think of this tasty olive oil and enter to win a bottle of your own!

For anyone just quickly stopping by, enter via Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a complimentary bottle of olive oil in exchange for my honest review (linked above).

18 July 2014

The Point by G. Nykanen [Book Blast] (And Win a $25 Gift Card) #AmReading





dark journey through madness...


Publication Date: May 30, 2014
Genre: Psychological Thriller

Befuddled by her current relationship woes, Nora Reynolds leaves college at semester’s end to drive north of nowhere to her hometown of Iron Bay. Vulnerable and on the rebound, she is the perfect prey for fledgling felon Dane Buchman. Dane takes advantage of the unaware young woman, feeding his appetite for mischief until a rather violent shift in their relationship reveals to him what he’s really been craving. Driven by his new found hunger, Dane feels unstoppable, until former high school rival and town deputy, Doug Sanders, navigates the trail of Dane’s destruction.

The Point is a dark thriller that will allow you to witness a truly dangerous sociopath wander through madness guided by a treasured family heirloom, and a pensive young woman find her way after discovering, that which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. With echoes of the Coen brothers’ Fargo, the folksy town of Iron Bay and the nearby north-woods community of Deer Lake are the destinations for Mr. Buchman’s many misdeeds.


G. Nykanen was born and raised in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This small, rural land mass seems to cultivate a wide variety of colorful characters who provide a plethora of inspiration. The Point, Nykanen’s first novel, is filled with nuances of these local characters and the landscapes one might find in the north woods. 

Well traveled thanks to her husband’s government career, she has lived in Europe and many of our United States over the last twenty years. She has recently returned home, moving back to her beloved Upper Peninsula where she resides with her husband and three children.

With The Point now completed, she will continue working on her next novel, Accumulation, along with continuing to develop other stories in the works.


16 July 2014

Five Things Going Through My Head During My Commute Home

So I'm on my bus right now going home and a few things popped into my head that I was going vent about to my personal Facebook page, but I decided to share with you instead.

So here's five observations and thoughts rolling through my head on my way home today -

1) I wish the guy sitting next to me on my bus home would stop falling asleep. He leans on my arm occasionally and it's getting very irritating.

2) I spilled hot sauce in my bag (brought it to work cause of lunch) and I hope no one smells it.

3) I spotted a cop nearby in his car texting while we were at red light.

4) I also have coffee spilled on my pants earlier and have a desperate need to put on clean clothes.

5) I have that song "Work" by Iggy Azalea in my head and it's serving up weird motivation to write when I get home.

What's on your mind?

5 Best Tips on Getting Productive with #WhatMatters


The past few weeks I have been talking about getting productive in your life (as well as how important organization is to the overall goal of productivity!). I wanted to end my four part series with looking back at some of the best advice I've discovered on productivity and how a great new product may just help you with that.

1) Set small attainable goals for each project.

It's the little things you do that make a big difference. Sometimes I go after the biggest projects first because I assume that I will get more done if I conquer those. In reality, if I can complete small tasks first, and get the little things done, I will feel really good about myself.

When you have a big project ahead of you, is there any way you can break it down into smaller portions? Are there also little things you have in the way that you may "wait until later" (and we know how that goes - later usually means never, right?).

2) Don't multi-task.

This is the best tip I've learned. When you "multi-task" you are simply interrupting progress to start on something else. It's like when you turn off a car and turn it back on, you are using the most gas. The same idea goes with projects. If you are turning off your momentum for a project to start on something new, you are using too much gas.

Stay with one thing - and this is when small goals help - and once you are done with that particular task, then move onto something new.

3) Use technology to your advantage.

Whether it's using products that help your organization or email reminders (and this is where the newest tool I discovered GoBoxi comes in!), technology can help you get things done. I'm a huge fan of creating folders in my personal email and re-directing any (usually unread) emails to folders so I can just look over them later. It unclogs my inbox and helps me figure out what is important.

Find out ways technology can reduce distractions (like turn off that wi-fi to work on that novel), help you organize (using tools like GoBoxi), or set reminders and deadlines for you (which Goboxi can also help with!).

4) Set up scheduled "work" sessions.

I found this to be a great tip if you have a lot going on and are having a hard time prioritizing. Set a buzzer to go off in 45 minutes if you are starting on a project. If you are like me, once you get started on something, it can be hard to stop. But breaking up the day like this can do wonders.

5) Learn to say "no."

I've had to let go of a lot of projects this past year and it's been very healthy to the things that I want to work on the most. Learning to say no is a fantastic skill to have - you don't always have to take on a new project or task.

So everyone, this ends my productivity series. I had an awesome time talking about this with you and I hope this has helped you. So, with that said, like Larry the Cable Guy, "Git'r done!"

This four-part series was sponsored by GoBoxi, an amazing service that helps you organize, prioritize, and even help you set reminders for what needs to get done based off the emails you get each day. Sign up for information by visiting their website!



07 July 2014

Share Your Favorite Productivity Tips! [Part 3] #WhatMatters


We're onto week three of my productivity posts, and I am amazed by how many of us are struggling day to day with getting productive and how much of it has to do with the level of organization involved.

So I want to compile some of the advice I've received in the comments and feedback over the last couple of weeks and see what you think is the best advice!

"Too many things to commit to only slows you down." - William Kendall

You know, I find this is a big issue for me. Do you have trouble saying 'no'?  I know I do. I tend to overextend myself and take on too much than NOTHING really gets done. This is what I want to work on the rest of this year - cutting back on the crap.

"I prioritize things. The things lower on the list just don't have to be done." - Charity Lyman

I agree with this one to a point, but you know there are some easy quick things I like to make a priority first point in the day because when I get SOME things done, no matter how small, they tend to push me forward to do the bigger projects.

"I try to get my must haves done and then step away from my desk at a reasonable time."
 - Kristen

Taking breaks is SO important. I find when I take little breaks throughout a project I get way more done and I come back clearer headed. If I try to work straight through nothing gets done and that's not good for anyone, is it?

"My calendar is a great friend, espeially combined with my tasks-to-do. Also, keeping everything tidy and organized saves tons of time - my inbox, my desk, my notes. Not cleaning up every once in a while, but keeping it that way all the time (sometimes difficult, but worth it)." - Judit

I am a big to do list girl. I keep my reminder list on my iPhone pretty packed full. Also, like Judit said, keeping my inbox organized regularly can do me wonders for getting things done.

"A list, a timer and no clocks. One hour to finish each task, and if it doesn't get finished, too bad, onto the next one. Ice coffee on hand and all times for the inevitable energy crashes, but never once slow down until everything on the list has had an hour out of the day. Manic fuels manic. It's the only way to feel productive." - NJMagas

Wow, I loved this because it really spoke to my method (especially the coffee part!). But setting a time limit on projects can get you speedy and get you faster to that deadline. The only concern would be increasing number of errors but I tend to get pretty good at avoiding that stuff.

"I've been cutting back on my email notifications (searching out that heartbreaking 'unsubscribe' button) -- too easy to get sucked into checking to make sure I'm not missing anything! I'm better off not knowing. Then I sit down, absolutely FORBID myself to open up the Solitaire, not even to "warm up" (a favorite lie of mine). And start writing. I then find that when I'm called for dinner, I'm right in the middle of something productive and hate to leave. Such a great feeling, but it only happens when I open Word and NOTHING ELSE."  - Eugenia Parrish 

I think that cutting back on distractions (like social media, or books, or cat videos, or...the list could go on) and disciplining myself not to go to those distractions really helps me stay productive. I think this is excellent advice.

I'd love to know what your favorite productivity tip you've ever been told. Make sure to leave a comment below and I might feature you in part 4 of the productivity series!

Also, Goboxi is a brand new service to help you get your email inbox organized and also sets reminders for you based on software that will learn which emails and tasks are most important to you. Subscribe to their site via email to get updates and more info on when you can sign up!

This is a sponsored post and I will receive compensation. All opinions are my own.

27 June 2014

What Are Your Productivity Tips? How Do You Save Time For #WhatMatters? [Part 2]



Last week I wrote about the importance of getting productive this year and my best tips for getting their in your own life.  Recently I sorted through over 5,000 emails in my inbox and it took me a very long time but after a while I started to realize how important it was for me to cut back on the crap in my inbox. Clutter really disorients my thinking in terms of productivity.

So, on this line of thinking, I decided to reach out to a few blogging friends to see what they had to say and of course this posed a challenge to many!

April Hammond over at Faith 'n Pixie Dust said, "Having a clean workspace helps me."

Jenn Decker over at More Than a Mom of Three said, "Having a to do list is the only way I stay on track!"

Cole Martinez said, "Don't try to multitask. It only slows you down."

And then of course a confessed they were terrible at being productive!

So I wanted to reach out to all of my readers and see what you had to say -

How do you save time for what matters the most in your day to day? What are your productivity tips? 

I want to hear what you have to say! Leave a comment and be featured in next week's post!

If you are struggling with getting productive and unclogging that email inbox of yours, take advantage of this opportunity to sign up for early access to the newest productivity software called GoBoxi. Click this link to learn more and sign up!

This post is part of a sponsored campaign for which I will receive compensation. My opinions are my own.

19 June 2014

Do You Want to Get More Productive? #WhatMatters

Does this look like your office? Photo via Flickr.
I am balancing a lot these days and I think a lot of times I can be overwhelmed with how much I want to do and the time that I have to do it. Anyone else feel this way?

Last week though, I knew one thing that was clogging up my brain and making me lose track of things that I wanted to get done - my email! I use my email for a lot of blogging tasks, and because I'm usually managing multiple blogs, a lot of this can get confusing (which can lead me to get disorganized).

I don't know about anyone else, but I tend to use my personal email as a "to do" list (which serves me better than just writing things down; I lose things when I'm stressed and what's the point of a to do list if you LOSE it?). So, I started in one my own email (which 5,000 emails and several hours later is organized) and it took me a long time to get things sorted and figure out what I missed, what still needs to get done, and what is coming up.

Then, this made me think about productivity overall and what works best for me.

One key factor into getting me productive is to get organized!

This is rough for me to even cheer lead about because I'm definitely NOT the most organized person in the whole world. But once I organized my email and got things sorted and archived things (properly labelled), my overall productivity improved greatly. I got more things done and followed up on projects much easier. My brain wasn't as clogged anymore!

Also, setting goals for myself as well as even small deadlines or tasks, can give me the energy to be productive. I often times will just look at the overall project in general without setting small goals and I will feel overwhelmed.

If I can meet a small tasks or deadline each day or each week, I will feel much more inclined to get myself going for the next hurdle.

Next week I will be reaching out across my social networks and my blog readers for some of your productivity tips! So be sure to follow me @BeingTheWriter or on Google Plus by circling me to be featured in next week's post! Or just come back by next week to comment!

But first, before you go away, I want to introduce you to this amazing new service that will help you with all of your productivity troubles. It's called GoBoxi. And it's a tool that balances everything you need to do in your life, including managing social media AND your email all at the same time by using hashtags to organize things for you.

Best of all, and this is my favorite part, it actually gets to know the things most important to you. Talk about some mind reading. So writers and authors, those publishing projects you have to get done will suddenly get done a lot easier with this tool. And bloggers and virtual assistants out there, you know how you like to organize projects and clients and contacts, this tool is the one you would want to use to organize all of these things.

It also creates tasks for you based on it's automatic learning software or by organizing things by hashtag. Can you imagine the things you could get done? This is sort of like the best assistant you can get out there!

Make sure to watch the video below for details:




So how do you get signed up for this amazing tool? Sign up here for information on when this gets launched!

This post is part of a paid campaign for which I will receive compensation. My opinions are my own.

12 June 2014

Happy News for Me! [On My Recent Publishing Success!]



I am so excited to announce that the other day I heard that I will be getting published on the website The Voices Project, a non-judgmental community for women to share their poetry. 

The first poem will be published this fall and the next one will be published soon after. This is unbelievable and my first real time ever getting published.

This year has been very hard and to have this type of recognition means a lot. It's funny, though, one of these poems is over SEVEN YEARS OLD. But I rewrote it earlier in the year and I am really happy I did, because look what happened!

Anyways, the journey continues as I continue to submit, write, edit, rinse and repeat. I will be sure to update again once I can share the link with everyone.

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09 June 2014

A Writer's Blog Hop - On My Writing Process and Current Projects

writing process, bad writing, writing blog hop

It's almost as if someone read my mind, because I've been stumped for blog content lately and when one of my writing peeps Jessica Samuels sent me a message asking if I wanted to join in a writing blog hop this week, I couldn't wait to join in!

Make sure you check out her answers too over at her blog.

1) What am I working on?

I've given up the burden of a novel at the moment and I've turned my attention to short stories. I've gotten about three or four done done so far this year and this is a major MAJOR record for me. It's funny though as I write more of these stories each one gets weirder and weirder and it makes me look at the world differently to see if I can twist it around into a bizarre little tale.

I'm having a lot of fun with short stories this year, but that doesn't mean that a novel idea isn't brewing in the background. I do have one that is more science fiction/dystopian than I've ever attempted before. I don't think I'm ready to work on it yet but it's developing in the back of my mind.

2) How does my work differ from others its genre?

I was once asked by someone critiquing my stories whether I would consider turning into a humor piece or, they wondered, whether I intended to have that comical tone to it. As I continue to write, I guess you can say that the humor or comical quality to the stories are laced with the bizarre and twisted worlds I've placed my characters in. For this, I stand out in the horror genre.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I used to associate myself as a fantasy writer, but as I've gotten older I don't read as much high fantasy as I used to as a kid. Nowadays, I like when one foot is in reality and one foot is in the bizarre. That's why I like horror stories, because it allows me to use this world we live in the most fanastic, horrific way. 

4) How does my writing process work?

I write a lot at night as well as on my bus ride home. I handwrite my stories usually into a notebook. My editing process needs a massive amount of work, but when I'm my most ambitious, I edit on the weekends (I work on first drafts during the week). Handwriting has been the best thing for my first drafts, although it sort of makes the editing process more difficult as typing up my stories gives me this high definition view into what I've written, which isn't always pretty.

I'm specifically tagging RD Meyers who I know must be dying to talk about his newest project in this prompt, but I would love everyone to join in on this! Let me know if you do and I'd love to read what you have to say!





05 June 2014

Attention College Students! Rent Out Your Text Books & Earn Money


Summer is just around the corner, and if you are planning on returning to school to take on a few summer classes, you will want to take advantage of some amazing money saving opportunities with CampusBookRentals.com!

First of all, they have partnered up with Operation Smile and every textbook rented, CampusBookRentals.com makes a donation. Operation Smile is a medical charity that performs cleft surgery on children from low and middle-income countries. They do some amazing work and so not only will you get to save money with CampusBookRentals, you also get to help an amazing cause.

But why else should you go with CampusBookRentals? There are some incredible perks -

You save 40 - 90% off of regular bookstore prices.
Free shipping both ways.
You can highlight the textbook.
Flexible renting periods.

Not to mention, they also have a great program for those of you who already forked over the big bucks for your textbooks. It's called RenetBack and it allows you to rent the textbooks you own to other students. This allows you to make twice as much money and even more than usual campus buy back programs (I remember getting like $15 back on a book I spent $75 on at my campus bookstore buy back program, so this is an incredible benefit!).

Check out this video about the RentBack program!


For further information, visit RentBack.com or visit CampusBookRentals.com. Also visit OperationSmile.org for information on this charity. 

This is a sponsored post and all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

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