Nicole
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on this blog. But I figured it made more sense to do it here rather than overboard Facebook with a long column of...well, this. That and if people really wanted to know, they would click. If not, well, whatever.

This is my life.

It starts with me wanting a house, but rewinds back to Pennsylvania as to how I am where I am now. Here’s what happened in a nutshell.

I almost didn’t move out of Pennsylvania. I liked it there. The people were nice. I liked my job and my co-workers. And I enjoyed State College and the greenery and everything that came with it.

Problem – it’s expensive to live there. And even if it wasn’t that bad, I still didn’t have a full time job and there was nothing to be had. So when the time came, I simply packed up and went with my parents to here – Independence, MO. Then I had a new plan. I landed a full time job in a company where I could transfer if I wanted and if a spot was available to slip into. So I intended to save up enough to move west to Colorado and, even if I was scraping by in an apartment eating nothing but ramen noodles and getting my vitamins from fake juice, so be it.

Then my parents filed for bankruptcy. Long story, and it involves a certain asshole credit card company. *coughfuckyouChasecough* The house wasn’t going to be lost or anything, but it made things tough for my parents – so I stayed and upped the rent amount I was already giving them. (yeah, that’s right – I pay my parents rent. I don’t leech off my parents like a parasite, thankyouvermuch).

Still. It bothers me. Nicole. The girl everyone voted most likely to succeed still lives with her parents and works as a retail manager. I know, I’ve had people say it shouldn’t bother me, but I’m still touchy about the subject. I feel like I’ve failed in a lot of ways. More than I’m sure any of you thought or imagined. I just don’t talk about it a lot – or ever. I feel like it makes me sound like I’m whining or begging for sympathy.

Now, don’t misunderstand me – I loved college and I wouldn’t trade in my time there for anything (even if I could have gotten this job without it). Same can be said for my time at Seton Hill for grad school even if it did put me into the hole money-wise. I’m a better writer for it. Likewise I like my job. I like Barnes & Noble even if the pay is…well…retail pay.

But I want to go somewhere different. I’m not used to being in one place for so long. Even when I lived in Illinois – longest I’ve ever lived in one state. I want to run around and be a wild Nicole somewhere. And I want to have a house. I want to have dogs that can play in a backyard. I want my family to be able to visit and not be stuck in a hotel room. Problem – houses cost money.

So I’m trying something. I considered slapping up a GoFundMe page, but hesitated. I felt bad just flat out asking for money. That’s just not something I’m comfortable doing. So after a buddy mentioned a different idea to me, I decided to try that instead. The place is called Patreon.com, and instead of just me going, “Hey, spare change pls?” I’m actually working for it. Will I earn enough to buy a house? Fuck no. I’m not stupid. If I’m lucky, I’ll earn enough to do what I state in the video. If I’m really super lucky, maybe I can move out, get an apartment, and buy a cheap couch at Goodwill. (that’s right, I don’t even own any furniture. Wanna fight about it?)

I was hesitant to do this at first, because the vast majority of the people are on there are putting out comics, music, or YouTube videos. So what do I have to offer? Book chapters. As I write them. Initially I thought, “That’s not much,” but then I thought about it some more.

Why do we writers always seem to rag on our own work so much? Why does it seem like people – ourselves included – devalue what we do when compared to other artists? It’s not easy to just smash out a chapter of a book, just as it’s not easy to create a comic book page. It takes thought and effort. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with offering up a chapter or two every month for those that want to be a patron of my work. It would be like a serialization in a magazine. And it’s not like people have to keep subscribing. They can cancel any time they want. So if they want to offer up just $1 and get one or two chapters out of it (I’m doing other things as well to make it more interesting) and that’s all, cool. I still feel kind of weird about doing this, but I refuse to feel bad about offering up my work for money on a monthly basis. I’d rather give something back than nothing at all.



This is my official site: https://www.patreon.com/NT

If you want to be a patron, awesome. If not, it’s not like I’m going to hate on you or anything. Because A.) I know many of you have already bought my books, and that’s more than enough to make me happy, B.) I know plenty of you are in stuck situations just like myself, and C.) I’ll never know anyway. HUR HUR. But if you do know anyone who might be interested or you just want to throw things into the wind, feel free to share the video or the Patreon page.

Have a lovely night.

Go eat some chocolate. :3
Nicole
Reasons I love America:

From It Made My Day by the Cheezburger people:

I work in an ice cream parlor. Unlike my coworkers, I love when tourists come in. A few weeks ago, this British family came in, all ordering small cones. As I handed the first cone to the father, he asked if it was truly a small. It's 4 oz and being on a cone, it looks larger. When I told him yes, he smiled and said "This is what I love about America." Knowing that I made his day, MMD.
Nicole
So for all of my two watchers (hah), what's going on in the life o'me? Not a lot. Much of the same. Work. Eat chocolate. Write (though not as often as I'd like). But when it comes to some random things, here's something to read that might entertain you for a bit.

Currently in Love With: Mark Strong. Okay. So I'm not necessarily in love with him, but what can I say? I like Stardust and he's sexy as Septimus. WHAT? You want to have words over this? The man looks good with semi-long hair and the occasional 5 o'clock shadow. And NO SURPRISE, NO SURPRISE, he's English. Anyway, I'll daydream about him for a while before he gets replaced by some other English/Scottish/Irish/Aussie guy.

Song I'm Killing: "Black, Black Heart" by David Usher. Discovered on YouTube while looking for something else, I slipped this bad boy onto my mp3 player and have listened to it enough that now it's starting to die. Kinda makes me feel like some sort of musical vampire. Or succubus. Mmmm, delicious. Oh, and if you go looking for it, find version 2. The original version is too slow and fails to rock out enough. It took me three tries to find the right one.

Book I'm Reading: Speaking of succubi, My Fair Succubi by Jill Myles is currently with bookmark. And I'm pacing myself. I'll be done the day after tomorrow though, I'm sure. It's hard to put down. If you like paranormal romances and want something a tad different, go with a book where angels are dicks, vampires have feathery wings (black of course), and a succubus is the main protagonist. Whoo.

Stupid Shit Customers Say: "Do you sell cameras?"
"Do I get 10% off gift cards with my membership?"
"Do you sell the Kindle?"
"You don't sell the Kindle? Can you get online and buy one for me?"
"Can you help me set up my Kindle?"
"Where is nonfiction?"
"Where are the how-to books?"
"Where are the books on how to make fake IDs?"
"I've had this book for a year. It's still in really good condition. I don't have the receipt. Can I still return it?"

What the Dog Might Say At This Moment: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......

The Holidays: Christmas was good. Got a random assortment of goodies. Which reminds me, I still need to go to Old Navy. I went gaga on books. As for New Year's, I was in bed by 11:30. But hey, I rocked out to music until 12 and then listened to all the neighbors set off fireworks BECAUSE YOU CAN DO THAT HERE. Unlike half the states in the nation...

What I Need to Do Tomorrow: Freelance. Celebrate mom's birthday. I'm sure there's something else, but I can't remember what it is at this moment.

Well, I guess that does it for now. It feels good to finally contribute something to this blog. I ought to update my Ramblings one too, but I think I'll do that at another time. Until then, Cheerio!
Nicole
Like free books? Then you'd better go on over here.
HA.
Nicole
Ms. Valentine is my new favorite person.

Here's why.

And if you like the Twilight books or enjoyed the newest movie, well...too bad.


Currently: Why do you like these people, Pike?
Nicole
I guess it's high time I did some updating. Especially now that I have a new follower which almost knocked me out of my chair. No idea how you found me in the world of the internet babe(...though now that I think about it, I kind of am all over the place...), but HI! =D Good times.

Now then, let's back up and start from where we last left off, shall we?




February: Ice storm. Big one. Stuff was frozen for a while. I didn't mind since I work in my room so it's not like I need to go anywhere. Hah. I found myself getting really tired of winter at that point. I mean, basically once winter started I wanted it to be over, and that doesn't happen very often at all. Especially when we get oodles of snow. I enjoy snow. Heck, I want to live in Colorado (though that's pretty much all for the mountains and forests). But this time I was just done with winter. No idea why. Just...tired of cold and stuff. Maybe it's because I lost a month in August, what with losing Freckles only a few weeks before, taking a long time to get from PA to MO and then dealing with all the unpacking and lack of water and no refrigerator and so forth. Like August just disappeared. But ah well, now it's April, so I get to enjoy warm weather. Rock on global warming.




March: This would be Brutus. No, we didn't name him that. Some jackass bachelor did. I'll bet he thought it was funny to name a miniature dachshund Brutus. Though I do admit it would be fun to get another one just to name him Caesar. HA. But dad wanted a dog and so did I. I love dogs. I missed not having one even though I still have Freckles's tag on my car keys (and there it will stay). Except this house and the yard aren't exactly big dog friendly. Shame since I love bigger dogs. Small dogs are not my bag of chips. But dad apparently has wanted a dachshund since he was young (Lord knows why - is it just me or is there some correlation between large men and small dogs?). I told him whatever - this time it would be his dog the way Freckles was my mom's and my dog (somehow that's the way it ended up). Besides, I'm not going to be here forever and I don't want to get ridiculously attached.

So one day while I was out to lunch with a friend, everyone else went to a dog adoption thingy and voila. There was Brutus. Two days later he shows up at our house. The story behind this guy is that he's three years old, was owned by a guy who later got married and they had a kid. When they decided to have a second kid, the wife said that the dog had to go. Goodness knows, if he acted the same way he did here his first several weeks (and still from time to time), it's no wonder she wanted him gone. Brutus has a list of bad behavior problems that I do not doubt stem from his previous owners total lack of leadership. He gets into the garbage (and has dodged a bullet because he managed to grab a pork rib and hork it down). He poops in the house from time to time (it's like he doesn't know how to tell us he needs to go out). He gets possessive over items he steals or "claims" which can lead to growing and aggressiveness. He jumps on the dining room chairs to get to the table which he will then walk all over in search of food. He digs. When he is interrupted from something he is really focused on, he gets defensive and growls. And the one thing I really want to work with him on but don't know how to go about doing it (at least the best way I'd like to do it), socialization. I don't think his previous owners ever walked him and he has no idea how to be a dog - at least when it comes to other dogs.

But we've been working with him. He's much better on walks now when it comes to both pulling on the leash and going apeshit when other dogs behind fences bark at him. He no longer gets on the table. He doesn't poop in the house as much, but you never know. He's learning commands and follows them ("Drop it" being especially important). We keep an eye on him when it comes to the garbage because he'll still try to sneak in from time to time and get in it - even while writing this blog I've peeked into the kitchen a few times just out of sheer paranoia to make sure he's not alone in there. He's not as possessive over things, but if he snatches something food-like from the ground, he is not keen on giving it up. Odd considering he's not food aggressive. I've been taking cues from Cesar Milan on how to "fix" Brutus's issues and so far it's been working. But what I would love to have is a whole pack of balanced dogs like those that Cesar has in order to get Brutus to understand how to be a dog and that other dogs are okay. Today will be a particular challenge because my sister is bringing her new puppy over. Here's to the future.




April: Back in March I went to visit my sister for a week and wouldn't you know it, the first day I'm there Barnes & Noble calls me up and asks for an interview. After a brief moment of spazzing, I set up an interview for the following week. Having previously worked at B&N in PA, I miss the books and just the job in general. I know, weird right? But I had a good time there. I really enjoyed my co-workers, I had the best freakin' managers in the world, and it was, in a way, easy money. I like books and I enjoyed working in a bookstore. Heck, I'd tried for years to work at the one in Illinois. So after my first interview, I get a second with the store manager who told me that the manager they spoke to in PA essentially said, "YES. Hire her NOW." (Cookies to whoever said that by the way - I have no idea who it could be since there are several people I can easily see saying that). And happy day, my 5 minute (if that) interview with the store manager lead to me being hired then and there. Jackpot.

So now, happily, I'm back to two jobs. Freelance and bookselling. That almost makes it like I have a full time job. And lucky, lucky, I get hired back at my original pay rate and I'm back into the 401k program. Sweet. I officially started in April and have now been there for three weeks. Hours are low, but eventually I'm willing to bet I get more. That's how it worked at my other store anyway. Besides they like me because they don't have to teach me anything. Haha. Well, except the cafe since they cross train which kind of freaks me out since I'd really rather not do anything in the cafe...ever. I'd rather they throw my butt back in recieving because I can do that with my eyes closed. But oh well.




"And now for something completely different."

Miscellaneous: In the future I'll try to remember to post updates I do on my other blog and elsewhere just for those that are curious. I do tend to update my Alt. Ramblings blog more than this one just because life is slow whereas writing is not. I still haven't gained back any hats at Epinions which means less money which sucks. On the other hand, when it comes to writing books, the one I started back in November finished just a month or so later (that's right, an entire book) and now I've been working on fixing it so I can start querying. If no one likes my SF book, maybe they'll like this one. It's not paranormal romance, but damn it if it isn't close.

Interestingly enough, moving close to Kansas City has allowed me to be near one of my original critique partners from Seton Hill (even better because she was one of my favorite critiquers). She has a writing group that I've joined, which gives me even more access to people to look at my work. Sweetness.

I very much enjoyed Alice in Wonderland. Like many others, I think Tarrant and Alice should have gotten together, which is why I support page 113 in the original script.

In a few days we open up our pool again. That is awesomeness waiting to happen.

So that's what's happening in my life. Good times. Plenty of chocolate. Good music. And walking the dog basically forces me to exercise. At least he's good for something. =D
Nicole
We all appreciate your ethusiasm and graciousness in hosting the Winter Olympics and look forward to everything that Canada has to offer. It looks like it will be another exciting year full of gold, silver, and bronze medals for first-rate athletes all ready and willing to do their part to show their amazing skills and promote peace and goodwill worldwide.

Having said that, fix your fucking luge run.

...

At the present, their answer to blocking off steel beams is to erect a 12-foot wooden wall.

You guys spend millions of dollars building all this Olympic stuff and you can't spring for some fucking padding?

Seriously.