Have some bodily fluids…

coins-948603_1280So, yesterday, I walked out to the mailbox to receive my mail. Usually, this is a joyous occasion since I order a lot of things (lookin’ at you, Amazon), but on this particular visit across the road, I received a bill that had my jaw dropping.

Four months ago, my husband went to see his doctor. Just a routine visit (he has Lupus and has to make sure to keep it in check). At this visit, they took a blood sample and urine sample as they always do. And like always, I expected a $200 bill.

But no. No $200 bill. Right now, I would be THANKFUL for a $200 bill.

$532…
Yeah. Five hundred and thirty fucking two dollars.

Before insurance?
$1800!!!!!

Now, let me repeat: He didn’t have an MRI or a CT scan or any fancy test like that.
They ran his blood through a machine and dipped something in a cup of his piss.
That’s it.

And that was over a grand?!?!

What the hell?!?!
First off, it pisses me off that hospitals (and pharmaceutical companies) think they can gouge everyday people that way. I hope they sleep well at night. (I know they do, because they’re probably laying on a brand new Serta mattress with five bajillion thread count sheets in a mansion in Aspen, far away from the hospital they’re heading up.)
And two, we HAVE insurance! We pay a little over a hundred bucks a week for medical insurance.
Let me repeat: ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS A WEEK!!!!
We are a family of four with one income (my income sucks, so I won’t even count that.)
And that’s just for TWO of us to be insured.
We pay them THAT MUCH MONEY and they don’t cover it when we go to the doctor?

So… if Obama hadn’t passed that pesky little law saying that you have to have insurance or you’ll be fined at the end of the year when you do your taxes… guess what we would be able to do?
That’s right. We could put that hundred bucks away and use it to pay for our medical expenses and still have some left over.
Instead, we’re paying a hundred bucks a month for insurance, and then a huge percentage of our actual bill.

Does that seem fair?
Hell no, it doesn’t.
But since when is life fair?
*gives huge middle finger to the bill sitting on my desk*

((Image Source: Pixabay))

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Book Review: TO HAVE AND TO HOLD by Lauren Layne

Every once in a great while, a book comes along that not only inspires you, but also invigorates you. You finish that book with goals and dreams bouncing around in your head. You have new aspirations and a thirst to DO something. Something bigger than you’ve ever done.

I’ve read all of Lauren Layne’s books, and all her books have made me sigh happily or squeal with delight at the wonderful piece of fiction I just couldn’t put down… but this was different. Why? I’m not sure. I can’t quite put my finger on it since I just finished reading it a whopping ten minutes ago, but here’s my hypothesis:

The women in this book are fierce. Not in an alpha-b!%*h sort of way, but in an independent, motivated, winner-takes-all kind of way.

They KNOW what they want and what they don’t. They work hard, they sacrifice, and even though they suffer along the road to glory, they don’t let that stop them. They get there.

Now, I know you’re thinking ‘Nicole, what are you blathering on about? You just read a romance book about two people defying the odds and hooking up. Not a self-help book on how to boost your potential.’ But hear me out…

Brook had her happily ever after jerked out from under her. Her groom-to-be? Gone. Her fairy tale wedding? Ruined. Her career? Left in shambles.

But did she lock herself in a closet with a dozen sleeves of Girl Scout cookies and a five gallon bucket of Häagen-Dazs? No! She got off her butt, flew across the country, applied for a highly-coveted job with a successful group of wedding planners, and went about her life. Was it perfect? No, not at first. But she KNEW it could be. She knew if she worked hard enough, success and security and all the things she knew she wanted out of life would eventually come around.

Was she planning to fall @$$-over-face in love with a rich hotel mogul? Definitely not. But that’s exactly what happened. And it happened because things in life, especially the good things, happen when you least expect them to (at least, according to John Lennon).
She was throwing everything she had into a career and a life in NYC. Meanwhile, Mr. Right just happened to come along.

Was it because she was busy swiping her little heart out on Tinder? No.
Was it because she was pouring hard earned money into mini-skirts and tube tops to wear to the bar on ladies night? No.

It was because she was molding herself into a bold, fierce, independent woman. A woman she could be proud of. A woman worthy of a real man. A man like Seth Tyler.

Again, you’re probably thinking ‘Nicole… You’re rambling. This isn’t a review. It’s a monologue-turned-rant.’ But bear with me…

After I finished reading, I tossed my kindle on the bed and went straight to my computer. And I typed out a list of goals. These goals started off small. Like, ‘organize office’ or ‘cancel Netflix subscription’. (Ultimately, I scratched that one, seeing as I have two children who watch Netflix while I’m working, but nevermind that…) But eventually, they grew until I had things like ‘finish 5 book series before Halloween’ and ‘send latest book to 100 bloggers’ and ‘pay off student loans before 2020’.

Why am I just now doing this?
Because this book INSPIRED ME. Now, I like to think I’m an organized and motivated person, but really, I’m not. However, I am a passionate one. But every once in a while, I get in a rut where I just don’t have the energy to be passionate. And before I read this book, I was in one of those slumps. But then, I turned on my Kindle and started reading. And as I was introduced to this delightful cast of people, I found that passion reigniting. I found that I wanted to get off my butt and get things done. I wanted to be like Brooke and Heather and Jessie and even Seth. I wanted to have DRIVE.

I fell in love with these characters, and throughout the course of the story, they pushed me to do better. To BE better.

Was that was Lauren was aiming for when she wrote this book? No. Probably not. She probably didn’t think that a small town girl from Missouri (who was an English major in college but ultimately dropped out before she could graduate with her bachelors because she got married, divorced, and had a kid) would follow her as an author and one day be struck with an overwhelming need/urge/obsession to CHANGE her life because of a book.

But that’s exactly what just freaking happened.

Like Brooke, life has thrown me some curveballs. But unlike Brooke, I settled.

Do I love my life? Yes.

Is it everything I want it to be? No… No, it’s not.

But maybe it can be.

How the heck did I get all of THAT out of one book?

Who knows.

But I did.

And maybe, just maybe, you will too.

Sin High Sneak Peek

Sin High © 2016 Nicole Tillman

Prologue

Two men stood alone in a field.

Back to back, they bathed in moonlight and filled their lungs with fresh air for the first time in centuries.

“A solar eclipse,” one snarled. “How many of those have you seen? How many have been painted by your own hand?”

On a deep sigh, the opposing man answered, “Not nearly enough.”

Shadowed eyes narrowed, honing in on a predator at the treeline, stalking through the darkness as it tracked its prey. “Go back to your throne, old man.”

“A total solar eclipse.” The whispered words traveled on the breeze as one pale finger pointed to the sky, ignoring his dark counterpart. “Coinciding with planetary alignment. Beautiful… When was the last time that happened?”

A huff. A roll of the eyes.

“Is that meant to be a rhetorical question? Because I’m sure you know the answer.”

Lips curled up in a smile.

“561 B.C.”

Turning, the taller of the two men leaned in close, his rancid breath spilling from his lips. “It’s not even a true planetary alignment,” he said, teeth bared. “Thirty degrees. Thirty degrees from perfection, you amateur.”

Blue eyes flashed angrily under the light of the moon and a million stars twinkled as they trembled before their maker.

“No.”

With clenched fists, the man who rose from the flesh of the earth flung his arms open wide.

“No? I’m not leaving this place. Not without a fight.”

Sad blue eyes closed with the shake of a head.

“Of course you’re not.”

Bracing himself for the expulsion he knew was inevitable, the green-eyed man rolled his shoulders back and planted his feet.

“What will it take for you to give me a chance? To prove that I’m not nearly as evil as you think I am?”

He knew he couldn’t stay. He had no right to bear witness to the rare phenomenon. No right at all.

“But you are. You’re as evil as all the legends warn,” his nemesis said, lifting his chin in arrogant omnipotence. “But I am merciful. And forgiving.”

Dark, tousled hair ruffled in the breeze as a beat of silence played out between their bodies.

“Meaning?”

After a deep breath and a stern smile, playful blue eyes glimmered with mischief.

“I propose a bet,” the man’s deep voice bellowed with pride. “Pick your players. Pick your game. Winner gets this.” Strong arms stretched out, showcasing the empty cotton field where they stood; a place that vibrated with mystical energy that called to them both. “No rules. Best man wins.”

Cold, green eyes narrowed suspiciously.

“Are you mocking me, Father?”

His creator took a step back, until their vessels were a safe distance apart. Both bodies in the prime of their lives. Both owners now dead inside, never to breathe on their own again.

“No, son. I am not mocking you.”

His father presented his hand, but Lucifer eyed it with disdain.

And yet…

The slap of their hands echoed throughout the field as lightning struck above their heads and the soil beneath their feet quivered with fear. The wind whipped around their bodies, carrying them away to their respective kingdoms, and when the din settled down, the field stood empty once again.

The next morning, when the sun broke powerfully through the horizon, it reached out with its rays, sealing the fate of that one small town, along with the fate of one young, unsuspecting girl.

The world’s new savior.

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Night Me VS Morning Me

Please tell me I’m not the only person with this problem…

At night, when I’m winding down to go to bed and thinking about all the things I have to accomplish the next day, I feel like the most motivated person on the planet. I feel invincible! Like I could take on the world. I’m happy and optimistic and creative and energetic! I have all these plans in my head, all these dreams and aspirations that I just KNOW I’ll reach… and then I lay my head on the pillow, scroll through Pinterest for a few minutes, and when my eyes are heavy enough, I put my phone away and drift to sleep.

Hours pass… and then I wake up.

And I am NOT that motivated person. I have no urge to do ANYTHING. No dreams. No aspirations. No desire to be a better person.
I’m a grumpface who wants nothing to do with furthering her career, reaching her goals, or even cleaning her house.
I feel like a nobody.

What the HELL happened in those 6-8 hours??
Did my brain just reprogram itself for mediocrity? Did the Sandman trample my hopes and dreams while I was in REM?

Part of me thinks it’s because I’m tired and just not a morning person. But that’s not it! Because I can wake up feeling completely refreshed and happy…
Happy to sit on my ass and watch Netflix for a few hours.
But I can’t!
I have to MAKE MYSELF get things done.
Where’s that drive? At what point throughout the night did it die on me?
And how can I get it back?
Answer?
I don’t have one.
I have no. Earthly. Clue.
None.
BUT! I’m working on it. Just like I’m always working on something.
Eventually, I’ll figure out how to be that person who hops out of bed in the morning, ready to take on the day. I’ll figure out what it takes to make the most out of every single minute of my day instead of dreading all the things I have to do and all the crap I scheduled at night while I was at my high point.
And let me just say, it takes me a while to get BACK to that point.
Usually, it kicks in sometime after dinner. Around 8pm or so.
Riiiiight about the time I need to be getting ready for bed.

I’ll fix this. I will.
But in the meantime, feel free to refer to me as Mr. Hyde from 6am-8pm and Dr. Jekyll from 8pm to whenever I crash…
xoxo
Nicole

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I Suck at Blogging…

If you follow my blog, you know the above statement is true. And I’ve sat around for hours wondering how to make it better, but never figured it out.
Until now…
Why I didn’t think of this before is beyond me, but I’m going to go out and acquire a snazzy journal specifically for blogging ideas. Because I always get ideas for blogs, but never EVER write them down, and that’s stupid. Very stupid. Right?
It will also serve as my vlogging journal as well, because I suck at getting videos out on time as well.
So… if anyone has any tips, tricks, or suggestions for me, I’m all ears.
xoxo

Nicole
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COME PARTY!!

Today is release day! *throws confetti*

To celebrate the release of One Vibrant Hue, I’m having a release party on Facebook. Lots of YA authors will be stopping by to have some fun and give stuff away throughout the day.

And speaking of giving stuff away!!
Click here>> FACEBOOK PARTY << to find out how to win…
THIS!!
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That’s all for now folks. Hope to see you there!
And don’t forget, One Vibrant Hue is only 99 pennies this week!
xoxo
Nicole