Thursday, November 10, 2016

Throughout the World, There was Silence

I woke up yesterday and immediately noticed that the world had changed. It's the most indescribable feeling, but in your gut, in your heart, and in your head, you know. It's so rare that all three align. But here we are.
The world has been teeming, just sitting on the edge, waiting for that one spark to ignite the fire. And we have just brought it that one step closer to it all. You learn about World War 1&2 in history classes. You read books of tales from survivors. You hear your grandparents describe some of what they lived. But they never explain the feeling of that one day when you knew that your world was no longer going to be the same. 
This election has been by far the most ridiculous, mud-slinging, name calling, knock-down drag-out piece of reality TV we've ever had to watch. It should never have come down to this. When I woke up and saw the results, my heart broke. My heart broke for my boyfriend's kids, for my LGBTQ friends, for myself, and for my country. As my own father sang the praises of the new President-elect, I sobbed. 
Through all of the trials I have faced in my life--abuse, undiagnosed mental disorders, divorces ripping my families apart, I have never felt such grief and despair. It took me by surprise just how much it affected me. But here I am, still holding back tears as I sit in the waiting room of my doctor's office and watch the news broadcast his airplane getting washed and ready for take-off to meet with President Obama. 
I do all I can not to say his name. As if by not saying it, there is somehow still a chance the future can changed and all of this remembered as a narrow escape. As if saying it gives him power. He is he-who-must-not-be-named. 
I am frightened. Truly and properly frightened. But I will not sit back and meekly watch this takeover happen. I will stand up for and with all of those he has persecuted, and will not back down. Because his ideals and the world he wishes to create is not a world I want to live in. I want to live in a world where I am free to make choices about my own body. Where I have access to health care and mental health facilities. Where my friends of all color, creed, race, religion, sex, gender and everything in-between have the same rights and privileges as any white heterosexual male. 
Everyone on social media has been incredible; pouring out messages of love and support to one another. We are angry, oh yes we are angry. But we will not bully, as we have been bullied. We will not put down, as we have been put down. We will not use scare tactics or violence like it has been used against us. But we will stand together in love and pride and compassion to make this world what we deserve. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Hello, Old Friend

I hate saying I suffer from anxiety. I hate thinking of myself as a sufferer of any sort. It makes me feel weak. Useless. Which I know I’m not. I know anxiety is there. It’s always there. Just because I don’t always feel it doesn’t mean it’s finally decided to leave me alone. Alone is usually where it finds me. 
It used to be that my heart would beat so fast it would make my brain start whirring and then the thoughts wouldn’t stop, couldn’t stop, and I’d end up in a state that I couldn’t control. Now my body knows what’s coming and instead of my heart being the culprit my brain does it all on its own. It’s as if every single thing I see and hear enters into my head and then gets stuck there and bounces around and the thoughts just keep collecting, so that even when I close my eyes the darkness morphs from one thing to another and I can’t concentrate on any single thing. There’s too many things stuck inside and my brain can’t hold any more and it’s more noise than a circus and a concert and a train combined and it hurts. My own brain turns on me and begins driving me mad.
This is anxiety peeking out from behind the corner of my eye and waving with a grin. Did you miss me? He looks like the Boogey man and I hate him. I try to hate him. His presence makes everything inside of me collapse. It’s almost a relief when he shows up, because I know that I can’t fight him anymore. I simply resign. I pack up my belongings and move out of his house inside of my brain, hoping I can vacation there again soon. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Without Benefits cover revealed!

A little less than three months from now, Without Benefits will be showing up on doorsteps and in e-readers! But today we get a first look at the amazing cover, designed by Ashley at Cardboard Monet! Ashley even did a special photoshoot just for this cover. So check out the cover and make sure you scroll down to the giveaway below! 

Here's a bit about the book:

Emma will always be a New Yorker at heart, even though she has a perfect life in Seattle. She has a prestigious job fundraising for the Seattle Symphony, a handsome boyfriend who adores her, and a Belltown apartment with views of the Sound. It should be more than enough to keep her pain from not playing the piano, and her 9/11 nightmares, away.

But when her old college crush, Owen, comes back into her life, it’s more than just spending time with him that’s causing cracks in her picture-perfect life. As she steps back on stage, and back into the spotlight, her connection with Owen and his world, dredges up old memories that Emma worked hard to forget.

Emma’s past comes back to haunt her, forcing her to face the truth about more than just her fears of returning back to New York. As her once perfect life begins to burn down, Emma is forced to figure out what she really wants: her fundraiser and cocktail party-filled life with her boyfriend, or forging a new future with the one thing, and one person, she’s ever loved–even if it means returning to New York.

Without Benefits is a beautiful and moving exploration of modern relationships and family written in the vein of Taylor Jenkins Reid and Renee Carlino.

So here it is... 

The moment we've been waiting for...


Isn't it gorgeous? Pre-order your copy today!

As part of the cover reveal release Check out this link for your chance to win a signed & annotated copy of Without Benefits, a free reader’s report for your manuscript, or a fun pamper package!

About the author:
          Nicole Tone is a freelance editor, MFA student, traveller, pet collector, binge-watcher, and a self-
          proclaimed coffee snob. She lives in Buffalo, NY with her husband, three cats, and two very large dogs,
          but spends as much of her time in Seattle as possible. You can like her page on Facebook, @ her on
          Twitter, swoon over dream houses together on Pinterest, and add Without Benefits on Goodreads.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Velma, Robert, Norine, and Willy

I finally finished all of my unpacking today. I hung up the last few pictures on my wall, my grandparents. It's been a few years since I lost my last grandparent, and it was bittersweet to see their faces smiling up at me. I have to sit and wonder what they would think of how my life has been and where I am now. Would they be proud? Would they laugh with me? Would my past make their heart ache the way mine does sometimes?

I see so much of their influence on the person that I've become. I find myself listening to swing and jazz, dancing and humming a tune as I open my mail, just as one grandma used to. Every winter I take up knitting and crocheting as it reminds me of her. I think of my other grandma every time I bake. She's the one who taught me all of the family recipes. My grandpa's laugh lives in every corny joke I tell, and my other grandpa's tongue in all of my smart-ass sarcasm.

My grandparents helped to raise me. I don't mean that in the sense that my parents weren't around, quite the contrary. We happened to be able to expand on a house when I was around four years old to make it big enough to fit all four of us kids and one set of grandparents. I loved growing up with my grandparents. I thank them every day that I am the old soul that I am. I thank them for the values and common sense that they taught me. I thank them for helping me to appreciate all of the goodness and life around me. They were always the most grateful people, and that rubs off more than anything.

It's sad that they aren't around to sit and have pinochle games like we used to. I have so much that I'd like to talk about with them now, so many things I wish I had known to say when they'd left. I always remember them when the holidays draw near because of how much bigger those four people made my family feel. Their lives were by no means easy, but they made them beautiful, wonderful things by the end. It makes my heart happy that they can be part of my home again now.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Psychic Readings and Green Eggs and Ham

Today was a fantastic, self-assessing, wonderful, anxious, panic-stricken day.

Today was the local Psychic Fair.

I have never been to a Psychic Fair before; I've never even seen a Psychic. My friends and I will read each other's Tarot cards here and there, but that, until today, has been the extent of it. There is something soothing in reading Tarot and seeing the things you already know you have to do laid out before you. It's affirming in a way that's almost like someone else is telling you that you're doing great at this thing called life -- and that someone else is the cosmos and life itself. Some people may balk at this, but I find a certain comfort in it. Which is why I was so excited to have my first psychic reading today.

I started the day off excited in anticipation, which rather quickly turned to anxiety toward the amount of lines we had to stand in just to get everything scheduled properly, the amount of time spent in said lines, and the close proximity to aggravated people also in said lines. Once we were scheduled (for three hours later) and out of the standing masses, there were a lot of awesome vendors to go and see. Being able to move helped curb the terrifying amounts of anxiety and panic building up inside of me, but left me in a slightly manic edge.

It wasn't until after we had left the fair and come back two hours later that I began to calm down slightly. The crowds had dissipated and no one was in a hurry. This was more my pace. One vendor was even incredibly kind and offered my friend and I some cupcakes she'd just bought. Our time slot came up, and to the psychic we went, and holy crow was I not expecting what came next.

It wasn't some flouncy, over-dramatic, guessing-vague-items presentation that I half-expected. I literally gave this woman zero information and she told me exactly what was happening in my life and how I need to approach it, and the most amazing part -- that it's okay to focus on me.

I always say I'm going to focus on myself, and to trick myself into thinking I am I do one little thing and call that focusing on me. I never actually look into the care I take of myself. I don't make sure I'm getting 7 hours of sleep each night. I don't make sure I'm eating healthy every day. I don't make time for all of the things that I love doing. I make time for things that have to be done, that are required of me, and that other people want of me. To have this woman I have never met look at the cards and look at me and tell me my cup is empty and even though I want to give, I need to be giving to myself, blew me away.

I've always taken care of other people. It helps me compartmentalize and distract myself from the emotions I can't handle. Whenever I have mood shifts and all of the other joys that come with bipolar, I feel like I'm out of control, so I reach to the one thing I always have control over -- taking care of other people. I know this doesn't sound like a horrible plight, and I actually do enjoy it, but when I stop taking care of myself it only makes my problems worse. When I stop taking care of myself it becomes unhealthy.

It's a lot to take in, being told that it's okay to put yourself first and care for yourself. So, to whoever is reading this, you may not actually know me or attribute any weight to what I say, but I want you to know that it's okay for you too. Go take long walks by the river, wander the streets at night, paint a mural on your bedroom wall, create blueprints for a machine that records dreams so you can always remember them, write a song, hop on a pogo stick, and read Green Eggs and Ham. Do what makes you happy. Always make time for that.

You are important.

Don't ever forget it.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I'm not happy...

It's been some time since I've written, and dear me the changes that abound. I've officially taken steps into the adult world and found, dare I say it, my career. I have finally begun a job that I want to do for the rest of my days. It's funny to say, but even though I'm in a low swing and depressed and at most times close to tears, this is the happiest I have ever been in my life. No, the most content.

Being content is an interesting concept. We usually always talk of being happy, being frustrated, depressed, dissatisfied--but we never usually mention content. My life has seen an intense upheaval with many pitfalls of trial and error over the past six years. It has constantly changed and evolved and I have become someone I never knew would be possible. I never thought I would pine so much for the comfort of being content. The comfort of being still.

And here I am six years later with an eclectic little apartment that appropriately reflects my own eccentricities, with bills that I can afford to pay, a car I can rely on, pets that are well fed and taken care of, a partner who supports my every endeavor, two jobs instead of six--both in the literary field that I love, and over a 3.0 GPA. I have all of this and an amazing counselor to help me finally address my bipolar disorder, OCD, and psychosis. I am constantly pinching myself to make sure this is real.

My mood might be stuck on depressed at the moment, but I am a different level of happy; I am content.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Rain, Rain

That beautiful sound of rain as it first begins to spatter down from the sky. It makes my soul happy. A wry smile begins to curl from my lips as I hear the first low murmured rumbling of a thunderstorm on its way. Book in hand, blanket on my lap, and a mug of chamomile tea close by. This is my heaven.

I can feel it coming in the weakness in my ankle. The only weakness I don't mind at all as it signals one of my favorite comings. In my mind I conjure the feeling of the warm, sticky pavement beneath my feet as I smell the acid of wet earth. Rain itself is an oxymoron--warm and cold combining together to create something so cleansing and beautiful.

I smile as I realize I have forgotten to shut the kitchen window.