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Taking A Break

…because I’ve got nothing for you today.

We’ve been busy the past week. Like, phones ringing off the damn hooks crazy busy. Like, I don’t have time to write a My Geekdom post for today freakin’ busy. Like, I’m typing this right now during a rare lull in calls insanely busy and I’m hoping I don’t get a call that’ll keep me from going to lunch in the next seven minutes…oh look, now I’m past my lunch time…because I’m starving. *runs away*

Is it Friday yet

Quittin’ Time

…also known as ‘Jinxie is about to kill someone’ time.

quit-smoking-7I quit smoking on April 8, 2014. Why a Tuesday? Never start/stop something on a Monday. That day is bad enough as is. Anyway, it’s been a couple of days upon writing this, but it’ll be a week once this posts. I’m trying to be optimistic here, which we all know I am so not. The first night wasn’t too bad, but then, I’ve gone 24 hours without a cigarette just to prove a point. *grins* Wednesday, however, was a completely different story. Holy hell, did I want to murder someone/something. I watched a movie titled Solomon Kane for the distraction and to appease the bloodlust. I ended up in bed before 9:30pm just so I wouldn’t leave the house and either act on the urge to maim or go buy a pack of smokes. It was bad. I couldn’t get my brain to shut the hell up, either. At some point, I thankfully fell asleep.

I have two things helping me with this: a Blu e-cigarette and a vapor e-cig. I use the Blu when I’m driving, mostly because it’s about the same size and shape as a cigarette. It’s a lot heavier, and that throws me off, but it’s easier to handle while driving. I’m not so sure about the vapor yet. Aside from the fact that Batgirl gave me something flavored with mint, which should deter the smoking as it did for her, I’m not liking it one bit and it’s deterring me from using the vapor. Inhaling that shit is way different than smoking a cigarette too. Cigarettes don’t make me cough. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true.

Did-You-Know-that-Juggling-Could-Help-You-Quit-Smoking

It’s times like this that I wish I hadn’t lit up that clove 30 years ago, or that there was some magic cure to either make me stop the horrible habit or keep me from getting cancer. Hell, I’d like that last bit anyway, since cancer loves my family so much.

On Thursday, I had an appointment with my doctor, who stuck a bunch of pins in my ears during my acupuncture session. I’m telling you, she’s trying to turn me into Pinhead from Hellraiser. I will say, however, that I calmed down a lot after that session because Thursday was starting to feel like Wednesday, and that wasn’t a good sign. Friday, so far, is just meh. The weekend is going to be the killer. When I’m not smoking, I don’t leave the house, and when I don’t leave the house, I’m not getting fresh air, which in turn gives me a headache.

Yes, I know, smoking is not an excuse for getting fresh air and totally contradicts the effort. I never said I was rational. Nor is smoking or any addiction.

I’ve got to figure out what to do to replace the time I spent smoking–not the actual time, but the action. I plan on doing a lot of design work this weekend and that generally keeps me busy. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because that way you can hold me accountable, if you feel up to it. That actually works on me. My doctor has used it regarding my workouts. It’s sad, I know. It hits that part of me that has trouble lying right in the gut. I don’t even bother trying to lie because I’ll just feel like shit after and what’s the point of that? I don’t like feeling like shit.

It is now Sunday night and I’ve just sat through the bestest episode of Game of Thrones yet that has me wanting to jump up and sing to the world….but I won’t give any spoilers here if you haven’t seen it yet.

I’d feared the first weekend of my non-smoking dreadfully, but to my great surprise, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be. Although, my Blu died. That fucker is D-E-A-D. It won’t hold a charge any longer, so I’m stuck with the vapor….and so I ordered four different flavors on Saturday. I should have them by the end of next week. I can deal with the mint crap that long. My workout yesterday was amazing, as in I could breathe, as in I hit the 30 minutes without realizing it because I felt great. I even added weights because I realized that nothing  I did was doing anything to help work my arms and shoulders. Squats are getting a bit easier, and let me tell you, it’s awesome for me to say that because I loathe squats.

This–the feeling great–is what makes this all worth it and this is what I remind myself of every time that urge to smoke a cigarette hits me. This is what I keep telling myself, that I can do this, that while yes I absolutely want to sit outside and have a smoke or three, it’s not worth stealing my breath and my energy and my strength. Have I mentioned how much damn energy I’ve had this weekend? Holy shit!

To my friends out there who have taken this arduous journey ahead of me, thank you. Because of you, I made a decision, and because of you, I was given the means to see it through.

Jinxie vapor

 

 

I’m Already Here

…so I can just change my contract, right?

helpdesk1Friday, April 4th, I had an impromptu interview with the Director of my ginormous department because I had applied to have my contract changed to the full year one. Right now, I’m on the same schedule as the students, and that’d be great to have summers off if I had a way to replace the income I’m going to lose by taking nine weeks off. I’d love the summers off. It’d give me time to write and work on building Just Ink Press.

Alas, I kind of need the paycheck. Which sucks. But hey, it’s not like the summers at the help desk are busy, so I should be able to work on a few things anyway. I’ll just still have to wake up at 5:30am, and that, my darling minions, bites. Like a motherfucker.

So I was sitting at my desk when my boss walks up.

Bossman: “Are you on the phone?”

Me: “No.”

Bossman: “Log out and come with me.”

Me: “Why?”

Bossman: “Just do it.”

Me: *logs out and stands* “Why, where are we going?”

Bossman: “Don’t worry about it. Just come on.” *walks away*

Me: *follows* “What’s going on?”

Bossman: “You’re getting an interview with the Director.”

Me: “WHAT? I’m not dressed for an interview!”

Bossman: “Shh! It’ll be all right.”

Me: “Oh my God.”

So I walked into the Director’s office and sat down to wait for him. The Director felt it better to just get the interview over with than have me stress about it all weekend, which I wouldn’t have. At least I would have been prepared, which I told him.

Me: “You didn’t see me in my last interview. I had notes all spread out. I had cheat sheets!”

Director: “Really?”

Me: “Yes!”

Director: *laughs* “Don’t worry about it.”

And so, there I was in jeans, t-shirt, flip-flops, and my ASU hoodie (he went to U of A), looking at him like “seriously?” Which was actually the first word out of my mouth with the first question: How would you explain the internet to a kindergartner?

Me: “I’m not a small kid person. I’m more of a teenager person.”

Director: *laughs* “Okay, but really, how would you explain it?”

Me: “I don’t know. It’s like talking on the phone….which is how it started anyway!”

Director: *laughs again* Okay, that works.

One question I apparently answered better than the technicians he’d interviewed. HA! Yeah, I could do that job too, and it pays more, but I don’t want it.

Last question was “Why do you think you’d be good for this position?”

Me: “I’m already here.”

He laughed. I laughed. We’re good. I get my contract.

Go me!

giphy

Sneak Peek: ASSASSIN, Take 3

Sexy-Lips-The next night is Girls’ Night Out, and boy do I ever need it. Killian’s not happy that I’m running off with the girls, but he gets it. Sometimes, you just need a night out with your friends.

Once the last gal—Lillian—climbs into our rented limo, we’re off, and I sigh heavily because my best friend decided to stay home. Clancy attempted to coerce the preggo, but she refused to budge on the matter. I think it bummed him out because he probably wanted to hang out with Killian. So for tonight, the lineup is me, Alanna, Kennadi, Lillian, Jada, and Echo sans Katy. I think they’re having a fight or something. Echo isn’t her usual chipper self.

I pass the bottle of Jameson to Lillian and she takes a swig. “Where the fuck were you last time?”

She flushes, her cheeks turning a rosy shade of pink. “I had plans already before you told me.”

Alanna turns to her. “What the hell is more important than your friends?”

“I bet it’s Brennan,” pipes up Kennadi. “Isn’t that Clancy’s brother? Damn, the handsome genes in that family are strong. They got any cousins?”

Now Lillian’s cheeks are red. “I don’t know.”

“So it was Brennan,” I say. “That boy better be fucking amazing in bed for you to pass up Girls’ Night.”

Lillian  just blushes and tries to hide her face.

“Where’s Nemy?” Kennadi asks, a smirk on her face and one brow raised.

“That’s different,” I say. “She’s about to pop that little girl out. Oh, that reminds me, we need to do a baby shower soon. I’ll set it up and all you bitches better show up.”

They nod one by one, and the bottle makes its way back to me.

“Where are you gonna have it?” Alanna asks. “Your place?”

“I was thinking that, yeah,” I reply. “Why?”

She shrugs. “Maybe we could have it at her place, and work with Clancy on decorating and getting her out of the house for a bit. That way she’s at home and comfortable.”

I blink and everyone in the limo is staring at Lan. Thing is, Alanna is one tough bitch, and it has nothing to do with her looks. She’s got that handsome girl thing going on, but she’s by no means ever been girly. To hear the soft sentiment come out of her is no less than shocking.

“What?” she says.

My eyelashes flutter. “Nothing. That’s a great idea, Lan. I just think we’re all a little stunned by the nurturing shit.”

“Fuck you all.” She crosses her arms over her ample chest and leans back in her seat. “Maybe I just felt bad for making her cry yesterday, and I don’t wanna do that again.”

“You made Nemy cry?” Echo shrieks. God, that girl is so dramatic sometimes. “What the hell for?”

“Yeah, Alanna,” Kennadi says. “What the fuck?”

“I didn’t do it on purpose!” She slumps in her seat and pouts.

“Oi, she really didn’t mean to,” I say to try to stifle the building animosity toward her. “It was an accident and Nemy’s overly emotional lately.”

“Like how overly emotional?” Kennadi asks with a raised brow. “You know I can’t stand that girly-girl shit.”

“None of us can, Kennadi, so just deal with it,” I command. “This is Nemy we’re talking about.”

“If she’s crying at the fucking drop of a hat, I can’t handle it,” she replies.

“She’s not,” Lan says. “Her A.D.D. is way worse, though.” She laughs. “Like holy fucking hell bad.”

“That’s the damn truth,” I say. “She changed topics like five times in one breath.”

“Jesus,” Lillian says, and Alanna nods.

“So don’t worry your pretty little asses about it,” I continue. “She’ll be fine.”

“I don’t even know what to get her,” Kennadi says.

“I’m sure you’ll think of something wholly inappropriate,” I reply.

She gets a sparkle in her eye and grins. “Damn straight.”

“I know what to get her,” Jada says softly. Girl is still meek as hell and it’s been damn near a year since we got her away from that bastard. Of course, him disappearing and dying helped a lot, but she’s still clinging to the devastation. Don’t blame her one bit. Getting over a man beating on you takes time, if ever. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never had a man hit me, and the first one that does will find himself at the bottom of one of the many abandoned mine shafts that litter the Arizona deserts.

April Fool’s

…happens to the best of us.

One of the tech guys decided to post this sign on Monday…

Copier sign

…and people laughed and laughed when they saw it. I did, but then, he’d pointed it out to me because I SIT IN THE FRONT now. Yes, I’m still bitching about that. ANYWAY, yesterday, which was perfect because of what day it was (April 1st, in case you forgot or didn’t realize), I was on a call when someone wandered into the area, walked up to the copier, got it ready to copy, and said, “Print.” Five. Times.

*snorts*

I almost lost it on the phone. Almost.

When the techie genius returned from the field later in the day, I told him about it. We high-fived as we laughed while I was on a call, which I then had to explain the situation to the teacher on the phone and she laughed. *sigh* Ah, what a great way to pass time.

Not that we’ve had much downtime the past couple of days with call after call after call.

Speaking of which….

“Help desk, this is “Jinxie.” How can I help you?”

 

Skip a Starbucks Day!

…and yes, we’re doing this again because it’s a great cause!

In November 2010, friend and author CJ Redwine and her husband Clint adopted a beautiful little bundle of joy into their family, and I was happy to participate in their “Skip a Starbucks Day” event then. I held a contest and gave away prizes, along with several other authors/writers/friends; they held contests and drives and such, and were able to raise enough money to fly to China and bring home their daughter Johanna, who is just precious!

Let’s help them do that again! I’ll let CJ tell you their story…

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Skip a Starbucks Day is Here!As most of you know by now, we’re in the process of adopting our second daughter from China. We chose to pursue a girl with medical needs this time around for several reasons. For one, we saw how girls with cleft palates or disfigured limbs were treated in China while we were there, and it broke our hearts. For another, adopting a child with special needs is much faster than adopting a healthy child, and we didn’t want a six year gap between Johanna and her little sister.

We turned in our dossier to China in the beginning of February, and we figured, based on the average wait time for special needs families, that we had about an 8 month wait to get our referral. (A child’s picture and file matched to a family.) But there are two ways to be matched to a child through the special needs program. One is to wait for China to get to your file, translate it, and then search for a child who matches your medical checklist (the list of things we’ve said we’d accept). The other is to be matched to one of the Special Focus kids whose files are sent to our agency each month. Special Focus children are those who are considered hard to place with a family. They have multiple medical conditions, and most families sign on for only one need.

Clint and I early on felt that we needed to be open to multiple needs. I kept seeing us with a girl who had a cleft palate and a heart murmur. Clint kept seeing us with a girl who had minor hearing loss and a missing or extra limb.

Two weeks after our dossier arrived in China, our agency called us with a Special Focus child to consider. Her file arrived to us on her second birthday. She had cleft palate, congenital heart disease, minor hearing issues, and an extra thumb.

In other words, she is everything Clint and I kept seeing for our daughter. *cue the moment we started weeping*

Isabella3Isabella Grace Xiaofang was abandoned beneath a highway overpass when she was four months old. She had severe pneumonia, along with her heart disease and cleft palate, which were both causing her medical difficulty. That says to me that her parents loved her, and they tried for four months to care for her in secret, either to avoid paying the second child penalty fee, which is prohibitive for poorer families, or because they couldn’t afford her medical care, and when they realized she was going to die without care, they put her where she would be quickly found. Highways in China, especially in cities, are much different than ours. They are choked with pedestrians and bicyclists. She was sure to be found quickly.

Isabella4A month after she was found, she had heart surgery to repair four different defects in her heart. She was in and out of the ICU for recurring pneumonia during her first year. In her second year, she had two surgeries to repair her lip and palate and to remove her extra thumb. At two years old, she’s still tiny (wearing 9 month clothing size), she’s not walking on her own yet, and she doesn’t have many words yet. Her delayed development is a result, I feel certain, of her constant surgeries and hospital stays.

The orphanage reports that Isabella is quiet, shy, and loves to smile and grab onto the nannies and play with them. I can’t wait to bring her home! Her brothers and sister are very excited to meet her and love her as well!

This is where you come in. Because this process is moving so much faster than we anticipated, we need to run a fundraiser to raise Isabella’s orphanage fee of 5k and the 10k we need to travel to China and to stay there for the two and a half weeks it takes to finalize her adoption. When we brought Johanna home, we did an online fundraiser the concept of Skip a Starbucks day simple: if people will skip Starbucks and donate that money toward Isabella’s adoption fund instead, we can raise the money.

Would you consider helping me bring my daughter home? Here is what I’d need:

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To enter CJ’s contest, visit her blog here.

To enhance this a bit, I’m donating a number of things:

  • a signed print of my book Nemesis
  • a copy of a Just Ink Press book, winner’s choice
  • a $25 Amazon gift card

Of course, there are requirements to obtain these lovely prizes, so here’s the Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Impulse_100x150  Enslaved_100x150  Nemesis_100x150  The Dracove_100x150  GodsVamps_100x150
 IntoTheDarkness-Final  Temptation  ITD_200x300  MiM_200x300

Hey Chickadee

…oh you’re gonna love this cuteness.

First thing Monday morning, my ex-neighbor co-worker (I’ve been moved to the front) informed me that she’d bought a chicken coup over the weekend so she can have fresh eggs. Of course, it’ll be a while before that happens because THIS:

baby chicks

How damn cute is that? Right?

And, of course, I’m sitting in the front now…

Don't expect me to smile just bc I'm sitting here

Don’t expect me to smile just bc I’m sitting here

from the inside looking out

from the inside looking out

You see the ginormous opening that basically states to all who pass, “Here I am; talk to me!” Yeah, that’s why I’m not smiling. Doesn’t matter though; they still stop and talk. At least it’s not as bad as I thought it would be, and I’ve become the building secretary now while ours is on maternity leave simply for the fact that there’s a sign that tells incoming folk to go to the help desk, and when they get there I’m the first person they see. It’s been oh so fun directing people where they need to go while I’m on a call.

Also? Another co-worker got the programming job so his 12-month contract is now available, and of course, I have to apply for it and interview for my current job to have my contract changed from the 9.75 month to the 12-month. Really? That’s just stupid. I mean, I get it, but it’s stupid.

Happy Wednesday from My Geekdom!

Skin: an Excerpt from Dusk of Death

…and I’m pretty sure I’ve shared this part before, but let’s just start over because there’s more coming.

Copyright Valery Sidelnykov

Photo © Valery Sidelnykov

Skin

Such anguish I feel, such sorrow. Heartache, I am, that I break my own flesh and feel discontent with the world, so I hide beneath my quivering wing in hopes to block the malevolence from my vulnerability of reality. I am a tortured soul of times long past, centuries old and lost in a world unknown to me. Even my ancient wisdom cannot save me from the agony mounting inside, swelling beyond its boundaries, growing into regret of things long lost to fate and destiny. A wing arm that braces me from falling supports my soul from diving into the pits of Hell while my tail wraps around me to form a circle none are to enter. Wings shroud me with protection like a cloak of invisibility to hide my ache from this unknown land. Blonde locks spill like rivers over arms too tired to move that support my throbbing head.

My skin is tight with the act of atonement, yet ripe for destruction while I tear at the flesh with sharp nails. Blood trickles slowly down, as though teasing me with the dawn of life rather than the dusk of death, and I ask myself if I am worthy of this grief I bear. I ask myself if I am worthy of the life I live and the blood that flows through me. I ask myself if I wish to continue on, or give up as I lie in this ball on the ground. I must understand that my pain is only temporary and that tomorrow will be a new day when I hold my head high and spread my wings. I am not the skin that covers these ancient bones. I am not the flesh that beneath lies a beating heart. I am the soul within, a soul not broken, a soul reborn from this torment. I will not bow to this pain, but I cannot promise my skin will feel the same.

_______________________________________________________

Chapter One

Armen Leza should be dead.

Why she became flesh a few years ago, she’ll never understand. It was something that just happened, and a hazy vagueness clouded her memory, as though she wasn’t allowed to see the unfolding events. One second, she’d been a demon; the next, human flesh graced her tissue and bones.

If she could only figure out why.

Dusk settled as the last few beams of daylight snaked their way through the edges of worn shades. Terry Armstrong hung up on her—again. In truth, Terry was never much for goodbyes; he didn’t give the send-off to someone until they were dead, so he never said the farewell to the living. Armen assumed he thought saying that one little word meant bad luck on the person, and she found the quirk rather entertaining, even if his calls usually weren’t.

Armen set down the phone and shuddered, a creepy chill running up her spine and into the nerve center of her brain, having nothing to do with the night air. As she was the medical examiner who specialized in the occult—and not happy about it, though she was good at it—work calls usually meant bad news, but something in Terry’s voice this time made the hair on her arms stand on end. She’d never get used to the feeling. For that matter, she’d never grow accustomed to the emotions at play within her human form. They were distracting, to say the least.

She dressed in a pair of old faded jeans and a hoodie, and reached for a pair of shoes—some old no-name brand of black and white sneakers she’d bought at one of the big retail stores dirt-cheap. Armen knew the family behind the stores quite well. They had been on her list in the days of old, before her flesh.

Armen had seen Hell; fire and brimstone were nothing compared to the darkness. Humans were petrified of the idea that they’d burn for eternity. But, the truly scary place wasn’t the giant furnace; it was the darkness lingering around it. All in Heaven and Hell called it Gehenna. That’s where the real monsters lay in wait. And Armen would know, for she’d been one of them.

Five minutes had already passed; if she wanted to look at the scene with Terry before the chief arrived, she’d better hurry—she only had about fifteen minutes. She pulled on her socks and shoes, fetched her car keys from the table, and trotted down the stairs to her Jeep. The sky bore several shades of purple that turned midnight black as she sped off into the darkening twilight toward Terry’s new case.

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What you just read above is the short essay (in italics) that spawned my book Dusk of Death, which will release this coming summer. I’m hoping for a June release, but we’ll see if what little time I have allows for it. At any rate, I still have to finish this edit on the book before I delve into some of the developmental stuff. I’m already looking at images for the cover–there are so many. Oh my God.

But photo searches aside, the edit is going quite well…and I needed something to post today.

Loud Noises

…make me giggle, and I’ll tell you why…

Every time someone calls in a copier or printer because it’s making “loud noises,” I have to stifle a giggle because all I hear is this…

.

Now, I’m on vacation and not even awake yet when you read this. Be jealous. Have a lovely day. *grins*

A Scene from ASSASSIN

…which I probably promised you MONTHS ago! Bear with me, folks. I’m a damn busy woman.

So, here’s a second scene from Assassin: Book 2 in the Kick-Ass Girls Club series. The first part is here and this one is actually from chapter 2 of Assassin.

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© Hooligan Photography

© Hooligan Photography

I’ve only been dating Killian for a few months, and it’s been a damn roller coaster ride because of his “job,” and because we’re both hot-headed Irish folk. The queasiness might stem from the fact that he’s got a gash on the side of his head that has my temper flaring as blood runs down his face.

“Hey, Red.” A grin splits his face, as though he’s completely unaware of the blood on the side of his head, cheek, and down his neck. And more than likely, that’s probably the case.

“What the hell happened to you?” I grab a clean damp towel and run around the bar.

“What are ye talkin’ about?” He stops my arm with his hand when I reach up to clean the gash and inspect closer for the severity.

“You’re bleeding, dumbass,” I say, and he lets go of me so I can clean up his face. “What’d you do now?”

He sits on a barstool and waves a hand, practically dismissing the question, but he answers anyway because he knows better. “It’s nothin’, really.”

It’s always “nothin’” with him. He could be on fire and it’d be nothin’. Thinking of fire reminds me who I am, and I get a glimpse of my scarred hand before pulling the towel back so he can see the blood. I take a closer look at the wound. “You need stitches.”

“Nah, I’ll be fine.”

I place the towel back against the wound and press . . . hard.

“Ow! What the fuck, Red?” He slaps my hand away from his head.

I poke his chest with each spoken word. “You. Hospital. Stitches. Now!” I point to the exit. “And if I don’t see stitches in your goddamn head tonight, you’re going to need more.”

He gets that grin like he’s proud of me for standing up to him. Whatever. “Fine, I’m going,” he says, and hops off the barstool. “But it won’t be the hospital. See ye tonight.” As he turns to the exit, he slaps my ass and walks away with a chuckle.

“Stitches,” I yell before he walks out the door. He throws his hand up and waves his acknowledgement.

I swear, if I wasn’t falling for the bastard, I’d be livid for that ass-slapping stunt. Especially at my place of employment.

On that note, my boss walks up behind me. “Please tell me that’s not blood on that towel.”

“Aren’t you the observant one?” I throw it at him and walk back behind the bar.

He tosses it back at me with a disgusted look on his face. “Teagan, he can’t keep showing up like that, and bleeding,” bossman says.

“If you want me working holidays, drop it,” I say as I scrub my hands like a doctor before surgery. Tainted, it may not be, but I can’t have even a speck of his blood ending up in someone’s drink.

“You know why I do that,” he replies.

I nod because I do know why he has this place open every holiday, and I find it admirable. My co-workers, not so much. They piss and moan about it every holiday they have to work. I don’t because hey, double time! And on a bartender’s wages, that means a lot.

“I’ll talk to him because quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of it myself.”

“Don’t break things off with him,” he says, surprising me. “He’s a good guy. He just needs to stop bleeding all over my establishment.”

I salute him. “Got it.”

He shakes his head and walks away.

I let out a sigh and get back to work, counting the minutes to when I may potentially get to kick my boyfriend’s ass.

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