New Release: To Rule the Stars

To Rule the Stars coverNew Release! To Rule the Stars: A Space Princess Anthology, by us!

In it, three of us wrote stories around the theme of space princesses. We thought it’d be fun to put princesses into space, and we ended up with a really great selection of stories.

Here is the official blurb:

Meet the princesses.

A trained diplomat, kidnapped by an alien race desperate for justice, and its dashing leader…

A political pawn, on her way to meet her betrothed, who stops in the asteroid belt to answer a call for help, and finds a princess both beautiful and brave…

A captive raised to believe that the greatest evil is magic, when it–and the handsome ship’s engineer who wields it–are the one thing that might save her…

For this week only it is on sale for 99c! Then the price will go up to $1.99. Grab the Kindle edition here.

(No princesses were harmed during the making of this anthology.)

This anthology also includes a sneak peek of Ever Touched, our May 2017 release, third book in my Fey Touched series.

All proceeds go to UNICEF, as always.

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10 Reasons Why I Have the Best Husband in the World — Possibly the Whole Universe

Today is my husband’s birthday, so I thought I’d put pen to paper (figuratively speaking) and tell you 10 reasons why I have the very best hubby in the world. Of course, I’m biased, but let me know what you think after reading this! We’ve been together for 10 years (one reason for every year!) and married for seven. And loving him — and being loved by him — has completely changed my life, and for the better.

#1 He is always there for me. Always — after a crappy day at work, when I feel lousy, when bad things happen, when my health sucks, when I need a hug…Always. He has never, ever ever let me down. He has unending patience and kind words to say no matter what’s going on. Especially when it comes to my health. I don’t have the best health, and sometimes I feel just plain crappy, or I’m in pain. He’s always there. I have a stomachache, he’s there with Vernors. I injured my knee recently and he offered to spread Biofreeze on it, even though I could do it myself — that’s just the guy he is. He puts my oatmeal out in a bowl in the morning so I don’t have to run downstairs to get it. In the fall, he’ll surprise me with hot chocolate, because he knows I love it. He’s gotten me to wherever I needed to go without complaint (I don’t drive). I need my meds picked up, we’re there. …

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Spiritus Viri

by Erin Zarro

After our wedding, Jerry carried me over the threshold of our home: a small ranch that was cozy and practically ancient. We’d repainted most of the walls and removed the carpets, as we liked hardwood floors.

It was our first night in it after the renovations.

I laughed as Jerry fumbled with skirts just to put me down again. “Maybe I’ll just stay in this dress,” I said. I was a bit tipsy from the champagne and dancing. I twirled, watching my skirts flare, then stopped. Except the room didn’t stop spinning.

“You’ll freeze, my lovely wife,” Jerry said, coming up behind me and pulling me against him. “The sheerness of the top…”

“But my bottom half will be warm,” I said with a giggle. I wiggled free and headed toward the bedroom, which sat at the end of the hall. A very long hallway, unlit, in high heels.

“Be careful, Lizzy. I should probably help – ” Whatever he was about to say was lost as he fell, his head hitting the floor with a crack.

I picked up my skirts and went to him. Kneeling, I put my hand gently on a red, large bump that had formed on his head. “Jerry, are you okay? How bad is the pain? Are you dizzy, nauseous – “

“I’m fine. I just tripped on something, that’s all.” He tried to stand, and didn’t seem to have a problem doing that, although he was the type …

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107,000 words written on Ever Touched – and Deep Thoughts

So, since I’ve hit the 100k milestone on Ever Touched and went beyond it, I thought I’d talk about some things I’ve discovered or learned or just plain thought about with this novel.

#1 The first draft is not done yet. Technically, I have till the end of the month, but as that is fast approaching, I may not make it. I have at least 15-20k more to go minimum. I may do what I did with both Fey Touched and Grave Touched. Start the revision anyway, and write the ending once I get there.

#2 The good news is that I have a comprehensive plan for the ending. The bad news is, I had to replot it twice. I’m not ruling out a third or fourth time.

#3 Usually, a book’s theme song comes to me while planning. And I usually listen to it as I write the book. With Ever Touched, the theme song announced itself last week, after writing over 100,000 words. What the hell. (For the curious, it’s “The Sound of Silence” covered by Disturbed. Once you watch and hear it, you’ll understand why. Helpful link is helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk7RVw3I8eg

#4 In every book I write, there’s a scene that could be a movie scene: intense action, intense feels, heartbreak, distress, characters in peril, etc. It’s the one scene that for me, encapsulates the entire book. Fey Touched has one. Grave Touched had one.  Ever Touched has one, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I …

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I Think I Need A Planner – Or Something

Wanna hear something scary? I went through my entire day, oblivious to the fact that it was my turn to post a blog here. Normally, I’m plan it in advance, and I get it written early in the evening. Nope. It’s after 10:30pm, and I am now just sitting down to write this.

I spaced on a recent TDP meeting. Just…forgot.

The other scary thing is that I have a planner. It’s called Commit30, and I thought it would be fun to try. But please note that the last time someone asked me to use a planner (teacher in high school), I did all my planning in my head and then wrote it all up the day it was due.

Because I usually plan in my head, and for years, it has worked. I was younger then, and I had a better memory.

Now? It seems that I need something more. The planner is cool, but I still have trouble finding the time to write stuff. I still plan in my head mostly. And, oddly enough, I write it in, but I rarely ever look at it after that. Epic fail.

I’ve also experimented with using the app Trello. It’s cool because I can do a version of Holly Lisle’s planning: one list for To Do, one list for Doing, and one list for Done. And then I move stuff along as I go. I’ve been using it with great success for camping to do lists, and recently when I was so overwhelmed with …

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TV Shows and Endings

This is actually Siri’s scheduled slot, but since I will be out of town in two weeks, we decided to switch.

So that meant coming up with a topic rather quickly (a few hours!). Since Castle was canceled, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about TV shows lately. TV shows that had either crap endings or died too soon in particular. It has gotten to the point where I am terrified to get invested in a TV show because it could end prematurely and end on a cliffhanger.  Or just end, period. There were a bunch of TV shows coming out this past fall that I would have loved to check out (Minority Report, Limitless, Quantico, for an example) but I worried that they’d get the ax and/or end on a damn cliffhanger. Those are absolutely the worst, because let’s face it, the chances for a revival are so slim. And it’s heartbreaking.

(Of those three, I believe Quantico is the last one standing.)

So, let’s get on with the list, shall we? In no particular order, they are:

1) Forever. Canceled after the first season. Had an interesting premise — a man who works as a medical examiner and is immortal. This drew me in because 1) it wasn’t the average police procedural show, and 2) why is Henry immortal  and can he find a way to finally die? Plus there was a glimmer of a potential romance with the woman he works with, Jo. I don’t know the final resolution because as soon …

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Changeling: The Faerie Escape

Changeling
Part 5: The Faerie Escape
a free fantasy serial by Erin Zarro

Links: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4

I turned to face the woman who claimed she was my mother, but didn’t feel like my mother at all. My twin was with her, looking terrified.

Mother was pale, and her hands were clenched into fists. “Aisling, what do you have to say for yourself?”

Ronan stepped forward, putting his hand on my shoulder, but I shrugged him away. “Mother, I am leaving here. I belong out there with my family.”

Mother sighed. “Are we going to do this yet again? Your place is here, with me, with your people. I can’t understand why you persist in thinking about these people who aren’t even your real family. Maria will be joining them soon.” She smiled an evil kind of smile, and it made me sick to my stomach.

“I am Maria,” I said. “I’m human with a human family. I’m leaving.”

Ronan took hold of my shoulder again, and this time I allowed it. “Why would the tree want you to heal it if you weren’t one of us?”

Damn that tree. And damn if I didn’t feel guilty now. I glanced at Ronan, wishing he hadn’t said that. “I don’t know.”

“I know,” Mother said. “Because you are one of us. And you are the one to …

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Trigeminal Neuralgia: One-Year Update

Well, actually, it’s 11 months, as my 1-year anniversary of my diagnosis is July 17th, but “One-Year Update” sounded better than “Eleven-Month Update.”

So, for the most part, I’ve been doing really well. I had an interesting moment while reading an article on one of those list websites. The title caught my eye: The Top 10 Most Horrible Medical Conditions Known to Man or something like that. Guess what #10 was? TRIGEMINAL NEURALGIA. I’m like, “No kidding.” They don’t call it the “suicide disease” for nothing.

I am not 100% pain-free, which is okay. Going from 100% excruciating pain while conscious to about 95% pain free while conscious is a BIG, huge improvement. Times I still have pain: when it’s going to rain (this is eerie — I can predict when storms are coming before the weather people), if any kind of wind or breeze touches my face (so fans are bad), when the water hits my face in the shower, and about an hour to an hour and a half before the next dose of my pill. Times I’ve used a loopy pill in the past month: zero. Six months? Maybe once or twice. Compare that to almost every day.

Things I enjoy now that I’m not in so much pain anymore: photography. Writing. Sunlight (used to be a trigger). Camping (although the campfires can trigger pain still).

Stress is just stress now, not stress+pain. That’s a good thing.

The medication does wonders. It is really a life changer. I’ve had …

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It Got Better

I was cruising along Facebook this afternoon and found a video Adam Lambert had done called “It Got Better.” He’d originally done one some time ago for It Gets Better, but this is a new one. In it, he talks about his struggles with being gay and feeling alone because of it, and how he always strove to be himself. Here is the video if you want to see it.

Damn, I love that guy. And his message.

Granted, I’m not gay or struggling with being gay, but I have had struggles of my own. Recently I participated in #AprilLove2016, which was a month-long challenge to write love letters every day according to specific word or concept. It changed every day. And love letters didn’t have to be actual letters, they could be pictures, or paintings, or collages…whatever you wanted to create. I managed 14 days of 30, due to wrist tendonitis catching up with me (I was writing longhand in a journal for most of them, and for a few posted them to my blog). I really wanted to complete all 30, but doing14 of them was fun. By the end of the month, I was in the throes of a flare and could not even consider writing anything longhand. Maybe, once I feel better, I could try to the rest here and there.

Anyway, one of the topics that got me thinking was “Dear Younger Me.” Writing that brought back so many memories of my teenage …

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The Pantser is Plotting, Yikes!

So, plotting.

I am currently plotting out an idea I had a few weeks ago for a horror novel. Now, I am a pantser — that is, I make sh#$ up on the fly while I write. I’ve done this for most of the time I’ve been writing, with a few exceptions.

If you remember, I talked about Monica Leonelle. She uses a method for plotting that is very detailed. More detailed than anything I’ve ever plotted, with the exception of Survivor, which was plotted using the Snowflake Method.

But I have to wonder. Would Survivor be the awesome book it is today if I hadn’t thrown stuff in on the fly? I have whole characters and situations I’ve added that were never part of the planning. If I’d stayed the course, what would Survivor be like? What about that cool ending I dreamed up, that wasn’t the ending I’d plotted? Would it be the same? Would I have gotten there somehow anyway? (It’s like writer-fate. Would the story still insist upon being told the way it was fated to be told, or not?).

Take Fey Touched, my debut novel. I purposely did NOT write a single thing down plot-wise. I just followed it along a vague path that was in my head only. In fact, I’d gotten superstitious about writing anything down until the last 10% or so when I got stuck for the first time and devised that cool plot twist where [redacted] does [redacted] and …

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