Budgeting for Better Living

This Christmas, for the first time in a long time, I really got into the spirit. I played Christmas carols, I shopped (online), I stashed gifts here, there, and everywhere, and I splurged on the best tree in the lot that would fit in our house. We decided to give up at last on tinsel because the dumb cat WILL eat it any chance he gets and then throw up everywhere, so I got more ornaments. Then we needed more lights. Twinkling lights!

I got a little too far into it, from the perspective of my bank account. So I decided it was about time I got a handle on my money once and for all, and wandered around looking for something I could actually use, and found YNAB–You Need A Budget.

YNAB really seems like something I can do. I can only budget money I have–so no pie in the sky dreams of what I’ll do next paycheck, in order to have irresponsible fun this paycheck. It also encourages me to have whatever fun I want on my money–just as long as I recognize what I’m not paying when I do that.

I like it because it’s super easy to use on the fly, but it’s also easy to go in depth and see what happened when I go back to figure things out.

Because of YNAB, I know that I wiped out my savings for car maintenance, and another big bill coming up next month.


I’m …

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Almost fifteen years ago now, I was a brand-new attendance technician/registrar at a middle school. There was a young lady, early in those middle school years, who wasn’t very good at getting her backside to school. As was my job, I stuck my nose in and tried to help. I remember I cajoled, I bribed, I threatened sternly with “you need an education to get anywhere!” We talked. She would tell me her problems, I would point out boys were not worth missing out on school and she was already beautiful so she didn’t need to be late because of her hair. She would blush and thank me and try a little harder. I’d tell her she was smart, and she just needed to show up to see a change in her school life, and such things. When I did see her in school, I made sure to say hi and encourage her.

Eventually, as happens, she made it out of middle school and went on to high school. Sometime after that (or perhaps during, my memory is not good at timelines) she dropped by the middle school to introduce me to her baby. A few times she came by to pick up her youngest sibling, on his way through my school. I was always thrilled to see her. But then I changed jobs, and we didn’t move in similar circles anymore.

This morning for some reason I was thinking of her as I unlocked the doors at my new …

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Grave Touched

Grave Touched cover

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Book 2 of the Fey Touched series.

Fey Touched, book 1, is ON SALE for $.99 for a limited time! 

Fey Touched – humans, genetically engineered for immortality and flight, tasked with protecting the rest of the world from rogue Fey…

Grave Touched – dead souls in search of living bodies to possess, especially those who’ve had a brush with death… 

When Fey Touched Hunter Emily wakes up in a hospital, she doesn’t know that she was in fact dead. Nor does she know that her lover, Nick, broke all kinds of rules to bring her back. But the grave touched do. 

Fey Touched Healer Asha does know that her mate, Joe, saved her when her abilities nearly killed her. And she knows the voices in her head are the grave touched trying to stake their claim. Asha needs Joe’s help again, …

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Fey Touched by Erin Zarro

Chapter 1





The woman lay in the cemetery on a bed of snow. Snowflakes clung to her blonde hair and sparkled like diamonds. Slivers of moonlight touched her serene face. Her skin was the blue-tinged skin of the Fey.

After turning up the heat in my coat, I reached out to touch her and immediately recoiled. She was so cold that I’d gotten a taste of frostbite, the cold stinging my fingers. Was she dead?

Pixie, a German Shepherd who was my companion and familiar, whined. She was right to lead me here, her thoughts urgent in my head.

She poked the woman with her nose. The woman did not move, did not even twitch. Pixie whined, poking the woman again. There was no rise and fall of her chest. There was nothing.

“What do you think, girl?” I asked.

Pixie gazed at me with eyes that reflected sympathy and intelligence. The thought – Pixie’s – unfurled in my mind.

Not dead. Must save.

My heart thudded. I was Fey Touched, a Hunter of her kind. Technically, she was my enemy. I had the right to kill her on sight. Why didn’t I?

I didn’t like the Fey as a rule. There were Hunters who believed that all Fey were evil and must …

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Fey Touched

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Two sisters.

Asha is the Queen of the Fey, genetically engineered immortal humans who feed on human souls to survive. But she’s running from her people. When she is found by her enemy, one of the Hunters of the Fey, she expects to die. Yet he’s oddly intrigued by her, and Asha finds herself falling in love with him, hoping she can find safety and the home she’s been seeking. Then she’s kidnapped, and everything changes.

Fallon is a Hunter. She’s looking for her long-lost sister, using an addictive drug to search through the stream of time. Her addiction leaves her dangerously exposed to her enemies but, consumed by her search, she doesn’t care…until her fellow Hunters start dying from a mysterious illness. She is torn between …

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Adam, Adele, and Me

I was searching for a subject for this post and I turned on music to help me think. Choosing a song from my playlist was easy–I’m currently in love with Adele’s Rolling in the Deep. I played it two or three times, then shuffle moved on to Adam Lambert’s Mad World and I had to play that a few times.

Besides their amazing voices (I am so serious) and the first two letters of their names, Adele and Adam Lambert have at least one other thing in common–neither is willing to be boxed in by society’s expectations. Adele is…well, what many call “full-figure,” and she doesn’t care. Adam Lambert is gay and out and amazing. Neither is as in-your-face about their individuality as say, Axl Rose, who happens to be another favorite of mine, but neither are they hiding anything. They are who they are, and if you don’t like it then you know where the door/back button/skip command is.

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It’s That Time of the Year Again

Today is Father’s Day here in the US.  That wonderful day the industrial greeting card-making complex ruthlessly lobbied for until President Lyndon Johnson finally caved in 1966, issuing a Presidential proclamation to give the holiday some semblance of legitimacy.

(Later, in 1972, President Richard “Tricky Dicky” Nixon, another Hallmark toady (he glommed onto them after Gerber dropped him), signed Father’s Day into law.  Dark days indeed.)

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To Save Your Craft, You Must Vacation Separately

Sometimes, in order for my writing craft to excel, I have to take a break from it.  Which is why, at least once a year, I break out the assless chaps and hit a writing conference.

Writing conferences are great.  While the free-love atmosphere and mind-boggling variety of mind-blowing drugs are not to be dismissed, I have to admit my favorite aspect of writing conferences are the booth babes.

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