Every Word is a Win

Since releasing Ever Touched, I’ve been at loose ends. Sure, I have a few books in the hopper, and editing jobs (shameless plug: anyone need an editor? My rates are reasonable and I am crazy meticulous!) and the day job but….my brain has been fried. Releasing a book takes so much out of me. It’s awesome, and fun, but it’s also a lot of work. And I learned that after releasing Fey Touched in 2012 – I had rewritten the entire second half in 2 weeks (~60k), my wrists were shot, and my brain was mush. I didn’t write a word of fiction for 2 months. Sure, I felt the urge, but that was it. I couldn’t contemplate it. My brain just did one of these every time I thought about it: huh? Whatcha talking about, Willis?

Yeah. So I accepted that I needed the break. That was…tough.

Now that I’ve done it three times, I know the pattern. I have actually been writing, but nothing fixed and definitely not thousands of words (well, fiction-wise. I have a nonfiction book I’m writing that’s 15k in. I guess my brain feels nonfiction isn’t so taxing?). It’s a miracle if I even write anything these days.

I have some stress going on. Some of it I can’t talk about yet, and some of it is the trigeminal neuralgia. And…other things. Not fun things. So I’m sure that enters into the equation.

But then Camp NaNoWriMo started July 1st, and a writer friend of mine in …

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Sun Touched

Sun Touched
by Erin Zarro
A free serial story in the Fey Touched universe

 

DAY ONE

I was awakened by my cell door being unlocked. I blinked, trying to remember where I was and what was happening.

Oh, right. I was being held prisoner by rogues who thought I could heal one –

And speaking of him, I watched as he came into my cell. He then closed and locked the cell door.

I blinked again. “What’re you doing here?” I shifted uncomfortably, my muscles sore. My back, where my wings would be if I unfurled them, hurt, too. Probably because I’d fallen asleep in a weird position.

Ry gave me an assessing look. “We’re roommates.”

“I don’t think so.” I tried to stand, but my equilibrium was all wrong. Ry came over and tried to steady me, but I pulled away quickly. “Do not touch me.”

“Okay, if you’d rather fall…” He shrugged. “Just trying to help.”

I eyed the swirling designs on his hands. “I just would rather you not touch me, all right?”

“Because of these?” Ry held up his hands. “They say it’s not contagious.”

“Only to rogues,” I said. “That’s what I heard.”

Ry went to the opposite wall, sat down, and pulled his knees to his chest. “So whatever shall we do?”

I went to the cot, because I was here first, damn it. And I wasn’t about to spend the night on the floor. I sat …

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Trigeminal Neuralgia: Two-Year Update

This is eerie, you guys. I posted my one-year update on June 21st of last year. And, like I said in that post, it was technically my eleven-month update, but one-year update sounded better. And kind of final. So this one is technically my one year, eleven month update. Close enough, right?

When I posted that glorious post, I had every reason to believe that while things may get bumpy here and there, I would remain pretty much pain free. I guess it was naive, and a lack of dealing in realism. I’ve always known that TN is a progressive condition and it gets worse over time. Most people end up having some sort of brain surgery done. Scary thing is, it’s not always successful. And that is scary in itself.

I guess I never wanted to truly believe that that would be me someday.

Today I have some crappy news.

My pain has returned to almost constant levels. I hit level 10 several times last week, and took four loopy pills (not all at once. One each day). I’ve been tracking everything since May 15th, in the hopes that I can figure out a pattern of some sort, and if my neurologist wants details. The problem with tracking is that you become so aware of the pain, more than ever.

Here’s a sample of one of my pain journal entries:

Eye pain level 5 at 2:14pm Duration: 2 hrs 45 mins
Left forehead pain level 4 at 4:55pm Duration: …

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Soundtracks of My Life

Have you ever thought about if your life was set to music, what would that music be? Or if your life had a theme song?

I feel kinda unhinged talking about it, but things for me personally have been a bit weird lately, and I got thinking about it today. What songs would I choose and why?

Theme song: War of Change by Thousand Foot Krutch. My Google-fu says this band is a Christian band, but you wouldn’t know it. They’re hard rock, and this song impressed me so much that I went and bought the entire album. These lyrics specifically speak to me:

Wait, it’s just about break/ it’s more than I can take/ everything’s about to change
I feel it in my veins / it’s not going away / everything’s about to change

(I love this video because of all the b&w. But I’m not sure what they’re doing with all the dust and light bulbs.)

Adam Lambert’s “Ghost Town” deserves a mention. He’s said that the meaning behind the song (for him, at least) is “Life sucks. Let’s dance!” and if you watch the video, there’s a ton of dancing. (I love all things dance). And kudos to him for more b&w!

This next one has a special place in my heart. It’s from Queensryche’s first album with their new singer, Todd La Torre, and probably my favorite song off it. It’s called “In This Light.” (This is a live video, as there is …

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Revisiting Voice Recognition

As I prepare for Ever Touched’s release and what comes after (hint: a lot!), I’m pondering using voice recognition software to write again.

(Some of Ever Touched was written using Dragon Naturally Speaking when I found myself with a severe tendonitis flare up and no time to take off.)

I’m no stranger to Dragon. I started using it back in 2003 (version 6) when I thought I had carpal tunnel syndrome. Ergonomics wasn’t much of a thing back then; I wrote until my wrists damn near fell off. Oops? And it worked well — after I got past the whole “talk to write” idea and got into a groove. My intention was to do it all the time, but between the bulky headset that gave me headaches and a longing to just type, I ended up quitting, only using it when absolutely necessary. Which is fine…if I didn’t want to get more books out there which means faster drafting. Fast drafting (say, more than 1,000 words a day) is impossible due to my wrists. I barely finished my amended Nano goal in 2015 (30k) because typing 1,000 words a day for 30 days was hurting me (it’s cumulative).

(For the curious: I didn’t have carpal tunnel, just severe tendonitis that could turn into carpal tunnel. It was a wake up call. And I’m up to Dragon version 13 now. Every version gets better. They claim now it is something like 96% accurate without training.)

I’ve despaired forever over this. And I …

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A Sneak Peek of Ever Touched

Hi, guys! Erin here. Here is a sneak peek of Ever Touched, book #3 in my Fey Touched series, which will be released on May 1st. This part is from early in the book. Enjoy, and keep your eyes peeled for an announcement of its release (that’s like, 30 days from now! Holy cow!).

“What do you see? What do you see?”

Charles was experimenting again, which meant more serum.

More predictions.

More abuse.

The light was too dim and my eyes kept wanting to close. Charles had been slapping me to wake me up.

I hadn’t slept in a while. In fact, it was quite possible I’d not slept for at least twenty-four hours. My sense of time was completely skewed. It felt like night, but I supposed it could be morning.

Or something.

I kept talking.

Every so often I caught sight of a person in the shadows. He never came forward, never helped or hurt me. He just stood there, observing, making notes.

He unnerved me.

“Another injection. Up it by fifty,” Charles said, and I jolted with the pain of it. No one was ever gentle. “It’s not clear enough.” He glanced at me. “Hang on. The ride’s about to get really bumpy…”

And bumpy it was. Images flashed in my mind’s eye like flashes of a camera: a man with black wings. A woman in armor and…wings made of…light? They were talking. She looked transparent underneath the armor. I relayed all of this to Charles, who …

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Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die

Okay, get ready. I will be talking about Adam Lambert again.

Well, sorta. Today has been a rough day for me emotionally. Won’t get into it…most of it is just life crap, and the fact that I have a migraine, and I’ve been exhausted. Anyway…I’ve been listening to Adam’s “The Original High” and my favorite song, “The Light” came on. I think I’ve mentioned that it’s my favorite before, but if I haven’t, there you go (I actually love almost every single song on that album, so picking a favorite is really, really hard). So anyway, the line “I’m too weird to live, too rare to die” struck me for a second (and I do know it’s from Panic! At the Disco). Actually, literally took my breath away. I’ve heard it before and have actually thought about it (hell, maybe having it tattooed on myself somewhere!) but in the context of today…I dunno, it grabbed me.

Let me explain.

I’ve never, ever been the sort of person to blindly follow people, or things,, or trends. People are pinch-rolling their jeans because that’s the latest cool thing to do (’80s kids, remember that)? No, no. I rebelled that one so badly, my mom thought I was nuts. Long hair is no longer in? Pffft. I grew it past my waist for most of my life. Get married, pop out kids? Nope. Not me. I am not a kid person, and my health sucks. So no kids for me (and I am …

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My Rekindled Obsession: Guild Wars

If you’re not familiar with Guild Wars, it’s a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) similar to World of Warcraft. What’s nice is that there’s no monthy subscription to play, and once you purchase one campaign, you’re good forever.

Backing up a bit…up till I discovered GW, I had never been a gamer, unless you count Solitaire on the PC. Sometimes Minesweeper, but that one was a tough one. I did play Atari back in the day, though. Does that count?

Anyhoo, 11 years ago (!), I discovered an ex-boyfriend from high school on MySpace and we started talking and he told me about GW. I was kinda intrigued, but really didn’t think it was my cup of tea, but I let him show me stuff. And…I liked it. And….I was hooked. The graphics are so amazing. You can create a character the way you want to (my first character actually was thrown together in my haste to get to the meat of things but I still love her). You choose a profession out of six (well, at least with the Prophecies campaign, which I started with): Warrior, Monk, Ranger, Necromancer, Mesmer, Elementalist). Can you guess what my first character’s profession was?

….

If you guessed anything but Necromancer, you have not be paying attention. 😉

So you go through these quests to “learn” your profession. Then you get to select a second profession! So it’s really cool.

So you get all these kick-butt skills. You do quests, and missions. …

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Sun Touched

Sun Touched
by Erin Zarro
a free serial story in the Fey Touched universe

I woke up in filth.

A dirty, cold floor. Two mice chased each other along one equally dirty wall. It was stained with who-knew-what. Musty, sweat-filled air surrounded me. And, I could smell blood.

I looked down. All I wore was a simple cotton shift that opened in the back. I had a bad feeling I knew what that was for. A pool of blood surrounded my leg, so I must have gotten injured somehow. I couldn’t remember what had happened.

I was in a small prison cell. A filthy cot sat in one corner, no blankets. A bucket sat in the opposite corner, and apparently, someone had emptied it recently, because I did not smell the stink of human waste. Thank Artemis for that.

My prison was in a dark, large room.

All I remembered was fighting the rogues with my tribe. I’d spun around to stake one. Then, a punch to my gut, and nothing else.

Where were the others? Had they been captured, too?

I shivered, curling up into a little ball

Freaking hell.

Was anyone around?

I licked my dry lips. “Hello? Anyone there?”

“I see you’ve woken up,” a male voice said from the shadows. He stepped forward, and I saw that he was outside of my cell. And that he was one of the rogues.

I uncurled and stood, not wanting to seem submissive. I was …

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10 Thoughts From a Sleep-Deprived Writer’s Brain

Yeah, so I’ve had a bout of insomnia for the past few months. Usually, I snap out of it within a few days, but I’ve had some other things working in the background and it’s been BAD. I’ve tried everything and no luck. It is so bad that I am not even sure what day it is. I think it’s Tuesday. Is it Tuesday? Crap, I hope it’s Tuesday.

I am constantly asking myself what day it is.

According to my research, you cannot “cure” sleep deprivation or “catch up” on sleep. What’s lost is lost. Which really sucks. So this may be a bit of a disjointed, weird list. Just roll with it, k?

So, on to the thoughts!

1) I did dream last night, so I must have slept a bit at least. Something about me drawing my own book covers, and showing them off. In the dream, they were in crayon. Yes. Oops. (I assure you, Ever Touched’s cover will NOT be in crayon. Promise.) What on earth would lead me to dream that? I’ve got the cover figured out. I just need to, yanno, do it. (In between editing projects). Thinking about lining up all those sci-fi doodads is already making me tired. Yawn…..

2) My typing accuracy is for shit right now. I either hit the wrong letters, or skip them altogether, or smoosh whole words together. I like that word: “smoosh.” I want to smoosh something now, just because I, in my sleep-deprived addled …

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