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

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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Why I Didn’t Post Yesterday

Normally, I’m pretty good at keeping myself organized. Because we’re on a schedule, it’s pretty easy to remember. I’m the third Tuesday. But, apparently, I got distracted.

Why did I get distracted? Well, you see, I was copyediting this awesome, kick-ass novel. The one we are releasing in May. I’d just gotten the second part, and I was DYING to keep reading because the place they ended part 1 was a bit of a cliffhanger and…gah. I kept thinking about it. And then I started copyediting, and time just went away.

It’s kinda been like this all month. Kit and Siri, bless their souls, were running a bit behind on edits, so I was working on Ever Touched and Covenant, my two main projects. Then, over the weekend, I got a kick-ass idea for a horror novel (or screenplay). So that’s been on my mind. I’ve had a few personal things happening in the midst of this, plus daylight saving time (don’t tell me it doesn’t effect you because I will smack you. Some of us are sensitive to such things, mmkay?) and work stress. So, yeah, I spaced on yesterday’s post. I apologize for my error. I know you were all waiting with bated breath for my monthly thought-dump.

But seriously? This book is out of this world (see what I did there? No? Okay, now I feel cheesy) and it’s very different from what’s out there which is the point. Awesome characters, awesome world, kind of dystopic, too. …

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Changeling: The Faerie Portal

Part 4: The Faerie Portal
a free fantasy serial by Erin Zarro
Links: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

I have to go home.

Memories crashed through my mind: my sister Jane laughing as I pushed her swing, her head falling back to gaze at the blue sky; our little camping trailer, old and worn but imprinted with the essence of us; my mom’s perfect hugs that I swore cured everything from hurt feelings to life-altering things; Dad’s garden filled with vegetables and flowers and bees in summer; the little house where I’d lived my whole life, from baby to now; ballet class, learning to ride a bike, school…

I did not belong here.

I never did.


The voice startled me, and I spun around to face the source of it. I’d managed to get away from Mother and my twin, but I was sure they weren’t far behind. It was Ronan, not them, and he was watching me closely, almost as if he knew what I’d been thinking about. “My name is Maria, and I’m going home.”

Ronan arched a brow. “You are home, and you are Aisling, the Faerie princess and heir to the throne. We’ve been over this.” He reached out to touch me, but I moved out of his reach. “Aisling, please. You know I am telling the truth.”

I looked into his eyes, and I felt the truth of his words. But the memories were real, …

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Eight-Minute Writing

So I recently discovered Monica Leonelle. She writes fiction and non-fiction. I’ve read several of her non-fiction books, and one of them caught my eye: The 8-Minute Writing Habit: Create a Consistent Writing Habit that Works with Your Busy Lifestyle. This book was life-changing for me.

First of all, if you’ve been reading my posts for awhile, you know that I’ve written every day of my life (with a few exceptions) for at least ten years. Eight Minute Writing (the book) focuses on integrating writing into your lifestyle by writing just eight minutes a day. Brilliant, right? Anyone can grab eight minutes a day to pound out some words. Monica suggests doing this several times a day, and eventually upping it to maybe ten minutes, or fifteen. Back when I was struggling with Survivor, my psychological horror novel, in 2007, I wrote 50,000 words of it by writing just fifteen minutes a day. I was having ~issues, and fifteen minutes was a no-pressure, easy solution to the problem.

I highly suggest this for anyone who is struggling to find time or struggling period. It removes the expectations and wibbling (something which I engage in frequently) by giving you a clear deadline. Eight minutes and you are done. Note that there are no wordcount goals. This is strictly a time goal, and what you get — whether it’s 50 words or 300 — is fine.

But, since I’m already writing every day, I thought about how this might work for …

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Trigeminal Neuralgia: 5-Month Progress Report

Thought I’d give you an update on how I’m doing. For the most part, I’m pain free, which is wonderful. Some days I still have severe pain though, usually if it’s raining, if I’m stressed out, or, surprisingly, if I laugh too hard (that really threw me for a loop, but I suppose it makes sense — the motions of the face while I’m laughing must irritate the trigeminal nerve). I still have a bit of breakthrough pain near my next dose, and lately, I’ve had breakthrough pain as early as five o’clock (my second dose is at nine o’clock in the evening). Sometimes it will hit me out of nowhere with no discernible cause, and those times have me scratching my head. TN is definitely still a mystery, and I think it will take some time to peel all the layers off this condition.

BUT when I think of where I was around this time last year, in excruciating pain and hopeless, I am ecstatic. Most of the time, I’m okay, and I’ve been able to handle the breakthrough pain well enough. It’s not constant anymore. And, I have a diagnosis. I finally have a reason why my eye and face hurt so much. That’s invaluable to me. And to think that if I hadn’t done the research, had given up hope…I’d still be in pain and depressed and probably suicidal (did you know that TN was once called the “suicide disease”? Because people, like me, were in such horrific …

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