Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Case of the Disappearing WIP

Now, I can look back at this particular moment with humor but almost a week ago I was in meltdown mode. I am an obsessive saver of any document I am working on, but not so good at backing up the work. I do email it to myself on occasion, but not as often as I should which is how I found myself in a heart-wrenching predicament last Friday.

I was at a crop retreat last week and spent the first hour each morning working on the edits for Altered to Death. I didn't want to get behind schedule, so I took some time away from scrapbooking to edit. Being in a different environment energized me and I found the words and ideas flowing. As I was finishing writing for the day, the thought entered my head that I should email the document to myself. Just in case. Instead of doing that immediately, I decided to browse the Internet for a bit for a die cut file I needed for a layout. I was debating between two design files when all of a sudden the screen went blank.

First, I was calm. I figured I hadn't plugged in the computer correctly or the cord got loose and the battery died. No problem. I checked the cords and pushed the button to turn the laptop on. Nothing. Double checked cords. Pressed the on button. Blank screen. My stomach did a little flip. The laptop had crashed.

While I hated to lose today's work, it was only one day. I checked my email on my phone. Oh no! The last time I "backed up" the book was over a week ago. A week of changes and additions that were gone forever. The edits are due May 9th. What was I going to do? Could I redo everything by then--if I could even remember everything? I was so angry with myself. Why hadn't I emailed it first?

After berating myself for a few more moments, I did the one thing that might make everything better...I called my computer tech who is my husband. He was golfing but told me he was positive he could fix it once he returned. And if not, he'd be able to get the drive out of the laptop and save my book.

While I felt a little better, I wasn't totally calm until my husband arrived and within a minute had the laptop back up and operational. After thanking my husband, I emailed the book to myself and will schedule my WIP to be updated on Dropbox on a daily basis. I don't want to go through that panic situation again.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Post-Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

I had a great time at the LATFOB last weekend!  That was despite the hot weather. 

My blog post last week was all about my anticipation of going.  I included my schedule, which worked out very well.  I took the LA Metro there, and on Saturday the two trains I rode were particularly packed.  That was partly because of a couple of demonstrations that were scheduled in Los Angeles that day--but there were also a lot of other people heading in the same direction as I was.

On Saturday, I wound up spending about three hours on my feet.  During the first hour I walked all around the University of Southern California campus checking out the many booths that all had some relationship to writing or publishing.  I spent the next two hours at the Romance Writers of America's Los Angeles chapter (LARA) booth inviting passersby in to learn more about romances, enter a contest for a nice-sized basket of books, buy books from authors who were signing there, and buy books written by other authors like me who'd contributed them to the chapter.  Oh, and by the way, there were a couple of hunky guys there--well, posters of them--including Fabio, where people could take selfies with them.

Thanks to the heat and the standing for so long I felt exhausted--but it was worth it.

Sunday started off less happily since I wound up just missing both of the trains I needed to take, which meant a weekend 20 minute wait each time till the next one.  I wound up arriving late for my signing at the Sisters in Crime booth--but fortunately not very late.  I enjoyed my three scheduled signing times that day, at the SinC booth, Mystery Writers of America and Mystery Ink bookstore. I had fun talking to other writers, encouraging readers to stop by and talk and pick up some of my bookmarks--and maybe buy a book or two of mine or the other authors, and I was quite pleased by the number of my books that were in fact purchased.  I wound up staying half an hour longer than I'd planned because of readers coming over to talk--and, yes, buy books.  And my Metro ride back home went very smoothly.

So, in all, it was a fun weekend!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Notes from All Over

An amazing sight last Tuesday afternoon.  A magnificent bald eagle landed in the street that runs beside our building and pecked at the demolished body of a run-over rabbit while crows, who had been holding their own feast, objected loudly.  One crow dared to land behind the eagle while others cawed from nearby trees, but the eagle turned to give him a hard look, and he decided the better part of valor would be to join his friends in the trees. Then the eagle scooped up the last large fragment of red flesh and leaped into the air, to disappear over tree- and housetops.  It was a glimpse of, like they say, nature red in tooth and claw.  Well, beak and talon.

Technically, it is too early to plant.  Here in this part of Minnesota, the informal rule is, wait until Mother’s Day.  But the temperatures have been so mild, I couldn’t wait, and put up my plant pole and transplanted the azalea I got from church into a bigger pot.  This is the third year for the pole, and I like it more than ever.  I bought it at our State Fair and it’s an easy way to get a lot of plants in a small space, stacking the tilted pots up it.  Last year I had a geranium that was so healthy in the fall that I kept it over the winter in our apartment.  It started blooming in February and I was glad to get it outdoors last weekend.  It’s the variety that droops over the edge of the pot – which it didn’t do last year, but does this year.

And here’s a picture of Java the Bombay cat, showing off her exotic profile.

Last night we were introduced to the applications of candidates to be my church’s next rector.  They seem different from one another but very qualified and it’s going to be a hard choice.  And I’m still thinking this search would be the basis of a good mystery story.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Miniatures and Writing: Creating and Getting Ideas

Miniatures: The Other Creativity

I'm baaaaack!

Joanna Slan's recent post about her Mid Century Modern mini project inspired me to share what I've been working on.

Did you ever notice that sometimes you’re more creative in one thing than the other? In other words, writing, it seems, can get in the way of your hobby.

The worst thing I’ve noticed is that it results in several projects being started and ongoing in various stages since I get bored and put one aside to do something else. Or in writing, something isn't working how I want, so I switch between projects. But I am determined to finish them and keep at it. 

Writing-wise, I’ve been working on a supernatural-flavored mystery novella set in Lizzie Borden’s hometown. I’ve started the sequel to Lizzie Borden,Zombie Hunter and have a pretty good outline going. Good progress for me. I also have several short stories in the works. I have to say it's fun writing about "my" version of Lizzie and putting her in different scenarios. 

Now I just have to get it all done!

Miniatures is much the same: there’s the Half Scale garage I started. I’m still finishing up the yard here and there.

Pictured: part of side yard. The front part with a "gravel" drive will be host to a yard sale scene. Close-up of flower bed by garage wall.

I also started decorating a small travel trailer. Instead of it being the usual bed-table-kitchen layout, I’ve decided to try converting it into a Coffee CafĂ©. (The photo - I know, boring huh? -  is only a teaser to show the body - it took me quite a while to decide on a color scheme. The inside is now wallpapered with a pink floral and has a black-white checkered floor.) I don't want to show it until I have more done.

Oh, if that isn’t enough, I found a HUGE dollhouse at the thrift store, and well, it was a steal for $10. I actually bought it for the windows and door since I just don’t have the room for the whole house. (Never mind that I have two other built houses yet to decorate.)

Then I got an idea—yeah, dangerous. Real dangerous...I hated to do it, well, kind of...

 So, I took off the top sections and saved the bottom floor. Ready-made roombox! It's still fairly big - it fits the length of  a square folding table. It’s probably going to be turned into the hippie-1960s-‘70s record store I was thinking about. The windows already look better painted pink with hot pink on the top and bottom, plus the side trim lines. The outside will be violet and purple. Lots of color will be going on here. Found an array of fun scrapbook papers, including a colorful pineapple print I like. Basically you can't have too much color in this one!

Yes, it will require making dozens, a hundred or more (?), mini record album covers. I really don't like making them all, but the end result makes it worth it. There's something about seeing a bunch of the same things. Check out this mini record collection

You'll laugh - I even found that one of the miniature flower makers has a "certain" plant and leaf kit available for that added touch of realism! I'm a DIY'er so I'll be adding the leaf kit to my inventory soon.

And of course the ideas never end... We'll see what I pick up at the dollhouse shows that I planned on attending this past weekend. 

It's an addiction, I guess. An addiction to creating, whether it's in word or in a project. There’s just one problem with all this creativity – now I have to finish it all. Haaa!