Twelve Days.

“Technology makes it possible for people to gain control over everything, except over technology.”
~John Tudor

Know what’s never a good sign? When you’re working on the computer and the screen suddenly goes blank. Know what’s even worse? When you try to reboot said computer and are met with wavy lines, shrill beeps, and, eventually a vast blue (or sometimes white … or sometimes black … or sometimes gray …) chasm of nothingness. And do you know what’s worse still? When you drop off that computer, that very lifeline of sorts for a writer, and the technician who’s supposed to fix it actually breaks it instead.


Welcome to the last twelve days. What was promised to be a one or two day repair turned into an almost two week saga. A misdiagnosis of the problem … an extra three days for the correct part to be ordered … a check-in phone call on my part during which it was explained that in the process of replacing the display, they broke the airport card … another six days for my computer to be shipped to Tennessee for their error to be fixed … minimal communication and apologies, except from one very kind tech representative … let’s just say I was not a happy camper.

As of yesterday, I FINALLY have Goldie again (please tell me I’m not the only one who gives computers a name!) and I seriously don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved to get back to work. I have a second round of revisions to make on WATERCOLORS, a song to write for it, and queries to send for SANDS OF TIME. I’m always excited to sit down at my writing desk after a break, but after one that was frustratingly extended by all this time? I. AM. JUBILANT.

I did my best to keep up with y’all via my iPod, but holy cow, did my eyes start hurting after awhile, so if I missed anything important – or even anything small – let me know! And does anyone else have any computer repair horror stories to share?!


Things I’ve learned this week:

“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.”
~Sarah Caldwell

1. Spending countless hours working on a laptop can eventually cause your neck muscles to become inflamed. Dominant side (right, in my case) + unwittingly tilting your head at a certain angle while on the computer x many years = lopsided muscles (aka, one side is thicker than the other). My doctor recommended physical therapy for it, so fingers crossed that works. And who says writers don’t incur occupational hazards? ;-)

2. Yogurtland is amazing not only because they have white chocolate Ghirardelli chips as a topping, but also because they have the best flavor ever: Peppermint Hot Cocoa. If you have a Yogurtland anywhere near you, go try this fabulousness. You’ll be glad you did.

3. It is impossible to put eye drops in your own eyes – at least if you’re as squeamish about that kind of thing as I am. Thank goodness for people who offer to help.

4. Wrapping holiday gifts while listening to festive music never gets old. Ever. Cannot wait for the start of Hanukkah tomorrow night and for all the warmth, light, and joy it sends twinkling through the air.

5. Knowing that you’re going to exceed a goal is an incredible feeling. When I first began editing Mine to Love, I hoped to get the manuscript under 110,000 words. With six and a half chapters left to revise, I’m only a few hundred words away. For the first time ever, I’m going to have a book that’s shorter than the goal. This excites me more than it probably should.

How about you? What’s one thing you’ve learned this week?

GH Love.

“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.”
~Stephen King

So … the forest of my book? The landscape of trees that’s coming together after the seeds were planted and the ideas took root? It’s something I’m really excited about, and very proud of, and so, so eager to start sending out into the world. But it’s also becoming a bit of something else: an occupational hazard. I have been spending so much time editing lately that my neck and eyes are beginning to protest. As in, I’ve been legitimately worried the last couple days that a blood vessel in my eye is going to pop. I’ll spare y’all the lovely details – just suffice it to say, I’m trying to majorly cut down on the computer time this weekend. Editing has been going well – so well, in fact, that this manuscript is actually going to dip below my target word count, which never (ever … E.V.E.R.) happens! – and though I’m reticent to scale back on my workload, I’m also trying to be smart about things. So, instead of a wordy post today, you get pictures of the General Hospital event I attended yesterday. It was a Q&A and meet-and-greet with Kirsten Storms (Maxie), Bradford Anderson (Spinelli), and Brandon Barash (Johnny). I’ve met Bradford and Brandon before, but not Kirsten, and so it was lovely to talk with her (as well as them – I made sure to tell Bradford that Spinelli’s laptop needs a name!). It always strikes me how genuine and gracious the GH cast is. They love their jobs, they love their co-workers, they love interacting with their fans … they are just wonderful people.

Her sunny spirit is contagious!

Take 1!

Take 2!

Tell me – if you could meet the cast of any television show, who would you choose?

Introducing … Goldie Mac!

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
~Apple Inc.

After more than four years and (almost) four novels written, yesterday marked a bittersweet milestone for my beloved HP laptop. Marge dealt with my furiously typing fingers for one last time before rightfully earning herself a long retirement. She’s officially free from my constantly-writing ways and I’m free from her battery that no longer works, her power cord that only stays plugged in when it’s wrapped around the screen, her Internet that only cooperates half the time, and her oh-so-lovely blue and black screens. Now … now I have a brand new MacBook to type away on, a new toy to explore. And boy, let me tell you – it was a J-O-Y to write my entire 2212 word scene this morning without having to worry even once about whether the computer would cooperate. I normally aim for somewhere between 1500 words per day, but this morning? I COULD NOT STOP. Yes, it was largely because of the scene itself, but I must admit, it was also quite fun to write my first scene on this computer. Here’s to you, Goldie Mac, and all the adventures that await us. SO EXCITED for the stories you’ll help me tell, the things you’ll help me learn, and the happiness you’ll help me bring.

MacBook 1

MacBook 2

MacBook 3

Do you name your computer, too? Please tell me I’m not the only one! And Mac users – any tips I should know about?

Why this week rocks:

“Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.”
~Maxim Gorky

When your week begins like this, it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for how the next seven days will play out. Luckily, a trip to the Apple store + the return of my multi-colored planning pens + some really exciting news has done more than enough to balance out the computer troubles. So, you may ask, why does this week rock?

Reason #1: Seeing the MacBook Pro in person and getting to explore its features? Made me want to buy one instantly. Despite the insanity of the Apple store (wow, do they need a space that’s double the size), the employees were all so friendly and helpful, and beyond that, the computers are just … awesome. If only I were a millionaire, I’d have snapped one up in a nanosecond. But since that’s not the case, I’m now weighing the OMGIWANTTHISLAPTOP voice in my head with the one that reminds me how much more affordable and reasonable a PC would be. Only … we can’t be reasonable all the time, right?

Reason #2: Who has a Meet & Greet pass for Kelly Clarkson’s concert this Sunday? ME!! I’m so excited I can’t stand it, so I can only imagine how giddy this weekend will be. And even better – my sister and friends have passes, too. To say I’m thrilled for them to meet Kelly for the first time is an understatement. Sharing the news with everyone yesterday was such fun. Is there anything better in this world than being able to make other people happy? I think not. I truly cannot wait to share this experience with them, and of course to talk with Kelly again. She has been such an inspiration over the years and I’m already planning what all I want to tell her this time. Here’s hoping I don’t ramble on for so long that she has to interrupt to ask my name like she did back in 2007. Ha. Really, though, when Kelly Clarkson is the one you’re embarrassing yourself in front of, it’s all good. All great. All SO FANTASTIC THAT YOU WANT TO JUMP UP AND DOWN!! Is it Sunday yet?!

Reason #3: Most people dislike Monday mornings. This week, I was looking forward to it more than words can express. Why, you may ask? Because I FINALLY got to start working on my new novel! Okay, okay, it’s only been six months since I finished writing the first draft of the previous one, but when writing fills you up like nothing else can, six months feels like an eternity. For as awesome a process as editing turned out to be, nothing – nothing – can compare to the adrenaline and hope of beginning a new manuscript. It’s like a new journey just waiting to unfold. A new adventure just waiting to envelop you in its grasp. A new baby just waiting to be born. Sitting down at my desk, swirling out my multi-colored pens like a rainbow of inspiration, it made this pure, innate joy swell inside. Getting started on character sketches, loose outlines, and research? I know it’s work – and challenging work at that – but my goodness, it feels like such a ray of light. There’s so much faith, so much belief, so much love at this stage of the game. And yes, the characters may be like old friends to me by this point, but their story is constantly spinning and creating new threads in their tapestry. So excited to see what they weave.

How has your week been going? Tell me one reason why it rocks!

Computer Meltdown.

“Technology makes it possible for people to gain control over everything … except over technology.”
~John Tudor

Lesson Learned: do not write about your work plans (aka: do not squeal about starting a new manuscript), because the Technology Gods will swoop in, put a spell on your laptop, and leave you concerned that it just might disappear into a poof of foggy smoke forever. You will then begin an immediate OMG-is-everything-transferred panic that includes emailing yourself important documents and sending each file to an external hard drive yet again, even though you know full well that at least three quarters of them have already been copied. Not that I’d know this from personal experience or anything … she says as she watches hundreds of picture files slooooooooowly transfer over.

Seriously, though, UGH. My laptop is four years old and it’s been having daily temper tantrums lately, so this was not unexpected, but still. Internet issues have been somewhat tolerable. Unplugging the computer for five minutes and having the battery drain completely, then refuse to recharge? Having antivirus software refuse to function properly? Not so much. I’ve been researching new computer options for the past week – something told me this was coming, even though I hoped it’d wait at least another couple months – and it looks like Decision Time is on the horizon. Luckily, there’s an Apple store only forty-five minutes away, so I can head over tomorrow and spend some time experimenting with a Mac in person. PCs have always been the name of the game, but we used Macs for video editing in college and I absolutely loved them. For this, though, my mind seems to keep bouncing back and forth. A new laptop is such a commitment for a writer (yes, I know how ridiculously dramatic that sounds, but it’s true – this one has become somewhat of an appendage over the years), and I just want to make the right choice.

Those of you who have so kindly given me tips, suggestions, and information – thank you, thank you (and don’t be surprised if I bombard you with even more questions at some point soon)!

Anyway, all this to say that I’d planned to do a post today about the goodreads 2012 book challenge, but instead I will apparently be spending my time chained to the laptop and ensuring that everything – everything! – is duplicated. Okay, who am I kidding? Paranoid Me will probably ensure that each file is saved in at least three different places. Maybe four. Or five. I can’t help it, though. When your novels are your babies, your computer becomes, in a way, your lifeline. Better safe than sorry, right? Even if it means not being able to start reading the second book in my fifty-two book challenge. Even if it means having to take a couple days off from querying agents. Even if it means not getting to anything else I’d hoped to spend this weekend accomplishing.

But beginning work on the new manuscript tomorrow? Somehow, someway, it is happening. The colored pens are coming out, the writing journal is offering up its blank pages, and the next journey in Sofie’s life is starting to be mapped out. I just may have to take up temporary residence at the library, that’s all.

Do you have any computer horror stories to share? And – anyone else want to weigh in on the Mac vs. PC debate?