Friday, September 28, 2007

Jesus Saves; Jacqueline Apparently Does Not

Warning: Do not read this post if you are easily offended by religious humor. While I think this joke is perfectly inoffensive (not to mention very funny), you may feel differently.

So, in my other life, I work for a software development company. Which means I work with a lot of programmers. And that's how I came to hear this joke years ago, one I admit having retold many times because I love it so much.

Jesus challenged Satan to an 8-hour programming contest. Whoever had written the best code at the end of that time would be the winner, with God serving as the judge.

Both Jesus and the devil programmed furiously for hours with God keeping an eye out for cheating. Just as the allotted time was coming to a close, the power went out.

"Well, that's it," said God. "I hereby declare Jesus as the winner."

"But how can you know?" Satan protested. "You never read his code!"

God just smiled. "Ah, but you see, Jesus saves."

I recalled this joke yesterday when I came home from work, opened my work-in-progress, and discovered it to be missing two whole scenes! Nearly 2,000 words, vanished!

Now, I'm sure I saved many times during the writing of those scenes and when I finished them and closed the file. But there was no getting around it--the file had been resaved without those scenes, though I have no idea how. (I suspect either children or gremlins.) I was able to get one scene back because I'd sent it out in email to my CPs, but the second, which wasn't quite completed, is gone forever.


I suppose losing portions of files is an occupational hazard for the modern writer. Even if you save religiously, things can go awry. Crashes and power outages aside, I'm sure all of us have probably made the mistake of saving the wrong version of a file, deleting a file we intended to keep, and so forth. Nobody's perfect (except maybe Jesus).

But I do pine for a piece of software my boss had on his Mac years ago. It was called Ghostwriter and it created a file of every single keystroke he typed that was saved constantly. And while it was usually filled a garbled mess of text, he never lost anything important. He could always go back to that file and reconstruct whatever he had written throughout the course of the day.

What about you? Ever accidentally deleted or saved over a scene you'd just written (and worse, loved)? Tell me your horror stories so we can commiserate.

P.S. Let's all cross our fingers for Maggie finalists Darcy Burke and India Carolina, who are in Atlanta for the Moonlight and Magnolias conference. I hope they're having a rousing good time. Woot, woot!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Getting Back on Track...and Derailed Again.

After my dismal failure at being a full-time writer last week, I started this week armed with your suggestions (thanks!), a positive attitude and a healthy dose of determination. And it seemed to work. Since Monday, I've managed to write about 2,500 words, which for me borders on light speed.

Unfortunately, I also got called into the office today to observe/teach a class, which promises to derail me for the rest of the week. I would try to write during lunch and breaks but, er, I'm in the middle of something pretty sexy and I'm just not sure I want to risk my coworkers or company clients looking over my shoulder. So, I'm afraid there won't be any new scenes today, though I might get a break tomorrow afternoon if I'm lucky.

In other news, I took a long, deep breath and decided to run the new opening of Unbridled through the Emily and at least one other contest. Some of you may remember I'd started on a fairly significant re-engineering of the story a while back on the heels of some rather worrying contest feedback, but then ran out of steam and set the project aside to let things percolate (or fester, as the case may be). The old version of the opening then went on to final with excellent scores in the Put Your Heart in a Book contest (final rankings out late next week), which of course made me wonder whether I was reinventing the wheel for new good reason.

But, I've since reread both versions and decided I really prefer the new one (and love the hook I wrote to go with it, which I can't say about the old version of the story), but feel like I need some good feedback/comments on it from people who don't have familiaritis (as all the Mavens and a lot of my other writing friends do!) with the manuscript to see what's working and what isn't.

So, what are you up to this week? (Those of you who haven't heard Ann Aguirre's great news should pop over to her blog to check it out and congratulate with her. She rocks!)

P.S. Did you watch House last night? Did you miss Foreman, Cameron, and Chase? Should Dr. Cuddy be wearing dresses like that if she expects to be treated like a professsional? Discuss!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Perverse Power of "Supposed To"

After the insanity that was my work life for the first two weeks of September, I took this week off with the express intention of writing at least one scene per day each day. With no paying work to be done, the kids in school, and my only other obligation being to catch up on the housecleaning I've been letting slide for ages, it should have been easy.

But did I accomplish my goal? Um, no! Sadly, I haven't even managed to finish ONE scene this week (though today's not over yet, so there's still hope :->). Eek!

Yesterday, whilst chatting with my IM bud and fellow Cobblestone author Emma Petersen, I had an epiphany. Part of the reason I am having trouble writing is because it's what I'm supposed to be doing.

You see, when what I'm supposed to be doing is my paying work, I find it terribly easy to avoid it by writing. But when what I'm supposed to be doing is writing...hmmm, it just became work. And so, what do I do? Avoid it! (You do not want to know how much daytime TV I've watched this week. SCARY! And, er, I've actually vacuumed and cleaned the bathrooms TWICE! Something is definitely very, very wrong with this picture.)

For a long time, I've pined for the day I can give up the day gig and write full-time. But after this week, I'm not so sure. If the only thing I was supposed to do, day in and day out, was writing, would I do it? Or would I spend all my time putting it off in favor of something else, even something as plainly unpleasant as cleaning the bathroom or watching endless reruns of Law & Order: SVU?

Obviously, I haven't got the answer for this conundrum. But perhaps you do! Do share!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Playing Catch Up

Well, after almost two weeks away from the blog, I hardly know where to begin. Some of you may already have heard most of "news" on the Mavens blog, so bear with me if this is all old hat to you.

First, the final results of the OVRWA's Summer Sizzle contest were announced a couple of weeks ago. Darcy's Glorious finished first in the Spicy category and Carnally Ever After finished first in the Sexy category. It was really exciting and gratifying to share my first contest win with Darcy!

The editor who judged the Sexy category (Teresa Stevens at Red Sage Publishing) also requested a full manuscript, but since I sold it to Cobblestone shortly after entering the contest, I can't rightly send it to her. I am hoping to send her another project with a "leg up", though.

Also very exciting, Carnally Ever After debuted at #2 on Cobblestone's bestseller list for the month of August. A big thank you to all my readers for making that possible!

Last, but not least, please give Erica Ridley a warm round of applause. She was a triple finalist (in three categories) in the TARA contest. The final results came in last week, and she finished with two seconds, a first, and a request for a full. Awesome work!

I'll be back on Wednesday with a more substantial post, but until then, I'm catching my breath (and cleaning the house!).

What have you all been up to while I was gone?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sorry to be AWOL

Just wanted to let you know that the blog will be dark until the week after next. My company's conference is next week and I'm knee-deep in preparation madness this week. Next week, I'll actually be at the conference all day.

Take care and I'll see you in mid-September!