Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Abby, thanks so much for the magazine subscription sites.

Well, yesterday was discouraging on the job negotiation front. The job that offered a pay rate too good to be true – I suspect it’s a scam. I looked at the materials which I’m supposed to work with and the warning bells went off. I sent more questions to the supposed employer; we’ll see what is said. Since they’ve yet to respond, I have a feeling that my gut instincts were correct. Another set of job negotiations turns out to be revenue share, not pay-per-article, so I’m not taking it. I am paid a set rate for the work I do, not a “maybe” rate that’s dependent on other people. This is my business, not my hobby.

And, of course, computer problems don’t help. One of the ongoing problems I’ve had with this machine since the first 30 days when it actually worked properly is that, when I hit “save”, either to do the original save or a back-up, it often dumps. And not hiding it somewhere for document recovery – it dumps. That’s why, even though I attempt to back-up frequently, very often the attempt to back-up causes me to lose everything. This has been a constant problem with the machine, and Dell has consistently refused to do anything (much less honor the 3-year at-home service agreement for which I paid). And the McAfee’s constant hijacking, dumping, and freezing of what I’m working on has gotten out of control. It shouldn’t take two to three hours to put in an “update” that freezes my computer and doesn’t let me work EVERY DAY. I’ve complained to them; we’ll see if they do anything about it.

No, I am not re-installing the operating system. I think that’s ridiculous, and that, instead of actually fixing problems, that’s always the solution techs shrug and do – wipe the drive and start over. NO. I paid for an operating system – I expect it to OPERATE. I finally have everything (well, most things) arranged the way I want them. I am NOT wiping the drive and putting it all back and starting from scratch. First of all, I’m not qualified. Second, the last time I paid someone to fix the computer – Geek Squad, which cost, I think, in the neighborhood of $500 – they wiped the drive when I specifically told them it was not an option, because the problems for which I called them meant I couldn’t back things up before they came – and I lost my writing samples, my portfolio, etc., etc.. It took probably a year to get things back to where I needed and wanted them. I couldn’t figure out how stuff was reloaded, and where it was hidden. The “Start” Menu didn’t have what I needed on it. It was a nightmare.

This hard drive is at the end of its life span anyway – if I don’t wind up getting my MAC in February or March, at the very least, I’ll have to buy a new hard drive for this machine and hire someone to install it. Believe me, it won’t be Geek Squad. And it won’t be Staples, who doesn’t load things onto hard drives unless you provide written proof it’s your program, according to the tech guy with whom I spoke. WTF? It’s all a racquet, built to screw the consumer every which way possible. If I’m forced to do the latter instead of purchasing the Mac O’My Dreams, I’ll hire an individual with good references.

Managed about a thousand words on the Lucy Gothic. I’ve started the third chapter in the handwritten draft, and I’m typing the chapters as I complete them, which means I’ve typed chapters 1 and 2. The word meter reflects the typed version (what I call “Draft 1A”). The problem with the Lucy Gothic is that once I enter its world, I am reluctant to leave.

Drafted a Jain Lazarus press release. It needs some work, but should be ready to go out in a day or two.

Did some work on the Billy Root piece, the plotting and figuring that needs to happen before I can write more. To answer Chad’s question, he’s about to turn thirty, but his emotional age is more like seventeen or eighteen. I could make the “well, he’s an actor” joke, but that’s unfair to the actors who actually have a reasonable emotional age, no matter what their chronological age — some of whom I’ve worked with. I’m a little stuck. I need to get to know some of the other characters a little better, and figure out why they’re here. The theme is clear to me, and there are two main sections of the book – the first is at the school during summer term in Scotland, and the second is during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where both Billy and Jain get to use their theatrical expertise again. And Jain receives another shock pertaining to her past, building on what she learned during OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. I need to tie the two sections together, and I’m not sure I’ll find a way to do that until I’ve completed the first draft. This morning’s work was slow going – I need to make a floor plan of the house in which they’re living for the summer, because it’s relevant to the plot. I’ll look back at the floor plans from houses such as Felbrigg and Craigside to get ideas (their floor plans are also helpful in The Lucy Gothic).

I also started sketching out a direct mail piece I’m going to put together for my fiction, in addition to the business writing brochure I’m putting together. Those are two separate lists, with little cross-over, at least for now. Closer to the release date of OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, I think I’ll do a postcard for it. I’m considering a post card for HEX BREAKER, to do another marketing push for it, but I doubt I can coax this hunk of junk to do what I need in order to create the postcard. And I can’t afford to hire it out right now. So we’ll have to see what kind of jobs I land this month, and that will dictate what I can afford to do, marketing-wise.

Did some loose plotting on the Mick Feeney story. I’ve got about a page of it handwritten, to get me into the character’s voice. The first story, at least, is told from Mick’s POV. I might alternate stories, one from Mick’s POV, one from Eliza Valentine’s. The inspiration for these tales are the penny dreadful river tales that were popular in the mid-1800’s, full of colorful river characters and a deep love for the Mississippi River. My characters and settings are fictional, in an alternate universe, but the inspiration goes back to those Mississippi Tall Tales I came across while researching THE WIDOW’S CHAMBER.

See—every piece of research comes into use, eventually, even if it’s not in the piece for which you originally researched.

I’ve put my notes on THE MATILDA MURDERS in A Very Safe Place. I either have to find that Very Safe Place, or go back and do my revisions without my notes. Sigh.

Back to the page.


Billy Root piece – 6,899 words out of est. 60,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
6 / 60

The Lucy Gothic, Draft 1A –8,605 words out of est. 75,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
8 / 75
Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 8:51 am  Comments (13)  


  1. Your computer issues are exactly the reason I’ve resisted husband’s attempts to upgrade my old Dell with the new one. This one works and works great. The new one – thanks to your experiences – scares the bejeezes out of me.

  2. Thank you for the Zotukou. I will get it in working order soon. And YES! I’ve always hated that “reinstall” suggestion as well. Though I ended up doing so a couple of times back in 2007/8, I did so quite begrudgingly! And found it somewhat of a cop out to boot. ANYway—

    I posted my GDRs earlier this week, and as I read through your to do list, well– I thought of you this morning, as I posted a new link to my Pearls of Wisdom site. If you have time to stop by Soul Echoes, look for the link to Sacred Lands. It might spark a few ideas? Not that I don’t have a few fermenting myself.

    Blessings for a wonderfully productive day

  3. You’re keeping nice and busy, very productive. Keep going.

    I’ll let you know (a) if I switch off, and (b) when I switch on again, but I’m hoping the post will suffice as warning and I won’t have to do either. :o)

  4. Computer are a giant pain, aren’t they? I hope you get it all sorted out.

    And hehe you have Very Safe Places, too? I do! And then it takes me months (sometimes years) to find those Very Safe Places. 🙂

  5. Computer problems suck. You seem to be having an abundance of them lately. So sorry!

  6. Sympathies re the computer problems. Not the way to get yourself in the right frame of mind for being creative.

    I spent years longing for just 5 minutes with Bill Gates. Why the hell should we pay for products that are defective? Grr. Get that Mac as soon as you can. Mine is a dream to work on. I just love it. Everything works as it should. Bliss.

  7. Wow, I’ve had 5 Dell’s and never had a problem like that – and I’m shocked that their customer support hasn’t been much better. The one time I did have a problem with my laptop, they were onsite replacing the part the next day and it worked perfect after that. I would stay on them and try to move as far up the food-chain of the company until you get someone who will actually fix the problem the right way. Ask for the VP of Operations – that usually scares the hell out of the underlings. It’s worked for me in the past. Good luck!

  8. *hugs* on the continued computer problems! I hope you can get your Mac soon. I love mine so much!!!

  9. A Very Safe Place

    I have one of those too! There are some things I haven’t seen in almost a decade.

    But they’re really, really safe!

  10. Devon, hello there! I’m always suspicious before anything else… always on too-good-to-be-true alert. I do understand. Let us know what comes of this potential employer… my left eyebrow is raised in anticipation.

    ” )

  11. McAfee is a pain. We use a free virus protection that was in Consumer Reports called AVAST.
    Dell can be hard to get to work. We’ve had multiple calls to them and Chris had to fuss at them several times to get them out here to fix my computer. I’ll be going MAC in Feb./March myself.
    I’ll be sending good thoughts for you and your computer.

  12. I hope you find your Very Safe Place. Why do I love that you put it in caps?

  13. I can’t wait until you get your new MAC so that you can work free of technical hassle for once. You must be the unluckiest person I know when it comes to PCs. It almost makes me feel guilty for earning my main living from the business …

    Hope you’re having a good day.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: