Southern Scotch

Southern Scotch

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Day My House was Set on Fire: Part 2

When you've rummaged through the ashes, saving the little you're able to save, you're entitled to sit down and have a good cry.

Then you need to make a decision as quickly as you can: Do you have enough strength and material to rebuild where you stand? Or do you choose to move along and build a new house somewhere else?

I had lost the only copy of a completed manuscript ready to send to my betas. I still had the nearly illegible hand-written first draft. And if that was all I had, I believe I might have abandoned the book--because I was also without a computer for now, relying on one-hour sessions at the library.

Luckily, I did find a saved second draft on an old flash drive. The book had been through many drafts since then, but I decided quickly:
--I had the strength to work from this.
--I'd recover mentally what I could recall and re-imagine wherever I had to.
--I'd work the way I used to work before I owned a computer.

Strategy:
1) I printed out batches of pages from the flash drive. And since computer time was limited, I returned to the style of my youth: using various colors of ink to signal the different drafts of each page. Before typing anything I would do at least six drafts.
2) I would not obsess over total recall. I would begin by accepting that I could never recover exactly the version that I lost. In the end, life willing, I'd produce a better book.

Progress report: I'm now 1-2 weeks from sending my beta readers the first 100 pages of the Recovery Copy.

My spirits are high. And I will keep you posted!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The blog is still in business!

A recent laptop crash resulted in the loss of my book in progress--and restricted my online access. So though I'm still very much in business, my online time is shorter.

Drop by on Monday for an update on the manuscript recovery's progressing--and how I'm learning to sleep in the nude when my poor house is in ashes.

Till then, may the fours be with you--and the threes and twos!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Empty Restaurant Syndrome: Or Eat Here Before We All Starve!

My latest post on Authors Electric discusses ways of beating The Empty Restaurant Syndrome: the natural reluctance to enter empty places...or read unreviewed books.

It's never easy but with careful strategy, you can whip the ERS.

http://tinyurl.com/mycuwxj


Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Day My House was Set on Fire: Part 1

Disaster can strike in the time that it takes to move from one table to another one in Starbucks. Five minutes after booting up my laptop, my favorite table opened. I shut down...moved over...and got the Blue Screen.

With time and persistence and pluck, I can retrieve most of the files that I lost--except one: I'd failed to make a backup copy of my work in progress. And I was just days away from sending the 'show copy' to my beta readers.

I did find a saved second draft on a flash--but this was from a half-year ago and the book had been through many drafts since then.

The work I faced was staggering--assuming that I could remember enough of my changes to start.

Also, I had a new challenge:  once again I'd been left without a laptop, having to rely on one-hour sessions on library computers. I felt tempted to quit--and yet I had to try before abandoning what I believed was the best of my Boss MacTavin novels.

I had proven persistence and pluck. But I had no strategy for coping with computer time restraints.

So, that became the first all-important step.

Stay tuned for updates as I go. The Boss Recovery Copy is already underway, forty-odd pages completed.

The next report will tell you how--with my house burned down--I returned to the house of my youth...the way I used to write/revise before there were computers.

This is shaping up to be one of my life's great adventures.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Reb MacRath, Action Manifester! Flash Bulletin #4

Following up on FB #3, regarding the one-year top secret weapon that I began to use on 11/10:

The heart of the weapon is Action--big and bold as day.

Issues: I still hadn't had any results from the staffing agency I'd contacted. When I called them back, I learned that one reference had not returned their call and the phone number I'd been given for a second reference was bad.
Strategies: I began digging for contact #'s for previous managers at my night job. Good people who knew me and my work, but who'd been transferred suddenly. They agreed to come through for me. I passed the info on to the agency.
Results: Received an excited call from the agency manager, asking me to come in.for another interview. Whatever the problem had been with the first interviewer, she'd made no record of the ID I presented and there didn't seem to be any notes. I clicked with the agency manager--and he called back the next day with a strong possibility...at a significant bump up in salary. A longer commute is involved. I convinced him I could handle it--because I had handled an identical commute in Portland--for six years. I may have an interview with this company by the middle of the month.

Conclusions: The weapon worked, and worked quickly, because I acted quickly, persistently and in a focused way. I dug, and kept digging, for A-list references. I redid my resume, giving the agency manager what he wanted. I agreed to a second interview with the agency--and nailed it. Ronald Reagan-style, I transformed my age into a powerful asset.

This is just one example of the weapon at work. Similar results are coming in already on selected other fronts. Stay tuned for the next report.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Scoundrel Time!

Hi, the chipper Tweet says. Please Like my FB page and I'll Like yours!

Well, part of you may recoil from the prospect of wheeling and dealing with strangers. But it's a jungle out there and we haven't seen even the tip of the iceberg of Online Popularity Games. Plus, Amazon does note the number of Likes. So what you may do in this instance is be upfront and above board, Liking as requested then sending back this Tweet: Glad to Like. Will you in turn Like my Author (or FB) page at (link provided).

You might be surprised to receive a Tweet in response, thanking you for Liking...but ignoring your own request.

What to do? You might send a followup, stating that you were pleased to do it...but that you've noted that s/he hasn't reciprocated. Why not? You made what you regarded as an honest deal and don't want to jump to conclusions.

When hours pass and you've still gotten no response, it's not looking good. Why not check the Tweeter's FB page and see what you see? What if you see a dramatic increase in the number of Likes since the first Tweet?
'
You could do worse than conclude that many others were approached with the same offer. You have three courses of action:
1) Let it slide and shake your head at such childish shenanigans.
2) Withdraw your Like and say nothing.
3) Withdraw your Like and send a DM stating that you've done so.

I opt for the third door--with the caveat of keeping the note civil.  And you?