Friday, April 29, 2016

Back it Up

Time for a public service announcement...

Last night, I saw a most tragic and extremely feared thing had happened to a writer acquaintance of mine.  Her computer died.  And she lost a months' worth of work.  A months' worth.


I freak when the power goes out and I lose five minutes worth (my autosave is set at five minutes).  Back in the Great Computer Crash of 2006, I lost months worth of pictures.  Including all my cat's baby pictures.  :sniffle:  But I didn't lose any work.  Back in 2004, I wrote a most awesome scene in my first book, turned the computer off and went to sleep.  The next night when I opened the file, the scene was gone.  I freaked.  Lucky for me, I'd opened an older file when I wrote it so it was saved - just not in the right spot - so I recovered that.

Point is... I cannot imagine losing all that ever again.  Those experiences made me twitchy.  Every night I work, I email myself a copy of the manuscript I worked on.  If I do a bunch of work early in the day, I email that before I walk away to do other things and then email it again if I work on it at night, too.  Hell, I've emailed myself 3-4 times in one day.  I email myself using my gmail account, so the copy is offsite should my harddrive fry like it did in 2006.  The other stuff I back up to a USB drive.

And I back up my pics way more often than I used to.  (Not as often as I should, but still...) 

Plus, I keep another USB drive in our safety deposit box. The USB drive has EVERYTHING, so in the event of a fire or a tornado where the house is wiped out, my data is still safe. (I really need to swap the one at home for the one in the box and do another backup.) 

The point is, you should really have one way to backup your computer to something other than you computer.  And you really should have another way to backup your computer offsite.  And if you can combine the two for daily use - like emailing your files or some cloud type thingy.

Maybe you think I'm paranoid.  I probably am.  Still, the thought of losing data scares the crap out of me.  I hate being scared.  One way to get rid of that particular fear is to back shit up.

When was your last backup? 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

RELEASE DAY!! The Hitwoman and the Mother Load

It's here!

Book 14 in the Neurotic Hitwoman series.

You think you've got problems? Don't talk to Maggie Lee about problems. 

Her mother's escaped from the loony bin, and rumor has it she's robbing people for ice cream money. 

A mob boss is insisting she liberate his daughter from a mental hospital that Maggie's pretty sure she belongs in. 

And people keep trying to kill her. 

While Maggie deals with all that, she must also contend with her dysfunctional family; the challenges of parenting her orphaned niece; a handsome, but dangerously curious reporter; a hot manny who lives under her roof and gets under her skin; a smooth and sexy con man; and a certain murder mentor/cop redhead. And, honestly, it's getting too much to bear. Good thing she has her talking animals to confide in. 

But with everything that's going on, can the intrepid, yet inept, hitwoman figure out how to keep everyone she loves safe without ending up in jail or killed? 

Or will she just take up residence in a rubber room herself? Truth be told, she could use the break. 




Monday, April 25, 2016

An Ode To Spring. Or Not.

I'm kidding. I have no idea how to write an ode. But if I did it would be to spring. Or Lowe's. We spend a lot of time there this time of year so I'd know what I was talking about although I wouldn't say I was passionate about home improvement stores. Also odes can run very long and I don't have that kind of time.  Nor do I have rhythm. Or any kind of rhyming ability. 

But spring it is and I'm eternally grateful. 

The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death was April 23rd.

I saw Romeo and Juliet last week. Done by our local theatre. I confess it's not my favourite. I much prefer his comedies. Which is a bit of an overstatement, I should say if it must be Shakespeare, I prefer it be one of his comedies. 

Otherwise, I confess to having taken a bit of a break from my work-in-progress. Which is a good thing. It needed to percolate for a bit. I've spent some time filling the creative well. Now it's time to get back at it. 

Favourite Ways To Fill My Creative Well

  1. Watching Live Theatre
  2. Walking
  3. Being On A Great Reading Run
  4. Talking Craft At Writing Group Meeting
  5. Working On A Different Project

What's your favourite way to stay inspired?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Turkeys... Chillin'

They look like they have the right idea.

Some days I think we should all be like these two turkey hens and just chill out.  Soak up some warm rays of the sun and not worry too much or get our feathers ruffled. 

What about you?  You chillin'?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


I'm still tweaking the blurb for THE HITWOMAN AND THE MOTHER LOAD but I thought I'd share the cover.

If you're not caught up with the Neurotic Hitwoman series, all the books can be found HERE

If you are caught up with the series, you might be interested to know that some characters from earlier books show up in this one.

Make sure you're following me on FACEBOOK to find out when the book becomes available.

Speaking of Facebook, check out COZY WITH A TWIST a new group consisting of myself along with authors Gina LaManna and Colleen Helme. We're going to have games, giveaways and a lot of fun!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Six Word Stories

Legend goes in the 1920’s someone bet Ernest Hemingway ten bucks he couldn’t write a story in six words. He came up with:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

He won the bet. He even went so far as to declare his six-word story his best work. That’s saying something since he went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for The Old Man and the Sea followed by the Noble Prize for Literature in 1954. Wikipedia states “Hemingway's distinctive writing style is characterized by economy and understatement, and had a significant influence on the development of twentieth-century fiction writing.” 

I’m no Hemingway expert, I’ve only read the one short story, but even I get the point. Less can be more. No unnecessary backstory. No convoluted, lengthy explanations. Zero research. Only possibilities.

Here’s an example of a six-word story by Margaret Attwood, our Canadian goddess of the written word.

Longed for him. Got him. Shit.

There are short stories known for their extreme brevity (1000 words or less). They contain the usual: a protagonist, conflict, complications and an outcome, some of which are hinted at or implied. Nanofiction involve at least one character and a plot and are exactly fifty-five words in length. Drabble – one hundred words. Who knew? 

Have you ever tried your hand at flash fiction or postcard fiction? Do you want to have some fun today? Give the six-word story a try and post your efforts in the comments.

Friday, April 15, 2016

I rode my bike! (and how that relates to writing)

Big thanks to B.E. for covering my Wednesday slot for me!!

I rode my bike this week!!!!!

Okay, I know you're thinking, "Big whoopdeedoo, Jen" but for me it was a big deal since it was the first time I'd been able to since my knee surgery last summer.

I love riding my bike. I hadn't had one for twenty years or so and when I got one again it was a purely logical decision. I needed exercise and a bike would allow me to do that without pounding on my poor knees and feet.

I'd forgotten how much simple joy can be found in taking a ride around the block.

Every time I climb on my bike, I get to channel my younger self.

I revel in the wind against my face and the sensation of freedom the ride offers.

(That's not me. I'm pretty sure they didn't even have helmets when I was a kid.)

I do so love to throw my hands out and mentally yell, "Look, Ma, no hands!"

I'm also big on singing the Miss Gulch song from the Wizard of Oz when I'm pedaling hard.

I'm sharing all this because as I was riding my bike this week (hands on the handle bars) feeling some of that youthful joy, I realized that I'm missing that feeling of fun in my writing.

Writing is work.
Work is ________.

How would you fill in the blank?

Work is hard?
Work is necessary?
Work is drudgery?
Work is not fun?

But it used to be. No one ever starts writing thinking those things.

We think:

 writing is exhilarating
writing is an adventure
writing is cool
writing is fun

Somewhere along the way, with deadlines and edits and all the "work" that comes along with writing and publishing a book, we (okay I) can lose sight of what a marvelous journey we get to take with our craft.

I'm making an effort to remember/rediscover/celebrate the joy of writing. I'd appreciate any tips you might have to share.

Mine is to go for a bike ride.