Sunday, March 28, 2010

THE DREADED COMPUTER CURSE

I’d like to welcome back to Over Coffee, Christie Kelley. Christie writes delectable Historicals which one tends to become immersed in and not want to see end. She also has a new book, Something Scandalous, due out in April.

Christie is also part of the fun, slightly wicked ladies of Romance Bandits. I love these women because they’re wonderful writers and bring laughter and fun where ever they are.




Raised as the youngest daughter of the Duke of Kendal, Elizabeth learns a devastating truth on his deathbed: he wasn’t her father at all. And because the Duke had no sons, his title and fortune must go to his only male heir: a distant cousin who left England for America long ago. Anticipating the man’s imminent occupation of her home, Elizabeth anxiously searches for her mother’s diary, and the secret of her paternity…

Arriving in London with his seven siblings, William Atherton intends to sell everything and return to his beloved Virginia farm, and his fiancée, as quickly as possible. But as Elizabeth shows William an England he never knew, and graciously introduces his siblings to London society, it becomes clear the two are meant for each other. Soon, Elizabeth finds herself determined to seduce the man who can save not only her family name, but her heart…


Excerpt: Chapter One




  • Christie’s topic today is the dreaded computer curse. An absolute anathema to a working writer.




I’m writing this blog in my twelve-year-old’s bedroom as I sip my afternoon tea. I’m not here because I think his room is really cool with the ladder up to his fort over the closet. And it’s not because I don’t have an office. I have an office. Actually, I love my office with its cantaloupe-colored walls, six windows and a door! I think an office is one of the most important items for a writer.

So why am I not in my beautiful office?

It’s because at the beginning of the month, I seem to have become a toxic curse to laptops.

The motherboard on my old Dell decided it was done. Luckily, I was able to get everything off it and onto my flash drives before it stopped working. I really shouldn’t complain, I bought the laptop almost four years ago. Then I put it through the worst thing imaginable for any PC: remodeling. In between the constant dust and having it turned for twelve hours a day, seven days a week, I think almost four years is a pretty good run.

I then turned to my husband’s really old Toshiba laptop. This thing is still running Word 2000. But it worked. At least for a few days. It was so darned slow that it drove me nuts. I knew I had to order a new laptop, so I finally placed my order and decided not to go with a quick delivery option from Dell. I really wanted a laptop that wasn’t black. Tell me, how can a romance writer resist a laptop color called Passion Purple?? I know I couldn’t.

So, I placed my order, and I swear the very next day, the old Toshiba started to make a very strange sound. I should say, a stranger sound because it had the noisiest fan I’d ever heard. At least it did until the fan started to go. Not wanting to completely kill my husband’s spare laptop and the one that has his iTunes music on it, I decided to move on to the next mostly unused PC in the house.

What’s the worst part of being on my son’s PC? It’s not the somewhat funky smell that I can’t identify in his room. It’s not the fact that I have to pop in a flash drive to write something and save it. It’s not the fact that being in my son’s room is not conducive to writing love scenes. (Well, that might be one reason)

But I can’t update my iPod!

Seriously, I need a few new songs. I’m stuck waiting for Dell to deliver my new Passion Purple laptop.

A computer is a writer’s necessity. I couldn’t imagine trying to write a 400 page novel on a typewriter. It would take me years just to write one book with all the typos I make. But it can also be a writer’s nightmare. Just the other night I met with my critique partners and one of the ladies had her laptop with her. Right in the middle of critique, her screen went dead. Did she have her stuff backed up? No.

I bought a flashdrive and was given one from speaking at my local writers’ group. They are the best thing I have ever had. Pop one in and save everything you’ve been working on. So for all the writers reading this, if you don’t have a flashdrive or some other method of backing up your work, they’re cheap and easy to use.

Remember! Back up your files because you never know when the computer curse will strike!





  • What would you miss the most if you couldn’t access your PC?

~*~*~*~*~


Christie Kelley was born and raised in upstate New York. After seventeen years working for financial institutions in software development, she started writing her first book. She currently writes regency historicals for Zebra. Christie now lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons.




BLOG: Romance Bandits

26 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

Christie, welcome to Over Coffee. Plenty of coffee and homemade goodies to tempt your palate.

So, do you have your new computer now? Or are you still waiting?

Tonya Kappes said...

Purple passion! Now that's something to write love scenes on! It's going to be well worth the wait. Good luck!!!

Elle J Rossi said...

Christie,

I'm with you. Other than missing my MS, I think I'd miss iTunes the most. Music inspires me and I listen to it everyday when I write.

Hope Purple Passion is all it should be!

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Sia, I'm sipping my first cup of coffee of the day but will have to pass on the goodies. I'm on the lose weight before a cruise in July and before Nationals.

Thanks again for having me today!

I am writing this on my Passion Purple laptop. I love it so far. It's running Windows 7 which is a little different from my old XP version. But I'm slowly getting used to it.

Christie Kelley said...

Tonya, I'm on revisions for my work in progress and copy edits for Scandal of the Season so I haven't tried out a love scene on it yet. It has a very bright HD screen and I might have to turn it down when I'm writing a love scene. There's always the chance one of my boys will walk in on me!

Christie Kelley said...

Elle, I had my iTunes working on the second day. I spent the first day getting all my work stuff back on it and all the software loaded that didn't come with it.

Have a great day!

Mason Canyon said...

Once upon a time you couldn't have pried my fingers from the keyboard of my typewriter. I didn't want a computer, had no use for them. Now, well don't touch my keys. :) I listen some to music on my computer, but I find I'm listening more to old TV shows on Hulu. Crazy I know.

Hope the new computer works great for you. The book sounds great, very intriguing plot. I've added it to my wish list.

Thanks Sia for introducing me to a new author.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Mason,

I never liked typing on a typewriter! I hated writing term papers in high school on my mom's old IBM selectric. Hmm, maybe that is why my major in college was business and computer science!

I do love listening to music on my PC, but not while I'm writing. I need quiet for that or maybe some very low classical music.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Good morning Christie. I forgot to mention that I have fresh fruits there too. The straberries are really good. Why yes, I am munching on them as we speak.

I had no access to my computer this past year. I missed my music, yes, and I really missed my writing group. I do have my MSs all backed up on flash drives. I learned that when my old gateway, which preceeded my fab Dell, started going. I also have a external hard drive that can hook up to my main PC and my laptop.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Sia, external hard drives are great too. My oldest son and my husband both have them but they have huge files on their PCs. I really don't have that much so two flash drives work out perfectly.

I might just take you up on those strawberries!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Christie, popping over from Romance Bandits to wave madly. Great topic!

The loss of a computer is a writer's bane; that's for sure. I believe I could lose anything except my writing. Which I've actually done before when I dropped my laptop on my hard kitchen floor. I know! Such a kutzy thing to do.

Christie Kelley said...

Oh, Jo! That sounds like something I would do. After my hard drive crashed two years ago, I've been much better about saving off my files. Thanks for popping over!

Donna MacMeans said...

Christie - LOL I've been having the same trouble here! I have a desk top computer that has difficulty with the internet & email, so it's use is limited. It's in my accounting office which isn't conducive for writing. The PC laptop that I do use for writing is old and missing the delete key. I also run it 24/7 and I'm afraid it will die on me any day now (yes, I do back it up.) A couple of weeks ago the AC adapter died for it and I couldn't use the computer until I ordered a new one. Fortunately, my husband gave me a new laptop for Christmas - but it's a MAC. I love it, but there's compatibility issues between my manuscript written on a PC and the MAC - so I'm still using the PC and rushing to finish the manuscript so I can fully migrate to the MAC.

Love the cover and concept for your new book. Computer woes or not - you're one heck of a wonderful writer.

James Rafferty said...

Hi Christie,

Personal computers are a great addition to the writer's toolkit, but only when they work. I back all of my writing up on flash drives and also use an external hard drive which does a periodic backup. Good luck with your new computer.

James Rafferty

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Donna! Thanks for the lovely words!

A friend of my was scandalized that I bought another PC and not a MAC. It's hard to teach an old dog a new operating system. Good luck with your laptop! I hope it lasts for you.

Christie Kelley said...

Thanks, James! I learned to back my stuff up a few years ago when my hard drive was failing. Thankfully, it was still under warranty at the time. I'm loving the new laptop. The HD screen is incredible.

Olivia Cunning said...

Use Mosy. The free service is big enough for all your manuscripts (though not for pictures and music files) and it automatically backs up to the internet every day. No hassle, no worries of losing your flash drive, or your computer dying and your mosy saved files can be recovered onto any computer. I almost lost years of writing when my Dell crashed and burned with no warning. Never again will I not back up my important files to Mosy.

Sorry if this sounds like an advertisement. I swear, I'm not on the payroll!

Christie Kelley said...

Funny, Olivia. I'm a writer and therefore paranoid so I just don't trust those sites. I have a free year of backups with Dell, too. I won't use it. I know where my flash drives are and who has access to them.

Kat Sheridan said...

Christie, the book looks wonderful! Wishing you great success with it!

And I'm strongly seconding Olivia on using Mozy. I recently crashed one laptop, and thought I had everything on my flash drive as well as updated to the new laptop. I split my time between two houses (in two widely separated states) and left the old laptop in one house and only took the new one to the other house.

To my horror, the new laptop (and my flash drive) only had half the manuscript. I had a total meltdown, until hubs managed to figure out how to access old versions stored at Mozy, and was able to retrieve every single missing item. They'll even hold items you delete for 30 days, in case you need to get them back. It's only like $4.97 a month and the absolute best money I ever spent.

However, as a former IT person (for 26 years), I also backup on a flash drive. Actually, two flash drives. Yes, I'm just that paranoid!

And while I would really have liked something other than a black laptop, it turns out that the black goes beautifully with my zebra-striped chair and cherry red walls. LOL!

Christie Kelley said...

Kat, I have to admit I think a black laptop would go perfectly with the red walls and zebra-striped chair. I used to have red walls in my old office but when we remodeled, I discovered this melon color for my guest bedroom and fell in love with it. Thanks for stopping by!

Janet Mullany said...

Another Mozy-Christie Kelley fan here.

After this warning I'm not letting you anywhere near my 7 year old Mac laptop, Chris! I've got used to having wireless internet access and iTunes and endless sources of amusement and distraction at my fingertips. Needless to say I'm a lot more productive if I don't have internet access.

Christie Kelley said...

LOL, Janet. I won't touch your laptop, I promise. Its a MAC and I wouldn't know what to do!

I'm definitely more productive without internet access too.

~Sia McKye~ said...

I haven't check out mozy yet, altho I have friends who are authors that swear by it.

I have friends also chewing on my neck about the glories of MAC. Like you, I wouldn't know what to do with it. Sure I'd figure it out, but Accck, the time.

Oh definitely more porductive without the internet connection if writing. But, I have a few mindless games I play to facillitate thinking when I have a problem in the MS. But when I'm in a groove, I just ignore the the internet and my mail.

Sue A. said...

Internet access is absolutely crucial for my computer to be of when I go blog hopping and for email access. And of course I have all my ebooks on my Mac too.

Alyson Reuben said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alyson Reuben said...

Um, I blundered somehow! Leave it to me to do something quacky like erase my own message. Sorry about that!

At any rate, I think I'd suffer through some kind of major megabyte withdraw without my beloved PC. Yes, it can be a pain in the butt sometimes when things go wrong, but I love it anyway.

The part where you wrote that you couldn't write love scenes in your son's room made me laugh. I'd feel the exact same way.

Hope things settle back to normal for you soon!

Great blog post, btw!