Week of the Annoying Dead (Classes, Computers, and Clenched Teeth): A Writer’s Apology

Okay. So it’s been a while since I last posted. And I’m rather upset about this as I really do try to maintain a weekly blog…a blog that you, as my friends and readers, can always depend on to have something fresh and new. But, I hope that you know that sometimes, life just happens. Or, in the my case (as far as the past couple of weeks are concerned anyway), death happens.
Oh, before you start freaking out and offering your condolences, let me explain. No one in my life…well, at least no one I have a relationship with or care about anyway…has died. The reason I entitled this week’s post “Week of the Living Dead” is because that’s been the biggest theme in my life for the past two weeks or so. You see, on January 7, I flew out to St. Louis, MO for a special class on forensic death investigations (for those who don’t know, I work as a forensic death investigator for my day job). Anyway, when I get there, I check into my hotel room, turn on my computer and after about thirty minutes of work, my computer just…well, dies. Total flatline. Dead as a doornail (though I’ve often wondered how dead a doornail can possibly be).
This was one depressing event for me, let me tell you. First of all, I knew this death investigator class was going to be intense. For five days straight, we were going to be meeting at the SLU from 7:30 AM until 5:30 PM…talking nothing but death. Oh, sure…I knew we’d talk about some really cool aspects of the stuff…identification of injuries such as gunshot wounds, lacerations, incised wounds, etc; blood spatter interpretation; and even (my favorite) insects and their effectiveness in an investigation. Cool stuff, right? Well, I also knew that once class was over, I’d have tons of free time. My plan was to write. I was going to write a lot. I was going to finish my current work in progress: The Djinn. I was going to start work on my serialized novel entitled The Kringle Chronicles. And I was hoping to even finish (if I had time) the third ENIGMA Directive book.
But there I was…on the first day of my trip and no computer at all to write with. Even worse, I had publisher duties to deal with too. Seven Realms Publishing was currently working on the release of Sean Ellis’ newest THE ADVENTURES OF DODGE DALTON ON THE HIGH ROAD TO OBLIVION. (Check out the links below to get your copies of his awesome addition to the Dodge Dalton series). Fortunately, I had already sent the files to the printers…but there was no way I’d be able to get the ebook done in time for the print version’s release (or so I thought at the time).
To make matters worse, I was stuck. There was nothing I could do to “resurrect” my deceased computer. I had no idea if my harddrive was wiped. Had no idea if all the files (including my works in progress) were gone for good. Had no way of knowing if all was doomed. Um, yeah…I was a nervous wreck for the next five days.
Unfortunately, getting home didn’t help. None of tricks I use when I have computer problems worked. My laptop (an amazing little piece of equipment that had served me very well for more than four years…Acer Aspire. I’m a life long fan because of how awesome it was.), was gone. Dead. The good news was that I’d backed up the harddrive on an external drive about the end of November, so I knew all was not lost. But the good news was not without its own problems. I had written a LOT in December. I had almost finished with the Djinn. And unfortunately, everything that I had written during the Yultide month is gone forever. But still, it was an acceptable loss considering how bad it could have been.
I was still at a loss on what to do. I still had a publishing company to run. I still had books to write. And I still had no computer. Frustrating to be sure. It was even more maddening because my friend, artist Christian Guldager, had sent me the brand new cover art for the re-release of my book PRIMAL THIRST (oh yeah, that’s right…I’ll be re-releasing PRIMAL THIRST with a brand new cover (in both print and ebook formats) and SIRENS’ SONG will soon join it) and there was nothing I could do. It was just a picture. It wasn’t a cover until I designed the layout and provided the typeface. I wanted to show that cover off so bad…but I was completely powerless.
So many things going on in my life as a writer and a publisher…and without a computer, I was unable to share any of them. I couldn’t tell you guys about the re-release of The ENIGMA Directive. I couldn’t tell you about the new release of Dodge Dalton. I couldn’t share with you about upcoming releases like Rick Nichols’ next John Logan thriller entitled THE SHELTERING TREE (due out around March). Even more frustrating…I couldn’t update you guys on our recent audiobooks that were just released (or the ones currently in publication).
That’s right! We (Seven Realms Publishing) currently have two books already available as audiobooks on both www.audible.com and www.amazon.com. THE ADVENTURES OF DODGE DALTON IN THE SHADOW OF FALCON’S WINGS by Sean Ellis (and narrated by the extremely talented Jesse Keim) and my own THE CURSE OF ONE-EYED JACK, narrated by the lovely and talented Katherine Taylor (she does a fine job with those Appalachian accents!). And by the way, I just heard the first fiften minutes of PRIMAL THIRST, narrated by Second City actor Kiff Vandenheuval…and all I have to say about that is…WOW!!! Even if you’ve read the book, you’re going to want to download the PRIMAL THIRST audiobook. It’s like a whole other experience…sound effects, music, and Kiff captures the voices of Jack and the gang like you wouldn’t believe. I’m hoping to offer a sneak peek of the audiobook soon (once I figure out how to imbed it on blogger anyway).
But yeah…the dead have REALLY been getting on my nerves lately. A class about dead people that took so much of my time and which led to the death of my own a computer. A dead computer that caused me to irretrievably lose valuable data (i.e. dead data), as well as hindered me from proceeding with my writing or publishing…and by the way, plum near gave me a nervous breakdown (I’m usually very even keeled…don’t get frusrated or anxious easily…so you know things must have been tough for me to feel the way I did.). To be honest, I was beginning to get the feeling that the Dead were out to get me. I semi-started looking over my shoulder, half-expecting to see some shambling ghoul with a silly straw making a beeline for my brains. But fortunately, things have sort of fallen back into order. A new computer purchased. Sofware re-installed. I’m back in business finally.
So then, what’s this whole blog post about? (I mean other than attempting to be a clever means of shameless self-promotion). Well, it’s two-fold really. The first purpose of today’s post is simply to apologize. I’m truly sorry it’s been as long as it has since my last post and that I haven’t been as regular about it as I should be. In the last month or two, this blog has increased in numbers like you wouldn’t believe. At the beginning of January, we’d achieved over 15,000 pageviews in it’s life time. That’s amazing to me…especially when you consider the fact that, as of about September 2011, we’d only had about 6,000 pageviews. Our pageviews have more than doubled in the last three months!! And honestly, I want to honor you guys for that by providing quality interviews, author features, etc. for you to read on a regular basis. So I am truly sorry for missing the self-imposed deadlines I’ve given myself for this blog.
Which leads me to the second reason I’m posting today…a promise. I’m making a promise to you right now. I will do better in the future. If you continue checking my page out and sharing the link on your social site of choice or telling your friends about it…I promise to be more regular. I promise to provide some of the best interviews with the coolest authors and celebrities around. I’ve already got three or four fantastic interviews lined up (including another interview with Destination Truth’s Erin Ryder!). So for now, just bear with me. Be patient. Continue spreading the word about me (I’m hoping to have 30,000 page views by April). And I’ll strive to entertain you and introduce you to the best books, authors, and celebrities imaginable.

2 thoughts on “Week of the Annoying Dead (Classes, Computers, and Clenched Teeth): A Writer’s Apology”

  1. Glad to have you back among the living.

    As a former St. Louisian (now a fellow Floridian) you have my sympathies for having to endure the Midwest in January; though better this one than some. An ex-employer would invariably drag me to HQ in Detroit in either January or February. Brrr …

    Thanks for raising the warning flag on being sure to back-up one's files the same way they vote in Chicago … early and often. Sorry that you had to lose some files in the process.

    But since you had to replace the computer and reload software, I wonder …

    Did you return to the Acer Aspire or look elsewhere and was the ultimate choice based on being a writer, publisher, or something else entirely?

    Which, of course, leads us to software: are you a basic WORD guy or do you use specific writing software? Any other software tools that are part of your writing process, music, productivity, etc.?

    As one who was just recently introduced to the world of Seven Realms and your blog (you can thank the guys at ThrillerCast), I am looking forward to the new releases and am very intrigued by the audio books as I might actually get my wife to sample your wares this way.

    Anyway … glad to see a new blog and look forward to reading more.

  2. Yes, I did stick with Acer (and an Aspire to boot). It was just a great machine…especially for the price. I know it's not as fancy as a Macbook or something more “professional”, but for the price…it was a fantastic machine. And I have no doubt that this new one (granted, it's a much more advanced machine than my original one…plus 17″ monitor as opposed to 13.5″) will be equally as dependable.

    As for your other questions…yes, I do prefer MS Word to other writing software. And I'm a huge fan of Photoshop for covers. As for other little tools…um, not really. I'm pretty basic. Though I do have a geat little MS Word add-on called “Book Wizard” that helps me to easily create book interiors when it's time to print.

    As for music…I know a lot of authors who listen to music, but I need complete silence when I'm writing. I don't know why, but I can get distracted rather easily…possibly start day dreaming (the blessing/curse of a writer) and never get the book written. So, I try to avoid any sensory stimuli at all if I can help it.

    And thanks for your great comments. I hope that you (and eventually your wife) will be entertained by 7R books for years to come, too! 🙂 Thanks for your support. I honestly can't thank you enough.

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