A Week Without My Laptop

IMG_0845

Last week my laptop went down. A major hardware problem made it malfunction. I still had Apple Care protection so I called in and then sent my laptop off to the Apple Engineers.

It completely derailed my week. Because despite having backups to Time Machine and a flash drive full of pertinent files and an email with my top ten files, I no longer had a computer to work on them.

After I talked to Apple Support and got the worst case scenario–2 weeks without my laptop,  I cried like my boyfriend of five years just broke up with me. A violent emotional reaction over a computer. A tiny part of my mind knew I was overreacting, but the hysterical sobbing and frustration had to run its course.

This was such bad timing. I am on tight schedule with TGWIG and Six Train’s sequel. And I could potentially be without a computer for 2 weeks. Panic. Sheer panic. And loss. Such loss. I can’t lose two work weeks.

Next began a series of trouble shooting techniques. Most of which only led to more trouble.

I tried firing up the old Mac from 2007. It still worked, but the battery had swelled up and was unusable. So I was left solely with a/c power and a fickle cord that easily slipped out.

For email and social media, I relied on my iPad. It’s nowhere near as easy to navigate as my laptop, but it was a decent filler.

My entire work week ground to a halt. I was supposed to be creating the series bible for The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts. But I didn’t have Scrivener on my old laptop and it’s OS wasn’t compatible with Scrivener.

And then the worst thing happened. I couldn’t figure out which draft of Six Train’s sequel was the most recent one. I had a printed version that was 451 pages and an electronic one that was 378 pages. I felt like I was going to lose my mind.

I spent hours trying to figure it out. And I couldn’t. That was weeks of work potentially gone. My mind was at its breaking point.

I never realized that my Mac wasn’t just a computer. It was my ally. My business partner. And my daily companion at work. Without it, I was lost. Fumbling through the day. Barely productive.

Luckily, Apple was able to turn around the laptop in a flash. I called in on Monday, got the Fed Ex box on Wednesday, shipped it back Wednesday afternoon, they got it Thursday morning and shipped it back Thursday before midnight. I woke up Friday to an email that my laptop was coming home around 10:30 am.

I spent most of Friday moving Time Machine to the laptop and getting everything back up and running again. I’m so happy to have my old friend back.

And I’m thinking about getting some repairs done to my old Mac. A new battery. Some memory upgrades. So that it can be a backup if this ever happens again.

Have you ever had a complete tech meltdown? What did you do?

Posted in Personal | Tagged , , , , , , | 25 Comments

The Beauty of Choice

boaw-logo-2015-original

A few years back, I got to know this amazing blogger, August McLaughlin. She started out as a blogging mentor and quickly became a friend. I am honored to be participating in her Beauty of a Woman Blogfest for the third year in a row!

For me, the beauty of a woman isn’t in trying to meet some ideal size or lose a certain number of inches.

It’s about making choices. Deciding who you want to be and becoming that person.

Making decisions that are right for you.

I’ve always done well in this realm in the academic and the career, but never with my body.  Or at least only in spurts.

The last few years, I felt like I was stuck inside this body that I had no control over it.

I accepted that this was just how it was and I gave up.

Then I saw someone older, who was struggling with far worse chronic conditions, and he looked and felt amazing.

And that’s when I realized I had choices.

Difficult decisions I could make.

The ability to change course was mine, if I took it.

So I did.

For me, it’s been about focusing on becoming stronger. Exercising more. Slowly and gradually increasing my workout time each week.

 Choosing to make better decisions about where to allocate my time & choosing to get up from my desk and move more.

Little choices that add up.

With food, it’s been about speaking up and speaking out. At restaurants, I focus on meals that are better for my eating regimen. I ask them to make substitutions or not put things on my plate.

I take charge of my eating.

I say no to dessert.

Then I go home and have some fruit.

It’s a daily struggle to make good, healthy decisions, but it makes me feel stronger and healthier.

Most importantly, I am an active participant in my health. I make choices. I don’t sit on the sidelines and accept things as they are. I change things.

If something doesn’t work for me, I speak up.

And to me that’s what makes a woman beautiful.

When she takes charge of her life and charts her own course.

Whether it be with her health, her career, her social life, or her family.

A beautiful woman knows how to set boundaries, embraces no, and learns when to say yes to the opportunities in her life.

To see more inspiring posts, please visit: Beauty of a Woman Blogfest 2015

Posted in beauty, Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Do You Like Who You’ve Become?

A couple months back, I was listening to Bastille’s song “Weight of Living Part 2″, and the lyrics echoed inside my mind.

Do you like the person you’ve become?

It made me stop and reevaluate where I was and who I was. At the time my answer was no.

So I tinkered with my lifestyle.

I don’t like feeling sluggish and off. Being constantly bloated and swollen. Those are all side effects of not controlling my blood sugar issues.

I finally re-committed to a healthier eating regimen. The one that multiple doctors have told me is tailored to deal with my insulin resistance. The one where I feel stronger and more energetic. The one where the side effects of the insulin resistance fade away. The one that works when I’m diligent.

I also increased my workouts from 60 to 80 minutes a day. More time devoted to strengthening my body. Building muscle also helps with the insulin resistance.

I hate that I have this chronic condition that I have to deal with. I hate that I can’t eat whatever I want without major consequences. I hate that I’ve had this since I was 22. I hate that I’ve had it under control and then let it spiral back out of control.

Because when I manage it, I manage it really well. But like any chronic condition, it’s exhausting to be on top of it all the time.

People don’t make it easier either. Especially at parties or group dinners. They say, “Oh one cheat day won’t hurt. Or come on just try it. Or I don’t know how you do that, it’s so restrictive. Or that can’t be healthy.”

But the thing is, when you have insulin problems, everything you eat matters. Every cheat moment counts. And it sets off a horrible reaction within your body. Once I splurge, I can’t unsplurge. I am a sugar addict. If my body gets a hit, I crave it and I need more and more to deliver the same level of satisfaction.

I don’t want to be that person anymore. The one who feels out of control in her own body. So I’m going to become the person I want to be. The person I need to be in order to be healthy.

And I like my days so much better now. There is no guilt. Because I know I am being good to myself. There is no frustration because I can fit my clothes again and I don’t have to lie that everything is shrinking.

Most importantly, I can say I like who I’ve become.

Do you like who you’ve become? Is there something that you’d like to work on?

Posted in Personal | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts Finds a New Publisher!

IMG_5750

So after everything that happened last year, The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts has a new publisher! It’s a small press called Beckett Publishing Group.

They will be publishing The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts in August 2015!

It’s the first manuscript I ever wrote and I started working on it back in 2006. After years or workshopping and revising, it sold to Harlequin in 2013. But in 2014, Harlequin shut down the imprint that was publishing my novel and the rights reverted back to me.

At the time, it felt like my entire world was imploding. Luckily, I have some amazing author buddies and blog friends who reached out and and supported me. My parents and my friends were also there to cheer me up. They all kept me going when giving up would have been the logical thing to do.

And now, I have a new publisher! Sometimes you just have to stay in the game no matter how unlikely it feels that things will turn around. Because that’s usually five minutes before they do.

I’ve been hard at work on line edits. Despite the editorial revisions I already completed with Harlequin, we had massive work to do to get the book through line edits. I think I’ve read this book more than any other book I’ve worked on. We’re wrapping up the copyediting phase now.

Stay tuned for updates on the back cover summary and the cover reveal. I’ll also have a limited number of ARCs to give away in May!

***

In Six Train news, The Chocolate Expo went well! I sold 21 books in 4 hours and had two online purchases from the event. Met a ton of cool people and handed out lots of bookmarks so it was a very successful event!

IMG_9214

***

IMG_9226 IMG_9227

In other news, we have been bombarded with snow in CT. The goldens still want to play ball. The new game is find the ball in the snow pile. We have piles that are easily 5-6 feet high. And this week we are bracing for major snow again. Because of the chronic below freezing temperatures, our driveway is a skating rink.

***

I signed up for the NESCBWI Spring Conference. Super excited to spend a weekend with children’s book authors. The panels look amazing!

****

I am also in my last week of this teaching term. I taught basic keyboarding and business writing skills. It’s been challenging and exciting. I’ve gotten invested in my students and I really want to see them do well. Class prep and correcting tests and quizzes has taken up a good chunk of time, but hopefully I’ll get some of the same courses next term so that I’ll have the materials ready to go.

Posted in author appearance, Conferences, Personal, publishing, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Five Years of Blogging

IMG_8686

Okay not a 5th blog birthday cake, but you get the gist.

February is my fifth February blogging and my blog’s fifth birthday.

So I thought we’d look back at a post from each February of my blog’s life.

 February 2010:

Character Birthing

My first ever post to this blog–before I knew how to insert links or images. I was living on Wall Street and writing part time back then.

 February 2011:

I <3 Venezia

 I was on a daily posting schedule during my trip to Italy. Pictures in posts weren’t happening because I didn’t have the ability to move them from my camera to my iPad.

February 2012:

The Things My Grandma Says

I’ve shifted to a five day a week blogging schedule. Hanging out lots with Grandma H and capturing the hilarity that is her.

February 2013:

Just Breathe

I’m posting a few times a week now. Gearing up for my debut novel’s launch.

February 2014:

Last Week’s Events and Such

Posting a couple times a week and I’m doing author events–talks, workshops and signings!

February 2015:

Weekly posts now.  And that would be today’s post. :)

Posted in blogging, Personal, Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Chocolate Expo, Sesquicentennial Planning, and an Killer Nashville Profile

IMG_8738

On February 1st, the Chocolate Lovers’ Spring Expo is happening. It’s a really amazing event to benefit Easter Seals. For $25, you can walk around and sample chocolates and desserts from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There will also be vendors selling Valentine’s Day related gifts.

I will be there selling signed copies of my award-winning novel, The Six Train to Wisconsin, and original photography from the novel. Because chocolate, wine and a great love story go so well together on Valentine’s Day.

It’s at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 1284 Strongtown Road in Southbury, CT.

Hope to make some sales and support a great cause.

***

Campus photos courtesy of: http://chasecollegiate.smugmug.com/Campus-Pictures/

I attended a planning meeting for my prep school’s sesquicentennial. It’s been a part of the Waterbury, CT landscape for 150 years. The school’s name has changed from St. Margaret’s School and McTernan School (separate schools for girls and boys) to St. Margaret’s McTernan (which I attended) and is now Chase Collegiate.

The alumni at the meeting were amazing to meet. All really focused on making this event an unforgettable celebration. I ended up sitting with alumni from the McTernan School and St. Margaret’s School. They immediately made me feel at home.

Since I moved back to CT, I’ve gone back to campus a few times for events and every time I’m there, I almost expect to run into the ghost of me at 17. It’s been 20 years since I graduated and I can’t believe how wonderful it is to go back and see that some things stand the test of time.

I’ve been helping out with the alumni author program at the school and plan to help out with the sesquicentennial too.

***

Killer Nashville is my all time favorite conference and the only one I have attended twice and plan to be at again this year. It’s a mystery/thriller/suspense regional conference that is held from October 29-November 1 in Nashville.

It has everything you could possibly want in a conference–pitch sessions, manuscript & query critiques, writing workshops, forensic workshops, awards, a murder scene for you to hone your detecting skills, and the friendliest people ever.

They reached out to me to do an attending author profile for their newsletter!  Here’s a screenshot of the profile!

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 9.35.10 AM

Posted in author appearance, Conferences, Personal, Promotion | Tagged , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Awesome Reads From 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve posted book reviews. Here are two great reads from the fall of 2014.

DH

One of the best cross-genre books I’ve ever read! Mr. Holm melds noir and urban fantasy perfectly. I love how Samuel’s backstory unfolds in flashbacks to his human life in the 1940s. It had the effect of creating two different mysteries–one unfolding in the past and one in the present. Mr. Holm did an amazing job weaving them together and bringing everything to a climatic and satisfying ending.

Samuel was an awesome protagonist and I will definitely be checking out the next book in the series. This is a unique take on the heaven vs. hell concept. The world building was intriguing and kept me wanting to know more the entire book. Mr. Holm has an engaging, fast paced writing style that ensnares the reader.

He does an amazing job capturing the sights and smells of the city from Chinatown to Grand Central. Terrific work making the setting a living, breathing part of the story.

The non stop action and constant peril kept me turning pages into the wee hours of the morning. Great work, Mr. Holm!

You can get the ebook, paperback, or audiobook here: http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Harvest-Collector-Chris-Holm/dp/085766218X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421593133&sr=8-1&keywords=chris+holm

catfish-had-nine-lives

In If Catfish Had Nine Lives, Paige Shelton bring us back to the charmingly western town of Broken Rope, Missouri, for a Cowboy Poetry extravaganza. Yes, cowboys singing and reciting poetry by the campfire. And taking outdoor cooking lessons from Grams and Betts. What an adventure!

The campgrounds were the perfect place for mystery and mayhem. I love watching Betts, Grams, and Jake navigate between the ghosts and humans. Grams is so quick on her feet. The cooking aspect was truly original and one I wasn’t familiar with–outdoor dutch oven cooking. Fascinating stuff. The murder mystery was first rate. I had some ideas about who it could be, but I didn’t know for sure up until the very end.

I love the evolving ghost subplot too. The rules of their world aren’t as fixed as we thought and Jerome is back again to save Betts. Shelton does an amazing job weaving the ghost mystery from the past with the present day murder of an actor at a re-enactment. Definite jaw dropping moment was the reveal of who the ghost Joe really was. Keep ‘em coming Ms. Shelton!

You can get the ebook, audiobook, and paperback here: http://www.amazon.com/Catfish-Country-Cooking-School-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00I3N5QKU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401316956&sr=8-1&keywords=if+catfish+had+nine+lives

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , , , , , | 34 Comments

Thanks for Making 2014 Bloggarific!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 28,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thanks for making 2014 a great year for my blog! Big thank you to all my commenters and readers. You are a wonderful group of people and I’m so lucky to have you.

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments