Tag Archives: Denver Broncos

Bouchercon, the Universe, and Me

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’ve perhaps already heard some of my unbelievable story.

But I wanted to give you a bit of background, as well as document for myself this weird, weird coincidence. I have another wild story about being sued and landing on 20/20 which I also had to document because every time I told it, I thought, “That’s crazy! Must have been a dream.”

At any rate, in the last few months, I kind of lost my writing mojo. Sales on BANANA BAMBOOZLE and MARSHMALLOW MAYHEM had tanked and I couldn’t get any new reviews (C’mon! Three reviews? Not cool.), I was struggling with the writing of my new manuscript, but why bother because sales are bad, my marketing isn’t working, why bother to market, who has time to market because I’m trying to write this ridiculously bad book, I suck, what am I thinking, I should get a real job, or maybe just sit on the couch all day and drink.

You may have heard this conversation in your own head once or twice.

Around this time, I was lucky to get the fantastic opportunity to be on the ground floor of starting a new Sisters in Crime chapter here in Colorado. So I stepped away from the half-finished manuscript completely and did other things instead.

I dove into my new Programming duties for SinC-CO.

Becky Clark 9 4x6 300dpiI shopped for my mother-of-the-bride dress. And watched some football.

I gave myself a pedicure and flossed my teeth.

I got my Lazy Squirrel Purses store on Etsy open for business. (And made my first sale! Squee!) spine

 

Then a month or so ago, I picked up that half-finished manuscript and read it. And it wasn’t completely horrible. My eyes didn’t even bleed. So I started working on it again, and actually began to have some fun.

But as any of you creative types know, once you stare into the abyss of crushing self-doubt like that, you always kind of see it out of the corner of your eye. One false step and you’re whooshed right back in.

Fast forward to yesterday. At about noon, I typed THE END on the first draft of the new manuscript. Yippee!

After a bit of celebratory facebooking and back patting, I went back to my to-do list, one item of which was to sign up for Bouchercon 2016. I got that all squared away, then called the hotel for reservations.

I was on the phone with the Marriott in New Orleans or wherever the reservation place was. Tessa, my lovely representative, was having all kinds of glitchy computer problems so I was on the phone for awhile. We had ample opportunity to chat. She asked what Bouchercon was and I told her it was for readers and writers of mysteries and thrillers and such.

She said, “I love mysteries. I have a lot of favorites. I read something by … what was her name … I’m pretty sure it was Clark, like you. Banana something.”

Heart stopping pause on my end. “Bamboozle?”

“Yes! I loved it. And there’s a Marshmallow one coming out soon. I can’t wait to read it.”

“Um, it’s already out. I wrote both of those.”

We both fan-squealed, although technically, I might have shrieked.

WHAT. ARE. THE. ODDS???

The moral of the story, Best Beloved, is that we don’t have any idea who we touch ”” or when, or how, or even why ”” with our writing. I don’t quite understand the machinations, but yesterday, the Universe decided to let me have a peek behind that curtain.

Tomorrow it might be your turn, so never, ever quit. And always, always stay at the Marriott.

The Zen of Stupidity

Normally I’d waste this space with my self-described hilarious blog antics but I’ve decided to try something different this time. I’m going to waste this space with a hilarious story about my extreme stupidity.

Lest you worry about my self-esteem, rest assured I am intact. Gorged and oozing, in fact, with self-esteem. I shouldn’t be, but there it is. One of life’s many mysteries.

I did something recently that is quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, as long as we agree to overlook the 10th grade perm and the red pleather coat I begged my mother to buy me. (That’s when I learned that despite its delightfully shiny redness, pleather coats consistently fail to keep the Wyoming chill from blowing right through a skinny girl. At least I was smart enough not to complain to my mother who was itching to launch a well-deserved told you so.)

The perm and the coat don’t rise to the top of my Stupidity Scale, though, because I didn’t know any better. But I do know that hard drives crash and one should obsessively back up all computer data.

Duh. I know that. Third graders know that. Heck, even the squirrel on my deck knows that. Why else would he be twitching his tail in that holier-than-thou manner?

Do you see where this is going?

Did I obsessively back up all my files? No. No, I did not. Most of them, but not all of them. I have ”” and use ”” an FTP site … I have a million little USB drives … I email things to myself.

I know better, but I’ve never ”” in the 20+ years I’ve been computing ”” had a computer problem. I became complacent.

Here’s a weird karmic twist to the tale, befitting a BeckyLand story. My husband recently bought me an external hard drive so I could start using Time Machine which automatically backs up stuff every eighteen seconds. If the Broncos would have played at 2:00 instead of 11:00 that fateful Sunday, then I might have dodged a bullet. We would have set it up in the morning instead of waiting until after the game.

Guess when it crashed.

The stages of grief whooshed through my psyche at warp speed, so I was fairly calm by Monday morning. Waiting to talk to the Geniuses at the Apple Store was nerve-racking, until they told me it was hopeless and sent me home with a new computer for free. (Note to self: Apple Care ROCKS!) They even gave me my old hard drive and the name of a local data recovery place, Datatech Labs.

I visited them on Monday to tell them my sad story, one I’m sure they’ve heard a million times. Clearly, these are people who’ve been extensively trained in grief counseling. They spoke softly. They made no sudden movements. They even offered butterscotch candy and hugs …. Wait. I might be thinking of my grandmother. But they were very soothing. Never once did they mock or jeer or snicker behind my back.

My new best friend, Stephan, took my broken and battered hard drive into his softly cupped palms and carried it lovingly to the clean room to check it out. When he came out, he was smiling. “Looks like we can recover all the data.”

But then the bad news. $300 to repair the hard drive enough that they can get the data, then another $1700 to recover it. But only if they recover it. No recovery charge if they can’t get it.

[Despite the cost ”” and my ultimate decision not to pay for the recovery ”” if you ever find yourself in a similar pickle, you’d do well to call Datatech. They come highly recommended and they won’t mock you. They’d probably even give you a hug if you looked like you needed one.]

I’m not really into self-flagellation, but I do think I need to be punished. If you simply throw money at a problem, then you won’t really learn anything, right? That might be how Wall Street works, but we’re better than that, kids.

Realistically, nobody died, the sun keeps coming up every day, and I didn’t lose anything irreplaceable. I am much more fortunate than others. Everything I lost I can recreate, should I accept that challenge. It will be time-consuming, but not impossible. Some of the stuff I’ll probably never need again. As I tried to list everything I knew I lost, I’m sure I didn’t remember half of it. It was there because I had the space for it. So it seems like a good time for a purge.

Less like a tragic house fire, and more like a healthy, ruthless cleaning of my closets.

But the lesson is important … back up obsessively in several different ways because thumb drives can fail, large external drives can fail, software can fail. And always ”” always ”” blame the Broncos.

How do you back up your work?