Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Year (Almost)!

I'm back from Disneyworld where we spent Christmas.  Disney does the holidays up right and it was a pretty special place to be on Christmas day.  The kids were concerned about Santa, but miraculously he managed to bring a few presents to Florida as well as dropping off the rest at home.  He's a pretty organized guy that Santa.  My kids (and husband) insisted that I take a picture with Lady Tremaine, Cinderella's evil step mother.  I can't figure out why. 
No major plans for the McCartys this week for New Years.  We usually get together with my sister and her family for a "New York New Years" (aka celebrating it at 9 pm--yes, I'm getting old) but she hasn't invited us over yet (hint, hint).  

On the writing side, I'm gearing up for the release of HIGHLAND WARRIOR and at the suggestion of my (brilliant) web designer I'm thinking about trying something new.  In addition to doing "picture books" and having them available on the special features section of my website like I did for the first series, I'm thinking about doing larger sets of pictures and having them available as slideshows, etc. on Flickr.  Here's my first attempt of Castle Campbell which figures in HIGHLAND OUTLAW (book #2 in Campbell Trilogy): here.  

Let me know what you think.  Is this something you'd enjoy seeing more of?  

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Holidays Beckon

How is it possible that Christmas is a week away?  Is it my imagination or do the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to shrink every year?  The fact that we are traveling makes it even worse--all the shopping (and wrapping) has to be done before we go.
I've really tried to cut back this year and it's helped, but I still have that slightly frazzled feeling that is becoming par for the course lately around the holidays.  And of course my recent computer woes haven't helped any.  Tuesday was the first day I've sat at my desk in a long time--it was awesome.  I'm loving my MAC so far and I can see why Apple followers have that evangelical fervor.

I hope all of you are enjoying the season and have fun things to do planned over the next couple of weeks.  I'll return after the new year all ready to start thinking about HIGHLAND WARRIOR.  Can't believe it's only a little over a month away...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I'm an Idiot (or why I've been so quiet)

Thanksgiving came upon me somewhat quickly this year. We traveled down to Houston to visit my in-laws for a long weekend the week before and returned home Tuesday. We had a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's house (she loves doing all the cooking and I have no inclination to object, LOL!), but then came my "surprise."

I was walking up the stairs and heard a strange clicking noise coming from my home office. I didn't think much of it until I tried to check my email and my computer wouldn't respond. I tried to shut it down, but eventually had to unplug it to reboot. I'm sure some of you are guessing what had happened: my hard drives (I actually had two) had crashed. While I was happily eating turkey and the trimmings everything on my computer had turned to electronic dust. All my documents, pictures, itunes library, outlook folder (with ALL my contacts, emails and calendaring) gone.

Of course I backed up, right? You've probably guessed the reason for the title of the post: not so much. I have an external hard drive that I had backed up to in May and I send important documents (like manuscripts or anything I'm working on) to a Yahoo email account (my main email is POP, i.e. not web-based). I did have some pictures still on my camera, but for some reason I hadn't uploaded all of them to Shutterfly (which I also usually do immediately). I hadn't backed up my itunes library or my outlook folders (the latter because it's not all that easy to do--hidden files and all that). Basically it meant that except for a couple of key documents I was missing almost 6 months worth of info. NIGHTMARE.

But surprisingly I was pretty calm. I'm in between books so I didn't lose any work. The pictures and outlook were what I really was worried about. But this kind of thing happens all the time, and I knew there was a way to recover data. A few phone calls later quickly cured me of that idea. Estimates ranged from $500 to $3,000, but all the data recovery people I spoke with said it would likely be on the higher side because of my particular disk configuration (Raid 0-striped). Needless to say, I decided to try to piece together what I could before putting that kind of money into trying to recover my data.

With a little legwork I managed to reconstruct most of it, including the pictures. The outlook and itunes library are the only things I will have to reconstruct. I've already missed one appointment, I'm sure I'll miss a few others before the dust has settled.

I guess the only good thing to come out of it all is that I've decided to take the opportunity to do something I've been planning to do for a long time: switch to a Mac.

I've been a PC girl for over twenty years. My father was an early computer and intel believer. Now that Macs use intel chips I decided to give Apple a shot. I LOVE my ipod and the idea of being integrated really appeals to me. Everyone that I know who has a Mac loves it with almost an evangelical fervor. I hope to be joining the cult, but I admit I'm nervous about the transition. I'll keep you posted...