Wednesday, September 3, 2014

When Things Go Wrong

Invariably, things go wrong in life.
That’s not a pessimistic statement, merely an observation of reality. There are good things that happen and there are bad things that happen. You cannot undo anything that has happened. All you can do is deal with the consequences.
In my case, I got hit with bad things overload. Where too many bad things went wrong in quick succession.
The first thing that hit was my car. I was just around the corner from the house, windows open and enjoying the breeze when it occurred to me that my car didn’t quite sound right. A half second later, the car went “BvBvBvBvBvBvBvBvBvB!” as the exhaust pipe blew out. Add to that, the power steering is failing, and I suddenly found myself with a potential $1,200 repair bill just to keep it running.
The car is off the road for a while. I’ll be exclusively two-wheeling for, except when borrowing a car becomes necessary.
The one that hurt, though, happened just two days after.
With my morning routine done, I sat down at my laptop to start the day of writing.
The first thing that struck me was that my computer was powered down. I didn’t turn it off the night before; my first indication that something was drastically wrong. Turning it on, the boot sequence began but then just sat there for a while—I assumed it was doing a disk check. Then it powered off.
Definitely not good.
Turned it on, same sequence until it powered down spontaneously. I tried booting into safe mode, then recovery mode with the same problem.
My computer had become a paperweight.
My business, my office, my work tools, my craft, my writing. Everything.
My reliable, old, MacBook Pro which served me well for well over seven years had finally given up the ghost. That computer had been through Hell and back over the years, so it was already showing the signs of wear and tear a couple of years ago when it had an unfortunate experience with flight.
But the signs were there. There was more than one occasion when it needed to be restarted and had difficulty doing so.
This time, there was no chance of a restart. It was over. Time for  a visit to the recycling center.
Thus ended what has been an unpleasant summer for me. 
The computer dying put a screeching halt to production on Dragon. For the moment. As you can tell by reading this post, all is not lost.
For one thing, all the files for Dragon (as well as everything for all the other books in the Aggadeh Chronicles series) are safe. Not only are they safe, they are backed up to several locations both on and off site. The hard drive from my MacBook Pro has been removed and sits in an anti-static bag awaiting installation into a drive housing at a later date. Indeed, I already connected it to my father’s computer and loaded the important files there.
My plans for using my Mac Mini as a backup computer came against one small bit of reality: the Mini is a more than a year older than my MBP and lacks the horsepower to run the programs I need to run. It also lacks the programs I use for writing and other functions, and it cannot be upgraded to the newer operating systems and programs due to its age.
That’s one thing about Macs: they keep going and going, long after they become obsolete. (So long as you don’t accidentally launch them into the air and smash them to the ground….) The Mini still stands as the final stand, should it be deemed necessary.
The fallback was to borrow time on my father’s computer. Type out what I can when I can.
It does slow down my writing process. I’m adapting; that should speed things up as time goes by.
Another issue that has hit is I have run out of money. Zero dollars in the bank. Completely broke. Just $1.50 of spare change found from under the sofa cushions can buy me 30 miles worth of gasoline in the scooter.
I was expecting August to be my first zero month—meaning the first month with no book sales. Just the last couple days of the month proved me wrong and three copies were purchased. (Thank you!) Three books earns me just enough money to put one tank of gas in the scooter.
Why the focus on gasoline? Because I need gasoline to be able to find work. 
The writing gig has to be set on the back burner until I can earn enough money to start paying the bills again. I’m cutting my writing hours so I can use the free time for part time work.
No way in hell am I going to stop writing completely. Dragon is close to being finished and I want it finished so I can get to writing Oracle. I would really like to get Oracle out in the spring—one of the best times to release a new book.
As it is, Dragon is most definitely going to be delayed. Rather than the end of summer, it’s looking more like an end of autumn release. (Strangely, this could work in my favor as right now as late summer is considered one of the worst times to release a new book.)
At least I’ll still be releasing this year. My production goal is to release a minimum of one book per year and so far I seem to be able to maintain that. I would like to push that up to two or three books per year. I think my fans would like that even better. Only George R.R. Martin can get away with one book every few years. (But they are well written books. Like a fine scotch, some things are worth waiting for.)
So, I need to roll up my sleeves and double my efforts. We’ll see what happens.