Friday, April 25, 2008

Weekend Wind-down - The blackest of 'black' moments

This weekend it's less of a wind down and more 'business as usual'. The lovely Michelle Reid allowed us to announce our 'exciting news' on 'her' Wednesday. So, here, at the Pink Heart Society, a little later than we originally planned is ... a cautionary tale.


I’m a Winger, a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of writer, the kind that sees a single scene - like the one in my first book A QUESTION OF PRIDE where the beautiful heroine lingers in bed after a long night of loving, reluctant to get up until her boss/lover (yes in that order) has dressed and left, because she is pregnant with his baby and suffering from morning sickness but does not want the hero to know.

Or then there’s the scene in my latest book, THE MARKONOS BRIDE, where I saw my brooding dark Greek hero watch a beautiful woman walk off the ferry which visits his island once a week, and realises he’s looking at the same woman he’d watched walk off that same ferry eight years ago – his once teenage bride now estranged wife. “My God, it’s Louisa. She’s come home,” my hero thinks – and off I go, leaving it to the two main characters to tell me exactly where it is we’re all going to.

Easy! Great! So let’s get going on this exciting journey! My one rule being - never to think too far ahead or I know I’ll go off the boil.

Easy--? Who am I trying to kid? Do you want to take a look at my wip folder with its countless stock of half-finished stories languishing there because the muse fizzled out? Well you can’t take a look, because I lost the folder two months ago along with the current wip I was working on - when my computer decided to crash, which brings me to my next question:


Well hey, which category do you think this Winger fits into? Yep, you’ve got it. This fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants writer backed up nothing, so when my PC died to the dreaded blue screen I was sunk – almost sunk because - doesn’t everyone know that a good IT person can recover anything from your defunct hard disk?

Enter stage left, (via the telephone) the evil IT bloke, the friend-of-a-friend guy who knows everything and nothing at all. He leads me through a series of instructions with the smooth condescending confidence of a man dealing with a stupid woman – and like a stupid woman I let him. I let him walk me through every procedure I had already tried out for myself several times while kindly stayed silent about the fact that I had. Then – eureka! He hit on a new one. Excited now, I hit keys to instruction then sat back to watch expectantly...

‘What’s it doing?’ I asked, frowning.

‘Why, what can you see on your screen?’

Nothing. Absolutely horribly – nothing, not even the dreaded blue screen. He’d accidentally formatted my hard drive. Don’t ask me why or how he had come to this clever point of no return because I slammed down the phone so I don’t know.

Years of half finished Wingers went slinking off into oblivion. My beautiful gorgeous sexy Alpha Dell was sexily Alpha no more. My current Winger, due on my Editors desk in three weeks had been lost without a single note scribbled or printed out for me to refer to.

In writer terms I think I’ll call this the black moment. However in true romantic style this tale does have a happy ending! With windows reinstalled, Alpha Dell rose to the occasion and we buckled down to deliver the latest wip only one month late. As a reward for his heroic fortitude I introduced Alpha Dell to a new friend of mine – the beautiful and very sexy Lady Dell. They now sit side by side on my desk – he the dark brooding one, she the sleek silky one wearing fabulous satin red.

And do I back-up now? You bet I back up. I back-up online and to an external hard drive - and just for good measure I also back-up my current work to my memory stick.

Do I still wing it? Yep. Just can’t get out of that habit, so the folder of half finished stories is starting to grow again. It feels nice, reassuring to know they’re lurking around somewhere waiting, maybe in a month or two or a year or two for me to pick back up and wing it with them again...

Here’s a small taster from THE MARKONOS BRIDE (in the shops from May) to hopefully tease your appetite...

You want to re-enact our first time?’ Andreas raked down at her. ‘You want me to roll you down in the ground and lose my head again, re-introduce you to what it is like to have sex with a man out of control?’

‘No,’ Louisa whispered, horribly aware that this was all her fault. ‘I’m s-sorry … I don’t know what came over me. I—‘

‘I came over you. Want came over you. Need - lust. A sudden desire for sex with your hot-blooded Greek!’ His angry contempt whipped her skin. ‘I must therefore assume that your last five years in the sexual company of Englishmen has not been enough to satisfy you.’

‘And what’s your excuse?’ she hit back at the cruel tongued brute. ‘What drove you to respond as you did? A sudden desire to re-enact the deflowering of your teenage virgin?’ She was going to cry any second now. She was going break down and weep! ‘Have the countless lovers who’ve passed through your bed not quite lived up to the excitement of having your very own personally trained sex object, one untouched by another male hand?’

‘Well, I am sure the last part no longer counts,’ he threw back in derision.

Michelle Reid's new book The Markonos Bride is published in Presents and M&B Modern in May.

You can read more about it and Michelle herself on her web site at

Michelle has a signed copy of The Markonos Bride to give away to a winner picked randomly from the comments.


  1. I hate it when my blog comments disappear. Sometimes I save my emails while I'm writing them just to make sure I have a copy in case it doesn't send properly.

  2. On the subject of file backup, sharing and storage ...

    Online backup is becoming common these days. It is estimated that 70-75% of all PC's will be connected to online backup services with in the next decade.

    Thousands of online backup companies exist, from one guy operating in his apartment to fortune 500 companies.

    Choosing the best online backup company will be very confusing and difficult. One website I find very helpful in making a decision to pick an online backup company is:

    This site lists more than 400 online backup companies in its directory and ranks the top 25 on a monthly basis.

  3. Yikes! So sorry to hear about the crash. I backup online via my email and google docs. The Markonos Bride sounds very hot!

  4. I backup via email too...and don't use the memory stick nearly as often as I should!

    Great excerpt! Those are so hard for me to find.

  5. Hello!

    Well that's it,really - just wanted to say Hello! and welcome to the PHS to my very dear friend Michelle.

    (And I don't need to win a copy of The Markonos Bride as I've got one and read it and it's fabulous!)



  6. Michelle,

    I got goosebumps reading your post. Brrr. I can just imagine that happening. I've got to the stage now of backing up my current story on a memory stick but I still have vivid memories of my work laptop crashing several years ago. Not a thing could be salvaged. Argh!!!

    Looking forward to seeing your Markonos Bride on the shelf.


  7. Michelle, I feel your pain. I was in the same boat as you in terms of neer backing up--my computer had never crashed before--and I lost everything in September when it died, without the IT people being able to recover anything. My saving grace was that it was a newsish computer and I had many of my files on my old computer, but I did lose 3 chapters of the current WIP, along with various other things... I'm not even sure how much I lost! ! I back up online now too. I love the Markonos Bride--can't wait to read the whole thing!!


  8. I don't really safe-guard my files... the super important ones, I put them on a USB key.

  9. Thanks Michelle for blogging... when will you updating your website?

    Anyway, I keep everything on a seperate hard-drive, just in case!

  10. How awful that must have been for you to see that blue screen. Computers make everything so much easier but it's amazing the amount of time that can be wasted when things go wrong.

  11. Sorry to be late in here. My ISP is doing heavy maintenance this weekend and I have a to catch the moment when I’m allowed on line.

    Jane, I’m with you Jane - save everything even emails!

    Kathleen and Jenna, I backup to Norton and Dell. Or I should put it the other way round because Norton and Dell just do it for me without me noticing, and a good job too, or I probably would forget.

    Hi Kate W! I received my copy of the Twelve Point Guide this morning then spent half the day leafing through it when I should have been working! Sending you a cyber-hug...

    Annie, she made me shiver in sympathy for you – I guess we never forget our first major computer crash!

    Kate H, I’ve been using a computer for more than twenty years and never had a crash before so I just got lazy. My lowest point was when I reinstalled windows and the only thing on the welcome screen was the recycle bin. –Scary. I’m sorry about your lost chapters – I really feel for you.

    Lily, my USB key is my best friend now – (after Kate Walker that is)
    Natalie, my new website should be uploaded at the beginning of May, thanks for asking.

    Maureen, you bet it was awful. I’m still stinging because of the work I lost. And you’re so right about technology making everything so easy for us – until something goes wrong.

    Thanks everyone, for your replies and your sympathy!


  12. Ouch, Michelle. I am wincing in sympathy but also applauding you for restarting and finishing that book so quickly. I'm pretty good with the backing up to a USB drive every day and to google when I remember, but my fatal flaw: I write on my laptop mostly, but sometimes the desktop. More than once -- more than twice, actually -- while shifting from one computer to the other I've "managed" to copy an older version of the wip over the newer one. Arrgggh.

    Am really interested in what you said about deliberately not looking too far ahead as you write. Is that so the characters lead you scene by scene through their story, to stop you overthinking and forcing them in your direction? Or simply to keep each day's writing like a new adventure? (Would love to do this, I am a chronic overthinker and overplanner.)


  13. Michelle,
    I feel your pain regarding the lost material. I had a floppy disk corrupt and was nauseated for weeks after. Many people looked at it, hoping to unlock it. Luckily someone was finally able to.

    Kudos on writing and turning in that book so quickly though. That's amazing!

    I, too, have lots of snippets of ideas, scenes, characters, because I am a winger. Some times I hate it too, because I feel so undisciplined. Every time I have tried to plot, I feel that the book is already written, so why write it again?


  14. Hi Michelle...popping in late but I know of another author this happened to. I back up my address book and my books and my favourites, though not as often as I should. But actually my stick is my working drive, and my backup is an external harddrive so that even if my c drive crashes, I don't have any work on that drive.

  15. From Michelle

    Definitely both, Bronwyn. I prefer to let my characters lead me and I love the day to day adventure they send me on! The downside to this comes when my editor asks for revisions or a rethink of certain parts of the story then I’m stumped because... well it isn’t my story, it belongs to the H & h, and they don't like their lives being messed with! So I envy your planning and plotting.

    It doesn’t matter if the story has been written a hundred times before, LindaC, when you write it the story will always look completely different because of your individual voice. So I say go for it and enjoy yourself!

    Hi Donna – lovely to hear from you! My stick is my main backup for any work in progress. After The Big Crash i’ve trained myself to back up to the memory stick several times a day. Because Dell and Norton do all my other backups automatically, I’m afraid I neglect to bother with my external hard drive. (I know I’m going to regret that someday – sigh... why won’t I learn??

    LindaC, I picked your name out of the hate to receive a copy of THE MARKONOS BRIDE! I’m having problems with my email right now, so if you wouldn’t mind emailing you full address to Kate will pass it on to me so I can post the book on to you.

    It’s been lovely chatting to you all. Perhaps we can do it again soon!


  16. oh I'm grabbing a disk and backing up right now!!!!!!

    My hard drive died last year, but luckily, it started making clicky noises and freezing up first... so the tech was able to copy my whole hard drive onto the new one. Figure I couldn't be that fortunate twice!