Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Girl Who Heard Demons by Janette Rallison

Review by Cindy R. Williams

Shy Adelle Hansen hears demons, but she’s determined to make friends at her new high school by keeping her ability secret.

When she overhears supernatural voices celebrating the impending death of the school quarterback, Levi Anderson, she knows she has to do something to prevent it. However, the demons aren’t the ones plotting; they’re just celebrating the chaos, and Adelle must contend with earthly forces as well if she wants to preserve Levi’s life.

Handsome, popular Levi doesn't appreciate Adelle’s self-appointed role of guardian angel. As Adelle battles to keep him safe, she’ll have to protect her heart, too. Can she do both?

Okay, who wouldn't want to read this? Girl wants to fit into her new school. Hottest guy  on the planet is in danger, and only she knows it, since she has this strange ability to hear demons. Somehow she must save him, but alas, her attempts annoy him. What a great struggle. Helping someone who doesn't even know he needs help, and plus she has made a nuisance of herself. Love it!

If you are a Rallison fan, then you know she has a great, sometimes quirky sense of humor. She also knows how to spin a good yarn, and romance. No one does clean romance better. This book, THE GIRL WHO HEARD DEMONS won Amazon's Kindle Scout competition against billions of other books. Okay a bit of an exaggeration, but to win Amazon's Kindle Scout contest is a BIG deal!

Let me tell you more about Janette. I actually know her, and find her to be a regular person--you know, nice, funny, and all around great mother, and recently a grandmother--but she is not old, and doesn't sit in a rocker, although she does have lots of cats, so could be considered a cat lady.  I don't think Janette has an enemy in the world. You meet her, she makes you laugh and feel at home. She never puts on airs and is willing to help out new writers. You would never know she has sold over a million books and is usually published by Penguin.  

Here is more of the official bio type stuff that is on hand about Janette:

Janette Rallison, also known as CJ Hill, writes books because writing is much more fun than cleaning bathrooms.

Her avoidance of housework has led her to writing 24 novels that have sold over 1,000,000 print copies and have been on many reading and state lists.

Her books are fantasy, sci-fi, and romantic comedy because hey, there is enough angst in real life, but there’s a drastic shortage of humor, romance and hot guys who fight dragons.

She lives in Arizona with her husband, kids, and enough cats to classify her as eccentric.

Get the book. You will be glad you did!

Writers Mirror gives THE GIRL WHO TALKED TO DEMONS ten stars. It is that good!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

FINDING SHEBA - An Omar Zagouri Thriller by H.B. Moore

by Cindy R. Williams

FINDING SHEBA - An Omar Zagouri Thriller by H.B. Moore

"Fast-paced, intriguing, fantastic characters, and full of surprises. Highly recommended." --James Dashner, NY Times bestselling author of THE MAZE RUNNER.

Back blurb says:


For centuries, historians have theorized the Queen of Sheba as only a seductive legend, and scholars have debated over the legitimacy of the King of David or King Solomon. When undercover Israeli agent, Omar Zagouri, stumblers onto a tomb in Northern Jerusalem he unknowingly finds the final clue that threatens to overthrow government claims to the Holy Land, pits wealthy collectors against one another, and sends ruthless archaeologists scrambling to find the queen's secret burial place.

An assassination attempt on the Coptic Pope, His Holiness, Patriarch Stephanus II, is only the first in the chain of lethal cremes. Omar must find a way to prevent the greatest discovery of the century from becoming the most deadly.

H.B. Moore is the pen name for the award winning author, Heather B. Moore. She is the author of ten historical novels which are set in Ancient Arabia and Mesoamerica. She is the author of two non-fiction books and several women's novel --these are written under her real so that women will buy her books. She says using different names can be confusing so her kids just call her Mom.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

LDS Blog Hop Giveaway!!!!

I'm a part of the LDS Blog Hop brought to you by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer Blog.

"What is the LDS Blog Hop?" you ask?

Well, I'll tell you. It's where you can enter the contest to win a copy of a book by one of the many, many LDS writers in the land. 

Available here is my very own children's picture book, CHASE MCKAY DIDN'T GET UP TODAY!

CHASE MCKAY DIDN'T GET UP TODAY is a snuggle, giggle book to read to little ones. It has an underlying message of choice and consequences. Great gift too, just in time for Christmas. More info available on

If you would like to enter the free giveaway, please leave your name and email in the comments section and a drawing will be held at the end of the month.  

Check out  I Am A Reader, Not A Writer Blog.  for all the other LDS authors and their books being given away this month. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Use Puzzle Pieces To Make Pudding

By Cindy R. Williams

I get a kick out of "talk radio." While driving the other day to play the piano for the baptism of a dear little 8 year-old friend, I heard a boxer talk about his upcoming bout. He mixed two different analogies, but it made total sense. While in the Church, I pondered what he said. I realized it totally works for writing.

Let me paraphrase the interview with the boxer.

Talk Host:  Usually you have at least three months to prepare for a bout. This one, you only have 30 days. What are you going to do?

Boxer:  I have been boxing for a long time. I'm in good shape and ready. 

Talk Host:  Yes, but how will you train specifically for this bout. You don't really have the time to hone your skills to take advantage of your opponent. 

Boxer:  Yes, each opponent has different strengths, and it does help to prepare for each fight, but, no worries. The things I do well are like puzzle pieces. I take all the things I know how to do and then I make a pudding out of them. I have a good pudding. I will be ready. 

Hummmmm . . . . the boxer takes his best skills and makes the best pudding that he can. Can't we do this with our writing. We may not know everything about grammar and writing, but we each have some writing skills and strengths. These are our ingredients/puzzle pieces.

How about if we don't worry that we aren't as great a writer as ____ or ____. Let's not think, "Surely this or that agent or publisher wouldn't want my meager story."

How about if we take all that we know and do and then make our best pudding? How about if we take the leap and believe in ourselves enough to submit our puddings?

If not now . . . when?

I love a good pudding. I can do this. Can you? Will you?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Re-inventing Time

by Cindy R. Williams

Writers are inventors. As we write, we invent something new. A book or story that never existed before for others to read. We are also re-inventors of ourselves. We cycle with the seasons of life. By the time you have lived for a half a century--an eerie shiver at the reality of this benchmark just ran through me--you will have lived many rolls in your life.

Walking down memory lane of my first half century I found that I began life as a mermaid, and am now a fairy. Weird but quite true none the less. Follow me here . . . my dad was a P.E. Coach and also managed our local swimming pool. We grew up in the water and often played mermaids.

My childhood home and both my grandparents homes were magical. I lived a life surrounded by lilac bushes and huge peach, pear and apple orchards with a meandering brook and fairy paths over bridges. There was even a Victorian home with goblins living in the cellars. I was an avid reader of fairy tales, including; Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm and L. Wizard of Oz series by Frank Baum. I found myself inside the books like Madeleine L'Engle's "Wrinkle in Time" and Amanda Cockrell's "Shadow Castle". Each of these stories became a real part of my conscious world by day and my dreams by night. By the time I grew up and was ready to have children of my own, I was officially a fairy.

I'm now beginning my second century, and as such, all my experiences are coming full circle and combining with my gifts and talents in my many rolls as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, new grandmother, friend, teacher, writer, musician, mermaid, fairy.

Three months ago, I woke up with a new idea of who I am and how it is time to combine all these things I love and do into one great purpose. I am reinventing myself once again. I can't share with you what it is yet until much of the writing, scripts and production has begun, but I can tell you that I have been inspired to take this next step, this leap of faith, and I will soon be flying on the back of a dragon.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Eat up the EVERTASTER book series by Adam Sidwell

Everyone knows the most coveted treasure of the Viking Age was blueberry muffins. Blueberry muffins so succulent that if you sniffed just a whiff, you'd want a whole bite. If you bit a bite, you'd want a batch; if you snatched a batch, you'd stop at nothing short of going to war just to claim them all.
Young Torbjorn Trofastsonn comes from the clan that makes them. He's a Viking through and through – he's thirteen winters old, larger than most respectable rocks, and most of all, a Buttersmith. That's what he thinks anyway, until a charismatic merchant makes Torbjorn question his place among the muffin-makers. When Torbjorn lets the secret of his clan's muffin recipe slip, he calls doom and destruction down upon his peaceful village and forces his brother Storfjell and his clansmen to do the one thing they are ill-prepared to do: battle for their lives.

About The Buttersmiths' Gold
The Buttersmiths' Gold is a spin off novella in the Evertaster series that tells the story of two Viking brothers and their adventurous past. The Evertaster series (Book #1 released June 14, 2012) is about Guster Johnsonville, who goes searching for a legendary taste rumored to be the most delicious in all of history. Along the way he meets a slew of mysterious characters, including two Viking brothers Torbjorn and Storfjell. The Buttersmiths' Gold is their story. 124 pages. By Adam Glendon Sidwell. Published by Future House Publishing.
Here's the book Trailer. Eat up some more!     EVERTASTER Book Trailer
Here's the link to get your own copy for an enjoying feast:        Amazon Link:
A legendary taste. Sought after for centuries. Shrouded in secrecy.
When eleven-year-old Guster Johnsonville rejects his mother’s casserole for the umpteenth time, she takes him into the city of New Orleans to find him something to eat. There, in a dark, abandoned corner of the city they meet a dying pastry maker. In his last breath he entrusts them with a secret: an ancient recipe that makes the most delicious taste the world will ever know — a taste that will change the fate of humanity forever.
Forced to flee by a cult of murderous chefs, the Johnsonvilles embark on a perilous journey to ancient ruins, faraway jungles and forgotten caves. Along the way they discover the truth: Guster is an Evertaster — a kid so picky that nothing but the legendary taste itself will save him from starvation. With the sinister chefs hot on Guster’s heels and the chefs’ reign of terror spreading, Guster and his family must find the legendary taste before it’s too late.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Writer Britney Gullbrandsen

Britney Gullbrandsen
Writers Mirror: Welcome to Writers Mirror Britney Gullbrandsen!

Britney: Thanks for having me! This is so fun!

WM: Please tell us a little about Britney.

Britney: Hmmm…this question always trips me up. What do I share?!
· I’m 23 years old.
· I have a two-and-a-half year old son.
· I’m obsessed with Golden Spoon’s peanut butter cup fro yo (frozen yogurt.)
· I’m a list maker. I have stacks and stacks of notebooks filled with all kinds of lists. To-do lists. Goals. Grocery lists. Lists of things I love. It’s kind of a problem.
· I’m an only child.
· I’m terrified of elevators. And I’ve been stuck in three of them.
· I LOVE bright colors! They make me so happy! My last house had apple green walls, lime green walls, red walls, turquoise walls, bright orange walls, and a wall with bubblegum pink rectangles with orange in the middle. I know it sounds weird, but I promise it looked good!

WM: Please tell us what you write.

Britney: As a little girl, I wrote picture books. I’d write out the story (each line to a page), print them out, and illustrate them. In the fifth grade, I attempted a novel and got about halfway through before it was lost. I’m still devastated about that. When I got to junior high and high school, I started writing poetry and a few personal essays that I loved.
Then came college. I majored in creative writing and spent time with poetry, short stories, creative nonfiction, travel writing, and even took a course on writing the modern day fairy tale. I had so much fun!
But somewhere along the way I learned that my passion was to write for children and young adults. I absolutely loved reading as a child and I want to help instill that love of reading in other children. My husband and I write picture books and middle grade together and I just started my first young adult novel on my own.

WM: Where do you do most of your writing?

Britney: On the couch or at the kitchen table. Boring, but it gets the job done!

WM: Do you write on a lap top, a desk top, a tablet or long hand on notebook?

Britney: A lap top! I can’t write longhand—my hand cramps up way too easily!

WM: What inspires you to write?

Britney: I gather most my inspiration from other art forms. In fact, most of my story ideas have stemmed from photographs, songs, and dances. A few years ago, a couple on So You Think You Can Dance performed the most powerful dance I think I’ve ever seen. I’m not even kidding. It made me cry. Immediately after the show I wrote a poem based on that dance.

WM: What is your biggest distraction?

Britney: My son. And my lists.

WM: How do you handle it?

Britney: I just make a schedule and try to stick to it. Some weeks are better than others, and obviously sometimes the distraction is necessary. If my son is sick, I’m not going to write that day. I’m going to cuddle with him on the couch. I do most of my writing once he’s in bed at night to try and limit the distractions.

WM: What is your favorite writing food?

Britney: I actually don’t eat while I write. Go ahead—call me crazy.

WM: Why are you a writer?

Britney: I’m a writer because I can’t stop writing. It’s a piece of me that I have to keep. It’s my way of trying to inspire others!

WM: Where do you get your names for your characters?

Britney: I love this question! I think a lot about my characters names. I brainstorm lists of names and narrow them down based on the personality of the character.
For instance, in one of the books I wrote with my husband, we have four third grade boys. One is the super smart nerdy kid—Winston. Our big, strong kid is named Brock. Frankie is the smooth talker who always gets his way. And Loco is the crazy one. His name is actually Lawrence, but nobody calls him that. We just thought these names shared a piece of their personalities. Each name helps us picture the character.
I’m also writing a young adult set in Denmark during World War II, so I did lots of research on common names in that time period and place. Then I chose the ones that seemed to fit my characters best.

WM: Is there anything else you would like to share about your writing journey?

Britney: I’ve been trying to immerse myself more in the writing community. I joined ANWA (American Night Writers Association) about a year-and-a-half ago and SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) about six months ago. I’ve attended three writing conferences in the past year-and-a-half and plan to attend one or two more this year. I think it’s so important to make connections and continue your writing education and I’m trying to do both these things.

WM: Do you have a website?

Britney: Yes! Come visit me! I took a hiatus, and I’m just coming back. My blog is combined with my website.

WM: Thank you sharing some of your writing journey with us Britney. Keep writing!

Britney: Thank YOU! What fun questions!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Book: Tide Ever Rising

                           Tide Ever Rising 
                                                         by MandiTucker Slack

                       Author of Romantic Suspense
Kadence Reynold’s favorite pastime is exploring old ghost towns, but when she and her sister, Maysha, stumble across an old journal and cheap pendant hidden in the depths of a crumbling foundation near Eureka, Utah, their world is suddenly turned upside down. Immediately, strange dreams and premonitions begin to haunt “Kadie” as she learns more about the author of the journal, Charlotte Clark. Kadie sets out on a journey to learn more about Charlotte and her family, and she and Maysha travel to Bremerton, Washington, where they discover Charlotte's still living twin sister, Adelaide and her family.
Kadie and Maysha, upon arriving in Washington, are immediately immersed in Adelaide and Charlotte’s story. Kadie soon learns that Charlotte disappeared the night of a tragic fire that took the lives of Adelaide’s entire family. With the help of Logan Mathews, Adelaide’s handsome grandson, and Charlotte’s ever disconcerting presence, Kadie delves into the past. Hoping to solve the mystery of Charlotte’s disappearance, Kadie immediately discovers the secrets contained in the journal will toss her and Adelaide’s family into a world filled with mystery, past regrets, and dark unknowns.

Mandi also has another romantic suspense novel, The Alias. See Writers Mirror Review dated 1/31/13.
Learn more about Mandi Tucker Slack at her Website and Blog

                                              MandiTucker Slack


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Character Recipe

By Cindy R. Williams

My son did a “People Recipe” project in his 7th grade Creative Writing Class. What a fun way to hone the features of your characters.

Take information learned from interviewing your character. (Yes, sit back and talk to your character.) Create a fresh, fun recipe about him/her. Remember to use recipe-type words, but make your ingredients original and have them differ from the examples listed below.

Questions to ask:

                Character’s name

                Three physical qualities

                Include three other facts

                My ask about likes and dislikes, fears and ambitions

                End recipe with a two sentence set of directions


Chase Spaghetti

Serves 4 people


Two green eyes

Add some glasses

A bushel of blond hair

An ounce of hair gel

Several yards of light colored skin

Add a pinch of a shy personality

A spoonful of knowledge

A nightlight

A basketball

And a pair of running shoes

 Mix all but hair gel in large bowl and heat over stove. Stir constantly with a large spoon for eight minutes. Pour hair gel in the pot and mix well. Sump into strainer until liquid is drained. Enjoy!

Caitlin Cake


1 head of shoulder length light brown hair

A pair of expressive blue eyes

One small gum-chewing metal mouth

A generous love of traveling

A dash of interest in the ocean

3 cups of books to read

 Combine evenly and sprinkle with family and friends. Bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees and serve with mint-chocolate chip ice cream.


Thursday, January 31, 2013

THE ALIAS - A new book by Mandi Tucker Slack

by Cindy R. Williams

I found The Alias fascinating. Not only did the plot take you on a roller coater ride with some pretty high loops but you really came to know the characters. Most of them were extremely likable and those that were meant to be the bad guys were very bad. The kind that you really want them to get what is coming to them.

The lead character, Jacey was pleasant, hard working, kind, trusting, and as decent as could possibly be, which made her perfect as the target for a no-good, bad mob guy with narcissistic tendencies with a propensity to abuse. Readers will applaud her strength and her deep searching inner resolve as she faces her life head on and takes matters in her own hands in order to create a world that is safe for she and her innocent son.

The book is well written. The descriptions, settings and scenes seem real. One can picture being in the room as the action unfolds.

The mother, Jacey, often called her nine year old son, and her friend good friend, Melissa, "babe."  This seemed a bit odd. If I called any of my sons "babe," especially in front of any other human being, they would be mortified. I'm not too sure that many girls that are friends refer to each other as "babe."

Now, "babe" aside, the book was a page turner.  The topic of wife abuse is serious, and yes, it was treated as such throughout the book. I appreciate how the main character realized she needed time to tackle much of what she had been through before she began a new relationship. This makes her a good, strong example of healing and growing and learning that each of us has the right to respect and even love.

This is one book that you will definitely cheer for the good guys and wish you could get your two cents in where the bad guys are concerned.

I look forward to reading more novels by Mandi Tucker Slack. In fact, her next book, TIDE EVER RISING, is on my reading list right now.

Links to everything Mandi Tucker Slack and her books:

Here is a preview of Mandi Tucker Slacks next book,
Kadence Reynold’s favorite pastime is exploring old ghost towns, but when she and her sister, Maysha, stumble across an old journal and cheap pendant hidden in the depths of a crumbling foundation near Eureka, Utah, their world is suddenly turned upside down. Immediately, strange dreams and premonitions begin to haunt “Kadie” as she learns more about the author of the journal, Charlotte Clark. Kadie sets out on a journey to learn more about Charlotte and her family, and she and Maysha travel to Bremerton, Washington, where they discover Charlotte's still living twin sister, Adelaide and her family.

Kadie and Maysha, upon arriving in Washington, are immediately immersed in Adelaide and Charlotte’s story. Kadie soon learns that Charlotte disappeared the night of a tragic fire that took the lives of Adelaide’s entire family. With the help of Logan Mathews, Adelaide’s handsome grandson, and Charlotte’s ever disconcerting presence, Kadie delves into the past. Hoping to solve the mystery of Charlotte’s disappearance, Kadie immediately discovers the secrets contained in the journal will toss her and Adelaide’s family into a world filled with mystery, past regrets, and dark unknowns.

MandiTucker Slack - Author of Romantic Suspense:  The Alias,  Tide Ever Rising

Monday, December 17, 2012

In God's Hands You Go - Original Song by 13 year-old Lacee Jenkins

By Cindy R. Williams

This blog is all about writers. This includes music writing as well.

This is incredible. The young lady in this video is one of my guitar students. In her lesson last week I asked her to write a Christmas song, and then the horrible tragedy happened at the Elementary School Friday, December 14, 2012. Lacee wrote this. She is just that amazing.

Her mother told me Lacee's heart was aching for the children and their families. Her little brother is in kindergarten so it hit home. This song can bring great comfort. I hope it reaches those left behind with broken hearts.

This is really worth three minutes to have your heart strings played.

May we all be a little more kind and hold our loved ones close this Season.

Merry Christmas to all and peace to your hearts.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

SPINSTER'S FOLLY, Marsha Ward's Long Awaited 4th Book of the Owen Family Saga Is Finally Here!

Author and friend, Marsha Ward, is hosting a celebration for her fourth book
of The Owen Family Saga.

Here is some information directly from Marsha.

Are you excited?

Ready to dive into another world?

Eager to stay up all night to read a suspenseful tale peopled by the Owen Family and their neighbors, and perhaps a few vecinos, too? (For those among us who speak only English, vecinos are also neighbors, but they mostly speak Spanish.)

Here's a little description to whet your appetite even more:

"Marie Owen yearns for a loving husband, but Colorado Territory is long on rough characters and short on fitting suitors, so a future of spinsterhood seems more likely than wedded bliss.

"Her best friend says cowboy Bill Henry is a likely candidate, but Marie knows her class-conscious father would not allow such a pairing. When she challenges her father to find her a suitable husband before she becomes a spinster, he arranges a match with a neighbor's son. Then Marie discovers Tom Morgan would be an unloving, abusive mate and his mother holds a grudge against the Owen family.

"Marie's mounting despair at the prospect of being trapped in such a dismal marriage drives her into the arms of a sweet-talking predator, landing her in unimaginable dangers."


Prizes available at the Release will include several print books from other authors, and yes, ebook and print copies of Spinster's Folly!

I can hardly wait!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

American Night Writers Association Writers Conference 2013- TIME OUT FOR WRITERS

Announcing the Premier Writing Conference of the year
ANWA Writers Conference February 21 - 23, 2013
at the Hilton Hotel in Mesa, Arizona

Faculty two full days with industry professionals including: agents, editors and many authors, local and national.

This writers conference caters to beginning writers as well as advanced, men, women, youth, all nationalities and faiths.

There are opportunities offered to pitch your work to well known literary agencies.

Author book signings and sales.

Enter the BOB contest (Beginning of Book)

Brought to you by ANWA - American Night Writers Association. For more information and to sign up see

Monday, October 29, 2012

No Holly For Christmas by Julie N. Ford

Hi Writers Mirror Readers,

Here is the blogging info received for a new release titled "No Holly for Christmas."

No Holly for Christmas is a women’s fiction/romance with elements of suspense.
It’s the second novel by fiction author Julie N. Ford, a talented new writer who had three novels released in 2011, including No Holly for Christmas and the Whitney Award nominated, Count Down to Love. Visit her website at
Synopsis:No Holly for Christmas
Widowed, practically penniless, and reduced to shopping at WalMart, Holly is dreading the approaching Holiday Season. However, her angst isn’t due to her husband’s untimely death the previous December 25th, but because of a secret that could reveal itself unless she can find a way to avoid the coming Christmas.
As Brian McAlister struggles to move past being jilted not once, but twice by the only woman he’s ever loved, he’s all but given up on relationships. Then, on special assignment for the DA’s office, he crosses paths with ex-socialite turned social worker, Holly Cavanaugh Winter—and romance blossoms.
Love at first sight quickly turns frigid for ADA, Brian McAlister, and social worker, Holly Winter, when Holly gets pulled into a manhunt for an accused murderer who now has his sights set on her. His case unraveling, Brian finds himself tasked with keeping Holly and her two daughters safe while bringing an assassin and the powerful man who hired him to justice.
A heart-warming story of suspense, healing, giving and receiving, No Holly for Christmas is the perfect addition to everyone’s holiday reading list.
There is a book bash and give-away. Send email to:
A few comments about "No Holly for Christmas" from Writers Mirror."

It is evident that Ms. Ford knows how to write characters that are supposed to likable inspite of their flaws. She also knows how to write the bad guys, bad enough to scare you.

Bridget, Holly's little girl, was particularly adorable. She jumped off the page with her endearing banter.

Although Holly began as quite a snob, her character arch brought her the understanding of what is really important in life. Brian, the other protagonist, seemed like quite a hunk, although his views of life in general were on a different plane.

There were a few uncomfortable swings taken at conservative Bible believing people for not accepting the morality views of world. A character with an alternate life style voiced her opinion that her sister, with higher standards than the general populous, was self-righteous.  

Ms. Ford takes the reader on a journey where characters do some serious soul searching in order to make a better life for themselves and those around them.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Few Great Quotes

Masterpieces are not written, they are edited.
James Owen - Author

Don't cry because it's is over. Smile because it happened.
Dr. Seuss

All your dreams can come true if
you have the courage to pursue them.
Walt Disney

Friday, August 31, 2012

What a Ride!

by Cindy R. Williams

My last blog two weeks ago was a detailed walk through what I consider one of the greatest horrors to a writer . . . the crash of your hard drive on your the most critical writing tool, the revered lap top.

If you read that post, you know that after several long days of panic as I worked to capture all my files and emails, it all came together. Note after all my many hours of working with Sony, my talented 22 year old nephew showed up at my house. He just happens to be a computer genius and was able to pull things out of my hard drive that other companies bid at $900 - $3,500. Thanks to Yuri Burkinshaw, said nephew, I have recovered EVERYTHING! Everyone needs a Yuri Burkinshaw. What an amazing young man.

This week brought another challenge, as life will right? On Monday afternoon, my husband came home early from work. That's not the challenge, although, it is quite unusual. He said he felt he needed to be home. Then at 3:55 pm, just like flipping a switch, the right side of my abdomen and back started screaming --it might have been me doing the screaming. I know the exact time because I teach guitar, piano and harp, and my next student was due to arrive at 4. Two of my sons were home from school and while my husband rushed me to the ER my sons contacted the rest of my students to cancel music lessons for the rest of the week.

I won't go into detail about my enforced hospital vacation and surgery over the next four days. Suffice it to say that I am the proud mother of a kidney stone named Isaac, after the hurricane.

As I lived every slow motion painful minute this week, I prayed and often. I received more peace and comfort from prayer than I did from any medicine. Feeding my spirit became more important than feeding my body.

My lament over my computer hard drive crashing two weeks ago paled compared to this new adventure. I wonder what the next two weeks will bring before I post again.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Writers Nightmare

by Cindy R. Williams

The tools of a writer used to be pencil or pen and paper. Simpler times, yes, but I find hand writing messy and disorganized since you can't delete, copy, cut and paste with just a touch of your finger tip. On paper you have to shuffle papers, cross out, circle and draw arrows, or cut the paper and tape paragraphs here and there. I like order too much, so this makes me crazy, although I do keep notebooks everywhere to jot ideas down as the pop into my head.

The most current tool of a writer today is, of course, the computer. We not only use computers to type our stories on, but as Internet research along with email others for information. Then we use the computer as our storage facility for our working stories and our completed babies. We won't even venture into the marketing ability of computers. That's another blog.

However, these wonderful, convenient and ingenious computers have a HUGE black whole.

The hard drive crashes.

If you've been a victim of a hard drive crash, you know exactly what chaos this causes. If you're not prepared, you could lose your entire book, years and years of work.

This week was my THIRD crash of my hard drive in five years --three different lap tops, three crashes.

I could have kept the computers and purchased a new hard drive to the tune of $430, along with a $50 replacement disc plus a $200 battery (the old battery has worn out and only holds a 10 minute charge.) But, now I'm up to $780 to repair my computer.

Or . . . I can purchase a new computer for around $600 with all the bells and whistles and the new technology and most current *Word System.

I did my research, and ordered a . . . drum roll please ############

sea shell pink *- - - - , - - - - E 15.5" screen E Series. It weighs five pounds and is amazing. I think the pretty pink color will inspire my muse. Plus, I'm the only girl left in the house--three sons at home, my darling dear, two gigantic boy gold fishies, and two goofy boy doggies. None of them will try to steal my PINK computer.


Sure, go ahead and use flash drives, but remember, flash drives are easily damaged and sometimes fail. What if there's a house fire? One of my good friends copied her novel to a flash drive then put it in a safe place . . . so safe, she can't find it.

You can also email your stories as attachments to a friend. But, now you have to rely on them to create a file and guard your WIP's, and you have to do this often because if your computer crashes, you will have to back to what you last sent them. Also consider that their computer can crash.

You can email your stories and novels to yourself. Again, you must do this on a weekly schedule if you write often so that you will have your recent work to fall back on.

Sometimes you hear grinding of the mysterious innards, not me though. I was forewarned in each of my three computer crashes by the dreaded "blue screen of death." Your computer shuts down on its own and then when it restarts, a blue screen appears with white text that tells about checking this and that. You can still work for awhile, but the shut downs and blue screen appearances get more frequent.

My first computer crash, I had adhered to the practice of emailing stories often to my husband on his office computer so I had a back up.

Before my second crash, I had become complacent, feeling that hard drives crashing were much like lighting strikes, I had been hit once, so I was now safe. Not so. It cost $500 to have a professional service pull my files out of the dead hard drive plus the cost of a new lap top.

This third time, the blue screen of death warned me and I acted. First I contacted my lap top technical service and we tried an online patch. It not only didn't work, but gave the error code 332 - which translated means "hard drive failure." So I contacted a company that extracts files from dead hard drives. The rates have gone up. They wanted from $900 to $3,500, depending on how many pictures and files I needed rescuing. After I picked my mouth and stomach off the floor, I chose to spend the day trying to salvage what I could. I emailed all my files to my, and my husband's office computer once again. I also purchased a 64 GB flash drive for $40 and downloaded all my files and 4,000 pictures. I could have downloaded all of these things in about an hour and half if my computer had been functioning properly. I was actually very lucky that I could get my computer to work for two or three minutes at a time, because it was just enough time to email a group of files before crashing again. This went on for a solid 12 hours, much like labor pains, when my computer finally TOTALLY DIED. I'm lucky once again. I have ALL my files.

Not so lucky about my emails though. I had all my son's two years of mission emails saved in one of my emails. They are GONE as are all the pictures he emailed me. I'll call *email company and see if they can hook me up with their back-up system to retrieve them. If not, my son has the pictures on disc, and I have three binders with all of his emails I printed out each week.

I will now be without a computer for TWO WEEKS. Thank goodness my two college sons have computers along with my husband so I can at least get my three articles written and turned in for the * newpaper I write for, but my writing will be on hold.

This is killing me. I write everyday. I am more of a "pantser" than a plotter (Scottsdale writer, Larry Brooks, would scold me for sure.) However for this next two weeks, I will be a model student and plot. I have several story not written for my Seven Scary Stories book - you know, scary campfire like stories. I'll plot the other three out. I'll plot my latest MG fantasy adventure.

I'm putting this in writing . . . I WILL NEVER LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN. I have researched and am going to set up a back up plan with *- - - - -.


*I was just warned not include commercial messages, so I can't write company names here. Email me if you would like to know.