Tell Me What’s Going on*

Writing UpdateFair Warning: This post isn’t going to be, strictly speaking, about crime fiction. So if you’re not interested in what I’ve been doing with my writing, then I am very sorry to disappoint you. Please click on to the next blog on your round and stop back tomorrow.

Oh, you’re still here? Thank you. 🙂    Normally I don’t talk a lot about my writing, but a few people were nice enough to ask how it’s going. So… here goes. I had a serious setback on my writing this year (more on that in a moment), but….. I did it! I really did. I finished my fourth Joel Williams novel just in time for the end of the year – I just made my goal. That one’s for you, Maxine…

So now I have Joel Williams #3 and Joel Williams #4 done. I won’t give chapter and verse about the plots because neither is published yet, so anything about the stories could change. But if you don’t mind me saying, I’m pleased with the stories. Once I’ve gotten beta-readers who can show me where I need to improve #4 (#3 has already been beta-read), I’ll be looking for a publisher for both novels. I’m really happy about that if I may say so. I had the kind of year this past year that wasn’t, shall I say, conducive to a lot of writing, so I was proud I still met my goal. That’s all right though; obstacles are made to be overcome.

And what of my non-fiction book? Those of you who’ve been kind enough to read my blog in the past will know that I had planned out and written a few chapters of a book about crime fiction. Well…that’s where the setback comes in. In April of last year I lost all of my data – including that book – in a hard-drive disaster. Despite all of the efforts of the very highly-skilled and hardworking data retrieval experts I worked with, the non-fiction book is at the moment in small bits and tatters. Want to know what I mean? Take a jigsaw with at least a thousand pieces and separate each piece. Shake them around, dump the pieces on a table and you’ll get a sense of what my non-fiction book looks like at the moment. All of what I wrote is there, but it will take me quite a while to put it all back together. And then there’ll be the matter of adding to it.  I will do that though. That’s one of those long-term projects I will be working on this year. Any king’s horses or king’s men out there? 😉

But all in all I’ve made progress. I don’t go on about it a lot because this is a crime fiction blog more than it is a ‘How is Margot doing on her writing?’ blog. Just to let you know though…. She’s doing OK, thanks. And trust me, next time I have news that I think is interesting enough to post, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, thanks to all of you for your kind support of what I’m trying to do. Your interest and caring mean a lot. Joel Williams appreciates it too. I know. He told me. 😉



*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On.


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48 responses to “Tell Me What’s Going on*

  1. virginiagruver

    Margot, good to hear that you met your goal. Enjoy your blog.

  2. Jan

    Congrats on achieving your goals with books #3 and #4!

  3. Jan

    And good luck with a publisher too.

  4. Oh my, Margot.

    First of all, huge congratulations on completing your novels. I’m full of admiration (especially as I know that this is something I couldn’t do myself). I hope that the revisions go smoothly and that you have publishers queuing up for them both.

    My heart goes out to you on the loss of your non-fiction book. I had a hard- drive failure myself a few months ago and can imagine a little of what you must be feeling. I also know how much hard work a monograph is… I hope that the bits you have stored in your own memory help you piece together those electronic bits you’ve managed to retrieve. A long-term project, but perhaps one that will pick up speed once you’ve got going. I hope so, in any case.

    • Mrs. P. – Thanks very much for the kind words and the good wishes. We’ll see how the revisions/publisher search goes…

      As for the non-fiction book… Yes it was absolutely heartbreaking. My stupid fault too for not doing a more careful job of backing up what I’d done. Lesson learned. I’m sorry your own hard drive gave up the ghost. I’ve the expression that there are two kinds of people: those whose computers have died and those whose computers haven’t died yet. Hopefully you didn’t lose too much. I hope you’re right that my book pieces come together. As you say, it will take time and I’ll probably do it in dribs and drabs as it requires intense concentration. But eventually I will do it. Disheartening but I’m down, not out.

      • Nothing major lost in my case, but always frustrating. I see below that others have made some suggestions for backing up. I was introduced to Dropbox by a friend a little while back, which has worked well for me (though I still back up on memory sticks too…).

        Good luck with the book, which I’d love to hear a bit more about at some point…

  5. Margot, I’m glad your other fiction projects are coming along – and I’m dismayed at your setback in the non-fiction work because of data loss.

    I know it’s closing the barn door after the departure of the horse, but have you thought of going to an online backup service, such as Carbonite? It’s pretty inexpensive (starts at $59/year, which is probably all you need), automatic (the best part) and thorough. I’ve been using it for a couple of years now. I’ve had two computer hard drives die, requiring full computer replacement…but all I had to do when I got the new computer home (and reinstalled the software…ugh…)was pull up Carbonite and let it go to work restoring my data…and didn’t lose a single keystroke from my pretty extensive data files. Just a thought for the future.

    • Les – Thanks for the support. Also thanks for the information about Carbonite. It certainly sounds promising and worth looking into as a way to back up my data. In the meantime, life goes on and that’s just the way things happen at times…

  6. I can’t wait for #3 and #4 of your new books. Please go with a publisher that publishes in e-book format. I’m sorry to hear about your non-fiction book. I can’t wait to read it still. Well, because of my fears of failing hard-drives, I started using google drive. It’s free and secure.

    • Clarissa – Thanks for the support and the well wishes. I most definitely want to have the e-book option so it’ll be something I look for as I look at publishers and they look at my work. Thanks for the info about Google Drive too.

  7. So sorry to hear about the loss of all that data – I’ve never lost anything that big so I can only guess at the sheer frustration. But such good news about the novels – congratulations on that front and I hope you find the energy to put the other book back together again.

    All the best,


    • Sergio – Thanks for the kind words and the support. I’m hoping the books will see the published light of day. As for the non-fiction book, well, one step at a time. It’ll get done though.

  8. Thanks for sharing with all us your achievements and your worries, Margot. I wish you the best of luck on finding a publisher

  9. I am so looking forward to reading the next instalments of Joel’s adventures in crime solving Margot…I shall imagine you having to beat publishers off with a stick in the hopes that positive imagery from half way ’round the planet can have some impact 🙂

    As for the loss of your non-fiction work what can I say? It’s a truly gut wrenching experience. I lost my Masters thesis when it was 90% done so I can appreciate your pain. I can still recall the hopelessness that followed that experience. I hope you can find the time and the will to pull it all together again one day as I’m sure it would be a terrific book, in the interim I’ll just make do with the wonderful resource that your blog has become. If I haven’t said it for a while….thank you for it. Even if I don’t always comment I love reading your posts, most of which send me wandering mentally through my own reading to see what fits your issue of the day. A most rewarding intellectual pursuit.

    I’ll second what someone above said on the issue of backups – Carbonite is well worth its annual fee for peace of mind alone.

    • Bernadette – Why, thank you 🙂 – I can use all of the support, positive imagery and good vibes I can get. Joel appreciates it too. Also thank you so much for the kind words about my blog *blush.* That means so much to me, especially coming from someone whose superb blog I respect as much as I do yours. I will carry that around with me for THOSE DAYS…
      I can imagine how you must have felt about your thesis. Such a horrible feeling isn’t it? But you got through it and so will I. It’ll be a slow, difficult process but that’s just the way it is. Bit by bit I’ll put it together.
      Thanks too for the Carbonite vote. I’m definitely going to look into them. Having this happen once is very much more than enough.

  10. I like that you have shared that with us Margot and I’d see nothing wrong with you popping posts like that in, on a more regular basis. We don’t just come for the post you know. We come for the person. Congratulations on finishing them! Definitely worth celebrating 🙂

  11. Ohhhh no! Not the hard drive! I recently had to have mine wiped and was fortunate to be able to back everything up first, but even so it’s taken hours to get my computer settings, files, bookmarks, etc. back how I like it. I can only imagine what your disaster felt like.

    Even so, you’ve made a lot of progress during the past year and I especially look forward to Joel #3 and 4!

    • Karen – Yes, the hard drive *deep sigh*. It sounds as though you’ve had your own computer frustrations. It’s so annoying isn’t it to have to reset everything, import bookmarks, move files and so on. I hope yours is all set the way you like it now.
      Thanks for the kind words about Joel Williams #3 and #4. I hope it won’t be long until they’re ‘out there.’

  12. Margot: Thanks for the update. I think you should provide them more often. It was interesting to hear about your writing.

    At the office I am always worried about electronic files disappearing. I tend to print out drafts both because I like to revise on paper and to have a copy in case some bad happens with the computer.

    For home I am thinking Carbonite may get a new customer.

    • Bill – Thanks for the kind words. I don’t blame you at all for printing drafts of things. You need to be so very careful about your work files and you’re not the only one who likes to revise on paper. I know lots of people who prefer that. A friend of mine for instance always prints out her online students’ papers and reads them in that form before she sends them feedback.
      And I think you have a good idea about Carbonite. I’m definitely looking into them myself.

  13. kathy d.

    Congratulations on completing books 3 and 4. I look forward to reading them.
    What a bummer about losing your non-fiction book about crime fiction. Perhaps it will take time, but it will all come back to you. I am looking forward to reading this book when it’s reconstructed, and I know it’ll be a very interesting one, and make a contribution to our world of mystery.
    I know nothing about back-up systems. I lost everything about three years ago, then I got a new computer. I haven’t back anything up, but upon reading this post, I may just do that.
    Have a great new year of writing and blogging. It’s all good.

    • Kathy – Thanks for the kind thoughts. I hope the year will go well for you too. And yes I’m hoping Joel Williams #3 and #4 will be out at some point. And as for the non-fiction book, you’re absolutely right. One bit at a time, and I think it really will come back to me. I”m sorry to hear that you lost your hard drive too. I hope it never happens to you again!

  14. Ms. Kinberg, many congratulations on completing the Joel Williams novels and I really hope you find a good publisher for both your books. I am sorry the hard-drive gobbled up your non-fiction work though I am sure you are going to put it back altogether soon and it’s going to look better than it did before. I am quite paranoid about electronic files, especially personal stuff, that I do various things to keep them safe. For instance, as soon as I type out something, even a letter, I send it to my alternate email ID, store it on a pen drive (temporarily), take a print out (if necessary), and copy and paste them on multiple drives on a couple of laptops. That’s going too far, isn’t it?!

    And I agree with Bill: you should write more often about your writing and how you go about it. Look forward to reading some of that in 2013.

    • Prashant – Thanks for the kind words. I hope I’ll find a good publisher. We shall see how it goes. You know, I don’t blame you one bit for being so cautious about your files. You’re wise to have your things in multiple places. That way if something happens to a file you’ve stored in one place, you have it in another. And no worries; I’ll keep you all updated about my writing…

  15. I am glad books 3 and 4 are ready. Hope they find a publisher soon, and one who has international book rights too (or whatever it is that allows some books to come to India, but not all).
    I am so sorry to hear about your hard drive. Easy to be wise in retrospect, but that is such a tragedy when it happens. And putting a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle together a second time, can be almost worse than doing it the first time round. I had my drive die on me too in June, but most of my important stuff is backed up on google-drive, and by a supreme act of coincidence, I had backed up most of my stuff just two weekends back, so between the two, I didn’t lose too much. But losing even one day of work can seem such a tragedy.
    Wishing you a wonderfully productive 2013.

    • Natasha – Thank you 🙂 – on all counts. I’m hoping I get the kind of publisher who can work out good international distribution. In the meantime, I’m so glad you didn’t lose too much when your own hard drive died. You were wise to back your things up on Google-drive and that was good timing that you’d gotten everything backed up not long before it happened. It is frustrating and upsetting, but I like your perspective: it can all be put back together and it’ll be better this time. One step at a time…

  16. I lost everything last year when my laptop was stolen. I now back up religiously but I was absolutely gutted when it happened. So pleased that you have finished books 3 and 4 and I’m looking forward to the crime fic book too!.

    • Sarah – Oh, how horrible that your laptop was stolen!!!! Ugh! I’d have been wrecked too. I don’t blame you for backing things up so often now. A noisome pox on computer thieves. Thanks for the kind words about my books. The crime fic book will be done; it’s just….taking the scenic route…

  17. Congratulations on reaching your goal! Looking forward to those next Joel Williams books. Best wishes with your querying and Happy New Year. 🙂

  18. I concur with Rebecca and Bill: always good to hear about your own work.

    On the vexed subject of backing up (advice on which almost always comes in retrospect), in addition to USB backup, at the end of a session working on my novel, I send the updated draft to myself as an attachment on gmail. This ensures not only that I have a backup copy stored in cyberspace (for free), but if I later want to check something in an earlier draft, I have an online repository when early drafts get saved over on the hard drive.

    As I say, advice in retrospect. But hopefully it means Mark #2 of the non-fiction work will be well protected.

    • Angela – Thanks for your interest :-). I think you have a great idea for making sure that one doesn’t lose one’s work. And you’re right; it’s a handy way too to do revisions too. Thanks for the suggestion. And I hope you’re right about ‘Take 2’ of my non-fic book.

  19. I love to hear how your writing is going!!! So glad you met your goal with 3 & 4 and I am sure they’ll be snapped up soon. And so sorry about your hard-drive mishap. It is a real loss when that happens and I wish that you will find that putting it all back together turns out to be some sort of blessing (not sure how but I do believe there are twists of fate that are more helpful than harmful if you get me). In the mean-time I send you all good vibes and tell you that your comments on my (very inconsistent) blogs of late mean the world to me. Thank you dear person!

    • Jan – Awww… thanks :-). I love finding out how you’re doing too. And I don’t care how inconsistent your posts are; I still learn from them all the time. Thanks also for the good vibes. Let’s hope a good publisher picks them up too. And you know, I agree with you that twists of fate can turn out well, and that good things can come out of them. I totally get you. Here’s hoping 2013 will be a healthy, balanced and peaceful one for you.

  20. A very productive year but sorry about the loss of copy. Very frustrating I am sure. Only happened to me with day job copy, thanks goodness.

    • Patti – Yeah, it was productive despite what happened. Well, I’m doing my best to be sure that it doesn’t happen again! Glad you never lost anything too terribly horrible and permanent.

  21. We had an exciting day taking our cat to the emergency room yesterday, so I was late getting to this post. It is very good to read about your progress on two fiction books, and I can only imagine how devastated you were by the fragmentation of the non fiction book. I will be eager to see it when you get it put back together.

    And, I just received a copy of Publish or Perish in the mail, and will be reading it soon.

    • Tracy – I am so sorry to hear about your cat! I hope all will be well. Hos awful! Thanks so much for your interestg in my writing. That means a lot to me; it really does. And yeah, the non-fcition book news was really grim. But I’m not going to let it stop me.

      • Our cat, Binkster, is elderly, so every time she has problems, it scares us. She is doing OK now, and we are lucky to have a good emergency pet care facility around. Looking forward to reading your book.

        • Tracy – You are lucky. I know what you mean about older pets. I’ve had dogs like that and yes, they do scare one. I’m glad she’s doing OK now.

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