Back up your back-ups!

In May 2008, I suffered the nightmare of having my laptop blow up on me. Now, this probably wouldn't have been an issue - apart from the cost of having to buy a new one - but I stupidly hadn't backed up my files. It wasn't merely that I could lose photos and music, it was my books I would have been saying bye-bye to as well. Panic.

Thankfully, my files were retrievable and I learnt a very valuable lesson to back up my work. Call me over-zealous but I do that now on not one, but two external hard drives.

Except, last night, I wanted to access some photos... and both wouldn't work. At all. It wasn't as bad as I originally feared as I found a CD back-up of some of the photos, but I was missing my graduation ceremony and trip to the Caribbean. Thankfully I've managed to retrieve those photos, but it just shows how unreliable flash disks can be.

If you don't want to lose your files, back up your back-ups. You can never have too many copies judging by what happened to me last night!

Has anyone ever suffered a nightmare like this? How many copies do you make of your most important files?

The trouble with speech recognition...

As some of you may recall, I write my first drafts by hand. However, this has one major downside: I then have to type up this draft. Given I hate this, I had the idea of trying speech recognition software because, in theory, it should be quicker for me to read from my notes than it is for me to type up my notes... it's not. I ended up with this A Clockwork Orange style weirdness:

I snap my case nature.

Bottle, time, I burst in non-commitment there, that feeling of more Michael Vinn departments that best is me, sloppiness her. This is a crime punishable by extreme measures, is seen as the last person I detect a hint of love in him like in the girl when he found that she marry his spots, that it was all with profits overwhelmed. Except, I needn’t have treatment by administrative by him and how! I know his punishment will be severe in that ammunition getting his over, doubt she says there’s no love lost between me and him on that ground – space, you will meet thee.

"Go on then, enlighten in, and the pain of different," he says.

I guess this could be useful if I ever decide to make my writing dark, twisted and very odd, but I like happy writing that makes a bit more sense than the above! Looks like I'll have to stick to the pain-staking and horrible task of typing up my drafts myself. Yuck.

Does everyone else write straight onto a computer screen? Or, like me, do you write your drafts by hand? x

Across the Universe

Has anyone seen the film Across the Universe? I am amazed this film escaped my attention back in 2007, but in the UK it was barely released into cinemas which explains why I've only just randomly come across this now.

It's set to songs from The Beatles, and how it opens made me automatically think of Moulin Rouge. It's certainly as colourful and kooky as MR. The choreography and art direction is amazing.

I'm not a fan of The Beatles in their own right (I have the memory of listening to one of their more trippy albums stuck in the middle-of-nowhere in a chateau in France and thinking WTF), but I love the use of their music in the likes of LOVE by Cirque du Soleil, and now in Across the Universe.

Trailer below. Awesome film. This is the sort of all-singing, all-dancing, highly-visual film I would love to pen one day. It's all in my head (and it actually is and has been for a few years now - I can watch it as I would stick on a DVD to watch), I just need to get it down on paper.

Book review: 24 Hours London

Despite not been born there, and currently not living there (boo!), I am a London girl through and through. Which is funny, because the first time I ever stepped foot into Blighty's capital as a child, I HATED the place.

But, London is a place that truly has something for everyone - a true melting pot - as I went on to discover once I'd put my disastrous visit aside. So much so, I thought there would be very little to surprise me when I read Marsha Moore's 24 Hours London - I was wrong.

24 Hours London is different in that it is an around-the-clock guide to what to do in London. Which, when I thought about it, makes it not only the perfect book for me as a London-lover, but also for my characters if, let's say, they are stuck for something to do at 5am. If Arielle had Marsha's book then she might have gone to Breakfast at Egg instead of Piers' house and *that* could have made for an entirely different ending! ;)

The book has the sorts of suggestions that truly are London's best-kept secrets (forget Hamleys, go play at the Playlounge; listen to a free lunchtime lecture at Gresham College, or visit the largest Hindu temple outside of India), and it really shows off the depth and breadth of what London has beyond the known and obvious tourist traps (though these are of course still pretty fabbity to visit!). Written not as a stiff, formal guide, it's easy-to-read, plus includes all relevant details.

Whether it's for a personal trip or as a location tool for making your characters post-Cool Britannia, this book is definitely worth buying.

November - December 2009 Reads

Continuing on from January - April Reads, May - August Reads and September - October Reads, I will be updating this post with what I've read in November and December.

[B] indicates a brand new read
[R] a re-read
[RR] a re-re-read!

250. Microserfs - Douglas Coupland [B]
251. Corpsing - Toby Litt [B]
252. Trespassing - Uzma Aslam Khan [B]
253. Sloppy Firsts - Megan McCafferty [B]
254. Cause Celeb - Helen Fielding [B]
255. English as a Second Language - Megan Crane [B]
256. Second Helpings - Megan McCafferty [B]
257. Blonde Roots - Bernardine Evaristo [B]
258. Barefoot in the Dark - Lynne Barrett-Lee [B]
259. My Father's Notebook - Kader Abdolah [B]
260. Beyond Good and Evil - Friedrich Nietzsche [B]
261. The Giver - Lois Lowry [B]
262. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens [R]
263. Naked in Knightsbridge - Nicky Schmidt [B]
264. Thunderball - Ian Fleming [B]
265. Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut [B]
266. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck [B]
267. Good Girls Don't Have Fangs - Molly Harper [B]
268. Personal Demons - Stacia Kane [B]
269. For Your Eyes Only - Ben MacIntyre [B]
270. The Gift of Rain - Tan Twan Eng [B]
271. Straight on Till Morning - Lynne Barrett-Lee [B]
272. The Cybergypsies - Indra Sinha [B]
273. Airhead - Meg Cabot [B]
274. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury [B]
275. Demon Inside - Stacia Kane [B]
276. This Lullaby - Sarah Dessen [B]
277. The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen [B]
278. The Story of Forgetting - Stefan Merrill Block [B]
279. Luxury - Jessica Ruston [B]
280. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien [RR]
281. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - JK Rowling [RR]
282. Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista - Amy Silver [B]
283. London Fields - Martin Amis [B]
284. Being Nicki - Meg Cabot [B]
285. Godmother: Secret Cinderella Story - Carolyn Turgeon [B]
286. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - JK Rowling [RR]
287. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling [RR]
288. The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing - Melissa Bank [B]
289. Me and Miss M - Jemma Forte [B]
290. The End of Innocence - Moni Mohsin [B]
291. Wives v. Girlfriends - Katie Agnew [B]
292. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris [R]
293. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Rebecca Wells [B]
294. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie [B]
295. The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd [B]
296. Living Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris [R]
297. On Her Majesty's Secret Service - Ian Fleming [B]
298. Club Dead - Charlaine Harris [R]
299. Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson [RR]
300. Private Members - Leonie Fox [B]
301. Passion - Louise Bagshawe [B]
302. Dead to the World - Charlaine Harris [R]
303. Before We Were Thirty - Katie Agnew [B]
304. Dead as a Doornail - Charlaine Harris [R]
305. Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson [B]
306. Definitely Dead - Charlaine Harris [R]
307. Q & A - Vikas Swarup [B]
308. Valley of the Dolls - Jacqueline Susann [B]
309. All Together Dead - Charlaine Harris [R]
310. A Hopeless Romantic - Harriet Evans [B]
311. Fanny Hill - John Cleland [B]
312. Human Traces - Sebastian Faulks [B]
313. Revelation - Bill Napier [B]
314. Insomnia - Stephen King [B]
315. The House - Danielle Steel [B]
316. The Potter's House - Rosie Thomas [B]
317. Belshazzar's Daughter - Barbara Nadel [B]
318. This Year It Will Be Different - Maeve Binchy [B]
319. My Old Man - Amy Sohn [B]
320. Last Chance Saloon - Marian Keyes [R]
321. You Only Live Twice - Ian Fleming [B]

2009 grand total:
321 books
Brand new reads: 265
Second reads: 28
Books read more than twice before: 28


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