Monday, August 25, 2014

The Thing About Electronics--Guest Jacqui Jacoby

Five computers, one tablet, three headsets and four phones.

That’s my tally since February 2014.  I crashed them, I burned them, I destroyed them.  I had one that I swear hated my guts.  I think that one was issuing a personal vendetta to cause my suffering.

The first computer to go, I gotta say, that laptop checked out with class.  He told me ahead of time with a message that read something like “I’m sorry, honey.  But I will be crashing every system very shortly. I suggest you commence an emergency back-up of all your files.

My computer knowing son gave me three days to finish the project I was on deadline for.  

The laptop lasted two. I still haven’t gotten to the deadline as technology has it out for me.  However, I did get everything off that sweetie in time then kept the little guy set up on my table so I could walk by every now and then and hit ‘enter’ to see another “I am dead.  Mourn for me,” appear on the screen.

The second computer to go?  The brand new piece of art my husband surprised me with.  Five weeks in, just after the possibility of returning it, I got the blue screen of death.  The thing had been sold to us with a fried hard drive.  The company is still determining how to fix the situation.

Now the tablet … this was personal.  He hated me.  Totally.  When I finally gave up after four weeks of trying to learn it, I pulled all my data off, saving in three places.  When I went to the borrowed lap top (the one I didn’t kill) I found that the tablet had erased all the saved files from my flash drives, except for one.  That file had been rearranged and mangled beyond recognition.  Every sentence from page one on was a new version, not translated from any form of any human language.  

I don’t know what was a better or worse ending of that story.  The file was mangled?  Or the fact when I went back to work on fixing the entire thing—all 562 pages—was gone. Just gone.  I was staring at the blank file thinking the mangling might not have been too bad.

It was about this time my language started to became … shall we say … colorful? 

I got a new phone last winter. It was broken by the time I got home.  I had to send it back and they sent me a new one, which I sent back.  Then they sent me one that like … you know … worked.  Until I got my upgrade four months later.  I kept this one, even though it doesn’t work right, figuring I can teach myself to learn its ‘special’ behavior. I cannot face having to reboot another device and transferring over the data. I changed Suri’s  name to Scottie, gave him a sex change and altered his voice to male.  We get along better now.

The headsets?  I’m so not going there.  The one I ended up with is demonic and does things no headset should do. Like call health professionals without telling me, confusing the doctor’s receptionist … who see my name come up on caller ID.

I am more weeks late on a project due to my agent then I care to admit.  The last time I looked at the calendar it was dangerously behind. She’s cool, though I think a little amused at the photos I keep sending of dead screens to prove I am trying even as another device fails.

There tends to be a universe puzzlement of “what are you doing to them to make them self-destruct …?”

My son says it’s because I am an EMP ( Electric Magnetic Pulse). EMPs are used as weapons to take out the enemy’s defenses.  I’m just a smaller version with devices that come in the box.  Because of this, he says that for Christmas, he’s getting me a fifteenth century monk, complete with ink well and quill who I can dictate my projects to. Son figures I can’t possibly crash that.

Yeah.  Sure.  I’m sure the new guy will be perfectly safe.

I’ll take the monk, weird hair cut and all, as long as I can plug fourteen flash drives into him to save every bit of data there is.  Because as hard as I tried, I lost a ton.  Scenes, chapters, new directions of plot gone from my flash drives but still in my brain. The thought of retyping them all is daunting but a task I know I will undertake.

I read a quote years ago. So long in fact I can’t even credit the source. But something like this: there are two types of people in this world. Those who have lost all their data and those who are getting ready to lose their data ....

My advice?  Back-up to as many sources as you can.  Keep an easy to track naming system of the files so you can get into them quick and check.  I’ve been using two flash drives, one external hard drive and the hard drive on the computer and I lost the entire ending of Book Four, the middle of Book Three as well as multiple copies of the Book One I am supposed to have sent a month ago.

I have a new laptop now.  No, there are no programs on it but one: The Word.  There will be no Google searches or YouTube viewing until I get this file sent.  I am not going to give this contraption an ounce of room in attempting a suicide.  

I will open that file my agents wants, head back over to page one and begin reading it again to make sure no damage was done to this version.

It’s a good story.  I love this story. I so don’t want to read it again for the seventh time in five weeks. Though to be honest, not once have I gotten to The End as all the machines died so soon.  So maybe this time, this time I will push on through and prove to the world I can tackle any electriconics and win. 

With a Vengeance

The more she wanted out, the more they dragged her back in.

Daughter to murdered CIA officers, niece to a deputy director, Jaime Walsh has never known life outside the world of espionage. Until a high-action case in Buenos Aires leaves her gutted. Physically, emotionally…and professionally.

She’d planned for her long-overdue vacation to be a time to rest and reassess. With her longtime partner Stephen not far behind, it’s a tropical paradise away from work. A paradise where boundaries will be tested.

From their training days, Stephen Reid has watched Jaime kick ass while performing what has become his second job—watching her back. But now his feelings have grown.

As best friends look at each other in a new light, they like what they see. And Jaime dreams of a new life outside “the company”.

Except someone from their past won’t be satisfied until Jaime and the man she loves are hunted to the brink of death. Now Jaime must find the strength to trust her heart and let go of her fear. Before she loses everything…

Product Warnings
This book contains world travel with stops in exotic locations, a kick-ass heroine who just wants to be left alone and a sexy hero who can’t seem to stop himself from watching her back. 
Amazon B&N Samhain 

When asked how she got started in writing, Jacqui Jacoby looks a little confused. “Actual writing? You mean like pen to paper?” she wants to know. “Not until about 1989... April in fact. My son was eleven months old, my daughter about three. I’d been out of school for a year and a half and I was going a little batty. So, finally, I began to write down the stories that had been playing in my head.” Back in the 70’s when they still called Junior High, Junior High and not Middle School, Jacqui used to take TV series she liked and rework the characters and plot, maybe kill someone off, add someone new. Today this is called ‘fan fiction’ and is a popular form of Internet entertainment.

But when Starskey & Hutch was still on the air and Shaun Cassidy was the heart throb of the day, it was just sorta weird. “My problem was--and still is, in fact--” says Jacqui, “is that when I work dialogue, my lips move. Sometimes I even talk to myself and use hand gestures and facial expressions. My kids know that when they see me doing this, don’t bother me. But back in the 70’s... it was just strange. Try sitting in gym class with your lips moving and see if everyone around you doesn't move three feet away!"

These days, Jacqui spends five days a week at her computer, creating her stories and writing her articles. “The most fun, though, is the research,” she says. “ I’ve worked with rock bands and spoken to the CIA to get info for books. One of the reasons I’ve been taking martial arts for so many years is because I can’t stand heroines who are weak and sniveling. I don’t mind a hero showing up in the nick of time to save the day, but I want the heroine to be able to take care of herself. Or how about she shows up to save him?! That works for me!” she says.

Currently working on a paranormal set in Hollywood, California, Jacqui spent the first week of October in the LA area, researching the book. “I went to the old Hollywood Memorial Park [now called Hollywood Forever] where Douglas Fairbanks and Rudolph Valentino are buried. My girls were with me so it was a great day out... just me, the daughters and a graveyard!” Jacqui laughs.

A graduate of UCLA, Jacqui currently lives in Northern Arizona. The whole family is studying for their black belts. "I think it was 1998. I decided I wanted to be Xena when I grew up and enrolled myself and my two eldest kids into a local Tae Kwon Do class. Now we all do some form of martial arts."

Does she do it just for the books? No, she admits. She does it because it's fun and the whole family is involved. And there's something cool about beating up inanimate objects after a rough day.

Books, fitness, and family; reading from right to left. That’s how Jacqui likes her life. “I write on a regular schedule because it’s what I have to do to stay fulfilled. I am, however, very aware that my kids won’t always be at home and there will be more time later to put in more pages.”

With the oldest kid heading for college soon and another who isn’t far behind, it’s easy to see where more time will be freeing up. Why not just wait? Why not write when the kids have flown the nest?

“Old or young, my kids need their mom. And I need the time to write in order to stay sane. It’s a matter of balance,” says Jacqui. “I have to balance work with family, with housekeeping, with personal time. Just like a ton of other working mothers. And I love it. I’m happy.”

As far as Jacqui is concerned, that’s all that matters in the great scheme of things. Being happy is what you do every day.


  1. I love this post. I kill everything I touch too. Just not in as timely a manner as you do. ;p Maybe if you get some kind of rubber gloves to block the electric pulses?

    I back up on four different files, two off drive and two on. It's done me a world of good. Except when I forget to update one and open it and freak out. LOL.

    Thanks for visiting!

  2. It's awesome you kept your sense of humor through all that. Thanks for the reminder to back up on several systems.