Welcome to my Writer’s Diary
now updated fortnightly:
August 22nd, 2016
How much time do we waste saving time? Two days I’ve lost this week (and still counting) replacing a fatally sick computer. Not a dead machine, you’ll note, one that could be summarily buried or cremated according to choice (other options are available) but one still showing flickers of life, a machine that tantalises with the hope that some (perhaps most?) of what’s inside can be retrieved. Hours were lost in discovering that weren’t so. The machine pretended to output data but didn’t do so. “At least I’ve saved the Address Book.” But I hadn’t. In a frustrating reverse of the usual computer etiquette, mine pretended “Computer says YES” when it really meant “Computer says No.”
So: onto the internet to compare new machines. (More hours lost.) On to the shop to view. I like to see and touch before I buy – and quite rightly: the machine I’d chosen was, on inspection, less impressive than it had seemed online. I chose another (not too much more expensive) and took it home. I read the instructions. That at least did not take long since, as has become standard with anything remotely complicated, the instruction leaflet (“You wanted a book?”) told me little more than how to turn the machine on.
Joy of joys, an almost instant start-up and Welcome screen – so much faster than the old machine – and “Updates Available.” Should I take them? I had no choice. Within moments the machine began downloading, and continued downloading, during which time, of course, it would let me do nothing else. Then came the parade of Accept/Decline, Press Next, I Agree, and Enter Password boxes, interspersed with worryingly long periods of blank blue screens. Finally all was done. I pressed Restart.
Oh. What happened to that ‘almost instant start-up and Welcome screen’? Gone. Never to be seen again. I had seen the future once but would never again. Start-up was now no faster than on the old machine. At least the beast worked and was panting hungrily for a substantial meal of fresh data – but given the old machine’s reluctance to spew out its contents my store of data was scantily stocked. The main files, yes, and documents (no writer nowadays fails to back up their scribblings) but I’d lost a number of incidental programs, pictures and miscellanea, including that precious Address Book.
But wait, what was this? Microsoft had copied it earlier (When? Was I asked? Did I know?) and had ‘synced’ it onto the new machine. Well, thank you very much but…what else of my supposedly private data had I ‘shared’? In last week’s news the nation worried (or the Press had it that we worried) about GCHQ’s plans to make itself privy to our personal data. “We can’t have that,” we cried (or rather: “You can’t have it”) yet our Internet Service Providers, along with Amazon, Google, Facebook and goodness knows who else have already helped themselves. As has who else?
Back when I started writing, in a distant age you won’t remember, when having a computer in the home seemed as futuristic and unlikely as having jet-packs on our backs and flying through the sky (a much-vaunted prospect in the mid-twentieth century) back then my purple prose would be keyed onto a typewriter. Those machines never went wrong. On the rare occasions you decided to upgrade (once a decade) you had only to slide the new machine into the space occupied by the old, insert new software (aka a blank sheet of paper) and you were set to go. Was that really such an antiquated, cumbersome and inefficient way to live?
Perhaps I should ask the new machine. Google will give me screen after screen of suggested answers. That’ll be another hour wasted.
Each week as I work on my new novel I post a fresh extract from my writer’s diary – mercifully short, you’ll be glad to hear, each piece taking about a minute to read.
Catch up with earlier entries here:
Kindle downloads of all my books can be had direct from Amazon: Russell James page
For ebooks suitable for Sony, Kindle and most readers, find a synopsis of the whole collection by clicking My ebooks at Smashwords
And for KOBO, look here:
(1) Great-Grandmother’s Secrets: Read 5 of my great-grandmother’s wonderful Victorian Romances in a new eBook from Prospero – ludicrously cheap and every story illustrated with original engravings. Take a look.
(2) Or look at my new guide (the only such guide, in fact) to some of the best-value illustrated books ever published! LOOK HERE!
(3) Or enjoy some Mad Music Videos.
And a little earlier . . .
Some of my fairly recent titles – all available from Amazon. They’re astonishingly cheap (or just plain ‘astonishing’). Why not try one?
Stories I Can’t Tell
(an illustrated confessional “by” Maggie King, “with” Russell James)
Here’s something different – very different! – written with the very close co-operation of the fabulous Maggie King. It invites you – and you alone – to sit with Maggie as she shows you the contents of her trunk of theatrical souvenirs. What secrets will you find?
On the eve of World War Two Maggie King has been waiting for me – Russell James – to join her and ghost-write a celebrity memoir. But I’m not there yet; there’s only you and Maggie, just the two of you, in front of a cozy roaring fire. Maggie’s theatrical trunk, you’ll find, is packed with programmes, handbills, letters and photos, both from her own career and that of her parents – Albert and Annie King (‘the Royal Family’), middle-ranking performers in Music Hall and Variety. While you sit with her she recalls the ups and downs of her rackety life, including hits and flops, romance and tragedy, the men who mattered and the man who caused the scandal that blighted her career.
Full details are on the Maggie King book page – “Stories I Can’t Tell”
The Newly Discovered Diaries Of Doctor Kristal
Yes, I’m still writing crime! Here’s a black comedy set in the Swinging Sixties (1963-4) and revealed through the diaries of a doctor – 35 years old and still a virgin – whose curious obsessions drive him to start murdering his patients. Kristal thinks himself immune from any hint of sexual passion – but when there are two beautiful women desperate for his help, isn’t there anything he can do? Read all about it on the DOCTOR KRISTAL page – here
My most autobiographical novel to date, though you might not think it, since it is an up-to-the-minute tragicomedy narrated into an iPhone by Crosby Ravensworth, a 35-year-old executive too busy to scatter his father’s ashes or to sort out the dysfunctional family he has left behind, or even to decide which of the four women in his life he should connect to. But with any luck, he’ll find that even the darkest clouds have silver linings and this could be the beginning of a new life.
To get your copy – for Kindle, Kobo, Nook or whatever – either go to my Amazon page (click HERE ) or, for all non-Kindle formats, jump to my Smashwords page by clicking EXIT 39 instead. To find out more, CLICK HERE and enjoy Exit 39!
– and as there are now several writers called Russell James (how dare they?) you might like to know that the relevant Author’s Page on Amazon is at Russell James
It may be less confusing to check my books at: GoodReads
Most people seem to read me on their Kindle, but you can get my books in all electronic formats including Kindle from Smashwords by clicking here
Have you downloaded from Smashwords before?
It’s very simple, but if you’d like a helping hand, click HERE.
One last reminder of how to get my books:
Most of my books can be found on the Prospero website.
Kindle downloads can be had direct from Amazon: Russell James page
For ebooks suitable for Sony, Kindle and most readers, find a synopsis of the whole collection by clicking My ebooks at Smashwords or find them on the website of your ebook supplier.
And for KOBO, look here:
(On some of these sites you’ll find some upstart authors there as well, each pretending to the Russell James throne. Do not be led astray. Insist on the original!)