Friday, February 24, 2012

Hemingway's Lost Manuscripts

In 1922, when Ernest Hemingway was a struggling young writer living in Paris, he traveled to Switzerland on an assignment for the Toronto Daily Star.  He arranged for his wife, Hadley, to come from Paris to meet him there.  As he later explained in his memoir, A Moveable Feast:

"...everything I had written was stolen in Hadley's suitcase that time at the Gare de Lyon when she was bringing the manuscripts down to me to Lausanne as a surprise, so I could work on them on our holidays in the mountains.  She had put in the originals, the typescripts and the carbons, all in manila folders." (p. 73)

This was all of Hemingway's fiction to date.  To this point in his career, he hadn't had a single piece of fiction published.  The only two stories that survived were "My Old Man," which was out to an editor at the time, and "Up in Michigan," which he'd buried in a drawer after Gertrude Stein told him it was unpublishable.

As a writer myself, I can only imagine how devastating this must have been.  He'd even gone to the trouble to use carbon paper to make copies, and those were stolen too!  One can only speculate what treasure might have been contained amongst those pages.  As the story goes, Hadley left the suitcase unattended while she was waiting for the train to depart, so that she could go buy a bottle of water.  No doubt the thief would have thrown these "worthless" sheets of paper into the garbage...

It seems that these days the chances of losing one's work are both greater and less than in those times, depending on how careful you are.  I suppose the bottom line is that this story is a reminder to always back up your work.  Hard drives can crash, and for anyone who doesn't backup regularly, the risk is there.

The reason I find myself thinking about this is that I recently signed up for a cloud backup system (Dropbox).  Now my laptop could fall off a 500 foot cliff and all of my files will still be safe.  If Hemingway lived in our day and age, and used a backup service like this, those stories would never have been lost!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Natalia Covers

Wow, I've really been neglecting this blog lately!  Nearly two weeks since my last post.  During that time I've been chipping away at the manuscript of my next novel, Natalia.  I've also created some more covers.  I'm not sold on any of them yet, but I figured I'd throw them up here:

Version 1

Version 2

Version 3

Version 4
I don't feel like I'm quite there yet, but I suppose I'm leaning toward something similar to version 3 or 4.  As usual, any comments or opinions are appreciated!

And in other news, I booked a flight to Portugal, leaving two weeks from today, so I suppose that will give me plenty to blog about when I get over there!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Back in the High Sierra

One nice thing about being a writer is that I have the freedom to work wherever I choose.  At the moment that means Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  I spent six years working here, first as an on-mountain photographer and then a ski and snowboard instructor.  Now I'm back for a month, but this time just to write.  Granted, the snowfall this year has been meager compared to usual, but there's still enough to spend my mornings writing and my afternoons skiing or snowboarding.

Yesterday I got out on my Nordic skis for a trip up around the lakes.  The shot above is of Lake Mamie, with Crystal Crag in the background.  The weather lately has been so nice, it is hard to stay indoors to write!  It's hard to complain too much about that, though.  Especially when my friends in Europe are suffering through such a brutally cold winter.  I'll count my blessings and take advantage of the Spring-like conditions we're having here.  After all, I can always write at night!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I thought I'd mention today that I'm making some good progress on my next novel, Natalia.  For those who read my first two books, this one is a big departure!  No romance this time.  It's more of a drama taking on some serious issues, but with a lot of action and suspense.  Here is the description I'm working on:

"She's an innocent farm girl from the heart of Eastern Europe, but when Natalia Nicolaeva goes in search of a better life, her world is torn apart.  Almost no one is who they seem in this fast-paced suspense and when things go horribly wrong, Natalia learns she must do whatever it takes to survive."

I've also put together some possible covers.  The swirls will disappear if I decide to pay for the image.  I like the layout of Version #1, though I wish the shorts she was wearing weren't so risque.  If anyone has an opinion or preference, please let me know!

Version #1

Version #2
 I'm excited to be nearing the end, but these things always take me longer than I expect.  After the current draft is finished I'll still want to go through the whole thing again start to finish and then have it edited, so I'm hoping at this point to have it ready in 6-8 weeks.  Fingers crossed!  Now I just have to keep at it...