I've been going through a lot here. So much so that I don't even know where to begin. But I'll do my best...
Monday afternoon I came home to a burglary in progress. Other than being shoved by the perpetrator, I walked away physically unscathed. Emotionally, however, I'm pretty beaten up for several reasons, the biggest of which because it affects my readers.
This thief with his apparent sense of entitlement took a lot of valuables— jewelry and electronics for the most part. Some of the jewelry carries a low dollar value on the street, but great sentimental value for me so that was pretty devastating. But the worst loss, and the one I'm still trying to come to terms with, is my stolen laptops... and all of my manuscripts.
I didn't back them up; a hard lesson learned too late.
I had roughly 11 manuscripts in various stages of completion on those computers. One of those books was a full-length romantic comedy I've been working on for thirteen years tentatively titled Moonshine & Magnolias; it was 3/4 of the way done. Another script, also 3/4 done, was a novella I've been working on called Laverne & Surly, a story I wrote for and dedicated to my friend Kristin Daniels.
The most difficult manuscript to report stolen to you is— was— a short novel that also happened to be the next installment in my Trek serial. It was 2/3 of the way finished and titled No Way Out: Dari.
Nobody knew I was writing Dari's story— not my family, not my friends, not my fans, not my editor, not my therapist— not even my mother. This book was supposed to be a holiday surprise for my readers who have been so patient with me as they waited for the continuation of the serial... and for my friends and family members who I knew would be overjoyed to see proof that panic attacks were no longer dictating (and ruining) my life.
I have been bursting into tears, crying off and on for days.
There is nobody I can blame for this but myself and I am more sorry than you can imagine. I never bothered backing up my work because I never believed this would happen to me. Computers crash, but IT people can fix them and recover the data. My house has high walls and is meticulously locked up whenever I leave. A robbery? Other than on TV I never experienced this in my life clear up until it happened.
Unfortunately, being burglarized has also called into question whether or not I feel my STIFF™ boot camp attendees will be safe living and working here. Until I figure that out, I'm not taking any more deposits for registrations. If the event ends up being canceled, those who have already paid in full will be 100% reimbursed. Otherwise registration will be re-opened and STIFF™ will continue as scheduled. (I'll let you know as soon as I know.)
I am wholeheartedly and genuinely sorry for everything... and I will be in touch soon.