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A problem has been detected and you have been shut down to prevent damage to your ego.

If this is your first time you've seen this stop error message, restart yourself. If this appears again, follow these steps:

Disable or uninstall any defense mechanisms, brain defragmentation or backup utilities. Check your configurations, and scan for any updated suppression drivers. Run CHKDSK /F to check for brain corruption, and then restart yourself.

Technical information

STOP 0x00000024 (0x00190203, 0x839D72A8, 0xc0000102, 0x00000000)


Anybody out there? I’d actually be surprised if there were. That’s what happens when you abruptly pull the plug, especially when you’re dealing with sophisticated systems. Complete memory wipe. In the aftermath you find yourself faced with one of two choices…rebuilding what you had by piecing together bits and pieces from external storage…or begin anew, breathing fresh life into a previously stagnant existence.

Five months ago I made a big decision, one that I had been building up to weeks prior to that. I decided, for me, it was better to be a non-writer, than a mediocre one. My second novel lay on there on my desk, begging me to complete the promising start I had fashioned, but I lacked the skills to provide the finishing touch it required. I knew there was much more I needed to learn about the craft before I could give it the attention it deserved, but that next level was beyond my reach. This wasn’t a case of the self-doubt that all writers face from time to time, this was more than that. What I faced was a realization of where I was…where I needed to go…and the seemingly impenetrable barrier that separated the two.

Motivation was never the issue, but time was. Working 50 stressful hours a week (mostly dues to new job responsibilities) and a family life thirsty for my attention, forced my writing aspirations to the back burner (deservedly so). At the time I couldn’t see a way to alter my circumstances and every post I uploaded to this blog seemed to mock me. So, I pulled the plug. Actually, I joke about it above, but what happened was similar to a computer shutting down to protect itself. On March 28th I stopped swimming against the current and crawled out of the water. I no longer felt comfortable calling myself a writer.

It’s here I would like to take a moment to thank those of you who sought me out back then, and even times since, making impassioned pleas for me to reconsider. Your emails, Facebook messages, Tweets and blog posts meant more to me than I could ever put into words. Thank you all! Really!!

My departure also upset more than a few people, and for that I’m truly sorry. Note to self, next time you feel like imploding…keep it to yourself. I don’t regret quitting…it was the right decision at the time…but I do regret any hurt feelings it caused.

The good news is the reports of my demise were exaggerated…by me it turns out. So, what has changed that’s allowed me to see myself as a writer once again? First and foremost, the stress that my job imposed on me for so long has mostly lifted. I no longer feel drained and vegetative at the end of the day and have hopes that it will remain that way for some time. I also have to say that not blogging (and all that entails) has proven beneficial. More on that in a minute. Both of those things have allowed me time to map out a more focused strategy for moving forward. My passion for telling stories never really diminished, but now I’m excited about writing again because I’m no longer floundering. I may be a writing midget…but I’m determined to be the tallest midget in every room I enter.

I’ve taken my manuscript through yet another round of revisions and I’m gearing up (seriously…this time) for query wars. My confidence in FALLEN KNIGHT is as strong as ever and it’s time to find an agent that feels the same way. Wish me luck.

But that doesn’t mean this blog is back, at least not in the same way it was before. Remember when I was talking about what to do after you reboot? You can either choose to rebuild by piecing together bits and pieces from remembered habits, or begin anew. I’m actually doing a little of both. I’m choosing to keep those elements that I believe define me as a writer, dropping those that are more about attracting followers, and adding content targeted for newbie’s. That’s not a judgment regarding anybody else’s blog, just what works for me. It means I’ll probably post less frequently and only have time to read the blogs of writers who interact with me here, but I’m back.

I guess this officially marks the beginning of Cruising Altitude 2.0. Sorry for the unexpected turbulence. I’ll do my utmost to keep it level from here on out.



  1. Welcome back!!! So nice to see you and to hear that the job stress has leveled out. I totally understand - the weeks where I work 60+ hours, nothing much gets done on the writing/blogging front either. Real life will always come first. Always. And it should!

    I'm thrilled you'll be entering those query trenches - such an exciting step! Good luck and welcome back :)

  2. HEY!! We missed you! I go through stages like yours too. I took a 2 month break and lost all my frequent commenters--but needed it. GOOD luck with the queries!

  3. Was just about to delete you from my followers list as a dead blog. Nice to see you back!

  4. DL!! Glad you're back with us. Stupid job, sucking the life out of you. But can't keep a winner down forever, right?

  5. Yay. Welcome back. So glad you decided to keep working on your manuscript and take the time to focus on what you needed to focus on. Good luck with query wars.

  6. OMG YOU'RE BACKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK! I'm so excited! I missed you so much!

  7. Lord, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me! SO, SO, glad you are back. Does version 2.0 mean you are seeking followers from every know/unknown galaxy? :)

    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  8. Cool! What a surprise when I saw your comment on Jemi's blog. I thought you were gone forever from blogging. It's good to see you back.

    Tossing It Out

  9. I saw your post a few weeks ago, the day before I left for vacation, and didn't comment.

    But here I am. I'm so glad things have straightened out in the world for you. I've been really praying that Dianne and the guys would make another appearance. I still love that story.

    Just take your time. You know how it is firing up old machines. They billow some smoke, need a few minutes to crank up to full capacity.

    I'm glad you're back.

  10. I'm so glad you're back. I missed you - really. There are few blogs I intentially look to see if anything new is posted and yours was always one of them, because I just enjoyed reading your blog!

    I'll look forward to whenever you can post - it's not like I do it daily (I'm lucky to post once a week!). Do what's right for you. That's all you can do.

    Welcome back!

  11. I love, love, love the name Cruising Altitude 2.0! Seriously, I think you should amend the blog title. New readers don't need to know what it means, but those of us who have known you for a time will smile every time we see it. Not just because it represents your growth as a writer and your return to the craft, but because every writer who is on the genuine journey you've been on has felt the pressures and self-doubts that pushed you to pull the plug. Each person handles those pressures differently, some airing their struggles more publicly than others. But I think one thread that binds creative people to like-minded souls is our frustration when we aren't able to transform the art in our hearts into brilliant form for the world to witness. The early versions are good, but we strive for brilliance; and, the honing process is long, sometimes painful, with moments of ridiculous joy -- making us all addicts of our own emotional roller coasters.

    All this babble is to reiterate what I said at lunch last week. I understand what you've gone through, and I'm so, so, SO glad you've come through it with renewed energy and rekindled passion.

    And, after our email exchange regarding passports for orphans, I did a little Internet research on the subject that led to five and a half hours of hand-cramping scribbles in which a HUGE portion of my new story poured out of my head. It was exhilarating! Thanks!!

    And, the next time you think you are a midget in the room, look up and look down. You'll see you are in very good company, all around. :)))

  12. DL - I'm glad your back and good luck with your querying!

    Life comes first, and you did what you had to do. I love Cruising Altitude 2.0. Wwhat a great reminder that sometimes we all need to take a step back and evaluate what's working and fix what isn't.

  13. great new perspective man!
    don't overdo! :)
    best of luck querying!

  14. Yay! I am SO GLAD you're back, D.L. You've been missed! It's good to hear that life has settled down a bit for you and that you've got your writing game on--good luck entering query wars. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. :-)

  15. I'm so glad you're back in whatever way you choose to be. Both on the blog and in your writing. I enjoy both. Life and work can be a major brain suck, so I'm happy that has eased enough for the gears to get moving again. Yippee!!!

  16. DL, it is absolutely wonderful to see you back :D

    I agree, I think as bloggers we can get very caught up in follower-grabbing, stat-building, and other nice-but-not-essential blog things. I love each and every follower and am very thankful for them but if they all vanished in the morning, I would still blog.

    I'm so glad you're still writing. I'm sure you'll be the excellent writer you want to be, but it's inspirational to see someone who is putting the enjoyment and fulfilment from the process high on his list of 'reasons to keep doing this.' After all, if it isn't ultimately fun (allowing for the fact it will sometimes be hard) why on earth do we do it??

    Welcome back, DL. Regardless of how infrequently you may post I will always, always be delighted to see you pop up.

  17. Hey! Great to have you back!!! And just take it easy--one day at a time. Find a rhythm that works and go with it.

    Here's wishing you all the best of luck w/the MS!!! Geaux, DL~ :o)

  18. holy hell! I almost didn't even SEE this blog post! (i've been super busy and therefore kind of lurky)
    Welcome back! I know exactly what you went through. I wasn't really able to be serious in my own writing life until i got a new job that didn't send me into a horrible depression of hating said job. Once that happened, it was amazing how much easier writing was.
    As for blogging, well, i think i'll always have mixed emotions about it

  19. It's good to see you posting again. Everyone needs a break now and then. Don't kick (boot) yourself for it. Good luck with your query work and finding an agent.

  20. Glad you found your way back to the fold. As you can see by the comments, we've been waiting for you. Yippee for less stress!

  21. We do have to decide what we can do in a 24-hour day. Family first. Job first. Then, from there....

    I've changed a lot of things recently, too, with my blogging. I've just cleaned up my blog roll, and I'm not looking just to "get followers." I'm not looking for quantity. I'm still using blogging for book promotion, but it isn't necessarily the most effective way. But it is a way. I've made some great friends in 16 months, some of whom have bought my memoir. And *I* have bought some bloggers' books, too, and will want to buy some that are coming up.

    Like you, I intend to interact as much as I can with those who interact with me. We can't comment on everyone's blog in a week, but we do what we can.

    Sounds like deep down you're A Writer. Glad you're more relaxed now and can turn back to your book. You're definitely welcomed back to bloggerland!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  22. Hey DL, WELCOME back! Good luck with the query process.

  23. Oh DL, when I saw your comment on my blog I was hoping you'd come back and you have! YAY!!! Welcome back! I'm glad you got the time away you needed. I know how important time away is; I took a month off in the summer for some healing and it made a huge difference. We'll enjoy reading your posts no matter how many or how few. :)

  24. WELCOME BACK! I hope you stay with us and keep the writing alive, on your terms.

  25. I can't believe I missed this!! WELCOME BACK!!! YAAAAAYYYYY!!!

  26. OK I found you from Tamara Heiner's blog, I'm a friend of hers and I've read through the last several posts and I have to say I'm dying to read your novel because I'm loving reading your blog! That may be crazy but I'm relating to everything you've been saying and I love the way you write! Thanks I'll be back visiting again soon I'm sure!

  27. I've totally done that too. You've got to take the time to take care of yourself and your family. The rest comes after. I'm glad you're back in a place where you can blog and write again. If you take time when you need it, you'll always get back to the writing place.
    Welcome back.

  28. I'm SO glad you're back :)

    Best wishes on your querying!!

  29. Loved the "unexpected turbulence" comment! So glad you are back, so sorry it took me a while to notice! A reboot everyonce in a while isn't just healthy, its critical!

  30. Sometimes we need to take a break for awhile to know what it is we truly want. Very happy to see you're back and that you're more enthusiastic about your writing than ever!

    Good luck with your querying, DL!

  31. Welcome back, friend!

    It seems--just like old times--we have lots in common. I too am trying to figure out how to pierce the surface of the blogosphere again these last few days. And I gotta give you props for doing it so effortlessly and with so much joie de vivre.

    Happy as a clam to hear you're pressing on with FK. It is a fine piece of work and one worth querying.

    Looking forward to seeing you round campus more. ;)

  32. *Happy Dance* I'm a little late to the party! So happy that you're back, DL. It's wonderful to hear that you found your passion for your novel and feel like a writer again. It gives me hope because I often have those moments. It's also good to hear that your work stress has subsided.

    I'll never forget when I first started the adventure and found your blog. You continue to inspire me along this journey. So glad you were mentioned on Alex's blog.

    See you around! :)




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