Newsletter 2024-01

For ASJA members in
Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington
January 2024

In This Issue

From the Prez, Brand You , M. Carolyn Miller, ASJA PNW President
Data Preservation to Fight Off Depression, Bruce Miller
Member News and Announcements/ASJA National News

Join us for our January meeting!

M. Carolyn Miller is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.


Time: January 17, 2024 01:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Every month on the Third Wednesday   

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 878 9861 2924

January speaker: Connor Talbott
Website Enhancement Essentials: Elevating Your Online Presence
Connor Talbott is a Senior Search Engine Optimizer with Tall Town Design. He has worked with a wide range of clients, helping them to make their websites more profitable by helping them show up higher and more often in Search Engines. This practice is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). 
In his presentation he will be covering some tactics for turning website visitors into clients by improving your website’s User Experience (UX) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

This newsletter publishes the first day of each month and welcomes article submissions and photos. Please email the ASJA PNW Newsletter Editor, Maxine Cass, at

From the President

by M. Carolyn Miller

ASJA PNW Chapter President

Brand You

At our last monthly meeting, we discussed having a brand expert speak to kick off the new year’s marketing efforts. Given that some members are content marketing writers and some are journalists, and some self-publish and others are traditionally published, could an expert speak to all of our needs?

And then one of our members made a statement that changed the conversation, and I paraphrase. (Forgive me, Fred.) “Regardless of what kind of writing we do or how and who publishes our work, we’re the brand,” he said. Could it be that simple?

Of course, I realized later. Our clients, our readers, and our colleagues are in relationship with us because of who we are. The products we produce are an extension of that identity. Yes, large companies use sophisticated strategies, some of which I’ve written about, to produce brand identities. (Think FedEx with its brand slogan, “If it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight…” and Nike with its “Just do it!” mantra.) 

But for writers, it’s not that complicated. Indeed, I only have to look at how I’ve worked with brand over the years, be it the “brand personality” I wrote once about my ideal client (who sounded a lot like me!) or the brand colors I chose for social media because they spoke to me.

The New Year holds a lot of promise, for me at least, and part of that includes coming out of the shadows (gulp) as a writer to claim my space and voice in the larger conversation. Our January speaker (thanks, Bruce!) promises to show me how.

M. Carolyn Miller, MA, spent her career designing narrative- and game-based learning. Today, she consults and writes about narrative in our lives and world, the inextricable link between the two, and the critical role of self-awareness in transforming both.

ASJA PNW Members enjoy Dec. 16th Holiday Party at Howard Baldwin’s in Lake Oswego, Oregon

(l-r) M. Carolyn Miller, Howard Baldwin, Catherine Kolonko, Randy Stapilus, Rosemary Keevil, Michelle Rafter, Bruce Miller. Photo by Doug Hayhurst, Rosemary’s partner, an independent corporate director.

Rosemary Keevil and M. Carolyn Miller

Catherine Kolonko and Bruce Miller

Howard Baldwin and Michelle Rafter

Randy Stapilus and Linda Watkins, his wife, mayor of Carlton, Oregon

British Columbia member, Rosemary Keevil, and her partner, Doug Hayhurst, visited the Jola Café in Southwest Portland, site of the first ASJA PNW chapter meetings in 2018. Photo by Doug Hayhurst.

by Bruce Miller

Data Preservation to Fight Off Depression

In December 2023, I helped a customer with various technical issues. One of those issues was a laptop that had files on it that she wanted. She could not remember her PIN to get into the machine. I eventually took the hard drive out and connected to another computer. This revealed what I had suspected: the driver was encrypted with Microsoft’s BitLocker that encrypts everything–operating system and data–on the drive Windows is installed on. Data is protected and inaccessible without the right credentials. Until my customer recalls the correct PIN, she has lost her data, because she did not have the data backed up.

Years ago at an ASJA conference, I talked with an ASJA member who was not backing up her book chapters. The drive became defective and she lost her entire book and all the associated work.

My neighbor had ALL his travel photos on his hard drive. His computer got infected with a virus. An inexperienced friend did the right thing by reinstalling the operating system. But the friend did not do the right thing by first removing the drive and copying the data. My neighbor lost 100% of all his years of travel photos because he had no backup.

There are plenty of data loss horror stories around. Don’t be another one. I am not one because I practice what I preach. I’ve had no data loss since 2001. Here are some concepts and tips to keep you from being a part of a sad situation.


Backed up data is no good if you can’t retrieve it. You must know from hands-on experience that you can retrieve your backed up data.

One backup destination is not enough. Even cloud backup services have lost data or gone out of business. A common strategy is two local backups and one remote.

Backup media can degrade, so it is good to backup on more than one. USB sticks degrade. CD ROM discs degrade. (I know both from first-hand experience.) Hard drives fail. Use a combination if possible.

Keep all important data in one directory, such as DATA (even in Dropbox), with subdirectories, so you always know where the important data is.


Dropbox has been very useful for me. In addition to syncing files on numerous computers, the paid account also has the ability to reinstate a mistakenly deleted file through the web interface. When my main computer caught fire in 2017, I was up and running the next day on another computer with Dropbox–and no data loss.

On Windows, a simple way to backup is to use the built-in program called Robocopy. One of the features of this program is the preservation of each file’s original time stamps. Regular copy and paste applies the current date and time to each file when copied. This Robocopy command copies and preserves the original date and time:

robocopy.exe e:\ h:\ *.* /E /V /R:1 /W:5 /COPY:DAT /DCOPY:DAT

This command tells Robocopy to copy all files from the E:\ drive to the H:\ drive, including all subdirectories (even empty ones), providing detailed output, retrying once if necessary with a 5-second wait between retries, and copying the data, attributes, and timestamps of both files and directories. This command is best for archiving files.

If you want to keep a mirror backup (to an external USB-connected drive) of your primary data directory use this command:

robocopy C:\Dropbox\data h:\Dropbox\data /MIR /COPY:DT /DCOPY:T

WARNING: The MIR (mirror) switch will delete any files on the destination drive that are not present on the source drive. Robocopy works very fast, so be careful. Practice on empty drives first.

The Robocopy commands must be run from the command line, so open a Command Prompt window to get to the command line. The command prompt allows you to type commands on an input line to execute. (More on the Command Prompt here: .)


I have been using a form of backup for a couple of years. They now have many options. An article on Tom’s Guide includes others:

Seattle resident Bruce Miller likes to keep data and likes to play around with new stuff, the latest being the LM Studio AI engine running on his own computer.

Female California Quail (Callipepla californica) in Gold Hill, Oregon Photo © Maxine Cass

Member News and Announcements

Joanna Nesbit ( is seeking ideas and contacts for future ASJA PNW meeting speakers.

ASJA National News

January 10, 2024, 10:30 am-12:00 pm PT

There’s been a lot of chapter discussion about the ramifications of AI for writing and writers. ASJA will present its first webinar on AI, free for all members (register on the website link in the title above).

“The explosion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) today is disrupting media worldwide. Find out how AI could disrupt your writing and editing career — and what you can do about it (or how you can adapt to coming changes).

ASJA is hosting its first webinar on Artificial Intelligence and its impact on journalists, content providers and authors. Our panel of experts will discuss what AI is, how it works and whether writers and researchers can use the tools effectively to brainstorm, research and outline new ideas.”

The Gathering of the Ghosts, the first-ever national convention of ghostwriters, will meet on Jan. 22, 2024, in New York. Andy Awards winners will be announced.

The Gathering of the Ghosts brings together professional ghostwriters for a day of conversation, education, and celebration of a profession that is expanding and evolving. The meetup takes place at the New York Academy of Medicine in Manhattan; see the full schedule and register here. Discounted rooms are available for convention attendees at three area hotels; see rates and book a room here.


EDITOR: Maxine Cass
PROOFREADER: Catherine Kolonko

*All stories are copyright by their respective writers.
*All photographs and illustrations are copyright by their creative makers.
*All rights are reserved to each of them for their own material.