Day 37, In Which I Struggle with my Scanner

My scanner is refusing to cooperate.  But first, your daily treat!  A couple of years ago I wrote the proposal for an off-shoot of the Committee, where burned-out operatives find Sanctuary in a strange house in a rainforest (it was going to be called Sanctuary). Nobody liked it but me (I had about 90 pages) so I put it to one side, and when some friends started Lunch Hour Love Stories and asked me to participate I decided I could turn that proposal into a story.  I took out the Committee references, though I'm not sure why, gave it an ending, cut the body count in half, and ended up with RISK THE NIGHT, which I adore.  I've dropped the price to $.99, and that drop should show up at B&N, iTunes story, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. though that might take some time, but eventually it will be universally available for less than a dollar.  And I have to admit, demure creature that I am, that the story is absolutely steamy beyond belief, and he's a riveting hero.  I don't know -- it was a rainy night in Paris, Edif Piaf was on the stereo.  What else would you do?

I realized I already talked about mistakes I'd made, so I don't need to rehash them.  I'd much rather celebrate the good stuff.   

Bur first, a test.  Let me see if I can make MARRIED TO IT into a downloadable link.  


So that's supposed to work.  We'll see.  And while trying to do this, I may have found my missing scans!   Except that they're not letting me upload.

Well then, let me talk a bit about technology.  My first book was written on a manual typewriter with elite type.  Back then typewriters tended to come in two type faces - elite, which was smaller, and pica, which was bigger.  They had these marvelous new machines (well, starting about ten years earlier) called Selectrics.  They were made by IBM and that had a little rotating ball of letters when you typed, so when you hit Carriage Return (which sent the roll with the paper wrapped around it shooting back over to the left when you'd gotten to the right hand margin) it didn't send anything flying.  The glasses of water I knocked over when I was using a typewriter were legendary.  I lusted after a Selectric -- some of them were a peachy-color -- but I never got one.

By the time I started my second book I'd bought an electric typewriter -- Smith Corona, I think, with a little ink cartridge that you could shoot out and replace with a correction cartridge.  Yes, we had to make corrections back then, and sometimes throw out an entire page when it was messy.  I liked onion skin paper because it was easy to erase, but apparently editors hated it.  Maybe it smudged for them.  It had a nice, crinkly parchment like texture.   I also used something called Copysets, which consisted of a piece of carbon paper already attached to a piece of draft paper.  That way it was easier to type copies than messing with real piece of carbon paper each time - it sped up the process.  Yes, copier machines did exist (in my job at the Rockefeller Foundation our copier was made by A.B. Dick and people used to say we should "dick" something.  Ah, yes.

Anyway, carbon paper was this midnight blue smudgy paper and a royal pain in the butt, but copiers were hugely expensive even into the 1990s.  

I'd type the damned book three times (I got very fast).  I'd type the first draft, making notes on the pages.  Then I'd go through it, mark it up, and type the second draft.  Read through it, made more changes (I usually had to add stuff because I tend to write short) and then did the final, pristine copy, using the carbon-sets as I worked.

By 1983 I got my first computer, a Kay-Pro.  It had two floppies and all sorts of software that I never used.  My brother had already conquered Apples (they just came out with their first Mac around that time) and he walked me through the Kay-Pro.  Which was followed by a Kay-Pro 10 (very fancy, it actually had a 10 MB hard drive!  No, that's not a typo.  It was considered amazing to those of us who'd had to load the operating system each time.)  I was using something called Perfect Writer, while most other people used a program called Wordstar.

Up next was a Leading Edge computer, which probably had its own operating system.  Back then each computer how its own OS and they didn't talk to each other.  There was Commodore and Atari and Osborne - the Kaypro was CPM based, as some others were, but in the end DOS (IBM's format) ruled and it came down to Apple and DOS.

The Leading Edge had its own word processing program, nicknamed LEWP, which always seemed odd.  I got a Leading Edge laptop which was never terribly useful, and during all this, we non Mac users didn't even have a mouse.

Others came along.  Compaqs and IBMs and HPs and lots of Dells.  I adapted to the mouse fairly well when it came along, and I was always up for changing my word processing program (or my computer, each of which would last for about two years.  That's a lot of computers).  I'm just the slightest bit of a techie, so I loved the challenge.

I switched to Macs when Windows switched to Vista.  I'd had so much frustration with my PCs that I simply decided to go for it, and I haven't regretted it.  I was already familiar with Macs because I did troubleshooting for my mother (who used her Mac until she died at 98), so the switch was relatively easy, and I still go back and forth using Richie's new Windows 8 computers.  Computers tend to be logical, except when they're not, and then they're maddening.  But I love them anyway.

I also had an Alpha-smart which never really worked for me, and I've played with Dragon Dictate since the time it cost $700.00.  It works quite well, but it refuses to recognize curse words.  I used Office for Macs, the 2008 version, and it keeps me happy.  I've got my iPad and a keyboard and Pages on there, but I don't like switching between the keyboard and touching the screen.  It just feels odd, and using the virtual keyboard is tiresome, so I keep the iPad for fun and revisions (where I do use the virtual keyboard).

I think it's more of problem of software than hardware that gets me.  But I will persevere, and tomorrow you will get all sorts of interesting scans, and I will tell you The Great Lie I have perpetrated most of my professional life.

So hang in there.  We're almost at the end of this 40 day sojourn.  If anyone has anything they want me to talk about just shoot me an email.  You've probably figured out by now I'll talk about anything.