Saturday, December 04, 2010

A Bust/And Hope

The scanner is packed up and ready to be returned on Monday.

But thanks to two writers I have a place to send my books which is very reasonable. I’ll do this after the first.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Why Can't Anything Be Simple?

The scanner arrived.
I bought an extra cable I didn’t need.
Unpacked scanner.
So far it doesn’t seem like this is going to work for me. No wonder it was $50. I thought it said clearly that I could turn documents into Word documents.
Not so far.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So Much for That

A week ago Saturday I started typing a book into the computer and then again on Sunday. All together about 4 hours or so. I got 8 pages of the book done. Unacceptable. I wish I could pay someone else to do it, but I can’t afford it (a dollar a page) and it seems to me that defeats the purpose. I decided to go the scanner route and looked up some services. They charge 150 to 175 a book. Unacceptable. Then I thought I’d look into using my own scanner on my printer which I’d never used. Hours and hours and couldn’t make it work properly. Could hardly make it work at all.
More hours passed looking for a stand alone scanner online. Nothing seemed to take the scan anywhere but into Adobe Acrobat and you couldn’t manipulate the text. Pointless.
I finally realized that the scanner was meant to work with WindowsXP and I have Vista. Dead end. But wait...I have a laptop that runs on XP. I installed the printer software and there it was. I could scan easily. Then I did something (I’ll never know what) that screwed up the whole system on my laptop. You probably know what that means. I had to reformat and reinstall XP. Also had to reinstall the printer software and Word. Hours went by. Finally got a few pages done. There was lots to proof.
The next day (a week of trying and failing had gone by) I woke up and I thought "What am I doing? This is retirement? It’s a frigging drag to do this."
I wrote the books, they were published and some people read them and that’s it. Finished. To do this is taking over my life and I’m only on page 7 of the first book. No, this is not the way I want to spend my time. As we all know, life is short. I want to spend it with my partner and my dog and friends, and I want to read books and see movies. In other words, I want to have a life again.
Even a five year old child can do this, but getting ebooks online is not for me.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Naturally This Would Happen

The next day after my post below I started reading the Amazon instructions to turn my book into an ebook. What? I couldn’t understand them. So I tried the instructions for Smashwords. Same thing. I know I’m not stupid. But here’s the thing: I was coming down with a cold. You know how you can’t think with a cold? That’s what happened. And the cold kept getting worse and worse each day. Today is the first day I can write anything or do anything on my computer. I’m not about to try the instructions until I feel a lot better. This is the nice thing about doing ebooks. I have no deadline.

I’ll be getting back to it soon and if I still can’t understand the instructions I have a friend who has put up 5 or 6 ebooks and she’ll kindly walk me through the process. I’m anxious to get this going.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not Quite Writing

Not writing at all, really. However, I’ve decided to turn some of my published books into eBooks. A friend of mine has done so and is enjoying new sales. Almost everyone knows about Joe Konrath’s experience, but I’m sure I’ll never sell anywhere near what he has.

The first time I thought about doing this it overwhelmed me. You see, I’m going to have to type into my computer any book I want to make an eBook. I never made a backup copy on a CD. Mostly because they didn’t exist in 1984. I backed them up onto floppies and later to the small discs (can’t remember what we called them) and even if I had them I’d have no way to put those into my computer as there’s no slots for them.

My cookbook holder just arrived. No, I’m not going to start cooking. I need the holder to hold my book upright while I type it into Word.

But first I have to read how to format, etc. The first book I’m going to do is A CREATIVE KIND OF KILLER, originally published under my pseudonym, Jack Early. This time the it will say, Sandra Scoppettone writing as Jack Early.

I think I’ll keep writing about this new venture here so you can follow my progress, should there be any. I don’t feel overwhelmed now because what else am I doing?

Tomorrow I’ll begin reading the instructions. I’m not great at following instructions. I taught myself everything about the computer in the 80s. And then I taught myself how to get online. Still, I don’t think I can teach myself how to do this without at least glancing at the instructions.

So wish me luck. I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Are you tired of me waffling about whether I’m going to write again? I am. For the last two years I’ve been in this frame of mind: will I? won’t I? Enough. About a month ago I decided that I won’t. But I didn’t want to post it here and have to take it back until I was sure. I’m sure. That doesn’t include Flash Fiction.

I’ve written my last novel. I can hardly believe it. I’ve been enjoying myself as a retired writer and I’ve told my partner and friends. Yesterday I wrote this in an email to another writer who isn’t really a friend but more than an acquaintance. Once I’d sent it off I began to feel strange. Sad. The sensation was with me all day. I finally realized I was grieving. Retiring from writing was now real. It was one thing to say it to my friends and partner and another to say it to this woman.

You can take it back, you say. No, I can’t. And I don’t want to. I’m doing what I want to do. But I went from the decision to retire to nothing, and that doesn’t compute. After fifty years of turning out plays, screenplays and novels, why would I think I’d have no feelings about this? It’s the way I do everything until something snaps me out of denial. Hey, only a month of denial isn’t bad for me.

I’ve been enjoying hanging out, following blogs, reading books, watching movies and sleeping late. And I will again. After my period of mourning is over. I hope you don’t think I’m being overly dramatic. My identity has always been as a writer and it’s hard to give that up.

I thought about closing this blog down, but now I think I’ll keep it and post about writing and books and movies, etc.

Thanks to all who’ve left me comments over these last three/four years.

Now say it, Sandra.

I’m done.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Reading and Inspiration

Over the weekend I read Laura Lippman’s new book, I’d Know You Anywhere. Besides having a super title, it’s a terrific novel. I don’t review books so I’m not going to write anymore about it. Buy it and see for yourself.

However, while reading it I kept hearkening back to the most recent novel I started. They aren’t anything alike, yet there were echoes for me. Especially in structure and time.

But the most important and surprising thing was that it made me want to write. And it made me want to go back to that book and work on it. I felt a little excitement. The Labor Day holiday is coming up and that’s when I always started writing again if I’d taken off the summer. I think I tried to do this last year. Or was that two years ago? I’m too lazy to look back and see, and it really doesn’t matter.

So here’s the the next day my excitement had fizzled. There was still a little piece of me that thought I might do it. But then I reviewed my life now and realized I like not writing and all the things that come with that.

I’ve written about this before: the schedule. I don’t think I could write a novel without one and I don’t want one. A moment ago when I wrote that last sentence I felt a frisson of fear. I think it was fear. During my career I’ve had many months, and sometimes years, when I couldn’t write. Among other reasons, I think I was afraid then. But I always came out of it and wrote again.

I hadn’t thought that this desire/decision to stop writing was connected to anything like fear. And even now that seems absurd. Still, why one day could I be excited enough by something I’d read to make me want to write and the next day not? It’s a bit suspicious.

And I have no answer.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Is There Hope?

Maybe. On the other hand why am I hoping?
Two days ago I wrote a line and saved it. What for?
It definitely seemed like an opening line.
For what? A story? A novel?
Perhaps it’s simply a line that I like. That’s probably what it is.

Monday, July 05, 2010

R.I.P. Beryl Bainbridge

I Don’t know how many of you recognize her name. Or if you’ve read her. She wasn’t a crime writer. Although a few novels had a crime in them.

She was 77. That’s not a tragedy, I know. The tragedy is that I won’t get to read another novel by her. Okay, that’s not a tragedy either. But it’s sad. She was a wonderful English writer who was nominated 5 times for the Booker prize. She won the Whitbread twice and many other awards. Somewhere along the way she was made a Dame.

There were a few movies made from her books.

Some novels were historical, but most were not. She published 18 altogether. My favorite was Injury Time. I almost never read a book twice but I did this one. It was hilarious. Not all her books were funny.

She seemed to me to be a very quirky person. I remember reading in an interview years ago that there was a bullet hole in a living room wall and she decided to leave it there forever.

So if you haven’t read Bainbridge do yourself a favor and look for her books. I’m sure you can find them at online book sites. I’d be surprised if you could in a bricks and mortar store. But perhaps in a used bookstore or an independent.

Beryl Bainbridge was a unique and superb novelist.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Alive Again

I’ve been avoiding this because my thinking has been so fickle. Most of the time I’m content with my decision to call it quits, but then a snippet of an idea crosses my mind and I think, hmmm, or something more interesting, but then the actual idea of execution slaps me across the face and brings me back to sanity.

How many times have I written in this blog, I will, I won’t, I can, I can’t? So why bother posting that again? I guess I’m doing it to show I’m still alive. Or maybe there’s another reason. I won’t pretend that I know what that is.

I’ve been reading a lot and that always gets me going. "I could do better, I could never be this good." I have this urge to sit down and write a big long novel and do it by not worrying how it’s written or what it’s about. That would come later. I’d start with a character. Now that’s pretty crazy for me who has spent my career learning to use fewer words to tell a story.

So here I am again with a another one of these fleeting dilemmas. Probably tomorrow I won’t care at all. See what I mean? Fickle.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


I remember it like it were yesterday.I was havin my usual breakfast: two eggs over easy, a cup of black coffee, a beer and a shot of Jimmy Beam. You’d a thought the place would be empty this time of day, but it weren’t.Down the end of the long bar was two fellas I’d never laid my eyes on before.

One were small.Could tell by the narrow shoulders.His face was brown from sun and deep lines crossed it like snail tracks. The other Joe were bigger, yellow hair stickin out ever which way from under a black leather cap.

They was givin me the once-over now and again.I thought maybe they was gonna knock over the place, liberate my do-re-mi.

Smaller one of the two slid off his barstool and went over to the juke.He studied it like it were the Bible. Finally, he put his money in the slot and walked back to his seat real slow.I could tell he thought highly of himself.You always know them types cause they give their shoulders a little bounce with every step.

When the song finished a new CD dropped down.Three seconds in I knew it was the Eurythmics and Sweet Dreams.I couldn’t abide that song.And wouldn’t it just be what that little prick would play.Using and abusing.

I thought maybe it was a warning, like I should make my way outta there.But that was stupid.I wasn’t gonna let some coconut-faced midget make me leave my eggs and coffee. I drank my Beam, signaled to Hammy to bring me another. I wasn’t goin nowheres.

Them two was leanin real close, jawin away, makin plans seemed like.Didn’t give a rat’s ass long as it didn’t involve me.I was thinkin bout what I’d do if they pulled some hardware on me, when the door opened and she stepped inside.

Hammy’s place was street level so you didn’t get a bit at a time like coming down some stairs.She come in full like a Kansas tornado.

She was about five foot ten with red hair, wearing a blue dress that winked when she walked.It was cut low and the top of her titties beamed at me as she made her way to the bar.

"Help you, Miss?" Hammy said.

"A beer and a shot of Jack Daniels," she said.

Her voice was husky like you’d expect or wanted it to be.I couldn’t think of nothin to say to her, but then she spoke up.

"You know this town good?" she said.

"Pretty good."My mouth went dry so I took a swig of my beer.

Hammy put down her drinks.She picked up the shot and threw it back, didn’t make no faces or cough.

Her purse was a big black thing and she reached in, pulled out cigarettes,offered me one.Never smoked even as a boy. There were matches on the bar and I lit one up for her.She did that thing that gals do, draw on the cig and raise their eyes up, look into yours. Hers was green. I nearly dropped the match.

She looked around, took in the two clowns at the end of the bar who was staring like they never seen a gal before.When she turned back to me she said, "Can you recommend a place to sleep?"

Thing was I couldn’t.There wasn’t no place this lady would wanna stay. "I think you should go on to Tahoma, two stops down."I looked at my watch."Next bus is in twenty minutes."

"That’s okay, I got a car.What’s so good about Tahoma?"

I chose my words careful."It’s better for a lady."

She smiled. I never seen anything like it. She busted my heart like it was made of paper.

I was getting courageous. "Matter of fact, maybe I should walk you to your car when you leave."

"That bad here?"

"Can be."

"Okay, you can walk me when I’m ready."

I nodded my head like I was saying glad that’s settled.

She took a good swig of beer and ordered another JD.

"Could I ask what you’re doing in these parts?"


I guessed she wasn’t gonna tell me for what, so I didn’t ask no more.But I did ask if she’d found what she was looking for.

"I have."

She downed her JD like it was pop.

"Fact is, when I leave here my search will be over."

I didn’t get that and I must’ve showed it.

"Don’t worry about it, hon.Shall we go?"

"Sure thing."I gave Hammy a signal that I’d be back to pay him, and me and her walked down the length of the bar toward the door.When we was even with the two bozos at the end, she stopped.

"Just a sec."She unzipped that mother of a purse, put her hand in without looking, then quick pulled something out.Didn’t know what it was until I heard the shots and watched the two of them hit the floor.

I stood there shakin, then she turned back to me."See what I mean, hon.I’m not looking anymore."

She dropped the gun into her bag, walked to the door and was gone.I looked back at Hammy who was on the phone, probly callin the cops.Then I looked at the boys on the floor.They each had a neat hole in their foreheads and were dead as road kill.

That’s why I remember it like it were yesterday.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Writing Short

Although I’m not working on a novel, I’ve taken up a Flash Fiction challenge. You can find what it is here: Flash Fiction Spring Challenge .

I enjoyed writing it. I think it was mostly because I knew it was finite. Had I been writing that day's output of a novel I don’t think I would’ve felt the same. I’d know that I’d have to go on and on and on. I can’t handle that anymore. I like going to bed when I wish and getting up when I wish. And other things that go with not writing. I can’t see that changing anytime soon.

At any rate, you’ll find my Flash Fiction here on May 3rd.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Coming Back

Loyal readers don't disappear, please.

I'm going to return very soon.  Thanks to all for hanging in here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

It’s been a month since I’ve posted. How time flies when you’re having fun! I have been, mostly. Although it’s been a snowy, cold winter here.

When last you heard from me I was thinking. I think I’ve thought enough. I finally got a handle on the book I started and was attempting to return to. You know that feeling when it all falls into place? Nothing better.

But here’s the thing: the thought of writing book 20 puts me into a coma. I feel I don’t have the stamina to write another novel. This may not be true but it’s what I feel now. Thinking about 400 pages or so gives me a stomach ache. I don’t want to do it even though I now know how to do it. It’s overwhelming. Yes, I know about one page at a time. Doesn’t help.

Strangely, there’s another side to this. Sometimes when I think about doing that book it feels exciting. But that feeling comes much less than the other.

Please don’t tell me to get another profession. I either write or I don’t. There are no alternatives for me because I don’t want any.

So here I am feeling I don’t want to write that book. But given who I am, that could change. And given who I am it will never change.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Last Day of the Week

Yesterday I made some important changes in the novel and today I finished reading it. I still feel it has potential and I’m eager to start writing on Monday. I know I’ll be anxious by Sunday night, but that’s okay.

For the record I’m still not going to be on my old rigid schedule. I’ll try to be at my desk before 10 and write as long as I can. In case you don’t remember I used to write for 3 or 4 hours. And I will again if it feels okay. Some days it won’t and some days I probably won’t write at all.

There’s no one waiting for this novel so I can do what I feel like doing when I feel like doing it. I don’t recall ever writing this way except when I wrote those 80 pages. One thing I often did was to go to the movies on Friday afternoons. And I still do in a way. I don’t go to a movie theater anymore because that means driving for over an hour. The local one doesn’t have matinees in the winter.

I have an attachment you buy through Netflix called a Roku. As you look for movies on Netflix some of them have a blue tag that say "play" and they’re the ones you can put on your Roku list. And there they sit in your living room waiting for you. Picking two for the afternoon is fun. I’ll do that soon today.

I’m restating a lot of what I’ve written here some time ago. I want to make it clear how I’m going about writing this novel. For instance, I don’t write on weekends. When I’m doing a second draft I write on Saturdays. But that was then and this is now. I have no idea if that’s what I’ll do if I ever finish the first draft of this book.

I’m pleased with my first week. We’ll see how I feel at the end of next week when I’ve actually been writing. Why can’t everything be a second draft? Yes, I know this makes no sense, but doing the second draft is so much more interesting to me. When I first started writing I hated rewriting. Now it’s what I like best.

I had to write a flash fiction piece this week and it occurred to me that it’s a wonderful writing tool. It forces you to learn how to be economical with words. Something I strive for. If you get the opportunity try one.

Okay, it’s 11:46 a.m. and I’m finished with my work day. On to the movies!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

3rd Day

I've read the first half and I feel it has possibilities. I got so little done because I had bureaucratic phone calls to deal with. That can take 5 or 6 hours!

More reading tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Last Day, First Day

When I awoke on Sunday morning I had an enormous anxiety attack. I thought it was Monday. And Monday was the day I’d planned to start writing again. Almost all Sunday I felt depressed.

Later I realized I felt that way because I wasn’t at all excited about writing the YA. I had a title and that was all. What was the point of starting any book like that. Beneath that was the fact that I didn’t want to write a YA, after all. (Sorry ll) I wanted to write my flash fiction piece and go back to the book I started last spring. Suddenly I was excited.

The next day, Monday, was the first day of my writing life in 2010. I felt good when I got up. By the time I got to my desk I was eager. I worked on my flash fiction story and got a first draft. Today I finished it and sent it off.

Tomorrow I’ll read the 80 pages of the novel I started last year. What if I hate it? What if it’s terrible? I don’t know.

I can say this. I feel wonderful having written the flash fiction piece. Nothing makes me feel better than writing. I have bad days when I’m writing but they’re worth all the days I’m not.

I hope I like the book I started, it’ll make my life easier. I have no illusions about selling it but that isn’t the point at this juncture of my life.

Cross your fingers that I like it.