Blog – Eva’s Byte #164: Location, Location, Location!

An Indie author who primarily writes in the genre of Contemporary Women’s fiction with an emphasis on fabricating “lit with grit,” the setting is just as important to me as creating fully-fleshed characters.

My author signature is that of incorporating my native state of Rhode Island as it fits into the parameters of my story via historic events, geographic entities, and regional culture. I’m fond of blurring the lines of demarcation between fact and fiction.

From Underlying Notes (First Printing – 2007; Second Printing – 2009) regarding Artie Dufresne, my reporter for a local news station—there’s a fine line between fact and fiction:

Though the Pulitzer Prize thus far eluded gumshoe, he deserved recognition for denting the surface of corruption in the Ocean State. In the wake of the tragic Station nightclub fire of ’03 in West Warwick, Artie turned up the heat on club owners whose establishments were not in compliance with sprinkler and fire alarm provisions of the state fire codes. He cited several landlords in violation of the lead paint law. A prominent hotel in the capital city earned free publicity after Artie exposed its infestation with bed bugs…

You get the point!

From An Enlightening Quiche (2016) which features an impoverished mill, one of my protagonists—historian, Lindsay Metcalfe, straddles the line between fact and fiction:

The township of Beauchemins, located along the Blackstone River, proved ideal for the development of industrial activity. Descendants of Alphonse Beauchemins who inherited large tracts of land which included water privileges, collectively sold their parcels in 1892 to a partnership who erected a mill by Beauchemins Falls for the purpose of manufacturing travel accessories, aptly named American Voyager Luggage Co., 1893.   The construction of the Blackstone Canal and the advent of rail transportation spurred productivity to such an extent the mill required additional workers. An influx of primarily French-Canadians staffed the mill and took up residence in the newly completed brick village.

*Ever since I watched On the Waterfront during my adolescence, nothing short of “realism” will suffice for books I read, or those I write: lit with grit!

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Blog – Eva’s Byte #163: Full Steam Ahead!

Warning: Mature Subject Matter with explicit content – Sex Scenes

Whether sublime or seductive, romantic or raunchy—it’s my contention as a novelist who writes in the genre of Contemporary Women’s fiction, to include sex scenes. Taking pride in branding my published works as “lit with grit,” fully-fleshed characters and realism define my storytelling.

Full steam ahead!

While making no apologies for the nature of my writing, I respect potential readers who prefer to forego the steam. Hence, I’ll include a disclaimer referencing mature subject matter or content some may find disturbing.

Mind you, I roll with the punch line, “there’s a time and place for everything”— vis-à-vis steam—expressed with finesse and, on occasion—graced with humor.

From Underlying Notes (First Printing – 2007; Second Printing – 2009) as narrated by Carla:

Joe puttered around in the barn, reorganizing his treasure troves of tools on the bench when I came up from behind, put my arms around his middle, and kissed his ear lobes and the back of his neck, dampened with sweat. Turned out, this gesture was the prelude to crude barn sex devoid of sentiment or foreplay, and consummated as I leaned back against the double stacked bags of fertilizer, grass seed, and bird feed.

With bottom outer and undergarments swimming at our ankles, Joe, fueled with high octane, straddled across my arched pelvis and thrust at full throttle in what amounted to a “short-go-round.” He bucked over me as though I were an untamed bronco in a “sudden death” rodeo championship, then sputtered like the prized John Deere tractor in the corner he rode to mow our lawn.

From An Enlightening Quiche (2016) as narrated by Augusta in reference to Gabe:

Time was of the essence—taking our time! Rather than treating our apparel as mutual trappings obstructing intimacy, or flirting with disaster by distorting fabric beyond repair from tugging, wrenching, tearing, and snagging, we transformed the act of disrobing into the sensual art of foreplay. Slowly and deliberately unbuttoning, unhooking, and unzipping, we kissed and stroked each newly revealed cross section before moving on to the next.

Devoid of concealment, we crossed the equator line, nibbling on each other’s lips before plunging the depths of French kissing, a conduit for channeling the conductive and convective flow of heat originating from the plexus of our blood vessels and nerves, radiating outward to sear our flesh from the fever and fervor of wantonness. Locked in position, our rhythmic motion rocked the blanketed turf beneath us, fracturing and fragmenting the landscape of my psyche as the release of sexual tension shook both of us to the core, shifting and displacing any preconceived notions I had about love before or since.

As for incorporating steamy sex scenes in books—“Sex is a part of nature. I go along with nature.” (Marilyn Monroe)

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Blog – Eva’s Byte #162: A Method to the Madness

As part of my creative process for writing, I’m steering clear of anything unethical, while embracing the means of ingenuity as a strategy for justifying the end result of a full-fledged novel.

The method to my madness is the lack of methodology!

 Loose as a goose, I don’t have a set work routine. Generally, I roll up my sleeves in my office at the keyboard during the afternoon, and block off 1- 2 hours. To attempt more is counterproductive as my intellectual output declines. I never set a writing goal for myself because a typical work session may involve exhaustive research. At the expense of being meticulous, I rarely exceed a yield of more than 500 words during a given session.

 Herein lies the ingenuity of my madness:

I’m a “pantster,” composing by the seat of my pants from start to finish, as opposed to adhering to an outline and coming up with character sketches. The windmills of my mind propel the story, whereby the end justifies the means to get there. From past practice, my characters sabotage the ending I have in mind. Believe me, I know better than to question their judgment!

Usually bursts of brilliance for how to best articulate an idea or parlay snatches of dialog overtake me when I’m away from the keyboard doing housework. I immediately turn off the vacuum or abandon my dust cloth to heed my inner voice by scribbling the message on a notebook kept on my desk for this purpose.

Another quirk of mine is to play music conducive for plying my mood to write a scene.

May your method to the madness get you to the finish line of your creative endeavor.

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Blog – Eva’s Byte #161: Inspiration

Last week’s blog delved into the internal fire that ignites one’s intellectual pursuit or artistic flair—in my case, “writing”. As mentioned in my conclusion, one needs more than an innate fire to develop an idea and see it to fruition:

What’s your inspiration?

With time on my hands after retirement, midlife restlessness rekindled my dormant imagination and passion for writing. My inspiration to write my first full-length, Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel, Underlying Notes, sprang from my lifelong addiction to fragrance which incorporated fictionalized accounts of my online participation at forums on perfume sites:

Carla Matteo copes with life by “taking to the bottle”— glass goddesses funneling perfume! During a mid-life renaissance, the juice provides a hook for Carla to find her own niche while the ominous rose note in Paloma Picasso forces her to confront a troubled past.

The inspiration for my second Contemporary, An Enlightening Quiche, took root in the beloved village of Manville, Rhode Island where I began my teaching career at Northern Lincoln Elementary. Rich in history for housing the Manville Mill powered by the Blackstone River, it was the largest textile mill in the country with over 5,000 employees in the 1950s. Massive flooding caused by Hurricane Diane in 1955, and a devastating fire two weeks later, contributed to the mill’s demise.

I reference this in my novel as well as fabricate my own history for Brulé Bookbinding Co., the fictitious bookbinding mill in my story.

I’m also inspired by Manville’s warmth which I attribute to the predominantly French-Canadians who immigrated to the area at the turn of the 20th century, seeking gainful employment in the mill. I had the privilege of teaching their descendants who reflected time-honored values instilled in them by their forbears who were no strangers to hard work. Though the village embraced other ethnicities throughout the ensuing years leading up to my retirement 29 years later, I chose to preserve Manville’s original aura in my book through the fictitious locale of Beauchemins—rife with secrets and scandals.

The inspiration behind my WIP in my signature genre of Contemporary, Aida’s Fishing Ground, originated from the subject of a controversial post I happened to catch on Facebook—should you tell a friend that his/her partner is cheating?

May every dreamer latch onto an idea and develop it to full potential.

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Blog – Eva’s Byte #160: Fire Starters

Whatever your intellectual pursuit or artistic flair, a catalyst must have ignited the fire that burns within—a steady flame or raging inferno, depending on the nature of your beast.

What’s your fire starter?

While there was never a conscious decision on my part to pursue the path of a writer, I developed a fascination with words and turns of phrase when I was a toddler, sitting on my mother’s lap while she read stories to me. One of my favorites—the English fairy tale, “Teeny Tiny”: “Once upon a time there was a teeny-tiny woman who lived in a teeny-tiny house in a teeny-tiny village. Now, one day, this teeny-tiny woman put on her teeny-tiny bonnet, and went out of her teeny-tiny house to take a teeny-tiny walk …”

My mother also taught me to become a proficient typist by the age of nine on my girly-pink Tom Thumb typewriter.

The catalyst for writing my first story occurred when I was twelve years old. A malfunction in the electrical wiring caused our doorbell to ring automatically. This prompted me to compose, “The Mystery of the Midnight Doorbell,” a short story involving secret codes and a smuggling ring.

My overactive imagination soon sparked several mysteries and serial spy thrillers.

In high school, I wrote a romance novella which earned its place on a library shelf. The rigors of college, and the demands placed on a teaching career in elementary education, shelved further creative writing endeavors until I retired from the profession.

With time on my hands, midlife restlessness rekindled my dormant imagination and passion for writing. However, a writer needs more than an innate fire to develop a story in the guise of a novel…

To be continued: Inspiration

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Blog – Eva’s Byte # 159: Outrageous!

A title wave of entitlement sweeps social media!

What a difference a week makes! In last week’s blog, I mentioned how I downsized my involvement with Facebook due to time constraints and lackluster book sales from posting ads. Although the parameters haven’t changed, I’m b-a-c-k to keep abreast of what is trending in the Indie industry, and maintaining ties within the Indie community.

Lo and behold—the latest example of outrageous behavior perpetrated by an Indie author under the nomenclature of “egomania” has surfaced as “Cockygate”: an author registered a trademark for the word “cocky” in book titles.

Without getting into the domino effect the controversy has created—maybe I’m being cocky, but I can’t imagine using that word or any derivative in a book title, let alone claiming it for my brand and impinging on other authors’ freedom to use the word “cocky” if they so choose in their book title.

As with most egomaniacal acts perpetrated against the Indie community at large, there’s a huge backlash against the outrageous originator who ducks under fire and flees the social media scene.

Not the first or last outrageous act wielded by a fellow Indie, most of us are courageous. We’re in it for the long haul, day in and day out, through the thick and thin of book sales. For most, becoming a successful author is based on pride rather than predation. I’m cocksure of it!

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Blog – Eva’s Byte #158: Downsizing

Process of elimination:

This ramble has nothing to do with the sci-fi, comedy-drama of the same title, about people shrinking their bodies to start a new life in an experimental community. It does have to do with downsizing my involvement on Facebook in order to avert short-circuiting my brain which has taken on sensory overload as of late.

I admit to missing the daily interaction with my Indie author friends. However, for all of the mutual ad post shares, and posting in author-promotion groups, I can’t say my time and effort were well-spent for procuring book sales.

Hard-pressed to retreat off the grid entirely, I maintain a daily/weekly on-line presence at the following:

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Right now, it’s all I can do to write the occasional memoir about life’s noteworthy moments, and a weekly blog pertaining to my truth as an Indie author in real time. A writer at heart, I do intend to resume where I left off writing chapter 6 (996 words) in my Contemporary work in progress, Aida’s Fishing Ground.  The characters continue to channel their dialog through me and demand I finish what was started.

We Indies may have an uphill battle, but unless we’re earning a living from “this thing of ours,” we have all the time in the world to tell our story. Selling it is another matter altogether.

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Blog – Eva’s Byte #157: A Jiffy-Fix!

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”

This popular proverb applies to Indie authors by virtue of our trade in a saturated book market. A statistic I’d come across suggests that “at least” one new book is added on Amazon every five minutes, and it’s probably written by an Indie.

The going is tough!

So, the tough Indie gets going, trying to land a book sale. Speaking for myself only—negligible results vis-à-vis author events, book blog tours, paid promo ads, and magazine/blog features. Yet, I never look the gracious gift horse of exposure in the mouth, ever grateful for golden opportunities.

However, I found a jiffy-fix for procuring sales: a book-buying marathon.

Having participated in two marathons at JoL’s Book Buying Club on Facebook, I purchased one book and sold one of my own at the first marathon.  During the second one, I purchased a book, but didn’t sell any.

I also joined author/poet Joanne Van Leerdam’s Pay It Forward marathon hosted on her timeline, where I made two book purchases, and sold one of my own.

An outlay of under $5.00 to buy a fellow Indie’s eBook is a small investment with potential for yielding rippling dividends—namely improving rank for a brief interlude, and reaping reviews.

A book-buying marathon is interactive, immediate, and provides instant gratification for the fleeting moment of a jiffy-fix.

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Blog – Eva’s Byte #156: The Reprieve

What are you priorities?

Leading up to the publication of my Contemporary, An Enlightening Quiche (Sept. 2016), and thereafter, my blogs have pertained to my life as an Indie. Life with all of its ups and downs impacts a writer’s best intention to set aside a chunk of time each day to extract ideas from thin air and compose a story, sentence after sentence.  Hence, it took me nearly 9 years to complete and publish the aforementioned second novel.  If you’ve followed my two previous blogs, you’d know I’d been derailed yet again.

That was then, and this is now—a reprieve, however brief, for my role as caregiver during a lull in transitioning to the next phase. A firm believer in blessings in disguise, the recent setback prompted me to rethink, reassess, readjust, and refuel.

As a result, I’ve redefined my priorities:

I’m engaging in social media again on a limited basis—posting a minimal amount of ads to keep my books visible, sharing, and schmoozing. I’ve curtailed proverbially standing on my head to gain more recognition. My merit badges can speak for themselves! Consequently, I’ll be scarce at upcoming author events, preferring the solitude to write or read.

During my reprieve, I’ve thanked my lucky stars I never started up a newsletter or haven’t tried to figure out Facebook or Amazon ads. Though I’d like to increase book sales, I refuse to become a marketeer, throwing time and money away during the trial-and-error period. Kudos to those diligent in cracking the code and raking in the dough.

Most importantly, I’ve taken advantage of my reprieve to write, advancing along chapter 6 in my WIP without imposing word sanctions or time constraints. Although I’m an Indie author and proud of it, my priority is living large by enjoying the simple pleasures of life and pursuing favorite pastimes away from a desk. The upcoming summer season is too precious to squander.

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Blog – Eva’s Byte #155: The Breakdown Lane

An Indie author who takes writing seriously, I devote time each day feeding the beasts of social media for the purpose of marketing my published works. It’s no secret, Indies must work hard to showcase their work in the hope of attracting potential readers, with no guarantee of a single sale for days or weeks at a time! Yet, the six award badges my Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel merited since its publication in September 2016, provide incentive for me to keep up the momentum…

…Until my role of caregiver took many hairpin turns, prompting me to pull over in the breakdown lane while I get my bearings for dealing with the new norm. As of April 8th, I’d taken a temporary leave of absence from social media except for maintaining my weekly blog, reading, reviewing, and editing.  So I say!

If I’m too spent by the end of the day from physical exertion, the psychological hit, and mental anguish—all bets are off the table. Opening my novel document hasn’t even been a consideration due to the focus required. The remains of the day are usually devoted to anticipating and plotting the following day’s agenda before venturing into uncharted territory. And, crashing!

Meanwhile, I’m mindful of eating healthy and exercising to maintain my strength, stamina, and mental acumen. It’s become increasingly important for me to keep up with housework as a means of dispelling bouts of manic energy, and maintaining order in-house while losing my grip otherwise.

I long for the day when I’ll have just enough peace of mind to open my document and resume writing my next Contemporary from where I left off drafting chapter 6 a couple of weeks ago. That mentioned, I’ve got my eye on easing out of the breakdown lane to merge with traffic and continue the journey I’ve embarked on.

Best wishes to every Indie in triumphing over adversity.


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