Eva’s Byte #190: A Holly Jolly!

Have a holly, jolly Christmas
And in case you didn’t hear
Oh by golly have a holly jolly Christmas
This year

(Lyrics from “A Holly Jolly Christmas” written by Johnny Marks in 1962)

Is the sugar-spun notion of a “holly jolly” Christmas unrealistic?

Before his redemption, Ebenezer Scrooge thought so: “If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart!”

An Indie author who aspires to the assertion, “art imitates life”—I’m inclined to agree.

Although Christmas is an integral part of my Contemporary, An Enlightening Quiche, realism jingles all the way from the perspective of my protagonist, Augusta Bergeron:

A vision of myself as a ghoul from Christmases Yet to Come appeared in the guise of a long-in-the-tooth trollop flicking fried-dyed hair and wearing age-inappropriate, skintight attire tautly stretched over my butt of a joke. A comparable image satirized every night by Cohen at closing time inside the chamber of Chuggers put the fear of God in me.

‘Tis the season to indulge in a reprieve from the doldrums and humdrum. Against my better judgement, I indulge a Hallmark movie from time to time, in willing suspension of disbelief.

Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1270775.Eva_Pasco

Eva Pasco’s Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/evapasco

 

Eva’s Byte #189: Home Sweet Home

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays,
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam,
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze,
For the holidays, you can’t beat home, sweet home.

*From: “(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays”; published: 1954; best-known recordings by Perry Como

The lyrics may hold true for many of us. For some, heading home for the holidays is stressful. Assuming there’s no place like home, where exactly is “home” for the rest of the year?

If home is where the heart is, I feel at home in my native state of Rhode Island which affords me access to the ocean, my favorite place to be. Throughout my childhood and young adulthood, I felt at home in the town of Lincoln. In that regard, I’m glad I preserved details of the past by writing/publishing my nonfiction memoir collection, 100 Wild Mushrooms: Memoirs of the ‘60s (2017).

I never felt at home in South Kingstown where I resided for 15 years because most of that stretch was spent out of town during my teaching career. These days, while my abode is homey, I can’t say I feel at home in the town of East Providence either, a stranger among many who keep to ourselves in an apartment complex.

I’ve come to believe that “home sweet home” is not tied to any particular place. It’s a headspace where we bask in the sunshine as we define it. Until we’re comfortable in our own headspace, books provide an outlet for us to lose and find ourselves while homeward bound.

 Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1270775.Eva_Pasco

Eva Pasco’s Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/evapasco

 

 

Eva’s Byte #188 –So, It’s Almost Christmas

And, “literally”—what have I done before this year is over to benefit the surplus population of the Indie community?

In my capacity as a reader, I completed the 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge: 4 books ahead of schedule, and surpassed my goal to read 25 books:

https://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/11482188

I’ve reviewed every one of these books, and posted my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Authors Den, Google+, Facebook, and BookBub.

In my capacity as an Indie author, I’m participating in two holiday events on social media. In the spirit of the holiday season, I’ve pledged to donate copies of my books:

Indie Advent Calendar Event:

December 23rd – Eva Pasco, featuring An Enlightening Quiche (Contemporary):

*For a chance to win a selection of eBooks every day from December 1st – 25th, you can enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway Contest by answering questions posted on the event page—starting on the 1st, and not before!

https://www.facebook.com/IndieAdventCalendar/

Or: https://www.facebook.com/IndieAdventCalendar/

FYI: Nearly 400 books, and over 35 paperbacks, along with bookmarks, prints, pins, and postcards will be given away. I’ve pledged eBook copies of An Enlightening Quiche.

12 Days of Christmas Book Buying Event (December 13th – 24th):

Readers will buy one Indie book per day for 12 days.

Readers only will post. Authors can list their books in the comments. Each reader will list what type of book(s) they are interested in buying, as well as a preferred price range. One can participate as a reader, author, or both.

https://www.facebook.com/events/278153022841901/

 For prize giveaways, I’ve pledged to donate eBook copies of An Enlightening Quiche and 100 Wild Mushrooms: Memoirs of the ‘60s, along with a print copy of An EQ within the USA.

*Books are ideal holiday gifts for everyone on your shopping list—they’re inexpensive and their stories last a lifetime.

*Books have potential to add light and make the holiday season bright.

 Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1270775.Eva_Pasco

Eva Pasco’s Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/evapasco

 

Eva’s Byte #187: In Gratitude for “Enough”

One who knows firsthand how life can turn on a dime so things are no longer quite the same, I’ve learned to pivot from the notion “this is as good as it gets”.

A pragmatist, cynic, and skeptic rolled into one, I’m grounded in gratitude for the blessings of having “enough”.

Since money is the great enabler, having enough enables me to take care of the bare necessities: paying bills, putting food on the table, filling up the gas tank and maintaining my vehicle.

Without going off the deep end, having enough allows me to indulge in superfluous, simple pleasures I never take for granted: going to breakfast or lunch; having fresh flowers in a vase on my dining room table at all times;  getting my hair styled at the salon.

An Indie author who dreams of becoming a best-seller, it’s enough for me to sell a book every now and then. I’m filled with pride and gratitude for each merit badge my books have earned for their literary merit.

Retired, I’m grateful for having enough time to ply my creativity to white space for my work in progress to grow in spurts. As for my imagination—I’ve more than enough to further this novel in the genre of Contemporary to the end.

Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1270775.Eva_Pasco

Eva Pasco’s Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/evapasco

Eva’s Byte #186: A Writer’s Wrinkle Z-app-er!

An Indie author who foregoes the latest “editing” tools, preferring to rely on my own analytic powers, I came across the grandmaster of editing apps the other day.

http://blog.bookbaby.com/2018/07/how-an-editing-app-can-increase-writing-productivity/

“More than just a grammar and punctuation checker, it’s also a writing coach that can point out your weaknesses and help you turn them into strengths”—such as—and, I’m slapping myself silly:

“The editing tool reports on issues that most human editors wouldn’t be able to easily track, such as readability level, inconsistencies, sticky sentences, sentence length, repetition, strong or weak tenses, unique words, transitions, and much more.”

And, the issue of “pronoun overload”. Brought out: 15% of the words in published writing are pronouns, and fewer than 30% of sentences begin with an initial pronoun. Since writing that relies too heavily on pronouns can sound stilted, the editing tool shows if your work has higher percentages than these.

Mind you, I don’t doubt the effectiveness of any “writer’s wrinkle z-app-er”. However, like Botox, heavy reliance can induce “stiffness of sentence” and detract from the writer’s unique voice.

In that regard, I’ll continue to exercise my own critical judgment in assessing the effectiveness of grammar, punctuation, and use of pronouns. Steering clear of artificial intelligence, I’ll persevere by writing and editing without intervention.

 Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1270775.Eva_Pasco

Eva Pasco’s Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/evapasco

 

Eva’s Byte #185: Power of Persuasion

An indie author, I expend a minimal amount of energy on marketing and promoting my books, refusing to analyze and strategize Facebook or Amazon ads. It’s a costly exercise by trial and error. Even after reading the scant stories of successful authors who’ve discovered their successful algorithm to earn a lucrative living from writing, I’m not impressed or enticed in the least.

Of sound mind—a dubious claim, I didn’t sign up for becoming an expert in marketing analysis. I’m a writer who firmly believes “word of mouth” is a published author’s best marketing tool for persuading readers to take a leap of faith in purchasing a book.

And, so—whenever possible, I incorporate a snippet from a reader’s review in the ads I create:

Add text to photos – https://picfont.com/

This indispensable marketing tool enables me to compose ads for each of my books, like the one you see in the featured image. Prepped the evening before, I post such an ad in various promo groups on Facebook.

As to their power of persuasion, my burden of proof reverts to the number of Booklinker URL clicks which automatically take potential readers to the Amazon storefront. Hence, it’s catch as catch can.

I’m not faring any better, or any worse, had I heeded a snippet of the marketing advice floating around. As I’ve learned the hard way, failure comes at a price, with little to nothing gained from my own expense. Namely, the revenue from book sales.

*Yet, a picture with testimony has potential for motivating the beholder to take action.

Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1270775.Eva_Pasco

Eva Pasco’s Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/evapasco

 

Eva’s Byte #184: Nom de Plume

Why do published authors choose to assume a pen name or pseudonym?

There are various reasons, and mine certainly has nothing to do with insulating myself from “aggressive fans stalking me”. My anonymity is intact wheeling a shopping cart at the supermarket in my own neighborhood.

Even as an aspiring writer ten years ago, before realizing how difficult it would be for an Indie author to rise above the ashes of obscurity, I had made the conscious decision to take a nom de plume. One who values privacy, I like the separation between my personal and professional life.

Oh, I’ll admit to conjuring up a pseudonym indicative of a romance writer—which I’m not, preferring to write in the genre of Contemporary where I include romance amidst weightier issues. Ready? Halo Rhodes.  “Halo” was part of the user name I maintained at a perfume forum. “Rhodes” represented my native state of Rhode Island.

In keeping with the realistic “lit with grit” I write, eventually I came to my senses and assumed a pen name based on the emotional consideration of honoring my parents—that of Eva Pasco.

On every Acknowledgement Page, I pay them homage:

As always, heartfelt thanks to:

My mother and namesake, Eva, for her unwavering faith and pride in my literary accomplishments cultivated by reading stories to me when I was a toddler.

My late father and namesake, Pasco, for the independent streak he instilled in me.

 

*To assume or not to assume a nom de plume, is the writer’s prerogative.

 

Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1270775.Eva_Pasco

Eva Pasco’s Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/evapasco

Eva’s Byte #183: Resilience!

On October 23, 2018, a tornado made its touchdown in my childhood neighborhood, less than a half-mile from my former home on Angell Rd. in Lincoln, Rhode Island. One of the newer plats off of Angell, on Riata Dr., sustained downed power lines, uprooted trees, shorn roofs, and weighty windblown debris strewn helter-skelter. Miraculously, no one was injured by a tornado that gave little warning for preparation when it approached.

So, how does this tie in with my weekly blog which primarily relates to writing?

An Indie author who strives to make a touchdown—scoring readers and reviews for my published novels—over the years I’ve expanded my writing repertoire to increase my likelihood of gaining more contacts. In that vein, I’ve written memoirs, essays pertaining to Rhode Island, and recollections of the Sixties.

Of all the many important universal themes conveyed in literature, my novels included, “resilience” strikes a chord with readers. Due to the unprecedented tornado which occurred after I’d written my latest memoir published on my web page at Authors Den, it’s the perfect fit for this week’s blog.

On that note, an excerpt from “Still Standing”:

Standing strong against time…

The three stone walls my father built at the edge of our front lawn nearly 60 years ago!

In 1962, my father built three stone walls at the edge of our front lawn, not so much for a boundary line, though they certainly contained and defined our property. But, rather to serve as retaining walls to obstruct the devastating effects of run-off and erosion that accompanied heavy downpours. A part-time project my father engaged in after work and during weekends, this summer endeavor stretched into autumn. His venture evolved into an obsession which recruited the labor force of my mother, sister, and me to gather stones.

As of today, those three stone walls still hold their ground, resilient, for having withstood the pummeling of hurricanes, blizzards, and a tornado that touched down on Angell Rd., October 23, 2018.

Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1270775.Eva_Pasco

Eva Pasco’s Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/evapasco

 

Eva’s Byte #182: The Horror of Self-Revelation!

The celebration of Halloween nears, festooned with the likes of costume parties, carving pumpkins, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, watching horror films, and telling scary stories.

Personally, I embrace the element of “horror” all year long. More preferable to me than slashers, growlers, or biters—the psychological horror of self-revelation.

An Indie author who writes “lit with grit” in my primary genre of Contemporary, I expose the emotional vulnerabilities and fears of my characters by revealing the darker parts of their human psyche they’ve either repressed or denied.

I take perverse pleasure in creating discomfort or dread through artistic realism:

From Chapter 15, Underlying Notes ((First Printing – 2007; Second Printing – 2009; available: Kindle Edition @Amazon) :

Carla: This marked the end of the worn trail I had advanced and retreated on over the years, too fearful to pass beyond that point into the untamed wilderness that was booby trapped with prickles and thorns. Mindlessly fanning pages of a magazine induced a hypnotic state empowering thistles, blackberry bushes, and wild roses to unleash their fury and stake their claim by tearing at my flesh as I forged past them. The devil’s fetid breath tainted the rose note in Paloma Picasso so she no longer wafted nostalgic enchantment, but spiraled into the nightmarish twist of cloying entrapment. Underlying notes of patchouli and oakmoss flanked the fickle rose, intimidating her to convey the ripe earthiness of a freshly hollowed grave.

I brushed aside tree branches that had shielded me from the vacant stare of death and gingerly made my way past protruding tree roots and ruts along the unmarked trail to that cabin in the woods numbered 237—my father’s barbershop. Just as I willed myself to turn the handle to open the Fury’s door back then, I would summon the courage to do so again surrealistically…

 *What are your preferences in the genre of horror?

 Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1270775.Eva_Pasco

Eva Pasco’s Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/evapasco

Eva’s Byte #181: Late Bloomer!

Better late than never!

‘Tis better to have written and published, than never to have done so at all.

 George Eliot didn’t publish Middlemarch until she was 52.

Laura Ingalls Wilder, best known for her Little House series, first published in her mid-sixties.

Mary Wesley published her first novel, Jumping the Queue, in her early seventies.

Harriet Doerr published her first novel, Stones for Ibarra, at the age of 73.

You might be thinking to yourself that you’ve never heard of the latter two authors.  Well, not many have heard of me either.  It doesn’t diminish achievement.

I published my first novel, Underlying Notes, when I was 58.

The reasons for starting a writing career later in life are diverse as the stories we tell. Here’s mine:

At the age of twelve, I pounded chapter stories in the genres of mystery and espionage, replete with dialogue, on my girly-pink Tom Thumb typewriter. 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 rewarding teaching career, shelved further creative writing ambitions until I retired from the profession.

No lines of defense are needed for justifying late bloomers who embark on new career paths later in life. For the milieu of writing, the wisdom acquired from having paid the consequences enriches our stories. Hence, my novels are descriptive, introspective, and explore the gamut of inner conflicts: convention vs. rebellion; fate vs. free will; loyalty vs. betrayal; unbridled love vs. sacrifice; death–inevitable or tragic?

*Fill in the blank:

‘Tis better to have _______________, than never to have done so at all.

 

Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1270775.Eva_Pasco

Eva Pasco’s Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/evapasco