Blog – Eva’s Byte #121: A Rave Review

Just prior to and since the publication of my second Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel—An Enlightening Quiche (September 20, 2016), my blogs starting from #45 (Letting Go) – #120 (WIP!) pertain to aspects of my life as an Indie author.  Not so with #121, a departure, whose title actually refers to the 5-Star rating I’ve allocated for vacation time spent with my mother and sister this week.

Pacific meets Atlantic Coast!

Highlighting a few of our favorite pastimes:

Monday

We hit the ground running by embarking on a girls’ day out which entailed hunting down bargains at Burlington, an off-price retailer. Afterward, we enjoyed a lavish lunch at our favorite restaurant, The Old Grist Mill Tavern, where we dined by a window overlooking the waterfall on Burr’s Pond which pours into the Runnins’ River. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that my mother and sister ordered baked stuffed shrimp for their main entrée, and I opted for lobster sauté.

In keeping with our follow-up tradition, we stepped inside Vinny’s Antiques, just next door, and wandered amidst all the nooks and crannies of yesteryear.

We capped off the afternoon by browsing the aisles of Marshalls.

 Tuesday

In the aftermath of enjoying lunch at Chelo’s on the Waterfront in East Greenwich, the three of us made our own way aboard a high-speed, sightseeing catamaran for a 90-minute, narrated, lighthouse tour viewing 60 miles of coastline. We cruised by ten lighthouses along Narragansett Bay, sailing under the Jamestown and Newport Bridges.

Back on land, we dug into ice cream sundaes at Newport Creamery. There are currently 12 of them—10 in Rhode Island and 2 in Massachusetts.

Wednesday

Having saved money by splurging on bargains at Burlington and Marshalls earlier in the week, we made a pit stop at the upscale Garden City Center in Cranston and browsed inside Ann Taylor, L.L. Bean, and Talbots. We enjoyed a sumptuous lunch at the largest independent dining operation in Rhode Island, and ranked number 66 in the United States—Twin Oaks, overlooking Spectacle Lake. Worthy of mentioning, the rice pudding and tapioca pudding my mother, sister, and I had for dessert.

 Thursday

Before saying our final farewells, we ate breakfast at The Modern Diner, a red-and-cream-colored Sterling Streamliner shaped like a locomotive. The first diner to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located in Pawtucket.

After we hugged good-bye, my sister’s parting comment resurrected a memory preserved in a photo taken during the summer of 2013—“Let’s continue to maintain what we have moving forward!”

Eva Pasco’s Websites:

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/EvaPasco

Eva’s Novels at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Eva-Pasco/e/B00HWMLHL0

Blog – Eva’s Byte #120: WIP!

With a little help from my friends!

Fellow Indie Fab author, Joanne Van Leerdam, made the suggestion. It was “huzzahed” by the other Fab authors: Lyra Shanti, Aliya DalRae, JB Richards, and R.M. Gauthier.

That suggestion? Compile all 100 of my Sixties Memoirs into an eBook!

This turned out to be an offer I couldn’t refuse because I see this project as passing on a legacy of family memories to my grandnephew who lives on the opposite west coast. My sister, his grandmother, is also keen on the idea because he enjoys listening to her relate stories about her childhood. The collection will enable him to get a glimpse of a maternal great grandfather he never met. The endeavor of dredging dormant memories of my childhood and adolescence enabled me to relive the past and celebrate the spirit of my father who passed from this life too soon.
 

The beginning:

After the publication of my first Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel Underlying Notes (2007), I sought ways to market and promote it. Because there are elements of the Sixties scattered throughout, I composed and submitted a Memoir to The Sixties Official Site. Webmaster, Carl Hoffman, graciously suggested I become a regular contributor, offering me a featured page on the site. I did just that, and cruised along writing ninety-nine more, along with numerous Retro Flashbacks.

http://the60sofficialsite.com/The-Sixties-With-Eva-Pasco.html 

My first Memoir—A Mini Tribute to Twiggy

Twiggy allowed me to become a trendsetter my freshman year of high school. “The Face of 66″—that’s what London’s Daily Express called Leslie Hornby (Twiggy) at the age of 16. Skinny, waiflike, hair chopped into a boyish cut, the modish ingénue became the world’s first supermodel, and at the same time, my heroic icon.

Twiggy allowed me to become a trendsetter my freshman year of high school. While most of my teen peers were ironing their long hair straight after the Beatles made landfall in America, it became Greaser passé for me to backcomb or rat tease my hair to dizzying heights. While most girls my age developed curves and began to veer into the fast lane, I was rake thin and bookish. Kids in my homeroom affectionately called me “Skinny Bones” or “The Brain.”

Twiggy’s debut on the model runway put everything in perspective for me. Suddenly, I transformed into one of the cutest kids in ninth grade sporting my new chic Vidal Sassoon haircut with a peek-a-boo wave, and showing off my fawn legs in fishnet stockings as I sashayed down the classroom aisles in miniskirts.

Today, Twiggy Lawson still offers us Sixties Chicks inspiration with her ethereal beauty, chic manner of dress, and super achievements through acting and singing. Twiggy herself is quoted as saying, “The Sixties were a time when ordinary people could do extraordinary things.”

Working in earnest to get these Memoirs road ready for eBook publication, I’ve rounded up 41 thus far. Huzzah!

Eva Pasco’s Websites:

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/EvaPasco

Eva’s Novels at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Eva-Pasco/e/B00HWMLHL0

Blog – Eva’s Byte #119: The Pigeonhole

One Indie author among many who promotes in public forums, I strive for unique engaging ads with potential to garner clicks on my universal Amazon book link. This link enables me to gage its effectiveness on any given day.  If coming up with an original ad for one’s book isn’t challenging enough, I also find it necessary to distinguish my book in the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction apart from “Chick Lit”.

It’s a fine line because Chick Lit is genre fiction which consists of heroine-centered narratives focusing on the trials and tribulations of its female protagonists. The genre often addresses issues of contemporary women from romantic relationships to female friendships.

That fine line? Written in humorous and lighthearted ways.

While the female protagonists/narratives in An Enlightening Quiche—town siren, Augusta Bergeron—and historian, Lindsay Metcalfe, may interject sardonic humor, the story they weave is anything but lighthearted.

The Chick Lit pigeonhole itself conjures images of fluff and frivolity with book cover images of cocktail glasses, designer handbags, and stilettos. Whereas, Contemporary Women’s Fiction seriously tackles the hopes, fears, and dreams of females.  In my book—they’re flawed, feisty and over 40 years of age!

I like to classify my Contemporary Women’s Fiction as “Lit with Grit” or “Fiction with Conviction” because my novel embraces realism and portrays women who grapple with, confront, and overcome their personal dilemmas to become empowered in making profound life changes for the better. My novel is descriptive, introspective, and explores the gamut of inner conflicts: convention vs. rebellion; fate vs. free will; loyalty vs. betrayal; unbridled love vs. sacrifice; death–inevitable or tragic?

That mentioned, at Amazon, my book is listed under:

Women’s Fiction > Friendship

Women’s Fiction > Contemporary Women

Romance > Contemporary

http://mybook.to/AnEQuiche

Perchance, the book blurb and reviews will entice you to acquire “Lit with Grit”!

 

 

Memoir: Another Year in Passing

This year marks the 51st anniversary of my father’s passing from a coronary thrombosis at the age of 38 on July 23, 1966.  Doing a little more math on the subject—widowed at 35, my mother became a single parent to my daredevil of an 8-year-old sister, and my bookish 15-year-old self.  My father instilled in each of us the importance of independence and fending for ourselves. His sudden death tested our mettle through baptism by fire.

Prime example of a hardworking blue-collar American, my father nailed down two jobs: Master welder for Teknor Apex by day; gas jockey by night for a friend who owned a Texaco service station. Though my parents pinched pennies to pay their bills, they had achieved their dream of acquiring a custom-built ranch house with a breezeway and two-car garage on an acre of land. For all intents and purposes, my sister and I lived high on the hog without being mollycoddled or spoiled rotten. My fond recollections of growing up during the Sixties are preserved in the 100 Memoirs I’d written and published at the Den.

In my dad’s spare time he’d restore A-Model Fords (1927 – 1931) for resale. Also, appreciating a valuable antique when he happened to come across one, my father lucked out the day he accompanied his uncle, a self-taught architect and builder, to a demolition site in one of Providence’s old-moneyed neighborhoods.  There to help his uncle salvage wood, my father espied a Victorian “side by side” secretary desk and bookcase whose likeness is accurately captured in the photo. Imagine something that beautiful discarded like a piece of worthless trash amidst all the ground rubble!

My father loaded it on the truck to bring home. Carved of solid oak in 1900 or so, he ended up stripping the wood and staining this unique piece in mahogany at my mother’s behest so it would match our furniture. I am in possession of it now. Its door locks and keys still work.  The beveled mirror and the wavy glass in the door are original.  The adjustable shelves showcase my memorabilia.  I’ve stored copies of my novels in a couple of the tiny cubicles.

As time marches on with another year in passing, it becomes increasingly important for me to establish a future home for my father’s handiwork with a family descendant. Like the man who restored a piece of furniture to its former lustre—it harbors the timber of an original!

Eva Pasco’s Websites:

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/EvaPasco

Eva’s Novels at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Eva-Pasco/e/B00HWMLHL0

Memoir – Red, White, and Blue: Berries

Thrills and spills on Blueberry Hill…

The Sixties were an idyllic time when you were more apt than not to sit down to family dinner spread over a red-and- white checkered tablecloth, feasting on a sumptuous repast of Southern fried chicken, corn on the cob, and mashed potatoes smothered in giblet gravy, followed by Mom’s homemade dessert.

Perchance, blueberry pie.

Our Americana red, white, and blue way of life couldn’t have foreseen what was barreling down the two-lanes at breakneck speed: microwaveable meals, SPF lotions, recycling, blood borne pathogens, click-it or ticket, smoking ordinances, merlot-to-go, sports on steroids, voyeuristic reality shows, bottled water for sale, precautionary latex gloves, the demise of Chrysler and GM. And, the beat goes on.

One of my favorite nostalgic memories is that of finding my thrill on Blueberry Hill across the street from my childhood home. Before my sparsely settled neighborhood developed into a suburb, the vast woodland across the way beckoned for blueberry picking.

My mother and I often set out for the woods with our empty buckets in gleeful anticipation of the blueberry pies she would bake when we returned.

Twigs snapped and leaves rustled under our PF Flyers, one of the largest sneaker brands in Sixties America. Unmindful of sunburn, mosquito bites, bee stings, poison ivy, or Lyme disease carrying deer ticks hitching a ride on our bare skin, we ventured up an incline in the woods where bushes hunkered for the picking.

Those blueberry pies had to be the tastiest with just the right amount of sweetness, flaky crust, and juiciness in every bite with no afterthoughts of processed sugar or saturated fats.

Most good things come to an end as did our treks on Blueberry Hill when construction of the house across the street trampled and tampered with Mother Nature’s bounty, except our hill which was no longer a public domain. 

Hurrah for the RED, WHITE, and BLUE: berries along with so many other traditions and pastimes Americans hold dear that do not entail an out-of-pocket expense: picnics, parks, parades, and puttering.

Eva Pasco’s Websites:

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/EvaPasco

Eva’s Novels at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Eva-Pasco/e/B00HWMLHL0

Blog – Eva’s Byte #12: The Keeper

Originally published July 18, 2015, coinciding with my sister’s summer visit.

One of my family’s time-honored traditions when my sister comes home to visit is that of having lunch at The Old Grist Mill in Seekonk, Massachusetts. Afterward, my mother, sister, and I invariably head next door to Vinny’s Antiques, a haven for junque spelunkers. The spacious center features the wares of over 200 dealers spread throughout two floors with little room to spare: estate jewelry, furniture, vintage clothing, glassware, and collectibles.

For years, to no avail, I have scanned the contents of every jewelry display case looking for a poison ring, and preferably one that’s bold. Mind you, the hidden wells of so-called “poison rings” can be used to hold pictures, locks of hair, pills, perfume wax, or sentimental relics.

Disappointed, yet determined to make our visit to Vinny’s worth my while, I set out to explore every nook and cranny inside a musty vault. Without fail, the three of us end up shouting for one another to behold items identical to our possessions of yesteryear. As my mother downsized and transitioned in life, she bequeathed many of these keepsakes to me which I’ve stowed away.

I am the keeper of more than a dozen Howdy Doody Welch jelly glasses amassed during the 1950s.

I am the keeper of pink and turquoise blue Melmac cups and saucers, and a creamer & sugar set my mother had collected piecemeal from boxes of powdered dish detergent during the 1960s.

From the same decade, I am the keeper of a vintage, Inarco canister set in an orange spice pattern.

Turns out, my keepsakes are in mint condition. In much better state than those we’ve come across at Vinny’s, each unit could fetch a decent amount of spare change, which isn’t the point. Stored behind cupboard doors and out of reach, these relics of the past hold sentimental value as keepsakes. Until my reign is over, I am their keeper for now.

Eva Pasco’s Websites:

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/EvaPasco

Eva’s Novels at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Eva-Pasco/e/B00HWMLHL0

Blog – Eva’s Byte # 118: Twenty-Five!

Waiting for the break of day

Twenty-five or six to four

Twenty-five or six to four

*(Lyrics from the song, “25 or 6 to 4,” recorded in 1969 by the band, Chicago)

 

My break of day:

July 19th – My Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel, An Enlightening Quiche, merited its 25th Amazon review one day shy of turning 10-months old.

Breakdown: Twenty-two 5-Star and three 4-Star reviews

I’m grateful for each unique review which offers valuable insight to potential readers.

https://amzn.com/B01LX9UXWV

 

Arguments: Twenty-five—less or more?

Less:

Don’t get hung up on reviews. Many bestsellers have few reviews when they hit hot. Sales are always going to be more important than reviews to Amazon. Around ten to fifteen reasonable (3.5 – 4 star) reviews and a few strong editorial reviews will do nicely. You don’t need 300 reviews.

http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/2015/10/all-about-reviews-and-amazon-a-quick-guide-and-rules/

More:

Reviews immediately add credibility to your book, communicating to potential customers that it is a worthy read. They also improve your book’s ranking when consumers are searching on Amazon, which is the primary reason to stay committed to getting reviews. And that, hopefully, will translate into more book sales.

http://www.blurb.com/blog/how-get-reviews-amazon-once-you-have-launched-your-book/

More, more, more!

 Purportedly, 50 is the magic number of reviews that triggers Amazon to start paying more attention to your book. After you hit 50, you gain more visibility on Amazon.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brooke-warner/the-top-10-things-all-aut_b_6744386.html

From my own experience, nothing generates more of a buzz on social media than when I post my latest 4 – 5 Star review for a book I’ve read, or post the latest 4 – 5 Star review my book has received. Word of mouth is the best marketing strategy money can’t buy, discounting the cash outlay for a verified purchase. Since reviews can make or break a book on Amazon, it behooves the Indie author to foster feedback from readers, as the pen is mightier than the sword!

*Doing my small part to help an Indie author rise above the ashes of obscurity by reading and reviewing—I’m currently reading Aliya Dal Rae’s Sweet Discovery (The Jessica Sweet Trilogy) (Vol. 2) in the genre of Paranormal.

https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Discovery-Jessica-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B06XYRWP8W/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1500500271&sr=1-1-spell

Who are you reading?

Memoir: Alarmed!

“Low Battery!”

Approximately ten minutes after having placed my bookmark where I left off reading Zombie Outbreak Survival: Zombie Hive Incident #83-2005 by Van Allen, and arriving at the outermost fringe of falling asleep, I heard it!

A glance toward my alarm clock confirmed the dawn of a new day at 12:11 AM!

To make sure the commercial outcry wasn’t a figment of my overactive imagination, I lay there through three more repetitions before I scrambled out of bed and made a beeline to reckon with the combination smoke/carbon monoxide detector on my office ceiling. En route, I thought back to my childhood when a malfunction in our doorbell caused it to ring sporadically during the wee hours of the morn until my father dismantled the wiring and corrected the situation. Though I digress, this incident inspired me to compose my first story at the age of twelve—“The Mystery of the Midnight Doorbell.”

Neither here nor there, as my late father’s mechanical aptitude never rubbed off on me.

Anything was up for grabs within reach after I climbed the step ladder, intent on disarming the alarm, and in a tearful frenzy to do so. Panicked over riling the other residents in repose. Panicked over how the round-robin alert would detrimentally affect my two cats. Hesitant to call a relative at that hour, and anxiety ridden about contacting the 24-hrs. Management maintenance service for the very same reason. I bit my bottom lip and gathered my wits about me to silence an alarm.

With my arms stretched taut overhead, I managed to twist off the base from the beast in a counterclockwise direction,  Next, I slid open the compartment to remove both batteries.  My delight in stifling “Low Battery” was short-lived. To my horror, the device began to chirp!  Instead of holding down the reset button to drain any juice—I pressed it.  The first time resulted in three long beeps and “Fire, Fire!”  The second time, a rapid succession of beeps ensued with “Warning! Carbon Monoxide!”

Sweating profusely by now, I tugged at the outer pigtail wire on the base, but it wouldn’t budge for me.  Then, I stuck my hand into the recess of the ceiling, yanking free a couple of wires.  Still, the chirping persisted!

No other recourse at my disposal, I broke down and got in touch with maintenance. The patient gentleman tried to walk me through a simple operation, but I only succeeded in pulling out another ceiling wire, rather than tending to the base.  Needless to say, he had to come in person to remedy the situation.

Alarmed as I was over the poor timing for a revolting development, I’m where I need to be. Living in an apartment complex such as mine certainly eliminates the complexities of logistical procedures.

Eva Pasco’s Websites:

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/EvaPasco

Eva’s Novels at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Eva-Pasco/e/B00HWMLHL0

Blog – Eva’s Byte #117: Cooperation and Comradery

A former elementary school teacher, cooperative learning played a key role in my third-grade classroom. The banner suspended from the top of the front wall captioned the theme in our learning environment—“Compete with yourself; cooperate with each other.”

This week in real time:

July 12th – The cutoff in voting for authors who are semifinalists in the “Golden Box Books Quill Award”.  I sure hope my Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel, An Enlightening Quiche, is one of the finalists announced on August 1st.

http://www.goldenboxbooks.com/golden-quill-award-contest-winners/congrats-to-the-semifinalists

Nevertheless, cooperation and comradery in the Indie author community got it nominated. I’m very grateful and honored my book is amongst an impressive roster.

The way I roll, it was very difficult for me to ask for the popular vote, though I recognized I had to in order to make the most of a golden opportunity. Fortunately, one could vote for more than one book which enabled me to give a shout out to those few books I’d read and reviewed.

By and large, cooperation and comradery are prevalent among those who comprise the Indie community. I’m always glad to cast my vote for a book at the request of a fellow Indie if I’m familiar with it from author takeovers, or its reputation among readers precedes it.

Oftentimes, it’s cooperation and comradery among fellow Indies that keep our books in the public eye. Only another writer knows the anguish and struggles it takes to publish a book despite the vagaries of life which compete against us to do so. Only another writer understands the importance of mutual support while seeking recognition.  Whether or not my book wins any award pales in comparison to my self-respect in the Indie community.

 

Eva Pasco’s Websites:

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/EvaPasco

Eva’s Novels at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Eva-Pasco/e/B00HWMLHL0

Memoir: The Piano

Fulfilling a noteworthy dream…

Hitting a few sour notes while fine tuning a wrinkle in time when I had a fling with a Kimball upright—sounds risqué, doesn’t it? Its spittin’ image is preserved in the photo accompanying my Memoir.  As of 1969, Kimball was one of the largest piano makers in the world. By 1996 Kimball International stopped producing pianos in the United States.

www.kimballpianousa.com

I acquired mine in the 80s when I hit my stride in the world, even on a teacher’s salary. In my early thirties, under the impression I looked like Jacklyn Smith in her role as Charlie’s Angels Kelly Garrett because so many people told me I did, and behaving accordingly—I tooled around in my Fiat X1/9 two-seater mid-engine sports car and hobnobbed. Besotted with the secluded mansions along Ocean Drive in Narragansett, I fantasized about purchasing any one of them with a “for sale” sign out front.

Not forthcoming any time soon, renting a seasonal cabana at the Dunes Club, a historic, highly elite, private beach club on Boston Neck Road seemed a viable alternative. Each “changing room” measures four feet high by four feet deep by two feet wide. Non-residential fee is $600, with a 15-20 year wait!

Dissuaded, I purchased a Kimball instead! It just so happened one of the teachers with whom I shared an open-space classroom had been taking piano lessons. She inspired me to attain one of my own unfulfilled dreams.

This expensive albatross situated along an inside wall in my living room beckoned me to tickle its ivory. And, so I signed up for weekly lessons in classical music training which required discipline to master scales and simplified compositions. I took great pride when flawlessly playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.  Practice makes perfect!

As lessons grew more demanding and life took its own course, it became apparent I no longer had the time to hit the high notes. After several years of standing upright with its fallboard folded over the keys, I bequeathed my beloved piano to a family member. Nevertheless, I still have an ear for Moonlight Sonata which Beethoven wrote in his early thirties.
 

Eva Pasco’s Websites:

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/EvaPasco

Eva’s Novels at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Eva-Pasco/e/B00HWMLHL0