Eva’s Byte #172: A PINpoint in Time

Undergoing a midlife renaissance after retiring from a 29-year teaching career in elementary education, I rekindled my passion for storytelling:

Underlying Notes (2008)

An Enlightening Quiche (2016)

100 WILD Mushrooms: Memoirs of the ‘60s (2017)

“Mr. Wizardo” for the anthology, Once Upon a Fabulous Time (2017)

Besides these major works, I moonlight betwixt and between novel writing by composing weekly blogs and occasional memoirs. In tribute to my rewarding teaching care, I’m sharing one of my recent memoirs:

Neat as a Pin!

Memories dancing on the head of a pin…

“Neat” as in tidy, for having organized the contents of my desk drawers during a spring cleaning session.

“Neat” as in hanging on to a small plastic container of straight pins, also known to sew-and-sews as hemming pins or basting pins. Bequeathed to me 44 years ago, I’ve never pried open the lid to avail myself of a single straight pin, and doubt I ever will. Yet, I retain the receptacle for the memories which dance on the head of a pin whenever I open the middle drawer on the right side of my desk.

In 1973, I launched my career in elementary education by landing a fifth-grade teaching position in my hometown. Ready to stow my personal paraphernalia inside my metal contraption of a desk, one of the teachers next door to me in the open classroom setting, informed me right away that I inherited Mrs. Creighton’s (not her real name) desk. Apparently, Mrs. Creighton was an avid bird watcher who incorporated her love of nature in the subjects she taught. Taking over a desk belonging to my retired predecessor in the very room she reigned made perfect sense. That’s when I discovered the left-behind pins inside the middle drawer, and shoved them to the back so as to make room for my planbook and other tools of the trade.

Perhaps I could have made good use of several pins the day I snagged and tore the sleeve of my corduroy jumpsuit on the sharp edge of a filing cabinet drawer. Instead, I carried on like a ragamuffin.

Not only did I inherit Mrs. Creighton’s classroom and desk, but followed in her footsteps by infusing my lessons with adventures in nature whenever possible, no matter what teaching trench I happened to find myself in: sixth, fifth, or third grade.

One year I organized a parent-supervised bike ride from our school to the water treatment plant. Another time, my students participated in outdoor Olympic events where all distances were measured in Metric. One class took a field trip to Caratunk Wildlife Refuge which involved quite a bit of hiking. At a different point in time, my students drifted along the once industrial-polluted Blackstone River via The Blackstone Valley Explorer. We set up our own active compost bin on school property, and even buried a time capsule of meaningful objects befitting our classroom civilization…

As for Mrs. Creighton’s desk– alas, a front leg collapsed one evening while I corrected papers. I balanced the bulk of the beast on my knees until the school janitor wrested it from me. My replacement was a brand new deluxe model which I christened, “The Cadillac”. When I chose to retire after 29 years of teaching, I emptied my desk of its contents, leaving it neat as a pin for my successor—except for one relic I purposely left behind—a paperback copy of The Great School Lunch Rebellion by David. T. Greenberg.

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 # 171: As a Result of—the Visit

Every August I eagerly await my sister’s annual summer visit to Rhode Island. Invariably, these visits have spawned spontaneous memoirs which I’ve published on my web page at Authors Den under the heading “Short Stories”—“The Vacation” and “The Playground”.

In commemoration of this year’s visit, I’m sharing Memoir #82 from my nonfiction memoir collection, 100 WILD Mushrooms: Memoirs of the ‘60s (2017)—“Misery on the Nelesco!”

My younger sister’s visit to Rhode Island (summer of 2015) predisposed me to write about our first excursion to Block Island which took place over 50 years ago! As the family trudged up the stairs to Champlin’s, one of the more popular seafood shacks in Galilee, we overlooked the landing docks where one can view the ferries arriving from and departing to Block Island. Overcast skies, biting breezes, and bone-chilling dampness prompted my sister to announce, “This reminds me of our trip to Block Island!”

So, all these years later, I’m navigating the choppy waters to a mariner’s destination that made the Nature Conservancy’s list of twelve sites in the Western Hemisphere entitled, “The Last Great Places.”

From the viewpoints of a six-year-old and thirteen-year-old, Block Island would have been the last place we’d ever want to visit again!

During my father’s two-week summer vacation when we’d embark on road trips strapped inside our Plymouth Suburban station wagon, we were at a loss for a venue on an overcast, chilly, damp day. Whatever possessed my dad to suggest a trip to Block Island via a ferry from Port o’ Providence, I’ll never know. None of us were dressed for the inclement weather to endure a four-hour excursion each way aboard the Nelesco.

My father, sister, and I talked our mother into settling on the lower deck. Prone to seasickness, she leaned against the ferry wall, struggling to keep breakfast down the hatch. Meantime, the three of us withstood the elements, pressed against the railing to see what we could discern along the receding shoreline through the fog. The sea was relatively calm from Providence to Newport where other passengers clambered aboard, while a bunch of brawny, swarthy, societal misfits loaded freight. Docked in Newport, my sister and I got a kick out of the divers who would fetch coins thrown overboard by the passengers, and hold them up as proof of their panhandling prowess.

The next two hours from Newport to Block Island on the high sea with nothing to see but murky water everywhere, churned into Misery on the Nelesco! Besides shivering uncontrollably in our short sleeves and shorts, we couldn’t steady ourselves on our feet as the ferry pitched back and forth in the brine. Like drunkards, we staggered inside and flopped on a bench along the inside wall. It didn’t surprise me that the piano was chained to one of the poles.

My mother fared even worse inside, claiming the erratic horizon line of the waves espied through the port holes made her dizzy. Dizzy or not, she’d end up making several trips to the head with my sister who suddenly developed a severe case of the d’s.

Finally making landfall on Block Island which wasn’t really an idyllic paradise back then, but a honky-tonk hole-in-the-squall, we foraged for a place to eat. Even though I’d worked up an appetite from the sea air, I pecked at clam cakes coated in orange batter which tasted lousy. From that point on, we had another four-hour excursion to get home. Walking the gangplank was not an option.

Today, one can board the 55-minute traditional ferry or 30-minute high-speed ferry to Block Island. Only the high-speed ferry is available from Newport and Fall River. Ironically, there are no more ferries running from Providence to Block Island. In retrospect, my sister and I harbor fond memories tempest-tossed in misery on the Nelesco.

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 #170 – Draft-y

An Indie author at the forefront of my current work in progress, I spent the past two weeks proofing, editing, tweaking, fleshing, meshing, and messing around with my document. Heh heh—without advancing the story a single word, my future novel in the genre of Contemporary miraculously progressed from chapter 7 to 10 as a result of subdividing chapters.

A “pantser” who pivots solely from ideas ricocheting in my mind without a written outline or compendium of notes, the story has already grown in scope and depth through unforeseen twists and turns.

Shiver me timbers, there’s a draft coming from a blank page!

No longer giving the fabrication process of writing the bum’s rush, it’s been draft-y in my office as I compose chapter 10 beyond typing it as such in the document.

Typically during each daily writing session of 1-2 hours, I progress with the speed of a glacier. I advance. I retreat to either: research, use the thesaurus to find a lesser-used, suitable synonym, or monitor my word flow.  Some would argue to draft and be damned, so as not to disrupt the momentum.  That’s not how I roll. For me, each sentence is predicated on its predecessor as I weave my story.

Better to word build by taking great pains, rather than demolishing a shoddy setup, only to start over again, eh?

I may have only written 131 words in the first 2-hr.session of drafting chapter 10, but it’s a solid foundation for adding on. Rereading it will fire me up to fabricate what will logically follow.

Adhering to the principles of an indie author to the nth degree, I don’t set word quotas or publication deadlines at the risk of compromising my work, of which I’m very proprietary. It might be several more months to a year or more before this baby is road ready for publication. Whenever—you can be sure this diamond in the rough will be polished to a high sheen. That’s the cold, hard truth!

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 #169 –“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…”

This proverb of French origin used by the French novelist Alphonse Karr (1808-90), translates to, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

An Indie author who revived a dormant flair for writing when I retired from a teaching career in elementary education, my life has since taken many unforeseen detours. Although no one is exempt from challenges or setbacks, most writers find the strength and determination to finish the story they started, however long it takes.

Fulfilling a dream requires work!

After publishing my first book in 2008, it took approximately 8 years of writing spurts for me to finish my second novel in the genre of Contemporary, An Enlightening Quiche (2016; 370 pgs. – digital format).

In retrospect, after having undergone a midlife renaissance, I see the similarities between both professions, as articulated by the aforementioned proverb in the title.

 Time factor:

Teaching requires devoting many additional hours outside of those spent in the classroom. Being a published author is practically a 24-hr. proposition when you consider the variable of marketing.

 Self-Discipline:

In elementary education, a teacher must plan detailed lessons for multiple subjects every single day, along with possessing the mental fortitude to switch gears should any one of those lessons fizzle with the students.

An author—foremost, a “writer,” by trade—must ply himself/herself to the craft every single day, along with possessing the mental acuity to scrap what doesn’t ring true for storytelling.

Relevancy:

 A teacher must tailor lessons and material to his/her students’ needs and interests.

A writer must tailor an engaging story to a target audience.

Thick Skin:

 Just as a teacher cannot let unruly students ruffle feathers—you know, “Never let them see you sweat”—a published author cannot wallow in mean-spirited, negative book reviews.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Purportedly, Horace said, “Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.”

Hence, the more things change…

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

Blog – Eva’s Byte #168: Artie Dufresne – Cameo Character

Alfred Hitchcock, English film director and producer, widely regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema as “the Master of Suspense,” made cameo appearances in most of his films.

A self-published Indie author with poetic license to fabricate and nothing to lose, I perpetuated Artie Dufresne. The least of my minor characters, he made his debut in chapter 18 of my first published novel in the genre of Contemporary—Underlying Notes (First Printing – 2007; Second Printing – 2009).

If you haven’t already met one of Rhode Island’s finest investigative news reporters, an introduction is in order:

 

Artie Dufresne was a scrawny, bespectacled twerp with Dutch boy bangs who often came up short when he stood toe-to-toe with those he investigated. A menacing junkyard dog, he crouched in wait for the right moment to grab onto an ankle or spring for the jugular. For good reason, political and legal shysters, corporate embezzlers, scam artists, quacks, corrupt law enforcement officers, and wise guys scuttled away from the old school investigative reporter toting his Bic pen and rolled back steno pad. They gave him wide berth.

Artie pursued kingpins and small fries from the vantage point of a profession unbound by statutes of limitation. It was common knowledge Artie got most of his leads at breakfast counters striking up conversations while dipping his toast in egg yolk, or tipping his glass at bars. Depending on the season, the reporter never took off his Members Only jacket or sage Army surplus hooded field parka good for 40 below, ready to chase down a story at a minute’s notice.

Artie did all right, carving a niche for himself on one of our local news channels with his weekly Friday segment, Artie’s Take.

 

The bespectacled reporter has a recurring cameo role in chapter 26 of my second published novel—multi-award winning Contemporary, An Enlightening Quiche (2016).  I plan for him to appear in chapter 9 of my work in progress, Aida’s Fishing Ground.

Although my novels set in Rhode Island are standalones, readers can anticipate encountering Artie Dufresne wherever there’s a newsworthy story.

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

 

Blog – Eva’s Byte #167: Setting the Stage

A writer, I set the stage for many a chapter scene in my novels. It is achieved by subtle or blatant character revelations. The devil is also in the details of description and introspection, predisposing the reader to become invested in my story.

On those rare occasions when my self-published books have been featured in the local newspapers, I’ve set the stage to look the part of a successful author during my photo ops. My hair is brushed. I’ve upped the ante with mascara and lipstick. I’m wearing street clothes.

While I seldom fantasize about living the privileged life of a best-selling author, I will admit to being fascinated by the aura of glamour surrounding Jacqueline Susann (1918 – 1974). She was the richest self-made woman in America, and the first to have three New York Times number one best-sellers in a row. By the time of her death, Valley of the Dolls made an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling novel in publishing history, with more than 17 million copies sold!

Back to everyday reality for setting the stage to write in my office during the oppressive heat. Barefoot. My hair is piled on top of my head in a messy bun. Not a trace of makeup. Reading glasses perch on the bridge of my nose. I’m wearing workout shorts and a tee. A glass of Dunkin Donuts mocha iced coffee hunkers on a legal pad. By choice, no AC for me, because I’m channeling the East Bay breeze through the screens on an oversized double-hung window to the right of my desk.

Am I setting the stage for writing a best-seller as I finish chapter 7 in Aida’s Fishing Ground? The windmills of my mind stir breezes in my soul for me to believe and achieve.

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

Blog – Eva’s Byte #166: Ownership!

And don’t tell me what to do

And don’t tell me what to say

The song lyrics for “You Don’t Own Me” (1963), recorded by Lesley Gore, became an inspiration for younger women and are sometimes cited as a factor in the Second Wave Feminist Movement. Hurrah for female emancipation and empowerment all around! For me, the lyrics transcend relationships.

An Indie author by choice, writing affords me the freedom to tell my stories as I see fit without teetering on the edge of becoming a “best sellout”. I write stand-alone novels I’d like to read in my favorite genre—Contemporary.

My brand of Contemporary, “lit with grit,” embraces realism exonerating the lives of flawed, feisty females over forty who grapple with, confront, and overcome their personal dilemmas or inner demons. Their personal growth emancipates and empowers them to make profound life changes for the better.

By taking ownership, my stories are distinguished for dispelling the clichés that often accompany the genre of Women’s Fiction by the coined term, “Chick Lit”. The label conjures an image of frivolous, lighthearted fare with book cover images of cocktail glasses, designer handbags, and high heels.

On the contrary, 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?

There’s a book written for every preference, awaiting reader ownership and review.

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

Blog – Eva’s Byte #165: WRITE Wings

Rise!

Ever since I embarked on a writing career shortly after I retired from teaching, I’ve been winging it in my attempt to rise above the ashes of obscurity and gain readership. A published author who prefers to compose novels in the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction, I’ve spread my write wings across a span of wide latitude.

You’re cordially invited to take in an aerial view of my diversity by landing on my page at Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

***

A newly published author in 2008, I prioritized increasing my visibility, while adding to my credibility, by binge-writing. Having grown up during the Sixties, I drew upon those experiences to write my first memoir, “A Mini Tribute to Twiggy,” and submitted it for publication at The Sixties Official Site. When the webmaster graciously invited me to write more, and offered to set up my own page there, I eagerly accepted and turned out a memoir every week for approximately two years, contributing 100 in total. Give or take a few—edited, revised, and organized according to my logic of progression, I incorporated these memoirs into a collection, 100 Wild Mushrooms: Memoirs of the ‘60s (2017).

During that same juncture in time, I took the Sixties under my wing even further by writing and publishing 30 “Retro 60s Flashbacks,” encompassing a variety of topics: sitcom moms and dads; plastic flamingos, trolls; Mary Poppins; westerns; cartoons; bikinis; extinct jobs; airline attendants…

Circling within my native state of Rhode Island, the signature setting for my novels, I write winged 40 essays, each prefaced with “Rhode Read,” commemorating various historic landmarks, geographic locations, or regional icons: Coffee milk; Del’s Lemonade; Haven Brothers Mobile Diner; clams casino; WaterFire; Slater Mill; Tennis Hall of Fame; Big Nazo puppets…

My write wings recently flew me over the rainbow when I composed the novella, “Mr. Wizardo,” for a co-authored anthology of reimagined fairy tales, Once Upon a Fabulous Time (2017):

(Baxter Springs, Kansas) – A twist of fate! Ten years after graduating from Franklin High, four troubled individuals indebted to their guidance counselor, Oscar Wizardo, wend their way back home to attend his funeral. Grappling with their demons, dilemmas, and despair—Doreen Gale, Scott Crowe, Lyle Forrest, and Tim Woodman follow that figurative yellow brick road, walking a fine line between realism and magic. Discover what destiny holds in store for each of them.

Still flapping my write wings to soar above the clouds, I publish a weekly blog pertaining to my life as an Indie, each week without fail—Eva’s Bytes. I continue to write the occasional modern-day memoir about daily occurrences worth preserving.

No matter what our pursuit or pleasure—may each of us fly like an eagle, carried afar by an indomitable spirit.

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

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!

 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

 

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)

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