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.

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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.

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Blog – Eva’s Byte #165: WRITE Wings


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:


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.

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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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Google +



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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