Eva Pasco's Blog
November 15, 2018
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.
“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.
November 8, 2018
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. 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.
October 25, 2018
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.
October 18, 2018
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?
October 11, 2018
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.
October 4, 2018
Just a dream, just a pipe dream
Amidst all plans…
(A twist on the lyrics to “Just a Dream” by Jimmy Clanton and His Rockets; 1958)
Ever since the publication of my Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel, 'An Enlightening Quiche' (2016), it has been my pipe dream or fanciful hope to see my story adapted to film. Maybe my pipe dream isn’t too far-fetched, according to the endearing words of one book reviewer:
“Augusta is quite simply, a dream role for any actress worth her salt (and this book will be a film, no doubt about it), beautiful, exotic, feisty and dry-witted, she takes no prisoners.”
I had reluctantly put my dream on hold, preoccupied with promoting this novel and my nonfiction memoir collection. Too busy writing current memoirs, weekly blogs, and drafting my WIP. Someday, I told myself, I’d develop a query letter and reach out to Indie filmmakers in my native state of Rhode Island and the New England area.
Then, on September 30th, I came across a social media post from TaleFlick (Turn Your Story into a Movie) and checked them out: https://taleflick.com/
I submitted my book that day! Here goes:
“Upon submission, our algorithms go to work in tandem to analyze each story across multiple categories, and to rank stories according to their strengths, weaknesses, and potential for on-screen success. After the algorithms work their magic, our expert readers can review stories that have the most potential for being made into a movie or TV show.”
Just a dream, just a pipe dream—a long shot, but a pursuit worth trying based on a vision. As Walt Disney put it, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
*What’s one of your pipe dreams?
September 27, 2018
‘Tis the season of autumn! Due to shorter periods of daylight and cooler temperatures, deciduous leaves stop their food-making process. Hence, chlorophyll breaks down, whereby the green color disappears, giving rise to a spectrum of yellow, red, orange, and even purple hues. In essence, these manifestations are the leaves’ “true colors”.
An Indie author who primarily, but not exclusively, writes fiction in the genre of Contemporary, I strive to embrace realism and portray female protagonists over forty who grapple with, confront, and overcome their personal dilemmas to become empowered in making profound life changes for the better.
In order to achieve this goal, the characters must evolve organically so the reader can see their true colors:
From chapter 1 of 'An Enlightening Quiche'—in Augusta’s words:
Autumn was indeed a tragic opera when bleeding crimson hearts expired soon after attaining their height of glory. Sadness engulfed me and mushroomed into a dark cloud hovering over the realization my own peak season had terminated when I turned the Big Four O, beaucoup months ago last November. Thus far I hadn't exactly set the world on fire the way Mrs. Blais envisioned I would, subliminally affecting one of her many Freudian slips into Dante’s inferno.
Burnished or tarnished—when the reader finishes leafing through every page, the characters will have revealed their true colors.
The latest REVIEW excerpt – “Via two women narrators, I plunged into the intricate and tangled lives of Beauchemins' natives and had a great time. Pasco spins a complex and engaging narrative whose protagonists, Augusta and Lindsay, as well as Yolande, Monique, Hal, and Norm, felt like old friends. I could easily imagine dropping by their homes for a mug of coffee and having a good chat.”
*Art imitates life, whereby book characters eventually reveal their true colors.
September 20, 2018
Aren’t most of us multitaskers juggling various aspects of life? A rhetorical question, for sure!
Seems to me, Indie authors do an awful lot of juggling pertaining to the craft of writing itself. Whether we undertake every component ourselves, or solicit others to do it for us, the list includes, but is in no way limited to: story development, editing, cover design, production/formatting, distribution, and marketing. The beat goes on.
Setting all of this aside, I’m one of many Indies who aspires to purchasing and reviewing books written by fellow self-published authors as a show of support. Herein lies, my admission for biting off more than I can chew:
Sitting on my Kindle, waiting to be opened, are 58 books! Can’t say I’ll read every one of them due to time constraints, but wish I could. Most certainly, I’ll bite off even more than I can chew by purchasing more books that strike my fancy.
There’s no rhyme or reason for my sequence in reading those in waiting, preferring to follow my heart’s dictates. A discerning reader with high standards, most of the books I’ve read have merited 4-5 stars, indicating that Indies are a force to reckon with.
That said, I received an email notification this week pertaining to my nonfiction book, meriting its second award in a 2-wk. period:
We had a staggering 1,023 entries in the 2018 TopShelf Indie Book Awards, and your book '100 Wild Mushrooms: Memoirs of the ‘60s' has been selected as a Finalist in the category of Memoirs (Other)!
CEO & Publisher
*Choose the road less traveled: Read a book written by an Indie.
September 13, 2018
I’m talkin’ about that ONE book which increased your appetite to a feeding frenzy for becoming a voracious reader without let up. For me, my no-turning-back moment, except for turning back the pages to read that ONE again and again, occurred in third grade. A nine-year-old so smitten with 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' by L. Frank Baum, I signed it out from the school library several weeks in a row.
Years later, life imitated art for conveying the central themes in Baum’s classic, when I composed “Mr. Wizardo,” a Contemporary novella off the beaten path of the yellow brick road. This novella of 18,535 words is part of an anthology comprised of adult fairy tales, 'Once Upon a Fabulous Time,' co-authored with fellow Indie Fabs: Aliya DalRae, R.M. Gauthier, JB Richards, Lyra Shanti, and Joanne Van Leerdam.
The anthology was recently chosen an “Official Selection” for the category of “short story collection” in the 2018 New Apple Summer eBook Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing. As we Fabs say, “Huzzah!”
Ironically, I’m not a reading fan of fantasy per se, preferring books in the genres of Literary Fiction, Dark Fiction, Contemporary, True Crime, Detective Stories, and Mystery. Yet, there’s no mistaking the impact of 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' through its powerful and pervasive themes which smack of realism:
Duplicity. Illusion. Individuation. Self-Realization. Female Empowerment. Enlightenment.
There’s no place like the home one makes between the pages of an engrossing book.
*Name that ONE book which defined your reading experience and had a profound effect on your life.
September 6, 2018
Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah!
I finished drafting and polishing chapter 11 of my Work in Progress at 1456 words over the course of 4 weeks—a conservative estimate at that, and not engraved in stone because anything is subject to change until “the end”.
While other writers might draft anywhere from 2000 – 5000 words per session—another conservative estimate—I typically do not. On any given day during a 2 hr. session, if I manage to produce 100 – 200 words, it’s a triumph! During this session, I might detour off the path to conduct research or consult a thesaurus.
I work better when I nail kick-butt words and infuse each sentence with the means to justify the ending of my story. That’s not to say other writers don’t excel at their own speedy expediency. Hey—I wish I could be like them instead of weighing every word and how it translates during the writing process itself.
If anyone reading this blog thinks I’m ready to dig the foundation of chapter 12 straightaway—hold on! As always, I go back to the beginning where the story started 15,687 words ago, roving with a critical eye: Clarity. Alignment of facts. Realistic dialogue. Proofing for typos. For me, it is such a gratifying process to see how writing a novel straight “out of my mind” unfolds.
In real time:
*On September 4th, I received an email from New Apple Literary Services for Independent Authors with regard to the 2018 New Apple Summer Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing:
Your book, '100 Wild Mushrooms: Memoirs of the ‘60s,' was chosen as the solo "Medalist Winner" in the Autobiography / Biography / Memoir category of our Summer eBook Awards!
I view this award as “one for the team” of Indies. Although fame and fortune may elude us, our books deserve recognition.
*A writer’s journey to the finish line should justify the means of navigation.