Monday, June 26, 2017
Thursday, June 22, 2017
In a Bind!
by Eva Pasco
Incorporating a slice of life —a “Behind-the-Scene Note” pertaining to my second novel in the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction, An Enlightening Quiche. Writing the novel necessitated my delving into the Industrial Revolution and the subsequent rise of mills along the Blackstone River in northern Rhode Island—my fictitious Brulé Bookbinding Co., construed by memories retained from seasonal employment at Sidney-Higgins Bookbinding Co. during my freshman and sophomore college years. Memories, sprouting through the cracks of yesteryear are vivid as yesterday's news.
Like the previous mill I worked in when I turned sixteen, Sidney-Higgins occupied a part of the old Wanskuck Mill complex on Branch Avenue in Rhode Island’s capital city of Providence. Battered and glass-shattered, the Wanskuck stood its weed-littered ground on turf from a bygone era when the falls of the West River and Wanskuck Pond powered its machinery.
Hired by Mr. Gardner, the owner, for a wage above minimum at $1.85/hour, the small company comprised of 8 people and a foreman, took me into their “fold,” no pun intended. Manny, Skip, and Jim operated the heavy-duty machinery. Ray, the foreman, stood before the helm of the Heidelberg Polar Cutter and stepped away whenever he parceled out work to the elderly female work force. Namely Betty, Edith, Jeanette, Bea, and Eve.
There’d be days we’d hang around playing cards waiting for a job to come in. When it got especially busy during one summer, I took in my neighbor, Rachel. Ray brought in his daughter, Jane. Jim rustled up his son Jim, and Jim in turn recruited his girlfriend, Gail. The owner hired two rich college boys who couldn’t do any wrong by association—Dave and Rick. Betty rallied her neighbor’s son, Joe, an aspiring priest who attended a seminary.
In the same age bracket, and thrown together by happenstance, we shared some good times during lunch break. I fondly remember climbing out the window and eating lunch on one of the tar-roof landings littered with smashed 45 rpms, residue from the mill next door. I managed to salvage a couple of discards still in one piece.
Of course, all of this bric-a-brac didn’t wend its way to Brulé Bookbinding Co., the impoverished mill in my novel. However, the labor-intensive jobs I describe in detail certainly did: collating, hole-punching, feeding the saddle-stitcher, combing.
Paper cuts were by-products in the line of duty throughout my temporary employment. Speaking of cuts, I’d be remiss if I left out my high-pitched swan song by the “round-cornering” machine which involved leaning back a tad to step on a pedal which brought down a blade similar to a guillotine that swiftly and sharply lopped off the square corners on a stack of lined paper. Next!
I didn’t feel a thing. Like something out of a horror movie, I espied my own blood gushing everywhere and couldn’t fathom why. In a state of shock, I couldn’t comprehend that I’d inadvertently round-cornered the tip of my pinky finger, which, by the way, is none the worse from the wear and tear of being in a bind with stitches.
Author & Blog website: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco
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Sunday, June 18, 2017
I have several memories of my Dad that stand out like color pictures among a lifetime of black and white stills. Seemingly meaningless snippets of events that pop up now and then to remind me that all I am and have today is because of his influence.
My very first memory of my father is so old, that some would think it's a piece of imagination, but I remember so clearly. I was still in my crib and needed to go to the bathroom. Calling out urgently, I can hear his voice first, "Hold your horses..." he kept repeating. He arrived in the nick of time, saved me from disappointment and embarrassment and began a lifetime of trust that he would always be there for me, no matter what the circumstances.
He was not a Dad who played games, or even read with us. An avid sports fan, we watched television together, and he laughed with genuine tears when I parroted back every beer commercial ditty at three years old. He worked so hard, traveling to cities in the most remote parts of the country to return exhausted that all he could do was watch his sports every weekend. It was our time, my mother and grandmother were in the kitchen preparing food, or chatting. Stretching out his legs, my brothers and I would hold on to them as he moved them, pretending to be pirate's hanging from the masts. His very round head made a perfect steering wheel, and I recall using his ears to steer our course on wind swept seas. Perhaps Captain No Beard was born then, to be called back into into action with my own grandchildren from the dim recess of my childhood memories.
The night before I married, we sat together watching "All in the Family", Gloria, Archie Bunker's daughter was about to leave the nest and marry as well. I don't remember what Archie said, something about this will always be your home, it was sentimental, but I can see my Dad's blue eyes look at me and nod telling me what his words couldn't.
My father was a hard working, moral and kind man. He never set a standard for his children that he didn't do first. Dependable, honorable, and honest, I am richer for having been his daughter as well as his friend.
Happy Father's Day!
Carole P. Roman
Happy Father's Day!
Carole P. Roman
Friday, June 16, 2017
Thursday, June 8, 2017
I started reviewing books on a whim. Books were an integral part of my entire life. I read anything that was lying around the house. Both my mother and grandmother were avid readers. I read anything I could get my hands on and then would sit with them to discuss the book. I had a reading partner in my mother until she passed. After she had died, I found a certain loneliness in reading as I had no one to discuss the books. It was more of a personal experience. It never occurred to me to join a book club or even read reviews online.
I never noticed the reviews on Amazon when I purchased a book. I bought books based on the subject. It wasn't until I opened Amazon to see the reaction to my own books that I realized the value of a review.
I then understood what reading other people's reviews meant- they were a valuable tool in helping a consumer decide whether a book would interest them.
I started going through my vast library, trying to pick books I felt comfortable review. I had read so many. It had to be books I remembered and enjoyed.
At first, I wondered if anyone would read what I had to say. Once I posted my first review, I noticed I was in the millions in y ranking as a reviewer. I realized my reviews would not have much impact, but the more I wrote the better those reviews became.
Writing the reviews on these books was like visiting an old friend. I started reading other reviewers, learning what I liked and what I found offensive.
I discovered I don't like to leave negative reviews. Writing a review is a big responsibility. Some people enjoy trashing a book, pointing out all the things they didn't like. I think liking a book should do with personal taste and preferences. When reviewers wrote, things like "this book was horrible- don't buy it.” I found it judgmental. Just because I may not like a book, doesn't mean someone else may enjoy it. A lot should do with genre, style and the mood the person is in. I have shifted in my genres throughout my life, loving it one year and disliking it intensely the next year.
I try to give an open-minded review, knowing that author put their heart and soul into the book and thinking perhaps I can mention something that will appeal to a reader. The lowest score I will give is three stars and if a book can't make that grade, for me, I simply won't review it and take the chance of influencing people not to buy it.
I try to point out what I loved, and I will mention things that bothered me on a personal level.
The result of my efforts has been astonishing. I have become a Top Reviewer on many of Amazon's sights. I watched my reviews gain momentum. Soon, I was asked to be a featured reviewer in a few popular blog spots as we as two magazines.
I love hearing from people who read my reviews and have enjoyed their feedback as well.
Publishers have contacted me asking for reviews before the books are published.
More importantly than that, I have discovered by reading a book written by an indie has helped the careers of people with slim budgets who can't afford to advertise.
Reading and reviewing indies is like lending a helping hand to struggling writers who are trying to bring their work to the public, many without any help.
I have read some delightful books, many of them that would have never noticed or considered before. More importantly, I have made friends in this new community.
Reading indie books and their struggles furthered my own career. As I watched so many of them wrestle with publishing and promoting, it forced me to write about my own experience as an author with my social media partner that turned into a best-selling and award-winning book. Navigating Indieworld yielding a new blog radio show with the same name as well as a new magazine called Indie Author's Monthly.
I am enjoying this off-shoot of writing. I think of writing reviews as practice. If you can please an audience with these small blurbs and develop a following, can a best-selling book be far behind?
Monday, June 5, 2017
I found this in my inbox today and wanted to share it with you...
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Sunday, January 17, 2016
This is a good lesson for all of us, no matter what stage of life you’re in. You’ll see what I mean.
A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her – her husband had cheated on her and she was devastated. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, ‘Tell me what you see.’
‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.
Her grandmother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The grandmother then asked the granddaughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hardboiled egg.
Finally, the grandmother asked the granddaughter to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, grandmother?’
Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?
How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
May we all be like the COFFEE.
Share this with your friends and family today.