Bar Fly Away

Women’s Fiction/Romance

By Eileen Slovak

Photo from: http://www.zagat.com

Nadia was no bar fly, but her roommate Tina fit the profile.

Friday nights at Joe’s Tiki bar in Miami, Tina would routinely perch on the edge of a bar stool, pitching forward, revealing her substantial cleavage, while flipping her false blonde locks at some unsuspecting fool. The dim torchlight masked the pockmarked skin and smoke-stained smile that would cause men to recoil in daylight. Nevertheless, some always sought her sort of promiscuity.

In front of the bathroom mirror in the apartment she shared with Tina, Nadia absently brushed her resplendent black hair. “I’m just not up for the bar scene tonight, T. I think I’ll stay in.”

“For cripes sake Nod, you’ll never get a boyfriend hiding in the apartment.”

I wouldn’t call your one-night playthings boyfriends, Nadia thought.“I’m tired, she said, “and I’m just not…like you, T.”

Nadia dreaded the sounds of Tina’s nightly entertainment reverberating through the thin walls.  As a mid-year transfer to The University of Miami, limited housing options had led to her current residence, but as the new school year approached, she had already begun apartment hunting.

“I know,” said Tina, with her hands on her hips, “I get it. You’re not outgoing.  But I can show you how to get noticed.”

What if I don’t want that kind of attention? Nadia thought looking her roommate up and down. Tina’s reptile-print, tube dress, reminded Nadia of a nature program where an anaconda swallowed a Cayman whole.

“Come on, Nod,” Tina pleaded. “You know I hate going out alone.”

“Well, I guess it couldn’t hurt,” Nadia said applying pale pink lip-gloss to her full lips. Brushing mascara on her generous lashes, she accented her chocolate-brown eyes. She dusted her cheeks with blush, although her flawless, olive skin required nothing.  After adjusting the straps of her stunning black sun dress, she slipped on low sandals.

“I’m ready,” Nadia said.

“Show some skin!” Tina bellowed. “Look at me!”

Nadia resisted saying what she was thinking and instead picked up her purse and followed Tina out the door. As they walked two blocks to the Bar, Tina gulped down a liquored concoction from a large, plastic cup while Nadia looked up at the starlit sky, wishing on each burning light.

“Look out boys,” Tina snorted, “here comes trouble with a capital T!”

Steamy nights meant full club capacity with customers spilling into the streets. Jimmy Buffet’s vocals filled the acrid air. Navigating through a blur of Hawaiian shirts and scanty dresses, Nadia reached the bar, but Tina had slipped away, having found her evening’s mark, she was jigging and singing, “Wasted away again in Margaritaville.”

Moments later with a pink, frozen drink in hand, Nadia slipped to the upper deck, away from the crowd to survey it from a distance. She rested her cup on the deck rail thinking, there must be a better way.

A couple staggering toward the stairs bumped the rail sending Nadia’s drink toppling over. She reached up too late to retrieve it. A waterfall of pink slush landed squarely on a young man below.

“I’m so sorry!” Nadia called down, her long hair waving in the breeze.

Dumbfounded, the man looked up. The right shoulder of his white shirt soggy with the pink mixture, he flashed Nadia a brilliant smile.

“Where I come from,” he said, “its good luck when a beautiful woman spills her drink on you.  So, if you don’t let me buy you another, I’ll be ruined.  What do you say?”

“Is that really true?” she asked walking down the stairs toward him.

“No,” he said, looking into her eyes. He took her hand on the last stair. “I’m Santo,” he said. His eyes remained fixed on hers. He wore his dark hair on the long side and the now wet shirt showed off his fit physique.

“I’m Nadia,” she said.

“Well Nadia, I wish it was true. But one look into your eyes tells me I could never tell you a lie.”

“Then, I say yes,” she smiled and that was how Nadia met her future husband.

-The End

Novel Acknowledgements

www.eileenslovak.com
http://www.eileenslovak.com

Thank you!

Grazie!

شكرا

¡gracias

谢谢

σας ευχαριστώ

ありがとう

merci!

The bulk of the work of writing takes place in a solitary room. It happens between a writer and his or her computer. However, even for Indie writers, creating a finished product, producing a physical novel from the ramblings of the mind is not really a solo act.

Editors, proofreader’s, cover designers, interior layout designers, writers groups, beta readers, family and friends all contribute to the process. Although, those who put up with the most, often receive the least amount of gratitude. For example, the family members who endure the last-minute thrown together dinners because the words were flowing or tolerate the mood swings when characters are not cooperating. And the friends who read the early and not so great versions of our work, but still offer honest feedback, while remaining supportive.

So, to my entire support network: Thank you! Here is a glimpse of the Acknowledgement page of “Secret Agent of God”:

Secret Agent of God
Secret Agent of God

 

There is every possibility, I will have forgotten to thank someone. Please know that this is not intentional. There is also a real possibility, that I might thank someone who will never even read my book. Some of my very best friends don’t follow my blog, or my twitter feed, and do not even have Facebook accounts. That’s OK, they have my back and for that I am forever grateful.

Oh and by the way, the first person to like this blog post on http://www.wordpress.com, will receive a free, signed copy of my new novel. It only seems fitting, since this is where my public writing journey began, to say thank you with a gift.

Thanks for reading!

 

Can Republicans and Democrats be friends?

The philosophical differences between Democrats and Republicans

I was talking to one of my very best friends today, KC, whom I have known all of my life, who knows me better than my relatives do.  Sisters by choice, we can talk about anything, even politics and she suggested I write about this:  can Republicans and Democrats be friends?

I would say a resounding yes, with one exception, those on the extreme left and the extreme right who might somehow find a middle ground, but only with a gap the size of the Grand Canyon.

Of course, this is just my opinion.

I am not overly fond of labels, like Democrat and Republican, liberal, racist or Neo-Nazi.  However, we do like to label one another.  It seems our minds want to organize people into simple labeled boxes like tax receipts, but does anyone really fit neatly into one of those boxes or are the boxes bulging at the seams?  When we slap a quick label on someone do we hurt the person we are labeling or ourselves, for the missed opportunity brought on by judgment?

A few years ago, I gave up being judgmental.  It started as an exercise but turned into a lifestyle change.    I suddenly realized what judgment does to the judge.  It causes one to miss the hidden beauty in humanity, to believe the lie of the masks we all parade, to give credence to rumor and speculation and to forget our mission here on earth, which is to leave this world a better place than it was when we entered it.

So, can Democrats and Republicans be friends?  Bill O’Reilly asked this question on his program.  Stop right there, if you think Bill O’Reilly is a right-wing guy, then you obviously have not watched his program.  Watch first, then judge if you want.

I give Bill credit for attempting to cross the journalistic aisle and appear on programs such as The View, The David Letterman Show and to spar with John Stewart.  This gives me hope for American broadcast journalism, there might be a middle ground, eventually.

Watch o’Reilly on Letterman

I like to think of myself as an independent.  I even like the word; it has so many beautiful connotations.  I have in the past, voted for both Republicans and Democrats, making my decision based on the issues at hand, although on the books, in the box, I am ‘labeled’ a Republican.  Currently, that platform is the most appealing to me.

Oh, and yes I do have friends who are both Democrats and Republicans.  So why is it taboo to talk about politics?  What’s the big deal?  I’ve had friends become enraged over political comments made in jest, whose political viewpoints were so fragile, so easily offended, that they were unable to allow casual comments to pass.  If they were true friends we got past it, if not, we didn’t.  So if you’re squeamish, maybe avoid the topic with acquaintances, but not with good friends.

My friend KC admits to being a Democrat.  She is a single mother, who lost her husband to cancer, very suddenly, at the age of thirty-four.  Not long after that, during the foreclosure crisis, she and her daughter lost their home.   A few years later, after rebuilding their lives, a house fire took everything they owned, clothing, photographs, mementos, but thankfully, no one was hurt.

KC is a college graduate actively seeking employment but says, for her daughter, she is willing to wait tables or clean houses, whatever it takes.  “At least,” she says, “I can be home when my daughter gets home from school.”  She cannot afford daycare.  She cannot afford healthcare, but she says, “I’m lucky.  I went through a horrible time, but I have my health, I have my daughter and I’ve learned to appreciate what really matters in life.”

Forget the labels; they only lead to divisive thinking.  Fighting among ourselves will never make our country stronger.  There is one label we can all wear proudly and that is American.

Echoes of the Silent Response

Thought for the week:  When seeking support, accept surprises, avoid obstacles and don’t always discount strangers.

Aside from other writers, I seek support and opinions on my writing from family, friends and acquaintances.  Interestingly, some of the most reliable feedback comes from acquaintances, not from my nearest and dearest.  Why?   I suspect the people who care about me, sugar coat their responses out of kindness.  I understand.  It’s hard to negatively criticize someone you like.

When analyzing feedback, I try to focus on common threads, tossing aside any commentary that falls too far to the extremes.  Good news always comes first.

“Great character, send more!”

“I can’t wait for the next chapter.”

Finally, the rare and valued, detailed critique:

“I was confused by this part.  I didn’t get where you were going with this or that.  My favorite part was such and such.”

From the rest, silence, leaving me to interpret its meaning.

You thought it stunk and don’t know how to say that without hurting my feelings.  Or you lost interest after the first sentence.

Silence leads to doubt and doubt has a way of coiling its slimy self in a dark corner of my brain, periodically raising its scaly head to hiss, spit or rattle its tail, lest I forget about it.  The longer this goes on the more agonizing it becomes.  

Do I really want to know that someone hated what I wrote?  Absolutely!  What I find out after probing is:

“I couldn’t find the file.”

“I couldn’t open the file.”

“I loved it, didn’t I tell you?”

“I was too busy to get to it.”

“I didn’t care for the story, but liked the other one you sent.”

So what does this mean?  Positive feedback is great, but just as important, is the other kind, it reveals something about your future audience.  You need a variety of test readers, including some lacking a keen interest in protecting your feelings, because assuming you publish your novel, readers who know very little or nothing about you will read your work, if you are lucky.

Readers of your published work will approach your story from a different perspective, bringing their own likeness into play, viewing it through their the lens of their history.  They will not concern themselves with what you think or how you feel; they expect you to fulfill their wants, needs and desires.  If you fail, will they be kind?

In the end, I gratefully take in to account all comments and then rely on my inner Editor and Critic, but sometimes, even she, tries to placate me.

Thank you for reading and keep writing!

Yet to come:  The Benefits of Insomnia; My First Writers Conference; Query Letter Hell! & The ABC’s…Author Websites, Blogging and Contests, Oh, My!