2017 International Latino Book Award Finalist – A Decent Woman

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Buenos días!

On this beautiful morning, I was humbled and happy to learn my debut novel, A Decent Woman, set in turn of the century Puerto Rico, is a finalist in the 2017 International Latino Book Award and Latino Literacy Now for Best Latino Focused Fiction Book. I’m beyond honored, blessed, and proud to introduce readers, through my books and book events, to Latina/o characters and to Puerto Rico, the beautiful island of my birth.

I am forever grateful to my readers and blogger friends for their continued support and friendship as I meet so many on my travels and during book events. A huge thank you to Latino Literacy Now and everyone at the International Latino Book Award organization for their untiring, brilliant work in bringing Latino literature in English and Spanish to readers in the US and around the world.

A special thank you to my children, my loves, and my family for their unending love, encouragement, and support. I am truly blessed to do what I love–tell stories from long ago. I honor my ancestors and my family, on both sides of my wonderful family, for their love and support, and for continuing to listen and tell stories at the kitchen table and around the fire for the younger generation as we did last month at a recent Sapia family reunion in Ohio. A very special time for all!

Now, I must confess. I really miss my Tuesday Author Interviews series with my fellow authors, which I began in 2014. I’m excited to begin a brand new author interview series in January 2018, and in the meantime, I am hard at work on my second book, The Laments of Forgotten Souls, set in 1927 Puerto Rico. I am in love with this new story and my new characters, who are whispering their stories in my ear. I hope you will like this new story as much as I do.

I will share the complete list of the 2017 International Latino Book Award finalists as soon as I find a good link. Congratulations to all the finalists.

Be well, be safe, and enjoy your summer! ❤




Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the award-winning historical novel, A Decent Woman, published by Scarlet River Press. Her debut novel, set in turn of the century Ponce, Puerto Rico, is a finalist for Best Latino Focused Fiction Book in the 2017 International Latino Book Award with Latino Literacy Now. The book also garnered an Honorable Mention for Best Historical Fiction, English at the 2016 International Latino Book Awards with Latino Literacy Now. A Decent Woman was selected as a Book of the Month by Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club in 2015. Eleanor is featured in the anthology, Latina Authors and Their Muses, edited by Mayra Calvani.

A writer, artist, and photographer, Eleanor currently lives in Berkeley County, West Virginia, where she is working on her second novel, The Laments of Forgotten Souls, set in 1927 Puerto Rico.

Eleanor’s book, A Decent Woman, available in paperback and ebook format:  http://amzn.to/1X0qFvK
Please visit Eleanor at her website:




The Writing Life: Signing A Creativity Contract

The Writing Life: Signing a Creativity Contract

By Eleanor Parker Sapia

My novel ‘A Decent Woman’ turns one-year old on February 20, 2016, and you best believe I will be celebrating with champagne, just as I did the evening my publisher emailed to say, “Your book is live on Amazon.” I drank the entire bottle–no wine glass–and yes, I was alone! That day ranks right up there as one of the most thrilling days of my life.

I am currently writing my second book and thinking back to my experiences on the road to publication. I am happy. Every setback, challenge, and joy, and each little miracle with my first book reminds me that choosing to live a creative life at age 50 was worth it all!

In looking back, I’ve come up with a writing contract for myself for 2016. I’d love to share it with you. Whether you’re a writer or a reader, I hope you’ll glean a little encouragement to live your life to the fullest, and do what you love. If you don’t write, replace ‘writing’ with whatever you like to do, or simply think of the sentences as they pertain to life.

What I will do in 2016:

  • Continue to tell stories that matter to me, with characters who do extraordinary things while leading simple lives during extraordinary times.
  • Remind myself how blessed I am to do what I love when writing becomes difficult.
  • Push myself to write every day. When I don’t think I can write another word, I will stand up from my writing chair and take a walk in nature. Or write a blog post. Call a good friend. Knit. And return to my writing chair.
  • Connect with friends and family on Sundays, and take days off when I feel the need to rest my mind, body, and soul.
  • Treat my writing (and marketing my books) like a job because it is.
  • Remember that my writing life is my writing life.
  • Learn more about developing my craft; read more; and keep writing to the best of my ability.
  • Maintain writing excellence.
  • Continue connecting with my readers, who are awesome. But limit Facebook time 🙂
  • Encourage more fellow authors by buying their books and writing more reviews.
  • Pay it forward with my fellow writers on social media, and continue offering them author interviews at my blog.
  • Pat myself on the back for a job well done after a good writing session, and remember that it’s not life or death, even though it feels like it!
  • Keep writing about what is deep in my heart; whether it’s popular or not.
  • Silence my inner censor–I can write another good book.
  • Pat myself on the back for a job well done after a ‘bad’ writing session–I showed up and put in the hours.
  • Keep writing!

What I won’t do:

  • Follow the literary trends of writing books in the popular genre of the month. I write what I’d like to read and hope my stories resonate with readers.
  • Obsess about reviews, positive or negative (a tough one for me). My writer friend says that what readers say about my book is none of my business. We all filter information through our life experiences. The book is no longer mine.
  • Push myself to the point of mental exhaustion. I can play with my animals, read, sit in the sun, or daydream for 30 minutes to refresh and regroup. Or take a nap.
  • Compare my writing to other writers, whether they’re in my genre or not. I’m on my journey and path. They are on their journey and path.
  • Become impatient with myself. The words will come.
  • Sweat what I don’t know today. The journey is as important as reaching the goal.

What can you do as a good reader and fan of your favorite writers?

  • Buy their books, books, books.
  • Soon after finishing a book, write an honest review and post it on social media and on Amazon while it’s fresh in your mind. We truly appreciate your reviews.
  • Interact with your favorite authors on social media. Writing is a lonely business.
  • Keep reading! Who wants an empty Kindle or bookshelf?

What would you add to my creativity list? I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you!

Happy writing.

About Eleanor


Puerto Rican novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language family support worker, and a refugee case worker, inspire her stories.

‘A Decent Woman, Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club, and is listed in Centro Voices, The Center of Puerto Rican Studies, ‘Essential Boricua Reading for the 2015 Holiday Season’. Book clubs across the United States continue to enjoy A Decent Woman. Eleanor is featured in the anthology, ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’, edited by Mayra Calvani, and in the soon-to-be released anthology, Organic Coffee, Haphazardly, edited by Allie Burke. Eleanor is a proud member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, The National Association of Professional Women, and the Historical Novel Society, and she is a contributing writer at Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society. When not writing, she loves facilitating creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

Eleanor is a mother of two wonderful adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, ‘The Lament of Sister Maria Immaculata’, and a collection of short stories.


Great Kismet

You know the feeling you get when you visit a town or city and you feel completely at home like you were meant to live there? Berkeley Springs, West Virginia is that town for me.  Last weekend, I took a little road trip to the historic spa town of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia to attend the Uniquely West Virginia Wine and Food Festival hosted by the Ice House Community Center and Gallery. I expected to sample, offered by over a dozen vendors, great West Virginia wine and food and I wasn’t disappointed. Where wine and food make an appearance locally, in West Virginia and Virginia, I’m usually there.  What I didn’t expect on that chilly Saturday was meeting and making contact with three awesome women- local award-winning writer, Jeanne Mozier, Joyce Morningstar Barron, owner of Star Eagle Studio & Gardens in Berkeley Springs, and Lynn Lavin, owner of the Carrot Patch Pottery also in town. These women have already enriched my life, as author, artist and alternative health practitioner in many wonderful and mysterious ways.

Writer, Jeanne Mozier is the author of Way Out in West Virginia,  the novel Senate Magic, Images of Berkeley Springs: Historic Photos, and West Virginia Beauty: Familiar and Rare, a coffee table book with photographer Steve Shaluta.  What I later learned about Jeanne is that in addition to her earned degrees in political science from Cornell and Columbia universities, she also reads Tarot cards, gives astrology and palm readings, and she is the founder of Morgan Arts Council. This is a woman I want to get to know better.

I had a great chat with this fun lady who graciously invited me to share my historical novel, A Decent Woman, out in June 2014, and to offer a short talk on reviewing books at the Berkeley Springs Bookfest  on June 14. I was thrilled!

As one radio host characterized Jeanne: “Ivy League educated, CIA indoctrinated, West Virginia marinated.” It’s a potent combination that makes for fun reading what Jeanne writes.

From Jeanne’s Goodreads page:

Jeanne has practiced astrology for more than 40 years using it to analyze and project social and political trends as well as applying astrological insight to individual lives. A “full service oracle” she also consults tarot cards, Nordic runes and reads palms. She lectures widely delivering annual Oracles talks.

Currently, Jeanne lives with her husband in the historic spa town of Berkeley Springs, WV where they own and operate the Star Theatre, a vintage movie house. A noted social entrepreneur and popular writer, Jeanne has accumulated many honors and awards in her years of creating an enclave for all things and people with a slightly different perspective. 

I thank my lucky stars that I met author, Oracle and all-around fun lady, Jeanne Mozier, on Saturday! I’m excited to read my autographed copy of her book, Images of Berkeley Springs: Historic Photos. I invite you to discover this talented author and  her adopted hometown of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. I would move to Berkeley Springs in a heartbeat and might just see about selling my house in order to move to this artsy town!


I will be contacting Morningstar about the 16th Annual Festival of Light Psychic Fair and Alternative Health Expo in Berkeley Springs to be held on November 8 and 9, and Lynne about an exhibit she is currently planning for July. Ya gotta love synchronicity and kismet!


Life’s Challenges, Surprises and Joyful Moments

Big sighs on this beautiful Spring morning. My son has decided to pack it up in Northern Virginia and move back to Europe.  Not an easy decision for him. What did I expect? I live in West Virginia where I’m growing roots, originally from Northern Virginia where my parents retired after my Dad’s Army career and before that, I was a citizen of the world. I understand my son’s feelings very well. I was an Army brat and later, an Army wife. It is a life I know and understand, living overseas and starting over. I’ve lived in five European cities in my life. Back and forth across the Atlantic. I just didn’t think my son would return so soon to start a new life in Europe, but it’s in his blood-travel and living the ex-pat life.

My kids were raised in Europe during our tours of duty. We lived in Brussels, Belgium for 13 years and that is home to them, but it doesn’t take away the heartache I feel this morning. My youngest is moving overseas. I tell myself that he isn’t going off to war, only moving an ocean away where we know he will be happier, but all that is little consolation this morning. I went to my neighbor’s house at 8 am this morning. She opened the door, gave me a hug, put the coffee on, and let me talk. It takes a lot for me to cry in front of others. I didn’t have a problem this morning. I hate appearing weak which I know is poppy cock. I can be strong during adversity and can hold it together for friends going through challenges and hardships but, I don’t give a rat’s ass about being strong this morning. My friend has said goodbye to two military sons who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, welcomed them home only to have them leave on another tour. This went on for years. I knew she was the person to speak to this morning and I am grateful that she was up early!

So not only do I have my historical fiction book, A Decent Woman, to publish this summer, frenzied marketing after the release,  my daughter’s university graduation in May and her wedding next Fall, I now have one month to spend with my son before he moves this May. Good Lord. All great opportunities, joyful celebrations and blessings, but sheesh. All at once.

So what do I have to do? How am I going to get this all done and still have my marbles in the end? How am I going to say goodbye to my son in one months’s time and again when my daughter and son-in-law get into the limo to start their new lives? With a smile and lots of tears and prayers.

I will do this and more by putting one foot in front of another. I’ve raised my children and they are going off into the world. As it should be and how I’ve always hoped and prayed. I couldn’t feel more proud, loved and grateful to be their mother. They are awesome young adults. So, it seems my life will change drastically in the coming month and there’s nothing I can do about it. I must continue moving forward and remember to be in the moment. I’m actually happy for the distractions of planning a wedding and getting my book ready for publication this summer. I will take it one day at a time and the future looks good. I am choosing joy.

I welcome, encourage and thank you in advance for following my author blog, The Writing Life.  April will begin with my first book review ever of Jack Remick’s fantastic book, Gabriella and the Widow and there are two author interviews in the works for you, as well.

So please put a smile on my face (you know I need it), follow my author blog here, find and friend me on Facebook Pinterest, LinkedIn, Goodreads and also on Twitter. I would love to hear from you and if you can relate to this blog post, please let me know. I could use some friendly comments, suggestions and advice! Thanks in advance!