Latest acoustic original …
To be extra special I’ve posted this picture of Mars and the Moon. Ain’t that just clever … heh. *wah wah*
Latest acoustic original …
To be extra special I’ve posted this picture of Mars and the Moon. Ain’t that just clever … heh. *wah wah*
“Emily?” Her freshly manicured hands pace across the clipboard as her eyes dart about the room.
I stand with an uncertain wave.
“You’re our hair model?” she says. Her hands go still as a glint of horror peeks out from between layers of eyelashes – some real, most fake. I choke back horror of my own. Every time the make-up artists glue eyelashes to my eyelids I am certain I will walk away with none of my own. Thus resulting in many awkward instances of standing at grocery stores or sitting at coffee shops with a small half-moon of tiny black hairs flapping about wildly as I wait for the glue to come off by itself.
The woman sets down her clipboard and forces a smile. “They didn’t tell me you had curls.” She glances longingly at the model room full of girls with shiny, straight hair. I give an apologetic grin. She got stuck with me.
“Well then, let’s get to it!” She rushes around me, plugging in curling irons and setting out color samples.
Another woman bustles in, “Magnolia, we’re on live in less than twenty minutes. Have you seen our model yet?”
I watch the live feed of the ever-streaming infomercial network I am modeling for. A hand model is demonstrating how to use magnets to paint your nails. I laugh-cough into my hand. The second woman turns to me and jumps. “Who’s this?”
The first woman, Magnolia, waves a hand in my direction. “Our model,” she says frantically. “Look at all her hair!” Magnolia lifts the hair from the back of my neck. I shrug. Usually vendors want hair models with lots of hair.
The other woman whimpers – quite literally – and sways – also literally. I frown at her jutting collarbones, concerned for the woman’s health.
“It’s okay,” Magnolia says. “We can do this. We can make her look good.” I watch the other models getting their hair and makeup done. Magnolia’s comment is old hat in this environment.
“But our product is for women who don’t have a lot of hair,” woman number two shrieks.
I lift an eyebrow as she draws out a display case of hair clips with piles of hair attached at the end. They come in every length and color imaginable – all of them straight.
I blink at my reflection.
“I figure it would be faster to try and curl one of the hair pieces than straighten her whole head,” Magnolia says, already winding a piece of hair from the clip around the curling wand.
Woman two nods and starts on my makeup.
After fifteen minutes of looking up, looking down, smiling, puckering, blotting, and blinking, Magnolia sighs and sets down the curling iron.
“I’m afraid this is the best I could do,” she says.
The hairpiece she holds up is wavy at best. My hair is curly. Not nice, tame curls. Frizzy, wild, out of control curls. I bite back a laugh as she tucks one hair piece beneath a layer of my own hair and situates another at the very top of my skull. I suddenly have bangs. Straight bangs. On a curly head.
I grimace at my reflection. I am wearing a very obvious toupee. “I’m sorry, honey,” woman two whispers next to my ear. “I’m sure it’s not as bad as you think.”
As bad as I think? Clearly I am not the one struggling to see the truth here. I smile and nod.
“She’ll look good on screen, don’t you think?”
“Of course, everything looks different on there.”
“Tell the cameraman not to do any close-ups.”
Their whispers follow me into the next room where the host is already introducing the hair product: “For those of you needing an extra lift to your hair, we have just the thing! It volumizes and beautifies like no other product I’ve seen. Take a look at this!”
A “before” image comes onto the screen of a woman with hair so thin you can see her pale scalp from every angle. The “after” image shows a smiling image of the same woman wearing the very product stuck to my head. I nod, impressed. It actually is a remarkable improvement.
“Over on that stool there, please,” a man with a very authoritative headset ushers me to a white stool next to the host.
I look at the camera and wait for it to flash red, my cue that I am live.
“And here in the studio we have one of our very own models wearing the same product,” the host says. She turns to me and her eyes bulge.
The camera flashes red. I grin.
“Oh wow,” the host says. Her hand hovers above my toupee, afraid to touch it lest it should topple from its precarious perch. I stare at my image on the screen below the camera. The hairpiece actually manages to make my head look flat, like a massive anvil has come down on my skull.
I swallow the laughter bubbling up my esophagus.
“Doesn’t this look nice?” the host says. Her gaze meets mine, wild with panic. I smile up at her. A sympathetic grimace graces her carmine lips.
“Cut back to the before and after already in the system,” a thin voice filters through the host’s headset.
Suddenly the red light blinks off and the screen once again shows the woman who actually has thin hair. “Yes, so as you can see…” The host continues ad-libbing about the hair product as more voices come through on the headsets surrounding me.
“Get the model out of there,” a voice says. “Just get her off stage.”
Someone waves frantically for me to slip off the stool and nonchalantly disappear from the set. I keep a careful eye on the monitor, moving only when the camera is not flashing red.
I imagine the folks at home: “Does the model seem to be getting farther away to you, Marlene?”
Marlene adjusts her glasses. “Why yes, Doris. Yes, she does.”
Doris ponders this for a moment, “Amazing what they can do with technology these days.”
I smirk and mysteriously vanish from the set. Back in the safety of the model room, Magnolia and Woman two swarm me. “You really did an excellent job,” Magnolia says.
“Yes,” says Woman two, “just please don’t ever come back for this vendor again.”
I help Magnolia untangle the hairpieces from my hair. “No worries there,” I say. I head for the door.
“She really does look good when those hair pieces are out,” Woman two says.
Magnolia makes a humming sound, “We should’ve just left her be and said we added the hair pieces.”
“Ah!” Woman two head-palms. “Why didn’t we think of that before?”
I clock out with a grin. There is something to be said for getting paid not to model.
Hey all, I’ve recorded a couple more acoustic songs. Take a listen if you’re so inclined!
Let me know what you think.
I’ve been slowly creating a monster in one of my novels. A dark antagonist that surprises me in the way she often takes over my writing and does things even I, as the author, am blind-sided with and taken aback by. It has been teaching me quite a bit about villains.
The most terrifying villains are the ones that are complex – not pure darkness, but a rainbow of colors that don’t quite piece together right. They’re the ones who have reasons to justify their cruelty. Beliefs that allow them to condone it. And they become even more terrifying when you realize that, when looked at from some angles, their motives are justifiable to you. That some remote piece of you relates with what the villain went through. You understand rejection. You understand heartbreak. You understand the desire to be viewed as great. And suddenly a tiny thread of sympathy passes between you and the villain. That’s when you take a shuddering breath with white knuckled fists gripping each side of the book. That’s when your insides constrict with the knowledge that the monster you are reading about is not so distant after all.
The most terrifying villains are the ones in which you see a sinister reflection of yourself.
Why do I love my Critters?
Because they make sure that the character in my book is NOT slipping an arm around his wife’s waste. …ewe.
Never ceases to amaze me the mistakes I miss in the good ol’ ms over and over and over again! Yay for CPs!
I am officially halfway through my Month of Jubilee (MOJ). Basically it’s one month I’ve given myself to be a writing hermit. It’s kind of a reverse-lent. Instead of choosing one thing in your life to give up, you choose one thing to keep. That one thing I’m keeping this month is writing.
Unfortunately, that means giving up other things like, oh say, friends. A social life. Exercising (though I suppose a fractured foot helps rule that one out). Spending copious amounts of time on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
I’ve still been writing songs because, well, that’s right there on the same level as breathing. It just has to happen. By the way, what do you think of this idea one of my band-mates came up with for our awesome matching outfits?
I know. I told him denim supply companies wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demand we’d generate.
Anywho… So far the MOJ has been spent grouting.
“Excuuuuse me, Emily, but didn’t you say it was going to be a month of writing and writing alone?”
Right you are!
Grouting (a writer’s definition):
1: filling the cracks or seams of a novel so that they are one cohesive whole
2: the smoothing out of sentence structure, grammar, and transitions
1: the finishing touches
I love grouting. However, grouting my story has uncovered one major issue I seem to struggle with ALL OVER THE PLACE!! It also happens to be the problem I find most vexing and ambiguous. Lovely.
I have problems keeping my writing voice consistent throughout the novel. *cue the storm-clouds of ultimate discontent*
One day I’ll feel like writing one way, another day I’ll write in another. I’ll read one book and find my voice is changing to match theirs but then I’ll read another and it changes back.
So. How did I go about grouting the voice of my novel?
One tactic I recommend is to find a section (be it a paragraph or a page) where you nailed the voice! Then highlight it or save it in a separate file or make it the backdrop of your desktop. Or, if you have the same affinity for sticky-notes as I do, sticky-note that sucker! Then every time you go to edit/write, make sure you read that section first. It helps you get into the right cadence.
Another tactic I recommend is to find a piece of music that really resonates with the entire tone of the story. For me, that’s meant an IV tube of Hans Zimmer. For you? Who knows – it could be Avril Lavigne or Prince. Point is, just by listening to that score, my focus centers on how the story needs to be told and my voice gets grouted. :)
These are the two tactics I’ve employed so far and they are proving their worth.
Happy grouting and happy MOJ!
Well friends, after seven hours of sitting on my bum and staring at a screen (shameful, I know), I finally ended up with this!
It’s not perfect but I’m sure proud of it! This, ladies and gents, is the map of the world I have created in my young adult high fantasy novel called QUIVER. Oh and there are so many other places lurking in this world that are just waiting to be seen and explored! Isn’t it exciting?
‘Neehow… I’m going to go add cartography to my resume – who CARES if it’s not the world we live in. I made a stinkin map! Clearly, I’m a bit excited… and perhaps delusional from seven straight hours of going nearly cross-eyed trying draw hundreds of tiny trees.
I read a lot. Mostly, I read a LOT of young adult novels, generally in the fantasy, sci-fi, and (some) paranormal genres. YA is the genre in which I am writing. It is a genre that I love. I love the twisting plotlines and new worlds or new twists on our own world. I love seeing relationships build, particularly when you start to realize that a character that once seemed to be the epitome of evil actually has this tragically relatable side. Ooooh, I love that. (Warner from Tahereh Mafi’s “Shatter Me” anyone?)
I have had more than my fill of protagonists who have zero emotional intelligence and who cannot communicate well. I understand that it is a genre that is reaching out to angsty teens in a tumultuous time of their life. I get it that authors want their protagonists to be someone to whom their target audience relates…
But perhaps, we A) aren’t giving teens enough credit and B) should be offering better models of what it means to be a hero.
Please allow me to explain myself:
A) Not all teens are angsty. I think teens deserve a little more credit than the generalization that they all suck at communicating and have grossly tumultuous emotions. Some have already matured into adults while others remain in the throws of childhood. No teen is the same. :)
I, for one, was not a very angsty teen. My biggest concerns were paltry and simple – get good grades, get a role in the school play, join the tennis team, etc, etc, etc. Sure, these things might have felt important at the time, and really, they were all influential in shaping who I am today – but I didn’t spend all my time brooding in dark places or wishing I could throw a punch at a wall because of something someone said.
And even for those moments when I was a bit more angsty than normal, I CERTAINLY did not want to read a book with more angst than I was already dealing with. Talk about spiking blood pressure! I wanted books that would remind me that it is perfectly acceptable and applaudable for a young adult to keep their head and find some semblance of maturity. If that meant standing out from the crowd, then so be it! At least I could comfort myself with the fact that somewhere out there an author believed enough in their teenage character’s character to make them the same way.
B) Those books that stand the test of time have heroes that deserve to be legend. I’m not saying that the protagonist should be perfect. Nobody’s perfect and we have a hard time relating with a character that is flawless. What I am saying, however, is that the books that always moved me the most – both as a teen and to this day – are the ones with protagonists who are intelligent enough and emotionally intact enough to face any challenge with out it turning them into a sniveling, self-entombed, self-pitying ninny-muffin. Harsh? I don’t think so. I can’t stand a character that spends most of a book wallowing in some huge loss or another. I want a character that can overcome obstacles. THOSE are the ones I find myself trying to emulate when times get tough.
And so, my challenge to myself, is to create respectable, relatable, and intelligent characters that can stand the test of time. Lofty goal perhaps, but one I will gladly undertake.
It’s certainly not every day that you get to meet an author whose advise and writing has (unbeknownst to them) been incredibly influential in your own writing endeavors.
Well, tonight, I got to meet Sarah J. Maas – author of an incredible series of books and one of many authors on Pub Crawl whose posts have encouraged, discouraged, motivated, and informed. Meeting her in person and asking her my questions as I sludge through my lowly status of “aspiring author” was, in a word – amazing.
What are some of the things I most took away from this encounter?
A) I’m not the only one who feels that reading your own work aloud somehow makes every word fall flat on its face. As she put it, when she readsa aloud, she reads in her typical, colloquial New Yorker gone Californian style. However, what she hears in her head as she writes is more of a high class, sophisticated British manner of reading.
For me, reading my novel aloud instantly seems to turn it into Minnesotan tapioca and casserole – a far cry from the fierce narrative that occurs in my head while writing. So! A great sigh of relief that it is normal to suddenly think your novel is silly when you read it out loud, but terribly exciting when you read it in your head.
B) Even successful authors:
C) Never underestimate the power of an already established fan base. This one gets my pulse racing in a high-probability-of-death manner. How on earth do I establish a fan base?! You see, to be quite honest, the Internet kind of scares me. As in, it REALLY scares me. Therefore, garnering a fan base via the Internet is something I find absolutely terrifying. But she did it and man did it ever work in her favor! Guess it’s time to step out a bit more.
Oh there’s so much more to be taken away from it all but I am going to stop writing this post in favor of working on my novel, prowling about for a good crit partner, and attempting to patch together a far better query letter. Ta-ta for now!