Pitch Wars


A few weeks ago I participated  in the How to Pitch like a Rockstar contest and although I didn't win (boo  hoo) I learned tons and am ready to venture into the trenches and enter Brend Drake's Pitch Wars contest.

Wish me luck!
 
If you were going to go up against an intergalactic overlord? Which protagonist would you be to defend the world against evil?
 
Me?
Gandalf.
 
Darth Vadar v. Gandalf.
Bring it.
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Holiday Hair -- Braids Galore!

Braids are my favorite hair style for this coming holiday season. My fondness for braids was most recently (re)inspired by Jennifer Lawrence's portrayal of Katniss in the film adaptation of The Hunger Games. When I went to watch the movie the night it was released a cosmetology school offered Katniss braids while theater-goers waited in line. I longed for one, but both lines (I wanted a good seat) were too long. An interview by head hair stylist on the set is available here.


Source: google.ca via Annik on Pinterest

When my daughter (who has not yet been inducted into the world of YA and therefore unaware of the craze) asked me to give her a fishtail...I may very well have invented a braid of my own. I call it the mermaid. It is basically a low French braid slash fishtail. I had great success with wet hair. The next day we tried the fishtail, which came out to her satisfaction.


The Mermaid- A combination of a French Braid and the Fishtail (below.)
 

She loved this one- it was easier than braiding- if that's not your thing.
Simply brush all the hair backward (again wet hair is very helpful.)
Working from the outside take 1/4 inch strands and cross in an X shape going right-left (or left right) grabbing new strands each time. It isn't officially a braid, but more of a crossing of the hair. Directions can be found here.
 
Here are more thoughts I have about hair.
 
 
Please share any holiday or fiction-inspired hair you below!
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Happy AND Thanksgiving


Recently, I celebrated a birthday. It was a routine day, but I spent quality time with my family. It used to be that I desired fanfare to celebrate the miraculous fact that I existed: fireworks, a parade and an elaborate banquet. These days a colorful card on construction paper, a pair of socks to keep my always-cold-feet warm and a friend who calls to sing Happy Birthday in the silliest way does just fine. Those things light up my sky because  in some sweet, original, genuine way, they are all mine. So happy birthday, to me.

I am also gearing up to celebrate Thanksgiving...and boy oh boy do I have a lot to be thankful for, don't we all? Please click on over to Ladies Holiday to fine out what I'm grateful for.



And to all of you, dear readers, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
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My Interview with Tata Harper

Courtesy of Tata Harper


Check it out -- My interview with Tata Harper of the eponymous skincare line...on Minted!
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Lucky Cat


Source: happymall.com via Mary on Pinterest

Have you ever wondered about the adorable cat statue with one paw raised peeking out from behind ferns and bamboo plants, atop shelves and registers, in the windows of businesses? I did and I've learned the best way to find out about something is to ask.

My family and I have a favorite Chinese/Japanese restaurant we go to for special occasions and while there my daughter pointed out a cute porcelain statue of a cat behind the register. She’s crazy about cats and if there is anything in the likeness of a cat in her vicinity she will undoubtedly find it and practically purr over it. Unfortunately I couldn’t tell her much about it other than I too had noticed it there and in many Chinese and Japanese restaurants. You’d think I would have asked the kind owners who always seem glad to see us. Nope. Too shy perhaps?

Days later at the mall we passed a version of the ceramic cat sitting in the window of a salon. A week or so passed and while eating at a pizza shop we noticed a similar statue peeking out from behind a plant atop the beverage cooler. Now we were genuinely curious about this creature that had repeatedly appeared in our lives over the span of a week or so.

Despite my initial reluctance to ask people in possession of the cat what it meant, perhaps fearing that I was prying into a private matter, I explained to my children the best way to find out is to simply ask. “Could you tell us about the cat statue?” I queried as the shop owner deftly caught a spinning wheel of dough in his hands.  He replied, “That is a Lucky cat.” He fumbled with the pronunciation of the Japanese word so when we returned home I resorted to Google.

We learned that Maneki Neko has many English names including, beckoning cat, money cat, good fortune cat and welcoming cat and is traditionally displayed in a prominent spot in businesses and homes.  There are many interpretations and ways to understand the significance of the cat, but to simplify, the general idea is that the raised paw signifies the beckoning of good fortune in either the form of wealth or luck. Depending on the particular statue the collar, coin and other adornments also carry symbolism.

Upon further reading we also learned that the lucky cat is the subject of several legends and can be traced back in Japanese history over 400 years.  I looked for a version that could be easily understood by my children, but in the meantime the cat kept appearing when on outings to stores, restaurants and even during a trip to Epcot at Walt Disney World.

We saw white versions of Meneki Neko, gold, ones with both paws raised, one that bore a striking likeness to Hello Kitty, cartoon variations, tall and slender, squat and round, cats made of cloth, cats on key chains, when we really started to look, the lucky cat was ever where.

I discovered the book I am Tama: Lucky Cat a Japanese Legend written by Wendy Hendricks and illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi, in which we learned of the cat’s humble beginnings and the lasting friendship and good-fortune he brought when shown genuine kindness. My kids adored the story and the pictures were very lovely; the cherry blossoms seemed to float off the page.

Now whenever we see the beckoning cat we give a little wave and a smile, grateful to have gummed up the courage to ask about it and begin to understand its origins and purpose… and perhaps hoping for a little good luck of our own.
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How to Pitch Like a Rockstar - Swing #3


An armful of gratitude to everyone who has read and offered feedback on my pitches during the Pitch Like a Rock Star Contest courtesy of Heather on her blog Between the Sheets. Below are my revised pitches, but first a few things I learned during this process:
  1. A pitch is not a logline.
  2. Writing a pitch, a logline or a query is challenging especially when my brain has fogged over with intimate knowledge of three hundred pages worth of material. But billions of published books are a testament to the fact that it can be done and as a writer it is my responsibility and another way in which to hone my skills to be able to do so. But I can grit my teeth and admit that I don't really like it. The other part, yanno the world building, story creating, character developing is so much more fun. However, I will pitch, log and query and continue to grow as a writer because, yanno, it's all part of it and sometimes challenges can be fun too.
  3. There are countless amazing stories out there written and waiting to be shared. It is overwhelming and heartening to know I will someday have the privilege to read some of them and that one lucky day the story may be mine.

Revision - Girl on the Edge

 
As seventeen year old Pearl Jaeger emerges from a gritty childhood she is sent to a prestigious prep school with the promise of a second chance, but reckless with grief when her mother overdoses, she turns to drinking and smoking with the burnouts including shy, but sweet Grant. Haunted by her memories when she goes to summer school in her native New York City Pearl falls in deeper with the hard partying lifestyle sending her spiraling out of control on the heels of her late mother. But between hits of pot, pills and anything else she can get her hands on Grant shows her what it is to trust and forgive and Pearl must close the door on her past, and choose him or lose love, along with her future.


Revision - To the Sea


After attorney Kira Speranza unexpectedly loses her husband in a car accident, she uncovers his steamy past causing her to nearly drown in sorrow over loss and deception as her carefully constructed world falls apart. Pursued by a hot and spontaneous surfer Kira goes on a “surfari” in South Africa where she learns what she wants in a relationship, but it is more than he can offer casting her further adrift. As Kira discovers that salt, be it tears, sweat or the sea will guide her toward the truth of who she really is she finds herself hand-in-hand with her surf instructor, Ian, who loves her unconditionally, but his return to the west coast threatens to end their relationship and the love she’s finally found.

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How to Pitch like a Rockstar #2



And...here is the second pitch I've been working on. The first was up yesterday- Thank you again to everyone and Heather for getting the band together!

Pitch Numero Dos:

To the Sea
Women's Fiction

After attorney, Kira Speranza, unexpectedly loses her husband in a car accident, she uncovers his steamy past. Fraught with deception and a sinking sense of self she realizes if she doesn't break loose from the confines of the boardroom and claim her freedom on a surfboard, she'll forget how to live and love after loss.

***REVISION:


After attorney Kira Speranza unexpectedly loses her husband in a car accident, she uncovers his steamy past. As she drowns in sorrow over loss and deception her carefully constructed world falls apart casting her adrift and she discovers that salt, be it tears, sweat or the sea guides her toward the truth of who she really is. As Kira overcomes her well of grief she finds herself in the arms of Ian, her surf instructor, who loves her for who she is, but his return to the west coast threatens to end their relationship and the love she’s found.


 

 
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Between the Sheets "How to Pitch Like a Rockstar"


 
Superstar Heather Webb (yes she rocks!) is hosting the "How to Pitch like a Rockstar" pitch workshop and contest over on her blog. Click here for more info. Thank you Heather and everyone who is participating.


Pitch Numero Uno:

Girl on the Edge
Young Adult- Contemporary

Seventeen year old Pearl Jaeger emerges from a gritty childhood to find herself at a prestigious prep school. Fitting in is hard enough, but all too soon her life careens in the dangerous downward spiral of sex, drugs and rock and roll for which her late mother was notorious. Before she loses what little she has, especially the potential for love, Pearl must change her course or follow in her mother’s footsteps.


Revision # 1

Seventeen year old Pearl Jaeger emerges from a gritty childhood to find herself at a prestigious prep school. Fitting in is hard enough, but reckless with grief over the loss of her mother, she turns to drinking and smoking with the burnouts at Laurel Hill Prep. When she goes to summer school Pearl falls in deeper with the hard partying lifestyle sending her spiraling out of control on the heels of her late mother. But between hits of pot, pills and anything else she can get her hands Grant shows her what it is to be loved and she must close the door on her past, and choose him or lose love, along with her future.

Revision #2

As seventeen year old Pearl Jaeger emerges from a gritty childhood she finds fitting in at a prestigious prep school hard, but reckless with grief over the loss of her mother she turns to drinking and smoking. When she goes to summer school Pearl falls in deeper with the hard partying lifestyle sending her spiraling out of control on the heels of her late mother. But between hits of pot, pills and anything else she can get her hands Grant shows her what it is to trust and forgive and she must close the door on her past, and choose him or lose love, along with her future.
 
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The Humble & Astonishing...



"It's a flat object made from a tree
with flexible parts on which are impirinted
lots of unny dark squiggles. But one
glance at it and you're inside the mind of
another person, maybe somebody dead for
thousands of years. Across the millennia,
an author is speaking clearly and silently
inside your head, directly to you. Writing
is perhaps the greatest of human
inventions, binding together people who
never knew each other, citizens of distant
epochs. Books break the shackles of time.
A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic."
-Carl Sagan 


 
A dear friend recently texted this to me, a reminder, an inspiration, a bit of possibility, a bit of love.
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