So Long Friends…

I’ve made this decision a while ago, but I’ve decided to share the news via my blog that I will no longer will be writing. Shocker right? Truth be told, I will always love the written word, and I know I have the talent and skills to continue, but honestly my health is declining to the point that I no longer have the desire or the mental energy to focus on it like I should. Writing has become a chore instead of a joy. Even in the difficult times, when I couldn’t figure out a plot point or I was frustrated about not having an agent, writing was always a joy for me. But now it isn’t. I have sickle-cell anemia and my illness leaves me in pain most days, and the mental energy it takes to not cry or scream about it has taken it’s toll. I thought I would be sad about this, but mostly I just feel relieved. Relieved that I’ve finally admitted that I just can’t do it anymore. It takes a lot of humility to realize your limitations. And truth be told, when you are struggling to walk and get out of the bed in the morning, the last thing on your mind is sitting down and plotting a story out. I have a daughter I need to take care of, and a husband I love deeply. In the end, my relationships with the people I know, and not the ones I create in my head, became more important. I may have many years ahead of me. Realistically though, I may not. So I don’t want to spend another day, another late night, in pain on the computer. I want to spend it with the people I love and that love me back. I want to spend it with the people that need me.

Writing has been a wonderful journey. Writing gave me so much, and taught me so much. But I don’t need it anymore. And I’m okay with it, and I need anyone who stumbles on this little blog of mine to be okay with it too. Thanks for being a part of this wonderful journey with me!

Tyra vs. Wigs

article-2442500-1826658000000578-308_634x804Trya has had enough of wig companies using her face to sell their wigs. She’s suing!

According to TMZ, the 39-year-old former supermodel is filing a $10 million lawsuit against ten wig companies in Los Angeles County for ‘using her name, photograph, image and identity’ to sell their hairpieces.

According to the Los Angeles Superior Court, one of wig companies being sued by the star is Pink Lace Hair Goods, which features three Tyra-inspired hairpieces on its website.

One of them is the Tyra Banks custom lace wig, a short, choppy style with highlights and optional adjustable straps that costs $359.article-2442500-187F3ABB00000578-162_634x305

 

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Other hairpieces under fire include the Tyra Banks custom lace wig (above), which also costs $359 and comes with optional adjustable straps.

This whole matter could have been avoided if the companies had used their own wigs as the display instead of using a celebrity face. Tyra is a smart business woman, she may want to align herself with a wig line—or start her own—and these images could hurt her in the future.

What do you think? Should Tyra be suing? Or should she have ignored it?

Keeping a Writing Routine While Playing the Waiting Game

patience-is-a-virtueI miss having a deadline. It’s true. Most writer’s will agree that having a deadline is one of the most stressful things about getting a book done, but still I miss it. Having a deadline means you’re under contract to finish your book by a certain date. Although I don’t miss the pressure, I do miss the certainty of knowing that I would have a book out soon.

Now I’m in the waiting phase. I’m waiting on a publisher and a few agents to give me feedback on my novel to see if it’s something they want to pursue. Years ago, this waiting would have driven me crazy. I would check my emails every five minutes, or get on everyone’s nerves around me as I waited for a response. Although I still do check my emails, I don’t get in a funk when I see it’s not an email from an agent or an editor in my inbox. I really feel the reason why is because this time around I’m continuing on with my new project and also I’m so busy with other things in my life I can’t give it the time I once did years ago.

I wrote about how I lost my routine this summer, but thankfully I’m back in my groove again and have a good writing routine. I try to write on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. So far this schedule has been working for me and having a new project to be excited about keeps the negativity at bay when my mind wanders thinking about my other novel.

I also feel more confident than I did before. I know this comes with writing more, but I feel really good about what I’ve written. I know I’ve done my best work so far with my novel and I know that work will pay off—not with money—but I do feel my pay off will be seeing this book published. And until that time comes? I’ll be waiting, and writing…

Can Sandra Bullock Pull Off a Pixie?

article-2422792-1BDD314D000005DC-212_634x869Ok, before you start gasping, I don’t think Sandra Bullock cut her hair. I think it’s a wig. Just last week in Toronto she was spotted with her hair long and glorious.

Some fans of Vogue have called the hairstyle ‘confusing.’  One commenter compared it to a mullet; while another reader said the style makes her look like a ‘soccer mom’.

I’m not a fan of the look either, I do think it ages her and I don’t like the heavy volume at the top, it’s a bit cotton-candyish for my taste. I seriously hope she doesn’t cut her hair this short, I don’t think it suits her. I usually love the way Sandra Bullock has her hair styled, but this look is a fail for me.

What do you guys think? Should she go for it and crop it? Or stay with her long tresses?

My Bittersweet Summer

when-life-gives-you-lemons-470-wplokI didn’t get much writing done this summer. I did edit a novel that someone expressed interest in but I didn’t do much on my new book. And for me that’s unusual. I’ve never been one to write everyday, but I do always write several times a week. And then my poor neglected blog. It took a major hit this summer. I can’t remember a time going this long without posting.

It started in June. I caught a terrible cold, that turned into a wicked sinus infection which flared up my chronic illness. I spent a week in the hospital because of it, and it took a long time to recover.

Normally, I’m okay enduring with my illness, but this summer took me for a loop and I fell into a funk. I fell out of my routine, which is another thing that is not like me. I wouldn’t say I was depressed, but I will say I had bouts of sadness that was overwhelming. I can be a Negative Ninny at times, always seeing my glass half-empty that it took me awhile to switch gears and see the positive things that happened this summer. I went on a great weekend trip with friends. I went to a special theocratic training school that changed my life. A family friend helped take care of me in the hospital and our relationship grew to a deeper, more personal level. My relationship with my mother, sister, and mother-in-law grew deeper. And my beautiful daughter and loving husband handled my illness like champs, always supporting me.

I learned a valuable lesson this summer—that routine can at times be the thing that saves your life. Maybe not literally, but mentally, having a routine can stabilize you and take the wheel for you until you are ready to start driving your life again. I really let my routine slip this summer, and although it’s great to be flexible and balanced, having a good routine can keep you focused. I see now that it wasn’t my illness that made my summer bitter—it was the lack of my routine that really threw me off.

So last week I started writing again. I was so rusty at first, I took an hour wasting time on formatting and researching Scrivener (which I plan on downloading very soon), that I had to make myself buckle down and just write. And write I did. I followed my outline, and wrote—and it felt so good. It felt good to know that I still enjoy writing, that the business side of it has not killed my joy and love of the written word. The word bittersweet can describe most of our lives—times that are so bitter and gut-wrenching that we can’t speak, and times that are so sweet we cry from happiness. But I’ve learned to never let the bitter overtake the sweet, that I should accept and endure the bitter, but cherish and adore those sweet times. And although my summer was bitter with illness, it was very, very sweet.

Two For One! Kim Kardashian and Kelly Ripa Change Their Look!!

Okay, okay, I know I owe you guys an explanation on where I’ve been this summer and what’s been going on, but I promise I’ll have an update soon. But right now, let’s get to the hair! I’ve already missed Beyonce’s pixie cut and her bob, and a slew of other hair updates. So let’s start with Kim Kardashian’s lighter locks.

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I thought it was a wig until I saw this pic:rs_634x1024-130903091506-634_6kim-kardashian-blonde-north_ls_9313

Lo and behold, there’s scalp! Most likely there are a few extensions added, but it’s definitely her hair that’s lightened. I like it! It’s not her first time lightning her hair, but I like that this time she left her roots darker, it makes the color more natural.

So now on to Mrs. Ripa. On yesterday’s Live! show she debuted a new shorter ‘do.

 

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Do we likey? Well, I love it. ‘Cause guess who else is riding the bob train?

 

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Me!!!

Jada Pinkett Smith Goes Asymmetrical!

Jada Pinkett Smith is never one to keep her hair the same for long. Ever a chameleon, she’s worn a blond pixie cut, the trendy half-shaved look, and all kinds of braided hairstyles. But this Wednesday she showed her fans via her Facebook page her new sleek asymmetrical ‘do.

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I think the new hair cut definitely has her looking young and feisty! I think it’s a bit too heavy in her face, but I think she was just doing that for extra drama, I don’t see her wearing it like that every day. See?

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I really like the color—the subtle blonde, ombre highlights are perfect for summer. This cut looks great on her!

What do you guys think? Love it or leave it?

Writing in Summer…

I have a seven year old daughter on her summer break right now. We’ve already done our summer vacation for the summer, and had a wonderful time with friends. But still…it can be a challenge writing with a child at home. For me, it’s not that she’s getting in my way or not letting me write. Far from it! I know she will be perfectly fine watching TV or coloring (one of her favorite activities) while I write. The thing is, I don’t want her to spend her summer in front of the TV, or coloring. I want her to have activities planned and things to do!

So every time I start to write, I feel a little bit of guilt creep up my spine. I know it’s unrealistic to expect her to have an activity planned for every day of the summer, but I’m a planner, and so far she has had something planned every day.

So my writing has suffered. While I’m taking her to things during the day, I come home too pooped to write. (Or to do anything else for that matter…)

So this week I’ve revised my writing schedule. Take that back, I’ve actually included my writing in the schedule. I’m juggling many projects right now, writing the first draft of a new book, revising a book that I shelved long ago but now have decided to take another peek at, and querying agents for my current book. So yes, I’m busy, and I don’t want my daughter’s mind turning into mush by watching too much TV. So with trips to the circus, crafting camp, violin lessons, and other activities on the horizon I have to realize that the whole point of summer is to relax. To come down from the strict schedules of school and to have days to sleep in, to walk around all day in your pajamas, to have a few days to just do nothing.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’ve taken a chill pill and not put so many things on our plate this summer. And the great thing is that she’s been remarking on how this has been one of the best summer’s she’s ever had. And with my writing on track, I couldn’t agree more.

Jill Starling and St. Agnes Place

7706590_origJill Starling is an author to watch! Her debut novel, St. Agnes Place, is told through the eyes of Shawnsy Stevens, a newly-divorced thirty-something who finds herself accepting a job at St. Agnes’; a place of hope and recovery for young women who are trying to leave  the street life. There she meets Leelee, Keisha, Amy, Vicky and Rain. Each of  these women has a story to tell, as they struggle to fight their personal  struggles. Each of the women encounters unexpected news and setbacks, but ultimately recognizes the healing power of forgiveness. In a climactic end, they make choices that set the course for the rest of their lives.
St. Agnes’ Place is a place where love greets you at the door.

So what’s your writing process like? Do you outline or are you a pantser?

I am definitely a pantser, I only write when the Spirit moves me to write. He doesn’t move me everyday, but I know when He does I will be on a roll.

St. Agnes Place is your first novel. What are some of the things you’ve learned as a debut author?

Some of the major things I learned are that promotion is work, and takes up a lot of time. Also, the length of time it takes to write a novel is always longer than you think.

Do you like social media? How important do you think they are to an author’s career?

I LOVE social media! Today, as writers we are blessed to have avenues such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram (which I have to sign up for). Through social media, I have been able to share my writing with so many wonderful people, that otherwise I wouldn’t be able to meet. I think it is imperative that an author self promote, and connect with people on a personal level. There are so many things hitting people all at once in the mainstream media, that when an author connects one on one on a social network an intimacy develops that will likely draw that person to read your book.

You’ve gotten a chance to connect with a few of your readers. Which do you prefer, book signings or book clubs?

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Oh, that’s a tough one! I truly love them both! I love book signings for the simple fact that I get to share my excitement about my novel with those who haven’t read it. However, at book clubs everyone has already read my novel, which leads to some very interesting discussions. I get to sit in the "hot seat" and answer all their questions, as if we were talking about real people. Both of them, are like icing on the cake for a writer.

What has been your experience with self-publishing?

My experience with self-publishing has been wonderful! The story lines and characters I create are mine, no one is changing them, or making them into something that they deem as marketable for today’s society. I also have a great editor, and an insightful group of first readers that pave the way to making everything come together. I published through Amazon’s CreateSpace, which has been a Godsend in helping me achieve my dreams, and they have been incredible to work with.

You’ve received great reviews for your book! Has this helped build your confidence as you work on your next book? Or do you feel more pressure to please your readers?

I am incredibly grateful that readers embraced St. Agnes’ Place. Good reviews, are always confidence building, but I understand everyone has preferences, and my style my not be someone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. My next novel, At this Moment, is character driven, as well, so hopefully the same readers who enjoyed St. Agnes’ Place will also enjoy my upcoming novel. I believe that when a reader connects with the character it catches them, and makes them want to keep reading. Of course, I’m praying for sophomore success, and I remind myself to concentrate on the joy of the journey.

What made you want to become a writer?

I knew I wanted to be a writer ever since I was a young girl, and started reading Judy Blume’s books. Her stories had a profound affect on me, the main characters weren’t pretty or popular but "real people" overcoming obstacles. I wanted to be able to touch people through writing in the same way she did. The time became right for me as my two sons grew into teenagers, and were less dependent on me.

Now on to the hair! Your hair looks so healthy and beautiful! What do you do to maintain it?

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Thank you, I have naturally curly hair. I usually blow it out, and I always finish it off with hair serum to help eliminate the frizz.

Which celebrity would you switch hair with?

I have to honestly say, Katrina, your hair is looking mighty fine. I wouldn’t mind having it! I also love Beyonce’s many styles. I wouldn’t mind having one of her many coiffures.

What has been your worst hair experience?

Oh my gosh, this can be a book! My whole childhood, and adolescent was one really bad hair day. I’m talking short, frizzy Italian hair, a giant Brillo pad to say the least! The good news is, now I am happy with my curls! I learned how to tame them, and how to straighten them. Those bad hair days, are now a thing of the past, lol!

 

I want to thank Jill for stopping by and discussing her debut novel, St. Agnes Place! (And also for the shout-out about my hair! Thanks my friend!!) If you haven’t picked up her novel, then what are you waiting for? Click here to order your copy today! Want more of Jill? Follow her on Twitter, like her on Facebook, and keep checking her website for updates about her next novel.

Ciara Goes Bobbing

I love Ciara’s new haircut! She first showed it off last week on the Wendy Williams Show, but in these recent pictures it look like she’s went lighter and shorter.

 

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I love her entire look—she is so regal and classy! Her hair is flawless, and so is her make-up. I don’t think it takes much to make Ciara look good, because she is such an incredibly beautiful woman. Ciara is no stranger to weaves and wigs, and I think she is definitely rocking the former in this look. But her hairline is blended to perfection. This is an inspiration to ladies out there—if you are going to wear a wig or weave, then this is definitely how you do it.

What do you guys think? Love it or leave it?