23 April, 2014

Hair Delimma ...

I've had a lot of ups and downs in the hair department this year. Two times failing to dye my hair purple and ended up with...red, ick! {Like I said, it looks great on others, just not on me.} I grew out my pixie into what is not a messy, blah bob. I chopped myself some Bettie bangs and became so bored with it since my bob was too short to do anything with, so I am now growing out that as well. Ugh!

I have plans on re-dying my hair back to dark brown and leaving it like that. I guess I don't want purple hair enough to strip my lovely brunette locks just to achieve purple. To me it's not worth it.

I'm just so unhappy with my hair right now...I need a change.

This is kind of my ideal hair. I love Bernie's, but Pauley's just seems easier for someone like myself. Unfortunately it didn't work. :-( And I really don't want to dye my hair black again.

If I were to just grow it out and even it up along the way, this is a very good possibility...pageboy middy cut that would look good straight and would give me nice curls when I wanted to do a wet set.

Oh, how I miss my pixie as I have no clue how to work with this in between stage. I am thinking, I may go with a little longer than my Mary Margaret style, but keep the same kind of cut. Michelle Williams and Vanessa Hudgens are what I'm thinking of. And Summer is coming.

Then I was thinking, maybe I could let it grow and ask my Mom to add some layers to my hair similar to that of Keri Russell and the model on the left. I've kinda got the hang of a curling iron and really love the soft wavy curls in these pictures. And really, Keri has the most perfect hair!!

I obviously have no idea what I want to do, which is why all my options are all over the place. I love trying new styles with my hair and I'm not afraid of chopping it off or dare to wear a modern style curls with vintage clothing.

I'm most drawn to the last two options. I have been missing my pixie like crazy!! However, I just love the softness to Keri's style.

Ugh, decisions, decisions.

22 April, 2014

What is my Writing Process?

Because I love all things writing and because I saw that my sister did this and I stole it from her, I will now share it with you all.

1} What are you working on?
I am currently working on some historical romances set during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era. Primarily in Philadelphia and centers around the Irish O'Duggan family. You can read more here. I chose Irish, because I am and I love my celtic heritage. But romance?! I know, I know! I said I don't like romance. True, I don't. But since I haven't enjoyed what I've read, I thought I might as well write something I'd like to read. Which is really why I write anyway.

I have hopes of renewing my first novel. I've set it aside for a good ten years as well as the Civil War era one, but I had first started it in 2001, a good thirteen years ago, and it's always had a special place in my heart. It is nothing like it originally started. My main protagonist has changed as I have. But I absolutely love it. It's darker than I had planned, but still there is an amazing story of hope interwoven in the words. Technically it would be categorized under young adult fiction, but deep down I don't see it as such. To me, it's a story which I've fallen in love with over and over again no matter how much it has changed or I have changed. I truly cannot wait to share more with you on this. Instead I will leave you with this photo of my heroine I call Lucie.

2} How does your work differ from others in your genre?
As for my Civil war era novels, I think they show that a novel can be a romance, but it doesn't have to be the main subject of the novel. So many I've read have only had a basis of romance and everything else just feels empty. I like to write my characters a little unconventional just like I am.

For my Lucie Novel {I guess we can call it that for now}, or series as I hope it to be, it deals with a topic that I have found barely a handful of novels to do with such a subject. I have no personal connections to it and if it weren't for a local heroine in our town, I'd never have known much about the topic. I feel that makes it unlike anything out there in the current market. :::crosses fingers::: Hopefully that will make it something, that someone would love to read. Have I picqued your interest yet?

3} Why do you write what you write?
Now ain't that a silly question...I write because if I didn't, I'd go crazy with all my imaginary friends telling me their stories...DUH!! Someone has to give them a voice and since they've chosen me to unload their stories on, I feel like I owe it to each and every one of them. Wait...did you hear that??

4} How does your writing process work?
Some how I feel like I've already touched on this topic?? Oh, wait, it's because I have a four part series entitled How I Write. But how does it work? Really? That is like asking me to do algebra, don't expect an answer you'll understand. Writing is...crazy. Don't get me wrong, I love it. But seriously if I didn't get these voices down on paper, I'd probably lose my mind. Or have I?

If you love writing or are an author, feel free to steal this {after all I already did}! 

21 April, 2014

Book Title Reveal!

A while ago I asked for your help on what to title my American Civil War novel {Wanted: A Name for my Novella}. It is no longer a novella at 50,000+ words and 20 chapters long and thankfully this is officially a novel. Woot!!

Many of you came up with some of the wittiest and cutest titles that it took me a few months to figure out which one fit for my novel. {Again, I can't thank you enough for all your help!} My novel is no longer "Untitled" and neither is its sequel, that's right I have a sequel.

Here it is for novel #1
Just a visual book cover for myself, it's not even close to what I really want.

Just My Luck won out in the end. It was such a tie for a while between Jessica's suggestion of "Cross My Heart" and my sister's "Just My Luck". I wanted to use both, but I knew that was impossible. I found that the phrase just my luck kept finding its way into the many pages as I wrote and that's how I knew for sure it was the perfect title for it.

And for the sequel - novel #2
I could definitely see something like this as a possible cover. But only as inspiration.

A Promise Kept began after my sister thought a secondary character deserved to have a story of their own. I agreed and a sequel was born. If you look under My Work you can see more of the synopsis, characters, and setting to both of the novels. A Promise Kept keeps with the same family featured in the first book and takes place in the reconstruction era.

I am hoping to pitch the two of these two Steeple Hill, which is a inspirational romance that includes: suspense, modern, and historical novels. I only need 70,000 words for both and considering I have 50,000 for Just My Luck, it'll be easy as pie.

I can't thank you enough for all your help in helping me to decide on a title and for giving me all the wonderful suggestions. Your encouragement means the world to me.

17 April, 2014

Vintage Pants are Modest - Part 2

A follow up to my previous post {you can read it here - 1} that will show more options for vintage enthusiasts.

Reproduction companies will charge and arm and a leg and yet they don't cater to the XXS/XS or the XL/XXL. It can be difficult for the 23" waist to get a pair of jeans to fit snug enough not to fall down on them, that would be mortifying. Or that thicker waisted gals, much like myself have taken notice that companies have shrinking their sizes or have eliminated them altogether, making less options for the plus size. It is something I've become more and more aware of as time goes on.

There is companies who doe custom work and I can speak from experience that a custom piece in your wardrobe will make you feel like a million bucks. I have a repro 1930s overalls custom made for me and it makes my waist look soooo tiny.


My overalls  were custom made by Cyd's Custom Pieces on etsy. The same etsy store makes these Katherine Hepburn inspired trousers as well and look at that lovely super high waist!!

SomethingElse Clothing also offers custom work for swing pants and they come in all shades of colors. I even love that cuff on the hem. So cute!


Dolly Pegs Vintage is a company on etsy and ebay who offer custom made denim overalls, suspender pants, and trousers in either a cloth kit you can sew up yourself at a lower price or the option for them to sew them up and ship them out to you after they finish.

Time Machine Vintage, who is a long time standing custom work, repro clothing store on etsy. Many have purchased from them and though the price is steep, at least you get it custom to your body and it isn't some cookie cutter piece.


My final shop featured is Big Beautiful Barbara Brown. Who is well known for her beautiful pieces done for plus sizes, but don't worry slender lasses, she also does custom work and will tailor your trousers {or dress and blouses} to your exact measurements.

All of these options are obviously modest and cute as can be. They can be on the pricey side, but I think every women needs to invest in at least one custom piece in her wardrobe. And if it fits you wonderfully, flatters your figure, and its your favorite style, you'll find scads of ways to wear it.

My next post on Vintage Pants are Modest I will share with you some patterns that are affordable and are definitely modest.

15 April, 2014

How Fiction Tainted My Expectations

We have all been there, at least once in our lives where there is a certain book with a certain character that has ruined our expectations for a relationship with a person. I'm very aware of the fact that because of my love of novels and I can't tell you how many I've read where so many of them have disappointed me in the fact that I loathed the characters the author created. And when I do find a good book, I almost always develop an admiration for one of the characters.

Over the years my love for fictional characters, much like my taste in men, has changed. As a young girl I was introduced to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and more specifically Mr. Darcy.

First up is Mr. Darcy...
I would go as far as saying most of the women who read Pride and Prejudice fall for Mr. Darcy at least once, sometimes for life. Much like Jane Hayes {Austenland} I often become a little more than attached to certain male characters and Mr. Darcy was one of them.

No matter how many times I read the novel or watch the mini-series {A&E production is the only one I fully approve of as the best adaptation}, I always fall for him a little more each time. Mr. Darcy humbles himself and in the end we see his true colors, that behind the wall he put up, Mr. Darcy gets better with closer acquaintance.

Second is Gilbert Blythe...
The sweet and every loyal Gilbert of Anne of Green Gables is definitely a man who is easy to fall in love with. I'm not the only one there are tons of fangirls who dream about one day finding their Gilbert. We have envied Anne for taking her friendship with Gil for granted and cheer at the end {as if this is any spoiler} when she finally admits she cares for her long time chum.

Gil is loyal, caring, thoughtful, and funny to boot. What's not to love about the man who never gives up on a girl reluctant to admit she loves him? Gil Blythe will always have a place in my heart.

Third is Ray Singleton...
Very few understand my love for the character, Kalin and I are definitely on the same wave length here. The Magic of Ordinary Day's is not as popular as the novels above, but still Ann Howard Creel created a character that is a diamond in the rough.

Ray marries Livvy to save her reputation and the reputation of her unborn baby. He's selfless, loyal, dedicated, and in the words of his sister, "When he falls in love, it's forever." How can you not love that?

Finally Jeremiah Silverman...
There are very few modern novels with decent characters, let alone male characters. My sister had been saying how wonderful Rabbi Silverman is in the Psalm 23 Mysteries is, I just didn't get it...until I finally read the first novel. I was hooked and yes, I fell for the lovable, Israeli Rabbi who is fiercely protective of those he cares about.

Is it too much to ask for an Israeli Rabbi with a great sense of humor who is devoted to faith and family?? 

From my teen years to early twenties I've dealt with has left me more than discouraged. I went from being a hopeful romantic to a realist. I've encountered mama's boys to perverted jerks, I kid you not. It's no wonder that with the caliber of men, or lack of high caliber of men, caused me to turn to fictional men.

With that said, I leave you with this...

And that is how fiction tainted my expectations.

14 April, 2014

How I Write {When to walk away}

Here's the final installment in my How I Write series. Make sure you catch up on the first three posts {1-2-3} before continuing.

When to Walk Away.
I created the characters and then I told their story, trying my best to get down every detail and now I have to let their story speak for itself. Think of it like letting your baby leave the nest. Are you worried about them? What if they fail?

Those Blasted Queries
How do you best describe your novel in only fifty words? How do you pitch or try to sell your book in only four hundred words or less? I needed plenty of drafts for my simple little query letter.

Besides my query letter, I needed a hook, line, and sinker worthy pitch, synopsis, and heckuva first chapter {or sample chapters, which is why your first lines are so very vital}. Every single agent is different and so I have to treat my queries in such a way. Tweaking {not to be confused with twerking, ick!} a query and pitch documents helps.

If you just happen to have a primarily masculine name such as, Sean, make sure you sign off with a Miss or Ms. or even Mrs. so and so instead of leaving that for them to guess your status. I've been called Mister {he, his, him} all my life and I try to take all the precautions now to assure I'm not called such. While on the topic of titles, it is incredibly important to address an agent as Mr. or Ms.

I often have to learn from my own mistakes. Researching agents per genre is pretty important. I would not send a women's fiction to a romance fiction agent...they are not one in the same. Some agents do allow submissions for multiple genres, but not always. It feels like there are a million genres and a billion agents out there, but rest assured there is the perfect agent out there for me who is willing to take a chance on my novels.

Don't cry Jo...
I can't remember how many rejections I've gotten thus far, but it is definitely a small amount. However, I did achieve a record of receiving two rejections in one week from the same agent. If you can't laugh about it, there's no sense in continuing to query.

I'm not saying it isn't frustrating as I receive form rejection after form rejection saying it's not you, it's me, can get old fast. But, yes there is a but, once in a blue moon some agents ask for a full manuscript. :::jumps for joy::: Only to never hear from them again. By now this is beginning to sound like a one sided relationship with a commitment phobe.

Does it get better? I've heard many times it does, but not in our house. A friend of mine, Rachel, not too long ago signed on with an agent for her YA novel. However, she's the only one I know personally who has been signed on to a legit literary agency.

So what does one do when no one wants the novel you poured your heart into? This will be a very difficult pill for any aspiring author to swallow...Nothing, absolutely nothing! I can tweak my query and pitches until I'm blue in the face, but if you have a difficult novel to sell in a market that is already flooded with novels polar opposite of your own, won't probably make much difference.

Chin up!
Easy for me to say, but hey I've been there, actually I am there. But I know if I want to be a novelist one day, I can't give up just because a few agents don't like my novel. I will be published one day and I will pursue a career in writing. It is just taking a little longer than I thought. I'm not throwing blame on anyone, because one day there will be a particular agent who will see my novel and take a chance. Then the rest will be...history.

I hope you enjoyed this series in how I write. I know not all of you are interested in it, but the more I wrote on it, thanks again to Ashley for the idea, I really got into it. Thank you for listening to this writer ramble...

06 April, 2014

Adventures in Wet Sets

For the past two years I haven't bothered to do a wet set {because for over a year I had a pixie cut} but I have been itching to curl my hair. I've never been any good at pin curling, but foam rollers and rag curls are quite effective at getting a vintage hair style.

February I chopped some Bettie bangs in hopes of achieving some cute Bettie Page hair styles. I even got multiple compliments, some even from men that thought the bangs looked good.

This is far more of an authentic 1950s style pageboy, which I loved. I just threw up my hair in foam rollers and curled it under. I pulled back the sides with bobby pins {which I've seen Stephanie - Star-Spangled Heart- do a ton of times} and a nice bow accent. I did not put my bangs in foam rollers, and used a curling iron instead.

My second wet set was interesting because between my first and second I decided to grow out my bangs. I like to change my hair often and honestly I just forgot to trim up my bangs and thought, I might as well just grow them out.

It started out more of a 30s/50s pageboy with a pincurl bang, but then Veronica thought it was much more Lady Edith and I concur, very Lady Edith indeed. Either way I was pleased.

Lately I've been pretty obsessed with Betty White's 1950s hair. I just adore Betty and think her cute as can be 50s pin curled bob is so lovely. I didn't achieve a wave because my bang area is just too short. {But something to work for as my hair grows.}

When I was fluffing out the curls it had a really Marilyn Monroe vibe to it, which was kinda nice. Then as I brushed it out and fluffed up the curls, it turned into this fabulous Betty White inspired hair, exactly what I had wanted!

I used small, medium, and large foam {or sponge} rollers from Goody I believe and First Evolve. I'm hoping to throw it up again tonight for an event at the CANDLES museum tomorrow. :::crosses fingers:::