Monday, July 28, 2014

Blog Under Construction

Don't be concerned if things keep changing or looking weird around here. I really liked my old blog header and color scheme but as I was working on making author business cards to match my blog, I realized that the design didn't actually reflect my writing style, whether its in blog posts or in my fiction. 

If I wrote slick, sleek urban love stories, the crisp white background with whimsical bubbles would be great. But I write edgy romance with characters who swear and have emotional problems and like to bone in the backs of rusty trucks. My stories are gritty and sexy and offbeat and my blog should reflect that, I think.I think grungy purples and blacks reflect my crusty personality much more than the bubbles did.

Anyhow, I'm still playing with the background. It's hell making a background big enough to fill the screen but small enough to fit into Blogger's stringent 300k or less requirement for uploading. Also I have to figure out the CSS to make my header sit flush against the top of the page. These things will come when I have more time.

So yeah. I've been working on this for weeks. So if you think it sucks...

I'm joking, of course. You aren't ugly. You read my blog which means you're gorgeous and you have impeccable taste. If you think the new design sucks I wanna know. I just said that because I wanted an excuse to put up another Dean Winchester gif. Seriously, my obsession is unhealthy.

If you have opinions, thoughts, concerns or comments about the new look and tagline, let me know! I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Search for the Perfect Citrus Perfume

You know how you'll smell a perfume and it will just rock your world? So you take it home and spray it like an angry skunk and three hours later find yourself marinating in something that smells like a pile of hot garbage?

I know you know what I'm talking about.

My body (and my diet until recently) is full of sugar. When I try on perfume, whatever the sweetest note is, my body is going to exploit and exaggerate it, until I end up smelling like baked Skittles. I have, over the years, fell in love with a number of high-end perfumes that ended up so nauseatingly sweet on me, it's like I rolled in a pile of middle school girls eating sugar cookies. Armani Code is fabulous, but not on me. It quickly turned overpowering and caused me to have asthma attacks. Coach Poppy smelled so good in the bottle but after an hour, it smelled like I had just finished my shift at Uncle Buddies Bikini Barn Emporium.

Same with Bvlgari BLV, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, Clinique Happy, Marc Jacobs Lola, DKNY Be Delicious...

So after a while I realized I only like two things in a perfume; citrus scent and amber. Unfortunately they are often paired with stupid, stinky vanilla, which I seem to be allergic to. Lucky for me, as I already loathed vanilla. I work at a college and my sniffer gets assaulted daily by Bath and Body Works and Victoria's Secret sickly sweet vanilla scents.

So finding a nice, long wearing scent seems impossible. Citrus scents tend to be more orange blossom than a fresh orange and I don't love flowery scents. So I recently researched... and yes I'm a huge dork, you didn't know?

I narrowed it down to a handful of expensive and cheap citrus-y perfumes. I was able to buy roller ball versions (read: cheap) of all but one*.

Love & Toast Candied Citron
Love & Toast Persimmon Plum
Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange
Ralph Lauren Big Pony 1 for women

*Lancome O de L' Orangerie 

So far the Candied Citron is a total bust. Smells like medicine on me. Tuscan Blood Orange is awesome, love the scent, sadly the scent disappears in an hour. I might experiment with layering if I choose it.  I tried layering it on top of Bath and Body Works Coconut Lime Breeze and Bath and Body Works White Citrus. Both of which are okay on me but not great. That seemed to make the scent more complex but the blood orange scent disappeared just as quickly. So I dunno. Tomorrow I'm going to try on the Persimmon Plum and Wednesday will be Big Pony 1. I still haven't found the Lancome scent to try on. Though, while I was writing this, I discovered Bath and Body Works brought White Tea and Ginger back, which they had discontinued, much to my sads. I might have to
order a bottle...

Anyhow, that's my completely uninteresting foray into the world of eau de toilette.  Just makin' conversation.

What's your favorite scent? Got any recommendations for me?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IWSG: When Critiques Attack

1st Wednesday of the month is Insecure Writers Support Group. It’s a blog hop where you post about the joys and difficulties of being a writer.

I’ve been struggling with my story. So I went outside of my writing group, looking for new insight. Went to a meet up with several other writers. I received some good feedback but one person was less than constructive. They referred to my heroine as stupid. Over and over. Then a few more times for good measure. During another writer’s critique, the person said, "I really like your heroine. She's not stupid," while looking pointedly in my direction. Ouch

I like to think of myself as a decent writer. I'm no [insert name of a writer you think is awesome], but I’m okay. I can handle constructive criticism. But this wasn’t constructive, it was personal and mean. 

I walked out feeling like an idiot who writes idiots because I'm too idiotic to know I'm an idiot. I got in my car and burst into tears and cried the whole way home. No one has ever made me feel so shitty about my writing. My complicated knot of ego and drive came undone and I couldn't write for a week. 

This person said something else though. They said, “I don’t get it. Why is your heroine here at this moment, doing this thing? Why not ten years from now? Why not ten years ago?”

I had no answer. That question whirled around me for days. It wouldn't leave me alone. After wallowing and whining, I sat down and re-read my story and said, “Yeah. Why now?” 

So I answered that question. And now I have a fresh back-story, an external goal for my heroine and a much stronger novel. 

They were right.  No, not about my heroine. She's not stupid. That’s a shitty thing to say to a fellow writer. But I have been struggling with back story and external journey and they asked the question I needed to ask, but didn’t know how to articulate.

So the powerful lesson I learned, dear writer-friends, is that all criticism has value, whether it’s to thicken your hide or to force you to deal with your weaknesses. Don’t discount the bullies, the blunt speakers or the haters. Shove aside your ego (and tears) and ask yourself if you can use the experience to be a better writer. 

Then go be a better writer.