Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 8/21/13

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme for readers and writers to give updates on what's happening in their lives. If you want to find out to find out more check out Jamie Morrow's blog and sign up.

What I'm Reading: I have to return my books to the library today. I just started Jessica Spotswood's Star Cursed and I need to finish it before I leave. But I have a million things to do today. When I go back to school reading time is limited. I have so many books I bought over the past three year that I haven't touched. I'm determined to finish them all before I graduate.
What I'm Writing: I've been a little slow this week. The good news is I finally got passed a scene I was stuck on for days. The bad news is I changed a lot in that scene so everything from then on had to be altered in some ways. I had to go back a couple times keep up with continuity. My plan was to get this round done before I head back to school, but that's not happening. So new goal. Finish this round before classes start and life gets crazy..
In other news, I have this new idea for a story in the back of my head. But there is another idea floating around too. I don't know which on to work on first. One is a contemporary with a hint of fantasy (Magical Realism I guess? I hate labels.) The other is a fun, quirky fantasy. I'm going to do a rough outline of both of them and choose from there. I'll start working on it after I finish the next round of edits and send it to my imaginary Beta Reader. I should really get on that. I have a hard time keeping CPs and Betas.

What Inspires Me Right Now: Nothing. Why do I even bother. If I was inspired this round of edits would be done by now. :(

What Else and I've Been Up To: Packing. Packing. Packing. I've mentioned this three times already, but I'm going back to school! I have some much work do do before classes start on Monday. This weekend is loaded with auditions, call backs, more auditions and several meetings. I won't have a moment to relax until Labor Day. I'm dead serious. That's my life, I have to get used to it. Getting back to school will be great. It's my senior year! I'm so close to being done. If I can pass two more semesters of Italian. These past three years have flown by so fast. It's kind of scary, but awesome at the same time.

What's up with you? How is your week going?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Question of the Day

This week I'm participating in the Blog Circle of Hair Anxiety started by author Justina Ireland. It was inspired by Beyonce's (short lived) pixie cut and the anxieties African American women feel about the upkeep of their hair. Justina asked writers to share their hair anxiety stories on their blogs.

My hair has gone through a lot of abuse in 21 years. I'm not the most stylish person. If I had a choice I would go all day with out touching my hair. I don't hate my hair, I'm just lazy. Even when I style it on my own, it's not good (according to my mother). I do however like the feeling of freshly relaxed hair, but after the second day it never looks the same.

As a child I had a signature style. Twisted pigtails, colorful balls and matching barrettes.

As I got older my hair was easier to style when it was straightened. My mother would put her old fashioned hot comb on the stove and spent long time taming my thick mane.

Unfortunately I was an active child and by the end of the day I would sweat so much my hair would frizz up again. In the fifth grade mom took me to get my first relaxer. For those of you who don't know a relaxer is, it's basically a chemical that straightens hair. According to my mother, getting the relaxer did not change a thing. My hair was straight, but it still took the same amount of time to keep it looking nice. It also cost a lot of money. My roots would grow back curly, so every 4 to 6 weeks I had to get it touched up.

13 year old Leslie hair
relaxed, flipped and fabulous 

To be honest, I was the worst patron. I'd always complain about my itchy scalp. My former hairdresser knew how to handle me. If it burns, then she'll wash it out. If it itches, tough luck. One time my usual hairdresser was out and I got my touch up from a different lady. It itched. I complained. She washed it out. Big mistake. My hair was not done processing, so in result my hair started to fall out. It was never the same after that. My once thick mane thinned out over time.

Joy in Cinderella
Being in theatre didn't help either. In high school I was pledged with with multiple wigs because I couldn't style my hair to look period appropriate. As a result I ended my high school career with short thin hair. Up until my senior year in high school, my mom took care of my hair for me. Every morning she would flat iron my hair before I went to school. When I graduated I had no idea how to use a flat iron, let alone curl my hair. So ultimately I decided to get micros. It was either my second biggest mistake or a wake up call.
Chorus in Kiss Me Kate
Miss Flannery in
Thoroughly Modern Millie

Only photographic evidence
I hated the braids. They were too hot and always in my way. Overtime the braids would fall out and my short hair would stick up. After three months I finally took the braids out and my hair was jacked up. I went to a local hairdresser and she gave me an ultimatum: continue living with unhealthy hair or chop it off. It was a tough decisions, but I had to do what was best for my hair.

This was actually 8 weeks post relaxer. Still looked good.
This was the best decision I made for the time. It grew back longer and healthier than ever. For months I took good care of my hair. It took hours to wash, deep condition, moisturize and style. My favorite style was the curls.

With the curls I was able to stretch the time between relaxer. The more less stress I put on my hair, the more it grew. So by the end of 2012 my hair was back to it's original length and thickness.

After a stressful semester year. Keeping up with my hair became problematic. So I decided to chop it off again. It's so much better this way. It's growing back quickly. I don't know what I want to do in the future. Maybe I'll keep growing it out or maybe I'll go natural.

Obviously these pictures are of my hair at its best (a.k.a. immediately after styling). I don't even look like that half the time.
8/20/13 I have not combed my hair

I try not to let my hair define me, but it's something I can't ignore. Most of my anxiety comes from my mother coming at me with a comb right before we go to church.

Mom: Comb your hair!
Me: I already combed my hair!
Mom: Really? Let me just touch it up.


She blames it on me not playing with dolls as a child. I hate dolls. She bought me a black Barbie hair styling doll when I was younger. You know, just the giant freaky head. Never touched it. But let's be real, that Barbie's hair did not reflect the texture of my own hair. So what was that going to do?

African American woman in the media keep their hair looking good in the public, but behind closed doors I bet they go through as much struggle as I do. Whether it's relaxed, natural, weaved or wigged "What am I going to do with my hair?" is always the question of the day.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 8/14/13

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme for readers and writers to give updates on what's happening in their lives. If you want to find out to find out more check out Jamie Morrow's blog and sign up.

What I'm Reading: I finished two books this week Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins and Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger. Both gave me feels in their own special way. I'm currently reading The Lost Hero the first book in the Heroes of Olympus series. I read all the Percy Jackson books in high school and I'm glad I can visit Camp Half-Blood once again.
What I'm Writing: I'm over halfway through Suspension of Disbelief revisions and my timeline is all screwed up. Originally the book took place over the course of six months, but I ran into a road block when I realized that winter happens. My MC has earth powers, the cold defiantly affects her. So now I have to incorporate the weather. On the plus side it did allow me to add a Halloween dance scene, where a lot of their classmates were dressed like their superhero personas. All and all I'm having a lot of fun with it. Once WriteOnCon is over, I'm going to put the pedal to the metal. I go back to school soon and my free time will be limited.

What Inspires Me Right Now: No. Just no.

What Else and I've Been Up To: If you follow me on twitter (@laboyden) you already knowWriteOnCon has invaded my life. If you don't know what that is right now stop what you're doing and CHECK IT OUT! I'm all over the forums and tweeting like a madwoman. I enjoy reading everybody's work and giving feedback. I posted my first 250 words, the first 5 pages and a really rough query of Suspension of Disbelief. I didn't have a query until yesterday, but I wanted to get feedback so I can know which direction to take. No responses yet and right now it's buried deep in the forums. But I'm sure someone will get to it eventually. I got some positive feedback on my other post. It was the confidence boost I needed. If you're attending the conference and would like to take a look at my threads here are the links.

1st 250 Words
1st 5 Pages
But Seriously...

Well that's what's up with me? How are you doing?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What's Up Wednesday 8/7/13

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme for readers and writers to give updates on what's happening in their lives. If you want to find out to find out more check out Jamie Morrow's blog and sign up.

What I'm Reading: Last week I read Anna and the French Kiss per your suggestion and I LOVED IT. I was a little hesitant at first because I'm not to biggest contemporary YA reader. But about a third of the way through I couldn't put it down. I finished it around one in the morning yesterday. I can't wait to read Lola and the Boy Next Door. What I'm reading right now is Transparent by Natalie Whipple. It's really good. The great thing about this is that I've been following Natalie for a couple years now and followed in real time her road to publication. I'm glad I finally got my hands on a copy..
What I'm Writing: I finished Suspension of Disbelief (for real this time). I don't know what type of draft to call it though. It was a second draft, but the ending was added so the ending is a first draft. I guess I should just call it a second draft. Well anyway, now I'm editing it again. This edit is more for adding details that I skipped. I'm also adding new scenes and cutting them so it could flow better. I think this will be my last lazy revision. When I'm finished I'll have to to print it out and give it a heavy duty face lift. My goals for this week is to finish the lazy revision. I'm positive I can do it in a week, because it's so low pressure. I'm exploring the story more and having a lot of fun doing it.

What Inspires Me Right Now: Oh God, that word again. Can I say myself or is that narcissistic? Okay let me explain. I have not finished a manuscript since 2008. I've had ideas and wrote parts of stories over the past five years but I couldn't finish anything. Even after I completed NaNo last November, the story wasn't complete. I needed a confidence booster. So I made a goal to finish this novel this summer no matter what. I guess it was that drive and determination that inspired me to finished. Since then I've had new ideas and ways to improve my story along the way. Does that answer the question?

What Else and I've Been Up To: WriteOnCon. WriteOnCon. WriteOnCon. Yes, it's that time of year again. WriteOnCon the online Kidlit conference is upon us. It officially starts next week, but the forums are open. I was worried about participating since I was so concentrated on finishing my novel. But now that the draft is completed I could relax a little and enjoy the conference. I'm kind of bummed that I can't enter contest judged by agents. I was hoping to have a polished manuscript and query for the Ninja Agents but that's not going to happen. I might post my first 250 words for a critique, but at this point I'm not comfortable enough. Last year I spent most of my time looking for a CP but all of them fell through. I don't know if I could go through with it again. I haven't had the best luck with CPs. I found a good one from a different site, but when my laptop broke we lost touch. I'm still debating whether or not I should seek one another one. It's such a delicate process, I really don't want to mess it up.

Well that's what's up with me? How are you doing?