Friday, February 15, 2013

Feature Fridays: Epic hair disasters and other pre-wedding annoyances

Today has been an excellent writing day for me, which is especially significant because my morning got off to a rough start. Just as I was thinking I should go back to bed and hide, I checked to see how things were going on Amazon and found two amazing reviews of Phoning It In.

I'm sure it goes without saying that reviews are a source of anxiety for most writers--and I salute those who don't get nervous about them. Negative reviews aren't easy to read, but can be a good source for learning how to improve my writing, which is something I never want to stop doing.

Good reviews, though, they can make your day. There's no better feeling than finding out that your book has touched a reader in some way, that the reader gets your book on a deeply personal level. I was so thrilled with these reviews that I teared up. I write for two reasons: for the sheer love and passion I feel for writing and because I want my writing to connect with readers. When those two things come together, well, that's my definition of perfection.

So thank you to those of you who take the time to write reviews for my books, whether you loved them or weren't very fond of them. Most of all, thank you for reading!

The first four episodes of Committed are just about finished, and I'm planning on releasing episode one on Thursday, February 28th. On Monday, February 18th, I'll do a cover reveal. I can hardly wait to share the series! In fact, I'm so anxious to share it, I'm just going to go ahead and leave an excerpt here, picking up from where I left off last week. I hope you enjoy it!

*****

“Can I get some help over here?” Layla shouted, her words jolting the stunned stylists into action.

Three women hurried over to them and, judging from the looks on their faces, Ella knew the news was not good.

Working faster than Ella would have thought possible, Layla and the stylists pulled the remaining foil strips from Ella’s hair. Ella watched with a sense of detached incredulity as tears filled the large, green eyes of her stylist, Crystal. Fat drops fell and spattered Crystal’s smock.

I’m getting married in one week, and I’m going to be bald, Ella thought. A laugh bubbled in her throat, and she kept her mouth clamped closed, afraid she’d cackle like a crazy person if she opened it.

“Oh, God, Ella. Oh my God. Oh, no. I don’t… How could this… Oh, God!” Crystal shouted the last word, and the salon owner ran over, flicking a nervous glance from side to side, surveying the crowd of women who seemed to have forgotten all about their highlights and their mani/pedis. By the time the salon owner reached Ella, she was in full damage-control mode.

“Let me see,” she said in a firm voice, pushing Layla and the stylists aside. Ella’s eyes fell to the floor, where she saw lots and lots of her hair laying on the ground. She stared at it, feeling as if she were staring at someone else’s hair. This could not possibly be happening, not now. Not one week before her wedding.

The other woman’s face grew increasingly grim as she examined Ella’s hair. “Come with me, sweetheart,” she said, taking Ella’s hand and leading her over to the sinks. Ella almost tripped over her own feet, she was still struck so dumb by what was happening.

Her sense of unreality was broken by warm water coursing over her scalp, and she closed her eyes. She thought she liked it better when she was too stunned to process what was happening.

The salon owner took great care as she shampooed and conditioned Ella’s hair. It might all have seemed normal, were it not for Layla and the stylists hovering over her, hands pressed to their mouths. Ella heard a dim hum in the room, and she realized it was the other salon patrons whispering about what they’d seen. As Ella sat up and the salon owner toweled her hair, Ella saw her swallow, hard. A woman sitting under the dryers gasped, then turned beet red and looked everywhere but at Ella’s face.

“Sweetheart, I’m going to make this right, I promise,” the owner said, her voice far too calm to be of any comfort to Ella.

“How bad is it?” Ella croaked, though she didn’t really need to ask. Judging by the amount of foil-wrapped hair scattered on the floor, she knew bad was far too mild a word. Catastrophic might be better. “Let me see it.”

“I’m not sure that’s a good idea. I’ll take you out and trim it, and then—”

“I want to see it!” Ella repeated, and the salon owner closed her mouth with an almost audible snap, biting her lower lip.

“Are you sure?”

Ella’s glare must have assured the woman of her sincerity, because the owner took a deep breath and held a mirror out to Ella. The mirror trembled as Ella took it, then shook violently as she raised it to eye level. For a second, as she saw the ruin of her hair, she thought she might pass out. The room spun a bit and the edges of her vision went dark.

“Breathe,” Layla commanded, as she shoved Ella’s head between her knees. “Breathe, Ella. It’s going to be okay.”