Category: News

How NOT To Appear For A Book Promo Appearance

There’s something most of us wear every single day of our lives. It’s one of the first things others notice when they look at us. It’s something that may impact us in a negative fashion and turn our world upside down…at least temporarily. Especially if it’s not manageable before an important event. What is it? Our hair.

Before I became a parent, I frequented hip hair salons near my office where I was pampered and primped. My hair was cut by stylists who took no interest in their own unkempt, style-less locks. They unselfishly focused only on their clients.

Post-kids, I frequented salons of closest proximity, fingers crossed. After several recommendations, I went to see Justine of Justine’s Hair Studio.

Justine herself was an attractive blonde, her hair was carefully styled. The salon appeared pleasing to the eye. No hint of disgruntled customers. No one running into the parking lot wearing dark shades and a bucket over her head. No sign of hysterics.

All I wanted was to cover a few grays. I explained to Justine that I liked a natural look. My hair is dark brown and shoulder length. No one needed to know I colored it but she and I. She nodded conspiratorially. I relaxed.

When she finished, my hair was not the color of a freshly picked chestnut as I desired, but of crude oil. Jet, inky black.

“It’s too dark,” I told her.

Justine’s date had arrived and hovered in the waiting area. “Go home and check it out,” she said. “If you want it lighter, come back tomorrow.”

I returned early the next day. Justine assured me, “Don’t worry.”

What does “I like my natural color” mean to you? Does it mean I want my hair to resemble the hide of a zebra grazing at a Kenyan water hole? Because suddenly I had stripes that any zebra would longingly admire. I had cream colored, distinctive stripes. I blinked several times, hoping I’d nodded off and would awaken from my hairgedy (short for hair tragedy). I opened my mouth, but my words ran away. So what did Justine say?

“Do you want me to put it in a French braid for you?”

I realized that if I permitted Justine to do anything else to my hair, I might have to be led out in handcuffs. Yet there were no empty buckets or pillowcases handy. While I sat there mutely, Justine braided my hair. This is what the back of my head looked like when she was done:


 I kept it in this braid for a few days while I decided what to do. And of course, this was right before I had to attend an important event. And make a speech in front of esteemed audience members.

I made my speech and was stopped afterward by a colleague. She halted in the middle of her hello as her eyes fell upon my hair.

“My hairdresser was on drugs,” I explained.

She nodded in understanding.

I ended up finding the hair mechanic of my dreams (yet another person who cared nothing about his own locks) who gently coaxed my hair back to its original shade.

Moral: Never let a stranger touch your hair prior to an important engagement… or any other time where there are no nearby caves or cellars to slink into to wait it out.


Five Tips for Choosing a Book Title

Greetings! Welcome!

First off, it’s Leeda, not Lieda or Lydia or Linda. My blog title – Follow the Lida – would be pun-free without the correct pronunciation of my name. Who cares about titles? After all, I don’t remember the names of each of the Stephanie Plum or Nancy Drew series, but I don’t enjoy the novels any less. What prompts us to read a book anyway? The first impression. Casting aside the selling point of a big name author, we consider the genre, an intriguing excerpt, a captivating cover, and an interesting title as readability factors. If you’re one of the fortunate few writers who discovered the title of her book beneath a windshield wiper, no need to read on. Otherwise, a few pointers for title selection:

  1. Character name – think Carrie, Rebecca, Forrest Gump, Hamlet, Robinson Crusoe or Winnie the Pooh. They all worked well enough, don’t you think?  I briefly (2.5 seconds) considered entitling my novel, Paprika. I like the spice, but it’s also the name of a secondary character, hence the 2.5 seconds.
  2. Single words – I like concision. And I’m not alone. Think: Jaws, Gravity, Persuasion, Divergent, Nemesis or MASH. If my book had fallen in the horror genre, I might have called it Corrie, after my main character, with hopes of attracting a few bleary-eyed Stephen King devotees.
  3. Places – Consider the location by itself or incorporated in the title like: Chinatown, Gosford Park, Bergdorf Blondes, Mystic River, even The Stepford Wives. Would The Fashion Island Murder Meet-up have worked for me? No, because the only thing Fashion Island did for my main character was to bring out her lying side.
  4. Text search – Take a solid, hard look between the covers of your manuscript. Anything title worthy? Unique lines? Interesting phrases? Look for specificity. For instance, a question such as, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? And don’t limit your search to your own work. Take a peek at someone else’s masterpiece. This includes novels, poetry, or nursery rhymes. For instance:

    All the King’s Men (borrowed from Humpty Dumpty)
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (courtesy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
    The House of Mirth (Biblical)

  5. Go for free-form thought. Let the ideas flow while engaged in other activities. Agatha Christie once said her best ideas came to her while doing the dishes. This did not work for me. I have too much of a love affair going on with my dishwasher. His name is Ken. Take a walk outside while sky-gazing and humming, not only to prove yourself capable of this multi-task, but to allow ideas to pop into your head (caution: do periodically look downward to avoid tripping or colliding with something or someone unforgiving).

My title, Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters, was not discovered under my windshield wipers, but it did pop into my head while sky-gazing.