Learning Never Stops

We don’t have back to school in our house. We have an empty nest. But with so much of our lives lived online these days, it’s almost impossible to not be affected by your friends or family getting the kids ready for another year. Personally I love September.Young Girl Does Her Math Homework

It’s a time for review, a reminder if you will, about tasks that need to be completed before years end. The weather is cooling a bit, so it’s time to dig out all the wonderful recipes you don’t make in the summer because they require using the oven. It’s the holiday train at station 3 ¾ picking up steam headed straight into, dare I say it? I can’t bear it. Let’s just say some sort of holiday or reason to shop for something from here on out.

It’s also a time I use to assess my writing, what I’ve accomplished through the year, and what I still want to learn.  Yes, learn. Advertisements are starting to show up for next spring’s writer’s conferences, along with requests for leading workshops, and teaching online classes. I don’t know many writers who aren’t either attending some sort of class about something do to with writing, or teaching the same.

But I don’t always take classes about writing. Let’s not forget all the jokes people make about romance writers and research. Certainly some of them are true. I’m just not at liberty to say which parts. In order to suspend disbelief for the reader we need to understand the settings we’ve placed our stories in, as well as the jobs our characters have, and many other things. In short we need to give our readers something to identify with. It’s true that we’re not born knowing everything. If only that were the case!!

If I weren’t a writer I’d probably be a professional student. I love learning new things. I’ve taken classes on weaponry, witchcraft, serial killers, army infantry, knitting, calligraphy, and many other things. As writers we are always working to perfect our craft. And that’s at best an elusive goal. But the journey is one I wouldn’t trade for anything.

I think my favorite class was the one I took at a community college to learn calligraphy. I didn’t realize just how much there is to the alphabet.

Is there a class you’ve taken that you absolutely loved?

 

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

A Lovely Wedding, A Beautiful You

One of the many hats I wore before becoming a mostly full time writer was that of a licensed esthetician. I managed a full service salon and spa for about ten years. It was one of the most fun jobs I’ve had. As you can see from my hair, it still hasn’t worn off.

Wedding parties were always a challenge. Managing to do hair, make-up and nails for a group of anywhere from three to ten girls, along with the mother of the bride, and sometimes the MIL to be, in a short amount of time left one feeling frazzled. In a good way.

So I thought I’d give you some tips on how to manage those pesky details that may not be mentioned in the How to Look Your Best on the Special Day wedding guide.

—Do get the groom and groomsmen haircuts the week before the wedding. Not the week of.

For the bride:

The best thing you can do is to think about the look YOU want. Spend some time looking at brides online, in magazines, etc. Pick a few looks for hair, make-up and nails. Bring pictures to the salon with you for discussion.

If you are getting hair, make-up and nails done professionally choose a group of stylists that you trust or find a group that’s highly recommended.

Hair: If you want to change your haircut or color start six months before the wedding. You need time to make sure you’re happy with your new look and also to make corrections if you’re not.

Do schedule a trial run about four to six weeks before the wedding. Make sure when you set your appointment you tell them you want a wedding up-do. These things take extra time. Be fair to yourself and give your stylist time to give you what you want. If you will be wearing a veil or putting flowers or something in your hair, bring it with you this time so you can be sure everything works with your hair.

The day of:  Do wear a button down shirt to the salon. You won’t have to take it off later, over your hair or make-up.

Make-Up: If you’re having it professionally done, do schedule a practice run so you can be sure the look you want looks good on you. The day of, is NOT the day to make adjustments. You’ll be nervous enough.

Remember, you are the star! You’ll be having photos taken of you the entire time, from every angle. You’ll need great make-up. If you’re not comfortable wearing a lot of make-up, practice. You’re not comfortable wearing a gown and heels all day either. The last thing you want is to look washed out.

If you’re doing your own, there are tons of how-to wedding make-up vids on YouTube. Make the time and practice in advance. You’ll be glad you did.

And the very last helpful hint I have, because this happened more often than not, is this – If you’re part of the wedding party, the bride asked you to be in her wedding because she cares for you. Don’t say bad things about her to the professionals who are working hard to make you look your best for her big day.

Now go out there and be beautiful!

*And don’t forget, don’t forget all commenters this month have a chance of winning our $5 Amazon GC Giveaway!

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

The First Line

SONY DSCSince our theme this month is Firsts, I thought I’d write about first lines of books. To me, the first line of a story is like meeting you, the reader, for the very first time. More often than not you will have read the back matter, which may have been written by me, someone else, or a group of marketing professionals. You might have admired the cover, and that tempted you. Covers aren’t usually made by the author, but by a graphic artist. Whatever way it happens, the first line of the story is the first building block for your reading relationship with me, the author. It’s when things get real.

It’s essential that the first line makes you want to keep reading. It needs to spark your curiosity. With any luck, the first line will make you think, OMG! Who? What? Where? Why? I have to know! And you keep reading, turning those pages until the very end.

This holds true whether an author writes historical, inspirational, rom coms, or time travels. The first line should fit the world the author has created and capture the tone of their work.

I write contemporary romance with romantic suspense elements, and I admit to being surprised when I typed the first lines from my series together. They really do fit the tone of my books. Here they are:

Winning this might keep him alive. – Slide Job

Death lingered quietly in the dark, dressed in worn blue jeans. – Beyond the Winner’s Circle

Would he die today, or tomorrow? – Running Three Wide

I would be remiss at this point if I didn’t add the first lines from some of my favorite reads. Here they are in no particular order:

Most people don’t stare at the scars. – Burnt Offerings, Laurell K. Hamilton

Caught in the crosshairs of wind above the Bitterroots, the jump ship fought to find its stream. – Chasing Fire, Nora Roberts

They had betrayed her with a promise of the sea. – My Heart Stood Still, Lynn Kurland

Although in different genres, each first line is tempting. I can’t wait to dig in and find out the rest of the story.

What about you? Do you have a favorite first line?

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

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