without eyebrows and with
I wanted to write a book and have it on the shelves in the Edmond Public Library. A fairly simple want, don't you think?
I attended classes with an excellent writing teacher, William Bernhardt. I wrote and wrote and wrote until I had what I thought was a pretty good book. I hired an editor, Grace Wagner (email@example.com. She edits for other writers, too. Not just her mother. I'm lucky to have her in-house.) and enlisted Beta readers including authors, a retired police detective, a retired librarian, some analytical readers, and some recreational readers. Then rewrote and rewrote and rewrote. I understand this is necessary even if you get accepted by an agent and one of the Big Five publishing houses.
I pitched Murder on Ceres and submitted it to agents and editors, all to no avail. I've listened to other authors tell horror stories about submitting manuscripts and never hearing back. About getting and losing agents and getting agents who didn't seem to push their books. The writing community is rife with bad news about the traditional publishing world. Publishing houses downsizing and struggling even with their legacy writers. Ebooks are taking an ever greater share of the market and the old vanity presses are being replaced by legitimate small publishing houses and self-publishing. All of which seems to be throwing the New York publishers into more of a muddle.
I am obviously (look at my photos) no longer in my 20's or 30's or, for that matter, my 50's. I don't have all the time in the world to get discovered amid all this chaos. So I self-published with Amazon's Create Space.
Murder on Ceres is a beautiful book. It's listed on Amazon, available in both print and Kindle editions. Among many thousands of other books. To catch readers' attention, I must promote it myself. Which brings us to those two pictures. Our purpose the evening that Bob came was to make a photo for business cards.
My hairdresser had advised me to wear makeup which I don't ordinarily do. Eye-liner, the whole nine yards. I bought makeup. Now keep in mind that during my single days and working-in-the-public days, my eyebrows were still dark enough to show up without using eyebrow pencil. They're almost as pale as my hair now. I stood in the makeup aisle quite a while trying to decide what color eyebrow pencil I should buy. Have you looked at makeup recently? Not only are there seemingly millions of brands, but each brand has twenty-eleven different colors of everything -- foundation, mascara, eye shadow, lipstick, eyebrow pencil. I chose the slate eyebrow pencil thinking slate is gray. Right?
Now the only other time I'd used an eyebrow pencil was for my mother after she died. I had watched her apply her eyebrows many times and I did a pretty good job for her for that last time.
I thought about my own eyebrows. They had always been fuller than Mother's, so it made sense to me that I should make mine rather full.
By the bye, slate is very dark gray.
Bob was setting up his equipment -- lights, those umbrella things, a matte black backdrop -- while I did my makeup. Pretty soon my husband came to see what was taking me so long. He stepped to the bathroom door. I was facing the mirror. When I turned to face him, he got such a look of startlement (Is there such a word?) that it scared me.
He quickly recovered and, being of sound mind and sensibly cautious, he allowed as how he wasn't used to seeing me in makeup. Bob, also being of sound mind, didn't even stutter-step. He just told me where to stand, adjusted the lighting, and took the pictures.
As he left, Bob asked if he could come back the next evening if Grace didn't like any of the pictures he'd taken.
The next morning, bright and early, Grace called. "What were you thinking? Did you look in the mirror?"
"I didn't think they looked that bad," said I.
"No, Mother," she said in that tone. "They look fine for a stand-up comedian. Groucho-Marx-ish."
Grace may be of sound mind, but when it comes to her mother she's never been sensibly cautious or even vaguely tactful. But she loves me.
"Bob and I will be there this evening after I get off work. Do NOT put makeup on before I get there," she said.
I think she was right.
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