lindsay emory

Welcome to the official site of Lindsay Emory, author of books with kisses and sass including the Sorority Sisters Mysteries, The Last Plus One, and the forthcoming The Royal Runaway.

Filtering by Tag: 2016

All These Things That I Love - 2016 Gift Guide Edition

Most of us feel a little worn out, huh? Murphy is very tired from 2016.

 

No matter what side you were on, I think we're all exhausted from a long, nasty election cycle. Many people are hurt, confused, scared. I'm doing a lot of praying these days. Last Sunday, my pastor said some stuff and I'm sort of stealing the gist of it for this post.

Love each other like lambs so that tomorrow we may be warriors.

It went along with what I was feeling as we rolled into December. I had this cautious optimism creeping back into my bones. Mostly because we're all here together.  November (hell, all of 2016) was rough, but we can still fight together and laugh together.

obama + biden= 4eva

I have faith in us. Because we're a people who can make up really great memes. But we still need to take care of each other's hearts. With simple comforts. So here are some simple things I'm loving, that maybe people in your life would get some joy from.

Yeti highball

There's a good chance this is tea.

I mentioned the Yeti before but this is the one I use in the winter for tea.  It keeps it at a perfect temperature while I'm running around town and also confuses the other moms in carpool line who think I'm drinking booze.

 

Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm.

photo2-3

There's a really long story about how I first bought this lip balm in Paris. But I rebuy it on Amazon (in stick and pot form) to luxe up a basic necessity. I keep the pot next to my computer and sometimes I dab it on my dry cuticles, too.  Because cuticles need French love, too.

You know what makes everyone feel good? A really awesome hardcover book.  For me, I'd love a classic that feels like an old friend who makes my heart sing.

pride-prejudice

Or a different classic that I've reread four hundred times.

anne

Or something that makes you laugh until you pee yourself on a cross-county flight. Hypothetically.

sedaris

There's also alternative gift giving. My heart is always with women, children and families and so those are the causes that I support. Environmental, health and animal causes are also in need. The organizations I'm supporting this year are:

Ronald McDonald House - I give to the one in Houston, because that's the one that helped my family when my nephew was in the hospital, but you can give to your local house. You can call to see if they need other items - like toilet paper, soap or a homecooked meal!

Planned Parenthood - because all women of all income levels deserve health care

Fisher House - like Ronald McDonald Houses, this organization provides housing for military families to be close to loved ones during their medical treatments

International:

Clinton Foundation - I supported this organization long before it was a hot button topic this year because it is consistently a leader in initiatives that help girls, women and education around the world.

Heifer International in Haiti - the recent hurricane wiped out a lot of the progress that the country has seen in the past five years. Help them restock with goats and hens, small livestock that can feed families for years.

 

Basically, take care of yourselves. Take care of each other. That's pretty much all we ever need to do. And why I'm leaving you with this gift. My favoritest Christmas music video. Turn it up. Sing along with someone you love.  See you in 2017.

[embed]http://youtu.be/E8gmARGvPlI[/embed]

Best Books to Read Now - November 2016

Reminder/ Caveat/ Disclaimer: This is my (hopefully) monthly list of books I’ve read and enjoyed. These are not reviews, I do not include books I didn’t enjoy because life is too short to speak badly of books!

Can I talk for one sec about that ^^ above? Some observant readers might notice that I didn't post this blog in October. The reason? DNF's - books I did not finish - and books that I couldn't really recommend to a friend.  And I get a physical ache talking about this because... I want every book to be something I can share and be giddy over. But... alas, I have a string of  half-finished novels in my Kindle and a bunch of texts to friends about "this book is so stupid, it makes me want to bang my head against a brick wall."  You know the ones.

BUT. I am happy to report that I finally finished four books worthy of the title Best Books to Read Now.  Ready? Here we go.

Hidden by Kendra Elliot

hidden
hidden

In July, I had the opportunity to participate in the RWA Literacy Signing and there I had the pleasure of sitting next to the lovely Kendra Elliot.  I got to see her adoring fans and meet her gregarious husband and she was very sweet to me, the newbie.  I finally got to read the first of her Bone Secrets  romantic suspense series, Hidden, and it was quite the page turner.  I can't wait to keep reading the rest of the series!

The Earl - by Katharine Ashe

the-earl
the-earl

Regular readers of this blog will note that I have become a serious Katharine Ashe fan girl. If you love Scotland, and the beautiful scenery of Outlander, I recommend this historical romance that tells the story of a lady and an earl on a trip through nineteenth century Scotland.   The Earl is part of a continuing series and the start of a new series I believe but I enjoyed it without  reading the rest.

Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

named-of-the-dragon
named-of-the-dragon

I'm not going to lie. I kinda sorta thought there would be a dragon in this book.   I don't know why. It's not like (the always amaze-balls) Susanna Kearsley is known for her dragon shapeshifters but...what can I say, these days dragons are a thing. I'm not saying I was disappointed - of course not! -especially when the book seamlessly weaves together a modern day mystery (y'all know I love a mystery!), Arthurian legend, Tudor history, a Rosamunde Pilcher-esque holiday house party and a sexy rural Welsh playwright.   I highly recommend Named of the Dragon as a perfect cozy comfort read during the holidays.

Six Dirty Secrets - by Alexis Anne

6-dirty-secrets
6-dirty-secrets

My friend Alexis Anne has just released her latest, 6 Dirty Secrets and it is so fun, hot, creative and pure escapism.  Yes, it's number 6 in a series, but the series is more like connected characters - you don't have to read the first five to read this one (although you'll want to!)

So... November hit and a big hit of HOLIDAY CHEER smacked me upside the face.

.

christmas-1100723_1280
christmas-1100723_1280

And I thought, I want to spread more holiday cheer across the land!  I'm doing a RANDOM GRAB BAG GIVEAWAY here.  Three winners will receive a wrapped holiday gift during December. There will be books. There will be treats and swag and surprises!

dick-in-a-box
dick-in-a-box

My newsletter subscribers will also get a separate chance to enter, so make sure you're signed up here.  I've been planning 2017 already and tons of things are percolating and my newsletter subscribers will get all the news and deals and bonuses first.

I'm not sure I'll post a Best Books to Read Now in December... I have a stack of nonfiction and cozy mysteries I've been saving to devour during the holidays. Keep in touch on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Everything You Need To Learn About Writing & Publishing You Can Learn From Project Runway

I normally don't watch competition reality shows for longer than a season or two. The twists and challenges get repetitive. The contestants are unlikeable. Project Runway, however, is the exception.  Maybe it's all the pretty. Maybe it's the inherent wonderfulness of mentor Tim Gunn, but I've been devoted to PR since it premiered on Bravo, many years ago.
In recent years, as I've pursued my own creative dreams, I've come to see that everything one needs to know about writing/ publishing you can learn from Project Runway. Don't believe me?
Preparation
Every episode starts with some sort of fashion challenge and the way the designers approach the challenge is an individual combination of market/ materials/ inspiration that mirrors the way writers start books.

Some people sketch and make a detailed list of fabrics, notions. (If they were writers, they'd be 'plotters.')

Some people go to Mood and find the perfect bolt of lime green crushed velvet and go off on a lime green cloud of inspiration. (Or 'pantsers' as we call them in Writer World.)

Everyone has their own style and methods but one thing you see from the contestants who make it to the top is they are confident in their craft. They are expert enough that they can be flexible and nimble when all of a sudden they have to make a day-to-night outfit for Heidi Klum's chihuahua. If they were a sketcher/ plotter,  they can still come up with a new plan on the fly. If they were winging it on a cloud of lime green velvet, they don't melt down when their yardage is insufficient.
In other words... no matter how they start their book, they are resourceful and talented enough to finish it, despite the challenges that arise.
Feedback 
Whether it is  Tim's feedback in the workroom or the judges' critiques on the runway, feedback on Project Runway is EVERYTHING, as it is in publishing too.
Think of the workroom feedback as what you receive from your critique group, or your agent. This is your opportunity to revamp,
pr-tim-3
...trash...
pr-tim-5
...or back in their adoration.
pr-tim-4

You don't have to respond to their feedback (which I'll get into more, later) but you have to listen to it. And consider it. Because Tim Gunn isn't trying to screw anyone over. He wants the designers to succeed. As a mentor, that's his job.

The Runway critique is also super important. Think of Nina, Heidi and Zac as your editors and publishing professionals. If you watch Project Runway you'll see the difference between professionals and the amateurs (and it has nothing to do with how much money they make.) The professionals thank the judges for this:
pr-nina-2
and this..
pr-nina-1
And even this...
pr-nina-3
The Amateurs argue, get defensive, cry. The amateurs don't understand that Nina Garcia wants to find the next great designer to feature in Marie Claire. Zac Posen wants to see talent and innovation.  Heidi Klum wants to wear something edgy and sexy.
In other words, they want the best on the runway, just like publishing professionals want to be swept away, inspired by and make a lot of money off your book.
But they don't want to settle. And they don't want you to settle. And if you're arguing and pouting and crying about their critique, you're not grabbing the chance to learn how to be the best.
So learn the value in a professional critique and then blow them all away.
Editing
I've written an amazing blog post about editing here. But to really see how to work with an editor, watch when Tim comes into the workroom to give the designers his (always constructive) feedback. When Tim says, "rethink that" "needs editing" or even, "start over" the professionals do what he says. They rip seams apart, shred sleeves, chop hems. And the non-sewing people at home (like me) are shocked at the destruction - how could they? How will they ever make another dress?
But professional designers - and professional writers - know that there's nothing that can't be fixed. Your darlings may need to be sacrificed at the altar of Saggy Middles. You may have to start fresh. For non-fiction authors, I imagine that editing must be even harder - what do you mean, you don't think my story about my tenth birthday party is fascinating? That was the day I didn't get a pony!  How could anyone not want to learn about this rare Peruvian fern I researched for five months?
Designers and writers (heck, all creatives) must ask themselves what their goal is - a professional, cohesive, finished product?  Or that stray (yet beautiful) sub-plot about a meandering butterfly that's a metaphor for lost innocence?

I think you know what Tim Gunn would say.

pr-tim-1
Voice/ Brand
These are two inter-related concepts that some writers really have a hard time understanding but I think if any writer watches Project Runway, they will eventually get it.
As the season goes on, you'll invariably hear the judges discuss a designer's point of view. Or their aesthetic.  Or whether "they have something to say as a designer."  By the time the final four are developing their collections, viewers have strong visuals of what a designer's voice or brand would look like.
Let's play a game with these three examples. Pretend each look in each photo is a book, written by the designer. Which writer would have a consistent voice and which wouldn't?

Yes.

 

Yes.

Er... maybe?

See what I mean?  And if you watch the whole season, paying attention to design choices and designer reactions to challenges, you'll soon see how a creative person should stay true to their vision and voice even when faced with creative and practical challenges.
How to Ignore the Noise
Maybe this is the most important thing for writers to learn from Project Runway.
It goes against a lot of what I've said.
And yet it doesn't.
Any successful designer on Project Runway has to, at some point, ignore the haters, Tim Gunn and yes, the judges.
Note I said: Successful. Not winning.  Not best-sellers.
There are successful designers who don't win. Who are sent home. But they walk away from the runway feeling confident, knowing they did their best work and stayed true to themselves.
Most of the successful designers don't win, actually, Because there can only be one winner. But winning isn't the coolest part of Project Runway, anyway.
The best part of this show are designs like this:
pr-bridge-dress

A dress inspired by the Brooklyn Bridge shouldn't work. On paper, Nina would have worried about the "taste level."

But damn, that's cool. It's a dress that looks sort of like a bridge... but it's a dress! And yeah, it's kind of weird, but I've never seen a dress that looks like a bridge that's also kind of... sexy. Huh. Sexy bridges. Who knew?
And a dress that changes color in the rain? Could really make up for a bad hair day.
pr-rain-dress
These kinds of things aren't created unless a designer says, 'you know what? I'm going for it. I have the skill, the imagination and the ovaries to make something that's never been made before."
So yeah, sometimes you get some iffy feedback.
pr-heidi-2
You consider it. And then you go... nah.
pr-feedback
You say, I'm going to make the baddest LBD ever. That looks like a MF'ing umbrella. And it shouldn't work, but damn, it does.
pr-kini-umbrella
And it's a hot dominatrix umbrella. Sexy umbrellas?? Huh. Is that a thing? Who knew?
Because at the end of the day you would rather have a fierce dominatrix umbrella dress that's a little slutty than
pr-yawn
Am I right?
We're here to create! We're here to have fun!  We should participate in this crazy creative process with the diligence and professionalism that maximizes our ability to, um, sell books. But we should never forget that we each have a divine, unique, kaleidoscopic pilot light inside of us that we have to let shine.
pr-unicorns
So go, learn your craft. Do you. Make something, but don't be afraid to tear it up. Be professional.  Design the best, sluttiest unicorn dress out of lime green velvet that you can.
Go shine.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on Project Runway or other reality television that's inspired you on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments down below!

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