Monday, October 31, 2011

Countdown to National Novel Writing Month

Midnight fast approaches. When the clock strikes twelve o’ one, November starts – along with the world-wide challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I'm pumped! It's ten minutes until November. I’m wearing my winner’s t-shirt from doing Nano last year. I’m on the forums chatting with others who are waiting at the computers. I have The Final Countdown playing in the background.

I thought it would be weird to start on a new book so soon after finishing Sacred Fire, but it isn't. This story is so ready. I’ve been sitting on the idea since February, I’ve printed almost 100 pages of research, taken 18,140 words of notes, and now I’m gonna git r’ done!

It’s about to start…

Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One.


Alright, first chapter. Here we go!

First chapter...


I got nothing.

Time to Submit My Book

A year ago almost to the day, I sent out 120 query letters and promptly received 119 rejections. Now here I am, ready to do it all over again.

Except this will be a million times better.

I had a great year. I learned so much, I made great friends, and I had incredible experiences. I added around 16,000 words, cut 6,000, went through two rounds of betas, revised it twice, and whew! Done!

I look back and think of how happily ignorant I was back then and how dismally poor my book was, and I feel great about my progress.

I’ll never forget the day I realized I was going to meet my October 31 deadline. It was about two weeks ago, and I remember being stunned. This was actually going to happen.

I’ve used my upcoming Nano book to distract me, but for the past few days it’s felt so real. I’ve been going through an odd mix of excitement and anxiety – the kind that makes you feel like you’re being dropped at random intervals throughout the day.

I want to thank my readers for your support and interest, which gave me the confidence boost I needed this year.

Start a drum roll for me, please?

Seal it with a kiss, attach document, send.

Friday, October 28, 2011

My First Author Interview

Reece Hanzon
This is a big deal to me. When my dear friend Reece Hanzon asked to interview me on his blog, I thought back on all my dreams of being interviewed on websites, TV, conferences, and radios. My first thought was, "Holy crap, I'm not even published and I'm doing famous-person stuff."

 There's something special about firsts. I'm going to take a picture of the first person to ask me to sign her copy of my book. When the first person comes up to me and says "I'm your biggest fan" (it's gonna happen, guys), I might ask for her autograph.

Now I've been interviewed for the first time. Awesome!

Hot Coffee: How Quickly History is Perverted

As a lover of history, I'm interested in how history can change according to who records it. (As a writer of history, this is also frustrating.) I'm particularly fascinated by how history changes within my own lifetime.

Case in point:

We've all heard the story of the woman who spilled hot coffee on her lap and sued McDonalds for millions. This event has been made fun of by comedians, writers... heck, I've made fun of this story. It's just another example of a frivilous lawsuit that makes us laugh.

What most people don't know is that the coffee was so hot, this woman got thrid-degree burns. She had to get skin grafts and racked up a whopping $10,000 medical bill. She asked McDonalds to pay for her medical bills, but they refused.

If someone gave me third-degree burns, you can bet I'd see them in court!

Hot Coffee is a documentary about this incident. It talks about how our concept of frivilous lawsuits is a myth; the truth is, getting justice is more difficult than most people know.

I shouldn't be surprised. A friend of mine had a grandma whose stomach was punctured during surgery -- the acid spilled into her body and slowly killed her -- and her family has been in court with the hospital for almost a decade.

How did the story of the hot coffee get so convoluted? The documentary claims it's because a gag order was placed on the victim, but no gag order was placed on McDonalds. That means the only person allowed to tell this story was a major corporation trying to cover it's butt.

Considering how difficult it is to know the truth of things that are happening around us, imagine how difficult it is to find out what really happened a century ago, or a millenium ago. Take everything you hear with a grain of salt.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just do the Work

I had a friend who was interested in being a photographer. She learned that after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, she would have to work as an intern for at least a year (if any photographer would have her) and hopefully she’d get a job at that company. If she didn’t, she’d have to get her foot in the door at a different photography company.

I learned that becoming a newspaper reporter is very much the same. You start as a no-pay intern, work up to a little-pay copy editor, and slowly move up from there. It takes years before you can get the dream job of reporter.

Agents and authors stress to us how difficult this industry is. Unpublished and disillusioned writers moan about how much work they put into their book and how it was all for naught because no one responded to their queries. I know I should be intimidated because smart people say so, but I gotta be honest:

When I hear about what writers have to do to become published, it doesn’t sound all that different from any other worthwhile career. You study and practice for years, you work for no pay, you work for little pay, you keep working until it pays off.

Writers whose first book didn’t sell might say it’s different because their book is more than just a job – it’s blood, sweat, and tears, it was supposed to change the world – but do you think photographers don’t care just as much about their careers? Do you think reporters don’t get just as frustrated when someone less talented gets their dream job?
Some people realize they’ll never be good enough no matter how hard they work. That also happens with every other career. Example: just because you want to be a doctor doesn’t mean you can be. Disappointed med students drop out all the time. All over the world, people aren’t getting promotions because they’re bad at their jobs.

Doctors have to study for a decade, and it costs a fortune. Writers, on the other hand, don’t even have to work eight hours a day. Most people are on fire if they write one hour every day. There’s a lot of studying we need to do, but all the resources we need are cheap or free. We’ve got it pretty good.

Yet for some reason writers will finish one novel, submit it to a hundred agents without doing their research and without getting other people to read their work, get a hundred rejections, and complain it’s too hard.

If writing is a fun hobby for you, getting published will be the most time-consuming activity in existence. If writing is a career, the workload doesn’t seem that bad.
So many writers act like helpless martyrs and I have to believe – I just have to – that if you put in the work, you’ll get there. I’m tired of hearing all these self-pitying artists try to scare the crap out of me by pointing fingers at incompetent agents, overly-picky editors, small publishing advances, and uneducated readers.

Maybe this is just me being green, but I’m optimistic about the publishing world. I believe in the process. I trust that Good Book + Industry-Savvy Author = A Writing Career. No Writing Career = stop complaining and get back to work.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crazy Experience Day

Today, I want to hear stories of crazy experiences you’ve had. Either you did something crazy, witnessed something crazy, or something crazy happened to you. We’ll see who has the best story.

It was hard for me to think of stories I haven’t told already, but here’s one:

When I was in high school, I skipped school all the time. Mostly, I wandered around downtown, Catcher-in-the-Rye-style. A couple of times when I was bored, I took a homeless person out to lunch. Once I brought a cute guy to eat foot-long burritos and another time I took a couple out for Chinese.

It was awesome to see the look on their faces when they asked for money for food and I said, “Come with me, I was going to get lunch anyway.” However, I do not recommend that teenage girls do this.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Are Elephants Afraid of Mice?

Mythbusters is a show on the Discovery Channel where two wackos test myths, such as can you shoot someone when they're underwater (no), can you fold a piece of paper seven times (no), will your eyes pop out if you sneeze with them open (no). 

This myth I found particularly interesting, and I think you will too; Are elephants afraid of mice?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Not-So-Brilliant Easter Idea

Easter Sunday, eight years old. My mom splurged to give me the most beautiful Easter dress I had ever seen: the skirt touched the floor and poofed out like a princess gown, and it was covered in lavenders. I loved it.

In the middle of church, my ear suddenly felt like it was being prodded with hot rods. It shot pain all the way down my neck. I was too embarrassed to tell my parents that my ear hurt, so I tried to keep it to myself… until I started to cry.

My parents saw me cry, but did nothing. I cried from both pain and the sting of betrayal, knowing that no one cared about my misery.

Later, I found out my parents thought I had felt the Spirit and got emotional about my testimony of God. They even whispered to each other about how cute it was. It wasn’t until they ushered us off to Sunday school and I was still crying that they realized something was wrong.

My dad took my home and tried to think of a way to make me feel better. He remembered a nurse told him that if you rub the muscles in your throat that are close to your ear, it soothes the pain. He laid me on the couch and put his fingers down my throat.

He forgot about the gag reflex.

I puked the entire chocolate contents of my Easter basket. Brown goo plastered my gorgeous dress.

So, logically, my dad put my dry-clean-only dress in the washing machine.

Thanks, Dad.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Experience with Writer's Block

 There’s no magic trick for getting over writer’s block. We all have different reasons for losing that spark, and we all have different ways of finding it again.

For that reason, I had trouble thinking of advice to give my readers. Instead, I'm going to do what I do best; tell a story. This is how I recovered from my writer's block last year. Hopefully, an example will be helpful.

I started Sacred Fire June 2007 and went through my writer’s block between June 2008 and June 2010. (Huh. That’s kind of weird all those events happened in June.) It had nothing to do with writing. I firmly believe most writing blocks happen when you’re going through personal stuff.

My personal stuff more or less resolved around February 2010, but by then, I was in an irreversible funk. Not only had I barely written anything for a year and a half, but I had pressured myself and used guilt trips to get myself to write. That's the last thing you should do. I developed a habit of doing nothing, and it felt my soul was turning into a rock wall.

How did I get out of it? It all started with the worst luck imaginable.

I got my license to be an English teacher, but because of budget cuts, there were no teaching jobs available in my area. I got stuck at a desk job where I made little money and had nothing to do.

Boredom is hell. It makes writer’s block worse. In fact, if you’re experiencing writer’s block, I highly recommend doing something exciting… anything! Sneak into a museum! Rob a grocery store! Run into a herd of sheep if you have to!
I spent a month wandering blindly on the internet and hating my life until I re-discovered an author named SARK. She writes inspiring and colorful books about living creatively. When I look at her paintings, I feel like I’m tapping into a well of inspiration and soaking it in.

I eventually broke through by doing her free samples of Awesome Anytime Adventures and Dream Boogie. It unlocked my inner author from her cage, which felt like being reunited with an old friend.

Once I was done with the samples (and I was sad I couldn’t buy the whole thing), I got bored again and thought, “Well, I guess I could work on my book.” The rest is history.

Here’s the moral of this rather long story: you never know what will be the key to getting out of your funk. Don’t get angry with yourself, don’t hate your book, don’t spend agonizing hours trying to find the thing that will inspire you. Just relax and keep your mind open. You’ll get there.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I Just Want to be Famous Already

Is that really so much to ask?

I’m feeling sorry for myself today – not an unusual occurrence, to be honest. There are many benefits to discovering my calling in life so early, but the only downside is I can’t be happy doing anything else.

Sometimes at work I think about my book, my blog, my forums, my online friends, and I long to be at home living the dream. I want to read about the newest books and trends and writing advice. I want to keep on top of reading the bestsellers so I know who’s who and what’s what. 

I want wake up in the morning ready to do what I was always meant to do; write books!

I’m particularly blue today because I got an email from a writer friend who’s also a stay-at-home mom. Published or not, being a writing stay-at-home mom has been my dream since I was eight. She had such a great idea for a book that she works on it 4 to 5 hours a day.

It’s not fair. I know I’m pouting like a child. I can’t help it. I’m at a really good place in my life – probably better than I’ve ever been – so I feel terrible complaining. Still, every now and then I think about how I’m just not where I want to be yet, and I get frustrated.

(Don't any of you dare write "count your blessings" or anything like that in the comments to cheer me up. I am uncheerupable. You would just be a pooper at my pity party.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Mimic Octopus

Check it out! This octopus pretends to be other fish.

Octopi might me my favorite animal. They're so intelligent and cool. 

Did you know that when a mother octopus gives birth, she takes care of her eggs until they hatch, and then dies? There's something terribly poetic about that.  

Hold up, I feel a story coming on....

Once in school when I was five, we were studying octopi and one of the kids told me they only have one eye. I knew very well they had two. We argued back and forth on this until I finally gave up and asked the teacher.

"Does an octopus have an eye?"

She looked at me like I was a crazy idiot. "Octopus doesn't have an 'i,'" she said.

"Huh? I know it has at least one eye. I thought it had two."

"No, O-C-T-O-P-U-S doesn't have an 'i.'"

We argued about this back and forth until I finally gave up and told my friends the teacher was so stupid, she didn't even know an octopus has eyes.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Hardest Part of Revisions

Yesterday I couldn't find the latest version of my book and thought I lost 60 pages of work. Boy, was that awful; I already had cold, so after crying for 15 minutes I had produced enough flem to make my sinus cavities burst. Yuck. 

My wonderful husband held his arm around me until I finally found a recent version in my inbox. (I have to email my book back and forth between home and work so I can write during my lunch break, which is messy. That's how I got confused and couldn't find the document I needed.) So I only lost 6 pages and the story had a happy ending.

As my novel is nearing the "done" stage (if there really is such a thing), I've been comparing my current draft to my first draft.

When I make first drafts, I always think to myself, “Just write whatever comes out and you can fix it later.” Pretty soon, it becomes a mantra: fix it later, fix it later, fix it later. (I blame Nano for that attitude.)
At this stage in the game, there is no “later.” What I do is what agents are going to see. Holy crap. It's hard not to second-guess myself. I can't even imagine what it's like when you hand your last version to your editor and you can never change a single thing ever again.

Despite the pressure, there’s nothing like polishing a chapter until you know it’s the best you can make it. In my opinion, the hardest part is the best part.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rob the Bod

At work the other day I made a call to a guy who’s first name was Hyman. I had the hardest time with the call because I couldn’t stop giggling. Even while writing this, I have a grin on my face. It’s immature, I know, but I can’t help it.
This is what I had in mind

This got me thinking about funny names. We could probably swap stories all day long, but here are a few of my favorites:

In college, my roommates kept talking about this guy named Rob the Bod. By the time they invited him and his friends to our apartment, I was excited to see him; anyone sexy enough to earn such a nickname was worth meeting.

He wasn’t unattractive, but I was… disappointed. Rob the Bod was shaped like any other guy.

I later found out his last name is Thiebaud.

Once when my sister-in-law was engaged, we invited her and her fiancĂ© to play Wii games with us. She set up his profile with the name “Money,” because, she said with a smile, money was his “middle name.”

I thought this was the tackiest joke I ever heard, especially since his parents were rich enough for "Money" to be an appropriate nickname. He must have seen my husband and I exchange looks because he said, “No really, it’s my middle name. Here,” and he pulled out his driver’s license to show us.

His mother’s last name was Money, and she wanted her children to have both her and her husband’s last names, so she gave all of her children Money as a middle name.

When my mother-in-law moved from Alaska to Mississippi, she met a guy named Ayal. She thought that was weird, but was too polite to say anything. She was good friends with Ayal for three years before she finally saw his name written; it was spelled, “Al.” He had the very normal name of Albert, but it sounded different with the Southern twang.

Do you have any funny name stories to share?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Reasons We Blog

Every now and then, we should all sit down and ask ourselves the question, “Why do I do the things I do?” Today, we’re going to ask ourselves, “Why do we blog?”

I don’t believe social networking sells books. We only follow blogs, twitter feeds, and Facebook updates after we read and liked a book. (Do you guys agree with me on this?)

I had reasons to start a blog, and now I have different reasons for keeping one. I started it because:

Ego Boost. It was last November when things weren’t going so well and I was feeling pretty down. I knew how happy it would make me to get readers.

Something to Do. A year ago, I was not a busy person. Keeping a blog sounded like a good way to burn time. 

Practice. I love how much my blog inspires me to write.

Killing Plot Bunnies. It’s nice to have a place to puke up ideas.

Since then, many things have changed. This is why I keep a blog now:

Opportunity. I have made friends, found beta readers, entered contests, briefly interacted with agents and authors (many of whom won’t remember me, but I’ll always remember them), and learned about so many other opportunities available to me. When I get published I will trace the series of events that made it possible, and I firmly believe it will lead back to my blog.

Education. Telling you how many things I’ve learned would take a whole new post.

Social Coaching. I’ve learned how to interact with writers, agents, readers, and I’ve learned by reading from others what to expect when I’m thrown into the big world of publishing.

Friends. I had no intention of making friends when I started doing this. It was all about me. I never imagined I would become interested in other people’s welfare and that I would visit their blogs just to see how they’re doing. I’m connecting to people I care about and who care about me, and it’s wonderful.

What are your reasons for social networking?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Why I Hate Foreshadowing

I don’t just dislike it a little bit; whenever I read it, I get an icky taste in my mouth.

This is why:

  1. I already know something big is going to happen. It’s a book. That’s how it works. 
  2. After reading the back cover, I probably know the big thing you’re foreshadowing. 
  3. When you foreshadow, you run the risk of disappointing your readers. I just finished a book that went on and on about how the MC is afraid of burning in hell for the terrible things she’s done. When I read what she did, I thought, “That’s it?” 
  4. I like being surprised. Doesn’t everybody? 
  5. It isn’t true to life. I don’t get any foreshadowing, so why should my characters? When I discover things at the same pace as the character, I feel like I’m along for the ride. 
  6. It pulls me out of the story. Because it isn’t true to life, foreshadowing reminds me, “Oh yeah, this is a book and an author is writing it. It isn’t real.” 
  7. It’s always so melodramatic. Foreshadowing usually reads like this: “Little did I know that this small action would destroy everything I hold dear,” or “This should have been a sign to me that my life was about to change for the worst,” or even, “If I had known what lay in store for me, I would have prayed for God to take my soul then and there.” For heaven’s sake. Lighten up.
I predict that many lovers of foreshadowing will argue with me on this. Since I honestly don’t understand foreshadowing, I look forward to hearing your points.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm so Excited About My Phantom of the Opera Party!

My local friends have already started planning my book group party for October the 28th. The more we plan, the more excited I get!

We're going to watch the silent film on a huge projector in my friend's yard. I don't know what else we'll do... we're still collaborating ideas. I think in honor of its French heritage, we should have a cheese potluck where everyone brings a different kind of cheese. I also thought it would be fun to decorate masks.

By the way, I'm still adding stuff to the Facebook event page, and it's all really interesting (if I do say so myself). I have a photocopy of a newspaper articles, quotes, websites, and more, and I'm going to keep adding stuff.

I've opened discussions for this book in the following forums:

This is so exciting!

Has anyone else started to plan their party for the 28th?

This is my favorite cover because it's my favorite part of the book. Their kiss is easily the best kiss in all of literature.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Status Update: So Far, So Good

For anyone wanting an update, I’m doing line editing on my book, and while I’m 99% sure I’ll make my goal to submit to agents October 31, I’m going to use every last minute I have.

For the newcomers, here’s a recap of my situation: I went to a writer’s conference last June and two agents requested my manuscript. I decided to set a date for when I would send it to them so that 1. I wouldn’t take an excessive amount of time revising it, and 2. I wouldn’t get excited and send it too early on impulse.

I picked the day before National Novel Writing Month starts. I only get to participate if I finish by then.

I’ve been so focused on finishing Sacred Fire and getting ready for Nano that I haven’t put much thought into what could happen after I send my book out. The other day, it finally hit me; in 25 days, I’ll be querying. After years of hard work, I could possibly have an agent within the next few months.

This is a big deal, to say the least.

I’m trying not to think about it too much because it’s going to drive me crazy, but I can’t help seeing this as the moment my whole life has led up to. I know getting an agent is only the start of a very long journey, but from my green perspective, it seems the beginning of the end.

I’m also trying to brace myself for disappointment. Last year, I sent out queries and was dismally unsuccessful. The experience didn’t faze me much because you hear stories all the time of bestselling authors who go through rejections, so the rejection felt like a matter of course. I’m glad it worked out the way it did. I had a lot of learning to do.

I’ll be honest, though; if I don’t get an agent this time around, after all the beta readers and revisions, I’m going to be pretty devastated. (I might even struggle with my faith in God because I put a lot of prayer into this thing…) But! If the book doesn’t take this time around, I’m sure I’ll find out what went wrong, and I’ll try again. After all, I’m a writer. That’s what we do.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What the Ninja....?

While looking for images to put in my posts, I often run into pictures I like enough to save but don't know how to use. I noticed today that these pictures run on a theme: half of them are of ninjas. I don't have any particular love for ninjas, so this is pretty random.

Then again, who doesn't love ninjas? So, today is a random ninja-themed post.

Yum! Ninja cookies!

And finally, two ninja videos!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Books I Read in September

There's still 24 days to join in on the Epic Phantom of the Opera Book Group! I've put some pretty interesting links up on the Facebook event page and the discussion thread is still open. Click on the picture to the right to learn more.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
Through a series of letters, Juliet becomes involved in a small English island recovering from the German Occupation of World War II.
Most of us aren’t used to reading a long string of letters, but this book couldn’t have been written any other way. People from all over the island told Juliet about their experiences, and everyone had a different story to tell. This book is surprisingly charming. These people went through some terrible things, but they survived it with friendship, humor, endurance, and a lot of good books. (By the way, I highly recommend “The Hiding Place,” also about WWII.)

After 4-year-old Colton goes through a life-threatening surgery, he tells his parents about his experience in heaven.
I believe in after-death experiences. It seems so logical to me; you die, you go to heaven. You stop being dead, you come back to earth. This book is designed not only for believers, but also for the skeptical. The father goes through encounters with his son talking about heaven and why he decided to believe in what his son told him. The book is enlightening, touching, convincing, and beautiful. There are interviews with the family on the internet you might want to look into.

Four rich patrician women experience the reign of the Five Emperors, a violent and tumultuous time when emperors were repeatedly killed and replaced.
Kate told me she never writes the same book twice, and that’s true; Daughters of Rome is very different from her debut novel, Mistress of Rome. Instead of slaves, it’s from the point of view of the privileged, giving readers a holistic view of the culture. Many people compare DoR to Sex in the City, so just imagine that show taking place in Rome and you’ll have a pretty good idea what this book is like.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Wonderful Itch

I mentioned a while ago that I got a new job. I work at a bank call center, which I enjoy.

I get some crazy people on the phone. You hear the funniest things between the time the person takes the phone away from their ear and the time they put it on the receiver; for some reason, they think I can’t hear them even though they haven’t hung up yet. People will be as sweet as can be, say goodbye, and then curse like a sailor. I’ve been called some pretty unseemly names.

Once a woman found out her husband over drafted their account, and I got to hear her chew him out. Boy, was she mad.

We’re having a lull period at the moment. I’m itching to write a blog article, but the sad part is, I have no idea what to write. That’s the problem with going through the revision process; I don’t get to do any actual writing. Thank goodness for this blog, or I might have gone crazy by now.

When my desire to work exceeds my inspiration, it’s a weird feeling. On the one hand, it’s frustrating because I have all this energy I can’t use. On the other hand, it’s wonderful to get the itch to create. That burning to get back to the keyboard, even though you have nothing to say, is the burning that sets an author apart from someone who just has a neat idea.

I’ve had times in my life when I was working on an awesome book, but I didn’t have that itch to work and I didn’t get much done. The itch makes all the difference.

When you get the itch, just get on the computer and write whatever garbage occurs to you (kind of like what I’m doing with this article). It’s possible you’ll break through and write something brilliant. Most likely, you’ll just enjoy yourself, and that's wonderful too.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Taking Chances, by Omonike Odi

 Omonike, a reader with perhaps the coolest name ever, saw an offer to post stories in one of my old blog posts and kindly offered me this jem. I hope you enjoy it!

Taking Chances

I watched the other two saunter in. Earlier when I walked into the room the last thing on my mind was my surroundings. Now perched on a black plastic chair, i observed them.

In total there were five girls attired in bright colours and bright make- up. One wore a Mohawk invention that gathered the hair around her ears in braids before toppling them in short tufts on her head. The other wore a Nigerian print Ankara dress, embellished with sequins and hesitantly stopping short of her knees. The brightest of them had just spilled into the room with an assistant in tow holding on to a bundle of clothes.

From my observatory, I noted the one in a black and gold dress topped with a black turban.

I knew who they were.

Had they seen me? I wondered, considering my choice of dress in a quick thought.

Other than my heavily beaded black and silver necklace and my silver bling ring, i was just the girl in a black suit. My hair had been pulled back from my face in a chignon to give me a corporate look.

I looked back at the lady in black and gold, the one who looked important. I knew her without the familiarity of having met her in person.

Had I seen her on the cover of a magazine? 

Then it hit me. She was Madame Ferera of House of Raah!

Wild thoughts came alive in my head without my permission and mind took over matter. This was my chance to do something I had wanted to do since coming home from the States.

Presently, she still stood there. Should I strike or walk away?

I looked beyond her to the rest of the girls. How I admired them. They where the famous Raah Models. Day or night they could do their jobs in springs fashion collection while I had to wear suits to work.                   

But didn’t i like the suit? I wondered at myself.

Did my liking the glamorous life of these models make me like my corporate job less?

Since I was little, I dreamed I would be a model. My parents never approved. They didn’t understand a career that made me show skin.

“You will go to University in America then join the family business Kautar, forget this modelling thing. My father won. But being saddled off to New York to study at NYU turned out to be a good thing. I was a student from Monday to Friday but on weekends I did what I loved – I took up modelling jobs on the side.

That was then. Now my life had changed. I  worked long, arduous hours on my small portable computer producing spread sheets, tackling PowerPoint, developing sales pitches, giving presentations and seating in at strategy sessions, only finding time to feed in between writing reports. But today these girls made me wish for my double life again.

I made up my mind and pushed myself forward.

“How much for the photos?” I asked almost too loudly.

My question was directed at the girl standing behind the reception desk.

I had been out of the game for a few years now.

I peeped at them again while the receptionist busied herself with the computer in front of her.

I remembered the catwalk, the beautiful designer clothes, the locations, the freebies, the partying and a feeling of lust for their world assailed me yet again. Transported in thought, I transfigured into my alter ego.

There was no stopping now.

Madame Ferara looked up in surprise as I approached.

“Hi, my name is Kautar,” I heard myself say weakly. “I am a business analyst but I am also a freelance model.” I handed her a PSG Consulting business card. “I would love to audition for you sometime.”

If I proved that I had a strong walk and beneath my suit was a good frame to show off her creations, she would hire me, I thought.

She had a look that said, Walk away, little girl.

I tried again.  “That’s my card, can I have yours?”

Say something! I wanted to scream at her.

I was coming back to my senses. All my alter ego’s bold powers had left me, only I remained.

She reached into her Mui mui bag,

She was either looking for a gun, a court restriction or a fly- swatter.

 “Give me a call sometime...”

I must have fainted with my body standing still.

I have no memory of my walk back to the reception to pay for my passport photographs but moments later, i stepped into the sun clutching a black and gold coloured complimentary card in one hand.

Breaths of wind russled up my skirt and I paused to adjust it. I smiled.

I was the business analyst again.

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