Cover Photo Shoot

This December, between parents visiting from the States, boat tours in Stockholm and northern lights in Kiruna, we did the photo shoot for the cover of Book Three in the Crowns & Ash Series!

I use the word “we” loosely here because I mostly control the Spotify playlist and help Phong with hair and makeup–which he is capable of doing on his own. He is a man of many talents.

Linn Arvidsson has done the last two covers for the series and set up the shoot. We hauled bags of props, clothes, makeup, flowers, and cake into the studio and followed her directions. One of the flashes was acting up, seeming only to work when any one of us stared directly at it. She took dozens of pictures while we tried different poses and outfits and the results were AMAZING! Unfortunately, I can’t share those. So, you’ll have to settle for my pictures taken on the sidelines.

Getting this kind of involvement with the cover process, and seeing Linn and Phong work, has been a delight–one I understand to be pretty rare for authors.

I am trying to nail Linn down for an interview as a cover artist/photographer. Hopefully that will be gracing the blog this year!

 

Quotes from the shoot.

Cheryl: What’s your best side?

Phong: Right.

Two hours and tons of photos later. Looking through the pictures that ended up being mostly of his left side.

Phong: Huh. Guess they’re both good. *smug grin*

 

Special thanks to got2b glued hairspray. Seriously, Phong uses it exclusively and I’ve even known him to order it online and send to friends we’re going to visit so it’ll be there when he arrives. Pretty much everyone that loves us has a bottle of got2b waiting for him. And for good reason! It works.

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2018 Recap

What happened in 2018?

I didn’t do all of my resolutions for last year, and it wasn’t all amazing all the time, but here are the highlights!

  • I became lactose intolerant. It happened all of a sudden. It was awful. I miss eating cheese without having to take a pill first BUT for the first time in my life I don’t have the acne face of a fourteen year old. It turns out, cheese was my enemy all along.
  • I published my first ever horror novel, Infernal, with Grinning Skull Press! I’m so excited to have it out in the world.
  • I discovered audio-books. When I was younger I couldn’t listen to books because I got distracted and stopped paying attention. I went on with life believing that I couldn’t listen to audio-books. I WAS WRONG! I spend so much time outside walking or at the gym and this is perfect! I love it. I can finally multitask reading.
  • I wrote another horror and outlined a few more!
  • I discovered Stephen King. I know, I’m behind. I tried reading Stephen King as a kid and totally hated it. I was reading fantasy almost exclusively back then and doing it for escapism. Stephen King’s work was just too close to reality for my younger self and I didn’t get it or appreciate it. I went on from there with the continued assumption that Mr. King and I did not jive. The truth is, I just wasn’t ready. I wasn’t at the point in my life where I would appreciate his books. But I am now and OH MY GOSH there are so many to read! So far I’ve consumed: Carrie, Cujo, In the Tall Grass, A Good Marriage, The Outsider, Joyland, and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. <3
  • World Weaver Press published the second book of my Crowns & Ash series, Detox in Letters! And @writendesk did live tweeting while reading it and it was one of the coolest, most thrilling, events of my life!
  • I visited my family in California for my mom’s wedding party, survived the aggressive heat, and ate matcha soft-serve in a fish shaped cone in San Francisco!
  • I wrote a rough ROUGH first draft of book 4 of the Crowns & Ash series and sent the 3rd off to my amazing editor, Laura Harvey!

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Love yourself?

Over the last year I’ve taken an interest in skin care and myself.

Let me explain. I did almost nothing for my skin before I turned 29 and it was not pretty. I used sunscreen from the supermarket during the summer (I grew up in California so I should have been using it ALWAYS). And IF I had a lotion, I used it all over and it too came from a supermarket. I slept with my makeup on and showered it off in the mornings. I pretty much believed some people were born with good skin and the rest of us weren’t and it was what it was. And, I guess to enforce that, I also figured all of the products out there were just BS.

I was SO WRONG!

But the biggest thing I’ve found through the experience of trying products and taking care of my skin, even more so than the obvious results, is the way it makes me feel. I feel good about myself when I take care of myself. I feel cared for and appreciated–BY MYSELF! I didn’t know this was a thing.

So, now I’m pretty much dating myself on the side. Which is great because I’m an AMAZING girlfriend and I totally get me. I even got into ordering a monthly subscription box which I call a gift from my admirer and last week I even gave myself a surprise art pack from Etsy. I’m really close to giving myself flowers and possibly having them delivered with a card.

This has been a serious revelation.

Art pack I ordered was from MaryGomesArt and it was so worth it!

The subscription box I’m trying is GlossyBox.

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Being Outgoing Online

I went from being a painfully shy child, to an awkward teen hiding behind sarcasm. At some point, when I needed to get a job, I decided to just fake confidence. I pretended to be someone else, kind of. It was all me, it was just a side of myself I didn’t usually use. I’ve pretty much been riding the “fake it ’til you make it” train ever since.

I like saying nice things when I think them. I compliment strangers in line. I say hello when I pass people in my building. I smile.

But, somehow, none of that carried over to the internet.

I click the hearts and the thumbs up on things, but I almost never left comments. I had this idea that it was somehow bothersome. They already know they’re funny, or their art is amazing, or that their books are delightful. I had the gut-feeling that if I commented it would somehow be intrusive or annoying.

Well, that was nonsense. So, over the last half year or so, I’ve tried to be interactive on social media.

I try to comment on twitter and instagram. I actually use my youtube rather than just lurking on it. And I send messages to authors to tell them they’re amazing–even though I’m 95% sure they know it already. And it’s great! It feels good and, of course, people like when you tell them the nice things you think about them. Why wouldn’t they?

I get so much more out of my social media now. They’ve become communities and I really enjoy getting to know so many people.

Artists and authors are all looking for a rainstorm. They’re farmers, desperate to grow a crop and share it with the world, but they need the rain. It’s okay to be a drop. It’s okay to be a little voice in the world saying you like something–screaming it even. Because maybe one drop will become a thousand and an artist will get that monsoon they’re looking for, and at the very least, they’ll know someone somewhere enjoyed their work.

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You were right. -An open letter to my mother-

Dear Mom,

You were right.

The things I thought were so important in my teens, were completely forgotten by my mid-twenties.

You were right.

I am beautiful. And you weren’t saying it in that annoying, all mom’s think their kids are beautiful way. You meant it and it was something deeper. I am beautiful and it has nothing to do with my hair or my skin or the way a dress fits.

You were right.

Some things are wrong even if no one knows about it, because I’d know about it and that’s enough.

You were right.

Vegetables are amazing and I was missing out as a child.

 

But you were wrong about Buffy. That show is awesome.

Love, Cheryl

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