So today is the release day of my first paranormal novel, The New Mrs. Collins! Woo-hoo! I’m super excited! I want to thank everyone who signed up for my blog tour. Your support really means a lot! Today I’m going to be busy because 4 super fantastic authors have been gracious enough to host me!
Christina C. Jones is hosting me at Being Mrs. Jones with a spotlight and review.
Kimmie Thomas over at She Really Said It is also sharing a review.
Gina Stoneheart is sharing a book spotlight along with Melissa Barker-Simpson over at Writing Room 101 (You can see the rest of the tour stops here).
And over here at my blog I’m sharing the story of the shady hairstylist who encouraged me to finish the novel. But I’m so excited about the release that you know I have to do it. Oh, c’mon. You knew it was coming. Excuse me for a second folks…
Now that that’s out of the way…
A few years ago, I got a story idea about a woman who could speak things into existence. That was all I had. No name. No plot. No nothing. I went to lunch with a friend who asked me what I was working on. “Well,” I said, picking at my salad, “It’s about this woman who can make things happen just by speaking it. Like if she tells you, ‘Jump off that bridge,’ you’d actually do it.”
My friend said, “Hunh. I sure wish I could do that! You know how many people would be jumping off of bridges?”
I began to kick the idea around some more but didn’t get very far. I outlined the story, started writing it, realized it wasn’t working, abandoned it, went back to it, abandoned it again, and then decided that maybe I should work on something else—until I met the hairstylist who gave me the bad weave.
Picture it: December, 2011. I was upset with my regular beautician for overcharging me for a style so I did something I soon came to regret: I cheated on her. Now, in my defense, the other stylist was offering a significant discount on her weaves, and at the time, there was something about the combination of the terms “discount” and “weaves” that sent me running for my wallet (I have since been reformed). In any event, I booked the appointment and headed off down Interstate 280, confident that by the time I left that hair shop, my hair would be laid like nobody’s business.
Boy, was I wrong.
When I got there, she had somebody in the chair. “I’ll be with you in just a second,” she said. Any woman who’s ever gotten her hair done knows that this is secret language for: Dude, I’ve double booked. Hope you’ve brought yourself a snack because you’ll be here until the Lord comes back. Maybe even later.
I sat. And waited. And waited some more. Finally, a couple of hours later, she was done with her other client. I was peeved—but I wanted that discount—so I moseyed my behind over to her chair and sat (and sulked). But once we started talking, my agitation dissolved and it dawned on me: Okay, maybe this heifer ain’t so bad double booking aside, she actually seemed…nice. She asked me, “So, what do you do?”
I told her. Then I said, “But what I really want to do is write.”
“What kind of stuff do you write?” I told her that I wrote novels, and about the idea I had about the woman with the mystical powers. “Oooh! I love that! It’s so different! And you know what? I could totally see Gabrielle Union playing that part!” And almost as if the story gods were listening, when I flipped the page in the magazine I was reading, there was Gabrielle Union. Smiling that majestic smile of hers. “See that? It’s a sign!” she yelled.
“You don’t think the idea is stupid?”
“No! I love it. You should definitely finish that story!”
She finished my hair at about one in the morning (yes, one in the morning), and said enthusiastically, “Oooh, girl! This looks good!” She gave me a mirror and at the time, I thought the style was fine (but then again, it was one o’clock in the morning. I was so tired she could have slapped a parakeet on top that thing and I would have given her a thumbs up). My only “issue”? I felt the hair was too long.
She said, no pun intended, “I think it’ll grow on you. I tell you what: if you get home and decide you don’t like it, call me and I’ll cut it for free.”
I nodded, paid her, and left. The next morning, I woke up and got a good look at the hair in the mirror. For some reason, every time I tried to comb it, the hair fell in front of my face like a curtain. I parted it like it was the Red Sea but it wouldn’t stay. I looked like Cousin It! And then I took a mirror to inspect the back and gasped: Ms. Hair Stylist Extraordinaire had boasted of how she created her own closures. To my non-weave wearers: a “closure” is a hairpiece that closes the weave at the top, so that it looks natural. You can buy it, but Ms. Thang, apparently thinking that she was the MacGyver of hair weaves, had made her own with one little piece of hair, relying solely on a wing and an unanswered prayer a prayer.
But I digress.
Chile, when I looked at that thing, I wanted to cry! There was a clear opening—like a tunnel!— at the very top of my head where you could see my scalp! Closure my ass! Ms. Thang had clearly exaggerated her talents! So I called and left her fifty-leven messages, and guess who called me back? Nobody! I started to get the sneaking suspicion that Ms. Discount Weave had decided that she’d already done enough for me and couldn’t be bothered to fix the mess on my head. And I was about to go out of town for Christmas. How could I go looking like Cousin It with a wind tunnel? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Three things happened next:
1. I crawled back to my regular hairstylist to fix the mess on my head. She took the price she (accidentally) over charged me off the price of the style and smirked as she asked, “Who the hell did your hair?”
2. I put Ms. Discount Weave on my, “People I will snub when I’m rich” list.
3. I started thinking about my novel and her enthusiasm about it, and guess what happened? I finished it!
Several years and several beta readers later, I have come to really believe in the story. I know that if it hadn’t been for her, I would have abandoned the novel, so I know that our encounter wasn’t by chance. So to Ms. Discount Weave, wherever you are, I’d like to thank you for encouraging me to finish my novel, wind tunnel and all!
What about others? Have you had a bad experience with a hair stylist? Have you ever received encouragement from an unlikely source? I’d love to hear your thoughts!