Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Why Daphne's Hair is Blonde

Writing confession time.

I've been thinking a lot about hair color in book heroines lately. Mostly because none of them ever seem to have my color (light brown). I've often told my husband that I love his hair and as a little girl that was exactly the shade I wanted.

I blame books for this. Heroines all had dramatic colors: raven black, chestnut brown, fiery red, or golden blonde. Whenever anyone had medium brown hair, it was usually described as "mousy" or "plain." Rarely did one see a yummy or exciting descriptor like "caramel" or "bronze."

Okay, those descriptions veer a little close to the edge of purple prose. And honestly, my hair color has taken on more depth as I've gotten older, so perhaps the adolescent dissatisfaction with the color that comes through in the novels is fairly accurate. Unfortunately, it becomes a reinforcing cycle. Most girls that I know with hair color similar to mine keep it permanently dyed one shade or the other of a more 'exciting' color. (Me too, I tried several in my early 20's).

Thursday, August 24, 2017

And the Giveaway Winners are...

First Place: Kate
Second Place: Jessica

Congratulations! I'll be sending you both emails today using the address elizabethAhajek[at]gmail[dot]com so keep an eye out for it!

If you didn't win but are still interested in reading the book, why not request your local library purchase it? Here's the lowdown on requesting title purchases.

And if you can't wait, you can always pick up the kindle ebook for $2.99 on Amazon, or read it for free with your Amazon Unlimited subscription!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My (updated) Introduction to Doctor Who

What is Doctor Who?

Well, it isn't dead, for one thing. Despite the overall mediocre and depressing season 8 turning off a lot of fans, the season turned around with some good stuff in season 9, and an amazing, back-to-the-2005-vibe season 10.

BBC Doctor Who Logo

I've been explaining the show to a few people recently and I realized that my introductory blog post on the subject is not only seven years old, it is also one of the most hopeless fangirly things I have ever written. Read it for a laugh, if you dare!

Plus, at the time, I hated River Song. Boy have we come a long ways since then.

Since my husband and I have currently been doing a huge rewatch of the show (we're on season 9 now), I thought it a good time to write a new post about the series from a more balance and mature perspective. *Ahem.*

What is Doctor Who?

A mad-man in a box who travels who space and time, saving civilizations while always remembering that no person is ever unimportant. From Pompeii to the Moon Landing, from creepy statues to intelligent trees and every kind of alien in-between, with appearances by Agatha Christie, Vincent Van Gogh, and Queen Victoria, the show seriously has an episode for everyone. Witty dialogue, clever endings, and a constant dialogue of morality and ethics add further appeal and depth to a show that at times can be downright campy (but in the best way).

Thursday, August 17, 2017

I write so that my blood won't shrivel

I write so that my blood won't shrivel.

Years and years ago, (actually, almost a decade ago if I'm being honest), I used to stay up late chatting with friends online. We talked about lots of crazy things: vampires and Hogwarts and religion and fairy tales and glitter bombs. And we wrote. Lots and lots and lots.

We also made graphics. This was the beginning of the digital meme age, and it was also the beginning of the age when everyone made their own graphics to share on the very very first Facebook apps that no one uses and barely remembers anymore.

And we wrote. Lots and lots and lots.

The melding of all of this came together one night when my friend Andy and I were having a long conversation about the Dark Side and Cookies. I think we were making jokes about the light side having milk AND cookies, or oreos, or something. It was a decade ago, okay? My memory is good, but not that good. Anyhow, somehow the subject got around to writing, and why we wrote. At that point I did a LOT of my writing very late at night. Or rather, very early in the morning. I might be tired, but I couldn't sleep until I'd written something. It was a compulsion. Andy and I were discussing this compulsion and I proclaimed "I write so that my blood won't shrivel."

Andy thought this was great, so we made it into a graphic, and it became an in-joke, our own little meme. But it was more than a meme for me, it was true. Perhaps not quite literally true, but psychologically. Expressing myself through storytelling is a core part of who I am. It has been this way since before I could spell words and made my parents write my stories for me. (No joke. I used to dictate diary entries to my parents, grandparents and babysitters when I was five.)

And it remains this way. Yesterday I was so wrapped up in my current novel that I had to literally tear myself away from the computer just to keep my body from freezing up and bringing on fibro pain.

I believe that storytelling is one of the things God made me to do in this world. I thank him and I praise him and I love people and I tell stories. (And also design clothing. That's another thing that will shrivel my blood if I am separated from it too long. But this post is about the writing.)

I write so that my blood won't shrivel.

What part of your life is that essential piece, that your soul cries out to do every day? Make time to do that. 

Don't forget, I am running a giveaway this week with fun prizes like a signed copy of my novel and Parisian Mermaid jewelry. Check it out here!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"The Mermaid and the Unicorn" GIVEAWAY

The Giveaway is CLOSED and I am in the process of contacting the winners. Thanks to everyone who entered! 

One year ago today I published my first book, and to celebrate I'm giving some themed items away to YOU! 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Bringing Paris to Life

I visited Paris once in my life. It was the middle stop of a three-legged, twelve-day tour of Europe, and the one I was the least excited about. England? I was dying to see it. Italy? That would be so cool. Paris...Paris was so hyped, it had to be overrated, right?

But I loved it. Indeed, while I'm still more drawn to English history, and I adore much about Italy as well, I think in some ways Paris became one of my very favorite cities. I know not every visitor has the same experience, but I was blessed with a trip that seared this place into my heart forever.

It was thrilling to be able to convey this affection in my novel, "The Mermaid and the Unicorn" and, indeed, the book in some ways became my love letter to Paris. My fond memories of my youthful trip combined with all that I discovered in my research, resulted in a deep appreciation.

But simply loving a city and knowing stuff about it doesn't mean that one is able to bring it to life in a novel. I would not have been able to do so if I hadn't received some very specific critique as a young writer.

"Your dialogue is great, but we really think that you could use more description," my parents told me. "Could you tell us more about where the characters are standing? What they are seeing?"

It was rare that both my parents made the point of stating such a specific critique, so, though at first I was annoyed, eventually I got to work on it. As I grew as a person and a writer, I learned to incorporate description of all five senses, and as the internet grew, I gained more and more resources to fact check those descriptions.

So when I read the reviews of "The Mermaid and the Unicorn", so many of which contain delight in the descriptions of the city of Paris, I am filled with intense gratitude for my parents. Neither of them are fiction writers or English teachers, but they are both avid readers and they knew (and were not afraid to say) what I needed to improve as a young writer.

Learning to write involves so many factors that there is no one right way to do it. But heeding good critique and learning from it is certainly a vital factor.

Thanks Mom and Dad. This is just one more way that my book wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the two of you. :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Midsummer's Update

If you're not following me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have wondered why the blog has been quiet for the past month. I figured I'd do a big update and fill you in on the happenings at the Hajek Homestead. 

Firstly, we finally turned our three season porch into my summer sewing room. Although it won't work year-round in the Minnesota climate, I'm hoping to get a good 6-7 months of work a year up here in this gorgeous space until we can afford to insulate it properly. For now, the good coat of paint did wonders!