Sunday, August 05, 2012

50 Shades of Gray - Jaffarian Style

Last dye job - 8/13/11
This month marks an important milestone. It was one year ago that I decided to stop coloring my hair and let the gray shine through. It has been an interesting journey and not once did I think about running back to the dye bottle. My last color job was August 13, 2011. I recently had my silver and gray hair cut and my stylist and I celebrated with hugs. He told me that if I ever tell him I want to go back to dying my hair, he’s going to refuse to do it. He loves my new look and his part in it. Every time I came in for a cut, he’d light up like a Jewish kid at Hanukkah to check the progress.


I belong to a lovely group on Facebook called Gray and Proud. It’s a collection of men and women who have decided to stop coloring their hair and go natural. Some are having their stylists weave lighter color into their hair so that the outgrowth of gray won’t show as much during the process. Others, like me, went cold turkey, letting the various skunk stripes show for all the world to see. Going cold turkey shortens the time it takes to grow out the color. So does cutting your hair short, but I’d been wearing mine short for years already, so that was not a drastic change.

It has been an interesting and even fun journey. I treated the growing out of my hair color as a game. I took regular photos and posted them to face book. I wore my skunk stripe with pride. Along the way, I received a lot of encouraging comments from both men and women. I only recall one woman telling me I was too young to stop coloring my hair and that was early on. Maybe others thought that, but wisely kept their comments to themselves. Or maybe my cheery commitment to my decision kept them from seeing it as a negative choice. Whatever it was, I received great support all along the way. And now that the process is over, I am constantly receiving compliments on my hair and overall new look. Many have even said I look younger with my gray hair!

Feb. 2012
Many of the women who post on G&P have had a lot of negative feedback on their decision to stop coloring their hair. People tell them they are too young to go gray. They will never attract a man. It looks ugly and old. For some of the G&P members, the pressure was enough to send them back to the dye bottle. Even though it wasn’t what they wanted, it was easier than putting up with all the negative bullshit. Frankly, I’m angry at both sides. People who feel entitled to attack other people’s personal choices can just bite me! Personal choices are just that – personal. It’s not like these ladies are deciding whether or not to go postal the next time they’re at Target. So, naysayers, if you can’t say anything positive and supportive, keep your mouth shut! As for those who succumb to peer pressure and criticism, quit being a victim. Pull on your big girl panties and go for it, no matter what IT is.

August 2012
 A year ago, I decided to make a lot of changes in my personal life. Going gray was the easiest, but the catalyst for others. Moving my Ghost of Granny Apples franchise to a new publisher was another change. (The next time you see a new Granny Apples novel or novella, it will be released by publishing giant Penguin/Berkley.) Taking myself off the book conference circuit until 2014 was another, and a big one. This decision was made for two reasons: 1) I was falling on my face with exhaustion from juggling my careers as a writer and a paralegal; and 2) I needed to stablize my debts and spending.  Today I’m almost debt free, and ahead of my initial schedule! To be able to do this in the face of this horrible economy has been a major accomplishment and sense of great pride.

I have another goal I’m about to tackle, but I’ll share that another time since this post is going WAY TOO LONG….

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

A Birthday Party Invitation!

One of the things that is very important in character development is back story. Back story is what has happened to a major character before they ever get to an author's page. A great character starts with an author sketching out their personal history: where they were born, family dynamics, schooling, beliefs, physical traits, career history, hobbies, triumphs and tragedies. An author doesn't have to have every detail of the back story in place before a book begins, but at least the basics. Along the way, a good character will reveal more to the author as the book or series continues. 

One of the first things I always do for a main character is set his or her birthday.  Sometimes I use it in a book and sometimes I never mention it. I've referenced Odelia's birthday a few times in books. Curse of the Holy Pail opens on her forty-seventh birthday. In Corpse on the Cob, Odelia has just celebrated her 50th birthday. Birthdays are great time markers in books.

Well, guess what? On August 12, 2012, Odelia turns 54 years old. And you're invited!

I've been kicking around the idea of organizing a no host brunch for my readers in Southern California, and recently thought: Why not now?

It all started when my niece posted a photo of Thin Mint cupcakes in the Sue Ann Jaffarian Fan Club. Seeing that the plus size paralegal sleuth is addicted to Thin Mint cookies, Lindsay thought these would be great for Odelia's birthday. And that got my wheels to turning.  And how convenient that Odelia's birthday falls on a Sunday this year.

When: Sunday, August 12, 2012
Time:  9:30 am
Where:  Spitfire Grill, 3300 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Note:  This will be a no-host brunch (you pay for your own meal). No gifts, please.  Let's simply get together and have some fun celebrating Odelia Grey and what she means to us.

Besides Odelia's birthday, the 7th Odelia Grey book, HIDE AND SNOOP, is about to be released. We can celebrate that, too.

If you are interested in attending Odelia's Birthday Brunch, please let me know so I can tell the restaurant how many to expect.  You can RSVP to  Please put RSVP in the subject line.

How much fun is this gonna be?!