I’d like to start a new series of favorite concert memories of mine and hopefully others! I don’t know about you, but I’ve always enjoyed reading concert experiences, especially when something out of the ordinary happens. If you have any stories you’d like to share, send ’em in! I’d love to post about them.
I figure I’ll try to go thematic for these semi-regular posts, and the first theme is catching a guitar pick, a hallowed souvenir for any concertgoer. Here are my three favorite guitar pick memories:
1. Popping my guitar pick cherry. I acquired my first guitar pick at a Hanson concert in October of 2003, which should surprise no one who knows me. The five of us girls rolled into Cincinnati at midnight the night before and camped out in order to get front row. It wasn’t warm… And we weren’t even the first group there! My plan was to hold a small, unobtrusive sign asking Isaac for a pick. And it worked! Unfortunately, I couldn’t catch that day, and he had to throw a couple before I dug one off the floor. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask nicely.
While I was working on marketing or some such book-related task, an ad on Front Row‘s sale page caught my eye. The cover was bright yellow (now people who know me realize why it caught my eye) with a guitar and the raised arms of excited audience members at a concert.
I LOVE this cover.
I contacted Sydney Faith, the author, and also the host of The Sassy Sister Show on Youtube, which has almost 44,000 subscribers! Get it, girl! By the way, I just checked out their channel to add the link, and my daughters would love this. I have to show it to them. Anyway, I told Sydney about Front Row and sent her a copy, and she sent me a copy of The All-Stars to check out.
The All-Stars is the story of normal teenager Ro meeting her little sister’s favorite band and eventually becoming a member of said band. Of course, teens being teens, high-jinks ensue in the meantime. The book is told in first-person, switching between the POV of Ro, members of the band, and the evil Lindsay. At first, I thought Lindsay was a typical mean girl, but the author nailed the crazy fan aspect in her too, which I enjoyed. Who among us crazy fans have not thought we would marry our favorite musician one day? I was certainly guilty of that. Not that I was ever that crazy and creepy.
Sydney mentions on her Amazon page that she wrote this book when she was fifteen, revised it, and decided to publish before she turned 18. She admits, “this book would never be perfect, I’m sure I have missed a small plot hole or two, but I feel like I owe it to my fifteen-year-old self to show people what she did.” And I totally, 100% get that.
I saw so much of my past teenage self in this book. This story reads like fan fiction, which is not a criticism. While there are quite a few characters, throughout the story, we get to know each of the band mates and their distinct personalities. It’s easy to grow to like excitable, giggly Chloe, protective big brother Logan, and dreamy but misunderstood heartthrob Dylan. And if you do get lost, Sydney has their bios listed on her website.
I enjoyed the flirtation between Ro and Dylan (and other characters, no spoilers) as the story built up, but I do wish Ro joined the band earlier in the book. I would’ve liked to see how her position in the band evolved as they toured. Maybe in the sequel? The last third of the book was my favorite. Having said that, the story did keep me interested the whole time, wondering what was going to happen next and how things were going to resolve themselves.
Do any bands really do the “First Fans” thing? If they don’t, they should. You’ll have to read the book to know what I mean, but I thought it was a cool idea.
Overall, this was a fun read, especially for a teen and pre-teen audience. I would give this book 3.5 stars, rounding up to a 4.
Be sure to check out Sydney Faith’s website, too. It’s very well done, and she even has All-Stars merch! How cool is that?
Here’s the book trailer for your viewing pleasure:
I’m not sure if Pinterest is as hot as it used to be, or if it’s now more for those supermoms who I’m constantly in awe for pulling together the perfect kid’s birthday party. I use it now mostly to come up with ideas for haircuts and easy dinner recipes.
Pinterest is still the best tool I know for creating vision boards for any particular topic, and in this case, book inspiration.
It’s so important to be able to describe something in a way for readers to visualize and lose themselves in a scene. That’s why pictures like these are helpful because you can add little details like a nose ring or a freckle to your descriptions to make your characters come to life. Using someone from real life is helpful, too, but remember to be nice!
My Book Inspo board includes pictures of what I envision the characters to look like and the fashion they wear. For example, here’s my vision of the main character of my current work-in-progress, socialite Brit Byers.
Brit is a fashionista, and I have a lot of fun planning her outfits, which are normally devoid of color but overflowing with personality:
Then there’s the up-and-coming singer-songwriter, Daisy Song.
And finally, a chic and elegant wedding scene for later in the book (No spoilers—it’s Brit’s sister who’s engaged, not Brit.)
I’d love to know, what tools do you use when planning books or other projects? Does Pinterest work for you?
I apologize for the alliteration. I couldn’t help myself.
I love fashion. If I were to get deep about it, I’d say that clothes and accessories are a way to express myself when words fail. But really, it’s a fun hobby of mine—consuming it, discussing it, reading about it, and even writing about it. In my first book, Front Row, fashion on a budget (and dirty laundry) almost became another character in the story, especially in scenes like this:
The first thing I saw upon entering my room was the concert clothes from the last week strewn across the floor. As I picked up each piece to stuff into my nearly full laundry bag, I thought back to a memory that each item represented for me. On top was the shirt I wore last night—the pink peasant top that made me remember sitting on the loveseat upstairs in that house as I developed some sort of a friendship with Jacob. Next was the skimpy tank top I borrowed from Alex that earned the attention of Gabe in Chicago and awarded me a guitar pick at the end of the show. I tossed that one in a separate pile to wash first so that I could return it to Alex right away. The next item I retrieved from the floor was the black halter top that had aided in successfully getting us an invite to Moe’s Bar after the Milwaukee show, where I got to cozy up next to Gabe while taking my first tequila shot. I couldn’t find the red halter top I had worn to Detroit, but I didn’t need a reminder of that horrible night. Good riddance. As I pushed aside work clothes and hoodies that I wore to class, I found my newest purchase from Walmart. The top that started it all, the little pink silky camisole. I would always be nostalgic when I looked at it and recalled my meet-n-greet…
One thing I especially find enjoyable is shopping with friends, whether it’s in person or via text messages from the fitting room. My friend Barbara and I have been talking about shopping together pretty much since we started working together almost two years ago. What better way to start than gifting her a free dress?
The online women’s fashion clothing company eShakti was kind enough to offer to send me one of their dresses to try out and post about. I’ve loved my experience with eShakti in the past, but the last thing I need is another dress. I don’t wear dresses to work anymore, so the stuffed dress area of my closet and bin in the basement is relegated to weekends. And weekends are only two days long.