Posted in Destinee Faith Miller Mystery, guest article

Guest Post: Destinee Faith Miller recaps the Top 5 Finalists of Miss Universe 2013


Valarie thought it would be fun to hear what Destinee Faith Miller had to say about the Miss Universe 2013 pageant, and I agreed.  However, after trying to “interview” her about it, I found myself getting into a truly crazy-making philosophical argument with her about feminism and body image.  You try arguing with an imaginary person you invented out of your own head.  No interview.  Instead, here is a nice little blog entry where Destinee gives you the run down on the Top 5 finalists of the competition, with a bonus look at Miss USA.

Hey, y’all!  I am so excited to be here on The Outside Lane today.  I am your pageant-insider look at the Top 5 finalists of the Miss Universe 2013 pageant.  Miss USA did not make the Top 5, so we’ll be looking at her separately, and considering what took her out of the running.

The Top 10 Finalists.
The Top 10 Finalists.

The last ladies standing were Miss Brazil, Miss Ecuador, Miss Philippines, Miss Spain, and Miss Venezuela.  As you can see, the competition was fierce.  From the swimsuit competition, the ladies go on to evening gown, where they are whittled down to 5, then they hit their marks for interview.  No one knows better than I do how quick an interview question can kill your shot at the crown!  But, a bad evening gown can hurt you, too.

Let’s take a look at the Top 5, with their National Costumes, Evening Gowns, and their Interview answers.  I must apologize for the shoddy quality of the photographs.  Lane does not share my dedication to perfection, and said I was just lucky to have photographs at all.

miss brazilMiss Brazil, here, was your 4th Runner Up.  I thought her National Costume was inspired–maybe inspired by my ideas for the Tiny Miss Proverbs 31 pageant!  While I loved the colors, the chest piece, and the headdress, I felt like the skirt took away from the overall quality.  It wasn’t flattering at all.

Her evening gown was too much like lingere for me.  I did like the sparkles, but the dusky rose color and the fabric looked like Eva Gabor’s favorite negligee.  If you can picture it showing up on Green Acres, you shouldn’t find it on a runway.

Her interview went like this…

Question: What is your opinion in places that do not allow women to vote, or drive cars?

Answer: Good evening everybody! In my opinion, we as women achieved our independence through time. Unfortunately nowadays we still have problems with our independence. But we need to keep our open minds because nowadays we are homemakers, part of a work force. We are capable of everything.

Now, if you ask me, she didn’t answer the question.  What’s she asking us to keep open minds about?  Is she asking us to keep open minds about people who think we can’t drive in our high heels, or vote with our tiny pea brains?  That’s a bad answer.  She should have talked about how God endowed us all with certain unalienable rights, and the right to vote is one of them.  She should have said how women’s voices need to be heard in order for us to have equality and justice in our governments, and how women ought to be able to drive themselves down to the polls so that they can take part in what makes their countries great.  God, country, and a pretty smile–she’d have placed a lot higher if she’d done like that.

4th was about right for her, I think.

miss philippines

 

Miss Philippines placed 3rd.  That girl was stunning!  She had the most beautiful hair, which she wore down straight for most of the competition.  I just loved her hair.  Her National Costume?  Not so much.  It looked like she’d chased a chicken around the yard for a hat, then grabbed one of the bridesmaid dresses out of her old maid aunt’s closet.  It looked two sizes too big, and the color did nothing for her beautiful complexion.

I’d say the same of her evening gown.  It was a lovely, flattering, structured gown and it moved beautifully, but the color was terrible.

Her interview went like this…

Question: What can be done about the lack of jobs for young people starting their career around the world?
Answer: I do believe we should invest in education and that is my primary advocacy. … Education is a primary source and a ticket for better future.

She actually gave a much more detailed answer about education, but I can’t find more than that up there.  I thought she did an excellent job, but she didn’t answer her question either.  What she did do is manage to turn her answer to her primary advocacy and make a passionate cry for funding it.  The problem is, getting more education just means more educated people who don’t have jobs.  They asked her about fixing the job market, and she answered with sending more people to school.

I really expected her to place higher because she was so pretty and poised.  I truly believe a better gown would have gotten her at least to 2nd Runner Up, possibly even to 1st.  I kind of feel like she belonged up there based on her looks and poise, but her boring National Costume and that chartreuse evening gown did her in.

miss ecuador

Miss Ecuador took 2nd Runner Up.  Look at that National Costume!  That’s about as perfect as it gets.  It’s glamorous, it’s sexy, but it isn’t at all trashy–Miss Great Britain is an example of how National Costume can get trashy right quick if you aren’t careful.  Oh, I just love that costume!  I wish so hard she had gone with that royal blue for her evening gown.  That just flattered her complexion so beautifully!

Instead, we get another cast off from Eva Gabor’s boudoir.  I don’t know why girls wear that old lady, seafoam green.  It’s a pretty color, but it has no energy, no zip, and just looks like a day lounging on the chaise with your Bichon and your manservant.  Miss Universe has to have energy.  She’s got a lot to do.

Her interview question went thusly…

Question: What would happen to the world if we could no longer use the internet?
Answer: Tech has disadvantages – we are no longer close with our families. We use the methodology of computers and internet for the positive. It is never too later to start. Let’s start now.

Answers like that make me wonder how many translators have been paid off to ruin a girl’s chances.  That answer was awful.  Not as bad as the terrible answer I gave that one time, but nigh on unintelligible.  That answer really should have dropped her back further in the rankings, at least to 3rd Runner Up.  The fact that it just dinged her to 2nd tells me that if she’d done a better job with her interview, she’d have been serious competition for the crown.

miss spainI do love some fringe.  The judges must have too because here is 1st Runner Up, Miss Spain.  I’ll tell you right here and now, once Miss USA was out of the running, Miss Spain was my pick of the pack–but I knew she wouldn’t win.  She was too sweet looking to win–didn’t have enough edge to her.  I thought she had the prettiest, brightest smile, and she was poised and graceful without looking haughty.  And also, fringe!  I just loved her National Costume.

I loved her evening gown, too.  It looked a lot prettier in motion than it does in the still pictures, but when she was walking it was just divine.  It fit her perfectly and flattered her skin tone better than any other gown in the Top 5.  I loved that pinky-champagne bodice, and you know how I feel about sparkles.  Y’all, I just loved her!  And I think she would have won, too, but…

Her interview question went like this:

Question: What is the most significant thing we can do help elect women to political offices around the world?
Answer: In order to select a good woman, she must posses good qualities in order to do a good job – discipline, knows how to adapt… so she can fulfill her job.

Y’all.  That question is so easy, and I’ll bet you money that Miss Philippines was just mad as a hornet that she didn’t get that one.  THAT is the question you answer with Education!  And you tie that in with that little Malala girl, who got shot for wanting to go to school.  You answer that by saying that there are little girls who are willing to risk their lives, standing up to terrorists for an education so that they can learn and lead the next generation into peace and prosperity, so the most significant thing we can do to help elect women to political offices around the world is educate girls and young women, and offer them opportunities for higher learning, and advocate internships or something like that.   I’d have knocked that one out of the park!  And she should have.  It wouldn’t have mattered if she had, though, because once it was down to those 5, the winner was clear.

miss venezuela

And, I can’t be too mad because Miss Universe 2013, Miss Venzuela, is a showstopper.  You look at her posture, how she holds her shoulders and the tilt of her chin.  That girl is a professional, and that is what confidence looks like.  How could you not give her the crown?  It just looks like it belongs on her head by sheer force of her own confident will.  Are you going to crown sweet little Princess Spain, or the clear Queen of the Universe Venezuela?

Now, her National Costume’s colors horrified me.  She looked like she fell into a vat of My Little Pony cake mix, but that girl can flat wear a hat.  As awful as her colors were, the costume itself fit her like a glove, and she wore the fire out of it.  That would have overpowered a lesser woman.  I do just love how she wears a hat.

When I first looked at her evening gown, I didn’t think much of it, but now I find myself admiring it.  It is white without being bridal, and structured without looking restrictive.  I like how it is sort of space-aged, and how the beading harkens back to the art deco days, and I do love a well executed long sleeve.  I did not like how obvious the modesty panel was, and I hated her shoes.  Those are shoes you’d find in Tishelle Tucker’s closet.

Her interview question went like this…

Question: What is your biggest fear and how do you plan to overcome it?
Answer: We should overcome all our fears and this in turn would make us stronger. As soon as we overcome our fears, we can face any challenge.

I honestly wasn’t sure that she understood the question, and thought she was just lucky that Spain had blown her answer, and Philippines had such an ugly colored dress.  I don’t think she’d have lost the contest either way because she  was just head and shoulders above the competition, but you want your beauty queens of her caliber to win by a landslide, not muddling through an interview question that was actually the easiest of the night.  That was an excellent opportunity for her to showcase her charm and wit–but maybe she doesn’t have any.  I don’t know.  I’d have said, “Why, Judge, my greatest fear is messing up an interview question like this!” Then, I’d have smiled brilliantly and dipped my chin while the audience laughed, and I’d have followed up with a serious face and said, “The only way we can overcome our fears is by powering through to the other side of them.  We cannot allow fear to hinder our progress–that is how the greatest nations in the world have come into prosperity.  We must face our fears and conquer them, so that we can achieve our goals, and find peace and harmony for the world.”  See?  That’s how it’s done.

Grand Finale - Miss Universe 2013You get a really good look at Miss Philippines’ hair here.  Those women are just gloriously beautiful!  The only thing missing was Miss USA, and it about broke my heart when she walked out in her evening gown because I am 100% positive that’s what cost her a spot in the Top 5.

miss usaY’all, as happy as Miss USA’s National Costume made me, and it did!  Her evening gown made me sad.  Look at that poor thing.  The bodice mashed her bustline down so that she looked oddly flat-chested–more like she had pecs than a feminine bosom.  The modestly panel made a weird line across her sternum, and that waistline?  Terrible.  The dress made her look thick and took away all her curves, when only moments earlier her swimsuit made it clear she was a glorious hourglass of All American.

I really wish we’d gotten to hear her interviewed because she did a really good job at the Miss USA pageant.

I was really proud of all the girls, though.  They were beautiful and no one fell down, or forgot her name, or anything crazy like that.

And I’m real happy I had a chance to visit with y’all today.

Buy Lane’s book and learn all about me!  It’s called TIARA TROUBLE, and you’ll love it.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in books, Cozy Cat Press, Destinee Faith Miller Mystery

Book Birthday, Boston, and Bzzhuh?


Happy book birthday to LynDee Walker!  Buried Leads launched this morning, and it is already shooting up the Amazon charts.  Hop on that train early.  Then, when it becomes a movie, you can roll your eyes at all the people who are only just getting into it after it’s earned Emma Stone an Academy Award.  (I’m casting Emma as Nichelle.  Who would you cast?)

I will be in Boston in 3 days, and I can hardly believe that.  Several of you have asked where the Cozy Cat Press booth will be. I don’t have an answer to that yet.  We will get our placement at 7am on Saturday.  Until then, all I can tell you is that we will be in Copley Square, surrounded by books, booksellers, and book writers.  The first person who comes up to me and yells, “TWO IF BY SEA!” gets a special copy of TIARA TROUBLE.  I am so into this whole Boston thing, you have no idea.

I will be tweeting from Boston, so follow @lanelese for details as they develop.  I know my publisher will be tweeting, too.  Follow @CozyCatPress and you’ll be in the know on all things Cozy Cat Press related.

Now, I have to share an anecdote.

I was telling an acquaintance about TIARA TROUBLE, and gave her a bookmark.  We have a bit of a language barrier, so she understood that I had written a book, and that I was heading to Boston for the Boston Book Festival, but she misunderstood that my book was fiction.  She thought I had written a memoir and was so upset for me that my friends had died.  She also thought I was telling her that my actual first name was Tiara, and I had been in Trouble.

She was very concerned, and then, I think she felt a little gypped when I explained the situation as it actually is.

It’s going to take some doing to top this as my favorite book story, so far.  I expect big things, Boston.  Big.

 

Posted in A Day in the Life, Counting Blessings, Cozy Cat Press, Destinee Faith Miller Mystery, Family, Friends of Mine, Lane is Writing, Marketing the BOok

YOU Light Up My Life


Thank you for making my dream come true.  Without you, I wouldn't have needed to sign any books!
Thank you for making my dream come true. Without you, I wouldn’t have needed to sign any books!

Today was a dream come true, and I owe that entirely to the kindness and love of friends and family.  I walked in to Barnes & Noble and set up my table with 25 books, and I left with no books.  22 had sold, and 3 were going on an end-cap to sell later.  My wonderful, wonderful People had come in and made me look like I was a New York Times Best Selling Author.  By the time I was packing up to leave, my table was gloriously bare.

YOU, friends and family, made this event a success, and I don’t know how to thank you all other than to just keep telling everyone how amazing you are.

The tiaras were a big hit, and I was pretty excited when the book sellers wanted to wear them, too.  I think everyone could use a little sparkle.  B even wore one for a split second, but refused to be photographed.

I think the biggest hit for me was the official B&N poster with my big face on it.  As soon as the event was over, I walked right next door to the Michael’s there and headed back to the framing section.  In two weeks, I’ll have an official B&N poster with my big face on it to hang somewhere in my house.  Where, I have no idea.  I can’t very well hang it over the fireplace.  I have to at least pretend to have some modesty and humility about me.

Next week is the Boston Book Festival, then the book signing at my alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, and then I’ll be going on blog tours.  I’ve been prepping interviews and guest posts for those, and I hope you’re going to enjoy reading what I’ve had to say.  I’m trying to make sure there is something new for you to read at every stop, and making sure you haven’t read it here first.  That’s not easy!  I always want to share it with you first.

Once all that is done, it’s nose to the grindstone to finish MISS MAYHEM, and then I need to get to work on Destinee’s final book in the series.  I’ve already decided she’s going to have some competition from Texas in book 3.  I’ll keep you posted.  Meanwhile…

Official B&N sign with my big face on it. Thank you, Linda, for taking these photos.
Official B&N sign with my big face on it.
Thank you, Linda, for taking these photos.

 

 

Posted in Cozy Cat Press, Destinee Faith Miller Mystery, Marketing the BOok

Plastic Royals


Tomorrow is the big Barnes & Noble book signing event.  I have called and confirmed (because I was having nightmares that I had made the whole thing up, and had arrived for the event, only to be told no such thing existed–having to turn around and tell my friends and family that I had imagined the whole thing.), have all my goodies and table decor ready to go, and am about as excited and nervous as I could possibly be.  It’s weird having a dream come true.

I’ve spent a lot of time in bookstores, y’all.  I’ve spent a lot of time in libraries.  I’ve spent a lot of time wishing, and wanting, and trying, and–wow.  Tomorrow, I get to be the person I have always wanted to be.  I get to be the author, sitting behind the table, signing the books.

Of course, because it’s me, I am thinking, “Well, it couldn’t be that big a deal if they’ll let you do it,” and that rains on my parade a little bit, but even if it isn’t a big deal, I’m still getting to do it–so there, nasty voice in my head.  I’m still getting to do something I’ve always wanted to do.

I’ll be there with my books, my bookmarks, my tiaras, and my sash, Sharpie in hand. And I don’t care how hard it rains (it’s supposed to rain), and I don’t care if I’m the only one who shows up.  I am going to have a great time, and enjoy every second of that hour.

Three of the variety of mini-tiaras I have for give aways at the B&N book signing.  I may or may not have ended up with many, many more on my head at one point.
Three of the variety of mini-tiaras I have for giveaways at the B&N book signing. I may or may not have ended up with many, many more on my head at one point.

 

 

Posted in 2the9s, Cozy Cat Press, Destinee Faith Miller Mystery, Explaining the Strange Behavior, Marketing the BOok

I’m on the excitement yo-yo.  The B&N book signing is this coming Saturday, followed by the Boston Book Festival next Saturday, and the UTA book signing the following Monday.  I am alternately very excited, and very stressed.  Excited because–well, obviously.  Stressed because what if no one shows up?  Then there’s the high of excitement followed by the low of the mundane.  I have a book signing at B&N, but I also still have laundry to fold and put away.  That doesn’t seem right.  In my imagination, a book signing always meant the reality of House Elves, who would fold and put away my laundry for me.  (I had totally realistic expectations of marriage, but absolutely delusional ideas of what selling a book would mean.)

Speaking of delusional, or perhaps unrealistic, Halloween is my favorite holiday.  I love costumes.  I love dressing up.  I haven’t had occasion to do so in a few years, but here’s a look back at some of my favorites.

 

But where's the Rum?
But where’s the Rum?

This was the year I went in drag as Captain Jack Sparrow.  I was one of about two-hundred-sixty Jack Sparrows at my office, but the only one in drag.  I was proud of my work with the mascara wand.  I’m telling you, if I could grow a real beard and mustache, I would have the fanciest facial hair you’ve ever seen.

Heeeeeey, Punker-poo!
Heeeeeey, Punker-poo!

Sadly, this is the only surviving photo of my award winning year as Anna Nicole Smith.  I did this one at the height of her reality TV show, which worked well with my girth.  The next year, she was repping Trim Spa and ruined my impression.

Hisssss!
Hisssss!

No idea what I was here.  I started out to be a ghost, but my dress was too transparent (and my body all too corporeal for such a transparent dress), so I put a corset on top, tied some curtains around my waist, threw on a wig and a tiara (see!  tiara!) and just went around hissing at people like some kind of…whatever it was I was.

I haven’t anywhere to dress up this year, so if you see me on Halloween, I will be playing the part of Snake-Eyes’ mother.  Snake-Eyes’ mother is partial to jeans and hoodie sweaters.

If you see me on the 12th, 19th, or 21st at B&N, the Boston Book Festival, or UTA, I will be dressed up as a (hopeful) best selling author.

What are you wearing this year?