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.

 

 

 

 

Posted in books, Interview with the Author

Interview With the Author: The Fast Lane


It’s here!  It’s that day!  The official launch date of TIARA TROUBLE!  Yay!  Wahoo!  Woo!  *confetti*

Kate Eileen Shannon has a review on her blog, Rantin’, Ravin’ and Reading–she calls TIARA TROUBLE “criminally funny”, and there is an excerpt up on Lavender & Camomile Press.  Check out both blogs for even more reading goodness.

Right now, though, for Author Monday…How exciting is this?!  I get to interview myself.

Lane Buckman and her little prince.
Lane Buckman and her little prince.

So a little bit about me.  I’m Lane Buckman, and I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.  My first major work was some decent tabloid journalism, cataloging bits of information I had overheard at an adult’s party, carefully transcribed and hand copied, and delivered to the doorsteps of all pertinent neighbors.  I expected they would be thrilled to find themselves included in my fledgling newspaper.  Thus, I learned all about bad reviews at the age of 7.  My mother fired me from my own tabloid, and I went to work on a novel about a duck who goes into land development.  Thus, I learned all about the importance of writing from a perspective you actually understand at the age of 8.  (and the importance of having a good book cover.  Ducky Wonder was done with glitter.  it was beautiful.)

Tiara Trouble is my first cozy mystery, and I could not be happier to present it to you.  Without further adieu, here is me, interviewing me.

TiaraTroubleEbook

The Outside Lane:  Lane, how did you come to writing?

Lane Buckman:  I come from a long line of story tellers.  It was just natural that I start telling my own.  Since I can remember, my parents and grandparents have been entertaining me with fact and fiction, and now I do my best to entertain others.

TOL:  How do you craft your ideas to build a novel?

LB:  I’m not very organized.  I roll things around in my brain, working them like a puzzle until they fit.  When that last piece clicks into place, I write like a monkey on crack.  I do use Scrivener to list out my characters.  I am terrible with continuity and have to keep notes so I don’t end up writing about 1946 when it’s really 1972.  Otherwise, it’s scraps of papers with notes, napkins with bubble charts, and emails sent to myself with ideas.

TOL:  What’s been the biggest learning experience of your first release?

LB:  The amount of marketing required has been staggering!  It’s really funny because you labor so long and hard to produce a book, and it’s really like childbirth.  Then, you have your book in your hands and, just like your child, you still have to raise it.  Calling and setting up author events is a bit like trying to get your child into that super exclusive play group.  You want what is best for your baby, and you work to get it.

TOL:  What are your plans for your next novel?

LB:  I am finishing up the second Destinee novel, Miss Mayhem.  Right now, that’s the only goal I have.  December 31.

TOL:  What advice do you have for writers looking to be published?

LB:  Find a good editor.  I really believe that having Arwen Bicknell edit Tiara Trouble for me made the difference in how quickly it sold.  It certainly made the difference in how proud I was to show it.  Thank  you, Arwen!  I was also extremely fortunate to have Darice Moore and Nancy Wardle doing simultaneous tertiary edits after Arwen had taken two go’s at it.

TOL:  What is your best advice for published authors who are trying to market their work?

LB:  Have your sales pitch ready.  Marketing is just a different sort of querying.  Expect to be called upon to tell bookstores why they should have you, your book, your bookmarks in their stores–be ready to tell them why you, your book, your bookmarks are awesome, special, and why they will make the store some money.  Above all, be gracious.  Be extremely gracious.

TOL:  How did you come to your publishing house?

LB:  I pulled lists of agents and publishers who were interested in cozy mysteries, and I started working my way down the lists deciding which ones best matched my work.  Then, I started to query.  Patricia Rockwell, the managing editor and owner of Cozy Cat Press contacted me and the rest is lovely history.

TOL:  Lane, thank you so much for being with us today!  You are delightful, and brilliant, and your hair smells like love.  What is the best way for readers to contact you?

LB:  Thank you!  This is my favorite blog.  I come here every day.  Readers can find me  on Facebook, Twitter, and can email me at lane (at) theoutsidelane (dot) com .

Buy TIARA TROUBLE on Amazon here.

Buy TIARA TROUBLE at Barnes & Noble here.

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 A Day in the Life, Cozy Cat Press, Destinee Faith Miller Mystery, Marketing the BOok, Tiara Trouble

Sparkle, Baby!


Maybe the best part of writing a series set in the pageant world is that now when I watch Toddlers & Tiaras, I can call it research.  No more guilty pleasure!  It’s research.  It’s for work, y’all.

Maybe the worst part of watching Toddlers & Tiaras is how terribly I feel for some of the children, who are going to grow up to need real therapy.  Not pretend therapy, but reconstructive help to teach them how to feel good about themselves so that they can function beyond just, “Sparkle, Baby!”  No, the worst part is knowing I am watching child abuse for entertainment.  Research.  Researtainment.

Yesterday, I watched an episode with three great sets of parents, and it was as unusual as it was delightful.  The kids were all happy, well-behaved, and seemed quite well-adjusted.  The worst thing the editors could do with the material was to make one mother out to look overly proud of her daughter.  My mother would tell you that there is no such thing as overly proud of your daughter.

Today, I watched a piece of an episode with a mother who made me want to reach through the screen and yank her bald.  The other featured mother was great, and her daughter gave the line of the show.

While she was being interviewed, the little girl talked about raising pigs on their farm.  She said, “We butcher ’em.  Sometimes I’m sad to lose a pig.  …then I’m happy when it tastes good.”  Deadpan delivery.  Didn’t crack a smile.  Kid after my own heart.  BACON!

Meanwhile, I saw my first review from someone I don’t know–a reviewer who has my book as part of an upcoming blog tour.  She gave me 5 stars and I have been squirming happily over it since yesterday.  The first line read, “Ms. Buckman may never be accused of writing great literature,” and went on to glow.  I read that first part before I saw how many stars had been rated, and my jaw dropped.  And I laughed.  Because it is true.  Then, I read the rest of the review and laughed even harder because it was pretty awesome.  I want it written into my will that it is part of my obituary.  “Lane was never accused of writing great literature, but–”

As people who don’t know me, and therefore do not feel obligated to protect my feelings, read the book and enjoy it, I am elated.  When people say they have laughed, I am over the moon.  I love laughing, and I love when I get to be part of making someone else laugh.

So, if you’re local and you’d like to see me laughing in person, join me on October 12, at the Barnes & Noble in Lewisville, TX.  That link takes you to my author event page.  You probably can’t hear the high pitched giggle that accompanies me typing, “my author event page,” but your dog can.  I apologize.

Speechless. Breathless.  Grateful.
Speechless. Breathless. Grateful.
Posted in books, Cozy Cat Press, Destinee Faith Miller Mystery, Great Escapes Blog Tour

Destinee’s Feet in the Sand


great-escape-tour-banner-large-TIARA-TROUBLE-640Is it obvious yet that I am very, very, very excited?  Click to find out where I’ll be on this tour, and how to read my interviews, excerpts, and reviews.

I really want you all to like Destinee.  I think she’s the kind of girl you could take on a road trip.  If you’re going to be stuck in a book with a character for a few hours, it ought to be someone whose feet you wouldn’t mind seeing on the dash.  Destinee is that girl for me.  She would share the driving, the gas money, and tips on how to get the perfect pedicure.  Also, she would NEVER put her feet on your dash.  That’s tacky.