Author Archives: Shannon Esposito

Tips for Photographing Your Pets

by Shannon Esposito

Today is the official release day of FOR PETE’S SAKE (A Pet Psychic Mystery no. 4)!

Because the victim in this mystery is a wedding photographer–who also takes photos of shelter animals to help them get adopted–I thought I’d celebrate the book’s release by sharing some basic tips on how to get great shots of your own pets.  

1)      Background: Be aware of your background. Is there something behind your pet that’s distracting? If you want your pet to be the sole focus, you can use a neutral background like a plain wall, grass or window. 

Tip: Use a wide aperture to create a shallow depth of field (like the example above). To do this, set your camera on “aperture priority” and set the aperture to the lowest f-stop number (ex: 1.4 or 2.8) This will blur the stuff in the background, so your pet will still be the focus of the shot with minimal noise. Just make sure your camera is focused on your pet’s eyes.

2)    Perspective: Get down on your pet’s level. Shooting from a standing position aiming down doesn’t make as nice a photo as shooting them at eye level. Don’t be afraid to lay on the floor with them, get in their world and get a more intimate shot.

3)   Lighting: This one is more complicated. The easiest way to have great lighting is to utilize natural light. Shoot outdoors in either early morning or late evening sun. (Midday sunlight is too harsh.) If you’re shooting indoors, use the natural light coming through a window and have your back to the window.

 If you must use a flash, never use the on-camera flash pointed directly at your pet, as it will cause ugly shadows and harsh lighting. Fill-flash is fine. It’s just a little burst of flash that will fill in the shadows and give your pet’s a little “catch light” gleam in their eye. (Example above)

4)      Shutter speed: Pets can be hard to photograph if they’re active. The best way to combat this is with a fast shutter speed. You can set your camera to “shutter priority” mode. Keep in mind that the faster the shutter speed, the more light you will need. Or if your camera has a “sports mode” this will also automatically set a high shutter speed for you. I also recommend shooting in continuous focus mode instead of single shot.

That’s the basics. Have any other tips or tricks to share?

FOR PETE’S SAKE (A Pet Psychic Mystery No. 4):

A picture perfect wedding in paradise…what could possibly go wrong?

Pet boutique owner and reluctant pet psychic, Darwin Winters, is looking forward to watching her best friend and business partner, Sylvia, say “I do” to the man of her dreams. But when their wedding photographer turns up dead on the big day—and Sylvia’s superstitious mother believes his heart attack is a sign their marriage will be cursed—Sylvia’s dream wedding quickly becomes a nightmare.

Darwin only has a week to help her detective boyfriend prove the photographer’s death was not from natural causes before Sylvia’s family jets back home to Portugal, and the wedding is off for good.

As more than a few suspects come into focus—including Peter’s model clients, a rival photographer and the director of an animal shelter being investigated for fraud—time is running out. With just one clue from the photographer’s orphaned Yorkie pup to go on, can Darwin help save Sylvia’s wedding and capture a killer? Or will both justice and Sylvia’s wedding cake go unserved?

Get your copy here!     AMAZON      BARNES & NOBLE      iBOOKS

Posted by Shannon Esposito. Shannon lives in a magical gulf coast town with fluorescent sunsets, purple dragonflies and the occasional backyard alligator. Her mysteries transport readers to Florida without the hefty price of airfare. She is the author of the Pet Psychic Mystery series set in St. Petersburg, Florida and the Paws & Pose Mysteries set on the ritzy, fictional island of Moon Key and featuring doga instructor Elle Pressley and her canine sidekick, Buddha.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Have you ever wondered about the origin of April Fool’s Day? The most popular theory is it began in France in 1582 when the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year’s Day was changed from March 25 – April 1 (new year’s week) to January 1.

Apparently it took a while for everyone to get the news or even accept the change once they did hear about it. Those who stuck to celebrating the new year on April 1st were considered fools and opened themselves up to all kinds of practical jokes, like invitations to fake New Year’s parties.

By anonymous (Punch (the Danish) page 105) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, PD-ART- PD-old-auto-1923

By anonymus (Punch (the Danish) page 105) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, PD-ART- PD-old-auto-1923

Each country now celebrates April Fool’s Day in their own way. In India, they smear colors on each other; in Portugal they throw flour on each other and in England they play small pranks but only before noon. It’s considered bad luck after that. We here in America play practical jokes on our friends and family throughout the day.

I’ll share one of my favorite practical jokes that didn’t actually happen because nobody could stop laughing long enough to make the phone call.

My mom is a big bird lover. When she lived in North Carolina she hung lots of bird feeders in her yard, full of seed for them. Unfortunately, hungry and determined squirrels also shared her yard and no matter what she tried; she couldn’t stop them from getting into the feeders. Until one day, she got so fed up she bought some traps and began trapping them. Every day she would catch squirrels and drive them to the local park where she would rehome them.

By Cephas (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

My husband thought it would be hilarious to have someone call her, acting as a game warden and tell her that she’s been seen dumping squirrels in the park. Unfortunately, she would have to pay a fine for each squirrel she dumped or take back thirty squirrels from the park. I’m not sure how stunned my mother would have been to get this call because the guys at work he tried to get to make the call couldn’t stop laughing every time they picked up the phone.

So, how about you? What’s the best joke you’ve played on someone for April Fool’s Day? Or has someone really got you good? Please share!

 

 

 

Does Your Dog Love You?

All you dog owners know the answer to this question without having scientific proof, right? You love your pet unconditionally and you just “know” they feel the same. Or are we just projecting our human emotions like love and empathy onto our pets? Are they really just instinctual creatures that care only about food and survival?

One researcher set out to answer this question and came to the conclusion that yes, dogs do feel emotions like love.

by Noel Zia Lee, Wikimedia

by Noel Zia Lee, Wikimedia

Dr. Gregory Berns, Professor of Neuroeconomics at Emory University trained a dozen dogs to sit still in an MRI machine. These first-ever brain scans of non-sedated dogs allowed us to see what actually happened in the dogs brain when they were given scents of their humans. What they saw was the activity in the dog’s caudate brain region increased.

So, what exactly is the caudate region (shown above)?

Well, it’s a region that’s responsible for learning and memory deep in the brain, below conscious awareness. In humans, it lights up in anticipation of things we enjoy, such as food, love and money.

Obviously human brains are much more complex than dog brains with a more complicated network of parts, chemicals and reactions. And we have many different types of love that affect different parts of our brain: maternal love, romantic love, companion love, passionate love.

So which type of love makes the caudate light up in humans? Researchers found the caudate was especially active in people who scored highly on a questionnaire measuring passionate love.

Also, along with other parts of the brain, the caudate lights up in response to photos of their beloved in people who are “intensely in love.”

So, can we conclude that dogs are feeling intense, passionate love?

I don’t know, but I think it’s safe to assume that they are feeling something. Maybe not in the same way, with the same chemical cocktail, but they obviously do have feelings. Whether we call them love, passion, devotion, empathy… those are just labels. What’s important is that they are feeling something.

No, they don’t have the brain capacity to write us love poems. But, they do have the brain capacity to to be happy when we walk in the room, to stay near us when we’re sad or sick, and to give us affection.

Isn’t this the behavior of love?

Tis the Season of Magic!

Two of our authors use elemental magic in their stories, so we thought, in honor of this magical time of year, we would give you a little insight into how this magic works in each world.

First up is Kirsten Weiss discussing the magic used in her  Riga Hayworth Paranormal Mystery series:

Here’s an issue I confounded one of my editors with in my upcoming book, The Elemental Detective. What’s the difference between magical elementals and elements used in magic?

Elementals are mythical beings or nature spirits that have an affinity for an element. And in certain types of magic, the magician may embark on a pathworking, journeying through an inner landscape to interact with these elementals. It’s considered higher level magic, because elementals can be capricious and dangerous.

As to the elements in magic, that story begins with the ancient philosophers, who divided the matter of the universe into four elements: earth, wind, air and fire. It really got going in the 3rd century, when Plato proposed a fifth element: spirit. These elements were seen as the building blocks for everything in creation.

zodiac

Book illustration from “Quina Essentia” by Leonhart Thurneisser zum Thum. Depicts the correspondences between the four humors, four elements, and zodiacal signs from an alchemical perspective.

While this elemental philosophy developed, Renaissance philosophers explored the concept of correspondences – that everything in heaven corresponded to something on earth. For example, they saw a hierarchy in the skies. Heaven was just beyond Saturn, the planets forming a sort of descending staircase of increasingly dense matter, with earth in the lowest, most coarse position. This hierarchy was reflected in the hierarchy among humans – from king to commoner. The planets had many other correspondences. E.g. the moon (considered a planet) corresponds to water, to cycles, to change. In turn, the water element had its own correspondences, such as the emotions and intuition.

So in magic, you could use an element that corresponded to your intended effect and help charge your spell. For example in a love spell, which affects the emotions, you might use something that symbolized water, like a sea shell.

(Kirsten works part-time as a writer and part-time as an international development consultant. She writes the Riga Hayworth paranormal mystery novels. Her fifth book in the series, The Elemental Detective, will be available December 21, 2013.)

In Shannon Esposito’s Pet Psychic Mystery series, the main character, Darwin Winters, is half water elemental. Her human mother fell in love with an elemental magician. They had three daughters, who each wield one magick element–water, fire, earth. In the newly released book, SILENCE IS GOLDEN, you get to meet her sister Willow, the earth elemental.

Esposito-Silence-Is-Golden-EBOOK-small

Darwin’s connection with water was the easiest to imagine because water is such a necessary component of life. Humans are made up of 60% water, and water covers over 70% of the earth’s surface. Add to this the fact that at the basic level everything is energy, including our thoughts, and it’s not hard to create magic.

Darwin’s gift allows her a higher level of concentration, compressing the energy of her thoughts and allowing her to feed that energy into the water molecules. By doing this, she can control the water or add specific energy patterns to it–like love and happiness.

But, like everything in life, practice makes perfect and Darwin has only recently begun to embrace her gift instead of shun it. This means she’s also trying to figure out the ethics involved in using her gift. In this recent book, she gets into a bit of hot water with her hunky homicide detective boyfriend when she gives him magic-infused water without his knowledge.

One man, Dr. Masaru Emoto, has dedicated his life study to the effects of our thoughts and words on water. He has some pretty interesting ideas about water taking on the resonance of the energy directed at it. Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, his photos of water are beautiful and give one hope that we do have some control over our fate in this crazy world.

If you had the gift of elemental magic, would you use it without your friend’s consent? Or is that meddling with the natural order of things?

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

Five Holiday Gift Ideas for Pet Lovers

This is a big shopping week for us here in the United States. The day after we give thanks for what we have, we’re wooed from our warm beds in the wee hours of the morning to go out and buy more stuff. We call this day Black Friday.

For those of not you willing to brave the traffic, the crowds and the crazy motivated shoppers, here are some ideas for the pet lovers on your list that you can purchase from the comfort of your own home. (Fuzzy bunny slippers optional.)  After all, us crazy devoted pet-lovers spent over $50 billion dollars on our fur babies last year!

 

1. RESCUE CHOCOLATE

peanutbutterEDIT

100% of the proceeds are donated to rescue shelters around the country. It’s organic, cruelty-free and plus you know… it’s chocolate!  Purchase it HERE  (*for human consumption only)

 

2. BIG MUTTS DOOR MAT

big_mutts

“We like Big Mutts and we cannot lie.”

Wipe off paws, feet and scare off would-be intruders! Purchase HERE

 

3. PET PORTRAITS FROM A PHOTO

pet_portrait

These beautiful pencil sketches can be done right from a photo you upload to their website. So easy! They also offer watercolor and oil. Check it out HERE

 

4. WINE CHARMS

cat_charms

A nice bottle of wine is a great holiday gift, but why not add a little something special? These cute hand painted wine charms are available in CATS or DOGS

 

5. MAKE A DONATION IN THEIR NAME TO A RESCUE ORGANIZATION

Ask them what their favorite rescue charity is. Or if you want to surprise them, here a few of my favorite ones:

NOWZAD

ASPCA

STOP PUPPY MILLS

 

Also, I’m excited to announce the upcoming release of the third book in my Pet Psychic Series!

Esposito-Silence-Is-Golden-EBOOK-WEB

Should be available next week & books are always a great gift!

Happy Shopping! Do you participate in the Black Friday madness?

Who Would You Kill?

Have you heard of the Trolley Problem?

trolley

I’m not sure who first posed the dilemma, but I know it has spawned a ton of cool ethical thought experiments that really twist your mind, make you sweat and hope that if you are ever, ever in one of the moral dilemmas posed, someone will just bonk you on the head instead of making you come up with an answer.

Fun stuff.

So, let’s try it here: Say you are standing near the tracks and you see a trolley coming at you out of control and you know (you know because “they” tell you) that unless you pull the lever in front of you (oh yeah, there’s a lever in front of you) that all the people  (say ten) on the trolley are going to die in a horrible, firey crash.

Easy one, right? You pull the lever.

600px-Agioi_Anargyroi-points_lever

Now “they” tell you that there’s another person standing in the place that the trolley goes when you pull the lever, who is unaware that they are standing in THE place. Let’s picture a grandmotherly figure standing there with a plate of chocolate chip cookies and a big, happy smile.  Now, when you pull the lever to save the ten people, the trolley will jump the track and kill the grandmotherly figure. (The good part is she won’t know what hit her. Okay, I made that part up, she may.)

Now do you pull the lever? Or do you let ten people die because you’re squeamish about squishing grandma?

Upping the stakes: Say, in order to save the ten people and stop the train, you have to actually push grandma onto the tracks, knowing she will be killed. Is one life worth ten? Will you feel like a murderer even if you’ve saved ten lives by killing? Or will you feel like a hero with some residual guilt and remorse?

When you’ve thought about your response, read on:

Interestingly enough, most people are okay with pulling the lever and grandma dying indirectly from their action. However, pushing someone to their death–even if it means saving ten people–is not acceptable. Indirect death is okay, but death directly from action is not.

What they’ve found when an MRI machine scanned the brains of people while working out these moral dilemmas is that the first scenario–pulling the level and indirectly killing someone–activates the part of the brain used for solving problems and reasoning.  But, the part of the brain that lit up while pondering pushing someone to their death was the amygdala, which is responsible for our emotions and how we perceive emotions  in others–empathy.

brain

Take away or damage this part of the brain and you have someone without the ability to feel and without the ability to feel for another person. You have a sociopath. This doesn’t mean all brain damaged people are sociopaths or all sociopaths have brain damage.

In fact, this test was given to people with damage in this brain region, and their answer was to push the person because “logically” sacrificing one life to save ten was the right thing to do. In their mind, pushing grandma is good not evil.

So, how about you? Let’s up the stakes again. What if one of the people in the trolley was your child or mother? Would you push the person to their death then? What if the person to be squished by the trolley was your child or mother? Would you let the other ten people die to save them?

What if a person broke into your home and pointed a gun at your child or mother? Would you shoot first?

If you answered no–that you wouldn’t push the person and you wouldn’t shoot first–do you feel that doing nothing–that standing by impassively and causing death–is more morally right than doing something and causing death?

Me? I think I would pull the lever, not push grandma…and shoot first.

A Ghost at Nemacolin Castle

Hey, Shannon here! As much interest as I have in the paranormal and as many hours as I’ve logged watching Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, I’ve sadly never had a personal experience with a ghost. So, I’m going to tell you about my mom’s experience.

A few years ago, my mom took a tour through Nemacolin Castle, built by the Bowman family in 1789 in Brownsville, Pa. There were eight people in the tour, four of them were my mom and members of her family. As they were led through the rooms, she snapped random pictures with her digital camera.

This is one of the pictures she took in the Tea Room:

When she was going over the photos later that night, she realized there was someone in the mirror that did not look anything like the other four people in the room with them.

Here’s a close up of the mirror:

 Can you see the man in the white shirt and mustache? Or do you see something else?

My mom contacted the castle staff the next day and a local paranormal team was there. They asked her to bring her camera back and show them where she was standing when she took the picture, which she did.

It was determined from the angle of the mirror (after two sets of drained batteries on two different cameras) when they recreated the photo, the man would have been standing right beside her.

Chills, right? Have you ever captured anything on film you couldn’t explain?

To read a great mystery about ghosts, check out Catie Rhodes’ new release, Forever Road. Her protagonist sees ghosts, much to her dismay.

Forever Road cover

My name’s Peri Jean Mace, and I’ve seen ghosts ever since I can remember. Don’t get too excited. Seeing across the veil branded me as a loony during my growing up years, and I learned to keep my yap shut about it.

Now I’m not sure I can anymore.

See, my cousin up and got herself killed the very same day I promised her a favor.  Now she’s back in spirit form and determined to make me pay. If I don’t solve her murder, she’s going to haunt me forever. Talk about the debt collector from hell.

That’s not my only problem. An obnoxiously hot cop wants to arrest my best friend for the murder.  My bigmouthed archenemy holds a clue to the killer’s identity. And there’s this mean—and ugly—woman who wants to beat me up.

None of this can turn out good.

Check it out on AMAZON  And then come on back and tell us about your own ghost sightings!

Posted by Shannon Esposito. Shannon is a mystery writer and stay-at-home mom. She loves daydreaming and hugging her kids (including the four-legged ones). She writes the Pet Psychic Mystery series and also has a stand-alone paranormal mystery, The Monarch.

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

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MISTERIO PRESS GROUP GIVEAWAY!





Celebrity Status, A Kate Huntington Mystery

Kate is now married to Skip Canfield, the man who patiently courted her
through the last two books in this mystery series, and life is good.
Skip’s private investigating agency, Canfield and Hernandez, may be doing
a little too well, however. They have attracted their first celebrity
client, a pop singer whose anonymous stalker has a twisted concept of
love. Before Skip realizes just how twisted, he involves his
psychotherapist wife and their lawyer friend, Rob Franklin, in the case.
Soon they are being hounded by paparazzi and someone is planting evidence
to convince Skip that Kate and Rob are lovers. As they try to protect
their relationship and family from this onslaught of unwanted attention,
Kate and Skip struggle with the reality that you can’t always keep those
you love from harm.

Purchase
Kindle / Paperback / Barnes& Noble


Follow Kassandra Lamb

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Book 1, MULTIPLE MOTIVES


Book 2, ILL-TIMED ENTANGLEMENTS

Book 3, FAMILY FALLACIES

The “You Are A Celebrity” pack, including faux diamond earrings (CZ & 10-kt gold, $90 value), signed book and tote, and Mini-Spa kit (eucalyptus mint lotion, bath foam and candles)


Karma’s A Bitch (A Pet Psychic Mystery)

Darwin Winters, reluctant pet psychic, is determined to leave her family’s
paranormal past behind and lead a normal life. So she strikes out on her
own and opens up a new pet boutique in St. Pete, Florida. When a local
homeless man she befriends is found dead, and the police assume it’s a
suicide, Darwin has no choice but to use her gift to help collar the
killer.

She adopts his grieving mastiff, Karma—and with the dog’s help—tries to
piece together the events of that fatal night. Accepting the visions is
one thing, but can she solve the mystery without revealing her powers to
the jaded, yet drool-worthy, detective in charge of the case? Or will the
killer put an end to her psychic sleuthing and bury the truth for good?

Purchase Kindle / Nook / Smashwords

Purchase Book 2 Lady Luck Runs Out

Kindle /
Nook
/Smashwords

Follow the author, Shannon Esposito

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Pet Psychic Gift basket!

The Shamanic Detective

When Riga Hayworth’s lover is arrested, she’s determined to unearth the
truth, no matter the cost. But life – and death – get in the way.

All Riga wants is to clear the name of her almost-fiancée, Donovan Mosse.
But a death faerie has other plans for her, and Riga is forced to protect
a shaman with a house full of murderous relatives. The only way to stop
this killer is to figure out who he, or she, is before the next strike. As
the two cases become entangled, Riga must choose between facts and faith,
and decide just how far she’s willing to go for love.

The Shamanic Detective is a paranormal mystery set in Lake Tahoe, and
explores shamanism, the shadow, and the world of the fae.

Follow Kirsten Weiss:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | Newsletter

Buy Book 1:The Metaphysical Detective

Book 2: The Alchemical Detective

Book 3: The Shamanic Detective

Rita Hayworth Series Prize Pack!
The Alchemical Tarot,
Renewed, by
Robert Place, deck and book.

Lana’i of the Tiger (The Islands of Aloha Mystery Series)

In mid-November, Maui wedding planner Pali Moon is hustled into witness
protection after sticking her nose in a hush-hush federal sting operation
aimed at taking down a vicious drug lord. She’s sent to the private island
of Lana’i, Hawaii, to hang out while the feds finish up. After a month
she’s bored, homesick and WITSEC’s worst nightmare until she lands a job
tending a cozy B & B in Lana’i City.

Movie mogul Tyler Benson checks in and he decides on a whim to marry his
long-time girlfriend on Lana’i—far from the stalking paparazzi. But before
long, the bushes are rustling with reporters and photogs hoping to get a
scoop on the wedding or a candid photo of the reclusive celeb. Then a body
is found in Tyler’s fiancée’s suite and the tabloids shout, amen! Who
needs a ho-hum wedding when you can have a star-studded murder?

Purchase on Amazon

Book 1 Maui Widow Waltz (Islands of Aloha Mystery Series)

Book 2 Livin’ Lahaina Loca (Islands of Aloha Mystery Series)

Follow the author on:

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Each Author is giving away a prize pack to go with their book! Blast
Starts December 3. 4 Winners! Open to US Residents. Ends 12/23!

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Contests, Prizes & Books…OH MY!

It’s a wonderful time for us here at misterio press! We’ve got new books out and two contests happening RIGHT now to tell you about:

Our Hawaiin mystery writer, JoAnn Bassett is celebrating her latest release:

Lana’i of the Tiger: An Islands of Aloha Mystery (Volume 3)

with a giant “Islands of Aloha Mystery Series” giveaway!!!!

Enter to win this fab book swag pack HERE!   Hurry, only 3 days left!!!!

 

Also our paranormal mystery writer, Kirsten Weiss, is celebrating her new release:

The Shamanic Detective (3rd in the Riga Hayworth series)

By giving away this fabulous swag pack:

Contest runs until November 18th! Enter HERE to win!

Good luck to everyone who enters!

Hair, Hair, Everywhere

Maybe you noticed that we missed our Monday post. That’s because we were moving our site to this new location. Still some boxes to unpack but we’re loving the neighborhood! (Note: It’s really me, Kassandra Lamb. I don’t have a door key. Shannon hasn’t made me one yet, so I had to borrow hers. That’s why it says this is posted by her.) 

Today is just for fun Friday, so let’s talk about hair.

I was cleaning my house the other day because we were having guests over that evening. I vacuumed my bathroom floor, then wet a paper towel and wiped it down, and still I found hairs on the floor! Why is it that hair gets into everything? And that got my bored mind to thinking about hair (it doesn’t take much to distract me from cleaning).

Hair can be very symbolic and can also have a lot to do with how we feel about ourselves.

I have long hair. I am now officially a senior citizen and most women, by my age, have cut their hair into a short, easy-to-care-for style. But I don’t like the way I look in short hair. My mother used to make me cut my hair every spring, insisting it would be cooler during the summer. I hated it! My long slender nose suddenly looked like Pinocchio’s, with a golf ball stuck on the end of it. (I inherited my mother’s nose so maybe it was a “misery loves company” thing for her.) When I was 14, I refused to cut my hair that spring, and I’ve worn it long ever since.

 (Me in 8th grade, the last spring I let my mother talk me into cutting my hair; my 12th grade yearbook picture.)

Of course I look at these pictures now and realize it maybe didn’t make as much difference in how my nose looked as I thought at the time. But you know how it is when you’re a self-conscious 8th grader.

My hair is thick, naturally wavy and very dry. At least now that I live in humid Florida, I fit in. Down here, everybody’s hair is frizzy. But despite the frizzies, I love my hair (most days). Every now and then I monkey with the style, to see if there’s something I like better, but I always end up coming back to long, curly layers–the style that works with my facial features whether it’s ‘in style’ right now or not.

I know a lot of women, however–and a few men–who don’t like their hair. Or in the case of some of the guys, the lack thereof. What I find interesting as a psychologist is that a person’s self-esteem and how they feel about their hair are often linked, and not necessarily realistically.

This is also true with weight, of course. All of us probably know more than one woman with luscious, shiny hair and a gorgeous figure who thinks she’s fat and has ugly hair. It makes those of us of average attractiveness tend to shake our heads in wonder (scattering a few hairs in the process).

Actress Elizabeth Taylor

Quote by Liz Taylor: I don’t like my voice. I don’t like the way I look. I don’t like the way I move. I don’t like the way I act. I mean, period. So, you know, I don’t like myself.

How sad. What’s going on here is that the person has poor self-esteem, probably for a lot of bogus reasons that nonetheless seem valid to them, and their dislike of themselves is projected onto their physical packaging. They then focus tons of energy on trying to improve the packaging to perfection (and thus many an eating disorder was born) thinking this will make them feel better about themselves. But it never works, because their psychological mirror is broken. They think they are not okay so they’re never going to look okay to themselves. At least not until they work on those self-esteem issues.

Wait, this was supposed to be a fun post. Okay, who remembers these little guys?

Of course, these are the cute version, but when a creature is portrayed as bad or evil, like real trolls (trolls are real, aren’t they?) or mad scientists, they often have wild crazy hair, the external symbol of their internal evil.

We writers use hair references a lot to set a scene or describe an emotion.

“He grabbed his hair and yanked” is much more interesting than “he was frustrated.”

photo by cellar door films, from WANA Commons

And how about, “He tossed his wayward hair out of his eyes as he trapped her hands against his chest.” *swoon* Oh, yeah, he’s about to kiss her.

You get the idea. What are your thoughts about hair? What do you like or loathe about your own? Have you noticed that different hairstyles change how your facial features look?

And for my fellow writers, a little challenge. Who can come up with the most original and creative hair imagery (you are limited to one sentence)?

 

(Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series. Check out her site at www.kassandralamb.com)

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

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