Friday, January 23, 2009

Seeing Red

Those of you who've been my cyberfriends for a while know that Third-Rate Romance, that late lamented novel that spent a year (almost to the day) on an editor's desk (only to be regretfully rejected*), featured a total of five red-headed heroines. (Hmm..perhaps a few heroines too many. But I digress.) My latest project, Mistress by Marriage, mercifully has just one red-headed heroine. As the last in a trilogy featuring a blonde and a brunette, a redhead was obligatory---not to mention reflective of my own three daughters, who look very little alike except for their beautiful smiles.

Redheads are hugely prevalent in romances (hence my choice in the spoof TRR), but did you know they make up only about 2% of Americans? Scotland has the most at 13%. (yay, Jamie Fraser) According to National Geographic, redheads are headed for extinction. Thank goodness for L'Oreal.

I've had two forays into the world of coloring my blonde hair red. The first time, right before I got married, it just looked weird. The second time, about fifteen years ago, I had a strong resemblance to Ronald McDonald. The hairdresser who colored my hair on Saturday called me up that night at home and opened up her shop for me on Sunday morning to fix it. I was so stunned when she was done Saturday, I was speechless, but she didn't miss the look of shock and possibly tears welling in my eyes. So I've learned my lesson to admire redheads from afar and in fiction.

Good thing that I have this lovely site to look at them in nineteenth century art. Enjoy!

Do you have any hair disasters to report? Written about a redhead? Any rejections (see below) to share?

*Sorry you had to wait so long and sorry to say no. Third Rate Romance was very clever and often quite funny---I just can't see how to market it to romance readers, who, as a rule, do not like their beloved genre mocked, except maybe on websites like Smart Bitches Trashy Books or Rip My Bodice. Satire, even one as affectionate and witty as this, has always been a tough sell and it's tougher than ever these days.

But please keep us in mind for other projects. I like your originality and I like your style. Best of luck.


terrio said...

In the way of rejections, that's not such a bad one. I guess it would have been better not to have to wait so long for it, but after all that time, a form rejection surely would have stung a bit more.

I'm not exactly a natural red head, but I always had hints of red and not it seems no matter what hair color I buy, it just turns red anyway. I'm cheap, I never get it colored in the salon. :)

My heroine has chestnut hair. Does that qualify as red?

Elyssa Papa said...

Oh, that site was cool.

I have chestnut hair, so yes, it counts as red. LOL. And I have too many rejections to talk about; the most recent was from an agent who had my query since August.

Keira Soleore said...

Kelly Krysten had an interesting blog last fall about why redhead heroines don't sell as well. Personally, I'll take my heroine in every color of hair, skin, eyes.

My own hair tends towards orange, so I always stay away from reddish tints. In fact, last summer since I was out in the sun so much, I had to add brown to it before Nationals to calm down the bright coloring. I have had a few caramel highlights once, and those were, erm, "interesting."

Gillian Layne said...

In a stupid, stupid move on my part, I thought I would "save time" by going to my daughter's hairdressing for just a color touch-up. This was the trendy hairdresser that all the teens and college students went to.

OMG. I walked out in shock, was in tears by the time I hit the front door, and my initial reaction was confirmed by all three of my girls saying "Mom, what happened!" I went straight to the phone, called my regular hairdresser who's shop is an hour away, and confessed my idiocy. She spent four hours fixing it the next day.

Good hairdressers are worth their weight in chocolate! :)

Maggie Robinson said...

Terri, I agree. Not a bad rejection at all...but still.

I have to get my hair professionally colored. Every time I try to do it myself, disaster strikes. I'm lucky though that the silver blends with the blond so I can go for a while with roots and not look too scary.

Ely,six months is nothing, LOL. I have a whole folder of rejections. I think it was Deanna Raybourn who said she threw all her rejections away so they wouldn't contaminate her. Maybe it's time to pitch the folder.

Keira, I remember that blog, but I think it was red-headed heroes, who are few and far between. There are so few men with red hair in movies, TV, etc...and usually they're not the leads.

Oh, Gillian. I know exactly how you feel. I found my hairdresser two years ago when I had to have her fix something really bad that someone else did in a salon. My head looked like I had a dead animal sitting on it. I've actually been loyal to her the longest---I used to bounce from place to place, just walking in. I'm bad about making appointments, but now I call Valerie. Gee, I love the name Valerie. Next heroine, I think. :)

J.K. Coi said...

I agree, that's not so bad as rejections go. Understandable, at least.

My hair has always just been plain brown. Boring.

irisheyes said...

I think maybe Deanna may have a point, Maggie! Pitch'em, unless of course they inspire or motivate you - then hang them on the wall! LOL

I guess I'm part of a dying breed, huh?! I did hear that redheads were becoming extinct and the DH jokingly said we should do our part to re-populate! I did my part - I added one more to the pool (my DD)! I'm done.

I've been wondering what I'm going to do when it starts changing - and we all know that's inevitable. I actually plucked a white hair out of my head and my eyebrow the other day! Yikes!

I really am too lazy to color my hair consistently. I guess I'm just going to have to grin and bear it. Maybe it will look kind of stylish like Bonnie Raitt's white streak. Or it will look like blonde highlights! Yeah, that's it, I'll pretend it's blonde highlights!

Tiffany Chalmers said...

I'm too lazy to colour my hair these days too! I have had every colour (blonde for a day, when I was stripping the black dye from my hair)
My hair is brown. A strange red/blond/brown... just call me calico ;)

I haven't written a red-head yet. but I do know I will. Probably Emma in my next book (Asbury's story) I think a red head could be nice and feisty, especially since she's so very proper.

Janga said...

Thanks for the link, Maggie. Such gorgeous pictures!

I think Nora Roberts does a lot of red-haired heroines.

I don't color my hair. I kept it "frosted" back in the day when it started turning from true blonde to some nondescript mixture of blonde and brown. Now nature does the frosting. I keep thinking it will turn white as my mother's did, but so far it's just silvery wings and a light frosting. :)

Maggie Robinson said...

Janga, I too frosted my hair until God saw fit to replace my hairdresser. I have too much silver in the front now so do a single-process blonde. I tried going natural but once saw myself in a department store mirror and wondered who the old lady was, LOL. My mom was totally white at 35, and my youngest, who shares her coloring, is already complaining about the excess gray in her hair.

Tiff,I'm looking forward to seeing your multi-colored hair in person!

Irish,I love natural red hair. I'm jealous!

Kelly Krysten said...

Wow! That's a great rejection(oxymoron?). I have been a blonde but I'm so very, very fair that I looked extremely washed out. It's a bad business...
I haven't gotten a rejection because I haven't sent anything out yet(I'm so scared!). But I did have some contest judges tell me that I'm the worst writer of all time and should feel very bad for sending something so wretched out into the world(okay, they didn't say that!!! But it sure felt like that at the
And it's so cool that you guys remember one of my Yup, it was about redheaded heroes, but Keira's right, too, because we wound up talking heroines in the comments.:)

PS: Your daughters are stunning! Which one do you think favors you the most?

Maggie Robinson said...

Kel, you're way influential! I love your blogs, even when I don't always comment. Still trying to wean myself from being online too much (really not successful).

Yeah, rejections and criticism sure suck, but we're supposed to learn from them, right? Think how smart I am at this point, LOL.

Thanks! My girls are cuties, but none of them really look like me (except for the boobs---we Robinson women are endowed). I'm also much shorter than they are. Daughter #1 looks like her dad but has my great aunts' coloring (they were 6 redheads), Daughter #2 (even though she's blonde, it's pretty different from my original natural color) looks exactly like my maternal grandmother, Daughter #3 thinks she looks like me (the nose), but she's got my mom's dark coloring and dimples. She looks like her big brother---I started and finished with the same "look." But when they were little, I'd take all four of them out and people actually had the nerve to ask me if they all had the same father!!!

But even better than their physical attractiveness, they've turned into nice people.:)

Laura said...

When I wanted my brown hair dyed blonde, the salon dyed it florescent yellow. I came home and cried.