YES! It's here! Today is the launch of the newest book in the Flowers and Keyboards series!
You can enjoy two chapters per week of this story, on Wednesdays and on Saturdays!
The story will be available on Tapas and Wattpad, AND, this is a new experiment, I've also put the book up on pre-order on Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Google Play! The tentative release date for publication is June 7th. I say tentative since it's pretty far off and I know that things can get a little wacky sometimes.
There are always a couple of changes between the online serial edition and the published version (99% of that is simple quality increase…), but I know that some people really like to make sure that they can pre-order the book as soon as possible. It's not on pre-order on Amazon because Amazon takes away our pre-order privileges for a year if we have to change the date after we've set up the pre-order. Amazon will probably be added closer to the actual release date, but I'm not sure of that yet.
Also, don't forget that the giveaway is still running, and the first two books of the Flowers and Keyboards series is in the giveaway!! Check it out here: New Year, New Style Giveaway 1!
But, enough rambling from me, I'd like to introduce you to two lovely ladies, Mya (yes, Elliot's best friend) and Amber.
The Rainbow Collection, an LGBTQ+ pride flag themed makeup line, brings two unlikely girls together.
Amber runs a semi-popular makeup channel. It combines the two things she loves best, makeup and sharing her passion. While talking face-to-face with people scares her, talking to a camera is much easier, it feels safer.
That distance between herself and the people who watch her videos has always been right for her, until she meets a girl who makes her rethink that position.
Mya is a girl of many interests, from gaming to anime and manga to makeup and clothes, she loves it all. What she likes even more is to surround herself with people who enjoy similar things.
She’s good at talking to people, she loves it even. That’s why she’s training to become a primary school teacher, but there’s one problem, she hasn’t been able to pass her maths exam yet and if she fails it one more time she’ll have to drop out.
The two very different girls share one passion, makeup, and Mya has been a fan of Amber’s channel for years, a big fan. What starts as an unexpected chat in a store, followed by an anonymous gift from Mya, turns much more complicated when Amber might be the only one able to help Mya pass her maths exam.
Amber has no idea Mya sent her the makeup, and Mya doesn’t know how to tell Amber without ruining everything, breaking the fragile trust between them…
Pre-order your copy now!
Release Date April 1st 2020!
Chapter 1 – Amber
Vlogging = Video logging = A method of keeping a log or a diary through videos. This type of video content is especially popular in gaming, makeup and similar hobbies where you can easily share your interest in front of a camera and where adding video to the audio adds extra to the content you’re making. I’ve been doing makeup vlogging for a few years now. I realised early on that while I find it scary to talk to people face-to-face, talking to a camera is by far not as scary, even when I know that people will watch it later. It’s not the sharing that scares me, it’s the immediate interaction.
“Don’t forget to like, subscribe and leave a comment below. I’ll see you in the next video. Love you all.” I wave at the camera, giving my best smile, before I turn the camera off.
I sigh. This was the third time I had to film the outro of the video, but it can’t be helped. Sometimes… Sometimes things really don’t work out the way I want them to. It took me three tries before I was happy with how everything turned out. Three times is still not that bad, in the grand scheme of things, I’ve done worse.
I take the camera from the tripod and connect it to my computer, starting the process of loading all the separate recordings onto my hard drive as I put away the rest of my filming set up. I sort through all the makeup I’ve used in the video and put them away in their own drawers and baskets. Everything in its place, where they belong. Luckily, I already wrote all the brands and colour names down before I started filming. Too often, I’ve put everything away after a long filming session and then, during editing, I’d have to hunt them all down again when I want to put the ‘items used’ in the video's description.
If I keep everything organised, in its own place, finding things I need when I need them is much, much easier. I open a drawer with eyeshadow palettes, putting the one I used today into it, and I take a closer look at the few at the front, the ones I haven’t tried out yet. A lot of new collections have been released in the last couple of weeks, and I haven’t been able to catch up on reviewing and trying everything out yet. But I know that my viewers don’t mind, they prefer a comprehensive video about what you can do with a palette, how it will fit into their collection, over one that’s about the latest releases simply to be one of the first vloggers to talk about it. Mine is more of a ‘how-to’ and review channel than a ‘haul’ channel in that way.
I pick up two palettes that I’ve been using a lot lately and put them on top of the dresser for the next video. With fall coming up soon, I want to do a fall makeup video, showing off some of my favourite colour combinations and choices for the coming season, combining some old staples with some cool items from new releases.
I take the filming rig from the table, creating space for me to work, since the table I film on is also my desk, and I turn off the bright filming lights. I still live at my parents’ place, so my bedroom is also my filming room and my bedroom is not big enough for a dedicated filming area. I have to build up my ‘studio’ every time I make a new video. It’s a bit of a hassle, but it also helps me to keep everything separate in my head.
While I set up my rig, I go into ‘filming mode’, thinking over what I’ll be doing and what I want the end result to look like. Then I record the video material, making sure I get everything I need, including all the extra insert shots. As I wait for the videos to load onto the computer, I take the whole filming rig down again, mentally going into ‘editing’ mode, before I get behind my computer and make a cohesive video out of the material.
Creating boundaries between planning, creating, editing and finally uploading and sharing the video really helps me to not worry about every last detail of them. This way, the different parts of the process don’t bleed into each other. It helps me in making sensible decisions at every step, which cuts down on time to make each video.
Taking a deep breath, I slide behind my computer. Time for the next step. The videos are now on my hard drive, and I load them into the video editor. While waiting for the video editor to process the recordings, I grab my planner from my bag and cross off ‘filming’ under this week’s video. Well, for the first video of this week’s lot of videos.
I have to keep track of what I do when, or everything will fall apart. There’s only so many things that I can do each week, between university classes and my channel, I don’t have much time left over for doing other things, or for getting off-track on my plans.
It’s all… It can all get a little overwhelming. How much time being active on social media for my channel or keeping on top of my homework takes, and how little time there is in a day or a week. But no matter how difficult and exhausting it sometimes is, I like it. Doing the channel and going to uni at the same time, it makes me feel good about myself and what I can do. So, no matter how hard it can be… I keep going.
Putting the video in the right order isn’t always a straightforward process. I filmed the start of the video near the end, after I’d already done the whole look, so people could see what I was going to do. And then I had to put in all the little shots of the products I used in the right locations, where they made the most sense. But the video is now being rendered, finally. Rendering always takes such a long time, even though my computer is optimised for it, that’s the nature of the process.
Luckily, this video won’t go live until tomorrow afternoon, so it’s not that I’m under a time crunch. The waiting is mostly annoying because I want to do other things and my computer needs all its energy for this one task, slowing everything else down.
I turn to the shelf I’ve filled with makeup I’ll need for the next video. I’m doing three fall looks, a light one, a romantic one and one that would probably best be described as ‘full glam’, ‘full glamourous’, so a very over the top look. The theme of the video will be a ‘buildable’ look. So that you can go from a light makeup style, for during the day at school or at work, to a medium heavy romantic look, for a date or for having dinner with your friends somewhere nice, to the glamourous style, for going out to clubs or a special event. Not that I have much experience with that last one, but, from seeing other videos, I’m pretty sure I understand the idea behind it, even when I don’t wear makeup like that myself.
Generally, I prefer makeup colours in the purple and cool red hues, and during fall that usually comes down to cranberry reds combined with brown and gold. Every season has different colours that are more prominent than others, but I also have my own preferences and I know what looks good on me. I’ve only got so much money, and time, to try out new products, so I tend to go for what works and build from there, instead of reinventing myself all the time just because of a change in season or trends.
Opening the drawer with lipsticks, I grab a few of my favourite light colours, a couple of the more medium toned ones and finally some really bold ones. Every look I’ll be filming will have their own lipstick, their own eyeshadow and a combination of blush and highlight. There’s so much out there to try and match, but these are mostly my tried-and-true favourites. Of course, the basis like foundation or bronzer aren’t changed between looks, but that’s because I’m building from one look to the next, not redoing it. It makes sense in my head, I just hope it makes sense on video too.
I’m pulled from my thoughts, almost dropping two tubes of lipstick, when there’s knocking on my door. “Amber?” Mum quietly calls out.
“Yes?” I put the lipsticks on the table and open the door.
“Are you done filming”? She looks me over, softly smiling, before peeking into the room.
“Yeah, for now. I was hoping to get an extra video in for this week. Get ahead with the recording, you know?” I step back and let her in.
“Okay.” She nods. “I was wondering if you wanted to go into the city together?” She shrugs a little and looks over to the makeup I’ve spread out all over my desk. “Those colours look really nice on you. Great combinations.” I know she’s waiting for my reply, entertaining herself as she lets me think.
“Ehm…” Going into the city will be fun in some ways, like being able to check out the different stores that we don’t have around here, but at the same time… there’ll be a lot of people, so many impressions going on, overloading my brain. I’ll lose a lot of time, not just by being in the city, but also from recovering afterwards, calming my brain down again.
It’s always a combination of it being fun but it also being really tiring, and it’s the second part I need to consider carefully.
Mum looks up at me again. “You don’t have to, you know. Really. I was just wondering if you wanted to tag along since I’m going anyway.”
I nod. I had been wanting to check out a few new releases at the stores and now I don’t have to go by myself tomorrow after classes, when I’ll already be tired. “When would you like to leave?”
“Not yet. I was thinking… in about an hour?” She raises an eyebrow at me.
If I’ve got an hour to prepare, I definitely have enough time to calmly put together a shopping list. Make sure I don’t forget to look for new releases from a few brands and that I don’t forget to stock up on some makeup staples, like a bottle of nail polish remover and a new tube of a lipstick I really love.
“Sure. I’ll come.” I smile at her, my brain going over the recent releases I’ve been wanting to grab and test out for upcoming videos.
So many new ideas, so many well-known brands coming out with new collections and fall style eyeshadow pallets and things like that. And then, of course, there’s the elusive Rainbow Collection from Curious Cosmetics, a brand new Dutch cosmetics company, who had their first release last week. A lot of people want to get their hands on the items, so much so that I’ve barely been able to find a quart of the pallets in stores or online, and I know that many of the local beauty vloggers have had the same problem.
Curious Cosmetics have already become famous, not just because of the amazing range of products they released but also because of how hard it is to find them. They obviously didn’t expect the line to be this popular, as they’ve already sold out just about everywhere. Which makes hunting down the pieces I still want all the more fun.
“I’ll be down in an hour.”
“Okay. Glad to have you with me.” Mum smiles at me and leaves the room again.
Going into the city hadn’t been the plan for today, but if it means Mum will drive me instead of having to go after classes or by public transport, it’ll be worth it even if it wasn’t planned.
Mum holds up a mirror and I quickly check that my makeup still looks fresh. We’re standing next to the Martini tower and there are some people looking at us funnily, but I don’t care. This is a perfect occasion for a quick video.
I swipe the lip gloss over my lips, working up the shine, and then I put everything back into by bag. I’m a beauty vlogger, I can’t be on video with less than perfect makeup, ever.
Mum smiles as she shakes her head a little. “I don’t know if I’d invited you if I knew you were going to do this.” She winks.
I wink back. “Yes, you would. Gotta post something online today, and they love a short video when I’m out and about.” I take my phone and point it at myself at an angle. I take a quick picture to see what it looks like, and, while not perfect, it will have to do.
“I’ll step back a little.” Mum takes my bag and makes sure that she’s out of view of my video.
I raise the phone again, setting it to record, taking a deep breath before I put on my brightest smile.
“Hey, lovelies! I’m in the city right now, trying to find some cool colours to experiment with in the coming weeks. And, of course, hunt down a few more things from the Rainbow Collection. I’ll post a picture of what I’ve managed to find once I get back home, but I’m hoping to add a few cool items to my collection.” I take a short breath, widening my smile more. “Stay tuned for a three-stage fall makeup tutorial next week, and, hopefully, a couple of rainbow-inspired looks! I’m off for some shopping now. Love you all!”
Want to read more?
Pre-order your copy now!
Release Date April 1st 2020!