Thursday, June 14, 2012
First, let me just say to those of you not following me on Facebook (and why is that, Ruthy wonders out loud, because the lot o' youse know that Mr. Harlequin has nothing better than to watch everything I do to make sure I promote these sweet books they're letting me write!!!) So if you haven't "liked" my author page and feel so inclined, let me make this REAL EASY: Click here: I LIKE RUTHY And then click the "Like" button.
And then come back here please. Pretty please. I've got donuts, so why wouldn't you come back here, right??? Besides, I'm givin' away three copies of THIS:
Okay, side note number three: We've got an article about the Seekers and Seekerville coming out in ACFW's The Journal next month. And... Wait for it....
I'm doing a 600 word article for Simply Books, the great bi-annual magazine put out by Harlequin for their Diamond Club members. Huge circulation. The "Simply Books" link takes you back to our first article for Simply Books, back in December 2010.
I love this opportunity to squawk about Seekerville!!! They want a Seekers/Seekerville update and I want this update to be about YOU!
We started Seekerville as a 'give back' for all the good God was showering on us as authors/writers/people. So if you think Seekerville or the crazy Seekers have helped you, e-mail me at ruthy(at)ruthloganherne(dot)com and tell me about it. Or message me on Facebook. I don't know how much I can get into 600 words, but I'm going to give it my best shot!
And now we bring you back to your regularly scheduled program: RESEARCH AT THE SPA!!!
Talk about taking one for the team!!! Meredith Brennan, the comin' home heroine of A Family to Cherish, (Yes, that's a live link to Harlequin.com because it's available there right now, no waiting for my friends at Amazon!!!) has a past that's tripping up the footsteps of her present. But she's come home to start fresh. She's older and more mature. She's made mistakes, the kind that make national headlines once they're discovered... So she's hoping they won't be discovered. With her grandfather's bequest and help from Grandma "Helen" Walker, Meredith is turning the old Senator's Mansion into a Health and Beauty Spa: Stillwaters.
But with God as my witness, I hadn't had a professional haircut in, umm... decades. Yes, it's true, and now that I've got a style I like, I won't let them change it probably EVER... So I'm clearly frugal and a creature of habit. But to write this book correctly, I needed to know about spas. The whys, the wherefores, the behind the scenes rooms that keep everything running smoothly. The Fridd/LeTurneau family let me in (silly them!!!) behind the scenes of Solutions Studio and Spa in Rochester, New York.
First I e-mailed them, explaining what I needed/wanted. Owners Judy (Mom), Jackie and Jennifer met with me. They let me tour the new facility. We talked about lighting, about electrical loads, about upgrades for appliances that draw quick energy. Blow dryers, hair dryers, curling irons, washing machines...
Oh, and that brings us to the basement laundry room where a row of front-loading washers and dryers stand ready and waiting. Part of the job is keeping up on laundry... and with the towels required for massages, facials, hair cuts, shampoos, finger nails, pedicures... oy. We're talking massive towel use per day! And central vacuum. How lovely that is, to have the vacuum at each technician's station.
When you walk into a spa, peace and tranquility should blanket you. Because modern men use spa services, you don't want anything to be too feminine or gender sensitive, but the quiet and inviting warmth crosses gender lines.
Part of this is due to the hidden phone centers. While a receptionist(s) greets you inside the door, an busy call center is hidden downstairs, not far from the laundry room. While someone in the call center reminds clients of their appointments and books new services, the flow upstairs is calm, uninterrupted by ringing phones most of the time.
Conference rooms downstairs allow for meetings. There's a break room for staff to chill out, relax. Eat. And there's a training center where technicians are shown the newest products, styles, trends in cuts and colors. The Wellness Spa is separate from the more active hair/nails/perms/color side of the sprawling building. Done in earth tones, calm music and the sound of running water soothes mind, body and soul. Soft lighting and a gas fireplace set the tone of an evening at home. Relaxed. Peaceful. It's lovely, beginning to end, an ethereal experience with soft-spoken guys and gals like Kate... Kate did my facial and massage, and she rocks. She decided mid-life that she needed a new career and became an esthetician. And loves it.
We are never too old to embrace life, change or new situations.
Behind the scenes there's a computer center that keeps track of every room. Rooms need to be prepped (think doctor's office) once a client has left the room for the showers/dressing area, so the anteroom is staffed by the Spa Manager who knows where every appointment is, who's running late, who's on break, etc. From her closed off room, she keeps up the calm appearance of the Spa wing by maintaining quiet order.
Maybe more so to me because very little in my life is quiet, calm and peaceful, but seeing how carefully orchestrated this workplace is made me more appreciative of the forethought and planning that went into developing a place like "Solutions"... which is "Stillwaters" in my book.
I love research, and yes, a lot of stuff is available online but I find that actively taking part in research, meeting folks, shaking hands, asking questions and taking pictures helps me develop a mental image of how I want/need the book to progress.
Huge thanks to the whole Fridd clan for letting me invade their back room space, taking time to meet with me and explaining how spas/beauty parlors/hairdressing has changed over the last three decades. Smoking used to be almost expected (think "GREASE"), the funny pink aprons/smocks were common, bonnet dryers were the norm and if you used the term "product", you'd be met with blank stares.
And the reason I had to make sure my spa ducks were in a row was because the heroine had to explain all of this to the hero... because he was the only local fine carpenter approved by the Landmark Society. They worked together by necessity... and fell in love because it was the right thing to do!
Hey, stop inside and chat, thereby getting your name tossed into the cat's dish for one of three copies of A Family to Cherish, the latest 4-STAR Men of Allegany County Love Inspired release.
When not torturing other people's small children for financial gain, Ruthy crawls into her writing cave or goes online to annoy people, both of which give her great joy. You can visit her at ruthloganherne.com, Ruthy's Place, Men of Allegany County or friend her (YES!!!!) on facebook...www.facebook.com/ruthloganherne
And that will make things just a little bit brighter in Ruthy-World.