Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Photoshoot

So I mentioned in passing that I did a photoshoot last week and that I would tell all about it once the photos were up. Well they are so now I will!

I was very lucky to get the opportunity to be featured in a Canadian magazine called "Toro" in their "Toro Woman" feature. It was pretty flattering since they don't usually feature authors. My publicist was the one who organised the whole thing, and I have to admit I was a little nervous. Excited, but you know, nervous. I'm not exactly used to being photographed. Well at least, not for glamorous photoshoots.

Fortunately everyone else involved was very used to the process.

So I arrived at the studio with my publicist first thing in the morning. I had already met the photographer, Franco Deleo, the week before, and we had got along well. This helped to relieve some of my nervousness. He's a total sweetie, and a fantastic artist, totally check out his site. Anyway, he was already setting up with his assistant, and after the makeup artist (the granddaughter of Bernice Thurman Hunter, the one I talked of in the post below) and stylist showed up, I was promptly put into the makeup chair.

I think I was in the chair for over an hour, but it was understandable. The makeup didn't take too long, but curling my hair definitely did. You see, my hair is straight. Very very straight. So straight that it takes a heck of a lot of work to get it to take a curl, and to keep a curl. I also have a fair bit of hair. It's not uber thick, but because there is a lot of it looks like it. The makeup artist used a curling iron and so going piece by piece took a good while. But that was okay. It looked awesome in the end, and was nice and warm during the process (the studio was a bit cold).

My amazing makeup artist working very patiently with me.

Then it was the stylist's turn. We'd already chatted over the phone so she knew my sizes. We tried on a few dresses until we agreed to start with a black one. Now this is the neat part. I've always known that the clothes on models gets pinned to fit them perfectly (think that scene in Lost in Translation when Bill Murray's jacket is all clipped at the back and he goes to the hotel bar like that), but still . . . translating that concept to reality hadn't really clicked until that moment. It's so cool. Because the dress fits you perfectly and all those bulges and bits you think can never be hidden, miraculously vanish. And the stylist was so good at it too, it took her like three seconds to do it.

In my perfectly pinned black dress on set. Note the fabulous shoes that are one size too small for me!

So then it was time to take the pictures. Let me tell you, modeling ain't easy. Okay it isn't like a day down in the mines or anything, but it is physically surprisingly exhausting. You have to hold your body in contorted poses, while trying to make the whole thing look effortless and relaxed. Whenever there is a moment's pause the makeup artist comes over to do touch ups while the stylist is asking you to lift your body so she can straighten the skirt. I did one set of pictures where I was standing with one knee up on a trunk, and had to hold that position for forever. When I stood upright finally my left leg was shaking. My last outfit (the one I had been dying to try because it had a cool hat) required I stand in four inch heels, and I barely wear any heels ever so I was a bit teetery. I honestly have no idea how women can wear shoes like that in real life. It's one thing to stand still on place, but walking? Dude.

It was also just really neat to get to play dress up. I loved my sort of 50's pin-up look, especially the brooches that the makeup artist fastened into my hair. The film noir dress had pockets so I totally went all Katherine Hepburn in my mind. But the backless sweater dress was by far the most comfy.

What I also found so amazing was the difference between what the set up really looked like, and what appeared in the final photo. In the black and white shoot with the hat, Franco was standing only a few feet away from me, but in the pictures it looks like there is quite some distance between us. The pictures of me with the trunk, and the ones with the sweater dress are taken in the exact same spot, but look like two totally different locations. And the whole studio was, while not tiny, not exactly vast. But you don't get that sense at all, of all the people standing just off camera. Of the behind the scenes film crew who was there as well (when the video is posted I will of course post about it).

All illusion.

All awesomeness.

I'm not sure if I will get an opportunity like that again, but I do hope so because I learned so much even in that one experience. Well, even if I never do, at least I have the pictures. They will be with me forever.

If anyone is interested in reading the article that went along with the photoshoot you can read it here. It was really great fun chatting with the guy, and he audio recorded the whole thing. Which is why at times it may appear in the interview that I was rambling . . . because I was!

Staring into a trunk. I like to think it's a treasure chest, goes with the theme of my writing. The lighting in this picture is awesome. Franco actually had a lamp in the trunk, it wasn't photoshopped or anything later.

In the comfy sweater dress. You can't tell in this photo, but my knee is killing me, pressing into that same trunk!

1950's pinup look. The brooches in my hair were rather heavy. But awesome sparkly!

Maybe my fav picture. Love the hat, love the dress, even love my pose. And love love love me some pockets! Check out some of the other shots though to see them heels!

More pics here!

Friday, January 23, 2009


The world is a weird and wonderful place.

There is a children's book series called "Booky" (three books entitled: That Scatterbrain Booky, With Love From Booky, and As Ever, Booky). Written by the late great by Bernice Thurman Hunter, the books are about a girl growing up in depression-era Toronto and all the crazy adventures she has. It's written with such wonderful humour and also paints a very detailed portrait of the city in that time (important to note though, this is a good story first and foremost, history lesson second). I loved these books.

They were first read to me in middle school. I studied French immersion, and for one period a day (or every other day, I can't quite remember) we would have English class. Taught by Ellen (I never knew her last name), this class was the highlight of my day because she adored creative writing and we got to spend the time making up our own stories, binding our own books etc. You can probably see why I was rather fond of it (not to dismiss my French class where we also got the chance to write creatively, I am still immensely thrilled of my French novel entitled "Le Violin qui joue au Tennis").

The Booky books sparked my imagination, and even though I haven't read them in years, the images are still as fresh in my mind as they were back when I was 10.

. . .
The world is a weird and wonderful place.
. . .

On Monday I did a photo shoot for a magazine. It was my first "real" photoshoot with a wardrobe girl, props assistant, even a film crew filming behind the scenes footage . . . and a makeup artist. I shall go into more detail about the whole crazy process when the article is posted, but for now we've established the scene.

I can kind of understand why celebrities become good friends with their hair and makeup person. You spend hours in that chair, and they do everything to make you feel at ease. There is something very nurturing about a makeup artist. So imagine if you had your hair and makeup done every day. You'd probably get pretty close.

Anyway, my makeup artist was just lovely, and she was genuinely curious about my whole writing for children thing (the people who are normally photographed for this particular article tend to be actresses and musicians, not so much authors). And the reason she was particularly interested . . . and here's the connection people . . . is that it turns out that she is the granddaughter of Bernice Thurman Hunter. So she was very familiar with the world of children's books, having watched her grandmother give readings etc.


Even cooler.

SHE is the girl they photographed for the cover of the Booky books.


I was getting my makeup done. . . by BOOKY!

And yes it was so totally thrilling to have all these people taking care of me, getting to wear designer clothes and heels five inches high. Yes I felt rather glamorous having my photograph taken (and the photographer is just amazing, again when I write at length about the experience I'll post a link to his website and you'll see) and being interviewed etc.

But seriously . . .

My makeup artist was that girl I'd stared at on the cover for hours on end. The one who I pictured in my head when reading the books. And honestly, that probably was the coolest part of the whole thing.

Yup the world is a weird and wonderful place.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Timothy and the Dragon's Gate - out today!

Yes ladies and gents, I am just utterly thrilled to announce that my book, Timothy and the Dragon's Gate, the sequel to Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, is out today!!!!!! I am just so excited and well . . . just really really excited . . . and I do hope you all enjoy it. And if you do enjoy it (I have mentioned this in my sidebar already), I would be so grateful if you wouldn't mind popping over to Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or Chapters etc, and writing a little review. My books would be nothing without their readers, and your reviews truly are helpful.

At any rate. . . may I present to you . . . .


" . . . the tale’s snarky dialogue, sudden twists, authorial asides and daffy characters will keep readers turning the pages." - Kirkus

"An exciting read that's action-packed from cover to cover." - KH,
The Magazine

"Kress has the knack of writing child characters who could be my next-door neighbors . . . Like Alex and the Ironic Gentleman,
Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate charmed me into staying up way too late to finish it. No syrup here. Instead, there’s adventure, derring-do, attitude, and danger. All wrapped up in a clever and fascinating take on the reluctant hero, courage, loyalty, and—of course—dragons." - Alice Loweecey,


With a father who can’t control him and a mother who is always out of town, Timothy Freshwater has finally been expelled from the last school in the city. As if that were not enough, events conspire to ensnare him in an ancient quest.When he meets Mr. Shen, a mysterious Chinese gentleman who is a mailroom clerk at his father’s office, Timothy finds himself deeply entrenched in a rescue operation centuries in the making.

It turns out that the diminutive, elegant Mr. Shen is a dragon, banished and forced to take human shape for a thousand years until he can resume his true form by scaling the Dragon’s Gate during a festival for the 125th year of the dragon. Until that time, he is sentenced to enslavement by the holder of the golden key. It is, of course, Timothy who finds himself the latest keeper of Mr. Shen. The boy too smart for his own good is reluctant to assume the task, but tackles the challenge, after being stalked by a stealthy ninja and chased by a menacing trio of black taxicabs. When Mr. Shen falls into the wrong hands, Timothy is flailing in treacherous waters, literally. And then a strange-looking black brig with red sails, called, for some reason, the Ironic Gentleman appears on the horizon.

Relying on his own ingenuity and an annoying new ally, a girl called Alex, Timothy must face up to his responsibilities and rescue the dragon from a fleet of Chinese pirate junks. Above all, he must have enough faith in himself to take on that fleet’s commander, the Man in the Beige Linen Suit.

And now a sneak peak excerpt never before read online! oooooooh . . . . .

We find Timothy and Mr. Shen hitching a ride in a sixteen wheeler truck (named "Daisy") driven by who Timothy has dubbed "the crazy man". Suddenly three black taxi cabs that Timothy and Mr. Shen have already encountered once before - and who seem pretty intent on bringing about their demise - appear, and a chase ensues . . .

"Here we go!"

The crazy man spun the wheel and drove directly into oncoming traffic, passing two sports cars and a minivan before pulling back into his own land out in front of a Rolls Royce, the startled driver of which honked his horn as a means of pointing out the fact that Daisy had pulled out into oncoming traffic and then had almost run right into him, in case the crazy man hadn't realised what had happened.

"This isn't working!" shouted Timothy over the roar of the wind and traffic. The cabs were much smaller than Daisy and could weave through the cars with much greater ease. One was racing parallel to the crazy man, and another was inching its way up next to Timothy's exposed side.

"You're right!" The crazy man slammed on the brakes. There was a loud screech and the smell of burning rubber as the truck spun sideways to a stop. Two air bags popped open helpfully, as Timothy, Mr. Shen, and the crazy man were flung forward and then back as their seat belts braked. The sound of rushing wind stopped instantly, as did the roar of traffic, and was replaced by a symphony of honking horns, each expressing a different emotional state, from slightly put out to angry to the point of white-hot rage.

The black cabs, who had not anticipated this sudden change in the chase, had flown past, and were now regrouping a mile down the road and starting to head back their way once more.

Timothy turned to Mr. Shen and the crazy man with a look of utter shock on his face. He was completely speechless. Though he attempted to say something, all he could make was a small, ip sound.

The crazy man fiercely nodded his wholehearted agreement with this sentiment and then added, as he popped off his seat belt and rose in his seat, "Quick, everyone! Into the helicopter!"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

From the Archive

I have been feeling a little under the weather lately, not up to really coming up with a new blog entry, and so I was reading through some of my old old old posts on this blog. Back when this blog had nothing to do with writing at all, back before I had an agent or a contract or anything. When, let's be honest, no one read it, and I wrote it merely for my own amusement. It's really quite fun to go back over it, remember where I was (physically and emotionally). And it's kind of nice to have, as a kind of journal detailing a very strange and amazing journey.

Anyway, I found this old post, and I quite enjoyed it. I used to write poems for this blog once and a while. I should start doing that again. Anyway, it has nothing to do with writing or acting or temping. But it does have to to with toilet paper. So I think you'll still enjoy it:

Sunday, April 09, 2006

I have seen it.

I have seen it my friends. I have seen it.

Yesterday I was in well known coffee chain. This well known coffee chain tends to have washrooms at the back of their establishment. A little door. A little room. And, well, you get the picture. Well yesterday I needed to visit said room and I went to the sign and lo and behold there were stairs. This unnerved me.

But I went down the stairs. They turned and twisted deeper deeper down into the bowels of the coffee establishment. Deeper past unknown rooms, past unknown sounds and smells. Deeper still, the yellow walls fading to a murky brown. To a door. A door marked with a sinister silhouette of a woman. Tentatively I pushed on it. I entered.

Sitting there on the toilet bowl, looking at me plaintively, was a roll of toilet paper.

With no hole.

No hole in the middle.

"Uh hi."

What madness is this?

We spent a short time together, and then as quickly as I could, I left and ran as fast as was possible back up the stairs. Back past the strange sounds and smells. Back into the light. Never to return again.

I have seen it my friends,
where the long stairway ends,
and yellow hall wends,
it awaits on the bowl.

It awaits on the bowl
like the stories you've heard
and they're true, every word
what you've learned of the roll.

What you've learned of the roll?

Yes it does have no hole.

And it's here for your soul.
And you'll know that it's true,
when it calls out to you,
to come visit the loo.

For I've seen it my friends,
where the long stairway ends,
and yellow hall wends,
it awaits on the bowl.

Monday, January 05, 2009


Ah the new year is upon us. Time to make some more resolutions, time to wipe the slate clean, time to thank our lucky stars that 2008 is behind us (well at least I will, 2008 was a . . . difficult year for me).

Time for Adrienne to wax philosophical . . . ehem . . .:

I take singing lessons. I really enjoy my singing lessons, and my teacher is one of the best singing teachers I've ever had (and yes I have had plenty). My voice is, well, pretty darn awesome now thanks to him. But the reason I enjoy the singing lessons the most is that every time I am there I feel good about myself. What's more, if I am feeling less than stellar, my singing teacher likes to tell me to feel more confident, to trust my abilities, to be a diva (but a good diva, a fabulous diva, not a "I want only red M & Ms in my dressing room" diva).

And this is something I don't quite do as much as I should.

It isn't just my singing teacher who has pointed this out to me. I have also been told that I can come across as a little tentative at times in other parts of my life. Heck I have one friend who enjoys telling me, "Get confident, stupid!" (the joke being that telling someone they are stupid at the same time as they need to get confident is a bit not helpful . . . yeah, anyway, it's a silly joke . . .)

You might not be able to tell from my online persona that I have a slight lack of confidence now and then. I work very hard at being professional, and keeping my personal life out of my blog as much as possible (a personal choice), but the fact is, we're all human, we all have our own issues.

And it's time for me to start being confident.

Now I'm not talking about overconfidence. That isn't the same thing, it isn't even the same word. Nor am I talking about false confidence, or hubris, or any of that. I am talking about a confidence in the things I do well. A confidence in my abilities. Heck even a confidence in others.

I think often we are trained at an early age that to have pride in oneself is showing hubris. That we must, especially as women, be modest in our endeavors, not shine a light on ourselves. Now I should add onto this that that was in no way my upbringing, I had (and have) the most supportive parents in the world who loved to see me flourish. But I also lost all my friends in grade 8, with the leader of the pack claiming the reason for the ostricisation was because I bragged too much.

It was a hard lesson to learn, and has stuck with me since. How do you demonstrate confidence in your abilities without offending others? And you know what I've realised? As long as you aren't overestimating your talents, you can't worry too much what other people think in that regard. I have spent so much time concerned that others will think I am "bragging" that I have hurt myself on the other end of the spectrum by having people get frustrated at my lack of self confidence. I can't please everyone, and at the same time I am doing a great disservice to myself in not believing in all the work I do. I work hard. I do. I have grown so much as an actor and a writer, as a singer, as a person, and I should be proud of all that I have accomplished, and all that I can do.

And so should you.

Of course in our pride of ourselves we must also be proud of others. We must still support our friends, and give them their moment to shine. It isn't about us all the time after all. Having pride in yourself does not mean you negate the achievements of others. Have confidence and compassion. I think that is a marvelous combination.

So this year, I am going to be confident. I have no doubt I will have to fake it at first, but after a while it will become habit (I hope). I think too this is a good year for any of you guys who might be doubting yourselves, who might have had a lot of rejection lately from agents/publishers/casting directors, anyone, to just sit back and see how far you have come from whence you started. I have no doubt that you all have grown in some amazing way this past year, have done some amazing things. No matter how small they may appear at first.

Let 2009 be the year of being proud of ourselves!

Yup it's time for us all to get confident, stupid!