Skip to content

Friday Spotlight with Toby Neal

April 6, 2012

Toby NealThe fabulous Toby Neal steps under the Spotlight this week with a very funny guest post and information about her helpful new book, Building an Author Platform that can Launch Anything: a Social Media Minibook.

Before we get to Toby’s guest post, let’s learn a little more about her.

About Toby Neal:

Toby Neal was raised on Kauai in Hawaii. She wrote and illustrated her first story at age 5 and has been published in magazines and won several writing contests. After initially majoring in journalism, she eventually settled on mental health as a career and loves her work, saying, “I’m endlessly fascinated with people’s stories.”

She enjoys many outdoor sports including bodyboarding, scuba diving, beach walking, gardening and hiking. She lives in Hawaii with her family and dogs.

Toby credits her counseling background in adding depth to her characters–from the villains to Lei Texeira, the courageous and vulnerable heroine in the Lei Crime Series.

Now on to the guest post!


A few days ago I got into trouble—the kind of trouble you can only get in when you have time, money and insecurities.

It started innocently enough. I had taken the day off to spend with my sister, and had a big outing planned to the Grand Wailea Spa. She called and canceled about 7:00 AM, and there stretched before me what I had said for years I wanted: a span of time, with the husband gone, no work, and only myself to please.
So I went to yoga, feeling virtuous. Afterward, standing in our sweaty towels, I met an older woman with striking red hair.

“I like your hair. Is it your own color?”

She shook her head. “I’m a natural redhead. But as I got older it just got darker and darker until it turned brown. So a few years ago I experimented until I found a color that worked for me.”

“You mean you do it yourself?” I said in astonishment. Her shoulder-length locks where a tumble of russet, copper and deep auburn.

“I do. I blend a couple colors.” She told me the brand and names: Deep Copper Penny and Indian Summer.

I was captivated.

“Well,” I said. “Check out my hair. I’m a natural redhead too, but look how dark it’s getting, with these blond streaks. I think I’m ready for a change.” I love being a redhead, and the gradual loss of my defining glory has rendered me feeling old and uninteresting (this is where the insecurities come in).

I went to the store on the way home. I could only find Deep Copper Penny. Feeling happy and adventurous, with the slightly giddy sensation that comes with pure stupidity, I mixed up the little chemistry set of separate tubes, bottles and pipettes, with names like “Radiant Color Solution” (dye) “Sensual Developing Conditioner” (stuff that you mix with the dye) and “Essential Fragrance Oil” (something to hide the deadly odor of the dye).

Shoulders wrapped in towel, I wasn’t sure how to proceed from there. My young adult son happened into the kitchen, looking for food, and I said, “Can you put this hair stuff on me?”

He balked, horrified. “It smells. Are you dying your hair?”

“Uhmmm. Yes.”

“Don’t do it Mom. Your hair is nice the way it is.”

“Nice! I’m sick of nice. Put these gloves on and just do it!”

Thence followed something of a comedy of errors, as I sat in the kitchen chair and he glooped the dye over my hair and rubbed it in.

“It’s purple and it stinks, Mom. This stuff looks just like poi.” I wish I could have had a picture  of my handsome, muscular “manly man” son in plastic gloves with the squirt bottle in his hand, playing hairdresser to his mother. I was giggling by then, my eyes watering from the ammonia.

“It will be gorgeous.” I visualized the yoga woman, at least ten years older than me, and her eye-catching crown of red-gold-copper locks.

“Don’t tell anybody about this, Mom. I can’t believe I’m doing my mother’s hair.”

“Of course not honey. Though you’d be a hot hairdresser,” I replied, and he gave my ear a yank. (I never said I wouldn’t blog about it, and he forgot to make me promise.)

I washed it and went out to the deck. I combed it dry in the sun, feeling sensual, my youth reclaimed.

What emerged was not what I had had in mind.

My long, unruly locks were now fire-engine red, writhing Medusa-like, with the sun-blond streaks an indescribable hot pink.

My son denied any responsibility and handed me a roll of paper towels to cry into.

I called the hair salon where I had an appointment the next day for a trim and begged them to get me in. They agreed, but the next day I still had to go to work before the appointment.

The office ladies looked as me askance as I skulked in, and later one of the counselors stuck her head in my room as I did paperwork while watching the clock until my appointment.

“You did your hair!” she exclaimed, in a tone that implies an impending mental breakdown.

“Yes,” I said sheepishly. “That’s what happens on an unplanned day off.”

Eventually I made it to the salon, where my flaming mop was tamed by shears and what was tactfully called “toning”- a process involving many pieces of silver foil and painted on swathes of something foul-smelling, followed by time under a hair dryer that came down over my head and blew hot air on me.

I looked like an alien plugged into an ESP machine.

The good news is, my hair is wild but OK now. Not freakish, just… a mistake. And the other good news is, I got distracted from what had been my second order of business, which had been to get a tattoo. I blame the whole day on approaching menopause.

Anyone else bring on their own beauty crisis?


Lol! Yes, I have too many a beauty crisis to count. Toby thank you for sharing! Now let’s share some info about your latest minibook.

Titlebook-cover-author-platform: Building an Author Platform that can Launch Anything: a Social Media Minibook

ISBN: 978-0-9839524-3-5

Book Description:

Effective steps to building an author platform that can take advantage of free programs and launch any book into visibility and better sales.

Self published or not, today’s authors have to develop their own “platform” for reaching book buyers. This power-packed 20 page booklet contains tips based on author Toby Neal’s sales and psychology background and experience with her bestselling crime novel, Blood Orchids. These secrets maximize social media to build an author platform that can bring fast, wide-ranging visibility and increased sales to any book.

Purchase Link


Toby, thank you so much for stopping by the e-rotica blog. I hope you come back soon and I wish you much luck with your newest minibook.


Stalk Toby at:
Twitter: @tobywneal

14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2012 6:58 pm

    Dear DC, I so appreciate the opportunity to humiliate myself in public. *laughs*
    thanks and aloha,
    Toby Neal

  2. April 6, 2012 8:03 pm

    That was hilarious. I’ve dyed my hair so many different shades that I never bother to feel put out or embarrassed. Good thing my hubby needs prescription eyewear and hasn’t consented to it yet. Great post, Toby!

  3. April 6, 2012 8:35 pm

    Hi Toby,

    I laughed ’till I cried only because I know the feeling. Hoping to cover the gray that was bothering me, my daughter said she could do my hair. She picked up the dye she thought would be perfect. Forty-five minutes later I had pale blonde hair with a definite deep pink tinge. I looked like Barbie – a 50+ Barbie. Never again.

    This was a wonderful post full of humor. You should write a hunorous novel, but not until you finish the Lei series. I am waiting for book number two. Be well and blessings.


    • April 6, 2012 9:10 pm

      Dear Marianne, so glad I’m not alone in my Adventures with Ageing Induced Beauty Products. Thanks so much for the encouragement about the writing too, I’m dying to get Torch Ginger out but publishers are still looking at it! Much aloha!

  4. rainethomas permalink
    April 6, 2012 11:09 pm

    Awesome post, Toby! I’m glad you got it worked out in the end. I think we’ve all been there before…though our reasons for straying from sanity may vary. I’ll stick with brunette, thanks!

    • April 7, 2012 8:02 am

      Smart lady! Only…what do you do when you aren’t brunette anymore? that’s what I wasn’t ready to lose…still not, truth be told!

  5. April 7, 2012 3:19 am

    Oh, yes, I’ve dyed my hair so many different colors, my hair doesn’t even remember what is natural.

  6. April 7, 2012 3:26 am

    I frosted my mom’s hair for her once in the early 80s…of course, I pulled way too much through the cap and she ended up with this ashy gray/blonde hair. LOL I’m only glad she’s forgotten about it by now. Getting old is good for something I guess. 🙂

  7. April 7, 2012 9:51 am

    I used to dye my hair blonde. No, you will never see it. I make a bad blonde (did you know that was possible?). When I decided I wanted to go back to my natural brown, I wasn’t sure how to go about it, so I made an appointment at a hairdresser. What a relief! She told me if I had tried to go brown over blonde I would have wound up green… So the base colour (as well as what you’re putting in it) is very important. I had to go red to avoid going green and I’ve NEVER looked back.

    • April 8, 2012 2:34 am

      The truth about this whole thing is that it’s got easier and less traumatic with practice… oh and finding a better shade, like Strawberry Blonde which is my natural color.

  8. April 8, 2012 2:13 am

    Love it, all of it. Humor suits you well, Toby.

    And I love your new book on how you’ve achieved such great success with your book. Congrats on all of it. You’re a terrific writer. xo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: