I had the pleasure of talking with talended set and costume designer Michelle Ney about her designs. If you are from the Austin area and have the chance to see one of the shows she’s designed — run get tickets!
Thanks to Mary Saums for inviting me to post on the Femmes Fatales blog today. News! I have a middle grade mystery BURNED. Sophie Allen is a horse-crazy girl. When a local fire threatens her family, her barn-friends team up to help her solve the mystery.
Click Here for the direct link to the post.
Can’t wait for 2017.
I had the privilege of interviewing five top Texas costume designers for Arts+Culture Magazine. Barry Doss (Huntsville), Susan Branch Townes (Austin), Christina Cook (Dallas), Macy Lyne (Houston) and LA Clevenson(Houston) were filled with enthusiasm for their chosen profession. I was so fortunate to be able to chat with them and tell their story.
Read the full article here.
Do you run? Olympic marathon length or short sprints?
Writing is like running. We have different length pieces we work on. I just finished up what I would consider a 5K: a magazine piece for Arts + Culture Magazine about costume designers working in Texas. I am also on the home stretch for a marathon of a project, my first novel for children.
Naturally this lead to research about words. Specifically the word “run”. This took a lovely amount of time, during which I could feel like I was working, but alas, did not produce actual work. Hence the blog post. Gotta do something with all this not-work.
To Run: (according to dictionary.com)
verb (used without object), ran, run, running.
1. to go quickly by moving the legs more rapidly than at a walk and in such a manner that for an instant in each step all or both feet are off the ground.
2. to move with haste; act quickly: Run upstairs and get the iodine.
3. to depart quickly; take to flight; flee or escape: to run from danger.
4. to have recourse for aid, support, comfort, etc.: He shouldn’t run to his parents with every little problem.
5. to make a quick trip or informal visit for a short stay at a place: to run up to New York; I will run over to see you after dinner.
6. to go around, rove, or ramble without restraint (often followed by about): to run about in the park.
7. to move, roll, or progress from momentum or from being hurled, kicked, or otherwise propelled: The wheel ran over the curb and into the street.
verb (used with object), ran, run, running.
53. to move or run along (a surface, way, path, etc.):
Every morning he ran the dirt path around the reservoir to keep in condition. She ran her fingers over the keyboard.
54. to traverse (a distance) in running: He ran the mile in just over four minutes.
55. to perform, compete in, or accomplish by or as by running: to run a race; to run an errand.
56. to go about freely on or in without supervision: permitting children to run the streets.
57. to ride or cause to gallop: to run a horse across a field.
58. to enter in a race: He ran his best filly in the Florida Derby.
59. to bring into a certain state by running: He ran himself out of breath trying to keep pace.
There was more. Much more. The richness of adjective use and noun definition scrolled down my screen until I had to switch to my manuscript to keep from getting dizzy. Who knew one tiny three-letter word had so much meaning?
All this started because I didn’t want my character to “run” around the outside of the house. I needed a specific word that indicated “to move quickly and with great intent.” “Dashed” was my first attempt, but that seemed old-fashioned. I variously tried “loped”, “bounded”, “rushed”, “raced” before settling on “sprinted”.
This whole ten minutes of fiddling with the word “run” reminded me of an exercise that Darcy Patterson did in her weekend Novel Revision workshop she did for the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) a couple of years ago. (No, my mind was not wandering. I originally wrote this book for that workshop.) She challenged us to demonstrate a variety of ways to get from one side of the room to another. I was in a rare panic when I realized I would be demonstrating word number 25. Fortunately no one else used “skulk”. I excel at skulking.
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I’ll be on hiatus for a week while I attend the USPC Annual Meeting in Nashville. Back February 1!
Have you ever wondered what makes people actually read blog posts? Me too. So I thought I’d try a catchy blog title to see if it picks up a hit or two. [The original title, Lose Ten Pounds in Two Days brought my regular readers, and no one else. It has been changed to protect the innocent.]
Of course, I have to stay on topic, so here goes:
If you want to lose Ten Pounds in Two Days, you can go on the starvation diet and hope for the best — or — you can write a book.
Yes! You heard correctly. Writing a book is a guaranteed way to lose weight.
You lose the weight of the hair you tear out in frustration when your characters refuse to go down the dark alley you told them to explore. You lose the weight of the fingernails you chew to the quick because you are ridiculously close to the deadline and still have half the book to write. You lose weight because you have no time for fixing a meal, no time to go to the grocery for frozen dinners, and since you’re still in your pajamas at four in the afternoon, you can’t tear through a drive-through for a food fix.
In addition, there’s the additional exercise you benefit from pacing the floor, flinging edited pages at the waste paper basket, and plucking the cat off your keyboard when she decides she’s waited long enough for you to notice that her food bowl is empty. (After all, that insistent meow says, she’s not on deadline, you are. She still needs to eat.)
Truth to be told I do lose weight when writing regularly. No time for snacks. Not as much television watching. More walking or gardening to work out plot snags. I drink much more water and far less soda. (The whole no time to go to the grocery store thing.) I will admit that during the editing phase, my manuscript loses more weight than I do. Much of what I write are things that I need to know, but that the audience for the actual book may not need or want to know. I write in a meandering path, so much of the extras have to hit the cutting room floor so to speak before the book is called done.
True confession: I’ve never managed to actually lose ten pounds in two days or even two weeks. Like everything else worth doing, losing weight — and writing books takes a little longer than two weeks.
Sorry — If only it was really this easy.
Anyone who has ever grown squash knows you need a way to dispose of this stuff. I’ve heard that you can break a friendship under the weight of gifted zucchini, but my friends are stauncher than that. The fact that they are no longer taking my calls or answering the door when I stop by means nothing — for I know that come September they will be clamoring for the spoils of my early fall harvests. Who would turn down fresh basil, lettuce, swiss chard etc. (Although you’d think they’d take the squash to stay on my good side…)
Until then, I’ve been searching for a way to make squash disappear.
If friends and family stop taking this particular offering, do I really need to eat it myself? I know from my Weight Watcher days that veggies have zero points, but…the squash out of my garden this summer is so sweet that I’m pretty darn sure I can gain weight eating it. I needed more ways to dispose of squash without hurting relationships or myself.
My first thought, prompted by the sight of a rotten summer squash in my refrigerator’s bottom drawer, was to compost all the ones I couldn’t eat right away and move on to eating the other good stuff coming out of the garden. After all, the squirrels, raccoons, and possum would benefit from all this healthy goodness. But then I realized how much effort I would be putting into feeding the local pesky wildlife and put my thinking cap back on.
I called the Food Bank. That’s right. The local food bank will take produce! Eureka!
Squash mashes down to almost nothing in the food processor. You can pulverize it and use it to thicken soups and sauces. Works! Mmm. Pretty creamy too – and less bad for me by far than a cream sauce.
I considered putting it on the next-door neighbor’s porch and run like hell. Unfortunately, they have a gun and know how to use it.
My favorite by far is this next one. The newest thing in my kitchen is a dehydrator. ($13 from Good Will) A whispering fan sends warm air wafting upward through thinly sliced vegetables, drying them to thin crispy goodness. I sliced up one of my more robust varieties, sprinkled a little sea salt over the pieces, spread them out on the trays and left them whirring away overnight.
Voila! Zucchini Chips. They are so tasty I may have to market them. Oh wait, perhaps I should Google it first to see if it’s Been Done. Oh well, so I’m not the first to think Zucchini would dry well. It’s still a great idea.
If you’ve got any good squash tips you want to share – feel free!