Another First: Blogging about Books, Publishing, Writing, Etc.

Just put up my first post at my new Cynthia Hughes Literary Consulting blog. Check it out!

Hint: I’m heading to Houston on March 3 for another publishing workshop!




Another First: I Knit a Sock!

I just finished my first sock. The tricky bit was learning how to maneuver with double-pointed needles and not drop those teensy-weensy stitches. Next up — sock number two!

Sock with snoozy dogs

Sock with supermodel Violet

2011 Fabs: My Favorite Songs

Bob S.

Time for ear candy!!! Here are the songs I’ve been listening to over and over this year.

  1. “Let the Light In” by Bob Schneider (a faboo live version is here)
  2. “Rumor Has It” by Adele
  3. “Down by the Water” by The Decemberists
  4. “Moneygrabber” by Fitz and the Tantrums
  5. “One More Goodbye” by the Randy Rogers Band
  6. “Toes” by Zac Brown Band (flashbacks to Cruisin’ with Carol in January)
  7. “It Didn’t Make a Sound” by the Courtyard Hounds
  8. “Austin” by Pat Green
  9. “El Cerrito Place” by Charlie Robison (alternate: “Beautiful Day” for Caitlyn)
  10. “Blue Is My Heart” by Holly Williams

And of course I keep listening to “Midnight Train to Georgia” for karaoke purposes — one of these days…

Back to the Firsts!

Okay, it’s time to get back to the Fab Firsts blog and ramp this up again. The little martinet in me is harping at me to write a huge post recapping everything that’s happened since June. But that’s too much. So in an effort to fake my way back into it, I have a cunning plan: I’ll start writing about my favorite things from 2011!

But first, a quick first: In August, I switched jobs. I’m now the Special Events Manager for Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region in Austin. What’s so firsty about that, you might ask? Well, this is the first job in my adult life that isn’t focused on writing or editing! So far, so good — my first big event was our annual Choice for Generations Dinner with author Anna Quindlen in November. In this crazy year as far as funding goes (the State of Texas cut $474,000 in federal funding for us), the event ended up being the most successful ever, largely because of the amazing fundraising team and event chairs.

Another HUGE first for me is that I have a literary agent for my super-secret humor book project. That’s all I want to say about it for now, other than I’m so excited about the possibilities!

Oh, and I did I mention that those rascally Cavalieristas Consuelo and Violet now have their own blog and Facebook page? Check it out! (On Facebook, search for “Cavalieristas” — they’d LOVE to get a few more wags, er, likes!

Favorites will start up this weekend!

Do We Have AGENTS!

Okay, my writerly friends! The Writers’ League of Texas Agents Conference is just around the corner, and we have a special online-only promotion going: If you register for the Conference from today through Sunday, you can SAVE 20% on your registration!

If you’ve been dreaming about writing a book, now’s your chance. Not only do we have some fabulous agents (Joe Veltre, Rebecca Oliver, Susan Schulman, Laura Rennert, and more!) and editors, but we also have industry expert Jane Friedman serving as our keynote speaker — and she’ll even do some on-the-spot query letter critiques as well as presenting “Is the Book Dead? WHO CARES!”  We’ll have the latest info on where publishing is going and why it’s a great time to be an author.

New this year is the First and Last Pitch sessions, in which panels of agents will give fast feedback to anonymous pitches.(For a preview of the schedule, click here.)

We have a lot of great information posted on the WLT’s Scribe blog (such as a Q&A with Penguin editor Beena Kamlani), and we’ll be Tweeting all about it at #WLTCon.

But don’t miss out on the fun. Sign up today and make that commitment to taking your writing career to the next level! Use the code BLITZ when you checkout to get your discount; offer expires at 11:59 p.m. CST on Sunday, June 5.


Literary Amuse-Bouche, May 12 Edition

This one speaks for itself, my literary lambs. And I would have MUCH preferred to post a link to the Dallas Morning News, but that story is snagged in subscription-only land. Thus, I revert to The Oregonian:

Faye Kesey, the widow of Oregon author Ken Kesey, married another well-known writer, Larry McMurtry, in McMurtry’s hometown of Archer City, Texas, on April 29, the day of the royal wedding. Faye Kesey is 76. McMurtry, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Lonesome Dove” and many other novels, is 74.

Read the full story here.

The ComPOOst Experiment

As the Girl to two charming dogs and one particular cat, I deal with what metaphysicians cheerfully refer to as “elimination” on a daily basis. Consuelo and Violet are Cavalier King Charles spaniels — small dogs with a big name and, thankfully, their daily deposits are small although quite regular (the little poopers are pictured, V on the left, C on the right). And after glorious years of being the perfect indoor/outdoor cat, Miss Edina has reverted to the litterbox. As much as I don’t like that, it was either that or constant surprises on my bathroom rugs.

With all of the poo-filled plastic bags going into my trash can then straight to the landfill, I’ve been wondering if there’s a more environmentally correct way to deal with these elimination issues. But with conventional composting wisdom warning against dog and cat contributions to compost heaps, I wasn’t sure what to do.

I ran this quadary by my good friend Renee Studebaker, who “cultivates” the superb Renee’s Roots gardening (and more) blog. Renee has a fabulous organic garden and is something of a composting queen. She suggested digging a poo hole and then adding dog/cat waste and layering it with dirt and leaves like a regular compost pile. Just let it sit, on its own, away from the other compost pile, and it will eventually become its own compost, she said.

Renee’s suggestion made perfect sense to me. So I asked her if she’d take me on as her comPOOst experiment. We’ll do the hole in my yard and see what decomposes!

So stay tuned for more scoop on the poop!

Literary Amuse-Bouche

My favorite literary tidbits of the day:

  • Virginia Woolf spent seven years on her first novel, The Voyage Out: “By 1912, she had written five drafts of the novel, including two different versions that she worked on simultaneously. Between December 1912 and March 1913, she rewrote the entire novel one more time, almost from scratch, typing 600 pages in two months.” Courtesy of Garrison Keillor’s wonderful Writer’s Almanac.
  • Agatha Christie helped her husband excavate the Nimrud ivories in Iraq — and even cleaned them with her face cream!
  • And finally, let’s finish it off with this masterpiece from The Onion:

Fab Veggie Wraps

This weekend, my Heritage Awareness girlfriends (Austin edition) convened at Judy’s house, and I made my current favorite lunch: veggie wraps. Here’s my recipe:

Wrap bread  (I like Flatout Flatbread)
Mustard (I use sweet/hot mustard)
Hummus (today’s choice is a red pepper hummus)
1 to 2 T. chopped pepperoncini
1/4 c. sweet/hot pickles
1 to 2 T. grated carrots
Handful of washed arugula leaves

Spread a thin layer of sweet/hot mustard on the wrap, followed by a thin layer of hummus. If the layer is too thick, the hummus will squeeze out when you roll the wrap. Then add a sprinkling of chopped pepperoncini, a few spicy/sweet pickles, grated carrot, and arugula. Roll it up and cut it in half, and there you have it.

Options: You can create whatever type of hummus, mustard, and veggie combos you like. I sometimes add sliced avocado, chopped sundried tomatoes, chopped olives or an olive tapenade, grated cheese, other types of greens, cucumbers, a sprinkling of red wine or balsamic vinegar, etc. But my foundation is always the hummus and the  hot/sweet combo of those pickles and mustard!

If you’re entertaining, you could cut these into pinwheels for appetizers. Easy peasy!


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