Archive for the '50 Fab Firsts' Category

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

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!

#21: NaNoWriMo!

I did it, for the first time ever: I signed up for National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo)! The idea is to write 50,000 words in the month of November — or 1,677 words per day. My personal goal is to finish the first draft of The Blue Tattoo, my YA fantasy novel. For some reason, I think that sounds about right (or “write,” should I say?!).

I know I can hit that if I count all of my work writing and the Cavalieristas blogging, but can I hit it with my novel? YES, I CAN! And what better way to recover from the mid-term elections than by immersing myself in my own fantasy world for the rest of November!

What’s even more fun is the my niece Sofia has signed up for NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers program! So we’ll be writing together through November. Can’t wait to see what book she’s working on!

#19: So Long, Sweet Girl

This are the kind of first I really do not like: saying goodbye to my second beloved dog in 2009. Miss Patsy Clementine, she of the perpetually sunny disposition, made her transition on Tuesday, December 11. Patsy made it past ten, which was yet another miracle, considering her many health challenges, namely, Cushing’s disease, which caused the big problems over the last year.

As my vet, the wonderful Kathryn Van Winkle, once put it, “It’s just Patsy’s world, and we’re all passing through it.” That was the truth, but what a sweet world to share with a sweet, sweet girl.

I shall miss her championship-level snoring (check out her video here), the way she loved to cuddle with any type of soft surrounding, her “Feed Me” shuffle dance. But most of all, I shall miss my own Miss Congeniality.

It’s oddly comforting to know that her brother, ThunderDog, and cousins Lily, Bear, and Pearl and friend Felix among many others are all there to greet her.

May she and ThunderDog be chomping down Breath Busters in Doggie Heaven! And snore REALLY loud, Miss P Bug, so I can still hear you.

#18: Caity’s Miraculous Health Report

This has been a tough one to  write about, but we had a big health scare this month. We feared that my 17-year-old niece Caitlyn had a rare, aggressive form of breast cancer. Fortunately, she ended up going to the Mayo Clinic, where she had the best care EVER!

Caity sailed through surgery yesterday. It turns out that she had a freakish BENIGN fibroid that had all of the doctors baffled. Even the surgeon admitted afterward that she was completely surprised; she was convinced she would find something much more problematic.

Because the removal ended up being much simpler than expected, even though the cyst was enormous, they were able to do reconstruction right then and there, so Caity doesn’t have to do a follow-up surgery.

Caity is resting comfortably — well, as comfortably as she can at the moment — at the hotel with her family. and they’re waiting for the final pathology reports before heading back to Iowa, probably tomorrow.

Caity has been one brave soul throughout this — well beyond what you’d expect from a typical teenager. I know she was held up by a tsunami of good thoughts and prayers from all over the country. This took such an unexpected turn that I like to think that all played a huge role. So thank YOU to all our friends and family everywhere.

#17: Book Expo 2009: The Big Man & Steven Tyler Show

Big Man at BEANow that Book Expo America is behind us, I’m still trying to figure out what it all meant. The keynote session on May 28 sums it up: appearances by  joint keynote with Steven Tyler and Clarence Clemons, refereed by Chuck Klosterman. As much as I love Aerosmith, I had to wonder if Tyler wasn’t going to be just another variation of James Frey –– after all, being one of the Toxic Twins probably didn’t exactly enhance his memory! But I really wanted to see the Big Man.

First off, it didn’t exactly pack the event hall; maybe 300 or 400 people. Jerome Kramer of Publishing Perspectives and I  entertained ourselves while waiting for the show to start (it was around 30 minutes late) by speculating on how much “work” Tyler has had done and trying to wade through the workmanlike text of the Big Man blad.  The Big Man appeared with his co-author, Don Reo, rather than Tyler, which did make sense. Despite a few lame questions from CK (namely, variations on “Are celebrities in real life the way we think they are?”) and rather dull chatter from Reo, the session took a magical turn when Clarence brought out his sax and deconstructed the solo in “Jungleland.” He explained that he and Bruce spent 16 hours just getting the first intro right, then he played it, after issuing a disclaimer that he’d never played it before without the band. VERY cool! When Chuck asked if it bothered him that Bruce had so much input, Clarence replied, “He’s the boss, and he’s a genius!”

Tyler & Hudson at BEAThen CC and Reo departed and the circus really started. Tyler strutted out accompanied by a 1970s hippie throwback formerly known as one of the Hudson Brothers (Mark) and currently known as Kate’s uncle. Why the Hudson brother, I wondered. Was he the co-author? No, he was the sidekick. At one point, the Hudson brother mentioned that he was there to prompt Steven and keep him on task, not that it helped; he was almost as goofy as Tyler. He danced verbal circles around Chuck (who trotted out another variation of his aforementioned celebrities question) and was quite entertaining, although if you read the transcript, he probably didn’t make all that much sense (there was some bizarre mention of raccoon hunting).

After lots of non sequiturs and some mention of Tyler deciding that last year, after the death of his mother, it was time to write his book, the Hudson brother piped up to say that the main reason he was there was to remind Steven that they had to leave in five minutes to catch a plane. That prompted Chuck to ask the question of the night: When would the book be out? Tyler replied that he didn’t know because HE HADN’T WRITTEN THE DANG BOOK YET! With that, the show was over and he worked the crowd as they exited the stage.

Jerome and I feared that this was an omen for BEA: a keynote featuring an author who hasn’t yet written a book! Turns out, yep, it was!

For more, see this New York magazine piece and this LA Times article.

And yes, this counts as one of my firsts: It’s the first time I attended a Book Expo keynote, the first time I’ve seen Steven Tyler (not to mention a Hudson Brother), and the first for even the Big Man, that wonderful “Jungleland” sax solo!

Back at It

Okay, I’ve been away from this here blog long enough. I haven’t come up with a clever post, so let’s try to ease back in. I’m still sad about losing ThunderDog, but Patsy Clementine is in fine form.

Right now, I’m getting ready to head to New York for Book Expo, right after the Writers’ League benefit with Roy Blount Jr. And I’m trying to get my hands on a copy of the June issue of Austin Monthlyit’s all about the Austin literary scene, and I’m IN IT! Now, there’s another first!

Oh yeah, and I need to write about the trip to Wimberley (what I can write for public consumption), Flight of the Conchords, James Otto, Carol’s visit, and the Big Man (as in Clarence Clemons)!

To be continued…

A Firsts Roundup

Time to get back on the “firsts” bandwagon and catch up on the Fab Firsts I haven’t written about yet.

2008: Author Programming for the Texas Library Association
I had the pleasure of putting together an author programming track for the TLA conference, including a “Memoir-able Evening with the Authors,” with Sarah Bird, Janine Latus, Stephanie Klein, and Tomie di Paola! The daytime programs include Dixie Cash, Will Clarke, Tony Earley, Brunonia Barry, and more!

July 19, 2008: Todd R’s Preview of His New Album
Todd Rundgren is my favorite artist of all time, and my bff Janis and I were part of the très intime show at Antone’s in which he debuted his new album, Arena, playing it from start to finish. Totally rocked OUT! What I heard in Antone’s is even more rocked out than the album. TR sometimes gets a bit electronic for my tastes; I’ve always really dug his heavier stuff. Plus, he’s always been one of the most underrated (or perhaps simply “overlooked”) guitarists ever. And I was quite pleased to see that his guitar looked a LOT like mine!

Jan. 1, 2009: Bo Pelini’s first bowl game win as Nebraska’s head coach!
Heck, while I’m at, I could add a first for Nebraska AND Kansas both winning their bowl games!

#16: The First President Who’s Younger Than Moi!


At last! The grownups are in charge! I’m sooooooo happy! What a great day for America and the world!

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