Texas: Home, Home on the Range

I’ve already admitted that I’m a spoiled creature. But my husband took it to a whole ‘nother level when he flew me home to spend my birthday weekend with my family at our ranch in the Texas Hill Country. It was a last minute decision and I was up until 1 AM packing… but it was perhaps my favorite birthday present of all time! (And particularly generous, since the husband was sadly unable to join due to work.)

It’s hard–nay, impossible!–to capture the Texas Hill Country’s rugged beauty in late October. It’s untamed and sunshine-y and serene, unspoiled by internet access or cell service. Some moments were almost ridiculously Arcadian–my stroll through wildflower fields rife with butterflies (the monarchs are migrating right now), or when my brother Hunter and I accidentally spooked two fawns, sending them leaping lightly from a thicket. But they say a picture’s worth a thousand words, so in defiance of my writer’s heart, I’ll let my snapshots speak for themselves. Continue reading “Texas: Home, Home on the Range”

Birthday Presents & Painting Tools

So I know it’s totally cheating to open presents a week+ before your birthday. I also know that at almost let’s-not-talk-about-it years old, I should have some self-control.

But when that promising box from Jackson’s Art Supplies showed up, I couldn’t resist.

As a watercolorist who has a hard time perceiving myself as anything but an amateur, I’ve been content to pick up my brushes here and there from Michaels and Hobby Lobby. But a few years ago, I treated myself to some tubes of Winsor & Newton’s gorgeously saturated paint…. Then my husband gave me some “grown up” watercolor paper for my last birthday…. And now my sweet parents have dropped some Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes in my lap.

Suffice it to say, I’m a wee bit spoiled. Continue reading “Birthday Presents & Painting Tools”

Wine Tastings & Touring New Towns

My first experience doing a wine tasting was at a dear friend’s bachelorette party, when we did a marathon session at five different vineyards in the Midwest, starting at the early hour of 11 a.m. (Don’t worry. We were safely D.D.ed by our handy-dandy limo driver.)

Needless to say, by the time the tasting portion of the day was starting to wine-d (get it?!) down, I was very ready to stop sipping and get something more than cheese and crackers in my stomach. But I was also pretty sold on this “tasting” thing. It was like a little adventure in a glass–you never knew what flavors awaited you in the next sample.

But I’m not into doing tastings solo, so my opportunities have been pretty few and far between–living overseas for long stretches and often being far from family and friends has that effect. But I’ve rustled up the occasional partner in crime. My bro invited me to join him and his friends at a lovely Texas winery. And on her recent odyssey to visit us in our new homestead in the D.C. area, my sis-in-law Brooke was good enough to accompany me to Great Shoals. (We abandoned the husbands at home. #SorryNotSorry.) Continue reading “Wine Tastings & Touring New Towns”

Publication News!

Already anxious about your Christmas shopping? Wondering what to get the literature nerd in your life? (After all, you can only buy them so many book cover T-shirts from Out of Print. Of course, they also offer sweatshirts, scarves, mugs….)

Well, look no further! Hitting stores in late December, Family, Friends & Foes: Human Dynamics in Hispanic Worlds marks the newest anthology in a series on Hispanic literature that includes other such favorites as:

And may I recommend, in particular, Chapter 4: “ ‘In This Madhouse’: Myth, Message, and Kaleidoscopic Kin in Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude“?

It just so happens to share its author in common with this blog. And that makes for notch number 4 in my lit anthology gun belt!

Image result for huzzah meme

FEATURED IMAGES PROPERTY OF SUSSEX ACADEMIC PRESS (COVER DESIGN PROOF) AND MakeAMeme.org.

Like what you’ve read? Follow my blog via email or WordPress (on the sidebar), or shoot me an email (using the footer).

Comedy & Query Trenches

I recently took a 6-month hiatus from querying literary agents so I could focus on putting my historical novel on a very-much-needed weight loss plan. Now that I’ve lopped off 30+ percent of the book (and it can finally wiggle back into that little black dress), it’s time for me to return to the query trenches.

As anyone who’s been there before–or is hunkered down now–can attest, those trenches are not a fun place to be. There’s a lot of research, a lot of letter-honing, a lot of hoping/praying, a lot of waiting, a lot of stress-eating-ice-cream-by-the-pint.

A lot of bracing for the inevitable rejection. As Dana Stabenow said,

“To be a writer is to embrace rejection as a way of life.”

Continue reading “Comedy & Query Trenches”

Bite-Sized Book Reviews: “All The Light We Cannot See”

I don’t know if this is true for all writers, but sometimes when I curl up with a novel, I find myself playing the game of Who’s The Better Writer: Me or the Author?

I don’t recommend this game; it can suck the joy right out of reading. I’ve also wound up with several bouts of inferiority complex. But once my brain kicks into that gear, it can be tricky to turn off.

In an odd way, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See is comforting in this regard. With his gorgeous prose and masterful plot, Doerr is so obviously out of my league that I can happily settle into the hands of this superior artist (who is, after all, a Pulitzer Prize winner).

Set during World War II, All the Light weaves together the stories of Marie-Laure–a courageous French girl afflicted by blindness–and Werner, an intellectually-gifted young German whose talents in radio science are used to identify (and eliminate) resistance fighters. Continue reading “Bite-Sized Book Reviews: “All The Light We Cannot See””

Paint Hack

#LifeHack: When your watercolor palette is on a slow-moving boat somewhere between your last post in South America and your new home in Washington, D.C., a CorningWare lid makes for a handy mixing tray for the colors in your travel kit. Who knew? (Well, besides my troubleshooting husband.) #ForeignServiceProblems #NomadicArt

Like what you’ve read? Follow my blog via email or WordPress (on the sidebar), or shoot me an email (using the footer).