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Kyle, Texas
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March 2, 2011     Hays Free Press
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March 2, 2011
 

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IJlIIWHMmdJAILJ ILjliJ[ L UqIImBRI.,,LLIlU/lUJ .=ut,uL, Page 6C NEIGHBORS + Hays Free Press March 2,2011 + Kyle native inks three-book deal BY ANN FRIO0 Special to the Hays Free Press " eather Anastasiu, a Kyle native and gradu-. . ate student in English at Texas State University, has signed a three-book deal with St. Martin's Press to publish her trilogy for young adults, a fantasy series titled "Glitch." The first volume will come out in summer 2012, and the next two volumes will follow at nine-month intervals. Pub- lishers in Germany, France and Russia have also bought the rights to publish "Glitch" in translation. The trilogy, which Anasta- siu describes as "1984 meets X-Men," presents a dystopian society in which people are controlled by computer chips implanted in their brains. When 17-year-old Zoe Gray's hardware malfunctions, she develops powerful telekinesis and finds other "glitchers" with superpowers such as x- ray vision, shape-shifting and the ability to see the future. Together, they plan their escape from the controlling society but soon learn there is a powerful faction at work whose ambitions threaten The trilogy, which Anastasiu describes as "19o4 meets X-Men," presents a dystopian society in wbicb people are controlled by computer chips implanted in their brains. When 17-year-old Zoe Gray's hardware malfunctions, she develops powerful telekinesis and finds other "glitcbers'witb suPerpozoers such as x-ray vision, shape-shifting and the ability to see the future. their success. Anastasiu, 28, grew up in Kyle. She is an avid reader of young adult fantasy and says she has wanted to write dys- topian fiction since she read George Orwell's "1984" while attending Jack C. Hays High School. A dystopia is a society characterized by repressive social control systems. "'1984' was one of the first books I read in school that was as good as the books I liked to read for fun," she said. "The story of the illegal love relationship that oc- curs within the confines of a controlled society was so startling that it made me cry. And, as a teenager at the time, I connected to the characters' attempt to find freedom and their failure to subvert authority. "I like the young adult fan- tasy genre because it's about imagined worlds and the of- ten rebellious and subversive process of searching for one's identity. These are power- ful themes. Also, the genre generally combines quality writing with good storytell- ing," said Anastasiu. Anastasiu, who is writing her master's thesis on young adult fantasy literature, com- poses her novels during vaca- tion breaks. She wrote the first installment of "Glitch" in July 2010 and has written 20,000 words of the second book in the trilogy. "It isn't hard to get started, and I've never had writer's block because creative writing is such a joy," she said. "Once I get started, it takes a week to get into the groove, butonce I'm in the groove I can usually have the first draft of a book written within a month." Anastasiu said she does her best work at coffee shops and late-night restaurants where she often produces 2,000 words in one or two hours while listening to music through headphones. "I really like the energy in coffee shops. I can look up and see the activity around me, and the driving beat of the music helps the words flow," she said. Anastasiu began writing seriously about four years ago, and has published short pieces in literary magazines. Before finding a publisher for "Glitch," she wrote "two very COURTESY PHOTO Texas State graduate student Heather Anastasiu, who grew up in Kyle, has inked a book contract for fantasy triology aimed at young adults. bad novels and then one not- as-bad novel," all of which publishers rejected. "So much of the publication process is rejection, rejection, rejection. But in every rejection, I've tried to understand what I've needed to change." Ironically, one of Anasta- siu's rejections was from Texas State's Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing, when she applied for admis- sion three years ago. She enrolled instead in the Master of Arts in Literature program. "I took the rejection as evidence that I wasn't good enough yet as a writer and that I needed to keep work- ing. One of the biggest rea- sons I've gotten to this level of writing is my ability to incor- porate critique without being egotistical about my work. I've taken each rejection as a means to push myself further, to learn more, or to start an- other project,,' she said. While Anastasiu's plan was always to be a writer, she hopes to pursue a Ph.D. after she completes the "Glitch" trilogy. She wiU complete her master's degree in Dec. 2011. Her husband, David, will complete a master's degree in computer science at Texas State in August. About the impending pub- lication of"Glitch," Anastasiu said, "I'm breathing in relief that I'll be able to take care of my family a little bit better. One of my professors, novel- ist Debra Monroe, congratu- lated-me on my book deal and said there's nothing like the sale of your first book." PHOTO BY LAUREEN CHERNOW Judge swears in new Historical Commission members Newly appointed and re-appointed members of the Hays County Historical Commission posed in front of the statue of Jack C. Hays at the County Courthouse on Feb. 22, just in time for the March 1 anniversary of the founding of Hays County. They were sworn in for a two-year term by Hays County Judge Bert Cobb during the regular Commissioners Court meeting. Seven of the Historical Commission members are new to the 24-mem- ber commission. (Front) Luanne Cullen, Richard Kicld, Celeste Zygmont, Madeline Van Brunt, Betty Harrison, Ofelia Vasquez-Philo, SarahAnn Lowther, Dorothy Gumbert, Clemmie New, J. Marie Bassett, Jerry Bullock, (middle row) Jeffrey Jordan, Adam Wagner, Marianne Moore, Kate John- son, Richard Gachot, (top) Shelley Henry, Samantha Bellows, Linda Coker, Robert Frizzell, Jim Cullen. Not pictured: Bonnie Eissler, Mary Giberson, Lu Hickeynd ex officio member LaMarr Peterson. PHOTO BY LAUREEN CHERNOW Hays County receives new Veteran Van The Hays County Commissioners Court recently toured the county's new van that will help transport area veterans to medical appointments at the Audie Murphy VA Hospital in San Antonio. The new van accommodates more passengers and has an automated wheelchair lift. Pictured left to right are, (front) Mike Mendoza, Hays County Veteran Services Officer; Aggie Lopez, assistant VSO,; Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe; Sam Tobar, U.S. Army Veteran and transport rider; (middle) Judge Bert Cobb; Pct. 3 Commissioner Will 3onley; Pct. 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant; (back) Pct. 2 Commissioner Mark Jones; Abel Velasquez, Hays County Safety Specialist and van dlriver Ernest Costilla. Onion Creek: Getting centered Continued from pg. 1C of cards. Research findings back up that claim. A recent report in the Journal of Health and So- cial Behavior examined the health and social networks of senior citizens, finding that those who felt socially isolated also reported poorer physical health and mental well-being, while a strong social network was corre- lated with better health. The business meeting begins at 9:30 a.m., with an auction fundraiser following at 10:30 a.m. Incumbents JoAnn Keller and Carolynn Hesser and newcomer Donna Sinner are running uncontested for three open board seats. A fajita lunch will be served, with tickets costing $8. Leming Garden: End of an era Continued from pg. 1C house behind the produce stand, they rarely inter- rupted the people who were shopping in their front yard. After the customers had cho- sen what they wanted, they weighed it themselves and dropped their money into a metal contraption marked "Money Box: Need change? Come to house." The produce stand oper- ated on the honor system, because the Lemings be- lieved their neighbors were honest and wouldn't take advantage of them. Usually the neighbors proved them right. "It made the customers feel good," Mary Gail said. "He trusts me, and I'll live up to that. The people were wonderful. I can tell you, they treated us right." Sadly, though, the pro- duce stand is no more. Sam and Mary Gall have called it quits. They've stacked up the tomato cages, parked the tractor and cleaned out the greenhouse. Sam's still wearing his trademark blue jumpsuit, but that's about it. "I don't mind telling you," Sam said, "I hated like hell giving it up. I still do." He had no choice, really. The Lemings, both 74 years old, had been raising and selling produce and flowers for 17 years. In their heyday Sam was growing as many as a thousand tomato plants and other veggles on their two acres, and he and Mary Gaff would show up at various farmers markets with 500 or 600 pounds of tomatoes. They'd often sell out within three hours. "It was a booger," Sam said. The venture had begun much smaller, though, when Sam retired and began to maintain a backyard plot on their property in Buda. Mary Gall was his field hand. Be- fore long they were planting every scrap of ground that received enough sunlight. "It got bigger and bigger and it just got out of hand, so we started going to farmers markets," he said. "The last four or five years we sold out here in the front yard on the honor system." Customers would park on the road or at the end of the Lemings' driveway and sift through the morning's har- vest, which Sam and Mary Gall laid out on a table by the street. In four or five years, only twice did thieves steal the Lemings' daily profits. The couple earned far more in produce salesthan they lost from theft. In fact, the farming venture was more lucrative than many people might have guessed. "Okay," Sam said, "I'll go ahead and tell you: Whatever profits we made we spent on travel." Over the years Sam and Mary Gall visited 10 or 11 countries in Europe, as well as Egypt, Turkey, the Holy Land and Canada. "It was a double bang," Sam said. "We got one bang from raising the produce. It was fun. Then you take a trip, and you have fun again." Last year, the couple spent their 50th wedding anni- versary inVenice, Italy. In Venice, though, Mary Gall had noticed a change in her husband. "Sam was kind of drag- glng," she said. "He was. When we came home we went to the doctor, and he said Sam's heart valve is played out, and he'll have to have it replaced. "That was our last trip, and I don't know if we'll be taking any more." Sam had surgery on ]uly 28. Five months later, he was asked if he'd been feeling any better. "I'll be 75 come spring," Sam replied. "I'll show you a hundred fellows who are my age. Most of'em will be dead. A lot of them will be in wheelchairs." Compared to those fel- lows, he seemed to imply, Sam had been doing pretty well. He has gone ahead and plowed up a corner of his backyard, where onions are already growing, and he'll raise a little squash, a few tomatoes, maybe a panful of green beans. Nothing fancy, a typical backyard garden. The days of commercial harvests are behind him. "It's too hard on us at our age," Mary Gall said. "Sam will really hate it, but I don't think it's wise for him. But we'll find something to do." When the interview had concluded and it was time for pictures, Mary Gail ran inside, put on a nice collared shirt and applied a fresh coat of red lipstick. Her husband was wearing his blue jump- suit. Mary Gall insisted that he spruce up a bit, as well. "Sam, go put your teeth in," she told him. "Get in there and put your teeth in." Sam complied. +