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Reina Torres: An Idea, Some Spare Parts, and a Little Bit of Magic (Contest)
Sunday, May 17th, 2020

UPDATE: The winner is…Pansy Petal!

First Response: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology

My degree is in Costume Design and Construction, so I make the BIG MONEY! Just kidding, but you knew that already. What I love about costuming, especially on a big scale with a small budget, is just how creative you have to be.

I guess, when you look back at my life, my passion has been in the arts. I was a type-A student for the academics stuff, but I loved the arts. As I grew older, it wasn’t just being a dancer or an actress, the background/technical theater “stuff” became my new focus.

Now, I never made a living as a costumer, but when my son was in middle school, they did a small scale production of Pirates of Penzance. There was already a costumer on the show, but I enjoyed finding cheap alternatives for costumes… and that continued on into my son’s high school years. When they did a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I had a blast!

But I also had a huge headache!

How do you take $600 dollars and make a complete production with one seamstress (me) and my costume assistant (my son)? Well, my mother’s curtains became Peaseblossom’s bodice and hood, a bag of ripped T-shirts from Goodwill were cut into leaves for Oberon’s costume so he could hide as part of the forest…and on and on…

But my biggest “make it work” moment was Bottom’s donkey head. It started out as a random concept of putting foam on a hat and then adding the “skin.” So out I went to get foam scrap, some super glue, a yard of grey felt, and a few random odds and ends.

I had to chop the foam and stick it here and there on the baseball cap from my son’s peewee days, and then carve away the mound of foam until it looked like a donkey head. It’s a random, learn-as-you-go process, but that head cost me less than ten dollars and it was a complete labor of love…and creativity.

Now, why am I telling you all of this?

Well, writing a short story, for me, follows the same process.

Get the idea, gather some parts (plot points), and start adding in the magic. For the First Response: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology I started with the idea…a rescue.

Firefighters. Good one.

Oh, a firefighter rescuing a firefighter. Okay…then what?

Rival firehouses? Okay…that’s good for conflict!

Maybe they knew each other in the Academy? And they were almost a thing? Okay, okay, keep it coming. And now that he…no, now that she pulled his hot ass from the frying pan…oh…someone’s getting lucky! Oh, wait! No, they both are!

Once I had those pieces together, I realized I needed more pieces. I went to a talk done by Kristin Higgins’ husband about firefighters, and when I asked him for his advice about what kind of an accident would require time off but not endanger his job or career, he answered and I’m so grateful.

All of this for a short story?

Yep! Absolutely! And writers? We do it over and over again. It’s a rush, it’s a drudge, it’s a crazy random happenstance sometimes! So, here’s hoping you’ll order your copy of First Response: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology and discover the rollercoaster that I took Webb & Gina on!

You’ll also see them in my Center City First Responders Series! So make friends with them now!

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope you’ll enter the giveaway, too!


Sometimes, we have to create on the fly. A missing ingredient in a recipe. Or a Halloween costume created from some bedsheets and bungee chord? Tell me what’s a moment that made you celebrate your own creativity!!

Win your choice of one of my books, like Justice for Sloane!

6 comments to “Reina Torres: An Idea, Some Spare Parts, and a Little Bit of Magic (Contest)”

  1. bn100
    · May 17th, 2020 at 7:21 pm · Link

    change up a recipe

  2. Pansy Petal
    · May 17th, 2020 at 8:50 pm · Link

    I am a crafter. Like you I started in the world of fashion, but unlike you, I didn’t feel myself creative enough to do more than personal stuff. These days, I sew very little but I knit or crochet all the time. Recently, I have been veering away from the patterns and doing my own thing. Sometime it works and I love it. Other times, not so much and I tear it out and do something else. Either way, I am having fun.

    Love the sound of your story. I look forward to reading it. Thank you.

  3. Debra Guyette
    · May 18th, 2020 at 6:12 am · Link

    I have added things to recipes like one for jambalaya and it is now my family’s favorite.

  4. flchen1
    · May 23rd, 2020 at 11:06 pm · Link

    Ooh, I have my copy preordered, Reina! As for celebrating my creativity, it’s been awhile! I mostly prefer to follow patterns or recipes, and have been blessed to share homemade afghans with friends and family. And way back when, I used to play with calligraphy and made handlettered gifts for special occasions. Those were worth celebrating 😉 Can’t wait to read your story!

  5. Reina Torres
    · May 28th, 2020 at 11:39 am · Link

    bn100 & Debra G- you’re both braver than I am… I fear that if I veer off of the recipe things will go horribly wrong… keep going!

    flchen1 – Thanks for preordering a copy!! I’ve own several calligraphy pens in my life but I’m a chicken when it comes to using them.. I’m afraid to make blotches!!

    Pansy- so impressed that you knit! I can only crochet the simplest things like a scarf or a beanie hat! So exciting!

  6. Delilah
    · May 28th, 2020 at 12:04 pm · Link

    The winner is…Pansy! Congrats! I sent your email addy along to Reina!

Comments are closed.