XIII ~ July 2008

Now that the new book is out and I've been doing some readings here and there, it's been fun talking with fans of Elizabeth —some who've been with her from the beginning and others who've just discovered our girl. It's great to meet more and more folks out there who ‘get' what Elizabeth 's about. I think of the woman at one reading who said that she enjoyed the descriptions of Elizabeth 's doing the dishes so much that she was thinking about getting rid of her dishwasher.

Ever since I blogged about going back to a clothesline , as a money-saving and environmentally friendly move, people have been telling me they were doing the same thing. Things are getting dire in the energy world and every small savings helps. Look for Elizabeth to get a smaller, gas-efficient car and save the old jeep for trips requiring four wheel drive. (Just as my husband and I have done.)

And I'm very happy to say that Kathryn Stripling Byer, the Poet Laureate of North Carolina has started a blog ( Kay Byer blog ) after listening to me go on about how much I enjoyed doing mine. Go to Kay's blog for beautiful, accessible poetry that speaks directly to the heart of rural life, the mountains, and everything that matters. Read it aloud to yourself for a small, quietly refreshing break in the day's routine.


At this time of year the garden is always on my mind. Here's a link to follow for an end of June garden stroll


Thanks to Molly Weston, NC's Mystery Maven, who set up four mystery panels and included me, I'm going to the Triangle (NC's Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area)! (If you're in the area, check the schedule below for times and places – I'd love to meet some of you in the flesh!)

Katie B., a fan and a writer herself, has convinced Highland Books in Brevard they need to have me over there – see schedule below.


About a year ago some folks recorded a brief video interview with me. If you're interested, here's the link. But note: I had to down load this (Apple Quicktime Player) in order to watch the video. If you do so (and it's quite easy), be sure the sign up box is unchecked in order to avoid promotional emails.



(or ‘you uns,' as Miss Birdie would say)

Ann C., my agent (who has also been reading my daily blog) wrote:

“Pictures of flowers & animals = lovely.

Pictures of MOTHS, SNAKES (!), and DOG DICK PLANTS = are you out of your mind??? :-P”

( and then she had one of those little faces, all red and sticking out its tongue. As you may remember, Ann's a city girl and hates all bugs with “their creepy mutant feet.”

Pat in TN says: Right now I'm reading the 'Sisters of Holmes County' series by Wanda E. Brunstetter.  My husband is from Amish Country/Holmes Co, OH, and this series is about the Amish lifestyle and some 'problems' that develop along the way.  I wouldn't really call it a mystery series, although there are some elements of surprise along the way, but they're a nice, easy read.  Kind of nice for this time of year when we're all so busy and we want to read but nothing too heavy or involved. . . I've always been fascinated with the Amish and their way of life. 

Pat also reported reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein The following is from BookSense.

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

and Pat says: I finished reading "The Art of Racing in the Rain" last week and highly recommend it.  It's the story of a family, their ups and downs, as told through their dog.  It gives an interesting perspective.  I always wonder what goes on in my dogs' minds and sometimes wonder if they aren't trying to tell/teach me things, but of course when I express this to some folks they're ready to have me committed!!!  They're like "a dog is just a dog ... an animal", mmmmmmm ....   To each his own I guess. 

From Jean B. in Arkansas : . . . please don't change a thing. The dialect takes me back to my childhood and some folks around here still talk that way!

I'm hearing this from a lot of folks, including native mountain folks, which helps me to ignore the reviewer who said that “mountain speak” was a “questionable choice.”

Phyllis W. sent me the link to a terrific garden blog – lots of pictures to drool over.

Joan C. recommends I Shall Not Want, Julia Spencer-Fleming's latest .

Eleanor W. asks: have you read anything by Jhumpa Lahiri?  Her new book, Unaccustomed Earth is just wonderful as is her earlier one called The Namesake.  Try 'em, you'll like 'em!  Also I recently read Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout which is oddly similar to Unaccustomed Earth in the way it is put together...also wonderful.

Kay B., commenting on my blog . , suggested a look at the website of an amazing artist. Beautiful, beautiful nature art at

Elizabeth 's been traveling this summer!!! Susan T. took her to Italy and left a copy somewhere for someone to discover; Jackie P. took her on a cruise off the New England coast; and Lee F. took her to Alaska . Cool!!


Recent Reads

Some books I've enjoyed

My Cousin Rachel - Daphne Du Maurier I can't believe I hadn't already read this! Picked it up at the library's discarded books sale and devoured it! As I said last month, nobody does it like Daphne.

Mary Anne – Daphne Du Maurier Obviously, I can't read just one. Historical fiction. Mary Anne is Du Maurier's great-great grandmother, the scandalous mistress of the Duke of York during the Napoleonic Wars. Wonderfully told and you learn a good deal of English political history,

Bleak House - Charles Dickens audio, read beautifully by Robert Whitfield Leisurely, textured, funny, delightful!!!

A Grave Talent – Laurie R. King The first of King's Kate Martinelli series and as good as I'd hoped for. (You all know I'm a huge fan of Ms. King)

Meet Mr. Mulliner – P.G Wodehouse Classic Brit humor from the master

Appalachia Inside Out: Volume 2, Culture and Custom – edited by Robert J. Higgs, Ambrose N. Manning, and Jim Wayne Miller Interesting compilation of stories, poems, scholarly essays, and first person narrative.

Black Shawl, Wildwood Flower, The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest – Kathryn Stripling Byer Three slim volumes of lovely, deceptively simple poetry. Those of you who love the Appalachian settings and characters like Miss Birdie and Little Sylvie should find that these resonate with you. Kay Byer isn't just the NC Poet Laureate – she's a treasure.

The Cartoon History of the Universe III – Larry Gonnick History in cartoon form. Witty and amazingly thorough. All of Gonnick's cartoon histories are terrific – painless, fun learning! (They make fine gifts for high school and college age too – those nieces and nephews you don't know what to give.)

When You Are Engulfed in Flames – David Sedaris (audio, read by himself) I could listen to Sedaris read the phone book and still giggle. I'm listening to this in the car and get some strange looks as I'm grinning like a maniac while stopped at a red light,


Vicki's Schedule

Thursday, July 24

11 to 1~ Highland Books, Brevard , NC . Vicki will be talking about the Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries, especially the recently released In a Dark Season. 277 N. Broad St. Brevard , N.C. 28712 ~828-884-2424

7 pm ~ The Open Book, Greenville SC. Vicki will speak at the meeting of the Upstate Chapter of Sisters in Crime. 7 pm. Open to the public.

More info to come.


Thursday, August 14

12:00 - Brown Bag Lunch at Eva Perry Library in Apex,NC  - Mystery panel with Mary Anna Evans, Cathy Pickens, Mark de Castrique, and Vicki Lane

7:30 at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC -Mystery panel with Mary Anna Evans, Cathy Pickens, Mark de Castrique, and Vicki Lane


Friday, August 15

2:00 at  McIntyre's Fine Books in Pittsboro , NC . Mystery panel with Mary Anna Evans, Mark de Castrique, and Vicki Lane

7:00 at The Regulator in Durham, NC - Mystery panel with Mary Anna Evans, Mark de Castrique, and Vicki Lane


Beginning mid-September, I'll be teaching an advanced fiction class through UNCA's Great Smokies Writing Program . It's called THE FIRST FORTY

 This ten session class is aimed at those writers with a novel in progress, almost completed, or completed but in need of a final polishing. Each student will submit the first forty pages (half at the beginning of the course, the rest during the sixth week) of his work in progress for discussion and critique by the class and close editing with written comments by the instructor. We will focus on the effective use of key techniques such as creating an intriguing opening line and a compelling first chapter, creating a likable and/or engaging protagonist, weaving in back story in small, manageable doses, setting up a dilemma that begs to be resolved  -- in general, producing a page-turner. We will attempt to weed out the mistakes that mark the amateur writer and turn each student into a discerning editor of his own work.  The goal will be to polish those first forty page till they are ready to catch the attention of an agent, an editor, a publisher and make them ask for more.   The text will be the just-released Don't Sabotage Your Submission by career manuscript editor Chris Roerden (Bella Rosa books --ISBN 978-1-933523-31-6.)


Saturday, September 13 - Carolina Mountains Literary Festival, Burnsville , NC . Vicki will be doing a workshop, a panel and a reading. More info to come.


October 9-12 ~Bouchercon ( The mystery convention), Baltimore, MD

More info to come.



Sunday, March 1, 3 pm ~ Vicki is speaking at the Troy, NC Public Library. Sponsored by the Montgomery County Friends of the Library.

Contact: David Atkins, Manager

Montgomery County Public Libraries

215 West Main Street

Troy , NC 27371

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