XXI~ March 2009

I'm sending this a few days early as I'll be on the road this weekend. Past experience has shown that sometimes I have trouble sending emails when working with a hotel's WiFi. Thence, this preemptive strike~

The bad news is that Herself, while saying that Miss Birdie's story is ‘magnificent,' feels there is some substantial re-working necessary before The Day of Small Things is ready for prime time. So I'm getting rid of one character who was detracting from Birdie, as well as a sub plot that was unbalancing the story, and so forth and so on.

Because I'm so behind schedule, the book probably won't come out till early January . . . 2010. I hate this for all of you who've been waiting, patiently or otherwise, but I'm confident that my editor's suggestions will make this, ultimately, a much stronger book.

So I'm back at it, trying to fix things in the book so that Miss Birdie can shine undimmed. And trying, also, to Get It Done because Spring will be upon us before we know it and there's a garden out there waiting.

                                      QUESTIONS AND OBSERVATIONS FROM YOU ALL

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

Eleanor in St. Petersburg recommends the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” and suggests reading White Tiger, recent winner of the Mann-Booker award, to go with it.

Suzanne brought this to my attention. I'd already put the first link on my blog but the video is a delight!

I came across the following in the NYT which intrigued me.

When I 'googled' this Maira Kalman, I came across the following video of her, which I enjoyed during its entirety of 17+ minutes.  I also realized that I had seen her artwork.

Which led me to discover TED - "an event where the world's leading doers and thinkers gather to find inspiration".  I sampled only a few of other videos and found it fascinating.  Might be fun to attend this event sometime.

Bo, aka The Old Word Cobbler says, re a blog post : Your grammar comments took me back to my childhood when learning the King's English was a confusing time. During the week at the elementary school, Ms. Lett taught us that we lie down when we go to bed.  Then at church, in Sunday school, we had to memorize, “Now I lay me down to sleep….”
            Ms. Lett would also tell us to “sit down in our seats” when she wanted class to start. But every adult in the family would greet visitors at the door with, “Y'all, come on in and set a spell.”

This from Sophie, my French translator in Paris: Living in Ontario, I first went to an English school (up to grade 4) . I was always an avid reader but... in English. My favorite was the "Nancy Drew" series. My mother desperately wanted me to read in French but somehow I wasn't comfortable. One day she came up to me and handed me a book in French, saying : "if you finish this, I have a surprise for you"... Well, I soon discovered that "Alice", the heroine of the book she had given me was none other than... Nancy Drew ! Naturally I devoured it and was handed my surprise. Another book in French ! (In retrospect, maybe it explains my current profession).

PAT in TN writes : I've been doing a lot of reading this winter too.  A variety of books.  You mentioned female sleuths in your blog ... one author I like is Donna Ball.  She has a series, the Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries, that are interesting and a good, quick read.  The author is from the area, western NC/northeast GA, so she knows her stuff, and the books involve dogs, which I can hardly ever turn down a dog story.  I had gotten tired of Patricia Cornwell's books for a while, she seemed to have lost her spunk, but SCARPETTA was a good read.  I've also liked Kathy Reichs, and although a couple of her books are in my TBR pile, I have been putting off choosing them.  Odd ... weird?  Yep!  Guess the time just isn't right?

Mary B. sent me this titter-worthy link:
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Members of Quilters of South Carolina have created one-of-a-kind bras for Breast Cancer Awareness. The exhibit consists of 49 original works of art which are unique, entertaining, humorous, and beautiful to make the public aware of breast cancer, to memorialize those lost to the disease, and to honor survivors.


Books I've enjoyed during the past month

Exit Lady Masham by Louis Auchincloss - a slender little fictionalization of real events at the court of Queen Anne – and how Sarah Churchill, the mighty Duchess of Marlborough, was undone by a poor relation. Very interesting, especially as I remember the fascinating PBS series “The First Churchills” some years ago.

Suite Francais by Irene Nemirovsky – a beautiful book about France during the Nazi occupation.. I blogged about it and the following two here.

Murder in the Marais by Cara Black The first book of a series set in Paris (but written by a Texan.) A terrific protagonist to match the great setting. I'll be reading the rest of this series.

Now May You Weep by Deborah Crombie another new-to me series that I'm already hooked on. The series is set in the UK – this particular book, in Scotland. Oh for time to read all day!

Blood Hollow by William Kent Krueger Yet another series – this one set in Minnesota. I read this book and realized that I was being reminded of Tony Hillerman. Highly recommended – I've got to go back to the beginning

I met Cara, Deborah, and Kent on my recent trip to Alabama and was charmed, first by their personalities, and then by their writing. Highly recommended, all of them.

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean A wonderful, elegant, thoughtful book – beautifully told story of love and survival, both during the Siege of Leningrad and later, in America as Alzheimer's demands another sort of love and another sort of survival. I really loved this book and wish I could remember who gave or lent it to me.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (audio, read by the author) Bryson is always fun.

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson (audio, read by the author) An intriguing glance at Australia, a country/continent about which I know staggeringly little. Trust Bryson to take the path less traveled and report on his misadventures with wry humor.

Vicki's Schedule


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


Tuesday, March 31 ~ Colloquium at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green


Friday and Saturday, May 8-9 -- Blue Ridge Book and Author Showcase. Flat Rock, NC.

I'm really excited about this. Sharyn McCrumb, Kay Byer, Sheila Kay Adams, and Joan Medlicott – all of whom have befriended me and helped me on my journey – will be presenting, as well as many other noted writers – including Robert Morgan.

Billed as "a festival and convocation in celebration of authorship, creative writing and the joy of reading," organizers of the Blue Ridge Book & Author Showcase have launched an ambitious inaugural project. The venue will be the soon-to-be-completed crown jewel of the Blue Ridge Community College campus in Flat Rock, NC--the Technical Education and Development Center. The event is scheduled for May 8-9, 2009. Free and open to the public, it is expected to draw attendance from throughout the state and region.

Vicki will be speaking at 10 AM on Saturday the 9 th and will have a table in the exhibit area where she will be available throughout the day. More info

Saturday, August 1, Haywood Book Mania, Waynesville, NC More info to come

Saturday, August 22, Episcopal Women's Luncheon, Waynesville, NC.

Friday and Saturday, September 11-12 - CAROLINA MOUNTAINS LITERARY FESTIVAL,  Burnsville, NC.  Info to come

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