III – September 1, 2007

At long last, over two months past my deadline, at 12:30 a.m. on August 23 rd , I finished the first draft of In A Dark Season – and sent it off to my editor, who will, no doubt, be appalled by its manifold sins and weaknesses and hurl it back through cyberspace for me to fix. But for the moment, I'm trying not to think about Elizabeth and her problems.

During the last two weeks of work on the book I found myself absolutely longing to go outside and pull weeds or work on a quilt or paint – a wall or a painting, it didn't matter, just something non-verbal. Even house cleaning – of the really serious spring-cleaning sort –began to have a certain appeal.

 So now I have a little lull and I'm wanting to do Everything. It is fiendishly hot, so aside from a bit of weeding in the late evening or picking tomatoes in the early morning, the garden is out. I'm working up to that serious housecleaning – a drawer at a time – where does all that junk come from? And why is it so hard to throw away?

And at long last, I've had time put together a baby quilt for a new great-niece in Florida . The blocks are Florida water birds, executed in embroidery by various family members and they've (the blocks, not the family members) been sitting patiently in a box since late April. I came up with a quick and easy way of joining and quilting them to continue the water theme and here's what it looks like, in its partially quilted, unfinished state. 


The little quilt for Lily Marie (b. 3/11/2007) is meant as a wall hanging rather than something for actual use, as the embroidery wouldn't survive a lot of washing.

My daughter-in-law Aileen did the flamingo


Lots more pictures coming – remember, if they don't show up right away, mouse over the blank space and left click.


Old Wounds was named an August ‘Killer Book” by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association! Thanks, IMBA! 


Marshal Zeringue has an interesting blog in which authors suggest actors to play the characters from their books and he asked me to do this for the Elizabeth Goodweather books. I had to get outside help from a friend to fill in the blanks and she did a great job. Check it out, for some seriously idiosyncratic casting. 


And on August 18, I was guest blogger on WritersPlot- a terrific blog from five writers – all ‘women of a certain age,' one told me. Lots of interesting stuff in their site. For those of you who like my stories about the ‘old timers,' there are a couple here.



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

Deb Andolino (of Aliens and Alibis ( ) and

Margaret B. both asked about hardback copies of the Elizabeth Goodweather Mysteries


My books are all paperback originals -- which means there are no hardbacks. except for ART'S BLOOD, which was done in a hardback edition for The Mystery Guild Book Club and is available through them. I'm torn: would love it if they were hardcover but know that the paperbacks are an easier sell to folks who haven't ever heard of me. 


Deb also asked if I grew up gardening or came to it later in life. 

I began in my late twenties, when my husband and I built a house on a lake in Florida . Became really serious about it when we moved to our farm and I got onto canning and freezing in a big way. I still have my dirt-smudged copy of Rodale's Organic Gardening though I finally got rid of the stacks of Mother Earth News.


Sally H., who lives in my area and is working to restore the American chestnut, says: “My favorite recent saying was from an old farmer commiserating with me on my poor soil.  ‘The soil's so pore you can't even raise hell on it.'”


Pat W. asks: “Who are your favorite authors or what types of books do you like?” Carol M. asks: “H ave you read or like Sue Grafton or Susan W. Albert? I do.”

One of the real downsides of writing is that I don't have nearly the time to read that I'd like.

I'm embarrassed to say that I've not read Grafton or Albert 

In mystery I'm very fond of Tony Hillerman, Lee Child, Harlan Coben, Laurie King, Elizabeth George, Dorothy L. Sayers. Agatha Christie, Sharyn McCrumb, P.D. James …to name just a few.

Other authors would be Robertson Davies. Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Tyler, Lee Smith, Elizabeth Goudge, Susan Cooper, C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, Mark Twain, Muriel Spark, Angela Thirkell, Pamela Duncan and on and on.


Tammy in Missouri (whose website ( you all might enjoy) says, after reading the LORE section of my website ):

“I can also vouch for the spiderweb/cobwebs!  I had to cut some horns on a young wether that were threatening to grow into his head.  After the first one was snipped off, it seemed okay, so the other one got snipped as well.  Then they both started gushing blood.  I was horrified.  I had boughten some blood stop powder in case they bled some, but despite the large quantities I doused on the horn stubs, the blood kept a coming.  I finally jumped up, ran to the barn and gathered handfuls of cobwebs.  By holding a gob of cobwebs on each horn and applying pressure the worst of the bleeding soon stopped, or settled to an ooze. The cobwebs stayed in place.   I had blood all over my clothes, hands, arms.  I was sure the little feller would die, but he seemed none the worse for wear--just really hungry! ha...”


Tammy adds: “ I would really enjoy local tidbits of people you interact with, lots more pictures of your garden and the farm (!) and maybe some of the critters.  I'm like 'Margaret' who likes to hear about the reflections on older women, but really anything about the 'old timers' is always interesting to me.”


Beef Devon Cattle on a pasture at the lower part of our farm

(about where Elizabeth 's herb beds would be) photo:Vic Copeland


Josie S. (red jacket), Vicki (blue apron), Bear (aka Ursa) William (aka James)

and Eddie the very large ex-Tom cat. Photo: Ingrid Schaffner


Molly (who joined us, already named, after I already had a Molly in the books). Photo: Ingrid Schaffner

William (the original of James) on our front porch

(photo: Vic Copeland)

Maggie ( Elizabeth 's Molly, with Vicki's Molly in the background) Photo: Ingrid Schaffner

Miss Susie Hutchins (photo Vic Copeland)

Jack and Dan -the Border Boys Photo: John Skemp



The sundial at the top of our road and the view to the east.

My younger son, who is an artist with dry laid stone, made the spiral bed which is planted with veronica, sedum, Russian sage, and, of course, thyme.

Vicki's Schedule



Vicki will be teaching a 1o session class on writing commercial fiction. The class is offered through UNCA's Great Smokies Writing Program. Wednesdays, 6:30 -9:00 at The Randolph Learning Center ( 90 Montford Avenue ). September 12, 19, 26, October 3, 10, 17, 24, 31m November 7, 14. For more information contact Dr. Elaine Fox ( ) or see


Sept 14-15 Carolina Mountains Literary Festival Burnsville , NC . Reading of Mountain Mysteries and Q&A with Vicki Lane 1:30 - 2:15 on Friday, September 14

and A Reading of Mountain Mysteries and Q&A with Vicki Lane 3:30 - 4:15 on Friday, September 14 


Saturday, Oct 20–Writing Workshop at Madison Arts Council, Marshall , NC . 10-2. (1 hour lunch break). Contact 


Sunday, October 21 – Barnes and Noble, Tunnel Road , Asheville , 1-3. Vicki will be autographing books.


Saturday. November 10 – Great Smoky Mountains Book Fair- Sylva , NC. First United Methodist Church , Jackson Street , 9-3 . 



May 23 – 25 – WNC Woman Writers' Retreat at Lake Logan . Presenters: Kay Stripling Byer, Lavinia Plonka, Peggy Millin, and Vicki Lane


Night-blooming Cereus on my porch. They open for one night only and smell heavenly.

That's it for now – I'll be posting something on my Amazon blog in the next few days, god willing.

And remember – I love to hear from you.


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