Thursday, September 30, 2010

XL -- October 2010

First of all -- my heartfelt thanks to all of you who've bought a copy of  the new book.  I did beg a bit last month -- so unbecoming --  and I do appreciate the response. Blessings on you!

September was a busy month -- canning tomatoes and putting other garden stuff in the freezer. Another writing class began; I posted my thousandth post on my blog . . .
 The copy edit of next year's Elizabeth book, Under the Skin, came back. I responded to the edits and returned it to New York, on the same day that The Day of Small Things hit the book stores.
And on that same day, Marigold had her calf and now, after a long hiatus, our family has a milk cow again!

 Here's a slide show with highlights from our busy month.

Notes and Comments 

Judy Shaw says : Interesting comment from Carol Fletcher re Susan Wittig Albert. Vicki, you and Susan have so much in common. On top of both being teriffic writers with such true-to-life characters; you garden and do similar other crafts. I just wish you both could publish lots more books! :) 
I suggest that you all take a look at ROOM by Emma Donoghue. I really, really loved this book.

Jon Michael Riley Just finished two very different books: Jaber Crow by Wendell Berry and Paddy Clarke Ha, Ha, Ha by Roddy Doyle. Berry's writing is lovely and the wandering memoir-like story kept me wondering where the hell it was going. It is more like a long meditation of what "modern life" can do to people and communities.

With Roddy Doyle, there is no waiting around. The reader is plunged into the story. 
Elaine in Hawaii is thinking about SIX OF ONE by Rita Mae Brown. One of your writers mentioned her, which reminded me of this book, which I dearly loved. I have it somewhere... And another thing...I forgot to tell you that the Mark Hebden book I was reading (PEL IS PUZZLED) had a fair amount of humor but the plot was a little...loose, maybe. If you decide to try a Pel, read PEL AND THE STAGHOUND. Been a while since I read it but it made me smile out loud.
Phyllis asks Are you familiar with Tom Godleski?  He fronts the band "Buncombe Turnpike."  I think they've played the Big Pine VFD a time or two.  We saw them this past weekend, and I just thought you would find him to be an interesting guy.  He's mentioned having family from Anderson Branch, has written songs about Madison County (one is about a fight at Barnard), and has written a play which will be staged at SART next month.  (Click on "bios" for more about Tom.)
Pat in east TN has been catching up on my reading  between getting garden goodies put up and now starting to clean up my summer garden.  "A Dog's Purpose" is a fantastic book ... sure makes you look at your furry friends in a different way.  I'm now reading "No Mercy" by Lori Armstrong ... I'm finding her to be a good writer, catching my interesting within the first couple of pages, actually in the prologue!  Although it seems like I've been going through my wish list like mad, there are always new books to add!  Ha ... I guess I could have a worse vice...

NCmountainwoman says Thank you for pointing out "Room." Absent a recommendation from someone like you there's no way I would have picked up a book written in the first person of a five-year-old child. And held captive in a shed yet.

I found the book to be absolutely fascinating and like you, I simply read it until I was done. So compelling and well written. Thanks again for recommending it.

 And Pat in east TN chimes in Just wanted to tell you that I finished ROOM this morning.  Great read and I thank you for recommending it ... it's kind of like THE HELP, a book that I never would have picked out on my own, but on the recommendation of a friend I gave it a try.  I admit I had my doubts about ROOM, but I instantly fell in love with Jack and Ma, and Jack doing the talking made it truly a treasure.  IMO, if it had been Ma talking, or just a story of their lives, it sure wouldn't have been the same.  I have told several friends about it .. word needs to get out about this book.  If I hadn't been so busy with this/that I would have read through it sooner, but I had many things to do this week and I simply can't stay up half the night reading, never could. . .
I'm reading Secret Graces now .. just into the first several pages, but already I know it's a good one just like Tender Graces was. 

Let us know what you're reading!

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

XXXIX -- September 2010

The wait has been incredibly long. But now it's almost over.

Miss Birdie's book will be out at the end of the month -- Tuesday the 28th to be exact. It will be in many bookstores -- but not necessarily in all of them. If you're thinking of purchasing a copy (and oh! how I hope you are,) it might be a good idea to call your friendly local bookseller and pre-order. Of course you can do the same thing on line but I know that many of you, like me, are big supporters of local bookstores and especially independent booksellers.

The sales of the new book in the month after its release are probably the main thing that the publishers -- and especially the publishers' accountants -- look at to see if this is an author who is going to make money for the publisher -- if this is an author worth retaining.

Yes, I'm talking about myself here. I'm out of contract after Under the Skin ( which will be  published, I've just learned, October 25 of next year -- another long, long wait, alas.) So I can only hope that sales of The Day of Small Things will be brisk enough that Herself will be inclined to offer me another contract and I can get going on another book. 

Thus, once again  I'm asking for your support.  I hope you'll consider buying a copy for yourself or for a gift -- or if finances are really tight, ask your library to order a copy. That helps me too. As I said, it's the October sales (of new books, not used) that the number crunchers at Random House will be  looking at. 

I think it's a good book. You all are on this list because you like Elizabeth -- I think you'll find a lot to like in Birdie's book as well.
Recommended Reading

 Marsh C. says: just read “She-Rain” by Michael Cogdill. Very good story, excellent (although somewhat flowery) writing. He’s from Weaverville (NC) and grew up around here.

Elaine S. in Hawaii tells me: I've been reading old books lately and have discovered that Mark Hebden's Pel series has been reprinted. O Frabjous Day! Inspector Pel is a dour, pessimistic French policeman, who, in spite of his outlook on life, manages to think through the debris of the crimes in his locale to come up with the perpetrators. And he is very funny doing it. Sardonic wit prevails. I am reading PEL IS PUZZLED, wherein poor Pel discovers, to his great disappointment, that the English are not the cretins he has always believed, that they are kind, smart, and, alors! they can create marvelous meals!   

Mary Maupin says: I just read Gates of Africa, by Anthony Sattin, about the English African Society, who sponsored explorer Mungo Park and others, with orders to find Timbuctu and the origin and end of the NIger River.  This eventually opened up Africa coloniztoin by the British (depressing in some ways, good in others--always shades of gray).  I'm also reading Paul Theroux travel books and novels.

Carol in Fletcher tells me: I am in the middle of reading Together Alone by Susan Wittig Albert, and read her latest Herbal Holly Blues . Love her writing series set in Texas. Together Alone is a bio about her life, and a history of the area of Texas hill country she and her husband Bill have been living in for 20 some years.

  Carol also likes Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie series, I had just read her Cat of the Century right after Holly Blues last month. All hers are good too!

Here's a fun link for all you book lovers.

August was incredibly busy - harvesting and putting up garden produce and chickens as well. Our experiment with raising free range broiler chickens has gone so well that we have 25 more chicks arriving this week.  We also accomplished a massive cleanup and clean out at our rental house and have two charming tenants moving in soon.

At last the air is a bit cooler and a lot drier. The humming birds seem to be moving on -- the feeders that a few weeks ago required refilling three times a day, have only a few customers now.  The turkey poults are almost as large as their mothers; the garden is winding down. Goldenrod and purple ironweed are beginning to paint the fields in autumn color and the air is full of the constant chirr of insects.

School buses are on the roads; my freezer is almost full, and I'm looking forward to fall and the excitement of a new book.  

Do let me know what you're reading and remember,  there's a FAQ section over HERE that gets added to weekly. Is there something about my books or writing in general you'd like to know?  I welcome questions...

Have a great September!

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