Words and pictures from the author of the Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
An Everyday Miracle
This is the next stop for the Christmas tree's cranberry-popcorn string. Like the pumpkin left over from Halloween and Thanksgiving and now reduced to a hollow shell, the deconstructed garland has gone down the hill to the chicken yard, there to be transmuted by fowl means into eggs for our table and rich black dirt for my garden.
It's a lazy woman's compost pile, that chicken yard -- when I clean up the garden, I take the old plants -- lettuce that's gone to seed, worm-eaten broccoli or collards -- to the chickens who gobble up every leaf and worm and bug. Almost all of our food scraps are put into the bucket that waits behind the wood cook stove and every day, when I make the trek down the hill to feed Gregory Peck and his eight ladies, the girls run clucking to meet me, anxious to see what I've brought. One old biddy pecks at my ankles to encourage me to dump the bucket NOW, while the others circle around, jockeying for position. Some of their favorite treats are rice or noodles or bread, the seeds from green peppers, and squishy tomatoes or strawberries. But what they really like is meat.
Chickens are omnivores: grain can be the staple of their diet; they appreciate green stuff and fruits and veggies; but a turkey carcass with lots of meat clinging to the bones can inspire an avian feeding frenzy.
Scientists have hypothesized a close link between dinosaurs and modern birds -- when I see the carnivorous gleams in my girls' bright orange eyes, I can believe it.
June 1o - Speaking at a luncheon at Montreat College
June 25-July 1 -- John C. Campbell Folk School. I'll be teaching A Practical Guide to Writing Popular Fiction. Your novel starts here with this intense, week-long class. We will focus on writing realistic dialogue and creating characters that move through and interact with a fully realized setting. We will discuss different approaches to plotting, tricks for building suspense, means of ensuring continuity, and the avoidance of info dumps. We'll also talk about forming or joining critique groups, the ins and outs of self editing, agents and how to query them, as well as the various publishing alternatives available today. All levels welcome. Link to JCC HERE.
July 8-15 Wildacres Writing Workshop. I will be leading a workshop on the novel. Here's your chance to spend a week surrounded by writers of all sorts. More info for 2017 HERE.
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I'm the author of The Elizabeth Goodweather Full Circle Farm Appalachian Mysteries from Bantam Dell. The series includes SIGNS IN THE BLOOD (LA MONTAGNE DES SECRETS in France), ART'S BLOOD, (LE SECRET DES APPALACHES in France,) OLD WOUNDS,IN A DARK SEASON (Anthony Nominee, Best PBO), and UNDER THE SKIN. There's also THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS (a spinoff/standalone)chronicling the unexpected life story of Miss Birdie, one of Elizabeth's neighbors.
Currently I have just completed a historical novel, dealing with a massacre in my county during the Civil War.
I came to this weird business late (my first novel was published in 2005) and am still trying to figure it out.
As my novels are set in a place much like my real life home, I thought I'd use this blog to share pictures of our farm and county. I've been blogging for nearly nine years now, on an almost daily basis, and the topics have ranged from writing, chickens, food, books, quilts, flora and fauna of all sorts, to the occasional tiny rant. There's no plan, but there are lots of pictures.
There's more information about me and my books on my web site: http://vickilanemysteries.com/