Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spring 2014 Newschat

Dearest Blog Friend,

Today I sent out my Spring Newschat, and because you might not be signed up for those, I'm putting the same info here in Zestful Writing.
(Subscribe to Newschats here. They go out 2 to 4 times per year.)

One day in the late '80s, when a particular blockbuster novel was flying off store shelves, I passed an info desk at the large bookstore where I worked. I witnessed this conversation between the store manager, Tim, and the slightly hard-of-hearing employee who shelved the horror section:

Tim: "Jan, do we have any more It?"
Jan: "What?"
Tim (louder): "It!"
Jan: "What?"
Tim (still louder): "Stephen King's It!"
Jan: "Oh! Well, a lot of people think so."

To be sure, these many years later, a lot of people still do think so. Stephen King, that's a guy with a long, prolific career. (An enviable bank account, too, no doubt, though we're only supposed to care about the art…)

Stephen was so prolific because he did a lot of writing. Given that writing takes time, and that the number of hours in a day is finite at 24, it recently occurred to me that Stephen must have said 'No' to lots of stuff that wasn't writing.

And I thought, yeah, man, I gotta say no to more stuff that isn't writing, given that I want to be remembered as an author.

Let this orange pen inspire us all to write and read more! The photo was sent to me by Lidy W., who follows my blog. ( Last week I wrote about some of my favorite writing tools, and she sent this shot of her favorite pen. Love the color.

Now that the main promo push for last year's book, You've Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams, is done, I'm continuing work on the next Lillian Byrd novel, Left Field. Given that I really want to finish it and get on to more new writing, I've been saying no to many requests for appearances this year. However, the list of appearances I have said yes to is below.

The most significant opportunity to work with me in person will be the Lambda Literary Foundation's Emerging LGBT Voices Writers Retreat in Los Angeles. Applications are open through April 1. I'll be on the faculty, and my specialty will be genre fiction with emphasis on mysteries and thrillers. We'll have a whole week together in August, doing intensive seminars, small group work, and individual coaching. We'll get in deep on structure, suspense & more. If you write, this is a great chance to make a commitment to your craft.

Watch for an article on writing humor from me in the May/June issue of Writer's Digest magazine; I'll have one on suspense later this year as well.

I should note that You've Got a Book in You is resonating with many writers, and I'm so happy when I hear from them! If you read it, let me know what you think of it.

All dates are in 2014:

Sunday, April 13, 4 p.m., United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, Florida
South Shore Symphony Orchestra concert featuring the works of Aaron Copland. I'll be playing timpani. (Website's not quite up to date at the moment.)

Wednesday, April 16, 6 p.m. Nokomis, Florida
Nokomis Volunteer Fire Department, corner of Pavonia and US41
Nokomis, Florida. I'll be speaking and doing Q & A.
For information, email George Mindling at, or Ed Ellis at Please include FWA Sarasota in the subject line.

April 27, April 29, March 4
Tampa Bay Symphony concerts featuring Dvorak's "Carnival Overture", Beethoven's Piano Concerto #3, de Falla's "Three-Cornered Hat" suites. I'll be playing percussion.

July 9-13, Portland, Oregon
Red Lion Hotel On The River - Jantzen Beach
The 2014 GCLS Conference (Golden Crown Literary Society)
I'll be attending and possibly presenting a workshop.

August 3-10, Los Angeles, California on the campus of the American Jewish University (AJU).
Elizabeth Sims, Faculty - Genre Fiction (emphasis on mysteries and thrillers)

Saturday, September 6, 10 a.m., Tampa Florida
New Tampa Library
10001 Cross Creek Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33647
I'll be speaking and doing Q & A. For information, email Cindy Campbell at

September 25-27, St. Augustine, Florida
I'll present 'How to Write a Dynamite Mystery or Thriller that SELLS' (day/time TBA)

With thanks for reading, and wishing you a fruitful, zestful Spring,

Elizabeth Sims

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  1. That overheard conversation was too funny!

    And I'm really looking forward to your upcoming articles in WD - I don't write humor as well or as much as I'd like, and I can always improve the level of suspense in my work.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Madeline. See you next month.


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