Thursday, August 11, 2016

Dog Days Blog Chat

Zestful Blog Post #173

The few times a year I send out full-on Newschats, I always make them my blog for that week. As always, apologies for the double if you’re subscribed both there and here. If you’re one of my blog friends, you’ve been the first to see some of these announcements and links below—but not all! Got a freebie going, and other new stuff. Thanks for skimming down. Oh, and to join my news group, pop over here.

Dog Days Newschat begins:

Dearest Correspondent,

The dog days are upon us—that is, the hottest part of the year (in the northern hemi): when Sirius, or the Dog Star, positions itself behind the sun in the summer sky. The star doesn’t make it extra hot—we remember that correlation does not necessarily equal causation—but psychologically, I think there’s something there.

Anyway, a dog days giveaway is at the top of my newschat today!

The second in the Rita Farmer series, The Extra, is free on Amazon Kindle right now, through the weekend. The Extra opens with Rita in police costume on a movie shoot near the Los Angeles river. She wanders away from the set to find something better to eat than the roachy sandwiches the low-budget production company provides, and winds up getting taken for a real cop and drawn into a real crime scene. The ensuing mystery concerns a runaway show beagle (so, like yeah, dog days), an inner-city charity mission with major secrets, and a creepy old crone up in Bakersfield. Nab yourself one!

All five Lillian Byrd crime novels are now available on Audible Books! They all have individual links, but here’s the one for Holy Hell to get you going. The narrator, Dina Pearlman, did a fabulous job. Here’s a little something about her:

“Dina Pearlman was born in New Jersey and raised in the fair hamlet of Teaneck, home of the Isley Brothers. After 4 years at Carnegie Mellon University, she came to New York to pursue acting professionally. She languished in sorrow and Fritos for a year and half, enduring a steady stream of rejection, broken occasionally by an appearance in a sparsely attended showcase production of an obscure play, somewhere obscure. One day, after having received a particularly painful rejection, she decided to get up off her tuchis and head down to Gladys' Comedy Room to try her hand at stand-up comedy. She wrote her act on the 2nd avenue bus whilst travelling between 81st and 53rd streets, had two gin and tonics, got up on the stage, and killed. She then decided that while acting would always be her first love, stand-up was a way to get her performing jones out in the meantime. Shortly thereafter, she landed a sketch comedy pilot on ABC, followed by some regional theater, followed by a Spike Lee movie, followed by more theater and TV, and so it went. Somehow or another, this ol' goofus from New Jersey had herself an acting career.”

Dina especially gets the humor of Lillian right: She doesn’t ham it up, and you have to be a good sharp listener yourself to get it.

New novel? Crimes in a Second Language? Yes, I’ve dangled it before you, but where the hell is it? Short answer: I’m dicking around with it. Do stay tuned.

Meanwhile, a new short story! Sarasota’s SCENE magazine has just published my newest in its August issue. “Go-Go Day” is about a woman past her prime, her dangerous backyard, and the perils of an unexamined life. You can read it for free online. Page 83.

Writer’s Digest Books honored me by including four chapters by me in their latest book on writing, Crafting Dynamic Dialogue: The Complete Guide to Speaking, Conversing, Arguing, and Thinking in Fiction. Other top writing authors in the book: Jeff Gerke, James Scott Bell, and Gloria Kempton.

Speaking of Writer’s Digest, check out a couple of issues on the newsstand now: The September issue includes my feature on getting the little stuff right in fiction (“It’s the Little Things.”) Because little stuff, if it’s good, can mean a lot! Also, see my piece “Revise Like a Pro” in WD’s current Novel Writing Yearbook. That was an especially fun one, because I excerpted before-and-after material from my own novels.

I might add, I’ll have articles in the upcoming January and February issues of the magazine as well.

To hear me talk about my career, check out this recent radio interview with Bradenton’s own Dona Lee Gould on RadioEar network. Dona Lee’s skillful editing makes me sound so much less muddled than in real life…

The rumor is true that I’m not taking on any new coaching/editing clients. I love the work, but it was just taking up too much of my time. I have some new initiatives that I hope will help me help more writers than working one-on-one. I’ll be focusing a lot more on new writing, as well.

Upcoming appearances:

I’ll be kicking off this year’s Visiting Writers Forum at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota at 7 p.m. on August 23. The event is open to all, and I’m pretty sure it’s free. I’ll read a little bit, discuss the craft of writing, and do Q&A. Information as to venue and parking will be posted on my blog when I get it.

And hey, consider joining me at the following upcoming conferences, where I’ll be a presenter:

Sleuthfest on Saturday, put on by the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America on October 8.

Florida Writers Association annual conference, October 20-23.

I’ve joined Novelists, Inc., a selective organization of serious authors. I’ll be attending the upcoming annual conference next month in St. Petersburg, Fla. and will report about it in my blog.

Zestful Writing, speaking of blogs, continues to cook along, my once-a-week, idiosyncratic posting of my best ideas on writing and my experiences as a writer and learner. A couple of weeks ago it popped up as #94 on Feedspot’s top 100 writing blogs.

OK, that’s more than enough for now!


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  1. Let's see...I've gotten my free book, of course! Thank you. I will also attend Sleuthfest, so hope to see you there! I checked the schedule, and will make sure I get into your presentation.
    Once again, very informative post. You are a very busy woman!

  2. Cool, Betty, do come up and get a hug!


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