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Are you fluent in Chick?

No? Maybe The CHICKtionary: From A-Line to Z-Snap, the Words Every Woman Should Know by Anna Lefler can help you out. Anna will be with us at the 2012 Bombeck Workshop talking about how a publisher came to her to write the book.


Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope

An email showed up in my inbox from one of our 2012 keynote speakers, Jeff Zaslow, about his newest project, being unrolled this week. He invited me to share it:
I’m happy to let you know that GABBY: A Story of Courage and Hope, the memoir of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and astronaut Mark Kelly, will be released this Tuesday. I was honored to collaborate with them on the book.
This Monday night at 10 p.m. ET, there will be an hour-long ABC special tied to the book. Here is a 30-second promo.
And here’s a link to a three-minute piece from ABC News which offers the first footage from the special. If you have a few minutes, it’s pretty compelling.
The book also is excerpted this coming week in PEOPLE magazine.
Many thanks for taking a look!
All good wishes,
Jeff Zaslow
Can’t wait to see him at the workshop in April, where we can ask him about finding the story no one else can tell, on this books, plus other great ones like The Girls from Ames and The Last Lecture.

Aww — thanks, Rose

Last spring, the wonderful Rose Valenta published a blog post that made me exceptionally proud and, truth be told, blush a little. Here’s a bit of what she wrote.
Last year at this time, I was out in Dayton, Ohio, attending EBWW 2010 with about 350 other writer humorists at the University of Dayton. We left there with a mascot (E.B. Heron, named after E.B. White); many new friends; and Facebook/Twitter accounts to look up, join, or send friend requests. We also left there with a feeling of kick-ass enthusiasm, we were among the “We can do this!” success group. My tape recorder, business card slots, and notebook were all full. I was armed and dangerous with perceived leverage and a little chutzpah. I miss my friends there now, and can’t wait for EBWW 2012.

We are competitive, keeping everyone in the loop for things like interviews, new book releases, awards, contests, and book launches. You could also say it is a training ground for learning great communication skills. We also post failed attempts, but we downplay those. I believe we’ve finally made it into the A Zone.
Many of us have come a long way in just the last 12 months.
I’m looking forward to seeing her and the entire E.B. Heron crew again at the 2012 Bombeck Workshop.

Horsing around

An 80-year-old is missing and possibly kidnapped. Or he’s just playing a big joke on everyone. That’s the premise of Horse Races and Paint Stores: The Anti-biography of Duffy O’Day by Patrick Kennedy, just out on Kindle this week.

Talk to your TV?

The wonderful USA Today columnist Craig Wilson, returning as a 2012 faculty member, has a few thoughts on conversations with the idiot box.

Almost a decade later, author resurrects a print book for Kindle

When Saralee Perel first published Raw Nerves in 2004, it was a traditional paperback. And why not?, nine years old at the time, had only just finally started turning its first profits, and the concept of digital books was largely just that, a concept.

But despite being a “recommended mystery” by Independent Booksellers, “the book just didn’t get any distribution or traction,” said Perel.

Welcome to 2011. Perel, a nationally syndicated columnist, has re-released the book on Kindle, hoping it will find an audience the second time around. A “comedic thriller,” it tells the story of a Cape Cod psychologist with a patient who wants her dead. Balancing the terror and humor requires deft use of transitional scenes, Perel said, for example, following a scene with a scary patient session with a transitional drive home before something funny happens when her character opens the door.

“That transitional scene can be a drive, a phone call, anything that makes the changeover to humor flow smoothly,” Perel said. “That also works for any emotional change — from terror to humor to sadness.”

She’s hopeful the rerelease through Kindle will help Raw Nerves make the transition to sales success. “The good thing about Amazon’s program is that it gives the book a second chance,” she said. “And me, too.”

2012 Bombeck keynote speakers announced

The 2012 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop features an exciting line-up of keynote speakers with extensive experience in print, television, theater and film. The keynoters include:


Alan Zweibel, winner of the Thurber Prize and an original Saturday Night Live writer.


Gina Barreca, who has been called a “feminist maven” by Ms. Magazine and “Very, very funny. For a woman.” by Dave Barry.


Ilene Beckerman, who was nearly 60 when she began her writing career and whose book Love, Loss and What I Wore became an Off-Broadway hit.


Jeff Zaslow, who has told the stories of some of the most inspirational people of our time through his Wall Street Journal column and bestselling books, including The Girls from Ames and The Last Lecture.


Adriana Trigiani, whose bestselling Big Stone Gap launched her career as a novelist, sequels and a screenplay.


Read more about the faculty and the workshop here.

An interview with Erma Bombeck

 In 1991, Erma Bombeck gave an interview to the alumni publication of her alma mater, the University of Dayton. The Q&A was wide-ranging, covering everything from deadlines to writing process to her college years. And she tells the very inspirational story of English professor Brother Tom Price, S.M., who told her three inspirational words: “You can write.”

Read the full interview here.

Reflections of Erma