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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.

Diane Kelly

“How can taxes be funny?” Diane Kelly gets that question. Her answer? “In the same way M*A*S*H made war funny.” She’s counting down to the release of her latest book, Death, Taxes and a French Manicure, coming out Nov. 1. She has won more than two dozen Romance Writers of America awards, and her fiction, tax, and humor pieces have appeared in True Love Magazine, Writer’s Digest Yearbook, Romance Writers Report, Byline Magazine and other publications.

“Tracy Beckerman Has a Gift”

That’s the opening line of one of the latest articles about columnist and EBWW regular Tracy Beckerman. If you know Tracy like we do, then you probably thought of several ways to complete the sentence that follows.

The gift, of course, is funny writing, as you can read in her “Lost in Suburbia” column.

Reflections of Erma