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A Sparkly New Website Look

under construction

New look to the website, courtesy of a switch from Blogger to WordPress! I’m still fiddling around with theme customization and transferring everything, so please excuse any temporary broken links, etc. I hope to have everything in order shortly!

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New Year 2020 Newsletter

Hope everyone’s having a relaxing holiday break!

First, an update about THE PEOPLE LIST, the book I’ve been working on for a while. The latest round of editorial suggestions has taken almost a year to implement, but I’m nearing the finish line of what has felt not like a sprint but a marathon. At just under 100,000 words, this is now the longest novel I’ve written. I’ve learned a lot in the process of writing this one, not the least of which is how important having an uninterrupted block of daily writing time is to my process — and its opposite, that’s it’s key to step away from the manuscript for a while, or I get lost in the trees. And, as I keep reminding myself, nothing in publishing happens fast, so this is par for the course.

Next, I’ve been lucky enough to get a dedicated writing space, a studio at a local arts/writing non-profit, ArtWorks. (Yay!) I can already tell that having the space and a community of creatives will be a great experience. If you’re in the mood to support a local haven for creatives, they take donations here.

If you live in the Twin Cities area and are looking to start 2020 by engaging your creative side, I’m co-hosting a workshop with poet and writer Denise Alden at Artworks on Saturday, January 11 from 9:00 a.m. to noon. This will be the first in a series of workshops featuring a different teaching artist each month, with themes tied to Art Works’ quarterly exhibits. You do not have to be a member to attend. Grab your notebook or laptop and come to network, enjoy a light breakfast, and get your creative juices flowing with writing prompts tied to the theme of the upcoming February-April exhibit, Raw Emotion. Everyone is welcome, from beginners to seasoned writers, as well as across genres. Registration details can be found here and the map to the Eagan location is here. Hope to see you there!

A couple of book suggestions to share – I recently finished reading Stuart Turton’s The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and Elan Mastai’s All Our Wrong Todays and liked both very much. I’ve just started reading my signed copy of Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars and am enjoying it so far.

Finally, as ever, thank you for supporting my books, and may 2020 bring you many wonderful things!

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Twin Cities Book Festival, Writing Update, and a New Puppy

Twin Cities Book Festival

If you’re looking for something to do this upcoming Saturday, come to this year’s Twin Cities Book Festival. The day, according to my weather app, is slated to be gray, cold and overcast – perfect for writerly events and book browsing! The festival is being held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Admission is free. 

Here’s some festival info from the organizer’s website:

Rain Taxi’s TWIN CITIES BOOK FESTIVAL is not only the largest, most adventurous literary event in the Upper Midwest; it is THE annual get together for devoted book lovers from the Twin Cities and beyond!

The single-day TCBF will feature hundreds of exhibitors, dozens of presenting authors from near and far, special children’s programming and endless curiosities for all ages, all in a massive celebration of our vibrant Minnesota literary culture. 

FREE ADMISSION
FREE parking • FREE Metro Transit rides to the Fairgrounds

You can find me at the Book Fair portion of the festival, which is being held in the Progress Center of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, located at 1265 Snelling Ave., Saint Paul, MN (directions here). I’ll have a table somewhere in the hall, though I’m not sure yet where (edit: I’ll be at table 409 in the middle of the hall). Stop by to get a book signed or just to say hi! This is my first year attending and it promises to be interesting.

Book Update

In other news, the novel I’ve been working on for quite a while has come back from my editor Kristen Weber and… it needs more work. I’ve enjoyed writing this one but it’s turned out to be somewhat of a beast to wrestle into a coherent story. No one is as impatient as I am to get this book on the road as soon as possible. This is one of those instances of It’s better to do it well than to do it fast. I am very much looking forward to holding the finished book one of these days.

On the plus side, we finally have a title. Ta, da, here we go: THE PEOPLE LIST, a standalone near-future novel! 

Stay tuned for the cover reveal and back-page description.

Grif the Dog

On the personal side of things, and what might be putting a slight damper on my available editing time this fall, is the newcomer to the household, Grif the mini goldendoodle. He’s a fast-growing bundle of energy. 

The picture was taken a couple of weeks after he came to live with us. What an adorable face!

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Rosemount Writers Festival

My apologies, but I’ll have to miss tomorrow’s Rosemount Writers Festival as I’m down with the flu. If you’re interested in purchasing one of my books, more information can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Uncle Hugo’s.

Read more about the festival here. Hope a good time is had by all!

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Happy New Year, 2018

Season’s greetings!

I’ve been a little lax about updating this blog, so here’s a quick look on writerly matters going forward. First, the book I’ve been working on for a while, a standalone novel (tentatively titled, ta da… THE LIST: A NOVEL) is FINALLY done (yay!) and has gotten the thumbs-up from my agent (double yay!). Stay tuned for details of the how and when of publication.

Meanwhile and second, I’ve started a NEW book, which is, somewhat unexpectedly, coming along at a good clip (assuming I haven’t just jinxed myself by writing that). I’m about a third of my way into the first draft.

(As an aside, someone asked me how I can say 1/3 with any certainty since I won’t know the book’s exact length until I’ve finished writing the full draft. The answer is that the more you write, the more you get a feel for these things — this one, I’m thinking, will end up being around 75,000 words and I’m at just about 26,000. Plus I’m getting better at sticking to my outlines…or, rather, I’m getting better at making the outline be CLOSER to the story I end up writing. The current outline is still turning out to be very fluid, but it helps provide structure to the whole project and road-side posts along the way.

I’ll have to see how it plays out, but I’m thinking this new one might make a good series starter and might end up being Book 1 of three.)

Thirdly and most importantly, I wanted to thank everyone who supports my writing by buying my books, reading my early drafts, giving me feedback, and engaging with me via email or social media. I am grateful for you all!

With that all said, I’ll wrap up this brief update by wishing you and yours a happy holiday season and a GREAT 2018! I hope the new year brings some calmer seas to the world as a whole and many good, exciting things your way!

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Summer Sale!

Summer sale! Regarding Ducks and Universes is on sale for all of June on Kindle. Mystery! Parallel universes! Ducks!

The book is part of a promotion, “150 Kindle books for $1.50″. You can find all the included books here.



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Rosemount Book Fair

Meant to post this earlier in the week, but here we are. If you’re in the neighborhood, I’ll be signing books at the Rosemount Book Fair this Saturday, March 18! Come for the books, come for the workshops, or stop by just to hang out with authors and chat. Doors open at 9:30 a.m; the book fair starts at 10:30 a.m. and runs till 4:30 p.m. Hope to see you there!
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NEW YEAR

Happy New Year, one and all!
Over the holidays I’ve been re-reading Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; if you haven’t read this sci-fi classic before, I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something lighthearted, original, or just plain funny to read.
Even though we own the hardcovers of the books, I’ve been reading Hitchhiker’s on my Kindle app, which is is always a little odd at first. The familiar opening (“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun…”) just looks strange on a digital screen instead of on a crisp white page…but I’ve just about switched all my reading to the Kindle, so no going back there. As it should be — always forward we go.
(The link above takes you to the Kindle edition, all books in the series for $13.99 — not a bad deal for five full length novels.)
The reason I bring up that particular book is that lately I’ve been thinking about the power of books to be whatever you need them to be. This December, I yearned for a lighthearted read and I knew I could find it in Adams’s world. On planes, I like to read more thriller-y stuff. Occasionally I’ll reach for a cozy mystery. Etc. The last non-fiction book I read was the tale of Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated Antarctic voyage, Endurance. I may have read it during the last week of the election. I may have also skipped over the dog parts.
Books are like that. Whatever you’re feeling, there’s always a book to meet you half way. If my own novels have offered anyone a few hours’ worth of an enjoyable escape into the imaginary…well, that makes me a very lucky writer indeed.
This quote from E. B. White summarizes it well:  “Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people – people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.”
I know we’re all book lovers here, so I won’t belabor the point, other than to say this: Here’s hoping that 2017 brings you a memorable/just-what-you-needed read or two and many lovely, good things!
Neve
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Update on the New Book

A brief update on the new book: it’s taking longer than expected.

In somewhat more detail: the working title is just that (“The New Book”) and there’s a full draft of just under ninety thousand words, or 300 pages. The story takes place in near-future Seattle. I’m in the process of incorporating early feedback from beta readers — my agent and a couple of writer friends who kindly agreed to take a look at the manuscript.

How long will this editing pass take? Hard to say. I’m making slow and steady progress. In general I’ve found that where the creative process is concerned, that’s what seems to work best for me — not trying to rush things. Deadlines often require moving along fast, which can be both good and bad, but this time around I have the luxury of being able to take my time.

Which is not to say that I’m spending my days reclined on the couch with my back turned to the computer and my feet up, reading election news on my iPad mini and eating endless chocolate bars to help with the digesting of the election news. Just that getting the story to the level where it needs to be requires some thought as I edit the manuscript (Does this scene do its job of propelling the story along or should it be cut? Can I make that sentence snappier? Would a different word work better in establishing the world building of the story? You get the idea.) This past week I cut ten pages total, consisting of bits and pieces that were bogging down the early parts of the book. Yay!

Which is all another way of saying that, like with most things, it’s worth taking the time to get it right. 
There may still be chocolate involved.
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AnomalyCon Recap

Yesterday was a travel day plus the frame of my reading glasses broke so I couldn’t see well enough to post, but now I’m back home and the glasses have been fixed. I had an absolutely fantastic time at AnomalyCon in Denver. I missed the big blizzard by a day or so — the snow had already mostly melted by the time I got there. The con runs from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon and there are various activities and panels, the main focus being Steampunk, which, for those of you who haven’t come across it before, is a sort of a Victorian era sci-fiI got to meet a lot of wonderful, enthusiastic, welcoming people: writer friends I had never met in person before (Stant Litore and Richard Preston, great to connect face to face!), lovely readers who stopped by my table to ask about my books and share their own stories, fellow panelists (all much more engaging and charismatic than I managed to be), book-table neighbors happy to answer my questions or just spend time chatting, costumed attendees walking around… in other words, just a lot of great people who share a love of science fiction and fantasy. 
I wish I’d gotten pictures of everyone’s Steampunk costumes but I always feel odd asking strangers if I can take their picture to post on my blog or Facebook. I ESPECIALLY wish I’d gotten a picture of the steampunk dog that was led past my table, but I didn’t so you’ll just have to take my word for it that there was indeed one there. (edit: This site has a lot of pictures from the con, if you’re interested; alas, none of the dog.)

I can’t recommend AnomalyCon highly enough if you are ever in the area — next year’s dates are sometime mid-March, I think. The pictures below are of me setting up my book table early on Saturday morning and looking only half awake, and the view of the mountains from the top floor of the hotel.