Welcome, 2023

Happy New Year! For me, January 1 always brings with it the feel of a crisp new notebook. Pages yet to be written. Moments to be grabbed, new things to be learned, adventures and struggles awaiting just around the corner.

Blue skies ahead, what’s over the horizon as yet unknown.

The ocean water picture is one I took from my cabin on the Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat cruise, this past September in the Western Caribbean. It was an extraordinary experience. I’d never been on a cruise before, or the Caribbean, or a writer’s retreat. I can happily report back that I met and got to converse with some wonderful people, attended group dinners in a grand dining room, sat in on lectures by authors Brandon Sanderson and Margaret Dunlap and agents DongWon Song and Seth Fishman, went on three lovely excursions, watched a nighttime lightning storm from the ship’s railing, visited Rose and Jack’s “I’m king of the world” spot on the bow, and never got seasick!

I had planned to do a full edit of Book 1 of the new mystery series on the cruise, somewhat optimistically in retrospect. With all the other activities, I managed to get through about 150 pages, so just about half. I did attend an “unlocking” session, which helped clarify some issues I had been struggling with, mainly having to do with the big arc of the series.

By mid February, there should be a near-final draft of the book. The working title, Dogwood, is not here to stay, alas, but I’ll leave the unveiling of the new and improved title for a post down the road. When I’m happy with the manuscript, I’ll send out a call for beta readers. I’ll give out more details then, but basically the way it would work is I’d provide a Word document (or other format) with the 300-page manuscript and brief guidelines as to the type of reader feedback I need. In return you’d get a deeper look into my writing process than this newsletter, my eternal gratitude, and a copy of the book upon publication in your preferred format, ebook or print. Be on the lookout for the email if you’re interested!

On a social media note, going forward I’ll be taking a break from the merry-go-round that’s Twitter. I’m trying out Mastodon — you can find me in the Wandering Shop, a community of science fiction and fantasy readers and writers. I’m @neve there ( So far I’m finding it welcoming and less adversarial than the ‘birdsite’. I’ll still be on Twitter, just not as much.

May this new year bring you lots of good things!


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!



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!

Farewell 2014 Welcome 2015

Season’s greetings and best wishes for 2015! May the upcoming year treat you and yours well, and may any and all surprises be good ones.

I’m going to skip the obligatory recap of last year, as I feel it’s always better to look ahead than to sneak glances backward. Book-wise, here is where things stand going into the new year:

The publishing train for The Bellbottom Incident, the final book in the Incident series, is right on track, chugging on. We are in the middle of the copyediting stage and the book should be going up for preorder on Kindle in early January. The cover is all set and a publication date of March 31, 2015 for both the print and Kindle versions is looking likely.

I’m happy to report that The Runestone Incident is on this year’s longlist of nominees for the Minnesota Book Awards (you can find the whole list of nominees here; the book is about halfway down the page, in the Genre Fiction category). It’s very nice to see the book there, snuggled next to others of its kind. Finalists are announced at the end of January, so there’s not much to do at this point but keep fingers crossed. 

Back in November, I was invited to join a writers’ co-op, Westmarch Publishing, and I jumped at the chance. We are still in the early stages of organizing our group home, but you can take a peek at the website here. There are nine of us for now, that is to say, yours truly along with eight awesome authors who write everything from mysteries to zombie apocalypse stories to steampunk. Please check out their books when you get a chance!

I also have a short story in the works, a prequel to the Incident series. More details on that when (or possibly if) I can think of a good ending to the story.

As always, I’m thinking of what my next big project should be, while working on getting the current one (The Bellbottom Incident) out the door, but it’s entirely too early to reveal any details, so really I don’t even know why I put this paragraph in here.

Finally, in regards to conferences, I will be at next year’s CONvergence here in the Twin Cities, so look for me there in July of 2015.

Thanks for reading this blog and my books, and best wishes for 2015!


I’m Giving Away Advance Copies of The Runestone Incident

Hope everyone is having a merry and relaxing holiday season. Look what landed on my doorstep, like a Christmas present from my publisher — the advance copies of The Runestone Incident (Book 2 of the Incident series)!

Here are the ARCs, looking all snug in their box:

Half of the books have been slated for a Goodreads giveaway, but the other ten are up for grabs. If you’d like one, let me know within the next couple of days! Remember, the ARC is the next-to-last version of the book, so expect a handful of typos and uncorrected errors, and blank space where an illustration will go.

Here are some ways to reach me:

1. If you received this via the email newsletter, you can just reply back.
2. Send an email to neve (at)
3. Send me a private message on Goodreads, Facebook, or Twitter.

Don’t forget to include your mailing address! 

The only thing I ask is that you post a review somewhere, anywhere, whether you decide you like the new book or not. Good places to leave a review are Amazon (after the publication date, February 11) and Goodreads. As always, the reviews are much appreciated.

Happy reading and have a wonderful 2014, everyone!



Five Writing Truths That Should Be Obvious but Aren’t… And a Happy New Year!

<!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Cochin; panose-1:2 0 6 3 2 0 0 2 0 3; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cochin; mso-fareast-font-family:Cochin; mso-bidi-font-family:Cochin;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {mso-style-noshow:yes; color:purple; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-page-numbers:1; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;}

 Hope everyone had (or is having) a good holiday break. The new year is just a few days away and, as I look ahead, I realize I’ll soon cease to be a debut novelist—the publication of The Far Time Incident is just around the corner (early April, more than three months from now, isconsidered just around the corner in the world of publishing.) I’ve learned many practical things since Regarding Ducks and Universes came out, like where to order business cards (I like Moo) and how to make a pic like the one above that says 2013 and incorporate it into a blog post. But I’ve been thinking about the big things, the ones that perhaps should be obvious but aren’t. These five writing truths will probably be of interest mostly to other writers, but here they are anyway:
1. Not everyone will like your book. In fact, someone somewhere will think that it’s the worst book in the world. And say so publicly—on a forum, in a tweet, in an Amazon review, or all three. Don’t worry—yours and my book can’t both be the worst book in the world. Only one is and I’ve yet to come across it.
2. What goes up must come down. For every promotion where you excitedly watch your book climb the Amazon bestseller lists, there is an inevitable reversal that follows (how soon depends on how big your book gets) where you get to watch your pride and joy slowly sink in the ranks. Writing is a business where your sales numbers and royalties (i.e., your paycheck) can vary wildly from month to month and from year to year.
3. Reviews—you don’t have to read them. I’m not talking about reviews from Publisher’s Weekly or Kirkus, but the ones readers leave on sites like Amazon, Goodreads, and LibraryThing. I am very grateful for these and appreciate that people take the time to write them—a good reader review is almost irreplaceable in helping spread the word about a book. But if you drop everything and run off to read every new review that pops up on Amazon, only to emerge elated or crushed, you’re setting yourself up for an emotional roller coaster. I recommend staying away from the one and two stars (see point 1: Not everyone will like your book) unless you have nerves of steel. I don’t. Besides, I figure that book reviews are meant for other readers, not for me as the author.
4. No one can predict how well your book will sell. Regarding Ducks and Universeshas done better (sales-wise and review-wise) in the US than in the UK. Why? I don’t know. Maybe they just like me better over here. The just-released German translation seems to doing nicely so far on (Danke, German readers!), better than the English version in the Canada store. Was there any way to predict that? Not in my, uh, book. The point is that, as with reviews, tying your worth as a writer to your book’s sales numbers at any given moment is a recipe for a lot of emotional ups and downs. So don’t do it. (Easier said then done, I know.)
And, finally:
5. Writing is just like any other job. But only the people you live with know this (and that’s if you’re lucky, and I am). Friends and neighbors will wonder why your house is always messy and why you’re perpetually behind on your errands, when as a writer you are flush with free time. After all, you’re your own boss, aren’t you? Yes, but you’re also the only employee—there’s no one to pass on the job of writing to. If you take a sick day, the manuscript word count doesn’t budge. As a rule, you don’t get up in the morning and wonder when you’ll get around to doing some writing; you get up and you do it. On a side note, yes, you do have to pay taxes, as in any other job.
And that’s it. Just five things. As I write these, I realize that knowing them is not the same as keeping them in mind, which I know I need to work harder at. A New Year’s resolution, then.

May the New Year bring lots of good things to you and yours! 

Journal Avatar to Link Back to Blog Hop
Blog Hop