Wine, Perfume, and Possibilities

Author photo by Andrew Amundsen

While Naming the Stars promotion (visits, signings, talks) is only beginning, can you see how relieved this author is  now that the book launch is over? It was well-attended and successful, thanks to the help of my publisher, my wonderful local bookstore, my local newspaper books editor, and my favorite nearby coffee cafe.

Yes, it takes a village to raise an author.

But you do start out in a little remote hut by yourself. That one idea that grew into a full-fledged novel that is now Naming the Stars is the culmination of many other pages and ideas not at all about this book. Random fits and starts litter my big hard drive folder labeled “Prose.” (There’s one for “Poetry” too.) Completed never published novels languish there. A lot of the work in my Prose folder will never see the light of day. But I frequently revisit documents not touched in years – at the moment one of my projects involves harvesting one chapter from an old novel and turning it into a short story.

irisThree to four unfinished novels have not been entirely abandoned. I keep thinking I will get back to them. I may not. Ever.

Two possible sequels to Naming the Stars are not found in the folder yet. I’m excited about an idea for the first sequel — an idea that formed while I was making the final preparations for the launch — preparations that involved a glass or two of white wine, and a spritz of Fragonard Iris perfume.

I’m at the idea stage, remembering what I wrote about while in San Francisco, striving hard to let my inner artist free. I’m rereading that post now, ready to set off on my next writing adventure. Undoubtedly this will require more wine and perfume, more dreaming and, as always, more writing.



Is there life after graduating with an English Degree?

Novelist Susan Koefod '81 speaking to students and faculty in Derham Hall. Photo by Michelle Mullowney.
Novelist Susan Koefod ’81 speaking to students and faculty in Derham Hall. Photo by Michelle Mullowney.

Yes. You can have a career, English grads.  That was the message at a recent event at St. Catherine University. It was an honor to be invited back and be among other accomplished professional women who found career homes in many places.

My thanks to Jill Jepson for the invite and to St. Catherine University for hosting!



My CURMUGN Dad Knew How to Get Results



His license plate said it all. CURMUGN.

We knew that my Dad wrote many letters to the editor of the Pioneer Press over the years. But we never guessed the true extent of his cranky correspondence. He was passionate about his opinions, but he got results. Click the link to read the article I wrote about him this time last year.

Happy Father’s Day to the dearly departed CURMUGN, and all the dads everywhere.




Turning the Tables on Mother’s Day

While today celebrates mothers, I owe it to the three people who made me the mother I am, so I’m celebrating them today, whether they like it or not.

That’s parenting for you – parents do things that are good for their children, even when their children don’t think these things are so good. This is never more the case when parental actions are an embarrassment to the young ‘uns.

But it’s my day, so I’ll embarrass my children, as that is my right.

Here’s to you!

Ryan baby#1 – 29. Lover of what makes language tick and things Celtic (probably in his blood). I knew he’d be a redhead, somehow I knew when I was pregnant with him. When he was very young, I could swear he’d read my thoughts, as sometimes he spoke exactly what I was thinkRyan Helsinkiing. Completely comfortable in his skin and quite the inspiration because of it.


Libby Mom#2 -18. Lover of all animals, smart and quiet, with a hidden fieriness that I think is sometimes so deeply hidden she is not aware of it. But it’s there and it is her strength. An air sign, like her mother, and of course fire can only exist because of air. Say no more and watch out.Libby Now



Sam#3 – 16. Like his father, quiet, and the moment you think he’s lost in his own world, he makes a spot-on comment you never saw coming. Articulate, brainy, artistic, self-assured, and definitely off the beaten path and doesn’t really care what others think about that. Still, he’ll always be my baby. Sam Now


The Great Disconnect

IMG_1359This morning, I head off for one week of solitude at an inn with no television, no cell service, and no in-room telephone. This rare luxury coincides with the last week of my year as a McKnight Artist Fellow, and I’ll use it to revise the novel I wrote late last summer in San Francisco.

I’m grateful for the support of the McKnight Foundation in making this happen, but also to my husband who is going to be soloing at home (though he is also probably going to enjoy the rare luxury of time to devote to one of his hobbies – drumming), the coworkers who will pick up some duties at my full-time job, and to the company that provides me with vacation time, all of which allows me to basically do what the picture at right symbolizes.

My storyteller’s brain sees those bare tree branches stretching skyward and thinks they’re dreaming of buds, blossoms and leaves-the as yet unrealized possibility of spring.

In the north, where this winter is the longest we’ve had in ages, a day like yesterday (70’s, sunny, mild) isn’t taken for granted. It’s best to spend every moment you can outdoors, drinking up the sunshine and the fresh air. As it was Easter Sunday and this involved conversation and a meal with the extended family, it meant that time was spend indoors cooking and gathered round the table, and at a certain age, one is expected to behave like a mature adult and linger at the table, chatting, while the younger ones escape outdoors to play frisbee or flop on the grass.

So I felt a little awkward and guilty when I slipped away, and flopped down on the grass outside, a reasonable distance from the family teens,  who wouldn’t have liked their over 50 auntie/mom-type to bust in on their conversation.  I wouldn’t have minded if some of the older folks joined me out there, but they felt more comfortable inside.

I felt a little out of place, out there on the lawn by myself, but maybe it was that writer’s brain of mine at work-that took the risk of feeling guilty and out of place for the reward of  a few quiet moments to imagine what the bare tree branches might be dreaming about.


New Release from Award-Winning Novelist (ahem – me)

Burnt Out - cover crop
A burnt-out social worker is reluctantly caught up in the suspicious disappearance of a world-famous geologist and learns her own life is in danger.  Will she be able to forget the disaster of her failed love affair and reach out to the only person who can truly help her — detective Arvo Thorson?
Praise for Burnt Out
 “Prickly-but-principled social worker Christine Ivory is feeling burned out on the job, and retreats to the family place in Minnesota’s north woods. Burnt Out, the third in a richly realized series from Susan Koefod, captures the complex push-pull of home and family, not to mention the dark underbelly of idyllic small-town life. Add a missing geologist and a ripped-from-the-headlines clash over oil and gas rights, and Koefod hits a gusher of motives for murder.”

Erin Hart, award-winning author of The Book of Killowen

“Koefod skillfully captures the many layers of drama and tension underlying small town life.”

Brian Freeman, international bestselling author of Spilled Blood

From North Star Press of St. Cloud

ISBN-10:                                 0878396632

ISBN-13:                                 978- 0878396634