Newly Signed Author for Curiosity Quills Press

10538628_704776566242280_14451890461764092_nI am thrilled to announce that I have signed with Curiosity Quills Press, as announced in Publisher’s Marketplace on Monday, September 21.

Susan Koefod’s NAMING THE STARS, in which a teen girl comes home from swimming lessons one day to find she is absent from family photographs, her bedroom has turned into a linen closet, and all of her possessions have disappeared; more troubling, her family goes on as if she never existed; the only person in town who can actually see her is a teen boy with a troubled past and secrets he’s determined to keep, to Kathleen Kubasiak at Curiosity Quills Press for publication in Summer 2016 (world).

This was the book I began writing in San Francisco during my McKnight Artists Fellowship year. The idea came to me on the flight there—I’d originally planned to write another novel, and during my first days there, wrote parts of both, but NAMING THE STARS took over my imagination and my speedy fingers.

To now see it on its path to publication is amazing! This next year will be filled with much activity around my debut young adult novel. The team at Curiosity Quills is already proving to be phenomenal, so it’s going to be a great ride!

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Let There Be FREE Cake (and music and fun and author readings)!

Meteorological fall (weather-geeks rejoice!) is shaping up as a mouth-watering literary-eventful time. Oh yes, and FREE cake, served by this author at the first of these events. I hope to see you at any or all of these upcoming events.

September 10, 7 PM

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA

Black Dog and AZ Gallery
Corner of 4th & Broadway
Lowertown, St Paul, MN

Food, fun, and readings from the Saint Paul Almanac: A Ten-Year Retrospective. The book includes my story of a geeky Cray Research employee love affair-punctuated by elephant jokes. I’ll be serving cake so stop by and get a piece or two. Books available for purchase!

September 30, 7 PM

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA

Lucy Coffee Cafe

540 Fairview Ave N,
St Paul, MN 55104

Hear me read my story from the Saint Paul Almanac: A Ten-Year Retrospective. Love and elephant jokes – what a great combo. Other writers will also be reading their pieces.  Books available for purchase!

NOVEMBER 14, 1 PM – 4 PM

APPLE VALLEY, MNGalaxie

Galaxie Library (Apple Valley)
14955 Galaxie Ave.
Apple Valley, MN 55124

Come see me at the Dakota County Library Local Author Fair, where you can mingle with  the book-loving public, buy books, hang out with  authors, and attend optional literary workshops. All three Arvo Thorson mysteries - Burnt OutBroken Down, and Washed Up  will be available for purchase.

Forthcoming! Lots and Lots!

I2016-SPA-Cover-315x485t’s a thrill to have my story selected by Saint Paul Almanac’s community editors to be published in the 10th anniversary issue, so I thought I’d share this cover reveal and invite Minneapolis and St. Paul area readers and writers to join in the fun at the 10th anniversary bash (coming September 10th).

The editors culled through 10 years of Saint Paul Almanacs and I am so honored and pleased to have had my story of a geeky Cray Research employee love affair-punctuated by elephant jokes-appearing in the book this year.

This week also brought good news in the form of tiny final edits to my latest Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine story-Open Ended-which will appear in the December issue (out on the newsstands in October). It’s a huge thrill for a mystery writer’s stories to appear in the world’s leading crime and mystery fiction magazine. This will be my second story to appear in Ellery Queen! Beyond excitement!

If you haven’t checked it out yet, look at my Perpetua series on Revolver. Free! Quirky, bizarre, and experimental.

Forthcoming appearances include the Minnesota State Fair, a private book club event (YES – I DO BOOK CLUBS!!), and the Almanac party. I hope to see fans, fellow authors, and fellow readers at all of these!

A Fair to Remember – err, two actually

Lusting for a lip-smacking satisfying treat with no calories? I have just the thing! Upcoming not-to-be missed fairs, including “the big one,” feature local mystery authors (including me). Details below:

>Albert Park - In His Own Words

Albert Park – at Dodd and Smith

July 25, 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM

WEST ST PAUL, MINNESOTA

Art on the Avenue 2015

At Smith and Dodd Avenue

Smith Avenue comes alive again this summer with art, live music, food, crafts, children and adult entertainment and more! Come see me and other artists and vendors on July 25th from 4 to 8PM. Fun will happen at Albert Park, Doddway Shopping Center, Dodd Park and Smith Avenue. More details of my exact location coming, but the area is very walkable. Park and come find me! All three Arvo Thorson mysteries - Burnt Out, Broken Down, and Washed Up - will be available for purchase.

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Fun, food, and mystery at the great Minnesota get-together.

September 2, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM*

FALCON HEIGHTS, MINNESOTA

Minnesota State Fair

Carousel Park

Stop by the MELSA tent during Read and Ride day at the Fair to visit me along with other Twin Cities Sister in Crime authors. Sign up for giveaways! All three Arvo Thorson mysteries - Burnt Out, Broken Down, and Washed Up - will be available for purchase.

*I’ll post my shift time (a two-hour slot) soon!

Wanted: More Writing Prompts

The strange tale of a euphonium-playing animal-loving character named Tiffanie Brump captured the attention of Revolver‘s editors, who named me “Winner of WANTED 25.” Revolver called WANTED 25  “its most ambitious WANTED contest to date”.

My prize is three-month prompt-based SERIAL PROJECT on Revolver. I love writing prompts. They provide fresh inspiration, take my writer’s mind into new places I wouldn’t have thought of, and fresh, unexpected plots and characters always arise.

I think it’s going to be a fun assignment and have already received my first prompt. Watch for bi-weekly musings at Revolver, and while you’re waiting to see my  new serial, check out their other stories, poems, and projects. And watch for the next WANTED prompt. Always fun, whether you win or not!

Goodbye Facebook

Botón_Me_gusta.svgThe causalities are piling up: Facebook exits by several friends, some just as the New Year began (resolutions?), others over the past several months.

One was driven away on his significant other’s insistence, another out of some unexplained need to take a break for the year. Yet another left, claiming she was being stalked and her departure was at the insistence of legal authorities for her own protection.

Another friend comes and goes all the time, claiming the need to purge from the negativity showing up in her stream.

I joined Facebook as a writing career move, prodded by an agent to establish my social platform. Naturally, many of my online friends are other writers, doing the same. Now I’m having doubts too, and I know that others have long had the same. What I have to say here is nothing new, but I’ll say it anyway.

I do what all my writer friends are doing – posting links to my blog, reading updates, publishing updates, – you know – marketing myself. This is the dark side of being creative. The very antithesis of it. But part of being artist is performing your work (i.e., getting published, presenting readings), and marketing yourself is an entree to both of those ends.

Yet the creative urge is fed by lots of time alone with the work. And not all the time you spend talking about your work.

The flipside is that I am on the receiving end of all of my writer friends’ marketing efforts, and along with my happiness for them when they succeed there always comes a stab in my belly that I’m not keeping up, that I should be doing more, that I’m not getting published enough, that I’m not winning enough awards, getting the important reviews, etc, etc, etc.

And that’s just the thing.

Affirmation (in the form of a Facebook like or number of views) creates the need for more – it’s a vicious cycle –there is not enough affirmation (Facebook liking) in the world, for anyone to ever feel validated. Loved.

You can’t get true affirmation from an impersonal system masquerading as a community that is really trying to pitch ads at you and make money for a Faceless corporation.

I wish I could be one of those people who just posts and moves on, invested with a power ego that doesn’t care if people like or hate what they say. To be honest, that was my goal when I naively joined up. That I could be the real person that I am, express my real opinions, and be better for it.

But I’m neither being real, honest, or feeling better for it.

Writer Sherry Turkle says, Facebook is the place “where you show your best self. It’s a place for good news, not the place where you talk about your most vulnerable self.”

And it’s true: Susan – the public persona as seen on Facebook is nowhere close to the real person that I am. The Facebook Susan is a curated façade, intended to help market me as a writer and, I admit, to share my other personal successes for your stamp of approval.

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Again, this is not a new thought, just a realization of how artificial this community can be.

 

As much as I love to see my friends and family’s adorable baby and pet photos, as much as I do cherish new friends I’ve made only because of striking up a Facebook friendship, as much as I love to keep in touch with friends, old and new, I’m finding it harder and harder to give a thumbs up to the Facebook experience these days.

And I know I’m not alone. So there’s community in that, right?

Blocked?

“It was too big for him, that was the truth. It had never really progressed, it had simply fallen apart into a series of fragments.”

~ George Orwell

I thought I’d write about not having nothing much to say. An odd topic for a blog, to be sure.

But there you have it.

This wordless inertia is not the same as writer’s block, as I have plenty of ideas, I always do. More than one work in progress. I feel distracted, but always am; the world itself an unending distraction of unresolved problems, rising tensions, and I’ve often found writing is a good cure for distraction. Writing grounds me, it can be a form of meditation, an escape, I’ll admit.

It’s easy to throw some words on a blank page, fiction-up when reality sucks.

But those times of distraction, when I can get into a world-building mania and think 1398854_10205607049285182_6357952780868727952_oI’m onto something new, invent new characters who deserve to live beyond that initial chapter, tend to….fizzle.

But that’s not what is happening now.

It’s also not the same as giving the work a rest. Where you work like crazy, stuff the work in progress in a drawer, then come back to it with fresh eyes. This “resting phase” is part of writing, essential so you can read your work from a reader’s perspective. But I don’t feel like the writer in me is resting.

It really may be nothing more than the sad, cold, gray fog of November settling down all around. The naked boredom of trees, their leaves shed like playing cards scattered on the table at the end of a game. The players moved on to pretty much nowhere.

My writer’s brain has entered a phase of literary hibernation. To avoid a complete shut down, I’m spending lots of time looking at visual art, allowing my eyes to linger on color and form — day-dreams — instead of constantly world-wording. At some point, the visual fragments I’m collecting may reassemble themselves into poems or prose.

There’s no way to tell whether that will be a day from now — or several months down the road.