Wine, Perfume, and Possibilities

book-launch-relaxed

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.

 

Celebrate Artistic Creation: Upcoming Events

Book lovers take note of these forthcoming events (pasted below) where you can share your love with a hard-working author and enjoy the fruits of her creative labors. And have great coffee and snacks at a local West St. Paul coffee shop!

In other exciting news, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine has expressed interest in another of my mystery shorts! More news ahead on this, but I gotta tell you I’m thrilled that they will publish another of my short stories. In total, I’ll have placed THREE stories with the magazine Stephen King calls the “world’s best mystery magazine”. The magazine and its stories have won many, many prizes. Two other stories, “Boys will be Boys” from the February 2013 issue and “Open Ended”  from December 2015, made the cut. It’s such an honor and such validation to appear in Ellery Queen’s pages.

As always, keep on eye on my Events tab for additional events.

2016 Events

>Albert Park - In His Own Words

Albert Park – at Dodd and Smith

July 23, 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM

WEST ST PAUL, MINNESOTA

Art on the Avenue 2016

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 23th 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.

September 17, 2 – 5 PM

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA

Amore Coffee
Smith Avenue at Annapolis
St Paul, MN 55118

Come celebrate the launch of NAMING THE STARS, a young adult novel by Susan Koefod. Hosted by Subtext Books of St. Paul.

NAMING THE STARS is the story of a teen girl who 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.

Please be sure to purchase fine coffee, beverage, and food from Amore Coffee in support of this event. Books will be available for purchase by Subtext Books.

Book Launch Set, Poem Accepted, & Other Writer Stuff

I’m excited to announce that my book launch for Naming the Stars is set for Saturday, September 17 – from 2:00 to 5:00 pm, at Amore Coffee in West St. Paul. The event will be hosted by the fantastic Subtext Books. More events to be scheduled. As always, you can check my Events page for info.

A new poem is forthcoming in the 2017 Saint Paul Almanac. I have a few other pieces awaiting final word from the Almanac.

Importantly, I actually WROTE today, finishing a short story about a weather predication fail, father-son conflict, and a very strange fishing opener.

But it is time to put away digital screens and enjoy the summer day now. Waiting for raspberries and other summer bounty, dreaming of baking goodness ahead, like this yummy batch of raspberry ebelskivers from last summer.

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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!

 

Creative Hibernation

I guess you could call it that. For more than several months, possibly a year or more, I’ve been in a state of writer-lethargy, a low-energy subsistence of work-eat-television/internet/screen viewing-sleep.Rainbow

This is not the same as a writer’s block. Novel and stories noodled in my brain, but stayed there, slumbering through a very long, bone-chilling winter where I did nothing more than bundle my writer’s brain up and send it to bed. The ideas needed to stay warm and safe, and keeping them warm and safe meant they needed to be tucked away somewhere for a sunnier day.

Oh there has been plenty of publishing activity, and that is very very good, and I know it is good to be where I am on that front. (By the way, that front includes interest from Hollywood, fingers crossed.)

But you are not a writer unless you actually write, right? (Note to unpublished WRITERS – you are writers, one and all).

So now I have shouted my sleeping writer’s brain awake. WAKE UP, YOU LOSER! And I am writing again.

Further, I have banned the following excuses (i.e., conditions that I required for writing):

  • Writing must be done in certain places  (favorite happy places – like Nina’s Cafe – which now serves WINE). Well, I can pour myself my own glass of G-D wine, which I have at hand at the moment. Of course, Nina’s will continue to be visited.
  • Writing can only be done on weekend mornings when I am awake. HELLO, I can write during other parts of the day, other parts of the week. Don’t be a pathetic lazy bones.
  • Writing needs to be “inspired” – i.e., seat of the pants. Um – I could try an OUTLINE for once? Or, even easier, use an app, such as Scrivener – where I can write here and there, and easily reorganize as I need to. A little organization might allow one to have more than three or four characters in a book. Multiple plot lines. A little more depth. A lot more depth.

Note the pretty rainbow. I painted it myself, yes indeed, sometime in the last few years. It’s not perfect, in fact, it looks childish. I don’t care. Another rule from the list of banished excuses:

  • Stop worrying about perfection. About the word count. About pumping pages out in a minimum amount of time. How about just enjoying the process for once, imperfect as it can be? Have fun with it?

So I’m feeling more joyfully-rainbowish about the whole thing. And that is the point.

 

A Short Story of Love, Loss, and Murder(?)

IMG_3219She walked up the steps of her apartment one last time, and felt in her pocket for her key. She thought of kissing the key goodbye—a silly gesture to be sure—and felt self-conscious even though the cabbie wasn’t paying the least bit of attention and no one else was around. So she kissed it, and the moment her lips touched the key, she felt her wedding ring brush against her cheek.

Her husband’s prognosis had been terminal from the start, yet he’d lingered almost two years after the accident, and during those two years, Lydia gave everything away, sold the house, and rented an apartment near the hospital, furnishing it sparely. She told herself she was in limbo during Terrance’s long and slow decline, and this was why she hadn’t bothered decorating the place. But after he died and was buried, she’d immediately bought herself the open train ticket, planning to depart within the week.

She dropped the key into her landlord’s mailbox, and on impulse, she removed her wedding ring, dropping it in her own mailbox with little thought, no regret. The post office was holding her mail, so the ring would lie entombed until she returned. When that would be, she didn’t know.

Excerpt from “Open Ended”, now appearing in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Find it in bookstores everywhere.
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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!