Dictionary Dreams – Books & Writing

I write novels — mostly literary novels with a dark edge — my work tends to play with history, theology and suspense. SINFUL FOLK is a best-selling novel set in 14th century England. I have also published the novel Coeur D’Alene Waters, set in Washington state. My new novel The Eagle Tree is now available for pre-order on Amazon. 


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Join me online at these author and book sites to read recent reviews, and find out more about my writing.

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Recent Blog Posts about books: 

The Eagle Tree — 2016 Novel

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in amwriting, books, writing | 2 comments

THE EAGLE TREE is now available from your local bookstores (Indies first!),  Amazon and Barnes & Noble.           THE EAGLE TREE is published by Little A. Thank you to all my early readers for your support and encouragement! Endorsed by Steve Silberman, Temple Grandin, Francisco X. Stork and Susan Senator, The Eagle Tree will appeal to readers who enjoyed Mark Haddon’s award-winning Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time or Jim Lynch’s The Highest Tide.  Fourteen-year-old March Wong knows everything there is to know about trees. They are his passion and his obsession, even after his recent fall—and despite social services’ threat to take him away from his mother if she doesn’t keep him out of their branches. But the young autistic boy just cannot resist the captivating pull of the Pacific Northwest’s lush forests just outside his backdoor. One day, March is devastated to learn that the Eagle Tree—a monolithic Ponderosa pine near his home in Olympia—is slated to be cut down by developers. Now, he will do anything in his power to save this beloved tree, including enlisting unlikely support from relatives, classmates, and even his bitter neighbor. In taking a stand, March will come face-to-face with some frightening possibilities: Even if he manages to save the Eagle Tree, is he risking himself and his mother to do it? Intertwining themes of humanity and ecology, The Eagle Tree eloquently explores what it means to be a part of a family, a society, and the natural world that surrounds and connects us. ————————- A reading from THE EAGLE TREE at the Rainier Writing Workshop: Please like &...

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Where And How I Write

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in amwriting, books, writing | 0 comments

I read something today that really surprised me. The brilliant Kris Rusch wrote that some writers cannot write on planes. This surprised me, because I’ve never been one of those writers who just writes in a certain location or a certain environment. Sure, it’s tempting to be one of those “special snowflake” writers, but I wouldn’t get near enough writing done if I chose that route. Out of that thought, I thought I’d chart my own route. I thought I’d make a small list of the places and times I’ve written, just for my own amusement.    Here’s the List of how I write: Writing via different mediums (I write in notebooks, by hand, in pen and pencil. My most recent complete novel was hand-written before being typed in. I also write on various software products on Windows laptops, Mac laptops, and via audio-dictation on my phone and tablets. I’m not religious about what tools I use, but I am religious about writing every day.) Writing with different instruments (I’ve written whole notebooks that are full of a scribbled mass of fiction composed with ballpoint pens, fountain pens, pencils, felt-tip pens and even a few crayon paragraphs when I couldn’t find a working pen. I’ve composed on torn scraps of paper, newspaper margins, magazines, the backs of old books, and even on restaurant napkins — oh, and occasionally, I buy a fresh clean notebook for this purpose. Typically the cheapest available.) I met a writer who actually would not write unless they had their special leather-covered notebook and a fountain pen. I was wholly under-whelmed: I mean, how do you get any writing done, if you need special equipment? It’s not like rock-climbing. No one will die if you write with a pencil, my friend. Writing around the clock (I’ve written at all the following times: 7-10 a.m., lunch time 11:30-1 pm, afternoon 3-6 pm, thru dinner 6-8 pm, after dinner and bedtime writing 8 pm – 12 am, late night writing 12-3 a.m., early morning writing, 4:30 am-7 am. The longest I’ve ever written one one stretch of 16 hours. The shortest is about 10 minutes at a concert once.) Writing in different postures (I’ve written while standing up, while sitting at my desk, while lying down. I wrote a thought down once while riding a bicycle, but I’ve never managed to write while running.) Writing at different furniture (I often write at my jerry-rigged standing desk in my home office. But I have also written sitting down in my chair, and at my kitchen counter, on the couch while hanging out with my children, in the backyard on the lawn, beside the pool at a pool party, and on top of a wine barrel at a crowded party full of people.) Writing while driving (When I drive, I write 99% thru audio-dictation on a hands-free headphone/microphone, and just recently I crossed the 20K line written by audio-dictation to my phone. Only occasionally, have i hand-written a quick thought by hand on paper while driving) Writing every day of the week (Yes, I’ve written Mon-Fri and Sat and Sun. I’ve written during work days, and right thru a vacation (finished a book on vacation) Writing at Home (I’ve written in every room in my house, including the kitchen and...

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New Interview on TCTV – Public Television (Youth Programming)

Posted by on Feb 22, 2015 in books, reading, sinfulfolk, writing | 0 comments

Thanks to TCTV for hosting me on their public affairs programming. Appreciate the good questions from the youth who interviewed me!   Please like &...

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New Interview on WMKT News Radio

Posted by on Jan 30, 2015 in amwriting, books | 0 comments

New radio interview on WMKT Michigan Radio with Vic McCarty. Seahawks, Patriots and the Middle Ages!   http://wmktthetalkstation.com/media/podcasts/vic/01-27-15%20%20ned%20hayes%20sinful%20folk.mp3     Please like &...

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On Creative Work, by Ira Glass

Posted by on Jan 26, 2015 in amwriting, writing | 0 comments

Ira Glass is an inspiration to me. His work on “This American Life” is consistently entertaining, invigorating, intriguing and surprising. It’s a very creative show, constantly pushing the limits of the nonfiction documentary format. Yet, as Ira Glass shares in the video below… it took him years to figure out what he was doing. His great piece of advice here — to produce a large volume of work in order to find your voice and your expression — rings as true as anything I’ve ever read about the creative process. Please like &...

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Thank you for a great year in publishing!

Posted by on Dec 21, 2014 in book reviews, publishing, writing | 0 comments

I wanted to thank you for a marvelous year. In 2014, SINFUL FOLK became a #1 Historical Fiction bestseller on Amazon, received a nomination for the Pacific Northwest Bookseller’s Award, has been reviewed by a number of amazing top authors, is featured at great bookstores like Elliott Bay Bookstore and Powell’s Books, was on several top 10 lists, and has sold amazingly well. I did in-person readings of the book at bookstores up and down the West Coast — my favorites were readings at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane and in my hometown of Olympia, where I read accompanied by a great upright bass player at Orca Books. Primarily, I have my readers to thank for this success — thank you for all your reading, good thoughts, and lovely reviews! Your reading and encouragement has meant the world to me! A big part of that success, I feel, is due to the marvelous work of my team at Campanile and beyond! You took my book from a raw manuscript to a printed, e-book and audiobook success! I’ve been excited to see the launch of my first major book first-hand, and I have a list of wonderful professionals to thank for this success. Here’s a short list of the professionals I wish to thank (I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone!) THANK YOU to Linda Marus at Campanile Books, who shephered this book along and brought it to readers everywhere. A first-tier thank you is also due to  Nikki McClure, the amazing Northwest papercut artist, for her lovely front cover and internal illustrations. What a marvelous complement to the story her illustrations turned out to be! Here’s a link to more about Nikki McClure. Several people helped readers to FIND this book in the first place. The book was sent out by book publicist Mary Bisbee-Beek last October and November, resulting in *starred reviews* from several publications. Wow, that was exciting! In December (last year!), I received great endorsements from bestselling authors Brenda Vantrease, Karen Maitland, Ella March Chase, William Dietrich and many more. The capstone on those gifts was that the wonderful historical romance author Kathryn Le Veque read the book, and included an excerpt in her historical novel LORD OF LIGHT — which really accelerated things! Then the good people at MJ Rose’s Author Buzz Shelf Awareness promotion group helped the book along. TLC Book Tours brought my book to a number of book bloggers, as did Historical Novel Virtual Book Tours — thanks to Trish Browning of TLC and Amy Bruno of Historical VBT ! I worked with book layout and cover design specialist Sara DeHaan, who did such a great job on interior design of the text for Campanile, and consulted with me on so many details. Thank you to Sara!  (More about Sara at dehaanarts.com).   And I was privileged to work with a fantastic editor —  Elizabeth Johnson. Her clients include Sasquatch Books, Mountaineers Books, Braided River, Skipstone, Girl Friday Productions, Mouse Tales Press and Campanile. I loved working with the very detailed Elizabeth the editor!  My work has also been brought to life in a marvelous audiobook edition for Audible and iTunes with the voice of the fantastic French-Canadian actress Anne Day-Jones, whose filmography can be found here. I was incredibly blessed to have such a strong powerful voice bring Mear to life! Thank you, Campanile and Anne Day-Jones! Several years ago, I...

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On Police Power — Bringing Peace or Fear

Posted by on Dec 5, 2014 in amwriting, geekdad, writing | 2 comments

Peace or Fear (I’m posting this on the day when a police officer was NOT indicted for choking Eric Garner to death without any overt provocation. Here’s the news story, and the actual video and audio tape) A few years ago, I did a ride along with the sheriffs department in Thurston County. The officer I was assigned was thoughtful, judicious, and extremely diplomatic. He defused about three situations we saw that day. Finally, we pulled up at a domestic violence situation at exactly the same time as another officer. My man turned to me and said “Well, I know this guy, and you’re about to see two different styles of policework here today. ” He was right. My guy walked in to bring the peace. The other guy walked in with the intent to beat somebody up, shoot somebody, or arrest both of them. We narrowly avoided a shooting, but one of them walked out in handcuffs. Later, my guy said none of this escalation was necessary. This is exactly what happened in this poor man’s death. Please, in the future, we need more diplomacy and peace bringing from officers. Less assertion of privilege, power, and honor.   What will your LAST WORDS be? I can understand how some of my (more conservative) relatives thought there were two sides to the story with Mike Brown, and with other recent deaths. I disagree, but I understand their perspective. But this one… yeah…. there’s no arguing there’s something wrong with murdering a non-violent, unarmed father of six for doing nothing but standing on the sidewalk talking, and then not prosecuting anyone for that homicide. Yeah, there’s some thing very wrong with America. Please like &...

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The Monument – for Veteran’s Day

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in books, writing | 0 comments

New story from Nick Hallum today — “The Monument” — a strange little interlude excerpted from the forthcoming novel “Wilderness of Mirrors.” After 9-11, the NSA sends Peter Fisher to the Iraqi desert with a Stryker brigade to investigate a strange phenomenon that may turn the tide of the battle to free Iraq. In the horrific aftermath of his secret mission, Peter recalls his youthful collaboration with powers he barely understands and that influence his life for decades to come. Read THE MONUMENT here >>  Please like &...

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October fun – a chilling story

Posted by on Oct 6, 2014 in books, publishing, writing | 0 comments

For the month of October, my alter-ego Nicholas Hallum (who writes horror and strange horror-inflected SF) created a chilling  tale designed to keep you up at night. This is also my first experiment with Kindle PRE-ORDER. The NEW 20-page story “SANCTUARY” will appear on October 25. But if you put in a Pre-Order today, the story will jump to the top of the horror list on that release day. Think you can help make that happen? Pre-Order this eerie little gem of a story, and let’s do this together! Here’s the cover to get you excited. ((Ok, you’ll pardon me, I need to go finish revisions on this story…. hope something creepy doesn’t get me before the story hits deadline!)  Please like &...

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The Forest for the Trees — Writers and Authors United

Posted by on Oct 1, 2014 in amwriting, books, reading, writing | 0 comments

I have a publisher. I like my publisher, although they are smaller than the Big 5 publishers. We get along pretty well, and I’ve appreciated their work on my novel Sinful Folk, which has received great publicity from my publisher’s marketing department. I’ve also self-published other material under the name Nicholas Hallum, and I’ve enjoyed that experience of working on material that I entirely control. However, in this era of increasing chaos and change in publishing, it’s interesting to see some people — like publishing veterans Mike Shatzkin and Aaron Shepherd — fundamentally misunderstand the mind-set of the many authors (both traditionally published and indie-published) who signed the largest petition ever signed by a single group of authors (8,000 and still counting). Fundamentally, I think most authors see themselves as a group united in their obectives of A) Making a living at writing, B) Telling a story to interested readers. The world that currently exists in publishing — mostly comprised of the Big 5 — is enormously unfair to authors and is antithetical to both of the stated goals above. Authors who some see as “attacking” publishers are asking for the rights of all authors — as a profession — to accomplish their goals. Authors as a group — a profession — are finally feeling their power and are trending toward a unity against contracts and policies that will hinder their shared goals as a profession. If you are a plumber, you tend to like things good for plumbers as a profession. The same is true for writers. If you are a writer, you’ll tend to like the self-publishing clarity of monthly payments, control over rights, etc. — those writers who don’t like those things will be perceived as “scabs.” That’s exactly the position Authors United is putting itself in right now. Marc Cabot recently posted a precisely appropriate quote about the recent uproar: “There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.” — Robert A. Heinlein, Life-Line (1939) Publishing in an Era of Change was originally published on NedNote Please like &...

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