Dictionary Dreams – Books & Writing

I am a novelist published by several major publishers. My novels include historical fiction, literary fiction and some darker fantastic fiction. SINFUL FOLK is a historical novel set in 14th century England, while COEUR D’ALENE WATERS is set in the 1980s. My newest novel THE EAGLE TREE was an international bestseller, translated into multiple languages and has been named a best book of the year


Join me online at these author and book sites to read more.




Recent Blog Posts about books: 

New Commemorative Edition of The Eagle Tree

Posted by on Nov 1, 2018 in amwriting, book reviews, books, publishing, reading, Updates, writing | 0 comments

I’m excited to announce that Steve Silberman, friend of Oliver Sacks, winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, and author of the New York Times bestselling history of autism Neurotribes, has written a lovely heartfelt foreword for the new hardcover commemorative edition of The Eagle Tree. FOREWORD by Steve Silberman It is the special, magical quality of some precious books that they seem to contain the whole universe in miniature. Ned Hayes’s The Eagle Tree is such a book. By fully inhabiting the subjective experience of his narrator—Peter March Wong, an insatiably curious autistic teenager in Washington State with an unruly passion for climbing trees—Hayes brings vast worlds into focus, from the intricate web of interspecies relationships that is the foundation of the ecology of the Pacific Northwest to the confusing network of interpersonal relationships that March must learn to navigate as he comes of age. Accompanying him on his thrilling and perilous journey toward independence, we not only learn much about the majestic arboreal presences whose “true names” he repeats like a holy litany, we discover that diversity in communities of human minds is as valuable as diversity in communities of living things. Creating a credible, complexly human disabled narrator can be tricky for a nondisabled author, but Hayes’s years of mentoring and listening to students on the spectrum as a teacher have served him well. He brings us along on March’s atypical hero’s journey without resorting to the usual pity-evoking clichés that afflict most writing about disabled people in general and about people on the autism spectrum in particular. March is not presented as a hapless, bumbling, trivia-obsessed Aspie who tramples social norms to comedic effect; nor is he caricatured as a saintly savant who exists primarily to solve the problems of nondisabled characters. Instead, Hayes presents March as very much his own person, avidly pursuing his quest to acquire knowledge about the trees he loves, even in the face of obstacles introduced by adults who feel confident that they’re acting with his best interests in mind. Rather than framing March as the unreliable narrator of his own story, Hayes probes the ways that March’s unusual mind enables him to be an exceptionally reliable narrator of aspects of experience that most “normal” people miss. Furthermore, it is only in the past couple of decades that the autism diagnosis has become available to teenagers and adults, and thus only recently that autobiographical accounts of lives on the spectrum have become available to readers. In addition to listening to his students, Hayes has clearly absorbed the work of autistic writers like industrial designer Temple Grandin, which enables him to illuminate his narrator’s thought processes from the inside with the intimacy and veracity of lived experience. But March is more than an embodiment of his disability, and there’s more at stake in The Eagle Tree than the coming-of-age of a single young man. The overarching context of his journey is the tenuous fate of the imperiled ecosystem in which he finds himself. March’s identification with trees—particularly with the regal Ponderosa pine that becomes the primary focus of his tree-climbing desire and gives the book its title—is so all-consuming that he comes to resemble a teenage Walt Whitman, seeking communion with the magnificent ancient beings that tower over his landscape. In Whitman’s era, however,...

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Launch to Exit: The Oly Arts Success Story

Posted by on Oct 17, 2018 in publishing, software, Updates, writing | 0 comments

|Founder of local multi-platform publication group successfully sells off publication unit to local entrepreneur >> Coverage included: The Olympian: Founder Sells to Local Marketing LeaderSound Sound Business: Oly Arts Bought by Local Publisher OLY ARTS, the three-year-old multiplatform publication focused on arts and cultural events in Thurston County and surrounding regions, announced today that the publication has signed an acquisition agreement with local media expert Billy Thomas, who currently serves as the publication’s associate publisher. In an equity-only transaction valued at $350,000, Mr. Thomas will become the publication’s owner and primary publisher and will take over all daily operations for all OLY ARTS media properties in October 2018. “I am honored to take the helm for such a wonderful team,” said Thomas. “I’m excited to see what the future holds for this publication as we expand into new media ventures.” Thomas has previously led public relations, marketing and sales for the Washington Center for the Performing Arts and facilitated community relations and advertising sales at both The Olympian and The News Tribune. Thomas has been part of the OLY ARTS staff since late 2017. Ned Hayes, a technology entrepreneur and former journalist, founded the publication in 2015. “I am excited to transition our successful publication, growing audience and supportive advertisers to Billy Thomas,” said OLY ARTS founder Hayes. “Billy has been a fantastic partner and manager for the publication over the last year, and I am excited to have his energetic leadership as OLY ARTS moves into the future.” Olympia leaders and national publications have recognized the success of OLY ARTS over the past three years. The Seattle Times has worked with the OLY ARTS team on coverage of theater issues at Harlequin Productions in Olympia. In September 2018, the Washington Post also contacted OLY ARTS for regional media assistance and worked closely with OLY ARTS founder Hayes to write a comprehensive travel guide article about Olympia regional attractions. “OLY ARTS has greatly enhanced the profile of our local arts and cultural assets, not only in Olympia but in the surrounding region as well.” said Olympia mayor Cheryl Selby. “I’m happy to see the publication continue to grow with this new management team.” Under Hayes’s tenure as owner and publisher of OLY ARTS, the publication launched online, mobile, and podcast media outlets, and created from scratch a regional audience of tens of thousands of readers for print and online versions of the publication. OLY ARTS also moved from a quarterly publication in its first year to a schedule of seven annual print editions. Hayes also created partnerships with the City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation for lead sponsorship of the twice-annual Olympia Arts Walk, as well as partnerships with all local theaters, the City of Lacey’s summer In Tune program and the annual Oly Old Time Festival. In recent months, Thomas has led the publication’s transition from a newsprint circular into a bound glossy premium print magazine distributed throughout Thurston, Lewis, Mason, and Pierce counties, and at every local arts event and festival. He has continued OLY ARTS’ vision of community involvement by leading partnerships with local arts organizations such as Emerald City Music, Broadway Olympia and the Olympia Film Festival. As the acquisition concludes, Hayes will transition into a new role as President of the parent company,...

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Washington Post Interview

Posted by on Sep 12, 2018 in publishing, reading, Updates, writing | 0 comments

In summer 2018, I was contacted by a reporter from the Washington Post, who wanted to write an article about my hometown. I’m the founder and publisher of the leading regional arts and culture publication OLY ARTS, so I was happy to lend my expertise to her story. We ended up spending some time together in Olympia as I showed her the sites, introduced her to local business owners and demonstrated the goodwill that is part and parcel of the Pacific Northwest experience. It was a nice surprise to see myself quoted in the eventual story in the Washington Post, which appeared in September 2018. Here are some brief excerpts: In the Pacific Northwest, a capital city that long has marched to the beat of its own drum manages to maintain its groove amid plenty of changes.By Andrea Sachs Sept. 12, 2018 A few miles outside Olympia, Wash., I passed the Sleater-Kinney Road exit and, in my excitement at seeing riot grrrls history, completely forgot the band’s origins. According to my revisionist version, civic leaders renamed the street in honor of Sleater-Kinney, the feminist punk group that Carrie “Portlandia” Brownstein and Corin Tucker formed in the 1990s while living in the capital city. Once in town (specifically, at a ceramics class with craft beer), a local reminded me about the actual order of events: The musicians named the trio after the sign, not vice versa. But the truth didn’t shake my faith in Oly pride, which bubbles up like the artesian well water that has been slaking Olympian thirsts for centuries. “Keep Portland in Portland. Keep Seattle in Seattle,” said Ned Hayes, founder of Oly Arts, a cultural publication. “We want to do our own thing.”  “Twenty years ago, downtown  was grunge,” said Hayes, the Oly Arts founder, “and not just in terms of music.” Over the years, the grit of the Olympia Downtown Historic District has receded, with independent retailers and inventive restaurateurs stepping in with, say, Betty Boop-meets-Holly-Golightly threads (Hot Toddy) and vegan Mexican brunch (Hart’s Mesa). The area supports four theaters; three bookstores, including 80-year-old Browsers; two kid-approved museums that parents can enjoy without their dependents; one cider distillery with a “teeny-tiny taproom”; three chocolate shops; and four breweries. If you like to opine on coffee or art, you should attend a public cupping (or tasting) at Olympia Coffee Roasting or vote for your favorite sculpture on Percival Landing. The winner will earn a permanent pedestal in the city. || READ the complete Washington Post Story here >> Please like &...

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Balancing Life in Writing and Tech

Posted by on Jun 16, 2017 in lifehack, tech, technology, writing | 0 comments

I recently had the opportunity to talk at some length with an engaged set of students at Olympia High School. (I talk regularly to school groups, and if you’d like to book me to talk to your school group, you can contact my booking agent here.) We discussed both my high tech career as well as my writing, and found ourselves discussing technology, the future, and how one balances career aspirations as well as creative endeavors.   Here are some of the resources I shared with them after my talk, as “footnotes” to our conversation.   1) First, I spoke about removing distractions from my creative work and focusing. Here is relevant information about phones and other technology as intentionally addictive and distracting.   Addiction to Phones https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/11/the-binge-breaker/501122/   How Technology Addicts You — from a Google Design Ethicist https://journal.thriveglobal.com/how-technology-hijacks-peoples-minds-from-a-magician-and-google-s-design-ethicist-56d62ef5edf3   Digital Distraction http://time.com/3616383/cell-phone-distraction/   2) Second, I spoke about Ira Glass (host of “This American Life”) and his emphasis on the experience of a younger, striving artist.   Ira Glass on Failure as an Artist http://jamesclear.com/ira-glass-failure   Here’s a great animated video with the same quote: https://vimeo.com/24715531   3) Third, here is a link to that study on “luck” that I mentioned   Is Luck Real? http://www.popsci.com/luck-real   More details on this study here: http://www.richardwiseman.com/resources/The_Luck_Factor.pdf   4) Fourth, I talked a bit about writing about autism. Here’s Temple Grandin’s TED Talk about the autistic experience.    Temple Grandin TED talk https://www.ted.com/talks/temple_grandin_the_world_needs_all_kinds_of_minds   5) Fifth, here are a number of articles about how liberal arts degrees make you more successful in the new economy:    Liberal Arts Degree is Tech’s hottest ticket (factual data) https://www.forbes.com/sites/georgeanders/2015/07/29/liberal-arts-degree-tech/   Fortune 500 CEOs with Liberal Arts Degrees (factual data) https://www.thealexandergroup.com/blog-press-room/2014/major-humanities-ceos/   Why Tech Needs Liberal Arts Degrees  (factual data) https://www.fastcompany.com/3034947/why-top-tech-ceos-want-employees-with-liberal-arts-degrees   The Future of Work (an opinion piece) https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2010/10/01/greenwald   6) Sixth, here’s a series of article that provide discussion of the coming wave of job losses due to high tech innovation and AI in particular.    AI and Unemployment http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21700758-will-smarter-machines-cause-mass-unemployment-automation-and-anxiety   Robots and Work https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/robotwork.pdf   Jobs Disappearing https://qz.com/895681/silicon-valley-is-right-our-jobs-are-already-disappearing-due-to-automation/   AI and Jobs http://www.newsweek.com/2016/12/09/robot-economy-artificial-intelligence-jobs-happy-ending-526467.html   7) Seventh, my current book-in-progress covers AR/VR futuristic scenarios. Some of the references I’ve used include the following:   Discussion of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality http://time.com/4761298/augmented-reality/   Another perspective from Facebook — http://mashable.com/2017/04/19/facebook-f8-augmented-reality-socially-acceptable/#7FCQFQyxEmqc   8) Eighth, I mentioned my work in high tech. Here are some relevant videos and highlights that might be of interest.    Google I/O – Ned Hayes on the show floor doing a Drone Demo http://nedhayes.com/drone   Intel Developer Forum, on stage with EVP Doug Fisher https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DX9wP7ZhAOY   GigaOM Mobilize https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPVP9k2TvJI   Intel TV Interview http://bit.ly/2rySlze   Early Mobile Phone interface Demo (it’s very cheesy, but please note that this was before the iPhone and Android went big — http://bit.ly/2sAEM2z ) I led the UI design and demo team for Paul Allen.   Oh, and here’s some information about that iPhone innovation I mentioned, that Paul Allen’s team invented: http://nedhayes.com/inventing-the-future-everything-old-is-new-again-iphone-6s-edition/   The following information about Silicon Valley is interesting and pertinent. http://www.businessinsider.com/silicon-valley-history-technology-industry-animated-timeline-video-2017-5   And here’s a quick Seattle Times article that covered my commute to Silicon Valley http://nedhayes.com/trains-planes-and-seattle-supercommuters/   And finally, I mentioned several additional books during the course of our conversation. Here are some of the relevant books.   AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH, by Neil Postman https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0023ZLLH6/   Steve Silberman NEUROTRIBES http://stevesilberman.com/book/neurotribes/   Temple...

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The Eagle Tree – National Bestseller

Posted by on Mar 21, 2016 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 literary update from NedNote.com Readers can find my books at these bookstores:   To read more of my writing, you can visit NedNote.com. Get literary updates by subscribing to my quarterly newsletter:  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!   A literary update from NedNote.com Readers can find my books at these bookstores: To read more of my writing, you can visit NedNote.com. Get literary updates by subscribing to my quarterly newsletter:  Please like &...

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Advertising for Indie Writers (Amazon KDP Select)

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in books, publishing | 0 comments

Amazon always seems to be adding new innovations targeted at giving indie publishers, small presses and authors more power over how their books appear and how their books are marketed to the reading public. I’m a hybrid author, with books published by traditional publishers, as well as short stories and books self-published (under a pseudonym). So I get to see what tools legacy publishers are providing, as well as what self-publishing options exist. I was surprised to discover this week that Amazon has added a new “Promote and Advertise” option on the bookshelf for self-published authors. I don’t know if this same facility is available yet to small presses — I imagine that larger publishers have always had “placement” or “pay to play” options available to them at large buy-in amounts (ie. $50K-100K per placement). However, the buy-in for the Amazon self-publishing option is only $100, which seems to me to be quite reasonable. I’m trying it out on one book, and I’ll update this post as soon as I receive results from this and discover how useful it can be to authors or small publishers.   In this post, I’ll cover the basics. First, as should be expected by now, this option is ONLY available (at least in the self-publishing world) to KDP Select books — if your book is not Kindle Select, then you won’t be able to use this advertising and promotional option. Amazon provides this helpful explanation of exactly where an advertisement will be shown, and what the placement and audience interest items mean: First, you’ll find this option under the “Bookshelf” area, where all your books are listed. Click through to your “Bookshelf”, where you can see the option listed under KDP Select as “Promotion and Advertising” (this also implies that Amazon may add additional advertising functions in the future, accessible through this area.) Amazon also views this promotion / advertisement option as a natural pairing with their existing price promotional discounts, so this is now married to that option on a single page:  On this page, you select one book to advertise. What’s interesting about this is that you can’t (yet) choose to advertise a complete series or a set of books by an author, or a forthcoming or “advance order” book on this page. You can only choose books that have been previously published, and that are generally available through KDP. Books that appear on this list which are published elsewhere (like my book Glossolalia) will show up on the list, but will be labeled “Ineligible” — Select an eligible book and move to the next step. Once you select an eligible KDP Select book, then you can choose two options for Ad Targeting. The first is “By Product” and the second is “By Interest.” I’m testing both — and I will update this post when I have some results on how both perform. I’ve drilled into both of them, and here’s how they work.   First, if you select “by Product” then you can choose other (usually comparable or similar) products to have your book show up alongside. For example, if you write zombie fiction (like this short story) then you might want your book to show up on the product pages for  “Walking Dead” or “Night of the Living Dead.” Alternatively, if you write...

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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     A literary update from NedNote.com Readers can find my books at these bookstores: To read more of my writing, you can visit NedNote.com. Get literary updates by subscribing to my quarterly newsletter:  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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