Sunday, November 19, 2017

Winner: Great Midwest Book Festival

Late last night I was scanning my email and was delighted to see that Looking Glass Friends placed in the 2017 Great Midwest Book Festival. So I went to sleep smiling. This is the book's seventh award. I feel a quiet sense of pride.

Looking Glass Friends Awards:

2017 New York Book Festival Winner
2017 Los Angeles Book Festival Winner
2017 Pacific Book Awards Finalist
2017 BookVana Awards Finalist
2017 Readers' Favorite Award Finalist
2017 Southern California Book Festival Honorable Mention
2017 Great Midwest Book Festival Honorable Mention

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Winner: Southern California Book Festival

So proud to share that Looking Glass Friends was honored in the Southern California Book Festival. The novel received an Honorable Mention in the General Fiction category. It warms my heart...

2017 New York Book Festival Winner
2017 Los Angeles Book Festival Winner
2017 Pacific Book Awards Finalist
2017 BookVana Awards Finalist
2017 Readers' Favorite Award Finalist
2017 Southern California Book Festival Honorable Mention…/…/1540864456

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Look Behind the Scenes

This is what my "thinking wall" looked like when I first considered writing Looking Glass Friends. The story began with real love letters. I hung them in chronological order. To my surprise, I discovered a pattern, like a dance.

He wooed her (even if he didn't know it.) Every time he went too far, she drew back. Then he became cool. So she drew near, afraid to lose him. There was a crisis, a climax, a denouement. Our lives can mimic great dramas in pursuit of our dreams...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

My New Cover

After "Looking Glass Friends" won its' 5th award, I created a poster of the cover, to hang in the room where I write. Suddenly, I could see the cover big as big (to quote A. A. Milne). Hmmm...I wondered. And decided to change things a little. 

Now, here's a glimpse at the creative process that went into making the cover. This is the photo I began with: I found this beautiful photo on Shutter Stock and paid for the right to use it.  

Originally I titled the novel, Soul Mates. For publication, I reverted to an idea I had during writing, which I had shelved and then forgotten.

One Saturday, I had the idea to cover the faces with a visual clue to the emails and printed letters the lovers exchange. I photographed a page from an old Victor Hugo novel...and after a lot of work on Affinity Photo:

The new cover (at the top) is by far my favorite for its subtlety. I hope you like it too. 

~ 2017 New York Book Festival WINNER ~
~ 2017 Los Angeles Book Festival WINNER ~
~ 2017 Pacific Book Awards Finalist ~
~ 2017 BookVana Award Finalist ~
~ 2017 Readers’ Favorite Finalist ~
They fell in love over email, discussing Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged. Neither remembered the other’s face clearly. Both were married already. And she had a five-year-old son. But in the span of a few letters each discovered his soul’s mirror-image. So how could they live apart?
Woven with poetry and philosophy this is a story about the nature of love, its enchantment or curse, and the heartbreaking question: Can a mother secure her child’s happiness by sacrificing hers?

Saturday, September 2, 2017

My Thoughts on Placing in a 5th Award Competition

Even the title of this post sounds pompous in my ears. My dogs are no longer startled out of their furry little coats when Mommy suddenly breaks into a dance. A minute before she was staring at that silvery sidelong book she calls her MacBook. Now she's picking up each dog in turn and waltzing. Humans!

I am honored to learn that Looking Glass Friends is a General Romance Finalist in the 2017 Readers' Favorite Awards. I know the competition was fierce, so this means a lot to me.

When I started writing ages and ages ago, I thought I was good. I thought I had a talent for literature. And it was true. I was better at literature and writing than anything else. And I loved it with a passion. But I've finally reached a stage when I realize how much I can suck at this illusive craft. Most of my writings have a close relationship with the delete button. It's ironic, but I didn't start winning awards until I realized how terrible my writing can be. And how hard I have to work to make it good.

Since I self-published Looking Glass Friends, I was my own editor (and copy editor). I reviewed the novel (for the absolute final time) over 20 times. This polishing took around 4 months. I felt like a sculptor chipping away and polishing his finished work. Each stage revealed new flaws and so on.

So after all the hard work, I am thankful that the story is received so well. And I am especially grateful to readers who take a chance on my unknown story. I wish more of them would share their thoughts in a review. It's a joy to me to read. And as a reader, I know how helpful a good review can be in guiding my literary choices. So...will you write a review and share it? I hope so!

Thanks for reading!

Tal Boldo (pen name: E.L. Neve)

Audio Book

Goodreads Reviews

Monday, August 14, 2017

4th Award for "Looking Glass Friends"

So proud to learn that "Looking Glass Friends" is an Award Finalist in the “Fiction: Chick Lit/Women's Lit” category of the 2017 Bookvana Awards. I hugged my little Pomeranian and we danced a jig in celebration. Here's one of the old that never went live. In the end, I designed a new cover, with layers of meaning that relate to the story.

BTW, my pen name for this novel (E. L. Neve) is an anagram. Can any one guess the riddle behind it? Clue: The dedication in the book reads: "For the first one in the anagram."

Thursday, June 29, 2017

2017 New York Book Festival Winner

So thrilled to learn that Looking Glass Friends has won another award. It's so nice when a surprise like this just lands in your inbox. The novel is the winning romance in the New York Book Festival.

Friday, June 16, 2017

I wrote this poem years ago

Suddenly I remembered it in the night. Maybe a dream recalled it to my mind. So I edited the bits I didn't like in the original, and here it is. 

Standing Still, a poem by E L Neve

Monday, June 5, 2017

Audiobook & Signed Paperback Giveaways

In honor of the two awards the book has won, I created two new giveaways. Check out the giveaway tab on this blog.

This will be the first signed paperback I offer publicly. As to the audiobook I wanted to narrate and produce the book myself, because I think an author has a special connection with her story, and that intimate feeling runs through the performance. It took me 3 months of trial-and-error to arrive at the sound quality I wanted from my home studio in the closet under the stairs. And a total of 6 months to complete the book.

If you enjoy literary love stories, I hope you'll enter. Best of luck!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

My Wonderful Experience with New Apple Literary's Unbiased Free Book Reviews

All authors love to hear that readers enjoyed their books. As Mark Twain said, wittily (of course,):

"There are three infallible ways of pleasing an author, and the three form a rising scale of compliment: 1. To tell him you have read one of his books; 2. To tell him you have read all of his books; 3. To ask him to let you read the manuscript of his forthcoming book. No. 1 admits you to his respect; No. 2 admits you to his admiration; No. 3 carries you clear into his heart."—Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar. 

Yet I find it hard to convince readers to share their thoughts on paper, for all to see. With my first novel, a children's fantasy, it was easier (The Sound & the Echoes, published under Dew Pellucid). Maybe because Looking Glass Friends won two awards and is more cerebral, readers are more hesitant.

Which is why I appreciate the story-lovers at New Apple Literary. I reached out to them under their "Unbiased Reviews Network" for authors, which connects authors with readers who are happy to leave reviews, at no cost to the author, though with the caveat that the review will be entirely "unbiased". What a gift this is: an honest opinion from a reader, which the author does not feel she had to pay for. It's pure joy.

If you're an author, be patient when you submit your book. It's the least you can offer in return. Last week three, thoughtful, in-depth and entirely unique reviews appeared on Goodreads, by three readers New Apple Literary put in touch with my story. I am very grateful and highly recommend the program to other authors. New Apple Literary also offer paid reviews, for authors who are in a rush.

I wrote this post to help other authors who are looking for free reviews for their books. But it occurs to me that readers who love to receive free books in exchange for an honest review will also benefit from hearing about New Apple. So happy reading to all!

2017 Pacific Book Awards Finalist

A special Sunday morning. I'm so proud to learn that "Looking Glass Friends" is a 2017 Pacific Book Awards Finalist.

This award is especially close to my heart because it looks at books published by authors on the West Coast (of the United States) where I live. I think our surroundings affect our writing. For me, rainy days are inspirational. So it's ideal that I live in the rainiest state in the country (which is where Looking Glass Friends is set, in the year 1997, when email communication was relatively new for most people.)

 Award Winning Novel: Looking Glass Friends

Friday, June 2, 2017

New 5 Star Review on Goodreads, by Jesse Toen

I was so happy to find a few new review on Goodreads.

Here's a sample from Jesse Toen's review: "As I began the book, I was unable to understand which direction the author was intending to take her characters. Was she sympathizing with Ellie and would this be about her pursuit of happiness or was she hoping to explore the theme of finding what you need in those around you, already in your heart? I was pleasantly surprised with how the book resolved this conflict and felt it was the most compelling part of the read." Continue reading on Goodreads.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Thoughts & Feelings on Winning 1st place, Romance, Los Angeles Book Festival

In 2012 my young adult novel, The Sound & the Echoes received an honorable mention in the Los Angeles Book Festival. As I looked over the winners list this time, I thought, "I know I didn't win this time, I know it, I know it..." And still typing "Looking Glass Friends" into the Ctrl F box, I suddenly saw my novel's name appearing on the screen.

No mistake. My pen name is beside it.
And...holding my breath...Winner! I'm the 1st place winner. 

Silence. Then...too embarrassing to elaborate, but I did make my dogs jump. 

It's strange to even write this, because I wasn't sure the book would appeal to romance readers. The story is literary and its physical aspects come, not secondary to the mind, but as its completion and corollary, rendering even the sex poetical and literary.

I am very grateful to the judges at the Los Angeles Book Festival for the happiness I feel. I knew Looking Glass Friends was good (it took many, many years of writing for me to get this far); but I wasn't sure others would think as I do. I feel harmony between my love of literature and readers out there. It's such a fantastic realization.

Los Angeles Book Festival 2017 Winners List:

Sunday, February 26, 2017

5 Star Audiobook Review

A few years ago I met Lisa on Goodreads, when her twins fell in love with my previous novel, The Sound and the Echoes. My favorite story in relation to publishing that book came from Lisa: How her twins enacted the story with a blowdryer, which was supposed to melt a hole in an imaginary lake, down into the Echo realm.

When I finished recording Looking Glass Friends and reached out to Lisa after all these years, she was so supportive, so excited to give the book a try, though this cerebral love story was as different from my previous middle grade fantasy as a candy cane is from a walking stick.

Today Lisa published her review of the audiobook. She was incredibly generous to rate my narration as a five-star (as well as the story and overall score). This was my first audiobook production, and knowing that Lisa listens to audiobooks all the time (she has 179 ratings on Audible) made her words all the more shocking and wonderful, a sigh of relief and a smile. So Lisa, if you see this, thank you!

Read Lisa's review.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

How I created the cover for "Under Capricorn"

1. I choose two pictures from Shutterstock.

This one for the cover itself:
This one to add the motif that fits with the title:

2. I cut the Capricorn out of the second image, then used Affinity Photo on my MacBook to turn it transparent and super impose it over the image of the face. As for the face, I cut out the portion I wanted, changed the hue, added sharpness and changed the color of the eye to make it stand out.

3. Finally, I picked my font. And here's the result. I hope you like it!

Abridged Classic: Under Capricorn

My new year resolution was to pick my favorite classic novels, which hardly anyone knows, and "save" them from oblivion. The first one--Under Capricorn--was just released, under my imprint: Nothing but the Story. I abridged the tale to about 70% of its original length, and now the story just rushes at you. And it's a stunning, lyrical historical romance.

I'll do a post about the cover I designed, for anyone who is interested in how a cover starts. 
Kindle Edition:
Paperback Edition: 
(Audiobook: That's the fun edition I'm currently still working on.)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

5 Star Review from Sabine Muir

A huge thank you to Sabine for posting a review on

"The story unfolded at a lovely pace, developing the complex relationships of both Neil and Fay's marriage and Ellie's one. The prose was beautiful...I wouldn't change a word of this lovely story." ~ read Sabine Muir's full review.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Looking Glass Friends

For those of you who wrote to say how much you loved Looking Glass Friends--thank you!!! Your emails and reviews mean a lot to me! Some of you suggested that I post all my social medial and book links--not that I'm super active, but you will find fun posts on my Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest pages especially. So here goes:

Where to buy: Looking Glass Friends on Amazon, B&N; Audible.
How to win a free copy: Check out the current giveaways.
My Social Media Links: Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram
My websites: Blog, Author Site, Book Site

Monday, January 9, 2017

New 5 Star Review from Divine Vape

Five Star Review by Divine Zape

5 Star Readers' Favorite Review for
 “The man lying on the bed did not care that his room had grown dark. In the dying sunset the gun in his hand became a logical conclusion to his thoughts, an inevitable means to his bitter end. He had sworn an oath to himself two years ago, and the words walked with him like a second shadow ever since: ‘I swear not to draw out my life. When disgust and boredom are all that’s left, I’ll end this.’” Thus begins the story of an atypical romance with twists that will surprise readers.

Looking Glass Friends: A Novel Inspired by Real Love Letters by E.L. Neve features powerful and compelling characters, exploring the anatomy of human love from a very unique perspective. Two married people meet online and start discussing a book through email exchanges, but what starts as a literary exchange soon becomes a medium through which they see and feel themselves in each other, until the attraction becomes irresistible. Can they take the chance to step beyond the virtual exchanges?

Well-crafted and compelling, this novel is a great success on many counts. First off, readers will fall for the characters who are so real and who are a reflection of the dilemma that many people find themselves in. I enjoyed the way the author explores complex issues related to modern technology and communication. The use of the epistolary is a style that enhances the plot and helps in character development.

 Looking Glass Friends: A Novel Inspired by Real Love Letters is intense and the kind of work that will awaken powerful emotions in readers. As one reads on, the need to find out what happens at the end becomes very strong. Will the married woman leave her husband and five-year-old child for a stranger who makes her feel awesome? E.L. Neve will toy with your emotions until the last page of this brilliant novel.

Announcing a New Cover for Looking Glass Friends

I was inspired this weekend to create a new cover the novel. I began by photographing a page in a book, and this is where I ended up a few hours later. I used Affinity Photo on my MacBook, as well as the free edition of Photoscape X, which offers beautiful filters.

I set up a giveaway to celebrate the change, which will appear everywhere in the next few days. Kindle Giveaway