I would like to introduce my dear friend and Virtual Authors’ Tour hostess, Karla Linn Merrifield. Karla and I “met” when she accepted my long poem “The Sea” for the journal Sea Stories (the poem is included in my chapbook, The Sea & Beyond). Shortly thereafter, we began trading visits and poetry, with so many connections between us that it’s difficult to name them all. I am greatly indebted to Karla for recommending me to Michael Czarnecki at FootHills Publishing and serving as a superb reader for my novels and poetry. In return, it’s been my pleasure to read Lithic Scatter and Other Poems from inception to the final book, as well as most of her other work. I can think of no other poet who is so enthusiastic about writing!
About Lithic Scatter and Other Poems:
“In this fine collection, the first poem, “Dancing with Green Bees,” sets the joyous tone as Karla Linn Merrifield, a widely traveled poet, revels in the landscape and celebrates the wisdom and lives of our native inhabitants. From ephemeral bees to ancient stones, nothing is beyond her eager examination; indeed, a tiny cobble will set her on a flight of wonderment and philosophical conjecture. Stylistically, this book is a marvel of musical lines, such as when she describes “arriving like snowmelt in spring from the slickrock flanks of the Chusaka Mountains.” Color is also a constant revelation: a black bear is “in a cinnamon morning coat” and “bald domes wake from violet sleep.” The book has its somber moments, especially when Merrifield confronts the destructive nature of modern man; touches of wry humor, too, such as in the poem where she compares dragonflies with helicopters (“draconian Homeland Security spawn.”) Lithic Scatter and Other Poems will strengthen Merrifield’s considerable reputation as an American naturalist-poet.”—Laury A. Egan
Mercury Heartlink, 2013, paperback: $14.40
For a signed copy (and price), contact Karla: Blog: http://karlalinn.blogspot.com
Over the next week, in multiple blogs/posts, I’ll be featuring three authors on the Author’s Virtual Tour: Susan Gabriel, Greg Miller, and Gregg Cusick—all very talented fiction writers. First, however, the Virtual Authors’ Tour requests the host to answer four specific questions (see below), which also gives me an opportunity to update everyone on my new projects.
Q: What am I working on?
A: Two new novels are completed. The first, Wave in D Minor, currently under submission to literary agents, is about a young opera composer who has received a grant and a solo retreat in her patron’s seacoast house in Maine. With an initial narrative style reminiscent of Virginia Woolf’s, the story becomes more complex and suspenseful, yet also deals with the loneliness inherent in being a creative individual and the difficult balance between respecting one’s talent and maintaining relationships. The second novel is The Bittersweet Tale, an expansion of a short story published in my collection Fog and Other Stories. Though in the category of psychological suspense, the book has a strong emphasis on character. Under way, a humorous piece, The Life of Morley: The Very Best Basset Hound in the World. Having some fun with this one!
Q: How does my work differ from others of its genre?
A: Since I write in several genres, not to mention having published three books of poetry, it might be better to ask how my fiction ranges within categories and why. My first published novel, Jenny Kidd, is a psychological suspense; my newest is The Outcast Oracle, which incorporates some suspense and drama but also humor and satire, with the age range from teenage through adult readers. My collection, Fog and Other Stories, is a diverse mix of 23 pieces—literary, psychological suspense, humor, and general fiction. Considering those books already published and the two novels completed, most incorporate suspense in some fashion, but do so through the lens of strong characterization.
Q: Why do I write what I do?
A: As a poet since age seven and a professional photographer, these two art forms have strongly accentuated my visual awareness. My fiction often originates from place, usually somewhere I’ve photographed, though inspirations also come from dreams, occurrences, or a name that appears in my mind. One morning, I woke up with “Jango Jacks” in my head, and as I typed his name, the character emerged almost fully formed. He’s the hero of a story and my new novel, The Bittersweet Tale.
Q: How does my writing process work?
A: The inspiration may begin with a place, dilemma, name/character. In most cases, (when unfettered by a block), I may write several thousand words a day. The next morning, I edit the previous day’s work and continue. Once a draft is completed, at least 30 revisions are done; sometimes many more, which include concept and line editing. From there, I have a friend(s) read the manuscript for structure, logic, and consistency. Finally, I ask a book evaluator to go over “big-picture” problems. Then more editing…many more rounds. I try to insert time between these stages so the work feels fresh. I strongly believe in turning in the most perfect manuscript possible to agents or editors, particularly after years working at Princeton University Press and for other academic publishers. A typical novel may take two or more years before it’s ready for submission.
For more information about Laury A. Egan: Website: http://www.lauryaegan.com and Blog: http://www.lauryaeganblog.wordpress.com
Available in paperback and eBook formats:
The Outcast Oracle (Humanist Press):
Fog and Other Stories (Humanist Press):
Jenny Kidd (Vagabondage Press): http://www.vagabondagepress.com/bookpreviews/jennykidd.html#.VA3HlGMYDwg
Signed copies are available through my website: http://www.lauryaegan.com
Snow, Shadow, a Stranger
Beneath the Lion’s Paw
The Sea & Beyond (chapbook)
He once said that he always visited Washington, D.C. after the cherry blossoms had fallen. Yesterday, I visited the Chinese Scholar’s Garden before the cherry trees had blossomed. I don’t know which is more wistful. The forsythias were faintly tinged with yellow buds, however, so perhaps there is hope that winter is finally finished.
Laury A. Egan, author of “The Outcast Oracle”
Laury A. Egan talking about “The Creative Individual and the Correlation to Non-Believing” and her novel, “The Outcast Oracle,” published by Humanist Press. Photo by Michael Cluff.
From my collection, Beneath the Lion’s Paw, (FootHills Publishing, 2012):
/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”,”serif”;}
Faint dog bark on the folded edge
of snowy wind, lone animal out,
ruff up, nose topped with white,
eyes narrowed, lashes iced.
He roots in the turned-over garden,
ignoring the stretched and shrunken skin
of late fall fruit, roots for earth to smell
its real smell and be reassured he is where
he thinks, in his yard, and that the sly,
despicable gods have played no tricks
since his last trip out.
His coat is white as snow; he believes
this is as close to oblivion as he can get;
entranced, he is pleased but cold.
Sensing the call of ancient blood,
he runs at the black and twitching trees,
through veils of whitened breath,
enjoying the flow of legs and paws.
Fierceness rules his heart until
he hears the call from kitchen door:
“Rex!” then off he goes to acquiesce,
attentive to years of small rewards
that make him forget his truest self.
Merry! Merry! Merry!
For information on availability: http://www.lauryaegan.com