Friday, October 28, 2011

Literary Mystery Novelists--John Lescroart

After much traveling and then a couple of days chauffeuring my friend Sherwin Bitsui around Kansas City before and after his remarkable poetry reading at The Writers Place, I'm getting back on my regular schedule with this blog. Today, we have a real treat in the Literary Mystery Novelists series with John Lescroart.
Lescroart has been called a national treasure for his writing skills, and his latest novel, Damage, offers evidence for that claim. As he does in many of his novels, Lescroart examines serious societal issues in this book. In Damage, those include the power and wealth that allows a segment of the population to flout laws and escape punishment for their crimes and the legal system that caters to this powerful elite at the expense of ordinary citizens.This stand-alone novel offers the sharp humor, rich characterization, and complex storyline that fans have come to expect from Lescroart. His novels are beautifully crafted, and he's reaped the rewards of his artistic labors with multiple stays on the New York Times bestseller list.
Damage will be out in paperback at the end of December, and Lescroart's newest book, The Hunter, will launch in January. Here is the link to buy Damage.
John Lescroart Bio

John Lescroart is the NY Times Bestselling author of twenty-two novels, including most recently DAMAGE (January, 2011), the latest in the San Francisco based Dismas Hardy/Abe Glitsky series.  Libraries Unlimited has included him in its publication “The 100 Most Popular Thriller and Suspense Authors,” his books have been translated into twenty languages in more than seventy-five countries, and his short stories appear in many anthologies. 

John’s first novel, SUNBURN, won the San Francisco Foundation’s Joseph Henry Jackson Award for best as yet unpublished novel by a California author, and DEAD IRISH and THE 13TH JUROR were nominees for the Shamus and Anthony Best Mystery Novel, respectively; additionally THE 13TH JUROR is included in the International Thriller Writers publication “100 Must-Read Thrillers Of All Time.”  HARD EVIDENCE is named in “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading List.”  GUILT was a Readers Digest Select Edition choice.  THE MERCY RULE, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, and THE SUSPECT have been major market Book Club selections.  THE SUSPECT was also the 2007 One Book Sacramento choice of the Sacramento Library Foundation, and was chosen by the American Author’s Association as its 2007 Book of the Year. Each of the last several of John’s books have been Main Selections of one or more of the Literary Guild, Mystery Guild, and Book of the Month Club, and DAMAGE made Entertainment Weekly’s “Must List.”    

Outside of the book world, John loves to cook.  His original recipes have appeared in Gourmet Magazine and in the cookbook “A Taste of Murder.”  (He also wrote the forward to Francine Brevetti’s paean to the famous San Francisco eatery Fior d’Italia entitled The Fabulous Fior:  100 Years in an Italian Kitchen.)   

John and his wife, Lisa Sawyer, live in Northern California. 
For those new to your series, can you describe the Dismas Hardy mysteries? Since you hadn’t originally intended this to be a series, how did you develop the series once you knew you wanted to do more Dismas Hardy books?

Dismas Hardy was a character who would not leave me alone.  I first used the name in my very first (still deservedly unpublished) novel, which I wrote in college – I loved the combination of the name of the Good Thief on the cross next to Jesus somehow connected to The Hardy Boys.  As I began my career, such as it was, I came out first with a literary novel, SUNBURN, and followed that with two Sherlock Holmes pastiches.  When I finally decided to write about a modern hero, a largely still undeveloped, but well-named Dismas Hardy was there waiting for me.  In the first of the Hardy books, DEAD IRISH, I thought I had a good character arc for a stand-alone novel, but never dreamed that Dismas would still be in my life twenty-some years later. 
The initial impetus to continue the character as a series came from my publisher, Donald Fine, who liked DEAD IRISH and Hardy a lot, and who wanted a sequel.  For a young writer hoping to keep getting published, this was a godsend moment.  I knew Hardy and liked him, and I figured he could have another adventure, so I wrote THE VIG. 
Then life intervened.  I got spinal meningitis and spent eleven days in a coma.  In the wake of that, and my survival, my day job as a legal word processor became unbearable for many reasons.  I wound up moving to Northern California from LA and didn’t write a word for perhaps sixteen months – a very long dry spell for me.  But by the time I started writing again, I knew what I wanted to do, which was move Dismas Hardy into the professional law business with a big, perhaps important book.  This was, of course, a huge challenge since I wasn’t a lawyer, but I did a lot of research and wrote HARD EVIDENCE, the first of the Hardy “legal thrillers.”  That book did poorly in the US, but sold for six figures in Germany and Japan and gave me the impetus to start another Hardy book in the same vein, and that book, THE 13TH JUROR, turned out to be my first bestseller. 
            Ironically, because of the lag time in publishing, I didn’t know that THE 13TH JUROR was going to be a hit, so I abandoned Hardy for the next two books and concentrated instead on Hardy’s cop pal Abe Glitsky.  So by the time the next true Dismas Hardy book, THE MERCY RULE, appeared, I had a much larger San Francisco cast of characters and was beginning to see the possibilities of the universe that all of my characters inhabited together, and I’ve been expanding those possibilities ever since. 

How would you describe Damage to someone who has not read any of your previous stand-alone novels?

            Damage has some legal elements, but they are decidedly in the background of the story.  I purposely created it as a more or less stand-alone novel.  Every now and then, when I’ve got a franchise character such as Dismas Hardy, I find it refreshing to let him rest somewhere off the page while life goes on in his greater universe.  So Damage features some of Hardy’s colleagues, notably Abe Glitsky and Wes Farrell, who get caught up in the release of convicted murderer Ro Curtlee through a technicality.  Ro is a very bad person.  His parents are rich and manipulative, and horrible stuff starts happening again within a day or two of Ro’s release from prison.  Glitsky and Farrell are constrained by their jobs and their consciences, while Ro just begins to run amuck.  And because of these elements, and also the creation of the character Sheila “Heinous” Marrenas, the novel has a tremendous propulsive force, or narrative drive, which was a blast to work with.  And as a stand-alone, it’s a great way to introduce new readers to the general neighborhood.

What's your writing process? What is a typical writing day like for you? What are your writing habits?

            I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been writing under multi-book contracts now for at least fifteen years, so my life is about as “organized” as those of people who work steady jobs.  I get up at around 7:30 (when my two children still lived at home, it was 6:00), then read the paper and have my coffee.  Next I’m off to my workout club where I sweat for about an hour and a half.  I’m usually at work at my office – I don’t write at home – and answer emails and real mail and generally put off writing as long as I can – I call it “sorting my socks” --  until around 1:00, when I start writing pages.  I don’t have a daily limit until I get to January or so (my books are always due to the publishers by June 1), but after January I write usually about seven to ten pages a day, finishing my first draft by about mid-April.  Then I do my own personal revisions and rewrites, work with my own personal editors, and hand in the finished book, after which I do another set of revisions based on the comments of my agent, the genius Barney Karpfinger and my real editor Ben Sevier, one of the very best.  Then I incorporate Ben’s suggestions, edit the galleys and start the process for the next book, the outline for which I hand in on September 1.   

You turned to full-time writing after a near-death experience, and that led to your great success. Do you regret not having made that transition earlier?

            Well, it wasn’t as though I was sitting there before the spinal meningitis hit me thinking that I was just passing the time writing mid-list books.  All the while, I was trying to write the kind of books that would give me a living in literature, but somehow had not discovered the “voice,” or the formula, or the techniques, to reach a big audience.  I’ve thought a lot about the question you’ve asked, above, and I’ve come to believe that though it seemed to take a very long time before I had any real success (I was forty-six when THE 13TH JUROR hit the bestseller list), it’s been for the best.  I learned a lot in the early days, gained real confidence in my abilities, and was able to handle the “trappings” of success without becoming too weird – although of course my friends would tell you that I’ve always been weird.  So while it might have been nice to have had a breakout book in my twenties or thirties, I don’t spend any time worrying about that. 

Who were your literary influences growing up? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?

            My main influence – the person who just knocked me out from the very first – was Hemingway.  This is not, of course, to say that my work reflects his in any meaningful way, but I was deeply affected by his style and basic approach to life and literature right from the git-go.  From there, the list of influences goes on, since I was by any standard a reading geek.  I adored Albert Camus and Mark Twain in high school.  In college, I essentially majored in Lawrence Durrell and the Alexandrian Quartet  -- still highly recommended!  After college, I drifted into what I’d call pleasurable, as opposed to “English major” reading – Rex Stout, Arthur Conan Doyle, John D. MacDonald – and found that I loved it!  Finally, in my thirties, I became enamored of the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian, phenomenal stuff.  And all along the way, I tried to remain sensitive to “new” voices, no matter if they were already well-established or even dead, as they presented themselves to me – Agatha Christie, PD James, Elmore Leonard, Nelson DeMille, T. Jefferson Parker. 

You wrote your first novel in college. What inspired you to write that first book? Had you always wanted to be a writer?

            I guess the short answer to this question is “Yes.”  I was a voracious reader from an early age, and just could never quite envision doing anything else for a living that would be meaningful.  This is really funny considering the dozens of jobs I wound up doing until I could get my writing to support me, but that’s the way I always felt.  As for that first college book, which I presciently entitled “No Promise,” I had already started telling friends and family that I was going to be a novelist, and I figured that meant I had to actually write a novel, or maybe even more.  (Although in my youth, my fantasy was that I would just write a few novels, maybe three or four, and then after that I would just be a “famous novelist.”)  So I sat down and started writing and pretty soon had a pretty bad novel.  But you know, a pretty bad novel is still a novel, and it was someplace to start.

Do you (or have you) belong(ed) to a critique group of other authors. Do you find it helpful? In what ways?

            The only critique group I’ve ever been a part of was a creative writing class at UC Berkeley back in 1969.  Jackson Burgess was our teacher and he told our class of about twenty students that only one of us was going to make a living as a professional novelist.  Then he told us who that student was and it wasn’t me.  So after that, I decided I would let the market, and neither my peers nor my instructors, decide who was good enough to be published.  I knew that I was going to be published because I wasn’t going to quit until that happened, and I didn’t stop learning and trying until it did.  (And I like to think I’m still learning.)

What is your advice to aspiring writers? How important is it for a young writer to be a reader? What would you recommend they read?

            My advice to young writers is simple:  read all you can and write all you can.  There is something to be learned in almost everything you read – whether it’s a fluency or felicity of language or something you know that you’ve got to avoid at all costs.  Read, read, read, every day, and write, write, write, every day.  There is no substitute – okay, you can take a few days off sometimes, but make reading and writing part of your everyday life.  It’s okay to read what you like, of course, but it’s also a good idea to push yourself to read something that doesn’t appeal at first encounter.  Only then will you be able to define what you like and don’t like, what you want to emulate, what you want to avoid.  And eventually your own personal voice will begin showing up and you’ll recognize it and then, eventually, hopefully, be able to control it.   

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned in your writing career? What has been the hardest part about being a writer?

            The most surprising thing to me is that writing is a full-time lifelong commitment as well as a career.  When I was young, I really thought that I’d write one book that everyone would read (think STONE MOUNTAIN or THE DA VINCI CODE), and then I’d be a famous writer and that would be really cool.  In reality, of course, most working writers write books, and then we write other books.  It’s a continuing process, and we’re always learning, trying to get better, recommitting, because sometimes it’s very, very difficult – not just the writing itself, but the search for the next great idea, the frustrations of the business side, the obstinacy of your characters, the search for the mot juste.  It doesn’t really get much easier in a day-to-day sense, though to real writers this very difficulty makes it an enthralling, challenging adventure. 
The hardest part about it all?  In the face of criticism, cynicism, jealousy, ignorance, and apathy, it is incredibly hard to remain brave enough to create your own worlds and characters, and to believe in them absolutely.  And the way to conquer this hardest part?  Make your worlds and characters so real that they cannot be denied by the critics, the cynics, the jealous and the ignorant and the apathetic.  Or by yourself.   

Monday, we'll return to the Writers of Color series with an in-depth look at Luis Alberto Urrea, and we'll be back to our usual schedule. Have a happy weekend with lots of reading pleasure!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Literary Mystery Novelists—Paul Doiron

One of the most important things to know about Paul Doiron is that he is a Maine native. Maine plays a big role in his life. He is editor-in-chief of Down East: The Magazine of Maine, Down East Books, and He blogs at He is even a Registered Maine Guide. All of these ties to Maine come to fruition in his books, The Poacher's Son and Trespasser, which feature a Maine game warden, Mike Bowditch. The forests and countryside of Maine are as much a character in Doiron’s books as his troubled, but engaging protagonist, and Doiron’s evocative descriptions of the rough terrain bring it to life.

Doiron is noted for his multifaceted characters and his realistic depictions of their lives, relationships, and choices. He is a writer who pays close attention to language without losing the suspense and complicated plotting that are valued in mysteries. His first book, The Poacher's Son, was nominated for most of the awards in the mystery field and won several. Look for Trespasser, his second novel released in June 2011, to make a similar splash. Doiron is definitely a writer to follow.

Here is the link for Doiron’s new book.


Paul Doiron is the author of the Mike Bowditch series of crime novels, including The Poacher's Son, which won the Barry Award for Best First Novel and the Strand Critics Award for Best First Novel and has been nominated for an Edgar Award, an Anthony Award, a Macavity Award, and a Thriller Award for Best First Novel, and the Maine Literary Award for "Best Fiction of 2010." His second book in the Mike Bowditch series, Trespasser, has been called a "masterpiece of high-octane narrative" by Booklist. The Poacher's Son received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Journal, and Trespasser received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal. Doiron

is the editor in chief of Down East: The Magazine of Maine, Down East Books, and A native of Maine, he attended Yale University, where he graduated with a degree in English, and he holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. Paul is a Registered Maine Guide specializing in fly fishing and outdoor recreation and lives on a trout stream in coastal Maine.

For those new to your series, can you describe the Mike Bowditch mysteries?

I write a series of a literary suspense novels featuring a young Maine game warden named Mike Bowditch. I hope what sets them apart from similar books is my devotion to describing the environment in which Bowditch works and the psychological complexity (and I hope reality) of the characters.

What was your inspiration for this series?

Years ago, I wrote a series of magazine features about some offbeat wildlife encounters for Down East: the Magazine of Maine, and I realized I was quoting game wardens for all of these stories. In Maine, game wardens are full police officers (they perform the duties of cops wherever there isn't a road, which is pretty much everywhere since Maine is the most heavily forested state in the nation). I realized that a game warden encounters every conceivable form of crime in Maine, and that a warden would make an excellent protagonist in a series of suspense novels.

How would you describe Trespasser to someone who has not read your previous novel?

It began when a young woman I knew hit and killed a deer with a car on a remote rural road, and she didn't know what to do. The guys who stopped to "help" her before an actual police officer arrived terrified her more than the accident, and I began to think about a fictional scenario where my game warden shows up at a crash scene belatedly and finds both the woman and the deer missing. Trespasser is truly the sequel to The Poacher's Son in that Mike is trying to get his life together eight months after the events in that book, especially repairing his relationship with his live-in girlfriend, Sarah, but he's suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and his guilt drives him to commit a series of reckless, self-sabotaging actions. He inserts himself into a decade-old murder case that resembles the circumstances of the young woman's disappearance and he begins to wonder if the man originally imprisoned for that crime was a scapegoat and a real sexual predator is still on the loose.

You’re the editor-in-chief of a major regional magazine and a registered Maine Guide. How do you fit your own writing into such a busy life?

By sacrificing my personal relationships. I mean that as a joke, but I am lucky to have a patient wife who understands what these books mean to me. I have met few people who are capable at multitasking (and even with them there's a cost), but I have learned to shift my attention quickly from project to project. I always say that I'd prefer to spend my days staring at a trout stream than a computer screen, but for the moment the novels and my work at Down East are preoccupying my attention. That won't be forever.

What's your writing process? What is a typical writing day like for you?

You often hear the advice, "Write everyday," which is smart. My day job certainly requires me to write every day on something or other, but I don't always work on my fiction. I typically devote my weeks to Down East and my weekends focused on the novels. It's not ideal, but I have to say that Mike Bowditch is always lurking in the back of my mind. Hemingway used to recommend letting stories brew in your subconscious between writing sessions, and there's a lot to be said for that approach.

What are your writing habits?

One advantage to being a professional journalist is that you learn you can't sit around and wait for the muse to arrive. You have to sit down and do the work. I try to set quotas for the amount of words I need to write each week, and I am good at meeting self-imposed deadlines. There are so many potential distractions just living your life, and the only person who will make your novel a priority is you.

What projects, literary or otherwise, are occupying you at the moment?

I've been the editor in chief of Down East Magazine for more than six years, and it's been a great ride. Down East is one of the largest and most successful regional magazines in the nation. Two years ago, I was also given editorial charge of our book division (we publish about 30 new titles a year), so I've had to learn the other side of the publishing business. It's given me a unique perspective. By day I am a hard-ass editor complaining about late and difficult authors, aware of the business pressures of selling books in the year 2011. By night I am that selfsame neurotic writer complaining about my own book editor and worrying about what my agent isn't telling me about my career.

Who were your literary influences growing up? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?

Hemingway, first and foremost. (So many male authors say that, I feel sheepish to admit it.) But my very first inspiration was actually J.R.R. Tolkien. I remember finishing The Lord of the Rings and immediately sitting down and beginning to write. Prior to that, I'd always been a reader, but Tolkien inspired me to begin creating something of my own. Later I found other writers who fired my imagination. It's a diverse list to say the least: Poe, Conan Doyle, Stevenson, Flannery O'Connor, Faulkner, Chandler, Hammett, Tony Hillerman, Mailer, P.D. James, Austen, James Lee Burke, Denis Johnson, Raymond Carver, Henning Mankell, Tim O'Brien.

What inspired you to write your first novel, The Poacher’s Son? Had you always wanted to be a writer?

For the longest time I thought I was going to be a cartoonist and then I read the Lord of the Rings, as I said, and my sights changed. When I told people that I wanted to write for a living, they would always nod and say, "Yes, but what are you going to do for a job?" That's an excellent question! Every young writer should be asked it. I wrote a lot of stories when I was in my twenties, but honestly I had nothing to say: I was too callow. It was only after my life began to settle down and I rediscovered my deep interest in the Maine outdoors—which is so rarely rendered with accuracy—that I realized I need to write a story about the North Woods and perhaps my own experience of being an impetuous, callow young guy could fuel the story if I made him a Maine game warden.

The Poacher’s Son won immense critical praise. Did that make writing the second novel harder or easier?

My agent encouraged me to begin writing my second novel before the first had even sold. That made the composition of Trespasser so much easier, since I mostly wrote it before The Poacher's Son had even been published, let alone before the first reviews started coming in. The greater danger to me beyond the awards I've won—for which I am undeserving but extremely grateful—is actually the expectation of readers now. When you write a series, your fans get invested in your characters, and they want you to shift in very specific directions. There's a fine line between acknowledging the validity of their responses and beginning to pander.

Do you belong to a critique group of other authors. Do you find it helpful? In what ways?

I have a few author friends whom I share my drafts with. I've been part of writers groups in the past, and they can be great if you have the right chemistry and similar habits and expectations. There are many occasions when I've wanted to bring a troublesome chapter to a group. Instead I have had to puzzle it out on my own since I don't like to use my editor as a constant sounding board.

What is your advice to aspiring writers? How important is it for a young writer to be a reader? What would you recommend they read?

Persevere. There are almost no overnight successes. You have to read, you have to write. Open yourself to criticism because you're going to hear it eventually. Better to hear it from your writing group than from an agent who won't explain why they won't take you on or a book editor who is too busy to give you feedback. Worse, you might even get your book published and then watch it be eviscerated by reviewers. That's why it's so important to work hard on making the manuscript as solid as you can up front.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned in your writing career? What has been the hardest part about being a writer?

The most surprising thing? No one knows anything. That's William Goldman's famous line about the screen trade but it applies to the publishing industry now, too. The digital revolution has publishers scrambling. And there are increasingly few certainties about what will sell. What this means for writers is that the pressure to create great books is being multiplied by new demands: create a Web site; tweet several times a day; do as many public appearances as you can; blog, blog, blog. Being an author today isn't the same as it used to be—you're now a brand that you yourself must market—and you need to be comfortable with change. But it's an exciting time, too. Revolutionary periods always are.

After a few blessed weeks of truce, Blogger has gone to war with fonts again, so please forgive those variations.

I'm in the throes of copy edits and will be out of town for speaking engagements, so the order of my two series has been flipped and there will be only one post next week. After that, back to normal. Friday will be Writers of Color this week. Have a terrific and productive week.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Books of Interest by Writers of Color—Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas

This is the second post in the Writers of color series concerning Allison Adelle Hedge Coke and the groundbreaking new anthology of Indigenous poetry from all the Americas that she's labored for years to bring to fruition.

I have in my hands an advance copy of Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas, edited by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke (University of Arizona Press) scheduled for publication on October 27, 2011. This means the book is already available for pre-order, and soon you can have the immense pleasure of holding it in your own hands to read.

The first anthology of Indigenous poetry from all the Americas, Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas offers the multilingual work of 81 poets from Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central and South America, used twelve translators (poets and writers themselves), and took eight years to become a reality. It will be difficult to do justice to this phenomenal achievement in this limited space, but I will try.

Sing was the cherished brainchild of editor Hedge Coke, who spent eight years tracking down poets, making connections, gathering poems, writing an introduction, formatting, and organizing the work with substantial assistance from her son, poet Travis Hedge Coke. Since all the travel and work of those years was at her own expense, Hedge Coke laments in her introduction her inability to include as wide a variety of poetry from all the Indigenous traditions in the Americas as she desired. What she has brought together, however, is more inclusive and more diverse than any previous anthology and is a flood of riches for the reader.

Those who teach Indigenous Literature or Native Studies courses will find this book a necessity. Nowhere else can you find such a plethora of Indigenous voices speaking to their contemporary truths and to their heritage and cultural traditions. It will make a wonderful introduction to studies of culture, literature, and song.

As you turn the pages in Sing, you repeatedly encounter sharp blasts of truth, songs of celebration and of mourning, warnings of danger, hauntings, memorials, invocations, and paeans from such a cultural variety that it becomes difficult to stop reading, to tear yourself from the lives and hearts shared in this book.

This anthology includes highly acclaimed, well-known (in the United States) Indigenous poets, such as Sherwin Bitsui, Joseph Bruchac, Heid and Louise Erdrich, Santee Frazier, Diane Glancy, Joy Harjo, Linda Hogan, Simon Ortiz, and Hedge Coke herself. It also includes emerging poets we may not all know and poets who are highly acclaimed and well-known in other parts of the Americas—Hilario Chacin (Colombia), Rosa Chávez (Guatemala), Fredy Romiero Campo Chicanga (Colombia), Hugo Jamioy (Colombia), Ariruma Kowii (Ecuador), Leonel Lienlaf (Chile), Lee Maracle (Canada), Jorge Miguel Cocom Pech (Mexico), and Morela Del Valle Maeiro Poyo (Venezuela). Known in U.S. literary circles or not, the poets in Sing uniformly offer high-quality work.

Sherwin Bitsui’s opening poem, “Calyx,” protects, presents, and prepares to open the bud that will become this book’s bloom. Bitsui submerges us in vibrant images that evoke the sacred within the everyday—“at zero hour/ the poem spilling its seeds into your mouth”—in an effort to give a hint of the power behind a childhood memory—“How do I describe her daubing my face with cornhusk?

Duane Niatum’s poem, “Riding the Wake of the Paddle Journey,” ends the volume with the deepest return to the beginning, to the home from which we sprang, whether we have known it before or not, as Niatum sings us “… to this path to be servants of our ghosts,/ the family keeping the storytelling stone// that shows our flesh’s formed by tide and stump…,”closing the circle of flight, escape, and migration with the deepest state of belonging.

Along the journey, you will find stepping stones of words and image, and depending on the direction you follow, you will have two or three or more journeys before your circle closes in the song of home, of place, of the land and the people that sing within your blood. Below is one short, quick trip through the beauties of this book.

“My brother’s shadow flutters from his shoulders, a magician’s cape.” Natalie Diaz (U.S. in English)

“The child-sun skitters adolescent/ It desires to touch the moon…” Hugo Jamioy (Colombia in Kamsa, Spanish, and English)

“I’m coming home leaving home finding home…” Tenille Campbell (Canada in English)

“Glow-worm, you whisper into the moon’s ear.” Morela Del Valle Maeiro Poyo (Venezuela in Karíña, Spanish, and English)

“… dark feathers of the old way’s pride/ mixed in with blessed Kateri’s/ pale dreams of sacred water.” Joseph Bruchac (U.S. in English)

“With our arms of volcanic warmth…” Ariruma Kowii (Ecuador in Quechua, Spanish, and English)

“Finally, reaching across feather-light and closing the distance/ Your face gently cupped in wings…” Al Hunter (Canada in English)

“The ripe fruit/ is the sweet eye of the tree.” Jorge Miguel Cocom Pech (Mexico in Mayan, Spanish, and English)

In the end, the abundant treasures of Sing defeat me. This review offers such a tiny taste of its bounty that the reality of its riches evades capture. You will have to pick up the book and open it for yourself. When you do, be sure you have plenty of time to wander lost in its many worlds.

Here is the link to order the book. As usual, I suggest you patronize University of Arizona Press who brought this book to the world.

This weekend, the next post in the Literary Mystery Novelists series will feature Paul Doiron, a talent who's only recently burst on the mystery scene in a flurry of awards and critical acclaim. I will be a day or two behind with all posts for the next several weeks since I'm in the throes of copy-edits on Every Last Secret. Pray for me!