Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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Fence post: Now available on Audible

 

I am thrilled that my novel, Snow Fence Road, is now also available as an audio book on Audible, just in time for summer reading lists.

Narrator Sheri Beth Dusek has done a wonderful job of capturing the heart and spirit of the book.

To celebrate, the book’s Kindle version is discounted from May 18-25 — and the new audio book is there on the same page:

https://www.amazon.com/Snow-Fence-Road-Phyllis-Edgerly-ebook/dp/B00DDVB106/

I sketched down Snow Fence Road in my 30s after a vivid dream about the trauma that shatters its hero’s life, then spent the next 20 years writing nonfiction.

Finally I realized after half a century of life that what I want most is to explore the real power of relationships – their healing power. And if they are the gold on life’s path, fiction is all about them.

There are the relationships that the characters reveal to the writer, and the ones that writers and readers develop with them – and ourselves – as we connect with their story. Hearing that characters remain with readers like enduring friends is a wondrous gift. Yet the only reason this book exists is that the characters stayed with me for so long, and reflected to me what I was learning about giving and receiving love.

Once a rootless military kid, I find that place becomes a living part of story, for me. When readers say Snow Fence Road feels like an actual visit to Maine, I’m grateful because this place I love so much has always felt like a “fully-developed character”, to me. Small-town life there, as in the story, is human-scale. That’s the one that helps us learn the most about others, and ourselves, I think.

As it follows the developing relationship between Tess Johansen and hard-tested loner, Evan Marston, both ravaged by grief and gun-shy about love, this story is categorized as romance. But it probably seems a whole other country from what many perceive romantic fiction to be today. It’s a love story, and about relationship, but I’m always most interested in what transcends the impermanent, what helps hearts open, and heal, and reach the greatest potential for which they’re created.

Snow Fence Road aims at more emotional and spiritual themes because in the many wounded hearts I’ve encountered, no amount of physical love or attraction ever healed or helped them trust again, but real love did. Real, lasting love requires accepting, and sharing, vulnerability, which in itself can be a miraculous and eternal kind of beauty.

This story also explores the weight of secrets — why we keep them, when they drain our life away; when there isn’t even need to, though shame and guilt convince us otherwise. We learn to keep secrets to avoid vulnerability, then never get to know what real intimacy is.

While a lot of current writing may focus on pain and horror and give center stage to the fear these generate, I think there are higher, kinder, stronger visions to reach for. My goal is always to highlight the beauty and meaning that can exalt human lives.

When people ask me now, “Why do you write?” I may have finally found an answer, the same reason I get up each day: for the increase and advance of the one thing that lasts — the love that brings us home to our own hearts.

It’s a process that began one morning a long time ago when a dream’s sorrow lingered with me, and I began to love and listen to people I will never meet, but who became as real for me as the pages on which their story is printed now.

Find Snow Fence Road at: https://www.amazon.com/Snow-Fence-Road-Phyllis-Edgerly-ebook/dp/B00DDVB106/

A village on the coast of Maine holds painful secrets- the kind only the miracle of new love can heal.

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Larger than we have imagined

It’s a big gift when readers respond to a story, its characters, and its world as if they have visited and are sad to leave. Even better is when a book lingers on in their own world afterward. 

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Photo: D. Kirkup Jewelry Designs

Someone told me recently that after reading Snow Fence Road, she had a dream set in its world, among its characters.

She may never know how deep an affirmation this is for me. The book came into being through my vivid dream about the trauma that shatters its hero’s life. Then, like an accompanying mark of closure the week after I finished writing it, I dreamed of the characters in the next stage of their life, after “The End”.

That experience the reader shared is also a reinforcement because in my newest work, The Munich Girl, a character’s dream life is as important a resource for her as every other kind of knowledge. Just as dreams have always been for me. I experienced some inner debate about this when I received feedback that questioned whether it’s of any value to include dreams and their contributions in the novel’s story. I had to remind myself that, for some, dreams have little or no validity in life.

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Image: Cary Enoch / EnochsVision.com

“Dreams are the threads that weave our unconscious wisdom, wishes, knowing and foreknowing into the tapestry of our waking lives,” says Paula Chaffee Scardamalia of The Divining Muse.They often call us to live larger, to be more than we have imagined for ourselves.”

If anything sums up the call pulling at my novel’s protagonist, it is that last sentence of Paula’s.

“Life consists of two journeys: the outward journey of the body through time and space, and an inner journey of the soul,” writes Dave Tomlinson. And stories are one of the most enduring ways that humans reflect and learn on each of those journeys.

“We are, as a species, addicted to story,” says Jonathan Gottschall in The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. “Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”

Isn’t it interesting that what we call those nocturnal stories is the same name we give to our most cherished hopes and visions: dreams.

Find more about The Munich Girl at:

http://www.amazon.com/Munich-Girl-Novel-Legacies-Outlast/dp/0996546987/


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Snow for summer reading

So grateful to Annie Ludovici for such a very kind tweet about Snow Fence Road. Nothing boosts awareness of a book like personal appreciation and word of mouth.

So often, when a book is part of a giveaway at Goodreads, shipping the books off to winners is the last an author ever hears about it — until someone like winner Virgina Madrid does something mighty nice like this:

“A lovely romance novel that warms the heart!
Nice and classy with the touch of adventure that life offers.
I highly enjoyed this book.”
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    Adding a book to the world these days can feel like adding a leaf to a forest.
    When folks make the time to journey into a book’s world, it is a supreme gift to its author.
    I’m thankful for every reader willing to visit Knowle, Maine, and its ramshackle old Spinnaker Inn, then make time to let others know about it.

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Join Night Owl Reviews’ Find Your Next Great Read Scavenger Hunt in June to discover great new books and authors, and maybe win an Amazon Gift Card: https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Blog/Articles/Find-Your-Next-Great-Read-Scavenger-Hunt-June-2015

    Find more about Snow Fence Road at:


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Summertime, and the reading is — a scavenger hunt

Join Night Owl Reviews’ Find Your Next Great Read Scavenger Hunt in June to discover great new books and authors, and maybe win an Amazon Gift Card: https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Blog/Articles/Find-Your-Next-Great-Read-Scavenger-Hunt-June-2015

Coming Soon –

Summer reading fun at Night Owl Reviews.

Join the Find Your Next Great Read Scavenger Hunt in June to discover great new books and authors — and maybe win an Amazon Gift Card.

100 Amazon Gift Cards are up for grabs, and the grand prize is a $250 Amazon Gift Card.

Snow Fence Road CoverSnow Fence Road is part of the fun as a June sponsor.

Learn more and enter here:

https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Blog/Articles/Find-Your-Next-Great-Read-Scavenger-Hunt-June-2015

Happy hunting!


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Right timing is one of life’s kindest gifts

DSCF3564I was grateful to discover this week that the number of reviews at Amazon for Snow Fence Road had reached 100.

“… coming to the last page was like saying good-bye to a dear friend,” the kind reader wrote, asking also, in reference to the book’s themes, “Are there miraculous rewards found in healing?”

As the trail of my current novel comes to its end, I’m reflecting again on what my first one has revealed for me. I had a lot of expectations for Snow Fence Road when I began writing it in my 30s. Never did I imagine that when it was finally published, my strongest feeling would be, “Thank heaven this didn’t happen sooner.”

This stage of my life reinforces that anything of value is not only worth waiting for, but subject to a right-timing factor we can never predict. As I’ve attempted to determine and establish the publishing path of The Munich Girl, my next novel, and the the first book I’ll publish myself, I recognize more than ever that greater forces are always at work in the right timing of everything. angelsIMG_5926

Snow Fence Road looked ready to fly more than 20 years ago when a respected literary agency agreed to represent it. Things seemed on-track for success until life brought changes in the outer world that decided otherwise.

Today, it’s my inner world that appreciates this the most.

Today it’s a different book, in a different world, and I’m a writer with a far different perspective. Two decades ago, this book most likely had a narrow (i.e. months-long) window of time and opportunity to reach readers. Now its possibilities seem as wide as my willingness to follow an ever-unfolding learning curve. Social media and a digital world extend a global reach that astonishes me almost as much as the role readers themselves now play in advancing awareness of and appreciation for the book.

Yes, there are wildly shifting sands in the publishing experience now, but there are horizons I couldn’t have imagined 25 years ago.

READ THE REST AT BoomerCafé: http://www.boomercafe.com/2014/04/02/boomer-authors-reflections-finishing-book-later-life/

LogoFind more about Snow Fence Road, from Black Lyon Publishing, at: http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Fence-Road-Phyllis-Edgerly/dp/1934912549/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1372083362&sr=8-2&keywords=Snow+Fence+Road+Phyllis+Ring


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Creativity’s invitation to reunion

My deepest thanks to Ruthz SB, creator of delightful literature for the souls of children, and the child in all of us. Your review of Snow Fence Road captures the essence of why my writing heart kept it company until it came full circle as the book’s story:

a very pure intuitive love is beautiful and emotional.” SFR4ab79a8a-8a51-4e54-b19c-bc0bbaeca160_zpsc2bd263b

“Our heart knows what our mind has forgotten,”  Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee has written of the beauty of this subtle and powerful mystery. “It knows the sacred that is within all that exists, and through a depth of feeling we can once again experience this connection, this belonging.”

I suppose that every work of writing I accompany to its ending, whether nonfiction or novel, will have this theme at its heart.

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Photo: D. Kirkup Designs / https://www.etsy.com/shop/DKirkupDesigns

As spring’s atmosphere of renewal finally reaches New England, I’m returning to Maine, where the book’s settings will surround me.

The days will also lead inward, as all creating hours need to do. The mere act of withdrawing in order to be present for creative process will draw me nearer to discoveries I can’t possibly predict (or try to control) but that I know from repeated experience will arrive. They’ll not only help bring a growing story into being, but reunite me, mysteriously, with my own depths.

“It is a strange and wonderful fact to be here, walking around in a body, to have a whole world within you and a world at your fingertips outside you,” John O’Donohue observes. “It is an immense privilege, and it is incredible that humans manage to forget the miracle of being here. Rilke said, ‘Being here is so much,’ and it is uncanny how social reality can deaden and numb us so that the mystical wonder of our lives goes totally unnoticed. We are here. We are wildly and dangerously free.” IMG_6021

Ponderings that will travel with me:

How does creativity require faith in the way that spiritual life does?

How does creativity hone my abilities as a participant on the path of life?

How does creativity help me adjust as information or circumstances change?

How does creativity act as a remedy for mental tests?

How does engaging with creative process help me learn more about my truest self?

Find more about Snow Fence Road at: http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Fence-Road-Phyllis-Edgerly/dp/1934912549/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1372083362&sr=8-2&keywords=Snow+Fence+Road+Phyllis+Ring


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Angels all around

IMG_6021A reader recently wrote about an aspect of my novel, Snow Fence Road, that’s dear to my heart, though not something about which I’ve received a lot of feedback.

She described a scene in which the story’s protagonist, Tess, is struggling with things she can’t seem to resolve.

Her mother urges that Tess keep and drive her deceased father’s car, an old Mercedes he brought home to New England from Europe years before.

“It will help you feel close to Dad. He wants to help you,” her mother reminds.

The reader, who lost her own father while still a child, writes,

800px-Mercedes-Benz_220S_(W_111)_01“It is so comforting to me that besides the concourse of angels (are they comprised of those we know?) and God (well there is nothing but God really, but that is belief, not really an experience), there could be others wanting to help me. People that I can and do know, like my father and others, whom I can feel closer to by having their possessions near, or by visiting places we knew in common.”

Without a doubt, this is a theme that recurs for me, as a writer. It’s a foundation in my nonfiction about the relationship between spiritual and material life, and the relationships that human souls share.IMG_5703

And it’s woven all through the 300-plus pages of my next novel.

The reader’s kind message concludes:

“The sense of the next world and the connection we have with it is sprinkled throughout your book and tends to both relax me (I’m not all alone doing everything by myself) and to open my heart to a continuing relationship with those in the next world (I needn’t forget about them because they are dead). Thank you.”

If you’d like to be on my mailing list to receive news about upcoming releases, please just send a request to info@phyllisring.com

Find more about Snow Fence Road, and all of my books in print or Kindle, at:

http://www.amazon.com/Phyllis-Edgerly-Ring/e/B001RXUFD6/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0