Review – Ghost Writings: Beyond the Obvious

Do you enjoy reading stories with a supernatural flavor?

Here is my 5 star review for …

Ghost Writings: A Ghost Story Guide - Deborah Bennison (Editor) and Neil Wilson (Introduction)
Published by Bennison Books

Non-fiction
July 26, 2014

Ghost Writings: Beyond the Obvious

Ghost Writings by D. BennisonThere is much to learn about the essence and evolution of the ghost story in the pages of the unique, precisely conceived and satisfyingly constructed ‘Ghost Writings’. It is not merely a listing of ghost stories and their authors, in this case British. It is rich in information about the genre, with introductory in-depth essays by the ghost story bibliographer, Neil Wilson, who offers fascinating insights into its fairy-tale, folk, religious and occult origins, its variations reflective of fashions and obsessions, and its development through the ‘golden age’ of spiritualism, artistic movements, and physiological, scientific and technological advancements such as radio and film.

Included are brief but tantalizing biographies. Ms. Bennison honors the obvious—masters of the craft like Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens and Bram Stoker—but, also, reveals “the double life” of literary figures not necessarily associated with the supernatural; one of the most surprising for me being E. Nesbitt, author of ‘The Railway Children’. There are others, great mainstream writers like L.P Hartley and D.H. Lawrence who ventured into other-worldly territory. Ghost Writings clears away the cobwebs from the lives and works of more obscure writers. The long list of female writers, a few well-known to me like Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell and Agatha Christie, insists—as do all the other categories—on being investigated further.

Traveling the ghost story’s journey through time, I felt some regret that its traditional and subtle nature, which inspired “a pleasing terror” (to quote ghost story writer, M.R. James, 1862-1936), has been lost to a pessimistic and continuously violent post WWII world, the modern appetite for speed and sensationalism, and absence of fundamental moral consideration. Contributor, Neil Wilson, admits that in order for the genre to remain vital it must continue to embrace the changes that retain its relevance to the world in which its current readers live. He also acknowledges that the need to “exceed previous levels of sensationalism” drains, depresses and certainly desensitizes perhaps more than is healthy for the genre or its followers—not so unlike what happened towards the end of its Gothic era; after all, the beginning of yet another metamorphosis.

As a writer who has just incorporated a ghostly presence into a novel’s story line, I know how difficult it is to achieve with finesse and credibility. All the more reason I found this book engrossing and important. Ms. Bennison’s obvious passion for the subject and skilled editing and compilation effortlessly achieves her aim of enticing readers into exploring the ghost story through all its stages, possibilities and impossibilities; and, most importantly, far beyond the obvious.

Ghost Writings for Kindle: massive price drop for 7 days

to celebrate new paperback version

Click here to go to Ghost Writings at amazon.uk.

Ghost Writings Back Cover

 

 Hope you will take advantage of the great deal for the next few days on the kindle version, or why not purchase the brand new paperback version!

Also, check out Bennison Book’s other publications

And now I fade into the vapors of the electronic world
(and, perhaps, more than a few centuries ago) …

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Perennial Perspective (first posted July 2013)

“She came toward me with two day-lilies, which she put in a childlike way into my hand, saying softly, under her breath, ‘These are my introduction.'” –  What literary critic and abolitionist, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, recalled of his unusual meeting with Emily Dickinson in 1870.

Mom's Day Lilies  July 2014

Mom’s Day Lilies – Copyright 2013

A view

through day lilies

bright and brave

growing wild

without abandoning

the perfect plan

for their existence.



Wanted to share another favorite painting of mine from my mom’s artistic hand and free spirit!

‘The daylily is often called “the perfect perennial,” due to its dazzlings colors, ability to tolerate drought, capability to thrive in many zones, and requiring very little care.’ from Wikipedia

The daylilies are absolutely beautiful this year in Western New York … in gardens, along roadsides and fields, it seems everywhere you look!



donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

New and Recent Reviews for Others

Now that I’ve finished my current work on the sequel to A House Near LuccoliTo A Strange Somewhere Fled, I’m catching up on other things that have been neglected (hey, I even cooked Sunday dinner today to relieve my mom after months of her ensuring I ate well!), including writing some long overdue reviews. I have just updated my Book Review for Others pages for Novels and Poetry Anthologies.

 

Francina Hartstra is a wonderful poet and ‘water gypsy’.  Here is my review of her elegant little poetry anthology:

5-Stars. Beyond the Threshold by Francina Hartstra
Poetry Anthology
July 13, 2014
A Journey away from a most beloved place.

Beyond the ThresholdThere is sublime silence in the poetry of Francina Hartstra. At the same time, there is much to hear in her concise clear flow of words, which reflect her fondness for Japanese and Chinese poetry with its subtle rhythms, delicate expression and appreciation for what is left ‘unsaid’. As in one of her Haiku’s, her poetry is like the snail’s shell left behind, almost magical evidence that she was there and moved on. Beyond the Threshold is a journey away from a most beloved place, guided by the moon and stars, moved by time and timelessness, nostalgic and yet not encumbered by looking back—secrets shared without revealing them in whispered memories of very personal joys and tears. This poetry is very Zen, offering wisdom that knows enough to question all it answers. There is a tenderness in it and, yet, intensity, too; like a stream moving gently but vigorously on towards a river that will not be its final destination.

I have embarked on Francina’s quietly engaging travels again and again, and whole-heartedly recommend others do the same. This is a lovely poetry anthology that should be widely experienced and treasured.
Available in print edition

 

I invite you to catch up the following reviews I have done on three excellent novels:

5-Stars. Tally: An Intuitive Life by Mary Clark

Memoir – All Things That Matter Press
May 31, 2014
Mary Clark’s memoir underscores the miracle of unexpected relationships in transforming lives.

Tally imageTally: An Intuitive Life celebrates questioning and follows the thread of discourse to illustrate how self-discovery is made by way of life’s journey passing through many destinations.

Wandering along a narrative rich with compelling philosophical conversations and very personal events, this remembrance of Bohemian artist, Paul Johnson (PJ), transports the reader to avant-garde Greenwich Village in the 1970′s and 80′s and further back through his earlier history. Much of the book allows the reader to have a `fly-on-the-wall’ look into the solitary, collaborative and transformational experiences of the creative, eccentric, needy yet detached `intuitively conscious’ PJ; and the absorbing, if often ambiguous, connection he makes with the sensitive, curious, compassionate and intelligent young poet and community organizer, Erin.

I was especially drawn in by the novel’s main storyline of youth intersecting with old age on a basis of shared pursuits and exploration of ideas. In today’s society, there is often separation of the young and the elderly, as if one is offensive or even a threat to the other. It’s usually assumed they have nothing in common or to cultivate with each other. The young can put a lot of time and energy into longing and looking for external experiences to shape their lives; even those who are creative tend to expect inspiration, knowledge and fulfillment to come from somewhere outside of their own abilities, feelings and instincts. In its best scenario, aging makes us weary of life’s pursuits, necessitating reflection over action; so we become less frantic and more self-realized and consciously alive at eighty than we were at twenty.

PJ can `speak’ for himself on this: “Let it cease. I have created many new identities. I have found new reasons to live. I have lived through phases of bliss, of romantic love, phases of death of consciousness, of depression and aspirations beyond achieving, and the fullness of the joy of being alive.”

As a writer and artist, I fully related and engaged with this continuous cycle of conclusions making new beginnings.

In itself an evolutionary work, Tally: An Intuitive Life focuses on the development of the artist into something much more than a man or woman undertaking some kind of creative venture. Like anyone else, he/she is layered by life; the difference is that his/her experiences aren’t a means to an end but a compulsion of becoming, even after death.

Unexpectedly, I found myself very moved by the book’s ending, feeling the question: how can we be sure we have influenced someone as significantly as they have influenced us? I was deeply affected by the sense that for all left unsaid and undone, so much was understood. Erin–Mary–will never forget PJ, the artist and man, and now neither will those who, through the brilliant delicacy and honesty of her writing, can have the fascinating experience of knowing something of him, too. Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

 

4-Stars. Swift Currents of Change by Janet Ashworth
Historical Fiction
February 7, 2014
Historical Fiction That Lets the Past Live and Breathe

Swift Currents of Change imageSwift Currents of Change is an excellent historical fiction that lets the past live and breathe through the lives of ordinary folk in extraordinary times. This is storytelling that matters, because it fills out the often dry facts we learned at school. The novel unfolds through the folksy vernacular of the grandmother in a kind of Tom Sawyer narrative about the restlessness of innocence, which has yet to learn the old adage: be careful what you wish for. I love this line of dialogue from near the end of chapter one: “While I was looking to change myself back in 1859, my world was about to be changed forever.”

The novel progresses very well from the simplicity of a childhood that, while far from being idyllic, is fairly happy and predictable, to the complications of an adult world full of uncertainty, conflict, inhumanity and heartbreak along with hopes, ideals and heroism. It is about growing and learning, and understanding if not always with acceptance. All the characters are very dimensional and engaging; they are like pieces to a puzzle: some fit into the scheme of things easier than others. I felt the emotions, including anticipation, love, fear disappointment and frustration—all that the characters were going through, which proves the effectiveness of the writing. The descriptions of the environment were beautifully blended around the action, at times seeming to participate in it.

I was impressed that Ms. Ashworth didn’t make the story melodramatic, that she recognized how somehow life goes on for those who survive terrible yet transforming events, that the everyday things still matter and will continue to for generations to come. If you love history, especially concerning everyday people experiencing it in the making, I highly recommend Swift Currents of Change.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

 

5-Stars. White Horse Regressions by Steve Lindahl

Paranormal Fiction – All Things That Matter Press
March 3, 2014
A Karmic Dance of Twists and Turns

Whitehorse Regressions imageWhat begins as a murder mystery evolves into a hypnotic investigation that uncovers the centuries-old connections between a cast of characters fated to repeat the circumstances, intrigues and tragedies of their past lives. Through a series of sessions in which the participants regress to Victorian London and ancient China, stories within the story unfold, relationships are defined and rituals revealed, more questions raised than answered until a disturbing and seemingly unbreakable pattern emerges.

Mr. Lindhal’s suspenseful novel moves backwards and forwards in a karmic dance that also twists and turns; a profound and poignant narrative about reincarnation as it relates to love and friendship, vulnerability and power, the myth of inevitability and the possibilities for better times to come.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

 

Hope you find some summer reading in the list!

 

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” ~ Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Illustration for Kindle Short Story: The Library Next Door

Illustration for my Kindle Short Story: The Library Next Door

Books were Rose’s secrets. Reading was an easy distraction, friend to her curiosity and the only thing she was sure she wanted to do. When she entered the library next door, what was real and imaginary became indistinguishable, and she grew ready to reveal the future of her relationship with the written word.

 
donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back tobardessdmdenton. Thank you.

Celebrate

Knapweed Page 26

Hardheads

I was told I must

celebrate

in some kind of obvious way,

because I prefer to hide in the wonder

of my life,

to stay quiet and even rather

still,

To drink the nectar

of solitude

instead of more company

than is good for me,

Cuckoo Flower Page 18

Cuckoo Flower

like too much wine

that would make me unrecognizable

to myself.

 

My thirst is for

the clarity of my thoughts,

the true rhythm of my heart,

and the wakefulness of my soul.

Although, in a way, I do seek

drunkenness, by

Heartease

Heartease

overindulging in the softness

of my cats and their doggedness, too -

the same to be said about nature

as it intoxicates my life with meaning

and escape from meaning,

and the passions that make me teeter

on the edge of becoming unrecognizable

to everyone but myself.

 

 

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.’  ~ William Blake



On my birthday I make a toast of blessings to you all!

And to

All Things That Matter Press

 who will be publishing the sequel to A House Near Luccoli:

To A Strange Somewhere Fled

Thank you, Deb and Phil, for the best birthday present!

ATTMPress Logo

The novel now has its own page on my website:

dmdenton-author-artist.com/to-a-strange-somewhere-fled

where you can read the opening pages.

Or go to its page on this blog.

Peace and love.

The Snow White Gift Cat only

 

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

Solstitium

There came a day at summer’s full
Entirely for me;
I thought that such were for the saints
Where revelations be. ~ Emily Dickinson

Copyright 2014 by JM DiGiacomo

Sunflowers: Copyright 2014 by JM DiGiacomo (Diane’s mom)

My summer has begun

Softly, quietly; under a few clouds

that won’t block the sunshine.

A lonesome beginning,

just as I like it,

in order to feel glad for myself and

honor the ways of those

who don’t look for company

except as it finds them

through the touch of a breeze

or face of a flower

or sigh of a raindrop

or trust of a sparrow;

with nothing to yield for 

but the freedom to reach

and wither

and grow all over again.

~ DM Denton

Blessings on this Summer Solstice

and 

Winter Solstice, for those in the southern hemisphere  

 

Earth, Teach Me

Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.

- An Ute Prayer (Utes are indigenous people of the Great Basin, now living primarily in Utah and Colorado, USA)

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

To A Strange Somewhere Fled

I hope everyone is very well. I haven’t posted for a few weeks, because I’ve been putting all my writing time, energy, brain power and emotion into finishing the sequel to my historical fiction that imagined a collaboration and friendship between the fictional Donatella and the 17th century composer, Alessandro StradellaA House Near Luccoli.

I have updated the page on this blog devoted to the sequel and am pleased to announce that:

The writing and (my) editing and revising of
To A Strange Somewhere Fled
IS DONE!

No comfort to my wounded sight,
In the Suns busie and imperti’nent light,
Then down I lay my head;
Down on cold earth; and for a while was dead,
And my freed soul to a strange somewhere fled.
(From The Despair by Abraham Cowley, first published 1647)

There is a strange somewhere between endings and beginnings.  What seems final is just preparation for what is to come. The changing of the seasons knows and depends on this. Leaves fall and the coldness comes. So does the inclination to sleep through those darker times, perhaps, with a wish to never wake. The light does return – just glimpses at first – to arouse what lives on. There’s warmth, too, slowly nourishing, encouraging and strengthening. And music – the breath, the touch, the heartbeat of Donatella’s story.

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Donatella was born of my imagination – also my emotions, thoughts, impulses and encounters. After spending many years with her, she is as actual as anyone in my physical reality. Other writers will understand this phenomenon, I’m sure. For me, as with her, it will never be time to say goodbye.

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
~ Frank Herbert (American author, 1920-1986)

img002

I invite you to read more about To A Strange Somewhere Fled HERE.

My hope is for it to be published
by the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015,
which gives me time to create the cover artwork!

AND …

those of you who haven’t yet read – or listened – to
A House Near Luccoli
a gentle reminder that it’s available in Print, Kindle, Audio Book and NOOK Book editions.

A House Near Luccoli Audio Book

 

I’ve posted the following poem before,
but it fits well with the theme of endings and beginnings.

A winding road
had brought me back
to yellow flags
that grew the sun
out of the rain.

 

Forgetfulness
had left them there
to multiply
like bread and fish
for proof of faith.

 

Again I paused
and passed them by,
golden moments
waving me on
without farewell.
Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

Growing Unaware

Time for some simple appreciation of the world springing to life, the long harsh winter already a distant memory. I don’t think I’ve ever posted an undoctored scan of a page out of one of my old journals. Here’s one I did many years ago in England (even before the original version of A Friendship with Flowers), all these flowers still enlightening me decades later here in Western New York, USA.

From 'Another Year', done in 1980's. Copyright 2014 by DM Denton

From ‘Another Year’, done in the 1980’s. Copyright 2014 by DM Denton

On my windowsill

are Windflowers

from the open woodland;

Kingcups from the waterside;

the first buds of Buttercups,

spotted Lungwort

and birds eye

Forget-me-nots

from my garden

as if unaware

I let them grow there.

 

“Even a stone, and more easily a flower or a bird, could show you the way back to God, to the Source, to yourself.  When you look at it or hold it & let it be without imposing a word of mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you.  Its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you.  This is what great artists sense and succeed in conveying in their art.  Van Gogh didn’t say: “That’s just an old chair.”  He looked, and looked, and looked.  He sensed the Beingness of the chair.  Then he sat in front of the canvas and took up the brush.”  ~ Eckhart Tolle

donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.