The Seventeenth Century Lady – Guest Post by DM Denton

Thank you to Andrea Zuvich for hosting me on her beautiful site The Seventeenth Century Lady. Andrea has long recognized the excellence of the music of Alessandro Stradella, who is, of course, the focus of my novel A House Near Luccoli and, hauntingly, its sequel To A Strange Somewhere Fled.

I hope thou will take a few minutes for a little time travel and indulge thyself with a visit to this beautifully designed, intelligent, and entertaining website, and, whilst there, have a read of my post:

Alessandro Stradella: Fascinating, Flawed, Forgiven, and Unforgettable: A Guest Post by DM Denton | The Seventeenth Century Lady.

Most of the readers of The Seventeenth Century Lady are not only fans of 17th-century history, but also of the Baroque music of that time. It is therefore my pleasure to have DM Denton here with a guest post about Alessandro Stradella – a commonly (and sadly!) overlooked composer of wonderful Italian Baroque music. Alessandro Stradella: Fascinating, Flawed, Forgiven,… Read more




Happy Spring Equinox!

Journeying to Ireland (repost)

Previously, I’ve shared how I went there a woman and came back a child with my eyes full of the clouds coming over the mountains.

Going through letters from England, now to myself, I found some further thoughts on my three journeys to Ireland that took me halfway home but all the way to where I needed to be.

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

♣ A spring Sunday in Dublin, Christ’s little brides happy to celebrate with a meal at McDonalds
♣ From coast to coast, covered in cowslips and folksongs
♣ Not a limerick heard, not even in its place where we stayed to hear a harp’s angel
♣ Bumping along in coaches with windows steamed and destinations , like the weather, constantly changing
♣ The mystery of alpine flowers on the Burren’s stony paradise
♣ Orchids not for picking
♣ Layers of streets, a lunch of mussels and beer, and buying old postcards in Galway
♣ Thoughts swept away by the cliffs of Moher
♣ Secluded coves with sandy beaches
♣ The mile long dream of Dingle, being Ryan’s daughter, tea with Peggy and tales of Gregory Peck
♣ Shrine at Slea head, the edge of the world
♣ A ring in Kerry that never broke its promise
♣ Starlings descending on Killarney
♣ Muckross magic in mossy woods, botanical gardens, mist shrouded mountains and mirror-clear lakes
♣ Rhododendrons and fuchsias wilder than anywhere else would allow
♣ The meeting of the waters and differing reasons for being there
♣ Miles and miles of freedom on a bicycle
♣ Airy woods of oak and ash and silver birch, feathery fern, lichen dripping and moss imagining a smaller world
♣ Fields of gorse and heather blending yellow and purple
♣ Sunshine and rain breezing in and out, taking turns to create the artist’s view
♣ Water, water everywhere, all around and in-between
♣ Sudden cascades and corners of serenity
♣ Train station benches turned for looking the other way
♣ A cottage for a week, stray cats at the door, peat burning slowly and sweetly, wild mushrooms and blackberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

Copyright 2012 by DM Denton

♣ A thousand welcomes from new friends who would never be old
♣ Not a day or night without a smile and a song
♣ So much more to remember than forget

And so I return, again and again.

And as a bonus, from St. Patrick’s ‘Breastplate’ Prayer:

I bind unto myself today

The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Diane on Dingle Beach 1983

Diane on Dingle Beach 1983

©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.

Book Release Day of To A Strange Somewhere Fled

Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms. ~ Angela Carter (1940 – 1992, English novelist and journalist)

I must express my appreciation to the readers of A House Near Luccoli who believed in my interpretation of the inimitable 17th century composer Alessandro Stradella, his world, music, associates, and the place of a fictional character like Donatella in a crucial part of his story. You encouraged me to continue with the sequel I had begun before A House Near Luccoli’s publication in 2012.

Thank you to Deborah Bennison of Bennison Books, and authors Mary Clark and Steve Lindahl for their time and interest in reading and reviewing To A Strange Somewhere Fled before its publication (their reviews are included in the book).

And to my excellent editor Deb Harris who along with Phil Harris, form my very special publisher All Things That Matter Press and have been so generous with their expertise and faith in my literary worth.

And, once again and forever, I must express my heartfelt gratitude to my mom June who has always practically, honestly and lovingly supported my writing aspirations.

The celebration is two fold,
as today is my lovely mom’s birthday!

All Things That Matter Release Announcement

To A Strange Somewhere Fled


Authored by DM Denton

After the sudden end to her collaboration with composer Alessandro Stradella,
Donatella moves from Genoa to join her parents in a small village in Oxfordshire, England.

The gift of a sonnet, ‘stolen’ music, inexpressible secrets, and an irrepressible spirit have stowed away on her journey.

Haunted by whispers and visions, angels and demons, will she rise out of grief and aimlessness? Her father’s friendship with the residents of Wroxton Abbey, who are
important figures in the court of Charles II, offers new possibilities, especially as music and its masters ~ including the ‘divine’ Henry Purcell ~ have not finished with her yet.

About the author:
Writer and artist D.M. (Diane) Denton, a native of Western New York, is inspired by music, art, nature, and the contradictions of the human and creative spirit. Through observation and study, truth and imagination, she loves to wander into the past to discover stories of interest and meaning for the present, writing from her love of language, the nuances of story-telling, and the belief that what is left unsaid is the most affecting of all.

Her educational journey took her to a dream-fulfilling semester at Wroxton College, England, and she remained in the UK for sixteen years surrounded by the quaint villages, beautiful hills, woods and fields of the Oxfordshire countryside, and all kinds of colorful characters. This turned out to be a life-changing experience that continues to resonate in her life to this day.

She returned to the US and Western New York in 1990, and has since resided in a cozy log cabin with her mother and a multitude of cats. Her day jobs have been in retail, manufacturing, media and career consulting, and as a volunteer coordinator for Western New York Public Broadcasting. She is currently secretary for the Zoning and Codes administration in the town where she lives. In addition to writing, music and art, she is passionate about nurturing nature and a consciousness for a more compassionate, inclusive and peaceful world.

Please visit her website,, and blog, where you can contact her. Also, find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google Plus.


The Novel is now available in Print and Kindle Editions from and I’ve noticed that the Paperback and Kindle editions are still listed on separate pages – I guess it takes a while for amazon to merge all the formats onto one page.

It may take a little longer for its availability on throughout Europe and as a NOOK Book at

The Work and Pleasure of Writing Historical Fiction

With just a few days to go before the release of my second (published) novel, I’ve been reflecting on the long process—three years—from its conception to completion: the early gestation period when there was the chance of miscarriage and later when I felt I would burst with it; the relief of giving birth and effortlessly anticipating its story; its first words and as uncertain steps; keeping it alive by nourishing it and healing its ailments; allowing for its growing pains while frustrated by its rebellion to what I expected from it; meeting the challenge of all the new acquaintances, experiences, ideas, and feelings it brought into my life; and those last attempts at making it perfect until it was time to accept that it had turned out exactly as it was meant to be.

Now there is the joy of finally seeing it ready to go beyond my influence, even my protection, along with the anxiety of what that means.

I can only hope others will embrace it and love it, knowing some may not understand or care for it. Just as with my ‘first-born’, it remains my child regardless.

Writing a novel of the highest standard one can requires patience, perseverance, imagination, and the ability to use language to express emotion, engage the senses, realize characters, describe what is visible and invisible, tell a story that is credible and incredible, and transport and—at its best—transform its author and, therefore, its readers in some way.

Historical fiction asks even more of a writer’s time and resolve, inquisitiveness, attention, and literary maneuvering.

To quote Susan Vreeland, a very fine writer of historical novels: “Writing historically-based fiction is first a matter of discovery, then focusselection, and invention.”

It involves all she ‘says’—discovery, focus, selection, and invention—but, as I’ve experienced, not in such a linear way as she implies. For me those requirements are continuous and often blended. The seemingly endless research offers so much information (and, just as challenging, so little) and needs the imagination to honor that information and disregard it at the same time.

Susan Vreeland also writes: “Research itself can be a pitfall—not finding something you need as well as its converse, finding out something you don’t want to find out. When fact conflicts with what an author needs a character to do, it’s always a sensitive question. There is no universal answer. At times, one must hold one’s ground, and resist the tyranny of fact for the greater good of the narrative, if doing so does not measurably alter history.”

Authoring a historical novel is a constant challenge of creatively choosing to include and having to leave out, and like all good writing, knowing there can be as much revelation in the spirit as in the substance of what is written.

The satisfaction, even when it takes years, of mixing work with pleasure to give history—especially, for me, the most personal history—everlasting breath is immeasurable.

I can honestly say that I have “followed” Susan Vreeland’s instruction, if unknowingly until I read:

“Love every step of the way, every moment of discovery. Love your characters, your time period, your scenes. If you don’t love a scene, then find out what’s wrong with it. Love the story enough to ferret out details; though don’t include them no matter how delicious if they don’t contribute to your narrative arc. Love the revision process whereby your story develops texture, multiple dimensions and deeper thematic reach. Love the work enough to leave no stone unturned in its pursuit and refinement.”

~ I invite you to read Susan Vreeland’s complete essay on Historical Fiction here.


Copyright 2015 by DM Denton

Copyright 2015 by DM Denton


Win a Signed Copy of To A Strange Somewhere Fled

To A Strange Somewhere Fled (sequel to A House Near Luccoli) is on its way to being released by All Things That Matter Press BY NEXT WEEK.

To the run up of that exciting day, here is a chance to win a signed copy of the novel, as well as one of A House Near Luccoli. All you have to do is write in the comments who you think penned the Petrarchan Sonnet below (it appears in the novel). All those who guess correctly will be entered into a draw from which the winner will be chosen. The contest will end on the day of To A Strange Somewhere Fled‘s release.

The Petrarchan sonnet was not developed by Petrarch himself, but rather by a string of Renaissance poets. Because of the structure of Italian, the rhyme scheme of the Petrarchan sonnet is more easily fulfilled in that language than in English. The original Italian sonnet form divides the poem’s 14 lines into two parts, the first part being an octave and the second being a sestet.
~ Wikipedia

This is the sonnet in question, translated from Italian, of course!

And I will give you a little clue: there are actually two answers – you only have to guess one.

Why is there little to say of a time
when courtesy cost me your devotion?
So much of my life, so much detention,
modesty in love the cause of my crime.
Yet, I was nearly foolish in my prime,
but saved for your Orphean persuasion
and, alas, the chance of imitation
that would only make your memory mine.

To speak of the heart’s secrets is to give
away their endurance, and so concede
they might be fabricated out of need
more than truth. No, it’s better that they live
on covertly in poetical creed,
kept as constantly joyful as plaintive.


Good Luck!