My Writing Process – Blog Hop Tour

Monica M Brinkman, http://monicabrinkmanbooks.webs.com/, author of The Turn of the Karmic Wheel invited me to participate in this blog hop tour. She is a member of The Writers Center and The Missouri Writers Guild. Her short stories and articles have been published throughout the internet in such places as A Word For You Press, Fifty Authors From Fifty States, and Five Monkeys, to name a few. You will also find true-life experiences of the paranormal, along with other tales and articles, at her column, A Touch of Karma, at Authorsinfo .com. Ms Brinkman hosts a weekly radio broadcast, It Matters Radio each Thursday @ 9PM ET. Check out the web site @ www.itmattersradio.com.

The tour requires that I answer four questions about my writing process:

donatellawquillunshadedWhat am I working on?
I’m on the final stretch of completing the sequel to my historical novel,
A House Near Luccoli, published by All Things That Matter Press, which imagines a friendship between the real-life 17th century charismatic Italian composer, Alessandro Stradella, and the story’s fictional protagonist, Donatella. Its current title, which I recently changed, is To A Strange Somewhere Fled, and it takes Donatella to England in May of 1682 and the small but stately Oxfordshire village of Wroxton.  There she encounters the residents of Wroxton Abbey, both active in the Court of Charles II: Lord Francis North, Keeper of the Great Seal, and his younger brother, Roger, who is on the King’s Council.  Of course, she is haunted by past possibilities (and impossibilities), the lure of music and its masters not done with her yet. The divine Henry Purcell and a few other composers and musicians of the time make appearances, including one (or two) Donatella first encountered in the house near Luccoli. You can read more about A House Near Luccoli and its sequel here.


Over the past months I’ve also had two illustrated Kindle Short Stories published by All Things That Matter Press: The Snow White Gift and The Library Next Door. You can read more about them here. Last year I self-published an illustrated poetry journal, A Friendship with Flowers. I’m mulling around some ideas for shorter works and for my next novel; possibilities include Christina Rossetti, an English poet of the late 19th century and the sister of the poet and painter, Dante Gabriel Rossetti; or Mary Webb, an English poet and novelist of the early 20th century. Of course, who knows what will take my fancy when the time comes to embark on another novel’s journey!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I would say that it differs from the work of those who fit comfortably into “the box” of a specific genre, who need to belong to “the club” of that genre and can easily promote themselves as an author in that genre. I didn’t consciously set out to write historical fiction, certainly not exclusively. Perhaps I gravitate towards it because I’m “an old-fashioned girl” in many ways that include my love for classic literature, early music, and folk traditions. But it’s the stories and characters that have suggested or, in the case of my novel, A House Near Luccoli, dictated the period and geography. I think the past can be “brought forward” without compromising its truth – that contemporary writing can be a conduit for understanding and appreciating history better. I knew a musician who sang and produced music of the Renaissance with respect for and knowledge of its origins, but who interpreted and performed it with a progressive freshness and appeal that took it out its scholarly shell and brought it into the lives of many who would otherwise never have been introduced to it – a worthwhile legacy, I think.

Rather than get too comfortable and staid with any one genre, I prefer to be a writer who, hopefully, appeals to more adventurous readers: those who enjoy my spirit of exploration because it feeds and satisfies their own.

Why do I write what I do?
I find my voice in poetry and prose, in silence and retreat, in truth and imagination. I find my subjects and characters in observation and study, music, art, nature and the contradictions of the creative spirit. I love to wander in and out of the past to discover stories of interest and meaning for the present. I write from my love of language and the belief that what is left unsaid is the most affecting of all. 

How does your writing process work?
I’m really not that conscious of a process, never quite sure how my emotions are going to affect me at any given time! Well, I’m a Cancer, after all!

But once I admitted (especially to myself) how vital writing was to my life, I realized I must dedicate specific time to it. This means I have to allow whole days when there is nothing to take me out of the house, like my day job or shopping or even going out to dinner or other social distractions. I absorb the energy of environments and others too easily and find that either the anticipation or (especially) after-effect of being “out in the world” disturbs my need to be alone in an imaginative state of possibilities – so essential for my writing to progress as I wish it to. I write best in the late afternoon and evening: with prose, mostly on the computer, while my poetry is usually born of scribbles on scraps of paper. The fiction I’ve written so far has required much research; I do some as I’m writing, but initially it takes months of investigating and then reading and ruminating before it flows into a fictional narrative – in my experience like climbing a mountain to see for miles and miles, only to come down and live in one small piece of that view. I do try to exercise my writing ‘muscles’ every day in some way; certainly, having a blog and other social media interactions, especially with other writers and artists, has helped me to do so. Writer’s block happens to me less than it used to, but there are times when I put a writing project such as a novel aside for a little while in a kind of fasting to make me hungry for it again.

And now …

… it is my pleasure to introduce you to three wonderful authors who have agree to take part in this blog tour.  I invite you to visit their sites and see what their imaginations and talents have been up to!


Mary Clark is a writer specializing in memoir, historical fiction, literary fiction, and poetry. Her books include: Tally: An Intuitive Life, All Things That Matter Press, August 2013; Children of Light, a poetry novel, Ten Penny Players on Scribd.com; and Covenant, historical fiction novelette, Kindle ebook. Her poetry and fiction has appeared in Jimson Weed, Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream, Lips, East River Review, and other literary publications. Currently, she is working on a memoir of the years she worked at St. Clement’s Church on West 46th Street in Manhattan, in the neighborhood colloquially known as Hell’s Kitchen.
Please visit Mary’s blog at: http://literaryeyes.wordpress.com/


Wendy Joseph vies with her characters for a life of romance and adventure. A deckhand on merchant ships, she has outrun pirates off of Somalia, steered ships large and small through typhoons and calms from the Bering Sea to Shanghai, and helped rescue seals on the Pacific coast. Believing history must be lived, she has crewed the 18th century square-rigger Lady Washington, the steamer Virginia V, the WWII freighter SS Lane Victory, and the moored battleship USS Iowa. She has shared her food with Third World workers and starving cats. She sings sea shanties, her own songs, and with classical and medieval choirs. Her passion is for works of the imagination, for telling a really good story, and for connecting with the minds and souls of readers and taking them to a magnificent and finer place. Researching The Witch’s Hand in France, she traced the paths of her characters over the terrain they covered to get the description right, and dug up old documents for historical accuracy. She holds two Master’s in English and can splice a twelve strand line. Her poetry and prose have appeared in the literary journals Bricolage, Ha!, Westwind, and Nomos. Her plays Gargoyles, The Hamlet Interview, Oil in the Sound and Booking Hold were produced to acclaim in Seattle, and she appeared in the movie Singles. Ashore she holds court with her cats Jean Lafitte and Bijou in the wilds of Washington State.
Please visit Wendy’s blog at: http://wjoseph924.blogspot.com/

Kim Rendfeld, a former journalist and current copy editor for a university public relations office, has a lifelong fascination with fairy tales and legends, which set her on her quest to write The Cross and the Dragon and The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar (soon to be released – read advanced praise), both set eighth century Francia. She lives in Indiana with her husband, Randy, and their spoiled cats. They have a daughter and three granddaughters.
Please visit Kim’s blog at: http://kimrendfeld.wordpress.com/

As Valentines Day is fast approaching, here is a little poem I wrote a few years ago:

Romancing the Word

Copyright 2013 by DM Denton

Copyright 2013 by DM Denton

You constantly long for the right word,
though how could you ever
be content with just one-
courting the idea of a sentence,
a paragraph,
a page,
from the first chapter through many more
to the end?

This is the romance
you live for now
and perhaps always have,
for your heart

has been stolen
more often
by your imagination
than your reality.

Don’t give up
because your love
is unrequited
and it seems no one will ever know
how it breathed
as though nothing else mattered.

Be true
to your calling
and don’t regret
a word of it,
for each one
that comes to you
takes your hand
in hopes
of fitting your vision
and pleasing your voice
like diamonds forever.

©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.

Portrait of Mischief and Love

Where was my heart when my hand captured time in a portrait of mischief and love?

Boots, Sadie and Francie 2 cropped colored

Copyright 2013 by DM Denton

Cats Between the Lines

Cats must be there. Even as I wander long ago and faraway, they follow me, rub my legs, curl on my bed and beg my attention without disturbing it. Their purring is my mantra too, so natural and deliberate at the same time, encouraging the perfect rhythm of my heart. They are soft to the touch yet strong enough in their will. One swipes at my pen to remind me not to take it all so seriously; another paws my arm, pleading, eyes green with envy for the obsession that seems to leave him out. Oh, no. How can I tell him? With a turn and a bow and a stroke he’s reassured; with an Eskimo kiss he’s a distraction but—as one of my favorite writers, Colette, once noted—never a waste of time. Yet another stretches, slithers and yawns like a serpent enticing me to a nap. And then I realize I’m being watched, by that scamp who only sleeps to run and jump and wrestle when he’s awake, small and smart and certain I can’t grab him before he runs away again.

Cats know more than they ever say, probably for the best if progress is ever to be made. A leonine length with legs neatly crossed and head shaped for stillness sets me wondering if any activity could be better than none. Oh, I know. I must make a living, eat and drink and pretend to hunt. So I do so with their goal in mind, eyes squeezed closed and whiskers and paws and tail twitching, to savor sleep as much as success—for the dream of the mouse even more than its taste. 

Cats can be characters, as many as I’ve had there’s no end to the possibilities. I can dress them up and use them in stories that otherwise might not welcome them. I suspect they would be flattered if they knew, that they expect me to take them everywhere I go and include them in everything I do. Saying that, they realize being ignored is freedom from expectation, especially if turned into a choice. And vanishing is just another way of being found.


Note: ‘Cats Between the Lines’ was originally posted September 3, 2011. The image – the first time I have posted it –  is one I did in the mid 90’s of my then kitty family – Boots, the mother, and her two calico children, Francie and Sadie.



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.

Seven Word Sunday

Cold day—

turning

from fear

towards faith.















Thank you to Caddo Veil for the invitation to participate in her new Sunday feature: Seven Word Sunday. See her offering this week: http://caddoveil.com/2012/11/04/caddos-seven-word-sundays-2/



©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.

Musing Music

I’m an un-practiced musician. There grieves the piano, anticipation of my touch buried for now. A guitar excited me for a little while but was, after all, too difficult. There waits a harp, hopeful of my embrace again. My voice still sings, for an audience of angels if they’ve nothing better to do, or as I think I can put the passion I have for a career I never did into words.

And so often the fiction I write–out of history and imagining, love and disappointment, encounter and escape, silence and sound—is musing from and for music (melodious, melancholy, magical music), easier done for its company.

I share a little of my playing with words now, and will probably do so again later. 

   

     

“Musical” excerpt from A House Near Luccoli:

     What was he waiting for? The bow raised his right sleeve, turned his face away and lowered his chin, his own hair covering any expression of nerves. The violin bent his left arm, curling its hand, straightening his shoulders and curving his back so his hips disappeared and legs lengthened, butterfly knotted shoes closely parted like feet on a pedestal table. The slightly past midday sun was a spotlight on the terrace, his creamy coat and the crimson of Margherita’s skirt—no breeze or any kind of movement, not even a cough or whisper.
     Lonati stood and was told to sit down again. Alessandro was perfectly posed for a portrait or memory or the recognition of God, raising his sight, an aspiring suitor preparing to declare his intentions.
     Hands and laps held programs Donatella had duplicated for Una Storia del Cavalieri, Il Trionfo Erroneo di Amore. Alessandro wasn’t confident the Genoese elite would admittedly enjoy it. Unless he kept it at a distance in a self-indulged city like Venezia and accompanied by elaborate sets and costumes, effects and even dancing. There hadn’t been money or time for such an undertaking, so perhaps his hesitation considered how much depended on the manipulation of his music to refine and even refute the folly of its subject. Within moments of his bow sliding into sound a trick was also triumph, holding back impulse for contemplation and swashbuckling for delicacy, putting serenity in strings before the highs and lows of singers. Doriclea loved Fidalbo not Olindo and every note believed her until Alessandro played with them, Lonati following in friendly imitation, the castrato coming forward. Eventually the continuo slowed everyone, underscoring virtuosity and relieving it too if not for long. The principal of obstinato was practiced for connection and contest, a single motif tossed around in slightly different versions like a rumor or hope of one, voices and instruments in competing agreement.
     Alessandro was master of entertaining and editorializing, stealing the show without taking anything from the roles of lovers and go betweens, spoilers and servants—giving character to their romance, farce and delusion. He stood apart from the ensemble with nods for their faithfulness, or squints and frowns for what he hadn’t thought of. Less and less he was concerned with an audience irrelevant to his sense of achievement or regret, artistic isolation suiting him as much as flamboyancy.   

 Copyright © 2010 by DM Denton
All Rights Reserved

Link to my previous post Words and Music.

©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.

Nature Insight: Song of the Thrush

The Thrush
for the moment
without a song,
walked the path
with a purpose
she had all along.

She meant
to crack that snail
so hard to crack.
Who would’ve thought
all she should do
was give it a whack.

Whack, wallop, whack!
Whack, wallop, whack!
Such strength to pretend.
Whack, wallop, whack!
Stand back, stand back!

Have a go again!

The thrush
for the moment
found a new song,
flying off with
a meal she knew
she had all along.

                                                                                                                  

(Author’s note: Just had a little fun writing this inspired by long ago scribbled words.)

©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.

Cats Between the Lines

Cats must be there. Even as I wander long ago and faraway, they follow me, rub my legs, curl on my bed and beg my attention without disturbing it. Their purring is my mantra too, so natural and deliberate at the same time, encouraging the perfect rhythm of my heart. They are soft to the touch yet strong enough in their will. One swipes at my pen to remind me not to take it all so seriously; another paws my arm, pleading, eyes green with envy for the obsession that seems to leave him out. Oh, no. How can I tell him? With a turn and a bow and a stroke he’s reassured; with an Eskimo kiss he’s a distraction but—as one of my favorite writers, Colette, once noted—never a waste of time. Yet another stretches, slithers and yawns like a serpent enticing me to a nap. And then I realize I’m being watched, by that scamp who only sleeps to run and jump and wrestle when he’s awake, small and smart and certain I can’t grab him before he runs away again.

Cats know more than they ever say, probably for the best if progress is ever to be made. A leonine length with legs neatly crossed and head shaped for stillness sets me wondering if any activity could be better than none. Oh, I know. I must make a living, eat and drink and pretend to hunt. So I do so with their goal in mind, eyes squeezed closed and whiskers and paws and tail twitching, to savor sleep as much as success—for the dream of the mouse even more than its taste.  

Cats can be characters, as many as I’ve had there’s no end to the possibilities. I can dress them up and use them in stories that otherwise might not welcome them. I suspect they’d be flattered if they knew, that they expect me to take them everywhere I go and include them in everything I do. Saying that, they realize being ignored is freedom from expectation, especially if turned into a choice. And vanishing is just another way of being found.

Cats must be there whether off by themselves or entwined with each other blending colors and creeds, laying on my feet or an angel at my shoulder, between the sheets…or novel pages which means manipulating history a little for their appearances. Even as they don’t seem relevant, I hear their breathing and know I’m still alive, remember their passing and feel them present, anticipate more to come and believe they too will save me—persuading my life and writing to pay tribute to what is here and gone and yet to be created.

 Image Courtesy of Google

©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.

Poem: Storyteller

I should’ve been a poet
At this late stage,
Instead of losing myself
In stories—
Other people’s stories—

Not the ones
That excite my imagination
But bore a hole in my life,
That nothing
But another escape
Can fill.

And so I am a storyteller,
Silent with more words
Than anyone wants me to speak.
Storytellers need someone
To listen;
Poets need only whisper to themselves.

 

©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.

Poem: Romancing the Word

You constantly long
for the right word,
though how could you ever
be content
with just one-

courting the idea
of a sentence,
a paragraph,
a page,
from the first chapter
through many more
to the end?

This is the romance
you live for now
and perhaps always have,
for your heart
has been stolen
more often
by your imagination
than your reality.

Don’t give up
because your love
is unrequited
and it seems
no one will ever know
how it breathed
as though
nothing else mattered.

Be true
to your calling
and don’t regret
a word of it,
for each one
that comes to you
takes your hand
in hopes
of fitting your vision
and pleasing your voice
like diamonds
forever.

©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.

Words and Music

I am listening to The Plaint: O Let Me Weep by Henry Purcell, playing it over and over, a mantra while I’m writing. Even vocal music doesn’t distract me if it’s fluid and expressive, like the current under a boat, sending a narrative on its way. In the liner notes of soprano Nancy Argenta’s Songs and Airs CD, Adelaide de Place writes that “Purcell liked to compare music and poetry with two mutually supportive sisters.” Stradella would’ve appreciated the comparison, perhaps smiling mischievously, preferring to create a little rivalry. Though never discord. Even his Italian “sisters” would’ve bowed gracefully to his designs, side by side, arms entwined, differences reconciled as their voices blended into one sound so beautiful no man could put asunder.

English lawyer, biographer and “Renaissance man” Roger North (1653 – 1754, who figures prominently in my new novel) wrote that “poetry called” his grandfather, the 1st Lord North, “to music.” For me it was the other way around, music expressing almost everything I couldn’t until I picked up a pen like a violinist lifts his bow and interpreted it into something so personal, beyond thought and emotion. Without music I may never have written a word, never realized I had to write, never lost track of time until I found myself alone in its company having forgotten how to speak – except silently.

Both words and music are about playing with silence, like birdsong or breezes or rain or thunder, our breathing or someone else’s, heartbeats and heartaches, love-affairs and loneliness. As with the chicken and the egg, their collaboration employs a circular cause and consequence, no way and no need to answer the question of which came first or is more important. As music inspires me to write, I desire to make music of my writing.

As I write now I am thinking of ghosts and not minding the melancholy, for it sounds so pleasing I question there is anything more joyful. It’s as if I’m enveloped in a prayer. O let me weep…or smile…or dream…or despair as I please, let me never be at a loss for words and music. Amen.

©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.