Why write? Mere promise of immeasurably massive skies.

The urge to write - the wings within

The urge to write – the wings within

Writing is one of the most beautiful expressions of who we are. Writing is pure self-expression, an ordering of the mind, the making of patterns and rhythms that seem to breathe with us and create something that is of us and yet becomes its own without us, living in the world in a different sphere that is no longer our brain but a connective dart weaving into other minds, influencing other lives. Writing as a craft makes those darts with subtle precision and powerful energy.

Jennifer Lean is a Cape Town poet and writer who is internet shy in this crazy, noisy world – and so she has these quiet moments of brilliance that catch in the mind like tiny stitches in the tapestry of a busy life. She doesn’t know how to share her work with the world – so I have decided to do it for her. And here and there, now and then, I will bring you a Jennifer Lean poem that will prove that the human mind is infinitely astonishing and, for some, set in rarefied airs we can only admire.

~ Why write ~

The written word is a
reaching out.
It is competitively squawking, bulge-blue-veined,
brittle-boned, fluff-bare baby birds
within the nest, stretching scrawny necks,
reaching always upward,
enthralled by the thrill of self-sound,
indignantly demanding
substance for the throat,
something solid in a
nebulous, insubstantial world
of unfathomed, as yet
unfathomable needs.
It is the right to be
angrily hungry
for acknowledgement of fears in the face of
daunting, dizzying expectations of
flight

for it is a huge leap,
a potentially painful fall.
It is mere promise of
immeasurably massive skies
of movement.

It is an inchoate compulsion,
the written word,
a reaching out
from the infinite reach
of irresistibly untested
wings within.

~ Jennifer Lean ~

The balance between creative desire and the moment of execution.

Balance is art - the exact 'enough'.

Balance is art – the exact ‘enough’.

I’ve introduced Jennifer Lean to you before. So here is another quivering yet precise observation from her eloquent pen. As creative people – whether artists, writers, designers, musicians – we have all felt that curious sense of anticipation before we begin the birth of something entirely new: the burst of excitement, anticipation, that tingle of apprehension yet urge to experience the process of creation, the emergence of a dream, that perfect moment before a single drop of perspiration when everything is in balance, in harmony, in tune. That moment when you know something magical is about to happen and it will be the perfect ‘enough’ to change your world in a matter of moments.

~Enough~
by Jennifer Lean

Enough is not honoured. It is ignored
and therefore hard to know
when it arrives.
The weight of it in the palm
is gently neither here nor there
simply, subtly positioned
between too little and too much.
It sits somewhere
in unacknowledged neglect
between having had and wanting more.
It is that silence between having the thought
and uttering it
the spaces between stanzas of poems
between the visitation of meaning
and giving it shape.
It is fingers that are
perfectly poised
suspended in expectant motionlessness
before music emerges.

~~~

The Writing Process – Monday Blog Hop

Welcome to the Monday Blogs Writing Process Blog Hop!

The talented Jenny Lloyd invited me to post and many thanks to her for including me. Jenny is the author of the compelling historical novel “Leap the Wild Water” – set in Wales in the early 1800s; a deeply moving romantic drama and very authentic social commentary on the times. You can find Jenny’s book here. And visit her blog here.

Deep As Bone cover

Psychological suspense crime thriller

Writing is a different process for everybody. But every writer experiences the personal intensity and overwhelming compulsion that is the process of writing. If you’re not excited all the time about writing, then you’d better be off doing something else. Writing is the view into the valley that no one else sees – and to engage and enthrall, you have put that vision into words. To give you an idea of how I go about the process of writing, I have answered the following four questions:

What am I working on?

At the moment I’m working on two novels. ‘The Ghost Road’ is the sequel to ‘The Vampire Castle’ currently available only on Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, Apple, and suitable for children 9 – 12. The story continues the adventures of Elspeth as she unravels the strange and frightening secrets of ‘The Shadow Garden’ at her grandfather’s mysterious mansion, Whitterburn. Whitterburn is unlike any normal house – there are doorways, passages and wormholes to all sorts of strange worlds – and a grid pattern in the garden that if coded incorrectly – can take one into the most terrifying situations. Part of Elspeth’s adventures entail learning who she really is -and how to use the codes in the ‘Shadow Garden’ effectively.

My new mystery novel involves a strange and reclusive family living on the east coast of England who have maintained ties to their ancestors’ pagan rituals – and who hide a darker secret in their old family home. Grace, a statue specialist, finds herself searching for her missing friend, Ruth. She is employed by the family to repair the statues in their wild garden but is really there to find out why Ruth has disappeared. What she discovers is a terrifying mix of history and the supernatural – and an ancient, appalling evocation of evil.

Psychological suspense thriller

Psychological suspense thriller

How does my work differ from others in this genre?

I like to write women’s thrillers as opposed to general thrillers – and there’s not that many writers in this genre. My books are for women specifically – but perfectly readable by anybody. I don’t write romance, romantic thrillers or chick lit. My focus is less on relationships (although that plays a part) but more on the story, the action, the development of intrigue, pace and tension – and how  ordinary women cope with extraordinary situations.

 Why do I write what I do?

I write these stories because I rarely find what I like to read. Usually, women’s thrillers beat off down the same old track of predictable romance. I don’t do that because I like to be surprised. I like the unexpected character who doesn’t quite do the right thing at the right moment. I like flawed, real characters who can do wrong or make mistakes. I like to understand why a character’s mind would work the way that it does – and I like to put them into unusual situations to see what happens. I hate padded writing and always try to keep the mystery building at a pace because that is what I’m looking for when I read a thriller. Best women’s thriller I ever read? ‘Beneath the Skin’ by Nicci French. Oh, and ‘Total Eclipse’ by Liz Rigby – superb read.

One Night cover

Suspense thriller

How does my writing process work?

Difficult question. Usually I begin with one idea in mind and end up with something else entirely. I’m a pantser writer – I write by the seat of my pants. I see how a character is developing and then I challenge them – this way I learn more about them. And the more I learn, the more pressure I pile on. But always my focus is on the reader: how can I stop the reader from putting this book down and going to do something boring like the washing? There must be a cliffhanger-type ending to each chapter – and the more I reveal of the mystery, the more I must deepen it. I prefer first person narrator because that gives the story more immediacy and more personal connection to the character. I can’t plan too much because I can’t write unless I surprise myself along the way – and hopefully the reader will enjoy that surprise as well!

My books are on all major sites but you can find out all about my writing on my website: http://www.malladuncanbooks.weebly.com

Please keep a look out for other writers I’ve tagged in this hop – most specifically Jill Paterson and Nicole Storey and Christoph Fischer – writers you do not want to miss.

Jill Paterson is the author of the highly popular detective series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Alistair Fitzjohn. She has already published three mystery books and is working on a fourth – not to mention her very informative Pocket Guides to Writing and Self-Publishing. Jill lives in Australia and owns just about the biggest cat in the world. She takes much of her inspiration from the lovely country surrounds where she lives. Find her cosy mystery “The Celtic Dagger”,  here. And visit her blog here.

Nicole Storey is the author of an outstanding children’s series “Grimsley Hollow” and has raced up the charts with the release of her first paranormal fantasy YA novel “Blind Sight”. Nicole lives in Georgia, USA,  and is currently working on the sequel . She is an avid Holloween fan – as you’ll find out when you read her wonderfully gripping, frightening stories! Find Nicole’s book “Blind Sight” here. And find her blog here.

And I’m also tagging Christoph Fischer even though he’s already been tagged and done his ‘hop’ so to speak! Christoph is the acclaimed author of ‘The Three Nations Trilogy’ series on WW1 with the first book entitled “Sebastian”. Christoph lives in England and goes out of his way to support other writers. A top 500 reviewer on Amazon, he is also an accomplished writer able to recreate the dark days of WW1 with pathos and accuracy. Find Christoph’s book “Sebastian” here. And find his blog here.

Fat Chance cover

Comedy mystery thriller set in Italy

Suspense thriller, unexpected, dark and edgy

Suspense thriller, unexpected, dark and edgy

Children's - fun, frightening and mysterious.

Children’s – fun, frightening and mysterious.