When I was teaching English I was always on the look out for great books for youngsters so I’m delighted to welcome Diane Solomon to Linda’s Book Bag today to tell us about her writing, as she and Mark Carey have written a book I think those youngsters would have enjoyed – The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain.
The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain
Imagine a raven appearing out of thin air and guiding you to an exquisitely carved icon that glows with ancient light and pulses with shamanic power. This is how the adventure begins for Nadia and Aidan Shaw, 13-year-old twins, who live in idyllic Cold Spring, New York. Armed with the power of the Ravenstone and their own special gifts, they embark on a harrowing quest across centuries, at the bidding of a mysterious old shaman. They must depend on their courage, their faith in their friends, and luck… or is it destiny?
If they succeed, what they bring back could change the course of human existence.
Creativity Is Its Own Reward
A Guest Post by Diane Solomon
Ah, writing fiction. Recently, I was blessed with an enchanting experience: my husband, Mark Carey, and I co-wrote and published a middle-grade fantasy/mystery entitled, The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain. The fiction-writing path is full of magical discovery. There are surprises, even revelations, as you let your characters drive the story, and say what they will. It is the utmost fun.
The joy of creativity drives me. It always has! I’ve been in the creative world for a long time, first singing and performing on stage and TV in the UK. Songwriting. Then screenwriting. Then non-fiction books. Now middle-grade fiction. Each genre is a learning curve; each is entirely, completely, absolutely different.
What is creativity, exactly?
Creativity is the act of innovation and imagination. When you are creative, you are able to see the world in new ways, leaving traditional ideas or patterns behind. You’re not ruled by the usual interpretations of ideas. You think outside the box.
Is that off-putting? You don’t think you can come up with something new? It has all been done? But wait – it is how things are put together that can be new. And, here is the kicker: there is only one you, so no one will do things quite as you do. You are unique, as is your way of doing things.
Being creative is often a calling. Are you compelled to create, be it art, music, poetry, fiction? Then you must do it. You must do it to fulfill your passion in life. Without it you may feel dead, unfulfilled, trudging through the three-foot mudslog of life, day by day, without experiencing the joy of your own heart.
But, I hear you ask:“Will someone else like my artistic endeavor?” My answer: Who cares? Seriously. WHO CARES?
A few tips for artists and writers everywhere:
1) Dare to Suck – (or Dare to Fail, for those of you appalled by the vulgarity.) As a singer/songwriter, I learned early (after an ego struggle) to trust the creative process and dive deeply into it. You have to dare to be criticized, dare to be silly, dare to be crazy, to be wild. You have to Dare to Suck.
2) Give up Being a Perfectionist – Or you will never show anyone anything. Now I know I said Who Cares, but you still want to let someone else see it! Don’t you? Maybe not… now there’s a thought.
Forget going for perfect. Go for excellent, instead.
3) Allow Your Passion to Grow and Drive You – “The more extreme and the more expressed that passion is, the more unbearable does life seem without it. It reminds us that if passion dies or is denied, we are partly dead and that soon, come what may, we will be wholly so.” ~John Boorman (English film-maker known for feature films such as Point Blank, Deliverance, Excalibur, The Emerald Forest, Hope and Glory, and more.)
My husband calls my passion, “extreme heart.” My heart must be involved in my writing. By that, I mean the work holds powerful elements of honor, integrity, caring for others, meaning, courage, and love. The protagonists, the main characters in my fiction need to be real, to be human, with flaws, certainly, but with good hearts. (Ok, ok, yes, I am Pollyanna.)
Creative passion is that energy that pours out from your very essence, from your soul. And, since passion gives us energy, the greater the passion, the greater the creativity.
Let it flow!
4) Do it for the Bliss of it, Nothing More – There are moments during writing where I forget myself entirely. I lose track of time and look up after a couple of hours realizing I am cold, or starving, or some other bodily demand is hollering at me.
But, what a feeling! Pure meditational creativity. The writing seems to have taken over. Sometimes you look down and are surprised by what you read, as if you didn’t, in fact, write it. I can only describe this experience as somehow verging on transcendent, in that it feels beyond the limits of experience, or independent of this world. It is exciting, inspiring, and rewarding.
So go for it; lose yourself. And remember the old maxim: It’s the journey, not the destination.
Creativity truly is its own reward.
About Diane Solomon
Diane Solomon, author, enjoyed a wonderfully diverse career path that included her own variety show on BBC TV in England. As a performing artist, she opened for both Glen Campbell and Kenny Rogers during major tours of England, Europe and Africa. Her highly successful singing career was destroyed by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the story of her recovery via a homeopathic remedy is a book in itself!
Fully recovered, she is fulfilling her lifelong dream of being a writer. She has ghostwritten and/or edited many books in the last decade.
Eloquent Rascals Publishing released Diane’s first book, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A guide to the homeopathic treatment of CFS/M.E., in November of 2015. This book is a best seller in Amazon’s homeopathic section. Diane is also the author of two screenplays, one of which was made in to a film in 2001, entitled Touched by a Killer.
The Ravenstone is her first novel written with Mark Carey, a retired biologist, naturalist, and accomplished voice-over artist.