Writing Grief – Michelle Dennis 

I’ve heard it said, quite often, it takes a tragedy or a dark period in life to truly get to know your Self. I guess this makes perfect sense that a writer would write far deeper when submerged in grief or emotional turmoil, because they’re thinkers. I’ve also heard of writers not knowing they’re writers until tragedy or illness strikes.

For me, this is true. I wrote a medieval adventure for middle-grade kids (and adults who love a good fairytale) – when I injured myself and had nothing better to do while the kids were at school. I was house-bound for months and when reading, housework and midday television wasn’t enough, I started to write down story plots and characters – jotting down things that crept into my imagination. I found it quite liberating; like writing in diary of sorts. I finished two manuscripts by the time my injury had repaired, I discovered there was more to come. I had started writing a romance novel – just for my own eyes and used it to re-discover my young Self. Between school drop-off, studying to be a Library Technician, school pick-up, mum duties and wifey stuff, I wrote a story of love, depression, cancer, bereavement and family. I wasn’t experiencing any tragic periods in my life, but I drew on some of my past and delved into the character of a twenty year old girl on the brink of finding the love and lesson of her life. Infinite Completion was born.


 

Almost two years later my world tipped upside down, with the death of my brother. And whilst I had just started the sequel to my romance novel, it brought out some very dark writing moments, for sure. My heart was shattered, and with this came grief, anger, and a lot of questions.

I wrote a lot. I wrote to complete my sequel, but I also wrote my feelings and muses during the weeks of my brothers passing – like I had to get to out of my head and onto paper – literally written on paper, in scrap books and note books, and any piece of paper I could find. Writing made sense. It helped me see in the dark. I started to take notice of the flaws in people, in our society and of course, my characters. Valentine, my brooding, handsome, singer of a local pub band opened up and boy was it messy. His story was Absolution – something neither of us were ready for.

I’d stumbled into writing kids adventures, with friendly dragons and grumpy knights – and as my newly awakened passion emerged, I found more of my Self as I worte about romance and real life stuff. Then, in my darkest hour, I uncovered a strength to pull apart my thoughts. To take each piece and develop Valentine’s character even further. I wanted to adress social issues and make the reader think. Really think. To say this was hard is an understatement. Writing Absolution drew out my pain and displayed it in someone else’s voice. It was pushing my boundaries and making me work harder. Then, as I had the finish line in sight, my husband had a severe stroke, miles away from home. My world, my children’s world and his world spun on its axis. With months of therapy; for us all, I really felt I’d never write again. I could feel it calling me, but I just didn’t have time. My every waking hour was about my husband, our kids and my Self.

Nonetheless, as time went on, I found time to sit. And think. And write. I was drawn back to Valentine and his world – where I submerged in his grief. I could have drowned myself in alcohol or drugs – at times I felt like it. But, I was a mum and wife. I wasn’t going to give in. I could, however, write without causing any harm to myself or anyone else.

I eventually finished Absolution and on October 10 2016 it went live on Amazon.com.

I am working on another couple of manuscripts, and wouldn’t wish dark times on anyone, but I know writing is my answer to grief and its many layers.

Is this something you do as an artist? I’d love to have some feedback from other writers or artists about what drives their best work.

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HELP OUR KIDS WITH BOOKS

🦋IT’S MENTAL HEALTH WEEK🦋
I conducted my first public fundraiser recently, to raise money and awareness for mental health, cancer and children’s charities. I was saddened and shocked to be told that kids as young as FOUR suffer with anxiety and almost every teenager will go through some level of depression – as parents, teachers, guardians, we can only support and provide them with tools to make life easier.

I find writing children’s fantasy/magical adventures helps my anxiety and I share my crazy imagination in the hope of making kids happy.

If your kids are into reading on their kindle, Wolfbaene is only $4!

It’s a story of bravery, friendship and achievement💕


ALL PROCEEDS FOR OCTOBER GO TO PERTH CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL FOUNDATION 




What’s Your Favourite Part?

I’m always up for a challenge, and when Fate plays her hand, I graciously accept. 

Taking on the challenge of writing my first book was probably the craziest thing I’ve done, and to delve into the world of magic and children’s literature, has been a life-changing journey. I grew up in a time of Pete’s Dragon and Peter Pan, with a wild imagination and a passion for books. I was fortunate to have a mother who encouraged me to read and learn. But, reading your favourite Golden Books classic and writing a children’s noteworthy adventure are as different as Paddington Bear and Cinderella. 

However, as a woman heading into her 40’s, I took up my pen and paper, opened my dusty imagination and met some wonderful characters. 

I met Miles Tissle, the elf who’d be unwillingly challenged to save his village, with the help of a stubborn and courageous faery, Audrey Appleby. I uncovered adventure after adventure, writing it all down. Until I finally stumbled across William and Thomas, who showed me a world of medieval fantasy, dragons, werewolves and castles; and here my heart exploded. 


Wolfbaene became my first published book.  Two boys, two dragons, a werewolf and a magic book – promising an epic adventure. It brought me out of my comfort zone and gave me new experiences as I visited primary schools and attended festivals, reading and sharing my children’s book with others. 

Now, I’ve been invited to read part of Wolfbaene at an upcoming medieval festival in November, and I need your help. 

I’m running a COMPETITION for one of my readers to win a $50 Dymocks voucher (Australian residents only). And this is perfect for the kids!

To enter 

1. Share this competition on your Facebook, & twitter (tag me @wolfbaene)

2. Send your favourite part of Wolfbaene to wolfbaene12@gmail.com

Entries close on November 10, so if you haven’t read Wolfbaene yet, here’s the kindle link;

Happy reading!

The Girl From Balga

If someone had told me, when I was in high school, I’d be successful one day, I would have laughed at them. If anyone told me, “Michelle, you’ll be a brave and headstrong woman, who’ll marry your soulmate – a Burmese immigrant, named Valentine – raise six children and write a book,” I definitely would’ve choked on my bubblegum!

I’m from Balga; “underprivileged” was a word I remember being used to describe the area I lived in. Government housing, low income families and government funded schools were all I really knew of my home in Balga. My mum was a single parent and we did it tough at times,  but, everyone I knew had a similar life to me and similar futures planned. It was the 80’s, so we didn’t have social media or smart phones, which I guess made being poor a little easier. I grew up believing in Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, but not in myself. I was awkward, shy and completely convinced I’d marry my high school sweetheart (when I met him), and be a mum; something simple. Sure, I had fleeting, silly dreams of being a lawyer or teacher, with minimal resources and even less encouragement, a mum was a more suitable career choice. I’d have at least two kids and live in a house with a white picket fence, and have a marriage where we didn’t fight or divorce like my parents. I’d be a mum. Yes, a safe and simple plan.

I can confirm The Girl From Balga succeeded in becoming a mum. I can also confirm I’ve had my house with a white picket fence and have a marriage without divorce (although there have been plenty of fights). But, The Girl From Balga didn’t stop there.

The girl from an “underprivileged” area with minimal resources and even less encouragement graduated Balga Senior High School and kept climbing; my fear of heights stopped me from looking down.

At the ripe old age of forty, I completed a diploma in Library Technician Studies and had helped my Burmese immigrant soulmate raise six gorgeous, socially aware kids. I had grasped the idea of succeeding with both hands – I was addicted to achieving goals! While I was constantly encouraging my children to use their talents and chase their dreams, I was pushing myself to lead by example. My love of the arts, literature and our beautiful world, unleashed my long dormant imagination and passion to travel; I wanted to to learn about different cultures and help people to smile. I bit the bullet and booked a family holiday to Bali. Absolutely petrified of flying (I kept my bible firmly grasped on my lap during the flight) we submerged ourselves in the beautiful “underprivileged” island of Bali and it’s humble people. We met Balinese people who appeared to have so little, but were rich beyond measure, with the most generous hearts and widest smiles. On returning from this island paradise, I soon after took an even bigger leap of faith. My mum and I had spoken of travelling to Europe for years, but I couldn’t see around all the obstacles; my fear of flying being the biggest one. With some convincing from my husband and kids, I booked the trip of a lifetime. Mum and I set off to London, Paris, Belgium, Amsterdam, Florence, Venice, Switzerland, through Tuscany and the Vatican and larger-than-life Rome. All the places I’d visited in the books I’d read, and I was there! It sparked a flame of passion and eagerness I had no idea I had. My studies showed me I  could be a mum and have a career; so, I applied for and achieved a job in one of Perth’s largest hospitals. My heart had been broken more times than I could count, but my soul was on fire! With my imagination running wild, my travel experience growing and my family feeding me immeasurable encouragement, I began to write.

I wrote of love, of magic, of wonderous places and broken hearts. I wrote like a girl who had come from an “underprivileged area” and made it her strength. When I’d written two manuscripts, I stepped way out of my comfort zone and joined a local writer’s group, where I found more people just like me. I wasn’t alone in being totally and utterly captivated by literature. I wasn’t alone in being passionate about words and learning. And when I stopped doubting myself and where I’d come from, I realised I’d made it. I’d become successful.

The Girl From Balga had grown into that brave and headstrong woman. I’d married my soulmate – the Burmese immigrant, named, Valentine – raised six children and written a book. Being underprivileged didn’t hold me back, it pushed me forward. Success isn’t about being wealthy or famous, and it doesn’t have an expiry date. Success is what you want it to be. With every battle I face and overcome, I succeed. 

And my success story is to be continued…

Books Mirrored in Real Life 

When I wrote my Infinity series, it was just a love story that had been bursting inside me. 

Initially, it was my character Sam who was the most prominent voice, as I’d recently lost my brother, and Sam’s larrikin personality lifted my spirits. Although, book one, Infinite Completion, was being told in a serious first person narrative by Abbie Bennet, her brother, Sam, provided some lighthearted relief and introduced me to a social issue I’d never really explored.

Through Sam, I met Patrick and Zane, giving a whole other avenue to Abbie and Valentine’s love story. Set in 1994, when homosexuality was at the peak of discussion; hatred, fear and ignorance being the fuel. During the late 1989’s and early 1990’s Aids was rampant and was dubbed the, “Homo Desease”, and homosexuals were being abused and discriminated against. 

When I wrote my Infinity series, I had no idea the ignorance, fear and hatred for homosexuality would raise its ugly head again. It seems parts of my Infinity series are being played out in current life “issues” and I’m more than glad I took the time to write Abbie’s story. 

My Infinity series is on Amazon Kindle for under $5 

❤ Infinite Completion ~ How Abbie met Valentine 

http://ow.ly/1FQM309BW3W

❤Absolution ~ How Valentine loved Abbie 
http://ow.ly/zUBZ309BW3X

💋 Have an absolutely gorgeous day and please share with your friends! 

Wolfbaene – Michelle Dennis YA Fantasy 

                         Chapter Seven 

The air still held a slight chill, but as the sun peered over the top of the distant mountain peaks, it seemed to offer promise of a warm sunny day. Lichen hung from the enormous trees, resembling long white beards. William’s eyes grew wider and wider, when he noticed the bluebell flowers turn into tiny fairies as they fell from the vines that twisted up the tree trunks. Forest flowers of every colour peeped out from the tall green grass, which grew on either side of the track they followed – and strangely, he felt very comfortable, the same feeling he got when he climbed into bed at night.

Fury was proving to be quite easy-natured; at odds to his name and appearance. William quickly learned how to hold the reins and after each tumble and the arrival of a new bruise, he understood the name of his horse; it was a strong name and he liked it. He gradually adjusted himself to the horse’s rhythm.

Orrin led the two boys along the winding track, which led through ravines and deep tunnels and gave them passage into the looming mountains.

Eventually the dragon came to a stop, panting quite heavily – obviously not used to walking such a long distance.

‘This is where I shall leave you,’ he said, moving his wings as he spoke. ‘I will meet up with you later.’

‘Where are you going?’ asked William.

Here’s the kindle link;

Absolution – book II – Michelle Dennis 

I remember The Morning After Losing Dillan like it was yesterday. I recall opening my eyes and staring at the ceiling; my heart still racing. Swallowing the lump in my throat and feeling the sting where the salty tears had dried against my skin. The world was suddenly and painfully silent – my world, anyway. There was no colour, no noise, no Dillan.

I waited.
Waited for him to make a noise. A cough. A burp. A snide remark about how Katie Fischer would scream if she ever saw me first thing in the morning.

I waited for him.

But he didn’t come.

All I had was a big black hole in my chest.

Eventually – after the funeral – the noise came. Dillan came. With shattering glass, screaming people, flashing lights, sirens and car horns; all at once. An avalanche of noise. Especially at night, alone in my bed. I found myself wanting these moments, just to see him. To see if I could fix it. To tell him I was sorry.

Eventually Mum’s crying grew quiet and Dad’s movements slowed. They adjusted to just having me and we all accepted that staying in Ireland was going to be too hard for any of us to deal with.

The noise had returned, but not the colour. Even after moving half way around the world. There was nothing that would change the grey. I found alcohol and drugs took me back to Dillan with a renewed vision; clear and confronting – and I liked it. I needed it.


Book link –