If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Where our Muse Resides

A few weeks ago my Red Read Robin book club read and discussed Proof of Heaven, A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, M.D.  Dr. Alexander is a highly trained neurosurgeon who not only practices neurosurgery, but also is a scientific academic, and has studied and spent fifteen years on the faculty of Harvard Medical School as well as other renown hospitals. He has authored or co-authored more than 150 papers on his findings in medical journals and presented those findings at more than 200 medical conferences around the world. In other words, Dr. Eben Alexander is no quack.

The first part of the book details his life up to the time he became seriously ill with a rare disease and lapsed into a coma for a week. The part of his brain controlling thoughts and emotions was being eaten by rare e-coli bacteria which were not responding to antibiotics. After a few days the prognosis for him living was slim. If by some miracle he did live, he would almost certainly be in a vegetative state.

He not only came out of the coma, but after a period of recuperation his brain was functioning as well as before. The doctors and scientists who were there couldn’t find a rational scientific explanation for what he experienced.  Eventually he continued his work as a neurosurgeon and as a scientist. The only difference now was that he believed in NDE’s (near death experiences) because while he was in a coma, he had one that changed his beliefs.

Previously, he listened to patients tell him about their NDE’s and he made some placating comments. He was what he described as a C&E Christian, only attending church on Christmas and Easter and didn’t believe them.  So he wouldn’t become tainted  by others’ experiences, he wrote his experience down, pages and pages of  details about his experience before he started reading and studying other NDE’s. He found his NDE was quite different. It was an interesting book, although the ending was slowed down by all the scientific and medical jargon and terminology. Still, I found that interesting, too.

How does this relate to our muse, that mysterious something we know we have, but don’t exactly know where it is in our brain? According to Dr. Alexander, we have limited earthly consciousness, but we also have “thinking behind the thinking . . . a thinking that is not dependent on linear deduction.” He claims that what he calls subliminal thinking is what is behind inspired scientific insight or the writing of a song.” He believes we all have subliminal thinking that is there when we really need it, but many of us have lost the ability to access it or believe in it.

So I think this is where our muse lives, hidden out of sight, deep in our consciousness. It’s why so many writers claim, and I’m one of them, that somehow when we start writing the characters or plot or poem take control and something we hadn’t intended writing shows up instead. A character we thought would be our murderer isn’t and another character is instead.

Although I haven’t had a NDE, my ex-husband did when he was electrocuted and his heart stopped until someone pounded on his chest and got it started again. However, I had another unexplained happening. While camping in Maine with my sisters and having a great time, an incredible sadness overcame me. Although I tried to hide it from my sisters, the tears kept coming. Finally, the next day one sister suggested I call home – this was before cell phones.

I discovered my family had the Maine highway patrol looking for us. My granddaughter had broken her arm and during X-rays, had gone first into convulsions and then fallen into a coma and been life flighted to a children’s hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa. My daughter was crying for me and wanted me there. Of course, I got a flight out of Bangor and flew to Pittsburgh as soon as I could.

There have been other things, too, defying scientific explanation both in my life and in others I know. So I do believe somewhere within each of us there is a deeper level of the brain with a deep consciousness capable of communication we aren’t aware we possess until something truly unusual happens to convince us we have it. Now if only we could access it whenever we have writer’s block. Wouldn’t that be wonderful if we could just punch in a password and ask for our muse to help us?

 Have you experienced something without a scientific explanation?

Do you believe in subliminal thinking?


James Montgomery Jackson said...

Yes and no. Yes, in that I do believe we are capable of feeling and understanding at levels we do not understand and are therefore “subliminal.”

But I do have a different (but I am not claiming correct) interpretation for characters writing their own stories. For me two processes are involved. First, as a pantser I spend a lot of time getting to know my characters and story in an informal way because I don’t plot ahead of time. Thus, when characters assert themselves it is because I have gotten to know them and imbedded that information into my writing—without being conscious of it.

When these characters bend the story, it is often to work out some personal problem of mine. That is something I need to be working on. Consider it equivalent to a one-way conversation with a shrink, except I am using my keyboard and sitting up, not lying down.

~ Jim

Kath Marsh said...

Yes. And Yes.
I definitely feel something greater than my 'daily' self steps in when I'm deep in writing.
Subliminal, for sure.
All my life I've had those feelings that i've been here before, experienced the same thing before. Is it a dream I've had, or what?

There are more things .... than dreamt of ...

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, I'm a pantser, too, and create bios of my characters until I feel I know them well, so what you're saying makes perfect sense to me.

Kath, in many of my dreams I'm with people I've never met before. Sometimes, I'm not even myself, but someone else. I've been a teenage boy, I've been an elderly person long before I ever reached that age. It makes me wonder.

Claire said...

I definitely believe in subliminal thinking and have even used audio tapes with subliminal messages in the background.

I often put aside a problem (or a character or plot) and let my subconscious mind figure out what comes next. Even if I'm satisfied with a story or a solution to a problem, I have learned to sleep on it and let my inner mind (muse) dwell on it while I sleep. I awaken with a different perspective or a new solution that works better.

This process definitely improves my writing and I have learned to give myself time to permit it, even with deadlines looming.

Paula Gail Benson said...

What an interesting concept and discussion! Thanks for sharing the insightful post, Gloria.

Shari Randall said...

Yes, and yes.
As far as writing goes, the Muse - or subliminal mind - seems to work best when I am just waking up or just drifting off to sleep. She doesn't work well in constrictive day wear -
I love it when I am so deeply immersed in a story that it seems I am watching my characters live instead of lugging heavy chess pieces around a board.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

I am a plotter and like to write out the entire synopsis before beginning the novel. But after several chapters, my characters often start misbehaving and the plot takes an interesting twist.

I like what James Jackson said about characters bending the story to help the author work out a personal problem.

Lots of food for thought. Thanks for the insightful post, Gloria :)

E. B. Davis said...

Yes, I definitely believe in the subconscious putting pieces together, adding up the facts, and helping us come to conclusions while we are conscious. Subconscious or subliminal, whatever you want to call it--goes on behind our daily thoughts.

I can work on a story for a month tortuously. Then wake up and write an entirely new story from beginning to end without a hitch in a few hours. Those tend to be my best stories. I can't explain it.

Gloria Alden said...

Wow, I'm out weeding and mulching after barn chores and a walk in the woods with Maggie, and I come in to read all these messages supporting the idea of an inner consciousness that takes over for us when needed.

E.B., my newest story that just got accepted, "Once Upon a Gnome" was written in one session. I got the idea the day before, thought about it briefly between a million other things for one day and then sat down and wrote it. Of course, I made a few revisions later, but it was ready to be submitted in no more than a week.

Thanks Claire, Paula, Shari and Joanne for stopping by and leaving your input.

Sarah Henning said...

I'm a combo plotter and pantser. I outline, but then when things I didn't expect pop up between plot points, I just run with them. I figure my brain/muse is trying to tell me something that'll be useful later. Though sometimes, it's not as subtle. It's lightning striking and you have to write it that way, or so help you... my muse, she's bi-polar.

Warren Bull said...

I've met people who tell their about near-death experiences with absolute sincerity.

Anonymous said...

The only thing of which I am sure in this area is that we don't understand a lot of how our brains (and beyond) work. Often my characters take on a life of their own and, despite my outline, they don't do what I thought they would. Despite knowing that it all has to originate in my mind somewhere, I feel like I'm channeling separate beings rather than making up characters. I think that's one of the reasons I find the editing process to be such a problem, esp. changing dialog or character's actions. I feel like saying to the editor, "But that's what he said. I can't change it."

Gloria Alden said...

Sarah, I don't outline, but I do know where I'm going until like you said, my muse or characters take over.

Warren, I've heard this from several people, too, as well as some communication from a loved one after they died, and not from a seance or anything like that, either.

Interesting, KM. That's what made this book so interesting. Doctor Alexander is a scientist, who didn't believe in anything even slightly paranormal until he experienced it and then started studying it. I found his Einstein quotes added to the book, too.

Kara Cerise said...

Congratulations on your story, “Once Upon a Gnome,” being chosen for an anthology, Gloria!

I’ve had strange and unexplainable things happen to me all my life. My intuition or precognition used to scare me when I was a child. Now that I'm older, I take it in stride. It's useful to “know” ahead of time that unexpected visitors will be dropping by so I can clean up the house.

Gloria Alden said...

Thanks, Kara. Yes, it would be nice to know if someone was dropping in unexpectedly in advance. :-) I find sometimes I start thinking of someone I haven't heard from in quite a while, and then I either get a phone call or a letter from them.