Review of “Into the Deep” by Susan McBride Els

This is not a “how to” book about writing. It is a meditation on the creative process of writing. I read this book many years ago and it is still my favorite, full of highlights, underlinings, and marginalia. I was swept away by Els’s deep dive into the feeling experience of writing, the wildness of it, as opposed to the rational thinking process. This book will not teach you the nuts and bolts of craft. It will teach you about creativity, the value of intuitions, vague inspirations, listening and “feeling from the inside”. It is about the heart leading the mind rather than the other way around. It is about writing as a spiritual process, yet it is not a religious book. Instead of teaching you HOW to write, it will teach you WHY to write. It addresses the required tension between knowing where you’re going and letting go into chaos. It acknowledges the disparity between the vision and the actual work, and the inevitable disappointment. “By the time the vision falls to earth, it is nothing like the vision.” Some writers will say it’s dangerous to examine the source of their creativity, that it may dry up under scrutiny. Yet this book is more of an honoring of the source rather than an analysis of it. Think of this book as an oasis in the desert, where a pool of water beckons to you to dive in and FEEL your way into the deep. Then keep it on your bookshelf to turn to whenever you need assurance that at least one person in the world understands what you’re going through.

Into the Deep by Susan McBride Els at Amazon –

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STORIES MAKE US UNCOMFORTABLE. They reveal ‘monsters’ we’d rather keep hidden in the shadows.

THAT’S WHY READING IS a brave thing to do.


TO ME, THE BEST STORIES look squarely at the monsters and say “No, we can do better.” That’s HOPEPUNK. That’s my genre.

I’M WORKING ON a hopepunk fantasy adventure trilogy.
Here are my working premises:


A secret buried in ice. The shattering of long-held beliefs. Sorrow melting to hope. When Greyn, a reindeer herder, isolated and enslaved in a frozen realm, uncovers a betrayal of his family, and the abuse of their unique powers of prediction, he ventures into the lair of his oppressor to find what he thought was lost forever. Facing icequakes, crevasses, volcanoes, dragons, and merciless guards, he confronts brutal truths and bewildering oddities that fracture his illusions about family, enemies, and the very nature of his world.

“Father of Ice and Stone” is Book One of the fantasy adventure series, “Magistry of Dreams”, by Elizabeth Edgett.

If you cringed in “Lord of the Rings” when Frodo and Sam entered the evil land of Mordor, or if you shivered along with Jon Snow on the northern Wall in “A Song of Ice and Fire”, or if the love and sacrifice between Katniss and Peeta in “The Hunger Games” trilogy moved you to tears, you’ll be thrilled to join Greyn on his dangerous mission to gain family loyalty and freedom.




(Supporters of an Unconditional Basic Income may be interested in one of the societies portrayed in my novels which is based on similar egalitarian values.)



FEBRUARY 27 ~ Writing With The Stars ~ daily astrology for writers

moonclouds_smallAs the Moon moves into Cancer this morning, the energy calms down. Aspects between Juno, Neptune and Venus show us how our own sense of beauty can be all the direction we need. It’s a day for pantsing, writing raw material as inspiration flows, with no forethought involved. Don’t try to tackle that outline or do research today. Write more from the heart. Ideas will arise from nowhere as long as you are there, available, with your fingers poised over the keyboard. All you have to do is get out of your own way today and WRITE!

FEBRUARY 25 ~ Writing With The Stars ~ daily astrology for writers

moonclouds_smallToday is a balancing act between being honest or being nice, following the crowd or being true to yourself. You may have to use some strong and transformational words today that may step on some toes. You will go back and forth wondering whether you should say something or not. Ultimately, the truth will out. Your only decision will be how gentle your words are, in communicating that difficult truth.

FEBRUARY 24 ~ Writing With The Stars ~ daily astrology for writers

moonclouds_smallWriters of complex interpersonal, psychological material have the stars on their side right now. First, there is a focus on self-love, and being brutally honest about who supports us and who doesn’t. Second, we have a yod pointing to the North Node in Libra, giving a focus on the future of relationships. Sun conjunct Neptune in Pisces is exposing hidden complexes, dysfunctions, and delusions to the harsh light of day. Big changes can occur between your characters that seem upsetting, but are ultimately healthy. If your writing makes you feel uncomfortable today, you’re probably on the right track.

FEBRUARY 23 ~ Writing With The Stars ~ daily astrology for writers

moonclouds_smallThere’s a grand trine today that spells love, love, love. Especially self-love. Venus/Mars trine Juno in Leo gives romance writers the green light this morning. Add a Juno/Saturn trine, and the focus is on committing to the expression of love in all its forms. Upsets around supper time can be smoothed over with some calm talking and some earthy nurturing. Tonight we find out how dreams can be healing, as long as we don’t analyze them too much. Don’t be too realistic tonight. Just weave lovely visions.

FEBRUARY 22 ~ Writing With The Stars ~ daily astrology for writers

moonclouds_smallWe are capable of expressing great wisdom early today with the Moon trine Pallas in Sagittarius. But later, just focus on committing to hard work and concentration. Mars and Venus are conjunct in Aries giving us a balance between writing beautiful words and forceful statements. The Moon moves into Taurus this evening bringing it all down to earth. By the end of the day, we’ll have done some good, solid work that will also be lyrical and deep.