Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings


Somewhere graphic ebookHave you ever felt an instant attraction to someone, felt like you’ve known them before, or felt at home with them right away? Could it be because you’ve had a past-life connection with them? This idea has been explored in my own books and in a wonderful read I just finished, Somewhere Between Black and White, a multi-layered, complex, thoughtful love story by Shelly Hickman.

Sophie, the heroine of Somewhere Between Black and White, isn’t one to put herself in another person’s shoes before making judgments, until she falls under the influence of the calm and cool Sam… and then the fun and her growth into a better person begins.

In this novel, Hickman’s lovers Sophie and Sam have been a couple in a past life, a past that Sophie “sees” when she first kisses Sam, a past she uncovers as their relationship develops. Sam’s Buddhist philosophy is one he learned in this past life and is one he more fully embraces in his current incarnation, and shares with Sophie, helping her in all her relationships. She becomes more understanding of her ill sister’s choices and more accepting of things that she found impossible to comprehend before.

The growth of all the characters in Somewhere Between Black and White is inspiring… wouldn’t we all be happier and healthier if we gave up judgment of others, and embraced kindness and compassion instead? I love the tingle that I get from romantic novels like this, and find it a bonus when there’s a lesson that the story leaves me with as well. The Buddhist tenets of non-judgment and non-attachment come across very well in Sam’s actions and we the readers, as well as Sophie, benefit from his teachings.

Shelly HickmanHere, author Shelly Hickman answers my questions about Somewhere Between Black and White:

BECCA: I enjoyed reading your work of fiction and finding an inspirational message, specifically the Buddhist tenets of non-judgment and non-attachment. How did you see these teachings integral to the growth of your main character?

SHELLY: When I began writing “Somewhere,” I wanted the theme to focus on our tendency, as a society, to judge others. I’m not trying to imply that there shouldn’t be consequences for our actions, and that people should be able to do whatever they like with no repercussions, but so often we assume we know another’s motivations and make snap judgments about people and what they’re about. But the truth of the matter is that, as the saying goes, we can never understand another’s choices until we’ve walked in their shoes.

Sophie is the personification of this shortcoming. Though her intentions are good, her love and concern for her sister blind her to the possible suffering of Christian, her brother-in-law. Because she refuses to consider life through his eyes, even briefly, she is quick to write him off as worthless. At the same time, it’s her attachment to her sister that makes her so overbearing, and oftentimes, obnoxious.

BECCA: Do you include many of your own experiences into your fiction?

SHELLY: Generally, it’s the little details throughout my novels that are from my own life. However, my first novel, Believe, was hugely based on experiences I had when my daughter went through treatment and passed away from cancer. My upcoming release, Menopause to Matrimony, also has quite a few references to things I’ve experience with the onset of perimenopause, and I’ve tried to approach them in a humorous way.

BECCA: What is the importance of the past-life connection between Sophie and Sam? Did they have specific lessons they still needed to learn from each other?

SHELLY: With the past-life connection between Sophie and Sam, I tried to show an ongoing mutual benefit they receive from their relationship. Sam (Matthew in a former life), was significantly impacted by his friendship with the Buddhist soldier, Ping. That lifetime was part of Sam’s “schooling,” for lack of a better word, that made him who he is in this lifetime. Sophie is kind of his learning partner, and although Sam is more evolved than Sophie, her presence in his life makes him better. She gives him the opportunity to practice the patience and tolerance he feels is so important, and at times, she expressly reminds him what he believes. For instance, when Matthew and Natalie argue about his need to avenge his father, Natalie calls him on his beliefs, and points out that he should let the man upstairs handle it. We don’t know the details of the loss of his father, and we really don’t really need to. All we know is that he’s angry and bitter, and Natalie (Sophie) is there to challenge him—does he buy into what Ping tried to impart, or not?  I feel Sam’s prior connection with Sophie, along with his forgiving nature, allow him to see past all her strong opinions to the essentially good heart underneath.

BECCA: Can you explain why Sam liked to say, It’s all good? How can we, as your readers, apply this in our lives?

SHELLY: Sam sort of addresses this idea when he shares his thoughts on the meaning of soul mate. He believes a soul mate is someone you learn from and who helps you grow as a person. I think we can all acknowledge that difficult circumstances, as well as difficult people in our lives, often help us grow. So when Sam says, “It’s all good,” he’s talking about in the big scheme of things. In my opinion, we’re all here to learn, grow, and love, and often we don’t do that unless we’re put in challenging, and sometimes painful, situations. I don’t know what it is about humans that we have to learn the hard way. Though easier said than done, I think when we’re going through a difficult or painful time, if we can manage to step back and try to learn something from it, in the end, “It’s all good.”

BECCA: What hope or message do you wish to offer others with this book?

SHELLY: The main message I wanted to convey with this book is that we should at least try to see things through another person’s viewpoint before getting all judgey on them. It’s difficult. I think the older I get, the more judgmental I’ve become, but in truth, when I try to see a situation through someone else’s eyes, I can’t help but be more compassionate, which makes me feel better, rather than having the opinion that people just suck.

BECCA: What themes are you addressing in your other three books?

SHELLY: As I briefly mentioned earlier, my first book, Believe, is quite different than what I now write. I wrote it after losing my daughter as a way to work through my grief and anger. The writing is quite bare, and because it has a lot of metaphysical elements, it’s not for everyone. Believe was something I had to write as part of my healing process, but I also hope that anyone who reads it might find it healing as well, especially anyone who has gone through horrible loss.

My third book, Vegas to Varanasi, and its sequel coming November 1st, Menopause to Matrimony, are very different than my first two. There’s no intended deeper message in these novels. They are romantic comedies that are meant to entertain, and hopefully give the reader a chuckle or two. However, in all of my stories, I attempt to show the human side of characters who create the conflict. Although there are people in this world who are truly awful and mean-spirited, I prefer to fill my stories with characters who still have endearing qualities, despite causing grief for the main character. Even “villains” aren’t one-dimensional. Not sure if I pull it off or not, but it’s my goal, at least.

BECCA: What suggestions do you have for other writers who feel they have an important message to share?

SHELLY: Try not to beat the reader over the head with your message, although this can be challenging. Because you will never please everyone, some readers will flat out miss your message, while others will think you forced it. It’s difficult to create a balance where the reader can come to conclusions on their own without spoon-feeding. Readers have sometimes said that in Believe and Somewhere Between Black and White, that they didn’t “get” certain elements, or that I left out too much information and rushed through. I will admit that I have always had problems with brevity, and I think that’s because of the kind of reader I am. I don’t require or even like long, drawn-out descriptions and explanations, and I’m quick to axe material I feel adds nothing to the story. And back to being cautious about spoon-feeding, I like to believe that readers will take away ideas or impressions from my intended message that I had never even considered, which is awesome!

Somewhere Between Black and White is available on Amazon.com. For more information on Shelly’s writing, please see www.shellyhickman.com.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of Chakra Secrets, The Chakra Diaries, The Chakra Energy Diet and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life
www.theChakras.org


FindingVernFinalCover111913.inddThe eternal questions…  What can we expect in the afterlife? Can we communicate with loved ones in the spirit world? Can they communicate with us, watch over us?

Darcy Bellows-Mascorro delves dramatically into uncovering the answers in Finding Vern, a memoir of her relationship with Vern Mascorro, before and after his death.

Darcy was driven by Vern’s sudden passing to learn if his energy and memories transcended his body’s death, if she could find evidence that he lived on in spirit.

As she quoted David Searls, “Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean.”

Darcy worked with several mediums who she believed provided evidence of contacting Vern’s higher consciousness. Her book encourages everyone to be open to receiving an experience with their loved ones from the other side. She affirms, with certainty, that if you look, are open, and are in need, you will receive signs. In her readings with mediums and her recognition of signs, Darcy writes that she received nothing but comfort and healing messages of love.

Darcy offers her “evidence” that the soul, our essence, is infinite and that we never really lose our connection to the people we love. Vern communicates to Darcy that she can pull the veil back, learn to connect with him, herself, without mediums, and teach others how to as well.

Here, Darcy Bellows-Mascorro answers the many questions I had after reading her true life “ghost” story.

BECCA: What hope or message do you wish to offer others with your book?

DARCY: We are eternal beings. Death is not the final chapter in our lives or our relationships. We don’t have to fear death. We have choices and free will and that continues when we leave our physical body. We can communicate across dimensions and we will one day join our loved ones on what is coined the ‘other side’. I learned through my loss and then discovery that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience; that this life is but one chapter in the saga. I never really believed this until I had reason to investigate that possibility for myself. I learned that, while here incarnate we can experience a piece of what we term ‘heaven’ if we open ourselves to the mysteries. I now understand all things are possible; it is only attitude or thought that limits the possibilities.

BECCA: What were the most important things you learned about the afterlife during your journey to find Vern after his death? Did they correlate with what you learned from studying world religions?

Darcy Bellows Author Photo

Author Darcy Bellows-Mascorro

DARCY: All world religions describe a loving place for the righteous to go and a loving God/Source to receive them in some way and then judgment to ensue with reward or punishment. This is partially right. The love part is right, the judgment part is wrong.

I have learned that at the point of physical death, we enter into spirit and we feel an absence of all earthly fears, no pain, there is just a feeling of love and security. We are met by loved ones to help with the transition, we are given options: the option to be shown a life review, the option of what to do next. Heaven is not a place governed by a self-indulgent, egotistical, all-knowing, vengeful judge that commands strict obedience and control. In fact, I have heard no evidence of this. This is all good news. The afterlife is not unlike earth minus the struggle of the material; there is free will. The ‘punishment’ for your misdeeds, should you decide not to confront them is being stuck in a state some call stagnation death.

BECCA: I especially liked your suggestion on how people can truly comfort others who are grieving – could you expand on this topic?

DARCY: It’s important we neither ostracize nor smother the grieving. Be sensitive, kind and understanding. Be a good listener, be OK with silence. Look for opportunities to help them out of their shell.

Don’t try to brush away the grief and have them ‘move on.’ People don’t move on from loving someone that dies. They learn how to deal with their new reality. Bring up wonderful memories and how lucky you feel to have been a part of their life in some way. People can be very uncomfortable dealing with the heaviness of grief; it is our job to bring light to those that need it. Memories of how their life have positively impacted yours can help a person feel open to talking about their feelings. Ultimately what helps the most is being able to talk and honor their loved ones and their feelings about them in their due time.

BECCA: Do you have any suggestions on how others can contact loved ones who have passed?

DARCY: There are hundreds of talented readers, but thousands that are not practiced enough to act as professional mediums. You can pretty readily select a medium that only does mediumship, but make sure to ask for references. I like the mediums that call themselves evidential because they understand how critical that is to the sitter and focus on that. Anyone willing to say I want to focus on proving that your loved one is here to you and myself is of integrity. You must suspend disbelief and be open for your reading but don’t ever tell your story because that will put the medium in the spot of using their mind, not hearing spirit. We all have the capability to receive messages but for the most part we are preoccupied with thought and our 5 senses and not tuning in to that spirit message or intuition. I really encourage people to tap into their own intuition – you will then get signs on your own. It’s not only beneficial to be intuitive for the purpose of connecting to spirit but it can help in everything. Have you ever gotten a bad vibe off someone, ignored it and been right about your initial read? Almost all of us have but we talk ourselves out of using that Sixth Sense.

BECCA: Are you continuing to ‘lift the veil’ in communicating with Vern personally? Will there be a Volume 2?

DARCY: I am continuing to study and I have received more mystical phenomena. I have so much to share I am bursting at the seams to begin writing volume two. I am having a little trouble with prioritization – I have so much I want to do but so little time as I am still carrying a full-time job. I also intend to make Finding Vern into a movie with a fresh twist; Vern and I are going to tell the story from his perspective. It is all exciting, and eventually I want to create a center for fellow spiritual explorers to come for a respite and some soulful expression.

In the meantime, Vern continues to sends me signs. They come and go, directly related to my preoccupation with material thoughts. If work pettiness is wearing me down, I tend to not be able to tap in as readily. If I am able to keep problems in perspective I am much more successful in my spiritual endeavors.

I am doing far fewer medium readings these days, so that I can connect to the other side proficiently for myself. I use readings now as a way to validate my own personal spiritual experiences and intuition. I am still in the mind quite a bit but at least I am getting far better at telling whether I am making it up or it’s coming from Vern or the Creator. I have also had a few out-of-body experiences and once you have had one, you know you aren’t making it up. They feel as real as a day in the life of, and you can usually do things you can’t in the physical world, like fly. Now I just have to figure out how to do it less randomly and more at will.

BECCA: What suggestions do you have to other first-time writers who feel they have an important message to share?

DARCY: I suggest starting by journaling your ideas until something really inspires you; it’s free form without judgment and helps you bring form to concepts. Once you have a solid idea, write an outline. Next, join a local writer’s club/group as other writers are incredibly supportive. You can find groups on Meet-up or, if you live in a larger city, there is bound to be a writer’s organization which you can find by typing your city and the word writers into a search engine. I didn’t find my fellow writers until after the book was written, but I can say I could have probably shaved 2 years off the process if I had reached out sooner.

Other writers help by giving you ideas and feedback as you develop the material. They also tell you the do’s and don’ts of the business and help you with Marketing. I now take online classes and take part in some online groups such as Facebook “Writers.” It really helps to be supported by other wonderful, creative people.

Finding Vern is available on Amazon.com.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras – Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet

www.theChakras.org

 


Becca Chopra:

With self-publishing so available to all, you can share your story and inspire the world…

Originally posted on The Inner Way:

The Storyteller by Breean Cox

The Storyteller by Breean Cox

Are you familiar with StoryCorps? It’s a nonprofit group that records people telling stories about a key moment in their lives. Over the years, they’ve collected almost 50,000 stories that can be accessed online and at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. You may have heard one of their broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition where they air Friday mornings.

It got me thinking that we all have a story to tell about ourselves, especially as it relates to our spirituality. We all have taken a unique path to get where we are today—and just like those who tell their stories on StoryCorps, chances are there was a key moment or moments in your life that shaped your own personal religious and spiritual beliefs.

Here’s my abbreviated spiritual story:

I was raised in a strict Catholic household and forced to go to…

View original 511 more words


Double TakeInspiration can be found in all areas of life – like when my partner, a psychic and medical intuitive, helped solve a murder mystery on the Big Island of Hawaii where we live.

Our powers of intuition and clairvoyance can be used not only to help ourselves but to serve others.

Most fiction writers use characters and striking occurrences from real life in their work, says author R.R. Harris, and he proves it in his novella, Double Take, FREE this week on Kindle.

Here’s a review of Double Take by Quantum Healer and author, Marya Mann, PhD:

“A Cowboy, Kupuna, a volcano goddess and a dolphin whisperer with mermaid hair populate this novel about travel through the rainbow paradise of Hawai’i. In Double Take, a writer journeys to the Island of Hawaii, lives like a local, absorbs everything in sight – and out of sight – solves a mystery, falls in love and regales the reader with the myth, daily rhythms and practical facts of the most magical and mysterious of islands.

“Exquisite photos of marine life, the tallest mountain in the world, delicate double rainbows and unthinkable lava sculptures shaped by red-hot magma, a Japanese tea house and rainforest orchids make you feel like you’re there, smelling the plumeria flowers and tasting the Kona coffee and local beer.

“Unlike the traditional travelogue, in this compelling novel you get the inside stories but also an experience of how much a person can grow through travel. If travel is the best form of education, travel fiction may be the best form of ‘journey literature.’ Planning a vacation to Hawai’i? Travel like a local. Buy this book and read it beforehand. Not planning a vacation? Harris’s book may be the next best thing.” ~ Marya Mann

I hope this book inspires you to learn more about your own psychic powers and intuition, as well as expand your horizons by visiting or learning more about the Big Island and the unique culture and natural wonders there.

R.R. Harris’ novella, Double Take, is FREE for download on Kindle (including 40 stunning photos of the island) from today through July 31. Learn more about his work and editing services at IndieAuthorCounsel.org.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Energy Diet, Chakra Secrets, The Chakra Diaries and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life
www.theChakras.org


How to Write a Bestseller and Feel Good While Doing It

by Roger Harris

Focus on what you want in your life, not on what you don't want.

Act as if it has already happened. Focus only on the end result. For example, “I have written and published the first in a series of self-help books sharing my knowledge, and I feel (insert emotion here, such as elated, powerful, satisfied, ‘on my way’).”  Repeat this practice often, feel imbued by its exhilaration, surf the blue-green waves of happiness and send any dark-eyed doubts packing.

Be not bashful – gleefully share the news with your loved ones and tell everyone you know of what you have begun to create.

Thoughts become things. Visualize the book gracing your mother’s proud coffee table, seeing its YouTube trailer go viral, or pitching the debut novel everyone is talking about on your favorite talk show.

As the saying goes, “It is not enough to stare up the ladder, one must take the first step,” so map out a game plan of action steps to bring your goal(s) to fruition and do them. Carry a symbolic reminder such as a crystal in your purse or wallet, tape notes on your bathroom mirror or photos of what will be, and BELIEVE it can happen.

You create your own universe as you go along. ~Winston Churchill

Thanks to Roger Harris, author of Double Take, who wrote this post on IndieAuthorCounsel.org.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Energy Diet, Chakra Secrets, The Chakra Diaries and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life
www.theChakras.org


The Transition bookcoverThanks to guest interviewer and reviewer of The Transition Witness, Doryanne Wilkin, an artist and Quantum Healing Hypnosis Therapy practitioner.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull came into the world in 1970 as an anomaly. By the time Paulo Coehlo wrote The Alchemist in 1988, the new genre had a name: visionary fiction. And in the years since 1993, James Redfield proved it also had an audience; The Celestine Prophecy sold more than 20 million copies.

Now, a new author, Teresa Tsalaky, is helping visionary fiction come of age. She is showing that spiritual wisdom can be woven into a book that contains the best elements of literature: linguistic brio and a piercing look at the human condition.

The Transition Witness is an adventure in several worlds. There is the utopian world of the villages and the dystopian world of the dodecahedrons. There is also the interplay between the physical world and the metaphysical world beyond the veil of death. As the characters weave back and forth between these worlds, they journey toward their destinies – one to her redemption, and the other to his enlightenment.

Here, the author answers several questions about the book and her process of writing it.

Did you set out to write in the visionary fiction genre?

No. At the time, I had never even heard the term. As the story came out of my fingers and onto the page, I was a bit dismayed, because it sounded like science fiction, and that would not be my choice of a genre. But I knew it wasn’t really sci-fi. Last week, another author invited me to join the Visionary Fiction Alliance. I was so thrilled to learn that my book had a genre.

What can you tell us about the plot without spoiling it?

It’s about a woman whose job is to verify the deaths of people undergoing forced euthanasia. She’s a transition witness, and she hates herself for taking on that task. But she took the job because it would provide a way to escape the dodecahedron that covers the totalitarian society in which she lives. No one can survive outside the dodecs, because the weaponization of weather caused flash freezes and other severe weather events. But our protagonist will try, because for her, freedom is more important than life itself. Telling you what happens would spoil it, but I can say that through a series of adventures, she redeems herself and discovers her true purpose.

I heard that your writing process was a bit unusual. Tell us about it.

One morning, I offered a silent prayer, asking if any great author on the other side wanted to collaborate with me on a novel. The name Dante popped into my head. I then sat down at my iPad and wrote the first sentence that came to mind, and then the second sentence, and so on, until three chapters had finished themselves. Three months later, I wrote the last sentence, and tears came to my eyes, not because I had finished writing a novel, but because of what the main character had overcome and who she had become.

The writing has a style of its own. Was that you or Dante?

Well, first, I’m not saying that Dante wrote it. I may have simply tapped into my subconscious — that ninety percent of the brain that we rarely use. I’ve talked to other authors who use this same process. I jokingly call it “plot without thought.” As far as the use of the language goes, it’s definitely my style. As a kid, I wanted to be a poet when I grew up. Then I discovered you couldn’t make a living at that, so I went into journalism. But I’ve always woven elements of poetry into my writing, whether a hard news story, magazine article or now, this novel.

What is your favorite sentence from the book?

Of course, I like the book’s slogan: “Sometimes life begins after the last breath.” And I love the mantra that the main character uses to remember how to survive on the outside: “Wood burns. Roots nourish. Branches shelter. Leaves heal.” The very last sentence is my favorite, but I won’t spoil it. Mostly, I like the sentences that are poetic due to alliteration or meter or metaphor. Here’s one: “From far away, he must have looked like a spider’s prey, caught in a great iron web.”

Why did you publish independently?

I spent two decades in the newspaper industry, and for the last five years of it, I was the lonely voice predicting its demise. I see the exact same thing beginning to happen to traditional book publishing. Books and news will always be published, but one day, there will no longer be gatekeepers. There is now the opportunity for a very democratic process of readers choosing what’s newsworthy or what should gain best-seller status. I simply noticed that reality emerging.

Speaking of best-seller status, your book hit the top fifty in Amazon’s metaphysical fiction category two weeks after publication, and now it’s on a top-ten list. What advice do you have for other authors who want to successfully launch their independent novels?

Don’t be misled by the numbers. Getting to the top of a category does not always equate to stellar sales. But my advice would be these three things: Believe in your book. Never give up. Don’t follow the crowd; do something different. I almost got kicked off of Goodreads for doing something different, but it was worth the risk.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, because running a profitable business is what I do now, but I will keep writing even if it never pays off financially. I have to. I got that first taste of writer’s heroin, and now I’m hooked. Plus, we need to find out what happens to the character Gemini, don’t we?

The Transition Witness is available on Amazon Kindle.

 

Happy Reading!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Energy Diet, Chakra Secrets, The Chakra Diaries and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life
www.theChakras.org

 

 


Chakra Diet 3DSince publishing The Chakra Energy Diet in April, I’ve gotten great feedback on how it’s helped people to conquer stress, weight and self-esteem issues. Most of all, it’s helped them to pinpoint which of their chakras needed balancing – and how to go about it. I want you to experience that freedom as well, so as we come off Independence Day weekend, I’m offering the book FREE FOR DOWNLOAD, JULY 7 & 8 on Amazon Kindle (available to read on most any device).

SO, CAN YOU EAT YOUR WAY INTO BALANCE?

Being overweight, unhappy or physically in pain are CLUES about which of your CHAKRAS, the energy centers in your body, are out-of-balance. Once you know what’s sabotaging your health and weight loss efforts, you can balance your diet with chakra healing foods to look and feel your best.

Part I of the book explains how we’re both psychologically and physically sabotaged by stress to overeat and crave sweets, and how GMOs, pesticides and refined sugar and other addictive ingredients in our “food” products further stress the body… in other words, it’s not your fault!

Part II offers clues and a quiz as to which of your chakras are most stressed, with suggestions on food choices and recipes, and balancing activities including yoga poses and other exercises for each chakra, so you can quickly move into balance.

Learn how to increase your energy, reach your optimal body weight, and be happier and healthier by using chakra healing foods, stress-busting techniques, yoga and exercise… start THE CHAKRA ENERGY DIET today.

HERE’S WHAT ONE READER HAD TO SAY…

A brilliant work for optimal physical, emotional and spiritual health

“The author did an excellent job in presenting a comprehensive set of information on balancing each chakra: first by examining the emotional components, then by providing the most desirable foods and meditation mantra pertinent to specific chakras, along with relevant yoga postures and exercises. Interesting recipes with pictures are added bonuses.

“Particularly interesting was the notion of letting go of self-criticism when it comes to the issue of weight. In essence, the author stresses the importance of re-establishing the relationship with ourselves by cultivating self-love, which is the basis of true healing.” ~ Susanna Eun

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Energy Diet, Chakra Secrets, The Chakra Diaries and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life
www.theChakras.org

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,141 other followers

%d bloggers like this: