Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

Posts tagged ‘Inspirational Fiction’

GHOST WRITERS – Review and Interview on Channeling Great Writers of the Past


book coverGhost Writers by David Shaw was a surprise in that the basis of the book are 10 short stories channeled through writers including Tennessee Williams, Oscar Wilde, Beatrix Potter, Franz Kafka and Leo Tolstoy!

All stories were delightful reads and inspiring examples of overcoming materialism, achieving forgiveness, fearlessness and self-belief, and the importance of education, patience, credence, tolerance, clarity and acceptance.

Working with his own spirit guides, Shaw says he didn’t know who he would be channeling and, in fact, keeps the authors’ names secret until the end of the book. But his spirit team invited ten of the greatest writers of all time to share their stories through his mediumship.

Shaw introduces 10 spiritual subjects that are then explored in the ten inspirational short stories. He sees his role to simply receive knowledge from the spirit world and pass this information on to the reader to help in your own life journey. From the first story, “How much is that doggy in the window?” I was hooked, and expect most other readers will be too. “Don’t fear the reaper” and “The Time Machine” were other stories that I found especially beautiful and profound.

While I meditate daily, I’ve never tried to actively channel information from those now in the spirit world. Shaw gives us a view on how he achieves this, leaving us with a lot to think about, and a lot of information that can inspire us to live better lives. And he leaves me wondering – how many of our own creative efforts are a result of  thoughts communicated from another creative mind, whether through channeling, inspiration or in our dreams?

Here, David Shaw answers my questions:

BECCA: Can you describe how you became a medium?

DAVID: I actually fought against becoming a medium for many years. I spent many sleepless nights trying in vain to stop spirit people from entering my bedroom and terrifying the life out of me, until eventually I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I then had two choices – keep fighting against it until it kills me, or embrace it. Thankfully, I chose the latter and began my lifelong apprenticeship.

BECCA: Who is included in your “big team” of spiritual guides?

DAVID: The “big team” of spiritual guides is a collective consciousness of highly educated minds that dwells within the highest realms of the spiritual Universe. I first became aware of this consciousness when I was involved with séances and deep trance mediumship. Mr Chung and SiBir are two guides who dwell within this collective, as are some great mediums from our past, like Gordon Higginson and Maurice Barbanell. The “big team” predominantly work with deep trance and physical mediums.

BECCA: Ten different spirit authors wrote these beautiful fictional stories – did you write the factual words or were they also channeled?

DAVID: The knowledge contained within the factual words was dictated to me through a very light trance state – by Mr Chung. Afterwards, I was able to format the information into my own writing style, occasionally adding humour and personal experiences. It’s a writing method that I’ve adapted through my earlier books and it is really only achievable during the night when there are no distractions around. Many readers have been confused by who was writing what in this book and I must admit I was also confused at times. The “big team” always insist that it’s the content that’s important and not the author.

BECCA: Can you describe how you get into the meditative state needed to channel?

DAVID: I always attempt to clear my mind as much as possible before asking my guides to come forward. I will receive a buzzing sound in my right ear (seriously!!!) to signify that they are ready to work with me (this was developed through many years of trance and physical mediumship). I will subsequently send an adrenaline rush throughout my entire body and the spirit energy then joins with me. I will hear the guides talk to me and I can commence writing. When I wrote my previous book, “New Mediumship,” there were instances when a spirit author took me into a deeper state of trance and actually used my body to type words into the keyboard. Incredibly, after coming out of this trance state, I then had to rearrange the words as some of them were mixed up. At the end of the book, I was informed of the identity of the author. Not surprisingly, when I checked on Google, I found that he was dyslexic. You may have heard of him – Edgar Allan Poe.

BECCA: You recommend mediation to achieve clarity… what tips do you offer to those who find meditation difficult?

DAVID: Meditation is something that I have always personally found difficult to master. Entering a trance state has always been fairly easy for me but that involves direct communication with the spirit world and can be very tiring. Meditation on the other hand involves clearing you mind as much as possible and then just sitting in your own silence. You should not attempt to contact the spirit world during a meditation. Meditation should be used to exercise self-control over your mind. If you cannot achieve this by yourself then I would recommend joining a group of like-minded people where you can help each other to relax accordingly.

BECCA: Even spiritual people seem to fear death – how can one overcome this fear?

DAVID: That’s a really good question and one that I don’t really have a distinctive answer to. Everyone is different and every soul’s journey contains many unique fears – death being just one of them. As for myself, I don’t fear my own physical death, but I do worry about leaving my family behind once I’m gone. This is why mediumship is important to many people as knowing that life carries on can help a person to endure bereavement and perhaps realise that physical death is only a stepping stone to the next chapter in the book of life.

BECCA: You finish your book recommending “acceptance.” How does one achieve that in the face of life’s difficulties?

DAVID: I think it beggars belief that anyone who experiences their child being murdered or dying through illness should then have to accept that what has happened is perfectly natural. But, that is what they have apparently agreed to do before commencing this physical life. It is, by far, the most difficult and most important task that must be accomplished before continuing with our spiritual life journey. Sometimes we have to accept that living a successful life doesn’t necessarily mean living a completely happy one.

BECCA: What do you hope readers take away from your book?

DAVID: My co-writers in the spirit world only wish that any reader takes knowledge from this book. They cannot directly interfere with anyone’s life and neither can I. This book should only be used for inspiration where appropriate. I have always said that any inspirational book should appeal to someone living a life of extreme poverty as much as it does to someone living a life of material luxury.

BECCA: Any advice for other independent authors who want to share inspiration?

DAVID: I would advise to write about your own personal experiences of life. Nothing is more inspirational than knowing that someone else has been where you are now – and came out the other end smiling. Oh and maybe get Edgar Allan Poe to write your book – he is amazing!

David Shaw is also the author of An Average Joe’s Search for the Meaning of Life, and New Mediumship. You can learn more about his work at www.spiritcounsellor.com and www.davidshaw.me.uk.

Namaste!

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

www.theChakras.org

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Somewhere Between Black and White… Therein Lies the Truth


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

With The Transition Witness, Visionary Fiction Comes of Age


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

 

 

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