Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Writer’s Lifestyle by Richard Barnes

I retired, as most people do, with the intention of lowering my golf handicap and getting involved with some kind of volunteer work. The first goal was not met. In fact, my handicap went up by a couple of strokes after the first year. My second goal was achieved for a while.

Our local newspaper published a list of volunteer organizations that needed help. I chose tutoring at one of the penal institutions in the Charlotte NC area. It was extremely rewarding for a while, but after a change in administrators, I found the environment unconducive for teaching. I changed venues – a county run ESL and GED facility – and that, too worked until they stopped having volunteers teach.

About that time I took a writing course just to keep out of my wife’s hair. I had no idea how it would change my life. It started with writing a few short stories for my class. Then a friend - a locally known playwright – invited me to join his writers group. That generated more short stores until one idea I had was just too big for three to five thousand words.
“Write a book,” I was told.
“Who, me?” I replied.
And so I began. Now, years later AND seven book along the way I have settled-in to a life style that is what I was searching for, but didn’t know it:
My family is fortunate to have a summer cottage on a large Island in northern Ontario. The area has a culture of its own, and three of my last four novels are set in the area. It has been a rich source of inspiration. At first I thought the idea of writing about this small part of the world would be limiting, but then remembered authors like Philip R. Craig and Cynthia Riggs who made a good living writing fiction about Martha’s Vineyard. The Vineyard is better known than St. Joseph Island, Ontario, but is smaller and has fewer places to find skullduggery!
The decision has had some writing benefits:
  • Having come to the area every summer for many years, I know a lot about the history, culture and geography—sources for ideas so hard to come by when developing a plot.
  • Writing about one geographical area suggested repeating my characters, thus developing a series around a hero (in my case a heroine).
  • Local residents are great sources for background and ideas.
  • Best of all, both summer and year-round residents are a great market. I have had book signings for four years, and they get better each year. In 2014 I have sold out my order of 20 soft covers on two occasions.
Of course sitting by the water on a nice day with my laptop is not the worst venue for inspiration. Even on a rainy day, a cozy fire in the wood stove takes the chill off. Yes, even in summer we often run the stove! This is my life style three months out of the year but it fuels me for the remaining nine. 

My latest published book, FORGOTTEN ROOTS, is an historic novel set at the time of the 1812 American war with Britain and Canada. The area around St. Joseph Island played a big part in that conflict, and I created a bit of a love story around it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Reluctant Jihadist by Geoff Thompson

People have been asking a lot lately about my new novel, The Caretaker.
It is very (hesitation) religious, they say.

As though I am not allowed (or perhaps, not qualified) to write about God, because usually I write about…other things: hard-men of repute, alcoholic brothers, paedophile priests, I create visceral theatre and challenging film where the social edit is spared and four letter words are used as terms of endearment.

People presume that you cannot find much of God in these dark places. Personally I find nothing but God here; in the cracks, in the vulnerabilities, in those delicious human fractures – that’s where the light gets in.

As a writer, actually as a human being, people struggle to know where I fit.
I struggle to know where I fit.

I have no exact category. I write books, plays, films, articles, I teach, I direct, I mentor, and I skive quite a lot. I enjoy what Eric Fromme would call a spontaneous life. I love being me. Spontaneity makes living in the world enjoyable but, I have to say, it makes me very hard to sell in the market place; I am a nightmare for agents, PR people and television commissioners.
When people hear the word religion they automatically read dogma, they presume you are either socks-and-sandals, hiding from the world behind layers of old scripture, or you are a fundamentalist, a jihadist who wants to make war with the world; same scripture, different interpretation.

God is a hard sell.

The word religion comes from the Latin re-ligare, it means to re-align, man to man, man to his source.From this perspective I am religious.
And Jihad derives from the Arabic, it means to struggle, the greater Jihad is the struggle with the self, where we go to war with false perception and limiting core beliefs. It seems I am a jihadist too; perhaps a reluctant jihadist because like most people I don’t want to suffer even though I innately know that there is no growth in comfort. And that is the nature of this book, The Caretaker. It is a fable about a man that seeks strength without struggle; he flirts with power but takes no reasonability for the office of power.

The Caretaker is a book about me. It is a book about me being bone-tired of listening to me and my own narcissistic whinging. I was going through a very selfish, self-pitying stage in my life, nothing came quickly enough, nothing seemed big enough or easy enough. I was constantly looking for wealth without work, growth without discomfort and skills without apprenticeship. I didn’t know how or where or why I had become so detached from my Logos, but purpose was lacking in my life, and as a consequence everything was an effort. I found myself complaining all the time about my lot and how, compared with others, it didn’t seem like I had much.

It was not true of course, I had breath in my lungs, there was bread on the table and I had as much opportunity as the next man, but at the time I couldn’t see it, I didn’t know how blessed I was, just to be alive. Embarrassed by my ingratitude, I decided to send an apology into the ether, a confession, a declaration of my many digressions. I asked (whoever was listening) please show me things as they are.

I was shown. I have to say it was a shock. It was jarring to look in the mirror and see the reflection of a fat, greedy, self-pitying man looking back at me. I couldn’t believe how ungrateful I had become and how easily, especially when I was surrounded on all sides by such luxury, such love. I was (am) married to the girl of my dreams, living in a house and making a living. I was the most blessed man I knew, and yet I still wanted more, without offering even a bead of sweat in exchange or word of thanks in return. I was practically living in the lap of luxury (I had running water!) and bemoaning my lack. I felt ashamed at how narrow minded I’d become, and how…lazy.

How had I become so very lazy?
The answer landed in my mind as quickly as the question had been asked: I had fallen into (what sages of old called) the forgetting. If we don’t remind ourselves on a regular basis of what we have, what we have will be taken from us, or at least hidden behind layers of false ego and twisted belief.
I realised in my moment of clarity that gratitude was a key, it opened the door to potential, and if gratitude was lacking, it locked the same door tightly shut. So I wrote what became known as The Enlightenment Prayer something I could read every day to remind myself not to forget how much I had and how blessed I was, and to stop asking for things that I was not ready for yet. I was always asking for things that I was not ready for yet.

The prayer organically grew and became a short novel, written in parabolic form, and infused with the intuited wisdom of the ages.
The prayer began with the words:
Lord! God Almighty (The Universe)
A word if you don’t mind.
A word about me.
Actually, more precisely, a word about me and my specious requests.

 It is a muscular prayer. It demands that I take charge of my own life. It insists that the world cannot be changed, but I can, and in changing me, the world will change. It is a prayer that I read and listen to every time I lose my way; it kicks me up the backside when I fall into apathy or self-pity and forget to honour my suffering. It reminds me that growth is in struggle. Not the usual wrastle with outside forces, they are an easy distraction, rather the perennial struggle where I lean into the sharp edges and fight the only enemy worth my effort; myself. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Engaging the digital generation with the tradition of storytelling

By Martin King, author of augmented reality book, Jack Hunter: The French Connection

For many of you, one of the greatest pleasures in life is curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a favourite book to lose yourself for an hour or so in an imaginary world that takes you somewhere far away.
You may have enjoyed the thrill of selecting a new book of the shelf, or the warm familiarity of a well-thumbed novel. Unfortunately today, for many young, and often reluctant, readers, this make-believe world is beyond their grasp as books sit unread on the shelves. And I should know, I used to be one.

As an author, it comes as a surprise to many that as a child I shunned books, preferring to enact my battles on the football field and find treasures within the sweet shop. The world of books had no draw for me, so how did I turn it around to become a published author? This is the story of how I found a passion for stories and how I went about converting others by turning the conventional book on its head to get other reluctant readers heading for the bookshelves.

As a child I wasn’t generally interested in books, and certainly never even entertained the idea of being a writer. When I was growing up, boys had only three future career choices; fireman, astronaut or footballer. I ended up working in marketing, and never found my true calling until four years ago, when I made the decision to write down the stories in my head, first for a friend and then for the public.

Seeing the stories in my head come to life was a novel thrill for me; I could see the castle walls, smell the salty air of the sea and feel the golden coins of the hidden treasure between my fingers. But I knew that however keenly I felt the adventure, many young readers would still shy away from reading a book. Statistics from Scholastic[1] suggests that half of parents (49 per cent) feel their children don’t spend enough time reading books for fun and prefer instead to play video games or visit social networking sites. It’s clear that the lure of technology is stronger than ever for young people but does it really mean the death of the traditional book?

For children, technology and gaming means being involved in the adventure. Recognising this desire made me want to experiment with technology and combine the two, seemingly incompatible, worlds: books and technology. There have always been children’s books that engage with readers beyond the written word, whether it’s giving options to choose different endings or including puzzles or clues within the book. Applying technology is taking this to a whole new another level, adding another element to get children interested in reading again. It’s easier than ever for authors to incorporate an added layer to children’s books with the sophisticated technology that is continually being developed, such as augmented reality.

Knowing the enjoyment that flicking through a physical book brings, I was determined that my foray into the technological world did not overshadow the most important element: the story.  I experimented with augmented reality, still a relatively new technology, to enhance my stories, finding a mobile app to be the best way to bring stories to life by scanning images within the book to open up a new world within a game.
The idea initially seemed incredible but I teamed up with some app designers and after much testing and tweaking, and many hours of both reading and game playing to ensure one did not overshadow the other, I finally felt I had found a way to encourage reluctant readers like myself to rediscover the power of imagination and the enjoyment of absorbing themselves in a traditional adventure, but with a very modern twist.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Your Love Brings Forth Your Life By Rev. Marilyn Redmond, BA, CHT, IBRT

    The vibratory force is the active principle all radiates from. #195-54 Edgar Cayce, The Father of Holistic Health

 Your well-being is the manifestation of your energy. In the past centuries, medicine has seen health from a view that people are glorified machines based in the Newtonian model. Now that is changing to a fresh focus based in the work of Albert Einstein who said we are human beings of dynamic energy systems. 

"Dr. John H. Tilden, M.D. in his book, "Toxemia: the Basic Cause of Disease", states, And when the truth is known that healing, or the power to throw off disease and get well, is wholly within the subconscious and is personal, we will know that curing and palliating by the administration of remedies-drugs, serums, vaccines, surgery, feeding to keep up the strength, etc. -are superfluous, meddlesome, and on the order of throwing a monkey wrench into the machinery."

Therefore, it is time to go beyond warning signs of inflammation and other symptoms to the root cause that created the condition. Emotional or spiritual causes are not addressed in the current paradigm of medicine. However, with a new millennium, it is time to explore beyond the surface and into the unidentified invisible levels of our existence. Our emotions and level of energy are a signal to our health and well-being. This energy field can be called the vital life force, chi, spirit or other terms that mean that necessary element that gives us vitality.

When the energy is blocked, it causes illness as a signal that the body is not working in harmony and balance. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness are signs of blocked energy. It is possible to release the blockages with complimentary medical practices as acupuncture, Qigong or other techniques that eliminate blocked energy as Pranic Healing. Raising the vibrations of the energy into health by means of flower essences or other high vibrational methods that bring up vibrations allows stuck toxic energy to release.  Regression therapy can also release the root cause and allow energy to flow with vitality.  At this point, there are no symptoms.

With new understanding and awareness that what we do not see is running our lives, it is time to move beyond the focus on form into the formless. Historically, in the writings of Aristotle and other scholars, mater was defined as being in itself formless, but it could receive form and substance. 

Matter is now defined more scientifically as an electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength that travels in a vacuum with a speed of about 186,281 miles (300,000 kilometers) per second. It is radiation that is visible to the human eye and what makes vision possible.

However, with more discoveries, the evidence that there is energy vibrating beyond the range of the human eye also exists as we learned about ultraviolet rays. This light is invisible because it is not perceivable by our normal senses. Light not perceivable is called ultraviolet light. It is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than soft X-rays. The name means "beyond violet"—ultra is the Latin word for "beyond”, and violet is the color of the shortest wavelength of visible light.

 Einstein proved that we could break matter down into smaller components and that, when we do, we move beyond the material realm and into a realm in which everything is energy. This is the Law of Vibration, a law of nature that states that nothing rests; everything moves and every-thing vibrates. Cayce was referring to this law in the beginning quote. The slower vibration becomes a lower energy; the faster vibration becomes a higher force, all in accord. Dr. Max Planck, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1918, concerns and supports that all physical matter is composed of vibration. The difference between the manifestations of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual has a result simply from different levels of vibrating frequencies or power. 

Cayce links the pulsating energy seen as light in tangible third dimension as the basis for all life. It is also the unseen energy that is found in nature and is the same as the energy of light we label God, the unseen. “And as the electrical vibrations are given, know that Life itself—to be sure –is the Creative Force or God, yet its manifestations in man are electrical—or vibratory. Know then that the force in nature that is called electrical or electricity is the same energy ye worship as Creative or God in action.” #2828-4. 

This understanding brings us to realize that there is light or energy in everything in the world. Most people know Genesis 1:3 that says, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”
Cayce said, “God moved and said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light; not the light of the sun, but rather that of which, through which and in which, every soul had, has and ever has its being. For in truth ye live and move and have thy being in Him.” # 5246-1

Therefore, this light/energy/vibration brings us out of the darkness of illness and offers life and harmony. We become aware that there is light and love labeled God, Creator, or what fits your understanding. God is… God is light; God is love. This state of consciousness is unconditional love where health and well-being abound. This force in the universe exists by whatever term you choose to use.

Separation from the power of light brings darkness or the absence of light. This condition often is labeled the devil or Satan. Because darkness has lower vibrations of energy, the motivation behind this lower energy actually comes from within us in our negative and harmful thoughts, words, or actions. This creates selfish and unharmonious body energy that is blocked. When people act from this consciousness they send out this low energy to others while draining themselves of needed energy for their own wholeness.

A person passes their inner essence out to those around him or her and receives good or poor results accordingly. When this energy is not in alignment and harmony with the supremacy of illumination, illness is the result. This is the meaning of “you reap what you sow”, also called cause, and effect. Blaming a devil or Satin for misery or poor health is pointless because you brought it on yourself. The challenge of life is to transform all negative energy to align with the positive higher loving energy of creation, which is your birthright. When actions and communications emerge from love, they are on a higher frequency with light and love emanating from within towards others. Health is then restored to your original birthright.

Mystics call this high inner force the God within. Most people have heard of the Golden Rule or love your neighbor as yourself. When we apply these principles to our lives, we become loving and can cooperate with the loving higher powerful essence within. This supports others in their good health and joy. We feel joy, bliss, and happiness in our good health by extending it to others. 

Both religion and science are talking about the same thing. The truth-seekers and those based in science can unite with the Law of Vibration in quantum physics and in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Energy is related to matter and the speed of Light. This is Einstein’s famous E = mc2 equation. 

If you want to transform light to sound, you would raise its frequency forty octaves. The spirit of God is forty octaves above our perception. Often, the church personifies this spirit of God as a “being” rather than light or love, as spoken of in the scriptures. “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

An orchestra tunes to the striking of a tuning fork with the tone of A, which is 440 Hz. A misaligned piano string is altered to be in tune by striking a tuning fork and the string matches that vibration for the correct timbre. The string then raises its resonance to the same rate at which the fork is vibrating. The sound wave created by the Ohm Tuning Fork works like kinetic energy to move disharmony and tension from the body while restoring a sense of well-being. Thus, we can rise up in vibration into a higher consciousness of love. When two frequencies are brought together, the lower will always rise to meet the higher. This is the principle of resonance.

Science has a newer understanding from string theory and quantum physics, which is bringing the link and relationship closer to identifying the unifying nature of light. Bringing this visible, tangible vibration to the invisible beyond our vision will be shortly possible. The light that is denser and tangible on planet earth is the same force that people refer to as God, Creator, or Higher Power. This new perception will acknowledge that the lower finite visual matter and extended higher vibrations into infinity are the same. This verifies the idea that we are one light or one in love.

The words to the song, “This little Light of mine, I am going to let it shine”, refer to the inner light that is high energy, a higher power. That smallest indiscernible element of light is called an adamantine particle, which is a smaller unit than what string theory explains. Now you can begin to understand why the plant you love is the one that blossoms, because where light and love are present there is a free exchange of adamantine particles. 

These are the building blocks of our universe for which science is searching. They are the smallest particles that produce a positive effect upon life. Daniel 5:14 said,  “I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.”

In her book, Love Without End, Glenda Green explains, “The sharing of adamantine particles is the breath of life.” Your love brings forth your life. There is always (omnipresence) an ocean (omniscient) of infinite supply of light (omnipotent) that is always adapting and aligning with loving energy manifested in health and wellbeing. This is the river of life. Our life force is energy that flows to all who are open to receiving. This connects the unseen of religion called God to the seen of science. All you have to be is the love that you are because everything including your health and well-being will line up around you like a magnet.

…“All strength, all healing of every nature is the changing of the vibrations from within, the attuning of the divine within the living tissue a body to Creative energies. This alone is healing… it is the attuning of the atomic structure of the living force to its spiritual heritage.”1967-1


Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Successful Family Legacy Online Seminar

WHAT IS IT: The Successful Family Legacy Online Seminar
WHEN IS IT? The webinar series will begin Thursday 27th March 2014 - 6pm – 7:30pm PDT, and will recur every Thursday 6pm – 7:30pm PDT thereafter for 13 weeks

WHERE IS IT? From the comfort of participant’s home or office – you just need a computer For more information, I have attached a flyer for the said event, or you can share this short video on how leaving a family legacy can help mend broken family relationships. Moreover, we’re giving out massive freebies for the FIRST 100 registrants, who will receive: A copy of my book The Firstborn Son: a Curse, a Gift, or a Calling, valued at US$ 15.99 Audio CD of “Is Your Family Name a Recognizable Brand?“, valued at $9.00 1-year access to our “Family Legacy Community” membership site & post seminar resources, valued at $108.00 A 30-minute personal consultation time with me

 Registration link: