A Bot with a Heart

Book Review by Dana Taylor

SET MY HEART TO FIVE is a book that pretty much defies description. It isn’t like any other book you’ve ever read. Author Simon Stephenson creates a bright futuristic tale starring a “bot” named Jared. In the year 2054, after the great Internet crash, when too many people could not remember the name of their first pet passwords, the world changed irrevocably. Jared is a bot dentist, living in Michigan. He is made from human DNA, but he is not human. He is a bot, akin to a glorified toaster or microwave. A feelingless machine to cheerfully do the work that humans don’t like to do, like root canals.

Bots are designed to perform functions with a smile on their soulless faces. The fact that modern entertainment has created an industry devoted to portraying “killer bots” has turned them into a perceived necessary evil. People are suspicious of bots. A malfunctioning bot is reported and immediately “wiped” or even incinerated.

Of course, our hero bot, Jared, isn’t your run-of-the-mill AI. Through watching pre-crash films, he has developed FEELINGS. Bots are logical machines, they don’t have feelings. But Jared evolves beyond his programing into the specter of emotions. His logical mind struggles to analyze and understand the human experience of feelings and emotions.

While the AI-becoming-human isn’t a fresh story line, the satirical observations on human behavior is what sets this book apart from the rest. Seen through the eyes Jared, humans are the most illogical and bizarre of creatures. Jared embarks on a journey from Michigan to LA with the dream of writing a screenplay that will change the minds of humans about bots. Story line tension is provided by an inept inspector from the Bureau of Robotics is in pursuit of the wayward bot. Through Jared’s Everyman adventures, we see ourselves and the society we have created. Through the laugh out loud excellent narration of Christopher Ragland in the audio version, the absurdity of human behavior is revealed again and again, usually punctuated with Jared’s exclamation, “I cannot!”

By the end, Jared has experienced all the highs and lows of human experience– fear, joy, love , loss and compassion. In fact, he may be an improvement on the human race. Author Simon Stephenson has penned an insightful satirical gem.

I picked up the audio version at Chirpbooks.com for $4.99, which will be at that price through June 2021.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Delight in the Divine with Chelan Harkin

Book Review by Dana Taylor

Poetry rarely has spoken to my soul, thrilled me with insights, or caused me to sigh. While Rumi and Hafiz have inspired generations of mystics, I’ve sadly been excluded from the club. The last book of poetry I purchased was by Rod McKuen, circa 1970. So it was highly unusual for a poem on my Facebook timeline to grab my attention enough to make me order the book. And I’m so glad I did.

The book is entitled SUSCEPTIBLE TO LIGHT and the poet is CHELAN HARKIN. A sparkling delight in the Divine chimes through the pages, filled with awareness of how much we are missing. Here’s an example:

YOUR OWN DAMN JOY

The price of admission

into heaven

is your own damn joy.

Please stop denying yourself this

and please stop telling yourself

you’ll only (maybe) get there when you die—-

go there now!

What kind of damn fool

puts off heaven?

Child, it lives in the center of your heart

that endless meadow of happiness and praise.

This world needs you to go there now

to do your part in turning it

into a paradise.   

Harkin celebrates the natural world designed by a loving Mother/Father Creator who is shouting at us to look around and revel in the marvelous Universe. She wiggles heavenly hips, serves up buttery potatoes, opens petals to the light. She sees the tragedy of an obtuse humanity and reveals the simple solution.

THE WORST THING

The worst thing we ever did

 was put God in the sky

 out of reach,

pulling the divinity

 from the leaf,

sifting out the holy from our bones,

insisting God isn’t bursting dazzlement through everything

 we’ve made

a hard commitment to see as ordinary,

stripping the sacred from everywhere

to put in a cloud man elsewhere,

prying closeness from your heart.

The worst thing we ever did

was take the dance and the song

out of prayer

made it sit up straight

and cross its legs

removed it of rejoicing

wiped clean its hip sway,

its questions,

its ecstatic yowl,

its tears.

The worst thing we ever did is pretend God isn’t the easiest thing

in this universe

available to every soul

in every breath

Who is this Chelan Harkin? An Internet search pops up her Inner Spirit Hypnotherapy website, where she offers her healing services as a hypnotherapist. Her Facebook pages place her in Washington state and show precious photos of her year old daughter. Her popularity as a poet is obviously on the rise, I suspect largely through WOM (word-of-mouth), which is the very best kind of publicity. She’s maxed out her personal page at 5,000 friends and has migrated to her Chelan Harkin Poetry page.

SUSCEPTIBLE TO LIGHT appears to be self-published, with a second book coming out soon. I expect Ms. Harkin will soon have mainstream media knocking at her door. At a time when the world is coming out of darkness and gloom, Harkin offers an exuberant clarion call to celebrate life, love, and all creation.

Purchase Susceptible to Light at Amazon

art by Sokal Selmani, Image shared from The Cosmic Dancer

Lessons from Atlantis

Book Review by Dana Taylor

It’s been a few thousand years since the Greek philosopher and historian, Plato, mentioned the lost civilization of Atlantis. Was it an actual place or merely fiction? It seems today, more than ever, Atlantis piques curiosity and fascination. Coupled with that is the emergence of interest in the lost continent of Lemuria. This month GAIA talk show host, Regina Meredith (OPEN MINDS), featured A Hynotist’s Journey to Atlantis: Eye Witness Accounts of Our Ancient History by Sarah Breskman Cosme as the Book Club choice at ReginaMeredith.com.

Sarah Beskman Cosme is a past life regressionist, having studied with Dr. Brian Weiss and Delores Cannon. Working to earn her certification in the Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique, (QHHT), she asked a casual friend, Jen Sullivan, to be her hypnosis subject. Jen, a journalist by profession, had never been interested in metaphysics or spirituality, but a sudden health challenge gave her the desire to explore QHHT. Jen’s initial session amazed them both when she revealed a long life begun in Lemuria and ending in the destruction of Atlantis. Sarah and Jen began a series of sessions, primarily focused on Jen’s life as a Lemurian ruler, taken prisoner by Atlanteans after they destroy her homeland.

The dialog format between therapist and client, reveals the cultures and histories of the ancient societies. Material for the book evolved over several years. As Sarah grew her regression practice, she discovered many clients revealed lifetimes in Atlantis or Lemuria. She weaves memories of others to broaden the insights offered by Jen’s recollections.

As Regina Meredith notes at the beginning of the Book Club video, past life memories are limited to the experiences of the clients in their lifetimes. They don’t suddenly become “all-knowing” once they have passed from the earth plane. So, getting a consensus of facts or timelines on Atlantis would require a compilation of hundreds, or perhaps, thousands of people’s past-life regressions.

Jen’s story could be turned into a novel. Her early life in the gentle matriarchal society of Lemuria, with her mother and grandmother in the royal residence; the short-lived romance; her daughter’s birth. Then come the deceitful Atlanteans, hoping to find a cure for the virus that is decimating their society. Her natural immunity and Lemurian telepathic gifts make her a target for the cold-hearted Atlanteans. Her long years as a prisoner in Atlantis gives us insights into a society focused on technology and achievement, with little compassion. Their destruction is a cautionary tale, to be sure.

In fact, Jen Sullivan has written an account of her story in her own book, which is on my TBR list. Indeed, after reading the Cosme book, I’m sure many will want to read expanded version in Child of the Universe.

The comparisons between ancient Atlantis and modern society are plentiful. Especially chilling is the experimental vaccine to override the virus that seems so successful at first, but leads to generational genetic deformities and anomalies. Perhaps another cautionary tale.

It’s a fascinating read, especially for those who feel the pull to Atlantis and Lemuria. Meredith has often featured guests who propose thousands of people now on the planet experienced past lives in those ancient cultures, often suffering from past-life trauma. This may be the era of healing. Or it may be another cycle of destruction. Humanity always has the choice.

A Hypnotist’s Journey to Atlantis and A Child of the Universe are available at Amazon. Here is an interview between Regina Meredith and Sarah Breskman Cosme on YouTube for more information.

Santa Discovers the Aloha Spirit

ALOHA SANTA is on sale for $1.99 in the Kindle Store through December 16!

Amazon US Amazon UK

Website special! $10.00 Author autographed copies available while supplies last. Send me an email at SupernalFriends@yahoo.com to request your copy.

ALOHA SANTA began as a performance piece for the Na Leo Lani Chorus Christmas show in Honolulu a couple of years ago. Encouraged by chorus members to turn it into a children’s book, I enlisted the wonderful artist, Jaana Baker, to do the illustrations. Jaana’s bright pictures really bring the ALOHA SANTA story to life.

Enjoy the new book trailer:

Available in print and ebook at Amazon.com

A lovely Christmas tale told in sweet sing song rhyme, with gorgeous illustrations that bring the story of Mrs. Claus forging the way for Santa and crew to relocate to Hawaii. A great Christmas gift for the kids on your list, that adults will also delight in. Amazon Customer

Signs From the Other Side

Book Review by Dana Taylor

About three weeks after my Dad died, strange things began to happen. The door bell went haywire, going off by itself with mangled noises. Twice, my husband and I heard something crashing in another room and ran to investigate. Nothing. One night we heard a definite knock, knock, knock on the back window. No one there. We began laughing about it. Seemed like Dad was letting us know he was still around. We lived in his house for a couple more years and I felt him guiding me through home repairs. His visits in my life receded after I sold the house.

My husband died in a car accident in 2013, but made his presence known through psychic friends with several messages. He said a final goodbye to me in one early morning visitation that I recalled in the post Grace in Grief: Six Months After My Husband’s Passing.

I’ve learned through personal experience that loved ones continue living in another dimension. Many times they find ways to communicate with people left behind. Psychic medium Laura Lynne Jackson explores various methods of those communications. From the annals of her case histories, she weaves together compelling narratives in her latest book, SIGNS: THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF THE UNIVERSE.

Laura Lynne Jackson

Jackson told her personal story in her first book The Light Between Us. (See my review here.) She comes across as a credible, caring person using her gift to help alleviate pain and confusion of grieving people. Her spot-on readings have made her a popular guest on television shows and workshop panels.

Each chapter in SIGNS relates an individual story of how a crossed over person finds a way to keep in touch. People find coins, receive messages on cell phones, have animal encounters, see rainbows, hear songs on the radio, the list goes on. From the book overview:

There’s the lost child who appears to his mother as a deer that approaches her unhesitatingly at a highway rest stop; the name written on a dollar bill that lets a terrified wife know her husband will be okay; the Elvis Presley song that arrives at the exact moment of Jackson’s own father’s passing.”

The point of the signs is to offer and comfort. They are a way of saying, “I’m still around. I’m fine. I love you.” Sometimes they are a mean, “I’m sorry,” “I forgive you,” or “Move on with your life.” Certainly, a major takeaway from the book is the realization that death is a passage, not a tragedy.

Jackson also refers to everyone’s Team of Light. It isn’t just loved ones leaving signs, but guardian angels and guides. A sign may also be an idea that came from “nowhere” or a dream. I found Chapter 29: Surrender the most compelling. In it Jackson relates the details of daughter’s mysterious illness over a three year period. Ultimately, information and prods from her Team of Light guide her to the right doctors and treatments. It’s certainly a cautionary tale about the vaccine Gardasil.

In this era when so many people are crossing over, SIGNS is a comforting reminder that death is only a transition and love never ends.

********

Moon madness and a meddling ghost bring together reluctant lovers in this tale of madcap magical realism. DEVIL MOON by Dana Taylor

Santa Goes Hawaiian

Mrs. Claus is so over cold weather ~~~

Twas a chilly night at the North Pole,
Santa snoozed by a fire in a warm, woolen stole.
A bang of the door ruined his sleep.
Mrs. Claus stomped in with soggy, wet feet.

“That’s it,” she said. “I’m sick of this cold place,
the ice, wind, and snow always stinging my face.
What’s worse, I get chased by a big polar bear,
and Santa, I think that you don’t even care!”

It’s my great pleasure to announce the publication of ALOHA SANTA. Two years ago I wrote the verse to perform in my Sweet Adeline chorus Christmas show. My singing sisters encouraged me to turn the fanciful rhyme of Santa and Mrs. Claus moving Hawaii into a children’s book. Illustrator Jaana Baker brings the story to life with her clever and charming pictures.

ALOHA SANTA is now available in paperback at Amazon. Delight the youngsters in your life with this bright, fun holiday tale. Makes a delightful gift.

                    

20% of all royalties from November 25 thru December 25 will be donated to the Na Leo Lani Chorus of Sweet Adelines International.

 

Order at Amazon today!  ALOHA SANTA