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

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

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

The Mystical Mind of Amy Harmon

by Dana Taylor

Bestselling author, Amy Harmon, has turned into one of my favorite wordsmiths. I discovered her when her time-travel tale to 1921 Ireland, What the Wind Knows, was offered as an Amazon first read. Harmon focused on a historical era I knew little about. She wove real-life political figures of the day with fanciful time travel elements of a young woman caught between two decades.

I decided to go back to the beginning of her books to explore the world of Amy Harmon. Her earliest works follow “write-what-you-know” sage advice. Amy Harmon is a “girl from Utah” and her first heroines are girls from Utah. The stories fall into the romance genre, but even her earliest stories show signs of greater writing skill and imagination than most genre writers. Amy expresses love, loss, angst, and hope in broad verbal brush strokes.

Mystical elements appear in many of her works. Her 2012 book, Slow Dance in Purgatory, is a high school romance, but the hero is a ghost…well, sort of. With The Law of Moses in 2014, Harmon’s books leap a level in mysticism and maturity. Moses is a troubled teen who sees dead people. They torture him with messages which he translates into haunting paintings. The love story with small town girl, Georgia, is intense and takes many turns before they find their happy ending. Moses must master his mediumship capabilities and use them wisely. Dealing with grief is a strong under current of the book.

Harmon followed the story lines of several other small town characters in more books, Making Faces, A Different Kind of Blue, Running Barefoot, to name a few. Then she switched gears into a full fantasy shape-shifter adventure with The Bird and the Sword two book series. Heroine Lark, is a forbidden Gifted one dwelling in a mythical kingdom. She can call things into being, but is forced into silence. Mental telepathy comes into play when the hero (who happens to be a handsome king) hears her thoughts. He uses her Gift to save the kingdom from terrible predators as their love story grows. Harmon spreads her writing wings in a fairy tale setting worthy of any Disney movie.

She returned to historical fiction in one of her most popular books, Sand and Ash, listed as a “religious romance.”  Set in Italy during World War II, the story revolves around a Jewish woman hiding from the Gestapo with the aid of her childhood friend, now a Catholic priest. Personally, I’ve been-there-done-that with World War II stories. Leon Uris (Exodus) and Herman Wouk (Winds of War, War and Remembrance) and a slew of vintage films back in the day set the era indelibly in my mind. I have yet to read this one. Still, I’m sure it’s another great Harmon yarn.

This week I finished her latest tale, The First Girl Child. Somewhere along the line, Harmon developed a fascination with Norse mythology. From her fertile imagination, Harmon conjures a society of Viking clans and the priests who understand the power of Runes. Mysticism abounds as Harmon expands the romantic formula of boy-meets-girl into a rich tapestry of court intrigue, prophetic priests, a false princess, and a reluctant hero of superhuman strength.

Harmon’s superhuman strength is her ability to plumb the human range of emotions. She wrestles with issues of integrity, loyalty, betrayal, devotion, and love, all wrapped in adventure and drama. Looking for a good book? Try one from Amy Harmon.

Bright Blessings,

Dana Taylor

Soul Inspiring Authors for a New Year

If you like authors who stir both your soul and imagination, here are a few I read in the past year who might intrigue you:

David Michie

David Michie is an internationally best-selling author, who weaves Buddhist philosophy with engaging storytelling.

Via Audible, I listened to the author perform The Dalai Lama’s Cat, a tale told from a rescued cat’s point of view as he observes the coming and goings in the sacred dwelling of His Holiness. A most wise and wonderful character. Michie has written many books in the same vein.

I’m currently reading a different Michie creation–The Magician of Lahasa, a more ambitious novel. The tag line is A novice monk. A quantum scientist. An ancient secret. How could I resist that? It’s very engaging, filled once again with Buddhist wisdom. Treat yourself to a Michie book.

                 

   Rea Nolan Martin

Rea Nolan Martin is multi-award winning metaphysical/visionary author. She does a marvelous job of creating entertaining characters that are very human–flawed, humorous, and searching. She has a knack for weaving mystical themes and surprising plot twists. I eagerly await the publication of her next book soon. Discover Rea Nolan Martin for yourself!

       

Natasha Pulley

British author, Natasha Pulley, has written two mystical, steampunk, novels that spin historical settings with magical realms. Her debut piece, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, features a Japanese clock maker with the ability to see possible futures who manipulates them to his advantage. Her second book, The Bedlam Stacks, takes an injured Englishman into the wilds of Peru to secure a source for quinine. There he meets a monk with very unique characteristics.

Pulley’s writing is beautifully phrased and she takes the reader on wonderful leaps of imagination. In the end, I’d say her books are unconventionally romantic.

     

 

Onereon through Jeff Michaels

Finally, my favorite find of the year are the channeled books of the group entity, Onereon, through author Jeff Michaels.

I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with Jeff Michaels and his life partner and editor, Jill Weiss. Though Jeff has not pursued a following as a guru or famous channeler, the material is extremely insightful for the events of our time. This post-shift world is challenging, to say the least. The Onereon group offers excellent advice for Lightworkers seeking to fulfill their purpose as we head into the new cosmic age. It seems a shame more people have not happened upon this material. Do yourself a favor and download Onereon/Jeff Michaels words of wisdom.

         

Remember ~ please support your favorite authors by posting reviews at Amazon and other reader sites.

Happy Reading!

Dana Taylor

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Be sure to check out the Dana Taylor Books page!

 

“Mystic Tea” is Just the Right Blend

mysticteaBook review by Dana Taylor

Visionary writer Rea Nolan Martin is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. Her ability to blend spiritual elements with complex character development, plot twists, humor and humanity is rare. Mystic Tea revolves around a group of nuns and two novices barely keeping their small community up and running. Written in the revolving POV of three main characters, Martin builds a story unlike any other I can recall. Gemma is a young woman who works hard at being the perfect nun, keeping tightly wound. Her fear: she is probably crazy. Arielle arrives on the scene after a jailhouse vision propels her to the monastery, a wayward, yet, sunny soul. Sister Mike serves as the very worried Mother Superior. The Vatican may shut them down any day. Everyone hopes for a miracle, but, the truth is, Sister Mike’s faith has been running on low for a long time. Other characters provide quirks and mystery to the unfolding story. Each character has a destiny to find, a mission to fulfill. Watching them take the journey is a delight to the read. Just the right cup of tea.

Available at Amazon

reamartin

Rea Nolan Martin is the award-winning author of three novels:

THE SUBLIME TRANSFORMATION OF VERA WRIGHT (2009), MYSTIC TEA (2014), and THE ANESTHESIA GAME (2015), as well as a collection of essays: WALKING ON WATER (2016).

MYSTIC TEA is the recipient of the 2014 IPPY Gold Medallion and US BEST BOOK Award for Visionary Fiction; the 2014 PINNACLE Gold Medallion in the category of Literary Fiction; and Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards.

THE ANESTHESIA GAME is the recipient of the 5 Star Readers’ Favorite insignia; 5 Star Clarion Review insignia; 2016 IPPY Gold Medallion for Visionary Fiction; Pinnacle Gold in the category of Best Novel; and most recently, Book Viral’s first Crimson Quill Award.

A collection of her most inspirational essays, WALKING ON WATER, was released in the spring of 2016.

Rea is the author of numerous short stories and poetry, most of which can be found in national literary magazines and anthologies. She is a regular Huffpo blogger, former literary magazine editor and MAW adjunct professor.

Visit her website at Rea Nolan Martin.com