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.
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 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!
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.
Book 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
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
In 2012, Jacob Nordby spun out a poem that began:
Blessed are the Weird People–
poets, misfits, writers, mystics,
heretics, painters & troubadours–
for they teach us to see through different eyes…
The poem became a clarion call for creative types who never felt they fit into “normal” society. Inspired by enthusiastic response to his message, Nordby formed his Blessed Weirdian Tribe and the website www.BlessedAreTheWeird.com. Now comes the book, Blessed are the Weird: A Manifesto for Creatives.
The book isn’t so much weird, as it is passionate, inspiring, occasionally profane, and definitely erudite. Jacob Nordby knows what it’s like to break the boundaries of a strict cultural structure. Raised in a cult-like Christian fundamental upbringing, he broke free to explore the inner regions of his creativity.
The first half of the book gives those poets, misfits, writers, etc. their own chapters. Nordby’s sharp and educated mind shines through as he quotes brilliant weird people of the past and gives us insights into their creative souls. The second half goes into the qualities of creativity itself and proclaims liberation from the constrictions of conformity.
The message of creative liberation resonated in my weird soul. As I read along, I often thought–yes, that’s me!
Jacob Nordby’s book encourages creative types to break the molds, blast the icons, and tear apart societal norms. It’s a joyful, passionate plea for soul liberation. Read the book and join the tribe.
It’s great being a Blessed Weirdian.
Available at Amazon and most major online retailers
Jacob Nordby is an award winning novelist, essayist, and podcast host. He leads a worldwide conversation on social media via his Facebook author page and Blessed Are the Weird community page. He is the founder and teacher of the Creative UnBootcamp online course for writers (and those who want to be), and founder of the indie press Manifesto Publishing House. He is currently at work on two new novels.
book review by Dana Taylor
Visionary fiction is on the rise–books that blend storytelling with elements of spirituality, not bound by the box of a particular religion. Though established faiths may be presented in these works, the authors are not restricted by dogmas. Creativity flows. These authors are finding their way. Writing of esoteric matters is tricky. It can become preachy, incomprehensible, weird or just plain boring. Incorporating it into a piece of fiction requires a crafty writer who understands how to weave the visionary into a plot line that keeps moving along.
The Anesthesia Game by Rea Nolan Martin successfully blends storytelling, character development, and visionary elements. Each chapter is told from a point of view of one of the main four characters, Sydney, Mitsy, Hannah, or Pandora. Teenage Sydney is the center of the story, gravely ill, but refusing to give into The Taker. Her mother, Mitsy, is becoming a living ghost, overwhelmed by her daughter’s illness. Her narcissistic Aunt Hannah is shamed into coming to help take care of the pair of them. Overseeing all this human angst, is the psychic, Pandora, Mitsy’s phone mentor.
Each character is focused, in their way, on Sydney overcoming her illness. In the process, they must face their personal foibles. The visionary elements begin a slow simmer through Pandora’s character. As the pace of the story picks up, so grows the heat of the multidimensional aspects. Reincarnation, astral projection, dreams, auras, the battle of light vs. darkness. Martin does an excellent job of weaving it all together in the midst of contemporary characters.
By using the various points of view, we get into the heads of all the main characters and come to care about all of them. There are enough twists to keep turning the page to see what happens next until the big climatic ending.
If you’re tired of the same old genres and rehashed plot lines, give visionary fiction a chance. As more of us live beyond 3-D realities, visionary writing will find a wider audience. The Anesthesia Game by Rea Nolan Martin is an excellent place to start your visionary fiction experience.
Available as ebook and paperback at Amazon