What’s the difference between a grim reaper and a psychopomp (other than the fact that psychopomp sounds much cooler; while grim reaper has become a Halloween and horror story cliche and an overused media trope)?… More
A lot has changed since I last announced that I was writing a paranormal romance. I had the story all planned out; unfortunately, once I got into it, the characters had a whole ‘nother idea. In fact, the characters pretty much wrote the whole thing for me. Now, it’s just up to me to get everything finalized. (You know, edited, proofed, rewritten…all that ‘fun’ production stuff ; )
Anyway, here’s the synopsis for “The Past Rekindled,” the first book in my paranormal romance series about Terra McGinley—techwriting guru by day and tran’zr by night.
I’m Terra McGinley…technical writer and tran’zr (short for transitioner to the afterlife). With Death out to get me, I don’t know what to do or who to trust.
My new tran’zr partner is tall, dark, handsome, and completely annoying. While he’s checking the rule books and noting every little infraction, I’m helping people move on–even if it means bending those rules a bit.
In the real world, I’m stuck working with my high school crush. Although he hurt and betrayed me back then, I’ve always wondered what would have happened if we had gotten together. Is it too late, or should I take the risk?
Finding love is the last thing on Terra McGinley’s mind as she divides her time between writing how-to procedures and escorting visitors to the astral plane. But when one of her charges contacts Terra and her new partner for help, they encounter Death, who has his own plans for Terra. Now she must decide who she can trust with her life and her heart – past love or new partner?
One of the issues I haven’t yet worked out is whether to use my current pen name – TA Sullivan; or my real name – Tricia Sullivan. There’s a whole controversy over using different pen names for different genres. Some say it’s better because it helps your audiences identify with you for a specific type of book. However, there’s a whole other group that believes once you have your brand established with a name you should stick with that.
I’m not sure which school of thought I identify with; however, I do know that I have a completely different issue that I keep tripping over. There is already an established author with the name Tricia Sullivan. (In fact, she and I were nearly collaborators on my first book–a different story.) I’m not sure if the duplication of names would be to her benefit/detriment or mine. So, in keeping with my current indecisiveness, my wonderful book cover designers have allowed me to put both drafts out here for your perusal. Let me know what you think…do you like it, hate it, have no opinion about it?
To say I’m excited is an understatement. But then, every time I get one of my books done I’m excited. Each book is a labor of love, because I love the book, but I also love my readers. So, I want each reader to love my creations as much as I do (an impossible dream…but then again, who knows. And that’s why I #keepwriting. ; )
As I warned you lovely readers in my previous post, “Sorry…No Kooky Cats“, I’ve been sucked into the world of YouTube. Not as just a viewer, but as a participant. (So, world beware!)
I’m developing a channel, creating short video, and trying to figure this all out. I’m like a baby who is just learning to walk. I take a few steps, I fall down a lot, but eventually I pull myself up again and toddle on.
I’m sure the videos I create will never win Oscars, Emmys, or whatever the equivalent is in the world of YouTube videos; however, I think (for me, anyway) the key is that I’m having fun and I’m learning things I never thought I would.
Warning: Self-Advertisement Ahead !
So, just in case you want to see what I’ve been up to, I’ve included the link to my channel and the latest video that I created:
The Final Cut, a sci-fi movie starring Robin Williams, is an externalized illustration of the brain’s process of creating memories. The movie stresses how our belief in the truth of what we remember is often flawed by our limited perception and skewed interpretation of any given event, including every day activities.
In the movie, some people have opted to have chips implanted in their heads to record all their daily activities. Robin Williams is a cutter (an editor) of memories, who is brought in after someone dies. His job is to take those recordings and create a feature-length ‘film’ of memories as a keepsake for the deceased person’s family and friends.
Robin is the personification of what our own brains do, which is to analyze, edit, and store memories. Out of the millions of stimuli that we encounter every minute of every day, our brains decide what is worth keeping and what isn’t. It also needs to interpret those bits and pieces, and then determine how to fit them together into some type of cohesive event.
For instance, in getting ready to go to work, there is input from kids, spouse, TV/radio, emails, texts, pets, neighbors, and neighborhood. Your brain must decide what to take in and what to leave out, put it all together into some pattern that makes sense, and then store it under the heading “May 4, 2017, Thursday morning” (or something to that effect).
Now, if it’s very similar to every other morning, it may not even get a special title. It may just be entered into a group file called, “weekly mornings.” That makes it harder to pull out and review later, because it’s simply lumped with every other early morning routine. So, if someone asks if you brushed your teeth, you’ll probably say, “yes,” because that’s what you do every day. But what if you didn’t? What if, for some reason, you ran out of time, so skipped that step in your routine. It wasn’t a big enough deal for your brain to create a separate file for that day, so you can never be sure whether you really brushed them or not. But say your tire was flat and you had to take public transportation. That is different enough that the memory probably got its own little storage file. Especially, if you encountered someone strange and interesting on the bus or train that you had to take.
So, not every memory is sacred to your brain, and not every memory can be recalled in detail. Add to that the fact that your brain also has ego telling it what to do. Ego doesn’t like to look bad, so it’s going to tell your brain to skew certain things in your favor. Just like the cutter in the movie, you will store your memories, but some will ‘need’ a bit of editing.
Did you and your girl/boyfriend just break up? Well, obviously, it wasn’t your fault. Even if it was, it wasn’t; and that is what your brain will record in your memory. Did you just lose your job? Again, that memory will only be stored once the editing is done. The loss was a positive; the loss wasn’t your fault; the job was beneath you. All the details leading up to and including the day the event occurred will support this positive conclusion. While any of the ‘facts’ that don’t support the conclusion will be forgotten (or edited out). So, instead of seeing yourself as the one who was always neglectful, late, and irresponsible, it will be the person you were dating. Therefore, the memories your brain stores will support that conclusion, and any memories that indicate otherwise, will be eliminated from long-term storage.
Everyone wants to believe that their memories are truthful and infallible, but unfortunately, we all carry our own editor around with us everywhere we go. That means that every memory is just one version of reality. It also means that every person who was involved in the event, even just those every day occurrences such as getting ready for work, has their own version, their own memory.
So, the next time you question (even in your head) how someone could be recalling a moment or a day so differently from how you recall it, remember that you all have your own editor. And that editor has its own agenda and its own perceptions.
I watched an episode of Through the Wormhole the other night. It was about different types of scientists who were (desperately) working toward finding a way to make people immortal. Some biologists were busy studying creatures that had lifespans that lasted hundreds of years; while other bio-specialists were busy mucking around with DNA and genomes in an attempt to ensure that all future children would be ‘perfect’ (and who defines what is perfect?). Still other scientists were busy seeking a way to create a non-biological or only partial biological body that could house our brains/souls so that we would never have to worry about sickness or death again.
Yet, no one ever explained why this is so important. Why would someone want to live forever? Are most people so afraid of dying that they would prefer becoming some sort of robot? Unfortunately, whenever I think of a world full of immortal people, I become very frightened. To me, it would be a curse to have to live for hundreds of years. People rarely change. They form opinions, habits, preconceptions, and ideologies and seldom do they allow these ingrained mindsets to shift. So, do you really want to see what happens to the world when someone like Hitler (or Trump), who is afraid of everyone and everything, lives forever?
And if that thought doesn’t scare you, how about all the overcrowding and lack of natural resources that would occur when people stop dying? Talk about a dystopian world. Nothing but blighted cities, with polluted air too foul to breathe, no viable drinking water, and food…yeah, let’s all take our protein pill.
Rather than wasting our time and resources on trying to make people immortal, I think we would do better as a species to spend some time trying to help planet Earth cope with the load of humans she already carries. I also think we should spend more time recognizing and coping with the fact that death is real. It’s not going away and it’s not something to be feared. Death isn’t the end of everything. It isn’t a permanent ‘dirt nap’ or a ‘deep dark hole of nothingness.’ It is simply the end of one physical existence and the continuation of life. Your sentience, the awareness that comprises your true being isn’t limited by the container you call your body. That is simply a conveyance, a method of operating and participating in the physical world.
Just because one body fails doesn’t mean your life is over. Your life as Sam or Jessica is over, yes, but you pick another life, another set of parents, another body, and you start again. Now, you can try out some other options. Maybe as Sam/Jessica you didn’t like the way things worked out in terms of your romantic life. Okay, now as Joe/Abby you can try some different options and see if those romances work out the way you want them to.
But the best part is that when you pick up this new body, you also lose many of the old preconceptions and prejudices that you had. It’s a whole new fresh start. Talk about a science lab. Physical life is just one big classroom where you can study biology, sociology, psychology, mathematics, physics, zoology and every other type of science there is. And if science isn’t your thing, then you can focus on music, art, drama, or medicine.
So, instead of trying to be immortal, maybe we should think about what we want to do next. After all, death is just another step in that long road we call life. It’s nothing to be afraid of, I know…I’ve been to the other side, and I’ve come back. It’s different, but different doesn’t have to be scary.
I’ve been reading some books (old and new) on quantum physics and quantum mechanics, and I was fascinated by the discussions regarding probability waves. Back in the late 1700’s a scientist named Thomas Young (1773-1829) conducted an experiment, that was soon repeated by other physicists and is even now repeated in schools as a training tool.
The experiment goes like this:
He created a black box that had a back wall of light-sensitive materials and contained just two small holes at the front to allow light in. He removed the covering over the two small holes and let the light go into the box. Then, when he later opened the box, he saw that instead of the two bars that he was expecting when the light entered the two holes, there were 4. Curious, he increased the holes to 3. Instead of getting six bars, though, he found that he had 5 bars. Even more curious, he made 4 holes, but this time the number of bars actually decreased. His conclusion was that the light traveled in waves and the waves interfered with each other, thus creating the “irregular” patterns of light bars in his results.
This conclusion held for many decades. Scientists would draw wave patterns to demonstrate how they interfered with one another, and used mathematics to “prove” this conclusion. Then, other physicists came along that questioned this wave theory. After all, they had calculations to show that light wasn’t a wave, it was a particle. Therefore, the interference patterns shouldn’t be occurring the way everyone assumed.
To test their theory of particles, they devised a way to allow a single photon through the hole and into the black box. To determine that just one photon got through, they set up monitors on the back side of each pin hole. That way, they would know that only one photon was being released and which hole it was going through. This was because they deduced that if one photon went through at a time, then there was no way it could interfere with itself, and that would mean that there would be no interference patterns, thereby disproving the waves theory and proving that light (and energy) traveled as particles (see Figure 2).
What they discovered was that the photon seemed to travel in a wave-like pattern until it passed the monitor. Once detected, the photon traveled as a particle until colliding with the back wall. This wave-to-particle motion became known as probability waves. That is, photons (and all sub-atomic and atomic particles—all energy) create waves of probabilities until a determination is made.
Once that determination is made, they select one of the probabilities and make it a reality. If the photon is detected, it selects the probability of this reality and the path on which it was detected. If the photon is not detected, then it is free to select this reality or any other. So, until a choice is made, all possibilities exist. However, even though a decision is made, the other possibilities don’t just go away, they also become reality, just not in our world.
Can you understand why I find this so fascinating? Basically, quantum physics is expressing the philosophy of choice (albeit in a manner more acceptable to those who are more logic and mathematically based).
For example, let’s go back to the photon. We release a photon and it’s traveling in a wave-like way. We decide to detect it, so now it exists in our reality, but the other wave (the one not being detected) doesn’t just fade away, after all, energy doesn’t disappear, it merely takes on another form. (Energy is a constant.) Instead, the remaining wave(s) simply enters a reality where the photon wasn’t detected. By following this idea, we see a more balanced reality, a more balanced world. It also fits with the basic principal of an equal, and opposite reaction. If we chose not to detect the photon, then the photon would no longer exist in our reality, but would, instead, be in a reality where it was detected.
So, every time you make a choice, that unselected choice doesn’t simply fade away, it becomes a separate bubble of reality, a separate and opposing energy loop. It may only last for a moment, or it may last for many years, creating its own branches and its own parallel realities, it all depends on the size of the choice. If the choice is something small with little impact on your life and your world, then the bubble will most likely be small and may resolve itself quickly, returning back to the originator of the probability wave (you). On the other hand, if it’s something large, with a lot of impact on your life, then it may last decades (perhaps even the entire life).
Let’s say you decide to watch a televised sitcom instead of reading a book one night. That’s not a big choice, and may have very little impact on your life. Therefore, this little bubble wherein you read your book instead of watching the sitcom, may only last for the night, or for a couple of days, before merging back into your reality. Now let’s say that your fiancé just asked you to marry him. That’s a choice that will make a large impact on your life. In this case, whichever choice you don’t take, will most likely endure throughout the entire life of the alternate you.
If you decide to marry, then your alternate is going to say no. This alternate life then will be far different than the one you will be living, and the two may not merge until one or both of you die.
Because of the impact of this decision, each alternate reality will continue to create other alternates with the various decisions that come up. The reality where you married may bring choices of kids or no kids, career choices, and others, while the reality where you didn’t marry, may bring other marriage proposals, other opportunities perhaps to travel, or for career. Each of these will result in a large impact, which will result in even more alternates.
Whew, confusing isn’t it, trying to imagine all those realities? But as you try to wrap your mind around it, can you see how this fits with the concept of imbalance seeking to restore itself to balance?
The concept of imbalance seeking to become balanced isn’t new, and it isn’t just from the philosophy of choice. Scientists have talked about it for a long time, and this simply adds another rock to the foundation of its truth.
If a choice results in a probability wave containing two options, and only one is selected, then if that second option simply fades away, it would make our world very imbalanced. But, if another reality were created in which that option also became a reality (the rules of duality applying here), then that would create a balance between both of our worlds/realities. And when the two realities merged back together, that would simply consolidate the balance into one source again.
According to both science and philosophy, no energy is lost, no decision is left unexperienced, because all possibilities exist Somewhere.
It’s fascinating reading some of these books on quantum physics and realizing just how much they echo some of the more current philosophies and metaphysical ideas of our times.
I got lost in the wilds of YouTube the other day. It’s a crazy place out there. Lots of strangeness, craziness, and things that should be none-of-your-bizness but people put it out there for the world at large to see, anyway.
When I finally wandered back to my own little corner of the world, hours (nearly a whole day) had passed. And yet nothing had been accomplished (although, I did admire several hilarious cat videos). It’s amazing how such small bits of no-purpose videos can suck you in.
At first, I was glad to simply escape with my life and my sanity. But after a little thought (very little, actually), I decided that maybe I should throw some of my own hey-look-I’m-on-YouTube-too videos out there. Unfortunately, without any crazy cats or other cute animals (well…except for my husband, who is adorable and fluffy) I didn’t know what I could share.
Then my BFF reminded me that I have books. Books that I’m actually trying to encourage people to buy. “…but what has that got to do with crazy old lady or kooky cat videos?” I asked her. Oddly enough, it seems that you can create videos even if all you have is words. Isn’t that something? Who would have thought it?
So, here it is…my own attempt at a YouTube video (I promise, next time I’ll find a crazy old lady or a kooky cat ; )
Rejection is a way of life for an author…or for any artiste, for that matter. It’s one of those things that you either learn to cope with or you spend all your time depressed. My coping mechanism has always been to tell myself, “Well, that’s just your opinion. I happen to think my [book/story/article] is pretty darn good.” And then I move on to the next step in my path—writing something else, submitting the book/story/article somewhere else, or just taking a nap. I always try to ensure that when I do move on, though, that is in a positive way.
However, the first time my esoteric talents (I’m extremely intuitive) got rejected, I wasn’t quite so aware, nor was I quite prepared to deal with it. I took the rejection of my talents as a rejection of myself. And I believe that’s the trap many people also fall into when their writing is rejected.
I’ve always had a touch of intuitiveness, and after my car vs. bike accident this ability became even more pronounced. For instance, I could ‘hear’ thoughts, perceive emotions leftover in a room or house, or get an inkling of what was about to happen. However, since the accident, I’ve become pretty good at reading someone’s entire aura, including their previous lives—their histories, if you will. I can see the correlations between their current life, their health, and their past lives, and I can usually see (and understand) what lessons they want to learn in their life by having those past lives so prominent in their auras.
When I met ‘Phil’, it was just an ordinary day in my rather ordinary life at my rather ordinary job. We were introduced, he told me a bit about himself, and then he and the boss moved on to the next cube to meet the next person. For the next few hours, I didn’t give him another thought.
The team went to lunch to welcome Phil to our group, and everything was still normal. However, as we prepared to leave, I had difficulty with my coat and Phil reached over to help. When his hand brushed my skin, I got a rush of information, including the connection between us. This ability was still new to me, and in my joy at having this talent, I assumed everyone would want to know what I discovered. I was wrong.
Back at the office, I wrote down everything I could remember. And that night, I did a reading to fill in the gaps. Proud of what I had done and thrilled with this new information, I typed it up and presented it to Phil the next day. He looked confused, asked me what it was, and I told him just to read it and that I would answer his questions later.
I waited all day for him to say something, but he didn’t. So, I thought, okay…he’s digesting it. After all, it was a lot to take in. I told myself similar platitudes all week. Finally, Friday I could wait no longer. I asked him what he thought, and he scrunched his face in thought. Then he looked at me and said in his politest manner, “I don’t believe in that kind of stuff.”
I was crushed. I tried to argue with him, I tried to reason with him. I tried to convince him that it was real; but the hardness of his eyes never changed. He didn’t believe in past lives, he didn’t believe in what I had written, and (overall) he thought I was a kook.
He moved on to another part of the company soon after that (I hope it wasn’t because of me), but I learned two lessons that day:
- Not everyone is going to like what you do.
- Not everyone is going to believe in what you do.
For those who don’t like what you do, well, that’s on them. For those who don’t believe in what you do, it doesn’t matter, because you believe in what you do.
And for both sets of people, never force your products on anyone, but always make them available to anyone who wants to them.
Most of all, remember rejection isn’t about you. It’s about the person doing the rejecting.