Make It Personal

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When preparing for speaking engagements and presentations based on my non-fiction books, I always ensure that I include several anecdotes or observations. While some authors prefer to keep their personal life private, sharing snippets of yourself with your audience usually helps them relate to you and your story.

Include anecdotes and personal observations.

The most typical question that I’m asked during the Q&A period of my presentations is how the event affected me or my family. People want to know that not only have you overcome the tragedy or grown as a result of the incident, but they want some examples. Sometimes the examples I include are also in the book, but usually not. And sometimes I include a mix—some anecdotes from the book and some not. Letting attendees know that there is more anecdotal material in the book helps sway them to purchase the book because they know they’re not just getting a rehash of what they already heard during my presentation.

By sharing these snippets of insight into my life, it helps me and the audience connect, and not just as reader to author, but as caring individuals sharing a similar experience. After all, many people relate best to your story when they understand the person who wrote it. This is especially true of two of my books (Escorting the Dead and On Dreams and Dream Symbols). These two books also generate a great many questions and much discussion between me and my audience. Therefore, once I’ve read them a chapter or two or given my presentation, I regale them with one or two anecdotes. This usually spurs a spate of similar stories from the audience, which soon leads to some very lively discussions. Once people realize that other people have had similar experiences, thoughts, or questions, it’s easy to get them interested in learning more, which leads them to purchasing your books.

By bringing some of you to the presentation, you show your audience that you and they are not so very different. Perhaps you’re wondering just what to share with your audience. Think back to when you were writing the book:

  • What prompted you to write about that moment/challenge/event?
  • Why was the moment, incident, or event special or important?
  • What about it did you think others might want or need to know?
  • How did it change you or those you care about?
  • What insights did it bring to your life?
  • How did you grow from the incident or overcome the tragedy?

The answer to any of those questions should prompt an anecdote or memory that you can work into your presentation. So, select two or three different ones each time you do a presentation; this almost always guarantees you a lively discussion or question and answer session. Using different stories and anecdotes for each presentation also keeps your talks fresh.

You might even incorporate bits and pieces of your audience discussions as anecdotes (as long as you leave out names and other identifying information). It all helps the audience and potential readers identify with you and your topic. It helps them understand that other people also have similar ideas, thoughts, and questions. And it ultimately leads to book sales.

(To see a video copy of one of my presentations click here.)

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Coming This Fall

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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.

Synopsis:

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?

Short Blurb:

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. ; )

 

 

 

 

The Winkling Wuggley Got Her

A Winkling WuggleyAs 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:

TA Sullivan (YouTube channel) 

A Winkling Wuggley Reads Books

 

Still True Today

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:

Youngsexperiment

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).

2-slotphotonmonitor

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.

 

Rejecting Rejection

Choices Cover 03

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:

  1. Not everyone is going to like what you do.
  2. 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. Psychopomp 3D - DLS - 8pxls - 2

It’s time for a change…

Dreambook3DI’ve been dreaming a lot about houses and apartments. At first I thought it was because my spouse and I are due to find new rental lodgings this year. But as I’ve collected the fragments and written them in my journal, I’ve noticed that the central theme of the dreams isn’t about moving or relocating at all. It’s about changes…at a more personal level.

I’ve been emptying the basement and cupboards and closets of all the ideas, notions, and behaviours that I once thought important because I have now come to realize they no longer fit with the life I am leading and want to lead.

I no longer want some of the concepts or biases that I’ve held on to for so long, and I no longer cherish some of the hurts and prejudices that I’ve been lugging around with me for all these years. I’m ready to move on from the slightly seedy, poorly lit place I’ve called home, and I’m now looking at a brightly lit, very sunny, sparsely furnished, 3-room flat. Even the stairs leading to this new place are more direct, and there are only 3 steps instead of the treacherously winding and exhaustingly long staircase that I had been struggling with.

So, what does all of this mean? It means that I’m finally finishing one of the big life lessons that I’ve been dealing with for the past few years, and I’m ready to move on. However, moving on means leaving behind a lot of old ideas while clearing space and making room for the new ideas that I’m anxious to start learning. I no longer want all the old ‘baggage,’ so I’m making room for just those things I need, while knowing that if I need more room, I can always move again.

I may not be sure exactly when this ‘move’ will take place, or who (if anyone) will be helping me with the move. Yet, despite all the questions that remain, I’m looking forward to these changes, even if they seem somewhat scary. Sometimes scary is good, and this is one of those times. So, let the changes happen.

If you’re having dreams and wondering what they mean, you can read my book for some inspiration and instruction, or you can email me and I’ll help you figure it out.

A Modern Fairy Tale

we-never-look-up

Once upon a time in a land far and gone, there was a story teller. Oh, not just any story teller. No, this story teller could weave an emotional net with her words, capturing any and all who heard her thus causing them to fall under her spell. She could make people laugh; she could make people cry; she could evoke sighs; and she could appear wise.

Yes, her stories were wondrous things to behold, and all within the land would gather around to hear her tales of daring, romance, and comedy sublime. But then one day, the story teller saw that no longer was everyone enthralled by her stories. Alas, instead of heeding her marvelous stories, they walked by, ignoring her and her magical words.

“It must be a trick of the web wizards,” she thought. How else could such an occurrence be explained? Always, were her stories binding to those who heard; always, were her words bewitching enough to entangle even the most reluctant listener. But now…now, did no one stop; in fact, no one even slowed down as she let her words weave their magic stories.

Instead, with heads down, faces blank, and fingers twitching over strange glowing screens, her audiences scurried past without even noticing her. The story teller, bewildered by this, vowed to venture away from her cottage at the edge of the village, and strike out toward the village square. She had to see for herself whether this affliction was a random thing or some horrible epidemic. So, as the sun arose the next morning, she cast her feet upon the path toward town. She followed the road as it wandered through farms and neighborhoods, around the shops, until it came to the village square.

With each step she took, her heart sank lower and lower. While one or two travelers were drawn to her, and greeted her with requests for stories, most continued past without noticing her at all. Instead, they traveled with their eyes focused downward while their fingers danced across the glowing screen they held in their hands.

“This cannot be,” she exclaimed. “How is it that these glowing screens have entranced them all?”

Sick of heart, she cast her web of words once more. But this time she sought only to ensnare one of those with the magic screens. Once captured, she compelled the boy to speak; to explain to her what sorcery held him so enslaved. With barely a glance her way, his voice explained, yet his fingers never stilled. They twitched and fumbled across the screen, flicking here and tapping there. The story teller’s eyes grew hard, and her mouth did frown as she learned the secrets of the magic devices.

She released the boy and watched while he continued his flicking, twitching, and tapping, while he scurried down the street. That’s when the idea came to her. Her lips slid upward and a scheming glint lit up her eyes. She nodded to herself as she brewed her spell. Yes, she knew what to do now.

Returning to her home, she worked far into the night. Come the dawning of the day, her spell complete, she smiled. Now, they would hear her words, she thought. Now, they would once again be enmeshed in her web of words. Once more, would she be the supreme story teller.

She cast her spell and it crept through the crevices and back corners of every web site ever devised by the clever web wizards. And soon her stories were everywhere on the Internet. The siren song of her magic words would no longer be ignored, but instead would they appear on the glowing screens that each person held. And for those few who shied away from the web wizards’ tool, she magicked her stories into books of paper. These, too, were easily procured and she made sure they were available to any and all. And soon, she saw the changes she had wrought appear across the lands.

While still the people scurried past her, their eyes glued to their magic screens; no longer were their fingers twitching and their faces dull like death. Instead, they were smiling, laughing, crying, and frowning as her words flashed from the screen into their minds, and then into their hearts. No longer were they immune to her magic, but rather had her magic net of stories captured them all by traveling via the Internet and into their own shiny devices where her words once more bewitched and bespelled them.

And the story teller, using her own magic glowing screen, watched her rankings climb and climb as each of her stories ensnared another reader. And she thought herself clever and wise to have used the web wizards’ own tools to once again show the people how wonderful were her stories.

Technologies