What Makes You Buy That Book?

Ms. Gigi, copy writer and world traveler, conducted a survey on what makes readers buy a particular book. The 355 respondents gave her some very insightful information regarding book buying habits and reasons. To find out why a reader chooses one book over another, read her article:

How & Why People Buy Books: The Results of a 355-Person Survey


NDE or Astral Projection?

Astral projecting or NDE?

I was asked whether an NDE (near-death experience) was similar to astral projection, and I really had to think about my answer.

That’s because there are aspects of each that are very similar. But while an OBE (out of body experience) is part of both a near-death experience and an astral projection, there is a lot more to both of them than just being out of body.

Most people who astral project (or step out of their bodies and into spirit form) are aware of what they are doing. But most people don’t ‘die’ (or nearly die) intentionally. Therefore, when someone has an NDE and ends up on the other side of things (such as after an accident or during a surgical procedure), it’s more of a surprise. Also, when astral projecting you don’t experience the release from the body the same way as you do during an NDE.

I’ve done astral projecting and I’ve had an NDE, and the freedom you feel is similar, but the overall experience is much different. Stepping out of my body and having the freedom to be spirit is very uplifting. However, there isn’t the passing through the tunnel, the encompassing light with its feelings of acceptance, nor the feeling of having come home.

When I visit the astral plane, I’m only making it to the first or second level…the very entry level where dreamers and wanderers (like those who astral project) go. When I nearly died, I was further into the astral plane, on a level you can only reach when there’s no tether to hold you back, or when the tether is extremely tenuous because you’ve stretched it to its limit and it’s as close to breaking as it can be without actually letting go completely.

It’s a level that physical beings shouldn’t be going unless they need to learn a very impactful and insightful lesson or meet up with someone who has been out of their lives for a while. And even then, that person who has been gone is usually giving them some information that they need to take back with them.

Being astral or out of body, you still have a strong connection to your physical form and the physical world. Being nearly dead, that connection is weak and tenuous. It could be released so easily, but we are usually turned back by someone who imparts some information to us or reminds us of some lessons that we have yet to finish. Ahhh, but the urge to stay is strong…and letting go completely, well, obviously we don’t do it, but it would have been so easy to do so.

So, while there are similarities between astral projecting (OBEs) and near-death experiences, they aren’t the same.

Did I Just Die?

Escorting the Dead
Escorting the Dead book by TA Sullivan

I’m going to use my blog to answer some of the questions that I have been getting during my presentations and talks.

Q: Does everything stay the same when you die? Even if you don’t realize that you’re dead?

I have to say yes, sometimes people don’t realize that they’re dead. To them the world has continued, but for reasons unknown (or unwilling to be recognized by them) others no longer respond to them.

We (those of us working as psychopomps or guides) do not let this remain for long. We work with the soul to get them to accept that their physical lives are over and that it’s time to move on. Here’s an example of such an experience:

The book shop had been her life, and no amount of coaxing from me was going to make her leave it. She had been 42 and the mother of one. Married, her husband was at home with their son while she had been busy working at her book store. It had been her life, more so than anything else. Unfortunately, she had had an aneurysm and died almost instantly. In fact, it was so sudden and unexpected that she hadn’t yet registered that she no longer had a physical presence.

At the moment I arrived, she was upset that there was a body on the floor behind the counter of her shop, and she was dithering at me about wanting to call the police. The body was face down, so I sort of understood why she wasn’t recognizing herself. But even so, the clothing, the hair color and style, and even the shape of the body should have been giving her some idea of who the person was. Yet, she still could not, would not, comprehend that it was her.

Instead, we played this game of her demanding that I call the police while she tried to revive the poor woman. Of course, I did not call the police, and she had no way of reviving the poor woman. And once she began to realize that she could not touch the woman, let alone turn her over for resuscitation, the harsh reality of her situation started to come clear to her.

I was almost feeling sorry for her, until she again refused to come with me. I thought perhaps she was concerned about leaving her family with no notice; however, while she did hope that her husband and son wouldn’t be too upset with her, that wasn’t her problem. No, her crisis was in leaving the book store.

She was afraid that if she left with me, her husband would get rid of her dream. She loved that book store. She had sacrificed a lot to buy it, build it up, and keep it going. In her mind, her family had never appreciated it, nor had they appreciated how hard she had worked to make it so profitable. She had struggled against the big, generic book stores that had come to town, and she had won. She had beat out most of the competitors in her little town, but most of all, she just plain loved that book store.

To her, her son and husband were all about sports, NASCAR, and hunting, while she was all about books and reading. So, no matter what I said about it being time to move on, no matter how I tried to explain that she was no longer physical and that what happened to the store was no longer up to her, she refused to go.

This is how hauntings get reported. This is how people start talking about ghosts. She was so attached to that book store, so insistent on making sure that the book shop remain in the family (even though she knew that neither her husband nor son cared for it or for books in general) that she wouldn’t let go.

She so wanted someone to care about that shop as much as she had, as much as she still did. And as long as that connection was so strong, I knew it was going to be very difficult to get her leave.

I finally convinced her to go into the back room to her office. However, when she stepped into the back room, it was one I had created. I don’t like to trick people, but I really needed her to move away from the physical store. So, now she was haunting a replica of her book store, a copy that existed in the transition level. I created a copy so exact that I even included a replica of the body that she wouldn’t acknowledge as hers.

For her to acknowledge that she was dead so she could move on, she needed to go through the whole scenario of the body being found, identified, examined, and buried. However, by doing it in the astral plane, there was more control over the situation, and more help available to her. Leaving her wandering the physical book shop would have only prolonged her agony, and that of her family.

Once she figured out and accepted (more or less) that she had died, she opted to return to the physical plane almost immediately. She had no patience for working through any of her lessons or issues from that life, nor did she care to do much planning for the next one. She’s one of those souls that is very tied to the physical world and what it has to offer, and so that’s where she wanted to be.books

As an Author, Do You Really Need a Business Card?

“You’re an author, do you really need a business card? ”

That was what my friend asked me the other day when I mentioned that I was in the process of redesigning my business cards. I opened my mouth to respond, thinking of course I need a business card, but then stopped before actually speaking.

Did I really need a business card now that I was concentrating almost fully on my own writing? Before, when I was working full-time as a technical and business writer it was important to be able to network and have people remember me and be able to contact me if they had need of someone with my skills. But now? Now, I was only taking occasional contracts and those were gained via one of my contacts at the few contracting firms that I worked through.

So, what would a business card actually do for me now that I was (basically) a full-time author?

I sipped my tea and finally responded, “You may be right. I guess I need to think about it.”

We finished our beverages before going on to the library where a new author was giving a talk about his recently released book. The author was very entertaining, and at the end of his talk he met one-on-one with those who wanted to speak with him directly or get autographs for their books. As I waited my turn to congratulate him on his talk, I heard one of the other people ask him about his website. He handed her a business card. A business card with his website information, contact information, and his (rather hard to spell) full name.

That’s when I nudged my friend to pay attention. I then shook the author’s name, told him I enjoyed his presentation, and asked him for his website information. He handed me a business card, we chatted a few moments, and then I gave my friend a triumphant look. I had my answer. Authors do need business cards. They make great hand outs at book signings, presentations, conventions, and workshops. They’re also handy sales tools that you can leave in yoga or meditation studios (ask the owners first), libraries, or other places related to your topics.

How else do you get people to remember, notice, and visit? If you’re going to get personal, then give people a way to remember you. Business cards are an inexpensive, platform for advertising:

  • Who you are
  • What types of books you write
  • Where they can contact you
  • What you have to say (outside of your books

I’ve handed out bookmarks and raffle tickets (to win copies of my books), posters (of my book covers), and even copies of my books. But handing a potential editor, marketing person, publisher, blogger, or agent a business card just seems a bit more professional. And just because I’m currently working with a small, independent publisher, it doesn’t mean that I don’t look for other opportunities.

So, I went ahead and got my business cards:

What do you think?


Is it scary…or not?

panicDo you love reading horror stories? Or are you finding them no longer frightening? Are those scary tales leaving you less frightened and more frustrated?

In Zombie Salmon (the Horror Continues) blog, KC Redding-Gonzalez tells us how one horror story critic is finding himself less frightened and more bored by today’s scary stories. You can read more about this, here…

Naughty and Sweet

Cover - The Past Rekindled-5-3DI spent the holidays doing something I really love—binge reading. I had accumulated a gazillion romance novels (both in paper and online), but had never really seemed to find the time to read them all.

Now, most of the time I rarely read more than one (maybe two) books in the same genre back-to-back. I’m usually much more eclectic in my tastes. However, I had the books and I had the time, so I dove in.

Some were good, some were so-so, and some were so bad I barely got through the first page. But one thing I did notice about all of them was the subtle differences to the story arcs. There have been a few discussions lately in my writer’s group regarding romance stories. Several of the new writers (those who are just starting to write or who have yet to publish anything) have been questioning what makes a sweet romance different from a steamy one. There were a lot of opinions, but oddly enough, it seemed that most of the writer’s in our little group write in the fantasy and mystery genre rather than romance. (In fact, I’m the only one who has a romance novel published—The Past Rekindled).

But now, having done my binge reading, I finally have an answer for the questioners: the common thread in all the romance genres is miscommunication and lack of communication between the lead characters. But there are some subtle differences that make a romance Sweet or Sweet and Steamy.

Sweet romances: Two people, who don’t like each other, are thrown together through circumstances and grow to love each other. First there is mutual dislike; then there is pity or empathy on the part of one (or both) for the other. Next, we have growing sexual attraction (demonstrated by a desire to kiss), but it is always interrupted by someone or something. Later, he misunderstands an action she takes; she misunderstands something he does. They reconcile and finally kiss—ta-da, true love.

Sweet and steamy romances: Two people, who don’t like each other, are thrown together through circumstances and grow to love each other. First there is mutual dislike; then there is pity or empathy on the part of one (or both) for the other. Next, we have growing sexual attraction (demonstrated by a desire to kiss), which they do. Ooooh, eyes widen, pulses races, and hands start to misbehave. Later, he misunderstands an action she takes; she misunderstands something he does. They part; they reconcile, and finally he proposes.

While I didn’t read too many of the Racy Romances during my binge, They were exactly what the genre implies.

Racy Romances: Two people, who don’t like each other, are thrown together through circumstances. At first, they lust after each other. (Sex is directly implied and the lead up is described in flowery and steamy prose hot enough to get the reader’s glasses steamed up.)  As the story progresses, the characters grow to love each other, so overcome all circumstances to be together.

When the books are written does affect the circumstances in the book. For instance, when I was younger (teen years), I read an overabundance of romances. Most were the Sweet Romance, but there were a few Sweet and Steamy Romances thrown in. At that time, the circumstances of the story (although still based on miscommunication) also contained dramatic shades of naughtiness: He and she have an affair (either of them can be married or single and one of them is usually rich, while the other is poor). They separate, and she has his baby but doesn’t tell him. Years later, they meet again, and reignite the fire. He finds out he’s the father and is hurt. He starts to leave, but she convinces him to stay. They get married.

So, while sweet may not change much over the years, the sweet and steamy obviously changes to accommodate the changing mores of the times. After all, what’s naughty now, may be quite acceptable in five, ten, or twenty years, which might turn your Sweet and Steamy into just Sweet.