Tag Archives: interview

Interviewed and reviewed

Recently I did an interview with Annika Garret, who has a youtube channel where she talks about all manner of things. It would be fair to say that I was less than perfectly awake, and apparently ‘Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids’ is not an easy thing to say when less than perfectly awake, but there we go.

I created a strange echo so it sounds like I did some of this interview from inside a cave. I didn’t, but feel free to picture me amongst the stalactites and bats anyway.

 

If you’d like to see her entire video list it’s https://www.youtube.com/user/AnnikaGarratt/videos and she also blogs http://annikagarratt.blogspot.co.uk/


Antidotes to unworkable beliefs

I first encountered Colette Brown (no relation!) by reading her book, Maybe the universe just isn’t that into you. As a reviewer I get exposed to New Age writing, much of which makes me want to cry. Colette’s book is a brilliant antidote to this. It’s a small, punchy and amusing read, which lead me to contact the author and ask if she’d do me an interview. So, here we are, and here it is!

Nimue: Maybe the universe just isn’t that into you, made me wonder if you had been subjected to one piece of new age silliness too many. Was there a final straw that prompted you to write?
Colette: Actually it was a build up over a few months. I had watched an acquaintance forge forward with what seemed like a very daft idea ‘because this is what the Universe wants of me’. That in itself wasn’t that bad but the venture itself would involve other people. When it failed I was upset for good folk who had invested in it. Then I thought ‘when will it be ‘a lesson from the universe?’ and sure are goodness that is the next thing I heard from the acquaintance! Simply a bad decision being flaunted as ‘lesson’.
At the same time I had been reading daily inspirations from a site on the Internet and was becoming bored by the way they all seemed to be saying the same thing day after day. To be truthful, I didn’t find them inspiring as most seemed to be saying if you could visualise success, then you could achieve it. I thought this was a bit much if you were starving in a third world country, had a terminal disease or were long term unemployed. The flip side of it seemed to be saying that circumstances play no part in life and to almost be blaming folk for their ‘failure’ even if they had no control over their circumstances. What annoyed me is that I still looked for these ‘inspirations’ and was hooked in case I missed a good one. They can be addictive.
Then I read something on Facebook along the lines of ‘God only gives the strongest warriors the pain and suffering’. Like pain and suffering was gifted to strong resilient folk but that God avoided giving it to wee sensitive weak folk? NOT TRUE!
It just seemed one thing after another. Spiritual people following ideologies like sheep, disrespect to higher beings like angels who seemed ‘on call’ for anyone who cared to turn an angel card and people spouting conspiracy theories online. I was ranting about it all to my husband, injecting humour so that it didn’t depress me and he said simply ‘write all this down’ . So I did and that is how the book came about.
I consider myself spiritual. I do believe that in the correct circumstances, with the correct intent and a lot of hard work, that we can work with the Universe to make things the best they can be. But there are times when ‘maybe the universe just isn’t that into you’ and you know, that is ok too.

Nimue: I share your unease about ‘failure to achieve’. That’s troubled me with New Agey stuff for a long time. We can’t all be winners, logically. What have you found most helpful when you’ve been learning?

Colette: I am an avid reader so I found it easy to read lot on lots of different subjects and then dispense with books or ideas that didn’t suit me. You have to be discerning as there is a lot out there and not all of it is good. I also found a strong connection with the tarot early on and found that it became such an amazing tool for self-knowledge and personal development.
I have been lucky to have some wonderful teachers i.e. people who walked their talk and informed me of it but then let me make up my own mind on it. The best teachers are the ones who simply live it and don’t preach or stifle your own thoughts.
I also have felt that my instincts have served me well. If something seems too good to be true, it normally is. I like simplicity. There are so many terms out there just now that simply don’t mean anything or are confusing to say the least. If your brain can’t understand the name of a workshop or therapy, then be wary! Either it will be a rehash of something else or it will be something you have to pay to understand the intricacies of or become ‘apprenticed ‘ to.
My family and husband have also made my spiritual life very easy for me. They accepted that it is who I am and that without it, I lose me!

Nimue: Not everyone seems to know where to find their intuition, much less how to trust it. Any other suggestions for how to tap into the innate knowing we probably do have somewhere…?

Colette: The fact is that we are sentient beings so we all do have intuition. I liken it to having the potential to play the piano: some folk can be very good piano players if they practice and give time to it. Others may well be more talented as such and have a more impressive natural gift. If they use this natural gift AND practice, then that will bring the most successful connection.
So I feel that first we must accept that we are all intuitive to different degrees and practice as much as we can to achieve our own personal best. To me there has to be time, discipline and energy given to this pursuit, even if you are a natural. A friend of mine who is a very respected astrologer told me he thought that I was like a psychic athlete who flexed and honed their psychic muscle every day as I meditated and did readings most days. So I think maybe we need to think of our psychic senses as muscles and feed them good spiritual food and exercise them a lot but not too much.
My basic requirements for this are: solitude, nature, meditation, mantras and prayer, burning herbs, and my trusty tarot deck.

Nimue: There’s a lot of warm humour in your book…. who makes you laugh?

Colette: I have always loved observational humour and for me the best with this is Eddie Izzard. He can make something as mundane as hoovering so funny. I was also blessed to see the late great Les Dawson live before he died and laughed for weeks after it.
I laugh at myself a lot too. I am dyslexic and some of the faux pas in my writing can be so funny. Thank Goddess for great copyeditors! I am a real people watcher and can find humour in most situations. But I don’t like humour that is cruel or divisive.
My previous book was Weegie Tarot which was the tarot Fool’s Journey set in the east end of Glasgow. This gave me so much fun as I had worked there for many years as a pharmacist and so enjoyed the humour of the people. I relayed stories I had heard and some from my own experiences and chuckled so much as I wrote it. Of course it was sad too……
I feel that many spiritual people can take themselves far too seriously. I think we all need to lighten up and have more fun with life. If a ritual or ceremony goes a wee bit wrong and something funny happens, it is ok to laugh. I don’t feel that the ancestors were humourless!

Nimue: Where can interested people find you online?

Colette: my website is http://www.coletteclairvoyant.webs.com my facebook is Colette Brown ( author) or colette clairvoyant.

Colette Brown MRPharmS
author of
Tarot Novice to Pro in One Book (Nov 2011)
Menopause a Natural and Spiritual Journey ( May 2012)
Weegie Tarot Life of a Foolish Man(October 2012)

coming in 2013….
Maybe The Universe Just Isn’t That Into You
How to Read an Egg


Author Interview: Aaron Dennis

I found author Aaron Dennis as a consequence of asking around online for places to promote my own work, and as we got talking it became apparent he’s a very interesting chap, so I grabbed him for an interview here…

Nimue: What brought you to writing about the paranormal?

Aaron: My staple is actually Science Fiction but I include quite a bit of spiritual growth in both my characters and their universe. Naturally, the spiritual side in me needed a release once I started writing and that’s where Shadowman came from. I can’t really pinpoint where it all started but I was always drawn to spiritual growth and development. I started with martial arts and read about Tai Chi Chuan when I was about 12. From there I moved on to Buddhism and then Taoism, maybe it was because of listening to Bruce Lee speak on TV or from reading his books, but I eventually moved on to other areas. Eventually, I found myself reading the entire works of Carlos Castaneda, that was at age 21. His stories of his experiences with the Yaqui shaman really sparked something inside me. Once I started writing, only about a year and half ago, I knew I had to implement some of my beliefs, if only loosely. Then Shadowman sort of presented itself to me and I started it as a short story. As the character began to grow and develop his own spiritual powers, the stories kept coming. So the culmination was a novella with four shorts comprised of the protagonist’s dealings with the otherside, or a world where spirits reside.

With Castaneda’s works having such a huge impact on my life, I had no alternative but to incorporate a small fraction of my experiences into my stories, but then, that’s what makes my descriptions and conflicts feel so real. I’m not trying to teach anyone a lesson on proper living in my books but that doesn’t mean my characters shouldn’t learn.

Nimue: From where I’m sitting, that sounds a lot like how the bardic tradition works for many of us! Are there any specific shamanic traditions that you’re drawn to?

Aaron: Dreaming definitely. I started when I was a kid with dreams of events that came to pass, mostly things at school like assemblies that weren’t announced previously. Eventually, I started waking up in what I thought was a catatonic state. Turns out it was just astral projection, so I took an 8-week online course where I developed quite a bit. From there I took to lucid dreaming and finally total control over dreams Most of it has fallen to the wayside with my ever busy life. That, coupled with a great lack of sleep in general, has put a damper on my practices but most of my stories are derived from my dreams. If not the entire story, at least several chapters/events. I would like to, at some point in my life, design a room devoted to dreaming practices and subsequently, practice every day. Maybe my books will take off and I’ll be able to afford it. Apart from dreaming, I’ve grown indifferent towards life in general. Not to say I am depressed, far from it, I just accept everything as an inevitable guiding hand towards an unseen end I have no control over, you’ll see some of that spill over into my stories in one form or another.

Nimue: How do you view the dream world? As an inner state, another reality, something else?

Aaron: Originally, I figured it was an alternate state of reality, a place where the mind experimented with itself through some kind of link with the universe. After becoming acquainted with astral projection and lucid dreaming, I thought it was more like a training ground wherein I could learn about the universe by crossing a threshold into another dimension. Perhaps a dimension where beings that have no physical body exist. Once I learned about “sorcery” through Carlos Castaneda’s books I came to understand that every reality, at all given times, is just the solidification of the “assemblage point’ on a particular band of energetic fibers and that a “dream” is a new position of the assemblage point. A lucid dream is a more stable position wherein the assemblage point does not shift about the bands of energy, which comprise our “spirit” or energy body and astral projection is the actualization of moving in the world using only the energy body. This implies that when we are in our “ordinary” state of reality, we are in fact all “dreaming” together because all of our assemblage points are on a particular spot, or common spot, where we all interact. In part, this is why I became indifferent. I’m no more awake or asleep than when I am having a dream. Instead I’m only more “sober”, or rather, have my assemblage point on an accustomed position in the energy body where it does not shift erratically. Through rigorous practice, I became able to follow certain steps in order to achieve that same stability in dreams, or through dreaming. A normal dream, I believe, is just an erratic shifting of the assemblage point but we can solidify its position and attain a state of dreaming, which is to say, actively living in a complete state of alternate reality. This can be somewhat confusing due to the fact that when dealing with this new reality, we have no inventory, or no analogy for comparison, or no compass to guide us, the way a toddler has no real compass to guide him/her through the “real” world. If we practice, we can find a point of origin and function in alternate realities. Scientifically speaking, this crosses the border in to string theory, or M theory, where several membranes of reality can be accessed, all of which are complete and total realities where we all exist every day. We just don’t realize it. I’ve been at this about 7 years now and have not been practicing the way I should be but my “every day” life has to be treated as the only reality, otherwise I’d be insane and unable to accomplish even the smallest feats. Why would I worry about paying bills if this is all just a dream anyway? So I pretend that my waking life is the only real one. Fortunately, my other lives, or realities, supply me with an infinite amount of experiences, which I then translate into stories. This is why my books are so awesome. *winks*. If I may add, there was an episode of Star Trek TNG where Picard went into a dreamworld and lived an entire lifespan. When he returned to his normal reality, he had all those experiences. I too have lived complete and total lives in dreams and treat those dreams as truths.

Nimue: Tell us about your books?

My first real book was Shadowman, which started off as one short story that everybody seemed to like. I finished it around June of 2011 and was looking to get it published in a magazine or something. At that time, I didn’t know the first thing about being an author or publishing and found a self publishing company. They touted that no one nowadays can get published, it’s all self publishing, it’s the only way to go, real authors get self published and panderers with lots of money hire literary agents and they only care about money. Well it seemed fine to me. Figured I’d go self pubb’d first and learn the ropes. First I needed to expound on the story. Since I left it open-ended, it wasn’t difficult.

Shadowman is four consecutive shorts revolving around an unnamed protagonist and the story is told from his perspective. It starts with our man hanging out in New Orleans, where he witnesses a murder. The dead man relinquishes some power and it possesses our protagonist, who we will call Adja. The young man wakes up in the house of an old Creole woman. She explains the practice of Voodoo to Adja and guides him throughout his journey.

As it turns out, the dead man was her grandson. Once he passed his power on to Adja, he became a Shadowman and took on her grandson’s quest, the quest to kill Snake, an evil Shadowman. With each story, Adja gains new abilities and some new friends. Together, they go in search of objects of power, spirits, and all kinds of crazy things. So my neat little book was finished. Keep in mind I only started writing a few months prior. Some 5 thousand dollars, I sold about 90 dollars worth of my book, it was poorly edited, poorly promoted, and too expensive.

So I took to writing some Science Fiction. I have had enough dreams involving aliens and their complete worlds and chose one piece in particular that I’ve always liked. When I was 12 I had a dream that I was partnered up with a team of aliens, who were looking for a second race of aliens in order to battle a third race of aliens. This became the premise of Lokians, which was not originally a series. The more I played with it, the more I was able to add pieces of other dreams. The Lokians became the insect-monsters, which once chased me around an enormous and empty lab of sorts. A mindless antagonist has its benefits. You know you can’t reason with it. just kill it. From another dream, I created the Thewls. Originally, their heads and faces were different but too difficult to describe, so we have our Skeleton-faced Thewls now. The travelers I took right out of the original dream, a blue, ape-like people frozen in ice. After the original ending, I re-read the story and decided I had much more to tell, so I changed it, and started the series, the first being Book1 Beyond the End of the World. I tried to get it published for months but no one was biting. Finally I found Eternal Press and they were kind enough to say Hey, it’s a little info dumpy at the beginning, So I said, No problem and moved a few things around.

The sequel, Book 2 They Lurk Among Us, will be released November 1st. It picks up a few months after our heroes curbed the Lokian threat. As the name implies, the main topic is aliens ensconced inside Earth government. For this novel, I used some of the well known alien races, such as the Grays, the big-headed gray guys, and the Reptilians, large, lizard-like aliens. This one, unlike the first, has much more suspense and intrigue. Beyond the End of the World is more of an action/thriller, so I tried to write it at a pace that was nearly overwhelming. They Lurk Among Us is provided from many perspectives, which was a challenge, but I think I nailed it. There are so many things going on all at once, and everyone is slowly moving towards a conflict, so I thought a different perspective from chapter to chapter was interesting. We’ll see how people like it.

Finally, I’m working on the third Lokians novel, Book 3 For War and Glory. This is not a trilogy but I will take a pause for the cause once the third one is done to work on some other projects. One of these is a full-length novel based on one of my own shorts, Expedition, available at smashwords.

Nimue: Aaaaand point me at some websites

Aaron: Forgot to add, I have since cancelled my POD contract for Shadowman and it is now available through Damnation Books. At any rate, thanks for everything and point people to my website. Everything is available there. http://www.dennisauthor.com  this was fun
http://sciencefictionwriters.wikia.com
Find me on Twitter @authaarondennis
http://towriteawrong.blogspot.com (where the interview with me is going!)

Thanks Aaron!