Posts Tagged ‘ABNA’

Schizandra’s on Kindle and Amazon!

Well, that was speedy! Schizandra and the Gates of Mu just launched in the Amazon Kindle store for $9.99. For those of you who prefer Kindle to paper, you can actually receive your copy even before I receive my preordered paperbacks.

Those who prefer Barnes&Noble and Amazon can also find it available there for preorders with online discounts. I will be getting my first batch of paperbacks to autograph and mail out either late this week or early next week. If you’d like a personal inscription and/or autograph, please click here.

A number of people have already reviewed Schizandra and the Gates of Mu, and those reviews will start to run next week, as soon as I know Amazon will have them consistently in stock.

Thanks to everyone for your excitement and support. In celebration of this release, I’m also offering a “Schizandra Special,” which is a 60-minute Soul Reading for $111. (That’s a $64 savings off my normal price. What can I say, Schizandra likes those 111’s and 11:11’s.) In order to take advantage of this discount, your session must be prepaid and at least scheduled between July 4, 2009 and July, 14, 2009. Ten days of exceptional Liberation energy!

Cheers!

Laura Bruno

Pruning Roses, Garden Paradise & Schizandra

Those of you who have read The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide know I’m not too much of a gardener. LOL, I rarely even grow my own sprouts! But this doesn’t mean I don’t have great admiration for those who do. In particular, I have always wanted a rose garden. My maternal grandmother lived in Irvine, CA for most of my youth, and she had the most beautiful roses in full bloom on her patio. A former opera singer, she would sing her arias while pruning away, offering me, her sixteen year old granddaughter, mimosas and chocolate for breakfast. In retrospect, Gramma Irene was a pretty cool grandma!

My grandmother has since moved somewhere that maintains the rose gardens for her, but she still has lovely rose pillows and garden paintings in her apartment. When Stephen and I moved to our new home in Sonoma County, one of the first things I noticed was a woman singing arias while she gardened. It totally reminded me of my grandma! As things turned out, we have our own rose bushes, too, many of which needed pruning. I finally went outside today with some pruning sheers — my first ever — and had a go at them. I think I did pretty well, but we’ll see how many new blooms we get. 🙂

While trimming off the old blooms, I remembered some old thoughts I’d had regarding the whole concept of pruning: the idea that in order to grow, sometimes we need to cut back more than we think is necessary. Some of those leaves looked just fine to me, but I needed to prune them back to the first 5-patch if I wanted the bush to continue blooming.  During life coaching sessions, sometimes that same principle holds true. Parts of someone’s life may look just fine, but in order to invite the big blossoming, they still need some cutting out and reshaping.  I love how nature reminds us of the abundance of life — that we can remove parts that sap energy in preparation for the tremendous blooms in store for us. We need not fear some discipline or change. Giant, fragrant petals are on the way!

While pruning roses, I started thinking about a Garden Paradise, and quickly those thoughts turned to humanity’s attempts to return to that original Garden Paradise — our personal Eden. Of course, this reminded me of Schizandra and the Gates of Mu, because Schizandra embodies that potential. She’s a 13-year-old orphan with a cosmic destiny, and that destiny means awakening others to their true potential for bliss and transformation.

As synchronicity would have it, Schizandra arrived at just that moment. More precisely, proof of Schizandra arrived. Yes, I do mean proof: my very first “proof” copy of the paperback novel is now in my hands for review this weekend and release into the world next week:

Schizandra and the Gates of Mu

Schizandra and the Gates of Mu

I made a late decision to switch from iUniverse to my own publication company, designer and interior formatting. Gwen Gades and Cathi Stevenson did such a beautiful job it made me cry! I’m so pleased to present Schizandra in her new duds. Anyone who would like an autographed copy before the book becomes available on Amazon and in bookstores, please click here.

After my hubby and I skimmed through the book, he decided we needed to celebrate by taking me to Seed. (I know, more garden imagery!) Seed is a totally vegan, mostly raw food restaurant in Santa Rosa, CA. They have weekly boxes of food, as well as a fab and ever-evolving menu. Today I brought home a zucchini marinara and rutabaga alfredo pasta duo with Caesar salad, some watermelon mango soup, portabello (eggplant) bacon cheezeburger and my very favorite, cacao-custard-caramel pie. Mmmm … mmm … feast at the Bruno’s. It’s not every day that a novel comes out about raw cacao, and I’ll only get to premier my first novel once. Stephen said it was time to live it up.

Many, many blessings and much love!

Laura Bruno

www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

Schizandra and the Gates of Mu: Pre-Orders!

Well, it’s official! I can start taking pre-orders for my new novel, Schizandra and the Gates of Mu. I’m correcting the galleys and the book should be available to ship sometime in June 2009.

I’m taking pre-orders because my husband and I are moving at the end of June and I have no idea how many to order in advance without taking some kind of pre-order. If you would like an autographed and/or inscribed copy, please click here. All prices include shipping and handling, so please make sure to order one that reflects your location.

Here’s what people are saying:

“A beautiful debut, this fantasy sparks real-world insights into life’s challenges and chance encounters. Synchronicity, renewal, and power of belief shimmer through an intriguing tale with heartfelt characters. This story lingers, as readers find through it more magic in their own lives.” –Victoria Moran, author of Living a Charmed Life       

“I had the blissing to review Laura Bruno’s upcoming book Schizandra And The Gates Of Mu while I was on holiday. Schizandra, the teen heroine is a portal for human transformation. As I read it, I realised that everyone we meet is a portal for our own transformation. Seems there’s a little Schizandra in all of us.” —Shazzie (full review to come via another post)

“From first page to last, a truly tasty, fast-paced treat. Suspense, mystery, humor, danger and a rainbow of characters and landscapes converge in a masterfully crafted modern myth that awakens inner senses and leaves us hungry for Schizandra’s next journey!” –Karen Lang, Lemurian Stargate

“Superbly written, well-researched, fascinating, weird, suspenseful, playful and definitely entertaining.”  –Traci Moore, Editor, Monsoon Voices

More blurbs and reviews to come. To pre-order your autographed copy, please click here.

Raw Food Novel Update

Wow, it’s been awhile! I have officially buried myself in editing for the past two weeks. I had entered “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu” into Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award Contest and then started having second thoughts.

For one, I found a few typos; more importantly, I decided I wanted to shift some plot elements, but I could no longer change my entry. I began to resent tying up my manuscript until June 30th if I advanced to the next round: tied up, but with no guarantee of any offer. Then I learned that the grand prize publishing contract might not be exactly what I’d imagined. I wish everyone else the best of luck, but I really wanted freedom for my manuscript.

Synchronicity intervened again! Apparently, something happened with the contest entries, and some excerpts disappeared, thereby keeping people from advancing into the later rounds. I don’t know whether my excerpt disappeared, or if someone didn’t like my pitch, or if my energy just pulled my entry right back out of the contest. In any case, to my great relief, I learned last week that I once again could play freely with my manuscript.

Because “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu” comes first in a 5-part series with a 2012 theme, I’ve decided to self-publish it this Spring though iUniverse. Originally, I had wanted to find a traditional publisher, but given that it’s already 2009 and average books take about a year to print even after being accepted by a publisher, I decided to release it myself. Instead of a “birthday publishing contract,” there’s now a strong possibility I will have a “birthday book.” 🙂 

Once I know pricing and approximate delivery dates, I’ll start taking preorders for autographed copies. To my knowledge, this represents the first novel ever to feature overtly raw foodist and vegan characters. Anyone who likes natural healing, astrology, numerology, flying, natural childbirth, synchronicity, massage, Reiki, Sedona and/or raw cacao will enjoy this tale. Here’s a teaser:

Legendary Sedona, ancient prophecy, a mysterious curse and a thirteen-year-old orphan with a cosmic destiny: Schizandra and the Gates of Mu tells the story of a sleeping teen who holds the key to human evolution. The galaxy itself depends on her awakening! Can a motley group of healers, relatives and friends overcome their pasts to save Schizandra? Will she survive her own mythic journey? The Celestine Prophecy meets Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Young adults and older readers will laugh, cry and shiver their way through this lively first of the Schizandra series.

 

Laura Bruno is a professional intuitive, Reiki Master Teacher and former Sedona resident. Known for her lighthearted approach to natural healing, Laura now offers those insights through fiction. She has lived and taught all over the United States, and currently resides in California with her husband Stephen.

 

OK, back to editing! Thanks to everyone for their excitement about this project. I love writing fiction, and I’m so excited to introduce Schizandra.  

Lessons from ABNA Contest 2009: Cool Things I’ve Learned

As promised, I’m still posting occasional updates from Amazon’s 2009 Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.  The first round has ended, but no one yet knows the results until they announce the Quarterfinals on or around March 16. Whether I make the Quarterfinals or miraculously win on my birthday, I have learned some pretty cool things by entering this contest. Below are a few of my favorites:

1 )  If you’ve ever wondered whether you “write like a girl,” you can find out here. I love the Gender Genie! More than just trivia, this little gizmo can actually help your writing. For example, if you blog and want to appeal primarily to women, then you can run your excerpts through the Gender Genie to have it tell you if “your voice” is male or female. If you write fiction from multiple points of view, the Gender Genie can tell you if your writing has a masculine or feminine slant.

Author’s gender may not always matter, but knowing where you fall on the spectrum can help you tweak style based on your intended audience. Very cool find brought to my attention by VisionScript a.k.a Rachel Rights!

2 ) It helps to have a sense of humor about rejection. This little gem was brought to my attention by Laura M, right after I had written a post on Rejection, Projection and Reflection. While I certainly don’t condone the writer’s reaction, it warmed my heart that people posted humorous pieces at a time when some of the contest writers expressed feelings of low self-confidence or negative feedback. Though a joke, the video does present an over-the-top glance into the inner workings of a projector.

3 ) There are sub-genres of Fantasy known as high fantasy and epic fantasy. No one seems able to agree upon exactly what falls into those categories, but I never knew they existed! Apparently, I write high fantasy (which includes lots of mythic elements and literary allusions), but this little English major with a Masters degree from the University of Chicago had never heard of the genre until she read a thread on ABNA. Thanks especially to Jacob Gowans and D. Howell for their thoughts and explanations.

4 ) It may have taken twenty-fold the editing of some parts of my novel, but I now know that I can write an effective “pitch.” Most writers dread having to market their writing, especially fiction. Unfortunately, it takes marketing know-how to sell books to publishers unless synchronicity’s on your side. Whatever happens, the process of distilling my plot and themes into 300 words, including a marketing analysis, taught me skills I never knew I had in me.

5 ) And here’s the one that feels most significant, even though it probably will have the least effect on my or anyone else’s life: 18-year-long mystery solved!

In college (actually it began even before college during summer orientation in 1991), I met two friends named Matt and Eric.  They taught me fun things like how to smoke a single Camel Light after calculus on Tuesdays and Thursdays. OK, so they didn’t stop with just one, but I did!  To this day, the smell of Camel Lights makes me nostalgic, although I normally hate cigarette odor and haven’t smoked in nearly two decades.

Eric became my calculus tutor, because this “ditzy English major” (me) was convinced that she knew nothing about math. Each Tuesday and Thursday, I would walk to South Campus with Eric after calculus class, watch cartoons while we did our homework, and then smoke a single Camel Light while listening to Pink Floyd’s “Animals.” 

After losing touch with these guys, I spied Eric again during senior year and ran up to him with profuse thanks for helping me pass calculus. He eyed me warily, then asked, “Are you serious? What grade did you get?” “I got an A-,” I said, then practically bowled him over with a hug. He laughed so loud the librarian shushed us. “I got a D! We just liked hanging out with you. I have no idea how you got an A.”

Chock another one up to the power of belief.

But I digress! These guys had introduced me to Pink Floyd, Camel Lights, “Abbey Road,” calculus by cartoons, afternoon naps, and linguistics. Everything they liked intrigued me, especially their love of language. Herein lay the mystery: they were both obsessed with Tolkien, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why.

Keep in mind, I was kind of a snobby English major who only read Renaissance Lit and The Sun Also Rises. I didn’t have time for Fantasy or cartoons (except during calculus homework). I tried to read the first chapter of The Lord of the Rings, and try though I might, I just couldn’t move beyond it. I liked the movie, but my goodness, that’s one long first chapter! Everything else Matt’n’Eric had recommeneded always turned out to be spot on, so I couldn’t figure out the lapse.

Occasionally, this mystery would cross my mind, even 12, 15, or 17 years later, because it just did not make sense. … And then, one day on an ABNA forum about first chapters, I discovered the answer quite by accident. According to the thread, TLOR’s first chapter does require patience and persistence — not my strongest qualities as a pleasure reader. (Pre-head-injury, I could slog through just about anything on a required reading list, but even when reading came so easily, I was picky with the novels!) According to this thread, I was not alone in my aversion to Chapter 1 of TLOR, and Matt’n’Eric were not alone in thier deep respect and admiration.

On this same ABNA forum, I learned that Tolkien was a linguist. He used TLOR to create a British mythology and also to create different types of language. Of course! That makes perfect sense, and now I get why Matt’n’Eric spent so many hours obsessing over their Tolkien class.

While this may seem like a small discovery, I really can’t do justice to the sense of satisfaction it brings. It feels like I have finally finished a book I left sitting bookmarked on the shelf for nearly 18 years without reading the final 2 pages.

Now I get it. Will I wade through Chapter 1 of TLOR? That remains to be seen, but the part of my mind going “why, why, why?” has discovered yet again: “Ask and you shall receive.” It may take 18 years, but you can always find an answer for a sincerely asked question.

So, thank you, ABNA! And thanks to all the forum folks. I don’t drop by often, but when I have, you’ve taught me much.

www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

www.ifionlyhadabraininjury.com

www.lazyrawfoodist.com

Rejection, Projection and Reflection

Ah, rejection! No one likes it, but everyone has felt it at one time or another. Rejection comes in many forms: romantic relationships, contests, writer’s group critiques, friendships, job interviews or credit applications. Some people feel depressed about it, while others grow angry or challenge themselve to rise above the snub. Besides sadness, by far the most common companion of rejection is projection. Although the “p” word can initially offset your hurt, it doesn’t help you move forward.

This article explores projection and helps you to recognize it in your life. For the projectee (anyone unlucky enough to stand in line of the projector’s fire), I also discuss the concept of reflection. Many projectors mistakenly assume they are, in fact, reflectors. The distinction becomes especially confusing for people who do reflect most of the time, yet still have a tendency to project when they feel challenged or rejected. This article gives tips to help you tell the difference.

You might be projecting if:

1)  You assume someone must have massive issues, complete ignorance, a guru complex, psychosis, arrogance or hubris, control issues, or a secret evil agenda if s/he has gently or firmly declined your advances. If you feel these things about people in your field who have experienced greater attention or success than you have, it’s also time to look at your own tendency to project.

2)  You consistently encounter people who (you think) get a sick pleasure out of devaluing your gifts. These people initially seem like helpers, supporters and encouragers. S/he may be a counselor, coach, minister, or yoga teacher, perhaps just an acquaintance whom you very much admire. All seems well when you ask them for advice, which they give freely. But then they inexplicably “turn on you and devalue you” by not buying your book, linking to you on their website, or otherwise returning the favor of asking you for advice and guidance. How dare they think they’re better than you! They must not want you to succeed because they couldn’t handle your competition! They’re not evolved, and they don’t want anyone else to evolve either.  In fact, they want to suppress and enslave, feeding off the energy of their unwilling and deluded fans. OMG! You have just narrowly escaped from one of the most controlling and insidious creatures on the planet!  …

If this scenario has happened to you to some degree even once, then you may have a tendency to project in two ways. First, you’re likely giving someone higher status as a guru than s/he wants. You give away your power to your own idea, rather than to the person. This is your responsibility, not theirs. No one can take your power.

When things shift and s/he rejects you, you may suddenly”recognize what’s happening.” This recognition often involves controlling you or using power to manipulate you and hold you down. Although cults and narcissists do exist, if the initial description sounds valid, then it’s more likely that you’re superimposing a plot on a simple yet hard to swallow fact: as the movie says, “He’s Just Not that Into You.” Or s/he’s busy. Or s/he has other things going on. Or s/he feels compassion rather than passion.

Ego will go to great lengths to find any other explanation. If the reasons for negative things occurring in your life routinely involve a conspiracy theory or the hubris or complete ignorance and depravity of those from whom you have received help or sought favor, then it’s time to explore your own patterns and projections. 

3 )  Someone else is always responsible for your failed intentions.

4 )  You believe busy people spend their free time exploring ways to sabotage your business, personal growth or reputation.

5 )  When giving “constructive criticism” or “enlightenment,” you feel the need to hide behind your degree, your diet, your religion, your bank balance, or “Anonymous.”

6 )  When you try to reveal this “insider information” to the public, no one you admire has any interest in spreading your gossip, but they do offer you “lots of love and healing.” If compassionate people sense you are projecting, they may not always come right out and say so. They may instead try to offer you support for what they see as the root cause of your behavior: grief, frustration, insecurity, envy.

Of course, they then run the risk of revealing their own “evil, controlling guru complexes” by devaluing your insider information. Some people are willing to run that risk, though, if they sense you’re really struggling or have temporarily lost touch with reality.

7 )  If you have ever had or suspected you currently have B-12 deficiency, you really might want to get that checked or start taking a sublingual or spray B-12. “B-12 madness” has been linked to cases of acute psychosis and paranoid delusions. Slightly low levels can also cause general, unwarranted suspicion.

8 ) You view the world as a constant battle between good and evil.

9 ) You feel the need to launch personal attacks in areas that have nothing to do with the situation at hand. Examples include: suggesting someone’s a bad spouse in order to bolster your argument  that they’re unqualified to teach seventh grade or drive a truck; calling someone arrogant for buying organic food; extracting tidbits from people’s blogs or websites and assuming you know their entire life and motivations; refusing to consider context as a factor when assessing character or causation; citing gossip magazines as a way to judge acting ability.

10 ) If your primary emotions are anger, rage, disgust, fear, judgment or hatred, you are not “reflecting so brightly that no one can handle your radiance and truth.” You are almost certainly projecting, at least in some areas.

You might be reflecting if:

1 ) Despite someone accusing you of horrible character and actions, you primarily feel love, compassion and understanding for them. If you can recognize the hurt beneath their anger and send love to it, then you are likely reflecting.

2 ) You do not feel afraid to look at the criticism and use it as a means to explore your own character, skills, talent and motivations.   Are there areas where the comments ring true? Can you learn something even from mean-spirited feedback? Might there be a tiny bit of truth to the accusations and if so, how can you improve your technique, delivery or presentation in the future? What blind spots does this encounter reveal? Bright, shiny people are not afraid to look inside themselves or to ask for honest feedback from people they respect and admire.

3 ) Before anyone asked you this, have you already explored ways in which you might be projecting? Hint: reflectors ponder the possibility. Projectors rarely go there first, if at all.

4 ) Have you recently received recognition for long, hard effort on your part? Has your visibility ramped up? When reflectors suddenly become brighter reflectors on a bigger stage, they often experience a backlash from those who feel left behind.

5 ) Do the accusations seem 180 degrees away from truth? Examples may include: someone calling you “fame hungry” when you’ve always tried to stay in the background; people saying you took away their power after you showed them their own responsibility in their lives; friends assuming you’re “too good for them” or “too high and mighty” now that you’ve “made it big,” when you just want to share your joy and tell them you believe in them.

6 ) You’ve worked through a lifetime (or many lifetimes) of issues and finally accept your calling/mission/dream/bliss, only to have people attack your character for doing so. They tell you, “you’re not so special,” and you agree. You tell them they could live their dreams, too, but this inexplicably fans the fire of their rage.

7 ) None of your other clients/friends/lovers/colleagues can fathom the accusations.

8 ) You had a funny feeling about getting involved with someone, but compassion led you to help them anyway. When you created and maintained boundaries, the person freaked out.

9 ) You harbor no ill will to the person(s), but you do hope they get the help, support and love they need.

10 ) You choose to defend yourself without attacking the other person.

11 ) You can recognize this experience in a larger context, perhaps as an indirect answer to your own prayers and intentions to leave a relationship, move, change careers, or make some other shift. Reflectors understand that the universe always responds to their own energy and intentions. They accept appropriate responsibility and know when to stand firm and when to go with the flow. They choose to embrace, while projectors react. Reflectors rejoice in a chance to polish themselves and shine even brighter. 

Many Blessings on your Journey!

www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

ABNA Contest: Personal Anecdotes

As part of Amazon’s 2009 Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, contestants can share the story-behind-the-story of their novel’s creation … in 300 words or less. The public will only get to see the top 500 excerpts after March 16, during which time they may or may not view the novel’s background. People keep popping onto this site while searching for ABNA, so I thought I’d post my personal anecdotes here:

 

         Four months before starting a doctoral program in English Literature, a 1998 brain injury left me severely disabled. I lost the ability to read, along with my rational side. I needed to sleep and meditate most of the day just to keep my migraines in check. Although devastating to my intended career as an English professor, this experience awakened other parts of my brain. Synchronicity, uncanny intuition, and mythology replaced plans, logic, and a highly analytic side. Unable to read print, I learned to “read” in other ways; the world became my text. Years of art history, literary criticism, philosophy, and Biblical exegesis suddenly seemed key to navigating the “real world.” My quest for recovery also introduced me to alternative medicine and spiritual healing.

            I won a small insurance settlement — on my birthday — in 2001, but I still needed to find some way to support myself. My Seattle doctor offered me a part time job working as an Office Assistant/Medical Intuitive Consultant. I honed my Medical Intuitive skills on his clients in exchange for him teaching me his fifty-year’s worth of herbal knowledge. One herb stuck in my brain: schizandra. I researched its adaptogenic power to heal anything from asthma to impotence to hypo- and hyperthyroid. Unbidden, two characters named Schizandra and Ginger appeared, and I envisioned a family of women healers named for herbs.

SCHIZANDRA AND THE GATES OF MU revealed itself sporadically over seven years. A move to Sedona gave me the setting, and my meditation practice and Medical Intuitive/Life Coaching business provided rich fodder. Synchronicity plays such a huge role in my life that I found the fantasy elements easiest to pen. I finished writing on a key date in the novel, and ABNA’s prize date — May 22 — is my birthday!          

www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

Related posts here and here.