Posts Tagged ‘novel writing’

Retiring “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu”

After long consideration and the recent appearance of the external sign I requested for timing, I have decided to remove my first novel, “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu” from distribution. For the past couple years, I’ve wanted to de-list this book, since I wrote it for a pre-2012 audience, and so much has changed since its 2009 publication. Every time I thought to take it out of print, though, I received the word, “Wait.”

I finally sensed the time had come and requested validation, which came in the form of a new review which expresses my own feelings — that this book “is a product of its time.” So many of the fresh and imagined things I included have now become mainstream or even cliche. Although the novel still works on a mythological level, when I left California and my entire life behind, I also left behind the intended series. I honestly don’t know if or when I will return to those characters.

I have spent the past few months delving into how-to-write-fiction books, something I never did before writing “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu.” I do feel proud of it as a first novel; however, I also see clearly how I will shift my future storytelling. Synchronously, the retirement date, November 1, occurs on what would be Schizandra’s 30th birthday, as well as the date I will return to writing fiction after an 8-year hiatus that began while writing Book 2 of the Schizandra series. You can read the strange story behind that hiatus by clicking here.

All of which is to say, if you’ve ever wanted to purchase “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu” and still want to, then you have two more weeks to do so. In honor of her 30th birthday on November 1, 2017, Schizandra will enter retirement for the foreseeable future, just as her creator comes out of retirement.

 

Update on My Dad

Thank you to all of you who have sent continued prayers and energy healing for my father! Several people have recently asked for an update, so I’ll share what I can here. For those of you who want to add him to your own lists, his name is Steve Derbenwick.

My dad was really struggling before I wrote last week’s post requesting prayers and Reiki, but my parents both said they could sense all the prayers coming their way once he got re-upped on my mom’s prayer list and with all my amazing blog readers’ energies, prayers and intentions. Truly, thank you! We’re deeply blessed to have such a worldwide group of powerful healers, shamans, Reiki Practioners and Master Teachers, prayer warriors, love beings, and adepts sending energy to our family.

I did some shamanic Dreamwork with my dad on Friday, the 19th, and felt the situation shift even more, which my dad confirmed the following morning. He was still very weak but felt much more “here.” He also let me know that he had printed out my prayer request/tribute to him so that he could read it every day. He felt it would “strengthen him,” and he appreciated everyone’s loving comments. Just knowing that so many people he’s never even met care about him has really touched his heart.

According to my sister and mother, who actually see my dad on a regular basis, he’s still very, very weak. My brother and I have needed to become more involved in his care from a distance, as well, but I am grateful that my siblings and I work well together, honoring our own different gifts and strengths in order to help manage things as best as we can. Yesterday, my dad had a platelet infusion and a bone marrow scan, though he will not receive his results for another week.

The test and procedure yesterday left him exhausted, but we’re all hoping he will rally enough to give his previously scheduled prayer testimonial at several church services tonight and tomorrow. My dad credits prayer with bringing many, many miracles into his life since his cancer diagnosis, and he wants to share his stories to help inspire others to participate in a prayer week at my mom’s church. My post last week describes some of my dad’s transition from total skeptic to open-hearted mystic, but it doesn’t capture the depth of feeling he has for being able to give back to those who’ve helped him.  My mom and sister have arranged a wheelchair for him and reduced the number of times he’s scheduled to share his story.

Even so, getting him there and having his voice strong enough to carry through the microphone, and his energy steady enough to do his talks remains a huge challenge. Any energy you feel called to send to support this process would be greatly appreciated. I’ve read my dad’s speech, and even though I’ve heard his stories before, it always starts the tears of Grace flowing.My dad feels this is one of the most important tasks he has right now, so I hope for his sake and for his listeners that he can share his story. If you knew my dad, you would know what an incredibly healing and generous heart-opening his desire to share such private stories with hundreds of people really is!

David and I made arrangements in case we need to change our travel arrangements to arrive sooner than our scheduled date in March, but so far, the original timing still seems Divinely orchestrated. We’ve even got synchronous house-sitters lined up. Thank you again to everyone sending positive energy to our visit. We’ve got special events on either end of the visit, too, all of which seem significant to the larger journey of everyone involved.

I know many people are ill, struggling or transitioning right now. Sessions are filled with people dealing with various intensities and life changing events. Clients, friends and blog readers keep privately asking me how I’m doing, so I’ll share a little here. Overall, I’m doing well, though, of course, a range of emotions flow through me in any given moment. Gratitude remains my dominant feeling, since we have already had an extra 4.5 years with my dad beyond his original prognosis. We’ve all used that time well!

I’ve also had the opportunity to observe many families dealing with crises, which makes me acutely aware of how lucky I am to have capable, caring and involved siblings who share similar ideas about what needs to be done when. This process has strengthened our three-way communication, and having watched our dad shoulder so much responsibility with his own mother, we’re all mindful of distributing responsibilities as evenly as we can, given our varying proximities and skills.  Thank you for including my whole family in your prayers, energy and intentions, because as any caregiver knows, the supportive roles need support, too!

Fortunately, David’s family’s ongoing crises that we moved to Goshen to manage have begun to ease, which means he has more energy and needs less support from me right now. Perhaps in anticipation of the increased focus on my own family, or maybe just due to the grey winter in Goshen, I’ve felt a deep need to cocoon myself in beauty. I feel fine for sessions and am actually enjoying them. But in my personal life, I need to go with the flow right now, so please excuse slower and much shorter responses to chatty emails.

Even before my dad’s health took this sudden downturn, I had withdrawn more into my permaculture design course, a lovely Druid course, and setting things up to support me writing books again, both fiction and non-fiction. This all feels good and perfectly timed, but with the increased family stress and responsibilities, it’s not a luxury. I need this inner time to rejuvenate myself, and I stay on path in order to walk through this time period with ease and grace.

I spent yesterday afternoon studying permaculture and drinking in the beauty of my new writing office. The windows overlook my snow covered gardens, but the snow didn’t stop dozens of birds from darting around the lovingly planted trees and shrubs. A robin visited me as I sat on my rocker, reading and smiling. Between the bright wall colors, gorgeous tapestry from sweet faery twin, Tania Marie, views of my growing food forest, and a magical mandala rug, yesterday transported me into the all encompassing beauty my soul craves. It’s chilly in that writing office, though, so I realized I finally have a perfect spot for one of those electric fireplaces or old fashioned electric wood stove heaters I’ve long wanted. I think the extra coziness of a fire element between rocking chair and computer desk will take that room over the Moon. 🙂

I’ll leave you with some of yesterday’s views from my rocking chair, as well as heartfelt gratitude for all the care and prayers of such wonderful, kind, and powerful blog readers. Thank you, thank you! Much love and continued blessings! ~ Laura

office

mandala rug

 

 

 

Schizandra Series Update and Instant Manifestation

“Remember, my friend, you must go down the road to know, it is as above as so below.”

Now that we’re approaching Spring 2010, many people have begun to inquire about Schizandra and the Peruvian Jaguar, Book 2 in the Schizandra Series. True, I had planned to finish it around this time, and no, my divorce and move to Chicago are not the reasons for the delay. I actually think writing Book 2 may have catalyzed these changes, rather than the other way around.

In September, artist Tania Marie and I went on a quest to Mendocino, feeling that we would find something there to help our creative endeavors. What we discovered were some ancient teachings on Runes and language coding through number, color, symbols, and association. I had intuitively used some of this in Schizandra and the Gates of Mu, but I began consciously coding Book 2, and it was moving along quickly with lots of subconscious stirrings. It felt mysterious, fast paced and fun. In short, I liked it, even upon first draft.

Then … I ran into a strange “problem.” I’m not sure if it was the Runes or synchronicity or what, but I began to notice that whatever I wrote about started to manifest instantly in my life. If I introduced a character with a certain birthday, for example, someone would immediately appear in my life with the same birthday. Cool, right? Sure, with birthdays it was cool, but fiction thrives on conflict. In order to keep a story moving, an author really needs to give his or her characters the worst case scenarios. I found that whatever conflicts I introduced in the story, no matter how bizarre, began to weave their way into my own life. At first I started attracting clients with those issues, but then the conflicts began exponentially manifesting in my personal experiences. People with the same names, birthdays, and challenges as my characters started appearing and interacting with me in the same ways as in the novel. Situations that I thought stretched the imagination in fiction began to appear as everyday occurrences in my “real” life. They would be slightly different, but recognizable as a reflection of whatever scenes I happened to be working on.

Those of you who’ve read Book 1 know that some strange events occur. Well, Book 2 is even stranger, and my life suddenly grew even more surreal than usual. Fiction and “reality” began to blend in ways I did not particularly enjoy. Whatever I created on the page started to become my life, and I don’t like conflict. I much prefer fun, calm, wholeness, and a sense of total connection to the Divine. Throw in some chocolate and I’m good to go. 😉

Fall 2009 did not feel good, despite copious amounts of raw cacao! I am incredibly grateful for all of the shifts and transmutations, but whoa Nellie! I needed to tighten my imagination’s reins a bit.

So … I decided to take a break from fiction and started painting instead. The same instant manifestation occurs with my painting; however, I paint from my heart and I paint whatever I love, so I find this process much more fulfilling and sustainable. If I can find a way to separate my creative efforts on the page from the creations in my life, I will complete Schizandra and the Peruvian Jaguar. I’ve worked so hard to reintegrate parts of myself that I’m not sure separation is on the agenda, but I’m open to the possibility. In the meantime, I find my art continues to deepen and offers a lot of joy and positive transformation both internally and externally. I have always been a big “manifestor,” but the intensity and speed of those manifestations with my creative projects have stunned me. I’ve spoken with other authors, even spiritually oriented ones and they agree that fiction is hard work, but I haven’t heard of anyone experiencing QUITE this same problem with their characters and conflicts bleeding into real life. I’m sure it does happen to some people; I just decided I didn’t like it happening to me. 🙂

Artwork, though? Loving it! I promise to post some of my more recent projects soon. I keep taking upside down photos with my BlackBerry, and my computer won’t let me reorient them. LOL, no matter which way I turn my BlackBerry, the photos come in upside down! Several people have pointed out the appropriateness of this as I feel like The Hanged Man from the Tarot, suspended upside down, pondering the Runes until I “get” them, hop down and fully claim their knowledge. I haven’t hopped down yet, though, and likely won’t until sometime in June if my lease and other synchronicities are any indication. Hopefully, I’ll get those photos up sooner than that, though!

In the meantime, yes, I am still offering coaching, intuitive, medical intuitive and Reiki sessions and classes. My extra meditative state these days seems to enhance the insights, so do feel free to contact me. I thoroughly enjoy connecting with and helping people, finding it a mutual blessing.

Namaste.

Halloween Fun and NaNoWriMo

Laura Fairy Bodega 1
Karen Lang of Lemurian Stargate offered me one of the best Halloween celebrations ever: a trip for the second year in a row to her family’s vacation home just north of Bodega Bay. Last year I hosted a weekend of classes, but this year, it was all about the writing. National Novel Writing Month, that is. Yes, she and I have officially joined the somewhat insane quest to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November.

I considered doing this last year, but opted not to push myself so hard in my quest to finish Schizandra and the Gates of Mu. Even though I’ve recovered my vision from my 1998 brain injury, 50,000 seemed like a LOT of words! But this year I realized that I had written about 20,000 words of character studies, scenery and research during the final week of October, and suddenly 50,000 words didn’t seem so impossible.

I am, of course, working on book 2 of the Schizandra Series, Schizandra and the Peruvian Jaguar. So many people keep asking when I’ll release this book that I’ve felt the need to hunker down. In addition to the 20K of background prep, I began November 1 with 5,782 words of actual text. I’m not counting that for NaNoWriMo, because we’re supposed to start fresh on the first. So far, I’ve written an additional 5,300 words or so, leaving me about one day behind, but still hovering over 11,000 words total.

I may or may not post progress updates this month. If you don’t hear from me, you’ll know why. I’ve got another 1,400 to write tonight. Considering that eleven years ago a brain injury left me unable to read or write longer than five minutes per day without an excruciating migraine, I figure getting anywhere close to 50,000 words in one month will be cause for major celebration. It’s just a first draft, but all books begin that way. If I keep pace, then Schizandra and the Peruvian Jaguar really should be ready by Spring 2010. No promises, though!

Speaking of celebrations … I had so much fun dressing up for Halloween that I put on fairy face paint the next day, too.

Laura Fairy Bodega 2

November 1 is my character Schizandra’s birthday, so Karen and I said a little Happy B-day to her and then hit the beach to look for stones. I found a pocketful of jade, pictured below:

Handful of Jade

OK, I’m off on a mad dash of words, kombucha and cacao. Wishing you a wonderful November! Fairy Blissings …

Laura Fairy Bodega 4

Mendocino/Fort Bragg Vacation

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything! Last week, my friend Tania Marie and I traveled to the Mendocino Coast for some much needed rest and relaxation. She had just finished the fourth in a series of five major paintings, and I still hadn’t officially celebrated the release of Schizandra and the Gates of Mu. I only had a few days for this getaway, so we picked somewhere close and dear to my heart. (Some of you may remember how much fun I had in Fort Bragg/Mendocino on my birthday last year.)

We truly experienced a magical, mind-blowing trip this time, much of which I am still processing. I’ll give you a bit of a recap here, though:

The Food

OK, first and foremost, Tania and I wanted to eat. We had originally planned to go to Santa Cruz, CA, but when we learned that their raw food restaurant had closed, we opted for Fort Bragg, home of the Living Light Culinary Institute. For those of you who’ve never heard of Cherie Soria, the founder, she has trained most of today’s top raw food chefs. You can find an interview of Cherie and her husband Dan here. I’m a bit spoiled in Sonoma County with both Cafe Gratitude and Seed Restaurant in close proximity, and Tania frequently visits L.A. with its enormous raw variety. We wanted to enjoy ourselves this trip and not worry about the food.

We began with a gas stop in Healdsburg. Yes, Tania has a hybrid, so maybe we didn’t really need gas, but we did fill up — both the Highlander and our bellies. Cafe Gratitude in Healdsburg called. We each got a large juice (I Am Worthy and I Am Healthy) and then noshed on our favorite: I Am, I Am — chocolate ice cream inside chocolate cookies. Sufficiently fueled, we hit the road for the two hour drive to our ocean getaway.

We arrived forgetting where we planned to stay, so we stopped at Harvest Market to “use the facilities,” buy some lusciously fresh figs and figure out our next stop. I must note here that Harvest Market is perhaps the friendliest, loveliest place I have ever grocery shopped. The staff literally escorted me to the restrooms, held open the door, and later directed me knowledgeably through the aisles to find water and MSM. Everyone smiled, and the store offered a nice combo of both natural products and reasonably healthy “normal” items, so a family could conceivably do all their shopping in one place. The staff also gave accurate directions to our hotel (we found our reservations but still didn’t know how to get there). Yes, Fort Bragg’s fairly small, but I always appreciate good directions!

Once settled, we headed over to Living Light for a pre-beach-meal. We ended up eating at Living Light’s Cafe at least once per day, guzzling Green Giant Juice and their “tuna” sandwiches. Holy wow, do those taste real. Better than real. I never liked tuna sandwiches until I went raw, but these really hit the spot. Their Taco Salad was yummy, too, but we kept returning to the tuna. And the cacao. Oh, dear me, do they ever have a delicious cacao pecan bar!

On the first night, we ate at a place in Mendocino called Raven’s, because we had heard they offered one raw entree, appetizer and dessert per evening. The food was OK, but the atmosphere exquisite. We felt grateful to have any raw options at such a classy place with a view. From our window seat, we watched hundreds of ravens fly in front of the sun as it set above giant redwoods and the pristine coast. As we continued our dinner (flax crackers with a carrot spread, a delectable gazpacho, sprouted quinoa “enchilladas” and a very satisfying peach cobbler), the staff lit a cozy fire, and tiny white lights outside illuminated the archway leading into Raven’s and the Stanford Inn. It felt like Christmas! We went to our hotel and slept like babies.

The Lodging
We stayed at Shoreline Cottages, on the outskirts of Fort Bragg, closer to Mendocino. Truth is, we got a screamin’ good deal and our little trip only cost us $111 each for two nights’ lodging in a 2-Queen room. A little wink from the universe. We would stay there again. I loved all the eco-toiletries, and natural fabrics. I have never slept in a more comfortable bed!

My only complaint is that the “beach within walking distance” involved some substantial hiking down slippery, semi-flooded out steps near someone’s house. We had perfect weather — seventy degrees and sunny our whole trip — but large pools of water still made the steps a bit difficult to navigate. When we did arrive at the “beach” we found we could see the ocean, but a giant pool of water separated us from the actual coast. It looked like we could possibly walk the long way around, but the area felt isolated for two 100-pound-ish women walking alone. In the distance we noticed two large men drinking and eyeing us, so we promptly flitted up the steps and drove to Mendocino’s headland trails along the coasts.

I had never seen the headlands on a sunny day, and I would just go straight here next time. Absolutely stunning! We walked for hours each day, and often marveled at our “luck” in choosing Shoreline Cottages for their low cost proximity to Mendocino’s amazing views.

The Experience
For all our fun and relaxation, Tania and I both felt some sort of calling to the Mendocino Coast specifically at this time. We had planned to go earlier, and events intervened to make that impossible. We had planned to go later, and intuitions intervened to make that really not seem wise. We planned to go other places, and information came through via email about various restaurant closings. It sounds mundane here, but the number of nudges we received had become so diverse and so frequent that by the time we arrived, we felt an air of expectation. Just what might happen to us on this strangely orchestrated getaway? Tania wanted information for her next painting, and I had reached a point of “stuckness” for Schizandra and the Peruvian Jaguar (book 2 in the series). I felt like I had too many plots and too many characters and how in the world would all of this integrate into a single novel?

The first night, when we returned from Ravens, my laptop died. I have an odd relationship with my laptop. It’s almost like a “familiar,” responding to my moods, insights and energy. It died when I released my first ebook, first book and second ebook, only to be resurrected by a new Motherboard, a $111 computer repair, and a new power cord. I’ve found that whenever I start to “download” a bunch of potentially overwhelming information into my brain, my laptop goes funky. Well, my laptop died. I suspect I caught a trojan due to the hotel internet system’s lack of a firewall, because I just landed on a website and the laptop froze, then shut off, then on, then off, then on, until I could manually turn it off. Annoying, yes, but I also experienced it as a blessing. Having the laptop offline made me feel more cocooned in the magic of the Mendocino Coast.

After a juice and lunch at Living Light, we made our way to the headlands and walked for hours along the cliffs at water’s edge. We sat down and took off our shoes, rooting ourselves into the rocks and earth. Tania did her own meditation/intending, while I sat on the cliff breathing the sea, feeling the wind and engaging in a version of the sa-ta-na-ma meditation. This is an ancient kundalini meditation that works with the roots “Sat” and “Nam,” meaning “I am truth” or “Truth is my true identity.” Divided into the syllables, it roughly translates: “Infinity, Life, Death, Rebirth” — essentially, the creative process itself. I asked that whatever creative block I had reveal itself and disintegrate, so that I could integrate everything coming at me for book 2. I learned later that Tania had asked that she and I receive some sort of sign about our paths and confirmation of the next creative projects coming through us.

When finished, we stood up and hiked back to town among the golden grass, turquois waters and rocky ledges. We began talking about the movie, “The Neverending Story” and the main character, Atreyu. I don’t remember the context of the conversation because I really had to pee! LOL, that was a theme for me this trip. We got back to town and I felt we must, absolutely must get to this one street where I was sure I would find the right spot to go. Since I had to go so bad, Tania pointed out a variety of places along the way, but something made me keep heading in the direction of the street I felt sure we’d find. Sure enough, a public bathroom stood on that corner. Relieved on multiple levels, we turned up the street, wondering what to do with ourselves. For as much as we’d craved a vacation, we felt a bit adrift with nothing at all on the agenda, no creative project to manifest, and no sessions for me to offer. Just us. Just Mendocino. What, we wondered, lay in store for us, since it seemed so very insistent we spend these three days here.

In another “must do” moment, I got the sense we should stop for a Mate Latte. Tania had never had one of these concoctions of Yerba Mate, and Moody’s Coffee Shop on our “special” street just happened to offer Mate Lattes with steamed Oat Milk. We asked the barissta what she thought we should do and discovered that aside from kayaking or driving or eating somewhere else, we had pretty much “done” the highlights. So … we sat down and enjoyed the stunning weather. We again voiced the magical words, “I wonder …” and Tania started staring off into space while I blissed out on my slightly stevia sweetened Mate Latte.

At that moment, a long-white-haired, long-white-bearded man with a cane crossed our path. He walked past us and then spun around, trying to see whatever Tania seemed so intent upon. Finding nothing of startling interest, he asked her and she said, “Oh, I’m just looking at nothing, but now that I see it, I really love your necklace.”

“It’s Atreyu’s necklace,” he said. “Do you know Atreyu? He walks the Middle Way.”

Tania and I glanced at each other and replied together, “We were just talking about The Neverending Story. Where did you get your necklace?”

“I ahsked for it,” he said. “Not ask, but A-S-S-K. Ahsked.”

“We were just doing some asking ourselves,” we giggled.

I happened to be wearing a jeweled bindi sticker over my third eye and an Om necklace, which the man noticed. “Om is older than Sanskrit,” he said.

“I know,” I said and smiled.

He stared at my bindi and said, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God and the Word was–”

“Om,” I said. Tania and I looked at each other, having heard me pontificate on such things before. 🙂

Back to the necklace. Tania asked again where he got it, and then noticed some other jewelery on his wrists, for which he had also “ahsked.”

He asked us, “So what are you doing in Mendocino?”

“A-S-S-King,” we said. “We’re on vacation but we wanted to know the next step in our projects.”

“She’s a writer,” explained Tania.

“A writer,” said the man, “do you know about the 22 male runes?”

“I do,” I said.

“And do you know about the female runes and all the corresponding words and numbers?”

“I do not,” I said.

He asked if he could sit down, which we eagerly encouraged him to do. He then proceeded to whip out a hundred-or-so page notebook filled with double columns of runes. Each page looked the same, but with different sets of correspondences. “The Code,” he said, then talked to us for about 2 hours. It was fascinating. Then he had to pee — yes, the theme! — and so he left us. We tossed our drinks and went on another walk at the headlands. On the way back to the car, we ran into him again, “Down the road …” as he liked to say.

Then we headed back to Fort Bragg with the idea of renting a movie. We stopped at Harvest Market Shopping Center wanting to find the nearest Blockbuster. A store called “Music Merchant” caught my eye, but I went into the hardware store instead. I learned that the nearest Blockbuster was in Santa Rosa, two and a half hours away! OK, any other rental spots? Everyone directed me to a place downtown until someone literally ran up to me, interjected himself into the conversation and said, “No, you have to go to Music Merchant. They rent videos now, too.”

I told Tania, and we parked the Highlander and entered the Music Merchant. I bought Led Zeppelin’s “Mothership” and we rented “The Matrix” (thoughts on those some other time). As I put them into my bag, we heard a jolly laugh behind us, followed by, “Third time’s the charm!” Our white-bearded, Atreyu-necklace-wearing friend. Tania and I had just commented how we wished we could have spent more time with him, and (poof!) he appeared. We wound up spending another five hours with him in the atrium of Living Light’s Cafe. Holy download.

Suffice to say, the writer’s block has left. You haven’t seen a blog post in over a week because I’ve been typing and/or reading practically non-stop between sessions since I returned. Tania experienced the same phenonmenon with regard to her next painting. Layers upon layers of encoded meanings and associations. We’re loving it. I have not done justice to the otherworldy feeling of this encounter. I suppose I could have begun, “Two fair maidens met a werewolf on Full Moon’s Eve” or “the shaman and the faeries walked together and down the road” or “a person’s word is bond.”

But I think I’ll just say, “we tiptoed into the Pomegranate Garden, tasted the fruit and smiled.”

Blessed Be.

Writing, Writer’s Block & Editing

Traci Moore, my editor for Schizandra and the Gates of Mu just interviewed me for her website. We cover a bit about my writing process, along with how I knew when to hire an editor, and what inspired the Schizandra Series. If you know me primarily as a Medical Intuitive and Life Coach, my nerdy English major side might surprise and/or amuse you. Enjoy!

“Fasten Your Seat Belts” … Reader Views Reviews Schizandra

Schizandra and the Gates of Mu
Laura Bruno
International Renaissance Press (2009)
ISBN 9780615301334

Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (8/09)

There are books that should come with a warning label. If I think of some of the books I’ve read recently, there was definitely at least one that should have had an “Attention! Might put you to sleep!” sticker. “Handle with care! Incendiary!” would have been the right one for another recently read book. “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu” by Laura Bruno should come with a brightly colored label saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts…”

The story of a 13-year-old named Schizandra starts with a bang. She’s recently orphaned and has to move to Sedona, where her grandmother lives. On a seemingly ordinary school day she faints during a biology class and enters a coma-like state. And so the wild ride begins. While they are trying to take her out of Sedona, it seems that Sedona does not want to let her go. Two helicopters malfunction, and so does an ambulance. It looks as if Schizandra is meant to stay. An incredible cast of wonderfully colorful characters gathers around Schizandra, all trying to help her wake up, since the future of the entire human race depends on that — her grandmother, the midwife; twin maiden aunts, whose chosen profession is reflexology; a handsome, brave and intuitive pilot; a Navajo, speaking of curses; a Japanese-Native American schoolboy. While they are trying to bring her back, Schizandra is in a different world, meeting and encountering some really vibrant creatures — shape-shifting strange frogs, drinking chocolate and munching on cocoa pods; talking crystals; a healer rabbit; a yellow, dancing hummingbird. And there’s talk about all kinds of extraordinary matters — Lemuria, also known as Mu; evolution of human race; people as portals; the true meaning of 2012. The list is never ending…

I’ve enormously enjoyed this book. The characters were unique, quirky and likeable. The dialogue was fresh, fluid and captivating. The storyline was compelling and moved at a fast, yet not frenetic pace. The subjects discussed in the book were diverse, and several made me interested in learning more about them, particularly the “end of the world” according to the Mayan calendar and the true meaning of it.

Mystical, magical and totally enchanting, this story opened up a world that I was not ready to leave behind yet. I am truly looking forward to the sequel, and hoping there will be several of those coming out shortly. I highly recommend “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu” to readers of all ages who are interested in true mysteries, New Age, astrology, fantasy worlds and prophesies, as well as to anybody who simply enjoys a well-written story. Laura Bruno will not disappoint you.

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