Posts Tagged ‘Novels’

Raw Foods Witch Reviews Schizandra and the Gates of Mu

Nathalie Lussier, aka “The Raw Foods Witch.” just made a cute video review of “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu.”

Thanks, Nathalie!

“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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“Tingles from Head to Toes”

“It is not very often that I read a book that literally gives me tingles from head to toes and captures me with deep, inner truths and enlightenment. Schizandra and the Gates of Mu, by Laura Bruno is a rare gem of a novel, taking the reader through a journey of self discovery and infinite potential. …”

You can read Cassandra Margraf’s full review here.

Amazon Reader Reviews of Schizandra

Schizandra’s getting some really interesting reviews on Amazon. Test readers noticed more vivid dreams, too. I’ve also been hearing from clients who bought the novel but haven’t finished it yet that their dreams and thought patterns are becoming noticeably more creative and fluid.

Cool! I edited the heck out of this book to help people feel and experience a sense of oneness and movement in and through different realities on the edge of their current consciousness. With my soul readings and medical intuitive work, “dimension hopping” as Shazzie calls it, comes naturally to me. Moving in and out of ancient memories forms an everyday occurence. I’m happy to see from these initial reviews that Schizandra and the Gates of Mu has begun to weave its magic in others’ lives.

Here’s a HUGE thank you to everyone who has ever had a soul reading, intuitive life path assessment, animal communication session, Reiki class/session, or medical intuitive reading from me. I didn’t know it at the time, but providing those services was honing my brain to write a book about conscious expansion into freedom and bliss. Much love!

Laura Bruno

Shazzie Reviews Schizandra

Schizandra and the Gates of Mu

Schizandra and the Gates of Mu

Review by Shazzie
I’ve always wondered where the novels were that I’d want to read! With more people waking up every day, the need for switched-on fiction is growing ever more pressing. Laura’s ability to write a book like this without everything becoming a raw-vegan-yoga-cliche is notable. She achieves this because she truly lives this lifestyle, fluttering from dimension to dimension, pulling it all back into 3D words. And happily, though the characters are also flitting from dimension to dimension, they are all very interesting and funny, with not a trace of brown rice and sandals to them. It’s like reading about people we know doing things we do: drinking yerba mate, ignoring phone calls, ’80s pop music, drowning in spam and emails, 2012, feeling ascension, finding crystals to heal instead of calling your GP, tarot card readings, synchronicities, modern classic literature, the history of the future and of course yoga. Laura even mentions the non-leather seats of a Jaguar, and all us vegans know how frustrating it is to have to buy half a cow when we just want a nice car.

With lines like “I will love you forever for thirteen cacao nibs”, “When you vow a vow to God, do not delay in paying it. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and then not pay” and “Give me liberty or give me death”, we are blissed with profound realisations coated in chocolate fun. And, yes, Laura squeezes the history of cacao, real chocolate into the novel. The novel draws us into the desert and its desolation, weirdness and otherworldliness so well you start to feel the cold odd nature of the place, despite its heat. Telepathy, teleporting, all we want and need to make a quantum leap to the next level of communication manifests in this work.

Laura skillfully weaves a tapestry of an orphan’s magical journey, the prophecies of 2012, a mystic grandmother descended from witches, twin maiden reflexologist great aunts and alien-like cacao guzzling frog creatures. The orphan, Schizandra, has an ability to see pain and illness in others, but she doesn’t really understand her power. However, it’s clear she is a metaphor for being the centre of the universe, a portal for transformation. And as with our personal growth, we can only truly heal when we become the centre of our own universe, creating life from our thoughts. We come to realise why so many have a foot in both worlds, afraid to truly let go: because this is the “time of no time” according to the Mayans. As she rebirths, we realise that we all have to do the same and leave the old world for once and for all.

The work we do on ourselves reflects perfectly in Schizandra’s condition. While reading tarot cards, Tom explains that Schizandra’s very reason for incarnation is to trigger evolution and ascension of the species. “This Ascension process would only occur in a calm and loving heart.” Yes! It’s all about the love, love. Laura pulls together the stories of all involved at the same time, as everyone works in their own way to save and rebirth Schizandra, which in turn does the same for all of humanity.

This unique work of heart is so fast paced it almost reads like a short story, yet it’s a full-sized flesh on vegan bone novel. I furiously flicked through the pages wanting to know how our own end will spark our own beginning, in rebirth.

Review by Shazzie.

You can find Schizandra and the Gates of Mu here, immediately on Kindle, or order an autographed copy here.

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

Sonoma County Moving Story

Many of you know that my husband and I have been planning a move around Summer Solstice 2009. We’ve known the date since January, but the location, ah, now that’s another story! For those of you who don’t know, Stephen and I have moved all over the West Coast since 2001. We’ve lived in Washington (Seattle and Vashon Island); Oregon (Ashland and Coos Bay), Nevada (two different relocations — Reno and twice at Lake Tahoe), New Mexico (Santa Fe and Las Vegas), Texas (Austin), Arizona (Prescott, Mesa, Payson and twice in Sedona), and California (two different times — in Monterey, San Luis Obispo and most recently in Sonoma County). For all those moves, you wouldn’t believe how many times we’ve almost moved places. We “break out the map” every few months.

Since Stephen’s a photographer and we both do so much writing, the travels benefit our creativity. Even so, we’re slowing down. We used to move every 2-6 months, but most recently we’re completing a 13-month lease in Petaluma. Before that we spent a full six months in Sedona. 🙂 In our search for a new spot, we considered everything from Bellingham, WA to San Diego, CA on the West Coast. We mentally revisited all our prior locales to see if any of them called us to return. We looked at Orange County, Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, even Hawaii and Catalina Island. Many sounded really nice, but nothing quite clicked. Still, we knew we weren’t staying where we live right now. 

A couple weeks ago,  Stephen and I were finalizing plans to return to Reno/Tahoe. It was after 10 p.m. and we sat talking on our little recliner chair. Just as we had almost completed our plans, he remembered a dream he’d had earlier that day. In the dream, I said, “Whatever you do, please don’t take me back to Reno. Please, please don’t take me back to Reno.”

We chuckled because I’ve always loved that area, but we do take our dreams seriously in the Bruno household! So, we agreed that if we found a property with x, y, z, a, b, and c “impossible” things, then we would simply move to a particular neighborhood I’d liked in Sonoma County. 

Just then, the phone rang. “Who’s calling this late?” we wondered. I looked at a Sonoma County area code and picked up the phone. What happened next still has us shaking our heads.

The caller had seen a post I’d left on a local forum the night before. I had, frankly, forgotten I’d even posted a question about that particular neighborhood in Sonoma County. I wanted to know the name of it, so that I could search for a 3 BR 2 BA house online. The person on the phone informed me that he had seen my post and hoped he wasn’t calling too late. He wouldn’t have, except that I had posted to the forum even later the night before. He wanted to let me know that he had a 3 BR 2 BA house available in that exact neighborhood in Sonoma County.

This wasn’t the only synchronicity. As the conversation unfolded, I learned that the house had all the things we wanted and more and that the landlords were rather famous authors. We started talking shop about novels, book promotion, and writing contests.

Stephen and I agreed to look at the place the following weekend. In the meantime, I emailed our potential landlords about how synchronous the encounter was for us. I mentioned the Reno dream and the fact that we had at just that moment decided to leave CA unless this specific property became available. The landlord with whom I spoke replied, “Synchronicity? Yes. Never before have I at 10:30 PM telephoned persons I had not met. But some kind of ‘Bali Hai’ called me to find you out there in the dark. In the way that you have envisioned a writer owning a home where you as writers might work, I have envisioned writers and artists who might take up such residence.” 

The address itself adds up to an 11:11, which readers of this blog and the soon-to-be-released Schizandra will also recognize as significant. Anyway, long story short, we visited the home two weekends ago and agreed to sign a year’s lease. In the process we ended up hanging out in a coffee shop in Sebastopol for two fun hours with our future landlords. We pick up the keys tomorrow for a move-in the day before Summer Solstice 2009.

For the privacy of all those involved, I’m only including the bare minimum of synchronicities here, but of all our moves, this one gets the prize. I did not even make a single phone call about a place. I had jokingly told Stephen back in April, “You know, I’m done. I am so tired of making phone calls about potential properties and potential towns. I just want our next move to find us!” Well, I guess it did, which leaves me one grateful lady. Here I am at Cafe Gratitude shortly after my 36th birthday back in May:


Guess it wasn’t my last “I Am Passionate” Pizza after all! I remember hugging all my Sonoma County friends that night thinking it might be the last time I see some of them for a long, long time. Stephen and I are both happy to move on to our next adventure … and also happy to keep it within a quick drive of our most recent ones. Cheers!