Books by Melissa Bowersock

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Perfection in Writing: No Excuses

A while back, Stephen Hise was featured on a blurb.com blog talking about what it takes to be a successful indie writer. Or rather, what it takes to not be a successful indie writer. He points out all the places were a writer might fall short, either in expectation, attitude or in deed. One of the reasons an author might not do well is:
You are big on excuses.
Indie-land is a no-excuse zone. Don’t put out some typo-riddled book with a cheesy, amateurish cover and expect people to overlook its flaws just because you’re an indie. Help is out there. You can hire it or you can learn some new skills. You can even find folks who will help you get it right, or trade their services for something you do well.
This reminded me of something I read, oh, about 35 years ago in a photography magazine. I am a photographer in my spare time, sometimes professionally but mostly not. I had my own photography business ages ago—shot some weddings, shot some portraits, even won some awards. I used to read photo magazines religiously. I don’t now remember which magazine it was or who the author was, but I read this article about being a professional photographer. I will paraphrase what I read, or at least what I remember through the lens of all those years:
Don’t show anything that is not perfect. When people are looking at your photographs, they only care about the image in front of them. They don’t care that the light was absolutely breathtaking just five minutes before you shot that photo. They don’t care that the bull elk in the photo locked eyes with you just seconds before turning away as you took the shot. Your explanation for why that photo is not absolute perfection — your excuse — does not matter to them. If it’s not perfect, don’t even bother to show it.
Harsh as it is, that’s a piece of advice that stuck with me all these years and has served me in more ways than I can count. Any time I put anything in front of the public, be it a photo or a book or even just a blog post, I remember that. Whatever we produce, whatever we put out there, must stand on its own merits. The viewer/reader does not know — does not need to know — and does not care about any extenuating circumstances about why our production is not perfect. Forget all about explaining. Forget about rationalizing. If it’s not perfect, forget about putting it out there.
Now before you start warming up the tar and gathering feathers and start screaming at me about the unattainability of perfection even in traditionally-published books (see Stephen’s earlier post on that), I get it. Perfection is the golden ring that hangs just nanometers from our fingertips. It’s the impossible dream. It’s not realistic. It may be completely and always unattainable. But that doesn’t mean we don’t strive for it.
So how do we know when we’re close enough? How do we know when our work is good enough to put out there in front of the public? Remember that photography article. Remember what Stephen said.
No excuses.
If you’re pushing the “publish” button while thinking, I should go through this one more time but I already blogged and tweeted about the release date and I can’t be late, you’re not done yet.
If you’re pushing the “publish” button while thinking, What was that thing that one beta-reader said about some of my paragraphs not transitioning smoothly? Well, I can go back later and check on that, you’re not done yet.
If you’re pushing the “publish” button while thinking, I’d really like to develop that middle part a bit more but I’m just so sick of looking at this over and over, you’re not done yet.
If you’re pushing the “publish” button while thinking, Oh, no, I just remembered that I never added that part about the main character’s mother that explains why he’s afraid of commitment; I’ll have to do that later on and I’ll just upload a new version then, you’re not done yet.
Your readers don’t want your excuses. They don’t want your explanations. They only want a good book, a great book, a book worth their time.
If you’re pushing the “publish” button while exhaling a deep, satisfied breath, while sitting back in your chair with a goofy grin on your face and the emphatic, heartfelt thought, It’s done, in your mind, then, yes, you are done. Just don’t kid yourself. Remember: if it’s not YES! with an exclamation point, it’s no.
Originally published by Indies Unlimited on 9/30/2014.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Author Interview: Dr. Bara Loveland

Today I’m sitting down with Dr. Bara Loveland, author of several books about consciousness, its history and definitions, and how it figures into our lives. I think it’s going to be difficult to distill her books down into a short blog piece, but let’s start with your latest, The Book ofConsciousness.

Bara, can you give us a brief overview of the book? What might people learn from it? How might it benefit their lives?

Bara: Every chapter is conclusive in itself, yet reading from A to Z may render the best understanding. Original research starts with the overrated mind/cerebrum as a knowledge-suppressing organ. Some readers reject this so far unknown fact and yet, for understanding Consciousness, we have to be clear what the mind can and cannot do. I have written about it in Das innere Weltbild (The Inner World Conception, 1982). The eBook of Consciousness continues discussing Consciousness based on ancient insights of our spiritual ancestors, of U.S. Natives, the unconscious, and mass conscious. Other chapters guide the reader to realize our divine powers, anchored in organs we still have, and reveal biblical symbols and what they really mean assisting to understand the Bible. Trailing is a reflection on rules and the One Law in the universe as well as on how science and magic deal with Consciousness. Additional dimensions are elucidated and suggestions for successful meditation are given. An excurse of original research specifies that Jesus was in India – by Jesus’ own words! The Rhubarb chapter defines terminology (often downplayed by science) as used in this book and gives the many names of God (Bible). This book contains an easy read for the open mind as well as scientific and spiritual facts, experiences, and humor.

I’m glad you said it’s an easy read for the open mind; it sounds like a massive amount of information. Glad, as well, to know there are experiences and humor in it. What’s your background in this amazing subject? What led you to study consciousness?

Bara: Defining Consciousness was nearly a life-long process. At the age of 10, riding the public bus to school, my sister made me aware that one can read a person’s character from his/her face. For six school days a week I could compare face expressions with what I knew about the people. Soon I expanded the study to unknown people, mainly working on an intuitive basis. Later I trained my mind to be aware of facts, studied dream symbols as presented by Freud and Jung, and was fascinated by holy symbols and archetypes. I studied architecture which enhanced 3D-visualization, I volunteered at a clinic that healed by altered states without punishment, and learned there to switch instantly from measurable brain waves of Beta (daily life concerns) to Alpha (intuition, healing) and beyond. Working as assistant professor, I completed a first of the kind doctorate in the combined fields of architecture and in-dept psychology. Later I fulfilled a second doctorate in natural healing and worked in altered states up to 18 hours a day on original research of life energy, Color MedicineTM, and sacred symbols. The lingering question was: what is Consciousness? It took me years of pondering to find the definition around 2005, for mass conscious’ misleading definition is strong, holding us back.

Fascinating stuff. I especially find my interest piqued with the connection between architecture and psychology. How has your study and research changed your own personal life?

Bara: Face studies allowed me to know more about people, guiding others, and one day I helped a friend to understand his boss by evaluating a photograph of the latter. Asked about a TV couple, seeing them for the first time on TV, I said, “He is naïve, she is neurotic.” It turned out to be true as events developed. The work in the clinic changed my science-trained mind to give way to intuition, then checking reality back with the mind. Yet an event that predated my intense research on symbols changed my life the most: it was the death of my beloved mother. She was medically overdosed and, like Elvis, survived it for only three years. When an angel on earth, my mother, could die that cruel way, then there was no God. Being from a Lutheran priest’s family, I became an atheist. Still, the intense studies on holy symbols sent me right back to believing in God. I discovered our holy energies, also mentioned in the Bible, and in all spiritual cultures. I experienced life-energy rising and energy centers opening before I knew of their existence. Later, I used my life energy to cool myself in a modern train halted for hours in the Austrian sun with broken cooling system, all windows sealed! I gained a new understanding of suffering and newly defined the terms neurosis (Zeitalter des Gefühls, Era of Feeling,1979), symbol (Symbole von Urerfahrung, Symbols of Primal Experience, 1981), and archetype (Das innere Weltbild, The Inner World Conception, 1982), all never defined that way by others before. I found that these terms are related to our sacred energies. With spiritual insights I realized that all life is holy: from the ant to the elephant, and that animals/insects have awareness and feelings.

I am so sorry to hear about your mother. It sounds like her death led you to greater discoveries, though, which I would guess she would be proud of. You have other books that delve into the divine feminine, like Heaven and Earth Mother and Adoration of the Madonna. What message do you bring to women in the world today about their feminine nature? What about men?

Bara: There was a long period on earth where the female was the goddess, the priestess, and the healer, maybe lasting millions of years. Herman Wirth has extensively researched this ancient field, which must have neglected male dreams for acceptance. There was a Mother goddess, Futer (probably far before 30,000 BC): She Who Is, the Only One. Later she was perceived with two symbolic aspects as Heaven and Earth Mother according to our life energy, with her three daughters (energy channels). Virgin birth may have been in practice as mentioned in Adoration of the Madonna, showing the beautiful art of Antonia Hudson. Yet when keeping herds, people realized that a male animal was of advantage for offspring since one did not need a holy woman to assist. Finally, the Great Mother got a son (ca. 15,000 BC), and then a male partner (more wide-spread ca. 2,000 BC). That is, the God-mother was historically before her son, and the God-son existed before the God-father. It may help to forgive injustice now done to women, when understanding that this long-lasting, one-sided view on female holiness had to be balanced by the opposite. In male societies, the woman was/is generally not accepted being alone in public or in public office, after the Greek manner of treating women. Greece then dominated the ancient occident including the Holy Land (332-63 BC), and Greek customs – which Jesus ignored – are reflected in the Bible. Yet, the predominance of holiness of males was based on a spiritual error: the man was the spiritual representative of the Heaven Mother as father and Father God; the woman was only the dense, material Earth Mother without spirit, yet revived as Queen of Heaven in St. Mary. Realizing the history of the Heaven and Earth Mother allows an understanding of the symbolic male/female roles and that both together stand for our life energy as expressed in Heaven and Earth Mother. Her ancient sight carries over into our time to the bride in white (Heaven Mother) and the groom in black (Earth Mother); he, having her complete symbol (hour glass), the tie, around his neck!

I have a feeling that reading about this in our present time might help a lot of women reconcile the second-class treatment they may have experienced. You also have two books on self-help, The SelfHelp Kaleidoscope and Color Medicine. What tools do you give readers so they can start to heal their own lives?

Bara: Working with life-energy photographs I saw that people were often misdiagnosed. For people not having access to a life-energy camera as a second opinion, I studied how to realize needs from people’s faces and from their behavior (original research). This is partly reflected in my two eCourses on Color MedicineTM, stating what color to use. It was Charles Klotsche who wrote the book on Color MedicineTM, for which I assembled some data as subject editor (sometimes mentioned as BEEM in the book). Color MedicineTM was called the best book on the subject on the market, since it gives easy to follow instructions for using the Dinshah colors with their physical and spiritual influences (chapters 3ff). Scientific information is found in chapters 1 and 2. In order to summarize how people can help themselves on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels, I assembled the SelfHelp Kaleidoscope for the healing on four levels. The core is composed of a specific meditation exercise and the pH table from original research: this meditation exercise is an improvement over what I learned in the clinic as volunteer, called Bio*ChakraTM Light Meditation: it takes only a few minutes before bedtime to work on solving problems while staying positive. When done properly, it is highly effective and may change difficult situations in months or even weeks which otherwise could take years on the couch. The other highly important issue is acidity (pH under 7) which is based on artificially polluted environments, causing inflammation. When alkaline (pH 7.5), everything may heal. Also diet, detoxification, natural remedies without negative side effects, and what alkaline-forming means may be used instead of toxic, acid-forming chemicals – e.g. for mosquitoes – are discussed.

I’ve read quite a bit about alkalinity and acidity, and know it has a huge affect on our bodies, as does inflammation. And for a complete change of pace, you have written a book about Mimbres Pottery. What drew you to this particular cultural style of pottery? Why is it important?

Bara: In Santa Fe, New Mexico, I attended a lecture by a scholar on Mimbres pots. He showed beautiful artwork done by the ancient Mimbrenos (Natives from the area of Mexico, New Mexico, and Arizona) yet he and his colleagues did not know what the symbols mean and why there is a hole in the precious pots. My research had lead me to rediscover the spiritual meanings of these symbols (including the hole) and to visit Professor Herman Wirth, whose work on ancient symbols – on a more worldly but sacred basis – confirmed my findings. I had to give the spiritual message of the ancient symbols to the modern Natives who continue the art of their ancestors. The (W)Hole Book on Mimbres Pots explains many symbols and their spiritual origin, and explains, why a hole is knocked in the precious pots. The Mimbres hole is also mentioned in the Bible, however, the churches do not know it yet.

That may be a book I’ll have to read. I’m currently volunteering at my local archaeology center, curating artifacts, and I think that would be a fascinating subject.  Are you working on anything new right now? What is it, and when might people expect to see it available?

Bara: I have manuscripts that are decades old and still ahead of time. I am computerizing, as far as time allows, one that gives more insights into face and behavior readings on four levels for the interested to use, including easy to acquire remedies. Another exciting manuscript – if the mice did not eat it in storage – is The Origin of the Hebrew Tree of Life from about 1982. I discovered its origin within a week of searching. This manuscript explains why the Jewish people were the chosen ones to keep the message, yet they forgot. Jesus formulated it as a prayer! Professor Gershom Scholem, greatest scholar of Jewish symbolism including the Kabala Tree of Life, had written that the origin of this tree is not for men to know: only God knows. I sent him a message twice without any reply. Only years later I realized that Professor Scholem had died around that time. After my discovery I joked that now God and Bara knew, yet people did not like this saying, not believing me. In the later 1980s, a Jewish grant-giving society rejected to fund publishing the project, and a publisher in Germany told me in the 1990s that if he would publish this manuscript, all his well-selling books on the subject would be outdated and no longer sell. – When the student is ready, the book will appear.

Thank you so much, Bara, for sharing all this amazing information with us. If people want to know more, how can they find you?

Blog: to be established via www.NewAncientSecrets.com

Monday, November 7, 2016

Veteran's Day Special

Once again for Veteran's Day (and maybe some early Christmas shopping?), I'm putting my non-fiction book, Marcia Gates: Angel of Bataan on sale for just 99 cents. This is the award-winning true story of a courageous Army nurse and prisoner-of-war who just happens to be my aunt. 



This book was truly a labor of love. I had always heard growing up that my aunt was a prisoner of the Japanese during WWII, but not much more beyond that. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Wisconsin Historical Society had in their archives two scrapbooks that were created by my grandmother during my aunt's time in service, filled with letters, photos, news clippings, telegrams and every other bit of information from that agonizing time. I knew the story needed to be told, and I knew if I didn't do it, no one would. 

I've been hugely gratified by the way this book has touched others. It has garnered several awards and was featured in a TV documentary Our Wisconsin: The Military History of America's Dairyland. Here's a sample of some of the very nice reviews the book has received:

Nurse Gates' amazing valor and her mother's drive reminds us to never forget the human dimension of combat. A reminder indeed that loved ones suffer as much at home as those on the battlefields. Inspirational. 

Her spirit came alive on the pages of this factual account of her Japanese captivity.

Enjoyed this book from cover to cover.

If you like history, true stories, stories of dedication and commitment and humble bravery, you might enjoy this book. During this time of remembering and honoring our veterans, I believe it's important to keep their stories alive. I hope you will join me in honoring all the men and women who have served our country.


Watch the book trailer here

The Kindle version is on sale this week, through November 13, 2016.