“Shaman Stone Soup” is only 99¢ for a limited time!

Shaman Stone SoupDon’t miss this deal! Shaman Stone Soup is an inspiring and uplifting read for those interested in the mysterious ways the universe provides us with miracles.

Book Description: Shaman Stone Soup takes you on the journey of an atheist who discovers Native American spirituality and becomes a healer for friends, family and clients. The author shares her personal stories that demonstrate how spirit guides, angels and enlightened beings can answer calls for help through miracles. You will read about the matronly ghost who overstayed her welcome, the spirits of ancient wise men who offered advice and a miraculous cure from cancer for a friend, the man who got out of his wheelchair to go hunting and fishing, a vivid dream and later chance meeting of a pastor who needed guidance, the metamorphosis of a schizophrenic, the loving afterlife contact from her mother who died unexpectedly, and many other stories.

“Unique and captivating, we need only to listen in order to learn her subtle, yet powerful spiritual message.” — Awareness Magazine

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“Of Stars and Clay” | Chapter 3

< Read Chapter 1 

The sunset glowed through the virgin forest surrounding the Bear Claw First Nation Reservation in Alberta, Canada. The tribe members lounged around a bonfire while the children entertained themselves by burning sticks. Some of the men stood outside the circle drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.

John, a spirited young man with long hair, carried an armload of logs to the fire. He shooed away the children before placing the wood on top of the burning embers. Sparks shot into the air. He used a stick to prod the logs until the flames grew bolder, dazzling the little ones who drew closer once more.

A boy, Hoki, stepped away from the blaze, going over to Tom Running Deer, a headstrong man in his mid-thirties who sat beside his equally headstrong wife, Cecile Two Feathers. The boy tugged on Tom’s t-shirt, which had the words “The Original Founding Fathers” printed above an illustration of four Native American chiefs.

The man set down his beer. “Yes?”

“Uncle, tell us a story,” Hoki requested, his big brown eyes hopeful.

Tom shook his head. “No, not me. Grandmother Hausis is the storyteller.”

An old woman stopped chatting with the woman beside her, and called out, “What!? Did I hear my name?”

Tom explained, talking louder than normal, “Grandmother! Hoki wants a story! Would you do it!?”

When the other children heard the request, they aptly followed the conversation. They loved to listen to the stories.

“What does he want to hear?” she asked.

Hoki pointed at the sky. “Tell me about those.”

Everyone gazed up at the hazy opalescent plane trails that marred the darkening sky, tinged with orange as the sun left for the day.

“Those things?” The old woman shook her head. She knew the tribe had no ancient stories of this modern-day phenomenon. “Nay, why don’t you do it, Tommy?”

Hoki and the other kids refocused their eager energy on to Tom.

Cecile patted her husband on the back, smiling. “Yeah, let’s hear it, big guy.”

He cleared his throat while racking his brain. “Ah…give me a minute.”

The children settled in the dirt in front of him.

Tom tried to remain optimistic for the young ones, but, deep inside, he was somber. He had done his best to ignore the plane trails all day long because their presence meant the Earth Sentinels’ agreement with the world’s governments had been violated, and that knowledge was too bitter of a pill to swallow after five years of good medicine.

The fire sizzled and snapped. Everyone grew quiet, waiting for the story to begin.

Tom cleared his throat. “There are prophecies from another tribe that speak of the end of days. One says, ‘near the Time of Purification, there will be spider webs spun in the sky.’”

The children’s eyes grew big.

A girl pointed at the misty plane trails, asking with a slight lisp because her front baby teeth were missing, “But…how’d they get there?”

Tom was at a loss for words. He didn’t want to ruin the mood of the gathering by explaining, in the past, the government had sprayed chemicals into the atmosphere for unverified reasons. Geo-engineering, such as cloud seeding, was one possibility. He had also read the sprays might contain particles that reflect the sun to counteract global warming. However, because of the secrecy, he suspected something more sinister was afoot. Not wanting to disappoint them, he improvised, “Once upon a time, there was a giant spider that spun webs to keep the stars from floating away.”

His opening line captivated the children. Some of the adults chuckled because they knew he was crafting the tale from scratch.

“Whenever a strand was weak, the spider would climb up to fix it, keeping every star in place. And, because of her efforts, everything was good and balanced. But one night, the spider slept too long, and one of the strings broke, letting a star hurl through space.” Tom pretended to fling a star.

The children envisioned it flying away, lost in the cosmos.

“The hole needed to be filled, so the Giant Spider went after it, hoping to catch the star and bring it back.” Tom moved his fingers like a spider scurrying through space. “But while she was gone, another spider snuck in through the hole.

“Now this new spider was not like the other one. It thought only of itself, and weaved a web across the hole to keep the Giant Spider from returning. And that—” Tom pointed at the plane trails in the sky, “is the Sneaky Spider’s web.”

Hoki asked, “How will the Giant Spider get back?”

“When she returns with the missing star, its heat will burn up the Sneaky Spider and its sticky web. And after the star is in place, the world will become balanced once more.”

“Is the Giant Spider coming back soon?”

“I hope so.”

***

A steady downpour hit the roof of the shack where Tom and Cecile slept. The clock on the nightstand read 7:04 a.m. The dreamcatcher hanging on the wall above the bed served as the headboard. The sound of rain prodded Cecile awake. She immediately noticed the aches in her body and throbbing head. She wondered how a sickness could come on so quickly. She looked over at her husband. His face was flushed. Concerned, she touched his forehead with the back of her hand. Feverish.

Tom opened his bloodshot eyes.

Cecile gasped. “Tom! Your eyes—” She didn’t finish her sentence. A sudden urge to vomit came over her.

She tossed the covers off herself, rushing out of the bedroom, past the frayed green chair in the living room sitting under the rain-spattered window. By the time she made it to the bathroom threshold, she was lightheaded and forced to hold onto the doorframe to steady herself. What is wrong with me? She reached for the sink counter, making her way to the toilet. She sunk to her knees, placing her head over the bowl, throwing up.

Tom unsteadily entered the bathroom to check on her. “You okay?”

She shook her head.

“Me, neither. Damn, I feel—” He unexpectedly gagged. He motioned for Cecile to move out of the way. She sat back as Tom kneeled over the bowl, every muscle in his body contracting as he retched. Dizzy, he fell to the vinyl floor, lying face down and moaning.

“Tom!” She pulled on his shoulder, attempting to turn him over, but his moans echoed through her mind.

The room spun.

Cecile became disoriented.

Everything went black.

***

The makeshift infirmary in the tribe’s community center was divided in half by a waist-high barrier created out of blankets and sheets draped over chairs spaced evenly apart. The temporary wall offered a slice of privacy for the sick people lying on the floor. Men were on one side and women on the other of the unlit room. Most of them slept. A few moaned because of their aches and pain. All had blotches that resembled bruises covering their bodies.

Adeelah, a junior in the reservation’s high school, walked around the room to see who needed her assistance while holding a pitcher of water in one hand and a few empty mugs in the other. The girl looked much healthier than her older “patients”. The blotches on her skin were almost indiscernible.

She noticed Cecile was awake for the first time, and sidestepped the others to check on her. She kneeled beside Cecile, setting her pitcher down to check her forehead, saying, “You’re better, but you should drink something.” Adeelah poured water into a mug, holding it against the woman’s dry lips, telling her, “Just so you know, Tom’s here and he’s doing fine. He’s on the other side.”

Cecile pulled her mouth away from the mug. “Can I see him?” She tried to get up, but became woozy.

Adeelah helped her to lie back down. “You should rest. Okay? Don’t worry, you’ll both be fine.”

With her bloodshot eyes, Cecile examined Adeelah’s face, trying to detect if the temporary nurse was lying, but she found it too hard to focus. She was simply too tired and weak. Her eyelids drooped.

Adeelah set the half-empty mug next to the sick woman’s pillow. “Let me know if you need anything else,” she said, then walked away. There were others that needed her help.

Left alone, Cecile groggily noticed the teenagers were the only ones taking care of the others. She wondered, Where’s Grandmother Hausis? The elders? The children? But she didn’t have the strength to ask, and maybe didn’t want to know.

Cecile fell asleep, dreaming she was walking down a red road. The sides were lined with arching trees dotted with pink blossoms. Crows flew overhead. The fiery ball in the sky was touching the horizon. Each of her footsteps became heavier than the last, and just when she thought she couldn’t go any farther, a stag stepped out from behind the trees, standing in the middle of the road. The sunset silhouetted its strong form and magnificent set of antlers.

The totem animal had a message for her. “This will be your most difficult lesson, but you will find the strength, wisdom and courage to do that which must be done.”

The stag became waves of light, swirling around Cecile, joining with her spirit before the woman drifted deeper into her dreams.

< Read Chapter 1  | < Read Chapter 2 


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“Of Stars and Clay” | Chapter 2

< Read Chapter 1 

High in the misty foothills of the Ōu Mountains in Japan, built on the grounds of an ancient temple, stood a one-room curator’s house that had been crafted out of stones excavated from the mountainside. A 200-year-old rose bush clung to its southern wall, dotting the stonework with thorny canes and yellow blossoms.

Inside the dwelling, the morning sunlight peeked through a gap in the faded cotton curtains, the warm rays falling over the futon where a man and woman lay together. The man, a Native American named Billy White Smoke, had made his living by working construction and odd jobs back in the States until he ventured across the ocean to find the woman beside him. Her name was Haruto. She was an Earth Sentinel, like Billy, but also a Miko like her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother before her—a tradition dating back thousands of years to when female shamans mingled with Japan’s ruling class, acting as healers, mediums and ritual dancers. Her flowing black hair, tinged with a few grays, was sprawled across the pillow. Billy held her close, kissing her forehead before rubbing her pregnant belly with his calloused hand.

Haruto wistfully said, “I wish this moment could last forever.”

His deep voice tenderly responded, “But then the baby would never come.”

“True.”

“Still think it’s a girl?”

She nodded.

“We’ll have to think of a name for her. Maybe your mother’s?”

“Maybe.”

Billy hesitated, then said, “I was thinking, before the baby comes, we could get married.” He waited for her response.

Haruto frowned. “We’ve talked about this before.”

He turned away, lying on his back, clasping his hands behind his head, trying to remain calm.

She said, “We are in love and have a baby on the way. I don’t understand why that’s not enough for you.” 

Billy answered louder than he intended, “Because I’ve traveled around the world to be with you!” He immediately regretted raising his voice. “I just thought you’d meet me halfway.”

“You know I want to be with you forever, but—”

“But what?”

“I just thought that you, of all people, would appreciate not conforming to society’s expectations. To its patriarchal controls—”

“God knows, no man would ever control you.”

Haruto shrugged. There was some truth to his words. “We can talk later, but, right now, I have to get ready for an appointment.”

Billy wasn’t happy at where the conversation ended, but he was old enough to know you have to pick your battles, so he said, “Fine, I’ll walk with you.” He flung the duvet off himself, getting out of bed to rifle through his clothes piled on top of the dresser, putting on a pair of work jeans and a black t-shirt. He snatched his black-brimmed hat decorated with silver conchos and turquoise from a peg on the wall, placing it on his head, adjusting it to make sure the tilt was just right.

Haruto grabbed her scarlet-colored silk pants off the chair in the corner, pulling them on, wrapping the ties around her protruding stomach. She looked forward to this small act every morning. It helped her to measure the baby’s growth as the pant ties seemed to become shorter and shorter with each passing day. She let the white silk blouse fall over her head, sliding her arms through the draping sleeves, leaving the hem untucked so it would fit over her rounded belly.

Ready to face the world, the couple stepped out of the house. They strolled along one of the stone paths that meandered through the meditation garden filled with bonsai, cherry, apple and pear trees; lavender; wisteria; and cultivated roses.

As they walked, Billy admired the view until he noticed several overhead planes leaving iridescent trails in the sky, hatch-marking the atmosphere. He stopped walking, and cursed, “God, damn it! I thought we were done with that shit!”

Startled, Haruto glanced back at him, then followed his gaze, solemnly noting the unusual plane trails. “Was it all for nothing?” she questioned.

“Maybe. Maybe it was a fool’s journey to even try.”

Discouraged, she let out a deep sigh before offering Billy the only advice she could think of, “Just let it go…”

He gave her a reluctant smile.

Haruto stretched out her hand, opening Billy’s clenched fist, slipping her fingers between his, leading him through the garden toward the temple. “Everything looks wonderful,” she complimented him, hoping to brighten his mood.

“Thanks. It’s coming along.” Billy was being modest. He had transformed the neglected garden into a thing of beauty by reinvigorating the trees, resetting the stone paths, and patching the numerous steps that had become hazardous. His favorite improvement was the addition of the medicinal herbs planted throughout the grounds, which introduced an element of untamed wildness and balanced the vibrational qualities of the landscape.

They moved toward the ancient temple at the forefront of the property. The three-story structure sat on top of a foothill overlooking the road below. It had originally been built for Buddhist monks, who had abandoned the place due to a lack of parishioners and dwindling financial support. Its distinct gabled roof was a combination of Chinese and Japanese architectural styles, which, at one time, were used exclusively for those in power. 

The couple stopped at the rear of the temple. Here, steps led to an expansive landing that supported a wooden pergola holding an enormous bell—seldom rung these days.

Haruto faced Billy. “See you tonight,” she said, standing on her tiptoes to give him a quick peck on the lips.

Two Mikos, who happened to be strolling along a nearby path, gave them disapproving glances.

Most of the women here had not adapted to Billy residing on the grounds, despite the passing years. Men traditionally weren’t allowed to live with Mikos. But in Billy’s case an exception had been made, allowing him to dwell in the curator’s house in exchange for his gardening and maintenance services. This exception spoke of Haruto’s status—one that had risen considerably after her participation in the Earth Sentinels’ group.

Billy ignored the other women’s disparaging looks, tipping his hat to Haruto. “See you tonight.”

She went inside the temple, passing through the foyer and bypassing the stone staircase that led to the upper floors. Haruto entered the common area where a few Mikos mingled with the city dwellers, who wore workout clothes and held rolled mats while they waited for the yoga class to begin in the Great Hall. A plastic banner with the words “Sign Up for Yoga Classes” hung above the fireplace mantle, but it seemed out of place in this age-old building. On a narrow table, pressed against the wall, were jars of honey for sale.

“Haruto!” a young Miko called out, gracefully moving toward her. “A priest is here. Should I send him to you?”

“Yes, please.” Haruto always enjoyed a visit from the local Geki—the male version of their sect.

But her anticipation was squashed when a young Catholic priest strolled around the corner. The Japanese man wore the traditional black robe and white collar, and held a Bible in his hand. The gold crucifix hanging from his neck was centered over his heart. His eyes glanced at Haruto’s pregnant belly. If he held any judgments, he concealed them well.

The priest bowed. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Haruto hid her displeasure at what she considered to be an intrusion, mostly because she assumed he was here to convert her as so many others had tried before. She politely bowed. “The pleasure is mine. How may I help you?” Being polite was the Japanese, and Miko, way.

“I wish to introduce myself. I’m Father Chong from Saint Agatha Lin’s church located downtown. I’m reaching out to the community, and would like to personally invite you and the others to attend our mass on Sundays.”

“Oh…” slipped off Haruto’s tongue before she caught herself, and tactfully responded, “I’m flattered you came all this way, but you see, I’m quite content with my path.”

“I do see, and your dedication is commendable, however, sometimes people are looking for…something else.”

Haruto was offended by his implication that her path was somehow inferior to his, but she chose to overlook it, saying, “I am familiar with Catholicism. I, like the others here, have studied many different religions and beliefs. It helps us to better understand those who come to us for spiritual guidance and healing, so I’m quite sure your religion is not for me.”

“Yes, I also am familiar with the Miko tradition,” countered Father Chong who, after glancing at her bulging stomach, mentioned, “but I wasn’t aware Mikos were allowed to marry.” His words were meant to demonstrate his knowledge of their traditions, not insult her.

Because Haruto believed the priest had inquired sincerely, she answered, “We are allowed to marry, but, if we do so, our status changes to that of priestess.”

“Oh…so you’re a priestess?”

“No, I’m not married.”

The priest was not sure how to respond.

To fill the awkward silence, Haruto said, “I have an upcoming appointment I need to prepare for. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“Well, again, I welcome you, or any of the others here, to attend our mass, or visit, or call me personally if you have any questions regarding our faith.” He opened the cover to the Bible he carried. “If you change your mind, here’s our church address…” He pointed to the first interior page, then offered her the book. “Please take this. It’s my gift to you. And if you don’t mind, I’d like to return again, and perhaps catch you at a better time.”

Haruto graciously accepted the Bible. “Thank you.” She moved toward the entrance, encouraging him to walk beside her. As they passed by the table displaying the honey, she picked up a jar, handing it to him. “My gift to you.” This token offering allowed her to feel she had repaid Father Chong for the Bible, and thereby released herself from all obligations to meet with him again.

However, her action gave the priest a very different perception. He thought perhaps she was having a change of heart, and was pleased by the parting gift. “Thank you. Honey is one of my favorite treats.” He had touched on a topic they could both agree on.

She responded, “One of our Mikos loves taking care of the bees. And the taste is quite delicious, mostly because the pollen comes from our garden. There are roses and jasmine, cherry blossoms, lavender and honeysuckle.”

Father Chong salivated at the thought of eating the artisan honey later. “Nothing better than fine honey. Thank you, again, um…I don’t believe I got your name.”

“It’s Haruto.” She politely bowed.

***

Later that evening, dark storm clouds gathered in the sky. The wind howled through the trees, forcing the limbs to dance manically.

Haruto and Billy were having dinner inside the curator’s house. They sat at the small table next to the window whose handcrafted glass panes had been rippled by time. Candles lit the room.

She quietly chewed her food.

He wondered if she was still upset about their disagreement from earlier that morning. “Is something wrong?”

Haruto wiped her mouth. “I had a visitor today. A Catholic priest.”

A forlorn look came over Billy’s face. He set down his fork. “Really? What did he want?”

“To save me.” She stabbed at her food. “I know he meant well, but it was…umm…”

“Insulting?”

“Yes. Insulting.”

Billy solemnly said, “The white man came and killed our people, took our land, then took our children—beating them with one hand while holding a Bible in the other, trying to make them believe in his loving God. I have no taste for their medicine.”

“But he’s Japanese.”

Billy shrugged. “Same Bible.”

A gust of wind rattled the window. The candles on the table flickered.

Outside, the mounting storm tore leaves and twigs from their branches, hurling them through the air.

A barn owl crash-landed on the windowsill. Its golden-rufous breast thumped against the glass.

Haruto gasped, startled by the bird’s sudden appearance.

Unharmed, the owl righted itself, struggling to maintain its perch as the wind ruffled its plumage. The bird of prey focused its eyes on Haruto, who felt honored. Owls were considered bearers of good luck in Japan.

Billy did not have the same reaction. In his Native American culture, an owl was an omen of an impending death or tragedy. He felt a strong desire to stand between his lover and the night hunter’s line of sight, even as he knew he couldn’t save her from the harbinger’s premonition.

The downpour pelted the bird as it stared at Haruto through the rain-streaked window. Its strange unrelenting gaze caused an unexpected fear to arise within her.

Lightning ripped through the turbulent sky. Thunder exploded.

The barn owl screeched, then flew away, disappearing into the ominous darkness, leaving the man and woman with a sense of dread they couldn’t quite name.


< Read Chapter 1  |  Read Chapter 3 >


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Quotables

Some notable quotes from books by Elizabeth M. Herrera.

 

SSS Mems3

“Unique and captivating, we need only to listen in order to learn her subtle, yet powerful spiritual message.” —Awareness Magazine | http://bit.ly/SSS-SEH

SSS Mems4

“Valuable glimpses into the deep and universal spiritual roots of all healing processes.” — HAL ZINA BENNETT, Ph.D., Bestselling Author of Over 30 Books | http://bit.ly/SSS-SEH

SSS Mems2

“Facilitates understanding about shamanism and alternative spiritual paths.” — SANDRA INGERMAN, World-renowned Shamanic Teacher and Author | http://bit.ly/SSS-SEH

SSS Mems

“Take this journey into the world of the Shaman and the miraculous power of love.” — LOUIS LaGRAND, Ph.D. | http://bit.ly/SSS-SEH

ES Mems

“Riveting! I found it difficult to put the book down. This fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” — Dennis Nighthawk, healer and spiritual leader, retired military, and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems3

“Riveting! I found it difficult to put the book down. This fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” — Dennis Nighthawk, healer and spiritual leader, retired military, and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems2

“Riveting! I found it difficult to put the book down. This fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” — Dennis Nighthawk, healer and spiritual leader, retired military, and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems5

“Every bit as telling and accurate as “Animal Farm” and “Fahrenheit 451”. — Mark Champion, OurHealingMatters.com | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems4

“Riveting! I found it difficult to put the book down. This fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” — Dennis Nighthawk, healer and spiritual leader, retired military, and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems7

“Riveting! I found it difficult to put the book down. This fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” — Dennis Nighthawk, healer and spiritual leader, retired military, and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems6

“Quick paced with a powerful message.” — Greg Kincaid, New York Times Bestselling Author | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems8

“Riveting! I found it difficult to put the book down. This fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” — Dennis Nighthawk, healer and spiritual leader, retired military, and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems10

“Quick paced with a powerful message.” — Greg Kincaid, New York Times Bestselling Author | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems9

“Riveting! I found it difficult to put the book down. This fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” — Dennis Nighthawk, healer and spiritual leader, retired military, and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems13

“Every bit as telling and accurate as “Animal Farm” and “Fahrenheit 451”. — Mark Champion, OurHealingMatters.com | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems12

“This compelling adventure shows that our struggles around the world are connected and that ordinary people have the power to change the world for the better.” — Dr. Margaret Flowers, PopularResistance.org and Co-chair of the Green Party| http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems11

“This compelling adventure shows that our struggles around the world are connected and that ordinary people have the power to change the world for the better.” — Dr. Margaret Flowers, PopularResistance.org and Co-chair of the Green Party| http://bit.ly/ES-TSC | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

ES Mems14

“Quick paced with a powerful message.” — Greg Kincaid, New York Times Bestselling Author | http://bit.ly/ES-TSC

 

A Mother’s Love is Forever – Excerpt from “Shaman Stone Soup”

Shaman Stone Soup Cover-2017.indd“There are no accidents…there is only some purpose that we haven’t yet understood.” Deepak Chopra

I was cleaning up after a workshop that I had hosted. The sangria punch had been a hit, and I was putting the glasses in the sink when the phone rang.

I walked over to the phone, but I didn’t recognize the area code and let it ring. A minute later, the phone beeped with a voice message. It was my brother asking me to call him back. Since he seldom called me, much less at 10:15 p.m., I knew it would be bad news.

I dialed the number on the caller I.D. A woman answered. I asked to speak to my brother. A moment later he answered in a wavering voice that caused my heart to sink. “Mom’s been in an accident.” He paused as he gathered himself. “It was really bad…she didn’t make it.”

How do you comprehend news that doesn’t make sense? I had talked with my mother the day before, and she spoke of her plans when she retired in a few months. She recently had begun taking violin lessons and was looking forward to playing a duet with my son when we came home for Thanksgiving. She was taking acting classes and had performed in a play over the summer. When I mentioned I would be sending her the first draft of this book later that day, she squealed with delight and said she was looking forward to reading it. But now she was gone. I began to cry and after waiting a moment, my brother continued, “She was riding a bicycle when a car hit her. The officer at the scene said she was killed instantly.”

This was a bad dream! My mother was so healthy that everyone believed she would outlive us all. The summer before she had built a block retaining wall in her garden by hauling blocks in a wheelbarrow and stacking them herself. Her efforts were rewarded when her garden was selected to be in the town’s home garden tour.

Now all of our lives had been altered. With tears in my eyes, I told my brother I would be there the next day and hung up the phone.

I stood in the kitchen staring through the window into the night. Never had I felt so alone. I delayed walking up the stairs to tell my husband. Somehow by not repeating it, she was still alive. Finally I proceeded to our bedroom. I stood over him as he slept, tempted to let him sleep through the night, but I couldn’t keep it inside any longer. I tugged on his arm until he woke up.

He turned his head and looked at me, asking, “What’s wrong?”

“My mom died.”

“What!?”

“She was riding a bike and was hit by a car.”

I turned and walked toward the phone in my office to call my sister. She answered after a few rings.

“Sharon? Are you home?”

“Yeah, why? Is something wrong?”

I told her of mom’s passing. She began to wail and scream. I waited until she finally calmed down, telling her I would see her tomorrow.

My husband and I decided to drive through the night. We picked up our kids, who were each spending the night with a friend, packed our clothes, loaded the dogs and cat in the van, and started toward Michigan after midnight.

I sobbed continuously as we drove through the night. We stopped for two hours and slept in a parking lot—checking into a hotel would have wasted too much precious time. I needed to be with my family as soon as possible.

As we drove there was a tightness in my chest that was so intense I could barely breathe. I truly did not know that grief could cause such severe physical pain.

We arrived in the afternoon, in time to eat dinner with the immediate family at my brother’s home. Afterward, we felt compelled to visit our mother’s house and choose what she would wear for the funeral. On the way to her house, we passed the accident scene. My brother slowed down, asking if I wanted to see it. I felt my chest tighten even more, but said, “Yes.”

Fluorescent orange, spray-painted marks covered the road and adjacent grassy slope. Each one marked relevant evidence of the collision…a piece of a headlight here and a side-view mirror there. A circle painted around a gouge in the asphalt pavement indicated the point of impact. My brother explained the markings and finally pointed to the spot on the grassy slope where our mother had landed after being thrown from the impact. Orange letters indicated the position of her head, body and legs. How do you deal with something like this?

I crouched down and touched the grass. Anger burst forth and I thought, Why did you leave me, mom!?

Monday morning was a surreal dream of going to a funeral home to choose our mother’s casket and plan her funeral. I kept thinking I would wake up soon and that somehow, if we all held hands and clicked our heels, things would return to normal. But the nightmare continued.

Tuesday morning, I sat on the guest bed in my in-laws’ attic watching the sun filter through a window, wondering why I could feel my mother’s love surrounding me like an energetic blanket radiating to the center of my soul. Her presence offered a complete immersion of love and comfort. Yet this abundance of love was strange, because when my mother was alive, I would occasionally question if she loved me at all.

I thought to myself, Why do I know that my mother loves me now without a doubt when I wasn’t sure when she was alive?

A small voice came to me and whispered, “It’s a gift.”

I cried. It was a gift to feel my mother’s love so perfectly. It was an indescribable comfort.

After I showered and ate lunch with my husband, we went to my mother’s workplace to meet with the HR director at the state department where my mother had worked for 32 years. My sister met us there.

The HR director offered her sympathies and said that our mother’s passing had a huge impact on the entire department. The State of Michigan had just offered a retirement buyout the previous week, which our mother and many others had accepted. Most set their retirement date for the end of the year. However, the HR director said two people had come into her office that morning to change their dates and retire immediately—life was too short!

She then got to the business at hand. We were told that our mother’s accounts would be divided equally among her children, then the HR director mentioned that the pension would be given solely to my sister. Immediately I resented that my sister was given the entire pension, but I didn’t want to feel this way!

After the meeting, we were taken to our mother’s cubicle to clean it out. I was emotionally distant from my sister as we emptied the drawers. I kept battling the resentment that stabbed at me by repeatedly asking the Spirit to take this thought from me.

Suddenly my mother’s spirit descended over me. Her presence completely surrounded me and her vision became mine. Through her eyes, the whole world glowed with love while beams of light radiated from my sister. My mother’s memories filled my consciousness, and I could see my sister as the little girl, the teenager, and the young woman she had raised. My mother saw her as an innocent daughter, who would be taken care of with the pension she had inherited. I felt the comfort that it gave my mother and the love she had for my sister. Immediately all resentment left me. I knew my mother had given the pension out of love, and as I experienced that love, it became impossible for me to feel anything else.

Then my mother was gone.

I realized that my mother had sent me two beautiful gifts after her passing. First, she comforted me with the knowledge of her undying love, then she immersed her spirit with mine, and, for a brief moment, I saw my sister through her vision of all-encompassing love, which healed my heart.

Love is perfect and never dies. My mother reminded me of this basic truth. 

Message from the Spirit

Your mother’s love came when you needed it most. She thought only of her love for her children, family and friends. She highly regarded her life, accomplishments, and even things left undone.

Things left undone seem to be the hardest part of letting go…yet those were the lessons that did not need to be learned. Look at those as accomplishments.

“Of Stars and Clay”

Earth Sentinels II ebook cover-v2

“Elizabeth M. Herrera has created an amazing work — one that should be in the hands of every human on Earth who cares about this planet.” — Dr. Stewart A. Swerdlow, Grand Prior of New Templar Order

An engineered virus kills most of mankind. Those who survive are controlled from behind the scenes by a dark force that has waited millenniums for global domination. Gone are our scientists, leaders, military commanders, teachers, engineers, parents and children—the only ones left standing are those useful to the agenda.

To maintain order, the United Nations organization dutifully steps in, but its leaders are not what they appear to be. The trusted UN uniform causes each country’s army to hand over its leash. All of the world’s soldiers follow the commands of the New World Order without a single shot being fired. The devious plan unfolds perfectly—with one exception.

The virus brings about an unexpected DNA mutation among a handful of Earth Sentinels, causing them to develop supernatural abilities. Those impacted are: Zachary Thompson, a young American adapting to the Amazon Jungle alongside his indigenous wife and children; Haruto, a Miko in Japan, who lives with her lover, Billy White Smoke; and Tom Running Deer and Cecile Two Feathers, rebellious Native Americans who reside on a reservation in Canada. While their transformative changes unfold, Bechard the fallen angel tries to regroup his fellow Earth Sentinels so they can save mankind.

During their perilous mission, the Earth Sentinels uncover secrets about mankind’s origins, ancient astronauts, genetic engineering, the Illuminati, and the lies that have been woven throughout religion and history.


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Elizabeth M. Herrera’s Books At-a-Glance

All Book CoversOf Stars and Clay

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Without us, they have no power.

An engineered virus kills most of mankind. Those who survive are controlled from behind the scenes by a dark force that has waited millenniums for global domination. Gone are our scientists, leaders, military commanders, teachers, engineers, parents and children—the only ones left standing are those useful to the agenda.

To maintain order, the United Nations organization dutifully steps in, but its leaders are not what they appear to be. The trusted UN uniform causes each country’s army to hand over its leash. All of the world’s soldiers follow the commands of the New World Order without a single shot being fired. The devious plan unfolds perfectly—with one exception.

The virus brings about an unexpected DNA mutation among a handful of Earth Sentinels, causing them to develop supernatural abilities. Those impacted are: Zachary Thompson, a young American adapting to the Amazon Jungle alongside his indigenous wife and children; Haruto, a Miko in Japan, who lives with her lover, Billy White Smoke; and Tom Running Deer and Cecile Two Feathers, rebellious Native Americans who reside on a reservation in Canada. While their transformative changes unfold, Bechard the fallen angel tries to regroup his fellow Earth Sentinels so they can save mankind.

During their perilous mission, the Earth Sentinels uncover secrets about mankind’s origins, ancient astronauts, genetic engineering, the illuminati, and the lies that have been woven throughout religion and history.

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Dreams of Heaven

Winner of the Readers’ Favorite Award

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Sometimes Our Greatest Tragedies Offer Our Greatest Lessons

Savannah Watkins is haunted by a dream of losing her family in a tragic car accident, which causes her to vacillate between two lives—before and after the car accident. As she struggles between realities, Jesus Christ suddenly appears to offer her unorthodox guidance. He accompanies her to the grocery store and for walks on the beach while answering some of life’s toughest questions.

Dreams of Heaven (2017) takes you on a fantastical journey with Jesus, who leads the way through an alternate interpretation of his ancient teachings and applies them to one of our worst nightmares—being separate from the ones we love.

Genre: Fiction, Spirituality


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The Earth Sentinels: The Storm Creators

“Every bit as telling and accurate as “Animal Farm” and “Fahrenheit 451”. — Mark Champion, OurHealingMatters.com

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“Quick paced with a powerful message.” — Greg Kincaid, New York Times Bestselling Author

Intriguing blue doors and ethereal mists beckon people who are devastated by mankind’s greed, corruption and indifference, such as Zachary, a young man whose family’s organic farm is ruined by fracking; and Haruto, a Miko living in Fukushima, Japan, where the nuclear meltdown is raging out of control; Mahakanta, a cotton farmer in India, who used GMO seeds with devastating results; Amazonian tribe members, Conchita and her father, Pahtia, who are fighting against the intruders illegally tearing down their rainforest; and the Bear Claw First Nation Tribe that is dealing with an unstoppable oil spill, which is ruining their traditional hunting grounds. After stepping into another dimension, they find themselves face to face with the mastermind Bechard, a fallen angel and the Master of the Elements.

Together, they use supernatural powers to grab the world’s attention, demanding that the world’s leaders implement the changes…or else. But as the events unfold and governments retaliate, the characters are forced to question their motives, fight for their lives and listen to their hearts.

Genre: Visionary Fiction, Contemporary Fantasy (2014)

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“Unique and captivating, we need only to listen in order to learn her subtle, yet powerful spiritual message.” —Awareness Magazine

What if you didn’t believe in God and miracles started to occur?

Shaman Stone Soup (2010) takes you on the journey of an atheist who discovers Native American spirituality and becomes a healer for friends, family and clients. The author shares her personal stories that demonstrate how spirit guides, angels and enlightened beings can answer calls for help through miracles. You will read about the matronly ghost who overstayed her welcome, the spirits of ancient wise men who offered advice and a miraculous cure from cancer for a friend, the man who got out of his wheelchair to go hunting and fishing, a vivid dream and later chance meeting of a pastor who needed guidance, the metamorphosis of a schizophrenic, the loving afterlife contact from her mother who died unexpectedly, and many other stories.

Read Excerpt: Gas Station Dreams

Read Excerpt: The Spirits of Past, Present and Future

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Origin Lies – Poem

Paranormal levitation

Our creators were alien geneticists,

Claiming to be gods.

We were made to be slaves,

Formed out of stars and clay,

Abused offspring who blindly obeyed,

Generation after generation,

Until the gods fought, and then left,

Leaving us mired with the fallen ones and serpents,

Who took their place.

But their numbers dwindled,

Under the harsh sun and earth’s vibration.

So they fled beneath the surface,

Scraping out an existence,

Using humans for subsistence,

Controlling the minds of the masses,

Controlling the ruling classes.

They still exist, but,

Now the battle has begun anew,

As the serpent fights for supremacy,

Manipulating our genes,

Altering the vessel to suit their needs,

Taking the final step,

For total domination.


This poem is based on the novel “Of Stars and Clay”.

“Of Stars and Clay” New Release!

I spent the last two years researching and writing my new novel Of Stars and Clay (Science Fiction & Fantasy, Dystopian). I read Zecharia Sitchin’s seven volumes in the Earth Chronicles set, translations from Sumerian tablets and numerous books, such as those by Stewart Swerdlow and David Icke.

Within a few months of my research, I saw orbs in the sky (you can read more about this in my blog post). The orbs’ presence confirmed for me there is an alien/extraterrestrial presence here on earth—meaning that some of the conspiracy theories were true. But which ones? Were the elite (royalty/Rothchilds) really part reptilian? Were our governments being ruled by a secret force behind the scenes? And if they were, who or what was this secret force? And what was their agenda?

In Of Stars and Clay, I imagined how those conspiracies might play out. So, once again, the Earth Sentinel characters come together under the guidance of Bechard the fallen angel—only this time it’s to save mankind from a dark force that not only threatens our bodies, but our souls.

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Of Stars and Clay Book Discussion Questions

Below are questions to help get the conversation started at your book club or group. General questions are provided at the end.

CHAPTER 1 — Amazon Jungle

  • The author asks the reader to believe that a virus can be spread through the use of planes. Do you think it’s possible to spread a virus around the globe in one day?
  • How does the fishing episode convey the relationships between Zachary and Takwa (the rival hunter), his father-in-law, Pahtia, and the tribe?

CHAPTER 2 — Curator’s House

  • What does Haruto’s reluctance to marry Billy tell you about her, and their relationship?
  • How does Haruto and Father Chong’s interaction at the temple set the tone for their interactions later?
  • The owl means different things to Haruto and Billy. Is the owl a sign from the universe? (One strange example of the owl’s meaning is found within the secretive, real-life Bohemian Society. Its members include the top 1% of the 1% richest people as well as leaders, influencers and past US presidents, such as Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. The Bohemian Society members put on priest costumes and worship a forty-foot-tall Great Owl of Bohemia statue, which looms over a bonfire and burning coffin as they perform a mock sacrifice. Their motto is “Weaving Spiders Come Not Here” [notice this theme in Tom’s storytelling in Chapter 3]. This men-only event takes place every July in Northern California.)

CHAPTER 3 — Spider Webs

  • Tom tells a story about a spider that spins webs to keep the stars in place, but she loses a star and goes after it. In her absence, a sneaky spider takes control. What does each spider represent? Is the missing star symbolic of someone or something else?

CHAPTER 4 — The Amazon Bruja

  • Does Conchita overreact to the death of her son and father?
  • When the Blue Morpho butterflies rest on Eva, does it make you wonder if she has special powers?

CHAPTER 5 — The Soldiers Arrive

  • When Haruto rings the bell to warn the Mikos of the soldiers approaching the temple, does her action inflame the situation? Or would it have played out the same?
  • Bechard the fallen angel appears for the first time. Judging by Billy and Haruto’s reactions, what kind of relationship does this couple have with him?
  • The soldiers inject Haruto and Billy with electrical currents and a sedative, and then drag them away from the temple. If the soldiers understood the underlying factors would they have acted differently or still followed orders?

CHAPTER 6 — Outcasts

  • Zachary and Eva are outcast from the tribe. Is this symbolic of being cast out of the Garden of Eden, especially after being bitten by a snake?
  • Eva convinces the jaguar to save Takwa. Should she have?
  • The caiman’s presence is interpreted by Zachary as threatening, yet the creature only wants to rescue them. What does this say about perceptions and preconceived fears?
  • Does Pahtia’s earlier prediction that he would reincarnate as a caiman lead you to believe he is the caiman that helps Zachary and Eva?

CHAPTER 7 — To Hell and Back

  • Why do you think the alien scientists are performing experiments and taking bodily samples from Haruto and the other women?
  • When Haruto magically returns to her home at the temple, her fellow Mikos seem more concerned about how her reappearance affects them (soldiers coming to look for Haruto), than how they can help her. Are their concerns justified? Would you have reacted the same way?
  • Bechard makes his second appearance and offers advice to Haruto. Should he help her more?

CHAPTER 8 — Leaving the Temple

  • A strange windstorm prevents Haruto’s presence from being detected by the soldiers who are patrolling the city. Do you think the windstorm was a natural occurrence?
  • When Haruto visits Father Chong at the parsonage, he opens up his home to her. Should she have been honest with him about trying to escape from the soldiers?

CHAPTER 9 — Darkest Before the Dawn

  • When Zachary is discovered by the missionaries on the shore of the Amazon River, he is near death, yet with their help (and Bechard’s), he recovers. Why does the author keep putting people who follow different belief systems together?

CHAPTER 10 — The Desolate Reservation

  • The Bear Claw First Nation tribe members being taken as prisoners by the soldiers is eerily reminiscent of when the Native Americans were imprisoned on the reservations in the late 1700s through the early 1900s. Is the author making a connection?
  • Why do you think the tribe members are taken?

CHAPTER 11 — Haruto’s Transformation

  • Father Chong and Haruto seem to have a good relationship after spending time in each other’s company. What is the author saying about tolerance?
  • When Haruto asks Father Chong whether a fallen angel could be forgiven by God, is she really talking about Bechard?
  • Haruto transforms into an invisible state when she hears the soldiers storming through the priest’s house towards her. Does every great transformation take a traumatic event for it to occur?
  • When Haruto learns she can transform herself, she believes herself to be invincible. Does this mean she has become immortal?
  • Was it foolish for Haruto to expose herself to the soldiers just so she could test whether or not they could detect her presence?

CHAPTER 12 — Zachary’s Transformation

  • When Zachary transforms, his body crumbles like brittle clay. Clay is mentioned in the text of an ancient Sumerian tablet. It reads:

In the clay, god and man

Shall be bound,

To a unity brought together;

So that to the end of days

The flesh and the soul

Which in a god have ripened –

That soul in a blood-kinship be bound.

In addition, clay is mentioned in the Bible: “And then the Lord God formed man from the clay of the earth, and he breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7. (Some Bible versions use the word “dust” instead of “clay”.) Clay is also in the title of this book. What does clay represent?

CHAPTER 13 — Together Again

  • The main characters seem to have little in common with each other—all come from different backgrounds and cultures. What do they have in common?
  • Is the Bear Claw reservation a good place to hide out?

CHAPTER 14 — Our Origins

  • Bechard explains mankind’s origins to the Earth Sentinels. What parts of his explanation do you believe to be true: Ancient astronauts, genetic engineering, chemtrails, aliens/hybrids living among us, soul extraction, Illuminati, government coverup?

CHAPTER 15 — Practicing

  • The Earth Sentinels have acquired amazing powers, yet know very little about them. If you discovered you had these powers, what would be the first thing you did?

CHAPTER 16 — Scouting

  • Haruto and Zachary discover inner earth. Is this place physically possible?
  • Why Didn’t Bechard tell his fellow Earth Sentinels about inner earth?

CHAPTER 17 — The Galactic Council

  • The Galactic Council speaks about the Law of Oneness: “Many people have pre-planned their destinies so however we proceed must honor that, even if it seems cruel, even to them. We don’t want to Interfere.” Does this mean that the Galactic Council can’t directly help people? Is that why they need the help of the Earth Sentinels (humans)?

CHAPTER 18 — The Tribe’s Rescue

  • When John is scanned by the UN leader, the label “Level 4” comes up on the tablet screen. What do you think is the criteria for “Level 4”?
  • What do you think the purpose of the detainment camps is? Do you think they are a temporary or long-term solution for the Dracos’ agenda?

CHAPTER 19 — Rescue on the Reservation

  • Do you think the military jets were sent in response to the tribe members being taken from the detainment camp? Or were they bombing all the settlements?
  • Would human soldiers be willing to bomb their own countryside?

CHAPTER 20 — Saving John

  • John is taken to a food processing plant where he is told he will be employed. Why do the hybrids guide the unsuspecting victims through the “employment” process?
  • Do you think it would be hard to recruit employees who would be willing to kill humans for food?

CHAPTER 21 — Saving Billy

  • Haruto’s “tour” through the aliens’ headquarters gives her insights into their prison system, genetic experiments and military structure. Is this valuable information for understanding what is going on behind the scenes? Does it help you to better understand the Dracos?
  • Zachary and Billy reunite after being apart for five years. What kind of relationship do you think they had in the past?

CHAPTER 22 — Finding Shelter and Food

  • Of all their options, Tom and Cecile choose teepees instead of houses or mansions to bring to inner earth for their tribe members to live in. What does this say about them?

CHAPTER 23 — Revisiting Japan

  • Why are the Mikos resistant to Haruto’s invitation to live in a new, safer location?
  • Was Haruto too blunt when informing Father Chong about the aliens and their control over religion and society?
  • What do you think about the biblical references Haruto used to support her claims? Is it possible the Bible, Torah, Quran and other scriptures were written about the same ancient astronauts instead of a divine creator? Do you think there could be another interpretation?

CHAPTER 24 — Faulty Alliances

  • Are the chest and Destiny Stone symbolic of anything else? Is the chest what is referred to in the Bible as the Arc of the Covenant?  (“Ark” is the Greek word for chest.)
  • Do you think it is wise to form an alliance with the fallen angels in order to obtain the Destiny Stone?

CHAPTER 25 — Lord God Abaddon

  • What insights to Bechard’s personality do you gain from his interaction with the fallen angels’ ruler, Abaddon, who happens to be his cousin? What do you learn about Abaddon?

CHAPTER 26 — Display of Powers

  • Tom showcases the Earth Sentinels’ powers to Abaddon, who agrees to give them the Destiny Stone in exchange for their magical abilities to transport/protect him and his soldiers. Zachary obviously has reservations. Should he follow his heart instead?

CHAPTER 27 — The Destiny Stone

  • The Destiny Stone’s strong powers has killed many in the past. Why doesn’t it harm Haruto?

CHAPTER 28 — Killing the Dracos

  • The Earth Sentinels use the fallen angels as assassins to avoid doing the dirty work themselves, but are they just as guilty?

CHAPTER 29 — Hagsmar Prepares for War

  • Abaddon gets into his hovercraft and leaves before the human armies attack. Why do you think he leaves before the battle has even begun?
  • Abaddon tells his soldiers he will “unleash hell”. Do you feel his words are figurative or literal?

CHAPTER 30 — Plan B

  • Although Bechard doesn’t claim to be the leader, he plans the EMP attacks. Why does everyone listen to his counsel?

CHAPTER 31 — EMP Attacks

  • Would you use the EMPs more broadly (other than just focusing on the military bases) to speed up the process?

CHAPTER 32 — Plan C

  • Should the council have ordered the death of the Draco leaders first, and then the UN leaders?

CHAPTER 33 — New Recruits

  • Earth Sentinels members are recruited to help mankind. Would you be willing to do the same despite the dangers?

CHAPTER 34 — UN Replacements

  • Is killing the UN hybrid leaders necessary? Is there a better way?
  • Who does Tom want to kill personally?
  • The author introduces the trolls in Miramar, the rock folk who live in a valley, and the blue-skinned four-armed warriors of Ventura. Did these glimpses offer a better understanding of what it’s like to live in inner earth?

CHAPTER 35 — Replacing the Crystals

  • Do you think the Seven Wonders of the World are located on sacred vortexes (Colossus of Rhodes, Great Pyramid of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Lighthouse of Alexandra, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus)?
  • Do you think it’s possible the earth has an energetic grid?

CHAPTER 36 — Mari Saves Herself

  • Mari decides to save herself, but only after nearly drowning. Do you think earth’s rising vibrations help Mari to choose life instead of suicide?

CHAPTER 37 — Conchita

  • Is Conchita’s excuse for not being with her family when they were thrown out of the tribe good enough?
  • Does Takwa get what he deserves?

CHAPTER 38 — CERN

  • Abaddon is waiting for something to come through the tunnel. Any idea who or what it might be?

CHAPTER 39 — Rising Vibrations

  • Do you think the rising vibrations will fulfill the Earth Sentinels and Galactic Council’s mission or cause another problem?

GENERAL QUESTIONS

  • Was the dialogue crisp and engaging?
  • Did the plot have twists and turns?
  • Could you put the book down?
  • Are you excited to tell a friend about it?
  • What was your initial reaction to the book? Did it hook you immediately or take some time to get into?
  • How did you feel about the characters? Which ones do you like or not like, and why?
  • Which character did you relate to the most, and what is it about them that you connect with?
  • Did the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to their predicaments? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?
  • How did the characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger these changes?
  • Did the events in the book reveal the author’s worldview?
  • Do certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why do you feel this way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?
  • Do you like the book? If you read any of the author’s other books, how does this one compare?
  • What moral/ethical choices did the characters make? What do you think of those choices? How would you have chosen differently?
  • How authentic are the cultures represented in the book?
  • Why do you think the author wrote this? What is her most important message?
  • How do you think the characters’ points of view are similar or different from the author’s point of view or background?
  • Are the characters’ actions the result of freedom of choice, destiny or adherence to traditional beliefs?
  • Is there any moral responsibility that was abdicated?
  • Are there any symbols that may have cultural, political or religious reference? e.g. owl, crucifix, Destiny Stone and its chest, crystals, inner earth, colors, etc.
  • What tone did the author set with her choice of words? Is it optimistic, pessimistic, prophetic, cautionary, darkly humorous, depressing, cathartic, other?
  • How do you feel about the ending? Would you have stopped there?

“Dreams of Heaven” receives Readers’ Favorite Award

Dreams of Heaven Cover-ebookReviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite

Dreams of Heaven by Elizabeth M. Herrera is an inspirational book that tells a brilliant and heartwarming story, while reflecting on the mysteries of life, love, faith, death, and eternity. Meet Savannah Watkins, a woman just like any other, except that she has very unusual dreams. The recurrent dreams are about the loss of her family in a car accident, so she is caught between the reality of her waking and the trauma of her sleep. As she struggles for answers, Jesus appears and offers to guide her, spending long moments with her along the beach and at the grocer’s. In this sudden yet enlivening contact with the Divine, Watkins discovers the depths of Jesus’ teachings and the answers to the pain of loss that most of us experience at some time in our life.

Reader's-Favorite-5star-Review-logo-200This is an exciting book, filled with wisdom and insight, a story that is both entertaining and inspiring. It starts in the middle of action and the pace picks up from there. It is fast and gripping and I enjoyed how the author managed to keep readers’ curiosity awake and strong through each page of the narrative. Readers will identify with Watkins, a character who is symbolic in that she represents the fears and uncertainties of most readers, living through the desert of faith until the encounter with Jesus. Elizabeth Herrera is a good writer and she has the gift of getting her message across through her storytelling craft. Dreams of Heaven will awaken a new sense of reality in the hearts of readers and the dream of what makes life worth living.


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Review for New Release “Dreams of Heaven” by Elizabeth M. Herrera

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Simply Beautiful

DOH-9780990349235-Perfect.inddDreams Of Heaven by Elizabeth Herrera is an absolutely beautiful Christian fantasy novel, that really ‘spoke’ to my heart.

The novel has Jesus at the centre. He is always with us. There is nothing in this life (or death) that we ever have to face without Him. He will always support us, carry us and love us. He is the embodiment of love.

The love just radiates from the story. The love of a mother for her family and her love for Jesus. This love extends to the reader. I felt myself awash with love and with peace.

Dreams Of Heaven is simply beautiful. It will soothe your soul. It will speak to your heart. It will fill you with hope. In its simplicity, Dreams Of Heaven penetrates your very being. I loved it.

Refresh your life and read Dreams Of Heaven today.

JULIA WILSON, Christian Bookaholic

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“Of Stars and Clay” | Chapter 1

The day the world changed forever seemed like an ordinary day in the heart of the Amazon jungle where a handful of tribesmen fished along the shore of the mossy-green river.

Takwa, the tribe’s best hunter, brought a gourd to his mouth, taking a long guzzle of the fermented brew, chicha, contained within. The colorful feathers in his hair hung back. Red-and-black lines were painted on his bare chest and arms. After quenching his thirst, he let out a satisfied sigh, passing the gourd to the man next to him. It was then that Takwa looked to the sky. A passenger plane flew high overhead, leaving behind an iridescent exhaust trail. He pointed at it. “Look!”

All of the tribesmen stared at the strange flying beast. They didn’t often see an airliner this far from civilization.

Standing among them was a young man named Zachary, who was notably different from the others—tall and lanky with sandy-blond hair, and fair skin that was perpetually sunburned. He had no painted lines on his body, and instead of a loincloth, he wore cut-off jeans and a ragged t-shirt with a Pittsburgh Steelers logo on it. He put his hand to his forehead to shield his green eyes from the sun as he gazed at the plane. He frowned because he knew the exhaust fumes weren’t normal. The pearly sheen of the far-reaching trail made it obvious that something was amiss—at least to him.

Farther from the shore, wandering alone through the scrub was the tribe’s shaman, Pahtia, an older man with gray hair who was searching for the herb Pau D’arco, which, when found, would be cut and dried, and then used at a later date as a remedy for warding off infections. He stopped his quest when he noticed his fellow tribesmen staring at the sky. Curious, Pahtia hobbled through the underbrush, making his way to the riverbank where the jungle canopy gave way to the open skies. He stood behind the other men, leaning on his staff while studying the plane’s exhaust trail that reflected the colors of the rainbow. He muttered, “Bad omen.” 

Zachary overheard his father-in-law’s comment and felt he was right, but, at that moment, a fish nibbled on his bait. The young man jerked on the line, swiftly sinking the hook into the mouth of an impressive-sized Pacu—one of the best-tasting fish in the Amazon. The fish fought for its life, wriggling out of the water, shimmering in the sunlight before plunging back into the depths.

The other men salivated at the thought of roasting the delicious Pacu, wrapped in banana leaves, over an open fire.

“Careful!” one of the men shouted.

“Not too fast,” another advised.

Takwa tried to steal the line from Zachary’s hand. “Let me do it.” But Zachary resisted. It was his fish. Takwa gave up, but stood nearby, disgruntled.

The Pacu flipped and flopped, desperate to free itself, causing the line to spin off the stick that served as the fishing pole. Zachary rewound the line, trying to exhaust the fish. His amateurish technique frustrated the other men.

The stakes were raised when a fourteen-foot Black Caiman noticed the commotion. The prehistoric creature slid into the river, gliding toward an easy meal. Although caimans, like alligators and crocodiles, were not usually a threat to grown men, preferring smaller game and fish, one could never be too careful, so Zachary kept an eye on the encroaching beast as well as his fish.

No longer a passive bystander, Pahtia warned his son-in-law, “Hurry up! Or you will lose it!”

Sweat ran down Zachary’s forehead. Too fast. Too slow. He tightened the line.

The caiman swished its tail more vigorously, closing the gap, its primordial eyes and ridged spine cutting through the rippling waters. Then the reptile submerged.

The tribesmen knew the caiman would attack from below.

“Pull!” yelled Pahtia.

Zachary yanked the line, causing it to cut into his fingers. The fish flew into the air, bounding toward the shore. Everyone’s eyes followed the glistening Pacu. The line slackened as it soared. And as it did, Zachary envisioned himself being the one to bring in the prize catch of the day. However, his dreams of grandeur died a quick death when the caiman lunged out of the water, opening its tooth-riddled jaws, consuming the entire fish and cutting the line before splashing back into the river.

The men groaned.

“You will never fit in,” Takwa said.

Pahtia sighed and shook his head, but then he noticed the blood running down Zachary’s fingers. The healer knew the cut could fester in this hot humid rainforest, easily turning into a life-threatening infection. Not wanting his daughter’s scorn, he reluctantly offered to help the young man. “Come with me.”

Zachary hung his head low with indignation. He hated relying on Pahtia for anything, but it was better than staying here among the other men. Takwa’s contempt was obvious even with his back toward him.

Pahtia shuffled along, his staff steadying his gait as he led Zachary down a narrow path that meandered through dense foliage, tangled vines and ancient trees, heading toward his hut on the outskirts of the village. Few tribe members visited the shaman there. Most only came to see him when they were sick or needed guidance. His powers scared them a bit. After all, if he had the power to heal, didn’t he also have the power to make them sick? Or worse? But this arrangement suited Pahtia just fine. He was happiest away from the others. He liked being undisturbed while hunting for herbs or journeying to the spirit realm. He knew that one could only clearly hear the spirits’ voices when the mind was quiet.

As the two of them neared their destination, a flock of blue-headed parrots scattered. From an overhead branch, a toucan studied them, its observant button eyes peering past its enormous black-tipped orange beak. Squirrel monkeys, hidden in the trees, hooted.

The shaman’s thatched-roof hut came into view. Its walls were made out of bamboo slats spaced evenly apart. The gaps let the breezes flow through. They also allowed Pahtia to detect if anyone was approaching, yet still gave him some measure of privacy. Inside, dried wild flowers, roots and herbs were tacked to the walls while others hung from the ceiling. Some fresh gatherings were spread across the worktable.

Pahtia instructed Zachary to sit near the ash-filled fire pit, then walked to the back of the hut where he rummaged through his assorted botanicals, selecting a few leaves and roots, placing them in a stone bowl. He added a splash of chicha, then began grinding the ingredients together.

Meanwhile, Zachary sat staring out the doorway, thinking about the ill-boding plane trail. “Pahtia?”

The old man stopped mixing, looking up. Deep creases surrounded his eyes.

“Why don’t we visit Bechard and ask him about the plane?” Zachary asked.

“Never again! That spirit tricked us.”

“He meant well.”

Pahtia shook his head. “He holds a darkness in his heart.” He tapped his chest to emphasize his point.

“Pahtia?”

With a touch of irritation, he answered, “Yes?”

“I’ve got a bad feeling about the plane.”

“I know.” The shaman walked toward Zachary carrying the stone bowl. He sat down to finish mixing the compound.

“What should we do?”

“I am not sure. I will visit Maka later. She always has good advice.” Pahtia was referring to his spirit guide, who helped him with healings, divination and guidance on physical, mental and spiritual matters. The man gathered a clump of the smelly herbal remedy with his gnarled fingers. “This will go on your wound to keep it from getting infected so Conchita will not be mad at me.” He added, “You can die from infection, you know.”

Zachary sighed. “Yes, I know.” He hated being treated like a complete idiot.

Pahtia shaped the clump into a ball, casually mentioning, “When I die, I will shapeshift into a great caiman.” His eyes gleamed as he imagined reincarnating as this noble beast. “Maybe next time, I will take your fish.” He let out a rare chuckle, annoying his son-in-law, and then hummed while applying the fresh salve to the young man’s injured fingers.

Zachary winced.

Pahtia smiled.

***

Too embarrassed to return to the river, Zachary went home to his wife, Conchita, who stood in their hut cradling their infant son. Her long black hair hung over her face as she gazed down at the baby while singing a traditional lullaby. The moment Zachary saw them, he forgot all about the failed fishing incident.

Conchita smiled at her husband, but her joy quickly faded when she noticed his hand was bandaged with leaves and bamboo twine. She asked with concern, “What happened?”

“Oh, it’s nothing,” he answered, wanting to forget the whole thing.

“Let me see it.”

He reluctantly held out his injured hand for inspection by the shaman’s daughter.

She balanced the baby on her hip, then used her free hand to examine the patch job, sniffing to detect which herbs had been used, flipping his hand over to study the other side, finally conceding, “Father did a good job.”

“Yes, he did.” Zachary glanced around the hut. “Where’s Eva?”

“Outside. See.” Conchita pointed out the doorway at the sunlit center of the village where the young children were having fun with a Capuchin monkey, which jumped from one child’s shoulder to the next, playing a game of catch-me-if-you-can. Four-year-old Eva ran toward the scampering rascal with her hands outstretched, only to have the monkey leap over her sun-bleached curls, landing on top of another child’s shoulder. The children squealed with delight.

Zachary laughed at their antics until he glanced up at the sky. Remnants of the shimmering plane trail still lingered.

Conchita noticed his troubled expression. “What is wrong?”

Zachary decided to shake off his worries. After all, what could he do about the plane trail? So instead of answering, he smiled, brushing his wife’s long hair away from her face, kissing her neck, softly saying, “Nothing’s wrong. Sit with me.” He sat down on the palm leaves that covered the floor, patting them with his uninjured hand to encourage her to join him. Conchita handed Zachary the baby, then settled beside him, giving her son a quick peck on the forehead to assure him that she was still nearby. The infant gurgled with elation.

It was times like these that caused Zachary to remember why he had come here.

***

During the night, Pahtia hobbled through the rainforest using his staff to steady his steps. In his other hand, he held a burning torch to light the way. The moon and stars were hidden behind the dark storm clouds forming over the jungle’s canopy. Thunder pounded in the distance, causing the old shaman to quicken his pace.

He made his way across the quiet village where everyone was safely tucked inside their huts, sound asleep. He peered inside his daughter’s dwelling, past the lattice gate made out of bamboo poles that protected the doorway from night-roaming predators. Pahtia whispered, “Conchita…” She stirred, but did not wake. He held onto the doorframe, poking his staff through the gate, nudging her.

Conchita opened her eyes and saw a silhouetted figure standing outside the hut. She wondered if she was dreaming. It wasn’t until a gust of wind threw the torch flames past Pahtia’s face that she recognized him. “Father?”

He tersely responded, “Come with me.” 

She drowsily got up, quietly opening the gate, stepping outside, careful not to disturb her loved ones.

Conchita trailed behind her father, passing the outskirts of the village, continuing down a barely visible path. Branches and vines, flailing in the storm’s gusts of wind, hindered their progress. She glanced behind herself, feeling an overwhelming urge to return to her children and husband. The farther she went, the stronger the urge became. She came to a standstill, asserting herself. “Father!”

Pahtia stopped walking and looked back at her.

She said, “I am not going. Not tonight. I will come tomorrow.”

He solemnly responded, “I have something to share with you, but it must be tonight.” He continued along the path. Lightning crackled, flashing through the trees.

Against her better judgment, Conchita followed him. “Why not morning?” she asked, her voice nearly drowned out by the rolling thunder.

Without turning around, he declared, “Morning is too late!”

They reached Pahtia’s hut. The flames in the fire pit burned brightly, welcoming them home. Conchita sat near the fire in her usual spot, combing her windswept hair with her fingers while observing the storm brewing outside, its ardent breath huffing through the slatted walls.

Pahtia went to his workbench, reverently picking up a leather medicine pouch. He returned to sit beside his daughter. With sentimental eyes, he said to her, “You have been a good apprentice. Learned all I had to teach.” He set the medicine pouch on his lap so he could use both hands to remove the amulet that hung from a leather cord around his neck. “This was my father’s, and now it is yours. Shaman to shaman.”

Conchita lowered her head to accept the gift. It was a great honor to be declared a shaman. She looked down at the amulet resting against her chest, picking it up, holding it between her fingers, still not believing the shiny stone her father had worn since she was a child was now hers.

He continued, “I will ask my helper spirits to be your helpers. All that I have is now yours.” Pahtia opened the medicine pouch’s drawstrings, reaching inside to take out an amethyst cluster. He held it up between his bony fingers. “This has magical powers. Hold out your hand.” He placed it securely in her palm. “This stone holds the vibrations of Mother Earth. Keep it safe.” He pulled out a jaguar’s curved claw. “Not Taslia,” he clarified, referring to his totem animal, which also happened to be a jaguar. “This was my first kill. I was brave and used only a spear. Very dangerous. Very strong energy.” He handed it to Conchita before he once more dug into his bag, removing a dried plant root. “This is a wise root. It knows the secrets of the rainforest.” Pahtia placed it in Conchita’s hand beside the other sacred articles. Next, he extracted a human tooth, staring at it as if he was remembering how he acquired it so many years ago, then, without an explanation, he returned it to the pouch.

“Father, why are you giving me these things?”

“I had a vision, a prophecy. And in this vision, I saw blood-red skies and a snake slither out of its hole, standing like a man with a gold crown on its head. I heard the moaning of men, women and children in pain, lying on the ground. Too many to count. The snake took joy in their sorrow, eating them.”

“Stop it. You are scaring me.”

Pahtia became angry. “No daughter of mine is afraid!” His harsh tone made Conchita regret coming here. His demeanor softened. “Forget what I said. I know you are strong. Let us journey together one more time. I need to ask Maka for guidance.”

Outside, the storm unleashed its heavy rains.

Conchita believed in her father’s prophecies, but that didn’t mean this one would happen tonight—maybe not even in their lifetimes. However, he was more riled up about this one than usual. All she wanted to do was return home and sleep with her family, but the downpour made her hesitant to leave. Besides, she knew her father would prod her until she relented, so she reluctantly said, “I will journey with you.”

“Good. Let me get the herb.” The shaman used his staff to stand up, stiffly hobbling across the floor.

Conchita noticed for the first time how much her father had aged. His frame was frail, and his hair was almost entirely gray. She looked away before he returned.

Pahtia sat beside his daughter once more. He said a prayer while bringing the herb close to his face, honoring it before dropping the sacred leaves into the fire. Smoke burst out of the flames, billowing all around them. The pair closed their eyes, breathing deeply, letting the smoke fill their lungs.

The shaman called for his totem animal, “Taslia, please come!”

From out of the storm, an ethereal black jaguar padded through the doorway, entering the smoke-filled hut. The ghostly feline stood there swishing her tail, her golden eyes reflecting the flames.

Pahtia acknowledged Taslia’s presence, “Thank you, old friend, for coming. I need to speak to Maka. Will you please take us to her?”

Taslia nodded.

Pahtia’s spirit rose out of his body and climbed onto the jaguar’s back. Conchita’s spirit joined her father’s, sitting behind him. The totem animal carried the pair out of the hut, entering the mystical realm of the jungle. Rain dripped from the shadowy leaves as they moved through the trees. Conchita held tightly onto her father. Even if they weren’t in mortal danger, she knew spirits surrounded them—most were benevolent, but some were malicious. Pahtia, on the other hand, was enjoying the ride as if it might be his last, listening to the jungle sounds and taking in the sights. He breathed deeply, smelling the humus aroma the rain brought to the surface. The faint sensation of wet leaves dragging across his face and exposed skin didn’t irritate him as it normally would have, instead the cold austere contact made him feel alive.

They moved through a blanket of fog, and the rain stopped.

The totem animal strolled out of the trees. In front of them was a roaring waterfall. The cascading water reflected the moonlight as it fell into an ebony lake. Pahtia dismounted, then ambled through the dense ferns. He stood at the edge of the dark water with his daughter by his side, calling to his spirit guide, “Maka, please come!”

A ball of light appeared from out of the starry sky, hovering above the lake. It expanded into the form of a beautiful woman, who wore white-fringed animal skins decorated with colorful feathers and beads. Her black hair hung down to her knees. She gave the visitors a warm smile. “Greetings! It is good to see you again.”

Pahtia bowed his head out of respect. “Greetings to you as well, Maka. Thank you for answering my call. We need your help. I believe the end is near.”

“The end of what, dear Pahtia?”

“The end of this life—for me and my tribe.”

“Pahtia, you know there is no death. Only change. Why do you falter now?”

The shaman bolstered his chest, touting, “I do not falter! I came for help.”

“I understand your concerns, but keep this in mind: That which seems to be the end is always the beginning. Remember, for the caterpillar to become a butterfly is a difficult process—one that requires a tremendous amount of trust before the metamorphosis completes itself. But never does the butterfly mourn the loss of its former self, although, for the caterpillar, the transformation feels like death. To take away the impending change would hinder your spiritual growth. This I cannot do.” Maka stopped speaking. Her body glowed brighter and brighter until she was lost in the brilliance, splintering into a thousand sparkling lights, dissipating into the night.


Read Chapter 2 >


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Dreams of Heaven is now available!

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Dreams of Heaven has released! The story was inspired by a vivid dream where Jesus appeared and showed me four scenes. When I woke up that morning, I knew I would write the story. I remember thinking “how odd”, because I had only written one book in my life, a memoir titled Shaman Stone Soup, which I had assumed would be my one and only, but now, I felt I had been given my next “assignment”.

So I sat at my computer and waited for inspiration, then I wrote whatever came to me. It was an interesting process, because I had no idea how the scenes in my dream would connect, and I couldn’t fathom an ending that would make the two realities, which the main character was facing, come together. But it did.

In Dreams of Heaven, Savannah Watkins is haunted by a dream of losing her family in a tragic car accident, which causes her to vacillate between two lives—before and after the car accident. As she struggles between realities, Jesus Christ suddenly appears to offer her unorthodox guidance. He accompanies her to the grocery store and for walks on the beach while answering some of life’s toughest questions.

I invite you to read Dreams of Heaven. It’s a magical ride with an inspirational message. Book is on sale until August 20th.


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Pen Name Changed to Elizabeth M. Herrera

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Dear readers,

I have decided to change my pen name to Elizabeth M. Herrera. I can’t give you a definitive reason, other than it feels right at this time. I love the practice of shamanism, and felt proud to use the title “Shaman” in my pen name—it was a gift from the spirits that I honored. But I’ve come to realize that I can accept this gift without an outward display.

Using my real name seems more raw. More open. Less focused on a specific modality and more focused on an individual path where I simply listen to my heart.

I plan to write more books—as usual with either an overt or subtle spiritual theme. I hope you join me on this journey. It’s a lot more interesting when we do it together.

Blessed journeys,

Elizabeth M. Herrera

Enter to Win the Goodreads Giveaway for “Dreams of Heaven”

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Win an autographed copy of Dreams of Heaven. The book is receiving glowing reviews. “It is one of those gems of spiritual literature that becomes a permanent fixture in our lives…heartfelt and deeply moving.” —Hal Zina Bennett, Ph.D., Best-selling Spiritual Author

In Dreams of Heaven, Savannah Watkins is haunted by a dream of losing her family in a tragic car accident, which causes her to vacillate between two lives—before and after the car accident. As she struggles between realities, Jesus Christ suddenly appears to offer her unorthodox guidance. He accompanies her to the grocery store and for walks on the beach while answering some of life’s toughest questions.

“Dreams of Heaven” takes you on a fantastical journey with Jesus, who leads the way through an alternate interpretation of his ancient teachings and applies them to one of our worst nightmares—being separate from the ones we love.

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Dreams of Heaven by Shaman Elizabeth Herrera

Dreams of Heaven

by Shaman Elizabeth Herrera

Giveaway ends July 14, 2017.

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Genre: Fiction, Spirituality

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“Shaman Stone Soup” audiobook is now available!

Shaman Stone Soup

For those who love audiobooks, you can now listen to Shaman Stone Soup. The book has received glowing reviews from most readers. Some have even claimed the book is life-changing and brought miracles with it.

Shaman Stone Soup takes you on the journey of an atheist who discovers Native American spirituality and becomes a healer for friends, family and clients. The author shares her personal stories that demonstrate how spirit guides, angels and enlightened beings can answer calls for help through miracles. You will read about the matronly ghost who overstayed her welcome, the spirits of ancient wise men who offered advice and a miraculous cure from cancer for a friend, the man who got out of his wheelchair to go hunting and fishing, a vivid dream and later chance meeting of a pastor who had asked God for a sign, the metamorphosis of a schizophrenic, the loving afterlife contact from her mother who died unexpectedly, and other short stories. The book makes a great gift.

To listen to the audio sample, click here to visit the Amazon page. You will find the audio sample under the cover art.

“Dreams of Heaven” Novella — Christian, New Age or Beyond Labels?

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The inspiration for Dreams of Heaven came to me in a vivid dream. As a healer, I’ve learned to pay attention to vivid dreams, which are a rare occurrence, but always offer profound answers and insights. In this particular dream, Jesus Christ appeared and showed me four scenes. I knew when I awoke that I would write Dreams of Heaven. But why feature Jesus Christ? I’m not Christian. Although I do confess that Jesus is always a part of my shamanic healings (shamanism is a Native American practice) where he appears as a spirit guide. I suppose a Christian would say that Jesus comes to me in a focused prayer, but alas, enough with the labels.

So, one month after the dream and during a winter holiday break, I began to write. But how do you write a story that is not your own? I had no idea how the dream’s scenes would come together or how the story would end. In fact, I couldn’t even conceive of a good ending.

During the writing process, I sat quietly before each session and prayed for inspiration, then typed whatever came to me. (It soon became obvious that it was also a lesson in learning to listen to the Divine Voice, and releasing the fears that prevented me from publically stating unorthodox teachings.)  The story began to weave itself between two realities. In one, a dream of a car accident haunts the main character, Savannah Watson. In the other, she deals with the tragic aftermath. As Savannah struggles with the prophetic dream, Jesus appears and speaks to her. He goes grocery shopping with her, and for walks on the beach, answering her questions (even if she doesn’t always think so).

Unlike many novels and movies that offer generic and vague answers, in Dreams of Heaven, Jesus offers specific messages — but they are given through the interpretation of love, leaving fear and judgement at the door. Messages that many Christians would say dispute the Bible’s teachings, but do they?

The church has offered an interpretation for millenniums, but interpretations can vary. Who is right? I’m not sure it matters. We all have a path to follow, and we choose the one that is right for us. At one time, Christianity was right for me. However, in my early 20s, I lost my faith for a decade before my belief in God and Jesus returned, but without the religious connotations. God without religion? What a novel idea (no pun intended). Which means, this book’s message isn’t right for everyone. But for those looking for answers about redemption without judgement or condemnation, this book is just right.

Genre: Fiction, Spirituality


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Reviews

Dreams of Heaven compels you to examine your beliefs about life and death. You will be drawn to read every page.” —Reverend Emile Gauvreau, Center for Spiritual Living Cape Coral

Dreams of Heaven is a beautifully crafted story that centers on the dream/reality of a terrible family tragedy and the main character’s sudden ability to see and converse with Jesus Christ. Heartfelt and deeply moving, the book is like an epiphanous dream probing the mysteries of birth, life, and death. It is one of those gems of spiritual literature that becomes a permanent fixture in our lives, always remembered as a gift for that special friend with whom we wish to share our most deeply felt beliefs.” — Hal Zina Bennett, Ph.D., Best-selling Author of Write From the Heart and Follow Your Bliss

ISBN: 978-0-9903492-3-5
Page Count: 150
Publisher: Blue Gator Inc.
Publication Date: August 5, 2017

Excerpt from “Dreams of Heaven”

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Chapter 2

Savannah bolted upright in bed, shaking from a bad dream. It took her a moment to realize she was safe in her own bedroom. Relief flooded over her, but her heart kept pounding. She glanced at her husband, who was sound asleep, before getting up, grabbing her robe from the foot of the bed. 

She left the bedroom, heading down the dark stairwell, reaching the living room decorated with rattan furniture that mimicked the tropics. The overhead palm-leaf fan slowly spun.

Savannah pulled open the sliding glass door. The sea breeze rushed past her, rustling the vertical blinds. She stepped outside, walking across the deck. The ocean roared. She stood by the railing, watching the waves ebb and flow under the moon’s glow. The salty mist settled over her, layer by layer, slowly creating a vaporous cocoon. Savannah didn’t mind the dampness. It made her feel connected—like an old house being overcome by the elements, metamorphosing back to its natural state. In the distance, thunder rumbled. A storm was brewing.

Someone opened the sliding glass door, startling Savannah, who turned to see her husband, Steve, coming towards her.

He reached her side, asking, “What are you doing out here?”

“Just getting some fresh air.”

Steve didn’t believe her. “Something wrong?”

Savannah appreciated his concern, however, thinking about the nightmare sent shivers down her spine. Not wanting to talk about it, she replied, “Oh, nothing.”

“Are you sure?”

She faced the water to avoid his gaze.

Steve kept looking at his wife, hoping she would confide in him. When she didn’t answer, he became concerned, asking, “What is it? Do you feel okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine. It was just a bad dream. That’s all.”

“A dream? What was it about?”

“You don’t want to hear about it. Trust me.”

“I can handle it.”

“Fine. I don’t remember the first part, but the dream began with a car accident.” She was surprised at the intensity of her emotions as she recounted the details. Her breathing grew labored. “All of us were in the SUV. There were sirens and ambulances everywhere. The worst part is…” she hesitated to say, “you and the kids were killed.”

Steve’s gut tightened. His wife’s fear was contagious. He fought against it, reminding himself, It was just a dream. His rational mind took control and he calmly responded, “We’re all fine. Like you said, ‘It was just a dream.’”

“I know,” she agreed, but truthfully she was worried the dream was more than that. She feared it was a premonition.

Steve consoled her, “I once read that when you dream about someone dying, it really means your relationship is changing. Maybe you’re afraid of the kids getting older and leaving the nest.”

She replied, “Maybe,” even though the explanation didn’t feel right to her.

Her husband wrapped his arm around her, pulling her closer. Together, they watched the indigo waves pitch to a primordial rhythm.

Savannah wanted to claim this moment, hoping that somehow she could stop the approaching black train that bore an ominous warning. In the distance, she heard it rumbling down the tracks. A long shrill whistle drifted through the air, coming closer and closer until it crossed the divide between realities, whispering in her ear, “I’m coming.”


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