Thursday, January 28, 2016

Reese & Fleisher on Reinventing the Senior Woman Beyond Mid-Life

Dr. Barbara M. Fleisher, EdD & Dr. Thelma Reese, EdD talk to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about their book, The New Senior Woman: Reinventing The Years Beyond Mid-Life.

“While I can, I will. When I can’t, I won’t. But I’m glad that I did when I could.” ~Elena (from The New Senior Woman book)

Thelma and Barbara have been friends and colleagues for nearly five decades now, and both are “active octogenarian” grandmothers. Both come from strong academic backgrounds, both being retired professors. Thelma is involved with developing young playwrights and has worked with troubled youths, while Barbara has traveled all over the world. Their being doctors of education came in particularly handy when doing the research and digging into the subjects.

The inspiration for the book came several years back, when they remarked that they were still healthy and involved and saw that some of the people around them were successful and just complaining. Both authors looked at their own mothers and realized that these weren’t good role models for the present generation of senior women, as their expectations were different, particularly since they didn’t expect to live as long or be as involved in the world.

Where the book is concerned, both authors were determined to not make it an academic textbook but more conversational in presentation, for the average person. Barbara noted that she and Thelma also had the advantage in that they were at the ages that the book was concerned with, and could thus speak from their own personal experience. They interviewed over 200 women from different backgrounds, ethnicities and income levels, aged sixty to a hundred years old, and the book is set up according to the concerns these women faced, such as downsizing to smaller quarters, separation and loss, family relationships and health issues. Thelma remarks that there are role models for seniors “all around us,” noting that advertising is directed towards them nowadays.

Dr. Barbara Fleisher
Some of the factors contributing to the growing importance of seniors nowadays are their numbers, as life spans are now longer due to proper hygiene and health maintenance, resulting in their being healthier and more mobile compared to the generations before them, as well as their becoming a substantial demographic group. Thelma remarks that a change in perception about how society sees seniors needs to come about, particularly since lots of seniors can still contribute meaningfully to society at large. Thelma adds that seniors still face the old attitudes regarding seniors, such as being patronized. Barbara then noted that seniors have an obligation to be involved in things and to have an open mind, with those who just sit back and expect homage to be automatically given to them being the ones who should be patronized. Thelma then remarked on the “senior bubble,” wherein seniors cut off any opportunities to engage with others out of fear or insecurity.

Barbara remarks that, for even the less mobile seniors, information is now freely accessible to them. Thelma remarked that, when they started their blogs at, there weren’t that many seniors who were able to enter the conversation, given that a lot of them weren’t computer literate. Barbara noted, however, that senior baby boomers are computer literate, which means that more and more senior citizens will be entering the digital conversation as the years go by.

Dr. Thelma Reese
According to Thelma, resilience, reflection, living for the moment and determination were some of the most impressive things that came out of their interviews, which are traits that are developed over time. Barbara also noted that putting things into perspective is also a result of years of experience, so that things that once stressed one out when one was young aren’t as stressful in the now. Barbara mentioned that the successful senior women regard this part of their lives as a fork in the road and try to do things now that they hadn’t been able to do before, and if these activities don’t work out then these can be dropped without guilt.

Barbara remarked that the women who mourned the loss of their youth and tried to regain it through superficial means weren’t particularly successful. Thelma noted that this is a time of one’s life that one hasn’t lived before and that there are opportunities now that haven’t been available before, including the time to journey within oneself. Barbara noted that attitude, resilience, acceptance and being open-minded are vital factors to success at any age, and Thelma notes that a young woman who has such qualities will be successful in her senior years.

Barbara admits that writing the book has changed her life through meeting all the women that she got in touch with, while Thelma admitted that she enjoyed the opportunity to learn about other people and to be inspired by them. Both are now working on a similar book with men at the subjects.

Dr. Barbara M. Fleisher, EdD & Dr. Thelma Reese, EdD website for her book, Reinventing The Years Beyond Mid-Life: Why It Is Possible To Get Better With Age, is

Purchase on Reinventing The Years Beyond Mid-Life: Why It Is Possible To Get Better With Age

Monday, January 25, 2016

D.D. Marx on Beyond Believing - A Novel about Love That Awakens the Heart

D.D. Marx talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her book, Beyond Believing: An Inspiring Story to Awaken the Heart.

“The limit is only your imagination.” ~D.D. Marx

D.D. Marx has always been a strong communicator, and her creative juices began flowing after participating in the Second City program. Although she had no desire as a child to become an author, this desire came into being after she lost a close friend of hers in a car accident after college, and her book sprang from this event. Her book, Beyond Believing: An Inspiring Story to Awaken the Heart, is a mix of actual things that happened to her as well as fictional events, and she wanted to present these in such a way that the reader wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two.

D.D. Marx combined her first name and her friend’s first and middle names to create her pen name, and she names Paulo Coelho, Jen Lancaster and Emily Giffin as some of her favorite influences. Beyond Believing is actually the first book of a trilogy she intends to write, with the trilogy focusing on the characters of Olivia and Finn and their developing relationship. Where characters are concerned, only Finn is the totally fictional character, while Olivia is based on D.D. herself and Dan is based on her friend who died in a car accident, and Finn was the character for whom Olivia needed to do the most amount of research on, given that he was Scottish and that D.D. had never been to Scotland, even though she did have a Scottish neighbor with whom she is good friends with.

D.D. didn’t want to impose a particular spiritual belief on the reader, and despite some potential spiritual elements in the book, she declines to have the book referred to as a paranormal romance. She wrote this book after she had been fired from her first job ever, and after that event really delved into such questions as what her purpose was and what she was doing, what made her fulfilled, and what she was passionate about. One of these aspects was friendship, and writing the book enabled her to step “out of the box” she had been living in as well as fulfilled her in ways she hadn’t realized, including becoming less stressed in her present job. She chose the title as a way to give multiple meanings to the story.

To those who are interested in becoming a writer, D.D. recommends first getting out of one’s own way and to just write the book out, tell the story, and then edit it later, after which one could show the story to those one trusts and work with an editor to make sure it works. To those who seek to publish their first book, D.D. recommends that a would-be author should not be afraid to ask questions, to do their homework to make sure they’re working with the right partner for them - homework which includes getting references from their other authors, getting samples, and ensuring that a contract is signed, particularly given the many publishers out in the market nowadays.

In the future, once she’s done with the trilogy, D.D. hopes to write stories based on the perspective of the character of Dan.

D.D. Marx’s website for her book, Beyond Believing, is

Purchase on Amazon: Beyond Believing: An Inspiring Story to Awaken the Heart

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mia Tomikawa on Living a Joy-Filled, Inspired Life as Taught by Master Ryuho Okawa

Mia Tomikawa, speaking for Master Ryuho Okawa of Happy Science, talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her book, Invitation to Happiness: 7 Inspirations from Your Inner Angel.

“The path to happiness starts with wanting to be happier.” ~Mia Tomikawa

Happy Science is a global organization established in 1986 by Ryuho Okawa, and is a spiritual movement dedicated to bringing happiness to people all throughout the world. Mia herself became involved with Happy Science when she lived in the United States, and in addition to being a member, she also presently works with the publishing division of Happy Science, translating Master Okawa’s works from Japanese to English.

Mia noted that there are a lot of people who are unhappy today who want to be happy, but have no idea how to achieve that state. The book, Invitation to Happiness: 7 Inspirations from Your Inner Angel, is a practical guidebook intended to provide a starting point to achieving happiness, and to act as a gateway to spreading happiness throughout the world.

The book is intended to be read in hard copy form, and to this end, the design was made the way it was, and while it is targeted primarily to women, men can likewise appreciate the design and pick up things within that will help them.

Although the book is intended to be read in progression, from the first chapter to the last, Mia remarks that a reader can go straight to the chapter where he or she is presently having an issue with and then work from there, and explains that the downloadable meditative music, found on the website, is intended to help the reader in doing the various exercises found within the book.

Mia explains that the “Inner Angel” mentioned in the book is a spiritual being that supports and guides people, with the Christian equivalent being “guardian angel.” Mia notes that hardships and failures, which are things that the ordinary person wants to avoid out of a desire for convenience and ease (and because these aren’t experienced in the spiritual world) are actually necessary for people’s growth, giving, as an analogy, the aches and pains one would experience if one works out at the gym, for the pains experienced during a gym workout enable one to build his or her muscles. Mia notes that grudges and resentment spring from our not being able to understand why other people do the things they do, and that compassion and tolerance spring from seeing things from the other person’s point of view. Invitation to Happiness includes an exercise that would help out with this issue.

Mia remarks that, before we are born, we create our own goals (as spirits), and that remembering what these goals are, and then working towards these, bring joy to us and help us achieve a connection with our ideal self, our so-called True Self. The True Self is the part of a human being which is brilliant like a diamond, with the equivalent Christian concept being one’s Divine Nature, while the False Self is the part of a human being that opposes the True Self, and it is this False Self that harbors negative emotions such as jealousy and grudges. Mia remarks that, for people who don’t even know where to start to discover their True Self, they should begin by believing that one’s True Self exists, and from there, finding out what one’s strengths are and then build on these.

Mia hopes the book will enable its readers to discover their True Self, why they are living on the Earth, and what their strengths are and then sharing the joy they discover. To the curious, Mia says she would explain that the book is a guidebook and a tool whose contents its readers need to practice in order to develop themselves spiritually, and Mia invites everyone to just try the book out for them to see what it really is to be happy.

The website for her book, Invitation to Happiness: 7 Inspirations from Your Inner Angel, is

Purchase on Amazon: Invitation to Happiness: 7 Inspirations from Your Inner Angel.

Watch the book trailer of Invitation to Happiness: 7 Inspirations from Your Inner Angel

Friday, January 8, 2016

Dr. Susan Allison on How to Visit Heaven through Shamanic Journeying

Dr. Susan Allison talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her book, You Don't Have to Die to Go to Heaven: How to Find Guidance and Healing in the Spirit Realms.

“As average people, we could tap into this incredible shamanic world.” ~Dr. Susan Allison

Photo of Dr. Allison from her website.
Susan had always been seeing spiritual beings since childhood, when she grew up in an orchard, where she communicated with angels, elements and animals. Her mother viewed such stories as those of childhood fantasies that had to be humored, and even as a child, Susan remarked that she had always had intense energy in her hands which she could use to heal animals and her parents. While Susan maintained her connection to the Spiritual Realm throughout her life, such as using that energy to heal through Reiki practices and in her work as a transpersonal psychologist, she expanded her exploration into shamanic practices after a workshop in 1993, which was led by someone who was trained by Michael Harner, founder of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and author of The Way of the Shaman: A Guide to Power and Healing and Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality. Since then, she has been able to easily access and travel into the shamanic world.

Susan points out that the title “shaman” is bestowed by one’s tribe, so those who haven’t been granted such a title call themselves shamanic practitioners. As a shamanic practitioner, Susan communicates closely with Nature, which is very important in shamanic practice. Susan also notes that, prior to journeying into the shamanic world, one must set one’s intention of what one wishes to accomplish or experience.

This recording is available from Dr. Allison's site.
Although Susan admits that the book had been brewing inside her all her life, the catalyst was her husband’s six-year bout with laryngeal cancer, during which time she became even more involved in traveling to the shamanic world, to alternate dimensions of reality which, according to her, have been mapped by shamans for the past sixty thousand years, to get information on how to help and heal her husband’s illness. Her husband eventually passed away, but the experience, as well as her subsequent journeys into the shamanic world, where she met her husband in spirit, served to prod her into writing the book where she describes the different spirit worlds revealed in a relaxed and deep state of consciousness induced by drumming.

The Middle World, according to Susan, is the nexus from where one goes to the Lower or the Upper World, and is called, in Hawaiian shamanism, the “Sacred Garden.” It’s very much like a dream state whose appearance differs from person to person. A traveler to the Middle World can invite beings that love him or her while here, including spirit allies and teachers, as well as beings who show up and surprise the traveler, all of whom serve to enrich one’s present, existing life on Earth. The Middle World is also a place of refuge and renewal, where our spirits go to after our bodies die.

The Lower World is accessed from some kind of opening from the Middle World, such as a cave or a tree hollow, and is a place of ancient, pristine, primeval nature, where wise animal spirits abound which can guide and help the traveler and which communicate mentally. Susan remarks that the Lower World is a place where one can release personality and character traits that don’t serve one any longer, such as being judgmental, resentful or angry. It is also a place where one can also assume an animal form and then experience the spiritual power associated with that animal.

The Upper World is initially accessed with the aid of spirit animal guides from the Lower World, and eventually, travel up to this world is done according to one’s own reality; Susan, for example, journeys by going to the top of the tree in her Middle World and then asking for a being to carry her up to the Upper World, while another of her colleagues uses an elevator. A traveler has to pass through a sort of veil-like mist or membrane, according to Susan, and within the Upper World is a library where one can access one’s past lives and invite such beings as one’s family members who have already passed on and divine teachers.

Susan notes that each person’s world is different, and it is because of these that she cautions that the worlds that are described in books detailing travels to the spiritual realm may not be the ones that a traveler will experience. Susan also remarks that she has encountered beings from other traditions, such as Rama from Indian belief, and that even people who don’t believe can so travel to the shamanic world, and beings that love the traveler will show up and share things that the traveler needs. She notes that time isn’t linear in the Shamanic World, so the spirits of the beings can be everywhere at the same time, and that researching on the spirits after meeting with them can produce surprising results, such as with the research she did on one of her ancestors who communicated with her.

Susan would suggest to people to suspend their disbelief, and remarks that those who don’t believe in the shamanic world often have a scientific outlook. To them, she suggests studying quantum physics, which tells that everything is energy, and to think in terms of energy. Susan notes that things will happen in the Spirit Realm that one could not make up, such as her meeting Rama or Lao Tzu, whom she didn’t even knew about until she met them. Susan emphasizes that she has written a workbook for readers of her book and hopes that it will dispel the fear of death that anyone has, and help support the belief that one can visit their departed loved ones in the Spirit World at anytime he or she wishes to do so.

Dr. Susan Allison’s website for her book, You Don't Have to Die to Go to Heaven, is

Purchase on Amazon: You Don't Have to Die to Go to Heaven: How to Find Guidance and Healing in the Spirit Realms