Discovering God by Engaging your Senses

As a writer, I know the importance of engaging the physical senses of a reader in order to draw them into the worlds I create; if you can taste, see, smell, touch and hear the world, these windows to the soul conjure an experience of involvement – your brain crosses the threshold between reality and fantasy, and you enter another world.

If you can vividly imagine something, your body will respond as if it were a real experience; for example, imagine the spray of juice as you peel the skin off of a succulent orange, the feel of the wedge as you tear it loose, and the explosion of juicy taste in your mouth as you bite into it.  Did you feel the juicy peel on your fingertips?  Did your mouth produce more saliva in response?  The more your senses are engaged, the more it will feel like a tangible experience, and your mind will remember it on a deeper level.  The more we practice, the easier and the more realistic it becomes.

O Taste and SeeI recently discovered a book called, “O Taste and See – Discovering God through Imaginative Meditations” by Paul W. Meier; in it, he makes the point that we cannot fall in love with an abstract concept; the more concrete we can experience our relationship with Jesus, the more we can fall in love with him, and accept his love for us.

Jesus used imagery in his teaching; he spoke in parables, or made analogies.  His stories were often agrarian and culturally relevant, relatable to the audience listening to him.  When he talked about the woman searching for a lost coin in Luke 15, it conjured in the listeners’ minds all the associated elements:  The sounds of her bustling about in search, the moving around of wooden furniture on a floor of packed earth, the sounds of a broom swishing, the smell of oil in the lighting of the lamp, and the relief and joy when she found that missing part of her dowry; it was worth calling the neighbours together for a party!  And with a party comes noise, conversation, perhaps music, and the tastes of food and wine.

The importance of meditating on scripture was driven home to me again recently as I began devotionals with this book; Jesus said repeatedly that to know the Father, you must know himself – that the Creator is revealed through Christ.  By taking the time to get comfortable, to let go of what distracts our minds and eyes and take a few deliberate, deep breaths (it’s a technique used in various kinds of meditation – it’s simply a physical cause and effect:  As the brain receives oxygen it knows that everything is fine, and it can relax its guard or its vigilance in the instinctual readiness for “flight, freeze or fight”), we can prepare ourselves to receive from God.

I would like to encourage you to read one of the parables or one of the stories about Jesus’ activities, and take the time to sink into it – place yourself in the story as one of the close followers of Jesus (for instance, as John, if you are a man, or as one of the women who travelled with Jesus, if you are a woman).  Take time to walk with him, to imagine the sounds of the market, or the lapping of waves on the shore, or the wind in the olive grove or field of grain.  Close your eyes and dwell in that place a moment, with Jesus by your side.  Go on that journey with him.  I can guarantee you that when you do, it will stay in your memory for days, if not much longer, and by experiencing him in such a concrete way, you will begin to love him more, and to sense his love for you all the more.

On the Question of Temporal Being

Cardinal 2, Kindle DimensionsI’ve recently published The Cardinal, Parts One and Two; it’s hard to describe the feeling of a project that you’ve lived so intensively in time, energy, research, editing, plotting, creating and going through the entire process of graphics, layout, formatting and publication, and once it is finally finished and released into the world; it’s probably not all that dissimilar to giving birth, except this pregnancy was several years in the formation, and once it’s born it immediately takes on a life of its own out in the big, wide world (and just like teenagers, it calls home once in a while and asks for money – that would be investing time into marketing and promotion, in the books’ cases!).  It becomes a separate entity to myself, and the book it had been so long in my own mind might not match what readers perceive or envision for the characters I know so well, but that’s part of letting go and allowing it to grow.  I thought I’d share a brief excerpt from the Cardinal, Part Two:

“How did you do that?” Jon asked after they’d returned to Aradan’s room and closed the door.
“It is not something explainable in human terms,” Aradan replied.
“Is it…? Was Jesus…?”
“One of us? No. He truly was the Creator embodied on earth… in the form of a man, much like this vessel I am in now, like the one you are in. He came to Aquillis as well, but we responded very differently than Man-Kind. My giftings are merely evidence of God’s infinite character just as you and your giftings are. Intelligence, creativity, talents or giftings… they are all expressions of his being… the supernatural fingerprints of our Designer, if you will, just as a potter leaves his fingerprints in the clay of a vessel he forms.”
“So… you don’t look like this,” Jon gestured from head to toe, “on your planet?”
“We have no need of this vessel there… it would be incompatible with our environment.  But we do not look all that different; it is as if this human vessel is an outer layer, a suit, with the perfect form of who we truly are just beneath the surface. It will be the same for you once you’ve passed through the veil of mortality to immortality … when this vessel,” he pinched Jon’s arm lightly, “is shed, releasing your essence – your spirit – to journey to your chosen destination.”
“You mean heaven… or hell?”
“So… you believe they exist?”
Aradan laughed. “You humans… you’re so fixated on this temporal journey called Life that you fail to realize… this is just laying the foundations for reality beyond this material existence! The choices you make while in this mortal time frame determine your destination and home beyond it. And yes, they both exist: Just as time is one dimension and space another, so heaven and hell both exist; other dimensions altogether, perceivable only once you’ve left your mortal frame behind.”

Huesler, Stephanie (2014-11-12). The Cardinal, Part Two (Kindle Locations 3003-3020). Stephanie Huesler. Kindle Edition.

Countdown Deal!

POF1 - Amazon Optimal Pixel

This coming weekend, from Saturday 22 March, 6:00 a.m. (PST) through Sunday 23 March, 11:00 pm (PST) my first novel, “The Price of Freedom” will be available on Kindle for $3.99 instead of $6.99!  As of next week, the title will also be available in paperback!  I’m excited to finally have the paperback edition available to those of you who’ve been asking for it.  Please—pass the news on to your friends and contacts!  Share, link, and shout it from your rooftops (preferably without getting arrested)… you are my greatest asset when it comes to getting the word out, getting into the hands of people who enjoy reading, and enjoy the genre of the likes of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer!

New Book Release: Redemption, the Northing Trilogy, Book 2

Redemption CoverAnnouncing the release of my second book, Redemption!  At the moment both books are available on Kindle, and coming soon in paperback.  If you enjoy 18th century fiction a la Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer, I think you’ll love these two books!  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing them; before writing the third book in this series, however, I’ll be finishing two other manuscripts, in vastly different genres.  So keep your eye out for more news!

The reason for the brief interlude between the releases of The Price of Freedom and Redemption is that the second was nearly complete when I released the first one; POF had been done for a few months by the time I actually had time to sit down and go through the publication process for the first time properly; don’t think either book was rushed, as I’m meticulous with the nuts and bolts, and I would like to think quality, though that is up to the reader to assess, not me!

To read a snippet of the book and find out more, please check out my “Publications” page, and let me know what you think – I’d love to hear from you!

New Book Release: The Price of Freedom

POF1 - Amazon Optimal PixelAt last, I can announce it!  My first published book, pre-Regency fiction called “The Price of Freedom” is out!  Available on Amazon worldwide, and ready to read and enjoy in the Kindle e-book format!

It’s been a long process, and one fraught with delays, hiccups, a lot of homework, and the unsexy side of writing.  It’s my first baby – the story that started me writing several years ago, and has been the friend I honed my writing chops on.  It’s hard to let go of that baby and let the wider world into its life, and allow it to take on a life of its own, but so it is.

As you know, self-published books are dependent on word-of mouth marketing.  I would really appreciate your help!  If anyone would like to interview me, review the book, and / or write a great review on Amazon, that would be amazing!  If you know anyone remotely interested in literary fiction, Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer (my style has been compared to both of those writers by editors & other writers), historical fiction, Regency or Pre-Regency era, please pass the word on to them!

Here’s a review, from Sue Moorcroft (Author, tutor):

“She was tall and willowy, and had a way of coming into a room like a welcomed summer breeze, drawing all eyes to herself.” – What a great description! It’s the kind of thing I wish I’d written. It really conjures up an image for the reader.

“…his death at such a ripe old age could not conveniently be avoided I suppose…” – A great snippet of dialogue. It’s exactly this kind of sly humour, that Jane Austen did so well, that earns for Regency fiction the tag, ‘comedy of manners’.

So… pass the word, download the book, grap a cuppa and curl up for a good read!