An Excerpt: Becoming Starlight: A Shared Death Journey from Darkness to Light

Becoming Starlight

 

 

Becoming Starlight

Excerpted from Becoming Starlight: A Shared Death Journey from Darkness to Light by Sharon Prentice, PhD. Copyright © 2018 by Sharon Prentice. https://sharonprentice.com

 

Heaven. There are many different words for it in many different languages. And each day, it’s a “place” that’s referred to more than any other in the world. Why? Every single race, religion, ethnicity, and culture—members of each one believe in the concept of Heaven. Religious scholars and philosophers have debated, argued, and fought over the very nature of Heaven since time immemorial and they have written reams and reams of papers about it and stockpiled book after book on library shelves for millennia.   

But it’s not the conversations or writings of the religious scholars or philosophers that touch the true nature of “that place.” It’s the conversations that take place in the hospices, hospitals, ICU’s and funerals of the world that take us into the soul of humanity and, therefore –into Heaven. It’s in times of great personal trauma that many of these discussions take place. And, sometimes, these private moments can become very heated due to the stress and fear that exist in the trying moments before the death of a loved one. Once the word “Heaven” is spoken out loud, the underlying, unacknowledged, unspoken word that goes with it is death. Fear that death is near–especially in the waiting rooms of the ICU–prompts exchanges that are not normally heard in everyday family life.

When “the end” is near, people shy away from using the word “death”; their conversation will, instead, turn to the “place” where their loved one “is going” and to each person’s individual interpretation of exactly what and where Heaven is–and everyone has their own “truth.”   Listening to, and being part of these conversations, is both joyous and heart wrenching as families try to come to terms with exactly “where” their loved one will be after they die. This conversation is repeated countless times, every single day, all over the globe.

The conflict begins the very minute someone questions the interpretation of another. In these moments of great tragedy, having one’s viewpoint understood and accepted as truth–the only truth–is vitally important to each person’s peace of mind. Therein lies the problem. The discussion turns to debate–then to all-out disagreement.

I understand the conflict. Over the years, I have shared my SDE with many friends, colleagues, and mentors, and my explanations and descriptions have sometimes caused heated debate among them. I have spoken to individuals from all walks of life, from all the great religions of the world, from every background and school of thought, and every one of them had their own version of what “truth” should “be” or “is.” While all their “truths” were different, they did have a unifying thread–a belief in an afterlife. “Heaven” and “Hell” were central to every debate and the descriptions of these “places” were similar in both nature and belief.

In the course of these debates and conversations, I have been asked to explain “where” I was taken, what I meant by “I became Starlight,” and to describe exactly what “God” looked like. It is so very difficult to accurately relay my experience because I must rely on “words.” To use words such as “majestic, magnificent, purity defined, peaceful, still, home” dulls the experience because of the mere fact that labeling it–using words to describe the indescribable–just doesn’t do the SDE justice. To characterize the face of God, the touch of God, is tantamount to explaining perfection itself–how can it be done?  How do you depict an emanation of love and joy combined with otherworldly purity? How do you describe an ethereal form that consists of pure light? The “how” lies in the experience itself as given to you by God Himself–His face, His thoughts, His Word engraved upon your heart–how do you give voice to that feeling?

The “how” lies hidden in the vision, the “feeling” of pure Spirit–the soul must feel its way through to see perfection without being polluted by the scripts we grew up identifying with and falling victim to. “God looked like love I have never experienced before” has always been my answer. There are some feelings and thoughts that can never be expressed–words don’t exist to describe them. Our own humanity puts locks on the words felt in the Soul. The physicality of God’s appearance—it simply wasn’t important. I felt absolutely no curiosity about it–His touch was just too all-consuming and comforting to think of anything else. Perhaps one day, someone will invent a word that accurately depicts “the pure light that is love” that will get us one step closer to seeing His perfection.

Once the head shaking stops from my lack of a physical description, the conversation turns to “where” was I? Most organized religion tells us that God is “separate” from us, that He lives somewhere “out there,” above the clouds in a place called Heaven. Religion teaches us that God is the creator and final arbiter of the rights and wrongs of living and that we all will surely answer to Him for all our wrong doings. And just as we’ve been told who and what God is, we’ve also been told what “heaven” is, in descriptive terms that everyone can visualize. Heaven is a specific place, the likes of which there is no equal. It is an “other” world, out there somewhere, filled with everything wonderful and beautiful, full of creature comforts that we only dream about. Mansions line golden streets encrusted with pearls and diamonds, and everyone has everything they ever wanted–and everyone who was the best “good little boy or girl” has even bigger and better things than those who weren’t quite as good in this life. We earn that mansion on that particular street in that particular neighborhood by the things we do or believe or by the things we don’t do or don’t believe while living on this earth. Sounds like a bigger and better version of life here, doesn’t it? I fully accepted that version, that description of Heaven given to me as a child. The innocence of childhood demands “pictures” we can understand. Adjectives that paint a picture of a human paradise comfort and console us when we think of death–ours or anyone else’s.

But that is not what I found in “that place” among my stars. Was there physicality, a form, a space–a specific place that could be described? I can’t say there was! What I found, and felt, instead, in the place where I was held, was magnificence itself: Pure Starlight–and God Himself. And the most amazing surprise of all–I found the “me” as God intended me to be from the moment He formed me in my mother’s womb–before this world got ahold of me and slapped labels on me that told me who to “be” and what to believe. But in “that place,” I found myself as a magnificent extension of God. My answer to the question, “What does God look like?” has always been the same: to describe God, I would be describing my own Soul. And to describe “that place” requires a complete letting go of everything that any logic and human reasoning would dictate.

The very essence of God, of Heaven, was in and of that Starlight. I discovered–no, I just knew–that there is nowhere that God is not. He is in and of everything that has ever existed. There is nothing that He is not. There is no place that He is not. If it exists, it is a part of Him–His thoughts created everything, including every one of us. We exist purely because he thought of each one of us. We are the physical forms of His thoughts. We are his creations–part of a whole that we can’t perceive. We are all intricately combined as one thought of God but gloriously separate as individuals for some reason unknown to us–but known to Him from the moment He gave each of us life.

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About the Author:

Dr. Sharon Prentice is the author of Becoming Starlight: A Shared Death Journey from Darkness to Light. Soon after completing her graduate studies in psychology, Dr. Prentice longed to discover “the why’s” about her own intimate experience with death in the form of an SDE, and that of others who had experienced something “weird, unbelievable, odd” at the time of the death of a loved one. Dr. Prentice is in private practice as a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor – Advanced Certification. She is also a Board Certified Spiritual Counselor (SC-C) and holds Board Certification in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Group Therapy, Integrated Marriage and Family Therapy, and Crisis and Abuse Therapy. She is also a Board Certified Temperament Counselor. Dr. Prentice is a Professional Member of the American Counselors Association, a Professional Clinical member of the National Christian Counselors Association, a Clinical member of the American Mental Health Counselors Association, and a Presidential member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. She is also a Commissioned Minister of Pastoral Care. For more information, please visit https://sharonprentice.com and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

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Writing Tips: How To Be A Prolific Writer With Bec Evans From Prolifiko

It’s Television Tuesday!

Old Classic Television In A Room

 

 

 

Writing Tips: How To Be A Prolific Writer With Bec Evans From Prolifiko

 

 

 

 

Get back to writing!

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

Author Mindset: Choose Wonder Over Worry With Amber Rae & Joanna Penn

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!

 

 

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Author Mindset: Choose Wonder Over Worry With Amber Rae

 

 

 

Amberrae.com

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

How To Find and Fix Your Book Sales Problem With Dave Chesson & Joanna Penn

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY FOLKS!

 

 

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Book Marketing Tips: How To Find and Fix Your Book Sales Problem With Dave Chesson

 

 

 

Check out Dave Chesson on Kindlepreneur.com

 

Dave Chessons Free 5 day course Sell More Books with Amazon Book Ads

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO WAKE YOUR MUSE AFTER A “Rip Van Winkle” LIKE SLUMBER

Inspiration

 

 

HOW TO WAKE YOUR MUSE AFTER A “Rip Van Winkle” LIKE SLUMBER

 

After being bit by the “I’m going to write a book” bug, I blazed through five months and 113,000 words to create two separate stories. All the time I spent was filled with excitement and enthusiasm, feeling my ‘muse’ on my shoulder cheering me to the finish line.

As it turned out, I realized I was in a race on a very long course, not a drag strip. Completing the first 2 eBooks was just the beginning. As I wrote those stories, each chapter I completed filled my head with new ideas and plot twists for the follow-on story.

   After completing the second story to my second trilogy (that’s another by itself) I took the leap and decided to go the self-publish, print-on-demand route by placing my completed work on CreateSpace for all to hold if they so choose.

Unfortunately, while my artist and I struggled with a formatting issue on one of the covers, my ‘muse’ decided to take a nap as it were, without permission. I still had pages of notes and plotlines to work through on my fifth WIP, but my desire and motivation had left on the heels of my ‘muse’.

One thing I do to escape is to listen to music, and this is what I turned to in an attempt to coax my ‘muse’ to return. Thankfully I have an abundance of instrumental music to dive into, and so for several days, actually weeks, I would sit and listen, staring at the proverbial blank page of MS Word in the hopes something would jump out and stick.

My other trick I used in the past, and once again in this case, was rereading my previous work. After writing 3 individuals ‘chapters’, I create a new file allowing me to consolidate what I’ve completed. After this is done, I continue to add my completed pieces until I exceed my word count or page count, whichever comes first.

I’m happy to say, this works for me, but for others, I’m sure they have their own methods, tricks and secrets. In the end, it all comes down to one think, Keep Writing!

 

By Anthony Harrison

 

 

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Books & Blurbs: The Wanderer by Michael Ridpath, Good and Evil by E.M. Smith,Vargus, McBain.

Wanderer by Michael Ridpath book 5

 

 

From the million-copy bestselling author, perfect for fans of Stieg Larsson, Anne Holt, and The Killing.

“Michael Ridpath is trouncing the Scandinavians on their home turf. This is international thriller writing at its best.” PETER JAMES

Iceland, 2017: When a young Italian tourist is found brutally murdered at a sacred church in northern Iceland, Magnus Jonson, newly returned to the Reykjavík police force, is called in to investigate. At the scene, he finds a stunned TV crew, there to film a documentary on the life of the legendary Viking, Gudrid the Wanderer.

Magnus quickly begins to suspect that there may be more links to the murdered woman than anyone in the film crew will acknowledge. As jealousies come to the surface, new tensions replace old friendships, and history begins to rewrite itself, a shocking second murder leads Magnus to question everything he thought he knew…

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

Blurb rating: 8/10

This book is definitely on my radar. First, there’s an amazing endorsement from mega-writer Peter James. Then the blurb kind of sucks you into it’s realm of suspense, intrigue, crime, setting and viking history. The Wanderer is the #5 book in the series so I’ll need to catch up fast!

 

 

Good and Evil Viktor Loshak book one

 

 

He slips through the unlocked window. Creeps down the hall. A shadow standing in the bedroom doorway. Will you wake when death comes ripping?

A string of brutal home invasion murders terrifies Dade County Florida. The killer strikes in the dead of the night, savages innocent people in their beds, wipes out entire families.

Skewering them with his blade. Butchering them beyond recognition. Raw. Aggressive.

He attacks at random. Rich. Poor. Young. Old. No one is safe.

When the city sleeps, he comes alive. Stalks the night. Walks among us.

The investigation is hopeless. There’s little physical evidence to work with, and the killer’s chaotic behavior makes him as unpredictable as he is dangerous.

How can anyone make sense of such brutality?

The task force leading the investigation needs a profiler, and there’s only one man for the job.

Loshak. Special Agent Victor Loshak.

The 53 year-old likes his Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shaken, not stirred. And now, for the first time, he’s on his own.

In recent years, Loshak has slowed down some. He relies on more wit than grit these days, often playing a mentor role to his partner, Violet Darger. Until now, she always had more than enough grit for both of them.

But Darger isn’t around this time, and a killer this aggressive will push Loshak to his limits.

And beyond.

What drives someone to such violence? And how far will Loshak have to go to stop him?

Yeah, he’ll need to find that grit again… or die trying.

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

Blurb rating: 7/10

 

I’ve read this author and part of the Violet Darger FBI series before, so I know what I’m getting into before I read this. Agent Victor Loshak FBI profiler first makes his appearance in Dead End Girl: A Gripping Serial Killer Thriller (Violet Darger FBI Thriller Book 1)And that book was AMAZING. I wasn’t too impressed with the blurb itself though. Liked bits and pieces of it and disliked others. But the blurb is pointless because I’ve already got a great taste of the series and the lead character anyway. Can’t wait to tap into this puppy.

 

 

 

 

 

Talking Writing Points with Ames Karas

Draft Preliminary First Attempt Try Word Stamp 3d Illustration

 

 

 

READ THIS FIRST

Starting Point:

Today is a writing day. This is about word production. Start at the beginning then go in chronological order. When finished, put the word count in the title. Change the icon to something awesome like a star or something.

 

STARTUP: Keep a legal pad handy for notes.

-What’s my goal for today’s writing session?

-Word count by 15 minute increment.

-Doubts about my character.

-Doubts about my fictional characters.

-Doubts about the direction of the scene.

-Possible fixes.

-Questions about the next scene.

-Any other interrupting thoughts.

 

Then at the end of a writing session:

-What did I accomplish? Yay me!

-What should I do before next writing session?

-What will I write next?

-Review these notes before the next Day’s writing.

 

NOW CRUMPLE IT UP AND THROW IT AWAY! YAY!

KEEP IN MIND WHILE WRITING:

-Why do I love writing?

-What is my story about in a paragraph?

 

 

 

Closeup woman shocked face with eyeglasses

 

 

 

Act 1 is a bitch.

It took me 2 years to write Act 1 of my recently completed WIP Winded Embers. It took 7 months to write Act 2.  

Act 3 took less than a week.

 

Act 1 seems daunting because there are multitudinous variables to organize and implement. You must answer questions like: What does this character want? Why does he want it? Who is in his way? Why?

I’ll stop now lest I begin sobbing. You will revise so breathe.

 

That is just what comes from the story. Never forget, humans are pre-fabricated with self-doubt and anxiety. This is extra true for creatives who must essentially get naked in public. Accusation and questions will flood you while you write.  

 

What if I suck and have to re-write the entire thing? Wow, am I screwed up for writing about this? Who am I going to offend by writing? Worse, I am not going to offend anyone? Am I writing garbage that doesn’t mean anything?

 

In my experience (limited though it is) stories tend to come more easily when unimpeded by Writer’s block. Industry secret: Writer’s block= personal problems.

Here is my advice on surviving the production of act 1.

Create a positive writing habit (more on this in “go Analog”).

 

Recruit allies. Writer buddies can shut down your self-doubt and make you work better. There are some questions you cannot answer about your own book. Knowing you have beta readers creates a mental toilet for the questions you can’t answer. “Is my character relatable?” I have Betas for that. ::FLUSH::  

 

Go Analog. never underestimate the power of paper. Physically setting down a noisome idea is underrated. Nothing gets rid of negative thoughts like a pad of paper. Little in this world is as satisfying as crumpling said thoughts and winging them across the coffee shop into the waste basket. I’m just sayin’

Below is my warm-up. I needed it while writing Act 1.  KEY: This worked for me. Use what works for YOU!

Now go write and be awesome, you writer you.

Ames Karas   candor.amykaras.com

 

 

 

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Self-Publishing Formula: Indie Authors, Marketing & Publishing

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!

 

 

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Indie Publishing with James & Jeanette Hunter

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Where it Starts by Author Margot Kinberg

Undecided businessman weighing his choice

 

 

This is Where it Starts

 

Thanks so much for having me here, Benjamin! It’s a privilege. One of the things that many writers struggle with is how to begin their stories. And that’s not just a problem for new writers, either. Even very experienced writers can find that first bit of a story to be a challenge.

There are lots of different ways to get started, and no one way is ‘the right way.’ So, I can just share the approach that’s worked for me. I write crime fiction, and, most of the time, that means that at least one character is going to get killed. The thing is, though, that most of us couldn’t imagine taking a life. So, if a story’s going to be believable, there has to be something about the victim that gives someone a compelling reason to kill.

That’s one reason I start my stories by introducing the victim in some way. I want readers to get a sense of who this person is (or was). Then, I hope I can convince them that this is a plausible murder victim. Starting a story with the victim also gives me the chance to make that character seem like a real human being. This, I hope, invites the reader to engage in the story.

I’ve used different strategies to introduce the victim. In my first two novels, the first sentence of the story takes us into the victim’s life. Here, for instance, is the first sentence of B-Very Flat:

‘Serena Brinkman smiled as she took a deep breath of the crisp October air.’

The next sentences place Serena on the campus of (fictional) Tilton University, where she is a student. Then, she encounters other characters, and readers get a sense (I hope) of what her relationships with those characters are, and why she would become a victim.

In my second two novels, the victim’s basically dead before the story really starts (although in one, the victim dies in the prologue). Those novels begin as the victim’s death is discovered, and the police, as well as my sleuth, Joel Williams, start to ask questions. That approach lets me offer the ‘hook’ of a murder case to the reader, and still lets me introduce the victim as the case is investigated.

There are, of course, lots of other ways to start a story and invite readers to engage themselves. Some crime writers introduce a story with the sleuth. Others start with a particularly compelling setting or incident. I do it by introducing the victim, but there really is no one ‘correct’ approach. As long as the story gets the reader’s attention, that’s what matters.

Thanks again for hosting me, Benjamin!

 

 

Margot Kinberg

 

 

About Margot Kinberg

 

Margot Kinberg is a mystery author and Associate Professor. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Kinberg graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, then moved to Philadelphia, which Kinberg still considers home.

Kinberg had always been fascinated by crime fiction and mystery novels. In fact, she became an “addict” while still in her teens. So in 2007, she began her fiction writing career with her debut novel, Publish or Perish. In that novel, Kinberg put her experience in the world of higher education to use in creating a murder mystery that takes place at fictional Tilton University. This story introduces Joel Williams, a former police detective-turned-professor, who teaches in Tilton University’s Department of Criminal Justice. In this first outing, Williams helps solve the murder of a graduate student. The second in Kinberg’s Joel Williams series is B-Very Flat, in which Williams helps to solve the murder of a young violin virtuosa who dies suddenly on the night of an important musical competition. Kinberg’s third Joel Williams novel, Past Tense, begins when a set of bones is discovered at a construction site on campus. This case ties in with a missing person case from 1974.

Kinberg, who now lives with her family in Southern California, is currently at work on her fourth Joel Williams novel.

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Why You Need to be Publishing Audiobooks with Mark Dawson & Tina Dietz

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Why You Need to be Publishing Audiobooks SPF 137 Tina Dietz

 

 

 

 

Have you made any audiobooks yet? Tell us in the comments!

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com