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Improving Your Writing by Reading Aloud

The Music of Spoken Word

  • Well written prose has a rhythm and flow to it. You become more aware of this when you read aloud.

 The main character of the novel, Tom Sanders, had his life shattered by the death of his parents and his uncertain relationship with his girlfriend.  Beginning with the experience of geographic expanses and human civilization going back hundreds of years in the wilderness of Arizona and Utah, Tom has some profound experiences.  It is the beginning of coming to terms with overwhelming emotions and finding a sense of purpose for his life.  

In the better science fiction, we see predictions over several decades coming true, although not always at the pace predicted.  The idea of good science fiction is to not necessarily predict the future, but to imagine the possible; to combine knowledge and imagination to create a future that could exist.

The Buddha Technology: A Spiritual Journey is filled with insight and wisdom, and I'm so pleased I read it. It's most highly recommended.

Why I Wrote The Buddha Technology

Any way you look at it, The Buddha Technology is an unusual novel.  In the book marketplace it struggles against a landscape of outlandish or dystopian fantasy, vampires and zombies, and sexual obsession. It is harder to seek out the thoughtful readers who are looking for inspiration and meaning.  It has been difficult and I am still working toward some kind of breakthrough in selling copies of the eBook.

The first obstacle was trying to select a genre.  The book fits into many.  It is clearly fiction, but the title may suggest otherwise.  One reader suggested it is an excellent book for the Young Adult category, because it is a coming of age story and would be inspirational to young readers.  I’ve resisted doing that, because I think that would be limiting the audience to much – I was writing it for adults of all ages.

It also fits into the Spiritual and Inspirational category (or categories?) but many of those are books are didactic – they are meant to teach (or preach) a certain spiritual world view and The Buddha Technology has refused to offer pat solutions or easy answers.

It may seem to some that the book has a happy ending but, for the main character, the ending is really the beginning of a new phase in his life.  I think that is really the way it is with our lives.  We seek a magical transformation that will fix everything, when actually we could be happier just accepting “what is” and being more positive about that.  

The main focus of the book is the experience of “awakening”.    This is an intense experience where powerful insights touch our awareness at a deep level and result in a profound reframing, not just of certain issues, but our relationship toward the experience of living and the suffering that usually entails. 

Researchers in the field of human consciousness are currently trying to discovers means to induce or support this experience, as it can be a life changing event with profound implications for psychological health (hence the title The Buddha Technology).  Seekers have also been trying to find a guru or some techniques (or drugs) that will shortcut their path to it.  After all, who wants to spend 20 years in an ashram. 

But there are some who have experienced it spontaneously, and that is the reason that I wanted to write this book.  We tend to put awakening on a pedestal as if it belongs only to mystics and saints, only to devotees who renounce the world and spend years in practices that were once shared only within ashram walls.  But yet many of us have had profound experiences that are no less valuable than that for our circumstances. 

I wanted to share my awareness of those very wonderful experiences in the hope that the readers will be more open to the little awakenings (and possibly the not so little ones) that give new meaning to our lives.  I hope you will consider reading it and that you will find the experience rewarding.


Two men, weathered faces, kindly eyes

lean in  towards each other

over pints of dark brew,

white foam to the brim,

and talk of the weather, politics, the arthritis.



The Buddha Technology just received the following five star review from Matma, a reviewer for

Readers’ Favorite website:

It is quite an engaging novel for readers. The story begins with Tom comparing the landscape of the lush green rain forests of Vancouver Island to the dry deserts of Tucson. Tom Sanders’ character sketch is done well where the author portrays someone who undergoes a lot of pain, loss and suffering in his life that leads to a kind of spiritual awakening in him. I liked the meshing of spirituality and technology and the spiritual journey of Tom Sanders, which is inspirational.

It continually amazes me how often I think negative thoughts about others based on superficial judgements.  I suppose that means I am at some lower level of enlightenment because I am at least aware of this and actively seek to replace these negative thoughts with ones of compassion.

In this endeavor, I have found the Hawaiian system of Honoponopono to be helpful.  The word itself refers to restoring balance – in oneself, in one’s family, in the local community, in the world.

The basis of this (and this is a simplification, I’m aware) is a prayer one performs silently whenever we become aware of our negative emotions and judgements.  It goes like this: 

1.  I’m sorry (for anything I have done, or my ancestor have done to create this negative circumstance or reaction.)

2.  Please forgive me.  (forgiveness is the basis of releasing the negative emotion)

3.  Thank you (gratitude is part of the healing)

4.  I love you (sending love to the world helps healing take place)

When you practice this you will find that a lightness replaces any surliness, that the heart begins to open, the ideal expressed by the Dalai Lama of expressing compassion to all becomes easier to achieve.

Aloha ( Hawaiian word for affectionpeacecompassion and mercy).



Never too old!

For many people, the last half of life becomes an opportunity to realize dreams, to live more creatively, to prioritize and to attend to the most important things.

When I was around nineteen, I was at a convention, staying at a hotel with a group of college students.  We were having a drink in the hotel bar when we met an African.  He told us he was part Zulu and part Tutsi.  He seemed lonely, a little sad (perhaps homesick) and somewhat drunk.

We conversed with him for a few minutes, and then he looked at me with a look that seemed to travel right through me.

He said, with a loud, impassioned voice, that I’m sure most of the bar heard: “Don’t waste time!  Be a writer!”

I don’t know if he was a psychic, a sensitive person that saw something in me, or just a drunk. But that cry resonated with me – I had always wanted to be a writer.  I obtained an Arts degree in English, made several attempts at becoming an author – starting a hand written novel, back in the time before home computers, writing poetry and sending it off, freelance writing and editing a variety of newsletters.  I’ve had jobs that required writing skills – like being an Information Coordinator for a community college.

Apart from a travel article, I didn’t have much luck getting published.  So I did other things, never being completely satisfied with any of the jobs. 

With marriage and kids, I didn’t feel I had the luxury of being a starving artist – there were bills to pay.  I spent thirteen years as Teacher’s Aide – a very rewarding job – and I don’t regret the time spent doing that.  At the age of fifty-eight, I got my BC teaching certification and spent another four years teaching inmates in a federal prison.  That was also rewarding – and somewhat improbable.  Who starts a teaching career at 58?  “Never too old!” has been my theme for the last decade.

But, when I started to get pension income and to became more financial stable, I was free to follow my heart. I became an alternative health practitioner – doing Reflexology, Reiki and EFT.

I have recently published my first novel:. The Buddha Technology.  In a time when zombie and vampires, action and romance novels seems to be the most successful, it may not be a commercial success.  It is a novel about a spiritual journey, of coming of age and self-discovery.  I think that it is a novel with a lot of heart, and my friends that have read it agree with that assessment.

I have begun another writing project – this time a young adult series about a group of somewhat nerdy high school students that belong to an environmental group called Green Youth – something that resembles the Boy Scouts, except these kids receive training in ecology and environmental activism – often getting themselves in hot water as they confront irresponsible businesses.

I don’t know if that prophesy I received from the drunk Zulu was a blessing or a curse, but I feel a deep contentment as I sit down each day to do my daily writing.  I look forward to having an audience for my work, and to never being one of those bored retirees for whom one day melts into another.

For those of you thinking of retirement:  What dreams have you been putting off in the name or responsibility and frugality? 

Now is your time!

A Long and Winding Road

Source: Doug Reid

This is my first novel (that I'm even close to finishing). There have been other starts, good ideas that were abandoned because I never really believed I could make a living as a novelist. I have to say, though, when writing is going well it is the purest form of joy. The act of creation, the expression of ideas that seem to come out of nowhere and make the hair stand up at the back of my neck, gives a purpose to getting up every day.


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