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The difference between a writer and an Author? A Book contract


March 26th 2015

Today was a momentous day for me. I signed my book contract with Sorriso Verlag to have my book A Taste of Eternity published in German. It is set to come out this Holiday Season. I am so delighted to have my book represented and published by them.

Sorriso smile

The publishing company name alone was enough to draw me in. Sorriso is the Italian word for “smile”. This company consists of strong, highly experienced women that combine years of unbelievable creative talent. Their focus is to have all their books deliver what the company name implies… a smile. They want to uplift, motivate, encourage and bring overall joy to their readers. Which is why they acquired A Taste of Eternity: to bring a smile to its readers.

This has been a long road.  I have not blogged for awhile, because I felt and recognized such a negative backlash from publishers and readers questioning the authenticity of Dr. Eben Alexander’s NDE, or the authenticity of anyone’s NDE. Why is it we have so much trouble accepting experiences that range outside our five physical sentences? There simply was not a market for my book for the past past year and a half.

When asked what I thought after reading Alexander’s book, I first replied that there was much I could not relate to, since I am not a neuroscientist or medical doctor. I do relate to the time in my seven-week coma, and a few spots very much like my NDE experience.

However, I sometimes had a hard time determining which were his authentic NDE experiences, and which were experiences he had while in his coma. Furthermore, Dr. Alexander was never officially pronounced dead. I agree that each of us have our own unique NDE experiences, just as we each have our own experiences in life.

Over my whopping 56 years, I’ve noticed that every step, experience, encounter, and basically everything in life happens in order to prepare us for the next step.  There are no accidents. Knowing this is my belief; after a year of no interest in any books on NDE’s, I’m certain you can understand how I saw this delay, not as upsetting but rather as scripted by the heavens, which ultimately led to this publisher wanting my book. I see it as a completely guided direction.

The fact that a company that carries the happy, sunny name of “Smile,” will now publish my book, and its desire to encourage and uplift women, is more than meets the eye. The publisher, Karen Christine Angermayer, was working and vacationing in Southern California, looking for books from American authors. She was made aware of my book and given my proposal and four chapters; within three days, we were Skyping. After telling me how much she liked my writing, she asked for a complete manuscript within six weeks. (If you’ve never tried to publish a book, trust me, this is sweet music to the ears!) A week later, after she returned to Germany, the first version of my contract arrived.

This unique synchronicity was not lost on me.

Today, I get to fulfill the promise I made to God in 2000, and to my wonderful father Ray Brookhart a year later: I would share what I experienced through this book. I would relay His teaching” The most important thing we can do on Earth is to Give, Show, and Express Love. There is no greater accomplishment.Blog Angel - contract

Love is not just for people. Every body and living thing is made up of essentially the same energy, particles, and spirit matter. Look into the eyes of every creature, your pet cat, or a wild tiger. Take a detailed account of every mother-infant relationship, every friendship, every co-existence, every spirit, and you will see the need and desire for love. Love knows no boundaries! While having my life review and visit with God in Heaven, I saw that everything in life is connected and all things have a full life inside them – a kaleidoscope of color, light, love and praise.

Today my heart is full of this kaleidoscope of color, love, and happiness. I give praise that I was able to write and complete this book.

I certainly did not do it alone. I had friends who encouraged me in more ways than they know. They encouraged me to walk, run marathons, work, and accomplish so many tasks that aided in my resolve to write a book about my NDE. They helped me become brave enough to go public with my thoughts and experience, something that, in subjects like this, often lead to direct criticism — the opposite of what A Taste of Eternity is about.

Again there are no accidents in life. Just when I needed it, my life was gifted with the arrival, loving guidance and writing direction of Robert Yehling, a friend of fifty years who has written and edited many books through his Word Journeys business. For the past four years, Bob and I moved through every aspect of this book, shaping and molding my experiences into final form while sharing all the loving and spiritual or emotional energy behind it. It took several drafts and a few “back to the drawing board” moments, but we got there with a wonderful, final six-week writing spree this past winter. Bob acted as my cheerleader, coach, and fan. Without his help, I would not be able to say I am an author.

Blog Beach Chairs contract

Author… l’il old me? Wow. I cannot believe the energy that fills me, rushing up and down my spine. I want to cry, laugh, smile, and scream out in joy.

Today, after dropping my signed contract in the mail, I went body surfing with a good friend. We laughed and played in the ocean, floating in the calm of the Ocean and I could not get this stupid smile off my face. It was sheer ecstasy!!! I wanted to fly away, floating in the sparkling sun as it shined on the waves. I’m sure when I hold my first copy in my hands that smile will be just as hard to remove as it was today. I will experience this Bliss again. I love all the people in my life and remember daily God’s guiding premise: The Most Important Thing We Can Do On Earth is – To Give, Show, and Express Love. There is no greater accomplishment.

Now, I will get to share His love through A Taste of Eternity.


Reading Between the Lines




The first few chapters of my book, A Taste of Eternity, deal with my experiences first entering Heaven, the Life Review I received there, and what was happening with my family while I was dying.  It is much more difficult than I expected to write these recollections in present tense.

I thought I’d start with the immediately family member I believed to be the toughest, or the least unemotionally touched by the experience, my son Aaron.  I called to ask him what his experience was on that terrible night of October 8, 1999. I asked if he wanted to write it down in an email, or if he just wanted to tell me his story.

He started off with a simple explanation, accompanied with a few quick-witted comments.  As Aaron continued, his descriptions became more vivid, his voice grew louder, and frustration or anger filled him. His story was laced with flying F-Bombs, and then he started choking back tears.  Wow… what a roller coaster ride of 15 to 20 minutes that was! He had forgotten, or wanted to forget, all those emotions he had that night and for the many months that followed.  He had buried them, so they couldn’t be seen.  Since then, we’ve both moved on with our lives, both of which have completely changed. They are much richer now.

I just moved into my new condo, which sits across the street from the beach. My soul feels refreshed every day when the incoming tide rolls to shore. For the past year, all my possessions from my old home had been in storage.  While digging through stuff, I came across an essay written by Aaron on October 19, 2002, his senior year in High School. I believe it was part of a scholarship for which he was applying.  Here is the beginning and the ending.


The Accident: By Aaron Halda

            Where on earth could she be?  Why isn’t she here yet?  These questioned raced through my head as I anxiously waited for my mother’s arrival to take me and a friend home.  It took place during my freshman year. 

            The more we waited, the more a feeling I started to have that something was wrong.  Ambulances, fire trucks, and Life Flight helicopters started to show up, one by one, and all turned on a road my mom frequently used to pick me up.  At this point I got a sixth sense feeling, and I turned to Andrew and told him to call his mom to pick him up because mine had been in an accident.  Five minutes later, a sheriff pulled up and asked me to come with him to the principal’s office.

            Once my mom was in surgery, a doctor came out and explained to us what damage had taken place.  We were informed that she was in critical condition, and that it was very unlikely she would make it.  She had arrived as a CRAM Zero, with collapsed lungs, lacerated liver, ruptured spleen and diaphragm, broken ribs, and a shattered pelvis.  Now all of these injuries alone should have killed her. But even worse was to know that Palomar Hospital had never had anyone under a CRAM three live.  The odds were not in our favor.  

            The doctors told my family and I to say goodbye to my mom because she surely was not going to make it, and if she did, she would be a mental vegetable and complete couch potato.  Through this incredible tragic ordeal, I was able to somewhat control my emotions.  I felt incredible pain and anger but through God was able to control it and try not to place it on others.  At times, I just wanted to flip out and submit everyone to my aggression, but I overcame.  I was even able to keep my grades, a 3.2 GPA, which I believe was a great accomplishment between playing sports, and spending most my time at the hospital, just sitting in the room with my mom while she was in a 2-month coma.

            This accident made me learn early what hardships are all about and I handled myself pretty well. I know what it feels like to have tremendous “load on your shoulders,” but I now feel I can handle any with ease.”

If we look we can see the emotions… the ones we try so hard to hide away in our mind. If we look fully at our lives and ourselves, we can read between the lines.  We live for meaning, and from that meaning, if it is to present itself fully, we have to learn and hopefully grow from our experiences.

I have an expression I like to use: “I want to feel God’s tap on my shoulder, and not wait for his sledgehammer to hit me, before my lights go on.”