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“When I first thought about why I was sent back, I struggled to make sense of the whole process and that has some part in why I kept it all to myself for such a long time. The few times that I let it consume my thoughts, left me more and more hungry for purpose, even though I found some solace in little bits and pieces but never enough to satisfy me. The experience was so profound in my life that there just had to be a greater good to come of it… Something to tie it all together.” – Brian McLaughlin
Author Brian A McLaughlin is a native of Long Island, NY where he has spent most of his life taking advantage of its proximity to the ocean. He completed 10 years of private school before finishing his last two years and graduating from Bay Shore High School in 1971. He and his wife Lin met there, in high school, and married in 1984 and have travelled extensively throughout the world since. He has been in Mexico for a total of years where they learned Spanish and started learning Mayan. He was seriously injured there in 1993 and died in a hospital in Cancun, at which time he experienced what is called a “near death” event. After almost 20 years of denial he came to grips with the reality of it, and has now decided that sharing his experience might help those who thirst for the truth about what happens when you die.
He has lead an interesting, varied life through some college, many different career choices, much travelling, and a “better than most” marriage. He considers himself “happy”, and even with the limitations that severe head trauma placed on him, he remains surprisingly approachable and engaging. He has embraced the peace and clarity gifted to him through his experience.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Bay Shore? Although we have travelled more than average people, we settled in Bay Shore where we grew up. It remains comfortable to us, and we love the proximity to the ocean. Publishing and releasing a book from here feels like we’ve done it among family and friends.
What or Who inspired you to become a writer? I always tried to challenge myself with the use of the English language. I like listening to someone speak who has a good command of the language, and writing appealed to me as a way of memorializing those words.
When did you begin writing with the intention of being published? Actual date? On Sept. 11, 2014. The 21st anniversary of my accident in Mexico.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I suspect that my environment and upbringing played a role in how I interpret life in general. Everyone has issues stemming from childhood, or other events in life that would contribute to their overall perception and opinion. I can’t say that I used any of that “to my advantage”. It simply is part of the way I see life.
Did you come up with the title before or after you wrote the manuscript? The title was conceived right after describing the accident and death experience, but prior to sharing parts of my life before and after that.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? The genre description varies from person to person. Some readily call it NDE (near death experience), while others categorize it as memoir, or bio, or metaphysical studies (Midwest book review). I’ve called it a death experience and how it impacted my life after returning. (Dr. Penny Sartori - One of the world’s leading experts on NDEs described it in detail after reading my book and reviewing it – a copy of it is available). Before writing, I hadn’t read any accounts of NDEs… in fact I didn’t even know what NDE stood for. The most valuable part of this book would be the change in clarity that this event brought to my life and how any of us can embrace that clarity in recognizing different opportunities that often come disguised.
What was your inspiration, spark, or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you’re seeking promotion for? The inspiration would be from my wife, Lin, who has stood by as I’ve made this journey and has endured much of the same trials and limitations as I do even today. She had read about other accounts maybe in an effort to understand what challenged me every day and strongly suggested that I write this book and tell my story - in my own words.
I was resistant, but after speaking with Dr. Frank Maurio, PhD (Neuropsychologist and author of “The Strength Within” on another family matter, I was convinced that this was the right thing to do (light bulb moment).
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing/publishing process? I wrote this book in an effort to share an experience which I found most comforting. I was hopeful that others might broker some of the same comfort in dealing with grief and even how they might approach life after reading it. I could go on and on about how I used the clarity and understanding. I was given from this experience to grab hold of life’s opportunities and parlay them into success and happiness.
It is very rewarding to hear people’s reactions and read reviews that support this hope although I never intended for this book to be a “self-help” book. The style I used to write this book was meant to be truthful, relatively simple, and not embellished or exaggerated. The 20k words in the book are the same 20k words that I typed out on my computer without any interpretation from other writers or editors. I’m sure I made some mistakes and lost some readers because it wasn’t as “entertaining” as they had expected.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career/publishing journey? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? The one thing that comes to mind might be my being unprepared for the process. I was foolish enough to think that writing the book was the hard part, only to realize that it is the easy part, and publishing, promotion and marketing become a much greater challenge. I might suggest that someone writing for the first time, listen to others with experience… read up on aspects of the process, and be prepared and patient.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Don’t give up. Learn to use social media to your advantage… it’s inexpensive and gets results.
Who is your favorite author and why? I seem to gravitate to Nelson DeMille as I find his writing to be compelling and interesting, yet I’ve also read Steven Tyler (“Do the noises in my head bother you”) which I found to be very interesting but very hard to stay with.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? Yes… There is. This book should be read by anyone who has wondered about death, either for themselves or someone close to them. It will answer the questions about where you go… who to follow… will you be alone?
It may also inspire a change of outlook on life, as I’ve experienced, in recognizing opportunities that may even come from those ones you’ve lost. Mine did…
I was slow with work for about six months when I was trying to figure out what to do. Should I sell my business? Should I pursue building business? Should I retire? I asked my departed father who had sent me back from the afterlife: Give me some sign Dad… What should I do? No answer… well, no obvious answer anyway.
Weeks later, I had occasion to be speaking with a neuropsychologist with whom I had briefly spoken with before on a family matter. I took an appointment with him rather than cancel at the last minute, thinking I might add some background or insight into the matter he was evaluating.
When I saw him, he indicated that he didn’t want to discuss any other family, and just wanted to talk to me about writing a book on my experience (!) I bluntly told him that I was not a writer and wouldn’t even know where to start. He said that he could sit and listen to me all day as he appreciated the style which I spoke with, and it would translate well in script. He promised that he would lend any expertise that he could. He believed me and my story and strongly suggested that others would as well.
I thought about it for a while, then realized that I had been asking my father for some sign… an obvious one, to direct me to where I should place my efforts. Well with that aforementioned “clarity” and “understanding”, I decided to seize this opportunity however disguised it came to me. That neuropsychologist has since recommended my book to some patients that came to him for grief counseling and continues to do so.
It has also been used for the same reason by a couple of State appointed counselors who have shared its value with me, which I find most rewarding. Some people have requested time with me to explain some of the “lessons” to be learned in the book, as I tried very hard to keep it short and sweet.
One of my hopes would be that with some validation, an organization like Hospice might consider my contribution of volunteering to speak to any patients that might benefit from the knowledge, experience, and clarity contained in my book. I have but one book at the moment: “A Flight Without Wings” which, when featured in this interview might help build that “validation” I spoke of before.
A Journey There And Back
The following story describes my journey into Heaven and subsequent return to life, all as a result of massive head trauma sustained while vacationing in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico 21 years ago, on 9/11/1993.
It will describe visions as well as deep feelings that moved me to the core of my being. It will go on to briefly give some background into facets of my life and experiences that I had before and after that "accident" that relate somehow to the understanding and clarity that this event has brought to me and how I continue to discover the benefits of passing over to the "other side" Some things are evident to anyone who reads this and some remain relative in more obscure ways.
My hope would be that my words and experience with an afterlife will comfort those people who struggle with a fear and concern, either for themselves or someone close to them that has made this journey on their own. I have kept this to myself for all these years initially out of fear of accepting it, and then out of my inability to accurately describe the sequence of events and the meaning of it all.
My best guess and my overwhelming belief is that this journey of mine represents the exact path and result of nearly everyone who has left us. I was "blessed" with a return ticket and a feeling that it is my onus to share what so few get to experience.
Author Brian A. McLaughlin answers one age old question in this short book chronicling his experience when he died and went to heaven.
This reader is impressed by the fact that Brian isn’t a particular religious man even though his roots are Catholic with a keen interest in the Mayan culture. Like so many raised in a particular faith he longs to know the truth. When faced with truth he struggles for a deeper understanding which leads him to share the gifted insights acquired through his own journey from earthly ties to heavenly peace.
Throughout mankind’s history humans have been given insights and experiences that leave them asking “Why Me?” This book reveals the answer, but the reader has to be open to receive it.
As with all my reviews I like to quote a passage that brings understanding to the author’s writing style and mind set. I quote Author Brian A. McLaughlin in the hopes that you will read this book and pass it on to a friend, relative or stranger who wrestles with and even fears what lies beyond life here on earth. “I did have an overwhelming feeling of peace that suggested was the norm for anyone there. Same goes for the journey itself. I didn’t take the trip with anyone else but felt that this path had been travelled countless times before me and ALL the same. I could talk to someone who has lost a loved one and say with confidence that I know the path they were on, I know where they are, and I know how they are feeling right now. I realize that this may open for debate the existence of a hell, but that could be argued as existing in our lives here on earth.”
Cold Coffee Press endorses ‘A Flight Without Wings: My Experience With Heaven’ by Brian A. McLaughlin as a gifted journey to light the way for others. Brian accepts his gift with humility and extends its message with compassion. We were given this book in a PDF for review. The review was completed on May 22, 2015. For more information please visit Cold Coffee Press. http://www.coldcoffeepress.com