The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku

“Inspirational Innovation”

A review by Joey Madia

The great white whale for all true Creatives is the alchemical creation of something New. Wholly new. Something Never Before Done.

But, in reality, how many emotional crews and spiritual lower legs have we sacrificed in the pursuit of such seeming folly?

I was recently engaged in a discussion with creative colleagues when the idea that “there is nothing new” left to create came up. For one of us, it was a statement originally made to him some 30 years ago by a professor in the college where he had enrolled.

So—is it true? Outside of deconstructionism and post-postmodernism, aside from homage and pastiche (all four of which are prevalent in my own work), is there anything truly new?

This retrospective collection says yes.

Embracing variations on the haiku and tercet forms while honoring Philippine culture and elements of the Diaspora, Tabios’ Hay(na)ku form has, to put it mildly, caught on with a worldwide community of poets, breeding variations that both honor the form from which they come and the strength of the form itself. Continue reading

Book II of The Eedoo Trilogy

Book II: Invaders from Blore

A review by Joey Madia

As indicated by the title, and as is often the case with a series, the scope of Book II becomes larger, with bigger, weightier problems to solve. Sharoo is now an acknowledged hero in her country and with it comes responsibility.

Although only touched on near the end of Book I, the notion that a Floater/spirit guide cannot tell you everything—that you must figure things out and choose your own path—is central to the sequel. This is an important aspect of spiritual work, either within formal religions or in a more general spiritual practice. Additionally, Empowerment is a must in stories for youth, so it was good to see this take on more prevalence in Book II.

Meditation is also a core subject of the sequel, with Sharoo leading a class in it. Rowe does an excellent job of outlining both the benefits and challenges of meditation practice.

Rowe also touches on alcoholism, which affects many families. I look forward to the outcome of what is set in motion here in the final book of the trilogy.

As a professional paranormal investigator and author I also want to mention that Rowe is knowledgeable in this area, with many of the events that take place in Book II squarely in the realm of the case studies and literature on these phenomena. Continue reading

Book I of The Eedoo Trilogy

“The Power of Meditation”

A review by Joey Madia

Book I: Sharoo Awakens

Spirituality is often difficult to talk about with children. Despite numerous studies that show that meditation can help with everything from concentration to stress, most school systems do not have meditation programs, as it is perceived by many parents to be a form of religion—and one to which they are not comfortable having their children exposed.

Given this unfortunate situation, W. W. Rowe’s Eedoo Trilogy is important. Taking place in a parallel universe where things are close enough to ours to be recognizable but different enough to be a fun literary device, these chapter books (each chapter is set off by an illustration by Benjamin Slatoff-Burke) introduce or reinforce the importance of being in touch with your higher self, represented in Book I by the enigmatic, warning spirit guide/guardian angel called Eedoo (who is termed a Floater).

Like imaginary friends, the existence of Eedoo is questioned by adults, with some significant results.

I mentioned that the parallel universe is fun. This is partially so because of the adjustments to common words and phrases, which also serve, similar to A Series of Unfortunate Events, to call attention to vocabulary (e.g., flutterbys instead of butterflies). There are also phrase adjustments like sleep room and water rituals (washing up, we called it). Continue reading

John A. Keel: The Man, The Myths, and The Ongoing Mysteries

A review by Joey Madia

If you are interested in the paranormal—whether it be UFOs, cryptids, or poltergeist and haunting phenomena—chances are good that you know the name John A. Keel. A journalist turned paranormal investigator and author of some of the foundational works in the field (including perhaps his most famous—The Mothman Prophecies), Keel was cutting edge and controversial.

To fully appreciate his complexity, Brent Raynes—a life-long investigator, publisher, and podcast host—delivers a text that is part biography and part survey of the areas that Keel was studying and the prevalent investigators who are still carrying on that work. I found this approach to be refreshing and appropriate given who Keel was, and, as stated in the subtitle, the “ongoing mysteries” that survive him in death. It is also an opportunity for the reader to apply Keel’s cutting-edge theories in “real-time” to the cases that Raynes includes, which cover areas such as tulpas, poltergeists, alien abduction, and the lore around Aleister Crowley.

I was introduced to Keel’s work after watching the film based on his book about the cryptid sadly named “The Mothman” and visiting the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia on the Ohio River in 2009, where my wife and I saw an interdimensional being. Ten years later, we are professional paranormal investigators and authors and the works of John Keel have been invaluable to our work and understanding of these complex phenomena. Continue reading

Fountain of Hope: Dimensions

Review by Joey Madia

Although this is his first work of fiction, Baylus C. Brooks is no stranger to maritime-themed research and writing. He is an acknowledged expert on the life and death of Edward “Blackbeard” Thache (pronounced Teach), having come closer to tracing Thache’s origins in his three books on the subject than any other scholar before him. His research has been crucial to my work in historical education and entertainment related to the Golden Age of Piracy.

Never one to be afraid of controversy or putting himself out there as a scholar, it is no surprise that Brooks does not ease his way into fiction writing, but throws himself instead into the deep end of the ocean by giving us a novel that not only deals with Time Travel, but does so in a compelling, cutting-edge way.

If you are a fan of other time-jumping historical fiction like the Outlander series, or even such nonhistorical entertainment as Avengers: Endgame or the Terminator series and the multiple timelines of Westworld, then this is a novel for you. Continue reading