Author Interviews

Interview with Myosen Marcia Olsen

2940016540733_p0_v1_s260x420It has recently been my pleasure to make the acquaintance of Myosen Marcia Olsen, a Zen Buddhist Priest and author of Experiencing God Through Zen Insight. Through this intriguing book, Myosen endeavors to shed light on the often misunderstood practices of Zen Buddhism. Through her own personal experiences and realizations, the author appeals to readers on a personal level. I was compelled to take her thoughts into account with an unbiased perspective, as all should. I would also like to thank Myosen for this beautiful interview. She has worked diligently on answering my every question, for which I am sincerely grateful. I will be posting my official review of Experiencing God Through Zen Insight in due time, but for now, here is our dialogue:

Ty: Myosen Osho, you are a Zen Buddhist osho, which is nearly synonymous with a priest. Could you please elaborate on what this entails? How has your history and past experiences shaped you into the person you are today? Out of these experiences, which have most enabled you to become an Osho?

Myosen: Buddha invited people to come and experience for themselves.  He did not want anyone to believe blindly and expressly said so.  I wish to mirror that sentiment.

Perhaps if I talk about my experiences, people will be able to relate to my experiences at least to some degree.  I have not reached mastery, but I have had both experience at practice as well as enlightening experiences.  I know the value of practice and where it leads.

Regarding your question about becoming an osho, here is a list of some things a student does to further his practice and help others:  Practicing in intense, formal ways; meditating in moderate but consistent ways daily; practicing in everyday life; studying the master’s teaching and sutras; experiencing truth; and having a willingness to teach others are all a part of becoming osho.  I studied Zen twenty-one years with a very high-level master before I became an osho.  Practice involves both physical and mental efforts in tandem with the use of one’s will.  Some people have become oshos in a shorter period of time.  I became osho in 1989 after having supported and functioned within our own center, Joshu Zen Temple, for nineteen years along with my husband.  Each person’s situation is different.  Capacities, needs, and limitations vary from person to person.  There are different aspects and levels of practice.  Each person does what he can to practice.

Regarding what has shaped me in this life, in general I think it is partly experiences in one’s life that shape a person, but a big part of it is a person’s innate personality.  People are born with greatly varying personalities which include strengths, weakness, and tendencies.  I’ve had a very challenging life, but I also have a tenacious spirit.  I think my tenacious and somewhat optimistic spirit helped me continue with my Zen practice.

There were a lot of good things that happened in my early life, but the bad things that happened might have broken a weaker person.  Perhaps the good things helped keep me stronger, but there’s also an intangible element involved, something deeper.  I think kids need all the love, moral support, and guidance they can get without dominating or squelching their inherent personalities—especially in today’s world.  They also need some discipline, structure, and need to learn to handle disappointment.  However, one’s character usually shines through it all.

I’ve always been drawn to the religious and spiritual.  Christianity gave me some satisfaction when I was growing up, but I reached a point where it no longer served my needs.  Our family life began falling apart when I was thirteen or fourteen.  The family relationships became more corrosive and toxic.  I found that without a happy, supportive, and cohesive family life and without happiness in life in general, my religion did nothing to soothe or bring me happiness.

I did not realize it then, but I was searching for happiness that was not dependent upon things like family happiness or worldly happiness.

When I found Joshu Roshi, I was impressed with the form of practice and the teaching of Rinzai Zen as done by him.  The Roshi helped me progress.  He was very refined and skilled.  He was and is powerfully spiritual.  The experiences I’ve had in Zen practice have been remarkable.  The master also helped my husband and many others.  Thanks to my practice and my master, I experienced things I could have never anticipated.  I always doubted that I could do it, but I did eventually have some profound breakthoughs.

Perhaps a person must feel drawn to practice.  I would say it is pretty rare that anyone could be pushed into developing an interest.  On the other hand, our master was put into Zen practice by his family as part of the Japanese custom.  The custom was that older sons would inherit the family property, and the younger sons would often go into a temple or monastery as a Zen monk.  I believe something similar happened with the famous master, Ikkyu, who entered a Zen temple at five years of age.  The Japanese culture supported and encouraged this.  So you can see that masters have come forth from such a culture.

In our organization, a person who has studied Zen sincerely and long enough with our master and has put forth the effort to help others through establishing a Zen center and thereby teaching others will usually be ordained an osho.  When one becomes osho, he is given formal authority to speak and expound about Zen practice.  However, an osho who has not been ordained a master is not a master.  We have about twenty-five oshos in our overall organization, none of whom has become a master.  There have been thousands of Zen students who have come and gone.

Ty: Throughout your book, it was mentioned several times that words are not the way, but merely guide posts along the way. If the ultimate goal is to experience Dharmakaya, do you believe that Experiencing God Through Zen Insight could be a helpful source for students of Zen?

Myosen: Some of my friends who are experienced Zen students and oshos liked my book very much.  The book may inspire people who are seekers or who are open in general or who are inclined to go in this direction.  Some who find their lives are unsatisfactory may be interested.  There is the possibility that the book could motivate someone to practice Zen.  It may help an interested person to get an idea of what to expect.  It might also provide an interested person who reads the book a little bit of background from which to begin asking questions.  I never knew what questions to ask; I just delved into practice.  I began reading books on Zen when I was around fifteen or sixteen, but I did not begin Zen practice until age nineteen.  There was a famous master who did not start until age sixty.

Ty: You experienced a Christian Upbringing. Do you feel that this has allowed you to approach others of varying religions with Zen concepts, keeping in mind that all spiritual paths share core values?

Myosen: I believe the book gives people educated in the Western culture and Western way of looking at religion something about Zen to get their teeth into and maybe provides a starting place to be able to relate, just a tad, to the Zen mind.  I firmly believe that the teachings of Buddha and Christ are much closer than people realize.  The book provides some fairly strong correlations from a very different perspective.  Human beings tend to pigeon-hole and categorize everything into neat little boxes, all of which are rigidly separate from one another.

Ty: There is a point in your book where you discuss two forces of the universe: expansion and contraction, or masculine and feminine. What have you deduced about homosexuality? It is quite possible that humans are inherently attached to being male or female. Although, perhaps love can transcend gender. What is the difference between spiritual love and attachment?

Myosen: Spiritual love occurs spontaneously when one has dissolved self.  A whole new world opens up.  Spiritual love does not move from one object to another.  One experiences infinite love.  Human love is more attached love coming from the particular mind and heart of an individual.  Both kinds of love are good, but when we practice Zen sincerely, human love becomes more balanced, less conditional, and less selfishly attached—happier and freer.

I have known many homosexuals, most of whom have been wonderful people—industrious, very intelligent, congenial, energetic, and productive.  I like them just fine.  Homosexuals have the same spiritual capability as everyone does.  We human beings should not expect the world to change for us.  It is more spiritually productive to look at oneself and work to find happiness that goes beyond the human world.  Everyone experiences some kind of rejection or prejudice.  I’ve had plenty of that in my life.  I’ve worked around it and have meditated through it.  It is actually conducive to one’s spiritual growth.

Ty: We both know that theorizing and idealizing will not provide results in the ultimate attainment of Dharmakaya. However, you discussed something called Mahayana Democracy. Could you elaborate on this? What is the usefulness in conceptualizing if we know that the world is inherently imperfect and always will be?

Myosen: Even though Zen practice focuses on the individual, it is possible for mankind to evolve as a whole, with many beings making efforts to evolve spiritually and intellectually, thereby uplifting the culture.  Some countries have been examples of this, even though they never reached “perfection”, there is an intangible perfection.

I think it is instructive to examine ourselves and our ideals and longings as human beings.  I think it also illustrates what is possible, even though highly improbable.  I think there is value in expressing our ideals about a perfect world, even if it is futile.  Then we must throw it away completely and not attach to it.  That is important.

This painful world is our spiritual growing ground—just as it is.  Even though the world is imperfect and we are imperfect, we can realize and experience perfection—right in this imperfect world.  I personally would love to see all the people of the world work toward a higher level of spiritual attainment and stop enslaving and hurting one another in so many ways.  But then, it would be immature of me to expect the world to change to suit my personal desires.  I can change myself.  I can attain happiness that goes beyond the world and is not dependent upon any particular worldly conditions or manifestations, not dependent upon people smiling at me and affirming me.

Ty: Suffering is an intrinsic aspect of life. Everybody carries the burden of an overflowing chalice. Our minds are ridden with worry, anxiety, fear, and attachment. Many are skeptical that Zen practice can make a difference, and many believe that there is no time for such “idleness” in their lives. How can we incorporate mindfulness in our every day actions? How can simple endeavors such as washing dishes become spiritual practices? 

Myosen: It is up to the individual, of course.  Everyone is different.  There are different avenues for different people.  Some may consider Zen practice as “idleness”, but many appreciate the dimension it has added to their lives.  I have found it indispensable.

Yes, the human mind is full of worry, anxiety, fear, and attachment.  When we are feeling those things, that means we are experiencing just that—the human mind.  We naturally want to experience something greater, the Absolute Mind, to rise above suffering.  After experiencing the Absolute, we come back to the human experience feeling revived, invigorated, and more balanced, more at peace.  The cycle continues, going deeper and deeper with practice, depending upon the individual.  It is a struggle, a worthwhile struggle.  It is a struggle that leads in an upward spiral, not a downward struggle to despair, even though it may get difficult.

In Zen practice it is important to unify with our everyday activities such as washing dishes, sweeping the floor or cooking dinner.  We utterly dissolve into those activities.  That is all that exists for that moment.  Then we go on to the next activity.

Zen practice has helped to keep me grounded.  It helps me to cope with life.  Zen practice has helped me counter stress.  My practice has helped me in many ways, from dealing with stress and emotional problems—all the way to having wonderful, spiritual experiences at times.  It depends upon each individual, how his particular situation unfolds, and how much consistency, patience, and energy he can put into his practice.

I am an ordinary person.  I have used it in my life and have proven it for myself.  There is no magic bullet that will wipe away all suffering in one fell swoop.  There are some things in our lives that must unfold and with which we must deal.  The question is:  How does one deal with the good times and the bad times and stay in balance—not attaching to the good and only seeking the good or exciting things in life?  One can thoroughly enjoy the most mundane things in life.  This is the way to maturity.

Ty: For those who are curious about Zen, what knowledge would you impart before they embark upon this journey?

Myosen: One cannot be dependent upon society, the group, or “group think”.  One cannot attach to that way of thinking in Zen practice.  One must free himself from society, culture, and his upbringing in order to discover his True Nature or True Self.  One can function more happily in society and culture—just as it is—when he has freed himself from it.

Zen practice is an individual endeavor.  Progress takes place within the individual.  We do help students via the structured discipline and the teaching, but the Zen student must make his own efforts.  The student gets help from the “outside”, but he must apply himself to change himself on the “inside”.  That’s why it is said that the practice is an individual endeavor.

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If you enjoyed this interview, you can learn more about Myosen Marcia Olsen here, and purchase Experiencing God Through Zen Insight at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Crisp, Ty (2013) Interview with Myosen Marcia Olsen

Interview with L.M. Aldrich

Author: L.M. Aldrich
Published works: Legends of the Light Bearer: The story left untold

I would like to express my gratitude toward L.M. Aldrich for this enlightening interview. I am honored to have met her and been able to support her publication of Legends. Indeed, our acquaintanceship has evolved into a friendship, spurred mainly by our contact through email. I cannot begin to explain the inspiration and understanding I have received from L.M. We have much in common, but where I can only see one side of the coin, she is bold enough to go all the way. I have made a vow to help spread her wisdom to any interested ears. So please, take to the heart what she had courageously expressed.   

Ty: If Legends of the Light Bearer became a bestseller, how do you think it would be received?

L.M: With passion, both positive and negative.  I don’t think it’s a book that many will find ho-hum. Though I am certainly not the first to challenge conventional thinking, some may see Legends as a step too far.  But as a perceptive reviewer recently noted, this book should be read with the heart, not the mind.

Ty: I know that spirituality has been a great driving force in your life. Do you believe it has the potential to change the world as well? Does faith alone take us all the way or should we strive to uncover the truth about what we know nothing about?

L.M: I try not to use the word belief, because like faith and free will, belief is a risky business if you’ve got it all wrong.  I have met people of faith who don’t adhere to a particular dogma, but simply walk in goodness.  They exude such kindness and tolerance, such purity and peace, you just want them to hold you.  To me, that is spirituality; that is wisdom.  But blind faith to a doctrine or ideology is different.  It is not only unworkable in a complex society, it is dangerous, and too often engenders hate.  Nazi Germany is just one example.  We come into this world wondering who we are and why we’re here, and then we leave it to others to tell us.  That maybe one reason we have continued to make the same mistakes, throughout human history.  So, if we do nothing else, if it is our only reason for being, I think we should absolutely pursue the truth, until we all find a way to walk in the world without destroying it or ourselves.

Ty: In your opinion what is the true, inherent nature of man? Are we greedy and sinful, unable to change, or can there ever be a true salvation?

L.M: Well, Legends suggests that we are all misbegotten, which would explain a lot.  But I am hopeful that we are merely lost.  I have experienced the paranormal since childhood, and what it has shown me is that we are not our bodies.  I’ve heard psychics refer to their ability as a gift, but I would say that the paranormal is our birthright.  It is a manifestation of who we really are—spirit.  Ghosts, astral travel, precognition, bi-location and a whole host of others tell us there is something more than this physical world, something beyond the laws of nature.  With bi-location, for instance, in an instant, your consciousness is transported thousands of miles, and it could be any distance, because you travel faster than the speed of light, which physics is just beginning to show is a real possibility.  So, if we were created in the image of God, I would say that the image of God is spirit.  Though our bodies may do stupid, awful things, inside of us our spirit is divine.  And from the moment we truly understand that and begin to live it, we save ourselves.  Maybe God is waiting for us to find Him.

Ty: Extraterrestrials seem to be an important aspect of your book. If indeed, intelligent alien beings exist, should this be a humbling thought, or an empowering one? How do you you believe humanity would react to the undeniable evidence that this was indeed the case?

L.M: I have no idea how humanity will react, but I would anticipate both humbled in the knowledge that there is so much more to our story than we ever imagined, and empowered by the realization that we are so much more than we ever imagined.  But most of all, I hope we keep in mind that they are us.  If God is spirit, and spirit gives life to all things, then we are all the same, whether we reside in human bodies or alien.  So we should not, we cannot relinquish our will to them out of either fear or awe.

Ty: Do you think our government is being completely honest with its citizens? What could they possibly be hiding from us?

L.M: Of course not!  They lie about everything.  In all of human history, no political, religious or financial institution has ever been completely honest.  They inevitably devolve into cabals, with allegiance to self-interest, sustained by conspiracies.  Right now, we are again standing on a precipice, because of all the lies and abuse of power.  Democracy is perhaps the most enlightened vision of all time, but democracy was not meant to be a fiefdom, and slave labor cannot keep capitalism afloat.  Like Rome, history is replete with the rise and fall of great civilizations, a never-ending story with one main character: greed, whether for wealth or power.  At the end of every calamity, the survivors enjoy a brief moment of hope, and a collective will to overcome and prosper.  Then, predictably, a few rise to the top, and the cycle begins again.  Greed is a mental illness, no different than drug addiction.  The afflicted will sacrifice family, friends and country for the next fix.  And when that is not enough, they want to rule the world.  However, in a democracy, it is not all their fault—we the people need to pay more attention.  I for one am grateful for the 99%’ers.
On the other hand, if you’re asking me if our government is being honest with us about ET’s, of course not!  For me there are only two possibilities, neither of which is very comforting.  If the technology is ours, it would mean that at least since the 40s, our military, or a secret branch of our military, has had enough wealth, power and autonomy to work outside all branches of government, including the Executive branch, except for perhaps Truman and Bush Senior.  But to what end? The technology was futuristic, even in the 40s, and what they have now is mindboggling.  The only other possibility is aliens, although I don’t happen to think they are extraterrestrial.  If both possibilities are true, which I have a hunch they are, then why the truth remains hidden should be of paramount concern to all of us.

Ty: Is humanity becoming closer to God, or are we a doomed society that is deviating away from our spiritual force? Is their hope?

L.M: We cannot be apart from God, if we are a part of God.  We can deny, we can ignore, we can chose not to care, but one day, we will be forced to face the truth.  People who have a near-death experience are forever changed, because they actually experience who we really are.  And when they try to describe the experience, they use only one word: love.  When you are standing in the light, you realize that every cell, every molecule in your spiritual body is made of this purity, this clarity, this loving energy that provides structure to consciousness, and at the same time, is connected to everything there is.  The feeling of belonging and acceptance is indescribable—the peace of it, the infinity of it, the absoluteness of it.  You are part of everything and everyone, and it is all love.  It is not a love directed at you.  It is not a love you give.  You are the love.  You are the love.  There is a feeling of promise, as though this experience is just a glimpse of things to come, and you understand with every fiber of your being that if there is a purpose to our time on earth, it is to bring that love into this world.
I have had a similar experience, and I was not dead or dying, I was merely praying.  I prayed for one thing, understanding, and then I remained silent, and waited.  I don’t recall if it took days or weeks, but one night it simply happened: the tunnel, the light, and with it, understanding.  Have you ever had a bubble of joy, a moment of such intense delight, you felt that every single thing was exactly as it should be? Well, that is what it feels like, but it is a bubble of joy you do not have to covet, because you know it is eternally yours; it is your natural state of being, forever.  All I can say is: the human word, love, cannot contain the magnitude of meaning that comes from this experience, and if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.
There are also those who find themselves in hell, but it appears to be self-imposed, when they realize how far they’ve strayed, not from God, but from the perfection of who they really are.  The contrast is so intense that even the most insignificant sin seems a chasm.  It is painful to realize that you have sacrificed so much for so little.  It also appears that your stay in hell is up to you.  Forgiving yourself must come first, and that is not as easy at might sound.
In the Gnostic Scriptures, Jesus says that God is in you and all around you—God is everything there is.  When we strip away these physical shells, we are standing in the kingdom of heaven.  When you think of it that way, it is difficult not to see us here on earth as children, fighting over toys and who’s the boss of me.  It would be comical if it didn’t produce so much suffering.  There is now enough wealth and technology to ensure a comfortable life for everyone, and yet versions of commercials I saw as a child are still running: starving babies sitting in the hot Sahara sand.  And there is the ever-present threat of a nuclear holocaust.  But to answer your question, there is always hope, because even if we destroy ourselves, again, for better or worse, we are everlasting.  I just wish we would try harder to get it right this time.  Earth is a miracle, our existence on it is a miracle, and yet we treat both like yesterday’s trash.  Heaven may be our natural state of being, but I do not think there is a hell, only shame and sorrow for abusing such a gift. 

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If you enjoyed this illuminating interview, you may be interested in my review of Legends of the Light Bearer. If so, you can find it here.
Crisp, Ty (2012) Interview with L.M. Aldrich

Author Interview: J.D. Thompson

Today, I’m excited to host my first ever interview with J.D. Thompson, author of Silver and Stone. J.D. has kindly offered to answer a few questions for me, of which I thought to share with my readers. I was more than happy to review her first book, and even ecstatic when she mentioned the possibility of an interview. I hope you find her answers enlightening and her advice to aspiring writers helpful. 😉 

Ty: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

J.D: I’m a twenty-something year old writer from New-Brunswick, Canada. Living the lifestyle that I do I’ve gradually become a compulsive multitasker. Quite frankly, it’s become an art. With only twenty-four hours in a day and three jobs, it’s necessary to make every moment count. In my limited free time, I enjoy reading as well as spending time with family and friends.

Ty: What do you do when you are not writing?

J.D: Mostly work! I have a full-time job at the local hospital as an Electroneurophysiology Technologist as well as own a photography business. Needless to say both occupations take a lot of my time. I do most of my writing at night for this very reason.

Ty: Do you prefer writing with a pen and paper, or on a computer?

J.D: I use a pen and paper when I’m jotting down ideas, or mapping a storyline. The writing however is done on computer.

Ty: When did you first start writing?

J.D: For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed writing. When I was little I would draw storybooks and read them to my sisters at night. My favorite classes in school were always english since we had the chance to express ourselves through writing. However, even after several creative writing classes in university, I had yet to write anything longer than an essay. The idea of Silver and Stone came to me while on maternity leave with my daughter. Within six months, I had completed it.

Ty: How did you choose the genre you write in?

J.D: YA is the genre I relate to the most. It’s also what fills the bulk of my bookshelf, so I suppose it’s only natural that I would gravitate in that direction. I can’t imagine writing anything else at the moment.

Ty: Do you ever experience writer’s block?

J.D: I think every author experiences writer’s block at one point or another. My best advice is to keep writing. Every day, even if it’s only a sentence, write something. In my opinion writing is like a muscle. You have to work at it regularly. It’s a method that’s worked for me in the past.

Ty: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

J.D: There are many authors along the way that have influenced my style of writing. I love James Patterson. The pace of his novels is fantastic. He knows how to keep readers at the edge of their seats with every word written. I know it’s cliche, but J.K. Rowling is also a great inspiration to me. She is so talented, and her imagination is beyond compare. I would be happy to have even a fraction of her creativity.

Ty: Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

J.D: Blood and Champagne is the second book of the Bloodlines series, scheduled for release in early 2012. It picks up where Silver and Stone left off and is a rollercoaster ride to say the least. Stuck between the life she has and the life she should lead, Alexis will be faced with decisions that will put her most important relationships on the line. Without giving too much away, not everyone makes it out alive in Blood and Champagne. Fans of the series will not be disappointed.

Ty: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

J.D: The setting in which Silver and Stone takes place is loosely based on my hometown. Holler Creek bares many similarities to life back home, from the mountains surrounding it to the general small town mentality. Weatherford Preparatory School is based on Bishops University, located in Lennoxville, Quebec. It’s campus is beautiful and definitely has the historic feel I was going for. Other than that, Silver and Stone is purely fictional.

Ty: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

J.D: For obvious reasons to anyone who has read the novel, I loved writing chapter 18. Lucas is gorgeous so playing up his features was not a hard task to say the least. I think every girl dreams of a Lucas climbing through their bedroom window at one point or another.

Ty: How did you come up with the title?

J.D: When I first decided to write the Bloodlines series, I literally wrote down the entire storyline from start to finish. I had decided early on what names each book would bear. Every title ties into the events of each particular book, though they often only make sense once the reader reaches the end.

Ty: What project are you working on now?

J.D: At the moment, I’m working on completing the Bloodlines series. It’s still early to say where my writing will take me after.

Ty: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

J.D: It takes thick skin to be part of the publishing industry. Authors face criticism on a daily basis and it’s not always pretty. Though I’ve been fairly lucky so far, I have had a few bad reviews. The toughest criticism I’ve received wasn’t so much criticism so much as general dislike. The reader just didn’t like the book. And that’s ok. Because as much as I’d like to, I can’t please everyone. Thankfully, I’ve also had many great reviews and feedback. I’ve been extremely fortunate so far and I can’t help but think that I have the best fans. My favorite so far has been receiving fan art. I love to see a reader’s interpretation of the characters and story through photos. It’s so surreal!

Ty: Coffee or Tea?

J.D: Coffee, hands down. I’m ashamed to say I drink far too much of it, and given the choice on a deserted island, I would choose it over water.

Ty: Mac or PC?

J.D: I prefer Mac, though at the moment the three computers I own are PCs. I plan to convert once they break down.

Ty: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

J.D: Be persistent. The whole process can be overwhelming and I know many writers give up before they even begin. If writing is truly your passion, don’t give up. I know that sounds completely cheesy but it’s the truth. Publishing takes time. And above all keep writing.

Ty: Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

J.D: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I can’t say it enough. The support from fans has been astounding. It’s still surprising to me that any one person aside from my mother has willingly read Silver and Stone, let alone hundreds. It’s truly heart-warming.

Ty: What did you think of this interview?

J.D: The interview was great! Very fun questions to answer.

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I would like to express my deep gratitude for J.D. Thompson for an amazing interview! I am eager to review her next book in The Bloodlines series. You can check out my review of Silver and Stone if you haven’t already. Below is a synopsis of the book for those who are interested.


Welcome to high school high society hell, where last season’s slingbacks can warrant a lunch table demotion, the wrong date will knock you off the it-list and behind every pair of oversized Chanel sunglasses lies a secret people are dying to keep.

As if senior year at Weatherford Preparatory School wasn’t hard enough, sixteen year old Alexis Bardolph had to add school outcast to the curriculum.

A new found notoriety following a family scandal, her lacrosse star boy-friend dumping her for a former BFF and a string of perpetually bad hair days were among the many things going wrong in her already turbulent teenage life.

But when the haunting nightmares that have plagued her since childhood begin to take an eerily tangible form and several Holler Creek residents are reported missing, Alexis can’t help but wonder if there isn’t more to her hellish dreams than meets the eye.

The unexpected arrival of a mysterious and dangerously handsome new student ultimately leads Alexis to troubling truths that not even her wildest imagination could have conjured.