“As the eyes pierce the vision,
a mere glimpse into the within.
Deeper than any comprehension,
let the awakening begin.”
~ Sheila Renee Parker
More often than not, we as individuals view things aesthetically, looking at the surface of what’s in front of us rather than stepping back and taking a deeper look within. For example, when we wake up in the morning, one of the first things we do when we get ready for the day is look at our appearance in the mirror. The reflection staring back can reflect many things, such as having a restful sleep from the previous night to a worrisome face full of doubt and fear.
How we first see ourselves in the mirror can cause us to quickly place judgment on the individuals that we’ve become. But that is exactly what we should NOT do. Instead, we should take a couple of steps back away from the mirror before us and take a good, long look at who we are….. on the inside.
Regardless of how we appear…. short, tall… thin, not so thin…. mature in age or younger in years… we need to take a much deeper look within us and realize how unique we all are. Each and every single one of us has something special to share, so fantastic that it can make us truly shine. We just have to be able to be awake enough to acknowledge that we all have a magnificent being inside us. One that is so miraculous that it can help us to soar higher than we’ve ever gone before.
There really is an unstoppable force that resides deep within us all. All we have to do is be willing to accept the drive that can help us to achieve our dreams. And by doing so, we can help others as well. With a positive mindset anything can, and will, happen!
“Look past the skin
where true beauty begins
and you’ll discover the spirit within.”
Today I’m welcoming occultist and paranormal investigator, Eilfie Music from the television series, Paranormal State. Thank you, Eilfie for stopping by!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a Pagan (nonspecific pantheon) and witch that comes from a family of occultist, magick practioners, and agnostic people. I am married to my wonderful husband, Chris and we will be celebrating our second year of marriage which is still hard to believe. I am an artist that works with primarily acrylic and watercolor mediums. Much of my art ties into my magickal practice and occult symbolism.
You investigate the paranormal. How long have you been an investigator and what got you into seeking out the unknown?
I have always had a interest in the paranormal but I have only been doing actual investigations in the field for the past 15 years or so. My Father had an interest in the topic and had many strange books on the topic that I got a hold of at a young age. I have an interest in many things paranormal but I do focus more on haunted locations, spirits or ghosts, spiritualism, and psychic phenomenon.
You were part of the crew on the t.v. series, Paranormal State. What was that like and what was the most unforgettable case you worked on?
It always amazed me how three days not counting prep could be cut down to twenty minutes. Which is not bad, if people saw the full extent of an investigation they might be bored. A lot of it was waiting and listing to then reviewing until your eyes and ears bleed. It was not easy and sometimes it seemed I was living out of my luggage and hotel rooms, but it was an experience that I am grateful to have had. The Thomas House was a favorite of mind. It was this huge mansion that was a museum and had such a spooky feeling but not a bad spooky, just the sense of being watched all the time.
How do you prepare yourself prior to conducting an investigation? Is there a routine that you follow? A certain method you practice to help ward off negative energy?
This is more something I learned after the show, but taking care of your body seems to be often the factor between a good investigation and a long tiring night. Get lots of sleep before hand, if you need to do research try to do it the day before so you’re not up all morning and then needing to do an all nighter. Eat properly, my big weakness was too much caffeine and not the right food. Fast food is convenient but does not help in the long run. Make sure you are in a good state of mind to investigate. This can affect how it goes and even what you will perceive. After an investigation a good hot shower helps to wash away the physical and psychic yuck. I always visualized pushing off tar like muck to send down the drain.
You’re also an occultist. Share with us what that means.
The word occult means hidden knowledge. It is often the fringe or taboo of spiritual or magickal practice. This topic covers such a wide variety of topics that would take a lifetime to research it all. I know I will be spending the rest of my life reading the occult. For me, it is not a physically hidden knowledge since so many of the older books are at our reach, but the hidden comes in understanding what it means. Having “aha” moment when you make a connection is unlocking the occult.
What kind of advice would you give to someone who questioned the ghostly realm?
For as many years I have been studying and investigating the paranormal I am skeptical and this is ok. Always take everything with a grain of salt. I have seen weird stuff but question it since I know the mind and environment can play tricks. This doesn’t I mean I don’t believe in ghosts or the other world but I think it is very difficult to prove and gather Unquestionable evidence. Our experience with ghosts is ultimately a personal experience with the spirit realm.
Aside from the paranormal, what are some of your other interests?
Many of my interests deal with the past and cooking. I love cooking old and new dishes of all kinds. Chris loves it, but sometimes he worries when I experiment when I cook. My love of the past runs the gamut from historical research, vintage clothes, historical cooking, old houses the whole nine yards.
What’s next for Eilfie Music, any upcoming projects?
No big projects at the moment. At this time I write articles for the web zine ‘The Spellery’ monthly, and write reviews for ‘Witches & Pagans’ now and then. I also submitted a story to the up coming book “Tails from the other side” anthology to benefit the Staten Island Hope Animal Rescue. Paranormal wise, Chris and I got a chance to investigate with Adam Kimmel and his crew for “Resident Undead”. The episode aired recently, s 6 ep. 1 “Hill View Manor” which was fun but very cold.
Any words of wisdom you’d care to share?
Take everything in the Paranormal with a grain of salt, but also remember to have fun.
Inky Interview: Author Sheila Renee Parker by Kev Milsom
Hello Sheila! It’s great to meet you! I’d love to start the interview by learning about the foundations of your interest in literature. Who are/were your literary heroes, and what types of writing/authors inspired you as a younger reader?
As a young reader my love for scary stories and suspenseful tales began to emerge. I was quickly drawn to the masterful creations written by Stephen King and Anne Rice. Another author I became a huge fan of was V. C. Andrews. And my all-time favourite poet has always been Edgar Allan Poe.
Are the characters in The Spirit Within based on real people, and is there anything of Sheila Renee Parker in the main character, Cassy Blakemore? Additionally, what sparked your initial inspiration for planning and writing this novel?
The characters in my novel The Spirit Within are characters relatable to everyday life. I wanted to write a story that seemed realistic enough to pull the reader in, making them feel like they were a part of the story as well. I put all my heart into creating every character. So, is there anything of me in Cassy? The answer is yes, because even though Cassy Blakemore is a fictional character, she finds the strength to overcome life’s crazy obstacles by discovering the spirit within.
Your book focuses strongly on aspects of parapsychology and the paranormal. Have you always been interested in these subjects and is this something that has been created by personal experiences? If so, then has this changed your life and outlook in any particular ways; spiritually, emotionally or mentally?
The paranormal has always been a part of my life, simply meaning not only have I been interested in the subject but because I’ve had paranormal experiences ever since I was a small child. I’ve had encounters with shadow people, a terrifying Ouija Board experience, been touched by spirits and have even heard them as well. I’m also an empath. I can easily detect the energies of both the living and the dead. Writing about and researching the paranormal helps me to find answers to my own questions regarding the unknown. It has definitely changed my life by opening my mind and expanding my perception of things in every way possible.
Could you give our readers an idea of how you prepare for writing, Sheila? Is there one specific area or location that you always use for creative writing, or are you more flexible and spontaneous in your approach? Also, are you one who writes via computer, notebook or bits of both?
Oh, I am definitely flexible about where I write. My process begins with paper and pen. I jot everything down in a notebook then I transfer it all onto my laptop. Why do I do it this way? Simply because I find it much easier to carry around my notebook and pen wherever I go. It doesn’t matter where I am, if I get the sudden urge of a great idea, that’s when I write it down. I even keep paper and pen on my nightstand by my bed just in case a spark of imagination ignites.
Outside of writing, what are your interests, and do these involve any other forms of creative expression?
I absolutely love art. My favourite artist is Leonardo Di Vinci. Aside from writing, art is another beautiful form of expression that I openly embrace. The mediums I use when creating a painting vary between acrylics and watercolours. Samples of my artwork can be found on my site https://sheilarparker.wordpress.com/art-poetry/.
Going back to literature, what are you reading at the moment and what types of book do you like to read as a form of relaxation? Does this include non-fiction as well as fiction?
I like to read uplifting stories as a form of relaxation. Something light-hearted with a positive message is always welcomed regardless if it’s fictional or non-fictional. A book that I often refer to from my shelf is Mike Dooley’s Notes from the Universe. I highly recommend it to anyone.
Huge thanks for sharing your thoughts with our readers, Sheila. It’s always a pleasure to learn new thoughts and perspectives from writers and authors. Finally, what’s on the drawing board for the remainder of 2016 and 2017? Are there any new projects in mind?
To continue with the writing of the sequel to my novel The Spirit Within. It’s been a work in progress, but I promise my readers that I am definitely getting it done! I am extremely excited about the continuation of Cassy Blakemore’s tale of self discovery as more secrets unfold with more intense supernatural detail. Also, compelling weekly articles posted on my website https://sheilarparker.wordpress.com/ that discuss the various topics regarding the paranormal, including my own personal ghostly encounters and interviews with some pretty amazing people like paranormal investigators, film directors, actors, TV show hosts and authors just to name a few. 2016 to 2017 are full of phenomenal plans, stay tuned!
Recently, Kev Milsom of Ink Pantry reviewed my novel, The Spirit Within! He also interviewed me for the site, which the interview will later be published and when it is, I will happily share with all of you!
Books From The Pantry: The Spirit Within by Sheila Renee Parker: Reviewed by Kev Milsom
”Cassy, you’re a really good student. You have a lot of potential to do really great things. Just don’t get distracted, okay?” he said in a sturdy voice.
”What do ya mean,distracted?”
“I think you know exactly what I’m referring to,” he insisted, while staring over my shoulder at Amber. She didn’t seem to notice because she was too busy playing with her cell phone.
“I’ll be okay,” I said.
“I’m sure you will, Cassy, but just remember that those who work harder in life get rewarded a lot more than those who don‘t.”
“Huh?” He confused me. I had no idea what he was talking about.
“What I’m trying to say is that persistence is effort and I know you’ll go far if you don’t let certain influences get in your way,” he said, not losing sight of Amber.
“Thanks, Professor Stone, but everything’s gonna be fine.” I smiled as I tried to reassure him.
“It’s your future. Don’t let anyone interfere with that.”
“Yeah. Sure. See ya Thursday.”
Although I’m well past the expiry date and my memory is admittedly not what it once was, I’m reliably assured that life as a late teenager can be a confusing time.
This is certainly the case for Cassandra Blakemore (known to everyone as Cassy) – the central character in Sheila Renee Parker’s debut novel, The Spirit Within. When we first meet Cassy, she struggling to cope with various aspects of everyday life in the town of Fairview, Texas; notably her schooling and the frustrating qualities of a best friend called Amber, (mentioned in the above quote), who believes that life should be less about taking it seriously and more about parties, boys and more parties. On top of this, Cassy also has to cope with growing up with the loss of both parents, a well-meaning, but interfering, Uncle called Mitch and coping with her ‘gem’ of a boyfriend, Raleigh Nichols, who likes to drink…and then drink plenty more.
While this would be considered enough for any young soul to deal with, new and odder challenges begin to materialise, when Cassy begins to experience unusual sensations of a paranormal nature which begin to impinge upon her life. When these mysterious happenings put a strain upon her relationship, Cassy is faced with a stack of unwanted questions and some important decisions that have to be faced up to.
The story is told in a first person narrative, which adds considerable weight to the protagonist in this novel. While there is a lot of dialogue throughout the book, the author makes sure to keep events moving along nicely. To aid this, the chapters are each of a reasonable length – each beginning with a simple description which sets the forthcoming scene. This all ensures that the reader is kept firmly attached to the plot as it moves along and allows for good rhythm and pace. The introduction of the ‘weirder stuff’ is gradually introduced and keeps the reader intrigued by what direction(s) the book is going to be travelling in.
This is a key issue with the The Spirit Within as the balancing, juggling act that is required to maintain the central themes associated with growing up, dealing with relationship problems and terrifying paranormal vibrations is a writing challenge that’s certainly not on the easy scale of difficulty. Sheila Renee Parker manages to combine these foundation issues well, adopting a solid writing style which allows the reader to relax into the book and just go along with the literary ride, meaning that when the surprises do occur the reader is not left staring at the page and wondering what just occurred. We know the characters well, because the author has put a lot of work into making them as three-dimensional as possible.
This is certainly a book that younger readers in their tens and twenties would enjoy, but also one that appeals to anyone who relishes tales associated with the paranormal. It’s also clear that the author has done her research into these topics, which furthermore adds a sense of realism to the plot, with forays into ESP, psychokinesis, premonition and more.
A perfect book for the beach, in what’s left of our summer.