My new wheels

Is this what a mid-life crisis looks like?

Nahhhh. Truth is I’ve been saving my pennies for the past four years, attempting to pay off my mortgage early, but frankly I’m just in the mood to live a little this summer. Summers are a bit tough on me generally, because I live alone, and due to the nature of my job I work largely alone during July and August. So it’s time to create some change in my life.

For the past four years, I’ve lived life without a car, successfully, and I fully intend to continue doing all my local business by bicycle. But there are just those occasions when I need to travel further afield, and I hate having to leech off friends for this. In particular, I really miss visiting Ballymartin beach, a place that has been a part of my life since I was about twelve.

So, I decided it was time to invest in another mode of transport, one that was more economical than a car. The bike is a Honda Varadero 125cc, which is about as big as you can go on a learner’s licence. I have never ridden a motorcycle before. Wish me luck.

(Long-time readers may remember the mouldy monstrosity that was my old Nissan Terrano 4×4. It’s been sleeping in my driveway for the past four years, and I’m finally sending it to the knackers yard. I even got £200 for it.)

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Reality Check reviewed at Self-Publishing Review

Reality Check has just received its first proper review, at Self-Publishing Review, and it’s a great one. Here’s a snippet:

If you find yourself recoiling at the mention of any of these issues – telekinesis, unified consciousness, “disproving” Christianity – then you are the perfect candidate to read this book. You may be equally convinced of your worldview after reading this book, but extraordinary beliefs require an extraordinary investigation, and that concept permeates this book. Sloan does not enter into these ideas lightly. What is so effective is that he’s never overly credulous about far-out claims, nor overly dismissive of mainstream dogma, which is why the book is so useful as a primer on esoteric spirituality … This book is an important one – because even if you don’t believe a word he says, he conveys these ideas with such sincerity and clarity that it has still served a good purpose. If you’re looking for other answers, Reality Check has the potential to be transformative.

[ Read Full Review ]

Reality Check news

Got some feedback from someone who received my book in the mail today. Due to the sensitive nature of it, I’ll leave it anonymous:

Right away, I made a pleasant discovery, that there’s a chapter called “Heal Your Sexuality,” and decided I’ll read it right away. The ideas there are as I have never thought about them (I have never actually thought about the relationship between pornography and real-life sex). I think your ideas shed light on reality and the advice you give in the end is great. You changing my thinking about that might change foundations that right now are the cause of my only personal problem I have/admit at the moment. I just wanted to say thanks even before I have gotten to read the other chapters. 🙂

This is what it’s all about, for me. Not an ego trip, not attention-seeking, not the insecure need for approval, not to make money – but just to touch lives in a positive way. To say something that means something, that helps somebody. All the risk-taking with controversial opinions, wearing my heart on my sleeve, losing friends … this is what it’s for, and this is what makes it all worthwhile. This may just be one comment, and I may be nothing but an idealist with his head in the clouds, but I dare to hope that maybe, just maybe, I’ve done something important by writing this book.

Other news: I have begun recording Reality Check as an audiobook. There’s a lot of work narrating effectively and editing out mistakes, so this is going to take a bit of time. I intend to make it freely downloadble in MP3 format. At the same time, I will also release it as an ebook in PDF and Microsoft Reader formats. I do have 250 paperbacks to sell (210 now), but ultimately I want to put this information out there in as many varied formats as I can, to reach as wide an audience as possible.

Reality Check available to order

I received word on Thursday evening that the proof copy of Reality Check had shipped. I hoped it would arrive on Friday, but sadly this was not to be.

However, I needed to order a quantity of the book by 30 October, or else I wouldn’t qualify for the latest promotion, which is 30% off the price for orders of 250 copies or more. This kind of saving was too precious to ignore, so I bulled ahead and ordered 250 books. This means I can pass the benefit of the discount on to readers and keep the cover price low.

So, now that I know the financial situation, and the first print-run is on the way, I can take pre-orders.

The UK price is £3.99 + £1 shipping.
The overseas price $7.99 USD + $5 shipping to anywhere in the world.

I’ll set up PayPal buttons in due course, but if anyone wants to order now, email me at the address below and I’ll generate a PayPal payment request for you, which will allow you to pay using your PayPal account or a credit/debit card (no actual PayPal account required). Your book will go out to you as soon as the shipment arrives (expected mid-November).

Reality Check sneak peek

●●●●●●●● First draft
●●●●●●●● Editing
●●●●●●●● Book layout
●●●●●●●● Cover art
●●●○○○○○ Publication

The printing company informed me today that I made a couple of minor hiccups on the cover: (1) I calculated the spine width as 172 pages instead 170; I actually knew this prior to submission but thought the difference was negligible; think again, it seems. (2) I’m also told the black areas on the cover need very specific CMYK values. Aargh! I’ve had to resubmit the cover and pay an extra 22 pounds. Never mind. We’re almost there. I’ll just have to contain this nervous excitement for a few more days.

In the meantime, I think it’s about time I released a little of the book’s content. Here’s a nine-page excerpt: the introduction plus chapter one. Enjoy!

[ Read Exceprt ]

Butterfly dreaming

I’m inclined to think there’s something more than wishful thinking to the notion of dream interpretation. I’ve had a few bizarre ones in my day, and upon waking, I’ve been able to see direct synchronicities with things in my life. One such dream was about me cooking a dog (alive) in the oven, followed by me about to be caught in the act by my mother. The factor that ties this dream to reality is not the specific details, but the themes of guilt and shame – specifically something I was dealing with at the time of the dream. Isn’t it strange that our subconscious presents these challenges to us encapsulated in such bizarre symbolism? I certainly hadn’t been cooking a dog!

Last night I had a dream that involved something so weird that, immediately upon waking, I had the urge to commit the details to memory. First, I’m dreaming that I’m having an enjoyable bike-ride in the countryside with a woman (someone from real life that I happen to like a lot). My bike has no handlebars, so I can’t brake (probably a reference to my bike in real life that is in need of a little maintenance, including new brake-blocks). I almost fall off a few times as I encounter the corners at speed. My bike actually takes air at one point, but the laws of physics are a little funky and I manage to land safely and stay on course. This part of the dream finishes with one bend in the road that is a little too sharp, and I go spinning through the air doing multiple summersaults. I don’t recall an impact. Now, here’s the weird bit coming up: suddenly I’m at my house, standing alone, entering through the front door. As I close the door behind me, I notice three butterflies on the doorframe, near the top, sitting still, close together.

Now, I’m not going to jump to any wild prophetic conclusions. But it just strikes me as totally weird that my subconscious should insert something as out-of-place as butterflies inside the house. I’m not a nature-lover and I never think about butterflies. And here are some very specific details: there are three. They are not flying but resting together in a huddle on the inside of my doorframe – doing something I’ve never seen butterflies do; they’re not pack animals, after all.

I looked up some dream interpretation dictionaries online, but it’s hard to know when you’re being taken for a ride by these things.

The book Secrets of Dreams by Caro Ness mentions that butterflies can be seen as “symbols of transformation”, or as “accurate and startling affirmations of rebirth into a newer, brighter, and more illuminating existence …”

Interesting. The only thing I can say with confidence is that to dream of butterflies appears to be a very positive thing. Got to be better than oven-baked canine!

Reality Check draws closer

●●●●●●●● First draft
●●●●●●●● Editing
●●●●●●○○ Book layout
●●●●●○○○ Cover art
○○○○○○○○ Publication

It’s been five or six weeks since I last posted, so I thought I had better let you know I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth. Reality Check is well on the way. My printer is having a special discount for October, so I’m determined to benefit from that by releasing the book within that window. Won’t be long now.

I’ve renamed the chapters to present each one as a challenge to the reader:

1. Shake Your Foundations (unchanged)
2. Rescue Your Mind (was “Religion Unmasked”)
3. Spot the Traps (was “Independent Thought”)
4. Know Yourself (was “What am I?”)
5. Peer Beyond Your Perceptions (was “Where Am I?”)
6. Reconnect Your Intuition (was “Intuition Reconnected”)
7. Expand Your Awareness (was “The Big Picture”)
8. Break the Limits (was “Psychic Surprise”)
9. Take Back Your Responsibility (was “Abnormal Life”)
10. Rewrite Your Programming (was “Bad Programming”)
11. Heal Your Sexuality (was “Sexual Snare”)
12. Make It a Life Worth Living (was “A Life Worth Living”)