Archive for July 25th, 2018

John Allen was born in Long Beach, CA. An engineer “by education, training, and experience,” he describes himself as “a recovering engineer.”  He left engineering to become the junior partner in Allen & Allen Semiotics Inc., a corporation that his wife, Lynn, launched for their diversified home business. Their projects include designing databases for mid-sized companies. John Allen holds a BS from the United States Air Force Academy, an MS from the University of Southern California, and an MA from the University of California, Riverside.

You can visit his website at http://louiseconandoyle.com/.

About the Book:

Author John Allen has a theory about the creator of Sherlock Holmes:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not create Holmes. It was Doyle’s wife, Louise Hawkins Conan Doyle, who gave birth to the beloved sleuth.

Allen has put his beliefs to the test, writing and publishing the first of a projected 12-novel series of Holmes mysteries titled BRIMSTONE. His detective is Louise Hawkins Conan Doyle, and Allen names her as the author of the tale he presents, set in 1879 Bristol, England.

In a previous book, SHADOW WOMAN, Allen set out to prove that Louise was the true creator of Sherlock Holmes. The inspiration for his startling and controversial theory of authorship was a 1980s essay by Martin Gardner called “The Irrelevance of Arthur Conan Doyle.” Gardner claimed that Arthur was “too gullible and to easily duped to have created Sherlock Holmes.”

Allen determined that Gardner was correct, but Gardner identified no alternative author. Allen continues, “So I decided to give it a try. I came to suspect Louise as the actual author, but I lacked the knowledge and tools to make a solid case.”

Then the Internet came along, giving Allen a valuable research tool. He became convinced that Louise did in fact create Sherlock Holmes. Allen presented his case in SHADOW WOMAN, which was published in 2017. To further advance Louise as Holmes’s creator, to give her the credit he believes she is due, he is now featuring her in a series of mystery novels, the first of which is BRIMSTONE.

As if Allen hadn’t set the bar too high already, he has added a subtext to BRIMSTONE that explores contemporary wrongful convictions through his Victorian thrillers.

BRIMSTONE brims with appeal to multiple audiences, from lovers of detective stories to those interested in justice for the wrongfully convicted. Sherlock Holmes would be proud.



Would you call yourself a born writer?

Definitely not, particularly with respect to fiction. Though I have written five non-fiction works, I was ill prepared for writing fiction. My initial efforts were pretty pathetic, but I kept working at it. Encouraged by Lynn, my wife and a voracious reader of mysteries, I worked on my dialogue, scene description, and character development. I took an online class to improve my sentence structure. I kept devising new openings that were more and more grabbing. Most importantly, I learned that I should never ever kill the dog. Some things, I now know, are simply unforgiveable. People yes, dogs no.

Mostly I wrote and subjected my work to the withering fire of constructive criticism. And I rewrote, and rewrote, and rewrote. Jerry Pournelle, the late science fiction writer and one of the earliest bloggers, explained that anyone could be a good writer; all that was necessary was to write a million words. My rewrites of Brimstone put me over that limit.

I’m quite proud of the result.

What was your inspiration for Brimstone?

In 2017, I wrote and Lynn published Shadow Woman: The True Creator of Sherlock Holmes. In that non-fictional work, I make my case that Sherlock Holmes flowed from the mind and pen of Louise Conan Doyle, Arthur’s first wife. With respect to Louise’s character, I was severely limited to the successful efforts of Arthur’s second wife, Jean, to obliterate all records of his first wife, Louise. The Louise Conan Doyle Mystery Series allows me to portray Louise’s character as I perceiver her, based upon what I infer of her from her writing.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

In Brimstone, I meld two of my avocations, two of my passions. First and most obviously, I Louise Conan Doyle to readers of fictions, hoping that she finally receive the credit she has long deserved for her Sherlock Holmes adventures. Secondly, I hope to shine some light on our country’s problem with wrongful convictions. In each book within the mystery series, Louise somehow ends up involved in a case that shares elements from actual wrongful convictions of today. In the Author’s Note at the end of each book, I summarize the parallels in the case and I refer the readers to where they might learn more about either Louise and/or the wrongfully convicted.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?


Brimstone was just recently published. That book began as Ghost Writer back in 2013, so Brimstone has been five years in the making. Along the way, I began and completed Shadow Woman, my non-fictional work about Louise.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I am absolutely disciplined but, unfortunately, I have many projects demanding my discipline. My work on the Louise books too frequently takes a back seat. On a typical idealized day, my fingers are on the keyboard by 8, and remain there until noon. During lunch, I research or relax. After lunch, I work on wrongful convictions or I earn the necessary tender by programming custom database systems for intermediate size companies. I then walk and think about my work. I feed the cat while thinking about my work. I spend the evenings with Lynn and give her my attention. (Lynn and I also have a date every Wednesday and one day each weekend.) I think about my work as I fall asleep, and I’m thinking about it when I wake up.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

As already described, I found it challenging to write fiction, particularly Victorian fiction, even more so Victorian fiction featuring a woman. I was a bit out of my league. With persistence and Lynn’s help, I believe I have been successful.

What do you love most about being an author?

It turns out I prefer writing fiction over non-fiction. On occasion, when working on the Louise mysteries, the story takes charge and leads me to places I had never imagined. The story becomes the master and my fingers are at its beck and call. When I’m done with the segment, and I read it, I’m surprised and pleased. When I come back considerably later and read it, I almost can’t believe I wrote it.

Those out-of-body writing experiences are pretty special.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

All my books have been published by Allen & Allen Semiotics, Inc. That is the home business that Lynn launched while I was still working for the man. We make most of our money designing custom database systems. After I failed to find a publisher for my first book, Lynn expanded our company’s offerings to include publishing, then she taught herself publishing just as she taught herself to design databases. Her publishing skills have improved as my writing skills have improved, and out latest work, Brimstone, is beautiful in every respect. It has been hard work for both of us, but I have a feeling it is all going to pay off soon.

Where can we find you on the web?

For all matters relating to Louise Conan Doyle, you can find us at http://www.louiseconandoyle.com. We are fortunate and pleased to own that URL. For all matters relating to wrongful conviction, check my Skeptical Juror blog at http://www.skepticaljuror.com.

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“The effect of the very first Heartfulness meditation on me was so profound that it was clear I had found my direction and anchor in life. But the effect of meeting Babuji was beyond even that – something so precious and subtle in its essence that it defines description. While universes and dimensions have opened in my inner world since that time, it is only one aspect of what has unfolded during these last four decades. What is even more wonderful is the walth of everyday qualities that have come through Heartfulness practice – qualities such as love, acceptance, humility, service, compassion, empathy, and a higher purpose to existence.”

From The Heartfulness Way by Kamlesh D. Patel and Joshua Pollock

KAMLESH D. PATEL is known widely as Daaji. His teachings arise from his personal experience on the path of Heartfulness, while reflecting his deep spirit of enquiry and respect for the world’s great spiritual traditions and scientific advancements. Daaji practised pharmacy in New York City for over three decades before being named the successor in a century-old lineage of spiritual masters. Fulfilling the many duties of a modern-day guru, he travels widely, extending his support to spiritual seekers everywhere. A self-professed student of spirituality, he devotes much of his time and energy to research in the field of consciousness and spirituality, approaching the subject with scientific methodology – a practical approach that stems from his own experience and mastery in the field.

Joshua Pollock is a student of Kamlesh D. Patel. After experimenting with various meditative practices, Joshua started practicing Heartfulness in the United States in 2002 and has taught it since 2007. He regularly teaches Heartfulness at universities, corporations, government institutions, and at public seminars. An accomplished violinist, Joshua has performed and taught all over the world. He holds a Bachelor of Musical Arts from Indiana University and two Masters degrees from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. In August of 2015, he was invited by Daaji to co author this book.

Book Description:

Heartfulness is an ideal, a spiritual way of living by and from the heart that is inclusive of all ideologies, beliefs, and religions. In this heart-centered book, a student in conversation with his teacher, Kamlesh D. Patel—affectionately known as Daaji, the fourth and current spiritual guide of the century-old Heartfulness tradition—present a unique method of meditation with the power to facilitate an immediate, tangible spiritual experience, irrespective of a person’s faith.

Our modern, fast-paced world can be an overwhelming place. Every day, we’re bombarded with messages telling us that in order to be happy, fulfilled, and worthy, we must be better, do more, and accumulate as much material wealth as possible. Most of us move through our busy lives with our minds full of these ideas, multitasking as we strive to navigate the responsibilities and expectations we must meet just to make it through the day. But what if there is another way? What if, rather than letting the busyness of life overtake our minds, we learn to be heartful instead?

Based on Daaji’s own combination of approaches and practices for the modern seeker—which draws from the teachings of Sahaj Marg, meaning “Natural Path”—Heartfulness is a contemporized version of the ancient Indian practice of Raja Yoga, a tradition that enables the practitioner to realize the higher Self within. While many books describe refined states of being, The Heartfulness Way goes further, providing a pragmatic course to experience those states for oneself, which, per the book’s guiding principle, is “greater than knowledge.”

Heartfulness meditation consists of four elements—relaxation, meditation, cleaning, and prayer—and illuminates the ancient, defining feature of yogic transmission (or pranahuti), the utilization of divine energy for spiritual growth and transformation. Using the method, detailed practices, tips, and practical philosophy offered in this book, you’ll reach new levels of attainment and learn to live a life more deeply connected to the values of the Heartfulness way—with acceptance, humility, compassion, empathy, and love.


Thank you so much for this interview, Daaji. Can we begin by having you tell us why you wrote your book, The Heartfulness Way: Heart-Based Meditations for Spiritual Transformation?

Daaji: Thank you also. Well, in today’s world people seem to have access to everything, instantaneously, at the click of their fingers, but there isn’t so much happiness and joy abounding. Many people say they feel like mice on a training wheel, going round and round in circles in their day-to-day activities, but without any understanding of why they are here and how they can work with their destiny. To bring a sense of purpose and fulfillment to life, it is important to nourish all aspects of our humanity – not only the physical body, but also the mind, the heart and the soul. For this we need some simple tools. The Heartfulness Way provides those tools so that we can live peaceful, contented lives with purpose and direction.

Also, often we get bogged down in emotional issues and concerns, and we don’t know how to manage these and rise above them – it could be that someone hurts us, or we are angry or worried or fearful. By working with the feeling level of the heart, through Heartfulness Meditation, and learning to let go of emotional reactions that are the cause of our suffering, we can more easily rise above hardship and suffering, and learn to accept and move on. This helps in developing healthy relationships as well as in personal growth.

You call it heart-centered. Can you explain to us what exactly that means in relation to your book?

Daaji:  When we describe a person, do we define them as soft-hearted or soft-minded? Kind-hearted or kind-minded? Stone-hearted or stone-minded? Our language shows us what we already know; that feelings and character emanate from the heart. Most of the qualities we value as human are heart-based; qualities like love, compassion, empathy, courage and willpower.

When we explore this idea more deeply through yogic science, we realize that the heart is the field of action for the mind. What does this mean? Our mental functions are primarily the four functions of consciousness, thinking, intellect and ego. All of them are essential for existence, but on their own they are only instruments, and they can be used for good or for bad purpose. They need the guidance and direction of the heart’s conscience. Just as a sharp knife can be used to cut vegetables for dinner or to hurt another person, the functions of the mind are also dependent on the heart’s purpose. For example, intellect can be used just as effectively by a criminal mind to rob a bank as it can be used by a noble person to help others. It is also why scientists were able to develop something as destructive as the atom bomb, even though they were inherently good people – they used the mind for scientific research without letting the conscience of the heart rule.

Right now we need heart. Our human species has reached a tipping point in its evolution because we have treated our planet Earth as something to be pillaged; we have effectively destroyed our own environment through greed and thoughtlessness. We have also hurt and destroyed our fellow human beings through prejudice leading to war and subjugation. Only when enough people let the heart rule will this situation be remedied. It is time.

You are considered a spiritual master. How long did it take you before you discovered your gift?

Daaji: There are many misconceptions about spiritual masters, gurus and mystics. In fact, often they have gained a bad reputation for taking advantage of ordinary people. Just like in any other field, in spirituality there are genuine teachers and there are charlatans; and there are those with different levels of experience and skill. Really speaking, a master is someone who has mastered himself or herself and is willing to help others along the same path of self-mastery. There is nothing glorious about such a role – it is a role of service and humility, of insignificance and surrender. Really I am still a student of spirituality and always will be. Withoutt always improving myself, how can I possibly help others to do so? We are all in this together as fellow travelers on the march to freedom.

My interest in spirituality has been there from birth, but it has taken many years for it to evolve into an ability, a gift, that can help others. It is thanks to the training I have received from my spiritual Masters that this has happened.

Aside from reading your book, where would one go to find their spiritual sanctuary?

Daaji: That is the easy part – inside ourselves! All religious and spiritual traditions accept that the divine principle we know as God is everywhere. It is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. So God is within us, and that is the easiest place to connect with the Divine. That is the basis of Heartfulness Meditation – we are meditating upon the source of divine light within our own hearts when we meditate, and uncovering our own spiritual nature. This we can do anywhere at any time.

Sometimes it can also be useful to visit a meditation center, an ashram or a retreat center, in order to detach from the daily routine and establish a meditation practice, which can then be integrated into daily life. In our Heartfulness Centers there are many certified trainers who can help to initiate you into this practice and continue to support you on the journey. This is done through the ancient practice of Yogic Transmission or Pranahuti.

Where did you meet your co-author, Joshua Pollock, and how did you and he get the idea to write your book?

Daaji: I first met Joshua in New York City, where I lived and worked as a pharmacist for many years. I had been practicing Heartfulness since my college days in India and met him after he started this practice. Later on we both moved to India, and for a period of a couple of years, as a dedicated practitioner, he was often asking questions about the practice and philosophy of Heartfulness, so we decided to share these question and answer sessions in the form of a book for the benefit of others.

Meditation is key to spiritual living I believe. What can you tell people about meditation that will convince them to start practicing it and incorporating it into daily life?

Daaji: Meditation is something we do most days without knowing it. It simply means to focus on one thing continuously – at least in the beginning. For example, if a little child wants a particular doll, she will meditate on it night and day, sometimes even dreaming about it until her parents give it to her as a gift on her birthday or a festival day. When a young couple is in love, they will meditate upon each other even while they are at work or with other people. People can meditate on money or power, on positive suggestions or on a spiritual goal. It is the object of meditation that matters: what do you want to become?

Of course, you can choose to simply drift in life without a purpose or goal, but for anyone who wants a life of purpose and fulfillment, meditation is the most practical simple tool to direct your mind towards that purpose. It is for this reason that for thousands of years meditation has been used as a spiritual technique for regulating and focusing the mind towards a higher purpose in life. It is so simple and effective, and it also brings about ‘skill in action’ in worldly pursuits. It keeps your mind flexible, clear and sharp, your heart open and loving, your ego under control, and your intellect open to wisdom and conscience. We all know the benefits of physical training for the body – meditation is mental training for the mind.

Like any other skill it takes practice, but that just requires interest and willingness to allocate the time, just a few minutes every day. And our certified trainers guide you through the practices until you are comfortable enough to practice them on your own. So much support is given and there is always a community of like-minded people to meet at our Heartfulness Centers.

Can you leave us with a meditation that will open up our eyes to our spirituality?

Daaji: Yes, with pleasure.

First, please sit comfortably, either cross-legged on the floor or on a chair, and relax yourself. Our guided Heartfulness Relaxation is available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYmSycW_Ayo to help you to relax, but for now simply do your best to relax.

Scan your system to see how you feel, and make a mental note of it.

Once you feel relaxed, bring your attention to your heart. Then make a very light suggestion to yourself that the source of divine light already present in your heart is drawing you inwards. Don’t try to concentrate or force your mind in any way. Let it be very natural.

You will probably have other thoughts surfacing, and that is normal. Simply let them go as they surface, like you are witnessing passing clouds in the sky. Neither repress them or indulge them; just let them go and gently come back to the source of divine light in your heart.

Meditate like this for fifteen minutes, and at the end take a few more minutes to again scan your system to see how you feel. Notice if there is any change.

If you would like to experience this meditation with a certified Heartfulness trainer, i.e. aided by Pranahuti or Transmission, please contact us at http://heartspots.heartfulness.org to find one near you. By comparing the meditation with and without Transmission, you will soon understand the benefit of Transmission, which is the specialty of Heartfulness.

Wishing you all the best, and thank you for your time, Daaji

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