"Reminiscent of Conrad's Heart of Darkness, set in a world straight out of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Cathedral of the Senses is thought provoking without being preachy. In many ways, it's a fictional depiction of popular 'now moment' philosophies put forth by such contemporary philosophers as Eckhart Tolle." - John Knoerle, author of the A Despicable Profession
"Reminds me of Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha and Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. A worthy sequel to Trick of the Light." - Stan Corwin, author of The Creative Writer's Companion
"Unlike most Western books I've read that try to describe the Zen experience, Cathedral of the Senses creates an environment for the reader to have his or her own experience." - Bernadette Shih, author of Mao--A Young Man from the Yangtze Valley, and Ling Ling: The Most Beautiful Giant Panda in the World
Owen Clark walked into my office and, after a brief introduction, said, "I'd like you to find my 'self.'"
"Are you lost?" I replied glibly, waiting for a punch line.
"Exactly. And I think you're the perfect person to find me."
I was a trained professional, a private detective with a reputation for handling peculiar client requests.
Clark explained that he was the head of a Hollywood movie studio making a movie about alternate realities. He said that one night he got inside one of the "alternate reality machines" on a sound stage at the studio, and when he stepped out of it he found himself in an alternate reality. This different reality looked pretty much the same as the old one, and he was still Owen Clark. But in this alternate reality he was no longer a Hollywood mogul and no one knew him as the person he used to be.
He sought help from clerics, psychics and psychiatrists, but no one could help him. Desperate and fearing for his own sanity, Owen met a woman who told him about me. Years ago she had brought me a strange case: She wanted me to help her find God.
"I need you to find the self I lost," pleaded my new client. "The self I have been and wish to be again."
I understood Owen Clark. It had nothing to do with metaphysics or the bizarre case he had dropped in my lap.
I knew I was lost. But unlike Clark I knew exactly why I was lost.
The main difference between Owen Clark and me was that he still believed he could find his way back.
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About the Author
In 2011 he wrote and published the first novel with its own embedded soundtrack (Cathedral of the Senses; for the iPad). During the summer of 2012 Stephen will publish two other embedded soundtrack multimedia novels (Trick of the Light, which was originally published in 1989, and I, Walt Whitman). Besides becoming the first novelist to write and embed a soundtrack in his novel, Stephen will soon become the only author in the world to have published three embedded soundtrack, mulitimedia novels.
He has also written and directed feature films, including "Street Crimes" (starring Dennis Farina) and "Final Impact," and has written screenplays for others, including "Magic Kid."
He founded and published Mystery Magazine, and published the first online mystery magazine (Hamilton Caine's Mystery Digest, on CompuServe).
Mr. Smoke is also a published songwriter, and recorded an album (in support of his novel, Trick of the Light) on which several well-known musicians, including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, Garth Hudson (the keyboard player in Bob Dylan's backup band, The Band), played on various tracks. He is also a member of ASCAP and regularly collects royalties for music he has written for feature films. He occasionally performs "Storyteller Concerts," during which he plays songs from his books, explaining the context in which the songs were written and how they pertain to the novels.
You can contact Stephen Smoke at firstname.lastname@example.org.