MARY ELIZABETH (LEACH) RAINES is an award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction who has a home in Sedona, Arizona. Her most recent awards were from the 85th and 86th Writer's Digest Writing Competition, where she was one of the top prize-winners in the mainstream literary/fiction stories category. Readers can find this tale - "Easter Breakfast at Denny's" - in her new short story collection, "The Man in the GPS and Other Stories," which she also illustrated. Her award-winning memoir, "A Spot of Vanilla in a Sea of Chocolate" can be found on The Laughing Cherub blog (a link is on this page).
Her fiction ranges from the serious and symbolic ("UNA") to contemporary fiction ("The Secret of Eating Raspberries"); from her unusual and entertaining collection of whimsical short stories ("The Man in the GPS and other stories") to her popular book on past-life regression ("The Laughing Cherub Guide to Past-Life Regression: A Handbook for Real People"). Several of her plays and film scripts have won awards on both regional and national levels.
Her formal education was in piano performance at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and she spent several years in independent film studies at the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh. She still plays the piano, and occasionally directs or acts.
The remainder of her nonfiction is related to hypnosis. The founder of the Academy for Professional Hypnosis Training, Ms. Raines has been hypnotizing people for more than half a century, and has been teaching top hypnotherapists for the past eighteen years.
At age 17, she became fascinated with past-life regression after reading Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. People from all over the world come to Sedona, Arizona for past-life regressions with her, or to attend her workshops to learn advanced techniques in becoming past-life regression counselors.
Ms. Raines has been a newspaper reporter and an editor, and is a regular contributor to professional hypnosis magazines and books about hypnosis. She is a columnist for "The Journal of Hypnotism." According to the National Guild of Hypnotists, Raines is "recognized as one of the leading practitioners of the art and science of hypnotism." An adjunct faculty member for the National Guild of Hypnotists, she developed and taught that organization's Guided Imagery Certification Course, and she has taught self-hypnosis and guided imagery for the Continuing Education Department of the University of Wisconsin, as well as presenting seminars and workshops at conventions across the country. Several of her popular Laughing Cherub Hypnosis & Guided Imagery MP3s are available on Amazon.com.
She also loves to cook, and one of her Kindle books is a unique vegetarian cookbook. On Kindle as well are several short plays and silly skits that have been performed by various acting troupes, most requiring little direction; several of these are suitable for high schools.
Her pastimes are as diverse as her publications. A bee-keeper, she has an immense respect for the natural world, is an ardent environmentalist, and agrees with Marcus Aurelius Antoninus that "all things are interconnected." Raines loves history, and in particular has a passion for the 19th-century transcendentalists of Boston and Concord. In addition to writing and playing the piano, she paints, enjoys walking, is fond of classical music, jazz and early Broadway songs, gardens, creates professional fractal art on her computer and designs all her own book covers.
She is happy to have Louisa May Alcott in her family tree as a distant cousin, and is also increasingly fond of the Oxford comma.