Wow, so much is going on lately my head’s spinning. Those of you who subscribe to the writer’s newsletter on annettaribken.com already know some of this, PLUS you received a brand-new story from me! If anyone else is interested in reading MOSAIC, just sign up for the newsletter and boom. It’s yours.
CONGRATULATIONS TO PATTI LARSEN AND SYDLYNN THADDEA HAYLE!
Three years ago Patti Larsen introduced me to Sydlynn Thadea Hayle and her family. It is accurate to say my life has not been the same since.
I knew from the first book in the Hayle Coven Novels that all Syd had to do was get in front of the right people, at the right time, and the right place. I had a BLAST editing Syd’s stories–and I live in total amazement at the prolific and stellar talent from Patti Larsen. She’s a total professional with a work ethic that could fell Paul Bunyan. The woman is an animal.
Oh yeah! Which means Syd and Patti are on their way to a traditional publishing contract, distribution, and a book tour. Possibly MOVIES. Or TV. CAN YOU EVEN STAND IT?
Me neither 🙂
I’m incredibly proud of Patti and the work that’s gone into the Hayle Universe. This is one of those “overnight” successes which only took years, sweat, tears, and blood. But that’s why we love our job, no?
Debut author Aaron Galvin gives us robust characters and non-stop action, making this imaginative story of characters from a parallel, underwater world (the Salt) worth a look.
Finally a fresh take on what goes on under the sea. A thrilling, dark, page turner that leaves the reader wanting more. I am definitely hooked and eagerly awaiting the sequel. Although it is under the YA genre, adults will love this book. Readers will enjoy the exposure to a new fantasy world that has not been done before. The characters are well developed and interesting. A great read, highly recommend!!
I can’t believe it’s December already. This year FLEW. I’m already mulling over plans for 2015–I’m thinking about doing another anthology based on the Zodiac, playing with Sally Mae, and finishing up a few loose ends in addition to the work flow.
You can find it right here, and from this day forward you will find all information and updates on this site. This means I can hopefully get back to posting here on a regular basis and keep on with the editing series which usually appears on Thursdays (which will resume next week). Many thanks to the mysterious Mr. Twinkles who donated his Mad Skillz to help me put this together.
Kris is not only a talented writer, she’s an amazing photographer and the genius behind the photographs of the Tarot cards featured here. She is focused, driven, and I love working with her on her projects. Kris’s stories are quite unusual and unlike any I’ve read, which is what drew me into her world of Fates, Fire, Shifters, and Dragons. What really sealed the deal for me is how much she loves Dragonriders of Pern. My own original copy of that particular trilogy I still own, held together with packing tape. I’ve had it for almost thirty years. When I found out she took down a pack of hungry wolves with hers, I knew this relationship was a match made in heaven.
Her photos are STUNNING.
Kris’s card is The Emperor, and it is quite fitting if you know Kris and her work.
From Wikipedia: “The Emperor symbolizes the desire to rule over one’s surroundings, and its appearance in a reading often suggests that the subject needs to accept that some things may not be controllable, and others may not benefit from being controlled.
“As with all Tarot cards, multiple meanings are possible. Where the Empress is the Feminine principle, the Emperor is the Masculine. Most individuals will relate to this card in the same way they relate to their own father. The Emperor is Key Four of the Major Arcana. Fours are stable numbers; four walls, four seasons, four corners. It takes a massive amount of energy, comparatively, to move them. The strength of The Emperor is the stability he brings. The weakness is the risk of stagnation.”
Photo by Kris Austen Radcliffe
What intrigues you about this particular Tarot card? Emperor is the ultimate Alpha Male. He’s a jerk, often a total bastard, but he gets it done. No one messes with the Emperor.
Why did you decide to get roped into this project? I used to read tarot for a talent agency. And Annetta asked. I can’t say no to Annetta. She’s the Emperor.
Have you ever had dealings with the Tarot before? Like I said, I used to read for a talent agency. I also ran a special on my Facebook page last Halloween where I did readings for people. I’m quite good at it.
What other projects do you have planned? “Conpulsio”, a new Fate ~ Fire ~ Shifter ~ Dragon novella, is slated for release at the end of April. “Flux of Skin”, the second book in the FFSD series, is on track for a September release.
I’ll also have fine art photographs available for purchase by the end of May, including several of my Irish landscapes—and a tarot print or two.
She means business.
Bio: As a child, Kris took down a pack of hungry wolves with only a hardcover copy of The Dragonriders of Pern and a sharpened toothbrush. That fateful day set her on a path traversing many storytelling worlds—dabbles in film and comic books, time as a talent agent and a textbook photo coordinator, and a foray into nonfiction. After co-authoring Mind Shapes: Understanding the Differences in Thinking and Communication, Kris returned to academia. But she craved narrative and a richly-textured world of Fates, Shifters, and Dragons—and unexpected, true love.
Kris lives in Minnesota with her husband, two daughters, Handsome Cat, and an entire menagerie of suburban wildlife bent on destroying her house. That battered-but-true copy of “Dragonriders”? She found it yesterday. It’s time to pay a visit to the woodpeckers.
Kris has generously donated not only her time to this project, but copies of her Most Excellent books in the Fate~Fire~Shifter~Dragon universe, and five signed photo prints. Check out the Allegories of the Tarot Campaign and a listing of the perks currently available on the Perks Page. Donate if you can, and share if you would. Your support is much appreciated!
Come back tomorrow for an introduction to The Hierophant!
I’ve known Spike for a long time, and she is one of those special people who walk the paths of my heart. She tends to have that effect on people. Her work is haunting, weird, and bizarre, and once you read one of her stories, you’re hooked. Spike can take the most unusual elements and weave them into a story you never forget. Just check out the sample of Placenta of Love and you’ll see what I mean.
The card she’s chosen is The Empress–a perfect fit, in my opinion. I can’t wait to see her story.
From Wikipedia: “The Empress is mother, a creator and nurturer. In many decks she can be shown as pregnant. She can represent the creation of life, of romance, of art or business. The Empress can represent the germination of an idea before it is ready to be fully born. The Empress is often associated with Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love, and indeed the Rider-Waite deck brandishes her symbol upon a heart-shaped bolster. The Empress is also often interpreted to be Demeter, goddess of abundance. She is the giver of earthly gifts, although at the same time, she can be overprotective and possessive. In anger she can withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped: Due to her fury and grief, Demeter keeps the Earth cold and barren until Spring when her child is returned to her.”
What intrigues you about this particular Tarot card?
Amongst other themes, the Empress represents feminine energy and creativity. My fiction tends to be filled with this feminine energy and elements the Empress represents. And, of course, as a writer, how could I not be interested in a card that represents creativity and the act of creation?
Why did you decide to get roped into this project?
There are four reasons why I decided to do this project:
1) It’s different than the other fiction projects I’ve been working on.
2) An amazing group of people are involved.
3) The tarot is a fascinating topic, and a ripe resource for artists.
4) I adore working with Annetta Ribken.
Have you ever had dealings with the Tarot before?
I have. I’ve had friends who read Tarot, some professionally. Having them read my Tarot has always been a fascinating and illuminating experience.
What other projects do you have planned?
I just turned a draft of a new book titled Little Miss Battle Queen to my editor at Eraserhead Press. It’s basically Battle Royale with pint-sized beauty queens. I’m also looking forward to reworking a book I wrote last fall calledHowl. It’s a fantastical YA that’s part Watership Down, The Shining, Donnie Darko and Allen Ginsberg.
So much beauty, inside and out!
Spike Marlowe is a San Francisco writer who has been known to make busking appearances wherever she travels. Though she has held a variety of odd jobs, including performer in a Wild West show, detective, Bigfoot researcher and writer for an internet content farm, she now focuses on writing bizarro and weird fiction. Her first book, Placenta of Love, is now available.
I know Billie Sue through Facebook, and have come to know her as a generous, supportive person. She is a gem–as busy as she is writing and converting her impressive backlist to accommodate the e-book revolution, she always has time for her fans and fellow writers. I’m so happy she decided to join this project!
Her chosen card–The High Priestess.
From Wikipedia: “Commonly this card is associated with the card reader or the querant, because it is also focused on ‘secrets’. It also interpreted when a secret is kept or revealed, when you are holding on to the truth or revealing it. The card is associated with mystery, when powerful feminine influences and support are currently in force for the querant. It can also represent the perfect woman in a man’s life, and to a woman it can represent being independently solo, perhaps without a man.”
What intrigues you about this particular Tarot card?
The High Priestess is involved with intuition, higher powers, mystery, and subconscious mind. I’ve always thought the card was very intriguing with the priestess sitting before an elegant veil and she sits between darkness and light, represented by the pillars of Solomon’s temple. It made me wonder—did she advise Solomon? Did he listen?
Why did you decide to get roped into this project?
I trust the editor and although I’ve written one short story years ago for an anthology on the Tarot, I wanted another crack at it.
Have you ever had dealings with the Tarot before?
I have a few decks and have played with them before because they’re beautiful works of art and they’re mysterious.
What other projects do you have planned?
I have a few short stories that have been bought for other anthologies and I’m always writing new stories while trying to finish a new novel.
Bio: Billie Sue Mosiman sold her first novel in 1983 and since then has published more than a dozen novels and hundreds of short stories. She was nominated for the Edgar and was a finalist for the Stoker.
He chose The Magician–the first numbered card in the Tarot deck. And that surprised me not one bit.
From Wikipedia: “In the Magician’s right hand is a wand raised towards heaven, the sky or the element æther, while his left hand is pointing to the earth. This iconographic gesture has multiple meanings, but is endemic to the Mysteries, symbolizing divine immanence, the ability of the magician to bridge the gap between heaven and earth. On the table in front of the Magician the symbols of the four Tarot suits signify the Classical elements of earth, air, fire and water. Beneath are roses and lilies, changed into garden flowers, to show the culture of aspiration.
“When the Magician appears in a spread, it points to the talents, capabilities and resources at the querent’s disposal. Depending on the card’s placement in relation to other cards, the message is to tap into one’s full potential rather than holding back, especially when there is a need to transform something. There are choices and directions to take. Guidance can arrive through one’s own intuition or in the form of someone who brings about change or transformation.
“The card can mean that a manipulator is floating around, usually if it’s reversed. He may be a beneficent guide, but he does not necessarily have our best interests in mind. He may also represent the querent’s ego or self-awareness. He can also represent the intoxication of power, both good and bad.”
Behold! The Magician!
Photo by Kris Austen Radcliffe
What intrigues you about this particular Tarot card? I like the idea of transformative knowledge. That having gone through certain stages, the Magician has learned a thing or two about both the divine and the mundane, and he’s been changed by it. Empowered by knowledge, the Magician is equipped to deal with what comes next.
Why did you decide to get roped into this project? Annetta and I used to be part of a smallish online writers group. I know her talent, her obsession with quality, and her drive. There is no way I would pass up the chance to be a part of a project she believes so strongly in.
Have you ever had dealings with the Tarot before? I have had rune readings done several times by a skilled friend, but I am foggy on whether I’ve had any honest-to-gosh Tarot readings.
What other projects do you have planned? A novel I co-wrote with Josh Rountree, ALAMO RISING, is due to debut at Worldcon San Antonio this year. Having a lot of fun with promotional plans that I’ll be able to talk more about later in the year.
Bio: Lon Prater has worked in the Reactor Compartments of USS Enterprise, edited the military’s textbook on arms deals, and kept things safe in the produce and laundry industries. He lives, writes, and plays a lot of boardgames in Pensacola, Florida.
Today kicks off the Meet the Authors of the Allegories of the Tarot anthology. I’m really excited to introduce to you a fabulous line-up of writers for this project. You’ll have a chance to check out each writer, the card they’ve chosen, and why in the coming days.
I met Pete working with him on his story, A Spark in the Darkness. He was totally fearless about the editing process, and eager to put in some hard work, and it totally paid off. An awesome story; one of many he has written.
We’re starting off with the first card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot–The Fool. Actually, this card is un-numbered and can appear either at the beginning or the end of the deck.
From Wikipedia: “The Fool is the spirit in search of experience. He represents the mystical cleverness bereft of reason within us, the childlike ability to tune into the inner workings of the world. The sun shining behind him represents the divine nature of the Fool’s wisdom and exuberance, holy madness or ‘crazy wisdom’. On his back are all the possessions he might need. In his hand there is a flower, showing his appreciation of beauty. He is frequently accompanied by a dog, sometimes seen as his animal desires, sometimes as the call of the “real world”, nipping at his heels and distracting him. He is seemingly oblivious that he is walking toward a precipice, apparently about to step off. One of the keys to the card is the paradigm of the precipice, Zero and the sometimes represented oblivious Fool’s near-step into the oblivion.
In many esoteric systems of interpretation, the Fool is usually interpreted as the protagonist of a story, and the Major Arcana is the path the Fool takes through the great mysteries of life and the main human archetypes. This path is known traditionally in Tarot as the Fool’s Journey, and is frequently used to introduce the meaning of Major Arcana cards to beginners.”
Photo by Kris Austen Radcliffe.
What intrigues you about this particular Tarot card? Who isn’t intrigued by the fool? So many possibilities. Or am I a fool for saying that?
Why did you decide to get roped into this project? Netta saved my life in ‘Nam.
Have you ever had dealings with the Tarot before? I dated a tarot reader once. That lasted for about a week.
What other projects do you have planned? STEALING NIGHT, a rural crime thriller, is coming out later in May from Nightscape Press, and my dark sci-fi novel LESSER CREATURES is coming out from DarkFuse in December. I also have stories popping up in other anthologies here and there. Another busy year.
He’s definitely not a fool, but he sure can write about one.
Bio: A Pushcart Prize nominee and an active member of the Horror Writers Association, Peter Giglio is the author of five novels, three novellas, and he edits a successful line of books for Evil Jester Press. His works of short fiction can be found in a number of notable volumes, including two comprehensive genre anthologies edited by New York Times Bestselling author John Skipp. With Scott Bradley, Peter wrote the author-approved screen adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale’s “The Night They Missed the Horror Show,” and an established screenwriting team in Los Angeles holds the film option on Giglio’s Sunfall Manor. He resides in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he stays out of trouble. *Editor’s note: HAH!
Once upon a time, there was an editor who became obsessed with an idea…
Portrait of an obsessed editor.
That would be me.
The Tarot has always been a fascination of mine. As a writer, the images of the Rider-Waite deck contain much inspiration for fantastical stories; the meaning behind each and every one of them equally as interesting. While most people equate the Tarot with the occult, possibly imagining a mysterious gypsy telling fortunes, in reality the Tarot is less related to the “otherworld” and actually deeply rooted in the human experience.
From the forward of “The Key to the Tarot”, written by Liz Greene: “Yet the images of the Tarot cards are neither inaccessible nor occult, however much any particular spiritual or esoteric school might seek to mystify them. These images are archetypal, which means that they describe essential human situations and patterns which all of us experience in life at one time or another.”
To me, this means a talented Tarot reader can bridge the inherent mysteries of being human with the archetypes depicted in the cards. That is not to say Fate, or Destiny, or whatever you want to call the forces of the Universe do not have a role in the cards which are revealed or their position in a reading—depending on your beliefs, this could very well be the case. Rather, a reading of the Tarot is less of an occult experience and more of an exploration of the human experience. Perhaps even a guide to understanding your current state of mind and a pointer in the direction you wish to travel.
With all that in mind, I have long had the desire to put together an anthology of the Major Arcana of the Tarot. I thought of how fascinating it would be to corral an author for each of the cards, and see what kind of story they’d write. Because although there are many universal human experiences, the truth is they are as diverse as the perspective of the individual.
I, myself, own two decks of Rider-Waite cards. I read them on occasion. I am fairly accurate in the readings, but I don’t do it often and only for special occasions. I know several people who are scary-good. Sometimes I just take out the deck and study the images, and I’ve read many, many books about the Tarot. And the idea of an anthology of stories about these images which fascinated me kept cropping up. But I was scared. Scared I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, scared people would say, “No, that’s a stupid idea,” you know. Just…scared.
But then I had a very vivid dream about jumping from one ledge to another. In the dream, it took me forever to decide, because I have a definite fear of heights. I mean, my palms were sweating, and I about wet my pants, but I finally did jump and I made it. The next day, I realized if I let fear stop me, I would never know if I could make that ledge or not. And the answer is always “No,” if you don’t ask.
The first step was to outline the project and decide how to raise the funds necessary. I knew I needed to pay the writers professional rates and cover the publishing costs. With a budget and a firm plan, I then constructed a list of writers covering a wide range of genres. I have the Most Enviable position in knowing a slew of mega-talented writers. As a matter of fact, I had too many writers on my list and not enough cards, but I figured some would have other obligations and others no interest. Plus, if this project goes well, I have a brain full of ideas for a second anthology. Maybe a third.
Evidently, I’m not the only one fascinated by the Tarot. Within 24 hours I had 21 writers on board—I round out the 22. Much to my surprise, there was no fighting over which card went to which writer. They all seemed to fall into place as if they were…fated. *cue spooky music*
The plan was to line up the writers and then with a firm TOC (Table of Contents) move on to launch an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds. All the writers involved in the project have thrown their considerable weight behind this effort, for which I am eternally grateful and honored. Many have donated services and products to tempt both readers and writers for the perk packages; all have been extremely supportive and generous, and quick to get back to me when I’m demanding photos, bios, and feedback.
You will meet this group of talented and fabulous people in the days to come on my blog and on the campaign. I will introduce each and every one of them and the card they’ve chosen to write about. You will get to know award-winners, new and outstanding talent, and established authors who run the gamut from fantasy to mystery to romance and everything in between.
Please donate if you can—every dollar helps. And if you can’t donate, I’d appreciate a shout-out on your favorite social media platform. Help me get the word out because this is a whole lot of epic just waiting to happen, and with the perks offered, you’ll get good value for your dollar.
It’s been a lot of work, and I’m loving every minute of it. I jumped, and I’m so glad I did.
Tomorrow you will meet The Fool and the writer associated with the card. Stay tuned for an introduction to all the writers involved with the project. I’M SO EXCITED!
One of the biggest changes and one I am ecstatic over, is the position I’ve accepted at Etopia Press as a Content Editor. I am over the moon.
I am so happy about this because fiction has always been my first love, story my passion. I really enjoy working with new authors and taking a manuscript to the next level. This position allows me to expand my scope and exercise my Mad Editing Skillz, as well as provide an opportunity to meet and work with some outstanding authors. I am very excited about this!
I decided to sign with Etopia for many reasons. One of them was because of the fabulous Managing Editor and founder, Annie Melton. Not only is she smart and savvy, she and I share the same driving passion for story and what really resonates with me is her respect for writers in general. She gets it. Annie has a lot of experience in the publishing and editing field, and she has the kind of high standards I can get behind 100%. I feel very fortunate.
So, if you are interested in working with an indie press dedicated to nurturing and supporting both new and established writers, take a look at Etopia Press. If you think it would be a fit, use their submission form and if you would like to work with me, include my name. If accepted, your story, novella or novel will come to me and we would get to play together! Doesn’t that sound like fun?!
I am interested in all genres, but I will admit a fondness for speculative fiction, horror, paranormal, urban fantasy…you get the picture. Length doesn’t matter (so many jokes here, so little time, but I’ll spare you, heh!) because I love short stories as much as I do longer works.
Send me what you have! I’d love to see it.
And not so much of a change, but in addition, I have some new releases on my Amazon. Three of the covers I did myself, but the cover of The Blood is Not Enough was done by Laurie O’Hare who totally nailed it on the first try. I love this cover so much, I’m thinking about getting a tattoo. The story means a lot to me, and could be in development as a longer work.
My other cover, for Of Virgins and Indigestion was done by graphic artist Rebecca Treadway. She brought George to life, and it is SO COOL! This is the first Netta Character ever to have a face, and I’m so happy with it. I love George, bless his heart.
For something new, I’ve released a volume of twelve stories called Musical Chairs – A Jamming Bio, a unique look at significant memories over a period of time inexorably linked to a selection of popular music.
More projects in the works as time allows. Stay tuned.
Another major change in Netta-Land is I’ve decided, except for a few select clients, to retire from writing web copy. I’ve had a good run, but it looks as though the Universe is poking me to travel in a different direction. To that end, I am currently on the hunt for an Outside Job Involving Real People. (Oh, the horror! Heh. For me, not them! Although some people may differ on that opinion.)
I’ve chosen to do this for many reasons. The main reason is I want to focus on my editing and writing endeavors. Right now that’s not enough to support me, so I will have to adapt. I can do that.
Another reason is I have become increasingly disenchanted with writing web copy, and this is partly due to the demanding deadlines. Now, I don’t have a problem with deadlines, and I have made it a priority to never miss one and I am proud to say I haven’t. But it is extremely wearing to always be “on alert”, so-to-speak, especially with other factors becoming major issues.
“What factors, Netta?”
Well, I’m glad you asked that question, Dear Reader. Factors like low pay, unreliable payments, disrespect and general Fucktardary (sure to be the subject of another NettaRant. I’m sure you can’t wait). I’ve had enough, to be perfectly blunt. Truth is, I know the world of fiction and publishing a lot better than I know the world of web copy, and I’m much more comfortable with fiction. I’ve straddled the line for almost three years, and it’s time to pick a side.
So, I have.
I don’t count my years writing web copy full-time as a loss. I have learned so much that will serve me well in the fiction arena, and I feel as if those lessons will give me an edge. I’ve met and worked with some fabulous people, and I’ll still be working with a select few. I also feel as if it’s time to put my butt on the line in a different way, and to that end I will focus my energy on what I truly love to do.
Change is the only constant. I’m looking forward to the next chapter.
Yeeehaw! Okay, it’s not that kind of round-up. There are no cows or bulls, no ropes and no manure (although that might be a matter of opinion). What I thought I’d do is re-introduce you to some of the Fabulous Fiction Peeps I’ve had the honor to host on this blog.
Next up is an interview with Jeremy C. Shipp. I think he had the best answer I’ve ever heard about the future of publishing. Although I haven’t done a review of “Cursed” yet, it is on my list. Which is about as long as my left leg, right now. *sigh*
Of course, I have a soft spot for editors, and I have two I’ve interviewed here. First is the “Goddess of Flash”, Esther Schrader, the Editor-in-Chief for Flashshot. Second is the Mad Aussie, aka Matthew Glenn Ward. In addition to his editor duties (although Skive has been regretfully retired) he found time to compose his novel, John F. Kennedy Lives in the Future! and is one of my favorite people.
Podcasting is a fast-growing portion of the fiction market, and to that end I wanted a word or two with Kate Sherrod who also composes some brilliant sonnets in her spare time. Besides the podcast point of view, Kate is A Very Interesting Person, and you can read the fascinating interview here.
Quite a stellar line-up, if I do say so myself. Every one of these artists are hardworking, dedicated, twisted, demented and brilliantly talented. The have all inspired me in different ways to become better at my chosen career, they have offered hope that it can be done and lead by example. These guys don’t just talk the talk, people, they walk the walk. Every one has marched to their own beat and represents a different aspect of the writing journey. I hope you enjoy the interviews as much as I did conducting them.