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FEATURING AUTHOR TIMOTHY BRYANT SMITH AND A GIVEAWAY!

allegoriesblogtourbannerGet to know Timothy Bryant Smith, one of the 22 contributors to the recently-released Allegories of the Tarot Anthology (which is already trailblazing its way up the fantasy anthology charts on Amazon!). Timothy wrote his tale, Transformation, based on the Death card.

Get the Allegories of the Tarot Anthology in on AmazonSmashwords,Kobo, and everywhere else e-books are sold. Add the Allegories of the Tarot Anthology to your Goodreads to-read shelf!

About Timothy

timothy-smithTimothy Smith lives in North Carolina where he and his wife split their time between running their restaurant, indulging in creative projects, and spending time with their two dogs. A lifelong student of symbolism and creative expression, Timothy has always enjoyed exploring the eclectic myths and archetypal characters of various religions and their respective cultures throughout history. Inspired in his youth by the insights of Jung, Campbell, and other authors who defined the field of comparative mythologies and their impact on culture and the human condition, Timothy has studied and practiced various systems of divination since his childhood.

This is Timothy’s first contribution to an anthology, but hopefully not his last.

Just a few questions…

What intrigues you about this particular Tarot card? Aside from the Lovers card, the Death card is (perhaps) one of the most frequently misinterpreted cards in the deck. Death, as an inevitability of living, is such a taboo subject to begin with. The Death card invokes such vivid imagery, sadly, it only serves to confound the neophyte interpreter into thinking an issue of mortality must be at hand. The involuntarily and reflexively dire associations that come with drawing the Death card are, unavoidably, a manifestation and expression of the individual’s fear of dying—as if drawing this card is some sort of harbinger of physical death. This, of course, is completely inaccurate and a repeatedly misused portend of what this card is actually meant to represent. The specter of the Death card (as a harbinger the physical event) is often abused in movies, television, and pop culture. Just as the Lovers card is often falsely portrayed as the dealing with sex, or the Devil card having something to do with the ultimate personification of evil, these types of cursory interpretations have always frustrated me when I see them. The Death card offers a sacred knowledge so very much more profound than what pop culture has attempted to paint it as meaning.

Why did you decide to get roped into this project? I have repeatedly broken a promise to my special friend Annetta Ribken to write something worthy of publishing. This might be my chance to make good on that promise.

Have you ever had dealings with the Tarot before? Yes. I was that weird little kid who had a deck of Tarot cards hidden under his bed instead of Playboy magazines (ok… I had a few of those as well). Divination has fascinated me my entire life and continues to fascinate me to this day. It has always provided me with a special counsel; a conduit of imagery, metaphor, and allusion which allows me to transmogrify unconscious desire into lucid intent.

What other projects do you have planned? I have often wanted to create an in-depth compendium of divination, its systems and the cultures from which they originate, and an interactive experience by which people could learn what real divination can be and mean to the journey we must all go through. Maybe even help reclaim it from the ridicule both science and religion have heaped upon it (having never actually studied it or simply fearing it, respectively). Divination provides an answer that both science and religion have, to date, failed to provide. This project, sadly, remains an infrequently visited folder on the desktop of my life.

How did you decide what to write about? When Annetta asked me to write one of the stories (I was a bit late to the selection of cards) nearly all of them had been picked by other writers.  I was both pleasantly surprised and a bit perplexed the Death card had not yet been picked.  It was one of maybe three or four left to choose from, so I grabbed it as soon as I saw it was available.

I toyed around with writing the story of the Death card as a metanarrative—the personification of Death expressing a narrative about the various takes and misconceptions of what Death is, how it’s perceived, and what it has come to mean to the cultures who fear, avoid, embrace, and worship it.  Sort of a 3000-word Facebook rant by the Grim Reaper as if It had a few minutes of humanity’s time to set them straight on a few things.  I just couldn’t get it right.  The first few drafts sounded too absolutist and didn’t leave much to the questions a reader’s imagination might have—as most metanarratives are wont to do.  I realized it lacked compassion and the ability of the readers to sympathize or immerse themselves in what was being said.  There wasn’t any real plot device or thematic vehicle to what I was writing.  So I choose instead to go back and explore a more approachable story with characters, settings, and dialogue about an event in a young woman’s life that I felt we could all relate to some degree while still getting across the idea that Death isn’t about dying, it’s about transforming in order to continue existing.

How literal did you want to get with your card? That’s problematic with the Death card, as the Death card is not meant to be taken literally.  I really wanted people to see Death the way the Tarot intends for it to be seen and understood—as a transformation from one state to another; a passageway through the cycle or circumstance of existence.  Humanity sees Death as an end of the body, something to be mourned, avoided, feared.  The Tarot intends for the Death card to be seen as a willing rite of passage the soul must make on its way back to the Source.

Is your story a part of something you’ve written about previously? Only in my story’s setting.  I am still developing a novel that is based, at least in part, in Knoxville, Tennessee the same as my allegories story.  I have no idea why this story took me there, it just happened.  I should really go there sometime, I suppose.

Would you like to have written about any other card?  Which card?  Why? I would have loved to write about any (or all) of the other cards.  Fortunately, Annetta has some amazing authors who beat me to it.  This is a really special collection of stories written by some really talented writers.

If you could have the power to divine the future, would you or would you not and why? I believe we all have this ability as long as the information is put into the correct context.  Divination, in my experience, is not really about predicting the future, it’s about becoming conscious of the present, making a choice, and having some insight as to where that choice might take you.  The deepest, powerful, and most lucid moments of personal transformation lies in being honest and aware about where you’re coming from, where you are now, what is influencing you, where your path will lead, and the new situation which will likely unfold from that awareness.  This is not magic or divination per se, rather a basic ritual of self-awareness.

The Tarot cards are tools in the guise of symbols.  Each encapsulates an archetypal area of self-awareness.  Ultimately, though, the hammer, screwdriver, saw blade, and measuring tape are useless in building the abode of Self unless you take the time to understand and accept their appropriate usage and technique.  Or perhaps one could think of the Tarot cards as just one set of musical instruments one might play in orchestrating the symphony of the soul.  These symbols/tools/instruments are just “allegories” of Self and what an honor it has been getting to tell the story of at least one of them!

About Allegories of the Tarot

allegoriestarotcoverOnce upon a time, there was an editor with a fascination for the Tarot. She was struck one day by a crazy idea. “Hey,” she said. “What if twenty-two writers each wrote a story about the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana of the Tarot and were fashioned into an anthology?”

The idea would not leave her alone.

And thus, the Allegories of the Tarot was born.

Crowdfunded by a campaign on Indiegogo with the help and support of an amazing group of writers, twenty-two stories were crafted around the mysteries of the Tarot. The group includes a Pushcart Prize nominee, a Pulp Ark nominee, a former Bigfoot researcher, a journalist, an award-winning YA author, and a Rhysling Award winner. Professional writers, new talent, and a range of genres boggling the mind: Horror, Speculative Fiction, Bizarro Fiction, Erotica, Mystery, Humor, Paranormal, Epic Fantasy, Literary, Romance, and Historical Fantasy.

What has emerged is an outstanding collection of fiction, unique and mysterious. Stories that will make you cry, make you laugh, and make you think. Stories that make you feel the touch of the Universe.

Dare to step through the portal to shadowy realms and emotional journeys.

Get the book!

Allegories of the Tarot is available in e-book and paperback format on AmazonKobo, and in multiple e-book formats on Smashwords.

Don’t forget to add Allegories of the Tarot to your to-read shelf on Goodreads.

Connect with the Allegories of the Tarot Anthology on its websiteFacebook, and Twitter.

 

Busy Netta Is Busy

But it’s been a fun busy. If there is such a thing.

Of course, I’ve been rolling full steam on Allegories of the Tarot (you can find the official website here), and I have to say it has been one hell of an experience. I’m learning a lot, but the best part of the whole thing is this group of writers are just…well, FABULOUS. They’re funny, and supportive, and seem to want to see this anthology come to light almost as much as I do. It’s a great group, and I love seeing how some of these writers who have never met before are forging new connections and friendships. It’s been a totally team effort, for which I’m really grateful and touched. SO. Much. Fun. You’ll see a taste of what I mean Monday, May 13th when I post a very interesting story about the Tarot cards which have taken over my house on the official website. Too hilarious.

I’ve never put an anthology together before, so I didn’t know what to expect. All I can say from what I see this is what being an indie is all about. Supporting each other, helping out, reaching out. It’s been a blast.

Red Tash graciously gave me some Internet love, and I also appeared on the blog of Pushcart Prize nominee Loren Kleinman. In the meantime, the lovely Eden Baylee interviewed me on her blog. She asked some interesting questions and it was an honor to appear. Then today, the incorrigible Laura Eno invited me to Tuesday Tea With Mistress Snark. I’m still hearing orange yammering in my ear (you’ll have to read the article to understand…) and I earned this beautiful badge, which I display with a big BOOYAH:

 

Except for the orange thing. Heh.
Except for the orange thing. Heh.

We’re working on the cover concept, thanks to the brilliance of Kris Austen Radcliffe, who has also contributed some other stunning images to the campaign. Like my very own Chariot teaser card:

 

How cool is this?
How cool is this?

There are a lot more things in the works, and everything will be updated on the on the official website as they happen. I can say I’ve received six stories so far, and every single one of them has blown off my socks. So happy!

In the meantime, I’m trying to get Sally Mae to cooperate (lawd, that girl is a handful!) and get Pallas out of the sticky wicket in which she now resides. All while keeping up with the editing, which is going really well. I love my job :) I know not many people can say that, and I feel pretty blessed.

Check out the Allegories campaign (widget in the sidebar) because there are some amazing perks up for grabs for donating, including signed pendants/magnets of the cards. Limited run. Oh, and books, mysterious swag, editing services…something for everyone. If you can’t donate, please consider sharing. The more the word gets out, the closer we get to achieving our goal. A huge thanks to the supporters, the shouters, and the writers for getting behind this and all their help. You people rock and I heart you.

 

You guys ROCK!
You guys ROCK!

Changes and Updates

HOLY MOLY WHAT A WEEK.

And it’s only Wednesday.

The biggest change is the Allegories of the Tarot project now has its very own website. O/

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.

In addition, you will find the project has a Facebook Fan Page and a Twitter all its own. You can even find us onG+.

Yes, people, I am serious about this project. As serious as a heart attack. Please share, donate, share, and maybe you can share. I would really appreciate it! Such epicness has GOT TO HAPPEN.

Right now, I feel like THIS.

I’m sure all I need is a good night’s sleep. Or maybe a lobotomy of some kind. Possibly chocolate would help. I’ll have to experiment.

In the meantime, I am working on outlining the rest of the adventures of Sally Mae; finishing up Athena’s Chainswhile I have a hot minute, and working on some editing projects.

AND…watch here because a couple of my authors are getting ready to release some new work…and I’m always excited about that.

Right now, though, I need a nap, a shower, and food. Not necessarily in that order. Maybe I can accomplish all three at the same time. I’ll let you know how that works out.

:)

Kris Austen Radcliffe — The Emperor

Today we’re going to meet the writer behind the next card in the deck of the Allegories of the Tarot project, Kris Austen Radcliffe. So far you’ve been introduced to The FoolThe Magician, and The High Priestess.

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.”

Major-Arcana-4
Photo by Kris Austen Radcliffe

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.

544877_248649468612125_74669191_n

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.

Have questions? Drop me a line:
Email: krisradcliffe@sixtalonsign.com
Six Talon Sign Website
Facebook Fan Page
Facebook Profile page
Flickr Photostream
Pinterest Boards
Goodreads
My Amazon Profile
Twitter: @KrisRadcliffe
(Twitter’s the least reliable way to contact me.)

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!

Spike Marlowe – The Empress

Today we’re going to meet the writer behind the next card in the deck of the Allegories of the Tarot project, Spike Marlowe. So far you’ve been introduced to The FoolThe Magician, and The High Priestess.

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.”

Photo by Kris Austen Radcliffe
Photo by Kris Austen Radcliffe

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.

So much beauty, inside and out!

Bio:

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.

You can find Spike at her websiteBizzaro Central, on Amazon, on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter @spikemarlowe.

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!

Lon Prater – The Magician

Yesterday we met The Fool and Peter Giglio, the writer behind the card. Today we meet another of the authors included in the Allegories of the Tarot anthology, Lon Prater. I had the pleasure of working with Lon in a small critique group many moons ago at the beginning of my fiction career. He was kind and supportive to a fledgling wordslinger, and whether he realizes it or not, taught me a lot.

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

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.

That smile is nothing but magic.

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.

You can find Lon at his website.

He has generously donated his Mad Critiquing Skillz plus some of his fabulous fiction as perks for the Allegories of the Tarot Campaign, so make sure to check that out as well as the Perks page.

Peter Giglio-The Fool

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.
Photo by Kris Austen Radcliffe.

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.

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!

You can find Peter on his website or his blog.

Behind the Scenes of Allegories of the Tarot Anthology

Once upon a time, there was an editor who became obsessed with an idea…
Portrait of an obsessed editor.

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.

And behold, the Allegories of the Tarot project was born.

Twenty-two cards. Twenty-two writers. Twenty-two amazing stories. WIN!

Twenty-two cards. Twenty-two writers. Twenty-two amazing stories. WIN!

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!

I Am An Editor And Batshit Crazy

That’s the first thing you should probably know.

I’m a lot of other things, including a writer, but the question I’m asked the most is, “What’s it like being an editor? I mean, what exactly is it you do?”

The thing is, when people think of the term “editor”, they may think of a hunched over old lady, gnarled and grey, with crazy hair and long dirty fingernails, just looking for your grammar and punctuation mistakes. When she finds one, she’ll cackle with glee, wielding a red pen with unbridled joy, slashing the words, sentences, paragraphs with all the happiness of a zombie eating fresh (or not-so-fresh) entrails.

I don’t do that.

Or, the picture may be of a prim and proper virginal school teacher, with a mighty ruler at the ready to smack your knuckles into shreds of bleeding flesh should you end your sentence with a preposition; using “their” instead of “there”; abusing semi-colons on a regular basis.

I don’t even own a ruler.

Some people think of editors as nasty, overweight men who smoke cigars, play poker, and simply look at the first word of your story before dousing it with gasoline and lighting a match before sending a rejection letter which makes you cry for your mother and vow to never go near another writing implement ever again.

I don’t do that, either.

The term “editor” is somewhat misleading, because there are many different types of editors. The technical term for what I do is a content or developmental editor, also affectionately known in some circles as a “story doctor”.

In essence, I evaluate a story for proper structure, plot holes, character development, and story arc. I look at narrative flow, dialog, and voice. I’ll determine if the story holds together, and provide suggestions on how to tighten tension, balance narrative with action and dialog, and whether or not you really need the monkey in the corner with the cymbals.

Monkey
Yes, it’s a monkey. Yes, it’s cute. Yes, I’ll cut him from your story because I’m mean like that.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In order to perform my job properly as a content editor, I have to know the story better than the writer. I need to know the characters intimately; understand the writer’s vision; connect with the overall message or theme the writer is attempting to get across. As a writer myself, I can say being a content editor is more difficult than writing your own book, because I actually have to crawl inside the writer’s head. This is not always easy to do, and it doesn’t always work with every writer because everyone is unique. While I’m used to the insanity inside my own head, it might take time to adjust to the insanity of someone else. Because as we all know, writers are basically batshit crazy, too. I mean that with all due respect and love.

Bats in the belfry
Don’t play. You know they’re flying in your belfry too.

Story editing is very much a team effort, and it takes a great deal of trust. The writer has to trust I know my shiz-niz, and I have to trust the writer to be open-minded and willing to do the work. To stand up for what he or she feels is necessary to the story, but to also understand my passion is the story and I have the story’s best interest at heart.

In order to do this, I have to dive deep. When I perform a first read, there is no other world for me than the one the author has created. I liken it to lucid dreaming; my background is unique in that I have been reading almost every genre known to mankind since I was three years old. That’s over fifty years worth of reading. Uncountable books have saved my life and my sanity more times than I can count in very difficult and personal life circumstances, but as a result, I understand on almost an instinctual level what a story needs in order to connect with the reader. I take my job very, very seriously because fiction means so much to me.

There is no greater joy for me than when a client I have worked with releases a book on which we have both worked to great reviews and readers who find a new author with whom they’ve connected. I know how much a good book can make a difference in someone’s life, whether it’s momentary entertainment or a story which makes a reader think of a situation in a different light. There are books which can actually change the way a reader views the world or gives them a perspective they’ve never considered before. Other books can take you away to a different place, introduce you to people you’d never meet in real life, or whisk you away into a marvelous world making the stresses of everyday life disappear if only for a few hours. Books which refresh the soul, make you cry, laugh, and relate to similar experiences. It’s amazing.

I absolutely love what I do. It’s not always easy and it can be very draining emotionally. It takes a lot of work; sometimes I’m dreaming of the narrative, working out problems in my dreams, and sometimes I wander around in a daze forgetting to feed my cat or even myself. And you should see my laundry pile. Sometimes I have to take a break and put some distance between myself and the manuscript, give myself some time to re-charge and re-assess, because the book and the writer are depending on me. I am acutely aware of my responsibility as a content editor and the fact I hold the writer’s beating heart in my hands.

The shadowed heart
Trust me. I know exactly what I’m holding in my hands, and I’d rather break my own than yours. But the story comes FIRST.

And when I see a raw manuscript transformed into something wondrous, I am the happiest I have ever been. When I see a writer “get it”, and find their voice, see their vision come to light, it’s like being a midwife to a joyful birth.

I love my job. It’s taken a lot of work to get here, and I know there are many people who hate what they do; I spent many years (too many!) in the same position. I feel extremely fortunate that even at this late stage of my life, I have found my passion, what I love to do, and am able to make it happen. I thank the Universe at every turn for the most amazing people with whom I’ve had the honor to work; for the support of loved ones even when they think I’m batshit crazy, and the opportunity to have a small part in helping a fabulous book or story be the best it can be.

For me, story is everything. It is the reflection of the human experience, the heart and soul of what makes us all human and connected.

Yes. I am an editor. It’s likely I’m batshit crazy. But I’m also one of the luckiest women alive.

Fun In The Sandbox – A Writing and Editing Update

Time flies when you’re having fun, but it also flies when you’re up to your armpits in “To Do” lists. And it’s only the “To Do” lists which are keeping me from going nuts.

Oh sure, he looks cute. But see that crazy gleam in his eye? Yeah.

Lots going on. First of all, working on several editing projects and loving every minute of that, even though most days it means my eyes look like this:

Yikes. That's a scary eyeball right there.

Several of my client’s projects are coming out or have been launched over the last couple of months, and that’s really exciting. After much soul-searching and teeth gnashing with a little bit of hair-pulling and heartache, I have come to the conclusion pimping out my clients when they launch could be construed as having a conflict of interest. So, as much as I love each and every one of them and believe in their work, I must limit myself to simply posting the links on my sidebar over there <- labeled as "Editing Work", which I will be updating regularly so make sure to keep an eye on that list. A hard decision, for real. *sniffle* [caption id="attachment_1449" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="I do not endorse violators. Or bitch slapping. Unless you're a violator."][/caption]

But honestly, I have been extremely privileged and honored to work with these writers, and I encourage you to check them out. There are some amazingly talented people out there. It’s really humbling.

Next on the list is the launch of “Athena’s Promise” on October 28th. I’ve been posting snippets on my Facebook Fan Page, and that’s the only place you’ll see them. So, if you’re curious about what I’ve been doing in my spare time, “like” the page and see what’s shaking. I’m all the way up to Chapter 19 as of today with three more to go. Share the page with your friends, and the day I hit 200 fans is the day I will post here the first two chapters. FOR FREE. Sound like a deal?

No, not a deal like this. Besides, those are really shitty cards. I can do you better than that.

The covers of all three books in the series are being crafted even as we speak, along with a blazing trailer. I am beyond excited about this, especially since I’ve engaged the uber-talented Rebecca Walker. And let me tell you, she is AMAZING. I’ll post them when they’re ready, because I love you guys that much 🙂

In addition, I’ve set up all Kindle publications for a Kindlegraph. How cool is that shiz? Visit my fan page for more details! (See what I did there? Heh.)

Sneaky little bugger, ain't I? Heh.

Now that you’re all caught up for the moment, I need to take care of some of those “To Do” lists before the nice men in the white jackets get here. 😉

Find “Not Nice and Other Understatements” at Amazon and now at Smashwords in any format you desire! Autographed copies are still available through the link on this page. Spread the word! And thanks for all of your support!

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