The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The last two Tarot cards, Judgement and The World and My Author Journey

Dear visitors to the Bestiary Parlor, today I'm finishing my thoughts with the last two Tarot cards of the Major Arcana, Judgment and The World. I will not blog about the Minor Arcana but will study them on my own and see how they influence my writing life and even help me develop new characters. In the meantime, I must focus on the galley for Apocalyptic Moon and hope to visit the Parlor next week.

Hearing and heeding a call. 

This card tells me that I am doing exactly what I'm suppose to do, creating worlds and writing about them.  It's sometimes scary to follow your dream but as Master Yoda might say, 'follow you must'.

The World Card
Successful completion.

Congratulations. As a writer, you have achieved your goals. Maybe it was 2,000 words for today, finishing a novel, completing the last book in a series, and or becoming a New York best seller. Time to celebrate. Now smile, enjoy a glass of wine and fine chocolate. Take pause and breathe. Now time to start your next endeavor. J.K. Rowling ended Harry Potter and now she is ready for her next book journey. She understands that with achievements comes new beginnings.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Card: The Sun and My Author Journey

The Sun 
Clarity that brings joy.

The woman in the card is showing pure happiness and joy. Life is beautiful. Everything is good. For an author that moment can happen when you get 'the call', a five star rating, completing a novel, a beta reader's approval, or in the satisfaction of doing what you love, writing.

I added the sun card above because of the raven. The raven is my power animal and my muse.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Tarot Card: The Moon and My Author Journey

The Moon
A situation of uncertainty and even deception. 

To a writer, the moon indicates you should proceed with caution. This can apply to finding an agent/publisher that sounds too good to be true. Not sure where to go next in a scene or a character you thought might work doesn't.

Many don't like the confusing or tricky moon. For me the moon inspires my imagination and the not knowing makes life exciting.

My paranormal novels are based on werewolf characters.  I love playing with the concept of a human that becomes the wild werewolf beneath the full moon. Changeable and unpredictable. 

Howling at the moon sure beats hiding from it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tarot Card The Star and My Author Journey

The Star
Guidance, serenity, and hope.

As an author, I have chosen Calliope, the muse of epic poetry to represent my star. She guided Homer to write the Iliad and the Odyssey. Not too shabby. My muse guides my writing and in fact, she drinks ten cups of coffee and kicks away any writer blocks that come my way. As a result, my mind is filled with a slush pile of novels waiting in line to meet my laptop.

But she offers more:

Often I feel like Pandora, releasing all the 'negatives' inherent in the life of an author. In the darkness the star gives me hope and  helps me find my way.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Tower Tarot Card and My Author Journey

The Tower 
An expected event that changes everything.

This card normally represents the destruction of something you created and nurtured and for a writer that can mean a number of things, such as: a book that is rejected and that will never see the light of day, the loss of a contract, enough book rejections to create your own paper tower (although these days most rejection letters are paperless) or your computer crashing.  Outside of writing something can destroy another aspect of an author's life that can cause the tower of 'writer's block', or even the means to write. Okay, big scary stuff.

I prefer to use this card to inspire me to create a character's dark moment or as in Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, the hero must pass tests and take action. Change happens and though it may be devastating, you (characters or you the author) will be transformed and made better for it.

“What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger”

-Friedrich Nietzche

Bye Bad Tower. Tonight, Let Us Enjoy the Full Moon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tarot Card The Devil and My Author Journey

The Devil
A choice or situation that is contrary to your best interest or greater good.

Dr. Frankenstein made obvious bad choices. Creating monsters unless you are writing a horror or paranormal fantasy novel is generally a bad idea.

The Devil card represents an obsession, one that goes against your greater good. But don't worry, you can dismantle it since you created it.

Writers if not careful can be so obsessed with getting published that they make bad decisions such as rushing a poorly edited manuscript to an editor or signing up with a publisher or agent that Predators and Editors warned you about. Indie writers who hire editors should check their credentials. Eager authors can get into a situation that can slow or even kill their career.

So when the card comes up. Be warned. Time to check the publisher or agent in question on Predators and Editors or ask for advice from other writers or online writing sites.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tarot Card Temperance and My Author Journey

The right thing at the right time in the right place.

This card tells me that I have a clear vision of what I want. Everything I need to know is present. I'm geared to do the right thing.

 I'm at my desk, writing and it feels perfect. Apocalyptic Moon is at the galley stage, Lycan Gladiator is in line to be edited, Hand of Miriam (my steampunk) is being queried to the universe and my big fat Victorian (suspenseful, naughty, Gothic) novel, The Gamekeeper's Daughter is being read by my beta readers. At the moment I'm working on the synopsis for the Gamekeeper's Daughter and soon to query it. Oh, and of course, book 2 in the After the Bane series is being outlined.

Life is good.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Two Tarot Cards Today. The Hanged Man and The Death Card and my Author Journey

The Hanged Man
Willing surrender to an experience or situation.

Normally the hangman represents loss of dignity or even sacrifice/martyrdom. The Hanged Man tells us to expect something that throws our world out of order. Stability and security disappear and we are left vulnerable. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. The magnificent fruit bat hangs upside down and has a different view of the world. Perhaps if we are stuck in a safe rut we need our world shaken up in order to have fresh inspiration. A new upside down point of view is created. 

Often writers need to hang upside down to be inspired. A scene that doesn't work, a story that's not sold, a character without good development are a few examples of ways we can remain stagnant. It's uncomfortable when our critique partner or editor tells us the manuscript (or part of it) does not work. We hang upside down fuming. Suddenly we give in to the universe and a spark lights up. Yes, that's it. Maybe a little shock is all we needed to make the story, character, query...etc... better.

The Death Card 
An ending making transformation possible.

Phillodes imperialis
This is Australia's Pink Underwing Moth caterpillar. Also known as the skull caterpillar. It uses it's odd face to scare off predators. Unfortunately, this five inch caterpillar is in great danger from extinction.  I like to think of the death card as creature ready for the next stage.

Everything dies. People lose friends, couples get divorced, a beloved house is foreclosed, a job is lost, the loss of a book contract and the ending of a story we never wanted to leave. As an author, I hate ending my novel. I have fallen in love with my characters and their lives. No wonder I tend to write series and trilogy type novels. But all good stories come to an end. The first novel I wrote is still packed away, buried, and a reminder that I can mourn it's loss, or because I'm a seasoned writer, I can raise it from the dead and make it better.

The concept of death and mourning transforms us into better writers. Below is the adult Pink Underwing Moth. You must admit the transformation was worth it.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving. Tarot/Author Journey Posts will continue on Sunday

Dear followers, I will be back with my Tarot/Author Journey on Sunday.  Until then, have a great Thanksgiving gathering.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tarot Card Justice and my Author Journey

Tarot Card Justice
The consequences of your actions are at your hand.

As a writer the Justice card reminds you that of all your actions have created your current situation. If you delivered a poorly written query letter, you will not be judged favorably  (agent or publisher may not want to see you manuscript). However, if you produced a brilliant query, you will may get a request. Writers are judged in how well a story is told as well as how well  it's edited, how the characters are developed and on and on. 

The old adage: Never judge a book by it's cover, is not reality.  The book cover and the back cover blurb are judged prior to purchase. Authors  must first write a good story and then depend on their editor for great editing and the cover artist to draw the reader. Then even after your publisher and beta readers love your polished novel, reviewers get to it and again the author is judged for better or for worse.

Trust me, going before Judge Judy is much easier.

In terms of our story, we authors represent justice. I write paranormal/ romance with roller coaster suspense and in the end, the antagonists (bad guys or gals) get karmic justice and the hero and heroine live happily ever after. Or maybe...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Wheel of Fortune Tarot and my Author Journey

The Wheel of Fortune Tarot card means a random occurrence will soon take place.

The random occurrence can be lucky or unlucky. To a writer this random occurrence could be just about anything from an unexpected request to see a manuscript to one of our characters in our story being unlucky. In quantum physics the movement of elemental particles is random and so is our luck or lack of luck.

 Schrödinger's cat
What will happen to kitty?

 I like to think the kitty lives.

Will an editor randomly pull out an old manuscript out of the bottom of the slush pile and decide it is destined to become a best seller? Or maybe it will become a best seller in another parallel universe.

If you pull the Wheel of Fortune card something unexpected will happen. Be prepared. Time to wear your Magician Tarot hat to employ magic in your favor.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tarot Card The Hermit and my Author Journey

The Hermit
Retreat from distractions and determine your own truth.

First off, before I go on my Tarot rant, thank you for coming in for a visit. I also love comments and your thoughts about what the card means to you.

The Hermit, is someone all authors can relate to. The Hermit author leaves the din of society(yes this includes social media, if that's still possible) and retreats into her/his cave in complete solitude. This is very important for an author, for only then, can you hear your own true voice. Authors listen to the advise and opinions of others, however, quite often it is good to first listen to your own. You ultimately decide what is true and right. 

When I turn off the noise of the world, my story unfolds. This process is especially important when you are working on the fist draft or even second or third draft of your story. The Hermit, alone, writing her story is my favorite part of the writing process. 

Love you all, but please find your own shell. LOL. Like the hermit crab learn when to retreat and when to emerge.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tarot Card Strength and My Author Journey

Tarot Card Strength 
Control and Healing that Brings Strength

Normally the strength card depicts a woman and a lion, but because I'm a wolfish paranormal writer I found one with a woman and wolf. 

The beast represents our shadow self. Anger, fear, and jealousy are aspects of our shadow self. These strong emotions can be destructive, especially in the tormented writer. Anger over rejections, fear that we will never be successful, jealousy, and money woes, can be examples of what some writers experience. The 'what ifs'. These emotions can be destructive but once we identify them we can heal them. Turn the beast for good. Tap into your inner strength and turn  those powerful emotions to motivate in a positive way. Don't lament, just be a better writer.  Better yet, use those strong hidden emotions to apply to your characters.

No surprise that I like writing about paranormal creatures with strong emotions. I can't terrorize the village as a werewolf but my characters sure can. Or in the end the werewolf becomes the hero/heroine and saves the village.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tarot Card The Chariot and my Author Journey

The Chariot means triumph of will in difficult circumstances or great adversity.

Nothing says difficult times more than Ben Hur racing against the conniving Roman, Masala. Once Ben Hur chooses his direction his skill and knowledge will get him to his goal, surviving to win.  In my just sold novel, Lycan Gladiator (coming from Corvallis Press), I naturally added the tragic outcome of a chariot race. Not pretty.

Okay, back to me as a writer:  Below is a chained writer listening to the cawing of her raven muses. "Caw! Write this, write that, go market! Caw, send one more query! Caw!!!"

In my author journey my will must battles the difficulty in getting an agent or a good publishing contract. I'm in this business for the long run so I'm charging with my 'query' drawn chariot to my goal of being a successful author. As a writer there are daily difficult challenges such as: editing until the polished version blinds your eyes with perfect luminosity, listening to editors, critique partners and betas on what to tweak (wah, I thought it was perfect, okay, let me tweak, ahhh much better), writing the difficult pitch and synopsis (trust me, writing a 100,000 word manuscript is much easier), and finally but not least the insurmountable task of marketing. Despite the difficulties an author encounters the birth of a published book is worth every ounce of  blood, sweat and tears.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tarot Card The Lovers and my Author Journey

The Lovers Tarot Card
Making a decision that makes your heart glad.

 I followed my heart and chose my passion to work full time as a writer. Actually I always allowed my heart to make decisions. I majored in Zoology and Biology because I loved the study of animals and life. As a result it has helped me develop my shifter characters and worlds. I loved teaching science and in the process learned to understand all the different characters I once taught and this helped develop real characters for my novels. I love travel and my travels opened my eyes to different cultures and world building. I love my hubby and family so I understand the joy of being around people you love unconditionally.

I love writing fantasy, paranormal, historical and science fiction novels, but with a strong element of ROMANCE. The story will still work without the romance but as in life, my main characters find love and in my stories get to live happily ever after. I love, love, romance and all the emotion and hot, sweet or implied sex that goes with the relationship. Looking at these pre-raphaelite art images just makes me want to exhale a long heartfelt sigh.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tarot Card The Hierophant and my Author Journey

The Hierophant is the one who teaches you to live within the confines of your belief system.

Like Jedi Master, Yoda teaching you about the good and bad side of the force. As a writer I strive to use the force for good rather than evil. Remain true to yourself and don't let the dark side of the force lead you to become a self-absorbed writer. Help others. Remember family and friends. Volunteer or even help newbie writers.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tarot Card The Emperor and my Author Journey

The Emperor Creates Order and Stability

The Favorites of Emperor Honorius by John William Waterhouse

Like an emperor a writer must create a system to maintain security and order. The writer may have an emperor authority figure such as an editor but for the most part the writer needs to be his/her own emperor.
You will need to stay organized and follow self-made strict rules such as a daily word count, an hour of marketing or other writing matters. You must also include 'play' time for your own sanity. 

In the crazy world of publishing I remain focused by adhering to a 2000 word/day rule for a new ms, one hour/chapter of editing a completed ms, and the rest of the day for other writer stuff such as query letters, synopsis writing, workshops, research and marketing. 

My tools include my laptop, tidy desk, a dry erase board calender for the week, a dry erase board for brainstorming and editing issues, and a box with ways to show and not tell. I'm a panster so even though I outline first I end up letting the characters and their stories take over. That's okay, an emperor must delegate. 

The strict regimen will pay off when you get knighted, oops I mean get 'the call'.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tarot Card The Empress and my Author Journey

The Empress

The Empress Tarot card means abundance and creation. She heralds pure feminine power.

Like mother nature, she creates the cycles of life.
She is associated with motherhood. Creating stories is akin to creating life. Your books are like your babies. You birth them, nurture, guard them and send them off. You love them no matter what. Of course, I love my own real children more than life but my books also garnish my love and care.

When your book get's published, it's the end of your gestation:

Mazel Tov or Congrats, You just gave birth to a healthy epic fantasy novel:

Above is my first birth book, a fantasy, which I now have my rights back to and hope to re-release in the near future. Since then I have given birth to other books and since I don't use book/birth control my wild muse plans to give birth to many more.

Monday, November 12, 2012

High Priestess Tarot and my Author Journey

Today is Card 3: The High Priestess

Naturally since I work with raptors I chose this card of a high priestess and her kestrel.  
This female kestrel I handle reminds me of a priestess.

Now back to my writing journey. The High Priestess Tarot card symbolizes truth, wisdom and understanding. What she represents can only be gained through experience. Experience in re-writes (edits) and learning truths of my craft from other writers, workshops and of course reading. My experience began without knowledge and with each new novel I gain greater wisdom. Now back to editing....

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tarot Card The Magician and my Author's Journey

The Magician is the creator of Magic

As a writer I create worlds, scenes, and characters. The source I tap into is nothing less than magic. There are two types of writers plotters(organize entire story line before daring to start) and pantsers (seat of your pants). I'm afraid I'm 90% panster. I have a movie version of my story in my head and then I sit and let the story create itself. I  time-slip into a different plane and the story unfolds. I do outline first and then return to it to update it when my characters have decided to go in another direction. 

To encourage my creative magic I hone in on my 6 senses. I listen to music that serves as background for my story, maybe light an aromatic candle, sip on warm coffee, tap my fingers on my treasured laptop, and find pictures of actors that might portray my characters. And lastly I use my 6th sense to tap into the alternate universe where my story is reality.

Next to my work station I hang my favorite painting by John William Waterhouse, titled The Magic Circle. If I were a woman in a painting, the witch would be me.

Naturally my work station is less cubicle and more sacred space. I used the picture below of my imagined workspace and eventually I'll take a photo of my equally magical work area and put it up.