Star Woman

Photo on 4-17-17 at 11.35 AMMy great-grandmother read the tarot to feed her large family during the Great Depression. It is thought that she had carried this knowledge with her from the old country. Some family stories whisper that she was born a gypsy. Thus, reading Tarot comes naturally to me. While my mother used regular playing cards to read my fortune when I was a girl, I started on my own with a dedicated tarot deck bought from the bookstore.

The first thing I noticed is that there are 22 cards in a tarot deck that are not in your normal deck of modern cards. These major arcana are such a big deal in reading tarot that I’m unsure how my mother ever produced a reading without them. Mom gave up reading the cards long ago, and apart from saying she forgets, she’s been quiet on the subject.

IMG_3720In fact, Sallie Nichols, author of Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey, only explores the 22 major arcana. She explains that these cards, with their overt symbology, are projections of our unconscious. She also says, as the title of her almost 400 page book suggests, that the cards follow a journey or life path. They are really all we need to point us in the direction we need to go whenever we seek guidance.

I hadn’t thought about Tarot for awhile when I came across this cool post by my friend Autumn. She suggests one card, or just a few cards, can be enough of a spread to enlighten a particular area of difficulty. So this morning I unearthed a set of cards and went about trying to figure how to make a card “fall” from the deck as Autumn suggests.

 

IMG_3721This happened in its own unique way as I first separated out the major arcana, somehow between writing this post, shuffling the cards, and reading Nichols, Star Woman appeared at the top of my deck. The problem I’ve been dealing with has to do with the humbling of my public image. Where I thought I was doing good work on behalf of an organization I volunteer for, I heard elsewhere that I wasn’t pleasing everyone. At least one person was spreading unkind rumors about me. If you notice Star Woman is naked, well, this is how it feels to be exposed in such a way. It’s humiliatng. Yet Star Woman appears humble. The little bird sings her praises as she becomes one with the elements of earth and sky and water. There is no fire of indignation about her. She has dropped her stance of feeling hurt, feeling betrayed, and stands naked in the starlight. She has nothing to hide, she is at peace, as the elements of the conscious mind and the unconscious knowing come together to create a more aware and integrated woman.

Romancing the Romany

First, my novella Sweet Melissa is free for five days here. Melissa’s is the story closest to “true” of all my novels. I did hitchhike across the country when I was about Melissa’s age, ran into some shady characters, was almost raped, and that ghost of my grandma saved me on a concrete set of church steps about a million miles from home.

Oh and just like Melissa I lost my virginity to the man I loved. Okay, maybe not just like her. I had to add that in because it seems to me people pretend teens don’t have sex anymore at least in the YA I read (I love YA except come on you know they are doing it!)

Some other things are true–like my Romany heritage,which I didn’t know much about beyond my great-grandmother got her family through the Depression by reading tea leaves. And there were, like, rumors. My own mom claims to be psychic. I read tarot cards but I am not particularly intuitive. The cards are symbols and you read them in patterns. That’s not magick to me. Interesting, but not strongly influenced by my Rom descendants.

I’ve always been interested in Gypsies, though, so I did my homework and that part of the ritual and lore of my people in this book is correct as I could make it with the help of many experts. That said, the time/space travel is not for real. Even though in his song “Sweet Melissa” Greg Almond does claim “the gypsy flies from coast to coast.”

I love Almond’s song and having a free book for you this week. Hey and it has zoomed up to #40 on the New Adult charts in just a day. Lucky Gypsy lady.

“Meet My Character” Book Tour

Gypsy200In my twenties, I discovered I was part Romany. This really blew my mind. I didn’t know much about the culture and didn’t feel any connection except that I loved Stevie Nicks and the song Gypsy. Shallow, yes? But then I started to think more about my hidden heritage and I found some threads that connected me to it. Or at least to the cliches our culture had taught me. I love to dance. I read Tarot. I’m into the mystic. Dress kinda boho.

As a young teen, I traveled (by thumb, not caravan) across much of the country. Nobody in my family thought anything of it. My grandfather rode the rails as a young man, staying in hobo camps, swapping stories and having adventures before completely reinventing himself into the very proper and mannered gentleman I always knew. So, wow, I was shocked. For a minute. 

Then I remembered his mother read tea leaves during the Great Depression to keep food on the table. When my grandfather reinvented himself, he changed his name, (first, middle, and last!) married up, moved to a new state, and worked his way into an executive position at Ford Motor Company. He didn’t have much to do with his family of origin anymore. 

“We embarrass him,” one of my great-aunts commented during a visit I made to the old neighborhood with my mother. Things kind of clicked into place. I didn’t know I had Rom blood because he didn’t want me to know. And that’s one of the things my character Laurel, from my own Gypsy (the title a homage to Ms. Nicks), has in common with me. Her mother has a reason she doesn’t want Laurel and her sisters to know they’re Rom. And it’s really bad.

But Laurel has secrets of her own. She visits a magical place called Paradise Fields with a little boy named Ryan, her guide to another dimension, but more, someone who leads her through space and time. Laurel’s mission is to travel the world to sit in compassion with dying children as they pass into other realms. It’s her life’s work, and nobody knows about it.

Then one day, Ryan takes Laurel to a young girl in Romania who doesn’t die. Next, Laurel aids another young girl, much closer to home. After Laurel’s promotion, things get scary. She has to stop murderers and rapists and doesn’t know much about how to work with her powers. It’s a learning on the job situation.

Laurel’s life takes another even more thrilling turn when swoony gyspy cop Nate Haywood enters the picture. Nate asks Laurel for promotional help (her day job) with the threatened Rom in their tiny, tight community. As their attraction grows, Laurel finds her secret life difficult to conceal from Nate.

There are mysteries solved, love stories consummated and sad passings in this paranormal novel I wrote (along with it’s follow up novella, Sweet Melissa) exclusively for Amazon KDP. You can check Gypsy out of their library for free or purchase it.  

I had so much fun researching the real Romany community as I wrote these stories. The culture my body only contains a strand of is more rich and intriguing than Stevie Nicks ever imagined. That’s one of the great things about writing stories. They connect you more deeply and fully to what you already want to know.

Special shout-out to Helen Christmas for the invitation to join the “Meet My Character” tour. Read about her own character here.  Helen sets her books where she lives, in England. ‘Beginnings’ introduces a character from her series that begins with ‘Same Face Different Place,’ a 1970s romantic thriller set London. The 2nd book of the series ‘Visions’ is set in rural England, in the era of the 1980s. Helen is busy at work on her 3rd book.

 

 

Gypsy!

Gypsy200My favorite book blogger, Bodicia, who is much more than a book blogger, she is also an awesome writer of humor and serious thought pieces, has surprised me this morning with a review of Gypsy!

This could not come at a better time as I am adding reviews to the book page. Not too many, just a few for each book. It’s been emotional for me reading the kind things strangers have to say about my books. You never know when you write these things, if they’re just for you or if someone else might enjoy.

May have mentioned how crap I am at marketing my books. I like to write, so that’s first. And then there’s the day job. Al is a job all by himself. (I told him that yesterday and he was highly insulted, but it is true.) So marketing, that’s like job #4. I do love Twitter, and I link to my blog posts, because I like blogging, but setting up little blurbs and things for the books, not so much.

Gypsy and Sweet Melissa are my paranormal indies, and I really stepped out of my box to write the paranormal elements, but it was fun. My thought was, well, it might be just fun for me and nobody else, but I’ve gotten good feedback so far, so yay. Al is reading Sweet Melissa (he is not a fiction reader and this is the first book of mine (#7 with #8 release any day now, so it’s kind of a big deal to me). He really likes it. Hey, a positive review from my husband! Haha. That’s like saying “My Mom really loved it.” Or more to the point “My Aunt Louise thinks it’s great.” My Aunt Louise thinks everything I do is great. Mom, not so much.

Gypsy and Sweet Melissa are Kindle exclusives and together they make up the Traveling Girls series (so far). So I thought, well, with Gypsy being reviewed, maybe I will offer a Kindle Countdown for Sweet Melissa. That’s a marketing plan! And it’s so easy. I just did it in between writing this post. Sweet Melissa will be discounted from July 9-16, so there you go Kindle readers:)

More Lives

YOLO. I see it all the time and it is just not true. More religions and people in the world believe in reincarnation than not. We are here in our tight little world of Judo-Christianity or our dark sky of atheism and it’s all we see, but there is more. To a lot of people there is more. I can’t say I’ve reincarnated from another time or place, since I have not done a past life regression, but it’s possible. And that’s not the ‘much more than one life’ I’m talking about.

According to recent science, there’s the life you wake up to every day and the life you wake up FROM every day. And there are the lives you live if you are a writer. Ray Bradbury said our brains don’t know the difference between writing a novel or living those words.

Actors inhabit their characters to the point where they are that guy they’re playing. Then there are people who pass into other lives in other worlds. Like Gypsy. If you don’t believe in science: superstring theory and cosmologist’s recent findings of multiverses, they sound like magic. I never knew until I read about the science and became a character in a magical novel who experienced it.

The brain can’t tell between dreams and day life, and it can’t tell between a deeply imagined fictional life and one that looks like a person sitting at a desk or standing on a stage. So, how many books can you write? That’s how many lives you can lead.

Or maybe you don’t write or act but you have a rich fantasy life, maybe you enter into the you who you want to be and you meet the one you want to be with, who is not the guy snoring next to you. You’re lying on your bed, but you’re not.

Or you enter into the novel you’re reading so completely that you wake from it like a dream when your 21st century oven timer goes off in your dystopian adventure.

I’ve been playing make believe all my life. Most kids do. Adults do it too but we call it reading, or writing, role-playing. It’s real, baby. It’s all real. At least to your brain, and, you know, if the brain is dead, the person whose head it’s in is dead, too. Or maybe they’re just on to their next reincarnation.