I just witnessed a miracle.
A wren couple built a nest in the inner sill of our kitchen window.
We've been hearing the hatched chicks, but never saw them, because of a clever partial "roof" one of the parents built hanging over the nest.
Now only did I get to see the chicks for the very first time--but I caught their first tentative steps and flight on video. Watch below.
I am in awe.
I'll miss the parents scrambling down the window screen from 6 AM to 8 PM every day to feed the babies--and yelling at us when we prepared food at the counter or made coffee!
I'm supremely thrilled to share this video interview I conducted with my husband, Ron, over the weekend. It's his first! (Can you believe he was voted "Most Shy" in his High School Senior class...and I was voted "Most Talkative" in mine? Of course you can!)
He talked about our 2+ years journey creating our Snowland Deck, including his artistic process, favorite cards and what it's like to collaborate with the "notorious" Janet Boyer.
Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview, sweetheart. I love you! (Isn't he handsome, guys? ::fans self::)
To find out more about our Snowland Deck, visit SnowlandDeck.com.
It's my pleasure to be able to interview one of my favorite cozy mystery authors, Gayle Trent! Gayle is the author of the Daphne Martin Cake Decorating Mysteries, as well as the Marcy Singer Embroidery Shop Mysteries.
Janet: You have one of the top agents in the business: Robert Gottlieb, founder of Trident Media Group (and agent to Stephen J. Cannell, The Vatican, The Issac Asimov Estate, Elizabeth George, Deepak Chopra, DUNE Estate, etc.). How did you guys hook up?
Gayle: MURDER TAKES THE CAKE had been published by Bell Bridge Books, an imprint of BelleBooks. The publisher took part in an Amazon promotion that made the books available for free to people who received Kindles for Christmas. In early January following the December promotion, I received an email from Robert Gottlieb. In the email, Robert said he’d read and enjoyed MURDER TAKES THE CAKE and was interested in representing me. At first glance, I thought the email was a mistake. In fact, I was so convinced of this that I called Trident Media and said I thought maybe someone was falsely soliciting clients using Mr. Gottlieb’s name. After introducing myself and telling the receptionist the name of my book, Mr. Gottlieb’s receptionist said that he did indeed want to speak with me.
Janet: Wow, what a story! MURDER TAKES THE CAKE via Bell Bridge Books is how I discovered you, come to think of it. So, tell me, what writers/books did you cut your teeth on?
Gayle: I loved Nancy Drew, of course. Later it was Victoria Holt.
Janet: So many of us adored (and still adore!) the Nancy Drew mysteries! When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Gayle: I wanted to be a writer for much longer than I thought it was actually feasible to be one. In my rural community, fiction writing was not a practical career choice. So I became a secretary and wrote as a hobby.
Janet: What's your writing/publishing background?
Gayle: My first novel, PHOTO FINISH, was published by Neighborhood Press in 1991. The company subsequently went out of business. Hope there was no correlation! After that, I was published by a couple of small presses and then, for a few years, I operated my own small publishing company and published not only my own work but the novels of other writers as well. The company was called Grace Abraham Publishing (my children’s middle names), and our mystery fiction was printed under the imprint Dark-n-Stormies. One of my crowning achievements with Dark-n-Stormies was getting the books featured in Woman’s Day Magazine in October of 2005.
It was too hard to operate a publishing business and continue to write, however, so I closed up shop on Grace Abraham Publishing and began writing again full-time. Some of my Dark-N-Stormies books live on in Kindle form—BETWEEN A CLUTCH AND A HARD PLACE , WHEN GOOD BRAS GO BAD and THE PERFECT WOMAN. All are available for .99 each.
Janet: Who's been your favorite character to write?
Gayle: I have the most fun with the off-the-wall characters like Myrtle and Myra.
Janet: Myra from the Cake Decorating Mysteries is hilarious! Speaking of that series, how do you come up with such clever names like the musical-themed family from those books?
Gayle: Sometimes I really do things tongue-in-cheek expecting the editor to make me delete them, and the musical-themed family names was one of those things! But the editor loved it and let it go through. When I let myself go, I can be pretty creative. When I worry about what the editor will do with what I’ve written, it sometimes stifles me. I’ve learned to try not to worry about it. I was so close with Deborah Smith (who edited MURDER TAKES THE CAKE) that I really let myself go on that one. She’s the queen of clever! She came up with the EIEIO acronym for KILLER SWEET TOOTH.
Janet: What writer/s do you most admire? Why?
Gayle: I love Jeffrey Deaver because his books usually have a make-you-gasp ending that you never saw coming. I enjoy Mary Higgins Clark’s books because she’s simply a master of suspense. I rediscovered Jude Deveraux recently. I’d read several of her books and then began concentrating solely on mysteries when I began writing in the genre. I did myself a disservice. Jude Deveraux is such an excellent writer—seamlessly weaving together her stories (I stayed up late two nights in a row reading LAVENDER MORNING)—that no matter what the genre, any author could learn a lot about writing from her.
Janet: I've not read Deaver nor Deveraux! Now, tell me, what's the hardest part about being an author? Writing? Easiest?
Gayle: Sometimes the hardest part about being an author is the loneliness. My family teases me (and I also joke) about the amount of time I spend with my dog Cooper. But he really IS my best buddy! He’s lying at me feet right this minute. On Facebook someone posted, you begin to act like the five people you spend the most time with. One day during the Halloween season, I went into the “seasonal” aisle of the grocery store, stopped, raised my head, and sniffed the candy-scented air. That’s when it struck me, “I’m beginning to act like Cooper!” LOL
One of the hardest parts of writing is making myself work through the hard spots where the writing has stopped flowing and I’m stumped as to how to transition from one thing to the next. The other hardest part is submitting to revisions. It’s often hard to go back and retool something you thought was really good. “This was sheer genius!” you might think when writing a scene. “This scene is extraneous and needs to go,” your editor might say. That’s a hard pill to swallow.
Third hardest part – bad reviews. Everybody gets them, and they hurt like crazy. I can get five excellent reviews and one bad review all in the same day, and I’ll focus on the bad one.
The easiest part is always when someone read what you wrote and enjoyed it. That’s why we all do what we do, and that’s wonderful.
Janet: Gayle, what's the best piece of writing advice you ever received? Worst?
Gayle: I think the best—not necessarily advice, but certainly words of wisdom—I received was from romance author Teresa Medeiros at a writing conference. We were in the signing area. I was sitting there with my one book—PHOTO FINISH—and she was sitting beside me with her many books with their beautiful covers. She took a photo of me sitting at my table and said, “I want to buy one of your books.” I asked, “Why?” She laughed and said, “Because I want to read it! Never forget, Gayle, we’ve all been where you are.”
The worst thing I ever heard an author say was at a local library event. I’d tell you his name, but I’d be shocked if any of you had heard of him. No one among us was a best-selling author. Anyway, I asked this guy if he’d be interested in joining our writers’ group, and he said, “No. I’m an established author. I don’t need to belong to a group.” Uh…okay…. Didn’t want him in our group after that anyway. And, although I didn’t say this to him, I was thinking, “Pal, you need a group more than you could possibly realize.”
Janet: What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Gayle: Hang in there. Writing ain’t for sissies!
Janet: What are the next two books in both series and when are they coming out?
Gayle: Embroidery Shop series: CROSS STITCH BEFORE DYING - August 6, 2013. Cake Decorating series: BATTERED TO DEATH - Release date has not yet been set.
Janet: Gayle, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my nosy questions! It's been a pleasure.
For more information about Gayle and her books, please visit her website at GayleTrent.com.
And now for the giveaway and news! To be entered into a drawing to win a signed copy of Thread on Arrival, just leave a comment on this post. You can ask Gayle a question about writing or her books, or just share that you enjoyed this post or perhaps your favorite mystery. That's it! Contest ends a week from now, January 22, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST. All posters will be thrown into a hat, and I'll draw a name via Random.org.
In case you're not familiar with The Psychic Twins, Linda and Terry Jamison have appeared on Nightline's special Beyond Belief, The Tyra Banks Show, The Dr. Keith Ablow Show, Good Morning America and more. They were the only psychics who predicted 9/11, as well as JFK Jr.'s death via a small plane and (get this!) the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in 5 years (predicted on The Dr. Keith Ablow Show, January 15, 2007...5 years ago).
However, before they were famous psychics, especially in the 80s and 90s, these red-headed twins were cutting-edge models, performers and comics--appearing on Saturday Night Live as the two-headed housewife, as well live painted statues, robotic mannequins, silver automatons, black-and-white clad mimes and kinetic sculptures.
They made all their own costumes, and did their own make-up. Indeed, both are accomplished painters (not surprising, considering Linda and Terry are the daughters of acclaimed watercolorist Philip Jamison). As if all this is not stuffing a whole lotta talent in two humans, they were also in a band called Flying Objects.
Below are some stunning images of Terry and Linda Jamison:
And here are Terry and Linda Jamison in present day, following their calling as The Psychic Twins:
Here's a recent video clip of The Psychic Twins on Good Morning America, talking about their newest book Psychic Intelligence (now out in paperback). I've already read it and it's the best book on identifying and cultivating your innate psychic abilities.
I even had the opportunity to interview Terry and Linda last month on my Janet Boyer Live! radio show. You can listen below.
Terry and Linda were also recently on the Jeff Probst show. You can watch both parts below.
Back in August, Shaheen Miro interviewed me about Tarot. Here is that interview:
Shaheen: Hello, Janet. To begin, you’re a bit of a Tarot know-it-all, so what got you hooked on Tarot?
Janet: No mysterious, elaborate stories I’m afraid: quit simply, I felt to learn the Tarot about 12 years ago. Most of it has been trial-and-error self-taught experience…especially figuring out how to mesh my natural psychic ability with the cards.
Shaheen: Have you explored any other divination art forms with the same tenacity as Tarot? Or are you a one-system type of lady?
Janet: I've explored several divinatory practices, but none is as versatile as Tarot. In fact, my use of the cards is mostly NON-divinatory. I’m naturally psychic, so I have the whole claircognizant and clairvoyance thing going on. I don’t need Tarot for divination, but, apparently, I need it as the medium for most of my current creative work.
Shaheen: You’ve contributed so much to the Tarot community, and I am always interested to know, how has Tarot enriched your life (personally and professionally)?
Janet: It’s provided an interesting playground for trying new things with the cards. I love how the cards allow for “mashups” with other disciplines. Of course, without the Tarot framework, my husband and I wouldn’t have our Snowland Deck…and this has been a very rewarding creative opportunity for us both.
Shaheen: At one point you declared to never write about Tarot again and you’ve mentioned many times that you have been black-balled from different Tarot related forums and outlets. So what made you give Tarot a second (or third or fourth or fifth :-P) chance?
Janet: There’s so much NOT being done with Tarot. The field begs for innovation and, sadly, hardly any are willing (or able) to answer the call. I can’t leave it alone because there’s more work for me to do within the field. It’s like an unfinished sentence: how can you walk away from something so incomplete, especially when you’re holding the words that will cause it to make sense or change the meaning altogether?
Shaheen: So tell us why you felt there was a need to write about reversed meanings in the Tarot in your book Tarot in Reverse?
Janet: Actually, it was my editor’s idea. I was on the phone with Dinah from Schiffer Books and she had just performed a Tarot reading…and asked how I’d interpret the cards that came up reversed. So I interpreted her reading for her. She exclaimed “Someone should write a down-and-dirty guide to Tarot—Tarot in Reverse!” I told her that I had just finished teaching an audio course on the topic and my notes were right next to me…and that I could easily write such a book. She told me to hurry up and write a proposal. So I got off the phone and did. It was accepted by the publisher and within a few weeks, I had a book contract.
Shaheen: What will we find in Tarot In Reverse that we can’t find anywhere else?
Janet: Most books on Tarot contain the same irrelevant, ho-hum, dry esotericism. That’s not how I “do” Tarot, so my book provides modern anecdotes showing how each reversed card plays out in real life (especially via pop culture), as well as dozens of unusual, accurate meanings for reversals. Oh, and 1,560 affirmations (20 for each card).
Shaheen: Do you think that reversed Tarot reading is for beginners? Or is it an added, but not necessary, layer to reading the cards?
Janet: If someone is completely new to Tarot and hasn’t been tainted by the good cards/bad cards BS—or the belief that a reversed card indicates the opposite of the upright meaning—they could absolutely learn about the Light/Shadow Continuum (that I talk about in Tarot in Reverse)…which makes understanding and interpreting reversals pretty easy. However, if they’re new but indoctrinated—it may be best to ease into reversals only after truly absorbing the energy and import of each card.
Shaheen: What did you struggle with while writing this book?
Janet: Time! My editor loved what I had written so much, she asked the publisher if Tarot in Reverse could be made into a full-color, glossy book. This gave me almost double the word count that was originally allotted to me. Thrilled to go beyond just a comprehensive listing of reversed meanings, I then decided to add modern anecdotes for each card to further illuminate and cement how reversed cards “look” and manifest in the real world, as well as 20 affirmations for each card, a quote that encapsulated its energy and advice. So what was intended to be a 20,000 word book was expanded to around 43,000 words…but with the same deadline!
More importantly, I was also dealing with personal attacks, stalking and harassment from several online Tarot talking heads at the time. It was utterly insane. After I wrote Tarot in Reverse, I was so fed up at what they were doing behind the scenes—defamation, insinuation, baiting, stalking—that I wrote a short story to vent my feelings.
Shaheen: With a creative mind like yours you have to surprise yourself sometimes! What were some of your “ah-ha” moments while writing Tarot In Reverse?
Janet: Thank you, you are too kind. :o) Gosh, it was almost a year ago since I finished the manuscript…so I don’t remember! More than anything, I think I was surprised that no one had written a book like this before. But, then again, not much new is being doing with the Tarot in a fresh, innovative, contemporary, bold way, so…
Shaheen: I really loved the long list of affirmations you included in this book. What inspired that? Are affirmations something that you use frequently?
Janet: I feel that if any endeavor or tool doesn’t expand perspectives, foster growth, encourage self-examination or promote personal responsibility—then it’s not worth much at all. It’s just a form of mental masturbation or a way to avoid taking charge of your life. Affirmations were my way of helping the reader integrate the energy of each card or serve as a form of closure for dealing with it.
Shaheen: I’m interested to know, when you personally conduct a reading, how do you piece together information from the cards? I know you do “intuitive” readings, but explain a little bit about how the Tarot factor into the process.
Janet: I feel that if you want a specific answer from the cards, then you need to ask specific questions. I encourage my clients to tell me what is bothering them and ask me direct questions. When they are unable, I create the questions FOR them. I create custom spreads for every client; I don’t rely on any pre-made formats. Why would I ask of a card the silly, vague question “What crowns this client?” when I could ask “What is going on with his mental attitude?” or “How can she attain mental clarity?”.
Shaheen: I know you’re a total badass, but do you ever get stumped? I know there has to be more than a few readers who have had a “WWJBD” moment lol! How do you pull it together in those situations?
Janet: I’m more stumped by the stupidity and groupthink I see among online Tarot groups, to be honest! Seriously, though, sometimes the cards refuse to be specific—and that’s because the situation is in the hands of another, it’s being worked out or the energy hasn’t yet solidified in order to “read” the likely trajectory. You can’t get a fix on something that has yet to be set in motion by actions and decisions, for example.
Shaheen: Janet, Tarot In Reverse is an amazing book and you can see all your hard work shining through. I’m happy to see that you haven’t give up Tarot yet and I hope that people see the treasure that you have created! It is sure to be a classic. Do you have any last words of sage advice?
Janet: Why thank you, Shaheen! I’m thrilled that you appreciate my Tarot work. My advice on the Tarot is that here is no wrong way to read, create, understand or use the cards. For life in general, the most brilliant person I had the pleasure of knowing once told me “Trust Self first, last and only”. Works for me.
Shaheen: Thanks again, Janet. It’s so great to speak with you. I’m anticipating what you’ll do next... Tarot and otherwise!
Janet: My pleasure, Dear One.
Shaheen Miro is an intuitive reader, Reiki practitioner, fashion design student, artist and writer. Contact: 937.213.3426 / email@example.com / shaheenmiroinsgihts.com
I know this guy, see. To say he's brilliant is an understatement. He blows me away with what he knows, and what he grasps. I've been tested as having a genius IQ (via a psychologist)...but him? Into the stratosphere. He's like a walking illuminated manuscript.
He's also kind, thoughtful and enlightened.
It's about time you meet my friend Craig Conley. And hear some of his unbelievable stories about writing, publishing and the creative life--including internet crazies, Tarot, censorship, social media and prolificity.
Janet: How, as a relative unknown, did you convince HarperCollins to take on something as offbeat as a dictionary of one-letter words? And what's your feeling about working with big publishing houses?
Craig: The HarperCollins deal was a glorious fiasco. Interestingly, it was the very day that I officially gave up calling myself a writer that I found the literary agent who sold my book to HarperCollins. (I think I was trying to follow Ram Dass' wisdom that we spend the first half of our lives becoming somebody, and now we can work on becoming nobody: "For when you become nobody there is no tension, no pretense, no one trying to be anyone or anything. The natural state of the mind shines through unobstructed.") I recall thinking, "Well, if I'm not a writer anymore, there's no need to dread another rejection from a literary agent." So I casually sent off an e-mail to the first agent who came up on Google. Who was it who said that one is never more attractive than when one isn't desperate? The agent accepted my book instantly, and days later he'd generated a bidding war among several top publishers. The deal he secured was lucrative -- fully fifty times the dollars for the number of one-letter words I'd collected.
Working with HarperCollins was like climbing aboard a grand roller coaster that broke at the top of the first lift and then tumbled out of control on its way down. On the bright side, the big publishers are giant cogs in the machine, and they generate big publicity. There's no way my one-letter words dictionary would have been scooped by Page Six, for example, had it not been associated with a major publisher. I was covered by NPR, the Chicago Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the New York Post, the Dallas Morning News, Publisher's Weekly, and dozens of other major outlets. The difference between my publicity for One-Letter Words and my publicity for Magic Words: A Dictionary (through Weiser) is like night and day. The smaller company's voice struggles to be heard in the market. The larger publishers, like any larger corporations, are less personal, however. If you're not a bestseller, you fall out of the publisher's radar quite quickly. (It's just business, of course, but it can feel brutal just the same.)
One-Letter Words was intended to be HarperCollins' answer to the phenomenon Eats, Shoots & Leaves. A variety of circumstances (including Barnes & Noble's 11th hour surprise decision not to carry the book, Restoration Hardware inexplicably dropping out of a marketing deal after demanding a supply of books months before the official publication date, the editor of my book going on maternity leave before publication) all decimated my book's initial -- and vital -- Christmas season exposure. Once that first Christmas is over, everyone moves on to the next big things. Anyway, glamorous as it is to snag a big contract, so many more forces conspire to break a book than to make it. Everyone involved desires success, surely, but the inner workings of the marketplace are as complex and unpredictable as the weather.
My experience with HarperCollins solidified my preference for self-publishing. With self-publishing, you retain ownership and control of your work. When HarperCollins bought One-Letter Words, I was forced to undo the highly successful marketing I had established on the internet. For years I had been providing a free web version of my dictionary, and this unusual resource had been linked by hundreds upon hundreds of schools, libraries, and other institutions around the world. All of that invaluable networking became dead links because of HarperCollins' old-fashioned business model. Years later, I've still not been able to restore the level of worldwide linkage I once enjoyed. The internet grows exponentially by the moment, and every day, every hour, it becomes more challenging to make one's mark.
My own fan base actually doesn't buy much of my self-published work, but over time my titles have garnered a decent number of sales from strangers. What's neat about the internet is that one's proper market can find one's work. For example, my books apparently have more of a European sensibility than an American one, and a great many of my sales go to Europe. Since this summer, Amazon allows authors to list CreateSpace-published books in its various European catalogs (to be sold in Euros), and I started enjoying increased sales immediately.
Janet: Craig, you deleted your Facebook account several months ago. I’m finding it a cesspool, myself (especially the Tarot-related groups which I won’t go near). It’s worse than high school in terms of cliques and gossip! Would you share why you deleted your account? And, in your estimation, how important is social media—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.—to a writer’s or artist’s career? Well-being?
Craig: Just as a blueprint reveals the underlying structure of a building and the intention of the architect, the history of Facebook reveals that it was rotten from the beginning. In his book Accidental Billionaires, Ben Mezrich lays bare that Facebook originated as an ignoble tool for Harvard students to vote on the "hotness" of their female classmates. That base mentality of ranking and objectification is inseparable from the website today. It's like walking into a peep-show facility intending to make some genuine friendships -- the building itself is designed with holes in the wall, and if you step under a spotlight then others will be viewing you in a certain way regardless of your own motivations. It's difficult to circumvent an existing structure when its very design is intended to promote very specific sorts of interactions.
One day I realized that every time I opened Facebook I felt worse than I did previously. I realized that I was unnecessarily learning too many intimate details about my friend's lives (and vice versa, surely). One of my friends assures me that he has countless meaningful interactions on Facebook, and I have no reason to question his experience, but I must admit to having failed miserably to generate my own meaningful interactions on Facebook. Heck, looking for meaning in the mundane is all I ever do -- it seriously is my job description boiled down to a sentence. But Facebook left me utterly stumped, and I finally quit it cold turkey and haven't looked back.
The importance of social media -- that's a good question, and I'm not sure I have tangible evidence either way. So many successful people don't have any social media accounts whatsoever. Ideally, those sites would be the equivalent of the Parisian sidewalk cafés where, in the aftermaths of both World Wars, expatriate writers, artists, and intellects searching for a voice would gather to inspire one another and to foster innovation and experimentation. The social media site that comes closest to that ideal is surely Tumblr. But like Parisian cafés, social media sites come and go. Remember MySpace? Feeling connected to other artists is vital to one's well-being, yet I have to wonder whether too many folks are forgetting the gifts of solitude. As Hans F. Hansen said, "People inspire you, or they drain you; pick them wisely."
Janet: You’re familiar
with myriad forms of divination, including creating a few of your own systems.
I’m finding that Tarot, in particular, seems to draw what I call “low level”
energy; that is, readers/enthusiasts who are insecure, immature, needy,
desperate, petty, greedy—rampant dysfunction in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd chakras. In
fact, it’s why I’m now retired from Tarot writing, blogging and reviewing. I
felt like the bulk of my innovative work was going into an insatiable black
hole, so to speak. And, I now suspect it’s why Tarot—unlike other forms of
divination—can’t seem to crawl its way out of the dark cloud that surrounds it:
the people who practice it are “dark” (unaware, ignorant and
Have you noticed that Tarot draws a different “crowd” than other esoteric disciplines? Or is this just my perspective?
Craig: Your mention of Tarot seeming to activate the lower chakras reminded me of this: "If Freud had lived before the Tarot was created, it would have been a reasonable bet to have suggested that he was responsible for the cards and their meanings" (Lionel & Patricia Fanthorpe, The World's Most Mysterious Objects, 2002). Though I've created several Tarot decks and written two books on the subject, I've remained an outsider to the community. I'd like to say I'm of the Groucho Marx school: "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member." But in truth I'm more like Marshall McLuhan (via Timothy Leary): I tend to tune in and then drop out. The group mind invariably leaves me feeling alienated. To this day, all my favorite television shows have been cancelled due to unpopularity.
Janet: What advice can you offer to creatives that are simply unable to play the “politics game”: trying to play nice, be likeable, join the team, etc.? It’s no secret that this world is not a fair one, tending to reward those who take shortcuts, brownnose and are willing to enter a popularity contest. What hard-won wisdom can you share with those who love to create and innovate, but don’t have the desire (or ability) to play the “social games” that many say are necessary for “success”?
Craig: The only game to play is the one you're making up right now. I just heard screenwriter Joss Whedon reveal the great secret of his success: you put ALL your cards on the table at once. And then you're forced to create another whole set of cards for your next move. That's how he writes movies, and it can be a philosophy of life. There's a school of thought that a work of art generates its own rules, making it self-contained and therefore placing it outside of history. I wonder how many artists have felt "ahead of their time." That sentiment is no mere copout -- it's a terrible, despairing sort of Limbo. The great challenge in the wasteland of inconspicuousness is to fend off mortal discouragement.
In Porius, a novel about Merlin, John Cowper Powys refers to "Destiny, that great god, [and] Chance, that still greater one!" That's a tremendously encouraging worldview, in which no miserable fate is set in stone because Lady Luck can always intervene. The world is indeed not fair, and success is hardly merit-based, yet no innovator is irremediably doomed to obscurity. Still, if one is to stay sane along the way, the work must be a reward in itself. If one's lofty goal is to give people what they don't know they want (à la Steve Jobs), in all fairness there might be quite a climb involved.
Craig: Oh yes, my homeschooling experience affected me profoundly. When we started, back in the mid-1970s, homeschooling was illegal in most states. In fact, it wasn't even called "homeschooling" back then, but rather "unschooling" (coined by John Holt in his "Growing Without Schooling" newsletter). We had serious fears of truant officers in those days! My family used the Calvert correspondence program, in hopes of satisfying the authorities with paperwork, but my true homeschool education was free-form. I pursued my own interests, at my own pace. I quickly came to understand that learning and independent thinking are one's own responsibility. Though I tried a high school for the performing arts, midway through the 10th grade I dropped out, took the G.E.D. exam, and entered college early. After teaching college writing and literature for nine years, I again dropped out and pursued my research as an independent scholar.
Janet: To quote a line from Napoleon Dynamite: Lucky!
Craig, I was mortified to find out that hackers are diligently erasing your work from the internet. How can an
author protect his or her online presence from being erased? And just how
threatening is your work, anyway?
Craig: I suppose it qualifies as a Retroactive Lifetime Goal (to borrow a phrase from humorist Jonathan Caws-Elwitt) to be such a "dangerous" artist that my work must be obliterated from existence. For the second time this year, a hacker unknown to me wiped out a chunk of my daily Abecedarian blog. This time it was five full months' worth of postings. What a peculiar feeling; having the contents of one's mind destroyed feels even more personal than having one's house ransacked. Lady Luck, in her cruel aspect, saw to it that my back-up server was on the blink, but a night's (eternity's) worth of virtual jigsaw puzzling brought the menace of my work back online. Eerily, I felt *really* lousy -- even before I discovered the erasure in progress -- but, like a character in some Philip K. Dick novel, I could hardly put my finger on what was being erased from my virtual brain. Perhaps I need to embrace being too dangerous to exist on the internet?
My advice to other authors with websites is to build in at least two levels of authentication for your content management system. In addition to the password login, restrict the IP addresses of who can access the back-end, if you can, and limit it to your personal home network. Never rely on the fact that what's supposed to be restricted definitely is. Back up your content daily, keeping at least three months of snapshots. (I recommend Amazon S3 as a cost-effective storage platform.) Presume that someone can and will guess your password. Presume that anything you put online could be lost, and plan accordingly. If Murphy's Law hits and everything that can go wrong does go wrong, Google's cache server and Archive.org's Wayback Machine can be a blessing as you piece your site back together from scratch.
Just how threatening is my work? I have to allow that I'm not simply a victim here. I have to shoulder some responsibility for delving into areas that are perhaps best left untouched. My research takes me into gray areas that turn out to be quite volatile. There's superficial humor in my pursuits (like collecting one-letter words, studying blank maps, tracing genealogy to fairy folk, using punctuation marks for divination, listening for unicorns, locating genuine ghosts trapped by Google's book scanners), but underlying that humor is a serious threat to the neatness and tidiness of the establishment. One might think my several dictionaries are benign entities (including magic words, words without vowels, words without consonants, the meanings of chess pieces, and words of one letter), but recall the audacity and profundity inherent in the act of defining. "He who defines dominates and lives," as Thomas Stephen Szasz has noted. "He who is defined is subjugated and destroyed."
Janet: How many websites do you have, anyway? (Because, I swear, you deliberately hide them!)
Craig: Let's see ... here they are, and you might want to check them out ASAP because they could be hacked into oblivion at any moment.
I hunt for magic words and Tarot archetypes in the wild, and here are the trophies, so to speak:
I have a Zen conversion of the Rock-Paper-Scissors game:
My most esoteric books and articles are here, most with extensive or full web versions:
My most unusual reference manuals are here:
Here's my daily blog that covers the broadest range of my eccentric research:
I was the first to recognize the village of Portmeirion (Wales) as a pop-up book of Tarot cards. Here's the story on that, as well as the Tarot of Portmeirion I created:
Janet: Your Tarot of Portmeirion (which I love!) is Majors-only; any plans on publishing the Minors, too, so we can play with a full deck?
Craig: Yes, I do need to find a card printer to take on the full deck! For now, the Minors are all represented in the free online version.
Janet: Speaking of Tarot, how and when did you get involved in the cards, anyway?
Craig: It all began with a moment of slapstick. My first step into the Tarot world coincided with a Rider-Waite deck falling on my foot while I was browsing in a bookstore. I try to be cognizant of signs that occur in daily life, if only to participate in a waking dream. For a lifelong student of comparative religion, Jungian psychology, and magic (both stage performance and shamanism), the history and symbolism of Tarot meet every criterion of fascination. Marie-Louise Von Franz's On Divination and Synchronicity solidified my love for the field.
Janet: Craig, what is your take on "evil" or, at least, "crazy online people"? You and I have seen our share of truly jaw-dropping, over-the-top reactionary behavior--especially in the metaphysical community (especially, for me, the seedy online Tarot world). What do you make of this?
Craig: To paraphrase a popular saying, people encountered via the internet are not only stranger than we imagine, they're stranger than we can imagine. The more an author puts himself or herself "out there," the more weirdness gets invited in. I have a "What fresh hell is this?" moment on almost a daily basis. Here's just the latest insanity I've been dealing with: a few years ago I created a silly little crossword puzzle inspired by the film Dr. Strangelove, in which every answer across and down was "purity of essence" or "peace on earth." I put the puzzle inside a winter holiday card and had it printed at Zazzle here. The other day, Zazzle removed the card from their catalog on the grounds of copyright infringement. I marveled at this; even assuming that a film studio had filed a complaint, I couldn't fathom how my puzzle constituted any sort of infringement. I asked Zazzle for information on how, exactly, my puzzle infringed. Their answer took me by the maximum surprise possible: it wasn't a movie studio at all, but the estate of Martin Luther King, Jr. who had demanded the card be removed.
It turns out that I refer to Martin Luther King, Jr. in the clue to 2 Across. Apparently -- and I will admit that this was news to me -- one doesn't have the right to print the name of Martin Luther King, Jr., not even in a crossword clue. As Zazzle explained, "Unfortunately, your product contained text 'Martin Luther King, Jr.' which infringes upon the intellectual property rights of Estate of Martin Luther King Jr." I feel like I'm living in some sort of George Orwell novel (well, a very particular George Orwell novel, but now I'm afraid to type most anything lest a deranged attorney contact me!) It's not that I give a hoot about the greeting card in question -- it's not a huge seller, anyway. It's the sheer perversity of it all. Unwilling to accept having my own creation removed for so ridiculous a reason, I reworded the clue to 2 Across in Pig Latin. I wonder if the MLKJ estate attorneys are scouring the web for Pig Latin mentions of the unwritable (and, I presume, forthwith unpronounceable) name. Time will tell.
I'm coming to realize that when one's work explores fringe topics, one is destined to encounter other weirdos who have likewise strayed from the mainstream. Immersed as I am in the world of linguistic oddities, esoteric imagery, cryptozoology, and blank maps, it's easy to forget that I'm essentially on another planet from everyday folks. My pursuits are normal to me, but no doubt my average day would blow the minds of most. So I'm trying to take in my stride the craziness I encounter along the way. But the thing about craziness, of course, is that one can't technically prepare for it, by definition.
Janet: Unfreakinbelievable, Craig. I mean, really.
Because you tend to be an
unintentional Hermit, I'd like you to list all the books and goodies you have to
Craig: Let's see:
Pomegranate's One-Letter Words Quiz Deck
One-Letter Words: A Dictionary
Collected Lost Meanings of Christmas
Oracle of the Two-Fold Gods
A Field Guide to Identifying Unicorns by Sound
The Carte Blanche Atlas
The Minimalist Coloring Book
Magic Words: A Dictionary
Moon-Fish-Ocean: A Zen Conversion of Rock-Paper-Scissors
If a Chessman Were a Word: A Chess-Calvino Dictionary
Heirs to the Queen of Hearts: Tracing Magical Genealogy
Astragalomancy: A Loaded Guide
Divination By Punctuation
Franzlations: The Imaginary Kafka Parables
Wye's Dictionary of Improbable Words
The Ghost in the [Scanning] Machine
Not Rocket Science
Two Sides of the Same Coin
Human Diversity: A Guide for Understanding
Diverse Learners in the Classroom
The One Minute Mystic
Six Degrees of Jubilation
Your Ship Will Come In
A Fine Line Between ...
The Skeleton Key of Solomon
Unity Symbols Coloring Book
And dozens more titles, which are listed here:
And there you have it, dear Readers. One of the most brilliant, unique creatures on this gorgeous planet. I'm pleased as punch to call Craig my friend; he's truly a very special soul. Incidentally, he's also Snowland's official vintage image curator, so he's responsible for all the lovely whismy he gathers for us here.
I just got done doing what I think is my best interview ever on the ISIS Paranormal Radio show.
A miracle, really, since host Dayna Winters had to call me 4 minutes before show time (got lost in a freakin' brain fog and lost track of time!). However, the caffeine starts kicking in about the last 15 minutes of the show, so listen for me sounding like a chipmunk on coke. *wince*
On the show, I talk about:
OK, I wasn't exactly outrageous (this time). Well, maybe I was when I said that I crack up about what I wrote on the Death card in Tarot in Reverse...and proceeded to read about Botoxing. Ha!
Yes, as you can see, I'm still high on coffee! (On my 3rd cup. Yelp.)
Alrighty, so, hit play below and enjoy. ::waves::
I had a great time during my second visit to the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold!
Jim had never owned nor held a Tarot deck before. So, to show him how easy it was for anyone to read Tarot--right out of the box--I asked him to buy a deck! (In case you're curious, it's the Universal Waite Tarot).
I showed Jim how to brainstorm gift ideas, and he picked Mother's Day as the occassion.
Neither one of us expected what happened next... *insert goosebumps here*
In fact, there's also a special announcement made at the end of the show...so make sure you stay tuned until the very end!
Click here to listen to the interview, just posted live!
-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Hall of Fame/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)
The following is a fascinating Question and Answer session with author Lynne McTaggart about her newest book The Bond (published by Free Press). I loved her groundbreaking book The Intention Experiment (which was featured in The Lost Symbol), and this book looks to be just as awe-inspiring (I received it a few weeks ago and I'm already blown away by some of the things I'm reading in The Bond!).
An entirely new scientific story is emerging that challenges our most basic premise: the sense of things as separate entities in competition for survival. Frontier biologists, physicists, psychologists and sociologists have all found evidence that individuals are far less individual than we thought they were. Between the smallest particles of our being, between our bodies and their environments, between ourselves and all of the people with whom we are in contact, between every member of every societal cluster, there is a Bond--a connection so integral and profound that there is no longer a clear demarcation between the end of one thing and the beginning of another. The world essentially operates, not through the activity of individual things, but in the connection between them--in a sense, within the space between things.
2. Why have the crises we now face in many areas of life--from the economy to politics, to the environment--resulted from acting against nature?
The latest evidence from many areas of science suggests that nature’s most basic drive is not competition, as is maintained in classic evolutionary theory, but wholeness. All living things, including human beings, have been hardwired to seek connection virtually above any other impulse--even at personal cost--and they succeed and prosper only when they see themselves as part of a greater whole.
Nevertheless, our current paradigm, as provided us by traditional science, maintains a view of the universe as a place of scarcity populated by separate things that must turn against each other in order to survive. The crises we face today have occurred precisely because the lives we’ve chosen to lead are not consistent with our truest nature as givers and sharers. Every conflict that occurs--whether between husband and wife, social or racial groups, or even nations--is resolved only when we can fully see and embrace the space between us.
3. Why do you believe there is such a thing as "survival of the fairest"?
Our biological success story has more to do with our ability to share and empathize than just adapting to our environment – and we even have a "fairness spot" hard-wired into our brain.
The extent to which a society is fair also determines how successful it is. Epidemiologists studying Western countries have discovered that the more unfair any society--which is to say, economically unfair and hierarchical--the worse off everyone is, both rich and poor, in terms of virtually every social problem. In countries with giant income disparity between the very rich and the very poor, both the most affluent and the very poorest suffer from higher rates of ill health, higher crime rates, mental illness, environmental problems, and violence. Although one of the wealthiest countries in the world with half the world’s billionaires, America has far and away the highest level of all social problems--crime, lack of education, mental illness, suicide, disease of all varieties--of twenty countries.
Every conflict that occurs--whether between husband and wife, social or racial groups, or even nations--is resolved only when we can fully see and embrace the other’s point of view. The key to a successful relationship is to conceive of the relationship itself as a "thing in itself" and to focus on the "space in between"--the glue that holds it together. Once we view ourselves as a part of a bigger whole, we begin to act differently toward each other. By removing a self-serving aim from the relationship, we stop fighting nature and surrender to our natural impulse toward holism. We can easily embrace difference within that larger definition of connection.
5. What can we learn from the South Africa’s rugby and Oxford’s rowing teams, the Chilean Miners and a community water pipeline about creating a new and vibrant neighborhood?
All these groups made use of what psychologists call a "superordinate" goal--a goal only achieved by large cooperative teamwork of two or more people. Engaging in sharing and teamwork tends to transcend differences, because it emphasizes the very heart of humanity--we are all in this together. And if we are all in this together we are no longer competing for scarce resources. For instance, South Africa’s entry into the World Cup rugby play-offs in 1995, depicted in the film Invictus, was designed as a means of creating nation-building euphoria, in order to unify a country emerging from apartheid. Creating a common identity and working together for a superordinate goal also was crucial to the survival of the Chilean miners.
People who fire together wire together; the individual brain waves begin resonating in tandem with others when people work together for a common goal; a study of the Oxford rowing team found that they had greater pain tolerance when rowing together than when rowing individually. When we do things in groups, the rush of “we’re-all-in-this-together” elation that we feel actually allows us to resist difficulties, including pain.
6. Why is the Bond so crucial today? How can we survive and thrive in our world, with all of the crises and problems now facing us?
For hundreds of years we have followed a false trail of individual satisfaction as our primary motivation, at great cost. As individualism rises, the indices of every major aspect of life satisfaction, from health care and education to life span and urban safety, fall further among every member of the population, rich and poor. We create further economic crises, further political struggle, more conflict, more calamitous ecological disaster. We erect higher and higher walls between ourselves and the rest of the world.
We are one of the most important generations in the history of humanity. With all the calamities in our midst, our choices will affect our children’s children – and indeed the world for all time. We can continue to operate against nature, and connect less and less with what we regard as other than ourselves. Or, we can embrace the opposite impulse, our natural drive to seek wholeness and connection, which will enable us to survive and thrive, as it has in the past.
7. We all have strong views about how to "fix" America. What can just one person do to create a more cohesive and thriving community?
We must look at our lives from a larger vantage point, so that we see the whole that ties us all together in every aspect of our daily lives. This involves perceive the world differently, relating to others differently, organizing ourselves--our friendships and neighborhoods, our towns and cities--differently, and also looking to a larger purpose in life than living for ourselves alone. It also involves creating a larger definition of "we".
But each of us can also start small, with tiny daily acts of kindness, generosity and tolerance. Scientists have shown that just a few instigators can transform an entire climate of greed and individualism to one of generosity and giving. Giving creates a contagion of giving, a network of “pay-it-forward” altruism. For instance, one act of kindness spreads virally at least three degrees along a network, affecting your friends, your friends’ friends and your friends’ friends’ friends.
The other idea is to use a superordinate goal to unify your neighborhood. For instance, a small band of inhabitants of Portland, Oregon, completely revitalized their home city by banding into a group, The Riverfront for People, and holding a protest of the widening of the riverside roadway. After two years of discussions, the Riverfront for People prevailed. Harbor Drive was demolished, Tom McColl Waterfront Park was created, and Portland still remains a model of accessible and friendly urban life. More importantly, at a time when social capital is increasingly absent in the United States, Portland’s citizenry continue to be the most connected and activist in America.
Jennifer: Hello Janet! Thank you for taking the time to interview me about the deck!
Janet: First, let's begin with your big announcement: you've signed a contract with U.S. Games Systems, Inc. to publish your Crystal Visions Tarot. How wonderful! So how do you feel?! Are you heading to Disneyworld? ;o) What is the timeline--any ideas when we'll be able to get our hands on your deck?
Jennifer: I am SO excited about signing on with U.S. Games Systems, Inc. I can’t even describe the feeling! It is sort of like being at Disneyland! :D Those I’ve dealt with to this point have been so wonderful and supportive. With the experience I’ve had so far, and with the company’s stellar reputation, I’m confident they’ll do a great job with the production, marketing and distribution of the deck. As far as the release date, that is sort of dependant upon me, and finishing up the last of the cards. I hope to have the deck completed by the end of February, 2011, and then I should have more of a production timeline.
Janet: Now, let's talk about the name: Crystal Visions Tarot. Why that particular title for your first deck?
Jennifer: Well, as a few people have already guessed, the name was inspired by lyrics from Stevie Nicks, as well as her box set that came out right around the time I was planning the deck. I fell in love with her music in my early teens, and I attribute my growing interest in the spiritual realm to her haunting voice, ethereal nature and poetic lyrics. I also love crystal balls, and knew I’d be incorporating many into the artwork, and although Tarot and scrying are different forms of divination, “Crystal Visions” is sort of a double entendre in that it can also mean clear visions, which I thought was very appropriate to the Tarot.
Janet: On your website, I read this with interest: Originally, she thought she would try and let the ideas flow, painting each image as they came to her. It was a nice thought, but not very practical for such a big project. She decided to change her course of action, and tackle the project from a decisive point of view. When did you realize you were "over your head", as it were, and merely allowing inspiration to take over your paintbrush wouldn't be enough to complete this project?
Jennifer: Soon after I finished the first two paintings. I realized I wasn’t in love with them, and I was unable to move forward with the deck. I waited a while, hoping inspiration would strike, but I was too hung up on not liking the first two paintings that I couldn’t move forward. Painting a deck was something I’d wanted to do since I took an interest in the Tarot in my teens, and on some level I was afraid of messing up, or being disappointed in my deck after its completion. I think that fear was paralyzing me in some ways. It wasn’t until I painted my series of Birthstone Fairies that I realized I needed to change my approach. In painting the series of twelve fairies, I planned them all and sketched them out, so that they would all look cohesive, before painting them. I realized then that planning was what I needed to do with the Tarot, and so I started to research, plan and sketch out the cards. I had most of the cards planned in various stages before picking up a paintbrush.
Janet: I love that you (mostly) paint your deck one suit at a time, with some Major cards interspersed. That makes a lot of sense, especially if you're immersing yourself in a particular energy of a Minor Arcana suit--so you can stay with that unique energy, color palette, symbolism and so on. What Minor Arcana suit seemed the most daunting to envision? To paint? Did you have any life circumstances reflect a particular card or suit you were working on? (I find this sometimes happens with artists!)
Jennifer: Oddly enough, I thought I would have the hardest time painting Swords, yet Swords ended up being the first suit I worked on. I started painting them last year around this time, so it could have been the gray skies and stark trees of winter that lent the inspiration. Cups weren’t as easy as I thought, although I wouldn’t say they were difficult. I think I just had a little hang up because Cups were the two cards I painted in my first deck, and subsequently discarded.
Wands came very easily, once I picked up the paintbrush. It is a more masculine suit, and I paint a lot of feminine characters, so I was a little unsure how the suit would unfold. I am a Sag, though, and respond positively to the reds and oranges I used in the suit’s color palette, so once the paint hit the canvas, I was in my element. Pentacles have been the most challenging, just as I suspected. I’m not sure why—I just had a tough time envisioning where I wanted to go with that suit, and so it’s unfolding itself to me slowly, but I’m getting there.
The two main cards that really reflect my life circumstances would have to be the Knight of Cups and the Blank Card. I always thought of the Knight of Cups as sort of a Prince Charming card, and always associated it with my husband, who, when I met him, was a twenty something, blond, light-eyed Pisces (or the Knight of Cups.) The Blank Card is something that not all are familiar with, but I encountered it early on when I bought my first Hanson-Roberts deck. I actually bought the deck for that image, which was the cover card, and upon getting the deck home, realized it was a Blank Card, or the card of things not yet meant to be revealed. I’ve always loved that card, and always said that I would include one in my own deck one day.
Jennifer: I think I attribute ambition to being both a physical and mental challenge and therefore associate it with Wands and Swords. One thing I find appealing about the suit of Wands is that, to me, it is a more active side of the suit of Cups. Intuition, creativity, and emotions are still very much a part of the suit of Wands as they are Cups, however, Wands lend the fire aspect of, “grabbing the brass ring,” so to speak. Action, focus, struggle and conflict, creativity, and hard work are all important to seeing ambition manifest. I guess, in that sense, Pentacles could also be associated with ambition, however, to me, Pentacles represents a more, “slow and steady wins the race,” sort of way of reaching one’s goals. Not to say that approach isn’t ambitious; I guess it’s just more cautious, and to me ambition is also about taking risks.
Janet: Will the Crystal Visions Tarot have a border around the imagery? Have you created the back design yet?
Jennifer: I have a back design that I just completed. It incorporates symbols from all the suits and is non-directional. I don’t plan on having a border around the images, and hopefully, if the publisher decides to use one, it will be unobtrusive.
Janet: What is your greatest hope for your deck once it reaches publication?
Jennifer: I hope that people will love the imagery—that is always the first step for me in identifying with a deck. I hope that it will read well, and easily for professionals and novices alike. I also hope it gets translated into other languages and stays in print for a very long time.
Janet: What is the greatest compliment someone could give you as an artist? As a person?
Jennifer: The greatest compliment someone could give me as an artist would be to say that they really respond to my work, or a particular work in general. Striking a chord with people on some personal level, or moving them to feel something positive is really such a motivating aspect of being an artist. Of course, you always run the risk of stirring up negative emotions in someone, but I think any sort of reaction to an artwork--the ability to make someone feel--is the greatest thing about any art form. As a person, I really value independence and perseverance, among other things, but these would be two of the greatest compliments someone could give me. I’ve been called unconventional, strong-willed, relentless and stubborn also, but I count those as compliments just the same. :D
Janet: Tell us a bit more about the "personal" Jennifer. Do you paint to music? To silence? What do you like to listen to, to watch, to read? What is a "perfect" day in Jen's world?
Jennifer: My favorite music to paint by is, surprise surprise, Stevie Nicks, or Green Day’s American Idiot. Every song on that CD is great and so I never lose my momentum—it seems to grow with each song. Sometimes, though, I just want to be in my head, so I either paint in silence, usually when I’m fixing an issue, or adding the finishing touches, or turn on the television, basically for a little company and background noise. Perfect days for me seem to vary in the moment, but from an artistic standpoint, I guess a perfect day would be to start painting after my daughter goes to school, make really good progress until around 1:00 or so, take a little nap, and then stay up late painting after my daughter goes to bed. I really enjoy painting at night, but because I have to get up pretty early, I’m unable to stay awake most times unless I have a break in the afternoon.
Janet: What is the most important lesson that you learned last year? What are looking forward to experiencing this year?
Jennifer: The most important lesson I learned is that lots of work, perseverance, and a strong vision along with listening to your inner voice, instinct, or guides, (whatever you’d like to call it), is all essential for anyone facing a goal or a huge project. It’s always so hard to take that first step, but with each effort you gain confidence and the journey gets easier. I learned much more about the Tarot, too, throughout the last year, and in fact, my process was a lot like the Tarot in many ways; I sort of took a Pentacle approach to creating the deck–slow and steady with lots of planning.
I did have to stay focused and motivated, which was a mental challenge, so therefore Swords came into play. I needed to tap into my creativity and vision for the project, and needed to feel passion for what I was creating, which insisted on the suit of Wands. Lastly, I needed to incorporate a bit of myself into the cards in order to make them my own, as well as keep my emotions in check when it came to introducing them to the world at large as well as the publishing industry, hence the suit of Cups. The first cards in the deck began with the Fool, (me jumping in blindly), and hopefully the deck will end with the World. This year, I am looking forward to finishing the deck and holding the actual cards in my hands. I am looking forward to beginning new projects I’ve put on the back burner for a while, as well as starting the initial planning of a possible new deck.
Janet: Thank you so much for your time, Jennifer, and best wishes!
Jennifer: You too, Janet! Thank you!
You can visit Jennifer Galasso's Crystal Visions Tarot website at this link. Follow Jennifer on Twitter here and fan her on Facebook here. Jennifer's main website is Magickal-Art.com (and you can order gorgeous prints and figurines there, too!)
Marg from the Reading Adventures Blog interviewed me for Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2010!
It was a blast answering the thoughtful questions from this Aussie blogger. Thanks, Marg!
Thanks so much for taking time to answer my nosy questions, Lisa! You're a gem. :o)
Janet: What might people be surprised to know about creating a deck/book set like the Fairy Tale Tarot?
Lisa: Fairy Tales can be extremely complicated. I spent an entire summer studying scholastic texts, reviewing analytical psychology and engaging myself in comparative studies. And it didn’t end there. I was under the influence of these intense studies for the duration of the project. Given my fascination with the genre, I continue to collect and read fairy tales.