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December 2011

Janet Boyer Live! Radio Show Episode 1: Snowland Tarot

Janet Live SquareHi everyone!

I'm thrilled to announce that I'm beginning the New Year by starting my very own radio show, Janet Boyer Live!

Janet Boyer Live! will feature interviews with authors, book discussion, reviews, commentary, advice, personal empowerment tools, classes and much more.

For the inaugural show, Ron and I will be discussing our Snowland Tarot TOMORROW, 1/1/12 at 1 PM EST! Click here to go to the Snowland Tarot show page. You can listen right on your computer or via telephone at the number listed.

If you'd like to call in to talk to us or ask questions about the deck, please send me a private message on Facebook at http://fb.me/JanetBoyer saying you're calling in and the number you'll be calling from. If you're not already my friend there, you'll have to send me your request.

We hope you can join us on New Year's Day for our live show, but if you can't...no worries! The show will available on the show page and through iTunes for download.

Happy New Year!

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) 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)


Ron and Janet Boyer Discuss Snowland Tarot

Janet Live SquareHi everyone!

I'm thrilled to announce that I'm beginning the New Year by starting my very own radio show, Janet Boyer Live!

Janet Boyer Live! will feature interviews with authors, book discussion, reviews, commentary, advice, personal empowerment tools, classes and much more.

For the inaugural show, Ron and I will be discussing our Snowland Tarot TOMORROW, 1/1/12 at 1 PM EST! Click here to go to the Snowland Tarot show page. You can listen right on your computer or via telephone at the number listed.

If you'd like to call in to talk to us or ask questions about the deck, please send me a private message on Facebook at http://fb.me/JanetBoyer saying you're calling in and the number you'll be calling from. If you're not already my friend there, you'll have to send me your request.

We hope you can join us on New Year's Day for our live show, but if you can't...no worries! The show will available on the show page and through iTunes for download.

Happy New Year!

-- Janet


New Chapter

Chapter 250You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.

How will you move on to the next chapter of your life in 2012? What needs closed?

Happy New Year!

-- Janet


Help My Mom's Headache

Noah 200Knowing I had a headache, Noah just came over to me, laid a hand on my forehead, and prayed "Dear God, please take away Mom's headache like she won't even believe it. She's my Mom. Thank you. Amen."

*wipes tear*

Love this kid!

-- Janet


It's Try TO, Not Try AND!

Mad  girl bigOne of the most egregious and irritating grammatical errors I see everywhere?

Using "try and" instead of "try to".

For example, "I am going to try and use this expired coupon".

No, no you're not.

For one, that's just plain wrong. That is, trying TO use an expired coupon. Pay attention to the date, for God's sake!

Two, you don't "try and" do anything. You try TO do something.

I can't believe how often I come across this grammar mistake. Sure, one can expect it on the web and on blogs. But Writer's Digest books? And writing magazines? Gah! Where the hell is the editor?!

So, please, do me a favor lest you make my blood pressure knock out the ceiling: use "try to", not "try and"!


Top Books of 2011

Curious about the best books of 2011? Here are some lists for you to explore!

New York Times:  

100 Notable Books of 2011 

  

NPR: 

Alan Cheuse's Top 5 Fiction Picks 

    

Library Journal: 

Best Books 2011: The Top Ten 

 

Washington Post:

Best Books of 2011 

 

BookPage:

Best Books of 2011 

 

Barnes & Noble: 

Best Books of 2011 

 

New York Times:  

10 Best Books of 2011 

    

Kirkus Reviews:

 

NPR: 
 

Kansas City Star:    

Top 100 Books of 2011   

 

Salon.com:
 
O, The Oprah Magazine:

School Library Journal: 

Best Books 2011: Fiction  

 

Kansas City Star:  

Top 10 Books of 2011 

 

Seattle Times: 

32 of the Year's Best Books  

 
-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) 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 Little Match Girl

The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson never fails to choke me up.

You can read the original story from the Hans Christian Andersen Center at this link. Below is a short film that was made by Disney, but looks to be a Russian production. (Incidentally, The Little Match Girl will be the Page of Wands card in our Snowland Tarot).

-- Janet


The Christmas Bunny

Christmas bunny 300In arguably the performance of her life, Florence Henderson (Brady Bunch) stars as an eccentric, rough-around-the-edges farmwoman who nurses bunnies back to health in the movie The Christmas Bunny.

A troubled foster child named Julia has been tossed from home to home, largely because she won’t speak and obsessively watches an old videotape of The Velveteen Rabbit. Her foster families don’t know what to do with her—and Julia’s Mom is a drug addict incapable of caring for her.

Enter a loving but fallen-on-hard-times family that includes an out-of-work engineer for a father, a stay-at-home furniture-painting mom and an adolescent boy who have decided to take on a foster child (doing double duty for additional income and filling a void in the mom’s heart).

The caseworkers place Julia with the family, but the transition isn’t smooth—especially because of Julia’s lack of communication and anti-social behavior.

During the holidays, cousins come over and an uncle gets the boy a BB gun. They run out in the woods and start shooting at birds—and end up injuring a bunny. Julia takes to the bunny and the family rush the animal to the vet.

Barring an expensive operation, the bunny has little chance. However, the vet knows a woman who’s a “Bunny Lady”…a rabbit whisperer, if you will. The family goes to the Bunny Lady’s farm and get a chilly reception, but she agrees to keep it and try to mend it.

Unbeknownst to her family, Julia gets off at a different bus stop (which worries them): it’s at the Bunny Lady’s farm. The Bunny Lady allows Julia to visit every day, and she teaches Julia how to care for the rabbits.

When the bratty boys take the healed bunny and decide to put it in one of their “sleighs” to push down a steep snow hill they made, Julia screams—and bites one of the boys…and then runs away deep into the forest on a bitterly cold evening.

The rest of the movie shows how a family’s love (and a rabbit’s!) breaks through to a sad, mistrustful, lonely little girl—and how a grown man learns humility for the sake of his family and how a bitter widow’s heart softens towards humanity.

The Christmas Bunny isn’t a saccharine holiday tale (despite receiving Five out of Five Doves from the Dove Foundation), and does have a few unsettling moments. Still, it’s a redemptive, well-acted movie likely to elicit more than a few tears, as well as feelings of thankfulness for family and community.

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) 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 Nutcracker: The Untold Story

NutcrackerHaving just caught the talented Elle Fanning in the movie Super 8, and knowing how good of an actor John Turturro can be (Secret Window, Quiz Show, Monk’s brother, etc.), I thought I’d buy The Nutcracker: The Untold Story from Amazon without first seeing it.

Boy, what a big mistake!

This DVD starts out well, with lovely atmosphere, unique musical numbers (written by Oscar-winner Tim Rice), great special effects and solid acting (despite Nathan Lane’s perpetually quizzical visage as Albert Einstein and a wooden Frances de le Tour).

My whole family and I were transfixed, especially as the wooden nutcracker (in awesome CGI) and Mary ride an enchanted elevator sleigh up through a humongous towering Christmas tree. We had no idea what would happen next, because this “re-telling” of The Nutcracker had been unpredictable from the beginning (e.g. Einstein replacing Uncle Drosselmeier, Mary’s mother being an opera singer about to make her debut in front of important politicians, etc.).

However, once they got into the realm of the Rat King, things start getting dicey—violent and creepy, even.

The Rat King (Turturro) and his minions all have rat faces, resembling Hitler’s SS in uniform and demeanor (I can handle that—it makes sense). However, things soon turn violent (beyond capturing citizens of the magical kingdom).

For example, a large shark swims in a gigantic aquarium. He doesn’t appear menacing beyond being a shark. The Rat King, as he’s threatening the captured citizens with a bizarre musical routine, deliberately drops electrical lights in the aquarium. The poor shark thrashes about, as he’s being electrocuted—not for a few seconds, but MANY seconds. It was distressful and disturbing to watch.

My family and I were in shock. Soon after, the Rat Queen (the Rat King’s mother) summons Turturro’s character. She is unkempt, drunken and barely dressed—wearing fishnet stockings (!). In a creepy Oedipal moment, she urges her son to come closer…and as he bends down for her to tell him a secret, she BITES him (hard and long).

That was it for us!

If you’re wanting a magical family Christmas movie, this is NOT the one to get! However, if you revel in “dark”, twisted holiday fairytales, you may get your jollies out The Nutcracker: The Untold Story.

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) 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)


Book Gems #13 Writing Yoga by Bruce Black

You don't have to be a yoga practioner to enjoy Bruce Black's Writing Yoga, published by Rodmell Press. Although he does present parallels between journaling and poses, creative stretching and physical bending, the author's gentle, almost meditative prose shows how mindfulness in both writing and yoga opens us up to inspiration, appreciation, creativity, curiosity and commitment. Here's an excerpt of Writing Yoga by Bruce Black, a lovely contribution to both fields of writing craft and yoga:

Writing yogaIn the years following my mother’s death, I switched jobs from newspaper reporter to stock clerk in a bookstore, then entered publishing to become an editor. I began placing stories in magazines and newspapers. Throughout those years I kept pocket-sized journals with me and during lunch spent hours writing, filling pages with questions about how to write and what was important to me, what I felt passionate about. Those journals were the precursors to the journal that I began keeping in 2007 to explore my yoga practice.

Until 2007 I had kept journals off and on, losing interest, picking up a thread again, using a journal to keep track of well-written or moving passages in books or to record something of interest that I saw that day, experimenting with story ideas or ways of presenting a story. Eventually those journals served as draft notebooks in which I worked out plot or character issues. The entries were less about my own thoughts and feelings, more about the thoughts and feelings of my characters…

Each time I stepped onto my [yoga] mat as part of my home practice, I opened my journal for a few minutes and jotted down my thoughts instead of immediately beginning the poses. Writing in the journal became a way for me to notice more closely what was happening in my life—what was going smoothly, what seemed hard—and how I was responding or failed to respond to the challenges…

The journal and the mat are places where I can think through problems that I’m facing without judging myself and without feeling pressure to solve the problems. I can just let the problem out and consider it, the way I might look at a tree or rock, without trying to “solve” it. And in the process of looking, I’ll see something that I hadn’t noticed before, the hint of a path, the suggestion of an answer.

To purchase Writing Yoga from Amazon.com, click here. To visit Rodmell Press, click here.

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) 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)


An Apology

It appears that my little short story The Things I Refused to Leave caused a bit of a stir (understatement of the year).

I want to take this opportunity to apologize to anyone that was offended or hurt because of it. It was a work of fiction that was intended to be read as so (despite the overreaching theme of first chakra “follow the leader” behavior and other themes I feel are true in group context and attempted to tackle in short story form).

It was not a disguised rant (I don’t disguise anything…if I want to rant, I’ll put it on my blog). In fact, the story arose out of a fiction exercise I did. When a few people I know read it (and thought it was edgy and funny), I decided to publish it (especially since the direction of my writing is going into fiction nowadays).

Those people knew nothing about “the Tarot community” and thus, read it as a piece of outrageous fiction (yes, it was absolutely intended to be outrageous—especially coming from a female writer describing a female narrator who says and does some pretty disgusting things).

It was an experiment and, whether you believe it or not, I accidentally uploaded the original story rather than my edited story (edited for form, as suggested by an editor friend of mine, and edited for names, where the first-run “pulled out of the air” monikers were as presented on Amazon, by mistake).

In short, I uploaded my first draft by accident but, by the time I realized it, it was too late. And, I tried to pull my story from Amazon days ago via the KDP dashboard, but it still remained for sale. I have contacted them repeatedly to pull it.

Many writers write about outrageous characters doing outrageous things—including ones that may “resemble” real people. That doesn’t mean the writer thinks like the narrator, nor does it mean that the writer condones what a character does (one just need to read the Dexter series, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Sandford and others to get my drift).

Still, it does seem that there’s a double standard in that male writers can be over-the-top disgusting, but if a female writer does so, she is identified WITH the main character/narrator of the story. And, perhaps, seen as “batshit crazy”.

This double standard no doubt hamstrings many a female writer, which is what pseudonyms are for (and which I considered—and even had a book cover mock-up ready to go with a pseudonym on it).

As a writer heading into fiction, with a contract for my novel-in-progress sitting on my desk (unrelated to my short story), I realized that to build a fiction fan base with a pseudonym, I’d literally have to start from the ground-up to “make a name” for myself in fiction (as all authors must in this digital age of social media).

It was an overwhelming thought. I didn’t (don’t) have time to create another site, persona, blog, FB page, Twitter feed, etc. for the “pseudonymous me”.

So I figured “What the hell”, and chose to use my own name. I spent almost a decade building up a writing platform with 1,200+ reviews on Amazon, JanetBoyer.com, my FB presences, Twitter feed, Newsletter and so on and figured I’d just piggy-back my fiction writing on my established non-fiction writing platform—especially since my fiction will include Tarot and other metaphysical themes in it.

My short story wasn’t “for” the Tarot community, but rather for people wanting to discover edgy fiction—and to see what people thought of my story-writing abilities.

Of course, those who already had a beef with me saw it as an opportunity to attack and discredit me…and thus, a mob was formed (which was pretty ironic, considering that such behavior WAS the point of my short story). Life imitating art, maybe?

Art is definitely subjective and what one declares beautiful, provocative or transcendent, another will castigate as disgusting, offensive or obscene. All in the eye of the beholder, yes?

I do realize that those who have a beef with me will analyze this post, continue to fuel the fire by concluding this or that—perhaps even saying I’m a liar or that this blog post is untrue and I’m not “really sorry”.

There’s nothing I can do about that. Whatever I do at this point is pretty “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

Am I tired of the harassment certain people have subjected me to this year and, in some cases, the last TWO years (including hate mail, cyberbullying, following me around the web, baiting/attacking me, etc.)?

Yes.

It’s pretty hard to avoid when the emails come directly to ME or attackers come to MY blogs or reviews do dump their vitriol. My disgust at the behavior of some in the “Tarot community” remains the same (and I’m not the only one, I assure you…I’m just one of the only ones that will point it out publicly).

Although I realize that individuals had to go to my Amazon author page and actually BUY my short story (which still confuses me: if you hate me, why are you at my Amazon author page? And why in the world would you plop down money to read anything of mine?)—and some would argue it’s the reader’s fault for getting offended in the first place—I still wanted to make a public apology to those that were hurt or distressed.

I would hope that the hefty bulk of my non-fiction work and support of the Tarot community (in public and behind the scenes, whether individual authors, artists, publishers, readers or brand new seekers) over the last 8 years makes up for ONE ill timed and, arguably, ill-written short story.

But if it doesn’t, there’s nothing I can do about that.

And let me be clear: my contracts with Schiffer Books was never “in jeopardy” for my behavior, past or present. Schiffer Books seeks to support the Tarot community in any way it can, so Pete Schiffer did contact me directly with his concern less than 24 hours from the time my story went live on Amazon (that stemmed from many emails and phone calls that came to him in that short period). And, no, no one from Schiffer told me to apologize or do any thing to “remedy” the situation. This blog post is my decision and mine alone.

So I will continue my work, both blogging and, now, fiction writing, and move on into the future with hope, optimism and excitement.

I hope you understand: this apology is not an invitation for discussion or debate or more attacks. As is evident, such “discussions” devolve rapidly and can’t be sustained by most people towards any semblance of understanding, good will or even forgiveness.

So make of this post what you will. I can declare it’s intended with the spirit of honesty, regret and an open heart, but I’m sure even that may come under suspicion or derision.

-- Janet