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May 2012

Neil Gaiman University of the Arts Graduation Speech 2012

Great inspiration and advice for artists of all stripes from Neil Gaiman graduation speech at the University of the Arts:

If you have an idea of what you want to make, what you were put here to do, then just go and do that. -- Neil Gaiman

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Hall of Fame/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time TarotTarot 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)


Purging Nastiness (Or, Wreck This Post)

Wreck journalJust came across a wonderful quote. Surprisingly, it was tacked on to the end of an Amazon review:

It is sad that we live in a society in which some of us need "permission" to cut, tear, mutilate, and destroy things in an effort to purge nastiness from our heads.

This observation was written by Sarah Deer, cancer survivor and smasher, on her review of  Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith (click here to read her review). 

I'd like to make a small addition to the above:

Mistakes smallerIt's equally sad when a writer uses fiction to purge such nastiness--and is persecuted, stalked, blacklisted, banned and avoided as a result of such catharsis.

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Hall of Fame/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time TarotTarot 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)


Launch Day for Tarot in Reverse!

Monday, May 28, 2012 is not only Memorial Day here in the U.S., but it's also publication day for Tarot in Reverse!

You know, even though this is my second traditionally-published book, the feeling of launching a new work into the world never gets old. In my excitement, I made a book trailer for Tarot in Reverse:

 

If you're as happy as I am about demystfying the murky world of Tarot reversals, here's a few ways you can support the launch of Tarot in Reverse:

TIR Wine Small1. Like the book's page on Amazon (the thumbs up button under my name at the top) at this link.

2. Order my book if you haven't already from your favorite online retailer or brick-and-mortar bookstore. ISBN 0764341014

3. When you receive the book, would you be so kind to post a review (or paste the one you've already written) to Amazon.com at this link, and perhaps on GoodReads, too, at this link?

4. Make an announcement in your favorite Tarot group, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, GoodReads your blog--wherever you're willing--between now until Tuesday morning, saying something like "Today's the launch day for Janet Boyer's Tarot in Reverse! I can't wait to read it!" or "I have it and I love it!" (if you do have it, and love it, of course!)

5. Participate on my launch party thread I'll be making on the Tarot in Reverse Facebook page here.

6. Send me, and the book, good vibes.

Thank you so much for supporting my work!

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Hall of Fame/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time TarotTarot 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)


Unstuffed Peppers

It's a pain to actually make stuffed peppers, so I create what I call Unstuffed Peppers. Enjoy!

Stuffed peppers 500

Unstuffed Peppers Recipe

3 large green peppers

2 pounds ground beef (the less fat, the better)

1 large onion, chopped

2 cans of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)

2 Cups cooked rice (I prefer brown)

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon minced garlic (from a jar is fine)

Fresh ground pepper (as much as you want)

1-2 teaspoons sugar (optional)

Fresh basil (optional, around 10 leaves)

2 Cups (8 oz) shredded cheese (Mexican mix, cheddar or mozarella)

Additional cheese for top, if desired

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Cut tops from the green peppers. Make vertical slices around the seeds and membrances (large rectangles). Discard seeds and membranes (cut them out if you need to). Take the tops, cut out the stem, and chop the rest of the green pepper. 

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, bring about 2 quarts of water to a boil. Drop in large pepper pieces. Boil around 7-10 minutes, until soft.

In the meantime, in Dutch oven or lage pot, combine grounde beef, chopped green pepper, onion, garlic, salt and pepper until meat is brown. Add the Worcestershire sauce, optional sugar and optional chopped basil to meat mixture.

Add the cooked riced and diced tomatoes. Mix in shredded cheese until melted. 

Transfer meat mixture to a large glass dish, about 12 x 9 inches. Strain large pepper pieces out of the water and place on top of the meat mixture (it will cover it solid). Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with additional cheese (if desired). Put it back in the oven until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. 

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Hall of Fame/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time TarotTarot 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)


Win Books by Judika Illes, Barbara Moore and Adrienne Trafford!

Who wants to win Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints & Sages by Judika Illes and/or Tarot Spreads: Layouts & Techniques to Empower Your Readings by Barbara Moore and/or Journey Oracle by Adrienne Trafford? You can win one, two or all THREE (if you want), no matter where in the world you live.

TIR 3 BOOKS small
Just stroll on over to my Tarot in Reverse Facebook page at http://fb.me/TAROTinREVERSE to see how you can earn scads of entries to win any one (or all three) of these wonderful goodies. Good luck, and thanks for helping me to celebrate the launch of Tarot in Reverse (pub day in 9 days!)

 -- Janet Boyer, Amazon Hall of Fame/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time TarotTarot 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)


Are You a Writer Mama? You Can Win Books (Including Tarot in Reverse!)

Writer Mama Baby 300Are you a Writer Mama? Well, do I have good news for you!

Writer's Digest author Christina Katz is giving away my new Tarot in Reverse on her blog today--Day 17 of her Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway 2012!

Click here to go to the Tarot in Reverse post. Just answer a short question about your writing process right in the comments section. 

And while you're in a bookish/writing mood, do check out Christina's fantastic books The Writer's Workout, Get Known Before the Book Deal and Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids

Best of luck!

 -- Janet Boyer, Amazon Hall of Fame/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time TarotTarot 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)


Win a Signed Copy of Tarot in Reverse!

Schiffer TIR Moon 250Who wants to win a signed copy of Tarot in Reverse...before it ever hits online retailers or bookstores?

I received some author copies on Saturday, so I'm giving away not one, but two signed copies of Tarot in Reverse! You'll have multiple chances to win the random drawing, too.

Just go to the special giveaway thread on the Tarot in Reverse Facebook page (click here) to see how you can rack up lots of entries.

Better hurry, though: contest ends Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 at 10 PM EST! And the extra-special good news? You're eligible no matter where in the world you live.

 -- Janet Boyer, Amazon Hall of Fame/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time TarotTarot 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)


Angel Tarot

Angel Tarot Cover 300"Tarot has touched the lives of countless individuals, giving them peace, comfort, and insight in times of joy as well as in times of challenge. It's one of the most accurate ways to receive detailed guidance about your future and answers to your questions. Consulting tarot cards is like spending time with a dear wise relative who acknowledges both the shadows and the joys of life." - From the companion book to the Angel Tarot

I'm in a unique position to write this review because I not only use Tarot decks, but also oracle decks. I own every Doreen Virtue deck made thus far, and have reviewed over 100 oracle decks. Yet, I'm also a Tarot expert with two Tarot books to my name, various Tarot eBooks and my own Tarot deck-in-progress with my husband (Snowland Tarot)--as well as an international group Tarot blog.

Oh, and I also own about 200 Tarot decks, over 250 Tarot books--and have reviewed over 100 Tarot decks, too.

I'm stating this information to give you a sense of where I'm coming from, because strict angel oracle users may not touch a Tarot deck with a 20 foot pole because of the (erroneous) bad press Tarot has gotten. On the other hand, hardcore Tarot uses may not touch a Virtue deck with a 200-foot pole--feeling her work is shallow, fluffy and virtually worthless.

Well, I'm here to tell you that:

1. Tarot isn't evil or "dangerous" (why Doreen even uses the word "safe deck" to describe Angel Tarot is beyond me).

2. These cards have merit as a Tarot deck. In fact, the Angel Tarot surprised me with is ability to speak deeply and accurately.

3. Angel Tarot is a perfect bridge between Doreen's angel oracle decks and the Tarot...especially for those completely new to the latter.

Angel Tarot 0The Angel Tarot, like all traditional Tarot decks, contains 78 cards: 22 Major Arcana, 40 Minor Arcana and 16 Court Cards. The Minor Arcana suits are Air (dark blue borders), Fire (burgundy borders), Water (teal borders) and Earth (forest green borders). The Majors have indigo borders, but are, unfortunately, almost the same color as the Air suit.

The Major Arcana retains most of the usual card names, except:

* The Fool becomes The Dreamer
* The Hierophant becomes Unity
* The Hanged Man becomes Awakening
* Death becomes Release
* Temperance becomes Balance
* The Devil becomes Ego
* The Tower becomes Life Experience

Lest you think that the card renames are too gentle, I can assure you that the authors have captured the essence of traditional Tarot. For example, Life Experience cautions about rapid, inevitable change...or that time is running out. For Ego, the authors warn that there's an unhealthy focus on material possessions or accumulating more "stuff", gently pointing out that this behavior likely stems from feeling (and trying to fill) an emotional void.

The 133-page companion booklet to the Angel Tarot, co-authored with Radleigh Valentine, is quite good--better than most Little White Books that come with Tarot decks. Because I've read (and written!) so much about Tarot, I didn't expect to discover much new in the book--expecting only trite meanings and the very basics.

Yet, the authors pack a lot of great information in the companion book, including situations, meanings, people and keywords associations for the cards. The Court Card meanings are especially well done, with relevant, pointed descriptions and definitions (their designations are Page, Knight, Queen and King).

Angel Tarot 13The images of the Angel Tarot cards are vibrant, striking and pretty--akin to the very best artwork from among Doreen's other decks. However, quite a few cards are also repetitive, which not only doesn't make sense, but is also a huge disappointment (especially since many Tarot enthusiasts rely on artistic differences to glean intuitive insights from the cards).

For example, most of the Water suit cards (usually known as Cups) looks the same: various golden chalices scattered at the bottom of blue, watery depths with translucent merpeople floating around. The Wheel of Fortune and The World feature the EXACT same male figure in both (even the same stance), and he's also on the card backing.

The Air suit cards, represented by unicorns, are also a bit repetitive, showing a bunch of horned creatures in a meadow for several images.

However, the images within most of the Angel Tarot are not only beautiful and detailed, but can also be used to cull accurate impressions and messages. To further aid readers, there are helpful key phrases at the bottom of every card. For the Court Cards, there are also keywords at the top, while the Major Arcana depicts card numbers (Justice is 8 and Strength 11 in this deck), as well as the angel related to the card (for example, Archangel Uriel correlates to The Sun, while Archangel Metatron connects to The Chariot).

Unlike many of Doreen's oracle decks, the  Angel Tarot does NOT have gold edging. And, because the cards are quite thick and there's 78 of them instead of the usual 44, it's a bit of a challenge to shuffle them hand-over-hand (but the "finger painting" method works great!).

I've used this deck several times already, and have been surprised at the accuracy of my readings. My husband and son tried the deck out, too, and each drew cards that spoke directly to the situation they asked about. For my husband and I, the image, itself, also provided additional intuitive insight apart from the key phrases and traditional meanings we've come to associate with the cards.

Angel Tarot 12The companion book to the Angel Tarot includes the Celtic Card spread, as well as the usual instructions on how to consecrate and clear a deck. The upside down cards in a spread, also known as reversals, aren't addressed in this book (if you want to learn more about the value of reversals, try my book Tarot in Reverse: Making Sense of the Upside Down Cards in a Tarot Spread from Schiffer Publishing).

If the borders of the Major Arcana and Air suit weren't similar in color, and if about a dozen of the images weren't so repetitive, I'd say the Angel Tarot was on par with the best of them. Admittedly, though, compared to some Tarot decks being produced, it's definitely a cut above most. (Doreen as the 9 of Water is a bit tacky, though.)

If you're curious about Tarot but have only used Doreen's other oracle cards, the Angel Tarot will provide a good bridge for you--especially with the key phrases printed right on the cards. If you're a Tarot enthusiast who loves angels, unicorns, mermaids, fairies and other ethereal creatures, you'll likely adore this deck.

However, if you're a fan of "darker" Tarot decks (Thoth, Deviant Moon, Ludy Lescot, Archeon, Gothic, Vampyre, etc.)--or ones that "hit you in the face" with the unvarnished (and, sometimes, ugly) truth--then I doubt you'll value the Angel Tarot.

To see 15 more images from this deck, click here.

 -- Janet Boyer, Amazon Hall of Fame/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time TarotTarot 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)