I had the pleasures of meeting Shannon as Jennifer ShadowFox (her pseudonym) through our mutual non-fiction Tarot work. She, too, writes Tarot books and creates decks.
But Shannon is also a fiction writer! (A feat I'm trying to balance, myself). I asked Shannon if she'd share some of her writing quirks and advice with my blog readers and I'm thrilled she said yes! Without further ado, here's Shannon:
I’m by nature somewhat…ah…quirky, so normal is a real relative term. These are the things that immediately come to mind:
1. I read all my dialogue aloud with the corresponding accents. Normally that’s not a bad thing, but I have occasional bouts of “wandering mind” and the folks in line with me at Walmart get a taste of what’s going on in my head. Makes for some interesting looks. I’ve taken to wearing my Bluetooth whenever I’m out in public so at least it looks like I’m talking to someone other than myself.
2. There must be rain. I love rainy days, overcast and stormy. If there’s no rain, I pipe it in. Yes, Virginia – there’s an app for that. If I’m editing, I keep the TV on low in the background. I usually put the “movie du jour” on and keep track of how long I’ve been working by how many times I’ve restarted it. Right now, Wreck It Ralph is on the second showing of the night. If I’m actually writing, it’s rain only. Anything else is distracting. I prefer writing at night to day.
3. I listen to music to help me get in the mood – during the writing of The Celtic Knot: Suit of Cups and Rogue on the Rollaway, I listened to a lot of Loreena McKennitt and Gaelic Storm. For The Gypsy Ribbon: Suit of Wands, it was all Def Leppard, Winger, Bon Jovi and 80s hair bands. I’m now working on The French Twist: Suit of Swords and I’m listening to a lot of…you guessed it…country music. *cue evil laugh*
4. I write books on Tarot in addition to paranormal romance, but my worlds collide from time to time. You may have noticed a pattern in the romances…it’s a different type of discipline writing nonfiction, but no less demanding. It may be a left/right brain thing. Either way, working on Tarot requires Lord of the Rings or something equally epic in the background.
5. I carry a notebook with me almost everywhere to jot things down. If I find a phrase I like in a book, I write it down. Witty lines, snappy comebacks, cool words that I don’t normally use…anything that might be useful later goes into the book. That serves two purposes – it commits to memory what I like and provides a jumpstart if I get stuck later. When I have a case of “whitescreenitis” I just flip open the book and look for something that fits.
6. I find I write longer and better with a cat on my lap. There’s so much guilt involved with disturbing a snoring cat, I will sit until my legs go numb before I’ll move her.
Advice for writers: I never participated in critique groups where people you don’t know tell you how good/bad your work is, so I can’t really tell you how effective that is. I’m astonished at the number of books that tell you how to write. Hell, if I read even a third of those I wouldn’t have time to write at all. Reading books on how to write is like reading books on how to fish or bowl – the only way you’re going to learn to do either is by doing it.
That being said, I have two books that I do highly recommend – Stephen King’s On Writing (one of the best books ever written – ought to be required reading, so it should) and The Writer’s Little Helper by James V. Smith Jr.
And I just have to share my favorite writing tip ever. I struggled with active vs. passive voice until I read this: If you can insert “by/from zombies” after the verb, it is passive voice:
She was running (from zombies) = passive voice
Zombies chased (from zombies) her = active voice
(Thanks to Professor Rebecca Johnson for this great tip.)
Overall I love the process and even the quirks make it more interesting. I’m not quite at the “having to wear my lucky socks to create” stage, but I suspect it’s not far off. I’ve got the perfect pair all picked out.
About Shannon: In between writing and daydreaming about sexy Celts, Shannon MacLeod lives a life of servitude to two spoiled cats. She enjoys pondering the mysteries of Tarot, rainy days, good music, lively craic and spending long hours staring at her beloved ocean. An avid wearer of dangerously high heels, she watches Lord of the Rings more than any sane person should and can, in fact, reenact entire battle scenes using interpretive dance. Shannon is the author of two paranormal romances from Lyrical Press: The Celtic Knot: Suit of Cups (Arcana Love Volume 1), Rogue on the Rollaway (coming 10/01/13) and The Gypsy Ribbon: Suit of Wands (Arcana Love Volume 2, coming 2014).
Shannon is also a proud member of Romance Writers of America and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. Visit her online at ShannonMacLeod.com.
At 4 PM EST 11/20/13, I'll be on Kosmic Koffee with Kooch. Dax Carlisle, my former co-host for Tarot Today Radio--and co-founder of the Tarot Guild, as well as founder/CEO of Rainbow Psychics--will be guest interviewing me as Kooch visits India.
Rumor has it that this interview may be explosive, and likely controversial. ::wink:: Click here to go to the show page.
Totally freaking out about my appearance on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory this Friday.
I know, pathetic...right?
Well, it's one thing to host or co-host upteen shows on BlogTalkRadio. Quite another to be on national radio talking to a guy I see on the History Channel's Ancient Aliens!
If you're in the United States, Canada, Guam or Virgin Islands, you can fnd a local radio station to listen in at this link. I'll be on from 1 AM to 3 AM EST November 8, 2013. I may even do live readings. If you live elsewhere, I do believe this page broadcasts live online. George and I will be talking Tarot and I think I may even do live readings.
Wish me luck!
UPDATE: You can hear my C2C interview on DropBox at this link.
Since it's All Saint's Day, I thought I'd introduce you to one of my favorite saints--and the inspiration behind our Nurturer - Energy (aka Queen of Wands) card from our Snowland Deck. This is an excerpt from the Snowland Intuitive Workbook, which includes information about her legend, associated symbols (especially eyes), keywords, intuitive questions for journaling, wring prompts, affirmations and a "secret":
known as Saint Lucy, Lucia stands at the center of several official stories and
unofficial histories. Most of these say that Lucia was set to be wed in an
arranged marriage, but because she didn’t want to, her eyes were gouged out—
either by her own hand, or by others in torture. In all cases, her eyes were
miraculously healed. Thus, Lucia is associated with healing and averting all
eye disease. In fact, it’s reported that the poet Dante Alighieri credited
Saint Lucy with healing his eyes that were damaged after crying when his
beloved Beatrice died (Lucy appears in his masterpiece Inferno).
Other legends surround Lucia, including attempts to burn
her alive because of her refusal to marry (the flames spontaneously died out)
and her accompaniment to Father Christmas on gift-giving rounds. According to The Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints &
Sages by Judika Illes, “Before the
Gregorian calendar reform of 1582, the Feast of Saint Lucy fell on the
shortest, darkest day of the year, the winter solstice. The name Lucy derives
from a Latin word meaning ‘light’. Lucy the Lightbringer rules that longest
night. It is considered an optimum time for magic spells, divination and
spiritual activity. In Austria, Lucy’s Light is a folk name for second sight—psychic ability.”
Her feast day is December 13.
Eyes are one of the main symbols associated with
Lucia. She’s often shown carrying a plate with her eyes on it, and captains of
Mediterranean fishing boats sometimes paint her eyes on the prows so the ships
can “see” as they navigate the water. There are even eye-shaped amulets called
Los Ojitos de Santa Lucia, which are reported to ward off the Evil Eye, and are
often given as gifts to babies and children. One of her sacred botanicals is
the golden trumpet tree (Tecoma stans),
also known as Saint Lucy’s Eyes, which is a plant containing psychoactive
Perhaps the most familiar representation of Lucia is during the Feast
of Saint Lucy in Sweden
where households designate one girl to embody the saint (usually the family’s
eldest or youngest daughter). The girl gets up before sunrise and prepares
breakfast and coffee for the rest of the household while wearing a white dress
and a crown of lit candles.
Purity; Virginal; Overcoming Darkness; Clairvoyance; Light Worker; Second
Sight; Sixth Sense; Avoiding Envy; Way Shower; Clarity of Vision; Seeing
Within; Inner Eye; Eyesight
How can I enhance my psychic sight? How does intuition speak to me? What makes me envious? What is my “inner eye” seeing right
now? How might I avoid envy? Who am I jealous of right now? In what ways can I take care of my
An Evil Eye talisman that works “The eyes have it” A story/poem containing the following
words: Eyes; Light; Psychic; Candles; Amulet Breakfast on St. Lucy’s Day A ship that “sees”
I see clearly. I honor my Sixth Sense. I remain pure.
our Inner Sight helps others to see clearly, too.