Tarot Tuesday! Pick Your Card

It’s time for Tarot Tuesday once again! I hope you’re all doing well!

This week’s pull is from The Good Tarot by Colette Baron-Reid. These cards are just gorgeous and have so much energy when I’m working with them!

If you’re interested in a personal reading, please see the end of this post or come find me on eBay.

Study the photo below and see which card calls to you (1, 2, or 3). You may want to know what the week holds for you in general, or you may have a specific question in mind. Regardless of what you want to know, let your spirit guide you on your card. You’ll find the cards and their meanings below.

Are you ready? Scroll down to find your card!

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#1 – Ten of Earth: This card represents material wealth, financial security, wealth, and knowledge. It shows that you’ve worked hard, and it’s time to step back and observe the results of everything you’ve been building.

#2 – The Magician – All things are possible, even miracles! You can do a lot on your own, through your own will and hard work, but you must also bring in the spiritual energy around you to fuel that magic. Tap into your spiritual side and see what happens!

#3 – Hierophant – Commit yourself to a spiritual practice to deepen your relationship to the divine. Prayer, meditation, gratitude, and rituals will only benefit you and help you tap into the goddess you have inside. If you’re considering an exchange of vows, this is a good time.

Which card did you pick? Did it mean anything for you? I’d love to know, so feel free to leave me a comment!

The Good Tarot

Interested in a Tarot Reading?

You’ll receive a photo of the actual cards drawn and a thorough explanation of their meaning. The readings are done through email, so please ensure a valid email address is included with your payment! This is for a generalized reading. If you have a specific question or needs, please feel free to email me at ashley@ashleyomelia.com or come visit me on eBay (see link below) and we can arrange it easily. Thank you!

$10.00

Come find me on eBay!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Please note that I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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Discovering the Lost Art of Letter Writing

Or perhaps the title should say Rediscovering, because it isn’t as though I’ve never written a letter before! Anyway…

You never know where clicking that “Accept Invitation” button will lead you!

A friend of mine invited me to join a Facebook group of likeminded women recently. I didn’t have to think about accepting, since I’ve been really enjoying focused groups on Facebook for quite some time. I belong to at least one group for pretty much everything I’m into, whether it’s cross stitch, writing, fountain pens, or bearded dragons.

Soon afterwards, a pen pal project arose within the group where members would be randomly assigned to another member to write to for a couple of months. I didn’t have to think at all about joining the project. An excuse to use my vintage fountain pens? Yes, please! What could go wrong?

Well, maybe not wrong, but it’s certainly given me yet another hobby. I’d forgotten just how much I love writing letters. Even more so, I love getting them! I couldn’t settle for just one pen pal, and so I joined yet another Facebook group which focuses specifically on that. The next thing I knew, I was buying digital stationery to print out on my favorite high-quality paper. That led to envelope templates that I could trace onto scrapbook paper, and these envelopes are way cuter than what’s available in the office supply store. Then came stickers, stamps, and so many glorious rolls of washi tape!

While I really do love using the materials, I have to say it’s also wonderful to find a way to connect with people offline. Especially in a time when we’re all stuck at home more than usual, it’s refreshing to take a short trip downtown to check the post office box, and even more so to sit down with a pen and paper to reply.

So much of our lives happens on a screen, whether it’s a phone, a computer, or a television. There’s no doubt that the digital world has truly come into its own during the pandemic. Zoom meetings, remote learning, online grocery orders. It’s all really fantastic in so many ways. That online world has brought me offline, where I’d much rather be.

It’s also been interesting to find out how many people have never sent a letter in their life, who post in the group questions about how to address an envelope, how to buy a stamp, or even how to use a mailbox. I’ve even met a few who can’t read cursive. I’m not criticizing these people, especially because I know some of them are younger than I am and probably grew up writing emails to Grandma instead of letters. I just think it’s interesting that it’s already something that’s so old-fashioned as to become a novelty.

Have you had a pen pal, or do you now? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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Close up hot cappuccino white coffee cup with heart shape latte art on dark brown old wood table at cafe,food and drink concept.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Filed under Fountain Pens and Ink, On Writing

Tarot Tuesday: Pick Your Card!

We’ve made it through the drudgery of Monday, so it’s time to see what the rest of the week holds! This week’s draw is from the Animal Tarot deck by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine. I love all the beautiful animals in this deck and the way that everything is connected to nature. If you’re interested in a personal reading, please see the bottom of this post.

Study the picture below. If you have a question or situation you’re concerned about, hold that in the front of your mind as you choose your card. You can also simply pick the one that calls to you. When you’re ready, scroll down to find the meaning of your card.

Ready?

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#1 – Four of Spring: This card is all about happiness and home. It represents joy and satisfaction that may come from having a happy relationship or having completed a task. There’s a potential for an addition to your home life, which could be a marriage, a birth, or a new home.

#2 – Life Experience: Important changes are coming! These might be changes you’ve been contemplating, or they may be a complete surprise. The cuckoo is known for being a graceful bird who heralds the coming of change, and it’s reminding you to embrace that change. Note the butterflies in the image who look like they’re taking an annual migration. This shows that even the biggest changes are sometimes exactly what we need!

#3 – Six of Winter: Challenging times are over, and brighter days are ahead! Though it may be hard, it’s time to let the past go and breathe a sigh of relief. This card could also signify travel or relocation. The Rescue Cat is the card that I chose this round, and it’s one of my absolute favorites in this deck! The message is obviously a pleasant one, but I also really like that it so closely represents my own rescue cat, Nermal!

Which card did you pick? What did it mean for you? I’d love to know, so feel free to leave a comment.

Interested in a tarot reading?

You’ll receive a photo of the actual cards drawn and a thorough explanation of their meaning. The readings are done through email, so please ensure a valid email address is included with your payment! This is for a generalized reading. If you have a specific question or needs, please feel free to email me at ashley@ashleyomelia.com or come visit me on eBay (see link below) and we can arrange it easily. Thank you!

$10.00

Visit me on eBay!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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Guest Post: What You Need to Know Before Creating Your Book Marketing Strategy

by Hayley Zelda

No matter how well you write, how many followers you have on Commaful or Wattpad, or how many contacts you have in publishing, your book won’t sell unless you plan a roadmap or a marketing strategy. Before you create your Tumblr content or social media calendars, you should have a solid understanding of your strengths and weaknesses as a writer. You also need to determine the opportunities and threats that await you as a published author. 

There are several steps you can take to ensure you have a strong foundation for your marketing strategy. By being fully aware of your brand, personality, and voice, you can easily step up your marketing efforts. 

We will look at some of the matters you need to address as part of your book strategy and author marketing.

Your goals

What do you want to accomplish in three to five years? Goals are a broader statement that focuses on your desired results but does not yet describe how you will achieve them. Think long term. Aspire and aim high.

Examples of author goals include:

  • Publish the sequel to my novel.
  • Build a strong fan base.
  • Get interviewed on a podcast or TV show.
  • Hire a literary agent.

Your objectives

What will success look like in 6 to 12 months? Write down two goals that you know are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). As you write each goal, try to answer the following questions: What do I want to achieve? When? How do I know when it has been reached? How can I accomplish this goal? Does it seem worthwhile?

Here are some example goals:

  • Submit the sequel’s manuscript to a Big Five editor by December 2021. 
  • Set up my Goodreads author listing within the workweek.
  • Write a compelling pitch letter to my researched list of business book summary podcasters. 
  • Email three writer friends in my niche and ask them about recommended agents on Saturday.

Your value

Marketers often ask, “What’s your unique selling proposition”? To keep it simple, let’s rephrase the question: what do you have to offer? What makes you different from other authors? Unless you can identify what makes you unique as a writer, you cannot target your marketing efforts. Put yourself in the shoes of your reader. What motivates them to read your work? Why should they read your book and not someone else’s? 

Some examples to get creative juices flowing:

  • My screenplay is just like Jane Austen’s “Emma,” only set in Beverly Hills.
  • My novel is Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” meets fuzzy, cuddly kittens. 
  • A newly crowned king must comfort his people during troubling times. The only trouble is, he stutters very badly.

Your niche

Are you a fiction or non-fiction writer? Do you write short stories, poems, or novels? Or do you write how-to books or creative essays? What genre(s) does your work fall into? Does it have a sub-genre or a niche? Here’s a pro tip: If you’re writing in different categories like young adult fantasy and murder mystery, create pseudonyms for each genre. You don’t want to weaken your brand as an author if readers identify you with several but very different niches. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Dystopian science fiction stories and novels
  • Thriller novels with a female protagonist
  • English haiku about life in New York City

Your audience

Visualize who will want to buy your book. Are they male, female, LGBT, or gender doesn’t matter? Are they kids, pre-teens, teenagers, or older? Where in the world do they live in? What are their interests? What kind of websites do they often visit? What are their pain points? Keep these factors in mind as you both work on and promote your book. 

Examples of audience personas include:

  • Mayumi is a 36-year-old wife and mother of two who lives in San Francisco. She is a second-generation Asian-American and wants to know more about her Filipino heritage. 
  • Billy is a 27-year-old computer game enthusiast. He stays up late at night with his roommates playing fantasy role-playing games, rhythm and music party starters, and retro classics on his custom-rigged desktop computer. 
  • Jeannie is an accomplished 50-year-old entrepreneur who co-owns a local chain of healthy lifestyle retail stores. Her day isn’t complete without a cup of oolong tea, a daily phone call with her career coach, and a 30-minute yoga session. 

Your environment

Environmental factors are elements over which you have no control. Nonetheless, these factors still influence the decisions made when creating a strategic marketing plan. Study your writing environment from a macro and a micro perspective. Think of your suppliers, your customers, the general public, other authors. Analyze what’s going on in politics, law, economics, technology, and business that may affect your writing and marketing activities. 

Some environmental factors are:

  • The strict censorship policies in some countries make it difficult for your publisher to distribute your paranormal romance in different parts of the world.
  • The lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic force people to stay home for months. As a result, your audience now prefers to buy e-books.
  • Besides being a creative writer, you are the single mother of a two-year-old boy and write creative non-fiction from the home office.

Getting started on your marketing strategy

If you are a first-time author, a fully documented marketing strategy may seem overwhelming to you. If so, you can narrow down the essential information to drive your approach (which we discussed earlier) to just one page. Planning your marketing strategy takes a lot of time and effort, so it’s best to list all the “materials” you will need before putting everything together.

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Hayley Zelda is a writer and marketer at heart. She’s written on all the major writing platforms and worked with a number of self-published authors on marketing books to the YA audience.

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Book Review/Rant: Dangerous to Know by Barbara Taylor Bradford

I really need to do a better job of playing book roulette.

Although I’d taken a bit of a break from my bookshelf cleanout while I worked on some other projects, the cold rainy weather has put me in the mood to curl up with a hot mug of coffee and a good book.

I got the coffee part right.

I selected Dangerous to Know by Barbara Taylor Bradford mostly because the volume contained two novels and I’d already read one of them. (That was probably about ten years ago…oops!) This made for a quick way to clear out some shelf space.

As I usually do in a book review, I’ll start with what I liked. Bradford uses her eloquent descriptive powers to create gorgeous backdrops in the mind’s eye. The flawless writing made the beginning of Dangerous to Know an intriguing read with distinctive characters and the sense that a major revelation would be divulged at every turn.

Then things got weird.

I don’t want to give away too much, in case you’re determined to read this book, but I certainly wish I hadn’t. While things are a little uncomfortable when it’s revealed that a woman ends up marrying her own guardian, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. What starts out like a classic murder mystery turns into fictional dirty laundry that I’m hard-pressed to understand why anyone would want to write or publish.

And when it comes to the structure of the plot, holy exposition, Batman! Aside from a few arguments, lunches, and memorial services, Dangerous to Know gives several main characters the chance to unload every grievance they’ve ever suffered. This reflective diarrhea isn’t unpleasant to read, but it kept me wondering when the real story was about to start. It turns out that’s not until the very end, when an elderly deus ex machina steps forward to save the reader from the monotony of it all and fill us in on just how screwed up her family truly is.

Overall, I’m glad this experience is over. Wish me luck as I head to the bookshelf for my next read!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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Book Review/Rant: The Missing Ink by Karen E. Olson

I almost drowned this book in the bathtub. That’s where I was when it really started to piss me off.

I’ll try to be as fair as possible and start off with what I did like about The Missing Ink. Olson does a good job of establishing the main characters and the feel of Las Vegas from a non-tourist perspective (at least as far as I can tell, never having been there myself). She keeps the story moving with new clues around every corner and lots of action scenes.

Now, in regard to establishing characters, it seems Olson wanted the main character to be a real jerk. Brett Kavanaugh (nice choice of names, not that she would’ve known that back in 2009) is a tattoo artist. I get that maybe she’s not going to be the most sophisticated person around, but it seems Olson forgot that the main character has to be at least somewhat likeable.

Brett’s coworker is a little person. Her name is Bitsy (really?) and she drives a Mini Cooper (double really?). Brett gets frustrated with the noise of Bitsy dragging around a wooden stool, which she needs in order to be able to reach things around the shop. At one point, Brett hears Bitsy getting really excited about something in the other room and says to herself, “It was like she’d finally found the Emerald City.”

It was at this point that I nearly drowned the book.

I didn’t, which is how I know that Brett also makes a lot of mental comments about her other coworker, Joel, who’s 300 pounds. He’ll slow her down when she’s trying to follow someone. He stands out in a crowd when wearing a white t-shirt. He won’t fit in Bitsy’s car. He never needs an excuse for sweets. Weight Watchers would make a lot of money off him. All probably true, but not very nice. And then Brett has the nerve to judge someone else for being judgy.

Brett is further established as being kind of an idiot. Her brother is a detective, and she constantly withholds evidence from him just so she can check things out herself. I completely understand that any mystery is going to demand that the main character do some of this, but it’s just way too much. In fact, Brett was avoiding her brother so much that I was starting to think he must be the bad guy. (Spoiler alert: he’s not.)

The mystery itself was somewhat decent for the most part, but by the time I finally got to the finale where all was revealed, it just wasn’t worth all the frustration of having to deal with the main character.

Now, I know this book was published in 2009, and a lot of things have changed over the last few years. Even so, I don’t think I’ll be picking up another book by this Karen.

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Diving into the World of Vintage Fountain Pens

I’ve always loved the idea of fountain pens, and a few years ago I started buying a few. More recently, I was interested in trying out some vintage pens, but I didn’t know where to start. When I asked for advice in an online group, some folks guided me toward websites for professional restorers. Other told me not to bother with anything vintage, because I was guaranteed to get a dud and be bummed about wasting my money.

Just because I ask for advice doesn’t mean I always listen to it! I’ve since purchased several vintage model through eBay. I have had a couple of duds, but I’ve also experienced the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Honestly, my Sheaffer Balance (c. 1937-1942) is my absolute favorite pen. If I had to get rid of all my fountain pens and only keep one, this would be the one on my desk.

Though I’m by no means an expert, I thought I’d pass along a few things I’ve learned along the way.

Restored or Original Condition: You have to know ahead of time if you want to buy a pen that needs restoration or one that’s already been restored. The ink sac in many older pens will likely be crumbled and useless, so you have to be prepared to replace this (and possibly work on other parts of the pen) if you buy a pen that’s not already been worked on. Read the listing carefully so you know if the item is in working condition and has a new sac. You’ll spend a lot less money if you’re willing to do the work yourself, but you’ll need to the know-how and the supplies. Personally, I have enough on my plate without another hobby, so I always buy restored.

Research: It helps to do your research ahead of time, before the auction is down to the last minute and you’re desperately trying to outbid someone. If a pen catches your eye, hit that search bar and see what you can find out about it! An internet search can tell you a lot about the history of the pen, including how old or rare it may be. Don’t forget to look for other eBay listings of the same pen so you know if you’ll have another chance. It also helps to know what kind of nib and filling system you’re interested in.

My favorite vintage finds: Sheaffer Balance, Eberhard-Faber Perma-Point, and Conklin Endura

Know Your Filling Systems: I still have plenty to learn myself, and since most vintage pens aren’t cartridge/converter pens, it’s wise to know what you’re getting into. For instance, that Sheaffer Balance I mentioned is a vacuum-fill. I wanted it because I thought it was neat, but a fellow aficionado made a good point: vac-fills are difficult to clean, so using any ink that’s waterproof, shimmering, corrosive, or iron gall would be a bad idea. Instead of changing colors out regularly, it’s better to pick a color and stick with it. (I chose Monteverde’s Olivine.) Other pens may be lever fill, touchdown, snorkel, etc., so figure out what will work best for you!

Know Your Nibs: What kind of nib do you like on a fountain pen? It seems that most vintage pens are fine or extra fine, with a few flexible nibs to be had. If you’re looking for medium, broad, or stub, you have a little more work ahead of you. Check for writing samples as part of the listing, and ask for one if it isn’t available. If the seller refuses because they don’t want to dirty the interior of the pen with ink, then you should move on. (A pen can also be dipped, tested, and rinsed, and I personally prefer writing samples so I know this is a nib I’ll like.)

There are also numerous different nib materials. It could be gold or steel, and the tipping material may yet be something different. If you don’t yet know what you like, this could be a great time to try it out!

Check the Seller: Like any listing on eBay, check the seller’s feedback and number of transactions to make sure they’re someone reliable to deal with. Find out what their return policy is. Look at their other listings, so you know if this is someone who deals with pens all the time or just happened to come across them at an estate sale. Ask questions before you buy.

You might not always get a pen you’re happy with. I have one that has a crack in the section that keeps it from feeding correctly. Another had a new ink sac, but the cap doesn’t fit correctly and it just dries out. My husband snagged one that writes beautifully…when you can get it to start. There are going to be some issues, as you may be dealing with something that’s close to a hundred years old. Do your research, be patient, and don’t get caught up in the urgency of an auction.

Have you purchased any vintage pens? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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Halloween Tarot Draw: Pick Your Card!

It’s Halloween! The veil is at it’s thinnest, and it’s time to soak up as much of that spirit magic as possible! It’s a great day to do a tarot card reading, don’t you think?

Study the picture below. If you have a question or situation you’re concerned about, hold that in the front of your mind as you choose your card. You can also simply pick the one that calls to you. When you’re ready, scroll down to find the meaning of your card.

Ready?

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#1 – Strength: The Strength card is pretty straightforward, suggesting strength, courage, determination, and the ability to take action. It’s a reminder to access all the power you have inside you (and you DO have it!) to go after your dreams.

#2 – The Devil: The Devil represents strange and unexpected occurrences. These don’t necessarily have to be bad experiences, but they’re certainly not ones you saw coming. It is also a reminder to be passionate, ambitious, and take action. You see the chains that are restraining the Devil on the card, and this is to show that you’re only held back if you allow yourself to be.

#3 – The Ten of Pentacles: The suit of Pentacles is all about material issues such as work and finance. The balanced images in this card show stability and permanence, and that your endeavors will bring you success. This isn’t the time to shake things up or rock the boat; just stick to convention and everything will be well.

Which card did you pick? What did it mean for you? I’d love to know, so feel free to leave a comment. And Happy Halloween!

Interested in a tarot reading?

You’ll receive a photo of the actual cards drawn and a thorough explanation of their meaning. The readings are done through email, so please ensure a valid email address is included with your payment! This is for a generalized reading. If you have a specific question or needs, please feel free to email me at ashley@ashleyomelia.com and we can get it arranged easily. Thank you!

$10.00

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Leave a comment

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Tarot Tuesday! Pick Your Card!

It’s been so hard to get around to these posts lately! I hurt my back a few weeks ago, and that left me barely getting through the day for about a week. Things are on the mend now, and it’s time to get back down to business. Let’s pick some cards for the week!

This card is from the Sacred Traveler Oracle deck by Denise Linn. In a time when many of us are faced with being stuck indoors or unable to travel, this is a great deck to help us think about new places as we work on our inner selves.

Choose the card from the picture below that calls to you the most (1, 2, or 3). If you have a question in mind, ask it. Let your heart and mind guide you.

Are you ready? Scroll down to find your card!

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#1 – Protected by Angels: You need to know that there are always angelic forces guiding your path. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, you’re heading in the right direction and constantly being guided. You simply need to be open, and you’ll feel their presence. You may even find physical evidence of this guidance in the form of a feather.

A secondary meaning for this card is that you are the healing, angelic force in someone else’s life.

#2 – Begin Now: It’s time to start that journey that’s been on your mind! This isn’t necessarily a physical journey, though it could be. Let go of anything that’s holding you back, and understand that you often have to let go of the old to bring in the new. You’ll never know what’s waiting out there for you unless you go find out for yourself!

#3 – Miracles: Something exciting and majestic is just waiting to happen in your life! Keep in mind that a miracle can take any number of forms. The more you pay attention to even the tiniest phenomena, the more you’ll see around you. Life itself is a miracle and a reason for celebration, so revel in the glory of it and know that bigger and better things are coming your way!

What card did you choose? What did it mean for you and the week ahead? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under Tarot and Oracle Cards

Contemplations on Romance as a Genre

I did a book review a while back on a Nora Roberts book. Someone left a rather snide remark on the shared post on my Facebook page, basically saying I was wrong for enjoying the book. I’ve thought about it a lot since then.

Romance as a genre is often thought about as smut for lonely moms that’s poorly written. I’ve caught myself thinking the same as I read for research. (Despite my passion for dragons and fantasy, most of my freelance work involves ghostwriting romance.) I’ve got plenty of books on the shelf from library book sales or that have been passed on by friends, and I dove into them expecting them to be terrible. I’ve actually found there are some really great stories between those cheesy covers.

Obviously, there’s got to be sort of appeal to the boy-meets-girl story. Even in action movies, the guy has to get the girl at the end, right? I personally find Die Hard to be an incredibly romantic story.

Perhaps the problem isn’t with romantic notions but in marketing. Current romance covers have changed quite a bit, no doubt in an effort to be appealing as a thumbnail for digital purchases. Shana Galen‘s books are an excellent example. I admit I always found the classic covers to be pretty amusing, with Fabio’s hair blowing in the wind and a simpering woman in a gauzy dress groveling at his feet. It’s corny, and it invites potential readers to judge the book by its cover. But hey, if you’re looking to get swept away by a romantic story, I guess that cover says it all!

I think we could also tackle the rather unhealthy relationships that are, well, romanticized in the genre. A couple who doesn’t communicate well enough to admit they’re crazy about each other can’t really have a happily-ever-after, can they? And why wouldn’t any reasonable woman run screaming for the hills when the man who’s so interested in her is known for being dangerous, either physically or mentally? I’ve thought a lot about whether romance creates unrealistic expectations. It might, but I think it’s also important for us to consider that real-life people aren’t perfect. You’ll find any number of people in the world who are bad with money or lose their temper or who suck at communicating or who leave their dirty socks on the floor, and yet they still manage to find The One. Maybe the romances we’re reading about are just far more relatable than we’d like to admit.

If you’re offended by the romance genre because of the sex, then I suggest you sell your television, cut up your library card, and trade your smartphone in for an old-fashioned flip phone. It’s everywhere. I’ve seen ‘worse’ stuff in music videos than I’ve read in some novels. In fact, most romance novels are about the emotional connection instead of explicit bedroom scenes. Sex is used as a marketing tool for men all the time, so what’s the problem if it’s marketed toward women? Would a cheap romance novel be an unacceptable marketing tool for a woman who has a lot of cooking and cleaning to do?

I certainly don’t have all the answers on this, but it’s something to think about. If you think romance novels are terrible, you might want to read a few and give them a fair shake. (Suggestions below) If you have read them and still hate them, then maybe just scroll along and let someone else enjoy the genre. It isn’t as though romance is going away any time soon!

For historical romance, try Shana Galen and Susie Murphy.

For something more modern, Nora Roberts is always a good start.

For fantasy romance, try Susan Carroll or J.R. Ward.

Who’s your favorite romance author, book, or series? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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