Tarot Tuesday!

I confess I missed Tarot Tuesday last week! I certainly didn’t mean to, but time has really been getting away from me lately. This week, time to forge ahead!

This card is from the Sacred Traveler oracle deck by Denise Linn. It’s really quite a stunning deck, and the matte finish on the cards feels wonderful in the hand.

Answering the Call: This card is the sign you’ve been looking for! It’s the call you must answer, because this is the time. There’s no more waiting around, feeling uncertain. Whether it’s that big decision or that exciting-but-scary thing you want to do, it’s time to do it.

I was lucky enough that this card was actually one I pulled for a friend seeking advice about her job. I often feel that the cards tell us what we already know, and I think this is the case here.

The artwork on the cards is important to me, and I think there’s an interesting message on Answering the Call. The lines in the trees and the deer’s antlers reflect similar lines on the ivy and tree behind the woman. It’s as though the entire universe conspires to help us make these choices, and even though our destiny is right there in front of us, sometimes we need it to be as obvious as a big wooden door to see it!

What does Answering the Call mean to you? Do you have any big decisions you’re making this week?

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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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Fountain Pen Review: Monteverde Essenza

I can’t tell you how many times I drooled over the Monteverde Essenza online. I constantly checked the prices on several retailers’ websites, hoping that someone would have it one some wild flash sale if I only managed to catch it at the right moment. It was just one of those things that reached right through the screen and told me it wanted to come home with me.

And now that it is home, let’s talk about it! The first thing I have to say is that this pen just looks nothing like the pictures online. It looks smooth, but the barrel and cap actually have long facets. Also, because it’s a resin pen, the colors are going to be slightly different on each one. I was personally hoping for a little more yellow, whereas mine is mostly blue. It’s still beautiful and a bit shimmery, but not what I expected.

This pen is heavy! I love a good heavy pen, though it can be a bit fatiguing for long writing sessions. It’s worth a little bit of muscle-building to experience this buttery smooth nib. This thing just glides!

I haven’t had any issues with leaking or assembling, and it feels like it’s well-made. It’s definitely one of my favorites!

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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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Fountain Pen Review: Pilot Metropolitan

What makes the perfect pen? One that’s not too thick or thin, not too heavy or light, and comes in all sorts of both conservative and wild colors? Oh, and it writes beautifully and consistently? Yes, the Goldilocks pen. And it’s the Pilot Metropolitan.

As I already said, the Metropolitan is a great size. It has just the right thickness, length, balance, and weight to make for long writing sessions without fatigue. The matte finish on the metal body just feels wonderful. The classic cigar shape and the multitude of colors means it’s pleasant to look at as well as to work with.

I actually have this in two colors, one in a fine nib and one in a medium. I love the fine when I’m working with cheaper paper, so that I don’t have to worry as much about bleedthrough. What I’m really looking for in a fountain pen is the smoothness of the writing experience and the ability to lay down a lot of ink without stopping, so the medium is great for plotting out novels.

I think it’s also really important that we talk about the price point on this pen. Though of course the price fluctuates a little from one retailer to another, the Metropolitan is around $20. I admit that there was a time when I felt that was expensive for a pen, which now makes me laugh. Even if this is at the high end of your pen budget, I promise it’s worth it.

The only downside to the Metropolitan is the included converter. It’s a bladder style, which means you can’t see exactly how much ink you’ve drawn up into it. That’s not a huge deal if you’re working at home right next to your ink bottle, but it’s a problem on the road. Fortunately, the pen is compatible with the Pilot CON-40, which is more like a traditional converter. I’ve heard this converter leaks some, but so far I haven’t had problems with mine.

In short, I’m just crazy about the Pilot Metropolitan. It feels amazing, writes wonderfully, and works extremely well as an everyday pen. I already own two and am considering a third, and my husband has a few of them as well. Five stars!

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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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Tarot Tuesday! Spirit Animal Oracle

Is it just me, or has today been a secondary Monday?

Today’s deck is the Spirit Animal Oracle by Colette Baron-Reid. I was immediately drawn to this deck due to the gorgeous animals it portrays, and I’ve always found the animal world to be an intriguing one. The matte finish on the cards makes them a joy to flip through, and the book that comes along with it is very detailed.

The porcupine spirit tells us to approach situations with innocence and curiosity. It’s time to throw out everything you’ve known before and enjoy things for what they truly are without the ghosts of your past hovering over them. Looking at the world with new eyes may help you find the things that you’ve been seeking, and perhaps they’ve been there all along.

This deck does allow for reversals, which are read with a protection message. For the porcupine, the message is to not be so prickly and cynical. You should always protect yourself, but don’t let that keep you away from things that will bring you abundance and happiness.

For me personally, I think both of these are incredibly powerful messages. It’s not easy to live in a time when everything we’ve known has changed, and holding on to an old perspective can be damaging. We could think of remote learning for students as a difficulty, but we could also look at it as a new challenge that will help our children grow and develop. Self-isolating could easily be construed as a time of stress and loneliness, but it could also be a wonderful time to explore our relationships or pursue projects that we haven’t had time for before.

What does the porcupine spirit mean to you?

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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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A Class Forsaken by Susie Murphy

If you’ve been reading Susie Murphy’s A Matter of Class series, then rejoice! A Class Forsaken is now available! I’m thrilled to be helping such a talented author get word of her latest release out into the world.

Since A Class Forsaken is the third in the series, I don’t want to give away too many spoilers. I do have to say that Murphy must own a time machine, or else she couldn’t possibly do such a good job of sucking a modern-day reader completely back into 1800’s Ireland. The story of Bridget and Cormac comes vividly to life in this sweeping tale of romance and the societal boundaries that make it so difficult.

If you’d like to read an excerpt of A Class Forsaken, you can download it here. You can also check out my reviews of A Class Apart and A Class Entwined.

And can we take a moment to appreciate these beautiful covers? I see so many that are just thrown together, but that’s absolutely not the case with this series! They say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but in this case you’re safe to do so!

If you’re interested in checking out the rest of the book tour, here are the links:

Monday 24th August

Book Reviews for U 
The Writing Desk 

Tuesday 25th August
Between My Lines 

Wednesday 26th August
The Lit Bitch 
Lisa Reads Books 

Thursday 27th August
Pursuing Stacie 
Coffee, Books and China Cups 

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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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Fountain Pen Review: Conklin Duragraph ‘Water’

I’m running behind on my pen reviews, so it’s time to catch up!

This Conklin Duragraph is from their Elements series, and I just couldn’t resist the mix of clear and colored resin for the ‘Water’ finish. I ordered it in a medium nib. I have it inked up here with Tobacco Sunburst by Diamine.

What I Love: I’ve had this pen since March (told you I was behind!), so I’ve had some time to really get to know it. This thing is just rock solid. It’s always a ready starter, with no need to encourage the ink to get flowing. I noticed as I was taking the pictures that there’s a bit of ink splattered on the inside of the cap. I can only conclude that this is from dropping it a few times, because it’s never leaked on me. The enclosed converter holds plenty of ink, and the nib is quite smooth. The pen is a great weight, and I feel like I could write with it all day without issue.

What I Don’t Love: This nib is really stiff, so it doesn’t always give me quite the feel I’m looking for when I’m writing. As I’ve noted, though, it’s still very smooth. The nib is black while the trim is rose gold, which I think looks a little silly.

Overall, I think this is a pretty great pen. I liked it enough that I my very next pen was a Conklin as well, but that’s a different review!

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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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Tarot Tuesday!

Tuesday has been quite a day, and I almost didn’t get this posted! This single-card spread is from Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine’s Animal Tarot set. These cards are full of gorgeous and fun animals, and I have such a good time working with it!

This card is about making decisions without hesitation, no matter what anyone else might think about them. It’s also about making sure you take care of yourself, even if there are others who need you. Just like they say during the safety check at the beginning of a flight, you have to put your own oxygen mask on first!

I’m terrible about this, to be honest. I’m always so worried about what my husband or my kids might need that I put myself on the backburner. As always, the cards are pointing out what I’ve been struggling with. I was actually just thinking as I went to pull a card that I don’t know what I want to do this evening, because I’m too concerned my own needs will overshadow what someone else wants.

I guess this means it’s time to work on some of the numerous projects I always have waiting on a To Do list and get some of them done!

I’ve paired this card with my Que Sera sphere, which is helpful for accepting and dealing with responsibilities. It’s one of my absolute favorite stones.

Are there any decisions you’ve been putting off?

What does the Two of Winter mean to you?

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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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World Building: Small Businesses

While we think a lot about plot when writing a story, it’s also vitally important to build the world around the events your character experiences. Where will they bump into an old flame? When they lose their job at a big corporation in the city, what mom ‘n’ pop shop will hire them?

Small businesses can be great fodder for many genres, but they are the backbone of cozy mysteries. The ones I’ve listed here can be run by only a handful of people, which makes for closer interactions between the employers. Have a family run the place and you have even more drama.

If you’d like other handy lists or articles to help keep you inspired, check out my Writers’ Resources page.

  • accountant’s office
  • antique store
  • art gallery
  • bakery
  • bank
  • book store
  • butcher shop
  • cafe
  • car repair/auto body
  • cleaning company
  • coffee shop
  • convenience store
  • computer repair
  • craft store
  • daycare
  • doctor’s office
  • flower shop
  • funeral home
  • gas station
  • hair salon
  • hardware store
  • horse stable
  • HVAC company
  • insurance office
  • interior design company
  • jewelry store
  • law office
  • lumber mill
  • music store
  • new age shop
  • organic grocery store
  • pet groomer’s
  • pet rescue
  • pet store
  • pharmacy
  • photography studio
  • plumbing company
  • real estate agency
  • tea shop
  • used car lot
  • video store

If there’s a business you’d like to see here, leave a comment and I’ll add it!

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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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Tarot Tuesday!

Let’s see what the week has in store for us! This single-card spread is from a very old tarot deck I picked up when I was a teenager. There’s no information as to the publisher or what the deck is called. If you recognize it and have any info, I’d love to know! It’s a similar style to the Rider-Waite/Smith-Waite classic decks.

The Three of Cups is about togetherness and celebration. It signifies holding each other up in support and love and the coming together of communities. It could possibly describe a very busy social calendar as well.

While it’s somewhat amusing to see a card that signifies community and friendship in a time when we can’t gather safely, I think this card is a valuable reminder of just how much we need our friends and loved ones even when times are hard. We can still reach out through phone calls, texts, and social media to love and support one another.

The kids are getting ready to go back to school, so my calendar certainly seems overwhelmingly full compared to the blank pages for the last few months!

What does the Three of Cups mean to you?

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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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Tarot Tuesday!

Let’s see what the week has in store for us! This single-card spread is from Diana Cooper’s Dragon Oracle Cards set, which is just so gorgeous and inspiring. And of course I love dragons!

This card is all about pure, warm-hearted love and the ability to take it all in. It isn’t always easy to let ourselves be loved or to see love in the world around us. You have to prepare your heart for it. You’ll be surprised at how your own expansion of love can affect those around you.

Personally, I think we all need to open ourselves up to some love right now. I see so much adversity on social media and on the news. Everyone is at each other’s throats, staunch in their opinions. I see far too many people who aren’t willing to open their eyes to the good in the world. I hope this changes soon.

I’ve paired this cards with some pieces of rose quartz, which also signify unconditional love.

What does the Rose Pink Dragon mean to you?

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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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