September 2016 archive

Tarot Writing Prompt: Wishcrafting

WRITE IT DOWN, MAKE IT HAPPEN. That’s the title of my favorite self-help book. Written by Henriette Anne Klauser, the book is crammed as full as a Whitman’s sampler with stories of people making their own magic—just by writing down what they want.

For instance, one woman, given short notice to leave her apartment, created a wish list: two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a garage (with an automatic door opener), a view of Puget Sound, and, finally, “someplace quiet; beautiful and pristine.” She found her ideal living space within days of writing down her desires.

Of course, for every story like that, we’ve all heard one that sounds more like: “Oh! I should have specified to the Universe that I want neighbors who love Bach fugues, not Eagles of Death Metal!”

Hence, the caveat, “Be careful what you wish for.”

But no need to caution your fictional folks! No, sir! Our job as writers is to get our characters into as much trouble as possible. And there’s no trouble quite so engaging as that which a character brings on herself (a poorly considered wish being just the thing to attract a wasp’s-nest worth of mess!).

Dr. Klauser’s approach, though, invites us to step beyond mere wishing. Putting our wishes into writing gives them focus, she says. It transforms our pen into a magic wand of manifestation—and us into agents for our own change.

Tarot writing prompt

Give your character a problem to solve. When she conjures up a big wish in response to that problem, get her to write it down—and then, dear Writer Magician, make your character’s written desire so. For better. Or for worse.

the_magician__taro_by_mari_na-d3csp6xThis writing prompt was inspired by The Magician of the tarot deck. The Magician is a master of manifestation—and a charmer, to boot. Ruled by Mercury, the winged god of communication, The Magician is a real sweet talker, Betty Crocker, and has been known to sell those under his spell a bill of goods.

Congratulations Station

CONGRATS TO JON FORE, whose YA Fantasy novel LEXICON CHASE AND THE RIDDLE SONG (Book 2 in the Lexicon Chase series) won a Readers’ Favorite International Novel Award (from among thousands of entries!).

Here’s a bite to entice you! Even after she risked her life in search of a fairy tale, guided by nothing but rumors and unwritten histories, Lexicon discovers she is still being hunted. Now, forced to flee her castle, even as the city of Everhope falls under troll siege, Lexi must find a lost tribe of people hidden beyond the Great Blight—the last keepers of the Riddle Song—and learn its forgotten secrets.

Tarot Writing Prompt: Leap!

OFTEN, IN FAIRY TALES, the youngest son (sorry, most traditional tales are gender biased!), who is seen as a foolish dreamer by his older brothers, sets off to seek his fortune. Inspired by the chance to win a princess’s hand, he attempts an impossible task, one at which far wiser folk have failed. For instance, he might have to climb a glass mountain, travel to the home of the North Wind (try finding that on MapQuest!), or grab the single fish—from the whole wide sea—that has swallowed the princess’s precious pearl.

But the youngest son? He don’t care! Bring it! he says. modern_tarot__the_fool_by_teman-d6pwe1qAnd leaps into whatever chance has brought his way.

The thing is, this kid usually has no discernible skills. He’s not even that good at milking the cow or guarding the sheep. So how the heck is he going to unravel the 1000-mile long skein of enchanted gold thread that’s choking the king’s wheat field?

Welp. In addition to having luck on his side, he has a total disregard for his own lack of skill. He just gives it a go! What’ve I got to lose? is his motto. (Plus, he’s desperate. Anything’s better than staying at home and listening to his brothers’ taunts and jeers.)

You know the rest. Along the way, he finds magical helpers: The crone who offers him a walnut that, when cracked, releases a coach and four—or the billy goat that not only speaks English, but has the 4-1-1 on the in’s and out’s of the royal household! And, eventually, through wit (or the conspicuous lack of it), he wins the princess’s hand and her heart—he’s such a lovable goofball, after all.

The point here (at least for this prompt) is that the kid jumps right off the cliff of reason into action. Improbable action. Action for which he is (seemingly) totally unprepared! And in doing so, looks dead set to prove his smug brothers right. But, foolish though this hero may be, he prevails. Yup. The universe rewards his chutzpah by sending flocks of flying fish to carry him unthinkable distances so he can accomplish the unreasonable task(s) set before him and win the prize he seeks—thus changing his fortunes forever.

Tarot writing prompt

Write about a time in your own life (or that of a character) in which a seriously foolish and/or impulsive action ended surprisingly well. Make good use of words like “impossible,” “unlikely,” “unprepared,” “chance,” and “luck.” And throw in a magical helper or two for good measure. (Hint: Entire novels have been based on just such a premise. You know. In case you were looking for a premise upon which to base an entire novel.)

This writing prompt was inspired by the wild child of the tarot, The Fool.

Congratulations Station

KUDOS TO YA AUTHOR MELODY MAYSONET, whose debut novel, A WORK OF ART (Merit Press), won first place in the General Fiction category for the 2016 Eric Hoffer Awards! Not only that, but a follow-up report in The US Review of Books called A WORK OF ART “finely plotted”! Woo-freaking-hoo, Melody!


And congrats, too, to Charlene Edge, whose memoir about her seventeen years in a cult, titled UNDERTOW: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International, will be available in January 2017. In it, you’ll learn how easily a vulnerable person can be conned into following an authoritarian leader and how difficult it can be to find a way out.


Melissa Abrehamsen‘s spooky, supernatural YA FORETOLD is available FOR FREE on Kindle for a limited time. Here’s something to whet your appetite: Lance Harper and Lucy Burns have avoided one another all through high school. He’s the son of the town psychic; she’s the daughter of a fundamentalist preacher. But the wall between them crumbles when Lance has a mind-splitting vision of Lucy’s bathtub suicide.


Elizabeth Sims has good news! She’s signed a contract with audio book company Audible for all five of her Lillian Byrd crime novels!

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