Tarot Tuesday – Knight of Cups

Hello, everyone and welcome to the first of many posts to come on TAROT TUESDAY!

I love the card that we get to start this series off with!

The Suit of Cups Tarot cards deal with the emotional level of consciousness and are associated with love, feelings, relationships and connections.

The card I drew is the KNIGHT OF CUPS.

The Knight of Cups represents Creativity, romance, charm, imagination, beauty.

What an appropriate card for authors!

The knight rides on a white horse and holds out a golden cup as if he bears a message from the heart. Over his armor, the knight wears a cloak covered with images of fish, the symbol of water, consciousness and creativity. His helmet and boots are winged, a symbol of an active and creative imagination and an appreciation for beautiful things.

The Knight of Cups is the classic romantic of the Tarot deck. He is in touch with his intuition and emotions, and he uses them masterfully to charm and attract others. He shows compassion and understanding towards others because he has learned to understand his own feelings and emotions. The Knight is kind, caring and very in touch with his feminine side. He might be found writing a romantic poem to his lover, creating art inspired by his innermost feelings or appreciating a vibrant sunset with a glass of champagne in his hand. His heart is wide open, and he wears it on his sleeve. He shares his love freely with others, without constraint or worry; he is in love with love itself.

When the Knight of Cups appears in a Tarot reading, you thrive on all things beautiful and are inspired by the many creative outlets available to you. 

The Knight of Cups is motivated by action. You have dreamed about what it is you want to create and now are moving forward with this dream to make it a reality. It may be an art project or something you feel ‘called’ to do, based on your emotions, imagination and intuition. Be open to exploring your passions and your big ideas. You may find yourself drawn to a particular passion or hobby and now is the time to turn it into ‘something.’ While you are in no hurry to reach the finish line, keep in mind that true imagination feeds on action; if you do nothing with your dreams, they will remain just that – dreams and not reality.

That, of course, is the short version interpretation of this card. If you’d like to read about it in more detail, I invite you to visit BiddyTarot.com.

Thank you for tuning in for the first segment of TAROT TUESDAY! Make it a great day to create! I welcome your comments!

Something New

In Texas, and all across America, we have this thing called “Taco Tuesday.”

Being the curious soul that I am, I wondered how that tradition got started. What I found is that a restaurant in California, Taco John’s, started and registered a trademark for this tradition in 1989. And it has been carried forward since that time to become a national celebration every Tuesday!

But, I digress.

I am going to start a new weekly post here on my blog site called, “TAROT TUESDAY.”

I’m sure many of you have worked with Tarot cards in the past and some of you have written books based on Tarot cards, so you are no stranger to this method of divination.

Tarot Cards likely originated in Northern Italy in the late 14th century. The oldest surviving set, known as the Visconti-Sforza deck, was created for the Duke of Milan’s family around 1440.

So, they’ve been around a LONG time!

I’ve been working with Tarot Cards for over twenty years. I use the standard Rider-Waite deck, which has been around since 1909.

The way I like to work with the cards on a daily basis, is to light incense and a candle, meditate, ask the Angels for guidance, then pull one card from the deck. I then look at it as my message for the day or my focus for the day.

Every Tuesday, I will be pulling a card to share with you here. The translation I like best is Biddy Tarot. And that is where I will go for the meaning of the card drawn.

This is all done in fun, light and love and only meant to give you food for thought or an uplifting message for the day. So, take it in the spirit it is given.

My first post will be on Tuesday, June 11 (which just happens to be my oldest granddaughter’s birthday!) After that, I will post weekly on TAROT TUESDAY!

Feel free to share with me any and all thoughts about the cards, your experiences, or your insights. This is meant to be an interactive post.

See you on Tuesday with the first card!

Can We Be Replaced?

I ran across an article recently that gave me pause, and I want to share with you a few of the facts and points it made.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the increased use of Artificial Intelligence, not only in manufacturing and logistics but also in news reporting. But what is the possibility of creative writers being replaced by Artificial Intelligence?

It seems far-fetched, but in Japan,  a novel was written by an AI writer, and it passed the first round of screening for the Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award in 2016. Impressive, indeed. Undoubtedly, it is a solid proof of what AI writers are capable of.

But can they ever replace the real and spontaneous human emotions? I think the quick answer to that is “No!” However, I can see where AI can be extremely helpful in aiding writers. Apps like Grammarly and ProWritingAid are basically programmed bots that can detect grammatical errors, typos, overused words and misused words. Some of these tools can even spot missing words. But, at the end of the day, they can only do what they are programmed to do. AI cannot dream nor imagine. They can gather and compile data.

I use a lot of southern dialect and slang words when I write, especially dialogue. And none of these writing aids can distinguish these words. They only see them as misspelled or incorrectly used words. So, from that standpoint, I don’t think AI can ever truly replace human writers. Of course, I suppose they could always be programmed to recognize slang from different locals, but it’s not likely.

Nevertheless, it is food for thought. Imagine that we had a bot that we could tell our stories to and they could then put in totally proper and correct form? Well, that might be helpful.

In conclusion, this article stated that while AI can never replace human emotion-driven writing, it can be a helpful tool to make us better writers. Okay. I guess I can go for that.

I use both Grammarly and ProWritingAid on a regular basis and they are both helpful in correcting punctuation and finding typos. But, they can’t find everything. So, for now, we humans are still needed to craft creative and entertaining stories!

What’s your take on AI?

How often do you do this?

Everyone I know responds enthusiastically at the mention of getting a massage, myself included.

There is nothing more relaxing than having all the knots and kinks rubbed out of your neck and back.

But, did you know that getting regular massages increases productivity and creativity?

Whether you are writing a novel, working on a challenging project, or coming up with new creative content for a business –a massage will help. This is because one of life’s biggest stressors can come from prolonged intense focus on a particularly taxing subject. The intense focus that creative projects require can place blinders on an individual. A massage helps lift these blinders and allows ideas to formulate. Left unattended, this added stress can lead to anxiety, lack of sleep and even mental mind blocks. Mind blocks definitely prevent creative juices from running free, which in turns leaves you concerned about completing your current project, adding to your stress levels.

A relaxing massage could be the best cure known to man for writer’s block, difficulty falling to sleep and negative attitude.

It is a proven fact that a 30 minute massage can do wonders for not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well.

There was a time when only wealthy aristocrats could indulge in such luxury. But we are privileged to live in a time when a massage is affordable and available!

I make it a practice to go for a massage once a month. I have gotten story ideas while on the massage table. I’ve worked out sticky plot issues with my WIP while on the massage table. I’ve figured out ways to deepen my characters while on the massage table. So, I am a believer!

I am curious. How often to you treat yourself to a massage? Do you believe in the therapeutic benefits? Do you have any stories you’d like to share?

Congratulations to Ronald E. Yates!!!

CONGRATULATIONS to Ronald E. YATESfor The LOST YEARS of BILLY BATTLES(Book 3 of the Finding Billy Battles Trilogy) taking home the CHANTICLEER OVERALL Grand Prize for BEST BOOK in the 2018 CIBAS

“…the reader experiences that all too rare sense of complete transport to another world, one fully realized in these pages because the storytelling is so skillful and thoroughly captivating.” 

The photo below is of Ronald E. Yates with his GOETHE Grand Prize Ribbon and his Chanticleer Overall Best Book Ribbon

So, here’s a big congratulations to you Ron!! Way to go!

Folks, today is the perfect day to pick up the Billy Battles Trilogy, it is available as either a single book, or you can purchase all three together as a set!

“Finding Billy Battles,” “The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles,” and “The Lost Years of Billy Battles.”

Decoration Day

I am going to show my age by saying that I remember when this holiday was called “Decoration Day.” It wasn’t until 1971 that it became an official federal holiday and the name changed to Memorial Day.

I’m not a big history buff, but I love finding bits and pieces of fascinating historical events that have helped to form us into what we are today.

I discovered that the first time this day was set aside to honor those who gave their lives in battle happened shortly after the end of the bloody Civil War.

(Copied from the History.com website) On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

And there you have it. When I was a kid, we would load up the car and travel from Hobbs, New Mexico to California on May 30th to visit my dad’s family. Those trips were some of my most vivid childhood memories. Little did I know the date had anything to do with veterans or war. For me, seen through the eyes of a child, it was just our time to go to California.

I’ll share a quick story from one of those trips. Let me preface this by saying that our dad did not like to stop. He saw it as a precious waste of time, so all mandatory stops were short and sweet.

We pulled into a service station somewhere in Arizona for gas. That was back in the day when a person came out, filled up your car, checked your oil, and washed your windshield. (And they didn’t even expect a tip!) So, while Dad was talking to the service station attendant, Mom, myself and my sister got out of the back seat to go use the restroom.

As soon as the car was serviced, Dad jumped back in and took off without ever glancing in the backseat. He made it several miles down the road before he realized we weren’t back there. 🙂 Needless to say, Mom was not a happy camper by the time he got back to the station, and she let him know about it the rest of the way to California.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day everyone!!

KINDNESS

A simple act of kindness can go a long way to soothe frayed nerves and weary spirits in this negative hate-filled world .

This week is designated as the Jan Hawke Random Acts of Kindness Week at the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

It simply feels good to do something for someone solely because you want to!

Today is also RRBC and RWISA Author, Peggy Hattendorf‘s birthday! So in honor of her birthday, the first person who responds in the comments below, who has not yet read her book, will receive an eBook of “Son of My Father – A Family Dynasty!”

Here is my review of this book. I read it in July of last year.

This was an enjoyable read for me. The best part of the book, in my opinion, was the climactic ending. It was totally unexpected. Early on in the story, I figured out who the arrogant young man, Christian, was and his relationship to the powerful and rich tycoon, Jonathan Barrington. With only one daughter, Christiana, to carry on the family legacy and fortune, the intrusion of the young man irked her to no end. I won’t give away any spoilers, but I could easily see this book made into a Lifetime or Hallmark movie. Lots of drama unfolds throughout the story. At times, it seemed redundant and moved a little slow, but the ending made up for it. If you like plot twists, family drama, high stakes business gambling, you will enjoy this story. Don’t spoil it and read the ending first. 🙂

Here is the Book Trailer:

Do something kind for someone today! It doesn’t have to cost money, only your effort! Let’s make the world brighter through random acts of kindness!

I Got Caught!

The month of May is designated as National Get Caught Reading month!!

What a fantastic holiday month for readers and writers! I’ve been an avid reader since I could first make out words in the Dick and Jane primary readers. The image below is me when a story captivates me!

Image courtesy of Pexels

So, in honor of this fabulous month, I’m going to list some great books I’ve read recently!

Noemie’s Journey by Victoria Saccenti

Here is my review:

What I liked most about this book was the honest way the author portrayed the racial prejudice in the southern part of the United States in the 60s. Noemie Bellerose is a girl of mixed race and until her family moves to North Carolina, she has no idea that she is considered an outcast because of her race. With a mother of color and white father, she finds that she is not accepted in either community. But, the torture doesn’t end there. With the death of her mother, her father becomes an abusive alcoholic and does not hold back on the punches in his rages. He blames Noemie’s little brother, Gerry, for their mother’s death and often takes his rage out on the young boy. Noemie is a girl-driven. Driven to make a better life for her and her little brother, driven to get an education, and driven to look out for her father, even despite his abuse. But, when Richard Winters rides his Harley Davidson Chopper into the small North Carolina town, looking for refuge and escape from a heartache so big it forced him to run, things begin to change for Noemie. But, not just for Noemie, for Richard too. With a steel lock around his heart, he is sure nothing can get through, but Noemie does. The racial prejudice is horrific. The abuse Noemie suffers at the hands of her father and others in the small-town is horrific, but the love she finds with Richard is redeeming. I loved this story. I have to admit that I was almost ready to put the book down by the third chapter, as it got off to a slow start. But into the fourth chapter, I was hooked and couldn’t stop until I reached a satisfying conclusion. Steamy romance, racial prejudice, everlasting friendships, and steely determination drive this story.

If this sounds like your cup-of-tea, you won’t be disappointed!

End of Day (A Hode’s Hill Novel Book 2) by Mae Clair

My Review:

I have loved every Mae Clair book that I’ve read and this one is no exception! The way she intertwines the past and present to build the entire story is fantastic! When the empathic Jillian Cley crosses paths with Dante DeLuca who communicates with spirits in the other world, things are bound to get interesting. And they do. Jillian struggles to control her sensitivities and has a service dog, a Husky, who helps to ground her. There are a lot of characters in this story. But, I never had trouble keeping up with who was who and the role each played, even as the author switched back and forth between present day and the late seventeen-hundreds. As the reason for the curse is revealed, the plot gets thickened with a grave-robber and the release of monsters who had been held in the infamous Hode’s Hill cemetery. There are nail-biting scenes and I couldn’t put the book down. I had many late nights until I finished it. Suspenseful, engaging, compelling, other-worldly, and gripping are words I’d use to describe this story. My hat is off to this author for successfully writing in two different time periods effectively! This is a GREAT read if you love suspense, paranormal happenings, and relatable characters! I highly recommend it!

The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride by Linda Broday

My review:

I fell in love with Clay Colby’s character in Broday’s Men of Legend Series when he was introduced in book two as a ranch hand. Even then, I wanted him to have a happy ending and to know more of his story. In this book, Linda Broday did more than give Clay a happy ending. She gave him an unforgettable story! A character also introduced in the Men of Legend Series, Talley Shannon was a fugitive. Along with several other women, they hid in a canyon and existed with the help of Luke Legend. They had escaped from a torturous insane asylum. Both Clay and Tally have deep wounds and scars and their journey to redemption is not an easy one. Broday keeps the reader on the edge of their seats as they follow along with bated breath, hoping and praying that the two will finally break through the walls of their hearts to be united as one. If you love the 1800s time period, plenty of action, tension, conflict and steamy romance, you will love this first book of the Mail Order Bride series!

I read two poetry books in April and loved them both! You don’t have to be a lover of poetry to enjoy these two intimate compilations.

Just her Poetry Seasons of a Soul by D.L. Finn

My Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of poetry. The author covers every subject from nature to the deepest part of the human psyche and soul. While I loved all of the poems, a few stood out to me personally like, “Splendor” where the beauty and aliveness of a spring day are expressed in flowing descriptive phrases. “The Journey” is deeply profound portraying the metaphor of life to that of a tiny bird struggling to ride out a storm. This author’s musings from the back of a Harley particularly captivated me. I went along for the ride! But, the section of the book, “The Emotions – Darkness and Light,” is hands-down my favorite section of the book. Each poem expresses life’s journey and the varying aspects of the dance. If you love well-written poetry that touches on every aspect of life and living, you will enjoy this book of poetry from D.L. Finn!

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude by Miriam Hurdle

My Review:

A fantastic collection of honest, heartfelt poetry that takes the readers on a journey through good times and bad. She writes about a health scare that could have easily ended her life. She weaves nature, family, love and faith through her writing. If you love REAL poetry – poetry that moves you, you will enjoy Miriam’s book!

And finally, a book that really opened my eyes to some of the unforgiving views about sexuality in the middle east.

The Love that Dare Not Speak Its Name by Fiza Pathan

My Review:

The collection of short stories in this book from India-born author Fiza Pithan deals with a most delicate subject matter. Not only does it encompass stories of transgender people, but lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and asexual people. Two things about these stories struck me. #1 is that this author writes so well in a language that is not her native tongue. I commend her for the well-written stories. I did not spot even one typo throughout the book. The second thing I want to commend her for is the honesty and eye-opening reality of how people are tormented, tortured, ostracized and even killed in Mid-Eastern countries for their sexual preferences and/or differences. Reading these stories makes me truly glad I live in America. If you are looking for stories that, although are fiction, shed a light of truth on these issues, you will enjoy each of these!

Hopefully, you saw something here that caught your eye! It is quite a variety of genres, but I love reading all types of books.

So, grab one and let’s make May a month for memorable stories!

I’d love to know what I caught you reading! I just started on the first book of the Billy Battles trilogy by Ron Yates (Finding Billy Battles.)

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Research – Where do you go?

Authors, when you are writing about a subject that you aren’t familiar with, where do you go for reliable research?

I am writing a short story that includes a Voodoo Doll and magic spell. I find lots of what I think is hooey, in my searches, and want to make sure my facts are accurate, down to the words said when casting a spell.

So, I’m curious as to whether you have any tried and true sources you trust.

I found a good deal of information on Pinterest and a little on WikiHow about ways to construct your Voodoo doll. As far as the origin of the practice of Voodoo, I went to the Wikipedia and found some fascinating history including what it morphed into in New Orleans. Then I started searching for incantations that could be used for specific situations.

When they say you can find everything on the internet, they aren’t wrong, including bogus information. There is a lot of history, and folk tales surrounding Marie Laveau, and it’s hard to tell what’s true and what isn’t. Here a couple of examples.

So, back to my original question. Do you have tried and true resources for research. And do you get good information that you feel comfortable including in your stories?

I’m also having a hard time finding just the right free image to create a book cover for this story. But, that is just a time-consuming search. I went first to Pixabay. I find that the key to a successful search is all in what words you enter. I gave up on Voodoo and entered “Fantasy” in the search box and found some intriguing images.

Let me say that this subject and practice is way out of my wheelhouse, so I am going strictly on information I can find. I’d appreciate any tips!

Thanks in advance!!

FREE TRIAL MEMBERSHIP! #RRBC

You hear me talk a lot about the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, and I also feature lots of authors who are members of the club.

Maybe you’ve been a bit curious about RRBC or maybe you’ve even taken a look at the website.

Well, now you have a chance to take advantage of a FREE 30 day trial membership. You can try it out for yourself and see if it is a good fit for you, and it costs you nothing!

This is not just a book club. It is a community of authors and readers who promote and support each other.

The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is A UNIQUE  place to be if you are seeking amazing author support for your writing. Not only are our books being purchased, but read and reviewed on a regular basis. No other international organization offers so much incredible uplifting support!

But, you need to know up front that this is not a place to list your books in the catalog, sit back and wait for the reviews to start rolling in. It is a place where you get as much as you give. Begin by purchasing, reading and reviewing other’s books, then share it all over social media and watch what happens. Every author needs more reviews. I’m offering you the solution! For the answers to all of your questions, click HERE


Interested? JOIN US!


I am an RRBC Recruitment Affiliate so please be sure to list my name (JAN SIKES) on your application.
Please invite all your friends to join, as well, and ask that they also list my name as their referring source!   ~  Thanks in advance!