November 27, 2019

Creative Woo-riting, Part 4

Hello, hello, everyone! I'm back with another installment of my "Creative Woo-riting" series, specifically discussing how I used tarot to write my recent story "Revolve Her" (currently available in the Paperback Writers anthology by Locklear Books). In my previous posts, I shared how I used a tarot ritual and spread to prepare for the story. Today, I'll talk about how tarot factors directly into the plot.

So. I knew I wanted to write a scene about a tarot reading, but it felt too contrived if I were to hand-pick the cards myself. As the designer of the story, I obviously could've just selected the tarot cards with meanings coinciding with exactly what I wanted to convey. But where's the fun in that? If there's one thing I've learned about the tarot, it's that it's a lot wiser than me--even if it's only unearthing answers that I already know anyway! Sometimes we don't consciously know what is best, even if on some subconscious or unconscious level we do. So, I decided to leave this one to the cards and, honest to God, shuffled and drew a few at random, with the intention of unlocking the message my protagonist, Ellie, needed to hear.

This is what resulted:

And here's how I interpreted and wrote it into "Revolve Her"...

~ * ~

After giving the cards one last good shuffle, she knocks on the deck with her knuckles three times, as Beverley directs before next asking for her birthdate.
“Fifth August,” Ellie says before she can correct herself, watching the other woman flip the deck face-up and thumb through it.
“Ah. A Leo,” Beverley says, casting an eye on Ellie, who knows she’s really a Pisces. If the psychic detects the lie, though, she doesn’t call it out, simply plucks a card from the pile and lays it on the cloth for Ellie to see. “Here’s our gal. She represents you in this reading. Your significator. And let me tell you, she is something fierce.”
“I’d say so,” Ellie agrees as she hovers over the image, getting a closer look in the dim, flickering light and admiring the fiery hotness of the Queen of Wands, whose golden mane is like Ellie’s, just glossier. Also like Ellie is the tattoo on the queen’s soft-looking skin; her dark, defined brows; and full, luscious lips. This queen’s eyes are blue, but damn if they don’t match Ellie’s determination.
“Then we do have a fit.” Beverley smiles. “There are other court cards of different suits in the deck, but this one in particular reflects a creative, passionate, driven individual. She’s confident, sensual, and feels good in her skin.”
Just as she starts to feel a fire welling within, Ellie’s dowsed in cold water at Beverley’s next question. Which is, simply, what Ellie’s question is—for the cards.
She draws a blank. Question? She didn’t think she needed one. Her only question now is what’s her question?
“Personal? Professional?” Beverley prompts, which sends Ellie’s mind whirring. The parlor’s business has been solid lately and their newest artist only exceeding expectations. Ellie feels good there. But personally…
Bollocks. Where to even start? Ellie isn’t sure anymore if she wants to talk about Robert, and like hell if she’s going to bring up what she experienced at the motel. As hard as she tries to consider other topics, however, Robert keeps returning to the forefront—the image of him, anyway, lying bloodied on the floor. All she wants all of a sudden is to see him, be sure he’s really okay. And if so, to just…leave things on a better note than they did. Does Robert want that, too? After dumping her off last night, does he have any intention to return? Does he want anything to do with her? Does she want him to want to?
Stewing in discomfort and indecision, Ellie returns her roving eyes to Beverley when the psychic leans forward onto her elbows and laces her fingers together. The polish on her long nails matches her lipstick.
“Is it about the guy you just saw again? Is that the one?”
The one, as if Beverley could see the flurry of questions swarming Ellie’s head and seized on “the one” that kept pushing its way to the surface.
“Yes,” Ellie says before she can think about it. “Yes,” she repeats in lieu of further detail.
“Thought so” is Beverley’s only comment before giving the tarot cards a quick overhand shuffle and asking Ellie to cut the deck. Ellie does, and Beverley pulls three cards from the top of the re-stacked pile. “Huh.”
Laid before Ellie are deep jewel-toned drawings rendered in the style of tattoo art, their rich color and symbolism popping out from a vintage cream background. Reading from left to right, the cards’ captions say Judgement, The World, and The Emperor.
“All Major Arcana,” Beverley says. “That’s significant. The Minors deal in day-to-day stuff, but the Majors are more ongoing, overarching issues, you know?”
“Okay,” Ellie says with furrowed brow, studying the pictures but unable to make meaning from them. Other than that, in profile, the brunet Emperor kind of reminds her of an unshaven Robert—what isn’t reminding her of him today?—and that the religious overtone of Judgement—depicting an angel blowing a trumpet above people rising from graves—puts her ill at ease.
“This is big-picture stuff. In your relationships, romantic or platonic, you’ve grappled with the judgment of others and yourself. Most recently, you might’ve done something you’re not proud of, behaved in a way that let you down when you know you’re better than that. Were you too harsh on this guy? Channeling how others have treated you, maybe? Quick to label and cut off?”
Ellie sucks on her lower lip.
“Don’t beat yourself up over it. See that?” Beverley taps on a woman who’s standing up from inside her coffin. “It’s like you’ve had a rebirth. Just learn from missteps and heed your soul’s call, which in the present seems fulfilled. You may not fully realize it, but you have achieved completion when it comes to your heart. Look at how free this woman is,” she says, pointing to the World card now, “naked but not vulnerable. She, too, is comfortable in her skin and just owns it.
“Nothing is finished forever. Life’s a turntable, and you’ll cycle through insecurity and heartache again, as we all do, like a record spinning round and round, skippin’ on the same scratches. But each time, your needle wears down those imperfections more and more.”
Ellie automatically thinks of her tattoo needle, how the concentration and repetition of her craft ever more effectively imprints everyone she serves with a piece of her, living on in new flesh.
“With enlightenment, you’re bringing something finer and fiercer to the table, Queen of Wands. You’re in command of your fate here, and it seems by putting yourself out there in a truly vulnerable and authentic way, you really have managed to find the real deal. This man, he’s showing up here, in your future.” She points to the Emperor. “He might seem all powerful and patriarchal on his throne, but see how he’s looking at you. He’s facing the first two cards—looking back at where you’ve been and where you are—and seems to glow from your radiance. This guy’s besotted. Even your queen here” —she points to the significator card— “is looking down at him like da-amn. She wants him, and she’s holding that wand, that tool for directing her power, willing it to do her bidding. You’re in more control here than you think.”
Ellie’s been listening attentively up to this point—rapt, in fact—but the morning’s big breakfast and Bloody Mary are catching up with her. She yawns before she can help it.
Beverley stops mid-soliloquy. “Oh, I’m sorry. Am I boring you?” She only manages the straight face for so long, laughing robustly at her own act. Ellie is so enamored with the good-natured sound and smile that she reciprocates.
“Listen,” Beverley continues, “I don’t know who we’re talking about here, what’s happened between you two—like, really happened, not what’s in your head.” She’s no longer looking at Ellie but the space between them, her eyes appearing unfocused. “But you’ve got something there that isn’t over yet. I’m seeing unfinished business, heat that needs releasing to find closure. Someone needs to move on.”
“Someone?” Ellie asks. “As in me? I need to confront him and get over it?”
A sound catches in Beverley’s throat, and she swallows. Her eyes meet Ellie’s, slightly widened. If it weren’t so cliché—and truly creepy to contemplate—Ellie would think the psychic has just seen a ghost.
“You?” Beverley says at last. “No, no. You both.”
Her voice is as distant as her stare, but even in the candlelight, Ellie sees the light come back into her eyes. Beverley clears her throat.
“You and the—the guy,” she says, as if Ellie couldn’t already figure that out. “And even though you’re still seeking that completion, with him, what will help you find it is your current state of wholeness. You’re embodying who you are. You don’t need this man to be complete. But he’s a key factor somehow in a new cycle you’re starting. Maybe more conventional than expected, but not like what you’ve left. He offers a healthy stability, in which you’d continue to flourish. He wouldn’t—” She blinks her eyes, which have become glassy, and shakes her head. “He wouldn’t treat you as less-than. He only sees you for who you are, and…
“And I’m jealous as fuck.” Beverley chuckles toward her chest and wipes her eyes. “I’m sorry.” She looks up, her expression almost sad if it didn’t also look a little scared. “I don’t mean to monologue at you. That’s just what I see, in this moment, so why don’t you take it from here. Tell me what did or didn’t land with you.”
In all the time she’s been listening, Ellie would swear she stopped breathing if not for the shallow inhales of sage-spiced air that she’s felt caressing her nose. She feels light, dizzy but light, and morbidly relieved to hear Robert still spoken of in present tense. Yes, she needs to see him again. But for now, how much should she tell Beverley?
She decides to tell it all. At least, up to the part when she first discovered Robert was married, and then attempted to hightail it back to London via Phoenix. The coming-back-to-Sedona part was still a little fuzzy for her.


“Which brings me to this wretched morning,” she says, “when I woke with a thumping headache, empty stomach, new vegan holster”—she lifts her purse from where it hangs on her chair— “and a dash of wishful thinking, which must have brought on a psychic break indulging a sick fantasy I never actually had.”
“It wasn’t that.”
That’s all Beverley says.
“Well, all the same, I probably ought to consult a medical professional, don’t you think?”
“Wouldn’t help.”
“Why not?”
“You can call me Ellie.”
“Ellie.” Beverley flashes her lovely pearl teeth before the misgiving reenters her lovely onyx eyes. Picking up the remaining pile of cards, she does another quick overhand shuffle before setting the deck down in front of Ellie and spreading it out, facedown, in a long line. “Mind drawing another one?”
“All right.” Scanning the fan of cards, Ellie instinctively zeroes in on one and pulls it out to present it to Beverley.
Ace of Wands, its caption reads. Ellie sees a disembodied hand holding a wand like her Queen of Wands. This wand projects so much more energy, though, as if channeling the very power of the sun’s rays. And though the tattooed hand that holds it seems feminine and similar to the Queen of Wands’, on some intuitive level, even Ellie knows it isn’t. It doesn’t belong to her—the queen or Ellie. Someone else is conducting this mad music, changing Ellie’s life with a wave of her hand.
Watching Beverley inspect the card for some time in silence, Ellie senses a big So, here’s the thing coming. She doesn’t know why, she doesn’t understand how, but true to expectations, Beverley finally opens her mouth to say, “I don’t know quite how to broach this delicately, so I’ll just come right out and say, well, suggest…”
Ellie tips her chin down into her neck, her raised brow encouraging Beverley to out with it.
“It’s just that, our time, for the tarot reading, is up. And I don’t care what you have and haven’t paid for, Ellie. If I had the time today, I would ask you to stay a while longer, free of charge. But since I don’t, and you might not anyway—” she pauses for an inhale, though she herself seems to loathe the unnecessary drama that adds “—Ellie, would you please consider scheduling another session with me? For a medium reading. Tomorrow. As soon as possible?”

~ * ~

So there we go! A real tarot-reading for a fictional character. It was SUCH fun offering up a part of my writing process to something out of my control. I honestly think it resulted in something better than I could've come up with myself!

By the way, the deck pictured above is Tattoo Tarot: Ink & Intuition. This is the same tarot deck that features in "Revolve Her" and that gave its name to Ellie's tattoo parlor. :) 

My little series here is almost at an end, but coming up next is the inspiration for my story's spiritual setting in Sedona. See ya then!

October 11, 2019

Creative Woo-riting, Part 3

Hello, hello! I'm back with more behind-the-scenes brainstorming of my latest short story, "Revolve Her," inspired by the lyrics of the Beatles album Revolver. As it was a rather metaphysical story, I decided to approach it in a rather metaphysical way, especially since I'd had major writer's block and needed some help however I could get it!

As mentioned in my last post, to get an initial, intuitive peek at my main characters, I conducted a tarot reading. Because...why not? I knew I wanted tarot to feature in the story somehow, so it felt appropriate to use it as an actual tool in crafting the story.

In my previous post, I shared the reading results for my protagonist, Ellie. Today I'm sharing another cursory character sketch using the same method. Once again, I used Ethony Dawn's Story Tarot Spread and the Tarot of Haunted House deck to learn a bit about my secondary character Beverley:

This photo is a re-creation of the original reading, but drat! I accidentally positioned the 4 of Swords upright when it had actually been reversed. Due to laziness, I am using this photo anyway. Just flip the image in your mind. :)

1. Significator: 5 of Pentacles. [Unlike the significator I deliberately chose for Ellie, I think I drew this card at random because I really didn't have a clear idea of this character.] She is destitute, working here to make what money she can, though has a true gift for spiritual connection and insight. Has to fend off a lot of creeps and skeptics, though, that threaten this livelihood.

2. Challenge: 9 of Wands (reversed).She's been through some hard knocks, but her defenses are down, and she's starting to fear this will never end--the way things have been--overwhelmed by what opportunities could be passing her by. What's her next step, and should she get a plane ticket out of town for a completely new start elsewhere?

3. Opportunity: The Moon (reversed). The Protagonist's challenge is the Psychic's opportunity. [See previous post, where the Moon reversed also showed up for my protagonist, Ellie.] This lost soul finds her and, together, they navigate the path(s) visible to them or not yet [visible].

4. Environment: The Magician. All sorts of tools available to them in the crystal shop! Crystals, tarot, other divination, and her psychic gifts. It's all there, just takes them to use it and manifest real change.

5. The Reward: The Emperor (reversed). Overthrowing the Patriarchy. She is vulnerable to men, too. [See previous post, where this issue also came up for Ellie.]

6. The Outcome: 4 of Swords (reversed)*. Getting up and out of her situation before it can snare her in its clutches for good. She's had enough time standing still and analyzing it to death. Time to rise and step out into the moonlight with our Protagonist, facing fears and following intuition together (?). Maybe she does leave town with the Protag. or just buys a ticket and leaves it to fate [at this point I had drawn a clarifying card, the Wheel of Fortune, which added that last bit of insight]. Goes to airport and sees where the next departures are headed. Standing up to men fires her up for positive change.

* To repeat my caption above, yes, the 4 of Swords was actually reversed. Ignore my shoddy work in re-creating the scene for the photo.

In my journal I then went on to look at the overall trends in the cards, particularly that out of six cards there were four Major Arcana and four reversals. I took this to mean: "This is a massive, ongoing issue for her with significant impact on her future. She's low energy and vulnerable, scared, and hesistant/resistant, though."

And I LOVE THIS: I next asked what the story's heat level should be, not sure how far I wanted to go with romance yet also not certain that a tarot card could give a clear answer on that...and then I drew this:


So, yeah. For the record, a tarot card can be very, very clear on that point. 😆

I wouldn't say I took the heat level that far in the story, but I did appreciate getting the go-ahead for some sexual tension if I wanted it! And as for Beverley, this exercise genuinely did help me begin to shape her in my mind, to get a sense of what her own conflict might be.

How closely did I follow this in the story? Read it and find out! 😃

"Revolve Her" is available in the Paperback Writers anthology at Amazon:

October 8, 2019

Creative Woo-riting, Part 2

Eek. Took me longer than expected to get back here, but I've been busy editing for myself and others, so that's a good thing! Am stealing a moment now to bring you the next installment of my "Creative Woo-riting" series, in which I share a little of the metaphyzzle shizzle that went into writing "Revolve Her." Here's the blurb:
Dr. Robert has spun Eleanor round like a record. He rocked her world in the UK, then turned it upside down in the US. Hot, dry, sunny Sedona, Arizona is nothing like the London she left behind for love. And now, on her own, Eleanor — Ellie — isn’t sure where she belongs.
She’s not the only lost soul, however, when someone else’s violent past traumatizes her present. Unsure whether the threat only lives in her mind or if a spirit actually lurks in her motel room, Ellie seeks the aid of a psychic medium named Beverley. Unfortunately, Ellie’s life takes another turn for the worse when Beverley’s own troubled history comes around to haunt them both—and this time, it’s definitely not Ellie’s imagination. That revolver is real, and it’s taking aim. But who is it for?
Riffing on the song titles and lyrics of the Beatles album Revolver, “Revolve Her” spins a supernatural tune of its own about a woman who knows where she comes from and will decide for herself where she’s going.

So, there's a bit about the story, which was largely inspired by The Beatles in subtle and unconventional ways. And also unconventionally, I decided to consult tarot cards for ideas on characterization!

Using Ethony Dawn's Story Tarot Spread, I laid out the following cards from the Tarot of Haunted House deck to get some insight into my story's protagonist, Ellie:

The notes I scribbled as I first interpreted this spread go a little somethin' like this...

1. Significator: Queen of Wands for August 5. [This date is Ellie's alleged birthday and when Revolver was released in '66! So, I deliberately chose this card to represent the fire sign of Leo. The rest of the cards, however, were selected at random.]

2. Challenge: The Moon (reversed). Fear, deception, disillusionment. She's lost and depressed and letting doubt get the better of her.

3. Opportunity: Strength. She has occasion to find inner strength as mirrored in her own reflection or the spirit or medium. This strength could lead her down the wrong path, though. Her smile is more smirky and devious/vengeful.

4. Environment: King of Wands. Seductive, handsome man with the power. She is vulnerable and useless around him -- or the spirit was, and this energy affects the protagonist.

5. The Reward: 5 of Wands. There is struggle and confusion that she must overcome to truly find her strength and the clarity to light her path. She must throw off the cloak that conceals the real her. Break free from the tangle of men.

6. The Outcome: 8 of Cups. An escape to higher ground. A more enlighted path that discards the toxic influences/habits that no longer serve her.

I went on to feverishly jot down ideas from there in my journal, as I always like to brainstorm a story with pen and paper. I'd just never tried tarot before as a prompt! The results were cool. It's interesting to look back on this now that I've written and published the story. I'd say all of this does factor into it in some way.

Next up is the reading I did for my psychic medium, Beverley. Until then, dearies, whether it's books or tarot, I wish you happy reading!

August 31, 2019

Creative Woo-riting, Part 1

Howdy and happy weekend, all! As mentioned in my last post, I'm back now to talk a bit about the writing process for my latest project, "Revolve Her" (a short story that you can find in the Beatles-themed anthology Paperback Writers). I've taken to calling the process creative "woo"-riting, however, as this time, I not only wrote about the metaphysical, I practiced it as well to get the inspiration flowing.

In a previous post, I talked about how 2018 wasn't the most stellar year for my writing. For pretty much the entire year, I was blocked, so I seized it as an opportunity (if not took it as a sign) to step back and incubate in self-care and mystical study for a while. At the very least, all the stuff I've learned will make it into my future books! But it's all truly been transformational for me as a human being in general, and I think I needed to fill my cup in that respect before I could go back to being a writer, too.

In any case, to get to the point, when authors Morgan and Jennifer Locklear invited me to contribute a short story to the Paperback Writers anthology last year, I panicked that I wouldn't seize on an idea in time, given the absolute standstill of 2018. So, I felt I needed to get more serious about intention-setting and committing to follow-through. I began on the first evening of a new moon with a tarot spread, seeking advice on writing this story--and meeting its deadline. The oracle card I drew at the end of the reading as a final word (from the Sacred Rebels deck) was this:

"Bring it into form." Uh, yep! Definitely the kick in the pants that I needed to get out of my writer's block and start manifesting ideas on the page again. By this point, my writing muscles were almost in atrophy, so just the image of this card was revitalizing and inspiring to see.

My next step was to conduct a new-moon ritual adapted (okay, totally ripped off) from Kelly Fitzgerald at The Truth in Story. The original video doesn't appear to be available anymore (or at least I can't find it), but, basically, she approached intention-setting using geomancy and the Wildwood Tarot. For this, she used a book box (which you can still get a glimpse at in this video:, and I myself have ended up using a little wooden box with a hinged lid, like what you could store a tarot deck in. And whereas Kelly filled her box with normal sand, I found garnet sand from a Scottish seller on Etsy that is absolutely gorgeous and just the vibe I need. In the sand, you place stones in the shape of a geomancy figure that best expresses your intention. I take it a step further by using onyx rune stones that themselves represent the gist of what I'm after. In this case, the geomancy figure I chose was "The Way" (a straight line of four dots) to represent the path (and movement) forward, and the runes essentially reflected clarity, creativity, inspired communication, and a fruitful outcome.

Next, at the four corners of the box lid on the left-hand side are representations of the elements--a tealight for fire, feather for air, stone for earth, and a small cup of water for, well, water (for my cup, I use a seashell that I collected on the Cornish coast along with the feather and stone). Between these elements, you can then lay one or more tarot or oracle cards that likewise embrace the spirit of your intention. Like Kelly, I've opted to use the Wildwood Tarot, which I supplement with the Celtic Lenormand deck to get even more specific about my intention. The cards I chose for this one were also concerned with forward momentum and hitting my writing target with creativity and skill.

I meditated on this intention for two moon cycles, I believe, and I wrote like I hadn't written in well over a year! The ideas came to me fast and furious, and I rediscovered my drive and joy. It's not so much that I cast a "spell" to make this happen; the process simply compelled me to get specific about my goal and to remain focused on it. Even when I wasn't meditating before this ritual box (repeating my precise intention over and over like a mantra), just a glance at it would remind me of what I needed to do, and every time I saw it, I felt the power of its motivation. I even took a photo of it for when I was writing on the road, just in case I needed to see it to believe in it again. To believe in myself again. And yeah, okay, I suppose I do also believe that in sending an intention out into the universe in this ritualistic, repeated way--and putting an earnest effort out there to back it up--the energy and inspiration I needed were sent right back to me.

I must say this was a very moving process, and I think the story that resulted--"Revolve Her"--is all the more unusual and special for it. So, it's no surprise that now that I need to re-edit What the Clocks Know, I just did this ritual again at the new moon yesterday. Same tools, different intention (ergo different cards, runes, and geomancy figure).

We'll see how the upcoming cycle plays out, but, in the meantime, I'll be back here with more creative woo-riting. Enjoy the weekend, my lovelies!

August 22, 2019

Where'd the Clocks Go?
Follow my ebook shortlink ( to What the Clocks Know, and it leads to nowhere. Find the paperback at Amazon, and it's selling at a dramatically higher price. This can only mean one thing, folks.

Yep, the book's out of print.

But not for long! I've recently reclaimed my rights to this title and will be re-releasing it later this year, when it'll join Coattails and Cocktails under the Fallen Monkey imprint. (From Crooked Cat to Fallen Monkey? It's a virtual menagerie over here!)

What the Clocks Know won First Place in General Fiction in the 2017 Red City Review Book Awards, an achievement I'm incredibly proud of, especially since this story was the very first novel manuscript that I ever penned. Whittling that rookie effort into award-winning shape wasn't easy, and I'll be honest that there's still more sanding and varnishing to be done. One could say this of any story, so there's of course a time when we have to just let our book babies go and survive in the wild without us. That said, I'm seizing republication as an opportunity to re-edit Clocks into a stronger version of itself. I'm not talking total revamp, just tightening the opening chapters and little tweaks here and there as I read the book myself for the first time in years. It's been a decade since I started writing Clocks, and I expect the clocks know even more now. I know I do.

On a more superficial note, I'm also quite excited to present this book in a prettier package! For Clocks' second edition, I will be collaborating once again with the cover and interior designers of Coattails and Cocktails--a dream team to be sure! Watch this space (and my social media profiles) for updates.
Until then, dahhlings, I will be back to blog about the creative "woo-riting" that went into my latest paranormal project, "Revolve Her," which you can find now in Paperback Writers--an anthology of original stories inspired by the music of The Beatles. Universal. Romantic. Experimental. Timeless. Emotional. Fearless. Eleven short stories that all share a chord. (All proceeds benefit the World Literacy Foundation.)

~ Rumer

May 16, 2019

COVER REVEAL: Paperback Writers Anthology!



Paperback Writers Anthology Book Cover


Title: Paperback Writers Anthology

Authors: Beck Anderson, Kris Babe, MJ Grace, Rumer Haven,
Shari Ivey, Effie Kammenou, Jennifer Locklear, Morgan Locklear,
Sydney Logan, Melanie Moreland, Susan K. Swords, Aubree Valentine

Genre: Stories include a mixture of Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy, Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, Dramatic Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Sweet Contemporary Romance

Release Day: June 11, 2019

Cover Designer: Jada D'Lee Designs


Paperback Ebook Cover

An anthology of original stories inspired by the music of The Beatles. Universal. Romantic. Experimental. Timeless. Emotional. Fearless. Eleven short stories that all share a chord.

All proceeds will benefit the World Literacy Foundation, a global non-profit organization working to ensure that every young individual regardless of geographic location has the opportunity to acquire literacy and reading skills to reach their full potential.
Foreword by Sylvain Reynard.

Paperback writers featured:
Beck Anderson
Kris Babe
MJ Grace
Rumer Haven
Shari Ivey
Effie Kammenou
Jennifer Locklear
Morgan Locklear
Sydney Logan
Melanie Moreland
Susan K. Swords
Aubree Valentine

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Enter to win the Cover Reveal Giveaway HERE!

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March 17, 2019

Today Only! HISTORYTELLERS Scavenger Hunt


As promised in my last post, welcome to the Historytellers Scavenger Hunt! This hunt is dedicated to novels historically set in the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s, across all genres. You’ll have the opportunity to discover new authors, new stories, and to meet other readers who love this time period--not to mention, you’ll be eligible to win the grand prize, which includes a digital copy of all the novels participating in the hunt!

This online event takes place only today, 17 March 2019, from 00:00 to 23:59 EST. You can find out how to play here:

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the Historytellers Scavenger Hunt page.


Directions: I’ve included my lucky number in this post (you will definitely spot it!). All my fellow authors participating in the hunt will also include a lucky number in their posts. Collect all of these numbers and add them up.

Entry Form: When you have that lucky total number, make sure you fill out the form below (or here) to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries with the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Anyone can take part. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by 23:59 EST on Sunday, 17 March. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.




I'm probably the most social recluse you could ever meet. When not babbling my fool head off among friends and family, I'm pacified with a good story that I'm reading, writing, or revising--or binge-watching Buffy. Hailing from Chicago, I presently live in London with my husband and probably a ghost or two. I've always had a penchant for the past and paranormal, which inspires my writing to explore dimensions of time, love, and the soul. My award-winning work includes Coattails and Cocktails (First Prize Winner, 2018 Red City Review Book Awards) and What the Clocks Know (First Place Winner in General Fiction, 2017 Red City Review Book Awards).

Where to find me:
Twitter: @RumerHaven

Coming up next is the novel up for grabs in the HISTORYTELLERS Scavenger Hunt Grand Prize!


A body clearly shaken, but not stirring...

Summer, 1929. Murder isn't on the menu when Chicago tycoon Ransom Warne hosts a dinner party at his country estate. But someone's a victim--and everyone's a suspect--when drinks and desires lead to disaster.

Hollywood starlet Lottie Landry has returned home to celebrate her engagement. She's famous for her on- and off-screen romance with co-star Noble, but, privately, she's having second thoughts. As her former guardian, Ransom doesn't approve of the match. Yet his own affections raise questions when his wife, Edith, suspects him of having an affair--just as Noble suspects Lottie. Stirred into the mix are Lottie's friends Helen and Rex, a young journalist and football hero who can feel tension building in the Warne mansion like a shaken champagne bottle.

And once the cork pops, a body drops.

Coattails and Cocktails is where Agatha Christie meets The Great Gatsby, a whodunit spiked with new love and old baggage, public faces and private vices. Filled to the brim with romance and mystery, it's sure to intoxicate.

Available in both ebook and paperback format at AMAZON:


As part of this scavenger hunt, I have happily agreed to share some exclusive, never-before-seen content.

While Coattails and Cocktails is 100% historical fiction, my next book will be set in modern day but with some flashbacks to a past era. Unfortunately, I haven't drafted those bits yet, but what I can offer today is a draft scene set at a murder-mystery dinner, in which my contemporary characters role play as 1940s murder suspects.

So, to be clear, this is not an excerpt from Coattails and Cocktails, the historical murder mystery featured above as my contribution to today's Grand Prize--which also happens to be accessible to anyone at any time at Amazon. No, ma'ams and sirs, what follows below is from a story I am still slowly but surely writing about a modern-day mystery dinner game--and no one's eyes but mine have read this yet!

And so, without further ado... (Though please do bear in mind this is a first draft and highly subject to change, if it ends up making the final cut at all! 'Tis the beauty of the writing process. :))

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“Ladies and gentlemen,” Aubrey began after everyone quickly reacquainted or introduced themselves—their real selves, not their characters—“it is my master’s greatest privilege to welcome you into his home.”
“Why would the maid announce this?” Kelly murmured to Greer out the side of his mouth. The group now stood in a circle within the dim confines of the parlor, painted a peacock blue and upholstered within an inch of its life with pale floral patterns. Porcelain kitsch cluttered every available surface of the mahogany furnishings.
Catching Aubrey’s nervous glance, Greer elbowed Kelly in his side to shut up. Aubrey had organized the whole thing, so it made sense for her to kick things off. But for all her insistence that everyone get in character straight away, it did seem odd that Aubrey wouldn’t have just made Stacey and herself the master and mistress of the house to jive with the story better.
Greer refused to comment, though, so her brother just rolled his eyes and turned his attention back to the empowered housemaid.
“I hope you all had safe journeys and settled in well,” Aubrey continued. “Anyone need a drink?” Raising her chin, she looked around, and to Stacey’s evident relief, everyone seemed all set. The “butler” had followed his orders, as dictated by the real master of the house here. Granted, Greer and the last to arrive—Ken and Sadie—had never gotten a chance to grab their drinks, and Aubrey herself still only clutched the feather duster. Hopefully Stacey wouldn’t catch heat for that; it was kind of Aubrey’s fault, after all, for holding them up in the foyer and then rushing them into the parlor to the start the game. But Greer wasn’t much of a drinker anyway and could easily wait until everyone sat for dinner. She knew Ken was too polite to make a fuss, too, and true to form, he didn’t.
She knew quite a lot of things about Ken, and she wondered if Sadie did yet. If this new woman on his arm had even a fraction of the history Greer had shared with him before he’d broken her heart. But whatever. Like she’d told Aubrey only moments ago, she’d moved on and would be happy for Ken if he was happy with Sadie.
Yep, she was one big happy-fest as her face grew hotter and hotter beneath her fedora. Her thick suit was so warm, too, in this musty old place. Really putting the fried in her Girl Friday. Spence’s date must’ve been boiling in her cheap white synthetic wig and opera gloves, too. Yet Rita kept smiling and sipping her white wine, so it must’ve been true that even fake blondes have more fun.
A scuffling sound to Greer’s right broke her thoughts and alerted her to Anna, who’d appeared from nowhere now wearing a black pillbox hat with crinkled netting hanging awkwardly over one eye.
Just as Greer raised a brow, Aubrey exclaimed, “Ah, Ms. Job! You were able to make it! Finally!”
Anna fidgeted with her apron, in which she’d tucked a length of shiny brocade fabric partially around her waist, presumably as part of a costume. Was she playing the game, too, then? Hadn’t she said in the foyer her last name was Bosworth?
“Sorry if I’m late, ma’am. Uh, Miss Feather Dussder.” Pointing her thumb over her shoulder, she sputtered, “There was a— I got held up, uh—”
“At the ferry!” Aubrey clapped her hands together. “Of course! Water’s been choppy today. We may be in for some weather.”
“Ferry? Out here in the prairie?” Kelly muttered before Greer elbowed him again.
“Um…” Aubrey’s cheeks were reddening closer to the shade of her auburn hair, and both her voice and body seemed to tremble. The poor gal was clearly so nervous about pulling this off. Her parties didn’t tend to go without a hitch, yet that never squashed her penchant for entertaining. “So. Like I was saying, I’m so glad everyone could be here. And everyone is good with their drinks, yes? Good. Uh…” She kept darting glances at Anna, then stretched her arms toward the woman with flourish. “Anita Job, everyone!”
“Oh!” Anna seemed alerted to action. “Yes! That’s my name. I’m Anita Job, and I’m, ah, here because, uh…I need a job?”
“Your reputation precedes you, Anita. Of course everyone knows who you are and why you’re here.”
As Greer looked around at everyone else looking around at each other, clueless, Aubrey continued, “Oh, and we all know that you’re here because our illustrious host, Mr. Phil Theeritch, has invited you to discuss the new film he’s financing.” She stared intently at Ken.
“Oh, uh, yes,” he responded, much as Anna had when clearly missing her cues in this role play. This would take some getting used to for everyone. “As the name says, I’m indeed ‘filthy rich’ and, uh…”
Ken’s hand scrambled around in his tuxedo pocket until Sadie calmly handed him the crisp black-and-gold card she’d removed from her black beaded purse.
“Thank you, darling,” he said as he shined his magnificent side-smile on Sadie. Squinting, he paraphrased aloud from his invitation, “Okay, so I’m a wealthy tycoon looking to fund a new Hollywood motion picture, and my trophy wife Erma Candy and I”—he wrapped an arm around Sadie’s chiffon shoulders—“have invited famous director Cam Rushai”—he looked around and nodded at Spence, who’d raised his hand—“here for dinner to seal the deal. Also the starlet Ivanna Tension?” Ken smiled at Spencer’s date Rita when she waved jazz hands to reveal herself. “Has-been actress Anita Job is my ex-wife”—he smiled sheepishly at Anna—“and journalist Berry DeLeed is here to cover the scoop on our movie.” He gestured to Greer with his card but looked at Kelly instead. “Which leaves Kelly here as…? You crashin’ my party, pal?”’
Kelly laughed. “Hey, I’m here with Berry. Your invitation to her included a plus-one.”
“Indeed it must have.” Ken nodded. “Nice to meet you, then, Mr.…”
Dunnit. Hugh Dunnit’s the name.”
“Like whodunnit,” Rita said, her silver sequins shimmering over her voluptuous form as she giggled. “That’s cute.”
“I guess you do vant attention, Ivanna,” Spence teased. “Speaking out of turn.” He gave her a playful spank as punishment, which she laughed off with a diminished smile.
“And what is it that you do, Mr. Dunnit?” Sadie asked, showing initiative. A sign, Greer thought, that Erma Candy wouldn’t be content just playing “arm candy” tonight. Beneath that dark, lustrous, Victory-Rolled hair was probably a big, beautiful brain if Ken had stuck with her this long. Well then, Berry DeLeed would just have to up her game.
Greer heard her character’s name just then, as Spence explained to Rita on the side what it meant to “bury the lead” in journalism. And also cackle that brother and sister were on a “date” tonight.
Kelly, who’d started to answer Sadie's question, interrupted himself to point at Spence. “Watch it,” he said with mock—though probably pretty real—aggravation.
“Anyway, as I was saying,” he continued with Sadie, “I just hold an office job. Nothing special.”
“Hm,” Sadie replied with a narrowed eye, not seeming to buy Hugh’s story. “Well, my husband and I are happy to receive you in our home, Mr. Dunnit.”
Greer’s stomach dropped at “my husband.” She’s only acting in character, she’s only acting in character, she’s only acting in character, she reminded herself. Boy, now Greer wished she did have that drink already. She crossed her arms and dug her thick high heel into the old matted carpet instead.
Aubrey, who was wringing her hands around her feather duster, assumed center stage again. “Okay, so, Anna—I mean, Anita, if you want to share your story now?”
Anna had just been milling around quietly in the periphery of the group, looking anxiously now and then toward the foyer. But once summoned by Aubrey, she snapped to attention and, lifting away that swathe of tacky brocade, fished a folded piece of glossy white paper out of her apron pocket and began to read it in monotone.
“‘I, Anita Job, was once a siren of the silver screen. But the “talkies” were not kind to me and my grating East Coast accent.’ Whoops.” She looked up at Aubrey, who seemed to wave off the need for Anna to affect any accent. But Anna apparently wanted to try anyway, as she continued in a high, nasal tone: “‘Linguists tried and fay-yelled, and in the meantime I refused voiceovahs and threw enough fits to boyn bridges and lose leading roles to youngah, freshah actresses. My diva behaviah cost me my relationship with Phil also, so in time I fell outta fame and the public eye. Phil Theeritch reads his lines next’…oh.” Shaking her head, she motioned at Ken with her paper for him to take his turn.
“Um” was all Ken said, looking at Aubrey.
Zeeb!” she hissed at Stacey.
“What? Oh.” He walked to a side table and grabbed a small stack of thin booklets. Thumbing through them, he handed one to Ken.
Ken flipped to the first pages, seemed to find what he needed, and read, “‘Word is, however, that my ex-wife is staging a comeback. She claims to have mended her ways and has gradually resurfaced as a character actress, where her regional accent suits the roles. This swallowing of pride for the love of her craft has brought her acclaim on stage and in film, so the studio has officially picked her back up and, along with the public, warmed to her and her voice. So, she has a lead role in A Filly’s Tale, the motion picture I seek to finance.’ Uh, Cam, I guess you’re up next.”
Stacey was quicker on the draw to hand Spence his booklet. The wannabe actor pretended to twiddle his slim, drawn-on moustache as he reviewed his lines, probably rehearsing them in his head first as if this could be his big break.
“‘The problem now,’” Spence boomed in a dramatically deep voice, “‘is that I, the director of A Filly’s Tale, and its producer Phil Theeritch disagree with the studio, viewing Ivanna Tension as the natural fit for the part.’”
Aubrey theatrically gasped at this, then nodded to Anna.
“‘Oh, de-ah,’” Anna robotically said in her awful East Coast accent, reading off the paper once more. “‘Well, I nevah. You’ll he-ah from the studio about this. I got a contract.’”
“‘Yes, Anita, you do,’” Ken read, “‘but what you don’t know is that instead of the leading lady, you’ll be playing the role of…her mother!’”
“Dun-dun-DAH!” Spence sang to score that reveal.
“‘Mothah?’” Anna read with zero feigned outrage. “‘That’s not what I agreed to. Well, I nevah! Storms in anger out of’—oh.” Ducking her head down, Anna scurried out of the parlor.
Everyone giggled in equal parts confusion and amusement as Stacey distributed the rest of the character booklets to their respective players. Greer started flipping ahead in hers when a fan of feathers tapped her wrist. “Sorry.” She smiled meekly at Aubrey.
“Well, Hugh,” Aubrey said to Kelly pointedly, “you’re supposed to do something now. Aren’t you.”
“Oh. Right.” Kelly flipped to his opening pages and proclaimed, “‘Someone should make sure Anita is okay. I will follow her to the library.’ That sounded natural enough, right?” He grinned at his friends until Aubrey swatted the air with her duster as his signal to literally follow Anna out of the room. Grimacing, Kelly obeyed.
“Uh, well, everyone,” Aubrey said, “that was awkward, but hopefully Anita Job is okay. If not, surely Hugh Dunnit will see to it. In the meantime, everyone just enjoy your drinks, and our butler Zeeb Uttler Diddit here will see to it if you need more.”

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And now the moment you've been waiting for... My lucky number is 16! Add it up with all the other lucky numbers and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the Grand Prize!


To keep going on your quest, you need to check out the next author, Lillian Csernica!