April 8, 2022

From Blogging to Vlogging

'Tis been ages since I've reported back here, so I thought I'd share what in heck I've been up to the last couple of months!

New YouTube subscribers are so very welcome at my little corner of cyberspace. 😊


October 14, 2020

NEW RELEASE: Myths, Mothers, and Mystics!


A goddess brings a statue to life
so it can become the sculptor’s wife.

A mirror reflects more than what should appear

as a holiday toy spreads less cheer than fear.

New tech revolutionizes reproductive rights

while ghost hunters fill an innkeeper’s night with frights.

And just when she falls out of love’s blinding spell,

a tattoo artist checks into a haunted hotel.

In this speculative fiction collection, feminism meets folklore, fantasy, and science fiction as Rumer Haven shares some of the more random yarns she’s spun over the past decade. From ancient Cyprus to modern Sedona, Myths, Mothers, and Mystics tells the tales of women who must find—if not fight—their way against the natural and supernatural.






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 clichΓ©—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:

HA! BURN, BABY, BURN!!! πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

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

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! πŸ˜ƒ

"Revolve Her" is available in the Paperback Writers anthology at Amazon: http://getbook.at/PaperbackWriters

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: https://youtu.be/DXFbZtKH0WU), 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!