Not Paying Attention

Hellooooo! Stop ignoring me!!

Hellooooo! Stop ignoring me!!

I read Tarot.

It’s not a lifetime calling–I bought my first deck about five years ago, when I was interested in writing for the Ellora’s Cave “Torrid Tarot” series.  I decided not to pursue that, but I got hooked on the Tarot cards.  It took me a little while to find the deck that “speaks to me,” but, once I did, it sort of fell into place.

Like most readers, I can’t really do a full reading for myself.  It’s impossible to be objective.  But I do draw a single card each day and consider its implications and lessons for the day, sort of like reading your horoscope, only way more specific.

Some Tarot cards are subject to a lot of interpretation.  Some are completely unambiguous.

I did something today that has only happened perhaps twice before in five years–I drew the same card as yesterday. Yesterday, I made note of the card, but I got busy and didn’t take the time to think about its meaning.

You see, it was a Knight, and Knights are warning cards.  Not warnings about dire events–nothing like that. They’re more warnings about avoiding destructive personal tendencies.

Like the tendency to not pay attention to truths I don’t want to hear.

So, after ignoring my card yesterday,  I drew it again today.  And I took that as a sign (don’t ask me from what or whom–I’m the least metaphysical Tarot reader on the planet) that I should listen to the Knight’s message.

His annoying, relentless, pain-in-the-ass message.

I hate Knights. (Grumbles.)

The Knight of Wands is the classic “Too Much of a Good Thing” card.  It reminds me that it’s good to be fearless but bad to be foolhardy.  That my sense of adventure can lead me to wonderful discoveries, or right off the edge of a cliff.  That the same qualities that make me charming can also make me insensitive. That my self-assurance can make me annoyingly cocky. That my passion can get me into trouble.

Grrrr.

There is another school of thought about Knights — it’s that they MIGHT be a warning that we’ve been ignoring our nature.  In other words, that a little dose of the Knight’s reckless charm might be just the thing to pull me out of a rut.

Drop it back a gear, Sir Knight!

Drop it back a gear, Sir Knight!

I think I prefer that interpretation. Yeah. Go for it.

Of course, I could be being impulsive.  The Knight can be part of a Court Card pair.  Let me draw another card, just to see if that happens.

And…Yes, I drew another Court Card — a Queen of Cups. A queen is usually a moderating force against a Knight–a stabilizer.  And a Cup is a Calming influence against a Wand, and a reminder to be more tender than passionate.  Water to Fire.

Crap.

Okay, Mr. Knight, you made your point.  I’m paying attention.  Really.

P.S.  The winner of Monday’s contest is…COMMENTER #9:  KAREN.  Congratulations.

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The Future is Today!

sciencefictionstories1NOTE:  Check the end of this post for bribes.

I heard a story on NPR the other day about technology.  It seems that it is changing so fast that there are a lot of things that most people think of as Science Fiction that already exist. The information is coming faster than we can absorb.  For example, did you know that the military really does have tiny little flying robots the size of houseflies that gather intelligence remotely?

For someone, ahem, MY AGE, I’m not especially intimidated by technology.  But it took me a while to figure out how to get my book covers up on the left and my Twitter feed up on the right.

A lot of writers I know struggle with technology.  We were the English major nerds (okay, I was a Performing Arts major, but the metaphor still works), not the Science/Math Geeks (who became cool in the age of Bill Gates). Like many of my fellow authors I enjoy the idea of sitting under a tree, writing in my beautifully bound leather journal with a quill pen (in my fantasy, the need for a place to put the ink bottle is conveniently ignored), surrounded by the sounds of nature.

But I type 80 words per minute, and handwrite about ten, so I use an AlphaSmart when I’m sitting under that tree. I still can’t resist buying those leather-bound journals, but they mostly collect dust.

I’m always tempted by various software applications that promise to more or less write the book for me.  Sort of like the serial dieter is always looking for the magic pill that will make them thin, the writer sees applications that keep track of plot threads, character arcs, and make pretty story boards, and we’re sure that, if we just buy them, we’ll have the next New York Times bestseller ready in no time.

I’ve bought a couple, and tried some of the free ones. Most of them didn’t do anything I hadn’t already figured out using basic office tools, and others had a learning curve so long that I was afraid I’d never get the book done.

too-much-technology

But the technology used in the actual writing process is the least of the author’s worries.  It’s all the ancillary stuff, mostly having to do with marketing.

I currently use…

— WordPress for this blog, and the Deadline Dames.

— Bravenet for occasional updates to my old blog.

— Contribute (A dumbed down version of DreamWeaver) for my website.

— Windows Movie Maker for “virtual appearances” and book trailers.

— YouTube to post the trailers.

— Microsoft publisher to make all kinds of promotional things, both print and digital.

— I-Movie (on the studio’s Mac) to edit tape for the TV show I produce.

— Streamclip to change the format of the video so that it can be loaded to an FTP site

— Filezilla to actually load the video.

— PegMedia to distribute the show to other Public Access stations around the country.

— Prism to compress the video to a lower-resolution so that I can post full episodes.

— Blip.tv to post those episodes.

— Twitter, to tell people to go read the blogs and watch the episodes and trailers.

— Seesmic, to customize my views of the Twitter feed.

— Facebook, because everyone says I have to.

— PayPal, so I can get online payments for my Book Rx business.

— Yahoo Messenger, although I REFUSE to use IM abbreviations or abandon punctuation.

— Yahoo Groups, to keep track of various organizations of which I am a member.

— Autosynch, to synchronize calendars, tasks and contacts in multiple places

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but this is actually a pretty short list. Compare to some REALLY tech savvy writers I know, I’m a Neanderthal.

What do you use that is or isn’t on my list?  Do any of those novel writing applications really work for you?

HERE’S THE BRIBERY PART:

One commenter will win an autographed copy of Glitter Baby by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  And, speaking of technology, be sure I have a way to notify you if you win…

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At my previous blog address, HERE.