Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Tarot and Exterminating Angel

First, a disclaimer. I’m not a professional Tarot reader, and my interpretation of the layouts below may not agree with yours. That’s okay. 

These readings are actual ones I did for Sean and Zaphkiel, as read by Love, Lucifer’s receptionist. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect when I handed Love the Rider-Waite Tarot deck. Remarkably, the cards I laid out fit my characters and the plot.

Sean, being more familiar with the Tarot than Zaphkiel, asks Love to read the cards for him. He’s not quite sure how to deal with his relationship with the archangel and former leader of the Thrones angelic hierarchy. 
Even more troubling is his fear he’ll lose Zaphkiel because he has no special powers or abilities.

Two of Pentacles
The first card I drew for Sean was the Two of Pentacles. As Love points out, he’s trying to balance something. Part of it is his wanting to be part of the small group Lucifer has brought together, while fearing he’s not good enough. But it’s also trying to decide if his relationship with Zaphkiel will work out, and how to deal with his lover’s tendency to keep secrets, making the relationship difficult for both of them.

The next three cards represent Sean’s past, present, and future in regards to the Two of Pentacles:

Ace of Swords
Ace of Swords (Past): As Love points out, Sean’s already started thinking about his decision. According to Nancy Garen’s Tarot Made Easy, this card represents the “dawning of a period of action, movement, or struggle.” Sean doesn’t realize it yet, but the Devil has chosen him for a specific purpose, one that will not only impact him but others as well.

Five of Wands
Five of Wands (Present): Love notes that Sean is struggling with something, not just his relationship with Zaphkiel, but something deeper. Garen quotes, “Many 5s indicate change, challenge, and fluctuations (lucky or unlucky).” Sean’s world is coming under threat from the sun demon Sorath, who seeks two pentacles Lucifer hid from him. When faced directly with this threat, it is his actions that will determine the outcome. But if Sean doesn’t face this challenge, he’ll lose more than Zaphkiel.

Magician (Future): Perhaps the most telling card. The Magician represents Sean’s potential, the capability Lucifer sees and why he chose him.
Zaphkiel’s first response to the Tarot is to be wary. It’s not that he doesn’t trust Love’s reading, but more he’s afraid she’ll reveal his darkest secret in front of Sean.

High Priestess
The first card she draws for him is the High Priestess. Love remarks there’s a deeper level to Zaphkiel, one most people don’t see. When creating Zaphkiel’s character, I wanted an archangel so devoted to duty, he would use any means necessary to carry out God’s law, even if it meant ultimately and unintentionally breaking it, such as when he murdered Kurt for trying to summon Sorath. His intention was pure if misguided.

The next three cards:

Ten of Swords
Ten of Swords (Past): Betrayal. Being “stabbed in the back.” Given Zaphkiel’s boss, Ophaniel, not only had Zaphkiel’s lover Caliel arrested and sentenced to be executed, but seeks any excuse to have Zaphkiel executed as well, this card stood out as a blatant reminder of a certain angel’s cruel machinations.

Two of Wands
Two of Wands (Present): Love tells Zaphkiel he needs to make a decision and trust that choice. Zaphkiel doesn’t want to admit he has made a choice, because it may be one that will drive Sean away. But he realizes he has no other recourse if he wants to help Lucifer defeat Sorath.

Chariot (Future): I thought it interesting that Sean and Zaphkiel’s future cards were both from the Major Arcana while the past and present Tarot were from the Minor Arcana. With the Chariot, Love and Sean tell Zaphkiel the future’s under his control. It’s up to him to “take the wheel.”

While the Tarot shows Zaphkiel and Sean things about themselves they may not have realized, it is what they do with this information that helps determine their fates.

Exterminating Angel cover
Exterminating Angel Blurb:

Making a deal with the Devil is the least of his problems.

Zaphkiel, a chain-smoking, hard-drinking archangel, never intended to unleash the sun demon upon the city. Bad enough his boss wants him dead, and this recent crime is the perfect excuse. The timing couldn’t be worse. Somehow, Zaphkiel’s executed lover, Caliel, is alive and reincarnated as Sean. Zaphkiel is thrilled to be reunited with Caliel again, but will his lover feel the same when he learns Zaphkiel’s darkest secret?

Hired by Lucifer, Sean wants nothing more than to fit in. But how can he compete when the Devil’s friends include archangels and a Tarot reader, and he was born without special abilities? Or so he believes. The Tarot hints there may be more to him than he realizes.

Recruited by the Devil to find the two pentacles sun demon Sorath plans to use to destroy the universe, Zaphkiel and Sean find themselves pawns in a game of power and control. If the archangel gives his boss the pentacles, Ophaniel will overlook his crime. But Zaphkiel knows he can’t trust either Ophaniel or Sorath, and the deal he’s made with the Devil could cost him not only his life, but also the lover he believed gone forever.

M/M sexual practices, occult themes, some violence, graphic descriptions.

Buy Link (Releases 5/5//2014):

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Adventures at ConGlomeration 2014

The BlackWyrm Publishing table at ConGlomeration with fellow authors, Amy McCorkle and Melissa Goodman.
What can I say? ConGlomeration, the fan-run sci-fi/fantasy convention holds a special place in my heart. It's small and personable, where people remember you on a first-name basis.

This was a special year for me, as it was the first time I had a print book to sell and I joined my fellow authors at the BlackWyrm Publishing table. The Ripper's Daughter is a paranormal historical mystery, and I sold two copies that weekend. I know, doesn't sound like a lot, but for someone who's spent cons handing out free postcards and other promo, even one sale is cause for celebration. :-)

I sat on three panels: Screenwriting, Thrill of the Kill, and Beyond the Grave. Panels force one to think fast on one's feet, to coin a phrase. Even more so when one is elected moderator. For the first time, I moderated a panel (Thrill of the Kill). Talk about nervous. I got through it, but I'm sure I made a fool of myself along the way. Good thing I'm used to that.

I always look forward to con season, when I can see fellow authors I only interact with online. Looking forward to Fandom Fest and Imaginarium. :-)