Here is an interview for my novel, The Child Eater, published in England next month, and next year in the States. I enjoyed answering their questions, and really like how they set it up. I’m particularly impressed that they managed to dig up a visual for The Big Book of Science Fiction. I was trying to remember who did that series, and now I am reminded, it was Groff Conklin. I know nothing about him other than those Big Books he edited, which had such an influence on me as a young reader of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
the first review for The Burning Serpent deck. The reviewer cleverly got the deck directly from the German printer, so actually ahead of Robert and me!.
Originally posted on My Curious Cabinet:
I received this deck only a few days ago. I had been sort of following the funding campaign, but I am the world’s worst funding follower. I sort of vaguely grasp the concept during the brief lapses of my fevered deck shopping but am never an active participant. Unforgivable I know, but I’m of the “let me know when it’s out” school of deck purchasers. Plus there have been stories of people funding decks by lesser known creators which then disappear into the ether, leaving the backers sans money and sans deck. Does one really have to pay money up front before it is published? I’m never quite sure. I can’t imagine myself doing that, but then I have never read the small print. I don’t do preordering either. I’m happy to get on with life and buy the deck when it is in circulation. However, I must add, there was…
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Folks, this was a wonderful discussion initiated by the brilliant Camelia Elias, with my 2, 4, even 6 cents thrown in here and there.
After various final checks, proof readings, squintings of eyes, and deep breaths. the book for The Burning Serpent Oracle has officially gone to the printers. Here is an advance look at the cover.
for more information about The Burning Serpent Oracle go to
Meanwhile, I’ve also just been looking at the cover description for my novel, The Child Eater, due out this Summer.
It’s exciting to me that the two works are coming out around the same time, because my first novel, Golden Vanity, and my first Tarot book 78 Degrees of Wisdom, came out at the same time. I still remember how thrilling it was to get a look at the cover for Golden Vanity.
This was back in 1980, when books were typed on a clickety-clack typewriter, and sent in bulky envelopes to editors, who usually had stacks and stacks of pages on their desk. You had to remember to number each page of your book, and include the title and your name at the top of each page (all this done manually, character by character) so that when someone knocked over your particular pile, and picked up all those loose pages, they could put them back in correct order.
What a different world it was! 78 Degrees of Wisdom and Golden Vanity were my first and second books (unless Golden Vanity came first!). The Burning Serpent Oracle and The Child Eater are 35 and 36.
What an amazing, thrilling, thirty-four years, and all of it made possible by the wonderful people–readers first and foremost, but also editors, agents, colleagues, teachers, students, both of Tarot and writing, and all the brilliant Tarot readers, artists, creators, storytellers and fans I’ve had the joy to meet.
Here is the front cover for The Child Eater.
Here are some interviews Robert and I gave about our new deck, The Burning Serpent Oracle.
I love the title she gave it, “Igniting The Serpent.” It conveys the process of bringing the deck and book to life. It reminds me of the golem, in which you fashion a body out of sanctified dirt, but then have to magically make it come alive, a spell which includes inscribing the Hebrew word for “truth,” emeth, on the golem’s forehead.
In honor of The Burning Serpent being sent off to the printers, I did a reading for the deck itself, using one of my favorite spreads, the Nine Card square or grid.
There are various ways to read the 9 card spread, but I am going to focus on the ways specific cards work together. The very first thing to notice is that the title card appears in the center. This was not pre-determined, but the result of the shuffle. Because The Burning Serpent is quite literally the subject–the center–of the reading, we do not have to interpret it, the same as when the card of The Woman appears in the center of a reading for a women subject.
At the same time it forms a triangle with the bottom row, and these cards are part of what I might call the “mythological” strain the deck hints at. The Path shows a shrine to Hecate, Greek Goddess of crossroads, and thus a figure important to divination. On the Scythe card we see another goddess, Demeter, goddess of the grain, holding the scythe, and some harvested wheat. In the myth of Demeter her daughter is abducted by Death to be his bride–the poisonous aspect of the Serpent can represent this–and it is Hecate who tells Demeter what has happened. One of the meanings of The Owl and Mouse (“Birds” or “The Owl” in traditional Lenormand decks) is conversation. Usually the conversation is light, not always.
Stars–upper left corner–can signify the internet, and when we add Owl and Mouse can we get social media, the primary way we have been presenting The Burning Serpent Oracle to the world. This is reinforced with the middle line, Bouquet, Burning Serpent Letter. Bouquet means an invitation, with the Letter a suggestion of sending out messages (Stars + Letter can be email) and we have invited everyone to join us in launching The Burning Serpent Oracle.
Another way to look at the bottom row: The Path usually means a choice but we also can see it as two people’s paths uniting. Similarly, the Scythe normally has a negative quality, something cut down or ended, but it also can mean harvesting. Robert and I followed two paths–art and text–to create the Oracle. Now we are harvesting our work by bringing it to the world, as a farmer brings the grain grown with great effort and dedication. In between, the Owl and Mouse represent our many many (!) conversations about the project.
If we look at the top left corner we see the Voyage (Ship in traditional decks), with the Letter below it, and the Book of Life to the left. In a number of readings regarding projects, especially writing or art, the Letter means a project in development–a manuscript–while the Book signifies the finished, published, work. The Voyage often means something positive, as when we say a person’s “ship has come in.” Here it is extremely literal, for the actual copies of the deck and book will be arriving by ship!
There is MUCH more that can be said about this spread (for example, looking at all the lines, vertical and horizontal and diagonal, or looking at the corners, or the four that form a diamond around the middle), but I will stop here, and offer a Bouquet of invitation to others to add their comments.
Join The Burning Serpent Oracle! http://igg.me/at/burningserpent
Here’s an announcement we put up yesterday on the Indiegogo site for THE BURNING SERPENT ORACLE
We have actually met our initial goal, and in under 24 hours!! We are so grateful to everyone who’s joined us so far. However, this does NOT mean the campaign is over. Far from it. We are continuing to our final day of April 24, to make sure that everyone who wants this deck and book can pre-order their copy, so that as soon as it arrives we can send it out to them. And the extras continue! We also plan to add some new ones, so check back.
The “official” goal in a drive like this is to cover the basic costs. Since Robert and I have immersed ourselves in this project for over a year we obviously hope to go beyond that. More important, we want to make sure that everyone has a chance to join us in the world of the Burning Serpent, where we ourselves continue to make new discoveries every day. We also might point out that The Burning Serpent is NOT available on Amazon or other online sources at this time. It might be later, but at a higher price.
PLEASE–SPREAD THE WORD. WE REALLY APPRECIATE IT. THANK YOU!
THE BURNING SERPENT ORACLE is finally on its way to the printer. As many people here know, Robert Place and I have been devoting our lives to this project for months now, and are incredibly excited that the time has come to ask everyone to join us.
Here is the link to our Indiegogo announcement, and the link for The Burning Serpent website.
To preorder at the campaign go here:
To learn more about the project:
Please, everyone! Pass this on! Share it, tweet it, take a selfie with your face next to the screen… Seriously, folks, we’re asking your help getting the word out. Thank you!
In the next few days I will be posting readings from the deck, images, stories, ideas, history. But right now it’s all about the launch. Please join us!
Readers Studio, the great annual Tarot event, is coming up, and I will be presenting an evening study group. In preparation Wald Amberstone, who with Ruth Ann Amberstone, created and runs RS, has done a series of fascinating 7 minute interviews with the presenters, in which he took the trouble to really consider a worthwhile question for that person. I really enjoyed my discussion with Wald.
As part of the question he asked if I had a secret identity. As an old comics writer, I had fun with that.
Here’s the link.
THE BURNING SERPENT ORACLE, created by Robert M. Place and myself, is based on the Lenormand tradition from 19th century Europe. For each card, we knew the traditional name and image but wanted to create our own version. When it came to the card titled The House, which in the old decks shows an elegant European mansion, I suggested to Robert that it would be nice for it to have a fairy tale quality. He looked through a great number of houses on Google Images and found a model that both of us thought was perfect. Just a couple of days ago he came across an article about that very house, and we discovered just how perfect it was. To see the picture and read the article, take a look at