My copies of THE CHILD EATER arrived today, and I opened it at random to a favorite passage

Due to a shipping problem, my author’s copies of my novel, The Child Eater only just arrived. (Sort of like what happened with the copies of The Burning Serpent–see below, “Hermes Retrograde”)

Just earlier today I received a review of the deck and shared it here and on FB, in particular a comment I liked about the structure of time in the book. When I opened the box I opened it at random to one of my favorite passages, where Matyas, one of the two heroes, has a visionary experience. I thought I might want to share it here, but I would need to find it in the Word file, for easy copying. Well, I opened the file, moved the bar down to somewhere in the middle–and there it was! Not close by, the exact same passage, and in both cases right at the beginning.

Here’s the passage:

Far from driving him away from Florian, however, the strange experience seemed to intensify his urge to understand her more elaborate teachings, as if to prove to himself, he had not abandoned her. He continued to read the same passages over and over, now in both the tower and the library, as if they might change by where you read them.
And then one afternoon, after all that study, he was standing in the courtyard, with his arms full of wood, when someone said something about the Moon caught on Veil’s tower. He looked up, and yes, the crescent Moon appeared on its side right above the tower. He stared and stared it, remembering a passage in Florian, one of those he’d never understood, how “the Moon sings its horns on the Gate of Stone.”
Suddenly Veil’s tower lit up with color, colors he had never seen before, all up and down the stones, every one a different color. Veil’s tower wasn’t made of stone at all, it rose on color after color, singing colors, harmonies never heard before because they were never possible until this moment, until Matyas could see them and hear them.
He stared at the sky and saw that it went on and on, layer and layer of impossible colors that had never existed, and then he held his hands and they were made of color and song. He looked down at the blazing sticks of color that lay at his feet, and then the ground itself, and he realized that what had seemed like solid dirt and stone now revealed itself as vast lattices and harmonies of color, reds beyond red and blues hidden inside blue, all of them singing to each other, singing to Matyas, singing in Matyas, singing in the world, in every face. This was the song the Kallistocha had sung, hidden in the dark colorless trees, trapped there by the warriors of Heaven, yet still able to sing.
Matyas held up his hands, fingers spread wide, and color and song flowed over the courtyard, and the statues, the stone lions, were revealed as glory upon glory. Color poured from his fingers and his eyes directly into the open mouths of all the wavery shimmery forms that gathered round him. He was teaching now, giving truth, and didn’t even know it at first, until he detected, beyond the figures sitting in the dirt, Lukhanan and Berias and Lord Olan, the only ones who had not surrendered their fixed forms to shifting harmonies of music and color. Only, now Olan slid away from the other two, and sat down, and instantly all his rigidity dissolved into brightness. Matyas laughed, and the sky rippled out through the spheres of the planets, and they were not shells surrounding the dead Earth but songs and shouts, calling to each other in layers and layers of harmonic color.
He saw lights amid the lights. Bright sharp dots that hovered between the pillars, that fitted themselves among the listeners. The Splendor had come—not to help him, or protect him, but to listen. To learn.
Matyas had no idea how long it all lasted, for what he saw and heard changed time as well, so that instead of a steady flow it swirled and rose and fell and turned back on itself and flared up and died down.

Published in: on August 13, 2014 at 1:55 am  Leave a Comment  


Here’s a new review of my novel The Child Eater.

Here’s my favorite passage:

The Child Eater comes wrapped in a package that both reveals and conceals the novel it encloses. While mysticism and urban-fantasy-style ideas play a significant role in the novel, this is neither horror nor a “secrets of the universe” kind of book; its two entwined narratives are both coming of age, young adult-ish pieces that while set in different worlds with very different protagonists interact and parallel each other fascinatingly. This may be the greatest strength of the novel; Pollack has some themes that run across chapters virtually from the start, including the Child Eater of the title and the role of poetry, but other elements appear in one narrative earlier than the other, or are picked up in different ways across the two halves of the story. The Child Eater dances what is a structurally fascinating narrative dance, and spirals in towards a brilliantly executed conclusion.

The book is available in stores and online in Britain and Commonwealth countries, and in America from Amazon sellers (properly released in America next year).

Published in: on August 12, 2014 at 4:15 pm  Leave a Comment  


This is a kind of catch-all, letting people know where they can find some of my work.

The Burning Serpent Oracle, jointly created by myself and Robert M. Place, is now available from Amazon. Well, actually, it’s available from me, but I did a magic spell to turn myself into an Amazon seller (who knows what else I might end up selling??). Just go to Amazon and type in Burning Serpent Oracle. And of course you also can order it from

Meanwhile, other Amazon sellers have magically acquired copies of my new novel, The Child Eater, which is officially only for sale in Britain until next year. It’s getting great reviews, so if you don’t want to wait, you don’t have to.

Meanwhile some more, the British SF publisher Gollancz awhile back put together ebooks of all my previously published science fiction or fantasy novels, and the short story collection, Burning Sky, the title story of which has been reprinted three or four times.

Meanwhile still more–some of you know that I’ve been writing a series of novellas about a contemporary shaman for hire named Jack Shade. The first of these, Jack Shade In The Forest Of Souls, has been done as an audio. Go to

Have fun, reading and listening!

Published in: on August 3, 2014 at 1:04 am  Comments (2)  


Recently on I posted of the difficulties Robert Place and I had had getting our printed cards in our hand so we could send the finished Burning Serpent oracle to everyone who had ordered it.

It’s quite a story. Go take a look on

Published in: on July 9, 2014 at 12:14 am  Leave a Comment  


For those of you who have so patiently–or not so patiently–been waiting for the Burning Serpent Oracle to show up in your mailbox, I’ve written a statement about it on the BSO site,

It’s called Hermes Retrograde, and it describes what happens when you’re waiting for Hermes the Messenger (first card) to ride into your life–and the planet Mercury goes retrograde on you. Mercury is, of course, the Roman name for Hermes. Aiee!

Published in: on July 7, 2014 at 4:43 am  Comments (3)  


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.

Published in: on June 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Burning Serpent Oracle.

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!.

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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Published in: on June 23, 2014 at 5:08 am  Leave a Comment  


Folks, this was a wonderful discussion initiated by the brilliant Camelia Elias, with my 2, 4, even 6 cents thrown in here and there.

Published in: on June 11, 2014 at 2:13 pm  Comments (1)  


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.

72dpi Final Cover for Book

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.


Published in: on March 21, 2014 at 10:13 pm  Comments (3)  

Interviews With Robert Place and myself about The Burning Serpent Oracle

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.

Published in: on March 13, 2014 at 5:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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