#MondayMotivation – #Meditation #TarotReading #DragonOracleCard

Welcome to another Monday post. Today’s theme seems to be all about making choices.

The Tarot reading for the week ahead focuses on exposing darkness and illusions and celebrating!

Photo by Jan Sikes

The Devil card focuses on our shadow selves – the negative part of us we don’t want anyone to see, that holds us back from being the best version of ourselves. The Devil card often appears when you have been tricked into thinking you have no control over your shadow self or these negative forces and that you can never break free from their hold. When this card shows up in a reading, see it as an opportunity to bring these negative influences into your conscious awareness, so you can then take action to free yourself from their hold. Shine your light on the negative patterns that have been standing in your way for so long, and over time, you will loosen the grip they have on you. 

The Moon can indicate a time of uncertainty and illusion—when nothing is what it seems. Be careful of making fast decisions when The Moon appears because you may later realize you only had half the information you needed. You need to listen to and trust your intuition so you can see beyond what is in front of you. Feel into situations rather than thinking about what they mean. Let go of your conscious mental blocks or negative self-talk and allow your intuition to guide you. Your dreams, intuitions, and inner guidance will lead you forward toward higher levels of understanding if you listen and use your judgment to help interpret the messages of the subconscious.

The Three of Cups is a card of celebration, friendship, sisterhood, and creative collaborations. Your friends and family are here to support you and lift you up to even higher levels of success. Celebrate with them and enjoy their camaraderie. The Three of Cups often indicates a very sociable period. This card also invites you to collaborate with others on a creative project and inspire one another to reach new heights. Collectively, you are working towards a common goal for the greater good of others. This is a very creative card, suggesting that you may pursue a creative outlet within a group environment.

MY TAKEAWAY:

When we think we have no control over our shadow selves, we get stuck in negative and destructive patterns. But we always have a choice, and if we listen to our intuition, choose the higher path, shine a light on the darkness, and let go of negativity, we get to enjoy a celebration of friendship, joy, and possibly creative collaborations.

And now for another lovely Dragon Card!

It’s a Mad Mad Murder – #BookBlitz @LoneStarLit

IT’S A MAD, MAD MURDER
A Maddie Montgomery Mystery
by
CINDY VINCENT

Cozy Culinary Mystery / Women Sleuths / Amateur Sleuths
Publisher: Whodunit Press
Date of Publication: November 15, 2021
Number of Pages: 303 pages
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Things are a little too hot to handle for famous culinary-mystery author, Maddie Montgomery, in her normally quiet neighborhood set in the Houston suburb of Abbott Cove. Especially after her neighbor, Randall Rathburn, has a heart attack and rams his vintage car into a light pole. Though his death is ruled an accident, another of Maddie’s neighbors insists that Randall was murdered, and he implores her to investigate. But Maddie isn’t on board with the half-baked idea, not until she attends the over-the-top funeral where she develops some suspicions of her own. That’s when she decides to take the leap from crime writing to crime solving. After all, she doesn’t exactly want a killer running around her cul-de-sac . . .
But the murder of her neighbor isn’t the only mystery she’s got cooking. When her publisher goes belly-up and her agent happily dumps her in favor of younger, dystopian authors, Maddie boils over into a full-blown career crisis. And while she tries to simmer down, her new role as amateur sleuth only stirs the pot even more. Then from car chases to stakeouts, and from a neighbor who owns a suspicious amount of spy gadgetry to a widow who seems a little too merry, Maddie’s first case has her head spinning like the beaters on her handheld mixer. And soon Maddie finds that solving a crime in “real life” is a lot more difficult . . . and a lot more dangerous . . .
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Cindy Vincent is the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers, and the Tracy Truworth, Apprentice P.I., 1940s Homefront Mysteries. She is also the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and an assortment of fantastic felines. Cindy is a self-professed “Christmas-a-holic,” and she starts the planning for her ever-expanding, “extreme” Christmas lights display sometime in the early spring.
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#NewRelease – From Brick and Darkness by @JLS_author @wildrosepress

I am thrilled to introduce a new author to you today. J.L Sullivan is a fellow Wild Rose Press Author, and this is his debut novel. I’ll let him tell you about it.

Welcome, J.L.!

PURCHASE LINK

Thank you for the warm welcome, Jan!

I love cities. The bigger, the better. A city creates adventure around every corner. I’ve traveled to New York City several times and never experienced the same trip twice. For my wife’s birthday, we took a train to Chicago for a long weekend. We did all the tourist requirements, but the best part was when we accidentally stumbled into a tiki bar we found around the back of a building that served insanely indulgent—and often aflame—cocktails. That “accident” became the most memorable part of the trip.

So when I wrote From Brick & Darkness, it was important to me to set it in the right city, with all of the excitement—and uncertainty—that accompanies an urban setting. Where else could you find a hundred-year-old apartment building with an abandoned cellar down the street from a comic book store owned by an eccentric storyteller?

I’ve lived most of my adult life in St. Louis, and have always appreciated its nooks and crannies. It has vibrant neighborhoods clustered beneath luxury high rises that sit next to abandoned buildings. The juxtaposition was the perfect setting for a dark novel about djinn.

And like my protagonist Bax, St. Louis has more to offer than it appears, has made some questionable decisions, and in the end, will need to rely on friends to surmount some of its greatest challenges. Telling Bax’s story in my hometown made perfect sense.

I hope you enjoy going on Bax’s journey in St. Louis as he learns you may not always want what you wish for.

Courtesy Wild Rose Press

BOOK BLURB:

Bax always fantasized something remarkable would happen in his life. So when a decrepit man with glowing purple eyes offers him a ring intended for his estranged father, Bax accepts.

The ring speaks to Bax in a dream, tempting him with a vision of a powerful djinn. Desperate to make his fantasies a reality, Bax unleashes a creature called Ifrit, but soon learns this djinn isn’t what the ring led him to believe. Feeding off the depths of his subconscious, the sinister demon fulfills what he thinks Bax wants by manipulating, threatening, and murdering. With everyone he loves in danger and a trail of crimes pointing back at him, Bax must scramble to solve the puzzle that will banish Ifrit forever.

EXCERPT:

Neck bones popped as his head rotated toward me, his face eclipsing the rays of the streetlight. His irises were dull purple, glazed over with a foggy film, and deep-set wrinkles radiated from the corners of his eyes like arrows drawing attention to them.

A shudder caused the keys to slip from my hand and clank on the ground. My face burned with shame that the poor man’s appearance had startled me. My rudeness would have disappointed Mom.

“I’m sorry, but really—” I snagged my keys.

His hand slithered out of the brick-colored sleeve as his arm rose, trembling as he strained to hold the weight of his own limb. Gloved in loose, veiny skin, his skeleton hand had yellowed fingernails so overgrown they grew in on themselves like curly birthday ribbons. As his fingers unfurled, he revealed a ring nestled in his palm.

It was large. Too large. The ring resembled the toy jewelry Jason’s sister played with or something from a Halloween costume. Grimy gold with a single dull purplish jewel that matched his eyes.

His hand trembled under the heaviness of the ring. “Take it.”

Shifting my backpack to my other shoulder, I took it. “What is this?”

The corners of his thin lips curled into a grin as a gust of warm, dry wind cut through the chilly October night and swirled around me.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Brick-Darkness-J-L-Sullivan-ebook/dp/B09THQ24TC/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2QI1IHMS3OVJV&keywords=from+brick+and+darkness+sullivan&qid=1646400481&sprefix=from+brick+and+darkness%2Caps%2C81&sr=8-1

BN.com: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/from-brick-darkness-j-l-sullivan/1141068076?ean=9781509240081

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60508978

Bookbub:https://www.bookbub.com/books/from-brick-darkness-by-j-l-sullivan

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

J. L. Sullivan writes young adult stories inspired by gritty urban environments and the tales that percolate within abandoned buildings and desolate alleys. He lives in St. Louis with his wife, two daughters, and a dog named Princess Penelope Picklesworth.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Website: www.jlsullivan.net

Twitter: @jls_author

Instagram: @JLS_author

Facebook: @jlsullivanauthor

#WednesdayWonders – Lapis Lazuli

Time sure has a way of flying by, and it’s been WAY too long since I did a gemstone post.

Created in Canva

I’ve had a couple of small pieces of Lapis Lazuli for years, but on my recent trip to Missouri, I picked up two new ones, and I’m just loving them!

Photo by Jan Sikes

Lapis Lazuli stone meaning came from the Latin word Lapis means stone, and from the Persian word, Lazhward, meaning blue. It was used as the finest art through the ages, especially when it was used in ancient Egypt, beloved by the Babylonians, Minoans, Chinese, Greeks, and up to the Romans. It was historically used in the death mask of King Tutankhamen, where they inlaid it with turquoise and carnelian in bright gold. It was also a subject from a well-known writer Marco Polo way back in 1271. Michelangelo grounds up this stone to create blue paint called ultramarine that brings color and brings the robes of Mary of Nazareth painted on church walls.

Lapis Lazuli’s benefits consist of a powerful, intense royal blue stone used to open minds and give enlightenment. It is used to encourage self-awareness, self-confidence, self-knowledge, peace and harmony, compassion, and morality, putting the wearer in a good mood throughout the day.

Lapis Lazuli’s healing crystal was discovered to relieve anger and negative thoughts. It is a useful tool for those who suffer emotional breakdowns. It calms the senses and opens up the mind to produce knowledge and self-awareness. It is a stone of protection against anxiety and psychic attacks, allowing clearer thinking and enhancing the ability to be more creative. it stimulates clarity and objectivity and speaks one’s truth and emotions. It also brings to balance the male and female aspects of your personality, which vibrates with the energy of the inner king or queen, and are historically stones of royalty.

Lapis Lazuli’s emotional healing is not just with the inner issues, but it can help to generate goals and determination. It strengthens the mind to influence your body for being active at work, career, and in life, in general.

This stone can connect your heart and mind forcing it to create a good flow of blood and calms your emotions. It aids in the treatment of skin issues and respiratory ailments. It is good for the nervous system that controls brain disorders. It is also believed to boost the immune system, help the blood circulate normally, and soothe the areas of inflammation. Because of its intense blue color, it is related to the throat chakra, therefore being beneficial in helping regulate the thyroid gland.

This stone has a way of making you fearless with your choices or decisions throughout your journey, which lifts your spirit to become more motivated every day. It’s a highly spiritual crystal that expands your thinking, gives deeper connections to the spiritual world, and promotes awareness. 

**It is not uncommon to find Sodalite in stores being sold as Lapis Lazuli. The best way to tell the difference is the intense royal blue color and the specks of gold and pyrite found in Lapis, whereas Sodalite will have some gray and white, but not the other reflective minerals.**

I hope you enjoyed this!!

#MotivationMonday #Meditation #RuneReading #DragonoracleCard

Happy Monday! I don’t know about the weather where everyone is, but here in Texas, it’s triple digits this week. Very early for those kinds of temps. Here’s today’s inspiring quote. I love it!

inspiringquotes.com

Today’s meditation is effective and short. Enjoy!

I found myself drawn back to the Runes for this week’s reading. Here’s what I got.

Photo by Jan Sikes

Jera, in the first position, is the rune of harvest. It signifies that each season has a purpose, so it reminds us that attainment of goals often takes time. A seed planted in the spring must be given time to grow. And it can only be harvested at the proper time. Jera indicates that your efforts will be successful. If you have been dealing with adversity and obstacles, Jera is a welcome sign that troubles are receding. (Always good news, right?) In addition, Jera symbolizes the union of opposites, such as dawn and dusk and the liminal timelines between seasons. You are advised to acknowledge any adversity you are or have been experiencing will ultimately contribute to your growth. You are who you are because of the lessons life has taught you.

Hagalaz in the second position can indicate temporary delays that are beyond your control, such as the forces of nature or other circumstances that you cannot change. A good example that is relatable in the present day is computer issues. And with Mercury in retrograde, it is not uncommon for electronics to fail or to “act up.” However, these are temporary, and eventually, everything gets ironed out.

In the third position, Elhaz is the rune of defense and protection. It indicates you are safe from danger and have no need to fear. However, you are warned not to take this protection for granted. We still must do our due diligence and remain alert, clear-minded, and in touch with our intuition. By listening to our higher guidance, we will know which moves to make to stay out of harm’s way. Additionally, Elhaz may refer to an upcoming opportunity or quest. Usually, this involves one or more other people. As long as your intuition agrees, you are encouraged to go for it.

MY TAKEAWAY:

If you have been dealing with adversity or obstacles, take comfort in knowing the situation is indeed temporary and you are protected.

On a personal note, I have certainly been dealing with several issues that could be considered adversity or obstacles. When I made my trip to Missouri, I booked hotels through Travelocity. It seemed an easy way to do it all. However, when we arrived in Oklahoma the first night, the motel I had booked at said they had no rooms. Long story short, they charged me for the room, and I am fighting for a refund. This reading encourages me that it will come to a satisfactory conclusion. Lesson learned. Never book through a third party! I am involved in another difficult situation beyond my control. My publisher experienced a devastating hack of their website a few weeks ago, and email communication has been down since the hack. I am hoping for a resolution to that one as well.

Your turn!

I am thinking I may have drawn this Dragon Card before, but if so, it has turned up again. It’s gorgeous!!

Stay Awake – Book Review @megangoldin #psychologicalthriller

This book was offered via NetGalley and Canelo Crime in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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Liv Reese has a rare and complex form of amnesia. Every time she goes to sleep, she wakes up, remembering absolutely nothing from the past two years. So, her solution is never to sleep. She drinks highly caffeinated drinks, espresso, energy drinks, and takes over-the-counter pills to stay awake. Despite all her efforts, occasionally, she falls asleep. Sometimes on a bus, sometimes on a park bench. She awakens to the same confusion and memory loss over and over again.

Except now, there is a murder with all the evidence pointing to her as the perpetrator. Liv has no memory of the person she wakes up next to, who is now dead. Yet, the fact that it is her ex-fiance gives detectives Halliday and Lavelle more reason to believe Liv has killed Ted Cole. I loved the depth of character the author exposed with both of these detectives. It was an interesting sub-plot.

The storyline drew me in from the first. However, I was confused at times, as the timeline went back and forth between present-day and two years prior when Liv Reese’s life as she’d known it came to a brutal and terrifying end. Once I got accustomed to the author’s technique of telling the whole story, it got easier to keep up, although I have to admit there were still some confusing scenes. For instance, when Liv wakes up in a dingy, rundown apartment with only a mattress on the floor for a bed, walls covered with writing, and the floor littered with empty caffeine drink containers, I had no idea how she rented or why and that part was never explained.

The most fascinating part of the story was the way Liv’s brain struggled, holding on to the trauma that created this type of amnesia for her. “Stay awake,” was a phrase she mumbled to herself over and over. She wrote it on her hand, so she would see it. She also wrote lots of other words on her hand, like “Don’t Trust the cops,” and “Don’t open the door.”

The way it came together in a climactic ending explained everything, the trauma that sent her brain into this Groundhog Day syndrome, the phrase “stay awake,” the obsession with a fleur de lise pattern, writing on her hands and arms—All of it made sense.

While I struggled with parts of the book, I gave it four stars. What a twisted tale!

Outlaw West of the Pecos – #NewRelease from Preston Lewis @LoneStarLit

OUTLAW WEST OF THE PECOS
An H.H. Lomax Western, Book 7
by
PRESTON LEWIS
Western / Humor / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Wolfpack Publishing

Date of Publication: January 4, 2022
Number of Pages: 228 pages 
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Accused of cheating at cards on a Southern Pacific passenger train in far West Texas, H.H. Lomax is kicked off the train and finds himself at the mercy of the unpredictable justice of Judge Roy Bean, who calls himself “Law West of the Pecos.” After being fined of all his money, married, and divorced by the judge in a matter of minutes, Lomax discovers an unlikely connection to him.

Against a backdrop of a pending world heavyweight championship bout, Lomax heads to El Paso to interest someone in writing and publishing Bean’s biography. He winds up in an El Paso boarding house across the hall from Texas killer John Wesley Hardin. They despise each other, but Hardin fears Lomax’s straight-arrow Texas Ranger brother and treads lightly around Lomax. Because of Hardin’s crooked connections in El Paso, Lomax gets caught between him and corrupt constable John Selman.

El Paso is becoming the focal point of efforts to host a championship prizefight that everyone from the Presidents of the United States and Mexico to the governors of Texas, New Mexico Territory and Chihuahua have vowed to stop. Calling on his connections to his Ranger brother, El Paso officials and the promoter of the boxing match, Lomax uses his Judge Roy Bean friendship to pull off the oddest prizefight in heavyweight history.

Outlaw West of the Pecos stands as an entertaining mix of historical and hysterical fiction.
CLICK TO PURCHASE!
Amazon
Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of 40 westerns, historical novels, juvenile books and memoirs. He has received national awards for his novels, articles, short stories, and humor.
In 2021 he was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters for his literary accomplishments. Lewis is past president of Western Writers of America and the West Texas Historical Association.
His historical novel Blood of Texas on the Texas Revolution earned a Spur Award as did his True West article on the Battle of Yellow House Canyon. He developed the Memoirs of H.H. Lomax series, which includes two Spur finalists and a Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award for western humor for his novel Bluster’s Last Stand on the battle of Little Big Horn. His comic western The Fleecing of Fort Griffin and two of his YA novels have won Elmer Kelton Awards for best creative work on West Texas from the West Texas Historical Association.
He began his writing career working for Texas daily newspapers in Abilene, Waco, Orange and Lubbock before going into university administration. During his 35-year career in higher education, he directed communications and marketing offices at Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and Angelo State University.
Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Baylor University and master’s degrees from Ohio State in journalism and Angelo State in history. He lives in San Angelo with his wife, Harriet.
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Younger Self Advice and Top Ten Things

I have been blessed with two fabulous opportunities this week. First, the amazing Sally Cronin invited me to share a post based on the theme of ‘wishing I knew then what I know now.’

To me, it was what I would like to say to my younger self if I could go back in time. Not that my younger self would’ve listened, but fun to consider.

So, here it is. I’d love for you to visit, share and leave a comment.

Then, Marcia Meara extended an invitation to share ten things people may not know about me. Those are always fun to think about and list. Some of them may surprise you. Some may not.

https://marciamearawrites.com/2022/05/11/tenthingsyoumaynotknow-about-jansikes/

Please take a minute to visit these two posts. I am most grateful to both ladies for the wonderful invitations.

Oh, and while you’re over there, take a look at the fabulous books they’ve both written!

#MondayMotivation #Meditation #TarotReading #DragonOracle Card

Happy Monday! I’m glad to be back with my regular post.

Courtesy Inspiring Quotes

Interesting Tarot cards this week.

Photo by Jan Sikes

The Ace of Swords represents new ideas. It is a sign of encouragement. It says your mind is in ‘expansion mode.’ You are open to embracing new ideas, craving stimulation, and you’ll jump at the next opportunity to learn something new. When the Ace of Swords appears in a Tarot reading, it tells you that now is an excellent time to start a new project – one that requires your intellect, communication skills, and mental power.

The Five of Wands indicates that you are in the midst of battle, tension, and competition with others, and it is impacting your ability to move forward with your goals. Rather than being able to work towards a common goal, you are running up against constant opposition. With the Five of Wands, everyone is fighting to be heard. But guess what? No one is listening. When everybody has a different opinion, but no one is stopping to hear each other out, conflict and misunderstandings will run rampant. If you find yourself in this situation, see it as an opportunity to rise above the chaos and disorder. The Five of Wands also encourages diversity and differences of opinion, and encourages an enthusiastic approach to change.

The appearance of the King of Wands suggests that an opportunity is presenting itself to you, and you now have the power to take on the challenge. You are the determining factor in this situation. If you want it to be successful, it will. And equally, if you do not fully commit to it, this seed will struggle to blossom and grow. You can create any outcome you wish, so be mindful about your intentions and vision. You hold the power. You achieve a lot because you are clear about your future direction and how you will get there – and do not waste your time on activities or relationships you believe will lead nowhere.

MY TAKEAWAY:

It’s always exciting to get inspired with a new idea or begin a new project, especially one that requires communication skills, but be careful and stay mindful of listening to others who may have input into the situation. You are the deciding factor in the outcome. But isn’t that always true in life? We create our realities.

Now for the Dragon Card. This one goes perfectly with the quote from Oprah as well as the tarot reading.

Have a GREAT week! Here’s to creativity, to staying positive and inspired!

#NewRelease! Turn To Me – Becky Wade @beckywadewriter @lonestarlit

It is my pleasure to introduce this fellow Texan author to you. I have not yet read this book, but it’s on my list for sure! Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter!

TURN TO ME
A Misty River Romance
by
BECKY WADE
 
Contemporary Romance / Christian Fiction / Clean & Wholesome
Date of Publication: May 3, 2022
Number of Pages: 416 pages 
 
Scroll down for Giveaway!
 
 
His promise will cost him far more than he imagined.
 
Guilt has defined Luke Dempsey’s life, but it was self-destructiveness that landed him in prison. When his friend and fellow inmate lay dying shortly before Luke’s release, the older man revealed he left a string of clues for his daughter, Finley, that will lead her to the treasure he’s hidden. Worried that she won’t be the only one pursuing the treasure, he gains Luke’s promise to protect her until the end of her search.
 
Spunky and idealistic, Finley Sutherland is the owner of an animal rescue center and a defender of lost causes. She accepts Luke’s help on the treasure hunt while secretly planning to help him in return–by coaxing him to embrace the forgiveness he’s long denied himself.
 
As they draw closer to the final clue, their reasons for resisting each other begin to crumble, and Luke realizes his promise will push him to the limit in more ways than one. He’ll do his best to shield Finley from unseen threats, but who’s going to shield him from losing his heart?
 
CLICK TO PURCHASE!
 
 
 
 
Becky Wade is the 2018 Christy Award Book of the Year winner for True to You. She is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and moved to Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her children. When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. Her humorous, heart-pounding contemporary romance novels have won three Christy Awards, the Carol Award, the INSPY Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award for Romance. Becky lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and three children.
 
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