The Major Arcana are often interpreted as describing the normal progression of a truly holy life (or the path to enlightenment of the Initiate through the Mysteries), and often tell where a person is along their journey, or if they have strayed.
-- from the Wikipedia entry on the Divinatory Tarot
For over 250 years, the use of the tarot for divination has been a mainstay of mystical and occult practices. Cast the Cards is a collection of six all-new short stories that explore some of the powerful themes associated with the Major Arcana, all with an eye toward erotic romance with GLBT and alt-lifestyle characters and motifs.
Contributors are: Emily Moreton, Janine Ashbless, Marie Carlson, S.L. Armstrong, K. Piet, and Erik Moore
Excerpt (just a bit from one of the stories):
"Do you want to feel it?"
That made him snap out of his daze, and he looked up at Travis with a small frown. "No thanks. I don't bottom."
"Oh, come on!" Travis laughed, and Aaron did his best to ignore the way the sound wrapped around him, teasing his senses. "Just for experimentation. You don't have to be a bottom to want to feel it. It's great to try things out first hand before you use them on your own subs. That's why we try both sides of the equation to figure out what we're good at."
Aaron blinked. "I... never had to bottom to know I wanted to be a top." The thought seemed silly to him. Why experiment just to figure out what he already knew from the get-go? Travis must have read the question on his face because the amusement bled out of the handsome face.
"You've really never bottomed? Ever? It's pretty important. How are you supposed to relate to your partners and appreciate what they ask you for if you've never felt at least some of it yourself?"
"I've never had any complaints in the past," Aaron argued with a smug smile.
Travis humphed, a hint of the amusement back as his lips quirked upwards. "I bet you haven't, but that doesn't mean you can't learn."
-- from "Surrender" by K. Piet
S.L. Armstrong was born in West Virginia and raised in Tampa, Florida with her younger brother and a family dog.
She has been a voracious reader since early childhood, a hobby encouraged by her mother. In middle school, S.L. began to write as a hobby, scribbling poetry and snippets of prose during her classes. By the end of her high school career, she'd filled three binders full of her writings. It was the beginning of a life-long obsession with words and worlds, characters and plots.
Shortly after high school, S.L. married her husband, who has always encouraged her in her chosen field.
They currently live together in Bradenton, Florida with seven cats and two dogs, and she is one of three founders of Storm Moon Press.
S.L. currently has one novella available from Storm Moon Press, The Keeper, which was co-authored with K. Piet, and one short story in the anthology Cast the Cards. Look for her next novel co-authored with K. Piet, Catalyst, in March from Storm Moon Press.
K. Piet was born in California and raised in Flagstaff, Arizona with her older sister and two cats. A graduate of the University of Nevada - Las Vegas in Allied Health Kinesiology, K. is a nationally certified, licensed massage therapist and specializes in therapeutic bodywork for those involved in artistic sports such as gymnastics and figure skating, circus performance, and professional dance.
K. enjoys drawing, Cirque du Soleil, musical theatre, and hoop-dancing, all of which she feels balance her scientific, kinesiology side with her flare for the artistic and dramatic.
She currently has one novella available from Storm Moon Press, The Keeper, which was co-authored with S.L. Armstrong, and one short story in the anthology Cast the Cards. Look for her next novel co-authored with S.L. Armstrong, Catalyst, in March from Storm Moon Press.
She loves to hear from her readers, who can e-mail her at K.Piet@logophile.net.
Cast the Cards, offered by Storm Moon Press, is an anthology that uses Tarot cards as the basis for each story, right? How did you determine which card to pick for each story in the anthology?
[S.L.] Actually, we allowed the authors to submit whatever story they chose with either one—or sometimes two or three—cards they felt were appropriate for the anthology. This allowed us to choose the stories more easily since no story was tied to a single card. In the end, we chose the stories we thought were strongest and most appropriate, and each story’s first choice card was used.
Once you had the card figured out, how did you use it to come up with your plot line? Can you give me an example?
[S.L.] I knew when we settled on the theme that my contribution was going to be The Moon. It took me a bit of time to settle on my actual story. I knew it would be M/M, and I knew the themes of The Moon, but I think it was at least a month to settle on Caleb’s story that incorporated the escapism and dreamscape that The Moon represents.
[K.] I had actually started out with The Hierophant card, but the plot that coalesced in my brain for it was dystopian and so complex that I had difficulty getting it out onto paper. After consulting with S.L. and her husband, I decided to change my card and start anew, settling on The Tower. Since I was already discussing it all with S.L. and her husband, I brainstormed with them and formed an outline for the plot that same night about Aaron’s experience at a kink party that challenges the comfortable labels he had given himself. :D
I love the idea of a kink party!
This anthology has two m/m storylines, two f/f story lines, and two m/m/f storylines. Are you worried at all about alienating some of your readers?
[S.L.] Not really. This was our first anthology, and it was very important for us to include in it a smattering of what our press will be offering in the next few years. Our second and third anthologies are much more specific, being M/M and F/F. I think, because we’re a very small press with a very narrow goal, we have the freedom to be a little more daring in the titles we offer and what we include in our anthologies.
[K.] I think it’s the exact opposite! We wanted to concentrate on offering a sample of as many kinds of GLBT and alternative lifestyle storylines as possible with the submissions we had to choose from. Our goal isn’t to alienate readers but to appeal to a broader audience with this particular anthology and give a taste of what Storm Moon Press is all about. We’re hoping there’s something for everyone, and, at the risk of having a Statue of Liberty moment, that’s the basic message of our press. We target a niche market and want to give our readers something new to sink their teeth into.
That's a great way to think of it. Everyone gets a sampling. Will there be off-shoot stories from these or are they destined to stand alone? What if readers bombard you with pleas to keep certain stories going? Is there a possibility that you’d do that?
[S.L.] *chuckles* A great story should always leave a reader aching for more, just one more glimpse of the characters and world. Short stories are even more effective in that because they are but a very small moment being shared with the reader. While I feel all the short stories could spawn sequels, I’m not sure they’re necessary. I will admit, I have a novella sequel to my story, Oneiros, rolling about in my head, but it’s not a project that’s on a front burner at the moment.
[K.] With my story, at least, it’s never meant to have a sequel. There’s obviously the potential, but I like simply leaving the rest to the readers’ imaginations. As far as the Cast the Cards anthology in general goes, we would love to continue offering Cast the Cards anthologies until we have given stories to each of the Major Arcana cards. It leaves the option open for an omnibus collection, though that would be way down the road from now.
Sounds like you not only like your characters to be teased, but you enjoy teasing your readers, too. How was it working together on this project? Any hang-ups?
[S.L.] It was a lot of work. *laughs* It wasn’t just managing our own stories, but the stories of four additional authors. The layout of the book took a lot of back-and-forth with the typesetter because the interior layout wound up being so much more complicated than we’d initially planned. All in all, it was a headache, from beginning to end, but we’re just so damn happy with the results that we’re excited to be doing two more anthologies for next summer.
[K.] Because we live in different time zones, S.L. often had a more hands-on role with the anthology. While I helped with the editing, most of the responsibility fell to her during the production phase. I have taken the role of ‘marketing department head’ now that the anthology is available, setting up the blog tour to promote it and contacting others for various reviews and such. In the end, we try to take advantage of one another’s strengths, as we are two very different people with different fortes that complement one another.
Sounds like you work well together. Hopefully there will be many more projects like this one. You recently released a book in August. Can you tell us a little about that book?
[S.L.] The Keeper is a novella set in Algeria about a young man named Hadi who is pulled from his fast-paced life in the Milan fashion world to fulfill a family destiny he was only vaguely aware of. He has to become the next Keeper for a man his family only knows as Dhakir, someone his family—for generations and generations—has looked after. When he arrives and learns all of Dhakir’s secrets, he falls in love, but Dhakir knows what it means to love someone like Hadi, and so he tries for force massive amounts of emotional distance between them even though physical intimacy is necessary to Hadi’s duty to him. It does use some religious themes in it, which has scared away some readers, but we’re very proud of the story and characters.
[K.] We do have a novel length sequel in the works. We wanted to take the time to explore the worldbuilding that we were forced to sacrifice in the novella, not only because of the length requirement we set for ourselves, but also because much of Dhakir’s past wasn’t a factor in Hadi’s decision to take a chance on him. We’re hoping that the sequel will give readers another look into Dhakir that wasn’t possible in The Keeper.
Fantastic!! That's available now, folks!
Do you have upcoming works that readers can look forward to?
[S.L.] We do! Rachmaninoff will be coming out December 1st, which is a classic M/M vampire tale, and in March we’ll be releasing Catalyst, which is a contemporary BDSM story. Both are full length novels being offered in e-formats and print.
[K.] We also have two anthologies coming out next year, one M/M anthropomorphic, the other F/F werewolves surrounding the concept of the alpha female. They will be available in June and July respectively. Submissions for both anthologies are open until November 30th, and more information can be found on the Storm Moon Press website.
Your readers are hungry for information. What else can you tell them that hasn’t been shared anywhere else? Is there something you want them to know about you or your book?
[S.L.] Well, we are working to produce quite a number of our releases in audio. The Keeper is the first title we’ll offer as an audio book. We’re partnering with Perfect Voices for these projects.
[K.] We are also going to be expanding! We have two imprints in the works. Wild Moon will be an imprint that encompasses more mainstream M/F erotic romance. The second imprint, Thunder Moon, will be for non-erotic fiction. We wanted to include these imprints at Storm Moon Press because S.L. and I are expanding our own writing to encompass more than the original scope of GLBT and alternative lifestyles fiction. We want to offer the chance for other writers of exemplary M/F and non-erotic fiction to publish through us as well! Keep an eye on the Storm Moon Press website for those imprints!
WOW! You have a lot of irons in the fire. This all sounds so fantastic. Thank you for blogging with me today. Readers, remember this is the beginning of a blog tour. You can catch more from these amazing talents at the following locations:
November Blog Tour Dates for Cast the Cards:
Two Lips Reviews – November Issue – http://www.twolipsreviews.com/content/
Fallen Angel Reviews – November Issue – http://fallenangelreviews.com/Interviews/Interview-Main.shtml
Mia Watts – Nov. 1st – http://miawatts.blogspot.com/
Kait Nolan – Nov. 2nd – http://www.kaitnolan.com/
Zoe Winters – Nov. 3rd – http://zoewinters.wordpress.com/
Kayelle Allen – Nov. 4th – http://romancelivesforever.blogspot.com/
Book Wenches – Nov. 5th – http://www.bookwenches.com/
Chris Kelly – Nov. 6th – http://dun-scaith.blogspot.com/
Keta Diablo – Nov. 8th – http://ketaskeep.blogspot.com/
Ebook Addict Reviews – Nov. 9th – http://www.ebookaddictreviews.com/
Naughty in the Backseat – Nov. 10th – http://naughtyinthebackseat.com/boysblog/
International Heat – Nov. 11th – http://internationalheat.wordpress.com/
Elisa Rolle – Nov. 12th – http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/
Michele & Jeff Reviews – Nov. 13th – http://michelenjeff-reviews.blogspot.com/
Viki Lyn – Nov. 15th – http://vikilynromance.blogspot.com/
POD People – Nov. 16th – http://podpeep.blogspot.com/
Naughty in the Backseat – Nov. 17th – http://naughtyinthebackseat.com/boysblog/
Michele & Jeff Reviews – Nov. 18th – http://michelenjeff-reviews.blogspot.com/
Amanda Young – Nov. 19th – http://www.amandayoung.org/
Cast the Cards is currently available from Storm Moon Press in various e-book formats as well as a print volume.