Monday, September 29, 2014

Have you ever seen a deck of Tarot cards?

With: Claire McEwen

Congratulations to "Tammy Y." the winner in Claire's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Have you ever seen a deck of Tarot cards?  Until recently, I had only seen them once, years ago, when a friend did a reading for me.  But when I started writing my newest book, More Than a Rancher, and got to know my heroine, I quickly decided that there had to be a scene where she read the Tarot cards for the hero.

Why did I think this?  Well, first of all, the heroine, Jenna, had already proven herself to be rather quirky during her brief appearances in my first book, A Ranch to Keep.  She believes that everything happens for a reason, that the universe delivers signs that can guide us.  It just seemed to make sense that she’d be interested in Tarot cards.  And my hero, Sandro, was born and raised on a sheep ranch, in a family that wouldn’t consider pulling out a deck of Tarot cards, ever.  The idea of him getting his cards read was so absurd that I couldn’t resist - I had to find out what his reaction would be! 

Another reason I wanted this scene is because Jenna is a native San Franciscan, and anyone who has visited can tell you that - although the infamous Summer of Love that put San Francisco on the map in the 1960’s is long gone - you’ll still find shops selling relics from the hippie era.  And there are plenty of mystical items to be found among the tie-dyed clothing, and incense.  I wanted to incorporate that part of my beloved city into my book, especially because, as the city becomes more gentrified, the eccentric shops are rapidly disappearing.

And when I researched the Tarot, to see if it would work for the scene I had in mind, I fell in love with the images on the cards.  They are full of symbolism, and are somewhat bizarre, perfect for unsettling Sandro, who is going through a bit of a life crisis at the time his cards are read.  

Here is an excerpt from the book, as Sandro questions Jenna about the cards she’s dealt.

“Do you see the center card?”

“You mean the upside-down naked lady? Yup, I see her.”

Jenna laughed. “She isn’t completely naked. Her lower bits are covered! Anyway, that card is called the World and since it’s upside-down, we say it’s reversed. Cards take on sort of an inverse meaning when they’re upside-down. And placed in the center like this, it’s the overall theme of the reading. It symbolizes your present state.”

“ present state is an upside-down half-naked woman?”

“Elevate your mind, Sandro,” she teased. “It symbolizes frustration or a fear of change. It can mean that things are in the process of change.”

“So I’m in transition.”

“Well, yes. And possibly stuck there.”

Well, he had to give it to the cards—they were right about that.

“And over here on the left is the card that represents past influences that are still having an effect. You have the Tower here.”

Sandro stood up and walked around to stand behind Jenna so he could see the cards the same way she did. The Tower looked pretty formidable. There were people falling off it headfirst and flames shooting out the top. “That doesn’t look good,” he said, shoving down a twinge of anxiety. She was good at this. She was even sucking him in.

“Don’t worry.” Jenna glanced up at him, and he was actually glad to see that she was smiling. It didn’t matter if he knew this was all nonsense—that tower was creepy. “It looks worse than it is. It means you’ve been through some kind of enormous change, like getting a new job or moving, and you’ve done both of those, right?”

“Yup.” This was weird. How could these cards be hitting so close to home? Jenna was most likely reading into them what she already knew about him.

She pointed to the lowest card. Another upside-down naked woman—this one poured a jug of water into a pool. “This card also relates to your past, to the reasons behind the changes you made. It usually symbolizes self-doubt, stubbornness and an inability to express yourself.”

“This is a pretty grim reading, Red. Wasn’t this supposed to be fun?” A shiver went over his skin and he abruptly left her side and went back to the seat across the desk.

“Cheer up! You have to understand, these cards are just information about your past, about things that might be getting in your way. The next two cards deal with the future.”

Sandro looked at the last two cards. One had two more naked people—that looked promising. But the other had a man dressed in black, riding a horse with the word Death written underneath. 


Does he dare follow her lead?

Ballroom dancer Jenna Stevens is done with all things romance.  It’s so much more satisfying to focus on her career.  That is, until she meets Sandro Salazar – a handsome, brooding small-town chef and sometimes rancher.  Jenna is drawn to him immediately, but there’s no way Sandro could fit into her fast-paced, urban life.

Still, as she gets to know this reformed bad boy, she begins to wonder if maybe their two worlds can merge.  One thing’s for certain – Jenna will have to take the lead if she has any hope of Sandro seeing what’s possible for the two of them… together.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Harlequin | iTunes

About the Author:
Claire McEwen lives by the ocean in Northern California with her husband, son and a scruffy, mischievous terrier.  When not dreaming up new stories, she can be found digging in her garden with a lot of enthusiasm but, unfortunately, no green thumb.  She loves discovering flea-market treasures, walking on the beach, dancing, traveling and reading, of course!

I have a signed copy of More Than a Rancher to give away!  Please leave a comment and tell us if you’ve ever had a Tarot reading done, or had your palm read, or seen a psychic, or had any other similar experience.  What was it like?

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Sep. 30th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


  1. I have never had my palm read or had a Tarot card reading because I have believed that we make our own path in life. But after reading your reason for adding a Tarot card reading in More Than A Rancher I wonder if the path we follow has been predetermined.

  2. I really enjoyed the reading scene! The author definitely did her research and made things realistic and accessible instead of making tarot seem mystical and weird. Kudos.

    I actually read tarot cards and have quite a few friends who do as well so I've given and received many readings. I find that readings provide valuable insight and advice.

    keslynn at hotmail dot com

  3. Hmmm, no I have never seen a tarot deck in person or had a reading done... in junior high my friend pretended to read my palm by telling me about the lines on the hand... I have been curious if people can actually talk to those that have passed... thank you for sharing with us today!

  4. I actualy had a palm read a couple of years ago. And the man who read my palm said that when I'll be 45 I'll have a big accident but will still stay alive (I was only a girl when he sad that - that was shocking news to me - I'm now 33)... But let me tell you about something else, something spookie: I did see a ghoast, for real, not kidding! It's along story to understand it but it feals somehow special :)

  5. I've never had a Tarot or psychic reading, though I did have my palm read once while viewing an Egyptian exhibit at SF's de Young Museum. My wearing my wedding ring while recently separated from my then-husband interfered with the woman's process and frustrated her quite a bit. kateivan (at) aol (dot) com

  6. No to all of the above

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  7. I have had a tarot reading before long ago - can''t even remeber what she said. It was at a fair. yenastone at aol dot com

  8. Love all these comments! Thank you for taking the time to share your stories! I have had very little experience with all this as well. I read a lot about Tarot cards to write the above scene, but I've never had my palm read or anything. There is a psychic/palm reader who has an office near my home and sometimes my friends and I joke about stopping by to visit her, but so far we never have. I think it would be really fun to do.

  9. I have never had a tarot reading or been to a psychic but I have always wanted to but the only ones I have seen have been way to expensive but I am going to have it done one day.
    emilybaucom AT yahoo dot com


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