Norbert Reads the Cards for Bookseller Mary Webber O’Malley

 

Norbert, the protagonist of the soon-to-be-published The Reluctant fortune-Teller, has been reading the cards of authors, and today he’s reading the cards of a dynamic bookseller, Mary Webber O’Malley of Anderson’s Bookshop in La Grange, Illinois. Anderson’s is the kind of book store that makes you want to buy bags full of books, because of the friendly and helpful people there, like Mary. Anderson’s is a huge supporter of authors and readers, and regularly has literary luminaries come for signings and interviews.

Mary’s question for Norbert concerns one of her own very favorite authors: Stephen King. On September 29, he and his son Owen King are coming to an Anderson’s event http://www.andersonsbookshop.com/event/stephen-and-owen-king

As Mary shuffled her cards amid the shelves and displays of books, she focused on this question: “Will I get a chance to speak with Stephen King when he comes to town in September?”

Here are the cards Mary drew:

Four of Clubs

Seven of Clubs

Ace of Diamonds

Six of Clubs

Nine of Spades

Ten of Clubs

Jack of Hearts

Here is Norbert’s reading:

Mary, I see here a preponderance of Clubs. This signifies popularity, friendly relationships and social occasions.

The Four of Clubs says that you are more popular and more well-liked than you realize, and that you should know that your sphere of influence is widening at this time.

The Seven of Clubs says to be on the look-out for a special new relationship in particular.

The Ace of Diamonds refers to your own special talent, which is powerful. There is a mighty force of creativity within you. This is also a card of magic, so the power has a magical feel to it; it is the ability to build worlds, to build something out of nothing.

The Six of Clubs refers to a “business meeting.” This may look like a regular business meeting, or it may look more like a social occasion that turns out to push you forward in business. Since it is right next to the Ace, this meeting is full of powerful potential.

Nine of Spades can mean various things. It may say “no” to your specific question, while at the same time saying look to the other cards for a direction toward what you really most want. Or, on the other hand, it may say, you are finishing one thing, and now is a time for renewal.

The Ten of Clubs indicates a time to heal and recharge. For you, this may mean drawing happiness, energy and encouragement from relationships.

The Jack of Hearts is a fun-loving person. I feel this is the card that represents you, yourself, and you are looking happily toward that healing-recharging card.

So, Mary, what we have here is a very social period, where your connections with other people are highlighted. Your own talent and power are in the forefront now, as well, and are instrumental in how things are playing out. Something that no longer serves you is coming to an end, and this is ultimately good, as it allows the new energy to flow into your life. Concerning your question, I advise you to see in your mind and feel in your heart the conversation with Stephen King. Feel the feelings that you will experience in that conversation, as if it is actually happening now. As you do, this will reveal to you information that will assist you as you move forward.

 

 

The Fortune-Teller Is In: Reading for Benjamin Ludwig

The Reluctant Fortune-Teller’s main character, Norbert Zelenka, is a kindly, retired man who has trouble making ends meet, when three strong-willed seniors stage an intervention at his little white bungalow. They insist that he solve his financial woes by becoming a fortune-teller—just try it for the tourist season, they say. Their lakeside town, Gibbons Corner, N.Y., needs a card reader, and Norbert has been observing people all his life. The forceful ladies, known as “Carlotta’s Club,” will show him the ropes, and his story goes from there.

I hope you will enjoy reading about Norbert’s transformation as much as I enjoyed writing about it.

In a conversation with Benjamin Ludwig, the author of Ginny Moon, Ben suggested that Norbert might read his cards!

Please check out Norbert’s predictions, and tell us what you think!

Benjamin Ludwig shuffled his cards in New Hampshire and sent off a list of his seven cards to Norbert in the fictional town of Gibbons Corner, New York. The question he concentrated on as he shuffled was this: “Should I keep writing full-time, or write while I teach at a university?”

Below, you will find Norbert’s answer.

You have drawn the Eight of Diamonds, Two of Spades, Two of Clubs, Five of Hearts, Three of Diamonds, Two of Diamonds, and the Jack of Hearts.

You have a gift that is at the center of your question. This is your gift for writing; it may also be your gift for teaching. I see a minor delay here, in the Two of Spades, just a bit of momentary discomfort before a decision is made.

Be on the lookout for a social invitation, as shown by the Two of Clubs. This social gathering will bring you an opportunity that you might not expect.

The Five of Hearts shows a possible rift between friends or else a separation from loved ones, but have no worries there. Everything is unfolding for the best.

I see here a legal contract in the Three of Diamonds. It may be a teaching contract or a book contract. Whatever it is, it will be very good for you. Other people trust you quite naturally, because you are sincere.

Your spread ends on a very happy note, with the Jack of Hearts, signifying good times, celebration, and a fun spirit.

In regards to your question: really, you cannot go wrong. With these two options, both aligning with your heart, you will be fulfilled with either one. I would suggest you go with combining writing with teaching. It will give you the balance, the contrast, that will feed you both as a writer and a teacher.

How did Norbert do, on his first virtual reading?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I Am Learning about Revision from My Agent and Editors

  1. I try to keep a light heart: Revision can be an expanding part of the creative process. With the right editorial people, revision can bring out the best in a story.

 

  1. I slow my roll: I’m not gonna lie: seeing lots of “suggestions for improvement” on my work inspires many (ahem) feelings. I now read those suggestions, put them away, do other things, and come back to the work in 24 hours, rather than respond immediately. Considered overnight, most suggestions have turned out to be spot-on, but I couldn’t see that at first glance. The suggestions that still don’t seem right simply become points for discussion.

 

  1. I read differently now. I can’t read anything without seeing where tighter editing might have improved a work—not only my own, but everyone’s!

 

  1. True confession: despite having a master’s degree in English and reading voraciously for decades, I did not know that every scene in a novel is supposed to move the story forward. I really did not ever grasp that fact! After working on revisions for my first novel, where I was asked “What’s the point?” about a couple of scenes, I learned that “It’s funny!” is not enough justification for a scene to exist. This has been a game changer for me! Now, when I edit my own work before sending it in, I ruthlessly slash every scene that does not advance the story. Or, if I love the scene too much to cut it, I add what that scene needs to make it an integral part of the story.

 

  1. I am grateful for everyone who takes the time to study what I have written and make suggestions which I may or may not follow. Every writer wants to be carefully read.

 

Please share your thoughts on writing and revision here!