The History of the Trump Cards Giveaway

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Ceccoli has long been one of my most favorite artists. What a joy that I discovered a tarot deck has been created form her art. Win a set of Ceccoli Tarot cards and help support my blog post with Biddy Tarot on the History of the Trump Cards.

Book Blurb

When Kassandra Troy discovers an ancient tarot deck, her life takes a thrilling and frightening turn. She triggers The Magician card, and releases the mysterious and captivating Luke Rykell. He lifts Kassandra out of despair, dispelling the devastation she feels after her father’s death. But Luke has a dark secret. He wants the magical deck for himself. The only way Kassandra can save herself is to journey into the Tarot cards. But once inside, can she ever escape?

Irresistibly compelling and heart-wrenching, Tarot: The Magician is a superb fantasy tale that will haunt you long after you’ve read the last page.

Download the ebook from AmazonBarnes and Noble and Smashwords. Not sure? Read a free sample here. Or click on the fancy schmancy button below.

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Tarot Book Trailer

I worked for over two months drawing and coloring the panels you see in this trailer. I wanted it to be as special as the book. However, I was daunted by the music. I’m no musician. However, if it were silent, or had canned music, that would undermine all the hard work I put into the animation. Bradley Coy came to my rescue. For the full story on how the theme for the book trailer was created, read A Theme Song for an ebook.

Book Reviews

Don’t trust me. Here are readers who have read and commented on the book.

“I especially enjoyed Kassandra’s journey through the cards as she tries to solve the problems she’s faced with and find her way out. And the ending gives me hope for a sequel (or a series?)” by Tara at Dividing by Zero

Giveaway Details

By helping me promote Tarot: The Magician, you get your own set of astounding Ceccoli tarot cards. I’ll mail them to the winner after the April 10th deadline. Click this LINK or anywhere on the image below to take you to enter the giveaway. Hurry, this event ends Friday, April 10th!

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Discover the Hidden Secrets Behind the Tarot Trump Cards

I am very excited to announce my guest blog post on Biddy Tarot.

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Research is like a second life for me. The more I dig, my mind keeps searching out connections until there’s a whole network of ideas.

This was the case with the Tarot. While writing Tarot: The Magician and the sequel, Tarot: The Moon, I delved into all corners of the Tarot world, gathering facts along the way. I was surprised to learn that the Tarot trumps derived from the Danse Macbre and was connected to the Black Plague (both cheery thoughts, I know). If you want to learn more, click on over to Biddy Tarot to read the full article.

Also, check back on Monday for a giveaway to support this blog post.

Thanks,

Tim Kane

Surreal Lightbulbs and the Multiple Moons of Earth

Surreal Lightbulbs

Lightbulbs. Everybody has them. They serve a utilitarian purpose to illuminate. Yet one artist considers them as more than glass and filament. Pieke Bergmans has elevated the simple lightbulb into an art form.

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The young Dutch designer imagines that her lightbulbs have been infected with the dreaded “Design Virus.” She says, “It is a light bulb that has gone way out of line. Infected by the dreaded Design Virus, these Blubs have taken on all kinds of forms and sizes you wouldn’t expect from such well behaving and reliable little products.”

Bergmans calls her light sculptures “unlimited edition,” becauset each unique piece is made using an industrial process she developed that can be repeated until the end of time.

The Turnip Princess Fairy Tales

Do you remember reading Grimm’s fairytales? I sure do. What if there were hundreds more you never heard of? The Brother’s Grimm weren’t the only folks wandering around the European countryside collecting tales. Around 1850, Bavarian lawyer Franz Xaver Von Schönwerth traveled collected popular stories and folklore, writing them down. The Grimm stories survived, Schönwerth’s didn’t. Until now.

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The Schönwerth collection of 500 fairytales was discovered in a local German archive by Erika Eichenseer. Now these tales have been translated into English by Maria Tatar, chair of Harvard University’s folklore department. The collection is called The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairytales.

You can read one of the best stories for free. Click the link to see The Enchanted Quill, a tale about a magical crow.

A Webcomic That Goes On Forever

Most comics restrain themselves to tiny rectangular frames. Each frame tells a story and the reader moves from frame to frame. But what if the comic illustration never stopped. It simply rolled on the way a long tale might.

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Enter the Frostblight Saga, a tale about a fox, a bear, and what happens to the humans who invade their woods. Most webcomics are simply a digital version of their printed counterparts. But the story created  by Michael Doig and India Swift can only exist on the web.

It does feel like it has distinct pages, but the vertical format is one long illustration, effectively conveying the power of the winter setting to the reader. As I read it, I get a distinctive Game of Thrones beyond the wall feel. Check it out, why don’t you?

 Earth Has More Than One Moon

Forget the controversy over whether Pluto is a planet or not. Everyone knows that Earth has only one moon, right? We don’t even give it a specific name. It’s just, The Moon. The only natural satellite that orbits our home planet.

Starting in 1997, astronomers discovered another natural satellite, 3753 Cruithne. Now this is hardly moon-sized and it’s orbit isn’t strictly around Earth. Cruithne loops around the inner solar system in what’s called a “horseshoe” orbit.

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But it don’ts stop with Cruithne. Apparently Earth plays den mother to several other wayward lumps of rock. Our tenure as a single moon planet has ended. Long live the multiple moon Earth.

Check out more about this story here.

I hope this has fully sated your yearning for the weird and fantastical. Until next time.

Stay strange.

Tim Kane

Photographs of Reveal Victorian Monsters

I am secretly in love with all things Victorian. Old locks, vintage recipes, tea cups, and yes, photographs. Then I stumbled onto the art of  Colin Batty. He takes old photos and tintypes and paints on the actual print to create a new, surreal, scene. Yes, you heard me right, no photoshop in sight. This is a time honored technique done by the Victorians themselves.

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Since the first daguerreotypes hit the world in 1839, people have painted on the photos. To a modern person, this seems bizarre, but to a Victorian, a photograph is nothing different than a canvas where the lines have already been drawn. Originally, people wanted to make the image realistic, and that meant color. They used watercolors, oils, crayons or pastels. To learn more about painting on photos, visit Janine Kilroe’s site.

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Color and realism are not the aim of artist Colin Batty. He took up his brush to transform estate sale photos into creepy images that scare and excite the viewer. Batty hails from Manchester, England and has worked on films like Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks as well as the Oscar-nominated short The Sandman.

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Seeing Batty’s work, I can’t help but think of the Peculiar Children series written by Ransom Riggs. Riggs also digs up estate photos from years ago. Although these photos are unaltered (at least by him) and serve as inspiration for his story.

Addison, a peculiar dog

Addison, a peculiar dog

One other artist springs to mind when you look at Batty’s surreal Victorian images, and that’s Travis Louie. He hand paints each figure to resemble the old daguerreotypes prints. He does this to have full control of the image, whereas Batty simply modifies the image.

Cynthia Smithson

Cynthia Smithson

I swear, you get the three of these guys together, and they could outfit an entire gallery.

Happy viewing,

Tim Kane

40 Days Without Coffee: Or How I stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Tea

All right, I had a lapse in reason. I admit that. To give up coffee for lent was a ridiculous endeavor. Yet here I am, nearly three weeks in, and I live in a coffee dessert.

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I can’t profess to be overly religious. Yet I do admire the metal vigilance needed to commit to abstaining during the season of lent. So much so that this year I set myself up for the ultimate challenge: No Coffee.

Now, if you’re a tea drinker, you probably think, what’s the big deal? Well, I’ve been java consumer since I was a wee little lad. In fact, I can recall my very first cup of coffee. Mexico City when I was sixteen. It tasted like someone stuck the whole coffee plant, dirt and all, into the cup. Horrific. Yet I stuck with it because I come from a long line of java drinkers. Many cups of espresso later, I learned to love the stuff.

I am a bit of a coffee snob, and the stuff I brew as home in my vacu-pot, is sublime. I purchase my coffee fresh from a pair of sisters in town who supply amazing beans. Why am I touting the coffee I can no longer drink? Because folks keep asking how I do it, all while clasping their Starbucks cup. It’s easy because I would sooner drink tea than slurp inferior coffee. To trouble doesn’t come from temptation, it’s the long haul.

My latest toy in the never ending battle for a better cup of coffee: The vacu-pot.

My latest toy in the never ending battle for a better cup of coffee: The vacu-pot.

Tea was a mystery to me. And I took on this forty day challenge so that I might know it better.

A week before Fat Tuesday, I visited Hessian Global Goods (my coffee connection) because they also sold loose leaf tea. The ladies were nice enough to suggest several brands? types? flavors? (I’m not sure how to classify tea). Anyway, they hooked me up with tea that would best suit someone coming from the realm of coffee. All of them black with plenty of caffeine.

I brewed single cups and started loading on the sugar and milk. It tasted god-awful. Like someone dunked a Pixie Stick in bitter liquid. I endured this saccharin concoction for over a week. Meanwhile, when I went to work, I tried tea bags. Since I teach elementary school, I couldn’t keep a supply of milk or sugar around and drank the tea black. This was even worse. The drink was insipid and weak. Oh, how I missed coffee.

Now, I did learn of a loophole in the whole lent system. Since Sundays are already a holy day, there is no need for fasting or suffering. Ergo, you can have your lented object again. And boy did I. That first Sunday, I fell upon  coffee like a military coup, devouring it one long 10 cup run. But then Monday came and the pain of losing coffee yet again. This had to stop.

After much experimentation, I finally Googled the proper way to brew a cup of tea. After all, research has helped me with coffee and writing, why not with my arch-nemesis: tea. It turns out a fellow writer inadvertently saved me. Gail Carriger, taught me the correct way to brew, and drink, tea. You might know her from the Parasol Protectorate series.

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Success. With her help, I was able to brew a cup of tea that was not only drinkable, but also satisfying. I’m not sure, but I believe it’s the ritual that helped. You see, I have all these ritualistic behaviors associated with brewing coffee. They are so strong, that I still visit the scene of the crime (so to speak) even on the many days I am forbidden to touch java.

It turns out there are plenty of “rules” about brewing a proper pot of English tea and these jive well with my psyche. In fact (I hesitate to even admit this) but on the following Sunday, something bizarre happened. Yes, I indulged in coffee in the morning (as was my right). Yet I yearned for a cup of tea. Yes TEA!. I brewed a pot that afternoon, despite being able to make more coffee.

Now, I am certainly not going to eschew coffee for tea. The sky will crack open and rain stars before that happens. Yet, I have grown to appreciate tea. Something that would never have happened without my coffee abstinence.

So in the true spirit of a newly-born tea drinker, I say: Long Live Mr. Tea.

Art for "Gentleman T" created by the folks at Foodiggity. Check them out.

Art for “Gentleman T” created by the folks at Foodiggity. Check them out.

Tim Kane