Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Project Tarot

   I guess that's a terrible code name, because it's not a code name at all.
   I spoke recently about exciting news, but that I didn't want to share it yet because I have a tendency to jinx things. I still could, but I'm too excited, so I'm going to chance it, especially since I'm probably one of the last people involved to actually announce it. That, and contracts and deposits have now been completed.

   One of my favourite artists, Frenone, announced in early January that she was looking for writers to contribute to a book she was planning. Having created playing cards for her Patreon before, she decided to turn her hand towards tarot cards, and because her fans wanted it, she's making a companion book. Not about tarot or tarot reading, though. There's a whole other level to this thing.
   Her playing cards had been designed with World of Warcraft characters, and in a similar vein, her tarot cards will feature illustrations of women inspired by creatures and beings of mythology and folklore. The book will contain around 22 short stories, contributed by 12 writers, that revolve around the creatures and incorporate the meanings of the cards.
   It was the day after my birthday when I saw it, and I spent an hour debating whether or not to apply. I was intimidated, because I've been a fan of hers for a few years, and I was frightened because, self published or not, I've never put my work out there in that sort of way before. And, most of all, I was put off by the use of Discord because it implied social interaction, which makes me very nervous. But I decided, having just turned 28, that it was time I put more effort into my career as a writer and start taking myself seriously.
   So I applied that same afternoon before I could talk myself out of it. I sent her the first few chapters of The Zi'veyn, and a few rough and unpolished short stories I'd written as an exercise while first planning my trilogy as a means to 1) recollect my skills after so long spent planning; 2) get to know my world a little better; 3) establish some history for the characters I felt least confident about writing. Which means she's actually the first person to have ever read them. Not even my husband has seen them.

   Well...despite 50+ applications, I was accepted immediately. I didn't even hit the slush pile.
   The boost that fact has given to my ever-shaking writing confidence is immense. I might actually be kind of okay at it...
   The Discord group was live and everyone who applied was given an invite, as those who didn't get through the selection process were still welcome as contributors to the conversations with ideas and their own knowledge. So, with the Discord live and people milling about, I threw myself right in before I could chicken out. I was the second person to introduce myself, and I have since made a few like-minded writer friends, given out a few free copies of The Zi'veyn for feedback, and been given the first 5 chapters of another's book, which I genuinely enjoyed reading and am now waiting on the rest once he's satisfied with its state. Because editing cannot be rushed.

Art © Frenone
   Once all the applications were whittled down after the closing date and the remaining writers selected, we were given choices of cards, and whether we would contribute one or two 1-page stories or 1-page poems, though with no guarantees of getting the cards we wanted. I selected a few, the most dominant of which was the Hermit card.
   But I was given an extra opportunity: to be one of three creature consultants. Myself and two others were tasked with researching creatures from myth and folklore and presenting them for the different cards, making sure that their natures worked with the cards' meanings. It was so hard, and we researched into cultures all over the world to ensure the greatest diversity, and all learned a lot from one another. I went a bit too far, though, and put so much of my heart into it that I started losing sleep, dreaming about creatures and tarot cards, and waking up stressed. I also point out that I knew nothing about tarot cards until last month. Now I think I could probably read them with some kind of confidence. But that task is now more or less done, creatures have been assigned to cards, and cards have been assigned to writers.
   And as one more piece of incredible news: while I only received one card to write for (the Hermit, which one of my creatures, the askafroa, was assigned to), I was also given the task of writing the story to accompany the front cover image, a Valkyrie, which has been allocated 3 pages rather than 1.

   Frenone has already begun work on the cards, and has already shown us a sneaky WIP of the Empress card. But it's exclusive to us and her Patreon page, so far, so it's not my place to share. But I can tell you: oh it's so good. The Hermit card isn't scheduled for work until June, and the front cover (which will also be printed on the tarot card box) in November, so I have nothing at all to share for quite some time.
   But I have already written the story for the Hermit card, as my deposit fee has been paid, and I've submitted it. The contract states two waves of edits, so I'm fully anticipating at least one rework, but she has read it, and while she's promised me feedback next week.
   I hope I can ultimately give her a piece that she loves.
   The second story, though, is intimidating, because she gave me an idea she had, and while I'm not obligated to follow it, I have to because I love it. But the pressure on this story is real. 3 pages, cover image, her favourite creature, her story idea. Yikes. I've never written to order before. Ever.
   But I am so ready to give it all I have, and I've really thrown myself deep into the research despite my own work on the second book of The Devoted trilogy.

   The artwork is set to be finished by the end of the year, and the cards and book will be available first through a Kickstarter campaign before being available publicly (assuming it's fully-funded). I will, of course, announce it here when it's live.

   In other news...

   In line with trying to take myself more seriously, and knowing that my name and my writing will be put in front of more people, I've also started making an author website. I'd wanted to do it before, but it just feels so...wrong. I'm a nobody, and no one is going to visit it. But I figured I needed some kind of portal or platform where I could gather up all my work and put news if I ever had any, and, if nothing else, I wanted to make sure didn't go to someone else with the same name. The same, I shamefully admit, applies to my new facebook author fanpage, which I feel so ridiculous about that I'm not even going to link it.
   It's still a major sense of imposter syndrome, and I still feel ridiculous with the thought of the website alone, and want to shrink and hide somewhere when I see it, but I am ultimately glad I have it. But I only plan on updating it when I have something more tangible than this post to announce. So, probably not until I have permission to show the Hermit card's work, if not until the Kickstarter itself is live this winter.

   Oh, also, when I searched my name on Google to see just what would pop up, I found a knowledge panel of myself!! There are two, which is annoying, but since these knowledge panels are generated based on demand and stats, not made by any users, it seems that Google has decided I'm someone of some kind of importance. That's...weird, and kind of wonderful...


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