Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Guest Blog and Giveaway: Alayna Williams

UFI Is pleased to have Alayna Williams author of Dark Oracle and her new Release Rogue Oracle joining us today. Visit Dark Oracle and Rogue Oracle to see my reviews. Scroll down to the end for giveaway after your done reading.

The Tarot's Hanged Man: More than Meets the Eye

by Alayna Williams 

I use Tarot cards a good deal in my writing, to give me ideas about creating characters and develop plot points. Sometimes, I pick cards on purpose that catch my eye, but more often, I deal them out at random. I let my imagination roam over the pictures to generate situations and connections. It's a fun way to work...sometimes the images touch upon an archetype that I can pull into my work.  

One of the cards that captures my imagination is the Hanged Man. This card usually depicts a man hanging by a gallows or tree from his foot. He holds his hands behind his back and wears a serene expression. I've heard various explanations of this over the years, from the idea that the pose was intentional to a misprint or artist's mistake with a reversed printing plate. In our modern decks, he looks back at us, often haloed, seemingly at ease with his suspension.  

The traditional meaning of this card has to do with sacrifice, spiritual transformation, suspension, and a calm before the storm. By dangling from his foot, we can see that the man could easily reach up and free himself from the one rope holding a foot, but he chooses not to. He chooses to stay in this uncomfortable position in the pursuit of enlightenment or a new perspective. From his vantage point, he sees things that we can't. He is literally suspended, in limbo, and seeing things as we do not. 

The Hanged Man has its roots in an old myth about the Norse god Odin. Odin brought knowledge of the magic of rune divination to the world, but he sacrificed a great deal in order to do so. He stabbed himself with his own spear and hung himself from the world tree Yggdrasil, in order to absorb the gallow's tree's power. He hung for nine days and nights, in a twilight state between life and death, his blood nourishing the tree. He drew into himself the power of the underworld, through the tree's roots, and the power of the heavens, scraped by the tree's branches. The knowledge of the runes seeped into him and he fell to the ground on the ninth day, stunned by what he had learned.  

The underlying message of the card is that progress and knowledge require sacrifice and a surrender of control. In a Tarot reading, this can be a very uncomfortable place to be in. In transition. Becoming. But it can be worth it.

Author Bio:

Alayna Williams has an MA in sociology-criminology (research interests: fear of crime and victimology) and a BA in criminology. She has worked in and around criminal justice since 1997. Although she does read Tarot cards, she's never used them in criminal profiling or to locate lost scientists. She recently took up astronomy, but for the most part her primary role in studying constellations and dark matter is to follow her amateur astronomer-husband around central Ohio toting the telescope tripod and various lenses. Like the Pythia in Dark Oracle, she's been known to belly dance. Unlike the Pythia she'd never consider herself a professional

Writing as Laura Bickle, she's the author of EMBERS and SPARKS for Pocket - Juno Books.
Writing as Alayna Williams, she's the author of DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE.

More info on her urban fantasy and general nerdiness is here:

Delphic Oracle #2
Pocket Juno Books
Mass Market Paperback, $7.99
ISBN 978-1439182819
Feb. 22, 2011

  Tara Sheridan is the best criminal profiler around—and the most unconventional. Trained as a forensic psychologist, Tara also specializes in Tarot card reading. But she doesn’t need her divination skills to realize that the new assignment from her friend and sometime lover, Agent Harry Li, is a dangerous proposition in every way.

Former Cold War operatives, all linked to a top-secret operation tracking the disposal of nuclear weapons in Russia, are disappearing. There are no bodies, and no clues to their whereabouts. Harry suspects a conspiracy to sell arms to the highest bidder. The cards—and Tara’s increasingly ominous dreams—suggest something darker. Even as Tara sorts through her feelings for Harry and her fractured relationship with the mysterious order known as Delphi’s Daughters, a killer is growing more ruthless by the day. And a nightmare that began decades ago in Chernobyl will reach a terrifying endgame that not even Tara could have foreseen. . . .

ROGUE ORACLE is available at and Barnes & Noble.
Find Alayna and her books


 Visit Bewitching Book Tours to find out where Alayna has been
and where she will be next on her ROGUE ORACLE tour.

Winner will receive
-1 print copy of Rogue Oracle

1) Open to US and International followers 
2) Leave a comment or question on this post for Alayna
3) Must leave an email address so I can contact you.

Giveaway Ends 3/9/2011 at 10pm EST
Winner will have 48 Hours to reply to my email with your mailing address or I will pick another
Winner chosen randomly with the help of


  1. I always forget what means what in the tarot card piles although that's also probably because I didn't spend that much time learning their meanings ^.^ Thanks for shedding light on the hanged man!

  2. I'm very intrigued by tarot cards. I used to do them a lot about 5 years ago. I even had a reading that predicted I would get married to my boyfriend at the time. I did, 7-1-05

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  3. Publicly following Urban Fantasy Investigations with Google Friend Connect [Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug}] -- I would love to read Rogue Oracle :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

  4. Cool! I follow via GFC...
    I just bought the first book in the series and can't wait to start it!!

    hense1kk AT cmich DOT edu

  5. I am a GFC follower from Canada!
    Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity! I have been wanting to read this for a while now!


  6. I always wanted that someone read the tarot cards for me, because I think that is interesting XD And Alayna, your job must be sooo cool! *-* I want to work in something similar to that when I get my degree. I want to work with forensic toxicology :D
    Thanks for the giveaway! :D

    GFC Follower (-petit)

  7. I'm starting Dark Oracle this weekend and would love a copy of Rogue Oracle for when I'm done.

    Follower: Anne38

    I'm starting dark Oracle this weekend, so I'd love a copy of Rogue Oracle for when I'm done.

    Follower: Anne38

  8. Hi, Sniffly Kitty! You're welcome...the Hanged Man is one that turns up often for me, so I guess you could say that he and I are old friends. ;-)

    Vivien, very good prediction! I love seeing good news in the cards.

    Cheryl F., thanks so much for stopping in! :-)

    Katy, thanks so much for picking up DARK ORACLE! I really appreciate it. :-D

    Hi, Moonlight Gleam! Thanks so much for entering! I hope you enjoy.

    Hi, -petit! I recently switched jobs...I'm now working at a library. I get to be surrounded by all kinds of new stories. :-)

    Anne, thanks so much for picking up DARK ORACLE! I hope you like it. :-)

  9. Oh, I always think its interesting to learn of the tarot cards. :) I had a set years ago, but through the moving of life I think I've misplaced them or the box somewhere. Or, maybe they are in a box somewhere I haven't dug into in years. :)

    They are always to cool. :)

    (no need to enter me for the giveaway as I have a copy.)


  10. I've always found it interesting that, if you turn the card upside down, the hanged man looks very normal - like he's casually leaning against the tree. To me this says that growing spiritually means you sometimes have to turn things upside down, take a different approach. Then what seemed like a trap, becomes a lovely place to be.

  11. Very cool! I really enjoyed reading your post as I don't know much about tarot and always enjoy learning something new.

    I'm a follower (Kaity Gatchell)
    bittenbooks at gmail dot com

  12. Hi, Melissa! *waves*

    I have a couple of decks that have vanished over time. I'm sure that they will turn up...someday!

    Hi, Jeffe! Great insight on the Hanged Man...he really does look as if he's leaning against the tree in a relaxed state. :-)

    Hi, Kaity! Thanks for coming by! I'm always learning something new with the Tarot, every time I look at the cards...or when someone points out something to me that I didn't see before.

  13. Do you have a favorite Tarot card?

  14. YAY it makes me so excited to see people participating.

  15. I have a set of tarot cards I haven't touched since I lived back home with my parents...this book sounds really good thanks for the giveaway

  16. That's such a cool way to go about creating a story. Do you believe in tarot readings, or do you think they're just for fun? How did you get into tarot cards.

    - Jackie
    jacqueline.c.goodman AT gmail DOT com

  17. Hi, Patricia! I think my favorite is the Queen of Swords. She's an armored woman, looking to the horizon with sword raised. There's a bit of sadness about her...she reminds me of the Snow Queen.

    Thanks so much for hosting me, Stacy! :-)

    Aanchal, thanks so much for stopping in! The cards are a lot of fun, but I do tend to lose track of things. I use that as a justification for keeping a collection of several decks. ;-)

    Hi, booksntea! Thanks so much. I think that the chief use of the cards is to help us look at a situation a bit differently than we would otherwise, through the symbolism. I don't think that they control our fates.

    I got my first deck when I was fifteen at the Waldenbooks in our local mall...a looong time ago in a galaxy far away. ;-)

  18. What a great post! I definitely do learn something new everyday. I never knew anything about Tarot cards.
    Thanks for the great giveaway!
    m-hussein at hotmail dot co dot uk

  19. I love these type of history lessons:) Thanks for sharing!


  20. Hi, Books! Thanks for coming by! The cards are a lot of fun...and instructive for me.

    Thank you for stopping in, Kristina! History is one of my favorite topics. :-)

  21. Thanks for sharing. I've always been interested in Tarot cards and I love having them incorporated in movies and books. Though I have never had my cards read, it's on my bucket list :) I would love to win this, I just looked up Dark Oracle and ordered it


  22. Hi, Jolene! I get my cards read once a year by a lady at my local Renaissance Festival. It's nice to have someone else read them to get a different perspective. :-)

    Thanks so much for picking up DARK ORACLE. I hope you enjoy. *hugs*

  23. the more I read about tarot cards the more I'm interested in them - thanks for another great post :)

    booksforalleternity at gmail dot com

  24. Hi, Melanie! Glad that you enjoyed it. :-)

  25. I was very surprised by Dark Oracle, that I couldn’t wait to read the 2nd book,Rogue Oracle.


  26. Hi, Natasha! Thanks so much for picking up DARK ORACLE. I hope that you enjoy the next installment! :-)

  27. I see you mention Norse myths and I have been wondering why this set of myths doesn't seem to have been used very often in books these days.

    Seems English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Greek, Roman are all used but I haven't seen something based on Norse myth for quite a time.


    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  28. Thanks for the post! It was very interesting to read! Also thanks for the giveaway and opportunity to win the book, it sounds like my kinda read :)




Thanks for stopping by =)