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