Guest blogger Rhea Rhodan

Hi everyone! Vanessa here to welcome my friend Rhea Rhodan to the blog today to talk about tarot and her new paranormal romance “The Legacy of Buchanan’s Crossing.” Welcome, Rhea! ~V


10 of Coins, 9 of Swords. If they means anything to you, you have at least a passing acquaintance with the tarot. If not, don’t fret. I’ll try to keep this post in Kansas (though I do use it on the yellow-brick road too). Broadly speaking, the 10 of Coins represents the attainment of material success and security. The Nine of Swords reflects overwhelming anxiety.10Coins

This particular pair of cards, drawn at random and employed as writing prompts, gave birth to the first scene of my new release,The Legacy of Buchanan’s Crossing(click here to read the scene). Alas, Clint languished in a file waiting for a proper heroine to save him from his grim fate. After he finally caught Cayden’s fiery eye and she presented herself to me, I agreed she would be perfect for him. I wrote over a dozen scenes scenes for the book employing (random) tarot card pairings, though not all of them were used in the final manuscript.

Conversely (or perversely), it was writing vignettes as a way to familiarize myself with a new tarot deck that gave birth to my fictional writing career. Though I’d told myself stories since before I could read and I’d pursued a journalism degree in college, I didn’t combine my imaginative inner life with a non-fiction writing life until those tarot vignettes. Once unleashed though, my stories refused to stay locked in my head.

I was a teen when I bought my first tarot deck, but I was around 30 before I began collecting decks and studying the tarot in earnest. I was living in Germany at the time, trying to improve my language skills so I could get a decent job (while amusing myself with little stories in my head at the boring jobs available to me). Books in English were expensive, so I translated German versions of tarot books. My understanding of the tarot improved and so did my German, even if I did have a somewhat unusual vocabulary.

So by now, whether you fancy yourself a writer or not, you might be wondering how to use tarot cards as writing prompts. You don’t need to be familiar with the tarot to use them this way (or any other way, for that matter). You might want to have a reference handy though. Most decks come with at least a little white book. Or you could just use the artwork to prompt you. No matter how you intend to employ them, select a deck that speaks to you in some way, whose artwork inspires you and/or reflects your inner life. I favor Rider-Waite themed decks myself and change decks regularly, especially for a new story or new ideas.

There are some great websites which offer a few images of various deck to help you choose. I like This site also provides some excellent resources for further exploration of the tarot.

Each standard deck has a suit of 22 Major Arcana cards representing the major themes of life, along with four suits of pips one through ten (daily situations), and face cards (personalities). You could write a scene using just one card, but I quickly found that too static. By using two cards, or even three, you open yourself to interaction—between characters, character and situation/self, character and setting, etc. You get the idea. There’s no need to interpret the cards, at least not beyond what you need to spur your own imagination. Spend a few minutes considering the images and how their themes might interact and write whatever comes to you.

While I stumbled on this use of tarot cards all by myself, I was hardly surprised to discover many writers use tarot cards in their writing. One publisher I know of had a whole tarot sub-line with each book by inspired by a single card.

As writing tools go, tarot decks are relatively inexpensive. And fun. Contrary to popular belief, writing is hard work. Why not add a little play now and then? Don’t fancy yourself a writer? Give it a try. You might be surprised.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them here, or contact me privately through my website.


What price will destiny demand?

Warding the Crossing has always been Cayden Sinclair’s destiny. With her beloved Gran growing weaker, it’s time the little witch took her place. Juggling substantial curves for her frame and an inconvenient inability to control her power has always been a serious challenge. But not until discovering her fated Keeper is the extremely hot, tragically clean-cut insomniac who’s ignored her for months, does she truly fear failing her legacy.

Now that he’s finally on the road to the top with an offer from a big developer, Clint MacAllen can’t allow his struggling construction company to be threatened by a vicious nightmare, or his inexplicable attraction to a goth clerk working the graveyard shift at HandiMart—no matter how potent they are.

J. Milton Developments has its own agenda for Buchanan’s Crossing, and they’ll spill blood to get it.

Available now from Musa Publishing in a variety of e-book formats (including direct-to Kindle), or at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Coming soon to All Romance e-books, and other fine e-tailers.

13 thoughts on “Guest blogger Rhea Rhodan

  1. I love this idea, and have contemplated something of the sort in the past, but never followed through. I’m curious where the images used for the 9 of Swords and 10 of Cups came from. The artwork on them is gorgeous and I’d love to see more of the deck.


    • Hi Michelle. Somehow the credit for the artwork didn’t make it from my post to the blog (sorry, I’ve been gremlin fodder for weeks now). The images are from the iPhone/iPad app Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti. You can check out his site here:

      I’m a big fan of Mr. Marchetti’s tarot artwork, especially this deck and the Tarot of Dreams (both available as apps). The app features unique sound and video (slightly animated) for each card. It’s spendy, as tarot apps go, but I find it well worth the price for single-card applications. For tarot prompts, I prefer a “hard” deck so I can easily view both cards at the same time.

      Hope this helps!


  2. Thank you so much for having me on this gorgeous blog! Being swamped with edits, I’d missed the “Love in the Cards” post. I’d already written this when I finally found some time to stop in and catch up (a pity I didn’t take another moment to proof-read it again ). Anyway, I just love synchronicity. Let me know if you try the cards yourself for a prompt, Robin. I’d be curious to hear your experience. I’m glad the cover works for you, Emilia. Hundreds of half-naked men were perused to find the closest possible match to Clint (such drudgery we romance writers must endure :>)). Cover artist Kelly Shorten was incredibly patient with me after delivering the perfect background from the first.


    • Thank you, Monette, I’m having a great time. Oooh, the Gothic Tarot (by Joseph Vargo) would be GREAT for tarot prompts for paranormal stories/scenes/what-have-you. What are the other two (she inquired nosily)?

      I’ve looked at Runes, almost got some, but fell back into my Ride-Waite type comfort zone.


  3. Rhea, what a cool idea for a story prompt. I think that is so interesting, and I may have to turn to you for guidance should I employ this method with my WIP that’s being a little stubborn.

    This makes me look forward even more to reading Legacy of Buchanan’s Crossing!


  4. Wow – that’s really interesting Rhea and amazing. You learned German by translating Tarot cards – I’m blown away by that. Legacy of Buchanan’s Crossing sounds intriguing. Tell me, does being a Tarot reader influence all of your work? Thanks so much for guesting on our blog – I love meeting new writers here.


    • Thank you, Jianne, for the warm welcome and incisive questions. I didn’t really learn German by translating the books. I did that with a private tutor for a bit, then at community ed in Regensburg, and mostly by hanging out and working (and drinking beer) with Bavarians. The books helped me build vocabulary and taught me to think in German beyond basic cave-woman. Words symbolize ideas and ideas. While my vocabulary was limited, it limited the depth of my ideas. Routine daily thinking got old fast for someone who liked to amuse herself with stories in her head.

      Tarot is a life tool for me, as well as a writing tool. I do not use it for fortune/future-telling, rather gathering information I may not be consciously aware of or have access to. It’s great for self-analysis and choosing productive paths and attitudes. As far as my writing, I use those little tarot scenes to freshen up–play with my writing–when I need a break (more constructive than FB :>)). Sometimes ideas come up that are worth pursing. If I’m in the middle of a draft, they often end up being about the characters. My first couple of ms drafts didn’t allow me space for that (they’d went so far as to wake me up in the middle of the night on a regular basis). They’d been held back too long, I suppose.

      Music inspires me too. I’m interested to learn what inspires you. Do I have to wait for an interview, or could you point me to one?


  5. Thanks for being with us on Saturday, Rhea. So sorry I couldn’t pop in and say hello then but I was at a family member’s wedding. So glad you shared your time with us. Congrats on your work!


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