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Just released my novella Slave for Sex!

Me and Terry, my character from Bondage Slave For Hire, will be celebrating Halloween HERE!

My third and so far last novella from the eXtasy anthologies is now available!

Rydan’s dead lover returns as a green faerie, seducing him into passionate sex and submission, but will he trust her enough to change his destiny?

Slave for Sex
AUTHOR: Laura Tolomei
Erotica, Gay, Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Paranormal,Novellas, m/m, m/m/m/m
ISBN: 9781771115735
Originally part of eXtasy Anthology Emerald Envisage released 15 March 2009 – FLAMES: 4 – PAGES: 69 – WORD COUNT: 13.087 – RELEASE DATE: 21 October 2013 – PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books – COVER ARTIST: Martine Jardin

Release of Romance Divine’s 52nd Audio Book – Re-Scue, Author Laura Tolomei

Romance Divine LLChad its 52nd audio book go on sale on 18 September 2013: Author Laura Tolomei‘s Re-Scue, narrated by Kellie Kamryn.

Original borderline story at the edge of accepted conventions, Re-Scue, ReScue Series #1, spans four different lifetimes connected by an insane passion for sex and blood. The players are always the same: a hunter and his prey. The rule is always the same: sex without feelings.

But the prey wants more.

Each story is set in a world of its own. The characters changes physical traits and sometimes sex. But whatever world they’re in, whatever shape they have, their bloody seductive game is as exciting as the first time.

Didri and Tylean begin the sadistic ritual on Byoldar, a futuristic world where he teaches her about pain and pleasure. The game continues with Aural and Rhodri on Thuly, a fantasy medieval-style world. Together, they will break new boundaries in passion without emotions, leaving it to Leon and Sean to end the game on 21st century Earth.

Author Laura Tolomei‘s Re-Scue is Romance Divine‘s longest audio book to-date, clocking in at over ten hours running time. It posed quite a challenge for narrator Kellie Kamryn and Editor Gregory Causey, but they are both proud of the results.

The game continues in Tasting Leon’s Mark (publisher Whiskey Creek Press Torrid WCPT), ReScue Series #2, with a different setting, a different relationship, but no end to their incomprehension’s. True, the lifetimes have taught them not to destroy one another, but can they also learn to trust each other with their deepest feelings?

Also look out for Chapter Three of the ReScue Series: Awere-Ness.


Listen to free audio sample: Chapter 12
More samples available on the official web page.

How to Price Your Self-Published Book

Do you have a self-published book? Thinking about self-publishing because you’re tired of giving some of your profits away to publishers? You’re not the only one. Many authors, even traditionally published authors have decided they are now going to self-publish and have done so very successfully. Authors that self-publish, particularly through Amazon often make serious errors when it comes to pricing, costing them both money and in some cases new readers and fans. Pricing is tricky because you don’t want to price your books too high, nor too low. But one of the worst trends I see is under pricing books. Lately, what I’ve noticed more than anything is a tendency to price books that are 200+ pages at .99. Or pricing collections where there are five or six books, sometimes by different authors at .99. Yikes! What are these authors thinking? When you price such books so low, not only do you devalue your own book, it’s like putting a sign out saying, “I’m cheap buy me now!” While you may initially make sales, especially if you’re new author, most likely these books will be treated as something to maybe read later, and may not get read at all.
Now, speaking of pricing your self-published book, what about offering your book for free for a limited time? When Amazon first brought out the KDP program and was allowing authors to make their books free for a limited time I thought it was a good idea. After all, it gives readers that haven’t read my books before a chance to try my book out. Initially I think this program was a good idea, but now not so much. Here’s why. Now everybody is doing this. In many cases, many authors are regularly making the same book free for a limited period of time. What’s bad about this you ask? Well, it’s this, if readers notice certain authors having a cycle of free days on a particular book, do you really think they’re going to buy that book? No, they’re not. They’re going to wait and see if it’s offered for free again. Then they’ll download it when it’s free, and add it to all the other “free” books they’ve downloaded. In many cases they will never read that book, they’ll just add it to the backlog of free books and continue to buy their favorite authors. Maybe if they run short on cash, or are in a bind for a something new to read, they might choose your book from all the others they downloaded for free, but most likely not.
So, how do you price your self-published book? Very very carefully. One of the things to keep in mind is to never devalue yourself or the time and effort you put into your book by pricing it too low. If you have a 200+ page book, you should not be pricing it at .99. Contrary to what some authors are saying, you are not going to make a living publishing books at that price. Particularly since most distributors such as Amazon and B&N take a chunk of that. Now if your goal isn’t to make a living at your writing, then by all means continue to publish your books at .99 each. In order to not devalue the book and yourself, it’s important to set a price that is fair but that also takes into account that third party distributors such as Amazon and B&N are going to take a chunk of your royalties. You want to factor that into your price. The best way in my opinion to set price is do so based on the number of pages. So for example, I’ve written a 100+ page novel. I would price that no lower than $2.99. If my next book is 200+ pages I’d charge $4.99, 300+ pages then I’d charge at least $6.99.
Quality writing and presentation will ensure that readers buy your books, so it’s important to provide them with a product that they don’t mind paying these prices for. So, make sure you have not just a great story, but a beautiful cover, and that your book has been properly edited.
So, does this mean you can never charge .99 for your books? No, it just means it’s important not to do it all the time. And I think now with the plethora of free e-books from Amazon and elsewhere, it’s almost never a good idea to offer your book for free. Now there are exceptions to the idea of a free book, such as offering a free book in return for an honest review for example. Or if you want to offer the first book in your series for free once or twice, that’s probably okay. But never over and over, that will just get you relegated to the back of someone’s Kindle, computer and Nook.
Want to make a living from your writing? Then be sure and price your self-published e-books to make a profit, not just to make readers happy because they’re getting a new book for free, or super cheap.

Tasting Leon’s Mark, ReScue Series #2, and The Sex, Virtus Saga #1: 5 Tips for Handling Bad Reviews of Your Book

Contrary to what many newbie authors think, all authors even ones on the New York Times Bestseller list get bad reviews. Just because you have a bestselling book doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be others who think your book is well not that great. One of the keys to being a successful author who keeps their readers is in how you handle bad reviews.

Here are five tips for handling bad reviews of your book. As far as I’m concerned, these are iron clad and authors disregard them at their own risk.

1. Wait a day before you respond in any way to a bad review. It’s very easy in the heat of the moment to fire off a super negatively charged e-mail to a reviewer who doesn’t like your book, and saying something you will regret in the morning. Don’t do it, step away from the computer now. Many a newbie author has ruined their writing career and alienated readers by writing a scathing e-mail to a reviewer.

2. Take several deep breaths, in and out, in and out. It will calm your upset and all you to think clearly before responding.

3. Remind yourself that not everyone is going to like your book, and in the case of bad reviews not speaking is the better part of valor.

4. Write a quick thank you e-mail. Tell the reviewer thank you for reviewing my book, and leave it at that. Nothing else needs to be said.

5. Forget about the bad review, bury it, plant a tree on it (virtually of course) and forget it exists. If you don’t promote it, no one else will either. And if you’re very very lucky, no one will ever see it. It will drop further and further into the reviewers’ archives and with luck will never see the light of day again.

That’s it! The more gracious and kind you are to a reviewer that gives your book a bad review, the better you are going to look. And finally, keep in mind some readers buy books that have bad reviews because they want to see what all the excitement is about!

So much for the theory. As for the real-life experience, my experience to be precise, I do have two books that have received very bad reviews. I’m talking about Tasting Leon’s Mark, ReScue Series Book 2, and The Sex, Virtus Saga #1.

About Tasting Leon’s Mark, I know why it didn’t prove to be so hot with the reviewer. It’s a sequel that was released before its prequel Re-Scue, ReScue Series #1! Small wonder the reviewer couldn’t get into the story. Or understand its focus. She was missing the whole first part, which is essential to understand the characters’ relationship and development. So I go a very poor review, but it was my fault for having submitted a book that should’ve never been submitted until its first chapter had been read. If you want to judge for yourself, click here for the reviewer’s opinion, then judge for yourself by reading a long excerpt. Scrolling down to the bottom of the excerpt, you’ll also find my personal note to the reviewer.

As far as The Sex, Virtus Saga #1. I’m still not sure what the problem was. But if you read the review, it’ll be abundantly clear the reviewer had certain expectations about how the saga should evolve, particularly when it came to the characters’ relationship. So, okay, neither of the two male characters falls in love with my heroine. Not in the first book anyway. Which is the first of EIGHT, so it might be fair to assume that, somewhere along the line, this might happen. But not in the first book, where characters are introduced, the world is presented, the plot starts to unfold. And the most important piece of this plot is the intense love between Chris and Duncan, the two male protagonists. Without getting the passionate bond that ties them together, the reader wouldn’t understand any of what follows in the other SEVEN books, so I couldn’t go and throw in another love affair that wouldn’t have been credible in the least. Not at that point. Love has to take its time to grow and build. And that’s exactly what happens between Chris, Duncan and Ylianor. So read the review, then judge for yourself by reading and excerpt. And if you reach the end, you’ll find the answers to all the reviewer’s questions in one brief excerpt!

And yes, regardless of all the rationalizations, I was mad and hurt by both reviews for not having understood my books!

Between the tips and the hard facts, I hope this blog helps authors deal better with bad reviews. But mostly, I hope they never need this advice, which means they have no idea what a bad review is LOL

How to Organize an Author’s Computer

If you’re an author, you know that one of the hardest things to do is stay organized. There is so much to keep track of, and we use our computers for so much more besides our writing that it’s critical to keep things on your computer organized. Otherwise, you spend most of your time hunting for things rather than writing, editing and promoting. Here are some ideas for keeping your computer organized so you can find what you are looking for when you need it.

1. Figure out what you actually have saved on your computer. Then decide where you want to put it so you can easily find it. In my case, I have WIPs, E-books, excerpts, cover art, photos to help inspire me and for blog postings, lists of ideas for guest blogs and articles, promotional materials for different e-books, and completed e-books of my own. You name it I have it and it was all haphazard in all different places on my computer. So making a list of what you actually have is crucial.

2. Make a list of folders that you think you’ll need in order to get organized. Here’s what I came up with when I organized my computer:

a. A folder for each published book. Inside that folder, I have one folder each for excerpts, cover art, articles and guest posts, stock photos for articles and guest posts related to the book in question, book trailer(s) if I have them, and one for promotional materials I and others have created. I also have a folder for royalty statements by year in each book folder and when I receive a royalties statement, I file it accordingly.

b. A folder for each WIP with the tentative title. Inside I have one folder each for the WIP in question, promotional materials I’ve created, excerpts, stock photos to inspire me of my characters or for guest posts and articles I’ll use to promote, and finally one that has articles and guest posts that I’ll use to promote.

c. A folder for e-books. I love to read, so I have a lot of e-books on my computer. Inside this folder, I have a folder for each author and then inside that folder if the author has a series I have a folder for the series. Then I organize my books accordingly within that folder.

d. A folder for Taxes. I have a folder within that for each year. I also like to scan my W2’s for each year and then add them to the year they belong to. That way I don’t have a bunch of paper hanging around.

e. A folder for my receipts, and I put a folder for whichever year it is inside as well. Within each yearly folder, I have a monthly folder and I scan my receipts that are related to my writing business and file them accordingly.

f. A folder for story ideas and pieces of stories and scenes that I’ve started writing but don’t really know what I’m going to do with. That way, when I’m stumped later for ideas or what story I want to write next, I can go there for inspiration. I also like to keep a folder within this one with images that inspire me for future stories.

[image:image-1]Now of course you can add other folders as you think of them, and this by no means is an even one day job, especially if you’ve just been haphazardly saving things all over on your computer. A final tip I have is to go slow and easy with organizing your computer. Take your time. You don’t have to do it all in one sitting, you’ll just frustrate yourself. Especially if, like me, you’ve been saving stuff to your computer for years! Start with creating the file folders on your desktop that you think you’ll need. Then pick one folder to start filling and spend time searching your computer for the files you’ll need and adding them to that folder as you find them. It took me a couple of months in my spare time to actually get my desktop completely organized and I found a lot of duplicates so I was able to delete a lot of stuff off my computer and gain more computer space.

This alone was worth the time it took to organize my computer.

Good luck!

Free copy of Bondage Slave For Hire, my acclaimed BDSM novel, to a lucky winner who leaves a comment on this blog and shares his or her organization style!
4 lucky winners. 4 great comments! Here are my winners.

Name: G.D. Ogan
Internet website
: Bondage Slave for Hire sounds hot! As for my (dis)organized research files, I’m pretty well versed in the areas I write into my “Immortal Relations” novels (medical/military/political/and psychological – having worked in or around those fields in my 71 years of existence). Of course the “paranormal” part of the novels is mostly my “muse” speaking through me and, as currently writing a time-travel novel back to the age of dinosaurs (I bought a book describing some of the lesser known dinosaurs). It’s to be read to my six-year-old granddaughter who loves dinosaurs.

Name: Christina Strigas
Internet websiteVote: 5/5
Message: Hi, I am also a MIU newbie. I found your blog so interesting. I haven’t gotten that far yet, but great points for an author. Thanks Chrissy

Name: Helene
Message: depending on just what I need to organize I do color coding for can goods fruits , soups then vegs but for my print books (over 300 )always looking for more it’s A,B,C and the order in which they were released , I have to be OCD because I live in a 1bedroom apt LOL but never fear I will ALWAYS find room for another author lol

Name: Alicia S.
Message: Hi & thanks for sharing your organization tips. I’ve really been procrastinating in e-organizing my computer mainly because it seems overwhelming. But your suggestions helps me put in perspective & gives me easy & efficient foundation to get crackin’ on it & not dread starting it.

How to Find the Perfect Graphic Designer for Your Book Jacket

Where to Start
Congrats! You’ve finished your collection of short stories, novel, novella, or any other manuscript musings! You’ve decided to self-publish since you’re just starting out and you know you don’t have the resources for a top-of-the-line graphic designer. So where do you go? What kind of skills are you looking for? Where do you find a great graphic designer at an affordable budget? Luckily, in today’s world there are tons of reputable websites with excellent freelancers who do superb work on time and on budget.

One of the first things you should consider as a writer is what kind of design you’re looking for. What does your book say with pixels? Many designers find it frustrating when their customer asks them to come up with several different designs and claim, “I’ll know it when I see it.” You want to work with your designer on an established idea. It takes quite a lot of time and effort for them to come up with various different ideas from your thousands-of-words book. Do yourself and them a favor and think up a general (or even better specific) idea of what you want before you contact a graphic designer.

Where to Go
The freelance marketplace is growing every day with more people having the ability to work from home and make a reasonable living freelancing. Take advantage of this change and grab a freelancer from a great database like oDesk, Elance or Mediabistro. Additionally, with the wealth of online writing resources, using the boards to reach out to other writers for advice is a great step to take.

  • oDesk:oDesk has a variety of freelancers that want to help you achieve your goals and make money at the same time. You can propose an hourly or fixed-price contract that will bend to any budget and you can search for specific attributes you want in a freelancer. oDesk has recently made updates to their system that make it easier for both freelancers and employers to find the jobs they want.
  • Elance: Elance is similar to oDesk (actually they just signed a merger and will official merge in April) in that it’s a cornucopia of freelancers available for work. Elance has skills tests and verification procedures that prove you are who you say you are and can do what you claim you can do. Also like oDesk, they have clients from all over the world so you can feel confident that the person you’ve selected is truly the right fit. Elance is a little different when it comes to payment as they send invoices rather than bill the client through the contract you’ve set up. Elance is yet another way for you to scan the marketplace for freelancers. Those available on Elance may not be available on oDesk and vise versa.
  • Mediabistro: Mediabistro has about 3 million visitors to their site daily and many are looking for freelancers. As a writer, you should invest some serious time into looking through all of the quality freelancers available on Mediabistro. Since their main focus is everything that has to do with publishing, writing, and media services, it may be easier to find a graphic designer there than oDesk or Elance because it does not include every discipline under the sun.
  • Grammarly: Grammarly is a superior hub for writers, editors, and anyone who wants to improve their writing. On top of that, they have excellent question and answer
  • boards where writers can converse about any topic they would like. For instance, you could ask the question, “Does anyone have a great
  • raphic designer they would suggest for a self-published book jacket?” You’ll get a response fast, know that it’s from a trusted resource, and you can query or research said artist.

How to Select the Right Graphic Designer
After initial contact with the graphic artist, make sure that they understand your idea and that you get samples of their work. They’re freelancing so they want to work for you and make money. They should always have samples available to allow clients to know what they’re paying for. You don’t necessarily have to become best friends with the freelancer but you want them to care about the quality of work they’re producing for you.

Talking to them on the phone or having a Skype interview will make it easy to see if you can work well together. No matter which site or freelancer you choose, make sure they have your ultimate goal in mind, that you communicate your ideas and expectations clearly, and that you always pay them well for their hard work.

By Nikolas Baron

Replace “Nikolas Baron” with the following HTML: Nikolas Baron.

Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarlr’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling and reading.

5 Reasons Authors Should Consider Paying to Market Their Books

I can hear it now, the booing and the hissing as soon as authors read the title of this article. Let me be perfectly clear, I’m a big advocate of authors marketing their own books. In fact, I do a lot of my own marketing. And I encourage other authors including new and aspiring authors to learn everything they can about effective book marketing and promoting, and to put what they learn into action. That being said, here are 5 reasons I’ve found that Authors should consider paying someone to help them market their books.
1. New authors need time to learn the basics of book marketing and promotion. The sad fact is many new authors don’t bother to educate themselves about book marketing and promotion before their book comes out. In fact, many new authors are still set in the thinking of twenty-five to thirty years ago where the publisher does all the promotion for you. They mistakenly believe that the publisher will do everything for them and that they will be able to just sit back and watch the royalties roll in. This is fantasy and new authors need to educate themselves before their book comes out to the public so they can be prepared for the reality of this new book-publishing world.
2. Authors cannot be experts about every form of book marketing and promotion, there simply aren’t enough hours in any given day for them to learn. While it would be nice to believe that you the author can learn everything there is to know about marketing, copywriting and book promotion in time to promote your latest release, it’s just not possible. It takes years of hard work to understand really the ins and out of book marketing and promotion. One of the really good examples of this are video book trailers. While authors can learn to make video book trailers, many don’t bother to educate themselves about the finer details. Not only about what makes a great video book trailer. But how to write a script for it. Or how to take photos that may be mediocre and use image manipulation programs, such as Photoshop, to enhance them. To the point they get the message of the story across. Without these skills, video book trailers not only get clicked away from, but if the trailer is bad enough, readers will choose not to the buy the book the trailer is advertising.
3. Authors have lives and many authors have day jobs, at least until their book takes off, and even then, smart authors keep their day jobs until they have a stable of at least ten books that are selling well. While I encourage authors to do some marketing on their own, if they want to have time to write, and edit and just have a life outside of work, then I also encourage them to find an excellent book promotions company that can help them market and promote their books.
4. Not having to worry about doing a ton of marketing gives authors time to start writing their next book. Again, I’m not suggesting you turn over all your book marketing and promotion to someone else, in fact, I think that’s a bad idea, but I do think having someone else to take some of the burden of marketing from your shoulders is important. After all, writing is what you really want to be doing right? If you don’t write more books, then it’s going to be difficult to build a fan base. One book is never enough. Ten or more are always better!
5. Paying someone to help you do your book marketing and promotion also gives you a professional that you can bounce marketing ideas off. This can be invaluable to you the author. And if your professional is really good, he or she will work with you as a partner to help you with your marketing ideas so they get off the ground successfully. Also, the professional will be able to add their own thoughts and ideas to yours based on their years of experience which will mean your idea will have a much better chance of succeeding when it comes to helping to market your books.
Many authors scoff at the idea of paying someone to help them market their books. But the fact remains. Authors cannot be everywhere at all times. Nor can they be experts on all aspects of book marketing and promotion. So, in my opinion, finding the right book marketing and promotions expert to help is key to a great marketing plan that sells books and gives authors more time to write.
And, if you’re really interested in what I’m using, I have to recommend HeatFelt Promotions for their serious approach, their promptness in delivering the anticipated results, their orientation toward clients’ needs and expectations, their hard-wording approach that gets things done. They don’t just work on increasing an author’s sales. I’ve tried other companies in the past, but have to admit I wasn’t too happy with them after a while. The main problem being they’d concentrate on one aspect alone. Like only sending promo loop e-mails. Or just taking care of the social media promotions. Working with HeartFelt, I’ve come to understand how essential a holistic approach is for the author. ‘Cause you don’t just market a book. You market yourself, first and primarily. That’s why I’m with HeartFelt. They work a lot on improving the author’s image. On spreading the author’s brand, whatever that may be. On increasing the author’s popularity through social medias and a careful mix of all the available techniques. Not promoting through loops alone, but using gadgets, video book trailers, blog posts, interviews, reviews and well-aimed bouncing of information. That’s why I trust them to do my promotion!
Authors, think about it….

My Husband’s Review of Literary Nymphs recommended read: Bondage Slave For Hire

[image:image-2]A story begins with its characters. In Bondage Slave For Hire, there’s Lilly, the slave. Then Terry, the Master of all Masters. And Julien and André, the mysterious and dangerous Creoles.

Second off is the plot. With no other wish than to satisfy the Master of all Masters, the insignificant slave is ready to give love through pain. She is so ready to show she can suffer to deserve whatever her Master sees fit to give her. Even if it’s only a kiss. A solitary kiss. For what can be better than a man who is fascinating,
desirable and exciting? Of a man who knows how to command with just one glance? And what about his friends? What is their true relationship? And why can’t Lilly reach a peak without thinking of them?

Third off is the place. The Dungeon BDSM Club is where bondage, pain and perversions jump out the pages and hit you hard and deep. Same place where a slave deserves to die in Halloween’s Black Room.

Fourth and final there’s the anticipation. Halloween is coming, with its load of anxiety and the promise of pain and terror. Who will survive?

I’ve known the author, Laura Tolomei, for over twenty-eight years. And for over twenty-eight years, I have the privilege of being her soul mate. Which is why I thought I knew everything about her, including her slightest fantasy. To the point I thought I could anticipate it. But she’s a woman and manages to keep her secret desires well hidden.

Every time she starts on a new story, I’m amazed by the development of her style and of the tension gripping every single page. This time, Laura has outdone herself. Before Bondage Slave For Hire, the only book ever to arouse me was Dracula by Bram Stoker. Which I read as a mere thirteen-year-old. Now, more than thirty years later, I’m totally and pleasurably taken aback by Bondage Slave For Hire and its irresistible charge of excitement. Obviously, I made her pay for it. The author I mean. Because I can.

So I’ll give you some advice: don’t read this book alone. It wouldn’t do it justice.

I’ve read a lot by Laura Tolomei, my wife, my love, my slave. So I can safely assure that Bondage Slave For Hire is her masterpiece yet. At least for now. At least until her next book will top this off. Which is what always happens, judging from my experience. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy Bondage Slave For Hire and I will re-read it out loud to my wife to be sure her imagination ends up in bed with us, not just on her pages.

Pierluigi Pomponi

A Literary Nymph Golden Blush Award!
Bondage Slave for Hire is the first book I’ve read by author Laura Tolomei and it won’t be my last. Ms. Tolomei was very creative in her picture of slaves in this particular bondage club, with everything working toward one night of the year.  This story was very original, and not like anything I have read before. As the story progresses, readers will start to get an inkling of what Julian and Andre are, but still won’t have a clue about Terry until the end. […] The chemistry, and later love, between the four main characters is apparent. The fact that Lilly was willing to do what she did could only have been done for love, even as she was being told she was not supposed to love the three men. […
] Kudos to Ms. Tolomei for Bondage Slave for Hire.” A Literary Nymplhs recommended read!

Bondage Slave for Hire is an extreme BDSM novel that also combines horror into to it. […] The chemistry between Lily and Terry is searing. […]  If you enjoy a dark BDSM horror novel then you will enjoy this book a lot.” Just Erotic Romance Reviews

A Short History of the Tarot

There is much mystery surrounding the origins of the Tarot, and the truth is no one can be certain of its actual origins. That being said, there are a number of theories as to the beginnings of the Tarot. One theory suggests that the Tarot came from Egypt and is in fact
part of the lost Egyptian library. It was also believed that the cards came with the Gypsies from Egypt which was another reason they were thought to originate there because people believed the Gypsy’s ancestors were from Egypt. Another theory states that the Tarot originated in the Middle East from playing cards created by the Moors. And yet another states that they were playing cards created for the Nobles of Italy for a game called Triumph. Regardless, we will probably never know the exact true origins of the Tarot because they are shrouded in mystery.

According to most sources, the Tarot wasn’t used for divination until
the late seventeen hundreds when occultists got a hold of an Italian Triumph deck and decided there was more to the symbolism on the cards than met the eye. Regardless from that time forward, occultists began making their own tarot decks based on the original Italian Triumph decks. They changed some of the pictures/symbols to fit their own occult ideas. The Rider-Waite deck while not the oldest tarot deck available is now the standard that newer tarot decks are based on.

These days you can find a tarot deck based on just about any spiritual system you like.

There are Fairy decks, Goddess decks, recreations of the Rider-

Waite deck with the artist’s own interpretation of the original art, a Dream deck, the Mother Peace tarot, as well as the Thoth tarot deck

and many many more. The idea appears to be with modern tarot decks for artists to use symbolism that is easy for them to interpret

and which is based on their own spiritual system. While I doubt this is what the original creators of the Triumph deck intended, many of
these tarot decks are worth having for the art alone. Whether you choose to use the Tarot for divination is a personal choice only you can make, but the history of the Tarot is fascinating and well worth exploring. And who knows some day you may decide you want to create your own Tarot deck with your own symbols as many others before you have done!

5 Tips for Using Hashtags Correctly

Hashtags are just keywords with a # or hash in front of them, and they are all the rage. Everyone is using hashtags. If you’re an author, hashtags are important because they help readers find you and your books. However, if you’re new to the world of hashtags it can be very confusing. To learn more about Hashtags don’t miss my articles, Do Authors Really Need Hashtags, and 5 Hashtags Every Author Should Use.
If you’re a writer, and heck even if you aren’t, you can use hashtags. Here are five tips for using hashtags:

1. Don’t overdo it. If you’ve ever seen those twitter posts that are almost entirely hashtags, you know what I mean when I say this. Don’t let the message you’re trying to convey through your Twitter post be drowned out by the number of hashtags at the end of the post. Two to three hashtags per post is perfect.

2. Be creative when using hashtags. What I mean by this is if one of the keywords you want to use as a hashtag is already in your post, by all means plop a hashtag in front of that word. This saves you character space and you’re not repeating yourself by adding the same keyword with a hashtag at the end of your tweet. Here’s an example: “My new #BDSM #erotic #romance Re-Scue just released today!” See how I saved character space here? Now this doesn’t mean you can’t add other hashtags at the end of your tweet as long as you don’t go over the 140 character limit, but you get my idea. But again, don’t overdo it, you don’t want to put a hashtag in front of nearly every word in your sentence, and you don’t want your entire tweet to be hashtags.

3. Don’t just use hashtags on Twitter. The truth is hashtags can be used on any social media platform including Google+, and Facebook, and in fact you should use them there as well! This allows for consistency and you’ll reach more readers and fans. After all, not everyone uses Twitter, or Facebook or Google+ for that matter, but chances are most people use at least one of them!

4. Be careful when using hashtags. What I mean by this is that you should know what the hashtag you’re planning on using is being used for elsewhere on the web. You can research any hashtag before using it by going to a service like Tweet Deck signing up for an account and doing a search for conversations using your selected hashtag. Now this will just be on Twitter mind you, but it will give you an idea. After all, you don’t want to use a hashtag and then later discover the conversations around that hashtag have nothing to do with reading, or books for example. Which leads me to my final tip.
5. Research hashtags before you use them. It might seem like a no-brainer to use a particular keyword/ hashtag, especially if the keyword/hashtag in question relates to your book. However, there are thousands of hashtags that have nothing to do with books, or reading and while it may seem as if it would be a good fit, make sure you research it and that you’re reaching the audience you want to reach, and not just annoying a bunch of people who have no interest in say reading BDSM erotic romance books.
If you follow these five tips, you will be using hashtags like a pro in no time! Good luck, and post a comment if you have a question, I’ll get back to you!