Review – Dream Your Joy Oracle Cards

Dream Your Joy Oracle Cards

Author: Judy Mastrangelo

Artist: Judy Mastrangelo

Red Feather Publishers


ISBN #978-0764365324

Dream Your Joy Oracle Cards are comprised of a 59-card deck and a 128-page instruction book. They come in a sturdy cardboard box in the shape of a book. The author’s bio is listed inside the box cover.

The cards are 3 1/2 “ by 5”, made of a sturdy, glossy stock with no borders. The imagery is very gentle and done largely in pastels. The cards are very easy to handle.

In her introduction, Mastrangelo describes herself as an artistic painter of pictures and an author who chooses to look for the positive in life. She notes that this deck has many intentions, including sharing her artwork and sharing suggestions on how to bring happiness into your life by dreaming joy into your unconscious, then manifesting it into your life.

She urges everyone to look deeply within themselves to discover their innate talents that they can develop.

The purpose of this deck is to empower those that read it to feel the great joy and love that can be found in the universe.

In this deck, Mastrangelo is continuing to develop her own technique called Mind Painting (one that she introduced in her first deck – Inspirational Visions). It is used to paint a picture in the mind of the user of what their perfect life would be like.

In these cards, Mastrangelo is sharing her own visions through the use of colors and symbols. She advises the reader to allow themselves to experience the joy to dream their life.

The technique suggested to be used with these cards is to spread them over the table and pass your hands over them. Then place them face down on the table. By touching the cards, the reader’s intuition will tell them which cards are meant for their reading.

The cards are presented in a two-page spread – the left-hand page shows a full-color image of the card, while the right-hand side shows the name of the card, its purpose, and an exercise to place the card’s energy in the life of the person being read for. These are powerful exercises, making use of tools such as relaxing exercises, daydreams, meditation, affirmations, and more.

Examples of the cards include Lady of Stars (Our guiding light), Winter Delight (There is warmth even in the icy cold), Water Lily Pond (Never stop dreaming), Toy Box (Always keep your childhood memories safe within your heart), Thoughtfulness (Keep your mind and abilities going strong), and Rain (Liquid abundance).

This deck is a wonderful tool of empowerment that can be used by all ages. It can be used to do readings, to connect with your intuition, for personal growth, to connect with children/grandchildren, and more. I highly recommend it.

One note: the type in the book is very small and hard to read. Perhaps this will be a benefit, as it will cause readers to slow down and pay attention to what they are reading.

© January 2023 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without written permission from the author.

Review: How To Write A Mystery

Author: Mystery Writers of America

Edited By: Lee Child, with Laurie R.King



ISBN #978-1-9821-4943-7

How To Write A Mystery is a 313-page book from the Mystery Writers Of America. Written by 70 0f the most successful mystery writers in the business, it is an inclusive guide for providing resources on the art of mystery writing, addressing both the art of writing and the business side of publishing.

Featured are essays from bestselling experts, as well as shorter pieces from the Mystery Writers of America membership. The topics covered fall into the following categories:

  • Before Writing (rules; genres; setting; character; research; etc.)
  • While Writing (outlining; the plot; dialogue; mood; etc.)
  • After Writing (agents; editors; self-pub; etc.)
  • Other than Novels (short stories; true crime; etc.)
  • Other Considerations (diverse characters; legal questions; criticism)

In his introduction, Lee Child notes that he writes without a plan or an outline. Basically a pantser myself, I appreciated knowing this. He talks about the need for mystery writers to be fluid and flexible.

Under “The Rules and Genres” Neil Nyren wrote an excellent essay on the rules, and when to break them. Charlain Harris writes about crossing the genres, and Gayle Lynds writes about researching the spy thriller.

Under “Other Mysteries” Susan Vaught writes about mysteries for children, Chris Grabenstein writes about unleashing your inner child, and Art Taylor writes about the short mystery.

Under “The Writing” Jeffrey Deaver writes about always outlining, Lee Child writes about never outlining, and Laurie R. King writes about the art of the rewrite.

Under “After The Writing” Liliana Hart writes about self-publishing, Maddee James writes about authors online, and Daniel Steven writes about legal considerations.

At the end of the book are short author bios, contributor permissions, and an index.

I find this book to be an excellent resource for both beginning and seasoned writers. Under the above categories, I have listed only a few of the authors and topics included. There is much more material there – and a lot of food for thought!

(c) December 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is not permitted without the written consent of the author.


I am a bit late in getting this out there, but I am running a contest for the month of December with two free books as prizes. Sign up for my monthly author’s newsletter, and your name will be tossed into the hat to win one of two Christmas-themed cozy mysteries: “Cream Caramel and Murder” by K. E. O’Connor or “Mistletoe Cake Murder” by Lena Gregory.What a wonderful way to start out the new year! Free books and a monthly newsletter devoted to all things writing!

Sign up here:

(c) December 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without the written permission of the author.

Review: Story Line – Finding Gold In Your Life Story

Author: Jen Grisanti

Michael Weise Publications


ISBN #978-1-932907-89-6

This 226-page book was published eleven years ago and still remains pertinent. Grisanti has a background of twelve years as a studio executive mentored by Aaron Spelling, working as Vice President of Current Programs at CBS/Paramount, and serving as a mentor for the CBS Diversity Program. She launched her own company (Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc.) in 2008 and was hired to be the Writing Instructor at NBC’s Writers on the Verge. She is also a blogger for the Huffington Post.

The foundation for this book is to deepen a writer’s writing skills and increase your audience’s connection with your story. This is accomplished by each writer calling on their own life experiences to add depth and reality to their stories.

The book is divided into four sections: Set Up (the universal life moments that start the story), Dilemma (establishing the character’s dilemma and a clear goal for them), Action (how the character’s strong dilemma and a clear goal lead their central character into action), and Goal (what the character’s life is like after attaining their goal).

This book is aimed at scriptwriting, but I believe that the concepts can be used in any genre of writing. I am a pantser that writes flash fiction and cozy mysteries, and I took a great deal away with me after reading this book. Using my own life experiences as a springboard for my writing will make blocking out my stories easier and has already given me more confidence in what I am writing.

This book is an excellent guide for writing and decision-making, as well as for focusing on the process without getting lost in it. Bottom line – as writers, we have to do the work!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is willing to get in touch with their own life experiences, wants to make a living as a writer, and wants to connect with their audiences in a strong fashion. This book is for all writers, not just screenwriters.

(c) October 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without written permission from the author.

Review – Sacred Union Oracle

Author: Lisa de St. Croix

Artist: Lisa de St. Croix

Independently Published, 2022

The “Sacred Union Oracle”, by Lisa de St. Croix is meant to help us explore our relationships and what it means to be in a sacred union. There are 30 cards based on deities and historical figures from many different cultures. The cards are done on heavy card stock in the shape of alter cards, with an arched top. They are 6″ by 3″ and come with a bamboo card holder. They are presented with an image on one side and the name of the figure(s), along with a message from the oracle and an action to take. They come in a sturdy box with magnetic closure on the long side.

Instructions on how to use the deck are on the inside cover.

Sacred Union Oracle

Hold the deck in your hands

Ground yourself, become present

Breathe deeply, sink in a little deeper

Shuffle the cards gently

Cut the deck in half

The top card is your oracle

Open yourself to this divine message

Look at the image

See what arises within you

Read the oracle on the back

Take note of the prescribed action

Place the card in the holder

Place on an alter or in your view

Let the energy of this Sacred Union

Heal, Inspire and guide your relationships

This is Shiva Shakti. They are two halves of a whole – equal and opposite energy. The action to take is one of non-duality – sink into pure awareness that you are interconnected, part of one wholeness.

This is Black Madonna and Child. They represent the Holy Mother and the Divine Child. The action to take here is to nurture – nourish those you love with life-giving sustenance.

This represents Joseph and Jacob. The action is that of jealousy – compassion and forgiveness, mend urts caused by jealousy.

The representation here is of Eros and Psyche – overcoming obstacles between would and desire. The action to be taken here is that of metamorphosis – let love transform you and trust the journey.

The artwork in this deck is amazing! The reader is drawn into the cards and becomes one with them. Relationships are often hard to understand – the guidance in these cards, along with the indicated action to be taken, makes this deck a powerful tool for self-exploration and healing.

(c) October 2022 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction is prohibited without the written permission of the author.

Real Recipes from a Fictional PI by Heather Haven

I love getting recipes from the mystery books that I read!

Ladies of Mystery

When you treat your characters as living, breathing entities, things can happen. This includes those near and dear thinking you’re peculiar. For instance, when writing the third book of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Death Runs in the Family, the two cats from the series, Baba and Tugger, were catnapped and in the back of the villain’s station wagon speeding from Palo Alto to Las Vegas. For reasons I can’t remember, I had to stop writing the story at that point. For three whole days I was uncomfortable about it. I kept telling myself, it’s just a story, right? They’re not real cats trapped in carriers in the back of a station wagon without food or water for days on end, right? Wrong.

On the third night, even though I knew all the above intellectually, I woke up at two am and leapt out of bed, determined to write…

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What Comes Next?

Ladies of Mystery

I’m nearing completion (I hope!) of my 14th Jeri Howard novel, The Things We Keep. Fellow Ladies of Mystery author, D. Z. Church read the latest draft and pointed out words I’d left out and words I’d repeated. She pruned instances of words I habitually overuse – “so,” “then,” and “now.” She also took out many of the commas that I love to sprinkle all over my work. More importantly, she indicated several rough spots requiring attention. Yes, we all need that second pair of eyes. I’m now in the process of revising the draft.

I’ve been working on this book for nearly two years and hoped to finish it by the end of 2021, but as we know, life intervenes.

Once the book is finished, there’s the whole prepublication drill. Already have a cover – here’s a first look! I’ll create the front and back matter, format…

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Guest Blogger ~ Sharon Marchisello

Ladies of Mystery

Setting a Mystery in the Galapagos

When my husband and I took our bucket-list vacation to the Galapagos in 2014, I had no idea I’d set a book there; otherwise, I’d have written off the trip on my taxes. (If you’re looking for the Galapagos on the map, it’s a group of islands straddling the equator, approximately 600 miles off the Pacific Coast of Ecuador.) But I didn’t get the idea until six months later, when something triggered an experience from our cruise that I thought would make a great opening scene for a mystery.

Normally, the guides were conscientious about counting heads and watching over all the passengers in their charge whenever we were away from the ship. In an archipelago comprising 97% national park containing flora and fauna found nowhere else on earth, tourists must be carefully supervised. But one day, my husband and I left another activity…

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Appearance is everything – or is it? How much character description should a writer give?

Great thoughts on character description!

Helena Fairfax

Another month, another authors’ Round Robin. And another through-provoking question in our writers’ group…

helena fairfax, freelance editor, fiction editor

What do you define in your writing about your characters and what do you leave to the reader’s intuition? Is there anything you never tell about a character?

There’s a LOT to these questions but they got me thinking in particular about how much – or how little – detail writers need to give about a character’s physical appearance in order for readers to develop their own mental picture.

What constitutes a ‘good picture’? Does the reader need to ‘see’ a character in exactly the same way the author has imagined her? What if the reader’s picture is totally different from the author’s? Does it matter?

Take Anna Karenina, for example. How do you picture her? Do you think of Keira Knightley in the 2012 film version? Or maybe the fabulous Vivien Leigh in the 1940s’…

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Not so Common?

Mageborn's Weblog

“Common” is generally acknowledged as something that occurs often and is known to many.
However, there are a number of ideas, thoughts, and behaviors that were previously believed to be common that have become so rare they may now be considered a superpower…cape and tights are optional.

For instance, common sense seems to be in jeopardy in our current day and age. The appalling lack of good or common sense may not be obvious to those who do not possess it, but to those limited individuals who do, it is glaringly obvious. One could remark about the stunning stupidity over the absolute vacuum created between some people’s ears due to this lack. Oh, don’t bother looking about where that previously innate sense could have gotten off to. I seriously doubt anyone accidentally left it in their other pants or has it safely tucked inside their sock drawer so it doesn’t…

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