Monday, December 26, 2011

What Can We Expect in 2012?

You’ve heard the dire predictions for 2012, supposedly based on the Mayan calendar which doomsayers tell us predicts the end of the world on the next winter solstice. But how accurate are they? What can we really expect in the coming year?
First of all, astrologers don’t believe the Maya meant that the world would end on December 21, 2012. Instead, their ancient calendar pointed to the end of an astrological age. Each age, according to their calculations, lasted about 25,500 years. This corresponds to what astrologers call the precession of the equinoxes, meaning the amount of time it takes the spring equinoctial sun to move backward through the zodiac and arrive again at the same point from which it started. (Of course, the sun doesn’t really move, but that’s how it appears to us from our vantage point here on Earth.) Thus, 12/21/2012 signals the true beginning of a new age: the Age of Aquarius.
The Number 11
It’s interesting to note that 12/21/2012, from the perspective of numerology, is an “11” day––the number of Aquarius. Aquarius, as you may know, is the eleventh sign of the zodiac, but there’s more to it than that. When you add the digits of the date (1+2+2+1+2+0+1+2) you get a sum of 11. Numerologists consider 11 to be a “master number.” Master numbers resonate with intensity. They offer increased possibilities for growth, awakening, and accomplishment. They demand more from you and require you to function at a higher level of awareness.
Eleven is the number of the visionary, the avatar, the inventor, the person who leads by offering a positive example. It’s also linked with humanitarianism, equality, balance, truth, and integrity. In the Tarot's major arcana, the Justice card is number 11.
When we’re under the influence of the number 11, we may experience lightning-like bursts of insight or situations that propel us to act quickly, drawing on intuition as well as intellect. The repetition of 11s, as in 11:11 or 11/11/11 (a date we experienced last month), can be seen as a portal into other worlds or realms of consciousness.
What all this suggests is that in the coming year we’re likely to witness conditions that will require us to think outside the box and to address problems with a more elevated and expanded vision. We’ll have to be more honest with ourselves and others, and behave with greater integrity. We’ll be called to make changes that benefit humanity and take into account the good of all, not just a few. We’ll see continued efforts to right wrongs and establish more balance between the haves and the have-nots. In short, 2012 sounds a wake-up call for all of us and offers us an opportunity to usher in the long-awaited Age of Aquarius.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

E-books for $.99

By now, many of you have heard of Amanda Hocking, the 26-year-old who self-published her e-books on Amazon and soon became a bestselling author. In January 2011, she sold nearly half a million books! Like many writers, Hocking tired of the long, discouraging process of trying to find a traditional print publisher to take on her novels. So she did it herself––like many writers before her, including Benjamin Franklin, Gertrude Stein, Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Virginia Woolf and, more recently, Stephen King, Deepak Chopra, and John Grisham.

E-books and Amazon’s Kindle program let writers of all types speak directly to readers, without going through the middleman. In 2010, 20 million people read e-books. Not only are e-books convenient, cheaper than print books, and instantly available, they’re environmentally friendly, saving trees and waste.

One of Hocking’s keys to success was her price point. By selling her books for $.99 to $2.99, she encouraged readers to take a look. She’s not the only author to utilize this method––or the only one to succeed. When you sell your e-book on Amazon for $.99 you only receive $.35 in royalties per sale. That’s not much, but if you sell 500,000 copies it adds up to big bucks. And in case you’re wondering, many authors only get about that much from the sale of a traditionally published paperback.

So, I decided to give it a try. My mystery Hidden Agenda, which in print form won the Kiss of Death Award (given by the Romance Writers of America’s mystery chapter), is now available as an Amazon e-book for $.99. A colorful mix of murder, magic, astrology, and romance, the novel has gotten great reviews, both online and in the print media. I hope you’ll choose to read it. Please share your thoughts with me if you care to do so. And please consider writing a review on if you feel inspired.

By the way, you can still purchase signed, first edition trade paperbacks from my website for $9.99 (quantities limited) if you prefer.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Erotica or Pornography?

What's the difference between erotica and pornography? One definition says that erotica is something you find sexually stimulating, whereas pornography is something another person finds sexually stimulating and you find disgusting. Truly, it's in the eye of the beholder. And our perspectives change over time. What would have been considered "hard core" only a decade ago is lunch-time fare for many modern readers.

Still, many writers of erotic literature still publish under pseudonyms. Some of us don't want our bosses, kids, parents, and neighbors to know we get into this sort of thing. Other authors who write various types of books find it avoids confusion if they publish nonfiction titles under one name and erotic fiction under another. That was my reason for publishing my erotic mystery "Tarotica" under the pen name Amber Austin, because I'm best known for my nonfiction books in the fields of holistic health, self-help, and metaphysics.

I'm pleased to announce that "Tarotica"––originally published as an e-book by Ravenous Romance (and still available in that format)––is now available in print through This unique X-rated thriller is both a risky and risqué road trip across the US and an esoteric journey through the major arcana of the Tarot. Coffee Time Romance reviewed it as "one of the hottest books I've ever read." Crave More Romance praised it as a "five-star mix of magic and real world."

If you're interested in the Tarot, mysteries, sex, and/or erotic romance, I hope you'll enjoy this original and colorful interpretation of the Tarot's major arcana. Each chapter relates to one card and contains plenty of steamy sex. I've worked with the Tarot for many years and written several nonfiction books on the subject, including "The Everything Tarot Book," "The Only Tarot Book You'll Ever Need," and "10-Minute Tarot." Interpreting the ancient oracle into a lusty thriller was a lot of fun, and I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.