Susan Wands is a writer, tarot reader, and actor. She graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in theater and women's studies and has acted professionally across the United States and on Broadway. Her adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was produced at the Cornish Institute in Seattle and she has written plays, screenplays, and skits produced several indie films, and was a company member in Rumble in the Red Room, an off-Broadway troupe, for four years. As a co-chair with the NYC Chapter of the Historical Novel Society, she helps produce monthly online book launches and author panels. In London, she has lectured at Watkins Books for their Recorded Authors series, and at Atlantis Books, presented at the Occulture Berlin Festival, and for the online academy, Morbid Anatomy. Ms. Wands' writings have appeared in Art in Fiction, Kindred Spirits magazine, and The Irving Society journal, FIRST KNIGHT. Some of her podcast interviews include: 'Biddy Tarot', ‘Imaginary Worlds’, ‘Bad Ass Bitches Tarot’, and the ‘Spirited Tarot’ YouTube channel. She lives in NYC with her husband, actor Robert Petkoff, and two cats, Flora and Flynn. Her first book in a series, Magician and Fool, Book One, Arcana Oracle, will be published May 2023 by SparkPress, which will also publish the second book High Priestess and Empress. Emperor and Hierophant, the third book in the series, is in final edits.
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Pamela Colman Smith newly arrived from New York to her birthplace of London, is received as an oddball in Victorian society. Her second sight helps her in her new job: illustrating tarot cards for the Golden Dawn, a newly formed occult group. But when Pamela refuses to share her creations with Aleister Crowley, a controversial magician, he issues a threat: give up the cards’ power, or he’ll harm her muses.
Magician and Fool, Book One, Arcana Oracle Series
Book One, Arcana Oracle Series (Arcana Oracle Series, 1)
Book Excerpt or Article
Before anyone else could answer, Pamela, still enraptured with the canvas, said, “Mr. Craven, I make miniature theatres and am told I have a promising career.”
The group chuckled at her announcement. Craven came over to Pamela. “Ah, promising career. What is your name?”
“I was christened Corinne Pamela Colman Smith, but you may call me Pamela.”
“Well, Pamela, would you like to come closer and see some of your contemporaries’ work?”
“Oh, yes! Please! It’s all we talk of in Manchester!”
The laughter only grew at that. Craven nodded to her family as he guided her to stand in the center of the activity.
Pamela stepped forward to devour the huge landscape with its hundreds of flowers, trees, castle walls, and windows.
As she stood totally captured by the canvas, her head started to slightly sway. She moved her finger along the castle walls and banners. Behind her closed eyes, she saw them: the four figures that were to be on the banner of King Arthur. She opened her eyes and they were still there, floating in space before her, moving to the music in her head. She knew the magic was here, waiting to be set in motion.
Craven looked at her for a minute. “Are you seeing the secrets in the castle?” he asked her kindly.
Pamela smiled at him and edged closer to the canvas. “I’m hearing the colors. But the secrets need something. I’ll show you what it needs.”
“You’ll show me what the scene design for King Arthur needs?”
Pamela quickly moved to a sketch pad on the floor. She picked up a piece of charcoal and started sketching. Mr. Smith and the others came over to protest her use of his materials, but Craven lifted his hand. Pamela drew first an oblong flag, then started to fill in the corners. “Yes, the banners need a tetramorph.”
Craven hung over her, watching her sketch. “Do you even know what a tetramorph is?”
Pamela continued sketching. “Yes. We need a man, lion, ox, and eagle in the four corners. And they shall all have wings. There! That’s the sketch. Shall I paint it in?” She gestured toward his palette.
The other painters in the room stopped what they were doing and came over to watch.
Craven looked at her, astonished. “You want to paint on the banner that I’ve started?”
“Yes, please, sir. I know what to put there.”
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