I'm a writer, blogger, tarot reader and designer. I'm also a CRES editor for the Myths Legends And Fairy Tales Department. I self-publish and have most of my eBooks on iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Googleplay, Scribd, and other eBook stores, as well as through selected libraries. More of my audio tarotscopes are on https://www.patreon.com/LeennaNaidoo, search term tarotscopes on my Patreon page.
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A Pick-A-Card tarot reading for couples, singles and those looking for inspiration for their romantic writing or creations.
Option 1 00:38 Option 2 04:20 Option 3 09:53
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So, here we are in September (September!) 2020 and a friend of mine says ‘2020 should just get over itself’. It made me smile, though she’s had a tough year and hopefully the worst is over. Still, it’s hardly 2020’s fault it got grounded and sent its room. Mother Nature had just had enough of us, I think, and we all needed some time out, didn’t we? But now that we’re cautiously un-pausing and re-pausing as we shake 2020 (or the year that wasn’t for most of us) awake, I invite you to once again watch and consider that viral video that made us think again at the beginning of the The Great Pause (or that time the world got sent to its room).
As for what the cards say about the next two months, it’s a bit of this and a bit of that. For most, there’s change—good change. And for some a reminder that you still have some work to do (on yourself). Please don’t carry old baggage and mindsets into 2021 that got us sent to our rooms in the first place, and now’s the best time to toss persistent old baggage aside and look at what we really, really need to be happy for the rest of our lives. What is it that your Heart really, truly—most excitedly—desires?
While you’re listening to your tarotscopes, feel free to check out and listen to the other freebies on my Patreon and YouTube channel.
Have an awesome, beautiful and prosperous September and October 2020!
For virtual librarians: Ebook recommendations from my mum for your older relatives and readers
In fact, since the lockdown and mum’s inability to access print from the libraries every week or two, she’s been reading three to four books plus a novella or two every week—yep! Much more than I currently read. So, I thought I’d share some of my mum’s most recommended reads with you in case you’ve also become someone’s virtual librarian. Scroll further for the highly recommended if you’re in a rush as I thought I’d tell you a bit more about my mum and her reading habits first. Or, if you prefer: The Secret Lives Of Senior Readers.
NB: This post contains some affiliate links that keep us eBooks.
First: the technical stuff
Mum’s on android, so I downloaded Lithium from the GooglePlay store for her. She’s had no complaints. I’ve set the background to the one that looks like parchment or a standard paperback page, kept the font as standard black and made the font slightly larger than usual. She uses the grid view with the recently opened showing first. Sometimes, she forgets to scroll down when looking for a new book to read, but that’s okay. She began reading eBooks on her phone a few years ago, but between the battery drain and having to hold the powerbank while she read sometimes, it wasn’t ideal. Enter Wee Bruv and Kleinsus with the tablet for her birthday. Mum’s in love with her tablet and the fact that she doesn’t need to recharge it so often even though she reads for at least four hours on most days. Also, she can read during loadshedding and not disturb Dad as much, too. Her tablet has Lithium with the same settings and what excited her a lot was the larger page area. We also set the screen brightness to about 40-45% so she doesn’t burn out her retinas and avoids eye-strain. Plus, this saves the battery, too.
Next: where mum gets her books
Short answer, me! This is where I turn into the virtual librarian. To be fair, I’ve had practice since years ago when I used to finish work early on Friday and rush over to our local library to grab an armful of books in 30mins or less. It’s kind of like the same process, only this time it’s all digital and I have one or two steps more.
I usually download books from Smashwords and some other sites that offer free and introductory reads (like Prolific), and sometimes I buy an eBook from an author we enjoyed, as long as it’s available for download as an epub. This isn’t ideal, but mum talks to more readers of her age who are more likely to seek out the print and library versions of the authors she recommends, and once mum loves a book, she loves a book. Besides, we can’t afford to buy all the books we’d like to read. Mum doesn’t read online so that’s another reason to download the books. Truth be told, mum gets overwhelmed and bored by scrolling through the endless covers and blurbs, sorting through the menus and submenus to find her genres and braving the other hazards of finding books that appeal to her in an online store or library. I don’t mind digging for gems for mum as it’s research and often good reading for me, too! Once I’ve downloaded and run a virus-scan (you can never be too careful), I transfer the eBooks to mum’s device.
Mystery, crime, adventure, thriller, romantic suspense and family drama. Sometimes she’ll read a horror (not very often), has long since passed the erotic romance phase, and likes a good humorous story especially if it involves pets and quirky characters. We’re talking about someone who grew up reading Agatha Christie and the classics, got stuck in historical dramas in the ’70s, spent the ’80s and ’90s reading Jackie Collins and Virginia Andrews, fought us for Terry Pratchetts and Alan Dean Fosters while reading Jack Reacher novels and Dick Francis from the word go. Mum’s always moved with the times as long as the stories are good. Now she’s bingeing on eBooks. She doesn’t usually read badly formatted or poorly written books, deleting them quickly. I’ve gotta say I’m really proud of mum’s reading habits 😀
Mum’s recommendations for 2020
Author: Wes Snowden Mum’s most recent bingeing has been the very enjoyable Wes Snowden. We just ‘discovered’ him this year, and she’s already talking to Big Sis (a big Dick Francis fan) about this author. I’ve read one of his books so far and got so engrossed in it that I stayed up half the night to complete the story. I believe Wes Snowden’s books are also available in print, so you may want to ask your librarian for them. One Last Move: This is the story I’ve read, the one that had me up half the night. The characters are warm and quirky, yet relatable. The main character is honest and his predicament not one you often find in a print. This is a gentle suspense with a hint of thriller and romance. All in all, an excellent read by mum’s and my standards. Other books by Snowden mum’s read: Snowfall In Venice: a novella White Swan Wishes: Mum enjoyed this one immensely. She loved the humour. When I have a day or two to spare, I’ll read this next.
Author: Camilla Monk The Spotless Series: I got the box-set for my birthday after thoroughly enjoying Spotless (the first book) as freebie and vowed to read the rest as soon as I could afford it. Mum and I read the series almost simultaneously, so not much work got done over those few days. We had convos around: Which book are you on now? When does March come in again? Did you reach that bit where Island finds out about the bad guy? Spotless the series has all the elements mum loves: mystery, adventure, action, romance, quirky characters, humour… Mum’s itching to read Book 5 as much as I am. Maybe for Christmas…
Author: Cecilia Peartree Death At The Happiness Club: This one mum recommends to senior citizens looking for an enjoyable mystery. It’s part of a series so I’ll keep an eye out for more.
Author: Peggy Webb The Rules Of Engagement: Another book recommended by mum to other seniors. I believe it’s a romance mystery.
Author: Iris Chacon Finding Miranda: I read this first and told mum she should read it next. She did. It wasn’t her usual reading, but the quirky, characters and unusual plot and general humor also won her over. I highly recommend this, and mum would recommend it to those who enjoy Carl Hiaasen with less sweary words.
Graham Wilson This Aussie author was the first that mum read on her screen—one who got her bingeing his thriller/crime series. I haven’t read his stories yet, but they pretty much have mum glued to her screen. She tried recommending him to one of her senior friends who’s still stuck on print and was sad she couldn’t share another good author with a fellow reader of taste.
Eric Douglas Cayman Cowboys: Mum particularly enjoyed the setting and the scuba-diving adventure aspects. I did try reading this and found it a little too slow at the beginning for me, so some patience required in getting to the heart of the story for this one, perhaps.
Sally Berneathy Death By Chocolate:Mum and I both enjoyed the twists and turns in this mystery. Perfect for a long-weekend or Sunday read.
Connie Shelton Sweet Masterpiece: Another solid mystery/crime/foodie story that had both of us hooked. An added bonus for me was the focus on art.
And that’s all we have for you, folks! Happy reading to you and the senior members in your family!
Hightail is a stable professional tool for serious remote workers
* This review is based on my personal use and experience with Hightail. I am not affiliated with them and this post contains no affiliate links.
I’ve been using Hightail for confidential transferring and public sharing of media for over three years. I found it via an audio file share from a well-known personality in the Mind Body and Soul community in 2017 and decided to give it a try for those tarot readings I can’t email because the files are over 15MB.
It’s one of the most stable and professional sites that consistently renews my faith that developers and site owners (or some at least) know what they’re doing. Except for one week in July 2018 when it took forever to upload a 30-40MB file (I think they might have been upgrading the site then) Hightail works efficiently every time for my audio files, even with my slow internet connection.
There’s so much I enjoy about using Hightail. It allows you to create a separate space with a dedicated shareable link for different projects or clients. Team members or clients can go directly to the platform’s viewers, audio and video players to view the files or download the material. Comments are also enabled, allowing for direct communication (though I don’t use this feature much).
Viewing your spaces is easy in the grid or list view, allowing for quick access to projects and files.
The clean design is very professional without any kindergarten-feel fonts, colours or imagery. The functions are easy to find and intuitively laid out.
I have to confess Hightail has my favourite progress bar! Once a file begins uploading, it calculates the most time it would take, then constantly recalculates with two visuals—a bar that fills up as the files loads and a circle that does the same over the file icon. They’re both quite consist with each other and, most importantly, with their accuracy. For me, the most impressive thing about Hightail is that it doesn’t waste my time and data. The uploads are quick and it doesn’t drop my file data during the upload unlike some other sites. I mostly upload mp3s and so far have had no problems with Hightail’s players refusing to play back my media. I’ve also shared large PDFs and Photoshop files. Some day, when I can afford one of the Premium plans, I’ll share videos as well.
Best of all, all but one of my clients had no problems using Hightail or accessing their files. For that reason, if I were running a team, especially one that shares larger files, I’d choose Hightail over Slack (which I dislike because it’s so hard to find files easily among all those threads).
Are there any cons to using Hightail? There’s only one that I’ve experienced, but it hasn’t happened in a long while. Sometimes, when my internet was interrupted, I would need to upload the entire file again. And sometimes the Hightail player isn’t available immediately after upload. It could take a minute or two for you to be able to preview the audio before sending to your client/colleague.
So, if you’re working from home, need more confidentiality than most file sharing systems, and hate having your time and data wasted, I recommend giving Hightail a go. You can try out their Lite plan for free.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been looking at more of those easy-peasy recipes make-at-home-as-good-as-the-stores recipes. And as the Covid-19 numbers increase drastically over here, I thought it was time to make like a Masterchef and try my hand at homemade bread. My only memory of making bread (shop-type bread, not hand-made bread or rotis) is of my gran’s brief foray into yeasty stuff back when I was about four-years old. Still, Matt Preston’s 2013 recipe made baking bread look sooo easy, surely anybody could do it! And so I did! But not all at once.
No, first I tried the super-easy 2 (or 4) ingredient (if you don’t have self-raising flour) multi-purpose bread dough sans yeast.
The nice and short YouTube video tells you how to prepare the dough and the most crucial bake-time for pizzas, bagels and something else that I forget now. I double-checked the recipe on another YouTube video (so learning it could be a 4-ingredient (and what to substitute) recipe for a healthier base…
If you don’t know the recipe all you need to remember is: one cup self-raising flour and one cup plain yoghurt, mix till dough-like, shape and stick in the oven for about 45mins (?).
The dough was nice and soft which I shaped into bagels.
They’re far from bagels-bought (bagels or bread) but very nice nonetheless, especially if you’re running low on bread or all out and need a sandwich or two in just over an hour.
Encouraged by the lack of failure, I determined it was time to move into more adult ways of making bread and try a recipe my gran would have loved.
I used a 4g packet of instant dry yeast, and remembered (after having to reschedule the first baking day) to make the dough the night before.
Your must-remember for this recipe is: make the dough the night before!
Since it took me less than 20 minutes to gather the ingredients, combine, then stick the dough in the fridge and clean up, the hardest part is remembering to actually do it. It really was as easy to make as demonstrated on TV and it yields a lovely crusty, ciabatta-style bread.
Combine ingredients into a bowl that allows the dough to double in size (I used a pot), dry ingredients first, then add the water. Leave overnight in the fridge. Take out and let stand at room temperature for an hour and stick into two pans. I tried making 6 rolls as Matt did on Masterchef, and one large loaf. Bake for an hour.
We had to let the large loaf cool and dry out for a while as it came out a little damp when I cut into it, but it was cooked through and perfect for curry or sopping up gravy.
Will I try these recipes again? Definitely! There’s still a packet of yeast left, and I’ve just gotten more plain yoghurt too!
Let me know how your own bakin’ bread adventures have gone in the comments below. Stay safe and be well!
I finally got around to channeling love letters. These are for your entertainment and enlightenment and are a part of my video reading in two parts. These are quite specific readings and letters, so take what resonates or be inspired to write your own to the one you love. Maybe, you’ll even hit send this time 😀
Below are the channeled love letters in their entirety. On the videos, you’ll get a further mini-reading on the situation between the two of you or the dynamic between you and your future partner.
Choose your crystal if you haven’t come here from the YouTube video, and scroll down to your letter. Read it and take some time to process them. I was both delighted and shocked to see so all eight have distinct energies and messages. Whatever you get from the letters and the readings, I hope it helps you see your person in a new light and helps your relationship grow stronger, or helps you understand what your person/future person will find most amazing about you.
That big question… Is this relationship/friendship ever going to happen or progress in the direction you’re hoping for? The cards have some insight. Timestamps 2010s: 01:382000s: 07:5590s: 14:40 Cards Used Romance AngelsTime Machine Cards by LeennaGilded Reverie LeNormand Book a private reading with me from $12.
Wow! July’s been a bit of a rocky start for most of us. I’ve had IT problems reminiscent of 2012! Fortunately, while the lost time is frustrating, I’ve come a long way in no longer freaking out about it all. Personal progress in our attitudes are what I hope you’re finding true for you, too!
In any case, I’m glad I did a bonus read with this Tarotscope. A Yes/No/Maybe with a 3-card pick and a When card for more information is at the end of each sign’s usual tarotscope. I’d love some feedback on how the Yes/No/Maybe and When sections and methods work for you. Remember, some of the When answers aren’t related to the calendar.
We’re going into a busy time in the middle of a Mercury Retrograde. So, some things delayed over the last retrograde will be completed or finalised now. Remember to rest, relax and drink lots of water!
Time stamps below. Please note that these are general readings for your entertainment and enlightenment, and may not resonate with everyone, or on every aspect. Check out my Patreon for exclusive readings as downloadable audio mp3s from only USD2! https://www.patreon.com/LeennaNaidoo
In this quick general, short-term oracle reading, we take a look at good news heading your way next. Simply choose one of the three decks and find your reading using the timestamps. Enjoy!
If this reading resonated with you and you’d like to say thank you, you can comment below or buy me a chai latte via Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/writerstarotleenna 😀 Thank you for your interest and support! And best wishes to you 🙂
Gilded Reverie LeNormand Gypsy Witch Oracle Situation No Win (WIP by Leenna)
Welcome to our Agonist Aunt’s desk. She’s here to help out all creatives who may be struggling with getting started, finding inspiration, dealing with blocks and whatnots in the whole creative process or getting a project complete. Agonist Aunt does not currently answer career— or love—themed letters.
This week, we have two channeled letters: one from a writer who’s also experiencing problems with a silent character, and one from a photographer putting their work ‘out there’.
To write to Agonist Aunt, fill out this form. Only three letters at most will be chosen each week. If no letters are received, Agonist Aunt will channel a letter. If your letter is not chosen, Agonist Aunt may have answered a very similar query in a previous letter. Find archived letters below the form.
Disclaimer: Agonist Aunt is only a sounding board. Her reply is for your entertainment and enlightenment only. Follow any suggestion at your own discretion and own it for yourself. Agonist Aunt accepts no liability and no credit in any event.
Dear Agonist Aunt, My character won’t talk to me. I’m stuck. How do I get their voice and the story going again? Thanx! Muted Author
Dear Muted Author Listen to their accent and needs. This can be a tricky one. Perhaps, you’re not writing in the character’s voice but your own or another character’s. Perhaps, the character’s accent isn’t congruent with their experiences or geographical location. Does your character use one word answers or give long and unnecessary soliloquy? Experiment with different accents and rhythms and word-ticks. If you’re still having difficulty, read my response tofleshing out a character here.
Another reason could be that the character ‘feels betrayed’ by the way you’re bending them to fit a plot. Ask yourself if you’re doing justice to your character within the plot. You might want to tweak your plot if this is so.
Yet another reason, one that tripped me up and almost threw me overboard once, is that a character really wants to express an emotion or other facet of themselves before the story continues. If you’re like me, you would have resisted this ‘character taking over the story’, but once I gave in and let them have their say, the story flowed much easier and the character ended up being much better portrayed. Just don’t let these characters run their mouths off too much! You still want to show their actions, too! Remember, you’re doing this to get the flow of the story again. When editing, you can cut too long soliloquy and information that’s too repetitive, as well as refine your character’s chosen words without losing their voice and the conveyed message.
I pulled a card for you and you’ve got: Risk. I interpret this as a confirmation that it’s part of your growth as an author to let your characters show more of themselves in an organic and more personal way, perhaps. It’s risky as you’re not going to be as in control of the story according to your plan, but it could reward you with a better, more authentic story and diverse rich personalities within one work.
Wishing you and your characters clear and spirited communication! Agonist Aunt
Dear Agonist Aunt, I’m planning on uploading some of my favourite photos to a stock photo site to earn some extra cash, but I’m having some doubts…Once it’s out there, it’s out there, right? And then what? Doubting TooMass
Dear Doubting TooMass Yes, when it’s out there, it’s out there but it will all come down to research. You’re right, Doubting Toomass, there’s a mass of photos out there, an awful lot of which are free-to-use without attribution. And once you allow a photo to appear under those and creative commons license, the possibility of it earning you anything are fractionally close to zero. That said, there are sites that allow for contributors to receive donations or other voluntary monetary thank-you’s. But this seldom generates income you can count on, if any, as these contributors are often few and far between.
There are other professional stock photo sites catering to businesses and advertising agencies that do allow you to earn better. They generally have higher specifications to fulfil and it can be a long process getting a decent portfolio approved by them. These sites also won’t accept subject matter they feel they’re over-stocked in, so it’s unlikely they’ll accept your holiday pics unless it’s from Antarctica or some other little photographed area. So, do your research. With these sites, it can take a long time to receive any earnings as they pay by thresholds and often (for their package deals to companies) you might only earn a few cents on each photo downloaded. I was with one site for over three years and never had a download, apparently.
So, while it’s possible to earn by having your photography available on stock photo sites, it’s a lot of work and takes a while. Many professional photographers have some photos available as free downloads on one site and more unique or higher resolution photos suitable for print on the more business-user focused sites or affiliate sites.
Whichever way you decide to go, sort through your collection carefully. It’s vital that you ensure you hold legal releases for models and other individuals or landmark/private property depicted in any form, and that you’re comfortable letting chosen photos be downloaded for free. Most photographers mask or edit out trademarked products.
I chose a card for you and it’s: Manipulation. Interesting. I’d say to be gentle with the manipulation of your contributions if you’re going towards the ‘real-world’ feel. On the other hand, if you’re great at image manipulation and compositing, you might also consider contributing more fantastical or obviously manipulated images for effect or illustration. It may take you a little longer to find sites to offer them to customers and users, but it could work very well for you. Alternatively, you could perhaps offer these photo-manipulations of your photos on various print-on-demand sites or other outlets that print them on merchandising.
Do your research and see what appeals to you the most and what you feel most comfortable offering users.