Let's Talk Tarot with K.R. Gastreich #PNR

I love tarot! 

I experienced my first professional reading at a Halloween party in college. 

That was a long time ago - more years than I care to count! I don’t remember the question I asked or the cards in that spread. But within weeks of my first tarot experience, I  acquired my own Rider-Waite-Smith deck and guide book.

Anyone else start out with the RWS? 

In the years that followed, I dabbled in readings for myself and my friends. I also collected more decks. Every time I hit a significant turning point in life, I chose a new deck to explore my path with. 

Some of those decks I found at the moment. Others had been on my shelf for years before I made a personal connection with them. 

Every variation of the tarot provides a new window on the universal themes laid out in the RWS deck over a century ago. As a storyteller and a mystic, I never tire of seeing another creator’s take on the tarot. I’ve even included variations on the tarot in my own stories - especially Eolyn and Soul Masters: The Hunting Grounds.

Right now, my favorite decks include the Pagan Tarot by Gina M. Pace and the Crow Tarot by M.J. Cullinane.

What are your favorite decks? 

In the early days, I tried to see the future with the tarot. But, as you may have learned, the tarot’s not very good at predicting outcomes. With time, I realized the tarot is more effective when approached as a tool for meditation. 

Rather than asking about the future, I reflect on tarot images and meanings to better understand the past and ground myself in the present. I believe this approach has strengthened my awareness of and trust in my own intuitive wisdom. I also believe it’s cultivated patience and helped me make better choices. 

My journey with the tarot recently culminated in the opportunity to design my own deck! 

Last year, I partnered with DGS Games to create a tarot-style deck based on another world entirely - the fictional World of Faelon.

What would the tarot look like, if created by another culture in another world at another time?

By deriving an oracle from the history and cosmology of the fantasy faction known as the Ankala, I believe we’ve found our answer – a beautiful, haunting deck that evokes timeless wisdom for any universe. 

Through the Ankala Oracle, you will follow the rise of a mystical people from humble origins to the shining dominance of the Ruby Empire. Experience the Empire’s crushing defeat and relive the terrors that followed. Most of all, discover your own path of renewal through the Ankala’s resurrection as a thriving, nomadic people.

With illustrations by the incomparable artist Nio, this magical, otherworldly deck will inform any divinatory practice. Fans of the tarot will see many parallels while expanding their own mystical understanding through unique symbols and meanings. 

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this project!

If you’d like to know more about the Ankala Oracle, please follow me on Instagram or Facebook, or sign up for my newsletter. We will be launching the deck in 2024.

Soul Masters: The Hunting Grounds
Soul Masters
Book One
K.R. Gastreich

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: February 7, 2024
ISBN: 978-1509253302
Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 90k
Cover Artist: Kristian Norris

Tagline: He wants to claim her soul. But can she capture his heart?

Book Description:

On a hike through the forest, Mayela stumbles into a terrifying world where immortals hunt souls. To survive she secures protection from a Soul Master. When he demands payment, Mayela fights back. But how can she fight the desire consuming her heart?

Every soul Nathan claims expands the power of his realm. In Mayela, he finds a rare gift that could guarantee his place among the Soul Masters. All he must do is secure her allegiance without losing his heart. And Nathan has no heart to lose. Or does he?  

With eternity at stake, Mayela and Nathan ignite a transcendent passion that breaks all the rules. Among the Soul Masters, a malevolent force awakens. The final hunt is on…

Amazon      BN     Bookshop


Then everything froze. Joni, the customers, the cars outside. All movement simply stopped. The chime on the front door sounded. My throat went dry. Somehow, I knew what was happening. I knew who had arrived, though I didn’t understand how or why.
Twisting around, I peered over the rim of the booth. Standing in the doorway was the man from my hallucinations, a creature of the dark plains. Tall and slim, broad-shouldered, dark in aspect. That same man had beheaded a snake in my kitchen. Not my kitchen, I reminded myself. The illusion of my kitchen, part of the same hallucination of an impossible world. The Hunting Grounds, he’d called it. Where we go to hunt souls.

My mind spun with the impossibility of what I was seeing. He couldn’t be real.  Yet here he was, in Joni’s shop. Except, he looked different. His hair was peppered gray instead of black. His skin seemed a shade darker. Or maybe lighter? It was like wrapping my head around a mirage, trying to remember what he looked like in my nightmares. But the simple force of his presence, the quiet luminescence of his spirit, was unmistakable. That was him.
Without so much as a glance in my direction, the man stepped into the shop and started toward the counter. Everything stirred at once. Several people looked his way. Joni let go a long, low whistle.

“Well, I’ll be!” she exclaimed. "We haven’t had anyone that drop-dead gorgeous walk in here since…Well, ever!”

She kept staring, mouth agape, as he ordered coffee. Then her face lit up, and she jumped into action, wiping down the table next to me.

“I’ve got an idea,” she said. “I think you should go for him.”

“What?” I croaked.

“He’s totally your style.”

“I don’t date men in suits.”

“What are you talking about?” She laughed. “Look at him! It’s fate. I can feel it.”

“Joni –”

“Sir!” She called. “Sir, we’ve got an empty table right over here. Next to the windows.”

Holy crap! I sank deeper into my seat. “I’m serious, Joni! Send him somewhere else.”

“Straighten up, beautiful.” She patted me on the shoulder. “Give it a shot. What’ve you got to lose?”

Then she was gone. I cast about frantically for an escape, but there was no back exit from the booth. Unless I wanted to crash through the window. Could I do that? Crash through the window?

Yeah, I could do that. But I’d have to leave my insects behind, and –
And there he was, taking the table next to me. His chair scraped against the floor. His clothes rustled as he settled in. Minutes passed while my heart pounded inside my chest. I kept my face turned, pretended to stare out the window, wondered whether it would hurt to feel the glass shatter against my skin.

Idle talk filled the coffee shop. Customers came and went, orders were taken, steam forced through frothing milk.

Still the man said nothing.

I snuck a glance in his direction. Damn, he was handsome. Heart stoppingly so. Desire tugged at my gut, a strangely familiar sense of attraction, as if we’d known each other before this moment. As if I’d been bound to him in a time before memory.

About the Author:

K.R. Gastreich is a recipient of the OZMA Award for fantasy fiction and the Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency, as well as a winner of the Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest. Her fantasy novels feature high-stakes romance, gripping battles, and darkly lyrical prose. In addition to Soul Masters and The Silver Web trilogy, she has published short stories in Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, and World Jumping.

A proud native of the American Midwest, K.R. Gastreich lived for many years in Texas and then in Latin America before returning to the Kansas City Metro where she grew up. When not writing she enjoys hiking, camping, studying dance, and spending time with her family.

To learn about new releases and other events, visit K.R. Gastreich’s website at krgastreich.com, or follow her on Instagram @EolynChronicles.

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