Sight Unseen

Confessions of a Tea leaf Reader

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Stories that Answer Stories: Series that Write Themselves

what's in a name

What’s in a Name?

I’m still blown away by the process of writing. Mostly I’m shocked by how much one story asks and is answered by other stories. How stories demand to be written to answer questions left from stories that came before. How writing has a life of its own.

I wrote Black Paw, expecting it to be a stand-alone story. And yet there was a grey kitten at the end of it who clearly had a story of his own waiting as it were in the wings. What’s in a Name is Echo’s story, a psychic cat who refuses some mundane name made up by people, clearly for the purpose of insulting and humiliating cats.



Did this happen? Kind of. My cat Lewis ran away last summer and did not reappear until right before Thanksgiving. Does he talk to me? Not so much except to insist I’m not generous enough with whatever I’m eating.

But he left us with the burning question. Where had he been for six months? I let Echo answer it for him.

One story pops out of your life, waves at you from inside of another story and there you are, writing the second story because the first one insisted. And you thought you might be in control.

This is an early draft of this story, but I couldn’t help but share it. You’ll find What’s in a Name on the story page, And more stories from Sight Unseen on Amazon.


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Dream a Little Dream: Are Dreams Doorways to the Future?

black pawOne of my favourite characters in the Sight Unseen series is a little old lady named Bridey. Bridey is the old woman who works as a housekeeper for the priest. She’s funny, nosy, in charge, kind and completely gullible. She eats up ever psychic trend that comes by as gospel truth.

She’s a lot like all of us.

She was written in memory of three Irish sisters I knew as a child. The Radigans were three ladies well into their seventies, who baked the best cookies, held their heads to one side like little birds, and believed anything you told them. They were dear and very silly. There was one night in the middle of a storm where they went to get the holy water. The holy water spilt on the dog so they passed the dog around all night.

That kind of silly. Although I loved them, you couldn’t miss the silly part of it.

Black Paw is about Bridey exploring her dreams as psychic phenomena. Of course, she takes it too far and when they try to get her help, the doctor takes it too far in a whole other direction.

Actually, I believe deeply in dreams and have benefitted from therapy. I believe in them both.  I think dreams bring our attention to our worries, concerns and hopes. Sometimes they show me something coming, but mostly they are a gentle shampoo and spa day for the brain. But there are times when it just get’s silly, and I think that needs to be noted. And, at least a little bit, celebrated. That need to make sense at the expense of making sense is a part of our creativity and therefore part of our joy

In Black Paw, Bridey discovers just how much of her dreams are true, in spite of herself. You can read Black Paw up on the site now, free for your perusal. Or you’ll find it in Tales of the Tearoom, on sale on Get it today!

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Writing in Series: The Making of Stories into a Series

somthing borrowed something blue It would be nice if books wrote themselves. I know people who plan out a book and write it. Unfortunately, I have unruly characters who have opinions. They tell me who they are and how their stories should go. 

I didn’t plan Sight Unseen as a book. It started as a story about how I left the tea room. But then characters started to form in my head and tell me what they wanted to do. The stories are based on my experience and roughly based on people I knew. But the characters began to demand their own lives, irrelevant to my experience or history.

Tea Room Tales is about Marlene’s training as a psychic. The Inverted Cup is about acting out the life of a responsible psychic in a community. The World in Reflection, the third book, is about where being psychic helps or fails the people around you. I found after writing some stories, other stories needed to be told to make it hang together. Books do write themselves in a way. Other stories are echoes of life that give us a closer look into the heart of the matter.


In Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Marlene struggles to help her client with her wedding plans, in spite of her mother and mother-in-law’s interference. Both moms may be dead but they want the wedding their way. Can Marlene straighten them out?

NellI wrote this story about my own wedding when my engagement ring mysteriously disappeared before the wedding. Instead, I wore my mother’s engagement ring. We found mine after the wedding somewhere in the clutter on my bedroom floor.

Was my mother involved? I hope not. Either way, the wedding went off swimmingly. I didn’t notice my mom in the back, but it makes for a good story.

Look for Something Borrowed Something Blue in the Inverted Cup, coming soon. Read it today on the website for free!

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The Magic of Brushes: The Rubber Stamp of Photos


magic of brushes 2

A collection of cup brushes I made


Do you remember rubber stamps? I loved rubber stamps so much. They were on beautiful blocks of wood and ranged from silly to exquisite images that you could layer together to fuse into your art.

Like most art supplies, they fell short of my imagination. I wanted them to work with fabric. I never could make that happen. And they had their frustrating side. They were just one direction and just one size. But they were beautiful.

I learned photoshop late in life. It’s easy to crop your pictures or correct the colouration. It was several years before I learned to have fun with it. 

I found some great old illustrations from Alice and Wonderland and from Grandville I wanted to play with. And I discovered brushes.

The stars are brushes that came with Photoshop. The vines I found at Brusheasy, a site for free brushes. But the scissors I made into a brush with a simple Dover image of embroidery stork scissors. Notice they change in size and angle in my collages It’s easy to do that with brushes

You can go on line and buy brushes or find brushes for free. There are a million kinds. But I was shocked to find how easy they were to make. 

Brushes can be stroked on in lines. But they can also be used like a rubber stamp, with one wonderful difference. 

magic of brushes

They can be manipulated, turned at angles, sized, flipped and made to fit exactly what you need. The cups I’ve used in Sight Unseen are from a collection of copyright free cup pictures I made into brushes.

How do you make a brush? You take a black and white image, and choose define brush preset from the edit menu. That easy.



After I made my cup brush and placed it into the image, I layered other images in the cup.  For the coloured cups, I added a smoke brush to simulate steam.

I’ve never had more fun than with Photoshop. You’ll find my teacups on their own page . They’re also in the print version of  Sight Unseen, Tea Room Tales,  Available at Amazon.

Read more about the artwork of Tea Room Tales on this earlier blog post, The Art Behind the Cups.


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Moving Out, Moving On and Moving Up: New Stories in, Some Stories Out

Untitled-1I know how it is. It’s hard to choose what books to buy. You never know. Is this book going to be your next best friend, your treasure, your go-to feel better book? Or unreadable. Or twist in some way in the end that makes you wish you never read it?

There’s no way of telling. You’ve just got to read and see.

Which is why I love it when someone lets me see some of their writing first. It’s one of the things you give up in the world of digital books. There are previews. But how do you know if you’re really going to like a book? The proof is in the pudding.

sight-unseen-tea-room-taleswysWhich is why I post my stories for you to read. I really want you to buy my book. But I also want you to buy a book you’re going to love. So I’ve posted my stories, to give you a taste. If you buy my book, I want you to know what you’re buying, and love it.




Now the hard thing is that I can’t put up all the stories. So some go up and some go down. The latest story up is Woof.

It’s about Billie, a greyhound caught in the path of an angry elemental. An elemental is a psychic force tied not to people but to nature elements. If you think a ghost is scary, an elemental is terrified. A ghost might steal your car keys and hide them. An elemental can flood the basements of the whole neighbourhood. Marlene has to soothe an elemental to save Billie and a town from the rage the elemental projects everywhere.

But if I post stories up, some stories get taken down. Of course, they’re all available in the Series, Sight Unseen. The first book is Tales of the Tea

The Princess in the Tower


princess in the tower (1)

The Princess in the Towe

An older woman is stalked by a ghost on the Commons. Marlene needs to find who it is and why, and why this old lady was shut in by her family when she was a young girl. Find Grave Matters in Sight Unseen: Tales of the Tea Room






Grave MattersHave you ever wondered what is really in a graveyard? Marlene and her friend Alyx investigate an old Boston cemetery. What they find is not what they expect.  Find Grave Matters in Sight Unseen: Tales of the Tea Room

These stories will be going down in a few days to make space for new ones.

I hope you enjoy my stories and let people know about them. Thanks!



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Psychic phenomena and Dogs: What do we share?

Cultural reason says that all dogs and humans make amazing bonds that expand both you and your dog.

Like most bits of cultural wisdom, I’ve found that both true and false. It depends on the dog.

Are dogs psychic?



We’ve all had the experience of the dog who barks before you see the intruder, the dog who barks before the knock on the door, the dog who barks at plain nothing in the corner. Are they psychic phenomena? Darned if I know. It may be just really good hearing on the dogs part. And an interest in things I just can’t see.

I love greys. I’ve always loved who they were and how they act. They’re brave, silly, lovely, quiet, graceful dogs like none others.

Greyhounds are pack animals. They live their lives on the farm and on the track in a pack of other hounds, and they think with a group intelligence and a group mind.  Which does not mean they don’t have individual thoughts, emotions or loyalties. When a grey offers you any of those, it’s a compliment of deep grace and respect. Here’s a story about a greyhound brave enough to run past his pack into the woods and the things that live there

No two of them are the same. I’ve had a dog who was able to put my slippers away ( if you considered in her bed away). I had a dog who raised two kittens. I’ve had a dog who would get loose and pick up women in bars. I had another dog who just went to bars. I had a dog who would dance if you sang to her. Two of my dogs could see evil and stood between me and whatever they thought was harmful. They were deeply psychic.  Some were not. Were they bonded to me? Yes, but not in any way you could predict.

I’m not sure why some dogs are psychic and some are not. My suspicion is that it has to do with whether you’ve been deeply hurt before. If you have, you’re more sensitive as a person. I believe it’s true for dogs as well.

Woof is a story about a grey who can see what is in the wood, and Marlene trying to calm an elemental the grey is following. It’s up on the site where you can read it now. It’s in Sight Unseen: Tea Room Tales, available now on Amazon.

We’re adopting another greyhound, to make a friend for Lotus, and to give us a pack again. You can read about it on my Portfolio Site.

If you like having stories up available, would you please let us know? I’m doing it as an experiment by posting them. I will continue to put stories up, if I know you’re enjoying them.

Stories being retired soon:

Princess in the Tower, Grave Matters, and Cosmic Lift Off



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Safe Journeys, There and Back Again

liberatino of the looWith all the holidays and the desire to be with loved ones, we often find ourselves on the road. It sounds sweet. In practice, it’s a gruelling exercise in crowd control. Sweaty tired bodies trudge through overcrowded waiting rooms, anticipating the open doors to trains and buses, cars and planes.

I always have had a dread of dropping dead while travelling. The Liberation of the Loo is a story about what happens when you don’t quite make it home. Read The Liberation of the Loo free, part of Book Two, Sight Unseen, The Inverted Cup, coming soon.