Sight Unseen

Confessions of a Tea leaf Reader

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Psychics and Ghosts

In the Sight Unseen books, Marlene deals with a number of ghosts. They kind of become a specialty of hers. Why are psychics plagued with ghosts?

Imagine a world where no one can hear you or speak with you. Imagine how it feels to be in pain, frightened, abandoned and alone. What would you do to get anyone’s  attention? How desperate might you feel? Then imagine you can find someone finally who can hear you, see you, and speak to you.

You don’t have to be psychic to experience ghosts. But most psychics I know do. Perhaps it’s because the walls between the dead and the living are just thinner for psychics. I think it’s because they can see or hear ghosts and the ghosts need to be seen and heard.

For myself, I’ve always experienced ghosts. But that’s not a bad thing. My experience of ghosts is that they’re just people for one reason or another who haven’t been able to move on. Usually it’s because of an injustice or because they’ve felt unworthy, or because they’ve been afraid. Or because they’ve felt massively unloved. Or  because they really don’t know they’re dead. The problems of the dead look very much like the problems of the living. I think it’s very hard to walk towards the good of the next world without resolving the problems we’ve had here. Mostly someone who understands and doesn’t judge can be a huge help to someone stuck between here and there.

Marlene’s job with ghosts is to listen, to respond with kindness, and to help them move on. She does that in many ways, mostly when the ghosts have become unsettling to the people living in their space.

There are also ghosts connected with something evil and that takes a whole different approach. My response to that is through my Christian faith, but I understand there are other ways of looking at it. And since Marlene is my character, so, eventually is hers.

Marlene also deals with demons because they are part of the psychic world. In her case, she makes a bad bargain and has to find her way out of that. It’s resolved over the three Sight Unseen books, but it takes some direct choices on her part. In my experience most psychics have to choose what they believe and have to stand strong in it. If you stand for nothing, then there’s nothing you can do.

These stories are all fiction, but they reflect the ghosts I’ve dealt with over the years. If it doesn’t match your experience or theology, don’t be offended. Remember it’s just a story.

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What the Parrot Said is available on Amazon!

How do you deal with a psychic parrot? And how do you explain it to your clientele? Methuselah the parrot escapes and tells everyone the secrets no one is supposed to know.

Unfortunately. he hears what people think and says it exactly in their voice. Can Marlene get him under control before the tea room closes in a shambles? A short story from the Sight Unseen Collection: Tales from the Tea Room.

From Beth Stewart-Ozark on Stories

What a lovely story! It kept my attention from the first sentence to the ending. Of course, Methuselah would have…

Would you like to do me a huge favor?
1. By my story ( it’s only .99.)
2 Let us know what you think of it by leaving a review.

What the Parrot Said is currently available on Amazon,com. Get your Kindle copy today!

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Psychic Vs. Reader

the inverted cup

You may notice that a number of Marlene’s stories don’t start with a reading. Her job is to read people’s future and past, to help them make peace with themselves.

But past her job, she is a psychic. Which means she has an awareness that not everyone has. And she ends up seeing the source or situations of problems that other people are vaguely aware of but not able to see clearly or completely. A psychic is on a wider band wave. They see things before they happen or while other are unaware.

What does that do? What can Marlene do with that information?

Sometimes it leads her to a place where she can investigate really what is happening and affect the spiritual issues that control these situations. Marlene perceives ghosts, which means she can help them resolve their pain, their fear, their anger that leaves them trapped on this plain and lends them to interfering in the lives of the living.

She also can see spiritual entities that aren’t ghosts.  The Psychic plain is full of entities that were never human. Some good. Some bad. But often very able to effect things happening within the everyday world.

So there are times people come to Marlene for the future and she reads for them. But just as often they come to her aware something is wrong and let her find the roots of it.

So being a reader is not the end of what Marlene does. She’s a psychic. And as she says in the books, she could ignore other people’s problems if she didn’t feel them like someone else’s toothache.

Is it wise? Is her intervention the best thing for her to do? That is a huge question through all these stories. When do really help someone we’re helping? When is that an unwanted or unwise intrusion?

What would you see if you could see the world behind the world? What would you do? Share Marlene’s journey as people come to her for help and as she stares into the psychic heart of what has broken through their reality to show them something wrong.


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Are We Comfy?



One of my readers told me that I was writing comfy ghost stories. I was a bit taken aback because I was unfamiliar with the idea of a comfy mystery. But in thinking it through, I believe them to be right.

One of the things I discovered at the tea room is that people are simply people. They are motivated by the tides of fear and love. Everything else is a costume they dress up in. Love simply wants to be loved in return. Fear needs to be addressed. But once we’ve looked it in the eye, it usually is never as big, dark or scary as we thought.

We’re told as story writers that we should be writing about conflict. I think it hits women differently than it hits men. I have no interest in writing about war, politics or economics. And though I’ve never been a girly girl, I believe women’s conflicts to be very different. The core of it is how you view winning. There are two basic views.

One is that you win and the other person loses. All on the line. I would argue that a male view but I’ve seen women employ it. It would be the standard definition, except that it has some big problems. Someone gets to win everything they want. The backlash of that is that you have a loser, who has been humiliated and beaten. You may have one a battle but you have a war forever because that person will come back after you again and again until one of you dies or quits.

All of this is predicated on the idea that there is a hero, a villain, and a victim. We don’t just do this in story telling. We practice it in medicine, alcoholic families, politics, and the court system.

The other model is that you have a win-win solution. In this case, we negotiate so that gets a part of what they want. Maybe not all of it. But enough that no one feels humiliated and has to fight more about it. Each person is their own hero, head held high.

What has that to do with comfy stories? How do you solve your conflicts? In the telling, we’re willing to use the skills to look at each side and make something real and good for the characters within a conclusion. Marlene solves her client’s problems with wit, guile, good will, and the belief that you don’t win by bashing the bolrog.  I believe in it in my life, I believe in it as a story teller.

You won’t find the harsh edges that come with win-win conflict resolution, in my stories very much. Instead, I hope you find heros all, looking for the way to do best by each other.

In honor of this, I’m putting up a new story today on the blog. Read how Marlene fights to end a feud between a priest and the woman he loved and lost in Margaret and the Priest.




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The Journey: History, Fact and Fiction

storyteller-colored-cupYears ago, my good friend Lauren Strach began to insist that I write my memoirs. I was teaching quilting on the road at the time. When you’re teaching, there are somethings you just can’t say. Too scary. Too separating. Too much for someone who’s come into your classroom to learn free motion. It’s not kind. You are there to teach, not tell.

We all have a private life. A place where we can’t tell all the secrets. I believe that is a good thing in simple society. Facebook has made us want to know way too much about each other’s lunch, health, political opinions, sorrows, and secrets. We are all hanging out in the open.

But I have had some amazing journeys in my life, and my experiences in the tea room were part of that.I don’t believe me unique as a psychic. Instead, I see it as a part of the human genome that we all share. My personal belief is that it opens up in fear and pain for our protection, and should naturally shut down otherwise, like your eye does, for rest and for cleansing. I hand it to God and I leave it at that.

But I learned so much at the tea room. Not about being psychic particularly, but about living in a world where people were not like me. And the stories, sanitized for our protection, are a whole lot of fun.

I have a history in this. Within the confines of history, I have played loosely with fact because it is fiction.

So I am going to, in these blogs, share this odd journey, I took thirty years ago. I intend to talk a bit about what the stories mean to me, as I post them. I am not inviting your criticism, religious advice or help. Nor am I offering any of that to any of you. My belief in a personal God. I believe we are all met by God on that road, and no one else can lead us but Him. If you worry for my soul, say a prayer and I will pray for you as well. If you decide to breach this arrangement I will be praying for you anyway. But I am willing to follow God where He takes me, and I trust you are willing to trust that.

I don’t intend to tell anyone’s secrets. I will never read again because I consider it massively unhelpful. There are two great gifts given by not knowing the future: the cushion of shock against pain, and the joy of surprise. I won’t rob anyone of either of those.

If you are willing to take bits of this journey with me, I’ll be posting it here, and you’ll find it in my book, Sight Unseen.  Or check out the stories posted  free for you to read online.The first book is Tea Room Tales, and we hope to have that out on Amazon soon.

Sight Unseen is fiction. Never meant to be anything else. I wrote stories that are clearly fantasy in most regards. For those of you looking for a manual as a reader, or for tips and clues, you’ll need something else. Don’t ask me.


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Reading Tea Cups

reader-cup-explainationMarlene’s gift as a psychic ranges into several kinds of reader abilities. But primarily, she’s a tea leaf reader.
Tea leaves are one of the many focuses used by psychics to help them see the future. There are many excellent books about tea leaf reading, so I will not offer a guide on tea leaf reading. Nor do I personally find prediction helpful for myself or for others. Lately I’m much happier living with the assistance of shock and awe, those emotional buffers that come to us in response to not knowing what will happen next.
But since so many of these stories focus on Marlene’s predictions, it seemed useful to show you, the reader, what she might be seeing. So each story comes with its own tea cup.
This is the cup for the story, Reader. When Rita reads for Marlene, Rita gives her a glimpse of what her life as a reader will be like. The symbols Rita sees are an owl, a mermaid, an R and an E, a mouse,an eye, and a parrot. All of these images are true to what happens later. The letters are names that have those letters in them. When there’s a number it means within one day, one hour, one week, one year. That sounds very unhelpful unless you view it as a marking rather than a measure of time.
But reading is completely idiosyncratic. Every reader sees things differently. A bird in your cup might mean something quite different in someone else’s. Here are some cups from Marlene’s Tales of the Tea Room.


If you’d like to have a taste of the Tea Room Tales before they’re ready for print, I have two stories up on the site. What the Parrot said, and A Woman’s Place are up on site for you to read for free right now. Leave me a note and let me know what you think.

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Gnat Shit Out of Pepper: Xenophobia vs. I and Thou


Once upon a time, there were the 1970s. Remember that. We were bright and shiny and full of hope and ignorance.

I don’t know how you spent the seventies. I spent it doing something dangerous and stupid. I went out to Boston and had an adventure. The kind of adventure you treasure, but you know that many of your choices were dangerous and stupid. But I treasure the lessons I learned because they were golden.

You don’t talk much about that kind of adventure. Why? Well for one thing, it’s hard to open up and show people just how dumb you were. But that’s just ego. I don’t mind a pratt fall. I don’t mind being wrong either. If I can learn from it or someone else can, that’s part of the process. If you want to make fun of me, we have free speech in this country currently. That may go away under the present situation. I don’t mind that. Mostly I worry about people’s fear.

Most folk have a deep fear of something out of their experience. That’s xenophobia. It’s the fear of anything different from you. Xenophobia brought you Macarthism, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Witch Burning, and the reconstructionist South after the Civil War.

You might say all these things are a long time ago. I would love to say the 70’s eradicated our fear. The last election would prove otherwise.

It’s forty years now, and I need to talk about where I was and what I saw. I read tea leaves in a tea room. And I got to see a spectrum of people that opened my eyes.

I am Christian because of that experience. And I will never read tea leaves again, because it was a wrong path for me. But I learned several things that changed my life in ways nothing else could have.

  • I learned that people have very different gifts and you should never try to judge another’s ability.
  • I learned that people have very different pathways to God, and that is between them and God. I learned I had no way to really impact that short of a good example.
  • I learned to pray for people, particularly for people I can’t control my bad feelings about. They need God to bless them with every good thing to help them on their way.
  • I learned that I could be wrong and that was fine. All I had to do was (gasp) change my mind and do something different.
  • I learned that people that frightened me deeply were frightened too, sometime of the same things, but basically frightened.
  • I’ve learned that anger is fear turned inside out and that the anger feels better for most people because it feels less helpless.
  • I’ve learned that the actions of anger are strictly the response of unreasoned and ignorant fear. Nothing more than that.

I met people who practiced all kinds of different spirituality at the tea room. What I saw taught me the Glory of Christ. But it also showed me the grace of difference. The people who I thought had to be evil, weren’t necessarily. Just different. And their differences didn’t harm or even trouble me after time. Instead sometimes there were things within their practice that challenged and questioned how well I was doing.

I have no words how grateful I am for that experience.

Within the quilt world, where I’ve lived, there’s a community of some of the finest people I’ve ever known. They taught me a lot about acceptance, love, grace, and decency. I own them everything for letting me teach them and for supporting my art. But this has been something I’ve been reluctant to share because they can be insular. And they are subject to the same fears we all are. For that reason, Sight Unseen won’t be on the Thread Magic site. Thread Magic is about fiber art. This is about a series of stories that really don’t connect except that I wrote them both.

I would have said that we had eradicated much of the fear, until this election when we managed to elect a man whose cabinet choices include known and political bigots, racists, and misogynists who act in the political sphere. These aren’t just people who talk about their hate. They act it out politically. They make it law. And the hate I feel (sorry, I do) is shamefully about my fear. I am praying very hard for Republicans right now.

For two years now, I’ve been writing a book about my days in the tea room. My first thought was to hide it under a pen name so I would offend no one. I thought to publish it anonymously.

I learned something about the function of anonymity as well in my quilting days. I received three hate letters in my thirty years of teaching. The thing I found most interesting about an anonymous letter, is no matter how angry the person is, they’ve left you no way to fix what they’re angry about. It’s not about conflict resolution, or telling someone how you feel. Because they don’t know it’s you. It’s straight up attempt to make someone feel bad. And it’s cowardly. Like most cowardly acts, it doesn’t work over well.

So I am putting these stories out in my name. The series is almost ready for publication, but I have several stories out on my web site for you to sample at Sight Unseen. What the Parrot Said, is the story of a Psychic Parrot. A Woman’s Place is about rape culture. I’m exploring what happens when we see others as different and when we understand we are largely the same.

None of these stories are factual. Nor are there real people in them. They are fantasy, but the basis of them is an exploration of I and Thou. I may think you are separate from me. But we breathe the same air, live in the same world, and touch each other in ways that belie separation. You are not thou. I am not either to you. We are of the same stuff.

I didn’t plan these books around this. I’ve written them and suddenly found them in sync with this climate of fear and hate. I’m shocked and appalled that I’ve been writing away on something that was just about to be timely. But then again, I was a reader in a tea room. And if I misused my gifts then, I try to put them in the service of my God now.

With that said, should you feel a need to speculate about whether I am right in my religion, or going to hell or anything of that nature, please pray for me and leave it at that. God and I will sort it out. If you write me hate mail, I will be praying for you. Or you could just ask me for prayers. That’s much nicer.


If you would like to explore this with me, my stories and information about the upcoming series, Sight Unseen is available at my web site.