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martha rand

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    Previous writing has been as a Deputy Director of Communications and Special Projects (I love that title) for a NYS agency where I wrote complicated press release about white collar crimes, contributed to year end reports and other reports. I have had an article published years ago in NY Psychologist about group therapy and 2 articles about 10 years ago in a NY professional astrology newsletter. Also, I have had several, probably under 10 flash fictions in anthologies. I'm an artist with a few of my works that have been in shows. My 9-5 is as a school social worker, which I became after many years of being a psychotherapist specialiing in eating disorders. But, after Lyme disease, I needed a less demanding job. (People with eating disorders are at much higher risk of dying than middle school and high school students, so I needed less stress.) I use a lot of creative/expressive art therapies. Additionally, (did you think I could do more?) I've had a booth at the NY RenFaire in Tuxedo NY for 40+ years called Divination & Bodycraft where I seasonally do tarot, astrology, body energy work. I have way too much education for any normal person and alphabet soup after my name on my regular resume. I love homemade shortbread cookies; live in a 112 year old house in NJ; still have my best friend from high school; am married and have one adult daughter.

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  1. Excerpt from In The Cards: Eleni Giusto was at a standstill. She gazed out the front lawn at the town green in Bloomfield NJ. A little taller than average, Eleni was a young woman who was generally at ease in her body. Sometimes her mom or her Aunt, in the evening, after dinner dishes were put away, might talk about out of body experiences and astral travel. Eleni was interested from what she considered a professional perspective, but she felt and sensed with all her tactile, kinesthetic neurons and most of the time was very much within her own skin. She had dressed well today, to make a good impression on her client. It was the first time she’d be meeting this client and she understood how important repeat business was for her to make a go of becoming a professional. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to call herself, a psychic, spiritualist, fortuneteller, intuitive? But she was secure in feeling that she looked sophisticated in her black slacks, and dark, green, cotton knit sweater that set off her deep auburn hair so well. She listened patiently to Paolo croon his little clinging song. Her body swayed gently to the rhythm of his tune. He rocked and held onto her knee. “Mama’s gonna buy me a mockin’ bird, Mama’s gonna buy me a puppy dog, Mama’s gonna buy me a builder bob…” Paolo’s high-pitched sing-song voice was mesmerizing. Perhaps this little three and half year old was going to become a hypnotist, she thought. Obviously, he was already trying to en-trance her into buying him everything on his mind. “Paolo, Mommy’s going to sit down,” Eleni peeled him off her right knee. “Go play with your toys.” She turned him toward the corner of the living room where his castle blocks and large scale Legos sat in a cardboard box that had been covered in bright yellow contact paper and labeled in blue marker: BLOCKS. “Mommy, you play,” he entreated. He was back like glue to her knee. He smiled at her engagingly, his dark eyes looked up from under his long, upturned lashes and his straight dark hair. Just like a boy to have the luck to inherit those beautiful lashes, Eleni thought as she sat down on the edge of the couch. “No, honey, Mommy has to get ready for work.” Eleni hated to put him off for even a moment. She felt him tug at her heart, but work was good and today, especially, she wanted the income. “Mommy has a new client today. You be good and play.” Eleni’s voice was calming and soothing. It was just the kind of soft voice to which small children respond well. Her voice was a gift, another gift. Her mother had told her that they’d recognized her gift from the time she was four. Not much older than her own little boy, now. Of course, her dad, MacGregor, had always considered her a gift. He’d found her so precious at four, so interesting with her flirtatious little girl ways and the amazing things she’d say to him. She’d climb onto him while he relaxed after dinner in the living room. His recliner, always leaning at the optimal angle for him to watch TV and doze. Eleni would talk to him while Mariella cleaned up in the kitchen. She seemed to melt her small body into his chest and bury her head in the slight indentation under his collarbone near the curve of his shoulder. He’d rest his hand on her slender, delicate back. He could feel the edge of her wings, his little angel. Tired from his day, full from dinner, he’d melt, too. He would stroke the wild tangle of curly red hair. She had beautiful, thick, hair, and the slate blue eyes that gleamed with flecks of emerald when she was stubborn and wanted her way. She was his daughter, for sure. She had the Celtic, Scandinavian look of his family, almost none of the Mediterranean, and Eastern European of Mariella’s
  2. Algonkian First 7 assignment Story statement: A young woman, Eleni, grows into her intuitive and psychic powers . At the time of her Saturn return (age 28), she must choose between the narrow minded small time traditional life she is destined for to develop her abilities fully and change the world for the better, one client at a time. Antagonist force: Eleni has always been the “good girl.” She’s married into the ‘right’ family. Her future is plotted out by these parameters. Inside her destiny is ready to bust out, but how will she handle the responsibilities of her family life, her husband’s expectations; her father-in-law’s descent into dementia; her mother’s constant focus on Eleni’s potential in the ‘real’ world. Yet insider her ancestors are calling her to express her real self and the people she reads for are leading her down a different path. Breakout Title: Tarot Reading Destiny In the Cards Cartomancy for Suburban Girls Comparable: (This is the hardest for me. I haven’t read these but I’m putting these in just to fill in this blank for now) Malkah’s Notebook (although not really a graphic novel) Divorce, Divination and . . . Destiny? : A Paranormal Women's Fiction Novel (Midlife Mayhem Book 2) Conflict 6 act, 2 goal conflict Act 1 Backstory of the two families, Eleni and her husband Johnno Establish Eleni’s strong will to follow her heart Establish Johnno’s dependency issues Act 2 Eleni, after having 2 children thinks about going back to work and is drawn to tarot reading for clients Eleni’s father in law gets her a job through his connections in a local school Act 3 Eleni’s early miscarriage of 3rd child Johnno and others in the family respond/react. So do her clients, even though they don’t know what’s real about her situation and are overtly reacting to her readings for them. Johnno does not demonstrate responsibility in the business he is in with his father and doesn’t react with the kind of support Eleni wants regarding the miscarriage. Act 4 Eleni meets a client at a New Year’s Eve party where she is entertaining as the tarot reader. His invitation gives her thoughts of a new direction. Act 5 Eleni investigates this new direction with the support of her cousin and this client who becomes a lover. Act 6 The lover who has supported Eleni’s moving in a different direction in her life and recognizes her gifts regarding tarot reading, unexpectedly dies. This makes Eleni reconsider her new direction. However, she has burned her bridges with her husband and she regains the commitment to her true direction as a tarot reader/astrologer. Two conflicts First conflict is with her family Second conflict is within herself Eleni’s core wound: the desire to please her family and resist her own desires re her future Hook line: A young woman expected to play by the rules of her family can no longer deny her destiny. sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have. Eleni is the first in her generation to have a stable family. This is essentially a prized situation. She has followed all the rules. But inside she feels the call to a different destiny that goes beyond this small circle of extended family. She feels drawn by a voice inside her and by circumstances outside to become larger and share her gifts with the greater world. Defying the norms of the ‘good girl’ in order to fulfill her potential shakes up her world and enlightens her to the bigger picture of herself beyond her family. She feels guilt for exploring another world; betrayed by the path she has originally taken and the potential benefits it holds; excited and anxious about taking her place in the greater world. In her dreamworld and her tarot readings she begins to understand her inner voice as the voice of her ancestors leading her to a larger destiny. sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment Eleni’s husband feels betrayed by her leaving while he is in the midst of business crisis and caring for/taking over his father’s business due to his father’s early onset dementia. Eleni’s employer is upset that she will leave her position as a paraprofessional support for an autistic child because she is the only one who has been able to reach him Eleni’s mother sees her choice as going backward to a time when, from her perspective, their family made a living playing on the superstitions of others who are weaker and unable to manage the realities of life. Setting, scene by scene: Part One Note: The story opens with an invocation from an older woman, grandmotherly, a wise crone. Throughout the book this voice is a factor. This spirit comments and provides instruction on tarot readings, spreads, how to’s and even provides diagrams for readings. Invocation regarding the cards Friday before Labor Day Marquetto’s business Marquetto is Eleni’s father in law and Johnno’s father He has a construction business and office in a NJ suburb not far from NYC Marquetto’s office- Johnno has been told by the vo-tech intern that she is pregnant and they have to get married. Johnno tells his dad and then goes to the construction site’ The crone provides information and which archetypes the characters most resemble and explans The construction site. Johnno gets aggressive and oppositional defiant with the man he’s supposed to be working for/with and is his ‘boss’ for the day. Other workers including MacGregor, his dad’s construction colleague observe this. Lunch at a lakeside restaurant, Marquetto Construction has been involved with and Johnno pays the bill like the sob boss’s son that he is. We get a flashback of why he is the heir when their dad really wanted his older sister to continue to lead the business. Marquetto’s office and the end of the summer office party where summer interns leave (Johnno has been playing around with the female summer intern and his father has to manage the complications.) Johnno (age 21), at the end of the day, takes some plans over to MacGregor’s a construction colleague and meets MacGregor’s dgtr whom he will eventually marry. Poker game at Marquetto’s with political cronies in town He crone, wise woman, is a part of Eleni’s mother’s heritage. A spiritual voice that provides interpretations and whispers to the older women. The younger women have not even separated out the voice from their insides. Eleni (age 14) and her cousin Justine (age 17) start learning tarot/astrology with Justine’s mom, Gemma, with which Eleni’s mom, Mariella, is not completely on board. We get a flashback of Gemma and how she married and how she and her sisters Mariella and Ora grew up. Gemma does a reading for Eleni that foreshadows her future. Monday Labor Day Labor Day party in town. The reader sees, first hand the many political relationships in this NJ town, as well as the way Johnno and Eleni’s families interact. We get a flashback of the vo-tech and the relationship between the principal and county executive and how they are both pawns in Marquetto’s political power Part Two: Eleni does a reading for a client. We see her in her home that she shares with Johnno and the two children. As the reading finishes, and she believes she has done a good job, she has a miscarriage with what would have been her third child. The energy of the reading goes haywire and the client turns on her verbally expressing his anger’ There is a great deal of flashback into Eleni’s childhood and to the grandmother on her father’s side who was a tarot reader, too. Later that night when Johnno gets home and Eleni calls her mom. Her mom had many miscarriages before having Eleni. The next day, Eleni recovering with her Aunt Gemma, mom Mariella, and cousin Justine who is visiting. Dr’s appt and next steps re family The Jersey boardwalk where Eleni gets a reading Labor Day Monday - town party and Eleni gets a job paraprofessional for autistic boy who she connects with Eleni does a reading for a woman who is dealing with infertility During Thanksgiving, Justine comes home and she and Eleni go thrifting for a dress since Eleni got a gig to do readings at a fancy New Year’s Eve Party. We meet Aunt Ora who has a fortune telling business in Greenwich Village The New Year’s Eve gig where Eleni meets a man who opens up possibilities for her. Part 3 New Year’s Day and the multiple commitments she has. First stop at Marquetto’s party. Marquetto is showing signs of early dementia and this means changes in Johnno’s role in the business Eleni also goes to her mom’s house for their traditional New Year's Day with all the superstitions their side of the family carry on. Eleni talks to Justine about this feeling she had meeting the man last night and the issues with Johnno since the miscarriage and her work making her more independent/them growing apart. Justine invites her to San Francisco where she is living and where this man is also living (Here there a few scenes I haven’t worked out that are conflicts between Eleni and Johnno and the parents Eleni takes the children to San Francisco in the spring Possible endings: it could end here with Eleni at the airport taking the children to visit Justine; this man who invited her could die and leave a house to Eleni; she could go to SF and struggle to start her business in this environment and become a more modern version of her Aunt Ora. Or the ending happens with all of the above bullet point items taking place.
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