Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Month: August 2019

The Bottanical Deck

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Tarot Deck Reviews
Bottanical Deck Box
Bottanical Deck Box

WHERE PURCHASED: I backed this particular deck on Kickstarter a few months ago, and received it this past Friday, on the 23rd of August.

CONTRIBUTER(S): Jessica Bott

PUBLISHED BY: Jessica Bott

AVAILABILITY: It will shortly become available on Jessica Bott’s site. She also has an Instagram.

ABOUT THE DECK: This deck is a plant-themed tarot and oracle deck consisting of 22 Major Arcana cards represented by Trees; 4 suits of Minor Arcana cards represented by, variously, Flowers (Cups), Crops (Pentacles), Spices (Wands), and Cacti (Swords); 60 Oracle Cards divided into five suits represented by, variously, Poisons, Herbs, Medicines, Mushrooms, and Carnivorous; and 2 single cards, The Unknown – Seedpod, and the Ace of Tea. And, yes, Bottanical was spelled that way deliberately by the deck’s creator, using her last name of Bott.

GUIDEBOOK: This deck comes with a guidebook particular to the deck. The cards are listed by their names or nicknames (also on their cards), along with their scientific names, keywords, and factoids about the plants depicted.

CARDSTOCK: It feels thick enough that I continually check the cards to make sure two aren’t sticking together. A little stiff, but flexible enough for me to use my preferred shuffling method without too much difficulty. Picking these cards up from a flat surface is a little easier than with other decks I have, and I don’t feel like I’m abusing the edges if I have to employ my fingernails to do so.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS DECK: I find the deck absolutely beautiful; even organisms which I wouldn’t normally find attractive have been depicted in such a way that I can see the beauty they possess. The colors are vibrant and varied—this is not a monochrome or black & white deck by any means (see images below). The cards have a matte finish which isn’t coarse at all, and the finish actually aids me in my preferred method of shuffling.

Sharp Contrast Bottanical Deck Cards
Three Random Cards from the Bottanical Deck

WHAT I DISLIKED ABOUT THIS DECK: The design of the labels at the bottoms of the cards means they don’t always lend themselves to easy reading. My first experience with this deck, in going through the guide book to match the cards to their listings therein, was complicated by it being night time and my living room, where I viewed the cards, being lit by a fluorescent light. This poor lighting and the poor contrast (see images below), made some of the plants’ names and other designations somewhat difficult to read. Personally, I would not use this deck in a dimly-lit room or a place where the ambient light isn’t bright enough to make all the colors in the cards pop.

Poor Contrast Bottanical Deck Cards
Three Cards from the Bottanical Deck

CLOSING REMARKS: While I feel the white background of the cards’ labels could be made more opaque for easier reading, I love this deck. The Bottanical Deck is unique and colorful, and I’m sure will be fun to read with, whether or not I use the extra oracle cards that came with it.

Fits and Starts Whee!

Well, the title says it all. My writing hasn’t been steady. I either have a god flow of ideas, or none at all. This wouldn’t be a problem if I could wrap my head around my plot cards like I’ve sometimes been able to do in the past, but even those aren’t helping.

I’m not working on my speculative fiction either. My brain switched gears hardcore toward the end of July, and I’m not working on gay romances. My usual habit with these has been to run with an idea and write on the story until it fizzles out because I don’t have a solid ending. Yes, the goal is to get the couples matched up by the ends of their stories, but I need to know the details as each story ends a different way. I’ve also been trying to insert some discipline into my gay romance writing and have been doing plot cards before starting to write on the projects. Not yet perfect, but I actually think that’s unattainable at this point, so I’m telling myself to be pleased with the successes I’ve had.

However, I will say that when the ideas flow, I write pretty much every day. I got I think about two weeks (5 days each) of writing in when I did write. One story I’m rewriting from an older version with updates to my style and skill, including moving the conflict to the spots where it needs to be instead of deflating that aspect of the story within the first few chapters. I like what I’ve gotten so far on that rewrite, and I’ll probably make the original version available as a freebie somehow if I ever publish the new version.

Other than that, I’ve not been doing much with my writing. This focus is so complete I can barely even make myself read the off-the-shelf D&D campaign I’ve got to prep for—2 weeks left for that and I just cannot get into the campaign book ’cause I’m so focused on gay romances. LOL

Unplanned Hiatus – Again

I didn’t finish out my July Camp Nano goal. This was mostly because I realized I was writing a longer story for my fantasy project than I originally thought. I’m not sure if it’s just going to be a doorstopper, or if it’s part of a series, but I need to figure that out and determine what the end of the book is before I can continue on it.

Since then, I’ve not been working on any of my writing. Apparently, if I don’t have any wordcount goals to meet, the rest of my writing stuff goes totally off the rails. I’m not sure how to correct this, but I’m trying. Unfortunately, not knowing what to do doesn’t help, so I’m basically floundering about.

Recently, I’ve been opening my Obryn Scrivener file, though. This is the one with my character Dagjhir’s story. I’ve written some notes about character goals and have turned my thoughts toward figuring out book 2 of this trilogy. With luck I’ll actually make progress on it.

So that’s where my Fool’s Errand stands at this time.

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