Why Vancouver, 4 – The I Ching

“The less one thinks about the theory of the I Ching, the more soundly one sleeps.” C.G. Jung

The I Ching, or in English, the Book of Changes, is a sacred Chinese text used to gain understanding of life. It is a divination manual that dates back to the Western Zhou period (1000-750BC). Over the centuries it has been used to assist in moral decision making as informed by Taoism and Confucianism.

confucius“Everything flows on and on like this river, without pause day, and night.” Confusius

It’s all about change. Life is not an epic journey of events. It’s more like a constantly changing river.

“He who has perceived the meaining of change fixes his attention no longer on transitory individual things but on the immutable eternal law at work in all change.”

The philosophy is fascinating, but I won’t go into it here, as I can’t do it justice in a blog post.

I’m writing about the I Ching, because when I think about Vancouver I think about the I Ching. The city is multi-ethnic and has a strong Asian influence that gives it depth and texture. Many years ago I took a course on the I Ching at Simon Fraser University. Too me, it’s all soo Vancouver.

Click on the cover for the buy link

And… The I Ching pops up in Black Cat Blues and its sequel Ain’t Misbehavin’.

Going back to Jung’s quote, experiencing the I Ching is unsettling. From the throwing of sticks or the toss of coins, a hexagram is drawn and from that a poetic statement about your life. I find my readings not only accurate, but illuminating. It’s not flashy like Tarot cards or tea leaves, which might tell you a tall dark stranger will darken your doorway, it’s deeply spiritual and instructive.

So to demonstrate it, I asked for two of my sisters (of suspense) to let me do a reading for them. Six volunteered. I love my sisters. Four of their readings are below.

I asked them to think of a question about their lives and then toss three coins. I made the following interpretations from the result, using the I Ching. Have a look.

Veronica Forand

Hexagram:  #49 Ko / Revolution (Molting)

i_ching_49_ko (1)hex49

tuiTui (The Joyous) Lake (still water), over

liLi (The Clinging) Fire



“Revolution. On your own day/ You are believed. / Supreme success, / Furthering through perseverance, / Remorse disappears.”

My notes:

  • The top and bottom trigrams are in conflict – water and fire
  • Each is trying to destroy the other
  • A revolution or a molting becomes necessary
  • “Changes ought to be undertaken only when there is nothing else to be done… One must become firm in ones’ mind…”
  • Cautions: “When change is necessary, there are two mistakes to be avoided. One lies in excessive haste and ruthlessness, which brings disaster. The other lies in excessive hesitation and conservatism, which are also dangerous.”

My interpretation:

You are in a place in your life where change has become necessary. It cannot be avoided and should be approached with care and forethought. You may not get exactly what you want, but you may be “satisfied with the attainable.” If you go too far it could lead to unrest and misfortune.

Veronica’s Response:

“Damn- you’re good- it spoke right to my question- I’d say a ten in shedding light on my question. “

Veronica Forand’s Bio

veronicaVeronica Forand is an attorney and an award-winning writer of romantic suspense. She’s lived in Boston, London, Paris, Geneva, and Washington, DC and currently resides near Philadelphia. An avid traveler, she loves to roam across continents with her husband and kids in pursuit of skiing, scuba diving, and finding the perfect piece of chocolate.

Veronica’s website

Melissa Weir

Hexagram: #46 She’ng (Pushing Upwards)

46 she'ng





k'unKun, The Creative (Earth)


sunover Sun,The Gentle (Wood, wind)



“Pushing Upward has supreme success./ One must see the great man. Fear not./ Departure towards the south/ Brings good fortune.”

My notes:

  • Wood grows upward with effort
  • success through the effort of the will
  • a vertical ascent, a rise from obscurity to power and influence
  • There are warnings – as one advances it is important not to be intoxicated by success
  • calm, steady progress leads to the goal
  • “ he who pushes upward blindly deludes himself. He knows only advance, not retreat. But this means exhaustion.”
  • Must be conscientious and consistent in intent – free of blind impulse

My interpretation

  • Buy the champagne, but be mindful of how you manage yourself with success

Melissa’s response:

“Lol. How did you know it was work related?  I would say 10.  Now I need to know when.”

Melissa Weir’s Bio

melissaMelissa Keir has always wanted to be an author when she wasn’t hoping for a career as a race car driver.  Her love of books was instilled by her mother and grandparents who were avid readers. She’d often sneak books away from them so that she could fantasize about those strong alpha males and plucky heroines. 

Melissa doesn’t believe in down time.  She’s always keeping busy.  Melissa is a wife and mother, an elementary school teacher, a movie reviewer for a local radio station, owner of a publishing company as well as an author. Her home blends two families and is a lot like the Brady Bunch, without Alice- a large grocery bill, tons of dirty dishes and a mound of laundry. She loves to write stories that feature happy endings and is often seen plotting her next story.

Melissa’s website


Sarah Andre

Hexagram: #17 Sui (Following)







tuiTui (The Joyous Still Water)


i_ching_thunder_chen(Arousing Thunder)




Following has supreme success. Perseverance furthers. No blame.

My Notes:

  •  the trigrams indicate gladness above and arousing below, which suggests movement


  • you are experiencing a time of movement and change
  • it is a time to let go of old prejudices, old thoughts, maybe even old behaviors and let the change happen – persevere

Sarah’s response: 

That sounded interesting. It was worded in a difficult way to understand, but from my interpretation of your interpretation, there is movement toward my goal (which was my question- would I succeed) and that I should persevere and let go of the guilt- which, given it was a writing question, I needed to hear.
I’d score your reading an 8.
I have no problem having my question on your blog- it may help your readers interpret your answers in a more meaningful way. Since my editor is making me heavily revise the novel I had thought I’d publish in Dec/Jan, my question was: Will this book be publishable by April?
Naturally I’m way behind in my writing goals to make this happen, both because of holidays and my own procrastination, and I am eaten up with guilt about it. Your answer gives me hope and does make me want to persevere, when it’d be just as easy to throw up my hands and say “I’ll deal with getting back to writing in the New Year.” Thanks Jo-Ann!
My note: The IChing will tell you about the forces of change working around you at any given time and give you suggestions of how best to move forward towards your goal. It doesn’t give yes, or no answers. It is larger than that. But I’m glad it was helpful and I appreciate you letting me do a reading.

Sarah Andre’s Bio

Sarah AndreIf daydreaming were an Olympic sport, Sarah Andre would be buried under gold medals! Her debut romantic suspense, Locked, Loaded and Lying debuted in June and has garnered high praise. She lives in serene Southwest FL with her husband and two naughty Pomeranian boys, Bo and Taz. When she’s not writing, Sarah is probably sneaking chocolate, exercising or reading novels. When all procrastination attempts fail, Sarah can be found working on her latest romantic suspenseSecrets That Kill, due out in January 2016.

Sarah’s Website

Sam Bradley

# 1 Ch’ien, The Creative (Heaven)

ch'ienchien character



Trigrams Ch’ien on top of Ch’ien


The creative works sublime success,/ Furthering through perseverance.

My Notes:

  • The Creative is strong- made up of six strong unbroken lines
  • Indicates motion
  • Strong creative action of the divine an opening of one’s higher nature
  • “When an individual draws this oracle, it means success will come to him from the primal depths of the universe and that everything depends upon his seeking his happiness and that of others in one way only, that is, by perseverance in what is right.”
  • hexagram consistently strong, and since it is without weakness, its essence is power or energy. Hence the heaven image.
  • When all the lines are solid it means the whole hexagram is in motion

My Interpretation:

It is a time of motion and change and high energy (spiritual as well as physical). Sublime success can be achieved through perseverance for what is right.

Sam’s response:

Interesting this focuses so much on the creative. The question had to do with whether my creative efforts would give me the income I need to live comfortably in Colorado. Looks pretty positive!

Sam Bradley’s Bio

sam-memorialSam Bradley, “Sister of Medical Romance Suspense” (writing as McKenna Sinclair) has spent 30+ years as a paramedic working the streets and the ER; responding to disasters, and training firefighters. She is a photographer, videographer and podcaster. Sam is a multi-published freelance writer for EMS related journals, online publications and textbooks. Her real-life experiences were incorporated into a soon-to-be-released trilogy called, “Partners, Odyssey of the Phoenix”. She loves dogs and banana cream pie.

Waving HI to Gina. Thanks for the follow. You rock!

Reference: The I Ching, Richard Wilhelm translation, third edition, Princeton University Press, New York 1950.

The tri-gram chart came from Roberta Lee’s website. 

Y Vancouver 1 (Intro), Y Vancouver 2 (Zombies), Y Vancouver 3 (It’s all About the Light)


shutterstock_104723360 (1)Do you have any stories to tell about the I Ching? Love to hear them.

Extraordinary Writing – Locked, Loaded and Lying #Book Review

Cover-SarahAndre-LockedAndLoaded Final cover
Click to buy.

If you like your mysteries layered you’ll love Sarah Andre’s debut, Romantic Suspense novel, Locked Loaded and Lying.

It has a tightly developed mystery plot, interesting characters with very human flaws, and a sexy love story. When I read it, I felt like I was standing at my dream smorgasbord and getting a good helping of everything I like in a story: Romance, Suspense and Mystery.

The feisty heroine Jordan Sinclair is my favorite character. A survivor of a difficult childhood (which I won’t give away) she has strong convictions about what is right and wrong. She wants to protect her mother, but not at the cost of hurting others. Her inner-conflict is compelling and I rooted for her all the way.

The bad-boy, hunky hero, professional ski champion Lock Roane is accused of murdering his heiress girlfriend Tiffany van der Kellen. That would be a life-changing experience for anyone, but what tears him apart is that he can’t remember whether he did it or not. As he waits for the trial to begin, he does some serious soul searching. And then he meets Jordan.

Together they piece together what happened the night Tiffany died. Along the way they fall in love. The pages on my Kindle zapped by.

My two favorite lines:

“I knew if I didn’t kill him that morning, he’d kill me.”

“My life is like tip-toeing along a greased log in a river of snapping crocodiles.”

This author is an exceptional writer! I fell into the story and couldn’t let it go.  I can’t wait to read her next book. I highly recommend this book to people who enjoy Romantic-Suspense mysteries.

I’ll be posting my review with 5 stars on Amazon (where there are already 68 awesome reviews) and Goodreads.

Starting a Second Blog or How to go Crazy in Less than a Week


infinite monkey theorem wiki

infinite monkey theorem wikiNeglecting this blog has left me with an uncomfortable feeling,

…like a woman who’s cheats on her man,

… or like a mother who substitutes cake for carrots in her child’s lunch.

I’ve been bad and I feel I owe you, my regular audience who I love dearly, an explanation.

How it Started

Less than a week ago I read an article in the RWR (ie., the Romance Writers of America magazine) about the importance of cross-promotion in the crumbling and evolving publishing world. None of the ideas were new to me, but for some reason they struck my noggin harder than usual and I decided to start a group blog. My plan was simple. I’d gather a few people who write suspense and we’d create a destination blog, a newsletter, and … The list went on.

I mentioned it to four friends and boom, we gathered fifteen like-minded writers in a couple of days.

The group is amazing. I’ve never worked with such energetic, creative and talented people. Everyone  jumped in and volunteered to do whatever they could to move our project further. In less than a week we have developed an exceptional, collective blog, Sisters of Suspense , SoS for short, and are on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. A couple posts have been put up, an enormous giveaway is being collected and a newsletter is being developed. Like I said: amazing.

Who are my Sisters? sisters twitter


Pat Amsden, Sister of Romance and Mystery

Sarah Andre, Sister of Riveting Suspense

Vicki Batman, Sister of Sassy Writing

Jacqui Biggar, Sister of Romantic Suspense with Attitude

Sam Bradley, Sister of medical Romantic Suspense

Jo-Ann Carson, Sister of Smart ‘n Sexy Suspense

Veronica Forand, Sister of Heart Stopping Suspense

Joanne Guidoccio, Sister of Reinvention

Jeannie Hall, Sister of Dark, Angsty Suspense

Kathryn Jane, Sister

Melissa Keir, Sister of Small Town Suspense

Marian Lanouette, Sister

Jacqui Nelson, Sister of Wild West Suspense

S.A. Taylor, Sister

Marsha R West, Sister of Second Chances


What’s the Crazy Part?

I hardly slept.

I love the SoS blog format. It’s got really cool features. Working on it is like driving a Cadillac instead of a rusty old scooter, but some of those shiny additions aren’t easy to set up and it has taken me timeIMG_20140222_201928 to figure them out. But it’s up and running. And she’s beautiful.

The same week I was working through theses cyber-kinks, I  struggled with formatting issues for the print version of my novella Lovin’ Danger which launches in two weeks, made final tweaks on the ebook version and tried to live a normal life.

Yeah, it wasn’t normal.

But ooooh, it was fun. The only thing more exciting than starting a new venture that you know, you just know in your bones is the-right-thing-at-the-right-time, is doing it with a group of friends. It’s been a rush.

What About This Blog?

I’m back. I’ll be blogging here as usual in my random but regular way. My focus will continue to be about me and my life as a writer, publisher and entrepreneur. Occasionally I will reblog posts from the other blog.