Zombie Time!

I like Zombies!

 

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Before you say, not another one, let me explain. I am not some bandwagon jumper. My love affair with the undead can trace its roots way back to the Eighties, when zombies were just a Halloween B-Movie marathon and that was your only shot at seeing a movie about them. And, you only got one movie, and what a movie it was! ‘Night of the Living Dead’ by none other than George A. Romero.

This was more than just some horror movie. It was a social commentary about the very nature of humanity on par with ‘Planet of the Apes’. With all the mindless gore and saturation in zombie movies today you might find that hard to believe, but like with any great idea, it gets run into the ground.

But, why is Romero’s zombies the pinnacle of horror in my book? Simple. It fulfilled a number or prerequisites of the genre. Firstly, it offered a stark commentary on the times. Coming out in the late Sixties, it struck a chord with the people living under the threat of the Red Scare, but more importantly, our country was in turmoil. Tension between the races were at one of their highest points. The hippie movement had the youth trusting no one over the age of thirty. People over the age of thirty trusted no one. Vietnam had our country torn apart with protests over the war. Literally, America was a powder keg just waiting to explode. Secondly, it scared the pants off you. Nuff said.

Then, comes this low budget movie that portrays all this under the allegory of the dead coming back to ‘life’. Romero not only addressed all these issues, but gave us a protagonist unlike we’d ever seen before. He cast an African American in the lead role, something unheard of at that time. With the world going to hell around them, our band of survivors should have been more than ready to work together, but mimicking the real world that just didn’t happen. Mirroring the racial tensions of the times, our hero had to combat not only the zombies threatening them, but one of the very people that should have been working with him to save their lives.

That was one issue down. Romero didn’t stop there. He went on to show us the tension between those of us who wanted to take an isolationist view of dealing with the world situation surrounding our country, and those who wanted to boldly face the problems assaulting not only our country but the world we lived in. except for Star Trek on television, I can’t think of any other pop cultural icon that did that in such a way that was accepted by nearly everyone who viewed it. True, I believe that some of the more hesitant viewers didn’t even realize it was happening. That is the amazing thing about really good fiction. It has a subliminal quality to it that touches us in ways we never know about.

Romero went on to address the question of humanity in two more zombie epics, ‘Day of the Dead’ and ‘Dawn of the Dead’. Each to me can be seen as stand alone stories, or taken all together as a continuation of ‘Night of the Living Dead’. However you view them, they are indictments of us as a race and offer a glimmer of hope, that even in death we can be redeemed.

Since Romero opened the door, the zombie virus has evolved or mutated, if you will. The Eighties saw it as simply fodder for cheap entertainment producing such movies as ‘Return of the Living Dead’, ‘Night of the Comet’ and ‘Night of the Creeps’, just to name a few. The Nineties saw a reemergence of zombies not in movies but in video games with ‘Resident Evil’. This opened the door not for social commentary but political commentary. What if zombies weren’t some supernatural sentence placed upon humanity by God, or a form of aliens sweeping the earth clean for their nefarious needs, but something the government that is supposed to serve and protect us cooked up in some secret laboratory? This offered a more sinister aspect to the subgenre.

More recently movies such as ’28 Days Later’ and ‘World War Z’ have built upon this premise to offer something more frightening for us to consider. Could a zombie apocalypse truly happen? I say yes, but I’m weird that way.

The television show ‘The Walking Dead’ has done more to bring zombies into the mainstream than anything else. I have been a fan of the comics for years before AMC saw fit to make my dreams come true. What has made ‘The Dead’ such a hit? It took what Romero gave us with ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and showed us that even in the face of unbelievable horror humanity is redeemable. It isn’t who has the most guns or biggest fortress who will win. It is those of us who retain our humanity and don’t give in to our baser instincts that will survive, because we will work together and remake this world into what it once was, or perhaps, something even better.

I couldn’t leave it at that without mentioning a couple movies that touch me on my comedic funny bone. ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Zombieland’ make fun of the genre by making fun of us normal humans trying to make it out of those movies alive. Someone once said — don’t ask me who, because I’m crap when it comes to remembering things like that — ‘Life is the one thing that you’ll never make it out of alive’.

So next time life is giving you grief, remember that it could be worse. Instead of glittering like a Cullen and being ultra cool, you could be a shambling walker with a crosshairs on your brain pan. That sort of puts things in perspective doesn’t it?

So as I sign off, let me assure you that if there is a zombie apocalypse I am ready for it, and will Shane you in a heartbeat if it comes to me or you.

Happy Reading and Happy Halloween,

Jmo

What does Love have to do with it?

Last week I talked a lot about why I write Romance, so I thought this week I’d do a continuation of sorts. The Romance genre is at its heart all about love. So, what is love? Or, my take on the subject to be perfectly honest. People talk about Christmas in July. Well, this is Jmo’s Valentines Day in October. I thought it might be a nice break from all the Halloween slapping us upside the head.

 

First off, Love is static. What do I mean by that? Simply put, love is never the same from minute to minute. It is infatuation, lust, desire, compassion, envy, tenderness, empathy, and yes, even hate. Hate? Yes, hate. To love something, or someone completely, you must on some level hate it or them also. I know that sounds confusing, but trust me. It’s all part of the chemical reactions firing off in our minds. You can’t love someone without being totally frustrated with them at some point in your relationship. That in no way says you don’t love them, but who hasn’t felt the need to smack their head upside a tree over something their loved one has done. I’ve been married fifteen years and know that’s true. Prince said it best, ‘I love u. I hate u’.

 

When a person completely owns your heart, an emotional gambit comes into play. Authors of the Romance genre usually only hit upon a few of those emotions. As the book opens we normally go with infatuation. Why shouldn’t we? It’s how all great romances start in the real world. We see a person. Some physical attraction draws us to them. We feel driven to know this person. Our minds create elaborate scenarios of how we’ll meet and spend the rest of our lives together. That’s step one.

 

If we are lucky that attraction leads to step two. We actually have an interaction with the object of our desire. Whether this moment lives up to those vivid imaginations, is decided then. More times than not, it doesn’t. This isn’t about gaining the mythical happily ever after, it’s about finding out if the person we’ve seen across a crowded room is a fit or a stepping stone on the journey of romance. Sometimes these moments are nothing more than fond memories we can look back on years later.

 

But! When they do, we’re on the road to step three. Love is a confusing emotion. It takes the precarious balance of mental and emotion to achieve true love. How many of us have been trapped in a relationship where emotions override common sense? Physical attraction does not always equate love. It’s during this step we truly discover the person we might have been fantasying about. In a book, it could be shoving two people into impossible situations or the drudgery of real life situations. Either way, this is where fantasy meets reality. Is this person our true love? What happens here is where that’s decided. It could be over a single date or over months of getting to know the real person behind our imagination.

 

As writers, these are the moments we generally write about in our books. We throw everything emotionally we can at our characters to bring true love about. We fill them with hope, frustrations, and yes, at times hate for the person our main character is interacting with.

 

There again, I’ve used the word hate again. Let me clarify something love is a selfish emotion at times. We want it so badly at times, it is all consuming. It dictates every moment of our lives. It demands we do things we might not normally do. Mainly, it asks us to go against our better judgment. It asks us to consider someone else more important than ourselves. For some of us, that is the hardest thing to do. Most of us are products of the ‘ME’ Generation, but we do it, because who wants to be alone.  So not wanting to be alone is another sign of how selfish love can be. But, true love is about giving. Giving all of yourself to another person.

 

As Romance writers, that is the love we aspire to create in our characters and in ourselves. All that real world stuff, we tend to gloss over, because who wants to read about something we live through every day of our lives? I do for one. I think a lot of readers do too.

 

As I write I try to bring that touch of reality into my books. Love is static as I said earlier. Portraying that ever-changing emotion is not easily done over the course of one book. True, the opening story of love can be, but not the totality of love. I guess that’s what drove me to write The Southern Werewolf Chronicles. I wanted to show that extension of happily ever after that rarely gets shown in a romance novel.

 

Let me end this with a simple thought or two. Love is the greatest emotion in the world. Why else would we fight our entire life to hold it in our arms? It means so many things. Love is the foundation of our very lives. Let me show you how from the second we’re born it drives us. A mother’s love is the first thing we know. A father’s undying devotion teaches us how strong love can be. First love teaches us how fleeting it can be. Teenage love teaches us how painful it can be. ‘True Love’ teaches us to care about someone more than we care about ourselves. The love of a parent for a child truly teaches us that someone is more important than ourselves. The love of a grandparent teaches us to love without fearing that we’ll screw up someone else’s life. See how it all comes around full circle.

 

I doubt there is a moment in our lives where love doesn’t touch us on some level. As a writer, I pray I show a fragment of that love in my work. More than that, I hope my experiences in the heady subject of love touches my readers on the same level as it has me. Because, love has taught me this if nothing else. If you love someone, it makes you a better person. And, isn’t that the greatest lesson in life.

 

So, go out there and tell someone you love them. I guarantee it will make two people smile. You for saying it and that someone for knowing you love them.

Why I Write Romance.

When I tell people I’m a published author, the first thing they ask is what do you write? I can see the look in their eyes. They’ve already imagined in their heads that I write either horror novels or spy books. Because, that’s what men write! Well, when the words Romance Novels fall from my lips, their eyes do this peculiar thing. It’s a cross between shock and abject fear. Don’t ask me why, but they do. Some will even chuckle a bit. Those reactions ultimately lead to the question I always expect.

 

Why?

 

The answer is simple. Like most authors, when starting out, I was told write what you know. Now, I do know a bit about a lot of geeky things. I was raised on Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. I could have easily slipped into one of those genres and probably been quite satisfied with the results. In fact, my first real attempt at writing was a fantasy.

 

I’ve said this many times  — I became writer because of my wife. Next weekend is her birthday. It marks our fifteenth birthday together. As such, she’s been on my mind more than usual. A few moments ago, it hit me why I write Romance. I write it because of her. Before getting married, I thought I understood love and all that goes with it. We’ve all had that rush of first love where the world ceases to exist if the person we love isn’t in the room. I blindly thought that was love. After some age and wisdom, I know that is the beginnings of love–infatuation. Our mind tells us that this person is the one and the heart blindly follows along because it doesn’t have anything else to do. I, personally, think it gets its rocks off seeing how big a fool we can make of ourselves. And, we normally do a pretty good job of entertaining it.

 

But, those of us who have spent any time studying the subject knows that love is more than a flutter and empty feeling in the gut. It’s a dead certainty that you would do anything to make another person happy. No, it’s more than that. You would do anything to make that person’s life as amazing as possible. You’d stand beside them through horrible life events. You’d hold them during the good stuff. You’d sacrifice whatever it took just to see them smile. You’d do all this because they’d do the same for you. That is what your heart knows before you do. There’s a good bit of snickering on its part too, because love is a funny thing.

 

After two dates, I knew all those things about my wife. I knew without a doubt, forty years down the road, I’d be glancing at her across the room and not see wrinkles etching her face or gray seeping through her hair. I’d see the woman that first stole my heart nearly twenty five years ago. Of course, it took me nearly eight years to work up the courage to voice that sentiment to her. Yeah, I’m a bit slow on the uptake.

 

That’s another thing about love. It has its own time table. I seriously doubt the me then was ready for love. My heart knew it. I doubt hers was either. I had to grow into the man it would take to appreciate the woman who stole my heart.

 

Romance novels portrays that snapshot in a condensed way. I understand the truth about love. Love is a job. Don’t laugh. It’s true. Love is a twenty-four, seven day a week job. You have to work at it, knowing that vacations are those little moments where the universe is in perfect alignment and you glimpse that happily ever after promised in the pages of a book.

 

The rest of the time? You’re trapped in the same world as everyone else. You deal with bills, mortgages, sick kids, teenage kids, grownup kids and everything else that goes along with being an adult. Only you’ve got an advantage. You, if you’re lucky, have that perfect person to stand beside you through the good and the bad. That my friends, is the heart of true love. You’re never alone.

 

If that’s true, why do so many picture-perfect marriages fail? Some times, people forget that life doesn’t offer you fairy tale endings. They expect Prince Charming to stay Prince Charming, or Cinderella as the case may be. What about those other times? I can’t say for sure. Maybe, that initial rush of infatuation fades and you realize hey I was never in love in the first place. Then, there’s my asshat theory. Some people are just asshats and don’t want to appreciate the person they’re with. Whatever the case, life isn’t easy, and love sure ain’t.

 

Which brings me back to why I write Romance. I do it because every day the reminder that true love exists sits across from me as I tap tap tap on this keyboard. Do we have the happily ever after? Some days, but we always have the reality that love exists between us. I’d rather have that than some fictional ideal.

 

So, I guess when you get right down to it, we do have that happily ever after. And, thanks to that, I feel more than qualified to write Romance. Though to be honest with you, I do leave the toilet seat up. Well, nobody’s perfect and I never claimed to be. But in this imperfect world, I’m hero enough for my wife.

 

That my friends is true romance.

 

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Waterfall Woman, a Character and a Muse Rolled into One!

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I steal people! I believe I’ve confessed to this before, but it bears repeating. So what do you do when you’re a people thief who turns their friends’ entire personality into fictional characters? You interview them! In a series I like to call Character Muses Where Are They Now?, I will tag some of my favorite inspirations and ask them probing — no, not that kind of probing — questions.

 

But, who to start with? Well, after some deep thought, I went with the first one to pop up in my IM window. Seriously, one of my most favorite characters is Waterfall Woman from my Love Bites series. To me she is the glue that holds my dysfunctional vampire/slayer family together. She’s my fangy Yoda if you will. It doesn’t hurt that she’s also one of my dearest friends, and adopted sister to boot. Hey! I didn’t even have to kidnap her to get her on here either. In my line of work, that’s always a bonus. So without further adieu, allow me to introduce you to the real Waterfall Woman, Susan White. Cue the applause sign thingie, Stud, and none of your backtalk or its back into my psyche for you.

 

Jmo: Susan welcome to the Giggles. Did you bring cookies?

 

Susan: Have I ever not brought cookies? Well sometimes pie, maybe cake… cheesecake? This time, I definitely brought cookies. Peanut butter fudge delights.

 

Jmo: Mmmmm… Cheesecake. Peanut butter fudge delights sound even better. Uh, we better get to the questions before the drool prevents me from asking any. Susan, as a writer yourself, how do you approach creating characters? Have any of your friends found their way into your stories? I’m just asking to justify my own actions, by the way. Feel free to answer while I get a glass of milk for those delights.

 

Susan: Like many writers I do tons of research and talk to many peop…. ok that’s BS, I just write down what the voices in my head tell me to. And well, I’m a procrastinator of the highest order. I have a badge and everything. So many of my stories, and the characters that are insisting I know them, are still trapped in my head. Maybe I should let them out… Yes, if I actually write my stories down, then my friends definitely find their way into my stories. They’re the ones I know best, and who know me better than anyone. You will definitely find yourself in my stories… if I ever write them down. Being a little off center helps too. Did you hear that? Never mind, definitely those voices again. Oops I think there is drool on your shirt.

 

Jmo: No, that’s peanut butter delight slobber. Sorry. So, what did you think when I came to you and said I really wanted to back this character on you? Since, you know me so well, were you skeered?

 

Susan: I was a teeny tiny bit skeered, as you know me well, warts and all. But as a brother of my heart, I trust you completely. You would never ever hurt me. I know this to the depths of my soul.

 

Jmo: When I went into Waterfall in Love Free Stake Hard, I didn’t envision her past that book, but she kind of took over and her role in the books grew. That’s the scary thing. How well do you think I captured the heart of Susan and grafted it onto Waterfall Woman? Are you the Yoda she is?

 

Susan: I’d like to think that you captured me very well but I’m not sure I’m as noble and vibrant as Waterfall Woman. I love her as a character and would even if she weren’t based on me. Honestly, my favorite character so far is Joan lol. I am very flattered and honored to have such a character as Waterfall Woman based on me though. Me? Sage and Wise? Hmmm I dunno really. I’m definitely getting older, that’s for sure lol. Like anybody I’ve had ups and downs in life but I try to be as kind, compassionate and caring as I can. Does that count?

 

Jmo: Every time. So, if you had to pick one aspect of Waterfall Woman to have, what would it be? You already have one Bird Brain, so you can’t pick him. Sorry.

 

Susan: lol Yes I do have the Bird Brain. He’s actually sitting here near me now checking his email and talking to Yoda, one of our two dogs.  Hmmm that’s a toughie. I think I’d like her ability to help people. I do what I can, in my own way, but I love that she helps people, well people, vamps etc. Does that make sense?

 

Jmo: Yes it does, because the biggest part I stole from you was your heart. Your love and caring for others is the basis for who Waterfall truly is.

 

Susan: Then I’m even more honored that she is based on me. I really truly believe that love is what makes the world go ’round. Unconditional love is extremely important to me. Do people know that Walking Bird is based on a real person btw? I’m asking because if anyone has wondered if he would really cook and eat the road kill… well yes, yes he would. And no I’m not deflecting at all. Ignore the wet eyes and sniffly nose please. That’s just my allergies acting up.

 

Jmo: Don’t sniffle. Here’s a napkin. Just blow around the peanut butter smudges. Heck, I stole your whole family when you get down to it. I would say more but that might give away too much. You can find out what I’m talking about when Bite Marks Two comes out. But, aside from the ultra manly Walking Bird, I used your son, Chris, for Stalking Shadow, the hero in Bite Marks One. Again, we don’t want to give away too much there either because some dastardly stuff happens in that book.

 

Is there any part of you, you wished I had included when creating your alter ego?

 

Susan: Actually, I can’t think of any. I love all of my family, including my chosen family, with my whole heart. You’ve got that covered. Sometimes when I read the books I’m in, I think you know me better than I do lol. I also laugh out loud so much that I almost wet my pants.

 

Jmo: Don’t go incontinent on me, sis. The knowing you better thing is because the floppy haired dude from Ancient Aliens sold me an alien brain reading device off his website. Before I go to finish off the rest of those delights, one last question. If you could be Waterfall Woman for one day, what would you do?

 

Susan: That one is easy. I’d help as many people as I could with as many issues as I could. I would also make sure they all knew they were loved and cared for. Kind of boring I know.

 

Jmo: Not boring at all. That’s because you really are Waterfall Woman, and thanks for stopping by, Susan. And, if any of you would like to learn more about Waterfall Woman, feel free to check out the Love Bites and Bite Marks series. I promise you a roller coaster ride of romance and fun. I’ll even include some handy dandy links so you don’t get lost on the way to the bookstore. Don’t feel bad. I always end up in the teen fiction section for some reason. I blame Percy Jackson for all the good it does me. He stopped returning my calls.

 

Any parting words for our readers, sis?

 

Susan: I love floppy haired dude by the way. Well, I guess I’d just like to say, let all those you love know you love them while you can and….. read the books! lol They really are awesome. All of them. Every J Morgan book has a special place in my heart as do you my brother from another mother. Muuuuah and a hug for all who needs one.

 

Jmo: Who am I to disagree with Waterfall Woman and hugs back? I like hugs a lot, by the way. Til, our next adventure into the Giggles, have a good day and happy reading! Now, where did I put those peanut butter delights?

 

 

Love Bites and Bite Marks

Available from

Desert Breeze Publishing

 

http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com/brands/J.-Morgan.html

And

on

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/J.-Morgan/e/B0032R8BFE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1381366196&sr=1-1

Serving Two Masters, or Two Muses Bullying Me All the Time

 

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Over the past weeks I’ve rediscovered an old passion. No not Oreos, I never lost that passion thank you very much. As I might have said before, I started life as an artist. When I began writing back in 2005, art slipped away from me. I did the occasional sketch or painting if someone pushed me into it — but steady artwork — just didn’t happen. I filed that under you can’t serve two masters. With a day job, writing and art just can’t happen. I am not the best when it comes to budgeting time if you really want the unvarnished truth.

 

When I write, I am totally under its sway. I write, or I do nothing. Mostly nothing – with giant rushes of writing over short periods. It’s how my muse works, so who am I to complain? But complain I do — frequently.

 

The same goes with painting. Call it OCD — my wife does — but I can’t stand an unfinished painting. It’s like looking at a puzzle with half of it still sitting in the box. It just frustrates me to no end.

 

Now, if I know I’m under a deadline would I even contemplate painting? Simple enough, when I found out I was going to be somebody’s grandpa, I wanted to give him something from the heart. After being in his room for the first time, I wanted him to see magic. Not to say my daughter hasn’t done a wonderful job of making his room homey. She has, but I wanted him to have something different. Which brings us back to magic. I wanted to give him the same sense of wonder I had as a kid, without the introverted paranoid delusions to go along with it of course. I wanted to give him something to say that anything is possible if you dream hard enough.

 

Growing up, I had that magic in my life. A fervent hope that the world could be different if only I thought it could be. I grew up believing in a planet where apes evolved and talked, a world where a man was worth six million dollars, superheroes all lived in New York and fought crime and well you know, Darth Vader existed and was the coolest man alive. I also believed in Greek Heroes, Sinbad and that if I wished hard enough I might become a musketeer. The point is, I want my grandson to experience that same sense of wonder.

 

So, I wrote a book. Hey, it’s what I do. At first I started doing sketches to go along with the book. Then it hit me. Why not just paint a couple of the things I saw so vividly in my head for his room? So I did. Or, I am doing. Like any true crazed mad scientist of the artist sort, I threw myself into painting. I’d wake up at 4am so I could squeeze in a couple hours before work. I even painted on my lunch break and after work. All I could see was that half finished puzzle mocking me from the entertainment center. Within a week, I was finished with painting one. Not too shabby for someone who hasn’t seriously painted in ten years.

 

Best of all it captured the dreams in my head. One of my earliest memories was of flying. Or, imagining I could fly. Arms spread wide, and flapping. A cape made out of an old towel draped around my neck. The rush of air smacking me in the face as I struggled to propel myself into the clouds. None of that actually happened, but I always thought maybe next time. Those are the dreams of youth. The dreams of the improbable that sing to us in our childhood. They’re also the dreams that make young boys and girls into writers someday.

 

Only thing is, they also put a crimp in actually writing, because my brain had rewritten itself to be a painter. Yep, you guessed it – my authorly muse decided to go on vacation because she had a fill-in occupying my time. Muses get huffy that way.

 

But, after returning to my first love, I find it hard to lose her again. I had forgotten how much I loved creating worlds of magic in pictures instead of words. So, I am resolved to find a balance between words and images. I still have a second painting to finish for my grandson’s room, and other paintings rolling around in my head. Will I get to them? I hope so. I enjoy returning to the dreams of my youth. I’d like to be a painter again.

 

Whether I’m good at it is another thing, but that really doesn’t matter, as long as I’m good enough for me. As with my writing, if I can walk away from it and say that I did my best and be satisfied that I have, I am content. Not content enough to not strive to be better, though.

 

Art, be it painting or writing, is all about expressing something about yourself. If my words paint a picture in a readers’ mind they can’t shake, I’ve succeeded. Same goes with my painting, if someone looks at a painting and just can’t forget it, I’ve more than succeeded. I’ve made a lasting impression. Now, that I realize I can do that with the two halves of my brain, I can say I feel complete in a way I haven’t in years.

 

That in no way admits to me being sane. With all the voices in my head, I can safely say that will never happen, but where’s the fun in being sane. Crazy is more than a state of mind, it’s the world I call home.

 

And, I invite you to step into that world on occasion. Just don’t plan to stay too long. I don’t have enough room for lingering house guests. My Smurf house is a one bedroom.

 

On that, I wish you an overactive imagination and the drive to make your dreams come true.

 

Jmo.

Paisley Kirkpatrick on a Musey Sea Voyage

A few days ago I talked to my good friend Paisley Kirkpatrick about doing a guest blog about her new release in The Paradise Pines series, Forever After. Little did I know what fun I’d unleash.  As authors we always seem to carry on conversations with our characters. Paisley not only talks to them, but apparently takes them on cruises with her! Before I give away too much, here’s Paisley and Marinda floating on the seas of adventure and love.

 

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Paradise Pines

Book Three

Forever After

By

Paisley Kirkpatrick

From

Desert Breeze Publishing

 

 

Marinda grabbed the copy of Forever After off her bedside table and left her stateroom. The day was warm and perfect for the temporary freedom. She grabbed a wide hat and left for a few hours of sun.

”Good afternoon,” a woman on deck said.

Marinda nodded and sat on a deck chair next to her. A shock rammed through to her toes. The woman was pictured on the back of her novel. ”Um, excuse me, but are you Paisley Kirkpatrick, the author who wrote Forever After?”

The woman stopped writing in her tablet and smiled. ”Yes, I am. Have we met?”

Marinda covered her mouth and giggled. ”We haven’t exactly met, but we do know each other quite well. I’m Marinda.”

”Marinda? I am sorry, but the only Marinda I know is a character in a book I wrote.”

”Yes, I know. I am that Marinda. Marinda Benjamin.”

”No, you’re nothing like the Marinda I wrote about.”

Marinda ripped off her hat, letting her long blond hair cascade down her back.

The author gasped. ”You are Marinda! How did you escape from the pages?”

”You should know. You are my creator and a great storyteller.”

Paisley reached out and ran her finger of Marinda’s her cheek. ”You’re part of my imagination, aren’t you?” She pulled back and stared. ”Pardon me, but I’ve never met one of my characters in person before.”

”It’s all right. I feel a bit strange about being free of the Kindle. I’m not sure exactly what an ebook is, but it does get crowded in there. I hope you don’t mind, but while I’m free I have a few questions.”

”Of course. I guess after all the royalty checks I’ve cashed, I owe you at least that much.”

”How do you know what to do with us? I mean, your ideas have to come from somewhere?”

Paisley snickered. ”Yes, well I’m not quite sure where the main plot ideas come from, but once an idea forms, I draw on my past experiences and put them in story form. I use you and the other characters to tell my stories.”

”I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but some of those ideas come from me. You must realize the voices you hear aren’t some frivolous words created by your so-called muse. I give you very good ideas, but you don’t always follow them.”

Paisley sat up. ”Now, wait just a minute…”

Marinda was on a roll now. She wiggled her finger back and forth in front of Paisley’s face. ”And, I’d like to know where Ethan came from. What a stuffed shirt. Do you realize it took over half the book for him to relax?”

She leaned closer to Paisley. ”Which one of us do you like the best? Huh? My sister Amalie or me?”

”Are you done?”

Marinda pulled back. ”I’m sorry. I usually give you the silent treatment when you ignore me, but now that we’re face to face, I guess I got carried away.”

”Yes, well, I apologize, too. I am used to rejection, but I never expected it from you, Marinda. You are the sweet sister, not the one with the mouth. I left that job to Amalie.”

”Why did she get all the good lines?”

Paisley chuckled. ”It’s nothing against you, Marinda. You can blame my great grandmother. She wasn’t nice to me when I was a child and I found my revenge in Night Angel.” She shook her head. ”You have to admit though, your story had more words than hers and you did find your forever-after kind of hero.”

”Yes, and here he comes looking for me.” Marinda stood. As she left to meet her man, she turned and left with a word of advice. ”The next time you have silence in your head, pick something besides The Phantom of the Opera to get us to talk. Butler is a hunk, but he’s not Bubba.”  

 

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