A Flight of Fancy or two

I’ve never been much of a writer who has a lot of focus. Focus and me have an unspoken agreement to disagree on when I should and shouldn’t write. Mainly, we disagree about most of things going on in my life. Now, I’ve got a lot of focus when it comes to my addictive personality disorder. That sounds a whole lot better than I got a bad case of OCD. Which I probably do, but I’m too skeered to go to an actual doctor for a diagnosis. Instead, I trust my wife’s opinion on the subject. She’s usually always right. Well, she is if you believe her. I kind of have to. She had it written into the wedding vows.

 

Writing is all about flights of fancy. Imagination demands fuel to ignite the things lurking in our heads. As a writer spends more time in their craft, imagination isn’t the problem. We’re still basically kids hiding under the covers, wondering what lurks in the darkness beyond our beds. But, as we get on in years, we discover the darkness only hides the same stuff that the light shines on. The road outside our doors only leads to Wal-Mart. Well, it leads to jobs too, but Wal-Mart pretty much covers the reason we have jobs. You can feel free to insert your own chain department store of choice. It’s all the same. Imagination gives way to reality all too often.

 

With the sole exception of forced reading at school, reading is all about escape. I know I’ve probably been harping on this subject lately in these musings, but life demands we escape from it from time to time. Whether it’s in a good book, or just a vacation, our minds need to explore new things, new settings. Sure, a trip to the beach or a snow covered slope would be nice. More than nice, it’d be freaking awesome.

 

Unfortunately as those of us of the grown-up persuasion knows all too well, vacations are hard things to come by, and heaven knows sometimes we need a mini vacation in the middle of the work week. Since transporter technology hasn’t been perfected yet, we have a few limited options. Books, Television, Video Games, or a movie, just to name a few. Breaking out the Star Wars action figures is always an option, too, but the wife gives me funny looks when I do that.

 

Honestly, I myself like to dabble in all of the above, but reading has always been my first love. That might have something to do with coming from the generation who lived with only three channels on the TV, if you don’t count PBS, which only came in if you held the antenna a certain way and had plenty of aluminum foil on hand. We also didn’t have DVD players, so if you wanted to see a movie you had to go to the theater to watch one. That left a lot of room for a kid’s imagination to run wild.

 

This is where I fast forward to the here and now. Remember when I started rambling, the subject of flights of fancy were mentioned? Good, was afraid I’d lost you there for a minute. In this day and age, our imaginations are bombarded with imagery, input, and who knows what else to the point that our minds become numb to what amazing things they can well imagine. Why should we force our minds to create anything? There’s enough people doing it for us. We can sit back and let them do all the work. Admit it, seventy-five percent of the time we are more than happy to let them. Now, we get to the point where we discover what separates readers from writers.

 

Writers can’t sit back and read without thinking of the worlds living inside our heads. We can’t read without wanting to share those worlds with others. I can’t really answer why we all have our own worlds eating a hole through our skulls. I can’t even say why out of all the people who’ve been born throughout the history of mankind, authors never seem to duplicate the worlds of other authors.

 

Maybe, I can. Humanity is made up of people with different origins, different stories that make up who they are. Who we are. And, it is those experiences that come full circle and become the stories we as authors eventually put to paper. I like to think every one of us has a story inside us dying to come out. We’re all authors in our own right. Some of us make up stories, and others live their stories every day of their lives. A lucky few get to write the stories they live.

 

So far, I’m the make up story kind of guy, but I also have a story I’m living. Whether it’s book worthy or not, I’m not sure. But, it is the story nearly every human lives. It is one of dreams of youth. The uncertainty of a coming-of-age young man. It is one of pain and loss. It is the story of adventure and stupidity. But, most of all it full of love. The love of my God. The love and warmth of my family in who I always find home. It is the love of my wife and soul mate. The love of my daughter, and the overwhelming love I feel for my first grandchild, who can make me smile in my darkest hours just by me thinking about him.

 

With all that love, it’s no wonder I write Romance Novels. Because what is the story of mankind, but the search for love to fill the emptiness of our lives and make us complete. So I guess I am living my stories. Before I leave you to live some more of it, I’d like to assure you in spite of my books, I’m not a vampire, witch, or even a werewolf, though I am quite hairy. Who knows? Maybe I am a werewolf. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? A Romance writing werewolf with a Southern accent. Didn’t I already write that?

 

Oh well, wishing you all a great week, and more importantly wishing you a life worthy of being a best selling story.

 

Summer Time Blues

I’m going to be honest with you. I hate Summer. It’s way too hot and muggy. The whole project involves yard work, mowing, and sweating. I dislike all three, especially the last one. Now, when I was a kid I loved Summer. Mainly because, I didn’t have to go to school and could read all night. Yeah, even way back then it was all about books for me. As I sit here hiding from humidity next to a fan and air conditioning blowing on me, I can be truthful and say I miss those days.

 

Now, instead of wishing I could stay up all night reading books, I wish I could stay up writing them. I say that as someone with a deadline staring him habitually in the rearview mirror. Like a lot of people my age, I wish I could channel half the energy I had back then. If I could, maybe I could work a full time job and still manage to write into the wee hours of the morning. Okay, I’d like to work some reading in there somewhere. Hey, writers are readers first and foremost.

 

This may sound crazy, but I find it hard to write during the summer months. Maybe it’s the sunshine and a need to be outside. Though, if you remember from above, I hate heat and sweating. Seriously, I just seemed better able to create during the fall and winter. I don’t know why, but I just do. I also get a creative charge out of storms too. Yeah, I’m kinda weird.

 

But, weird defines authors. We have our times when the juices just seem to flow. Usually, mine hits just before it’s time to wrap things up and go to bed. Again, I think this goes back to when I was younger. I could stay up all night painting and do some of my best work. Growing up and becoming a productive member of society did away with all that. Up by dawn, go to work, come home, piddle around house, eat, shower and if I’m lucky, knock out a paragraph or three before bed. You guessed it. Rinse and repeat daily. All this monotony makes Jack a dull boy. Extra credit if you can get the literary reference there.

 

It’s true, though. The longer I write, the more it seems that instead of easier, the process has become harder. It isn’t that I am unable to form words. It’s just harder for me to get enthused by the project. Each word is a struggle. I see the scenes in my head, but squeezing them onto a screen is a chore worthy of Hercules.

 

To write, everything needs balance. Right now, my balance just isn’t what it used to be. I constantly find myself looking for my ‘Happy Place’. Wherever that is. Whatever that is. I seriously can’t remember either one of those things. And, summer isn’t helping. I won’t go into the episodes of LIFE that keeps cropping up and getting in the way. We all have them, so you get where I’m coming from. I don’t know if there’s an easy fix for this, or not.

 

More than likely, it’s just one of those things I have to work through myself. I know I’m not the only author who fights this particular demon. We all have those moments of frustration and self doubt. It’s not that I doubt I can write. I’ve done it before so know the ability resides within me. It’s more of a question of do I want to write. Since I’m so freaking messed up over not doing it, I must. Otherwise I wouldn’t be agonizing over it in a public setting like this.

 

Do I see myself just giving up? Not any time soon. But, I do feel like I need a recharge. Discover the feeling of joy I once felt turning on my computer and spilling my imagination across a document. It’s difficult to feel joy when you’re busy being a grown-up.

 

Because, let’s face it. I don’t write grownup books. Sure, they’re Romance, but they’re the Romance of youthful exuberance. They’re the adventures we dreamed we’d go on when we were kids looking at our futures with wide-eyed innocence. The innocence of the ignorant quite frankly. Ignorant of how the real world really works. Ignorant that one day summer won’t mean freedom. It’ll just be another part of the year where the day job gets in the way of you being that person you thought you’d be lying on the beach and hoping the day would never end.

 

So, before I fade into preparing myself for yet another Monday, I cordially invite you to take a trip back to those days when the world was yours to hold and you could be anything you wanted to be. I invite you to be a Vampire, a Werewolf, a Slayer. Anything you want to be, just as long as you’re having fun. How? Well, inside one of my books, of course. It’s where anything can define who you are and can always can be.

Just step through either of the two links below to start your adventure or find me on your favorite online bookseller.

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Desert Breeze Publishing

 

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

 

Amazon

 

http://www.amazon.com/J.-Morgan/e/B0032R8BFE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1403484497&sr=8-1

Gray Today, Brony Tomorrow

As a guy gets old, he realizes it’s harder to find magic in everyday life. When you’re a kid the entire world is magic. The woods behind the house is some mysterious hidden forest where trolls, elves and you name it lurk. The old beaten down place down the street is a haunted house, and the guy living there is a mad scientist or something just as exciting. Worst of all, monsters lurk in the shadows once the sun drops behind the horizon. The thing is, magic is everywhere when you’re young.

 

That isn’t so true once you become a fully functioning adult. Magic becomes a weekend where you’re not working around the house or visiting the in-laws. Magic is a hard commodity to buy especially when you’re married with kids. Most of the time, instead of experiencing magic through your children’s eyes, you’re too busy keeping reality from falling down around them.

 

Then, you find yourself a little older, and magic is all but impossible to remember let alone find. Your body begins to do evil tricks on you. You get out of bed to use the bathroom and you grunt like your grandfather to start the process, or your knee goes out and you hobble into the bathroom praying your prostate isn’t playing even eviler tricks on you. Growing old is the act of devoiding yourself of magic. You have to, just to survive or stop from going to the booby hatch.

 

Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking. I’ve read this dude’s blog and know he’s just one big kid. True, but the sad fact is I’m more reality based than I let on. I had to conform to the system. I am ashamed to admit that, but it’s true. Hey, I found the perfect woman and got married. I had her and a beautiful daughter to support. You can’t hunt orcs in the backyard all the time and give the people you love the life they deserve being totally goofy. Sometimes goofy is okay.

 

About eight years ago, I found an outlet for the kid I kept locked inside me. Writing. Whereas, a rousing game of Dungeons and Dragons might have been near impossible, writing real life fictional ones wasn’t. Before you get the idea my wife wouldn’t allow me inside the D & D circle of friends I once had, they too grew up, moved ahead, or just moved away. For a long time, writing allowed magic to bloom inside me again, like it had when I was a kid playing with my Star Wars men in front of Saturday morning cartoons.

 

But, a funny thing happened. My daughter grew up and moved out. Now, she has a family of her own. Another thing is I grew older. My body moves a little slower than it used to. I forget things I should know. My mom and dad have grown older. Heck, that whole generation is slowing fading from the superhero status I once looked at them as having. In essence reality became my own mortality staring me in the face. Magic has definitely become harder and harder to find.

 

This year, I’ve been forced to see I’m not going to live forever. Knowing something and accepting it are two different things. I’ve spent time going back and forth to the doctor. My wife has as well. I watch my dad stumble a bit when he walks and take breaks when just a few short years ago he could work circles around. He still can according to him. My mom is in the hospital after suffering a stroke. People my age are dropping like flies. Who could find a trace of magic in all that happening?

 

I’ll tell you, I couldn’t. I found myself sinking into a self imposed pity party. Not even comic books, action figures and Star Wars could bring me out of it. The fear of losing those I love most took hold of me. Instead of wonder and light, I could only see darkness and a sinking despair I doubted I’d ever dig myself out of. Where was the yellow brick road when I needed it?

 

I’m more than a little ashamed to admit, I found it. One day while taking my wife to see a specialist about two hours away from our hometown, we pulled over to grab a quick bite. Quick bite being a Happy Meal to try and save a couple dollars so we could treat ourselves on the way home. As I shoved fries into my mouth, I glanced at the toy. It was a white unicorn with pink hair. What the crap! I’d told them the boy toy. Pulling up at a red light I took this ‘thing’ out of my box and started to throw it in the backseat. But, you know, it was kind of cute. I found myself feeling a little calmer just by holding it. Taking it out of its plastic bag, its tail curled around my finger. As anyone knows, guys are suckers for thing’s curling around our fingers. My own grandson’s finger around mine had taught me that lesson.

 

Next thing I knew, I was rapidly collecting the whole set of My Little Ponys from Mickey D’s. Then, I started buying the cheap four buck ones. Hey, it’s a victimless crime. Ponys make me happy for some weird strange reason. I didn’t see anything wrong with it, until my wife laughed at me and called me a ‘Freaking Brony’. The wrongness continued as she explained what a Brony was. I could have stopped the thing right then and there by giving the collection to my little sister, but I didn’t.

 

Magic is just too hard to find to toss it away because of what other people might think. Sure, it might make me a bit sillier than I already am, but I’m a writer. Writer’s need muses. Mine just so happen to be ponies with curly tails and big eyes. Here’s the kicker. Normal people need magic too, not just writers, musicians or artists. We, yes, I’m grouping myself with normal people, need something to brighten our lives. It doesn’t have to be a toy. It could be a child’s smile. Sitting in a boat with all of God’s creation around you as you fish alone or with a friend. It can even be a Mall and that once in a lifetime sale. You just have to find your magic wherever you can and cling to it like it’s the most important thing in the world. If you can do that, you’re richer than you have ever been and something much more important. Happy.

 

So, feel free to laugh my mid-life Broniness. I don’t mind. Know why? Because for one brief second I made you smile. I was that muse that showed you magic and happiness exists. If we’re both lucky, you’ll pass the feeling onto to someone else, and they keep the process flowing. And, if we’re all really lucky, we’ll find ourselves in a world where hate, bigotry and all the other junk that makes our lives so miserable just doesn’t exist.

 

Funny thing is, if it actually happens, it’ll have started because on one day a worried husband stopped off and bought him and his wife a quick meal and got a My Little Pony instead of the boy’s toy.

 

Serendipity is a fickle mistress and loves a good practical joke every once in awhile. Before you ask, yes, my broniness will probably find itself into one of my books. That’s what writer’s do. We take the absurdness of reality and make it into something a reader will say that will never happen in real life. Strangely enough, things like that often do. As I waddle off to brush some pony hair, go out and find your magic. As my very good friend Paisley Kirkpatrick loves to tell me, ‘Smile’ and maybe the magic you’re looking for will find you.

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Music is the Moments of My Life

I love music. It is a very big part of who I am. Sadly, I can’t sing or play an instrument. But, I can play a radio, cd player, and ipod very proficiently. Music is something that is always either playing or warbling along in my head. For as long as I can remember music has been the one thing defining moments of my life. My family has always been lovers of music all kinds, and I guess it has rolled over to me and the generation who came after me. Okay, good for me, but what has this to do with being a writer? I’m getting there, so give me a few minutes to work up to my point.

 

Feeling more than a little under the weather, I woke up and watched HBO’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony presentation. It’s an annual habit with me, but this year was especially awesome because not one but three of my favorite bands of all time were inducted. Out of all the bands I love, these three had the most impact on me and represent something weird, they represent a big part of my inner soundtrack.

 

Creativity is very much a product of osmosis. Creative people absorb input from a number of places, but chief among them is other creative people. My road to becoming a writer and artist owes a lot to the music I listen to. So, allow me to give you a musical trip through the photo album of my life.

 

The first band I can truly remember just making me stop and go wow was KISS. I was about seven or eight. My cousin was in his bedroom playing a record. That’s record, not cassette tape or CD but a real life 33 1/3 record. Yeah, I’m that old. The sound assaulted my ears, but it was the album cover that just changed my life. The album was Destroyer. I had just started down the path to comic book geekdom. Here I stood looking at super heroes playing music. I was hooked. It was real life magic, and what I saw and heard moved me. For a kid from a small town in the Deep South, magic was something I’d hadn’t begun to recognize in everyday life, so found it where I could.

 

KISS opened my eyes to the idea, I could become something other than myself. I could be a superhero, a cowboy, and yeah, even a rock god. Of course it took me nearly thirty years to become something close to a superhero, a published author. Even got a cool secret identity that more people know than what’s safe for me. But, to the kid I was at the time, seeing and listening to KISS sparked my imagination to create new worlds in my head. I had adventures where heroes wore strange and wonderful masks and rock n rolled all night and partied every day.

 

Hall and Oates had an opposite affect on me. My mom loved them, so I can remember listening to She’s Gone, Rich Girl and Sara Smile about the same time my cousin introduced me to KISS. You probably think it’s funny that those two different ends of the musical spectrum should have influenced me, but where KISS was all about bigger than life, Hall and Oates made me touch an emotional side a boy rarely would have thought about. Girls? They had cooties. Still, Hall and Oates planted the seed that love was much more powerful than cool make up and super powers. Again, took me awhile to believe it, the whole cooties thing. In some small part, they might have been the first step toward me becoming a Romance author. Their simple words like I said touched my heart. They also introduced me to Rhythm and Blues. Not Disco, let me make that point very clear. No, no, can’t go for that.

In my books, there are equal sides to those two bands at play. My characters are all bigger than life but contain the normalcy we can all relate to. See, a delicate balance at play. To survive, they all wear masks to hide their true selves. But, it is love that ultimately makes them complete and truly bigger than life. See how something most people discount as background noise can change a person from the inside out. Humbling isn’t it? Or, cruel subliminal programming. I’ll let you decide.

 

The last band came into my life just as I was preparing to graduate from college. I had been sitting in my friend Damon’s place and this band came on MTV. He turned up the sound and said I had to see this. And, I did. From the first blast of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, my life was forever altered. Nirvana gave voice to the angst I’d been struggling to find words to describe. I’d always been an outsider, at least to myself. I never felt like I fit in. Here was a band that didn’t want you to deny who you were. No, they screamed…

Come as you are.

Come as you were,

As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend,
As an old enemy.

Somehow in my head, I found the strength to say to myself, it’s alright to be who you are. Who I was! Of course, I still hadn’t figured out who that was, but it was okay. Finding the fact out was part of the journey. Later on it would ingrain itself into my writing.

 

My characters, my vampires, my werewolves, my witches, even my regular old humans all have one thing in common. They either don’t try to make up for their differences by being something they’re not or come to the realization through the course of the story. No, they relish their uniqueness and say this is who I am. You can either like me for me, or not. I don’t care. Or, they don’t care rather.

 

Like KISS, we all wear marks to hide who we are. Protect us from the rush of the world around us, but sometimes we have to let that mask down. Otherwise, no one gets close to us. The music of Hall and Oates teaches us to open our hearts to love. It shows us to let down those masks for the one thing that truly matters, a person who can not only love us, but complete us on levels being bigger than life can never compete with. Lastly, Nirvana let’s us know it’s okay to be you, even if that you hurts sometimes and doesn’t know why. And, when we combine the lessons of all three, well, I can’t say for you, but for me, you get a romance novel.

 

There are more bands that have marked my life, but today these three are the only ones that matter in the context of this blog. As I trot off to either play on Facebook or write, I ask you to examine the soundtrack to your life and see if there’s anything you need to learn. You might surprise yourself. Unless you’re like me, and you have more Weird Al floating around than you thought. Then you might truly be unique and more interesting than you give yourself credit for being.

 

Either way, have a great week and happy reading!