Jmo, Following that Dream.

It’s been awhile I know. I should have dropped you a line or something, but quite frankly, I didn’t have anything to say. Funny how that happens from time to time.  Though I’m pretty sure if I’d stayed off Facebook more some words might have been written. Not blaming anyone in particular for that, especially myself, just in case someone might be wondering. I see no reason to assign blame, so let’s just ignore I brought up the subject.

I said ignore it! So get on ignoring in 1. 2.. 3…

Good all ignored so we can get on with this blog.

Amongst all my waxing poetic over the last year or so, I’ve discussed in some detail my dream to one day become a teacher. For some time now I’ve been working toward that goal. Admittedly slower than I should have, but everything comes in its own time. This being one of those times, or at least I’m saying it is. Same thing, so deal with it. You deal. I don’t have to, because I’m the one writing this. Egotistical but sadly this is the way of things when dealing with us writer types.

That’s right, I’m a writer of sorts, or I’ve tried to be one for the last nine years. I’ve succeeded in some ways, failed in small ways, but generally been true to myself during the whole process so I’m calling this whole thing a win. But, let’s get back to the dream part of this blog. I so do hate it when I digress for no good reason. Instead of digressing, let’s call this organizing my ideas before I get started. Yeah, I like the sound of that.

A long time I ago I wanted to be an artist. I thought it took painting and drawing to be one. Thing is, I had been an artist all along and those things were only a small part of what it took to be an artist. You had to believe you were an artist first and foremost. So I did a lot of artist type things culminating in going to college to be officially labelled one. I did that, but a funny thing. With a diploma saying I was a fully recognized artist didn’t really make me feel like one. If anything, it made me feel less of one. I struggled with the concept of who or what I was for a long time. So I set out to explore those two questions.

I could paint and draw, so I had to be an artist. Right? Stood to reason, but I liked doing other things to do. I loved writing poetry and the occasional bit of fiction. You’re reading this blog because of fiction. It took me a long time to work up the courage to actually become a writer, but when I did, I like to think I proved capable enough of the enterprise. Okay, my wife might have had more to do with me being a published writer than I did, but the point is I ran with it and kept the thing going for nearly nine years. I’m not counting this last year. I was on break.

Again with ‘the thing is.’ I didn’t fully feel like a writer any more than I felt completely like an artist. Somewhere in the process a vital portion of who I was remained hidden from me. Maybe not so much hidden as ignored. I’d always felt like I wanted to do something more. Drawing and writing fulfilled a need, sure, but I still had an empty spot that needed satisfying.

I think I’d always known what the missing element had been. I wanted to share what I’d learned. Over the years so many great teachers and friends had given me their knowledge and led me to this point in my life. The point where I had to stop being afraid that I’d fail at my dream and go ahead and do it. That might not make much sense, but I believe that’s why it took me until the age of 47 to attempt to make this dream come true. If I screwed it up, then what? At 47 it’s kind of hard to come up with a new what if to keep me going. As long as teaching remained a what if, I could always say one day. If I went ahead and tried I couldn’t hide behind that what if. I was stuck in the middle of doing and failing. Scary as hell when you get right down to it.

Now, I sit on the edge of doing it. Tomorrow is my first day of Grad School. My first day of the rest of my educated life. Succeed or fail, I can at least say I tried and didn’t cower behind a big ass WHAT IF that amounted to nothing more than a reason to stay hidden behind a dream instead of going out there and living that dream. So, I invite you to join me. It doesn’t matter what age you are. Just do it. If someone as neurotic as me can follow his dreams, there is no conceivable reason you shouldn’t. Other than you’re even more neurotic than me, but let’s not focus on that. Let’s focus on stepping into the light and finding the future we’ve been looking for.

Just a side note. If the attempt is all that matters, tomorrow is the day our dream comes true. Succeed or fail, we’re going simply because we believe in ourselves enough to take that first step. So, before I sign off, I promise to hold your hand if you get scared along the way, if you promise to hold mind.

Sound like a deal to you?

Til next time, this is Jmo riding that rainbow to wherever it might go!

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I Love You This Much!

Since today is all about Valentine’s Day and love in general, I thought what better day to talk about love. Not that I don’t talk about whatever I want anyway. It’s my blog so I generally get to do what I want, so there.

But, love is the theme today. True love if we want to get right down to it. True love is complicated on so many levels I don’t even know where to start. Hasn’t stopped me before, so why should it now. Media has given us such a skewed ideal when it comes to love that most people screw it up when love is on the table. Being a romance novelist, I’m somewhat hypocritical for even talking on this subject. Most of all, we paint a picture of love and what should come after that reality can never hope to compete against it.

What is love? Love isn’t the hot and heavy infatuation most people seem to think of as love. It’s not the flames of lust that follow. No infatuation fades or grows into love. Lust isn’t even fit to be considered an emotion. At best it’s an animalistic need. Not saying I have been or ever will be immune to the two because the capacity to love never fades. It expands to include the people who cross your path as you march onward toward whatever awaits you at the blessed end.

So let’s move onto the meat of this blog and the forms of love I think deserve a place at Valentine’s Day’s table.

The purest form of true love is the unconditional bond of love between a child and their parent. I have literally been brought to tears watching my daughter and grandson together. We seldom remember those fragile first years of our lives, but seeing them together gave me a view into how it must have been. As life grows old that bond changes into something different, but in the magic of their young lives we get to become their first valentines. We put their carefully cut out hearts on our fridges with magnets with pride and undying love. Just thinking about it makes me all sniffly. Give me a minute here and move to the next paragraph. Anybody got a tissue or wet nap?

Move it on people! Nothing to see here. Do it now! Don’t mess with emotional authors or you become a corpse in chapter three.

Everyone goes on and on about true love. True love exists but I’m not ready to talk about it just yet, so let’s get back to friends. Over the years I’ve had many acquaintances, but very few true friends. I gather maybe two or so a decade, but when we meet the connection is instant, like finding a part of yourself you never knew you’d lost. Family you are born into — friends are blood without the genetics getting in the way. Who are the first people we turn to when we’ve had crappy days? Our besties. This is where I get a bit out there. People go on and on about soul mates and true love. Sometimes it isn’t about true love but a true and lasting friend. Lovers keep secrets. Friends don’t know the meaning of the word. So when you’re celebrating the day of love, don’t forget those friends who boost you up when you’re sad. Share the joy of everyday living. Grow old with you in ways you can only post memes about on Facebook.

Finally, we get to ”it”. By it, I mean true love. True love is the hardest thing to get a grip on. For one thing, it’s a miracle. Imagine two people finding each other amidst all the billions of wrong combinations out there. If there was a word that meant more than miraculous that’d be what this is. But, what makes true love a viable description for L-O-V-E? Hard work. Love might just happen from a glance and pheromone production but lasting love takes hard work. That’s why true love isn’t for sissies.

My wife and I have spent the last 18 Valentine’s Days together. How have we made the mystical Happily Ever After work? I’m going to be totally honest with you. Happily ever anything isn’t an everyday thing. It is the accumulation of bad days, good days, sad days, and some days that just quite frankly scare the merde out of you. Sorry about the French but it’s the truth. Love is living through life and never giving up on this fragment of perfection we call love.

In today’s throwaway-satisfaction-now world, if things get rough, staying in one piece just doesn’t figure into the equation. So, true love is forgotten in favor of living in the moment. That is sad. When life comes to an end, I wouldn’t trade my lifetime for a million scattered moments. Why? Because my true love is priceless.

I think that’s about all that needs to be said. Well, this too. I wish for each of you a lifetime of true love.

For those of you who say nobody loves you, know that you are loved. Someone cares and cherishes you.

Even if it is just me, J. Morgan, romance novelist and incurable romantic at heart.

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Reading!

Temptation!

Temptation!

Yes, we’re here today to talk about temptation! Hide the grannies and put Disney Channel on for the young’uns, because it’s about to get deep up in here. Cough, cough. Sorry my televangelist voice took over for a minute, but temptation is the oldest and best story device known to man and woman. It’s something no matter your sex, race or creed, we can all agree happens and sometimes takes over our lives.

Think I’m wrong? Well, let’s examine the evidence. The Serpent convinced Eve she wanted what God told her she couldn’t have, and as a result we’re all on a limited engagement on old planet earth. Cain wanted Abel’s glory, and as a result of not getting it, murder runs rampant all over the earth. Doesn’t stop there. David wanted Bathsheba, and her innocent hubby lost his life. Solomon wanted the Queen of Sheba, and…

Well, you get the picture. The point is as humans we are tempted everyday by something. Tempted to glance at the hot member of the opposite sex standing in line next to us at the grocery store. Tempted to eat an ice cream cone that’ll drive our blood sugar through the roof. Even the love of your life can tempt you from doing what needs to be done to spend a day of bliss with her. Think, Brad Paisley said it best. Time Well Wasted.

That is what writing is as its heart. Temptation of the highest order. The whole process is wrapped up in tempting interludes. The writer is tempted to let his imagination unfold. The characters are tempted at every turn of the screw. Eventually the reader is tempted to stay up all night to get to an acceptable ‘The End’.

Seriously, temptation is the only reason to write. An author’s imagination might get them arrested, divorced or excommunicated in the real world, but releasing it on paper eliminates the need to hire a lawyer or change denominations. Writing is a mood stabilizer. It allows your brain to eject the swirling thoughts that call it home into a less chaotic explanation of our environment and ultimately who we are. Just remember that next time you’re reading a book, you are essentially a voyeur into an author’s fantasy. Does that scare you a bit? A lot? Sometimes it should. There’s a lot of freaky deaky out there, but we all hold some inside us. The temptation to go to the Dark Side always exists and sometimes letting it out is a good thing, depending on the scope of the story. Thing is, too many people give in to the temptation of the darkness for shock’s sake and not to enhance the flow of the story. Then again, depending on your audience, that might exactly be what the situation calls for.

Aside from my overuse of the word temptation, I hope you have been able to take something constructive out of this. Maybe an urge to write down those fantasies you’ve kept locked in or better yet, go check out someone else’s. Hey I’ve got a few out there worth examining in detail. Not saying those are your only two options. What I am saying is allow yourself to be tempted to be as amazing as you can be.

Then what a wonderful world it would be.

Stole that last bit from Sam Cooke, but only because it’s true. So let’s go out there and let temptation make a wonderful world because we’re in it.

Wishing you all an amazing week full of love and happiness. And of course, Happy Reading!

Til next week,

Jmo

 

2016, I’m back.

It’s been awhile.

I’m not going to lie to you. That is entirely my fault. Quite frankly, I lost it. Not sure what it is, but I definitely left it in the parking lot. It is kind of painful to even think about, let alone purge from my system in this very public format. That said, I feel that is exactly what I need to do to free myself from its hold over me. Or, I could just be narcissistic and need your validation. Either way, here goes.

When I started doing this, I thought I’d know how to begin, but sitting here staring at the screen it’s all blocking up. Kind of sums up my 2015, so why shouldn’t my blog about it go the same way. Seriously though, I’m not writing this to seek your sympathy. I honestly do need to unburden myself of all this garbage that held me down last year. Part of me is hoping that in the process I might help someone else overcome the same stuff I’ve battled.

Where to begin?

2015 will forever be the year my mortality came crashing home. I began the year going to a funeral for a cousin. Not the best way to kick off a New Year. Sadly, my cousin wouldn’t be the only funeral on my plate for the year. It seemed like every three weeks I got news family or friends had passed away. Some pretty rough ones drove me to my knees over the course of the year. I can’t go into them all because I’m afraid it would take all night and my tears might short out my computer.

Still, a couple bear memorializing. My first writing partner, Deb Durham, passed away in a tragic car accident as she tried to help out a friend. Deb taught me so much about what it means to be a writer. She helped me by setting me on the path to become the writer I am today. So, even when my heart wanted to give up and hide under my bed, I didn’t. I just couldn’t, because when I write, a part of her will forever be out in the universe for all to see. What I wouldn’t give to hear her call me Goober one more time with her Texas twang.

Secondly, my good friend and comic book dealer, Clint Thomas passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Aside from feeding my comic addiction, Clint had long been a supportive friend, who would stock my books whenever I had a few to sell. He graciously became a sounding board on occasion, and a character in one of my books. We shared a love not only for comics but for the books we grew up reading. Those books inspired the stories of mine you have read and will continue to enjoy. Clint, himself, inspired so much more. He inspired me to become a writer by pushing me to be one. Clint, one day we will see each other again, and I can’t wait to hear the stories we will share.

Lastly, a week before Christmas, the world lost a shining smile that is warming heaven above. Linda Collins is the sister of my adopted sister of the heart, Susan White, who inspired the character Waterfall Woman in my Love Bites and Bite Marks novels. Linda soon became as close to me as a sister, and became a character in Bite Marks 2.  Now, the rest of my Vampire series will be dedicated to her memory. Because heaven got an angel in her, but she will forever be a muse my heart can’t deny.

I am certain that you can understand the sorrow that weighed heavy upon me. Losing one person is heart wrenching but losing nearly twelve in a year’s time would be enough to drive anyone to their knees. Trust me, I spent a good time on my knees asking why. The answer I got made perfect sense. Because we are all given a time to be born, a time to grow, a time shine, a time to live, and a time to die. But, as long as we keep love around us, our flesh may fade, but our hearts remain in those we leave behind. Sadly, this in no way takes away the pain of loss those of us left behind must deal with. That’s how I spent 2015. Dealing.

Some of that dealing was handling pain. For years I’ve suffered from neuropathy caused by a ruptured disk in my neck and from a birth defect I didn’t even know I had until ten years ago, Arnold Chiari Malformation. For those of you who have never heard of the condition, it is when the tonsils of the brain hang from the base of the skull. As you get older the condition gets worse, and is highlighted by migraines, and numbness in arms and legs. Some other nastier things happen but if you’re interested, I’ll try and remember to leave a link at the bottom, because sadly, this condition goes undiagnosed until it’s too late. A result of this, I am on more meds than I like to admit to being on. A side effect of all these meds is side effects. As my body adapted to the meds, I had been on, I had to adjust to higher doses or new meds altogether. If any of you have ever been on meds, you know they do strange and evil things that they aren’t meant to do.

Part of these side effects stopped my brain from talking to my creativity and hands. I spent a lot of restless nights staring at my laptop with words exploding in my head, but couldn’t get those words out. It drove me insane to see the movie playing but not being able to share the wonder of it with anyone. As 2016 bloomed on the horizon, my doctor and I seemed to have found a balance that is working for my creativity. I’m still not 100% but I’m getting there. Like a wise man or woman once said, anything worth having is worth fighting for. Last year a big part of me gave up. I won’t lie about it. I crawled into my hole and died. This year, I want to live.

I might have lost a lot of good people last year, but God has given me some more, not to replace them, but to complement their impact on my lives. Victor Nunely is just one. He hosts the weekly Comic Hero show on YouTube. Great stuff. Definitely check him out, if you have time. Sabrina Ruffin helped inspire a new character and book series that I hope to explore when I get caught up with my other series that fell to the side of the road last year. Lastly, Claire Chandler recently took over Clint’s Comics and is a hoot. She has made me laugh, and I can see a character with her name all over it. Along with these new voices, I have my old friends and my dear family to keep me on my toes. Let’s not forget God, who never let’s me wander from His defining love.

The point of this ramble is I’m back and if you’ll have me, I plan to be here for as long as you’ll let me come into your lives. Stock up on Oreos, the sugar free ones because apparently I’m a diabetic, too. Told you last year was a rough one, but this year…this year is going to be awesome.

Those links I promised

The Arnold Chiari Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/ArnoldChiari-malformation/119461628102885?fref=ts

Victor Nunely’s Comic Hero Channel on You Tube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etacPTgZwlk&feature=youtu.be

Claire Chandler, Clint’s Comics, because I need comics.

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010923228017

 

Til next time,

Happy Reading!