Tooting my own horn. Kinda?

I have never been one to toot my own horn. The few times I’ve tried, I’ve come away feeling dirty. That may be a strange thing to say with me being an author and a some time artist, but it’s true. My talent is not a result of anything I’ve done. It’s a gift from God that I’ve put to use. Even the skills I’ve honed are the result of editors beating the bad habits out of me. If all that is true how can I in good conscience toot anything?

 

Simply put, I usually don’t. That said, I’m going to do some tooting about something other than me. My books. You might be asking how can he toot and not toot? Simple, books are like my children. How could I not brag where they’re concerned? Like I said above I might write them, but it takes a village to make them great. Friends to inspire me along through the process. A backward looking highway of people who have gotten me to this point in my craft. They range from teachers to crit partners. Now, I have added beta readers to the creative process. Lastly and largely underappreciated by both readers and authors, editors. All these people and some I’ve missed go into the creation of a book. So my proud is not just mine to share, but theirs too.

 

December marks the release of my twenty-first book. Out of those, only three are out of print. That doesn’t include two anthologies with stories of mine in them. All this has been since 2005. Whew! When do I have time to breath? Wait, I knew I’ve been forgetting to do something.

 

What makes Bite the Neck that Loves You toot worthy? Well, as with each new book, it is the culmination of every thing I’ve learned as a writer. All my successes and all my failures have led to this book. Just like the next one will be the result of the same process. My philosophy is simple. Any book you finish is a cause for celebration. Writing is hard work, but worth it. Not only do you give yourself the satisfaction of seeing something to the finish, but you share that satisfaction with everyone who reads it.

 

I’m not saying every book is a winner. Because they’re not.  I will say this. Before they get to my publisher’s hands, I make damned certain I’m satisfied. That might not mean much to anyone but me. Still, it is the one thing I am proud of. I would never send something out into the world that I didn’t feel was the best I could do. Sometimes, I succeed. Sometimes I fail. The thing is I would rather fail with a book I thought was my best effort than succeed with a story I knew in my heart just wasn’t where it needed to be.

 

Every story has an objective, or it should. I, as the author in question, defines that objective. It can be anything from a light romp meant simply to entertain, to a beefy comedy with underlying messages to give the reader something to think about, or it could be a deep insight into an issue or issues I find important. I don’t do many of those. That isn’t to say I have issues I find important. I do. I just don’t always have the right vehicle to convey the story. When I do, I write it. Immortally Damned was such a book.

 

Since I’m here talking about Bite Marks 2, what is its objective? BtNtLY, to shorten the title, is a continuance of the Love Bites and Bite Marks series. That is its main objective, keep the story flowing. It also is a story of two broken individuals, who need love in their lives but are afraid to search it out. That’s the objective of this one story in the chain of events of my Vampire series. The subplots that run through the book are the veins carrying much needed oxygen and blood to the major organs of the lives of Franki and Alexandre, my heroine and hero. I’m not going into a whole lot about the story, because there is some major secrets and spoilers throughout the book. I try not to drop teasers. To me, they ruin the reading experience. Stuff happens. Let’s leave it at that. I leave it up to you to wonder what stuff I’m talking about.

 

A few more reasons why I’m proud of this book. It tells the story I wanted to tell. Any author will tell you, books don’t always work out the way you want them to. This one did. What else? Bite the Neck never ceased to surprise me. When as an author, I can honestly say that I didn’t see that coming, I’ve experienced the same excitement I hope a reader will feel reading it. If you become so predictable as a writer, there are no surprises left, you don’t need to be a writer, or you need to try another genre. Lastly, it furthered the overall story of my world and gave me insight into where that world is going. Again, we’re back to surprises. I’m relatively sure when I hit book four, new things will still be jumping out at me.

 

I will let you in on one secret. Come in a little closer, so nobody can hear. Good. I already know some insane twists that will happen in Book five that will have people beating their heads against their reading devices. Okay, officially that was a tease, but I didn’t spoil anything. So there!

 

When you’re writing a series, the key is to keep it original and not episodic. Nobody wants a rehash of last week’s episode with different characters acting out the same script. I try to step away from that systematic way of writing. Each character is different. Their stories should be different too. Lightning does not strike twice, and neither should weirdness.

 

Let me wrap this up, before this ramble gets out of hand. After eight years as an author and over twenty-one books with some part of me in them, what is the one thing I’ve learned that bears sharing? Trust in yourself to know when you’re good and when you’re bad. All those people I listed above as the village helping to write a book aren’t its parent. You are. As such, it is ultimately up to you as the writer to keep the book on track. Fight for the integrity of your vision and never back down from fighting for the heart of your story. Take advice when it feels right, but never cave because you’re not sure. Be sure! Okay, that might be more than one thing, but it felt right. So following my own advice, I’m sticking to it, and saying good night.

 

Thanks for listening and have a great week!

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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

Crazy to Begin With

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As an author, I think insanity is a given. You have to be crazy to live inside your head, then decide to let those inner dreams become reality with the written–typed?–word. I’m not sure how I jumped from casual dreamer to an author. Like most things in life, it just happened. Now, writing isn’t so much a vocation as an addiction.

Yeah, addiction pretty much sums it up. Why? Because, since I started, there hasn’t been a day I haven’t written something. It might have only been a line or paragraph, but something has jumped from my head to either a screen or a slip of paper. I confused friends and coworkers talking about characters like they’re real people. Believe me, when you start talking about so and so shoving a stake into you know that guy, heads will turn. I’m surprised someone hasn’t shoved me into a comfy psych ward. Once the people around you realize you’re an author, they let you slide. Writing is an insanity they can ignore. Being from the South, being eccentric is a required past time.

So what do I write?

I write comedies, usually of the Paranormal variety with a whole lot of Romance thrown in just to make sure I got my bases covered. What can I say? I like things that go bump in the night and a healthy dose of romance to make everybody go awww Since, I’ve been at this for a few years, you could say I’ve gotten good at making people laugh, or I just don’t know when to quit. Both are good things, if you ask me.

Why do I write?

To give people an escape from the real world. Talk about driving you crazy. The real world will do it every time. People need to get away from the daily grind. Whether with a movie, TV show, or movie, humanity knows instinctively they need to recharge with whatever medium makes them happiest. For me it’s Books, but I’m not adverse to taking whatever I can get. If I, as a writer, can give a reader a few hours of forgetfulness, then I’ve done my job.

So, what do I have?

At the moment, I’m working on three series. Love Bites/  Bite Marks, which is my foray into the world of Vampires, again with a comedic twist. The Love Bites world is a mixture of Romance, Comedy and High Adventure. Dare I say a roller coaster that will leave you wobbly in the knees before the last page. Okay, I’ll go ahead and say it.

Secondly, I have The Southern Werewolf Chronicles. This trilogy is Romance at its Southern Finest. Image small town life with some fur thrown in. Go ahead, you can do it. Close your eyes. There was that so hard?

Lastly, I have Amor Immorati, an Urban Fantasy series that takes you from the heart of Fairy to the mean streets of New Orleans and beyond. If you like Immortal warriors, Vampires looking to reclaim  their souls, or men with the bodies of a beast and the heart of a teddy bear, these books will satisfy your thirst for the darker corners of the Romance World.

What else do I have?

Well, you never know what I have up my sleeve.

Like I said, to be an author you have to be crazy to begin with. It is just my hope that crazy is just what you’ve been looking for.