This past week has been a bit of normal except for an upper respiratory infection that has kept me on sicky poo lock down. Not really. Being an adult, sick is just a state of mind that doesn’t prevent things like work and yard work. Though I have avoided the crap out of yard work with the exception of taking the trash cans to the road on garbage day. Still, being sick puts a damper on the creative juices to the point I’ve managed to avoid writing almost all together. But, is that necessarily a bad thing? During the heat of the not writing moment, I would have screamed a resounding yes.
Toward the end of this cold–hope it is at least–I have different thoughts on the subject. Sick is a chance to take a mental slow down and rest. Personally for me, I only tend to get sick when I’ve been pushing myself and haven’t given my body the rest it needs. Quite honestly, I don’t give my body or spirit a lot of things they need. Then again, does any of us really? Don’t bother to answer. We all know the answer, so let’s not bother to lie to one another.
I’m writing. Not as much or as fast as I would like, but I am putting word to page. At the moment, I think that’s the important thing. The whole process of freeing the story from the locked recesses of your mind, I mean. Once upon a time, it was the easiest thing in the world for me to do. I could just as easily watch my books unfold in my head and let them wash out onto the screen. Age and medication has made the process a bit more complicated but I am in no way ready to fold my notebook in half and toss it in the back of the closet.
I know of late my missives have had a maudlin flavor, and for that I refuse to apologize. I am documenting my crawl from the darkness. To deny how I truly feel would be to deny this path. I am not hiding who I am or my emotional descent into whatever. I want someone to read this and say, I’ve been there and totally get it. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. Not totally me, but close enough I can see myself when I look into the mirror. You’re welcome to take a gander. Whether or not you appreciate the experiences etched in my face and soul is entirely up to you. I am not asking for sympathy or pity with these blogs. I’m asking you to look at yourself and make certain the things I write about aren’t glaring back in your mirror. It’s too easy to miss that something is wrong. Too easy to write it off as just another bad day, or that everyone has these moods every once in a while. Because, before you know it that one bad day is a crappy month and rapidly becoming a year eating at your last nerve. I’ve been there and it isn’t a very pretty place to call home.
The thing is we need to fall on our knees. We need to lose our way and get stuck up against walls. If everything came easy, there would be no struggle, no reason to strive to become better than we are. This is our moment of discovery. Maybe, rediscovery is the better way of looking at the situation. I’ll fully admit before this wall, I’d pretty much run out of juice. Nearly 25 stories and I had become stagnant and bored. The problem wasn’t that I couldn’t see the end of the story. No the probable WAS I could see the entirety of what was to come. There were no secrets left to uncover. There was no mystery. Nearly, a year and a half later I’m still in that pocket of finding me, but I’m getting closer to finding out who I am with 47 years under my belt.
As the words once again begin to flow, I’m excited at what’s coming out. I feel matured in what I have to say. Not a hundred percent grown-up, but not all boy either. I never want to grow out of who I was on the journey to becoming the refined me, burned bright in the fires of tribulation I’m going through. No, growing up should be an ongoing extension of you. You should never have to sacrifice parts of yourself in the becoming. If you do, you aren’t being honest to yourself, your craft, or to anyone you meet.
So I’m going to sign off here because this honesty is a bit unsettling. As an author I like to deal in fiction laced with honesty. Total truth is a tad too much for me to put out there, but then again, in the heart of fiction there is only truth to be laid bare. It is up to the reader to find you among the lies we call fiction. So I invite you to see me among the masks and tell me if you can see my journey or do I still have a lot more growing up left to do?
Good night my friends, and as always Happy Reading,

Rebirth to a New Start… Or some such.

For me Easter has always been a holiday about rebirth and new starts. It has also been a special day for me because of my faith in Jesus and the beginning of my love affair with ‘The Ten Commandments’. That in turn led to my love affair with Egyptian history. Okay, if you want to get right down to it, Easter is what solidified my faith period. Christmas is nice but commercialized up the ying yang, even back when I was a kid. It was more about presents than Christ. Easter though offered true magic. The magic of a risen Savior. I know it might sound profoundly weird, but this gave me the heart to believe in magic. Not real magic, but the kind of magic that’s part of the human condition being able to overcome just about anything.

Imagination is a fickle thing. This fickleness has been the subject of a lot of my blogs of late. I’d be lying if I said my writing is going smoothly. A nice combination of medication and life has been making creating anything a pain in the butt. That said, I got nothing. Writing at first was a fast-paced process that gave me a much needed release of the darkness lurking behind my smiling face. It truly was a demon release type of thing. Now, it feels like the demons have taken over the project. It probably comes from keeping those demons locked up for so long.

I’ve always heard comedians have a dark side the likes that no one can ever believe. As someone who writes romantic comedies, I can tell you it’s true. Why? Comedians laugh because we see the world as it truly exists around us. We feel the pain deep inside those we love and call friends. Ultimately, we take that pain and misery into ourselves. In the midst of sucking all that knowledge in, we transform it into something others can handle. Small doses of reality sprinkled with laughter. See, we can laugh at pain if it’s masked as comedy. Slapstick reality.

Those of us who write comedy have a divine purpose. We make the world safe for others to enjoy. We paint smiles over misery. We create laughter from the tears of others. We bring comfort to the people desperately needing to escape the lives they live, even if it’s only for a moment, a brief grasp at happiness. I’m not saying all comedians are insane bipolar sacks of misery, but some are. Just check out the death rate of comedians. It lends credence to the theory. Not saying it’s a road I plan to go down, but I’ve walked down some dark paths before coming into the light.

But, this blog is about rebirth and new starts. Or, at least it began that way. So let’s stick to that topic.

As I venture forth into 2016, I look at what I’ve done and question it all. I don’t question its worth. I don’t see it as wasted efforts or anything. I just question if that was the path I was meant to walk. Obviously I walked it and walked it pretty well for the most part. I made it this far relatively sane and mostly alive. That has to count for something.

But, what does it mean? This rebirth business, I mean. Where am I going? Honestly, I don’t know. My guts are so twisted up, I barely know what’s hunger, knowledge, or gas anymore. This is the thing that matters most, or it does to me. I’m not ready to give up. Sometimes this confusion hurts worse than a knife in the chest, but I refuse to let it consume me. Instead, I’m letting it define the man I will be when I come striding through the crap that’s piling up around me.

Why struggle when giving up is so much easier?

I might fall to my knees. If I do, I won’t stay down and die. No, I will gladly stay on my knees and ask for the help of the only person who can lift me out of this path of wrong choices. Okay, remember I mentioned that today is Easter – I talked about it way back at the beginning. Well, right now I might not see the reason for this walk through the desert, but God has a plan. I firmly believe that, otherwise I WOULD have given up a long time ago. So when I can work through this fire, I’ll have a story to tell.

And that story will be me. You, as the reader, will have to figure out which parts are real and which parts are made up to protect the names of the innocent. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda – you know the usual BS that people hide to protect the person behind the mask. Well, my mask is slipping and when it finally falls, I hope I’m half the man I hope I’ll be. Isn’t that all any of us can ask of this journey we call life?

Til next time,

Happy Reading and don’t let your new start slip away,


Working on the New Me…

I know things on the Giggles have been pretty deep of late, but being a human being is a deep process. Least it should be if you are a maturing and evolving human type person. I think I have discovered why I have been going off track. I’ve been trying to paint myself into one corner so to speak. See what the problem is? Writers by definition suffer from multiple personality disorder. We’ve got all these voices in our head constantly fighting for dominance, demanding to be heard over the voices of their fellow delusional brothers and sisters. Delusional? Yes because they and the author can’t come to the realization these voices don’t really exist. They are figments of a highly over-active imagination and nothing else.

Just in case those voices happen to read this. The men in white coats made me say that. You totally exist, now give me back that memory from the summer of 1987. Pretty please? You know it’s the basis for my happy place.

Okay, back to the point of this blog. Is there a point to it? I’m really not sure but I’m going with yes.

In all my effort to self discover who I am, I stopped listening to the voices in my head to focus on hearing the normal me Me. By the time I remembered they were there, my ability to hear them had become dulled, if not erased totally. Yeah, it hurts me to admit that I have forgotten not only the faces but the voices of my children. As hard as that is to accept, I have to move on. Not sure what that means because the voices I came to love creating and watching grow until they were real to me on so many levels just don’t feel real to me anymore. I don’t see myself leaving them behind forever, but as I’ve said here many times before, writer’s block is the mind’s way of saying you’re walking down the wrong road.

And that’s where I’m at now. On the wrong road. Somehow I’ve gone down a path that isn’t truly me or the books I write. Or, maybe the books I’ve written aren’t me any more. I’ve grown just like my characters have. I’ll freely cop to going through a slight midlife crisis. Becoming a grandpaw has had scary implications. It has made me wonder if I’m O-L-D. Yeah, I spelled, but that doesn’t make it any less frightening. Heck, I’m only forty-six. That’s too young to be wrapped around a little guy’s finger. He calls me BoPaw by the way. Yeah, I got it bad. That bad has had me redefining my place in the cosmos. Maybe it would be more correct to say redefining my perception of my place in the cosmos. Since that could be a pretty much ongoing process, I’ll keep you updated on how that goes.

Right now, I’m going to address the author part of my cosmos. After spending the last two months slamming my head against the barriers between my worlds, I finally fell into a fetal position and just laid there. Funny thing, between the sound of my whimpering and the TV blaring in the background, I heard a voice. Well to be perfectly honest a Facebook status started the process rolling. Sabrina, thanks for the update by the way. Without you, I would never have popped in my Robert Johnson CDs and went down to the crossroads with a hellhound on my trail.

Because while my head was standing at that crossroads listening to Robert, a new voice started speaking to me. It gave me the beginning of a story that has been unrolling in my head for the last two days.  Will it go anywhere? That remains to be seen. I hope it does, because I really love this new character. I won’t go into detail right now. I’m superstitious enough to be afraid I’ll jinx it if I do. Give me a little while to really get a feel for the darkness and light at play in Dora’s world. I will say this. It isn’t a Romance. Urban Fantasy might be closer to the truth, but I hate that label. It narrows your playing field as an author. I write what I write. I leave it to others to put it in their niches. I myself don’t define books. I just accept them as being my kind of book. Whether that is a good book is my choice and not yours, but hope others agree with me from time to time. That way my favorite authors keep putting out books. Selfish of me, but I do love reading. Not an excuse just justifying my actions.

Once upon a time I loved writing. Way before I worried about pantsting or plotting. Or, agonized over missed deadlines and endless edits. Or, got bogged down in the business side of writing, and judged my success by books sold instead of the quality of my writing. So, I guess what I’m saying is I am about to enjoy what I do not for the promise of material gain, but for the spiritual joy it brings me to share that joy with others through the words, or worlds depending on how you see things, inside my head.

If you’ve enjoyed the worlds that came forth from my warped sense of reality, thank you for reading my books. If you’ve only read my blog or this is the first time you’ve stopped by, I invite you to try one of my stories. Desert Breeze Publishing has a free read of mine available, so I’m not asking you to blindly go buy my books. Read my Love Bites ½ and judge for yourself if you want to continue the journey through my books. For now, I’m going to see what new worlds I can stumble into and hopefully one day share with you.

Til then, have a great week and happy reading! Oh and here’s the link to my free read. Enjoy!

Scrolls of Eternity: A 20 year journey.

As a writer, I hold one belief above all others to be divine truth. Great ideas don’t get lost in the shuffle. A lot of my fellow authors are all about writing down every idea they have so they won’t forget them. I don’t do that. Just because you have an idea doesn’t make it worth keeping or taking up space in a notebook. Great ideas stay locked in your brain and germinate until they’re ready to become the story they’re supposed to become.

That is sort of how my series Scrolls of Eternity came about. Twenty years ago or so, back when I thought I’d become a comic book artist I came up with the concept of a superhero based on Egyptian Mythology. I was nineteen or twenty at the time. Ever since I’d seen The Ten Commandments for the first time, I fell in love with Egypt and everything about it. The mystery of the land and its people was as intoxicating as the history of the place. Understand this was before History Channel, H2 and Discovery Channel had made watching documentaries about it a weekly five hour time suck. To find anything out, you had to — gasp — read books on the subject. As a result of all that reading, I knew my hero’s name would be Horus. I went to work on character sketches and developing the ins and outs of bringing Ancient Egypt into the modern world.

I actually penciled two full issues and got through inking most of it, but never truly finished. Here’s the thing about doing your own comics. Unless you have someone to work with and handle some of the writing, penciling and inking choirs, you burn yourself out quick. That’s exactly what happened. Horus, Son of Doom, or whatever silly title I had for it ended up sitting in a portfolio forever doomed to be hidden away. Every few years I’d stumble across it, and begin work anew with basically the same result. Burn out city.

So let’s fast forward ten, fifteen years. Remember what I said about great ideas never dying, well this is where that comes true. After writing Romance for six years, I was experiencing burn out city and decided to go in a different direction for a while. I’d just finished reading the Percy Jackson books and couldn’t help but note that every book dealing with mythology automatically drew on Greeks. I myself have nothing against Greek Mythology, but there’s more out there. The Norse. Egyptian. Funny Hair Dude off Ancient Aliens, so why did authors always limit themselves to one pantheon? Don’t ask me. I’m the one asking the questions here!

Where was I? Oh yes. A different direction. I wanted to return to my roots, I guess you could say. With superheroes all the rage, I wanted to pay homage to the heroes of my youth. So with the idea firmly in my head, I dusted off Horus and set forth to turn my drawings into a novel.

Pouring over the faded pencil lines and yellowed inks I realized most of the work lay behind me. I really did have storyboards telling most of the story already. True, my evolution as a writer showed me things that wouldn’t have worked on paper or on a computer screen, so those parts got cut or changed to fit modern times. Cus, really who still uses cell phones the size of compact cars anymore? Even with so much work done, I still had no clear idea of who Horus was in human form. I’d forgotten more about him than I remembered. That’s what fifteen years will do for you, but like I said, if it had been worth keeping, I WOULD have remembered it. So, Horus got rebooted as a teenager, and I even went so far as to base him on a friend’s son. It didn’t take long for me to find myself reliving the story I’d drawn over twenty years ago for the first time.

The mind is truly an amazing thing. Every part of what we’ve seen, experienced and essentially who we are is locked up inside our heads. As the words to Horus’ reimagining began to take shape, those memories of long ago came flowing from inside me. I had magically gone back to being a nineteen year old year again bent over my drawing board with the entire world ahead of me.

With the second book in the series finished and now waiting for eager readers to discover it, I hope the forty-five year old me, did justice to the dream that burned inside the twenty year old me. In some ways I know I did, but with age you lose that sense of wonderment. Oh, I’m not saying it’s not there anymore. I’m just saying when you’re young everything seems so all encompassing important and must be experienced now before the moment passes and is forever lost. I don’t think you can ever truly recapture that once you’ve ‘grown-up’, but since according to my wife, I never got around to growing up maybe some spark of that wonder still holds itself rooted to my heart. And! Just maybe when you read my Scrolls of Eternity, that awe inspiring sense of wonder will awaken inside you too. Then, we can all be the superheroes of our youthful dreaming.

Til next week, happy reading and if you decide to become that superhero, let me know. I’ll grab a towel out the cabinet and meet you flying in the skies above Metropolis.
Up, up and chimichanga!

Scrolls of Eternity

Available from

Desert Breeze Publishing


From Amazon

Book One:


Scrolls of Eternity

Book Two:

Storms of Chaos

Were it All Began: A Southern Werewolf Blog

It all started with a line. I know that is stating the obvious, but it’s true. Back in 2007, I’d just begun my writing career in earnest. My first book had been published and my second was due out in April, so I thought I knew what I was doing. Back then, I was big on first lines. First lines were gateways to adventures. Still are, but that’s beside the point.


Where was I? Oh, yeah. So anyway, I had two books started already. One would go on to be Mis-Staked, published by Champagne Books, and the other was only a chapter or two of a book titled Immortally Yours, now, published by Desert Breeze publishing. I mean with two books more or less kicking my butt, why would I even entertain thoughts of starting a third, not to mention I had edits coming on the book coming out in April. Yep, I’m a glutton for punishment. Least I was in those days. I’ve learned my lesson on multiple books at the same time, tyvm.


But, this line was so intoxicating, I couldn’t let it go. I mean, it floored me with all the possibilities that went along with it. I knew right away it was going to be a paranormal romance. As I stared at the line, I saw a Southern Belle uttering the line. In fact, it was my wife’s voice echoing in my head.


“Not to sound totally insane, but how much wax does it take to do a bikini line when you’re a freaking werewolf?”


Not to say she’s hairy or a werewolf, but it was so a thing she would say. I had my heroine, but how did she become a werewolf? I’ve lived in the south my whole life and werewolves weren’t exactly common place. Goth kids in vampire makeup you could see everywhere. Tripped over them at the mall, Walmart. You name it. Werewolves? Not so much.


Then it hit me. What if lycanthropy was a sexually transmitted disease? That insane thought gave me the how. My heroine, who I named Madison, was rich and had gone on a vacation to Europe. She somehow got lost and ended up in Transylvania. Still, with me? Good, I know I’m hitting you with a lot of back story, but the biggest part of writing is getting to know your story and characters. I sat in my recliner living this back story in my head for a few minutes and fell in love with Mads. She is my wife so it was kind of easy.


Lost in Transylvania demanded a tall dark mysterious man. And, Nicholi Grant was born, or created rather. Madison, being who she had gradually become in my head, would have no problem having zee roll in zee hay with a tall dark mysterious stranger with the devilish good looks of Gerry Butler. My good friend Paisley Kirkpatrick made me say that, but it’s true. Nicholi does sort of remind me of him.


I had my first line, a Southern Belle and a mysterious one night stand who apparently turned out to be a werewolf. Sounded like I had a book on my hands. Nope, but I was close. I still needed a plot, a story to toss them into and shake like some fish in cornmeal and Tony’s. If you’re from the South, you’ll get that analogy. If not, I’m sorry.


This put me to thinking. Okay, it put me to watching a Buffy marathon on TNT. Then it hit me! Rather, my wife did and told me to stop mumbling to myself, Angel was on. Back to the Eureka. I needed monster hunters! But not as the main plot, a subplot building to the conclusion of the overall story. Still, what was Mads’ and Nicholi’s story?


There was so much to choose from. How did she become a werewolf? Will she forgive Nicholi for giving her a paranormal STD? Why did Nicholi show up after so long? It had been a year since their one night stand. These questions led me to wondering about Madison’s life in general. They were well off, but what if the family business was in trouble? Now, I had something to work with!


Namely, a multilayered story about a woman who’s a werewolf and meets the one night stand who turned her into a werewolf and just so happens to be trying to buy her family business, while a group of monster hunters are trying to kill them all.


Whew, try typing that three times fast!


Summing up the epic in those words doesn’t really sum it up either. The one line that would go on to become, Were Love Blooms is the story of a romance born in Europe but fully realized in the heart of Dixie. It is also about everything I grew up being surrounded by. A book about family. A book about a small town. A book incorporating the world I know and the world living inside my head.


As I look back on the seven years since I jotted down that mind numbing line, a lot has changed. It took me three years to finally finish Were Love Blooms. Thanks to Gail Delaney, I let Madison’s story play out. She read the beginning and said that I had to finish this book. I did and Desert Breeze ultimately published it. My wife and I have survived 16 yrs of being married and are stronger for the bad times, and happier because of the good times. I’ve seen three publishers go under, and found a home with Desert Breeze. I’ve seen over 20 books published and discovered a bigger world inside my head than I thought lived there. I’ve become a grandfather. I’ve seen the world grow bigger and smaller at the same time thanks to the internet. Lastly, I’ve been able to share my imagination with others for over 7 years and met readers and authors who have become friends and family to me. In short, life has been and is good. I am truly blessed.


Were Love Blooms and the entire Southern Werewolf Chronicles aren’t just the story of two people in love. It’s the story of me growing in my craft and in the process becoming friends with the world. To those of you who have read the Southern Werewolf Chronicles, thank you for spending both your money and time for a glimpse inside my head. To those of you who haven’t, I invite you to come and read for a spell. I might be biased, but I think the price of admission is well world the ride.


 were love bloomsfrom

Desert Breeze Publishing


Available from



other online booksellers


Wishing you a good week, and of course, happy reading!

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.




Desert Breeze Publishing



A Muse Speaks Out

So, I’m here.


Before you start wondering if this is Jmo off on another one of his insane diatribes, it’s not. It’s me, his muse. Apparently, I’m responsible for some sort of massive writer’s block and he is currently curled up in the fetal position sucking his thumb and clutching a Boba Fett action figure to his chest.


‘Boo hoo, I can’t write. The world is coming to an end. Maybe, I can get a job at the Kwikie Mart and be a normal productive member of society.’


You know what drama queens authors are.


As a result, he laid a guilt trip from hell on me, and I agreed to come on here and blog for him this week. If you’re expecting some profound revelation about how authors don’t need muses, the ability to write resides solely within them, you’re <censored> out of luck. Writers can barely tie their own shoes. Their heads are so in the clouds some days I wonder if they can function in society without someone telling them what to do. So, forget about writing without someone whispering sweet nothings in their ears.


As a muse myself, let me tell you, musing is a freaking hard job. It’s not nine to five either. And yeah, we get vindictive about it at times. We give them ideas when they have no chance in hell of remembering things. The ride home from work. In the shower. In the middle of the night when they can barely see. My personal favorite, when they’re doing their bodily functionary business. Nothing is funnier than seeing an author scrambling to jot down an entire chapter on a roll of TP with an eyeliner pencil. Any fool knows those things don’t stay sharp for crap, and if you try to use the sharpener that came with it, the lead will shatter before you get the chance to write, ‘It was a dark and stormy night’. The hours I’ve laughed my butt off over that.


But, I digress. I know after reading that you’re probably wondering why muses aren’t undergoing extensive anger management therapy. Well, we are. It’s called working with authors. In our defense, they push us to it. You tell them to go in one direction, and what do they do? They go in the opposite one. Then, blame us for it. Well, it’s not my fault if they can’t get the wax out their ears. Honestly, if they’d just get their preconceived ideas about plots out of their heads, things would flow a whole lot easier. Plots are static. They adapt, change, freaking evolve with the growth of the characters.


How hard is that to understand? What might have been true on page 12, might not be the case by page 154. People change. Why shouldn’t fictional characters? Come on, people! Even the author has changed, matured — even and you don’t know how I hate to use the word in relation to an author — during the course of writing a book. Real life has given them new insights into themselves and the world around them. That alone has to affect the story rolling around in his or her head. Writing isn’t about fiction, even if it’s the genre in question. Writing is fundamentally the act of interpreting life and presenting it in an entertaining way to those with a literary bent. I don’t include those Philistines waiting for the movie adaption. An entirely different muse altogether is over that department. They’re hacks so let’s not dwell on them or I’ll get all mental about it. Needless to say, they sponge off all my hard work to boil it down into an hour an a half of drivel that barely scratches the surface. Yeah! I got issues on the subject. Now, this in no way applies to Peter Jackson’s muse. That guy is a genius. His muse, not Peter Jackson. Muse rule one: Never give the author the credit.


Simply put, a muse’s job isn’t to inspire an author. It’s to keep the clutter that is their brains from interfering with the art of writing. Believe there is so much crap up there, it constantly amazes me writers can do anything other than drool and putter their fingers against their lips, as they sit in front of the television. I’ve watched Jmo do it enough to know how true that statement can be.


Look, despite what the public at large might think, muses do have lives, and mine is calling. Before I jet, I’m going to lay it out in clear distinct terms that even an author can understand.


Muses inspire.


We don’t write the crap for you.


If you have writer’s block, it’s not our fault. It’s you, not us.


Finally, I need that vacation Jmo is always saying I’m on. So, if you need me I’ll be in New Orleans until after Mardi Gras. So, if any authors are out there are attending, I’ll be throwing beads of inspiration from a balcony near you. You know what to do to get them. Men, I expect to see six packs. If I wanted to see middle age sag, I’d just stay home with Jmo.


I’m out of here!



Princess Leia River Natalie Jessica Mirrena Whatshernameiss,

Muse at large.


Hey, before I go, if you really want a peek inside the lives us muses, you should check out Be-Mused, an anthology. Me and Jmo collaborated on a spiffy little story in there. Don’t mean to offend you with blatant marketing of this nature, but muses work off of commission, so if you’re not buying, I’m not keeping myself in the lifestyle I’ll like to become accustomed to.


Be Mused

An A-MUSE-ing Anthology



From Desert Breeze Publishing

Jmo’s First Book Spotlight: Gloria Clover’s Children of the King

I am going to try something new this year. A monthly book spotlight. What does this mean exactly? Well, it’s not a book review. I’m not big on reviewing books. Either I like a book or I don’t. Sure, I have my opinions on books, but I’ve always been told if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything. No, my monthly book spotlight will showcase books that I have absolutely fallen in love with. It also means some months I might not spotlight anything. The theory behind this is if a book excites me enough to talk about it, I want my friends to know how great a read it is. If a book doesn’t, I’m not going to waste either one of our time talking about it. I might be an author, but I am first and foremost a reader. That’s kinda why I write.

To kick this thing off, I’m going to cheat a bit. The book that has me all a twitter this month is the third book in a series. After the first book, I just sat back and said wow! Book two hit me the same way, and by the time I went to bed with a headache from over reading during a short period, I just went, how come I can’t write like that.

The Children of the King series is just an amazing read. I know a lot of people will say I don’t read Inspirational Romance. I didn’t either, then a couple friends introduced me to the genre through their writing. That said. I’m addicted to Children of the King! It fits my three requirements for a great read. It holds my interest. I absolutely can’t wait to pick up my Kindle and I hate putting it down until I finish. CotK is also, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance and Inspirational. Count those. That’s four genres excellently wrapped into one tidy book, or three books in this case. With more to come!

Gloria Clover is one, of those amazing authors, who writes so smoothly, you just know she has as much fun writing it, as you do reading it. Her characters are so real that it’s like reading about someone you know. The plot is well developed and flows seamlessly, never once giving a hiccup along the way. The tension between her hero and heroine is spot on, and never once clichéd. I will gladly admit, on more than one occasion, she has made me weep. Gloria is just that good. From the Frozen Depths is just as strong a book as her first novel in the series, Washed Under the Waves. As a series writer myself, I can tell you how hard it is to keep the writing fresh when you’re working in the confines of a serial effort.

I’m not one to give spoilers, so I won’t. I’m going to let the blurb do my talking for me. Before I do that, I want to say one simple fact. If you are not reading Gloria Clover, you are missing a rare treat. Nuff said!


Children of the King

Book Three

From the Frozen Depths


A Devoted Princess

Padar Lacer receives a chilly reception on the island of Dharani, her new home and mission field. What was the King thinking to send her out in winter to a people frozen in their beliefs of caste and karma? Finding the island in the midst of civil war and its people being destroyed with a freeze ray weapon, Padar agrees to participate in a shocking act of healing.

A Determined Commander

Jym Fountayn wants to stop the war at all costs, even using a foreign princess to further his cause. After all, he warned her from the beginning that he was no prince.

The Ultimate King

Padar’s talk of a King who rules the universe, who can thaw hearts and shatter frozen thinking, ignites the entire island. Suddenly Jym wishes he was the chosen prince and not just a warrior destined to kill or be killed.

Well, that’s all from my very first Book Spotlight on the Giggles. Here’s hoping, it’s not the last. I want what everyone wants for this new year. A year full of truly amazing reads! For those of you intrigued by Gloria Clover’s work, here is the link to her Desert Breeze Author Page. You can also pick her books up from a host of places where ebooks are sold, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks.

Art of the Cover with Gwen Phifer

People judge books by the cover! I wish it tweren’t so, but it is. Hey, even I do it. Growing up, I bought many a book based solely on the dress or undress of the woman hanging off Conan’s sword arm. Don’t give me that sexist look. How many books have been bought based on the dress or undress of male models on Romance Novel covers? See, we aren’t that different now are we.

The point is authors aren’t the ones who get to make a good first impression. The cover does. True, the cover is a result of a brief description from an author or someone of the book, but the weight of a sale or no sale usually rests in the hand of an artist.

That said, I wanted to track down one of these starving individuals and get the straight scoop on what goes into making that first impression. Since my lawyers have told me that I can’t kidnap people anymore to gain interviews, I sunk to what we used to do in art school to get an artist’s attention, free food. Hey, we artists aren’t called starving for no particular reason. If it hadn’t been for popcorn and ramen noodles I might have never survived art school.

After advertising a bountiful buffet, I was able to entice the amazing Gwen Phifer to the Darkside. Amazing how cookies are better than actual money to get people in here. I did have to promise not to tickle her to get gratuitous giggles. Oh, well. You can’t win them all.

Gwen welcome to the Darkside. No, you get the cookies after the interview. Please put down the Oreos and tell us a little bit about yourself. You know, what drove you into the graphic medium, influences… the usual.

Seriously, put down the cookies.

ImageGwen: B-but you got those fatty thin mint lookalike Oreos… I haven’t had those in forever! Okay, okay. Since you’re holding those cookies hostage… I’d have to say I never really “got into” art but more was born into it. My mom is a college art professor and a painter. So there was always something to play around with at an early age- paints, etchings, watercolor, papier-mâché, Photoshop CS back in the day. She has been my biggest inspiration and motivator. So I went into Illustration at Savannah College of Art & Design, mostly because I thought art was my talent and hey, why not get into a profession making money doing the thing I love? I can hear the mental breaks screeching now… wait, what? Art isn’t my talent? Nah, I’m one of those analytical creative thinkers. Organization is my talent. Art keeps me sane.

So I realized after graduating in ’09 with the Great Recession that I had to reevaluate everything. The job that I thought was going to be there after college- wasn’t. My skills as an illustrator- not needed. So while I went through some depression and serious burn out, I got married to my looong time best friend and high school sweetheart and started teaching out at the barn where I learned to ride horses. (There’s a romance novel in that I’m sure of it.)

[Hollywood Dreams and Buttercream- Sandra Sookoo My first illustrated DBP cover. I’m kinda in love with it.]

Image Jmo: Cool. I totally get the burnout and no jobs after college. Been there, done that. It”s sort of why I’m a writer. That and the voices wouldn’t shut up. So, how did all that end up with you becoming a cover artist?

Gwen: Ha! Well, during college it was always a running joke with my roommates that I should illustrate romance novel covers. The majority of my library consists of fantasy/sci-fi/romance books sprinkled with some anatomy and color theory books. So when my aunt sent me the Desert Breeze Publishing job posting from one of her writing forums, I threw caution to the wind and jumped.

[Dreams- Katie Charles Pretty much hit close to home on that one.]Image

Jmo: Well, I’m glad you spit into the wind and jumped. At least, I think you spit. Why else throw caution into it. In the intro I said that the cover is the first impression of a book. How close to the truth do you think that is? If you agree, how much pressure does that put on you to make that impression unforgettable?

Gwen: Very true. As you go down the shelves, you’re looking at spines, feeling the weight and quality of the paper, glancing at the titles and the pretty pictures… or on the flip side, flicking through Amazon and taking in dozens of covers at a time. It’s split-second, subconscious decisions. The best part about being a cover artist is that I get to browse through books as “research”. Shh – don’t tell my husband! In all seriousness though, I look to see what catches my eye first, what doesn’t work, what are the trends in different genres, etc. It’s a BIG responsibility that I take very seriously, especially for the newer authors. Established authors have a following that will sometimes forgive a less than stellar cover. For new authors that is the first impression on a new reader, one that can make or break a sale.

[Perfect on Paper- Patty Froese was one of the first covers were I started getting into the swing of becoming a cover artist.]

Jmo: I’m a shelf shopper too. NothingImage better than looking at all the pretty covers. It also made me wonder before I became an author how much input an author has into creating a book’s cover. I’m sure my readers wonder that, too. Another point while we’re on the subject, how deep into a book do you go to discover the heart of a book, or do you depend on the author to give you the essence of the work?

Gwen: Who else knows their baby as well as the creator? I wish I had time to read every book that I get to do the cover for, but DBP has a great thing going with their Cover Art Info Sheets. It breaks a story down to its essence. Now, how much the author puts into telling me all those fine points is how far I can go. Oops, there’s my organization talent rearing its head! I do so love to fill out questionnaires… What do you mean; other people hate it?

Jmo: You’re weird! Insert laugh here, but seriously, I’d like to go a bit further into a continuance of that question. As an artist myself I know that it’s hard to separate yourself from any work of art. Like with writing, the art itself is an extension of the artist. So, with the focus of the cover the book itself, how much of yourself do you feel goes into a cover?

Gwen: It’s hard not to put a bit of yourself into a cover. Time, talent, critiques, revisions all refine a cover into something worth putting out there. Eventually I have to cut the cord, but there is always a sense of maternal pride and recognition when I see one of my covers floating out in the world. I don’t forget them.

Jmo: We artists feel the same way about our books. I know as authors, we all have an image set in our brain on what our cover should look like, but that seldom translates into a viable selling point to bring people past the cover to what’s inside. Before I smack your hand for cookie snitching, if you could tell an author one thing when it comes to cover expectations what would it be?

Gwen: Hey! But they are just sitting there, begging to be eaten! Okay, well, sometimes the first idea is the most horrible, overused, cliché idea possible. And that’s okay. We all have to work past that and we’ll probably come up with something better. I tell authors (and clients) that they are great with written words or verbal descriptions, but what is good on paper or in your head isn’t so good as a marketable image. It’s like comparing books to movies. Some things work while other things don’t. A lot of our choices as cover artists are backed up by experience and that research I told you about. Of course, I’m always happy to go back and explain my reasons when asked.


[Time After Time series- Tami Dee and Lynette Endicott There have been so many good revisions in this series because we are constantly hashing things out. Communication, it’s a good thing!]

Jmo: On the flip side of that, how hard is it for you to literally take someone else’s ‘baby’ and bring to life something that has been living inside their head for who knows how long?

Gwen: Oh my goodness, yes! It takes an insane amount of trust for authors to hand over their baby and let someone else give them a face. That person doesn’t know their baby like they do! I’m pretty sure one of the reasons Gail started DBP was because some “cover artist” mutilated her baby… with actual babies on the cover and naked off-description men! It was horrible. There are mental scars from what I saw.

Some authors have a ton of trust in me and will give me free rein with a couple of suggestions here and there.


[Paradise Pines series- Paisley Kirkpatrick just gave me the building blocks and let me run with it. Lasso Springs series- Kathleen Ball only insisted that there be a cowboy on each cover.]

Others will fight for a certain design element. One of my favorites that came out soooo much the better for it was Caina Fuller’s Good Shepherd series. I had my happy little design puttering along, but Caina had a vision of what she wanted (luckily she’s a cover artist too) and while there were a LOT of revisions that completely overhauled my initial plans, I love how that series turned out.


[Good Shepherd series- Caina Fuller]

Jmo: Since it’s apparent you’re not going to leave those Oreos alone, what advice would you give aspiring artists about being a cover artist? Then, yes you get an entire row of Oreos and all the milk you can drink.

Gwen: OMG, so good! Mmm! Oh yes, ah hem! Well, always be on the look out for covers and take notes to try and figure out what makes a cover eye-catching. While schooling isn’t as important, you need to develop your design sense somehow – through books, classes, what have you in order to know why placement of certain elements matter and why one design works over another. Knowledge is power and all that.


[Night of the Gryphon series- Tasarla Romaney was one of my first series with DBP and I learned sooo much on it!]

Jmo: Gwen, thanks for stopping by today. I hope we’ve entertained and informed the readers about what all goes into a cover. I’ll be the first to say it’s not an easy job but you make all your covers look simply amazing. So before you trot off with all my Oreos, and what looks to be a gallon of milk, please let the readers know where they can find more about you and your wonderful art.

Gwen: I wish I could show you all my art, however there is just too much. So you can check out my website at where you can find all my covers and their buying links! (I’m so proud of myself, website building is not my specialty. Blood, sweat and tears went into making it.) Plus, some sketchbook work, paintings, and headshots from my other job- a horse head illustrator for a simulated horse racing game- are all up there too. Jay and readers, I had a blast! Until we meet again!

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

Image Muse


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