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,

Jmo

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A Moment to Ponder

I try to spread myself around a bit. By that I mean, I do more than simply write Romance and the occasional Young Adult. When the mood hits me, I’ve been known to write a poem or twenty.  What do I write about? Same thing I attempt to compose in my books. Emotions. Except in my poetry I don’t hide behind characters. Poetry is all about revealing your inner self, even if it is only to yourself. I think it’s also about revealing how you view your personal relationship with the world around you. in short, poetry is all about discovering yourself. As a result, of all this self discovery, I normally only share my poems with a few select group of friends.

Again, why? Maybe, it’s because I’m afraid of showing the world who I truly am. That fear limits you as an artist in some ways. A lot of ways. So today I’m throwing open my inner self to you my friends. Hope you walk away with something that might give you something to think about and maybe a voice to explain how your own heart searches to find purpose in this strange world we call home.

Sad is the times of our life,

as childhood wanes

into the light of aged musings

Give me the youth I remember,

the soft delight of shadows

across a brilliant sky

I feel the harsh sun at my back,

the gray morning of forever at my feet.

Should I bequeath myself to the inevitable?

And continue the journey,

or sit upon this throne of sorrow,

passing the memories of what should have been

across the tips of my fingers.

a childhood game remembered too late.

My head hung low

I question the fate allotted to me,

Damning the choices that brought me

To the impasse I have given to myself

in hollowness of my arrogance.

Alone I stand at the precipice,

A crossroads of decision.

With a shrunken smile I follow

the path most traveled.

Feel free to kiss the feet of the fool

Who thought everything

was but a handful of ambition away.

Too late realizing

age brings wisdom to those few

who survive the tribulation

they create in the wake of

their passing through life,

yet it does little

to change the outcome.

Life is the hand

we deal to ourselves.

 

 

A Beautiful Disaster

Life is a beautiful disaster. Not sure who said that, but its freaking true. Life paints a painful picture on the best of days, and Greek tragedies on the normal days of the week. So what’s so beautiful about it?

The story of the human spirit that is told in the living of it.

Please examine that statement of fact. If you don’t agree with what I just said, this blog isn’t for you. Thanks for stopping by and checking things out. I promise I don’t hold your moving on against you. People disagree and that is again part of the beauty of the life we live. Let me get on with this before I lose track of what I intended to write.

Any great life is not about happily ever after. There is no happily ever after. There is happily for now. That’s all any of us get. Moments of happy surrounded by tribulation and pain. Those moments might equal seconds or linger on for weeks at a time, but happy is not a constant. Happy is a fragile state of mind. Enjoy it while you can. The story of your life is just like the stories most of us like to read. A rough road to travel ending in a brief but satisfying explosion of happy.

The job of a good writer is to turn that real life journey into a fictional story close enough to the truth to be believable, but fictional enough that people can enjoy reading it. If a person grabs a fictional book, nine times out of ten it’s to escape reality not to be reminded of it. I say writer because writers work for a living. Authors seem to just go on talk shows and cash checks. Not saying all people called authors are authors. Some are some of the hardest workings writers you’ll ever meet. For now, I’m just a writer whose brain isn’t working as hard as it should.

Why?

Because I’m busy getting my ass kicked by that beautiful disaster called life. Call me insane but I think that’s the fun part. And, the part that most people enjoy reading. I know I do. The struggle to overcome those things that we all must battle to move forward to the next hurdle in becoming who we are meant to be. Everyone has heard the saying write what you know. I say this. Knowing something isn’t necessarily the same as having lived it. I know about childbirth but I haven’t lived through it, except you know as a baby. Pretty sure that doesn’t count. If I wrote a scene about it, my take on the subject would be slightly plastic because I have no physical reference to draw from. Doesn’t mean I can’t tell it convincingly, but it won’t have the heart of something told with my own life experiences to back it up. Being a drunken fool riding on top of a car I can pull off like a champ. So writing what we know is only half the battle when it comes to being a writer.

Breathing life into it, takes more than skill or talent. It takes a combination of skill, talent, and experience. Something else adds into the mix, and it’s something most people who aspire to writers don’t have. The balls to lay their souls bare for all to read. Well, enough of our souls to entice readers into achieving an emotional connection with the characters within our books.

All the books I’ve fallen in love with over the years have had that connection. I strive to achieve the same level of love in my books. I want the people who read my books to walk away breathless with anticipation for the next scene. That’s where life experiences come into play. Sure, my books are about Vampires, Werewolves and things decidedly not real life. The heart of my books is about being true to who I am. That truth is in my characters and the story of their lives. The story I lay out is for my friends, because readers sounds so impersonal, to enjoy.

Is it necessarily my life?

No, but parts of it belong to me and I share it with you like I do in this blog. Full of love and the trust that in some way it brings you splashes of love and joy. That is how I mean them to be. My letter is to you all because you are not just readers, or friends. You are the family of my heart.

 

Until next week,

Happy Reading!

Jmo

Birthday Resolutions.

My brain has kind of been on other things today. Sleeping for the most part but that’s because of hot dog consumption and sugar free Boston Cream Pie. Yeah, and having my birthday party so all my family could be here for it. That’s right I turned another year older this week. At one time that would have sent me scurrying for under the bed, but as age has worn me down I’m less afraid of getting old, and enjoying the act of getting old. Two different things altogether so don’t think they’re one in the same.

Old implies it’s over. Getting older is all about refining the stupid out of the equation of you living. Let’s face it, you never outgrow stupid you just learn to avoid the stupid you’re used to. See, big difference. A lot of you guys do New Year’s resolutions, but shouldn’t your birthday be the time for resolutions. I’m not saying I’m going to make any. That’s just asking for failure. Don’t think I haven’t see the neighbors moving those exercise machines to their back sheds. Why would I want to go through moving something I have no intention of ever using anywhere in the first place.

No, I think the only resolutions worth making are the ones realistically you can keep. What might they be, you’re asking yourself. Okay, in my head you are. So kiss it, and let’s move on to the guts of this blog.

First off, I’m never going to let a day go by without telling the people who matter in my life, I love them. How I’m a better man for them being a part of the present, working toward my future. I honestly could not do what I do on a daily basis without each one of my family and friends lifting me up when I stumble. Without them, slowing my roll when I get full of myself. Most importantly, loving me when I can’t see much in myself worth loving. In return, they deserve all they give me and more in return.

Second off, I might not lose the weight I need, or exercise as much as I should, but that doesn’t mean I can’t attempt to be the best me I can be. Every day I am going to try to be a little better than I was the day before. I’m going to work on my flaws and make them into my strengths. I may or may not exercise if the need arises. You know? Like zombies start taking over and I need to run to my car or something. Priorities you understand.

Lastly, as a writer I’m going to try and actually write. That sounds way easier than it is. Writing is an exercise in futility most of the time. Your brain isn’t always your best friend. Sometimes it whispers doubts into your ear. Okay, that’s you doing the whispering but your brain is involved. Still, that’s not an excuse to give up. If anything, it should make you try harder. Notice I said should. The brain is a fickle thing.

Last year my brain told me I couldn’t write, and I listened to it. I shut down all production when it came to the written word. That included reading it. This year I’ve accepted a new prerogative. I’m not going to listen to my brain no matter what it tells me. Sky blue? Not on my watch! I’ll be the first to admit my brain has led me into more than one adventure titled trouble in the first degree.

But, sometimes trouble is a good thing. Trouble instigates change, which is definitely a good thing. Last year was definitely a year I’d rather not live through again, but it also made me realize that I can’t go through life thinking I can do it all myself. I need my family. I need my friends. I need God above to hold me up when nothing or nobody else can.

Even though writing is still a struggle, I am muddling through as best I can. I think it’s making me a better writer. I am not rushing to satisfy word count. I find myself slowly considering every avenue the plot might present and not settling until I find the best one to drive the story.  In the end, I hope that gives me and my readers a story worth waiting for and not just a story to fill a weekend.

I think I’ve given this whole resolution thing enough thought for one year. The Walking Dead is on, so I’m going to go escape into that and when I come out the other end, just maybe my imaginary world is the reality we can all look forward to seeing!

Til next week,

Happy Reading, my friends, and God bless you all.

Is Romance Dead? A Jmo insight

As a “Romance” novelist, I have found myself asking more and more, ‘Is Romance dead?’

Maybe, dying a slow lingering death would be closer to being the question in question. Hey, it’s not like I don’t believe in Romance. I do. Hopelessly devoted to the stuff. Romance makes me happy, but as I look out over the landscape of our society, I see emphasis on it lessening. The act of love seems to hold a lesser importance in the eyes of people. To me, feel free to tell me if I’m wrong, people care more about the immediate ‘act of love’ than the lasting emotional attachment of romantic love.

Just think about it. In the last decade or so, terms have moved away from true love, love at first sight, and the flow of romance songs to the terminology of Booty Calls, Hook Ups, and any other sayings you might have heard. As a result of all this physical dependence on what should be a purely emotional occupation, I see humanity becoming less human and more animalist. Sorry if that offends anyone, but people not caring to fall in love offends me.

Seriously, this has nothing to do with me being a Romance author and more with me being a member of the human race. Our ability to love and receive love is what makes us more evolved than any other animal on this planet. Make no mistake, we are animals. We give into our baser selves too much not to be. By giving and receiving love we rise above what we are to achieve and what we can be. That might sound sappy, but quite frankly I don’t care. I would rather offer and lose my heart than spend a lifetime wondering what all the fuss was about it.

It kinda of makes me sad to hear people talking more about hook-ups and getting one than finding that right person. I’m not just talking about guys but also women. This is where things get depressing so feel free to avert your eyes if you’re the tender sort.

The loss of Romance can only mean one thing.  Magic has truly died in our world. Dragons no longer exist except in our imaginations.  Yes, I truly believe dragons existed, unicorns too. Why because it makes me happy to think they did. But, over the course of humanity’s evolution, we’ve lost the ability to believe in anything that is not before our eyes. That being said, how far behind those things can true love be? Not far, by the looks of popular media.

Let’s face it, we are evolving. Emotion gives way to stoic dependency on reality. Reality has no place for emotions, except for hate and sadness. Those are emotions that our society can safely explain. Love? That one sits outside scientists’ ability to document and fits into their thesis about the human condition. Closest they can come is saying it’s a chemical reaction to pheromone production or electrical stimuli based solely on physical appearance. Again those with tender sensibilities turn away. I call bullshit of the highest order. There kiss it and move on scientist.

This trend does not just sadden me because as a Romance novelist ‘Romance’ is my bread and butter. That is only a small part of my heart break over it. To appreciate the magical nature of my books, you have to believe in the magic of love. To make this work a better place, you need to believe that the magic of love can change hearts and lives. More and most importantly, you NEED to believe your life can be moved and changed because someone loves you and in turn you can open yourself to loving them. Sometimes, as authors, we paint unfair expectations of what love can be. I agree totally with that. We do, but we also do something else. We open lives and hearts to expecting love. Isn’t that worth the risk of making people, women and men, believe love exists and can be magical when most of the time love escapes that quality. Still it’s out there. How can I be so sure? I have it, so know you can. I even know where it comes from. Feel free to disregard my theory if it doesn’t mesh with yours.

I believe in a God above. If that God isn’t yours, that’s okay. Mine loves you all the same. And, in my eyes, love and as a result Romance is one of the greatest gifts our heavenly Father has given us. Having an empathetic connection to one another is our connection to Him. I’m not saying romance is dying because of the loss of belief in God. I leave that to you to decide. I’m just here to present my views and give you cause to think for yourself. I would never impose my views on you. You have your experiences and beliefs to define your world.

That said, I leave you with this.

Whatever you believe, never believe without an open heart. Live with a loving heart. If you can accomplish those things, what a wonderful world it would be.

And, one I hope to be a part of.

Til next week, love out loud and as always happy reading,

  1. Morgan

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