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

http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com/southern-werewolf-chronicles-book-one-were-love-blooms-epub/

and

Available from

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Were-Blooms-Southern-Werewolf-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B0032JSL20/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1407113487&sr=1-1&keywords=were+love+blooms

and

other online booksellers

 

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

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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

 

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

Making a good first impression Jmo style!

 

 

ImageIt never hurts to make a good first impression. Bad impressions generally get you hit over the head with a beer bottles and rudely shoved out the door of your favorite watering hole. Since this blog is about writing and all writers want to make a good impression, we’ll be discussing my favorite first impression.

 

The first line of a book is your first impression. It’s the first taste a reader will get of your book. After honing my scan of a first paragraph, I’ve come to judge books by their first page and rarely by their covers. Sure, the cover sparks my interest, but if the first page makes me yawn, I slap it back on the shelf and mentally berate artists everywhere for tricking me. I grew up devouring books with covers by Boris, Frazetta and the Hildebrant Brothers, so I’m no stranger to picking up books based on cover art. It serves its purpose if the artist knows what they’re doing.

 

But, it’s up to me as an author to draw you past a cover with my writing skills. If you, or me, as a writer can’t back up that cover, we need to rethink a career in writing. That first line thing goes for chapters too. I’m also a big believer in last lines. The final line of a chapter should make you speed turn the page to find out what happens next. Most of the time, you have something to back that up, but not all chapters can leave you breathless. Some have to further the story in more mundane ways. But, this isn’t about last lines. It’s about first lines.

 

To illustrate my point, I’m going to use one of my favorite first lines from one of my books. This one is from Love at First Stake.

 

“Madam, are you aware you just shoved a sizable stake through my heart!”

 

Okay, see what I did there? That one line informed the reader of two things.  A. This book is about Vampires. B. This book just might be funny. Now, let’s see what tone I’d set if I went a different way.

 

            Her fist came down, slamming the ash hewn stake through the bloodsucker’s heart.

 

That sets a totally different tone. A. We still know it’s about Vampires. B. This book just might get gory and more serious than I intended. Another thing. It’s kind of boring. How many times have you read a vampire novel that is all about the mythology and mired in clichés? Love Bites was intended to be a different take on Vampires. A funny take. Something to set it apart from the horde of vampire books out on the shelves already. Hopefully, I succeeded in drawing in readers with that first line and keeping them entertained long enough to keep reading to the end.

 

One more first line. This is from Were Love Blooms.

Image

 

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

 

Again, I’ve defined the subject matter and tone of the book in a comical way. We immediately know the main character is a werewolf and none too happy about the fact. By the way, if anyone can answer that question for me I’d really like to know how much it takes. I might not be a werewolf, but I’m quite hairy.

 

But, I digress. This blog is about writing, not my follicle issues.

 

If you’ve been following this blog series, you’ve got a grasp on the concept that characters and plot are your first concerns. Once you know both of those things, you can get to the fun stuff. And, that’s the real point of writing. Having fun doing it. If you see it as work, it’ll come across as work. Nobody likes work, least of all readers. We read to escape work, life and stress in general.

 

I’m in no way saying comedy is everyone’s favorite, but the first line first impression works no matter what genre you’re writing. Let me show you. This is from a current work in progress that I’ve been playing around with in my spare time. Ha! What spare time? Please forgive the language, but sometimes situations dictate a harsh response, especially if you’re dealing with a harsh type of character. The name of this work is Shadick’s Brand.

 

“Son of a bitch!” Jace Shadick let the curse roll across his lips, as he saw the plume of smoke painting the dusty blue sky.

 

What does the first line tell you? Probably not a comedy. Something bad just happened. Something worse is probably going to happen. The title of the book hints that it’s a Western, so I tailored his speech and the visual description to mirror his environment and times. Not only does the first line give you his frame of mind, but it allows you a look into the world around him. Dusty blue sky equals cloudy day. The smoke gives you an idea that a tragedy has occurred. The curse tells you it is something he doesn’t want to deal with. That’s a lot for a line to tell you. More importantly, does it make you want to read more? Feel free to tell me the truth. I would appreciate it.

 

What can we bring away from all this? First lines are windows to your book. It’s a hook to make a reader want to read more. The impact defines the tone of a book. A single line can give a complete overview of what a reader can expect. Finally, if you’re doing it right, first lines can be fun.

 

So next time you sit down to write, consider how important that first impression is. From there it’s up to you to either totally kill it, or get hit with a beer bottle. Figuratively of course. But, if it were me, I’d try to kill it, just in case. Beer bottles really hurt.

 

 

 

Writing the Jmo Way!

First off let me say Happy Easter! I hope you are all safe, happy, and blessed.

Now on to the business of the day. Last week I let my good friend Paisley take the heat off me with her guest blog so I could give myself an extra week to think on the second part of my writing blog series. Because, with this one, I really needed the thunking time.

Plot is never an easy thing to talk about. To quote a famous Doctor it’s all whimbly wombly. The spellings might be a little off but you get the idea.

To begin with, plot gets confused with story. Plot is the driving force of a story, not the story itself. The story is a direct result of how the plot guides the character through the twists and turns an author puts those characters through. Somewhere, there is probably a list of all the plots ever thought up by authors. There aren’t that many, but here’s a few just to give you an idea.

Man versus environment.

Man versus man.

Man versus self.

Man versus an intergalactic zombie horde bent on world domination and delectable human brainage.

Okay, that last one is mine and mine alone, but it’s still a viable plot, just one that not even a comic book would use.

The three plots about it though can be twisted to be used for just about every eventuality. I leave it to you to come up with those twists. In part one of this series, I told you I would be using the plot from my new WiP to illustrate my points. In it, we went over characters and how I came up with a story. Now that we have three different plots to base a book on, lets go over a few different techniques in developing a plot.

Character driven plots.

Story driven plot

Insane sadist author driven plot.

What do I mean by those?

Character driven plots tend to allow the characters themselves to determine how a plot will develop and unfold. Their reactions or actions dictate how the plot flows. This to me is a panster mentality. The writer discovers what happens as the reader does, by the seat of his or her pants. There’s a lot of room for error this way, but it also gives a spontaneity to the work that adds an excitement element that any other way just can’t compete with.

Story driven plots are more developed before hand. The author has a firm grasp on the book and knows the plot well enough to see how the characters will react to the story as he or she sees it. Usually, the author can envision the entire story with no surprises because the ending is already set in stone.

Do I really need to go into that last one? The author throws everything but the kitchen sink, and sometimes that, at his characters and rubs his hands maniacally while he does it. Yes, I used male pronouns, because most of the time that’s me doing it.

But, I have used all three techniques as a writer. Early on, I was the supreme pantster. Now, I use a combination of all three to achieve my nefarious ends.

Before starting Bite the Neck that Loves You, I had my plot already. In fact the plot for all the Bite Marks books are already set in stone. Franki would look for Alex, then they both would look for the Tome of Alabaster, a book they needed to find and keep out of the First Fallen’s hands. For those not in the know, The First Fallen is the first vampire birthed on earth. Not telling how, in case you haven’t caught up yet. I’d call that plot man versus environment, but I could be wrong because my characters need to battle their own natures to achieve that end. That’s the thing about characters, if they don’t evolve, you’re basically spinning your wheels. We craved growth in those we care about. Why shouldn’t people in books grow too? We love them just as much as people out here in the real world.

Here’s where things go wonky on a writer. Just because we have a plot, characters we pretty much know like second cousins and even a firm grasp on all the things that will happen between page one and the end, those characters will do things to totally screw up the middle bit. The plot doesn’t change but how the story develops changes because of how the characters begin evolving on you.

So, you have to step back and take a different look on things. This is where the term writer’s block comes from. Nothing twists up a writer’s mind like having their creations not do what we tell them to do. We’re a megalomaniac bunch, when it comes to stuff like that.

That’s all my secrets for this week. Next week, I’ll come up with something else to ponder on. Thinking something about first lines, or cliffhangers. Any who. Happy Easter and have a wonderful week.

Happy Reading!

Jmo.

Inteview with the Jmo

 

Image

Welcome to the second blog from Giggles from the Darkside. What have I got for you today? Something slightly insane. I’m sitting in a dank dark motel room on the outskirts of… Heck, I don’t even know where I am. Last thing I remembered was taking candy from this woman standing in front of a white van. Crap! I knew I should have listened to my parents. Kids pay attention. Don’t talk to strangers! Ever!

With my public service message out of the way, I guess it would be prudent to get to the heart of this blog. Quite frankly, I’m a little nervous, and would like to get out of this joint before I ended up putting lotion on its skin. The guy with the sharp teeth is motioning for me to get on with this. Since, he’s the one who’s got me pink fluffy handcuffed to this chair, I better listen to him.

 Here with me, under duress–me, not him– is my guest Demetrious de Mecini, world leader and Vampire. Dressed superbly in  a pink and purple floweredy shirt and khaki shorts, he is the epitome of the quiet cool only James Dean, or Buddy Hackett, could pull off. So, let’s give him the appropriate response someone of his personage deserves. You know, before I become a midnight snack in a cheap No Tell Motel in the outskirts of… Where am I again? Oh, it doesn’t matter.

 Jmo: Demetrious, welcome to Giggles from the Darkside.

 Demetrious: Please call me Deme. All my friends do.

 Jmo: Uh, okay. Deme, I understand you wanted me to help you set certain facts straight.

 Deme: That is correct. When we enlisted you to chronicle our unfolding history, I did not realize that you would do so in such a comedic way. Some of my family are not as amused as I’m sure your readers are.

 Jmo: Hey, guy. You wanted humans to empathize with you. The only way that’s going to happen is if, I show you guys warts and all. You can’t ask someone to write about you, and not expect him to write the truth and whole truth. In fact, I believe I had that written into my contract.

 Deme: You did, which is why our lawyers aren’t conducting this inquisition.

 Jmo: Inquisition is such a harsh word. Couldn’t we say friendly chat.

 Deme: No.

Jmo: Then, inquisition it is! So, what would you like my readers to know?

Deme: First off, we are not buffoons for your entertainment.

Jmo: Dude, you kinda are. They wouldn’t be reading it, if they weren’t entertained.

Deme: I expected a dignified historical account. Not some sensualized expose of the purest tabloid kind. We are Vampires! Not some alien come to earth to anally probe New Age spouting celebrities.

Jmo: I understand that. If you look at the books, they don’t paint you buffoonish. You guys are the heroes. You’re fighting for all of us. I think that makes y’all pretty freaking awesome. The readers do to. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be going print. Not to mention the fact book seven will be coming out this year.

Deme: Print you say? I must have missed the email.

Jmo: Yeah, book three comes out later this month.

Deme: If I’m not mistaken that book is the one Dela and I act as the protagonists in.

Jmo: That’s right. You two rock the world, dude. Big time.

Deme: Then perhaps, we shall allow you to continue to chronicle our exploits. But, no more of this sensationalism for sensationalism’s sake. Record the facts as they are presented to you.

Jmo: You got it. If these handcuffs allowed me to, I’d cross my heart and everything.

Deme: That won’t be necessary. One other matter before I go, Donatello would appreciate it if you’d scale back the Star Wars references. He finds them disturbingly immature. Instead, he suggests you quote from the classics of cinema. Casablanca, The Ten Commandments, Joe Dirt.

Jmo: I’ll see what I can do.

Deme: See, that you attempt to do so. You would not like Donatello to come visit you for a conversation on the matter. On that note, I must be off. Things to do. Disney Land to see.

Jmo: Hey, what about me? I’m still handcuffed.

Deme: Oh, I nearly forgot. Think of this as your Christmas Carol. Someone else wishes to speak with you. She should be along shortly. Oh another thing that has slipped my mind. Do you happen to have the address for one Gail Delaney? Dela asked me to get her autograph. She is a huge Phoenix fan.

Jmo: Uh, I don’t think so.

Deme: Too bad.

Not believing this one bit, I sat there and watched him leave. Characters were so temperamental. I wondered what he meant by someone else wanted to talk to me. Not counting my wife, I couldn’t imagine who I’d peeved off enough to lock me in a cheap motel room.

Well, while I try to figure it out, feel free to check out all the Love Bites books now on the new and improved Desert Breeze Publishing website!

 DESERT BREEZE PUBLISHING

 

To be continued!

Will Jmo discover the identity of his next vistor?

Will he free himself from bondage?

Will he discovers he likes bondage?

Stay tuned,

as next week,

we’ll find out the answers to those questions and some we haven’t thought of yet.