roh morgon

Coming Soon

Runner: Book II of The Chosen

~~~

Welcome to my blog home

You may notice that it’s a bit musty, with a few cobwebs in the corners and dust bunnies lurking in the darker places. But I’m in the process of opening the shutters and sweeping the floors, so you can expect some changes over the next few weeks as I tidy up broken links and outdated content. Be sure to stop by – I promise to have a clean chair so you can stay awhile.

roh morgon @ Saturday, 18 February 2017 8:04 pm
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category: catalog,e-Watch,vampire
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~ a little history

I’ve been a reader since I can remember. I started with animal stories, and along the way fell in love with a magnificent Arabian stallion called The Black in Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion. I read the whole series, and anything else about horses that I could get my hands on.

My next phase was the Readers’ Digest Condensed Books for Children. Though they were shortened versions, without the RD books I probably never would have been exposed to such classics as Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Moby Dick, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and countless others.

When I was in junior high school, my dad signed me up for the Science Fiction Book Club. Every 30 days they would send their book-of-the-month. I read Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dune long before they were made into movies, along with many other science fiction classics.

I briefly dabbled in westerns when I spent a summer with my grandparents, and I fell head over heels for the steel-eyed, silent stranger who was fast with a gun and saved the day.

And then I discovered fantasy. Lord of the Rings opened up doors to lands even more wonderful that those in the wild west or on the faraway planets of science fiction, and I quickly immersed myself into realms ruled by magic and swords.

In the 1990s, the movie Interview with a Vampire introduced me to a new genre. After I read all of Anne Rice’s books, I consumed every vampire story I could get my hands on. Wonderful stories by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Elaine Bergstrom, Nancy Collins, Nancy Baker and many others showed me how a simple mythology can have so many different—and fascinating—interpretations.

Fast forward to 2008. Vampires had taken over pop culture, thanks to the Twilight books and movies. Stephanie Meyer brought a new twist to the genre, one I thought was actually quite clever in spite of the grumblings by critics about “sparkly vampires.”

And then, one morning in December, I woke up with this sad, lonely vampire woman in my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about her, and when I got to work, I quickly wrote a one-page lament in her voice. She talked about her isolation, her fear of killing someone, and her anguish at watching her daughter live out her life from afar.

I wasn’t sure what to do at that point. I’d always thought about writing books, but never felt I had the time. Writing was something I’d decided would have to wait until I was retired.

But this creature, this vampire woman, would not leave me alone. And I found myself wondering about her life, and how she spent her time, and what had happened to make her this way.

And so, in early January 2009, I gave in and started writing down the bits of her existence that she revealed to me. Sunny showed me her life as though it were a movie, and all I did was translate the film into words on a computer screen.

Nicolas entered the picture a week or so later. Together they were relentless, and as their story unfolded in my head, movie-fashion, I could do nothing but write.

They would start in on me late at night, at 10:00, or maybe 11:00 – just when I was ready to go to bed. The movie played, and I had no choice but to type.

Sleep was a reward they allowed me only after the clock showed 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, and I would gratefully shut down my computer and stagger to bed. My alarm would go off the next morning at 6:00 a.m., and I would crawl to work. After a long day, I returned home, only to repeat the cycle again, and again.

Weekends became typing marathons, with 5:00 a.m. bedtimes and 8:00 a.m. wakeups. And the movie played, and my fingers could only comply with the pressure to get the story out.

And I learned what it’s like to live with vampires.

Five months later, the first draft of the novel was completed. I then spent the next eighteen months learning how to write (something I’m still working on), and in October 2011, Watcher: Book I of The Chosen was born.

Since then, I’ve written several short stories in the Watcher world, along with a number of stories in a new YA series.

But the vampires refuse to let me go just yet. Runner: Book II of The Chosen is scheduled for release in Fall 2017—and there are more stories about their world on the way.

roh morgon @ Thursday, 13 July 2017 10:32 pm
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~ Watcher re-boot

Watcher re-boot?

Yes.

It’s been six years since Watcher: Book I of The Chosen was released. In that time, the series has gained a small but dedicated following.

And so, with the pending release of Runner: Book II of The Chosen this fall, I thought it was a good time to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time:

Re-release a professionally edited Watcher, with new and improved content – and a brand new cover.

The editing was finished some time ago, but with my focus on completing Runner, it was necessary to delay actually incorporating those edits.

Runner is now with my editor, and Watcher is getting a serious makeover – one that I hope will make it more worthy to be the flagship of this series.

But even with snappier dialog, expanded scenes, and a flashy new cover, the heart of the story remains the same – a story about choice, about love and loss, and about coming out stronger on the other side.

 

 

roh morgon @ Sunday, 9 July 2017 10:54 pm
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~ a new story

More than a few years ago I worked on an anthology project with the Fresno Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers. It had a pretty cool theme, with stories that were connected to a specific family and place, as well as to the stories preceding and following our own.
 
The place was a fictional town in England by the name of Woadsbury (known for growing the woad dye plant and making the blue dye itself). The family was the resident, or in some cases, ruling family of the town. There was no restriction on time period, and so the antho opened with a story that pre-dated history and ended with one set in the far future in space.
 
The story I wrote took place in the early 1600’s during one of Europe’s witch-hunting phases, and was a charming fantasy about a young healer and her dog. It’s my mother’s favorite story that I’ve written.
 
Unfortunately, the FSFW group disbanded and its members are now scattered across the world. Our ambitious little anthology (our second such project) withered away with no one to curate it, and our stories of Woadsbury and its family sit idly by on desktops and laptops and forgotten flash drives.
 
Recently, I took out my Woadsbury story and dusted it off with the idea of fleshing it out a bit and publishing it as a stand-alone novella. In the process, it changed from semi-YA to YA, gained a new title, and tripled in word count (nearly novel-length). It’s also tied more securely to my middle-grade/YA series, Forbidden Doorways, that I’ve been working on here and there for many years.
 
So, to make a long story short (one about me making a short story long), I will be looking for beta readers who enjoy YA fantasy. This is a bit of a sweet romance, with a little humor and a little darkness here and there. Oh, and magic. It has lots of that.
 
Stay tuned for my next post, in which I will include the opening scene from “Saving Magic”.
roh morgon @ Friday, 24 March 2017 10:34 pm
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~ women in horror month blog talks – day 5

W.J. Howard is the organizer behind this week’s Women in Horror Month Blog Talks. Below is her blog post with a list of featured writers for today’s topic, “Torture”.

~ ~ ~

Welcome to our final day of Women in Horror Month Blog Talks featuring a discussion on torture. Below is a list of blogs and guests in today’s talks.

To Connect with Participants and Join More Discussions
Go to the Facebook Event Page

James P. McDonald hosts
Torture as a Favorite Pastime
by Anne Hogue-Boucher

Anne is always wondering when the stars will be right, and is madly in love with her spouse. She is a werewolf wrangler, and writer of weird fiction and horror.
Go to Blog

W. J. Howard hosts
Thinking Torture
by Dina Rae

Dina Rae has penned 6 books with a 7th on the way. Her themes revolve around conspiracy, NWO, paranormal, and aliens. The Best Seller is her latest book.
Go to Blog

Briana Robertson hosts
Fascinating Torture
by W. J. Howard

Wendy Howard writes dark stories mixed with comedy. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two boisterous beagles, and wine is an important part of her diet.
Go to Blog

Roadie Notes hosts
The Most Intense Torture
by Debbie Christiana

Debbie writes dark romantic fiction and dark short fiction. She’s a lover of yoga, Halloween, horror, wine and Labradors.
Go to Blog

Dina Rae hosts
A Difficult Topic
by James P. McDonald

James is a business and technology consultant, fiction and non-fic author, technology and futurist speaker.
Go to Blog

W. J. Howard hosts
The Threat
by L.J. Moran

L.J. Moran currently lives in S. Jersey. She’s into animal rescue, horror conventions, and is addicted to coffee.
Go to Blog

roh morgon @ Friday, 24 February 2017 8:19 am
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~ women in horror month blog talks – day 4

W.J. Howard is the organizer behind this week’s Women in Horror Month Blog Talks. Below is her blog post with a list of featured writers for today’s topic, “Evil Women in Pop Culture”.

~ ~ ~

Welcome to our fourth day of Women in Horror Month Blog Talks featuring a discussion on evil women in pop culture. Below is a list of blogs and guests in today’s talks.

To Connect with Participants and Join More Discussions
Go to the Facebook Event Page

W. J. Howard hosts
The Worst Kind of Villain
by James P. McDonald

James is a business and technology consultant, fiction and non-fic author, technology and futurist speaker.
Go to Blog

James P. McDonald hosts
Women Who Kill
by C.A. Verstraete

C.A. Verstraete loves writing with a bit of a scare! She is author of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter and a young adult novel, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie.
Go to Blog

 W. J. Howard hosts
My top 5 Villainesses in Horror/SF Horror list
by Juli D. Revezzo
Juli writes fantasy and romantic stories filled in with elements garnered from a lifetime love affair with magic, myth, witches, wizards, and fated lovers and legend.

C.A. Verstraete hosts
Death Personified
by Zrinka Jelic

Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada. She’s a member of the Romance Writers of America and its Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal chapter, as well as Savvy Authors.
Go to Blog

Claire Fitzpatrick hosts
Beverley Allitt: Serial Murderer and
Evil Woman in Pop Culture
by W. J. Howard

Wendy Howard writes dark stories mixed with comedy. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two boisterous beagles, and wine is an important part of her diet.
Go to Blog

roh morgon @ Thursday, 23 February 2017 6:13 am
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~ women in horror month blog talks – day 3

W.J. Howard is the organizer behind this week’s Women in Horror Month Blog Talks. Below is her blog post with a list of featured writers for today’s topic, “Scary Confessions”.

~ ~ ~

Welcome to our third day of Women in Horror Month Blog Talks featuring a discussion on our scary confessions. Below is a list of blogs and guests in today’s talks.

To Connect with Participants and Join More Discussions
Go to the Facebook Event Page

W. J. Howard hosts
Scary Inspiration
by W. J. Howard with Lauren Curtis

Wendy Howard writes dark stories mixed with comedy. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two boisterous beagles, and wine is an important part of her diet.
Go to Blog

Audrey Brice hosts
Secret Confession: I’m Not a Woman in Horror
by B.E. Scully

B.E. Scully lives in a haunted red house that lacks a foundation in the misty woods of Oregon with a variety of human and animal companions.
Go to Blog

Lincoln Farish hosts
Inner Voice
by Suzie Lockhart

Convinced she was destined to be an artist, Suzie Lockhart attended The Art Institute of Pittsburgh after graduating high school, but the gnawing urge to write remained with her.
AND
Nightmares
by Naching T. Kassa

Naching T. Kassa is a wife, mother, and Horror Author. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a contributor to the Demonic Visions series.
Go to Blog

Naching T. Kassa hosts
A Path of Fear
by Carson Buckingham

Carson Buckingham is a professional novelist, short story writer, editor, proofreader, copywriter, technical writer, comedy writer and worshipper of Terry Pratchett and Shirley Jackson.
AND
Nightmare Influence
by Zrinka Jelic

Zrinka Jelic is a member Romance Writers of America and its Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal chapter, as well as Savvy Authors. She writes contemporary fiction, which leans toward the paranormal and adds a pinch of history.
Go to Blog

Travis Heermann hosts

Enter the Spirit World
by Audrey Brice

Audrey Brice writes paranormal thrillers, mysteries, and horror stories where spirits, demons, and occult practitioners are both heroes and villains.
AND
Everyday Horror
by Briana Robertson

Briana Robertson is the author of all things dark–horror, fantasy, poetry, and more. Advocate for mental health and suicide awareness. Wife and mother of three.
Go to Blog

Christine Fitzpatrick hosts
Irrational Things
by Claire L. Fishback

Claire lives in Morrison, Colorado with her loving husband, Tim, and their pit bull mix, Belle. Writing has been her passion since age six.
AND
Fear of Failure
by James P. McDonald

James is a business and technology consultant, fiction and non-fic author, technology and futurist speaker.
Go to Blog

Roadie Notes hosts
Night Terrors
by KC Grifant

The founding co-chair of the Horror Writers Association’s San Diego Chapter, KC Grifant has written scifi, horror and fantasy stories for the Lovecraft Ezine and more.
Go to Blog

roh morgon @ Wednesday, 22 February 2017 8:39 am
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~ women in horror month blog talks – day 2

W.J. Howard is the organizer behind this week’s Women in Horror Month Blog Talks. Below is her blog post with a list of featured writers for today’s topic, “Favorite Women in Horror”.

~ ~ ~

Welcome to our second day of Women in Horror Month Blog Talks featuring a discussion on our favorite women in horror. Below is a list of blogs and guests in today’s talks.

To Connect with Participants and Join More Discussions
Go to the Facebook Event Page

Morbidly Beautiful hosts
Women I Hope to Write Like
by Roh Morgon

Roh Morgon writes fantasy and horror for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers. She’s best known for her vampire series.
Go to Blog

Roadie Notes hosts
First Lady, Mary Shelley
by James P. McDonald

James is a business and technology consultant, fiction and non-fic author, technology and futurist speaker.
Go to Blog

Blaze McRob hosts
The Dark Romance of Anne Rice
by Travis Heermann

Freelance writer, novelist, award-winning screenwriter, editor, poker player, poet, biker, roustabout, Travis Heermann is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop.
Go to Blog

Juli D. Revezzo hosts
Alexandra Sokoloff
by Zrinka Jelic

Zrinka Jelic is a member Romance Writers of America and its Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal chapter, as well as Savvy Authors. She writes contemporary fiction, which leans toward the paranormal and adds a pinch of history.
Go to Blog

W. J. Howard hosts
Ghost Dance
by Naching T. Kassa

Naching is a wife, mother, and Horror Author. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a contributor to the Demonic Visions series.
Go to Blog

Susanne Leist hosts
Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook
by W. J. Howard

Wendy Howard writes dark stories mixed with comedy. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two boisterous beagles, and wine is an important part of her diet.
Go to Blog

Debbie Christiana hosts
A Few Amazing Ladies
by Dina Rae

Dina has penned 6 books with a 7th on the way. Her themes revolve around conspiracy NWO paranormal, and aliens. The Best Seller is her latest release.
Dana Reed
by Audrey Brice

Audrey writes paranormal thrillers, mysteries, and horror stories where spirits, demons, and occult practitioners are both heroes and villains.
Go to Blog

roh morgon @ Tuesday, 21 February 2017 12:54 pm
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~ women in horror month blog talks – day 1

W.J. Howard is the organizer behind this week’s Women in Horror Month Blog Talks. Below is her blog post with a list of featured writers for today’s topic, “Choice of Weapons”.

~ ~ ~

Welcome to our first day of Women in Horror Month Blog Talks featuring a discussion on weapons. Below is a list of blogs and bloggers in today’s talks.

To Connect with Participants and Join More Discussions
Go to the Facebook Event Page

Audrey Brice hosts
The Art of Weapons
by A. F. Stewart
A. F. Stewart is an author of speculative fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, horror). Her published books include Horror Haiku and Other Poems, the Killers and Demons series, and Ruined City.
Go to Blog

James P. McDonald hosts
Select Your Weapons Carefully
by Lori R. Lopez
Lori’s novels are dark or fantastic. Her poems are horrific or witty. Her stories could be anything, except some things. Her artwork is peculiar, brooding, and quirky like her!
Go to Blog

W. J. Howard hosts
The Deadliest Weapon
By C.A. Verstraete
C.A. Verstraete loves writing with a bit of a scare! She is author of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter and a young adult novel, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie.
Go to Blog

A. F. Stewart hosts
An Out of the Ordinary Weapon
by Roh Morgon
Roh Morgon writes fantasy and horror for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers. She’s best known for her vampire series that begins with Watcher: Book I of The Chosen.
Go to Blog

Blaze McRob hosts
A Special Affinity for Sharp Things
by Naching T. Kassa
Naching is a wife, mother, and Horror Author. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a contributor to the Demonic Visions series.
AND
A Take on All Sorts of Weapons
by James T. McDonald
James is a business and technology consultant, fiction and non-fic author, technology and futurist speaker.
Go to Blog

Roadie Notes hosts
Something to Sink Your Teeth Into
by W. J. Howard
Wendy Howard writes dark stories mixed with comedy. Her main focus is creating fast-paced, action-packed stories that keep the interest of young and new adults, although readers of all ages enjoy her work. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two boisterous beagles, and wine is an important part of her diet.
Go to Blog

Claire Fitzpatrick hosts
A Good Sharp Blade
by Jo-Anne Russell
Jo-Anne is a dark fiction writer and a publisher at Lycan Valley Press. Her work can be found in a multitude of anthologies, and as standalone stories.
Go to Blog

roh morgon @ Monday, 20 February 2017 12:19 pm
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category: blogging events
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~ women in horror month blog talks

This week, Wendy Howard is sponsoring Women in Horror Month Blog Talks on her blog, http://wjhoward.com/

She’s bringing bloggers together to promote and celebrate women horror writers and has lined up a pretty cool program. Check out the flyer below for a list of topics, then visit her website to navigate to the various hosts. You can also find good info on the facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/events/1556103594403190/

I’m thrilled to participate with my contributions to Monday’s topic, “Choice of Weapons” and Tuesday’s “Favorite Women in Horror”. In addition, commenters on my posts will receive free ebooks.

Monday’s host – A. F. Stewart on her blog, Are You Afraid of the Dark http://afstewartblog.blogspot.ca/

Tuesday’s host – Morbidly Beautiful‘s Stephanie Malone on her blog, Morbidly Beautiful http://morbidlybeautiful.com/

EventWiHMBlogTalks-Facebook-300x251

roh morgon @ 9:58 am
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~ 2017 update

2016 was a busy year that included a number of positive events in my life.

Most importantly, a serious health condition that has dogged me for much of my adult life has been resolved. I’m getting healthier by the day and that spark (which had been fading the last few years) has returned. I’m grateful to be alive.

My new lease on life motivated me to take a trip this past summer to a magical place featured in many of my favorite stories – ROMANIA. Even better, the trip was hosted by Dacre Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Dracula author Bram Stoker.

As my husband and I visited Romanian villages and hiked the Carpathian Mountains, I realized our trip was not only to another place, but another time. I absorbed as many sights, sounds, and smells as I could, and hopefully I’ll be able to reproduce some of those experiences in my next novel.

Another significant life event was a change in my day job, which now brings me more satisfaction and will allow me more time – and energy – for writing. In addition, for the first time I can truly see retirement on the not-too-distant horizon.

My dream of writing full-time is now a little closer.

As for my writing itself . . .

*  “Saving Magic”, a young adult fantasy from my Forbidden Doorways series, will be released this spring. “Magic” was originally written for the Fresno Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Woadsbury anthology. Unfortunately, the anthology never saw publication.

*  “The Games Monsters Play”, a novelette of The Chosen, was published September 2016 and is now available on Amazon in both print and ebook formats.

“Games” is an expanded version of the story that first appeared in 2013’s “High Stakes: A Vampire Anthology”, edited by Gabrielle Faust and published by Evil Jester Press. The story follows a minor character from Watcher and introduces a major character from Runner.

*  “Runner: Book II of The Chosen”, after more revisions than I can count, is finally with my editor. I will not promise a publishing date (because that seems to be a promise I’ve been unable to keep so far), but I’m going to do everything I can to get it published this year.

*  “Seeker: Book III of The Chosen” is in development. All I can say about it is that my trip to Romania last summer has provided me wonderful backdrop material for Sunny’s continuing journey.

That’s it for now. It’s great to be back in the game.

roh morgon @ Saturday, 18 February 2017 3:03 pm
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~2016 update

New year. New determination.

I am writing.

I am editing.

Runner will be published by the end of the year.

The last three years have been a wild roller coaster ride. Every time I’ve thought I had control of my life again, or at least some semblance of it, some new challenge rose, frequently flanked by a couple old ones.

But everything feels different now.

My medical and family issues have slowly resolved, finally allowing my creative self to unfurl her wings and climb out from the protective cocoon in which she’s been hiding.

And it feels so glorious to stretch those wings.

My edit of Runner has morphed into a complete re-write of the first section, something that I hadn’t anticipated.

But it’s a good thing. In fact, it’s a great thing, and as it turned out, was absolutely necessary.

Runner‘s opening scene – about 20,000 words – hit the page in 2009, right after I completed the first draft of Watcher. It slowly evolved, 20,000-40,000 words at a time, until the initial draft was complete in late 2013.

Once the final chapter was done, it was time to turn my attention to an early chapter which I had purposely skipped. Medical research was needed to complete it, but that turned out to be much more difficult than I realized. I finally met an ER nurse who gave me a crash course in ER procedures (thank you, Janeane) and made me painfully aware that the scenes leading up to that chapter were completely unrealistic and needed major revision. Further discussions with my sister-in-law, a surgical nurse instructor, helped me fine-tune the scenes and keep them as medically accurate as possible.

And so the re-write began.

But like I said before, that was absolutely necessary. And not just because some of the details were wrong.

The writing was, well, not that great. I wrote those initial chapters five to seven years ago, and in the intervening years, something cool happened.

My writing improved. A lot.

And the first section of Runner is so much better now. There’s a maturity to the writing that even I can see, and I’m grateful I had the opportunity to write this story the right way BEFORE it’s published.

So for those of you who’ve been wondering if you’d ever see Watcher‘s sequel, believe me when I tell you this:

It will be well worth the wait.

And so I slowly step back into the writing world.

I was recently accepted as a featured author at the Great Valley Bookfest in Manteca on October 8th. And next week, I’ll be helping the San Francisco chapter of the Horror Writers Association with their booth at the Bay Area Book Festival.

And in July?

I’m traveling to Romania for an 11-day tour of the country as research for Seeker, my third book in the Chosen series. I’ll post more on that later.

Several weeks ago, I attended StokerCon, the Horror Writers Association convention and awards. I hugged writer friends I haven’t seen in three years, and made some great new ones. The workshops re-energized me, but it was being back in the presence of so much wonderful creativity that really strengthened my determination to finish my current projects and start new ones. That, and the belief in me and my writing that my close friends and family have, is giving me the drive and the energy to pursue my passion and my dream of someday being able to do this full-time.

Because I have so many wonderful stories to tell.

:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

roh morgon @ Sunday, 29 May 2016 5:42 pm
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~checking in

Thought I’d check in and give you an update.

I’m in the midst of a major revision to the first part of Runner. I know – I thought it was done. But after consulting with an expert on an important part of the storyline, I needed to make some changes. I thought it was going to be the simple addition of a scene and maybe some minor corrections surrounding it. But that’s not the case. It’s amazing how one little change creates a ripple effect, and the tiny blip that was on the edge of your radar is now dead center and staring you down through sights aimed right at your face!

So, yeah. Gonna be a little longer. But I’m halfway through it – finishing it depends on just how much time real life demands of me.

I am also working on another project, one a little more personal and something totally different for me. When my mother was a child, she was given the Civil War diaries of her great-grandfather. He was a well-known war correspondent who regularly wrote articles for the National Tribune, a weekly newspaper based in Washington, D.C.

It’s been her lifelong dream to publish those diaries in the form of a book, and she has been transcribing them – first on a typewriter, then on a computer – for much of her life. She recently started prepping the finished book for publication through Amazon/Create Space and was having trouble with the formatting. I volunteered to help her, and am slowly straightening out the many kinks that Word can throw into a document. And no, not interested in using Scrivener or InDesign – I’m pretty good at beating Word into submission and just don’t have time to learn to use new software at this point.

So anyhow, my latest foray into publishing is now in the realm of non-fiction. I love this business – there’s always something new to learn and new territory to explore.

And for those who are Civil War buffs, I’ll let you know when this book is out. It’s pretty interesting – my great-great grandfather was certainly in the thick of things. I’m enjoying getting to know him, too. It’s kinda cool to think I might’ve inherited some of his talent.

roh morgon @ Sunday, 1 February 2015 12:22 pm
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category: publishing,Runner
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~reawakening

That’s what it feels like.

A reawakening.

Words stirring to life. Images joining one another to become fluid scenes, snippets of other worlds. Characters beginning to prod me with their stories again.

An urge similar to the nesting instinct has been building in me for a little while now. An urge to create a space in which the writer within me can once again create. The ingredients necessary for the focused wanderings of my imagination are slowly coming together: a quiet seclusion, a proper desk. A computer strong and powerful enough to capture sentences and harness them into coherence, to explore webpages without hesitation, to craft cover images into lures for the unsuspecting reader.

This past year – yes, it has been a year since the onset of my unplanned withdrawal from writing – has been filled with medical issues and family needs on top of an increased workload at the day job. But as each of these demands on my time and energy lessen, I can feel the writer begin to peek out and look around.

As my new workspace begins to take shape, excitement rises within me at the prospect of long hours spent recording the lives of the characters who’ve entrusted me with their stories. I’m eager to continue Sunny’s saga, to explore the origins of Nicolas, to follow Taz as he storms through history. Others wait as well – Sullivan and Sanders and Jade, whose young lives are complicated by their supernatural needs along with those of normal teenagers. In addition, a number of fresh faces are standing by, impatient to be given life upon pages of their own.

One of my first tasks as I emerge from my cocoon is to find an artist to illustrate my book covers. I need someone who can create from scratch, a realist to replicate the images floating within my mind as well as offer designs of their own. I’m starting my search at local colleges, but will also be exploring online resources.

I’m open to suggestions, so please contact me if you can recommend someone.

That’s it for now. But not for long – I’ll be stopping by regularly to introduce new features to my blog, and hopefully, a new design in the not-too-distant future.

It’s nice to be back.

roh morgon @ Wednesday, 30 July 2014 6:13 am
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category: indie publishing,writing
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~Women in Horror Month

Well? Did you notice I used proper capitalization in the post title?

I never do that.

But I did today, and will for the rest of February.

That’s because this is Women in Horror Month, and out of respect, I will behave like a professional writer and use proper punctuation.

But only in my blog title. No promises about the rest of my ramblings.

So you might be asking what this Women in Horror Month is all about.

It’s just that – celebrating women artists whose works, from film to art to literature, disturb you in some way.

For those of you unfamiliar with the genre, I’d like to clarify what horror means.

Merriam-Webster and Oxford dictionaries offer several definitions of horror. I’ve combined them:

  • horror: a very strong feeling of fear, dread, shock, disgust, or dismay

As you can see, horror does not necessarily mean gruesome or terrifying.

In reading my work, you will experience little fear, dread, or disgust, though non-horror readers do sometimes have issues with the images I paint of torn throats and coursing blood.

And jars.

Okay, I’ll admit it. The jars are a little creepy.

As for feeling shock and dismay? Yes. Regret? Plenty. And that constriction in your chest working its way up your throat? The prickling skin electrifying your scalp and that sudden intake of breath? That you might experience as my characters face appalling choices and devastating losses—provided I’ve done my job as a writer.

Horror can take many forms. Women writers excel in all, though they are particularly adept at exploring the more subtle emotions in what I like to call “quiet horror.”

Even if horror isn’t your normal cup of tea, read some of the stories by women being highlighted around the web this month. You might find a flavor you like.

Women in Horror Month is being celebrated by a number of online blogs and resources. Below are a few which are featuring guest posts, interviews, short stories, and promotions in support for those of us who write horror literature.

  • Sirens Call Publications – their online magazine of edgy fiction, Sirens Call eZine, has devoted their February issue (#13) to women’s short stories, photography, and promotions
  • Natasha Ewent’s Blog – in addition to articles and interviews, Natasha is showcasing women writers in a series of guest posts

I’ll add to this list as the month progresses. In the meantime, check out the above sites. You might discover a new author whose work sends a chill or two up your spine.

Oh, and BTW – I’m appearing in several of the above sites. Both the Sirens Call eZine and Nina’s Spreading the Writer’s Word blog have featured me and my work so far this month!

roh morgon @ Monday, 17 February 2014 4:24 am
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~life imitating art

I’ve been absent from facebook and the blog scene for the last six months, and thought I’d offer an explanation as to why.

With that in mind, I considered titling this post “Becoming a Vampire”.

Yeah, you read that correctly. Think

  • extreme photosensitivity (unable to go out into the daylight without being covered head to toe)
  • need for blood (hemolytic anemia in which red blood cells are destroyed faster than they can be made)
  • rages and other wild emotional swings (due to the anemia)

But before I explain further, let’s take a step back into the past:

In December of 2008, I woke up with the tragic figure of a sad and lonely vampire woman in my head. I lay there wondering who she was and she began to show me her story. As her life unfolded in my head, movie fashion, I felt compelled to write it down as fast as I could. After five months of sleepless nights and weekend marathons with my laptop, I finished the initial draft.

And so, Watcher: Book I of The Chosen was born, and was published in its current version in October of 2011.

Fast forward to 2013:

In early July, I entered a clinical study to treat a long-term medical condition I’ve had for much of my life. After several weeks, I began to develop the side affects I listed earlier in my post. The photosensitivity is due to one of the new drugs, and the anemia is due to an old one that’s been in use about fifteen years. Fortunately, both were temporary conditions and resolved once I completed treatment.

So, yeah.

Couldn’t go outside during the day unless I was wrapped up like a Ninja.

Low on blood, which left me craving red meat, and well, needing more blood.

Rage issues, as in the least little upset triggered an emotional tsunami.

Vampire.

Life imitating art.

In spite of the above difficulties, I, along with my friends and family, had no choice but to laugh at the irony of writing a book about a vampire woman only to tread (somewhat) in her footsteps four years later. The experience certainly gave me fresh insight into what it means to be a creature of the night.

All I can say to my fellow writers is:

Be careful what you write, because you never know when you might become a character from one of your stories.

~roh~

roh morgon @ Friday, 29 November 2013 12:32 pm
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~SCAREanormal Fresno

(I know I still haven’t posted about my experiences at the World Horror Convention and the Bram Stoker Awards ® in New Orleans, but I’ll get to it. Soon.)

Wow. What an amazing three days at the SCAREanormal – Fresno Horror, Paranormal, and Pop Culture Fan Expo! At times a bit of a rocky ride, it ended on a positive note with Central Valley fans begging everyone to hold it again next year.

Special thanks to convention volunteers Kaci Hansen and  Sharon Kille Jenkins for keeping things going and taking such good care of us.

The Horror Writers Association vendor booth was the only bookseller at this film-based convention, and we had a fairly steady stream of visitors for much of the con. Most were readers excited to discover new authors–I enjoyed watching them as they left our booth bearing bright smiles along with their freshly purchased paper treasures.

But we also had a number of aspiring writers spend time talking with us. We shared our individual experiences as HWA members, handed out all of the HWA brochures, and in general spoke about how supportive the organization is. I hope to see their names listed in the membership directory sometime in the near future.

Saturday’s discussion panels–“The Best in Horror Literature: From the Classics to the Modern” and “The Evolution of the Monster from Folklore to Film”–were well-received by attendees, and I think the panelists enjoyed them too. Many thanks go to Brad C. Hodson, Eric J. Guignard, PS Gifford, Fred Wiehe, and Dana Fredsti for doing such a great job exploring their topics and answering audience questions.

Each panel was followed by readings from HWA members. Brad read from a work-in-progress about a pair of unique serial killers that left us all begging for more. Dana introduced listeners to kick-ass Ashley Parker in excerpts from Plague Town and its sequel, Plague Nation. Paul totally creeped us out with a semi-autobiographical story about an encounter with a red-haired girl. I tried not to bore the audience with an excerpt from my novella, The Last Trace.

The audience seemed to enjoy our panel discussions and listening to our stories, and many of them visited the HWA booth afterwards.

Due to a series of unforeseen circumstances, Lisa Morton and Richard Grove were unable to participate in Sunday’s programming. I know they were looking forward to the convention and I imagine they were quite disappointed to miss it. Hopefully we’ll get to work together on another event in the near future.

Our Sunday panel, “Psychological vs. Physical Horror – What Scares Us the Most?” was quite interesting. Since Lisa and Richard had to bow out, we were short two panel members, and this, combined with several other uncertainties regarding the con, led me to consider cancelling the panel altogether.

But when an attendee stopped by our booth–not once, but several times–to check on the panel status, I realized she might not be the only disappointed fan if we cancelled. In talking with her and a few others who came by, it became apparent that a number of Sunday’s attendees were there for just the one day, and that they had missed most of the convention highlights.

Paul and I were the other members scheduled for this panel, and we didn’t think we’d be able to explore the topic well with just the two of us. Fortunately, we’d spent the previous evening (or should I say the early-early morning) drinking, I mean, socializing with film guests Sid Haig (HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS) and Ken Foree (DAWN OF THE DEAD, HALLOWEEN, THE LORDS OF SALEM). Both were intelligent and personable and seemed to enjoy spending time with our group.

With that in mind, I bravely approached Sid about an hour before our panel and asked him if he’d be willing to sit in on it with us. He graciously accepted my invitation.

All I can say is that our panel was absolutely amazing. Just think about what it would be like to discuss psychological and physical horror with a legendary master of both. Not only do Sid’s experiences covering decades of film and stage give him a special insight, but he’s a licensed hypnotherapist and has a deep understanding of what makes people tick.

Due to the unique opportunity offered by Sid’s participation in our panel, I elected to forego the reading and use the entire hour for our discussion. The audience seemed fascinated, and quite willing to add their own inputs. It made for a highly successful panel, and I’m so grateful for the fan whose repeated inquiries spurred me to do what I could to fulfill our programming commitment.

A number of audience members stopped by our booth afterwards,mentioning how much they enjoyed the panel as they examined our books. I remember seeing their smiling faces in the audience as they nodded in response to our discussion, and I’m glad we were able to contribute to their enjoyment of the convention.

Many thanks to Sid for helping us make it happen.

And a huge thank you to all the HWA members who gave up their weekend and spent hard-earned dollars on hotel expenses and gas to Fresno: Brad C. Hodson, Eric J. Guignard, Dana Fredsti, Fred Wiehe, Christopher C. Payne from JournalStone, and of course, PS Gifford, who was the first to arrive on Friday morning and stayed until the bittersweet end Sunday evening (couldn’t have done it without you, Paul). We made a great team and I look forward to working with everyone again.

Last, but not least, thank you to Lisa Morton and the HWA for supporting this event and making it possible for members to promote their works along with promoting the organization. This wouldn’t have happened without your support.

roh morgon @ Sunday, 30 June 2013 11:37 pm
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~ update on Ben

Thought I’d post a brief update on writer Dave Farland‘s son, Ben.

As you may have read in my previous post (or elsewhere on the Internet), Dave’s 16-yer-old son was involved in a horrific longboard (a type of skateboard) accident, breaking multiple bones, including his pelvis, and suffering a severe head injury.

It’s been two months now, and, well, his recovery is nothing short of a miracle.

From a website (http://www.helpwolverton.com/) which follows his progress:

June 2

  • “He returned home on Friday and promptly asked to go the Mongolian grill. I was surprised at how well he is learning to walk. He still needs a walker, or someone to hold his arm, but he’s very mobile for someone who said, just last week, ‘I can’t figure out how I ever learned to walk the first time.’  On Saturday, Ben had friends over to talk, and then we went to see Ironman 3 in the evening. For the first time in two months, Ben stayed up for the whole day, without a nap.”

Like I said, for a kid who 2 months ago underwent brain surgery which required removing sections of his skull and storing them (literally) for several weeks within his abdominal cavity, the fact that he’s walking and talking is absolutely amazing.

If you’d like to know more about his miraculous story, visit his website at http://www.helpwolverton.com/

roh morgon @ Monday, 10 June 2013 10:31 am
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~book bomb fundraiser

Hi all,

As those of you who follow my facebook posts may know, one of my mentors, fantasy writer and Writers of the Future judge David Farland, suffered a terrible tragedy last week. His 16-year-old son, Ben, was in a horrific longboarding accident that resulted in severe brain trauma and numerous broken bones including his pelvis. He is still in a coma but is showing improvements each day.

Dave’s former and current students, his fans, and his friends and family are spearheading several fundraisers to help with the astronomical medical bills. As with many self-employed folks in these rough economic times, the family had no health insurance.

One of the fundraisers is a book bomb. If you haven’t heard of these, a book bomb is a one-day concentrated push to purchase a book (or books) by a particular author in order to help raise their visibility on Amazon and other ranking lists. The short-term benefits (a one-day bump in sales) is frequently outweighed by the long-term increase in sales due to the improved visibility.

A book bomb is being held for Dave today (Wednesday April 10). This is a great way to help his family during their recovery. For as little as $6.99 for one of his ebooks you can add to this monumental effort and make a difference. You can make a bigger difference if you buy several, maybe even some as gifts.

So support an award-winning author whose contributions as a teacher and mentor have helped thousands of writers. Buy a book. Or two.

TODAY.

Here’s his multiple-award winning YA paranormal novel, Nightingale.: 

And his recently-published Million Dollar Outlines is garnering some great reviews:

 

 Both photos are linked to their Amazon pages – just a click will take you there!

You can visit his website to get more details on these books: 

http://www.davidfarland.net/writing_tips/?a=208

Here’s a little more about the book bomb from the coordinator:

~~~~~~~~~

As many of you know, Dave’s son, Ben, was in a serious long-boarding accident last week. He is 16 and suffers from severe brain trauma, a cracked skull, broken pelvis and tail bone, burnt knees, bruised lungs, broken ear drum, road rash, and is currently in a coma. His family has no insurance.

We are having a book bomb this Wednesday on behalf of Ben Wolverton to help his family out. You can view the event’s facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/453677124707603/

For those that don’t know, a book bomb is an event where participants purchase a book on a specific day to support the author, or, in this case, a young person in serious need: Ben Wolverton.

Many of you have expressed sympathy for Dave and Ben and have asked if you could help. Now you can. We need you to help Ben get the most out of this book bomb. Right now we are focused on spreading the word and telling others about it. If you could share this event on facebook, twitter, pinterest, your blog, or through email, please do. This is a way everyone reading this can help, whatever their financial situation.

On Wednesday, we will have the book bomb. If you haven’t yet purchased NIGHTINGALE or MILLION DOLLAR OUTLINES, please consider doing so on Wednesday. If you have already purchased them, you can donate money to Ben and his family here:

http://www.gofundme.com/BensRecovery

If you have a blog and would like to do a post about this book bomb, please email  at kami_marynda@yahoo.com, and she will send you some information you can use.

~~~~~~~~~

roh morgon @ Wednesday, 10 April 2013 8:53 am
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~high stakes

Yay! I love making these kind of announcements!

HIGH STAKES, ten fascinating tales of vampire games edited by Gabrielle Faust, is now available for the Kindle. The anthology contains stories by established, award-winning authors as well as newcomers to the world of writing: Joe McKinney, Jonathan Maberry, Jeff Strand, Gabrielle Faust, Jg Faherty, Sephera Giron, Rain Graves, David Hayes, and Michael H. Hanson, plus poetry from Bram Stoker Winner Linda D Addison and a foreward by Dacre Stoker.

The print version is scheduled for release on March 26.

I’m honored that my story, “The Games Monsters Play” resides among such a talented collection. You can find it along with all the others here:

roh morgon @ Sunday, 24 March 2013 2:55 pm
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~writing

It’s been awhile since my last post – a long while.

So I thought I’d give an update as to why.

I’m writing.

And when I write, I need to separate from everything outside the story except my job and my family. Everything else—my horses, my friends, my blog, facebook—only get minimal attention. I just don’t multitask well.

Unfortunately, mastering the skill of multitasking is a requirement for writers these days, especially those of us who indie-publish. Editor, book designer, publisher, marketer, social networker—these are all hats we must wear in addition to writer. I’ve found that whenever I change hats, though, it takes me a little while to get the new one to fit. Once it does, I’m reluctant to take it off.

And right now, I’m wearing my writer hat.

Runner, the sequel to Watcher, is nearing completion. Currently at 80,000 words, the story is moving into its third and final act.

I realize this novel is way behind schedule. Without going into details, 2012 was a very difficult year for me and my family, as well as a few others close to me. A number of events, some quite tragic, made working on this story nearly impossible, and rather than have it suffer from the constant turmoil of my personal life, I elected to set it aside until I felt ready to return to Sunny’s world.

But I’m deep in it now. Sunny faces many challenges in this book, some old, some new, and like my readers, I am just along for the ride and never quite sure what might be around the next bend. Rest assured, though—even if the details of what, why, and when are a little blurry, I can see the end of the road and I know exactly where it’s going.

Unless, of course, The Chosen have other ideas . . .

As a token of my appreciation for your patience, here is an excerpt from Runner: Book II of The Chosen:

~~~~~~~~~

It’s Halloween night. The streets and clubs are filled with witches and zombies and vampires, but no Chosen. If there’s any night they’d prowl among the humans, this would be it.

I’ve spent hours drifting from club to club, searching for the real monsters beneath the elaborate costumes. A silver-sequined mask is my only concession to the holiday, though my hunting blacks and black leather jacket seem to blend in well enough.

Disgusted with my fruitless quest, I walk back to the Cat Club for one last look before heading out of the city to hunt.

The place is packed. Fortunately the music is loud enough to cover the constant growl rumbling deep in my chest. My aversion to being touched by humans has increased since I returned from the wild, and it’s taking everything I have not to clear a space around me.

I spot a gap next to the wall and work my way through the crowd to lay claim to it. A couple to my right dressed as Raggedy Ann and Andy ease back to give me a little more room and I settle in against the cracked paint.

A black-caped figure to my left turns and regards me with eyes as dark as night. He flashes me a leering grin, his yellowish fangs in sharp contrast to the white of his teeth.

My breath catches, then slowly escapes.

Fake. His fangs are fake. Plastic.

Rolling my eyes, I turn away and stare out at the masquerade madness convulsing through the club.

The feel of the air surrounding us abruptly changes. I look toward the door and stop breathing all together.

A stir ripples through the masses as four costumed figures enter, drawing every gaze in the club. Their elegant 17th-century garments appear to be the real thing, with details that only my eyes are likely to pick out in the dim light.

Two stately females, blonde and brunette curls tumbling to their shoulders beneath broad-brimmed hats, glide into the room, their brocaded gold and ruby gowns sweeping the floor. Two males follow, sporting doublets and matching breeches in indigo and ivory. Their pale faces are bordered with shoulder-length hair, pointed goatees, and wide mustaches, no doubt the fashion of that time.

But it’s not the costumes that have stolen my breath.

The air shimmers around them, their auras pulsating in a tapestry of burgundy and black and grey. I’ve felt Chosen auras before, but this is the first I’ve seen them. I recognize the feel of Nicolas in them—these Chosen are of his lineage.

I push off from the wall and move toward my quarry.

As one, their haughty gazes shift in my direction and appraise me from across the room. Several lips curl, and the shorter male smiles, and with no further expression, they turn about-face and stroll out of the club.

Elbowing my way through the crowd, I reach the door and shove it open. As I step outside, I run into a broad, black t-shirted chest.

“Excuse me.” I start to push past him, but he steps in front of me again.

I look up into golden eyes perched above a hawklike nose and wide cheekbones. Full lips part and tug to one side, allowing me a glimpse of the fang behind them. Crimson flashes in his pupils and I ease back, hands up in surrender.

“Hey, I don’t want any trouble.” Instantly on guard, I yank off my mask and let it fall to the sidewalk.

The costumed Chosen behind him slip into a waiting limousine.

But they’re no longer necessary—not with this one standing barely three feet away.

I just hope he isn’t going to kill me.

~~~~~~~~~

roh morgon @ Monday, 4 February 2013 8:34 pm
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~exciting news!

Wow – I am so jazzed!

“The Games Monsters Play” – a short story I wrote from the Watcher world – has been selected to appear in the upcoming vampire anthology, High Stakes!
.

.

Here’s an excerpt from the High Stakes website describing the anthology:

“Welcome to the dark and demented world of High Stakes vampires where every game is a gamble for one’s life! This devious new anthology from Evil Jester Press promises to deliver ten fascinating new vampire tales which play upon the theme of “games”. And, as we well know, vampires are so very good with toying with their food before dining! Edited by the internationally acclaimed vampire novelist Gabrielle Faust, author of the Eternal Vigilance vampire series and most recently the ground-breaking dark fantasy adventure Revenge, High Stakes will also include an introduction by Dacre Stoker, the great grandnephew of Bram Stoker and author of the sequel to Dracula, Dracula: Undead. In addition, this anthology will open with an original poem by the Bram Stoker Award-winning poetess Linda Addison! And this is just the beginning. Set to be released in January of 2013, over the next few months this website will evolve with breaking news about the selected authors and more! We hope you enjoy High Stakes and immerse yourself in the elegant, twisted and blood-drenched world of vampires.”

The other authors selected so far are:

I couldn’t have done this without my friends and colleagues who beta read and helped me polish this story. Many thanks go to Joshua Essoe, Eric Guignard, Darryl Miller, and Ian Vawter for their feedback and suggestions.

And special thanks to editor Gabrielle Faust and Evil Jester Press for choosing “The Games Monsters Play” to be a part of the High Stakes anthology.

roh morgon @ Saturday, 10 November 2012 1:45 pm
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~back again

Life sometimes doesn’t go where we expect it.

I’d thought I’d be in Colorado this fall, signing books and fundraising for the Waldo Canyon relief efforts.

But such was not to be.

Other things happened, some writerly stuff, but mostly just life stuff.

I became very caught up in story submissions for a couple of anthologies. Alas, the short story I thought had the most potential for acceptance was rejected.

Oh, well. That’s the life of a writer.

A novella I received back from my editor has taken far more time to re-write than I expected. I actually have formed a love-hate relationship with this story, but I know the changes are for the better. My hopes for submitting it for the Bram Stoker Awards have faded as the deadline for voting rapidly approaches, and since a version of it has already been published, it won’t be eligible for next year. It’s too bad – it’s a pretty cool and unusual story, but my skill wasn’t quite up to telling it properly the first time around. Once I finish implementing the suggestions from my editor, the story will be much improved and a more engaging read for my readers.

All of this has slowed my progress on Runner. The story is coming along nicely, but I’ve had to move my target publishing date to the Spring of 2013. For those of you who are waiting for it, I am sorry and will make it up to you.

Keep a watch here for sneak previews and other tidbits from Sunny’s world.

roh morgon @ Sunday, 21 October 2012 11:52 am
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~before and after

(This is an updated post from July 17, 2012)

~ ~ ~

I just can’t stop thinking about the devastation and loss of life caused by the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs and the surrounding mountains, an area I left 35 years ago. It used to look like this:


Ute Pass, looking toward the Continental Divide – May 2009 ©Roh Morgon

I spent two years in the Springs and the neighboring communities of Manitou Springs, Green Mountain Falls, and Cascade. Just out of high school, my life was wild and carefree and filled with adventures. I loved the Pikes Peak mountain area and have always dreamed of returning someday.


Ute Pass above Colorado Springs – May 2009 ©Roh Morgon

Writers frequently use settings with which they are familiar. So when I began writing Sunny’s journey in January 2009, it seemed only natural that she would head to such an ideal location for someone of her unique nature.

As she drew me into her story, the sound of the wind in the trees echoed in my mind, and my nose filled with the fresh scents of pines and summer storms. I typed, fast and furious, knowing I was only capturing a fraction of the nuances that made up her world, and hoped my memory of the area wasn’t too rusty and faded.


Cascade, Colorado – May 2009 ©2012 Roh Morgon

And then in May 2009, when Watcher was nearly complete, I had a rare opportunity to visit the Springs while in Colorado on business. It would be my first visit in 35 years.

My friend Jeanne, with whom I’d first ventured to that magical land so many years before, still lived there. It felt like old times as we set off together to visit the locations in the story, to see if everything was as I recalled it.


Pike National Forest – May 2009 ©2012 Roh Morgon

And, surprisingly, it was. Even the Cascade house in which I’d lived, empty the day we visited, looked exactly as it did when I moved out. We tromped though old stomping grounds and made new discoveries (and found a castle!) and had an amazing time retracing Sunny’s steps.

It was with great sadness that I said farewell to Jeanne and Pikes Peak, promising I would return again when I had more time. The first draft of Watcher was completed two weeks later.


Lupine in Cascade, Colorado – May 2009 ©2012 Roh Morgon

~~~

Now the area looks nothing like it did 35 years ago, or even three years ago. Sunny’s mountain and hunting area behind her house were completely destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire.


Photo by Jenny Bloom from Eagle Avenue in Manitou Springs

Photo by Kari Greer near Colorado Springs

But worse, people lost their homes, their pets, their family heirlooms – they lost everything they owned.

And two people lost their lives.


Photo by Kari Greer – Mountain Shadows subdivision, Colorado Springs

Photo by Dave Perl – Mountain Shadows cul-de-sac devastation

I’d actually been contemplating making a road trip to the Springs when I heard the news about the fire. It started June 23, and over the next two-and-a-half weeks, over 32,000 people were evacuated, more than 18,000 acres burned, 346 homes destroyed, and two people died. The estimated cost of this fire alone is $352.6 million dollars, making it the most expensive in Colorado’s history.

I can only imagine a glimmer of how those families must be feeling as they cope with their losses. My heart goes out to them, as well as to the forest and the creatures that it fed and sheltered.


Photo by Kari Greer – Humans weren’t the only ones who lost their homes

I don’t know if I’ll make that trip now. I can’t bear to see those mountains covered in ash, dotted with the black skeletons of trees and brush. Unfortunately, my imagination does paint a vivid picture of that scene. I know it’s nothing compared to the real thing.


Photo by Kari Greer – Over 18,000 acres were burned

But the devastation could have been worse. Hundreds of firefighters from all over the country risked their lives fighting this superfire and its deadly allies of blazing temperatures and rugged terrain. The valiant efforts of these men and women kept many more homes from being lost.


Photo by Kari Greer – Below Blodgett Peak with California’s Vandenberg Hotshots

Though the fire is no longer in the news, donations are still needed. Three hundred and forty-six families lost everything when their homes burned. If you’d like to help, there are a number of charitable organizations focused on the recovery from this horrendous disaster.

Colorado 2-1-1 offers an extensive list of disaster assistance centers which can help you decide where to donate.

Colorado Springs Together also has suggestions for donors.

Humans weren’t the only victims of this fire. The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region took in well over 400 animals that were displaced by the fire. Many have been returned to their owners, but there are still a number of under shelter care until they can be reunited with their families.

Local agencies are critical in times of disaster and frequently exhaust their resources assisting people in need. The Waldo Canyon Firefighters Fund benefits the local fire stations whose hard work and expense fighting the fire saved many homes and lives.


Photo by Erik Eide, Cascade Volunteer Fire Department – Working on a hotspot

Photo by Erik Eide, Cascade Volunteer Fire Department

Photo by Kari Greer – Thank you sign in Mountain Shadows subdivision

Photo by Kari Greer – Overwhelming community support at the Incident Command Post

And a final thanks from me to the photographers who graciously allowed me to share their photos: Jenny Bloom, Kari Greer, Dave Perl, and Erik Eide.

I leave you with this:


Photo by Kari Greer – A testament to the human spirit

Please donate.

.

~ ~ ~

** As I mentioned in my last post, my own resources are limited. But I do write. Since Pikes Peak and the Colorado Springs area were such important parts of my novel, Watcher: Book I of The Chosen, I’m donating 50% of its net proceeds thru the end of October to help those suffering from this catastrophe. **

.
.

roh morgon @ Friday, 17 August 2012 11:40 pm
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~blazing nightmare

(this is an updated post from June 27, 2012)

~ ~ ~

Sunny’s Colorado home, the mountain she loved so much, is burning.


Photo taken by
L.N. Batides June 26, 2012 from Briargate in the Colorado Springs area.


Photo taken by
Dan Martinez June 26, 2012 near western part of Colorado Springs.

Worse yet, the homes of Colorado Springs area residents are also burning.

Over 15,000 acres of forest have burned. Hundreds of homes have been lost, and more than 32,000 people have been evacuated.

I cannot imagine the fear of losing everything to a roaring inferno, nor grasp the impact of watching your home, your hopes and dreams, burn to the ground.


Photo taken by
J. Stewart on Night 4 of the Waldo Canyon fire.

However, I can feel perhaps a glimmer of the pain, both of those who are living this real-life nightmare, and as someone who spent time on Sunny’s special mountain during a particularly troubled part of  my life.

My heart goes out to all those who’ve lost their homes and lives in this tragedy – human, animal, and the forest itself.

~ ~ ~

This is the first post in a series I’m doing on the Waldo Canyon fire and its impact on Colorado Springs area residents.

I’d like to thank Springs locals Dan Martinez, Jake Stewart, and L.N. Batides for the kind use of their photos.

My next post will give you a glimpse of what some of the area looked like before the fire, as well as some of the devastation documented by local residents and photographers, so be sure to check back.

I’ll also provide links for those of you who would like to donate to the ongoing recovery efforts. There’s lots of ways to help. Not only do the victims who lost their homes need assistance, so do the animal shelters caring for the hundreds of displaced pets as well as the local fire stations who exhausted their resources fighting this ‘superfire’.

My own resources are somewhat limited, and since I live about 1,200 miles away, there’s not much I can do to help with the cleanup.

However, I do write. Since Pikes Peak and the Colorado Springs area were such important parts of my novel, Watcher: Book I of The Chosen, I’ve decided to donate 50% of its net proceeds thru the end of October to help those suffering from this catastrophe.

I encourage any other artists out there to consider doing the same. Every little bit helps.

My last thought for the day:

Be grateful for what you have, because it can be gone with one wisp of smoke.

.

roh morgon @ Monday, 6 August 2012 7:46 am
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~editing tools

Just came across this on a blog:

Autocrit.

This online editing software will check your manuscript for overused and repeated words, overused phrases, cliches, pacing, and a few other common writing mistakes.

I ran several pages through the free wizard and was pleasantly surprised at the results.

Autocrit’s checklist of overused words showed I was guilty of a few and highlighted them in my text. The highlights made it easy for me to spot the offenders and allowed me to choose whether to change the sentence or not. It also enabled me to spot passive or weak sentences by highlighting words such as ‘was’ and ‘it’.

The sentence variation tab provided a histogram of sentence lengths, as well as word count. This is a nice tool.

Cliches and redundancies were also revealed. My text contained one cliche and no redundancies.

A number of other diagnostic tools and reports are offered in the packages available for purchase, including the ability to customize the overused words list.

I like the idea and ease of checking for these common errors myself before sending a manuscript to a human editor. Autocrit may also turn out to be a good teaching tool, and I suspect my writing will improve with its use.

Autocrit is membership-based. In addition to the free wizard (which has limits in both tool options and word count), the membership packages range in price from $47 to $117 per year, depending mainly upon word count.

There are other editing software packages out there, including Serenity, Style Writer, EditMinion, and Cliche Cleaner. I’ve read where some writers will run their work through several editing applications to focus on specific issues.

I liked Autocrit‘s simplicity and am planning to purchase a membership. I recommend you check it out.

roh morgon @ Wednesday, 23 May 2012 11:10 pm
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category: editing,writing
tags: ,

~recap: world horror convention 2012

For those of you who missed my Facebook posts, here’s a recap of the 2012 World Horror Convention and the Bram Stoker Awards:

Wow. All I can say is…  it was fantastic!

Thursday, Day 1 – WHC officially started at 3:00pm. I attended panels on social networking and promoting your books on Amazon.

Highlight of the evening: participating in poetry readings with several well-known horror poets, including Linda D Addison, who later won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection for How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend.

Linda Addison with her Stoker for Best Poetry Collection

Parties: First party of the con was hosted by Cutting Block Press and KillerCon

Friday, Day 2 – Started the day off with a reading by my friend PS Gifford (go Paul!). Attended some great panels: ‘Understanding the Mind of a Serial Killer’ by Dr. Al Carlisle (creepy yet fascinating), ‘Q&A with Guest of Honor Sherrilyn Kenyon (what a sweet and funny lady!), and ‘Women in Horror’ with Sherrilyn, Ellen Datlow, Lisa Morton, P.N. Elrod, and Kim Richards.

Highlights of the day: dinner with my co-panelists Jacob Ruby (Bear Weiter) and J. Scott Savage, and the mass autograph signing with…everyone!

Hal Bodner & Dacre Stoker, great grandnephew of Bram Stoker

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Sherrilyn Kenyon with her assistant, Kim

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Hangin’ out with the big kids

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Parties: Friday was the big party night, with three hosted by Dark Moon Digest, Damnation Books, and Evil Jester Press.

Saturday, Day 3 – My day started with a reading by David Farland from his newly-released Nightingale. This story sounds so cool – can’t wait to tear into my signed copy!

Panels I attended this day: Stoker on Stoker with Dacre Stoker presenting his just released The Lost Journal of Bram Stoker (very cool stuff); ‘Vampires Through the Ages’ (like I’d miss this one?); ‘Real vs. Fictional Multiple Personalities’ (more creepy real stuff from Dr. Al Carlisle); and a ‘kaffeeklatch’ (think roundtable discussion) with P.N. Elrod (fascinating lady).

Highlights? My 5:00pm reading, where I read excerpts from Watcher. I love doing readings!

And oh, yeah… the Bram Stoker Awards Banquet! It was massively awesome! I sat with David Farland and his wife, Mary (she’s so sweet!) for the dinner and ceremonies.

Several friends (both old and new) won awards: Nancy Holder, for her YA novel, The Screaming Season; Linda D Addison for her poetry collection How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend; and Rocky Wood, for his nonfiction work, Stephen King: A Literary Companion.

Nancy Holder with her Stoker for Best Young Adult Novel

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The Bram Stoker Winners

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Congratulations to these and all of the other winners!

One last award to mention: A special, one-time only award for The Most Influential Vampire Novel of the Century (since Bram Stoker’s death) was given to Richard Matheson for his 1954 novel, I Am Legend.

The ‘Black Stoker’ Award for Best Vampire Novel of the Century

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** Personal note – Though I am no expert on vampire literature and its impact on society, I was a little disappointed that the book with the most influence on me and many others, Anne Rice’s Interview With a Vampire, was not chosen. I much prefer Rice’s chameleon-like seducers to Matheson’s zombified, mindless killing machines. To me, Rice’s vampires more accurately embody the spirit of the Dracula mythology, and the subtle horror of a monster hidden beneath a suave and polished exterior is far more terrifying than a slavering walking corpse.

Parties: The Stoker Awards party continued in the con suite after the banquet. It was so cool to see everyone running around with their haunted house statues!

Sunday, Day 4 – The Last Day!  Uggh, I hate last days.

Sunday got off to a slow start with many folks recovering from Saturday night’s parties. My day began with the panel The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly in Cover Art with a cool slide show. Then I just wandered about the con until my panel at noon.

It was called ‘Scaring ‘em Young: Middle Grade Horror’, and my co-panelists were Jacob Ruby (Bear Weiter) and J. Scott Savage. Bear had assembled a great list of discussion items and led the panel. Jeff, who has the most experience writing MG, was a wealth of knowledge, and I just chimed in when needed. It was a great panel (my very first!) and I had a lot of fun. I own much thanks to Bear and Jeff for making it so.

The con sadly ended at 3:00pm, though a number of folks stayed afterwards for the ‘Dead Dog Party’.

Highlight of the WHC 2012?  Meeting so many awesome people with whom I felt instantly at home. I mean, I didn’t feel any embarrassment at all about writing vampire fiction, because chances were whomever I was speaking with had written it as well, or at least written about zombies, demons, or the stuff of nightmares.

And I kept meeting people, right up until I left, like Cynthia Vespia (at the Dead Dog Party) and Angel Leigh McCoy (in the shuttle to the airport!).

Overall, this was the best con I’ve been to since my writing career began. I truly feel like I belong when I’m with this group of writers whose works get relegated to fringes of literary society. Being on the fringe can be lonely, but not when in the company of other fringe-ers!

roh morgon @ Friday, 13 April 2012 3:38 am
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