roh morgon

~ 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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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
Comments (2)
category: catalog,e-Watch,vampire
tags:

~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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~bloody hearts blog hop Feb 13-14

Bloody Hearts Blog Hop

Sounds kinda gross, huh?

:)

Well, for those who like their fiction fanged, or dark, or maybe even horrifying, today and tomorrow is the Bloody Hearts Blog Hop, sponsored by Vamplit Publishing. This is your chance to discover new authors of dark fantasy and horror by visiting blogs participating in the hop. Most of the blogs are offering free books and other goodies. I encourage you to visit the blog hop site and check out all the cool happenings.

Visitors to my blog during the Hop (Feb 13-14) who answer the question below in a comment will each receive an e-book copy of The Last Trace.

In addition, all commenters will be entered into a random drawing for a free e-book copy of Watcher: Book I of The Chosen.

But before I reveal the question you must answer to receive a copy of The Last Trace, here’s a little bit about me in case this is the first time you’ve visited my blog:

I write fantasy and horror for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers. Most of my stories center around the paranormal, with worlds inhabited by vampires, shapeshifters, werewolves, and other creatures of their ilk.

My published works at this time are, with one exception, all adult fiction.

Watcher: Book I of The Chosen, is the first novel in a trilogy about Sunny Martin and her struggle to find her place in the world after she’s drained of her blood and awakens as an undead, forcing her to abandon her teenage daughter. In Watcher, Sunny’s search leads her to Colorado where she meets Nicolas, the enigmatic leader of a secret society, and discovers something she thought impossible in her new life – love. But it comes with a high price, and a choice she’s terrified to make.

Watcher is available in both paperback and e-book, and one e-book copy will be given away in a random drawing as part of this blog hop.

Runner: Book II of The Chosen, is scheduled to be released in late Spring 2012.

The Last Trace is a novella of The Chosen and tells the story of Trace Pierre Tasman, an 1800s mountain man stalked by a blood-drinking ‘she-demon’. His story continues in Without a Trace, scheduled for release in Fall 2012. The Last Trace is available as an e-book, and will be available in paperback in March – oh, and it’s the free e-book you’ll receive when you answer the question at the bottom of this post!

The Seduction and The Monster’s Growl are the first two tales in the Monsters in the Machines short story collection and are available as e-books. The third story in the collection, Hellbound Train, will be available in Summer 2012.

My young adult series, Forbidden Doorways, is currently in development. The first novel, Finding the Key, will be available in 2013. A short story from the series, Fur Before Feathers, tells the tale of a young shapeshifter learning to shift, and can be found in the 2010 anthology, I Dreamed a Crooked Dream.

More information on my works, as well as excerpts, can be found on my website, www.rohmorgon.com, and at Dark Dreams Publishing. And if you want to know a little bit more about me, you can check out my writer’s bio!

Now, for the question I’ve been promising you:

Who is your favorite vampire in literature or film (or both!)?

Include your answer in a comment, as well as your preferred e-book format (Kindle, Nook, etc) and I’ll send you an e-book copy of The Last Trace.

And as I mentioned before, everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a drawing for a free e-book copy of Watcher: Book I of The Chosen.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, and be sure to check out some of the other bloggers participating in the Bloody Hearts Blog Hop.

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

roh morgon @ Monday, 13 February 2012 5:20 am
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~wintery winner!

Today is Saturday!

Today’s the day of the *Snowfest* Blogfest participant drawing for a copy of Watcher: Book I of The Chosen. Inclusion in the drawing required the entrant to post a snowy scene or story on their blog.

We ended up with nine entrants (go figure – what is it with the nines?).

I used a really cool tool from RANDOM.ORG to randomly select a winner.

And the winner is…

Rob Lopez of Forsaken Stars!

His entry is titled…wait for it…

Ninth Circle

(Rob just reminded me of this)

Can you believe it! I’m telling you, nine is so closely woven into anything having to do with Watcher that it’s downright spooky sometimes.

Oh, and I guess I should also mention the fact that Rob’s Ninth Circle just happens to be a vampire story.

It gets weirder and weirder all the time.

This will definitely go into the Watcher Weirdness archive (yes, there is such an archive, ‘cuz there is a lot of really strange things that have happened since this story took over my life).

Anyhow, congratulations, Rob!

Once again, thank you, everyone, for participating in the *Snowfest* Blogfest!

Which, by the way, was held on a nine-day. Would you expect anything else?

roh morgon @ Saturday, 4 February 2012 5:29 am
Comments (3)

~*snowfest* blogfest!

It’s snowing!

Well, not really. But if you read all of the entries in our wintery writing exhibition, hopefully you can imagine the cool kiss of a snowflake on your cheek or even feel a nip in the air.

My entry is an excerpt from my novel, Watcher: Book I of The Chosen. This is Sunny’s first encounter with snow since becoming a vampire. She’s on the mountainside behind her home near Pikes Peak, Colorado.

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~

The snowflakes are huge, drifting down like miniature parachutes. Everything is silent and very still, except for the falling snow. It’s already starting to accumulate and any bare patches are rapidly donning their white carpet. The trees look like they are reaching out, trying to catch their share.

I reach out and catch my own little white puffs. When I examine them closer, I’m amazed to see the individual crystals forming delicate snow lace. I look up to the sky and open my mouth and can feel each one as it lands on my tongue. To my surprise, they don’t melt. I collect them and form a tiny snowball in my mouth, then with a laugh, spit it into my hand and throw it into the air to join its brethren.

Hiking past the trees to the rocky top of the mountain, I turn around to look at Pikes Peak. But the falling snow forms a curtain, wrapping me in gossamer white, and I can see nothing beyond it. The mountain is silent, yet I can still hear the soft patter of the flakes as they land.

I walk back down into the forest, which is thickly covered now, and wander among the pines and firs. They are starting to look like Christmas trees, proudly wearing their flocking in anticipation of that special day. The logs and rocks are disappearing under their snow blankets as the forest floor transforms into a big, fluffy white bed.

The scene is surreal, and I agree with Nicolas. It’s like watching the creation of a painting, only it is being unpainted, with the forest colors slowly becoming the white of the canvas.

I wander for the rest of the afternoon, and eventually make my way to a small meadow in which I’ve hunted. It’s empty now, and looks like a giant down pillow. I can’t resist, and I throw myself backward, sinking into its cold, soft embrace. I try to make a snow angel, but the snow is too deep and keeps caving in on me. I jump up, laughing wildly, and run across the white powder, sinking to my knees with each step.

My affection for the mountain deepens. It seems like somehow it brought this storm for me. I feel cleansed, strong, and more like my old self than I have in awhile. As thoughts of Nicolas begin to resurface, I shove them down, determined not to dwell on him. A rabbit saves me, bolting from its shelter, and I give it merry chase. We zigzag through the snow in the eternal race of prey and predator, and I thrill to the hunt. But I finally stop and let him go, reluctant to see the pure white snow sullied by the red stain of his death.

 ~~~~~~~~~

Hope you enjoyed tasting a little bit of winter with Sunny. :)

Be sure to visit each of the blogs listed here to read their snow stories. Leave a comment to let the author know you stopped by, and if you liked their scene or story, please tell them why!

Oh, and one more thing – each of the blogfest participants will be entered into a random drawing for a free copy of Watcher. The winner will be notified on February 3.

I’m buttoning my coat and slipping on my snowshoes to head down the blogfest trail, and maybe even help build a snowman or two. Hope to see you out there!

roh morgon @ Thursday, 2 February 2012 1:08 am
Comments (17)

~cover preview: The Monster’s Growl

.

.

Well, what do you think?

Does it intrigue you?

Does it make you want to read the back cover to see what the story is about?

Should I put a tagline on the cover, or do the image and the title tell you enough?

Be honest – an artist I’m not, so I appreciate any comment you might have to improve the cover and make it more sellable.

I’ll have another one for you next week (don’t worry –  it won’t be black like the last two!)

 

 

 

roh morgon @ Friday, 9 December 2011 2:45 pm
Comments (2)

~excerpt – The Last Trace

My friend, Amy Jarecki (we met at Dave Farland’s workshop!), is running a blogfest in celebration of the release of her new novel, Koicto. The theme of the blogfest is Native American.

I just happen to be working on a novella set within The Chosen world titled The Last Trace. This story introduces readers to the half-Cree Taz, a key character from Runner: Book II of The Chosen.

In honor of Amy’s blogfest and the release of Koicto, here’s a short excerpt:

Montana
October 1842

Trace Pierre Tasman stopped and knelt in the middle of the narrow trail. Even in the fading light of dusk, the deer’s track stood out in sharp contrast to the blurry, older prints scattered along the tree-lined path. He fingered the track’s sharp edges, noting the damp soil in the deepest part of the print.

He slowly stood, nocked an arrow, and drew back the bowstring. His moccasined feet stepped carefully, quietly.

A twig snapped up ahead and Trace stopped, becoming as still as the boulder next to the path. He took a deep breath and stretched the bowstring a little tighter and waited. A six-point buck walked out of the trees and stood at the edge of the trail not thirty feet ahead. Trace released the arrow along with his breath, and the feathered shaft hissed through the air to sink into the deer’s side just behind the shoulder.

The deer coughed and leapt forward, then bounded up the trail. Trace hung back, watching the white flag of the animal’s tail until it disappeared over a small rise. He broke into a quiet jog, slowing as he topped the hill. The buck was down, about sixty feet ahead. The arrow shuddered in rhythm with his shallow breaths.

Trace padded up to the deer. As the animal tried to lift his antlered head, Trace pulled his knife from its buckskin sheath, knelt, and slit the tawny throat.

He whispered a prayer of thanks in his mother’s Cree tongue, keeping his hand on the animal as it died.

With a glance at the darkening sky, Trace stood and tied back his long black hair. He shoved his buckskin shirtsleeves up along his forearms, bent to the fallen deer, and picked up his knife. Within minutes, he’d gutted and cleaned the carcass. He stood and wiped off his blade with a handful of dried grasses, then looked up.

And froze.

A white woman stood a little ways from him up the trail. He noted her ragged skirts, threadbare overcoat, and matted ash-blond hair. But most of all he noted her blue eyes staring at him with the predatory focus of a mountain lion.

As red flashed within their depths, alarm rippled through his gut.

Machaya, he thought. Demon.

Trace fought the panic rising in his throat and tightened his grip on the knife.

The woman moved. Fast.

When she hit him, it was as though he’d been kicked by a mule. He flew backwards, then slammed into the ground beneath her weight, his breath exploding from his chest. His head slammed as well, and as he fought to keep from blacking out, he felt her grab his hair and yank his head to the side.

Her teeth tore into his throat and he screamed.

Trace could feel the life being drained from him, being sucked from him. His muscles no longer responding, he slowly succumbed to soul-stealing pain and a darkness blacker than the surrounding night.

~ ~ ~

Copyright © 2011 Roh Morgon

roh morgon @ Tuesday, 15 November 2011 10:50 am
Comments (3)

~biases in publishing

The opportunity to express oneself in print is one of the founding tenets of this country. It’s called “Freedom of Speech.”

Yet the biases out there in the publishing world could lead one to think that those controlling the printed word believe differently.

Now, before you think I’m about to go off on some political/gender/racial tangent, what I’m talking about is nothing that you’ll read in the headlines.

In fact, some of you may even laugh! And that’s okay, because there are definitely humorous aspects to the subject of my rant.

And what is the subject? Who are the victims of this publishing bias?

Why, none other than some of our oldest and darkest villians:

Vampires.

And those who write about them.

What!? Is she serious? Come on. We’ve got Twilight and its sequels, we’ve got True Blood, The Vampire Diaries – the list of vampire series in the most popular medium, that of television, seems to be one bloody show after another, and the shelves in the bookstores nearly drip red.

But I am serious. Very serious. Just try pitching something about vampires that you’ve written.

Agents. Publishers. Periodicals.

They all say the same thing in their submission guidelines.

“We love paranormal/supernatural, but don’t send us anything about vampires (or werewolves).” Some of them will include the caveat “unless it is really new and fresh” – but come on. Really now?

How new and fresh is a story of a mousy/shy/outsider girl in high school and the hot guy/Mr. Popular/top jock? I mean, girl meets boy, things get complicated, girl and boy end up together. How frickin’ new and fresh is that?

Or what about the story of someone whose friends/family/life are/is in danger from someone else who wants to expose/ruin/kill them? Or the story of one or more someones who are on a mission/lost/kidnapped that wind up in a foreign culture/land and have to fight bad guys to achieve their goal/get back home?

Get my drift? Not only do popular stories boil down to recurring themes, they are printed and sold by the millions. Why?

Because people love them. People need to step outside their own lives, even if it’s only a paragraph at a time. And they like to step into something a little familiar, and will read the same type of stories over and over. Sometimes they’ll venture from their standard reading fare and try something new, but they usually go back.

And that is just as true for readers of vampire, werewolf, and other paranormal tales. These are readers who need to move a little further away from reality than the average Joe or Joann Blow. They like the edge – a little fear, a little violence, a little blood – encased in a strong dose of the unknown or the supernatural. And for them, all those common themes, like the ones I mentioned above, take on an eerie glow when populated by the paranormal.

The other interesting fact about readers of the supernatural, ESPECIALLY vampire stories, is that they number in the millions. And millions. Worldwide. Just look at the fanbases, old and new, of classics like Dracula, or series like Ann Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles (Interview with the Vampire) and Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight.

Millions.

And what do they want when they’ve read the entire Vampire: The Masquerade  series (based on the popular role-playing game) or devoured Twilight and its sequels dozens of times?

More vampires!

Vampire popularity in this country (and many others) ebbs and flows like the tides, but it never ebbs much. Hit movies appear every 4-6 years in an unending cycle of fangs and blood.

You think the current craze for vampires will burn out? That people will tire of these mysterious, fanged beings once the Twilight movies are all done and True Blood/The Vampire Diaries are cancelled and relegated to rerun hell?

Think again. Vampires do not die natural deaths. They are eternal, which is one of the sources of our fascination with them.

The next hot property on the horizon for vampire filmdom?

Dark Shadows, a feature film based on the wildly-popular gothic soap opera that ran from 1966 to 1971.

And if you haven’t heard, you’ll never guess who is not only producing this project (he’s a huge fan of the series), but is also starring as Barnabas Collins, the resident vampire.

Johnny Depp.

And if you think Depp and this movie won’t infuse vampire popularity with new blood, you’ve been in the tomb too long.

Get ready for the next vampire wave.

Dark Shadows is scheduled to begin filming in April 2011, with a projected release date of sometime in 2012.

Agents? Publishers? I doubt any of you will read this blog, but if you were smart, you’d start looking at vampire tales again.

The craving for blood never ends, and neither will demand for stories of those who must drink it.

roh morgon @ Friday, 10 December 2010 10:55 am
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~Monster Mash Blogfest!

Arrgghh…

It’s so not cool to be late to one’s own party. I tried to explain to the vampires, shifters, and werewolves with whom I’ve been partying the last two days that I needed to get home to the Monster Mash, and they finally relented and let me go.

Good thing the Mash is running all week. A number of partiers have posted their stories already, so be sure to see the guest list to see who they might’ve brought along with them.

Here are my special guests. They’re from a YA novel that I’m working on. Hope you enjoy hanging out with them!

~~~~~~~~~

Stupid werewolves. They drive me crazy with their idiotic howling at the moon. It sounds like a big pack in the woods tonight – think I’ll stay inside ‘til San gets here.

But I wish he’d hurry. The full moon jacks my nerves and I need to get out for awhile,  even though I promised my ‘parents’ I’d stay in tonight.

Yeah, fat chance. I’m just as big a liar in this life as I was in my other.

They’re not really my parents. They’re just who I was assigned to because the Elders said I was too immature to be on my own. Whatever. They can go suck a tree.

A soft tapping at the glass brings a smile to my face. I comb back the blond wisps that’ve worked loose from my ponytail and turn to open the window. Laughter escapes me at the sight of a ridiculous little bat doing flips in the air. I wrinkle my nose and stick out my teeth in imitation of his batface and raise the window a few inches. He swoops in, shifts to human form mid-air, and lands gracefully on his feet. He then bows with a sweeping gesture of his arm.

“Good evening, Madam,” San announces in a mock Bela Lugosi.

“Good evening, Count.” I play the shy lady, drop my gaze, and curtsy.

“Come here, my dahrling,” he continues in the silly accent. “I have a special gift for you.”

He opens his arms and tips his head. I walk into his embrace, then sink my fangs into his exposed throat.

“Ouch, Jade. Do you have to be so rough?” he says through gritted teeth, his voice his own again.

I take a couple more swallows and shove Sanders away. Pretend hugging’s one thing, but he was enjoying it a little too much, which is why I bit him so hard.

“Sorry. Those loony werewolves are giving me a case of the aggros.”

“Yeah, well, don’t take it out on me. And just for the record, they’re on my last nerve too.” He scowls and rubs his neck, then turns to the window and opens it wider. “You ready?”

I ignore his sulky tone, climb onto the sill, and jump the two stories to the ground. I look up in time to see Sanders launch from the window and shift into a falcon mid-air. As he nears the ground, he shifts again into his human body and lands on his feet.

The best shapeshifter at school, he really is quite smooth and graceful. My dead heart twinges as I watch him and guilt creeps in for being such a bitch.

Irritated at myself, I take off across the wide lawn for the woods. I glance back at the cheetah charging after me and smile. It’s one of the only forms in which he can keep up. I pour on the speed, laughing as we race across the grass and down the path to the trees.

~~~

We peer through the bushes at the circle of wolfmen gathered in the clearing. One of them is pacing back and forth in the center of the group, thumping his chest as he grunts and growls in their beastly language. I can only imagine what he’s going on about. It’s no doubt the same crap they spout when they’re in human form, about how they don’t have any rights and no one in the community respects them.

I dunno about the rights part, but seriously, who can respect a bunch of slobbering beastmen who go all psycho during the full moon?

Sanders touches my shoulder, grins, and shifts into a swallow. He takes off and lands on a tree branch above the snarling group.

I smile as he swoops down and grazes the top of the head belonging to a tall, thin wolfman. The beast growls and swats the air for the swift bird who is no longer there. Sanders lands in a tree and pauses a moment before picking a new target. After the third time, none of them are paying attention to the one in the center. The growls in his audience at the annoying little bird are beginning to drown out the grunts and snarls of the speaker.

Sanders launches again and this time his target is the nose of the werewolf on center stage. The beastman howls at the insult and the whole pack erupts in chorus with him. Their stupid meeting disintegrates into chaos as they whirl around seeking out the tiny flyer.

Stifling my laughter, I grin at Sanders as he lands beside me and give him a thumbs up.

Now it’s my turn.

I slip into the clearing and remain still while they scan the trees above them for the swallow. A new howl rips the air as one of them spots me. The whole pack whips around in a snarling frenzy, but the leader shoves his way to the front and, turning, growls at them in apparent warning to hold up.

As he faces me, I move in, fast, and tweak his nose.

He snaps at the air and I laugh at him from the edge of the clearing. He roars and leaps for me, but I’m gone. Giggling, I run through the woods with the now bloodthirsty pack on my heels. I stay just far enough ahead of them that they can see me, and even allow the leader to get within a few feet. But as he reaches for me, I lunge forward and we burst through the edge of the trees onto Main Street. I move into blur speed and dart behind the stable that’s across the road.

Sanders glides down in owl shape and shifts to human, then gives me a high-five. Snickering, we turn to watch the confused werewolves as they realize I’m gone and they’re in the middle of the street.

An approaching steamcar slams on its brakes and, tires screeching, slides toward the milling beastmen. It comes to a halt, narrowly missing one of them. The pack turns with a snarl and attacks the car.

“Uh-oh,” Sanders whispers.

“Aw, crap.” I watch in shock as parts begin flying off the car.

The driver gets out and the pack turns to him as he steps away.

“Stop!” he roars at the approaching werewolves. They don’t.

As the first one reaches him, he shifts – into a huge red dragon.

Flames erupt from his gaping jaws and shoot out over their heads. They yelp and scatter, then run back into the woods. But one stops at the edge of the trees, the leader. His eyes glow, reflecting the streetlamp, and he raises his snout as he scents the air, no doubt searching for me. With a glance at the dragon, he turns and follows the pack.

The dragon heaves a big sigh and shifts back to human form. We watch, breathless, as he walks around his car looking at the damage. Shaking his head, he starts picking up pieces and putting them in the back seat.

I have a feeling we’re gonna get in big trouble.

~~~~~~~~~

© Copyright 2010 Roh Morgon. All rights reserved.

roh morgon @ Saturday, 23 October 2010 11:52 pm
Comments (14)

~Blogfest of Death

Well, due to some unusual circumstances, I was unable to post my contribution to Tessa’s Blogfest of Death yesterday. But it was too cool of a ‘fest to pass up, so here’s my entry, albeit just a tad late. This is an alternate scene to one in my current WIP:

~~~~~~~~~

“Are you ready?” Janos lifts a corner of his lip, a sneer accenting the demonic hunger shining through crimson eyes. His thick blond ponytail drags across the back of his broad shoulders as he turns his head to look at me. The trembling young woman hugs herself as she settles deeper into the couch, away from where he stands over her, like a golden lion looming above his prey.

Standing between the two burly bouncers, I try to wrench free, but the steel fists trapping my arms only grow tighter. I pause, panting in fury, then lunge at the shorter guard, my teeth bared and reaching for his throat. A hand clamps around the back of my neck and lifts me off the ground. Cold breath against my ear sends icicles of fear down my spine.

“Ahh-ahh-ahh, Steven. Not too rough. We can’t damage our little traitor–remember?” Janos warns in his silky growl.

“Traitor?!” I spat as my feet meet the ground. “Me, the traitor? You’re the traitor, you and Éva and the others. Nicolas is–“

“Nicolas is no longer here, or haven’t you noticed?” Janos snarls. “And that’s your fault, you ball-busting bitch. Someone had to step in to run things when you left him unmanned and holed-up in his estate. But then, that was your plan all along, wasn’t it? Seduce and distract him to keep him from noticing the enemy incursions into our territory.”

He steps toward me, hatred blazing out of those red eyes. His expression shifts as he reaches out to smooth back my hair and I tense, still immobilized by the hand gripping my neck. The lust blossoming on Janos’ face is far more frightening than the hate, and I cringe as his hand moves down my cheek. It lingers a moment, tracing the silvery scars it finds there, then trails down to caress my breasts. I fight the impulse to struggle, knowing it will trigger him, but I can’t help myself. He growls and moves, lighting-quick, and as his icy lips touch my jaw, a roar rips from my throat. My teeth snap on empty air as he jerks back and grins.

“Oh, little kitten. You would be so much fun. Perhaps I can persuade Éva to let me have you for awhile before she rips off your head.” He turns and saunters back over to the terrified woman on the couch.

“Now, where were we? Oh, yes…dinner. Come, my sweet. I have something special for you.” Janos reaches out to brush her dark hair back from a face that looks disturbingly like my own. Her blue eyes glance at mine, unable to disguise her fear, as his hand drifts down to wait, empty, for hers. Quivering, she places her hand in his and he guides her to a stand.

“Unfortunately, sweet thing, I’m all out of Nicolas’ special ‘liqueur’, so I’m afraid this will be much more pleasant for me than for you.” A soft whimper escapes her lips as he draws her close. The hunger flaring anew in his eyes, he tips his head and smiles at me. His eyes stay locked on mine as he slowly turns her around, and with her back to him now, he wraps one arm around her waist. He yanks her tight against him and she cries out again, louder this time. Her ineffective thrashing to escape only intensifies the excitement animating his face as he breathes into her hair and growls. The thugs, momentarily distracted by the macabre performance, tighten their grip on me when I take advantage and try to squirm free.

“You son-of-a-bitch…is this really necessary?” I snarl as numbing pain spreads up and down my arms from the vise-like holds.

“Don’t tell me you have Nicolas’ weakness for such as this.” Janos leans back and combs his fingers through the dark strands. “I’ve always thought his efforts to make it pleasurable for them were a waste. I mean, what’s the point? And his edict against killing them? That’s against our very nature. We are, after all, the superior species, you and I.”

“We are nothing alike. What you are is despicable, worse than any animal. There’s nothing superior about cruelty and murder.”

Janos laughs, the rumble in his chest ominous, then one-handed, gathers the woman’s hair and drapes it over her shoulder. I swallow at the sight of her bared throat, and Janos laughs again at my discomfort as I meet his gaze once more. Still staring at me, he lowers his face to that porcelain flesh and nuzzles the softness there. He groans, then wraps his free arm around the woman’s breasts and crushes her to him. Unable to look away, I watch, the crimson veil dropping over my vision and hunger beginning to boil in my veins. He opens his mouth and slowly sinks his fangs into her throat.

She shrieks, but he only clamps her tighter to him as he begins to draw, one mouthful after another. Disgust with his brutality rivals the desire in me to feast alongside him, and again I attempt to break free, to leave this room, to do anything but be a witness to the horror unfolding in front of me. But I might as well try to bend iron. Her screams fade to low moans as he drains the life from her, one swallow at a time. I shut my eyes to the sight of her blood trailing down from his lips, blood that is fueling my own raging hunger, but I can’t block the smell, nor the sounds of his feeding.

She gasps, and gasps again. My eyes fly open of their own accord to see her limp body hanging from his teeth and arms. Her final sigh is accompanied by his groan of triumph, and the air in the room electrifies as he drops her, throws his head back and looses a roar that shakes the very walls. He roars again, then snaps his head around to stare at me. The crimson in his irises and pupils is gone, replaced by a white so bright it nearly glows.

A shockwave of power batters me and my knees weaken as I nearly collapse from it. The bouncers waver as well, their grips relaxing as they take in their maker’s energy overflow. Reeling, I slip free of their grasps to turn and dive headfirst through the window, accompanied by shards of glass. I twist to land on my feet and hear a sound at the broken third-story window. As I leap into a run, Janos’ words drift out above me.

“Let her go. We’ve delivered our message.”

Outrage at their Game-playing fuels my feet, and as I blur towards my car, a snarl tears from my throat.

I will pay you back, you bastard, for betraying Nicolas, and for this poor girl’s unnecessary death, hers and the countless others before and after. And when I’m done with you, you’ll wish you were mortal and will beg me for a mortal’s end.

~~~~~~~~~

© 2010 by Roh Morgon. All rights reserved.

roh morgon @ Monday, 19 July 2010 10:15 pm
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~characters who impact and Roh’s Character Contest #1

Don’t you love it when a special character in a story refuses to leave your thoughts, even after the story is done?

I recently met one named Weyland in a short story titled “Unicorn Tapestry” by Suzy McKee Charnas.

We get to know Weyland through his therapist, Floria as she begins treatment on who she assumes is a delusional patient. A staid, aging college-professor, he maintains his distance from Floria with a cold formality. But as this spare and intense man reveals the chilling details of his life, Floria begins to question her initial diagnosis. She becomes more and more unsettled by her mysterious patient as he nimbly lays waste to her attempts to unravel his delusions. Their dance with words eventually leads to a dance with death in a spine-tingling conclusion. The end is not quite what we anticipate and leaves the reader (at least this one) thinking about it long after it’s over.

Weyland and his ‘outsider’ existence haunted me enough that I read the story twice. I visited the website of author Suzy McKee Charnas, then wrote to her to tell her of Weyland’s impact on me, and how I have a similar character (Nicolas from Watcher) who haunts me as well. She was kind enough to answer and discuss Weyland, and encouraged me with my writing.

Characters are what keep us reading. There are millions of readers out there who fell in love with Edward and Bella and went on to devour the rest of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. There are millions of others who couldn’t wait to for the next J.K.Rowling to learn what was going to happen to Harry Potter and his friends.

Well-developed characters are what I love, and what I strive for in my writing. Character development is an ongoing topic among writers and lately has been a subject of discussion on several blogs by friends in the Fresno SciFi and Fantasy Writers (FSFW) group.

Something else my friends have been doing in the blogosphere is holding contests in which the winner receives a copy of a recommended book.

I’ve been thinking about this.

And here’s what I’ve decided to do:

I’m going to hold a series of contests based on characters. Each contest will be slightly different, but they’ll all revolve around characters. I’ll be holding them every 3-4 weeks, so stay tuned to this blog.

Here’s the guidelines for Roh’s Character Contest #1:

Most readers have a list of favorite characters from stories they love. I know who mine are — I want to hear about yours.

Comment about one or more of your favorite characters and what books they are from. Each person commenting will receive one entry. The winner will be determined by a random drawing.

There’s a SECOND chance to win as well! It’s also an opportunity to stretch your literary muscles.

Describe your favorite character in your own words and what impact this character has had on your writing, or even on your life. You must include the title of the story, book, or series, along with the author’s name.

Word limit: 198 words or less (1+9+8=18, 1+8=9. I’m a nine freak, remember?).

Check out my three paragraphs above on Weyland for an example (and yes, they total exactly 198 words).

Your entry will be judged on both word craft and strength of argument. In other words, CONVINCE me. Tell me what it is about this character and its effect on you in a way that will compel me (and others) to go buy the book and read it.

Bonus points: If your word count total is a ‘nine’ (the digits add up to nine or a mulitple of nine), you will receive a second entry into the random drawing.

PRIZES:

For the random drawing, the prize will be a gift certificate from Fictionwise for an e-book of the Nebula award-winning Unicorn Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas.

For the character description, the prize is a brand-new softcover copy of Suzy McKee Charnas’ book, The Vampire Tapestries AND a $10 gift card for Borders or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice). The prizes for this portion of the contest are restricted to residents of the continental U.S. only.

CONTEST ENDS:

This contest has been extended. The last day to enter is June 27, 2010 Saturday, July 17 (a nine-day, of course). The random winner will be drawn the following day and notified via email. The character descriptions will be judged during the remainder of the week. The winner will be selected and notified via email by July 6, July 26, 2010.

roh morgon @ Monday, 31 May 2010 3:12 pm
Comments (14)

~music to write by & AW’s May Musical Blog Chain

Yay! It’s finally my turn on the Absolute Write May Musical Blog Chain. There’s something to be said for being last!

Aheïla started the chain with the question, “What does your story/character(s) sound like?” She offered the following guidelines: “You can take this from any angle: what do you listen to when you write, which song summarizes your story the best, etc.”

Hmm. Well, for me, the best place to start is at the beginning.

I woke up one morning with a character in my head showing me her lonely existence on the fringes of human society. As Sunny unveiled her story, I became obsessed in the efforts to write it down. That might not sound unusual, except I’d never written anything before.

That was the beginning of a new chapter in my life, which quickly narrowed down to night after night of manic writing, generally getting only 2-4 hours of sleep before heading off to work the next day. Watcher became my life as the story poured incessantly into my head.

During that five, very unreal months, I discovered how much music – always a big part of my life – enhanced my writing. I initially wrote to wordless instrumental songs…

Well, I must confess. It was actually the Twilight score – not the popular soundtrack, but the haunting background music by Carter Burwell. It provided the eerie feel of the nonhuman creatures I was writing about, with both soft romantic interludes and violent crescendos that matched the scenes playing in my head.

Then my son introduced me to Nine Inch Nails. I was familiar with a couple of their popular songs, but though a longtime Tool fan, I’d never paid much attention to NIN. My son filled my new iPod with NIN and I discovered a depth to Trent Reznor’s music that went way beyond Closer (the ‘animal’ song).

As I was editing Watcher, I kept finding track after track of quiet and deeply emotional music by NIN. I discovered even more on the NIN remix site.

Trent Reznor, ever rebellious, makes his music available for fans to download, remix, and upload – in fact, he not only encourages it, but uploads his own remixes as well. What makes this phenomenal is that not only is it available to the public, but it’s all free as long as all the artists are credited and no one profits from it.

My ‘soundtrack’ for Watcher consists of dozens of songs and I’m constantly on the lookout for more. But what I’ve done for this post is to list the songs that are tied to a few of the more important scenes in the book. Many of them are Nine Inch Nails in origin, but there are also a few Incubus songs on this list – their mood and lyrics seem particularly suited to this story.

But before you begin, I need to add one little tidbit about some of the weirdness that entered my life while writing the story of Sunny and Nicolas.

The novel was almost complete when I discovered a song that sent chills down my spine. Why? Because the singer was singing about Nicolas – my Nicolas – who had been hammering his story at me for the last half a year. The song is called Sleeping with a Vampyre by Brigitte Handley and The Dark Shadows. It not only describes his physical appearance perfectly, but his behavior and attitude as well. It really creeped me out. Still does. Makes me wonder how many women he visits in their dreams…

You can listen to it here:

So that said, I invite you on a brief journey of Watcher through music that expresses the rollercoaster of emotions in this story. If you don’t have much time to listen to all of them, then at least listen to the theme song for Watcher. It’s called Leavin’ Hope, Still and is a Nine Inch Nails remix by Justin St.Charles. This is a sad but beautiful instrumental love song which, to me, is a perfect tribute to Sunny and Nicolas.  It’s Track #4 on the main player.

~~~~~~~~~

Be sure to check out the other participants in the AW May Musical Blog Chain. They all use and relate to music differently in their writings and offer a wonderful variety of music samples:

Aheïla: http://thewriteaholicblog.wordpress.com/ and direct link to my blog chain’s post
Stefanie Gaither: http://stefanie-gaither.blogspot.com/ and direct link to the blog chain’s post
AuburnAssassin: http://clairegillian.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
xcomplex: http://arielemerald.blogspot.com and direct link to her post
Proach: http://everythinghistorical.wordpress.com and direct link to her post
8thSamurai: http://digitalisdreaming.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
vfury: http://helencorcoran.wordpress.com and direct link to her post
CScottMorris: http://cscottmorrisbooks.com/ and direct link to his post
Hayley E. Lavik: http://hayleyelavik.blogspot.com and direct link to her post
FreshHell: http://freshhell.wordpress.com and direct link to her post
LadyMage: http://www.katherinegilraine.com and direct link to her post
DavidZahir: http://zahirblue.blogspot.com/ and direct link to his post
Aimée Laine: http://www.aimeelaine.com/writing/blog/ and direct link to her post
egoodlett: http://wordlarceny.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
Semmie: http://semmie.wordpress.com and direct link to her post
Sbclark: http://sonyaclark.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
Razibahmed: http://write-translate.blogspot.com/ and direct link to his post
ArcticFox: http://picaresqueblog.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
Lilain: http://abigailschmidt.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
Truelyana: http://expressiveworld.com/ and direct link to her post
CowgirlPoet: http://frontnotes.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
defyalllogic:http://tavialewis.com/hyperbolicallyspeaking/ and direct link to her post
IrishAnnie: http://superpenpower.blogspot.com and direct link to her post
Anarchicq: http://anarchicq.com and direct link to her post
Harri3tspy: http://spynotes.wordpress.com and direct link to her post
roh morgon @ 9:18 am
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reading aloud allowed

Actually, not only is reading your work aloud permissible, you should consider making it a mandatory part of your writing and editing process.

It’s part of mine. When I’m ‘combing’ through passages looking for errors, I’m also seeking rhythm and flow. The best way for me to find it is to read the passage out loud.

It surprises me how different it can sound–and how my tongue will trip over a missing word that my mind is sure was there just a second ago. Words that I used two paragraphs back suddenly shout at me, saying, “Yo! I just had my turn! Use someone else!”

Reading a paragraph out loud will help me avoid sentence structures that repeat themselves as though fired from a Gatling gun, or combinations that are singsong, morphing into some bizarre nursery rhyme.

My voice helps me to find the cadence of the scene, to rearrange words and build sentences that reflect the emotion of the moment, and my ears tell me when something just plain doesn’t work.

I never release my writing to the outer world without reading it out loud, beginning to end, multiple times. It doesn’t matter if it’s a business letter, my blog, or a fiction piece that may or may not be complete. For me, it’s the last vet check before the gate opens and the horse bearing my words races down the track.

So when I was asked if I would like to read a scene or two from Watcher during the open-mike session of a poetry reading, I had no hesitation.

It was in Davis, California, and it was at the monthly Poetry Night held on the first Wednesday of the month at the Bistro 33 on F Street.

While in town on business, I called my friend, Sharon, who is doing some editing work for me, and asked about getting together. She kindly invited me join her for dinner with a few other friends on Poetry Night, and it was then that she asked if I would like to read from Watcher.

I knew immediately that the opening cemetery scene contained enough emotion and imagery for a verbal ‘performance’ –for that is what it really is when you read your work aloud for an audience. But I was unsure of which passage to read for the second half of my five minutes of fame. I practiced a few the evening before the dinner, intending to consult with Sharon before making the final choice.

As it turned out, several of the dinner friends actually run the Poetry Night. Dr. Andy Jones and Brad Henderson are both University of California Davis literature professors and well-known local poets. The other dinner guests, besides Sharon and me, were the featured poets of Poetry Night. Susan Wolbarst and Allegra Silberstein are accomplished and published poets, and in 2010, Allegra was named the first Poet Laureate of the City of Davis.

So I was in pretty distinguished company and was suddenly more than a little intimidated by the ears and judgments of the people I would be reading to. But Sharon reassured me (she is a huge fan of Watcher) and together we made the decision on which passages I would read. One, of course, was the cemetery scene. But the other was one I had not practiced the night before. Yet it was another scene with enough vivid imagery that I felt it would read well, and so I took the chance and read it unpracticed.

But it wasn’t really unpracticed. Because when I wrote it, and during the dozens of editing sessions that I’ve subjected Watcher to, I read it out loud. Over and over again. Granted, the last time I’d read it was probably four or five months prior to Poetry Night. But it was well-vetted verbally, and I knew this horse would fly smoothly down the track.

As I listened to the poets and other performers, I blocked all thoughts of my impending time in front of the mike, refusing to give into the nervousness that I knew was lurking. And when I stepped up on the stage and began reading, I forced myself to stay calm and read slowly, and let the horse I’d trained have a little bit of rein.

The words flowed in that cadence I’d schooled them into, and the scene maintained its emotional rhythm throughout its run. And I believe the audience caught a good glimpse of Sunny’s pain as she watched her daughter place flowers on her empty grave.

I took a deep breath and turned to the marked page of the second scene. And as I began to read of falling snowflakes, fluffy cushions of downy white, and the unpainting of nature’s colorful forest canvas, I could feel Sunny’s amazement and joy, and I can only hope some of that was able to reach the audience through my voice.

As I left the stage to the appreciative sound of more-than-just-polite applause, I smiled as I realized that I had just read excerpts from a vampire novel (the dark stepchild of popular fiction) to a group of poetry lovers who likely had no idea that the subject in the scenes lived on blood.

And surprisingly, I wasn’t embarrassed by what I’d read or how I’d read it. I was proud of it, in spite of the fact that admitting I write vampire fiction is a bit embarrassing itself. And I believe I felt that way about my performance because I’ve been practicing those scenes for my own ears for well over a year now.

So not only am I suggesting you read your work aloud during both the writing and the editing phases, I recommend you look for opportunities to read it aloud for others. You may discover something important about your work, and you may find a renewed sense of faith in what you are putting on the page.

roh morgon @ Sunday, 25 April 2010 3:44 pm
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