roh morgon

~ out with the old . . .

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All-in-all, 2017 was a good year.

It began on a hopeful note as the re-write of Runner: Book II of The Chosen neared completion, making the novel’s pending publication more tangible.

Once I handed over the final draft to my editor, Jodi Lester, several other dreams began morphing from fantasy to reality: 1) the long-planned release of a professionally edited version of Watcher: Book I of The Chosen, and 2) publishing it with a new, professionally designed cover.

My deepest thanks go to Jodi, and to the cover design crew at Deranged Doctor Design, for bringing the realization of both those dreams to fruition.

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I’m also extremely grateful to my beta readers for their time and effort spent to read and comment on Runner. Their feedback provided me the information necessary to fine-tune the story and more fully immerse readers into the world of The Chosen.

I did manage to take a couple short breaks from the mad race toward publication of the two novels. The first break was a quiet week in May spent visiting my parents in Arizona; the second was a week-long cross-country trip in August to witness the Great American Eclipse in Casper, Wyoming. The eclipse was phenomenal, and I’ll never again look at a sunrise or a sunset without remembering the magic of the 360-degree twilight we experienced in the middle of the day.

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After we returned from our eclipse trip, efforts to complete the edits on both books began in earnest. Jodi and I spent the next two months swapping versions of the books back and forth in a flurry of further editing and proofreading. As the October publishing dates neared, I donned my publisher hat and began prepping the manuscripts for both paperback and ebook editions. Jodi and I were literally editing and formatting clear up to the midnight deadlines for each of the books with scarcely a breath between.

But it was well-worth the effort. The second edition of Watcher: Book I of The Chosen was successfully released on October 7; Runner: Book II of The Chosen followed on October 25.

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October was busy in the PR department as well. The books and I were featured in eight different blogs and newsletters in the first real promotion I’ve done since Watcher’s initial release in 2011. Between those appearances and my engagement of an ARC (Advance Review Copy) distribution service, Watcher picked up a significant number of reviews. At this time, Watcher has nearly fifty (50!) 4-star and 5-star reviews, with new ones rolling in every day.

Also in October, I discovered a new music idol. Ludovico Einaudi is an Italian pianist and composer whose wonderful compositions defy any one-word description. Combining classical, rock, pop, and electronica, he frequently backs his piano with avant-garde string sections and semi-psychedelic visuals in concert. Though he’s a far cry from the hard rock artists I favor such as Tool and Nine Inch Nails, or the bluesy sounds of The Black Keys and the retro-psychedelic moods of The Black Angels and Wooden Shjips, he is currently my favorite musician. I used several songs from his “In a Time Lapse” album in Runner, and am already building the Seeker playlist with his music as its foundation.

November and December were as hectic as those months usually are, and it was with some relief—and some reluctance—that I stepped away from the book business to focus on shopping, cooking, and visiting family for the holidays.

As I look back over the year, I feel grateful for all that I have and all that I’ve achieved. My family members are doing well and are in reasonably good health, and I’m thankful to have been able to spend time on several occasions with my aging parents. They, along with my children and my husband, fully support my writing, and I’m fortunate to have their love and encouragement.

Writing is a balancing act, and with a day job and family, there is little time to pursue other interests. But, as cliché as it sounds, it is important to stop and smell the roses. Or watch a sunset in the middle of the day, or hug a parent or a grandchild.

With the publication of Watcher and Runner now behind me, I’m looking ahead to the next chapters in both the series and in my own life.

Farewell 2017. It’s been a good year, and I look forward to the next one.

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roh morgon @ Monday, 1 January 2018 11:50 pm
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~milestones

Milestones.

We all have them, both personal and as a society.

The biggest, of course, is the ten-year anniversary of 9/11. I won’t go into it here, but do want acknowledge the impact of that event ten years ago on the entire world.

For me, this past week had several. A couple were personal, one affected a small segment of society, and one had ramifications for a larger segment, and in fact, affects society as a whole.

Milestone #1 ~ I’ll start with the smallest one, the one that is mine.

I uploaded my very first book to CreateSpace – and they accepted all of the formatting!

Now those of you who have yet to attempt self-publishing may not realize how hard this is.

Uploading is the easy part. Just fill in a few fields in the online form, click a few times, and voila! Your book is uploaded and in the queue to be vetted for formatting errors.

The hard part?

Book designing.

Holy crap. I’m not going into details (I’ll save that for another post), but trust me when I say there is more that goes into putting together a professional-looking book than you’d ever realize.

Then there’s the cover.

Now, I’m no artist, not by a longshot. I do have someone working on the cover (I should say ‘covers – because this book is the first in a trilogy). But the artwork isn’t done yet, and I need to get review copies out.

So this is the cover I’ve come up with (for now) for my Advanced Reading Copy (or ARC):

It’s not great, but I felt it was better than a plain white one.

So yeah, in a few days, I’ll be cradling my first book in print and probably crying when I think of the journey that brought me this far.

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Milestone #2 – Two year anniversary of the final Nine Inch Nails show (which I was lucky enough to attend)

Although this is a very personal one for me, it’s also a milestone for NIN fans. Rather, it’s the anniversary of a milestone.

NIN and Trent’s music played an important role in my writing of Watcher. His quieter, introspective stuff really helped set the mood for many of the scenes in the book. And so this anniversary, so close to the release of Watcher, is one I needed to acknowledge.

Here’s one of my favorite songs that form part of the backdrop for Watcher:

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I feel fortunate that I was able to be part of NIN’s final farewell.

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Milestone #3 – Another final farewell…to Borders

Yep. Our local Borders shut its doors this past Monday. Finis. Done.

Borders was more than a bookstore in this community. It was a gathering spot, a bit of literary culture in an area that distinctly lacks much culture of any kind. People would hang out and read, or visit, or share info in the Seattle’s Best cafe at the back of the store.

Our writer’s group, the Fresno Sci-fi & Fantasy Writers, held monthly Open Mic nights there. Other events surrounding book releases drew fans of all types, from Potterheads to Twilight Moms.

It was a happening place, and on our rare nights out, my reading friends and I would eat dinner and go hang out at Borders. Not a bar, but Borders. Because, after all, it was our love of stories that drew us together in the first place.

Now how cool of a bookstore is that?

Over the past month or so, I’ve been stopping in there weekly and buying books at ever-decreasing discounted prices. It’s been a bit of a trip down memory lane, as my close circle of reading friends have moved away one-by-one, and the last time we were all together was over a year-and-a-half ago.

So my weekly visits have been with great sadness as I mourn the loss of those evenings spent sharing excitement over the latest books, as well as the loss of the gathering spot that allowed us to do so.

I’ve felt like a bit of a vulture picking at a carcass that wasn’t quite dead, and it got worse with each visit.

My last trip there was the day before they closed their doors permanently. Books were discounted down to 90% of their marked price, and then they announced all books were 10 for $9.99.

A buck apiece.

The feeding frenzy increased, and by the time I left with my armful of books, the bones were almost picked clean.

I felt ill.

Not only was it the closing of a community icon and gathering point, it was also representative of the changing industry and the lightspeed transition to e-books.

As much as I as an author will be benefitting from these changes, I still mourn the loss of the bookstores. I know that our Borders is only one of the thousands of bookstores that have closed up shop over the last few years as they crumpled beneath the heavy tread of Amazon. The e-book revolution is only hastening their demise.

I made one last visit to say goodbye to an old friend. I don’t know why I was drawn to the body, its paper flesh stripped from the bones of its shelving beneath its concrete skin.

But I had to see it. I had to see that it was dead, once and for all.

I have my memories, and several shelves full of books I may never get around to reading. And morbidly, I also have a few bones, and will always think of Borders whenever I look at the two used bookcases in the spare bedroom that still have Borders tags on them.

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Goodbye, Borders. I’ll miss you.

roh morgon @ Friday, 16 September 2011 2:23 pm
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~this week’s musical treat – 20 december 2010

Not too long ago, I posted about the trouble I was having starting a new WIP, and how hearing a song called Circadian Rhythm by Sun Volt triggered the opening scene I’d been searching for (see finding the spark ).

Circadian Rhythm is a plaintive, soul-searching kind of song that really describes Sullivan (the main character) and where he’s at in this part of his life. It’s his theme song, and has provided the background tone for much of the early part of the story.

But lately another song has come to my attention for Sullivan. I don’t know if I recently heard it on the radio or what, but it’s been playing non-stop in my head for weeks. I finally relented, downloaded it, and made it part of Sullivan’s playlist. Though the song is from the ’70s, its emotion is timeless.

It’s called I’m Eighteen by Alice Cooper. Let’s just say it’s a good one for the occasions when Sullivan’s feeling pissed off at the world.

For your listening pleasure…

What songs remind you of your characters?

Do you have songs for when they’re down, angry, in love?

Does music help you flesh out their emotions?

roh morgon @ Monday, 20 December 2010 12:52 am
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~finding the spark & this week’s musical treat

Due to interest from teachers and schools in Fur Before Feathers, I’ve decided to turn my writing efforts away from the world of Watcher for the time being and start on a new story in my YA Forbidden Doorways series.

I’ve been wanting to write Sullivan’s story for awhile now. Sullivan is Sander’s older brother and has a well-deserved reputation for being a troublemaker. His story, called In Search of Self, takes place after Sullivan’s left home and is trying to find his place in the world.

My ‘backbrain’ has been mulling over the opening, the events, and the other characters in his story for the last couple months, but several writing opportunities have gone by without that flash of inspiration that always sends me running to the keyboard.

Most of the time when I start a new project, I awaken in the morning with a character dancing in my head, nagging me with their very presence to write their story. But not Sullivan. Ever the rebel, he’s been strangely silent as he waited for me to find his story instead of shoving it in my face like all the others have.

And then the other day, I heard his song. His anger, his loneliness, his sense of isolation crashed over me like a tidal wave, and the flood of his story began.

The song is called Circadian Rhythm and is by the band Son Volt. And it was the spark that ignited Sullivan’s emotions.

The spark.

That elusive flash that opens the doors to other worlds and allows characters to step into our heads and tell their stories.

The spark is something that must be nourished with setting and dialog and a gentle breath so it will grow into a steady-burning flame, warming and lighting the way for the writer.

All good stories start with a spark. Good scenes do, too.

Music usually provides me the spark to write powerful scenes filled with emotion. Long warm showers irrigate the plot and bring new characters to life. Both are integral to my writing.

So tell me – how do you find your spark?

What sends you into another time, another place, another person?

What propels you to write?

roh morgon @ Monday, 18 October 2010 1:22 pm
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~weird factoids & this week’s musical treat – 16 august 2010

First of all, I’d like to introduce you to a couple of songs by one of my favorite independent artists, Justin St. Charles. I discovered him on the Nine Inch Nails remix site and he’s pretty talented. The first song, Reckless, tells the sad story of a breakup. It’s a soft hip-hop tune that’s quite heartwrenching. The second is a remix he did of a song by Trent Reznor’s new band, How To Destroy Angels called A Drowning. Justin’s remix is called Drowning Without Me.

Posted with the permission of the artists who believe in sharing their creative passions, here’s Reckless and Drowning Without Me:

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Did ya happen to notice today’s date?

Yeah, today is a nine day. For those who are new to my blog, I have a thing for the number nine – it’s a really cool number.

Why, and why is today a nine-day, you ask?

Just add up all the numbers in the date, then add the numbers in the sum. So 16 August 2010 is: 1+6+8+2+0+1+0=18;  and 1+8=9!

Nine’s a special number and has all kinds of strange effects on numbers involving it. For example, multiply any number by nine. The result is a product whose integers also add up to nine (ex: 9 x 5 = 45; 4 + 5 = 9). Multiples of nine are kinda weird in another way – the first digit increases as the second digit decreases. For example:

9, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 81, 90. The pattern resets itself when 9 is multiplied by any number ending in 1, such as 11, 21, 31, etc.

Cool, huh?!

Which leads me to my next weird little factoid, only this one is a word.

Interrobang.

Yes, it’s a real word.

Want a clue as to its meaning?

You can find it at the end of the line that begins with the word ‘cool’

Huh?!

Yeah, that’s it.

An interrobang is a special symbol that’s the combination of a question mark and an exclamation mark. From Wikipedia:

The interrobang, interabang[1] (pronounced /ɪnˈtɛrəbæŋ/) or quesclamation mark, ‽, is a nonstandard English-language punctuation mark intended to combine the functions of the question mark (also called the interrogative point) and the exclamation mark or exclamation point (known in printers’ jargon as the bang). The glyph is a superimposition of these two marks. A sentence ending with an interrobang asks a question in an excited manner, expresses excitement or disbelief in the form of a question, or asks a rhetorical question.

It looks like this:

It can be created in HTML or XML documents by typing ‽ or ‽ and some word processors will display it using the alt code ALT+8253 .

Just imagine – if this symbol were widely used, there would be no more confusion as to which order to place the question mark and the exclamation mark for those instances when you need both.

Pretty cool, huh

roh morgon @ Monday, 16 August 2010 11:43 pm
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category: music,nine
tags: ,

~this week’s musical treat – 1 august 2010

In recognition of Maggie Stiefvater‘s stunning success with both Shiver and Linger (see my mini-review below in the ~bloghopper post), I’m featuring the songs that she wrote AND played for her book trailer videos. Talk about TALENTED!

The Golden Woods was written and arranged for Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, and performed by Maggie Stiefvater and her sister, Kate Hummel.

One Thousand Paper Cranes was written, arranged, and performed for Linger by Maggie Stiefvater and Kate Hummel.

The third song in the player is last week’s When He Thinks Of Her (in case you missed it). This somber but beautiful song by Justin St. Charles is a nice followup to the Shiver and Linger songs.

roh morgon @ Sunday, 1 August 2010 3:03 pm
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category: music
tags:

~this week’s musical treat – 25 july 2010

This is a quiet little instrumental by Justin St. Charles. Readers of my blog might recall my AW May Musical Blog Chain post featuring his beautiful song Leavin’ Hope, a remix of a NIN instrumental, that is the main theme song for my novel Watcher. He’s taken several NIN songs and recreated emotional and haunting remixes that are part of the Watcher soundtrack. I think I’ll be adding this new song as well.

So, for your listening pleasure, here is When He Thinks Of Her, by Justin St. Charles:

roh morgon @ Sunday, 25 July 2010 7:57 am
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category: music
tags:

~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.

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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 @ Monday, 31 May 2010 9:18 am
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