roh morgon

~interview… and a * snowfest * blogfest!

#1 – I’m being interviewed today! Let me tell you a bit about my host…

J.C. Martin is a fellow writer whose blog I’ve followed since its inception. Its title tells you a bit about her:

J.C. Martin, Fighter Writer
Reading, writing, and fighting–the three joys of life!

J.C. is a black belt and teaches martial arts and self-defense to both children and adults. She also writes dark mysteries and gripping thrillers with a psychological slant.

Needless to say, she writes awesome action scenes and great suspense! I’ve really enjoyed reading her blogfest entries and other writings on her blog.

Her debut novel, Oracle, is scheduled to be released by J. Taylor Publishing August 1, 2012.

J.C. was kind enough to interview me for her weekly feature, Writer Wednesday. You can check it out here.

Thank you, J.C.!

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#2 -  * Snowfest * Blogfest

Hopefully everyone’s recovered from NaNoWriMo and the holidaze…so I think it’s time for a blogfest!

I love blogfests! They’re a fun writing exercise and give me a chance to check out other writers’ works. In fact, my two published short stories, The Monster’s Growl and The Seduction, are both former blogfest entries!

I haven’t hosted a blogfest in quite awhile, so I thought in honor of the New Year I’d do so.

I’m calling it * Snowfest *, because it’s that time of year for some folks (I say this as I look outside at sunny skies and the non-snow covered rolling hills of California). I love the snow, so the theme of this blogfest is… to write a scene in the snow!

Here’s the details:

1) What: Write a scene that takes place in the snow. It can be snowing or not, just as long as snow is part of the setting. And for those of you who like an extra challenge, write a scene in which snow is the main focus of the characters, whether they’re building a snowman or fighting for their lives in a snowstorm.

2) Word count: 1,200 words or so (I can never keep my own entries in any blogfest under 1,000!)

3) Blogfest date: February 2, 2012

BONUS: Watcher Giveaway!

One entry will be selected at random to win a free copy of Watcher: Book I of The Chosen.

So bring out your shovels, I mean pens, and join me in a snowdance to celebrate one of the most beautiful forms of the water that gives life to our planet. And don’t forget the carrot for that snowman.

You can find the list of participants here. And if you want to spread the word, just copy the blogfest banner!

roh morgon @ Wednesday, 4 January 2012 6:47 am
Comments (10)

~flashback

Somebody asked me the other day how long I’d been blogging. I couldn’t answer them off the top of my head. So when I got home and onto my computer that night, I checked to see the date of my first post.

It was December 6, 2009, two years and a month ago.

I can’t believe I missed my own blogiversary!

Well, yes I can. I miss birthdays and anniversaries all the time – just ask my hubby. Oh well.

So, in belated honor of my blogiversary, and in honor of Watcher, the book that started it all, below is a re-posting of my very first post telling how I got started in this whole writing thing.

It’s certainly been a long strange trip…

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the beginning of it all

I suppose if I’m going to tell the story of telling a story, I should start at the beginning.

One year ago, in December 2008, I heard an interview with the author of a popular book series. When asked who she wrote her story for, she said she wrote it for herself.

That statement flipped a switch somewhere inside me. And so I decided to write a story for me, about beings I’d long been fascinated with – vampires.

At least I thought I was writing it for myself.

The first words to hit the page stunned me. They spoke of the pain of an undead creature as she watched a family she could no longer be part of. They went on to describe how she struggled with her violent nature, held in check only by memories of her daughter, and how she lived with the loneliness of her dangerous secret.

And so Sunny was born. She didn’t have a name then, because all I wrote that December was a one-page preface. The holidays were in full swing, my family was gathering for a long-overdue reunion, and there was no time to write. I reluctantly put her story on hold until after the first of the year. Fortunately she was content with that and allowed me to enjoy my family time.

But when January came around, Sunny came back into my life, and she brought others with her. Together they began insisting I tell their story, invading my thoughts all hours of the day as well as the night. I slept very little back then, averaging only 2-4 hours a night while still trying to hold down a full-time job.

Weekends were even worse. I’d start writing Friday night when I got home after work, recording their story until they released me to crawl into bed just before sunrise. I was usually back up by 8 or 9 Saturday morning to start again. I’d write all day, taking few breaks, and on into the night until sometime near dawn. Sunday would be a repeat of Saturday, writing almost non-stop. Fortunately, because I had to get up and go to work the next morning, they allowed me to go to bed a little earlier on Sunday nights – most of the time.

This went on for five months. At the end of May, over Memorial Weekend, I finished the end of the first draft. I still had a couple of early chapters to flesh out, but as far as I was concerned, I was done.

Sunny and Nicolas had other ideas. A week later they pushed me to continue with their story in the second book of the series. I wrote about 25,000 words before they let me stop. But they didn’t stop. Shifting their attention back to Watcher, the pressure I’ve felt to edit and prepare it for publication has been relentless.

And so it continues. I’m hoping to have all the fine-tuning for Watcher complete by the end of the year. I’ve submitted to two agents that I met at writer’s conferences, and will begin submitting to more in January if I haven’t heard anything by then.

Friends are helping me with artwork and website management. I’m slowly building my online presence, including learning how to blog. This all takes so much time, yet I can do nothing else but press forward as Sunny and Nicolas insist.

Because their need to have their story known…is every bit as strong as the need they are known for.

So if anyone wants to know what it’s like to be seduced and have your life taken over by vampires, I can tell them. Because mine has, and just like in the legends, the dark gift has its good points, and its bad.

 December 6, 2009

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As I look back on this post, I shake my head in amazement. That year is a blur – it was like I was possessed. Hmm…who knows – maybe I was <grin> (I like to think so – it’s a better explanation than thinking I was losing my mind!)

As for meeting my goal of submitting to agents and trying to get a publishing deal in 2010, all I can say is … everything happens for a reason. I’m happy with the path I’m on, one that allows me to control my own career, subject only to the whims of the readers  – and not the middlemen of a too-rapidly changing publishing world.

I’m off to a great start this year, with a novel and two short stories published, and more in the works. I feel optimistic about the coming year, and am excited to be moving forward on some new projects.

All doomsaying aside, I think 2012 is going to be great!

roh morgon @ Tuesday, 3 January 2012 11:51 pm
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~big day – my Critique This WIP interview and a new website

Wow – today is a monumental day in roh’s world.

First of all, I’m beyond excited to reveal my new website, courtesy of my son and a friend of his, Tony Brock, a very talented web developer. Tony did an awesome job with the site – visit www.rohmorgon.com and let me know what you think.

But the really thrilling news (at least for me!) is that Critique This WIP is featuring an interview with me this week as part of their Author Interview series! Critique This WIP is a group of writers who blog about the writing world. In their words:

We are a group of five women, brought together by one common goal—publication. Obviously, we each write some form of romance, whether it be paranormal, contemporary, or romantic suspense. Like all writers, our lives revolve around our stories (even if that pesky little thing called life gets in the way sometimes).
CritiqueThisWIP is our blog–a place for us to share our thoughts, tips, and feelings about writing.
Together, we make up Critique This, and together we critique our way to publication.

Stop by their site and check it out. They’ve done a number of Author Interviews and I’m jazzed to be included in their series.

And as a reminder, the Monster Mash is happening all week (monsters love to party!). Be sure to visit all the guests and see who they’ve brought to the Mash!

That’s it for now, so…

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

roh morgon @ Monday, 25 October 2010 9:52 pm
Comments (7)

~stolen time

Time.

Something I seem to have precious little of, at least to call my own. It slips through my fingers, a stream flowing into the ocean of the past, never to be recovered.

I sell most of my time. My employer buys the biggest chunk of it for the cold hard cash necessary to keep a roof over my head and eat regularly. It’s a fair exchange, and one I shouldn’t complain about in this day and age of joblessness and uncertainty. But I sure wish I could figure out how to sell just a little less of it.

Trading my time with others is another avenue of loss. In my critique group, we trade reading time to help one another learn and grow. It’s also a fair exchange, for how can I expect someone to give me feedback on my writing without offering the same in return?

I tend to be selfish with the amount of time that is left, reserving it for writing and all the things that go along with trying to get published. My horses whinny at me as I go to and from the house, their voices questioning why I no longer spend hours grooming and riding them. Hobbies I once obsessed over, such as scrapbooking and costuming, gather dust as projects sit neglected in corners. Fan conventions and renfaires no longer fill my calendar – a calendar that tells lies with its emptiness.

I’m fortunate that my husband supports my writing efforts. He shares my frustrations when I cry at the end of a weekend because the writing or editing that I’d planned to do kept getting bumped to the bottom of the list, falling off of it completely when the clock strikes midnight on Sunday.

One of my biggest time-sucks is blogging. But I’ve found it necessary to my growth as a writer. I’ve learned a tremendous amount about writing and publishing from the other writers, agents, and editors who blog. Hopefully my investment of time in the blogosphere will pay off and bring me closer to a publishing deal.

So I’m at a loss on how to gain more time to actually write. For now, I steal it – some from the time I should be spending with my husband and animals, other bits from my neglected  friendships.

But mostly – I steal it from my sleep. And that’s hard on the body and the mind, and night after night of less than 6 hours of rest really takes its toll.

How about you? Where does your writing time come from? Is it yours to do whenever you wish, or do you have to squeeze it in between work and family? Or are you like me, stealing it from precious sleep and cringing at its cost when you peer into the mirror the next morning.

I’d like to hear from some of you about how you manage your writing time. And perhaps we’ll exchange comments and bemoan our lack of time while writing beneath the bright light of the moon.

roh morgon @ Monday, 9 August 2010 11:14 pm
Comments (5)
category: blogging
tags:

~contests and welcome to a new blogger!

First of all, I want to mention a couple of contests that are going on right now.

Today is the last day for the 100 Followers Contest over at  Critique This WIP. Prizes are chapter critiques by the gang over there – click on the link now to enter!

Roni, of Fiction Groupie, and Julie, of  Diary of an Unpublished Wanna-Be Writer, are hosting Roni and Julie’s Totally Epic Summer Contest.  They’ve been interviewing authors and agents all week, and are offering a variety of fabulous prizes, including books, critiques, and query opportunities. Hurry on over there to enter – contest deadline is Sunday, August 8.

And now, to introduce you to a new blogger!

Melanie Smith is a member of the Fresno Sci-Fi & Fantasy Writers and a dear friend of mine. She’s also an editor and a word-crafter par excellence!

Mellie’ new blog is called Thursday-ish. Why? In her words:

“Why Thursday, you ask? Monday and Tuesday are very busy for me.  Wednesday is too finely balanced in the middle of the week, and Friday is busy again, with my mind on other things. Thursday, though, is like an eddy of time in my busy life.  It’s the day I’m most likely to spend with a friend, or painting a watercolor, or writing.  I’m not all that good at deadlines, however, so I’m only promising Thursday-ISH.  It might be later, or I may feel perfectly balanced and write something brilliant on Wednesday.  One never knows…”

So join me in welcoming her, and hop on over to see what she says about her love affair…with words.

roh morgon @ Friday, 6 August 2010 8:11 pm
Comments (4)

~winner! no, wait – TWO winners!

Well, my first contest is officially over!

Roh’s Character Contest #1 has not one, but two winners!

The Random Drawing – all this required is that the entrant comment on the Character Contest post. That’s it. Pretty simple. A few of the entrants also participated in the writing contest and received a bonus entry in the random drawing if their writing piece met a special word count criteria (their word count was a multiple of nine). Prize: an e-copy of the Nebula Award-winning novella The Unicorn Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas.

The name of each commenter was dutifully written on a ticket and placed into The Official Random Drawing Contest Bin (aka as the red tupperware bowl).

To the tune of Queen’s We Are the Champions, my Very Patient Husband (VPH) drew the winning name, which I will reveal in a few moments.

The Writing Contest – the requirements were simple. The goal was to write about your favorite character and convince readers to buy the book. Inclusion of the character name, title, and author, along with a limit of 198 words or less, were the only guidelines. Prize: a new softcover copy of Suzy McKee Charnas’ The Vampire Tapestry, along with a $10 gift card to either Borders or Barnes & Noble.

Our official judge was a fellow writer from the Fresno Sci-Fi & Fantasy Writers group. Melanie Smith, affectionately known as Mellie, is a free-lance editor and a friend of mine. When I asked for her help in judging the entries, she was thrilled to do so.

The entries were numbered and sent to her, so she had no idea who the various authors were.  I felt this was important to remove any possibility of bias. Submissions were judged on grammar, punctuation, word craft, and strength of argument. (many thanks, Mellie!)

So, without further ado, here are the contest winners:

(drum roll, please!)

Winner of the Random Drawing

Ryan, aka R. Garrett Wilson

Ryan is a member of the Fresno Sci-Fi & Fantasy Writers group. His short story, Meeting the Bakrra, will be appearing in our group anthology, I Dreamed a Crooked Dream, to be published this fall. Ryan’s blog is full of introspection and information that pertains to writing (and babies – he’s a new daddy). I’m sure he’d welcome a visit.

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Winner of the Writing Contest

Tessa of Tessa’s Blurb

Tessa recently hosted The Blogfest of Death, in which participants portrayed a death scene from either a WIP or something entirely new. Her blog is fun – and she has cool Haiku riddles, too. Be sure to check it out!

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In addition to the prizes mentioned, I’ve created a nifty little award to add to the winners’ blogs.

Of course, it’s obvious by this that I should confine my creative interests to writing and leave artwork to those who can actually do it…

Anyhow, congratulations to our winners!

Character Contest #2 will be taking place this fall – stay tuned to this blog.

I leave you with a final note…today is a nine-day! (7/26/2010: 7+2+6+2+0+1+0=18; 1+8=9)

roh morgon @ Monday, 26 July 2010 6:18 am
Comments (7)

~characters that shine and Character Contest #1

REMINDER – Character Contest #1 ends TOMORROW (Saturday July 17) at midnight! Don’t miss out on a chance to win cool book stuff!

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Characters. They literally make or break a story. You can have plot up the bazoo, but if you don’t have characters that entrap the readers, that suck them in and make their hearts race, you have nothing but black marks on a page.

I just finished critiquing nine stories ranging in length from 3,000 to 14,000 words (more than half of them were 10k+). These stories will be published by the Fresno Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers in our first annual anthology this fall.

So I’ve been paying extra attention to character development lately, not only in our anthology stories, but others as well.

Some stories contain dynamic characters that screech up to the reader, slam open the door, and say, “Jump in!” Then they careen down the road at madcap speed, the reader hanging on for dear life, giggling or sobbing at every turn.

In others, sedate characters stroll by, politely asking the reader if they’d like to go for a walk as they pass. The journey can be pleasant and relaxing, or a boring sedative to fall asleep with.

And sometimes the characters are confined by the writer to a park bench, only watching the events unfold around them and not even noticing when the reader asks to join them. Emotionless, unable to interact with their environment, their apathy quickly drives the reader away.

So how do you turn those wallflowers at the prom into the dancing stars that everyone admires and wants to be with? What can you do to turn them from a drab grey to vivid splashes of red, blue, and yellow?

Let ‘em speak. Give them a voice. Allow them to cringe in pain, to frown in annoyance, to grin and shout their joy. Every word, every gesture, should be used to lure the reader in and ensnare them in the web of the story. And if it’s done right – if the writer has given their characters the freedom to express themselves – the reader will be thrilled to be caught up in the silken threads of another world, far beyond the reach of their own reality.

I’d like to hear from other writers how you bring your characters to life and what advice you might have to offer for those that are learning the craft.

roh morgon @ Friday, 16 July 2010 3:52 pm
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~awards and stuff about me

I recently received the Journey Support award (my very first blog award!) from Tara at Feel of Something New. Being somewhat new to the blogosphere, I wasn’t sure what the award was for, so I googled it.

The Journey Support Award is given to bloggers in recognition for their support in this crazy world of writing and trying to get published – which is really cool (thanks, Tara!). So with that in mind, I’d like to pass it along to a few folks who’ve helped me:

Chris at C. Michael Fontes, Ryan at R. Garrett Wilson, Paula at P D Wright, Roni at *Fiction Groupie*, and Janet at Janet Sumner Johnson. Thank you all for your support and encouragement.

It just so happens that Janet also gave me an award today. It’s called the Honest Scrap Award, and has a few strings attached (they’re fun ones, though!).

First of all, I just want you to say “Honest Scrap” three times out loud, real fast. Yeah, I think that’s pretty funny.

So one of the requirements of this award is that you list ten *true* things about yourself  (you know, honest crap).

The second is that you pass it along to either five or ten other bloggers (google seemed a bit confused on this).

Well, being the renegade rule-breaker that I am, I’ve listed not ten, but eleven true things about me. Typical writer – can’t cut anything.

The other rule I’m going to bend (not break) is that I’m going to wait a little while before I bestow this award on my fellow bloggers (some of who I just gave the Journey Support award to).

So, in the meantime, here is my list of Honest Scrap:

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1)  Once drove an Amtrak train for over 100 miles – with passengers on it. No, really. Operated the accelerator, the brake, the horn – the whole shebang. The poor engineer probably lost his job (someone snapped a picture).

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2)  Lived for two years on the base of Pike’s Peak. Only made it to the top once – on the back of a Harley.

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3)  Love cars. Absolutely adore cars. One of my favorite things to do? Drive my little black Genesis coupe, Nine Inch Nails blaring from the stereo, windows down, no holds barred. Love curvy roads and pedal-to-the-metal. Once raced a…well, never mind. My dad reads my blog :)

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4)  Another favorite thing to do? Hauling butt on my jet ski across the lake, wind ripping through my hair as the water sprays up to kiss my skin. And doing doughnuts on the ski, round and round, faster and faster, ’til I’m hysterically dizzy and nearly flung off the darn thing.

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5)  Collector of knives and swords  – and can use them. Really. I prefer to fight with rapier and dagger.  You know, like in The Three Musketeers or The Mask of Zorro.

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6)  Been known to fly across the country for fan-related activities. And wear costumes that my husband and I made to said gatherings (yeah, I’m a true geek).

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7)  Owned by three mustang horses that I gentled and trained (with a little help).

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8)  Two crazy working dogs live with me – one bred to work cattle, the other to work sheep. Own neither cattle nor sheep, but have lots of tennis balls and frisbees.

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9)  The area surrounding my home in the Sierra Nevada foothills is so quiet at night your ears ring. Except when the owls call or the coyotes howl.  I hate the concrete and madness of cities.

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10)  One of only a few hundred people who attended the final two shows of Nine Inch Nails last September. And yeah, I was in the pit.

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Bonus factoid – My two kids are probably older than most of you reading this post.

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Oh, and one last thing. Don’t forget to enter my Character Contest #1 – the deadline is Saturday, July 17.

roh morgon @ Thursday, 8 July 2010 11:43 pm
Comments (4)

~Character Contest #1 (again)

Blogging contests.

I recently held one, and it didn’t do so well.

Truthfully? It was an epic FAIL. And that blame lies entirely with me.

Being new at this whole blogging thing, I’m still learning the ropes (like many of you).  In my recent post on successful blogging, I examined a few elements that I’ve observed in popular blogs, limiting my analysis to those by writers (we know why agent blogs are popular). This helped me to discover areas to focus on in order to improve my blogging.

Back to the contest. I contacted Roni over at *Fiction Groupie* (her blog is one I consider successful, with over 500 followers gained in less than a year), and asked her a few questions about holding contests and how to promote them. She gave me great advice and encouraged me to try again.  Janet Sumner Johnson also offered suggestions on how to spread news of the contest.

So, after consulting with the previous entrants (whose entries still count), I’ve decided to extend the Character Contest #1 deadline by two weeks.

Below is a re-post of the contest guidelines. So without further ado, read on:

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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 periodically, 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.

So first of all, become a follower of my blog – after all, the more people participating, the more fun it is for everyone. And if you post a link on your blog to the contest, you’ll earn an extra entry!

Then 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. That’s it – that’s all you have to do.

But, 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 us. Tell us 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 multiple 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:

The last day to enter is Saturday July 17, 2010 (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 Monday July 26, 2010.

roh morgon @ Friday, 2 July 2010 7:53 am
Comments (6)

~comments and how they can make – or ruin – a blogger’s day

Before I begin, I just need to point out that today is a NINE day. Nine days are always good days for me.

One of the things I enjoy about other bloggers’ posts is reading the comments. The commenter may confirm the relevancy of the topic, offer their own interpretation/experience, or suggest further sources. Sometimes the comment is just an attagirl (or boy) for a great post, or, rarely I hope, a negative remark from some disgruntled reader. I haven’t experienced any bad ones myself yet (of course, I haven’t had all that many comments on my posts, either), but hope I can handle it with grace if/when it does happen.

But I have received some comments that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And today, I received one of the most memorable ever. It was from a longtime friend, a writer I knew from before I started writing, and one whose support encourages me to keep pursuing this craft. His name is töff, and he is the creator and driving force behind the Fresno Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers.

Here is his comment about my novel Watcher that made my day:

“I hereby claim the honor and privilege of being the first person ever to read /Watcher/ while giving blood. The dream scene about Marie is dramatic enough in its own right , but try reading about the loss of a lifespark while your own blood is pumping out through a 16-gauge needle.”

Now that’s a dedicated reader and a devoted fan – willing to give up his lifeblood in order to immerse himself more fully in the story.

Thank you, töff — for everything.

roh morgon @ Sunday, 27 June 2010 1:17 am
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~reminder: 2 days left of Roh’s Character Contest #1

Just a quick announcement:

The deadline for my Character Contest #1 is June 27 – two days from now!

Hurry and get your entries in. You can find the guidelines here.

roh morgon @ Friday, 25 June 2010 11:09 am
Comments (0)

~blogging events & successful blogging

I recently discovered blogging contests, blogfests, blogchains – all sorts of fun ways to express oneself and discover new blogs to become addicted to.  And, of course, opportunities to expand one’s own readership.

I’ve participated in a few now. My favorites were the AW Musical Blog Chain - because I both love and write to music – and the Bad Boy Blogfest, because, well, you know…

But early on in my discovery of this new facet of blogging I decided to hold my own contest (Roh’s Character Contest #1). I dilligently constructed the rules, purchased the prizes, and notified the few bloggers I know that I was doing such a thing.

But what I failed to do was get the word out adequately, and my entry numbers were less than I’d hoped for.

I’m still learning this blogging thing, and have finally figured some of what the successful bloggers have in common:

1)  They post every day

2)  They all have a great sense of humor (or at least a wry wit)

3)  Their posts are almost always educational or devoted to information sharing in some way

4)  They frequently pose questions to their readers that encourage further information sharing

5)  They link to other blogs that they reference – and they almost always reference other blogs, especially if they’re doing #3 above

6)  They participate in blogging events (contests, blogfests, etc) to a degree – some more than others

7)  They acknowledge their commenters in some way – via individual or group thanks, blog references, etc.

So, in analyzing these commonalities, I can see where I need to focus my efforts. Item #1 is pretty critical and has been a failure of epic proportions on my part. I’m going to skip the rest, because it’s pretty obvious I need to work on these (although I’ve been doing #7 as much as possible).

As for today’s post, I’m going to Item #4 and pose a question:

What other elements have you seen consistently in successful blogs? Which ones do you have trouble implementing and which ones do you currently use?

(And yes, I realize my posts need to be shorter.  *snort*)

roh morgon @ Thursday, 24 June 2010 11:54 pm
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~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 @ Monday, 31 May 2010 9:18 am
Comments (19)

~The “Let’s Talk” Blogfest and dialog excerpt from Watcher

Fiction Groupie is holding an event called the “Let’s Talk” Blogfest. Participants sign up on her blog, then post a dialog excerpt from their WIP on their own blog.

I heard about this from Chris (one of my friends from FSFW) and immediately thought, “I have the perfect scene. I was just working on it.”

Thanks, Chris, for the heads up!

And without further ado, here is a scene from Watcher (oh, and today is a nine-day, BTW!):

~~~~~~~~~

The first thing I become conscious of is that whatever I’m lying on is not hard.  I cautiously reach out, expecting to feel air, but instead touch softness and fabric.

I open my eyes open and lift my head to look around.  A bed, my bed.  Not a tree branch.

Or maybe it is still a dream, I realize, as I turn and see Nicolas stretched out next to me, leaning on his elbow with his head propped up on his hand.

“Good morning,” he says in a low musical voice, his emerald eyes shining.

As before, words stick in my throat, unable to escape. So this must be a dream after all.

He reaches out and brushes back the hair from my face, then softly strokes my lips.

But that felt pretty real.

He shifts, then leans over and kisses me on the mouth.

Oh, this is definitely real.

I feel my body respond, and then he is crushing me to him.  He holds me tight for a long moment, then slowly releases me and leans back.  He reaches out again and starts working the tangles from my hair with his fingers.

“I was unable to comb all of these out earlier, as you were sleeping on this side.”

“You carried me off the mountain,” I croak, my voice finally breaking free.

“I did,” he says quietly as he continues to pick at my hair.

“You are here.”

“I am.”

“How long have you been here?”

“Since the night you left.  A month ago.”  The pain beneath his words is unmistakeable.

“A month? I’ve been gone a month?”

It’s all a blur of mountains and forests, lakes and meadows, blood and more blood.

He purses his lips, but does not answer. His green eyes watch my face as I feel the wilderness sing in my soul.  He touches my cheek, jarring me back to the present.

“You waited here,” I whisper. “All that time. For me.”

“Yes. I could do…nothing else.” Again I hear the pain, accompanied by loneliness, and wonder how he survived.

Because the only way I did was to give myself to the blood and to the wild.

Once more it calls, and I shut my eyes and remember the colors and smells that caressed my senses, and the wind that softly brushed my skin. Life is so simple out there.  Hunt and run and swim and sleep.  No complicated emotions to manage, no one to argue with, or be disappointed in, or be embraced by, or be loved by.

My eyes grow damp as tears begin to well up beneath their closed lids.

“Sunny.”  His voice is calm and soothing. Feather-light fingers again touch my face.

Startled, my eyes fly open. Yes, he is still here. This is not a dream.

But I need to move, to stretch, to run. My body’s not used to being so still for so long. Slipping out of the bed, I back across the room, watching him. He gets up as well, and part of me starts to panic. I turn to the closet, take out a pair of  jeans and a sweater, and slip them on.  I don’t need shoes–quit wearing them weeks ago.

“I need to go,” I whisper to the floor on my way out.

“Will you come back?” he asks, his voice strained.

“I don’t know. Maybe.” I take a long, slow breath. “Yes. I just need…a little more time.”

Turning, I head for the back door. As I open it, I hear him in the doorway behind me.

“I’ll be here,” he says.

I breathe deeply and step outside, inhaling the pine and other scents that make up the forest, and take off up the mountain at a dead run.

roh morgon @ Wednesday, 19 May 2010 8:28 am
Comments (9)

more on ‘nine’

I’ve posted before about the number nine and will likely do so again.

This month’s post revolves around the once-in-a-year occurrence of two nine-days happening within two days of one another.

The first one was on Thursday, April 29.  4+2+9+2+0+1+0 = 18 = 9

The second one is today, Saturday May 1.  5+1+2+0+1+0 = 9

What’s really cool about it this year is that they bracket my birthday. Yes, my birthday is smack dab in the middle of two nine-days! For a nine-freak like me–that is monumental!

So when I realized that, I had to (you know, that OCD thing)  figure out when my birthday last was, or will be again, a nine-day.

Guess what? Just last year, my birthday fell on a nine-day (which was before I was aware of how important nine seems to be in my life).  Now, that might not seem significant (in fact, I doubt that ANY of this is significant to anyone but me), but 2009 was the year I was sucked into the world of Sunny and Nicolas and wrote the novel Watcher and half of its sequel. 2009 was the year I discovered I love to write.

So I think it’s pretty fascinating that my birthday was on a nine-day in a year in which my life took a much-needed change in direction.

The interesting thing about a specific month and day combining with a year to equal nine is that it only occurs periodically.  Like, every nine years (seriously!).

So my birthday won’t fall again on a nine-day until the year 2018…Sure hope I’m still around then.

But back to nine-days and assorted odd facts relating to them:

The new moon occurred twice this year on a nine-day:  January  14 & February 13. And that’s it for the year.

The full moon will occur only once this year on a nine-day: December 21, which also happens to be winter solstice. This seems to me to be a day that should be paid close attention to.

The only other oddity that I’d like to highlight is one that occurs in the upcoming leap year, 2012. This is  a year that already has a number of people a bit nervous.

So not only is 2012 a leap year, but Leap Day, February 29, has it’s own significance. It is a nine-day!

It is quite rare for a day that occurs only once every four years to also be a nine-day. So rare that it will happen only twice in this century: 2012 and 2048.

2+2+9+2+0+4+8 = 27 = 9.

Let’s all hope the world as we know it, or something similar, is around in 2048, and that someone can do the math to notice that Leap Day is also a nine-day.

roh morgon @ Saturday, 1 May 2010 11:52 pm
Comments (4)

more thanks!

I just want to add thanks to töff and Ryan, also of FSFW, for pitching in to help with some of the fine-tuning that makes this site uniquely mine. You guys rock!

roh morgon @ Sunday, 7 February 2010 8:36 am
Comments (0)

new home

Wow! A new home!

I think I can stretch my wings and do a little writing here.

But before I begin, I want to give a BIG THANK YOU to CHRIS of the Fresno SciFi & Fantasy Writers for setting this up for me. His countless hours helping me build an online presence are greatly appreciated.

Chris, you are definitely The Man. <bows down>

This format, besides looking pretty cool, will allow me to update my blog on a more regular basis.  Hopefully I can find a way to archive my older posts from my first and rather limited blog ( I did – check the archives).

But for now, I have a little rewriting to do in preparation for a 6-hr workshop with DONALD MAASS, accomplished author AND literary agent. I’m sooo excited…

roh morgon @ Saturday, 6 February 2010 11:05 am
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