roh morgon

~exciting news!

Wow – I am so jazzed!

“The Games Monsters Play” – a short story I wrote from the Watcher world – has been selected to appear in the upcoming vampire anthology, High Stakes!
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Here’s an excerpt from the High Stakes website describing the anthology:

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

The other authors selected so far are:

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

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

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

Life sometimes doesn’t go where we expect it.

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

But such was not to be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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


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

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


Ute Pass above Colorado Springs – May 2009 ©Roh Morgon

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

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


Cascade, Colorado – May 2009 ©2012 Roh Morgon

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

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


Pike National Forest – May 2009 ©2012 Roh Morgon

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

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


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

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


Photo by Jenny Bloom from Eagle Avenue in Manitou Springs

Photo by Kari Greer near Colorado Springs

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

And two people lost their lives.


Photo by Kari Greer – Mountain Shadows subdivision, Colorado Springs

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Colorado Springs Together also has suggestions for donors.

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

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


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

Photo by Erik Eide, Cascade Volunteer Fire Department

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

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

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

I leave you with this:


Photo by Kari Greer – A testament to the human spirit

Please donate.

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~ ~ ~

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My last thought for the day:

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

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

Just came across this on a blog:

Autocrit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

roh morgon @ Wednesday, 23 May 2012 11:10 pm
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~recap: world horror convention 2012

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

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

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

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

Linda Addison with her Stoker for Best Poetry Collection

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

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

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

Hal Bodner & Dacre Stoker, great grandnephew of Bram Stoker

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Sherrilyn Kenyon with her assistant, Kim

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Hangin’ out with the big kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nancy Holder with her Stoker for Best Young Adult Novel

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The Bram Stoker Winners

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Congratulations to these and all of the other winners!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

roh morgon @ Friday, 13 April 2012 3:38 am
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~world horror convention

Yup. That’s where I’m headed!

Salt Lake City is hosting both the World Horror Convention and the Bram Stoker Awards this year.

It’s super exciting for me, because this is my first WHC, and, though I enjoyed hanging out with fantasy writers at World Fantasy Con (Oct ’11), I think I fit in much better with horror folk.

I mean, this is one convention where I won’t feel a bit embarrassed to admit that I write vampire stories, ‘cuz chances are whoever I’m talking to at this con will have written one or two themselves!

This year’s lineup of guests is pretty impressive, and includes well-known writers such as Sherrilyn Kenyon, P.N. Elrod, and Robert McCammon. Dacre Stoker will be there as well – his panel on Bram Stoker’s notes and research sounds fascinating.

I’m looking forward to seeing another guest whom I actually met last year when I attended his week-long workshop –   Dave Farland. He’s on several panels, and I hope to catch at least one of them.

I’m on a panel myself! It’s called “Scaring ’em Young:  Middle Grade Horror.” My co-panelists and I are working out our topics, and it looks like it will be a fun panel. It’s on Sunday at noon.

I’m also participating in the autograph session Friday night, and doing a reading on Saturday.

So not only am I attending the con, I’m part of it as well!

If any of you happen to be in Salt Lake City this weekend, stop by and say ‘hi.’

And now I’m off to pack…

:)

roh morgon @ Tuesday, 27 March 2012 11:17 pm
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~ break

 

Life has a habit of taking unexpected turns.

This blog will be on break for the next few weeks.

roh morgon @ Monday, 5 March 2012 10:31 am
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~and the winner is…

Sue Mydliak!

Sue is the winner of an e-book copy of  Watcher: Book I of The Chosen in the Bloody Hearts Blog Hop!

All visitors to my blog during the Hop who answered the question about their favorite vampire were entered into a drawing for an e-copy of Watcher. The winner was selected using the online randomizer by RANDOM.ORG.

And who was Sue’s favorite vampire? Laurant from Twilight (the movie), who was one of the coolest vampires in that film.

Congratulations on winning, Sue!

roh morgon @ Thursday, 16 February 2012 5:17 am
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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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~bloody hearts blog hop

And now, we return to our regular programming…
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Bloody Hearts Blog Hop

The *Snowfest* Blogfest was a nice departure from the dark fantasy in which I usually dwell. I thought the topic would appeal to a wider audience, one that doesn’t typically write about blood and death. I was surprised (and pleased) by several entries that definitely stepped over the line of darkness.

For those who enjoy ‘walking on the dark side’, Vamplit Publishing, courtesy of Dark Media City, is hosting a Valentine’s Day event by the name of the Bloody Hearts Blog Hop.  This event takes place Feb 13 & 14 and entails <snicker> visiting the blogs listed on the Hop page, leaving comments, and getting free books.

Sounds hard, right?

The Bloody Hearts Blog Hop is still open to participants, so if you want to list your blog as one of the hot spots to visit, head on over and sign up.

As for what’s happening on my blog during the Hop, I’m asking visitors to list their favorite vampire in literature or film (or both!) in a comment on Feb 13 or 14. Those who do so will each receive a free ebook copy of The Last Trace.

In addition, all respondants will be entered into a random drawing at the end of the hop for a free ebook copy of Watcher: Book I of The Chosen. The winner will be announced on February 15.

So if you like your fiction a little dark, maybe tinged with fear or accented with splashes of red here and there, check out the Bloody Hearts Blog Hop on Feb 13 & 14. You may find a new author you like, or win a free book or two. And be sure to stop by here to get your free copy of The Last Trace.

roh morgon @ Monday, 6 February 2012 1:13 pm
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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
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~*snowfest* sweep-up

Brrr…

It was blustery here in blogland yesterday!

We had nice turnout for the *Snowfest* Blogfest. I read a number of great entries that contained a wide variety of chill – from wintery temperatures to heart-stopping terror.

I just want to thank everyone who participated for not only providing readers with a selection of snowy stories, but for visiting one another and leaving such encouraging comments.

All participants who submitted stories are eligible for a drawing for a free copy of Watcher: Book I of The Chosen. I’m still waiting on entries from a couple of latecomers who had signed up. Since I know that ‘life happens’ and how I’ve even been late to my own blogfest party in the past, I’m going to give them today to get their stories posted and will wait to do the drawing until Saturday morning.

If you didn’t have a chance to check out the flurry of snow-filled scenes, below is a list of the participants. Be sure to leave a comment on their blog letting them know what you enjoyed most about their stories.

  1. Roh Morgon
  2. stuart sharp
  3. Jen Greyson
  4. Don Gilbert: So Many Words, So Little Time
  5. Rob Lopez: Forsaken Stars
  6. Tessa Conte
  7. Going Postal With Mitch
  8. Stephanie @ Scribbler to Scribe
  9. Donna Hole
  10. Gladiators Pen
  11. J. W. Parente @ In My Write Mind
  12. Wendy Tyler Ryan
  13. jeremy bates books
  14. Life Happens

Again, thank you everyone for joining our story snowstorm in the first annual *Snowfest* Blogfest. I will definitely do this again next year!

roh morgon @ Friday, 3 February 2012 6:47 am
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~*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!

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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)

~last chance to sign up!

Got your winter boots and coat on? Your mittens and ear muffs? Are you ready to dive into a snowdrift?

Today’s the last day to sign up for the *snowfest* blogfest. If you’ve already written your frosty entries, get ready to shove them out into the crisp winter air. If you haven’t, peel yourselves away from that cozy fire and get the snowball rolling.

For those who might be new to blogfests (I know there are a couple of you on here), post your story or scene on your blog anytime after midnight tonite. Then tomorrow, visit everyone’s blog that is on the list and leave a comment. Tell them what you liked about their entry, or just say ‘hi.’

This is a great opportunity to discover new blogs, and have folks discover yours. So sweep the floor, dust the library, and prepare to welcome visitors to your bloghome.

See you all tomorrow!

roh morgon @ Wednesday, 1 February 2012 2:45 pm
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category: blogging events
tags:

~kissing the clouds

Yeah. That’s where I am. High in the sky, kissing the clouds.

It’s amazing how much impact one person can have on the life another.

Watcher just received its first review from a professional in the industry. A writer and publisher for the last 24 years, Shannon Riley runs Southern Rose Productions.

Shannon contacted me in response to a mailer I sent out to members of the Horror Writers Association and requested a copy of Watcher to review.

Here’s what she posted on Amazon:

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“MOVE OVER ANNE RICE”

“If you think there is nothing new, fresh and original in vampire fiction, you haven’t read Watcher: Book 1 of the Chosen, the debut novel by Roh Morgon. I am not particularly a fan of traditional vampire stories, but I found this incredible book more engrossing than anything I have read in the genre in years. The reasons are not only the suspenseful and well written tale, but its potent underlying themes.”

“Sunny Martin is attacked and ravaged by an inhuman being who leaves her clinging to life and with an ravenous thirst for blood. In her half-human state, she determines that, for her beloved seventeen-year-old daughter’s sake, she must allow the girl to believe her mother is dead. Yet Sunny’s love for her child and her loneliness drives Sunny to stalk her daughter, hungry for whatever glimpses of her she can get. Five years later, when Sunny’s granddaughter is born, the sight of the child’s sweet face intensifies Sunny’s longing, and the separation from her family becomes almost more than she can bear. Sunny flees the state, hoping to begin her life anew.”

“She meets Nicolas, leader of a secret society, whose love for her may be able to fill the void in her heart, yet to bond with him, she must make the Change that would destroy the part of herself that remains human and give up her daughter and grandchild forever.”

“I loved this book, not only because I was able to identify immediately with the heroine, but because the premise is so undeniably true: Love does not always conquer all, and true happiness cannot be found unless one is true to him or her self.”

“Watcher: Book 1 of the Chosen is a suspenseful story told with such skill I wanted to consume it in a single read. This is a level of skill and professionalism seldom found in first novels, and I predict great things ahead for this writer.”

“Move over Anne Rice, a new “Queen of the Damned” is born. “

—Shannon Riley, writer and publisher

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When I read that, I have to admit it made me cry.

Shannon and I have corresponded several times since she finished Watcher, and, well… I’m blown away by her praise.

All my fears of whether or not my writing was good enough, my storytelling good enough, evaporated with the assessment of this industry professional.

It’s hard not to crave validation when you’re first starting out in any venture. Beginners need some indication of whether or not they’re on the right track. Friends and family offer encouragement to keep newbies going, but the feedback from an established professional is critical to the continuing evolution of the fledgling.

Well, this fledgling has taken to the air, and her first flight looks to be a success.

I know there will probably be other reviews not quite so glowing, because, after all, each reader interprets a story based on their own life experiences and desires.

But I will never forget this one and the generous encouragement from an experienced member of my new flock.

Now it’s time to learn how to fly.

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~Roh, still kissing the clouds

roh morgon @ Thursday, 19 January 2012 3:53 pm
Comments (4)
category: Uncategorized
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~surprises

Surprises.

I love them.

Well, unless they’re a bad surprise. Which really makes them more of shock.

But being the optimist that I am (though you wouldn’t know it from my dark writing), I naturally think of surprises as being good.

This one was. It was one of those surprise so good you can’t quite believe your eyes and you stop and say ‘no way!’ and ‘how cool’ and you almost fall out of your chair.

Yeah, one of THOSE surprises.

The other night, I visited the Horror Writers Association blog to catch up on their latest posts. As I was reading, the graphic at the top of the page was scrolling a collection of book covers. My eyes happened to drift upward just in time to see Watcher makes its leisurely way across the screen!

What?!

I watched the covers march by, and – lo and behold! – those red eyes staring out from the stark black strutted across the stage once again. It was the ninth book <grin>.

The third time I was ready and captured it with a screen shot:

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Now, those of you who follow my blog know that I’m not really all that happy with Watcher’s cover. It was only meant to be a temporary ARC cover (Advance Reading Copy), and will be eventually be replaced with imagery that fits the vision in my mind.

That said, I still felt the burst of pride parents feel when their child appears in the school play. You just want to elbow your neighbor and say, “Hey, that’s MY kid up there!”

So yeah, my kid’s in the play. In fact, it was on Christmas Day when Watcher took center stage and the spotlight shined (shone?) on my first-born:

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Pretty cool, huh?!

Yeah. That’s MY kid in the spotlight <nudge, nudge>. Go watch her dance across the stage yourself, and check her out as she takes center stage.

Have a great 2012. I know mine’s off to a galloping start.

roh morgon @ Monday, 16 January 2012 6:55 am
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category: Uncategorized
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~tuesday train

Tuesday Train.

I like the sound of that.

I’m participating in my first ‘Tuesday Train’, a weekly blog hop hosted by  The Survival Mama and My Mad Mind.

This is a great opportunity to meet new bloggers , both on their sites and yours!

You can join in here:

Photobucket

And for those visiting my blog for the first time, be sure to scroll down and get the details on my upcoming *snowfest* blogfest!

roh morgon @ Monday, 9 January 2012 7:50 pm
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~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…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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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~inspiration

The new year is almost upon us.

2012.

The year some say the world ends.

Others say 2012 will be the year of the writer.

I prefer to believe the latter.

Most writers write because they have stories in them yearning to get out – stories to be expressed, and shared, and maybe even loved. 

Inspiration is an important fuel for the fires of writing.

 

Sometimes the inspiration comes in the form of a dream or in a sudden flash sparked by an  image or a song. Other times it arrives in the words of another writer.

Several writers have written words lately that inspire me to write and keep writing. These are not words from a story. They are words of experience and encouragement, words explaining that my fears related to writing and publishing are normal, and that all writers have to move past their fears if they want to make a living on what they write.

Dean Wesley Smith has 30 years in the industry as a writer, editor, and publisher, and  is someone whose words I follow. I may not always do exactly what he says when he says it, but once the words have sunk in, I find his advice fits the path I’m on perfectly.

Last Friday he wrote a blog post titled New World of Publishing: Failure is an Option. Quitting is Not.

A quote from Dean’s post:

“To become a professional fiction writer, you must become a major risk-taker without fear of failure or a care in the world what anyone else thinks of you or your writing.”

Dean regularly writes words that I find inspirational. And the right ones always seem to come along just when I need them.

Another inspirational writer I follow is Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Kris is a no-nonsense successful writer whose 30+ years in the industry include editing and publishing. She’s also Dean’s wife.

Kris wrote a post not too long ago that really struck home. It came at a time when I was feeling a bit discouraged. The post was called Freelancer’s Survival Guide: Giving Up On Yourself.

In the second half of the post, Kris lists six steps to keep from giving up on yourself. Below are the six-step titles. Please go read the entire post – my summary does not do it justice.

1. Believe in yourself.

2. Stop the negative self-talk.

3. Perform a daily gut check.

4. Watch out for that evil phrase, “I can live with that.”

5. Watch out for “good enough.”

6. Be tenacious.

Kris’s closing words:

“Cling to your dream. Work for your goal. If you step off the path, climb back on the moment you realize you’ve veered in the wrong direction.

You will make mistakes. You will take the wrong path. The key is to come back to yourself, and come back to the right road for you.

I can’t tell you if you’re giving up on yourself. Only you can know that.

Dean has one other question, and it’s a big one: when you’re on your deathbed, what will you regret?

Will you regret not striving hard enough for your dream? Will you regret lost years while you were succeeding in a profession other than the one you love? Will you regret being “good enough?”

Only you can answer those questions.

And you should. Daily. To keep yourself on track.

To keep yourself from giving up.”

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Now that’s inspirational.

roh morgon @ Tuesday, 27 December 2011 12:08 pm
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category: writing
tags:

~The Seduction

The Seduction is the second ‘short-short’ paranormal tale from my Monsters in the Machines collection. It’s 1500 words (about 7 pages) and includes an excerpt from Watcher.

The cover is by fellow writer Jeff Ambrose and me (thanks, Jeff!)

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The first time Erica saw the black, low-slung sports car, she felt shock at its sensual pull deep within her soul.

But when she began to succumb to its whispered promises, she didn’t suspect that she might be losing more than her mind.

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The Seduction is available for free in multiple ebook formats from Smashwords.

And I’ll repeat: this is not a true story. No way. Uh-uh.

Well…maybe just a little bit.

:)

roh morgon @ Friday, 23 December 2011 10:41 pm
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~another milestone: The Monster’s Growl

My first short story was just published!

I owe a big thanks to my hubby and to fellow writer Jeff Ambrose for their help with the cover.

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The Monster’s Growl

Another boring night at the small-town bar turns interesting for Carly and her friends when a mysterious biker puts his quarter on their pool table.

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This paranormal tale is a ‘short-short’ story from my Monsters in the Machines collection. The ebook includes the Prologue and Chapter 1 from Watcher: Book I of The Chosen.

The Monster’s Growl is available from Smashwords as a free download in most ebook formats.

Check it out.

roh morgon @ Monday, 19 December 2011 3:43 pm
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~signings

Signings are cool.

They give readers a chance to speak with their favorite authors, and maybe even get a personalized autograph on their favorite book.

They give authors a chance to interact with fans of their books, to see first-hand the gleam that comes into a reader’s eyes when they talk about a story the author has written and what they loved about it, and hear their excitement while they ask when the next one’s going to be available.

Last weekend was my first official signing for Watcher, and it was fantastic. The event was held in Burbank at Dark Delicacies, an awesome shop that carries books, gifts, and collectibles for lovers of dark fantasy and horror.

Five other authors participated:

Everyone was very warm and friendly, and I enjoyed meeting and talking with the other authors.

I was both surprised and humbled by the support I received from friends and family, and friends of family. A steady stream of folks visited with me while I signed their books, and I stayed busy until the event was over.

Dark Delicacies sold all of the Watcher copies they’d requested, plus two more that I brought! Store owners Del and Sue Howison seemed pleased with my turnout, and asked me to come back for the release of my next book. Very cool. I have tremendous respect for them and what they do to support authors and other media professionals in the dark fantasy and horror genre, and I’m thrilled to have participated in one of their events.

Afterwards, a group of us met at Porto’s Cuban Bakery (a Burbank icon) to celebrate with unbelievably delicious pastries and foamy coffee-flavored drinks.

All-in-all, the day was a great success.

And tomorrow, I’m attending another signing event!

The First Annual FSFW Bookfest, sponsored by the Fresno SciFi & Fantasy Writers, is being held at Clovis Book Barn in, well, Clovis.

Clovis Book Barn opened their new store in August. They have 8,000 square feet and two levels filled with both new and used books. The central part of the store is open to the ceiling, and the second level lines the four walls like a wrap-around balcony. A staircase up the middle provides access to the rows of tall bookcases on the upper floor (it reminds me of a library :) ).

The warm and welcoming atmosphere in this store is a sharp contrast to the corporate-sterile environment of Barnes & Noble, our lone remaining book boxstore. Most of the books Clovis Book Barn carries are used, and in some cases, hard to find.

Saturday’s Bookfest, being held from 1:00 – 3:00pm, will showcase FSFW members and their works. Signings, readings, and giveaways are part of the festivities, as well as discussions on everything books.

If you live in the area, please join us to celebrate the efforts of local authors and support this great independent bookstore.

And if not, visit Clovis Book Barn online to check out their amazing inventory. They just might have that book you’ve been looking for.

roh morgon @ Friday, 16 December 2011 2:47 pm
Comments (2)

~cover preview: The Monster’s Growl

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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
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~book signings, open mic night, and an interview!

Wow.

A couple of days ago, I was bemoaning all of the PR work I find myself continually doing.

And then the results started rolling in.

1)  Today I’m featured on a blog!

I recently participated in a blogfest with a Native American theme. An excerpt from my novella, The Last Trace, tied for first place with an entry by Kevin Lazarus.

The blogfest was hosted by the lovely Amy Jarecki. She’s the author of the just-released novel Koicto, a historical fantasy centered around a young Native American struggling to save his tribe from extinction. It looks awesome (I just received a copy and am starting it next week) and it has the most gorgeous cover. Check it out:

 Anyhow, for being a winner in her blogfest, Amy interviewed me on her blog. So if you want to find out some juicy stuff you can use against me later, go check it out!

2)  Open Mic Night Readings

The FSFW Open Mic Night is alive and kicking. Rob Lopez, FSFW member, has arranged with Clovis Book Barn to host our event. I, along with other FSFWers, will be doing readings this Friday, December 9, from 6:30 – 8:00pm. If you live in the area, please join us!

3)  Book Signing at Dark Delicacies

Yeah, you read that right. This Sunday December 11, I’m joining five other authors to do signings at the famed Dark Delicacies in Burbank. Dark Delicacies not only specializes in books, gifts, and collectibles in the dark fantasy and horror genres, they also regularly host big-name authors and members of the film industry. I’m super jazzed to be signing alongside Gabrielle Faust, V.M.K. Fewing, Rebekah Weatherspoon, P.S. Gifford, and Colette Freedman.

4)  Book Signing at Clovis Book Barn

Saturday, December 17 at 1:00pm, I’ll be joining other FSFW writers at the Clovis Book Barn in celebration of our First Annual Bookfest. We’re doing all sorts of stuff to celebrate books – signings, readings, raffles, etc. If you live in the area, come join us in the fun and maybe even win a signed book or two by the FSFW writers.

~ ~ ~

Well, that’s it for now – I’m worn out from just typing all of this!

So go check out my interview on Amy’s blog. There will be a test on Monday :)

 

roh morgon @ Wednesday, 7 December 2011 1:30 pm
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~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
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