Monthly Archives: December 2013

Pop Talk: December 2013

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Hello all and welcome to our second installment of Pop Talk.

This monthwill have a bit of a year-end wrap-up, sprinkled with some current favorites:

Chapter One:  YA Books prove that you don’t need sex to sell.

Channel Two:  Goodbye to The Goldbergs.

Verse Three:  It’s about time to get on board with AWOLNATION and Imagine Dragons.

Level Four:  Everything Lego!

Reel Five:  The Conjuring on DVD, (Is Ron Livingston the new ‘everyman?’)

Chapter One:

I read and loved the Harry Potter series.  It was written for Young Adults, but quickly proved to be a transcending story for all ages.  (I remember the first movie being compared to the Wizzard of Oz by the late Roger Ebert).  I have discovered that most YA books are extremely well-written and have a gritty realism despite any paranormal plot points.  In our recent Locklear Library post, Jennifer and I discussed Eleanor and Park, and it’s just another example of how YA books showcase wicked humor and palpable emotion in a tight bundle of pulp perfection.

As Hunger Games continues to do will at the box office, and Insurgent makes it’s screen debut soon, it’s easy to tell that I am not alone in my thinking.  Just because a book is written for a younger audience doesn’t mean that it’s exclusive to them.  Just watch any Pixar Movie and you’ll see that kids do not have all the fun.

Next month I’ll talk about Men’s adventure books and their place on my shelf, but for now it’s all about the YA novels!

Channel Two:

I hate Duck Dynasty. (and yes, I have watched it).  It has nothing to do with the latest controversy, it’s just stupid rich guys acting…stupid.  This obsession we have with redneck TV is exactly what’s wrong with America and guess what?  We export that crap so now that’s what EVERYBODY thinks of America.  And what the HELL is that show doing on A&E?

Okay, rant over…now about good TV…I have really been enjoying Boardwalk Empire on HBO.  It’s about Atlantic City in the 1920’s and stars the fantastic and funny lookin’ Steve Buscemi.  It’s a great historical romp through Prohibition times and it’s as riveting with it’s many sub plots as it is with the main story line.  It may not be as flashy as Game of Thrones, but it has at least as many boobs. (Ha! So I guess it IS “flashy”).

Has anyone else noticed that Mike and Molly is pushing the physical humor with Melissa McCarthy?  She’s hot off her Emmy win and it seems like the writers want to take mor e advantage of her goofy side.  It’s Mike’s Mom (played flawlessly by Rondi Reed) that keeps me tuned in but Melissa has been given some slapstick business that she handles as well as Ellen DeGeneres did when she had a sit-com.

Verse three:

If you haven’t heard of Imagine Dragons yet it’s just because your radio station doesn’t announce the names of all the songs they play.  These Vegas newcomers released their debut album, Night Visions in late 2012 and have owned the charts this year with one hit single after another.

In March of 2010, AWOLATION released the debut album Magnetic Symphony and has been making waves for almost three years now.  Most people know only the song, Sail, “Blame it on my ADD baby…” but it’s filled with raw yet worthy offerings.  Neither AWOLNATION nor Imagine Dragons have any duds on their inaugural albums and I write to their CD’s all the time while I wait for more music from these two great new groups.

Level Four:

Just like how YA books aren’t necessarily for the youth, Lego games aren’t just for kids either.  They explore and poke fun at great franchises like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean.  They aren’t very difficult but even if you get stuck, you can just have your kid help you out.  As a fan of any of these series, you will enjoy the Lego take on your favorite characters and situations.  They are as funny as anything I’ve ever seen and I’m just waiting for them to do a Back to the Future game.

Reel Five:

There are many myths in Hollywood and now there’s a new one.  Apparently, the table read for Anchorman 2 was so funny that they weren’t able to continue straight through.  It is rumored that they had to take several breaks to get the room back in order and now we all have a chance to see what all the fuss was about.  It should also be noted that when it is released on DVD it will include an alternate cut of some scenes and boasts over 300 new jokes.

Something on DVD right now is The Conjuring.  It’s not a horror movie; it’s a suspense movie and has for more in common with The Sixth Sense than Cabin in the Woods.  Ron Livingston, who has a career resume as big as Santa’s bag is the perfect father figure for this thriller based on true events.  I highly recommend it as a superior drama that has no blood, but will make yours run cold.

Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve!

Your Pal,

Morgan

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Locklear Library: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

It’s no secret that Morgan and I were high school sweethearts during the 1980’s.  After several trusted friends insisted I read Eleanor & Park  by Rainbow Rowell, I was happy to follow their advice.  As soon as I was done,  I knew I’d found the perfect story to pass along to my husband.

eleanor&park

Jennifer:  One of the things made clear by looking at cover of this novel is that Eleanor and Park enjoy their music.  In many ways, their relationship is built around educating one another about their favorite bands.  This vividly took me back to my high school days and to the beginning of our courtship.  I knew this particular aspect of the story was likely to draw you in, but since you’re the musician in this relationship, I’m curious to hear your specific thoughts on the use of music within this story.

Morgan:  Well, since we met at a dance, I should say so.  You and I exchanged music as well, which made me smile when I read about their mix tapes.  If I remember correctly, you got me into Erasure, Information Society, The Outfield and a-ha.  I got you into The B-52’s, The Smithereens, and R.E.M.  This part of the story sucked me right in as did their sweetly written personalities.  I genuinely like these two people and like spending time with them.   Since I lived close enough to walk to school most of my life, I didn’t ride the bus to and from like you did. What was life like on the bus?  How did the book do when describing the atmosphere? 

Jennifer: Riding on the school bus is an experience all it’s own.  If you can imagine taking all the social dynamics that are contained within the school and compressing them all inside the bus, you can see how intense things can become.  Some of the strongest memories of my time in school took place there.  I can remember the bus driver pulling over on more than one occasion to restore order to the chaos.  I usually tried my best to stick close to certain friends and ignore the rest, but sometimes trouble would come calling no matter what I did.  This book captures those moments so well that I was instantly taken back to those days, even though I’d hadn’t thought about them much since the day I stopped riding the school bus.

“Even if Eleanor could avoid the bus today, even if her fairy godmother showed up with a pumpkin carriage, she’d still have to find a way to get back to school tomorrow morning.

And it’s not like the devil-kids on the bus were going to wake up on the other side of their beds tomorrow. Seriously. It wouldn’t surprise Eleanor if they unhinged their jaws the next time she saw them. That girl in the back with the blond hair and the acid-washed jacket? You could practically see the horns hidden in her bangs. And her boyfriend was possibly a member of the Nephilim.”

Personally, I found several things about Park and his approach with Eleanor that reminded me of  you.  As a character, I fell in love with him pretty quickly.  What are your thoughts on Eleanor?

Morgan: About the bus…I keep thinking of Sixteen Candles, complete with kazoo.  I thought Eleanor was the most fully realized of the characters in the book.  Even though the POV went back and forth with almost Germanic precision, I felt that it was truly Eleanor’s story.  That especially intrigues me since the book begins with Park as an adult seeing her in nearly every distant woman he observes.  Eleanor had a heartbreaking story, it was the one filled with the most drama.  Having said that, what did you think of Park’s mom?

Jennifer: (laughing) I was this close to incorporating the Sixteen Candles bus scene into my answer.  We really are meant to be.

Park’s mom was a great character.  Just when I thought I’d figured out everything about her, she would pleasantly surprise me.  I think Park learned a lot about his mom as a result of his relationship with Eleanor, and it was a joy to sit back and watch her interactions with both of them.  It was clear that Park’s home was a happy and secure place to grow up in.

I haven’t read much Young Adult Romance since I was in high school, but over the past year or two I’ve read some exceptional stories in this genre. I chose Eleanor & Park for you as a test to see what your thoughts were on YA Romance.  What was your overall impression of this story? And would you be open to reading another YA if I suggested one?

Morgan: You know, I never really considered that this was a book written for young adults. I have read one other before, Demon Keeper by Royce Buckingham whom I then interviewed for the radio show I had back when it was published in 2007.  I love both books, tons of wit and emotion while realistic and captivating.  I think I might just become a YA junkie.  My first book: 50 shades of Lip Gloss!

If you’ve enjoyed our post today and would like to look up Rainbow Rowell and her works, here is the goodreads link for you to check out.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4208569.Rainbow_Rowell

Please also feel free to friend us on goodreads to see what else we’re reading and to share your recommendations with us.

Morgan’s: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5033084-mog

Jennifer’s: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4482712-jennifer

Jennifer Reviews: Little Drummer Boy by Sydney Logan

little drummer boy

Synopsis: 

A holiday short story by Amazon bestselling author Sydney Logan.

It’s Christmas Eve, and Justin Banks is on the hunt for a last-minute gift for his wife, Megan. With the help of a homeless man and the beat of a drum, Justin stumbles upon the one thing Megan has always wanted. The one thing money can’t buy.

It’s amazing what we can hear if we just take a moment and really listen.

My Review:

This short story begins amidst the tiring hustle and bustle of Christmas Eve, a time when many of us are so focused on the quest of finding the right gift for our loved ones that we forget the intended meaning behind the gift exchange.  We’re consumed with dinner plans, wrapping presents, preparing our homes for guests and running from one social engagement to another.  By the end of the holiday season, most of us are more than ready to leave it all behind and move on to making our New Year’s Resolutions, many of which I’m guessing involve making the holidays more simple going forward.  Yet somehow, we find ourselves repeating the cycle year after year.

Justin Banks finds himself in this mode when his mission is interrupted by a man on the street.

“Do you hear drums?”

I turn and find myself face-to-face with  a man. Homeless, I assume from his appearance. He’s dressed in a tattered coat and looks desperately in need of a bath. I try not to cringe as he tugs on my designer suit.

“The drums,” he says again, his voice forceful.  “Do you hear them?”

Although Justin is inclined to ignore the request, the man is so insistent that he relents and pauses to listen.  He is surprised when he realizes that the homeless man is right. Somewhere nearby the sound of drums can be heard.

“Intrigued, I step away from the old man and walk slowly toward the alley. Each step brings me closer to the beat, until finally, I see a little boy, nestled in the corner. His only light comes from a lantern, and a snare drum rests in his lap. The drum is scarred and the strap is frayed, but it’s obviously his most prized possession.

 Probably his only possession.

 Does he live here? In this filthy alley? And where are his parents?

 “Shall I play for you?”

 His voice is just a whisper. His clothes are dirty and ragged, and the faded blue jacket he wears is about three sizes too big.

 “I heard you playing,” I tell him, keeping my voice soft and light. The last thing I want to do is scare the kid. “You’re very good. Are you alone?”

 He nods.

 “Where are your parents?”

 His face contorts in pain, and my stomach lurches. He can’t be more than five years old. Maybe six.

 “Shall I play for you?” he asks again. A little stronger this time. A little more determined.

 Because I don’t know what else to do, I nod. The covered alleyway has thankfully kept most of the snow away, so I find a flattened section of shredded cardboard and sit down. I don’t think about the fact that I’m probably ruining my thousand-dollar suit. I just sit and listen.

The boy’s sticks pound the head of the drum.

Rum pum pum pum.

Rum pum pum pum.

Each rhythmic thump pierces my soul, and when he comes to the end of his song, I reach inside my jacket for my wallet.

“No, sir,” he says softly. “I don’t need your money.”

To reveal much more than this would likely ruin what I promise is an uplifting and heartwarming reading experience, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. I gave this story a five star rating on my Goodreads page without hesitation. I knew at once I’d found a worthy gift  for my friends and family this holiday season.  The Little Drummer Boy is a moving and compassionate piece which perfectly captures how hope, love and compassion can change not only the recipient’s life but the benefactor’s as well.

I highly recommend that you take the time to read this and then pass it along to others as a gift.  You can find The Littler Drummer Boy on amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Little-Drummer-Sydney-Logan-ebook/dp/B00GYOJ3KO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385840184&sr=8-1&keywords=the+little+drummer+boy+by+sydney+logan

Many thanks to Sydney Logan for writing and sharing this holiday short.  It is the perfect reminder of what this time of year should really be all about.

Take Care,

Jenn

Jennifer Reviews: Ready to Fall by Daisy Prescott

Ready To Fall

The Synopsis:

When you fall, you fall hard…

Readers first fell in love with John Day as the hot next-door neighbor in Romantic Comedy Best Seller Geoducks Are for Lovers. Tall, dark, and handsome is an understatement. With the beard, a dog named Babe, and his ever present plaid shirt, John is a modern lumberjack in more ways than one.

Lurking beneath the flannel and beard could be the heart of a romantic. Or is John a wolf in flannel clothing?

After his favorite neighbor rents out her cabin for the winter, John finds himself playing fireman and tour guide to Diane Watson, a beautiful brunette with her own messy past and recent battle scars. When an ex shows up unexpectedly, their lives will be changed forever.

Will he be ready to fall in love? Or will he fall back into his old, flirty ways?

Hold onto your heart… and get ready to fall for John Day.

My Review:

Last summer, I read and reviewed Daisy Prescott’s debut novel, Geoducks Are For Lovers. It was a book I adored for several reasons.  Among them were the two main characters, Maggie and Gil, and their sweet love story. I also enjoyed  the ensemble cast of friends visiting Maggie at her home on Whidbey Island, Washington. The group  of college friends enjoyed a rare weekend in each other’s company, recalling good times spent together and creating new memories to carry their friendships further into the future. I loved the great care Daisy took in constructing this group of characters and bringing them all to life.

So when I heard she was working on a follow-up story, I was eager to see what was next.  And this is where the author surprised me.

Daisy took a calculated risk with Ready to Fall when she chose to focus the story on just one of the ensemble characters featured in her first book.  It is now winter on Whidbey and nearly everyone has returned to their lives away from the island.  The only one left is John Day, Maggie’s neighbor, who always has and always will call the island his home.  I sat down to read Ready to Fall, knowing I would miss Maggie and Gil’s love story, and I wondered just how much I would be able to connect with John.

My concerns were quickly put to rest.

Not only has Daisy brilliantly crafted and evolved John Day’s life story, she also introduces another set of new and interesting characters for him to interact with.  Some have known John Day all his life, but one, Diane Watson, is a newcomer to Whidbey Island who rents Maggie’s house for the winter and captures John’s attention from the moment they meet.   The chemistry between John and Diane is clear from the beginning, but the two are recovering from romances gone awry and agree to be friends who “date without dating.”

As the winter transitions into spring and their friendship blossoms,  they learn more about one another’s lives.  It becomes more difficult for John to dismiss the idea of being  romantically involved with Diane. The only question is whether or not they are both ready to renege on their pact.

“What?” She played innocent. “I was talking about boats. You said you had a small boat.”

“My boat is just the right size and gets the job done.”

Her eyes wandered up and down my frame before settling back on my face. “I’ve no doubt. When will I get to see this boat?”

“We’re still talking about fishing, right?”

“Of course.”

I didn’t believe her.

She set down her food and stretched out on the blanket. I played with a piece of grass as I rested my elbows on my  knees and looked down at her. With her eyes closed and her hair loose from her ponytail, her typical guarded sadness disappeared. Left was her natural beauty, the softness of her cheeks, dark lashes against light skin, rose-colored lips parted and welcoming. She should be kissed. Kissed thoroughly.

Our brief kiss from Port Townsend flashed through my memory. I hadn’t given her an opportunity to respond. As strong as the urge was to give her another opportunity, I hesitated. Today wasn’t the day.

Dark eyes met mine. I’d been caught staring.

“What are you thinking about?” she asked, shielding her eyes from the sun to look at me.

On the surface, John Day appears to be your typical lumberjack next door.  He loves his home on the island and enjoys being a bachelor, but as his relationship with Diane deepens, the complexities of John’s life rise to the surface and they make for a fascinating read.   Make no mistake, I thought the sun rose and set on sexy Gil Morrow in Geoducks Are For Lovers, but I have been utterly swept away by John Day in Ready to Fall.  As such I enthusiastically give this story a five star rating and encourage you to put this book on your list of Must Reads immediately.

Daisy Prescott graciously provided me with an ARC of Ready to Fall in exchange for an honest review.  It was the first book I read after finishing  Gabriel’s Redemption by Sylvain Reynard,  and take it from a longtime fan girl of The Professor, it was a lovely way to move forward.

The novel’s release date is set for December 17 and I encourage you to visit Daisy’s website to keep up with the latest news on its availability.

http://daisyprescott.com/

Enjoy and Take Care,

Jenn

Charity Spotlight: World Vision

World Vision

World Vision

Mission Statement:

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

Website: http://www.worldvision.org

Twitter: @WorldVisionUSA

My husband and I became personally involved with World Vision in the summer of 2011 when we made the decision to sponsor a child. At the time we set up our account, we weren’t sure how to go about selecting one child over another. The prospect was daunting, so we simply decided to sponsor the first child presented to us by the website.

This is how we were introduced to Nsondo.

Nsondo is currently 10 years old and lives with his parents, 1 sister, and 1 brother. His parents struggle to provide for the family.

Nsondo is growing up in a poor area in Zambia. The HIV and AIDS crisis has severely damaged the social fabric of the entire community, leaving many children without parents. Many families live in small homes made of bricks and mud with thatched roofs. A typical diet consists of maize, vegetables, fruit, and fish when available. The climate is tropical though the area is prone to dry-spells and drought.

Nsondo is in primary school and he enjoys studying the national language. He helps at home by caring for the animals. He likes to play soccer. He is in satisfactory health.

My husband and I have been pleased to receive communications from Nsondo over the past two years. We’ve smiled as we looked at his drawings, read about his progress in school, and received the occasional photo of him.  What has pleased us most of all, however, is knowing that our sponsorship commitment radiates out into Nsondo’s community. Our monthly donation has not only contributed to Nsondo’s basic care needs, it has also provided his community with improved healthcare and support, emphasizing assistance to those affected by HIV and AIDS. Our support ensures that children will attend school and farmers are offered seeds and training on new farming methods, improving their health and incomes.

We felt so blessed by our involvement with World Vision that this past Christmas we decided to experiment. We took the money we normally spend on small (and most likely forgettable) gifts for numerous people and instead donated to several projects in their names. Specifically, we gave a custom-fit wheelchair to someone in need along with an additional gift for resources for people with disabilities; we provided art and music instruction and supplies for impoverished children; we donated one small business loan for an impoverished woman, which will be paid forward to fund future loans for other women; we gifted a beehive and beekeeping supplies to a family who can now generate sustainable, year-round income with their bees and honey; we gifted Bibles printed in the recipient’s native language to nourish souls; and we provided vaccinations to protect infants and children from killer diseases. Our relatives were thrilled with their gifts, and some of them were even moved to tears over the gesture. My husband and I were pleasantly surprised in January when one family member joined World Vision and donated livestock in our name to a family in need.

In the months since we’ve joined World Vision, our eyes have been opened. We have come to realize just how significant our modest gift is. Although we live comfortably, we are by no means wealthy. The amount we set aside each day isn’t even enough to cover my daily coffee habit, and yet it’s ability to deliver tremendous good to this little boy and the place he calls home cannot be denied. While we are more than happy to make this contribution to Nsondo, we are also sobered by the fact that there are still 390 children within Nsondo’s community waiting to receive this same support.

We’re sharing our experiences with World Vision with you today because this organization in now providing critical relief efforts for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The storm affected more than 35,000 sponsored children in 21 development project areas where World Vision works, and in response the charity has undertaken one of its largest relief operations in five decades of ministry in the Philippines to help nearly 400,000 people affected by the disaster. 

If you’ve been looking for a way to contribute to the humanitarian efforts in the Philippines, please click on this link and read more about the work World Vision is doing in this particular region.

http://www.worldvision.org/news-stories-videos/typhoon-haiyan-response-philippines?et_cid=43577114&et_rid=97875617&campaign=22518013&cmp=EMC-22518013&wvport=sp&wvsrc=enews

Take Care,

Jennifer and Morgan

Wordslinger: 30 Days of Write…

As I write this, I am 28 days and 41,000 words into my NaNoWriMo book.  National Novel Writing Month takes place during the month of November, and last I checked in, well over 30,000 people were signed in on the NaNoWriMo website.

The goal during NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month, and I had a rather unexpected turn to my project.  I’d always assumed that I would write the first 50,000 words of what would eventually be a much longer book, but as I near the 45,000 mark I’ve come to realize that I will complete my story before the word count is met.

This is not a bother because I’m sure that my second pass (my squeegee read through) will inspire another five thousand plus words of extra material.

I have slowed down to get the ending right.  It’s important not to feel rushed, so I purposely took a few days off last week once I realized that I was going to get what I wanted out of this endeavor.

It’s weird to think that the last time I submitted a Wordslinger I hadn’t even picked half of my character names, and now this idea is a fully realized novel with just an edit to go until completion.

I ended up very happy with the way the story turned out, which is to say that it turned out like I expected, and I didn’t have any characters wander too far off script.

It’s a ghost story (my first). It takes place mostly in New York City, which is a bonus for me since I have a real boner for the Big Apple.  I had the joy of delving into subway history and learned the island of Manhattan from fifty feet underground.  It was a lot of fun and as I edit I’ll use the time to research further.

The last three books I wrote took a year each, and I’ve got to say that doing it this way sure has it’s advantages.  Yes, I spent three hours a day with my nose buried in my computer, Yes, I ignored my Twitter friends and barely even looked at Facebook even though my wife and I launched a writers blog a few weeks ago, but I got ten times as much written in the four weeks and now I can take Christmas to polish and lengthen it a bit.

I have two friends who joined me in writing novels this month, and I’m happy to report that they both have accomplished their goals.  It’s no easy task but having the support of colleagues goes a long way towards realizing your own successes.

I started with an outline, a five page version of my whole story.  Then I started by developing my main character.  I told rich stories about her past that I liked almost as much as my main plot.

It isn’t necessarily an action packed book, but time moves swiftly and the characters’ needs become of paramount importance.  I tried to keep the emotion engaging, but not too overdone, and I got to make up my own rules about how ghosts behave in the world I created.

That was my favorite part of writing the story, and I plan on expounding on the laws I set forth to add even more depth to the new environment that takes place in an old setting.

New York became its own character as I’d hoped, and that was part of the reason for picking such a storied city.  It’s cheap, I know, but I don’t mind cheap if it’s good. That just makes it a better deal.

This makes four books I’ve written in four years, but now that I know I can knock one out in a month I may try this again in March or April if I have the time.  It was empowering and everyone I know is still trying to wrap their head around the idea that I even tried to attempt something so daunting.

And it does seem daunting on paper, but in practice, it’s only a daily discipline that develops into a divine document.  As long as you don’t mind missing a few of your favorite TV shows, or going to bed a little late on some nights, you can have yourself a novel in no time at all.

My wife, whom I call Darth Beta will join another valued partner in evaluating and exfoliating the story and I look forward to that next step in the process.

I’m much further along in another project and juggling the two may become a totally new challenge that I’ll be lucky enough to face.

I hope you all have a toasty holiday season and your Nooks and Kindles are filled with good books.

Your Pal,

MOG

Random Fan with DebraDML

Today’s post is a segment we like to call Random Fan and here are the rules:

Once a month Morgan and I will invite one of you to ask us three questions, but be prepared because we get to ask three of our own in return.

If you’d like to opt in, please leave a comment below and your name will be entered into consideration. January’s Random Fan will be chosen and contacted via email on December 10.

* * * * *

This month’s Random Fan is DebraDML.  Many thanks to Debra for signing on for this experiment.  If you’d like to know more about Debra and her blog, be sure to visit Words Across The Oceans at http://debradml.com/

Debra:  You both have stories on the ‘Twilight Fan Fiction’ site, what is your opinion as writers sharing your stories via there?

Morgan & Jennifer: We’d never heard of Fan Fiction until late 2009, but the Twilight community was one that we immediately connected with.  Within six weeks of discovering Fan Fiction, Morgan began writing and posting a story of his own and recruited Jennifer as editor.  We only expected a handful of online acquaintances to read the story, but much to our surprise, it was well-received in the community. We always appreciated that people not only took the time to read the story, but took the time to submit reviews and feedback about it. We were able to interact with authors, editors, bloggers and readers at all levels and met so many wonderful people as a result. Posting Fan Fiction was a great way to learn how to write and develop the required discipline to transform an idea into a completed story. During the first two years we were involved in Fan Fiction, we were writing, editing and posting an average of 10,000 words a week.  Once we came through the end of that process (and took a few deep breaths), we felt wholly confident in our skills and our ability to work together as a writing team.

bella-voce-by-morgan-locklear-banner-made-by-tkegl

Morgan & Jennifer: What inspired you to take such an active role via your blog to promote up and coming authors and poets?

Debra: Hmmm it’s a bit of a story… I found Twitter after reading Sylvain Reynard’s books (Gabriel’s Inferno & Garbriels Rapture) and Googled him as I wanted to read more of his work! So through him I have found Twitter, Goodreads, Twilight Fan Fiction and peoples’ Blogs… and my world just kept opening up! In this past year I have been amazed by the tremendous amount of talented Authors and Poets that I have come across, especially ones whom are yet to be discovered!

An exceptional poet, Mr. Darwin Blake, inspired me a lot with his Blog, such wonderful magical words and I found myself starting to write Poetry again after 20+ years … and a friend Dana Marion, whom I’ve connected with through our love of SR’s Books via Twitter, gave me the courage to start a Blog!

So after starting my Blog and tapping back into my creative side I thought it was also a great way to help support and share my love of these amazing talented Authors and Poets that were yet to be discovered! 🙂

Morgan & Jennifer: You’ve shared some of your own poetry on your website, Words Across The Oceans.  Have you written any fiction or is poetry your true love?

Debra: No I never have dabbled in writing Fiction …only back in school! Poetry is definitely my true love, from a young age it touched me and evoked such emotions that wanting to write and express myself through poems has just been a natural process to me!

Debra: What do you think about Social Media as an avenue for getting independent writers out there?

Morgan & Jennifer: Social media is quite simply the biggest marketing tool out there for any endeavor. Whether it’s corporate advertising or promotion for independent writers, everyone is using social media.  For us, we’ve never written without relying on a strong connection to an online community. Given our rural location, it would be difficult for us to achieve a significant following without utilizing social media. It has been a critical component in our journey.

Having said that, we believe that social media must be maintained responsibly; it should never be used to hurt other people or perpetuate other kinds of negativity.  Unfortunately, that’s not a reality in the online world and it’s a real shame.  During our time online, we have witnessed cyber-bullying and have been on the receiving end of such attacks a time or two.  It’s inevitable that you will have to put up with it if you’re utilizing social media for the long run, but we guarantee it’s not a practice we tolerate.

Debra: If you could invite anyone famous over for dinner, who would you choose?

Morgan: Robert Zemeckis. One of the most interesting writers and directors I’ve ever seen. I would spend my time trying to charm my way into his next movie.

Jennifer:  I’m not sure I can zero in on just one person.  That’s a tough one. Whoever it is, they would have to be a true extrovert as I’m shy and find social engagements like that intimidating. Anyone I choose would have their work cut out for them.

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Morgan & Jennifer: If you could travel back to any time in history, which era would you pick and why?

Debra: Wow this is a bit of a doozy … after just reading Kat Bastion’s Highlander series my immediate response is the 13th Centuary to the Scottish Highlands, Brodie Clan!!! Oh how I love a man in a kilt lol ;-P

But also I am a huge lover of Jane Austen’s works and am fascinated how her work has transcended over time… so I would love to be able to go back in time to her period in early 1800’s …meet her of course and experience what life was like back then… oh and maybe meet a Mr. Darcy lol

I also would like to take this opportunity say thank-you so much to you both for taking an interest in me and my blog, I am truly honoured! I have loved connecting with you both over this past year as you are both such inspiring people… not only with your amazing talented Fan Fiction stories but with all the love and support that you both spread daily! Hope to meet you both one day, it would be truly ‘Awesomesauce’ 😉 xox

Morgan & Jennifer: Thank you so much for participating in Random Fan, Deb. We’re very glad to have met you online and we’d love to visit your corner of the world sometime. You never know when our paths might cross in real life!

Works in Progress: December 2013 – The Plot Bunny

One afternoon several years ago, I was spending a day at home doing the laundry.

Laundry is never my favorite thing to do, but according to the rest of my family I have some talent for it so I own it.

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Not surprisingly, my mind began to wander while I plodded through the chore. As I was trying to carry a particularly large and awkward load of clothing from the utility room, I began thinking about what I’d really like to do with the bundle of clothing obstructing my line of sight as I negotiated some stairs.

That’s when I suddenly pictured something  fictional and specific in my mind’s eye. And as I folded, hung up and put away the clean laundry, I kept replaying that picture and adding more and more elements to it until an entire scene was completely formed in my imagination.

This is the occurance commonly referred to in writing circles as the birth of a Plot Bunny.

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I had the most basic beginnings of a story idea, and over a period of time I continued to let the idea grow.  I developed a main character, supporting characters, a partial story outline, a few conflicts and some (but not all) resolutions.

At the time I was allowing these ideas to multiply in my head,  I was in the middle of writing and posting another story online. It was my first attempt at sharing my fictional writing with a wider audience. I thought I was happy and content with posting the seven chapter short story and calling it good. When it was done, I’d planned on going back to editing work for my husband and a few author friends of mine and leave it at that.

I can’t tell you exactly what date the Plot Bunny formed or how long I kept developing the idea. I don’t remember going through any stages of denial, anger, bargaining or depression over a period of months, but I can tell you that I finally accepted the fact that the Plot Bunny wasn’t going to leave me alone.

I didn’t know exactly how big this housekeeping inspired Plot Bunny would ultimately be, but I knew it would be a lot more than seven chapters and would include a big cast of characters. I also knew I wasn’t yet ready to tackle writing a full-length work of fiction all on my own.

And yet the Plot Bunny continued to demand my attention.

Bastard.

One summer evening in 2011, my husband and I were enjoying a date night.  We were sitting in an ocean side lounge enjoying appetizers, cocktails and a gorgeous view of the ocean. It was a perfect evening out with my best friend in the world, and in a relaxed state of mind I let it slip that I was being stalked by a Plot Bunny. Morgan immediately took an interest and asked me to share the details with him.  

The more I shared with him, the more animated he became. I have to say there has been no one more enthusiastic  or supportive than Morgan when it comes to my writing, and I wasn’t surprised at the end of my presentation when he told me I should pursue writing the story as soon as my other one was completed.

I told him no way was that going to happen.

He blinked and asked me why not. I responded by confessing that I didn’t feel ready to tackle it on my own.  Being somewhat tipsy and sarcastic I asked if he wanted to help me write it.

So then he smiled and told me not to worry, he would.

I wasn’t expecting that.

But then again…

I’d been editing his stories for a couple of years by this point and he was helping to edit the short story I was working on.  Many of my fears in trying to tame this raging Plot Bunny had to do with specific challenges that I knew Morgan would be able to work through.  He clearly liked my ideas and we both realized it would give Morgan and I an opportunity to write something a bit different than either of us were used to.

We were always talking about writing in one form or another, so why not try to work on it together?

Still tipsy (but no longer sarcastic), I accepted his offer with confidence.

The Plot Bunny no longer seemed so terrifying.  It just needed the two of us to manage it.

To be continued…