Friday, June 28, 2013

Why is that so hard for you to understand?

The owner of BBB company needed to do something about the problem. 

The other company in town, AAA, had things his company lacked. AAA was bigger. AAA got tax breaks. AAA employees got better benefits.

The owner of BBB thought and thought about what he could do. At last BBB came up with an answer. BBB called up a lawyer, Mr. Charge-by-the-hour, and told the lawyer the plan.

“I figured it out,” BBB said. “AAA gets things because they got started first and everyone knows them. I don’t have as many employees. I know people who want to be part of my company, but they complain I can’t offer what AAA offers.”

Mr. Charge-by-the-hour pointed out, “But your company doesn’t do the same exact thing as AAA.”

“True, my company is a bit different, but in what matters the most, we are the same as AAA. Therefore, I have a plan,” BBB said.

Mr. Charge-by-the-hour asked, “And what is that?”

“I want to change my company’s name to AAA,” BBB said. “That way I can offer everything they offer.”

Mr. Charge-by-the-hour answered, “But, that name is already used.”

“So what?” BBB said. “It’s not fair. I don’t get treated the same as AAA because I have a different name. You are my lawyer. Make it happen.”

Mr. Charge-by-the-hour said, “I’ll see what I can do.”

Months passed.

Mr. Charge-by-the-hour called up the owner of BBB company and said, “I have good news. I was able to make it so that your company can grow as big as AAA, with the same tax breaks and the same benefits.”

“Great! I’ll place the order to get new signs for our building,” BBB said.

Mr. Charge-by-the-hour said, “Hold on. The only catch is that you are still going to be called BBB company. The fact is you don’t do the same exact things as AAA, so you can’t be called AAA.”

“That’s ridiculous!” BBB said.

Mr. Charge-by-the-hour said, “But your goal was to be treated the same as AAA company. I got you that.”

“It’s not enough,” BBB said. “I want to be called AAA.”

Mr. Charge-by-the-hour asked, “So, even though you don’t do exactly what AAA does, you still want to be called AAA.”

“Yes,” BBB said. “Why is that so hard for you to understand?”

Monday, June 24, 2013

Amy's insights on being a good daddy

Amy at age 8
I thought I had things figured out. Well, as much as any man can when dealing with young daughters.

Our little brunette, Kelley, was a pure joy. She was very artistic and creative.

She was followed 18 months later by our little blonde Emily—a girl who was fascinated with climbing everything and figuring out ways to get into anything she wasn’t supposed to.

These two sweethearts played very well with each other—each of them bringing different personality traits to the table.

And then, 18 months after Emily was born, we were blessed with our redheaded daughter Amy. She was a game changer.

Like her two older sisters, she was very bright and creative. But there was something, well, different about her. I used to joke that there was a small little man beating on a drum in a funky rhythm and only Amy could hear him. And she danced to that beat.

At one point in time, I remember Amy sitting on my lap while we were at church. She was sucking her thumb while holding on to my earlobe with her other hand. Once in a while, she’d look up at me and give me the silliest grin. I turned to my wife and said, “Where did she come from?”

When she was in first grade, I was invited to go to her school where the kids had written things about their dads. Most of the kids wrote things like, “My dad can wrestle bears” or “My dad can build cool tree houses” or “My dad can beat up your dad.” What did my daughter write? “I love how my dad plays dolls with me and hugs and kisses me.”  

Flash forward several years later. Amy is now 13—and still as eccentric as ever. We’ve realized over time she and I share a lot in common, like our troubles with spelling, our struggles with our tempers (I was a redhead as a child) and our very sensitive natures.

For this Father’s Day, she gave me a jar full of Chocolate Hugs and Kisses as well as several little slips of paper with sayings that she wrote for me.

To help you understand this adorable girl better, here are some of the things she wrote:

“Thank you for giving me your personality.”

“I love how I can learn from your mistakes.”

“Your hair smells nice.”

“I like how I can sometimes eat more than you.” (She’s like 80 pounds soaking wet.)

“I like how you taught me how to tie a tie and now I can and some guys can’t.”

“I like how you are strong but you are gentle.”

“I like how I can make you skip with me.”

“Thanks for marrying Mommy.”

“You understand me.”

“I’m glad you can’t spell ethier.” (Yeah, that’s how she spelled it.)

“I’m overjoyed that I was given such a great example for my dad.”

Three years later we had our final daughter, a strawberry blonde we named Stephanie. But she’s a story for another time.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

eBook special!

Are you looking for some great summer reading? Check out this special which is being sponsored by author Monique Bucheger.

Here's the deal: Buy her eBook Simply West of Heaven by clicking here

Then, click here: And then go here: (Read the instructions and then click on the poster.)

My book, The Hidden Sun is one of the books available for 99 cents! Whoo hoo!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Review of Trouble Blows West by Monique Bucheger

I thoroughly enjoyed the first Ginnie West adventure, “The Secret Sisters Club” and so I was looking forward to the second book of the series, “Trouble Blows West.” It didn’t disappoint. 

I’ll openly admit I’m not exactly the target audience for this series, which is middle grade, especially girls. I kept the audience in mind when I read the book and found that Bucheger has a remarkable ability to write in a way that connects with her readers. The chapters are short, and there are a lot of them. The wording is to the point, yet vivid. These are all elements that middle grade readers are drawn to. 

And speaking of drawing, the new covers are really nice. They do justice to the feel of the book. 

As for the story, like Anne of “Anne of Green Gables,” Ginnie is a character you can’t help but love. She’s feisty and sometimes does things without thinking them through—but there is an honesty in her actions. She’s the type of main character you like to cheer for. 
This book deals a lot with the subject of bullying, an important topic indeed, and Bucheger gives some great insight on it—but it’s done so in a non-preachy way. 

I highly recommend this book to middle grade girls, and their parents to read. I think even reading the book together will give people a chance not only to enjoy the book together, but open a dialogue about bullying and what people can do to stop it. 

In addition, author Monique Bucheger is holding this wonderful promotion for not only her works, but several other authors. Check out this information below!

June 17: The Fictorian Era: Spotlight
June 17: Roseanne's Spot: Review of The Secret Sisters Club
June 17: J. Lloyd Morgan: Review of Trouble Blows West

June 18: Braden Bell: Spotlight
June 18: Tristi: Review of Simply West of Heaven
June 18: Tina Gower
June 18: Mikey Brooks: Interview

June 19: A Hero's Journey: Spotlight
June 19: Kimberly Griffiths Little : Review of The Secret Sisters Club
June 19: Jen Greyson: Spotlight

June 20: In Brief: Blog Post
June 20: An Author In Progress: Overview of all 3 books.
June 20: A Book A Day: Review of Simply West of Heaven
June 20: Marathon Writer: Spotlight & Interview
June 20: Angela Carlie: Spotlight
June 20: David Farland: Shoutout

FRIDAY: REDEEM the FREE and Almost free books :)
June 21: Ordinary happily Ever After: Review of Simply West of Heaven
June 21: A Writer's Ramblings: Spotlight
June 21: Pauline Toohey: Author: Interview

June 22: James Duckett: Interview
June 22: Author Andrea Pearson: Spotlight
June 22: The Clan of the Stone: Spotlight

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Camping is fun if you like to pretend you're homeless

I’ve never quite understood why people love to go camping. For people who don’t know me, they may say, “Maybe it’s because you’ve never really been.” To which I respond, “I’ve camped more than you can imagine.”

One of my accomplishments I’m proud of is earning my Eagle Scout ranking. There are many things I learned in scouting that I still use today. In addition, I got to do things I never would have had the chance to do before. I learned how to cross-country ski, shoot a rifle (and even hit a target!), go whitewater rafting, and build a pinewood derby car.

I also learned I don’t like camping. It was something we did a lot—in fact we went on a camping trip once a month, every month.

I’ll admit some of them were okay. One of the better ones is where we hiked only about a mile into the mountains into this small valley that was filled with wildflowers. It was spring and so it wasn’t too cold or too hot. We played a game of “capture the flag” which was epic in scope.

And then there were other ones. One winter we hiked into the mountains, again, (I grew up next to the Rocky Mountains) and built camp in the snow. Some of the scouts made snow huts / tunnels to sleep in. I shivered the whole time we were there. I don’t think I slept at all. The fires we built were hard to keep going because we didn’t have a lot of dry wood. That, and we had to dig a pit in the snow for the fire. Once the fire would get going, it would melt the snow around the pit, causing water to go into the pit and put out the fire. Frustrating!

See how fun this looks?

The toughest camping trip was a hike into the Unita Mountains. I don’t recall how many miles it was, but it was quite the distance. We planned on being there three days. We camped next to a lake and for the first couple of days, everything was fine. There was a small island not far from the shore, and four of us boys wanted to sleep there the last night of the trip. The problem? How to get there.

We considered building a raft—but we didn’t have a way to lash fallen trees together. One of the scouts realize that the water wasn’t too deep between the shore and the island—we could walk there and the water would only be up to our waists. So, holding our backpacks over our heads, we walked to the island and made camp—thinking we were all awesome and tougher than the rest of the scouts who stayed on the shore. We started a fire and set our wet clothes out to dry and then called it a night.

Unita Mountains

I woke up to thunder that was so loud that it shook our tent. For the first time on the trip, it started to rain—and Mother Nature seemed to make up for any rain we would have missed over the last few days.

My waterproof watch told me it was a little after two o’clock in the morning. My friend, Tom, woke up as well. We noted how the rain was really coming down hard—and then realized our clothes and backpacks were outside.

We waited through the night, and the rain didn’t let up. If anything, it got worse. And we faced yet another problem: the scout troop was leaving at first dawn to go home. We couldn’t wait out the rain—we had to hope it stopped. Which it didn’t.

As soon as the sky started to brighten, we heard shouts from our leaders on the shore, telling us we needed to hurry and come back. I wasn’t sure why we had to hurry—it wasn’t like they were going to leave without us.

Once we got brave enough to look outside our tent, I understood why. The lake level had risen. In the downpour, the four of us on the island packed up our camp as quickly as we could. Our possessions were soaked, which made our packs even heavier.

My friend Tom went first to walk through the lake. The water had risen enough that instead of being at his waist, it was up to his neck. The distance wasn’t too far, but it was even harder now that the wind was blowing, causing waves to splash up while trying to hold an extremely heavy backpack over your head.

The four of us made it back to shore—exhausted. Yet, it was now time to hike back to the cars. It took us a good part of the day. I was cold. I was wet. I was tired. I was so sore, I had to force one foot in front of the other to keep moving.

When we finally arrived at the cars, I literally kissed one of them. That night, I was never so grateful for a warm, comfortable bed.

So, when my wife hints that she would like to go camping, I hope you can understand my reluctance.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Don’t take offense

I’m calling people out on a phrase that is uttered far too much: “Don’t take offense, but…” What often follows is something pretty offensive. And if, as the receiver of such a comment, people get upset, the speaker of the offensive comment defends what they said by stating, “I told you not to take offense!” 

I’ll openly admit I tend to use analogies to help understand the world around me. Some people are annoyed by this—though I’m not sure why. In the case noted above, an analogy would be person A telling person B, “Now, don’t get hurt by this,” and then slapping person B upside the head. When person B says, “Ow!” person A response, “I told you not to get hurt!” 

I’ve been accused of being overly tactful when trying to speak to people about a concern. I even had one employee tell me, “Just tell me what’s wrong. I can take it.” I guess I tend to go with the concept of “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” (Found in The Bible, Proverbs 15:1) 

For full disclosure, I have to confess that I’m guilty of sometimes not keeping my tongue in check when I get really frustrated. 

My wife and I were married for nearly five years before we had our first daughter. It wasn’t that we were waiting, it’s just that for whatever reason it took us five years of trying. (We ended up with four lovely daughters, so I can’t complain.) 

One day at church, an older, bald gentleman sat down by me and said, “You’ve been married a few years now, right? When are you two going to have a kid?” 

Without hesitating, I responded, “When are you going to join The Hair Club For Men?” 

He looked startled for a moment. “It’s none of my business, is it?” 

I pointed to my nose. 

He got up and walked away. 

Maybe if he would have started his comment with “Don’t take offense, but…” I wouldn’t have gotten upset. 

Oh, who am I kidding?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

High School Comments

Writing novels is an exercise in solitude. I spend a lot of time alone with my keyboard and the words on the virtual paper in front of me. I’ll admit that if I don’t pop my head up once in a while, self-doubt can begin to creep in. 

Questions like, “Is this any good?” or “Does anyone really read this stuff?” or “What the heck am I doing?” are common. So, when I get an opportunity to go out to schools to talk about creative writing, I jump at the chance. And recently I jumped all the way to Virginia. 

My awesome niece, Samantha (who I wouldn’t dare call as “Sammy” in a blog—no, I’d never do that!) was able to get me an invite to speak to her high school English class. While I was up there, my sister-in-law had another friend who taught English at a different high school and I was asked if I could go there the following day. Which I did, gladly. 

It was a blast to talk with the students. My presentations are very interactive, and I got a lot of wonderful questions asked of me. At the end, I was given some nice thank you notes and comments from students. 

One thing I love about high school students is their honesty. I thought I’d share some of these comments for others to enjoy—keeping in mind that they may have taken some of what I said differently than I intended. 

And I’m totally cool with that. 

Most of the notes were very polite and thanked me for coming. A few students got a bit more, well, creative. 

“Thank you so much for coming and speaking to us. I had a story in mind that I wanted to write over the summer. I now have great, new ideas on how to go about it. Thanks a bunch.” 

“Thank you so much for coming and talking to us about creative writing. It was very informative, but in a fun way! Good luck with your books!” 

“Thank you for coming! You’re super funny.” 

“Thanks! It was very inspirational, do what you want and not care what others think.” 

“Dear Mr. Morgan, You are one of the few guest speakers I’ve actually ever listened to. It was fascinating.” 

“Thank you for keeping us involved because in most other presentations I would fall asleep. It was also very enjoyable because of your jokes.” 

“Never give up! Let other’s criticism drive you to show them they are wrong.” 

“Thank you. By the way, all your books are probably banned in China.”

Monday, June 3, 2013

“The Mirror of the Soul” reviewed by Jandy Salguero

I was delighted to read the following review by Jandy Salguero on my novel The Mirror of the Soul for a couple of reasons. 

First, she truly enjoyed the book. 

Second, since she has studied French history and cultural trends of the period, it gives the novel credibility. 

She wrote: “I had no clue what The Mirror of the Soul would be about, but the setting of France near the hundred years war caught my attention (I have a BA in French and have studied lots of French history and cultural trends of that period). The themes and beliefs of the characters are indicative of a time when the masses were kept uneducated in many ways. 

The writing seamlessly pushed me from one chapter to the next, with the tension building as I went. In the end, it was a beautiful story of love, hope, and renewal that made me fall in love with the simple faith of the protagonists and cheer for their success. 

This book is appropriate for young adults. I look forward to reading other works by this author.” 

Here is the official description of the book: 

“In the Dordogne region of France after The Hundreds’ Year War, there are rumors of an object falling from the sky. Soon after, the abbot at the AbbĂ© St. Pierre announces that he has been given a gift from God: a large diamond that glows when it is touched. The diamond divine, as it is come to be known, can cure the sick, wipe away people’s sins (past, present and future) and even grant eternal life—for a price. 

The Mirror of the Soul is a story of corruption, greed and redemption based on the song of the same title by international recording artist Chris de Burgh.” 

From June 3, 2013 until June 7, 2013 the Kindle version is FREE! You can download it by clicking here

A print version is also available and can be purchased by clicking here.