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It’s Still Magic To Me

Iona Morrison The first time I saw this image I couldn’t help but wonder what she was thinking about as she looked out into the stormy evening sky. I found myself pondering over it for days. The dark clouds, her still form, and the early morning hour showing up on the clock,all drew me in. Did she see something in the heavens not visible to others?  I wanted to know.

The woman in this picture reminds me of a character in my work in progress. Writing inspiration can come in a moment. Something visual or something I hear stirs my imagination and the story is off and running in a whole new direction. This picture became a part of an amazing scene in my latest project. Stretching my writing skills in a whole new direction. I had so much fun writing the scene. My character tried to explain to me what I couldn’t see.

This story also has a new character that got inside of my head. I could see him clearly, his mannerisms, and the way he talked. I can only hope my words do him justice, and my readers get an idea of their own as to how he looks as they listen to his words. Writing is personal, I lose myself in every page that I write, but I find a small piece of myself there too.

About six years ago I was home alone for ten months when my husband went to work in New Jersey after hurricane Sandy. It was during this time of solitude that I found my inner landscape, as I like to think of it. I also found my creativity and this writer was born. Harriet Tubman said “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.” I qualify as a dreamer. I spend a good deal of time dreaming about the folks in my head. Thankful! It is still magic to me.

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Why I Write

“There is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.” ~Vladimir Nabokov

One of my characters has done it again. Reba, my very prime and matronly character, has managed to pull a few words of wisdom out of that sweet head of hers and has opened a path forward to another book while at the same time sending readers off on another few twists in turns in the story. Where does she come up with this stuff. Lol. I love how her mind works or is it my mind. It all seems to blend together in there.

It never seizes to amaze me when my characters give me the way forward in the story. I love watching new characters come to life and the story unfold page after page. It keeps me intrigued. I have to know how the book will end so I keep writing.  I’m not a plotter. I admit it. I don’t have drawings,(except my crude drawing of Blue Cove) or outlines, and I never know from the beginning what the end of the book will be. The first sentence hits me and I’m off and running. It may not be the best way to write, but somehow it has worked for me. When I hit a bump, I wait and listen; read and re-read until something they say jumps out at me. Even a picture can often jump-start the story and I hold on through all the twists and turns.

In my work in progress I’m working on a new character that I’m loving. He’s unique and unlike any other character I have conjured up so far. I love his actions, and manner of speaking. He’s slowly evolving and letting me know why he’s important to the story.

One scene leads to another, words fill the pages, and before you know I’m hooked. I do love this writing gig, even though at times it can be brutal trying to get all the words clamoring in my head out on paper. When I write the words “The End” there is a sense of satisfaction that I did it.

A Great Weekend!

Iona Morrison

I attended the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference this past weekend. My head is still spinning with all the great things that I learned and experienced. One of the highlights for me was having lunch with the President, Editor and Chief of The Wild Rose Press, Rhonda Penders and fourteen other authors in the area who call Wild Rose Press their home. The Wild Rose is a great small publisher who treats their authors well. I am pleased to be one of their authors for all five of my books with a sixth being considered now.

Hearing Diana Gabaldon speak on the first night of the conference was another highlight. Diana’s story is amazing. She has
three degrees in Science, plus one of the most incredible success stories as an author. She is the author of the award-winning,
#1 NYT bestselling Outlander Novels. The series is published in 26 countries and in 23 languages. There are over 28 million
copies in print world-wide. Diana is also serving as the Co-producer of the Outlander TV series. Her success story allows you
to dream while still being realistic.
Sherry Thomas was a joy to hear. She came to American from China when she was thirteen years old. She learned English by
reading Romance and Science Fiction Novels. Her sense of humor kept me laughing through her entire speech. Success for her
was a longer climb and more like what most writers have to go through. Sherry writes Historical Romance, Historical Mystery,
and Young Adult Fantasy.
I found my niche in mystery with a touch of paranormal and romance. Before I ever thought of writing I was first a reader. Reading
has let me explore my world and adventure to new places. And now with audio books I can listen when I want to rest my eyes.
I want to leave you with a few pictures of a great weekend.

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A Small Thing

My husband and I have been remodeling a space that we are moving into. It’s a lot of work, but something that needed to be done. It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint, and a new floor can do. I wish is was as simple with the chaos that can be seen in our world. If only I could do a few cosmetic tweaks to repair the expanding tension on our earth. I think what is needed is a collective look in a giant mirror to check out how truly messy we have become. A quick glance over our shoulder to make sure we see ourselves and actions as someone else might see them. Or as the old saying goes to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

I’m a bit naïve at times, but I do believe Love is powerful, and in the end, Love wins. I try hard to practice it and even when I fail, I keep trying. It seems like a small thing to do in the face of such enormous challenges. But practice goes a long way and so does  taking a hard look in the mirror to see how I measure up.

A.D. Williams said; “Love has the power to cure, to heal, to calm, to change, and to unite. Use this power often.” It’s hard to believe when staring in the face of anger and hatred that love can make any difference at all. But one soft voice added to another, and so on, can. Love only needs a willing heart and hands through which to show itself.

The down side of remodeling or loving is, you can always see more that needs done. A seemingly endless task. It takes work! But, the results are worth it.

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Downsizing Adventure Part Two!

Image may contain: 1 person, closeupWe are moving again; part two in our downsizing adventure. The first time was leaving a house we had lived in for over twenty years. We’ve been here for four. Smart would have been to move every year so we couldn’t accumulate more stuff. Have you ever noticed that stuff has a way of multiplying? Especially, if you put it in a dark closet or a sealed box. I honestly believe there is a conspiracy afoot to keep us buying more things to add to our collections. It is  the way those pesky boxes continue to grow even when we are not watching them. If only our savings would multiply the same way.

I’m finding I can live with a lot less than I thought. If I haven’t tasted it, worn it, or used it in the past year it is gone. Seems like a simple enough motto even for me. The most amazing thing about sorting through everything, besides taking a break to sit and rest, is that amidst all the trash I have found a few treasures. I found a picture of my parents on their wedding day. Definitely a keeper for my family.

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I found a picture of my great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Franklin and Becky Hurst along with my two great aunts Mary and Jane when they were little girls. I’m not sure who the baby is. I think some research is order. What fun I’m having and of course, wasting time for as long as I can, before I have to get back to packing. I couldn’t resist a few more pictures, including me way back when, and that’s all I’m going to say. No more trips down memory lane. Back to work!

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Push Pause

There are days when I don’t know if life is passing me by or simply trying to run me over. Every once in a while I have to push the pause button and take time out to breathe. It’s not like I’m thinking about the deep meaning of it all. I gave up on that years ago. Greater minds than mine have written volumes and failed to give full understanding to the narrative. Rather, I like to see it as a time of reflection; a rare chance to explore the accumulation of small victories which give days their own personal meaning; small slices of sweetness that make life tolerable and worth living. It’s about seeing the possibilities where there are none visible and letting myself soar on the hope of those possibilities.

The amazing thing about living is there are always new things to learn, new people to meet, and new things to see. An eagle landed on the roof across the street from us last night. The small birds fussed around her but she was unmoved. When she had enough she simply spread her wings and flew away. What a beautiful sight to watch the shadow her wingspan cast as she took off in flight.

Growing older, I think, makes us either grouchy or more reflective. I’ve chosen the second. I don’t want to miss any of the moments, (if I can help it) that are there to remind me even in the messiness of it all, life is a beautiful thing. Sunsets are breathtaking, children are wonderful, and grandchildren are the best. When the fussy little things around me become a distraction I need to spread my wings and soar or sail either way works for me.

                               

 

THANK YOU!

Iona MorrisonI love when someone takes the time to write me letter regarding one of my books and they talk about the characters as if they were real. I received one of those letters not to long ago.

The letter began by saying: “Thank you for the hours of pure pleasure. I enjoyed my read immensely. I found myself excited just to get to the next chapter. Keep on writing, all your readers are looking forward to see what is the next mystery in Blue Cove.”

She goes on to say.”I would love to see Jessie and Matt tie the knot, they are meant for each other. Also, I’m so elated to see Katie has “maybe” found here true love. Thank you for all your hard work. One of your biggest fans.”

I’ll admit this made me smile and continues to, every time I read it. My characters are real to me. They hang out in my head on daily basis and the thought they have brought someone else pleasure is amazing to me. Jessie and Matt nudge me along and help me tell their story. They’ve set this crazy imagination of mine free. From a Bible teacher to a murder mystery writer, with a little romance thrown, in I finally feel at home in my mind. The strange thing is I was never a mystery reader. I’ve surprised even myself.

This letter got me thinking once again about all things Blue Cove and the support all of my readers have shown me. These four will soon be joined by book number five in the series, Only A Shadow. For all the books you’ve  purchased and the reviews written, the words thank you hardly seem enough, but it’s the best I have. THANK YOU!

The Harvest Club   Not for Sale (A Blue Cove Mystery)  The Game Changer (A Blue Cove Mystery)  Dance with a Devil (A Blue Cove Mystery)

 

 

Only a Shadow

Image may contain: 1 person, closeupA new book will soon be out. Here’s the blurb and a teaser from “Only a Shadow”.

Trouble rears its head once again in Blue Cove and dashes straight into Jessie’s store in the person of a battered young woman fleeing her abusive spouse. Jessie finds herself pulled into another case as a body is discovered in the church dumpster, and the dead woman’s ghost takes up a vigil in Jessie’s place of business. 

Is the dead woman connected to the frightened and battered girl who took refuge in the store? Matt and Jessie’s search for the killer leads them to their victim’s family, members of a strange religious group that lives off the grid outside of town. Add to the mix a crypt in the woods on a foggy night, Jessie’s abduction, a couple of angry and abusive husbands, and the resident ghost, and they will have their hands full solving this crime.

Will Matt and Jessie’s love for each other keep them grounded until justice can be served?

“Her eyes focused on a small structure in the midst of the trees.  Its outline emerged through the spooky mist as she ran closer. What she saw stopped her in her tracks.  Sinister in appearance, gothic in nature, its small spires and gargoyles stood watch and seemed to be staring at her. Creepy, and the fog didn’t help. The gate creaked as she opened it to go inside. The building was smaller than it looked from a distance. Was it a small chapel? It didn’t feel like any church she had ever been in. Maybe it was someone’s tomb. She shivered. A strange odor met her when she opened the door. Incense, perhaps.  The light from her headlamp told an eerie story as it danced on the walls. It settled on a strange stone slab in the center of the aisle, which had something smeared all over it. Oh, this was worse than she had thought. She slumped to the floor. She had stumbled into something awful and didn’t want to be trapped here.”

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Competition with Myself

Image may contain: 1 person, closeupA new contract is signed on another book. A blurb is finished along with the infamous tag line. In every book that I write there is a subject tucked in it somewhere, which is near and dear to my heart. From human trafficking to domestic violence, life constantly dishes up some hard stuff for people to overcome. Because of it there are limitless storylines with everyday people who are the real heroes and heroines.

I’ve often wondered with all the pain, sickness, and suffering that humanity experiences why we are not kinder and more humane in our treatment of one other. The old saying “Do unto others” is something we should consider all the time. You can’t live long on this earth without the need for someone’s compassion in your own life. It seems to me we should go out of our way to make it easier on one another to survive and not harder.

I’m grateful for the many kindnesses shown me. I realize the pull and tug to blame the other for my lot in life is great, but as my mom used to tell me life is what you make it. I do have choices and those choices have consequences which I must take responsibility for. My life is not perfect, but its mine. I’ve made a choice to be kind because I know how kindness has impacted me. I have chosen to reduce my faith to its simplest form…Love God, and love my neighbor as myself. There is so much freedom in living this out. I like to smile at strangers, listen to someone tell me how their life is going, and let go of the wrongs that have been done to me. I find it freeing to enjoy music, dance as way of joyous expression, and glean from the younger generations. The millennials have got a lot of things right. I don’t always get it right, but I keep trying. I’m in competition with myself to be the best version of me I can be.

Life is a veritable smorgasbord with all kinds of things to choose from. Some are life giving and others not so much. Some I choose and others I just get. I may not always be able to control what I face, but I can control my reaction to it.

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My Thoughts

 Iona MorrisonI believe that love wins, character counts, and kindness makes a difference in the world. I don’t believe that the ends justify the means. The way you reach the end is just as important as the results. Fear may speak the loudest, but peace rules the day. Leaders may rise on the wave of hate and bigotry, but love has the ultimate power to resist.
I’m not naïve many terrible things have happened because of hate and bigotry, but amazing stories of love shine a light through the troubles of our darkest hours in history. People rise to the occasion when their backs are against the wall. I remember the day I first visited the Yad Vashem (Holocaust Memorial) in Israel. The pictures of the death and destruction of a people simply because of who they were moved me to tears more than once. The stories that emerged of the gentiles who risked all to save some was equally powerful. The Jewish people are almost always first on the scene in disasters, they stand with those being persecuted, they promote life through the arts, because they know what it is to be murdered for simply being who they are.
It is easy to be lulled to sleep in life believing that everything will stay the same. Having fought for something once means you’ll never have to fight again. As long as there is an other you can blame you’ll never have to take the heat yourself. But life has a way of teaching us change is constant and the one sure thing in life. Every generation we’ll have to fight for the things they hold dear because there is always someone who wants to take it away. Eventually, everyone will become the other in the us against them game, and we can easily be swayed by the words of the next leader peddling another brand of hate in a new package.
For me I’ve chosen to love. Trying to figure out who is deserving and who is not is too great of a burden. Some might say I’m not worthy. I’ve decided to go with the tested and true words of one of this world’s greatest leaders. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
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