A Whole New World

Spring-Equinox_ss_103777808I did not blog in March 2020. Not because I forgot – not because I didn’t want to – but because I couldn’t bring myself to write, as I usually do, about a month, a time of year that generally brings renewal, hope and great optimism for me as well as every CELT I know.

Madien_Goddesses_countocramThe vernal equinox – a time when light and dark are equal – is a magical, powerful, time of year.

The day after the equinox is especially celebratory because two minutes of daylight are gained.

The bringing of life, of light, of hope – it all happens in the second half of March.

March 2020 brought more uncertainty and more fear than anytime in my recent memory, with the possible exception of 2008 and its fallout, which for my family impacted us for most of the following decade.

Now it’s April. April 15th – tax day – to be exact.

IMG_1935I am more hopeful today than I was last month or even last week. It’s not the weather, it snowed here yesterday and it’s still cold for April. Perhaps hearing the birds everyday and seeing them actively building their nests is inherently joyful and that joy soothes a worried soul. I don’t know.

Our daughter’s May 16, 2020 wedding reception has been re-calendared to May 2021. Her wedding will still take place, but only our daughter, our soon-to-be son-in-law, their minister, and her husband will be in attendance. They will video the ceremony and replicate it next May when hopefully all those who would have attended this year will see it and forever be a part of their union.

We adapt. We move forward.

I’m not sure where we’ll be next month or the month after that. I am hopeful that this time next year we – my family and I – will be better off than we are today.

20200412_113008The daffodils have finally bloomed in my garden, reminding me that Spring and the hope it brings are alive and well. Please love those you care for most deeply even harder. Reach out to friends you haven’t spoken with in a while. Remember all those who’ve gone before with kindness. And, above all, be kind to yourself.

Stay safe. Be well. Until next time, my friends, love deeply, often, and without reservation. Blessings to you now and Always,

Leigh

October’s furious pace – and the welcoming of the Dark Half of the year

I usually blog the third Wednesday of the month. I realized I’d missed my blog day as I sat drinking a coffee in bed, the Saturday after, with my daughter in Toronto.

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I’d left for Toronto on Wednesday – usual blog day – traveled from Wisconsin through Chicago, into Indiana (briefly) to Benton Harbor, Michigan where I stayed for the night, making Toronto Thursday afternoon.

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Long story short – I’m writing my blog today.

On the “UP” side, I’ve got lots to blog about.

Toronto, Stratford, Hamilton – this area of Ontario is lovely. I got to see it and be with our girl who is now in her third year of naturopathic medical school and won’t be coming home for any extended stay after this year.

Magical. All of it..

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We saw “Guys and Dolls” at the Stratford Festival = FANTASTIC. We wandered through the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. We played card games and drank beer with our girl. All good. All over too fast.

On the way home, I couldn’t type so I researched. I’m writing a legal thriller at the moment, which I started right before I delved into my novella – CHRISTMAS IN JULY – for the Authors of Main Street Box Set. I wrote CHRISTMAS IN JULY quickly and enjoyed the process. I think it’s my best novella yet.

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Fast forward to: A TIME TO KILL (working title). I’m writing this one fast & furiously as well. I’m liking this process, so I’m quite literally running with it. A TIME TO KILL is more thriller than romantic suspense – but I can’t seem to keep the romance out of it. Not that I’m trying too hard. Every great story I’ve ever read has love in it somewhere – every truly wonderful one has romance. Since I love it – I guess I’m destined to weave it in.

October has indeed been furiously paced for me, but that’s as it should be. October holds its own magic and none of it is subtle or reserved.

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Tomorrow is my birthday – a day where I am thankful to be on this glorious planet surrounded by people I love and the opportunity to make the coming year better than the last.

The day after tomorrow is my dad’s birthday. It is also the Celtic New Year.

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Halloween for the Celts is the day when the veil between this world and the OTHERWORLD is the thinnest. The day we honor those who came before – the day they walk among us once again.

This is the day the dark overtakes the light and we in the Northern Hemisphere enter our dark half of the year.

This is the time of the storytellers.

This is the time where magic is real and hopefully it will flow onto the page.

I LOVE OCTOBER!

Time to celebrate life – seeing our daughter. Time to celebrate those who came before – Happy birthday – I’ll be setting a place at dinner while we tell funny, i.e. embarrassing, stories about you, dad.

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Time to tell stories – get busy and write – write – write. Time to read great stories. For those of you so inclined, please buy our Christmas Box Set. Here’s a helpful buy link. It’s also a time to be thankful to be alive.

Happy Celtic New Year!

May Inspiration, Enthusiasm, and Magic find you and Bless you as we move into the storytelling half of the year.

Leigh

 

It’s All About Character

When I woke up this morning I had no idea what I was going to blog about. Oh, I’d thought about it, albeit in the back of mind, all month. I’ve been hitting the edits and re-writes for Defending Destiny pretty hard the past few weeks and honestly I was gearing up to begrudge the time blogging takes…yea right…it’s fun and it only comes around once per month, sometimes twice if I’m feeling engaged in the process. That’s when it hit me, like a SHASZAM LIGHTNING BOLT, to the brain.vatican

It’s in the rewrites that I actually fall in love with my characters. TAH-DAH…BLOG!taking a bow

About a third of the way through any Work in Progress — WIP — I begin to really feel who my characters are. Their motivation for what they do, and don’t do in some cases, gets more nuanced and textured as I get into the rhythm of the story.

I begin with a rough character profile for every character…before I ever start typing. Some characters get added as the story goes because they write themselves in. I know I’m the one writing, and yes I know they aren’t real, but sometimes these characters push until they are on the page. For me that generally means a future book of their own and I welcome them. They get a profile too.

Profiles for me include: Name, sex, age, race, distinguishing characteristics (scars, tattoos, etc.) body type, educational background, social/family background, hobbies, employment, fears (if I know them), aspirations (short & long-term), financial status, favorite food (sometimes this plays into quirkiness), favorite shows/entertainment, religious alignment/spirituality, eye color & shape, facial structure, voice, languages, prejudices, what they love…  This list can go on, but basically it’s less than a page and gives me an idea of who they are before I start and it also makes keeping track of details easier. Most of the time I find a photo or image that represents my hero to me as well. Here’s Magnus in Defending Destiny. YUM!

Magnus in Defending DestinyThese profiles I make at the beginning are rarely who my characters turn out to be when the edits and re-writes are complete. Most of the physical description is the same, but that’s about it. I learn as I go, I guess. Not the quickest way to complete a novel, that’s for sure.

So as I’m gearing up for deep edits, something that’s more conducive to a deep sigh and a “here we go again, when ARE you going to get this right the first, second or third time, Woman?” This morning I’m thankful that this is when I really get to fall in love with these larger than life, flawed, yet sincere characters. This is when the magic happens. And magic is hard work, my friends!

So, I’m curious. If you’re a writer, what’s your process? (I’m hoping that book five finds mine more streamlined) If you are a reader — and we all are — what makes a character worthy of your love? Is it the small quirks? Is it his or her kindness or sense of humor? Who are your favorite characters? What makes them resonate with you? As you can tell I write character driven stories…I love a good plot, but character is why I turn the page when I’m reading, so it’s why I write like I do.

I can’t wait to share Defending Destiny with you. Here’s a sneak peek at my cover in progress:Defending Destiny Cover

Happy Writing. Happy Reading. And here’s hoping that we create magical worlds readers want to return to again and again! Happy Wednesday, my friends! May February find you steeped in romance :),

Leigh

Myth, Magic, and finding Midsummer Joy

Today is Litha, the Summer Solstice. It is that time of year when the sun reaches its zenith, the longest day of the year. It is a celebration of light, fecundity and the abundance of summer. I look forward to these long days of light all year and when they are here celebrate!

This past weekend my husband and I attended the Scottish Highland Games in Chicago. This was our second games of the year, something we celebrate together every year with our extended Scottish family. Since it was so close to Father’s Day, that was just an added bonus. We saw a World Record set in the weight toss for height (56lb. weight tossed with one hand over a bar 18ft 11inches high). Truly an amazing feat of athleticism. Pure masculine power, raw and beautiful to behold.

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How does any of this tie into our Father’s Day theme? Well after eight posts on this topic so far this month, you’ll have to bear with me as I tie it up. Today, Midsummer, is very special. It is associated with the sun, male energy and all that is bright and beautiful about the male aspect. So I say thanks to all the males in my life. Fathers, brothers, sons, and most importantly those we call lover and husband. I am thankful for the many men in my life who make it better every day with their strength, their love and their masculine grace. I am blessed to watch the honorable path the men I love, both living and those who have gone before, have blazed through their lives. Further, I am happy to travel it with them. So instead of saying Happy Father’s Day, I will say: here’s a cheer for the best in men everywhere.

Midsummer is a time full of myth and magic and joyous celebration of the earth and her gifts. We celebrate the sun, the masculine, and also the feminine as the sun enters Cancer – a water sign. I love this part. Today is a day for water magic. It is a time to celebrate holy streams and sacred wells, giving offerings of coins or pins in Celtic mysticism. Chalice well is located in Glastonbury and has been a sacred place for Christians and Pagans for more than a millenia. Joseph of Arimathea was said to have traveled there. Its sacred springs are associated with the grail legend and are said to be healing in nature.

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I write about sacred springs, myth and magic in Fighting Fate, my latest stand a lone romance in the Dojo Chronicles. I love Glastonbury Tor. The land there and the sacred waters, sing with energy. It truly is a magical place I wanted to celebrate. So, I fictionalized it and put it in a romance that celebrates not only strong femininity, but also the fierce loving heart of a man sworn to protect it. I love Fighting Fate, and I hope you will too.

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Shakespeare wrote about Midsummer magic in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, That Scottish Play, and in The Tempest. The themes of magic and celebrating all the abundance summer has to offer are not new. They are eternal. So here’s to summer. Here’s to the festivals, the music, the plants and to all you hold sacred. Here’s to celebrating the masculine aspect of nature as we enjoy the longest day of the year. And here’s to holding the magic of summer in your heart.

Happy Midsummer!

Leigh Morgan

http://www.amazon.com/Fighting-Fate-Dojo-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B008B8PXFA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1340196821&sr=8-3&keywords=leigh+morgan