Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Giveaway: Morgan is giving away an ebook copy of Huntsman, which has the same setting as Imaginary lover, with this post. comment below for a chance to win.
Today, Morgan Brice – Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.
On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.
Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!
Facebook Group: www.Facebook.com/groups/WorldsOfMorganBrice
Pinterest (for Morgan and Gail) www.Pinterest.com/Gzmartin
Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a new release: http://eepurl.com/dy_8oL
Read a copy of my Badlands short story Restless Nights here for free: https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/js6x0fq8
Follow me on BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/morgan-brice
Amazon profile: https://www.amazon.com/Morgan-Brice/e/B07CKVZSR1
Thanks so much, Morgan, for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
Morgan Brice: I decided that I wanted to write stories when I was about 14 and realized that ‘regular people’ could write books—it wasn’t like being born into the royal family or chosen by a deity. When I was in high school and college, I wrote a lot of fan fiction to entertain my friends. That’s where I learned that I could tell stories that people wanted to hear, and I learned a lot from their feedback.
JSC: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
MB: Cemetery tours. Lots of cemetery tours. I write urban fantasy MM paranormal romance, so it really does factor into the plots. Plus, cemeteries are cool. Every marker was someone’s life, and there’s a story there in each one. I love to try to find clues to that story in the dates, names, and inscriptions.
JSC: Have you ever taken a trip to research a story? Tell me about it.
MB: I tend to set books in places where I’ve lived or visited a lot, because I want the setting to be intrinsic to the plot and for it to be a story that couldn’t happen the same way anywhere else. I use a lot of local urban legends, ghost stories and hauntings in the books, which also give it a local feel. And while I make up locations that will be used repeatedly (like the main character’s business), I will use landmarks, historic locations, and monuments to give a sense of place (because those aren’t likely to change). So usually when I take a research trip, it’s to get a fresh sense of the ‘vibe’ of the location, see what’s new, and look for the little details that make it real. Or if I’m going somewhere for vacation or for a book conference, I have a list of things I want to go see. If you can possibly visit a location you’re going to use in a book, you can pick up the feel of the place. For example, London doesn’t ‘feel’ like New York City or Rome. There’s a vibe that is unique to that place, and it’s harder to pick up if you haven’t visited. Not impossible—just harder.
JSC: What do you do when you get writer’s block?
MB: One of my writer friends, John Hartness, likes to say that plumbers don’t get ‘plumber’s block’, they have to show up and do their job whether they are having a good day or not. I really agree with that. This is how we make our living, so while my productivity varies from day to day, I can’t just wait until the inspiration strikes. I’ve got deadlines and bills to pay. Having said that, sometimes you get stuck in that you aren’t sure what happens next, or what happens between two more active points in a story. That usually means that either I am not clear enough on the plot and need to outline in more detail, or I need to do more research to look for that ‘missing piece’, or that my subconscious knows I’m going in the wrong direction, so I have to re-read and recoup and see if I’ve left something out or need to change something.
JSC: Do you use a pseudonym? If so, why? If not, why not?
MB: I’ve been writing epic and urban fantasy as Gail Z. Martin since 2007. Those books are 99% action/adventure and maybe 1% relationships with no ‘on-screen’ sex. When I decided that I wanted to write urban fantasy MM paranormal romance, I wanted to clearly signal to readers what they were getting—50% plot/50% relationship and explicit sex. So for me, it’s more of a branding thing—I don’t have a need to hide my identity and the pen name isn’t a secret at all. It just assures that if readers pick up a Morgan book as opposed to a Gail book, they know what they’re getting.
JSC: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
MB: Hang in there. It takes longer than you hope it will, but if you stick to it, it will happen.
JSC: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
MB: Yes, I do. I come from a marketing background, so it’s important to get ‘customer feedback’. Of course, reviews by people who love the book are great to read. But I try to pay attention to what they specifically liked about the book, so I know what’s working for future books. Then there are the reviews where someone didn’t give a high rating. Sometimes, that is because they’re mad about the packaging or how long delivery took or something else that has nothing to do with the writing and is out of my control. I read the lower star reviews when they happen to see if there’s a formatting problem, or if there was a logic problem with the plot that managed to elude all of us, including the editor and the beta readers. If I see the same concern pop up in several reviews, then I know I haven’t been clear or I need to make a change. That’s really rare. Most of the time, it has to do with how your story gets filtered through someone else’s life experience lens. There is no way to predict that for all the millions/billions of potential readers.
JSC: What do you do if you get a brilliant idea at a bad time?
MB: I have a document where I write down series ideas in as much detail as I can, and come back to them later!
JSC: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
MB: Full-time, and my husband is in ‘the business’ with me full-time as well. Everything behind the scenes is a collaboration regardless of the name on the cover. It’s worked really well for us—we’re both high-invested in the success of the books, because it pays the bills. Fortunately, we like to read mostly the same kind of things! Being full-time also means that I have all day, every day, to write and do all the other things that go into being a writer—planning, outlining, administrative stuff, social media, etc. There still aren’t enough hours in the day!
JSC: What is the most heartfelt thing a reader has said to you?
MB: There have been times in my life when a book or a stack of good books got me through a rough patch, and I remember those books as a lifeline. So the most moving things I have heard from readers are the times when one of my books got them through tough times. Whether that’s just a bad day, a tour of active duty, a death or illness—I am really happy to have been a bright spot or a way to escape their worries for a while. That means the world to me.
JSC: How do you approach covers for your indie stories?
MB: I work with a variety of cover artists who specialize in book covers (very important—there’s a skill/science to book covers). Those artists have different styles, which helps to differentiate the series so everything doesn’t look the same. It’s a collaborative process. I’ll bring them my idea, and suggestions for backgrounds, cover models, etc. Then they’ll tell me whether they recommend doing something else and why. Sometimes, we just can’t get a photo that works right. Or we can’t get the rights to a certain picture. Ore there aren’t enough poses for a particular model. So I have to be flexible. Also, I’m good at words, but I’m not an artist. I need to be able to trust the artist to create something that makes a good cover, even if it isn’t my first choice. So there’s a lot of trust that has to exist.
And now for Morgan’s new book: “Imaginary Lover”:
“There’s no time. Remember your imaginary lover….”
Cory Caldwell woke up by the side of the road with no memory of how he got there. He pieces together who he is but has no idea what happened to him.
Dark visions haunt him—flashes of blood, magic, and a brutal fight. Scorching dreams of a faceless lover offer no clues. His gut warns that something urgent is eluding him, and that time is running out. Worse is the sense of bone-deep grief, as if Cory is missing part of his soul.
Desperate for answers, he hops a bus for Fox Hollow, a town famous for psychics, mediums, and those with supernatural abilities. Then a stranger calls Cory by name and casts a furtive glance around him. “There’s no time,” the man says. “I need your help. Remember…” Can Cory unlock his missing memories and rescue the stranger before it’s too late?
Imaginary Lover is full of dangerous magic, hurt/comfort, brave monster hunters, dark curses, sincere psychics, found family, and forever love.
Imaginary Lover is the eighth book in the multi-author series, Beyond the Realm: Remember. Each book is set in its own world and can be read as a standalone novel. Join eight authors on eight very different, romantic, and magical stories as each one writes their own take on the same concept.