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A few days ago, a post popped up on Facebook. It was from a country artist I have followed over the years will a blog about the anniversary of his wife’s passing. A few years ago, I read a heart felt blog about how this beautiful young mother had decided to stop treatment for her cancer and was going home to live out her days with her family. Joey Feek was a name that I had heard before in the music world as I loved her duet song with her husband, Rory called Cheater Cheater.
Now I don’t keep up with artist personal lives, but that day I stopped and read about the birth of their beautiful daughter, Indiana, her first bout of cancer and then a subsequent diagnosis a short time later that ended up being terminal. Having a young daughter myself, I cried my eyes out for this family I barely knew as they dealt with the difficult task of saying goodbye. I would mourn her death a few short months later praying for her husband and daughter. I sorta kept up with them afterwards for what reason, I don’t know, but I found myself following along with the story. In 2016, the documentary, To Joey with Love, was released in which I was able to watch with a giant box of tissues. I remember thinking, I wish I had her faith in God. I wish I could be that selfless and strong for my family. Yesterday, I watched it again, and again I cried, but this time it was different for me. When they decided to take a year off the road and raise their daughter, they also decided to homestead, living off their land and growing close with the town they lived in.
Why does this resonate with me? Because my dream has always been to have a house on some land and homestead myself. If you know me, you would think, Morgan, you? I don’t see that happening. Could you live without internet, tv? You write, you teach why retreat to the land?
Simple, to live an authentic life. To cook the food I grow, stop the hustle and bustle of life, and grow closer with God. Life has so many interferences. While working is vital and I have no plan to quit teaching or writing, I am tired of the keeping up with the jones part of life.
While yes technology is great for somethings, it takes us away from being present. A necessary evil so to speak. I am just as guilty of coming home and scrolling through the pages of mindless news, everything negative and bad, no joy. Yet like a train wreck, I can not turn away and find myself yearning to turn the screen back on. Did I post enough today? Did it reach enough people? Did I interact? How many likes? Seriously, that is my concern?
God has a wonderful sense of humor, while writing this post, my internet went out for over an hour. At first I was furious, I really wanted to talk about this stuff and here technology failed and then I laughed as I realized, HE was giving me a reality check. Yes I could live without internet, but it was going to be harder than it seemed.Oh but what an adventure it would be. Now do not get me wrong, I have had a wonderful life. I am just yearning for a life of more moments and less materials.
I feel I am missing out on life just trying to keep up with it. Working to the bone and for what? Possessions I won’t be able to take with me, a house that is always cluttered because we need this or that, hoping someday to stop the rat race of life. Turning to social media to have relationships when people are right in front of me. Who have I become?
Lately I have been asking what is next when I should be asking myself what is his plan? God’s plan is already there waiting for me. I need to stop looking for the next best thing and be like Joey, relying on my faith in God.
The Feek’s put their faith in that God had a great story for them. He did, a story that inspired many like myself over the years. I do not know what tomorrow will bring, but HE does and like The Feeks, I will put my faith that God has a great story for me. I just need to have a little faith.
It has been 8 days since Jean Stone was released to the world. As I sit and reflect on those days, I realize a lot of things have changed.
I still have NO idea what I am doing in this industry, but I enjoy writing and that is all that matters to me. I have met some really wonderful people along this journey and for that I am blessed. The reviews I am getting seem to be positive so I am going to ride the wave and enjoy. As announced, my 2nd book will be out in late August. Currently, I am finishing the storyboarding part and cutting down what I think is way too many back stories in there so that the editor can work on her.
There is another work in progress, but I am not ready to tell the world just yet. New opportunites have been presented to me and I am doing my best to weigh what is good for my family and my full time job as a teacher. For now I get to take a step back for a few months and just be before promotion begins again. For success in this industry, you have to market yourself, put yourself out there and let me tell you out of everything (besides editing), I dislike that the most.
There has been some rough news in our immediate family as of last week, if anything I realize life is short and you can’t take it for granted. My mom has had a rough year, personally and I have decided in the fall we are taking a girls trip to Disney World. Just my mom, myself, and lily. This is her time to escape the world and enjoy. It is also to say thank you for all the things she has done for me. She moved her to help us with Lily and of course to be around her only grandchild. She does so much with no thought of rewards or thank yous. After this last bit of hard to swallow news she got, I decided to take her away just for a few days as sadly time is of the essence. If you pray, say some for her as she weathers this new season.
Also, thank you to everybody who has made Jean Stone a success. Thank to those who have bought and loved Jean’s story as much as I loved writing it. Book 2 is going to continue her journey of balancing life and work, or at least trying. Can she solve this cold case or will she lose her family in the end?
One day after the release of Jean Stone, I am reflecting on where I started and where I am at now.
A year ago, I was struggling with a broken marriage, tackling my first year as a teacher, and a loss of self. To put it plainly, I was uphappy. For 13 years, I was a Navy wife and now I was lost adrift at sea in my own mind.
Today I am a published author. Wow I guess I have to get use to saying that. My writing is a way to escape the world and do what I love. I have no intention of quitting teaching anytime soon as my students need me and I need them. They are apart of me and I am not ready to give that up just yet.
The last 24 hours have been a dream and I am soaking up the moment. The well-wishers, the support, and the congratulations. Do not worry, Book 2 is already done and in storyboarding. Jean Stone is going to be around for while. She has a lot of stories to tell and share. Last night I got to share it with my dad and my step mom. While the last year hasn’t been the greatest, those who love and support me have been there to listen to my whining, complaining, and be a shoulder for me when I didn’t think I could go any further.
It is thanks to my support tribe this has been possible, from Jordan my publisher, to Stephanie my beta reader, to Donna my mentor, and my family and friends. It is because of my tribe here were our rankings this morning:
My husband has been the rock in all this. Our marriage was falling apart and yet he stood by me through it all. Today I am happy to say things are better and we are rebuilding what is broken a day at a time. He is proud of all my hard work as well as my daughter who I think is sometimes most excited than I am through it all. She herself is an aspired writer working hard at her skill. The next installment of her dragon story should be out soon.
In interviews, I am always asked about advice for writing. Now I say two things:
Write for yourself and nobody else.
Find your support tribe to be there for you.
Now I am headed back to folding laundry, cleaning the house, and snuggling with my dog before the party. See even though I am a published author, my first jobs are mom and wife.
Did I mention I was in my hometown newspaper yesterday too??? Go check it out!
Hey Morgan, how do you do it all writing and teaching? Aren’t you excited? Do you have it all figured out now? How many books are you writing?
Well, I don’t.
Yes I am.
Not even close.
As many as the good Lord allows me to write.
As I go through this process of publication, I have to admit I had no idea all that was involved in getting my book to the world. I know a little bit more, but I am no where near being a professional at this endeavor. All I know is that I enjoy writing and blessed to be published. My goal is to publish two books a year, one from Jean Stone and one from the YA series I work on as well. Currently, my first job is to be a teacher which I love and enjoy at least most of the time. While we all have dreams to be famous, to know I am leaving a legacy for my daughter to show to her children one day is enough for me, although I won’t say no to a movie deal.
So far, publication has exceeded my expectations. Here I am an unknown working from the ground up to build a series that I am proud of and hope to be on book shelves across the world. I have met some AMAZING people along this journey and made a few mistakes, but all in all I am happy with the way things are going the first time around. Now Book 2, I won’t be so scared about the unknown and be confident in my skills as a writer and an author.
“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” Since the first day I ever watched Shawshank Redemption, that quote has play a key role in my life. Coupled with my faith, I have a good feeling about the future. Although there will be bumps, breakdowns , twists, and turns, I am excited for the future in publication. Jean Stone will someday be a household name seen in the pages of a book and maybe the pictures of the silver screen. For now, I bask in the glow of my first release on Friday knowing the wheels are turning and God only knows where I will be lead.
A LOT has happened in the last few days, so much that today as I reflect on everything, I am a little overwhelmed.
First off I WON a Freewrite. I reblogged the post from Tory Hunter Books https://toryhunterbooks.com/2019/02/08/the-big-10k-giveaway-winner-and-other-news/ if you are interested in taking a look.
Second, today I ran my first 5K and finished! This was a last minute decision by my friend and I. I was already training for one in March for my school district, but was definitely not where I should be, but it was a good cause and from this I would be able to judge where I stood. All I wanted to do was finish and run the whole thing and I DID! With my fastest time to date. Now to work up to March.
Last but certainly not least, my book baby arrived. For me to physcially hold my novel in my hand was a moment that I won’t forget. The best part was I got to share it with my daughter. She has been waiting to finally see the finished book and immediately sat down to read the first chapter.
If nothing more, I hope I show my daughter than even at 35, you can achieve your dreams. She is my inspiration, my muse. The reason I work so hard. Thank you to everybody that has made all this possible especially my publisher, JSmith Publishing. Without them, this dream would not be a reality. Check out the video below to see the book reveal.