01 December 2015

[Guest Post] To Open the Door I Never Knew was in my Reach

For today's blog tour, I'm proudly presenting Morgan Straughan Comnick author of YA Paranormal Romance "New Beginnings" talk about what inspires her to write.

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Inspire is such a powerful word, a strong emotion. It is meant to change outlooks, alter lives, set courses.  To give something inspiration, as a human being, is so special. It is even more of a miracle when it was not intended by both parties.  This is the sort of experience I had that lead me to wear I am today, the world of writing.

Barely fifteen, I was a normal, shy, studious girl trying to make way through high school, setting up the pathway that would lead me into becoming an educator.  I had interests, one which was writing, but I found it to be a hobby, the paper my tool to fuel this energy these stories in my mind gave me.  Sometimes I had to write things down before I would explode! I was given the title “The Queen of Details” by my wonderful sixth grade communication arts teacher, Ms. Horton for my use of descriptive words and imagery.  I felt proud of this name and continued to write in this style for the next three years.  Still, the thought that I could write a book never ever scratched the surface of my brain, tickled my nerve endings.  I was a decent reader at this point, but no strong, making reading still a so/so activity.  I am told that writers are also readers. Back then, I would have never stood a chance.

Then, I am one loud, over the top, challenging Language Arts Teacher: Mr. Banger.  He would go into rants so passionate that his bald head would turn red.  He was not afraid to talk straight with us and he was tough on his grading.  One day, out of the blue for that was how he rolled, he declared he was going to write a book. We dismissed it, like several of his other declarations. He came to me and told me, “You would be a fantastic book character for my novel Morgan!” I laughed at this, but his eyes were so bold, so bright, so full of sincere honesty that I laughed, but it triggered the question in me: “If he can write a book…Why can’t I?”
Remember that path I was starting to walk to be an educator? Well, suddenly, I was blindsided, walking smack into a door I had no idea was there. I saw stars. I fell hard on the ground. But, I could not ignore this door and where it led, how it would connect to my education path.  Without Mr. Banger, I never would have been able to see that door. Still, I did not open it just yet.

I had reading class as an elective class that year. It was simple; read so many books in the semester and get an A.  That year, in our Mark Twain (state award) book section, I found a common theme of ghosts and spirit stories where they interact and sometimes fell in love with living humans. I read to after hitting that door: Starry Sky and Spirit of the Heart.  I remember them vividly. Those books got my mind racing, fueling my imagination that was always on, weaving a tale on its own.  It was easy, piecing together like a puzzle. Within two weeks, all the plot lines in my book were in my head, ready to be expressed and shared with the world.
I finally opened that door and a bright, inviting light welcomed me. I grinned and stepped forward into this world of writing, never looking back.

The people in my life all helped become characters. My favorite video game at the time, Sonic Adventure 2 for the GameCube molded examples of relationships I needed. Rooms in my school become locations in my work and I wrote from the point-of-view of a freshmen, being I was on (I figured I had the mind of one down).  New characters popped into my head like a flower revealing itself from the soil, making themselves apart of this craft.  My love for spirits shined throughout my writing stages.  It all came together without me really realizing it. It was my story and yet it was not. It was my world and yet a fantasy one. It was expression. It was life, I was a story.

The names were simple. I was obsessed with stars at the time from my favorite anime, Cardcaptor Sakura. So, when I heard my little brother had a girl in his class named Stary, I knew it was fate! I added the name Moon later to it to be ironic.  Maren was refreshing, like a breeze on the sea and her name means star of the sea. Umbra was Shade for a while, but I did not want people to confuse him for Shadow from Sonic, so I changed it to Umbra, the Latin word for Shade.  All the names have meaning to them and some came right away, like Stary, some much later, such as Credence, Stary’s crush.  These characters became a part of my friend circle, my family, an extension of myself at times.  They like to boss me around and make me feel things for imagery people in my head that I find odd, but without them, there would be no story, no happiness I have from writing a story, their story.

The title for Spirit Vision came from the spirits in the book and how I wanted to allow Stary to see spirit writing or ectowriting.  I supposed at the time that she would need spirit Vision to do this and, well, the name was born! Sadly enough, this all came to me while washing my hands in the girls’ restroom at school! Inspiration goes by the rules of location, location, location!

I am pretty far in my education path, although still looking for a full time teaching job. But, I never gave up on writing. The door follows me.  It is a comfort when I need it and sometimes a blockade or a thorn in my side, but what pathway does not have some bumps in the road? I am grateful I can have teaching and writing. They do not mingle all the time, but sometimes, when I am not looking, they form a beautiful meadow just for me, together, telling me I belong to both worlds, that I have a home in both worlds.

It took me awhile to finish my book and about just as long to find a company who believed in us as much as myself and the characters believed in our work. With my first book becoming published in December of 2013, I now had a publishing company and a contract to compose more works, to write and share my stories with others. In 2014, I had two more books released: “A Sweet, Little Dream,” a collection of poems, short stories, and literacy works written in my middle school and high school years. These stories were the stepping stone of who I am today, my words when my voice failed due to fear and shyness and my spark to see the gift of writing; I owe them a lot.

This tour focuses on the second book of my “Spirit Vision” series: “New Beginnings.” Stary is adapting to her role as the Spirit Warrior and how she has more powers and responsibilities than her first mission entailed. Umbra and Maren have completely different roles to play and worlds to adjust to. Stary is just trying to adjust to being a high school girl with such a great role that has to be kept a secret from all she cares for, but then a maiden who wants her dead is haunting her dreams and possessing spiritual beings. It was a fun work to create and it has a little bit of something for all.

Currently, my second short story and poetry collection, this one from my college and young married woman age, “Fallen Star Dust,” has just completed second edits. “Spirit Vision 3: The Power of Mortals,” will be starting edits soon and I am slowly writing the manuscript for “Spirit Vision 4.” I have several ideas for other works and I write when the juices are flowing and the iron of creativity is hot, the power to craft words into near tangible things uplifting.

I am so blessed that writing has found me. I have been touched, inspired, by a teacher, my surroundings, the real life characters in my life, other writers, and my own never slowing down for a second imagination. I am lucky to have so many wonderful guides for Spirit Vision. I always want everything to follow their dreams and I instill that in my students. Who knows? Maybe one day, I will have the honor of inspiring someone to write a masterpiece…

Thank you so much for having me. You can find more answers to more questions about my work, the writing process, and myself in the back of Spirit Vision in the Q & A section OR you can go to my website, http://morganscomnick.com to learn more.

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Thank you for that wonderful post, Ms. Morgan! Oh and I love Cardcaptor Sakura anime too :)

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Title: New Beginnings

Author: Morgan Straughan Comnick

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

You’ve been chosen to be God’s Warrior, but not even He knows what lies ahead.

Spirit Warrior Stary Moon is prepared to begin her sophomore year of high school with a better understanding of the powers granted to her from the Lord. But the path set out for her is uncertain. Stary never imagined what a challenge it would be to get her friends and family to accept her true love, former spirit Umbra, whose Ultimate Weapon powers are resurfacing mysteriously. On top of this, a dark presence is possessing spirits and ghosts, haunting Stary’s dreams, and wanting revenge. As Stary dives deeper into the world of spirits, she begins losing her connection to the world of mortals. Does Stary have the strength to overcome this darkness alone, or will she need to dabble in some ancient magic? Can she continue this path no matter what the cost?

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About the Author

Educator of young minds by day, super nerdy savior of justice and cute things by night, Morgan Straughan Comnick has a love for turning the normal into something special without losing its essence. Morgan draws from real life experiences and her ongoing imagination to spark her writing. In her spare time, she enjoys doing goofy voices, traveling to new worlds by turning pages, humming child-like songs, and forcing people to smile with her “bubbliness.” It is Morgan’s mission in life to spread the amazement of otaku/Japanese culture to the world and to stop bullying; she knows everyone shines brightly.



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