Sunday, July 19, 2015


WELL.  That certainly was a crazy few months!

So much has happened since I last posted. Of course I have been writing but that's just part of it. So here's the scoop.

In December, in the middle of writing Inherit the Moon, I had a total knee replacement of the right knee. I had put it off for months, it was supposed to happen in Sept. 2014, not December. But I realized after the 3 month recovery and physical therapy time, it'd put me out on the tiles in the middle of a Michigan winter. Gah!  So I had it rescheduled to December. By the time the surgery rolled around I was informed by my Doctor that had I waited as little as one month more, something terrible would have occurred with that leg. I knew something was up because it was so painful to walk. This was pain beyond the osteoarthritic pain...all the way down to my foot. Long story short, what was left of the knee cap had relocated itself to the far right of the where it was supposed to be and the two large bones were tilting in toward my left leg. It was grindy and crunchy when I walked. So that's why it had become so painful. Yikes.

So under the knife I went. I'm happy to say my sense of humor was intact and I kept my nurses and aids in a state of giggles during my 5 day stay in hospital. If you've ever had surgery, you know they bother the heck out of you every 45 minutes or so to get vitals and dose meds. My nurse said I got to where I would hear the door open and stick my arm up (while still asleep -- something I learned from Alessio, I guess).

Suffice it to say, surgery was a total success and in 5 days I was out and ready to start physical therapy -- what I lovingly call physical torture. And it was going great for about a month.

Then all of a sudden I had a weird symptom that sent me to my Gynecologist. Four days after that visit I am informed that I have an aggressive cancer of the uterus. WTF?! What is it, pick on the fat chick year? Within a week of that diagnosis I was on the operating table again!  Two major surgeries within a month and a half of each other. Repeat GAH!!!

Again, totally successful surgery. I am hollow hysterectomy including cervix. I am ready for stuffing. 

I am happy to say that it was gotten to early enough that they got it all. It had not spread anywhere else, not even to the outer wall of the uterus or to the lymph nodes. No chemo, no radiation (as if my personality isn't glowing enough). I am -- at present -- cancer free. And yes I feel extremely fortunate that mine was literally a mere brush with cancer.

One great thing associated with all this cutting?  My appetite was affected and between then and now I have taken off a whopping 60 lbs! I feel great!

So.  Back to writing and finishing ITM. Then off to the editors and then rewrites. 

Inherit the Moon -- my novel about a reluctant cowboy werewolf and his daughter -- premiered at MediaWest*Con Memorial Day weekend 2015. Sold nearly all I brought and a few Relevance and Epiphany as well. Went with two large boxes of books and came home with one not even completely full. It was a great weekend.

That was end of May and here it is July.  I was going to turn my attention to the Italian cowering in the corner (cuz he knows Fathom is going to be very hard on him, physically and mentally) but I realized I had been nearly finished with The Galaxy
According to Phaser Spangles
which had been pushed to the side for Inherit the Moon. So I gave my attention to the obnoxious teen aged spacer boy and am now about 4000 words from finishing that novel. Reprieve for the Italian.

So that’s where I am now. About the finish TGATPS and send it off to two editors. This will be quite different than the other two series. For one thing I plan to do some illustrations for it. I’m actually looking forward to that.

While that is being edited, I will turn my full attention to Alessio. Get over it, buddy. It’s your turn.  I presently have about 45,000 words on Fathom and 50,000 words on Hunters’ Moon – the 2nd book in the Knights’ Moon Series.  So if no major hitches jump into my path, I should have 3 – count ‘em – 3 new books out by MediaWest*Con 2016. Very exciting.

Monday, October 20, 2014


I’m going to take part in NANOWRIMO once again this year. This will be my third year. I’ll be taking a shot at getting the first draft of Embrace the Moon, the second book in the Knights’ Moon Series. I’m still in the throes of rewrites for book one, Inherit the Moon, but NANOWRIMO is always a good shot in the arm.
I can’t stress enough how taking part in something like this helps you establish a rhythm with your writing. My personal goal has always been about 2500 words per day, but sometimes you just can’t get that many down for some reason. Fifty thousand words in thirty days come out to roughly 1675 words a day. So I always try for 1700. This is a great exercise!  Give it a try!

It begins Saturday, November first. I’ll post my daily word count here. If any of you would like to sign up for it, drop me a line and let me know. We can be writing buddies.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Okay, let’s talk about covers today. The cover of your book is the first thing that is seen by the prospective reader, so it should be noticeable and say something about the book.  For my cover of Relevance I wanted a man with sadness on his face and I wanted to show the city wherein the book was set – in this case Chicago.
The first thing I did was go in search of sites that offered stock photos. I found quite a few, but my favorite, so far, is They have thousands and thousands of stock photos. So my quest began first by searching crying man. Because I have a picture in my mind of my lead character Alessio Magarelli I was looking for someone with amazing, expressive eyes. Alessio’s eyes are mentioned several times by his costars as having sadness about them. So finding a model with the right eyes was quite a challenge. Finally after going through hundreds of photos, I found them. Perfect. A man with his hands over the lower part of his face (nose on down) focusing on his large, dark, teary eyes. Beyond perfect. These were Alessio’s eyes.
After purchasing the rights to that photo for $4, I went in search of the skyline and found a terrific one that included the Willis Tower (formerly known as The Sears Tower). Another $4.
Now to put them together. First I tried having Alessio in a box to the upper left of the city scape. Both pictures were in color. That didn’t do it. I moved Alessio all over that cover trying to find the right combination. Then it hit me, make Al bigger and lay the city scape over him.
Here’s where I sing the praises of Photoshop and its layering (insert choir of angels).
If you’re not familiar with Photoshop, I can’t suggest it enough. It’s one of the most user friendly art programs out there. First I created the base layer which was Alessio. Then I overlaid the next layer, the city. I was able to enlarge the city to focus on the Sears Tower (which – in this story – serves as the straw that broke my Italian camel’s back). Next I erased around the buildings, revealing Alessio. I’d like to point out that I survived the insane intricacy of erasing around those damned antennas on the top of the tower. However I did question the legitimacy of the builder’s birth several times. Still there was something wrong. It was the color.  I turned the image black and white and, BAM, there it was.  Sometimes black and white just sets the perfect mood.
Once my cover art was designed, I married the layers. Next was the title layer – RELEVANCE.  I wanted to throw another hint out to the readers with that, as well. So I chose to add one color to my cover. Red.  Not the whole title, though. Just three letters. The ELE in RELEVANCE. And yes, that was not a happy accident. I know what ELE stands for. For those of you who don’t, it stands for Extinction Level Event. It was striking against the black and white. I feel it was a good choice.
The next and final layer was the byline.
Long story short, if you’re doing your own cover, take your time. Really hunt for the right images. Make careful decisions regarding color or black and white. Your cover is what makes them pick up the book; give it the time it deserves.
Relevance cost me a total of $8 to produce. I was fortunate that I have the training and background that made cover design easy. And that my editors on book one were quite happy to do so for a copy of the book and credit on the inner title page.
Epiphany’s cover was a bit more expensive as I paid a young artist to create it. I told him what I wanted – a black background with blood oozing down from the top. He surprised me by having the blood dripping down to leave the black forming the silhouette of the John Hancock building. Brilliant! I paid him $50. And once again my editor only wanted a copy of the book and of course, credit for her work.
Fathom’s cover will be a little more involved. It will have the underwater ruin of the Field Museum of Natural History with divers silhouetted against it and a large, red, pear-shaped diamond to set off the title. Not sure who will be doing that one. It’s beyond my expertise.  My plans for that one is to be done in a tealish green blue to depict the underwater scene, with the striking red gem placed near the title.
Add to that my concern over the cover for Inherit the Moon. I have no idea who’s going to do that one, and I’m thinking it’s probably going to be me. Arrrrgh.
That said, rewrites on Inherit the Moon are coming along very nicely in spite of the fact I tried to cut my right index finger off. Note to myself, when slicing cheese, cut downward not sideways. Still, I lived to write another day.
As soon as I get done with ITM it’ll be on to Fathom (book 3 in The Magarelli Series).

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Wow, it’s fall!  They don’t expect our temps to go above 49° today, although they predict a warm up to upper 50’s or lower 60’s next week. Perfect writing weather! Got my fleece throw over my legs, a cuppa hot chocolate (hocho) on the desk next to me, and the keyboard eagerly waiting being pounded as I finish my rewrites on Inherit the Moon.

Alessio Magarelli is enjoying some time off while I finish book one of the Knights’ Moon Series. I told him he better gird his Italian loins, because I’m coming for him in December.  My knee replacement surgery is scheduled for December 4th and the three months following that surgery will be devoted to two things: recuperation and the writing of Fathom, book three of The Magarelli Series.

On the general book front, I have just finished reading The Alter of Bones by Philip Carter. Interesting book. Liked the premise. I hear there’s a second one, The Path of Bones. When I read Alter… I couldn’t help but think, this does not sound like a man’s writing. The first thing to send up a flag was the way the author referred to the female lead’s cats. That just said WOMAN to me. And lo and behold Philip Carter is a pseud for author Penelope Williamson. I knew it was a woman!! That doesn’t change the fact that I liked the book. I don’t care about gender when it comes to authors. I just want an exciting story.

On that note, my name is not a pseud. LOL. It’s the real deal, legally and forever. I am – and always will be – PJ Morvant-Alexander.

Also new, I am able to take credit and debit cards! I am now the proud owner of a used Ipad tablet and I have signed on to Paypal with a business account. My card reader arrived Wednesday!  Yay!  Now when I have future signings or attend conventions, I will be able to take plastic. This is going to make it so much easier. So much more convenient for the buyers. 

On that note, it's time for my monthly shameless plug. So here we go:

The Magarelli Series:  go to and search Magarelli Series.
My site:
My blog:

Well, Mark and KJ Knight are tapping their cowboy boots at me, with a ‘git ‘er done’ attitude, so I must away to write. Hope to have Inherit the Moon out in the next month. No later than mid-November and December on belongs to Al.

For those of you in the Midwest, stay warm and enjoy the colors unfolding outside your windows!

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Well, the book signing at ROWSTER COFFEE is only 10 days away! Squeee!
I have just placed an ad in the local paper, the Grand Rapids Press. It can be seen starting tomorrow at and in the newspaper all next week.

There is one change to the info, instead of starting at 5pm it's starting at 4pm. so:

(Corner of Wealthy and James)

Relevance $10
Epiphany $15
But WOW get both for $20
a $5 savings!

I am presently unable to accept credit cards
please cash or checks only.

I hope to see you there!  

Saturday, September 13, 2014


The book signing at ROWSTER COFFEE is
Now exactly 2 weeks away! That’s on the corner
Of James Ave SE and Wealthy SE.
It’s a lovely little place with superb coffee!
The special is this:
But buy both  - $20

A savings of $5.

Yes the book signing inches closer. The month so far has been a whirlwind of prep for the 27th.

I have now got my poster printed. Lucked out on a great price and got my collapsible easel FREE. If you're low on funds that word sounds like it's sung by a choir of angels. amazing harmony and accompanied by a golden light shed upon said easel.

Here's what the poster looks like.  It will be obsolete by May 2015 when I will have the third installment of the Magarelli Series out. That being Fathom.

Also out by that time will be Inherit the Moon the first offering in the Knights' Moon Series.

Back to the subject of the book signing, though. As I relay my experience setting up the first signing outside of an attended convention.

Why a Coffee Shop?

Frankly I frequent the shop. I enjoy spending some time at Rowsters on Saturdays and I noticed that two things stood out -- besides their awesome coffee. Patrons were either on laptops or reading. Given that the shop supports the arts (offering themselves as a gallery to local artists) I thought to ask them if they would like a book signing to add to that support. And I'd be reaching readers.

Why Not a Book Store?

Since my books are not available in mainstream book stores, it was my thought they might have issue with me wanting to use them. I have not -- as yet -- approached any.  I have, however, approached several libraries and come 2015 will be having book signings in a few of those. Be watching for  announcements as time wears on.

It became apparent to me, early on, that the coffee shop -- while enthusiastic -- had no clue what a book signing involves and communication has been spotty at best. Still my liaison is a lovely gal and eager to have this work. They have mentioned it both on Instagram and Twitter, however refused to hang a flyer promoting the signing in the shop. And this I found out after I had the flyer printed. Crap. Communication glitch number one. Would have been nice to have been told that when I first mentioned the Flyer in late August and again the first week of September, instead of finding out AFTER I had the 11x14 full color promo done.
This is that flyer:

I think it came out rather well. But it was time and money wasted as, not only would it not be used, but somehow it got damaged after I turned it over to the lady at the counter (not my liaison). And I still ask myself, why would the gal at the counter even accept it when I told her what it was when it was not their policy to post flyers. Weird.  Sad thing is I could have posted the flyer elsewhere had it not been damaged. Chalk it up to experience and the realization that all points no matter how simple should be agreed upon ON PAPER. 

Still I'm an easy-going sort, so I just made a mental note and will be more careful next time.  I think it's because both myself and the shop are extremely new to this territory. Mistakes are how we learn.

The next thing I had printed was my promo poster. It came out wonderfully, laminated and mounted on foam board and will be displayed on its easel in my signing area.

I'm sure things will be better with Libraries, they do this sort of thing all the time.

Friday, September 5, 2014




Relevance   $10
Epiphany    $15
A special!
Both for $20
a $5 savings.