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.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Yes!  The book signing at Rowsters Coffee is on!!!

632 Wealthy Street SE
(corner of James and Wealthy)
Grand Rapids, MI 49503


I will have both Relevance and Epiphany at the signing and have I got a deal for you! Relevance is $10 and Epiphany is $15, however if you purchase both books, I will give you a $5 discount. Both books for $20.
You local folks!!!  Come on out and support a local writer!


Sunday, August 3, 2014


This has been an eventful weekend!  After a foray out to our local super store (Meijer), I found the perfect futon for my living room and it was one sale!! (Bonus!) So instead of writing, much of the remainder yesterday before supper was spent putting it together. It was a Sauder piece and anyone who is familiar with Sauder knows that assembly is required. Really all it involved was putting the legs on. But it is all together and quite comfortable.  It’s very firm. Not like my previous couch (that I sank into and had to battle to get up from), I can sit there for hours and not feel a twinge in my oh-so-crappy back or hip.
Did I ever mention I’m a senior citizen?  A dippy senior hippy? A Granny Goth? Well I am.  Don’t mind the aging process so much, it’s kinda cool watching my hair go gray – in some parts white. What I do mind is the aches and pains that come along with an aging skeleton. PHAH!  I have placed myself on a waiting list to have my brain (Abbie someone…Abbie Normal) put in an android body. And I wouldn’t mind if that body looked like Sandra Bullock…or even Tom Welling…I’m open minded. As I approach 70 (only 3 years away), I marvel that I’ve lived this long.
Last bit of personal news is that I am scheduled for a knee replacement in early December. So I’m going to be ‘laid up’ for 3 months while I recover from that and go through the torture they call physical therapy. I’m no stranger to knee surgery, had the left knee replaced five years ago. So it’s time to get the right on bionic as well.
What do you do when you’re grounded?  Why write, of course!  You needed to ask?
That said, on to writing news:
I have repurposed the Marrok Knight Trilogy…as I approach finishing the second book, I realize that they are as much about his daughter KJ as they are about him…some possibly more than others as she comes of age and that these novels will extend past a trilogy. So now, I am billing it as the Knight’s Moon Series.
While we’re on the subject of the Knights, book one, Inherit the Moon, is off to its editors. Inherit is tentatively slated for late October. Not only does that involve Halloween (nice time of the year to present a werewolf book, doncha think?) but the book is set in autumn. Autumn in Romani, a very lovely time of year there. The leaves are changing; the werewolves are howling…lovely.
Book two Embrace the Moon is 2/3rds of the way done. I had such a good time writing Mark coming into knowledge of his heritage in the country of his heritage.  But I have to tell you, writing him in his home territory – northwestern Montana – is even more fun for me.  I’ve always had a love affair with Big Sky Country: mustangs, cowboys, mountains and the forests…what’s not to love?
I’ve looked all over for an artist for my covers, but alas anyone who has what it takes to do them is way out of my price range. So I’m going to have to dust off the supplies and do them myself. Yes, I’m an artist, have been all my days…well since I could hold a crayon, anyway. But I was hoping to spotlight someone else’s talent since I’m writing the books. I have several wonderful artists suggested to me, but their styles were too Japanime. I don’t want manga-style art for the covers of the Knight’s Moon Series. That style of art would do very well for The Galaxy According to Phaser Spangles!  As a matter of fact, it would be perfect! But not for the werewolf series; although I would seriously consider an Art Nouveau style.
Now it’s just a matter of what medium to choose – oils? Acrylics? Color Pencil? Like writing isn’t enough to do. LOL Never a dull moment.
Have I forgotten Alessio Magarelli?  Not bloody likely. Al is enjoying a little sabbatical while I prepare for Mark and KJ’s debut this fall. I will be returning to writing Fathom – book three in the Magarelli Series – as I recuperate from my surgery. That on is on schedule for a late May release.

That wraps up another riveting entry here. Hey!  Wake up!!! See you next time.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Been a while, I know. But I've been writing like a fiend. 

This Summer has been  a wild ride so far. I have two surgeries looming toward the end of it. An oral surgery August 29th and A biggie, a full knee replacement Sept 25th.  

I've made the decision to write book three of the Magarelli Series during recuperation from the knee surgery. So I'll be writing that during October and November.

Right now, I am writing the 2nd book in the Marrok Knight Trilogy. Book one INHERIT THE MOON is going through its first edits.  Book two EMBRACE THE MOON is going along really well, Only been writing on it for two weeks and already 20,000 words into it.

I'm having a book signing at Rowster Coffee on James and Wealthy here in Grand Rapids. I'll post the date for you all when I have it. It's either going to be the 1st or 2nd weekend in August. Katie, my contact, needs to get with the manager and see which on it is.

It's really funny how writing goes. I sat down two weeks ago to write some ideas and an outline for EMBRACE and when I got up from the laptop I had written the prologue and first chapter.

While the first one was set in Romania and you learned the history of the wolf people I've devised.  But this new one is set in my character's home territory in Northwestern Montana. I'm getting to write about two things very close to my heart: werewolves and cowboys.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


MEDIAWEST*CON 34  May 23-26 in Lansing, MI…
… is only 9 days away and the Magarelli Series will be represented there.

That’s right, in a week I will be on my way to MediaWest and I will have a table in the dealer’s room. I will have RELEVANCE and EPIPHANY (books one and two of the series) at the table.  If purchasers of the books so desire I will also be signing them.

Look for me in the Dealer’s Room. I have requested a table in one of the center islands.

This is the convention that got me writing seriously, first for fanzines, then for APAs and now mainstream. Writing for the fanzines our press sold and for various clubs such as Pern, Star Trek, and original amateur sci fi was my training ground. That training led me to the next and most obvious step: pro writing. I have a very special place tucked away in my heart for this convention and always will.
I’ll be back here more consistently after this convention. Preparations for attending it have kept me hopping.


I am currently working on FATHOM, the third installment of the Magarelli Series.

I am nearly finished with the first draft of INHERIT THE MOON, book one of the Marrok Knight Trilogy.

I have started mapping out the illustrations for THE GALAXY ACCORDING TO PHASER SPANGLES, my space opera series that will be, thus far, my only publication to have internal illustrations.

As always I welcome questions and comments here at the blog. If you attend Media, come to my table and let me know you are also reading the blog.

See you then!

Monday, March 3, 2014


It’s been mighty cold here in the Midwest, cold for authors and book characters whose lives are based in the Midwest.
I woke up to -10 degrees this morning – the apartment was very chilly. I live in a very small place I call The Hobbit Hole. Last night I was baking and the apartment got very warm. Very warm. So, I opened the window in the living room about 3 inches to bring in some cooler air. I went to bed at my normal hour – normal for a writer – and forgot to close it.  I only have two windows in this little place, one in the living room and one in the bedroom. Both double-wide side-to-side sliders. This morning when I woke up it was fahreezing in here. Even my cat was snuggled up under the covers with me, as much as she hates having her head covered.
I got up and checked the thermometer in the kitchen. My home was 50 degrees. Wowza! I fired up the Amish fireplace heater and let it run for a half hour. We’re up to 62 and that’s acceptable. Note to self, NO MORE FORGETTING TO CLOSE THE WINDOW!!  Not while it’s this cold out.
Plan to get at least 1500 words down today. I’m finishing Inherit the Moon before going any further on Fathom.
Thank God for small favors.
Oh, hi Alessio. Interwebs, this is Alessio, my star of the Magarelli Series. Alessio, the interwebs.
Would you prefer I write on Fathom, Mr. Italian Tenor?
NO! I..I mean…well no, you only have about a chapter left to go on Mark’s story. I think you should get that done. I can wait.
That’s not the song you were singing when I was trying to write Inherit the Moon last fall.  As I remember, you were pestering the heck out of me to get on the third novel in your series. What was it you said…let me see if I can remember… ‘Epiphany has been out for 4 months!  You need to get on Fathom!’ Am I close?
Uhm…I don’t… I don’t remember. But I see the importance of getting Inherit done! I’ve had a change of heart! Go ahead and finish that!  Maybe even start the second one in that series. Your werewolves of London series.
It’s Montana. They’re from Montana. And it's call the Marrok Knight Trilogy. That’s so gracious of you! Are you sure?  I’ve already gotten about 40,000 words down on Fathom.
Yeah, I’m acutely aware of that. You’re being very mean to me.
Ohhh pooo beebee. It’s all about character development, you know that. The first two put you into situations you had to deal with. This one is putting you into a situation all the other characters have to deal with.
Really. Huh.  Did you put your werewolf guy through all this. Victimizing him and all? Putting him through the mangle? Huh? Huh?
Well, it’s a little difficult to victimize a werewolf and mangle is an interesting word to use regarding one. Mark has gone through his own kind of hell, coming to terms with who he is and what he is. But you are most definitely more fun to pick on Alee.
Lucky me.
Yes. Lucky you. Lucky I’ve made the decision to get Inherit the Moon done. Now go cuddle with DeDe while I get this finished. I have to promote the series and complete Mark's book. Then I’ll be able to turn my undivided attention back to you.
By all means, take your time. I’m perfectly happy wait until Mark’s story is told. I don’t mind at all!
Uhm Hm. Shoo!  I’ve got work to do.
That said, it’s now March and just about time for a shameless promotion:

Stay warm, my friends!

Sunday, March 2, 2014


2014 brings nose-to-grindstone writing, in spite of terrible weather outside. As a matter of fact the weather could be beneficial! Who wants to go out and play on HOTH?!!

March finds me very nearly done with the first novel in the Marrok Knight werewolf series (Inherit the Moon) and cranking away on the third installment of the Magarelli Series (Fathom).

Exciting news! 

I will be attending MediaWest*Con this May and will have Relevance, Epiphany and Inherit the Moon at my table along with a copious amount of swag. This convention runs in Lansing, MI during Memorial Day Weekend (the 23-26 of May in 2014) and while primarily a fan con, with an enormous amount of programming for the TV and movie fan, it has drawn quite a few original authors as well. The dealer’s room is a treat for any convention lover. You can find information regarding this convention at

The con is now making one day memberships available to the public for those who cannot make the entire weekend. I always suggest Saturday because there’s always so much going on that day.

Additionally I will be having a book signing at Rowster’s Coffee shop in mid to late June here in Grand Rapids, MI. More updates on that will follow as the plans a finalized with the coffee shop.
A rash of book signings will follow throughout Summer and Fall both at coffee shops and libraries in the area. Those will be posted at they are finalized.

Remember! Support your indie writers and spread the word.

In upcoming blogs, I'll be having Alessio here beside me throwing in his two cents. Right now he's hiding from me as I drag his skinny butt over the coals in Fathom.

The weather here in Michigan is doing its best impression of Siberia!  Good weather to stay in and write, which is exactly what I've been doing. Sheesh!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Well, the holidays have come and gone. It's a new year and there's writing to be done. 2014 promises to be a busy year for me writing-wise. I have at least 4 novels planned...not I say planned.  Real life always has a way of butting in as I'm sure you all know from your own personal experiences.

January finds me working on two novels: finishing the first book in the Marrok Knight Moon Series, Inherit The Moon, (I'm happy to say I seem to have found an editor for that one thanks to BG Thomas, fellow author and old friend) and writing away on the third book of the Magarelli Series, Fathom.

I am also laying out The Galaxy According to Phaser Spangles which will be in 8x10 format and fully illustrated.

If real life doesn't slam me too hard this winter/spring I plan to have the above mentioned titles on my table at MediaWest*Con in Lansing, Memorial Day weekend.

There's a lot to do between now and then. Of course, getting the books published is number one on the punch list. Then, there's designing the swag that will be on the table by way of brochures, cards and promotional materials. I'll be creating my banner for that table as well. I will be present to sign books for anyone that might want that.

When I look at 2013 in retrospect, I'm amazed I actually got a book out between health issues, sudden moves, and job concerns. Epiphany did get done in spite of all of it an din spite of an insistent feline housemate who only seems to want attention when I'm writing.

I'm hoping all of you had a wonderful set of holidays and this post finds you ready to take on the new year with renewed vigor. 

Onward and upward! 

PJ Morvant-Alexander