Category Archives: Frank Morin

When a Gardener Helps Defeat a Dark Lord

Samwise GamgeeWith all the great heroes and villains in the world to choose from, why would I focus on Samwise Gamgee?

Because he’s awesome.

The Lord of the Rings is one of the great fantasy works of all time, and it’s full of larger-than-life characters. We all love the elves, with their grace and beauty. Gandalf is a mystery who captivates our imagination, and Aragorn inspires us with his bravery in the face of evil.

And then there’s Sam.

Samwise GamgeeHe starts the story as a side-kick, and seems content with his role. He’s an often comic character. He’s not very smart, and he knows it. He accepts that his place in the world is not to be the hero, but to be the hero’s cook, assistant, and bodyguard. And yet, he demonstrates in his simple way that heroes are not always the great warriors, with the flashy armor or dazzling magic. Heroes get the job done.

That’s what Sam does, without complaint and without hesitation.

Everyone I’ve talked to loves Sam. I think it’s because we see in him a character we can absolutely relate to. Any one of us could be Sam, and that’s inspiring because Sam represents the best qualities many of us strive to live.

Who is Samwise Gamgee?

Samwise_the_BraveHe is a gardener who love the simple joy of green, growing things.
He loves to eat fine foods and to enjoy life.
He is humble and knows he’s not a great hero, even though he really is.
He’s absolutely loyal.
He’s determined and does not waver.
He knows what’s right, and he’s committed to seeing it done.
He doesn’t let himself get discouraged or depressed or negative
His view of the world is not clouded by shades of gray. He can see dangers that his master willingly overlooks.
He is brave when he needs to be.
He keeps his word and refuses to take the easy way out.

Sam is there to support and assist his master, and when his master falters, to remind him why they must push ahead, despite resistance:

“There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”

When given the chance to turn around and go home, he refuses:

“I made a promise! A promise.”

Samwise GamgeeWhen Frodo says, “I’m going to Mordor alone, Sam,”
Sam says, “Of course you are. And I’m coming with you!”

Here’s to the little guys whose simple, unwavering goodness can thwart the evils of the world. After all, Sam is one of the few characters who actually got the girl and lived happily ever after.

We all wish for friends like Sam.
Let’s hope we are that kind of friend.

About the Author: Frank Morin

Author Frank MorinA Stone's Throw coverFrank Morin loves good stories in every form. When not writing or trying to keep up with his active family, he’s often found hiking, camping, Scuba diving, or enjoying other outdoor activities. For updates on upcoming releases of his popular Petralist YA fantasy novels, or his fast-paced Facetakers scifi time travel thrillers, check his website: www.frankmorin.org

Meet the Fictorians: Frank Morin

“Come in, — come in! and know me better, man!” -Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

We’d love for you, our wonderful readers, to get to know us better. That’s why, each month, Kristin Luna will interview a member of The Fictorians. We’ll learn more about each member, such as their writing processes, their work, where they live, and what they prefer to drink on a cold winter’s day. We hope you enjoy this monthly installment of Meet the Fictorians.

Meet the Fictorians:

Frank MorinAuthor Frank Morin

 

Kristin Luna (KL): Hi Frank!

Frank Morin (FM): Kristin, as always, it’s a pleasure.

KL: When did you join the Fictorians?

FM: I was one of the first members of the Fictorians who wasn’t an original founding member. I joined just months after the original group was formed. As soon as I heard about the idea, I saw the brilliance of it and decided I had to become part of it. I’ve never looked back.

KL: Where do you live? Are you inspired by your surroundings when you write?

FM: For most of my life, I lived in New England, but I moved with my family to southern Oregon about five years ago. This is a beautiful part of the country, with a great climate, mountains, rivers, and lots of outdoor activities, which I enjoy. I’m a scoutmaster, so I get to camp and hike and explore more than I would otherwise.

I try to draw inspiration from everything I know, and I definitely look to real environments when developing settings. I’ve traveled some, and hope to travel much more in thefuture. It’s all great fodder for the creative process.

KL: I feel like you’ve been putting out books left and right. I’m really in awe of your productivity. Do you have any words of advice for our readers on that?

FM: Thanks. Last year was a big year. I released three major titles and jumped into indie publishing with both feet. This year, I’m planning on four or five major titles, with some short story publications worked in somewhere too. My books tend to be long – about 150,000 words, so it’s a challenge to release so many.

The most important advice is to write every day. Make a commitment and stick to it. Some days writing is less fun than other days, but when I force myself to sit down and start typing, I can find the fun, even if I lacked motivation to begin with.

I also recommend setting goals that will motivate you to try harder, goals so high they might scare you as much as they motivate. I set the goal to launch eight books last year. Not physically possible, but I tried and I worked like crazy to try to make it. I learned a lot of lessons and got further than I ever could have without setting that stretch goal.

And enjoy the process. I love writing and I often tell people I’m my own biggest fan. That love of story will radiate off the page. It helps me keep going, and readers feel it.

KL: You’re currently working on a new series, The Petralist. Book 2 came out in December of 2015. When is book 3 coming out? Can you give us a quick elevator pitch of the series?

FM: I’ve been releasing books in two series. The Petralist is my YA fantasy series that has been doing quite well. It’s a fun, epic read full of big adventure, big magic, and lots of humor. Book three should be out in May, and it’s shaping up to be even better than the first two.

Set in Stone kicked off the series, introducing Connor and his friends as their remote village became ground zero for an escalating international crisis. In a kingdom where only the nobility are supposed to have special powers, Connor’s secret curse might hold the key to stopping the war and saving his village from destruction.

The other series is the Facetakers, my alternate history fantasy series. It’s been described as Mission Impossible meets Assassin’s Creed. It’s a fast-paced, world-spanning adventure that also delves back in time as opposing forces with superhuman enhancements battle for control over pivotal moments in history to control the power needed to shape the future. Fun stuff.

KL: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing a series?

FM: Series are fun, but they definitely offer unique challenges. Each novel needs to push the over-arching storyline forward, but each novel needs to be standalone enough for readers to pick it up and enjoy it, even if they might not have read previous works, or forgotten much of those earlier novels. The other challenge is in making each novel resonate with the series but still remain unique enough that readers don’t think I’m just re-hashing the same old plot ideas I’ve used before.

I’ve tried to learn lessons from failures I’ve seen in other series, and so far the response has been very positive.

KL: What’s your favorite book or short story you’ve written so far?

FM: That’s such a hard question! Each book and story is like a part of me. Perhaps that makes me seem schizophrenic or suffering from a very split personality, but it’s true. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m my own biggest fan, and when I sit down with any of my stories, I get sucked in by them, even though I wrote them.

But if I had to choose, I’d say Set in Stone, book one of the Petralist. That story started as a project with my kids. We tell a lot of stories in our home, and the kids were demanding I give them something epic. So I threw down the challenge: they come up with a magic system, and I’d make up stories using it.

They did, and I did. What started as a fun journey of ad-hoc stories at home became a year-long journey with characters we came to love. Writing novels based off of those verbal adventures was a no-brainer. The books are dramatically different from those early verbal drafts, but some nuggets have remained, and the kids and I love to rediscover them as we read the stories again and again.

KL: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

FM: Life is full, and never boring. I almost never have time for television. I’m a self- employed computer consultant and I try to write as close to full-time as possible. Plus I’m busy with my family and church and community. I’m a scoutmaster of a local Boy Scout troop, and we camp every month. I love outdoor activities, SCUBA, but also reading and playing video games with the kids when I can. I try to be active and enjoy life.

KL: Do you write to music or in silence?

FM: I usually listen to instrumental music when I write. Most often, I listen to Piano Guys radio on Pandora, and other similar stations I’ve been customizing. The music helps free my mind, but I can’t often listen to lyrics because the words distract me.

I’m convinced that “Numb” by Linkin Park would make the perfect theme song for a movie-quality book trailer for Set in Stone. Listen to it after reading the book and you’ll see.

KL: What’s your favorite blog post you’ve written for The Fictorians? I know, there are a ton, but what’s the one you’re most proud of?

FM: Wow. Another impossible question. I don’t think I can pick a single favorite, but there are a couple of contenders I could mention.

One that comes to mind is “Working the Humor Scale” where I discuss different degrees of humor. I’ve explored using humor in my stories, particularly the Petralist novels, and it’s a fun process. With each story or novel, one of the important aspects I look at is where on the humor scale the novel is going to fall.

I’m also a fan of setting stretch goals. I’ve done a couple of posts on the topic, including one in January of this year, but I think the one I’d like to highlight is “Go Big or Stay Home”. Take life by the horns, take a chance, and go for it.

 

If you have any questions for Frank, please leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!

Wrap-up: Writing from Experience

Thank you, our dear readers, for reading our posts this month. In case you missed one:

Leaving Books Behind by Greg Little

Gaining Experience from the Past: A Guest Post by Shannon Fox

The Unconscious Autobiography by Leigh Galbreath

A Game of Horns by Mary

Be Your Own Biggest Fan by Frank Morin

Stress After Iraq by Matt Jones

Two Must-Knows About Your Inner Muse by Ace Jordan

The Origins of Smooth: A Guest Post by Joy Johnson

Kilts and Coffee with Petra by Guy Anthony De Marco

The Dark Side of My Brain by Kim May

The Fantasy Librarian by Colette

Scientist or Writer? Why Not Both! by Nathan Barra

They Want to Kill Me… by Ace Jordyn

“Dear NSA Agent” by E. Godhand

Sorry, Past Me by Mary

Be Messy and Explore New Ideas: A Guest Post from Hamilton Perez

Life in the Cosmic Fishbowl by Evan Braun

Cultivating the Fungus by Travis Heerman

Tomorrow, we’ll have a brand new interview with Fictorian Frank Morin. Don’t miss it!

Be Your Own Biggest Fan

Be Your Own Biggest FanWrite what you love.

Love what you write.

These just aren’t fun platitudes. This is the heart and soul of our writing. What we feel for our stories bleeds out onto the page, and we can’t fake it.

Who would want to invest the time and effort writing something that didn’t move them? Even stories we love can test the limits of our endurance before they’re finished. Writing one we can’t feel passionate about is doomed. Even if we somehow managed to complete such a work, the quality will suffer and readers will sense it.

If we don’t love what we write, how will they?

On the other hand, don’t be afraid to tell people how much you love your work, and what makes it awesome. Many of us are naturally a bit introverted, and we’ve been trained not to blow our own horn.

To be successful, you have to.

Part of being a writer is putting on the marketing and salesman hat and learning to sell your books and to sell yourself. Don’t become obnoxious, but yes be enthusiastic and willing to step into the light with a smile.

If you won’t do it, who will?

We need to be our own biggest fans.

One of my tests of quality of each of my novels is to pick up a finished one and start reading. Despite the fact that I wrote it, and rewrote it, and edited it, and proofed it more times than I care to count, I will invariably get sucked in. I’ll catch myself laughing at my characters’ jokes or getting emotional at important scenes, or gripped with fear about what’s happening next.

I wrote it, but it still gets me every time.

My wife will often laugh at me and tease me that I can get sucked in by my own novels.

All I can do is smile and say, “I’m my own biggest fan.”

I have to be.

Even if no one else loves my books, I do. And that enthusiasm radiates off of me when I talk about them, when I hold launch parties, etc. People pick up on it, they feel it, and they’re drawn to those stories to share in it. Even if they think I’m a little nuts for being so passionate about a story, they can’t deny that enthusiasm, and they usually respond positively, even if it’s only to get me to stop talking so they can escape.

If I don’t love my work, how can I expect anyone else to love it?

So create stories you love, stories you’re passionate about. You’re going to invest months or years of your life into them, so make sure they’re worth that investment of time.

Get inspired. Get excited. Get motivated.

That’s what readers want, so make it happen.

About the Author: Frank Morin

Author Frank MorinA Stone's Throw coverFrank Morin loves good stories in every form. When not writing or trying to keep up with his active family, he’s often found hiking, camping, Scuba diving, or enjoying other outdoor activities. For updates on upcoming releases of his popular Petralist YA fantasy novels, or his fast-paced Facetakers urban fantasy thriller series, check his website: www.frankmorin.org