Category Archives: General

Reading progress for this year…

So, I’ve been doing a lot of reading this year. I’m tracking my progress over on Goodreads, as part of the 2013 Reading Challenge. For those that haven’t known me long, until sometime last year, I had actually gotten to the point that I had actually stopped reading completely. Between my eyeglasses prescription being horribly out of date, and my arthritis in my hands making it physically painful to hold a mass market book (nevermind the hardcover monstrosities that I love so dearly)… I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Some lovely friends of ours from Romance Divas (a site that Nonny and I help admin at) ended up sending us a Nook Color out of the blue as a thank you for all that we had done. I’d been considering getting one, but at the time I was still a contractor at Livemocha and dealing with insurance (and Drake *sigh*), so I didn’t think I’d be able to afford it anytime soon.

It made a huge, huge difference in our lives. We rapidly prioritized getting Nonny one of her own, so we didn’t end up squabbling over them (which I’m ashamed to admit did happen initially. I was still on / recovering from the prednisone at the time, I believe).

This year I wanted to read even more, so I set a goal of 250 books. So far, I’ve gotten 158 down.. which sounds a bit more impressive than it actually is, as a bunch of those have been comics, novellas, and short stories. To give you a better idea, let me show you some graphs from Goodreads:

Books by year:


Pages by year:

As you can see, there’s a significant discrepancy. Lately I’ve actually been reading on an iPad 3 which I have on loan from my work, which is working out really nicely with the size and weight (and it can handle streaming video, where the Nook Color kind of choked on that). That’s been a big bonus for getting into comics, because the added screen real-estate makes a big difference (especially on PDFs).

I’ve really been loving the BN store, it’s really easy to pick books up at 2am without needing to leave the house. There have been a few incidents of “I dont remember buying $50 worth of books last night, but I was on Ambien”, but not really many… and Nonny’s done the same thing once or twice, so I don’t feel bad. The Seattle Public Library has an amazing digital selection as well (including of digital comics, too, which is all kinds of awesome!), and since I have a job in Seattle I have a card through there and the local Timberland library (which doesn’t have nearly the same kind of selection, but occasionally comes in handy). I’ve ended up reading a LOT of books borrowed from SPL, and I’m really grateful for them.

And really? I owe the fact that I can still enjoy reading to some amazing friends who surprised me more than I will ever be able to thank them enough for.


Posted by on June 29, 2013 in General

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2012 Reading Progress (and a special Thank You)

So I’ve been participating in the GoodReads 2012 reading challenge. So far, I’ve read 55 novels / novellas this year. That’s pretty amazing, but I have to back this up a bit to explain why.

As I’ve mentioned before (either here or in other places online) I deal with a lot of health issues, including rheumatoid arthritis. Last year I tried signing up for something like 100 books, and I didn’t come close to making it (I got 45). Partway through the year, about the time I was rereading the A Song of Ice and Fire books (because I was inspired by watching the first season of the show on HBO), my arthritis got so bad that I couldn’t hold a book (especially one as thick and heavy as Martin’s) while managing to turn the pages. My hands just ached too much, it was just too painful. I tried small paperbacks like the old Anne McCaffrey Dragonriders of Pern books, and even those were too much. Add to that, my reading ability had already been diminished by nausea due to my medications and degrading vision.

Then a miracle happened. Some dear, dear friends sent me a Nook Color as a gift. I can literally say, without being the slightest amount trite, that this device has changed my life. While I still was dealing with the nausea, I was able to hold the Nook for long periods of time without much pain and get back into reading. I went through Kristen Britain’s Green Rider series like a breeze (and her books are about on par with Martin’s for thickness!), rereading the ones I’d gone through before and catching up on the new ones I hadn’t read. I was able to borrow books from the library again, without having to worry about whether or not someone was going to be able to drive them back to the library before they became overdue (assuming I had finished them in the first place…), and I was able to do it at 2am in my pajamas without leaving the house. And I was finally able to get to reading some of the ebooks from my friends who write (because I’ve never been able to read books on the computer). The last 20 books that I read last year? They were ones that I read on my Nook. Just under half the books I read were in the last few months of the year, because it didn’t hurt anymore.

I debated for a little while, but after some research to ensure I could do no permanent damage, I went ahead and rooted the device so that I could run Android applications not available in B&N’s (very limited) market. Not all of them have played nicely with B&N’s tweaks to Android for the Nook, but most of them run flawlessly. I can read Kindle books on my Nook (although I usually buy from B&N instead, this is handy for snagging free reads). I can log into World of Warcraft’s guild chat to socialize with my friends when I hurt too much to sit up and play. I can use Trillian to instant message with my wife in the other room because I can’t get up and walk to talk to her in person (or, for that matter, stand long enough to have a decent conversation). Or I can respond quickly to people from my work messaging me for help. I can check my email so that I can respond to work and personal emails promptly throughout the course of the day even when I can’t sit up and use the desktop or the laptop. I can keep tabs on Facebook to avoid feeling socially isolated by my disability. I can keep up with some of the forums I participate on, especially Romance Divas which has a great mobile theme to make using the site easier on a tablet. And listening to music via Spotify is quite nice. 🙂

Now, some of this I also do on my Droid phone that belongs to my work, too. Typing is certainly easier with the slide-out keyboard, for sure. But that’s not my device, it’s the company’s. The Nook is mine, and it’s become an incredibly important assistance device in managing my disability. The wider screen makes reading emails and chats a lot easier. And I can adjust the fonts so that when my vision isn’t doing so great, I can still read things clearly. I can even stream TV shows using Plex, although that’s a little choppy (I’m sure the newer Nook models would do a better job with their dual-core processors).

But a year ago, I thought that I was going to lose my ability to read for pleasure and continuing education. And this year, I’m well ahead of schedule to meet my goal of 60 books this year. I’m more productive and more in touch with my colleagues.

And I owe it all to my friends.


Posted by on October 11, 2012 in General

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Time for a change…

It’s been a rough set of years. I’ve been dealing with a lot of health issues, and I’ve gotten sicker and sicker. Between dealing with the pain and the side-effects of the pain meds, writing had to be mothballed, because I just couldn’t handle it. I was able to think logically, but thinking creatively was just beyond my capabilities. A lot has changed during these years; my health, my identity, my job, which coast I live on, and I’ve been feeling that a lot lately. I started on a new med a few months back that has helped me amazingly; I still deal with a lot of problems, but I’ve been able to pull full hours at the day job, and I’ve started brainstorming on my WIPs again, which is incredible… I had feared that my ability to write might get lost forever. I haven’t actually sat down and created new words yet, but I’m working on getting back up to speed on my WIP Blood of the Goddess.

As part of the identity changes, my wife and I recently discussed names. We’d been wanting to change our legal names for some time now, but we had some mis-communication around last names. We ended up choosing Blackthorne together just recently; it’s what we want to have as our legal last name. It’s going to be our family name. It’s also part of what I want to publish under. I bounced around ideas about domain names and pen names and such with the folks at RD and with Nonny and she suggested Jas Blackthorne, which really fits me. I’ve gone by Jas as an abbreviation for the character name I play in online games for years, and it’s a gender-neutral name. Gender-neutrality is important to me, because I self-identify as genderqueer at this point. This has taken a bit to come to grips with, and I’m still figuring out the details on that. So I’m moving away from the pen name Alan Morgan to Jas Blackthorne instead.

I had originally intended to use a female pen name when I got to publishing my romance / erotica. The more I thought about it over the years, the lest I liked that idea, however. Readers who find out that I’m male-bodied will feel duped, and that is a compelling reason to not go down that path. Some readers may feel duped that I’m using a gender-neutral pen name, but if you’re one of them, I’m sorry; gender-neutral is closer to the truth for me than male is. So I’m retiring Aeryn Morgan and re-posting a few bits of the content I had on that site up here.

I’m also going to be working on overhauling this site; it needs a face lift. The autumn leaves look pretty, but it’s time for something new, to better match the new identity.

The winds of change keep blowing…


Book Recommendation…

I don’t often pimp books. But this time, I’m going to have to. Rogue, by Rachel Vincent, is on sale now, and if you’ve read the first (Stray) you know what a good writer she is. Rogue is even better.

Here’s the blurb:

Okay, so cats don’t always land on their feet

I know that better than most. Since rejoining the Pride, I’ve made big decisions and even bigger mistakes: the kind paid for with innocent lives. As the first and only female enforcer, I have plenty to prove to my father, the Pride, and myself. And with murdered toms turning up in our territory, I’m working harder than ever , though I always find the energy for a little after-hours recreation with Marc, my partner both on and off duty.

But not all my mistakes are behind me. We’re beginning to suspect that the dead are connected to a rash of missing human women, and that they can all be laid at my feet–two or four, take your pick. And one horrible indiscretion may yet cost me more than I can bear…

This is a 5 out of 5 in my book, pardon the pun. She advances left-over plot threads from Stray, and then goes and pulls out further plot threads from Stray that you didn’t even realize were there. Now that’s the mark of a good writer… to hide something in plain sight and you don’t realize it until the second or third book.

Buy it now. And if you haven’t read Stray… buy them both.


Posted by on March 26, 2008 in General

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Chapter 17 Snippet

It’s been some time since I updated this blog, so here’s a snippet for your patience:

They rode in silence, neither really in the mood for small talk. Glenn pulled into the parking lot behind his apartment, and unlocked the security door to the building. As he held it open for Shiobhan, she “accidentally” brushed up against him with her ass. He grinned and ushered her up the carpeted stairs towards his apartment, tossing his keys on the empty counter and lightly kicking the door closed behind them.

Shiobhan smiled, wrapping her arms around him, running the palms of her hands up along the muscles of his back, pushing him towards her. Their lips met, igniting the passion that had sparked in every silent look they had shared on the ride over. He pulled her closer, his hands sliding down to cup her ass as her body molded against his. She fit against him like she belonged with him, like she had always belonged with him, a missing part that completed him when he hadn’t even realized he was incomplete. “Gods,” he said when the kiss finally ended, shaking his head.

“What?” she asked, unzipping her jacket and hanging it on the back of a chair.

“I had no idea what I was missing,” he said with frank honesty. “It’s been a long time since I felt a fraction of the passion…” Shaking his head again, he took off his coat as well. “Where are my manners?” he asked, crossing the kitchen to the fridge. “Would you like something to drink?”

“Sure. What do you have?”

“Killians, water…” Taking a sniff of the milk container and wincing, he set it back in the fridge and kept looking. “That’s about it, actually. Sorry, we usually keep things stocked a bit better, but…”

“Killians is fine,” she said, smiling as he popped the top of the bottle and handed it over to her. He started to reach into a cupboard for a glass, but she raised the beer to her mouth and drank, her lips wrapping around the bottle while her eyes looked straight at him.

Damned if she isn’t a lively one, he thought to himself, taking a long swig of his own bottle.

“So what’s with the decoration?” Shiobhan asked, looking around the empty apartment.

“You like it? I thought I’d go for a new look– noveux Spartan, I like to call it.” Sighing, he said, “Truth is, Melissa cleaned out just about everything that was hers or ours. She left my stuff alone, but if she had any claim to it, it’s gone.” He shrugged and took another drink. “Truth is, in a way I’m kind of glad. A clean break is always quickest to heal, and now I don’t have anything to remind me of her. She’s obviously not who I thought she was, so I think it’s for the best.” His gaze roved over her, suddenly hungry. “But you didn’t come here to hear me talk about her.”

“Indeed,” she said, slipping out of her shoes. “I assume there’s still a bed left?”

“Bought and paid for long before I met her.”

“Good.” She slid her blouse over her head and dropped it on the floor before unzipping her jeans and stepping out of them. Standing before him in a dark red lace bra and panties, she crooked a finger and then turned to walk towards the other room. Glenn swallowed, his eyes drawn to her curves, the smooth white flesh, the sway of her hips as she moved. Tossing him a look over her shoulder, she asked, “Are you coming?”


Erotica Reader Survey

Keziah Hill posted over on Romance Divas about a friend of hers who’s running a survey about erotica readers. I thought it was interesting, so I’m posting the link for the rest of you to take a look at. The survey itself is quick, though I think some of the questions were a bit strict… multiple choice and/or a weighted scale (No Interest, Low Interest, Some Interest, High Interest, Definite Interest) would have been better for each subgenre she listed.

Anyways, here’s the link:


Posted by on March 7, 2007 in General

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It’s been a long time since I updated. I’ve finished chapter 13 and am currently working on chapter 14 now. I had intended to get a story into Forbidden Publications for their Valentine’s Day theme, but didn’t manage to get it done in time. Life’s been pretty hectic, dealing with the stress of financial and health issues. There’s more info on that on my personal LiveJournal, if you’re so inclined.

Since it’s been a while, here’s a snippet from chapter 13:

Taking another drink of coffee, he said, “Vincent called around to some of the other Packs, to see if it was a Pack war he hadn’t been told about. Turns out that some of the other Packs have run into similar situations. We usually leave a few folks behind when we hunt to keep the den safe, but that’s over now. Word is, someone’s hunting us—and that’s pretty bad news. What’s worse is we haven’t found any of the missing, not a trace. Just vanished as if they never existed. Don’t even turn up any bodies afterwards.”

“That’s horrible,” Shiobhan said. “Any ideas what’s going on?”

“Jordan has a theory. He thinks some humans have figured out about us and have declared war. He’s a paranoid bastard, but I’m not sure he’s wrong. Whomever is doing it is good—not a trace left behind, and we have very good tracking senses, let me tell you. Possibly military or one of the government agencies with initials for names.” Sighing, he said, “Problem is, Jordan isn’t for waiting to catch the bastards responsible. He’s about ready to take the Pack on the offensive and start bringing the fight to humans.” Looking up, he met her eyes squarely and said, “And he doesn’t really care about getting innocents involved.”

Speechless, Shiobhan just stared at him while her brain tried to process what he’d just said. “You mean…”

“I mean he’s about to take the Pack and start hunting humans.”


Progress :)

I just realized that I haven’t updated this in some time. I took the last part of October off as I got sick with a nasty bug, but I did finish up chapter 6 in October and just finished chapter 7 today. Hurray for progress 🙂

A quick snippet:

She reached into her purse and pulled out a vial, checking the label and nodding in satisfaction. Opening it, she dabbed a few drops on her fingers and moved to the side of his bed. Leaning forward, she placed her fingers on each of his temples and gently began rubbing the oil in. He breathed deep, smelling something crisp and clean, as the coolness of the liquid and the gentleness of her touch seemed to pull the pain back. Realizing that he had instinctively closed his eyes in pleasure, he reopened them to realize he was staring down her shirt at a delightful expanse of soft skin, and closed them again.

He opened his eyes again when she was finished, and looked around in amazement as his vision seemed sharper and clearer. Shaking his head, he felt no remnants of pain or tension, the fog that had been clouding his mind gone. “I have no clue what was in that, but that certainly worked miracles.”

Smiling, she handed him the small bottle. “Here, keep this. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but if you do, you’ll have it handy.”

“Thank you,” he said with sincerity. “I was thinking of heading there tomorrow around nine, I figure it’ll be dark by then and I’ll have a better chance of remembering if it’s as close to the other night as possible.”

“We’ll see you there, then, Mr. Chase– Glenn.”

“Count on it.” He watched the two leave, part of his mind wondering what their deal was, another part concerned that they were right and her sister being kidnapped was the reason he’d been attacked. Neither part objected to watching Shiobhan walk away… only that she disappeared from sight far too quickly.

Hope you all had a happy Samhain / Halloween! And good luck to everyone participating in NaNoWriMo. You’ll need it!


Posted by on November 5, 2006 in Blood of the Goddess, Progress, Snippets

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On a roll…

Managed to finish up Chapter 4 after working on it today at work and yesterday before work, coming in at 1595 words. Have another snippet:

She made her way to East Andrews Hall without further incident and found Room 110. Taking a deep breath, she knocked on the door before she lost her nerve and chickened out.

The door cracked open and a girl with purple spiked hair answered. “Yeah?”

“Hi, I’m Shiobhan McGowan. I was looking to see if my sister was home?”

“Jennifer,” the girl said, holding out her hand as she opened the door the rest of the way. “You must be the ‘devil worshipping freak’ my roommate’s talked about. Speaking as one freak to another freak, glad to meet you.”

Shiobhan shook hands with Jennifer and stepped into the room, smiling as she felt the cool embrace of the wards around the room welcoming her. “Indeed. Merry meet, and nicely done,” she said, hands indicating the shields.

“What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her– the opposite, in fact– and I have to live here, too. But, no, Sarah’s not here now.” A frown crossed her face as she stopped to think. “Actually, I didn’t see her come home last night. I was a little out of it, coming home from a campus GBLT meeting, and was too tired to think anything of it. But it’s not like her.”

“Any idea where she might be?” Shiobhan asked, the uneasy feeling settling in her stomach with an increasing weight. “My father asked me to check in on her, and I’m a bit worried.”

“Not really,” Jennifer admitted. “We don’t exactly run in the same social circle, I’m sure you can imagine.”

For any readers interested in following the whole story as I write it, I’ve set up a mailing list via Gmail to send chapters out to folks. This seems to be working fairly well for some fellow writers of mine so I figured I’d hop on the bandwagon. Anyways, just drop me a line with your email address and I’ll catch you up and add you to the list for further chapters.

Also got some rampaging plotbunnies that gave me some more details about the end of the book and the sequel to come. Not everything is what it appears to be… *cackle*



Finished up chapter 3 of Providence Paranormal for a total count of 1460 words.

Chapter 4 shifts back to Shiobhan’s POV, which– right now– is where the action is at. Glenn’s next chapter should have more, but right now he’s still trying to figure out what happened to put him into the hospital. And, more importantly, why.

Have another snippet 🙂

Just another mushroom, fed bullshit and kept in the dark, he thought grimly. If something bigger was going on, the way his gut told him it was, then last night was no accident. The cops might not be inclined to follow up on one more random act of violence, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t. He promised himself that he’d look into things as his head started pounding and he gagged with sudden nausea. Bright lights appeared from out of nowhere, swirling and strobing with a painful intensity.

Staggering, he made it back to the bed– barely– and hit the call button before the darkness surrounded him. His vision faded from him, first grey, then black, deepening until a pindrop of red exploded within and he felt no more.