We at The Cosmic Laire have pulled up a chair to a very special guest today. She's a powerful blogger who, I kid you not, makes flowers grow and bloom wherever she walks.
Encouragement can be hard to come by at times, but I tell you, this woman is literally an encouragement factory. Anything she says is sure to lighten the mood and give empowerment the soul, no matter what state one's spirits may lie. And so, for being such a positive influence throughout the Blogosphere, it's only fitting that I should dub thee, Lady Morgan Shamy - Knight of the Cosmic Table!
MS: Holy crap! Encouragement factory? It only seems that way because I align myself with people who will be successful regardless, so it gives me a good image. (It’s all about knowing your camera angles) But I do have to say, becoming a Knight of the Cosmic thingy has been my dream since I heard about it. I’m absolutely honored, though worried I might get an ego after all of those lovely compliments! (Look what happened to MadMan Koopmans)
DPK: Oh, there's plenty of de-motivational techniques I can tell you about after our interview, to keep that ego in check. ;)
The first time I met you in person was at a tavern (or what people these days call "bar and grill"). Red Rock, right? Fun gathering! I know the group planned to go somewhere else, but, c'est la vie. What do you like best about getting together with other writers?
MS: Och! Aye, ye dinna need to remind me of that supper fiasco. Er… *clears throat* Sorry, I was getting into the whole Knight thing. Though apparently I’m a Scottish Knight. ;-)
It’s amazing to connect with other writers because I think all our brains co-exist on a different plane. We “get” it, without having to even talk. Though there’s nothing better than writer’s talk. Writing can be a very lonely occupation, because really, it’s up to us to get it done. But having support and associating with other writers really can make the difference in making it or not. (And it’s fun to connect the voice to the online friend. It’s so weird!)
DPK: Absolutely. I spent a good part of my life with most people not "getting" me because I have always been a storyteller, in one form or another. Starting a blog and tapping into that is beyond wonderful and very helpful.
I understand you landed an agent after sending only ten queries (please correct me if I'm wrong), with a story about dancing! Congratulations, for one. What is this wonderful book of yours called? What can you tell us about it?
MS: Oooo… my favorite thing to talk about! And yes, I only sent out ten queries for this last book. I was pretty set on one particular agent and when I got an offer from her I was beyond delighted.
The book is titled, Danse Macabre, and it’s pitched as a YA Black Swan with Paranormal elements. The whole story stemmed from the idea of wanting to create something very Phantom of the Opera-esque, but with a ballet twist. I was a ballerina my whole life, so it’s a world I’m very familiar with!
DPK: A YA Black Swan? Paranormal? ... Where do I pre-order!
Now that you are a Cosmic Knight, what does being a "knight" mean to you, in real life, the blogosphere, or elsewhere?
MS: Gosh, aside from feeling beyond special that I get to be numbered among the Cosmic elite?
I think being a Knight means you’re brave. It means that even though you’re afraid—that you have doubts whether you really can attain what you hope to achieve—you go ahead and try anyway. You sit down at the computer night after night even though the words on the screen are a jumbled mess and you don’t know if they’ll amount to anything—you do it anyway.
A Knight takes the leap and puts himself/herself out there, even if it means some hardship along the way. This whole writing process really is about facing your fears. Facing yourself head on and pushing yourself beyond the limit.
DPK: Absolutely! It's not something I had thought of when I started the writing journey, but it does indeed take bravery to keep at it. Just think of those moments of doubt as random encounters that need vanishing.
If you could go to any place, real or fictional, where would that be? Why?
MS: Hmm… I would definitely go back to Nova Scotia. I spent a couple weeks there when I was nineteen. That place seriously has magic in the air—a kind I haven’t felt in any of my other travels. (And I’ve traveled a ton!) There was this little town called Peggy’s Cove, and I can picture myself spending the rest of my days there with a pen in my hand while overlooking the ocean.
DPK: Excellent choice! Haven't been there myself, but I can picture it by the way you described it. That's effective writing in action, right there!
Jedi, Sith, or Scoundrel?
MS: Scoundrel, for sure! (And by "for sure" it's purely because of their outfits). I had to google what they were... did you know there's something called Wookieepedia?!?!
DPK: You know, I've tried to use Wookieepedia before, but that place is a little hairy. *courtesy laugh*
In all your travelings, what's the most exotic (different) meal you've ever eaten?
MS: Blast! I wish I had a really cool answer for this. I have done the snail and octopus thing. Snail? Yum. Octopus? Not so much. Though I can tell you that I did crave dirt and laundry detergent pretty bad during one of my pregnancies...
DPK: I'd definitely put that under exotic! And snails, yum? You're braver than me, I think.
Last question: of all the writerly advice you've heard, what's had the greatest impact on improving your writing, and do you remember where you picked up this advice?
MS: Yes, there was a time right after I shelved my first novel that I was really down. And it was a friend of mine, Ryan Greenspan, who told me something that’s never left me. He said, “Rejection should only be an invitation to get better and try again. All rejection should do is validate that our passion is writing, that writing is our calling. If it doesn’t, then it isn’t.”
I’m so grateful for his words. They gave me the clarity I needed to keep pushing. Because it really is about the journey. There are no short cuts. It’s one word at a time, over and over and over again. And though the process can be agonizing at times, it’s soooo worth it when we finish that book, or nail that sentence, or even find the perfect word. Writing is magic. I’ve found that when I’m really struggling, when I’m having to *really* dig deep to pull the words out of me, is when my best work emerges.
DPK: Exactly how I think of rejection! Kudos for Ryan and his wise words. As we can all see, they've more than helped you along your journey.
Thank you again for stopping by for an interview, Morgan. As proof of your valor, I present this fine badge that you may paste on your blog or make a flag out of it and hang it over your house ... whatever you want to do with it. And welcome to the Cosmic Table!
MS: I'm absolutely honored, DPK! *raises glass to the other Knights* It's a privilege to be among such great noblemen!
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What did I tell you? Isn't she something? The hard part is waiting for her book to come out. When it does, it's going to be all the rage. Now, we have three at our table, but we need more, so I'll be on the lookout for another candidate and present them at the end of April.
Thank you for celebrating Morgan's knighthood with me! Although April will be a busy month with the AtoZ Challenge, I'll still have posts up, starting April 1st (that's no joke). Until then, keep your armor polished and those laser swords charged. Awesomeness is coming!
I'm David, and who's ready to jump through that gate?