Guest post with Morgan Locklear: The Cockeyed Optimist

Hey, BeaYOUtiful!

Today I am so thrilled to share the story of a gifted author and dear friend, Morgan Locklear. I'm honored he accepted my invitation to take over my site and also to be part of Morgan's very special project releasing on June 11 this year, The Paperback Writers Anthology. He's funny, smart, generous, gifted writer, and a loyal friend.

I know you'll enjoy reading this post as much as I did. I made it easy for ya! Just click on the titles of his books to get Amazon's buy link. One last thing ... If you love his books, please leave your review. It is so important. You can make a difference in your favorite author's life.

Happy reading!

Your biggest fan,

MJ, xoxo

For a long time, I was known as the blind guy. That’s okay, it’s true mostly, I am legally blind (20/200 with my glasses on. Without them, it’s DAAAAYAAM)! Even though I was born with two sisters, which makes me a triplet, and had a cleft lip and palate at birth, yet could still sing like a one-legged angel, (a little shaky but none-the-less magical), I was still, the blind guy.

I developed an admirable intellect, a prized wit, and, of course, a humble disposition, all to no avail. I was forever going to be known as the kid you shouldn’t toss an apple to. I acted in plays, but the directors always had other kids hold my arm in case I wandered too close to the front of the state and fell into the orchestra pit. I couldn’t escape it.

But it wasn’t all bad. Golf, for instance, is fun for me. No matter how bad I do, the guys in the clubhouse always think it’s pretty damn good for a blind guy. They’re like. “He may shoot a 185, but at least he’s out there swinging!” If you didn’t already know, a 185 is a horrible score for 18 holes and is in fact, my worst score in golf. My best day was a 90, which is still about forty over par, but not too shabby for an amateur. (I bowl too but people don’t like to get beat by a guy who has to keep asking how many pins he got down).

Then I started writing books, and DISCO! Even my optometrist doesn’t see me as just the blind guy anymore! It has been fascinating to see the world around me react so positively to my new vocation. Had I but known, I would have put down the harmonica twenty years ago.

I have always written songs. From little ditties on the bus and in the shower, to 32 track orchestrations that took months just to mix. Moving from songs to novels has given me a thousand times more freedom. I still regularly challenge myself with the rigors of melody and rhyme, but writing without limits has unlocked two novels and six short stories in the span of a year, my first year as a full-time writer.

The books I was prepared for, planning even. Hell, I started Connection before anyone ever even heard of Gotye, but the evolution of a handful of adventure stories was a grand surprise.

Stephen King often blows off steam between manuscripts to jot down smaller tales that he releases as collections. I have always admired it, but as for myself, words always came easier than ideas. I never thought I would have the cache of material that would require me to send a half dozen stories into the world at once. But a funny thing happened on the way to Connection, which I started as a NaNoWriMo project, I did a second NaNoWriMo project the next year that would change my writing career forever.

To back up, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Writers around the world spend their Novembers pledged to pen 1500 words a day and by Thanksgiving, they are well on their way to completing a book in just 30 days. The idea is that you ignore the impulse to research every little thing and just let those fingers fly…well…I wrote a real humdinger of a book. I even finished a few days early, but it was a roasted mess and in need of hundreds of researched values. I spent the next five years untangling it and refining it and it became Connection, but, it’s the next year, I wish to tell you about.

​ Instead of writing a book in 30 days, I would conjure a different book outline every day for 30 days. And it worked! I had much more fun that time and was left with a career’s worth of work.

Surprisingly, it was not as difficult as I thought it would be. Not surprisingly, upon further inspection and sharing some of the finer points with my wife, fellow author Jennifer Locklear, I discovered that about half of those ideas were better suited for a leaner treatment. Suddenly, I had more than a dozen short stories.

Jennifer also made another observation around this time. She told me that I was a YA author at heart. Indeed, I realized that the majority of my stories have a child as the protagonist. I chose a few of these innocence driven pieces for my first book of short stories, release only a few months after Connection, and only a month ago. The Apple Wagon explores the harrowing journey of a boy in 1901, a disabled girl in present-day Chicago, a cat named Edward, and old private investigator in 1930’s New York, a shy guy striptease on Mt. Hood, and back to that boy from 1901, but twenty years later where we pick up with him as a bounty hunter.

Just like Stephen King, I write about kids mostly, and I have enough ideas to burn. I may even write something scary someday, at least one of my future ideas is pretty creepy, it’s going to be called, The Window People.

For the year ahead, I will be working on a romantic comedy, but watch out for more kid fueled adventures. I have a great artistic partner in Joyce Pennington who hand painted the cover for The Apple Wagon, and you better believe that my next short story book cover has already been discussed. The Cherry Barrel? The Peach Pit? The Pumpkin Hatch? We’ll figure something out and I bet it’ll be along sometime after Jennifer puts her awesome Constellation series to bed and we complete a shared novel or two already in the works.

Ironically, I plan to write about my adventures as a mostly blind guy sometime quite soon. I have some pretty funny, and true stories to tell. I believe I’ll call it Cockeyed Optimist but mostly because my first idea for a title was too long. Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, Yup, That’s What They Tell Me.


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