The Power of Pretending and Writing

Let’s pretend. Those were my favorite words when I was a kid. I said them almost everyday.

“Let’s pretend we are unicorns living in the forest.” “Let’s pretend we are building a canoe to ride down the river to the ocean.” “Let’s pretend we live in the sky.”

After I would say those magical words, my siblings and I would embark on a day filled with imagination, storytelling, and character playing.

I never realized how I still pretend today. Instead of asking my brother and sisters if they want to pretend, I ask my readers:

—”Let’s pretend we have to live on the mountaintops because there is a mist that fills the valleys and turns you into zombies.” (the premise for Secrets in the Mist)

—”Let’s pretend we can visit dreams.” or “Let’s pretend we can control water.” (both premises for the Ravenwood Saga)

—”Let’s pretend that when I touch you, I can see every thought and memory you have.” (the premise for Daughter of Light).

See where I am going? I never gave up pretending. Instead, I turned it into stories. I hold out my hand to my readers and I say, “Let’s pretend today.”

Don’t forget to pretend for there is joy in creating. And the world needs our pretend. It gives people a reprieve from life, and hope and fortitude when they return. I’ll leave you with these words from J.R.R. Tolkien:

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?. . . If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”

Cover Reveal for Secrets in the Mist

I’m so excited to share with you the cover for Secrets in the Mist, the first book my new steampunk series. And, without further ado, here it is!!!


What’s lurking in the Mist is the least of their worries…

In a world where humanity lives in the sky to escape a deadly mist below, Cass’s only goal is survival. That is, until she finds a job on the airship Daedalus as a diver. Now she explores ruined cities, looking for treasure and people’s lost heirlooms until a young man hires her to find the impossible: a way to eradicate the Mist.

Theodore Winchester is a member of one of the Five Families that rule the skies. Following in his father’s footsteps, he searches for the source of the deadly Mist and hopes to stop the purges used to control overpopulation. But what he finds are horrifying secrets and lethal ambition. If he continues his quest, it could mean his own death.

The Mist is rising and soon the world will be enveloped in its deadly embrace, turning what’s left of humanity into the undead.

***

Isn’t it beautiful! It captures everything I wanted in this cover: the steampunk genre, a sense of adventure, and the world where this story takes place 🙂 Here are more facts about Secrets in the Mist:

—This will be my first Limited-Edition Hardcover. Yep! Notice Limited Edition. Which means if you want this lovely book in hardcover, order as soon as possible!

Secrets in the Mist releases AUGUST 2021, just in time for that vacation or beach read this summer 🙂

—This is the first book in the SKYWORLD series. It’s a dualogy, which means you only have to wait for one more book to find out the ending 🙂

—This book will look amazing on your bookshelf. Seriously. Because it’s beautiful!

~ORDER NOW~

New Book Contract!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve officially signed with Enclave Publishing for my new series, Skyworld. The first book, Secrets in the Mist, comes out August 2021. Yeah, I know that’s a long time to wait, but I can guarantee it will be worth it! In the meantime, here is what it’s about:

In a world covered in a deadly mist that forces humanity to live in the sky, Cass escapes the purges and survives by her wits until she stumbles onto the airship Daedalus and finds a job as a diver. As a diver, she explores the ruined cities within the mist, searching for treasure and family heirlooms for the rich. But everything changes when a young man hires her to find the very thing that will turn their world upside down: a way to eradicate the mist.

Theodore Winchester is a member of one of the five powerful families that rule the sky over the mist. Following in his father’s footsteps, he searches for the source of the deadly mist that turns people in the undead and hopes to stop the purges used to control over-population. But what he finds are secrets and ambition, and with each question comes horrifying answers. If he continues his search, not only will he encounter opposition, but perhaps even his own death.

But the mist is rising and if a remedy isn’t found soon, the entire world will be enveloped in its deadly embrace, turning all of humankind into monsters.

Just to give you a little background into writing this story, I started taking down notes for Skyworld back in 2015, spent over 10 hours watching videos and reading blogs about hang gliding (and almost went to an airfield to try it out myself!) so I could write the gliding scenes, and have become an expert on 19th century medicine (well, not really, but it feels like it :)). And by getting into my characters and flight, I actually started overcoming my fear of flying (talk about the power of story!).

So there you have it, a new steampunk series coming your way in 2021!

And speaking of steampunk…

Morgan audio BOTH

My other steampunk series, The Soul Chronicles, is now available in audiobook form and narrated by Jaimee Draper. I’ve been listening to these books during a couple long car rides over the last few weeks and let me just say Jaimee has nailed this story with her wonderful narration. Her voice fits Kat perfectly! So if you’ve been wanting to check out the steampunk genre or haven’t had a chance to read this series, consider picking up these audiobooks today 🙂

Buy Now

Behind the Quote: Cry of the Raven

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Wife. Warrior. Lady of Two Worlds.

Lady Selene Ravenwood has come into her full power as a dreamwalker just as the war with the Dominia Empire begins. Working with the other Great Houses, Selene and Damien use their gifts to secure the borders and save those devastated by the war. But conflict, betrayal, and hatred begin to spread between the Great Houses, destroying their unity as the empire burns a path across their lands. At the same time, Damien Maris starts to lose his ability to raise the waters, leaving the lands vulnerable to the empire’s attacks.

The only one who can unite the houses and restore her husband’s power is Selene Ravenwood. But it will require that she open her heart to those who have hurt her and let go of her past, despite the one who hunts her and will do anything to stop her power.

Will Selene survive? Or is she destined to fall like the dreamwalkers before her?

I love the tagline above: Wife. Warrior. This series is a story about a married couple and how together they are stronger than they are alone.

Damien Quote

This is one of my favorite quotes from Cry of the Raven. A quick recap of the series, after choosing to spare Damien’s life, Selene is on the run for her own life. In order to save her and bring her into his kingdom, Damien offers her marriage. It is one of convenience (or more, salvation), but as the story progresses, both Damien and Selene learn what love is and how to love each other.

I always wanted to write a story with a marriage between the main characters. But I never thought that my own marriage would come into play in the books, or that some of the key scenes would reflect my own life. For an example, let me share with you the story behind the quote above.

I’m a pastor’s wife. Our journey and the various ministries God has taken us through have not been easy. Part of that journey has been multiple moves. At this point I’ve lived in eight different states and for the last ten years we’ve moved into a different house every year (sometimes due to moving to a new city, sometimes because our landlord decided to sell the house we were renting). We also have four kids, two dogs, and a cat, so continually uprooting has always been hard (not to mention packing, cleaning, moving, unpacking, finding a new grocery store, finding new doctors, and making new friends). But I’ve known this is the path God has laid out for my husband and our family, so I’ve always rolled up my sleeves and followed.

Until two years ago.

We had just bought a house (first one after losing our other house ten years ago), and I was so excited to settle down. I hung up pictures (I don’t know when’s the last time I did that), I planted flowers, and I started making long-term plans. After all, we just bought a house, we weren’t really going to move again, right?

Then while walking our dogs one day, my husband shared that it looked like we might be moving again.

I was in shock. For three days I couldn’t even think. Mind you, I had just finished unpacking and was in the current joy of feeling like we were finally going to stay in one place and raise our family.

Shock turned to anger, then grief, then denial. Every hurt I had ever experienced in ministry came bubbling to the surface, every fear, every tear I had ever cried. And I was tired. So tired. During those following days, the very thought of packing again, and now having to sell a house to boot, made me feel physically ill. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it again. During those darker moments, I thought about just staying put and letting my husband move on without me. I was done. I couldn’t do it anymore. But I also knew that such thoughts would limit me. The more I prayed and thought about it, the more I knew God was moving us again.

Finally, after a day of sobbing, with everything inside of me spilling out, I apologized to my husband. I told him I couldn’t seem to stop all the hurt and fear from coming out. Instead of reprimanding me or just telling me it was okay, this is what he told me:

I’m a rock, and you can crash against me as much as you need to. I won’t move, I won’t leave you. I’ll be here for you because I love you.

I needed to hear that. Badly. I needed to know that no matter what, with all the crying and words coming out of me, they were not going to drive my husband away. I was hurricane, and instead of sending him running for cover, he stood and held me, and understood the storm would pass. He knew that at this moment I needed a rock that wouldn’t move, no matter what I said.

Slowly, as the weeks went by, and as I prayed on my knees every day, God prepared me for our next journey. I got up and I prepared to move our family again. I stayed back and sold our house. And I’m so glad that I didn’t give in to myself and stay behind because I love where we are at now. But I couldn’t have done it if my husband hadn’t told me those words. He was an example of God to me. He understood my pain and fear, and held steadfast to our love, giving me the space to work through what I was feeling.

In Cry of the Raven, Selene has her own crisis where she isn’t sure if she can keep on going. And it causes her to fight with Damien. But then he shares those same words with her, that he won’t leave her. Words that she needs to hear. And later on in the book, when he can’t keep on going, she is able to be his strength. Because that’s what marriage is about. Being there for each other. Helping each other. Being strong when the other is weak, and vice versa. That together you can face so much more than you could alone.

This is what I wanted to share through my story: a picture of marriage. I just never thought I’d quote my husband in my book 🙂

To find out more about The Ravenwood Saga or purchase the books, click here.

Release Day for Cry of the Raven

Happy Release Day!

Can you believe it? The final installment of the Ravenwood Saga is finally here! It’s been a long time coming (I started writing this series back in 2016). And while I was writing this particular book, I was trying to sell our house, raise 4 teens without my husband and best friend (he was working in another state while I stayed back to sell our house), homeschooling, then moving to another state. Let’s just say it was stressful! Sometimes I don’t remember what I wrote. But God watched over me and my family, I finished the series and love how it turned out, and now I get to share the final story with all of you. Enjoy, my friends!

ORDER NOW

 

Tainted Audio

More news! Yes, you read that right! I’m so excited to share that my award-winning steampunk series will be available in audio format this May! Perfect timing for those summer road trips or long work commutes! And it’s available for pre-order now 🙂

PRE-ORDER NOW

 

So what am I up to now? I’m currently working on a new steampunk series tentatively called The Plague Wars and I’m halfway through the first book. I hope to have more news about it soon, but in the meantime, here is the blurb:

In a world covered in a deadly mist that forces humanity to live in the sky, Cass escapes the purges and survives by her wits until she stumbles onto the airship Daedalus and finds a job as a diver. As a diver, she explores the ruined cities within the mist, searching for treasure and family heirlooms for the rich. But everything changes when a young man hires her to find the very thing that will turn their world upside down: a way to eradicate the mist.

Theodore Winchester is a member of one of the five powerful families that rule the sky over the mist. Following in his father’s footsteps, he searches for the source of the deadly mist that turns people in the undead and hopes to stop the purges used to control over-population. But what he finds are secrets and ambition, and with each question comes horrifying answers. If he continues his search, not only will he encounter opposition, but perhaps even his own death.

But the mist is rising and if a remedy isn’t found soon, the entire world will be enveloped in its deadly embrace, turning all of humankind into monsters.

Until then, thank you, readers!

Ebook Sale!

Ebook Boxset Sale! $3.99

Friends! My award-winning steampunk series is now available in an ebook box set and is currently on sale! I don’t know how long this sale will be, so don’t wait too long 😉

And if you’ve already read this series and enjoyed it, would you consider taking a moment to write a review for the box set? I would greatly appreciate that. Thank you!

Buy Now

 

How Mara Jade Could Have Saved Star Wars

So I’ve been a fan of Star Wars since I first saw New Hope (I wasn’t even born when it came out, but I was still a fan 😉). In seminary, as a poor student family with nothing but the nearby library for fun, my husband and I discovered these things called Star Wars books 🤩. We started with Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn and devoured every Star Wars book in that library. Then we started hunting for more (including comics).

We were the couple that when a new book was announced, we were the first to pre-order, then read each book together and discuss it in length. We journeyed with Luke, Leia, and Han through creating a New Republic, setting up a new Jedi Academy, navigating new and old villains, marriage, and children.

We found new characters to love (and hate): Mara Jade, Thrawn, Talon Karrde, and more.

I even wrote a blog post a couple years ago about how Luke and Mara were my favorite fictional married couple because they were awesome apart, but together they were unstoppable (and I wanted to write a couple like that which eventually lead to my Ravenwood series).

So yes, I was a Star Wars fan. Not a toxic one (please don’t lump me with that group), but one who dearly loved that world (I even read fanfiction and played all the video games).

So when the movies started coming out, I was soooo excited. I was going to get to see my favorite characters on the screen 🥰.

Except all my favorite books were labeled legend. Disney was going to go in a new direction.

Oh. Okay. But this is Star Wars! Still Awesome! 😎

And I (for the most part) enjoyed TFA, but was kinda sad that I didn’t get to see a reunion between the big 3, and wasn’t sure what to think of Han’s death.

As you can guess, I didn’t really like TLJ. It didn’t feel like Star Wars to me. Actually, I’ve been so disappointed that I’ve been on the fence about seeing the last one (only one other show made me feel like this that for years I couldn’t talk about it, Dan knows which one that is).

Then Dan and I started talking about what could have made the movies better and he said Mara Jade. And it all clicked together.

Mara Jade could have saved Star Wars. You could still have the story we have right now and Mara Jade would have redeemed it.

She’s a strong female character. She has a past with the Emperor (when Snokes is taken out, Mara could have said I sense something stronger here. Like my old master). She could have been with Luke, trying to pull her husband out of his depression and exile and worked with Rey to help him. She could have been Rey’s mentor and lamented over her nephew’s turn to the dark side because she was once that person. She could have been the mentor who ultimately dies to launch her student into her destiny.

As a storyteller, I began to see what an incredible story that could have been. There is so much Mara could have done with the current story line that would have tied all the loose plot strings together.

Mara Jade could have saved Star Wars.

There is a part of me that wishes that’s the movie out right now. The conclusion to an epic story. Thinking about that makes my heart beat faster. Instead, I’m not sure what I’m going to see or if I’m going to see it.

Please don’t mistake me, I’m not toxic. Just a fan who misses what might have been.

 

Books for Vida!

Books for Vida.png

Hello friends! Usually I do my annual book sale in December to raise a little bit of money for my anniversary, but this year is different. Vida came into my life three days ago, starved, deaf, and fighting for life. As an animal lover, I took her in and have been impressed with her recovery to health! However, she does have hyperthyroidism, a condition that will increase without medicine.

As I brainstormed on what to do, I realized I could ask all of you to help me out, and get some signed books to boot (to keep or to giveaway as Christmas presents!).

I’m selling a set of Mark of the Raven (winner of the 2019 Carol and INSPY award for speculative fiction) and Flight of the Raven, signed, for $25 (this price also includes shipping, US only).

If you are interested, please email me at morganlbusse @ live .com and let me know how many sets you want, if you want them signed to someone specific, and where to mail them.

Thank you!!!

A Crisis in Writing

Why do IEvery time I receive a one-star review, it presents me with a momentary conflict of why do I write? The latest one star commented on how the reader picked up the book because it was steampunk, enjoyed Tainted, even with the bits about God and religion, then it all went down hill with Awakened. There was too much God and preaching going on to the point where this reader couldn’t finish the book and decided to give it a 1 star.

After reading the review, I started asking myself who am I writing for? Should I have toned down Awakened, even though the very premise was about Kat realizing in the end she couldn’t heal herself, and even science couldn’t heal the condition of her soul? Should I have just kept God out and had science heal her?

Should I become a secular writer and just write really good books? I would gain more readership (and probably higher royalties).

But every time I face this conflict, I can’t shake the fact that not only do I feel called to write Christian fiction (not just be a Christian and write stories, but write God and everything about Him into my books), I want to write these kinds of stories. I love writing books about grace, about finding hope, about miracles when all seems lost. This is what burns inside my heart, what gets me excited to sit down and write every day.

I am thankful for these reviews because they make me pause and reevaluate why I’m doing what I’m doing. And every time I come back to who I am personally as a writer and remind me I’m not going to please everyone. For me, I need to write about the passions of my heart and soul. This brings me more satisfaction that a large readership, 1k 5-star reviews, and large royalty checks.

This is who I am. So these are the books I will continue to write. The stories of my heart.

Cover for Cry of the Raven

Here it is! The cover for Cry of the Raven, the final book in the Ravenwood Saga (coming February 2020).

CotR Cover

Lady Selene Ravenwood has come into her full power as a dreamwalker just as the war with the Dominia Empire begins. Working with the other Great Houses, Selene and Damien use their gifts to secure the borders and save those devastated by the war. But conflict, betrayal, and hatred begin to spread between the Great Houses, destroying their unity as the empire burns a path across their lands. At the same time, Damien Maris starts to lose his ability to raise the waters, leaving the lands vulnerable to the empire’s attacks.

The only one who can unite the houses and restore her husband’s power is Selene Ravenwood. But it will require that she open her heart to those who have hurt her and let go of her past, despite the one who hunts her and will do anything to stop her power.

Will Selene survive? Or is she destined to fall like the dreamwalkers before her?

Book 3, The Ravenwood Saga

 

Cry of the Raven is now available for pre-order on Amazon: www.amazon.com/Raven-Ravenwood-Saga-Morgan-Busse

You can also add it to your Goodreads shelf: www.goodreads.com/book/show/45886444-cry-of-the-raven

In Darkness there is Light

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