Morgon Newquist

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”

Author: morgon

School of Spells & War Update


I have updates for my series of short stories and novellas The School of Spells & War. The first story about Alis and Cahan, the wizard and warrior duo, was originally published in the anthology Make Death Proud To Take Us, and later released on its own.  I’m happy to announce that two more stories – A Midsummer’s Party and The Cinder Witch – are scheduled for release over the next couple of months! There are also three other stories on deck in varying degrees of completion that should be out over the next six months too.

They’re a long time coming, I know, but newborns tend to put a crimp in book writing plans. There should be many more after these, too, so keep an eye out.

Art From Life

The real problems came with toddlers – when the parents had waited to have their kids baptized for one reason or another. Sometimes the parents were recent converts to the church. That he understood, and he always welcomed them, challenge and all. But most of the time it was just lazy parents who couldn’t be bothered – the “CE Catholics” who only came on Christmas and Easter, or who waited a year and a half until Grandma was in town to do the baptism.

Baptising toddlers was a pain in the neck. Most of them were just frustrating. The little tykes just couldn’t sit still. But some of them were downright infuriating. He’d had children sit on the altar giving him the stink eye.

That is an excerpt from my husband Russell‘s short story Knight of the Changeling, that can be found in the anthology Between the Wall and the Fire (which is an awesome collection by the way, if you need some new reading material). A deacon is talking about his experiences baptizing children after he just witnessed a supernatural occurrence at one.

I thought I would post the inspiration behind it, because it cracks me up and I like to see how life inspires art.

Our eldest son, S, was not baptized until he was a toddler. Russell and I joined the church at Easter in 2011, and we waited until we were full Catholics before having the ceremony.

And this happened:


We printed a copy and gave it to the priest, who just laughed and laughed.  And there is photo proof of that throw away line in the short story.

Announcement: Tales of the Once and Future King


I am excited to announce that my short story, “The Hounds of Camelot”, has been accepted into the forthcoming Tales of the Once and Future King young adult anthology! It is a collection of King Arthur related short stories that promises to be very interesting!

I’ll keep everyone up to date on that, and while you’re at it, go ahead and check out Superversive SF. Anthony Marchetta over there is putting together this collection, and you’ll also be able to find updates there, as well as excellent commentary by a variety of authors.


My Workout Playlist

I was tweaking my workout playlist the other week. We just restarted our local Y membership last month, so I’ve actually been working out again. Currently I’m attempting to hit a twice a week weightlifting workout, and then once the dojo merger is finished I’ll get back to twice a week Karate as well.

The Y has childcare, so I can work out in the mornings (my preferred time by far) without having to wrangle the kids. So far it has been working out very well. It’s the first time since before I was pregnant with kid #4 that I’ve been working out regularly, and with any intensity (I have been in and out of the dojo the past year).

I spend a lot of time reading a lot of lists with suggestions for music. My husband likes to work out to heavy metal, which I also like. But I kind of go on feel alone (factoring in beat/sound and lyrics) for my workout list. So I have a somewhat eclectic list that I thought I would share.

I have a premium Spotify account, which I love. It only costs $10 a month and I get access to almost any music I might want. It’s also saved us from spending tons of money on CDs for the Kids – like I could start playing the Frozen soundtrack for them immediately after seeing the movie. We actually just upped it to a family membership and added Russell and S to it. S has my old iPhone 4 just for Spotify use. He kept asking for a music player for his room and that seemed to be the easiest option.

So I have this playlist on my account, and just punch the random button every time I’m at the gym. Here are the songs:

  1.  I’ll Make A Man Out of You (Mulan Soundtrack)
  2. The Majestic Tale of A Madman In A Box (Doctor Who Soundtrack)
  3. I Hate Everything About You (Three Days Grace)
  4. Home (Three Days Grace)
  5. Diamond Eyes (Shinedown)
  6. The Bird and the Worm (The Used)
  7. We Were Men (Theory of A Deadman)
  8. The Bitch Came Back (Theory of A Deadman)
  9. Hot N Cold (Katy Perry)
  10. Raise Your Glass (Pink)
  11. Gangham Style (PSY)
  12. Lose Yourself (Eminem)
  13. Call Me Maybe (Carlie Rae Jepson)
  14. For Whom The Bell Tolls (Metallica)
  15. So What (Pink)
  16. Roar (Katy Perry)
  17. Something In Your Mouth (Nickleback)
  18. Not Afraid (Eminem)
  19. Applause (Lady Gaga)
  20. California Gurls (Katy Perry, Snoop Dog)
  21. Remember the Name (Fort Minor, Styles of Beyond)
  22. Right Now (Rihanna)
  23. Firework (Katy Perry)
  24. Just Like Fire (Pink)
  25. Try (Pink)
  26. The One That Got Away (Katy Perry)
  27. Get the Party Started (Pink)
  28.  If I Lose Myself (One Republic, Alesso)
  29. Headstrong (Trapt)
  30. Baby One More Time (Britney Spears)
  31. Oops I Did It Again (Britney Spears)
  32. Toxic (Britney Spears)
  33. Bulletproof (La Roux)
  34. E.T. (Katy Perry)
  35. Poker Face (Lady Gaga)
  36. S&M (Rihanna)
  37. Tik Tok (Kesha)
  38. Fancy (Iggy Azalea, Charli XCX)
  39. Royals (Lorde)
  40. Painkiller (Three Days Grace)
  41. Droppin’ Plates (Disturbed)
  42. Diamonds (Rihanna)
  43. Single Ladies (Beyonce)
  44. Timber (Pitbull, Kesha)
  45. Just Dance (Lady Gaga, Colby O’Donis)
  46. Stronger (Kanye West)
  47. Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You), (Kelly Clarkson)
  48. Pompeii (Bastille)
  49. Dark Horse (Katy Perry)
  50. Born This Way (Lady Gaga)

Like I said, an odd collection. I have to like the words, and it has to have a sound/beat that I feel like I can move to. A lot of these artists I don’t usually listen to, but I found their songs to work well for me. Just some inspiration for your next workout.

You Don’t Learn How To Work Hard When You Grow Up In Public Schools

This has been on my mind recently, as I am reading Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich.

I have not given 100% for much of anything in my life. It is especially hard to do when dealing with health issues, as I have been off and on for the last three years (to be detailed out in further posts down the line).

But this is an embarrassing admission to make. Most of my life, I have been able to work at whatever I need to and be relatively successful without serious effort.

Note that I don’t always skate through. I am not particularly lazy, nor do I never work. I just haven’t really thrown myself into anything since I was in high school. That last thing was competitive theater, believe it or not. And when I put the effort in, I won first place in the entire state for classical comedic acting. But since then, not much. I have worked – I work on my writing. I work on my house, my business, work on my parenting. I read a great deal to find ways to improve any and all of those things. But I haven’t gone all in.

Some of this is personal failing, and yes, some of it is laziness.  Some of it is phoning it in.

But as I considered this over the last couple of weeks (and have worked to correct it in small steps) I started to think about why this was so, in a bigger picture sort of way. I figured it could help me overcome it.

For me personally, it doesn’t really matter. It’s been ten years since I was a public school student. It’s all on me now.

BUT, I came to an interesting line of thought for myself. It isn’t really original, the mediocrity of the public schools is well documented. It may be a slightly different perspective on it, though.

At the risk of bragging, I am very intelligent. I was able to be extremely successful in school – good grades, high ranking in my class, extracurriculars, etc., without any real effort. I did the busy work, but it wasn’t hard. I didn’t have to concentrate on it. Sure, it took time – most of school is a grind anyway. Even things that were hard for other “gifted” kids were not for me. With the exception of math, as I am almost functionally innumerate. But even then, I could skate through well enough.

I’d toy with the idea sometimes. If I just spent a little extra time, I’d be valedictorian. But I never followed through. Why? I was almost the top of the heap anyway, so was it really worth all that work just to move up a couple of slots? I decided it wasn’t. And even now I’d say, for that particular thing, it wasn’t. But now, for other things, it is. But I don’t know how to do it.

And thus I never learned to really work hard. There was one college class I was in that I did, but even with that one I had a natural affinity for the subject.

I think this is endemic. When everyone does well in the artificial environment of the public school, nobody learns to work. It’s an extension of the snowflaking issue of today’s millennials.  And honestly, you can do ok even now if you’re moderately intelligent and will do at least some of the grind.

When you don’t know how to work hard, though, it is a steep learning curve. It is a skill. When everything is easy, you don’t know how to do anything else. I think it is part of the reason why the dream is shifting from being a successful business owner to being a well-paid cog in the corporate machine. You don’t have to work hard to cash that paycheck. But when you’re the boss, that paycheck doesn’t come unless you make it come. It’s easier just to be the peon.

I have done well for myself. My life is good. I don’t sit around doing nothing all day, but I could certainly work harder than I am. And I can play harder than I do, which is just as important.

But the entire structure of the public schools breeds this. I am coming to believe that it does it on purpose. It makes it easier for the elites of the world to stay on top.

I don’t want my children to be adults before they have to work hard to earn something worthwhile. That is one of the reasons they’re being homeschooled. No more skating through to get the gold star, and then floundering when exiting the system at age twenty-two (or, increasingly, twenty-six or twenty-seven).

I’m making the effort now. I don’t want to skate along. I can do so much better than I have been. I am ready to stop surviving and start thriving. The honest truth is that I will not be able to make the career as a writer that I so desperately want work until I do work hard. Not with four kids and a household that I want to run well too.

And more importantly, to conquer some of the issues that I am facing, I have to. My particular health problem can be managed and improved, but half-assing it isn’t going to do it. It’s time to work on self discipline and get going.

And the Gorilla Mindset is going to help with that.

will finish my novel, and all my partially written short stories this year.

will take control of my health problems this year.

will organize my household and my life the way I want it this year.

will learn to work hard, and know real success.


Pink, Purple and Sparkly

I tweeted about this a couple of days ago, but I feel like it needs a full blog post, because this is something I’ve been bothered by for a long time.

The tweet was in response to this article, about a woman who was offended that Target had a two signs on their aisles – “Building Toys” and “Girls’ Building Toys”. Cue the general outrage you’d expect from such a heinous sin. Thankfully, Target didn’t fall all over themselves to correct it – just commented that customers preferred the signs because it made navigating the store easier.

So beyond the practicality of that – how novel an idea, labeling aisles according to toy type, in a logical matter – I’d like to talk about this feminist inspired idea that is plastered all over the media as of late.

The idea that girls who are, well, girly – are broken and must be fixed.

Let me preface this with my belief that kids should be able to play with whatever they want to. Your son wants to play with dolls? Ok, sure, let him have fun. Your daughter wants fatigues and a gun? Let her have fun with that too. Life is too short to micromanage what your children enjoy, whether you’re feminist or traditional.

So now that that is out of the way – why does it matter if there are “Girls’ Building Toys”?. We saw a similar backlash over the newly released LEGO Friends Line, as if because this set of Girl Legos existed it immediately disqualified children with two X chromosomes from playing with any other Legos.

Now it isn’t – “Hey, let’s make sure that there are girl options for toys”, or even “Girls should be allowed to play with boy toys”, it is “Girls must only play with gender-neutral or boy toys. Girly toys are bad.”

This is an issue anyway, but it bothers me personally because my little girl – who is funny, smart and creative, and just fine exactly the way she is – is girly and now  many people (at least the main stream media/feminists) are acting like she is less of a girl for being this way, that she is illegitimate and must be changed. That she is not ok the way she is, and should be shamed because  her favorite colors are – in her words – pink, purple and sparkly. She also loves Princesses, and Mermaids, and dressing up, and playing with her play kitchen. And, horror of horrors – she helps me make dinner many evenings, because she wants to. I know. I should hang my head in shame for such a travesty.

Now, as I am sure someone will think this, no one has directly said it in those words…”shame your daughter for liking girl things”, but it permeates every article that condemns the availability or creation of toys that would appeal to her. Her likes aren’t right. Her likes don’t serve the cause. So even though she’s three, she should be changed to better fit the proper feminist mold of a girl. How is this remotely ok?

Pink was my favorite color growing up, despite being very tomboyish, especially from mid-Elementary School through Middle School. For whatever it is worth, I would have loved the Lego Friends when I was younger. I didn’t play with Legos, other than at my grandparents. But a couple Christmases ago, my husband bought me this Lego set because I’d never put one together, and I loved it. I think the girl colored Nerf things are awesome too.

Because why should a girl have to become a boy to like “boy” things? Or building toys, robotics, weapons, or science toys? So what if E wants to build with pink and purple Legos, or get the Sleeping Beauty princess Lego set? This is even ignoring the push to get more girls to enter into STEM subjects – if it gets girls playing with “boy” toys, why should they care what color it is? It is accomplishing their goals.

Of course, most if it is just because the type of people that get upset at signs accurately labeling the location of toys in a store are the kind of people that always find something that offends them.

But beyond that, my daughter is great. In addition to all her girly likes, she plays superheros with her brothers, likes cars and trains, and has just started taking Karate.

And do you know what color her new Karate gi is? Pink. Because she asked for it.

Stop telling her it isn’t ok for her to be the way she is. Let her enjoy her childhood. And if your daughter doesn’t want girl colored building toys – great. Buy her blue and green ones, or even plain wooden blocks with no color at all. I hope she loves them. But don’t make it out like my daughter is a lesser woman because she doesn’t innately jump towards feminist-approved activities, desires, and colors.


Strep throat, interesting links, and more – Seven Quick Takes Friday

Several of the blogs I’ve read in the past do this thing called Seven Quick Takes Friday, and I think I’ll jump on the bandwagon. It’s a good way to share short snippets that don’t really merit their own posts. So here we go with my first one!

1) I’ve been on Sugar Detox since A’s second birthday party Memorial Day weekend. It was going fantastic until the whole family (minus S, who hardly ever gets sick) was taken out by strep throat. Then after a debacle filled afternoon on Wednesday with me trying to get in to see a doctor, we ended up orderning pizza for dinner. I’ll do a separate post on sugar detoxes and such soon, but now it’s time to climb back on the wagon. I am disappointed, though – I’d spent a lot of time working on my gut flora and had it in pretty good shape (I think…my number of stomach viruses has dramatically plummeted over the past two months) and now I just nuked it with antibiotics. Sigh.

2) I worked a wedding last weekend, a charity gala last night, and now I have another one with a bonus two hour round trip drive tomorrow. I like my job, but it’s also rough when everything clusters around a handful of dates, which it always seems to do. After tomorrow I’ve got a bit of a reprieve though.

3) Next week is vacation bible school at our parish! S went for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. This years theme is the Mass, and I’m very happy to see our VBS going in a very Catholic direction. Last year was fine, they used one of the “everyone buys it and then picks their denomination” programs, so it included saints and Mary and such, but doing one on the Mass is really great, especially since S has been going to Mass.

4) Speaking of S going to Mass, once August rolls around he’ll be going with us the whole time every Sunday. He’s been coming until the Offertory since his 5th birthday in January. We have a great church library, which includes a collection of Brother Francis DVDs, which the kids have been enjoying. The Mass one is especially good. I’m recommending them to families with small children, they have helped S understand a lot of what is happening, and some concepts of the Catholic faith.

5) I’m in mad sprint mode to finish a short story for an upcoming anthology. “Down the Dragon Hole” is at 15k words and still not done…it’s kind of spun out of control. So most of today is going to be spent trying to finish it. I literally have a couple of days….ahhhh!

6)The kids’ great-grandma graciously sent money for S’s preschool graduation and A’s birthday, so we all went to Toys R Us while waiting for our antibiotic prescriptions on Wednesday. A picked out a Mickey umbrella, S got a t-rex skull night light (We watched Jurassic Park with him this weekend) and E finally got a Rapunzel wig, which promptly started to get super tangled (hah hah). I took a moment and put it into a big braid (divided it up into three parts, braided those three parts, and then braided the braids, if you can follow that) like Rapunzel’s in the movie. It looks alright – the wig wasn’t really threaded for that kind of look, but E was super happy with it and has been wearing it constantly.

7) So I was puttering around on the internet and read this interesting article from Simcha Fisher that I thought was worth sharing…A LIttle Fish Can Go A Long Way. I always find that kind of stuff fascinating.

So there we go! I have a handful of posts on the docket for next week, including a recap of our rainy trip to the Birmingham Zoo last Thursday that should be fun. Have a restful weekend!

Meet the Family

Here is a quick introduction to my husband and kids, to make it easier to follow whenever trip diaries/daily life posts happen to appear.

disney vacation 1272This is Russell (pictured when our youngest was a baby). I go ahead and use his full name as he is a fellow author and hosts a blog here.  We met at a Karate studio, and have been married since 2007. He is a joy to share my life with, and I will never allow him to cut his hair, since people seem to think that I’m just itching to make him do it. You remember what happened to Samson, right? On the plus side, everyone remembers him once they see him, so we meet (or re-meet) people all the time.

We converted together to Catholicism after much discussion, and joined the Church on Easter 2011. We continue to journey together, learning more about our faith and working to structure our lives around the seasons and requirements of the church after both of us growing up without a lot of that. He is a Sandan in Shin Nagare Karate and runs a school teaching it. In his day job he is a programmer.

Our oldest son was born in January 2010. S is rambunctious, smart, and helpful. He lovesIMG_9412 Batman, Legos, Minecraft, Star Wars, and lots of other nerdy things. We frequently have movie nights with him, and so now he has seen all the Star Wars movies, all the Harry Potter movies, the original Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Chronicles of Narnia movies, just about all the current superhero movies (minus The Dark Knight, a fact which irks him very much) and more. His next goal is to learn how to read, because we promised him he could start playing World of Warcraft with us once he learned. Stay tuned because S gets to take his first trip to Dragon Con this year, and he has lots of costumes planned and is very excited.

Our middle child and only girl is E. She was born in December 2011. She is a tiny pixie of a blonde girl that is alreIMG_0802ady excellent at using her cuteness to get favors from strangers. Luckily (or unluckily, as she probably currently sees it) for her that it doesn’t really work on her parents, especially her daddy. She is as girly as one can be, but she also loves our movie nights and is able to hold her own against her two brothers (one of which is affectionately called “wrecking ball” in the church nursery). E currently loves Rapunzel, Ariel, mermaids and The Princess Bride.

The youngest was born in May 2013. A is a beast of a kid who will gladly share his special brand IMG_9942of aggressive affection with you. He is as tall as his big sister and heavier, and now I often get the question if they are twins. A is a clown, who will keep doing anything that makes someone laugh. Mickey Mouse is his best friend, and we now have more stuffed Mickeys in the house than children. He also has a unique and amusing way of grumping about things, so the phrase, “A, no more demon voice,” is commonly used in our household. He absolutely loves playing with balls and climbing, and is rather skilled at getting around various types of childproofing and gating to get what he wants.

So that is our household for now. Hopefully we can have fun sharing stories and experiences about ourselves. Now you know who everyone is when you start to read recaps and posts :).

Hello! Obligatory Introduction Post time!

Good morning! What follows is the obligatory introduction post for a new blog. I’ll try to get through this quickly so we can get on to the interesting stuff 🙂

My name is Morgon, and I am a writer, videographer, wife, mother and martial artist. In case you thought that covered everything, it doesn’t really…among other things, we can add gamer, singer, actor, devout Catholic, and more. If you think that is an odd mix of things, well…it is.

And that is how this blog will be. It will be an odd mix of things. Part mommy blog, part reviews & pop culture, part author blog, part homeschool/DIY/homesteading, and part anything else I happen to find interesting. It will be eclectic, but I hope that will serve to keep things interesting, rather than just all over the place.

I own and operate a special event videography service that specializes in Weddings named Ever After. I started that in 2010, and how I got there is probably another blog post. I also co-own and help teach at my husband’s Karate dojo Madison Martial Arts. I teach one of the preschool karate classes. My other business hat is as an author for the publishing company Silver Empire. I have several published short stories, and also have a novella and novel that should be forthcoming. My husband blogs here if anyone is interested.

But I mostly stay at home with my three kids, even though it may not sound that way from the resume that I wrote above. All these businesses cater well to me being able to adjust them to fit into our family life, where I am not away from the kids too much, either literally or figuratively while I am working on my computer. It’s a hard balance that I struggle constantly to keep.

I read and watch a lot of TV. My family also makes an effort to eat paleo/primal/Weston A Price foundation (I basically pick and choose between them all based on my own research and what works for our family) so I’ll have discussion, posts and recipes pertaining to that. I love food, and to cook, and I also love food history, so those topics will make an appearance as well.

We live in a brick rental house, and are working our way towards purchasing our own land and building our own house, and heading in the homestead direction. I can’t say how hard-core we’ll end up being, or even what we’ll do on our land, but it is a goal and also something that I am interested in.

Thanks for coming to my corner of the web. I hope you’ll enjoy it. Since this will be sort of a mommy type blog, I’ll also have a following post introducing my husband and my kids, and then we’ll jump all the way into this blogging venture.

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