Posts Tagged ‘Juli Page Morgan’

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I was flabbergasted when Juli Page Morgan got in touch with me and offered me a print copy of her novel, Crimson and Clover. What a kind gesture!

And let me tell you, this is a good read. It’s the story of Katie, a woman of independent wealth in the 1960s, who picks up on a whim and moves to England. She hits the ground running, finding a place to stay and getting settled way more easily than I’d ever had thought was possible. But then, I’ve always used all those difficulties as a reason not to do something this crazy.

At a party, Katie meets Jay and the sparks between them are huge. And their story begins.

Make no mistake: this is the story of Katie and Jay. Things like her best friend, Maureen, who has a flair for fashion and convinces Katie to help her start their own business, are secondary. Which is almost too bad, because that’s every bit as interesting—to me—as the rock and roll storyline here. In fact, the Rock Fiction tends to take place off stage, although it’s used at times in interesting ways, like how Jay deals with how badly he misses Katie, and the problems that causes when Katie finds out.

I have to confess that I read this a bit ago and have been dragging my heels about writing this review. We’ll get to that in a second, but for now, I want to focus on this detail. Jay does something when he misses Katie. She has a hard time dealing with that. It’s the big obstacle they have to overcome in their quest for their Happily Ever After, and it shapes the fact that this ending is a Happily For Now. Maybe not even Happily so much as Committed to Working it Out, which is maybe a blend between HFN and HEA.

I do wish Jay’s coping technique had been more fully explored, but at the heart, this is really Katie’s story. It’s about her life, how she grows and changes and learns to live with (or without) Jay. Thus, we don’t get a lot of views of the inside of Jay’s head. We don’t see a lot of him through his eyes and his thoughts. It’s mostly filtered through Katie. This is both good and bad: it’s Katie’s story, as I said. But maybe knowing Jay a little bit better would help grab me a bit harder.

I guess the reason for my heel-dragging is that the book is… it’s okay. It’s a good read; don’t overlook it because it’s time well-spent. It’s just that it’s not fabulous, and while I love the idea of the book being set in the 1960s, other than some language (which sometimes felt a bit forced), I didn’t feel the authenticity of the setting. And I wanted to. The sixties flower children fascinate me, probably because they have become so desperately clichéd, and I was hoping to really get inside them and feel the atmosphere and experience the mindset.

I don’t know. Maybe I did and the mystique I grew up with is just … not a thing. That flower children are people too, and there’s nothing special about them.

I don’t buy it, though. I want more of the subculture, and I want to see how Maureen and Katie grow up and out of it, even a little bit.

However, on the flip side, kudos to Ms. Morgan for not descending into the usual clichés that surround flower children. I’ve got to make a note of that, and I want you all to know that, too.
Still, like I said, this is a good read. Perfect for a plane or the beach. It’s a fun story, fun to see Jay and Katie try to figure it out. Maureen is also a great character, and really, while there are others in the book, including the hapless Adam, the three of them really run this show. As they should. The secondary characters are also well drawn.

While the setting may not have delivered on its promise, I have a feeling that Ms. Morgan will in future books. I’ll gladly read more from her. And she won’t even have to send me a copy to make that happen.

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As the word of Rocktober spreads, so does the number of authors who want to take part in the fun (remember, it’s ALWAYS Rocktober over here at The Rock of Pages. This is just the month we crank it up to twelve. ‘Cause eleven’s not loud enough!).

Today’s guest is Juli Page Morgan, who’s got a great guest post about her new release, Crimson and Clover.

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Juli, take it away!

He was just supposed to be a minor character, that’s all. The hero of my book, the guy who got the girl, was going to be the lead singer. And that minor character? The lead guitar player for the band. I didn’t think about him much, to be honest. He was only there because the band needed a guitarist. Dude didn’t even have a name.

But one day while I was writing a scene involving the whole band, a scene where the heroine was in attendance, I took a good look at this minor character for the first time. I saw him through the heroine’s eyes, and damn. He was beautiful. I mean the kind of male beauty that makes panties evaporate and ovaries explode. And my heroine? She went into heat. If she’d been a cat she would have rolled around on the floor in front of him and yowled. I was tempted to join her.

So while I salivated over this minor character, I tried to reason with my heroine.

Me: Cut it out. I mean it. You’re in love with the lead singer.

Her: What lead singer? There’s a lead singer? Didn’t notice.

Me: Come on. None of us have time for this nonsense. You love the lead singer, and y’all are going to live happily ever after. This guitar player is just a minor character. He doesn’t even have a name yet.

Her: He doesn’t need a name. All he needs to do is strap on that axe and then get all sweaty onstage.

Me: Stop it. (pause) Sweaty?

Her: Dripping. Just look at that luscious black hair of his. Look at his freakin’ eyes!

So I looked at his eyes. There was a mischievous twinkle shining in them. There were also a lot of really hot promises about what he could do to me … I mean, do to the heroine.

Then he smiled.

Lead singer? There was a lead singer? Didn’t notice.

Still, I tried to carry on with the story I thought I was writing. So the guitar player would assume a bigger role in the book. No big deal. It happens. Besides, lead guitar players are hard to shove into the background, am I right? But the more I wrote, the more he showed up. Little by little he took over the story and the heroine’s heart. I finally had to scrap almost everything I’d written and start again. Only one problem: he still didn’t have a name.

Check that. He had a name, he just refused to tell me what it was. I asked, he laughed. I begged, he laughed harder. One day he let me know it was time to reveal his name. I was indecently relieved and had my finger hovering over the “Find and Replace” function on my computer, ready to change all instances of Guitar Guy (that’s what I was reduced to calling him) to his name. He leaned close and whispered in my ear.

Him: My name is … Delbert.

Then he snickered.

To be honest, I don’t really remember how I came to know his name was Jay Carey. I was writing and the heroine called him Jay. And I just knew. I’m sure he told me somehow, the sneaky little bugger.

That minor character, the one with no name, took over the whole book. He went from a shadow in the background to the hero, the guy who gets the girl. He knew the lead singer wasn’t right for the heroine so he stepped up. Because he wanted her.

Can’t ignore those lead guitarists.

If you want to read Jay’s story it’s called Crimson and Clover. You can read the first chapter and find out how the story begins on my website.

I am in tears over this one. Delbert? Oh, my! This guy has a lot in common with my Trevor, which means I love him already. Maybe not the cat in heat love that Juli has, but that’s okay. He’s hers. I’m willing to let that remain.

Until I read the book and meet the man for myself, anyway…

As always, grab a copy of Crimson and Clover.
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Check out Juli’s backlist of other Rock Fiction romances. Buy them. Read them. Review them.