Guiding you along the writer’s path

Editing

A developmental editor helps writers hone their work-in-progress. For voice, heart, vision, yes!—and for style, organization, and clarity, too. Have a draft of a memoir or novel? Establishing your on-line presence? My feedback can pave the way toward your publishing and solopreneurial goals.

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Coaching

A writing coach is a literary fairy godmother. She can charm your plot or transform your writing practice! I’ve earned my wand helping castles-full of writers abracadabra great ideas into golden sheaves of pages. Whether you’re creating book pages or web pages, I can help you, too.

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I’m Jamie

From the moment I facilitated my first writer’s group, I’ve been on a mission: to help other writers make their mark. Now, in addition to my work with fiction writers and memoirists, I also provide editing services and support to entrepreneurs. Because your success is my success.

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News, Notes & Quotes


  • IT’S FRIDAY. THE INFLUX OF WORK HAS ABATED. After hitting send on the last edit in the queue, I pack up three tarot decks, two spiral-bound journals, a small herd of mechanical pencils, a bag of raw pumpkin seeds—and a plan.

    The Plan
    I’m going to drive the twenty-five miles to Writing Wench’s house out in The Actual Freaking Country, where she lives with her husband and fifteen cats (give or take; she doesn’t count them, she says, because she really doesn’t want to know how many she has).

    Once there, I will hunker across the yellow Formica table from WW, and we will write, she, revising a chapter in her novel-in-progress; me, drafting a blog post for September—about tarot’s Hermit card. I hope.

    The Journey
    I continue to underestimate the plague that is Central Florida traffic, so I get stuck on Red Bug Lake Road near Tuskawilla Road, albeit in a drizzly rain that drops the temperature from a brutal 93 degrees Fahrenheit (do I need to qualify that as “brutal”?) to a semi-bearable 87 degrees. At the side of the road, where traffic has entirely halted my progress at the entrance to Willa Springs Village shopping plaza, a young man holds up a neatly Sharpie-markered cardboard sign: Homeless. Food. Clothes. Anything. Please help.

    His not-quite-shoulder-length blond hair looks clean (not that it needs to; just a point of fact), as do his face and his long-sleeved chambray shirt. Drastically bowlegged, he pitches side to side as he walks along the berm, as if his pelvis has been broken at some point.

    I roll down my passenger side window. “Can I get you something to eat from Publix?” I call. He lurches over. His face, I see now, is softly freckled, his eyes, pale blue. He looks young. Misplaced.

    He’s not hungry, thank you, he tells me, but would really enjoy a bottle of whole milk.

    (Whole milk? How wrong is it that I wonder for a moment if whole milk is somehow used to cook or otherwise prepare a drug I’ve never heard of? Probably pretty wrong. On the other hand, what do I care—even if it is?)

    I pull out of the snarl of traffic and into the relative calm of the Publix parking lot, heart lifted because I have a mission. Inside the supermarket, I dismiss the idea of getting the young man organic grassmilk—milk produced by grass-fed cows—as it might taste too “green” to him, a bit sour. Instead, I settle on a quart of whole, homogenized T.G. Lee Dairy milk: Our Farmers Pledge NO Artificial Growth Hormones. I also get five dollars in cash at check out.

    In the fifteen or so minutes it’s taken me to get back to the young man at the side of the road, the drizzle has stopped and the heat returned, so that, when he thanks me for the quart of milk and the five dollars, sweat is beading on his forehead and a rivulet trickles down his nose. After a moment, in which I realize there is probably nothing more I can do to help, I wish him the very best I can wish him and go on my way.

    The Destination
    At Writing Wench’s table, tea steeping, cats occupying various perches, I take out the Hermit card from each of the three decks I’ve brought and start to consider my blog post. But after a few minutes, it’s clear that all my pen wants to talk about is the young man at Publix. So I let it. Because, while by the bright light of this mid-afternoon sun I can’t see how that story connects to the Hermit, I suspect it does—and that tonight, by the gentle light of the seeker’s moon, I’ll see exactly how.

    WRITING PROMPT
    1)
    Plan a (modest) solo journey.

    2) Embark. Along the way, allow for interruptions. When one finds you, be curious. Lift the lantern of your heart to see what there is to see. And if you happen to meet the Buddha on the road, in whatever disguise, don’t kill him. Instead, ask how you can be of service. Then, having done what you can do, continue on your journey.

    3) Once you reach your destination, pour a cup of tea and write about where you’ve been.

    This post was inspired by the Hermit of the tarot deck. The Hermit, a loner, is often shown cloaked, in the moonlight, holding up a lantern to indicate a search for spiritual understanding. The Hermit’s quest, of course, can take him inward, as well as on the road. Ours, too. Because all of life is a quest and we, perhaps, all Hermits, seeking our truth.

    This contemplative Hermit comes from THE PHANTOMWISE TAROT, by Erin Morgenstern, author of the hauntingly beautiful novel THE NIGHT CIRCUS.

     

  • Finally! Syndicated political cartoonist DANA SUMMERS’ debut novel is available. Winner of the Florida Writers Association’s Royal Palm Award and Mystery Writers of America’s Freddie Award, DRAWN AND BURIED follows cartoonist Tim Ryder, who drew a cartoon series that earned him a Pulitzer, but drove a presidential candidate to put a bullet in his head. When we first meet Tim, local politicians begin turning up dead at murder scenes staged to resemble cartoons he has drawn. Uh-oh. Good luck, Tim!

    Congrats, Dana! (And thanks so much for your appreciative note in your acknowledgements.)

    * * *

    SHERRY TURNER’S memoir about her time spent care-giving for her beloved mother-in-law, LIFE WITH MOLLIE, BUT REALLY IT’S ALL ABOUT ME, has been selected by Kirkus Reviews’ indie editors to be featured in their magazine. (Click here to read the review.) That’s no small feat. Yay, for you, Sherry!

    * * *

    Congrats, too, to CHARLENE EDGE, whose memoir, UNDERTOW: My Escape from the Fundamentalism and Cult Control of The Way International, was awarded a gold medal by Florida Authors and Publishers Association this year and made BookRiot’s 100 Must-Read Books About Life in Cults and Oppressive Religious Sects.

    Note to Central Floridians: On Thursday, September 14, at 7:00 p.m., at the Winter Park Public Library, Charlene will present Life in a Cult: How I Lived and How I Escaped, telling her story of the seventeen years she spent in a fundamentalist cult, how to identify a cult, how cults recruit, and how they undermine freedom.

  • IT WAS THE DAY BEFORE my father’s last Father’s Day. As was our custom, we were hanging out at Barnes and Noble, and my father told me to go pick out a book. Which I did. Then he inscribed it:

    If tomorrow were Pal’s Day, instead of another tired Father’s Day, you’d get the flower for being the BEST PAL of ALL, signed, Daddy.

    This sentiment may or may not have been accurate. But, at any rate, it was certainly only part of the story.

    Another part of the story is this: My relationship with my father was like dancing with a lion in a cage. In this dance, a father-daughter two-step, I struggled to assert my own strength, while he unfailingly maintained the whip hand. Not, by the way, that this seemed much different to me than his other relationships—with his wives (all four of them), his other kids, his stepkids, his siblings, his colleagues.

    A professor of philosophy, my father had little of the equilibrium, the perspective, the tolerance of his fellow human being you might expect of a person who has spent a lifetime studying higher thought.

    Instead, he was often slashingly critical. Even vicious. Sometimes, even violent. And he was not to be questioned. For instance, once, when I asked if he had ever hit my then-adolescent stepbrother, my father rose up roaring and ordered me out of his house.

    And he never really mellowed.

    For my part, over the years, I alternately challenged my father and tried to appease the beast that lived inside him. For his part, he backed, against all comers, that beast—a beast that, to the end, was never done roaring.

    Of course, this, too, is only part of the story.

    WRITING PROMPT
    Set aside thirty minutes of journaling time. Allow your writing to reflect on a less-than-perfect relationship—perhaps with your own father or a father figure. What power struggles occur within the relationship? What role do you play in that dynamic? Can you give concrete examples to illustrate the struggle?

    Next, consider what might happen if you were to challenge the power dynamic, even gently—by asking a question, for instance, or changing your own behavior in some small way. Play out that potential shift by writing a scene about it.

    If this personal approach cuts too close to the bone, write about a fictional character, instead, and spend some pages examining their relationship with their father.

    This post was inspired by the Strength card of the tarot deck, which can refer both to our use of our personal power and to the taming of various instinctual aspects of our personality. Strength is a neutral attribute: Awareness, intention, and mastery of self all help us to use our strength wisely.

    In this version of Strength, from LeGrande Circus & Sideshow Tarot, the lion tamer seems to have met her match. It’s up to the viewer to imagine how this dance will end. (Image used by kind permission of U.S. Games Systems.)

  • Congratulations to artist REBECCA SCHOENECKER on the publication of her stunningly beautiful, four-years-in-the-making CREATURES OF THE MOON: A Storytelling Oracle. This oracle deck’s 32 full-color cards, featuring both animal-totem guidance and moon-cycle guidance, is accompanied by a 308-page companion book, which includes original, fairy-tale-like stories for each image. I am so proud to have been project coach and first editor on this fascinating new oracle. May the Creatures be with you, Rebecca!

    * * *

    A big shout out, too, to CINDY KNOEBEL, whose (brilliant!) short humor piece “THE GREAT METAPHOR” was included in the spring 2017 issue of online literary magazine PHREN-Z. (Click HERE to read the entire piece.) Cindy is currently seeking representation for her first novel, a high-stakes, high-spirited Wall Street romp (complete with dismembered Barbie dolls and attempted murder).

    * * *

    Woo-hoo! Just one year old, South Florida magazine CYCLING QUARTERLY (which I am pleased as punch to edit!) is a finalist for two of FLORIDA MAGAZINE ASSOCIATION’S Charlie Awards—one for Best Advertisement: Self-Promotional (congrats, to CQ publisher MICHAEL GALE and to GARY DAVIDSON and BRUCE BORICH), and another for Best Writing: Column (yay, MARIAH REED!). If you’re a South Florida cyclist, grab the latest issue free from most SoFla bike shops.

     

» News Archive

Jamie Morris is an outstanding resource for writers who want to reach the pinnacle of success. She’s a warm, encouraging angel on your shoulder, but she’s also got the skills, experience, and good judgment to help you vanquish your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths. If you’re a writer with serious ambitions, work with Jamie. Elizabeth SimsYOU’VE GOT A BOOK IN YOU: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams (Writers Digest)


Hey, J. Just wanted to say “THANKS!” for the coaching session today. It was amazingly productive. I now have actionable clarity for revising one novel that’s been giving me grief, and finishing another that had stalled in the middle. Pretty good work for one hour, no? Ryan G. Van Cleave, Creative Writing BFA Coordinator, Ringling College of Art and Design; author of THE WEEKEND BOOK PROPOSAL (Writers Digest); MEMOIR WRITING FOR DUMMIES (John Wiley & Sons); BEHIND THE SHORT STORY, with Todd James Pierce (Longman)

Jamie: I am so freaking in love with you, this process, and my book! People dread asking me how I am because I tell them in nauseating detail how much I love my book and my writing coach and what we are up to! I feel like I won the lottery! Cara Gubbins, PhD, THE DOLPHINS OF HILTON HEAD (University of South Carolina Press); EVERYDAY WOMEN CREATING EXTRAORDINARY LIVES (JADA Press)


Jamie, thanks for all your notes and for the session Friday morning. It was all very helpful on so many levels. You are someone to treasure, for sure. I’m so glad you are part of my team. Beth Lambdin, blogger, essayist, film reviewer


Jamie! You’re so wonderful! Our time together is so magical. Thank you for reigniting my passion and gifting me focus and insights. I’m thrilled about the new direction for my book. You’re all things goodness. So profoundly grateful for you and the forces that guided us together for this. Kristen Schneider, founder, Wellblends; author, YOUR LIFE IS MEDICINE: Ayurveda for Yogis

Jamie, you are so special to me and the most amazing person to come across my path at this particular time. It feels like a spiritual connection, and I do believe you are this story’s fairy godmother, as you are not only making sense of what’s already been done, but giving a new perspective on what is yet to be. Big Shared World is already better thanks to your involvement. I am better because of you. Wow! Colleen Waterston, BigSharedWorld.com


Jamie! You have a great eye. It was awesome how you and I were able to work intuitively together. You are right—all of those details do truly matter! Rebecca Schoenecker, creator of Creatures of the Moon Oracle Deck


Jamie, I owe you ten bucks, but I really owe you so much more! You’ve pushed me to uncover truth in my writing. I’ve learned so much about writing, so much about myself. Thanks for the opportunity. I look forward to more. —Liz Rash, memoirist


Get your happy dance on, Jamie! I got an agent!!! I’m so excited. Get ready to grace my acknowledgement page!!! You were so integral in helping me with my character arcs in FORETOLD—and with the underlying theme! Remember when we met in downtown Mount Dora? That session was so good. Our ideas totally merged, and magic happened! —Melissa Abrehamsen, FORETOLD (represented by Siobhan McBride of Serendipity Literary Agency)


Working with Jamie Morris is a writer’s wet dream. She is incredibly professional, with a strict adherence to deadlines—and she’s got a keen eye and is full of tremendous big-picture insight and ideas. She sees the opportunities in brainstorming and works in a direction that truly meets project goals. At the end of it all, you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy after getting your authentic voice and vision in the world. Did I mention she is tons of fun, too? She brings her personality and spirit to the work, and infuses the process with joy. If you want to take your work to the next level, then call Jamie immediately. And it will be our little secret if you feel all flush with the warm glow of big dreams realized, afterward. Because, you know, you will. —Theresa Pridemore, creator, THE PORTLAND TAROT


Running a soul-centered business doesn’t come easy. Unless you have Jamie Morris at your side. Her coaching is soul-to-soul. She offers resources and stories to help navigate one’s journey. Jamie’s enthusiasm and spot-on intuition enhance her talents as a writer and editor. She’s a natural cheerleader of bloggers and businesses, and a magician who performs stellar work on any written endeavor. Tabitha Dial, MFA, author, poet; Tarot and Tea Leaf Readings by Tabitha


I must report on the truly remarkable day that Jamie Morris created for LifeArt Studio, called “Your Creativity is in the Cards.” I’m tellin’ you, it was A-MAZING. Guided by Tarot expert and workshop leader, the inimitable Jamie, we each created something new, a result of the encouraging and provocative prompts she gave us. If you missed the experience with Jamie Morris, I’m really sorry. I so wish I could give that experience to all LifeArt followers. —Lezlie Laws, LifeArt Studio

 
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