Friday, March 11, 2011

Will the REAL Jake Morgan please stand up...

I promised three-parts to my hero blog’s. So here you have it… #3. Yesterday, you read about “my” character, Jake Morgan. A character that I crafted myself, spent days thinking about, hours writing and re-writing, and well... perfecting. When I was through, he was what I wanted.

There is an interesting story that goes along with that crafting of my character. Like many writers I do what I can to create a character in my mind, I mold and shape their personality, even the way they look. While I was working on Jake, I had a vision of who he was and what he looked like. A clear vision like no other character I have worked with before. I searched through magazines trying to find a man that looked even just a little bit like the man that I saw so clearly in my brain.

More than a year had passed and I was still searching through those magazines, yet I found nothing. Until one day at the grocery store. I happened to pick up one of my favorite magazines and thumb through it, trying to decide if I wanted to buy it. I thought I was going to have a stroke when I opened the cover of the magazine. Right there staring back at me was Jake Morgan. What the heck was he doing in there when I had been searching so long for him? Hiding between the pages of a magazine apparently.

My heart raced as I quickly put the magazine into the cart. I could hardly believe Jake Morgan was between those pages. This man I had been living with in my mind for so long, finally I had his picture! As soon as I got home, I tore the picture from the cover and put him in the front of the binder that held all of my info on Morgan Ranch. I felt like everything was complete.

A few weeks after I made the discovery, I happened to be on myspace. I was new to the site and searching for writer friends to connect with. When fate stepped in and I happened to stumble across Jake Morgan again, this time it was his myspace page. Interestingly enough, his name wasn’t really Jake Morgan, he called himself Joshua Smith. What did I do you asked? What any other normal person would do. I messaged him on myspace and begged him to be my friend. Well sort of… I did really message him, but I told him that I was working on a book and that I had seen his picture in the COWBOYS & INDIANS magazine and using his image as a hero in my book. He responded by accepting my friendship and asking me to give him a call. So I did. We’ve kept in contact since and he was even nice enough to let me interview him. So here you go… “MY” Jake Morgan who calls himself… Joshua Smith.

Joshua, tell me a little bit about what you do…

- “Goodness, there is quite a bit to that question. I would first and foremost, I would say I am a horseman, I truly have been blessed with a gift to understand animals. I have worked on and managed equine facility’s for the past ten year’s which comes with a lot of different jobs rolled into one, which would include; feeding and nutrition values of feed, stall management, pasture management, carpentry, welding, fencing, haying, irrigation, plumbing, and electrical. Not to mention working with horses that have people problems, giving riding lessons, starting horses, and training horses. I was raised working a commercial cattle outfit, so I know being around horses and cattle have been the greater part of my life. So, at most equine facility’s I have had to take care of cattle, too.”

What was your reaction when you heard that your picture inspired me to make “you” a character in a romance novel?

-“I was a red as anything has ever made me! I blushed, my heart raced, I thought to myself… she’s got to have the wrong guy, when you found me on Myspace! I think it was about two years after the photo shoot for Stetson so every now and again someone might recognize me, but not very often. Mostly just friends would call and tell me they saw me here or there; NFR, Horse Congress, magazine’s, in a store somewhere… but I could never have even begun to think about that!! I had never even read a romance novel… Louis L’Amor is about the only fiction novel’s I’ve read!”

Having read most of Morgan Ranch, do you feel that you have any similarities to the character your photo inspired, Jake Morgan?

-“I would have to say in reading Morgan Ranch, I found myself picturing the ranch setting with other ranches I have worked or visited. Thinking about a father I had lost half-a-lifetime ago (if he left me a ranch), what feelings would I have in Jake’s shoes… and the more I read, the more I saw many similarities!”

If yes, what would the similarities be?

-“First off, my father and I never saw eye to eye. He and my mother where divorced very early on in my life and had a very strained relationship and he never made the effort to try to understand me. He came to one of baseball games growing up… I played all the way through a Jr. College. He was never into ranching like I am, I had to learn from my uncle…my stand in father! So, the conflict with my father, although not exactly like Jake’s… I really understand.

Secondly, Jake was not in his father’s life when his father past and they were not even speaking. I can understand that all to well! My father called me when I was fourteen and told me to tell my older sister (who he adopted at 4 yrs old) to not expect to see or hear from him again in the most matter of fact tone and hung up the phone on me. He did called me again when I was seventeen and wanted to talk, so being the mature kid I was… I hung up, twice! He passed away twenty some days later from Leukemia. After calling my mother at work and her rushing home to get me to go see him, we had a very short and strained relationship. I had many years of drinking too much, partin’ to hard, and heaps of women... like Jake from that absence in my life. I just need to find that one gal for me!

You have been on television, been an extra in a movie, as well as the Stetson model, and now a rancher. Out of everything that you’ve done what has been the most satisfying and why?

-“Well, thank you for taking notice of the some of my most recent accomplishments! Being on the T.V. was great… but, forgotten quickly if your show is not in re-runs. I have been in several movies… but if you’re not the star, you’re just in the background. I really liked being the spokes model for Stetson… during the shoot they didn’t want me to smile… and I like to laugh a lot! They wanted me to just stare into the distance, so I thought of all those days I spent out to sea in the Navy… just being lost in the loneliness of the oceans! I have ranched with my family as far back as I can remember and have had some of the closest, fun, hard working times I can remember… and that is what has made me who I am today! I really think that I have found who I am by being around horses, I can’t make them do one thing if it is not their idea to do it. I have had to learn from horses to be able to teach horses! I had the desire to be around them, not for horse to be around me… and that is why I can say the most satisfying thing I’ve done is to live on ranches and start horses!!

Thank you Micole,

Life is crazy sometimes. I think it was fate that we connected the strange way that we did. Without the Internet it would have never happened. I am so happy that we have become friends. Joshua is a great guy and he has been so kind to let me interview him as well as borrow his pictures for the work on my book and my blog. The picture I am including today, (at the top of the blog) is the one I want to be the cover of my book if it is ever published! I just love it. Thank you, Joshua.

Thank you all for reading. see you on Tuesday, when I have Loucinda McGary visiting.




Sheri Humphreys said...

Micole, what an incredible story! It is really unique. Makes one wonder if there is such a things as past lives...........

Where does Joshua live? Interesting that their names both start with a J. Thanks for sharing this. He is one good-looking dude, and sounds like a great person. I'm guessing your hero Jake is an absolutely stellar hero!

Carol L. said...

Great post.He's such a down to earth man and sounds exactly like what a cowboy should be. Thanks for sharing this Hot looking man. lol
Carol L

Carol L. said...

Sorry Nicole,
I meant to also say Good Luck with the book. I'm rooting for you and Jake. :)
Carol L

Donna O'Brien said...

Wow Micole!! I didn't know this story! You've been holding out on us. :) But having read Morgan's Ranch, I can totally see Joshua as Jake or vice versa. What a great inspiration!

Keep up the great work!

Micole Black said...


When I bumped into him online he was living in LA close to Hollywood. He had recently finished working on a TV show, but has since moved back home to Colorado.

I was shocked by all of the similarities in both Jake and Joshua.

Thanks for stopping in Sheri! ;-)

Micole Black said...

Carol L.

thank you for stopping in. I'm glad you liked the post.



Micole Black said...


Thanks. I thought I had told you that story! ;-) So sorry to be holding out on you! ;-)