“Capturing Captain America”: Who’s Who

Tara Bender: A San Francisco vet who teaches at UC, Davis and is a pet blogger for various media outlets. In her spare time Tara supports various animal welfare causes and is a commissioned Vet for the SFPD. She is especially protective towards German Shepherds and hosts an Annual fundraiser for various breed rescues in California. Tara runs a successful vet clinic in Pacific Heights and has a tenacious, never say die attitude. She also has a strong creative streak and practices Kundalini Yoga to break down her ego. Tara attends a Religious Science Church in the city and runs a book club with her sister-in-law Natasha based on “May Cause Miracles” by author Gabrielle Bernstein. As she goes through the six weeks of lessons in the book, Tara begins to realize that her fears are causing her to experience the world in a negative way and influence behaviors that make for bad relationships. Her life begins to look brighter when she meets Cameron Paisley, an exiting British Polo player and Philanthropist. Not only does her relationship with Cameron cause Tara to reconsider her plans to have a baby through a sperm donor, it inspires her to retrain her brother’s retired police dog, K-9 Ruby, into a certified therapy pet.

Ronan Kiernan: A determined worker bee, intelligent, clever, and stick-to-it kind of guy, who is genuinely shocked to discover that Tara has decided to become a single mother through a sperm donor. Ronan is also stunned to learn that Tara has become involved with Cameron Paisley, a man who is the subject of his recent Federal case.  As his investigation into Cameron’s activities grows deeper, Ronan is dumbfounded by the strong and sudden feelings of protectiveness he feels towards Tara, so he decides to convince her of Cameron’s true guilt. In order to do so Ronan enlists his best friend Anthony to help him. When Anthony assigns Ronan the task of duty dating to practice getting comfortable with relationships again, he learns how much he is hurting himself and making things worse for his love life by staying stuck on the past and his failed marriage.

Anthony Harmon: Ronan’s best friend since College and his former partner when they were both officers who specialized as Man Trackers. Anthony has since been promoted to a Section Chief and is the more sensible and matter-of-fact person between the two. He is glad to be working with Ronan again to build a case against Cameron. Anthony also agrees to Ronan’s request to anonymously help Tara find her biological father by sending reports to her vet clinic. He thinks Ronan is more afraid than unsure when it comes to how he feels towards Tara. Instead of just telling Ronan to confront Tara directly, Anthony decides to let his best friend figure it out on his own, but agrees to keep an eye on Tara. Anthony is engaged to Caprice, an Occupational Therapist who is attends Natasha’s Pilates studio.

Natasha Erikssen: Married to Tara’s older half-brother Jacob, Natasha is full of natural self confidence, discipline, and knows her worth and what she offers the world. A popular Pilates teacher, Natasha is also a Special Contributing Editor for a major San Francisco daily newspaper and a dance therapist with a growing following. Her husband is her biggest fan and their relationship is the kind that Tara aspires to have herself. Jacob’s encouragement and guidance adds fuel to Natasha’s ambition to become a leading expert in the field of mind-body health like Jillian Michaels. To avoid burnout, Natasha starts to realize that her struggle with energy is not physical but more spiritual, she needs to dance professionally again. With support from Tara and Samantha, Natasha begins to dance again.

Cameron Paisley: He shares with Tara a love of animals. Cameron is confident in his looks and talents and knows how to be charming without seeming insincere. His family are very close and live nearby in Marin County. Born in Florida and raised in England, Cameron is a professional Polo player, whose aristocratic family lost their fortune in the early 20th century when his grandfather’s father squandered it on his mistress. Cameron’s mission in life is to restore the family name and fortune. Unfortunately, Cameron’s greed is just like his great grandfather’s and he resorts to less than respectable business practices to keep up with appearances.

Samantha Heather: A clinical psychologist and the granddaughter of Perry, the famous San Francisco psychic who predicted to Tara on her 16th birthday that her true love would be “an American James Bond” whom Samantha nicknamed “Captain America”. Samantha is also a BodyTalk practitioner who works with women struggling with an eating disorder. Samantha is the only one who is adamant that Captain America does exist and that Tara is a fool to convince herself he was never real by becoming involved with Cameron. Samantha is also the only one other than Ronan and Anthony who isn’t fooled by Cameron’s charm. Samantha begins to realize that she is not here to save others and must balance being a healer with her unique writer’s voice. During her BodyTalk sessions with Tara, Samantha decides to finish her passion project: A folk album and a musical tour with her sister and fiance Scott for the summer.

Caprice Desmond: Anthony’s fiancee who ends up being Ronan’s unofficial dating coach. She finds Ronan’s request of Anthony to keep track of Tara to be beyond strange but her romantic side thinks its oddly … romantic. Caprice encourages Natasha to dance again and becomes instrumental in helping her body recover to handle the physical demands of professional dancing.

Nicolette Lane: Ronan’s live-in girlfriend who works as a Buyer for Barneys and an avid Tantra teacher. Her master seduction techniques keeps Ronan hooked until he learns about Tara’s baby plans, and starts noticing how empty the relationship with Nicolette makes him feel. Unaware that Ronan is having Tara tracked by his best friend for personal reasons he disguises as professional, Nicolette starts to feel neglected by his long hours at work. Eventually she begins a secret affair with a stockbroker at her gym.


Special Acknowledgements


When she was 16 a psychic said that her ideal man would be like the Marvel Comics character. Now almost 33, Tara gives up, only to find herself confused and perplexed at whose wisdom she should listen to.

Jackie Morrison was previously published by Hyperink Press. She wrote a biography on actress Meryl Streep in February 2012.

Jackie Morrison was previously published by Hyperink Press. She wrote a biography on actress Meryl Streep in February 2012.














There are many people who were strong advocates in this first fiction book project of mine. “Capturing Captain America” may have been a title I thought up myself but the story grew from a lot of inspiration derived from the many years that I’ve been a fan of popular TV dramas like: Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Criminal Minds, Hawaii 5-0, and others in the genre.

On a personal note, I would like to give a very special thanks to Heather Strang, my book coach and midwife, whose debut novel “The Quest, reignited my desire to write this fiction tale.Through Heather’s BodyTalk sessions and “Manifest Your Dream Life” online coaching series, I felt like I was given a fresh infusion of inspiration to finally give birth to this novel once and for all.  Much love and special thanks as well to the other BodyTalk Goddess who are part of the trio of practitioners who have been a light on my writing path: Shelley Poovey and Lyn Delmastro.

There is also a special angel who deserves a special thank you in my dear friend Alison, who has been a stand for me to be published since the day we met in 2000. A former probation officer and correctional system “shrink”, Alison still holds the intention for me to meet my real true love, just like Heather as I pray for her motherhood dreams. Alison has been a wonderful resource in the research I needed to do to create the Ronan character.

A thank you too for Robyn Mason, an intimacy coach in the Bay Area, and Devi Ward the Tantrika Supreme, who suggested I inquire within on the role of mothers on their daughter’s sense of innate love-ability just as they are. Both asked me to take on being the compassionate mother to my little girl self whose emotions were running the show in my love life results.

During my childhood and teen years I never shared much what was going on with my parents thinking that I could handle it on my own. Being too much of a rugged individualist during the hormone laden teen years gave rise to a cluster of thoughts that were driven by youthful angst rather than wise adult compassion and a higher perspective.

One “breakthrough” conversation just before the first day of Spring on how mothers can influence how a daughter can develop an empowering belief system in the face of seemingly dis-empowering events during adolescence. Through that talk I traced the origins of how heartbreaks during my younger years could be revised as pivotal growth moments instead of “knocked down” incidents that had me question my right to be loved despite all my imperfections.

I’ve heard intimacy defined as “into-me-see” and critical times in my youth had caused me to conjure up “false evidence” that I didn’t deserve real love. Basically, I sentenced myself to not want to be seen because of my flaws. Captain America, the idea of him, was the perfect co-conspirator in attracting people who reinforced that belief to the point it seemed very real. After our breakthrough coaching talk I was committed to reshaping my perspective to one that attracted a collaborator to prove a new belief right ~ that I need to nothing to receive and experience genuine love.

Another kudo I would like to acknowledge for the book “May Cause Miracles” by Gabrielle Bernstein. It was Bernstein’s Medi-Dating CD and writings on special relationships were instrumental in supporting my release of a false love dream, my own Captain America.

When I was very young, and not much older than 16, a very famous psychic did predict that I’d end up with a soulmate whom she described as a hero law enforcement officer of some kind. Even though I never found the man my psychic called “Captain America“, I decided that my heroine would.

Letting go of an illusion that had served as my inspiration was a very new thing for me. Out of habit I had allowed a complete utter mirage to be a symbol of false hope to me. For quite some time, the thought of a Captain America out there who was supposedly “earmarked” for me, got me through many moments. The false belief that he was out there and would find me one day tricked my mind to keep me hopeful. I used the prediction in an unhealthy way to alleviate unhappy feelings and fears of being alone and ending up without a family in old age. Now, that reality has a chance to actually happen because the mirage is gone for good.

Joseph Campbell said that, “we must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” That is exactly what I’ve done. The real one could just be someone I never saw coming (like the John Mayer duet with Katy Perry below)

Like the lyrics in the song “Defying Gravity“:

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game




Capturing Captain America: The Protagonist

When she was 16  a psychic said that her ideal man would be like the Marvel Comics character. Now at 31, Tara gives up, only to find herself confused and perplexed at whose wisdom she should listen to.

When she was 16 a psychic said that her ideal man would be like the Marvel Comics character. Now at 30 going on 31, Tara gives up, only to find herself confused and perplexed at whose wisdom she should listen to.

The following is an excerpt from Jackie Morrison’s first fiction novel “Capturing  Captain America” and gives a glimpse into the plot’s protagonist: Tara Bender, a San Francisco Vet.

Fertile Thoughts, a new blog series on baby making by Tara Bender, DVM

I’m having my baby. The old Paul Anka song found a revival of sorts when it became a cover song on the TV show Glee. I remember that episode well. High School sweethearts Quinn and Finn were faced with a teenage pregnancy and used the lyrics to break the news to her parents. Out of curiosity I decided to listen to the original version on YouTube. What a surprise when I found my eyes tearing up. Was I sad for myself? No. I was feeling blue for my mother. She was neither in love or even smitten by my father. They never met.

My mother had decided on her 30th birthday that she wanted a child. Being a fan of genetics she knew the personality and physical traits she wanted to pass onto her offspring. So, like the mathematician she is, my mother scheduled an appointment at the Sperm Bank of California in 1982. She promptly selected the donor of her dreams and conceived my sisters and I. We are the products of a transactional exchange for genetic material. We were all born “out of wedlock” but none of us qualify to be called a “love child”. Love children are conceived in love, not via reproductive medical science.

Last month I celebrated my 30th birthday and it was clear to me that day how much I am my mother’s daughter. I’ve made the decision to follow in her footsteps. Being single, financially independent, and a homeowner, I’m in the position to give a child a good life. My romances have not turned into marriage or a long-term committed partnership and I simply can’t wait any longer. So instead of hiring a matchmaker I’ve decided to undergo the expense of artificial insemination. My dream donor is still being decided upon but this endeavor does not sadden me. I know I will love my children just as much as any mother. Growing up without a father is not ideal but it’s not a terminal disease either. This is San Francisco. Anything still goes. So yes, my kids are going to be “love children”. Deal with it if you disagree.

Many women want marriage and children. In the past it was socially unacceptable to become an unwed single mother. Before the option of artificial insemination it was impossible to have a child if one did not have an intimate relationship with a man. Now, the complications of a broken romance and the consequent drama of a custodial arrangement can be forgone with reproductive medicine. The advent of Sperm Banks in liberal San Francisco and elsewhere in California means that women can become mothers when they want and can exercise complete choice in the paternal DNA desired. I have narrowed my criteria to a select combination of personality and physical characteristics to ensure that my offspring will be smart, musical, and athletic. I see nothing wrong with this approach. The best police dogs are also the most carefully bred. Darwin would be proud of them and probably would consider sperm banks as beneficial to human evolution.

Dr. Tara Bender is a San Francisco Veterinarian and Equine Specialist who runs a clinic in Pacific Heights and is an associate professor at UC, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Bender is active in several animal welfare organizations, such as the San Francisco SPCA, The Humane Society of Marin, Veterinarians without Borders, Muttville, and Golden State German Shepherd Rescue. She is also a commissioned Vet for the SFPD and has treated injured K-9s and Police horses. In her spare time, Dr. Bender is a blogger for Huffington Post Pet. Fertile Thoughts is her new blog column chronicling her path to motherhood on her own terms.

Jackie Morrison’s Rewrite is Done!

My first fiction book “Capturing Captain America“, a modern ChickLit romantic comedy, will be published in Summer 2014.

What’s It About? 

A wild psychic prediction told 16 year old Tara Bender that she would meet a man like the Marvel Comics character and he would be her one aka true love aka soulmate. Now, another 16 years later, Tara gives up the hope he ever existed and becomes engaged to a British Polo Player who is charming beyond measure and too handsome for his own good. Was Captain America ever real? Tara gets her answer in more ways than one. All she wished for was simply “Somebody to Love“.

April 2014 Update: The rewrite is done, release date Summer 2014