2016 New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year again when we have to think of our goals for 2016. Below are my resolutions for 2016. It can apply to all writers who want to improve their craft and make 2016 a successful year.

  • Edit my manuscript. After finishing the NANOWRIMO challenge for 2015, I put the manuscript aside for the month of December and will start editing in January. After I have gone through a couple of times to check typos and add and delete, my editor will go through the whole process of line editing and copy editing. Then back to rewriting, finding what is wrong with the book and trying to improve it. Then edit, rewrite, again more edits and rewrites until I feel comfortable with it. You’ll be amazed at how many errors you’ll see as you edit the manuscript again and again. To put my name in my work, I want to have it free of typos and errors. I’m getting much better as I progress through my writing journey. You can have the best story in the world, but if your manuscript is full of typos, it can turn your readers off for good. I hope to finish the final rewrite of my third novel, my 2014 NANOWRIMO winner, and get it published this summer. It takes a year and a half to edit a first draft.
  • Read more. In 2015, I accomplished my reading goal at Goodreads. I read 28 books. To make it as an author, you have to read and read what your audience wants to read. I read mostly historical novels and write historical novels. Once in a while I will read other genres just to keep myself knowledgeable of what’s out there. I also read magazines. All the books that I read inspired me to do more writings. This year, my goal is to add 2 more books from my 2015 reading challenge. Since I intend to read some lengthy book in 2016, I feel 30 books is attainable. I’m starting the year with Edge of Eternity, a 1098-page book by Ken Follett.
  • Write more. Even with the NANOWRIMO finished and done with, I never slack on my writing. The only difference is I wake up an hour later. During the NANOWRIMO in November, I woke up at 5 a.m. I write better when everything is quiet around me. Now, I still write for 1-1/2 hour before breakfast, then an hour just before lunch, a couple of hours in the afternoon and possibly an hour at night. I either write, blog, do a research, read but there is always something I do towards my writing goal. I’m polishing my third and fourth novel and will start a nonfiction project this year.
  • Publish my manuscript. Once I’m comfortable with the manuscript, it’s time to let it go. How do I know if it is ready? After editing it a dozen times, you know in your heart, whether it is ready to publish or not. Then I go into promotion mode before its release. Right now, I have not made up my mind if I want to go through the traditional route due to my time constraint. I have so much idea in my head that there is no time to waste querying and waiting for months for an answer. If I was younger, I might consider it. I love what I do and I feel that the time I will spend on querying is better spent studying to improve my craft. Between taking care of my sick husband, writing, reading, doing voluntary work for my community, maintaining my house and garden and studying my market do not give me ample time to query and wait which takes too much time. I know. I tried it before. I got two rejections. However, I might change my mind later. You never know.
  • Marketing my work. Traditional publishers nowadays do not have time to market your book unless you are a celebrity. So I might as well go through independent publishing. I do my own publicity for my book. I have a web presence since 2000 when I was in real estate and have continued to do so, more now that I am a writer. I am on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, ActiveRain, Google and more. I have websites and blogs. I know marketing is important. I used to work in the corporate world and know the importance of marketing your product. I will keep on marketing my books through my web presence and word of mouth.
  • Enter a writing contest. I entered a writing contest for short stories in 2015 at Writer’s Digest and won an Honorable Mention. I write to educate, stimulate and inspire. My stories are original based on life events. I have won writing contests on my gardening articles before and will continue to enter my articles.
  • Update my website. I will keep the content of your website fresh. I have a website and two blogs. My Facebook pages are linked to my blogs and my website. I have an author’s profile at Amazon and Goodreads. I’m constantly updating both my websites and my blogs. I will keep on posting regularly to keep my readers coming.
  • Be more active on social media. It’s important to maintain your social media presence. I’m on Facebook but there is one thing I don’t post on Facebook. I still feel strongly that things personal is not a matter of public knowledge. I post mostly about my writings and my reading. Since my website is linked to my Facebook page, my postings on motivation and inspirational tips and gardening tips go right to my Facebook page. I will like other pages and make comments every so often.
  • Be active in your community. Get involved in your community and let them know you’re an author. That is one ready market for you. I’m on my HOA board and an active member of a garden club, my church choir and a president of my local rose society. These are other potential markets. Join a local writing group. I joined the local NANOWRIMO writing group two years ago but I must admit I never went to their writing sessions because I like to write in solitude. I joined in their conversation on Facebook. I’m also in several groups at Goodreads, LinkedIn and CreateSpace. Regarding a writer’s conference, I have read conflicting views on whether they help a writer or not. I have not been to one so I have no opinion at this point. When you finish your book, you’ll be glad you have been active in the community that will be excited to read your work!
  • Start something new. I always wanted to write a nonfiction book on gardening. After all, I have been writing gardening articles for years before I started writing fiction. I have gotten awards on some of them so I might try to compile them in a book form. It will be my next project this year. I have a great idea in mind and it will be interesting to pursue it.

So what is your New Year’s resolution for 2016?

 

Until next time, stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda

 

Rosalinda Morgan

Author and Garden Writer

The Iron Butterfly

BAHALA NA (Come What May)

Get your copy today at www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan.

 

 

 

I am a NANOWRIMO winner

2015 NANOWRIMO WINNERS CERTIFICATE

I did it! I am a 2015 NANOWRIMO WINNER.

I finished the NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) Challenge for 2015 in spite of all the distractions in November. It is the third book in the series “Journey to Freedom”. I’m proud of myself having achieved my goal. I knew if I put my mind into it and focused with the determination to finish, I could do it and I did. I worked hard every day, thinking about my story and putting it all on paper. I woke up an hour earlier than usual and worked steadily putting word after word as I brought the story to life. I made the required word count of 50,000 on Nov. 23. I finished yesterday with 57,632 words.

I saved my draft in two places in my computer and made a hard copy and will take a break in December. The easy part is over. The next step is harder when I start editing.

So stay tuned.

Until next time, stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda

 

Rosalinda Morgan 

Author and Garden Writer

The Iron Butterfly

BAHALA NA (Come What May)

Get your copy today at www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan.

 

TIPS ON BECOMING A BETTER WRITER – Day 30

 Today is the final day of the NANOWRIMO Challenge for 2015. I made my goal of 50,000 words on Nov. 23 and reached 57,632 to finish the first draft of my novel, “Courage and Endurance”, the last book on the series “Journey to Freedom”. Tomorrow, the draft will be put away for a while and revisited at a later date.

30. The tip for today is Think and Act Like a Pro. Build Your Writing Career and Continue to Grow as a Writer. Our job does not end with the last day of the NANOWRIMO Challenge. Like every professional, a writer should continue to grow professionally. We have to find ways to improve our craft. It is a continuing education. Just like a medical doctors and lawyers who have to keep up-to-date on their knowledge, we as a writer should do the same. We should attend seminars and workshops. We should read as much as we can in the genre that we are writing. Be confident and be proud of what we do. Keep on writing and blogging. Practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid to tell everyone you meet that you are a writer.

To follow what I preached yesterday about marketing, after recommending other books this month, I would like to recommend my own two books – The Iron Butterfly and BAHALA NA (Come What May). These two books are part of the trilogy which ends with “Courage and Endurance“, my 2015 NANOWRIMO Challenge novel.

  The Iron Butterfly Cover   BAHALA_NA_(Come_What_Cover_for_Kindle (2)

Book 1 (The Iron Butterfly) is about the life of a young mother who tried to support her nine children against all odds after her husband died. Book 2 (BAHALA NA (Come What May) is about the life of a young man before and during WWII and how he managed to survive during the war. They are historical fictions based on real life events. Both books are available at http://www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan.

TIPS ON BECOMING A BETTER WRITER – Day 29

I have one day left to wrap up this NANOWRIMO writing challenge. I reached 55,739 words today. Tomorrow should be interesting on how I will end the story. I had two choices of endings and we’ll see how it goes tomorrow.

Today’s tip is:

  1. Research potential markets for your work. Now that your book is published, what’s next? The marketing of your book. Nowadays, even traditional authors have to do some marketing for their book which to me is insane. You might as well self-publish your book and get the royalty you deserve. Years ago, traditional authors just wrote. They didn’t do marketing. It’s the job of the literary agents and the publishers. Most authors dread marketing. They enjoy writing and write they must. But with the publishing industry changing, they have to learn to market their product too which is their book. You have to have a website, a facebook and twitter account and some other things to have an internet presence. It is hard work I agree. Writing today is a business and to be in business you have to do marketing.

My book recommendation today is The Gate House by Nelson DeMille.

The Gate House

If you read The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille, you might want to read The Gate House. It is a continuation of John Sutter’s encounter with his former neighbor’s family, the mafia don. The Gate House will bring you back into the fabled North Shore of Long Island where my next novel will also take place. So stay tuned.

TIPS ON BECOMING A BETTER WRITER – Day 28

The next three days are tough ones since I have another deadline – to work on the December newsletter for my rose society and send it out on Monday. In spite of that, I was able to squeeze some ideas into my novel and I made it to 54,926 words. Not bad at all.

The tip for today is the most important.

  1. Publish your manuscript. After you have done several edits and believe that your work is polished, now is the time to let the world know about it. It is time to release the beast and let go. Now the problem is whether to go traditional publishing or self-publishing. If you are going for traditional route, be prepared to get plenty of rejection letters. It’s hard work getting through the gatekeepers called literary agents. Unless you are a celebrity, it is a hard road to navigate. If you are young and have plenty of time ahead of you, you can try it. I’ll be 73 next month and I’d rather spend my time, reading and studying to improve my craft than wasting time sending query letters. I did that in 2012 when I wrote my first book. I received 2 rejection letters and 2 no answers. That was the end of my query letter days. I have plenty of ideas in my head and so I’ll just keep on writing and go the self-publishing route. My stories are unique based on my life experiences.

Going the traditional route may take months to see your book in print. I know a lot of writers go with traditional route to make a lot of money. In my case, I want my book out there first and the money will come when they see what I’m offering, a unique story. They will learn something from my books. I write to educate, inspire and stimulate the minds of my readers.

Also, remember that only big celebrities get big advances. There is also a  big difference in royalty between traditional (15%) and self published (70%). If you are in a hurry, you can go with self-publishing. I recommend CreateSpace. You don’t have to pay anything until you order your copies. No upfront fees like vanity presses. Just remember and it is very important. Make sure your book is polished and can stand the competition out there.

My book recommendation for today is Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

Gone with the Wind

Margaret Mitchell’s epic novel of love and war won the Pulitzer Prize and one of the most popular movies of all time. Many novels have been written about the Civil War and its aftermath and to some southerners, this is the story of the civil war in its most vivid details. Margaret Mitchell wrote a brilliant love story between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler amidst the turmoil and hardships during the Civil War.

TIPS ON BECOMING A BETTER WRITER – DAY 3

It’s now day 3 of NANOWRIMO challenge and I’m moving along. Yesterday I produced 1738 words on day 2. Not bad at all. At least I’m doing a little bit more than my 1667 goal a day. If I keep the momentum, I will be able to make the 50,000 words by Nov. 30.

  1. For today’s tip, here is a very important tip – Have a memorable title.

Whenever you write something, have a great title. Something that will grab someone’s attention. Something different or unique. My first book was titled “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”. Some people might not be able to pronounce it right but it was different. Then I added a secondary title “A WWII story of Love, Faith, Courage, Determination and Survival” which gives the readers an idea of what the book was all about.

A stillness at Appomatox by Bruce Catton

Like this book pictured here, Bruce Catton could have used “The End of the Civil War” but “A Stillness at Appomattox” was eye-catching. It is an interesting read if you enjoy reading Civil War stories. It is heavy with battle description and at times, you wonder how the North won the war.

For new author, it’s rather important to have an attention-grabbing title. Make the title stand out. When you are a published author, title might not be important as your name, then you can switch to making your name bolder. But for now, the title of your book should grab the attention of the reader.

My first short story won an award!

The most gratifying aspect of being a writer is when someone acknowledges your talent in the form of an award. I have been lucky to have a few of them. Someday, I hope to win the big ones but for now, I’m happy with what I have gotten so far. I enjoy writing and I’m always on the lookout of how to improve my craft and that motivation is always the driving force of whatever I do in life.

There was a Writing Competition sponsored by the Writer’s Digest in May 2015 and I decided to enter the short story category. My entry called “The Pink Slip” won an award. I was so excited when I received the email from the Writer’s Digest. It really made my day. Someday, I’ll publish it.

84th WD writing competition 2015

Hello Rosalinda R Morgan!Congratulations! Your entry, The Pink Slip was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 84th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition.

 

 

Do you know what a Palindrome is?

Do you know what a Palindrome is? I didn’t know it either until . . .

I became aware of this word when I read Russel Ray’s blog at activerain.com when I was selling real estate in New York and he hit a palindrome.

After I posted my blog that evening, I just noticed my points.   I had never seen a  palindrome on my points before that.   That was incredible.

Palindrome photo 2

Palindrome, according to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, is a word, verse or sentence that reads the same backward or forward.

Here are some examples of palindrome.

Name – ABBA

Number – 247742

Sentence – Able was I ere I saw Elba.

How many palindromes can you come up with? Post them here under comments.

DO YOU KNOW THE CAPITAL OF EACH STATE OF THE UNITED STATES?

Do you know the capital of each state of the United States? Most citizens of the United States do not know and I blame that on our education system. Kids today are not educated properly, it is pathetic.

My mother, having schooled on the American education system during the American occupation in the Philippines in the 1920s could recite the capitals at a young age. At that time, there were only 48 states. It was portrayed by Adelaide in “The Iron Butterfly”, my latest book, available at http://www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan.

Here is an excerpt from “The Iron Butterfly”:

“We are learning about Geography. I love Geography,” Adelaide said.

“That is nice. So what places are they teaching you?

“We are learning all the states of the United States.”

“Fascinating. How many are there now?” The driver decided to test her.

Without even thinking, Adelaide blurted out, “48.”

“You are good. I bet you don’t know the capital of each of them.” The driver gave her a furtive look. He was so sure Adelaide did not know them.

“I sure do. I know all of them.” Adelaide challenged him.

“All right. If you can tell me all of them before we reach your house, I’ll give you back your 5 centavos.” He was certain that any kid her age did not know all of them.

Julian nudged Adelaide. “Do it,” he told his sister.

“OK. Here they are.” Adelaide began slowly, counting with her fingers and concentrating with the task at hand.

  • Alabama – Montgomery
  • Arizona – Phoenix
  • Arkansas – Little Rock
  • California – Sacramento
  • Colorado – Denver
  • Connecticut – Hartford
  • Delaware – Dover
  • Florida – Tallahassee
  • Georgia – Atlanta
  • Idaho – Boise
  • Illinois – Springfield
  • Indiana – Indianapolis
  • Iowa – Des Moines

She paused, took a quick breath and recited in rapid succession.

  • Kansas – Topeka
  • Kentucky – Frankfort
  • Louisiana – Baton Rouge
  • Maine – Augusta
  • Maryland – Annapolis
  • Massachusetts – Boston
  • Michigan – Lansing
  • Minnesota – St. Paul
  • Mississippi – Jackson
  • Missouri – Jefferson City
  • Montana – Helena
  • Nebraska – Lincoln
  • Nevada – Carson City
  • New Hampshire – Concord
  • New Jersey – Trenton
  • New Mexico – Santa Fe
  • New York – Albany

She stopped, took another quick breath, looked at her two brothers who smiled at her. “Keep going,” Cayetano said.

“Where was I?” she asked.

“30 – New York,” Julian said.

She raised her fingers, closed her eyes for a second to think and then continued counting and reciting the rest.

  • North Carolina – Raleigh
  • North Dakota – Bismarck
  • Ohio – Columbus
  • Oklahoma – Oklahoma City
  • Oregon – Salem
  • Pennsylvania – Harrisburg
  • Rhode Island – Providence
  • South Carolina – Columbia
  • South Dakota – Pierre
  • Tennessee – Nashville
  • Texas – Austin
  • Utah – Salt Lake City
  • Vermont – Montpelier
  • Virginia – Richmond
  • Washington – Olympia
  • West Virginia – Charleston
  • Wisconsin – Madison
  • Wyoming – Cheyenne

“Whew! That was excellent. I’m impressed. You got me,” the driver said. Adelaide, breathless for reciting all 48 states, smiled contentedly. The driver handed her back the 5 centavos.

“Thank You,” Adelaide said. Cayetano and Julian clapped their hands.

Author’s Note: Alaska with Juneau as its capital was officially added on Jan. 3, 1959 and Hawaii with Honolulu as its capital on Aug. 20, 1959.

WHY DO YOU WRITE?

Knowing my background, people asked me, “Why do you write?”

Writing is not like the other jobs I had before. My background is accounting. I went to college to be an accountant and became a CPA before my 21st birthday. Although I wanted to take journalism in college, my father needed an accountant in the family and so I was told to study accounting. I had no choice. I worked as an accountant for 32 years, becoming a Controller at the end. When I retired at 55, I was bored for a while and so I decided to get a real estate license and sell houses. That lasted for 11 years until we moved to Charleston.

My retirement in Charleston gave me plenty of time to catch up on my reading and writing. Before retirement, I had no time to read or do anything for myself. I was too busy with my job, working 70-hour week. I could’ve gone back to real estate but I didn’t want to deal with those demanding customers anymore. Money was great being an accountant or selling real estate but I wanted to move on. Besides I didn’t want to be a driver anymore, showing houses at all kinds of hours and days. I wanted my weekend off. Besides I have gotten more satisfaction writing than dealing with homebuyers who could not make up their minds. I rather deal with my protagonists and see what my story leads me. I enjoy writing, be it a novel or gardening articles.

I dug up an old manuscript I wrote years ago and started rewriting it. I read books about writing, subscribe to Writers’ Digest and read it cover to cover. I pay attention to the details of books I read. I look at the internet and read articles on writing. I want to know how books become bestsellers. I discovered that unless you’re a celebrity, it’s a long road to becoming a bestseller. But that does not discourage me one bit. I know there are obstacles along the way and the stigma attached to self-publishing. Yes, I sent my manuscript to 4 agents and got 2 rejection letters and 2 non-replies. I decided to self-publish after that. I don’t have time to wait to get traditionally published. I have so much to write. If I was younger, maybe I would.

I have experienced a lot of things in my life which I can write about. I have lived on places with different cultures, have met people from both sides of the railroad tracks so to say, have seen first-hand how people live in a third world countries and the upper class of New York. There are so many things to write about, people to create, their personality, their challenges and triumphs. Eventually readers will discover that I have some great stories to tell.

Writing can be the easier part of being a writer. Publishing your book is another matter. You have to consider writing as a business. However, as a former accountant, I have a grasp of how business works. Writing is not just a creative endeavor. Your book is a product and if writing is a business, you have to sell your product. You have to market it and market yourself constantly. That is the hard part. But money should not be your main objective. Having fun writing should be and money will eventually follow. For me, I write to educate, inspire and stimulate the minds of my readers. Money is a welcome bonus.