I am a 2017 NaNoWriMo Winner

NaNo-2017-Winner-Badge

I made it to the finish line. I am a 2017 NANOWRIMO WINNER! 

This year was tough. I didn’t think I could make it. Back in October, I was not even sure I’d do the challenge. With encouragement from some friends, I took the challenge. I knew if I joined, I would finish. I knew if I stayed focused, I could do it again and I did. My final count is 52,543 words. Not bad when I started from nothing at the last minute. I’m glad I took the challenge and jubilant that I finished.

It’s a first draft. It needs some editing. But for now, I’m taking a break and putting it away till January. I saved my draft in two places in case my computer conked out which it does every so often. I also made a hard copy. I find it easier to read than staring at my computer for hours. The easy part is over. The next step is harder when I start editing.

Now, I have to catch up on a lot of things I neglected while concentrating on NaNoWriMo challenge. My neck and my back hurt and my brain needs a break.

I’m proud of myself for achieving my goal. 

 

Until Next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author & Garden Writer

 

 

NaNoWriMo Update – Day 10

writing photo

It’s Day 10 on my 2017 NaNoWriMo challenge. I’m a third of the way to the finish line. So far so good.

The story is moving along at a steady pace. Since I started on Day 1, I have a faint idea of what I wanted to write. Unlike my previous books which are all historical fiction, this time, I’m doing a crime fiction. Not murder mystery but white collar crime.

I’m doing more than my daily goal of 1,667 words. My average words per day is 2,213 words. I’m very happy with that.

I finished today at 22,136 words which was 5,466 more than my goal of 16,670 as of today. Not bad at all. On Day 7, that is a week after I started, I have done 15,893 words. My first week goal was 11,669, so after a week, I was ahead by 4,227 words.

If I keep at the same pace, I will reach my goal on November 23, 2017. That might not happen because of the Thanksgiving holiday. But, I will try my best to push myself to stay on goal.

Do I keep writing all day? The answer is No.

I take a break every so often otherwise I get stiff neck staring at the computer. My back also aches if I sit on one spot too long. I have to keep moving. It’s weird because when I garden I can go on for hours without a break. I am probably one of the few gardeners who can squat for hours weeding. I don’t use the kneeler while working in the garden.

I find having breaks keep me more energized when I return to my computer.

So on to Day 11 tomorrow.

 

Until Next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author & Garden Writer

 

Do I take the 2017 NaNoWriMo Challenge or not?

nanowrimo-winner-certificate-e1385854627712

I took the NaNoWriMo challenge in 2013 with The Iron Butterfly, a story based on the life of my grandmother, a young widow with nine children to support after her husband died unexpectedly. She was a strong woman of great conviction. I won the challenge and self-published The Iron Butterfly in 2015 after several edits and revisions.

 

In 2014, I took the NaNoWriMo challenge again with Wentworth Hall. I also won and went on to self-publish it in 2016 after so many edits and revisions. I changed the title after finding out that there was a Wentworth Hall book already. Considering the plot of the novel, I felt that The Wentworth Legacy was better title.

 

The entry I had for 2015, Courage and Endurance is the third in the series of Journey to Freedom although it can be treated as an independent book by itself. The Iron Butterfly although published two years after BAHALA NA (Come What May) is the first book chronologically in the series. BAHALA NA (Come What May) is a novel based on my father’s life just before and during World War II. It is the second book in the series Journey to Freedom although it was published first. Don’t ask me why. It just happened that way. It was my first try on writing and wanted to publish it before my mother dies. She is still alive today at 95 years old. Good genes, I say. Courage and Endurance is still untouched after winning the NaNoWriMo at the end of Nov. 2015. It is a novel based on my parents’ life after World War II going into the Marcos era.

 

In 2016, I took the challenge again and won with East of Babylon. I’ve been going through the edits and revisions but has not finished yet. Since my husband was diagnosed with End Stage Kidney Dialysis in Feb. 2016, my writing schedule was turned upside down. Being a caregiver took a lot of my energy and time that was devoted to my writing. On top of that, I am still doing four newsletters, maintaining six blogs and trying to do the marketing for all my books. There is not enough time to do all the things I want to do without putting too much pressure on myself. Thanks for my garden. I take breaks every so often and stop and smell the roses.

 

I also wanted to publish a nonfiction first before going back to historical fiction. I am working on my nonfiction manuscript at the moment and hoping to publish it soon. Shall I go traditional publishing this time? At 73, do I have the time to wait that long? If I am younger, I would have waited but I am a late bloomer. I did not start writing seriously till I retired in 2011. I can try the traditional way and send in my proposal and see what happens. I went into self-publishing because I felt I had total control of my manuscript and I could publish as soon as I could. Going traditional publishing takes years unless you are a celebrity which I am not. I have several thousand followers from groups that I belong to but I cannot consider myself a celebrity.

 

So in view of all that is happening in my life, I am not sure I will do the challenge in 2017. Is that a defeatist attitude? I have known to have a lot of energy and do multi projects at the same time but can I swing it this time. I have two weeks to decide. Shall I or shall I not? What do you think?

 

 

Until Next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author & Garden Writer

 

Final Report on my 12-week Challenge

Here is my 12th and final report for my twelve weeks challenge:

 

1. I made my reading goal for my 12-week challenge. I finished two books this week which means I’m also on track with my Books To Read in 2016 Challenge for Goodreads.

2. However, I did not make my marketing goal of 70 items this week. I only make 34 marketing promotions this week. But I did something important this week. I redesigned my website. I like the new design. Take a look at www.rosalindarmorgan.com and tell me what you think. My Giveaways post on Goodreads have 768 total so far, a gain of 414 entries this week alone. “To Read List” has 308 entries to date, a gain of 172 entries this week alone. The Goodreads Giveaways end tomorrow, Nov. 3 at 11:59 pm. Enter to win one of three signed copies of The Wentworth Legacy.

3. I did not make my word count challenge. I tried but I finished the challenge at 48,506 words. I’m happy I made it this far. But yesterday I decided to do the NaNoWriMo, the National November Writing Month challenge. I have done it the last three years and was able to publish two of my NaNoWriMo novels, The Iron Butterfly published in 2015 and The Wentworth Legacy published in 2016. All are available at www.amazon.com.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

 Rosalinda Morgan, The Rose Lady

 Author of “The Wentworth Legacy”

 www.rosalindarmorgan.com

 

Excerpts from “The Iron Butterfly”

The Iron Butterfly Cover

Chapter 3, page 31-35

The orderlies placed Eugenio on the far end of the ward. Dr. Contreras went back out of the emergency room and came back with a surgeon in tow. The doctor acknowledged Regina’s presence by merely nodding his head and went right to take Eugenio’s vital signs. His pulse was terribly weak and his breathing was short. He was barely conscious. His skin was so hot.

“His fever is dangerously high. How long has he been like this?” the doctor asked, putting the thermometer once more in Eugenio’s mouth.

“Since yesterday,” Regina said lamely.

He timed the thermometer, then pulled it out. The mercury had not moved. “Good God. Still one hundred and five. Has he vomited? Any headache?”

“He had all that,” Dr. Contreras said, looking at Eugenio who was barely aware of what was going on.

Hearing all that, the doctor looked at Regina and said, “We have to operate now.” Regina just nodded and pressed Eugenio’s hand tightly waiting for a response. Nothing came. She suddenly felt a knot on her stomach. She felt worried.

The doctor called a nurse and gave her instructions. In no time, she wheeled Eugenio from the emergency room to the operating room.

The surgeon went ahead of them to the operating room where a team of doctors and nurses had assembled to help in the operation. The surgeon put on a clean white gown, went to the sink and scrubbed his hands. The nurses, already had their white apron on and went to work assembling a tray of instruments. Another doctor began administering the anesthesia, waving it across Eugenio’s face. Eugenio was half conscious, half asleep. He coughed and turned away. He was now becoming very drowsy.

“Scalpel,” the doctor said.

“Right here,” one of nurses said.

The surgeon saw the nurse press an oxygen mask over Eugenio’s face. He took three deep breaths then stopped breathing altogether. His chest sank. The nurse took the oxygen mask off and started chest compression. Behind her, two doctors traded worried glances. One of them motioned to the nurse and he took over.

“One . . . two . . . three . . .,” he counted, pushing his palms in the center of Eugenio’s chest. He pumped hard and fast. When there was no reaction, he stopped.

“He’s gone,” the doctor said quietly. He stepped back. The surgeon, still holding the scalpel which was never used, stared in disbelief.

Shaking his head, the surgeon said, “I wish they had brought him earlier. I could have saved him.”

“We tried. There was nothing more anyone could have done. It was too late.”

The surgeon looked at Eugenio, at his lifeless eyes. The doctor shut his own eyes. He took a deep breath, but it didn’t help. No matter how many operations he did, he still felt down if he could not save the lives of his patients. He then gently closed Eugenio’s eyes. One of the nurses snapped open a sheet and draped it over Eugenio. Eugenio developed peritonitis, an acute inflammation of the abdomen caused by a rupture of the appendix following appendicitis.

The surgeon came out of the operating room looking drained and talked to Dr. Contreras who was waiting just outside the operating room. At the sight of him, Dr. Contreras knew the surgeon was not able to save him.

“He is gone. We tried to save him but it was too late. He developed peritonitis,” the surgeon said. Dr. Contreras placed the heel of his right hand on his forehead. He felt awful. He did not know how to break the news to Regina. They conferred for a while and then they went to see Regina to tell her the news.

Regina and Lucio sat patiently in the waiting room while Eugenio was being operated on and it was agony waiting for the doctors to come out of the operating room. The clock seemed to stop. It felt like eternity.

At last, Regina saw the doctors coming their way. She stood up and approached the doctors. Lucio was by her side. She held Lucio’s hand tight finding strength in it and fearing the worst. She was holding to a sliver of hope, hoping for a miracle.

“How’s my husband?” Regina asked. The surgeon looked at Dr. Contreras who nodded, then dropped his eyes. Regina waited a minute. Then looking at the surgeon straight in the eye, she asked again nervously, “How’s my husband, Doctor? Can I see him now?”

“I’m . . .” The doctor faltered.

“What’s wrong? Something is wrong.” She looked at Dr. Contreras. “Please tell me. I want to know what happened.” Fear began to trickle through her veins.

The doctor cleared his throat nervously. “I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Eugenio’s appendix had burst. We did everything possible but it was too late. We could not save him.”

Regina gasped, put her hand over her mouth. She did not want to believe what she was hearing. She shook her head. Lucio stood by her side incredulous at what he heard. He grabbed his mother’s arm instinctively.

The doctor continued, “His blood was poisoned. He developed peritonitis. I’m sorry.”

Regina did not hear all that. There was a buzzing sound in her ears. She felt numb. She felt like somebody hit her on the head and she was going down into an abyss with no bottom in sight. She felt the world was going round and round and she was getting dizzy. She was going to faint. Lucio saw it coming and came to her aid. He sat her down on the nearest chair. Dr. Contreras put his hand around her shoulders and tried to comfort her. Lucio knelt by his mother and held her hands. She tried to hold her tears. Her whole world was falling apart and she did not know what to do. Her mind was in turmoil.

She looked at Lucio and she could see the agony in his eyes and fear of what lay ahead. The boy was bravely holding his tears. Her heart felt the sadness in Lucio’s heart. If he could be brave, so can I, she thought. She could not fail Lucio and her other children. She had to do something. She could not let her emotion get the better of her. She had to be brave and strong for her children. She quickly resolved she had to get over this stupor and act quickly.

Regina looked around. Dr. Contreras, Lucio and the surgeon were silent all waiting for her to calm down. She composed herself in an instant, stood up erect and with a solemn look on her face swallowed hard and spoke to the surgeon, “I thank you all for what you did for my husband. I do appreciate it very much.” She extended her hand and shook his hand.

The surgeon said, “I am truly sorry. We tried everything.”

“I know you did. When can we see him?” She reached for Lucio’s hands and tried to hold her tears.

“Just give us few minutes.” Then both the surgeon and Dr. Contreras left them in the waiting room.

“She’s a remarkable woman,” the surgeon said to Dr. Contreras.

Regina did not know where she got the strength to hold back her tears. She promised not to cry in front of everyone. It could be construed as weakness and she could not allow that. Not now, maybe later. She needed all the courage she could muster. She looked at Lucio, the eldest son, the head of the family now: always serious and dutiful and hugged her son tightly. Her eldest son will now take the responsibility left by his father. She felt very sad for him. He was only 15, too young to bear such a heavy burden for the family. Her heart ached for her eldest son. It was not fair, she thought.

It dawned on her that she was now a widow at 36 with a big responsibility to take care of nine children. Her head was spinning. She held on tight to Lucio’s hands which gave her strength. She lost her voice and could not say another word. She turned around and saw the chair she was sitting on before and sat back down again, numb and lost.

It was Dec. 23, 1928, 2 days before Christmas.

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 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 27

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. I missed the old Thanksgiving dinners when I used to cook for my extended family. The last time I had them, I had 23 guests in my home. Those were fun times. Yesterday, we had plenty of food for just my husband, me and one of my sons. We have plenty of leftovers that I do not have to cook for at least four days. My other son was in California and could not make it this time of year. It was the first time, my kitchen was back to normal on Thanksgiving day by 5 PM. I was still tired from cooking but I was able to write after dinner and increased my total word count to 53,481 words.

The tip for today is:

  1. Edit, proofread and get critical feedback from someone you trust. You can only start editing after you’re done revising your manuscript. This involves checking grammar, usage, punctuation, spelling, adding and subtracting words and passages. Continue editing until you feel everything is in place. If necessary, you can go back and edit as many rounds of editing as you require. Keep your thesaurus handy. Don’t use the thesaurus in your computer. Sometimes, they are inaccurate and have few entries. When you find one or two errors only, then you can start proofreading but don’t hurry. Read slowly and make sure everything looks right. This may take two or three more rounds. When you think you have done enough, ask another person to proofread it. Another pair of eyes will see what you missed. Remember you can always go back and proofread it again even if you think the piece is finished.

My book recommendation for today is Mount Vernon Love Story: A Novel of George and Martha Washington. An out-of-print book by suspense writer, Mary Higgins Clark, this book was originally published in 1969 as Aspire to the Heavens and later reissued as Mount Vernon Love Story. I got my copy as an incentive to join the Mount Vernon Association. If you love history, this is a well-researched biographical account of our founding father, George Washington. It is a charming story and at times entertaining full of history, love and passion between George and Martha Washington.

The Mount Vernon Love Story

TIPS ON BECOMING A BETTER WRITER – DAY 25

In between my cooking and cleaning the house preparing for Thanksgiving, I managed to add something to my manuscript. I was able to type in another 923 words. My new total is now 52,650.

The tip for today is:

  1. Revise or rewrite your manuscript. After you have reread your manuscript, it is time to rewrite it or revise it. Some authors can go through three, five or even ten revisions. My second book, “The Iron Butterfly” had gone through several revisions. New authors as well as established authors go through the process. No one published their book on the first draft.

My book recommendation for today is “I’ll be home for Christmas: The Spirit of Christmas During World War II” by the Library of Congress. I read this book a while back but with Christmas coming soon, it’s nice to get reminded of those men and women who bravely served during World War II. This book is a compilation of stories, events and pictures gathered by the Library of Congress from the diaries and correspondence of the greatest generation.

Ill be home for Christmas