Traveling the World through Reading

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Reading takes you places. As Dr. Suess said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Where in the world will your next book take you?

When I was young, I dreamt of seeing the world. Coming from the back country of the Philippines, I was curious to know what other places look like. I did not get out of Batangas, my home province till I went to college in Manila. I always had that nagging feeling to go abroad and widen my horizon.

When I went to college, I thought of majoring in Foreign Service or Journalism so I could get out of the country. But Dad got a different idea and I ended up in Accounting. He needed an accountant in the family. But that did not thwart my dream of going abroad. I pursued my dream and in 1966. in spite of my fear of flying, I left the Philippines on my first trip abroad when I went to Hongkong and then Japan. There’s an interesting story about that trip which should be an interesting post for later. A year later, in 1967, I left for New York.

While working in the business world, I had no time to read. So fast forward to 2011 when I retired to South Carolina. I started reading in earnest. Here are a few of the books I read which took me to interesting places:

1.      Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd – United Kingdom

2.     Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – 12th Century Feudal England

3.     A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford – England

4.    At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen – Scotland

5.     A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt – Ireland

6.    Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella – Paris and Troy

7.     The Bells by Richard Harvell – Switzerland, Austria, Italy

8.    Raised from the Ground by Jose Saramago – Portugal

9.    Winter of the World by Ken Follett – Germany, England, Russia and Washington DC.

10.  The Amber Keeper by Freda Lightfoot – England Lake District and Russia

11.  One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – Russia Federation, Soviet Union

12. The Archimedes Codex – Constantinople, Greece, England and New York

13. The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly – England, Africa

14.Through a Glass Darkly – Karleen Koen – England, France

15. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre – England, East Germany

16.Hawaii by James Mitchener – Hawaii, Bora-Bora

17. Day of Infamy by Walter Lord – Pearl Harbor

18.   The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck – China

19.The Fall of Japan by William Craig – Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan

20.   Rescue at Los Baños by Bruce Henderson – WWII Philippines

21. Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder – Peru

22.  The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers – Iraq

23.    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – Afghanistan

24.    Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande – India and New York

25.   Don’t Fall off the Mountain by Shirley Maclaine – Virginia, New York, California Africa, India and the Himalayas.

26.   Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel by Sherill Tippins – New York

27.   Brooklyn by Colm Toibin – New York and Ireland

28.   A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert – Wisconsin, Kansas and New York

29.   The March by E.L. Doctorow – Georgia to the sea and up the Carolinas (Civil War)

30.  The Only Way to Cross: The Golden Era of the Great Atlantic Liners – From the Mauretania to the France and the Queen Elizabeth 2 by John Maxtone-Graham. – Atlantic Ocean Voyage

 

There you have them – 30 of my most memorable books that I read and travelled worldwide. I hate plane rides and ocean voyages but I have travelled the world through books, experiencing new authors and cultures along the way. I will keep on reading because as Irwin Shaw said, “There are too many books I haven’t read, too many places I haven’t seen, too many memories I haven’t kept long enough.”

 

Until next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda

 

 

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“The Wentworth Legacy” is now on Kindle Unlimited

 

The Wentworth Legacy Kindle Cover Revised

The Wentworth Legacy is now on Kindle Unlimited. Check it out here.

Spencer Wentworth’s carefree life does not prepare him when he inherits a huge fortune with an attached responsibility. When the stock market collapses in 1929, the family fortune suffers a huge loss and is in the brink of bankruptcy. He has to find a quick solution before he loses everything. An opportunity arises when he meets Sally Sinclair, an only child of a wealthy new family in town and is willing to marry her to save his legacy at the cost of losing the woman he loves, Lorna Beckett, an orphan and a friend of his sister.

“This plot-driven, emotionally complex tale effectively details Spencer’s determination to sacrifice his own happiness in favor of his family’s success. . . With harrowing intensity, Morgan also illustrates the pervasive anxiety just before a disastrous era hit. Overall, she delivers an engrossing love story while also depicting surprising burdens borne by New York’s wealthiest families during the late 1920s. An engaging tale of a young man’s coming-of-age that will appeal to fans of complicated family sagas.”Kirkus Reviews

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 20

There are ten days left to the end of the NANOWRIMO challenge. Last night I made it to 39,193 words. Today, I did very well in spite of taking a break to take my husband to his eye doctor. The story seemed to flow more freely today. I’m on target to make it to 50,000 words before Thanksgiving. With luck I might end up with 60,000 words by the end of the month. We’ll see.

The tip for today is:

  1. Back up your novel as you go along. This is basically the first rule in computer. Back up especially if you are writing an important piece of article or manuscript. I have gotten into the habit of printing a hard copy of my manuscript. Every time I finish a chapter, I print a copy and put it in a folder. I also back up in an external drive. When I finish my novel, I also make a copy on a flash drive. So I am well covered. You don’t want to lose what you have written in case your computer crashes.

My book recommendation for today is “The Iron Butterfly” by Rosalinda Morgan. That’s yours truly. As I said before, I always back up my work and The Iron Butterfly is no exception. I have a hard copy of my manuscript. It is in a flash drive, in my computer with two titles, and in my E drive. An excerpt can be found on my website: www.rosalindasgarden.com. Check it out.

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TIPS ON BECOMING A BETTER WRITER – DAY 19

I’m moving right along. Last night, I made it to 37351 words. I’m getting closer to my goal. Today, the plot was getting more exciting and the words came out more easily. I was typing faster. I took a break this afternoon and went food shopping which took out 3 hours of my time. I went to Costco for one item and checked out with $144 of stuffs. Then I went to Publix next to buy Golden Blossom honey (it’s the only store that carries that brand of honey) and came out of the store with another $90 worth of grocery. Why is that? I can never stay with my list.

Anyway, the tip for today is:

  1. Write your book for your audience. Determine who are your audience before starting to write. Gear your language to them. Communicate in language and style that they understand. After you finish your book, communicate with them. Find the marketing strategy to reach out to them. It is the only way if you want to have your books sold.

My book recommendation for today is Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff. This book is geared to WWII enthusiasts and should be marketed to them.

Lost in Shangrila

 

TIPS ON BECOMING A BETTER WRITER – DAY 18

I’m more than half way on my novel. I reached 35,566 words last night. This is the most difficult part of writing a novel where your brain has to work hard to keep your readers engaged. You want more interesting stuffs at this point to keep your readers want to turn the pages up to the end. At this point, I introduced a new character. More to come in the next twelve days.

The tip for today is:

  1. Use Standard American English. Don’t use buzzwords or technical language unless you have good reason to or unless you’re sure your readers will understand what you mean. You can alter standard American English occasionally but only when standard language won’t serve your purposes. Avoid Shakespearean English. They are written in the English of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Britain. They are too archaic for modern readers.

The book recommendation for today is The Good Earth by Pearl Buck. I tried to read this book decades ago but stopped. I could not get into the story. This year, I reread it and found it fascinating to learn about Wang Lung’s life from rags to riches with the help of O-Lan, his unattractive wife with big feet. It was all about the land and his attachment to the land where all his wealth came from. It was beautifully written and I learned a lot about Chinese culture and its people.

The Good Earth by Pearl Buck