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.

 

 

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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.

Spring Fresh – A time of Renewal, Rebirth and Resurrection

To me, spring means different things for different aspects of my life.

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MY GARDEN – After this very cold winter, it’s nice to see the days are getting longer and there is warmth slowly creeping through the air. I hear the morning dove chirping in the morning and the squirrels are back looking for food. I look out the window and the garden beckons. When everything in the garden is barely awake, the spring bulbs are setting up their magnificent presence in the garden. Here in my little piece of paradise, life begins sprouting from the ground with the colorful Apeldoorn tulips. My garden needed my attention to get it ready for the season. There are pruning to be done, cleaning up the yard of debris, replacing the mulch, weeding and feeding the plants. All these aspects of gardening have its own benefits and have to be attended to. Unlike my New York garden which is ablazed with color all through spring, my tiny townhouse plot can’t accommodate all the plants I wanted. I planted a couple of varieties of tulips and a dozen daffodils to start the spring season. I also planted some dutch irises to go with the tulips. I also planted white allysums to grace the edge of the bed while waiting for the roses to take center stage. In the backyard, I had a gardenia, clematis, and three hydrangeas to complement more roses. This year I added a camellia ‘Yuletide’ to my shrub collection.

 

MY HOME – Inside the house, spring cleaning is a rite of passage. You feel tired looking at those dreary dark colored curtains. There is this urge to change the look to spring. Winter clothes have to be retired and switch on to spring and summer clothes. Since we moved to our new townhouse, we have downsized our belongings. As we get older, our priorities change. Material things are not as important as they used to be. We get wiser and believe we do not need as much as when we are younger.

 

MY BUSINESS – In business, the same thing is happening. Some people might not consider writing as a business but if you are smart you should think of it as such. As a former accountant, I always think of the profit and loss. We work on our business plan in late winter and start implementing it as the spring season starts in earnest. There is that energy that invigorate us to spring forward. When I was in real estate, we put more energy in prospecting in spring to capture more customers that are looking at homes and making offers. They would like to settle down by late summer to be able to get their kids in school. In my new career, I plan on putting more energy into my marketing plan and that includes blogging at this site and another site, updating my website constantly and continue writing.

 

Easter at St Dom
MY CHURCH
– There is the spiritual renewal in spring. With Easter, we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. For a practicing Catholic, it is the most sacred of Holidays and it meant a lot to me. I used to help out decorate the church on Saturday morning in preparation for the Easter Vigil at my church in New York. Here in Charleston, since I live too far from my church, I just sing with the Church Choir during the Holy Week. On Easter, we renew our baptismal promise. The church looks beautiful with Easter lilies and spring flowers giving us a sense of rebirth.

 

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MY COMMUNITY – I live in a planned community called The Gardens of Whitney Lake and I’m on the board of the HOA and I also chair the Social Committee. Last month, I met with members of the Social Committee and we plan the events for this year with a Community Yard Sale this weekend as our first event this year. It was a time to clean up our closet. This year we are having an Earth Day to contribute to Charleston’s program of keeping our community beautiful. I just finished working on our community website and it was launched last week. It will be a nice spring start for the community which I love.

Rosalinda Morgan, author, “BAHALA NA (Come What May)”

The difference between “their”, “there”, and “they’re”

Today, March 4 is National Grammar Day and I like  to post this common mistake that I see a lot of times. National Grammar Day was established in 2008 by Martha Brockenbrough, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar. I have noticed some young people do not care much about grammar since they communicate by text message and that is another language unto itself. But it will behoove them to learn the difference between “their”, “there”, and “they’re”. They are simple enough to learn.

 

“Their” is an adjective meaning belonging to them.

  • This is their car.
  • Their house is located near the lake.
  • The children have their toys in the garage.

 “There” pertains to a location.

  • An alligator was seen over there.
  • I placed the box there to keep it out of the way.
  • Did you say you are from New York? I came from there too.

“They’re” is a contraction of “They are”.

  • They’re going to the park.
  • They’re both seniors.
  • They’re designing the new garden.

I grew up outside the United States and I only learned English in school. English was not spoken at home. I learned the difference of these three words in school where we were drilled on grammar lessons by my English teacher. This is an important issue not only for writers but for everyone. It’s sad to see some young people do not know them. For writers, this is a critical issue since it shows how professional you are or not, not only in your books but also in your marketing materials. It is terrible to see these simple mistakes in print. So if grammar isn’t your thing, seek help from a professional copyeditor before your book goes to print. I seek someone to edit my work before I publish anything. Another set of eyes is a good thing!