Happy New Year! Let’s Rock 2015!

“Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self-assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Breaking them is part of the cycle.”

Eric Zorn

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Well, Wattpad has crunched their numbers and here’s how my year apparently looked like to their computer algorithm program…thingy.

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

So to everyone who’s come to visit my site this year, thank you and let’s all make 2015 rock with more!

I know I’ve dropped out of blogging everyday, but only because I had to put on the writer’s hat starting June of this year.  I had made it my goal to publish a book for 2014, and I did, though once it probably meets the eyes of an editor mid-2015 it will most likely result in work that’s way better than it it currently is.

Still, that’s still a book out, so self-pubbed or not, that’s an accomplishment in my book.

So Happy New Year, everyone!  And so far, here’s the New Years Eve forecast for me in chilly-ass SoCal: Mostly drunk with a slight chance of passing out.

So no matter the outcome, vertical or not – Happy Happy New Year!

 

10 Things I Love About Wattpad

I’ve been on Wattpad since October 2012, and since then, I’ve been writing up a storm.  I wrote way before that, and even after I stopped writing for 10 years and resumed in August 2012, no platform online could allow me to really connect with readers and fellow writers like Wattpad does.  So  with my 2-year anniversary fast approaching, here are 10 reasons why I’m still on Wattpad – and maybe why you should consider checking it out as well.

  1. You get to write your stories!
    According to Wattpad, the site has 40 million stories with 25 million readers/writers and the number is growing! 6 billion minutes are spent on Wattpad every month and 85% of its usage is on mobile.  Just yesterday, my client arrived and saw me reading a Wattpad novel on my iPhone.  He said that he reads most of his books from his phone these days, simply because it’s the one thing you never leave home without.
    Oh, and with the Wattpad app, you can also write your stories while on the go.  I do that while waiting to pick up my son from pre-school or while sitting at the doctor’s office.
  2. You get to interact with your readers and build an audience.
    This is a huge plus in my book.  You see, writing is such a solitary sport.  Like Neil Gaiman says, we have keyboards and we work in the dark.   And unless my neighbors drag me out for some Vitamin D, I’d probably be sitting in front of my keyboard typing away all day and night.  Even my 4-year old is getting in on the act when he says, “mama go to the gym.”
    But as far as interacting with readers, understand that you’ll usually get non-professional feedback, so if you want professional editing feedback, Wattpad isn’t the place for it.  However, there are certain groups on there who give constructive criticism on certain stories – you just have to opt in.  I’ve read the critiques, and they are spot on.
  3. You get to interact with writers like you 
    I’ve met some wonderful writers on wattpad. Published or not, they’re all writers to me – or authors, however you want to call it.  Some people out there want to argue the semantics of it, but if you write, you’re a writer.  And while the argument can go on and on online, on Wattpad, there really is no argument because we’re all in the same boat.  We’re all writers just as much as we’re readers.  And the writers I’ve met have helped me get better.  We cheer each other on and promote each others’ work.  We pat each other on the back and cheer each other up when we’re down.  Oh, did I mention that it’s a social site as well?
  4. You get to read stories – for free.
    Even the classics are getting uploaded on Wattpad, so if you want to read Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights, along with the latest novel your favorite author just penned, you can find it all in one place. You can even follow classic (dead) authors like Edgar Allan Poe and get notifications of “latest” works uploaded.  As for current authors, not yet published or already published, you get that for free, too.  Some of them post their rough drafts on Wattpad while the fully edited book may be available for sale online; or some, after featuring the full draft as they wrote it, remove all but the first three chapters with links on where to buy the full book.
  5. Famous writers are now on Wattpad.
    I think the first one I noticed was Margaret Atwood.  She currently has a fan fiction writing contest based on her book The Mattress called Freeze-Dried Fan Fiction Contest.  Paul Coelho is also on Wattpad, and here, he stumbled upon a post of his own comments on writing, compiled by a blogger named Jerome.  Then there R.L. Stine of Goosebumps series, who has a contest running as well – he already wrote the first chapter of a story and you get to fill in what comes next.  And if he picks your story, he’ll finish it.
  6. Contests and tie-ins
    As #5 above, with Atwood and Stine’s writing contests, there are other contests for aspiring writers to hone their writing skills with.  Today is the last day for The Best of Me movie/book tie-in where writers come up with their “First love” stories under 1500 words. The winner getting a shout-out on Nicholas Sparks’ blog is one of the perks of one’s story being chosen.
    And what do you know – after @monrosey suggested I should write something, I dug deep into the recesses of my young love memories, and did!
  7. There are clubs where you can interact with like-minded people.
    These clubs can be anything – whether by book genre, a discussion on answers to hard questions, or book cover help.  I subscribe to one particular forum called The ?uestions and I have to admit, sometimes the questions are really interesting, and the answers from fellow writers more interesting still – some even triggering simply because I’ve been in my little hidey-hole all this time.
  8. Being on Wattpad where you get to post your stories for all to see (unless you post it as Private, which is visible only to your followers), puts you out there!
    Of course there are some cons to one’s decision to post their stories online.  Piracy is rampant everywheree.  I’ve heard of stories being pirated and sold elsewhere, and of course, one’s stories on Wattpad can easily fall in the wrong hands.  It is a risk that one takes to post on sites like Wattpad and other places online (fanfiction.net, AO3, figment, Goodreads).
    Wattpad states that you keep copyright of your work.  An online record shows when your work was posted on their site, seen when you hover over the chapter cover.
  9. Publishers go on Wattpad searching for new talent
    While some publishers frown on submitted work having appeared on Wattpad, there have also been success stories of writers being discovered on Wattpad and offered publishing deals.
  10. You get to read and write. Then repeat it all over again.
    There really is more to Wattpad than the first 9 things but the 10th is just going to be reading and writing.  If you’re a writer, published or not, or want to be published, Wattpad is definitely a place to check out.  Don’t be discouraged by the demographics of young readers or the multitude of One Direction fan fiction.  No matter what your age, you can find your audience on Wattpad – that is, if you read other people’s works as well.  And if anything, isn’t that one of the things that makes a good writer – that he/she reads as well?  And so while the works may not be all top-notch and perfect, we’ve all been there, and who knows?  Your heartfelt comment on someone’s story just might get that person to keep on writing, just as someone else’s comment on your stories will do the same for you.

Anyway, at this point I’m rambling. So if you haven’t checked out Wattpad yet, definitely give it a go.  Rowena Wiseman wrote about the 8 reasons she loves Wattpad, so do mosey on down to her amazing blog for her thoughts as well.

And if you’re already on Wattpad, come over and say hello!  I’m @morrighansmuse (just about everywhere online anyway) and I’d love to hear from you!

An Author-ly Move: My Own Author Facebook Page

So I’ve finally gotten around to making my author Page on Facebook.  Because hubby wasn’t thrilled I was planning on using my married name and my middle name for a pen name (we might just get disowned if they read my stuff!), I figured, to heck with it – for the last two years, I’ve been Morrighan’s Muse.  So I’m going to just be Morrighan Muse and be done with it.

BTW, this really shouldn’t be how one chooses a pen name but maybe it was meant to be.  Other names I thought of were already taken, and they were all plays of my own name.  But I love the name Morrighan anyway, and with some people already calling me MM, wouldn’t you know it?  I love M&M’s myself!

So Morrighan Muse it is.

Which means that I’m gonna need some love – er, likes.  So if you have the time, and are inclined to do so, would you help my author page get some love over on Facebook?  I won’t spam you – heck, I don’t even know where to start to spam anyone on FB.  But since it’s linked to my Wattpad page and soon, to this blog, you will get notifications of my latest stories as well as my first published book!

Ready to spread the love a bit?  Here’s the link.

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A Few Blogs To Visit #AToZChallenge

I’ve discovered a few more blogs that interest me during this month of blogging A to Z. We’re almost on the home stretch and one more week, and we should be down to Z!  Q was quite a challenge for me, that’s for sure, but as soon as I usually find something to write about, I then have to stop myself from writing a novel!

tumblr_mo4flwua4J1s6luhno1_500Anyway, which bloggers have I discovered today so far?  Well, quite a few!

If Only I Had A Time Machine
For her A to Z challenge, she tackles historical events and a few of them are my favorites in history – from the Black Plague to the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb!

Flash Fiction
Lisa tackles Crafting (Fictional) Characters

Goodie Foodie Buddie
She tackles one of my favorite topics – food!

Storey of Stories
Keith talks about the places he’s lived or visited for his A to Z Challenge.

Making Believe
Dianne posts about make believe fairy tale characters for her challenge, another one of my favorite topics!

So there you have the five bloggers participating in the A to Z Challenge who have caught my interest this week!  It’s amazing all the places we get to visit, people we get to meet and things we get to learn just from visiting other people’s blogs!

 

10 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

When I first started blogging, I don’t think it was even called “blogging” then.   You just had a webpage – a GeoCities webpage at that!  Remember those days?  I remember that I was too broke to afford Dreamweaver or Frontpage so I learned from scratch using HTML, and when I did, I ended up posting these HUGE, I mean, humongous pictures of everything – especially myself.

Thank goodness, I sobered up and took those Glamour Shots pictures down.  Hopefully no one saved them in their hard drives…

Well, since then I’ve blogged off and on about life, wedding blues (more like panic), knitting, spinning wool, travel, and having a baby.  But that was all done before WordPress, when lo and behold, I found that there’s actually a real community of bloggers just like me!

But just like any community, there are certain things I’ve learn along the way that’s unique to the WordPress – or in this case, general blogging – experience.  Here are just a few things I’ve learned from having my writing blog and my fangirl/review-a-movie-when-I-feel-like-it blog (apparently, fangirling has way more politics than you can ever believe so we won’t even go there).

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  1. Write what you know – or even what you don’t know. Basically, just write.  It’s your blog.  It’s your home on the internets.
  2. Say hello to your visitors.  Respond to their comments, even if it’s just to say ‘thank you.’ And if they have their own blog, please check it out and if you like what you see, click “like” on a post, or even better, follow their blog so that you’ll get updated on their latest posts.  I always like learning about how other people live and the blogging community has allowed me to do that!
  3. Not all visitors and followers are created equal (unfortunately).  Some of them are – like a blog about South American women – just a site that tries to get you to visit another site, usually commercial, selling the services of South American women. I mean, if you’re into those things, then fine.
  4. Don’t worry so much about hurting other people’s feelings when you’re writing about something that appeals to you on your blog (well, barring certain topics that will get the CIA, FBI and the NSA on  your tail).  In this world where everyone takes offense with everything, you’re bound to offend someone anyway, regardless of what you write about.  You could write about cute cats, and someone will still get offended by it.

    Guess he's not a cat person. Image from RAFrenzy (because my HD is now devoid on unbearded Richard Armitage pics)
    Guess he’s not a cat person.
    Image from RAFrenzy (because my HD is now devoid of un-bearded Richard Armitage pics)
  5. Acknowledge visitors who take the time to leave a comment.  Having left a comment on a post that either really appeals to your happy meter, or presses that me-no-happy button, get ready to acknowledge the original poster’s (hereby called OP) response.  Sometimes you really don’t have to respond to a simple ‘thank you’ from the OP, but sometimes there are comments that spawn more comments – and that’s totally fine.  In fact, it’s nice when that happens.  It’s akin to a conversation in the real world, I hear…
  6. Sometimes things might get off-topic or OT.  If so, acknowledge that what you’re about to say is OT and know that maybe the OP might edit it or not even post it.  Or if you happen to be a repeat OT offender, heavens forbid, they might even BAN you.
  7. Get your snark meter up and running.  Other blogs are heavy into snark (which is totally fine – it’s a free country) and if you don’t know what it sounds like (which sometimes I don’t), and you happily comment, you’re stepping into a minefield you may not be ready to be in.  Or a shark pit.  You take your pick.
  8. Crafting that OP-ED.  When you find yourself writing an op-ed in the comment section of someone’s blog, be prepared to craft your reasonable and tactful defense should the OP or other visitors respond back.  This may happen when you stumble upon a post you don’t agree on and hence, there’s your op-ed comment respectly rebutting the OP’s views.  No matter what happens next, this is when tact comes in to play – and some heart meds, too, if you happen to have them.  Or a bottle of whiskey to take the edge off.
    nxdBQX3
  9. When a post or comment presses on those buttons, take a deep breath and take a long walk before you pound your busy fingers on  your poor keyboard.  Sometimes, it’s worth it to really think things through before responding to comments on your blog – and this especially works best when it’s a blog that’s not your own, and the OP might respond to you in a way that you didn’t like.
  10. Sometimes it is enough to just LIKE someone.  Just because the powers that be tell you to comment on blogs to let them know that you appreciate their post, don’t – especially when you have NOTHING to say.  Sometimes clicking the LIKE button is good enough (for me, it is!) But if you do have something else to say other than ‘cool blog post!’ then please comment!

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So there  you have it – the 10 things I’ve learned so far from blogging.  Or maybe it’s about community?  I don’t know anymore – the lines have become so blurred…

But most of all, have fun!  Isn’t that why we do this after all?

 

Daily Prompt: Progress

When you look back at your blog on January 2, 2015, what would you like to see?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us PROGRESS.

choiceworks
Choiceworks Scheduling App
Because sometimes I need this more than the little guy does

I was never the type of person who stuck to routine and ritual.  Even after my son was diagnosed with autism and later PDD-NOS – and then told that routines would help him greatly, it’s still a struggle to follow the basic wake up-eat breakfast-brush teeth type of routine with me, much less with him.  When schedule boards were introduced to me, I actually thought that it was more for me than for him.  Because heaven knows I need a schedule board.

And why not?  I’m a writer.  My head is buried in other worlds, where I constantly play with other characters,  muses and villains.  Worse, I’m constantly plotting. 

It’s the one thing I discovered in the past year that gave my life meaning.  Sure, it’s wreaked havoc in my daily life and the laundry doesn’t get done, nor dinner get made, but it is what it is.  Thank goodness I go in spurts with the housekeeping, which often leaves the poor hubby, the clean freak, the full time job of picking up after the little guy and myself.  No wonder I have to gift with him with massages – not with me as the therapist but with someone else, where he can also escape the craziness of the house he has to share with a writer.

So what would I like to see on my blog once 2014 is over, you ask?  Probably a blog that’s filled with clues to help me find out who I really am and most of all, what I really want in life.  And probably a blog that looks neat and nice and pleasing to the eye, too.

Just don’t ask me to show you into my house…

Daily Prompt