Excitement the Week My New Book Arrived!

Promising to tell my blog readers about my journey as a writer, I have the privilege today of telling you about last week’s arrival of my new book, Harrisburg, Did You Know? Cabarrus History, Book 2.

My first copies of the local history book arrived on Sunday. That evening, I also finished drawing in black ink two maps of 1900s Harrisburg, NC on 11×17-inch paper. I’d drawn the maps in pencil years ago based on my memory and the recollections of Mr. Ira Lee Taylor. Mr. Taylor was born in the early 1920s and lived to be in his mid-nineties. He was a great resource for me when I was writing the local history column from 2006 through 2012.

Mr. Taylor’s memory of stores and other businesses such as the livery stable made it possible for me to include many buildings that were long gone by the time I was born in the 1950s.

Since the town experienced several road closures and the addition of a four-lane bridge over the railroad tracks due to the high-speed rail improvements about a decade ago, it’s important to have a record in the form of a map so the town’s earlier layout won’t be forgotten.

Monday morning, I took the two maps to have photocopies made. Since the owner of the local bookstore had told me that several people who purchased my first local history book had said they wished they had a map of the way the town used to look, I thought she’d be happy to have my two 11×17-inch maps to sell for maybe $2.50. That didn’t work out, which was disappointing.

On Monday and Tuesday, I got to give copies of my new book to several people who have been instrumental in helping me with details of local history. I mailed several of those to people who live out-of-town, but I got to deliver others in person.

I designed and had bookmarks printed to give away with each book. One side of the bookmark has pictures of both of the Harrisburg local history books and the other side has a photo of my “Slip Sliding Away” short story along with my website and QR code so people will know how to get a downloadable copy of my short story by subscribing to my newsletter.

Above, one side of my bookmark; below, the other side of my bookmark.

I also delivered copies of my first and second local history books to a local bookstore which already had two people on the waitlist for Book 2. After taking the books to the store, I posted announcements on three Facebook pages so people would know that my new book was available locally and on Amazon. I’ve enjoyed getting comments and replying to comments – some from people I know and some from people I’ve never met. It’s gratifying to know that people are enjoying both my books.

Wednesday gave me a break from all the book activity, as a cousin visited from New York with her two-year-old son. It was great to sit and visit and watch a very active toddler investigate parts of our house and yard.

On Thursday, I got to have lunch with three local people to talk about local history. It was interesting, and I learned some things I hadn’t known before. Don’t jump to any conclusions, though; I don’t have a third local history book in me!

Early in the week, I made the decision to give myself Thursday and Friday off from hawking my book. Being a native and lifelong North Carolinian, the “March Madness” of the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Basketball is something I’ve always blocked out time for on my calendar. Both of my NC State University teams got knocked out in the first round, but I’ll continue to watch the games the next three weekends.

Photo by Gene Gallin on Unsplash

On Saturday, I delivered more copies of Harrisburg, Did You Know? Cabarrus History, Book 2 to the bookstore in Harrisburg, so the shop is well-stocked for this week.

When not hawking books or watching basketball, I spent a good bit of time pouring over old deeds, plats, and maps as I tried to figure out exactly where I live in relation to the land purchased by my ancestors in the 1760s. I enjoy activities like that.

Until my next blog post

I’ll continue to publicize my books, and I’ll keep spreading the word that I now publish an electronic newsletter every other month for people who subscribe to it on my website: https://www.janetmorrisonbooks.com. I also give away a downloadable short story to subscribers. I appreciate those of you who have taken advantage of this opportunity.

I hope you have a good book to read. The right of people to read is under attack in some states within the United States, and that’s a frightening situation. It’s more important than ever for freedom-loving people everywhere to read, read, read. Support your local public library and your local bookstore! Don’t let anyone dictate what you can and cannot read!

I plan to get back to work on the book of family recipes I started compiling a few months ago before the history books demanded my time. That’s my next project, but I’m eager to also get back to writing my first historical novel.

Take care of each other.

Don’t forget the people of Ukraine. In particular, remember the 16,000 children who have been forced by the Russians to go to Russia in the last 14 months. Only 300 of the 16,000 have been able to get back to their homeland of Ukraine.


DRUMROLL!  My Website is Redesigned!

In celebration of the unveiling of my newly-redesigned website, I’m announcing a giveaway! Who can pass up free stuff?

Today’s blog post will be short because I want you to spend some time exploring my website.

The home page of my redesigned website!

What’s free?

Just for visiting my website and clicking on the “Subscribe” button, I’ll send you a FREE E-Copy of one of my short stories:  “Slip Sliding Away: A Southern Historical Short Story.” It’s set in the southern Appalachian Mountains in 1875. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

This is the cover of the short story if you prefer to purchase it on Amazon.

Please rate or review the short story

If you like the story, please consider going on Amazon.com and rating it or even leaving a brief review. That would be great and I would truly appreciate it!

History in Photographs

History in Photographs page on my redesigned website!

One particular page on my website that I want to draw your attention to is “History in Photographs.” On that page you’ll find pictures of various historical sites and items that are representative of the 1700-1900 era of American history I’m most drawn to and prompted to write about.

Since my last blog post

In addition to my newly-designed website going “live,” I finally received a refund for the damaged copies of Harrisburg, Did You Know? Cabarrus History, Book 1 that I received in December. I emailed the company again and my request finally landed with the right person!

It was a great week!

Until my next blog post

Please visit https://www.janetmorrisonbooks.com and subscribe to my newsletter! I anticipate sending out the first newsletter in March and follow a schedule of every other month.

I hope you have a good book (or short story!) to read.

Thank you for reading my blog and for visiting my website. Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to my newsletter to get my free short story!

And as always, remember the suffering people in Ukraine, Turkey, and Syria.


Online sites for writers

Today’s post is about a half dozen websites for writers that I discovered this week. I do not endorse any of the websites. I’m merely sharing the sites with those of you who are writers and, in some cases, commenting on my first impressions of the sites.


Online-Utility.org is a free online tool. It measures readability and calculates the grade level at which one could read your text with ease. It also instantaneously lists every sentence in your text that “it” suggests you “rewrite to improve readability.” I was stunned at the number of sentences this tool listed that needed my attention in the first 100 pages of my novel manuscript; however, the website description admits that “In general, these tests penalize writers for polysyllabic words and long, complex sentences.” After quickly perusing the Online-Utility.org list of my sentences that needed attention, I concluded that the great majority of my words had more than one syllable and I am guilty of writing a complex sentence on occasion. I am attempting to write fiction for adults. I concluded that this free online tool better serves someone who is writing for young children or new readers of the English language.


I also happened upon thewritingpractice. The site has articles about the craft of writing. I will definitely visit that website again.

Writers’ Village University

Another website is that of Writer’s Village University. This site offers college-level classes for its members. I have found few reviews of this site on objective websites but many posts from people asking if anyone has used it. The Writer’s Village University website lists numerous glowing remarks from students, but I find it suspect that there is not one single mediocre or negative review. The writing groups aspect of the website might be its best member benefit. The sites lacks sufficient course descriptions for me to join with confidence. I welcome feedback from any current or former members of the website.

inkandquills.com and The Spanish Coin

As energy allows, I continue to edit my historical novel manuscript I’m calling The Spanish Coin. I was up to chapter 16 of 20 putting my characters’ thoughts in italics when a couple of days ago I read Kaitlin Hillerich’s article titled “How to Write Your Character’s Thoughts” on inkandquills.com. Ms. Hillerich says putting thoughts in italics or using speech tags creates “a barrier between the character and the reader.” She sees thoughts in italics as an interruption by the writer. Ms. Hillerich recommends that the writer lets the character convey his or his thoughts with their own voice. In other words, you can stay in third person point of view but write so it seems like the character is the narrator. This approach makes sense to me, so I will start once more on the first page of my novel’s manuscript, remove the thoughts in italics, and try to accomplish what Ms. Hillerich recommends. I hope my next step after that will be getting a professional to critique my 95,852-word manuscript. If I keep reading “how to write” articles and blogs, I’ll never get The Spanish Coin published. I think I sub-consciously procrastinate because I dread getting umpteen rejection letters from literary agents.


One website leads to another when I get online. I often start out on Pinterest.com and find many websites about writing. I do not read paranormal fiction, but I recently discovered the jamigold.com website about paranormal writing. I was pleasantly surprised to find a plethora of helpful blog posts there for any writer. Some posts are about self-publishing. There is a new blog series about planning your newsletter. There are posts about how to keep readers and types of extra content you might want to consider including on your website.

Janice Hardy’s Fiction University

The Jami Gold website led me to blog.janicehardy.com — Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. The site contains more than 1,000 articles about writing. Whew! I don’t know where to begin.

No wonder I haven’t finished editing my novel. I spend too much time reading about writing and not enough time writing. And did I mention I’m a procrastinator?

Feel free to tweet about my blog, pin my posts on one of your Pinterest boards, and tell your friends to visit my blog and my website, janetmorrisonbooks.com. Until my next post, I wish you a good book to read and productive writing time for those of you who are writers.