Friday, September 13, 2013


Launched and Live!
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SOUND THE ALARM TODAY! We need a collective will ~ immediately ~ to protect the penguins in Antarctica, to protect the planet & to preserve life on earth as we know it! PRETTY PLEASE click on this link and support my effort to spread awareness about the accelerating Antarctica ice melt via a “novel” true story surrounding my experience in Antarctica in February 2013. I cannot move ahead with your help to promote my cause with your Facebook, Twitter, Lindedin, and other social media outlets. Will you take a few moments today to SHARE my link with your friends? Namaste. 

LIKE Morningstar Books & Travel Photography PRETTY PLEASE!

This red hot Antarctica love story takes place is the coldest heart of the planet, the South Pole. 
Set amid the sharp whites and blues of the tumultuous Drake Passage, a red research vessel heads toward the Southern sea with uncomplicated expectations. While the reader becomes aware of the significance of the dwindling penguin populations along the route, the heroine and hero, a Russian and an American, fumble with musical instruments and fall in love. This entertaining “novel” true story not only demonstrates the cataclysmic potential of the ever increasing polar ice melt, but calls the reader to measures they may otherwise never act upon.
"I've traveled the world and the seven seas over twenty years, couldn't wait to get to the next destination and live the next cultural experience, but now I am ready to write about it - beginning with an Antarctica tale."
Here I will chart my Kickstarter experience.
To visit my Kickstarter campaign, click here

Entry 1
In 1990, I sold one of my businesses and took a four month trip around the world. Even though I had traveled to many western countries before then, the mere length of the adventure took me out of my own reality and allowed me a second life. I knew then, I wanted to explore many more cultures, live many more lives. However, reality took over again until 911 when I was put out of business through no fault of my own. Perhaps it was fate or perhaps just luck. Even through all the losses since 911, I realize that few people, even explorers or cats, have lived as many lives as I have lived. And for that, I count myself lucky. 

From 2001 to 2007 I began to write full time on a WW2 novel, which was actually the first book in a five book series. I had started writing in my twenties on a novel, Neon Gods, and when I finally got back to it and finished it, Doubleday had responded telling me it was too long, too many words, and I had to pick my story.

Even after hearing that advice from another full time published writer and a New York editor, I just didn't want to "pick my story"so I decided I would make the story into a five book series.

This required separating my stories (which would all eventually link together) into their own narratives. In 2001 I began that process. I had done enough research on successful writers over the years to know that persistence makes all the difference for eventually getting a book published, so I persisted and didn't give up, working on the first book in the series, The Last Snapshot, for the next six years (which added together with the two years of WW2 research, amounted to eight years on the book). 

When I thought it was finished, I hired a very well known and quite expensive editor who proceeded to rip the book to shreds to achieve more tension. I worked with him for about six months and went with his advice, but in the end I would not give up the last scene in the book, killing off the hero, as he wanted me to. When I had originally written that scene, it had come to me in some sort of spiritual flurry that flooded my eyes and my heart with otherworldly emotion that I had never expected. The scene actually had written itself and I had come to believe that the scene may well have been a true event that happened during the days when Warsaw loaded the

trains with Jews who were headed to Treblinka to their deaths. I refused to kill off the hero, my editor wasn't happy, and the book ended up shelved after over a hundred rejection letters from agents and publishers. Thus my belief in persistence waned and in examining my own life, I realized if I ever wanted to achieve my other life goals, I would have to put my writing on hold and go abroad.


Here are a few shots of a few places I've visited.
                                                                 photographs by Marilyn Morningstar - all rights reserved








The World Can Change Your Soul

Entry 2

As a quasi backpacker (gave up the big pack a few years back) I know the ropes of cheap travel, but it's not because I didn't have the funds to travel like other westerners, it's because I found my kindred people among travelers who understood that traveling, that being in other places among strange cultures and customs and religions wasn't about tour buses and filling the eyes with ancient sites. Do you recall the television series, 'I Led Three Lives"? Well, my sort of travel is more about "living a series of extremely different lives" rather than gathering snapshots of pretty tourist attractions. Now that I have lived so many unusal lives, I need to write and publish those incredibly crazy, strange and life-altering experiences.
The world has the power to change the soul if you sit still long enough.                                                                                                                                       Marilyn Morningstar
And so, traveling for two or three months each year, I began to understand the timeless nature of being a true traveler, of becoming more tolerant, more accepting of differences, more compassionate and then only recently I realized I can no longer see color, I can no longer see age, I can only see and feel the soul behind the skin of another being, another being just like me. THE WORLD CAN CHANGE YOUR SOUL and that is part of the message of "Backpacking Antarctica with a White Violin."

So with that brief explanation, I hope you can see why I have put my creative life on hold for so many years, put my writing projects away in a closet, and only recently set up my easel and palette again. Besides, with the banking disaster, as shocking as it is, I am no longer secure, I am living on the edge and I must find a way to make a living again. It' has come to this - either EARN INCOME via finishing my book projects or give up the philanthropic projects I support like my orphanage site, You can get a feel for my writing skills on this website also. Worldwide Orphanages. 


Entry 3
After traveling all around the world for eight years as a vagabond, staying where I could, I decided, in a moment of "I gotta get out of this cabin" cabin fever, to embark on one of my "bucket list" destinations in early 2013, Patagonia. I really had no intention of going to Antarctica since it was so expensive.  

As a backpacker, I am lucky to meet a lot of other inveterate travelers, many who are away from home for six months to a year, a luxury I have never been able to muster. One of the best things about traveling is hearing advice from others who have traveled to the places you are going, or planning to go in the future. For instance, in Buenos Aires, Argentina where I stayed for three weeks, I met a myriad of travelers who shared their travel adventures and opinions with me. By the third week, after hearing so many people speak of their Antarctic experience as their absolute favorite place in So. America, as something out of this world, something too sacred to speak about, a place that lingered in the soul with so much force it was a life-changing experience, I began to consider a future voyage to Antarctica, another trip, perhaps in another year. It wasn't until I found the secret source who made backpacking Antarctica possible for those of little means, that I truly made the leap to "I want to go to Antarctica. I want to "feel" what it is about that place that alters souls." 

Jimmy, from the UK (in this case a fictional character) was kind enough to share the email address of the secret source for highly discounted LAST MINUTE Antarctica travel. Once connected online, I decided it was worth racking up the charges on my credit card to make it happen, so I went for bust. I told the secret source that I could go no higher than $5000, knowing full well the trips on these research vessels started at $9000. If I was really going to go, the price was going to have to push me into it. There was no way to know if I would get a bunk in a shared room or get a private room, but as days passed, all I really cared about was getting on the ship.

I should relate that for the LAST MINUTE to work out, a traveler must have time on their side, time to wait and wait and wait. Since I had just begun my three month trip when I signed up, I did have time. On my way to Patagonia from Buenos Aires, I had better than a month for the secret source to find me an empty berth. People miss planes and have last minute emergencies and must cancel their adventures, and by the luck of the draw, I hoped that I would be chosen to sleep in their bed.

As my time in El Calafete and El Chalten (absolutely must sees, but everything loses its luster against Antarctica) was running out and no lucky deals were coming my way, I realized it was likely that I wouldn't be so lucky, that perhaps going to Antarctica wasn't right for me since it was so far out of my logical financial ability. I began priming myself to avoid disappointment. 

Then, when my expectations began to wan, I found an email in my inbox that was the right ship for the right discount and it was leaving the Port of Ushuaia at 1:00 pm on the day my plane from El Calafate was to arrive in Ushuaia at 10:00 am. In between, I had to meet the secret source, sign a document to agree not to tell a soul on the ship about my discount (so no I cannot tell you, but you can write to the "hostels" in Ushuaia and they may be able to help!), pick up my gloves and gear, and feed my empty stomach. I took the deal and I have to say I will go to my grave never regretting spending that chunk of change. Antarctica, the wildest, harshest, whitest place on earth, injects a potion into the soul, it fills the heart with awe, it strengthens bonds with the earth and it forces the brain to focus on the delicate nature of the circle of life.  

The ship departed the Port of Ushuaia at 6:00 pm and I was on it, dead tired, starving and immediately seasick, but I had bells on my toes!


Antarctica's great Southern Ocean is the last pristine ocean wilderness left on Earth. This year leaders from 25 countries have an opportunity to create the world's largest marine sanctuaries around Antarctica. The proposals are in front of them, the science has been done, all they need to do is say YES. Tell our leaders to make the right decision when they meet this year and protect these waters for future generations.

Share this video and visit our website to take action: JOIN US! SIGN HERE!

Entry 4
Launching Kickstarter Campaign 

Ok, wow! This has been a bit of a wild and crazy ride over almost three months. When I first learned about Kickstarter and crowd funding, I looked at a lot of Kickstarter campaigns and decided this was the way to go for me, for many reasons. First off, I sorta need a shove, some encouragement and a definite commitment to put everything else on hold and go for the gusto. Yep, the Kickstarter opportunity appealed to me. I could use some fans and some financial backing to get this off the ground and to be able to publish - without depending on a traditional publisher, something I found frustrating and discouraging in the past. Once I decided, I was totally committed, wrote the original proposal, found a way to make a video that was not as boring as some I had seen, and I was ready to LAUNCH! Wait a minute.

I began to wonder how the successful Kickstarter campaigns had made it happen. Was it a matter of throwing up a project and hoping for Kickstarter backers to find it among the hundreds of campaigns? That seemed a bit too hopeful, a tad too easy. If 42% of Kickstarter campaigns succeeded  that meant 58% failed. Where would my project land? So, I started doing some online research, began reading every tidbit of information I could find on blogposts and elsewhere only to find out that 

1. I needed about 10K-15K fans. Humm, I had none. With my 500+ Facebook friends, I thought I might stand a chance, but what else should I be doing? 

2. Press Releases! Oh, alright, but where do I send them? That took me to a week of research and another project. I had to get my blog attached to a Facebook page and get the LIKE links up on my blog pages. Meantime, lots of news was happening concerning penguins and global warming and I split some of my time between blog postings and Kickstarter research.

3. Celebs: Could I get in touch with any celebrities who might be willing to support my cause? Another few days of research. OK, that avenue, although not dead, wasn't productive, but it didn't hurt to ask backers to connect me to people they may know. That was a plus.

4. Organizations: I had to find out if any climate related organizations would be interested in helping my campaign by posting a link to my Kickstarter campaign. The problem then became the fact that I didn't have a link because I was yet launched. Oh yeah, just get everything lined up and launch the marketing campaign the day you launch the Kickstarter campaign. 

5. HELP! Seriously, by this time it was obvious that a Kickstarter campaign required more than a simple proposal and video (which took three weeks originally). That would be full time! So, I decided to try to line up some people that could help with the crazy list of promotional work I had scheduled out for myself. I placed an ad on a college job board, but no one responded. I hired a guy one day, but realized it was going to be more expense than I could afford. So, it all fell back in my lap. Time just kept passing by.

6. Video Update: I worked on two more versions of the video after getting a few people to critique the original one. The message needed to be crystal clear. It needed to introduce the person (me) behind the project without much time expenditure. Most importantly the video had to "touch" the viewer in some profound way. That was tricky. Although I knew my story would mix an exciting travel story with the plight of the penguins and thus awaken the public to the association between their demise and the potential END OF THE HUMAN RACE, a rather scary proposition, it wasn't enough for ME to know what I intended to do with the story, I had to make the viewer want to help me get this done. In the end, the video is too long and I know that, so I'm still quiet hesitant to launch. On the other hand, the reviewers seem to think the video holds attention quiet well so I'm going to break the rules and run with it. 

7. Ducks in a Row: Before launching, I need to make certain all my ducks are lined up and ready for the blast I'll be creating by personally writing to all my Facebook friends, related sites, and news agencies. Organization is key.

8. Blog Updates: Keeping up my Kickstarter campaign blog and my Kickstarter backer updates while being a one-man-band marketing guru is going to be a 16 hour a day job for the next 40 days. Or maybe I'll make it 30.

9. Life Changing Proposition: Originally, when I began putting the project together I had no idea of the huge time commitment, but I did realize that if I succeeded, the Kickstarter campaign would be a live changing turn of events. I know I am ready, willing and able to follow through after a successful campaign. What I don't know is how I will react if things don't go as planned. None the less, I truly believe in my project, in the timeliness of it and my ability to carry it off. So, it's Kickstarter or bust for me. I'm in all the way.

10. Launching: Whew! This is nerve-racking. What will happen? Will anyone support me? Who will I meet via this effort? How will this change my life? EXCITING and frightening, with emphasis on the exciting! Here I go. Off and running, and hoping, expecting success.

If you are considering your own Kickstarter campaign, I hope my notes and posts will help you to have a successful campaign. I KNOW there are a lot more interesting campaigns than mine and I'm always searching new projects to support. I'm so excited with each Kickstarter success. I wish you a bundle of happiness! I'll be posting more about my campaign with links that helped as the campaign progresses. Thanks for reading me! Stop back by.

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