Monthly Archives: June 2006

What you SHOULD be watching

Whistler started tonight on the N. It’s AMAZING.
Great characterization, cool story line. Definitely a must see.


I guess I’m getting stronger. The rejection today just made me more determined than ever to write the best book I can.
My full with Intrigue came back today. 😦
The editor gave comments on the rejection, which is nice. I hate feeling like I’m writing in a void. I feel like that enough as it is.


I planned this book first. And still I find myself falling into the wrong road trap. UGH!
I’m in the last third of the book and so much has to happen. I need to focus on the story and not worry about anything else. This part is so hard!!!!!
But it’s a rough draft.
I’m going to keep telling myself that, and then when I finish I’m going to revise the heck out of this baby. 🙂
One of my dear friends is working on a new novel, but she doesn’t write a full rough draft. She writes a scene, revises it two to three times then moves on to the next scene. When she’s done, she has a book that needs edits. That’s it.
Another friend blocks her scenes. She writes the dialogue, throws in some actions and the words: this needs emotion, reaction or setting and moves on.
I always say there’s no one way to write a book, but I wonder if one way works better than others.


If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

Every year I make plans for how to make things better than ever. Changing the way things are done is one of the keys to doing that.
WW, writing, yearbook adviser, parenting….everything. How can the results possibly be different if the process is basically the same?
With WW, I’ve taken myself off processed carbs. NOT easy. But I’ve decided I have an addiction to them. Once I get started, it’s Russian Roulette. I can go weeks, maybe even months no problem and then boom, outa control.
Yearbook: Organization is key to smoother deadlines. Communication is essential to quality teamwork.
Writing: I’ve already made some significant changes in the last year. Planning the books first is a good thing for me–especially with suspense. This year I’m going to add a more detailed revision plan. Once I reach the end, I’m in too much of a hurry to send it out to editors. I need to slow down. Mary showed a revisions process she uses the other day on The Bandwagon. I’m going to try something similar. Breaking the story down to scene by scene will be a good thing.
Of course, writing is essential. 🙂 And my new pictures will help with that!


If you want a laugh today, check out the plotmonkeys site. Too Funny!!!

FINALLY! After lots of searching I found a photo of my heroine, Arden. She just needs red hair and this is perfect.
Strangely enough when she appeared to me in the middle of the night demanding I introduce her to Michael, I thought she looked a lot like the girl from NCIS. And that’s who she is. I should’ve checked her acting credits out when I first started this. 🙂

And Michael, just because he makes me happy.

School News and goal setting

I was accepted into the leadership institute for my school district next year. I applied because I want to learn techniques to help my editors become better leaders at the same time I learn to be a better leader. I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about administration. My job is a lot like admin already. The biggest difference, I think, would be who I work with. Admin works more with the adults in the system. I’m not sure what I think about that. I LOVE my students. 🙂 The leadership institute will help me make the decision.
It makes me wonder where I want to be in five years. I know writing is part of the answer. Published is another part. But I have no goals for the day job other than to be the best adviser I can be.

DD went to her ultra conservative grandma’s Thursday night and came home with blue black hair. When I was 18, I did something strange with my hair and my mom yelled across a parking lot: Mary Elizabeth Hagberg, I hate your hair. I think part of the anger might’ve been because she caught me and my friends skipping school, but still, the parking lot was crowded. Life sure is strange sometimes. 🙂

Another yummy photo of my new hero (his real name’s Fernando Colunga, but he’s Michael to me):

Getting through

Check out Jill Monroe’s blog at Wet Noodle Posse today.

The one thing I really miss when I don’t go to National conference (other than the desserts!) is being surrounded by HUNDREDS of people who are so much like me.
I met Jill during the president’s retreat at national conference. I’d judged a story of hers in a contest and signed my name because I loved the story so much. She recognized my name and we started talking. Her determination to write in the face of rejection inspired me to keep going. That determination has paid off for her. She’s published by Temptation and Blaze.
Her story is just one of hundreds I’ve heard at the conferences. There’s an energy, maybe it’s synergy really, in all these people pushing for a goal. I think that’s one of the cool things about the blog community. That same energy is here. We check in on each other’s progress, cheer each other on, encourage and support. It’s like a virtual national conference all year long.

I FOUND a photo of my hero finally. I’m still looking for my heroine. She’s a shorter Sarah from America’s Next Top Model with red hair and Adriane’s attitude from the first season.
He was a combination of several people too, but I finally found one person that typifies the man I see when I’m writing Michael (and I’m trying out photobucket for the first time!):

I beg to differ

Yesterday I read this great goal setting article on the weight watchers board. Strangely enough, it was PERFECT for writers too. Well, all except the last bit of advice: nothing tastes as good as thin feels.
The people who say that obviously haven’t indulged in Better Than Sex Cake, Papadeaux’s Creme Brulee or Tuscani’s frozen tiramisu. Because I’m here to tell you, I’ve been thin (or close to it) in the last two years and those three desserts definitely taste better than thin felt. 🙂
Here’s the advice on goal setting, positive self-thinking. Reminds me of “as you say it, so it shall be.”

Would you say to your best friend what you say to yourself?

SELF TALK- What to say when you talk to yourself….

The Brain acceptS what it is told. If it is given a negative, it will believe a negative.

Don’t say negatives to yourself…

An idea: put together a card file on a binder ring of POSITIVE sayings. (There are many on these boards!!) Read one every day, or when you need an uplift.

Finding balance is very important.

Making choices is empowering….

“I love myself for who I am”.

You can’t be anyone but you!

I have the ability to reach my goal…
-what is your goal?
-accept that it is a fight.
-A part of growing up
-It is your choice!

I am a winner!
-SAY it

I am a rich treasure, ready to be found
-See yourself as you want to be and chip away at the excess!
-You are a Diamond in the rough!

I am capable of achieving my goal.
-be realistic!
-be logical

There is NOTHING I can’t handle!

Nothing tastes better than thin feels!

-cut it to “I’m possible!
-change your mind, wrap it around success.


Your Right to Dream

When I first started writing dh was behind me 100%. I was a good writer. He knew it. How hard could it be to sell a romance novel? (money, money, money) Then I got a rejection. Followed by another.
My new dream of being a writer was just that to him. He didn’t know me back in the olden days–before him. before I got busy being a wife, a mom. a teacher and a student. To him this was some new fangeled idea I had. Kind of like when I joined Gold’s Gym and went every day for a month but stopped.
All he saw was me going to meetings, to lunch and boksignings having a good time. When I was writing, I was having a good time too. To him it was a game, and he wasn’t happy I wanted to play instead of doing what I’d always done.
I struggled a lot with this. I was angry because he didn’t get how importaant the dream was to me. I was hurt because he didn’t get how painful the rejections were. I was ticked because I filled the ice trays when he went out the door in the mornings, I vacuumed the floors, I made the suppers and did the laundry and by God, I had the right to have something that was mine, for me, something I wanted.
Fortunately I didn’t give a lot of voice to those thoughts. I talked to Jackye, I cried on my own time, but I played hunt and peck writer when I got the chance. then Sharon Sala came to see us and she talked about the importance of the dream. I realized not going for the dream was hurting me. It was hurting my daughter. And honestly, it was hurting Brian too. At the same time, he felt the way he did and NOTHING was changing that.
So I developed a plan. I talked to him, told him this wasn’t a game, it wasn’t a hobby.It was something I was doing with the full intention of it becoming a constant part of my life. Katie went to bed at 8:30, so I set a writing time of 9-11 every week night. And I stuck to it. He hated me not going to bed with him at night. So I went to bed with him, watched TV, did research sometimes. 🙂 When he started to go to sleep, I got up and wrote some more sometimes. BACK then I needed four hours of sleep a night. Now I need six to eight so I’d have to adjust the schedule if I was still doing this.
It wasn’t all happy. I still got the rejections, he still didn’t get it. Every once in a while, especially back in the beginning, he’d say just quit and I’d cry because the idea of quitting broke my heart. Because quitting was letting the dream die. BACK when it was just me forgetting the dream, it was no big deal. But giving up on it, letting it die was more than I could do.
Every once in a while, Brian will still say something about me not watching X-Files or NYPD Blue or whatever happens to be on with him. He doesn’t always sound supportive. But his mother always knows when I have something out. I don’t tell her. His friends know when I win contests. I don’t tell them.
Katie, when she’s in a particularly vile mood, will say something about the writing being a waste of my time. But you know what, she believes in following a dream, and I think that’s something she’ll take with her for life.
Long story short: Katie was only little once, and I didn’t want to miss that. My marraige is extremely important to me. But my dream is also important. It is possible to have both. I think it’s actually essential to me as a human being with my own name, my own being. I’m not just Brian’s wife or Katie’s mom or the adviser of Rider Publications. I’m Mary Beth Lee, and I’m a writer. 🙂
I’ve been doing this for nine years. It’s a lot easier for me with Brian and his so-so support, but I think part of that is because I’ve trained him and part is because I didn’t belittle his feelings or make him feel like they didn’t matter. The other part is Katie’s 16 and it’s much easier now than it was when she was little. 🙂

Off my soapbox.


I posted this earlier in the week to my local writer’s group e-loop and it stirred a big response. Several of my friends said it was something they were inspired by so I’m sharing it here too.

Late Night Writing and a question

You know, these one a.m. dates with my computer sure are productive. I love this story. It’s so dark. But the darkness is emotional. I’m finding the whodunnit aspect fun but difficult in the shorter word-count romance. I need the mystery in there, but I need the romance too. I worry this one is too heavy on the mystery side. Especially in the first 70 pages. But the tension is hot and totally conflicted. The most conflicted thing I’ve written. I definitely won’t be getting one of those “not enough conflict to sustain the plot” rejections on this baby. Actually, since I started writing suspense, I haven’t gotten one of those rejections. I’ve collected plenty of others! 🙂
I’m looking at contests for a couple books. I’m not sending this new one out on the contest circuit. I’ll send it straight to Allison Lyons.

One of the books I’m sending into the contest world will do okay, I think. It’s traditional RS.
The other is my ST women’s fiction/sort of inspirational but not really. My CP’s say it’s the best thing I’ve written. But the romance doesn’t start in it until page 70. I don’t know if there’s a contest out there for it. Usually, the categories have lots of points for sexual tension or something similar. Mine will get tossed for lack of that. Any advice? Suggestions?