Monthly Archives: August 2013


I blog about education regularly. If you’re unaware of that, check this out or this or this or this.

You get the picture.

Politicians are actively trying to privatize education while vilifying teachers. I don’t know a single district that hasn’t been affected by this change. I know we’re gearing up for the new school year and teachers are still exhausted from last school year. But those of us who stayed, and some great ones didn’t, aren’t going to give up. We’re going to show up every day and do our best to educate our students. In spite of guidelines that stress the test, we’ll stress LEARNING and the test will happen also.

I’d go on, but I stumbled on the website last week and this letter that says it all perfectly. I think it’s time teachers in Texas join our friends in NC. I’m all for red4edTX. It’s time we tell our politicians we won’t allow them to kill the public school and we won’t continue to drive good teachers out of the true business of education. Anyone else in?##

My books will be available in all ebookstores Aug. 25. For now, they’re still available on Amazon exclusively. I hope you’ll check them out!

Dead Girl Walking



School’s Still Out for Summer #MyWANA #Teacher

1 of four bags of supplies I bought for the classroom this year.

1 of four bags of supplies I bought for the classroom this year.

Right now I dread next Monday. I love my job, but there’s so much freedom during the summer. I love staying up late to work and sleeping in and wearing flipflops and yoga pants and putting my hair up in a ponytail and not wearing makeup and reading tons of romance novels and listening to my grooveshark playlist for hours and deciding last minute to take an overnight trip to the casino and summer. Yeah. All of it.

By next Sunday I’ll be ready…sort of. By the next Sunday I’ll definitely be ready.

I took the first step today: School supply shopping for the classroom.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to embrace the last few days of this break.

Dead Girl Walking

What I’ve Been Doing

August 2013

August 2013

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The last week has been one HUGE writing push. I’ve finished the copy edits for Sharlene Gallagher, Book 2: An Angel Earns Her Wings, and I’ve finished a round of edits on one of my romances. I’ve started the repackaging process on my print books, and I’ve made some business decisions.

I never really looked at my writing as a business, and that was a huge mistake.

Thank goodness for industry professionals like Kristen Lamb whose WANA blog helped me see the light. No more writing under three names. My YA and Inspirationals will now be published under the name Mary Beth Lee. The romances will continue under Liz Lee. I can handle publicity for two, but three…no way.

I’m working on a business plan now thanks to The Indie Voice book, The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing. If you are self-published and looking at your writing as simply craft OR you’re interested in self-publishing, get this book first. The Indie Voice authors walk you through their plan step-by-step, and the information is invaluable.

I’m working on increasing my word count thanks to the inspiration of critique partner Karen Kelley and The Artist’s Way challenger/former student/current colleague Scotty Coppage.

It’s been an interesting 18 months. Our empty house filled up, we built a house, we got a dog (and I love her so much) and our full house emptied. In the midst of that, I wrote, but I wrote into the mists with no real plan. That’s changed now. More on that later. I’ve got work to do, so I’m signing off!

First Book Trailer! #MyWANA

Dead Girl WalkingThe next Sharlene Gallagher adventure releases Tuesday, Aug. 13. For now, check below for this awesome book trailer created by Karl Kelley for book 1: Dead Girl Walking!

Grab Dead Girl Walking kindle format now. It’s only .99. The paperbacks are being repackaged right now, but I’ll let you know when they’re ready.

As always, please leave a review on Amazon if you’ve read the book. Reviews are the top way indie authors get word out about their books.

For Those Considering a Career in #Education

Me last year talking to my editor from my desk.

Me last year talking to my editor from my desk.

In the last two weeks I’ve taught classes with former students at workshops, gone out for margaritas with a former student and talked about everything from higher ed and linguistics to which hockey players to follow on twitter, chatted with a former student about her soon to be released by Entangled Publishing novel and finally tonight, laughed at the photos two former editors posted on Facebook for #tbt.

If you’re thinking about going into education know this: you’ll never be paid what you’re worth, you’ll always be the “bad guy” politicians can point to as wanting too much when all you want is job security and a decent paycheck, you’ll spend money on your classroom and the kids and you’ll never get that money back. You’ll work crazy ridiculous hours and drive your non-teacher friends nuts when you start talking about “education reform” and NCLB. You’ll go to the grocery store and see kids slinking away hoping to God you don’t see them AND kids who run up to you, give you a hug and introduce you to their grandmother who’s visiting as “My favorite teacher.”

You’ll be cussed at, laughed at, ignored and loved. You’ll attend trainings that don’t seem to serve a purpose during time you could be setting up your classroom. You’ll learn a million different acronyms for the Next Best Thing in education and those acronyms will change often.

You’ll meet amazing people dedicated to changing the world and then watch them thrive…or burn out…or decide it’s just not worth it to teach. You’ll have friends join admin…even DOWNTOWN admin, and then you’ll wonder if they’re still “friends” or if they’ve crossed over to the Dark Side. If you stick around long enough, you’ll learn it takes a village and the Dark Side is a myth…usually.

You’ll have classes without enough desks, without enough books, without enough super secret codes to unlock the sparkly new technology you’re provided. You’ll run into proxies that render said technology useless on a regular basis even though you used the website the week before to teach your classes.

You’ll spend hours on snazzy lessons with everything from rock songs to movie clips to pictures of places you’ve visited while on the quest to become a better teacher…AND someone in your class will try to sleep anyway.

You’ll be told you only work 9 months a year so quit your dang complaining…all the time. You’ll hear “We don’t need to pay teachers all this money. We can do school on the computers. Let the kids learn it all online.”

You’ll wake up some mornings feeling like a rockstar and go to bed feeling like a rock.

You’ll need to invest in super-dee-duper vitamins because schools are germ factories.

You’ll cry with your kids who lose boyfriends, parents, babies. You’ll want to smack them when you see their names in the paper on crime beats. You’ll want to call them up and say congrats when you see they’ve finished in the top of their class at UT. You’ll ask them if they’re sure they want to teach when they tell you they’ve decided to pursue a degree in education. And you’ll feel like crying again when they say they want to be just like you.

So think long and hard before you go into education. Starbucks gives full benefits, including a matching 401k for 20 hours a week. There are easier paychecks.

BUT nothing beats waking up in the morning excited to go to work. Nothing beats being a teacher when you love it.

Dead Girl Walking

Trying Something New #edtech #MyWANA

21st-century-learning-wordleYou know that moment you hit play on the presentation you spent HOURS working on and the technology doesn’t work? I’m hoping I don’t see that today-Saturday in the newspaper classes I’m teaching. Fingers crossed.

I’m going paperless.

The classes include youtube clips and hyperlinks to stories and discussion points. I’m using Edmodo for assignments and twitter for questions. (THANK YOU MyWANAs and Kristen Lamb. I’m taking your twitter lessons and applying them to my day job, too!) In my mind this is the best thing ever. I mean I can stand up at the front of the class and say “Like Stephen King says, if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write,” OR I can click the play button and Stephen King can say it plus some. I know which of those I’d rather see. 🙂

I’ve used video clips in my classes at school for a full semester. My students told me they LOVED that part of the class. Hopefully the kids at camp will, too. And hopefully they’ll like that they can access the Keynote complete with clips and links via Edmodo. PLUS there’s no way I can cover everything in the few hours I see them, so I’ve included several other folders of information I use in the classroom.

I’ll let you know how it goes. #

Dead Girl Walking