Tag Archives: books

Mid-book Freak Out #writerzen

Mid-book freak out time.

That moment I sit staring at the computer screen thinking any of the following in any order or maybe even all at once:

Sucks.

This is awful.

Sucks…sucks…sucks

What was I thinking when I sat down to write tonight?

Wait…what is this character’s name…oh dear GOD I’ve called her the wrong name the last twenty pages…

Conflict?! Who needs conflict.

blah-blah-blah-blah

Hey, this sentence starts with a capital and there’s a period at the end. That’s good for something, right?

Oh wait…nvr mind.

Dear God, is that even in English?!

ThisIsARomanceButThere’sNoRomance. How did I forget the romance?!?!?!?!?!?

Kill someone. That always makes things interesting.

You could just write down the Big Fat Man story. Everyone loves that. Drank a barrel of water, ate a barrel of mush, gobble, gobble, gobble…

Hmmmm. I have a new Karen Templeton to read. Maybe I should take a reading break and study the craft.

It’s Friday. I need a drink.

Or 10.

Sucks, sucks. sucks.

Coffee, coffee, coffee.

Genius.

Just joking.

I’m blogging first instead of writing first. That’s almost as bad as stopping to wash dishes but not as bad as stopping to sweep the floors.

Twitter. Twitter has the answers. Twitter is like writer zen. Writer zen…what is this I speak of? #twitterzen It could trend.

The end. I could just slap the end on it now and call it done.

Even though it’s not done.

But that’s the whole point of crappy first draft, right?

Sucks, sucks, sucks.

Not getting better if I don’t go write.

Ok.

The kill someone idea sounds good. Who cares that it’s not suspense…at all…not even a little.

Wait. The Stars are on. Their magic number is 2. What am I doing writing?

Choices. Decisions. So many directions to go.

Wah. Wah. Wah. All the way home.

See you on the flip side.

#writerzen Yeah, that’s awesome. And an oxymoron.

Dang it.

 

 

Pretty Reckless by Jodi Linton Out Today!

Jodi Linton’s Pretty Reckless hits shelves today, and I’m thrilled to share the news. You guys are going to LOVE Deputy Laney Briggs!

PrettyRecklessHighRes_final coverPretty Reckless by Jodi Linton

Welcome to Pistol Rock, Texas where everyone knows secrets last about as long as the sporadic west Texas rain showers.

Laney Briggs has long been considered reckless, but she’s turned herself around—she’s respectably engaged and she’s become a Pistol Rock deputy sheriff. Everything’s fine until a dead body turns up and her ex, Texas Ranger Gunner Wilson, decides to stick his boots into the town’s first murder case.

Laney will be damned if she lets Gunner trample all over her turf and her chance at a quiet, contented life. His seemingly endless ability to undermine her resolve and her libido was only outdone by her constant urge to butt heads with him. But when the bodies start to pile up, Laney has to ask the lethal bad boy for a hand—and a truce in exchange for his help.

Having an ex-boyfriend as an ally might not be the best idea, but Laney has always been pretty reckless…

Author bio:

JodiJodi Linton lives and works in Texas, with her husband and two kids. She can be found cozied up to the computer escaping into a quirky world of tall tales, sexy, tight jean wearing cowboys, and a protagonist with a sharp-tongue quick enough to hang any man out to dry.  PRETTY RECKLESS is her first novel. She is currently at work on her next Deputy Laney Briggs book.

buy links:

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Dear Summer 2013 #MyWANA

Ross Castle, Killarney IrelandI loved you. You were a life-changing summer.

I started in Ireland, the most beautiful place on earth, ended at the computer writing and designing book covers and formatting books so everyone has access to the Mary Beth Lee and Liz Lee books, not just kindle owners.

I survived the summer cold from hell, discovered Zeal, spent July in yearbook camps, said goodbye to a fellow J-adviser who’s retiring after 31 years in the district.

I found a new favorite author: Sarah MacLean <3, finished Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series and reread the SEP books I love so much.

I re-embraced Pilates since it helps with the pain caused by the purse and fall-inflicted shoulder injury AND I learned the chiropractor hurts like heck, but makes the pain better eventually.

I wrote and wrote and wrote some more and edited and edited and edited some more and had a blast with Mom and Dad and learned to play dominoes with an ancient set of the game that had been in the bottom of our game closet in the old house.

I rediscovered the anxiety of an empty nest and the joy, too. And learned that blue sticky tack is from hell.

I lost big at poker, but decided the stop at Fischer’s in Muenster was worth it.

I fell more in love with the dog and she fell more in love with me. There’s a chance this is a codependent relationship. We’ll see when school starts Monday.

I slept in late and stayed up late working on books and maintained the weight loss from last year and stuck with the low carb lifestyle.

I had a blast writing the third Sharlene Gallagher book and rewriting To Trust a Prince. I coveted Karen Kelley’s new RV and decided one day DH and I would have one, too.

Thanks to DD’s insistence I finally saw Pitch Perfect and learned to my surprise that no, it’s NOT a baseball movie. I saw I Love You Man and laughed and laughed and laughed some more. And I started Scandal. Wow. Just wow. Shonda Rhimes is a genius.

You were a great summer. I’ll miss you. But it’s time to restart the day job. I love it, even though it’s frustrating some times…especially these days when the powers that be, people who aren’t in classrooms or campus admin jobs, keep asking for more and more and more to the point that effectiveness suffers system wide, but as a former principal told me once: you do what you can do. That’s my non-summer goal for the day job this year. Do what I can do. And try to continue last year’s “keep in positive” goal by focusing on the good part of the job: the students.

Goodbye summer. I’ll miss you. xoxo

 

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!

Coffee Time Night Owl Writer Reporting For Duty #MyWANA

My little addiction

My little addiction

WAAAAAYYYYY back when I started writing again, my (no longer existent) local writer’s group met at Jackye Plummer’s house. I blame Jackye for my addiction and insomnia.

Jackye was an amazing writer, a fantastic hostess, a true joy and MEAN with her red pen. Nine times out of ten she’d hand a manuscript back, say “chunk the first three chapters” and then talk about what you’d done right in the book. The group would spend hours around her table trading pages of our WIPS. We loved Tuesday nights. We’d eat, drink coffee, read, comment and laugh for hours. I’m not sure what Jackye put in her coffee, but we could work for hours on it.

It’s been years since I participated in those Tuesday night critiques, but I still drink coffee when I’m working. I’ve tried NOT drinking coffee, but the words don’t seem to work without it.

Problem? I usually write at night. I don’t know why, but for some reason my creative brain kicks into gear around 10 p.m. If I could write all night, I would. But unless it’s summer, I have the day job to consider. The last thing in the world my students need is a sleepless Mrs. Lee reporting for duty. 🙂

I’m finishing up my late night coffee, remembering Jackye and saying a silent thank you to her as I write this post.

What about you? Coffee at night? Creative brain on night owl hours? Someone who made a huge impact on your life and art?

I’d love to hear your stories.#

 

Make Me Cry, But Warn Me First

Media kit file.

Media kit file.

I don’t care how many times I watch Moulin Rouge, every time Satine dies, I cry. When Christian holds her close and screams “No!” I’m right there with him. Earlier when she’s still alive and it looks like Christian’s going to walk away and  Toulouse remembers his line and screams “The greatest gift you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return,” I cheer. Even though I know in a few minutes Satine’s going to die from TB and wreck Christian’s whole world. 

I love that movie. I always have. I could watch it every day and not get tired of it. The music, the characters, the story. Every bit of it makes me happy even though it shatters my heart every time.

If the movie didn’t start by telling me Satine died, I’d HATE it. But I know, and I appreciate the story of freedom, beauty, truth and love.

I love a handful of movies other than Moulin Rouge that make me cry: Steel Magnolias, Hope Floats, Beaches. None of them surprise me with deaths used only to trigger emotion. All tell amazing stories.

I write romance novels. I’m a fan of happily ever after. People who pick up my books know they’re in for that ride and not the kill off the main character or make the protagonist the villain book. If an author gives me a heads up in foreshadowing or flat out telling me the end before the beginning, I’ll follow them along that box of Kleenex path, no problem. But if they surprise me with a death just to make me cry or because they don’t want to be classified as romance novelists, I’m not going to be a happy camper.

What about you? Tears or happily ever after? Both or it doesn’t matter?#

*******

I write romance novels and mysteries. Check them out here.

 

 

A Look Back

This is supposed to be my resolution post. My beginning of the year ode to “doing better.” I’m going to break with tradition. Today is prompted by my trip to Walmart yesterday.

As I approached the checkout lane I spied this little treasure:

ImageBack in the olden days, the January Cosmo was a must have. Judge all you want. My friends from the time can attest to the fact. We ALL bought it.

Today I’m far more likely to buy:

Imageor People or maybe a Weight Watchers magazine.

Times sure have changed. I’m thankful for the past and the memories of days gone by and the advice of the Cosmo Astrologer and the millions of laughs and fun times I shared with those friends from high school and college.

It’s a new year and I can’t wait to see what it brings!

A look back on 2012:

I lost 60 pounds! Loving the low carb life.

ON moved in and we survived! (No more empty nest)

We started building our house!!!!!!!! ❤

My blog went viral and continues to garner huge numbers when I post about education and/or writing.

I self-published several books successfully including Letting Go, which spent a day as the #1 christian romance on Amazon Kindle.

I became a doggy mom to a rescue.

I saw my 9th (and best!) RUSH concert with DH.

Overall, I’d say 2012 was an amazing year.  I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings.

(HOPEFULLY hockey! Definitely more books.)

Sometimes a Hug is the Best Answer

1st Watermelon

I thought I’d spend this week sharing stories about my new inspirational romance, Letting Go. I thought maybe I’d talk about forgiveness and how it’s not for the other person, it’s for you. I thought I’d talk about people who’d been involved in abusive relationships or who’d been abandoned or who had never learned about love, but all that changed this week when I had to take a deep breath and be Mom.
When your kid’s 5, you can give them a hug and make most things better. When they’re 10, that pretty much stays the same. Maybe you add a movie to it. When they’re teenagers you can tell them what you think they should do, and often, they follow your advice. Well, not often, but sometimes. Every once in a while.
When they’re 20+ it takes everything in you NOT to tell them what to do.
ON (oldest niece) actually gave me some great advice this week. She said “Auntie, you just shake your head and don’t say anything. Let her talk. Listen. That’s how you handle this.”
Funny. It took a 17 yr old to help me help DD.
I want to go Hallmark and say our troubles make us stronger and God won’t give you more than you can handle. Or all superior and say “look chickadoodle. I’ve walked this road, and let me tell you how to do it.” Or all manipulative and say “look, you do this and I’ll do this and…”
But none of those are the right answers. The right answer is what I’ve tried to do. Listen and love and let her know I trust you to learn from this. And even though it’s Hallmark, you can’t go over, under or around. You’ve got to go through it. And always: No matter what, God’s got you in His arms. When we’re too tired, He’s there. When we’re too hurt, He’s there. When we’re too confused. He’s there. When we’re too unsure, He’s there.
And I’m there too. With unlimited hugs and unconditional love. Just like when she was five and things were easy. ###

1000 degrees outside!

Vampires Aren’t Real…

One of my favorite writing stories comes from a Charlaine Harris interview. A reporter asked her how she responded to critics who said she got the vampire mythology wrong. Harris leaned forward, looked at the reporter and gravely said  that vampires aren’t real, so she could do what she wanted with them.

Last night while explaining my new young adult book Dead Girl Walking,I told Mom (#1 fan) that my guardian angel protagonist is a murder victim who has to figure out  the identity of her murderer before the killer strikes again. She said that’s not how it really works with angels. I felt like I’d arrived. 🙂

Off to the revision cave on A Different Kind of Hero. Conflict is calling my name. As in I forgot about including it on the page. Don’t forget to leave reviews for books you read by indie authors. Word of mouth is our best promotion.

She was a racist, but she didn’t know it

 “Do you think he can read?”
She asked the question in all seriousness as she stood outside the door to my friend’s classroom.
The he in question was a star athlete.
She knew that.
She also knew what he looked like on the outside.
Black.
And in her mind, that meant uneducated.

This wasn’t the 1860s or even the 1960s.
It was the early 1990s and I’d started my teaching career in a district in the midst of political turmoil. I didn’t know it then, but within a handful of years we’d be facing a desegregation order courtesy of a federal judge.
It’s not that we were segregated, per se. Not Remember the Titans segregated, anyway. But my school was 90% white, and that was way off of the city’s demographics.
Welcome controlled choice. A process where students were able to choose the high school they attended, however, there were racial quotas.
The woman was visiting our school before choice went into effect, and her question was serious.
She didn’t understand why we were offended.

A handful of years later, I wrote Honor and Lies.

The woman stayed in my mind with every word I wrote.
As did some of the other conversations from my classroom.

“But, Miss, I’ve heard the stories. Lots of people were nice to their slaves. It wasn’t always a bad thing.”

Back then I was fearless in the classroom. I think I didn’t know any better. Instead of telling the kids how wrong they were, I’d ask questions and make them draw their own conclusions. I made them defend their statements. I made them debate with each other.

These kids were 16 and 17, and they were tackling huge, controversial issues, and I was encouraging them.

Often my kids explained the above sentiment this way:
“Slavery with a nice family was like being a teenager all the time. Your parents love you, and they take care of you. And you do your chores, and things work out okay.”

I don’t think my kids really believed this, but they wanted to make slavery okay. They didn’t want to face the ugliness of what slavery was. That slaves were owned. That freedom was impossible. Slaves could be, and often were, raped, sold or killed. They had no rights. They weren’t even considered whole people. It didn’t matter if owners were nice. They were owners.

By the end of class, the students realized this. They learned by reading Frederick Douglass and Mary Chesnut’s Civil War and other American Lit. stories from the time. And we talked about racism and hate and hate crime and stereotypes and tolerance and ignorance and stupidity. And when I told them about the lady asking if the student could read, they were as outraged as my friends and I were the day it happened.

Today, I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to teach English with such an in your face style. My classroom is filled with kids I know and kids who know me. Kids I spend YEARS with, not 180 days. Debating controversial subjects in the newsroom isn’t brave. It’s normal.

Honor and Lies wouldn’t have been possible without those early days. I wrote the novel when I was still that young teacher, still teaching English, angry that people in my community thought black meant you couldn’t read. Sissy and Savannah are products of that classroom. I hope you enjoy.

Honor and Lies coupon:  50% off for one month: coupon code is LH94Z; find the book here.