Tag Archives: Dead Girl Walking

I LOVE Summer

when-someone-tells-me-summer-vacation-is-almost-over_o_2009133

I love my job. I can’t wait to get back to the business of helping my kids create yearbooks and newspapers and videos and learn the ins and outs of professional social media use, and this year I (might) get to do this AWESOME guinea pig class where I use a J approach with English, BUT I still don’t want this summer to end. I know the summer honeymoon will end before we go back. No way will we continue to have the amazing cool mornings AND evenings, no way will we continue to get these great rain storms about once a week. This summer has truly been a blessing. I’m thankful for the days I’ve had, and I’m going to embrace those left.

Happy summer y’all. It’s been a good one.

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Angel EyesAngel Eyes, The Guardian Book 3 by Mary Beth Lee releases July 20. Sharlene Gallagher is back. YAY!

Dead Girl Walking and An Angel Earns Her Wings are available to Amazon Prime members to read for FREE!!!! Check them out. Dead Girl Walking will release in audio soon. I’m listening to the final cuts now! Brenna Frederick is a genius narrator. I can’t wait for the world to hear her interpretation of DGW!

Blink and They’re 24, Living in Ohio

katie 1stWay, way back when I first started writing, about the time this photo was taken of DD, I developed a writing schedule. Back then I never wrote before 9 p.m. when DD went to bed and I’d write until whenever.

When I was student teaching, my amazing cooperating teacher Jan Adams gave me some great advice. She said NEVER take your work home with you and to remember that teaching is a job not your life.

I don’t think it’s possible to truly leave your work at school if you’re a teacher. There’s just too much to do. But it is absolutely essential to remember teaching is a job, and teachers need lives outside of the classroom. If we don’t protect our time with our families and our time for ourselves, we’ll burn out. Burned out teachers are NOT good in the classroom. They can’t be. (This is all EASY, PEASY in the summertime!)

I have to believe my writing has helped keep me from burning out. I have friends who are artists, and I see the same thing there. When they practice their art, they are better teachers. When they cook or redecorate houses or play games or travel, they are better teachers.

I feel confident this is not just a teacher issue. Any job that consumes life is bad news. Writing kept my job from consuming my life. And it helped me remember family first.

Back in those days when DD was little, scheduling time to write was easy.

katie nowNow that she’s 24 and DH and I are empty nesters and DD lives 1300 miles away….

It’s a good thing I ingrained the writing schedule into my brain. Today, I still write more from 9 p.m. until whenever than I do the rest of the day.

I write more unless I’m intentionally taking time off. Time off like last week when DD came to visit. 🙂

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Angel Eyes, The Guardian Book 3 releases July 20!

Dead Girl Walking, The Guardian Book 1 releases in audio this month. More info soon! (I love, love, love the book in audio!!!! I can’t wait to share.)

 

 

 

Today was awesome and then…

I spent all day in my Sharlene Gallagher universe. It was awesome. Half way through the day I posted this on Facebook:

ImageSo far Sharlene has fought demons, put some mean girls in their place, snagged a kiss (hel-lo, I write romance) and aced Calculus all while saving the world. Pretty good day for a guardian angel.

So yeah. Great day.

Even better because I finished edits on the book. Wonderful!

AND THEN (SPOILER ALERT…there’s no happy ending to this post. It veers off on a crazy direction of gloom courtesy of the news. If you don’t want to go there, quit reading now and enjoy the gloriousness of my day with Sharlene!

Better yet go read the first or second book. Angel Eyes isn’t ready yet, but it will be soon!)

 

(Don’t say I didn’t warn you)

 

(Third time’s the charm. The rest of this post is a rant…)

 

 

 

WAH! I’m addicted to the news. How did I let it ruin my great day?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I watched News Hour. And the whole time the source talked about a serious problem with education I thought I can’t believe a word you say because I no longer trust News Hour and I no longer believe the Dept. of Education wants public schools to survive. AND then I got in this funk of reading all sorts of education news that made me even more depressed.

And that just sucks. Because until then I was thinking about how EXCITED I am for Monday and how weird that is because Monday is the beginning of the end of the school year…testing, crazy hormonal students, deadlines. But even with all that I’m looking forward to seeing my kids again. They make me love my job. Most educators I know love their jobs. But now I’m all stressed and sad and grumpy and I think I better go work on the romantic suspense I’m revising because I get to blow stuff up in those books and that might actually make me feel better.

I teach journalism. I can’t quit the news. I think I might have to, though. Boo.

The Best Kind of Phone Call

Dead Girl Walking

One of my Georgia nieces called last night. She made her yearbook staff, so I thought that’s why she was calling. Nope. She called to tell me she LOVED Dead Girl Walking. That it was worth the 23 hours she spent reading it. 🙂

She thought Sharlene was scary at first because she was dead and all, and she thought it was funny that Sharlene was such a bad guardian angel when she started. She LOVED Addison. She was super excited to hear that Addison will be back in book 4. And I sent her a sneak preview of book 2 that releases Aug. 25.

 

I better get busy on book 3’s edits. She’s ready to read it now!

Coolest phone call ever. 🙂

 

 

 

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.

Accidents, THE END plus give-aways coming soon #MyWANA

One of the bags responsible for snapping my shoulder out of place. Ouchy.

One of the bags responsible for snapping my shoulder out of place. Ouchy.

As I’ve stated a million times before, I am the klutziest person I know. I mean I injured myself with my purse. I’m seeing a chiropractor now. His first order of business was snapping my shoulder back in place. Yes, it hurt as bad as it sounds. 

Today, he started work on my neck. Somehow, I got a paper cut on my ELBOW on the FACE paper they put down on the chiropractor table. Blood everywhere. I freaked the poor guy out pretty good. I have no idea how I got the paper cut on my elbow. This ranks up there with the time I got a yearbook box paper cut on my knee. Ouch.

Injuries didn’t stop me from writing, though.

I finished the draft of Sharlene Book 3 last night! Book 2 releases next month (finally!!!). That means I’ll be hosting give-aways soon. Watch the blog for more info. If you don’t know who Sharlene is, let me share. Once upon a time Sharlene was a teen scream movie queen, aka horror film actress. But then she was bludgeoned to death. Now she’s back as a guardian angel. In book 1, Dead Girl Walking, Sharlene has to solve her murder before her killer strikes again. The novels are campy mysteries, and they’re tons of fun. I’ll talk about books 2 and 3 later. All I can say is poor Sharlene. She’s had a tough year. The Dead Girl Walking video trailer created by Karl Kelley will be out soon. I can’t wait to share it with y’all!

Have an awesome day!

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What I’m Working On

It’s Revision Hell time for The Guardian Book 2 (Sharlene Gallagher). That’s the hard part. And the fun part. And the work part. And the part where I get to research and play with the words to make them their best. I’m doing this Fast Draft style. So far I’m loving everything about Fast Draft. I don’t think Revision Hell will change that. I’ll keep you posted.

This is also the week Letting Go by Mary Beth Lee debuts on Amazon. YAY! (blurb at the end).

Great news for one of my books: Honor & Lies has been in the top 50 almost all month for paid coming-of-age fiction stories on kindle. That’s awesome. In two more months the ebook will be available everywhere.

If you have questions about publishing, ask away. If I don’t have the answer, I might be able to help you find it. If you need motivation and encouragement, let me know. Writing can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. I you’re like me and you’ve gotten bogged down with life and change and rejection, and you wanted to write but now you just don’t know, go get The Artist’s Way and do the work. It changed my life.

Letting Go blurb: Clarissa Dye doesn’t put down roots. Stearns, Oklahoma, is a stopping point on her path to self-reliance. And God? Don’t even get her started. Enter Mackenzie Dillon and her cowboy dad, Jed. From the moment Mackenzie runs into Clarissa, the little girl worms her way into Clarissa’s heart, which proves to be terrifying. The fact that her strong father happens to work his way in there, too, only scares Clarissa more. Letting Go: a story of forgiveness, second chances and finding a love that lasts forever.

Research and Revision: Jail Escape 101 and Fast Draft

Fast draft of Sharlene book 2 complete (LOVED writing this way. Hope I can survive the revisions)

Part of the Fast Draft method is not stopping to do research. Just write the book, get it drafted, then do research during revisions. I made me first pass through the manuscript just to take notes on what I needed to do during revisions.

My main character Sharlene is a guardian angel. She’s got quite the adventure in book 2.

RESEARCH DALLAS AREA around Mansion
RESEARCH: Spa in Belize (that one you want to go to!)
RESEARCH: French discussion
RESEARCH Mexican beach city with ruins
RESEARCH security systems
RESEARCH STOCK YARDS BAR
RESEARCH EMT procedure for finding someone injured after accident blows up building
RESEARCH hospital stay after big accident
RESEARCH POLICE INTERROGATION OF minors in high school???
RESEARCH jail escape
RESEARCH BOATS
RESEARCH criminal surrender
RESEARCH ANGEL myths
RESEARCH Valhalla, Olympus, Heaven compare/contrast

I love research. Hopefully this will be fun!

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The first Sharlene book, Dead Girl Walking by Elizabeth Lee, is available on kindle and in print.

Check out my Amazon author’s page for more info.

 

 

1 in 5 women in Texas is a victim of sexual assault

•Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
•54% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police
•97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail
•Approximately 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim
•38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance
http://www.rainn.org/statistics/
•1 in 5 women in Texas is a victim of sexual assault
Call to get help: 1-800-658-2863
Recently our local paper ran a story about a teacher who’d been arrested for alleged sexual abuse. The paper allowed comments on the story to stay open and anonymous commenters gave enough information that the girl could easily be identified and then called her a slut, saying she was to blame, saying if she didn’t want to have sex she was old enough to say no.
Furious doesn’t begin to define my anger.
In college several friends were sexually abused. We called it date rape. It sounds nicer that way, I guess. I don’t think the people who coined the term meant to make it any less horrible than RAPE. When someone got date raped, they “learned their lesson.” No more going to parties and drinking too much or inviting guys to the dorm room. After all, the guys couldn’t help themselves and girls were to blame for sending mixed signals. I don’t know anyone who actually reported the crime–even the girls who were gang raped kept it to themselves and lived through the shame while the guys laughed about their “train” night. Yeah. They laughed, the girl got called a slut by guys and girls, and life went on. I’m pretty sure the same the same kind of thing happens today. Based on the comments about the “slutty” girl in the paper, I’d say it definitely still goes on today. It’s like a crime that includes sex isn’t a crime at all. Or maybe it’s that a crime that includes sex without the girl getting her face bashed in isn’t a crime at all.
Over the years I’ve watched so many people live through and recover from the stigma of being a sexual abuse victim. I’ve watched some people destroyed by it, and I’ve watched others refuse to let themselves stay victims. I hope more women will find the courage to speak up and say NO MORE. I understand why they don’t, though.
For the first time I understand the term slutwalk. I thought we were past this. I mean I was in college in the 80s, how can we STILL blame the abused?
Sexual abuse is a dirty little secret people don’t want to talk about. The Sandusky case has pushed it into the light, and I pray survivors race to get help while learning to give voice to the crime.
From slutwalknyc’s website:
No matter who you are
No matter where you work
No matter how you identify
No matter how you flirt
No matter what you wear
No matter whom you choose to love
No matter what you said before:
NO ONE has the right to touch you without your consent. SlutWalk NYC is part of a worldwide grassroots movement challenging rape culture, victim-blaming and slut-shaming, and working to end sexual and domestic violence.
From the dictionary:
sexual abuse
n.
1. The forcing of unwanted sexual activity by one person on another, as by the use of threats or coercion.
1. Sexual activity that is deemed improper or harmful, as between an adult and a minor or with a person of diminished mental capacity.

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*One of my characters is a sexual abuse survivor. She was given some great advice from her CASA. You can be a victim or a survivor, the choice is yours. Now she helps others. I wish it were as easy to help others as writing a novel. It’s not. BUT you can help. Find your local shelter and donate or check out rainn.org. In Wichita Falls check out First Step.

Adventures in Self-Publishing #amwriting #MyWANA

I have four rules when I travel with students. The rules aren’t original to me, but I adopted them early on. After 18 years of taking 10-20 (or more) kids to journalism conventions, academic meets and educational trips to NYC, Boston, the UK and Europe, I can say with absolute certainty that the four rules work.      1. Be Nice 2. Stay Together 3. Have Fun 4. Don’t Freak Out.

My adventures in self-publishing started without any rules. I chose to publish my master’s thesis, Honor and Lies a YA historical, last summer with no real idea what I was doing. I followed that with Prodigal (now Grace is Enough) an inspirational women’s fiction. No idea what I was doing is kind of an understatement: as was evident in the formatting issues that plagued Grace. That was last summer.

Flash forward to this summer. It’s been a year, and I’m still not real sure what I’m doing. I’m writing like never before, and I’m having fun. But I’ve hit a few speed bumps, too.

Speed Bump 1: Formatting. Formatting an ebook is tough. I found a solution this week, at least for the .mobi platform: Scrivener. I’ve used Scrivener to organize and compose my books for over a year.  I had no idea how easily it compiled a book for .mobi until this week. Problem solved…I hope.

Speed Bump 2: Too Much Information. I’m inundated with ideas for marketing my books, and all of them seem like good ideas.  Scheduling tweets doesn’t work well for me, at least not the way I’ve tried. I love working with tweet deck in my dock so I can take breaks throughout the day, use the hashtags #amwriting #MyWANA and connect with other people out there doing the same thing I’m doing. It makes my day when someone I don’t know responds to one of those tweets and we can have a random conversation about writing. We share our struggles and our triumphs and the funny moments (like when I cut my toe on my flip flop tripping over the laptop cord). Problem solved for me, at least for now: use tweet deck and have fun.

Speed Bump 3: SELF DISCIPLINE. This is the biggest speed bump for me. I’ve learned this month that I MUST SLOW DOWN and pay attention to the details. And an absolute for me: just because I’m awake at 2 a.m. and feeling the euphoria of finishing an awesome scene, chapter or book doesn’t mean I’m fit to make publishing decisions. For me that means holding the book at least one more week and reviewing it again before posting, making a schedule and sticking to it, double checking every business post I make.

I still have a million questions about what to do and how to proceed. Paper or ebook only? Professional covers or my own PhotoShop skills? Linking my twitter to Facebook…the list goes on and on. I have books to read on the subject, and I belong to two self pub/indie loops, but so far what I’ve learned there is that for every right answer you think you’ve found, someone else has a different answer.

I’m going to focus on the writing. Is that a mistake? I don’t know. But for now, it feels like the right thing to do. And those rules I have for taking students on trips? They work for my adventures in self publishing, too. I need to remember that.

Current Book (click title to go to Amazon page): Dead Girl Walking by Elizabeth Lee: Sharlene Gallagher, teen scream movie queen, was the biggest thing to happen to Primrose, Texas. Until she died. 
Now Sharlene’s back as a guardian angel life coach. Only her real objective is a bit more intense. Her charge: figure out the identity of her murderer before high school junior Addison Karchusky falls prey to the killer. Enlisting Addison’s help without letting her know her life’s in danger? No problem…she hopes.
High school’s never been easy. Now it just might be murder.