Tag Archives: reading

So You Want to Write a Book


Start. Writing.

Okay, I lied. Two more words of advice:

Start. Reading.

If you’re not reading, you can’t write. If you’re not writing, you’re not writing. It really is that simple.

If you think you don’t have time, you’re wrong.






If you want feedback on your writing, find someone to give it to you. I can, other writers can, your mom can. If you want some guidance, check out local writing groups and books like On Writing by Stephen King.

Just remember, you can want to write all day. You’ve got to DO it for it to count!


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Angel Eyes, The Guardian Book 3–Out July 20!!!!


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


I’ve loved this year at school, but this break has been amazing. I’ve slept in, cleaned closets, found photos that made me laugh (on my Facebook if you want to see). I’ve spent time with family, lost Phase 10, eaten too much low carb food and created a “lowish” carb almond butter mousse to die for that’s now reserved for holidays only (recipe at end of post). I’ve spent hours with Emmie on my lap, survived another blizzard, and I’ve shared a million and twelve funny memes on Facebook, the best of which remains Grumpy Cat Star Wars. I’ve written (not enough) and read and read and read. I caught up to the end of the GRR Martin Game of Thrones series (SOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!), I finished Peggy Browning’s Fifty Odd book (SOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!), read Ally Carter’s Uncommon Criminals (Sooooooooooo Good!!!!!!!) and started the latest Dresden, which so far is….Soooooo good!!!

See a theme? That’s been this break. Sooooo Good.


Recipe for Deadly “Lowish Carb” Almond Mousse

1.5 cups heavy whipping cream, splenda (I used four packets), a little vanilla: Whip it up

In a separate bowl combine 1 box cream cheese, 1/4 C almond butter (or more), sugar free chocolate syrup..just a little–maybe 2 TBSP, half that amount of sugar free carmel syrup.

TASTE that mix and see if it’s yummy. If it needs a little more sweet, add some splenda, one packet at a time. It doesn’t need to be super sweet because it’s rich, rich, rich.


Once it’s perfect, fold in the whipping cream you’ve already whipped up.

Top with dollop of whipped cream and a tiny bit of sugar free chocolate syrup.

OMG soooooooo good and sooooooooo bad.

Emmie Afghan

Little Ms. Whiner…yeah, I admit it

If you’ve ever dealt with education, you know about modifications. I’ve been doing them forever. They’ve NEVER bothered me. Until today when I saw I need to read to some students for them to get the content.

For some reason, I just looked at that, said no way and that was that.

Until I walked across the hall to tell my friend, Lynda.

Lynda didn’t tell me I was wrong. Instead, she re-framed the issue. And then she offered a solution for what SHE was going to do. She’s going to record her bookwork.

Suddenly, I saw potential. I mean, hello, I have a Mac lab.

And so, I sat down with two of the last assignments and recorded them on GarageBand and added an audio file to their home on my classroom assignment site.

This isn’t an optimal solution, but it’s doable.

I’m going to try wearing a mic and recording my class at least one day next week. If it works, it could revolutionize my classroom. I already use an assignment area and calendar. If the mic works, my kids won’t have to worry as much if they’re absent.

Of course, the mic thing could be a total disaster. This class keeps me on my toes. We’ll see.

A long time ago I read The Success Principles. In the book Jack Canfield teaches Event + Response = Outcome, ALWAYS.

He’s right.

If I break this moment down here’s what I see:

My bad attitude=me walking across the hall to complain=my friend sharing what she was going to do for HER classes= the ball was back in my court. I chose to try something new. Hopefully it will help.

DH says it would’ve helped him in school since he’s dyslexic. Want to feel bad? Let the person who needs the extra help you’re grumbling about be someone you love. Puts it in a whole new perspective. Lesson learned. This time.


Reminder, Honor and Lies & Prodigal by Elizabeth Lee (moi!) are available on kindle or smashwords or wherever ebooks are sold. If you prefer paper, Honor & Lies is available on amazon.com.

Interested in ebook publishing or blogging or using your teacher webpage as a classroom extension and have questions or comments? Feel free to ask here or email me at marybeth   AT  marybethlee  DOT  com.


Happy Independence Day and Week 4 Fail

Happy July 4. We had an amazing service at church yesterday about the founding fathers and the US ties to God. It was fabulous! God Bless the USA. And a HUGE thank you to every person who has ever served protecting our freedoms.

Now on to the fail:
It started with the newspaper. The plan, hit the headlines and off the computer.

The reality; trn–dmn–cnn–msnbc–perez–eonline–people. One hour later, I looked up and groaned

It didn’t stop there.

I read and read and read some more.

Not books, but still. And then I watched a Lifetime movie and a Disney movie.

At 9:30 I’d written 1000 words. 4k under yesterday, a non-reading day.

Back to square one on reading deprivation. MAN, it’s hard!!!

A Tribute: Miss Ella

50% off coupon for Honor and Lies and the link to buy the book at the bottom of this blog.

Miss Ella, one of the main secondary characters in Honor and Lies, is named after my grandma. If you’ve read my blog, you know Grandma will always be one of my heroes.

Re-posted. Originally posted March 15, 2008

After 84 years you have plenty of stories to tell.
 It’s hard to believe my grandma lived through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.

Grandma remembers living in Bristow, OK, in a nice house. And then she remembers the tent city in Maude.
 At six years old, she didn’t know how they lost the house, and no one ever told her. But she was old enough to remember moving to the tent city. 
They were lucky. They had two tents. One for the kids and one for Grandmother and Grandfather. Grandmother had worked as a nurse with the lady who had the big house in Maude, so they were lucky there, too. The big house lady let them set up their tents on top of the hill near the house. The rest of the tent city lived below in a valley of sorts. 
She remembers going to school with all the other tent city kids. Getting swatted with a big ruler the first day because she wouldn’t stop talking. Loving that teacher anyway because she opened the world and her imagination.
 She remembers Uncle Robison from Lawton bringing up a big bag of peas and eating peas and only peas for months because that’s all they had.
 She remembers the doctor operating on her baby brother, removing a cyst from his groin, on the big house lady’s kitchen table and not charging for the operation.
 She remembers the babies born in the tent city. No doctors. No hospitals. And one baby born way too early so everyone in the camp took turns rocking the baby up and down to keep its heart beating, trying with everything they had for hours and hours to keep the baby alive. And then when it died, she remembers her mother’s nervous breakdown. How she screamed and screamed and wouldn’t stop until they took her away for a while.

Grandma said she’s never seen another time like that.The way the earth baked under the hot sun and day after day after day the winds blew and clouds would build, teasing everyone with the possibility of rain, but then dissipate without offering relief.

It’s so strange to think she and Grandpa lived through that. That the stuff I think of as stories in a history book are their real memories. 
It makes me thankful for what I have. I can’t imagine existing for months on peas and only peas. Or living in a tent and being thankful because at least there were two and they were on top of the hill.

In Honor and Lies, Miss Ella is a touchstone character. In life, Mary Ella, Grandma, was a role model, a source of wisdom, a person who showed unconditional love. I miss her.

(I can imagine how excited my grandma was to go to school and how much she loved that teacher for opening the world to her. 🙂 I had my own set of teachers who did that. Teachers who helped me learn to read, and then gave me books so I’d continue. Teachers and professors who encouraged me to write. Shout out to Mrs. Tagy–1st grade, Mr. Novak–5th grade, Mrs. Burdette–6th grade, Mrs. Bo–Junior English, Mrs. Gillespie–Newspaper and Dr. Hoffman–all of college, especially grad school.)

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

A Different Opinion

Just finished a book everyone has been LOVING, and I’m disappointed. From the halfway point on the story was awesome. If I hadn’t read the author before, though, I would’ve quit reading way before I got to the half point. The book, imo, suffered from something several romance novels suffer from these days. No honest, authentic romantic development. I’m a romance reader. Watching a relationship develop from the moment of interest to something more is one of the reasons I enjoy romance so much. When the first show of interest is completely unbelievable, it stops me. Especially when the entire setup is such that the heroine in the story would never be attracted to the hero.
I think one of the reasons this bothered me so much was because the heroine in this story was bullied as a teenager by the hero. Bullied so much she’s still devastated by the events of her childhood even though it’s a decade later. In fact, she’s still bullied by the hero’s friends and family.
The original attraction was so contrived it really bothered me. It felt like the author was told, hey, by now there better be a kiss, and she put the scene there because it’s a romance, so a kiss was expected.
I almost quit reading the book right then.
I didn’t, and I’m glad because, like I said the second half of the book is great. The first half is solid, too, except for the romance.
One of the characters in the novel is made fun of because she’s smart. I get the impression the author might understand that kind of bullying. The main character is bullied just for existing. I don’t think the author has any reality check on that kind of emotional trauma. I was never bullied like that, but I have family members who were. I see students who are. It’s very, very real in my mind. Perhaps that’s why I was so turned off by the romantic attraction that came out of the blue in the novel.

Back from TCEA conference. If you’re a teacher and you haven’t been, you are missing out. GO!
One of the best workshops I went to was Book Trailers For All. A librarian encourages other librarians and teachers to make book trailers to get students interested in reading. AMAZING stuff, and all done within copyright rules. She has the trailers separated by grade level, and LOTS of students are making their own trailers, too. Loved it. Here was my favorite:


Way back when I first started buying romance (not reading, I’d been reading romance for years!) I bought my books from waldenbooks in the mall. I loved Julie gar wood and the booksellers would call me to let me know a new gar wood was out and they led me to johanna Lindsey and others because of my love for Garwood. I spent my paychecks at walden’s on a regular basis. Flash forward 20 years. Today I buy mostly e-books. I miss walden’s but I can’t stand shopping at the local big bookstore. They neve have what I want and e kids working there don’t know what they’re talking about. Today I discovered the best thing ever: bordersblog.com. Sue Grimshaw is just like the Walden’s booksellers from 20 years ago. She talks about books, there are lists of monthly releases. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this resource! Looking forward to a great year of reading!

The author’s promise

Ever since my vacation to Vegas where I was horribly upset when one of my favorite author’s killed off a main character in the last 40 pages (I think it was even later than that) of the book in a manner that didn’t seem to add ANYTHING to the story of friendship and family and love through the ages EXCEPT to reiterate the common knowledge that cancer kills (NO?! Really?!), I’ve thought about the author’s promise.
Does an author owe her reader something when she puts her name on a book once that name’s well associated with a certain kind of book?
I love Nora, but I’m not sure I would’ve been okay with that first JD Robb had it had Nora’s name on it.
When I read a Shelley Bradley, I’m expecting a hot (searing really) romance.
When I read Jennifer Crusie, I expect a snarky heroine, lots of laughs and an awesome plot.
Susan ELizabeth Phillips, amazing beyond belief characters.
Debby Macomber, precious heart felt stories.
Barbara Samuel, strong women who overcome obstacles to find their places in the world.
John Grisham, great plot legal thriller. When he wrote the Painted House book, I loved it, but I knew from the cover and from the cover quotes and back copy that I was getting something different. I could go on and on with this list.
The one exception is category, and there, I might get a different sub-genre, but I still get the author’s voice and the happy ending.
This book threw me for a huge loop because Kristin Hannah, an author I’ve loved ever since she moved into women’s fiction, let a character die. She didn’t just let it happen, she set the whole thing up to break the reader’s heart. I’ll never trust her again as an author, and I probably won’t read her again because I hate having to read the last page to find out if someone dies before I read the book.
I’m one person out of millions of her readers, so it doesn’t really matter.
But it does make me wonder about that contract thing and whether or not it exists. Obviously not. The book I read was one of her most successful.