Tag Archives: The Guardian

I LOVE Summer

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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!

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Proud Day Memory

College graduationThis is the one picture I have of college graduation in 1993. DH took it. I was sick as a dog, but at the time I thought I had a little headache. Turned out a tiny bit more that that. My one and only experience with strep that I can remember, and I’d put it up there with swine flu. (If you’ve followed this blog, you know I got that experience in 2009. Ugh.)

That little girl in my arms and the man taking the photo were the two biggest reasons I have degrees today.  The little girl was my daily inspiration to go to school, do the work and get done. ❤

Family reunionThe man taking the photo was my biggest cheerleader, motivator, calm in the storm ROCK.

(This is us in May this year. 21 years after my first MSU graduation. 15 after my second.)

It wasn’t easy. But it was worth it.

If you’re struggling right now with school or a career path, find a rock and an inspiration. If you don’t have one, use the comments here and let me be your rock. It’s easy to not go. School is expensive. It’s HARD. It seems so pointless to take classes like Zoology and Botany and College Algebra when what you want to do is teach journalism. But that degree is as much about persistence as it is about learning the content. And if school isn’t your path, that’s okay, too. But only if you have a path, a plan, a goal to a successful life. Research shows college graduates earn more over a lifetime, but college is definitely not the only answer. Find someone who successfully does what you want to do and ask the how to get there. People are incredibly helpful, but you’ve got to ask.

If you want to know about advising student media or writing, I can answer questions. I know there are others out there willing to help.

Whatever you do, don’t choose to let life live you. YOU LIVE LIFE. If you don’t know the difference, feel free to ask. I’ll explain. 🙂

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legs 1600by2400smallDon’t forget to sign up for my newsletter here. (Giveaways and more!)

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

 

 

 

So You Want to Write a Book

TWO WORDS OF ADVICE:

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.

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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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legs 1600by2400smallDon’t forget to sign up for my newsletter here. (Giveaways and more!)

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

 

Oh Sugar

My name is Mary Beth Lee, and I’m addicted to sugar.

I THOUGHT I could handle it. Just a little, what would it hurt?

Processed sugar doesn’t work like that for me. (If you’re one of those people who can eat anything without consequence, I hate you. Okay, not really, but seriously, that is so not fair!!!!)

If I smell processed sugar, I gain ten pounds. If I eat a bite, well, that’s a joke. No way am I eating a bite. I don’t even understand how people do that! DH can keep a pound of M&Ms by his chair and not even blink. If a pound of M&Ms is by my chair, they’re gone in a day…or two…maybe three ( hahahahahaha! a pound M&Ms for three days. That’s a good one!) No way are they sticking around for weeks. It’s like this voice in my brain clicks on and says, “Hey, if you go ahead and eat them all they’ll be gone and you can get started on your low-carb lifestyle again.” AND even though that voice has been lying to me for years, I DO IT. I actually believe that’s the answer. At least in the moment. Afterwards I wonder why I didn’t take the junk and dump it. And then I usually eat something else carby because hey, I’ve already blown the diet to hell, so why not?!

Story of my life: Me VS processed sugar. And if I’m not vigilant, sugar wins every time.

I know I’m not the only one who faces this issue. Every time I post about it on Facebook a ton of people comment. If you face this issue, too, I highly recommend The Atkins Diet book. I’ve added fruit to the mix right now. We’ll see how that works. I’m hoping it helps kick the processed sugar cravings.

The Girls in the FamilyIn the meantime, I’m going to think about my family. We took this photo one night while DD was visiting (from 1300 miles away! BOOO!!!). My mom, sister and niece were here, too. I was sooooo good at eating right and drinking water while she visited. Water is key, too.

Do you have to stay away from processed sugars? What are your tricks to staying healthy? Any foods you recommend? Feel free to share in the comments!

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legs 1600by2400smallDon’t forget to sign up for my author newsletter here. (Giveaways and MORE!)

Angel Eyes, The Guardian Book 3, OUT July 20!!!

Teenagers Do

It’s easy to complain about “kids today.” That’s been the beginning of many a tirade over the centuries. I can imagine the conversation after Jesus stayed back at the temple and Mary and Joseph realized he was gone.

But here’s the deal.

Teenagers today DO. More often than not they give of their time to help others, they encourage others, they want to be more and do more and see more. They are so freaking smart! It sucks big time that they’ve been brought up in this age of standardized testing where they’ve been encouraged to do less and think less by our government, but even though they’ve been conditioned to bubble, they still THINK BIG.

They understand collaboration, and they can multi-task like nobody’s business…not as good as they think but a heck of a lot better than me.

And they do all this in a world where distractions are a constant.

CAMP 1I saw all this at the publication camps I’ve been to with my students this summer. In Dallas my yearbook editors came up with an amazing theme and worked together to bring the idea to life. They did all this while keeping up with the World Cup soccer coverage.

Camp 2Then we went to the second camp last week with newspaper, photographers and other staff and HOLY COW. They scrapped their original idea even though it meant so much more work and created a whole new concept.

I’m so excited to work with this amazing group of kids. I’m excited to see what they do next in life too.

It’s easy to gripe about kids today, but the truth is they haven’t changed. They’re as awesome as always.

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legs 1600by2400smallAngel Eyes, The Guardian Book 3 comes out July 20! I can’t wait to hear what readers think!

 

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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legs 1600by2400smallClick here to sign up for my author newsletter! Giveaways, free reads and more!

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.)

 

 

 

Angel Eyes, The Guardian Book 3 out July 20! Sneak Peek

I can’t wait to hear what readers have to say about Sharlene Gallagher’s new adventure!

Angel Eyes

I look at the doublewide trailer then back to Peter and wonder if this could possibly be real.
“No way.”
Peter squints at me like he can’t believe I think he jokes about this kind of thing, but he doesn’t say a word. Unless it’s sage advice about my Guardian duties, Peter’s pretty tight lipped.
I thought that would change after…another story, another time. Suffice it to say Peter’s my boss, he saved my life and kept me as part of The Guardian. We’re angels. We protect innocents who have somehow gotten sucked onto a path toward death before their time. I’m not supposed to tell my charges I’m their Guardian, but that never seems to work out for me.
I’m a different kind of Guardian. I think I keep Peter on his toes, which is a very good thing.
“Here?” I stumble and nearly fall into a hole in the gravel road big enough to swallow a small car.
Peter doesn’t say anything, and my heart plummets. My last assignment nearly got me killed, but at least I got to live in a mansion. I’m dead already, courtesy of the serial killer who bludgeoned me to death. If I die in the afterlife, there are no third chances.
Peter takes my hand, one of the perks of this job, and we’re inside the trailer, in a room that looks like a million other rooms. Hello Kitty posters fight for wall space with posters of rock bands and Twilight movies. A black nail polish bottle turned over on its side sits on a plastic table near the twin bed that’s covered in a princess bedspread. A child’s colored paper is tacked to the inside of the door. The only thing out of place is a hole in the wall at the back of the room near the small closet.
All I can tell for sure is my new charge is tidy and likes vampires and maybe princesses.
“How long do I have?” I ask, and Peter understands I’m asking how long until I’m corporeal not how long until I either win and save my new charge or death wins and she dies.
“Tonight. In the morning you’ll be moving in next door with your mother.”
My heart twinges. I’m surprised the word still has power over me. I wonder what the word does to him now. After.
I’d met Peter’s mother on my last case. Scary chick with mucho crazy powers. You know those goddess statues at Caesar’s Palace? She’s like one of them. The real deal though, not a statue. And as terrifying as I found her, I think I liked her a bajillion times more than my mother…a woman who had turned her back on her daughter instead of facing the truth of her abusive husband.
I wipe away the bitterness of my human past and the worry over Peter’s sacrifice and try to focus on the case.
“I have a mother this time?” My voice sounds normal. Score one for me.
The smile on Peter’s face should have warned me. I’m still learning the truth about Peter’s tells, though, so I miss it.
Especially since he doesn’t get a chance to say more because the door shakes and a raven haired waif pushes her way inside. Once she crosses into her room, she slams her door shut, throws her book bag on the floor and flops onto the bed.
Her hair is dark as night, obviously bottle black. The ebony polish on her nails is chipped. She’s wearing ripped black leggings, a jean miniskirt, black ankle boots and a red, white and black striped long sleeved shirt. She throws her arm over her face so I can’t see what she looks like other than the fact that she’s tiny.
“Dagan.” A woman’s voice sounds at the door.
“Go away, Mom.” The girl on the bed says.
“Dagan, you can’t just stay in there.”
The girl pulls a pair of headphones from a pocket sewn across the front of her shirt and loses herself in music so loud I can hear it. It sounds more like a bunch of screaming than singing to me, but she seems to like it alright. She doesn’t answer her mother, but she does drop her arm, so I can see her.
Her skin is too pale. The kind of pale from being sick or malnourished or using the wrong color foundation. Her eyes are way too dark from eyeliner that went out of style in the early 80s. When I look beyond the black smudges marring her skin, I see her eyes are actually amazing. Crystal blue almond shaped eyes that seem to war with being too big and perfect at the same time. She’s staring at the ceiling in a way I understand. She’s here in this room, but not really. I wonder where her mind is, where she’s escaped to.
She opens a drawer in the blue plastic table beside her bed and shoves a photo aside to grab a moleskin journal. She stares at the pages blankly for awhile then starts writing furiously. For an hour she pours her heart out on the pages until the words work themselves out. I’ll need to look at that journal. That’s what I’m thinking when she stops writing. But then she takes the pen she’s using and starts stabbing the notebook then drawing dark lines through the words until nothing’s left but a sheet of angry scribbles.
When she throws the journal it hits the wall and bounces back at the same time her feet hit the floor. A few seconds later she’s out the door without a word.
“Should we follow?” I ask completely unsure. I understand pain. I understand anger. But this is something different.
When Peter doesn’t answer, I turn to see what he thinks, but, of course, I’m alone in the room. Peter’s gone.
My charge, my case, my choice.
I start to head out the door but something in the drawer catches my attention. It’s the photo that had been on top of the journal. The frame is cheap, shiny metal. The kind you get at a discount store. The photo inside shows a gap-toothed elementary-aged child with eyes that match Dagan’s. And beside the frame a newspaper clipping. The headline stops me cold. Girl Goes Missing, Foul Play Suspected.
I can’t pick up the paper without Peter. Not until I’m corporeal, but I can read it.
Gentry Miller, 7, missing from a park near her home since Christmas. No witnesses. No clues.
Crap. A missing kid. Why on earth would Peter assign me to this case? I mean, I can help Dagan with her makeover needs and I might be able to help keep her alive, but a missing sister is way out of my newbie Guardian league. We don’t get to choose our assignments though, so I need to get to work.
I start to zap to wherever it is my new charge has disappeared, but I stop when her mother walks into the room. The woman wears the lines of pain around her eyes with a pretty kind of grace. Her blonde hair is pulled back in a tight ponytail. She’s sporting green scrubs with chunky white tennis shoes, and she looks way too young to be the mother of my charge. She sits on Dagan’s bed, runs her hand over the bedspread and bites her lip when she sees the photo in the bedside table. I think maybe she’s going to pull it out of the drawer, but she doesn’t. Instead she closes the drawer, then shuts her eyes and says a small prayer.
Please God, keep her safe. Please, keep her safe.
And I wonder if she means Dagan or the little girl in the photo.

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.