Tag Archives: YA

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

 

 

 

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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.

Social Media Extravaganza

Or maybe just social media with a friend at Starbucks. Christian Young Adult and Romance author Janet Brown is learning about social media with me today. You can check out her website here. If you have any awesome suggestions, feel free to share. I’m a Mac, she’s a PC, this is going to be fun. 🙂

Done. Whew!

I finished the second set of revisions and the full synopsis on my new book today, so it’s back to blogging as usual.
I’m going to let the manuscript sit and percolate before going back in for one more revision. If I get a request from the agent I’m targeting I’ll go back immediately. If I don’t hear from her, I’m going to let the book sit a month while I work on a different manuscript that’s about half done.

I don’t know what the weather’s like where you live, but this book revision ended with the winds roaring. My house smells like dirt, and the sky is a nasty shade of red brown that accompanies 50 mph wind gusts.
On the bright side, it’s not freezing.
On the not so bright side, I’m sick. I don’t know if it’s the dirt or if I’ve picked up a a bug. Hope it’s the dirt!

Not a Victim: YA Saves

Dear Meghan Cox Gurdon,

I get you. I don’t agree with you, but that doesn’t matter. I get your fear. I get your horror. I get that trembling in the dark, looking up at the ceiling and praying to God almighty that your kid doesn’t go through the beyond belief nightmares in so much of today’s YA.

I get you because every year I see parents realize the truth of the world we live in through the eyes of their children.

Drug abuse, incest, rape, suicide, cutting, eating disorders, bullying, dating violence, pregnancy, abortion, adoption, gangs. They’re all there in the halls of the high school. Sometimes hidden, sometimes in your face, but there. Always.

They were there when I was a teenager, and that was a million years ago. They were there when my mom was a teenager a few years before that. They’ve been there forever, but the further we get from the age, the more we forget, the more we wax poetic about the “wonder years.”

The truth is the world is a dark place, but thank GOD, we’re  talking about it instead of hiding it away and pretending we’re all Little Women. Thank God we get to read about people who win against the evil out there, who find inner strength they never knew existed, who triumph and say I Am Not A Victim.

I get you because I’m a mom and my daughter just made it through to the other side of the teen trauma years. That time scared me, it scarred her, but in the end, we know those scars are what make all the difference. She claims them. She holds them to the light and says she can make it through anything, and she’s so right. YA encourages that mindset.

Are you right to want to protect kids and their innocence? Yes. My God, yes. That’s part of motherhood. Will keeping them from the darkness of The Hunger Games, et al do so? No.

I still get you. Do you have the right to determine what your kids are reading? Yes. Will you know for sure? No. I can’t tell you how many of  my students “weren’t allowed to read Harry Potter” but knew the books inside and out. Should you be aware one way or the other? Absolutely.

Dark YA serves a purpose. Sometimes that purpose isn’t so life changing. One of my students read a book about cutting and was able to cry for hours over her parents’ divorce. She’s not a cutter, never will be, but she connected with the emotional desolation of the character. Other times, the society changing purpose might not have been the intent of the work, but it’s still the outcome. Words like rape and incest don’t have to be whispered any more.

So yeah, I get you. I don’t agree, but I understand.

Find Gurdon’s article here.

NPR segment with YA author Maureen Johnson and Gurdon

#yasaves

P.S. Years ago we ran a package in The Chronicle about teen pregnancy. A reporter shadowed a new mom for two days. Another wrote a story about a girl who gave her baby up for adoption. Another wrote a story about a girl who chose abortion. Over half the faculty signed a copy of the paper and a note letting me know I was encouraging teen pregnancy by allowing my students to write the stories. One teacher came back with an apology and a card with this quote inside: “I may not agree with what you say, but I shall defend to my death your right to say it.” The quote applies here.

Prewriting?

Another night of writing. I wrote a scene I’m unsure of tonight. I like the way it played out, but I’m not sure I like it in the overall book scheme. Definitely feeling like this is the pre-write instead of the real thing.
That’s a different way of doing things.
I don’t feel like I got to my voice tonight.
It’s a busy week, but I’m determined to write every night.
Tomorrow: Church
Thursday: Teacher of the Year Banquet
Friday & Saturday: Regionals.
It can be done.

Maybe the key is just not talking about it!

Tonight’s writing was TOUGH! I write a scene I think is important. It needs a lot more development, but I moved on to the next part. Blah. Poor Addison. She’s torn between two boys, her mom, her step-mom, her life as it was and as it’s becoming.
Sharlene’s was way under developed tonight. She’s not nice, and she lost her edge.
I really need to work on that!
We finished the yearbook today. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really finished. Several scores didn’t make the book, but the deadline had passed. We couldn’t hold the pages any more. Makes me sad. Hopefully, the folders I’ll give out will fix that next year.
I’m feeling blah after tonight’s writing, even though it was 1000 words. I need to find my positive energy. I know it’ll come back as long as I keep working.

Maybe the real problem is I was reading this awesome book that ended up not so awesome. The writer went with the whole rape fantasy thing. I wasn’t expecting it, and I’m not a fan. In fact, I really, really have a problem with the whole no means yes thing.
Hate when I waste my time reading. It doesn’t happen often.

Great Weekend!

Now it’s over, and the yearbook WILL be done tomorrow. Whatever isn’t in tomorrow, won’t be in the book. The end. We’re out of time.
Great 18:26 today. We talked about forgiveness, and how if you don’t forgive those who’ve hurt you, you’re only hurting yourself.
Church was week three of 30 Days to Live, and it was wonderful.
I’m up to a little over 11,000 rough words on my new book, still untitled. I figure the title will hit while writing, just like Addison’s name did.
Today the suspense of the story amped up. It’s so much fun. DD agreed to be a first reader for me, but I’m not sure if she’ll like it or not. There’s lots of romance. And two boys.
No vampires, though. Just a guardian angel who thinks of herself more as a life coach. She sure is fun to write.

Awesome day

Today was a glorious day. The yearbook’s not done, and it won’t be done until next week because I’m STILL waiting on coaches. It’s my fault though. I haven’t been organized enough. And really, all but a couple of the coaches get their stuff in early. The late YB proofs are okay, though.
WHy?
My kids rocked today. Once again I remembered why it is I teach and why it is I love it!

ETA: Up to 5942 words. And today’s words I kind of like. 🙂

Telling, not showing, but words were written

4456 words total after tonight’s writing. A little less than what I was hoping for with development. I have lots of story work to do. Not sure about writing a skeleton first. I’ve not worked like this before. Very different.
Interesting plot twist came to me after I’d wrapped up last night. I sort of worked it into the story tonight. It’s lots of tell no show right now. Usually dialogue is one of my strengths, but even that is missing right now. I’m keeping a notebook with me all the time just in case those plot ideas hit.
I have a big meeting tomorrow at 4. Prayers appreciated.

“Think of me as an other-wordly life coach instead of a guardian angel if it helps. Guardian Angel sounds way too nice for a girl like me anyway.” —Sharlene