Tag Archives: young adult

Sometimes the Browse Button Loses

withinI love to listen to Within Temptation when I’m writing the Guardian books. I read online that the sound is called symphonic metal. That fits. The female power vocals with the metal background work together to create a feeling that fits the Sharlene Gallagher universe…especially when she finds herself in heaven.

In an effort to recreate the feel of the music for a different book, I browsed through Spotify and let it pick music for me.

BIG MISTAKE.

One minute I’m writing along to power vocals and metal guitar and the next some guy is screaming in a voice terrifies the crap out of me.

I stumbled on to Within Temptation through Grooveshark after listening to Angtoria’s What the Wise Woman Said. I’m glad I did because the music has inspired three books so far. I guess I’ll stick to what works for sure instead of looking for something new. ❤

*******

If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, you can here. I send one a month at the most, so no spam.

Angel Eyes, The Guardian Book 3 released this week. Yay!

Release Day Tomorrow!

Angel EyesAngel Eyes, The Guardian Book 3 releases tomorrow on Amazon kindle. The paperback will be available everywhere books are sold soon. I hope readers will enjoy the third installment in the Sharlene Gallagher mystery series.

I’m starting a new book right now, and it’s sooooo hard to get back into the rhythm of writing new pages. I forget that sometimes. I forget that I have to write and write and revise and write and try different music until the perfect combination hits and then I write a draft Fast Draft style. That draft is nowhere near publishable, but it’s a start, a skeleton of the story that will be.

Earlier this week I read a post by a NYT bestseller that said the key to writing isn’t just writing. He’s right. Becoming a writer is about studying words and word craft. But he’s also wrong. I can study the craft all day long, but if I don’t sit down and write, it won’t make a difference.

I do love craft books. Donald Maass’s books are some of my favorites. Gary Provost’s Make Your Words Work is fantastic. The exercises are great for the classroom as well. The Artist’s Way is invaluable to releasing your creative spirit. I worked through The Artist’s Way with friend/colleague/former student Scotty Coppage the summer Sharlene Gallagher showed up on the page one day. The rest is history.

I’m looking forward to an amazing release week and a week of Fast Draft style writing. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll get one tomorrow! If you don’t, you can subscribe here.

 

 

I Don’t Have the Answers, But THIS Didn’t Work

The number of times I sat down to write post and hit delete instead: 30

Or maybe it was more.

The last weeks of school were spent doing almost anything other than educating students. From 7:45-12:30 students sat in rooms where they were supposed to take tests that showed whether or not they had learned anything. Or, if they were sophomores-seniors, they sat in rooms where they tested to show testing companies what questions should be used on a test and where cut scores should be set. Or they bubbled B (or if they were creative ABBA) for all their answers and put their heads down to sleep.

When we were told we’d test 45 days this school year, I don’t think the impact of that hit until we were in the midst of the test days. Then it was too late to plan a way to keep an afternoon class on task. Seat of the pants lessons to keep learners engaged became the name of my game. I’m still not sure how my kids made their final newspaper deadlines, but they did. Yearbook distribution without announcements…don’t even get me started.

By the time the year was done, I was exhausted and the students looked like they’d been through a war. I’m a student media adviser. I can’t imagine what my core teacher friends felt like.

At the end of testing I took two seniors to the State Academic meet. One won 6th in headlines. I love when the kids medal at State! State was moved to the end of the school year because of testing. Testing runs everything in our school system now. 10 years ago if you had told me our last six weeks would be built solely around tests, that nothing else would matter, I would have laughed. Joke’s on us, the educators, who sat quietly back and let this happen. Who became pawns to educationese like formative and summative and common core, rubrics, holistic grading, and data, data, data. I embraced those words. I believed in them.

I’m not sure what the answers are, but I know this testing monster we’ve created isn’t the answer we’re looking for.

On the bright side all this testing has pushed me to write like never before. I have a new young adult novel out this month. It’s my first contemporary YA, and I’m excited to hear what people think. I’m working on an inspirational romance and I’m revising a contemporary romance. Maybe I should send thank you notes to TEA and Pearson. They’ve inspired me.

I’ll be keeping up with education politics, and I’m sure I’ll blog about it over the summer. The last few weeks of school, I couldn’t. It made me want to cry.

Thank God for summer!

My new book: Dead Girl Walking by Elizabeth Lee. Get it here.