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Postive Outooks

January 16, 2012 at 11:05 AMKatie McGarry

Book I'm currently reading: Taking a break from reading because of intensive edit.

This morning's running conditions: 48 degrees and cloudy

Song I placed on repeat while running: Amarillo Sky by Jason Aldean

Why I love the song: Helps me keep my perspective.

Lyrics:
He says Lord I never complain I never ask why
But please don't let my dream run dry
Underneath, Underneath this
Amarillo sky

 

It's easy to lose perspective.

Let's face it, writing is a career where what other people think does matter. What will the judges in a contest say? Will an agent like my work enough to represent it? Will an editor love my story enough to publish it? Will my publishing house have enough faith in the book that they'll give it marketing dollars? Will the bookstores fall in love and buy the book? And the book bloggers and the reviewers?

And eventually, it ends up in the hands of the most important people, the readers--will they love it?

I'll admit, it's paralyzing.

This morning I was perusing the internet and came upon posting after posting about the industry. Most of them foreboding. The odds are stacked against you, the industry is only for the strong, the weak will be destroyed, you and your book have a snow-cone's shot in hell of succeeding.

I sort of wanted to stay in bed.

But here's the deal: hard work defeats talent when talent doesn't work hard (stole the phrase from my children's gym--All About Kids). And I'm going to add to that statement. Hard work defeats talent when talent doesn't work hard and attitude can make all the difference.

Writing is my bliss. It's what I love to do. I'm not the most talented person out there, but I do believe I can tell a good story. I would write stories if I didn't get published. Becoming published is my dream and I will work hard to accomplish my dream. Here is the perspective part: Becoming publish does not define who I am or my success in life.

When I die, I want people to say I was a good friend, a great mother, a loving wife. That is how I measure my success.

I can't control what people will think of my book. I do know that I can continue to work hard and study my craft. I do know that I can always work to improve my writing. I do know that if I want to accomplish a dream that I must always persevere.

The only way I won't fulfill my dream is if I quit. That is the only thing I can control. Period.

For those of you still looking for an agent or a deal: the road is different for all of us, but the only way you'll reach your dream is to continue. You're the only one who can take yourself out the game. We all have some degree of talent, but remember--hard work can beat talent.

No one ever said dreams were easy. I'm telling you--YOU CAN DO IT!

The words from the song: I never complain, I never ask why, but please don't let my dreams run dry

That's my mantra. Let it be yours.

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Remembering

January 9, 2012 at 8:55 AMKatie McGarry

Book I'm currently reading: Finishing Saving June by Hannah Harrington

 This morning's running conditions: 36 degrees and cloudy

 Song I placed on repeat while running:Don't Take the Girl by Tim McGraw

Why I love the song: It was one of Tiffany's favorites.

I love the lyrics: Take the very breath you gave me. Take the heart from my chest. I'll gladly take her place if you'll let me. Make this my last request. Take me out of this world. God, please don't take the girl.


She died fifteen years ago today.

 It’s hard to write about it. Ironic, I guess, since I’m a writer. Words, in theory, should come easy for me. But nothing about this is easy. It never has been. I doubt it ever will be.

I’d always known her. Her grandmother lived up the street from my house and the two of us played. We were in class together for as long as I can remember. In seventh grade, a girl asked if we were best friends. We looked at each other, smiled, and said yes.

In seventh grade those types of words are binding.

As I type, my heart is dying. How can I describe this overwhelming sense of loss? This black hole in my heart that was created the moment I received the phone call that started it all. I don’t really remember how I was told. I just remember his voice. The sadness in his tone. The lack of hope and the words: I’m coming to get you.

I held the receiver in my hand for a long period of time, knowing he was no longer on the other end. That he’d already climbed into his truck and was on his way to find me. My mouth was hanging open for so long that it had become dry.

I never blinked and stood completely still. Every few seconds, I reminded myself to breathe. She was only in the hospital again. We’d been down this road before. But somehow I knew. I think we all knew and that made it all the more heart breaking.

Fifteen years later, I wish I could tell you that I was the picture perfect best friend holding her hand in death. To my regret, I wasn’t. The moment the elevator doors opened to the ICU unit, my world became a clouded maze.

People talked to me, but I never understood what they said, because their words were always wrong. They spoke lies as far as I was concerned. I didn’t care about oxygen levels and medically induced comas and failures. I didn’t care about test results and specialists and the prayer group being formed. I cared that deep down inside she was coherent and hearing all of it. So instead of saying goodbye, I told her I’d be back the next day. I told her that I would bring a book to read aloud.

To this day I regret I never said goodbye. I regret that I walked out of that hospital so pissed off at everyone who was giving up on her, because, dammit, I knew her and she wouldn’t give up. She wouldn’t leave.

But she did.

She died.

And part of me died along with her.

It’s fifteen years later and I still dream of her, think of her, and I cry.

Some people don’t believe in an afterlife. I believe. There are times that I feel her spirit surrounding me. She’d be happy for me: for the choices I’ve made, for the family I’ve created, for the fact that I found happiness.

Life goes on. She would have wanted me to live it.

I’m living Tiffany. We made promises years upon years ago. You held up your end. I’m still upholding mine. Someday, we’ll smile at each other again.

TTFN. LYLAS. Best Friends Forever.

I love you,

Katie

P.S. The character Lila is named for you via LYLAS. I thought it fitting for the best friend.

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Four-legged Friends

January 2, 2012 at 12:30 PMKatie McGarry

Book I'm currently reading: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

This morning's running conditions: I uh *cough* didn't run *cough* this morning. I went out to eat with my husband. Will run later today though.

Song my husband and I laughed/sung in the car: Red Solo Cup by Toby Keith

Why I love the song: Because I love how my husband smiles when he hears the song

 

The song Red Solo Cup makes my husband smile which makes me smile. You know what else makes me smile?

 

The pets.

 

We have three guinea pigs and a cat. All four of them keep my company as I write during the day. You see, the guinea pig's cage is in my office and the cat always happens to be wherever I'm at. She loves to fall asleep in my lap as I type. Sometimes that's not always comfortable for me, but I never have the heart to kick her off.

 

Let me introduce you to them. This is Thomas:

 

 This is Prince Charming:

 

This is Car:

 

This is Kitty Witty:

 

Do you have four-legged furry friends who keep you company?

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Best Gift Ever

December 26, 2011 at 11:47 AMKatie McGarry

Book I'm currently reading: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

This morning's running conditions: 38 degrees and sunny

Song placed on repeat while running: Good Feeling by Flo Rida

Why I love the song: Because it makes me want to dance!

 

Yesterday, my daughter opened a gift I bought her because I secretly wanted it: Just Dance 3. Yes, I knew she'd love it, because my daughter loves to dance almost as much as I do.

I'm going to admit something: I don't like electronic games. I have suck reaction times and, for some insane reason, I never blink when I play them. So I always end up last or dead while wiping the tears continually flowing down my cheeks because I hadn't closed my eyes for ten minutes straight.

But this game...Just Dance 3...I can do it! It's dancing and I can dance! Nothing organized, but I love to move my body to music. This gift...it became the best gift ever when we went to my husband's family last night to celebrate Christmas. At first my daughter and her older cousin started playing it. Soon, the massive throng of cousins of all ages were playing, even if they didn't have a Wii remote. It wasn't long before the adults became involved--my husband, his brothers, his sisters, his parents.

We all danced. We all laughed. We all smiled. We all played.

Isn't that what life is all about?

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My 2012 Prayer

December 18, 2011 at 8:12 PMKatie McGarry

Book I'm currently reading: Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

This morning's running conditions: 49 degrees and cloudy

Song placed on repeat while running: Love Like Crazy by Lee Brice

Why I love the song: Because of the lyrics...

Be a best friend, tell the truth
And overuse "I love you"
Go to work, do your best
Don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin' knees get lazy
And love like crazy

 

God, I love that song. The entire thing. There isn't a word I don't love.

This year, if nothing earth shattering happens, I'll be published. It feels insane to write those words. Yeah, I wrote the book, found the agent, signed the deal, worked on revisions, and have seen the ARC, but it still doesn't seem real.

Who knew, me, the teenager so lost that even a compass couldn't help me find my way, would not only become a published author, but more importantly--be happy. I never saw any of this coming, including the happy. Here is the beyond insane thing, the happy didn't come because of the book or the agent or the deal. The happy came way before that.

Guess I should get to why this post is titled "My 2012 Prayer." Around this time of year, people generally give their resolutions or goals. I don't have either of those, I have a prayer.

While I'm excited to become published, my prayer is that no matter what happens in August (good or bad), that I'll keep my happy. That my husband will always remain my best friend. That I always put the needs, wants, and happiness of my children before my own. That I still have coffee with my bff every Tuesday. That I remember to feed the cat and guinea pigs daily. That I stay close with my friends, remembering to call at least once every two to three weeks like a I do now. That I always take time to pray and be thankful before I do anything associated with writing.

That I laugh loudly, with tears and with no apology, out in public when I hear something funny. That I never apologize for my taste in music or for my love of reality TV. That I never lose my awe when something good happens because of my writing. That I remember that my self confidence isn't wrapped up in my career, so therefore, I should, in theory, be able to take the blows associated with the business. I want to remember that this is a piece of my life. Not my entire life. That the smiles and giggles of my children, the laughs and tears with friends, the quiet time with God, and the simple touch from my husband is more important than anything else.

This is my prayer.

The shorter version would be the song lyrics:

Be a best friend, tell the truth
And overuse "I love you"
Go to work, do your best
Don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin' knees get lazy
And love like crazy

 

 

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Boys and YA literature

December 12, 2011 at 11:49 AMKatie McGarry

Book I'm currently reading: Half-way through Miranda Kenneally's CATCHING JORDAN. I'm loving it and I have a crush on Henry.

This morning's running conditions: 29 degrees, clear sky with full moon and stars. Beautiful pink sunrise at the end of the run.

Song placed on repeat while running:  Boomdocks by Little Big Town

Why I love the song: Because of the lyrics...

I feel no shame, I'm proud of where I came from...

It's where I learned about living...And knowing where I stand, You can take it or leave it, this is me, This is who I am

 

This is who I am...

Last week I wrote about when I spoke to a group of fourteen year olds. There were hundreds of things I found interesting, but there was on thing that raised my eyebrow. The students are required to have with them, at all times, a book of their choice. Being a writer, I think it's a beautiful idea. The students are to read whenever there is a lull, whether it be between classes or if they finish their work early. This keeps them busy and also introduces the reluctant readers to the wonderful world of literacy.

I was quite familiar with the books the majority of the girls carried around: Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, and I was thrilled to see some Ellen Hopkins fans. What I found interesting is that the boys carried around adult novels--Tom Clancy, James Patterson, Stephen King.

If there was something I would have changed about my school visit, I would have put the discussion on my road to publication on hold to ask the boys, why they weren't reading from the young adult genre. They do enjoy the genre. When asked what my favorite book was, I answered S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders. The boys lit up, talking about how they loved that book too.

I have a friend who is currently trying to break in to the boy YA market. He's received several nice rejections that say the same type of things: you have wonderful voice, we love your writing, we adore you story, but boy books are a hard sell.

So where is the disconnect? Are there teenage boy books out there and the boys aren't aware of it? Or is it a chicken versus the egg theory? Boys can't buy boy YA books if they aren't available, but if they are available, will boys buy them?

I'll admit. I don't know. If someone has a theory, I'd love to hear it.

 

 

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Hope

December 5, 2011 at 2:35 PMKatie McGarry

Book I'm currently reading: Miranda Kenneally's CATCHING JORDAN

 

This morning's running conditions: pouring rain and 50 degrees

Song placed on repeat while running: Dr. Dre featuring Eminem I Need a Doctor

Why I love the song: Because of the lyrics...

I told the world one day, I would pay it back

and...

Hope--I just need a ray of that

 

Hope.

It's one of my favorite words which is funny because there was a time in my life when I never believed in hope. In fact, it felt almost as forbidden as a curse.

Anyone who knows me well is aware that I wear the same jewelry day in and day out. One of the pieces is a silver ring with the word hope engraved in black.

When I wrote PUSHING THE LIMITS, I knew I wanted Echo and Noah to begin in a place of hopelessness and for the story to end on a note of hope. I accomplished the goal and I think that's why the story sold. Who doesn't want a sense of hope?

Hope.

It's why I went to speak to a group of fourteen-year-olds last week. As I related to the five different English classes, I never once thought at their age that I could be a published author. Why? Because no one ever told me that I could do it. Sure, I knew books were sold at bookstores and I was savvy enough to understand that someone somewhere was getting paid for writing those books, but never in a million years did I ever think I could be one of those people.

So I stood up in front of the students and told them what I wished someone would have told me: you can.

Hope.

At the end of a class, a student I was sure hadn't listened to me came up as his fellow classmates were filing out.

"You've got too much energy," he says.

"Yeah." I laughed. "I do."

"And you're spastic."

I laugh harder. "Yeah and that."

"So am I. Maybe I can be a writer too."

He left quickly and I wanted so badly to chase after him and say, "Yes, you can."

It feels good to give someone else hope.

 

 

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Story Beats

October 3, 2011 at 11:10 AMKatie McGarry

Today I'm blogging over on YA Fusion about the ninja technique of story beats. I also rap Green Eggs and Ham!

http://yafusion.blogspot.com

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Continuation of Pushing the Limits series!

August 1, 2011 at 10:16 AMKatie McGarry

I am thrilled to announce that Harlequin Teen has decided to continue the Pushing the Limits series by contracting me to write books 3 and 4. Here is the Publisher's Marketplace announcment:

Katie McGarry's CRASH INTO YOU, in which two teenagers, an anxiety-ridden daughter of a wealthy businessman and a street-smart guy raised by the foster care system, face their greatest fears and fall in love when their shared obsession with speed and drag racing creates a debt to a dangerous street hustler, again to Margo Lipschultz at Harlequin Teen, in a two-book deal, by Kevan Lyon at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency (World).

Facebook Fan Page

June 9, 2011 at 4:10 PMKatie McGarry

Today is another milestone for me. I created my Facebook fan page.

This entire journey for me is surreal.  A year ago, I was querying agents. I had no idea that within a year, I would not only have turned in revisions to my editor for book one, but also my first draft of book 2.

Who could have ever known – I’m writing a series.

So long story short – go check out my Facebook fan page and if you’re feeling nice, I’d be thrilled if you “liked” me.

Here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Katie-McGarry/110067059083846#%21/pages/Katie-McGarry/110067059083846

 

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