Blogs

March 2, 2012

March 4, 2012 at 10:40 PMKatie McGarry

Book I'm currently reading: Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham

This morning's running conditions: 30 degrees and three inches of snow

No song this morning, but please watch the below video.

I had thought that I would write a blog posting about how I purchased my senior prom dress and, maybe, someday, I’ll share that story.

But life changed.

On Friday, March 2nd, a line of storms created an F-4 tornado that slammed the communities about twenty miles north of Louisville, about forty miles north of where I live.

For a week, the local meteorologists warned the community that a powerful line of storms would be impacting our area on Friday. Now, Kentucky isn’t Oklahoma or Kansas or what is typically known as tornado alley, but we’ve had our fair share of severe weather. Enough, that sometimes, I don’t particularly take notice.

But that morning, the meteorologist gained my attention when he said, “Folks, this isn’t one you want to mess around with. This is the same type of system we saw hit Tuscaloosa, AL last year.”

That sent chills down my spine. I had six children in the house. Six. Each a child I would easily lay my life down for. I checked flashlights and the radio. I hauled a pile of blankets and quilts down to the basement and powered up my cell phone.

For thirty minutes, I watched footage of how a tornado tore through several towns north of me, one of them Henryville, IN. Then the meteorologist called a tornado warning for the area where I lived.

The sirens sprang to life as my husband and I herded all six children down the stairs to the basement, handing each of them a blanket. We listened to the wind and rain pound the house and within a few minutes, we knew we were lucky. The worst of the storm passed us by.

I’m lucky. My family is lucky, but there are those out there that were pounded by this horrible storm. Some lost everything. I ask that you please watch the below video. See the damage for yourself.

If you are interested in helping those who lost everything, please visit: http://www.redcross.org. A $10 donation can also be made by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999.

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Blending

February 27, 2012 at 11:41 AMKatie McGarry

Book I'm currently reading: Beta read for a friend

This morning's running conditions: 41 degrees and partly cloudy

Song I placed on repeat while running: R. Kelly World's Greatest  

Why I love the song: Both my boys sang this when they graduated from kindergarten and it made me cry both times. It's a reminder that I'm more than a writer.

The lyrics: If anybody asks you who I am Just stand up tall look 'em in the Face and say... And I'm that little bit of hope When my back's against the ropes

 

This morning on YA Fusion, Heather Smith Meloche discusses using your e-mail signature as a means of promotion. It’s a fabulous article, but what really struck me is when she talked about compartmentalizing her life. For instance, her writing life used to stay separate from the rest of her life.

This article hit home for me. Before I became contracted, I too compartmentalized my life. I’m the PTA, gymnastics, tai kwon do, volunteer at school, church going, cookie chair. I’m the friend, the sister, the daughter, the daughter-in-law. I’m the runner, the music and reality TV lover. I’m the writer, the contest judge, the RWA volunteer.

At home, the place I love the most, I’m a wife and mom.

I kept it all separate until one day my life changed. I accepted a contract from Harlequin Teen. Suddenly all my worlds collided and it scared the hell out of me. I’ve had almost a year and a half to adjust and I’ll admit it can still freak me out.

I like being me—Katie. Plain old simple Katie. I liked my life compartmentalized and for awhile, I thought I could keep it that way. But then word started to spread: Katie’s a writer and she sold a book. She’s going to be a published author.

The first time someone at church or at my children’s school stopped and congratulated me, I’ll admit, I became paralyzed. My face flushed red, my hands shook, and I think all I could mumble was a pretty pathetic, “Thanks.”

“What’s your book about?” they’d ask.

I’d stare at them blankly. My mind wasn’t on writing. It was on getting my children to Sunday school or on redecorating my children’s teacher’s bulletin boards. It would take me a second to remember—Oh yeah, I’m a writer too.

Once I started to get my head wrapped around the concept that all the boxes of myself had been opened, this awesome thing happened. Everything started to combine to become this beautiful rainbow.

My children’s school asked me to come speak to their classes about being an author. I went from A,N, & P’s Mom to Ms. McGarry, the author. My sister-in-law asked me to come speak to her groups of teenagers and for the first time I stood as a stranger in front of fourteen year olds and explained that if anyone works hard enough their dreams could come true.

I’ve shared booklists with countless other people from church and school—people I had no idea loved reading until now. I’ve counseled other secret writers on how to start their journey towards publication.

I know I’m not the only writer who has ever felt this fear of revealing this part of themselves to the world. But I’m here telling you, go ahead, try it. You’ll be surprised how supportive the rest of the world can be.

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Because of Whitney Houston

February 20, 2012 at 10:13 AMKatie McGarry

Book I'm currently reading: Beta read for a friend

This morning's running conditions: 26 degrees and clear skies

Song I placed on repeat while running: I'm Your Baby Tonight by Whitney Houston

Why I love the song: Read the below

It was 1990 and my parents indulged me and my sister by purchasing cable. This was the first music video I saw on MTV. I was fourteen, a freshman, and was hopelessly in love with a boy for the first time in my life.

Every time I hear that song, I remember the tickles in my chest when the phone rang. I’d race to the phone with the prayer it would be him. And most of the time it was or it would be my best friend.

It brings back memories of shopping at the mall with my sister as I spent the wad of cash I had hoarded by babysitting and mowing lawns for the summer. I earned enough to buy another pair of jeans (faded, size 7 from The Gap), which brought the total of owned pair of jeans to two, a reckless white sweater that hung off the shoulders, and my first pair of white Princess Reeboks.

The song conjures up memories of huddling with my boyfriend in the cold winter air. Sitting on the ground, he would lean against the tree in the side yard and I would cuddle against him. It was young love, a crush, where hand holding felt dangerous.

When I heard of Whitney Houston’s death, I felt a pang of sadness. Her music became a soundtrack to my life. Yes, the past is the past, but her music will always be a reminder.

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Happy Valentine's Day

February 12, 2012 at 10:14 PMKatie McGarry

Book I'm currently reading: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

This morning's running conditions: 24 degrees and partly cloudy  

Song I placed on repeat while running: When You Say Nothing at All by Alison Krauss

Why I love the song: This describes my relationship with my husband 

My Favorite Lyrics:

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There's a truth in your eyes sayin' you'll never leave me
The touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

When we were dating, my husband brought me daisies every Friday. On Valentine’s Day, my birthday, and Christmas he would buy me a stuffed sheep (as I think the fluffy white animals are beyond adorable). A few times he bought me jewelry and he never let me pick up a check.

On the one year anniversary of our first date, my husband took me out on the same exact date. At the end of the night, he got down on one knee, in front of a roaring bonfire, and asked me to marry him.

He apologized for not having a ring which in my head was a silly thing to say. We were two broke college kids scraping to get by. My heart was galloping alone with the words he uttered to me. I didn’t need a ring. He loved me and wanted me to be “his girl” forever.

After staring at him in shock for a few seconds, I said yes. I have never regretted my decision.

To most of the world, my husband is quiet. He’s smart, strong, and athletic. A good guy who is always willing to lend a hand.

To me—he’s more. So much more. He’s the man who placed himself between me and a man trying to rob us; willingly placing himself in harms way in order to protect me.

He’s the man who looked me square in the eye with unwavering strength and faith and squeezed my hand when our first child was born and we heard no cry. With one last glance at me, he left me to hover over our precious newborn as the doctors worked over the baby. I’ll never forget the spark in his eyes when we heard the babe’s first cries. Nor will I forget how big he looked and how small the child looked in his arms.

He’s the man who quiets my fears, holds me when I sleep, and can make me laugh.

He’s my whole world.

Happy Valentines Day, D. I love you. Forever.

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Finished!!!!

February 6, 2012 at 10:34 AMKatie McGarry

Book I'm currently reading: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

This morning's running conditions: 30 degrees and sunny

Song I placed on repeat while running: Smile by Uncle Kracker

Why I love the song: My youngest child sings it to me

My Favorite Lyrics:

You make me dance like a fool

Forget how to breathe

Shine like gold Buzz like a bee

Just the thought of you can drive me wild

Oh, you make me smile

I finished and turned in book 3.  It’s a surreal mixture of emotions.

  • Accomplishment: Yay, I did it!
  • Relief: Thank God it’s done because I have a deadline.
  • Grief: I really loved these characters and I’m sad to let them go.

This is the third time in my life I’ve pushed send on an e-mail to my editor with my “finished” manuscript added as an attachment. Each time, the feeling is the same:

  • I’m hit with a rush of adrenaline: OMG I’m actually done
  • My heart races as terror floods my bloodstream: what if there are major errors in the story
  • Then my face flushes as I go into shock: what if the story sucks?

After the e-mail leaves my laptop and goes out into the cyber world, I sit back in my chair, take a deep breath, and feel a little lost. I flip through the pages, pausing to skim my favorite scenes. Someday, others will read this book, and they’ll meet a new hero and heroine. They’ll follow their story and hopefully my readers will fall in love.

For months I’ve researched, plotted, written, cried, over-analyzed, and edited. And now…it’s done.

As I flip through book three I see the first time I saw my cover for Pushing the Limits, the wonderful relationship I’ve forged with my editor, and the thrill and terror of revising my first book while writing another.

I also see a horrific loss and the grief that resulted from that loss. I see the night my husband and I shared a carton of ice cream for dinner because we experienced a day that knocked not only the wind out of us, but in the end, made us emotionally bleed.

I see how devastating moments made not only me stronger, but my relationships stronger.

I see what will probably be the first of many birthday sleepovers, my first trip to New York City, the joys of owning Just Dance 3, my trip to Maine, and some of the most fantastic Saturday nights of my life.

A lot of laughter, smiles, and tears were experienced while writing this book. My only hope is that my readers will enjoy what I so thoroughly loved writing.

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Happy Book Birthday Article 5

January 30, 2012 at 10:29 AMKatie McGarry

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

This morning's running conditions: So close to finishing book 3 that I've cut out everything

Song I placed on repeat while making kiddos lunches this morning: Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield

Why I love the song: Makes me want to dance and I totally connect to the lyrics as a writer

Staring at the blank page before you

Open up the dirty window

Let the sun illuminate the words

That you could not find Reaching for something in the distance

So close you can almost taste it Release your inhibitions

 

Happy Book Birthday ARTICLE 5!

 

 

ARTICLE 5 is written by one of the most amazing people I have ever met: Kristen Simmons. Kristen, like myself, is an author debuting in 2012. We met via blog group called The Apocalypsies (check us out: http://apocalypsies.blogspot.com/). When we realized that we lived in the same city, we met up at a local Panera.

Now, meeting someone in person for the first time is pretty nerve wracking. You don't know what they look like. You don't know if your personalities are going to click. You don't know if...ANYTHING.

But the moment I met Kristen, I knew I had made a friend for life. So this week, I celebrate with her. Tomorrow, her amazing YA novel, ARTICLE 5 will be on sale. So go out! Buy it! Love it as I did!

Want to know my thoughts on ARTICLE 5, check out the interview on YA Fusion: http://yafusion.blogspot.com/

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Edit Coma

January 22, 2012 at 9:26 PMKatie McGarry

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

This morning's running conditions:  57 degrees; storms rolled through last night so it smelled like rain this morning and beams of sunlight rained down between the leftover gray clouds

Song I placed on repeat while running: Don't Let Me Get Me by P!nk

Why I love the song: I totally understand how she feels

Love the lyrics:

I'm a hazard to myself
Don't let me get me
I'm my own worst enemy

 

E-mail message from beta reader:

 I’m back to reading Crash.  Wow.

 My response:

 Aw come on. Self confidence lacking author of said story is losing her mind in tedious edit of, how many times did I use that word? Is that the best way to describe that? How many freaking times can I use the word lip in a kissing scene without people noticing I'm overusing the word?--wants to know what wow means.

 Wow--this severely sucks?

Wow--didn't see that coming?

Wow--she can put three words together, combine it with a period, and create a sentence?

Yes, sadly enough, I’ve hit that stage of editing. The stage where I feel like everything is closing in—where I walk around in a word coma.

In case anyone is wondering, a word coma is where I print out each chapter and circle all the verbs and descriptive words to see which ones I overused. Because I have a tendency to overuse words. A lot.

For instance, in the chapter I’m currently editing I used the word shake at least ten times in five pages. TEN TIMES.

Really, Katie? Ten times? Use a thesaurus, girl.

How about tremble, quiver, quake, shudder, shiver? None of those sounded good to you?

And there are always my most common overused words: stare, look, glance

Because I obviously doomed my characters into a dimension where they are unable to convey body language signs with anything other than their eyes. 

“I love you,” he said while he stared straight into my eyes.

I glanced at him from beneath my eyelashes. “I love you, too.”

Seriously? You guys can’t touch or hug or kiss? I am writing a love story here. Get with the program!And then there’s always my favorite part of editing…the moment I realize I’ve broken POV rules. For instance: He tilted his head so he could get a better glimpse at the guy.

The sentence may sound innocent, but it’s not. I’m in limited first person and she’s making a huge assumption here. How does she know he’s tilting his head to get a better glimpse at the guy? He could be tilting his head because he has a neck cramp or because he’s deep in thought or maybe he has a medical condition that causes him to have a tick where he tilts his head for no reason.

Hey…who knows? But that’s the point…she doesn’t know and therefore she should be keeping her opinion to herself as to why he tilted his head.  Just freaking say…He titled his head.

So, as I continue to slowly lose my mind and over analyze everything I wrote I get this response from my beta reader:

Wow--great writing.

 Forest from the trees, Katie. Forest from trees.

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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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