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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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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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