Tag Archives: Books

#teacherproblems, but not

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Sometimes, as every educator will confirm, you just have a LUCKY year. Fantastic kids. Barely any discipline referrals or failures, zero fistfights breaking out in your room, no one cussing you out…You start to think, “This must be a fluke…this can’t last.” And then…it does.

I’ve been holding my breath since September, waiting for the good to turn bad and the bad to turn ugly. Y’all…fingers crossed that this will remain…my students this year are downright MAGICAL. They’re SWEET and SOOO SMART and TWO, that’s right, TWO of them showed up to my book signing yesterday at the San Marcos Public Library for Texas Author Day! I was blown away.

What’s even more is…my kids have no idea how much I needed this year to be a good year. If things would have been different, if this would’ve been a rough year, I think I would’ve had a legitimate breakdown by now. My personal life has been…anything but easy as of late. Not pretty (but getting better, no worries). I’ve been pulling it together each and every morning, plastering a smile on my face, and focusing on being an awesome teacher to my awesome students who deserve that! They’ve made it such a smoother process than I expected it to be. Holding it together for them every week was a necessary motivation, and it’s saved me more than they’ll ever know.

Of course, I’ll still tweet all about my #teacherproblems, like the group today who asked if their Romeo & Juliet skit could include fake cocaine.

But in all honesty, I’m runnin’ real low on those hashtags. And I’ll take it!

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My Debut Novel Turns ONE!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAAAAAAYYYY to my baby, my first novel, THE WAITING ROOM 🙂

This experience has been scary, amazing, fun, self-deprecating, empowering…an insane rush of emotions, every step of the way. From collecting dust on my laptop for years, to finally being done and selling on Amazon and at BookPeople…I’m just so happy.

I also need to thank the people in my life who have been so supportive–my parents, namely. I’ve always had a passion for reading and writing, and they’ve always been there to support me. My best friends–geez, the whining and stress they’ve had to endure from me haha, thank you guys. My readers, the first people to take a chance and buy the damn thing, the reviewers and their lovely words–I cannot express how grateful I am for you!

So let’s celebrate!

I’ve been thinking about doing another wave of giveaways, and I feel like this is the perfect time.

First 25 readers to email me get a free ecopy (please specify if you’d prefer a Mobi, PDF, or ePub file)!

alyshakaye@gmail.com

My only request is that you please post a review on Amazon and Goodreads 🙂

Poetry Sections are Dangerous

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So for the longest time, I thought E.E. Cummings was a woman. All that talk of kissing and love and carrying your heart with me and being someone’s anyone…or anyone’s someone. Something like that. I, the wildly romantic college freshman, was like, WHOA, this chica GETS ME. On a punctuation level and a general heart wrenching kinda way. Ya’ know…basically, I TOO liked to write in all lowercase letters about boys being sun’s songs. I thought me and e.e. were soul sisters.

And some ridiculous amount of time later (no, seriously, I think it was years) I found out she was a he. I was so damn disappointed because my immediate thought was: Oh, well obviously, I have to find a new favorite poet.

There’s no way a MAN “gets me”. There’s no way a MAN can be my soul sister.

…right?

But then I realized that all of that is bullshit. I kept him around, my loyalty to his parenthetical ways winning over.

And I realized just the other day, as I was reading a collection of his in Half Price Books, that this shrug and grin of a “Yeah, I accept that I’ll never love another poet more” is prettyyyy similar to real-life-hesitant-already-had-your-heart-broken-but-c’est-la-vie-love.

I even wrote a poem about it. Something kinda cheesy about waiting for you to find me on a dusty bookstore chair. You lost somewhere in my life’s biggest love—but probably in the sections I’ve always left untouched (Art History, Non-Fiction). Too uninterested in browsing through other poets, too forever-drunkenly-fulfilled on Cummings’ words, kinda like how I feel about you. So tipsy on your everything, inclined to keep you for good, for you to be the accidental-favorite, the collection I come back to every time, for every mood, in every Sunday afternoon stroll through shelves…

Anyway.

Cummings is a man, y’all. And GODDAMMIT it hurts/is amazing/sucks/yes! when you’ve found a…highly preferred…poet.

Also, this, circa last year. Le sigh. #hopeless

Indie Blog Hop: GIVEAWAY!

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Big shout out to The Book Binder’s Daughter for connecting with me via Twitter and allowing me to participate in this awesome blog hop! Go to her blog to check out all the other authors participating today- and sign up for more giveaways!

GIVEAWAY DEETS: All you have to do is follow my blog, like my author Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter! Those new names will be entered in the drawing and at the end of today, some lucky someone will win the signed copy of my debut novel, The Waiting Room 🙂 If you’d prefer, I can send you an ecopy instead, for your Kindle. I’ll announce the winner on all of those social media sites.

Happy 20-Days-Til-Christmas, readers!

Hope your tree has lots of books underneath it!
Check out all the other indie authors participating, and sign up for more giveaways here:

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Texas Author Day: Nov. 9!

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Central Texans- I hope you can make it to my first book signing! I can’t wait for the San Marcos Public Library (my childhood heaven) to host Texas Author Day (still can’t believe I received an invite).

There will be so many great writers there- so come out and smell some books!

Sunday, Nov. 9, 2-5PM 🙂

Get Over Yourself

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Originally published in the San Francisco Book Review – October issue.

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 Get Over Yourself: What My Students Taught Me
 

“Miss, get back to me when you’re Dr. Seuss famous.”

That was one of the first reactions I received when I told my 100 7th grade students that I was publishing a novel.

The main piece of congratulations I got from my squirrelly middle schoolers was: “Will you share the money with us?!” Ha.

As per usual, my hooligans who I spend all day with keep me in check.

They will never allow me to take myself too seriously and thank goodness for that. No one likes that pretentious-never-smiling writer who goes around constantly sighing about how their agent and editor just “don’t see eye to eye.” Oh please.

I make a living telling kids to capitalize and spit out their gum. I write on the side. I get two sad paychecks a month, break up two fights a year, and hand out maybe two stickers a day. I write on the side.

In case you don’t have a clear enough picture of my glamorous life yet, this was the simultaneous response of almost every class when I began with “I have some great news…”:
“YOU’RE PREGNANT?!?!”

That, as you can imagine, made the news of my novel seem quite arbitrary. Oh, our teacher isn’t having a baby out of wedlock? Well then we don’t really care.

Yeah.

I’m not going to lie, as a self-published author, it’s easy to get caught up in Twitter followers, Facebook likes, WordPress reblogs, Goodreads ratings, and Amazon reviews. It’s even easier to get lost in the black hole of “refreshing” the Kindle and CreateSpace sales pages.

That’s what I have my darling pre-teens for. They may irk me with their constant struggle of “Is a lot really two words, Miss?” but they definitely, DEFINITELY teach me to get over myself.

You can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND break up spit ball invasions. You can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND secretly bribe a student with chocolate before school to kill a classroom cockroach. You can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND calmly tell a student to stop making “sexual noises” during the state standardized test. And you definitely, definitely can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND keep a straight face when a student asks you, “Miss, why do all white people like to rhyme all the time?”

I think every author out there truly needs someone (or hundreds of mini-someones) to keep them humble. I’m sure even J.K. Rowling has a bubble-burster. Probably someone who gloats to her about Avatar doubling the sales of every Harry Potter film. But seriously, where would we be without these parade-rainers?

Granted, there are different types of these “antagonists”. Not everyone can be as lucky as me—mine are cute and almost impossible to stay angry with (I said almost). My students make fun of me for not being married and then, in the next breath, accidentally call me Mom. They make fun of my clothes and then, a minute later, they’re hugging me or begging me to read their poem or asking if I’ll be at their soccer game. But trust me, I have the more evil-type-naysayers as well. I like to call them h8ters or swag-less (my students may or may not have taught me those words).

These Negative Nancys are necessary, I’m telling you! You don’t want to end up ALONE, smoking a pipe in front of a fireplace, wearing only wool argyle, and refusing to speak to anyone but your typewriter (because no one else deserves your esteemed attention). NO! Also, you don’t want to end up an alcoholic-addict-suicide-Hemingway type. I mean, being Hemingway would be cool…but you know what I mean. Don’t take yourself seriously. Ever. You’ll lose something. And in turn, your writing will lose something. And then you’ll lose your readers. Boom. Is your mind blown?

While you may not be walking around the halls of your employment wearing dry erase marker streaks on your white dress, I encourage you to find your own path to absurdity. If your life isn’t a joke, you’re not a writer.

I leave you with the best student reaction to my book cover: “Miss…is that a picture of what you wish you had, but you’ve like…never had and will never have?” Burn, kid. Burn.

So hey, writers out there, remember: get over yourself!

I THINK I’ve made a publishing decision…

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If you read my post a few weeks ago, you know I have A Chance to Leave the Self-Pub World…

I think I’ve finally made a decision.

 

 

Drum roll please……………………….

 

 

 

I’m going to STAY put, self-pub, indie, unrepresented. Not gonna take the publisher’s offer. Not gonna sign the contract.

 

You might think I’m crazy. Here are the 3 main reasons for my decision:

1. The publishers that contacted me are extremely new and unheard of. They publish a LOT of erotica, which my book is NOT.

2. I worked really hard for my Amazon and Goodreads reviews and I didn’t want to lose them.

3. I’ve done pretty well marketing for myself, and after researching the publisher (and contacting their authors), I was led to believe that their marketing wouldn’t be any better than my own.

 

This doesn’t mean I’m not opening to signing a contract in the future- with a publisher more fitting for my novel and I. But if that never happens, I’ll be fine 🙂 The self-pub world IS pretty amazing, after all.

 

 

 

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