So, as you've noticed, I'm a long winded gal. I'd love to just drop some names and thanks and run for this 12 Blogs of Christmas thing...but I can't! Because of that factor, I'm going to break up today's post with tomorrow's. Really in today's post, I give shout-outs to at least 7 peeps...just in long winded mode. Don't forget to comment to win!
7). MamaLiz aka Elizabeth Martinelli: It would be hard to say how much my friend, Liz, has meant to my writing. I met Liz seven years ago when we were teaching on the same team in 8th grade. That year, tragedy came to both of us—my mother died and her grandson, Caden, was born, suffered through many health issues and then passed away. We became united in our grief, and a very unlikely, but longlasting bond was formed. Yeah, Liz is old enough to be my mom, but she’s one of the truest friends I have. Her grandchildren call her Mama Liz, and I’ve kinda adopted it as well because I see her as a 2nd mom now. She likes to say I’m the daughter she never had. Liz was one of the first people besides my grandmother and cousin to read RTD. I valued her input, and I thanked God when it was good. At the time, her cousin was working as an agent, and she tried to get me the hook up. Unfortunately, her cousin had to retire, although she did say the novel had a lot of merit.
But where I appreciate the Liz the most is with The Guardians. Through the 9000 rewrites, she’s been right there, sometimes even reading it line by line with me and trying to improve it. If there was anyone who wanted me agented and published as much as myself and grandmother, it’s Liz. She even went so far as to get an unbiased opinion of TG by giving it to some of her 8th graders to read and critique. I treasure her friendship and her love, and I’ve promised if I ever make it big, she can be my Assistant/Secretary!!
(6). My South Georgia Fan Club President, Draven Pierce.
It was through Liz that I come to someone else I’m thankful for. Draven was given probably the draft of the draft of the draft of The Guardians. But he loved it, and he single handedly led a charge through the 8th grade of Martha Puckett Middle School to where kids were reading whatever printed chunks of TG they could get their hands on. He loved and believed in the story enough to want to start a Fan Club, and he asked to be my President. Hopefully, wherever my writing takes me, he’ll want to stay as President. And you guys should go ahead and get familiar with that name since Draven is an awesome writer in his own right. I expect things out of him in the future.
(5). My Students.
Seriously, I don’t know where I’d be without you guys—and I mean all my students over the nine years I’ve taught in two different counties and four different schools. We’ve had some wonderful moments together, and most of those times have gone into molding and shaping each of the characters I’ve written. What amazed me about my students is they believed in me even when I didn’t. From the summaries they read of my stories, they were itching to buy them. thank last year’s 1st, 2nd, and 6th periods to asking if I’d heard any news, to getting excited when I “thought I had an agent and it fell through in late May”. To this year’s 4th and 6th periods, who believed in me before I got my agent, and who still believe in me now that my book is on submission. And how could I forget this year’s 7th period with my 22 boys who hate reading what I put before them, but who offered to camp out at Barnes and Noble when my book came out.
(4 ). Special Student Shout Outs:
First, Brooke Gunsauley. I had the priviledge of teaching Brooke in the 8th grade and 9th grade. She’s a dedicated, hard working student, and a pleasure to have in class. But last year when Brooke got wind I’d written a novel, she came to me with her own novel. I was excited to get to read and critique her book. Brooke is the first and only student to read my work. She was my first beta read on The Guardians, and because of her help and hard work, I named a character for her. She’s a minor character in the first book of TG, but one that grows if, God willing, I get to do books 2 and 3. Brooke always checked in with me to see how the agent search was going. I really felt like she was as disappointed as I was when things didn’t work out. Then she was very, very excited when I got my agent. As editor of the school newspaper, Brooke did me a great honor. For the first ever teacher spotlight, she chose to interview me.
To Cole Ross for leading the charge to start the Ms. Ashe Fan Club and have t-shirts. Now that I’m agented, I may take him up on this. Halley Ramsey, one of my basketball cheerleaders but more importantly, book cheerleaders, who offered to help sell my books out the trunk of my car or anyone’s car for that matter!!!
To Emily Reno, a fellow writer, who always believed in me and my writing, and who offered to dedicate her first novel to me. *Yes, I wanted a tissue after that one! And to Jennifer Shirley and Aubreigh Fuller who also believed in my writing and keep me happy with constant posters of Robert Pattinson adorning my room!