Monthly Archives: July 2014

Ode To A Ninth Grade English Teacher

Dear Mrs. Pogado* (yes, you will always be Mrs. Pogado to me),

I’ve been meaning to reach out to you for so long. My year in your English class was an entire adult lifetime ago. Time slips away fast and I’ve not done everything I meant to do.

I also taught school for years. Trust me when I say that I know how easy it is to blur the line from one kid to the next. I hope you won’t feel bad that you don’t remember me particularly. I’m sure I was one of many students you encouraged along the way.

thankyouchalkboardWhen I started the ninth grade I believe there were four class phases. I was on the second one from the bottom. There aren’t any feelings I remember about where I was placed. I assumed that’s where I was meant to be.

You didn’t see it that way.

We weren’t far into the first six weeks of school when you pushed me to move up a level. On that subject I do remember feelings. Strong ones. There was a bit of fear, disbelief…pride.

After some jostling of my schedule, I landed in an upper phase. There was some struggle to keep pace. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do the work. I think I’d grown lazy. School had been easy up until then.

But I wanted to make you proud. I wanted you not to be wrong about me. I wanted to belong there.

So I did the work.

I learned some things about myself that year. I found out that being challenged is a good thing. My brain had been coated in rust from years of being good enough. It also occurred to me that I didn’t have to accept what I was given. I can be an obstinate, headstrong girl (nod to Miss Austen) if that’s what it takes. I don’t have to accept that things are meant to be.

I also realized that I am intelligent. Mrs. Vogado, you were the first teacher to make me feel value for my brain. Not that I could draw well, not that I can sing, not that I’m a nice person or that I am tall enough to reach things off a high shelf. No. You made me feel smart. You made me proud of what I can know.

I’ve never let that go.

And as if that wasn’t enough, I also fell in love. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is still my favorite book. I read it again and again year after year (GREAT EXPECTATIONS? Eh. Not so much, though I still get chills thinking about Miss Haversham).

Reading and writing are such a part of me now. I can’t go a day without a book under my nose. Plus, I’m currently in revisions on my third novel (Young Adult, of course). Part of that is because of you (another part belongs to my mom because she bought me a boxed set of Judy Blume books when I was a kid).

So, for me and all those other students that participated in your class, thank you. You are the teacher we remember. Fondly.

Still Fondly & Hoping You Won’t Grade My Grammar,

Leanne Ross


*Names were changed to protect the innocent.

Did I mention that I can be found on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email?

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Coming Clean

soapI’m not a fan of taking a shower. Getting wet each morning just isn’t appealing. I’m supposed to climb out of my cozy bed, stumble into a cold or hot bathroom, drench myself in cold or hot water, re-emerge into the now humid space and then try to get dry.


Oh don’t get me wrong…I do it. Sometimes I stretch out the days between the events, but that’s usually in the winter. These summer days where the shirt sticks to my back makes me rush to the cool water.

I bring all this up because this morning I was thinking about clean hair and about my writing.

As much as I dislike the routine of showering, I enjoy my hair being clean. I like the way it smells, how it feels running through my fingers and even how it misbehaves. It dries naturally a bit fluffy, with waves next to my face. No flowery products are needed.

When my hair is dirty it feels weighed down. The thin areas seem to show. I never feel confident.

I will take clean hair over dirty any day of the week.

This also applies to writing.

CLEAN writing is the stuff we all love.

When I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins I was astonished. Okay. Yes. The story was mind blowing, but the thing that struck me the most was the way she used words. Ms. Collins’ writing is so clean and crisp you could butter your bagel with it. She doesn’t weigh down the story with flowery language that doesn’t need to be there. She cuts to the point.

Maybe I should do that now.

I want my writing to be clean. I want to smell it, feel it and watch it misbehave. I won’t worry about thin areas. I will feel confident when it is out in the world.

And I know how to make that happen.

It’s routine.

Like taking a shower every day to get clean, writers have to write on a regular basis. Clean writing comes from pushing ourselves out of that cozy bed and getting wet. Otherwise we’ll be shoving a colorful baseball cap over our story’s ears just so it can be seen in public.

*¨)        ¸.·*¨)
Take Care,   .·*´)
(¸ .· ´      (¸ .·´Leanne


I’m also rambling away on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!

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Delacorte, 2011

JULIET_IMMORTAL-coverImagine Romeo & Juliet were real people. What if their story didn’t go the way Shakespeare described? Suppose instead of Juliet taking her own life, in a fit of despair over losing her true love, it was Romeo who killed her for a chance at immortality. That’s the premise of Stacey Jay’s JULIET IMMORTAL.

For the past seven hundred years, Juliet & Romeo move from inhabiting one person’s body to the next as they work on the opposite sides of LOVE. Her job is to bring together soul mates, protecting true love and all its trappings. Romeo works to destroy it so he can enlist more mercenaries for the sinister side.

But this time is different. This time instead of Juliet temporarily taking over the body of someone who can help the soul mates with super-natural strength and the assistance of her guide “Nurse,” she is completely on her own. She has no idea what to do. At the same time, Juliet can’t stop from falling for the guy she is supposed to be helping.

Romeo comes after her in the deceased (and beginning to smell) body of a nut job named Dylan. He’s determined to make Juliet join him to break this cycle once and for all. The two of them deal with love, loss and high school in this entertainingly gruesome take on Romeo and Juliet.

I couldn’t put it down.

I’ve read two other ROMEO & JULIET inspired novels this past year (ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell and WARM BODIES by Isaac Marion) and the authors keep impressing me with what they can do with THIS STORY. Seriously. Stacey Jay has imagined a wonderful, yet disturbing, future for these two tragic characters.

You can find out more about Stacey Jay and the other books she’s written on her website:


*¨)        ¸.·*¨)
Take Care,   .·*´)
(¸ .· ´      (¸ .·´Leanne



OH and yeah! I spout off more stuff on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!

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Bailing Water

WIPpaperboat4Last month I discussed how I was lured away from my finished first draft by a shiny new writing idea. This one was just going to write itself. All I needed to do was show up.

Well I did show up.

It didn’t write itself.

Since my last post about it, I’ve been struggling with the forward motion on that project. My thoughts kept returning to the series I put on hold.

After a long talk with my daughter (she is wise beyond her years), I came to the conclusion that I’ve been procrastinating the rewrites.  It’s no good having half-finished messes everywhere. I always expect her to finish what she’s started. It’s time I took that advice for myself.

So I chucked my fear of what was going to be in that rough draft and I started reading it.

You know what? The story is good.

Of course there are some holes in the plot that are letting in water, but I’m a strong bailer. I’m even excited about the work. I have faith that I can keep this story afloat.

Wish me luck!



Click image to visit the IWSG!

This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) blog hop where writers work to support and encourage each other on the first Wednesday of each month.

This month the IWSG is being hosted by the founder Alex J. Cavanaugh  along with Krista McLaughlin, Kim Van Sickler, Heather Gardner, and Hart Johnson!

I hope you’ll visit them!

Please follow me on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!

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