Jennifer McKenzie

Romance--Boy meets girl. Romantic Suspense--Boy meets girl with dead bodies.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

For Those Who Have Been Rejected

Thanks Miss Snark for this wonderful find.

posted at 7:56 AM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Enslave Me Sweetly by Gena ShowalterShe has the heart of a killer, and the body of an angel. . .Eden Black walks among humans, protecting them from the murderous evil of other-worlders who abduct and enslave. And though she appears to be human herself, Eden is an alien, a Raka, distinguished by her golden hair and skin, and gifted with the ominous ability to kill without remorse – and with total accuracy. That is, until the fateful night she has one shot to eliminate her target, a human slaver – and misses.“Failure” is not in Eden’s vocabulary. Neither is “partner” – but that’s what she is forcibly assigned after recovering from her disastrous mission. A sexy, steely-nerved human agent, Lucius Adaire enjoys nothing more than sparking the fury – and rousing the desire – of the fiery female assassin to proud to admit defeat. Locked in an assignment they cannot afford to lose, Lucius and Eden find themselves bound in two high-stakes, heart-pounding games: the dangerous web of kill or be killed, and the erotic dance of seduction. . .Showalter first demonstrated her skill at blending sizzling romance and nail-biting suspense set in a convincing futuristic society in Awaken Me Darkly (2005). She now continues the roller-coaster-like adventure in an equally entertaining tale that will please a wide cross section of readers. *Starred Review* Booklist.Order your copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or BooksAMillion.For more information, visit Gena’s website at and her blog at

Another great book by another great author. Be checking out my blog for Cobblestone's line up of great authors kicking off their grand opening.

posted at 7:49 AM by Jennifer :: 6 comments

Monday, May 29, 2006

Characters that drive me crazy (Short Trip)

Ever had this feeling? Being a total panster, my characters have a tendency to do unexpected things. My heroine (hitherto known as "that pain in the butt") has decided to reveal details about some of her backstory. As yet, she has not revealed to me (the author) why she is doing so. As I'm writing the scene, I am aware that there is a motivation problem. So, I'm talking to dear Jessica PIB in my head.
"Why are you telling him this NOW? Isn't this too much information right now?"
"I want to."
"OK, but I'm the writer. Can you give something to work with here?"
"Well, I've kissed the guy twice. Don't you think I'd better tell him about my failed marriage?"
"No, I really don't. You're going to scare the crap out of him! He doesn't want to marry you, he want to go to bed with you."
"If it scares him, then to hell with him."
"But then I'll have no story."
She shrugs. "Not my problem, darlin'. You're the author. Make it work."

See why she's a pain in the butt? *Sigh*. I wrote the scene, but I stopped at the cliffhanger. What I mean is, there comes a place as two people begin revelations that they continue, or they retreat. I need them to retreat, but the twist wouldn't come. I'm only on p. 80! Too much too fast and the story is over before I get to p. 100! LOL. Don't you love how the panster just flies with no destination? I'll bet you plotters out there are cringing and shaking your head. (Nonny, I know you are).
Do your characters take over? If you're a reader, do you find yourself caught up in the plot or the characters?

posted at 9:09 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

Saturday, May 27, 2006

posted at 10:05 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

Friday, May 26, 2006

Sent into the ether

I've sent those first 10 pages of "Cold Vengeance" to the agent that she'd reread. The above picture is how I feel about it. It's gone. I may never see the results of it. I have to let it go. Now, of course, I'm totally convinced there's "something wrong" with the first 10 pages. LOL. It just never ends does it.
The big news in the blogosphere is the bruhaha about Barbara Bauer. She's an agent who made the "Twenty Worst Agents". You can't make that list unless you're not selling or you're scamming. Check out The reasons why Ms. Bauer is on the list is there. It seems that Ms. Bauer is attempting intimidation and threatening legal action for those who discuss this topic. Meanwhile, the blogs are hot with the topic and now (so I understand) if you google "Barbara Bauer", now her agency website is first followed by seven blogs/websites that list her as one of the worst agents. Why is this interesting?
That an agent (or alleged agent) has a hissy when someone puts her on a "worst" list? No.
Because the blogospere has picked up the topic and made it a phenomenon? No surprise here.
Could it be because Absolute Write (the website that posted the list) was dropped by it's ISP? Yes.
"According to Teresa Nielsen Hayden of the Making Light blog Ms Bauer threatened them with legal action., the web host--a company called JC-Hosting--buckled under the pressure and, without warning, simply pulled down the entire Absolute Write website on May 23, 2006."
This is a quote from another blog about this. This interests me because it makes me wonder. If I hate a book and write that I hate it, can the author sue me and will my isp drop me? Where does this leave political writers and other touchy subjects? Will religion be stifled next? What will be the consequences of an isp dropping a website for content that isn't pornographic, or even libilous really. With this precedence set, will other companies begin to pressure isp's to drop websites that warn us about questionable practices and scams?
Maybe it's not a big deal. In my mind, the question is "Why would JC Hosting drop a client on the say so of a questionable agent?"
Absolute Write will be back in service soon and Barbara Bauer will be out of business in time. My lesson from this? The internet is not as free as it looks. Porn? Sure. Top Twenty Worst Agents? Nooooo. Weird isn't it?

posted at 4:20 PM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Interesting Blog

  • Tracy Montoya's Blog
  • has an interesting story. Check it out.
    I remember watching a really great series on The Learning Channel years ago called "The Human Animal" with Desmond Morris. One part stuck out. The had a man laying on the sidewalk on a busy city street. No one stopped for a long time. No one checked to see if he was dead, drunk, hurt, sleeping--nothing. Then, the same man lay in the street of a small village. Everyone came to help. Perhaps, in our urban sprawl, we have lost the ability to reach out and touch any strangers. Our lives are so full of people that adding one more, even briefly, is a chore.
    A while ago, I realized that I often had impulses to help others. Those times when I thought "I should go and help that person." But I wouldn't do it. My reluctance was based on fear of being caught up in a person's tragedy or crisis. It's as if my brain couldn't fathom adding another responsibility. I made a commitment to myself that I would try and reach out more. If the impulse is there, I try and act on it. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes it doesn't. I don't do it to feel good about myself. I do it because I believe we are all in this life together and can't make it alone. I don't want to be alone.
    Now, I realize that helping others doesn't necessarily involve me in their crisis. For one small moment, I am connected to another human being....and then they move on.
    Don't get me wrong. I'm not out there feeding the homeless or doing compulsive volunteering. I just do my small bit in my hectic life. That's all any of us can do.
    Letting someone in on a freeway, helping with someone's groceries, stepping aside so someone with a small child can get their business done at the bank--all are small things but they add up.
    Our sum is more than the parts. Together we are more. Together we are strong.
    Alone we are at the mercy of the storms of life that buffet and blow through us. I've been at the mercy of those storms. It's one of the lonliest places I've ever been. I was lucky. I found a place to connect and people in the same desperate straits. It's given me the strength to reach out.
    What do you think of Tracy's story?

    posted at 9:38 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

    Wednesday, May 24, 2006

    Countdown to Submission

    Tomorrow I can resubmit the first 10 pages of "Cold Vengeance" to the agent who encouraged revision and resubmission. It's all ready to go in a mailer and staring at me. "Send me. Send me. I suck, but send me." LOL. It's sad when I can hear envelopes talking to me. I never said I was sane.....did I?
    Everything here is calmer. Michelle is still sick. Now Justin is sick too. Anthony is dealing with his drama. Joe is getting more sleep and has a four day weekend coming up, so he's stopped the whole chest beating, wife baiting, overworked stuff. The boys are still.....the boys. Both of them have fevers today and don't feel too good. You know, good enough to jump off the furniture, but cranky because they feel lousy. Thank God for cold medicine! And Scooby Doo.
    I'm impatiently waiting for my books to arrive from Amazon. I bought Paula Graves' "Forbidden Territory" and another Tawny Taylor. I need some new stuff to read.
    I'm going to resubmit "Cold Vengeance" to Harlequin, only this time I'm targeting Silhouette Intimate Moments (soon to be Silhouette Romantic Suspense). I hope that the editors don't think I'm trying to pull a fast one. I think the story is so different but I changed the name to make it easier to keep my enthusiasm for it.
    I wonder if I should put "formerly known as "Hidden Grief"" or just leave it alone. What do you think?
    What are you all doing? New wip? New songs, Carrie? Editing? How is it going?

    posted at 1:34 PM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    Rant Below--Beware

    It's not even a very interesting rant. Mostly, it's because I live with a lot of people and a lot of people spell "Drama" with a capitol D. Not that I don't have my own drama--I do.

    First--If you've read this blog you know that Michelle's youngest son (almost 19) has just been diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. Up until yesterday, Justin just wouldn't talk about it much. He was doing everything he could to pretend he could "handle it". Well, last night (while I was gone to a meeting) Justin had a meltdown. It started with a nasty fight (verbal) with Anthony (his cousin) who also lives with us. And who has his own drama. So, Michelle and I arrive home to a devastated Justin and a clueless Anthony. *Sigh*. I got to play "rational" and kept Michelle from marching out to Anthony's room and letting him have it. Fun.

    Second--The testosterone in this house is beginning to stink. Joe is working six days a week, 12 hours a day and beating his chest when he comes home. "Me working man. You all slackers". Whatever. So he's been kind of a jerk to everyone. (He's tired. He's cranky. He's a man. Fill in your own excuse.) Anthony is also being a jerk to everyone. (Jerk is not the word I've been using, but I'm trying to be nice here) Like Justin, he has a ton of "stuff" going on and talks to no one.

    Third--Michelle has a temp of 101 and feels lousy.

    Most of this is NOT my drama. But, I become the respository for a lot of the bitching and dumping. "Fix this" is the running theme, mostly with the men in the house. Add a four and five year old who are constantly nipping at my heels, I've gotten very little work done.

    Don't get me wrong. It isn't all bad. We're a family and apologize as soon as we can. It's just hard on the creativity. It's difficult to write snappy dialogue when everyone around you is growling. Including the dog and the new puppy (did I mention the new puppy who poops on the furniture? Justin's dog. That's right.)

    Enough ranting. If you made it this far, you're awesome. I signed up for a lot of this, so I'm not claiming victimhood. My part is clear. Can we say "doormat"? *Sigh* I guess it's better than saying "Postal".

    posted at 10:56 AM by Jennifer :: 6 comments

    Monday, May 22, 2006

    Internal Conflicts

    In trying to simplify, I think I left holes in my GMC. There are so many layers to this work. Jessica feels guilty because she was so wrapped up in her depression after her divorce, she didn't spend time with her Dad before he died. Travis feels guilt because he couldn't protect her Dad. But when it comes to relationships, they are quite different.

    Internal Conflict

    Jessica--Goal: To learn to trust others and herself.
    Motive: Isolation and lonliness
    Conflict: Previous dysfunctional marriage really messed with her head.

    Travis--Goal: To learn to be intimate and trust someone else.
    Motive: No one close to him. Lonliness.
    Conflict: Cold and distant parents who turned on him in a crisis.

    Basically both of them keep people at a distance in different ways. Travis is charming, social and keeps it light and on the surface. No deep feelings, no pain. He's not cold like his parents, so he thinks he's OK.
    Jessica has lost confidence in her ability to have a normal relationship. She thinks men are controlling and keeps them at a distance. She uses very cold detachment to seperate herself from any man who thinks he'll control her. This frozen state extends to almost everyone except her sister and her best friend.

    Is that it? Tell me what you think.

    posted at 10:27 AM by Jennifer :: 1 comments

    Sunday, May 21, 2006

    Dayna Hart's Cover and GMC

    Dayna Hart has a book coming out and here's here fabulous cover. I'm so happy for her! It's so great to see an author who works hard finally make it.
    I'm struggling with my Goal, Motivation and Conflict for my H/h in "Cold Vengence". I think it's because I've had a hard time getting back into the story and really "feeling" my characters. Condensing has not been my strong suit, but I have to learn to do it for Query letters and synopsis writing.
    Jessica Logan:
    Goal--Find out who killed her parents
    Motivation--Grief, justice (This one seems so obvious. Of course she'd want to know, right?)
    Conflict--Bad guy doesn't want her to find out. He wants her dead.

    Travis Conners
    Goal--Find out who killed Louis and Sharon Logan.
    Motivation--Sharon Logan was his mentor and Louis was like a father to him.
    Conflict--Bad guy doesn't want to get caught. (duh!)

    See? Not too interesting. *Sigh*. I'll keep at it. It's just my new one (renamed "Rough Seas") is so much more tempting. I'm forcing myself to keep at it just in case the agent I'm interested in wants to read the whole thing.

    Maybe Jessica and Travis will surprise me. They've already added another clue, a little different set up than I had originally and a lot more interaction. I need to stay with the story until it's told, but it's tough when The Bering Sea beckons.
    Do you ever get bored with a story half way through? What do you do?

    posted at 12:31 PM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    Check This Out

    I was bopping around the blogs I love and got to Diva Sela's Blog who is revamping her blog. (It looks great btw). She redirected me to Romancing The Blog and a section on improving traffic on blogs and making them a better tool for writers. Since this was a topic onRomance Divas I thought those who visit might be interested.
    What are the hot topics? Politics seem a little dangerous, since polarization is the name of the game these days. Spirituality? Don't even go there! Even some writing topics can start long wrangling. Why does Miss Snark get so many comments? Is it because she is "snarky"? Or is it because intertwined with her gin swilling, yapp ridden comments, she imparts pearls for aspiring writers and comfort for fellow editors? She is tireless. She read endless entries for a contest on her blog and earned my respect for her perserverance and her tolerance. (Yes, I did say tolerance, despite her Nitwit awards etc.)
    What topics do you want to see?

    I have a list of things I love to read on blogs.
    1. Someone elses love life.
    I'll admit it. I like to read about someone elses escapades. Not details (that would be wrong) but the foils and foilables of dating, marriage and challeges therein.

    2. Someone's writing process.
    I like to see another writer's brain at work. How did you come up with a title? How did you figure out that plot? Do you have a formula you follow faithfully? How is that wip coming.

    3. Rants, preferably on the lighter side.
    Too often, rants get a little too serious for my taste (including my own rants) and end by being depressing. You won't see me rant too often on my blog because I get all negative and snippy. Some of you have had to read the "I Suckitis" rants, but I tried to be light about it. Haven't you read the political blogs that raille against the political system? I say, "Lighten up".

    4. The Serial Blog
    I've mentioned before that my favorite blog to visit is Crystal Jordan's Blog. Here's why. The first time I visited I got to read about her wip AND SDB. (You'll have to visit and catch up). She's witty and consistent. She blogs every day and I love it. Not that wit is a necessary ingredient. I visit other blogs to get updates on what's going on with blogs that I've followed. It isn't about being the "life of the party" for me. It's about getting to know other people. It starts on the forum boards and continues into the blogosphere.

    5. The Payback Blog
    If you visit me, I'm more likely to come see you. Especially if you have fun on my blog and comment. So, I often visit blogs and I try to make sure I comment. I don't expect payback, but I recognize that visibility is important. Because of this practice, I discovered Dayna Hart's Blog and found a kindred mommy who also gets up at 4am. What a gift

    So, what topics would you like to see? More politics? More personal stuff? What makes you LOL? Comment O my Soul.

    posted at 7:23 PM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

    Here we go again

    Many of you who may have followed this blog from it's humble beginnings may know that Joe works in construction and, at times, works on the road. He's been home for almost three years now, working on jobs here. But for about six months things have been up in the air. It looked like he was going to San Francisco. Instead he went to Legget (about an hour and a half drive one way). Now, he may be going (I'm never totally sure) to a place called Ione (eye-own), which is near Sacramento.
    One of the things about Joe is that his life is chaotic. He lives on the edge and likes it. Every Tuesday night, we sit down and watch "Deadliest Catch" on Discovery Channel. It's a moral imperative. It's the only night we have "must see" TV. An ex-fisherman, fifth generation Eureka boy, decended from the Karok Tribe, he is an adrenaline junkie with indulgent tendencies. And I love him, the darn redneck.
    So, I take all this with the attitude of "We'll see" and pay the bills (if I can) and get the kids to school and so on. I put it all in God's hands and keep doing what's in front of me.
    "If you understand, things are just as they are. If you do not understand things are just as they are." (Courage to Change)

    posted at 5:39 AM by Jennifer :: 2 comments

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    Got Some Done

    I managed to get about five thousand words written today. Justin took the boys to the park and I put on Evanescence and Linkin Park and got writing. As a result, I'm in the middle of chapter six rewrite.
    The story is totally different now. I've added a more compelling reason why Travis would believe that Jessica may have murdered her father. The relationship between them is less stiff and more believeable than in the first version. There is a lot more of them together and that is improving the story.
    I've gotten 15K of the rewrites done. I've taken out some of the problem areas and worked out the time sense better. The story is getting less ponderous and more interesting. Changing the name really has made a difference. I thank all who came up with names to choose from. I'm so awful with titles.
    Romance Divas (see my links) is having a Query contest. I've done judging on ten of them. I initially wanted to pass on the judging because my queries are so awful. Gina checked out a couple I judged and said it was fine. *Shrugs* I'm in.
    Thank you so much to all who gave encouragement. I've needed it.

    posted at 3:47 PM by Jennifer :: 6 comments

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    Tapping into old feelings

    So, yesterday and today, I've been writing the portion of "Cold Vengence" which I dubb "The funeral scene." When I started "Cold Vengence" it was in memory of my father. Although I left a lot of my father's personality out of the character "Louis Logan", I gave him a love of books, a military past and three daughters. Many of you know I finished this first book because my Dad wrote a book he never had critiqued, never submitted and never let anyone, but my Mom, read.
    This spurred me to finally write a book all the way through and submit it to Harlequin Intrigue. Although Harlequin sent a rejection, I have kept writing and I know I'll get there if I work at it. I mention the funeral scene because I draw on a lot of my own feelings and experiences when my Dad died. Writing it again reminded me how it felt. I just couldn't get any distance on it. Which means I desperately need someone else to read it and let me know if it needs work.

    I've lightened up on my hero and stopped making him all broody and such. My heroine is still uptight, but that'll change as she starts getting the hots for the hero. I'm enjoying this editing right now. It's going well and I think I can barrel through it.
    I notice I don't mention much about my life. Some of it you've read, but it's so chaotic and crazy half the time that putting into words might make me nuttier than a fruitcake. So, I just take it all a little at a time.
    Somebody put the Chinese curse on me; "May you live in interesting times." It may be crazy, but it sure isn't boring.

    posted at 1:49 PM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    Continuing to plug away

    I knocked out another Chapter on the revision of "Cold Vengence" formerly known as "Hidden Grief". This is a much better written story and I think I've simplified it enough so that it's not such a ponderous monster. I've gotten to Chapter five and that actually makes me feel better. The agent that I queried (sent the "R" with written suggestions and an offer to reread) won't be able to take anything until after May 25th, so I wait.
    I don't know if I want to start querying this book to anyone else yet. It needs a lot of work, but it's the only one I've finished completely. Being a panster, this means the other ones are hanging out waiting for an ending.
    "Rough Seas" (formerly known as "Cold Murder") is only about 10K. "Fires of the Past" (Sequel to "Cold Vengence") has about 30K but needs extensive rewrites. I have another one that has 10K called "Love by the Big Book" which isn't a romantic suspense, but more like a straight romance. "Rough Seas" and "Cold Vengence" have been my focus for the last three months. The others haven't gotten much attention. How many does that make? Four? *Sigh*.
    I'm thinking I should at least figure out the plot on "Rough Seas" so that I can pitch that one if I want to.
    Maybe instead of doing the whole three sisters thing (which has been done....and done....and done.) I could do a brother's thing. In "Cold Vengence" the hero's brother is mentioned and shows up at the end of the book (at the inevitable wedding. What? I like weddings.) I planned on doing that but I was set on doing the sister subplot, so I didn't do it. Hmmm. I love doing secondary characters in another book.
    Right now, I'm focused on cleaning up "Cold Vengence". I've decided to reduce the subplot a lot, so the sequel is there but not needed.

    posted at 2:13 PM by Jennifer :: 6 comments

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    Name Change for Attitude Change

    Everytime I read the words "Hidden Grief" I'd cringe. So, I started a topic for new names for an old manuscript.
    Thanks to Diva Cup O Noodles, I've decided to call it "Cold Vengence". The other choices were "Tangled Trust" and "Revenge's Daughter". Opinions welcome as always.
    I'm off to start Chapter four. I'm going to send those first ten pages again now that they're rewritten. I still have some things that will probably need tweaking, but I think this version is infinitely better.
    It wasn't until I was changing my website that I noticed that I've got two wip that start with the same word. LOL. How funny. *Sigh*. "Cold Vengence" works well because it's sequel is currently called "Fires of the Past". It will have to have the word "fire" or "burning" because it's about a serial arsonist. Mmmm. Maybe I could call the first one "Cold Revenge" and the next one "Burning Revenge" . Of course, all this is moot, since an editor will change the names anyway. Mostly, this is just to inspire me to be original and work harder on it instead of cringing.
    Of to work.

    posted at 9:17 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

    Sunday, May 14, 2006

    Happy Mother's Day

    Happy Mother's Day All. This is my family. Yeah, it's not the glamour family is it? From Left to right.

    My husband, Joe (the redneck), His mom Karen, His Dad Mike (In front) , My brother-in-law Kevin (behind Mike), Joe's sister Rachel, me holding Kevin and Rachel's son Bryce, Joe's brother Jeff and his daughter Rhianna sitting in the chair and Dell (with the train hat) and Paul, my boys.

    That's the McKenzie clan. We're a fun family with all the little quirks that go along with families. I realized that the only picture of Michelle I have is one she'd KILL me if I put on a public blog. I don't look so good in that picture either. Mmmmm. I'll have to remedy that.

    Here's to all the Mom's out there that wash dishes, change diapers, worry, comfort, give tough love, cried tears of joy and pain over children who are both a gift and a curse.

    I hope all of you have a day of peace. Even if you're not a mom, I hope that you can appreciate the wonder of your birth and know that some woman out there tried to make that happen. That may have been all she was able to do, but it's something.

    From my mother, I got a compassion for other's pain. I learned how to be polite and show respect to others. She taught me to cook, which is more than her mother did for her. She gave me a solid foundation that no one has been able to rock. I come from a great family. It has it's weirdness, but I love my family.

    In a world where children are an option and no one "has" to have children, the fact that my mother raised three girls is amazing to me. To make the choice to do this job is huge, although I certainly didn't know it at the time. Thanks Mom.

    posted at 6:44 AM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

    Saturday, May 13, 2006

    OMG I'm Sorry

    Michelle told me yesterday that she was going to have the words "Oh My God! I'm sorry" put on my gravestone. We were laughing because I complain so much about my rewrites that she finally rolled her eyes at me and said "I can see it now. You're freaking out because an agent asked for a resub. Then, the agent will get you a book deal and you'll freak out 'cause you don't have a revised manuscript. THEN, you'll freak out 'cause you'll have a deadline for a three book deal. This is never ending, isn't it?"
    I started laughing and told her she was right. She loves to hear that anyway. She is Hobbes to my Calvin. The voice of reason in my occasional insanity. Her ex-boyfriend gave me a great villian and her work life gives me something else to think about besides potty training, Candyland and poopy diapers. So, you can all have a good laugh because my best friend finds my writing a root canal. Too bad. She has to suffer. Of course, she'll be the one who tells people magazine when I get famous that I can belch my own name. She has way too much dirt on me. LOL.
    I got A TON done on "Hidden Grief". I'm attempting to find a different name for the thing since "Hidden Grief" makes me cringe. "Tangled Trust" "Revenge's Daughter" and "A Legacy Of Trust" are all possibilities. We'll see. I've been able to finish two and a half chapters (about 29 pages) some of which is completely different from the original and some is the same. Michelle says this is much better. She's a Stephen King fan so she finds my stuff to "romantic". Oh well.
    Hope the weekend is productive.
    Question for you. Do names for stories (or songs) just "come to you" or do you have to really work at it?

    posted at 8:00 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    Of all the Blogs I've loved before.....

    Ahhh Mandy. My favorite cartoon character these days. Is that way more about me than you wanted to know?

    Which brings me to my topic. I was cruising Romance Divas which is my usual way of putting off the inevitable work I need to do on my writing, and came across a topic that interested me. Diva Dayna ( was wondering how to increase the traffic on her blog. I got to thinking. What sends me to a blog every day? I like Paula Grave's blog ( because she link me to other authors and gives out great info. I like Crystal Jordan's blog ( because she's hilarious and makes me laugh every time. Plus I love reading about her book ideas and how she gets them. I check out Shelli Steven's blog ( because her life is interesting and she has a positive attitude. She funny, sensitive and pulls me in. So, to me, her writing is probably like that. I love Tawny Taylor's writing so I visit her blog. Loribelle Hunt is another who blogs about her process and that's what I go there for. Oh and the softball updates. Every blog I visit has it's own flavor, it's own style. I have fifteen that I check out regularly. I get disappointed if there's no update. It's a window into someone's personality and lifestyle. I've gotten to know some authors strictly through blogging. It started with Shelli. She's such a treasure. I visited her blog and decided I loved it enough to get one of my own.

    Oh, and I love it when a blogger gives me something to comment on. Give an opinion (my favorite.), answer a question, include the reader in the blog. So, what keeps you going back? What has you clicking a blog address in your "Favorites" column? Can't wait to see the answers.

    posted at 9:25 AM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    The Miss Snark Archives and My Own Snarkiness

    I was on the horns of a dilemma. I want to thank the agent who sent me hand written comments with the form rejection BUT is that the correct ettiquette? So, I visit Miss Snark, the agent of all agents. What is the accepted form of communication with an agent? Would a handwritten note strike an unprofessional tone? No comments that I could find in the Miss Snark archives. So I am on my own.
    My own snarkiness is coming out in my impatience with myself and others. My redneck husband is going through his own stress and is angry that I'm having physical issues due to MY stress. Why are we stressed? Life in general and I want to write fiction not an autobiography. Needless to say, as the Prarie Wife, I wear the bullseye prominently on my back. *Sigh*. He goes through this every once and a while. He resents time I spend away, time I spend writing, time I spend in volunteer work. All of these things are "approved" before I do them. I don't go off willy nilly and tell him to like it or lump it. He agrees to whatever I'd like (or need) to do and then resents it. LOL. I laugh because I'm pretty sure I do the same stupid thing! Ahhh marriage. Such bliss.
    I feel encouraged by the new stuff in "Hidden Grief". I've changed so much already. I've now ruined future scenes from the old one with the new stuff I've added. Oh well. I'm hoping to resend the first 10 pages after I get them looked at by my cp. I think I'll have a back up too so I get more than just one comment.
    I need to write my Query and Synopsis over again for the Romance Divas contest. Thank God! Maybe I'll be able to clean it up and catch an editor's eye.
    All snarkiness aside, I will say that I have gotten encouragement from other authors and that makes all the difference to me. I never get tired of mentioning the generosity of other writers. Off to write. "I blow, I blow so off to work I go."

    posted at 9:18 AM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    Cobblestone Press Has The Best

    Shelli Stevens has another one out. Shelli, along with Loribelle Hunt, Sara Dennis and several others have books coming out and it's hard to keep up with them all.
    I just finished a good ebook "Silk Stealth" by Carolina Valdez ( through Amber Quill Press. I wrote my reviews for "Silk Stealth" and "Fortune's Fool" and turned them in today. The Divas rock when it comes to their books. Great stuff.
    I'm not even going to bother with the rants and raves I'd like to go into.
    I will address one issue that's bugging me. I'm having trouble getting to "Hidden Grief". I need to rewrite it. It's sitting there staring at me, broken and dying. *Sigh*. I just need to buckle down and get to it.
    Maybe it's that I've revised.....and revised....and I'm not sure I can fix it. My confidence in the story is shot.
    I'm hoping to get to some of it today or tomorrow. Send good thoughts, guys.

    posted at 1:03 PM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Great Weekend. Great Books.

    I'm reviewing "Fortune's Fool" by Sara Dennis for Romance Divas. I really liked this book. The author does a nice job of creating sweet romance and agonizing conflict. She's also having a contest on her website for the release of this book. Have a look. Cobblestone Press is sure getting the best of the best.
    I've been very lucky to have some time to read. Thanks to Romance Divas, I have books before their release date and I get a sneak peak at some really good stuff! I hope I can be helpful as a reviewer.
    This weekend was a total blast. I got to relax and just be for a little while. I got to connect with some people that I haven't been able to see lately. It was wonderful.
    I don't always realize how stressful things are until those things aren't there. I've got a redneck husband working 60 hours a week on a hillside that's probably going to slide. I've got a four year old, a five year old, an eighteen year old and a twenty-one year old (all boys) all living with me and none of them listen to me. *Sigh*. My five year old is going to have to do Kindergarten again. My four year old has broken two windows, a big wheel and the entertainment center door in the last four months. My best friend (who now lives with me) is trying to deal with her son's diagnosis of muscular dystrophy. I'm totally overloaded these days. And the testosterone! Whew! Even the dog is male. LOL. I keep waiting for things to calm down. This weekend, I felt free of decision making, mothering and housekeeping.
    It's funny. I don't think I'm very good at any of those things, yet somehow it's my job. I don't know how I got off on this tangent.
    So here's a challenge for y'all. Michelle and I joke about some of the words I use that aren't in regular everyday vocabulary. Examples? Conundrum, fodder, faux pau (which I forget how to spell but it sounds good), nonsequiter and a few others (which I can't think of). So your assignment should you choose to accept it--what words do you use that aren't in everyday vocabulary and has everyone looking at you like you've grown cabbages out your ears?--This tape will self destruct in five seconds. (not really)

    posted at 12:18 PM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    I'm Back. Tracy Montoya Rocks.

    One thing I got to do this weekend was read "House of Secrets" by Tracy Montoya ( Great book. I really enjoyed it. I stayed up Saturday night reading it. Tracy really does her homework and she doesn't dump it on you. I loved it.

    Oh. My. God. You should see my house. It's trashed. There are dirty dishes everywhere (which I expected), boxes and crap everywhere (which I kind of expected) and the seat on the toilet is broken (that was a surprise). The kids clothes are strewn all over. *Sigh*. Men--can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em.

    I had a WONDERFUL time. I spent time with some great friends and I laughed more than I have for months. Saturday night I got to dance until I was out of breath. It was so much fun. Don't worry. I danced as a "group". I'm a married woman! But it was a total blast.

    I'll have more tomorrow. I'm pooped. Thanks for the send off guys. I missed you.

    posted at 5:45 PM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    There's so much going on I don't know where to start! A last minute shuffle means I get to go to Grants Pass, Oregon for a A.A. convention. Rogue River Roundup is one of the biggest convention locally, usually pulling about 1000 people. The Al-Anon portion is usually awesome, so it should be a great weekend. It's that "Sand Therapy in Maui" only without the cool helicopter ride. LOL. I didn't know how to say where I was going without talking about what it was, so bear with me for breaking my anonymity. Don't hold it against Al-Anon if you think I'm a nutcase. The fellowship is doing all it can with me. I'm just hard headed.
    I got my book I won from Tracy Montoya. I can't wait to dig in. I may have some time this weekend. Tracy is awesome. Check out her website at Details on "House of Secrets" will be here later.
    Loribelle Hunt, an awesome diva writer, has the second in the Lunar Mate series just released. "Shifters" looks awesome. Loribelle's writing is tight and pulls you right in. If you can, check it out at
    So it looks like I'll be gone all weekend. I'll miss my internet connection. It will be a great relaxing weekend though and I need it. No kids, no redneck husband, no dishes, no slacker boys. It's going to be AWESOME.

    posted at 4:37 AM by Jennifer :: 6 comments

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    Hobbes Dance for my contest results from the Heartland Romance Authors contest "Show Me The Spark. ( There was 75 points possible and three judges. My scores were 75/75, 61/75 and 46/75. The first judge wrote "Keep writing." The second judge wrote "I like your story and your characters". The third judge gave me a page of suggestions that will help my book immensely. The great thing is that my entry was the first meeting between Jessica and Travis in "Hidden Grief". I think I'm going to hit the "Think Tank" at Romance Divas and see what I can come up with for my opener.
    If you haven't already, check out Paula Graves trailer for her new book "Forbidden Territory". It rocks!. (
    Shelli's contest is going on too. Check it out. (

    posted at 5:28 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    Just a Quickie

    Shelli Stevens is having a contest with some awesome stuff. Check it out at her blog at
  • Diva Shelli's Blog

  • posted at 11:39 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

    This is a Bering Sea Crabber, the setting for my newest ms "Cold Murder". The picture below is the Northern Lights in November.

    My brain is out to kill me. I sat down yesterday to revise "Hidden Grief" and found out I hated everything that I'd written. I opened a new file and started fresh. Then I start the second guessing. "She said she liked the idea but she hated the writing. What am I thinking? This is garbage! How can I fix this?" and on and on. It's OK. This is part of the process I go through. LOL. Anyone who keeps up with me knows that confidence in my writing is NOT one of my strengths. *Sigh*.

    Maybe it's just as well that I really won't have time to write on "Hidden Grief" for a few days. Michelle moves in Friday. Two twin beds arrive today for Anthony and Justin (Michelle's youngest). So I have to get Michelle's room ready. I still have boxes containing things I haven't seen in over a year. So, writing takes a backseat today and probably tomorrow.

    I keep thinking that what that agent really said was "It's a great idea but your writing sucks." That thinking has GOT to go. It isn't going to help me at all. So, deep breath, say to committee member in my head (trying to kill me) "Thank you for sharing now sit down." LOL.

    posted at 5:48 AM by Jennifer :: 5 comments

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    An Oasis In The Desert

    A month ago, I submitted the first 10 pages of "Hidden Grief" to an agent. Yesterday, I got my response. It was a rejection but with a handwritten note in the corner.

    "Hi--I really do like this idea--but that first section is awful. Why not start when she opens the boxes? Introduce Travis later. I'll be glad to re-read a revision then."

    It's the first sign from the professional writing community that I may have a shot at getting somewhere. I called Michelle and squealed like a fourteen year old girl. Isn't it funny that a rejection that tells me the first section of my writing is "awful" is enough to have me doing the Hobbes dance.
    This is going to require massive rewrites. I have to change Jessica's profession (because it's not realistic). I have to completely rewrite a lot of the structure. It's such a patchwork of old and new. It was almost easier to sh**can the thing. I know I can do this, however.
    I don't want to say who the agent is at this point. I'll see how it goes. I think I can polish this and get it moving in the right direction in the next month. I don't want to miss an opportunity to turn in revisions.
    It's a small reward, but it's something I can work with. I have to remember that my father wrote a book that he NEVER submitted to anyone. No editor or agent ever read his work. If they had, I believe he might have been successful. A perfectionist, he edited and re-edited his own work. It was a secret I didn't know about until he died in 2003. It motivated me to stop putting my writing off in "Someday" land and get feedback.
    Then I discovered Romance Divas and eHarlequin. There I found the encouragement to keep writing through four months of silence at Harlequin Intrigue (that ended in a form R). My critique partner kept me writing, Romance Divas kept me thinking and eHarquin kept me from tackling the mailman everyday. (Check out eHarlequin's SubCare chat session. It's encouraging to see other writers waiting.....and waiting...just like we all do.)
    I have a lot of work ahead but I'm so excited to do it now. Dad, I know you're up there, we did it.

    posted at 4:52 AM by Jennifer :: 5 comments

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    If you scroll down the blog, you'll see I have a new section called "Books I've read/reviewed". This is where I'm going to put the lastest reviews and books that I like to rave about. Thanks to Diva Crystal (*vigorously waves to Crystal*) it actually looks half-way decent. Check out Crystal's blog 'cause not only is she an awesome writer, she's a hilarious blogger. She's also the only reason I have great stuff on my blog. She's writing "Every Witch Way" and I can't wait to see the finished product. I've loved some of the snippets I've gotten to read on Romance Divas. She's awesome, check her out.

    You absolutely MUST check out Paula Graves's new website and trailer at It rocks! I'm hoping to find out who did her movie so I can get them to do mine when I grow up and get published. Talk about awesome. I ordered "Forbidden Territory" from Amazon, so when it comes out in June, look for my review.

    Romance Divas (see my links) is having a chat with Harlequin authors on category writing. It's so tough to know which line is right for a writer and these authors have figured it out. Hopefully, I can ask some good questions about the Harlequin Intrigue line. Dana Morton and B.J. Daniels are the authors representing HI and I can't wait to hear their take on writing for the line.

    I'm hoping to get some pages done today on my ms "Cold Murder". I've gotten about 40 done so far. I'm starting to love Alaska. I think I'm going to start putting inspirational pictures up on my blog for y'all. Alaska is so awesome.

    posted at 9:35 AM by Jennifer :: 5 comments

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