Jennifer McKenzie

Romance--Boy meets girl. Romantic Suspense--Boy meets girl with dead bodies.
Monday, July 31, 2006

OMG This is Sooooooo Funny. To Me anyway

I thought you all might enjoy this. I certainly did.
Yesterday, my husband (the redneck) took the kids off my hands and took them for "a drive" with his best friend, Eric. I got some work done, which was wonderful. Joe took them at about 11am and I got to have a few hours to write AND watch a movie (Ultraviolet--good premise, lousy ending). I cooked dinner and it got later....and later. At 7pm, I get a call from a payphone in Loleta (little town in the boonies). Eric called to tell me the truck is stuck. Apparently, the boys thought four wheeling on the beach would be fun and got themselves 1:30pm. They'd been digging out for five hours!
Oh it gets better. To get him out, we needed a four wheel drive tow truck. The nearest one? McKinleyville. (About 20 miles north of Loleta). LOL. Now, this took about 5 phone calls to discover and when I called my car insurance company, I was told it wasn't covered since he was driving "where he had no business to be driving." I was laughing my ass off.
If you spend Sunday night digging out a truck from the sand, you might be a redneck.
Michelle and I went out there to get the kids (since they hadn't eaten since breakfast) and STILL the redneck didn't want to call a tow truck. No wonder. $600 is a lot to spend for a silly mistake, but it happens. Of course, we couldn't laugh while he was belly down in the sand digging out tires, but after an hour and a half, Joe finally gave in. Two hours later, he was home.
The reason this is so funny? Watching a man struggle with his ego for over seven hours just strikes my funny bone. You know, redneck jokes, new names (Joe, the son-of-a-beach) and so on. Don't worry. Michelle and I kept it between us. A man's ego needs a lot of care and caution.
I just HAD to share with you though. Normally, Joe is such a responsible and careful guy. Seeing him do something......well, stupid, was hilarious.
Poor guy.
Question of the Day? How do you handle a man's ego (or woman's feelings)? Do you have a story to share?
Hope you enjoyed mine.

22,469 / 70,000

5,661 / 20,000

posted at 7:57 AM by Jennifer :: 5 comments

Sunday, July 30, 2006

What Happened To My Weekend!

I had great plans for this weekend. Get some work done. Get some more work done. And maybe do some more work. I did work, just not the way I thought I would. Joe and I finally got the new faucets installed in our two bathrooms. That took all of yesterday afternoon. Our plumbing is VERY interesting and frustrating. So, we bought new faucets marked "Some Profanity Required".
The kids were on a tear starting Friday. They've made it difficult to get anything done. And the usual chaos has made sitting down and writing anything resembling a decent sentence almost impossible. My word count for the last two days? Pathetic. *Sigh*. 5:30 am was wake up time as far as Dell was concerned. Yuck.
The good news is that I started a new erotic romance short for The Wild Rose Press Contest. They're going to put together an anthology with all the "winners" of each line (sweet, suspense, erotic etc.) and the deadline is August 30.
Apparently, I didn't think I had enough to do. LOL.
The theme is "Down The Garden Path" and I've started a new short called "Garden of Sin". If you want to see the premise, head over to my pen name's MySpace where I'll blog about it.
The word count for "Rough Seas" is the same and I have to implement some changes that Dayna spotted for me. It will won't be until tomorrow.
Then I look at my blog and realize I haven't updated anything since Thursday. How did that happen? Why does it seem that summer goes faster than other seasons?
Question of the Day? Do you get grumpy when your writing time is interrupted? Or are you OK with it?

21,797 / 70,000

Garden Of Sin
2,509 / 20,000

posted at 7:42 AM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Brain Is MUSH

I notice when I focus on one project and do a lot of work on it, my brain gets really tired. Add to it that I've been writing with children in the background and constant interruptions, I'm strained to the max.
I'm glad I'm getting it done, however. I've been slacking off on my big projects lately. Some of it because my childcare went out the window for the summer and has been very inconsistent. Some of it is because I lost enthusiasm for the project I was working on and couldn't seem to shake it.
Now, getting into "Rough Seas" has been a blessing. The thing is, I think about it CONSTANTLY. Where am I going with this scene? How will I accomplish this? Oooooh, that's a great idea for that scene. Next thing I know, I'm back at the computer pounding away. The frustrating thing is that it feels as if my word count doesn't show my progress. Oh well.
My personal deadline is August 12th. That's the contest deadline is for two of the contests I'd like to enter. My hope is to be finished with "Rough Seas" or at least very close. I'm not sure it will be polished enough to be seen, but I figure I'll get good feedback.
Everything else is a little overwhelming right now. Life comes at us fast around here. So I just get in, shut up and hang on.
Question of the day? You get a great idea in the shower and as you're running dripping down the hall to the computer, and the phone rings. Do you let the machine get it and pound the idea out? Or does the idea slip away? I need a waterproof keyboard.

21,797 / 70,000

posted at 9:13 AM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Finally! An Idea That Works

If any of you have read the synopsis or the blurb for "Rough Seas" then you know that the main concern for the heroine is where is her brother? Ever since I started this wip, I've struggled with how to justify the ending I wanted. I don't want to put any spoilers in, so I'll just tell you that, thanks to my best friend Michelle, I have an idea that will work. Sometimes, I know I want a certain outcome, but the getting there is difficult. It's always the suspense aspect that makes it tough to make a really good plot.
In romantic suspense, there are two elements that must be present, IMHO. There's the conflict in the romance department. Why are they fighting their attraction for each other? What keeps them apart and ultimately drives them together. Then, there the "mystery". That is the part that keeps them in danger. That has to make sense AND have a satisfying ending. The bad guys have to get it in the end and the "mystery" has to be solved. In my case, the mystery of the missing brother actually added a complicated element. Where the hell has he been for eight years? I found an answer.
I knew that the options I played with led me into areas that I had no desire to jump into. Now, I found a third option that will give me everything I need and a really great scene that will drive the book forward. Yayyyyyy!
I can't tell you how nice it is to find the direction I want to go. Being a panster, I don't always know what my characters are going to do. This solution will remove some of the stigma around the brother that I didn't like and give the reader (I hope) a satisfying ending.
So, I'm hoping to get this down on the computer by the end of the week. Whew! What a relief! Thanks to Dayna Hart, I get to have a writer counter I can put on everyday that I make progress.
Above is a picture of crab boats in the Bering Sea ice. Be picturing the setting since I know some of you will have to read this so I can fix it. As always.
Question of the day? How do you get your "third option"? Doesn't it seem like there are "two" answers, neither very palatable, until the Universe, Life or God presents you with a third "perfect" option? How does it come to you? Mine usually comes from other people.

19,336 / 70,000

posted at 7:15 AM by Jennifer :: 2 comments

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Day of my real job instead of my preferred job

Yesterday, I got 4k added to "Rough Seas". That puts me further along which feels very good.
Today is "mom" day. Groceries, laundry and mediating between my two children. They're fighting right now. *Sigh*. Some days are like that. I'm not complaining. I get more breaks than some moms so I'm lucky.
I have a goal to finish "Rough Seas" before the Golden Pen Contest deadline, August 12th. That means about 30-40K in less than a month. I would like to get this one finished anyway and start subbing it for agents.
Lots of my author friends are going to the RWA National Conference in Atlanta. I hope they all have a blast. Those of you still here with the rest of us too poor, too busy or too far away to go, Lucy Monroe is having a "blog party" at . Prizes to win, fun to be had. Give it a try.
And here's the Question of the Day (I know you were waiting for it). Are your goals realistic? Do you underestimate or overestimate your time, ability, discipline? How do you feel when you accomplish those goals?

16,236 / 70,000

posted at 9:41 AM by Jennifer :: 5 comments

Monday, July 24, 2006

Back In The Saddle Again

OK. So I got my second rejection for "Cold Vengeance" and I need to sit down and get back to work on something else. Saturday, I was debating about which wip to focus on. None of my current characters were standing up to draw my attention. So, I sent the first 10 pages of two of my efforts to Dayna Hart and begged her to help me decide. One was a romantic suspense, "Rough Seas". The other is a straight contemporary "Wilderness Trap". Dayna was partial to "Rough Seas" so that's the one I'm going for.
If you've visited my website or read my blog frequently, you know that "Rough Seas" is about Charlene Henderson and Ethan Shannon on The Bering Sea. A HUGE fan of "Deadliest Catch" and married to an ex-fisherman (which is like the Marines--no such thing as an ex) I couldn't resist using characters and settings that involve crab fishing.
When I entered the Synopsis contest with RD, it seems that this subject is hit or miss. Some loved it, some hated it. *Shrugs*. Like everything else, it's all about opinion. I have no idea if this will fly or not.
I love the fisherman personality. They're free spirits, unwilling to bow down to anyone and only tolerate Captain authority. They rarely follow the "herd mentality". Most of them are "men's men" but love independent women, often wild women. (I was departure for my hubby. Pretty mellow.) None of them fit in comfortable categories. And they're not stupid, though they are often underestimated due to their rough ways and lack of education. The closest professions that are simuliar are probably loggers. My husband's father was a fisherman. His grandfather was an Engineer on Pacific Railroad. There is a long history in his family of bucking the system. Writing "Rough Seas" has been so fun for him because I have to go to him for nautical information and colloquial phrases (the less colorful ones) and he LOVES that.
I should get a good chunk of time to write today. Yayyyyy!
Question of the day? Where do you get most of your research? Is it stuff you already know? Or do you branch out and find a "source of info"?

posted at 8:15 AM by Jennifer :: 6 comments

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Well, You've Waited for the Annnouncement......

Some of you are aware that I've been waiting for a response from an editor. Well I got it.

"I'm sorry, Jennifer--but when does the story start? This "chit-chat" doesn't make readers turn the pages. Keep at it."

I knew "Cold Vengeance" was ready for the drawer. Now, I'm certain. Which is a load off, I think. I decided to leave it alone now and work on another one.
Off to RD to let everyone know. I'm bummed, but any rejection is difficult. But no biggie, guys. I'm learning to be grateful somebody wanted to read the darn thing! It was, after all, my very first effort.

posted at 1:08 PM by Jennifer :: 15 comments

So you noticed the new look?

If you like the new look of my website and blog, you can give credit to Crystal Jordan. She is the all awesome webmistress. Not only did she find the pic (which I LOVE) but she got permission to use it, set up all my link and seech. She rocks. I could not have figured out blogger if not for her help. Keep an eye out for that name because she sold a short called "Full Swing" which will be released soon.
Dayna Hart is another one who helps me out. Mostly, she gives me info about the publishing pitfalls. She teaches me about exploring different genres in my writing. "Perfect" was directly influenced by her series "You Again" because I loved the way she included the phrase in both of her short stories. She is very clever, I think. Dayna is also exploring other genres. And like me, it will be a closely guarded secret. LOL. (Ahhhh parents. The things we have to hide from them, right Dayna?)
You've all heard about Michelle. She lives with me, puts up with me, listens to me and bitches at me when I need it. There aren't many women who will do that for me. She does.
So, I put up my favorite Calvin and Hobbes picture. There are so many others who help me out. Shelli encourages me all the time. Stacy and Bernita always come to visit my blog. Tempest Knight actually answers my little questions of the day. Paula Graves, Tawny Taylor, Tracy Montoya....I could go on and on and still miss people that have given me a boost over my little journey.
Anyway, thanks to all of you--those I've mentioned and those I forgot.
Question for you? Who influences you right now? Who gives you the best support in the writing world. (Hubbys are great, but they don't get it sometime, right?) Who would you feel absolutely bereft if they were suddenly offline?

posted at 7:30 AM by Jennifer :: 5 comments

Friday, July 21, 2006

Five Days and Counting

Tawny Taylor has another gem coming out July 26th. She is the author that introduced me to Erotic Literature. If you've never read her, give her a try. She's had a tremendous influence on me. I wouldn't have written "Perfect" if not for Tawny's "Stolen Goddess" and "Tempting Fate". I think she's brilliant.

Announcing the launch of a hot new shapeshifter series, ANIMAL URGES, by Tawny taylor:TITLE: MARK OF THE BEASTAUTHOR: TAWNY TAYLORRELEASE DATE: JULY 26PUBLISHER: ELLORA'S CAVEURL:

City girl Abby Clumm wouldn't normally travel to remote cabins in Alaska alone. But with the expectation that her friend will be arriving shortly, she makes the journey to their rented cabin solo. Unfortunately, things don’t go as she plans--no real surprise there, when do they?--and her first night she finds herself alone in the boonies, a shotgun she doesn’t know how to use and a failing wooden door the only things standing between her and some kind of very hungry animal outside. She’s now caught in a battle for survival.Research scientist Tarik Evert has no idea what’s wrong. He’s suddenly driven by a need so urgent it’s painful. The scent of a woman nearby beckons him, sends him staggering outside into the cold. And then somehow he’s at her door, not sure what just happened...or what is about to happen if she lets him inside. He only knows one thing--the hunger that brought him to her in the first place.

posted at 7:30 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Quick Post

I'll do more tomorrow but here's a couple of pictures from our trip. I LOVE camera phones.

posted at 6:29 PM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Be Gone Until Thursday

I know how some of you get worried if I'm out of contact for a while, so I'll warn you that I'll be gone until Thursday. Here's a picture of Dell at George's Folly Camp. Don't worry. It's a BB gun with NO BBs. LOL. We're teaching them gun safety early to get ready for Deer Season.
I hope to have some pictures for you of our little trip to Napa.
How did this summer get half over? I wasn't paying attention, I guess. It seemed to fly by.
Question of the day? OK, it's boring. What is your favorite summer activity? Mine was camping.......before I had kids. LOL. Summer has never been my favorite season. (I know that makes me a little weird) That's why I live in Humboldt County. Seventy degrees is a heatwave! Winter is my favorite time of year.
Have a great couple of days.

posted at 8:17 AM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Devil's Veil By Rose Middleton

One of my favorite authors that I got to meet through Romance Divas is an Aussie, Rose Middleton. She has a new release out that just sounds awesome.
You can check her out at

I've already received an email from The Wild Rose Press informing me that Ms. Carlile got my wip and will notify me by the end of this week or the following Monday. I thought that was wonderful. I'm such a nutcase anyway when it come to waiting, that it's nice to get a target response time.
I expect that if "Perfect" is accepted, that there will be some serious edits. I sent it knowing it probably needed some tweaking. If it's rejected, I have a few other places I'm going to sub.
When The Wild Rose Press came out (and that wasn't too long ago), I marked their webpage on my "favorites". I thought the concept and design of their webpage and their book covers were very nice. I really liked the different lines. I kept them in mind, knowing I might want to sub to them. One thing about being a Diva. You get to see the process of the brave souls (like Stacy Holmes) who are some of the first to pioneer an epublisher. Shelli Stevens with Cobblestone is another author spearheading with a newer epub.
Check it out.

posted at 6:20 AM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Must. Breath.

I queried The Wild Rose Press for "Perfect" and GUESS WHAT. They requested a full. *Takes a deep breath*. OK. So, now, for the first time, I have to actually send a full manuscript to an editor. She wanted to see it, even though my query letter had a couple of BAD typos that I didn't see until she replied. LOL.

This is a bit scary. I've been waiting for this. Wanting this. But it's still a little scary. Sure, I know. You all can't relate. I'm going to take a last look at "Perfect" and double check for awful errors or holes. Dayna, where are you? Any horrendous mistakes I need to correct? What would I do without my author friends who encourage me to keep at it all.

Now, if we can just keep my Mom from finding out that "Perfect" involves vibrators, domination and premarital sex. LOL. Can you say "pen name"?

Question of the day? Are you afraid of sucess AND afraid of failure? Or is it just me. LOL.

posted at 9:28 AM by Jennifer :: 6 comments

Friday, July 14, 2006


In celebration of the release of "Pirates Booty", Shelli Stevens is having a treasure hunt today. It starts on her website Since you all know I love Shelli, it's no surprise that I'd plug her book. She's a fabulous writer and we'll be seeing a lot of her.

In some disappointing news, Love, Lusts and Other Oddities is closing up it's cyberspace shop. LLOO was a blog for Cobblestone authors that I enjoyed visiting. I'll miss the blog, even though I know all the authors will be on other blogs. Thanks for giving us some great blogs, guys. We'll miss you.

Here's some interesting news. I've gone on the website for the agent I queried and read the information several times, especially when the 30 day mark passed. For days I couldn't find any "how long" information. LOL. I'm just blind. There it was (and probably ALWAYS was), "Please allow eight weeks plus mailing time for our response." LOL. I'm such a dork. I really want a picture of Homer Simpson saying "DOH!". Shelli's cover is much prettier. So, I sent my query and first ten pages on May 26th. Oh, and mail up here is sllllllooooooowwwww. It could be another three weeks before I hear anything. Anyway, that means I won't be whining near as much about the wait time.
Lots of changes at home. Joe may be going to Redding (about three hours east of here) to work. But you all know how work stuff goes with him. We just never know. I've adopted a 17 year old, Corrie, and she's living here now. My kids have turned up the "I'm going to be obnoxious" dial and I'm stressing. Did I mention that I started smoking again? *Sigh* this is an ongoing battle. Not looking for comments. I hear them ALL from my husband and my mother. Michelle, bless her heart, keeps her mouth closed about it. Was that snarky? I'm kind of defensive about it.
I mention the smoking 'cause I'm going to Mom's next week. I either have to sneak smokes or brazen it out and take it in the shorts. I still don't know what I'm going to do. Pathetic isn't it?
OK, sorry this was so long. Here's the question of the day. Who is your favorite character that you've written? And why? Did you base it on reality? Or a fantasy?
BTW, sorry about the BOLD. I'm having issues with Blogger and I've decided to surrender. Terms to be announced. LOL.

posted at 6:52 AM by Jennifer :: 6 comments

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Finally Finished

There they are in all their glory. My little dirt-faced Okie kids. They're cute, aren't they. I know, I'm just a little biased.
I finally transferred all of "Perfect" from my longhand notebook to computer. Part III turned out totally different than it's handwritten counterpart. Total word count? 11,512. A far cry from the 20K I thought I wrote. LOL.
I don't know if I'll find a home for this. I like it, but I did it more as an outlet than specifically for publishing. I'm writing up a query for Wild Rose Press. They're new, but they seem to have a good marketing scheme. We'll see. I'll keep updating.
I'll be going to my Mom's on Monday and coming home Thurday. I don't think I'll be blogging then.
Here's the question of the day for you. What have you done as a writer that you never thought you'd do? For me, I didn't think I could write short stories and Wahlah! Here I am.

posted at 4:49 AM by Jennifer :: 9 comments

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I've Joined The Dark Side

So, I've finally done it. I joined the Evil MySpace. It's been VERY interesting. I didn't recognize any of my fellow graduates from high school. Everybody is WAY cooler than I am. I did get to connect with some of my favorite music though and that was fun.
Just when I thought Blogger was frustrating, I'm introduced to a whole new level of MySpace Insanity. Begging for mercy, I am. Shelli Stevens has figured out some thing to "cross blog". Smart girl.

Now, as promised, part II blurb for "Perfect". Shannon Hansen can't believe it. Over dinner, her boyfriend of a year tells her he's going to Thailand. Mr. Right was leaving her. Devastated, she reacts in her usual manner. Calm and cool, she breaks down in private. To heal her broken heart, she runs to Folly Camp to be on her own.
Kenny Alton was only hoping to minipulate Shannon into showing her true feelings, but in typical male fashion, he breaks her heart instead. Can Kenny convince Shannon to reveal if she loves him? What will it take to break through her "perfect" facade?

That's it, y'all.

posted at 6:23 AM by Jennifer :: 5 comments

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