Jennifer McKenzie

Romance--Boy meets girl. Romantic Suspense--Boy meets girl with dead bodies.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sweeter Romantic Notions

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33,865 / 55,000

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5,415 / 20,000

As you can see, I've started a new one. I'm not sure where this is going, but this one will probably be a Contemporary. NOT under the my erotic romance pen name. I'm just thrilled to be getting some stuff done.
The Wild Rose Press requested a full for "Perfect"......again. LOL. I hope the changes are to their liking. We'll see if I fixed it or messed it up. I submitted "Garden Of Sin" for The Wild Rose Press contest. I'm hoping to make an impression.
Nicest thing, though. The editor I emailed my query to said she had been thinking about "Perfect" and whether I rewrote it. It made some kind of impression.
The best thing is that one of the Divas, Diana Castilleja, with the help of a few of us (Crystal Jordan, Dayna Hart and me) has started a Yahoo group.
Sweeter Romantic Notions is a place for readers, writers and publishers of "sweet" romance. All the books and discussion will be PG-13 or cleaner. There are several authors that write sweet romance and the buzz isn't quite as "buzzy" for them. This site will create some buzz for them too.

If the link doesn't show up (cause they haven't lately) go to

Give it a try.
Question of the Day? What is your take on the Erotic Romance buzz? Why do you think it's so popular?

posted at 12:42 PM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

Monday, August 28, 2006

Day of Writing!! Yayyy!

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33,773 / 55,000

Finally some progress in the writing department to report. With the start of school and preschool, I'm more likely to get some done.
I'm aiming for the Golden Heart Contest. I've just about got the contest entry ready for Wild Rose Press and "Perfect" is almost ready for resub.
I'm working away. Sometimes it feels that my progress is too slow, but I'm getting it.
So Stacy Holmes has a great blog about that "I write crap" feeling. Check it out.
Question of the Day? How do you handle "Isuckitis"? Do you even get it? I do. You've heard me complain about it. I'm getting better at just writing through it. How about you?

posted at 11:35 AM by Jennifer :: 6 comments

First Day Of School

So it begins. Off my kids go to experience, for good or evil, the joys of school. Supposedly, this means some time to write today. So, we'll see.
Anyway, I am hoping tomorrow will have a great word count to add. I've got two subs for Wild Rose Press. "Perfect" is revamped and I'm getting ready to send it off for another try at getting accepted. "Garden Of Sin" is a contest entry for Wild Rose Press anthology competition. Both will go in this week (I hope). Both are under my pen name Jennifer Leeland.
Question of the Day? Does the first day of school change your routine, whether it's increased traffic or alone time or more work?

posted at 6:21 AM by Jennifer :: 2 comments

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Another Pointless Video

Though I don't have a Mac. I can relate. This gets better as it goes along so watch the whole thing. He feels our pain.

posted at 10:06 PM by Jennifer :: 0 comments

Friday, August 25, 2006

Things That Get In The Way Of Writing

OMG!!! So, without adding the whole rant about subflooring, dry rot and sheet rock, I will tell you that my bathroom is in pieces now. I had a contrator out and while that was going on more crisis occurred adding more fun to the mix. What this means? No writing. My brain is whirling anyway, so I don't know that I could write a word without beginning to include angry step fathers and broken plumbing. Real life is intruding.
I have a convention this weekend and a workshop I'm facilitating Saturday morning at 7am along. I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon, groceries to buy and my husband comes home tonight. Doing it all seems overwhelming.
Luckily, I know I only have to do one thing at a time. I only have to do what's in front of me. I'm itching to get work done on my book. I have to believe the time will be there to work on it. Dell starts school on Monday, Paul starts preschool, the bathroom will get fixed when it gets fixed and life will keep flowing.
You know, writing is a priviledge in my life. It's dessert. It's the extra whipped cream on a Mocha.
And I'm glad that's how it is. As long as I can remember that writing in the midst of chaos is a treat, it will never seem like a chore to me. Sure, there's edits, corrections, parts of a book that just won't move forward, characters that piss me off and so on. But the fact is that writing is my joy. It's the one thing I can do that makes my life more interesting.
If I hadn't decided almost a year ago, that I was going to write, FINISH and submit something (since my Dad never did and always wanted to), I never would have met some of the fellow authors who have made my life better. I wouldn't have made it to Romance Divas. I wouldn't have watched others struggle through their own personal and professional demons and come out the other end.
An example of another such author, who is bogged down by personal crisis and still writes amazing stuff is Lucy Monroe. That woman is a tremendous writer and takes care of her mother too. Her family has personal tragedy and joys that she doesn't hesitate to share with her blog readers. And she's prolific.
I watch other authors go through some tough times and thank God they share them on Romance Divas. I have wonderful examples of how to get through tough times and STILL get the work done.
Real life may intrude, but I remember "This Too Shall Pass". It doesn't go on forever. Now, if I can just remember "Easy Does It" I'll be able to breath a little.
Question of the Day? When real life intrudes, how do YOU deal with it? What things get in the way of your writing and how do you get back on track?

posted at 6:40 AM by Jennifer :: 5 comments

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Grrrrrrrrrr! *Watch out for biting Mommy*

Wow! Looks like this is going to be another rant blog. *Shrugs*. It's unintentional, I promise.

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31,006 / 55,000

As you can see, I did get some work done on "Rough Seas". And while I was pounding away on the keyboard, you won't believe what happened.

My childcare options this summer have been Justin, my best friend's 19 year old son. He loves the kids and does a great job. He and his friend, Nick, were driving my boys to the river to swim. So, tooling down the main blvd in Fortuna, not speeding or weaving or anything, a cop pulls them over. When asked why? There was a pedestrian possibly going to cross the road (apparently no crosswalk, but in CA. they have the right of way).
OK. I get it. There's no profiling of course, but when two teenage boys are driving around..... I get it. BUT, the following actions were, IMHO, totally unacceptable. They asked question after question. Who owns the car. Are you smoking pot. Where are you going. Justin told them they could search the car. Now, at this point, I believe the cops should have called me to get my kids. But no, they (there were three cops now for these "dangerous" criminals) searched the car (which was my best friend's SUV and has pissed HER off) in front of my children. They proceeded to search Justin's friend in front of my kids. I am EXTREMELY unhappy about this. I've taught my kids to respect cops but when they see this kind of arbitrary action what will they learn?
Perhaps I'm overreacting, and I could see this action if Justin was a known drug user or something. The excuse given? The police recieved a tip that Justin and his friend were in Eureka getting drugs and selling them to kids in Fortuna. Not true, since I knew he'd been home all morning.
So the "Biting Mommy" in me comes out. You can mess with me, but don't mess with my kids. Oh I'm aware that drug users drive around with their kids in the car all the time, but once those cops found out these weren't Justin's, I deserved a damn phone call.
I'm taking my only option and filing a complaint. I'm pretty sure they didn't do anything wrong, but it still seems pretty screwed up. I'm willing to admit that most of the time when a cop pulls over a teenager, they find something. But once they didn't, I'd expect an apology, something, to let the "victim" know it was a bad tip or something. Nothing. *Sigh*.
This on top of broken plumbing, last minute birthday parties, psycho dog, and busy,busy week heading into busy weekend has just about put me over the edge.
I just remember. "It's all fodder for future books."
I'm going to get some writing done if it kills me, though. It's the one thing that I can sort of control at this point.
Just keep writing....just keep writing.....just keep writing.

posted at 7:07 AM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Emma Sanders New Release (And some complaining)

Emma Sander's has a new book out. And a contest. Hit her website and click on contest. (I know. I said it yesterday. But today I have PICTURES).

I won't give you the gory details of my plumbing issues, but I will say that I picked a bad day to not make it to the shower. *sigh*. The joys of homeownership.

Writing? None. My childcare is trying to fix his Mustang in my driveway. Needless to say, it's been a rough week so far.

I'll be getting some stuff done this weekend hopefully.
Send good writing thoughts my way, folks. I need 'em.

posted at 7:00 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

Monday, August 21, 2006

A Contest and Some Wedding Comments

Man! Blogger is being a pain. Can't upload pictures. Can't leave comments. *sigh*. The curse of technology is upon me. Oh well.

First let me cover my wedding comments. As a romance writer, it's probably not politically correct for me to say that I hate weddings. My best friend calls them "pre-divorce parties". The funny thing is that she LOVES weddings. Maybe I'm a little cynical, but spending huge amounts of money, getting "family" together (that usually don't like each other) and having a "party" that involves panty hose and ties doesn't thrill me. My own wedding was a compromise for my MIL who didn't want her son married in a courthouse.......again. *Sigh*.
So yesterday, to support an unwilling, resentful future step-son, I went to a wedding between two people who are getting married at the objection of the bride's seventeen year old son. Fun. The usual drinking, family weirdness and dating manuevering ensued and I smoked incessantly and prayed for deliverance. I don't know why I'm so negative about weddings. My own weren't miserable experiences (both of them) and I'm usually happy people can have a "day" to express their love. Maybe it's because I believe that love is more than making promises for a day. The love I respect in other couples is the love that is expressed EVERYDAY. You know them. He's courteous and kind to her. Takes care of her when she's sick or depressed. She strokes his ego when he feels "less than". She does little things for him and doesn't trumpet it at the top of her lungs. Maybe weddings bug me because they come across as so temporary. And when kids object, it really rings hollow to me.
Perhaps I write romance because I really want those true happy endings. The ones where there are issues but resolution is possible. In the middle of this ceremony, while the reluctant son was forced to stand as best man looking miserable, my stomach churned and my heart went out to him. He wants to see his mom happy, so he sucked it up and stood there.
Yet, as the minister read the biblical definition of Love from Corinthians, I realized my own wedding day is a special place in my heart. "Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love is not rude. Love is patient." I realized, sitting there with a churning stomach, that I'm one of the lucky ones. How many people can say that marriage with their partner has been almost all good. Sure, Joe and I have had our "World War III" moments but it's always ended in love and acceptance. I may never get rid of my "thing" about weddings, but I'm grateful for my own.
But man, I HATE wearing panty hose.

Now, the contest. Emma Sanders (alegna on Divas) is having a FREE BOOK contest. If you haven't signed up already, it's really simple. Just head on over to Emma's webpage (for some reason Blogger won't publish the link. It's and click on "Contests" to enter and get a free book. You can even read an exerpt from the winnings. The deadline is August 31st.
It's tough to get the word out on an upcoming release. Head on over there and spread a little love.

posted at 7:53 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

Friday, August 18, 2006

Character Conundrum


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14,223 / 7,800


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29,241 / 55,000


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8,052 / 8,052

As you can see, "Perfect" has almost doubled in size. I'm running into some interesting problems with my characters. In Part II of "Perfect", the characters I've written are not characters I relate to personally. I've connected with people like Kenny and Shannon, but I'm nothing like them. Kenny does humor to keep distance between himself and other people, which I do, but he's very indirect, passive aggressive and casual. Those are traits I don't relate to at all. Shannon is a perfectionist. Neat, clean and intense, she holds herself to VERY high standards and keeps her feelings under control. Nope that's not me.
In Part III of "Perfect", I can relate to Holly, the woman who thinks about everyone else and needs someone to care for, but Jeff is a knothead. Good thing Holly loves him. He's oblivious to what's going on most of the time. Now, I KNOW people like Kenny, Shannon and Jeff, but getting inside their heads is a little difficult for me.
I found myself thinking yesterday "What does Kenny do all day long?". I think it was Lisa Pullum who was talking about journaling her character. What is he thinking? What is he doing? Great idea, except I think Kenny wouldn't write anything. He's too busy being the clown. Jeff wouldn't because he just doesn't want to think about anything. He just wants everything to be comfortable. When it gets tough, he pulls through....but barely. Shannon would find journaling messy. Of course, she finds feelings in general messy.
Have I conveyed that in my work? I don't know. I struggle with too much backstory, so I try and keep it subtle and indirect. *Sigh*. We'll see.
I've sent another revised version off to Dayna. I don't know if this is any better, but I hope so.
"Rough Seas" got interesting too, since I've added another villian to the story. This one is close to home and the confrontation between the heroine and the added villian is intense. I had a tough time getting it on paper.
Question of the Day? Do you find your characters that are three dimensional in your head end up two dimensional as you write? Or, do you find yourself wondering if there's more to people who seem shallow?

UPDATE: It wasn't Lisa Pullum, but Stacy Holmes that had the journal reference. Sorry Stacy.

posted at 6:53 AM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Stress Relievers

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13,081 / 7,800

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29,241 / 55,000

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8,052 / 7,802

Here's a couple of youtube stuff. The first one is a The second one was just cute.

Thanks to Diva Brenda for this post on Romance Divas that I have to pass on to all of you.
Just in case you're having/had a rough day, here's an 8-step Stress Management Technique recommended in the latest psychological texts. The funny thing is that it really works.

1. Picture yourself near a stream.
2. Birds are softly chirping in the cool mountain air.
3. No one but you knows your secret place.
4. You are in total seclusion from the hectic place called "The World".
5. The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a soft
cascade of serenity.
6. The water is crystal clear.
7. You can easily make out the face of the person you're holding underwater.

8. See! You're smiling already. I told you it worked!

Question of the day? What do you do to relieve stress?

posted at 4:17 PM by Jennifer :: 1 comments

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Rejected but moving forward.

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13,081 / 7,800

Rough Seas
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26,807 / 55,000

Garden Of Sin
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8,052 / 7,802

I recieved my response from Wild Rose Press. As you can guess from the blog title, it was a rejection. The email included a list of changes I could make to "Perfect" and they may consider it.
So yesterday and today, I spent banging it, kicking it and whacking it. As you can see by the word count, I ended up adding about 6K. LOL. The editor made some great suggestions and a lot of them gave me a spring board for better ideas. I'm going to resubmit it. They may still not like it, but I think it's a better group of stories.
I got a bit done on "Rough Seas" though I wonder if I'm aiming too high for a word count. *shrug* Who knows.
I'm keeping it short today. Just keeping y'all updated.
One more update. I've made a few changes to "Garden Of Sin". This is my contest entry for Wild Rose Press, due August 31st. It's off to Dayna for slash and burn. Let you know how that goes.

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

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