Jennifer McKenzie

Romance--Boy meets girl. Romantic Suspense--Boy meets girl with dead bodies.
Saturday, September 30, 2006

Name Change

Heart Of The Storm (formally Rough Seas)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
43,734 / 44,000

Christmas Wine

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10,548 / 12,000

See the new name? Thanks to Crystal, Dayna and Diana who all brainstormed with me for the new name.
I've got a crazy weekend ahead of me. "Heart of the Storm" needs some work. It's not looking good for my deadline. That's ok. I've really gotten a lot of work done on it and when it's finished, it will be a much better book.
Short and sweet.
Question of the DAy? What's your progress this week look like?

posted at 7:55 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Finally! Some Progress

Christmas Wine
9,730 / 12,000

Rough Seas

43,734 / 44,000

As you can see, I've started a Christmas romance for The Wild Rose Press. I've just about finished "Rough Seas". It's out to Dayna Hart now for a last slashing and burning. Hopefully, it won't need too much work to be polished for The Golden Hart.
Want an little blurb about my Christmas story? Sure you do.
Going to a family Christmas party ought to be a pleasure, but not for Tabitha Durst. All she has to do to keep her family off her back and a peaceful evening is a certain bottle of wine. Unfortunately, the only bottle left was just taken by a gorgeous man who thinks she's crazy.
Searching for an exclusive bottle of wine for a rich client becomes even more difficult for Jim Stoddard when a beautiful but crazy woman begs him for the one he does find. When he ends up at the same party and can see why she was so desperate for the bottle, Jim decides to make it up to her.
Jim and Tabitha are both searching for independence from their families and when they find each other, it might be the Christmas gift that keeps on giving.

Speaking of The Wild Rose Press, they're doing an all day chat at Sweeter Romantic Notions.

It's going to be awesome.

posted at 2:22 PM by Jennifer :: 2 comments

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

One Of My Favorite Authors

Isle of Desireby Eden BradleyIs it really possible to fulfill the fantasy of a promise made in the passion of youth? On a beach on the small Venezuelan island of Isla de Margarita, Isabel Asher meets once more the love of her life, Rafael Cruz, the man she left behind twelve years earlier. Desire ignites, but can the sultry tropical nights spent in his bed lead them back to love? She’s about to find out, and maybe to have her heart broken in the process.Available September 29th from
Go Lisa!!!! She is an AWESOME author. I won a critique from her for one of the RD contests and she ROCKS!!! I'm buying this one. It's released on Friday, so don't let it pass you by.

posted at 5:13 PM by Jennifer :: 0 comments

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What To Do When the WIP Needs WORK

Welcome to the men of Rough Seas. It will be interesting to see what editors think of the secondary characters in this work. There's no way there can be a story about crab fishing without including the rest of the crew.

In "Rough Seas", there are several places that needed a lot of work. Mostly at the end of the book, where the plot goes awry. So far, two authors have critiqued it. Both found it to get pondorous toward the end of the book. To fix this problem, requires rereading it all and finding where the trouble begins.

I don't know about you, but it makes me a little jaded about my writing.

So, for the next couple of days, I have to add, subtract and rewrite stuff, hoping that I don't end up with a patchwork quilt of garbage.

Can you tell I have a case of Isuckitis? Yup. No surprise.

Let's face it. If I could have my way, the story would flow from my fingertips to the computer screen in perfect form with only "slight" grammar problems. But that's not the way it happens for me.

The only thing I can do is keep at it. I have that self-imposed deadline of September 30th to be finished and polished for the Golden Heart. Only a few more days left folks. Send me good writing thoughts.

Can you guess the question of the day? That's right. What do you do when you get a wip back from your cp (or editor or whatever) and find major tweaks to do?

posted at 10:47 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rough Seas Is Almost Done

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
42,775 / 50,000

With a few overhauls and some help from Dayna and Crystal, I think "Rough Seas" will be done for my self imposed deadline of September 30th. I wanted to enter it for The Golden Heart Contest, deadline October 15th. I spent all day hovered over my computer, instant messaging, trying to fix some of the wonkiness.
By the way, on Monday, some of us who love to hang out together online have started a blog and I get to be the kick off post.
Shadows of Passion was the brainchild of Cystal Jordan and Dayna Hart. The blog features Crystal Jordan, Dayna Hart, Diana Castilleja, Mistress Nonny and me. I'm the only unpubbed in the group. So please come by and visit.
And the inevitable Question of the day is this--What's your deadline and how do you keep it? Do you beat yourself up if you don't meet a self-imposed deadline? I do.

posted at 6:06 AM by Jennifer :: 4 comments

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Blog Contest!!! Sweeter Romantic Notions

Just under the wire, I'm getting this blogged. LOL. If you haven't blogged already today or tomorrow, get an invite out on your blog and maybe win a free book (my favorite) Just cut and paste the following:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006
BLOG CONTEST FOR SWEETER ROMANTIC NOTIONS!Here's my idea....If you have a blog and would like to have a chance at a freedownload of SEPTEMBER HEAT, then this is for you! Post an invite to SWEETER ROMANTIC NOTIONS your blogs, encouraging readers and writers alike to checkout our specialized tone and friendly atmosphere. Encouragethem to introduce themselves and say where they found us!As a first contest for SRN, I will be picking one random winnerfrom the posted blogs along with one new member from ourmember list for a copy of SEPTEMBER HEAT.When the new member winner is chosen, that person will haveautomatically made the blog owner who brought them here a winner! The person who referred our winning member can chose either chocolate (Will be chosen at the end of the contest so it doesn't get eaten before hand!) or one month of cover exposure on the home page of SWEETER ROMANTIC NOTIONS! Free advertising folks! Last bit of important stuff... The dates!!This will run from Sept 8. through Sept. 22. The winners will bechosen between these dates and announced on group by Sept. 24th!!

There it is. Come on and visit us. It's a great place.

posted at 4:46 PM by Jennifer :: 0 comments

Finally! A little relief.

Well, everyone finally feels better enough to go to school and things are beginning settle down here. I got "Rough Seas" back from Dayna Hart and have a few ideas on how to make it better. There were a lot of awkward places and now I see how to smooth them out.
Now, onto a subject for my blog today. I've seen lately that many authors, published and unpublished, have been in a conundrum. Many of us are members of many groups, blogs, and chats. I, myself, am a contributor to a new blog "Shadows of Passion", moderator for Sweet Romantic Notions, reviewer for Romance Divas and members of other Yahoo Groups as well. Once published, authors blog for their publishers' blog, guest blog in other places and chat sometimes several times a week. This is promotional responsibilty that we all know is important. I won't even talk about the black hole, MySpace. That place has eaten up more of my time and not all of it was very productive. (It was fun though).
The conundrum is where do we focus our energy? Keeping our blogs fresh, ideas flowing and energy high is difficult enough without dispersing it all over the place. Personally, I try and participate in Romance Divas (since it's been the most help for me). I love blogs. Yahoo groups confuse me. (That's just me).
So, my Question of the Day? Where do you focus your energy? If you're promoting your talent, where do you go? With all the choices out there, how do you choose?

posted at 8:05 AM by Jennifer :: 1 comments

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bring Out Your Dead!!!!

Recognize the reference? That's right. "Monty Python's Holy Grail". The plague decended upon my house and all of us (all nine of us except Michelle) had a pretty bad bug. If you missed me yesterday, that's why I was offline. Completely offline.
Luckily, we're all feeling much better and life is beginning to show signs of sunshine in the midst of clouds.
Good news is that my bathroom may not be too expensive to fix. I've finally gotten the bank issues worked out. And best of all I'M HOME. I don't have to go anywhere for a while, thank God.
The writing is bleh. That's just the "Real Life" crap getting in my way. I'll be back at it tomorrow.
It makes me wonder if I COULD be a "real" writer. You know, the deadlines, the four book contracts (OMG!) and so on. I guess, if I really want it, I'll do it.
How about you? Does "success" make you nervous?

posted at 12:35 PM by Jennifer :: 1 comments

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Finally, I'm Home.

After a week away from my computer and my writing, I have to say it is GOOD to be home. Let's just say that this trip was pretty awful and let it go at that.
I'm still going to try for my September 30th deadline (self-inflicted) to finish with "Rough Seas". I'd like to enter it in The Golden Heart. But it has to be "finished". I have the ending written. Whether that's the way it will stay, I don't know. There's a whole section of the thing that's really bugging me.
I thought that a little time off from the computer would give me some insight, but I was so busy every minute, I didn't have time to really think about it.
You know, things have been pretty bad here. My relationships are fine, but the rest of my routine life has been upended. I think I mentioned that "Peanut Butter Romance" was supposed to be "funny" and it kept getting all dark and heavy. I'm trying to keep the mundane stuff that makes my real life tough out of the writing I do. But it just keeps leaking in. *Sigh*.
Then again, some of the experiences I've had make writing about some things easier.
So the Question Of the Day is, how do you keep your "real" life seperate from your "writing" life? Do you write about feelings you've had? Do you find it "leaking" into your writing?

posted at 7:17 AM by Jennifer :: 1 comments

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Off For A Week

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
39,426 / 55,000

Well, this has been an interesting week. Joe's Grandpa Patton passed away on Tuesday night. We've decided to head down to see the family Sunday morning. So that Joe won't miss too much work, we're driving from the Memorial Service (In Campbell, CA which is by San Jose) directly to Redding and I'll be staying there until Friday.
So, there won't be new posts for a while. As a last post, I have to tell you about a great book I read. I avoided Jennifer Crusie for a long time because she was so "popular". I'm not a big fan of following the herd. I do it, but I don't like it. LOL.
But when I had to go do a sleep study, I needed a book to read. Jennifer Crusie's "Bet Me" was the best choice. I LOVED this book. Surprise!!!
The story is about Minerva who is one of the funniest women I've read in a while. She's smart, savvy and wears great shoes. I could relate to her because at one point, the hero tells her she dresses like she hates her body. Been there. What was wonderful about this book was the way the hero and heroine tried to stay out of a relationship, but Krispy Creme doughnuts and Chicken Marsala keep driving them together. Cal, the hero, is not the player that everyone thinks he is. There's more to him, with his screwed up childhood and other challenges. What I love about this book is that all the characters are REAL. Minerva reminds me of someone I talk to online. That smart wit and snarky attitude that covers a person who's just as afraid as the rest of us. Cal reminds me of some of the men I've known in my life. Damaged and covering it, he's frustrated when he runs into something he doesn't understand. In this case, it's a woman who is more charmed by his favorite restaurant than himself.
It's a great book. Jennifer Crusie? My hats off to you for convincing me that I have to go buy more of your books. I approached her with reluctance, planning to dislike it, but instead I finished that book in one night because I couldn't put it down. Question of the day? What author have you read that surprised you either negatively or positively?

Five Dancing Hobbes to You Ms. Crusie. You Rock.

Note: Normally, I would have a picture of Ms. Crusie's cover and my dancing Hobbes, but blogger is not allowing pictures of that nature today. Close you're eyes and imagine. LOL.

posted at 6:57 AM by Jennifer :: 1 comments

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Framework Complete.

38,077 / 55,000

Got a bunch done today. I've got the basic framework done on the story. Now I just have to fill in the extra scenes.
I'm actually pretty excited because I can see what direction this is going now. After spinning around a bit, I like this direction. I'm struggling with the action scenes. I know they need work.
I have to go in tonight for a Sleep Study. For those of you who don't know what that is, my Doctor thinks I may have Sleep Apnea (where there are periods of time I don't breath when I sleep) so off I go for another test.
I'll let you know how fun that is tomorrow. Oh, I got a book to read while I'm there, though. Jennifer Crusie is an author I haven't tried yet, believe it or not. We'll see if I can get through it tonight.
Question of the day? What are you reading right now? What are you in the middle of?

posted at 11:39 AM by Jennifer :: 2 comments

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Blogger Bull and Solutions for the Frustration

I'm sure many of you have noticed the frustrating fact that Blogger has switched to "Beta" (whatever that is) and now some of us ended up with "Google" accounts. I switched, thinking it was inevitable (aren't I accomodating?) and now all you non-beta folks probably can't leave comments. And, for a while, I couldn't leave comments on non-beta blogs. Grrrrrrrr. So, I decided that I was going to get around this little issue somehow.
Using my pen name, I created another Blogger account and now I can leave comments whenever I darn well please. If you're having trouble leaving comments, just sign out and create yourself a Google account and have the option of leaving a comment in either name. It solved my frustration, although I'm hoping most know who my alter ego is.
I'm getting to the point in "Rough Seas" when I just want to finish the thing. It happens about this point. I've been at this sucker for four months and I want to get it done. So, here's my goal. I'm going to get it up to 55K by September 30th. It's at about 34K now, so that's about 5K a week. A lofty goal. It means that "Peanut Butter Romance" is going to take a back seat. Perhaps PBR can become a Christmas effort. That's for later though.
At this point, I need a goal to get through the book. I hope my resources for critiques are ready for this.
Goals anyone? What are your goals for this week? This month? Share with me so I'm not alone in the agony of self-pressure.

posted at 7:21 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

Monday, September 04, 2006

Yup. Today is the day. It's my birthday. I'm thirty-eight folks. I don't feel that old really.
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
34,155 / 55,000

But the good news is that I got some work done yesterday. I told you I deleted 500 words? Well it was more like 1K when I finally checked it. So it took me a while to get the story back on track.
I've done it though. I've added a bit to the previous sections to give it more ocean time. Then I changed the location of all the action back on a boat. We'll see how it goes.
"Peanut Butter Romance" is getting sticky. (No pun intended). It started out a light-hearted romance, but a dark pall has fallen over my characters. They want drama and heartbreak. I want laughter and light by-play. We're calling in the imaginary lawyers.
All is well. It's been a fabulous weekend. I haven't said THAT for a while.

posted at 5:16 AM by Jennifer :: 2 comments

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Favorite Author

I'm just taking a minute to plug one of my favorite authors. Sara Dennis came out with "Fortune's Fool" and I got to review it for Romance Divas. Now, she's come out with "The Dragon Undone".

In the winter just past, a dragon came to the village of Weld. It shattered spirits and bodies alike. It killed Berdhan's brother. Since then, Berdhan's been more fond of drink than company. But the dragons are back and the village is once more looking to him to lead.

Chaia, the first female to be born to dragon-kind in centuries, is captured by the humans while practicing her two-legged form. With Berdhan's help, she must find her way home again, but not before they fulfill their roles in an ancient prophecy:

They must unite the worlds of Dragon and Man.

Sara is brilliant. She covers the range of emotions that people experience. Her unique understanding of human fear, suspicion, hope and love gives her books captivating style. This is the kind of romance I love to read. This is about people and their struggles. For Sara, the story is king. HIGHLY recommend her as a great read.

posted at 7:24 AM by Jennifer :: 0 comments

Friday, September 01, 2006

Delete, Delete, Delete

I'm not putting my word count up because it's LESS than yesterday. *sigh*. "Rough Seas" took a funky turn and ended up all over the place. My characters were running all over frenetically and I had to put a stop to it. So, I deleted 500 words. OUCH! I'm not sure what that was all about.
"Peanut Butter Romance" is going well, but that initial flowing of ideas has halted. My problem is the GMC (Goal Motivation Conflict). The goal is clear. My two characters, despite their fear and distrust, want to be together. Their motivation is permanent relationship. It's the conflict that's getting a little fuzzy. Why aren't they falling into each other's arms?
Perhaps, because my own personal life is filled with conflict of a different kind (monster step-dad, broken bathtubs and insidious money issues) that my characters aren't coming in loud and clear.
It's like I'm in a commercial. "Can you hear me now?" And the writer "Dropped My Call"!!!!
It requires a listening inner ear that is pretty overwhelmed by other stuff right now. So, the delete button ends up taking out the extraneous crap that crowds out the main focus of the work.
What I want for this book "Rough Seas" is a focus on being on the ocean. It's trying to morph into something else, but I want The Bering Sea to play a secondary role. The setting for this book is more important to me than the suspense part. I want the reader to have an adventure with the characters.
Hence, the deleting.
Question of the Day? Are you able to weild the delete button confidently? Or is it supremely painful and take a critique partner or an editor to get you to use it?

posted at 6:22 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments

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