Jennifer McKenzie

Romance--Boy meets girl. Romantic Suspense--Boy meets girl with dead bodies.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Silly Things I Do

Well, I made some decisions that may bite me in the ass. I'm not sure what happened. Maybe it's because my characters all went out for drinks and didn't invite me.
The meanies.
Maybe it's because I'm avoiding opening up the work in progress and having the cursor blink at me. Whatever the reason, I made two moves that I KNEW were crazy, but I did them anyway.
First move. I sent my erotic romance (under my pen name) to Loose Id Publishing which is a step up from the places I've been. They use a bigger printer (distribution wise, not size wise. LOL) and have bigger sales. So, they're tougher. Am I ready? I have no idea.
Second move. I sent my Advance Reader Copy of "Heart Of The Storm" to a well known review blog. I'm not saying who until I see if she reviews it. I sent it fully expecting her to ignore me, say "Um no way" or "Thanks for your sub, but I'm busy with REAL authors." LOL. She didn't. She said "Thank you. I'll take a look at it."
Um WHAT?
Okay, so those are the silly things I've done for the last week. I wasn't even going to mention Loose Id until I knew what the answer was going to be. But I couldn't pass up an opportunity to reveal my flaws to you all yet again.
What silly things do YOU do?

posted at 7:38 AM by Jennifer :: 5 comments
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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sounds Of Silence

My characters have been quiet. Too quiet. Usually, they won't shut up. But right now, they seem to have all taken a vacation. What's THAT about.
I opened up "Buried Illusions" (aka THE BOOK THAT WILL NOT DIE) and Jessica and Travis were very apathetic about their own story. That's been a problem with them. Neither of those characters have ever been willing to stand up and shout for attention. They're stubborn.
Kevin in "Eye Of The Storm" seems to be taking a friggin' nap. His counterpart, Serena, is pretty pissed at him since he decided to check out in the middle of their first sex scene. She's pouting.
The entourage in "Embers Of Fire" have all gone on a cruise deciding that I'm too dark and they don't want to deal with the angst I had in store for them.
As a result, I'm not getting much done.
For me, characters are the reason for the plot, not the other way around. I don't get "ideas". I get annoying people in my head who argue with me or natter at me until I get it written.
Right now, everyone has checked out of the space in my head and I just know they're all somewhere quiet having margaritas.
*Sigh*
Well, except for Thomas. After all, a recovering alcoholic guardian angel can't drink. Maybe he's having lemonade.
Those buggers just don't stick around.
We're off to Shanty Creek, the McKenzie Valhalla, to enjoy what's left of summer. Doesn't it seem as if it's going FAST this year?

posted at 4:37 AM by Jennifer :: 8 comments
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thirteen Places I'd Love To See


After reading Matthew Reilly's "Seven Deadly Wonders", (see yesterday's post) it made me think about places I'd never been and I'd love to see. And of course, I don't have to be reasonable about it.
So, here they are...



Thirteen Places I'd Love To See

1. The Alexandria Library

Before it was destroyed by the romans. Maybe somewhere around the birth of Christ.

2. The Temple of Jerusalem
Just after it was rebuilt by Nebuchadnezzar.

3. Stonehenge
As it was being built. I'd love to know how it really happened.

4. The Great Pyramids
These I'd love to see today or in the past. Seeing them sometime in the nineteen century might be more interesting because you could really explore them then.

5.
The Statue of Zeus
Once touted as one of the most spectacular sites in the ancient world, it's existence is myth and legend. I'd love to see if it's true.

6. The Hanging Gardens Of Babylon
Another site of the ancient world that has fallen into myth.

7. Atlantis
Well, since I'm not being reasonable....why not?

8. The Louve
I've always wanted to visit the art held at the Louve. This one doesn't require time travel.

9. The Russian Amber Room
Another myth. It's a fascinating possibility that this room, made completely of Amber stone, was made and spirited away. I first read about it in Elizabeth Lowell's "Amber Beach". I love that stuff.

10. The Lighthouse of Alexandria
From its description, it seems it was HUGE. I'd love to have seen it.

11. Rome
About 50 B.C. It was a bustling place, but without the world domination factor.

12. England
Here I'd love to visit during Roman rule. They did have a period of tranquility (albeit short) before Boadiccia and the destruction that followed. I'd also love to visit England during the beginning of King Alfred's reign.

13. The Via Delorosa
Before it got it's famous name in honor of Christ. I'd love to see Jerusalem in Jesus's time. See, not LIVE there.

Any completely unreasonable place you've wanted to see?




posted at 5:45 AM by Jennifer :: 15 comments
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Whiskey Wednesday. I READ a book. Really read it.




As a author, one of the things I miss is the ability to just read a book. I'm not dissecting it to see what the author was trying to do or not do. I'm not wondering how I would twist that plot.

For many reasons, I've been "blah". Only two things have lifted me out of my little funk. One is this book. I bought it based on the blurb. I'd never heard of Matthew Reilly but apparently he's really big. I sat down, hoping to read an action adventure with some interesting history thrown in and he got me.

He sucked me right into the book. The grammar didn't matter. The Point Of View/show vs. tell/plausibility didn't matter. The internal editor went on vacation. What a freakin relief. The book's premise is that the Great Pyramid at Giza had a solid gold capstone. This capstone has a purpose other than being a pretty decoration. It saves the world from massive devastation from a natural phenomenon. Reilly puts forth brilliant ideas and details them with READABLE step by step instructions. In other words, he didn't lose me with the details. If there were errors, I didn't notice. The story was compelling complete with strong, sympathetic characters and a great twisted ending.

I read it in one sitting.

This, of course, has me searching for his other books. It's rare that I find a book that draws me in this way. Robert Ludlum did it with the Bourne books (which are darker and more thoughtful than the blockbuster movies but I love the movies too) and Terry Brooks did it with the Shannara series.

So, I'm raising a shot of whiskey to you, Matthew Reilly. For a guy who is thirty-three and has six best sellers (one written by the time he was nineteen) it looks like you've just begun.

You can find the book HERE
and Matthew Reilly HERE

posted at 7:42 AM by Jennifer :: 3 comments
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

When Is Too Much Too Much?


Jen's definition of Blogger--1. A person who actually enjoys visiting other people's blogs and who blogs as often as possible, including promotion, rants and boring children's photographs.

What is it about blogs? They're opinions, diaries, individual personal newspapers. Yet I find myself going through withdrawals without them. Then, of course, there is the new epidemic sweeping the blogging community (aka Pajama Media) Blogger Depression. You can view the details of this new disease HERE.

Yesterday, I went on strike. I didn't want to do mommy stuff and I didn't want to do writer stuff. I wasn't very productive. But in my rare moment on mind numbing T.V., I caught a show on Sundance channel called "Blogger Wars". This documentary depicts the power of Bloggers in the political landscape. Who knew?

Frankly, I'm not a big follower of political blogs or their pundits. Though I enjoy a good "Flame War" (and it's mixed enjoyment.) I haven't been one to jump headlong into the fray. Well, not often. I do see that blogs have power.

Note this post on DEAR AUTHOR which spawned intense discussion about an author's responsibility to his readers on several forums. Influential writer blogs drawn in thousands of hits (which doesn't sound like much compared to the million hits certain political blogs receive, but writer blogs are aimed at a smaller audience), blogs such as Miss Snark (who is semi-retired) and Agent blogs.

What is this power, this connection? Whoever named the internet "The World Wide Web" was dead on. It's a web of power lines connecting me to you and you to your favorite author, politician or celebrity news. Just look at the popularity of the YouTube debates last night on CNN?

But it IS a web. I'm caught in it as helplessly as any fly. Technologically challenged all my life, I cringe at the fact that I don't want to live without my high speed internet. Once, my internet life consisted of email and shopping on Amazon. Now, it has expanded so much that I miss it when I'm gone.

I'm afraid this fly is happy to be part of the web. Does that make me crazy? Okay, maybe THAT doesn't make me nuts....never mind.

posted at 7:18 AM by Jennifer :: 4 comments
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Monday, July 23, 2007

"On Again" by Jenna Allen

Jenna Allen aka Jenna Bayley-Burke is one of the first people I ever met in the online writing community. She's one of those talented writers who seems to know what a reader wants. And this one is a Phaze book which means it's pretty hot. Check it out.

On Again by Jenna Allen available NOW!
Phaze, HeatSheet, Force Series

Paul Bentley is a NARC, his estranged wife Kayla is a drug counselor trying to keep others from running afoul of the law. The stress of the job breaks their marriage, but can the passion that remains help Paul and Kayla get back "on again"?

EXCERPT

"Kay? I'm lonely."

"Better to be lonely alone." Her lip trembled and she prayed it didn't show in her voice.

"Yeah. Look, I know I agreed to leave you alone. I know there's no going back. You're better off without me dragging you down. But I was thinking, maybe I could come over? We could open a bottle of wine and try and talk again."

"You never dragged me down when you were here. It was losing you and having to see you still here that hurt." Her stomach twisted and she inched lower in the tub, letting the water soothe her wounds.

"I feel like I should take that hurt away, you know? I want to hold you and let you know none of it had anything to do with you. I didn't want any of it to touch you."

"I don't live in a bubble, Paul." She took a deep breath for courage. "You don't want to change. You just don't want to be lonely right now. And on again, off again is not good for either one of us."

"We haven't tried on again. Let me come over. I'll bring a bottle of your favorite wine and you can mess up my head. And then once I get it together we can mess up our bed. It's been way too long, Kayla."

"We can talk on the phone." Her eyes felt heavy, tears threatening. She wanted him, the old him, here in the worst way. But she didn't think she had it in her to tell him to leave again.

The phone clicked in her ear. She called his name a few times before giving up and setting the phone on the ground. She closed her eyes, trying not to think of him, but it was too late. His image loomed in her mind, teasing her.

posted at 4:46 AM by Jennifer :: 0 comments
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Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Legacy We Chose


I was thinking about this yesterday as I rushed to clean my house for company. What are my children going to take away from their experience with me? Will they remember that we'd go out for ice cream or sing Gretchen Wilson's "There Goes The Neighborhood" while driving? Or will they remember that every time company came over, I was a nutcase.

That's what I took away from living with my Mom. When company was on its way, my mother was frantic as she dusted, scoured and mopped our home. Everything had to look perfect. We had to portray the sedate well behaved middle class family that seemed to be all the rage in the 70's. At least, for my Mom it was all the rage. I hated company.

Frankly, I still do. Because I have a compulsion to do the same thing when people are coming to visit. Not the whole sedate, well behaved thing. That's expecting too much of a mouthy wife of a redneck, but the frantic cleaning. The worst part is that I don't have the basics.

My Mom was (and is) as stringent housecleaner. Her garden is stellar. Her floors are shiny and her closets are organized. I am not (and never have been) a very good house keeper. (In my defense, and as a complete aside, I will say that when I lived by myself, my house was CLEAN. It's picking up after others that I'm not so good at) As a result, when I go on these little rampages, the whirlwind is a little edgier and a lot more frustrating. And my kids get caught in the big wind.

Me and the boys have an ongoing battle. When I clean, every single mess they make AS I'm cleaning becomes a little bit more annoying. They find my preoccupation with carpet cleaner and the vacuum very disruptive to their expectations. (I swear they view me as a cruise director) And THEY'RE BOYS!!!!

They leave dirty clothes on the floor. Sand from the beach is as common as the dust on my furniture and they do not have the concept of "Don't step on the floor. It's wet." I won't even discuss the three dogs.

So, I wondered. Is this the legacy I'm leaving my children? This frantic bullshit of running around with a bottle of 409 and wielding the vacuum like an avenging cleaning demon? Will my children practice this neurotic behavior or worse, expect their spouse to practice it?

This is one of those little quirks in my behavior that I don't like much. I will say that it's much improved from my younger days. Though frantic, I am less crazy than I used to be about this. But as I scrub and spray, I know those eyes are watching me. And I have no control over what they do with that information.

I'm hoping the ice cream, the singing, and the bedtime stories outweigh the crazy stuff I do. This isn't a trait from my mother that I point to and say "Isn't that wonderful?"

posted at 5:35 AM by Jennifer :: 2 comments
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Friday, July 20, 2007

I've Been Waiting For This One


Safety is an illusion.


When the world crumbles into chaos, only a chosen few can afford the luxury of life in towers built to soar far above the pollution and destruction on the ground.


Life up in the air is full of beautiful things and beautiful people. What happens when you’re not one of them? What happens when everything you believed about the world turns out to be a lie?


You fall. Or you learn how to fly...



Click here for Drollerie Press's bookshop.
Click here to buy Falling directly from Mobipocket.

Immi is one of my favorite Divas and I've been waiting for this release for a while. Keep an eye on this author. She's one of the up and coming new authors that will make a splash.

posted at 8:47 AM by Jennifer :: 4 comments
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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thirteen Things I Hate About.........



MAMMOGRAMS!!!!!

I wasn't going to put that in my title. But in honor of my wonderful experiences for the last two weeks and because I didn't get my Whiskey Wednesday up (due to an obsession with Windows Movie Maker) I decided to share all the reasons I HATE mammograms. (I'm ignoring the positives here. I don't need reminding that they help prevent deaths from breast cancer. I know that. But I'm not doing 13 things I LOVE about mammograms. That might get weird.)


Sooooooo, here we go.

1. No Deoderant

In order to have an accurate reading, a woman must go "au natural". Which is fine if you're a sweet smelling female, not a stay at home mom/wookie.


2. The Boob positioning

No matter how professional a radiologist can be, there is still the moment that I have to present my nipple for the little dot sticker thing and let him/her lift my breast into position.


3. The Breath Holding

"Now, hold your breath and don't move." Yeah, and don't think about the fact that I may have cancer or my friggin boob is being mashed to death.


4. The Mashing

This is one of those things I can't describe. For me, because I'm a *ahem* "big" woman, the mashing is pretty uncomfortable. I understand from the less endowed that this is universal. These machines are sophisticated with attachments that make it more like a food processor than a piece of medical equipment. Yet, mashing a woman's boob is the only way to do this? Please.


5. The Inaccuracy

Now this is personal for me. Every time I have a mammogram (or a papsmear for that matter) I always have "something". In this case, it was a "dense spot". Sooooo after having my boobs smashed eight times at eight different angles, I went back in for ANOTHER smashing. At least it was only my left one this time. THEN an ultrasound after that. All to be told, "I don't see anything." Um Okay.

6. The Time Away From Writing
I could have been plugging away at my latest wip (quit laughing) and getting my word count up (I mean it. Stop laughing!) or editing one of them to clean them up (You're going to hurt yourself if you keep laughing that way.).

7. The Worry
Don't get me wrong. Not MY worry. My husband's and friend's worry. Honestly, I didn't worry. Well not until the VERY end. Every time I thought "My mother has had it three times." Or "A dense spot. That's it. I'm dying." I just reminded myself that worry was stupid. My husband was WORRIED though.

8. The Waiting
Do I really need to rant about doctor's offices?

9. The Mashing
Sorry, I hate the mashing. It deserved a repeat. So. Much. Mashing.

10. The Reality
Having mammograms means facing reality. I ain't young anymore. If the grey hair wasn't a reality check for me, this is. It means that from now on, the clock is ticking. The trick is to ignore it. Kind of like I do when I'm writing and I "only have an hour before I have to pick up the kids." Ignore the clock. It will chime when it's time.

11. The Hospital Gowns
They open in the front and, if you're skinny (and I'm not), the thing falls off your shoulders. If you're me, it doesn't tie. I think it's some test to see if we can read a magazine while holding the two open parts over our boobies.

12. The Cold Squeezy Stuff
Now this isn't necessarily part of a regular mammogram, but if you're me, THEN you get the added fun of a boob ultrasound. This involves the cold stuff they spread over the area. If you've ever seen your baby on a sonogram, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, consider yourself lucky. That stuff is cold and sticky. And when you're not wearing deodorant......

13. The Not Being Able To Breathe
This may be unique to me, but as I was getting that lovely ultrasound, that worry I'd been so good at keeping under wraps, swamped me. Suddenly, I couldn't breath. The room was too close. The technician was too close. I wanted out of there BAD. I was panicked. Mind you, I was absolutely still, but that lack of deodorant was a real problem at that moment. I started thinking "Oh my God. What if it's worse than they think? What if I have to do chemo? I'm a lousy housekeeper NOW. I can't do anything if I'm sick on chemo." You know, a million miles an hour and getting nowhere. The hamster wheel of misery.
Just about the time I thought I was going to sit up and bolt, gown and all, the tech finished and said "I didn't see anything." My first thought was "What the *&%&* does that mean?" He showed the radiologist and gave me a clean bill of health.
I fled out the door as fast as my legs would carry me. AFTER I put my shirt back on. LOL.
So, while I'm grateful for new technology and so on, I still HATE mammograms.






posted at 8:48 AM by Jennifer :: 22 comments
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My VERY First Book Trailer......

Edited and tweaked it. Thanks to all the folks who gave me opinions. Here we go again. LOL.













.....so take that into account. It was a little more difficult than I thought. Tell me what you think.

posted at 7:19 PM by Jennifer :: 7 comments
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Monday, July 16, 2007

Earthly Valhalla



As often as I complain about the Redneck and the two dirt faced Okie kids, I wouldn't trade them for anything. We often refrain from killing each other so that we can enjoy days like Saturday.

Not that it started auspiciously.

First, Mama was hormonal. And the Redneck had a difficult time making up his mind what he wanted to do this weekend. The plans changed about five or six times. Knowing us, however, we could have planned all week and STILL been unprepared. After waking up at 5am (the dogs hate me. They really do), I'd already been doing the "mom" thing for three hours when the Redneck announced the final change of plans. We were all going to Shanty Creek for the day. Well, after we went out to breakfast, bought new "floaties" for the boys and sandals for the adults. *shakes head*
Let's just say that getting out the door and on the road with a Redneck, two kids and three dogs was....interesting.

And I wasn't exactly......sunshine and lollipops.

Eventually, we headed out Highway 36 and into the hills. My attitude was the adult version of the whiney "I'm tired. Can't we go home? My stomach hurts." Of course, the kids had the full on kid version. Ah, good times. Oh, and the dog got sick in the cab of the truck. Believe me, Highway 36 does it to the best of us. I could only have sympathy for the poor thing.

Of course, by the time we got to our usual watering hole (Shanty Creek), it was chock full of people. Ugh. That's one thing the Redneck and I share. We go up to the hills to avoid people, not hang with them. So, we kept on driving. Luckily, there's always an "ace in the hole" for us.

George's Folly Camp is not well known, even with the locals. It's almost a family secret for the McKenzie family. We drove down the gravel road lined with Manzanita and tall Douglas Fir with trepidation. Would our other favorite spot be riddled with human presence?

As the clearing came into view, I relaxed. No one was there. We piled out of the car like a group of teenagers at a Greenday concert. It was like coming home after being gone for a long time.

The weather was perfect--hot but not too hot. The water was clear and not too cold. The Van Duzen River can be VERY cold, even in July, but on this day, it was a pleasant brisk temperature.

The kids had the dogs and the water. The Redneck had the water flow to "fix". (This involves moving big rocks around. I don't know. I just stay out of it.) I had a new book (another one I couldn't afford) by a new author. It just doesn't get any better than that.

We left George's Folly Camp at 6pm and then meandered home, driving around Grizzly Mountain for a Redneck Tourist view of Red Lassik and Black Lassik, two cinder cone volcanoes. We checked for deer sign (Yep, I'm not kidding. I was just along for a hunting scout trip. But it was fun) and quail. I snapped off pictures that I'll put on my blog when I develop them (I don't do digital yet. I'm old fashioned).
All and all, a wonderful trip.

Considering all that's gone on for the last few weeks, this little jaunt may have saved their lives and my sanity.

The best thing was that the Redneck followed it up with taking the boys clamming Sunday morning and I had about five hours to myself. I got a lot of writing done and felt up to the week.

I think I'll keep him.

So, tell me. Do any of you have a place that's special like that for you? Your lazyboy? Your kitchen? A bookstore? What's your earthly Valhalla?

posted at 4:11 AM by Jennifer :: 6 comments
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Friday, July 13, 2007

My Guilty Secret.

Just for LEFTY









It was tough to choose.
Yep, big ABBA fan. I had all of them. In RECORDS. You remember. Those big round black things that came BEFORE eight track. LOL.

posted at 2:44 PM by Jennifer :: 2 comments
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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thirteen Songs That Have Inspired me



These are songs that have touched me, still touch me and lift me up when I'm down. As usual, I couldn't include all of the music that gets me. Hope you enjoy.


1. Heaven Help Me
This new one has been running through my mind lately. I love Gretchen's new CD and her music really speaks to me. Yeah, I know. I'm a total redneck woman.



2. In My Daughter's Eyes
Martina McBride has several that have followed the diary of my life. I only picked two. LOL. This one ripped my heart out and when I found a video with "Pretender" and Miss Parker, well.....here you are.



3. Anyway
I can't even listen to this one in the car. It gets me every time.



4. That's The Way It Is
Right after my divorce, this song came out. I love it.



5. It's Easier To Run
Linkin Park has also been a huge part of my diary of life. It started with "Crawling" and has ended with a lifelong love of their music. Something about them tunes into the positive and negative emotions of my experiences and puts them to music.



6. In Loving Memory
This song came out after my father died. 'Nuff said.



7. All Of Me
Again, Evanescence has been a huge part of my music repertoire. Several could have made the cut, but this one has always been one of my favorites.



8. Evidence Of Love
A long time ago, I was struggling even more than I ever had before. At the time, "Sacred Journey" came out by First Call. The whole CD was awesome for me. This one is one of the most inspirational from it. They also did "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing" remake and it was great.



9. Spread Love
This also came out around that period of early twenties angst. I've never forgotten the music that pulled me through.



10. Everything Changes
Staind has been a constant as well. I loved their first hit "It's Been A While" and their B songs were awesome. This one was new to me when I discovered it on MySpace.



11. Epiphany
One of the best Staind songs EVER.



12. Do What You Have To Do
Sarah Mclachlin is one of my favorite artists. I own most of her CD's and she ROCKS. Best one? "Fumbling With Ecstasy". This one is one of my favorite songs by her. And yeah, I own both the live CDs too.



13 Full Of Grace
This one used to make me cry every time. I'm not sure why. It's her voice, I think. She taps into that angst that lives inside me. I usually just make jokes to cover it. This song brings it to the surface.






posted at 10:07 AM by Jennifer :: 19 comments
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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What's Love Got To Do WIth It?




Over at PRINCESS BANTER'S BLOG she was talking about divorce and it got me thinking about relationships in general. Several of her commenter's seemed completely disillusioned about the idea of marriage. Me, I love marriage. But I'll tell you a secret. It's one they don't tell you before you take the plunge and sign the license.

Marriage is HARD EFFING WORK!!!

No duh, you say.

Well, I didn't know that when I took my first plunge. I believed that love would conquer all--his drinking, my obsessions, his lack of desire for children, my unreasonable demand to have them. To be honest, I don't think there was a lack of love in my first marriage. Even at the end, we had respect for each other, a gift given to me from Al-Anon. I wanted to stick it out. I prayed every day to find a way to let go of my desire for children and my resentment in our marriage. Though my first husband and I had a good friendship, what we didn't have was a marriage. I had my life, he had his. They touched, but we lived like roommates rather than a married couple. I had a big part in that sad lack as well.

When I finally called it quits after seven years, I don't think he was too upset by it. Sad, perhaps. We both were. Our divorce was amicable with no kids and very little assets.

But it shook me to my core. I wasn't who I thought I was. I was a sticker, wasn't I? I didn't give up when the going got tough, right? But here I was--a quitter. Or so I thought.

I've come to understand that perseverance is about getting back up and trying again. Not the frantic plunge into "Mr. Next" that satisfies the aching hole when a relationship ends, but a careful dive into the same water that might have been ice cold before. I did that. I got married again. And my redneck will tell you that it was an arduous campaign. Don't believe it. He didn't have me at "Hello" but damn near!

It hasn't been hearts and flowers for the redneck and I. We've had disability that scared us both to death. We've had little babies 362 days apart which almost sent me out of my mind. We've had my best friend and his brother date, move in together and break up painfully. Through it all, we've fought, cried and hung in there. And so far, it's been great.

One. Day. At. A. Time.

And that's how I think marriage works. We change, grow, expand, shrink, grow old, grow afraid or get courageous and confound our partners regularly. THAT'S why it's work. I don't mean marriage counseling (though it's great) or Oprah or self help books. I mean the everyday trying to be respectful, open and receptive to the one person who will hopefully stand by us.

It also helps to have close friends to bitch to. THAT can save a person a lot of blown gaskets.

posted at 4:08 PM by Jennifer :: 2 comments
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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

An American Attitude? Or just human?



One of the things about working at a nine to five job, taking care of the kids at night with the redneck out of town, and doing the financial scramble is that I do a lot of complaining. As I went shopping last night--too tired and stressed to go to the discount store 15 miles away so I got hosed--and I marveled at my feeling of entitlement.

Somehow, there is a part of me that believes "I deserve more" that is aggravated by frustration. I see it in my kids and the redneck. I see it in Michelle's son. I don't always see it in myself. Yet, cruising down the aisles, trying to keep the grocery bill down to a dull roar, I bought a book. That's right. Did I mention that we are financially strapped? Books are a luxury. Especially new books. And the excuses I had were hilarious. "I haven't had a cigarette for eleven days. Technically, I've been saving us money."

Great logic.

Sometimes I notice that pop culture seems to encourage this. Celebrity eye candy is huge and popular. The "haves" show off their bling bling, their lifestyle and we eat it up. I know that I am suitably appalled at the lavish spending habits of big names, but I am jealous. They have accountants, maids, limo drivers etc. Those are all my jobs. They have nannys. I have daycare.

On the flip side, there is also the other direction to look toward. I'm one of the lucky few who own my own home (for now) and even my bills reveal that I have much to be thankful for--high speed internet, cell phones, medical bills. All of these things are miles out of reach for some.

My point is this. In times where everything seems so frustrating and wrong, I seek to be content with what I have. The disease of "more" is always around me, my children, my friends and the redneck. Sure, the last few months have been very disappointing. Things I really wanted to do have not happened for me. But I'm NOT four years old. (I'm reminding myself of this.) It's no great sacrifice to give up expensive trips, movie theaters or the latest CD by whoever. Yet, my attitude is often difficult to adjust.

By the way, though, the book was worth it. Just sayin'.

posted at 6:01 AM by Jennifer :: 0 comments
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Sunday, July 08, 2007

The "Not Going To Nationals" Cyber Conference


Not going to Nationals? Don't worry...Romance Divas is doing the next best thing!

Romance Divas announces the first annual "Not Going to Nationals Cyber Conference" from July 11-15, righton the forum. Best of all, it's FREE!

Just register for Romance Divas--membership is free, you just need to sign up! www.romancedivas.com if you have trouble with registration email night.diva.maria (at) gmail (dot) com

There will be workshops, Q&As, and giveaways each day. All you have to do is participate!!!!


Schedule:

July 11:
Workshop: PC Cast and Kristin Cast (topic TBA)PCCast.net
Q&A: Erotic romance with Portia da Costa and Madelynne Ellis PortiaDaCosta.com
MadelynneEllis.com


July 12:
Workshop: Book Signing 101: Tips to Help Make your Signing a Success by Jackie Kessler JackieKessler.com
Q&A: Legal Issues for Writers by Amanda Brice AmandaBrice.com


July 13:
Workshop: What to Expect After You Sign the Contract by Marley Gibson MarleyGibson.com
Q&A: TBA (either with an agent from the Larsen-Pomada Agency or a panel on multi-cultural romance)


July 14:
Workshop: Sasha White (topic TBA) http://www.sashawhite.net/
Q&A: How To Write Both YA and Adult Romance by Berta Platas BertaPlatas.com


July 15:
Workshop: Trim That Fatty Writing! by Rhonda Stapleton RhondaStapleton.net>
Q&A: TBA (either with an agent from the Larsen-Pomada Agency or a panel on multi-cultural romance)

We also have loads of great giveaways, including books, critiques, coaching, and more!

posted at 6:21 AM by Jennifer :: 0 comments
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Friday, July 06, 2007

Babe Is Having A Contest!!!!!


SOMETHING BLUE is now on sale !!!
at Lulu!!!


Paperback book $11.74
Download $4.69

Something Old, Something New
What’s a gal who’s been jilted at the altar to do? Feel sorry for herself? Or reach for her cake?

Something Borrowed
Scott Delaney is a young woman’s dream. With everything to offer, he fears he’s incapable of falling in love. Leah Tillman has felt inferior to her lovely, accomplished sister all her life. As attendants to her sister’s wedding, this mismatched pair borrow something--God’s grace to seek happiness together.

Something Blue
Pastor Nathan awaits his version of Gideon’s fleece before asking his childhood love, Petra, to marry him. But a self-righteous businessman, savior of their village, asks her first.



And to celebrate Babe is running a contest!
Go to Babes Blog for details.
Come enter the competition! Don’t you want to know what a bilby is??? Hehehe

posted at 5:36 AM by Jennifer :: 1 comments
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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thirteen Reasons I Wish I Was Going To The RWA Conference



Today's Thursday Thirteen is brought to you by PG&E, My Mortgage Company and Edge Wireless.


Thirteen Reasons I Wish I Was Going To The Romance Writer's Of America Conference


1. Romance Divas Dinner

All the Divas that hang out on the forum and go to conference meet up and get crazy together.

2. The Romance Divas Cleavage Contest
I'd win for size and volume, but I'd lose points for shape I think. But it would be fun to participate.

3. A Week Long Trip
As a mommy, going on a trip is MUCH more fun when it doesn't involve the words "Mommy, I have to puke. Can you pull over?"

4. The Hotel
Okay, I'm shallow, but it would be a blast to stay in a top notch hotel for a week.

5. Crystal Jordan
*Sigh* I would have loved to hang out with this Diva there.

6. R.G. Alexander
I haven't met R.G. yet and I'm dying to.

7. Eden Bradley
Another Diva that I've talked to on the phone and emailed but haven't met yet.

8. Allison Brennen
Romantic Suspense author who is freakin' brilliant. Not only would I have had the opportunity to hang with her (she's in my local RWA chapter) but she was also doing a workshop for those who don't plot. *Le Sigh*

9. Kate Perry
Another great author with a wicked sense of humor, a taste for strawberries and an obsession with tutus. I'd have tracked her down there too.

10. The Wild Rose Press, Cobblestone and Whiskey Creek
I'd love to connect faces with some of the names I know at my publishers.

11. Diana Carlile and Kate Scott
Two of my favorite editors who have helped me along the way. Yeah, they're both going.

12. The Agents
I really wanted to try my hand at the elevator cornering. And begging.

13. The Publishers
Being able to put in "face time" with big publishers (like my dream publisher Berkeley) is HUGE.

Okay, I'm kind of depressed now. I'm hanging in there for next year. San Francisco 2008. *Breaks into "I will Survive"*



posted at 4:16 AM by Jennifer :: 22 comments
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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth Of July To ALL!!!!!





There is a story I'd like to share with you. When I was in high school, I was a complete choir geek. I loved it. Our concert choir went to Europe for a competition and spent almost three weeks there. Though I was privileged to see some of the most beautiful landscape and architecture in the world in Vienna, Austria, Switzerland, France and Germany, I missed my homeland. I missed the culture, the tastes, the sounds of HOME.
On our last night in Germany, in a small chapel, we performed "America, The Beautiful" for a German speaking audience. I don't know what happened, but by the time we were finished, most of us hardened teenagers were in tears and the audience was too. We were all longing for America, with all it's faults, insanity and frenetic energy. We wanted to go home.
That memory has never left me and when this day rolls around, I remember that feeling. There are times I'm frustrated with the American lifestyle. Yet, I don't want to live anywhere else.

posted at 8:18 AM by Jennifer :: 0 comments
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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Very Rare Political Rant


In honor of July 4th, America's Independence Day, I'm going to rant about a few things.

The first thing is that we're NOT a democracy. We're a republic. Most just think that's splitting hairs, but I the founding fathers did not. Hamilton and Jefferson faced off over this issue of popular vote vs. representative vote for years after our Declaration of Independence. And if you think Hamilton was a rich jerk who didn't want poor, common people having government, take a look at how easily we, as the public, are swayed by negative campaigning. Oh, we say we don't like it, but we are influenced by it. I'm no better, believe me.

One hundred years ago, our country was banging the drums of expansion and superiority. Not just the politicians, all of us. Americans. In this spirit of aggression, we went to war with the Philippines. There were reasons and they made sense for the times, but our arrogance would leave a mark there for decades and distract us from the real threat. Germany.

This period of aggression was followed in our country by our usual post skirmish guilt and exhaustion. By the time Germany's threat to Europe was clear, our attitude had slid into isolation. We were bitter, angry at the losses we'd sustained in a war that became confusing. Does this sound familiar?

This country is a great country. We have some of the most generous, kind impulses as a whole that show in our collective efforts to help our fellow man. But we are stuck in a pattern. When we see, really see, a threat we go after it with zeal and strength. However, if the results of our actions require lengthy commitment, we tend to recoil on ourselves and isolate.

I've been reading Barbara Tuchman's "The Proud Tower" which documents the fifty years before World War I. This pattern is set in the American psyche. I wonder if that generation had the same violent reaction to the word "Philippines" that our generation has to "Vietnam". I am amazed at some of the statements that politicians were able to put out for public consumption back in those days. There was no mealy mouthed excuses or politically correct speeches. Our politicians back then were completely up front about their opinion. They had the right to control Cuba or the Philippines because they were a superpower. And for the most part the people agreed.

One thing that changed in this century is our method of withdrawal. In the Philippines, we came to a stalemate. No one really won and in the end, we obtained a fierce ally against Japan. In Vietnam, we left. Even in the first Iraq war, we stopped short due to public opinion, and many who supported us in that conflict, were murdered for being pro American.

I know that the Iraq war has it's detractors and supporters. I don't care. Whether we're there for political reasons or truly heroic reasons isn't important to me anymore. We're there. And what we do there will be our history. The politicians can talk all they want and pussy foot around because it's close to a big elections but I only want one thing. I want our troops to look back and say they were proud to be there. I want them to have the same pride in their work that our men from World War I and II had. I never want them to say the things my father said about Korea. The bitter taste of a job left undone doesn't fade in our soldiers. They deserve a competent government and a population that won't spit on them when they come home.
I'm not for any politician that's come out of the woodwork yet. None of them have been the troops voice. Withdrawal or stay the course, it's the men and women who do the work that need our vote.

This Independence Day, I hope that the price they're paying, the horrible things they're seeing and all the time they're giving won't end up being reviled. They are our representatives to other countries, our brightest and best. I'm voting for them.

posted at 5:35 AM by Jennifer :: 5 comments
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Sunday, July 01, 2007

I AM HOME!!


Whew! Alright, how many obsessions am I supposed to be away from at one time? This little jaunt to stay with my husband in our prison *ahem* I mean trailer in Fort Bragg coincided with my quit date for not smoking.

Ugh.

So, last Thursday, I stopped smoking with the help of a little pill that's supposed to reduce the cravings. All and all, considering the confined space with my children, the cravings weren't too bad. I was grumpy. I've shocked you, I know.

And these little trips are so pointless really. The redneck works until about 6pm and leaves at 6AM. When he got to the trailer, he'd eat and fall asleep.

Also, I have to be away from my computer. No big deal you say. Um, probably not, but I felt like a junkie being deprived of some really good drugs. Well, and the no nicotine thing didn't help that sensation either. *sigh*.

But now I'm home and I am RELIEVED. It's a mess. It's falling apart. But it's my home. My comfort zone.

Tomorrow, I'm off to the temporary secretary job and all it's weirdness. The kids are off the Kiddie Camp and hopefully some fun.

posted at 7:50 PM by Jennifer :: 6 comments
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