Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"Two Thousand Zero Zero Party Over-Oops, Out Of Time"....#MFRWauthors

I love music.  Always have, from the time I received my 1st record player at age 5, and 'bunny hopped' all over my room.  Carpenters, Sonny and Cher, Elton John, The Who, Tony DeFranco, Donny Osmond, Shaun Cassidy, Bay City Rollers, Bee Gees.....I've lost count of how many times my mom would tell me to 'shut off that music and do your homework.'

But I DID do my homework!  Just because I could belt out 'Stayin' Alive' and do my math homework at the same time.....or find and underline all verbs/adjectives/prepositional phrases......or even do my assigned reading didn't mean I wasn't studying!

When I first began writing (seriously), my kids were little.  I'd put them down for a nap, turn on Hooked On Classics (my hubby had an 8-track) or Enya's Oronico Flow tape and write for two solid hours until my son would come out and crawl into my lap.

Later, when the laundromat was my writing 'cave', I learned to write with whatever was on the juke box.  My favorites were AD/DC, Don Henley, Nirvana, and a few others.  I even plotted out an entire book once while in a bar, waiting for friends to show up!  (Hey, even this past Saturday, while waiting for my turn at karaoke, a fantastic idea popped into my head for #5 of The Chosen!  No, it has NOTHING to do with karaoke!)

I've written to Prince, Bon Jovi, and Back Street Boys.  One of my favorite stories to tell was the time I had an entire week to myself, and went through my (then) entire 8 CD library, and wasn't motivated.

Until I happened upon the Aqua CD I'd not yet unwrapped.  Remember 'Barbie Girl'?

I was on page 20 when I realized I'd forgotten to set my CD player to 'continuous play'.

Ever written a sex scene while hearing, "Bob the Builder, can we build it?  Bob the Builder, yes we can!" in the background?  Don't laugh....Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer also kept my little one happy during the first year I did NaNoWriMo!

What I'm trying to say is, I focus better with 'noise' in the room....unless I'm trying to have a conversation with someone.  If we're in the car, I'll probably shush you and turn up the radio!

Housework is even tolerable when Prince's 'Let's Go Crazy' is playing.  Yes, I've even played air guitar with a broom....I admit it!

Who are some of your favorite bands/singers?

To see if other authors share my love of music, or have to write in absolute silence, click here.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hobbies: When Do I Find Time? #MFRWauthors

"Congratulations....according to the IRS, you now have a very nice hobby."
  -H & R Block tax preparer 2013

Wait....what?  I just had my most profitable year as an author and you're telling me I can no longer file my Schedule C?  What the hell is wrong with you people?

My career has taken a few blows in the past two years, with one publisher folding in 2015 and the other following suit last year.  My year-long experiment to keep my numbers spiking on Amazon resulted in monthly checks, but only recouped 1/3 of the money I paid out in booth fees, and could not afford to put out another title under my name. But something good came of it.

Needlepoint/Embroidery
While poking around in our basement, I came across a box of my grandmother's things from 2012, among them being a small needlepoint kit.  I decided to try it, and fell in love with the craft.  When I found out my my niece loves butterflies, I found another kit at Hobby Lobby and spent three months working on it.  A friend graciously turned it into a pillow, and since it's going to cost me $60 to ship it to her, it will have to wait until next summer when she arrives for a visit.


I've also found a leather journal and a bookmark that I'm going cross-stitch and to somehow incorporate into a giveaway this summer, to celebrate the release of my latest book (more on this later).

Binge-watching TV:
If you read my post a few weeks ago, or follow me on FB, then you're well acquainted with my TV habits and the fact I spent the past two months engrossed in Game of Thrones, and am now immersed in Downton Abbey. Since my spouse can't seem to get enough of Fox News, most of my shows on are on the DVR, and I watch them whenever I get a chance.

Reading:
I've been a voracious reader since the beginning of time, though since becoming published, the only time I seem to actually read anymore is either in the car or right before bedtime.  My granddaughter has developed a nasty habit of leaving Kindles around the house and not telling people when they need charged, so I've hidden mine from her, and pull it out at bedtime to play my daily Solitaire challenge.  I think I've got five books yet to be read on it, as well as a stack of paperbacks on the night stand.

Last count of my book collection stood at maybe 1500; that does not count the books on my kindle or the ones I've downloaded to floppy disc or online storage.  I hope Total-E-Bound never goes out of business, since any books I've bought from them are on floppy discs and I no longer have that drive.  Some I downloaded and saved on my Dropbox....but I really love the 'library' aspect to TEB, which archives your purchases and allows you to download them again (admittedly, it's been several years since I've been to the site, so I hope this still applies!)

Karaoke:
Six years ago this month, my BFF insisted I go out to karaoke with her.  It took me a while to work up the courage to sing a song on my own, and after I finished Invincible by Pat Benetar, the other six patrons politely clapped, then one of them came over and told me I had a good voice, and he was looking forward to more from me.  This boosted my confidence, and the next time she and I went, we decided to simply go through the song list, alphabetically, to find songs in our range, since she was tired of singing the same ones over and over, while I had no clue which ones were in my range.

I'm proud to say I've now reached the 'Love' titles and have a fairly solid list of songs on my 'good' list:)  Beloved songs from The Carpenters, however, are too low for me, and I've been able to bring out my inner rock star at times, wowing patrons with songs by Bon Jovi, Triumph, Journey, and even some Skid Row.

So What Does This Have To Do With Finding Time For Hobbies?
I'm so glad you asked:)  There are only 24 hours in a day, and at least 7 are spent sleeping.  2 hours in the morning for getting my youngest off to school, breakfast, and getting dressed.  Another hour for lunch, and generally 2 for dinner/clean up.

2-3 hours for binge-watching TV or DVDs.....twice a week I'm singing karaoke for 2-3 hours.  What am I down to?  6 hours....and I still have to run errands with the spouse, check social media, do housework, and did I mention we'd recently moved into a house?  So I'm also in the process of getting things arranged, though things have slowed down until the weather improves, and I can get into my storage unit.

Yeah....right now, I can spend at least an hour or two working, as Monday showed, since edits arrived.  So the hobbies have taken over, temporarily!



Here's the shiny new cover art!  I really hope that title makes readers go 'huh?' and to buy it out of curiosity:)  Intrigued?  Here's the blurb for #4 of The Chosen series:

Leaving TriJupe to escape scandal after the death of her Bond Mate, KiRah exiles herself on Earth and takes refuge in an abandoned house to paint and mourn her loss. But when a stranger brings upheaval to her new life, will KiRah discover it’s possible to love again?

Duffy Switzer never thought he'd be interested in an artist. Kira's quiet demeaner proves refreshing after a string of self-centered women, and having someone who makes no demands leads him to believe he's found the perfect woman. But as he's drawn deeper into Kira's life, he learns she is no ordinary human. When the truth is revealed, will he turn his back on her?


I'm hoping to release this book in time for my 1st signing, an author's fair in La Grange, KY, at the end of April.

Want to see what other hobbies authors enjoy?  Click here:) 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

"I Can Only Pick One? No!!!" #MFRWauthors


It may seem hard to imagine, but I'm really a shy person who selects her friends carefully.  Having been traumatized at a young age for being the tall, gawky kid with glasses and being at the bottom of the social pecking order (apparently I also had no filter for my mouth at times!), I learned to keep people at  arm's length until they proved loyal.

The lady above in the pink and I were fast friends in the 5th grade, mainly because she was a transplant and didn't get the message that being friends with me meant the end of her social life.  As a result, forty years later, we are still best friends who pick up right where we left off, whether that means we saw each other last month or ten years ago.  Thanks to FB, we sometimes chat daily.



I met this sweet lady in 2009, when mutual friends introduced us.  Our personalities clicked immediately, and we shared a love of books and movies.  She needed an emergency sitter one day, and her little girl quickly became my 'Adoptee #3'.  CB and my son became friends, and even attended a few kickboxing classes together, until my lazy child decided he'd rather play video games!

This photo was taken last May, when I got the chance to introduce her to my world, and some of the authors I was friendly with.  We also enjoyed walking around the Grand Ol Opry Hotel:)




Meet 'Princess Leia', 'Molly Pitcher', and a sexy cop!  The lady on the left and I formed an instant bond when we met at a book signing event.  Again, our personalities clicked, and when she moved to my town two years later, she got me hooked on karaoke.  Both these ladies are wonderful singers, and their friendship has brought me out of my shell a bit more.




See the handsome guy off to the left?  He and I shared a love/hate relationship all through our sophomore year of HS.  He was just a kid in my PE class, not realizing he was on the basketball team.  Things seemed to be going well until I found out he was on said team, then I quit speaking to him (long story....I'd vowed to NEVER be friends with a jock!).  He persuaded me to keep the friendship, until HIS friends convinced him I was only friendly with him because of his status.  We didn't speak for 6 months, until we ran into each other in the hallway, and we admitted we missed each other's company.  I now only see him every 5-10 years, but again, we pick up right where we left off!

The guy standing behind me in the hat took me to one of our school's dances our senior year, and he's my 'go-to' 'date' at the reunions, since there are still some snobby girls in our class who make disparaging remarks against B and I spending so much of our time together at the reunions.  Geez....grow up, will you!





Every once in a while, you meet someone and within five minutes, you feel as if you've known them forever?  That happened with L and I.  She took me to my 1st Texas Tenor concert, and though there's nearly a 15 year age gap between us, it's hard to shut us up when we get together!



Last, but certainly not least, is the sweet lady on the right.  Oh wow.....where do I start?  Back in 1984, she called me to get acquainted, since we were to be roommates at college.  That conversation lasted 2 hours, and even though she was more friendly with another girl for part of the year, she eventually found out I was her 'soul mate' and this quiet exterior hid a 'wild' side.  We had our girls a month apart (mine, the one holding the baby, came early while her oldest, the one in blue, decided to 'cook' an extra two weeks!), shared good times and bad, and she's been wildly supportive of my writing career.  We joke that we'll be the two hell-raising ladies in the nursing home one day, playing the piano, belting out 80s tunes, and attempting the 'Electric Slide' with our walkers.

Want to meet other authors BFFs?  Click here:)

Friday, January 27, 2017

"She Smirked As the Very handsome man approached and Just missed getting his feet wet...." #MFRWauthor

Dear Kenzie,
Enclosed are your 1st round edits.  Please be advised you've overused the following words again, and I strongly urge you to use a thesaurus....

Okay.  Maybe I exaggerate a bit, but when I submitted my first few books, I learned I frequently 'fall in love' with certain words.

The first thing I learned was to eliminate 'just' and 'very' from my vocabulary.  Then I had to find a substitute for 'as', 'when', and 'then'.

The last MS had the word 'so' too often.

Another thing I had to change was every time my heroine spoke, she always responded 'Great!',  I had to expand her vocabulary too, lol!

'Smirk' is a word I use sparingly, since the advent of a Certain Book, where it was on nearly every damn line.  I swore if I ever saw it in another book, I would hurl whatever I was reading across the room.

Guess what book it showed up in next?  Yup.....my next round edits!

No way was I hurling my computer across the room, but the dictionary made a good substitute!

Want to read about other authors editing mishaps?  Check them out here:)

Monday, January 23, 2017

"Just....One.....More....."

Apologies; I thought I'd preposted this. Apparently it was languishing in 'draft' format all weekend!

I can trace my binge-watching habits back to 2007, when I discovered reruns of the show ER on TNT.  They played two episodes back-to-back, and since we didn’t have a DVR back then, I had two blank VHS cassettes that I switched out every other day, since the show ran from 10am-noon, right in the middle of my busy schedule.  To make matters worse, since I was recording that show, whomever was in the living room was stuck watching it, since you couldn’t change the channel.  This infuriated my spouse when he was laid off for the winter!

Once ER was over (and we got a 2nd TV!), I moved onto Beverly Hills 90210, then Happy Days, The Waltons, Charmed, and Law and Order.  

My kids made the mistake of introducing me to NetFlix in 2013, and I discovered Star Trek DS9, so I would hole up in the bedroom for 2-3 hours at a time.  I then found Frazier, Coach (NF took it off before I could finish the series...boo hiss!), and Once Upon A Time.  But then what?

My kids were die hard Game of Thrones watchers, and my son owned seasons 1-5.  My daughter and I decided to begin watching one boring Saturday, and I was hooked.  Thankfully, Season 6 was available at Christmas, so while I was still on Season 3, my son watched SE6.  He passed it onto his sister, and after I finished SE5, it was my turn.  I finally finished it this past week, and am now looking forward to next summer, when we can all resume the series.

Over Christmas break, PBS ran Downtown Abbey from start to finish, and I caught most of season 2.  So once I’m able to get my hands on the DVDs, I’ll be found in front of my computer, happily buried in the lives of 1920s England!

Or, I might unwrap those DVDs of Laverne and Shirley….What’s Happening….Bob Newhart....did I mention I miss my 70s sitcoms?  I also still need seasons 3-5 of Mary Tyler Moore.  Then move on to Hill Street Blues….

Wait….Kenzie, you DO plan to WRITE this year????

Never fear; I know how to budget my time, and limit my DVD viewing, no matter how tempting it is to pop in the next disc!

Especially when the dogs need out...the cat needs fed….or the family interrupts!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Misunderstood.....

I've discovered something in my relatively short career....my computer has magic powers.

Bear with me; I'm serious here.  For those of us who grew up with landlines, or had children while those landlines existed, it's the same concept.  The kids would be happily playing or watching TV (or better yet, be outside for hours!) and then the phone would ring, or I'd decide to make a call.  Within seconds, both (or now, all 3) kids would be demanding my full attention.

Remember those days?

I took up needlepoint this summer and discovered I could work on a project, alone in my room, in solitude.  Peace and Quiet.  Wow.....but beware the comforting, deceiving lull of the thought I could so work this into the next scene....I went into the deserted kitchen and opened the laptop....I kid you not, the moment I opened my document, I heard Those Words:

Mo-om!  Can you come here for a moment?

Kenze, I'm heading out to the store.  If you want anything special, make me a list or get your shoes on.

Grandma, can you get me some kool-aid?

Or my favorite one....

I need something from the back porch....(my chair blocks the entrance).

Sigh.  See how it's magical?  I open it up and somewhere a beacon goes off that says Mom Is NOT Paying Attention To You.....Disturb Her Now or Suffer The Consequences!

Yes, once upon a time, I would get so wrapped up in my writing, I
-Didn't pick the kids up from school (they rode the bus....horrible, I know!)
-Didn't check their homework (the fact they did it at all shows I'd done something right in my parenting skills!)
-Didn't fix dinner (I've managed to raise kids who knew how to cook; this was when they were 10 and 8, before their baby brother appeared)
-Didn't acknowledge the spouse arriving home from work (he saw I was writing and decided to let genius burn...smart man!)
-Didn't EAT my dinner (kids fixed me a plate and put it in the microwave....good kids!)
-Didn't even tuck my kids in for bed (they DID come kiss me goodnight; I told them '5 more minutes').

So yeah, I get why now everyone panics; but that also happened 14 YEARS ago!  Since getting the majority of the stories out of my head, I've managed to only have a marathon writing stint like the one described above only a handful of times, and twice those took place during NaNoWriMo.

I've mellowed out, especially since my publishers folded and I'm no longer under a deadline for the last book or two in my Chosen series.  In fact, the last time I wrote pretty much non-stop?  June 2015, when I had 30 short days to finish SaLie's story and send it to my editor.  I was convinced it was full of crap.....but she told me I'd sucked her into the story and her editor's hat had fallen off!

Since then, LIFE has intervened, plus we've moved to a new house, and I've been too busy to write.  Instead of setting a 1500/day word count for myself, I'm down to 500, since my granddaughter only goes to school in the afternoon, which is my 'prime' writing time.  Maybe next year when she heads off to all-day kindergarten, I'll crank out more?

Especially once I stop binge-watching Game of Thrones and Downtown Abbey.

Want to find out how other authors families survive?  Check it out here:



Monday, January 9, 2017

"Raindrops On Roses...."

If you're not familiar with the song, today's topic is 'A Few Of My Favorite Things'.


First and foremost is my computer.  I don't have a handy picture of my laptop, so this one will have to suffice!  I also love my Kindle Fire, since I can tuck it in my purse and access Facebook, play Solitaire, or read:)  LOVE having access to over 100 books with the press of a button, and they can go with me everywhere!  If an EM pulse ever hit, and wiped out my electronics, I'll be the one sobbing in a corner....



What's this?  No, it's not my favorite book; it's the fact I love a story which practically writes itself, which is what Class Reunion did, once I got started.  The words flowed, day and night; I often dreamed about my characters, and would wake up every morning, eager to fire up the computer.  I think the last one that did that was Kira, #4 in The Chosen series, which should be published this year.  I just sent it off to the editor, btw....;)


Meeting fellow authors and networking:  This is me with Desiree Holt, at RT Chicago, 2012.  Nothing like a fangirl moment when your idol exclaims, "Kenzie!  I'm so happy to finally meet you!"  I love being around creative people and 'talking shop'.  Ideas being exchanged, the comradarie of being around people who understand what you mean when the voices in your head won't shut up....and no, that's not meant in a padded-cell kind of way!





Hanging with friends:  This was taken at a mini-HS reunion (where my hair actually looked GOOD, lol!)  This includes karaoke, though I can't seem to scratch up a picture of me singing.



Being around a BFF:  There's a saying that true friends can pick up where they left off, even if they've not seen each other in years.  That's BC and I; we now only see each other every 5 years, but from the way we talk to each other, you'd swear we just had lunch the day before!



Colorado (or vacations in general!):  The fact I was last there with my entire family (with the exception of my BIL) was just an added bonus.  We were there for a week and explored, ate dinner together every night, and shared happy memories.

Music:  Ever since I got my 1st record player at age 4, I've loved music.  Dad built my 'big' record player (so I could play both LPs and 45s!) when I was nine or ten....I got my 1st portable radio at age 13....my walkman at 15.....my 1st compact stereo with radio, 8-track, record player, and cassette player at 19.....my 1st CD player at 28.  Now I'm a fan of YouTube and Pandora.  I listen to just about everything except rap or Gregorian Chant.  For instance, I had my Pandora set to Classic Rock in Nov, then switched to Trans-Siberian Orchestra for Christmas.....the other day, I had it set on Luke Bryan.  Since I live in a house where country is the genre of choice, I've gotten used to it.  But when I'm alone in the truck, I'll switch it to either Classic Rock, Classic Rewind, or even the 70's, 80s, or 90's station.  Love having satellite radio!

So tell me.....what are a few of YOUR favorite things?

Find more here: