Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Inner Demons

Forgive me; I saw the topic for this week and all of a sudden Fleetwood Mac's 'My Little Demon' is going through my brain!

Okay; focus, Kenzie....what demons follow me around?

Wait; maybe I need to introduce myself?  I'm Kenzie Michaels; my stories are on the tame side of the Adult Contemporary Romance genre; and currently three books are published, with a fourth due out any day now and two more pending.  I've known most of the other writers of this blog for several years, and have a confession:  I've been writing my own essays each week and following their blog topics in hope that one day I might be invited to 'fill in' or even invited to join.  And voila!  Here I am, to brighten up your Sunday afternoon.

So with that out of the way, back to my demons:

a)  Demon of insecurity.  I've never been comfortable in social settings unless I had a friend along, but I've noticed that in the past several years I'm finally comfortable in my own skin.  I'm not sure if maturity has suddenly caught up to me, or it's the influence of a good friend, but I've been singing karaoke now for a year.  The first time I stood up, my knees shook and I held the microphone too far away from my mouth.  But last week, I had no problems singing duets with people and not caring how I sounded.  I'll even tell the karaoke goddess, "Don't applaud that!  I was horrible!" and graciously accept the thanks of those who cheer my name!

Insecurity also rears his head when I receive edits or cover art.  I'd rather have a second opinion if I'm not sure how to fix a scene, or disagree with my editor.  And the same goes for cover art; I've only had two covers which I 'knew' were the right ones.  And I'm grateful for friends who take time out of their busy schedules, since I still consider myself a 'newbie'.

b)  Demon of head-hopping.  Back in 2007, when I discovered the joys of networking with other authors, I also learned the rules had changed, considering how scenes were constructed.  I wrote in the style of my favorite books:  Danielle Steele, Judith McNaught, Kathleen Woodiwiss.  Now all of a sudden it's a no-no to switch POV's in the middle of the scene.  I still struggle with this, though I'm getting better.

c)  Demon of not speaking up/confrontation/defending myself:  This is a biggie.  I'm a people-pleaser who dislikes confrontation.  And I'm married to a man who likes to raise his voice.  A lot.  So I tend to let him have his say, and then fume about it, especially if I think he's wrong.  And the times I do argue back, my problem is overcoming his objections.  I saw this when I tried sales; I've never been good at persuading strangers to buy something they don't want.  I've had some high-pressure salesmen talk me into buying things, but I didn't enjoy them afterward.  When I buy something, it's because I WANT it, not because I want to shut someone up.

The demon I have conquered?  The 'yes' demon.  I'm more comfortable telling people 'No; I'm too busy.'

So what about you?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Did I Mention I Like Reader Comments?

This just made my day!!!!

"I love the Kenzie Michaels books I have had the pleasure of reading and found it very interesting what you do when your book is released.  I think the least you should do is the chocolate part...who doesn't deserve chocolate when you release a new book?  Seriously, I like the synopsis of Teacher's Pet and will definitely be buying it."

A hearty THANK YOU!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Blogging and Epic Fail Part 2....

First of all, I'm over at Tina Donahue's blog, and there's a sneak peek at the upcoming Teacher's Pet posted, so come by and say hi?  Please?

Secondly, when I reposted what I thought was one of my funniest Epic Fails, I failed to recall another one.  Ever get a message and totally misunderstand the instructions?  This happened in college, and all I can say is, thank God the guy was patient!

Aug 1986:
For a little background info:  My roommate and I had stored our belongings at a friend's house, since we were attending the summer session a few weeks later.  In late June, when we arrived to pick them up, our friend met me at the door and told me one of his friends wanted to get in touch with me.  The name wasn't familiar, but as I was between boyfriends at the time, I told him to have him call me.

And for three weeks, no phone call, so I put him out of my mind.

My roommate and I had taken jobs at a local restaurant, and split the shifts during the week.  She took M/W; I took T/Th, and on Fridays, I worked in the kitchen while she bussed tables and vice versa on Saturday.  We weren't old enough to wait tables, since this was also a bar.

Anyway, one day I came in from class/dinner/playing Euchre (don't really remember!) and E met me at the door with a phone number.

"He gets off work at 5 and wants you to call him."  It was the friend of my friend.

E was getting ready to head to work (it was Wednesday), so after she left, I looked at the clock.  Nearly 5, so I decided to give the guy time to get home and settle in before I called.

6pm:  I dialed with semi-shaking hands.  And turns out he'd left a message for me to call at 5, and had just spent the past hour thinking I was uninterested in him.  I told him the reason behind the delay, and he laughed.

"I was going to invite you over for dinner, but I went ahead and ate.  What are you doing tomorrow?"

I explained my work schedule.  "So not to sound arrogant or anything, but if you want to meet me, it would have to either be tonight or you'll have to wait until Sunday."

We also talked about how he knew me, and when he described who he thought I was, he was dead wrong. I'd never worn a beret in my life, and the last time I'd worn knickers was in the 6th grade.  So now he was even more curious as to what I looked like!

"How about I finish up some things around here and come get you in an hour?  We'll go out for ice cream."

"Sounds good to me."  We hung up.

An hour goes by and my phone rings.  My room was the first room past the lobby doors, so I asked him if he was facing the wall with the phone or the front desk.

"The wall; why?"

I opened my door and stepped out into the hall.  "Turn to your left and look through the door window.  I'm the one waving at you.  Have you ever seen me before?"  He certainly didn't look familiar!

"No; I don't think so.  Do you still want to get ice cream?"

"You bet.  Give me two seconds to hang up and grab my keys."

We went out for an enjoyable evening and had a wonderful six-month relationship, marred by only three misunderstandings.

-He was newly divorced, so I assumed he wasn't ready for a serious relationship.  I found out later he'd instantly flipped over me and assumed since I was ten years younger, I couldn't possibly feel the same way about him.  So we never expressed our true feeling for each other until it was too late.

-It was during this turmoil that I accidentally cheated on him, which caused us to be miserably apart for 5 weeks.  He was taking a night class at the university, and one of my friends in my 9am class was also in his class, so every M/W/F she'd greet me with 'Did you talk to him?/He's miserable without you/' 

'He ended it; he needs to make the first move.'

'Funny, he says the same thing about you!'

So finally when I received my graduation notice, I took a firm grip on my courage and called him, fully expecting to either get the machine or have him hang up the minute he heard my voice.  But he picked up.....and we talked.  And talked.  And he ended up coming to get me and I spent the weekend with him.

-After we'd been apart two months after graduation, I missed him so much, I got clingy.  And it basically drove him into the arms of another woman, who married him six months later, only to divorce him when SHE graduated.  And in 1990, he and I were back on friendly terms, only this time HE was living with someone.  When I happened to be in town one day, I stopped by to see him.

'Y'know, V's getting ready to move out.  If this had been next week, our reunion would NOT be taking place in my living room.  We'd be in there.'  He pointed down the hall.

I went home and thought about it.  Two weeks later, I called him to see how he was doing.

"Hey, congratulate me:  I'm getting married!"

"You are?  Congratulations!'  (Well, I guess that means I don't need to ask off for the weekend...).Turns out his girlfriend had changed her mind and once again, my decision to give him more time had backfired.

Fast-forward to 2006.  I'm married; he's married.  My family ended up moving back to town.  Some mutual friends showed up at Christmas and wanted me to go with them to see him.  I declined, since my hubby knew him but didn't particularly like him.  I figured it's a small town; surely I'd run into him somewhere!  I did send him a postcard announcing my book signing in Evansville in 2008, and put a personal note, asking him to attend.  And when he didn't, I took that as a sign he had no desire to renew our friendship.

And three weeks ago, I received the sad news he'd passed.  Last week, I met his 6th wife and we actually hit it off.  She knows some of the people I knew back in 1986, and was able to fill me in on everyone's happenings.  She misses him, as do I.  I regret the missed opportunities, but as I told her, I have some wonderful memories of the time I spent with him.  And that I will never regret.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Auto Technology 101

For the past several years, my most hilarious 'comedy of errors' involved one of my husband's trips to the hospital, which you can read about Here

The following is a reprint of my vehicle issues/woes from May 2008.  Enjoy!

Maybe I should have taken it?

First the computer gods laughed at me yesterday.

Today, it's the automotive gods who are having a field day.

Let's recap the past year:

April 2007: I'm halfway to my convention in Fishers, IN when my van refuses to go faster than 30 MPH. The kind person who let me use her phone graciously took me to my first stop; my friend's house, where my father was waiting to meet me. He was intending to pick up my 3 kids and take them home with him. Little did he know he would first be taking me to Fishers...And later, all it took was a $5 fuel filter repair.

December 1st, 2007: I'm scheduled to go to Muncie, IN, to be a part of the Midwest Writer's book signing. I'm only four blocks from home when I stop to buy oil, and the brakes suddenly lock up. I can't go forward or backwards! Two hours later, hubby gets it fixed and is totally perplexed at why it happened when the phone rings. Forget Muncie; I have to drive to Noblesville in order to get one of my best friends, as her mother just passed away, and she needs a ride to Evansville.

**The following is in reference to a book signing I set up in Ft. Wayne, IN, a four hour drive for me.  I was supposed to leave by 7am and arrive by noon.  Through another comedy of errors, I wasn't able to honor my commitment, and the other author (and the bookstore manager) were rather upset with me.  I was furious at both myself and my undependable transportation.

Last Saturday: My son takes my van to Walmart for a forgotten item and calls 30 minutes later to say the van refuses to back up, and the transmission is screaming. Hubby babies it home, and further inspection shows we're gonna need a new tranny. It's okay; Jackie says she needs a day with 'the girls' and says she'll drive.

6:15 am Today: The phone rings. I smile and pick it up, expecting Jackie to say she's on her way. Nope. It's her hubby.

"Got a slight problem. Apparently I hit something last night, and there's a 4-inch gash in the sidewall of one of the tires."

Ouch. And the tire repair shop doesn't open until 9am.

Ouch, ouch, ouch! But, there's a good side to all of this: 1) my kids were early to school; 2) Kelly gets to hold down the fort for the first two hours until we get there; 3) Mikey stayed in his cage all night; 4) I had time for more than one cup of coffee!So just pray everything goes well the rest of the day? Please?

And let's hope that when my next event rolls around, which is the Cincinnatti trip, all vehicles are in good, working condition!!!

We now have a family joke; we don't tell the van we're leaving the county!