Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One Step At A Time...

'Put one foot in front of the other..." and so goes the song from the movie Santa Claus is Coming To Town.

That's the way I've approached my writing life.

At first it was all about the writing. I was thrilled when I realized I'd written two books in the fall of 2007 and two more in the first half of 2008. But now what? I'd been approached about a submission call; would one of my stories fit the criteria?

And so I screwed up my courage and sent them all out. One by one the rejections came. I had a snarky moment and sent one story out again. Lo and behold....it was accepted!

My goals for 2009 were simple: Get my contract, do my edits, promote it everywhere, and submit the second one, hopefully spacing the release dates several months apart. Didn't quite happen that way, but I did get another contract, in order to finish the year. I've also written two more books this past year, both sequels to the first published one. Again, didn't plan it that way, but I'm thrilled with the way everything came together.

So what's in store for 2010?
Besides filling out my cover art form and getting ready for edits again, I plan to finish a few more wips and submit more stories this year. Again, I'll be thrilled with two releases. I don't think I'm ready for the 'Book of the Month Club' yet.

As a reader, I hope the economy is better in the coming year, so I can offord to buy more books on my TBB list. And maybe buy an e-reader. I also want to attend more craft fairs in towns other than the ones I normally do, in order to reach a broader audience.

On the home front, Fall 2009 was non-stop nagfest. My oldest had several deadlines to meet, and I was constantly asking him:
-Are you signed up for the SAT's?
-Have you gotten your college application sent?
-Get cracking on your final Eagle Scout requirement!
-Send off your SAT scores!
-Turn in your BSA paperwork!
-Keep your appointment for your Senior Pictures!
-Turn in your National Honor Society paperwork!
-Any word from Purdue yet?
-Call the guidence offiice, concerning your chosen major!
-Humor your mother and go get fitted for a tuxedo if you intend to take your girlfriend to the dance.

This coming semester will be more of the same:
-Bring home the financial aid/scholorship papers so we can get them filled out and sent in.
-Send out the invitations to your Eagle ceremony, and pray we didn't pick a date that coincides with bad weather.
-Tell me who is on YOUR list for graduation announcements.
-You want to do what for Spring Break?

And for my daughter, she will be taking driver's ed next spring, which means taking her to get her permit and allowing her practice driving time. And if the youngest expresses interest in baseball, well there's another set of committments for us to juggle!

My hair might be completely gray by June.

Oh, and did I mention I'd like to attend RomantiCon next October?

To Sum Up:
Kenzie resolves to:
-get one child off to college
-get another one to be a safe and responsible driver
-attend signings and at least one convention!

The Sprin

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

PC Christmas??

Merry Christmas
Happy Holidays
Season's Greetings
Happy New Year

Which one do you prefer?

Several years ago, I got tired of saying Merry Christmas and thought I was being more creative by saying 'Happy Holidays' wherever I went. Imagine my shock when I discovered it was not 'Politically Correct' to wish those around me Merry Christmas, because I might 'offend' someone who practiced Hanukkah or Kwanza, or was even an atheist. And since I happen to be a devout Christian who is appalled at the ACLU's attempt to remove God from everything and thereby destroying humanity, I've returned to MERRY CHRISTMAS.

I'm a Christian and proud of it. And I think we've gotten so worried about offending everyone else, we're willing to set aside our beliefs? Give me a break! We're in the midst of a crisis. America is in danger of losing her moral compass. You're offended by public prayer? Fine; don't pray. You don't want to say 'Under God'? Skip that part. Don't agree with our National Anthem? Fine; don't sing. Just stand there respectfully. But don't take away my right to show a moment of silence for the fallen and let me honor my flag.

And for the record, I may not be Jewish, but I love Hanukkah. I've played the dreidle, eaten honey cake and potato latkes. And thanks to a lesson on the Passover, I discovered I love lamb. Several years ago, my neighbors were from Ethiopia and we were fortunate to share in some of their cultural traditions.

It's Christmas, people. Let this be a time of coming together to celebrate whatever your beliefs say about this time of year. Let's not slam each other's views and be an 'us against them' mentality. Instead, this is a time of celebration and family.

Merry Christmas Charlie Brown!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

This One's For Mia:)

Mia Watts tagged me for this writer's MeMe. Since Molly took some of my answers, I tried not to get too repetitive:)

1. What’s the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?

The last thing I wrote was Class Reunion. The first thing I ever wrote was Wild At Heart.

2. Write poetry?

Every once in a while. Some are better than others.

3. Angsty poetry?

Only one or two.

4. Favorite genre of writing?

Contemporary Romance

5. Most annoying character you’ve ever created?

Either Melanie from Teacher’s Pet or Paul from Class Reunion. They’re both annoying. Paul, because he whines, and Melanie, because she won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.

6. Best plot you’ve ever created?

Personally, I love my Reunion story!

7. Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?

Male model/stripper meets and falls for Christian Inspirational author. I’m on chapter three.

8. How often do you get writer’s block?

Too often to count.

9. Write fan fiction?

The one and only story I ever wrote based on the characters from Star Wars showed me I was destined for the romance angle!

10. Do you type or write by hand?

Both. It depends on if the computer is available when I get the brainstorm.

11. Do you save everything you write?


12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you’ve abandoned it?


13. What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?

I still love Wild At Heart. Part of it takes place in Colorado and features my dad’s favorite restaurant!

14. What’s everyone else’s favorite story that you’ve written?

According to published reviews, they all love All She Ever Wanted. And my old crit partner LOVED Teacher’s Pet…at least what she read of it. She ended up getting published first and was too busy to critique the rest of it.

15. Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

Molly’s Arbor U might be considered angsty; I’ve also got a YA story in the works. Don’t know when I’ll get around to finishing it.

16. What’s your favorite setting for your characters?

Small town Indiana, Florida, Colorado.

17. How many writing projects are you working on right now?

Two. I’m editing Teacher’s Pet and after the holidays I’ll probably get back to work on Model Behavior.

18. Have you ever won an award for your writing?

Not an actual award, but All She Ever Wanted went to #3 on the Best Seller’s list! Does that count?

19. What are your five favorite words?

And, Then, Christ, God, Sure.

20. What character have you created that is most like yourself?

All of my characters have a little bit of ‘me’ in them, ha ha!

21. Where do you get ideas for your characters?

Past experiences, Life.

22. Do you ever write based on your dreams?

Once in a while I’ll dream about my characters, and write about it the next day.

23. Do you favor happy endings?

I’ve written happy and sad endings, but I usually end up changing the sad ones to Happy For Now, in order to please the crit partners.

24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Yes. It drives me crazy to see those lines in the word document! I often reread what I’ve written the day before and will correct any obvious mistakes before continuing. Even during NaNo (hangs head in shame)

25. Does music help you write?

Yes. It helps the creativity, and I usually end up blocking everything out once the story is flowing.

26. Quote something you’ve written. Whatever pops into your head.

From Class Reunion:
“Here’s the thing: We’re both single, in our forties, and established in our jobs. Just because we’re attracted to each other doesn’t mean there has to be a romantic connection, does there?”
“Gee, Brian, you put it like that, why not just hire an escort for the evening?” Pushing her hurt feelings aside, she stared at him. “We’re both caught up in the moment, let’s just go fuck each other and see you again in five years? Sorry; I don’t operate like that.”

Hmmm...who's not been tagged yet? Carol P, James, and Travis.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Buffet

Mashed Potatoes
Deviled Eggs
Christmas Cookies

So many treats to choose from!

Some years I get sick of turkey and ham, and so does my family. We've been known to eat pork loin, steaks, Mexican (last year; mom's oven wouldn't work!), and Itallian.

When I was younger, Mom would fix me lamb chops. And I discovered I have a great love for potato latkes.

But my all time favorite food this time of year?

My birthday cake! And I get to eat it twice, since my oldest son shares my birth month:)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dear Santa....

The following items will help me further my writing career:
-AlphaSmart, so I can write wherever I happen to be, and don't have to decipher my own handwriting;
-E-Reader, so I can demonstrate to people the concept of an e-book, thus maybe encouraging others to buy one and therefore increasing my own sales;
-Printer, so I may print out my documents as to easily catch my typos and other mistakes;
-Ink for said printer, or at least a year's worth of toner, should you be sweet enough to provide a laser printer, rather than ink-jet;
-Gift cards from my favorite book stores, or simply money in general, so I may whittle down my TBB list to a more manageable level;
-Money for web hosting, so that all my readers can actually VIEW my website;
-Laptop, so I don't have to fight for computer time;
and finally, I need the gift of TIME, so I can get everything done?

Thank you so much for the huge box of paper two years ago, before the printer died. It is still safe and sound under my desk! And thank you for the new computer last year. It is still in good digital health. And also, thank you for the early present this year, the new contract for my next book.

And as always Santa, remember my birthday is in this month too?

Merry Christmas,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cruel and Unusual Punishment??

You be the judge. Here's how the first week of December habitually goes at our house:

Weekend After Thanksgiving:
Boxes are hauled out of storage; the tree is put up. Lights and decorations follow. No one can sit anywhere until the tree skirt is unearthed and the tree placed in position. The couch might be accessable at this point.

Step #2 is the outside decorations. My SU (Spousal Unit) and oldest son go out to hang the lights, the garland, while I dig out the wreath hangers and decide which wreath to hang on which door. If the window stickers are desired, the kids decorate the front window with Santa, reindeer, and snowflakes. One year we even had fake snow.

Step #3 is the archway and my snow village. In past Christmases, putting up the snow village involved taking down the train set or mess on top of the train set; unrolling the glittery 'snow' blanket, and locating yet another extension cord so my church, southern mansion, and whatever other building I've acquired can be lit. (I've not seen my village in over three years; we have no room in the new house. HOWEVER...we've cleared a spot for the lighted buildings and nutcrackers. YAY!!)

Step #4 takes place beginning December 1st. I bake anywhere from 5 to ten dozen cookies per day, ranging from chocolate chip to sugar to oatmeal raisin to M&M and butterscotch chip. Here's where the 'punishment' comes in: No one is allowed to eat any of them, until they are counted and separated into categories: Teachers, friends, family, and other. Once the first three categories have their quota, the rest are up for grabs.

Can you hear the groans?

"Are you serious? But Mom...I'm your official Cookie Tester! You can't hand out defective cookies! That wouldn't be right!"

And then there's my SU's ploy: "Oops, this one has a bad spot. I'm honor-bound to eat it."

Yes, some of them get consumed without my knowledge. That's okay; it simply means I get to make more the next day:) And besides, I 'sample' enough raw cookie dough, so I'm guilty of playing with the final outcome:)

And my personal motto: I'm allowed to lie to the kids at Christmas and on Birthdays. So that book I carried in from Stephanie Meyers? No, it's not for you; it's for your cousin, who ALSO likes the series! That DVD you caught me smuggling into the cart? It's for Grandpa.

We also have two birthdays on top of all this madness. My son K's is first, so there will be a nice dinner party with the grandparents, and ice cream and cake at home with some of his friends. Last year he got Rock Band, so there was a rock concert in the living room. The adults hid in the kitchen and consumed wine and Tirumusu.

A week later, it's my turn. Last year, we had an Adult's Night Out and tried out a restaurant I'd wanted to go to ever since it opened. This year, my day falls on a Saturday, so I'll probably share my birthday dinner with K's, and either attend my family's Christmas party at my aunt's house or celebrate at home with the kids. And yes, I insist on my store-bought chocolate cake. Last year I had Indiana Jones on it. This year? Undecided. Wonder if there's a 'Team Jacob' cake? I'll take a warm, snuggly werewolf over an icy cold vampire! Unless it's one of Dakota's...but lately hers are gay.

I Received An Early Christmas/Birthday Gift!
Teacher's Pet has a contract! Woo hoo! Molly posted the blurb on her site, since I'm still not getting much traffic. Or at least, a lot of lurkers who refuse to say hi, lol:) Of course, it would help if I'd advertize a little more! I'll have to do that next year.

I also finished Class Reunion, the sequel to All She Ever Wanted. And since Austin from Off The Clock showed up, that series now has three books. Did NOT see that coming when I created Marc and Amber! Wonder what else the coming year has in store for me? Wait and see.

In the meantime, I'm off to go drag out my tree; I was busy writing this past weekend and tending to the MIL, who was released from the hospital on Sunday. I'm playing catch-up this week, and trying to stay warm.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Give Thanks For...

Being born in the USA
The love of my family
Having the freedom of religion
Having a roof over our heads, clothing on our backs, and food on the table
Healthy, well-adjusted kids
Having the freedom to stay home and raise my children
My creative brain, even when it wakes me up at 3am, demanding my attention
My healthy body, even though it lets me down once or twice a year
My friends, both old and new, and those I've never met in person
Vehicles which get us from Point A to Point B

Thanksgiving Day has always meant a family gathering of some kind, even though one of my favorites involved a motel stay and all the pool time we wanted. Another one was spent in front of the TV, watching cable television for the first time.

It's just not Thanksgiving without turkey, ham, potatoes, hot rolls, green beans, corn, and acres of desserts. Okay; maybe not acres, but plenty of pie, cake, brownie, and whipped cream. I'm not a pumpkin pie eater, but I will take a few spoonfuls of Cool Whip in a bowl!

Over the years, we've added our own touches: My MIL's noodles. Mom's shrimp coctail. My bacon-tomato cups. Daughter's brownies.

This year, we're having a pitch-in. Five families, or should I say households, are converging together to provide a feast. We're hosting and providing the turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, rolls, and appetizers. Household #2 is bringing the pies. Household #3, the stuffing and lemon cookies. HH#4, the green bean casserole and sweet potatoes. HH#5, the noodles. A sixth household has been invited, and told to bring whatever they wish. And every year, the 'strays' arrive, teenagers who know they will find laughter, friendship, and food at our house.

The door is open; come on over and enjoy our feast! I guarrantee you'll leave with a full stomach and as many leftovers as you can carry.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Dreams

My dreams have been active lately.

Monday morning, I'd dreamed of being in a huge, relaxing tub of water while catching up with my hero. Suddenly he joined me, and as the water slowly drained, made my body and soul sing with joy, love, and contentment of being with him again.

And then I woke up.

Tuesday night, I dreamed his office had an open house, and as I searched for his cubicle, the crowd thickened. I finally made my way to the parking lot and climbed in what I thought was his blue truck. As I'm backing out of the parking space, I happen to glance at the contents of a folder in the pocket of the door. It's not his; I hit the brakes and get out. (Weird...the man doesn't even drive a blue truck anymore; I changed it to a red SUV!)

Once again, I woke up.

And he's refusing to talk to me this week.

Maybe he's getting tired of having to take a back seat to all the family stuff which has been going on? Maybe he's frustrated by being drowned out by the news, SyFy Channel, and not-enough- hours-in-the-day issue? Or is it the fact that, once again, I have a goal and the family is doing everything in their power to sabatage it?

The only year that I've won NaNo (so far!) has been when I've had complete privacy. Next year, maybe I need to check into a hotel and hibernate for a month!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Time Management, Holiday Style

After the crazy month of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I take a break. From Dec 1st to Jan 2nd, the only writing I do is posting my blog, writing my annual Christmas Newsletter, and signing Christmas cards.

If the muse demands otherwise, then...yikes! When do I fit it all in?

It depends on how loud the muse is yelling in my ear. Sometimes I can get away with writing down the basics of the proposed storyline; I did this with Model Behavior. Other times if the need to write is too overwhelming, I'll simply have to take the time to get it out of my head, either typing it into a word document or in longhand.

But typically, I'm doing three things during the month of December: Baking cookies, shopping for Christmas presents, or on the weekends, partying with friends or family. The month of December is one big party at our house: My oldest son arrived on Dec 8th; I showed up on Dec 19th; we not only celebrate Christmas at home, but there are two more family parties where gifts are exchanged. And on New Year's Day, there is also a feast to be served up, and my SIL's birthday.

I have been known to be found curled up in a quiet corner during the 'down' time at family gatherings, writing in a notebook. Sometimes the muse just won't be ignored, even on Christmas. I've also been known to write in the car. It's whatever works for you. So far, I've been blessed not to have a deadline at this time of the year, other than the obvious ones.

But when that day arrives, I hope I'll be able to manage my time well, and maybe delegate the baking or wrapping to other family members!

"Author Working: Do Not Disturb".

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Drug of Choice: Writing!

She sits at her computer, fingers flying over the keyboard. Words flow from her brain to her fingertips, magically appearing onscreen in the form of paragraphs, dialogue, and sketchy description.

She gets up to stretch and to cool her parched throat with a cool drink, and maybe a chocolate chip cookie or two. More words are swirling in her brain, encouraging her to write them down.

She sits.

An hour passes; maybe more.

And suddenly, it's over. She's written 'The End'. But is it really? She stands up and stretches; even getting another snack. And reads over what she's written.

Oh my God...can it be? She loves it, feeling happy yet sad. Another 'perfect' story, one she's sure will bring joy and happiness to future readers. Time for a glass of wine and celebrate! Or even kick the kids out of the house in order to release some pent-up energy with her beloved and maybe even try out one of the bedroom scenes, to see if she got the details right. She insists on dinner out; this is a celebration. Culmination of the first phase of the journey.

Phase #2 is the email received several weeks later. "Here's your contract". Again, this is no time to cook. The family must take the ecstatic author-to-be out for dinner, and wine must be bought. Another celebration behind closed and locked doors, and she falls asleep, dreaming of adoring fans and checks arriving in the mail.

Phase #3 is after edits are completed. Yes, this stage has meant some teeth gnashing and threats made to family and friends who dare interrupt the 'think tank'; after all, only an editor can dare tell her 'this phrase could be worded better' or 'this ending sucks. I know you can do better than this!' Time for another fix...she sits down, shuts out LIFE and pulls from her brain a better word or phrase, and even gets snarky as she tries to finish her already 'perfect' ending. And suddenly, it comes to her! Hurrah! Finally done! More wine and chocolate is needed.

Phase #4: She receives her galley. Oh, it looks so pretty! The cover...the title...her name is on this book, which is about to be released soon! She spreads the word to friends and fans. Oh, she can't wait, and basks in the anticipation.

Phase #5: Release Day arrives. The phone rings off the hook; her inbox is loaded with congratulations. A party is planned; the family takes her out to dinner; more wine and chocolate are consumed. Her beloved wraps her in his arms and whispers, "I knew you could do it; I'm proud of you." She snuggles close, and dreams of being on Letterman.

Phase #6 is the interviews, the signings, and chats which follow, as people realize how wonderfully written the book is, and clamour for more. After a few weeks, the applause dies down and LIFE returns to normal again.

Phase #7 arrives in many forms: The first royalty check; the request for the next submission; fan mail.

Withdrawl symptoms can vary: Irritability; staring at empty monitor screen for hours; a clean house; taking long walks in hopes of jump-starting the creative process; depression and self-doubt.

But rest assured: Once the muse returns and the author is again pounding the keys in order to write as fast as the words can flow, the rollar coaster ride of life with an author will begin again.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Book Borrowing or Piracy?

I'm torn on this issue.

I see my fellow authors up in arms over the sites who have pirated their books, and the unscupulous readers who have bought them, robbing authors of needed sales money. Don't get me wrong; I'm definitely on their side when it comes to these thieves! After all, my alter-ego lost sales when one person bought a copy of her book and passed it around to her friends. However, one person DID go back and buy both copies.


She wanted to read it again.

I've been lucky to not have been pirated. Should I be insulted or grateful? Insulted, that no self-respecting e-book pirate thinks my work is worthy to be hijacked, or grateful I'm still a relative unknown in the business, and therefore left alone? Ah the dilemma...

Seriously, all kidding aside, here's the issue that has me on the fence. I just read on the Three Wicked Writers blog that the new B&N Nook e-reader allows books to be shared for two weeks. It treats the file just like an actual print book; once it's 'loaned out', the owner cannot read it. And like a library book, after the 14 days are up, the file disappears from the loanee's computer/iPod/e-reader. That's a wonderful idea!

I've borrowed many books from the library and other friends. If I liked the book, I went out and bought my own copy, plus the author went on my 'radar' whenever I entered a bookstore or heard news about them. Case in point: I never would have begun reading Danielle Steele, Jackie Collins, Lavryle Spencer, Cathering Coulter, Nora Roberts, Marion Keys, or even WEB Griffin, had someone not loaned me the first book.

Maybe it's just me; I'm a book-hog. Yes, I'll loan you any book I own, but I'd better get it back. I had to do something drastic back in the early 90's and sold an entire box of books to a used bookstore, simply so we could put food in the house. I'm still replacing those books. The spouse is never happy whenever I bring home books, because since the move, I no longer have the space to store them. They go into a box to be put in storage until we move again. HOWEVER...the books received from fellow authors get placed in my Festival Tote, the one which goes everywhere with me when I'm 'on tour', and they go on display. No, they are NOT for sale, but if anyone expresses interest, I offer to write down the author's name, website, or publisher on the back of my business card for them.

I'm also a music-hog. I have tapes labelled 'Off Radio' and the year recorded. I used to tape the American Top 100 every New Year's Day (this stopped when I married and we had to go out of town. No access to a radio station which carried it!), and have a wealth of music from 1980-1990. Some of the tapes are too fragile to be played; others are completely broken. But I also kept a chart! Am looking forward to the day when I get an iPod/MP3 and can get all my music in one place again! Same with my LP's, 45's, and the tapes and CD's I did buy.

My point to all this rambling is this: Just because music and books were available for FREE didn't mean I stopped buying them. Yes, there are some idiots out there who will never buy another book ('because I can get it here for free!'), but there are also those of us who will borrow books until we can afford to buy our own copy. Will the libraries start stocking e-books? They currently stock audio ones. Can the e-books be very far behind?

So in this case, there is no black-and-white answer. What's the difference between loaning a print book to a friend and sharing a file with someone who's never heard of the e-book concept? Will you introduce someone to a new author or will you get a nasty email from a publisher/author, accusing you of piracy? I don't know the answer; nor do I know if it will ever be resolved.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Erotica or Porn?

When I first began to write my work, I wondered how far to take the description of the sex act. Most of the books I was reading at the time described the foreplay, but only in general terms, and certainly not everything which can happen between two consenting adults.

I wanted to put in everything. The pearl necklace. Different positions. Sex toys. Graphic language. Light bondage.

But how much was too much? Did I really need to show someone who was determined not to lose their virginity having sex in other ways? Or did that cross the line into porn writing?

The first time I ever saw a dildo, I was appalled. Why would someone willingly have sex with a rubber penis when the REAL DEAL was so available (keep in mind, I was in my 20's and had no shortage of men in my life, lol!)?

But now I'm in my forties and can fully appreciate the use of one, thanks to the 'education' of Passion Parties and fellow authors' books. And it seems the line between porn and erotica is fragile; as long as there is romance in the act, it's acceptable.

Another issue is fidelity. The rules state that once the hero/heroine meet/attract/sleep together, there must be no intimacy with anyone else. So....does the book I wrote, tentatively titled 'Anatomy of an Affair' not count? He DOES stop sleeping with the wife, and ultimately divorces her. I'm not finished yet; this is the wip which is scarily and eerily mirroring a friend's life, minus the actual affair. I spiced it up to be a 'what-if' she crossed the line; guess some things doesn't matter if she stayes faithful or not. The bad things are still happening.

Anyway....where was I? Oh yeah...then there is the popular menage stories. Twenty years ago, threesomes were a 'hush-hush' topic. Now they are increasingly in demand. But what I want to know is, what happens if the two people of the same sex decide to swap 'roles'? You know; usually only one does the actual penetrating (from what I've read, anyway...maybe I need to read more??). What happens if one day he says to his buddy, 'Tonight, I want to make love to her; you only get her mouth.'? And there is another one where the heroine sleeps with each man, one at a time, only one is a D/s relationship, while the other's not. The non-D/s male wants to know why she seems more happy after her nights with her 'Master' and strives to be more dominant. Doesn't that count, or since the two males know about each other, it's not technically infidelity?

Maybe I need to investigate the meaning of 'erotica' vs 'erotic romance', since I came across this issue in another book two years ago?

So what do you find as 'too far over the line'?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

'I'm a Pepper, You're a Pepper, Wouldn't You Like To Be a Pepper Too?'

I'm a Frito-Lay/Pepsico brat. From the time I was fourteen until 2003, my dad worked at Frito-Lay. He brought home cases of chips every Wednesday, the day the employees were allowed to buy off the truck, and when I was in college, Dad would ask me every Sunday if my roommates and I wanted anything special.

We were among the first to try Funyuns and Wavy Lays.

Remember the Pepsi Challenge? For the record, I don't like carbonated beverages. It takes me about 90 minutes to drink a single can of Pepsi. But Coke isn't sweet enough; I once began a Cherry Coke at 8am and by 4pm still hadn't finished it.

What does this have to do with anything, you ask? I incorporate Frito-Lay/Pepsico products into my stories. Of course, once in a while a character will tell me they like Sprite instead of Sierra Mist, or Seven-Up. That's fine. I'll compensate by having them drive a Chevy. Or hating seafood.

I also like to add my favorite music into my stories. Anyone remember 'We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off' (1986) or Eddie Murphy's 'Party All The Time'? Who remembers that Don Johnson and Patrick Swayze both had hit singles; Don with "Heartbeat' in 1987 and Patrick with 'She's Like The Wind' in 1988?

If I venture into a setting other than someplace where I've been, I'll invent a restaurant. But if I've actually been to the city/state/vacation place, you can be sure of recognizing either landmarks or restaurants.

I'm not one for fashion or label-dropping. The occassional clothing line will sneak in, such as Lee Jeans or Nike/Reebox tennis shoes, but mostly the cologne scents will be named. I loved Aviance Night Musk. White Shoulders. Soft Musk (Avon). Georgio. Red. Polo. Obsession For Men. Halston (men and women's).

It's safer to be generic and vague about what a character is wearing, drinking, watching, etc. But sometimes the label throws a definite picture into the mind when you're reading. Lisa Logan does an excellend job of this in Grand Seduction.

Fortunately, my publisher doesn't need me to track down the trade marks of any labels I've thrown into my stories. But then again, if I stick with the ones I know, then there's no problem later, right?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Earth To Kenzie....

Here is my primary writing space. What you can't tell from the picture is to the left is the doorway to the living room.

Behind the chair is my daughter's bed, against the wall in a slight 'nook', next to a window seat.

To the right is the door to my bedroom and against the wall is two bookshelves filled with my youngest's toys.

When I'm by myself, I turn on the radio or a CD and write to anything from Lifehouse, Prince, Bon Jovi, Kelly Clarkson, Hinder, or whatever happens to be on the radio or whatever I pull out of the CD collection.

I used to write to Hooked On Classics while sitting alone in the living room (before computers) while my children napped. I also wrote some of my best work at the laundromat, listening to AC/DC, Duran Duran, and Don Hendley on the juke box, or whatever was playing until my selections were next.

At our old house, I had a spare bedroom where I'd hole up until the kids came home, or the dogs needed attention. Remember when internet was tied to the phone lines, and the only way people knew you were home was because of the busy signal? Thank god the dog barked if anyone came to the door; usually I had the music up so loud I didn't hear them knocking! But true friends knew where I was; they knew my dog was kind, and would just walk on in. Ah, the good old days!

Nowadays, I can be found typing at the computer with Fairly Odd Parents on the TV, or DIY, or SyFy channel. Or at my favorite coffee shop with the local radio station and conversations all around me.

I also used to write at the ball field, and once outlined an entire book while sitting in a bar, waiting for a job interview. I got the job, but didn't keep it long. I started working, only to discover I was pregnant again!

But why the title? I can successfully block out everything around me, and sometimes my family jokes the house could catch on fire and burn down around me before I'd notice. And that's only because the power would go out and I'd scream because I hadn't saved my document! 'Oh my...that's why I was coughing? I thought it was my asthma...'

Let's hope I never have to actually test that theory??

And by the way...my desk is a hell of a lot messier now! That pic was taken when we hooked up the new computer after Christmas! My desk resembles 'organized chaos'!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Plantzer Checking In

No, that is NOT a typo. I both Plot and Pantz; hence my word 'Plantz'.

When I first began writing, I'd start with a basic idea and write whatever the muse/characters whispered in my brain. My version of childhood fairy tales, English assignments, my year-long foray into Sci-Fi followed.

I soon branched into my alter-ego's series and soon discovered the issues dealing with a time-span of five years, plus the lives of six characters. Add to this confusion the fact I wrote the first four books out of order, and suddenly I had a severely mixed-up timeline. I needed a calendar of events.

On a sheet of paper (okay; four sheets!) I listed a vague, month by month outline of what issues each character was facing. Nothing specific; just a one line phrase. For example:
Aug 1985:
E: Feeling hostile about alcohol counseling
A: Matt comes home; only sees her three times in 2 week period
K: Meets Kyle
G: Nothing yet
C: Back solidly with Bryan
S: Nothing yet

I wrote Wild at Heart and my NaNo project, Teacher's Pet, off the top of my head. I let the characters lead me.

Appetite For Desire and All She Ever Wanted were inspired by a cooking muse (can you tell I was watching waaaaay too much Food Network in 2008, lol?) and started with snippets of conversations and some of my favorite recipes. I knew how each would end; what I didn't know was HOW they would get from sexual tension to HEA.

Last fall, I started six wips with nothing more than a slight character sketch. Guess what? They all stalled out on Ch 2, because I didn't have a clue where they were going and the characters refused to talk to me.

Edits and marketing for ASEW took over; writing took a back seat.

Off The Clock was a nice surprise, as was the morning a disgruntled worker demanded I write down his words. Model Behavior came to me during an insomniatic night (insomniac??), fully formed: The beginning, Chapters 2-5, and the ending. But before I could finish Ch 3, Class Reunion took over and I'm up to Ch 6. I know exactly how this will go, but the details are fuzzy and the 'outline' is in my head (unless you count the sketchy outline I sent to to person who inspired the story???). So is it considered to be 'plotted out'? I don't think so, since I don't know everything my characters will do in order to get to the HEA. I'm still writing it 'by the seat of my pants'.

Detailed outline= Plotter
Vague idea= Pantzer

Vague outline+ Vague idea= Plantzer

That's my story and I'm sticking to it:)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"I Confess...I Did It..."

Mistakes. Everyone makes them. Mine happen to be switching POV in mid-scene "head hopping" it's called, and telling the reader what is going on, rather than showing the action. I got the first one from the books I grew up with; undoubtedly, that's where I got the latter one as well!

I once proofread a manuscript which literally gave me a headache every time I tried to work on it. No capitals; no punctuation. But surprisingly enough, the author had studied (and retained!) paragraph structure and quotation/dialogue! But words were consistantly misspelled and the wrong tense frequently used. My brain went numb after half a page, trying to compensate. I wasn't sure if it was my job to take the figurative 'red pen' to her work.

Honestly, if it hadn't been for the adult content, a 3rd grader would have done a better job.

Helping my kids with their English homework has helped me 'brush up' on the grammer rules, although I still have trouble with 'objects', 'direct objects', and 'articles'. But 'noun', 'verb', 'adjective', 'adverb', 'prepostions'...I'm pretty confident.

I'm also fond of complex sentances, and was stunned during my final year of colege when a professor told me I had a run-on sentance. ME? No WAY! I read the thing out loud three times before my roommate suggested where to cut in half!

Some people have said a good way to catch your mistakes is to read your work backwards. I read mine out loud, or print it out and reread it. I've also sent it to a fresh pair of eyes, a trusted friend who hasn't read it before.

And rest assured...I've caught mistakes in some of my favorite print authors. Not every publisher/editor catches them. Just read books #1-3 of WEB Griffin's 'Men in Blue' series. A prominent character's last name changes in book #2, only to return to the original spelling in book #3 and beyond.

My dad pointed out he's caught mistakes in Stephen King's work, but his all-time fav was when he attended Purdue. His professor wrote the textbook, and on the first day of class, handed out an equally thick supplimental, in which he corrected all of his mistakes!

And sometimes the mistakes are accidental. My alter-ego was furious when she discovered her memory was faulty when she wrote her first book, and had the space shuttle Challenger exploding in 1985. She looked up the info, in order to spell an astronaught's name right...and lo and behold...it actually exploded in 1986! She sent the corrections to the publisher, and when the books were published, the mistake was left in. And when the editor tried to contact her before it went to print, communication/'office hours' was a problem. So in her first book, the incident occurs twice.

I figure there are three types of people:
-Ones that catch it and vow never to read her work again, based on one tiny error;
-Those who read it and think, 'Wait...didn't that already happen?'
-Those who don't catch it.

Do I quit reading an author just because I catch a mistake? No. Unless, of course, it's an ongoing issue with every single book!

Oh, and the author with the basic grammer issues? We no longer communicate. She found a better crit partner, and I've even bought two of her books, although I'm not thrilled with her writing style. Occassionally, I see emails from her on the loops and she's having some success, so more power to her. I tried to reach out and help her; she refused. I guess she's found friends more to her liking.

So don't sweat it if you make a mistake. As I told Stephanie last week; 'Don't get it right; get it written!'

A good editor/friend will help with the rest.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"But I Don't Wanna..."

Dear Kenzie,

I would like to offer you a conditional contract; conditional meaning you expand the plot. It seems rushed...

What? Add more scenes? You didn't like it the way it's written?

Sigh...okay; you're the boss, and if I want to see this published, then I'd better add something to it....

Dear Kenzie,

I know you have a better ending in you than this....

(Throws mouse across the room) What? It has the HEA! They ride off into the sunset....okay, they're actually looking at it...so what the hell's wrong NOW? Here's an ending for you..."And they lived happily ever after." Take THAT!

(Light bulb going on) Hold it...(typing madly) Woo Hoo! How's this for an inspired ending?

Dear Kenzie,

LOL:) I love it! Good job!

You guessed it; how could anyone NOT love any words which pour from my fingertips? Okay; I'll admit it. Expanding the plot was a good idea; it made for a much better story. And yes, the (new) ending was brilliant, however temper-tantrum induced!

And yes, rewriting is not easy for me. I love the way I wrote the story, and only on occassion will I rip the entire thing apart and redo major chunks. Case in point: Molly's 3rd book, Forbidden Love. First I wrote the thing. Then I decided Kyle needed a voice, and inserted his POV in selected spots. Third, after feedback, I took the advice of others and cut the first six chapters. Last, I deleted the final four chapters, making some revisions to a beloved sex scene, and adding another scene. Am I happy with it? Sort of. I haven't screwed up the courage to send it off yet.

My Wild At Heart has had many negative comments. I did update the first chapter, and made some minor changes to Steve's prison charges. But as he doesn't become 'lovable' until chapter 3, no one wants to read past Ch. 1. And since I love the way I laid it out, it has been languising on my flash drive, stuck in limbo until Inspiration Strikes.

Maybe I need a ghost writer?

So yes, I AM capable of rewrites. Especially when publication is looming. And as my editor can attest, my tantrums don't last long...hell, he doesn't even know about half of them! Don't tell him; he thinks I'm easy to work with! Which I am...just don't come around me when I'm in the middle of the rewrite. It ain't pretty.

Now I'm waiting for that elusive email again...

Dear Kenzie,

We would be pleased to offer you a contract for Teacher's Pet....

Crossing my fingers it arrives soon!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I've finally felt the sting of betrayal.

The first time I ever finished a book and felt 'WTF...???', I simply decided to read the author's next work and give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, the excerpt certainly caught my attention!

But no...book 2 had me shaking my head and wondering why they felt the need to write the story? And why did the publisher feel the need to publish it?

But maybe it was just me. And for the record, I doubt I'll ever read any of that author's work again.

But now I've come up against another one. And this time while I like the story, I'm scratching my head over the way it is being published.

Again, I'm not going to mention names. I've read this author's other work and enjoyed it. The books weren't my favorites, but I kept them around. And really looked forward to her new series. But here's my issue: They are not what I would call 'books'; they are more like single chapters being marketed as books. Remember the continuing stories in magazines/newspapers? You'd read a scene or a chapter one day and then find out what happens next when the new issue was out? This is what this feels like.

Only...I don't know about you, but I've certainly proved I can knock out 8-10 pages a week while the story's 'hot' in my brain. So why is it taking so long for the author to get these out? From what I've read so far, the heroine has to endure several 'stages' of sexual encounters in order for a certain ceremony to be 'complete'. In the first 'chapter', she was introduced to three men and instructed to learn self-control (which she did, and was 'rewarded' at the end). In the second 'chapter', she had been allowed a resting period, before being returned to the men and this time she witnessed a sex act while being 'stimulated'. 'Chapter' ended with the appearance of a fourth being.

So....I have it on good authority that the 3rd and 4th 'installments' are going to be published soon. Let me guess....the mysterious being will either have sex with her or let one or more men 'enjoy' her while he watches. Will she actually have sex with one of the men? Will she form a connection with the one whose cock she will finally take inside her body? Will she be part of a threesome?

Where is the romance? Is it still to come (ha ha...)? Why wasn't this written 'all at once', instead of dragging this out?

Therein lies the betrayal. I was expecting one thing and got something totally different. The ONLY reason I'll keep reading is to see how far this drags out. But I think I'm done with this author.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Daily Life and Fighting for Writing Time...

"Mom, can I check my MySpace?"

"Can I talk to you? I'm tired of looking at the back of your head!"

"Mom, I need the computer for homework..."

It used to be so easy. I'd fire up the computer (and let it 'warm up' for about five minutes while it loaded...I'd finish watching the news or drink another cup of coffee, or even do the dishes! Remember those days?) and bring up my MS Works document. Or WordPad. And turn on some music and let the words flow.

And then we got internet. Suddenly, I check my email and read everything my friends sent me. I'd write for a while, and check it again, wincing if an IM popped up (I finally learned how to 'be invisible' on the AOL IM!)

Total 'goof-off' time: 30 minutes, tops.

And...the phone wouldn't ring, because the internet was tied to my landline. My friends knew I was home because of the continuous busy signal.

Fast-forward six years.

The computer now takes about six seconds to load; I get on, I check my email. I delete quite a bit, thanks to certain SPAM, or a few friends who still insist on sending certain forwards I recognize. Others I briefly skim before hitting the delete button, or, if it particularly funny, I'll pass it on to a few choice friends on my list.

Next I move onto my blog. It usually takes me half an hour or so to post. Then I'll grab another cup of coffee and start reading my favorite ones, in order to see what my friends are doing. If there's a new release, I'll make a note of it. If I think of a comment, I do so and move on.

If I have something to post on 'my day' here, I'll post it afterwards. And then it's on to FaceBook.

I'll scroll down, reading and commenting on any new status updates, and write my own. Then I copy and paste my blog entry(ies).

One more email to check in with, and oh yes...this is my publisher's forum month, so I log in and check to see if anyone's visited any of the threads. I'll comment, or as was the case today, post a new entry. If there's been an interesting thread on any chat loop digest, I'll pop over and chime in.

Total 'goof-off' time: 2-3 hours. But wait...this is part of my job, so it doesn't count! It's the business side of my job, to connect with readers, get advice, and stay in touch with friends!

I get up to stretch, take a break. The floors could really use a vacuum cleaner; the pets need water. Sometimes I'll start the laundry. Put away the coffee maker, decide what to fix for dinner. Oh, it's noon? Time to fix myself some lunch.

While I'm eating, I'll plug in my e-book flash drive and read a few chapters of the book I'm reading.

Afterwards, I'll eject it and pop in my 'document' flash. I'll read over what I've written the previous day and get to work for about an hour.

Okay...now it's after 1? Let's check in with the blogs, email, and FaceBook again....and go back to the wip. At 2:15 I go get in the car to go pick up my youngest from school. I can work for another forty-five minutes before the teens get home, and the above arguements are expressed.

Sometimes after dinner I'll get lucky again and no one will be on the computer. I check the email, blogs, and yes, sometimes FB again, before the flash is plugged in and I might write a few more sentences.

So you be the judge...am I goofing off too much, or is anywhere from 600-1500 words a good average? If the words are flowing, I can knock out a book in about 4-5 weeks. If they aren't coming, sometimes it will be years.

And darn it...where are the housecleaning Brownies? I'm working!

Sigh...off to clean the floors...I can't tell what color the carpet is anymore, and even the dog is complaining! (Just kidding!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

No Man Is An Island...

(Head slap...) I totally forgot to mention I was interviewed yesterday on Ashley Ladd's blog! If you get a chance, stop by (scroll down to Sept 8th) and say hi?

I'm also posting in the Reader's Retreat over at Coffee Time Romance with my fellow Freya's Bower authors. Here's the link:
http://www.coffeeti meromance. com/board/ forumdisplay. php?f=14 we'll be there until the 20th:)

Life would get pretty dull if we had no one to talk to, right?

Remember the movie Castaway? Tom Hanks ends up painting a face on a volleyball and talking to him, even crying when 'Wilson' floats away after he's gotten over the reef in attempt to be rescued.

Humans are social creatures. And in order to write an interesting book, we have to have our main characters, but in order to understand them a little better, we need to see them interacting with friends and family. Enemies. People you pass on the street.

Secondary characters add depth to your story, and yes, even provide comic relief. I loooooooove Kelly Kirch's Puck character in Marriage Plot, and wish she would write another story around him. He was funny; he pursued his woman in the background, and was loyal to his friend Nicholas.

I was thrilled to learn two of my fellow authors actually bought and read All She Ever Wanted, and emailed me privately, asking for a sequel. Seems they were intrigued by one of the characters, mentioned late in the story, and want to see why he's the way he is.

You may get your wish; I was beginning to write a story, based on an idea I had thrown at me by a former classmate, and wrote a few scenes. But it didn't really come together until I received the email. I went back, changed the main character's name....and suddenly, I can't seem to stop writing!

But honestly, can you imagine Harry Potter without Neville or Luna? How about Scarlett without Prissy or Mammy? Mystic Valley without Tyger, Lyon, or any of the rest of Jade's children? Or even Came-A-Lot without Pansy the Tooth Fairy? Emery Hall without Bonnie, the Resident Assistant? Eureka's Cafe Diem without the customers?

Okay...bear with me...I feel a PBS flashback...'who are the people in your neighborhood...'

Everyone around you adds to your lives, whether you're conscious of it or not. Why should it be any different in the lives of the characters we're creating?

Who are some of YOUR favorite secondary characters? Think about that the next time you fall in love with a book.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Someday My Prince Will Come" or "Love is a Battlefield"?

Which one of those songs describes your favorite heroine?

Snow White, Cinderella, Jasmine, and older romance book heroines were the 'damsels in distress', waiting for their heroes to rescue them. Today's heroines are more like Lara Croft. They strike back at the bad guys; act as if they don't need the knight in shining armor; and aren't afraid to go after what they want.

Yesterday's romance females tended to be big-breasted, always had torn bodices, and were always getting themselves into predicaments. Sometimes you wanted to slap them silly for the choices they make, and in some cases, wonder why the hero would even bother with a 'TSTL' female?

But thankfully, times have changed. Today's romance leads are strong women who (sometimes) know what they seek and go after it. Sometimes what they want is right in front of them and they don't discover it until the end of the book, but hey...sometimes it happens.

Since I gave you a description of a hero last week, here's the heroine:

Physical Attributes:
Then: Heaving bosoms, slender, beauty-queen looks
Now: Average, not-so-slim, and is beautiful to the hero. She may or may not be aware of her looks.

Character Development:
Flawed judgement, especially in family matters or their perceptions of the situation. May not want a man, but find themselves undeniably attracted to one particular man, many times entering into a 'love/hate' situation: I hate to love you, and hate it when my body betrays myself and I fall into your arms against my will...and I can't believe we just slept together even though I've sworn to never fall for your kind ever again!

Disney is catching on to today's heroines, starting with Belle, Pochohontas, and Mulan.

And I've even found myself head over heels for someone I've sworn to 'never go out with', yet ended up in a long-term, satisfying friendship with this person. Okay; two persons. Based on one disastrous childhood 'trauma', I swore to never date a jock. Well guess what? In high school, I ended up being best friends with the Number One Basketball Player. And I ended up marrying a football player who at one time was being seriously considered by the Houston Oilers. Love works in mysterious ways, doesn't it?

Never say never. It will come back to haunt you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Writer's Guide to Creating a Hero

Physical Requirements:
-6 feet tall or more
-Expressive eyes; color not important
-Kissable lips
-Broad shoulders
-Light sprinkling of chest hair (or none)
-Lean muscles; no Mr. Universe wannabees
-8-10" cock (or at least have a 'massive' erection)

Character/Personality Traits:
-Must be flawed, either by past hurt or misunderstanding/lapse in judgement
-Kind, but staunch defender of values
-Willing to do Whatever It Takes to keep chosen female in his life
-Carry a never-ending supply of condoms
-Must be a committment-phobe before meeting said female (in some books, anyway!)
-Occupation: Doesn't matter.
-Oh yeah; must be SINGLE! Don't want any cheaters here...then he gets downgraded to the 'slimy ex-prick' status.

Sprinkle in hair color, eye color, a chance encounter with female, and heart-stopping, instant connection, along with mind-blowing sex and you've accomplished your goal: An erotic romance hero.

Some authors build their stories around heroes with money, be it any high-powered career. Others go for Public Service. Some go for the blue collar man. They all have the above characteristics and fall head over heels in love with the woman (or man!) of their choice. Yes, M/M is hot right now, as is M/M/F or M/F/M. Don't understand the difference? Ask Brynn. She'll tell you:)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sex Sex and More Sex

Have I got your attention now? Or totally turned you off?

"Oh God....not another essay on sex, please..."

"Sex? (Heavy panting) Bring it on, baby!"

"Kenzie...what are you up to now...?"

Face it people; sex is all around us, even if when TV debuted, married couples had to be shown in separate beds. So how did Lucy end up 'in the family way'?? And did you know that Fred and Wilma Flintstone were the first married couple to share a bed on TV? Trust cartoons to shatter the tabboo...

In older romance novels and movies, what happens in the bedroom is behind closed doors. The music swells, the camera fades to black or pans upward toward the stars...and the next day the couple is shown with blissful, sappy smiles and holding hands. In books, the act is described in pretty vague terms, and certainly not until 'I love you' or even 'I do' has been uttered.

The first romance book I ever read was The Flame and the Flower, and the first sex scene is pretty much a rape, because the hero has mistaken his virginal visitor for a prostitute. And when she escaped the next day, he looked all over for her, finding her about the same time her family realized she was pregnant. Eventually they learned to love each other, but the sex scenes were more sensual; no mention of certain slang terms.

First Love by Judy Blume came along, and while body parts and the eventual act itself was described, it was all very loving and girls my age couldn't wait until we fell in love enough to give ourselves to our one true love.

Valley of the Horses by Jean M Aul really opened the bedroom door for me. This is what I wanted; several pages of what went on between two consenting adults in the bedroom, er, cave.

And so I started writing.

The first book my alter ego submitted to an agent, he admitted he blushed several times, and labelled it Erotic Romance. I was surprised; I hadn't been introduced to the erotic romance genre yet, and thought erotic meant it belonged in Men's Magazines! Two years later, I learned about the online publisher Ellora's Cave and read some of their excerpts. I blushed; I wasn't raised with some of the language used, but kept returning to the site. And finally, bought my first two books.

I was instantly hooked.

As I said last week, my first attempt was written in longhand, while locked in my bedroom. I didn't want the kids, or even my husband to know what I was writing. But in 2007, I'd read enough books to become slightly more comfortable with the terminology, and now have no problem writing it on the computer, at my desk, where anyone can view it. (Although, if the kids are near, I'll use discretion if I'm writing the sex scenes. S snuck up on me once and yelled, 'Oh my gawd...Mom's writing porn!')

Speaking it, I have more issues. I was on a friend's blogtalk radio show in April, and when I chose the excerpt to read, I'd forgotten it contained both 'pussy' and 'cock'. I sort of exhaled when I said those words, and rushed through that paragraph, but thankfully they were only mentioned once; I was alone in my house and was recovering from laryngitis. Later, T told me he heard his producer, rather startled, in his ear, 'Pussy and Cock at almost 3 in the afternoon...Okay!' And in later shows, featured guests whose frequent use of the word 'Fuck' jolted me out of the top 'shocker' spot and I'm actually one of his tamer shows! I've since told him that if he ever has me on again, to put me in a 10pm slot, lol:)

But the point I'm trying to make is this: Whether you like your written sex sweet and fifties' style, sensual and mainstreamy-like, or in-your-face-bedroom-wide-open-use-oven-mitts-while-reading-or-at-least-have-the-air-conditioning-on, it's out there.

And I'm on the tamer side of the burning-up-the-pages-scenes. Yes, I've written four books which my mother will NEVER read (or if she does, she'll blush profusely, call me up and yell at me for the language, and then smile when I tell her about reviews or sales), and I AM capable of keeping the heat level up. But I've noticed this comes in cycles. Sometimes I don't want to read about every time my hero and heroine copulate; the first two times are fine, unless they decide to go at it in a differnt location, or play around with sex toys.

But other times, yeah...bring it on!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Name is Louisa Judy Lavryle Nora Mary....

...and I'm an author.

My all-time favorite author is Louisa May Alcott. My copy of Little Women has been read so many times, the cover is completely gone, and there is duct tape on the spine. I think the first illustration, copywrite page, and other 'cover' pages are missing.

I checked out her biography so many times in the library, my name was the only one on the checkout card, in my childish, 4th-grade handwriting.

My entire library of LMA books is mismatched. Every time I'd find one I didn't have at a garage sale, I'd buy it. Some collector is probably furious with me for buying only Eight Cousins instead of the entire set. But that was before I learned the value of keeping a matched set together! (And yes...I'm slightly irritated with my high school self too...)

Anyway...I wanted Meg's wisdom; Jo's ability to write; Beth's musical talent; and Amy's name. Later I would also envy Amy marrying Laurie Lawrence! But I digress.

In the 6th grade, I was introduced to Judy Blume. She took ordinary, flawed girls and showed how other issues besides boyfriend or popularity problems could be dealt with effectively. In fact, when I began writing, I patterned book #3 of my AU series after her controversial First Love book, which chronicled a HS senior losing her virginity.

When I finished the 6th grade, my mom let me read Kathleen Woodiwiss' The Flame and the Flower. I was instantly hooked on romance. But I don't care to write historicals; too much research. I did, however, fall in love with the Civil War era, and was soon allowed to watch all of Gone With The Wind. I was always sent to bed after the war was over, but stayed awake to listen to the rest. I always wondered what the big deal was about the staircase scene; I'd gotten up during Rhett and Scarlett's 'fight' and Mom discovered me in the hallway as Rhett carried Scarlett up the stairs.

In college, I read my first Danielle Steele book, but soon discovered I didn't like the guilt the heroines always felt. After college, a friend introduced me to Lavryle Spencer, and I instantly fell in love. Separate Beds. Hummingbird. The Hellion. Three of my favorites of hers, as well as Family Blessings. When she retired, I thought, 'I can take her place!' I had three books under my belt at that time, and was working on completing #4.

During the same period, my mom gave me my first Nora Roberts book, Montana Sky. I now own many Nora books, and my favorites include the Key Trilogy and the Sister Trilogy (Megan, Kate, and Laura).

And among the erotica authors? Take a look to the left. I started an erotica on the sly after reading Mary Winter's Water Lust. I still haven't finished it; I wrote it in longhand and in private, as I blushed every time I used certain words. And as I continued to read other authors' work, I continued to write and worked up the nerve to submit some of it. All because a certain author dared me to challenge myself, to see if I could keep the heat level up. And promptly 'borrowed' my idea, but the stories are in no way the same, so I'm not upset. Initially, yes. But I got over it.

So there you have it. Influenced by many, but my voice is my own. Maybe someday there will be someone saying, 'Thanks Kenzie, for inspiring me'??

Thank you Louisa, Judy, Lavryle, Nora, and Mary! And to Brynn, Bron, Kelly, Anny, etc for furthering the 'corruption', ha ha! Seriously, if any of my books get to be half as beloved as yours, I'll be thrilled!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wired Differently?

I guess history does repeat itself.

Growing up, I marched to my own drummer, or at least seemed to be either ahead of the times or lagging behind; you be the judge.

In school, even though I wanted to 'fit in', my best friends were mainly guys. I wore what I was comfortable in. I read books and wrote nonstop.

As a young adult, I was slightly fashion-conscious, and when I found a brand of clothing I liked, I pretty much wore nothing else. And continued to read books and write nearly nonstop.

Over the past year, I've studied other published authors; we've become close friends; I've finally written something publishable. So why the small gripe?

Over and over I hear others complain about the mainstream published books and the head-hopping; the not-always-HEA; the 'obvious' mistakes; and how they will quit reading a book because of it. Or give up on an author mainly because they've 'betrayed' them somehow.

I guess I'm still inexperienced enough not to let these issues get to me. Yes, I've noticed a slight tendancy over the years to think in the back of my mind, 'I would have worded this differently; like this...' or throw the book across the room (not literally) if I was unhappy with the ending. But the only times I've 'given up' on a particular author was 1) when every book dealt around something which didn't particularly interest me; 2) I didn't like the way the series was going; or 3) I discovered I was mislead by the blurb or excerpt and it wasn't to my liking, after all. And to be honest, I've only found one author who I will NEVER read again, strictly because this author's work is unappealing to me. I never even made it through his first book, and when his books arrive on the bookstore shelves, I skip over them. I don't even admire the covers.

But for the record, I don't mind an unhappy ending, especially if it ties up loose ends; the only books where the writing drives me slightly crazy are the 1st drafts of authors who can't spell or use punctuation/grammer properly (I'm not talking typos here...I mean throughout the entire 20+pages!); I don't mind the head-hopping, as I have no problem keeping the characters straight!

And in college, I was puzzled by my fellow classmates' 'confusion' when we had to read 'Common Ground', a book about the integration/bussing issues in Boston during the 1960's. The book showed three different families and how the issue affected them, alternating chapters. I was the only one, it seemed, who read the entire thing cover to cover and had no problem following the storylines of all three families, even when a fourth POV was introduced halfway. The only time I skipped around was while I was writing my paper, and that was stricly for footnotes, and to make sure I had my facts straight.

I guess I'm just wired differently.

Chalk it up to inexperience, ADD, early menapause, or whatever. I'm just getting tired of hearing about it and others who chime in to agree all the time. This is the way I am; I might comment and risk being ridiculed, but for the most part I stay silent.

Until now. I just couldn't hold it in anymore.

Friday, August 7, 2009

And The Winner Is...

I picked two random winners; one from last night's chat and the other from Raine's interview.

Winner from the chat:

Carol P!

Winner from the interview:


Thanks for a wonderful chat last night; I hope no one felt left out or ignored. I am so touched and honored that everyone showed up and a good time was had by all! And what I enjoyed the most was finally being able to post excerpts with everyone! Great way to end a week:)

Now I'm waiting to hear whether or not Teacher's Pet is publishable. Here's hoping!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Scenic View

How do I set the scene? I look at it through my characters' eyes. Lately they've all been in small towns, but as is the case of Wild At Heart, they ended up in Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. I hadn't intended on traveling to another state; Brad just decided to go on his own. And while he was there, he met Emma.

Since I had been to RMNP as recently as 2002, I had a clear idea of what the place looked like. And it only took a few phone calls to my mother and a call to our favorite steak restaurant in Estes Park to get a few details straight.

But usually as I'm writing, the scenery will set itself; all I have to do is describe it.

Now when it comes to describing clothing or home furnishings...that's a different matter. I was not blessed with the fashion-conscious gene, nor the decorating one. If I get bogged down, I'll turn to either a magazine or remember a friend's color scheme that I admired. And once in a while, the character will tell me what she has in her home, if she favors modern glass or antiques!

On Vacation!
The kids and I are at Grandma's for the next few days, but my interview on Raine Delight's blog is up and running! Check it out here: http://authorrainedelight.com/2009/08/guest-author-day-with-kenzie-michaels/

Go over and leave me a comment? You might find yourself on the receiving end of a surprise!

Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm A Best Seller!

Received the following email from editor Chuck yesterday:


Did you know ASEW is # 3 on eBookwise for Freya's Bower?

I told my husband who looked at the screen, looked back at me, cleared his throat, and asked, 'So...can I call GMC and order my truck now?'

And when we went to the grocery store, I was so excited I completely forgot it was SUNDAY and tried to buy a bottle of wine. Head slap...I'll have to do it today!

I guess my little e-baby is doing fine?

Tomorrow, I'll be over in Raine Delight's spolight. Come over and leave a comment? www.authorrainedelight.com/blog (I hope that link works!)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another 4.5 Review!

" What a great read! Amber and Marc had fantastic chemistry and I loved Marc’s willingness to take his father to task for past sins while protecting his true love. The sex was hot, the story was fun and I cheered the romance on from the beginning."

Read the rest here: http://mistressbellaquickies.blogspot.com/

Now if only my friends share this opinion...Kelly? You done reading it yet? Brynn? Bron? Are you making me wait six months just because I'm six months behind on your backlists? Just kidding!!

This made my day!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Keep Me Hanging On...

So I'm reading this fabulous book. The characters meet, interact, have sex for pages and pages...and suddenly declare their love for one another and vow to live happily ever after. The End.

(Sound of screeching tires)


Whoa; back up a minute. When was the last time you met a stranger, or reconnected with a past lover, and after a night of passion, lived happily ever after?

'But wait, Kenze...this is fantasy!'

Yeah, I know. But what I love is a little realism mixed in. I want to know what happens after they clinb out of bed and let the Real World know of their connection. What happens next? What happens when the hero returns to his apartment and finds a letter from an old girlfriend? Or the phone rings and he has an emergency and can't see his new lady love for another twenty-four hours? What happens if she calls her best friend and bubbles over with her good news, only to be met with 'Are you out of your FREAKING MIND?'

Yes, it can happen. I want to know that the two people I'm reading about will have a lasting relationship, and they would walk through fire in order to be with each other.

Now I've never stopped reading books by authors who do this, and I've never stopped reading a series simply because characters were killed off, or unbelievable circumstances arose; I've only stopped reading one particular series because by book #3 I was so disgusted with the general plot, writing, etc. I think the author could have done better. And the only other reason I'll stop reading a book is if I find myself skimming the pages, not really reading. If it's not holding my interest by chapter 2 or 3, forget it. I'll likely put it down and maybe try again in a year or two...or ten, when I come across it in a box somewhere. Or in the case of e-books, if I can't remember what it was about and open the file. It all depends on my mood at the time I'm reading.

And now you know why Gone With The Wind, Centennial, Hawaii, and books by John Jakes, Herman Wouk's Winds of War, and The Woman of Substance series are my all-time favorite print books to read. (Running a close second would be Lavryl Spencer, Nora Roberts, and Marion Keyes.) E-books? Anything by Anny Cook, Brynn Paulin, Bronwyn Green, Cindy Spencer Pape, Mona Risk, and Kelly Kirch.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Where's My Tour?

When I first decided to write a book, I envisioned a scene on The Love Boat: World's Youngest Author takes a book-signing cruise and gets romantically involved with Doc. Yes...I also liked Gopher, but ultimately Doc was my guy.

Needless to say, it didn't happen.

Fast-forward twenty years. I have my first agent, and everyone I've let read my work raves about it. I dream of being published and being sent out on the Great Publicity Tour. Book signings in nearly every major city. Guest spots on Regis and Kelly. The Early Show. Morning TV news shows.

Didn't. Quite. Happen.

What did happen?

I learned to promote myself. Get out there and talk to people, overcoming my shyness. I've learned to work the topic of my writing into nearly every conversation (probably drives my family nuts, lol!) and carry my business cards everywhere I go.

Case in point: Two years ago I was raving to my mother about a book I'd read, and just happened to have it with me. She and I were in the bathroom of a local steakhouse, and as we were washing our hands, a woman exits a stall and asks me about the book. I whipped it out of the diaper bag and showed it to her, and produced my own business card and pen so she could write down the info. And yes, I also told her I was an author, so now she had TWO websites to peruse, instead of sending her next door to Books-A-Million (cause she can't find mine there, ha ha!). You never know where you're going to meet a potential customer.

I'd still like to do a book tour like a friend of mine, the above author. Click here for her info. Maybe one day it will happen. After all, Jamie's on her fourth book; I'm only on my first. Unless you count my alter-ego; then I've got three:)

So maybe one day it will happen, or maybe I'll simply be 'in demand' around Blogger, doing interviews and letting others post blurbs and excerpts. Who knows?

Oh, and contrary to popular belief, I did not get the 10K advance; I still do my own housework; money is still tight. I'm not JK Rowlings, Stephen King, or even Danielle Steele or Nora Roberts. When I attain their popularity level, I'll let you know!

Am I glad I checked my other email account! FB wants the next three chapters of Teacher's Pet! Woo Hoo! I hope they like it; keeping my fingers crossed:)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another Great Review!

I'm sooooo thrilled!

Night Owl Romance Reviews gave me 4.5 Hearts, a reviewer's Top Pick!!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story by Ms. Michaels. I loved her characters and the storyline was fun and enjoyable. I love how the story unfolded and how Amber and Marc were now both involved in a rude awakening because of the outcome that happened three years ago. I was hoping they could overcome the issues of the past and use it as a solid foundation to possibly start something back up again. The author is a great storyteller and I would definitely recommend this story to other readers. Well done, Ms. Michaels!

You can read the entire thing here: http://www.nightowlromance.com/nightowlromance/reviews/Review.aspx?daoid=3873

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Remember This Rhyme?

Mommy, Mommy, please tell me
What kind of person will I be?

My mother was a high school nurse, and I loved her office. I used to practice 'medicine' on my dolls, until I grew older and realized there was a great deal of 'icky' stuff I'd have to learn.

Me, a nurse? NO WAY!

Rich man, poor man
Beggerman, theif...

Rich sounded nice. The rest, not so much! Unfortunately, I proved to be good with kids, and decided to pursue some sort of career in that area. Being a Teacher's Aid showed me I'm no teacher, and then I decided my life's ambition would be to save every abused child in the world. A noble dream, but it proved tough to do.

Doctor, lawyer,
Indian Chief!

Forget the medical; I had no desire to pursue it. Lawyer? Forget it; I couldn't think fast enough on my feet. My sister was more suited to that; she could argue her way out of anything. I was more about avoiding confrontation. And since I'm not Native American, the last one's a no-brainer.

If I absolutely had no talent in the writing area, I would probably own a bookstore or be a librarian. Dream job=surrounded by books I've loved since age six and future books I've not read yet. I've had a taste of owning my own business; I ran a concession stand for two years and more recently was assistant manager of a fireworks store. So if money was no object, I believe I'd go for it.

Now I just need that rich man to come back...I let him go back in 1989 when his business picked up and had no spare time in his schedule anymore...guess it wasn't meant to be!

So who am I kidding? I've been writing since age 11; if I don't get a chance to write down my thoughts and stories, the minute I'm able to put pen to paper, the words flow like a water through a breach in the dam!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Does This Sound Familiar?

Once upon a time there was a girl named Katie, who had a father who was an astronaut, and who had his own spaceship. One day Katie learned she could move objects just by concentrating on them.

One day, she was out in the back yard, happily moving around rocks, toys, etc, when the air shimmered and a face appeared, appealing for help.

She ran to her father and asked him to take her to the Correli System. As luck would have it, her father had just gotten off the phone and was on his way to the spaceport to meet with two others who were requesting passage to the same system. Since school was out, the father agreed to take Katie along with him.

While en route to Correli, Katie accidentally let her power show, and the two passengers quickly realized she possessed The Force, and reassured her it was perfectly normal. The male, Luke, helped her hone her skills during the trip. The female, Leia, confided the reason behind the trip. When Katie revealed the vision she'd had, everyone was excited.

Upon arriving at Correli, the group was captured by the evil leader, Jabba. But before the guards could take them away, another guard announced the prisoner had gotten free. Jabba went to investigate; Katie and company ran the other way, found Han Solo, and escaped back to the spaceship. Katie and Luke used The Force to ward off the guards chasing them, and soon arrived at the Millenium Falcon. The three passengers expressed their gratitude, and transported over to the Falcon. Katie and her father headed back to Earth. The End.

What? It's full of holes? And what about the REST of the story, with Darth Vader, the Death Star, Yoda, etc?

Yes, this early attempt at sci-fi showed me (in hindsight) that I was destined for the romance genre.

Of course, I was only 15 when I wrote it! So of course it's full of holes! It's hard to research something in which you only have two hours a month to work on it, and going to the library during class is a no-no.

And of course, three years later, the REAL movie arrived in theaters and I realized everything I'd written did NOT match George Lucas' dream!

That's why I'm still in Indiana, and not at work at LucasFilms. Or the Skywalker Ranch. Or married to Harrison Ford !

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Review!!!

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post the entire thing, so here's a snippet:

All She Ever Wanted by Kenzie Michaels is a sexy contemporary romance with parents that cant let their children run their own lives. I enjoyed this book from start to finish and really loved the characters. Amber because she wouldnt let anyone stand in her way of her dream career, even though it cost her the man she loved. And Marc because even after everything that happened between him and Amber he still trusted her more than his own father.

You can read the whole thing here: http://sensual.ecataromance.com/?p=2375

She gave me 4 stars! Not sure if that's out of 5...Thanks Sheryl! Glad you liked it!

And yes, it's on its way to Office Max to be printed and laminated...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Social Worker in Print Form

My goal when I was in college was to save every abused child in Indiana.

Didn't. Quite. Happen.

I discovered I was also very good at counseling domestic abuse victims, but when my senior year rolled around, I was so stressed from working a full-time waitress job and juggling 18 credit hours in order to graduate, I lost my fire.

I just wanted to finish the romance book I had been writing for four years and work some mindless job that didn't require me to THINK!

Couple my first job that I loved (except for having to drive in snow and ice, lol...) with an emotionally controlling idiot and you have a recipe for disaster. So after getting out of that situation, I decided to write about the experience, and it proved to be very theraputic.

But my counseling training is still swirling up inside my brain, and now whenever I write, the strangest twists come out. In my first Kenzie book, it was the issue of attempted rape, which has now beeen changed to simply a breaking and entering, alongside a secondary character dealing with a gambling problem and needing an intervention.

My NaNo project dealt with sexual harrassment and the issue of extreme emotional damage.

My next two seemed 'normal', until a character mentioned his ex had an eating disorder and was determined to foist it on the kids. The second one is a modern Romeo/Juliet problem, in which if you've read it, know that it does have a different ending than Shakespear's!

The one I'm writing now seemed perfectly normal, until the heroine revealed why she reacted so negatively to a stranger's kiss. I was thinking maybe he simply reminded her of someone in the past? No. All of a sudden, it turns out she'd been raped as a teenager! Whoa...where the hell did THAT come from??

For the record, I've never been in that situation, nor has any of my friends been through this. But the past couple of Jody Picoult books have, so maybe my brain is wanting me to wear my social worker's hat alongside the one which says 'Author'.

Sigh...I'll continue to write and see where this takes me! Wish me luck...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My First Review!!

ALL SHE EVER WANTED is a quick read that is steamy from the start and only gets hotter as it goes on.... Kenzie Michaels delivers a hot story that comes together quite nicely. I hope to see more work from Ms. Michaels soon.

Thank you, Ramnce Jumkies, and thank you Pamela Denise!!!

That just made my day...

To read the full review, click here!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Woo Hoo!

I did very well at the Wine and Art Festival on Saturday, as you know if you're one of my friends on FaceBook:) Three people actually bought my book! As well as two of Molly's:)

I guess I'm full of contrasts.

As I was getting in the van to move it to another parking area, a woman came by with flyers, inviting people to Metal Night at one of the local bars. I joked that if she and her partner, who also came over to see what we were talking about, came to my booth, then I'd come out to the concert.

They did, and were astonished that I had not only written one book, I had three published and more submitted!

At 5:30, fellow author and friend BB Walter and I wandered over to the wine tasting booth. She was carded, and while she was retrieving her ID, the woman asked if she was my daughter! I thought, "Just how old do you think I AM?", but kept my mouth shut. I did tell BB about it, and we laughed about it.

At one of the winery booths, I recognized one of the guys, who asked me if I'd sold any of my 'smut'. I said yes, and the one pouring my sample handed it to me and raised his eyebrows.

"Seriously....you write smut?"

"Yes, I do. Tame smut, but hey..."

He poured me another, no ticket required.

"Good for you! Here's to your future books!"

The final eyebrow-raising moment came when BB and I arrived at the bar. The gentleman who'd invited us looked me over and asked, "Seriously...you like metal?"

I smiled. "My son has me hooked on Disturbed."

"Well alright then! Enjoy yourself!"

He even later bought BB and I a round of drinks! Of course, with the college out until the summer session begins, she and I were onlytwo out of a handful of patrons NOT associated with any of the bands!

And depending who I'm with, I can be shy or the life of the party.

Tomorrow, I'll fill you in on what others were saying about our booth!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Imaginary Friends

By now you've hopefully met Marc and Amber:)

My other friends include:

Courtney and Dustin
Angie and Steve
Brad and Emma
Katherine and Trent
Tori and Travis
Thalia and Rick
Ashley and Keith
Misty and Cory
Tammy and Kevin
Becca and Mark
Cara and Austin
Tricia and Brock

Sometimes they come to me in dreams, either sleeping or daydreams. Songs on the radio causes them to start talking, either to me or to each other. News items can have the same effect.

When I learned to read, sometimes the characters from whatever book I had finished would 'continue' telling me their story, including me into the new chapters as a friend, or maid, or even a little sister. The first time I paid attention to this, I was Beau's younger sister, the rebellious one, in The Flame and the Flower. Yes, I realize he's still a baby at the end of the book, but hey...what happened after he grew up? What happens twenty years later, when Brandon and Heather are watching their daughter prepare for her 'coming out' ball? Did anyone not ever think of that?

Right now, everyone has been pretty silent. Probably since Marc and Amber are being promoted and scrutinized by more than just myself and critque partners, lol:)

But once everything calms down, I have a feeling one set of characters will want their chance at center stage, and things will click into place once more.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Friends All Over The World

When this concept of online friends first surfaced, I wondered how you could be friends with people you haven't met. There were crazy people pretending to be all ages, even different genders, and preying on teenagers.

And then I was invited to join an online writer's group. Suddenly, I was sharing info with women and men from across the state, all encouraging each other as we strived for publication. Some of us were already published, and educated the others about promotional ideas, and this new-fangled thing called e-publishing. Two writers were very gung-ho about the concept, and answered any questions. One had a release date, and the other had a contract. How exciting!

I discovered something, though...saying something to one's face in a teasing manner and typing it onscreen in the same teasing manner doesn't always come across in the same context! Plus, you have to be careful how you word your reply...the other person can't read your mind, and may take your innocent comment to be something else. I almost got into another 'war of words' with someone because of it, but checked myself and backed off. Funnily enough, that particular person is now one of my best online friends...go figure!

Anyway, that chat loop provided the info I needed to set up a website; start a blog; even meeting others across the globe once I got over my shyness and began chatting on different loops. And yes, on more than one occassion, managed to put both feet in the blog, so to speak, and caused a minor uproar. But patience and a sincere apology was all it took to win people back. But the second time caused a rift between myself and another friend, who went on a smear campaign against a mutual friend, so I quit trying to stay on her 'good side'. But when she started attacking others...well that was the final straw. I still read her blog, but I don't email her or seek her advice anymore. I did give into a fit of childish no-longer-able-to-keep-quiet-about-it-any-longer moment (See Feb 3rd's post).

But what I'm getting at is, my physical friends don't entirely understand why I'm perfectly content to stay home and write all day long. Or my delight in getting rid of the kids for a week, or wondering why they couldn't stay away longer (grin!). I've had people offer me those in-home businesses 'so you'd have something to do during the day'.

Huh? You mean BESIDES the laundry, the vacuuming, the dusting, keeping an eye on a busy toddler, and oh yeah...trying to write at least a chapter a day? Yeah...I have nothing better to do with my time...I also read for at least 2 hours a day. And occassionally, I get a check in the mail, or even some spending money when I'm at the craft fairs.

And why don't I take my kids with me to these festivals? 'Mom...can I have some money for food?'....'Mom...this guy has these puppets I just gotta have...' 'Mom, can I please go on the bumper cars?'

Not to mention my own guilty pleasure...the candle displays, or I see something that would make an excellent Christmas/birthday gift for someone! Or earrings...or even another author....yeah, my cash tends to disappear as fast as it comes in. I've learned to put myself on a budget at these things!

But if I'm stuck on a scene, or need a better phrase, all I have to do is call up my email and fire off a 'HELP'. Advice usually shows up within the hour:)

And it's thanks to these wonderful friends that I was finally e-pubbed this year. And I have it on good authority I've sold at least nine. Now if someone will just read it and let me know if they liked it or hated it....I don't even know if my publisher has sent it to any review sites, or if that's my responsibility!

Guess I'd better fire off another email.

Tomorrow: Imaginary friends:)

Friday, June 5, 2009

City Mouse, Country Mouse

Remember that fable? Technically I'm more of a suburban mouse, but I married a country rat.

When we first married, we lived in the city, and I became friends with our neighbors and his friends' wives. He tolerated my college friends, and disliked B, whom I was still in contact with.

Seven years later, we bought our first house in the country. He immediately felt at home, but I was lost. It wasn't until a year later that I felt comfortable with any of the women in the neighborhood, partly because I realized they had brought their 'city rules' into the country, and the two were not compatible!

I grew up 5 miles south of town, where the dogs roamed free; everyone cut through the yard to get to the neighbor's, and friends just 'dropped in'.

Not in this neighborhood!

-I received phone calls, complaining my dog had been in their yard.
-More phone calls, requesting my kids call before coming over.
-Fences were being erected all over, with 'No Trespassing' signs posted.

After the first baseball season, I also realized the rest of the community was a lot nicer, and I made friends who lived closer to the school. But my hubby was right at ease with the men, and didn't understand why I wasn't as friendly with our neighbors anymore. And when I explained, he agreed that the women were 'uppity bitches'.

I cautiously followed 'their' rules, and went back to holding people at arms' length, until T moved in. She was having the same problem as I was, so we hit it off and still remain in contact, even though it's been 3 years since we moved.

And now, in our new town, I've made a few friends, but no one I feel particularly close to, except maybe D. I'll talk about her and my writing friends tomorrow.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Laying The Groundwork?

Or did college simply set me free to be who I am?

Ever get a phone call and something inside just knew you were destined to be friends with whomever was on the other end?

That's what happened in August 1984.

I had just received my room assignment and two hours later, the phone rang. It was one of my soon-to-be-roommates, wanting to get to know me.

I think we talked for two hours. And this was before free long distance! But something told me we would be good friends.

At the end of the month, we had indeed ended up on the same side of the suite; I'd arrived first and opted for the top bunk; K arrived and chose the other side, far bed. En arrived and took the other side, near bed, but left soon afterwards. Er arrived the next day, and had no choice but to take the last remaining bed. And we were all hoping the good-looking guy with her was her brother! (No such luck...he turned out to be her boyfriend!)

Right away, the two E's paired up, since they were both more attractive than myself or K, and quickly got themselves invited to the parties. Fast-forward to April; Er needed one of us for a blind date, and En refused. I agreed, and while it not only kick-started my alter-ego's series, that decision solidified our friendship. She discovered that while I was quiet, I did have a wild side to me after all, and during the next four years we shared tears, traded sexual knowledge, confided over boy problems, and have had each other's back more than once.

We lost touch with En, since she didn't return the following year, and when K didn't return the second year, I managed to keep in contact with her, so BJ (who took En's spot in our room), K, E, and I became a close foursome. E and I transfered to Ball State, and since I got there first, I secured a room for us, plus introduced her to all my new friends in the dorm wing.

Over the past two decades, we've drifted somewhat. K married and divorced; BJ announced she was through with men; E married and moved to the northern part of the state; I finally married and began reproducing. And when E's spouse started abusing her, I was right there to 'kidnap' her, provide a place to stay, and help her get counseling. Her decision to leave opened up her husband's eyes, and he agreed to get help for his anger issues. So far, he's not touched her again, so answered prayer there!

And now she's only 90 minutes north of me, so I stop in whenever I can.

College was a learning experience, not just for furthering my education, but forming lasting friendships, life experiences, and ultimately meeting my future husband, though I didn't know it until two years AFTER I graduated.

Tomorrow: My adult friends after marriage.