Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sound The Trumpets! Something 'Wild' Is Out!

I've posted the spicy excerpt over at Molly's Musings; you get the tame one. I know; not fair, right? In all fairness, how do you know when you've made it 'big' in publishing? No, I'm not talking about paychecks, or the movie version of your book....although that would be a big deal!

No, what I'm talking about is the title of your book being discussed by someone else's characters. So here's my tribute to one of my fellow authors:

Warning: Contains Adult Material:
“Want to try a little experimenting?” he nuzzled her ear. “I could put it in here…” He reached around her hips and skimmed his fingers across her smooth buttocks.

Her eyes widened. “Seriously?” She began to laugh.

“I never kid about that,” he murmured, biting her nipple gently. “What’s so funny?”

She turned a glorious shade of red. “One of the girls on the trail the other day…she’d, ah, brought one of those electronic things for books, you know? Well, while we were resting, she let me look at it, and she had this e-book, and well…” she swallowed. “The scene I read had them…doing that.” She threaded her fingers through his hair as he moved slowly in and out. “Ohhh…have you ever tried it?” Her voice had grown softer with each word.

Brad withdrew when he saw her wince. “No, I haven’t. But I’d like to try it. Game?”

“It certainly caught my attention,” she admitted. “What the hell…if I don’t like it, you’ll stop?”

“I’ll stop the minute you tell me to,” he promised, rolling off of her and getting on his knees. “What did the book say?”

Emma flipped over on her stomach. “The woman was bent over pillows, but I think if I just relax….wait a minute.” She scrambled out of bed and opened the door. Brad heard her in the other room, and soon she returned with a bottle of lotion. “Use this, and use plenty.” She flopped down on her stomach again and breathed in and out several times. Brad placed a trail of kisses from the nape of her neck to the small of her back. He shook a generous amount of the scented lotion into his hand and lathered up his penis, slicking some around and just inside her puckered anus. He positioned himself above her and slipped inside her vagina, causing another moan from her. “We didn’t try this last night….I like it.” Her voice muffled by the pillow.

(Later in the book...)

“A little rain’s not going to keep him away, surely,” Brad objected.

Emma shook her head. “Did you not notice the temperature difference? When the rain falls, it is cold, and can sometimes have snow mixed with it. This time of year, anything can happen.”

“Cool. I haven’t seen snow since March,” Brad grinned.

“Tourists!” Emma rolled her eyes.

“Natives!” Brad mimicked her. “Don’t fall asleep this time. I don’t want to take a wrong turn.”

“Oh, like that’s going to happen. Just stay on this highway and you can’t miss it. And besides, with that sperm enema you gave me, I’m going to have to use the facilities soon.” Emma laughed as he stuck out his tongue at her. “Seriously, I’ve got to order that book when I get home.”

“What was it called?”

“Everything Lovers Can Know. By some woman named Anny Cook,” Emma yawned. “That girl who let me read it; she raved about Anny and her other books.”

“If it puts you in the mood to experiment, by all means, get it and the rest.” Brad squeezed her thigh.

“I just might do that.”

“A litt

To find out about more of Anny's books, go here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wild At Heart and Contest!

I'm dancing around the room. Why? I just sent the final edits back to my editor, and am hoping she doesn't want to kill me. Hopefully, hopefully, everything will go well and this afternoon my 'baby' will be on its way to the virtual bookshelf for YOU, dear reader! It will make a nice Christmas present for anyone who enjoys my work:)

Why am I hoping she won't want to throttle me? Simple. I have two sentence fragments on the first page of the manuscript. What's the big deal? She wanted them joined together, in order to be grammatically correct. Problem is, I don't feel it needs to be grammatically correct.

In fact, you tell me: I'll post both paragraphs and let you judge. What's in it for you? I'm feeling generous: You'll get a freebie. Consider it an early present from me:)

Her way:

Steve Blumenthal, he was her high school sweetheart. Star basketball player, with a promising NBA career after college. Three years ago, the Chicago Bulls had moved him up to a starting position, with the media recording his every move. With the pressure mounting, he’d tried drugs. Angie had discovered him in her apartment late one night, in the act of disconnecting her stereo.

My way:

Steve Blumenthal. Her high school sweetheart. Star basketball player, with a promising NBA career after college. Three years ago, the Chicago Bulls had moved him up to a starting position, with the media recording his every move. With the pressure mounting, he’d tried drugs. Angie had discovered him in her apartment late one night, in the act of disconnecting her stereo.

My compromise:

Steve Blumenthal, her high school sweetheart. Star basketball player, with a promising NBA career after college. Three years ago, the Chicago Bulls had moved him up to a starting position, the media recording his every move. As the pressure mounted, he’d tried drugs. Angie had discovered him in her apartment late one night, in the act of disconnecting her stereo.

But that's not all: I've partnered with Romance Books R Us, and we're giving away a Kindle, preloaded with goodies for you! The rules are posted on the upper left side of this blog, and keep checking back for the answer to my question, posted beneath them. And yes, I'll repost the question frequently. So good luck:)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Signs of Success

"OMG! Kenzie's here!"

"Is your next book out yet? Please say yes...."

(Tackle hugs) "Kenzeeeeeeeee!"

"Dear Kenzie, I just finished reading your latest work and it ROCKS! You've intrigued me with one of your minor characters though; could you make (him/her) the subject of your next one?"

"Ms Michaels has written a well-penned, steamy romance which will leave you unable to put it down. This is one author I will definitely put on my 'auto-buy' list!"

"Can I have your autograph Ms Michaels?"

"You've written how many books? WOW!"

The above are varying degrees of what I term success. I walk into an informal gathering and have many people greet me. I show up at a chat and am affectionately cyber-hugged. I get a favorable review. Fan mail. Or I'm pressed for an interview.

I also feel successful when I finish edits without wanting to strangle my editor (or my family, LOL!). Or I finish a wip and celebrate with a glass of wine.

I guess I will really count it as successful as long as I am happy doing what I'm doing, meeting new people, and making a little bit of money while doing it.

Of course, the ultimate goal is to make six figures...but until that time, I'm a success every time I get an acceptance letter, not a rejection.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Looking Forward

In the year 2015....
-K will be a year out of college and hopefully working somewhere in his chosen profession;
-S will be in her 2nd year of college;
-W will be a happy 5th or 6th grader and about to cross over to Boy Scouts.

I sincerely hope we will be in a better financial position to be living in a house with two bathrooms again (I'm not greedy; I'll settle for a bath and a half. I just want two toilets and a bona fide, enclosed shower!). I'd also like to be able to hang my pictures on the walls, and to have my candles and special knick-knacks on display.

Career-wise, I hope to have every single current wip published, and be doing well both creatively and financially. I will have my own laptop; I'll be able to attend conferences and regularly get together with my online friends. The bookstore will be doing well; I'll be caught up with my extensive TBB list and will be able to buy as many books as I want, maybe not the day the new ones come out, but definitely faster than six months to a year down the road!

Hubby will quit griping about the amount of time I spend at the computer...I'll even be able to PROVE this is a 'real job' and he'll encourage me to keep going. (Okay...I'm allowed to have some 'out there' dreams, LOL!)

Roxie the cocker spaniel might still be living; she will be 13.
Cheyenne will be 5, and Oreo 7. Maybe I can even have another Beta fish again. We had Z, Y, and X; time for W. Or maybe 'Z-2'?

Basically, I hope to be still writing, still publishing, and in a better house with healthy and happy kids. And that's all anyone could hope for.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dream Come True

UPDATE: I've had cover flats made up, and will be signing them tonight and tomorrow at our annual Santa Stroll. And if I've forgotten to mention, I'm one of six Grand Marshals of our Parade of Lights tonight. I'll also be signing tomorrow at The Mockingbird Book Emporium. Camera batteries are being charged as I type this, so hopefully I'll have pictures to post next week!

And editor Tim says my ms up to page 35 looks great:) So only 65 pages left...

I'm over at the RBRU blog today, but if you don't want to go over there, here's the repost:

Have you ever had a story take control of your life and demand to be written? And then have trouble finding others to 'get' what you're trying to convey?

Meet Steve Blumenthal. He did a stupid thing; got caught; and was sent to prison for two years. During his time, he defended the underdog and studied for a degree in Culinary Arts. The problem is, he was a promising NBA star. And his hometown won't forget how he's let them down.

Enter Steve's high school/college sweetheart, Angela Clayborn. She's the one who caught him trying to steal her stereo, and ended up sending him to prison. When Steve is released early, she's unsure of her feelings when she comes face to face with him after that traumatic night.

I think I've already recounted the story about how this came about: A news blurb about prison reform caught my attention and all of a sudden 'Steve' was in my head, saying he was trying to prove he'd learned his lesson, but the town wouldn't believe him.

What came out of my fingers was a story about how circumstances over the course of six days can change the lives of four people. Two other characters, Brad Morrison, who is Angie's current boyfriend, is sent to Colorado on business. As he's wrapping up his trip, he is given the opportunity to explore the town of Estes Park and the adjoining Rocky Mountain National Park. He is soon caught up in the drama of a defiant young woman struggling to keep her brother's woodworking business going, as well as managing her own riding stable.

I've had issues with the story since I wrote it three years ago. I had critique partners tell me 'Steve' was too angry, and they couldn't get past the first chapter. I've tried to tone him down, only to have him snarl in my head 'Don't change me, damn it!'

Finally, a fresh pair of eyes showed me how to contain his anger...and it was accepted for publication. This is my favorite Kenzie story so far; I hope it does well. And I'm excited and thrilled to announce it will be available Nov 23rd or 29th from XOXO Publishing.

#1 Steve and Angie

“Oh Ange,” he sighed. “I’ve missed your smile. You’re still the most beautiful girl…woman, I know.”

Her smile faded. “This, coming from a man who’s been locked away. Right.

“Why don’t you believe me?” He scooted closer to her and tentatively reached for her hand. “Don’t sell yourself short. Josh told me about the store, and how your jewelry is selling…Honey, I told you years ago you’d go far with it.”

The close contact and the pressure of his hand made her chest constrict. She took another shaky sip of her water and jumped when Steve reached for the glass and set it on the table. He stood up, drawing her upwards. He rubbed his thumb over her knuckles.

“I’m just going to say this,” he said, his voice rough. “I love you. You’re the one thing that kept me going, that kept me from going to ‘Prison Tech 101’. After I got clean, I decided I was going to do whatever it took to serve my time, and get a respectable job, all so I could win you back.” He cleared his throat. “God, Ange…I swear to you…that one dose of speed fucked up my future, but I’m not going to let it fuck up the rest of my life. I’m staying with Josh; I’ve got my driver’s license; tomorrow I’m buying a car. And my parole officer’s trying to help me get a good job, so I can afford my own place.” His voice dropped to a whisper and one hand stole into Angie’s bright tresses. His head angled toward hers and softly touched his lips to hers. When his tongue nudged her lips open and touched hers, she recoiled and dropped her head on his chest.

“Don’t,” she whispered. “I can’t…”

Excerpt 2: Brad and Emma

"Just the person I was looking for,” Gavin called. “This is Frank’s niece, Emma. Em, this is the financial wizard I was telling you about.”

Brad smiled warily at her as he slid onto the stool next to her at the counter. “I wouldn’t call myself a wizard, but I can certainly help with anything needed.”

“You!” Emma’s bloodshot eyes narrowed. “Are you snooping around my family’s business? We’re not about to knuckle under to pressure; I’ll fight with everything I have to hang onto the place.”

“Emma! Relax,” Gavin restrained the girl as she swiveled, preparing to launch herself out of her seat. “What’s gotten into you?”

Brad sat back, hands raised.

“He came into the shop, asking questions,” Emma said, her teeth clenched. “And now he waltzes in here and you expect me to just turn everything over to him? Let me go, Gavin.”

“You’ve jumped to conclusions again, girl.” Gavin easily swung her around and hugged her to his broad chest. “All I said was to let a pair of fresh eyes look at the books and see if he can spot where Ethan’s getting the money.”

“You mean losing it,” came a muffled sob. Emma’s stiff body gradually relaxed against his comforting arms.

Gavin chuckled. “We’re reasonably sure where he’s losing it, honey. If he continues to go to the reservation, then he’s got a gambling problem, and shouldn’t be allowed to run the store.”

“Then who the hell’s going to run it?” Emma demanded, drawing away and fiddling with the straw in her chocolate malt. “I certainly can’t. This is my busy season too.”

Brad cleared his throat as the waitress took his order. Gavin and Emma both had malts; he opted for a root beer float. “If I had access to your computer for a few hours tomorrow, I can certainly try to see any patterns.”

Emma laughed. “Computer? Well, that would make it easy, wouldn’t it? Only problem is, from what I can tell, Ethan’s not entered a damn thing into it in weeks. He keeps it all on an old-fashioned ledger, with the receipts stashed in various boxes. Good luck, Mr. Finance Wizard; you’re going to need more than a few hours.” She took a long drink of her malt as Brad’s float arrived. “When I did the books at tax time, it took me three days to enter all his numbers. I just don’t have time to go down there every day, and lately E’s been such a bear, I haven’t been down there in over three weeks.” She took a sip, turning back to Gavin. “What we need is a full-time bookkeeper. I’ll check my finances and see if we can swing it.” She cast a glance at Brad. “And if the Boy Wonder can work his magic, then we’ll really be able to see the whole picture.”

Go to the XOXO site or keep checking Kenzie's for more details:)

Monday, November 15, 2010


Three years ago, I was a writing machine. Doing the single parent thing, writing 1500 words per day, and putting dinner on the table each night. I wrote four books between Sept '07 and July '08. I had the world by the tail...or so I thought.

The first book took me four weeks. No problem.

I signed up for NaNo. OMG...the first week went well; the 2nd week was slightly slower. But I hit a major wall the 3rd week...and my family rebelled. I ended up having a meltdown in my daughter's principal's office when I couldn't get her out of bed; the stress of now needing 3K per day to reach my goal seemed enormous, PLUS I was hosting Thanksgiving. What the hell had I done?

Thankfully, the threat of having a uniformed policeman escort my daughter to school made her clean up her act. My characters started talking to me again, and soon things were back on track. I attained my goal, but was so creatively zapped, I took the entire month of December off to recharge. And wrote two more books, one in March and another over the 4th of July weekend.

But since then, I've written only partials. I've written five or six first chapters, and stalled. No idea of where to take it next. I've blamed it on family responsibilities; too much email; too much promotion; even writer's block.

Right now, I'm semi-blaming the hubby's health. Seriously.

Since his retinal detachment last March, my life has been turned upside down with his care, and having him home 24/7. And now I've been hanging out at the bookstore nearly 30 hours a week, just to get out of the house and away from his bad attitude! Thankfully, some things are coming together; watch for an announcement later this week.

But don't look to me for debunking any writing excuses: Right now, I'm the poster child for procrastination. BICHOK works....when you have the time. And right now, there aren't enough hours in the day. My NaNo word count? 400. After my edits are finished, I hope to improve that number in the next two weeks.