Monday, August 29, 2016

Updates Galore and More!

Big Update: I met Mark Noce, my August Featured Follower this month, at his book event. Mark and Between Two Fires gathered a large crowd of enthusiastic supporters at the Burlingame Library. 
Mark's so personable, and he has a lovely wife, who I also had a chance to meet. 

Congrats again to Mark on his book which already has an audio version and a sequel in the wings! 

I'm doing a Giveaway on Goodreads for Sign of the Green Dragon. It ends Sept. 14, so if you'd like a paperback copy of my book, don't delay. Enter today. (Pat Hatt and poet, Yvonne now have competition in the rhyme department. )

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sign of the Green Dragon by C. Lee McKenzie

Enter Giveaway

Donna Galanti and I were on Secret Files of DMS Character Book Club Friday. Her main character, Joshua interviewed Sam, my guy in Dragon. Next month we'll do it again with Sam interviewing Joshua. Great idea from Jess and Steph. If you'd like to see what we were up to, HERE's the link. 

Here's my Goodreads' REVIEW.

I have a new Featured Follower in September! Great writer. Great book, so hope you'll come by and meet that writer the first Monday of next month. There will be a signed hardcopy giveaway this month! See? This writer's very cool.

I'm offering some short stories on my Email Connect as well as more things I've learned about marketing books. This month I'm into Facebook Ads+. Next month, I'm tackling ways to request reviews. Then, in October, I'm going to email about Goodreads. These are all great tools for writers, and I'm hoping my experience will help others. Also I'm always looking for feedback from those with more experience than I have. So sign up and let's talk.

Are you ready for the spooky season? No? Well then, get ready for heaven's--or that other place's sake. Sign up for the Happy Halloween Storytime Blog Hop! 

My Quote of the Week: "People are very open-minded about new things--as long as they're exactly like the old ones." Charles F. Kettering, Inventor

Monday, August 22, 2016

Failure Cancelled For The Day

I'm really tired of failing, and I think it's time to stop doing that. So I'm setting some non-failure-no-that's-not-happening goals for today. On this day I will not fail. I will succeed. 

  • I will write three amazing sentences. (low expectations also helps)
  • I will finish reading the two books I'm into and loving.
  • I will cook an "Ahh Factor" dinner that even I can say, "Oh, my!" when I take that first bite.
  • I will take a walk in the woods and Bill Bryson will envy me.

For one day I will not fail.  Yay!

I've learned that failing and getting up and moving ahead means I'm stronger than I ever imagined. I'm only here for a short time, so while I'm here I want to succeed. I know I'll have more failure along the way in the future. Just not today. Today Failure's cancelled.

So much for philosophy 101 and on to Monday-Morphing-into-Goddess-Writer Person.

I made a huge decision yesterday--huge, in like I said, "Okay, fish or cut bait, Lee." And I actually started to write book three of the Alligators Overhead and The Great Time Lock Disaster series. So I'm into research and. . . are you ready? I'm learning new things. 

Did you know that the name, Plantagenet, came from planta genista, the Latin for yellow broom flower, which the Counts of Anjou wore as an emblem on their helmets? Hillary probably knows this, but until yesterday I didn't. I just pull it out of my garden every chance I get. Terrible stuff.

And did you know that Richard the Lion Heart was the first king to be a knight?

And did you know that he and his family spoke French and not English, although they were the rulers of England? 

I'm so jazzed about all of this and the possibilities for Pete and Weasel and book three.

Hope you'll visit Literary Rambles today. The Dragons and I are paying a visit to that wonderful blog.

My Quote of the Week: "The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper." W.B. Yeats

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

#WEP August Garden Delights

When you say the word garden, you immediately have an image of lush ferns, stately trees and bountiful harvests of fruit, vegetables and flowers. When I first stood looking at the land in front of our house, the only things I saw were the remains of a burned down house and an industrial sized crop of weeds growing through the old debris.

Well I love a challenge or I would write books now, would I? I knew I couldn't let this three-quarters of an acre defeat me. So I started in one corner and kept moving until I got to the next one. It took a few months, and ever since I first started shoveling and digging, I've seen my garden through many seasons. Some lush. Some dry. Some fallow. But always a reward when I walk through it or have a quiet moment to sit in it.

In the picture below you can see a cement foundation post. 

Here's  the same foundation post, but it now has a birdhouse perched on top, and something green instead of brown around it. 

This is the back corner with the foundation wall. Before.

I like after so much better. That's a giant dragonfly perched on top of a stubborn rebar thing that I couldn't get rid of. Nobody sees the rebar now; they just see the dragonfly. 

And across from this I put the first pond. Digging for that pond took me three days. Do not mention rocks to me. Ever. But it was worthwhile. Lots of critters visit my little pond all year.

After I cleared this part, I found my Griffin to stand watch over the garden.

He's such a good Griffin.

Some of you have seen my editing spot before, but I'll post it again because it's by my bigger pond and one of my favorite spots in the garden. It faces the canyon and on cool days you can hear the creek below. 

The fish are always there to greet me. "Whatcha editing today?"

I've written tons of things in this garden space. In fact, I have a whole collection called Garden Lessons. I always meant to publish those, but maybe these lessons are only for me. But here's one thought in haiku form that I enjoy.

A day of spring:
                        a hamlet where not anyone
                           is doing anything. 

So there it is. My #WEP contribution to gardens. I'm looking forward to seeing other contributions about gardens on your blogs. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mid-August and Hot News from Mark Noce, Between Two Fires

Mark's my Featured Follower for August, and he's written one beautifully hot book. Here's my REVIEW.

Here's some praise from Bestselling Authors for Between Two Fires

“A spirited ride through a turbulent slice of Welsh history!” – Paula Brackston, NYT Bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter

“A fast-paced read that has a wonderfully visual style and some memorable characters. Mark Noce combines Welsh history with a touch of folkloric magic in this promising debut novel. Lady Branwen is a strong and engaging narrator and the turbulent setting of early medieval Wales makes a fine backdrop for an action-packed story.” – Juliet Marillier, Bestselling author of Daughter of the Forest and Wolfskin

Synopsis of Between Two Fires

Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King.

But this fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen herself becomes the target of assassinations and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan her world threatens to tear itself apart. Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.

Release Date: August 23, 2016

Connect with Mark

Mark Noce writes historical fiction with a passion, and eagerly reads everything from fantasy to literature. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day, he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. In addition to writing novels, he also writes short fiction online. When not reading or writing, he’s probably listening to U2, sailing his dad’s boat, or gardening with his family.
His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is being published by Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin's Press and Macmillan). It is the first in a series of historical fiction novels set in medieval Wales.

Here's something about why he chose this period to write about. It's very interesting.

Hi Lee, thanks for having me here today!

Writing Between Two Fires of course begs the question, why write about a story set in early medieval Wales? 

I’m fascinated by any “dark age” period of history. Not just a tale about civilization collapsing or backwards technology, but eras that have largely been lost to the modern historical record. We know very little about Wales around the year 600 AD aside from a few ruins, a handful of rare texts, and some oral legends. 

As an author, I feel that historical fiction allows us a way to bridge the gap and extrapolate a little further than historians can comfortable go. 

This is a double-edged sword of course, giving me both freedom as another author to create a compelling narrative, but it also comes with a responsibility to make a believable, even probably setting in which my characters inhabit. 

We’ve literally lost the names of some of the kingdoms and kings who ruled during this period, let alone the happenings of the common people. To me, that’s too much of a mystery to resist, and I have to admit, I had a lot of fun researching and coming up with the early medieval world for my protagonist, Branwen.

I sincerely hope you enjoy it!


And did I say August was HOT? Yes, I did. So many new books out, and I'm pleased to say that Sign of the Green Dragon is launched. Thanks again to all who helped me out and continue to lend a hand. It has some great reviews for which I am always very grateful.

Three plucky sleuths. A crumbling skeleton. Buried treasure.

This book has more twists than a dragon's tail.

Buy now on 

The Quote of the Week: "If you're creative, you get busier as you get older." Tony Bennett. And he should know.

I'll be around to see everyone, but I'll be a little late in some cases. I have some family things to do this week. And then there's always the garden that takes more time this month. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Another Miraculous Monday

Summer Wrap Up

I launched Sign of the Green Dragon, and am still alive to talk about it. If that's not a miracle, I don't know what is. I jumped into a couple of Blog Hops that I felt I could handle along with my book event, and I tackled two garden projects that were long overdue. But I looked out at my hammock and thought how I hadn't spent half the time there I'd planned to this summer, and already the back-to-school ads are popping up. So it goes. 

That Hammock Awaits!

Some of you know that just before this book launch I signed up for an online course in copyrighting--something I knew nothing about. I skipped through the course, picking out what I needed to give me immediate help, so now I plan to take some time to explore the modules more carefully. I've already shared some information with my Email Connect followers and I'll be sharing more with them soon. 

My Email Connect Buddy

Connections with writers continue to keep me writing. A new friend (we actually had coffee and talked) connected me with one of her friends who is starting a Silicon Valley publication for local authors. Because I'm among the early subscribers, I get a full page ad for Sign of the Green Dragon. I love the energy of young writers and publishers, so this is going to be fun. When the magazine comes out, I'll show it to you here.

Mark Noce, Author of Between Two Fires

August will be the 5th month for my Featured Follower of the Month. I'm still experimenting with the idea for supporting authors more fully and more creatively. It's not a finished product yet, but I'm hoping I can polish and tweak it as I go, especially as I learn more from the copyrighting course. Oh, and about this month's Follower. . . I'm going to meet Mark Noce. He's signing books at a library near me. 

Here's to a wonderful end of summer month to all of you. 

Lynda R. Young has a book out this month, so here's Lynda!

Cling to God: A Daily Devotional.

by Lynda R Young

Release date: October 18th, 2016
Published by Freedom Fox Press

Cling to God in the chaos of life…

Cling to God is a book of devotionals for every day of the year. The aim is to encourage Christians in their faith, to help them think about their beliefs and learn more about God. The devotions are short and inspirational so that people with busy lifestyles will still be able to spend time with the Lord each day. It will appeal to a wide Christian audience, to those new in their faith as well as those matured beyond milk and honey.

Author Bio: Lynda R. Young, a Christian first, writes devotionals, articles, and speculative short stories. In her spare time she is also an editor, game developer, artist, and dabbles in photography and all things creative. She lives in Australia with her sweetheart of a husband. 

You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Links in full:

Quote of the Week: "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." William James, philosopher

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

When Do You Need #IWSG?

When do you need #IWSG? Anytime. But during a book launch it's essential, so how lucky am I to have writers in my corner this very day when my next middle grade book, Sign of the Green Dragon is officially published.

Many of you have read and reviewed the story on Goodreads already, so I hope you'll post your reviews on Amazon as well. No one else knows better than you how important those reviews are for writers. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Question of the Month

This month's question is interesting, and I look forward to reading the answers when I visit your blogs.

My very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer of fiction was called Bad Ass Attitude. While it's published, it didn't get to keep the title I wanted, and it came out as Sliding on the Edge. Here's a bit about it:

A teenager who cuts herself.  A doomed horse. And a grandmother with guilty secrets.

Shawna has spent the first sixteen years of her life in Las Vegas and learned to handle anything from a Las Vegas hustle to skipping out on the rent. Scarred inside and out, she's survived with a tough, hardened attitude. When her mother abandons her, with only a bus ticket and the name and number of stranger to call, this troubled, desperate teen finds herself on a California horse ranch with Kay Stone, the steely, youngish grandmother she's never known. 

Kay overwhelms Shawna with rules and daily barn chores, and Shawna baffles Kay with her foul-mouthed anger and shrugging indifference to everything--except the maltreated horse on the ranch next door. But it's worse than even Kay suspects: Shawna's driven to cut herself by Monster, that strange voice inside her head. Kay fears that unless she helps this girl, she could lose her last living family member.

As this unlikely pair struggles to co-exist, will they overcome their suffering and transcend the past?

I write in two very different categories because I need variety or I go stale. What do you write? Are you insecure when you first put a book out into the world? Besides #IWSG what do you do to manage it?

Monday, August 1, 2016

I'm Guilty and I Don't Care!

#InkRipples is a monthly meme created by Kai Strand, Mary Waibel, and Katie L. Carroll. We post on the first Monday of every month with a new topic. The brains behind this meme are all authors, but you don’t have to be to participate.

You can also spread your own ripples by blogging about the topic any day of the month that fits your schedule, just be sure to include links back to Katie, Kai, and Mary.

This month's topic is Guilty Pleasures.

I have one Guilty Pleasure that I will confess to. I love books and everything about them. So when people say, "Hey, guess what? I'm publishing a new book," I have no choice but to indulge that GP and tell everyone who will listen that there's another book for them.

So without more twiddle-twaddle on my part, here's my Featured Follower for August. Mark Noce and his debut book. Keep reading. There's a special Cover Reveal, too.

Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales' last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King. But the fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen becomes the target of assassination attempts and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan, her world threatens to tear itself apart.

Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.

Branwen's story combines elements of mystery and romance with Noce's gift for storytelling.

I'll be posting more about Mark and his book August 15. My review for his book is coming soon.

What does Featured Follower mean?

It means that I:
  • buy, read and review the book.
  • post about the book on my blog.
  • post on facebook with a link to my review.
  • post three tweets each Wed. for the month.
  • add the cover to my Pinterest folder: Covers that Catch My Eye.

Sign up on my Email Connect (top right margin) to have a shot at being featured, receiving gifts for followers, news about my copywriting class and what I'm learning about how to sell more books. This month, Effective Book Descriptions.

Bish Denham's cover for her next story from the island paradise of St. John.

The Bowl and the Stone Cover Reveal

Book Blurb

Pirates. Explorers. And spooky ghost hunters.

It’s 1962. Sam and her best friend, Nick, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. They’ve got a 240-year-old sugar plantation ruins to explore, beaches to swim, and trails to hike.

But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality. They’re being haunted. By whom? And why? He’s even creeping into Nick’s dreams.

They need help, but the one who might be able to give it is Trumps, a reclusive hunchback who doesn’t like people, especially kids. Are Sam and Nick brave enough to face him? And if they do, will he listen to them? 

Their carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings, and Sam and Nick learn more about themselves and life than they could ever have imagined.

Pre-order today and enter the ghostly tale as soon as it releases.

Bish Denham

About the Author

Bish Denham, whose mother’s side of the family has been in the Caribbean for over one hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there whom she visits regularly.

She says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named the islands, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. The ruins of hundreds of sugar plantations, built with the sweat and blood of slave labor, litter the islands. Then there were the pirates who plied the waters. It is within this atmosphere of wonder and mystery that I grew up. Life for me was magical, and through my writing I hope to pass on some of that magic.”

The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands, is her third book and second novel. You can find Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales and A Lizard’s Tail, at

To learn more about Bish, visit her blog, Random Thoughts
She can also be found on Facebook
Twitter @BishDenham

And Goodreads

Sign of the Green Dragon is about to poke its nose into the world. August 3!
Still time to pre-order for only .99 if you haven't already. And if you want to lend a hand with this birth, send up some smoke. I can use all the help I can get. To those who've already held up their hands, thanks so much.

I'll be at Robert Kent's super Middle Grade Ninja blog today, so stop by and read how I feel about being a hybrid author.

So there you have it. My Guilty Pleasure and a few of new books, too. Now for the Quote of the Week: "Poor is the man whose pleasure depends on the permission of another." Madonna