"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Monday, June 18, 2018

Game Masters and MythBusters

Hey all! I'm guest posting over on the Parallels blog today. If you have a chance, please stop by and read about some of my favorite science exhibits at the Reuben H. Fleet Museum as well as their influence on or by science fiction. You can check that out here.

Don't forget to share about some of your own visits, inspirations, and favorite science related facts!


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Writers, Pets, Pics, and Submission Opportunities

We are loving, honoring, and educating about pets in this months issue of Thrive. Check us out: http://thriveswla.com/home-family/life-with-pets 

To the left and below are pics of my sidekick. My dachshund is named Dulcinea - Dulci for short. Bonus points if you get the literary reference.

Writing these article and rereading them recently made me curious about what type of pets writers prefer. I did a little research and found many of them have loved cats, dogs, and other usual household pets. However, just as many of them have preferred unusual, or endangered, ones including ravens and peacocks.

To find out what pets make the best partners for writers, or to peruse photographs of famous duos:

The Best Pet for a Writers Health and Well-being

Adorable Pictures of Famous Writers and Their Pets

Literary Pets

Writers and Their Pets

Literary Figures and Their Wild Pets

Authors and Their Pets - Pinterest Photos

Do you want to write about your pets? Check out these opportunities:

http://www.wideopenpets.com/contributors/ -  Dog Writers Association of America

http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics - Life Lessons from your Cat or Dog

What type of pets do you have? What name did you pick and why? Did you figure out the literary reference for my dogs name?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IWSG: Titles, or names?

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. You can also join us on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG, or on the Facebook page.

Now, IWSG hosts have changed up the format in an effort to make it more fun and interactive.Every month, they will announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Don’t forget to visit others that day to see their answers. Want to join, or learn more? Visit our - Sign-up List.

JUNE QUESTION: What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

MY ANSWER: I have a harder time with character names than titles. To me, writing a title is mostly easy. I simply base it on the topic (maybe I've written too many essays, research papers, and thesis) and that carries over to my fiction writing as well. However, character names cause me no end of issues. After being a teacher for so many years, nearly each name reminds me of a specific student and my fictional characters then become irritating, lovable, demanding, full of folly, etc. as I am subconsciously thinking of at least one student with that name. There have been several instances when I, or a beta reader, have been editing and caught glaring character personality changes due to this. The old adage "Careful, or you'll end up in my book" is extremely true for educators.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Bayou Writers Group - June 2nd Meeting and October 13th Conference

I'll be speaking at the Bayou Writers Group meeting this Saturday, June 2nd. I'll be talking about setting goals and becoming a prolific writer. If you're in the area, I'd love to visit with you.

This Lake Charles, Louisiana group is amazingly supportive, and they have a great lineup of speakers for their October 13th writer's conference. Speakers include:

Michael Bracken: Decision-Tree Story Creation

L Diane Wolfe: Market Your Books Like a Professional

Gina Ardito: Ten-Hut! Fall in for Basic Boot Camp!

Jerica Guillory:  The Key to Publication, Inspiration, & Motivation

John M Floyd: Writing & Selling Short Stories

For more information about their monthly meetings, or their wonderful conference, check out: https://bayouwritersgroup.com/

Have you attended this conference before? Have you met, or heard from, any of these speakers? Any great workshops or conferences that you are looking forward to attending?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Memorial Weekend Writing and Reading

It's the start of Memorial weekend in the USA, and an opportunity to enjoy some extra time reading, or prepare a submission for a few anthology calls:

1) Southeast Missouri State University Press and the Warriors Arts Alliance have joined together once again to create the seventh volume in a series of anthologies about military experiences. The JUNE 1st due date is fast approaching. For more information: http://www.semopress.com/events/proud-to-be-writing-by-american-warriors/

2) Chicken Soup for the Soul is seeking submissions for nine different anthologies. The first is due July 15th, but if that's too soon for you the others are spaced between then and December 30. More information can be found: http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics

If you're looking for a good read, see my previous post or try:


By C. Lee McKenzie

Pete’s stuck in medieval England!

Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.

There’s only one solution - fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.

But what if the page remains lost - will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again...

Release date – May 15, 2018
Juvenile Fiction - Fantasy & Magic/Boys & Men
$13.95 Print ISBN 9781939844460
$3.99 EBook ISBN 9781939844477

C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot questions about things she still doesn’t understand. http://cleemckenziebooks.com

I hope you all enjoy a wonderful weekend with friends and family. Happy Writing! What projects are you trying to complete? Any big plans for this holiday weekend?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Reading Recommendations

I have found some very enjoyable reads from a variety of genres this month. I thought I might share a few:
The funny and talented Chip Gaines is well known to millions of people as a TV star, renovation expert, bestselling author, husband to Joanna, and father of five in Waco, Texas. But long before the world took notice, Chip was a serial entrepreneur who was always ready for the next challenge, even if it didn’t quite work out as planned. Whether it was buying a neighborhood laundromat or talking a bank into a loan for some equipment to start a lawn-mowing service, Chip always knew that the most important thing was to take that first step.

Now a #1 New York Times bestselling book, Capital Gaines offers readers a ringside seat as Chip relives some of his craziest antics and the lessons learned along the way. His mentors taught him to never give up and his family showed him what it meant to always have a positive attitude despite your circumstances. Throw in a natural daredevil personality and a willingness to do (or eat!) just about anything, and you have the life and daily activity of Chip Gaines.
Capital Gaines is the perfect book for anyone looking to succeed not only in business but more importantly in life.

I really enjoyed this one. I have not read his previous book Magnolia Story, but something about this one just spoke to me when I saw it on the shelf. I highly recommend this read to ANYONE - not just fans of the show.

The clock is ticking...
Can a dead child's cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?
Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.
Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting...

I might be a little prejudiced on this one as I have several friends appearing in this anthology, so I'll just leave it here as a recommendation for anyone who enjoys mysteries.

David Galloway can’t die.

How many lifetimes can God expect one man to live? Over a century old, David Galloway isolates himself from the mortal humans who die or desert him by making a quiet life as a used bookstore owner in Northern Michigan. But then he spots a news article about a man who, like him, should be dead.

Daredevil celebrity Zachary Wilson walked away unscathed from what should have been a deadly fall. David tracks the man down, needing answers. Soon David discovers a close-knit group of individuals as old as he is who offer the sort of kinship and community he hasn’t experienced for decades—but at what cost?

David finds himself keeping secrets other than his own. . .protecting more than himself alone. He’ll have to decide what’s worth the most to him—security or community. When crimes come to light that are older than any mortal, he fears the pressure is more than he can stand. What does God require of him, and is David strong enough to see it through?

While the idea of immortality is not a uniquely original concept, I have never seen it explored in Christian fiction like this. Very interesting and enjoyable with thought provoking and moving moments. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Have you enjoyed any of these? What are you reading?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Literary Travels and Inspiration

This is the time of year that my family starts planning and taking trips. We all enjoy traveling, the sun, and being together.

Of course, I usually try to work in a few literary stops along the way. Anything from where an author stayed or lived, to towns or building mentioned in favorite stories are options on my list. Our travels usually inspire my own writing as well. We haven't decided for sure what we are doing this year yet, although several options have been shared.

Below you can see a few of our literary inspired wanderings:

Literary Travels:
17 New Orleans French Quarter Literary Hot Spots
26 Days of Literary Scotland
7 Austin, Texas Literary Locations
10 Italian Literary Hot Spots
10 Places You Can Drink Like Your Favorite Writer
10 Reading Venues Worth a Visit
7 Literary Locations to Visit With Kids
5 Writers Homes for Literary Vacations
Poe Museum

How about you? Do you enjoy travel? What have been some of your favorite locales? Have any of them inspired your own stories?