Showing posts from 2013

The *Plan*

My debut novel, Shift Happens , is due out sometime in the Spring of 2014. Probably April-ish. I don't have a set release date still, but I want to be as successful as possible. My publisher recommends a long list of things I can do to help promote my book and me as an author. These are the ones I have already completed: Website ( ) Blog (duh!) Use taglines on all blog posts (check) Facebook ( ) Twitter (@JC_McKenzie) Post tweets automatically to Facebook (check)  Make a newsletter (I use Mailchimp, and I've tested it. First one due out Dec 15th) And then there's the one's I haven't completed: Post tweets automatically to your website (I'm not sure about this. Seems overkill?) Get people to sign up for your newsletter (how?!?) Create an online press kit (seems like I need a lot of the other things on this list first) Make a video book trailer (I covered my current succe

Why do I suck SO much?!?

E.E. Cummings dedicated his book of 70 poems, “No Thanks” to well, ‘No Thanks.’     Some argue that rejection is a part of the writing process. Personally, I've always felt rejection hinders creativity. Each and every single time I got my ‘No Thanks’ email from an editor or agent, my will to write and my fragilely accumulated self-esteem would wash away with my tears. So when an editor replied to my full manuscript with, “yada, it’s great, yada, yada BUT …” I braced myself for the inevitable sting of rejection. And it was there. But she returned my manuscript lightly edited and gave me two pieces of advice. Remove as many passive verbs as possible – was, were, could, should, would, etc. She mentioned an easy way to eliminate most ‘was’s is to change ‘was <>ing’ verbs to ‘<>ed’ verbs.  For example: He was walking à He walked Show don’t tell.   Hrmf! I know. I know exactly what you’re thinking with #2. Heard that before? Me too. I thought

It's already been done!

In 'The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories,' Christopher Booker explains the seven (7) basic plots all novels have (Stevens, 2006). According to Booker, no matter what you've written, your book will fall into one of these categories: Overcoming the Monster Rags to Riches The Quest Voyage and Return Comedy Tragedy Rebirth A psychologist named Carl Gustav Jung outlined the twelve (12) common character archetypes, later known as Jungian Archetypes. According to Jung, no matter what main character you've written, if they're realistic, they will fall into one of these categories: The innocent The orphan The hero The caregiver The explorer The rebel The lover The creator The jester The sage The magician The ruler By the logic of Gustav and Booker, that means there is a finite number of stories that exist, based on the main character and plot. How many, exactly? Let's do some math. Literacy and Numeracy: Together at last! (12 archetyp

Humans are parasites

This blog post of mine originally appeared on Jo-Ann Carson's Lovin' Danger Blog on October 11th, 2013. (I wish WordPress and Blogger had a reblog button that allowed for reblogging WP posts on Blogger sites - if you know how to do this, please enlighten me). I'd like to thank Jo-Ann Carson for the opportunity to be a guest on her blog. She's a writing colleague of mine, and also happens to be my mother! Her love for books and the craft definitely inspired me to take up writing. *** Humans Are Parasites: In “The Hot Zone,” author Richard Preston makes an argument that hit me hard. He postulates viruses are a part of Mother Nature’s immune system and human are really the parasites. After all, it's only when humans try to delve into uncharted territory or cultivate pristine wilderness, that we are exposed to extremely deadly viruses, such as Ebola Zaire, Ebola Sudan, Marburg Virus and Lassa Virus (to name a few). There are other arguments for why that i

The crazy little things...

I've been working on the third book to the Carus series. I've had a lot of fun writing the first two books and developing the world, especially paying attention to the little details, such as how emotions smell to supernaturals. I had to create an index for myself to make sure I kept all the details straight. What did anger smell like again? Oh right, burnt cinnamon. Now that I'm two, almost three, books deep into my world, a lot of the little details have been taken care of--ironed out, but I'm not done with introducing crazy little things. One of the ongoing themes in my books is technology, and the inability for the older supes to adapt to the ever changing tide of new products available. Andy, my main character, is one such supe, but in book three, she learns how to give specific ringtones to her personal contacts. What fun! What type of ringtone should Wick, Tristan, Lucien and Clint get? What about her best friend, Mel? Or any of the witches, who have a

I dedicate this book to...

As I skip down the road to getting published, I keep getting ahead of myself and my proverbial feet tangle up while I think of all the little things I need to do. Who do I dedicate the book to? Who should I thank in my acknowledgements? And how do I want to fill out the cover request form? All three of these questions had me paralyzed in fear. What if I chose wrong? What if I forgot someone? What if I don't put in enough information and I hate the cover, or worse, what if I over explain and kill the artist's creative process? The cover is important, after all, and in my opinion (with no marketing background whatsoever) directly impacts sales. But the cover information aside, the acknowledgement and dedication questions got me thinking...and as it often happens, said thinking lead to Googling. What do other people do? I went on a search to find out. Here are some funny ones I found along my researching journey: 1. The Heart of a Goof (1926), P.G Wodehouse "To my dau

It's Official!

I signed a contract for Shift Happens: A Carus Novel with The Wild Rose Press ! I'm very excited to be joining the ranks in 'The Garden.' I've crossed the Ts, dotted the Is, and now I await the second round of edits, which according to my editor Lara Parker, "tends to be the most brutal." BRING IT ON!


Welcome to my blog. I plan to discuss all things strange, including my current foray into the world of publishing. A lot of authors are very knowledgeable about the industry, and while I'm no slouch (or at least not a complete imbecile), there's a lot I don't know. A lot! Thank goodness for the power of Google, reference books like, 'The 2013 Writer's Market,' and the sage advice of friends and colleagues. Since I often don't have much to say, or to be more precise, much to say that I feel other people would value reading, I'll end my first blog post with one of my favorite comic book quotes: “Accidents happen. That’s what everyone says. But in a quantum universe there are no such things as accidents, only possibilities and probabilities  folded into existence by perception”  -  Dr. Manhattan