Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Man for Maggie is a Romantic Times 2007 Reviewers’ Choice nominee!

Imagine my surprise and excitement when I learned that my first book—The Man for Maggie—has been nominated for a Romantic Times Magazine 2007 Reviewer’s Choice Award. Twice! That's right. It’s nominated for Best Harlequin American Romance and for Best First Series Romance.

You’ll find the complete list of nominees here, and you can read RT’s review of The Man for Maggie here.

Congratulations to the other nominees, especially my fellow Harlequin American Romance Authors—Cathy Gillen Thacker, Jan Hudson and Mary Anne Wilson!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Holiday Wishes from My Home to Yours!

My favorite day of the year has arrived, and so did Santa, judging by the pile of gifts under the tree. In about an hour my parents will arrive for our gift opening and Christmas morning brunch, and then dinner preparations will begin.

I love Christmas dinner! Turkey with traditional bread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. We serve two kinds of cranberry sauce - the homemade kind made from fresh berries that my husband likes and the jellied version that my kids prefer. The latter is slid out of the can, sliced into rings and garnished with fresh parsley.

There will be carrots, buttered and parsleyed, and brussels sprouts because my mom likes those. Creamed corn for my dad, although almost everyone else turns up their nose at that. I made a jellied fruit salad, just like my grandmother's, and I'll serve it in the pink depression glass bowl I inherited from her. We'll also serve sliced buttered beets - those were one of my grandfather's favorites. Although my grandparents are no longer with us, I like to keep their traditions alive.

My son, who is a jazz musician and also works as a baker, has contributed dinner rolls and, as I post this blog, he's in the kitchen, baking a pie for dessert. Believe it or not, it's banana cream. That'll probably be the least traditional part of our meal, but it's hands down my father's absolute favorite.

For me, holiday celebrations are all about tradition, about bringing families together to share old memories and create new ones. I hope you and yours will have as happy a Christmas as mine.

With warmest wishes for the happiest of holidays,


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Guest Blogger—Max, in love!

Max here. You know how I told you that Brent took me to the park after the shoe incident? Well, there are almost always other dogs at the park, including some regulars like me. There’s a Basset Hound named Henry, who can run pretty fast for a guy with such short legs. Gertie is a white French poodle. Sometimes I see her at the dog groomer’s, too. Bart is what’s politely called a mixed breed. I like Bart. He’s a real character, and has even fewer manners than I do.

So, yeah, I like going to the park because me and the other dogs chase frisbees and each other while our owners stand around talking about being dog owners.

Today was pretty much a typical day at the park. Bart and Henry were there, and before I knew it, we were playing tug-of-war with a big old stick. Brent was having a conversation with Henry’s owner, a woman about the same age as Brent’s mother.

We’d been there maybe ten minutes when it happened. One minute I had the end of the stick in my teeth and was this close to winning the game. The next minute I was in love. The most beautiful Old English Sheepdog you’ve ever seen—aside from yours truly, of course—was walking across the park with her owners.

I dropped the stick and ran across the grass, heading straight for her. What can I say? Subtlety is not a sheepdog trait and when we fall in love, it’s completely and instantaneously head over heels.

Her name is Penny. Princess Penny, if you must know, and she’s a looker, don’t you think? Penny’s owners are super nice people, too, and they rescued her from a not-so-good situation. So they have a lot in common with me and Brent.

After Bart and Henry went home, we stayed at the park for a while. Brent talked to Penny’s owners, probably about the pleasure of owning an Old English Sheepdog, while Penny and I tore around playing a game of tag-you’re-it. At that point I was prepared to stay at the park forever, but you know what they say about good things coming to an end.

Before I knew it, Brent clipped a leash to my collar, saying something about getting home to see what Leslie wanted to do about dinner. Or at least that was his excuse. It’s clear as can be that he’s as much in love with her as I am with Penny, but humans get kind of weird about this stuff. Have you noticed that? They’re way too subtle, if you catch my drift. Giving each other sidelong glances and talking about stuff that doesn’t matter, when all they really need to do is play a good old-fashioned game of tag-you’re-it.

Do you think there’s hope for Brent and Leslie? I'd like to think so. They deserve a happily-ever-after as much as Penny and I do. If you want to know for sure, check out Lee McKenzie's latest book, With This Ring. And I'll be back next week with more about playing games and falling in love.



Lee's Note:
Thanks to Ann Rambaud and Ray Salmon of Sheepie Hollow for generously providing the photos for Max's blog.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday News—American Title IV Contest

My friend Trish Milburn has moved on to the next round in the American Title IV Contest! We’re down to six finalists, and this round of voting is for best story summary. You can read them here.

Trish’s summary for OUT OF SIGHT is stunning, and one of the few that received positive feedback from all three judges. Go, Trish!

Now it’s time to vote again. Simply send a blank email to with OUT OF SIGHT in the subject header. Remember—only one vote person, so please ask all your family and friends to vote, too.

Voting ends December 30th, 2007 and the results will be posted on the Romantic Times website on January 2nd, 2008.

Good luck, Trish!

Back soon,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Guest Blogger Max (sometimes aka Bad Dog)

Bad dog. I used to hear that a lot, which is kind of strange, since I’m so darned adorable, but today I had it coming. Fact is, I don’t know what I was thinking. I’ll admit I have a problem, you might even say it’s a bit of an obsession, but I seriously thought I had it under control.

I guess I should start at the beginning. Yesterday when Brent brought Leslie home, she had a pair of shoes. She was carrying them instead of wearing them and after she put them on the floor by the front door, she kind of left them there.

Dog’s honor, I did my best to ignore those shoes. But then this morning Brent and Leslie went out and left me here by myself. I sat in the sun by the French doors for a while, and then I checked out the stuff in Leslie’s room ‘cause it smelled like her and I like how she smells. Then I drank some water out of the toilet because Leslie doesn’t know she’s supposed to put the lid down. And then I wandered out to the living room, and that’s when I remembered they were there. I’ve seen a lot of footwear, but those were the most delectable shoes ever.

At first I just sniffed them and pushed them around with my nose. Don’t do it, Max. That’s what I kept saying to myself. I went into the kitchen and sniffed at my empty bowl. Leslie seemed to have caught on that I only get fed once a day. I picked up my teddy bear and tossed it in the air a few times, but I couldn't get those darn shoes out of my mind. That’s when I went back for another sniff, and everything went downhill from there.

Most shoes aren’t all that interesting. Sneakers, for example, do not smell very good, and they taste even worse. Brent’s work boots are just plain disgusting, although every time he puts new laces in them I chew the crunchy bits off the ends. Can’t help myself.

But these shoes of Leslie’s were beyond tempting and before I knew it, the heel was between my teeth and I was done for. So were the shoes.

A few minutes later Brent’s truck pulled into the driveway.

Uh oh.

I high tailed into the bedroom. If you’ve already read With This Ring by Lee McKenzie, you’ll know Brent was a lot madder about the shoes than Leslie. “Max!” he yelled. “Where are you?”

Like I was going to answer that. I’m not sure how, but they found me hiding under the bed. Leslie gave me a hug and said, “Poor Max.” Brent seemed to calm down a little and he ended up taking me to the park. I think we both needed to blow off a little steam.

I’ve already told you that the park’s a great place to meet women, but today Brent didn’t seem interested. What I forgot to tell you was that the park is also a great place to meet other dogs, and today was no exception. Today I met . . . well, that's a whole other story. Check back next week and I’ll tell you all about her.



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday News—We Have A Winner!

What a great week this has been. With This Ring—my latest Harlequin American Romance—was released last Tuesday and what a thrill it was to see it on bookstore shelves!

But before I get into that, Max and I are delighted to announce the winner of our contest. Hornblower will receive the DVD version of Disney’s 1959 classic, The Shaggy Dog. Congratulations, Hornblower! Please contact us through my website and we’ll get the DVD in the mail to you.

On Saturday I took part in a multi-author booksigning event at Chapters in Victoria, BC, and I’m excited to tell you that the store sold out its copies of With This Ring! Thanks to everyone who came out to supporte this event.

I hope you’ve been enjoying Max’s guest blogs. He’ll be joining me again on Thursday!

Till then,


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday Fun—Martha and Caroline Bake a Cake

I’m not a fan of daytime television. Soaps are too melodramatic for my taste, and talk shows that drag skeletons out of people’s closets give me the heebie-jeebs. But on Friday afternoon while I was waiting for my husband to get home with the car so I could run a few errands, I checked to see what was on. At the very least, I could catch up on the news and weather.

What was on was Martha Stewart, and she was introducing Caroline Kennedy, editor of A Family Christmas.

Picture me in jeans and a scruffy but cozy old fleece top—these are what I’ve changed into to run errands and they’re a vast improvement over my she-who-works-at-home attire—sprawled on the bed because that takes less effort than going to the family room downstairs. And there were Martha and Caroline on the screen, two of the most gracious women one could ever hope to meet.

Ordinarily I’d have changed channels because, after all, why make myself feel inferior? But they were talking about Caroline’s Christmas book (I love books and Christmas) and then they announced that they were going to bake something called A Great Cake, which was one of Martha Washington’s recipes (I love history and cake), so there I was, literally in the time it would have taken to change channels, caught up in daytime television.

It turns out this Great Cake recipe has been reprinted in Caroline Kennedy’s book—A Family Christmas. For those of you who are history buffs, here is the recipe in all its original glory:

"Take 40 eggs and divide the whites from the yolks & beat them to a froth. Then work 4 pounds of butter to a cream & put the whites of eggs to it, a Spoon full at a time till it is well work'd. Then put in the Youlks [sic] of eggs & 5 pounds of flower [sic] & 5 pounds of fruit. Two hours will bake it. Add to it half an ounce of mace & nutmeg, half a point [sic] of win [sic] & some frensh [sic] brandy."

Okay, so I have never seen a cake recipe that calls for ingredients in pounds and pints, and I’m thinking this not a Great Cake, this is a GREAT Cake!

To prepare this colossal confection, Martha had dug out the largest mixer you or I have ever seen. And don’t even think about arguing with me. Trust me, you have never seen a mixer this big. It stood on the floor and was nearly as tall as Martha herself. Stewart, that is. I have no idea how tall Martha Washington was. Martha S did make a point of saying that in Martha W’s day, the cake would have been mixed by hand. That made me smile.

At that point I hadn’t just signed on for the cake-baking segment, I also really wanted one of those mixers. I mean really wanted one, even though I have no place to put it and not in a million years would I ever bake a cake that called for forty eggs and four pounds of butter. But this mixer is like the Lamborghini of kitchen appliances, and who doesn’t secretly long for a Lambourghini, even if it’s just to run a few errands on Friday afternoon?

Note: this four-foot-tall mixer isn’t exactly like the one Martha used, but it’s similar.

As ingredients were added to the bowl of the Lamborghini, it became clear that Caroline Kennedy hadn’t tested this recipe before including it in her book. In fact, she may not bake many cakes of any kind. And I'm with her. I don’t bake, either, not even for Christmas, which is yet another reason I don’t need the mixer.

I noticed that neither Martha S nor Caroline K partook of what remained of the bottles of wine or brandy—I told you, they’re very gracious—but if I were doing the baking, I would have been tempted. And succumbed. Maybe. Probably.

When the batter was finished, the mixer bowl was too heavy for Martha or Caroline, both of whom were, unlike me, impeccably dressed. So a burly fellow whose name might have been Tony rushed to their assistance and hoisted the ginormous bowl onto the counter. For the five pounds of fruit, they used raisins—dark and gold—and fresh cubed apples and pears. Yum. The raisins were added while the mixer was still operating but the fresh fruit was stirred in by hand.

I had been thinking that they would bake this Great Cake in, oh, maybe twenty or so cake pans, but what do I know? As the man-who-might-have-been-Tony once again held the mixer bowl, the batter was scraped and poured into ONE pan.

Okay, so here’s the thing. Cake pans THAT large do not exist in nature. If I wanted to bake this cake, I would have to find a welder-slash-sheet-metal-worker to manufacture such a pan, and then I’m not sure it would fit in my oven.

At the end of the great-cake-baking segment, the finished product, iced and tastefully decorated for the holidays, was on display and yet another had been sliced and served up to the audience. Apparently the icing should be made with stiffly beaten egg whites and flavored with rosewater or orange-flower water. Which sounds absolutely mouth watering and makes me wonder why more people these days don't cook with rosewater.

For those who might like to give Martha W’s Great Cake a whirl but find themselves without a commercial-grade mixer or a cake pan destined for a Guinness world record, there’s a scaled-back version of the recipe (only ten eggs and one pound of butter) on Martha S’s website.

Me? I’ll be satisfied with a copy of Caroline Kennedy’s Christmas book.

Happy holidays!


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Guest Blogger - Max Is Back!

Hi, everyone. Max here. So did you read With This Ring? Didya? Huh? Huh? Didya? Okay, sorry, but I’m still kind of excited. This is the first time anyone’s ever written a book about yours truly. Now do you see what I mean? I do have a way with the ladies.

And Leslie, she’s definitely a lady. Nothing against the other women Brent’s had over, but there’s something different about her. In a good way. I mean, she fed me even though it wasn’t dinnertime. And she smells good. Expensive good, if you know what I mean, and clean.

The only other woman who’s spent the night in our spare room was Brent’s mother. She stayed one night last winter when her furnace broke down. She’s nice enough—even brought me a big old ham bone. She doesn’t smell like Leslie though. She smells clean, too, but like laundry detergent. Leslie smells more like the park after it rains, but even nicer.

And Brent ended up doing a lot of work while Leslie was here, don’t you think? Not that I’m saying she’s high maintenance. No way. If anybody can take of herself, she sure can. But the plumbing was another matter. What was up with that?

Right now it’s time for a dog to take a nap. I’ll be back next Thursday, and I’ll have a confession to make about a certain pair of shoes.



Lee’s note: remember that Max and I are running a contest this week, and the prize is a DVD of The Shaggy Dog. Every time you post a comment, you’re eligible to win. The winner will be announced on Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tuesday News

Lots to tell you about today, starting with the news that today is the official release of my newest Harlequin American Romance, With This Ring!

To celebrate, Max and I are running a contest. Everyone who posts a comment here on the blog between now and next Monday will be eligible to win the DVD version of Disney’s 1959 classic, The Shaggy Dog. Yes, the one that features Fred MacMurray and Annette Funicello!

This is “the wild and woolly edition” that includes both the original B&W and the color version. It’ll make a great holiday gift for yourself or someone on your list. Max and I will announce the winner on Tuesday, December 11, so be sure to check back then.

I’m thrilled to tell you that With This Ring received a wonderful 4-star review from Cataromance:

“. . . Lee McKenzie gifts readers with a Christmas story that showcases a rich princess and a blue collar Prince Charming. Brent and Leslie will surely win a place in reader’s hearts. With This Ring is a lovely holiday story to emphasize the notion that love comes from all walks of life and all you have to do is reach out and grasp it.”

I’ll be signing copies of With This Ring and The Man for Maggie this weekend at Chapters in Victoria. Please drop by if you’re in the area.

Tomorrow I’ll be guest blogging at with Trish Milburn at Reading, Writing & More, Oh My!

And remember, Max the Old English Sheepdog will be back on Thursday with the inside scoop on Brent's visitor.