Workspace Wednesday Welcomes Lee McKenzie!


I’m very happy to welcome fellow-Noodler (aka RWA Golden Heart® finalist, class of 2003) Lee McKenzie. Lee is a fellow Canadian and a truly strong and fascinating woman. She lives with her artist/teacher husband on an island in the Pacific Northwest, and writes smart, wonderful, heartwarming stories for Harlequin American. Lee has lots of pictures for us, so let’s get right to it!



Thank you, Norah, for hosting me on Workspace Wednesday, and welcome everyone to my office. Yes, I tidied up for you. I always tidy up before guests arrive, and you are no exception. When I’m on deadline or busy with other things, my space tends to get a bit disorganized. Okay, a lot. But every once in a while I need to spend a day getting reorganized because the mess drives me crazy.


My office hasn’t always looked like this, but I’m too embarrassed to show the “before” photos. Trust me, though, it was bad, because five years ago I had surgery for recurrent melanoma followed by a year of chemo. Pretty much everything, including writing, was put on hold. My office became a dumping ground for all the stuff I didn’t have time and energy to deal with, and that was made worse by towering floor-to-ceiling shelves, overstuffed filing cabinets, boxes of junk and…well, I’m sure you get the picture.


Last year it was still an overwhelming mess, so I bit the bullet and hired Chaos to Calm, a home organizing company owned by sisters Jess and Jen. And let me tell you, those two gals are worth their weight in gold.


Chaos to Calm Home Organizers


And here’s what my office looks like now.


Lee's Office 1


The too-tall shelves that overwhelmed the space…and me…have been replaced by nice low ones. It turns out that I’m a piler, not a filer, but I don’t like piles so I’ve opted for labelled storage boxes instead.



Organizing my office and trying to keep it tidy lets me enjoy the things that are really special to me. My two RWA chapters authors give a silk rose every time they sell a book, and I love my bouquet! Yes, those are dinosaurs on one of the shelves, and the red Vespa in the print on the wall is just like the one the heroine in The Wedding Bargain rode.



I don’t write at this desk but I do use the computer for email, printing manuscripts, etc. This is also a handy place to keep other special mementos, like the little (now empty!) bottle of bubbly on the top shelf. I bought it the day I got “the call.”



This desk is also home to my “inspiration shelf” where I keep copies of my books and other little odds and ends that tie in to the stories I’ve written. And of course there are polka dots. I love polka dots!



My office used to be a bedroom, so I have the luxury of a generously sized storage closet.  A very handy place to store office supplies and bins of author copies.



My writing corner is my favorite part of the room, and as you can see by the scratching post, I share it with my two cats. All of my writing is done on my laptop, and the armchair makes a nice cozy writing space.


My inspiration was this green Harlequin Wing Chair from McKenzie-Childs.



Sadly, it didn’t fit in my budget…and trust me, I crunched the numbers!


So I created my own.



The old wingback chair was given to me and I slip-covered it in a nice, calming sage green. The ottoman and side table were thrift-store finds, and I made the cushions (McCall’s 4410) from fabric remnants. It can’t compete with my dream chair, but it works, and at a fraction of the cost.



On the wall next to my writing chair I’ve created my own little “wall of fame.” My book covers and posters from the three years when I was a Golden Heart finalist are block-mounted, and I’ve also added the “first sale” plaques presented to me by my two RWA chapters. Yes, I know this makes me look like a total egomaniac! But I’m usually the only person who sees it, and it inspires me.



Thank you so much for stopping by to visit my workspace, which, I’m happy to say, is now a lovely place to work. I’m not sure where my other cat is, but Lucy and I hope you enjoyed the tour.



Today I’m giving away a signed copy of the first book in my Seattle-set Ready Set Sold series about three women who run a real estate business that renovates, stages and sells homes. Samantha, the company’s carpenter and all-round handywoman, is the heroine in The Christmas Secret (Harlequin American Romance, November 2011).


Cover - The Daddy Project


The Daddy Project is Kristi’s story. She’s the company’s interior decorator, and this book is on shelves now!


Claire is the company’s Realtor and her story, Daddy, Unexpectedly, is a May 2013 release and now available for pre-order.


I’m thrilled that Maggie’s Way (Harlequin Heartwarming) will also be out in May 2013.


Leave a comment to be eligible for win a copy of The Christmas Secret, a secret baby story with a twist. And for a little extra incentive, if you go to my website and sign up for my monthly eNewsletter, your name will be entered twice!


Thank you, Norah! Merry Christmas to you all, and happy reading!




Thank you, Lee! That was an awesome tour. And as always, you are an inspiration!


If you’d like to read more about Lee, she’s actually interviewed today at Get Lost in a Story.


But before you go, don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a signed copy of The Christmas Secret.


28 Responses to “Workspace Wednesday Welcomes Lee McKenzie!”

  • Loved your space, Lee, and your wall of fame! Congratulations and thanks for showing us your lovely office. I just cleaned my office up last night (again). LOL Now I’m feeling better about it, especially after seeing yours.

  • What a beautiful offfice, Lee. Your writing chair looks so comfortable. Maybe too comfortable! I can see myself curling up for a little nap there. And that closet. Wowzers! I love it. Now, I must go out and buy The Daddy Project.

  • Thanks, Lina! Hope you find your tidy space as productive as I do mine!

  • Hi, Kate! Yes, the chair is comfy, especially with the cushion for back support. I hope you enjoy The Daddy Project!

  • Thoroughly enjoyed your creative space! Lovely, just lovely! I can see why you wanted that ‘dream chair’ – it was gorgeous, but I understand the high and low of it so you did real good in acquiring and making your own ! Great job!

    Marilyn Rondeau

  • Roxy Boroughs:

    Jess and Jen did an amazing job. That is one, gorgeous office.

  • I love your office, Lee. You do NOT look like an egomaniac with your accomplishments displayed. That’s a normal, inspirational thing to do.

    I love the idea of your series. I’m going to go buy the first one right now!

  • marion jensen:

    Lee, your writing space is an inspiration! Even though I see you for lunch now and then I am thrilled to catch up on all the details of your office reno. I thought the roses were bought for the photo shoot and smiled but then I find out they are real! What a bouquet of achievements! Congratulations on that and on the workspace.
    Marion Jensen

  • What a beautiful working space you’ve created. I love how it reflects you. It must have been a lot of work to get it so organized.

  • They sure did, Roxy. I especially loved that they were so supportive ouand non-judgemental about the disaster that used to be my office.

  • Aw, thank you, Debra. I hope you enjoy The Christmas Secret. I had a lot of fun working out the premise for that one!

  • Thanks for visiting, Marilyn! The chair was a fun project to work on!

  • Celia Lewis:

    I love love love your office space!! My desk and computer (no laptop yet) are in a sunny corner of the small front room in the basement suite I share with my youngest adult son. With a very big wing chair I bought over 20 years ago. I’ll need to learn how to re-cover it because 4 big kids have worn it thoroughly with love. And you keep on putting up those awards and other goodies recognizing you as a WRITER! I love your stories, and am looking forward to the ones coming up. Cheers.

  • Ros:

    What a beautiful space, Lee! I’m positively green with envy over your closet. *g* And your writing corner is so inviting!

  • Lee, your office is beautiful! And hey, look, I’m on your wall. 🙂 Seriously, this office speaks to my organization-loving heart.

  • Thanks for sharing your office space with us, Lee! I love seeing how other writers work. I’m always looking for ways to deal with the chronic chaos that invades my office.

    I’m looking forward to reading your books – the real estate theme is especially timely for me, as we’re listing our own home soon.

    Now I want to try sewing a slipcover! (although I should probably start with a pillow…)

  • You’re there, Trish! Twice! Norah, too! She and I were finalists together in 2002.

  • Celia, thank you so much for your kind words. When my kids were little and my office was still a bedroom, my computer was set up in the hallway. Thinking back, I don’t know how I got an work done!

  • LOL, Ros! When I converted the room to an office, my Handy Man took out the hanging rod and installed shelves. I’ve been grateful for them ever since.

  • Good luck with your house sale, Roxanne. I must confess that I did not sew the slipcover. I bought it readymade. The cushions were a fun project, thought, and super easy.

  • MJ:

    I LOVE your chair! That would be my favorite part, too. Your room is so pretty!

  • Great photos Lee!

    I can truly see how you thrive with organization. A tribute to a prolific writing career.

  • Thanks, MJ! I do love my chair!

  • Thanks, Jodie! I do love my space now that’s organized, and I’m so grateful for the help I received.

  • marion jensen:

    Hi Lee, My original comments were lost somewhere so here’s the gist. I loved the workspace and laughed because I thought the roses were for the photo op. Then I realized their significance. What a gorgeous bouquet of achievements. Also I was inspired by the chaos to calm people–so young and so accomplished and I loved the results. Funny, I see you for lunch now and then but I had no idea that your office was undergoing such a transformation. Thanks for the pictures and the history of it.
    Marion Jensen

  • Marion, you are so sweet to drop by. And yes, those roses have a permanent place of honor. I love them!

  • Judy Hudson:

    Your workshop is an inspiration Lee. Mine is in the “catch-all” phase, but this gives me hope for a tidier future.

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