Posts Tagged ‘Harlequin American’

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The too-tall shelves that overwhelmed the space…and me…have been replaced by nice low ones.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.


Workspace Wednesday welcomes Trish Milburn


I’m especially delighted to have Trish Milburn as my guest today. Trish is a fellow member of the Wet Noodle Posse (or Noodlers, if you prefer), otherwise known as the RWA Golden Heart® finalling class of 2003. In fact, the WNP will be celebrating 10 years of noodly goodness when we all converge at the Romance Writers of America’s National Convention in Atlanta this year, and I cannot wait!


Trish is a gifted, prolific and versatile author. She writes emotional, heart-warming Harlequin Americans, as well as single title small town romances, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, and possibly my favorite – awesome YA. (Like this one below. Magick is the third book in Trish’s Coven trilogy from Bell Bridge Books.) She is also a huge Joss Whedon fan-girl and a Supernatural fanatic. In other words, she is made of sheer awesomeness.



Take it away, Trish.


TRISH MILBURN: Thanks for having me here today, Norah. I’m loving this series on workspaces because I enjoy seeing where other writers work, the things with which they surround themselves for inspiration. So here’s a peek at my office.


It’s one of the two bedrooms that face the street and gets a lot of afternoon sun. That means that it gets hot in the summer and I usually have a fan going in addition to the AC, but it’s nice in the winter because I’m such a cold-natured person and I need heat and sun. As you walk into the room from the hallway, you see my desk and main computer straight in front of you. I’ve added a small, secondary desk behind where I sit to hold file folders and my fax/copier.



But before you get to the desk, both walls as you enter the room are filled with maps. I love maps, and I collect ones from all of the National Park units that I visit. The long one on the left as you enter is of the Appalachian Trail. I have this dream of hiking the trail someday. Also on that wall is one of Yellowstone National Park, where my sister worked for a year. It’s such a surreal and gorgeous place, and I’ve only been able to visit a tiny fraction of all it has to offer. The final map on that wall is of all the National Park Service units. I have a goal of visiting all 300+ of them. The two framed photos are from my honeymoon almost 20 years ago. The waterfall is in Chimney Rock Park in North Carolina, where they filmed one of my favorite movies, Last of the Mohicans. The other is of Myrtle Beach at sunrise.



On the opposite wall are a map of the world and my giant map of the United States with all the counties in every state outlined. The ones highlighted in yellow are ones I’ve been in. Eventual goal is to visit them all. Yes, I’m a road trip kind of girl, how did you guess? 🙂



Also against this wall is my deadline schedule. This is for major deadlines for books and freelance articles.



My office is filled with things that make me happy. I think part of this is because I spend so much time in there, and partly because I never had my own room. I went from sharing with my sister to sharing a dorm room to getting married to the wonderful hubby. So my office is my space filled with my personality and interests. You can see that by the posters on the wall – Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings and Supernatural.



A closer look shows a stack of the books I’ve had published, my Firefly figurines, my Doctor Who sonic screwdriver (Are you getting the geek-girl theme yet?), and a photo of me with my editor, agent and another Harlequin employee at Walt Disney World. Just out of this shot are my bear figurines, a picture of me with my husband, and my baby shoes that I brought home last year after my father passed away.



Above my desk is the framed piece of artwork by Rebecca Sinz that my husband commissioned for me. It depicts Jax, the main character in my Coven young adult series. I did mention my hubby was awesome, didn’t I? 🙂



In the other front corner of the room are some of my huge collection of books, my little TV, DVD player and the TiVo I bought myself when I sold my first book. I’m a big TV and movie fan, but sometimes deadlines are pressing and I can’t stop to watch my favorites when they’re on. I’d love to kiss whoever invented TiVo.



And finally, this is where the magic happens. LOL. While I spend a lot of time at my desktop computer doing e-mail, social networking, freelance articles, and work for my part-time job, I actually write books on my laptop, a lot of that writing happening in this old but comfy piece of a section couch. The truth is that I tend to do a combo of writing and watching TV. For whatever reason, it works to help me actually produce more pages. I write X amount of pages, then I get to watch a segment of a recorded program in between commercials. Then I have to write X more pages before I get to watch more. It’s the reward-for-good-behavior method of writing. J You’ll might also notice my little Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore from Disney World sitting atop the filing cabinet. I love Disney World, and Pooh is one of my all-time favorite characters.



When it’s nice, I’ve been known to take my netbook out to a nearby park by the lake and write at a picnic table, and when it’s cold in the winter, I sometimes write in bed with my feet and legs under the covers because, quite frankly, I’m a total wimp when it comes to cold weather. I get cold in November and often don’t thaw until April.


Thanks again for having me here today. I look forward to reading more of your Workplace Wednesday posts.


Thank you for that tour, Trish! I’m blown away by your workspace. Love it! And omigosh, that map! You are one well-traveled gal.


Okay, folks, it’s giveaway time! All you have to do for a chance to win is to comment on this post. To be won is a complete set of Trish’s American Romance “Teagues of Texas” trilogy. Ain’t it purdy?