“One Day, I Want To Write A Book”


This is a long post, so grab a coffee or a glass of wine, settle down and relax.

You know, I can remember the exact moment I said those words. I was ten and an avid Enid Blyton fan. Who remembers The Famous Five? I read them all, again and again and again… well, you get the picture. At eleven I found Elinor M. Brent-Dyer. Who remembers The Chalet School books? Read them, too, until they were in tatters.



Then I went to High School and over the years was force-fed Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, Albert Canus, Donald Rawley and of course Mr. Shakespeare. Many authors are much loved but my favourite author of all time, the one who really sparked my imagination, the one whose characters made me laugh and cry and read her books again and again was the fantabulous Georgette Heyer. One of her best has to be The Grand Sophy – still makes me laugh out loud.



During this time I wrote a descriptive essay that made my English teacher, Mr. Henderson, cry, in a good way. He read it to the class (I was so embarrassed my face was radioactive) and the story made two of my mortal enemies cry, too. (I defy any fifteen year old girl not to have the odd nemesis in her life.) And Mr. Henderson said I should seriously think of becoming a writer. My parents immediately vetoed that brilliant idea, nipping it brutally in the bud, by stating that, ‘Writers make no money, honey, and we cannot afford to keep you. Become a shorthand/typist and live in the real world.’ So I did, which is why I can touch-type at over 100wpm. (Ha!) Karma, as they say, is a beetch.

And so, I scribbled stories, lots of stories. Mainly about love (I’d hit puberty and had strict parents who banned boys) so I wrote about my ‘perfect man’ (Ha!) and listened to David Bowie and Bryan Ferry (loved Bryan). As for books, I found romances, lots of romances and paranormal/fantasy, lots of those, too. Then I fell into international banking (trade finance) and met H, got married and had three children, dabbled in many things. Travelled the world. But right at the back of my mind I kept thinking, ‘One day, I want to write a book.’

By this time I was reading thrillers and fantasy like Eric Van Lustbader and devouring every single thing he wrote.


Then we were back home in the UK, H had retired early (due to overseas service) and I joined a multi-national construction company. Wrote a ‘How-to’ book for sales staff that the staff, strangely enough, enjoyed because it was ‘chatty’ and ‘funny’ and ‘relevant.’  And all the while I was thinking, ‘One day, I want to write a book.’ The construction company was sold, the recession was knocking at the door, I was implementing change in the company, stressed and overworked.

So H sat me down and said, ‘What do you want to do?’ and, you guessed it, I said, ‘One day, I want to write a book.’ He looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘Then do it. You’ll be good at it.’

How’s that for confidence?

So, then the decision became, ‘What will I write?’ And more importantly, ‘What sort of reader will I write it for?’

My first ever serious attempt was a fantasy about mages and witches and alternate realities. It didn’t have a title. But it did have a ten year old hero and dark and gothic castles, blood feuds, demons – blah, blah, blah. Then I wrote a short ghost story about a banshee, which was so bloody and gothic and horror-filled I actually scared myself. But I was so gripped and excited and tormented by the thing that I knew right then writing a story was what I wanted to do. But I wanted to do it well. And so began the intensive journey of applying myself to learn my craft, including how to edit. This was 2009.

After many pitiful attempts at fantasy and a complex futuristic vampyre paranormal (the first chapter and pivotal moment finaled in The Romance Junkies competition in the USA) I decided to write a romance. After all, I thought, how hard could it be?




It didn’t take long to discover that there’s a hell of a lot more to this romance business than meets the eye. A lot more. So I joined an online writer’s group. And we set ourselves goals and tasks and scenes and swapped stories about our characters. The girls were ruthlessly honest but great fun. Through those wonderful and generous women, I joined Harlequin’s on-line forums where the editors run tons of wannabe author competitions where thousands (yes, thousands) of readers can vote and comment honestly. Competitions like ‘The first 1,000 words of a contemporary/sweet romance’ and ‘A 3,000 word pivotal moment of romantic suspense.’  But, best of all, were the online workshops run by their bestselling romance authors – most of whom were USA Today and New York Times Bestselling romance authors – and these girls knew the romance genre inside out. They shared techniques. They answered seriously dumb questions and gave honest feedback with a generosity of spirit that I came to realise is prevalent in the romance industry. As for the fans, well, all I can say is that they are THE most voracious readers and utterly loyal when they find a writer they like.

And so we come to ‘So You Think You Can Write?’ competitions and ‘New Voices.’  Of course, I entered those (under the name Scottygirl) and had lovely feedback. And I found amazing friends that I still have today, among them finalists. Meanwhile, I was writing scenes. Scenes that had to grab the reader. I experimented with manipulating reader emotions, making the reader laugh (came second). Then I wrote a heart-wrenching scene about a young widow of two years who has a one night stand with a hot Spaniard (came joint first. I won author Tessa Radley and she spoke to me all the way from New Zealand to give me writing advice – I’ll never forget it. It’s still a highlight of my life. She said she’d buy everything I wrote. Gulp.) Then I finaled in two more competitions, one where I made readers cry. I felt I was finally getting somewhere. Time to submit the first three chapters of my book I was polishing to such a shine it could be seen from outer space. It took six long months to receive a reply. A rejection. But it was a good rejection because it was two pages long and told me exactly what to improve and to please re-submit. So I knuckled down to re-write it and…. got breast cancer.


Now, to most people breast cancer is pretty devastating news. Don’t get me wrong – it was more than devastating to me and my family. I had a long road ahead. BUT, overnight I lost the fear of failure. I don’t think I’ve ever written so much so fast before or since. Everything that was buried deep in my subconscious spilled onto the page. Everything. Meanwhile, I underwent half a dozen operations and began treatments. When I couldn’t type, I wrote in journals in bed. H used to find me switching on the light in the middle of the night and scribbling like a demon because an ‘idea’ or ‘a plot twist’ had entered my mind and I just had to ‘get it down’ because believe me, when we wake in the morning our mind is empty.


It was during this time that the Italian Nico Ferranti sprang to life in my head as a three dimensional character as did Bronte Ludlow and her pal Rosie (about whom, the editor of the publisher I’d submitted the work to who read the first three chapters said to ‘tone Rosie right down’.) So I worked on Nico’s back-story, what or who had made him the man he was today? What age was he when the worst thing that could happen to a child happened? What are his strengths? Weaknesses? Goals? And I did the same with Bronte. Poor Bronte, God love her, I killed her parents; her fiancé betrayed her; she lost her family home; she discovered her father was not her father; she had endometriosis, which meant maybe no children. She was beautiful, but couldn’t see it. She hated her breasts, etc., etc. BUT I made her resilient, she set up her own business with her pal Rosie and they triumphed; she wasn’t looking for love; she fell out with her (half) brother because she wanted to reach out to her real father; she stood up to Nico who wanted to buy the home left to her by her mother; she was her own woman and she rocked!


And so the time came to send the entire re-written book to the publisher. However, there’s a twist to the tale. During the time of my return to health and re-writing the story, in the United States of America, a movement had been born. Independent authors. I’d been following a couple of bloggers who were talking about it, especially J.A. Konrath & Co. Interesting, I thought. At the same time the publishing industry was going through (still is) a seismic change. Did I, I wondered, have the time to wait, maybe six to twelve months for a publisher to get back to me? And after I spoke to some Big Name independent romance authors who were ‘breaking through’ and took their advice, I decided I didn’t have the time to waste. H and I talked and talked and talked for weeks, did our due diligence and H said he’d format and deal with the technical side of submitting digital books to the distributors, accounting and the tax authorities. In the meantime two romance editors I’d met on-line offered to edit and proof my book. So, on the 12th April 2012 we published Reckless Nights In Rome. To say we were petrified would be putting it mildly. I didn’t worry about the book or what was happening to it, got my head down and wrote A Stormy Spring and then Run Rosie Run and they were both published by Christmas 2012. That Christmas Reckless was a perma-free and Stormy and Rosie were all in the top ten of iBooks in thirty countries and selling in Barnes and Noble and doing well in Amazon.com. And that’s when I found my readers. Readers who buy everything I write. Everything. Each story is written with them at the front and centre of everything I do.


Some of you who are reading this have followed the ups and downs of the journey. In 2014 I had a sudden bereavement and a couple of health challenges connected to cancer treatment. But all the while I’ve never stopped writing, even if I had almost a year of not publishing new stories. My readers have been patient and loving and understanding and I want to thank each and every one.


It’s also true to say that as authors we don’t work in a bubble of one. My covers are done by Frauke and Gabrielle Prendergast who also designed the CC MACKENZIE brand. Formatting, distribution, sales accounting, invoicing and Chief Operating Officer of More Press is H. Author Engine, particularly Jennifer Lewis Oliver and Greg Carrico are awesome.

CC MACKENZIE now has ten books published in the Ludlow Hall franchise. This year there are the first books of a new Ludlow Nights series, books that are fun and fast pace with laugh out loud moments. The first of which, His Rules, is under the New Adult romance genre, will be available free and exclusive to my mailing list for a short time, with more to come. Four, yes four, vampyre books, the first and second out together on 28th March with book three on pre-order coming at the end of April and book four on pre-order coming at the end of May with more to follow. Plus A Daddy For Daisy – date to be advised. More short novels, but they’re a surprise. I love surprising readers.

I’ve truly been blessed by the support of generous authors who write in a variety of genres (not only romance) – Diane Capri, Jillian Dodd, Steena Holmes, Ruth Cardello, Marie Force, Lindsay J. Pryor, Natalie G. Owens, Dana Delamar, Kristine Cayne, Stacey Joy Netzel, L.C. Giroux, Liz Matis and Katherine Bone.

More recently I was part of a group of authors who wrote a continuity series based in the Island of Eden a world written and created by Lauren Hawkeye. This month we published an Eden boxed set with contributions by Lauren, me, Avery Aster, Opal Carew, Steena Holmes, Mari Carr, Cathryn Fox, Eliza Gayle, Adriana Hunter, Roni Loren, Sharon Page, Daire St. Denis and Elena Aitken.

On the night of Wednesday 18th April 2015 something amazing happened, we made the USA Today Bestsellers list. So now I can say I’m a USA Today Bestselling author. The reason I’m sharing this is not to toot my own horn, but to encourage those who don’t believe they can follow their dreams to – Go For It!


So tell me, what are your innermost dreams and what are you doing to make them come true?


Big hugs,

Christine XX









Hello my darlings,

It’s been a while since my last post, and that’s because I’ve been writing, visiting London, writing, and attending a wedding! Writing. Editing. And writing.

As a family, we love this time of year. There’s something about Christmas that makes me all warm and fuzzy. And from the lovely feedback and comments I’ve been receiving about my books, I know my readers love feeling warm and fuzzy too.

The Ludlow Hall series has struck a chord, especially Nico and Bronte. Readers are enjoying watching how their relationship and marriage unfolds with all their trials and tribulations. It was something I always wanted to read – how a couple I loved in a romance – coped with real life challenges in subsequent stories. The reader response has been nothing short of amazing and has truly humbled me.

So to keep all y’all going until book five, The Fall of Jacob Del Garda, comes out next year I had the bright idea to write a Ludlow Hall Christmas special featuring the usual suspects, Nico and Bronte, Alexander and Rosie, and the fabulicious movie star Mathias Carter and super-model Eve Langan, who gives Matt a run for his money. Bringing two independent and successful career people, who’ve overcome many early challenges in their lives, together is always fun. Especially when they don’t have time for love, marriage, children, or a happy-ever-after. How the might fall flat on their face. Hehehe. Watching them climbing out of the deep hole they’ve dug for themselves is always a blast. And Nico Ferranti steps up to lend his best pal Matt a hand in his hour of need. The scene where Matt returns the favour brought a tear to a couple of beta reader’s eyes, and that is very a good thing.

Man, I love this job.

I’m waiting for the story to go live on iBooks and Barnes and Noble. When it does, I’ll add the links. Until then, here’s the Amazon links USA and UK and SMASHWORDS.

As y’all know I’m part of a boxed set called Sugar and Sin, which has been really well received. Well, we’ve got together again to bring you more of the same – Sugar and Sin, The Sexy Seven. Seven books by the same authors plus one. The plus one is the talented and all round awesome romantic suspense writer Dana Delamar, who keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Dana has joined our ranks and we’re thrilled to have her.

We’ve been touched by the Amazon Angel who has very kindly given us a pre-order button for the set, so thank you, Amazon! The set is on pre-order at a very special $3.99 and due for release on 15th January 2014. I love the way Kim Killion of the Killion group has branded Sugar and Sin – the colour of this set is warm and sunny – just like us! I love it!


Here are the pre-order links (we’re waiting for B&N):  Kobo  AMAZON  iBOOKS

While I have your attention, I’d like to thank you, dear reader, for your continued patience while I’ve been juggling my writing calendar.

My publishing schedule (hopefully not subject to change) is:

Book one of a new Desert Princes series – Desert Orchid (cover reveal coming very soon) January 2014.

Book five of The Ludlow Hall series, The Fall of Jacob Del Garda (cover reveal coming very soon), February 2014.

Book six of The Ludlow Hall series, A Daddy For Daisy, late Spring 2014.

For those of you waiting for the next Vampyre Legal Chronicles instalment, I have an exciting announcement in the New Year about what’s happening to the entire series.

So stay tuned!

Thank you so much for taking the time to email/FB message/Tweet and leave very kind comments on my website. Readers rock!

You know I adore hearing from you guys, so any questions feel free to fire away.

Christine X









And just to torture you guys I’ve lifted a very smart idea from the wonderful Olly Rhodes and come up with Coming Soon posters.

My readers *waving to you* are a vocal bunch and have been speaking to me on facebook and twitter. They also lurk here in large numbers.

This is just a taste of what happens when Rosie decides she’s had enough already.




And book two of The Vampyre Legal Chronicles, Dirty Little Secrets is in final edits. It’s feast or famine in this game it really is!

Much love and hugs,

Christine X










Not a lot of people know this, but I’m a writer.

I know, who’d have thought it?

There is a reason I’m telling you this, but I’ll get to it in a minute.

A couple of weeks ago, Hugo took me on a journey, an eight hour plus journey to the Highlands of Scotland. The thinking behind the trip was that Christine hadn’t had a break from the MAC in a while (I’d begun to believe my characters were real. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when one is a scribbler, but when the characters are Vampyres one’s husband begins to twitch and give one the steely eye.)

Another reason was because the weather (I’m sure I’ve mentioned the weather?) has been vile and he was certain the country was due a break from the rain. But no. We drove for six hours through the worst September storm in thirty years, think pestilence and a flood of biblical proportions and you might get the picture.

The thing about going away in this country is one never knows what to pack because it might be 10 degrees one day and 30 degrees the next, so I was advised by my youngest daughter to ‘layer.’

When we visit the Cairngorm mountains in the national park, see photo below, lovely isn’t it?

We always go on the funicular railway to the very top. Here’s the link if you fancy a trip (you can walk but it takes two hours and it’s 3,000 odd feet above sea level and the paramedics would need resuscitation equipment for Hugo.) The view is usually spectacular as long as there’s no low cloud cover. They don’t allow visitors to step onto the mountain because our footprint might damage the natural habitat. Hmm, I thought it might have had something to do with the sheer drop and a health and safety issue. But no, they’re more worried about damage to the mountain than human beings. Fair enough.

Anyway, Hugo had gone to buy the ticket and I was keeping our place in the  line and noticed two couples standing in front of me who were not British. By the lovely singsongy voices, blonde hair, blue eyes (the older guy looked just like Charlton Heston in his prime 🙂 my intuition told me they were Scandinavian. So we all got on the train and away we went. When you get to the top, the organisers are a crafty lot and make visitors trek through a large gift shop. By this time, although I’d ‘layered’ I was freezing and a fleece top caught my attention. In spite of Hugo’s eye roll (I saw it by the way, just say’in) I bought it and they bagged it up in a swanky big brown paper bag, not plastic (even though it was now raining) because plastic is not biodegradable. Fair enough.

At the top they have a café with huge windows for us to enjoy the view. By the time I’d stood for half an hour for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, I was too hot. So I took off my quilted coat and duck down gillet and told Hugo I was off to the ladies loo. I’d taken the bag with the new top in it and didn’t think he’d noticed. It is true I was gone for a while, but whatever.

When I returned to the café Hugo was chatting to the two Scandinavian couples who’d joined our table. Actually, to be accurate, one guy was British, a sound engineer with Strictly Come Dancing and he was married to one of the women. I know, I was thrilled because I love Strictly. Somebody who works with the famous is almost as good as speaking to the famous. Anyway the following conversation ensued,

‘See,’ Hugo said. ‘I told you she’d gone to change into her new top.’

My husband, boys and girls, has a big mouth.

I just gave him ‘the look’ and smiled at them.

‘It suits you,’ the younger woman said with a smile and a fabulous accent.

‘Where are you from?’ I asked.

‘Sweden. We’ve brought my sister and her husband up on a tour of Scotland. We live in London.’


‘What do you do?’ the sound engineer said to Hugo.

‘I’ve retired,’ Hugo responded. (He’s a LOT older than me, just thought I should mention it.)

‘Lucky you, how do you fill your time?’

‘Well, I do lots of things and I work for Christine.’

The sound engineer nodded, sipped his hot chocolate and whipped cream with marshmallows. ‘What does Christine do?’

‘She’s a writer,’ Hugo said with an evil grin at his loyal and loving wife.

They all turned to look at me and I gave them big eyes.

‘What do you write?’ his wife asked.


‘Oooh, you’re not that 50 Shades of Grey lady.’

I get this all the time.

I smiled. ‘No, I wish I was,’ I said. And we all chatted about Christian Grey.

‘I also write a vampire paranormal set in an urban future,’ I added.

‘Oooh, my sister loves vampires. What’s your name?’

‘CC MacKenzie. My first book was Reckless Nights In Rome.’

Her sister from Sweden turned to look at me and said something in Swedish.

‘My sister has heard of you.’

Heart stopped. Blink blink.

I shook my head. ‘Nope. I haven’t been writing for long.’ I took out my business card (always be prepared) and they studied it. Her sister nodded and spoke again in rapid Swedish.

‘Yes, she’s heard of you. Her son’s ex-girlfriend has your book on her kindle. She loved it.’

Blink blink, hot flush rose from my toes as more conversation happened in Swedish.

‘My sister would like your card to give to her son’s ex-girlfriend.’

So I gave her the card and found myself tearing up, how embarrassing was this? Hugo just grinned. I think it’s the hormones – I’m getting to that age – but I’ve never been so emotional in my life.

Who’d have thought it?

I’m famous in Sweden.

I just hope Reckless Nights In Rome didn’t kill her son’s romance with his ex! I sometimes worry that young girls might end up with too high an expectation of their men after reading one of my heroes.

So that’s what I’ve been up to, freezing to death up a Scottish mountain dishing out business cards to lovely ladies from Sweden.

What have you guys been up to?

What do you do for a living?

Come and share it with us – we demand to know. (This should be good.)


Christine X