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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Guest: C. LEE McKENZIE Not Guilty #giveaway @cleemckenzie

I’m delighted today to welcome author C. Lee McKenzie to my site to talk about her latest release, NOT GUILTY, as part of her MC Book Tour Blog adventure.

I met Lee through Insecure Writers Support Group. When she asked for reviewers for her new YA story, I couldn't volunteer fast enough. You can read my review at the end of this post.

After you find out more about this tantalizing new story, be sure to enter Lee’s giveaway featured below.

* Not Guilty
* by C. Lee McKenzie
* Publication Date: October 25, 2019
* Genre: Young Adult

Hi Diane,

Thank you for hosting me today and giving me a chance to talk about where Not Guilty came from.

I love the theme of justice, or as in this story, injustice. It’s a long-time interest of mine and probably started when I was about ten and discovered life wasn’t fair all the time. People aren’t always afforded justice, but when they are it’s a beautiful thing.

I wrote another story with this same theme, and one day I set out to revise it. That revision turned into Not Guilty, a very different book. That’s the first time revision has taken the bit between its teeth and run away like that. I’m still scratching my head, wondering how it happened.

In both books, the boys are falsely accused and ostracized by the people they’ve known all of their lives. Their families suffer as well. While there are similarities between Book One and Not Guilty, those end after the first few chapters. Book One, heads off into a Nevada ghost town while Not Guilty is rooted in the community Devon, the MC, has grown up in. Most of the story is about how he sets out to prove he’s innocent.

I kept some of the scenes from that first book, so I thought I’d show you one of those side by side to give you an idea of how similar they are. This is the scene of the boys’ homecoming after they’ve been released from custody.

Book One
With Dad’s arm slung over his shoulder, they walked to the porch. Jonah caught his reflection in the front window. He looked exactly like the boy who’d left this house six months ago, but that was impossible. A bitterness crept up into the back of his throat, burning his tongue and bringing a sting to his eyes. In that one second, he wasn’t at the front of his house. Instead, he was in a different time and a different place—one he wanted to forget.
His dad’s hand pressed on his back. “It’s over, Jonah. Let it go.”
But it wasn’t over and Jonah knew it. It would never be over. It would always be in his gut and in everyone’s mind.

Not Guilty
With Dad’s arm slung over his shoulder, they walked to the porch. Devon caught his reflection in the front window. He looked exactly like the person who’d left this house five months ago, but that was impossible. A bitterness crept up into the back of his throat. The Devon Carlyle who left from this door for the courtroom didn’t exist anymore. In that one second, he wasn’t at the front of his house. Instead, he faced Room Five and it was March. He was about to walk in on JD and Reeker.
One thing’s for sure, if I ever go back to work on Book One again, I have to dump a lot of scenes. What worries me is what will happen if I try another revision. I’m afraid it will turn into Book Three about justice and injustice.
          A blood-smeared knife. One young man’s word against another. A lifetime dream crushed.
          The evidence points to Devon Carlyle. He was there when it happened. Everyone knows he had it in for Renzo Costa. And Costa says Devon was the one. In the judge’s rap of a gavel, Devon’s found guilty of assault. The star of the Oceanside High’s basketball team loses his shot at the one thing he’s worked so hard for—the championship game where college scouts could see how good he is.
          Now he makes his great shots in Juvenile Hall with kids far different from those that have always been in his life.
          Angry? Hell, yes.
          He’s bent on finding who did the crime. He’s bent on making them pay because he’s Not Guilty.
          But can he prove it?

For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.

C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. She has published five young adult novels: Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative, and Sudden Secrets. Not Guilty is her most recent one.

          Sometimes she likes to jump into the world of the fantastic and when she does, she writes for the middle-grade reader. Some Very Messy Medieval Magick is the third book in the time-travel adventures of Pete and Weasel, with Alligators Overhead and The Great Time Lock Disaster being the first two. Sign of the Green Dragon, a stand-alone, takes the reader into ancient Chinese dragon myths and a quest for treasure.

          When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot of questions about things she still doesn’t understand.

For more information on Lee and her writing, connect with her on FacebookTwitterInstagram and at her Website

NOT GUILTY can be found AmazonSmashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

The author’s other young adult books include: Sliding on the Edge, Princess of Las PulgasDouble NegativeSudden Secrets


With Halloween celebrated this week, Lee’s giving away five digital copies of NOT GUILTY and a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate. This tour-wide giveaway will end at midnight on Tuesday, Nov. 5th.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by today during Lee’s visit. Do you enjoy stories where the underdog becomes the champion? Don’t forget to enter the giveaway.

Diane's Review: 5 stars

This story about a young man falsely accused of a crime disturbed me. The author made the situation in juvie so real I had to put down the book. But the story was so well written I had to find out what happened to Devon. My persistence was rewarded. As the story unfolded, the characters became real to me. The situations Devon and his family encountered were equally realistic. Devon's obsession with discovering the true culprit "forced" me to keep reading. I had to know if he would be successful. Young readers and adults will find the book compelling.


  1. It's always interesting learning where a book's origin comes from. Great review. Diane, thanks for being a part of Lee's tour.

  2. You've helped me get this book out into the world, Diane. I really appreciate that you picked up the book again and followed my guys through to the end. Thank you for that and the wonderful review.

  3. It sounds a fascinating read, with a valuable ‘message’ for young people and with believable characters,

    1. I hope readers will find that all true. Thanks for the comment.

  4. This article is really informative ,from this article i have learned something and tried which really help me.
    Thanks for your amazing article

  5. I already love watching shows about people falsely accused of crimes so this story really intrigues me!

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