Joanna MacKenzie

Women’s Fiction Romantic Comedy


Brooke Abrams holds a Masters of Early Childhood Education from Northern Arizona University. She’s spent the last seven years as a school administrator working with young children and parents. She writes romantic comedy, women’s fiction, and speculative fiction. Some of her favorite things include her husband of fifteen years, three children, four rescue pets, and attending local drag shows whenever humanly possible. She can usually be found eating Mexican pastries while dreaming about all of the plants she’d like to buy.

In 2011 I decided to start a parenting blog while I was getting my masters. This was at the height of the mommy blogger era, and with zero intentions or planning, I ended up with a blog that averaged over 100K views per month. On my blog I shared anecdotes about parenting and my kids. I realized I enjoyed writing for an audience and making people laugh. To this day, I keep in touch with people who read some of my earliest attempts at humor. In 2018 I had my last child and decided I would either get my doctorate or start writing again. Writing was less expensive, but blogging didn’t excite me anymore. In a matter of months I wrote my first novel which I submitted to Pitch Wars. I received requests, but I did not get in because that book was a trash fire. That trash fire helped me make writing friends, and by the time the 2019 Pitch Wars window opened I had written two other books. I submitted my romantic comedy and was chosen by the most perfect mentor ever. (Sorry you don’t get her, but I’m a solid runner up) I received multiple offers in the showcase before selecting my lovely agent. Since then, I’ve gone on submission, and I’m currently finishing a novel that I hope to sub this Spring.

I’ve been a mentee, and so I’ve already gone through the rigorous process of editing a manuscript on a tight deadline. I have a great network of CP’s that I regularly trade work with, and I’ve learned how to balance thoughtful critiques with fist pumping ALL CAPS words of enthusiasm. In my day job, I mentor teachers every day. I know one size doesn’t fit all, and I’m comfortable adapting my style to meet people where they are.

Being a mentee changed my life. Truly. It made me take myself seriously, elevated my craft, and helped me take the next step in my writing career. I’m a strong believer in paying it forward, and I want nothing more than to encourage more writers to take their words to the next level. If you’re a parent or someone established in life looking to finally shoot your shot with your words and talent, I want to be your cheerleader and make sure you know that its never too late to give your dream a chance.

I want to work on a book that is filled with messy, interesting, flawed, complicated, and lovable characters. I want to spend time in a setting that I desperately want to be real, and I want to go on a journey with a cast of characters that end up feeling like my extended family. I would love to see your #ownvoices and LGBTQIA stories.

  • Contemporary
  • Romance
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • #ownvoices


  • I love complicated and messy in all genres.
  • In romance/ romantic comedy, I am a sucker for second chance.
  • I love a story about reinvention and self discovery.
  • Not a fan of cozy mystery or sweet romance.


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Skype or phone call

I guess I’d describe my mentor style as a little bit Alexis Rose and a little more David Rose. We’re going to start off with a phone call or zoom meeting. Eek! I know face-to-face or voice-to-ear communication can be intimidating when it comes to your word baby, but we’ve got to start there. I need you to hear how much I LOVE your work, and how much I want to see your book shine. This is the Alexis part! You can even bring a smoothie. After you see how much I adore you and your words, I’ll send you an edit letter. There might be things in that letter that you need to process through and sit with. This is the David part. You might need something stronger than a smoothie while you read. But we’ll settle on a schedule to make sure you get everything done on time, and we’ll make sure to discuss how often we’ll check-in with each other. Once you’re finished whipping your book baby into shape, I’ll go through it once more and leave you comments that will likely be lots of OHMYGAWDs and HOLY EXPLETIVES with the occasional MAYBE NOT thrown in. I’ll look over your synopsis and query, and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to finding a fabulous agent who will love your book just as much as we do!

You betta work! Seriously. This is a lot of work. I want someone who is willing to make their book and this opportunity a priority in their life for the time we are together. To me that means: dedicating time each day or week (depending on workload) to tackle revisions, maintaining open and honest communication, and being supportive of one another’s ideas and creative processes. This is a partnership and hopefully one that extends beyond AMM. I don’t expect that we’ll always agree, but at the end of the day, I want us to value what each of us brings to the table.

Gimme More:

  • Unexpected premises with eccentric characters that come together to create something fresh and fun. (Think The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Vampire Slaying)  
  • Settings that I dream of visiting. Make them warm and cozy or weird and creepy. (Give me Stars Hollow or The Good Place) Sidebar: I struggle with overly descriptive writing. If you have an entire page on a grassy knoll, I’m sure it’s great, but I stopped reading it. I like efficient prose.
  • Secrets! They can be dark and twisty (The Undoing) or they can be rooted in contemporary issues. (Such A Fun Age)
  • Laughs! I live for smart, witty dialogue from fully realized characters. (Red, White & Royal Blue or Schitt’s Creek)
  • A little bit of magic. (Jane the Virgin) – Characters that I want to hang out with. Full disclosure: They don’t have to be likable. Sometimes hanging out with someone messier than you makes you feel a little better about your situation! But they MUST be interesting.
  • Villains that you love to hate or hate to love.
  • Romantic relationships that are complicated and representative of people with life experience beyond college. (I’d kill for an It’s Complicated love story.)  
  • Voice. Strong voice has made me fall in love with books I never thought I’d want to read.
  • Complicated families that are striving to be better.
  • I would love a re-telling of a 90s/ early 2000s era rom-com. Give me a new Fools Rush In or Something’s Gotta Give.


I’m not a good fit for:

  • Procedural crime thrillers or mysteries
  • On the page trauma/ abuse, or trauma/ abuse that is described in great detail
  • Mental illness as a motive/reason for murder
  • Erotica


  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Desperate Housewives
  • The Undoing
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
  • Waiting for Tom Hanks
  • Get A Life Chloe Brown
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • The Friend Zone
  • Red White & Royal Blue
  • The Last Romantics
  • Anything by Grady Hendrix
  • Bird Box (book no Netflix movie…sorry Sandra)
  • Anything by Gabrielle Zevin
  • This Is How It Always Is
  • Funny like Wanda Sykes or Fortune Feimster