Blog Posts

The Box Set is coming October 21st!

The_Panagea_Tales_Box_Set_The_Complete_Epic_Fantasy_Series_McKenzie_AustinOctober 21st is a wonderful day to curl up with a book (or four) and enjoy some delightful autumn reading.

It’s also the day the Panagea Tales comes to a bittersweet end.

I started this journey in January of 2018, and I made quite a few mistakes along the way. I’ve edited the original manuscript more times than I can count. I’ve gone through three different book covers for The Tree That Grew Through Iron. I didn’t have a newsletter, or beta readers, or advanced review copies to give out to people to make sure my book(s) had Amazon reviews on launch day.

I just knew I wanted to write a book. One book turned into two. The deeper the characters burrowed into my heart, the longer their stories became. Now, just shy of two years since I first put fingers to keyboard, their respective journeys are coming to completion.

Gods dammit, I hate goodbyes.

I’ll still be able to revisit them; I know that much. We still have to make the audiobooks for The Gods Who Harvested Men, The Serpent That Swallowed Its Tail, and The Canary That Sang to the World. I’ve been toying with the idea of a collection of short origin stories for Kazuaki’s crew. You know … little visits, here and there. But I know it won’t be the same. Half a million words is a long adventure to take, and unfortunately for Nicholai, Kazuaki, and the crew, there just aren’t half a million more.

I hope if you have stories in your heart, you write them. I hope if you have characters you want to show the world, you share them. And I hope you feel the same thrill, and fear, and triumph, and sadness that I have when you do. Goodbyes will always be hard, but I wouldn’t trade this one for the world.

I hope if you read the box set and enjoy the series, you consider leaving a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Let me know if you ever start one of your own. I’m always down for an adventure.



Stay a while, and listen to the Tree That Grew Through Iron Audiobook

audioadHello and good morning, reading enthusiasts! I hope your week is going as well as mine. If I were Sisyphus, I might even think I could get the boulder all the way to the top of the hill with how pumped I’ve been lately.

It is my pleasure to report that The Tree That Grew Through Iron: Book One of the Panagea Tales, has been transformed into its latest edition. That’s right – we’ve entered the wonderful world of audiobooks. Can I get an enthusiastic “woo!” from anyone? Yes!

A little bird told me that audiobooks are the next best thing in the ever-evolving literary world, and I’m inclined to agree. In this generation of ‘go-go-go’ attitudes, time to sit down and read is a luxury no longer afforded to many. Audiobooks give us the ability to multitask while simultaneously entertaining ourselves– and if that doesn’t encapsulate the modern day desire, I don’t know what does.

In honor of the audio release of The Tree That Grew Through Iron, I’ll be giving away a code for a free download of the book from Audible. You can listen to narrator Gerard Marquez, in all his talented glory, tell the tale of Nicholai, Kazuaki, and the crew, as they weave their way through the continent of Panagea.

How do you win a free copy of the audiobook, you ask? Just share this post, and comment on the original Facebook post to let me know you’ve shared it! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. I’ll choose a winner next Sunday (August 18th).

In the event that you want to dive into the series straight away, you can find the book on Amazon, Audible, or iTunes!

Thank you for sharing in this joy with me; I couldn’t imagine anyone else I’d rather spread this enthusiasm with.

Love and peace,


The Tree That Grew Through Iron Wins Gold Medal

yayHello, all!

I hope I didn’t spoil the premise of this post; the title really does say it all. Yesterday, I woke up to an e-mail from The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards that stated ‘The Tree That Grew Through Iron’ was a GOLD medal winner in the Adult Fiction category of their contest! Ah!

After the wave of disbelief wore off, I was able to mutter a few incoherent words of appreciation. With a full day for the news to settle over me, I’m much more capable of highlighting my joy.

I would like to thank ALLi (The Alliance of Independent Authors) for all the work they do in vetting the book award contests that are NOT out to jilt an eager writer out of his or her hard-earned money by charging them entry fees for nothing more than greed. Winning an award is an incredible honor, but winning an award that has been thoroughly analyzed by a group of experts in the field is even better.

In other news: I have finally decided to pursue a voice actor for an audio book version of The Tree That Grew Through Iron! I’m excited to say that I’ve had several great auditions, and will be narrowing it down very soon.

Thank you to everyone, the readers, for making this series as powerful as it has become. I hope to have the same luck with my new paranormal romance series: The Incineration Saga!

The Tales Continue

Hello, friends and readers!

As you may have already discovered, I only update my blog posts once every month/every other month. I hate to offer up excuses, but I’m going to do it anyway, as I have a few. Here’s a list of things I’m probably doing when I’m not concocting a blog post:

  • Raising a four-year-old.
  • Making time to be a good wife.
  • Writing books.
  • Tattooing people (my full-time job)
  • Overseeing the cleanliness of my home. (Currently in a  war with Sears Home Services while I wait for them to fix the dishwasher I paid for six weeks ago. Hard work, hard work.)
  • Trying not to trip into a downward spiral of madness.
  • People stuff.

Jeepers, now that I’m looking at it, it’s only seven things. Still…

You guys don’t want to get spammed with blog posts, do you? Of course not! You’re too busy reading!

book3mockupMy rambling does come with a point, I swear. What I’m trying to say, in my own long-winded way, is that the third book in The Panagea Tales tetralogy is available for pre-order! If you’d like to snag a copy (set to be delivered to your Kindle on January 10th, 2019) click here!

Thanks again for sticking with the characters and for all the kind messages and reviews I’ve received on both and You guys are phenomenal!

Have a stellar day, friends. Thank you and goodnight, it’s time to go start the next book!

Anxiety and Writing

You’ve felt it before.

The hollow pit forming in your stomach. The hole in your brain that leaks a constant supply of negative thoughts into your bloodstream. The heaviness. The crushing weight of your own self doubt. The thousand and one irrelevant ‘what if’ questions that fly through your skull, clogging every path that any redeeming feelings might flow into, suffocating you, until you are a victim to the inner demons. Demons birthed from your own imagination. Demons who remain invisible to others, but to you, they are as tangible as any human being.

If any of that sounds familiar, then you have my sincerest pity. Functioning with anxiety is nearly a Herculean feat.

I’m here to share my experience. You know, when the call to write inevitably means your mental problems will weave through each word you type. When choosing to publish your work, to put it out there for everyone to silently (and sometimes, not-so-silently) judge, becomes a choice you have to make.When your anxiety amplifies the nervousness tenfold, crippling you some days, and still trying to destroy you, even on the days it fails to succeed.

Simply put, writing with anxiety sucks ass.

I’m embarrassed to admit how often I’ve hovered over reviews and shuddered at the idea that someone I’d never met disliked a character, or a scene, or spotted a grammatical error, or found any fault at all with the story at all. I don’t think there’s an answer for it. I don’t even think awareness of it will keep me from doing it again.

But if anybody is reading this, anyone at all, who has written a story and fears the repercussions of exposing yourself so much, that you have yet to pursue publishing… please, heed my advice: take the plunge.

I cannot promise you won’t have bad days.

I cannot promise you won’t constantly second-guess whether or not those who have read your book think any less of you, for whatever made up lie your anxiety tells you is true.

I cannot even promise that the book will sell well, or at all.

But I will say that your book is unequivocally, 100%, without a doubt, better than all the unwritten books hiding in the backs of peoples’ minds. You made something. You poured effort into it. You spent hours looming over a notebook, or a computer, churning words in your head and spilling them onto the pages. That, my friend, is more than most people can lay claim to.

You gave the world art.

While many years have since separated artists from public reverence, there was once a time when the creative people of Earth were venerated. Take a small slice of that past worship for yourself. Tuck it away, into a pocket or an easy-to-find corner in your brain. Keep it accessible, that you can reach for it on the bad days.

Take a cue from your characters. If you can write the bravery that gives them life, than it’s already inside of you. And even if, at the end of a long day, nobody else gives you a pat on the back for what you have achieved… please know, that somewhere in the world, I’m giving you the biggest feckin’ thumbs up I can muster.

You wrote something. You created. Share your work. Slay the beast that dares to shackle you. I know you can, because you’re a gods-damned hero.