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.

adbooktwoHello, friends!

I’m excited to announce that ‘The Gods Who Harvested Men: Book Two in The Panagea Tales” is available for pre-order on Amazon!

Secure your pre-order here!

Thank you all for your patience while I powered my way through another 400 pages of content for our dear companions, Nicholai, Kazuaki, Umbriel, and the crew. I hope the second installment brings you as much joy as the first.

I’ve learned a lot about marketing, proper blurbs, and good series covers in the last several months. I know book one has undergone several large face lifts in the days since its debut, but I’m hoping everything that poor book has endured since June will only serve to streamline the process for other books in the series.

I’m grateful for you all, and I hope to keep your attention as the series continues on into the third installment!

Exciting news, friends and readers!

As I flail my way through learning how to successfully brand ‘The Panagea Tales’ as a series, I am here to announce a new cover for book one!

Following the advice of some wonderful people who are vikings in the world of indie author marketing, I’ve secured another cover from Consuelo Perro, the talented artist behind ‘The Gods Who Harvested Men’ and now ‘The Tree That Grew Through Iron’.

Since book one has recently undergone edits to remove the last of those pesky typos, I thought it was especially fitting to retire the lovely original cover. This not only cements the uniqueness of the first edition in its entirety, but sets the stage for a more fluid aesthetic as the series continues.

I’ve also taken your advice to heart and increased the font size of ‘The Tree That Grew Through Iron’. This has ballooned the book size to a whopping 460 pages, so I apologize for the $1.00 price increase–it was necessary to off set the cost of printing.

Thank you all for following me along this journey. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to learn as I go, and have a wonderful fan base who is as accepting as they are understanding. I can say with confidence that as the series blooms, the corrections on my part will (hopefully) decrease. The margin of human error is high, but mankind’s adaptability is stunning in its own right.

PS: The new copies will be available on Amazon within a week.

 

The Tree That Grew Through Iron

signing2Wow! I don’t know what else to say to encapsulate the experience that was my first book signing. (But I’m a writer, so I’ll try.)

I am eternally grateful to have amazing friends and contacts within the wonderful world of Facebook. A lovely woman I met long ago, Jenny, saw my shameless self-promotion posts flowing through my newsfeed about The Tree That Grew Through Iron, and she happened to know the owner of a book store in Appleton, WI, aptly named ‘The Book Store’. Several messages later, I had the event booked!

There were some concerns as to how many people would show, as Appleton was a good half an hour outside the safety and comfort of my home town. Coffee and general nervousness made for a jittery introduction to the first few people who showed, but I was blown away by the soothing ambiance of The Book Shop. And a major, major shout out to my mom, brother, and sister Kelsey (who lives in flippin’ Iowa but drove all that way to surprise me at the event!). Family is feckin’ amazing, you guys. With their love and support, you can overcome any mental obstacle. signing5

Meeting the faces of those who read the words I wrote was humbling. I genuinely love each and every person who walked up to the homey booth provided by The Book Store’s owner, Kalan. I’m eternally grateful, Kalan, that you let me dip my toe in the book signing waters at your store– I can’t think of any better place to have started. The atmosphere was unprecedented. A thousand and one thank you’s to you, my dear!

Thirteen books found their new homes that day. I know, I know… everybody’s favorite number, right? If you consider the copy that Kalan took to sell in The Book Store, that makes fourteen, but I’m not superstitious. Thirteen is my new lucky number.

signing7From the bottom of my weird little heart, thank you to everyone who made it out. Thank you to Kalan and The Book Store for having me. And thank you to the writing gods and goddesses who gave me the ambition to craft this story. It’s been a wild ride so far. I can’t wait to find out how it ends.

Love, light and peace,

-McK.

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“Picking up your first copy of a book you wrote, if there’s one typo, it will be on the page that your new book falls open to the first time you pick it up.” – Neil Gaiman

 

Someone warned me about it. I thought the countless times that I scoured through the text were enough.

It’s never enough, people. It’s. Never. Enough.

Quite literally, I flipped open to page 166 of The Tree That Grew Through Iron‘s paperback version. My eyes scanned the page. Then I saw it.

“…edged closer death.”

Gods. Damn.

After an initial panic and contemplative thoughts of throwing myself on the edge of a crippling anxiety attack, I drew a deep breath. I paused. I accepted. The book’s only been out for less than a week. I had time to fix it. There’s only about one hundred copies of my blatant mistake floating around in readers’ hands. (And probably more that I haven’t caught.) But it is what it is. Ironically, it captures a theme that runs through all the installments of the Panagea Tales:

Human beings are not perfect. And they never will be.

The sooner we accept this, the sooner we can move on to worrying mindlessly over other things in life, since we all know there’s bound to be more.

Love, light, and peace, my friends. And sorry if you’re one of the few who purchased my imperfect version.

-McK.

Oh, gods, I’m about to throw up.

Hilarious story: I thought The Tree That Grew Through Iron would go live on June 4th, but it turns out, it went live today! (Don’t worry… I’m confident my writing abilities are better than my organizational skills.)

Here I sit, sweaty-palmed, hyperventilating, hoping to every real and imagined god and goddess that ever existed (minus the evil ones, feck those guys) that you all enjoy this book. Thank you all for staying with me through the journey. I have my fingers crossed that you stick with it for book two!

You can secure your copy of The Tree That Grew Through Iron here!

Love, hugs, and lightning bugs!

-McK.

The Journey Begins

I mean, that’s a little misleading… the journey of writing The Tree That Grew Through Iron began a long, long time ago. I’m sure a lot of people know the writing process is cruel and fleeting. Your muse can pop his or her head into your lives as quickly as he or she can take an unexpected vacation. Your muse can leaving you sitting in front of your laptop with nothing more than your fourth cup of coffee and bloodshot corneas from the countless hours you stared at that blank, blinding screen.

Oh, how it mocks me some nights…

But then, eventually, some 350+ pages of size 11 Times New Roman font later, you realize you might actually complete your story. I’m there. I made it. I’m conservatively guessing I have approximately another one hundred pages to go before I complete the first draft.

Then the dreaded editing process begins, yay!

I made a lot of mistakes in my past in regards to writing, the biggest of which was: “I can do this all myself! I am a superhuman goddess and words flow from my fingertips like the freakin’ Nile!” Oh, past McKenzie, you naive, naive girl…

I have hired an editor this time (like a real person!) in an effort to curb my previously inflated ego. I’ve taken whatever tips I can, like starting pre-publication marketing efforts, getting the social media accounts up and running, all that jazz. I hope you enjoy the journey, I really do. If any fellow writers want to pick my brain for what I’ve learned through other authors, I will do whatever I can to assist you. We’re all in this together, after all.

With any luck, these blog posts will overflow with the successes of The Tree That Grew Through Iron. At the very least, I promise they’ll be honest.

Enjoy the ride, my friends! I couldn’t have asked for better company.

 

-McK.