Unflinching and uncompromising, tough and talented, Shane McKenzie stands at the forefront of the next generation of horror writers.

—Bentley Little

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cover that up!

So I've been getting the cover art to my projects coming out this year, and I gotta say, they are all fucking amazing. Pill Hill Press does not skimp out on the artwork, which is something I really appreciate. As a reader, I will admit that cover art is a big part of my decision making when I'm choosing a book to read from an author or publishing house that I'm not familiar with. So I take it very seriously because nobody knows who the fuck I am. But that's okay. Shit, as a writer, I'm still trying to figure out who I am.

But here they are and I'm as happy as a suicidal turkey in November.

A Hacked Up Holiday Massacre

Featuring stories by: Jack Ketchum, Joe R. Lansdale, Bentley Little, Nate Southard, Lee Thomas, and Wrath James White (and many more super talented authors)


It Was a Dark and Stormy Night... A Horror Cliche Parody
This one I couldn't resist. I just thought it would be a lot of fun to poke fun at all the cliches we are taught to avoid. Jeff Strand will be writing the introduction for this book!

And...the file is too big! It won't let me post it, but once we get a final version of the cover with the title, I'll get it up. Bummer, I was really excited to share it because it's fucking sick! But I'll get it up eventually.

Now, those are the two anthologies that I'm editing this year for Pill Hill Press. And I know it's frowned upon, but I'll be writing a story for each too. Shoot me, I can't help it.

Psycho Cinema Double Feature

This will be my double novella book coming out toward the end of this year. I'm very happy with the cover, the artist followed my confusing description perfectly. This book will be designed around B-Horror movies and I think it will be a lot of fun.


Carved: Tales From the Pumpkin Patch

This is my baby right now. My first short story collection. I'm very excited about this one, and am working hard to get it polished enough for a release. It's a bigger story that leads into short stories, going back to the main characters between tales. I'm happy with it, but it needs a spit shine.


That's it for now, but I'll update as the covers get titles and all prettied up.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Muay Thai Training: Rounds 2 and 3

So since my last post, I've had two more sessions with Wrath. It's been challenging but I'm loving every second of it. Wrath is a really great instructor, making everything easy to understand, though this training is anything but easy. And for me, I'm coming in as a blank canvas with no prior training of any kind. I'm doing this solely for my own benefit, to challenge myself physically and mentally and be able to handle myself if the situation presented itself. Again, that instinctual need to protect my family, my girls.

So, the second session was punches. The first session was Wrath showing me the correct form and teaching me the correct way to throw punches and elbows. The second session, I got to use them a little bit. He wrapped my hands (which made me feel bad ass, like Jean Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport. I wanted to roll my fists in glass and fight that huge chested Chinese guy with the mullet) and put the gloves on. I got to hitting the heavy bag, which was fun for me. Shadow boxing and actually making contact with something solid is just so much different. I was starting to feel good about my form and my punching, though I was still having trouble keeping my chin down, stomach curled, and eyes forward, and I had a tendency to punch to low. Then we got into the hook, which was difficult to grasp at first, but I started to get the hang of it. Then, he started showing me blocking techniques. It really surprised me how little movement and energy it takes to block, though your eyes and reflexes have to be sharp. It's just a flick of the wrist. Wrath would throw a jab with his left, I would flick my right wrist to deflect it. He'd throw a right, I'd deflect with my left. Then he showed me a way to block with my elbows. I would run my hand over my head like I'm slicking back my hair, angling my elbow into my body. Then Wrath started throwing punches at me while I blocked with my elbows, over and over. That was a lot of fun, got to move around the dojo a little bit.

So, between the second and third sessions, I have been shadow boxing to get my form better and running to get my endurance up. I was feeling pretty good about my punches. Then, we meet up yesterday and move on to kicks. I have been pretty nervous about kicks because my flexibility is terrible and I've never kicked a thing in my life. We started with a pad on Wrath's leg, and I was trying to get the concept of rotating my left foot and letting my right leg be dead weight. It was awkward and it's gonna take some practice to get right, but not too bad. And that's when we moved to the heavy bag. Wrath kind of smiled and told me that Muay Thai is a lot of conditioning your shins to take damage without feeling too much pain, aka nerve damage. He said your shins can become like baseball bats. And he showed me by kicking the shit out of the bag over and over again, making it look soft and full of feathers. So I walk up to the bag, slam my shin against it with a kick, and my eyes burst open. Son of a bitch that hurt. One kick. That was a reality check, let me tell you. But I kept going at it, still feeling awkward as hell with my kicks. To be honest, I felt like a girl scout in there. My kicks, especially my left, were not good. And trying to remember my form and not to snap my leg and to leave it dead weight and rotate and everything was pretty damn hard when every time I slammed my shin against this bag, it hurt like a motherfucker. For me, the bag felt like it was full of bricks. After my shins were already on fire, then Wrath told me twenty kicks with each leg, back to back to back. That was a helluva challenge there. But I did it. My form was terrible, but I still did it. Then Wrath tells me how he used to do a thousand. That just seems humanly impossible to me. But I'm goddamned determined to get better. I need to strengthen (kill nerves) in my shins. So, I'm going to start using a roller and just roll that fucker across my shins, then knock it against them, at least three times a week. My shins are all bruised up right now, but I'll get them there eventually. He says they can become baseball bats, right now, I'm at wiffleball bat level.

I can already feel myself getting addicted to this stuff. I feel great and I'm motivated. Now I'm gonna go cry in the shower...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's a Girl!

Just found out yesterday that me and my wife are having a little girl. I just can't believe it. A daughter. I have a daughter. I'm going to be a father.

It's something I've wanted for a long time, and now that it's almost here, it doesn't feel real. I feel like it's happening to someone else. But when we were at the doctor's office and I was staring up at the screen while the sonographer did the ultrasound, watching my daughter move around and twitch inside of my wife's stomach, I really felt it. That I am a father now. The most amazing feeling I've ever felt.

Maxine Kim McKenzie. That's my baby girl. Mighty Max!

I can't wait to meet her. It's a weird feeling to miss someone  you've never met, but that 's exactly what I'm feeling. I want to hold her so bad. I want to read to her. I want to be dumb and silly and make her laugh. I'm so damn excited right now, I can hardly contain myself. And I've never felt more motivated before. I'm writing with new inspiration. Those days when I'm feeling out of it and don't want to do anything, I just remember that ultrasound, and it lights a fire under my ass. I have to make my family proud. I have to make sure they are taken care of and happy. I should never be doing nothing. I don't have that privelege anymore.

And I can feel the inner pit bull coming out. I have to protect them. My girls. I can't ever let anything happen to them. If some shit goes down, I need to be able to handle it. Which is why I'm taking my Muay Thai training so seriously. Which is why I'm lifting weights every goddamn day, even when I don't want to. They need me to be strong, or at least that's how I feel.

So, everything is about to change for me. But I welcome it. I've been waiting for this my entire life. I couldn't be happier.