Author of Thriller and Horror novels and short stories. ** NEW RELEASE** The novel BLOODWALKER (Thriller/Mystery/Horror) has now released from Freedom Fox Press. Find it here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/638144
Sliding On The Edge
on May 09, 2015
Shawnna has a bad life. No. I mean really, really bad. Her mom is the poster girl for how not to be a mother. She’s selfish, unfeeling, and is teaching Shawnna to be a grifter like she is. In a twist of fate, her mother’s wanting to be alone with new boyfriend #65 leads her to palm off her daughter on her grandmother, a woman Shawnna’s never even met. This is Shawnna’s only chance to live a normal life – if she can just keep all the bad habits of the past from taking over and ruining everything.
Ms. McKenzie does a fabulous job with the teen character. A perfect voice and in-depth characterization join with a quirky background to form a brilliantly rendered picture of a girl hovering on the edge of sanity and self-destruction. Balancing this roller-coaster of a ride is the stable grandmother. Perhaps a bit staid, but the perfect foil for volatile Shawnna and the only one capable of teaching the girl about love and compassion. These characters will stick with me a long time. Highly recommended!
Troll, A Short Story
on July 11, 2015
I loved this short horror story! The author succeeded in transplanting a Medieval mythical creature -- a troll -- into a modern setting in a bizarre yet completely believable way. All the characters were vivid and their reactions spot on. I enjoyed the troll the most, although a monster his unique personality shined through. This isn't a vignette - the author delivered a full story, beginning, middle, and end, and the satisfying finale made the whole thing even more enjoyable. Highly recommended!
on July 16, 2015
What a fun book this was! I really enjoyed the adorable rhyming riddles, and I gave my brain a work-out trying to answer them. Luckily, at the beginning of each section, there are headings, like “Mythology,” “Science,” and “Nature.” Those narrowed down the possible answers because they had to fit the category.
I’m not very good with riddles, so these challenged me, but my competitive spirit kicked in, and soon I was keeping score in my head, trying to win more than I lost! The pages flipped by quickly and I enjoyed every moment. Highly recommended!
The Revenge of the Pumpkins
on Aug. 16, 2015
This story was filled with gore and juicy mayhem! It's not for the faint-hearted, but I had fun reading it and really liked the original take on a traditional holiday. And I'll sure never touch another pumpkin!
Cosmic Seasoning: A Collection of Short Stories
on Aug. 27, 2015
I enjoyed reading this well-written collection of ten tales about aliens, humans, and possible futures on Earth. All the tales are science fiction, but the author presents variations of length, tone, and point of view to keep the reader entertained all the way through.
Three of the ten stories are quite funny – “A Polite Letter of Complaint,” “A Politician Tells the Truth Before Armageddon,” and “An Urgent Announcement.” The story “Nuance” is an examination of a possible apocalyptic future.
In two of the stories, “Emissary” and “Instrumentality,” the author puts her own spin on the familiar controversy 'What qualifies as human?' Both stories are deep and thoughtful. Two other stories concentrate on emotions – “Pas de Deux” and “Lux in Tenebris, Rendition #7,620.” The second is the longest story in the collection and is a character study of a shape-shifting alien stranded on earth for thousands of years. And she’s not alone.
My favorite stories were “A Complicated Suicide” – a murder mystery, but not in the way you’d think – and “The Patchwork Girl,” which I enjoyed the most. It’s a fascinating story of a very likely future, full of technological gadgets and scientific innovation. It combines humor with a very good story arc.
Even for those who aren’t science fiction fans, there’s something in here for every taste.
Into The Hole
on Sep. 03, 2015
What is in the hole? What's eating the livestock and binding a family to its will for centuries?
I loved this story! It was extremely well written and very dark. The author did a great job creating a palpable sense of doom that surrounds the main character from the beginning, and then creating more tension and horror as the story went on. Highly recommended!
Flesh Golem: The Scowl - Part One (The IronScythe Sagas)
on Sep. 03, 2015
I’d give this novella six stars if I could. Brilliantly written, it’s as dark and gory as it is richly detailed with breathtaking prose.
The world is Arn, where metals have magical properties and are considered cursed, so all metals have been outlawed. Only stone, wood, and crystal are used to make things. But some metals were fashioned before the laws were enacted—and some creatures, too.
The hero, known only as The Cowl or Blackbeak, is scarred and deformed, his personality cold and distant. Yet his goal is a noble one: to rid the world of the cursed metal and creatures plaguing it and protect innocent citizens—even if they see him as little more than a monster himself. To do this, he uses cursed metal, a sword of frightening power with a personality bent on destruction.
I love this style of character, a dark superhero with loads of inner pain, but who’ll do the right thing no matter what. The author brings him to life in vivid and believable detail. The world of Arn is fully realized through beautiful descriptions that felt fresh and original. There are plenty of twists, creepy characters, and the action is exciting and brutal. You won’t be disappointed if you give this novella a try! Very highly recommended!
Self-Help 101 or: How I Learned to Take Over the World Through Tolerating My Family
on Jan. 09, 2016
Anyone whose house has been a bit too full for Christmas and whose relatives and siblings don’t always get along will completely understand Dani’s situation as the holidays—and the relatives—descend on her home.
After deciding to write a self help book to break into the big leagues, Dani’s left with one problem—what to write about. Family feuds, a peeping cousin, and juggling sleeping arrangements become fodder for her imagination and she transforms her frustration into a manifesto for taking over the world, or in this case, just surviving the holidays with her family and getting her boy “friend” to be a boyfriend. Nothing’s too hard for smart, resourceful Dani to tackle! You’ll get a good laugh out of the family squabbles, kitchen klatsches, and advice to wanna-be emperors! Highly recommended!
Under a Purple Moon
on March 29, 2016
Although we’d all like to believe in the perfect family and a perfect home life for kids, the reality often falls far short. What happens to kids who aren’t loved or respected, who have to deal with unreasonable, toxic parents, and who have nowhere to go to escape the misery?
In Under a Purple Moon, the author explores not just one teen’s attempt to fight her way out of a painful home life, but four of them. Eden is a typical high school girl, bright and generous, but unsure of herself and her place in the world. At home, she must put up with a mother who has serious mental problems and a father who refuses to acknowledge them. In desperation, she escapes to an abandoned house where she can have some peace and quiet. She soon discovers she’s not the only one who needs a place to escape. Two guy friends from high school also use the house, and a new student soon shows up with even more serious problems. It’s in their shared misery and frustration that they bond and form a support network for each other—the only defense against damaging home lives they’re stuck with.
This book spoke to me on so many levels. When you’re too young to know better, it’s easy to blame yourself for the hurtful attitudes and bad behavior of others, especially family members. Very often, it’s outsiders and friends who will see the situation clearly and slowly convince us that we are not the ones at fault. That’s when maturity, growth, and healing have a chance to show us a better way forward.
This is an exceptionally well-written book, filled with painful truths about growing up, but also the joys of young love, anticipation, and the excitement of conquering new challenges. I loved the writing style, enjoyed the deep characterizations, and felt the ending was believable and satisfying. The author did a great job, and I look forward to reading more from her in the future. Highly recommended!
Lost at Devil's Table
on April 21, 2016
This short story is a delightful and quick read. The author gets the personality of the boy exactly right. There’s a mystery about what’s going on with his braces, troubles with a school bully, a life-or-death search for missing hikers—and there’s even a ghost! You can’t get any better than that!
I’ve enjoyed other books by C.Lee McKenzie. She always balances an exciting plot with deep, emotional resonance from her characters. Highly recommended!
The Haunted Stepsister
on June 10, 2016
This MG story about the supernatural was even more fun and a bit scarier than I expected. Since the author normally writes contemporary fiction, I wasn’t surprised at the depth of the characterizations, the excellent dialog, or the dramatic twists in the plot. However, I wasn’t expecting such great—and creepy—descriptions of the possessing demon and the frightening chaos it caused at Jess’s home and school. There are some images, like the weird thing that happens to Jess’s mom and dad when the demon first shows up, that will stay with me a long time!
I think this book is especially good for Middle Grade kids because it’s not only a riveting tale, but it deals with very real, modern issues of blended families, child services and protection, how sometimes adults can overreact and make things worse, and how true friends will offer support no matter what are the various religions involved.
My only slight hiccup was that I wished the final twist had been set up more convincingly. Stronger foreshadowing would have led to an “Ah-ha!’ moment for me instead of a “Say whaaa?!” moment. Still, the book was thoroughly enjoyable! Highly recommended!