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Bit By Bit

I truly hoped this post would be to announce the rough draft of The Blood Contract was finished, especially considering I’m well past my June target to release the book.  Alas, that is not the case, but I am making good progress.  I only have a few more chapters left before I can type the words “The End.”

It’s impossible to say how long these final chapters will end up being, as I’m officially into unknown territory.  As long-time readers of this blog probably know, I had previously hand-written this series, and I’ve been editing them as I type.  Well, I have finally made it beyond where I stopped writing years ago.  While it’s fun to finally explore scenes that have been in my head for the past five years or so, it’s also a little frightening.

The handwritten copy was my safety net, a guide that led me down the path of the plot, even when I opted to veer from it some.  Now, I’m winging it.  I know exactly where the story is headed–I have from the start–but as I finish this penultimate book in the series and move on to the finale, there is a sense of dread I’ll drop the ball somewhere.  I’ve been jotting down ideas and taking notes, hoping to get back into that mindset.  For the first time since I stopped actively working on this story, it feels like it’s wide open.  Even knowing the end, I’m not fully sure what path it will take to arrive there.

I suppose all I can do is take a deep breath and trudge onward, hoping my vision meets everyone’s–including my own–expectations.

First, however, I’ve got to get this thing finished.  Hopefully next time I post, it will be to tell you just that.

Thanks for reading,


S.L. Madden

Splitting The Shadow

For those of you who have been following this blog, you may have noticed I’ve been going back and forth a bit concerning the third book in my Unseen Things trilogy.  I wrote the first part of it in 2012 (really?  Sheesh….) for NaNoWriMo and since then… not a whole lot.

The issue I ran into at the time was the third book was shaping up to be quite a bit bigger than the first two.  And there was a definite change from part one to part two, to where it seemed it might be better served as two separate books.  So I split them up, calling them World of Shadows I: Proliferation and World of Shadows II: Invasion respectively.  That way each book could have its own release without me breaking my promise of a trilogy.

Well, what’s the point of promises if not to give us something to break?

I’ve been mulling it over, and I’ve come to the conclusion they truly are two separate books.  They’re no more connected than The Shadow Walker and The Shadow Within.  So I’ve decided to turn my trilogy into a quadrilogy.  My current plan is to refocus on finishing up the third book, now tentatively titled The Shadow Without, once I’ve completed The Blood Contract.  Hopefully this will be before NaNo hits again this year.  Then next year I’ll work on the final books for both series–Afterlife (Only Human on the Block V) and Twin Shadows (Unseen Things IV).  I’m still up in the air about the name changes (note: Twin Shadows was actually my original title for The Shadow Within), and as such, I’m open to suggestions.

Thank you everyone for your patience, and as always, thanks for reading,


S.L. Madden


A Google search will yield a half dozen ways to write out the titular sound effect, but however you choose to spell it, Friday the 13th instantly springs to mind.  In addition to a glut of hockey-masked slasher movies, this Friday the 13th you can also enjoy an array of books on sale, courtesy of author Angela Kulig’s “Books Are For Freaks!” sale through her blog, which can be found here.

I’m a latecomer to the sale, so I’m keeping my fingers I was able to enter my books in time.  If so, you’ll be able to find The Four-Year-Old Guardian, Bravado/Dramatique, Together Alone, The Shadow Walker, and The Shadow Within will all be on sale for $.99 apiece!  And if my titles aren’t enough to draw you to check it out, there’s over a dozen other authors offering their books at a discount, plus I hear rumblings of giveaways.  So go check out the selections and throw some love Angela Kulig’s way for putting this whole thing together.

Thanks for reading,


S.L. Madden


fyogaBDTogether Alone ImageswShadow Within Cover

Passed Releases

I know I originally posted my intentions to have the next book ready by this month.  While I’m definitely approaching the end of the first draft, it is sadly just that.  It’s still in dire need of an edit.  So while I’m changing my focus on finishing the first draft by the end of June, it’s pretty clear the book won’t be ready for release any time soon.  Instead of throwing out another date and explaining why I missed it, I’m instead going to say I’m shooting to have it out be the end of this year.  While that may seem like a long time off, the entire month of November will be occupied by NaNoWriMo (still trying to decide which project to work on for it), and I’ll be simultaneously writing World of Shadows Part I (you know, that book I wanted to have out shortly after releasing The Shadow Within).  The good news there is I’ve actually made some progress on it lately, and there’s only a handful of chapters left before the first draft is done.  So if all goes well, I could realistically have both books ready to go by the end of the year.  In that respect, I suppose it’d mirror 2012 release schedule.

Because I love making lists (and I was kicking myself over taking so long on this book), I looked up the original publication dates for my previous releases.  They are as follows:

Ascension 6/30/2011
The Four-Year-Old Guardian 7/29/2011
The Shadow Walker 10/28/2011
Bravado/Dramatique 6/28/2012
The Shadow Within 8/19/2013
Together Alone 12/18/2013

Put in that context, I suppose I’m not doing too poorly.  In 2 1/2 years, I released six books, spanning three different series (assuming I ever get around to turning Ascension into a trilogy).  2011 was my most productive year, but that was helped by the fact I had already finished Ascension and The Four-Year-Old Guardian and was shopping around for an agent when I decided I no longer wanted to play that game.

So while I’m lamenting the fact I still don’t have The Blood Contract ready to go, I must admit I’m rather proud of what I’ve accomplished.  Considering I have a full-time job, a family, and other time-consuming hobbies (I’m looking at you, PS3 and guitar), I’ll take my victories where I can.

Thanks for reading,


S.L. Madden

ASCfyogaBDTogether Alone ImageswShadow Within Cover



Reasons And Excuses

Just giving my (what’s turning into a) monthly update on the progress of all things S.L. Madden.

First off, I offer my apologies to those of you awaiting the release of my next book.  I initially hoped to have it out in June to celebrate my third year anniversary publishing.  Sadly, here we are in the middle of May and I’m still in the middle of writing it.  Though the distance between where I’m at and typing the words THE END grows shorter on a (mostly) daily basis, I am now doubtful I’ll be able to finish the rough draft by next month.  And even if I do, that’s exactly what it’ll be: rough.  After that, I still have to edit, edit, and edit some more, which can be quite a lengthy process by itself.  And then it’ll be time to format

This is the biggest book in this series thus far (not sure how many words the final book is going to be), and it has a lot of moving parts compared to what came before it.  My fear when I stopped working on the story five years ago was it was starting to sag a bit under the weight of it all.  As I work on this rough draft, the same worry is creeping in.  It feels a bit like the wheels are spinning but it’s not going anywhere.  Perhaps it’s the structure of the story itself.  It’s split into two parts, each with a lull, a buildup, then a finale.  Coming off the events that occur at the end of part one, I fear part two reads a bit dry.

Another thing of note is I wrote what I have of The Blood Contract spread out over several months.  Unlike the other three books, the writing process was long and drawn-out, which I believe also contributed to the sense it lacked forward momentum.  Similarly, the critique group I attend, Crunchy Peaches, has been meeting sporadically, due to family emergencies, sickness, and the like.  While I know I should remain focused even in our off weeks, I’ve found myself distracted.  As many of you know, I went through a divorce last year that resulted in my daughter moving to the other side of the state.

I hate to use it as an excuse, but I’d be lying if I said the whole situation hasn’t affected my mental well-being.  There are times I sit down to write, and the words refuse to come.  And some days I know I should focus on trudging ahead, but I spend my free time researching my legal rights (or rather, fretting over the lack of them).

One positive result of all of this is I’ve been inspired to write music for the first time in ten+ years.  I’ve been corroborating with my old band mate, David Landon, together on some tunes, making use of technology that didn’t exist back when we first formed The Dialectics.  These days we’re calling ourselves Mad Lands, and we’ve been hard at work writing tunes.  It’s a good way to blow off some steam (and it’s all for fun), but I do find a lot of my creative juices are flowing in that direction at the moment.

What does all that mean?  Well, I’m going to finish this book as soon as I can.  I expect that will be some time in June, barring any unforeseen delays.  With any luck, I’ll be able to get the edit done and have it all ready to go by August.  Still, in an attempt to be realistic, at this point the best I can hope to promise is it will be out before the end of the year.  I still remain optimistic I can finish up World of Shadows Part I this year as well, but I’m going to focus on one story at a time.

Thanks for your patience and for reading,


S.L. Madden

Only Human On The Block Sale

I’m still plugging away on The Blood Contract, book four of the Only Human on the Block series.  As of yesterday, I’m sitting at 73K words, and there’s quite a bit more to add.  Still, I’m targeting a June release (yes, I remain an optimist), and it occurred to me I haven’t had a sale on my books in some time.  So, in honor of the (hopefully!) June release of The Blood Contract, I’m going to have the first three books in the series on sale for $.99 each through June first. This will actually mark the first time Together Alone has been on sale since going live last December.

Each title can be downloaded from the Smashwords site, in whatever format eReader you prefer.  You will need a coupon code to get the discount, but I think saving $2 per book is worth inputting 5 characters.  Just click on the links below, input the given coupon code, and enjoy!

fyogaThe Four-Year-Old Guardian – XG58W







BDBravado/Dramatique – WV33W







Together Alone ImageTogether Alone – JZ44Y


Thanks for reading,


S.L. Madden


How My Roll Was Slowed

I am presently 67K words into The Blood Contract, book four of the Only Human On The Block series, and sequel to The Four-Year-Old Guardian, Bravado/Dramatique,  and Together Alone.  My best guess is that’s just over the halfway mark, though I don’t know for sure because I never finished my rough draft back in the day.  My last date recorded on the rough draft was October 13th, 2010.  Since then, I’ve been mentally going over how it will end, along with the final book of the series, Afterlife, but all of my efforts have been focused on getting the finished books into print (along with my other books).

As I work on getting this draft from the page to the screen, I find I’m running into some of the same issues I had when I originally wrote it.  Namely, it’s going a lot slower than I thought it would.  To put it in context, I hand wrote The Four-Year-Old Guardian in about the span of a month, and Bravado/Dramatique in roughly two months.  Together Alone took me about five months from start to finish, which seemed fair given it was longer and more complex in scope than the previous two volumes.  At this rate, The Blood Contract will be the longest book yet in the series, but it’s also proven to be the most daunting.  I first put pen to paper on it on September 4th, 2008, and as I stated above, I stopped writing it on October 13th, 2010, over two years later, or nearly three times as long as it took me to write the first three.

Why the huge discrepancy?  Well, several things factored into it.  The scope of my work environment changed, offering me far less stand-by time in which to work on writing.  Also, as the scope of the series expanded, things became more complicated.  I knew from the beginning where it’s all headed, but as the character roster grew and I approached the end, I realized I needed to back fill some of the mythology (especially as it becomes more important in the next few books).  Also, early 2011 is when I first found out about self-publishing, and I switched gears from finishing The Blood Contract to editing and producing Ascension.  Since then I’ve been plugging away at releasing new books, attempting to move forward while whittling away my past writing.

And now, I’m almost caught up.

After all these years, I’m looking forward to seeing how the end of this series will come together.  At the same time, it’s a bit daunting, hoping I can bring it all to a satisfactory conclusion.  Of course, if I don’t speed things up a bit, it’s gonna be a long time before I see the end.  At this rate, I’ll be lucky if I get this book out in time for my projected June release.

It may be slow going, but at least it’s (finally) going.

Thanks for reading,


S.L. Madden


With a few exceptions, I’ve tried to keep this blog out of the realm of my personal life, choosing to focus more on my books (with the occasional post about autism or video games).  This particular subject is one that straddles both my personal and business sides.

It’s no big secret I was divorced last October (although I’m not sure everyone knows I was recently married again on March 9th).  At the time, we did our best to keep things amicable.  Do to the fact we didn’t know what the future would bring, we made arrangements to make sure my ex would be well taken care of.  We made verbal agreements to help each other out whenever necessary, and to keep things civil for the sake of our daughter.

This worked well (as far as I was aware) until quite recently.  Suddenly, the ugliness of divorce we should have faced and moved on from several months ago is now at my feet, and the civility we shared even a week ago seems to have crumbled into nothingness.  It’s a sad turn of events, and I won’t go into any egregious details here.  Suffice it to say, there are hurt feelings on both sides, wounds that, perhaps, will never heal.

So my question to you all is this: do you think it would be wrong for me to change the dedication found in my older books?

Right now, my first few (four?) books are dedicated to my ex, as she was who I was with at the time.  But I cringe every time I open up the book and see that right in the front.  I’ll still give her credit for her cover work, but I’d rather dedicate the books solely to my daughter if that’s an option.  I suppose it’s akin to tearing up old pictures of someone who hurt you, but this is something I’ve put out there for public consumption.

What say you, fellow readers/authors/people with opinion?  Should I leave the dedications as they are, a mark of what was?  Or do I update them to exclude her, symbolizing moving on to what will be?

Or am I the only person who would even worry about such a thing?

Thanks for reading,


S.L. Madden

Promises, Promises

Okay, I admit, I’ve done a horrible job updating this blog.  I don’t recall if I made any kind of promise to be better about it (it’s been too long and I’m too lazy to go back and read), but clearly I was lying.  I intend to write every week, but I suck.

Work on The Blood Contract is slowly creeping along.  At the beginning of the year, I gave myself until June to put it out.  That seemed like more than enough time, and it’s significant because it will also mark my three-year anniversary of publishing.  Now, June is starting to look a little optimistic.  It could still be done, but I’ve gotta get the lead out and get to typing.  As of today, I’m 62K words in, and a few pages away from the halfway mark (or at least when the book transitions to Part II).  That means I still have a lot more to write, and these chapters so far should have been the easy ones.  When I stopped working on this book almost six years ago, I never finished the final few chapters, which means I’ll have to write them from scratch when I get there.  I know exactly how it all ends, down to the wording I want to use, but getting it from my noggin to the page isn’t always as easy as all that.

So why have I been writing so slowly?  Well, I could spew forth a list of excuses.  My computer hasn’t always been available for me at lunch (we trained a new girl at work and she needed to be on my computer for a week, but I’m totally not complaining because she’s a great addition to the team (and may possibly be reading this)).  I took a week plus off work to watch my daughter while my ex-wife was traipsing about England.  And I’ve covered for other shifts which prohibited me from my typical writing routine.

But ultimately, I could have been writing more at home.  I think my attentions have been drifting elsewhere.  Lately, I’ve been getting back into playing and writing music.  I hadn’t written a song in probably twelve years, and in the past few months, I’ve come up with three new ones and a handful of ideas.  Not saying they’re any good, mind you, but it’s been fun to get back into it.  While I think (hope) I’m a better author than musician, it is nice to have the more immediate release of producing a song.  Writing has never been a quick process for me, even when I’m at my peak creatively.

Also, I must confess, I’ve been having more fun with my PS3 than usual.  For most of my life, playing games was a fairly isolated experience, with few exceptions.  But now that my friends have PS+ and a few choice multi-player games, it’s renewed my passion for playing.  I still enjoy a good single-player game, but there’s a strong allure for when we’re all on and available to play.

And then there’s the fact I’m getting married (tomorrow!).  No, I don’t consider it a reason I’ve been slacking off.  I just like to say it. :)~

Okay, so when I list it all out like that… I really do suck.  I have no good excuse for slacking as I have been.  I will get The Blood Contract out by June (of this year, mind you)!  I will get the third Unseen Things book out by the end of the year!  And I will record an EP of songs no one but myself and possibly my friend/band mate will want to listen to!

These things I promise!*

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden




*subject to my whims and discretion.



First Signs of Life

I just realized I have been procrastinating writing a post since… well, last year!  I had no idea it had been that long.  Maybe a week or two.  So for those of you who look forward to reading my blog as a means in which to give your life purpose, I hope my absence hasn’t resulted in you doing anything rash.  And, in the unfortunate event it did, I hope you left reviews first.

I don’t really have a good excuse for being gone for so long, other than I let time slip through my fingers.  I have been keeping up with the writing.  I’m nearly at the half-way mark for The Blood Contract, book four of the Only Human on the Block series.  I’m at 53K words, so this is shaping up to be the biggest of the series yet, although I doubt it will reach the page count of Ascension, my longest book yet.  I’m shooting for a June release, but keep in mind that’s far from a firm date.  At this point, I can’t see it being any earlier than that, and June was the date I gave my cover artist.  Yes, that’s right… For the first time, I’m hiring someone to create my cover for me.  I picked a scene out of the upcoming book that I think will work, and he said he’s going to get started jotting down ideas.  I’m quite excited to see what he’ll come up with.

For those of you who are all about the Unseen Things series, I offer my apologies the third book, World of Shadows Part I, isn’t out yet.  I originally planned to release it shortly after The Shadow Within, and I even wrote the bulk of the rough draft for NaNoWriMo 2012, but I’ve been stalled on it since last Fall.  There are a few key scenes I know I needed to insert, but I haven’t quite wrapped my brain around the mechanics of them yet.  While I mentally worked on it, I started hammering out the rough draft for The Blood Contract, which was easier because I was only a few chapters shy of finishing the rough draft when I stopped writing it some six years ago.  What was supposed to tide me over until I returned to World of Shadows pretty much took over.  Coming off of publishing Together Alone at the end of last year, I was all too happy to stay in that world.  In the meantime, however, I’ve been distancing myself a bit from the events of the Unseen Things series.  I know what I need to do, I just have to get in there and do it.

Despite my procrastination, I’m confident I’ll have World of Shadows Part I out before the end of the year.  That would mean I released three titles in 2011 (Ascension, The Four-Year-Old Guardian, and The Shadow Walker), one in 2012 (my lazy year) (Bravado/Dramatique), two in 2013 (The Shadow Within and Together Alone), and now two this year (The Blood Contract and World of Shadows Part I: Proliferation).  And if all goes well, I’ll have the final books of both series (tentatively titled Afterlife and World of Shadows Part II: Invasion, respectively) ready for release next year.

Not too shabby for a guy who can barely manage to write one blog post a month.

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden

ASCFYOG cover kindleBDTogether Alone ImageswShadow Within Cover


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