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Second Time Around

While my next release, The Blood Contract, makes its rounds in the hands of my beta readers, I decided to revisit a previous entry in the series. Bravado/Dramatique was released in 2012 to favorable reviews, yet it was brought to my attention it was riddled with typos.  After a quick edit, I managed to post a much smoother version of it. Still, I’ve had it in the back of my head I would need to properly revise it someday.

That day is today.

Or, well, some day soon.

With the help of my mother (author Mickee Madden, in case you think I have a tendency to run to mommy with all my problems), I finished editing the book once again, to the point I feel comfortable calling it Revision II.  I was careful to keep the storyline and, as a whole, the writing intact, and instead chose to focus on the following items:

~Editing for mistakes.  I’d like to say there weren’t many, but that would make me a dirty damn liar.

~Formatting.  I’m taking advantage of this revision to shrink the font size. Why does this matter, you ask? Well, the smaller the font, the less pages the book runs, and the cheaper I can make it available to you, my loyal readers.

~Homogenization. As I neared completion of The Blood Contract, I realized I haven’t been entirely consistent throughout the series.  For instance, when Nick and Severance are talking inside Nick’s head, I’ve now changed it so Severance’s dialogue is both in italics and quotes.  Helps to separate his lines from Nick’s thoughts. Also, at times, I would write cat demon, and others, Cat Demon.  Little things like that drive me crazy, so I’m trying to fix them all.

~Dedication. I asked some posts back if it was bad form for me to change my dedications following my divorce last year. The response I received was no, it was perfectly fine to change them (my current wife particularly felt that way for some reason).

~Butting out. My mother has declared me the But King. While that may have been my nickname is high school (for completely unrelated reasons), what she’s referring to is my propensity to use the word but a lot. I didn’t really believe her until I went back through and tried to rework several sentences sans but. Even this post contains a but or two, but I’m not about to go back and change them.

Hopefully the changes will make for a smoother reading experience.  It’s my hope to go through the other two books in the series, then move onto the Unseen Things series after that. While some of these changes are exclusive to the printed version, the e-versions will also be updated some time in the next few days.  For those of you who have already purchased the eBook, it’s my understanding you’ll be able to download the new version once it’s available.

Which should be any day now.

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden

The End Is In Sight

Finally, after months of apologies, tears, bleeding orifices, and excuses, the rough draft for The Blood Contract is finally done!

Finally!

I’ll wait for the applause to settle down.

Yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, I managed to focus on the computer screen long enough to type the words The End.  I know I’m a few months late (I originally aimed for a June release), but in my defense, this is the biggest book in the Only Human on the Block series.  At nearly 125K words, it’s actually second only to Ascension in length.

Immediately after finishing the draft, I launched into working on my “rough edit,” which is essentially me making the changes proposed in group.  As of this writing, I’m 36% done with my rough edit.  When I finish (which I’m hoping will be this weekend), I plan to print it all out again and hand it over to my beta readers.  After that, I’ll take their suggestions into consideration, along with any other changes I want to make and… it’s release time!

I don’t have a date set in stone, but at this point, I’m aiming for the end of September.  That should give me enough time to accomplish a few things before NaNoWriMo hits in November.  First up, I plan to rerelease Bravado/Dramatique in both print and eBook.  When I released it back in 2012 (has it really been that long?), I was told there were a lot of editing errors.  Unfortunately, I can’t disagree with that.  So the new release is simply going to be a better edited version.  No new material will be added, as I feel it’s a tad unfair to go back and pad out my previous catalogue (unless I decide to do a “director’s cut” treatment down the road.  Hmm….).  To the best of my knowledge, anyone who has previously purchased or downloaded an eBook copy will be able to redownload the new version once I have it ready.

My second item of order is finishing The Shadow Without (formerly known as World of Shadows, and the third book in the Unseen Things series).  It was my NaNo book of 2012, and the rough draft has been languishing for the past several months.  Truth be told, aside from a few big chapters I need to add/modify, the bulk of the draft is done.  If I can’t get it out before November, I have little doubt I’ll be able to release it by the end of the year.

Thanks to all of you who have been waiting patiently (and even the impatient ones) for these books.  My life has been a series of ups and downs this past year, and I can’t say I’ve spent my time wisely, but I want to assure you, I’m back on track.  Once The Blood Contract and The Shadow Without are complete, each series has only one more book.  Then it’s onto new series and characters.

The end is in sight.  And it’s only the beginning.

Thanks for reading,

 

S.L. Madden

ASCfyogaBDTogether Alone ImageswShadow Within Cover

20 Years After

My 20th High School Reunion has come and gone, and I survived to tell the tale.

Other than serving as a constant reminder that I truly am that old (although as a point of pride, I was carded at the event last night… this baby face still has it!), I didn’t really expect much from it.  In fact, I had no plans to attend.  Were it not for one of my friends I hadn’t seen in years requesting we meet up, I would have stayed home both nights, determined to finish my book while succumbing to the temptation of starting up my Playstation.

But I did go out, and the first night was just as awkward as I thought it would be.  Few remembered me, and those who did, I often couldn’t recall who they were.  On the rare occasion we knew who each other were, our conversations were brief and fell into awkward silence that was drowned out by more boisterous (read: drunk) members of the party.

I expected all this.  It was, after all, my primary reason for not wishing to attend in the first place.  What I didn’t anticipate was that I’d not only have fun, but I’d learn a few things about myself in the process:

*For those of us who were socially inept in high school, it’s a common idea that if we could only go back in time and redo it all with our current personality/confidence, it’d be so much different.  I know I assumed that for years.  And yet there I was, given the perfect opportunity to strut the new and improved me, and I resorted to being a timid wallflower, an observer and not a participant.  My out-of-town friend is Mr. Charisma and knows everyone, and I stuck to him that first night like a shadow afraid to be swallowed by the night.  I talked to people who probably never even noticed me in high school, joked and laughed with them.  Then the next night, when he wasn’t there, I’m not sure they recognized me.

And I’m okay with that.  It’s who I am.  It’s my safe zone.  My friends know I can be boisterous and joke, that I have a fairly quick wit (well, I like to think so anyway), and can say and do some rather crazy things.  I have a rather dry, sardonic sense of humor that doesn’t often play well in casual conversation, and it shuts down altogether in a group setting.  This is who I’ve always been.  And if that’s how people remember me, I did nothing to tarnish that legacy over the past two nights.

*I consider myself an observer, interested in studying characters.  I like to figure people out from a distance, try to piece together their story.  Yet I was approached by a fellow classmate last night who sort of turned all that on its head for me.

First of all, I wouldn’t have recognized him in a lineup.  Unlike some of my classmates, he had shed his teen face and adopted one of a man.  So when he approached me, I was already at a disadvantage for not recognizing him.  But that was only the beginning.

He proceeded to tell me all about myself.  Or rather, what could be gleamed from Facebook, this blog, and other social media outlets.  He knew I was a writer, had a daughter, was recently divorced, etc.  All I could tell him about his current life was his picture was that of a chicken.

What I didn’t tell him I was as shocked and amazed he remembered me after all these years as I was he even talked to me in high school.  I was even surprised when he accepted my friend request on Facebook.  He was outgoing and on a completely separate strata of popularity than I was.  It just so happened we were masters of the keyboard, and so we were placed together in a situation where we had ample time to joke and talk, while the sound of the other kids pecking away at their keyboards in an effort to catch up served as the backbeat to our conversation.

He remembered things about me I couldn’t quite recall, like the fact I had borrowed his Beatles albums, then returned them to his father (I actually remember this now, but had it been on a quiz prior to last night, I probably would have responded by writing random words in German).  He’d met me at a time when I was obsessed with ELO, and he was responsible for opening my eyes to The Beatles (that is something I’ve never forgotten).  And I introduced him to Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Not exactly equal, but it’s nice to know I had some manner of impact on his life.

So there he was, able to tell me all manner of things about myself, and I had nothing in return for him.  He told me of his wood bending business, how he had studied law and found it just wasn’t him.  He pointed out his wife on the dance floor, and gave me a brief back story to how they’d met.  It was loud and smoky and not the perfect place for a conversation, but I learned a lot about him in a short period of time.  Even better, he gave me a website so I could do a little investigation on my own (www.shop17mareisland.com).

Within minutes of looking at the site, I knew much more about him.  He has a beautiful baby girl, and of course, a lovely wife who attended the reunion with him.  And it turns out he’s an artist in the purest sense, and he channels that art through creating chairs that are not only beautiful, but sustainable.  It’s a wonderful site, and I highly recommend checking it out.

For all my sitting back and watching the world pass me by as I write their stories in my mind, it’s good to be reminded these are people out there, with rich, complicated back stories I couldn’t possibly hope to create all on my own.

*I learned that people know me as an author.  It’s strange considering I spend 40+ hours a week doing something completely different, and very little time in comparison writing, but I was approached by several people asking me about my books.  Which is when I also learned I need to step it up and promote myself better.  Telling everyone I write about stuff and things is no way to drum up interest.  I suppose this is why successful people have promoters (or their own innate charisma).

*Lastly, I want to point out that not one person asked if I was related to John Madden.  However, several people mentioned the Steve Madden shoe company.  So that’s progress.  Perhaps at their next reunion, people will be asking them if they’re related to S.L. Madden.

Or perhaps not.

Thanks for reading, and a very special thanks to everyone who put the shindig together, and all of those who made me feel welcome there, even when it was clear I was completely out of place.  I had a lovely time and look forward to seeing you all again in a decade or so.

 

S.L. Madden

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

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha

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

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