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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

Dedicated

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

The Maddening: 2013

It’s New Year’s Eve, and what kind of blogger/wannabe writer would I be if I didn’t spend some time reminiscing on the year past, and looking forward to the year to come?  So I no particular order:

Separate Ways – I was separated, then later divorced from my wife of nearly ten years in 2013.  While I can’t say this was the easiest thing I’ve ever gone through, it did make it possible for me to meet Jenn, who, as of a few nights ago, is my fiancé.  Yes, I know it seems rather quick, but when you know, you know.  I still haven’t adjusted to not seeing my daughter more, nor do I ever think I will.

Big Pubbin’ - I released two more books this year–The Shadow Within and the hot-off-the-presses Together Alone), bringing my total available books up to six.  Not too shabby considering I’ve only been at this for 2 1/2 years.  Of course, the majority of these stories were extensively worked on in the years leading up to me publishing, so I’ll be interested to see just how prolific I can be in the future.

If It’s Broke…. – While I’m proud of my accomplishments since I first began this publishing journey, I know I didn’t start out as strong as I might like.  Now that I have a bit more experience under my belt, I’ve decided to go back to my original books and clean them up a bit.  I’m not exactly in a position to go through and edit them again for now, but I recently finished fixing the dreadful table of contents for Ascension, and in the process, shrunk down the text size a bit, slimming the overall product down.  As a result, it not only looks and reads better (in my opinion), I’m also able to offer it for cheaper than it was originally.  Now that I have it out of the way, The Four-Year-Old Guardian, Bravado/Dramatique, and The Shadow Walker are next.

So Failure *Is* An Option? - NaNoWriMo… you know, that thing in November us writery folk drive ourselves crazy over, trying to produce 50,000 words in a month?  Yeah, that.  I completed it last year for the first time.  Thought I was a shoe-in this year.  Nope.  Didn’t happen.  Though in my defense, I did manage to beat NaBloPoMo.

Moving on….

Looking Back, Gazing Forward – This past year marked my first time working with an editor (the uber-talented Katy Sozaeva).  Not only has she helped me improve my writing, but I’ve learned a lot from going through her edits.  Not enough I don’t need her, however.

I’m also looking forward to working with a skilled artist for my covers in the coming year.  I’m rather proud of what we’ve been able to do in the past, but I know they can be better.  While my covers aren’t quite at the level of someone photoshopping wings on their grandchildren, with a digitized fire in the background (yes, I’ve seen that done), I still wouldn’t call them professional quality.  And I’m hoping for an image I can use in promotional material.

Which brings me to marketing.  Sigh… does any writer out there actually enjoy this part of it all?  I have to be the absolute worst at marketing.  While I tried to do a give-away with The Shadow Within, I snuck Together Alone out in the middle of the night with no fanfare.  I know it’s not the right way to do it (assuming I want to be all successful and stuff), but I just can’t help it.  Once a book is ready to go, I want it to be available.  I’d love reviews (good or bad), but I hate schmoozing for them.  Kinda drives me crazy.

Hopefully I’ll do better in the year to come.  I’m hoping to have two more books out in 2014.  I’m currently 34,000 words into the rough draft of The Blood Contract (Only Human on the Block IV… yikes!), and a few chapters away from finishing the rough draft of World of Shadows Part I: Infiltration (Unseen Things III).  I also have a series I started and stopped working on a few years back that I recently unearthed.  In my spare time, I think I’m going to blow the dust off of it and see what I can make of it.  And then, of course, there’s NaNo come November.  I will not fail this year.

So, as usual, a lot on my plate, but nothing I can’t handle.  I imagine this time next year, I’ll be looking back at all I accomplished (and everything I failed at), and looking forward to 2015 being a banner year.

’til then, the future remains a mystery.

Thanks for reading… Happy New Year, and be safe.

S.L. Madden

Benjamin Franklin said, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.”  I would add to that list the inevitability of me messing something up during a book launch.

And so it is for my latest release, Together Alone, the third book in the Only Human on the Block series.  Aside from the cover issues which I detailed in a previous post (and I’ve since rectified), it came to my attention I had erroneously titled Chapter Fifteen as sixteen instead, giving me two Chapter Sixteens.  I just spent the morning updating the corrected manuscripts (and I published over at Barnes & Noble, which I had put off until now).

For those of you who have already downloaded Together Alone off of Amazon and care about such things, you should be able to update the file you received to accurately reflect Chapter Fifteen.  Again, I want to emphasize the only change was to the header saying the chapter number, not the actual content of the chapter itself.  In terms of buggery, it’s rather minor (especially considering I uploaded an unedited version of The Four-Year-Old Guardian at launch… *shudder*), but it’s still quite frustrating.

Also, I want to say that although Katy Sozaeva is listed as the editor for this book, she is in no way responsible for this error, or any others you might run across.  This was something I overlooked, and if there are other mistakes to be found, they are most likely due to my thick fingers and dull brain.

Thanks for reading,

 

S.L. Madden

Together Alone Image

Size Matters

I know, I know… I disappear for three weeks, then come back with two posts on the same day?  Just who do I think I am?

I mentioned in my previous post I stayed busy during my time away.  Sure, publishing Together Alone took up a significant chunk of time, but I wasn’t resting on my laurels otherwise.  I was so happy with how The Shadow Within turned out in terms of formatting and font size, I decided to go back and give Ascension a proper remake.  Merely by shrinking the text down (which, in my opinion, actually looks better and more natural), I was able to slim the size of the book.  And as a direct result, I was able to lower the price.  I also redid the Table of Contents (it was rather horrid when it first launched), and generally cleaned it up.  Please note, if you already picked it up in paperback, this version is pretty much identical.  With rare exception, I didn’t edit it any further or do anything beyond cosmetic changes.  If I ever get around to that, I’ll issue a second edition, any you, loyal readers, shall be the first to know.

Next up, shrinking down The Four-Year-Old Guardian, Bravado/Dramatique, and The Shadow Walker.

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden

ASCfyogaBDTogether Alone ImageswShadow Within Cover

First off, I apologize for my absence.  Isn’t it just like a guy to inundate you with love (NaBloPoMo), then disappear with nary a word?  Well, rest assured, my time away was used well.  Sort of.

First and foremost, I published Together Alone (see that bluish text?  I can make a link because it’s an actual product now!).  I had endeavored to have it out by 12/20, and I released it some time after midnight the morning of 12/21.  So close!  It was released with very little fanfare, with only a tweet and a Facebook posting to announce its availability.

Yes, six books in, and I still don’t have a firm grasp on the concept of marketing.  When I should have been building up enthusiasm, performing interviews, offering giveaways, and soliciting reviewers, I was instead putting the finishing touches on it, then moving on to the next book.  I like to think someday I’ll have so many books out, my presence will be hard to ignore, but until then, I continue to rely on word of mouth.

In this instance, however, it turned out to be a good thing, as I discovered once the book went live on Amazon, my cover just didn’t cut it.

This was my first time solely trying to do the cover on my own, and I rather liked the way it turned out.  I always wanted the cover to depict hands reaching in, to signify both the strength of the demon army advancing on Averton, and the desperate plight of the citizens there.  On my screen, it looked pretty good, but in the context of the thumbnail, it was hard to see the red hands against the dark background.  In fact, it just looked like a black square.  To make matters worse, the dark letters against the grey background were completely lost, making it difficult to read the name.

I decided to play with the image some last night, and I ended up really liking the results.  I have yet to see it in thumbnail form (that will have to wait until I get home tonight for me to upload it), but I think it’ll be much easier to see.  And it has some color to it, that I believe will make it pop.

Unfortunately, I didn’t receive any printed orders before changing the cover, or else the original version would end up being a rare copy.  I didn’t even order one for myself, sadly.  However, the ebooks from Amazon and Smashwords currently have the old cover.  This time tomorrow (barring any unforeseen difficulties), the new cover should be available.

Below is the old and new version.  Let me know what you think:

Thanks for reading,

 

S.L. Madden

Together Alone Old Cover   Together Alone Image

Mad Proppage

Tonight marks the end of November, which in turns means it’s the last day for both NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo.  As you may well know, I pledged to take both on this year, but I failed, mirroring my attempt last year.  Only this time, I failed at NaNo and, with the successful publication of this post, succeeded at NaBlo.

I want to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all those who managed to finish NaNo this year.  I know firsthand it’s an exhilarating feeling.  I wish I had maintained the discipline to cross the finish line with you all, but I’m proud to be standing on the sidelines, showing my support.  I know you’d do the same for me.

Next year, I’ll have to finish so you can prove it.

Thanks for reading (and writing),

S.L. Madden

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