(Another) Smashing Good Sale

From July 1st through July 31st, Smashwords is hosting their 14th Annual Summer/Winter Sale. If you’re a fan of ebooks, this is an excellent opportunity to stock up on some great titles.

I’ve decided to include all of my current titles. Sale prices should be reflected in checkout, without the need to use a coupon.

Ascension $1.24 (75% off)

The Four-Year-Old Guardian $0 (100% off)

Bravado/Dramatique $1.49 (50% off)

Together Alone $1.49 (50% off)

The Blood Contract $1.49 (50% off)

The Shadow Walker $0 (100% off)

The Shadow Within $1.49 (50% off)

Hope you’re all able to find some excellent deals on amazing books. And please remember, reviews are always appreciated. Whether they’re short or long, praising or critical, reviews are a vital form of communication between reader and writer and reader to other readers.

As always, thanks for reading!

S.L. Madden

Smashing Good Sale

Today is the final day of Smashword’s Read An Ebook Week Sale. It occurred to me this morning that despite advertising on some platforms, I hadn’t yet posted anything about it on this blog. So it may be a few days late, but here are the links for the books I have on sale:

Ascension: $2.49 w/coupon code EBW50

The Four-Year-Old Guardian: Free w/coupon code EW100

Bravado/Dramatique: $1.49 w/coupon code EBW50

Together Alone: $1.49 w/coupon code EBW50

The Blood Contract: $1.49 w/coupon code EBW50

The Shadow Walker: Free w/coupon code EW100

The Shadow Within: $1.49 w/coupon code EBW50

I hope you find some books that will rock your world, whether they’re mine or any of the many other great titles that are on sale today.

As always, thanks for reading.

S.L. Madden

Long Time Gone

Hello, fellow travellers! I know I’ve been away for quite awhile, and I think that’s what I want to write about in this blog post.

Before I get into it, however, I want to give an update on my progress. I’m currently sitting at around 125K words on AfterLife, a book that is proving to be the bane of my existence. When last I wrote, I assumed it would be finished at this point, but I still have about 4-5 chapters left (though I have it mapped out, I sometimes find the need to break chapters into two so they don’t go on too terribly long). Either way you look at it, I’m getting very close to finishing this draft. In fact, my goal is to complete it by March 1st, because that’s when I’m planning to go back to school.

Yes, I’ve decided that I should take my lack of free time and dedicate it toward furthering my education. On top of that, my mother and I are in the midst of launching an audiobook company, so that’s definitely something to look forward to. I’m planning on my first recording to be The Shadow Walker. Yes, I haven’t forgotten about that series, and the third book is sitting pretty at about 60K words, though I plan to go back to it and build it up a bit before release. With some luck and perseverance, I’ll be able to have both the audiobook of the first book and the printed version of the third book out by the end of the year.

But this post is supposed to be about my lack of updating this blog. I honestly don’t know why I’ve found it so difficult to post here. When I first started this journey, I was ecstatic to share my thoughts and updates and hopes and dreams. Lately, though, I feel like this blog has become a bastion of broken promises. Assertations that something will be released soon, only for many months to pass without much progress. Instead of being excited about what I have accomplished, I’ve been ashamed of what I haven’t.

I’m really hoping to change that mindset. That said, I’m not promising anything anymore. I have no idea when AfterLife and the third Unseen Things will be released. I am targeting 2022 for both, but I don’t want to raise expectations. And I don’t want to set myself up to feel like a failure.

Truth is, I lost the spark there for awhile. Depression led to medication which led to… a void. That’s about as far as I’ll get into it, but that void was there for a long time. It’s gone now and I’ve been slowly rebuilding the worlds and characters in my mind, reacquainting myself with them. It’s been a long, arborous process and if I’m being frank, there were several times I considered just throwing in the towel.

Yes, I almost became that series that ended on a cliffhanger. Fortunately, I have some good support in my life, people who encouraged me to go on. And now that my head is in a better place, it’s back to business. I may still be figuring out how to eek out the time to write, but my mental factory is in full-swing.

After I finish AfterLife and World of Shadows (still not sold on that name), I am going to take a break from both series. Yes, I know, I already did that, but there are a few other books I need to write. I have a horror/fantasy series that will, more or less, be a trilogy. I have a magic/tech fantasy series I’ve been looking forward to writing. I have a YA science series that’s been percolating on the back burner. There’s a sequel to Ascension that’s been begging to be written, though truth be told, I’m not sure it’ll ever come to fruition. Plus I have a number of shorts I’ve been working on, both related to my main series and standalones. And the very first book I ever wrote, The Spirits of Man, may someday see the light of day.

And, in addition to all that, I will still have the fourth (and final!) Unseen Things book, and the finale of Only Human on the Block, however many books that becomes. I can’t promise when these books will be finished, only that I look forward to putting them out into the world. I wish I could go back and force myself to have been more productive these past few years. Instead, I will put my passion and energy into what I do moving forward.

And I will strive to do better to keep my blog updated. Even if I have nothing much to report, I miss the friends I’ve made here. I appreciate everyone’s patience while I’ve navigated my mental and emotional labyrinth. I truly believe I’ve made it to the other side stronger and better than I’ve ever been.

As always, thanks for reading.

S.L. Madden

Failing Upwards

Well, faithful readers, today is my first day back to work and I can officially announce I failed to finish AfterLife in my off time. If I were one to make excuses, I could point out that most of the time I was off, I was in pain and it was difficult to focus and, well, any number of other reasons I could pull out of my ass. Bottom line is, I didn’t finish it.

I did, however, make some headway. First off, I’m currently at 108,464 words. By my calculations, I have roughly 20K words left to write. Not an insubstantial sum, but not terribly overwhelming. Even more importantly, I have the remainder of the book outlined. I tend to be more of a loosey-goosey kind of writer, with plot points and major events firm in my mind, while not always knowing what happens in the journey from A to B. I’m close enough now I’ve been able to make a rough sketch of the remaining chapters and, provided I don’t deviate too far into the weeds (who me? Never!), I believe I have 10 chapters left, including the one I’m currently about 2/3 of the way through.

Not only does having the chapters mapped out give me a better idea of how much is left, it’s given me more confidence as I move from scene to scene. When I sit down to write, it’s going a lot more smoothly than it was before. I’m always a little nervous to end a book, but I’m also excited to finish this story. Yes, there will be more to come (both in this series and unrelated novels), but I will definitely be breathing a big sigh of relief when AfterLife is finally written.

And then it’ll be time for editing.

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden

The Battle Rages On

As of yesterday (3/6), I’ve written 2979 words this month. That’s only 497 words per day, falling well short of the 1200 I was hoping for. On the other hand, I was indisposed for a few of those days (still nowhere close to my 100%, which is about 67.2% off most people’s 100%, but I’m getting better every day).

One exciting part of this is that I’ve finally crossed the 100k word threshold! Finishing chapter 25 brought me up to 100,061 words! Still a ways to go until it’s finished but I’m excited nonetheless. And I did use my down days recovering from surgery to do some “mental writing” so hopefully as I get to the upcoming chapters, they’ll go a lot quicker.

As always, thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden

Day 1

As of this writing, I’ve put 1555 words to page. Since my goal is at least 1200 a day, this is either a win or a loss, depending on whether I count cumulative writing in a 24-hour period or not.

I think I’m going to say I’m behind my projected goal, because I believe my initial counts included yesterday as a separate day. What’s more, I’m not sure what shape I’ll be in after my surgery tomorrow morning so I was hoping to get ahead a bit.

Regardless, I’m confident I’ll have some productive days ahead that’ll help me increase my overall average.

As always, thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden

The 45-Day Challenge

Starting today, I’ve got 45 days before I’m expected to return to work, thanks to knee surgery on Wednesday. My plan is to use this opportunity to spend at least a little time every day writing.

If I write at least 1200 words per day (which is an hour or less if I’m on a good tear), I should be pretty close to my expected final word count of AfterLife. Which would be great because I’ve been chomping at the bit to work on some new stories.

I know there may be some days I won’t feel up to writing (especially Wednesday, depending on how early the surgery is), but I’m confident I could make up the word count on other days. There’s also the possibility I might get cleared to return to work early. If that’s the case, I should at least be able to get a lot closer to the end.

I’ll keep a running tally of my progress here to hold myself accountable.

As always, thanks for reading!

S.L. Madden

All Things Must End (But Not Quite Yet)

Greetings, loyal readers and those of you who are wandering by for the first time. It’s been awhile (no excuses, I’m just lame). I mean honestly, I have the WordPress app on my phone. There’s really no reason I can’t be updating this blog more often.

Despite all appearances, this update isn’t solely to chide myself. I do actually have some progress to report. I’m currently just over 90K words in AfterLife, the fifth Only Human on the Block book.

For those of you keeping track, that may not seem like much progress, given I was about 76K words back in May. While that is technically true, those 14K words are more than I’ve been able to pull off in recent years and have actually moved me beyond some very important scenes I’ve been chewing on for years.

Also during that time, I’ve gone over what I’ve written previously and edited and expanded upon it, hoping that will make for a smoother read and will shorten the time from completion to publication. I also helped my mom, Mickee Madden, edit her new book and I entered a song competition (totally lost that one).

But all of that isn’t why we’re here today. Instead, I want to talk about a realization I came to recently.

Since I first started jotting down ideas on a napkin for the Only Human on the Block series 14 years ago (yes, it’s been that long…sigh), I knew it was going to be five books long, then have a trilogy spin-off series. Though I may have added some characters and plots along the way, I’ve pretty much hit the mark on every book. The Four-Year-Old Guardian was the opener, Bravado/Dramatique was about the play, Together Alone had a lot of the plot revelations, The Blood Contract introduced vampires because, why not?, and AfterLife is about… did you honestly think I was going to give that away so easily?

But the closer I get to the end of those series, the more I’ve found myself in doubt. I’ve never deviated from the way this fifth books ends but I’ve questioned for years if it would be a fulfilling ending. Honestly, it doesn’t stand up on its own without the follow-up trilogy. It may not sound like much of a conundrum, but this issue has plagued me for years, creating an extra hurdle in what should be a finish line.

Then the other day, a thought occurred to me… why make the next few books their own series? It’s true they’re a bit of a departure from what came before, but they largely feature the same characters (the ones who survive, anyway) and definitely continue the storyline. You couldn’t pick up the next book without reading the previous guys unless you wanted to be completely lost.

I tried a lot of mental gymnastics over the years to justify this shift into a spin-off. I considered making it first person, maybe even changing it be present tense (for the record, I will likely never do that). Ultimately, the conclusion I came to was, “Quit making this so difficult, dummy! Just keep the series going!”

So after years of pondering and all this word babble I’ve now subjected you to, that was the ultimate answer I settled on. The next book, tentatively titled The Last Guardian (I had that name before the Sony game, but I’ve just taken my sweet-ass time using it), will be book six instead of book one of the new series. That way, AfterLife can end the way I’ve always planned for it to.

It may seem like a such a small thing but honestly, this decision has freed me up considerably. Of the 14K words I’ve written since May, nearly 10K have been since I made this choice. Ideas are flowing freely. I’m excited about reaching the end of this book instead of dreading it. I promise that you, the readers, will still be getting the ending you would have always received. Only now, there will be more.

As always, thanks for reading!

S.L. Madden

73157AL

Well, I thought I had a good run today. Felt like I wrote a lot. Finished the chapter I’ve been working on and moved onto Chapter 20 (finally a different POV… woo hoo!). So it felt pretty good. Doing the math, however, I only wrote 785 words. That’s…not so good.

In my defense, I did end up messing around quite a bit with my shared documents. I’m still trying to wrap my head around OneDrive (really starting to feel my age with all this newfangled stuff coming out).

But hey, progress is progress and onward I go.

For anyone interested, today’s writing was done while listening to The Octopus by Amplifier. Great album.

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden