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


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


I had a bit of an abridged lunch today but I managed to get in 1102 words on AfterLife. Slow progress to be sure, but I’m almost done with this chapter that’s been tripping me up. I hope the next few go much more smoothly. I recently moved so I’m hoping once I’m settled in I can get back to writing at a faster pace.

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden

Smashwords, Young Lad

Just a quick note, is currently have an Authors Give Back sale, good through May 31st. There are tons of great books for sale and for free, including mine! If you somehow stumbled across my blog and haven’t read any of my books, here’s your chance!

All seven of them are currently 100% off! It’s (exactly) like I’m just giving these things away!

Okay, as much as the salesman in me loves exclamation points, I need to stop using them so graciously. There really are some amazing deals and reads there right now. Which, let’s face it, who couldn’t use some fantastical worlds to lose themselves in these days?

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden


First and foremost, greetings! I hope everyone is doing okay out there in these crazy-ass times. I know I’ve recently marveled out how quickly I became accustomed to putting a mask on before entering a store with no actual intention to rob it. Crazy days, indeed.

So, old business first, I completely failed to achieve my 30K word goal I boasted about in my last post. I got to maybe 3000 then decided I absolutely hated the direction. I rewrote it again… and again. And maybe again. Hard to recall. The important thing is, I managed to get past that scene and put the pieces into place to move forward. Unless I decide later I hate it. We’ll see.

Thanks to the Corvidity of it all, I’ve actually been getting (read: forced) to take a lunch. I can’t honestly say I’ve spent every lunch period writing but there have been quite a few.

So, as of this writing, I currently have 71,270 words written for AfterLife. To put that into perspective, the first book in the series, The Four-Year-Old Guardian, was roughly 63,058 words, and the last book, The Blood Contract, was about 124,434.

By my calculation, I’m a little less than halfway done with this draft. Not terribly impressive given how long it’s been, but I’m working on it. My plan is to update my blog every time I make progress with my current word count at the time.

Everyone take care of yourselves and be mindful of others. And always, thanks for reading!

S.L. Madden