Sunday, May 9, 2010
Just Published - Madelyn Ford
Please join me in welcoming Madelyn Ford to Just Published. Madelyn had her first release at the end of 2009 and will soon be able to refer to herself as a ‘multi-published author’ with the imminent release of her second novel. How awesome is that? Another milestone soon to be achieved. Congratulations, Madelyn!
The specifics of Madelyn’s first book are below:
Title: Faith Revisited
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Loose Id
Date Published: 11-09-09
When her consciousness returned, Faith was dazed and disoriented. But this didn't alarm her; she had never been much of a morning person. Then the haze lifted and it hit her—she should be dead
Faith jerked upright, her hands immediately going to her right side. She shoved the shirt she was wearing out of her way and examined her flesh. No wound. Nothing. Not even a scratch. She sank back into the pillows with a sigh. It had all been a nightmare, just a horrible figment of her very active imagination.
Wait a minute. When the hell did she get a Led Zeppelin T-shirt? A man's Led Zeppelin T-shirt? She sat up again and stared down at her chest. She was a Marilyn Manson kind of girl, certainly not a metalhead. Disconcerted, she raised her head slowly, for the first time taking in her surroundings.
Shit! This wasn't her cheerful, yellow-painted room with her white wooden furniture. No, the walls were black. The bed, a massive iron structure, was considerably larger than the average king-size, and it was old. The head- and footboards had an intricate bird design on them, what Faith thought might be a phoenix. The bedding was black silk. Besides a large stereo system stacked on the floor, a black leather chair in the corner, and a wooden armoire against one wall, the rest of the room was empty.
Where the hell was she?
It was unlike her to get drunk and go home with strange men. No, that was more her twin's department. But in an unfamiliar bedroom, dressed only in a T-shirt and her underwear, she couldn't think of another reason for finding herself in these unfamiliar surroundings.
Crap. She had to get out of here.
Faith swung her legs over the edge of the bed, and a wave of dizziness had her bracing her head in her hands.
“Well, that was fun,” she mumbled after the episode had passed.
She gingerly rose to her feet, swearing off alcohol for the rest of her life. She felt like shit. Glancing around for her clothing so she could sneak away before encountering the owner of the Led Zeppelin T-shirt, she sighed when she couldn't spot them. Could this get any worse?
Three doors were in her line of sight. One was open and led to a bathroom. Faith hobbled to the closest one and, upon opening it, discovered a huge closet.
“Lucky bastard,” she murmured, knowing she would die to have this much space for her clothes. Her closet, if one could even call it such, was scale to her small condo—itty-bitty, teeny-tiny. Then she smirked as she scanned the contents inside. Black. The guy apparently had a fetish for the color. And leather. Black leather pants. Black leather jackets—some short, some long. Black leather boots, all of the biker variety. She picked one up. Steel-toed. It just kept getting better. She had apparently gone home with a member of the Hell's Angels.
She spotted a trench coat on the floor, and it seemed oddly familiar. Picking it up, she had a flash of the male who might have been wearing it. If her memory was on target and not alcohol induced, he was seriously hot.
She was about to drop the coat when a scent infiltrated her nostrils. Bringing the leather to her nose, she inhaled deeply, the smell of a pure, heavenly male overtaking her, and her body reacted instantly. She stumbled backward, hitting the wall behind her as a sudden heat shot through her veins. She was wet and throbbing between her thighs, obviously raring to go for round two. Her stomach had other ideas, though, and she bent over to ease the cramping.
“Oh fuck,” she whispered when the taste of blood filled her mouth. She'd nicked her tongue—on her fangs.
Faith rushed to the bathroom, stopping in front of the mirror and opening her mouth wide. Sure enough, she had a set of fangs. One year early. And everything came back to her: the Lilu demon, the Alu demon, the whole scene where the fucking demon had stabbed her and the incredibly hot guy with the sword had come to her rescue.
She made it back to the bed without passing out and crashed on top of the silk comforter. With her nose buried in the pillow, the scent of her male surrounded her, both relaxing her and amplifying the need for blood. Just on the edge of her consciousness, something tried to gain her attention. But she ignored it, sinking deeper into the pillow.
Turning her head to the side, Faith wondered where he was. She wanted him, craved him. It was his blood. That was all it was. Because the alternative was unacceptable.
Madelyn, how would you describe what you write?
I’m a paranormal/urban fantasy writer, at least at the moment, and lean toward the darker side of the genre. I would love to try my hand at a western historical, there has been a story swimming around my head for years, but at present, every time I start a new story, angel, demons, vampires, and werewolves seen to pop out of nowhere. I can just see it now, a tall, dark, and handsome gun-slinging werewolf. Think it would sell?
Why not LOL? Combining sub-genres seems popular these days. So, what’s your writing process in a nutshell?
For the most part, I am a panster. I usually have a general idea how the book begins and how it ends but everything in between is as big a surprise to me as it is to my editor and readers. While I extensively develop my characters before I begin writing (because I find I can’t write about them if I do not understand them), it is the element of surprise that keeps me involved in the story.
That’s not to say I don’t have tons of notes. As I write, ideas emerge, usually just a line or two (or sometimes in the form of dialogue) and I keep a long list of these. They get shuffled and rearranged many times over the course of the ms (some will get worked into the story while others will get filed away for future books) but I never have more than the next chapter or two planned out as I write.
What has your submission history looked like? Rejections? Manuscripts written? Number of years ‘seriously writing’, etc?
I began seriously writing for publication in 2007 but I held off for at least a year before actually sending anything out, fear of rejection, I guess. Faith Revisited was my second completed ms (the first I am getting ready to clean up and shop around) and I probably received a dozen rejection letters from different agents before I decided to try going straight to the publishing houses. By then, I was three and a half books into the series and getting rather discouraged so I set aside my fourth Watchers ms and began an urban fantasy. A week or two later, I got the email from Loose Id.
The process with LI happened very quickly. I sent in the submission around the end of May, beginning of June, and received the offer in early July. By the end of July, I was immersed in edits.
For LI, I have the next two ms already completed and am better than halfway through the fourth. I also have the first ms I’d ever written, which I hope to do something with soon, and am about halfway through with the second in that series. That urban fantasy I mentioned earlier got put aside when in early October, I noticed Samhain had a submissions call for their Angel and Demons anthology. I quickly put something together for them and let me tell you, that was a nail biting experience, waiting to hear back. As for that stupid urban fantasy, it is still giving me fits but I hope to have it completed before summer.
Wow, it seems like you have a lot of things in the works. How did you pick your publisher?
I had three e-publishers in mind, Loose Id, Ellora’s Cave, and Samhain and since all have great reputations, I would have gladly gone with any of the three. But I had invested so much time in a series that would have been worthless if I didn’t sell the first story, my plan was to start with the big three houses then work my way down the list to some of the smaller publishers.
How did I choose my list of publishers? By searching online. I took particular interest in what other authors had to say about their experiences. Message boards are great places to learn this kind information. Another site is Predators and Editors. I also took note of publisher responses when negative things about their publishing houses were voiced. Professionalism was a top priority.
Lastly, I took note of sales. Two great places to get a general idea of sales are:
Yes, I’ve stumbled across those sites myself. Very helpful. Tell us about your ‘call’ story?
Truth be told, LI was the one I really thought would reject me (my work has been accused of being a “little too mainstream”) so I was numb when I got that first acceptance email and was totally afraid to get too excited. I had to keep looking at the email to make sure it hadn’t been a figment of my imagination. Then the numb turned to complete terror. Here was something I had dreamed about since I was a kid and I didn’t have the first idea what I was getting into. I felt overwhelmed.
It was a repeat experience when I got the email from Samhain. I was sure there had been a mistake. Lol. I guess it’s something that will never go away.
Did you have an agent once you sold? Now?
No agent. It is a goal I plan to eventually pursue but for the short term, I don’t feel the need for one. Like I had targeted publishers in mind, I have a few agents that I would love to work with but I would like to grow comfortable in this environment before I attempt that route.
What’s it like working with a publisher and editor? Are revisions really as bad as you hear?
I have to admit, I have heard some horror stories concerning editors but I worship the ground my LI editor walks on (I also adore my Samhain editor but since this is about first books, I’ll stick with that). Yes, revisions suck (as I have since discovered, lol) but for Faith Revisited I didn’t have any major revisions.
I’ll try to break down how the edits went for me. The first round targeted characterization and plot points. For example, my editor thought Bale, my hero, was too domineering so I had to tone down some of his language and actions. The second round consisted of correcting word choices and filling information into scenes that might be confusing. The third set of edits was for correcting grammar and punctuation.
The ms then went off for line editing and proofing where a third and fourth set of eyes looked over the story for errors and clarification. Once both copies were approved by me and my editor, the ms went to its final destination for formatting. The next time I received a copy, voila, all finished. The whole process took about two and a half months.
How did you feel the first time you saw your cover? How much input did you have?
With the contract from LI, I received a cover art form, where I filled out information about my two main characters, you know, what they looked like, etc. On this form I was given the opportunity to request anything I would like to see on my cover, of which I requested a phoenix since the creature had special meaning to my hero.
Seeing my cover for the first time was definitely surreal. I can’t even describe the feeling; it was the fruition of a dream. At first I was uncertain about it, afraid others would hate it (along with the story, of course-the typical neurosis of a writer) but it has since grown on me-or maybe I have grown into it, lol.
As far as input is concerned, I had little input after completing that original worksheet. I was given a rough copy of the cover to check for misspellings and/or discrepancies with the characters appearances but other than those issues, cover approval was out of my hands.
Yes, I’ve heard that a lot. I think the cover’s awesome BTW. What was release day like for you?
Release day was truthfully a blur. I remember being terrified that no one would like it and that I would be the only author in the history of publishing to sell not a single copy (refer back to neurotic authors above, lol).
How did you market your book?
When I discovered e-pubs did very little marketing for you, I was totally lost because unfortunately, I didn’t know the first thing about marketing a book. And it’s a skill I am still learning. Facebook, Twitter, social networking…it was like speaking a foreign language. But the one thing I have discovered is there are some really cool authors out there willing to help out in any way they can.
So, what’s the most surprising thing you learned during the publishing process?
I hate to reiterate but marketing, marketing, marketing. I really wish I had understood the importance of name recognition and web presence before being published. I am an introvert by nature and so putting myself out there is hard. I never considered I would need a website before the contract was signed or that it would be helpful to start selling myself before I ever had a product to offer, but writing is a business. And like any other business, it’s as much about selling yourself as it is your book.
What do you think were the factors that got you published?
I am not going to say hard work, persistence, and writing a good book didn’t play a huge part in my getting published. While Faith Revisited has garnered really good reviews, in all frankness, I believe luck was a key factor. My ms managed to make it into the hands of the one editor who really loved my story and believed in my series. So yeah, luck.
That’s something you don’t hear that often, but so true. What’s your 5 year plan look like?
I doubt my goals differ greatly from any other author, in five years I hope to have an agent and a NY publishing contract. But I’m also a realist and know it will take time to accomplish. I plan to spend the next couple of years trying to build a following in the e-pub market, maybe by spreading out to one or two more presses. And I’d really like to get that western written.
I actually really love Westerns, so will look forward to that! So, what’s next for you?
Hopefully my next Watcher’s book, Charity Received, will be released sometime this summer through LI. Charity Darinn is a werewolf who believes her mate is dead. Imagine her surprise when she discovers he is not only alive, but the mate of her roommate.
I also hope to have finished the urban fantasy, My Demon Slayer, about how the archangel Gabriel learns his mate has been reborn and instead of leading a nice safe life, she spends her evenings hunting demons.
My next release, My Avenging Angel, will be out on May 25th at Samhain.
To save her life, he must break a covenant—and lose his heart.
An Angels and Demons story.
It’s Victoria Bloom’s twenty-fifth birthday. But is she out celebrating? Oh, no. She’s in a stuffy old attic with the Three Stooges—a.k.a. her so-called spirit guides. There’s a demon who wants her dead, the same one that killed her mother two decades ago. No worries, say the Stooges. All she has to do is summon an angel. What could go wrong?
Well, plenty when you summon the wrong angel. The next thing Tory knows, she’s got one very bad-ass, pissed-off and sexy Archangel on her hands.
Michael, mighty warrior, leader of an elite team of demon killers, is shaking in his heavenly combat boots. Not because he finds all humans distasteful. But because he’d rather face Lucifer himself than the woman his soul has just recognized as his mate. Binding himself to a mortal, one who will eventually die, is the one path he’s sworn never to follow.
It’s too late now; his fate is sealed. With one touch, she becomes as necessary to him as the air he breathes. He will move heaven and earth to protect her—but against a demon as powerful as Asmodeus, heaven and earth may not be enough…
Warning: This book contains one bad-ass Archangel with a fiery, um, sword, a witch who blows things up, one nasty demon who is trying to kill them both, and ghosts who make interfering their mission. Steamy sex is had, even with the voyeur ghosts—though Tory is still blushing.
Wow, another amazing cover and the premise sounds fascinating. To wrap this up, what’s the best advice you can impart to writers aspiring to be published?
You can’t have a career in writing if you don’t ever try. First write your book, it will be your greatest accomplishment. Then find yourself a really good critique partner. They are priceless. And finally keep submitting. All it takes is that one editor who has faith in your ms. Keep persisting and you’ll find him or her.
Kaily, thanks so much for having me. You are doing a fabulous thing here. I only wish it had existed six months ago.
Madelyn, thank you and thanks so much for taking the time to provide such well thought out and open and honest responses to my endless questions! It was a pleasure to have you and good luck with the release this month. If anyone is interested in reaching out to Madelyn or wants to find out more information about her stories, you can find her all over the web: