Faberge Shampoo, or what are you working on now, Sarah Madison?

red_flickrRemember that old Faberge shampoo commercial? You know, the one where the woman with the luxurious hair says, “And I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on.”

That’s a bit how social media works, isn’t it? πŸ™‚ I got tagged for a ‘and so on’ type of blog post by my friend and fellow author Margarita Gakis. The idea is that I answer a few questions about my writing and tag three more fellow authors, who will, well, you know. And so on. Margarita is the author of Trial by Fire (Book One in the Covencraft series) and one of those brilliant, amazing authors who creates splendid characters with depth and dimension–and is also darned funny. You should check out Trial by Fire–book two (Counter Hex) is in the editing process and book three is underway!

MargaritaTrial By Fire









Here are the questions I received:

1. What am I working on?

Hah, this might as well read ‘what should you be working on?’ I’ve just finished the sequel to my FBI/paranormal story Unspeakable Words. Walk a Mile will be coming out with Dreamspinner Press sometime this fall. I’ve started the sequel to that story because I left things on a bit of a cliff-hanger and I didn’t want my audience to suffer too long. πŸ™‚ However, I’ve put that on hold a bit as I work on some other, smaller projects. I have a short story coming out sometime in June in the Not Quite Shakespeare Anthology from Dreamspinner. I’m working on a piece of fanfiction right now, and yes, I still write fanfic. I write it because it’s fun, and because I can let my imagination rip and stretch my writing muscles without worrying about whether or not it will pay the bills. I am writing less of it than I used to, though, primarily because of lack of time. I liken it to a palette cleanser between courses, however. Fanfic brought me back to writing after a 20 year drought. There will always be a special place in my heart for it.

Peggy's ShoesHowever, part of my temporary detour from the latest WIP, tentatively titled Truth and Consequences,Β is that I am seriously considering stepping a toe in to the traditional romance market. I came across a submission call for a M/F anthology with a tight deadline. I’m doing a little research to see if I can create something this particular press would be interested in. If so, I might be launching the Madison Dean line of stories sooner than I thought!Β  I’m also making plans for a new series of stories set in the 1950s, in which my main characters are undercover agents investigating paranormal events in a small Southern town. Think of it as Ward and June Cleaver meets Area 51. πŸ™‚ This is a big departure for me, as Sarah Madison writes almost exclusively in the M/M romance genre. The Madison Dean persona and website still needs a bit of work, but we’re getting there.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
The Boys of Summer400x600Hmmm. I frequently describe my stories as being ‘romances with a twist’. I find odd things interesting. I spend most of my time running around thinking, ‘hey, wouldn’t it be cool if…?’ What that means is that you’ll seldom find a straightforward romance among my stories. As you can see from above, I describe Unspeakable Words as a ‘FBI/paranormal story’. The Boys of Summer is a contemporary story, but it has a long historical sequence within it. Crying for the Moon is about a vampire who wants to live a ‘normal’ life. The fun of writing for me is to create a set of characters and put them in a crucible of sorts–to put them in hot water and see how strong they are.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Whew-boy. That’s a tough one. I wish I knew. I write stories that appeal to me. I’m aware they don’t work for everyone. Sometimes I wish my own thought processes were a little more mainstream.Β  πŸ™‚ I’m aware that I’m your basic mid-list author and that I will never rise to NYT bestseller status. I’ve been toying with writing outside the M/M genre. In part because I want to try my hand at something new. In part because I am tired of justifying myself within a genre where some people repeatedly question the presence of any women authors at all. You know, that’s an inherent misogyny that is incredibly frustrating to face time and time again. The implication is that we as women are incapable of accurately portraying a gay man. That we wouldn’t do the same kind of research necessary before we’d write a story about someone with a spinal cord injury, or a historical novel, or a police procedural, or any other topic with which we don’t have personal experience. Sexism is just as ugly as racism or homophobia, and sadly, women authors (and by association female readers as well) are often accorded by some the intellectual respect that someone would give a semi-literate chimpanzee.
But also because I *adore* strong female characters and would give my eyeteeth to be able to create one that doesn’t make me want to bitch-slap her 20 pages into the book. You know what I mean. The kind of woman who can eat whatever she wants and never gain an ounce. The kind who is completely unaware of her beauty (show me a beautiful woman in ignorance of her attractiveness and I’ll call her a liar) and has improbably colored eyes–how many women do you know with lavender-colored irises?? No, my heroines are more like Zoe from Firefly, or Peggy Carter from Captain America, or Kate Beckett on Castle (before she started looking so much like a fashion model–seriously, I preferred her sharp-edged classy look from the beginning of the series) or Amelia Peabody from the Elizabeth Peters novels. So yeah. There are days when I dream of writing a ridiculously runaway bestseller like 50 Shades of Gray. Sadly, that kind of story doesn’t interest me as a reader or a writer. I’d die happy if I created a series heroine I adored.
And I love shoes. πŸ˜‰Black shoes_resized
4. How does my writing process work?
Well, it usually starts with a ‘what if’ idea. What if rooftop gargoyles came to life every night? What if they were fascinated by humans, read their books, observed their activities? Or what if a vampire decided to shun his old existence and attempt to live life as a moral? What if a hard-ass FBI agent accidentally touched an artifact and developed paranormal powers? I LOVE what if questions. They take my mind on a wild journey where improbable dangers and cheesily romantic things happen. I play around with these ideas for a while, daydreaming over chores or before I drift off to sleep at night.Β  Eventually the characters take form and I tone down the more ludicrous aspects of my fantasy. And lo, a story is born. πŸ™‚
So there you have it! Now I’m going to tag three authors to answer the same questions next week on their own blogs and tag three more authors themselves. And so on, and so on.
My three fellow authors:
Anna Butler is the author of several short stories in Dreamspinner anthologies, as well as her sci-fi short story Flashwired. I’ve been extremely fortunate to be part of the beta process for her epic five book sci-fi Taking Shield series that is currently submitted to a publisher, as well as her delightful M/M romance Gilded Scarab. She is an incredibly gifted author–her world-building is stellar!
My next victim tag-ee is Sarah Granger. I’ve only recently discovered this author! I fell in love with her M/M historical romance A Minor Inconvenience–I can’t say enough good things about it! You can check out my review here. I was absolutely entranced by this story and count it among one of the best M/M romances I’ve read this year. She also *nails* the Regency genre down cold. If you love historicals, this is Jane Austen meets Horatio Hornblower in a story Jane would blush to tell.
Last but not least is Hb Pattskyn! I was fortunate enough to have Hb on the website talking about her book, Hanging by the Moment, and I’ve been following with interest her decision to take charge of her health and remake her body. I’m looking forward to hearing what she’s up to now–all three of these tagged authors will have their posts up May 6th so be on the look out for them!

12 thoughts on “Faberge Shampoo, or what are you working on now, Sarah Madison?

  1. I would read any heroine you care to write, to be honest. I feel like you’d definitely write a heroine who is more ‘real’ and relatable. I will follow whatever book writing road you decide to take πŸ˜€ The great thing about this “tag another author” meme thing is that I now have new authors to check out! I love regency fanfiction, so I think I’ll enjoy the book you mentioned above. And HB Pattsykn has me intrigued πŸ˜›

    • OMG, you will love, love, love A Minor Inconvenience! And you should be intrigued by Hb, too!

      And that’s very kind (and reassuring) what you said about any heroine I create. I have plans, she says, rubbing her hands together. I’m currently immersing myself in the 1950s because it amuses me to think of Mulder and Scully behaving in a very Lucy and Ethel type fashion… until they realize how much they depend on one another πŸ™‚
      Sarah Madison recently posted..Faberge Shampoo, or what are you working on now, Sarah Madison?My Profile

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words about ‘A Minor Inconvenience’! I enjoyed reading your answers to these questions enormously, and I think we have many of the same favourite female characters, without an oddly-coloured pair of eyes in sight!

    I have *every* confidence in your ability to write an engaging, likeable female character. It is going to be one of my writing challenges to myself to see if I can write a female main character I like; the thing to remember is that, as with all things to do with writing, it will probably take practice to get it right.
    Sarah Granger recently posted..The year’s at the springMy Profile

    • Hah! All the compliments are completely deserved–I loved A Minor Inconvenience and hope one day to write something half as good. πŸ™‚

      the thing to remember is that, as with all things to do with writing, it will probably take practice to get it right.

      I think you’re entirely right here, which is a bit daunting. It feels kind of like starting all over again. I confess, I’ve been dragging my feet in this regard for that very reason. I’m already a bit discouraged as it is–I’m not enjoying the notion that I have to tackle a new skill set! But I have female voices inside me who are insisting they get their turn as well…so we’ll see!
      Sarah Madison recently posted..Faberge Shampoo, or what are you working on now, Sarah Madison?My Profile

        • *snort* Yes, but they are quite annoyed with me because I’m dressing them in 1950s clothing that exaggerates the differences between men and women while making one of them the ‘brawn’ in a guy/gal investigative team. Ah, I love irony so much! πŸ™‚
          Sarah Madison recently posted..The Closing of a DoorMy Profile

          • *grins* We’ll see…at least I’m enjoying the research–I’m finding the 1950s fascinating! Just the discussion of the importance of color after the economies of the war and the neutral colors of everything during that era… how for the first time, big ticket items as appliances were marketed as something you replaced when you redid your kitchen in different colors, or that for a woman of the 50s, wearing a hat meant you were to be taken seriously…

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