A Decision and an Announcement

I recently got a notice indicating it was time to renew my subscription on this website.

Imagine my surprise (and dismay) when I realized it has been almost two years since I posted here. Wow. That’s a long time. Even longer since I’ve published anything as Sarah Madison.

It’s time to take a hard look at what I’m doing with this account, and with myself as a writer. For some time now, I’ve had difficulty interesting myself in the characters I created with such love and joy.

There are many reasons for this: a stressful job, a ridiculous amount of personal loss over an extended period of time, having a publisher which owned the rights to those characters not paying out royalties and having to get my rights back, and then re-cover and republish those stories myself…

In many ways, I feel as though I’m waking up from a long sleep, and discovering the garden I once attended is overrun with weeds and thorns. Sure, the outlines of the original landscaping plans are visible, but it’s going to take a lot of back-breaking work to bring that garden back to its original glory. It may not be possible to restore the gardens to the original plans, either. To carry the analogy further, some of the original plants may be no longer be available. Or the soil may no longer sustain them.

The first step I’ve made is the decision to pull all my stories out of KU. It’s been far too easy to let them sit in there without paying attention to them, and sadly, they have failed to flourish for lack of water. So this is my notification that all my stories will be leaving KU by Dec 20, 2022. If you have been waiting to read them and they are sitting on your Kindle, I suggest reading them now while you can with your KU subscription.

What comes next is less clear. I have to hack a path into the garden far enough to determine the next course of action. But it will no longer be running wild.

My thanks to all of you lovely readers who still write me letting me know how much you enjoy my stories. Your kind words have sustained me during a long period of drought.

Sarah Madison Titles are now in KU!

Wow! I hardly know how to announce this except to get right to the point: for the first time EVER nearly all of my works are now available in KU! That’s right, you heard me–almost everything I’ve written: The award-winning Fool’s Gold and The Boys of Summer, The Sixth Sense series, and Holiday House Swap are all available in Kindle Unlimited.

You can find the links on Amazon here.

I’d love it if you could spread the word!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Boys of Summer and the Sixth Sense series now available on Amazon

Just a brief update: I’ve got The Boys of Summer and the Sixth Sense series back up for sale on Amazon–at only $3.99 if you know someone who has been waiting patiently for a reduced price!

I’d appreciate help in getting the word out–also, if you notice something wrong with the files, please, PLEASE let me know. I’ve only done a little self-publishing, and it doesn’t come easily to me yet. If I’ve screwed up, I want to fix it!

Also, for some reason, the digital versions of these stories aren’t showing up on my author page on Amazon, only the print copies. I’m trying to get Amazon to fix it, though!

Other titles to follow.

The Boys of Summer

The Sixth Sense Series


Unspeakable Words

 

Walk A Mile

Truth and Consequences

National Pi Day and a Dreamspinner Press Sale!

I had to laugh at this notice in my mailbox this morning–it’s National Pi Day (not Pie Day, though there is one of those, too) and to celebrate, Dreamspinner Press is holding a 31.4% off sale from now until March 19th! How cool is that?

Interested? Check out all my Dreamspinner stories here! Read on a Kindle? You can choose the format of your choice and have your book sent to you! If you’ve been waiting for the right time to check out my stories, now is the perfect time to grab a slice of Dreamspinner Pi!

Dear Pirate Site Operator: No, I Did Not Give You Permission

So there has been a lot of hullaboo about the site Ebook Bike and its operator Travis McCrea. In case you haven’t been following the blowout, EBook Bike allows people to upload content to the site, which McCrea does not moderate (as you can see in his statement here):

McCrea seems to be part of the Sharing Community, which believes they have a moral obligation to share digital content. As a matter of fact, in 2016 McCrea was the leader of a minor party called the Pirate Party of Canada.

One might suggest if you didn’t want to be labeled as a pirate, you might choose a different name for your political party.

The only statement I can find on the site itself is a generic one: Ebook Bike is about providing a new life to reading, ensuring every person around the world has the best access to the best books.

Reports that the DMCA page/link isn’t working on the site sent me looking for it–I couldn’t find it at all. I’m also hearing reports that the site collects IP addresses of those who use the DMCA form and then block them from accessing the site, making it difficult to see that no one is complying with takedown notices.

I searched the site and didn’t find any of my own titles, but another site that has people talking, oregano.com, does have some of my books listed without my permission.

EDIT: As of today, I’m told that the Ebook Bike site is down. You can celebrate that as a victory, if you like, but I believe it will re-appear under another name in the not-too-distant future. And it is just one of hundreds of similar sites.

So I think it’s time to repost my thoughts on this: I ask that you check out my posts Dear Broke Reader: Your Sense of Entitlement is Killing Me and Dear Broke Reader and Your Sense of Entitlement (Part 2).

It’s also worth checking out this article by The Guardian, discussing the backlash against authors who fought to get their books removed from the now-defunct OceansofPDF. Um, we’re not the bad guys here. For the most part, we write our books in good faith, paying developmental and copyeditors, formatters, and cover artists along the way. We pay for book tours and advertising. I bring this up because the costs of bringing a digital book to market are not ‘zero’, as some people seem to think. But beyond that. I don’t think it’s wrong for us as creators to expect to be paid for our art.

And I do think it’s wrong for someone to upload our works to sites that allow thousands of downloads without our permission–or any compensation.

Believe me, I’ve heard all the arguments. They are discussed in greater detail in the Broke Reader posts. What it boils down to is that the majority of people who feel entitled to works without paying for them do NOT fall into categories of “but I can only get this particular story in this fashion.” Yes, there are pockets of people here and there without access to affordable books on a large scale, but that’s not representative of the average pirate/torrent user. The average user of these sites wants a particular title RIGHT NOW and doesn’t want to wait for a sale or look for it at the library. That’s what I mean by a sense of entitlement.

But I will say this: if you want to continue to get quality content, then pay the creator their due. Otherwise, instead of a Picasso or Monet, you’ll have to be satisfied with a paint-by-numbers or macaroni art by a kindergartner.

Someone told me in one of the previous posts that if I was any good at writing, I would be able to absorb the costs of piracy. Sweet pea, in order to be able to absorb the costs of piracy, you have to sell books on the scale of Nora Roberts, J.K. Rowling, or Stephen King. And believe me, I’d hazard a guess none of them are happy about piracy and illegal downloads.

I’m not a Nora Roberts, but I’ve been known to tell a story people enjoy reading. I had to write a pitch letter recently, and was surprised to learn I had more street cred than I’d realized. I’ve been publishing M/M romance since 2010. The majority of my titles are through Dreamspinner Press, though I have self-published as well. All told, I have a total of 16 published stories at this time and am a PAN member of the RWA.

I was a finalist in the 2013, 2015, and 2016 Rainbow Awards. The Boys of Summer won Best M/M Romance in the 2013 Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Awards. The Sixth Sense series was voted 2nd place in the 2014 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Mystery series, and 3rd place in the 2105 PGR Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series.

Fool’s Gold was voted best M/M Romance in 2016 by the PGR Reviewer’s Choice Awards. I was also voted one of the top ten M/M romance authors in 2016 by Gay Book Reviews.

I’m not saying this to brag. Lord, if you knew me, you’d know how much I’m squirming listing those achievements (and resisting mightily the urge to claim they are ‘only’ genre recognition and awards). What I’m trying to say is that, given the argument above, I’m not such a shabby writer that I deserve to be pirated to the extent that I can actually lose money on publishing a story.

But you know what? No one does. No author, no artist, no musician, no photographer–hell, not even your kindergartner putting his or her macaroni art up on your fridge.

It’s a Halloween Sale! All Treats, no Tricks!

Hey! All my Dreamspinner titles are discounted 31% off for Halloween–now until Nov 1st! How can you resist that?

Fancy a little vampire/werewolf story? Check out Crying for the Moon–Alex Novik has an unusual dilemma–he wants to make a new existence for himself by leaving his vampire past behind. Along the way, he discovers the headaches of home ownership, becomes entangled in the problems of his werewolf friends, and tries to deny his attraction for his new, sexy neighbor next door. Loving Tate will draw him into Alex’s dangerous world, and Alex is torn between finding the relationship he’s always craved and keeping Tate safe. Release date July 22 2011. Winner of the Coffee Times Romance Recommended Read Award. August 2011 Recommended Read by Reviews by Jessewave. First Runner Up in the Love Romances and More’s Golden Rose Awards for Best Paranormal of 2011.

Or maybe FBI guys tangling with mysterious artifacts that convey unbelievable powers is more your thing–you can get the entire Sixth Sense series at a great price! The Sixth Sense series was awarded 2nd place for Best M/M Mystery Series in the 2014 PRG’s Reviewer’s Choice Awards, and third place for Best M/M Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series in the 2015 PRG’s Reviewer’s Choice Awards.

How about a reincarnation story? The Boys of Summer might be just the ticket!

David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches…and a secret crush on his hot, ex-Air Force pilot, Rick Sutton.

Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries, and a lack of food and water, make rescue imperative, but it takes an intensely vivid dream about the war to make David see that Rick is more than just a pilot to him. Will David gather his courage to confess his feelings to Rick—before it’s too late?  Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow AwardsNominated Best Historical in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice AwardsSelected as a Best Read in 2013 by Jessewave and a Top Pick Read by The Romance Reviews. Winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Release date April 14. 2013.

Dreamspinner can accommodate whatever format you desire, and send titles to your Amazon address too. So grab this spooky deal while you can!

Love is in the Air: Valentine’s Day Sale at Dreamspinner Press!

I don’t know about you, but I hated Valentine’s Day growing up.

I hated all the emphasis on being ‘chosen’ to be someone’s Valentine, and how the whole day was an exercise in humiliation for a introverted, homely child.

As a young adult, it felt like a comment on my attractiveness and desirability that I didn’t have someone special in my life to take me out to dinner or bring me flowers. And yet I still wanted those things very much. I wanted that tangible proof that not only was I loved, I was deemed worthy of love.

The first couple of times I was in a relationship as Valentine’s Day rolled around, I went all out: the romantic dinner, the fancy restaurant, the expensive (and sexy) dress. Chocolates, wine, flowers, and cards. The whole nine yards.

Now after having been in a committed relationship for nearly a decade, I can appreciate it not the day that matters, or the meal, or the bling. It’s the person who is sitting across the table from you. It’s the person holding your hand, or the friends taking you out for Galentine’s Day, or the cat in your lap and the dog at your feet. I love that people are taking what has always been for me a problematic celebration of ‘love’ and making it their own–redefining it for their needs.

 

 

 

As part of that celebration, Dreamspinner Press is having a store-wide sale: 25% off all titles until Feb 18th, and a flash sale of new releases today only! That means you can pre-order the newly revised version of Unspeakable Words at the sale price (release date March 10, 2017)–or perhaps you’d like a story of love, loss, and re-connection with The Boys of Summer.  Or maybe werewolves and vampires are your thing–in which case, check out the award-winning Crying for the Moon! Plenty to choose from, and not just my titles. Entering the DSP store is like opening the Potter family vault at Gringott’s. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Dear Women’s Fashion: Size 12 is not XL

Okay, fair warning. I have my Ranty McRant pants on again.

This time the subject that’s been weighing on my mind recently is the ridiculous–and unfair–standards when it comes to women’s clothing. My musings on the subject began a while back when everyone was sharing a post written by Kallie Provencher for Rantchic.com called “24 Things Women Over 30 Should Stop Wearing.” No, I’m not going to share the link here because the post is pure clickbait. My reaction to it when everyone was talking about it was to tweet “The one thing women over 30 should stop wearing is the censure of random strangers on the internet.” Suffice to say, there was a lot of eye-rolling. I feel bad for the author, actually. If she’s lucky, she’s going to spend more time over thirty than under it, and according to her, life is over at twenty-nine and counting.

A beautiful rebuttal was written here, however. WarningCurvesAhead posted a brilliant collection of classy, sassy women wearing whatever pleased them–and looking smashing while doing so. I want to be these women when I grow up. I wish I had a fraction of their sense of style and their confidence in carrying off what looks great on them.

But one of the things Kallie Provencher frowned upon women over thirty wearing was graphic t-shirts. Which brings me to today’s subject: sizing of women’s clothing. Now, I’m a sci-fi geek. You can pretty much ask me about any sci-fi universe and if I can’t whip your butt playing Trivial Pursuit, I will at least have heard of it and am familiar with it. And I love my fandoms; Doctor Who, Firefly, Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate… I love mashups and crossovers. I love fanfic, fanart, and fan vids. My friends know the way to make me squeal in the ultrasonic range, so high I can only be heard by dogs, is to surprise me with something from one of my favorite shows. Just this evening, the BF surprised me with a CD of ambient engine noise from ST:TNG. Just think, now I can hear the murmur of the Enterprise’s engines lulling me to sleep on an endless loop instead of the usual white noise machine.

One of the things I love doing is sharing my fandom pride with graphic tees.

About the same time these previously mentioned posts circulated, another post caught my eye: Man Tries on Girlfriend’s “XL” Clothing and Gets Pissed About Double Standards.

Yeah, because my friends and I have been talking about this, too.

Now, for the record, let me state I am a solid size 12. There was a period of time when I was closer to a 10–there are days when I’m closer to a 14, but 90% of the time, I’m a hard 12. I wear a 36 C sized bra. Now I know in these pictures, I might look ginormous, but remember, the camera adds ten pounds. (I know what you’re thinking here, but trust me, only ONE camera is pointed at me in these photos…)

Let’s start out with a T-shirt I bought a few years ago. It’s a medium, but unisex. This is important, as you’ll see later on. NOT a men’s shirt, not a women’s shirt, unisex.

Medium UnisexYou can’t see it clearly, but it’s a “Hello, My Name is” shirt, with “Inigo Montoya–you killed my father, prepare to die” penned in. It’s also autographed. That’s neither here nor there. What’s important is the size.

This is a medium WOMEN’S T-shirt. I love Agent Carter, and this was sent to me by a friend. A friend who knows what I look like, and assumed I would wear a medium T-shirt.

Medium Women FittedOkay. I got into it, though I look a sausage encased in Saran Wrap. That’s what it felt like, too. And believe me, getting out of it was interesting. I seriously thought about using a pair of scissors… I was very disappointed, needless to say. I love this character, the show, and this sentiment. I should point out as well, that many of the graphic T-shirts I would order, like this one, do not come in a men’s or unisex option.

Right, then obviously, a medium is too small. So, when I ordered a T-shirt for myself (a lovely mashup of Frozen and Doctor Who), I ordered a large.

Large Womens Fitted

Um, I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t look all that much bigger than the medium to me. Okay, so maybe the material isn’t cutting off my circulation, but it is still sucking down to my skin like it was painted on. At this point, I *finally* took a good look at the sizing chart. That’s when I saw that a size 12 is an XL on most sizing charts for the graphic T-shirts I like.

Excuse me, WTF? 12 is considered XL? Since when? Since when does the size of the average woman in the U.S.–which is 12-14 by a Google search–considered extra-large? It brings me back to the pissed off boyfriend and the double standards of the clothing industry.

Okay. Deep breath. Order the XL. You like the shirt and you want to be comfortable. And you don’t want your arms to go numb when you’re wearing it. Exchange the large for an XL.

Here’s the XL:

XL Womens FittedNo, I am not kidding. This is the XL. It is microscopically different from the large, but honestly, it looks so much like the large I had to look at the time stamps to make sure I wasn’t posting the same picture twice. AND, I would like to point out, the shirt only comes one size larger–the XXL. That is insane. No, I’m sorry. It’s just wrong. What kind of message are we sending to young women (because obviously women over 30 shouldn’t be wearing graphic tees, right?) when 12 is considered XL? When there is so little difference between sizes that someone has to get the very largest size a product comes in just to be comfortable?

I honestly don’t know which is worse: vanity sizing, in which clothing companies mislabel clothing as being a smaller size than it is so women will feel good about buying it, or this. It  feels like a slap in the face either way.

BoysofSummer[The]FSOkay, rant over. In other news, Dreamspinner Press is continuing the Lazy Days of Summer sale until June 24th, which means you can get a copy of my award-winning The Boys of Summer for only a dollar! It’s the perfect beach read at the perfect price–but it won’t last long!

On Dreamspinner/Amazon/AllRomance

 

 

 

Fool'sGold-400x600And coming up next month, I’ll be releasing Fool’s Gold, a story about Olympic level eventing–just in time for the 2016 Games!

 

The Boys of Summer on sale!

The Boys of Summer400x600Oh! I just discovered The Boys of Summer is on sale right now as part of Dreamspinners Lazy Days of Summer!

That means for a limited time, you can purchase this award-winning story from either Dreamspinner directly or Amazon for only $1–today through June 24th!

I confess, this story is a personal favorite of mine–from the stunning cover art by Reese Dante, to the story of two men trying to survive against all odds–and discovering that life is more than mere survival.

This is the best sale price ever–so grab a copy while you can!

Dreamspinner Press/Amazon

Blurb: David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches…and a secret crush on his hot, ex-Air Force pilot, Rick Sutton.

Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries, and a lack of food and water, make rescue imperative, but it takes an intensely vivid dream about the war to make David see that Rick is more than just a pilot to him. Will David gather his courage to confess his feelings to Rick—before it’s too late?

Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards. Nominated Best Historical in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards. Selected as a Best Read in 2013 by Jessewave and a Top Pick Read by The Romance Reviews. Winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Re-released by Dreamspinner Press Dec, 21, 2015.

Excerpt (Rated R for language)

“Hey! Hey! Don’t pass out on me,” David warned, reaching under Sutton’s jacket and around his body to take hold of his torso. “I’ll never get you out of here if you pass out, and I can’t reach whatever’s bleeding from here. I need to stop the bleeding, okay? You’re going to have to help me.”

Sutton nodded silently. His lack of heroic banter worried David. He tightened his grip around Sutton’s chest, locking wrists that were slick with far too much blood. Where the hell was it coming from? He braced his feet against Sutton’s chair and pulled.

At first, it seemed like nothing was happening, as though he was attempting to lift a two ton gold brick. Then slowly, he felt Sutton coming with him, oozing out of the seat like a man being pulled out of quicksand. Sutton wasn’t helping him much, a fact that scared the crap out of him. He’d slung one arm around David’s shoulder, but he was pretty much dead weight as David tugged on him. Nonetheless, things were progressing steadily, with David gradually pulling Sutton up out of the crumpled mess that was the pilot’s seat, when suddenly they stopped moving.

David grunted and tugged some more, but to no avail. He slithered around, trying to get a different grip on Sutton but nothing worked.

“Hang on,” Sutton said, his breath coming in short, warm bursts near David’s ear. “I think I’m caught on something.”

“What, again?” David asked, and was rewarded with a faint chuckle. It was odd to think he could so easily turn his head and his lips would be on Sutton’s. They were practically embracing now. As it was, Sutton shifted, trying to move his injured side, to reach around behind him. His actions caused him to arch his back slightly, pushing up against David’s chest. The rain had soaked through Sutton’s shirt, leaving no questions as to his physical fitness. They could have been skin to skin, the contact was so close.

“Fuck, that hurts.” Sutton slumped against him. “Sorry.” His words were little more than exhaled breath. “I can’t reach it.”

“I don’t know what’s wrong with you,” David huffed, pulling Sutton closer into his body and then fishing around blindly behind him to see what he was caught on. He found the offending piece of cloth, hung on part of the console. When he couldn’t unsnag it, he tore it instead. He collected Sutton into his grip once more. “Most heroes could get impaled in the belly at least once every other episode, and still manage to fight off the bad guys and get the girl in the end. You’re supposed to say, ‘I’m fine, I have at least two kidneys’ and keep moving, mister.”

A laugh so soft it only stirred the hair near his ear sent a ripple of undefined emotion through David. He was so afraid Sutton would die. He needed Sutton not to die.

 

Pounds of mud on my shoes: overcoming self-doubt as a writer

best-good-enoughI haven’t been in a good place lately. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been stuck at the house for too many weeks now, just me and the animals. Normally, I’m good with this, being the kind of person perfectly capable of entertaining myself and enjoying my own company, but with the frequent storms, I haven’t been as active and I’ve had a little too much time to brood. I’ve been indulging in too much comfort food and I’m seeing a number on the scale I’ve never seen before.

I suspect too, it’s the time of year. We’ve had our pretty snows and our bitter temperatures. Now we’re sliding–literally–into the Season of Mud. For the next month or so, everything will be ankle deep in mud here. It’s so thick, deep, and clinging that it can suck the boots right off your feet. It cakes everything: your shoes, your car, the dogs, the carpets… Walking with several pounds of mud attached to your feet is a chore, and it feels like it will never get any easier.

I believe self-doubt is like that. It’s not that it prevents me from writing, but it does make everything slower and harder. I’ve actually written 22.8 K words this month, and yet it is all like ashes to me because I think what I’ve written is utter crap. With the frame of mind I’m in right now, if I read something amazingly good, I am discouraged because I will never write anything that fantastic. If I read something appallingly bad, I’m discouraged because that book has is out there making money, and people seem to love it, and what does that say about the industry–and my place in it–as a whole? At the moment, I am quite discouraged about my writing. I’m not convinced I know how to tell a decent story. Worse, I’m afraid I’ll never get any better at this. Like I said, not in a good headspace.

fraud moneyI’ve never been one of those people good with the concept of ‘act as if’ or ‘fake it til you make it.’ I understand the concept. It’s not outside my capabilities: I’ve done a lot of theater in my time. The problem for me always lay in that if I didn’t believe in said ‘fact’, I couldn’t sustain an attitude of belief. I can’t act sexy, or confident, or successful if deep down I don’t believe I’m any of these things. If I think someone is going to come up behind me and whisper, “Fraud.”

I’ve always wondered what the secret was. How some people could walk forward exuding confidence or sex appeal, when to the initial glance, they appear rather ordinary. How anyone could simply have that kind of utter belief in themselves that they weren’t shaken not only by self-doubt, but the put-downs and negative comments of others. It was always so chicken-and-egg to me. How do you take as your own what you don’t have?

Earlier this morning a meme was circulating Facebook that was posted by Meryl Streep, in which she related how, on being turned down for a movie role, she was told she was too ‘ugly’ for the part. She said she could have let that shatter her dreams of being an actress, but instead it forced her to believe in herself. She told the casting director, “I’m sorry you think I’m too ugly for your film, but you’re just one opinion in a sea of thousands, and I am off to find a kinder tide.” She’s won eighteen Academy Awards. Eighteen! (I had no idea!)

So I guess the answer is you don’t wait until you feel sexy or smart or accomplished. You simply decide you are these things. And act accordingly.

So tell me, what is holding you back and how do you plan to overcome it? Has anyone ever told you that you were wasting your time trying for something? That you had no talent or ability. That your best wasn’t good enough? How did you deal with that? I want to hear your stories!

From now until Wed Feb 24th, if you leave a comment, someone will be picked at random to win their choice of any of my available books. You don’t have to enter the giveaway to leave a comment though! I want to hear your stories of perseverance in spite of doubt.

The Boys of Summer400x600My latest release is The Boys of Summer, now available from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and All Romance ebooks.