Embattled Minds is LIVE!!!

It took a little longer than I expected, but Embattled Minds is finally live.

What started out as a short, quick, filler novella, kept getting longer and more involved, until I wondered if I would ever get it tied up. Once again, I was writing about something I know very little about, so it was taking longer. I had scenes in mind, it was just writing them down correctly.

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Ember scrawled something on her pad and headed for the kitchen. As if she felt him watching, she glanced around and immediately locked gazes with him. She smiled and threw a little wave.

Zeke swallowed heavily and turned to look down at the table, his skin tightening uncomfortably across his scalp. The scars there didn’t move the way regular skin did, and when he got embarrassed, which seemed like all the time, it felt like ants biting at him. He took a heavy breath and started lining up his words in his head, because he knew she would be over for their order.

No sooner had the thought occurred and she was there, smiling big and planting one hand on her curvy hip. “Hi guys. What can I get you?”

Chad knew to lead off, because it gave Zeke time. Diego unclenched his jaw enough to order his cola, and Terrell ordered a house beer. Then, she turned her big, dark chocolate colored eyes to him.

He took a breath, thought about the words and spit them out.

Her fine dark brows furrowed and she cocked her head. “Uh, what?”

Fighting not to flinch from her look, he replayed the words in his head. Oh, no. He hadn’t said dark chocolate eyes, had he? He glanced at the guys and they were all grinning at him, and he knew he had. Fuck!

“House beer,” he snapped.

With a curious look, she turned away.

“Did I…a-actually say d-dark chocolate eyes?”

Chad laughed out loud and clapped him on the shoulder. “I knew you liked the girl, but I didn’t expect you to hit on her like that.”

Zeke shook his head, totally disgusted and completely mortified. As if it weren’t bad enough he couldn’t talk like a normal human being, now his brain had to pick up words he had no intention of uttering? It had tricked him before, but never so brilliantly.

For the millionth time, he wished he’d never taken cover behind that wall.

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Zeke Foster has little to no experience with women over the past couple of years, after being injured in Afghanistan. Brutally scarred, he has no expectation that he’ll ever find a woman capable of accepting him the way he is. But he can’t help but be enamored of Ember, the waitress of a local watering hole.

Ember Norton’s life has turned into one devastating catastrophe after another. When the scarred soldier with the kind eyes brings some security to her life, she’s afraid to trust her luck. She’s been self-sufficient for a long time. But his wounded soul calls to her and she finds herself falling for him.

In spite of the secrets he continues to keep.

Embattled Hearts is Live!

The second book in my Lost And Found series is live now. Check it out.

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The business was doing great, but he couldn’t help but be resentful that he was not part of the detectives out on the street. Looking down at his worthless legs, he was once again swamped with anger. As a Marine, it had been standard practice to run for five or ten miles a day. Now he was lucky if he could get his thigh to twitch on command. It was historic if he could get a hard-on.

Although, he thought with a slight smile, it was happening more and more often when Shannon was in the room.

The first time he’d met her, more than six months ago now, she and Mrs. Harrison had been kneeling on the floor going through files. Shannon had straightened and arched her back to work out the kinks. She’d been wearing a cute little pink outfit thing that clung to her lush curves, but she’d kicked off her high heels. The lust that had fired through his veins caught him totally off guard. For the first time in six years, he’d gotten excited looking at woman’s ass. Her legs were bare beneath the skirt. He sat stunned, soaking up her subtle beauty and the exhilaration of being turned on.

The women hadn’t seen him yet, so he cataloged everything he could about Shannon Murphy. Mrs. Harrison had said Shannon was extremely intelligent and would be a wonderful office manager, but she had not told them how exceedingly beautiful Shannon was, with her petite little shape and curly, dark chocolate-colored hair laying gently on her shoulders. Shannon was a good bit smaller than the older woman beside her, but curvy, and had a husky laugh that gave him chills. His own lips curled up in shared humor, even though he had no idea what she laughed at. Without conscious thought, he pushed his chair forward to get their attention.

Mrs. Harrison noticed him first, and pushed herself to her feet, then urged Shannon to join her. John barely heard the introduction as his eyes took in the details of her face. In honest fact, she was not classically beautiful. Actually, “cute” would more likely be applied to her mobile features and wide-set hazel eyes. Her broad smile started with up-tilted lips on one side, then spread to encompass her whole mouth.

He held out his hand and was entranced as she pumped energetically. Without blinking, he watched for any hint that the chair or his disability bothered her, but she seemed almost oblivious to the fact that he could not stand up to shake her hand. For the first time in longer than he could remember, he had met a person that not by word or deed made him feel like less than a man.

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A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.

John Palmer hasn’t felt like a real man since he was injured during combat in Iraq. Though not content with his new life, he is mostly adapting, just like the other vets at the Lost ‘N’ Found Investigative Service. When Shannon Murphy is hired on as the new office manager, life suddenly gets a lot more interesting. Before long, John finds himself wondering if he could ever be the kind of man Shannon needs.

Shannon Murphy wasn’t really looking for love when she hired on at LNF, but finds herself hopelessly attracted to the sex-on-wheels former Marine, John Palmer. The man is grumpy and nearly impossible to work with, but his brand of masculinity appeals to her on a basic level. Soon Shannon is wondering just what it would take for John to want her the way she wants him.

When an old enemy tries to settle a vendetta against Shannon, John insists on protecting her. He moves into her house, fanning the spark of attraction into a blaze. But the danger continues to escalate. Will the connection that they’ve found survive when they’re thrust into a fight for their lives?

The Embattled Road is LIVE!!!

My wounded veteran series is taking shape now, and a good friend advised me that I should have a prequel to explain where the men came from and how they formed the partnership of LNF Investigative Services. This is the prequel. It’s only about 20,000 words but you get a good idea of some of the trials they’ve gone through in the process of creating an all-vet detective service.

I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

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Duncan jerked awake, then realized all he did was open his eyes. Reality smacked him in the face as he focused on the beige tile floor. Yep. Still at Walter Reed. Landstuhl Hospital’s floor had been pale blue with darker flecks in it. He remembered that much. Somebody had turned the page of the automotive magazine for him, but he was still strung up like a marionette, arms stretched out to his sides, in the medical contraption immobilizing his spine and protecting his burns. The mattress beneath him was hard. After three weeks in the same position, you’d think he’d remember. But no. Every time he woke up, he wondered why God hadn’t just killed him and gotten it over with. At least then the pain would end.

One of the nurses squeaked her way into the room. Pink rubber Crocs stopped beside his bed. What was her name? Lacey? Or Lainy? Something like that. He glanced into the edge of the mirror not covered by the magazine. She smiled at him, that professional nurse smile meant to conceal how very desperate his situation actually was.

“How do you feel today, First Sergeant?”

He rocked his head as much as he could and closed his eyes. If she was going to ask stupid questions like that he wasn’t going to answer her. She circled the bed and he felt her tug at the sheet over his burnt back. “How is your pain right now?”

He sighed. She wouldn’t leave until he answered her. “About a seven.”

She hummed under her breath and moved to the IV stand, adjusting something there. Within seconds he felt a blessed wash of numbing heat roll through his body. Seemed like the only thing that made him happy anymore was morphine. He closed his eyes and tried to sleep his life away.

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In the harrowing prequel to The Lost and Found Series, three embattled Marines must deal with their devastating physical and emotional injuries in a world that seems to have turned against them.

When the rescue helicopter crashes into his convoy in Iraq, Marine First Sergeant Duncan Wilde struggles with the loss of men, his career and the use of his body. Things can’t get much worse. Until his fiancée decides she has to move on with her life, and that of her unborn child by another man.

Sergeant Chad Lowell knew when he went to war that it would come with a price. And it did. A young Marine under his command is killed by a landmine. Chad’s left with one less leg and a mountain of recriminations. That doesn’t mean he wants to be a pitied by every female he comes in contact with.

Gunnery Sergeant John Palmer is furious at the hand he’s been dealt. He’s served his country faithfully, if not without antagonism, for many years. Now they’re turning him out like a relative who has overstayed his welcome. And, since he’s not even a real man anymore, maybe it is time to move on permanently.

Can these wounded warriors use a friendship borne out of adversity to form a partnership rescuing others? And can they find real love in spite of their challenges?

7 Steps To Self-Publishing Your Backlist Title…

  Publishing is changing every day, it seems. Indie pubbed authors are getting publishing contracts and traditionally pubbed authors are putting out their back lists as indies. The stigma to releasing your own work is finally beginning to ease as authors realize there is more than one path to publication.

I had a lady email me the other day wanting to know what she needed to do to release a title she’d received the rights back to from a small e-pub, and I thought it would be a good blog post. She’s probably not the only one wondering.
When we sign contracts with publishing companies, be they New York traditional or smaller e publishing houses, we give up our rights to that work for a length of time. Contracts themselves usually run from one year to fourteen, with three to five being the average. During that time, the publishing house prepares and distributes the work. There should be a section of the contract dealing with the length of the contract and directions on how to request your rights back from the publisher. Follow those directions closely. On some contracts, if you don’t request your rights back during the window specified, the contract itself renews, locking you in again.
Once you receive your reversion of rights, you can prepare to put it out yourself.
~~~There are some things to remember. When you signed the contract with the publishing company, more than likely they took over the cost of production. They bought a cover, they paid somebody to edit the work and they put their own ISBN on it. Now that you own the book again, YOU CANNOT USE THE OLD COVER OR ISBN. You, as the new publisher, have to provide a new cover, a new ISBN and possibly new editing.
Here’s what you need to do to release your reverted-rights, backlist title:

  1. Once you receive your Reversion of Rights letter from your publisher, read over your manuscript. This is a chance to remake the story into what you’ve always envisioned. When you read it over, you may find sections that you’d like to change or expand on. Maybe you’ve always wanted to give it a different ending. Or turn it edgier. Make the hero a little nicer. Well, now’s your chance. Make the story into what YOU want. 
  2. Choose a cover artist and cover. There are a lot of up and coming, fabulous cover designers out there. I’ve personally used The Author’s Red RoomMelody Simmons at ebookindiecovers.com and Viola Estrella, and all were fabulous. If you follow this link, it will take you to an updated list of 52 cover artists I’ve listed on my website under Author Helps. Some publishing houses barely ask your opinion about the cover, let alone what models or scenes to use. If you’ve ever cringed when you’ve gotten a cover from a publisher because the heroine’s hair color is wrong, or the scene is off, this is your chance to make it right. I put this a little higher in the list because some cover artists take several months to create a custom cover. Or it may just take that long to catch a break in their schedule. You can order the cover while you’re doing everything else. If you plan on taking your book to print, you’ll need a wrap cover, which will take a little longer to create. Tell your artist what you need before you start. Cost– can be any amount. I’ve seen pre-made covers for as little as $5 up to custom covers for several thousand.
  3. Edit your work. While the original publisher probably, hopefully, edited your work competently, you still want to have it checked over, especially if you modify or change anything from the original manuscript. Every editor I’ve had has worked differently, but they’ve all been fabulous, luckily. I’ve heard horror stories of editors that couldn’t edit for shit, and if you’ve ever had one of those, you have my sympathies. I think every piece of work about to be published needs to be re-edited, because just about every book I read -Traditional, e or indie- has a typo in it somewhere. Cost– any amount. If you have a critical reader good at spotting issues, it may be free. If you use an actual editor, expect to pay out $50 up to several hundred dollars for a critical read through. I currently use Mary Yakovets. I hate to give her name out because she really is awesome, and I want her to still have time for me!
  4. Buy ISBNs for your work. I’ll explain this out a bit, so that everybody knows. If you publish on Smashwords, they offer you a free ISBN, but THEY are listed as the publisher, not you. If you actually buy the number from Bowker, YOU are listed as the publisher. It took me a while to figure out, but from now on, I want MY work to be under MY name. Cost-You can buy them at Bowker; 1 for $99 or 10 for $250. I bought the 10 pack, because each book that you put out will need 3 numbers. One ISBN for digital, one for print and one for audio.
  5. Format your work. This isn’t as easy as it sounds and I’ve resigned myself to be one of those that CAN NOT format, no matter how long she tries. But it’s turned out for the best. I have a formatter at BBebooks that absolutely rocks formatting, affordably. When I send Paul my doc file, for $50 he turns it into 7 different versions, for each of the distributors. WELL worth the money. Cost– depends upon your file size and the number of different versions you need. $50 and up.
  6. Register yourself and Publish at all of the distribution sites. Some, like Apple, take a long time to check you out and approve you as a publisher. Like, several weeks. If you don’t have a Mac computer and have to upload to Apple through Smashwords, ARE or one of the other distributors, be prepared for it to take several weeks for your book to go live. The rest of the sites go live fairly quickly. Smashwords is live immediately. Amazon takes about a day, Kobo and Barnes and Noble take a few days to a few weeks. ARE is also a quick one. Your book will be available as soon as you upload it, but I will say that their upload process is a pain in the butt. When you upload to Createspace for your print book, the proof will take 24 hours. Once you approve the proof, you can hit print and your books will be available. Cost– None of the sites charge you to publish a book through them, although they will take a portion of your royalties. Read the information at each site to see how much.
  7. Start Marketing! This is probably something that you’ve been doing anyway, no matter where you were pubbed. Keep doing it. The advantage to this, though, is that now that you’ve pubbed your own book, you can see real-time sales at all of the sites. If you do a blog-hop or targeted advertisement, you can see immediately if it was effective or not by following your numbers. You had no way of knowing that when you were pubbed with a publisher.

This is a highly simplified version of what you need to do, but you can now call yourself a self-published author. If you have any questions at all, either comment here or send me an email at authorjmmadden@gmail.com.
Thanks for reading!

Midsummer Nights Dream Men Blog-hop

While my heroes are not typically handsome, they do have a strong appeal with women. They’ve served their country with pride, and returned better men. They’ve saved lives and tried to secure peace.
The main difference is, my heroes are all Disabled Veterans.
When I started writing the Lost And Found series, I didn’t know what kind of reception I would get with my men. They are not your typical ‘tall, dark, and handsome’.
In Book 1, Embattled Hearts, my hero John used to be tall, dark and handsome, until a roadside bomb paralyzed him and put him into a wheelchair.
In Book 2, Embattled Minds, Zeke used to be a ladies’ man, until he made the mistake of taking cover behind a wall that came down on top of him, permanently scarring him and leaving him with a Traumatic Brain Injury.
Book 3, when it comes out, will have a hero with a permanently disabled arm and an amputated leg.
Not your typical hero, but to me they are the epitome of heroism. They have sacrificed for their country.  They have sacrificed time with their family, their children. They’ve sacrificed, sometimes literally, their sanity to their country.
I’ve had people ask me about my covers, because the men, in general, are good looking and healthy. Unfortunately, there are very few stock images for my heroes- definitely none with a romantic theme. So, I’ve modified the pictures as much as I could. Trimming the lower half on one, shading a face on another.
If you’d like to check out my men, the prequel to the series, The Embattled Road is free.

My question is: What is your ideal hero? One commenter will win a free download of my newest book, Embattled Minds.

If you click on the image below, it’ll get you started on the hop. Just press ‘next’ in the top right hand corner to go to the next blog. Happy hopping!

                           

Please, continue on the blog hop to meet more fantastic heroes and be entered for a chance to with a $75 gift card, plus several free book downloads.

Embattled Minds is LIVE!!!

So, I’m a little over on my timeline, but Embattled Minds is done! This was supposed to be a filler for between the full-length partner novels I’m doing, but it didn’t go that way. Zeke had a lot to say! And Ember had a lot to say back! The 20-25k I planned turned into 45k words!
If you haven’t been following the Lost And Found Series, this is the second book in the series, three total in the line if you count the prequel. Check it out.

Zeke Foster has little to no experience with women over the past couple of years, after being injured in Afghanistan. Brutally scarred, he has no expectation that he’ll ever find a woman capable of accepting him the way he is. But he can’t help but be enamored of Ember, the waitress of a local watering hole.
Ember Norton’s life has turned into one devastating catastrophe after another. When the scarred soldier with the kind eyes brings some security to her life, she’s afraid to trust her luck. She’s been self-sufficient for a long time. But his wounded soul calls to her and she finds herself falling for him. 
In spite of the secrets he continues to keep.

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