The next author on The Writer’s Journey is Markie Madden. Markie is a very busy woman and author. I met her last year on a Facebook group she co-moderates with Claire Plaisted, Interview Exchange. Check them out. It’s a great group.
The Metamorphosis of a Writer
Hello everyone, I’m Markie Madden, author, and founder of Metamorph Publishing. My journey into writing has been a long one, and as I look back over the path that led me here, I’m amazed at how much I have accomplished!
Let me start at the beginning. The first time I remember writing on a regular basis was in 4th grade. I had an imaginative teacher at the time who would come around and draw a squiggle on our notebook paper. Our assignment was to finish that squiggle into a full drawing, and write a short story about our drawing. I don’t remember if we did this every day, or once a week, but I do remember how much fun it was to do it. After fourth grade, my family moved from New Mexico to Michigan, and I started 5th grade in a new school with new teachers.
By the time I was in high school, I’d been bitten by the writing bug. I wrote stories all the time, often passing pages around to all my classmates, because they were enthralled by the tales I was weaving on the paper. I began work on my first full-length novel, based on a game that my best friend and I would play out in the woods near our home. That book eventually became my dystopian novel Once Upon a Western Way, though at the time, I don’t think the “dystopian” genre really existed.
During my time in high school, I had an English teacher, Mr. David Harshfield, who was a huge inspiration to me. He was a self-published author, back when it wasn’t a “cool” thing, and he was responsible for purchasing X number of printed books on his own, and then trying to sell them to bookstores, libraries, and so on. He even brought in his book, Manchild for real: the Life and Lyrics of John Cougar Mellencamp, to show to our class. He also enrolled me in a Young Writers Conference held at the local community college, and went along with me. His words of encouragement and advice have always been in the back of my mind throughout my adult life.
So, I finished Once Upon a Western Way and began submitting it to publishers (back when a few of them still accepted unsolicited manuscripts). Mind you, these were typed pages, as computers and word processors were not a staple item in every home. Most of the publishers didn’t even bother to send rejection letters. But Mr. Harshfield’s advice spurred me on: “Whatever you do, never give up on the dream of being an author. What is not possible today may, in the future, become doable.” And those words have stuck with me through all these years.
So next, I took part of my family’s income tax return and hired a literary agent for a year. His contract stated that he would submit my manuscript to various publishers and send me quarterly reports on his results. This was a huge step for me, because my family was living paycheck to paycheck and we always relied on our tax refund to purchase large or expensive items that we couldn’t afford during the rest of the year, like a newer car if we needed one or a new washing machine. I’m not really sure how good this agent was, I looked around on the internet, then in its infancy, to find someone whose fees I could afford to pay. Throughout that year, I did get reports from him, usually with rejection letters from four or five publishers. Though I thought he could have done many more publishers in three months, I shrugged it off and assumed he knew what he was doing.
By the time that year was up, I decided that the work my agent was doing wasn’t worth the precious money, so I did not renew our contract. But I know had Once Upon a Western Way onto a computer now, as well as a complete printed manuscript. Even over numerous family moves, even all the way across the country to Texas, the story came with me. I never gave up searching for a way to publish, and I always made sure that my manuscript was safely stored and would never get lost.
Fast-forward to the spring of 2012, when I bought my very first e-reader, a cheap knockoff of the Nook reader that I bought from Big Lots. It worked on the same software as the Nook, and I was able to purchase Nook books with it. I also put a lot of free books on it, and I saw that many of those free books came from a place called Smashwords. Eventually, I checked out the Smashwords website, and discovered them to be a platform for publishing e-books.
Once Upon a Western Way went live on April 27, 2012 and became my first published book. However, at the time, I knew nothing of marketing, and I had a growing family and a full time job, so aside from posting my book on Facebook and telling my friends and family members about it, I really did nothing to help sell the book. I mean, it’s published and available, people will buy it, right? How wrong I was! I think I sold 4 books in 2 years’ time.
In May of 2013, I fell ill with a virus that I couldn’t manage to shake, and by the end of June I was diagnosed with leukemia (blood cancer). I spent the next 8 months in the hospital, 3.5 hours from home, enduring chemotherapy. During this time, an old high school friend sent me a friend request on Facebook and we started chatting off and on. She, too, is a published author, but her book is available in print as well. I told her how I’d never figured out how to get Western Way into print, and she gave me the valuable information about Createspace and how they work. Her name is Denise Mercer, and her book, My Father’s Table, is a great inspirational read!
After spending over 6 months recovering from my final chemotherapy in 2014, I began looking into Createspace and getting Western Way set up for print. I also had half of a basic horse care guide written, Keeping a Backyard Horse, and my husband suggested writing a cancer book, My Butterfly Cancer, and talking about my experiences. All three of these books became available in print for the first time in September of 2014.
While I was getting these books ready for publishing, I thought about starting my own publishing company, and I thought about my friend Denise and how her small, random act of kindness got me started on the path of publishing. I also thought about My Butterfly Cancer, in which I use the ‘butterfly effect’ theory to explain how Denise’s friend request had blossomed into something so huge. You know the theory: a butterfly flaps its wings in Japan and causes a hurricaine in Florida. This was the perfect explanation for how Denise’s friendship had struck my life, and I wanted the name of my company to reflect that. She also told me how butterflies hold a special symbolic meaning for her and her family. So, I tried Metamorphosis Publishing (that name was already taken), Monarch Publishing (that name was already taken), and I couldn’t find any other common names for butterflies that I really liked. So, I settled on making up a word, Metamorph, and an author friend of mine commented on how that sounds like an unfinished word, like my metamorphosis is still incomplete and the company is still a work in progress. I liked the sound of that, for I’m constantly striving to perfect my writing and improve the way the public views independent authors. Thus, Metamorph Publishing was born just one year ago.
Today, we offer 5 books, four of them mine, and the last a pagan reference guide given to me by reclusive author Naddya Foxfire. They are all available in print and e-book, and three of mine are in audio book format as well (my newest release is still being produced in audio and should be available in November, 2015)! And there’s no end in sight! I’m working with two other aspiring indie authors and will eventually publish books for them (hopefully), and all the while I’m working on the second book in my new Undead Unit Series. Book 1, Fang and Claw, just released on October 4, and it’s been very popular!
So, what’s the point of this long story? The same advice my high school English teacher gave to me so many years ago. What might be impossible today might be doable tomorrow. So, if you haven’t managed to get published yet, stick around. Don’t give up! And no matter what, if you love to write, then write! Even if you never publish what you write, if you love doing it and it makes you happy, there’s no reason to give it up. And self-publishing gives everyone the opportunity to publish. If you’re not sure you can do it on your own, there are many small-press publishers available out there now as well. So don’t you quit!
Markie Madden was born August 19, 1975, in Midland, Texas. She grew up in the small town of Flushing, Michigan. While in high school, she took creative writing and was a photographer for the school newspaper. In 1993, she won the National Quill and Scroll Society award for best photo in a high school paper. She began writing her first novel, Once Upon a Western Way, while still attending school.
Markie is now married with two teenage daughters, three rescue dogs, and her horse, Athena, who is featured on the cover of her horse care guide, Keeping a Backyard Horse. She tried many times over the years to publish her novel, first on her own, and then hiring a literary agent, all without success. In early 2012, after getting her first smart phone and e-reader application, Nook, she discovered the world of self-publishing through a website called Smashwords. She finally published Once Upon a Western Way through this distributor in April, 2012.
In the late spring of 2013, Markie came down with a mysterious illness, which was ultimately diagnosed as leukemia (AML specifically). She underwent a rigorous treatment of chemotherapy, during which, at one point, her life was endangered. While she was hospitalized, an old high school friend who is also a published author reconnected with her. Since cancer and the treatment of cancer forced her out of the traditional workforce, Markie turned her attention back to the world of writing.
By December of 2014, Markie was the successful publisher of three books, her first published work, Once Upon a Western Way, now available in print as well as e-format, as well as a self-help guide to horse care, Keeping a Backyard Horse, available in print and e-format, and her cancer memoir, My Butterfly Cancer, available in print, e-format, and audiobook. Her other two will soon be available in audiobook format as well. Markie has founded Metamorph Publishing, in order to publish her own books, and she is now working with two other independent authors as well.
Currently, Markie lives in the small town of Fisk, Missouri, with her family, her dogs, and her horse. She is still writing and is working on a crime/paranormal series called The Undead Unit Series. Book one of the series, Fang and Claw, is now available. The second book of the series, Souls of the Reaper, is expected out in 2016, along with a thriller novel entitled Cured Delusions. You can find her at her website: https://metamorphpublishing.com.
Fang and Claw (Book 1 of the Undead Unit Series)
Lieutenant Lacey Anderson of the Dallas Police Department heads up a elite new squad dedicated to solving crimes involving Immortals like herself. Lacey, a Vampire left for dead when her family was slaughtered by Werewolves, still has nightmares about the attack.
Detective Colton Scarber is her unwilling partner and second-in-command. He’s a Werewolf, a descendant of those who killed Lacey’s coven. She’s unaware of this, but she doesn’t trust him from the start. When the fragile beginning of the team is threatened by the truth, can they learn to trust one another as partners must, or will the Undead Unit be doomed to failure?
A mysterious suspect and strange physical evidence leads them to solve a case spanning decades, and leaves Lacey with no other choice but to rely on her enemy when her very life is at stake!
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Social Media Links
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Official Website: https://metamorphpublishing.com
The Undead Unit Series Home Page: https://metamorphpublishing.com/the-undead-unit-series/
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