Friday, July 22, 2016

Books, Chocolate and Wine with Madeline Martin

Sit back and relax. We’ve made it to Friday. Here in the Northeast, it’s going to be hot, very hot. What better way to spend a few minutes with something icy cold and a good read? Today my guest is Madeline Martin, an online friend I met in San Diego at RWA’s National Conference. We had a great time. I know you’ll love her story.
What Readers Want to Hear from Madeline Martin
I confess I always get a little stumped when I need to come up with a fresh idea for a blog post. And so I turn to my readers (you guys always have the best ideas). For this particular post, it was suggested I describe my beginning to end writing process, including where ideas stem from, time frames, etc.
Every one of my books is borne of a single idea or thought. It could be something that pops in my head from a memory, or it could be a lyric in a song or poem that snags my attention. For example, Grey or Blue by Jaymay had the lyrics “I can’t stop staring at your mouth without wondering how it tastes” which spawned a scene between Celia and Alec in Enchantment of a Highlander.
From that one idea, my subconscious grabs it and starts spinning, filling in scenes and places and who the people are. These are usually high stare off into space times for me. LOL But while it seem like I’m just zoning out, I have a whole world blossoming to life in my head.
From there I put together a brief outline of the beginning to end with main points/scenes I know I want to incorporate. Characters names and descriptions usually correlate with what personality they have or how they sometimes just show up in my head. This idea/character building is my favorite part of the writing process – before writer’s block can tickle at my ideas or edits can crush me down. This is the part of the story making process where I fling wide my arms and dance through an open field, where the sky doesn’t even feel like it can limit the possibilities crowding my thoughts. This is where I feel the story start to breathe in me, when the emotions of the characters tie into my heart and their souls become a piece of mine. Pure and simple, it’s magic. (I’m actually smiling as I describe this LOL)
Once my characters and plot are detailed out (ummm…for the most part), I write. I’m the most productive when I do writing sprints with friends. That means we both plan on writing for 30 minutes (from our own homes) and text each other when that 30 minutes is over to report the amount of words we’ve written. It’s fun competition that forces me in my seat and writing full steam ahead.
I do work a full time job and don’t like write while the minions are awake. This means I wake up at 4:30 to write and do a lot of work after they go to bed. As a result of my limited time, it takes about four months to write an entire full length novel.
I write using Scrivener, which is a writing program where I can break my scenes down and title them (which makes editing easier), I can also attach pictures of the cast of characters and scenery. One of the important features for me is the sidebar panel which allows me to make notes to myself. I use these for editing comments to address later rather than going back and editing. (For example: As of chapter 13, the sidekick has a scar on his cheek for a reason – go to previous chapters to add this detail) This keeps the self-editing process from being so painful.
Once the story is written, I plunge into my personal edits I’ve noted on the side, as well as a friend’s edits who helps me as I go (and she is a total Godsend!). Once that’s done, I do a final read through and edit what sounds right.
After edits, it goes to beta readers for their feedback, corrections are made. Then on to my editor with my publisher. I usually do two rounds of edits, then another two or three rounds of copy edits, then the final read through goes through my Momma, who can catch a typo like nobody’s business. And then, it is FINALLY done and the process can start over again.
I think the hardest part about writing a book is the allure of the next book. There are always new ideas tugging at my attention and trying to lure me off course.
I confess that working a full time job while writing, especially with having young children, is very difficult. I seldom have free time for me and I always feel like I’m working. Some days I get really overwhelmed when I look at my to do list (promo takes up a ridiculous amount of time), but then I just look toward the first item and press on. It is a lot of work, but I don’t regret one second of it and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. Writing is my love and publishing books is my dream, and I consider myself lucky to have been embraced by such passion.
Love is the most potent of remedies.
The sweeping historical romance that began with DECEPTION OF A HIGHLANDER, and continued with POSSESSION OF A HIGHLANDER, reaches its dazzling conclusion in this scorcher set on the Scottish plains.
Alec MacLean returns home after a decade to find his recently deceased father has let his inheritance fall to ruin. As the new laird, it’s Alec’s responsibility to rebuild the castle and restore the lands. He must also regain the people’s trust after having abandoned them so long ago, a feat not easily done when he fears he’s plagued with the same darkness as his father.
Celia escaped the North Berwick witch trials at a young age, surviving because of the sacrifice of her beloved caretaker. She’s made a life for herself in the wilds of Scotland where no laird rules, a life where she heals for coin, a life without love so she can never feel the hurt of loss again.
When the new laird comes back to claim his land, his determination to restore order threatens everything Celia has worked so hard to gain, especially with the undeniable attraction sizzling between them. Together, they will face all challenges, from the tangle of their own damaged pasts to the fire-fueled witch hunts sweeping the Isle of Mull. Together, they will find that the best way to overcome darkness and war is through the undeniable light of love.
Reviews of Enchantment of a Highlander:
“…an enchanting series conclusion.” -Publishers Weekly
“…filled with interesting characters and is an enjoyable read.” -RT Book Reviews
Excerpt from Enchantment of a Highlander
Celia had known the man was nobility by his fine dress, but she hadn’t expected him to be Laird MacLean. Nor had she expected the son of the former laird to be so just, so powerful.
So dangerous.
The law did little good from what she’d seen, from what she’d experienced. Innocents were sacrificed under the guise of ‘law’.
A scratch sounded at the base of the door where the wind mewled. Celia pulled the latch and held the door wide enough for the red fox to slink inside before bolting it shut once more.
“Is he gone now, Ruadh?”
The fox stared up at her with his golden eyes and flicked his bushy tail in aggravation.
“Good riddance to that one.” She tossed the remaining thread into the fire and watched the remnants of the laird’s blood sizzle and curl into ash. “For the time being we are safe.”
She glanced at the door once more. Her skin still tingled where he had touched her. Unwanted, a thrill wound down her spine and blossomed in goosebumps across her skin.
He would be back and she would need to keep her secrets locked away, the way she had managed to do thus far.
Her life depended on it.
About the Author
Madeline Martin lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (AKA OldestMinion and YoungestMinion). All shenanigans are detailed regularly on Twitter and on Facebook.
She graduated from Flagler College with a degree in Business Administration and works for corporate America. Her hobbies include rock climbing, running, doing crazy races (like Mud Runs and Color Runs) and just about anything exciting she can do without getting nauseous. She's also a history fan after having lived in Europe for over a decade, and enjoys traveling overseas whenever she can. Her favorite place to visit thus far: Scotland.
Author Contact information
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  1. What a wonderful blog, Madeline! I loved reading about your writing process. And Enchantment of a Highlander sounds awesome. I can't wait to read it. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much! :) I'm so glad you enjoyed the article and hope you enjoy Enchantment of a Highlander.

  2. What an awesome writing process. You ARE doing what you're meant to do.

  3. Looking forward to adding Enchantment to my TBR pile! Good luck!

    1. Thank you so much, Diana :) I hope you enjoy it! :)