Thursday, December 19, 2013

Guest Post by Sarah Madison - Find What Works for You

Today Magnolias and Men is playing host to The Boys of Summer blog hop. Please welcome our guest, Sarah Madison

Find What Works for You

When I was in college, I got my very first dog that was all mine. I’d met her breeder years before, and she’d told me when I was ready for a puppy to come back to her. God, how I loved that dog. I slept on the floor with her for the first week after I brought her home so that she wouldn’t be afraid. I took her with me everywhere. She was my heart dog—that once in a lifetime dog that they make movies about. That makes you cry tears of joy and heartache every time you think about her, even though she has been gone for many years now. She was my best friend, my right hand, my better self.

She was by no means perfect. Oh the stories I could tell. I lived in a bad neighborhood, but my apartment was the only one that had never been robbed. I didn’t even know I lived in a bad neighborhood until my friends refused to come visit me—Jessie kept me safe. I can still see with perfect clarity her sneaking up on the drunken man passed on my front stoop, creeping up carefully until she’d wedged her nose into his ear and let loose a volley of barking. She then followed him as he crawled back to his apartment, scolding him like a fishwife the entire way.

Or there was that time when two young boys playing Rambo jumped out of the woods onto the trail in front of us brandishing knives. Jessie shoved her head into the crotch of one of the boys and lifted him bodily off the ground with her head, setting him down again with a hard thump.

“Drop the knives!” I barked at the kids like a police detective. Shaking, tears running down their faces, they let their very real weapons fall to the ground. “Are you insane?” I yelled at them. “You never, ever pull a stunt like that on a German Shepherd!”

Lest you think she was just some bad-ass, ill-mannered dog, I should point out everyone called her Miss Congeniality. She got along with babies, rats, ferrets, cats, you name it. She was the most gentle dog on the planet, unless she thought you were threatening me.

One day when she was about a year old, I had her out in the common area playing with some of the other dogs in the apartment complex. She suddenly got it in her head to take off running and before I could stop her, she had zipped around the corner of the building toward the road.  I ran after her calling her name in exasperation.

I will never forget that moment when I heard that terrible squeal of tires on pavement, the thud of something being hit, and the sharp yelp of pain. An indescribable sound of horror ripped its way out of my throat as I screamed her name again.

I flew around the corner of the building to see her trotting very quickly back in my direction, eyes widely dilated and frequently flicking back over her shoulder. She’d only been bumped by the car, thank God.
My near-miss sent me into a tailspin of regret and fear—how could I have been so stupid? Had I done everything wrong in raising this, my very own dog, my first puppy? I went down to the library and checked out every book I could find on raising and training dogs. I went to the local bookstore and bought copies of all the bestselling books on behavior and obedience. Armed with the knowledge of experts, I went home and began reading.

What I quickly discovered was that there were so many ways in which to train a dog, and many of the experts seemed to think their method was the only one that was right, and to follow anyone else was to ‘ruin’ your dog. Ruin seemed so final, so terrible. I’d heard warning stories about German Shepherds before I’d ever gotten Jessie. But the books confused me. One author would tout being firm to the point of abusiveness, another advised against ever reprimanding your dog. Some used food, some used harsh, corrective equipment and considered food something only sissies used. No one agreed on any one method and most of them contradicted each other in key areas of their basic philosophy. I might have been young and foolish at the time, but at least I had the sense to realize I had to find the training philosophy that I agreed with and ignore the rest.

Fast forward many years later. I’d re-discovered my lost love for writing and had merrily cranked out over a million words of fanfiction.  Gathering my nerve to submit a story, I sent in story after story for publication and they were all accepted. All of the sudden, I had five or six published stories to my name and I was an author. A real live honest-to-God author.  In a grand show of support, friends and family began sending me books on writing: on technique, on marketing, on style, on writing to genre. I dove into the material gleefully. But like the dog books before, I soon discovered contradictory advice.  Work from a detailed outline, screw the outline and make it up as you go along. Write linearly. Write scenes only. Do this, don’t do that. Don’t listen to that expert, listen to me. Instead of helping me, the books stymied me. The next thing I know, my production had slowed to a trickle.

So I’m going to tell you now what it took me far too long to see for myself. Find the ‘teacher’ that resonates with you and stick with that person and others with the same philosophy. It doesn’t matter if you’re training dogs, writing stories, or looking for the meaning in your life. YOU are the best guide to what works best for you. Trust your instincts. That doesn’t mean you don’t need any teachers at all; far from it. But it does mean that if you read or hear something that makes you raise an eyebrow and make a frowny face that you should trust that reaction

Your talent is born from within. You know how to raise it right.

 Title: The Boys of Summer

Author: Sarah Madison
Genre: M/M Romance
Excerpt: Rated R for language
Bookseller Links: Amazon US (paperback), Amazon US (Kindle), Amazon UK (paperback), Amazon UK (Kindle)

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?

The Boys of Summer has recently been given an Honorable Mention and is one of the finalists in the 2013 Rainbow Awards! The winners will be announced sometime in December.

“Settings are used wonderfully here, becoming so vibrant that they played out like a movie in my mind as I read.” Jessewave

“I devoured it and it has moved into my top ten books of all time.” Josie Goodreads

“Ms. Madison writes with a wonderful, flowing style, her words effortless and magical, drawing you into her story.” Susan Mac Nicol

“I thoroughly enjoyed the Boys of Summer and based on this book I have already earmarked several more Sarah Madison books to read.” Kazza K

“If you’re headed to the beach and can only take one book with you, it should be this one. Highly and delightedly recommended!” Jessewave

Tour Giveaway

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Excerpt (rated R for language):
“I don’t think we’ve got much choice.” Sutton’s voice was grim. “We’re lucky to have that much. Hold on, these trees are coming up faster than I’d like.”

Still fighting to keep the nose of the plane up, Sutton guided the recalcitrant aircraft toward the so-called clearing, the ground rising up to meet them far faster than was comfortable. David found himself leaning back in his seat, bracing his hands on the console as the tops of trees scraped the underside of the plane. Branches swiped at the windshield, and David had the sudden impression of being in a car wash scene as written by Stephen King.

“Duck your head!” Sutton barked. “Wrap your arms around your legs!”
“And kiss my ass goodbye?” David shouted, raising his voice over the increasing noise as he obeyed Sutton’s orders.

Incredibly, Sutton laughed. It was an oddly comforting sound. Like everything was somehow going to be all right because Sutton was at the controls.

The moment of humor was gone in a flash. The plane screamed with the sound of tearing metal and the sharp, explosive crack of tree limbs and breaking glass. David kept his head down and his eyes closed, praying to a God he was pretty sure had more important things to do than to keep up with the well-being of one David McIntyre. Despite being strapped in his seat, his head and shoulder thumped painfully against the passenger side door as the plane thrashed wildly. There was a moment of eerie, blessed silence, and for an instant, the assault on the plane seemed as though it had lifted. Eye of the storm, David thought, just before the plane hit the ground.

Someone had left the window open and it was raining on him. How incredibly annoying. He shifted, intent on reaching for the offending window, when a jolt of pain ran through his shoulder and he gasped. When he opened his eyes, nothing made any sense at first. Then he remembered the crash, and realized that his side of the plane was pointing up at the sky. The rain was coming down in a steady stream through the broken windshield. The sound of the rain on the metal hull of the plane was nearly deafening.

He winced at the pain in his neck when he turned to look over at the pilot’s seat. Sutton was slumped to one side in his chair, unmoving. His sunglasses were hanging off one ear.

“Oh God, oh God, oh God,” David murmured, hastily undoing his seatbelt so he could reach across to Sutton. His skin was cold and damp where David touched it, and adrenaline pounded through David’s veins as though he could jumpstart Sutton’s heart by sending his own pulse beating through his fingertips. “Sutton! Rick!”

About Sarah Madison

Like most writers, Sarah Madison was a story-teller as a child. She couldn’t help herself! She carried a grubby spiral notebook with her everywhere she went, filling it with stories about dogs and horses. When she reached the end of high school, however, she packed up all her creativity in a box and placed it on a shelf, to be stored with other childhood memories. She worked hard at her job and thought that being passionless was just what growing up was all about.
One day she woke up. She opened the box on her shelf and discovered much to her surprise, her passion was there, just waiting to be claimed again.
Now, writing sometimes takes precedence over everything else. In fact, when she is in the middle of a chapter, she usually relies on the smoke detector to tell her when dinner is ready.
To learn more, visit Sarah on her website, on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

The Boys of Summer Tour Dates

Monday 9th DecemberVirtual Writers, Inc. (interview)
Tuesday 10th December  – Charlie Cochet (interview)
Wednesday 11th DecemberKathryn Lively from ARe Cafe (guest post) Annette Gisby from Zipper Rippers (author interview) – awaiting final confirmation
Thursday 12th December Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews (review and interview)
Friday 13th December Tammy Middleton from Tams Book Blog (also posted on MM Good Book Reviews) (review & guest post)
Saturday 14th December  – Kirsty Vizard (review)
Sunday 15th December –  Sid Love (guest post) & Twitter Interview with Sarah Madison (1pm EST)
Monday 16th December  Kathy from Book Reviews and More (guest post)
Tuesday 17th December  Joyfully Jay (guest post)
Wednesday 18th December  – Sophie Sansregret from Evolved Books (review and guest post)
Thursday 19th December  – Eden Winters from Magnolias and Men (interview and promo) – awaiting final confirmation
Friday 20th December  –  Iris Pross from Cocktails and Books (review)
Saturday 21st December  –  GraveTells (guest post)
Sunday 22nd December  - Sarah Madison




  1. I actually have one of Sarah's books on my wish list on amazon and I can wait to read something of hers; especially since she's recommended by Eden!!

    1. I first met Sarah when I wrote her a squeeing fangirl e-mail after reading Raincheck. Love her writing!

    2. I know how that goes ( :-> for Eden). Now I have to read Raincheck! :P

    3. Sonia: You really know how to make me smile this morning--thank you!

    4. Aw, Eden! Now I have to blush and push you on the shoulder. :-) Thank you--and thank you for hosting me here today!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Iyanna! I'm working hard today on finishing a free short story that features the same characters--I'll be posting that this Sunday on my website as part of the final day of the tour. :-) I hope you'll enjoy it!

  3. Have read and loved all of Sarah's stories, from her contemporary to fantasy to scifi.

    1. Oh, you don't know how happy that makes me! Seriously, I've often had concerns that I didn't have a recognizable 'brand' because I write across so many genres within M/M romance. Thank you! That made me breathe a little sigh of relief! :-)

  4. Haven't read any of her work - but if Eden Winters thinks it's good *adds to tbr list*

    1. That's high praise indeed, Ninna! Thank you! :-)