My Butterfly Cancer
Once Upon a Western Way
Keeping a Backyard Horse
Marguerite Madden, called Markie by friends and family, 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 expected to be available in late summer or fall of 2015. 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.
Markie was kind enough to answer some of my questions:
1. What inspired you to create the Indie Author Database?
I wanted to give support to independent authors like myself, and I’m a member of a Facebook group (and a social media “movement”, if you will) called #indiebooksbeseen. This group was conceived by author Mark Shaw, and it’s a wonderful group of people who buy and review each other’s books. Although, this may become a problem with Amazon’s new “big brother” review policy! As I’m a disabled person, and just getting started with book sales (I’ve not been published a whole year just yet), I wanted a way to support my fellow group members, but I can’t always afford to buy their books. However, what I do have is plenty of time, and that’s how the whole idea of the database got started! It also includes members of another Facebook group called Get Down with the Awethors and members from the Rave Reviews Book Club, as well as other authors I’ve come across throughout social media. I also maintain the database in an off-line format in my Scrivener word processor, and I can send it to anyone who requests it, in many different formats (including Kindle and Nook e-reader formats), as well as break it down by genre or group.
Horses figure prominently in my romantic fantasy Once Upon a Western Way. They are not only necessary for travel, but are friends and companions as well! I’ve also written Keeping a Backyard Horse, a non-fiction, self-help book for people who want to keep a horse as a pet but don’t know anything about them. This book is free as an e-book across all retailers, and listed at $5.95 for paperback. I had always intended to keep the price free or as low as possible; I’d rather people read the book and learn how to care for their horse, than make a bunch of money on it. And it’s a way I can help to eliminate accidental neglect of horses due to owner ignorance.
3. Thrillers, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance... You cover so many genres, do you have a favourite?
I think my favorite is crime/paranormal, which is what I’m working on right now. I’m just putting the finishing touches on Fang and Claw, which will be book one of my new series called the Undead Unit Series. But then again, maybe whatever my current project is would be my favorite! ;)
Quite a bit of this book was difficult to write, not only because it brought back memories of what I went through, but because I often couldn’t remember much of what had happened. I was on so much pain medicine, I would fall asleep in an instant while sitting up. My husband and sister-in-law had to start censoring my Facebook posts. And My Butterfly Cancer was written in the same year as my chemotherapy, so my brain was often muddled to begin with. However, I left the book un-edited on purpose, to show people exactly how my brain was (not) working, to give them a better idea of what cancer treatment can do. Surely someone out there with a loved one suffering from cancer has read my book and realized how much is really going on with their loved one.
5. You run your own publishing company - what is the biggest thing you have learned since it's conception?
I think marketing. That’s always the hardest part for me, whether it’s marketing my books or Metamorph Publishing. I’m not quite sure if I’m ready to take the company to the next step and start publishing for other authors, though both of my children are currently writing with the hopes of publishing someday. And of course, I’ll be there to help them with that. Also, web browser coding was something I didn’t think I would need to know, until I took my website self-hosted. But there are a lot of free tutorials online that will help you learn how to code in HTML language. And I’m getting pretty good at it!
6. What piece of advice would you give other prospective authors?
The advice I always give other authors is never give up. I wrote Once Upon a Western Way when I was in high school. As a kid in school, one of my English teachers was a self-published author, back in the day where the author had to pay out of pocket for their print books! He encouraged me in my writing. Unfortunately, I heard that he passed away a few years ago. As an adult, I submitted the manuscript for Western Way to publishing companies, first on my own and then through an agent I hired for a year. But I held onto it all these years until self-publishing became easier and less risky. So don’t give up! What may seem impossible today might be doable tomorrow!
7. What has been your best review/feedback to date?
Ouch, this is a hard one! I have to say that I got a very nice 5 star review on Keeping a Backyard Horse, from a very well-known and popular reviewer who also happened to be a horse person! I’ve had several good reviews on my books.
8. What is the best part about being an indie-published writer?
The best part of being an indie author is that I have total control over my work. If I don’t like the cover, I can easily change it. If a spelling or grammar error comes to light, I can fix it right away. I can set my prices the way I want, and offer them for free whenever I want.
9. And the worst?
The worst side of being an indie author is the fact of marketing. You, and you alone, are responsible for marketing and selling your work.
Another tough one. I’d like Angelina Jolie for Susan, but she’s not young enough and I’d put her instead in the role of Lacey from Fang and Claw. For Susan, the actress who played Bella Swan on Twilight, whose name eludes me at the moment, of course, might be a good choice. For Joseph, probably the actor who played Harry Potter, and his name is stuck somewhere in my brain too. LOL
11. What books inspired you when you were young?
My favorite books growing up were the Black Stallion series and Nancy Drew. And, as I got a little older, the Star Trek books published by Pocket Books.
12. Which are you top 3 indie books at the moment?
Wow, this is tough. Number One is probably Weakest Lynx by Fiona Quinn. Number two, Cloak of Shadows by CK Dawn. Then I’d have to say number 3 would be 25 Ways to Improve Your Website by Vinny O’Hare. Yes, this is non-fiction, not a favorite of mine, but a very good book to read if you have a website. Vinny is also very engaging on Facebook (he’s head of the Awesome Gang group) and open to questions and to helping other writers improve on their sites.
Well, that's it. Make sure you check out her books - and if there are any other horsey people out there, Keeping a Backyard Horse is free from Amazon!!!