The Featured Five – October

Every so often, I think it’s important to feature some of my fellow bloggers in a round-up here on The Adventures. By and large, they are authors, indie writers such as myself. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say they are friends. I wouldn’t recognize them on the street. We wouldn’t invite each other to weddings and bar-mitzvahs. But the indie community is fiercely supportive and generous to their own, a second family to those struggling along on the road to literary achievement.

So this week, I present “The Featured Five,” five bloggers who have somehow inspired, supported, or encouraged me in these Adventures in Indie Publishing. I hope you’ll take the time to survey their wares and support their efforts.

Markie Jordan-Madden


Marguerite Madden, called Markie by friends and family, was born in Midland, Texas, but grew up in the small town of Flushing, Michigan. While in high school, she took creative writing courses 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.

Now, Markie is married with two teenage daughters, three rescue dogs, and a horse, Athena, 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 through a literary agent, all without success. In early 2012, she discovered the world of self-publishing through a website called Smashwords. It was through this channel that she finally published Once Upon a Western Way in April, 2012.

In the late spring of 2013, Markie came down with a mysterious illness that was ultimately diagnosed as leukemia (AML specifically). She underwent a rigorous treatment of chemotherapy, during which her life became endangered. Following her hospitalization, and because cancer and the treatment of cancer had 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 the DIY guide to horse care, Keeping a Backyard Horse, available in print and e-format, and her cancer memoir, My Butterfly Cancer, available in print and e-format. All three will soon be available in audiobook format as well. In order to publish her own books, Markie founded Metamorph Publishing is now working with two other independent authors as well.

Metamorph Publishing is an indie publisher open to assisting other independent authors to publish as well. Also on the team is Natasha Madden, Markie’s oldest daughter, who is currently an independently-published illustrator, as well as cover designers Claudia Plaisted of Ceejay Designs and author Julie Nicholls.

Currently, Markie lives in the small town of Fisk, Missouri, with her family, her dogs, and her horse. She is still writing, currently on a paranormal crime series called The Undead Unit Series. Book one of the series, Fang and Claw, was recently released and is now available on Smashwords.

Mistral K Dawn


Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats, where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman was her first effort at writing fiction. It seems to have been well-received, for she’s gone on to write two more books, Bound by the Summer Prince and Intrigue in the Summer Court. In addition to her novels, she is also a veteran blogger. She has also published more than a dozen book reviews as well as nearly fifty interviews (including a sit-down with Yours Truly). She is an indefatigable champion of independent authors and their books.

Kristen Lamb


Kristen Lamb is the author of the #1 best-selling books We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. 

Kristen has guided writers of all levels, from unpublished green peas to NY Times best-selling big fish, to the use and practice of social media to create a solid platform and brand. Most importantly, Kristen helps authors of all levels connect to their READERS and then maintain a relationship that grows into a long-term fan base. She is the C.E.O. of WANA International and the founder of WANATribe, the social network for writers.

Jen Winters


Jen Winters is another independent author, having entered the world of self-publishing through digital media formats. Her first book, Kissing Demons, is a paranormal romance available for Kindle and on Smashwords, B&N, iBooks, Overdrive, and Kobo. She has also authored a novelette entitled Kissing the Rain, a paranormal prequel to Kissing Demons that is available for free on Smashwords.

In addition to her fiction, Jen is also a blogger, publishing book reviews, two ongoing fiction serials called The Dragonswan Sisters and Infernos, as well as a series of interviews, the Ten on Tuesdays, featuring ten questions with independent authors
(also including a sit-down with Yours Truly).

Never mind fiction and blogging, Jen also has the toughest job in the world: she’s a mom, a wife, a homeschool teacher. She also has the second toughest job in the world: she’s an ardent supporter of indie authors (who are not unlike a pack of untamed children). She’s also a lover of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest and enjoy a diversion into homeschooling on her other blog, The Slamdunk Homeschool.

Tara Sparling


Tara writes fiction and screenplays. Originally from the west of Ireland, she now lives in Dublin. Her works include the novels In June and Statistical Anomalies in the Probability of Love, both of which have won commendations in Irish book competitions, as well as her award-winning blog, Tara Sparling writes: A Sideways Perspective on the Bonkers Business of Books.

She spends all of her spare time with words. The writing of them and the reading of them. However, she has a day job all about numbers – pushing them around, extracting meaning from them, and sometimes, insulting them.

Her blog offers a reader’s perspective on traditional and self-publishing, book sales and genre trends, writing and publishing follies, marketing tips, author success stories and spectacular failures.

As a fully certified nerd who loves spreadsheets, graphs and visualisations, there is nothing Tara likes better than a perfectly proportioned pie chart. Unless, of course, you’re talking about a well-stocked bar chart.


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I am currently publishing a serialized fantasy novella, Hedge King in Winter, on Wattpad. I also have a full-length heroic fantasy novel currently on offer to publishers, tentatively entitled Heron Cry. If you’re an agent or publisher interested in receiving a book proposal, please contact me via MDellert-AT-MDellert-Dot-Com.


Michael Dellert is an award-winning writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 18 years. He is currently working as an independent freelancer. He lives in the Greater New York City area.

Posted in Author Platform, Blogging, Self-Publishing

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The Author
Michael Dellert is an award-winning writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 18 years. He is currently working as an independent freelancer. He lives in the Greater New York City area.
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