Blog Tour: Unspeakable Words by Sarah Madison

Sarah Madison is here today to talk about her re-release of Unspeakable Words. Be sure to check out the excerpt below.

I’m really glad Dreamspinner Press allowed me to revisit and expand Unspeakable Words, the first story in the Sixth Sense series. I wanted to do it because the rest of the stories in the series were novels, but the first was only a novella. But I learned a lot from the process in and of itself.

     1. Plot bunnies need to be allowed to mature. When I first began publishing original stories, I just blithely put them out there, with very little thought about what I was doing in terms of structure or process. I was having fun, and I think it showed. Along with a lightness of storytelling, though, there were a lot of mistakes. Once I began reading books and articles on ‘how to write’, I discovered I was doing everything wrong! The newly gained knowledge hampered my writing process for quite some time, until I learned which bits of information and advice worked for me and which did not. But the one thing that was the hardest for me to let go of was being hypercritical of an idea early on. You can’t do that. You have to let your plot bunnies romp freely in the garden, eating everything in sight. They need to play, they need to grow into fat healthy bunnies that can withstand the scrutiny of a critical mind. There was a point in writing the Sixth Sense series in which I considered dropping the paranormal aspect of it. That would have been a mistake. The paranormal, superimposed on the very ordinary, is what makes these stories different, and distinguishes them from other hot FBI-guy stories. I thought about molding this series into the same kind of stories already out there because I started criticizing my plot bunny. Don’t do that. First drafts are not the place to kill your bunnies.

     2. Go with your gut. I submitted Unspeakable Words for publication on a whim. It was the first major story I ever submitted to a press and I was flabbergasted when it was accepted by Dreamspinner! My initial reaction was to snatch it back because I didn’t think it was ready, and you know what? I was right. But I was such a newbie author that I was terrified to question anything. I was afraid if I asked for more time to write out the scenes I still pictured, I would be patted on the head and told to come back when I grew up and knew what I wanted. Of course, I know now all I had to do was ask. But at the time, I didn’t want to be seen as one of those authors—you know the kind I mean. The ones that are difficult to work with and are never satisfied with anything. Or worse, lose the contract, and in my mind, my only chance of ever getting published. So, words from experience here: don’t be afraid to ask your publisher about ways you can make your story better, and always trust your gut on things like this.

     3. Writing a series is harder if you’re a panster versus a plotter. Yikes, did I ever learn this the hard way. I am a heavy punster, and do very little note-taking or outlining. In fact, outlining a story too heavily has ended up being a story killer for me in the past. But my method of weaving in plot lines and enhancing themes is to re-read my own material frequently while writing, and to layer ideas into the work as I write. This may be a cumbersome way of writing (and it definitely is slower than most writers) but it’s how my brain works. But while this works well for a single story, it becomes problematic over a series. Pansting took the series in unexpected directions, paths that could have been paved better in the first story. So revisiting Unspeakable Words allowed me to throw in some breadcrumbs, as well as put in some things that link with the remaining installments. Most of the people I know who write series are FAR more organized than I am, with notes, and Scrivener, and white boards, and the series has largely been written before the first book is published. Um, yeah. Not me. So memo to self: take better notes if you ever get the notion to do a series again.

     4. I don’t suck as much as I thought. No. Really. Going back and reading something you’ve written several years ago can be truly cringe-making, and I was prepared for just that. Sure, there were newbie mistakes I’ve since learned to correct in advance. I’ve also learned—like with the publisher—how to work with an editor and ask for guidance. I’ve also learned when to fight for my version and when to let it go. Over the years, I’ve been working with some great editors and an awesome critique group. I think my current writing reflects this. So I braced myself for the probability I would find a re-read excruciating. But after flinching a few times, I found myself enjoying revisiting meeting the characters for the first time and watching the process as they slowly fall for each other. And while I will never be the kind of person to sing my own praises, I can nod and say, ‘Huh. Not half bad.’ Believe me, if you knew me, you’d know that’s practically unheard of! So I say to you, don’t be afraid to revisit your older stories.

     5. Sink or Swim: Just Put it Out There. Maybe it’s because this is a relaunch rather than a true new release, but I’m very calm about releasing this version of Unspeakable Words. Truth be told, I’ve gotten less wound up about releasing stories over time. I love a great review as much as the next person, but I also understand not every story is going to resonate with every reader. I’m happy just to tell my stories and have fun doing it—which is a full circle turn around for me. That’s what I did when I first began publishing original stories—until I let too much self-criticism stymie the flow of words. I hope you enjoy them, but even if you don’t, that’s okay too.

The revised and expanded version of Unspeakable Words will be re-released on March 10th, 2017.

I’m currently working on the fourth and final installment in the series, tentatively titled Deal with the Devil. Current release date sometime in 2018. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the relaunch of the series, or coming to the party for the first time. I think you’ll enjoy it.



Jerry abandoned his conversation with Flynn to look for the owner of the voice from his past. His heart squeezed painfully to a halt at the sight of Derek standing on the sidewalk behind him, only to restart at double-time.

Jesus. Talk about running into your ex.

Derek wore a brown blazer over a tan turtleneck, with a brightly colored scarf carelessly thrown around his neck. Jerry had a momentary spurt of irritation for the affectation and then felt his heart sink. There was no way he could avoid speaking to Derek without looking churlish, and he didn’t want to give him that satisfaction.

“What are you doing down here?” Derek’s voice was inappropriately coy as he raised an eyebrow in Flynn’s direction and gave him the once-over. “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?”

His sun-bleached hair was overly long and curling at the collar, and Jerry was secretly amused that it appeared to be getting thin on top. Derek had creases at the corners of his eyes as well. Too much time in the tanning booth, no doubt.

He must be having a cow over that.

It must be harder now for Derek to catch the attention of some sweet young ass, unless the young thing was desperate for a sugar daddy.

“Derek Collins,” Jerry said smoothly, “my partner, John Flynn. We’re here on business, Derek.”

This is the guy that I thought I loved once. Boy, was I an idiot.

“Partner?” Derek glanced swiftly at Jerry’s left hand and then gave a little laugh. “Oh, partner,” he repeated without explanation, shooting a sly smirk at Flynn.

Jerry felt Flynn go rigid with tension, like a dog with his hackles up.

Relax. Gayness isn’t catching.

Flynn shot him a wounded look, and Jerry felt ashamed when he realized Flynn wasn’t embarrassed by Derek’s innuendos, he was pissed off on Jerry’s behalf. That was just…. Wow. Warmth suddenly flooded him, and he was both embarrassed and comforted at the same time.

Inexplicably, Flynn’s face relaxed, and a lazy smile appeared. “Yes, partner.” He practically purred as he placed a hand on Jerry’s arm. “Come on, Jer. We don’t want to be late for that interview.”

He guided Jerry away with a decidedly possessive hand on the small of his back.

“What was that about?” Jerry hissed as they left Derek openmouthed behind them.

“That asshole,” Flynn growled. “I can’t believe he cheated on you with a twinkie.”

Jerry stumbled and then laughed. When he quickly glanced over his shoulder, he saw Derek staring at the two of them speculatively. He laughed even harder and clapped Flynn on the back.

“It’s ‘twink’ if you really want to be cool,” Jerry corrected him.

“Asshole.” Flynn repeated the epithet for good measure, sounding pissed off again. “I wanted to punch him, but then I realized what would jerk his chain.” He appeared insufferably pleased with himself.

“You’re an idiot,” Jerry said with amusement. “A nice one, but an idiot all the same.” It’ll be all over town by this evening that I have a hot boyfriend. He fixed a sharp look on Flynn to check his reaction, but Flynn merely whistled innocently. “Come on,” Jerry sighed, not knowing what to make of the gesture. “We’ve got work to do.”

Blurb: 2nd Edition

The Sixth Sense: Book One

Special Agent John Flynn is everything Jerry Parker is not: dangerously handsome, coolly charismatic, and respected by his peers. Special Agent Parker is dedicated and meticulous, but his abrasive personality has given him a reputation for being difficult. When new information on a cold case appears, Parker is assigned to work with Flynn, and the sparks fly as their investigative styles clash. Contact with a strange artifact changes everything when it bestows unusual and unpredictable powers on Flynn… and the two men must learn to trust each other before a killer strikes again.

First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2010.

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase


Sarah Madison is a writer with a little dog, a big dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. An amateur photographer and a former competitor in the horse sport known as eventing, when she's not out hiking with the dogs or down at the stables, she's at the laptop working on her next story. When she’s in the middle of a chapter, she relies on the smoke detector to tell her dinner is ready. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy.

Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013, 2015, and 2016 Rainbow Awards. The Boys of Summer won Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. The Sixth Sense series was voted 2nd place in the 2014 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Mystery series, and 3rd place in the 2105 PGR Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series. Fool’s Gold was voted best M/M romance in the 2016 PRG Awards.

If you want to make her day, e-mail her and tell you how much you like her stories.

See our review of Unspeakable Words HERE.

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