Earlier this year, I sat down for a Conversation with Markie Madden, in which we talked about her book, My Butterfly Cancer, and some of what it takes to set up a publishing house. Fast forward a few months (okay, more than a few), and she has just released Fang and Claw, the first of the Undead Unit Series. Take a minute to check out her work!
Excerpt from “Fang and Claw”
Colton stopped short, scrubbing one large hand over his eyes to clear his vision. That’s impossible, he thought as he rounded the final corner of the building. There were two of her. The hands gripping his service pistol trembled and went sweaty. For a brief moment, he was startled at the sight of two Laceys, squared up and fighting kung fu style. Kick, block, punch. Spin, kick, roll. He couldn’t shoot because, as far as he could see, there was no way to tell them apart.
Blood ran from the nose of one of the Laceys, and when they spun around, he noticed the other one had a shallow but down the cheek. One of them jumped up, spun, and delivered a kick to the chest of her opponent that would have stopped any human, and quite a few Immortals, in their tracks.
“Give it up, Blyge!” His bellow fell short; the wind at the top of the building was howling so much that any word he may have voiced was immediately shoved into the back of his throat.
But somehow, Jason Blyge knew he was there, just behind the stairs leading down from the roof. One Lacey looked up with a feral grin. In a flash, s/he snatched the real Lacey close, one slender yet muscular arm wrapped around her neck. Her hands went to her throat, but it was obvious that they were matched in strength. The __________ sneered at him, swaying back and forth as s/he held Lacey in a choke hold, making sure s/he was in constant motion.
“Put your gun down and slide it toward me!” The ________ demanded.
Colton hesitated. It was against departmental policy to negotiate with suspects, but an entirely different situation when the subject had his partner in a death grip on top of a skyscraper. He lowered his gun a fraction.
Seeing that Colton had no intention of putting down his weapon, Blyge continued to weave, presenting a moving target, while making his way closer to the edge of the building. Lacey was no longer struggling against the grip of her copy, but Colton could tell by the look in her eyes that she was evaluating, trying to get a sense of the _______’s weaknesses. But, he could tell that she was also scared.
“Put your gun down,” the suspect demanded again. “Or I throw her off the edge!”
Colton, well aware of his partner’s fear of heights, saw the terror in Lacey’s eyes intensify. Her mouth moved almost imperceptibly around the word, “Don’t.” He now knew he didn’t have a choice. He wasn’t about to let Blyge throw his partner from the building. But if he gave up his pistol, he would have to rely on the secondary weapon he wore around his ankle; the ankle holster was meant as a backup, not as a quick-draw weapon. Slowly, he lowered his service pistol, crouching at the knees to lay it on the pebbled surface of the roof. With both hands out to his side, he straightened and kicked the weapon so that it clattered across the gravel with a skittering noise.
Blyge’s eyes tracked the gun as it slid across the roof. His distraction was obviously the moment Lacey had been waiting for; she placed one foot between each of Blyge’s, landed a hard backwards kick to one of his kneecaps, and did a neat little twist and dive, sending the copy of herself over her back and through the air. Colton breathed a sigh of relief, for at least he could tell them apart now. The real Lacey had the vicious slice down the right cheek.
Lacey remained in a fighting stance as the suspect climbed slowly to his feet. Then he charged, and she waited until the last minute before stepping to one side and using her hip to throw him off balance. He grabbed her wrist as he went by, and fumbled to keep his feet under him. The rest happened in slow motion.
The Undead Unit Series
Over a hundred years in the future, it’s a world where supernatural beings live and work among humans. Of course, the government has forced them to take the Undead Oath in order to gain citizenship; they must not prey on humans for food. They’re often given tasks in jobs suited for their species, but just as among other minorities, they must struggle to prove themselves.
As if dealing with racial prejudice isn’t enough, there is also a criminal element, just as there is with any group of beings living in society. The Dallas Police Department has introduced an elite new squad made up of Undead officers and detectives. This unit is dedicated to solving crimes involving Immortals. Headed by veteran Lieutenant Lacey Anderson, can the Undead Unit overcome its obstacles, both internal and external, or will it be doomed to failure?
About the Author
Markie Madden 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 now available. 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.