Rosalind eBook Free Promotion

It’s that time again! Rosalind, the eBook version, will be available for free download 1-17 until 1-21. The eBook version is different from the print version in that there is more content/alternate ending in the print version.

I call the eBook the sad version. The print version is a much happier ending that is more inline with the next book in the series, Maggie.

You can pick up the free copy starting January 17, 2017 at


The print version can be purchased at the same link by clicking on the Paperback option.

For a limited time only, I am selling signed copies. Please email me at for more information on how to get this limited time only deal!




The Five Phases of Writing a Novel

(From my experience)

Phase One: You’ve got the idea and you charge right in, saying ‘fuck it’ to the outline or the character development because you read a Stephen King book on writing that told you to let the characters talk to you, not the other way around. You get half the book done and you’re feeling good.

Phase Two: You spend most of your time trying your best not to go back and edit the first half of the book, while the rest of the time you stare at a chapter heading with no text under it. You often contemplate quitting the book because, hey, if you aren’t interested anymore, and the characters stopped talking to you, why bother?

Phase Three: You get your fifteenth wind after three weeks of analyzing your chapter heading and, again, saying ‘fuck it. if my main character won’t talk to me, I’ll fuck his/her world up and see what he/she has to say then.’

Phase Four: You complete your story which is followed by thoughts of suicide, emptiness, inferiority..deathly afraid to show anyone this mess you call a novel.

Phase Five: After a few weeks, you regain your confidence, send your manuscript to the editor, make the changes requested, and then, when all of your feelings of accomplishment and success threaten to overwhelm you, you close Word, close your laptop, step outside, and realize that none of your neighbors know who you are, let alone that you’ve just written a novel.


Update: Maggie

Maggie is the most frustrating character I’ve ever written. Her story has been in my mind for nine years. Nine years. And if you do the math, you will realize that she has been around longer than her mother. Strange progression.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I’ve amassed around 700 pages of her story that are, quite frankly, unusable. Her story never meshed. I didn’t like her in any version. I loved her mother vehemently, but Rosalind was not a complex character. Maggie is. Perhaps it was a flaw in my writing (probably), but Rosalind came out pretty two-dimensional. But, in retrospect, I wanted her to be that way. I needed a character who was less than herself, a ghost of who she was and who she could be. I think I accomplished that, but some have disagreed.

With Maggie, it’s different. She is complex. She has many dimensions to her. Yesterday, I sat at the computer with tears of frustration in my eyes thinking, “What the hell am I going to do?”

I didn’t do anything. I went to bed, grabbed a book, read a little, and then tried to fall asleep.

But something happened. There has been a certain aspect of Maggie’s life that I could never quite figure out how to manage, and that was how to get her back to Whispering Pines in a way that didn’t reek of plot device or copping out, and how to make her leave her husband. I needed it to be genuine.

Recent events provided me a way.

Without giving too much away, Maggie doesn’t leave her husband and run away to Whispering Pines; her boyfriend goes back to his wife and leaves Maggie in a city that she can’t bear to look at anymore.

Another aspect of the story that I had difficulty with is that, in every version so far, she has been infertile. I tried making Jack leave her for that, but it seemed too cold; too callous. I tried making him infertile, but in those versions, she had loved Jack since college. They could always adopt!

And then it came to me: It’s easier to write men in a scenario like this.

I switched gears. Maggie has no problem getting pregnant. Jack has no problem getting her pregnant. Moral of the story? Maggie is pregnant. Another solid reason for a douchebag like Jack to send her away so she couldn’t threaten his reconciliation with his wife.

It sounds like I am giving away the story, but I’m really not. There is a lot more to this than I will ever explain in a blog.

But, the moral of my story is that my writer’s block is over. My Maggie writer’s block is over.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I wrote the first 80 pages of Rosalind in one sitting. I didn’t come close to that today, but I did accomplish two things: I found her a clear path to the end of the story, and I wrote thirty-eight pages in one sitting.

Not bad.

Rosalind’s Two Year Anniversary Giveaway

I am happy to announce Rosalind’s second anniversary on Amazon. Having reached the 15,000 download mark, it continues to make its way into Kindles everywhere.

If you haven’t purchased a copy yet, you can at:

Why not? It’s only 99 cents!

However, for everyone who comments on this post, I will send you a free PDF of the original manuscript. Email your request to and I will reply with your copy.

Thanks again, everyone. And Happy Second Birthday, Rosalind!

Sneak Peak – Chapter One, Maggie (Sequel to Rosalind)

by Stephen C. Paden

Clara Sims grabbed a few logs from the stack between the iron posts she erected last spring and walked through the unkempt yard and to the porch. She leaned down, trying not to grab her back from the pain, and set the logs on the second step. She took off her work gloves. Her hands were coarse and weathered by the seasons she had spent in the woods gathering morels when the time was right, chopping wood, carrying rocks from a creek that babbled about a mile away, and doing yardwork. Her hair, mostly gray with streaks of auburn, flowed gently down her back in a makeshift hair-tie. The cool wind gently blew threw her hair. She closed her eyes and let it sift through her.

Fall was coming; she could smell it in the air. She wouldn’t light the chimney just yet, but the time would come very soon where a pillar of smoke would erupt gently in the night starting at eight ‘o clock every night. If she could see another house from where she lived, she would notice that they too would have similar stacks of smoke. It was simply too early to light a fire. But, it was a habit she had developed when she caught the scent of the changing season—a change that brought with it cold remembrance.

A cold breeze snapped her out of her thoughts; she walked inside. Her house, simple and without a modern thumbprint (save for a toaster, a first-generation microwave, a blender, and a few lamps scattered around the house), was dark with the coming dusk, but occasionally, the light flickered in through the west window and drew shadowy lines on the wall with the bookcase.

What would she read, tonight?

It was always a crap-shoot; some nights she spent more time looking through the books she’d read so many times before than she actually spent reading them. But that was fine. It was the simple yet mechanical motions like this that plagued her, her whole life, and grew from a minor annoyance to a rigid line across a turbulent river that she once knew and swore that she would never again try to cross.


She’d read it in a magazine or a book (she couldn’t remember) that Hell was nothing more than that: repetition. Or a winter’s day when the furnace stopped working. It didn’t matter. She knew it wasn’t true. She knew that some things were meant to be and that was the way it was, and that somehow a solid routine was all a woman could muster to silence the voices of boredom and long, lonely days. And sometimes, it was the only thing that could keep the darker things out of reach—back to the fires which gave them life.

It wouldn’t be a tough decision, tonight. She dropped the logs on the porch next to the wood box and walked to the small bookshelf full of old Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books and knelt down. Absentmindedly, she pulled one from the row and looked at the cover: The Witch Tree Symbol by Carolyn Keene. She stuffed the paperback into the pocket of her flannel jacket. She smiled and almost laughed, but not because she was relieved to straighten her sore back, but because this particular book was her favorite. And why shouldn’t it be? After all, isn’t that what she was? A witch? The kids from the town to the north seemed to think so, although she noted the decline in nightly trespasses over the years and started realizing that she missed it. She’d had little contact with any human being outside of those visits, and the woman who brought her food now and then from town. But it wasn’t the moniker that made her love the book. She just loved reading it. And that was fine. In fact, she’d read it numerous times, and at one point she kept a scratch piece of paper on her nightstand marking off each time she did so, but she threw it away after the page was all but filled.

It was a night for Nancy Drew. She decided that after she filled the wood box with enough wood to last a few days and save her back as much as she could, she would boil some water for her tea, take the book outside where the late summer sun would be at the perfect angle behind her rocking chair, and sip her tea as she read.


Someone else’s Hell.

Not hers.

Clara went back outside, filled the wood box to the top after a few more trips, brushed the wood chips from her sweater and walked up to the porch. She sat down on the first step for a moment and pulled her knees together and pulled her skirt over them. The sun peaked through the trees to the west and warmed her face.

If this was Hell, she was fine with it. But she knew better. It wasn’t a feeling like the people in her books often described. It wasn’t a situation that you couldn’t get out of or a lack of money or a cheating husband. No, it wasn’t any of these things.

She knew what it was. She knew where it was. And she knew the devil himself; the creature had taken everything from her.

Clara pushed herself up carefully. She went to open the door, but she hesitated and turned her face to the sun.

“I’ll be right with you,” she said, and went inside.