Madeline Martin with Positive Inspiration – A Girl’s REAL Best Friend

CestMoiHi All – I met Madeline when I taught a workshop in Jacksonville, Florida last November.  Madeline has since published her debut Scottish historical Deception of a Highlander which you can read more about at the bottom of this post.  But first she tells us about the unusual journey she took to reach this incredible place in her life.

Sometimes positive inspiration can come from a likely place. As it turns out, my came from an unlikely likely place.

I’m going to start this post with a confession: I’m not especially spiritual and am also a pretty hardcore realist. So when Regency author, Valerie Bowman, was super excited to do Vision Mapping at a local writing workshop a few years ago, I was a total skeptic. Putting pictures from a magazine onto a poster board sounded like craft time more than soul searching. But I love crafts (even though I suck at them) and when an award-winning author tells you it encourages them, YOU DO IT – that said, I was game to at least try.

I went to the workshop and set to work pulling out pictures from magazines – rip, rip, rip.

The I put them all on the poster board – paste, paste, paste.

I stepped back and regarded my work. It was pretty.

Afterward, the instructor, Michelle Dawnn, met with each of us individually and told us what out boards meant. When it was my turn, I folded my arms over my chest and tried to politely squelch my skepticism. She indicated an area of my board and opened up with how I wanted more alone time with my then-husband to reconnect. He and I were going through a rough patch (obviously that one never smoothed out…), so what she said really snagged my attention.

Then she knocked the chip right off my shoulder with her final comment. I had words on the poster boardVisionBoard saying ‘Push harder, run faster’. All the words we chose for our board were supposed to be positive. She paused on that one piece and said, “This is not positive for you.” She looked me in the eye and said, “You’re always pushing harder – don’t you think it’s time you slowed down?”

Somehow between those scraps of paper I tore out and the way I’d Type A positioned them on the poster board told her exactly who I was.

I was the girl who slept 5 hours a night to make time for more, the one who didn’t say no because she could always take more, the one who was in a difficult marriage and overwhelmed with loneliness. The one who wanted happiness and comfort in her own skin.

And Michelle got all of that.

She got ME.

Through everything she saw, she helped me identify what things were important in my life, things I took for granted until they were brought to my attention, and what I truly wanted out of life, but was too unsure accepting or understanding.

I may or may not have cried a little during our discussion.

That night, I went home and looked at my board again – but this time I didn’t see a simple craft project. I saw it as me.

It was the deepest part of my heart laid out in an array of colorful magazine pictures and words, it was the basis for my strength, the raw expression of my true desires. And no longer did I see it as just pretty – I saw it as beautiful.

VisionMapping[3]Fast forward four years, two Vision Mappings, one divorce and a whole life change later. My Vision Mapping tells a whole different story now. There was the one I did after my divorce that showed a woman struggling to find who she was and wanting the freedom to live her life. Then there was the one I did a few weeks ago that shows a woman who is confident in her own strength, but who still grows in the light of those she loves. Seeing these through the years is like watching my life turn chapters.

I think Vision Mapping is different for everyone, but for me – that not-so-spiritual, realistic skeptic – it’s been a way of reconnecting the pieces of what I hold dear, what gives me strength and what I long for and can obtain.

I hung my latest Vision Board on the wall next to my bed, even though it doesn’t match my décor (which is saying sometime for someone like me), so I can wake up and see it every day and be reminded of these three wonderful things:

  1. Who I am at my core
  2. What I love and what gives me strength
  3. What I want and can achieve

Valerie swears by them as a powerful tool for focusing her energies and being clear on her goals. I’m forever grateful to her for introducing Vision Mapping to me as I feel it’s made a huge positive impact in my life and helps keep me on track with my goals too.

There are two fabulous prizes to giveaway for people who leave a comment below on what things positively motivate them (expected or unexpectedly so).

  1. A signed copy of Deception of a Highlander.
  2. A copy of Core Appeal by Michelle Dawnn as well as ½ off a private session for Vision Board reading (can be done long distance) – see her site for more information: so one lucky commenter can have the opportunity to be introduced to the Vision Mapping experience as well.

Best of luck to everyone!


Deception of a Highlander is my debut release and will be followed by Possession of a Highlander (August 11, 2015 release) and Enchantment of a Highlander (release date to be announced).MadelineMartin_DeceptionOfAHighlander_coverpreview[1]

Scottish Romance doesn’t get much steamier—or more dangerous—than a spy hunting her quarry, and losing her heart to him instead.

To pay a seemingly impossible debt, Mariel Brandon has become a spy for Aaron, one of England’s deadliest minds. Aaron’s latest mission for the sharp-witted and daring Mariel is to find two people in a heavily fortified castle on the Isle of Skye, a castle headed by the clan MacDonald and the powerful Kieran. Mariel is to seduce Kieran and get him to take her to Skye. If she succeeds, Aaron promises to let Mariel’s young brother go, and to free both of them from their debt.  If she fails, her brother will die.

What she doesn’t count on is craving Kieran MacDonald almost immediately upon meeting him. Now Mariel must keep a secret from Kieran—one that could get them both killed—as she tries to form a plan that will save her brother, get her out from under Aaron’s thumb once and for all, and keep her in Kieran’s strong arms forever.

Here’s a teaser excerpt from Deception of a Highlander:

It was only a kiss, but he knew without a doubt the heat of her mouth against his would only serve to whet his desire further. He would not be able to still his hands from gliding over what was hidden from view, from pulling her against the parts of him she made ache.

With an incredible act of willpower, he straightened, released her and took a step back to address her from a safer distance lest he give in to temptation.

“If ye still want to come, meet me here tomorrow morning at nine o’clock, aye?”

He turned to leave when her hand on his forearm stopped him.

“Why did you not kiss me?” she asked.

Kieran studied her face and desire tugged at him once more. “Do ye always get what ye want, Mariel?”

Her eyes trailed the length of his body, her expression shrewd. “Only if I know how to get it.”

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  • flchen1 says:

    Wow, Madeline! What a life-changing experience that workshop turned out to be! Thanks for sharing how that vision-mapping experience allowed you some insight and has since helped you focus and refocus! And congratulations on your Highlander debut–that sounds like a delicious series! Do you have more planned beyond Possession and Enchantment? Thanks for visiting with us in the Lair!

    • Thank you so much! 🙂 I do have another book coming! The third book in the series (which I JUST submitted to my publisher last week) is called Enchantment of a Highlander. So the series is three books in total, but I’m already starting to plot out the next series. 😉 Thank you for asking me. 🙂

  • ki pha says:

    Welcome Madeline! And congrats on your debut. I didn’t know Valerie Bowman used Vision Mapping! What a great way to find inspiration and yourself from a creative project. And what a way to see life in a different light. I’m glad this workshop helped you through so hardship and that you still use it well afterwards.

    I’m not sure what positively motivates me…. Many of the times it’s quite unexpected.

  • Mary Preston says:

    Congratulations on your debut. Stunning cover.

    I love the idea of vision mapping.

    I think that I am positively motivated by how I foresee the future. A future of my own making.

    • Thank you so much! I love what my publisher does for my cover art 🙂

      That’s a great way to keep a positive future in sight for yourself. I like that 🙂

  • Debra Sheehan says:

    I love this idea, but how did you start? Did you just pick photos and words that appealed to you? Or did they represent a goal at time?
    The one thing that has motivated me the most is when someone doesn’t believe in me and I have to prove that I can do it!

    • It starts off by you pulling out pics/words from magazines that appeal to you. Just without thought, rip them out. 🙂 it’s amazing what that and the placement of the pics on the board says about you. Very poignant. 🙂
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Proving people wrong is a great motivation and good for you for stepping up to the challenge! 🙂

  • Mary Behre says:

    First, congratulations on the debut! That’s so exciting!!

    Second, I love Vision Boards. I think I got started the same year you did. While y’all were in the chapter, I was skyping long-distance. I’ve done one every year since.

    Which reminds me, it’s time to do this year’s board!

    Way to go on the release, Madeline!

    • Thank you so much, Mary! 🙂

      I remember you Skyping in to do it. That was such an awesome workshop. I think it’s great how many of us have stayed on top of doing Vision Boards every year after.

      Have fun with this year’s board! Thank you so much got coming by and commenting. 🙂 good luck! 🙂

  • Patty L. says:

    Congratulations on your debut novel and the upcoming releases. I love reading new authors!

    I am intrigued by the vision board mapping. I am definitely checking it out.

  • Staci says:

    Just sent my husband off to purchase a board so I can build my own vision map! Great idea!

    Congrats on your debut. I have a feeling there will be much more to come:)

  • catslady says:

    I’ve never heard of vision mapping but it does sound intriguing. I’m pretty sure mine would be filled with animals and books lol. I think inspiration can come from anywhere from people to books to any kind of communication with others. And you are writing my favorite type of read 🙂

    • I completely agree about positive inspiration coming from anywhere. 🙂 it says a lot about you that you feel that way. 🙂
      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting – I love that you enjoy Scottish romance! 🙂

  • Jane says:

    Congrats on your debut release, Madeline. I’ll have to look into a getting a vision board.

    • Thank you so much, Jane! If you do, I’d love to hear about your experience with it. 🙂
      Thank you so much for coming by and leaving a comment. 🙂

  • Helen says:

    Hi Madeline

    WOW what a great story and awesome that you have moved on and are so happy I do love the sound of this book I do love me a Scottish hero 🙂

    Congrats on the release

    Have Fun

  • EC Spurlock says:

    What an amazing experience, Madeline! I think we all need guideposts in our life, someone to help us step back and see the big picture that we are too involved to see. I have a couple of good friends who do that for me, and I treasure them.

    I get a lot of inspiration from dreams. Sometimes they come with entire plots, sometimes just a core idea or character. It’s always fun when I get one of those and have to spend a few days putting the pieces together to make it make narrative sense.

    Thanks for being with us today, Madeline. Congratulations and good luck!

    • I’m jealous, EC. I’ve always wanted to get an idea for a story through a dream. About the only message I’ve gotten from a dream is that I’ve got too much on my plate and it’s affecting my sleep 🙂

    • You’re absolutely right about looking back and seeing the big picture – I guess this is literally doing that. LOL

      That’s great you have such supportive friends – that’s so wonderfully important.

      I’m jealous of your dream inspiration too! Like Donna, my dreams usually tell me I’m overbooked 🙂

      thank you so much for having me – it’s been great!

    • You won a copy of Core Appeal and 1/2 off a Vision Board reading with Michelle Dawnn 🙂 Please contact me at to claim your prize 🙂 Congratulations!

  • Lisa Hutson says:

    Dear Madeline! What a terrific post!
    First I have to ask, who is the guy in the bottom left hand corner??
    Did you slow down?

    As for what motivates me, my husband is great at doing that without making me feel like a slouch or pressured.
    Time motivates me. I am a grandma now. Life is passing and I want to make every day count! I think that more and more often.
    I do not have to be busy every day to make the day count.
    I also find myself waking and thinking, “Oh heck, just get up why don’t ya?” LOL When I should roll over and go back to sleep.
    But I am getting better at it.
    Love the idea of the vision map thing. Hmmm…might try it. Maybe with my granddaughter. We can each make one.
    What is the instruction about picking out things to add??
    Again, really liked the post, thanks for sharing!

    • ROFL – apparently he was a mystery man. Or maybe he represented the face of my dating period, because that was an interesting time 😉

      As far as slowing down – ummm…no. LOL I’m still burning the candle at both ends and working on the middle while I’m at it. But it can never be said I don’t live life to the fullest. LOL

      I think that’s so sweet that your grandkids and husband are such an inspiration to you. There’s no better love than everything you just described 🙂

      Vision Mapping really is just so awesome. You go through magazines ( I usually love having a pile of them) and rip out anything that catches your eye – words (positive only) or pics. Then you put them on the board. Really the amazing part is having someone break them down and tell you what all of it really means. Hopefully you win the opportunity for the 1/2 off session with Michelle and can try it out 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, Lisa! I really appreciate it 🙂

  • Alanna Lucas says:

    This is so fascinating! I had never heard of Vision Mapping before (you had my attention with ‘map’. I’m going to start pulling pictures 🙂

  • Madeline….wow. I read this and had all kinds of “that is me!” moments (especially about hanging the non-decor board!)

    Seriously, I read this as I sit in a lonely hotel, about to go off and write a university exam, and I am wondering why I thought I could go back to school, work full-time, do freelance writing, and fiction writing at once…oh and be a half-decent Mom and wife…

    So I suppose right now what motivates me is the fear of saying no!

    Now all I have to do is figure out what’s going to give (but not writing…never that)

    THANK YOU for sharing your journey on this, and congratulations on Deception of a Highlander. There’s nothing more appealing than a strong female spy in a historical…well done!

    • Ack Melinda! You do have your hands full ! My .02 – you must be young or you wouldn’t have the energy for all this…and as you are young – you have time to accomplish all you want. It doesn’t have to be all today. 😉

      Once you publish you will have to learn to say no. I struggle with that daily with my newly retired husband.

      I hope you give yourself some slack and take a breath. Good Luck!

    • Melina, we’re workhorse sisters! LOL I have a full time job and balance that with writing, being a single mom and working out 5 days a week. Sleep is for the dead, right? 😉
      You’re doing all that because you have a lot you want to accomplish and you know you can handle it (even if 10% of the time you feel like everything is off-the-chart flying chaos around you).
      Saying no is also what gets people like and I into the workhorse life we live. Though it’s tough, it’s fulfilling.
      However, one of the great things about being so busy is sometimes you’re compelled to say no – and that’s empowering. 🙂
      Thank you so much for the congrats – and mega congrats to you for working so hard and keeping your head above water (even when you feel like you aren’t) 😉

  • Evonne says:

    It sounds fascinating. Glad you had a positive outcome. Know the feeling about taking on too much and spreading yourself too thin. Food for thought there.
    Lots of good wishes for Deception of a Highlander.

  • Pat Cochran says:

    Hi, Madeline and Donna,

    Vision Mapping sounds quite interesting. At my age I’m being “guided” towards better health (knee surgery in my future) and trying to keep up with family and volunteer activities. I will have to accept that I am not as young as I used to be!

    Pat C.