October 6, 2015

.@Michelle Miles: I'm Back!

Hello, readers!

After a long hiatus, I’m finally back as a Princess. It’s nice to be back amongst the crown-wearing gals!

I took a long sabbatical from writing. I did a lot of soul-searching to figure out what I was doing and who I was as a writer. I now know what the root of my problem was—I was really depressed about the state of my books that are currently held hostage by a publisher. Getting a check for less than $10—or a check not at all—was a huge blow to my writer ego. Because I poured my heart and soul into those books and I felt like they were slighted. I also felt like they were being served a great injustice by not making any money when I was SURE they were better books than that. I’ve requested the rights back to almost all of them—and have received rights back to one of them. Now it’s just a waiting game to see what’s going to happen.

And it hurts. A lot.

So putting all that aside was difficult at best for me. It’s never an easy thing to see your books sit and not earn money. Any books—not just the ones with a publisher but the indie ones too. I had to come to terms with that because I can’t be everywhere I want to be—I’m not MasterCard, after all. I’m a mom with a husband and a full time job. I had to stop and decide where my time was best spent and that was writing, not spinning my wheels marketing. I’m sure there is some value in that—blogging, ads, tweeting, etc.—but it stressed me out to the point I mentally shut down.

So I let it go.

In February, I signed up for an intensive year-long workshop with Holly Lisle. If you follow me anywhere, then you’ve seen me talk about it. HOW TO THINK SIDEWAYS saved my writing life. I know that sounds crazy but it really did help me dig deep into my psyche and figure out what I want and where I want to be and what I want to write. I started writing a new book with a dual timeline that was fantasy with time travel and paranormal elements. And of course a love story or two. :)

By the time summer hit, I had my writing chi back. I had an idea for a contemporary romance series about a wedding consultant. I’ve wanted to write about weddings for a while now only because the stock art is so beautiful. LOL And then I got a wild hair to enter Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest. I had to finish the book by September 21 and post it on Wattpad to be entered. I had only written the first 5000 words (target was 55,000). My chosen line was Blaze and since it had been a while since I’d read one, I went into research mode. I downloaded samples and read first chapters. I binged on back cover copy. I downloaded a couple of Blaze books and read from start to end. I thought, “HEY. I can do this.”

So I plotted out the story (sort of) and started writing. At the height of my writing, I was doing 2000-4000 words a day. I hit the deadline with two days to spare and uploaded the entire story.

And now I wait. First round judging of pitch and first chapter is in progress then the top 50 are announced around October 6. I’m counting the days.

Michelle Miles loves castles, dragon, fairies and elves. For more about her, check out her website.

September 29, 2015

Go Set a #Watchman, A Book #Review @lsfabre #MFRWAuthor

After all the hype and speculation about this “sequel” to To Kill a Mockingbird, I decided not to read it neither a sequel nor prequel, but as a standalone novel by a debut author. This freed me from making comparisons or having any expectations confirmed or crushed by the work.

This book is very much a literary piece, taking place over only a few days into Jean Louise’s (Scout’s) annual two-week visit to her hometown of Maycomb, Alabama. Currently twenty-six years old, she lives in New York City and returns each summer for two weeks to visit her family. Her father, Atticus, is getting old and has severe arthritis. His sister Alexandra lives with him and keeps house. Calpurnia, the African-American woman who had been the housekeeper when Scout was growing up had long ago retired. Atticus’s eccentric brother, a physician, also lives in Maycomb and has spent so much time reading Victorian literature, he appears to have lost touch with reality and what century he lives in. She also has a love interest, Henry, her father’s young law partner, who seems to be waiting for her to return and marry him.

The first third of the book provides her reflections on her life growing up in the small Alabama town, her relationship with her father and others in her life, and her assessment of race relationships in the South. At the third-way mark, she is confronted with an event that shakes her belief system to her very core, and the rest of the book involves her coming to terms with this reality.

September 24, 2015

Under the Princess Crown: Luanna Stewart & her new book Portrait of a Girl #romanticsuspense #MFRWorg #newbook

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Luanna Stewart now lives in Maine with her dear husband, two college boys and two cats. When she's not torturing her heroes and heroines, she’s in her kitchen baking something delicious.

Speed Round:
Favorite movie: anything starring Cary Grant
Favorite book:  Little Women
Last book read: His Wicked Reputation by Madeline Hunter
Favorite color:  purple
Stilettos or flip-flops:  flip-flops
Coffee or tea:  coffee
E-book or paperback:  e-book

September 22, 2015

@sloanebcollins Tribal Units #familytribes #worktribes #amwriting #MFRWorg

I found myself thinking of tribes yesterday, and how I have been a part of several very different ones over the years. Tribes evolve over the years as your yourself grows and evolve. You leave one tribe, and become involved with another tribe. 

Your initial tribe starts with your immediate family. Once you hit school, you join another tribe. I think my first outer tribe was in 9th grade, with the three friends I was closest to. 

Then high school hit, and I had a few core friends. College brought a new tribe, both girls and boys (the brothers I had always wanted). I'm blessed to be back in touch with a few of those tribal mates now. 

Then my familial tribe expanded when I became engaged. Or I should say exploded, with 6 (SIX!) sisters. The first time I met them all was at Thanksgiving. I had my then-fiancĂ© (now husband of 27 years) tell me about each of his sisters and their families. For two days I rehearsed the sisters' names: Dee, Kathy, Donna, Patti, Brenda, Melissa. Over and over again until it became a mantra: DeeKathyDonnaPattiBrendaMelissa. DeeKathyDonnaPattiBrendaMelissa. DeeKathyDonnaPattiBrendaMelissa. It was so interesting to become a part of this tribe - one totally different from the small family I had growing up. At family gatherings I like to sit back and watch them interacting with each other.  One of these days when I write about a big family, I’m sure I’ll use my experiences with this family as inspiration.  I love this tribe like they are my own sisters. 

A Canine Emergency

The other day hubby and I were getting ready to go to our grandson's soccer game, and I dropped one of my prescription medications on the floor as I was filling my Sunday through Saturday dispenser. A few minutes later, I got off the chair to retrieve it, and my dog Lola was there staring up at me.

And you guessed it. The pill was gone.

You have to know that it almost takes an act of war to get her to swallow her monthly flea/heart worm pill, so I questioned whether she really had gobbled up the darn thing or not.

But it was nowhere to be found.

Being a nurse, I knew my ten pound Maltese/Bichon mix would die unless I acted fast. And I also knew that by the time I could get her to the vet, it would be too late. So when I called, they told me to get hydrogen peroxide into her until she threw up. After seven syringe-fulls and no throw up, I panicked and called them again. They instructed me to keep shoving it down her throat. Three more syringe-fulls later, she finally threw up. Although there was no visible pill, I figured the peroxide had probably dissolved it.

Lola continued to vomit periodically for all that day and the next, but I'm happy to report that she's fine now. Quick action saved her life.

I guess the moral of the story is that you have to be as careful around your pets as you are around small children. I wondered how I could relate this experience to anything else in my life, and I came up with this.

I am a habitual procrastinator. Had I reached down and picked up the pill right when I dropped it, I wouldn't have this story to tell, and my little sweetheart wouldn't have had to go through all that misery.

So I made a vow to myself to work on this problem--to try to get better. Now I'm wondering how many fellow procrastinators I have out there. And if you are one, has it ever caused grief in your life? And if you aren't, any advice to those of us who are?

And just so you know, my newest book released last Monday. MISSION TO KILL is available in digital and print and will release in audio soon.

September 17, 2015

.@VickiBatman - The Big Goof and The Return #Longmire #MFRWorg #Netflixshows #RssosSisters #MFRWorg

I loved Longmire; so when in 2014, word filtered through that the superb Western had been cancelled at the end of three seasons, yep, that was just wrong

I was shocked! So were a lot of other folks. I began watching this superb show because it wasn’t about housewives, or chef cook-offs, or a badly behaving bridezilla. Nope, Longmire was about a sheriff, his staff, family, and friends who lived in a small Wyoming town. The series is based on the books written by Craig Johnson.

It seemed the viewer-ship was primarily the average age of 60 versus 48, that the "demographics" weren't there. What a crock!

But thanks to folks like the Longmire Posse...

September 10, 2015

@kellyleefiction To swag, or not to #swag. That is the question. #bookpromo

There's nothing quite like the release day of a book you've toiled over. Nothing quite like it, except when you have two of them release within two months. In July, Murdering Eve was released with a new publishing house, and just a few days ago, Battle Heat, the second book in the series, was also released.

But here's the kicker. Both of these books have been released before with a different publisher, and I've got literally boxes of "old cover" swag, like bookmarks.