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January 17, 2019

Book and Bag - Vicki Batman Yikes! #badbook #readromance #MFRWauthor

I just finished the January book club selection and did not like it. Not. At. All. I didn’t like it from the get-go. Our group thought the book would be a mystery, like the cover blurb said. Only it wasn’t. 
The author is quite notable in his field and has written books about his subject. The book club book was a combination of his expertise with the mystery. Only the book was predominantly the history and very little of the mystery.
I was sorely disappointed. This book was greatly reviewed and won prizes. 
We began reading for our December meeting. When that day rolled around, we were all whining and agreed to extend to January with the idea we needed the extra month because of the holidays. I used the time off to read my favorites—romance and mysteries. When January 1 came, I put on my big girl panties and finished. I gladly admit I skipped over the historical stuff to get to the mystery. 
Finished! Uh, no. There were notes, a biography, and pages more. I truly didn’t care to read that either.

However, guilt set it. Not enough to make me go back and read the skipped pages, though. I began to think what if my books were boring?
Coincidentally, I did some website maintenance and noticed I didn’t have a buy link for one site. I scooted over there and found…a two starred review. Yikes! It was hard for me to read. She didn’t like the book at all; however, she did say some nice things, too. 
I went back to my website, made the changes, and noticed all the four and five starred reviews. Overall, my books get high marks. I felt a whole lot better.
So back to the book club selection… I went to Amazon to read the reviews. There were tons (the book is that famous). I scrolled to the one stars and voila! Everything the readers had said was exactly how I felt. It wasn’t me. 
The interesting about book club books we don’t like is we have the best discussions. So next week, I’m looking forward to what my friends have to say.
So what stops you from reading?

Got the winter doldrums? Try this winter anthology, Whispers of Winter

January 1, 2019

Michelle Miles: Hello, 2019!

Another year has closed and the start of a new one is officially off the ground.

I, for one, am glad to see the old year go. The last six months were rife with breaking things--cars, oven, house heater, windshields. And also new things--fix cars and heater, new windshields, oven, new cookware. I treated myself on Cyber Monday with a set of Calphalon cookware and I can honestly say it's the best cookware I've ever had.

Aside from all that, the last year was a hard one for me, creatively. I let all the awful things happening in the industry stifle my writing (Cocky Gate, book stuffing). I think I just got caught up in the drama, which is something I try never to do but I had a hard time looking away from that Cocky Gate thing. I stopped writing for a good six months when I got depressed over sales and everything happening in the industry and had a very "why bother?" attitude.

Towards the end of the summer, though, I got off Twitter and started thinking, seriously, about my future writing.

For 2019, I’ve decided I want to focus on the writing and publishing my backlist as well as some new material. After 60+ rejections, it makes you re-evaluate your writing life and make decisions about the career. Even though I have a day job, I do consider this a second career, so it was time to move forward instead of standing still. I’m throwing myself into indie publishing and looking forward to getting those stories told and in the hands of readers. My focus is all on the writing and the books and not so much on the marketing, though I do understand that plays a role as well.

I don’t want to get hung up on the money aspect of it like I have in the past. It’s a soul-crushing feeling sometimes to look at sales and see nothing for weeks or sometimes months. And I know that’s mostly my fault. I haven’t been producing like I should or want to. I haven’t been talking to my 3000+ newsletter subscribers. I hope to change that for 2019.

I haven’t given up on the dream that someday my books will be on the bookshelves or they’ll be turned into movies. I have very specific ideas about who should play my lead characters. Heck, I’d even settle for an HBO series. *grin*

There are other non-writing things I want to accomplish, too. Declutting is always high on my list. Getting the kid graduated and into college is another. Overall, though, I’m proclaiming 2019 Year of the Books.

How about you? What are you plans for the new year?

December 20, 2018

Book and Bag: Stars in the Night Sky #Christmasisalmosthere #readromance #awardwinningfilm

Stars. How many times have we looked up and noticed them twinkling? And have you noticed them elsewhere? 

For a long time, I have traveled with girlfriends to a small town for their Christmas Candlelight Home Tour. The historic homes are decorated and docents tell interesting historical things. We eat great food, exchange gifts, and stay up til the wee hours, munching on M&Ms and chatting.

And a part of our visit is to The Enchanted Forest where we wander through approximately 75 Christmas trees. One year, the tree toppers entranced me. Many were star-shaped. Here's one I found:

December 4, 2018

Michelle Miles: How to make $3 million writing books

Do I have your attention? :)

This post isn't about how to make $3 million from writing books. I don't have the secret formula. Sorry about about the click-bait.

I’ve been writing for publication since 2001. The entire lifespan of my son. I’ve seen the industry change from the traditional houses ruling to indie publishing booming. To Amazon claiming its own stake in the publishing game. The rise and fall of small presses. The downsize of traditional publishing.

I joined RWA in 2004 and was so happy to find a writing home, a place where others understood me. A place where I could make connections with other writers. I was hungry to learn everything from craft to industry. Back then, the contest circuit was the way to go. The only way to catch the eye of an agent or editor. Careers were launched that way (I can think of two off the top of my head).

But things changed. The world changed. The industry changed.

November 15, 2018

Blog: Happy Release Day for Whispers of Winter, a holiday anthology #fruitcakelovers #romanticcomedy #MFRWauthor


Whispers of Winter holiday anthology which includes my romantic comedy short story, The Great Fruitcake Bake-off.
When five-time champion Samantha Greene teams up with her new neighbor, Dixon Roberts, for The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, they discover baking a prize-winning entry is complicated, bad guys are plotting to take the crown, and first prize isn't just about a ribbon.

November 13, 2018

Michelle Miles: NaNo

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I mean like really participating. Not just signing up and then ignoring my book for the next 30 days.

(For those who may not know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month during November where you write 50,000 in 30 days AND survive the Thanksgiving holiday!)

Anyway…I decided to get off my duff and start working on book two in my Dragon Protectors series. I really hadn’t intended to start writing that book yet but when I put the first one up for preorder and it started getting a good response, I figured I better get on it. I even went so far as to go ahead and upload a preorder over at Draft2Digital and gave myself six months to complete it and get it ready for sale.

October 18, 2018

Blog: Quilting Magic with Ties #holidayanthology #crafting #readromance

A lot of you know I call my husband Handsome. When we first married, he gave me a card signed with Handsome Husband. I shortened it. (And Handsome is a pretty nice looking guy. )
I grew up when working men wore suits to their job and to church, to shows, etc. I like the look. Handsome’s career began at a large accounting firm and he wore the “uniform” too. He especially liked ties and for a long time, never threw any away.
An employee at his company makes quilts. After a chat, he decided to have one made into a quilt. Take a look: