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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.

16 comments:

vicki batman said...

Hi, Michelle! I take time off especially after finishing a big book. My brain is sick and tired of what I'm working on. I need new things. The publisher issue is not fun and I hope they cooperate for you soon. Hugs!

Liese said...

You're an inspiration, Michelle! Best of luck with the Blaze entry!

Hugs!

Kathy Ivan said...

I totally get the burn out. I think we all go through that to some extent, where everything seems to be taking precedent except being able to actually WRITE! Writing the stories, putting them out there for readers, is sometimes the scariest thing and at the same time exhilarating. Like standing on the cliff's edge and peering down. We can either fall into the abyss or soar among the clouds when we release the next book.

But this is a rough business and has more ups and downs that any roller-coaster, and it becomes easy to let the stress overwhelm us. But finding your joy again, writing for the pure love of writing-- there's no feeling like it.

We are glad you're back among the princesses, too!

Linda Steinberg said...

Welcome back, Michelle. As with a lover, I think absence sometimes makes the heart grow fonder. Yes, writing is a business but it's also an art. If you're not feeling it, you're not creating your best work. When you give your artistic side a chance to breathe, as you did, all kinds of things percolate during the hiatus. Good luck with your latest efforts

Cathy McElhaney said...

Awesome Michelle! My 1 lone book is sitting there on Amazon, not selling since the first few days, when family and friends obliged and bought about 10 of them. Since then...nothing. (although I gave away 33 e copies and about 30 print books!) It makes me wonder what might have happened if I had tried to go the traditional route...probably would not have even gotten a glance! LOL! BUT everyone that has read it has really liked it, so...I don't know. Making money and getting recognized would be awesome, but at the same time, I really enjoyed writing it and am enjoying writing the sequel. I have to say that I have not done much to promote it, but healing from not 1, but 2 heart attacks has taken precedence over everything else!
Congratulations and welcome back!

Phyllis said...

I'm glad you are back with us, Michelle. You were missed in the Princess realm.

I understand how you felt about the burnout/ depression syndrome. It sucks the life out of your projects and to dampens the rest of your life in the process. I've been there too many times

I was amazed at how fast you finished that book! Now to go back to the other one. I know they are all good!

Michelle Miles said...

Taking a break is good. :) Thank you - I hope it works out too

Michelle Miles said...

Thanks, Liese!

Michelle Miles said...

Thanks, Kathy. Glad to be back amongst you ladies. It's been rough but I'm finally at a place I want to be :)

Michelle Miles said...

Thank you, Linda!

Michelle Miles said...

Hi Cathy. There is nothing more important than your health! I hope you're on the mend. And keep writing! :)

Michelle Miles said...

Hi, Phyllis! I'm writing as fast as I can :)

Elizabeth Essex said...

Michelle,

This publishing gig isn't for the faint of heart, is it? :) I think that your time away to reassess what you wanted from the career, and what you wanted to write was well spent. And I also think that need to reassess is much more common in this business that we like to think. We are at a time of great changes and flux in our industry, and it's hard to stay creative on the artistic side, while also being sharp and decisive on the business side. I think you've managed to find some good solid middle ground.

I'd tell you I have my fingers crossed for luck with your contest entry, but I don't think you need luck. :) Even if you don't win in the contest, you've written and polished a great MS!!! And that's the best thing of all.

Cheers, EE

Karilyn Bentley said...

I'm glad you're back!! I missed you! :) I'm glad you found yourself and feel better about writing. It's hard, especially when a book you love doesn't do well. Best of luck in the contest. I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed for you!!

Michelle Miles said...

It really isn't. You have to be tough as nails and have a good business sense. I wouldn't trade it for anything though. :) Thanks for the kind words. And yes I do have a completed MS. Now the sky's the limit.

Michelle Miles said...

Thanks!! I'm excited and terrified all at once. Lol