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July 17, 2012

Signs from the Universe

I am a firm believer everything happens for a reason and the Universe sends messages. We just have to be paying attention to receive them.
In May 2011, I got laid off without warning. It was the first time I’d been without a job in, oh, twenty years. It was probably one of the most stressful times of my life. With a few little enjoyments thrown in. Like I got to pick up my son from school the last month. We hung out together a lot. We made numerous trips to the library. All the while, I looked for work and sent my resume out to about a hundred places a month.

Meanwhile, I started writing. But I found I had a hard time focusing on the writing because I was so worried about the bills and the money.

Side note here: Money sucks. Did you know that? It can rule your life if you let and, sadly, we need it to survive. I was buried under $25,000 worth of debt and I had no idea how I was going to pay those bills while being unemployed. Thankfully, I have an awesome husband and a savvy way of pinching pennies when I have to.

Anyway...I’d started writing this weird, futuristic story about a girl in a brothel largely inspired by the Game of Thrones series. I’d already been shopping One Knight Only around and getting rejected. One of my friends offered her editor at Ellora’s Cave. I happily submitted it, not sure if it was really right for the publisher since it wasn’t erotic. Once I’d submitted it, I started working on character development and a synopsis for Only For A Knight. I hadn’t started writing it yet.

And still meanwhile, I’d managed to get an interview with a local oil and gas company. Of course, it was while I was in New York City at the RWA National Conference. I’d been talking to the recruiter via phone getting it all set up. I got back home, interviewed and all seemed to go really well. And then I got a second interview. And then a third, where I was told I was one of the finalists for the job. Which was great! I needed the work right? I got the job offer a few days later...

...on the same day I got an email from the EC editor offering me a contract for One Knight Only. Elation! I immediately said yes. I started the new job in late July 2011.

By September, the book was out and I’d started working on the next one. I devised a plan to write during my lunch hour. There was this great restaurant in the building where I could take my mini laptop and just write the entire hour while I ate my lunch. It worked out great. To keep me honest, I used the Notes app on my iPhone to keep track of my progress. I also texted my husband after the hour was up with a word count report.

Christmas came and went. I kept working. I started paying off my massive amount of debt. I wanted to never worry about those damned credit cards again (I now vehemently hate them with a wild passion. As soon as they’re all paid off, I intend to have a slashing party where I cut them all up while laughing manically.) I kept writing.

I finally finished the book by late April 2012 and sent it off for critique. It ended up being just over 95,000 words. I submitted it to my editor by late May and by early June, I’d had another contract...

...and an announcement of layoffs. I found out the same day I sold that book my position would be eliminated. I had two weeks left at the job and for two weeks I fretted over what to do next. There were many conversations with the spouse about what I was going to do next. He seemed to think I needed to just start writing full-time. I was scared, though. I’d never done anything like that. I still had three accounts to pay off.

I took a deep breath. Husband took me out for dinner before the last day of work. Over dinner, we talked about it again and I told him I thought I wanted to give it a try. I mean, how many more signs from the Universe do I need? I think I will regret it forever if I don’t at least try.

In the few weeks I’ve been away from work, I’ve managed to write a 12,000 word novella and begin rewriting that novel about the girl in a brothel. For the first time in my life, I enjoy work again.

Michelle Miles is learning how to be a full-time writer and enjoying the process. She is published in contemporary, paranormal and fantasy romance. For more information about her books, check out her website. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

You can do it! I have absolute faith in you. You are a fantastic writer (and fellow PP). I'm in awe. ox

PamnTX said...

Great story! You are very brave and inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

Pam P.

Michelle Miles said...

Thanks, Vicki & Pam! I'm still scared to death. I guess that's what keeps me motivated! :)

Marian Lanouette said...

With your mind set you will achieve your goal. Good luck.

Pamela Stone said...

Hi Michelle. I'm right behind you. August 31 is my last day. I can relate to the scared and excited feeling. Today is leaning more toward scared.

Pam Stone

Liese said...

What an inspirational story! Keep writing and keep the faith, baby!


Patricia said...

Yes, I believe that everything happens for a reason and most experiences, though seemingly negative, can be turned around into positive ones. We may only recognize that afterwards, but I think it's true.
Good luck with your writing career. I'm betting it goes fantastically!

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Wow! Michelle! what an interesting story. Kudos to you for your courage. Keep at it!

It's inspirational that you are so disciplined. I'm going to follow your example and go write.

hotcha12 said...


Sylvia said...

Now is your time! Go get the success you deserve. You're a great writer and I think in one year you'll look back and say thank God I took the plunge.

But move over sweetie, I'm either going part-time or quiting in January. It's time to say asta la vista to the day job. But that being said, I'm going to be looking for some ladies to meet me for lunch/critique when I stop working full-time. I will need the interaction.

But for you the universe has spoken and said now is the time. Enjoy!

Michelle Miles said...

I'm so glad I came by again. I was having a pity moment. You gals made me feel all better.

Thank you all so much for the kind words.

Pam Stone, I will be there to cheer you on!

Sylvia, yes! You'll need the interaction. It gets lonely sometimes but in the end, I think it'll all be worth it :)

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Michelle,
What an inspirational story!! You'll do fine writing FT. Keep it up. Kudos to your hubby for encouraging you. Looking forward to reading the book about the girl in the brothel. Sounds interesting. :)

Janice Seagraves said...

Keep at it. Good things can come from this.


Michelle Miles said...

Karilyn, I hope it comes out okay. It turns out it's a shifter story. Who knew? I sure didn't. LOL

Janice, thanks for stopping by!

Kathy Ivan said...

Michelle, I wish i had the kind of discipline it takes to write during my lunch break. That's inspirational!

Congratulations on this newest release.

Wonderful that you husband is so supportive and going to let you write full time. That means more wonderful stories for us!

Sheila Seabrook said...

Wow, Michelle, what a fantastic story. Sometimes we need to close our eyes and take that leap of faith. Life has a way of working things out for us.

Michelle Miles said...

Thanks, Kathy! Writing for lunch really worked for me. Granted, I got a lot of questions about what I was doing but in the end, it was all worth it.

Hi, Sheila! Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment. And you're right - sometimes, we just need that leap of faith!

Miriam Newman said...

Wow, what a roller coaster, Michelle. Well, keep the faith and hang on for the ride. I'm sure it's going somewhere.

Unknown said...

What a inspiring story. You give me hope I may too be able to write full time some day.

Michelle Miles said...

Hi, Miriam! Thanks for stopping by! It's been totally up and down so I hope I can level out here and keep on writing.

Susan - Anything is possible. You can do it :)

Willa Edwards said...

Loved reading your story Michelle. I'm in a similiar boat. I was told in January my position was being eliminated. I still haven't actually left work (they're trying really hard to keep me all year, like most workplaces, my position is being eliminated but my work isn't going anywhere). Though I've been trying to find a new job since they notified me, I've been very unsuccessful. My dream is to write full time and if I end up going on unemployment I'm going to try it, at least for a little while. You're very lucky to have such a supportive husband. I wish you so much success on your new endeavor.