What a week! Time to give some stuff away…

Okay, it’s really, really good to be sitting here on THIS side of last week. I feel like it’s the first breather I’ve taken all week. In addition to returning home at 11 o’clock Sunday night from Las Vegas, this was the first week of my online book tour, the last week of school for two of my kids and the week I had to get the school library packed up. I’ve been up at six AM and going until I put my kids to bed all week.

To make it all the more fun, on Wednesday I got up to a fantastic email from Amazon telling me the Kindle version of my book had magically transformed into a string of letters and numbers that nobody could read. I’m not kidding, it was like it was in some sort of code or something. I swear that happened sometime SINCE I put it online. So I had to spend a fair amount of time Wednesday re-uploading the Kindle version, seething all the while because I was technically promoting a book that wasn’t even available for more than twenty-four hours–at least not available in the preferred format. I felt like I was on a speeding train going somewhere I really needed to be…but I’d left the luggage that would make the trip worth it.

Please understand, I’m not complaining, exactly. I’m EXplaining my absence from here.

And I want to make it up to you. I’ve been planning to give away copies of DUCKS IN A ROW and WEEDS AND FLOWERS for a while, and today seems like a great time to do it. So please, be my guest. Download my other two indie babies. And if you’re only interested in CLOSE UP MAGIC, I’ve got something for you there, as well. I’ve already posted Chapter One online. In a few minutes, Chapter Two will join it. You can find them here: CLOSE UP MAGIC.

Happy reading!

Well, that’s embarrassing…Kindle issue alert!

This morning, I woke up to a notice that my new book Close Up Magic is showing up as a string of unreadable characters on readers’ Kindle devices. After my initial shock, I checked it out, and sure enough, it was. Holy cow! What happened to the file between a couple of weeks ago when I uploaded it and now, I cannot tell you. I’ve never heard of Kindle Direct being hacked, but I do know that I uploaded a good file, checked it over thoroughly and didn’t hit the publish button until I had every confidence it would be worth the buyer’s money.

Ah well, I talked yesterday about best-laid plans.

At any rate, long story short, if you purchased Close Up Magic and it isn’t working properly, please return it! I would never want anyone to be stuck with a bad copy of one of my books! And if you haven’t tried it out on your Kindle yet, give it a try. I think there are limits to how long you can return a Kindle books, and I don’t want you to run into a block there.

And if you do return the book, I hope you’ll check back in about twenty-four hours. I uploaded a new file this morning, tested it on the preview reader and know it’s good. I will keep my fingers crossed that it stays that way!

In other news, consider joining me on my book tour today. I’m over at Flirting with Romance, talking about all sorts of flirty, romantic things. It’s a fun interview and not nearly as long as yesterday’s post on the Dan O’Brien Project!

Did you ever hear of best laid plans?

It’s either a case of best laid plans or not planning well at all, but when I decided to launch Close Up Magic on the first of June, complete with a three-week whirlwind book tour two days later, I completely didn’t take into account that this would be one of my craziest weeks ever.

In addition to trying to keep up with my regular craziness, I have to add in the last week of school for my kids, packing up the school library in preparation to move it, and my daughter being out of school. Long story short, I’m not going to be physically able to do everything I should to promote my book tour. I still plan on tweeting about it and posting it on Facebook, but posting on here everyday? Not going to happen. That’s why I’ve put up the menu on the right side of your screen under the pretty book cover image. If you check there every day, you’ll be able to see where I am, and I will also magically transform each of those blog names into a link to my post!

And why is this important? Because commenters on each post are eligible to win a $5 Amazon gift card–one at every stop! And at the end of the tour, I’ll be giving away a Magic Basket–that’s right, a basket full of magic and books about magic! You don’t want to miss out on that, do you?

Plus, I’m revealing a little bit about me and Close Up Magic at every stop. What makes magicians sexy? Why do I enjoy magic? Who do I have a secret crush on? (Got your attention there!) I’m not going to tell you which post that’s in, either! You’ll have to pay attention.

In the meantime, how about checking out my post on Deal Sharing Aunt?

Welcome to My Book Day Party!: Contest Winners!

Welcome! It’s a very happy release day party for Close Up Magic today. First order of business has to be giving away the Kindle Paperwhite, of course. With the help of Random.org, one name was selected, and that name was…Glen Held! Glen’s a fan of the Close Up Magic Facebook Page, so I’ll get in touch with him and find out how to get the Kindle to him.

Second order of business is that yes, I am in Vegas, where Close Up Magic takes place. And I’m doing my best to make it to as many of them as possible, but I also promised a $20 gift card to those who gave me suggestions. And the winner of that card was…Bessamy Snoderly!

Thanks to everyone who participated in my giveaways and who have helped me promote Close Up Magic. I can still use the help, but I’m afraid it’ll have to be out of the goodness of your heart…although I am giving away a basket of magic tricks later this month on my virtual book tour. It starts Monday and I hope you’ll all join me there. In the meantime, check out my Twitter feed today for pictures of me and Close Up Magic in Las Vegas!

Standing on the Verge: Another Release Day

Today’s the day. Release day for Close Up Magic, yet another book I’m cutting the cord on and sending out into the bittersweet world of readers. I’ve called Close Up Magic the book of my dreams, the one I’ve always wanted to write, and it’s true. So today as I stand on the edge of the cliff getting ready to jump into who knows what, I know it matters a lot what happens from here. I’m throwing myself behind my book with all my weight. I’ve already started two more in this series, so the fate of Close Up Magic really does matter a lot. It’s time to put up or shut up.

Release day has to be nerve-wracking for all authors. You know, to the reader it’s another book to pick up or cast aside. But to us, it’s much more. It’s our heart and soul. It’s not ink that book is printed in. It’s blood and sweat and tears.

So here goes. One step and I’m off. Just one link to post and the ball is in your court. But before I do, I’d like to point out that advance readers and reviewers have said Close Up Magic is “magical”, “insightful”, “smart”, “fun to read”, “entertaining”, “humorous” and “passionate”, among other complimentary adjectives. I neither threatened these people nor paid them off, and none of them are related to me in any way. So maybe you’d like to check out Close Up Magic, and just in case you’re of the “try before you buy” mindset, you can read the entire Chapter 1 right here: Close Up Magic Chapter 1.

And with no further ado, here’s my leap. Buy Close Up Magic Now on Amazon!

Final note: Don’t forget to join me on Twitter and Facebook today for pictures of me in fabulous Las Vegas holding a copy of Close Up Magic! And check back a little later to find out who won the Kindle Paperwhite and the $20 Amazon gift card giveaways!

For the love of it: Reviews and the Writer

Reviews. What would we writers do without them? It’s really the only method we have of getting into our readers’ heads for a glimpse an idea of what we’ve done that works…and what hasn’t. Just recently, I discovered a new review on my book Ducks in a Row that revealed a lot to me of how it’s been received. The reviewer wrote that the book’s subject matter put her as a reader in an uncomfortable place emotionally because it deals with a marriage in trouble and an extramarital affair. She winds up with what might be my favorite line from any review any of my books has ever received:

“I highly recommend this unsettling book.”

Why does that line appeal to me so much? One reason. I intended the reader to be unsettled. Not only by the subject matter, but by the emotions of my characters. Human beings are not perfect, and married ones can be less perfect than most. Marriage is hard work. No matter how idyllic your ideas about love and marriage might be, you remain human after you say your vows. And eventually you end up hurting each other in ways both large and small.

That was what my book was about and this reviewer got it.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working hard to secure reviews for my contemporary romance Close Up Magic. It’s harder than you might think. For every ten people you offer a free copy of your book to, you might get three reviews.

That’s pretty darn understandable, if you consider that most book reviewers don’t actually get paid for what they do. They do it for the love of reading, whether they blog their reviews or just post them on Amazon and Goodreads. So when I ask somebody to review my book, I’m asking them for several hours of unpaid labor, for which I will pay them with my sincere thanks…and hopefully an enjoyable read.

To date, I have six reviews on Amazon and several more promised, so I’m not doing too bad. Here’s what some of the reviewers have said:

“Family and forgiveness play their own parts in Close Up Magic, both in ways that are insightful and also leave you with a sense of the good in humankind.” — Five stars

“The magic element of the book made it fun to read. I have always been a skeptic when it comes to magic, but the story had me believing that maybe Andre did have something special.” — Five stars

“Michelle Garren Flye does a fantastic job of putting her readers into the heads of each of her characters – her words making one feel so profoundly their desires, their reticence, their range of emotions as they fumble towards each other and true love.” — Five stars

“Close Up Magic is an enchanting story that will make the reader believe in romance and magic!” — Four stars

“An overall compelling and magical story that fans of contemporary romances are sure to enjoy.” — Four stars

“Whoa…I do believe in magic and the incredible ambience it creates in this wonderful romantic story.” — Four stars

My thanks to all my readers and especially all my reviewers!

If you’d like to read more from my reviewers of Close Up Magic, click here: Close Up Magic
If you’d like to read the whole review of Ducks in a Row, click here: Ducks in a Row

Join me June 1 for the Close Up Magic Release Day celebration!: What’s magic to YOU?

Join me June 1 for Close Up Magic’s official release day celebration! It’ll be magic and books and magic books and…LAS VEGAS!!!…all day long. I’ll be posting pictures of me in magical Las Vegas locations all day on June 1. You’ll be able to find me on Facebook, Twitter and right here! Best of all, I want you to be part of the action. I’ve got a list of locations I want to visit in Las Vegas, but I want you to help me out. What about Vegas is magic to YOU? Is it the magicians? The casinos? The over-the-top architecture of places of like Caesar’s Palace and The Venetian? Leave me your suggestions of the best places to use as a backdrop for a picture of me holding Close Up Magic and I’ll do my very best to get there. Plus, if you suggest a place for me to go, I’ll enter you to win a $20 Amazon gift card that you can magically transform into merchandise from Amazon!

I will be posting on my blog all day, but here’s a list of other places where you can find me on June 1:
Twitter
Michelle Garren Flye Facebook Fan Page
Close Up Magic Facebook Fan Page

Look forward to seeing you there!

The Countdown: So Much to Do, So Little Time!! (Exciting news at the end!)

June 1. The release of my contemporary romance novel Close Up Magic. I feel it coming like the blind curve in a roller coaster. You know the one at the top of the long climb that curves around a partition and you just can’t tell what’s past it? Yep. That’s the one. It might be a plunging fall, it might be more twists and turns. It might be a climb to a higher peak.

Oh my.

When I took on the quest of self-publishing the novel of my dreams, I don’t think I fully appreciated what I was doing. It’s so much easier to turn a book over to a publisher and let them do the work. Let me tell you three things I’ve discovered over the course of the past month.

1. If you’re really gonna do everything you can to sell a book, you’re not going to have time to write.
2. I can survive on four hours of sleep a night, but only if I don’t drink wine.
3. There are some really great people, both in the Twitter-verse and in my own back yard that are willing to help me.

Now that June 1 is right around the corner, I’m looking forward to breathing at least a little sigh of relief. Because no matter what I find around that blind curve, I’ll finally be AROUND it, you know? Success or failure or just more of the same awaits me there, and I plan to embrace it no matter what. Because at least I’ll be there.

So what have I been up to in the world of writing?

1. Finishing up my posts for the Close Up Magic virtual book tour starting on June 3. It’s gonna be loads of fun, so stay tuned!
2. Rounding up reviews. If you missed them, you can find links and excerpts to some of them on the Close Up Magic page of this blog. Here’s a link: Close Up Magic. There are also more on Goodreads and Amazon! BTW, you can also read the ENTIRE first chapter of Close Up Magic on the blog page!
3. Speaking of Goodreads, you can register to win a copy of Close Up Magic here: Goodreads Giveaway.
4. Finalizing and proofreading advance copies of Close Up Magic. I want it to be as perfect as possible for those who buy it!
5. Writing guest posts on friends’ blogs. Many thanks to my friends Zoe Dawson, Donna Steele, Nancy Lee Badger and all the wonderful romance authors at the Contemporary Romance Cafe for allowing me to voice my thoughts on their blogs over the past couple of months!
6. Organizing my thoughts about magic and some of my research in some interesting ways. Want to know more? Check out my Goodreads magic history quiz, my Listmania list of magic books, or my Close Up Magic Facebook Page.

Don’t forget you can still enter to win a Kindle Paperwhite! Like my Facebook Close Up Magic page, Tweet (and tag me) about my book Close Up Magic, post about my book Close Up Magic (and tag me) on Facebook or blog about my book Close Up Magic. Each one is an entry and you can enter as often as you like. Just make sure I know about it. Winner will be announced as soon as possible on June 1.

How can you make the Close Up Magic release day even more special?

Wonder of wonders, guess where I’m going to be on June 1? Las Vegas. The actual setting of my book! This has got to be fate. Karma. I absolutely did NOT plan it. My husband and I are going to Vegas for our anniversary, which just happens to fall at the end of May. And we’ll still be there June 1! I’ve been looking for places to visit in Vegas, which, as most people know, has a rich history in the business of magic. So far I’ve come up with a few, but I’d love to have some more suggestions. I’m inviting everyone who reads my blog to suggest a magical place for me to visit while I’m in Vegas. I’ll go to as many as I can, take a picture of me with the book and then Tweet and blog the pictures on June 1. And everyone who suggests a spot for me to visit gets entered into a drawing for a $20 Amazon gift card! Can’t beat that, can you? So come on, send me your suggestions! Email to michellegflye (at) gmail (dot) com, leave them on my Close Up Magic Facebook Page or right here in the comments!

The Magic of History: My Close Up Magic Facebook Page

When I decided to write about magicians, I started out the way you’d expect: I started researching how it was done. With very little research on the internet, you can easily find out everything from how to do card tricks to how to vanish the Statue of Liberty. I found the simplicity of it both startling and disillusioning, and I realized something.

I don’t want to know this.

So I turned my attention from the “how to” articles on the internet to the “who did that and when” articles. The people who have populated the world of magic are fascinating. The pioneers of magic, the great illusionists, the tricksters, the card wizards…if they devoted their lives to the art of magic and making people believe, their stories still entertain.

And that’s what I’m putting on my Close Up Magic Facebook Page. Here’s today’s post:

In the 19th century, spiritualism, or the use of mediums to contact the dead on the spiritual plane, claimed a portion of the audience of many of the magicians of the time. Many so-called “mediums” used methods of illusion to convince their audiences that they could establish a connection with the spirits of dead loved ones. While spiritualism had its illustriuous followers including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Queen Victoria and possibly even three American presidents (Lincoln, Grant and Johnson), many magicians took it on themselves to debunk the mediums’ seances. Houdini held shows in which he recreated entire seances in order to expose spiritualism as a fraud.

If you’d like to check out some of my other posts, you can find them here: Close Up Magic Facebook Page.

Taking the Magic on the Road: Publicity Whirlwind Begins

Okay, today I’m going to do my vanishing act again, but not before I say a few things:

1. I’m over at Nancy Lee Badger’s blog today being interviewed about Close Up Magic, why I write and what I’ll be doing next. Check it out and say hello!: Nancy Lee Badger Interviews Michelle Garren Flye.

2. You’ve probably noticed I’ve been conspicuously absent from here. That’s partly because I’ve been so busy writing guest blogs and interviews for next month’s release of Close Up Magic. I’ve also been having a great deal of fun over on Twitter making friends with some pretty interesting people who are making careers out being magicians. I’ve even started a little thing I call “Magic Hour” at four o’clock a few days a week. I haven’t actually established a schedule for it yet. It’s when I think I’ve got time to come up with some good tweets about and retweets from my magician friends. And also, I’ll admit, a fun way to promote my book.

3. If you haven’t read my interview with magician and filmmaker R. Paul Wilson yet, you’ll want to. I “met” him on Twitter, saw his fantastic short film “The Magic Box” and heard about his latest project “Our Magic” all on Twitter. You can find the interview here: R. Paul Wilson Interview.

4. I also had a bit of fun making a new video for Close Up Magic on Vine. Check it out here: Close Up Magic Vine Promo. Vine, I’ve found, is fun and nerve-wracking and not for those with control issues.

5. Finally, I miss my musing mornings over here, but I’ve resigned myself to having most of my fun elsewhere for a while. And it is fun. I enjoy talking to other people about magic and romance and writing. And with a little luck, it’ll mean more people finding my books and liking them. So I’ll work hard on keeping this page up-to-date on where I am and when, and you guys come join me when you can!