Do travel mugs equal e-readers? Only in my world.

I may be a romance writer, but I’m also a coffee lover, and today I’m home, drinking coffee out of my favorite mug. It’s a big thick one with Minnie Mouse on it. I don’t like it because it has Minnie Mouse on it, although I love all things Disney. I like this mug because coffee tastes better out of it than any other coffee mug I’ve ever tried.

I can’t always kick back and drink my coffee at home, though. Most days I’m on the run, delivering kids to various dental or doctor appointments, grocery shopping, volunteering at the school. You know, all the things that keep us moms out of trouble. For those days, I need a travel mug. One problem. Coffee does NOT taste the same out of a travel mug. Want proof? I have a cupboard full of travel mugs and I don’t like any of them as much as I do my Minnie Mouse mug. Have a look:

Romance writer's travel mug collection

You’d think one of those mugs would work for me, wouldn’t you? To be fair, these are my favorites and the ones you’re most likely to catch me with. In fact, despite my tendency to leave things behind, I’ve managed to hold onto a couple of these for years. See that pink one with the lip prints on it? That one’s from a school trip my son took to Washington, D.C., three years ago. I have left that mug everywhere, but I always go back for it, because the coffee doesn’t taste half bad when I drink from it. The two Margaritaville mugs are my most recent acquisitions. I just bought them on my vacation last week in Myrtle Beach (remember the gators?). You see, I’m still on my quest to find the perfect travel mug because none of these match up to my good old-fashioned Minnie Mouse.

So how did I go from thinking about travel mugs to e-readers? Simple. People keep asking me when my novels will all be out in print. Even now when most of the people who will read my novels actually do have an e-reader or at least a smart-phone with a Kindle app. But I get it. Reading a novel on an electronic screen isn’t the same as holding the book in your hands. So yeah, now that I’ve actually held one of my books in my hands (Ducks in a Row), I get it. I know now why people self-publish instead of looking for an independent electronic publisher. That doesn’t mean that I’m not still looking for electronic publishers. But it does mean that when I get a chance to publish in print, I’m going to take it. So look for Weeds & Flowers to be out there soon. But for now, I leave you with this lovely image:

Romance and coffee

E-Reading: 10 Things You Don’t Want to “Hold in Your Hand”

“I just can’t do that e-reading thing. I prefer to hold a book in my hand.”

Before I started being published in e-book format, I was just as resistant to e-readers. I love books. Every room in my house has books in it. All three of my children have books on shelves, in drawers, under beds. Hell, I used to be a librarian. I’m a reader. You know what used to drive me nuts?

Leaving the book I was reading at home.

You know that feeling. You find yourself in the doctor’s office waiting much longer than you’d anticipated. The magazines are either old or uninteresting. You find yourself longing for the book you were heart-deep in, the one that you just reached the climactic point of before time to leave the house. That book that’s sitting on the kitchen counter.

Ah, but if you were reading that book on your NOOK, even if your NOOK is sitting on the kitchen counter, you’ve probably got your smartphone with the NOOK app on it…and wah-la! Put your phone in airplane mode, pull up your book and start reading. Same thing for the Kindle. You NEVER don’t have your book.

So, although books are great and very pleasant to the touch, I thought I’d make a list of ten things that would be even worse to hold in your hand than an e-reader.

10. Anything your kid spits out of his mouth.
9. A slug.
8. A live cockroach.
7. A squished cockroach.
6. A hot coal.
5. That gooey slime stuff Nickelodeon uses all the time.
4. Chewed bubblegum.
3. Chewed bubblegum from under the seat of a chair in a doctor’s office.
2. Used cat litter.
1. An actual physical copy of 50 Shades of Grey.

E-reader doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?

Vanishing literature or just disappearing ink?

I recently read an article about a book with disappearing ink. You can read about it here: “The Book That Can’t Wait”. I’ve pondered this concept for the past week, and I have to admit I understand why the publisher’s first print run sold out.

Let’s face it. I’m already writing less-than-permanent novels, as are many writers. I have no illusions about my creations, and I’m not sure many other writers should, either. If I look at the shelves of my library, I see my favorite authors. Anne McCaffrey, L.M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling… I have some signed books from friends. I have a lot of poetry and folklore, some mythology, a few reference books. In short, I have sought my most permanent way of preserving the books I really care about.

My Kindle and Nook and iPad are a different story. They’re cluttered with anything that catches my fancy or needs to be read to keep up with my chosen genre. My books are on these devices. And you know what I’ve come to terms with?

One good EMP will wipe them all out.

When I first heard about The Book That Can’t Wait, I thought, “Oh my God, here I am fighting to get my books published, longing to have them in print, and these authors let a publisher put their stories into a book with vanishing ink? What’s wrong with them?” Now I sort of see their sacrifice as a show of solidarity with the rest of the changing publishing world.

So what’s the point? This is my take on it. If you think of the great post apocalyptic movies, a lot of them show a library somewhere. A library of printed books that are all that’s left of the literature of the world before. What books from today’s market will inhabit those shelves when so much of the “printed” word is electronic?

Or maybe the lesson is this: Read your e-books now. Who knows what will be left when the last Kindle is gone?

How to earn prizes for WHERE THE HEART LIES online release party!

It’s now less than nine days to the release of my fourth book (ebook), WHERE THE HEART LIES. I’ve got high hopes for this one. It’s on sale for 99 cents during the month of July, it’s gotten some pretty decent reviews and it’s already garnered a higher sales rank than any of my other books—and that’s just pre-sales. So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to recruit you all to help me sell my book between now and July 16. And to give you an idea of what you’re helping promote, here’s a short excerpt:

Alicia took her time getting ready for bed. Finally, looking at her cleaned, toned, moisturized face and hair brushed to the edge of staticky chaos, she couldn’t put it off any longer. She turned to the bedroom with reluctance. The empty bed looked uninviting. One side was turned down and she focused on that neat triangle of rose-colored sheets against the darker wine-colored bedspread. She closed her eyes and pictured Ty on the other side. “This isn’t how I imagined our first night.”

She climbed into the bed and curled herself into a ball under the thin chenille. The room was warm enough, but cold permeated her body. Or maybe it was loneliness. Ty wasn’t there and never would be again. She remembered the sound of his voice and the feel of his body and let the tears come at last, her shoulders shaking with her sorrow while she tried to keep her sobs quiet so she wouldn’t wake Jason.

After a while, she slipped from the bed to the hall closet and found another blanket. It was an old quilt, probably one Millie had owned when Ty was a child. She held it to her face for a moment, taking comfort from its age and sense of history. Wrapping it around her shoulders, she got back into the bed, pulled the sheet up to her chin and fell asleep.

And one more:

Liam watched her minivan disappear down the road. He sighed and looked at the tiny crushed body in the road, thinking that just a few minutes before, it had been a living, breathing soul. Now it was just a pile of meat and bone.

“That’s the way it goes, my friend,” he said. “One minute you’re trying to find the sweetest patch of clover, the next you’re lying facedown in the road with tire tracks on your back.”

His mind turned to Ty and how death had come for him so suddenly. He didn’t know the details, just that he’d died in Afghanistan. He hoped it had been quick for his old friend. Ty hadn’t been hopping around looking for a sweet patch of clover. Ty had been doing a job, and from what Liam understood, he’d done it very well right up until the end. A hot surge of guilt and self-disgust filled him. If Ty was the rabbit, he was the minivan who’d run his friend down.

WHERE THE HEART LIES is Alicia’s story about love and loss and starting over. And it’s Liam’s story about recovery and forgiveness and finding love. I think you’ll like it. So here’s the deal. On July 16 at 5 p.m. I’ll be giving away a Nook Simple Touch. I just bought one and I love it. It works outside, inside, in the car, just about anywhere you want to read. Plus, you can download the Nook app to your smartphone or computer or tablet and if you bookmark your place on your Nook, you can pick it up on whatever device you happen to have on you. You can literally read anywhere. Plus, if you want to become Nook friends, you can send me your email and I’ll figure out how to input it and we can trade books!

Here’s how to enter:
1. Pin my book cover on Pinterest. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other ebooksellers.
2. Tweet about the July 99 cent sale on Twitter using one of the buy links at the top of the left column of this blog. Tag me in the post @michellegflye.
3. Post a link on Facebook or your blog.
4. Put my book on your Goodreads, Shelfari or LibraryThing shelf.
5. Any other good ideas? Let me know!

For everything you do, email me at to let me know and I’ll enter you to win the ereader on July 16. I’ll also be giving away ecopies of all my books and some gift certificates to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, so make sure you stop by for the party!

New Year, New Book, Free Book! Send Me A Typo Offer.

Happy Free Book Day! Seriously. Well, free Kindle download, anyway. If you’d like to read WEEDS AND FLOWERS, today is the day to do it. It’s available today only at for free download. Go check it out: WEEDS AND FLOWERS.

I re-read it yesterday. At first I couldn’t put it down. I was blown away by my own literary awesomeness. No kidding. Then I got into a couple of rough spots and had to wince a little. I sort of wished I’d re-read it (again) before I jumped right on it and published it. So I decided to offer a deal to you guys who suffer through my rough self-editing. Send me a typo from WEEDS AND FLOWERS in the next week and I’ll send you a copy of one of my other (professionally edited) books free. Or you can choose to receive my as-yet-untitled romance due out from Carina Press sometime this summer. Just specify which book you prefer and what format you’d like it in (for Nook, Kindle, etc.).

And enjoy your New Year, by the way!

Making a Joyful Noise…Good News!

I got some great news today.

Carina Press, the digital-first imprint of Harlequin (!!!!), has accepted my book THE SIXTH FOLD (don’t get attached to the title, because it’ll probably change). I am thrilled, to say the very least

It’s on days like this that I think of my favorite Bible verse: “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord…” Well, you probably know it. Not that I’m a Bible thumper or even a dedicated reader of the Bible (you wouldn’t have guessed that from my Sunday School choice of verses would you?). In fact, I tend to think of the Bible as a guidebook to be referred to when I’m feeling lost. It’s always there to help me out.

Anyway, whenever I read that particular Psalm of David’s I think of him on top of a green mountain, probably surrounded by sheep, yelling a hymn at the heavens. I think he’d probably just received some good news, because that’s how I always feel when I get good news.

The news about Carina Press is that kind of news to me. The kind that takes your breath away, makes you want to jump up and down and then quiets into a breathing moment, sort of like a stone being thrown into a pond. I’m breathing now and reflecting on my good fortune. It has to do with my career and how I now believe I’m on the right track. I’m not just whistling the day away when I steal three hours away to write.

I’m enjoying it.

HONEOWP Update: I got a nice bump in sales from WINTER SOLSTICE last month, so Rainbows International got a little donation. This month’s HONEOWP charity is one of my favorites. Toys for Tots never fails to bring tears to my eyes. The thought of real heroes playing Santa for children who wouldn’t otherwise have a Christmas…well, the romantic in me responds well to such things. You can donate directly by clicking on the link (above and under HONEOWP Charities to the left) or by purchasing one of my books. All my royalties for November will be donated to Toys for Tots.

The Death of a Computer and I Am Not a Mail-Order Bride!

It’s officially Saturday here on the East coast, so I’ll go ahead and call it two days to WINTER SOLSTICE. I would’ve updated yesterday, but my three-year-old MacBook gave up the ghost. Well, what Apple taketh away, Apple also giveth. Less than twenty-four hours later, my new MacBook Pro arrived (yeah, I anticipated the death and had already ordered the replacement), so I can’t help but be happy. Plus, through the magic of Apple’s Time Machine, I didn’t even lose that much. A couple of paragraphs, and believe me, it wasn’t much of a loss considering my work-in-progress at the time was much less than my usual brilliance.

Speaking of Apple, I may have finally made it to the big time. Well… You see, after SECRETS OF THE LOTUS, I checked constantly for my book to be uploaded onto the Apple iBookstore. Due to formatting issues, it never made it. Well, I’m far from obsessing about WINTER SOLSTICE, but believe or not by happenstance I discovered it’s already available on iBooks the other day. Which was sort of neat. Yes, you can pre-order me on iTunes. Which sounds kind of raunchy, but I’m not…I mean, it’s not…I mean, well, if you’ve got an iPad, figure it out.

So Apple’s on my positive karma list for multiple reasons as I head into the last weekend before my second book release. Don’t forget to join me for some great giveaway action here on my blog all day Monday to celebrate the WINTER SOLSTICE. Hope to see you then!

P.S. A big shout out to my horror buddies at CUTTING BLOCK PRESS for the highly anticipated release of TATTERED SOULS 2. I’ve had the pleasure of working with these guys for both TS and TS 2 as well as several other projects. I have to say, TATTERED SOULS 2 is a beautiful product with some incredible work inside. I copy edited two of the four novellas and look forward to reading the other two. If they’re anywhere near the quality of the two I worked on, the whole project should win some awards!

Save the Trees. Or, Bestsellers Only, All Others Go in the Back Way

I’ve been reading a lot about how the publishing world is changing, and, wonder of wonders, decided to share my thoughts on the subject. I mean, why not?

I practically lived in bookstores when I was growing up. Two in particular. The first was a used bookstore right down the road from the public library named The Book Nook. I loved to browse the shelves of old books and breathe in the tiny particulates of decaying paperbacks. You could trade books at The Book Nook, but I bought most of mine. I had a hard time parting with my books. I’m pretty sure I bought my first teen romance there. I know I bought my first hardback book there. I still have it and probably always will. Black Beauty and Other Horse Stories. It cost $15 and took me almost a month to save up for. And it’s one of my most prized possessions, although, sadly, The Book Nook has long since closed its doors.

The other bookstore introduced me to my love of science fiction and fantasy. I was a little older when Highland Books opened up. It was a little further away, not quite an easy walk for me, so I either had to beg my mother to take me there (and she usually did since she was as much a bookworm as I am), or wait until she had an errand to run nearby. Fortunately for me, when I was a young girl, my mother got a job at the dry cleaners nearby and I often walked from there. In Highland Books I fell in love with Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern. I remember how excited I got whenever a new Pern book came out, and I still have most of those dilapidated paperbacks, too. Right next to L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books, which I also purchased from Highland Books.

With all that said, you can tell my love of books runs deep. I have a degree in library science, for heaven’s sake. So the idea that I would abandon my dream of having a book published with my name on its silky cover is absurd, right? The very idea that I would be content to have my books published electronically! That I would accept that the changes in the publishing world are not necessarily going to fit in with where I want my career to go…well, it’s not even to be thought of, correct?

Not so. I’m seeing writing on the walls of every bookstore I go into. That writing says plainly, “We stock bestsellers. All others need not apply.” And who can blame them? Bookstores sell books, and bestsellers sell. How long before publishers go the same route? How long before bestsellers are the only books they are willing to put out in hard copy and the rest of us are relegated to e-publishing? I think it’s closer than we’d like to believe.

I don’t think bookstores are going anywhere. I anticipate a change, however, and those who don’t adapt to it will be smooshed under the weight of the biggies. I foresee a bookstore with fewer shelves of books. Maybe some local interest, a few history and plenty of stacks of New York Times Bestsellers. Interspersed in these shelves, which are really more for background than for sale, will be cushy couches and chairs and maybe even a few beanbags. I foresee people with their eyes glued to their Nooks and Kindles and smart phones (and all the other e-readers), browsing the exclusive electronic content available only in the store. Perhaps a whole magazine or newspaper or the first three chapters of a featured book.

Am I selling out by allowing my books to be electronically published first? Or am I embracing an inevitable future that, much as it might pain me, is probably inexorable? Well, at least I can say I’m saving trees.

Unexpected benefits of e-readers

My reading and writing lives ebb and flow in reverse. When I’m writing a lot, I read almost nothing. So when when the writing tide goes out, what comes back in is the reading tide. I read while I edit and I’m in an editing stage at the moment.

It’s a good time to read, too, since I got that NOOK for Christmas. I think of it as my mini iPad, and I honestly think Barnes and Noble should market it as one. Not quite all the features, but perfect for e-reading. It’s got good crosswords, too.

Enough of the NOOK bragging. What I’ve noticed about e-reading is that there are some unexpected benefits of it. For instance, I used to hate thinking people could tell I was reading a romance novel instead of Anna Karenina. Guess what? Nobody can tell. No lurid covers to give you away with an e-reader. All anybody knows is that you’re a reader.

And hey, we all run across words in novels that we don’t actually know, right? Doesn’t matter how smart we are. We could have won a spelling bee and still not know what pulchritude means. But if we run across it, how many of us are actually going to get up and go thumb through Webster’s? Guess what? E-readers are equipped with dictionaries. Just click on the enigmatic word and wa-laa! You’re one word smarter.

Finally, the benefit I noticed just this morning. I’m reading Nicholas Sparks’ new book SAFE HAVEN. To truly understand why this is such a benefit, you need to understand something else. I’m not a huge Nicholas Sparks fan. I have read a lot of his books because he’s my neighbor and it seems smart to read what such a hugely successful writer writes. His books always make me cry, resulting in blurred vision and the inability to see the words on the page. I recognize his talent for storytelling and I study it, but left to my own devices, I turn to scifi and mystery and horror more often than romantic drama.

Well, SAFE HAVEN is a departure for Sparks. It’s amazingly good and I haven’t cried once while reading it. In fact, I’ve torn through it—well, considering I read at a snail’s pace and even during a reading tide only get to read an hour or two a day. I’m close to the end and I’m noticing something mysterious about one of the characters. If I were reading the novel in paper form, I’d be tempted to flip ahead and find out if my suspicions are true. Since I’m reading it on an e-reader, I haven’t done that. I’m actually reading the novel the way it was intended to be read! I haven’t done that in ages.

It’s not that I’ve become more patient or that SAFE HAVEN (good as it is) has any special power over me. I think I just don’t actually feel like the pages are there until I tap the right side of my screen and the words magically change. I know they’re in there, but since I can’t feel them, I’m not tempted. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could apply this to other aspects of our lives? Think about the food replicator in Star Trek. If we had that instead of a refrigerator and cabinets of actual food, maybe we wouldn’t all be fighting obesity!

I’ll wind this up by reminding you that Joe Young (see the feature area, top left) will join me on Monday to kick off my series about naming characters. If you’re in the mood for a vampire novel, check out his book NAME. I highly recommend it.

Day 24/25 of My Kindle Giveaway: I’m loving my Nook!

We are so close to giving away those Kindles! I can’t wait. Be sure to check back at 6 p.m. on December 22. I’ll take entries right up until noon that day. And keep buying SECRETS OF THE LOTUS! I’ll give a minimum of $25 to the National Wildlife Federation, but if my royalties go above and beyond that, all the better.

Now I’ll just let you know how very much I love my new Nook. I’ve been playing around with it for the past couple of days and the only differences I can see between it and the iPad are:
1. Nook is smaller. (The reason I wanted it!)
2. Nook’s speakers are not as good as iPad’s. (It does have an earphone jack!)
3. No word processing capability on the Nook. Documents are read-only. (But then, that’s why I have a notebook computer, right?)
4. I haven’t figured out how to put movies and music on the Nook yet, although I know it is possible. Not quite as easy as synching my computer and my iPad was, though. (At least, not yet.)

But the books are awesome! I’ve blogged before about my love for Sherlock Holmes, right? Well, I downloaded a complete illustrated Sherlock Holmes volume for $1.99! I had most of these on the iPad for free from Project Gutenberg, which is still one of the most worthwhile projects I’ve ever encountered on the Internet. I haven’t found any Gutenberg books in the Barnes & Noble online bookstore yet, but I won’t give up hope. In addition to the Sherlock Holmes volume, I’ve downloaded Kevin Wallis’s BENEATH THE SURFACE OF THINGS and Nicholas Sparks’s SAFE HAVEN. I’m looking forward to delving into both of them.

I’ll finish up this post by pointing out my new feature section (upper right below the picture of my creek). It currently highlights the project I’m planning for January. As soon as I get the schedule set, I’ll post that there, but let me just say I’m really, REALLY excited about it. I hope some of you who came here because of the Kindle giveaway will return to check out January’s big events.

Breathe in, breathe out!