Kept in the Dark: The dark twin to Dickens Magic

My “magic consultant” R.J. (Arjay) Lewis just happens to have released his own book today, possibly more appropriate to the date than mine is. I was lucky enough to get to read this book ahead of time so I could post a review for him. If you like horror at all and want an extra chill today, give Kept in the Dark a try. Plus, it’s free!

My review of R.J.’s “dark twin” of Dickens Magic:

Kept in the Dark“Everything will make sense once you know what I know.”

Arjay Lewis draws that line in the sand that you just have to cross. You have to know what he—and his protagonist Jake Hurd—know. And once you know it, maybe it makes sense…or maybe you wish you didn’t know it anymore?

Kept in the Dark is Arjay’s latest foray into the psychological thriller/horror genre. A delightfully frightening mix with well-developed characters and a chilling plot, it takes you through the experiences of Jake as told to his psychiatrist Dr. Sam Lucas. Sam has to face the fact that Jake may not be the delusional night guard who’s afraid of the dark, but instead a man who’s been damned by his glimpse into another dimension—and the monsters he accidentally released.

I loved the tie-in to the Ecuadorian legend of El Cucuy and the tragic and the chilling view of mental illness. Well done!

Full disclosure, I was provided a free copy of this novel, and Arjay has worked with me on a number of projects. But I have enjoyed his work since before I met him when I first read The Muse. I think you will enjoy this novel, too.

Snow Day with Reviews

I woke this morning to a rare sight in Eastern North Carolina:

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Yes, that is my front yard covered in 3-5 inches of SNOW, also known as white gold for its rarity in these parts of the country.

I was so excited, I NEARLY forgot the other reason to be excited about today. REVIEWS!

Today, my Movie Magic review tour continues with THREE review stops. I’m always a little nervous, in spite of my continuing faith that Movie Magic is my best book so far. However, today my faith paid off. Check out the snippets below and if you want to read more, please go give my review bloggers some love! They deserve it.

“The author has written a cute romance with just enough details about movie making and Hollywood to garner your interest. The juxtaposition with the small town North Carolina setting is nearly as entertaining as the great chemistry between the two main characters.” — Notes from a Romantic’s Heart

“I just loved how Ms. Flye writes.  Her characters are great and her imagery like I’ve never experienced before from an author.  I can’t wait to read more from her.” —Harlie’s Books

“Movie Magic was a good read. The characters themselves were good people, yet they weren’t unrealistic. I feel like I know people exactly like them. Their actions were positive and not destructive, but there was still conflict between them as they tried to sort everything out.” — Hope. Dreams. Life…Love

Many thanks to the reviewers who were willing to put my latest book on their agenda! And, hey, if you haven’t gotten around to subscribing to my newsletter, you can check out the first one here: January Newsletter.

Winter Solstice Fun and Some Great Reviews for Movie Magic

It’s the winter solstice, and therefore my favorite day of the year! Why is that?, you ask. Because it’s traditionally accepted that every day after today is leading up to spring! It’s like hitting rock bottom…the only place left to go is up!
wintersolstice-cover1.jpgAs always, I have to reflect back on one of my favorite romance novels (that I wrote, that is). Though published second, it was actually the first one I wrote. And it’s the only one I can honestly say I know who the guy on the cover is! (Lots of inquiries about that…can’t figure why.) Anyway, a few years ago, he actually emailed me to ask if he could include the cover on his website. Of course, I said yes, though I’ll admit I was a little starstruck! Anyway, his name is Jason Aaron Baca, and he’s been featured on quite a few romance novel covers. Here’s an article about him: Jason Aaron Baca. And his website in case you want to see even more: Jason Aaron Baca

Just a little trivia about one of my favorite novels to start our winter solstice out right. And if you want to read more, check out the book! I promise you’ll love it…almost as much as the cover.

On to more up-to-date things…

Movie Magic, as you know, is currently on a review tour. I have two stops today, and they’ve both posted mostly complimentary reviews. I always say my best reviews are not always a hundred percent positive. First off, Locks, Hooks and Books gave Movie Magic four stars and said:

“I thought Sabrina and Walt’s story to be a pretty good and fun read. I found myself laughing out loud right from the beginning. I loved their chemistry together. I enjoyed the beautiful Beaufort, NC location.”

Great way to start the day, right? I went on to The Reading Addict to find a 3.75 star review that said:

“There are fun twists in the story and I think those who enjoy gentle romances with show business elements will be delighted by this tale.”

I will add that the above reviewer had a couple of understandable issues with Movie Magic that I will take into account in future writing. I love when reviewers tell me what doesn’t work as well as what works!

Please stop by and give my reviewers some love. And while you’re there, enter the giveaway for a $50 Amazon gift card that will be awarded at the end of the tour. Also, don’t forget that I’m starting an email list and those who join before January 1 are eligible to win another $50 Amazon gift card! Check it out here: Email List Sign Up

Long post, I know, but lots to cover! Hope you enjoyed some of it!

Having fun at a review tour stop!

I’m enjoying my time immensely at My Reading Journeys today. The commenters have been awesome, and the review was very complimentary. Read some of it yourself:

“I love a good romance.  And, Movie Magic is just that.  The characters are charming and entice you into their story.

–My Reading Journeys
Can’t really ask for higher praise than that, can you? Head over to My Reading Journeys and say hello, read the blurb and an excerpt from Movie Magic and enter for a chance to a win a $50 Amazon gift card!

What a Review Actually Means to a Writer

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Review Tour of Movie Magic begins December 14. Watch my blog for details!

As I wait impatiently for more reviews for Movie Magic, I have been reflecting on the nature of the review machine. Authors are constantly asking for reviews. As a reader, maybe you wonder why. Why would we open ourselves up to criticism?

Here’s the thing, though. Reviews—even critical reviews—are not a bad thing for a writer. Sure, we gloat when we get a good review. What writer doesn’t count their five-star reviews on Amazon and feel a little gratified? But it’s the other reviews that truly reveal something to us.

For instance, my book Where the Heart Lies, published by Carina Press in 2012, has 14 reviews and a total of 3.7 stars. This book garnered me my first (though I am sure not last) two-star review on Amazon. It actually has two. Which were kind of “ouch” at the time, but both reviews are chock full of advice that I’ve put into play in my growth as a writer.

I read every review I get and I try to learn something from every review that doesn’t just say “not my cup of tea”. Because, you know, if it’s not your cup of tea, don’t drink it. If you do drink it and feel moved to say something, then say why it’s not your cup of tea. I can’t help it if you picked up the wrong cup of tea, but if I put something in your tea that you didn’t like, definitely tell me!

This is all a rambling way of saying reviews are not just status symbols for writers and we don’t just want you to write a review if you loved the book. Yes, I’d like to see a hundred or more five-star reviews on all my books, but not just because. I want them because I earned them. But if you feel I earned two or three stars instead, tell me why. Then read my next book and see if I paid attention. You might be surprised.

Would you like to review Movie Magic? Contact me for a free copy or sign up here:

Goddess Fish Review Tour

XPresso Book Tours Review Opportunity

Please note, all review requests subject to approval by tour service/author.

NEW REVIEW! Ducks in a Row still has it!

Ducks_CoverSaturday Love
What a great way to end the old year…especially when I’m kicking off the new one with another book. If you check this page out closely, you’ll see what I’ve been up to besides happy holidaying with my family. Yes, I’m getting ready for the release of SATURDAY LOVE (sequel to DUCKS IN A ROW), which will definitely be available for purchase on January 1, 2014.

And what better way to celebrate the end of the old year than with a FIVE STAR review of DUCKS!? Read below for a bit of what WE’RE JUMPIN BOOKS had to say about DUCKS:

One of the best books I have read this year, very thought provoking…Michelle brings you close to the characters, you can understand their logical, or what seems to be, thinking. This book has so much depth on so many levels. The thought process, and how everything played out was so great! —WE’RE JUMPIN BOOKS

You might want to pick up DUCKS IN A ROW now for only 99 cents on AMAZON…and catch up on the story before it continues in SATURDAY LOVE.

Like a visit from an old friend: A new review for Where the Heart Lies

Anybody remember Where the Heart Lies? Way back before the time of magic—well, before I conceived of the idea for my Sleight of Hand series, anyway—I wrote a little book about a war widow starting over. It was published by Carina Press (the closest I’ve gotten to Harlequin, which is my dream publisher), and it was an overall positive experience. It got mixed reviews. Some people loved it, some hated it, and some were sort of…meh. It also sold WAY more copies than anything else I’ve written before or since, even though it’s only available in e-book form.

Well, anyway, this morning I got a surprise notice that there’s a new review of Where the Heart Lies. Well, cool, I thought after successfully figuring out which of my books Where the Heart Lies is. That’s nice. I wasn’t at this point certain of how nice it actually was (remember the aforementioned mixed reviews?), but when I pulled up the review on Blackraven’s Reviews, I found I’d received 4.5 ravens (that’s gotta be good), and one of the most well-written reviews I’ve received on any of my books (not to cast aspersions on any of my other reviewers, who also write very nicely). Here’s a quote from the review:

Where The Heart Lies by Michelle Garren Flye is a compelling story about love, loss, secrets, betrayal, and ultimately forgiveness. — Blackraven’s Reviews

And here’s another one:

The dialogue is rich, the setting is quaint, and the sexual tension between Alicia and Liam sizzles. — Blackraven’s Reviews

And one more:

If you’re looking for a complex, heartfelt story that will put a smile on your face from the small town antics, heat up the pages from the unbridled passion between Alicia and Liam, and bring a tear to your eye as our hero and heroine learn to forgive and be forgiven, then Where The Heart Lies by Michelle Garren Flye is definitely the book to read. — Blackraven’s Reviews

My sincere thanks to the reviewer for the reminder of a book I’d forgotten I loved writing. If you’d like to read the whole review, click here: Blackraven’s Reviews. Or you could go buy Where the Heart Lies (Amazon or Barnes & Noble) and decide for yourself if Blackraven’s Reviews is right…or, God forbid, was Romance Around the Corner more on target?

Review Highlights from this Week

During the course of my blog tour for my contemporary romance Close Up Magic, I asked for reviews as well as traditional blog stops. When I did this, I knew there were no guarantees. In fact, at the time I booked my tour, very few people other than me had actually read Close Up Magic. But I believed in it enough to go ahead and do it.

Well, this week, I braced myself as the reviews started rolling in. Five brave reviewers took a stand and offered me their opinion on my book. Thankfully, they were positive, overall, and I drew a breath of relief. Here are the highlights:

“We have all read those books where the girl is infatuated with the guy, they both have been screwed over by someone close to them and they have trust issues. But what Michelle Garren Flye has done that not many authors are capable of is, she had created incredible characters with such depth that they evoke such true emotion from the reader that you find yourself yelling at your kindle even when you knew it was going to happen.” —We Love Kink

“Michelle Garren Flye is a wizard with words and I completely enjoyed her voice. Also, I always worry about self-published books, but this one was well edited and had no overt errors. If you love fun, sweet romances with a hero you’ll fall for just as hard as the heroine does, then I recommend Close Up Magic.” —Long and Short Reviews

Ahem, a short note here. I can’t help but point out the “wizard with words” thing. Seriously, that may be the greatest compliment I’ve ever gotten on my writing! You’re all going to get really tired of that “wizard with words” thing, I think. Especially if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

“It was hard for me to pick one genre for this story. It’s definitely a contemporary romance, but it leaves just a hint of magic, just a bit of imagination which makes me believe that it is a bit of a fantasy book too. You aren’t sure if it’s saying that magic is real or not, but I can tell you that the threads of story and character were woven together..dare I say it…magically 🙂 and I really enjoyed reading it.” —Unabridged Andra

“Ms. Flye is a new author to me and I can’t get over how well written Close Up Magic was for me. The characters had depth to them, the setting was perfect and even the secondary characters were fleshed out. Also, even though I was “reading” the magic tricks, I could picture them in my mind. Great job.” —Harlie’s Books

Another note: I really, really love a good magic show, so obviously I wanted to give my reader a little taste of what it’s like to be at one, and this review confirmed I accomplished that. I’m so glad it worked, and I hope to be a well-known author to Harlie before long. 🙂

“The author has a great way with words, painting a picture so clear I could see the scenes in my mind like a movie. The characters are well drawn and three dimensional – so much so, I loved some and hated some intensely. I was so invested in the well-being of those I enjoyed I wanted to smack those I didn’t, who were interfering with the HEA.” —Straight from the Library

Now, the course of my relationship with reviewers has not always been this smooth, so I’m still waiting for the fly to land in my chocolate pudding. However, I learn so much from competent, honest reviewers, whether what they tell is positive or negative, I’m still looking for more reviews of Close Up Magic. If you’re a reviewer who’d like to check out a copy of Close Up Magic, contact me at michellegflye at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to provide you a copy for your Kindle. And if you’re a reviewer who’s already checked out Close Up Magic and would be interested in reviewing one of my other books, let me know that too.

Thanks to all my book reviewers, and all the other hosts of my blog tour! Tomorrow I’ll be awarding a magic basket to one randomly drawn commenter from the tour and a $20 gift card to one of my hosts (again, randomly chosen)! So check back tomorrow afternoon when I’ve had a chance to compile my list and consult Random.org for the winners. 🙂

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

Ducks in a Row reviewed: “Well-written and thought-provoking novel”

When I decided to self-publish Ducks in a Row, I had plenty of occasion for self-doubt. It’s not easy putting yourself out there, but it’s a lot easier if you’ve got a publisher behind you. A publisher is verification that there’s something in the words you wrote. Somebody else read your work and found it good. Self-published authors don’t have that.

But to sell books, you have to get them reviewed so people know about them, which means asking somebody for an honest opinion about your work. I’ve done that with several reviewers and I got my first real feedback today. Check it out:

Michelle Garren Flye does not hesitate to tackle some pretty uncomfortable subjects in Ducks in a Row. This well-written and thought-provoking novel provides a realistic look into how two people who love one another can find themselves on the verge of losing everything when they stop communicating and begin taking each other for granted.

Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Many thanks to Book Reviews and More by Kathy for the honest and insightful review. I learned a little about my book from your review, and that’s got to mean something. Plus, I finally feel that putting my story out there was the right thing.