Winter Solstice reflections about life in the light

Yesterday was an important day that often goes unnoticed. In the Northern Hemisphere, it was the darkest day of the year. Winter Solstice.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved the idea of the Winter Solstice. I remember my mother always marked it. She was one of those people whose mood is affected by the light. The darkness of winter depressed her, so the Winter Solstice was a time of change for the good. Because every day after would be brighter. The days are getting longer now, she’d say in the hopeful voice I loved to hear.

Yesterday was a good day for me. I almost forgot it was the shortest day of the year because it seemed bright. Good news, new music, a great day at my store and time with my kids…when I looked at my watch and saw it was almost time for the solstice, though, I knew I needed to mark it. Because every chance I get to make things brighter, I need to take it.

So at 4:48 p.m. I lit a candle. I burned it until midnight and I tried to picture my life…brighter. I came up with two resolutions.

I will hope without reason.

I will love without expectation.

I think if I can hold onto these two resolutions, I can live a brighter life. Too often we wait for life to give us a reason to hope. If we can just hold hope in our hearts, we can live in the light more often. I don’t know what you hope for. I’m sometimes not even certain what I hope for. But I know without hope for something, we might as well curl up and die. So hope.

And loving without expectation is something we all struggle with, I think. I’ve always found it easy to love…things, people, places, pets, food. But in loving, I too often expect something in return. I have a plan in mind for my love, a path it should follow, rewards I should get in return for it, whatever. But I don’t control the object of my love, so I cannot control the results of my love and am often disappointed. Love itself has to be the reward, and if I can achieve that, I will surely live brightly.

I’m sure these two resolutions are not unique. Buddha or Gandhi probably came up with them long ago. Perhaps this is what they tried to teach me in Sunday School when I was a child. Is this what faith is? Or is it just the ramblings of a middle-aged would-be poet? You decide. It won’t matter to me. I’ll be over here hoping for a brighter future and loving you.

I’ll be in the light if you’d like to join me.


Photo by Michelle Garren-Flye Copyright 2022

A Day of Promises: Happy Winter Solstice!

I try never to let the winter solstice pass unnoticed. Of course I was asleep at 5:30 a.m. or whatever ungodly hour the solstice actually happened, but today is one of my favorite days.

The shortest day of the year.

I’ve watched the days get shorter since the summer solstice (you really can notice it after a week or two). Once daylight savings runs out, it’s really noticeable. Suddenly I have to hurry to walk my dog before it gets dark.

And then you get to today. The shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere at least. And that means tomorrow it will be light longer. Today is not a day of darkness. It is a day of promise.

Tomorrow will be brighter.

With that in mind, I thought I would share the first bit of something from my next comic, SeaGlass. Because that’s my promise. I’ll finish another comic next year.

From SeaGlass, my next comic. Art and words by Michelle Garren Flye

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!

Celebrating Winter Solstice with a Giveaway!

It’s the winter solstice! December 21, my favorite day of the year. Guess why?

Here’s a hint:

wintersolstice-cover1.jpgStartled, Becky raised her head to meet John’s gaze in the mirror. He shrugged and smiled at her reflection. “You didn’t look too good, and when you weren’t out by the time I finished my shower, I decided I’d better check on you.”

He crossed the room and turned her to face him, touched her sweaty forehead gently, then reached back and released her hair from its knot. Perhaps his only intention was to help her relax, but as her hair fell around her shoulders, Becky realized with a jolt of self-consciousness that she enjoyed the intimacy of the gesture.

When she looked at him, he moved a little closer, his hand lingering at the nape of her neck. He drew his fingers through her hair, letting it slide through them, and she closed her eyes in pure sensuality, forgetting every tragedy she had witnessed in a simple desire to live in the moment.

Neither spoke as he bent his head to cover her mouth with his. She lost herself in his touch, aware of his arms around her, his lips first on hers, then on her neck. She slid her hands up his biceps, caressing as she did so, wanting to encourage his response. He smelled good–clean and male in a way she had never experienced. In some detached part of her brain, she thought maybe it was the hospital soap.

She clung to him, thankful for the strength of his body as her own betrayed her weakness. Not until his hands slid beneath her scrub top did she come to her senses.

“Not here.” She could only think that she didn’t want to become another of the legends–the PR woman who couldn’t resist the irresistible John Grant in the locker room.

“Where?” His body still pressed hard against hers, his lips against her hair. Becky felt the cold porcelain sink behind her, but he was warm and solid and the heat of their passion was thick in the air around them. In such a position, restraint was the last thing on her mind.

“My place,” she whispered and told him the address.

“I’ve got a few things to take care of.” His lips brushed her ear and she shivered. She felt his smile. “I’ll be there in a couple of hours.”

Before she could change her mind, he left, taking the warmth and safety of his arms with him, and Becky was left to wonder if she had suddenly gone insane.

Okay, maybe that’s not much of a hint, but it’s an excerpt from my book Winter Solstice, which was just a fun romantic romp starring a slightly bumbling public relations guru (Becky) and a sexy, strong, alpha-male ER doctor (John). It was my second published book (2011) from Lyrical Press. And you could win a Kindle copy on Amazon today. Check out the giveaway here:

Enjoy the shortest day of the year, and look forward to new, brighter days ahead!


Embrace your velvet-cloaked vampire: Go ahead and publish that book

I just read an article in Forbes called Don’t Publish That Book. It’s worthwhile reading. The author Suw Charman-Anderson publishes a Twitter conversation she had with authors Steve Mosby and Lou Morgan in which the authors bemoan their early stories, one of which was evidently about a vampire in a velvet cloak.

I enjoyed the article. It encourages writers to write until they’re good enough to be noticed and not to rush to self-publish. Charman-Anderson seems to indicate that if you get multiple rejections, there’s probably a reason for that. She’s probably right and I agree with her. Too many self-published books are published before they are ready. Please, please copy edit. Don’t rely on spell-check. It’s not infallible. And let a manuscript sit for a few weeks after it’s done, re-read it and then decide if you want to publish it. You might be surprised by the answer you give yourself. My self-published book Weeds and Flowers sat on my hard-drive for years before I got the go-ahead from my inner editor.

With that said, I will also add that we all have our stories about vampires in velvet cloaks. C’mon, if you’re a writer who started publishing within the last fifteen years, you have that story. That one story that’s still floating around in the ether somewhere waiting to come back and bite you in the ass. I know where mine is. Do you?

My point is that we live and publish in a different time. A new age for publishing. An age in which our mistakes and growing pains may make it into “print”. Yes, we need to watch ourselves, but we also need to embrace this new age. Imagine if we could read Stephen King’s first stories. I’ve heard Nicholas Sparks say his first novel was a horror novel. Now that would be some interesting reading.

One of my favorite books on my bookshelf is A Whisper in the Dark: Twelve Thrilling Tales by Louisa May Alcott. Of course, I don’t love the tales so much as I love the book. You see, Louisa May Alcott was my inspiration for becoming a writer. I loved all her books, read all of them, but my favorite, of course, was the semi-autobiographical Little Women, in which Jo, the character Alcott based on herself, writes “sensational” tales for the paper. The first time I read Little Women when I was about nine or ten years old, I couldn’t imagine what “sensational” meant. Later I got the idea that they must have something to do with sex, especially since Jo destroys them all in a fit of shame in the book. I read A Whisper in the Dark much later as an adult, and I wondered what on earth Alcott was talking about. They’re corny by today’s standards, and probably pretty dark and risque in the nineteenth century, but not the awful stuff I’d half been expecting.

Only now as I begin (notice I said “begin”) to reach my own maturity as a writer do I understand where she was coming from. But as a writer, I’m grateful not all of Alcott’s early works were lost. It makes some of my own early growing pains easier to bear.

Even now when I look back on Secrets of the Lotus, published almost exactly two years ago, I see things I would do differently. The same for Winter Solstice. If I’m fortunate enough to continue growing and developing as a writer—and I hope that will be a lifelong process—in five years I may reread Where the Heart Lies with tolerant disdain.

It’s a process. So whether an editor or publisher will take the time on your work or you self-publish it, you have to know that if you are one of the lucky ones, you won’t like what you write now in five years.

WINTER SOLSTICE gets five stars from Booked Up Reviews!

You know those moments that affirm you’re doing okay, right? I hope everybody gets them, no matter what they do for a living. I’ve talked about validation on here before. I’ve gotten validation in several small ways since I started publishing. When I wrote horror, believe it or not, my validation often came in the odd looks people gave me when they’d read something of mine. “How did you write that?” That was a fun validation.

Since eschewing horror for my more romantic side, my validation has come in the form of reviews. Some are face-to-face. Friends tell me “I loved your last book!” I even had one reader chase me down to ask me when I had another one coming out. That was really nice validation. I also enjoy the comments on Goodreads and my blog and Amazon (I really love finding a new review of one of my books on Amazon!).

But let’s face it, when a review site gives you a good review, it’s kind of awesome. These are people who read a ton of work in my genre. To have them give me a good review is a thrill. To have them give me a great review–well, it sort of makes my day. Booked Up Reviews did that for me today. Five stars and reviewer Dolce Amore had this to say about WINTER SOLSTICE:

I think I said before that paranormal is my favorite genre, but I always take the chance of finding good writers… no matter the genre. And Ms. Michelle Garren Flye is a good one, a very good one; my favorite writers’ list keeps growing…

Now, I will put into words what I think about the book: we have outstanding characters, wonderful storyline, great dialog, and delicious humor that just adds flavor to the story. And the way she adds the medical terms with the story just fills me with wonder.

Wow. Thank you, Booked Up Reviews for the validation! To read the whole review, click here: Booked Up Reviews: Winter Solstice by Michelle Garren Flye.

Second edition of Weeds and Flowers: The perfect valentine?

Yay! I just checked Amazon and my “second edition”, including the beautiful new cover you see to your left, is now up and ready to be downloaded to your Kindle (or smartphone or computer with the Kindle app). Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s free!

If you like Weeds and Flowers, you might even like my two romances, and today’s all about romance, right? And hey, today really is your lucky day! Lyrical Press is having a sale. Everything in their store is 50% off! Here’s a good place to start: My Books.

I’m also scheduled to be interviewed on author John Peters’ blog today. Until that’s up, check out his other informative posts: Dark Scribblings. He’s written some great articles and you might even spot my name in there once or twice. 🙂

Want my books?

If you do, February 14 is the day to get them. Not only will you be able to get your mitts on my re-release of WEEDS AND FLOWERS for FREE, Lyrical Press is offering a storewide 50% off sale. So you can get every book I currently have out there at a great deal. Be sure to check it out.

Lyrical Press, Inc.

Weeds and Flowers for Kindle

E-reader Giveaway Update; Winter Solstice is Thursday!

I’ve had so much fun with my Rose is a Rose debate, I haven’t paid nearly enough attention to my Winter Solstice e-reader giveaway. Rest assured, I’m still planning to give it away and I’m taking entries right up until midnight tomorrow. Then I’ll draw a winner on Thursday morning and announce it right here, so tune in then. All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me which your favorite e-reader is. Again, I’ve had to put a $100 limit on it, but there are a lot of great e-readers out there for $100 and less. The Kindle and the Nook and Kobo can all be had for $100. I don’t particularly have any preference among the e-reader. I have both Nook and Kindle apps on my Droid phone and enjoy both. I’m sure when the Kobo app becomes available, I’ll get that one too!

In the meantime, get your Yule log ready because Winter Solstice is December 22. The darkest day of the year, it’s been honored by celebrations for years. After all, every day after gets brighter and longer!

P.S. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for my guest Cristal Ryder. Cristal writes red-hot romances, and I’m very interested in finding out how she names the characters in them!

New Giveaway Begins! Plus: Five Romantic Gifts for Your Spouse (and some of them are surprisingly practical!)

Black Friday is done and now we have cyber Monday coming up. Tis the season. By the way, if you actually went out into the maelstrom of Black Friday, let me know. I’d love to hear about it. It occurred to me that many of you, however, might not have any good ideas for that special someone in your life. It’s tough being romantic, isn’t it? Jewelry, flowers, etc. get tiresome. Anyway, here are a few gifts I’ve either given to or received from my wonderful husband over the years that at first sight might not seem romantic but really are:

5. K-cup Coffeemaker. Yep. This one may have saved our marriage. Seriously. He likes lighter tasting coffee. I like really bold, dark coffee that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. The joy of compromise with a plug!

4. Personal Grocery Shopping! This may actually be one of my favorite “gifts” ever. For a fee, I go online, place my order for groceries from my favorite grocery store and my personal shopper does all the work. Then I swing by with my carload of kids and pick them up. In some cases, you can prepay the fee for your significant other so she/he won’t feel weird about using the service.

3. Piano/Dance/Horseback riding lessons. What has your partner always dreamed of doing but never had the chance? The important thing here is not to just give him or her the certificate for lessons. Make sure you give them the time to do it, too! And if it’s piano or something else that makes noise, prepare yourself for some hours of not so great musical entertainment.

2. Gift certificates. What? Did I just say that? You’d be surprised how romantic this one can be, though. You see, I love almost everything in the Sundance Catalog that I get every month. Jewelry, clothes, boots, etc. If I were skinny enough to be one of their models, I would be a happy woman. My husband knows how I feel about Sundance, and he could easily just pick something from the catalog. However, he also knows that often something in particular will catch my eye and since (as he has often told me), he is not a mind reader, a gift certificate for my favorite non-essential catalog is often a better choice.

1. E-Reader. Yup. You got it. You knew this one was coming. But did you know THIS was?


In honor of the gift-giving season and my recent good news about Carina Press and the release of my second book WINTER SOLSTICE, I’m giving away an e-reader. How do you enter the giveaway? Leave me a comment telling me what kind of e-reader you’d like me to give away. I wish I could tell you I would give away a Kindle Fire or an iPad, but for the purposes of this giveaway, I’m limiting it to e-readers that cost $100 or less. You can get some pretty good e-readers for $100. The Nook and the Kobo start at $99, the Kindle at $79.

You have until December 21 at midnight to throw your name into the hat. I’ll make the announcement on December 22. In case any of you don’t know the significance of the date, it’s the winter solstice!