Five Days of Free Kindle Books: Weeds and Flowers

I’m giving away one of my books each day of this work week and using the opportunity to spotlight them and give you a little background into why I wrote them on this blog. And to sweeten the deal, I’m offering a $50 gift card for anyone who writes a review of one of my books on Amazon and posts it by August 15. Winner will be chosen by random drawing that evening. All you have to do is drop me an email at michellegflye at gmail dot com to let me know you posted the review. I want your honest take on ANY of my books (including the three published by actual publishers), not just the five I’m offering for free, but if you want a free book, here’s your chance!

Weeds and Flowers coverWeeds and Flowers is the one book I’ve written that I would not classify as a romance. It’s about growing up in a small town and losing faith and finding your first love and lots of other things, but it’s not a romance. It’s a mystery, a coming-of-age story, a story about family and friends. When someone asks me which one of my books they should start with, I usually say this one. Because at its heart, it’s what I’m really about.

Weeds and Flowers is set in a small town and it’s very loosely based on a murder that happened there when I was a girl. That murder changed things in my trusting little town. It happened just a few blocks away to a girl who lived a very similar life to my own with a family and friends who loved her. Although I’ve changed names and circumstances, it was that time period that changed so much in my town that I wrote about.

Here’s a few paragraphs from what might be my favorite of all my novels:

On Friday, I spent the night at Marleen’s. Mom didn’t really like for me to spend the night away from home, so this was a rare treat. “Have her over here,” Mom would always say, never seeming to realize how difficult that was. Mom liked Marleen because Marleen always behaved well in front of parents. “She’s quiet and ladylike,” Mom said. “Maybe some of it will rub off on you.” To which I’d reply that if Mom didn’t want a tomboy for a daughter, she shouldn’t have let my real dad give me a boy’s name.

But even Mom had to admit that if I kept turning Marleen’s invitations around and insisting she sleep over at my house, somebody would get offended. Marleen didn’t mind, but her mother was sort of touchy. Mom said Mrs. Galloway came from the wrong side of the tracks and often thought other people didn’t think she was good enough for them. Besides, I wanted an opportunity to see Kyle up close without seeming too obvious. And Friday should be perfect since Marleen’s parents were going out and leaving Kyle in charge.

“I hope Jeff doesn’t bug us too much,” Marleen said. Her brother Jeff had become a little creepy, in a greasemonkey kind of way. “God, I wish I just had one adorable brother like you do. You know Kyle’s planning to bring his new girlfriend over?”

I shrugged, as if I didn’t care. She knew, of course, but I hated to admit my hopeless crush, even to my best friend.

But Marleen just sighed. “Neither of them has an artistic soul, you know? I mean, all Jeff cares about is cars and all Kyle cares about is girls. There’s so much more to life than that. No one understands me. Well, no one but…”

She broke off, but I suspected I knew who she was talking about. She’d been over to Mrs. Whitford’s garden again, talking to Brian. I didn’t go with her when Brian was in the garden anymore. I wasn’t sure why, but it seemed weird to me that he was so interested in talking to Marleen when he was a good twenty years old than her.

Brian wasn’t in the garden when we got to Marleen’s house, and Kyle wasn’t home yet, so I let Marleen convince me to go to the garden. Most of the roses had withered, and there weren’t so many bugs as during the summer, but the garden still had a creepy feel to it. Marleen and I discussed the school Halloween dance for a while. Who was taking who. Who wasn’t going. Who would probably kiss who. Who would ask us to dance if we decided it was worth our while to go.

The back screen door at the house banged shut and we peered through the thinning bushes to see Brian pulling spades and hoes and shovels out of the storage area in the basement of the old house. He didn’t appear to have seen us, and with difficulty I managed to hold Marleen down. I didn’t want to have to talk to him. She giggled but acquiesced.

We watched as Brian pulled what seemed like every gardening tool he owned out of the storage closet, then seemed to find what he was looking for. He stood, stretched, and turned slowly, his eyes scanning the garden, a trowel in one hand, a bag of bulbs in the other. As we crouched in the garden, the scent of damp earth and rotting plants filling our nostrils, Brian drove the trowel into the ground again and again. I could hear the thud of its blade, the ripping sounds of roots and sometimes a tiny clink as it hit a rock or pebble.

Finally, tired of watching Brian thrusting into the earth, I tugged on Marleen’s shirttail. She shook her head and stayed where she was. I shrugged and headed for the fence, crawling with my head down. I wasn’t able to see Brian or tell for sure if he saw me, but the stabbing noises continued. Only later, when Marleen joined me in her yard did I realize that Brian couldn’t have escaped seeing us from his back porch as he came outside. Somehow realizing he’d known we were there and acted like he hadn’t creeped me out even more.

Five Days of Free Kindle Books: Saturday Love

As you all probably hopefully know by now, I’m giving away one of my books each day of this work week. And to sweeten the deal, I’m offering a $50 gift card for anyone who writes a review of one of my books on Amazon and posts it by August 15. Winner will be chosen by random drawing that evening. All you have to do is drop me an email at michellegflye at gmail dot com to let me know you posted the review. I want your honest take on ANY of my books (including the three published by actual publishers), not just the five I’m offering for free this week, but this definitely gives you a chance to read one of my books!

Saturday LoveToday’s free Kindle book is Saturday Love, the sequel to Ducks in a Row. In many ways, Saturday Love is a much better romance than Ducks. It certainly sticks closer to the prescribed one hero, one heroine and a happily ever after formula, though I did take some liberties. Saturday Love is also the only one of my self-published novels to be professionally edited (by the awesome Kristin Anders). Please don’t let this scare you off the others, though. I’m pretty good at catching my own errors. It was just that this one confounded me at every turn. I wrote and rewrote it and still wasn’t satisfied. By the time I handed it over to Kristin, it was a hot mess, but she somehow helped me work through it, and the result pleased even me. I hope it will please you, too!

Here’s a snippet to get you going:

“You’ve never made scuppernong wine, though.” Will glanced up at Accalia curiously.

“No. That is true. Our wines have always been European. It’s a new venture for us. For me.” Her expression showed no concern, and even a hint of arrogance. “To be truthful, I fell in love with the taste of your scuppernong wine while on a buying trip in the States. I took some home to my father.” She smiled. “He didn’t really understand the draw, but when I showed him the numbers, even he had to admit it could be a profitable expansion if done correctly.” She paused. “Nonetheless, I am under no illusions. Although I have the backing of my father’s name and his label, this is my venture, using my capital. If I fail, I fail alone. If I succeed…” She spread her hands.

Will’s respect for the woman tripled. He recognized her passion because he’d felt it himself, working at the restaurant. It was why he’d put in such long hours there, even before Cady came to work for him. He shoved thoughts of Cady away. “Well, I look forward to seeing you succeed, Ms. Nikoulas.” He stood, holding out a hand as he stepped around the desk. “We would be more than happy to help you on your way.”

Her face broke into a smile and she stood, unfortunately a little more enthusiastically than gracefully, and fell into his chest. Without missing a beat, Will put an arm around her waist to steady her, stepping away only when he was certain she wouldn’t fall. “Are you all right?” He noticed a slight blush on her cheeks.

“Sorry.” She laughed, obviously embarrassed. “I didn’t mean to jump at you. I’m not known for being graceful.”

At the sound of a slight cough, they both turned. Lisa stood in the door, a glint of amusement in her eyes but her face schooled into a professional expression. “Ms. Nikoulas, I just wanted to stop by and say hello. I’m Lisa Hubbard, the manager of the vineyard. I trust you’ve seen everything you need to?”

“Yes. I have, and I believe we’ve reached a deal.” Accalia looked happily at Will. “Mr. Hubbard and I, that is.”

“Perfect.” Lisa took her hand. “My brother will be your contact here, but feel free to call on either of us at any time. You are, of course, welcome back here as often as you like.”

“Thank you.” Accalia nodded. “And please, call me Accalia.”

“And I’m Lisa.”

“And Will.” Will stepped in. “Accalia is a lovely name. Greek?”

She nodded. “My father is Greek, my mother American. I’ve spent half my life here and half there. The best of both worlds, I suppose.”

“What does your name mean?” Lisa tilted her head curiously, lapsing out of her businesswoman persona for a moment.

Accalia winced. “Nothing very attractive, actually. My mother told me my father chose it because it means ‘chaos’ or something like that.”

“Mary Shelley said all invention comes out of chaos.” Will smiled at her.

“He got that from his education at UNC.” Lisa waggled her eyebrows expressively.

“More than they taught you at Duke.” Will turned his back on her to find Accalia watching them with amusement. “Would you like to see any more of the vineyards? I’ll be more than happy to give you a guided tour.”

“Thank you, but I saw a good bit earlier, thanks to your map.” She turned and started down the hall. Will walked beside her, his hand resting on the small of her back as he reached around her to open the front door.

“We look forward to seeing you again, Accalia.”

She gave him an almost shy, slightly awkward but still friendly smile. “Thank you…Will.”

Will watched her cross the parking lot to her Jeep. Her figure was trim, almost athletic, and her blonde hair shone in the sun. He turned to be confronted by his sister, leaning on Natalie’s desk. When his eyes met hers, she pretended to fan herself. “Was it getting hot in here or was it just me, Natalie?”

“What on earth are you talking about?” Will frowned at her.

“You were flirting with her!” Lisa chortled.

“I was not.” Will brushed past her.

“Well, don’t get me wrong, Will. Seriously, if you get us more buyers by flirting than by giving tours of the vineyard, I’m all for it.” She laughed. “As long as our clients aren’t married.”

Will froze at his office door and glanced over his shoulder. She couldn’t have meant the remark the way it sounded, but the explosion of pain in his chest wouldn’t be denied. Lisa’s teasing smile faded and Natalie looked like she might cry. Lisa took half a step toward him and opened her mouth as if to say something but he shook his head and went into his office, shutting the door carefully behind him.

He sat at the desk, looking at his hands. God, he missed the restaurant. There was always something to do there. If you were done getting ready for the lunch rush, you’d better get started getting ready for dinner. And paperwork and orders and checks to be signed. And then Cady came and even the least favorite of his chores became a joy because he was near her. He groaned and laid his head on his arms. These memories of her had to go. He had to forget. Somehow.

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!