Tag Archives: Close Up Magic

Magic in the Wings…

I seem to always have about three novels in the works these days. So after Time Being‘s release in June, I took a couple weeks off and then I picked up one of my previous projects, a Sleight of Hand novel I wrote way back in 2014 during NaNoWriMo.

If you’ve ever completed a National Novel Writing Month novel, you know what you tend to end up with. It’s usually a huge mess. This one, in particular was a bit of a mess to begin with because I’d taken two ideas, Pirate Magic and an untitled novel about a children’s magician, and thrown them in together. The result couldn’t be pretty, right?

Actually, it wasn’t as bad as I’d first thought. I actually enjoyed unraveling the knots I’d tied my plot into and filling in the holes. I really fell in love with my characters all over again. If you’ve read Island Magic, you’ll recognize Sabrina Parker, the tough and talented special effects expert who helped magician Ian Logan fake a plane crash on a remote tropical island. And Walt Bryson, children’s magician, makes a perfect love interest for the intrepid Ms. Parker.

It’s a match made in the stars—Hollywood stars, that is!

Anyway, here’s the blurb, which may change a bit before I’m done. I’m always tweaking these things, right up until I’m ready to publish it. I’m hoping to have this one out by October. It still needs another copy-editing run-through and maybe even a little light editing, but for the most part the story is done, and here it is:

Lights…camera…magic!

Sabrina Parker has spent her professional life creating unbelievable stunts and magical effects for movies and stage magicians. Now she needs a magician to help her bring a very special movie to life. Her search leads her to the very unlikely stage of Walt Bryson, host of a long-running children’s television show in Beaufort, North Carolina.

Walt isn’t terribly happy about taking Hollywood’s call. He’s never sought the same notoriety as his Ian Logan and Andre Hawke. But there’s something about the beautiful, levelheaded Ms. Parker, and when he reads her screenplay, he knows he wants to work with her. For the first time in years, he’s willing to put tragedy behind him and make real magic.

 

Can Walt and Sabrina use love as their guide or will their past mistakes haunt their future?

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Filed under Movie Magic, Sleight of Hand, Writing

Sleight of Hand Continues: A brief intro to Rachel and Logan from Island Magic!

In just thirteen days, the magic starts again! Island Magic, the third novel in my Sleight of Hand series, releases on October 31. I’m a little excited about this, and not just because the covers (designed by the amazing Farah Evers), look great together:

CloseUpMagicEbookRevEscape MagicEbookIsland Magic eBook

For those who don’t know, I started the Sleight of Hand series a couple of years ago with the release of Close Up Magic. Close Up Magic tells the story of handsome and successful magician Andre Hawke and Stacey Matthews, the scandal reporter looking for a scoop of gossip about Andre and his drug-addicted brother, Tony. Needless to say, attraction leads to passion which leads to complications, and, finally, a satisfyingly magical conclusion. I continued the series a year later with the novella Escape Magic, the story of a cleaner and stronger Tony, who finds himself challenged by an old friend, the inimitable escape magician Lady Lydia. I called this my “anti-50 Shades” bondage romance because, well, Lydia is an escape magician. Makes sense she’d be into that kind of thing, though she’s such a strong heroine, she’s more than capable of turning the tables on any partner who might try it with her.

Island Magic is a bit of a departure for me in that it doesn’t involve a practicing magician. The hero, Ian Logan, retired from the magical life after the death of his wife, which he blames himself for. He’s happy in his retirement until Rachel Duvall, his wife’s best friend, arrives at his island resort, freshly divorced and evidently determined to party her way down a self-destructive path of men, drugs and drink. Logan wants to help her, but first he has to deal with his own attraction to the sexy goddess he barely recognizes.

Rachel is the single most unlikely heroine I’ve ever written, but I absolutely love her. It was hard to get her just right. The things she does aren’t things I could ever imagine doing, so at first I had a hard time relating to her. I had to achieve a balance in her personality that somehow made her worth redeeming, and it was very difficult! Have a look at this excerpt to get a taste of what Rachel appears to be at the beginning of the book:

Three floors down from Rachel’s window handsome, tanned men dressed in white moved around the pool, setting up chairs, sweeping away small bits of trash, piling clean white towels on bamboo stands. Rachel watched their smooth movements with all the admiration she would feel for a ballet. They were coordinated, efficient, pleasant to observe.

They reminded her a little of the cast members she’d seen at Disney World when she was last there. The memory brought a jab of pain sharp enough to penetrate the morning fog. She’d been so full of hope then. So sure it wouldn’t be the last time she believed in magic.

The bedsheets rustled and a tousled dark head emerged. The handsome college kid grinned at her, teeth white against his olive skin. Where was he from again? Spain? She struggled to remember at least that much. His name was out of the question. She never remembered names. How old was he, anyway? She hoped at least twenty-one. She didn’t want to think she’d spent a passionate night in the arms of anyone technically young enough to be her son. He’s still too young for a thirtysomething divorcee. Her years weighed on her for a second before she shook them off impatiently.

He held out a hand. “Come back to bed.”

The invitation was eloquently stated and absurdly inviting to have been uttered by someone so young. However old he was, he certainly had experience in the area of making love. And he had the face and body of a fallen angel. Curly, jet-black hair, brown eyes, lush lips. His bare skin smooth and his muscles rock hard… She shook herself out of the memory, making her voice cold on purpose. “You need to go.”

He laughed and rolled over onto his back, stretching. “You don’t mean that, mi reyna.”

My Queen. Spanish. She’d at least remembered that right. Rachel felt ludicrously relieved, which firmed up her determination. She needed to get this kid, ah hell, this boy out of her room before she fell back into bed with him. Drunk sex was one thing—the only thing she could afford. Making love sober the morning after was another. She turned away. “It’s late. I have things to do.”

He was silent. She’d hurt him. She closed her eyes. It was better this way. If he fell into the dark hole of her heart, he’d never survive it. She turned, finding his clothes in a pile on the floor. She picked them up and tossed them to him. “Here you go. You’ve got a room here, right? Go take a shower.” She let herself smile gently at him. “Look, I don’t mean to hurt you. Last night was…mmm.” She laughed a little. “You’re very good. But you’re barely old enough for me. Take my advice and stick with girls for now. Give yourself another ten years before you try with a woman my age. At least by then you’ll be interesting.”

I think you get the idea that Rachel has a long way to go from here. Fortunately, she has Logan to help her on the journey, and he’s a hero who’s more than up to the task. Don’t believe me? Here’s a little excerpt to introduce you:

Logan held the burning cigarette between his thumb and forefinger, even though he wasn’t a smoker. He could go days without smoking and never even think about it. Smoking, like most everything else in his life, was an affectation.

Except this place. This is real. Isla Foriscura, his little haven in the middle of the Caribbean, was the only thing real about him anymore. The rest was illusion. The lustful looks of the women, the nights he spent drinking a little too much trying to forget, the mornings when he could very easily have stayed in bed. None of that was real.

She was real. Rachel. She was really here, but it wasn’t really her. He frowned at the cigarette, aware that the others had finished the job he’d started with them, but not ready to move yet. He turned the problem of Rachel over and over in his mind. I stopped believing in magic a long time ago.

That wasn’t the Rachel he remembered, not that he knew her except for Nora’s description: beautiful, carefree, loving and loveable. She’d sent him an invitation to her wedding a few years ago, but he hadn’t gone. He’d sent her a lovely crystal vase instead with a card wishing her well. Who was the guy? Keith? Ken? It didn’t matter. Obviously he was out of the picture and he’d taken most of the woman Nora had loved with him.

What happened to you, Rachel?

And then there was this day. His birthday. Nora always made a big deal out of birthdays. Probably why Logan hadn’t celebrated his since her death. He looked down at the cigarette in his fingers and wound it through them, watching it with interest as it moved, seemingly of its own accord, although he knew it was little flexes of the muscles he’d developed over his years performing sleight of hand magic tricks.

Tricks. The word gave him a sour taste in his mouth. It was all tricks. He tossed the cigarette on the tiles and stepped on it as he stood. He could sit there all day brooding or he could get up and live. He’d always known those were his choices, and he’d chosen life a long time before.

Intrigued yet? In case you’re wondering, Tony, Stacey, Andre and Lady Lydia all make appearances in Island Magic, and you find out where their paths have led them. So if you want to catch up on the story before Island Magic‘s official release on October 31 in print and on Kindle, you can find their books on Amazon. Both are available for the bargain price of 99 cents! Island Magic is available for pre-order for $2.99 for Kindle now.

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Close Up Magic and my crush on David Copperfield

Okay, so now you know. That’s the real reason I wrote Close Up Magic. I had a crush on David Copperfield.CloseUpMagicEbookRev

I shouldn’t be ashamed to admit it now. I mean, I’m 44 years old. And my crush started when I was about seven. And who could blame a little seven-year-old girl for crushing hard on a suave, cute twenty-something magician? I’m quite certain I wasn’t the only one, either. (I might be the only one of those seven-year-olds who then went on to write a romance series based on that crush, though…)

I did get over that crush. Mostly. (Though seeing him live was one of my bucket list items I marked off with a great deal of satisfaction.) But I can without doubt say that David Copperfield began my lifelong love affair and fascination with magic. And though I’m all grown up and happily married with three kids and nowhere near the figure I used to have, I continue to live out my magical fantasies through my Sleight of Hand series.

In case you haven’t heard, Close Up Magic is free for the Kindle today. Tomorrow, Escape Magic, the second in the Sleight of Hand series, is free for two days and then on Friday, join me here for a special preview and a chance to win a free Advance Release Copy (ARC) of Island Magic, Book 3 of the series. Join me in my magical obsession. And know it was born on a quiet evening in my childhood home while I watched on a little black-and-white tv set while David Copperfield pull a rabbit (or was it a duck?) out of a hat.

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Magic Week: Announcing, Free Books and a Preview!

I’m getting very excited about the upcoming release of Island Magic, and I thought I’d share some of that excitement with you guys. This week, Close Up Magic and Escape Magic are free for Kindle on Amazon. Close Up Magic on Monday and Tuesday, Escape Magic on Wednesday and Thursday. And once you’ve read those two, I’m sure you won’t be able to wait to read the third in the series, so I’ll post the first ten pages of Island Magic right here. And to sweeten the deal, if you comment, you become eligible to win a free autographed preview print copy of Island Magic! Which means you can know what happens before anyone else (except me).

So if you love magic and romance and happy endings, join me here on my blog all this week, download your free Kindle copies of Close Up Magic and Escape Magic, and comment on the excerpt from Island Magic for your chance to win Book 3 of Sleight of Hand!

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One Thing Writers Never Tell You About Writing

When people find out I write, they ask me, “What’s that like?” Usually I’m at a loss. Writing is so much a part of me and who I am, I can’t really separate it enough to look at it. All I can come up with as a reply, usually, are amorphous answers that I’m never certain of so I always word them almost as questions. “It’s…uh…fun?”

Recently I dug a little deeper. I was actually trying to remember what the last book I read was—other than my own—and how I used to love reading. It drove me nuts to be caught somewhere without a book. When I was a kid in school, I was always the first one to hand in my math test and then I’d pull out whatever novel I was currently reading (or re-reading). And get lost in it. Remember that old line by libraries and teachers and literacy organizations, “Books take you places”? When I was a kid, books took me all over the world.

And now that I’m an adult and a professional (albeit only marginally successful) writer, I realized something that nobody ever told me before about writing. When you write a book, it takes you places, too.

Only it’s better.

Yep, that’s what it’s like to be a writer. It’s like being a reader, only better. Yes, it’s hard work. There are days I despair of ever writing two coherent words in a row. There are days when writing sentence after sentence is more arduous mentally than plowing a field with a mule and a hand plow is physically. Writing can be so exhausting it’s frightening. It can hurt. But it’s good. In fact, it’s wonderful.

It takes you places.

I’ve set my books in places I’ve never been like New York (I’ve been twice since, but I’d never been there before I wrote Secrets of the Lotus) and Greece (part of Saturday Love). And I’ve set them in places where I’ve been and long to go back like the Caribbean in Island Magic and Las Vegas (Close Up Magic and Escape Magic). And I’ve set them in places I’ve lived like Hillsborough, N.C. (Where the Heart Lies) and my hometown of Brevard, N.C. (Tracks in the Sand). And each and every time, when I would sit down to write, my book would take me there.

So now I guess I have a reply. “What’s it like to write? Why do I do it?” Because writing is like reading. It takes you places. What makes it better is that you get to take your readers along with you for the journey.

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Five Days of Free Kindle Books: Close Up Magic

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 this week, but this definitely gives you a chance to read one of my books!

CloseUpMagicEbookRev Today’s free book is Close Up Magic. Now, I will admit that a little bit of my fangirl self entered into the conception of this particular novel. I wrote it after my husband took me to see David Copperfield live on stage in Las Vegas. This was a bucket list item for me and had been since I was a tiny girl watching a gorgeous David Copperfield perform magic on a grainy black and white television set. The true magic then was the way he lit up that old tube tv and made me believe that magic could exist. The magic when I saw him on stage in Las Vegas as a forty-some year old woman? That he could still make me believe. That I’m still a fangirl after all these years.

To me, love is the greatest magic of all, and so it didn’t take long to make the connection. Why not a series of romances featuring a magician as either hero or heroine? And if my first hero bears a passing resemblance to a young David Copperfield, well, you’ll just have to understand that I’m paying homage to the little girl who watched spellbound from our nappy living room carpet while a black and white (but still handsome) young magician performed miracles on my television set.

Here’s a little taste of Close Up Magic:

She sank into a chair and Mattie handed her a bottle of water. She took an absent swig and turned to Andre. “I thought you’d told me everything.”

“I did.” He spread his hands, a classic magician gesture to indicate he had nothing up his sleeves. Bobby made a little movement, then stilled as she glared at him.

“What about the police? You failed to mention that tidbit.” She turned her full attention back to Andre.

He hesitated. “It was nothing, really.”

“They don’t call the cops for nothing in Vegas, Andre. Private security handles most disturbances in casinos.”

He sighed, resigned. “Tony got drunk, caused a little ruckus when he started losing. I wasn’t around when it started, but when I got back to the resort, I was notified of it and managed to talk the police into letting us handle it privately.”

“I imagine that took a lot of fast talking on your part.” She made a face as if she had tasted something bad and took another gulp of water.

“Not really. Tony’s a good guy, and the resort preferred to handle it privately as well. Thankfully the man Tony punched was an employee and not a guest.” He shrugged, perching on a stool with a nonchalance he didn’t feel.

She shook her head and stood, crossing the room to stand immediately in front of him, her cheeks flushed, her eyes glinting with anger. “Next time I say tell me everything, you better do it. This could’ve blown the whole thing out of the water. All it would’ve taken is a paper trail and Larry would have everything he needed.” She jabbed him in the chest. “And you’d have no one to blame but yourself when he took you down right with your brother.”

She stood close enough so he could smell her perfume and he imagined nuzzling the little hollow of her collarbone, kissing her neck just below her ear… He pulled himself out of the fantasy with difficulty. “Okay. I’m sorry.”

At her dubious look, he spread his hands again. “It’s all I can say. I guess I was still trying to protect him.”

“From me?” She raised her eyebrows a tiny bit, and he shrugged.

“Yeah. From anybody that might hurt him.”

“Great.” She nodded. “Good. You go ahead and keep that up, then. Keep on protecting him, and you’ll ruin yourself.” She brushed past him and out the door, slamming it behind her.

He stared after her, a little stunned. “She is magnificent.” He said it to himself, forgetting he had an audience. Mattie snorted and Bobby grinned, but they both–thank God–kept their comments to themselves.

One final note. Although Close Up Magic is the only book in my Sleight of Hand series that I’m featuring in this promotion, Escape Magic, the novella that is book 2 of the series, is also available. Book 3, Island Magic, should be out this fall and I’m currently working hard on Movie Magic, which will hopefully be ready for you by Spring 2015.

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Announcing: Five days of free books! Plus, enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

I have now self-published enough full-length novels to fill a work week. To celebrate that accomplishment, I’ve decided to launch a five-day promotion starting on Monday of next week. Five days of free Kindle books! And to sweeten the deal, if you read one of my books and post an honest review of it by August 15, you’ll be entered to win a $50 gift card to Amazon! Here’s the schedule of free books:

Monday: Ducks in a Row
Tuesday: Saturday Love
Wednesday: Close Up Magic
Thursday: Weeds and Flowers
Friday: Tracks in the Sand

Remember, the review should be totally honest. Whether it’s positive or negative—as long as it’s obviously about one of MY books—you’ll still be entered to win the gift card. And each review equals one entry! So if you want to read and review more than one by August 15, please do! I can only offer my self-published ones for free, but if you’d like to purchase and review Where the Heart Lies, Secrets of the Lotus, or Winter Solstice, those count, too!

Here’s how to enter:
1. Download one of my books. See the schedule for free books or purchase and review one of my pro published books.
2. Post an honest review on Amazon about the book.
3. Email me at michellegflye@gmail.com to let me know you posted a review.
4. Winner (selected by random draw) will be announced August 15 6 p.m. Eastern!

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