November 26: Stars aligned, NaNoWriMo complete.

It’s official. I finished NaNoWriMo a few days ago. Then I edited the novel, added chapters, formatted it…and sent it to my editor. I’ve NEVER done anything like this before. I’m one of those write-it-let-it-sit-and-then-eventually-edit-it people. I’ve got a couple of novels sitting on my hard drive that I wrote more than a year ago. I think Stephen King calls them “trunk novels”. One of these days I’ll pull them out and figure out what to do with them.

So what’s different about this one? For one thing I wrote it faster than I’ve EVER written a novel. I’ve finished National Novel Writing Month twice before, but I’ve never finished it this much ahead of the deadline. And when I finished it, I wasn’t tired of it, so re-reading and editing wasn’t a chore. Plus, I’m actually energized and excited about the ideas this novel has inspired in me. It’s the first of what I hope is a series. I’m already working on the next one. Of course, by “working on the next one”, I mean the idea is simmering in my head. I have a vague idea of who the characters are and haven’t really decided about the plot. But the ingredients are simmering and congealing and eventually will come together in a delicious stew. (Now I’m getting hungry!)

NaNoWriMo was a fast ride this year, but it was a smooth one. I guess the stars aligned just right. Now I can afford a brief breathing moment before the next novel-writing frenzy overtakes me!

Last stop of the book tour: Check out My Devotional Thoughts for an interesting, if complimentary review of Where the Heart Lies and my own description of my writing schedule. Since this is my last stop of the tour, it’s also your last chance to enter to win my great prizes! (10% off coupons to Carina Press and a copy of Bartlett’s Poems for Occasions) Also, I would like to thank Goddess Fish for organizing the book tour, all the gracious hosts who shared their blogs with me and everyone who stopped by! It’s been a blast!

NaNoWriMo: What’s Going On? (exclusive excerpt from my NaNo novel)

No, I’m not confused. I’m updating. Finally. I feel like I’ve been in a daze most of this month, and I guess I have sort of been in a writing fever. Consumed. I’d like to credit National Novel Writing Month with this, but I’ve participated in this annual event often enough to know, if the story hadn’t been there, it wouldn’t have written itself like this. NaNoWriMo probably did help me keep going, but this story was just kind of there. The characters weren’t hard to bring to life because by the time November 1 rolled around, I already knew them well enough to write about them.

I’ve already said the story is about magic. I’ve spent most of my life looking for magic, even finding it every now and then in everyday life, trying to capture it and cage it on the page in black and white. It doesn’t work, usually. I’m not sure I managed it this time. Maybe you can tell me:

She could feel the dry desert breeze on her skin, a welcome relief after the canned air she’d been breathing all day. This far up, the air smelled fresh, free from the musty mix of sweaty bodies and sewage that often pervaded the street level of Vegas. If she kept her eyes closed, she could almost imagine what it had been like hundreds of years before when the cowboys rode through the desert…

She was wasting time. If she were going to do it, she should go ahead. She bit her lip, felt his hands on her hips, the warmth of his body behind her. As if he understood her inner battle, he leaned forward, his lips almost touching her ear, making her dizzy with desire at a time when she desperately didn’t want to be dizzy. At first she barely understood his words, but when they penetrated, she found her courage. “Sometimes you have to do something that frightens you just to be sure you’re still alive.”

Her eyes fluttered open, and she waited for the vertigo and fear to crash down on her. But with him at her back, she found she could look out at what was undeniably an amazing view. Somehow beautiful in its blatant excess, the Strip spread out below her in a medley of lights, looking like crystal and jeweled glass. She could see the people strolling along the street, slower and more peaceful at this late hour and at this great distance than she knew they would if she were among them. Light of every color bloomed and blossomed and split through the night. The light breeze brushed her hair back from her face, almost as gentle as his touch. For the first time, she could understand why Vegas had become known as the flower of the desert. “It’s amazing.”

He stood close enough so she could feel him nod. “From up here it is.” He moved to her side, and she immediately wished he hadn’t. She liked the solid feel of him behind her. He contemplated the view for a moment. “Do you know what I see down there?”

She shook her head. “What?”

“A lot of people looking for something. I’ve always believed it’s magic. Do you know what I think magic is?” He turned, searching her eyes.

Again she shook her head. A gust of wind whipped her hair across her face and he reached up to brush it back, his palm warm against her cheek. “Magic is the absence of doubt.”

So far, my magic novel is 48,000+ words. I anticipate finishing it today. It’s the first time I’ve ever finished a NaNo novel before Thanksgiving. It’s still untitled, although I have a few ideas. But if you want to help, feel free to leave a comment below with your suggestion.

And while I’m bragging, I got two reviews yesterday for Where the Heart Lies! One was from my gracious blog tour host Stitch Read Cook. Here’s an excerpt:

“Michelle has a way with words, she draws you into the small town life of these characters and keeps you hooked until the last page.” — Stitch Read Cook

The second was unexpected, however, and I found it by chance on Bookaddiction. Check this out:

“Where The Heart Lies by Michelle Garren Flye is a lovely story about guilt, redemption, and the power of love. …a well-written romantic novel with an unusual amount of depth.” –Bookaddiction

How cool is that? Makes me think my quest for magic might be progressing after all!

Weekly NaNo update and blog tour stops; Plus, YES!

National Novel Writing Month this year has been awesome. My word count right now stands at 47,588 and the story is pretty much done. It’s a very simple romance this time, but my hero and heroine fall in love much faster than usual, like over the span of about two days. Of course, then you have a monkey wrench thrown into the works, because they both have trust issues, but, and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by telling you this…there’s a happy ending.

So on from NaNo to my blog tour. We have two stops today! First off, over at Stitch Read Cook, you can read my take on Life in a Small Town. Later on this morning, there’ll be a post on Guilty Indulgence about, ahem, my particular guilty indulgence.

Finally, look to your left at the YES! (Year End Splash) party promo pic (I know, not too hard to look at that, huh?). Over at the Romance Reviews, there’s a huge end-of-year party going on and you’ll find my book featured there tomorrow through Saturday. Check out the YES! party page for some great games and giveaways and find out a little about some great romance books and authors.

A Brief Announcement and Redirection…

Yes, I realize I haven’t posted anything real in over a week. (Last Tuesday’s Get Out and Vote Post doesn’t count.) Sorry about that, but I’ve been very busy with normal everyday life as well as anything-but-normal NANOWRIMO life. I’m happy to say I’ve had great success with NaNo this year, though. And here’s the big announcement: I’m up to 31,000+ words! I’m having so much fun with this one. I’ll tell you more about it later, but here’s a little hint: It’s about magic and the odd places you go to find it. It is a romance and it’s still untitled, so if anyone wants to leave me a suggestion for a title, I’d welcome it.

But if you want to read a real post from me today, I’m going to redirect you to Jersey Girl Book Reviews. As part of my blog tour, they’ve put up a very nice post featuring a little info about me and WHERE THE HEART LIES, a guest post titled “Capturing Magic: Lightning Bugs in a Mason Jar” and even a very nice, well-written, four-star review! Here’s a little tidbit from the review:

Where The Heart Lies is a poignant story of loss, grief, secrets, love, redemption and second chances.–Jersey Girl Book Review

Can you guess how much I enjoyed that review? So pop over and let JGBR know how much you appreciate their kindness to your favorite author–no, not Nicholas Sparks or J.K.Rowling. ME, silly. 🙂

Why you should make your bed during NaNo, plus today’s blog tour stop

It’s day five of NaNoWriMo and I’m exhausted. The late nights, the weekend’s time change, and the chilly weather are combining to make me think longingly of my bed. It’s right upstairs, unmade and calling. Oh crap. If only I’d made it as soon as I got out of it!

To make it worse, I actually want to write. I’m loving my NaNo story this year. Writing 2,000+ words hasn’t been too much of a challenge. In fact, the first day I wrote 5,000+ words. NaNo should not be able to defeat me this year.

And yet.

First of all, who decided to put the time change on the first weekend of National Novel Writing Month? Okay, I realize to the rest of the world, this is November, but still. The time change always throws me off, and yesterday, when I could have slept an extra hour, I decided to get up and write an extra hour instead. Of course, if I hadn’t done that, I probably wouldn’t have made my goal before midnight, but still.

Second, I lay awake last night thinking of plot points and possible twists and the character I’ve just thrown in and how she’s going to betray the heroine…and I couldn’t get to sleep until nearly one o’clock. Then I had to get up and get my kids off to school so I could write this blog to complain about how tired I am.

Third, I did NOT make my bed this morning. Understand that most household chores go by the wayside during NaNo (or a routine writing spurt), but making the bed should never be one of them. It just makes it too easy to climb back into it!

Ah well, if you’d like to hear more from me after all this nonsense, visit me at The Brunette Librarian this morning for a very nice review of WHERE THE HEART LIES and my take on where all those people I write about come from before they spring out of my head and onto the page.

NANOWRIMO Day One: The Beginning

As I write this, I have a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. Is it indigestion? Butterflies? Nerves? Possibly all three. I can hardly believe November 1 is here. Today I launch myself on a quest many novelists before me (and me, several times) have undertaken. A 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

I’m ready. I’ve got character sketches, outlines and even a couple of rough scenes. Plus, I’m writing a romance, and I love writing romance, so…yeah. I’m ready.

And so here I go. On to a month of a messy house, writing every second I can and probably not getting enough exercise or sleep. But by the end of the month I’ll have a novel. At least, that’s the plan.

Sandy prayers and a blog tour update, plus a plug for NANOWRIMO

First off, let me say I’m praying for the people in the Northeast who are going to deal with Sandy’s full wrath in a few hours. I’ve been in a hurricane. I thought Irene was bad. That was the night and day where I could do nothing but pace the floor and listen to trees falling outside my house, praying none hit our roof. North Carolina just got swiped by Sandy this year, for which I’m thankful, but I’m watching and listening to reports of it bearing down on the New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia coasts. I have friends and family in all those states.

But the show—or at least the blog tour—must go on. I’ve got a Q&A up at It’s Raining Books today. Stop by and leave a comment for your chance at the fabulous prizes I’m giving away. And don’t forget to leave me a comment here for a chance to win a print copy of Foreign Affairs. I’ll be giving that away on Wednesday, but you’ve still got time!

Finally, I signed up for NANOWRIMO (NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth) this weekend. I’ve already got a rough outline of my book, have named the main characters and started to work on character outlines. So I’m ready to come out guns blazing on Thursday morning. I have every intention of finishing a novel this month, and I challenge everyone out there to join me. If you’re a writer at all, NANO is a great way to see if you’ve got a novel in you. It teaches you discipline and the joy of writing every single day. And if you don’t find those things by the end of the month (regardless of whether you finish the 50,000 words or not), well, you probably aren’t a novel writer. At any rate, it’s a great way to find out.

I will be blogging this month about my struggles with NANO. I am warning you ahead of time that I may use this blog to complain and vent my frustrations. I will also use it to remind myself to breathe. November is a busy month anyway, but when you’re forcing yourself to crank out nearly 2,000 words a day, it can be downright active! I look forward to finding out what it holds in store for me…