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!

It all began two years ago on a winter afternoon…

Saturday Love Final CoverThis year I will self-publish another book on January 1. I’ve done it for the past two years, and I now think of it as my way of renewing my pledge to keep on keeping on at the writing and publishing thing. But it does have a story…

It was after Christmas, everyone was content, and for once I wasn’t running anywhere or doing anything. That’s when I decided to take the leap into self publishing. I already had two ebooks out (Secrets of the Lotus and Winter Solstice) through Lyrical Press. And I had this third manuscript just kind of hanging out on my computer desktop. (Stephen King calls them “trunk novels”, and the description is pretty apt. Because you don’t know what to do with them, you tuck them away somewhere, but every now and then you open the trunk and have a peek.)

Weeds and Flowers coverThat was how Weeds and Flowers came to be published. Half young adult romance, half coming of age novel, a sprinkling of mystery and a pinch of autobiography, Weeds and Flowers doesn’t fit in any particular genre, but I always knew it was a good story. Even if it is a tough sell. I first published it on New Year’s Day 2012 through Kindle Direct Publishing, although it’s gone through revisions and is now on its third edition (and available in paperback as well as ebook).

Ducks_CoverLast year I found myself in a similar situation. Kids happy, husband happy, everyone content to stay in for an afternoon…and lo and behold, I had another trunk novel just begging to be published. That’s how Ducks in a Row found its way into the published world through the magic of CreateSpace and KDP on New Year’s Day 2013.

This year, I’m doing it again, but I’m doing it on purpose. Saturday Love is the sequel to Ducks in a Row, the story of Will and what happens to him after the events of Ducks. In Saturday Love, you’ll become better acquainted with Will’s loving and lovable family, including his handsome brother Patrick (the one who coins the phrase “Saturday love” to describe the way he feels about his new girlfriend), his younger sister Lisa (who may yet have her own story…) and his beautiful, strong mother Anne, the matriarch of the Hubbard clan. And yes, it’s a romance, so there’s a new lady in Will’s life. You’ll be able to find Saturday Love on Amazon and many other online retailers in paperback and on Amazon for Kindle on January 1, 2014.

Broadening My Horizons: Preparing for #RWA13

Tomorrow I will step outside my comfort zone and attend #RWA13 (Romance Writers of America 2013 for the uninitiated). It’s a little scary and a lot exhilarating thinking of being surrounded by the amount of talent I know I’ll experience at this meeting. I went to my first one two years ago and loved it, although I had no idea what I was doing. After stumbling through two or three meetings with editors and agents, idiotically blabbing that I don’t like erotica (it’s not my first choice of reading material, but I have since learned to appreciate the art form), and wandering the halls aimlessly in search of the wrong workshops after reading the schedule incorrectly, I think I can safely say I’ve learned a thing or two about RWA meetings.

Five things I’m packing for #RWA13:
1. My ambition. I’ll dust it off first. It gets a lot of use, but in between these meetings, it can be sort of stationary.
2. My guts. I know I’ll need them. Hell, I’m an introvert. This kind of thing is really tough for me.
3. My talent. I do have it. Sometimes I lose it, but I always find it again.
4. My ability to roll with the punches. A no is just a no. It’s not a decree that I should never try again.
5. My determination. I know I haven’t written the Great American Novel and likely never will, but I ain’t gonna quit until I run out of words. And my dictionary is REALLY long.

In addition, I’m taking 52 copies of Close Up Magic, 10 copies of Ducks in a Row, 7 copies of Weeds and Flowers, bookmarks, postcards and stickers. Also, if you see me at #RWA13, ask me about my magic wands. I might just have one to give you!

Do travel mugs equal e-readers? Only in my world.

I may be a romance writer, but I’m also a coffee lover, and today I’m home, drinking coffee out of my favorite mug. It’s a big thick one with Minnie Mouse on it. I don’t like it because it has Minnie Mouse on it, although I love all things Disney. I like this mug because coffee tastes better out of it than any other coffee mug I’ve ever tried.

I can’t always kick back and drink my coffee at home, though. Most days I’m on the run, delivering kids to various dental or doctor appointments, grocery shopping, volunteering at the school. You know, all the things that keep us moms out of trouble. For those days, I need a travel mug. One problem. Coffee does NOT taste the same out of a travel mug. Want proof? I have a cupboard full of travel mugs and I don’t like any of them as much as I do my Minnie Mouse mug. Have a look:

Romance writer's travel mug collection

You’d think one of those mugs would work for me, wouldn’t you? To be fair, these are my favorites and the ones you’re most likely to catch me with. In fact, despite my tendency to leave things behind, I’ve managed to hold onto a couple of these for years. See that pink one with the lip prints on it? That one’s from a school trip my son took to Washington, D.C., three years ago. I have left that mug everywhere, but I always go back for it, because the coffee doesn’t taste half bad when I drink from it. The two Margaritaville mugs are my most recent acquisitions. I just bought them on my vacation last week in Myrtle Beach (remember the gators?). You see, I’m still on my quest to find the perfect travel mug because none of these match up to my good old-fashioned Minnie Mouse.

So how did I go from thinking about travel mugs to e-readers? Simple. People keep asking me when my novels will all be out in print. Even now when most of the people who will read my novels actually do have an e-reader or at least a smart-phone with a Kindle app. But I get it. Reading a novel on an electronic screen isn’t the same as holding the book in your hands. So yeah, now that I’ve actually held one of my books in my hands (Ducks in a Row), I get it. I know now why people self-publish instead of looking for an independent electronic publisher. That doesn’t mean that I’m not still looking for electronic publishers. But it does mean that when I get a chance to publish in print, I’m going to take it. So look for Weeds & Flowers to be out there soon. But for now, I leave you with this lovely image:

Romance and coffee

Giving away stuff today…

I get a great feeling out of giving stuff away. It’s a fun, sort of magnanimous, expansive feeling…kind of like I’m Robin Hood throwing gold to the poor.

Well, I’m not Robin Hood, and what I have to give isn’t stolen. I worked hard for them, but I do feel kind of like I have vast riches to give away because now I’ve got not one, but two books that I can decide to put on Amazon’s free kindle books list. So go get your copies of Weeds and Flowers and Ducks in a Row now. They’re free until Thursday. Enjoy!

Ducks in a Row Cover

Weeds and Flowers

Self-published and proud of it: Stop squelching the new voices.

There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt. — Audre Lorde

I’m really trying not to get angry now. If you want to know why, go read this article: Are Self-Pubbed Authors Killing the Publishing Industry? I actually read the article yesterday and let it sit for a day so I could be sure after cooling off that I didn’t see her point, but after reading it again this morning, I realized I’m still hot. So here I go on my soapbox.

Seriously? KILLING the industry? You want to know what’s killing the industry? Look a little deeper. Look at the agents who don’t want to take a chance on cross-genre works and new names. And the editors who won’t even look at a new author unless they’re represented by an agent. The publishing industry has become so intertwined, it’s almost impossible to get anything published the traditional route unless you’re grandfathered in.

Of course, there are exceptions. Everybody knows J.K. Rowling’s slush pile acceptance story. But that was more than fifteen years ago. More recently, of course, there was the Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (what’s with the British authors with initials thing?) breakthrough, but let’s please remember that that started out as fanfiction, and was originally published online. So I’m not certain you can claim Ms. James went the traditional route at all.

I have self-published a book. I’m considering self-publishing more. And the reason I’m doing it is because I’m a writer, and I have every intention of continuing to write and be published, whether I have to do it myself or not. And to promote my books, I will do web tours and give away Kindles and Nooks, even if “Traditionally published authors aren’t stooping to these tactics.” Traditionally published authors don’t have to. Their publishers take care of publicity for them.

I have said before and will say again that the way for new authors to get their words out there is to go through small e-publishers. With that route, you get the benefit of a professional editor (believe me, it helps). However, I also know there are books that even indie publishers aren’t going to consider. And for those, Smashwords and Kindle Direct Publishing will continue to be desirable routes for writers. And if we want to sell our words for 99 cents, then traditional publishers need to suck it up and stop complaining. Buyer beware. If you pay 99 cents for a book, you might not enjoy it. It probably hasn’t been professionally edited. It may have typos and formatting errors.

On the other hand, it might be brilliant. It might be a new voice with something to say that you might enjoy hearing. At any rate, it cost less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks, so what do you have to lose?

If you’d like to try my 99 cent self-published 5-star on Amazon book, here’s a link: Weeds and Flowers. And my self-designed cover, which I am very proud of: