Tag Archives: Where the Heart Lies

I am a Writer

It’s always interesting to me when people I’ve known for years say, “Oh, you’re a writer?” It’s such an essential part of who I am. But I’m very, very bad at telling people about it, because it’s also a very personal part of who I am. I always sort of hoped that I’d one day have a best-seller and the New York Times would out me, but that doesn’t really seem to be happening, so…

I write romantic fiction of several different genres. I’ve written a coming-of-age romantic mystery (i.e. Weeds and Flowers), contemporary romances (i.e. my Sleight of Hand series) and romantic fantasy (i.e. my Synchronicity series—see below). Three of my books were traditionally published (Secrets of the Lotus and Winter Solstice by Lyrical Press and Where the Heart Lies by Carina Press). I am also the proud author of a book that’s been called “unsettling” and “thought-provoking” (Ducks in a Row).

And there you have it. That’s me. I’ve outed myself. There’s a little bit of me in every book I write. I am a writer.The Synchronicity Series by Michelle Garren Flye-page0001

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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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Like a visit from an old friend: A new review for Where the Heart Lies

Anybody remember Where the Heart Lies? Way back before the time of magic—well, before I conceived of the idea for my Sleight of Hand series, anyway—I wrote a little book about a war widow starting over. It was published by Carina Press (the closest I’ve gotten to Harlequin, which is my dream publisher), and it was an overall positive experience. It got mixed reviews. Some people loved it, some hated it, and some were sort of…meh. It also sold WAY more copies than anything else I’ve written before or since, even though it’s only available in e-book form.

Well, anyway, this morning I got a surprise notice that there’s a new review of Where the Heart Lies. Well, cool, I thought after successfully figuring out which of my books Where the Heart Lies is. That’s nice. I wasn’t at this point certain of how nice it actually was (remember the aforementioned mixed reviews?), but when I pulled up the review on Blackraven’s Reviews, I found I’d received 4.5 ravens (that’s gotta be good), and one of the most well-written reviews I’ve received on any of my books (not to cast aspersions on any of my other reviewers, who also write very nicely). Here’s a quote from the review:

Where The Heart Lies by Michelle Garren Flye is a compelling story about love, loss, secrets, betrayal, and ultimately forgiveness. — Blackraven’s Reviews

And here’s another one:

The dialogue is rich, the setting is quaint, and the sexual tension between Alicia and Liam sizzles. — Blackraven’s Reviews

And one more:

If you’re looking for a complex, heartfelt story that will put a smile on your face from the small town antics, heat up the pages from the unbridled passion between Alicia and Liam, and bring a tear to your eye as our hero and heroine learn to forgive and be forgiven, then Where The Heart Lies by Michelle Garren Flye is definitely the book to read. — Blackraven’s Reviews

My sincere thanks to the reviewer for the reminder of a book I’d forgotten I loved writing. If you’d like to read the whole review, click here: Blackraven’s Reviews. Or you could go buy Where the Heart Lies (Amazon or Barnes & Noble) and decide for yourself if Blackraven’s Reviews is right…or, God forbid, was Romance Around the Corner more on target?

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Today is Gold Star Wives Day! Tell me your story.

Today is a day of remembrance and celebration for the Gold Star Wives of America. I’m inviting everyone to help me celebrate our men and women in the military on this special day set aside to remember those who gave up so much for our country. You can do this one of two ways.

First, I want to hear your story. I’m a storyteller at heart, but you can read my stories any time you want. Today I want to hear from those who have a loved one in the military. To encourage this, I’m offering up to twenty free ecopies of Where the Heart Lies to those who will leave me a comment and tell me their story about military heroes.

Second, if you don’t have a loved one in the military, you can purchase a copy of Where the Heart Lies and I’ll donate my royalties to the Gold Star Wives of America. Just send me a proof of purchase to michellegflye at gmail dot com.

God bless our military and families who let them serve our country.

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For the Families of Our Military with Thanks

I’m saluting families of the military for the next week and it occurred to me I once wrote a story from their point of view. It’s just a little story written way back in 2004, but I still like it, and that’s saying something because I almost never like something I wrote that long ago. Nine years is a long time. A lot has changed in that time. I’ve become a full-time romance novelist, for instance. But a lot of stuff has stayed the same, too.

After you read this, consider helping me salute military families in one of two ways. You can either tell me about your military hero on my Facebook page or purchase a copy of Where the Heart lies and send me a proof of purchase to michellegflye at gmail dot com, and I’ll donate my royalties to the Gold Star Wives of America.

The Protector

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

The child wakes in the dark, still night. Once, he would have cried for his mother and wanted his father to come chase the demons away. Now his parents have other things to deal with. The child tries not to add to their worries.

 

It’s hard having a parent away fighting a war. At least, that’s what his grandmother says. She comes to take care of him in the afternoons now. To keep him from being too lonely, she says. The child knows she’s lonely and worried, too. He wonders if she ever wakes, cold and sweating, from a dream of guns and noise and sand.

 

He thinks the sand might be the worst part of his dreams. It’s so sharp and bright and invading. In his dreams, it’s everywhere – in his mouth and eyes, under his clothes, encasing him in a fine armor that makes it impossible to run from the violence surrounding him. He wonders if that’s what it’s like in the desert on the other side of the world.

 

The child sits still as a pool of silvery moonlight breaks through the clouds outside and spills across his bed. Mother could chase his fears away. Mother has always been his protector, his shield, the “safe” base in a game of tag gone mad. For a moment, he believes he can run to Mother, feel her sweep him up in her arms, kiss him, and tell him there’s nothing to fear. But then the moonlight is gone behind a cloud again and he is alone in the darkness.

 

The stillness overwhelms him and he slips from his bed and pads down the hall to the kitchen, hoping one of Grandma’s cookies will rid him of the fear. He stops, surprised to see a bright streak beneath the kitchen door. He considers going back to bed, but the dark hallway is too frightening and he shoves through the door.

Father sits at the table, his head in his hands. He looks up when the door opens, then holds out his hand to the child. The child runs to Father and is picked up and cuddled on his knee. “You’re thinking about your mother,” Father says and the child nods his head against Father’s chest. “You shouldn’t worry about her, you know,” Father says.

 

The child looks up at Father. “Why are you awake, Father?” he asks.

 

Father sighs and hugs his son closer. “Because it’s daylight there and I wonder what she’s doing,” he says with a little smile. “Because it’s hard letting her go thousands of miles away.”

To fight a war. The unspoken words hang deadly in the air between father and son. Neither looks at the dangerous sparkle of truth. Instead, they pretend for a moment that Mother is thousands of miles away doing something fun. That she is safe and happy.

 

They try not to remember because Mother cannot protect them this time.

 

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Saluting the Gold Star Wives: Win a Free Ebook!

I got some great news in my email last week, and surprisingly, it was about politics. (Normally, politics is about as unromantic as you can get, right?) Simple resolution 67 designating April 5, 2013 as Gold Star Wives Day was passed in the Senate on Monday. The resolution was co-sponsored by Senator Richard Burr of my own state of North Carolina. While Mr. Burr and I disagree on many key points, I was thrilled that he was involved in this. So thrilled, in fact, I’ve decided to give away up to twenty ebooks.

In honor of our nation’s Gold Star Wives, I want your stories about your military hero. Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard…whatever. Tell me about him or her on my Facebook page. I plan to give out up to 20 free e-copies of Where the Heart Lies to those who comment. And if you’re not a military spouse, you can still help me salute those who are. Just send me a proof of purchase of Where the Heart Lies and I’ll donate my royalty to the Gold Star Wives of America. Send proof of purchase to michellegflye at gmail dot com.

Why Where the Heart Lies? Simple. Alicia, the heroine of Where the Heart Lies, is a Gold Star wife.

I tried to write Alicia to be a testament to the strength and courage of military spouses. The ones who carry on with the kids and school and paying bills and keeping life as normal as possible. I’ve often looked at friends who have spouses in Afghanistan and wondered, How do they do it?

The Gold Star Wives of America was started during World War II, when war widows were plentiful. It began in the kitchens of four young widows in New York City and grew from there when Eleanor Roosevelt, widow of the commander-in-chief, joined it. There are now chapters throughout the nation, eager to support the wives of the men who gave everything to the service of our nation.

On April 5 (and every day), let’s all take a breathing moment and remember the sacrifices this nation was built on…and support those who were left behind to carry on.

Where the Heart Lies on Amazon
Where the Heart Lies on Barnes & Noble
Where the Heart Lies on Carina Press

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What is at the heart of Where the Heart Lies

I’ve been concentrating so much on promoting Ducks in a Row recently, I’ve neglected my other book Where the Heart Lies, so I wanted to refresh your memory and mine about this book, which was, really, my first foray into the world of women’s fiction, even if it is classified as contemporary romance.

At its heart, Where the Heart Lies is a story about second chances. For military widow Alicia, for her husband Ty’s parents, for guilt-ridden and besotted Liam, for single mother Penny, for Penny’s fatherless daughter and for Alicia and Ty’s children. Even the bookstore Alicia takes over from her ailing father-in-law finds new life. I wrote this book because I believe in second chances for all of us. Remember the old adage about a window opening when a door closes? Sometimes we may feel like fate has screwed us over, but in the end, I hope we all find our way to the window that opened when the door slammed in our faces.

This is an excerpt from the beginning of Where the Heart Lies, available in ebook format from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Carina Press.

Where the Heart Lies copyTy lay his hand on her still flat belly. “It’s the perfect place to raise children. Boys and girls. There’s a pond for fishing and swimming. And the street is pretty quiet, so they can ride their bikes. The house is the perfect size—not too big. Just homey.”

Alicia laughed and rolled over, and his hand slid across her belly to her hip. “You might be a little prejudiced considering it’s your childhood home.”

He pulled her closer, kissing her, and her body responded to him as she always did. She loved his long, lean form and the way he touched her with such confidence. She drew away after a moment, unable to resist teasing him a little. “Are you sure it won’t be a little, um, inhibiting for you?”

“What do you mean?” He looked at her, uncomprehending, his hands caressing the backs of her thighs now, causing little rivers of pleasure to run through her veins.

She smiled wickedly at him, using all her self-control to keep from letting him know how pleasant his touch was. All part of the game. “Well, you know, being in the same bedroom your parents were in when they—oh, you know…”

He laughed and rolled over on top of her, pressing her down into the mattress and kissing her firmly and thoroughly. His lips left hers and trailed over her jaw and down her collarbone as he cupped her breasts. She gasped at his touch on her sensitive nipples and felt his mouth curve. His lips returned to her neck and he nibbled her earlobe. “Baby, as long as you’re there, I won’t have any trouble being inhibited,” he whispered.

Chapter One

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Alicia Galloway pulled her minivan into the driveway of her new home. The last time those words had popped into
her head had been the day Ty’s CO placed a neatly folded triangle of red, white and blue silk into her hands, and she knew the rest of her life wouldn’t be with her husband. She remembered staring at the flag, thinking about its thirteen symbolic folds.

Fold one is for life, fold two for eternal life. Fold three stands for our fallen veterans. Fold four is for the One who guides us in peace and war. Fold five is for our country and the sixth fold is for where our hearts lie…

She pulled away from the memory, her eyes tearing. Wiping the tears away, she looked around, trying not to be too cynical. “Hard to believe the rest of my
life begins here.”

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