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!

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.

Today’s blog tour stops and a reminder about my Foreign Affairs giveaway.

Goddess Fish Promotions has taken me all over the net, it seems, and today we make two stops, both of which I’m enjoying very much. Over at Once Upon a Time I was asked a very simple but very intriguing question. Describe a trip that changed you. Think about that for a minute. I had a hard time settling on one trip at first, but finally I figured it out. After you read the post over at Once Upon a time, check out this flash piece that was inspired by that same trip: China.

The second stop today is actually a review! My Reading Addiction gives Where the Heart Lies four stars and highly recommends it!

This is a story of loss, redemption, second chances, and a little bit of skeletons in the closet to throw a wrench in it. Great story line and smooth transitions with multi-dimensional characters. I highly recommend it. —My Reading Addiction

Finally, don’t forget about my Foreign Affairs print giveaway! Leave me a comment between now and October 31 for your chance to win a copy of Foreign Affairs in print. In the comment, tell me why you think ALL my books should be in print. What would you use them for? To prop up that uneven table leg? Firewood? Paper the birdcage? Give me a compelling and creative reason and enter to win your copy of the first print book with my name on the front cover. Check it out:

Isn’t it beautiful? Wouldn’t you love to own a copy? Well, here’s a buy link in case you just can’t wait for the giveaway to end: Turquoise Morning Press Bookstore. And now I’m off to do some real work!

A Quick Update: Books and Short Stories

Two bits of news to share with you today. The first is that WHERE THE HEART LIES is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Would love to see my book get some sales before it’s even “on the shelf” so to speak. (Please remember it is an e-book, so don’t order it from Amazon if you don’t have a Kindle!) Check it out here: Where the Heart Lies Pre-Order for Kindle.

Second, and just as exciting, my short story “Agapi Mou” was accepted by Turquoise Morning Press for their Foreign Affairs anthology. I don’t have many details yet, but I’ll let you know when I do. I’m kind of excited about this one for several reasons. First, I will be earning royalties for it. Although I’ve been in anthologies before, I’ve never earned royalties for them, just honorariums or one-time payments. Second, it will most likely be print. Third, I’m really impressed by Turquoise Morning Press. They have a very professional business and put out some beautiful products in both print and e-book format. I’m thrilled to be associated with them.

So that’s it for now. I’m off to write and gloat over the final, completely formatted PDF of WHERE THE HEART LIES that I received from Carina Press last week. It’s just as gorgeous as you might imagine!

Validation: WHERE THE HEART LIES to be an Audiobook!

Just a quick update with some fantastic news I justgot a little while ago. Audible.com has selected WHERE THE HEART LIES to be one of its audiobooks. I’m very, very excited about this, as my novels have only ever been in ebook form. The thought that I will be able to hear an actual actor read my story is sort of awesome. Besides, it’ll be proof that somebody else actually did read it!

I’ve written before about my personal quest for validation and how I believe all authors who seek publication probably feel the same way. Well, I picture my quest as hills and valleys and a lot of plains in between. Most of my writing career is spent on those plains, plugging away. Every now and then, I get a rejection and it plunges me into a valley, but then I struggle out and continue on, slogging across the plain of creativity.

And then I get a little bit of validation. An acceptance. An award. A positive review. Hell, somebody buying a book. Then I get catapulted to a peak where I can sit for a few minutes and look around at what I’ve accomplished before returning to the plain and continuing on my way.

The view’s nice up here.