It’s Been Awhile

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared what’s going on in my world — writing and otherwise.  So, since I am procrastinating (a COVID-19 pandemic side effect, I’m afraid), I decided to update the look of my blog.

What do you think?  The other theme was dark and hard to read — and I decided I needed something brighter with a flower. So this is what you get … until I change my mind. 😉 By the way, the garden and statue are located on the approach to my front door.

On the family and personal side, my hubby is fine. Some of my long-time followers might recall he had heart-bypass surgery in 2015. Thus, we are being careful and staying close to home. When we do go out, we wear our masks.

PSA: Please, wear a mask — you protect those around you. COVID-19 carriers can be asymptomatic.Thus, everyone wearing a mask has proven to be the most effective way to keep the spread of this deadly virus down.Trust me on this — I’m married to a pathologist! I am well-informed. Daily!

We also wash and sanitize our hands — and anything else that is washable or can be sanitized. Our house is a safe zone. Once inside, my husband is assured of not getting infected. This is because I am obsessive about wiping down door handles and anything that comes from the outside that could carry microbes be they viral or bacterial.

Okay, I’ve always been that way — but I am really on it now.

Our son has moved back in with us after being away for four years. His employment had ended, and he was looking for a new job and then the pandemic hit. Since living in Silicon Valley is expensive while unemployed and no new job lurked on the horizon, he left California (the day Newsom shut it down!!). I sweated bullets each day he was on the road, hoping he could find places to eat and a place to sleep at night. He was fully prepared to sleep in his car and had provisions if nothing was open. Luckily, for him but not for the poor inhabitants of the states he drove through, most of the states he passed through had not shut down (this was in March) for the virus (except for Illinois and Indiana where we live). It is nice to have him home where I know he is safe. Of course, he’d rather have a job and his own place to live. And I can understand that.

~~ Note to potential employers:  I can vouch for him — because I raised him. 🙂 He is a hard worker and reliable. He adapts well and is very creative. He is willing to relocate. Big Data is his thing. He’d be considered a Senior Programmer and is willing to learn “new” things. He has three Bachelor of Science Degrees — Accounting and Finance from IU’s Kelley School of Business and Computer Information Technology (computer software engineering) from Purdue — and also has a bunch of certifications (Sales Force and Agile come to mind). See? He likes learning!! ~~

As for the writing front, which is why most of you follow me, I am currently working on my fourth What A Witch book in the Magic and Mayhem Universe. What A Witch Finds will take up where What A Witch Desires left off, with Paul, the pooka, finding his mate and carrying her to Dale and Bree’s house. This book will come out in October of 2020 along with a slew of other fun and fabulous Magic and Mayhem Universe books.

After that book is completed, I will write an SSI novella, Ride Out the Storm, # 6.5.

This book will reintroduce SSI-East in the Upper Peninsula Michigan. Risto Smith is in charge of SSI-East, located in Osprey’s Point, and his biggest concern at the moment is his wife Callie is due to have their first baby any day.The novella will also reintroduce Big Earl and his wife Tessa, the four Walsh brothers who’ve yet to find their perfect partners, and Dr. Anton Vasilov and his new wife Lucia.

The conflict in this novella arises from Anton and Lucia’s past as depicted in An Ill Wind, SSI #5. When Lucia’s cartel-connected relatives hit Osprey’s Point, Anton will have his hands full delivering Callie’s baby and protecting his own pregnant wife.

After Ride Out the Storm is finished, I will consult the four Walsh brothers to see who wants his happy-ever-after first. For Book 7, I know who the heroine will be and what chases her to Osprey’s Point to find her future, and I’m leaning toward one of the brothers over the other three. He has yet to convince me that he should get the girl. Book 7 will be titled:  Before the Storm.

You can keep up-to-date on what’s next on my web site on the Upcoming page.

 

Pre-Order What A Witch Desires, a Magic and Mayhem Universe novella

UPLOAD D2D Michaels M What A Witch Desires

What A Witch Desires, Book 3 in my What a Witch Series, set in Robyn Peterman’s  fantabulous and crazy Magic and Mayhem Universe is now available for Pre-Order! Publication date is October 21, 2019!!

Visit the Magic and Mayhem Universe Web Site

Pre-Order Links:  Visit my Monette Michaels page at the Magic and Mayhem Universe for the Pre-Order Links.

And while you’re there, check out all the other Amazing Authors in this Robyn’s Universe.

Blurb:

He’d killed her parents, her mentors, her friends.

Descendant of a goddess, Brigid Donaldson and her pooka companion have been fleeing for years from a ruthless Celtic god. Determined to steal Bree’s magic and have her for his own, Lorcan Black will destroy anything in his way.

On the run, all Bree longs for is a safe place to call home.

After helping Bree and the pooka escape from Black, Baba Yaga advises them to go to Assjacket, West Virginia. The powerful witch says Bree will find her heart’s desire there. Bree is sure that means she’ll find her home. What she finds is a Goddess-chosen mate.

The deer-Shifter Dale Deering had given up on finding his mate.

When Bree walks into the local diner, he instantly recognizes her as his soul’s companion. His mate. She isn’t convinced—more like terrified. That’s okay. As a former Marine and now Herne’s best hunter, Dale knows how to be patient when the prize is worth it. If his mate needs time, that’s what he’ll give her.

Time is not on their side.

Dale and the Assjacket residents prepare to fight the power-hungry god. The fate of all depends on Bree accepting the mate-bond so she can share her formidable magic with Dale in upcoming confrontation. She’s falling in love, realizing Dale is her heart’s desire.

But evil is approaching. Fast.

Sneak Preview of What A Witch Desires

What A Witch Desires Jigsaw Puzzle

Mine is not the only book coming out on October 21, 2019.  Look at all these other fabulous books from the best paranormal romance authors around. PRE-ORDER NOW so you’ll have them instantly on October 21, 2019!!

Here the links to the other fantastic authors participating in this release:

Magic and Mayhem Universe Web Site

Monette Michaels Page at the Magic and Mayhem Universe Web Site

HAPPY READING AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM ALL OF US IN THE MAGIC AND MAYHEM UNIVERSE!!!

 

What A Witch Needs

Pre-Order Now!!

Yes, it is time for another novella from the Magic and Mayhem Universe.  What A Witch Needs is book two in the What A Witch series and once again a witch finds her Shifter soul mate an ocean away from home in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia.

Blurb:

A witch on the run…

All Gloriana Anora St.John wants is to serve the annulment decree on her never-really-a-husband. She didn’t expect to barge in on a blood sacrifice. After rescuing a young girl, Gloriana and her familiar are cornered by the coven of dark warlocks. It’s no wonder her hasty transport spell—and why hadn’t she practiced the damn spells when she was supposed to?—lands her in the middle of nowhere West Virginia.

A lonely bear Shifter with issues…

Former Marine and bear Shifter Liam Hardisty is minding his own business, popping a thieving honey badger and fishing for his breakfast. Before he can even snag a fish, a turquoise-colored transport cloud dumps a witch and her familiar practically at his paws. One sniff and Liam knows he’s found his mate. Her name is Glory.

Gloriana just rid herself of one male. Plus, she has a dark warlock in hot pursuit. She has more than enough man trouble—she doesn’t need a mate, even one a delicious-smelling hunk like Liam.

Liam knows he’s working on a short clock and has a lot to do before he can give Glory his mating bite—he needs to gain Glory’s trust, prove he’s what she needs in her life, and then protect her from the evil asshat warlock.

What a witch needs isn’t always what she thinks she needs—sometimes, it’s better.

Check out that cover!!  My fabulous cover artist, April Martinez of Graphicfantastic, took my vision and made it real.  How did she do it?  Well, here is a short video showing the cover process from concept to finished product. 

Revisiting the Past: Revising My Novel Green Fire

Some background:

I’ve been writing since 1995 and been published in e-books/indie press since 1998.  In that time period, I’ve done a lot of  writing and have published every book I have completed. We won’t discuss the ones that are still notes or half-finished because another plot bunny came along and distracted me—Bunny!!—or because my Muse left the building. 🙂

In all I have written 20 novels,  6 novellas, and 3 short stories — and all are in print BUT FOR ONE — and that one is Green Fire, my 2003 paranormal romantic suspense release from the former indie press, LTDBooks (Canada).

[Left: New cover for Green Fire, designed by April Martinez, Copyright, 2011.]

When LTDBooks closed its  doors at the end of 2005, it was a sad day — I adored the owner (love you, Laura!) and had great experiences at LTD. My rights to all my books published at LTD were immediately given back. My Gooden & Knight books went to Liquid Silver Publishing without any changes. Then I fairly quickly revised and self-published Fatal Vision and Death Benefits.

But not Green Fire. 

I had to put Green Fire on the back-burner, because I’d found great success with my Security Specialist International and Prime Chronicles series. The fan demand and that of my publisher was such that I devoted all my time to putting out books in those two series. Revised versions of previously published books were not a high priority.

In 2011, I finally had reached a point where I had a large enough gap between series books — or so I thought– to devote a few weeks to do a clean edit and then get Green Fire back out there. Um, no.

I began a Green Fire revision and found it taking a lot of time. I had pressure to get to work on Prime Selection (#2 in that series) since my Prime fans had been so patient while I whipped out Eye of the Storm (#1) and Stormy Weather Baby (#1.5) in my SSI series. Since that time — between parent deaths, son moving clear across the country, husband’s major surgery, a bunch more SSI books and another couple of Prime books — and a Kindle World book for Robyn Peterman’s Magic & Mayhem World — I just shelved Green Fire as a To-Do project.

So here I am in 2017 working on it again.  You’d think it shouldn’t take much, right?  After all, this is a book that was accepted and edited by LTDBooks, published to decent reviews back in 2003, and was a finalist in the Dream Realm Contest, paranormal division in 2003. I even went to ArmadilloCon for the awards ceremony (lost, but, hey … finalled!). Plus, I had gotten a bit of a start on the revision back in 2011. I wasn’t working with a blank slate here.

Short answer:  It’s not an easy revision. To use one of my favorite phrases, “I’ve slept since then,” — then being when I first wrote the book in 2002-2003.

I’ve been an Acquisitions and a Copy Editor, read/studied writing techniques, taught writing, critiqued a lot of other authors’ books, and written a shit ton of books since 2003.  I know I am a better, cleaner, tighter writer than I was way back in the beginning. Plus, romance readers’ tastes have changed.

This is an issue for any author who republishes long out-of-print books — do I leave it as originally written?– OR — do I clean house and bring it up to date for the current romance reading population?

So, what’s the problem with this specific book?

Long answer:   Green Fire was the fourth book I had written.  At that point in time, I was still doing the Nora Roberts’ head-hopping thing (BTW, Nora can get away with it; most other authors … not). Multiple points of view even when not head-hopping. Overuse of adverbs. Redundancy. Repetitiveness. Passive voice. And the odd wandering body part. Plus, nit-picky things most readers wouldn’t notice,  but I do. Yes, I am anal.

My decision: This book needed a complete overhaul so I could claim it anew with some semblance of pride.  I had started on some of the POV issues back in 2011.  Figured out early on that the way I wrote the book, I couldn’t really get rid of all the POV characters, but, at least, I wouldn’t head hop with them.

I even had my fave final line editor (love you, Ezra!) take a whack at a semi-revised revision. Bless him, he made judicious edits, but was concerned about changing my story, my voice — and that was the correct thing for him to do.

After fixing what he found and re-reading it, I decided it needed a more extensive revision. Enough more that when I republish it will need a new copyright since there will be enough textual changes such as deletions, new material, and extensive rewriting to demand such (you can edit a book and keep the same copyright number if the changes are technical such as typos and the like).

This is where I am now:  I am touching every page and revising/editing/rewriting.

To keep this revision on track, I am doing a chapter a day. On the days I can’t do a chapter, I make it up the next time I hit the computer. At this rate, I should have a final revised copy to send to my crit buddy (love you, Cheri!), who will then eviscerate it, and I then will accept or reject her evisceration and prepare a final version for publication.

Bottom line, I still like the book’s basic concept and plot. A lithomancer heroine, i.e., she controls stone energy or magic. Lots of action and suspense with the heroine inheriting the family land and becoming the person in her family who protects the family’s legacy and is destined to produce the next generation. The hero is a DEA agent who has magic of his own and his magic complements the heroine’s — together they are stronger than alone. Bad guys abound: evil boss from heroine’s past, drug cartel leader who’s discovered the secret on the land the heroine inherits and wants it, and the cartel minions who try to obtain the land and one of which has his own agenda. Oh and an honorable good guy law officer (yes, he needs his own book — not sure it’ll ever happen) who falls for the heroine and loses out. Basically, your typical Monette Michaels’ book.

Cross your fingers and wish me luck. I hope to have the improved Green Fire out before the end of the summer. Well, let’s put it this way, I have to get this done and soon, since  I have a Prime book (Damon and Susa’s story) to write by the end of the year. There’s always another book waiting to be written.

Original Green Fire Blurb (yes, this needs to be revised, too!) :

Lisa MacDougall is not your normal jewelry designer. Her genetic ability to sense which gemstones complement her clients’ chakras has made her designs famous. Increasingly, her job at Romanoff’s Jewelry Store in New York City has become uncomfortable with Andrei Romanoff’s aggressive sexual overtures. Her inheritance from a previously unknown relative in North Carolina couldn’t have come at a better time.

Lisa picks up stakes and moves to the Blue Ridge tourist town. Here she discovers her ability to read crystal energy is just the tip of the iceberg and that her Uncle Lon has left her more than just a quaint mountain property.

DEA Agent Marco Santiago is on the trail of the Verde Fogate drug cartel. A raid on a Miami warehouse goes bad, and all the DEA finds after months of planning is a lead to a lawyer in Ben Lomond, North Carolina and the words “green fire.” Marco and his partner head for the Blue Ridge Mountains to get to the bottom of what the cartel finds so interesting in Ben Lomond.

Marco finds that the woman who possesses the “green fire” is his complement in magic. But before Lisa and he can look toward a future together, they both must deal with evil from their past.

 

[Right:  Original Green Fire cover, Ariana Overton, Copyright, 2003]

Excerpt (unedited from the current revision):

“Do not go gentle into that good night.”
Lon MacDougall halted his nocturnal patrol. Standing under the denuded branches of an oak, he knew he was a sitting duck for the men who stalked him, but he’d had enough of their games. His affairs were in order. They wouldn’t get the land and the treasure it sheltered, the treasure he’d protected since the day his older brother Rob had left North Carolina, turning his back on his birthright.

Wheezing heavily then wincing at the sharp pain caused by the cancer eating away at his insides, Lon moved from his quasi-shelter and headed back toward his cabin. He silently chuckled as his shadowers followed. Stumbling silently over a small rise in the land, Lon swore. In younger, healthier days, he’d have moved through the night like a bobcat, silent and lethal. No way would some damn foreigners have been able to stalk him on his own land. But the cancer had ended all that.

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Tonight, he’d die. He’d chosen his manner of death—the quick death of a defender rather than the inevitable slow torture of the disease. The bastards didn’t know it, but they were doing him a favor.

Reaching the porch of his ancestral home, Lon stopped, then smiled. Yes, the land would be safe now. With Rob long since dead, he’d finally tracked Rob’s child to New York City. It had taken him almost a year to find the last surviving MacDougall. His brother had done what he’d sworn he would never do—produced an heir.

And the heir had the power.

The poor fools trying to get the land and the treasure it sheltered would never know what hit them. Lon frowned, wishing he could push fate off a little bit longer, wishing he could be around to help Rob’s child acclimate. Well, he’d done the best he could. The land was in the heir’s name. The tools the heir would need to learn to harness the power were safely away from North Carolina, awaiting the word of his death. He’d done all he could.

The rest would be up to her—Rob’s daughter.

Lon’s still keen eyesight pierced the dark shadows within the forest, zeroing in on movement where there should be none. The night air resonated with the sound of stealthy footsteps. Lon shook his head and sighed. Yep, too bad he wouldn’t be around to help her. He turned to meet death head on. A sound like a hornet. The prick of a dart. It was over that quickly.

As Lon fell off the porch onto the pine-needle-covered ground, he smiled. He’d won; they’d lost—and they didn’t even know it.

“Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight…”

Monette Michaels, Copyright, 2017.

Returning To My Roots

It’s been awhile since I last blogged. Mea culpa.

That’s what happens between getting one book out and promoting it (An Ill Wind, the subject of my last blog), updating a web site, and writing a new work, simultaneously.

My next release was both a challenge and a joy.  A challenge — because I haven’t written in the genre for a long time; a joy — because it was just so much fun. I luurve witches and shifters.

Yes, I am returning to my roots in the paranormal romance genre. My first published book as Monette Michaels was Fatal Vision(psychic heroine), way back in 1998.

After Fatal, I published several more paranormal romances, most with suspense aspects:  the Gooden & Knight (witches, shifters, and vampires) series under my Monette Michaels pen name and the Coven of the Wolf series (witches and shifters) under my Rae Morgan pen name. Then I wrote Eye of the Storm (Book 1 in the Security Specialists International series, romantic thrillers with former military heroes and kick-ass heroines) and Prime Obsession (Book 1 in the Prime Chronicles series, scifi romance).  Both those series took off and I left paranormal behind.

But no longer.

I am happy to announce my participation in Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Kindle World with my novella What A Witch Wants.

All the Magic and Mayhem KW releases will be on June 21st, and a super-extravaganza Release Party will happen soon thereafter. You won’t want to miss this party — there’ll be games with prizes, give-aways, and lots of fun and laughter. Watch for  the details on the release party here and on my Author FaceBook page.

When Robyn approached me about bringing my toys to play in her sandbox, the timing and circumstances were right. I was able to choose one of several Magic and Mayhem KW release dates which fit in between one of my series books and the start of another.  Also, I could write a stand-alone, meaning the book would be fully in her world and not crossing over or mentioning any of my other series or books.  This was important to me. I had been approached by several other authors (super authors!!) with fabulous Kindle Worlds — but either the timing sucked or the only ideas I had would’ve crossed over into my already established series. And no matter how I read the KW contract, all the lawyer and former contracts arbitrator in me saw were serious complications down the road.  So, I made an unwritten rule — if approached for a KW project, (a) it would have to fit into my writing schedule (I try to get two full-length series books out a year), and (b) it would have to be a stand-alone.

Robyn approached me. Timing worked. Concept worked. Thus, What A Witch Wants was born.

Want to know more about Robyn’s Magic and Mayhem Kindle World — check her books and other books in the world out HERE.

Here’s my Blurb:

Magical artifacts can be deadly…or seductive, and Amethyst St. John delights in them all. She’s curator for the U.K. Covens’ Magical Artifacts Library, and her magic isn’t the usual run-of-the-mill hocus-pocus. Oh no. With her powers, she can turn the nastiest artifact harmless.

Unfortunately, her magic is useless when her egotistical mother pressures her to marry a depraved aristocrat.  So, when the most powerful witch in the world asks her to present an artifact—a very intimate piece of the infamous wizard Merlin—to their sister city Assjacket, West Virginia, Amethyst jumps at the chance.

Bobcat Shifter Kerr Montgomery, chief detective for Assjacket, has better things to do than meet some British ambassador witch … until he catches Amethyst’s scent. She’s his mate—the one woman who can complete his soul. But his Ammy doesn’t understand mating. And she distrusts men. Even worse, she won’t be in Assjacket long enough to change her mind.

And then someone steals Merlin’s intimate body part. Ammy, aided by Kerr, sets out on a quest to find the artifact. In the process, she discovers what she really wants.

Here’s a Sneak Peek:

“I can see there’s no reasoning with you now.” Mildred sniffed, a disdainful sound. “We’ll be revisiting the issue of Reginald again…”

No, they wouldn’t. What Amethyst wanted in a man—in a husband—was a loving partner who’d respect her wishes and back her against the world.

“…but there’s no time now, that nutcase Baba Yaga will be arriving soon, which is the second reason—”

Mildred’s words were cut off as a thundering, raging whirlwind of magical power swept into the room.

Now that’s some magic! Oliver raised his head and sniffed. Pu-r-r-rfect.

Amethyst held onto Oliver, but the tempest passed around them as if they were encased in a protective bubble—and not one of Amethyst’s making.

Mildred, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well. The wind picked her up, tossed her around like dandelion fluff, then dumped her on the floor in an ungainly heap.

Are those Spanx? Oliver craned his neck to check out her mother’s exposed lower half.

Amethyst bit back a laugh as she eyed her parent’s wind-tossed hair and disheveled clothing. Somehow Mildred had also lost both her shoes.
And, yes, the undergarments were Spanx.

“Hey there, Mildew, you old bat. How’s tricks?” The speaker was a beautiful, 30-ish-looking blonde wearing an off-the-shoulder black-and-white striped top paired with a short ruffled denim skirt over fishnet leggings, white sneakers, and a lacy scarf tied in her curls a la Madonna of the Desperately Seeking Susan era. The magic coming off the sartorially stuck-in-the-80s witch was old—hundreds of years old—and extremely potent. “And if I’m a nutcase, you’re a battle-ax.”

Baba Yaga had arrived.

The wily witch, the Goddess-chosen leader of the world’s witches, had probably been present all along, cloaking her magic as she spied on the two of them. As far as Amethyst knew, no magic user, no matter how old and proficient, could sense Baba Yaga’s presence if the witch didn’t want them to.

Baba Yaga looked over at Amethyst and winked. “Love the tee, chica. I have it in four colors. Mick signed one for me after a long night of sexual bliss. That man sure knew how to use those skinny hips—and that tongue.” She laughed as she did a little bump-and-grind move. “So … how’s the most-talented magical artifacts curator in the world doing?”

“Fine, Baba Yaga.” Amethyst smiled shyly. She adored Baba Yaga who’d always gone out of her way to boost Amethyst’s self-esteem after the death of her father in a spell gone wrong when Amethyst was eight years old.

Copyright, 2017, Monette Michaels.

Cover Reveal– SSI Book 4 — Storm Warning

MM_SSI4_StormWarning_300x400

This is the cover for my next Security Specialists International book. Storm Warning is book four and will feature Stuart Alan Walsh, aka Tweeter, and DJ Poe, a former Army helicopter pilot with some additional specialized training.

The book is in progress. I am at about the halfway point and, so far, a lot of exciting and dangerous things have occurred. Bad things from DJ’s past.  Mercs after Keely and Riley Walsh on the day DJ arrives to start her job for SSI. And really bad weather, avalanches, and snipers on Sanctuary land. And then Tweeter and DJ get the call to go undercover on a contract job for the CIA. What is supposed to be a simple information-gathering mission soon turns deadly. Both DJ and Tweeter (whom she calls “Ace” since he is a grown man for chrissakes) will have to use all their skills and training to survive in order to attain their happy ending.

For those of you who haven’t read any of my SSI books, iBooks now has Eye of the Storm for FREE in their Discover a New Author feature.  But hurry, the price goes back to retail after December 15th.

Here’s the iBooks link: Free Eye of the Storm

I also have two novellas in the SSI series FREE at Liquid Silver Books, in all major formats: Stormy Weather Baby (Bk. 1.5) and Storm Front (Bk. 2.5). Here’s the Free SSI Novellas.