It Was A Blue Jay!

Something in a tree caught my eye while I was parking my car at the Oak Brook Artisan Market last Sunday. It was a Blue Jay. I am particularly fascinated by jays. Mostly because, even though I have always been observant of nature, I’ve only spotted one a few times in my whole life.

This one was trying to get itself a balloon string, but couldn’t get one loose. It looked like a whole bundle of balloons had floated up into this tree and popped.

I heard and saw more jays abiding in the trees. Perhaps nesting flocks. I would have liked to have spent more time bird watching, but alas, it was a book day so I had my hands full. But I still feel lucky to have spotted a jay at all!

Stay Inspired!

A Wonderful Bookish Day

Had a wonderful bookish day at the Oak Brook Artisan Market last Sunday! I’ve said it so many times, but I have to say it again – book days are the best days.

To all the readers on this author journey of mine – I sincerely appreciate you.

Stay Inspired!

Oak Brook Artisan Market Tomorrow!

Dear Friends ~ I hope you all are staying inspired?! Grant me a smile with your comments! You know I’m always glad to hear from you!

I’ll be selling and signing my tales at the Oak Brook Artisan Market tomorrow from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and it’s going to be bookish and lovely! And crafty and arty! And I hope to see you there!

Literary love, Smiles, and Sparkle!

Had a great time at the Evanston Made Maker’s Market last Sunday. As I always say – book days are my favorite days, and this one was no exception!

Here’s a photo of my trusty bookmobile and parking lot book display. The bookmobile and I are always ready for a bookish pop-up (see that event tent temporarily crushing my passenger-side seat?)

Local event (Chicago-ish, Milwaukee-ish)? Send me an invite! The bookmobile and I will drop in to spread some literary love, smiles, and sparkle!

Event Tomorrow!

I’ll be at the Evanston Made Maker’s Market tomorrow – May 1st – from 12 – 5 p.m. signing and selling my tales! So excited!

In advance of any book-selling event, I take prep pretty seriously. I have this fear that I’ll show up without my cash box, calculator, receipt book, etc. Or very importantly, snacks. Ha!

I used to teach public speaking, and one of the keys to helping with nervousness is to be as prepared as possible for your speech. I use this tip to feel ready for events too. Bookmobile already packed!

Just 2 Days Away!!

Just 2 days away!! Evanston Made Maker’s Market with all of its incredible treats, crafts, and art! Novels and fairy tales too!!! I hope to see you there!

Thank you Evanston Made for this lovely graphic, and for welcoming this author to the fun!!

My Bookish Briefcase

Maybe I should renovate an old ice cream truck and instead of cold treats, sell fairy tales. I know some of your are saying – If anyone would do this, Michelle would. And they would be right.

I mean, I already have my old rusting bookmobile. (Can I sell books out of my trunk? Need you ask?)

I have my book tent. (A first trial setting up of which yesterday, nearly gave me a concussion and completely defeated me physically. I’m still recovering. But I think I figured it out. Hopefully. Maybe.)

And there’s my bookish briefcase here! Traveling tales saleswoman. Wonder what the reception would be if I tried to sell books door-to-door?
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Keep Smiling! Stay Inspired!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, and all the spring flowers to you!

Now – you may have to squint your eyes just a little, but there’s a handful of fairies buzzing around in there. Do you see them? I was worried one might pinch my ankle, so I took this photo quick!

Beloved Tomes

Have you ever bound an often-read book?

As a youth, I remember we covered our text books with paper grocery bags and then scribbled all over them. You could then tear off the paper when it was time for return.

This is my Bible. Bound in my favorite green color, a velvety fabric. It’s gone through several covers and decades of page turning. It’s nice to hold it with this fabric and makes it feel personal to me. Consider it an idea for your most beloved tomes!

Just 2 Weeks Away!!

Just 2 weeks away!! Evanston Made Maker’s Market with all of its incredible treats, crafts, and art! Novels and fairy tales too!!! I hope to see you there!

Thank you Evanston Made for this lovely graphic, and for welcoming this author to the fun!!

Sale On Queen Of The Elves!

Queen of the Elves is on sale right now on Amazon! {$4.23 paperback}

I’ve noticed these sales from time to time that Amazon puts on, but I understand they do not negatively impact an indie author’s royalties. So hey – if I notice a sale on one of my tales, I’ll spread the word! Thank you for reading!

For a list of my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Keep Making A Splash!

Here’s to all you strong and amazing mermaidens out there!! Keep making a splash!!

The Mermaiden by Michelle Novak

{For a list of all my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/}
{Please join me on Goodreads}
{Please join me on Instagram}

~ Thank you for supporting Independent Authors! Stay Inspired! ~

Not Just With Words

I’m not just a writer. I can also bite hearts right into my apples. I know, I know. A pretty special talent. I agree. I can share feelings not just with words, but with chomps!

I think manners are nice

I own several old etiquette books. Because I think manners are nice. This one has a woman’s name in cursive dated 1899 in it! You should smell the old book smell! Swoon!

Now I’ll just have a little read and see if I can’t pick up a proper notion or two!

{Etiquette by Agnes Morton – Edition from 1898, it appears}

It’s How I Got My Start

I’ve been an author since I was a child. Here’s the proof. I think I’ll be doing a video reading, because A Lizard Named Tom needs to be heard by the world!

For your kids, for yourself, pick up a few blank books. To write and draw one’s own stories! Trust me. It’s how I got my start.

Stay Inspired!

Novels and Fairy Tales Too!

May 1st ~ 12 – 5 p.m. Evanston Made Maker’s Market with all of its incredible treats, crafts, and art! Novels and fairy tales too!!! I hope to see you there!

Thank you Evanston Made for this lovely graphic, and for welcoming this author to the fun!!

Jelly Beans…

Jelly beans…
Writing fuel for fairy tale authors.

For a list of my works, including the sweet and magical Once Upon a Star, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

New book release announcing soon!

Still by Michelle Novak

Roe works as a backer, a jack-of-all-trades in one of New York City’s oldest museums. Housing a legion of ancient treasures, its dim and mysterious halls have been venerated for long over a century. Her father before her, an esteemed historian in the museum for decades. It was from him, that she learned everything.

In this place, Roe’s whole life has been spent. Exploring every shadowy corner, gazing over every priceless piece, sneaking a glance inside every creaky drawer. So, she thought she had discovered all of its even most secret of secrets. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In a museum, there is always more to find. Or more to find you. And here, something has been hiding in the basement for a very long time. Something that has now begun looking, for Roe.

For a list of all my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Just weeks away!!

Just weeks away!! Evanston Made Maker’s Market with all of its incredible treats, crafts, and art! Novels and fairy tales too!!! I hope to see you there!

Thank you Evanston Made for this lovely graphic, and for welcoming this author to the fun!!

I write myself away…

Each day, I write myself away to places I imagine…

One of the best parts?

Eventually sharing those places, with you.

{For a synopsis of my forthcoming Still, and other works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/}

Bookish Chats in 2022!

I hope to see you for some bookish chats in 2022! Please visit InspiredByVenice.org for a list of my works, and the events I’ll be joining!

Stay Inspired! ~ Authoress Michelle Novak

Books To Movies

What books have turned into movies that had an impact on you?

Onegin ~ as heartbreaking as Romeo and Juliet, my word.
Dracula ~ he’s not romantic, he’s a monster! Run!
The Great Gatsby ~ well that story is just SAD.
Solaris ~ will break your brain, and then your heart, and then your brain again. Outer space is SCARY.

That First Jump Off My Crazy Cliff

The first book I wrote was 521 pages. I look back and think I was crazy. Venice is an interactive book as well – you pick the next page to turn to at the end of each chapter. Do you know how especially crazy you have to be to write a 521 page interactive brick?

And yet…without that first jump off my crazy cliff, I’d never have known this happiness. The kind only writing and sharing my tales, has given me.

Do what you love – Stay Inspired

I love my grandma

My grandma gave me a super vintage card table this Saturday along with some other very useful furnishings. They will all help in my home office, or for bookish events. I was really thankful to save money on things I needed.

I love secondhand. And I love my grandma. And I’m pretty sure I ate Thanksgiving at this little green table when I was teeny-tiny and had to sit at the kid table.

Not Sure I have That Kind Of Grit

The Stranger In The Woods by Michael Finkel – Incredible read.

And speaking of hermits, I sometimes like to look at remote little places for sale online and dream of moving away from the urban to be a recluse writer. But then I scare myself imagining it just being me out in the woods with Sasquatch, bears, wolves, TICKS. And 7 feet of snow and being stranded. And running out of La Croix and toilet paper. Not sure I have that kind of grit?

Just Being Thankful

Green juice is really important to me, and I’m thankful for Evolution Fresh. I have a ritual where I walk to get my groceries, and then stop multiple times along the way home for a few sips, just being thankful for my health and good life. This juice is one of my very favorite things and has been for years.

What is something you love a whole lot that makes a difference in your life?

Fairy Whisperings

How does their language sound? Like little precious fairy whisperings? And I wonder what they talk about. Perhaps I’ll imagine it, and write it into a fairy tale someday.

Stay Inspired!

{Butterflies and moths at the Field Museum}

I’m getting fancy!

Received a little shipment of postcards today with my author photo on them – oh goodness! I’m getting fancy!

A step up from the handwritten ones I gave out last season, which were quaint but not practical!

Getting ready for bookish fun!!!

Veleno Giveaway!

Don’t forget to enter the Veleno giveaway on Goodreads!
Head here to enter

~ Veleno by Michelle Novak ~

There once was a great Venetian palace. The name of which, everyone did know. Inside its walls dwelled an esteemed noble family. All revere, ’tis the House of Orso!

Its patriarch, a rich and powerful merchant. With a wife very clever, such a beautiful sight. His daughters, four, a precious gift. How unfortunate now, each should meet their plight…

Orso dead? Perhaps by plague! Mirella turned strange, a widow made.

Fina gone, for a courtesan’s life. Noemi must escape, or make a woeful wife. Mafalda will rise in a cold, cruel pit. Paola sent off to a nunnery, might lose her wits.

Venice’s year, 1575. Pestilence arrives, Venetians fear for their lives! But in Orso’s house, strong daughters were made. Yet can courage be enough, to escape the grave?

Watch out! I’m learning stuff!

I have been voraciously listening to independent-publishing podcasts and LOVING IT!

I’m really enjoying hearing other writers share their authoring stories. A bonus – I’m learning SO MUCH at the same time.

Watch out! I’m learning stuff! HA!

A Season Of Bookish Fun To Begin!

I sure am ready for spring weather and a season of bookish fun to begin!

Confirmed ~ Evanston Made Maker’s Market – Sunday May 1st – 12 to 5 p.m.
Confirmed ~ Oak Brook Artisan Market – Sunday May 15th – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I Just Dig This Story!

I’m working on Dragons At Dusk, the follow-up to my Dragons At Dawn. I reread Dragons At Dawn last week as a refresher and I say…I could just live in that world! Scary screeching dragon in my village and all, I’m there!

I won’t pick one of my beloved tales over another, because they really each are special to me. But I have to say, I just dig this story, and I’m really excited to soon be sharing its sequel!

What would it be about?

Have you ever thought about writing a book? If you did, what would it be about?

Still by Michelle Novak ~ Releasing Soon!

For a synopsis of Still and my other works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

One Mask I’ll Never Get Tired Of…

Who wouldn’t be weary of wearing masks by now.

Yet there’s one mask I’ll never get tired of!

Venetian Carnevale just ended – every year at this time I dream about the beauty of Venice.

What inspires you?

{Book ~ Venice Incognito by James Johnson}

18th World of Faeries Festival !!!

Mark your calendars! The 18th World of Faeries Festival ~ Aug. 6th & 7th, 2022 ~

To learn more about the festival, please visit: https://theworldoffaeries.com/home
To learn more about my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

To My Very Dear Readers…

~ To My Very Dear Readers ~

I wanted to share with you before I began announcing my forthcoming 2022 event schedule…

My little bookshop, The Quill and Brush, where I’ve signed and sold my tales at the Bristol Renaissance Faire for 5 incredible summers, will be sitting out the 2022 season. As many know, the faire is one of the loves of my life, and has been since I was a little girl. And my tented shop? Don’t get me started! Some of the best memories of my life were made there, making friends with so many of you, on so many beautiful festival days. It is because of these experiences that my tales have gone out into the world, and lived.

I will never be able to express enough gratitude for the patrons and friends of The Quill and Brush. But know and believe, how much I sincerely thank each of you.

Yes! There are magical future possibilities for The Quill and Brush! But for now, I am fully embracing 2022 as a year of learning and growth as an author, new opportunities and different experiences. I’ll be popping up everywhere, toting my tales along. It would fill my heart to see you! Thank you for being right there beside me on this incredible journey, which continues to amaze me.

Now, with all of this said – let the new books, new events, new announcements, excessive silliness and sparkle, commence!

Just To Keep Things Curious

The works of artist and author Edward Gorey has forever, and will ever be, such a favorite for me. Each sketch, with a strange or silly story, brings me someplace inspiring, yet eerie. I love it. And will cherish my little collection.

True story – for years I used to send out creepy Edward Gorey Christmas cards.

Just to keep things curious.

Who is the author…

Who is the author that you would read anything they ever, or will ever write?

I know, I know, your first obvious answer would be Authoress Michelle Novak, right?

{tee – hee – hee}

Mine is Mary Roach, writing a great many things science.

She, is amazing. My author hero.

Though sometimes her books make me want to pass out.

Read one and you’ll get what I mean.

My TBR Stack!

Here’s my TBR stack! At least, the highest in my queue that are physically at my fingertips just now.

Three of them are ghost books (of course). Fuzz is the newest by one of my favorite authors, Mary Roach (can’t wait!). I’m looking forward to everything in this pile!

Glad for my dad…

True story – my dad has been sending me books by snail mail, all neatly taped up in brown paper, for YEARS. Two decades? Sometimes up to one a week. He is a big reader, and our tastes line up so closely, that I will read much of what he sends.

This book came today. He always sends the ghost books because they are a favorite to us both. They’re my candy bars as far as book genres go. I’m surprised we haven’t read them all by now!

Glad for my dad, always sending me books.

Stay Inspired!

Like Eating Bowls of Ice Cream

Do you have a collection in your book collection? One of mine are my Venice books. I love reading history, but the really dry ones can be a challenge. The exception would be if they are about Venice. For me, that’s like eating bowls of ice cream.

Can you spot the two I wrote?

Veleno Giveaway on Goodreads!

Goodreads giveaway for Veleno started today! Head here to enter.

~ Veleno by Michelle Novak ~

There once was a great Venetian palace. The name of which, everyone did know. Inside its walls dwelled an esteemed noble family. All revere, ’tis the House of Orso!

Its patriarch, a rich and powerful merchant. With a wife very clever, such a beautiful sight. His daughters, four, a precious gift. How unfortunate now, each should meet their plight…

Orso dead? Perhaps by plague! Mirella turned strange, a widow made.

Fina gone, for a courtesan’s life. Noemi must escape, or make a woeful wife. Mafalda will rise in a cold, cruel pit. Paola sent off to a nunnery, might lose her wits.

Venice’s year, 1575. Pestilence arrives, Venetians fear for their lives! But in Orso’s house, strong daughters were made. Yet can courage be enough, to escape the grave?

A Medieval Tale of Eternal Love

Five copies of Beauty Sleeping, my medieval tale of eternal love, are being mailed out today for the recent Goodreads giveaway! May the winners of this book enjoy the magic!!

A new giveaway announcing soon ~ In the meanwhile, come join me on Goodreads!

Keep Dreaming ~ Stay Inspired!

For a list of my works, please visit here.
To join me on Instagram, click here.
To check out my YouTube fun, click here.

A Magical Kingdom by Michelle Novak

It’s summer vacation and Lizzy is eager to take a trip to visit her grandparents at their beautiful home in the countryside where all kinds of fun can be had!

One morning, Lizzy’s grandma offers her an exciting book to read. Hopping on her bike with the book and a picnic lunch, she settles down by a beautiful pond to begin reading the adventure.

After reading the first lines of the book, things are not as they should be. The pond is now a vast lake, and in the middle of it sits a magnificent castle! There’s also an oddly dressed woman who’s come looking for her. She looks like she’s just stepped out of the Renaissance! Her name is Milda, and she beckons ‘Princess Lizbeth’ to hurry, for she is expected at the castle.

Join Lizzy as she travels back in time to a magical kingdom and becomes a princess for a day!

~ This, and all my adventures are available on Amazon! ~
~ For a list of my other works, please visit here. ~
To join me on Instagram, click here.
To join me on Goodreads, click here.

The Book of Dragons by Michelle Novak

After his courage shines through during one unexpected act of valor, young Lambert finds himself knighted by the wise King Gerald of the Kingdom of Echoes. After five years of knightly training and surprising adventures, Lambert and his heroic brothers receive an urgent request from the King; all knights must go in search of a magical text that has gone missing from right under the King’s nose at Halves Castle.

This isn’t just any book however. It is the Book of Dragons, a text filled with magic. In the wrong hands, the peaceful Kingdom of Echoes could be destroyed forever.

As Sir Lambert embarks on his quest to return the book to King Gerald, he learns that its magic would be nothing without living, breathing dragons!

Join Sir Lambert, who with the true heart of an honorable knight will do anything to protect the good people of the realm. Even if it means he has to fight one ferocious red beast!

~ This, and all my adventures are available on Amazon! ~
For a list of my other works, please visit here.

Just Being Proud

I’ve learned that the way to reach your goals is not by huge bounding leaps. That would make anybody tire out fast and feel like giving up. It’s with little steps, consistently, one foot and then the next. Never being down that the progress was so small that day, but just being proud that you did indeed, move ahead…

Stay Inspired!

Final Days of the Beauty Sleeping Giveaway!

Final few days of the Beauty Sleeping giveaway on Goodreads! Be sure to enter (and join me on Goodreads while you’re there!!). Here’s the link

Beauty Sleeping by Michelle Novak:

Four fair princesses, a long time ago, in a castle do dwell. Their father the king, has disappeared, from just right where he fell. The queen, their mother, walked away, floating into the wood. A sorceress watches, from her dark weald, ’tis certain she means no good…

Will-o’-the-wisps, water spirits, and many strange flowers that sigh. Fairies, goblins, nymphs, and of course, tameless dragons that fly. A time from the past, filled with peril, strange conjury, and swords. Just take one step into this world, and the journey ’twill be yours…

Could you fight a dragon?!

So, the question of the day…

Could you fight a dragon?! Cause I’d be hiding in the safety of that church way back there, screeching from a window for that knight to look out!

{Dragons At Dusk by Michelle Novak – Coming 2022}
For a list of my other tales, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

I’m a nerd. I know things.

So, if you don’t have one of these, you aren’t scoring all the nerd points. And we should all really want to be the best nerd we can be. You know?

This is my vintage spell checker (it’s a Franklin). I’ve had it for decades. I asked for it for Christmas as a kid. True story. I love this thing.

Writers, let me tell you why you want one. Yes, you have spell-check on your program. No, it won’t catch everything. Sometimes my instinct and a fast type into this magical instrument (faster than dictionary online, or thumbing a real dictionary – both which I also regularly do) and you have your answer.

I may do a future post listing the 50 reasons why you need this thing. But for today, just trust me. I’m a nerd. I know things.

I’m going to try anyway.

You know those things in life that are simultaneously exciting, and terrifying? This would explain my shaking hands as I wrapped up Veleno for shipping. I’ve entered some Independent Author Book Awards. Competitions really, though I don’t want to think of it that way.

A book award would be like winning the golden ticket in a chocolate bar. But I’m going to try anyway. Something to keep me on my toes. Keep me trying harder with each new book I write. Keep me inspired.

What Events Do You Suggest?

Hi Friends!

Man…is anybody else ready for spring?! I sure am. I need some warm sun. It’s been a winter, that’s for sure!

So, I’m thinking about events in 2022 and beyond and thought I’d ask you all – what do you suggest in the Chicagoland – Milwaukeeland area that I check out? Fairs, festivals, markets, conventions, independent-author-bookish-fun-stuff, etc.? Please mention in the comments and I’ll absolutely take a look! And, thank you!

Stay Inspired!

I Wonder If…

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking it would be pretty inconvenient to be a narwhal. Just saying. That thing grows out of their tooth. Once in a while, a narwhal grows two! I wonder if they go through a teething phase and get real grouchy?

Yes. My brain is a never-ending source of, “I wonder if…” Keeps things interesting.

This is a scene I’ve seen since I was a child visiting the Field Museum. It’s in a room where lunch tables are set up. Feeling nostalgic, I took a photo on a recent visit.

Look up the narwhal. I understood that their tusk was used to break ice, but doesn’t seem so. Nature is fascinating!

Stay Inspired!

Beauty Sleeping Giveaway on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Beauty Sleeping by Michelle  Novak

Beauty Sleeping

by Michelle Novak

Giveaway ends February 18, 2022.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter Giveaway

Giveaway on its way!

The winners of the 5 author signed copies of Ancient will be receiving their book shortly! Enjoy the journey!!!

I’ve another giveaway starting on Goodreads later this week! Can you guess which tale? Announcing soon!

Best BEST!!!

Everything so beautiful and like new!

So…I have been starting to look shabby. Like, I’ve had to start discarding jeans one by one with considerable rips and holes popping up everywhere, tops discoloring and losing form from many wears and washes, etc. I haven’t really purchased clothes in years. Only a few necessary items. I work from home now, and I don’t go to dress-up places anymore either. So, I’ve just been making do. And, though I once went to nice stores and picked out nice things when I needed (or wanted) them, money has become too precious for that. Those days are long gone.

But you know what? I did something yesterday that I should have been doing even years ago when I stepped out to the stores. I went thrifting at Goodwill. I walked away with a heart so full, friends. For about $55, I left with 3 jeans, 2 sweaters, 2 blouses, 1 flannel, 2 black slacks, a winter hat, a scarf (not all seen here in the photo). Everything so beautiful and like new!

My only difficulty with used items, is that they tend to have perfume in them from past owners. (Donators don’t necessarily wash items before they donate). Which, my serious allergies can’t take. But, with these clothes, a wash (maybe a half a cup of vinegar in it) will do the trick.

I feel SO blessed. God is so good. And from here on out, I will be a thrifter rather than a shopper. There is NO excuse not to stretch my hard-earned money, when such nice things are available to me, at such good prices. I always liked thrifting before, but I have a much stronger appreciation for it today.

All my best, and Stay Inspired ~

I’m counting the blessings, not the aches!

Happy January and New Year to you all!

How has your year started out? Mine has been a lot of quiet ~ that’s okay. A whole lot of thinking ~ I’d be doing that anyway, so nothing new there. A whole lot of reading ~ yes, please! Some new approaches to frugality ~ inflation is leaving no choice here. Feeling a whole lot of gratitude ~ giving the Lord my thank you everyday! Got my booster shot ~ yikes! (Sometimes doing what one feels is best doesn’t feel so good, does it? But I’m counting the blessings, not the aches!) Oh! And my Christmas cactus has 3 buds. I’m waiting very patiently for my January flowers!

Stay Inspired dear hearts, and be good to one another. All my best!

It’s Something I Just Don’t Have Words For…

It’s hard to describe the feeling you get as an author, when the first copy of your book arrives in the mail. Before, your work was just endless words on a bright screen. For months, sometimes years. And then one day, the book is real. And holding it in your hands, it’s something I just don’t have words for. Even as a writer…

Still by Michelle Novak ~ Release date announcing soon ~
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Roe works as a backer, a jack-of-all-trades in one of New York City’s oldest museums. Housing a legion of ancient treasures, its dim and mysterious halls have been venerated for long over a century. Her father before her, an esteemed historian in the museum for decades. It was from him, that she learned everything.

In this place, Roe’s whole life has been spent. Exploring every shadowy corner, gazing over every priceless piece, sneaking a glance inside every creaky drawer. So, she thought she had discovered all of its even most secret of secrets. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In a museum, there is always more to find. Or more to find you. And here, something has been hiding in the basement for a very long time. Something that has now begun looking, for Roe.
.
For a list of my works, please visit here.
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Merry, Merry My Friends

A long holiday weekend spent reading and writing?! WHAT a treat!! Happiness – here I come!!!

Merry, Merry my friends ~
Stay Inspired!

Smart Joy

I lean more toward soft goals for a new year (if I make them at all). I remember writing a list as a child. Like – that was the thing people did decades ago. HA! But you know, after the 2nd of January, goals were forgotten.

My goals for 2022 are almost singularly author goals. Goals set around an outlet that gives me joy in this crazy world. See how I’m setting my sights around happiness rather than discipline here? HA!

But I have another goal. I’m not a great consumer. I’m a minimalist. More than ever nowadays. I do buy books & music (that whole joy thing). But my primary spend is food and personal care items.

The goal? I know you’re feeling that inflation like me. Yikes! 2022 will be a year of considering value vs. convenience, and comparison shopping, etc. And that’s the way it’s got to be. But I’m still going to make sure there’s joy. Just smart joy.

Stay Inspired!

Only Two Goals Today…

I have only two goals today. To eat that sandwich (check!) and to sharpen those pencils (I’ll get there…maybe this afternoon…or tonight).

I’m not aiming high. I need rest. And some days, we just have to say, that’s okay.

Yes. Dull pencils drive me bonkers. Quite bonkers.

Author asides: Still releasing soon!! Oh my gosh – oh my gosh – oh my gosh. Who wants to get creeped out in a museum?! ME – Me – ME!! Early 2022 – date coming in a blink!

Dragons at Dusk – first quarter of 2022! Other new works? A glimpse is just around the bend. New events? Will announce the 2022 bookish fun as it is scheduled!!

Bonus: 5 author-signed copies of my Ancient are on giveaway NOW at Goodreads! Here’s the link.

For a list of my works, please visit here.

Stay Inspired!

They Jump Away From Me

As some of you know, I love jumping spiders. Like, love them. All of the ones in my house are my pets. They don’t agree. They jump away from me. But still. I know deep down they love me too and are thankful I let them live in my window frames and don’t squish them.

So when I saw this fossil of a jumping spider at the Field Museum…millions of years old…well, I just wish I could have seen him in action! Watched him hop! Watched him hunt! Too cool, man.

Stay Inspired!

My Holiday Wish…

What would make my holiday wish come true? A book review, from you!

Dear Friends ~ If you have read and enjoyed one of my tales, I would warmly appreciate a book review on Amazon, or Goodreads, or both! I genuinely appreciate these. Even just your rating and a sentence or two is so meaningful to this independent author who started this writing journey from scratch! Today, I am so excited about where I am, but also for all the stories I have yet to share! So please, make this wish come true! Your support continues to mean everything.

Thank you, thank you. Happy Holidays ~ Michelle

To learn more about my books, please visit here.

To join me on Instagram, please visit here.

To join me on YouTube, please visit here.

Merry Jumping Bandicoots!

To those of you who might have believed a bandicoot was just a creature of fairy tales, perhaps a goblin or other that tickles sleeping toes in the night, you will now be made aware that they are in fact, a real animal. My goodness – what a cutie! They hail from Australia.

I may consider including bandicoots in one of my stories. Because that just sounds magical to me. Wouldn’t you agree? Yes. I can see them now. A band of merry jumping bandicoots leading the way!

Never lose your imagination!

[Photo taken at the Field Museum]

A Special Moment, Just For Me

The Yellow-headed Blackbird is rare in Illinois. I’ve been watchful of nature since I was a kid, and never saw one. Which was why when I spotted one one dismal rainy morning fluffing its feathers and looking like a magnificent firecracker, I was literally stunned. It – was – BEAUTIFUL.

I had no idea what bird this was! We had a chat, the yellow head and I. Sort of a one-sided conversation. I told it how beautiful it was. It fluffed the rain off its feathers, puffing up, walking cautiously around through the grass. I think it might have been hunting for worms in the rain.

I took this photo at the Field Museum recently. It made me happy to see it again! I hope one day to see another in the wild. But I’ll never forget the one time that I did. It felt like a special moment, just for me.

Stay Inspired!

What Places Inspire You?

I visited the Field Museum over the Thanksgiving holiday. Some places just feel like home, and this is one of them for me. A place full of inspiration.

My newest book Still, out soon, is greatly inspired by my memories visiting the Field. To read a synopsis, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

What places inspire you?

Ever Humbled and Thankful

Book day today!! Book days are the best days!

Can’t every day be a book day?!

Thank you to all the gracious folks I met in Skokie at the Holiday Fair Extravaganza today! And for your support, each of you new readers. I ever hope that each tale that walks away, brings with it as much adventure, inspiration, and happiness, as always seems to come to me. I, am ever humbled and thankful.

All my best – Stay Inspired!

Smelly Cheese and Fancy Crackers

Holly jolly! Glitter and gold! Sparkle and lights!

I’ll be in Skokie tomorrow for a little holiday fun, talking books!

If you aren’t within a sleigh ride’s distance, please consider being a fairy godpatron this season with an online order. Because everyone wants a book in their stocking!! Of course!

And chocolates. Of course! And new fuzzy socks…
I’d appreciate some smelly cheese and fancy crackers in my stocking. Is that weird?

Merry, MERRY!
For a list of my tales, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Merry, Merry You All!

Here’s my tiny Christmas tree! It’s real. It drinks a lot of water. Or maybe it just evaporates fast? I enjoy sniffing my tree. That pine scent – oh my word!

I’ll be talking books this Saturday in Skokie at the Holiday Fair Extravaganza from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.! I would wear my ugly Christmas sweater, but it was so ugly I think I made it disappear from my closet. HA!

Merry, Merry, you all!

A Special Collection

I’ve always been fond of a Choose Your Own Adventure, and have my own little collection. If I see one in a used bookstore, I can’t help but consider it for my shelf.

The other night, I snatched one up for a quick reading adventure. Because, yes. It just so happened to be R.A. Montgomery’s Spooky Thanksgiving. Because of course – adding a little spooky to any holiday simply makes it more fun, no? Love it!!

To learn more about my Venice, a book written in just this interactive style, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Still by Michelle Novak

Roe works as a backer, a jack-of-all-trades in one of New York City’s oldest museums. Housing a legion of ancient treasures, its dim and mysterious halls have been venerated for long over a century. Her father before her, an esteemed historian in the museum for decades. It was from him, that she learned everything.

In this place, Roe’s whole life has been spent. Exploring every shadowy corner, gazing over every priceless piece, sneaking a glance inside every creaky drawer. So, she thought she had discovered all of its even most secret of secrets. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In a museum, there is always more to find. Or more to find you. And here, something has been hiding in the basement for a very long time. Something that has now begun looking, for Roe.

Still by Michelle Novak – Coming 2021

Books – books – books!!

Lunch breaks in my house? A healthy bite and a good read. Currently working my way through Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science by Jeff Meldrum. And it’s excellent.

If you are on Goodreads, I hope you’ll join my author page, friends. The real treat? Sharing what I’m reading, but also seeing what YOU’VE got your noses in! Books – books – books!!

Stay Inspired!

Fairy Tales Make The Best Stocking Stuffers…

Next up for me? Some sparkly festive cheer talking books at Skokie’s Holiday Fair Extravaganza! Fairy tales make the best stocking stuffers, you know! I’ll be there signing mine from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.!

Stay Inspired!

A Magical Mention!

Thank you to Studio Moonfall for hosting this author yesterday. My new Moonfall mug filled with hot cocoa (and refill!) was a treat, and proprietor Donovan Scherer a true mentor to the independent author.

A magical mention!! A selection of my books are now available at Studio Moonfall. Presently – Beauty Sleeping, Veleno, Dragons at Dawn, and Once Upon a Star! If you haven’t yet visited this gem of a bookstore in Kenosha, WI – you really must!

New books, new events, more magic coming soon! But in the meantime, Stay Inspired!

Guest Author at Studio Moonfall Tomorrow!

Guest author at Studio Moonfall in Kenosha tomorrow between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.! I’ll be taking in the fresh air just out front, talking books. And probably eating Halloween candy. Wait – who is bringing the Halloween candy?! There HAS to be Halloween candy! I better find some Halloween candy!?!

Best to you all – and a very Happy Halloween!

Studio Moonfall this Sunday!

Kenosha! I’m heading back your way this Sunday – October 31st, visiting Studio Moonfall between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. as guest author! If you haven’t seen this spectacular shop, filled with magical books and art, I can’t encourage you enough.

What do I really appreciate about Studio Moonfall and proprietor Donovan Scherer? All the support for independent authors – like me! In fact, check out today’s post at @donovanscherer. See anything familiar?!

All my best, friends – and Stay Inspired!

Things are going to get a little sillier…

As if things weren’t getting silly enough, they’re about to get just a little sillier. Come join me on the new YouTube channel – Authoress Michelle Novak.

Because there’s nothing like a little storytelling, is there?

Halloween Event!

As my bookish schedule changes, I’ll keep you in the loop. Next up – Studio Moonfall for Halloween!! Can’t wait to see you again – Kenosha! Various vendors for a special day of festive fun! If you haven’t visited this bookshop yet – it’s truly a place of creative delight!

More special announcements just around the bend – and they glitter and sparkle!

Stay Inspired!

Mini Shop in the Parking Lot

Set up a mini bookshop in a parking garage next to my faithful bookmobile today – and I loved it!

Wish everyday could be a book day. I really do.

@evanston_made – thank you for bringing together so many amazing artists. You – are an incredible organization.

And to the new readers I met today – I hope every page turned is a wonderful adventure. And how much I appreciate your stories, your generosity, and your smiles!

Evanston Made This Saturday!

This coming Saturday October 2nd, 12-5pm! Excited to gab about books and creating with my fellow Evanstonians! And hey – the farmer’s market will also be going just outside until 1pm. What a wonderful community gathering! I hope to see you there!

Thank you @evanston_made for this lovely graphic, and for welcoming this author to the fun!!

Be sure to check out Evanston Made! What an organization!

What A Wonderful Adventure…

What a wonderful adventure I had at Studio Moonfall today in Kenosha, WI. Thank you @donovanscherer for graciously hosting me and welcoming my tales to your wondrous bookshop! And a special thank you to the new readers I met today. My goodness – I won’t ever forget this sunny, welcoming, bookish day!

Friends! Special updates coming soon!!! What a magical season this has been! This author’s cup runneth over! How much I appreciate you all…

Stay Inspired!

Studio Moonfall Tomorrow: Sept. 19th!

Though I will not be dressed in historic garb (or will I?), I will be selling and signing my tales tomorrow at the very fantastic Studio Moonfall in Kenosha, WI from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Check out this awesome bookshop at:
https://www.studiomoonfall.com/
 @donovanscherer

All my best!

Thank you, thank you!!


Friends ~ Thank you for THE most amazing Bristol season my little bookstore, The Quill and Brush, could have ever hoped for. Your generosity, kindness, ideas, smiles, laughter, and inspiration, were incredible this 2021. My 5th season was truly, a dream.

I wish that every tale that walked away with you, will entertain, lift, delight, hearten, and inspire. Such a hope, is what fills my heart and moves my pen! More stories are very soon on the way!

My next event – Evanston’s Maker’s Market – October 2nd.

For a list of my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Just Two Festival Weekends Left!

Just two festival weekends left at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Don’t let the heat keep you away from these last magical days. I hope to see you at The Quill and Brush!

Stay Inspired!

For a list of my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Offering just a little bit…

Do you know what fills my heart? Boxes of books. My books. The loves of my life. The works of my soul. The hundreds of hours spent to give them breath.


They may not look like much in the cardboard, stacked in their paper and plastic. But when I place each individually into someone’s hands, and they walk away, I somehow feel I’m doing what it was I’m here to do. Offering just a little bit of magic, love, happiness, adventure…This is what I have to give.


Stay Inspired

Summer Beauties


My orchids are still in bloom. What summer beauties!


A new plant shop (https://www.plantshopevanston.com) has opened up close to me, but due to my very busy season, I haven’t been able to make it yet. I can’t wait to visit and see what delights I bring home!

Stay Inspired!

New Events, New Books!

I’m scheduling new events! TBC (to be confirmed). TBA (to be announced). I anticipate the release of Still by the November 20th event, so anyone coming out in their cozy sweaters may just snag a first copy. I’ll keep you posted!

As for 2022? I’m planning to make it an amazing year of new releases and events, and I’m taking you along for the ride!

For a list of my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Festival Cheer…

What an amazing season so far at The Quill and Brush at the Bristol Renaissance Faire! The energy this year has been incredible. Thank you for the support of every guest, all of your endless creative inspiration, and festival cheer!

Two weekends left. I hope to see you there!

The Quill and Brush’s beautiful sign was made by Cody Zibung.

I’ll be announcing some new event dates soon. Stay Inspired!

Three More Festival Weekends…

Another magical weekend at The Quill and Brush at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Thank you to every visitor for such an amazing and supportive season!

I sincerely hope each and every one of you is enjoying your reading adventure!

3 more festival weekends yet ahead!

Keep bringing your smiles and all of your creative conversation! How you inspire me!

All of my best ~ Michelle

What I’ve Learned From Writing Books – #3

Dear Friends…5 more beautiful festival weekends yet to visit Bristol, and my little bookshop The Quill and Brush. If you haven’t stopped by so far, I hope you will for a bookish chat – and perhaps even leave with a fairy tale too!

But wherever you are and whatever you’re doing this summer – I hope you’re enjoying life and staying inspired!

Now onwards with our short series of what I’ve learned from writing books, which again, may be considered general thoughts for just about any craft!

#3

Arguably, the most important thing when writing a book, is the trust you must place on yourself.

What’s that mean? Well…

  1. If you think you’ll remember that great idea you had as you were falling asleep last night, no…you won’t. I’ve fumbled around in the dark more than once for a pencil and scribbled a note in the pitch. I tell you, whenever that thought enters your brain, write it down. Don’t trust yourself to remember, trust yourself to write it down.

2. If you think you’re going to recall to fix that sentence during edits later on, no…you won’t. Take a few moments to give that sentence a little love in the moment. Don’t trust yourself to remember to do it, trust yourself to make it your best, as you’re working.

3. Think that word seems like the correct spelling? That you can probably pass on by while you’re writing/editing? I wouldn’t. Check and make sure. Don’t trust 100% in your spelling skills, or that it’s probably correct. Trust in yourself to take the time to check the word. And that goes for the meaning of the word too. If you only knew how many times I was way off, when I thought I was right on.

4. Think you’re sure what history was really like, and you can paint your story with it and then call it true? Oh my goodness, it’s hilarious how many things I put down from my imagination, thinking it was historical. But they were really only theatrical ideas I’d gleaned from movies and reading. Not so much history at all. So, challenge yourself to find out the truth. It’s SO MUCH FUN!! Of course, you can write what you like in your book. You don’t have to be accurate. Have fun being outrageously incorrect if you like, because it’s your book. But if you dig something a bit more true to history (I often do), trust yourself to give some time to research and let go of your assumptions.

5. Trust yourself to read your work from different viewpoints, not just your own. How might someone, other than yourself feel, when reading your words? For example, I’d once phrased a paragraph that later made me reflect that it didn’t sound all that empowering for my young female character! And since my character might be an example to some young lady out there someday, I was quick to make edits. But it was only after I’d reviewed the words from a different view, that I’d even seen this. This isn’t an easy skill! We all come from our own voice and experiences. But trust yourself to give more time to reviewing your work, as another might.

I could keep coming up with examples on self-trust, but they are endless. So let’s just say this…

Each time I sit down to write, the most important thing is to trust that I have my own back. If I care up-front, what I produce in the end, is more likely to be what I was hoping for.

Thank you…

I just wanted to say thank you to each and every supporter of The Quill and Brush at Bristol, and to every reader. The positive reviews, the smiles, the wonderful conversations, the many new friends made. This has been an incredible season so far, and you can’t even imagine how thankful I am, for you.


My autumn writing bug is already biting. But it must wait! 5 more beautiful festival weekends still to come.

Stay Inspired, and all of my best.

Take A Journey…

It may have been hotter than is bearable this past weekend, but with all those special moments at The Quill and Brush, it seemed nothing at all…

6 more festival weekends at Bristol. I hope to see you there!

And speaking of heat…take a journey through a vast Egyptian desert in my supernatural tale, Ancient. For a description, read here.

Keep cool. Stay Inspired.

You, Inspire Me

I just wanted to say Thank You for an AMAZING first two weekends back at Bristol. The Quill and Brush was visited by so many wonderful readers, writers, old friends, and new guests. It was overwhelming in the most sincere and magical way.

You, inspire me.

7 more glorious festival weekends to come. I’m going to cherish every one. Be sure to come by for a visit! And perhaps a fairy tale too!

All My Best…

What I’ve Learned From Writing Books – #2

Hello Dear Friends! All of my well wishes to you!!

I’ve been focused on preparing for the opening of The Quill and Brush’s 5th season at the Bristol Renaissance Faire for many weeks now. For such a simple little shop, you’d wonder what all takes so much time to prepare?! But let me tell you from experience, even the smallest of small businesses always has plenty to do!

Saturday I was up at Bristol with my folks, making sure all was prepped for opening day, July 10th. Man, those Bristol grounds are beautiful!

Yesterday, I tied up loose ends at home, including bringing out bins of costumes from storage. Hanging them up, I realized how real this all was. Just a few days more!

Who is ready for Bristol?! Rennies say hello in the comments!

But onwards with this mini series of posts about my experience writing books…

(Remember, I think much of these will apply to any creator.)

#2

Writing books takes guts and grit and nerves of steel. If you don’t have those, well, start pretending you do and don’t look back…

What do I mean by this?

First – Writing, editing, and completing a book alone, is very hard work. Hundreds of hours in solitude creating a single novel? Easily. You need to love it that much, and develop great patience. It will be more patience than you have, so just keep finding more. From where? I don’t know. Just do.

Two – You’ve got a lot of learning to do. Everyone does. Being a writer is a continual journey of development. And learning is often arduous and can mess with your confidence. Don’t let it. Just keep moving forward, just keep growing.

Three – What you write will never be as perfect as you want it to be. And I know I have an imagination that I can’t quite fit into a book. That’s hard to accept. But the important thing is whether or not you put your best into what you produce. And you know whether or not you did. Give your best, and you’re doing great!

Four – Giving your work to the world is provoking. That’s my nice way of saying, there’s a lot of emotions when a book is published. It’s exciting and I feel proud, yes. I can’t even describe how it feels to hold that first copy in your hands! But it’s also terrifying. Once you put it out there, it’s not yours anymore. A book has a life of its own for everyone who reads it. And that will bring out both scrutiny and praise, and other unexpected ripples. You must learn to embrace all of that. It’s scary, but beautiful.

Five – Writing books is lonely. But it has to be. It’s you – your mind – and the page. Of course, writing can be terribly exciting and entertaining! But it’s inherently a quiet endeavor. If your personality doesn’t like quiet and solitude (and even if it does), this can be a difficult part of writing.

Six – It’s possible you’ll do all the work, and yet not many people will read your book. Listen – the world is oversaturated with as many options in reading and entertainment, and other things to do. So this shouldn’t be a surprise. Rather, remember to write because you love to, and simply appreciate when others do pick up, read, and even go the extra mile of responding to, what you wrote. If you think of it this way, you’ll keep finding the rewards in writing.

If you’ve read this post, my guess is you love to create something, whether it’s a book, or otherwise. So here’s what I say to you. You just keep doing what you love, no matter what. Even if it’s small steps, or only for yourself, or just as time allows, or with its difficulties. It will always be worth it. And for those of you who have already reached the stars with your craft, keep going for the next universe!

Stay Inspired.

What I’ve Learned From Writing Books – #1

Funny. I know I’m a writer. I know I’m an author. And yet, after years, I still never really felt that I was, in my mind.

Why? I guess it always seemed like this journey was some sort of marathon. And I’ve no training in running. I was going to have to learn from scratch. Wear through a lot of shoes. Further, some of the ways I’ve approached authorship have been unconventional. I therefore believed I would have to run really hard and really far, to prove that I was a real runner. I believed I had to cross some important marker along the way (what that was, I wasn’t sure) before I could really call myself An Author.

This thinking was absurd, of course. But I couldn’t make my stubborn brain accept what it wouldn’t, until it would.


My newest novel Still, will be in readers’ hands shortly (more to come on that soon). But about a week or two ago, while working on edits, I knew. I’d gotten past whatever my imaginary marker was.

This book, it took a piece of my soul with it. And it was genuinely, hard work. I can’t even question myself now. I’m an author.

So as I considered my experience with Still, which will be my 17th title, I decided I wanted to share a bit of my book writing journey with you.

It’s no matter if you are a writer, or not. I think you’ll find my thoughts applicable to anything you have a goal to do.

Your journey may not look at all like mine, nor even your craft, but this is really about inspiration. At my shop The Quill and Brush at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, I meet authors in every step of their journeys. I learn so much from these conversations. So here’s what my experience has been…

#1

I thought I knew the English language well. I was wrong.

Here’s the fact. I LOVE words. I’ve always loved reading, and another great passion of mine was once public speaking. I love hearing how others use words to express a message. I love crafting words to express myself. I love reading words. I love writing words. I’m just nuts about it.

And though I never received any focused education in writing, I thought I understood the English language and the basic spelling of it decently enough.

I was wrong. But it’s so funny! In fact, I laugh at myself all the time.

  1. I write words that I thought were real. But it seems I made them up.
  2. I thought I knew what words meant, but am frequently surprised to learn my understanding was incorrect.
  3. I still have to look up some of the same words, again and again. Like lose vs. loose (even though it’s cemented by now…I think).
  4. I’ve occasionally gone wild, and yes, printed words in my books that are neither ‘real’ nor ‘perfectly applied’. And I’ll do it again. Because I’m creating art. My art. I can do what I want.

I like reviewing a ‘word of the day’. I find it so hilarious every time! They are always long and complicated-sounding, and I like to first guess what they mean and have a giggle inside when I find out what they actually do. I wouldn’t use even a small percent of these words. But it’s such a delight to learn about them anyway. And they remind me, I still have so much to learn about the English language.

What I know? We always have more to learn about our craft than we thought we did. But that’s what makes the journey awesome!

Stay Inspired.

The Salad Hour

Greetings, Greetings!

It’s getting to feel like summer around here, and I’m so glad for it. Spring always seems to draw on for too long. Too many months of damp and chill when all one wants is sun and warmth!

I’ve been just about the busiest, and it’s only going to get more so for me! The Bristol Renaissance Faire opens in 5 weeks, along with my little book shop – The Quill and Brush. What a summer waits ahead! I hope to see you there!

I have a custom. It’s the salad hour.

Every evening I make a salad for supper. Usually accompanied by a little something extra (crackers, or a bite of this or that). I started this habit a while ago now. I guess it’s been some years, begun out of an awareness of what my body needed versus what I was accustomed to consuming.

I’m what one might call a creature of habit, so I don’t get bored with this. As long as there’s a bite of something additional with it (cheese, hard-boiled eggs, a piece of salmon, a piece of toast).

In any case, the right eating choice for my health has now turned into what feels like a habit of self-love and self-care. A time of day to relax, put something good into my body. To say nothing of the fact that making a salad takes minutes, with very few dishes messed. I love that.

Do you have a custom like this? Something good for your body or spirit that is just for you? If you don’t, I encourage it.

Love yourself. Love one another. Stay Inspired.