Still is Available Now!!

Still is available now!! And, up on Goodreads to add to your To Read shelf! Thank you for reading and supporting Indie Authors!!

Still on Goodreads

Still on Amazon

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.

Available Now!!!

AVAILABLE NOW!

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.
.
Click here to see Still on Amazon

Find The Happiness

Books, coffee, and my morning treat…finding happiness in little things.

Yes – I’m reading six books at once. I pick which depending on my mood and never have trouble jumping right in where I left off. And, a new Studio Moonfall mug – a gift from my recent author visit. That mug is going to be seeing a lot of coffee!

~ Find the happiness ~ All my best ~

I spy, with my little eye…

I spy, with my little eye, something written by ME…

Who can name the title? And man my book is in such good company on the shelves of Studio Moonfall in Kenosha, WI.

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

This Author Journey…

This author journey is an incredible one, and keeps getting better with every day! Thank you to Studio Moonfall for today’s wonderful event! And thank you to the readers – every single one of you. It is a privilege to be able to share my stories, with you.

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

Studio Moonfall Tomorrow!

Who is going to be selling and signing her tales at Studio Moonfall in Kenosha, WI tomorrow?! She’s someone who is writing ALL the fairy tales! Someone who loves dreaming, and imagination, and sparkle! Someone who thinks reading is magic! Someone who loves to see your smiles and talk books!!!

Studio Moonfall ~ Kenosha, WI. ~ Sunday June 19th, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

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

Author Updates ~ Summer 2022!

~ Authoress Michelle Novak ~

Author Updates ~ Summer 2022!

To learn more about my works please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/
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!

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?
.
Keep Smiling! Stay Inspired!

The Transcendent Moments

For the book lovers out there ~ what’s your favorite thing about reading?
For the writers ~ why do you write?
For the creators ~ when does making feel like magic?

Me? I write for the transcendent moments. Those times when it takes me some place incredible, within myself. A really focused, yet far away, beautiful place.

Those Words Will Still Be True

Occasionally I get stuck for an eternity working on one-single-sentence. One I just can’t get right. Just a dizzying puzzle of moving letters. I put in a struggle but get nowhere.

The next day I revisit it, and it takes moments to rewrite. Way better than what I could have spun the day before.

As a writer, struggle only sharpens my pencil, making the sentence come easier the next go around. But apply that to just about anything in life, and I’m certain those words will still be true.

Stay Inspired!

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!

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

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

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?

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!!!

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/

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.

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.

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!

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!!!

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 ~
.
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.
Join me on Instagram.
Join me on Goodreads.
Follow my Author Page on Amazon.

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!

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.

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

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?

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!

Studio Moonfall next Sunday, Sept. 19th!!

An exciting update to events! I’ll be a guest at Kenosha’s Studio Moonfall – Donovan Scherer’s House of Art & Story, next Sunday September 19th from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.! Selling and signing my tales, alongside some other super fun vendors! And this bookshop!!! Be sure to check out this amazing place at https://www.studiomoonfall.com/

Gratitude for the invite @donovanscherer and I’ll be seeing you soon, Kenosha readers!

Stay Inspired!

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

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.

Six Weeks Until The Quill And Brush Returns!

Good Day Good Friends! I hope this message finds you well!

I got two emails from my Mama this morning asking if I was okay. She does that when I get a little quiet – because she’s a good mom. So, I thought I better come up for air and just say Hello to everybody!!

You see, since the very second Bristol announced they would be opening this summer, I’ve been all hands on deck. Everything from car repairs (no breaking down on the way to Bristol for me – I don’t want to end up a damsel in distress), to vaccines (both round one and round two took me down – no joke), to writing nearly every evening after work (more on that soon!!), to getting all my small business odds and ends in order.

I’m still in the thick of it, so I might be just a little quiet for a few weeks more, but then it will be time to bring out the magic! AND THE BOOKS! HUZZAH!

Where’s the costumes! Where’s the glitter? Dust off your fairy wings! Where’s your hair wreath? Where’s your sword?! Practice your pirate yarrrrr! A whole summer of revelry is just around the corner, and I’ll be sure to share it with you here from The Quill and Brush!

Who’s coming to say hello at The Quill?! Say hi here – I can’t wait to see you there!

Bed, Cookies, and Books…

I call this photo…

Bed, Cookies, and Books

Pretty much all you need to solve most of life’s problems!

Stay Inspired!!

{I’m currently reading Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman – Great book, great author!}

What are you reading? Come say hello on Goodreads!


Come along with me…

Hello Friends!

I hope withal that this message finds you well and happy. Here in Evanston, the sun is shining and the birds have been veritably trilling. Several have been showing off. They’re going to get raspy beak by evening and will have to gargle with fountain mist. Or puddle water. I hear that works pretty good. That’s the go-to bird cure.

I’m just happy that they are happy – they make me happy – isn’t that spring song so lovely?!

Today, I digress. But I just wanted to say thank you, for reading.

Thank you, for being a part of Inspired By Venice. Thank you, for turning the pages of my tales. Thank you for coming along on my writing journey. Endless gratitude, to those who have made a visit to The Quill and Brush – my little bookshop at Bristol. Thank you all, for ambling along, with me.

How much I appreciate the inspiration.

I can report, a renaissance is taking hold. The writing bug has bitten. Ouch! I anticipate an outburst of works, to plan an event or two (as it becomes safe), and an uptick in inspired posts.

I hope you will come along with me

For, for all of you that have enjoyed my words – your support means everything.

It is only because of readers, that my characters, worlds, and stories, actually breath, live, and come to life.

All of your smiling faces at The Quill. The treasure of conversations shared. The ideas you’ve exposed me to! Hearing about all of your creative passions and aspirations. All of the feedback, book reviews, and encouragement. Your comments, your emails, your follows.

Please, keep it coming!

But most importantly – I appreciate you.


You can follow Inspired By Venice, via email or the WordPress button, on my main page.

Bonus fun!! Staying inspired on Instagram! @InspiredByVenice

You can also join me on Goodreads, or my Amazon author page, for book updates!

Have you read one of my tales? Your Goodreads or Amazon book review, is a gift that is sincerely appreciated.

And of course, if you are looking for a new adventure, for yourself, or for a gift, please consider being a fairy godpatron in the bookstore.


Time to go sharpen my quill and spill some ink!

Stay Inspired

A Man Pulled Up On The Side Of The Road…

Welcome All. I hope this message finds you full with good health, safety, love and light today…

IMG_5642

I am well. Though, it has been another few unusual and tense weeks. There is civil stress, both locally, and throughout the nation. And there is Covid. It hasn’t gone anywhere. As with everyone else, it’s just one day at a time.

God, please bless, heal, and keep us in your hands.

IMG_5625

As some of you readers are already aware, being revelers, vendors, and employees at Bristol, the Bristol Renaissance Faire (and my book shop The Quill and Brush) will remain closed for the 2020 season. It was announced earlier this week. In my view, it was most certainly the right decision, for the health of all…

cropped-img_4680.jpg

Of course, there is disappointment in it, for many. Bristol is a beautiful, magical outlet. The festival (and all of the hundreds of other canceled events around the nation) are also basic income, for thousands. As I packed my costumes away yesterday, and simply sat with all that has happened these last months, this closure was harder to swallow than I’d anticipated.

My Mom mailed me masks, which she made, and which I make use of every day. I am thankful. My Dad mails me books, which in reading, have been a recent escape. I am thankful. I am thankful to have family that think of me. It is a reminder to pay it forward, with small gestures that uplift others, when I have the opportunity…

IMG_5620

Yet today, I want to share something personal that happened this week. For whatever reason, I normally wouldn’t. I try after all, to keep things light here on Inspired By Venice. But I feel compelled. Perhaps because what I am going to say, may be important to even one reader here, someday, somehow. God works in mysterious ways…

A man pulled up on the side of the road, as I was walking with my groceries on the sidewalk, a few evenings ago. He offered me a ride home in his car. A stranger. I said no. He encouraged. I said no.

I need not offer more detail on the happening, but this…

It quickened my heart, the way a deer must feel when it knows it needs to run the other direction. I watched nervously when the car drove away, until I could not see it anymore, and then I wove through an alleyway home, to be sure I wasn’t being watched for where I lived.

This is not the first time. And maybe it won’t be the last. I’ve a few stories that will turn the hairs up on your neck. Was this individual a bad person with bad intentions? I don’t know. But what I know is, a stranger has no business offering me a ride in their car.

I shared this to say, when your instinct alerts you, listen. This may apply, in many other ways, than this. But if your gut is telling you something, listen. And carry yourself, the other direction.

IMG_5629

Have I mentioned I’m eating Chuckles for stress management?

Love one another, lift one another. Love and take care of yourself.

Stay Inspired.

Make Your Own Happiness…

Hello my dear friends, family, and readers! Happy belated Thanksgiving…I am grateful for you!

I am also happy today! Can you guess why?!?

(Do you like my little hint?)

Was it because of my morning muffin (pumpkin today!) and coffee? The two things that I undeniably cannot get my day started without? Great guess, but nope…

IMG_4925

Is it on account of the secret stash of holiday-themed cookies I’ve been surreptitiously hiding in my cupboard? (I’m promising myself I’ll give up the habit…after Christmas…COOKIES!!!)

IMG_4923

Yes, cookies make me smile, but that’s not it either…

Is it because I had a hearty, healthful vegetarian Thanksgiving plate at my Grandpa and Grandma Novak’s house yesterday, and spent time with family?

IMG_4924

Well yes…of course I’m happy because of that…but there’s something else!!!

Have you guessed yet? Need another hint?

Beauty Sleeping is here! The most enchanting fairy tale my brain has yet to imagine. It is a delightful gem! I hope it takes you away to a beautiful, mysterious, and magical place…

Ch.1-BeautySleeping

This is a snippet from the first chapter…you can ‘look inside’ the book on Amazon and read it for yourself here

BeautySleepingBackCover

For those of you new to Beauty Sleeping, it is not a youth adventure, neither is it a novel… it’s a novella. Fantasy fans, Renaissance junkies, sword clashers, believers in fairies, those who love love…this one’s for you! Enjoy!

As for me, each day I delight in making my own happiness! I’ll be working on Still, and Dragons At Dusk as the days grow colder and colder and the snow begins to fall…

Queen

For all of my Bristol Renaissance Faire friends, I’m looking forward to seeing you at The Quill and Brush for my 5th season July 2020! New tales in tow…

Making my own happiness lately has not only consisted of writing, but also reading…

IMG_4929

Various books, but also the Book. For many, Psalms is a comfort and joy to read. It is. But my favorites are Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. There’s a lot of wisdom in them both, and as I get older, I aspire to be a better, wiser, more empathetic person.

IMG_4944

I also want to be stronger, more firmly-sound-in-spirit, and a less-anxious human being! The Bible is a place of wisdom for all of those things for me…

Another source of happiness, several Netfix offerings have been quite entertaining recently. I have to tell you, I have never giggled so much as I did at the documentary film, Dancing with the Birds. If you subscribe to Netflix, you must watch it. I was utterly dazzled by these birds of paradise!

I have also been entranced with the documentary series Civilizations by PBS. Never one to think much about art, I’m now completely enraptured by everything I’m learning in this wonderful program. It’s made me want to travel to every art museum and church on the globe! Love it!

Heal, another documentary that moved me, focuses on how much our stress affects our health, and what activities in life can help negate that. It inspired me to think about how I can surrender more to calm, rest, and peace, rather than anxiety, burden, and worry. Love that!

As for holiday favorites, I thought Holly Star was so hilarious! The trailer doesn’t do it justice, it was such a cute movie!

And I also thought The Knight Before Christmas was a holiday delight! But I write fairy tales, so of course I would!

IMG_4919

Otherwise, I am quite happy with my everyday evening salads! Both healthy and satisfying, it’s a nice part of my day that I’m always looking forward to…

michellechristmas

And oh goodness! Here’s a photo of me when a tiny newling on my Mama’s lap, one Christmas long ago. Isn’t that a memory of happiness? Beauty Sleeping is dedicated to her. Without her, I would never have been inspired to write a fairy tale in the first place…

As for you…keep looking toward your health and happiness. There’s nothing more important. I’m wishing this season brings you much peace, joy, and laughter!

All of my best wishes! Stay Inspired!

Inspired By Reading…

Hello All You Amazing, Strong, Creative, Funny, Wonderful, Weird People…oh wait, the weird one is just me! Ha! How are you doing today?! Staying inspired I hope! Do you know what was so very good for my soul this last week?

IMG_4887

Reading. I was under the weather Monday, and thus spent the afternoon reclining in bed with books. And then…I made some more time for some more reading this week, because, you know, I just wanted more. Like M&M’s. Or blueberry muffins. Or French fries dipped in aioli…

Reading breaks my brain. It inspires me. And do you know what else I found? It makes my brain hush up. I need that. Be quiet brain, stop chattering! I’ve decided to apply reading to my life like meditation, for its wondrous calming effect…

IMG_4889

This week, I finished reading Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, an inspirational book for women, a gift from my cousin Kerri last Christmas. Some of the uplifting advice applied not at all to me, or were lessons I’d learned a long time ago. Yet, other thoughts from the author had me nodding my head in affirmation, thinking, this is good advice. I don’t really read much in the way of inspirational books, but I appreciated this one for being just that. A woman, trying to lift other women, and that is always good. Right on, Rachel!

I also finished Bait and Switch: The Futile Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich. Her Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America was amazing, so when I saw another of her works at the used book store, I snatched it up. Like science writer Amy Roach, this author is an utter inspiration to me. Her research, her wit, her investigative reporting skills…I aspire. Both of these books are about why it can be so difficult, financially getting by in America. Neither book made me smile. Both increased my humility. Both remind me not to take anything for granted, and to be thankful for what I have. Very smart books, very good reads.

Now, I’m beginning Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance. Another work bringing to light, an American populace, struggling in poverty and pain. Though it is doubtful I will find much uplifting in it, some stories are simply important to read…

As the days are starting to get chillier, and the sky is growing darker sooner in the evenings…

IMG_4879

I’ve pulled out the tea kettle and am perusing all the books I’ve collected, yet have not had time to begin…

IMG_4886

With that cozy time of year returning, I can’t wait to read, and write, as many adventures as I can fit in this season!

Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 4.40.03 PM

As a side note for all you book lovers and readers of InspiredByVenice.org, I’m a Goodreads and Amazon author, and would love your follow!

Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 4.38.56 PM

Even more, if you have enjoyed reading one of my tales, I would so much appreciate your review! Your words, inspire me, as a writer. Thank you!

A Life Of Blessings…

Hello all my dear, dear friends! I know that it has been a terrible long time since I last sat down to share a tale with you! Oh heavens, months! Let’s just say, my summer was a whirlwind; it is always my busiest season! On the go, each and every day! But my stories have kept, and I’ve captured some photos of my adventures too…it is now the time once again, to share them with you…

IMG_4722

But first today, I want to send a sincere message of gratitude to each and every person in my life, who made my 4th season at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, so very blessed and wondrous. Each season, at my little shop The Quill and Brush, I take away so many special moments to fill my heart. I never forget what a privilege it is, to spend this time with readers and friends, both old and new. You give meaning, and great happiness, to my life. Thank you.

IMG_4768

Last Labor Day Monday, the final day of faire, and my birthday, Queen Elizabeth with her ladies and guards, did bless my little shop with a visit! I will share a larger post of it soon, for I received a special gift I want to show you…but I just wanted you to see my smile. That, is happiness. And that is the smile I always have at faire, when I meet so many kind, intelligent, witty, brave, talented, passionate, and generous people. Each faire day reminds me that my life is so full of blessings…

IMG_4739

Did I mention I’m still completely dazzled every time I see the Queen? The child in me, who was once upon a time so excited to meet Queen Elizabeth, will remain with me forever. But I suppose such fairy tale feelings are part of what help me dream up magic for my books!

IMG_4732

Update for the readers of my tales…

Beauty Sleeping will be available before end of September. I’ll let you know the exact day in a beat…

BeautySleeping-72

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…

DragonsAtDusk

The world of Dragons at Dawn will carry on with a Part II., Dragons at Dusk. Coming later this fall…

michellewrites-72dpi-1500x2000-6

And, for you readers of the psychological thriller…I’ll be working on Still all winter. Available June 2020. My heart quickens

I’ll write again later this week…promise.

Stay inspired!

Come Along On My Adventure…

For me, any outing can be an adventure, planned or unplanned! Last night I had a little trouble falling asleep, in part because I was excited for what was to come today. The opening of Evanston’s outdoor farmer’s market for the season! And, Evanston’s Unitarian Church’s annual rummage sale! I woke up before 6:30 a.m., and there was no going back to bed. Adventure time!

IMG_4503

Evanston was blessed with a beautiful day today! Still a bit chilly, yet sunny, green, and full of birdsong. I’ll take it!

IMG_4519

I figured for the first day of the farmer’s market, it would be packed with a crowd. But I was there pretty early, so I had first pick of the Swiss chard and radishes (my favorites)…

IMG_4510

The fresh air, the flowers, the veggies, the baked goods…love it!

IMG_4517

I was even able to purchase my city beach tag early with a discount! With as busy as my summers are, I don’t get to swim as much as I’d like, but I’ll be sure to fit in at least a little time on the sand. I’ve already got my beach pass! All set!

IMG_4516

Don’t you just want to swoon over these potted lovelies? Might pick up one of these next time…

IMG_4518

I did grab a cold pressed juice (the more it smells and tastes like a freshly-cut front lawn, the better) from City Press. Amazingly fresh and delicious! I think I’ll try a different juice each visit to the market…

IMG_4521

I walked away with some veggie goodness for supper tonight, and happiness in my soul. Next up, the rummage sale!

IMG_4522

The rummage sale felt much busier than the farmer’s market. Rooms full of used goods, at bargain prices. You never know what you’re going to find, and the fun is in the hunt! Clothing, furniture, dishes, books…oh my!

IMG_4524

Unfortunately, I have to say that I got a little claustrophobic right from the start. The tables can be close together, with a lot of folks searching for treasures. So fun, but more and more, I find I can get a little dizzy in such situations. Still, I managed to catch a glimpse of all there was to see, and walked away with this basket to use at faire for one dollar!

A morning full of adventure, and I was already home before noon! Nap time…

IMG_4486

What else has been keeping me inspired? Editing, writing, writing, editing. I go to places far away, and all of my own imagining…

IMG_4480

Trying on costume pieces that my mama made, to see what fits for this summer…

IMG_4496

Ever trying my best to eat my healthiest…

IMG_4499

Chicago’s Soul Vegan lasagna makes my heart sing…oh heavens, that lasagna!

IMG_4489

And delighting myself with the little things. My small local grocer had some pink roses that were looking a bit droopy. The gal at the check-out was encouraging me to look at other flowers, probably thinking I’d get the roses home and they’d fail overnight…

I wanted them anyway, and they perked up and smelled so pretty once I put them in water. I buried my face in them one million times. Small pleasures are my whole world.

Thanks for joining me on my adventure! Stay Inspired Friends!

Ancient…An Audio Introduction!

Close your eyes and for a moment, imagine the stirring winds and swirling sands, just outside the door. Out there is an endless wild, and there are many dangers in it…

This night with Namma, Hem is safe, but it will not last for long. Still ahead of her, is a very great journey…out into an ancient world…

Ancient

Ancient, coming soon!

Looking Back…

I’ve had a mind for some time to go through my old photographs, most of them taken before the advent of digital cameras and smart phones. I thought I might select a handful to share with you, for a few of the travel adventures, costumes, special stories and sparks of inspiration they might contain. But also, for I am considering digitizing my photos and purging the actual bulky box they fill. Of course, some hard copies I will always keep, the most special of these slipped between the pages of my Bible, a safe place where I keep some of my treasures…

michellebaptism

[My baptism at the age of 12. I was very happy.]

Now, please don’t frown when you read this, for it is actually funny. If you were witness, it would make you chuckle. There are two things that make me cry on cue in this world…

dove-2680487_1280

The first of these is Christian music. You could actually test this like a science experiment, and the result would be the same every time. Come sit in the car with me, for example, and switch the music to the Christian station. I’ll start blubbering in about 15 to 30 seconds. Why? I dunno. Fond memories of singing hymns in church on a sunny Sunday morning? Moved by the Holy Spirit? A feeling of hope and a vision of eternal light? Whatever it is, pass me the Kleenex…oh heavens!

church-1081718_1280

The second thing that makes me cry on cue? Christian movies. For real. Moses leading the Israelites through the Red Sea? Noah and the Ark?

beach-768587_1280

Me: “RUN MOSES! Hurry! Lead the people to safety! Sob, sob, sob, squeal. Noah! Collect all the animals!! Hurry! The rains are coming! Get your family to the Ark! Blubber, blubber, blubber. Oh, for goodness sake…

jesus-3548007_1280

Well, now there seems to be a new item to add to this quirky list of what makes me cry on cue. Perhaps it is because I am getting older and beginning to understand the idea of nostalgia…but my old photos now make me reach for a tissue box…oh geez!

michelleschool

Here is one taken on the drive of my grandparents’ home, certainly just returning from school on the bus. I am guessing it is autumn, I in my little sweater, carrying my itty-bitty pink jacket and my red school bag. Was this where it all began? My love for school? Where my insatiable curiosity, and elation over the smell of old books and pencil erasers began? Gimme’ a handkerchief somebody! What, nobody carries a cotton hankie anymore? Snifflesniffle

michellechristmas

And here, a photo with my Mama at a family Christmas gathering. My beautiful mother. My hands up to my mouth with the surprise felt in opening a special present. I love you Mama! I love you the most!

michellediner

And here. Do you see the awe in my face sitting in a diner, anticipating that dinner plate?! That’s the same look I still get every time I go to a restaurant to this day! Anyone who knows me can attest that this is true…

More fun blasts from my past to come! And also, release of my newest novel Ancient not afar off! Stay tuned friends, but most importantly…Stay Inspired!

Don’t Save Anything For The Swim Back

This morning, ready to begin a full day of writing, I will share with you that my heart sunk. You know those days? The ones you look in the mirror and aren’t sure what you’re going to do with yourself. How will I accomplish what needs to be accomplished? Where will I find the inspiration? How will I find the focus? How will I have the energy? 

writing-1209121_1280

For me, right now is the time to dig right back into my sole passion. Writing. Faire has ended, summer is done, my little book shop is now all closed up until next year (I will try not to weep…this season was incredible). And if I want to keep growing and sharing new works as a writer, I need to return to my focus. But in the last few weeks, I’ve been exhausted, fretful, distracted. Rest isn’t coming easy and writing not at all…

paper-623167_1280

Some might say, some do say, ‘just take a break’… ‘just take it easy’. I wish I could, but more and more in these last few years, I feel that writing for me is everything. It is, what I am. And if I’d like to continue to challenge myself in the ways I hope to, well then…the clock is ticking. I feel it, a big clock hanging over my head, and it is ticking loudly

clock-1274699_1280

This blog, it is about inspiration. It is about what inspires me, with hopes that some of my words might inspire you. Now this particular post might not be meaningful to everyone, but for those of you who have ever wanted to achieve some goal very badly, I think you will quite understand…

sea-3652697_1280

So where did I find my resolve today? To carry forward with what I had set out to do, even though I would rather just go lay down in a grassy field somewhere and sleep until next week? I reminded myself that I just have to do it, and that if I want to walk with my ambitions…no matter how unfocused and weary I am, I’m going to have to push myself to dive right back in, and swim hard. “And if you really want to reach your goals Michelle, then you’d best not save any of yourself for the swim back…”

But this self-talk comes from an inspiration from long ago. Back in 1997, then a young woman, there was a movie that inspired me so greatly that I was quite literally stunned when walking out of the theater. Gattaca. In this futuristic film, babies are designed for perfection, and anyone who is born naturally, are considered flawed and afforded few opportunities. The main character is naturally born, but aspires to be an astronaut, a position which only ‘perfectly’ engineered people are allowed. This ‘imperfect’ man must go to extreme lengths in order to achieve his goals…

ocean-wave-1149174_1280

There is a scene that seriously struck me. The main character Vincent competes in a swim against his stronger, ‘perfectly modified’ brother. He wins in this swim, even though physically it should be impossible. And when his brother, incredulous at how Vincent has done this, asks him how, Vincent tells him, “I never saved anything for the swim back.”

Incredible. I remember thinking then, and I still believe it now…so that is how it is done. If you want something badly enough, you have to give it everything.

ocean-3605547_1280

In any case, I leave this post to focus and write…or should I say, swim.

Stay Inspired.

Do what you love, don’t skip a beat…

Three weekends out of nine have already passed for The Quill and Brush at Bristol. I have to say that this has already been the most magical and memorable season, thanks to each and every one of you that has taken the time to visit…

IMG_3930

In Bristol, every day is a festival day! And with each of these festival days, I take with me wonderful memories of summer, and carry them in my heart all year long. The friends that I meet, the music that floats through the air, the smiles and laughter that I see all around me. Enchanting!

IMG_3926

I’ve received such wonderful words, in person and by email, in these last few weeks. They have blessed my heart, and keep my quill inspired to scribble. Thank you to those who have reached out to say that I have inspired you. Know that you have inspired me just as much, and even more! And for all the writers out there, and to each of you who have chatted with me about your special talents and inspirations, stay inspired! Do what you love, don’t skip a beat…

IMG_3925

I wish that I could name each and every person that has already been a blessing and an inspiration to me this season, but it would make this post quite long indeed! For today, at the very least, I would like to especially thank two of the loveliest, smartest and kindest of women!

IMG_3916

This is Taylor! She was the very first person to purchase a copy of Veleno last season when it was newly published. Not only did she write a review, she also took the time to visit The Quill and Brush this season to chat. By the end of our visit (which made me feel very fortunate to be a writer), the conversation ended like this…

Me: “You are the reason I write.”     Taylor: “You are the reason I read.”

LOVE IT! Thank you Taylor!

IMG_3933

This is Priscilla! Priscilla picked up a copy of Venice two seasons ago. She had been to the city, and had wonderful memories of it, which she was able to revisit in my choose your own adventure. Not only did she write a review, but she also came back with a special gift and kind words to say ‘thank you’ for the story. I am very happy to know such a thoughtful, artistic woman…especially one who shares such a fondness for my beloved Venezia!

Grazie mille Priscilla!

feather-3237961_1280

My very best wishes today, to every reader of Inspired By Venice. I hope that you are enjoying your summer as much as I am. I’ll be sure to share more of my adventures soon! Stay Inspired!

Ancient: Coming Soon!

There is a place where the sands run deep. High above, a scorching sun beams. Far below, the ancients sleep. Scorpions scuttle and the ibis stalks, Egyptians chant and the gods, they watch…

michellewrites-72dpi-1500x2000-3

Thirsty jujube leaves stir under the slightest breeze. A lost woman cries out, hands risen as she falls to her knees. Where will she go, how will she survive, now parted forever from her only tribe? 

Sleek statues stare and vipers slither. Incense streams like an angel’s whisper. Hem has a perilous journey ahead, with no choice but endure. Whether or not she will live, of that only the fates are sure…

The Itty Bitty Littles: Audio Chapter 1

Hello friends! I thought it would be fun to have a little story time! This morning, I recorded the first chapter of The Itty Bitty Littles (applying the theatrical accent I use at my tented shop The Quill and Brush at the Bristol Renaissance Faire)…

IMG_3285

I will always remember what a pleasure it was when my grandma and I had story time when I was just an itty bitty myself. How we giggled when she read my favorite books! So I thought it would be a treat to share one of my tales here…

Littles-300dpi-3125x4167-2

If you enjoy this audio version of the first chapter of The Itty Bitty Littles, I’ll happily record and post the rest of the chapters so that you can hear the adventure in its entirety. Be sure to comment if you’d like to hear what happens next in the tale!

Waiting For Spring…

Here in Evanston, I’m sure waitin’ on spring! I’m awful tired of wearing a big coat with all my winter trappings and sloshing around through the snow and slipping around on the ice. I want some sun on my face, I want to wear my flip-flops, I want to walk through a garden! Know what I mean?! I’m doing my best to be patient!

IMG_3671

In the meanwhile, I’m working on getting back on the vegan bandwagon, and let me just say that lunch was pretty delicious today! Nowadays there are so many great vegan products out there to help you craft a satisfying and healthy meal, it just takes a bit of getting used to…

IMG_3672

Today I had two crispy Boca vegan chicken patties topped with melty vegan Chao cheese, a spread of Vegenaise, some crisp Pete’s Living Greens lettuce, sliced yellow onion and tomatoes. On the side, celery sticks and a can of cucumber melon fizzy water by Soleil! Just some of my favorite brands when I’m eatin’ vegan!

IMG_3676

In other news, I moved into a new home back in early January and things are quite cozy! I’ve figured out most of the quirks and charms of my new house and Tiddo the cat has adjusted with ease. One of my favorite parts are the large vintage windows that let in so much bright light!

IMG_3616

When Tiddo isn’t scratching up the furniture or racing around like the road runner, he quite enjoys the windows and light too. It’s impossible to believe that he is 18 years old, which means he’s 88 in human years. Let’s just say, he doesn’t act his age!

IMG_3678

In my new home, there is a charming nook for my writing desk. I’m still arranging my home office just how I would like it to be, but I’m loving this quiet little alcove to write in and it gives the room a little more space with the desk set into the wall…

IMG_3641

My newest novel is coming along swimmingly (out early July). It is a romantic odyssey set in ancient times. The title, quite fittingly, is Ancient. Tiddo frequently offers writing advice. He thinks there should be lots of mice in the story. I’m not so sure I can fit that into the plot, but if I devise to add a plague of some sort, I suppose mice could do in place of locusts or pestilence?

IMG_3674

And here’s a sneak peak of the cover art for Ancient before the title and author name are set into place. The screen shot doesn’t do it justice, but it’s really attractive. I can’t wait to share the finished cover and synopsis for Ancient, as the next few months progress!

The Angel In Your Midst

My newest novel (I’ll be releasing the cover and title soon), is a romantic odyssey that takes place in ancient days. I’ve been enjoying the research more than I can say. Research is truly one of my greatest joys and I’m having a blast learning what life was like while the ancient Egyptians were building their pyramids…

pyramids-2371501_1280

I hadn’t a clue that this would happen, but the novel inexplicably began to saturate some Biblical stories into the weave. It just felt right. Now, I’m certainly no Biblical scholar, but I have read the Bible through several times (completely through…even every verse of ‘who begat who’ which I thought would go on forever and ever)…

In any case, my mind is now buzzing with both the ancient past, and a sprinkling of Bible passages that have left me both awed and haunted…

mourning-1927390_1280

Consider for a moment, angels. There’s a verse that has made my eyes grow wide with wonder every time I think of it, for some years past. I think with the holidays in full swing, and all the goodwill that it is about, this verse is quite applicable to the current season…

[KJV: Hebrews 13:1-2]  Let Brotherly Love Continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Think about that for a second…

bread-2087617_1280

A few years back, I participated in a Sunday morning Bible study that spoke on this verse particularly. The main question posed, was whether it was safe to entertain strangers in these times? Just being charitable to a stranger in public on the street, can sometimes feel dangerous. I understand these feelings, though I absolutely believe that Biblical times and our current times are equally scary in their ways. For instance…

ancient-1835865_1280

Let us pretend for a moment that it is long, long ago. A wayfarer knocks on your door in the middle of the night, a stranger calling out in need. You quickly light an oil lamp, your family scurries behind you in confusion and trepidation as you consider what to do. Could you admit entrance to a stranger into your humble dwelling, to eat amongst your loved ones, to partake of your meager staples with those ever looming threats of plunder or worse, that were so frequent? Man, you had to be pretty brave (or be housing a brood of burly sons with fast and sharp daggers)!

cyprus-2715348_1280

I haven’t the answer to ‘entertaining strangers’, whether now or then, except that I believe we must all remain charitable, while doing our best to remain safe.

But let us consider that part about angels. While writing this week, I deeply pondered these words from Hebrews. I find them both fascinating and terrifying. Could you imagine such a powerful creature of God sitting before you in a soup kitchen, while you helped to prepare and serve a meal for them? They all the while, appearing as a downtrodden, regular person?!

My brain just broke…

angel-2578570_1280.png

My first thought is that I’m quite humbled by God’s reminder to be charitable, for I don’t consider myself charitable enough. Further, would I fail such a test if God sent an angel in disguise before my path? This verse challenges my bravery, my willingness to give, and my personal judgements about my fellow man. Humbled, humbled, humbled am I…

angel-2890670_1280

Second, the angels in the Bible aren’t quite like those cute chubby cherubs or prettily robed ladies in white that might come to mind. If I’d later discovered that the man asking for a dollar on the street had been an angel in disguise, I’d certainly fall to my knees in trembles, cry my eyes out, and potentially go mute for a month. Angels are mighty creatures that serve God, and I have to admit that I’d be mighty terrified to have been in the midst of one…just saying…

andromeda-galaxy-755442_1280

Now it is not exactly comparable (particularly owing to the spiritual component of angels), but it might feel a little like the reaction you’d experience if aliens landed on earth tomorrow, and one approached you in your backyard. My guess would be that anyone would be quite terrified. Encountering a being not of this earth would likely challenge your ability to remain standing…

angel-965822_1280

But all of this to say (and whether or not you yourself believe in angels or aliens), this verse inspired my writing and excited my thoughts. How would my ancient characters react to the presence of an angel? How can I be more charitable today? What if I have been in the presence of an angel before, and didn’t even know it!? Just a little fun for thought! Every time I spy an angel topper at the height of a Christmas tree this season, I’ll be cautiously glancing around me for secret angels in my midst…

Stay charitable folks! Happy holidays, love yourself, love your neighbors, stay inspired!

May Your Days Be Merry And Bright! And some special giveaways!

Hello, hello! I hope that each and every one of you is feeling healthy, happy and inspired today! There was a lovely snowfall here in Evanston last night, which is making a cup of coffee and the view from the window quite cozy this morning…

IMG_3489

I attended a special holiday craft fair this week, a private event for the employees of a local science and technology park. It was such a festive, pleasant experience! There was holiday music playing, sparkly Christmas trees, friendly crafters and cheerful attendees. I believe a book or two might make it into a Christmas stocking!

IMG_3490

And speaking of stockings, Christmas is fast approaching. If you’re looking for a special gift for a youth…there’s nothing better than a book. Keep those kiddos reading, it’s good for ’em! Please consider one of my enchanting adventures this season to put under your tree…

IMG_3500

And now for some special giveaways! First up, this beautiful, hand-knitted pull-over cape/cowl by Andi Bilek of Kitten Crochet of Milwaukee, WI. There is a wondrous shop at the Bristol Renaissance Faire called Tangled Fibres, premiering Andi’s talents in knit. Before I had my own shop The Quill and Brush, and could spend the day perusing the shops, I purchased some lovely items from Tangled Fibres

IMG_3497

Take for instance these mustard, fingerless knitted gloves that I wear constantly when the weather turns wintery…

IMG_3499

And this delightful knitted throw that keeps me and Tiddo the cat nice and cozy…

IMG_3494

But I haven’t worn this knitted cape/cowl, and don’t think that it’s polite to keep it any longer just to look at. It should be worn and enjoyed by another knit-loving lady! Andi’s capes/cowls on Kitten Crochet run for about $165. Worth every hand-made penny! Gorgeous pieces! She makes other charming items too, be sure to check out her site…

IMG_3496

To enter to win this knitted piece, please make a comment below and tell us what your current joy of the season is. Peppermint lattes, holiday movies, festive radio tunes, visits with friends and family? What’s your wintery delight? I’ll choose one winner randomly one week from today, on Saturday December 16th, 10am Chicago time. Good luck you lovers of knit…

Veleno-300dpi-3125x4167-2

As for my second giveaway today, 3 signed copies of my historic-fiction thriller Veleno are up for grabs on Goodreads. Enter for your chance to win by January 2nd, 2018. Here is the link, good luck!

globe-2877171_1280

Here’s wishing you peace and good cheer, and all things merry and bright this season, wherever in the world you may be. Here is to your best health and happiness! God bless us all!

Stabbed By A Pencil, More Than One…

If you laugh a bit as you read this post, I wouldn’t blame you. As a matter of fact, I might laugh myself if my arm weren’t so sore. After all, when people meet with silly mishaps, I sometimes giggle (as long as they aren’t seriously injured of course). If I fall down, believe me, I’ll be the first to laugh…

irati-2915401_1280

Evanston had its first snow yesterday morning, which reminds me of one mishap that I keenly remember giggling over when I was little. My grandma once told a story about her father (my great-grandfather). In the story, it was a freezing snowy day, and he was walking a distance. Great-grandpa had his hands in his pockets for warmth. He slipped in the snow and fell forward. Frantically, he tried to pull his hands out of his pockets, but he couldn’t pull out his hands in time and fell face first…

tit-2777731_1280

Oh my goodness! I was itty when I heard that tale. And grandma told it more than once. Great-grandpa received a good scraping up, but I’ll guess he wasn’t worse for wear…he was an able-bodied farmer that likely’d had more than one such scramble in his life! What made me laugh so hard that I was in tears? Grandma’s description of great-grandpa trying withal to pull his hand out of his pockets as the snow came closer and closer while he stumbled. Oh heavens!

pencil-1486278_1280

So what happened to me two afternoons ago? Well, I’d cleared off my desk for some serious work. I’ve got books to wrap for next weekend’s participation in one awesome holiday extravaganza, and some documents to review that just needed a blank space to look over clearly. My supplies were in the way. So, I set my desk items just next to my desk, atop a plastic bin…

madness-2924179_1280

I’d ripped up some paper and tossed it toward the trash, but one little scrap didn’t make it into the garbage bag (hanging over said plastic bin). So, I reached over the plastic bin to retrieve that errant piece of paper, which had floated to the carpet. I was immediately met with a fierce, fiery pain in my bare arm. Holy cow! Pencil stabbing to the extreme

pencil-918449_1280

So, I’m a writer. I have a cup of super-sharp pencils. About ten in total, sharp as sharp, ready to scribble. I keep the points up so that I don’t dull or break the tips. I’ve now learned that this is a serious mistake. Sort of like the common sense law of put-your-knives-upside-down-in-the-dishwasher-cutlery-holder-so-you-don’t-reach-in-and-stab-yourself…

laptop-2558666_1280

Oh my word…I pulled up my arm and two pencils were dangling from my flesh. These weren’t the only pencils to stab me, but they’d gone the deepest and remained clinging to my skin. What was my first terrible thought? Tend to the wounds quicklylead poisoning

pencil-2878764_1280

I pulled out the pencils in a way that was reminiscent of pulling arrows out of one’s arm while under attack, and ran to the bathroom. Holy beans, I was bleeding pretty good from one of the punctures (which mind you was clearly blackened from the metallic tip of the pencil). I rubbed and washed out the wounds, poured antiseptic over them, swiped antibacterial cream, and then bandaged up. Now, being the researcher I am, I had to look this up. Stabbed by pencils…what’s my risk? Lead poisoning? Blood poisoning?

pen-2644392_1280

Ok…let’s preface my reaction. First, somewhere sometime when I was a child, some educator must have frightened my classroom with threats of lead poisoning if we didn’t stop chewing on our pencils, or if we were contemplating poking one another with one. Second, I research history all of the time, and sadly, many a person in the past met with trouble over the smallest, mundane injury. That’s why my sweet Martinella in Veleno succumbs to a little nick of a knife in the palazzo kitchen after it causes her some long suffering. Of course, we have blessed antibiotics today, but how surreal would it be to go to the emergency room because a pencil stab-wound got infected?

smith-1139033_1280

Further, my father (one tough, decades-long metal fabricator and foreman) once got a metal sliver in his finger that would easily have taken his life from the terrible infection that ensued, had it not been for antibiotics and modern doctoring. The incident was serious. In history, such happenings weren’t so uncommon, and they didn’t end well. Though I don’t freak out over minor injuries, let’s just say I keep watch over my cuts…

lead-2701402_1280

So what fun fact did I discover? Yes, in the past lead was involved in the construction of pencils, putting people at continual risk for poisoning. However today, pencils aren’t poisonous. Though a puncture wound is a wound and should still be monitored, the likelihood of something nasty happening because of a pencil is likely to be rare indeed. (Tell that to my throbbing arm…when I pulled the pencils out, it looked like a vampire had sunk his fangs into my arm.)

bat-1268650_1280

Back in ancient times, sticks of lead were used for drawing and writing. But as far as pencils go in later times, it wasn’t the internal source of the pencil that was dangerous (graphite), it was the outer source. That paint on the outside of pencils once contained lead. And well, sometimes the wee ones enjoyed chewing on pencils as they studiously contemplated their school work. Even handling a lead pencil each day, would have had its threats to health…

pc-1207834_1280

Just thought I’d share this interesting information with you, just in case you inexplicably (like me) believed your life was in danger around a pencil. But all jokes aside, turn your sharp pencils upside down in their holders (and any other sharp objects in your home that are the wrong side up for that matter). Because, you never know when you’ll meet with a freak incident like mine! Why didn’t I learn this lesson in grade school? “Walk with your scissors facing down, children.” Believe me, you don’t want to know what it feels like to meet with such sharp points…

Rock on friends…stay healthy, stay happy, stay inspired! Beware of sharp objects. Have a good laugh on my account. Carry on…

If you buy books on Amazon, keep reading…This is Nuts!

IMG_3292

Today I want to share something that I find curious, but also very icky. I think you might raise a brow yourself. Especially if like me, you purchase books on Amazon. Keep reading, this is nuts…

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 9.34.46 PM

Here’s the story. As many of you know, I’m a writer of tales. My books are sold on Amazon (as are most any author’s). I set the price for my books, and all of my short fairy tales and adventures (12 in total) are $9.95, plus tax and shipping. I make a small royalty on each book sold, my reward for my work, and a blessing to my income. As you see above is the ‘real’ listing for my book, The Fairy Woods

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 9.35.16 PM

As an author, I only make a royalty if ‘you the buyer’ purchase the full-priced copy for $9.95, straight from Amazon. But as you see above, there are other copies for sale. Those copies are from other sellers (not Amazon), who having acquired a copy of my book (usually used) can name their own price. I do not receive royalties for those copies (only the seller makes a profit because I would have received my royalty when the copy was originally purchased)…

IMG_2615

That’s cool. My complaint here isn’t with used book sellers. We have a free market, and selling used books rather than creating waste by only purchasing ‘new’ ones is good! In fact, most of the books I own and purchase from Amazon myself, are used. And any copies of my tales that make their way back out into the world, makes me happy!

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 9.32.16 PM

So what is the reason for this post? What do I find so quizzical? Look above.

GoldieLoxBooks here has taken an image of my book, and put up their own listing of The Fairy Woods on Amazon. Their post is completely disconnected from the one that is associated to my book (the one where you can see my listed price for $9.95, and those others who are selling it for less/used). GoldieLoxBooks has listed The Fairy Woods for $2,796.00, just a used-good copy no less…

michellewrites-72dpi-1500x2000-5

I have to tell you that this makes me feel as fierce as my sun dragon in Dragons At Dawn! Roar!!!! I noticed this phenomenon with the release of my first book, Venice. One day I unexpectedly spied that a seller was attempting to sell a copy of Venice for its weight in gold. I immediately dialed up and asked an Amazon affiliated representative, how such a scam was conceivable?! This must be illegal, right?! Apparently not. And they could do nothing to remove such a listing. If someone wants to resell one of my $9.95 fairy tales for hundreds of dollars, seems they can do so…

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 9.31.37 PM

Now I know you might be saying, “But who in their right mind would actually buy this book at such an excessive price?” Seems silly, right? But my question in return would be, “If it didn’t work from time to time, why are there so many listings for used books at such wild prices?” Occasionally a buyer might be remiss when they add a book to their cart, overlooking the price. Could you imagine being billed hundreds for a kid’s book, after your kiddo was picking out books on your Amazon account?!

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 11.25.43 AM

I don’t know much more. I haven’t reached out to GoldieLoxBooks or any other seller trying to offer one of my books for an excessive amount, to ask how it’s going for them. I wish I could believe that it was an ‘accident’ on the lister’s behalf. But I see it so frequently, that I question believing it to be an error. I’m guessing they have some irate customers demanding refunds. I wonder what the fine print on their return policies might be?

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 3.06.55 PM

Why, look at these book vendors selling my Once Upon A Star for $45.61 each! Oh my word…

IMG_3285

I’m shocked by this for the sake of reputation and propriety. It feels icky that any of my tales would be listed in such a way, and that any seller would use one of my books (or any other author’s) to take advantage of a buyer. But I can’t do much more than grow some thicker skin, and warn those who buy books online that there’s some nefarious looking listings out there! Beware…

Would love to hear your comments on this!

Come Say Hello At The Holiday Fair Extravaganza in Skokie, Illinois!

Hello, hello! The holidays are coming! Once Halloween passes this Tuesday, every store will be filled to the brim with decorations and everything to fill your gift list. Jingle Bells will be playing on the radio and those warm and fuzzy commercials tempting you to buy, buy, buy, will begin. Oh my!

angel-564351_1280

I always love the sparkle and the meaningful themes that this season is truly about. But don’t you feel like the holidays always come too fast and then are over in a flash? If only we could enjoy the merriment a little more, without all of life’s constant hustle and bustle, and stress. That is my wish to you, that you’ll enjoy this season to the absolute fullest, surrounded by friends and loved ones!

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 8.58.26 AM

I wanted to share a special event, with hopes that you’ll come by to see me! Just a few weeks away, I’ll have a table for book signing at the Holiday Fair Extravaganza in Skokie, IL. The event will take place at the Weber Leisure Center and supports local crafters and artists. Taking place on Saturday, November 18th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., there will be lots of handmade fare, hot drinks and baked treats! Good ole’ holiday craft fair fun to start the season out in the most cheerful way!

hot-chocolate-1068703_1280

I just had a sudden craving for some peppermint bark and a raspberry linzer cookie (or five). Linzer cookkieeessss…..mmmmm….nom, nom, nom. I digress…

christmas-2595533_1280

My books will be available for purchase, with hopes that some of my tales will make it into a stocking or two, inspiring some winter reading and adventure! I may or may not be wearing an ‘ugly Christmas sweater’ for my own amusement…

If you live in the Chicagoland area, I sincerely hope to see you there! Click here to see a list of my works, with many more harrowing adventures to come!

My very best wishes to you from the very start of this season of goodwill and cheer!