Set Your Goals

My current writing habit is to chip away on one of my stories every day. I’m working on 3 tales at the moment (next out – Dragons at Dusk). Energetic writing goals don’t work for me. I prefer to simply pick up my pen once a day – even if that means writing only a sentence. It still means more words than I had down the day before!

Set your goals to work for YOU! Stay Inspired!

Can’t Wait To See You!

I’m so looking forward to my bookish day this Sunday at the Evanston Made Maker’s Market! I’ll be selling and signing my tales, and can’t wait to see some of YOU!

Thank you Evanston Made for this lovely graphic!

Fall Fairies

Are you watching for the fall fairies, hiding in the leaves?

To catch my silly fairy videos, please visit: Authoress Michelle Novak on YouTube
~
For a list of my fairy tales, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Just Two Events Left!

Just two events left in my bookish event season, then it’s time to give the bookmobile a rest and concentrate on writing projects! I hope to see some of your smiles yet, in October!

Stay Inspired!

You Make Your Own Magic!

How do you make your own magic?

I like to take walks and dream about my little bookish plans, or browse book cover art and imagine stories I’d like to write. And of course, I pen tales that take me far away and then share them with you!

Take time to dream ~ you make your own magic!

Celebrating Creative Works

Less than two weeks away! Evanston Made Maker’s Market! I’ll be selling and signing my tales ~ Always a great day celebrating creative works in my community of makers! I hope to see you there!

Thank you @evanston_made for this lovely graphic!
For a list of my titles, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Indie Author Podcast Interview!!!

A special share! The ArtSpace Podcast covered the Kenosha Book Festival several weeks ago, speaking to the guest independent authors! I’m the first author interviewed after the introduction – and this episode is just an indie author gem! Thank you to the podcast’s creators – Jake and Shelby! Have a listen all of you, my bookish friends!

The ArtSpace Podcast: Episode 21 – https://open.spotify.com/show/0HYIVXq1q7Dcksx7GSbbV7

What a day!

What a day! Thank you @donovanscherer of Studio Moonfall for hosting the Kenosha Book Festival yesterday!

Incredible meeting so many other independent authors!!! And it was yet again, such a joy sharing time with readers, both old and new! These bookish days, and the people I meet, bring so much inspiration and happiness to my life. It’s everything to me – thank you!

Forget Magic Wands

Forget magic wands. This is my magic pencil.

Stay Inspired!

For a list of my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/mnovak

Where’s The Snacks?!

Who is ready for the Kenosha Book Festival tomorrow?!? (www.kenoshabookfestival.com)

I mean…not me! I just finished my oatmeal! I’m only on coffee 2 of 4! I haven’t even packed the bookmobile! Where’s the books?! I hope I have some books! Do I have gas in that car? You’d think I wanted to get stuck on the side of the road – I always ignore that silly tank! Wait – gas is less expensive in Wisconsin than Illinois, right? I’ll wait till I cross the state line. A near-empty tank will get me from Evanston to there, right? (just kidding!) Where’s the snacks?! Just as important as the books! I need my snacks!

Thank you for being there on my author journey, Friends! It means everything to me. I hope to see some of you tomorrow – I’ll be selling and signing my tales, including my newest Still, from 10 – 2 p.m. (Sunday August 28th). STAY INSPIRED!

Having a Bookish Blast!

Who is coming to Kenosha to visit the Kenosha Book Festival?! I’ll be joining the fun this Sunday, August 28th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I’ll be the one with the endless smile while having a bookish blast!

Thank you @donovanscherer for this graphic!

Raining Authors and Books!

Friends! The Kenosha Book Festival is going to be THE place to be this Sunday August 28th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.!

It’s going to be raining authors and books, and I am just so excited to be a part of this! I’ll be selling and signing my tales, and basking in the bookish fun! See you there!!!

Thank you to @donovanscherer for this wonderful graphic!

New Facebook page!

Back in this spot I wish I could be more often than not…

Who loves coffee? I LOVE coffee. Black, no stuff in it. That muffin is vegan. I just finished it and it was so wonderful. Oh, blueberry muffins. I love you. I LOVE you.

So – I prefer to write my short adventures by hand. I feel like a kid with a giant pencil, my tongue sticking out the side of my mouth, eraser bits everywhere. Writing anything I want, anything I can imagine.

My novels – computer only. My brain operating more like I’m in some darkened corner of a vast library, studying hard. Oversized glasses falling down my nose. All my reference books splayed around me. Deeply focused on the scene I am creating.

They feel different. And I love them both. That’s why I write both novels, and tales. Two sides of my personality. I bet there is some place in your life you can to relate to feeling like that.

Oh! New Facebook page in case you prefer your updates there! https://www.facebook.com/inspiredbyvenice

Kenosha Book Festival!

Friends! Kenosha Book Festival! Next weekend! I’ll be a guest author at Studio Moonfall on Sunday Aug. 28th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. This is going to be an INCREDIBLE bookish blast!

I can’t wait for the fun, and I can’t wait to see YOU!

I’ll be selling and signing my tales. For a list of my works, please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

Kenosha Book Festival: https://www.studiomoonfall.com/kenosha-book-festival-year-zero/

That’s my place, man.

Authoress Advice – # 1

When coming up with a plot for a novel, you’ll consider one or even a hundred wonderful ideas. Tales that would be amazing, and which you and others would love to read! But there needs to be something much more.

Writing, editing, publishing a book is a marathon. Imagine it. That you are running, for a very, very long time. In spite of the reasons you are running, even that you love to run, you’re going to get tired. Maybe even want to give up along the way. Because while you’re in it, in spite of the love, it’s a lot of work.

When deciding your project/idea – consider which will inspire you, drive you, keep you going, until the book is one day in your hands. Great ideas are great! But is it one that will endlessly fuel you?

My Still, a mystery in a New York City museum…I love it so much. I could stay there forever. Write another and another in that world I made up. That’s my place, man. Let me go THERE. Those people, they are real to me.

Will the idea you are considering make you feel that way too? Trust me, you’re going to need, and want it to. Look for THOSE bright stars.

Stay Inspired!

With Sparkle and a Smile!

Upcoming bookish fun!!! Selling and signing my tales with sparkle and a smile! I hope to see you there!

A September event may yet sneak in, and there’s a December event that is quite likely, but I’ll update when I’m certain.

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

As if I’m not already awkward enough.

 I ordered this one for my Dad, and then he mailed it my way after he read it. We’ve been mailing each other books for several decades now.

This one is REALLY good. I was reading while walking on a sunny evening and something moved – probably a bird in my side vision – and I jerked. I mean, that bird could have been a ghost for all I knew!? So sure, I was a little jumpy. And that bird did that on purpose. I know he did. Just to make me look weird in public. As if I’m not already awkward enough.

The Magic Was Real

The magic was real this weekend at the 18th World of Faeries Festival in South Elgin, IL! So was the heat and humidity – oh my word! But let me tell you, if you are local, and especially if you have little ones, visit this event in the future. It is so special!

Thank you to the incredible readers, old and new. You bring sparkle, inspiration, and blessings to my life – I was amazed by the incredible reception I had at this event! And thank you to my friends who came out to support me and my bookish business! It meant so much!!

ALL my best to all! Stay Inspired!

Break Out Your Glitter Wings!

This book fairy is preparing for a magical weekend! Who will be joining me at the 18th World of Faeries Festival?!

I will be selling and signing my tales, filled with fairies, unicorns, dragons, elves, and every enchanted creature imagined! So break out your glitter wings and come out to dance a day in the sunshine with your fellow fairies!

Sat. Aug 6th – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sun. Aug 7th – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Food – Music – Magical Merchants

Vasa Park – South Elgin, IL

https://theworldoffaeries.com/home

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

And now I can go eat some candy…

I took myself into the city yesterday for a spot of art and quite enjoyed my adventure! And have you watched the new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion on Netflix yet?! Oh my word, so lovely! I’m reading an eerie ghost book (when am I not) just now, and I’m also sort of convinced I might have caught something ghostly on camera yesterday (maybe I shouldn’t announce that on the internet).

I’m heavily deciding on new writing projects this minute, as well as heavily procrastinating on some important paperwork! Oh, and I had toast with lots of raspberry jam this morning. Isn’t jam so swell? AND! I went to the dentist Friday – love my teeth cleanings! Because I’m weird like that. And now I can go eat some candy. How’s that for an update?!
.
Stay Inspired!

Reading Is So Wonderful!

My Dragons At Dawn and Once Upon A Star on a shelf at Studio Moonfall in Kenosha, WI.

Nothing makes me smile more than to imagine the adventure someone is going to have when they pick up one of my tales! Reading is so wonderful!

Stay Inspired!

For a list of my works, please visit here!

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 ~

Going to scare myself silly…

As if reading every true ghost encounter book ever written was not enough, I picked up a bag of ghostly fiction from Studio Moonfall on Sunday.

I’ll share the titles tomorrow, but I already started reading one, and yikes! I am absolutely going to scare myself silly!

Keep your eyes open!

On one of my walks I found a fairy!!! See! You just have to keep your eyes open, and you’ll find magic!

For a list of my magical tales (fairy books too!), please visit: https://inspiredbyvenice.org/about/

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!

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!

Event Tomorrow!

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

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

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

Just 2 Days Away!!

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

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

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!

Beloved Tomes

Have you ever bound an often-read book?

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

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

Just 2 Weeks Away!!

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

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

Sale On Queen Of The Elves!

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

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

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

Keep Making A Splash!

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

The Mermaiden by Michelle Novak

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

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

I think manners are nice

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

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

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

It’s How I Got My Start

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

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

Stay Inspired!

Novels and Fairy Tales Too!

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

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

Just weeks away!!

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

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

I write myself away…

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

One of the best parts?

Eventually sharing those places, with you.

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

Bookish Chats in 2022!

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

Stay Inspired! ~ Authoress Michelle Novak

Books To Movies

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

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

That First Jump Off My Crazy Cliff

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

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

Do what you love – Stay Inspired

I’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!

Who is the author…

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

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

{tee – hee – hee}

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

She, is amazing. My author hero.

Though sometimes her books make me want to pass out.

Read one and you’ll get what I mean.

My TBR Stack!

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

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

Glad for my dad…

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

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

Glad for my dad, always sending me books.

Stay Inspired!

Like Eating Bowls of Ice Cream

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

Can you spot the two I wrote?

A Magical Kingdom by Michelle Novak

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

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

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

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

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

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…

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.

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!!!

Merry, Merry My Friends

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

Merry, Merry my friends ~
Stay Inspired!

Smart Joy

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

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

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

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

Stay Inspired!

Only Two Goals Today…

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

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

Yes. Dull pencils drive me bonkers. Quite bonkers.

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

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

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

For a list of my works, please visit here.

Stay Inspired!

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

Books – books – books!!

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

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

Stay Inspired!

Fairy Tales Make The Best Stocking Stuffers…

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

Stay Inspired!

A Magical Mention!

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

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

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

Guest Author at Studio Moonfall Tomorrow!

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

Best to you all – and a very Happy Halloween!

Things are going to get a little sillier…

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

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

Halloween Event!

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

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

Stay Inspired!

Mini Shop in the Parking Lot

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

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

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

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

Evanston Made This Saturday!

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

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

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

What A Wonderful Adventure…

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

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

Stay Inspired!

Studio Moonfall Tomorrow: Sept. 19th!

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

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

All my best!

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!

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

It’s Time To Get Inspired!

Is it summer yet?

Heavens, I can’t wait for some sun on my face, on so many long and lovely outdoor walks. I can hear the Lake Michigan waves crashing as I giddily search for lake glass. And I can just see all of the tables of vegetable splendor at the farmers’ market. How I pine to throw open the windows to a beautiful breeze and cicadas on a summer’s night…

But back to reality. It’s only March.

But I’ve been thinking – and thinking very seriously – that it is time to get inspired. Like, down to business, inspired.

This is a pep talk to myself. And I’m making it public.

After losing myself in a Michelle-why-aren’t-you-working-on-your-projects? Where-has-all-of-your-drive-and-creativity-toddled-off-to? sort of void (the pandemic has played no small part – perhaps you can relate?) I think I’m finally getting my footing, and my goals back in line.

IT’S TIME TO GET INSPIRED!!!

First on the agenda – my mystery novel Still. New York City. A timeworn, venerated museum with many ancient displays…and shadowy corners to hide in…

Bwah-ha-ha!

I’m wrapping it up! With a dusty, creepy, page-turning ribbon. I can’t wait for you to read it. More soon…

Are you staying inspired? Don’t forget to take some time to dream, plan, and do, whatever it is you love.

Spring, lovely spring…

Welcome Friends! What’s going on in your world?

I hope life is bringing you health and happiness, wherever you are!

I just sat down for a quick lunch bite, but soon off to finish my chores. I’ve laundry drying, and some dishes and dusting yet to do. How the dust bunnies add up to be dust tumbleweeds around my house each week, is a particular mystery of interest.

I find dusting very satisfying.

I’ve also learned to be aggressive about chores. Get them out of the way, so I can play (a.k.a. – drink tea, eat cookies, and lay around reading).

I’m reading a book of classic short stories, by Edgar Allan Poe, Edith Wharton, Washington Irving, and such. Delicious. Absolutely delicious. The stories, and the cookies I’m eating while I’m reading, of course.

Maybe that’s why I sweep up so much from the floors. All the cookie crumbs.

But I just wanted to say to you all today, that I wish you a spring full of positivity, energy, fresh air, lovely blooms, blessings, and new beginnings. I really do.

Stay Inspired.

It Lightened My Heart…

Good Day, Good Friends!

What are you up to these days?

I’ve been quite focused on my work weeks, and in keeping my quiet little home life. Days of focus, simplicity, peace, and good health – this is my daily goal at present.

And also, to be consistently thankful for my blessings!

Some of my favorite things lately?

I’ve been fitness walking and then stretching in my living room some days – always followed up by a cold sparkling lime La Croix! I love my outdoor walks, as you know, and still traipse about in the snow and ice. But my indoor exertions have been a convenient, healthy, and inspiring lift to life! You know, there are so many videos online. I personally look for low impact, and positivity. These days, I’m not interested in giving myself miserable follow up soreness (no extreme exercising), nor in doing a session that makes me, however unintentionally, feel ‘bad’ about myself (my abilities, or level of fitness, or imperfections).

Let’s just say, I like to smile and feel silly and have fun when I’m swaying my hips!

I’ve also been enjoying reading, which I have been strongly craving lately. I anticipate reading more books this year than usual. I also crave the Bible’s words (Proverbs is my favorite – I nod at the wisdom in every verse). I’ve too, been delighting in several interesting programs and movies. I especially like those that expose me to new places, or experiences. Culture, or past events – things which I may never see, or directly understand myself, but get to learn something about. And, I am writing. Not a lot, but even slow progress gets you to your goal eventually! It is my hope that Still and Dragons At Dusk will belong to the world, and no longer to me, before long.

By the way, have you ever put sugar snap peas on your salad? Lovely. They are so fresh, crunchy, and earthy. I like to munch on a handful with my lunch – and then spend the afternoon with green in my teeth. That’s my pretty look.

Yesterday morning, I heard a bird singing outside my window. It was the song of spring, which if you have known decades of winter like I have, you can decipher. It didn’t matter the feet of snow on the ground, or that it is yet icy. The birds know what’s coming, and that song was filled with hope.

It lightened my heart.

Well, I’ve a bit of reading – writing – hip swaying – dishwashing to do before my Sunday is up. So I leave you with the wish, that you are keeping well and staying inspired.

All of my best.

Beauty Sleeping – Audio Chapters 1 – 2

Greetings Dear Readers! I hope you are staying inspired?!

Maybe I can help? Let’s throw some fairy dust!! You’re about to get glittered!!!

And chased by monsters

Ok – maybe the sparkle and beasts don’t make an appearance until after chapters 1 and 2. But since nothing inspires me more than an enchanted wood filled with ogres, maidens, witches, goblins, and terribly fierce dragons, I turned through a few pages to record the first two chapters of my Beauty Sleeping, just for you. This tale might be my most magical. A little eerie – yikes! But so, so, so romantic.

A story of eternal love.

Beauty Sleeping by Michelle Novak – The author’s reading of Chapter 1
Beauty Sleeping by Michelle Novak – The author’s reading of Chapter 2

Here’s wishing you, all the love and magic there is!

And forever, Stay Inspired.

If you would like to be a fairy godpatron to the authoress – please be sure to whirl your wand in the bookstore! Enjoy the adventure!

Peace and Good Will Toward Men

Good Tidings, Dear Friends!

Today, I am wishing you all of the peace and good will in the world. I hope for you a healthy and blessed holiday season, and a Merry Christmas too!

Today, after clearing my poor-little-cracking-allergy-ridden-throat to the best of my ability, holding back tickles that threatened coughs, I got my reading voice going. Because…I wanted to give you dear readers a gift.

At least, the only gift I have to give you today, wherever in the world you may be.

It’s the Christmas story, selections from the King James Bible. The readings are taken from chapters Matthew and Luke.

I know it’s been a terribly difficult year for so many. So, I thought, perhaps a listen to this Christmas miracle might offer peace and gladness. I hope you will enjoy hearing about the birth of Jesus as it is written, of the wise men, and that star in the sky. Of the shepherds, and the manger. Of praising angels, and God’s love.

It’s a beautiful story.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:14 KJV

Luke 2: 1-39 KJV
Matthew 2 KJV
Luke 1: 26-38 KJV
Matthew 1: 18-25 KJV

The gift that it is, to be…

Greetings Kindred Spirits!

This morning, while running out for some necessary items, I decided I also needed some chocolate doughnuts. Needed them. I also grabbed some chocolate chip cookies, and some chocolate candies. Because, you know, I needed those too.

Humans. Aren’t we something? Ha!

{Starting Catherine Steadman’s Mr. Nobody. Her Something in the Water was a real page-turner. Loved it!}

Have you ever spent an entire day reading a book? I have. As if under a spell. Yes, I’d have been reading a good book, or splitting the time between several. But it wasn’t so much the book. Rather, the place I needed to be in at the time.

Just to sit very still. Very quiet. And give myself away to something other than every other thing we focus on.

I do this with writing too.

Is there something in this world that you do this with? Tinkering, gardening, cooking, binge watching (hey, it has its value)? Something that takes you to another zone?

As I took my evening walk yesterday, I thought…

I love being outside more than anything, at all, ever.

I just feel, better. And not that I’m feeling bad. It’s just, when I’m outside, it’s very right.

I say, thank God for shelter and modern conveniences. I embrace cozy. I love a full cupboard. A cushiony place to rest my head is a blessing. But you know, we weren’t made into that. In the beginning. We were formed in the wilderness. We are nature. And whenever I go outside, I feel it.

Once many years ago, I told my mother that if we ever knew the pending hour that I would pass, that I would want to be outside. You know, if I got sick or something. A lawn chair, the sky, and some trees. Just, outside. She said she’d do her best. I love my mom.

I know that may sound gloomy. But it isn’t. It’s spiritual. I simply share the sentiment, to illustrate what I feel, when I am outside.

What in this world inspires you that way? The sound of your family’s laughter? Moving song? A soul-warming meal? Painting? Running?

Isn’t it beautiful? All the different ways we can sense the gift that it is, to be?

Stay Inspired.

Happy Saturday!

Hi, Hi, Hi!

How is everyone doing today? I hope you are staying inspired?

If you’re a new reader, I just want to say welcome to Inspired By Venice! Be sure to say Hello! So glad you’re here.

In the news this week, I received a care package from my mama on Tuesday.

Doesn’t a care package just warm your heart? Whether filled with treats, or things needed, or in my case, office supplies and Covid survival goods (including a bundle of pink face masks…so I can feel pretty), it’s always a blessing.

Thank you Mom!

In said box, was a huge magnifying glass. Because I have that mom that just sends cool stuff like that!

The thought of smoking ants on the sidewalk crossed my mind (you know I would never – ever), and also a cozy reverie of skimming piles of dusty books fireside with said magnifier. I’d need a pipe, and some fuzzy slippers, and a cat or five, in this dream…

But then I thought…I will magnify all my bugs! So, the glass has an important purpose now. It’s my insect magnifying glass.

With this said, I think my bug book, however faithfully it has served me over the years, and how beloved it is, is not enough.

Christmas present to self – I need a spider book. To start.

You know, spiders are very aware of you. Maybe they think we’re monsters. Maybe we look good to nibble. I think some are curious (jumpers to be specific). I’ve had some pretty awesome interactions.

A jumper who was browsing my books.

Because, spiders like fairy tales too.

It’s true. This one told me.

In other news, and as I have stated here before, anything minty and chocolate is on my list of top favorites in life. Therefore, every holiday season, I go bonkers over the selection of seasonal delights.

These dark chocolate peppermint cookies from Whole Foods? Let’s just say, I’m going back to the store, I’m going to fill a basket, and become a pandemic toilet paper hoarder…only with cookies.

In other, other news…I’ve been a vegetarian for about a decade now! That’s pretty committed for a meat lover.

Yes. I said it. Meatloaf, bacon, and ribs are delicious. (Shhh…don’t tell the other vegetarians I said that). But I don’t eat it. In all these years, the few bites I’ve had has amounted to no more than a plate. And, at least for me personally, I believe my body thanks me for that every day.

I have a love affair with salad. It’s date night every night!

{An American Greetings card I’m displaying in my kitchen for some cheer}

In other, other, other news…Is there anything better than glitter? Can I just roll in a pile of glitter and run down the street skipping, and twirling, just once in my life? Just saying.

Well now, I’m off to other writing. I hope to get Still out to the world very soon. And I sincerely can’t wait.

Stay Inspired!

I’m a bit of a nuthatch…

Greetings Good Friends! How I am wishing you every good thing today!

Keep your chin up, I say! Keep your chin up!

I, am beat. Yikes! I’ve a literal mountain of laundry to do, but I don’t know if I have enough strength to stir today. My goodness. I think I’ve only enough energy to stir over to the fridge for something good to nibble on…HA!

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Last weekend, I received a sweet package from my dear friend Cira. She took an old flowered blouse of mine, the fabric of which I’d loved, and made pouches and masks out of it. Aren’t they so beautiful? Additionally, the light green zipper-pouch, as soft as velvet, was sewed and sent by my mama for my birthday!

Tell me that homemade gifts aren’t the best? Tell me I’m not spoiled?

I am envious of these ladies’ talents. Only, I’ve never had a stitch of patience for sewing. Pun intended. So, I’ll just continue to admire their talents while sporting my pretty new accessories!

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Someone special also gave me a book of birds for my birthday, the pages of which are magic to me…

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I love nature so much. I stopped the other morning to crane my neck straight back and have a conversation with a striped-headed nuthatch peeping and hopping upside down on the underside of a tree branch. My guess was that he was looking for insect snacks.

He didn’t really have time for me and said so.

I’m certain other pedestrians witnessed this and thought I was a nuthatch myself. Yes. Yes indeed, I am a bit of a nuthatch.

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Though I have my hands full with current writing projects, I am considering to write a book of true short stories. A collection of those magical, bizarre, and even humbling moments I’ve witnessed in my life, and what they’ve taught me or made me feel. Its purpose would be to entertain and inspire readers. An eclectic little treat. I may start jotting notes soon to form a path for the work…

Now, I know not all of you have the same passion for insects that I do (though I’m sure many of you must since bugs are so awesome)…but I’ve a special creepy-crawly tale for you…

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A few months ago, while at the kitchen sink, I witnessed an itty-bitty miracle.

A house centipede, of which I see commonly enough around my dwelling (and who sometimes make even me goose-bump), was lurking at the sink and got himself waterlogged to the point of mush. All his many long legs were a single drenched mass, and I felt poignantly sad for it.

Now, I have saved approximately one zillion little buggies from approaching death. True story. And, I have learned by trial that a corner of paper towel softly dotted to a waterlogged insect can transport it to a better location without squishing it. If it survives after that point is between God and the bug, but at least I did my best.

I thought I’d give this a go, but the creature looked quite pathetic. I may have even said a prayer for it; God loves all creatures, great and small, right?

It took a little while, maybe even a quarter of an hour, but eventually the creature dried out and unfurled. A little twitch here, a little twitch there. Ultimately stirring back to life to run away. I was sort of baffled, but also genuinely exultant by the happening! That bug had been in really bad, quite hopeless shape, just minutes before…

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But I tell you this, not just for the sake of the nearly implausible resurrection that I witnessed, and me so obviously fond of bugs. It was really just, such an inspiring show of resilience!

I know many of you are having a hard time. And even if you’re doing okay, there’s still no way to escape the global stress and worry. Many moments in these last months have made it feel like the whole world is drowning in the second coming of God’s great flood! And no matter where you live, there is no mountain peak high enough to escape to. It’s sort of a, come-what-may, wait-and-see time for the whole world.

Just wanted to say…like that little waterlogged dude…we have it in us. Hold your breath (not literally please), wait it out, keep your faith, keep your cheer, say your prayers, love one another, hug each other (or like…a mime hug from 6-ft. away), thank each other, uplift each other, help each other, laugh, look to your blessings and the bright side…

I am happy to report that I have since had two additional centipede saves, including that striped creature above, the other a baby centipede, neither of which I thought would make it. They really need to stop this daredevil behavior around the tub and sinks. It’s giving  me the nerves.

In other news…my mama bought me two beautiful new lipsticks for my birthday. The very colors I would have bought myself. I love lipstick. I really do. I had already been devising to pick out some for myself, a treat, but then these arrived in the mail.

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Just one problem. 

I can’t go anywhere without a mask.

I don’t even wear blush anymore (which I also love), because it only rubs off and sullies the face covering. So…do I just prance around my house wearing my new lipstick, even though no one will actually see it?

Sounds like a plan! Maybe I’ll just write a whole bunch of letters, plant a few good lip-sticky smooches on paper. If you happen to receive one of these letters, you’ll understand why (apart from the fact that I’ve always been a little eccentric). I was just finding creative reasons to wear my new birthday colors…

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In other, other news…eat your veggies. Just saying.

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In other, other, other news, I was gifted a bushel (what is a bushel?) of farmer’s market autumn apples last week. How lovely! Two weeks’ worth of sweet delights in my lunch bag. The giver is certainly, the apple of my eye! I’ll be sending them a lip-sticky thank you note

Stay Inspired.

 

Shadow And Light…

Welcome, Friends!

I hope this message finds you well and content. I am both, here enjoying some quiet time in the treehouse…

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You know, I have never considered the play of ‘shadow and light’ as an artist must. But sometimes, I notice it with the way the light falls in my house. I think it is such a beautiful thing…

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I’ve yellow and white walls with large windows. It makes the rooms glow when the light casts in so lovely and warm at certain hours of the day. I notice too, the shift of light with the seasons. But no matter the month, the effect is serene…

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I was given a lovely orchid for my birthday. So cheerful the pink and orange-yellow striped blossoms!

Orchids are like people.

Each so very different from another, every one special and beautiful in its own way.

They are also fussy and hard to please.

HA!

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In an attempt to vary breakfast away from blueberry muffins (a.k.a., wean myself toward less sugary options) I sat over granola and berries a few mornings. Though delightful, it only further established that I have a veritable addiction to blueberry muffins…

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Upon my leaving a window screen slightly ajar, a guest buzzed right through my living room, only to find herself crashed in a dusty corner. I, of course, came to the rescue, gingerly pinching cobwebs from her wings.

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When eventually encouraging her release by holding my hand out the open window, as if in a daze, she would not alight. Perhaps it was because she’d just undertaken a crash landing. Or perhaps it was because I am the bug whisperer and she was under my spell…

How did I know she was a she? We had a telepathic conversation and talked girl talk. About wing iridescence and lash extensions and stuff. It’s a bug whisperer thing.

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I was also given a ghost book for my birthday, which I have been slowly savoring each night. There is nothing better than an allegedly true ghost story. Why a book of Wisconsin ghost stories? Perfect gift. I’ve already read every Illinois ghost story ever published.

Which by the way, any recommendations for true ghost story books out there? I’m absolutely bonkers for them, and would love to hear your favorites to consider for my future late night readings…

Bwahhaha….

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I’ve been having dreams about Faire. Ambling in costume. Wandering the beautiful acres of summer and Renaissance splendor. I do sometimes, since this magical place has been a part of my life for decades.

This Labor Day weekend would have been the final weekend of my 5th season in my Bristol shop The Quill and Brush. Our beloved festival did not open this summer, for obvious reasons. The very right thing to do, of course. In fact, it would have been impossible to “Open wide the gates!”. Yet still, what a disappointment for so many…

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My writing focus in the forthcoming months will be narrowed to completing Still, my creepy mystery about the bizarre happenings in an old arenaceous New York City museum…

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Autumn is of course, the perfect season for devising chilling endings. Don’t you think?

Shan’t we just take a quick step down into the museum basement?

With that said, I’m going to go spend a little time in the shadows with Still now. As always, I love hearing from you! Your comments and salutations are always a light!

Be well. Love one another. Stay Inspired.

Color Me…

Good Day, Dear Friends!

I hope this message finds you healthy, content, and staying inspired today.

I’d enjoy your messages in the comments this go…I always care to hear from you!

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Our usual eclectic post here on Inspired By Venice today? My brain is uncollected and molasses after a long week, so I think random will work best. Often, that’s more fun anyhow!

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First, for all you readers of my tales…I have signed my contract for the 2021 Bristol Renaissance Faire. God willing, I will see many of you again at The Quill and Brush, a year from now.

I miss sharing my works. I miss the fellowship and conversations. I miss the magic. I miss you.

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I of course, don’t know what will happen. No one does. Progress to slow the virus is backsliding, and I can’t say when large gatherings will even be sound or permissible again. I personally hope, for a safe and effective vaccine soon.

Only time will tell. But for today, let us do our best to stay inspired

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I have decided to start a new collection. I am collecting feathers. No, I’m not worried about bird germs. I’m tired about being worried about germs. I’m going to pick up all the pretty feathers. And keep them. And collect them. And look at them.

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So if any of my friends or family find something special for me, please collect it. I will be delighted. And perhaps you, my friends here on Inspired By Venice, can help me identify some of them? The blue jay feather is my particular favorite so far…

The feathers will be joining my other passions for jumping spiders, lake glass, and found coins…

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I’m also at present, taking an interest in sidewalk animal prints.

I’ve discovered I know nothing about identification, as aware of nature as I thought I was. They all look like raccoon or black bird prints to me. Perhaps you can help me identify those too?

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My interests go to show that you don’t have to spend a penny to entertain yourself. I believe this to be a gift of being an only child. Inventing one’s own amusements.

I also believe in small delights, and taking simple, yet good care of myself. Here are some of my other current favorites…

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My closest know, or have at least observed over the years, that I can exhibit some sensitivities. It’s really just in recent years however, that I’ve even begun to acknowledge and explore this. I think sometimes, it isn’t until we are older, that we are more fully able to understand who we are, and how best to live our happiest and healthiest selves…

I was recommended the book, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine Aron. I have not completed reading it yet, but I’ve found myself in the pages. On the checklist for a ‘Highly Sensitive Person’, I meet many.

For instance, noise. It has always jarred me. Consistent and loud noises are the worst, and can quite untangle me.

Further, I used to believe that I favored one-on-one conversations, because I could make a deeper connection communicating that way. I’ve never preferred getting together with a group of friends. I now understand, it’s because when a whole bunch of people are talking, I get terribly overwhelmed. My feathers ruffle. I begin to exhibit impatience and irritation. Oh no!

Of all things, I thought this for certain, was an outcome of being an only child. That I wasn’t accustomed to cacophony. I’ve even been sometimes shamed, called selfish, for being less than easy going. Understandable response, sometimes warranted, at others unkindly.

But the truth is, God made me this way. I naturally do better in quiet, and that’s okay.

All of this to say…one of the beautiful gifts in life are the moments we can better understand and love ourselves. This also helps us to better understand and have patience, for others.

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Yet, what’s the favorite right now? Of course, the notion of growing in wisdom and grace. But also, these Sleep Pretty earplugs by Hearos! 32 NRR (noise reduction rating).

Let me tell you friends, a mouse could sneeze in the other room, and I will wake up. And this woman needs her sleep. A baby bird could peep outside the window, and stir me from fruitful writing. Construction noise? Well, that would simply be end game. Let’s just say, I’ve tried many earplugs. I sleep every night in earplugs. I’ve ordered special earplugs. And I wonder how they still haven’t invented the ultimate, and most comfortable earplugs yet. Most, aren’t all that effective.

C’mon, you inventors, you!

But the Sleep Pretty plugs…excellent. Best I’ve found.

Are you like me? Buy them. Hearos, I’ll be your spokeswoman…

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I’ve also recently discovered a favorite candy bar. Chocolove‘s peppermint in dark chocolate.

I’ve said it before…my mama must have been eating mint chocolate chip ice cream when I was in her belly, because I’m bonkers for mint and chocolate. This bar is good. Perfect, actually. This brand, very good. The salted almond butter in dark chocolate…heaven.

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What’s even sweeter? Their packaging has words of love inside.

Oh Romeo! I swoon…

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But a gal can’t live on chocolate alone. She must have her fruits and veggies…and her electrolytes!

Evolution Fresh organic cold-pressed juices have for years now, been one of the loves of my life. A green juice sets me right. When I need greens right now, a bottle of Green Devotion is a gift from Eden. Good stuff. The best stuff.

I’ll be their spokeswoman, too!

Love my veggies.

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And of course, nature will always be my favorite. Look how pretty…

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And precious…baby bunny…

Other current favorites?

Have you seen The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance on Netflix?

Amazing!

Love, love, love it! If you need some magic in your life, it is so special. And, so exciting! It actually took my breath away, I was so concerned for the gelflings!

Side note; my mom called me a gelfling when I was little. She said I looked like one.

And that’s why I write fairy tales. Because I’m secretly part gelfling.

My mom said so. And moms always tell the truth. Like, about Santa, and the Tooth Fairy and stuff…

I also recently watched the Lenox Hill series about Lenox Hill hospital in New York City. This show humbled my heart so deeply, there are no words. Thank you, to our medical workers. Thank you.

I was also, so very touched by the documentary series, Love on the Spectrum, about individuals on the autism spectrum out in their search for love. This program was beautiful!

And of course, there is always the beauty of music. I ever enjoy classical, or electronic music that is emotive and atmospheric. Makes me imagine. Makes me feel. Like I’m running through a vast field of grass, or sailing a troubled sea, or floating into deep space, or peering out from a castle way up high, into a dark forest…

There are a handful of artists that I watch for, for moving new gems. Active Child, is one of them. Song Johnny Belinda makes me envision riding into medieval battle! Love it.

But today, I wanted to share Active Child’s Color Me.

Why? The lyrics.

Essentially, ‘color me’ any way you will, but I’ll always bleed red. For me, the song just captures the notion of being human. Beyond everything, we all just need love and compassion, and to be known for who we are.

Love that.

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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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.

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

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

Stay Inspired.

Fill My Pen With Fairy Dust…

Good Morning Friends! This morning I’m dreaming of writing fairy tales. It is only 6 very short months until The Quill and Brush’s 5th season at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. I am hoping to refresh my book display this year, and am anticipating multiple new tales to showcase within it. 6 months seems a long time, but it actually goes by heart palpitatingly fast when you’re tying up new stories! But, I love it. I truly and dearly love it…

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Still is coming along quite creepily. To all the fans of Veleno, another delicious thriller is just around the corner…

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One New York City museum…a bizarre string of strange happenings…always of course in some darkened, deafeningly quiet, vulnerable moment for the main character. Because what’s more thrilling than that? I’m having a blast

Dragons At Dusk by Michelle Novak

I’ve also pledged to craft a follow-up to Dragons at DawnI will be keeping that promise with some very grouchy and tameless monsters, and some brave knights to get in their way, in Dragons at Dusk…

Beauty Sleeping by Michelle Novak

And of course…copies of the sweetest, most magical, most adventurous little novella my brain could have ever imagined, will be waiting too…I absolutely cherish the newly published Beauty Sleeping

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I’m also considering some other short delights…we’ll see how much fairy dust is left in my pen before Bristol’s opening day, Saturday July 11th, 2020!

Stay Inspired!

Welcome 2020! And Some Musings…

Good morning friends! It’s 2020! Here in Chicago, it’s cold, but there is a layer of beautiful snow on the ground along with a sunny bright blue sky! I’m thinking of taking a bit of a walk later to take in the air, on this, the first day of the new year. I’ll have to bundle up!

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[I’m presently reading Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman. The copy was courtesy of my dad (we snail mail each other books because we have similar reading interests). My dad nailed it. I don’t want to put the book down. An incredible, page-turning, true adventure!]

How did I bring in the new year? In my pajamas. I was chiding myself for not being asleep at that hour. I have a bedtime and all, which the holiday season has quite disrupted. 9 p.m. these days. 9:30 when I’m apparently feeling spunky…