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!

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!

Such A Sweet Treat!

What a lovely read! Only a quarter the way through, but such a sweet treat!
{check out the author at: https://jenturano.com/}

One of the interesting things about being an author, is discovering different writing styles and genres than your own through reading. Once, I only read books. Now, I both read, and consider the writing with the eye of an author. Reading is even more inspiring to me now, if that could even be possible!

Stay Inspired!

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/

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!

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

Something Bookish and Wonderful

Nothing makes me more optimistic than a piercing blue sky with bright green trees! What a view!

Just this moment, I have something special on my heart I’m hoping and waiting about. Something bookish and wonderful. But as it’s just not sure, I can only be hopeful and patient right now. I must believe that the best will happen, right?

What inspires you to be optimistic?

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!

My Eyebrows Know

Today I got in a few minutes of writing during my lunch hour and realized I was doing the funniest thing! My expressions were totally reacting to what I was writing. I mean, do I do that? Eyebrows going a little crazy every time a dragon screeches on the page?

This can only mean one thing. Dragons at Dusk is turning out an awesome adventure! My eyebrows know.

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/

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/

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.
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Click here to see Still on Amazon

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!

Literary love, Smiles, and Sparkle!

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

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

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

Event Tomorrow!

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

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

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

My Bookish Briefcase

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

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

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

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

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!

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

I love my grandma

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

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

Not Sure I have That Kind Of Grit

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

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

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.

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/

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.

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 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.

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

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

In a museum, there is always more to find. Or more to find you. And here, something has been hiding in the basement for a very long time. Something that has now begun looking, for Roe.
.
For a list of my works, please visit here.
Join me on Instagram.
Join me on Goodreads.
Follow my Author Page on Amazon.

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!

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!

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/

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!

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!

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!

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.

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…

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? 

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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!

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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…

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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…

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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!

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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…

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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

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

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

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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…

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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…

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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!

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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…

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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…

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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!

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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…

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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

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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…

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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

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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?

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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?

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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…

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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.)

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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…

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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!

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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…

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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

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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)…

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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!

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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…

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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…

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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?!

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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?

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

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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!

A Delightful Giveaway!

Because today is a beautiful day…because it’s a holiday weekend…because I’ve still got one last festive weekend left at Bristol…today feels like a great day for a giveaway to share a little delight with you…

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Today, I’m giving away a copy of Delight! To enter, use your imagination and tell us what your fairy name would be if you were one of those magical creatures, and share it in the comments! I’ll randomly choose a winner on Tuesday, September 6th at 10:00 a.m. Chicago time and announce the winner! Here’s wishing you a delightful weekend!

Here’s A Health To The Company…

Hello Friends! What’s new?! As for myself, there’s just one weekend remaining for The Quill and Brush at the Bristol Renaissance Faire! Our little shop (filled with Lita’s pretty art and my imaginative books) has but only this coming 3-day Labor Day weekend left to share our little treasures…

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We sincerely hope to see again, many of the wonderful people we’ve met this season, so that we can bid you good health and happiness until next summer! And for each and every one that took home one of our works this season, we appreciate you…

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The sunset was so beautiful this last Sunday evening as I trudged out of Bristol, that my heart fluttered at the sight of its glory. I was filled with peace and thankfulness…

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A friend of mine named Mary (an inspiring woman who in her 80’s goes to the gym regularly and is as healthy and lovely as ever), generously surprises me with her rice pudding every now and then. This unexpected, delicious gift, humbles me and makes my day, every time. When I was young, I never thought much of rice pudding…but I do now. Thank you sweet Mary…

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This is the grumpy albino skunk who makes an appearance at the Bristol Faire on the weekends (curtesy of a private farm). I love this skunk. I love him and want to give him hugs and take him for walks, and he could be best friends with my cat Tiddo…

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When we first met, he huffed, jumped towards me, scratched, grunted, and generally tried to ward me off. However, I am unmoving. I still love this skunk. With lots of cuddling, don’t you think I could bring his attitude around? (And no, he wasn’t stinky).

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In other news, I’ve been feeling some serious exhaustion these last few weeks. There is only one remedy for that, you know. Shrimp salad. I just pile as many veggies onto a plate as I have in my fridge, throw some shrimp in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then enjoy. Its effects on exhaustion seem to be more effective if you get some sleep afterwards…

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In further news, this enormous spider was hanging above the potty this week, just like that otherworldly cave cricket. I think there is a conspiracy amongst the bugs in our house to frighten me when I need to use the amenities. Only, I’m not afraid of spiders! Bwa-ha-ha…

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…well, except for this dude in our mailbox! We have a problem with spiders in our mailbox.  Last night, no spider. This morning, an intricate web and what I considered to be a more energetic spider than most (he jumped at me in the most ungentlemanly way when I reached in for the mail). Of course, discovering that the mail lady hadn’t come yet, I had to save this hapless (if ungentlemanly) spider from the mailbox so he wouldn’t get squished when she arrived…

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I didn’t appreciate the way he jumped at me a second time, before skittering away on the porch. But my conscience is clear…no smushed arachnids today in my mailbox.

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Here’s wishing you many treasured moments in your days! And, I’m looking forward to seeing many smiling faces this weekend at The Quill and Brush, before Bristol’s winter slumber. To all our friends, here’s sending you Health to the Company

Dragons at Dawn

I am very excited to share Dragons at Dawn! This treasure of a book is a true adventure! Especially for those who love a dragon tale! Enjoy…but beware the clawed and fanged beast! Bwa-ha-ha!

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Pious enjoys sitting with his neighbor Joseph, one of the elders of Piper’s Hamlet. Joseph shares fascinating stories about faraway places and the wild and enchanted animals and beings that live in them. Even at the edge of their village, far up upon a hill, stands Hightower. Pious learns from Joseph why the watchtower was built many centuries before. It was used to fight off dangerous creatures that used to cross into their lands, causing complete havoc in the town. There were frightening mirage elves, rowdy sand stags and beastly sun dragons. Long out of use, battling the creatures from Hightower is now just an ancient tale. Or is it?

Piper’s Hamlet soon comes under siege. A sun dragon from afar has come to attack and destroy, and an entire village must work together to survive. Pious, as curious as ever, can’t help wondering why the furious beast has fallen upon them after so many years of peace. He becomes determined to find out, soon learning that it could fall to him to save them all!

Join Pious as he learns the true meaning of selflessness, feels the kindness and unity that can be found amongst neighbors, and discovers what it means to be courageous before the fiercest of foes, for everyone’s sake!

Available now on Amazon and Amazon Europe!

What was that?

If you look very closely in the snow you’ll see…the tracks of a tiny creature who ran past me!

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Was it a hopping birdie or perhaps a bounding little mouse? Why no, it wasn’t…twas something very different that ran past my house!

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To see this magic creature is sometimes hard to achieve…but to catch a special glimpse, all you must really do is believe!

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Coming soon!

Love For Books

Here, I was 12 years old on a summer’s day at my grandparents’ house. Grandma took that photo through her kitchen window (I can smell the home cooking even now). I threw a big cushion off that swing to make things just right. For what? Reading, reading and more reading!

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What was I reading? I can only guess one of L.M. Montgomery’s lovely tales of the early 20th century (Anne of Green Gables will never go out of style) or perhaps it was a Choose Your Own Adventure (I have a little collection even now). It might have been my Bible (a book with a great many incredible stories) or perhaps it was something from the library.

Wouldn’t it be fun to have a list of every single book you ever read?

I couldn’t get enough of reading then and I still can’t now. There’s simply nothing quite like a good story. Here’s wishing you many wonderful books on the list of all that you’ll read in your life. Enjoy each and every adventure!

A Thoughtful Gift

It is the season for cheer and goodwill, a season for family, friends and thoughtful gifting to all those we care about!

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As a writer who loves a good adventure, I am always pleased to be gifted with a book. Books allow us to use our imagination and travel far from where we live, they often provide hours of inspiration long after they are given, and are (usually) stress-relieving, intellectual and a pleasure!

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And so this holiday, I humbly recommend the gift of Venice for a lady in your life, whether sister or daughter, grandma or mother, best friend or colleague or neighbor. This delightful trip to the beautiful city of Venice, Italy, through its interactive choose-your-own-adventure style (you choose what you will see and do in the book by making selections at the end of each chapter), will be a treat for any reader and lover of adventure and travel!

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And for the young ladies in your life, please consider A Festival Day in Bristol and Princess Liliana and the Dragon! These tales are light history for some learning fun, contain positive moral themes and are entertaining!

Thank you for all of your support! My books are written with a passion to inspire, entertain and enlighten, and I hope that you will enjoy them. Here’s wishing you a bright and peaceful holiday season with all those you love!

Why I love to write

There are of course, many reasons why I love to write. Primarily because storytelling makes me happy! It is so fun! It’s challenging! I’m allowed to make up really wild scenarios, fairy tales, and thrilling moments that usually don’t happen in real life and run with them! The characters are my puppets…Bwah-Ha-Ha! I can get lost in my own worlds! But do you know what is really, really, really special and makes all the hard parts about trying to write books worth it?

 

The readers! This is my cousin Macy, to whom my new children’s book Princess Liliana and the Dragon is dedicated. She enjoyed the first chapter last night. Her mom said she loved it! She brought her copy to kindergarten today to share with her friends.

I melt, I smile, I jump for joy, I’m filled with happiness! What could be better in all the world than to be able to share all those things that come from my imagination, with you…the reader!