State of Michele's Union aka what's going on.

Here’s the million dollar question… When is (insert title) going to be done?

I wish I had the answer you want to hear, but I don’t. I’m not even close to having an answer for you. For any of my anticipated books. None. Let me explain several reasons why I am where I am.

Let’s go all the way back to May 2013 when my debut novel, Never Let You Fall, was published. *applause* I was so excited with my accomplishment - I finished a book! - but I had no idea what I was doing.  So, instead of jumping into book two, I followed up on an idea of mine that turned into Last Call. I loved this story and these characters and as soon as I typed ‘The End’ I knew I wanted to tell more. Last Call stands alone but my Aussie bartender wasn’t done talking and therefore I told readers (at the end of the book) I would write His Call in 2014, AFTER I wrote the next Tyalbrook. Next, we fast forward to Never Let You Go which released in January 2014.  

{Let me recap for you - that is THREE 80k plus books in less than a year. Once upon a time that was considered super fast in the publishing industry.}

Back to our story… I finished my third book and BAM. My brain froze. I wrote some for His Call. I wrote some for Tyalbrook. I did several book events that spring and I played around, waiting for the mojo to kick in so I could finish one of those two projects. 

*cue evil laughter* Life never happens how we plan and by March I had a SHINY NEW IDEA and From The Wreckage was born. This series consumed me and in a matter of a few months I wrote and released From The Wreckage, Out of Ruins and All That Remains.

And my life changed. Those books took off in a way I never expected. Readers loved them and I was so grateful. And this is when my dilemma began to grow. You see, my other books did well. I was more than happy with where I was before From The Wreckage. But, I sink thousands of dollars into covers, editing, PR and marketing and I have to think of my writing as a business.

With that in mind, I did what seemed best and I wrote Into The Fire because the story was screaming to be told. It's the book I am proudest of - sales or not. 
While working on Into The Fire I did something else HUGE. I signed with my agent. *applause* After I released Into The Fire back in March, I debated my next step. Tyalbrook #3? His Call? Another Wrecked booked? I wasn't sure so I decided to call my agent, Italia, and we talked for two hours about my career and where I saw myself going. Can you say television, movies, bookstores??

The end result? A secret project was born that is so amazing and has so much potential my heart raced for days after our call. It’s still racing. Since the beginning of April I’ve researched this new project all while attempting to work on the stories I know readers are waiting on. I wrote myself into a hard place, I know this. I told you you would get Tyalbrook #3, His Call and more stories with Jules and West in them. And you will. It’s the when that's in limbo and I’m sorry for that, I truly am. My brain is working on four projects on any given day. My focus has been so split over the last two months that I have, at times, thought I was going to have a breakdown. The pressure is real. I want to make everyone happy and yet, I can’t.

I ask that you know I have not abandoned these stories. I will not rush them if I don’t feel them though. Writing isn’t simply sitting at a computer and typing words. My stories are more than that. My characters talk to me and tell me what they want and I have to wait for them. Sometimes they are stubborn - Xander! - and they don’t talk when I need them too.

To ease my stress I plan on being less forthcoming with projected release dates. I don’t want to set expectations I can’t make, and I don’t want to disappoint readers. I will continue to offer you teases as I write and I’m always happy to answer your questions about my writing.

So there you go… My state of the union. As always, thank you for supporting me. It means a great deal to be doing what I love. I never dreamed others would read something I wrote and love it too. My readers rock my world.

One tiny bit of amazing news for Prophecy of Tyalbrook fans - I’ll be sharing the brand new covers on June 8th. They are amazing and I can’t wait for you to see them. 

Note below one of the inspirations for my secret project... yes, this is bribery to make up for the news above!

You're talking to yourself, again!

The other afternoon as my husband was running out to do some errands, he stopped by where I was working in the house to explain where he was going. After he'd kissed me goodbye and left the room I called out to him. Popping his head around the corner he sighed as I asked, "wait, now what are you doing?" I got 'the look' as he repeated his intentions again and he got the 'you know I don't listen when I'm working' speech, to which he laughed because he knew I was right. He knows me well enough to know how my mind works. Here're a few other things he's figured out through the years.

I'm best friends with the people in my mind...
Please know it's nothing personal. If we're hanging out you will also be hanging out with any number of sexy guys, scarred teens, and kick-butt heroines or heroes, that are maintaining temporary residency in the gray matter between my ears. 
They can be pushy sometimes so don't be offended if you see me gaze into blank space and nod. I'm working things out with my people. It's normal. For me.

I'll be watching you...
I've always been a watcher of people. They amuse, horrify, terrify and alternately confuse the heck out of me. You learn so much about human nature by watching the way people interact.
   For instance, the other day I'm at Panera eating and it's busy so there aren't a whole lot of tables. Across the restaurant from me, a woman took a seat at an empty booth by herself. After a few moments she left to fill her drink (her food had not yet arrived) taking her wallet and table buzzer with her and leaving the table empty - except for the umbrella she left under the table. While she was gone another woman came over, set her purse on the table and stood there - obviously holding the table as the rest of her party ordered. What I found interesting is the lady standing there was looking towards the registers and never saw the original woman's umbrella. Nor did she see the original woman when she walked up behind her, drink in hand. The first occupant sat down on the edge of the booth, set her things on the table and began playing on her phone, without a word to the woman standing there. Nothing! She didn't say "excuse me, this is my table" or "I'm sorry I was here first." It was only a few moments before an employee came with food and the lady standing turned, shocked to see the woman sitting there. It was the employee who ended up saying "she was sitting here" to the newcomer. The lady sitting never said a word, just kind of smiled and shrugged.  
   This whole interaction was perplexing to me. The fact is, I disliked the first woman the moment she sat down without saying anything to the woman standing. She allowed the woman standing there to be embarrassed - bc she was, it was clear to see - instead of simply being polite.
People watching gives me clues about someone based on their actions. One small action created a villain in my mind that day. 
By the way - I'm also an eavesdropper, although it's a bit unintentional. If you talk loud enough that I can hear your conversation - and there's always one woman at the restaurant table next to us who loves to hear herself talk. LOUD - I will zone in on your conversation. 

I'm selfish...
With my time. I've always been an outgoing person and I enjoy hanging with friends, but it happens less now than ever. I'm very selfish with how much of my free time I give away anymore. I have a husband, three kids and I have a career. Being a writer is not a hobby. It is my job and I take it seriously. I spend Monday through Friday working at writing just as I would if I were back in corporate America. No tennis games in the afternoon, no brunches with 'the girls' - I'm working and I love my job.
This also means I watch less television. Sure, I binge watch occasionally or I have my must-sees, but I no longer spend nights in front of the TV watching 'just any show'. Though I think my hubby likes this because while I go back to work after the kids are in bed, he watches his shows (all survival and car shows) without me griping about it. 

Music will ignite my mind...
There's nothing like a good song to fire up my writing brain. I have a list of songs that have inspired ideas for stories I want to write. I'm an eclectic listener too. I'm also notorious for listening to the same song over and over and over. #sorrynotsorry