Michelle Miles, Romance Author

Rose Quartz and Serenity

sunset pic-rose quartzPantone has deemed 2016’s Color of the Year as Rose Quartz and Serenity.

It’s their way of telling us to all chill out, I think.

I say that in jest but really when you look at the colors there is something very serene and calming about them. I am reminded of a sunrise when the clouds are just right in the sky and the early morning rays hit them just right. I saw that in the sky a few days ago while driving to work.

I told the husband I loved seeing the sunrise and/or sunset while driving to/from work. He said he was too busy driving to notice. I always notice, though, and love seeing the magical colors the sky paints when the sun is at the perfect place on the horizon. You never know what burning colors you’ll get.

Or calm ones.

The writer in me also hears those color names and thinks, “Possible character names?” Maybe. :)

Shutterstock has a blog post devoted to these colors. There is something almost magical about them. Check them out. They are beautiful.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.Com

Decluttering Week 2

Today is my obligatory decluttering post. I’m pretty happy with the progress I’ve made so far this year.

I tried to do one thing every day this past week on my decluttering plan. I can’t remember exactly what day I did what but I did:

  • Decluttered part of the bathroom cabinet over the toilet. I got rid of unwanted hair clips and cleaned the disgusting basket it was all hanging out in.
  • Decluttered my t-shirt drawer because DAYUM. I had a lot of shirts I don’t wear.
  • Decluttered my file drawer. I freaking had stuff in there from 2006. Pretty sure I don’t need that anymore.
  • Decluttered my bank statements. It’s a new year so time to shred all the old stuff. I can get past statements online anyway.

This next week I’d like to go through more stuff in the bathroom and also the kid’s long-sleeved shirts need to be culled.

I have to admit I almost felt like a domestic goddess this past weekend. Not only did I get my laundry done in a timely fashion, but I also replaced the stupid shower curtain rings and shower curtain in our bathroom, baked a cheesecake (using my new and awesome Kitchen Aid mixer that I LOVE – thank you, honey!), colored my hair myself and saved $150 in salon fees and swept the floor. I’m trying to  be a better housekeeper but we’ll see how long that lasts. :)

Anyway, I felt really accomplished this weekend. I hope I can keep up this motivation. It is only January, after all. 😉

Refilling the Creative Well

IMG_5221I took the last week of December off. It was GREAT. I had ten days off and no work responsibilities and I loved every second of it.

I spent a lot of time doing things I wanted to do instead of things I had to do. Do you know how awesome that is? To be able to do things that you know you want to do because you have time to do it? Husband and I did some shopping and purchase another piece of furniture that goes with our bedroom suite. We got all the Christmas decorations put away before the new year. We re-arranged furniture in the living room and bedroom. I officially started my decluttering of the entire house.

But what I also did was refill my creative well. As a writer, I think it’s important to have some downtime to let the creative juices percolate and refill. I came back to my work with renewed fervor and love writing again.

How did I refill the well? I listened to a lot of music. I got adult coloring books for Christmas and I did some coloring. I’m totally hooked on that and can’t wait to color more pictures. I spent most of Christmas day and several days after coloring with my new Prismacolor pencils.

I also cross-stitched. It’s something I don’t do a lot but it really enjoy it. I purchased some ornament kits right before Christmas because I knew I was going to be off work and I wanted to have something to do in case I got bored. HA. I didn’t have time to be bored but I did manage to start working on one of the kits. I love these little ornaments. I attached a picture of what I’m working on. Those white spaces are for beads and they are TEENY. I should be good and blind by the time I finish this one. I have two more to do when I’m done with it.

I also had general downtime while I was out. I needed it. I needed to rest and relax and refill that well to get back to writing. Which, by the way, I’m working on a secret project. Hopefully I will have more news on that soon. :)

At any rate, I loved the downtime. What do you do when you have downtime?

Decluttering Week 1

IMG_5214So I have this grand idea that I’m going to declutter my house over 2016. So far, it’s working.

I told the husband I wanted to go through the pantry and get rid of what was expired and donate what we weren’t going to use. Since he’s sort of the keeper of the pantry, he went at it with gusto. The worst thing in the pantry that was expired (like since 2008 expired) were the spices. Sadly, we threw away a lot of spices that were expired. Like WAY expired.

Our trash smelled good though. :)

I also got rid of a bunch of stuff that was cluttering up the top of the bathroom shelf. There was a jar candle that had been for, like, five years. It had a thick layer of dust on it and was just kind of yuck. I poured boiling water in the jar, let it sit for about 15 minutes and then removed the candle so I could recycle the glass jar.

Then I got really crazy and decluttered my pen cup. It had pens that no longer had ink. I threw them all out. Then I got rid of a bunch more that were in a pencil case in the top drawer of my filing cabinet. It felt really good to get rid of that stuff that has been taking up space. Especially stuff that no longer has a use.

I’m serious about this decluttering thing so hopefully I can keep up the momentum throughout the year. I’m writing this on January 2. We’ll see how I feel in, say, six months. 😉

The Obligatory 2015 Year in Review Post

This year has been interesting. Trying at times and fun at other times. I’m going to break this up into segments just in case there is anyone out there actually still reading my blog. I will endeavor to do better in 2016.

WRITING
The year that almost wasn’t. By the close of 2014 I had all but given up. I was seriously down in the dumps about writing. My books were not selling. It didn’t help I wasn’t getting paid by my publisher. I had a very “I hate you” relationship with writing and I wasn’t even sure I was going to continue. I’d lost all my drive and will to create.

Then one day in January I got an email from Holly Lisle’s mailing list offering her How to Think Sideways course. I had always heard good things about it and after doing some soul-searching, I decided to give this writing gig one last ditch effort. I signed up. It’s not a cheap course, by any means, but I thought if it could help me get my writing back on track then it was totally worth it.

Even though I’d started taking the course in February, my attitude about writing had not really improved. Mostly I was trying to figure out what my goals actually WERE because I had so many people telling me what I SHOULD be doing (indie publish, traditional, small press…). I removed myself from every group on Facebook and even dropped out of a few Yahoo groups that I’d been involved in. I needed time to think about my writing and what I wanted out of it. And I decided to fuck everyone else and I was going to do what I wanted to do. I was going to write what I wanted to write.

I started writing short stories. I put out a little anthology, Flights of Fantasy, which had new fiction as well as old. I sold two copies. I also got his lovely review on Goodreads, though, where the reviewer was in love with the Dragons of Emhain. My intention was to write a tie-in novel, which I haven’t gotten around to yet (I will eventually). I continued through the HTTS course and discovered who I was as a person and a writer.

As I moved through the course over the next several months, I started writing a new novel. In the Tower of the Wizard King was born. By the end of summer, though, the story stalled. And that’s when I decided to do something crazy—I wanted to enter Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest, but the deadline was six weeks away. I dropped everything and wrote a book for them and entered. I made it all the way into the Top 25. I was pleased with that result. I didn’t make it any further, but I did submit the book to Harlequin and am waiting for a response.

I finished Wizard King in November with a final word count of just over 101,000. I really feel it’s one of my best books yet. But I could be biased. 😉 This book has definitely been a labor of love and it really made me get back the joy in writing. It’s currently out to beta readers.

I’ve also got back the rights to three of my novels. When I have the entire series back under my control, I plan to re-release them but it probably won’t be until late 2016.

I’m also working on a secret project at the moment. I hope to have more news on that in the next few months.

So, I’m back to writing. I didn’t give up after all.

TRAVEL
While the husband and I didn’t take a full length vacation, we did have several weekenders.

In April, we headed up to Chicago over Easter weekend. We took the kiddo with us. It was his first plane ride. It was a really fast trip but we had a great time. I got to see a miniature castle AND meet my friend/soul sister Misty Evans. I blogged about that trip here.

Then in May, husband headed to Los Angeles for a week-long conference. I flew there on Friday night and met him for a quick Saturday trip. Talk about a whirlwind! We walked over eight miles that day. We started at Warner Bros with a tour, then went to Hollywood to see the sign, then Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. I was in heaven at the movie studio. I loved every second of that. We flew home Sunday morning. Here’s where I talked about the LA trip.

Late summer arrived and the husband got a new truck. He wanted to break it in, so we headed down to Galveston/Houston for another weekend trip. We decided we wanted to buy a beach house so that’s now on our bucket list. We had some great food there and toured NASA.

By August, we had an unexpected trip to Houston. I’d purchased a Corvette and the owner lived down in Houston—so we hopped in a plane and headed down there to pick up the car. It’s a beauty, too. I really love that car. The Corvette was probably the best thing I got out of August. The rest of the month was kind of a mess. More on that later.

I’m not sure what, if anything, we’ll do in 2016 but I hope there’s something fun in the future.

ON THE HOMESTEAD
Oof. August nearly broke us. Our air conditioner broke not once but three times. After having the unit replaced and spending a small fortune we were finally cool. But, ouch, what a nightmare that was to be without AC when it was 110 outside in the middle of August. We also had siding put on the house in the hopes it would increase the value of our home.

This was also the year we bought a new dishwasher because the other one sounded like it was dying a slow death.

THE CORVETTE
CorvetteMy husband was kind enough to make sure I had the opportunity to purchase my dream car. Because someone at his work was selling his 2003 50th Anniversary Edition and I was hot to have one, well…it all worked out, didn’t it? And LOOK at it. It’s pristine! I don’t drive it every single day but I do drive it a lot. And I love it. It’s just…magnificent.

All in all, 2015 was just an okay year but I have high hopes for 2016. Bring it on.