Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Lovely New Blog award

Oh, Look!
 It's a lovely new Blog Award.  So pretty and it's pink, too,  I want to thank two wonderful authors Chris Allen Riley and Joselyn Vaughn for sending this award to me. You should definitely check out their blogs and learn some new tidbits about them.

Here are  7 Random Bits of Information about Stephanie Michels:

1- I wrote at least 6 plays that were produced by the various schools I attended from  second grade to my  junior year of high school. One play I wrote was based on "The Pardoner's Tale" from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. I made it into a western called "The Padre's Tale".

2- I used to write a monthly software review column for Compute! Magazine.

3- My family is Slovak (Czechoslovakian) on both my parent's sides. In fact, all but 1 of my grandparents were born over there.

4- I absolutely love coffee!  It's my go to drink. I also love Coca-Cola Classic, but I try to steer clear of it due to my perpetual dieting.

5- Everyone assumes my favorite color is pink because I have so much of it. However, it isn't. I love pink, but my actual favorite color is actually pale teal. Yes, I know my Blog is pink and so is this award...but now you know the truth.

6- My favorite actor is Sean Connery. He was smokin' hot as James Bond, but he was even better as King Arthur in First Knight. He makes bald look sexy, and his accent is very yummy, too.

7-  I'm like the magpie in The Secret of Nimh...I love sparklies!  At last count, I have more than 300 different pair of earrings!
To see some other great blogs and great  reads, please visit:

Chris Allen Riley
Joselyn Vaughn
Vivian Roycroft
Kay Springsteen
Patricia Kiyono
J.L. Salter

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Calico Heart has Arrived!

It seems like it's been a long time coming, but in truth, it was only a few months since my friend and critique partner, Patricia Kiyono and I first started working on The Calico Heart.

Now, drum roll please -- it has been released in e-format by a wonderful publisher, Astraea Press.  Astraea is known for providing good, clean, wholesome and entertaining books for readers. Not just romances but mysteries, paranormal, etc.

As for The Calico Heart, I can't begin to tell you what a high it was to see my name in print on the beautiful cover designed by Elaina Lee. And can you believe it, it's pink!!  I'm sure I'll be even more excited when I have a print copy to hold and admire -- I have just the spot picked out for it on my bookshelf!

The Calico Heart is the first book in the Stitching Post Romance series.  The stories all center around a group of women who meet in a quilt shop -- The Stitching Post -- to work on their projects once a week.  They range in ages from early 20s to mid-80s, and are as different as the quilts they make.  Each woman has a story to tell, and the romances are as heartwarming as your favorite quilt. Since I'm a sucker for happy endings, it was fun helping bring these characters to their Happily Ever After.   

The first story in the series is a bit unusual since our hero and heroine are in their mid-fifties and facing retirement.

On the surface, Sylvia Miller has a perfect life. She’s married to her college sweetheart, has three great kids, a rewarding career, and wonderful friends. But beneath the appearances, Sylvia is restless. She loves her husband, but wants to see more of the world than their peaceful Michigan town. For years, she’s dreamed of the interesting places she wants to visit. Now, their youngest child is grown, and Sylvia is ready for adventure.

Left a penniless orphan, David Miller promised himself his family would never know the same humiliation. For twenty-six years, he and Sylvia have lived frugally, saving for the future. Now, Dave is on the brink of a promotion that will ensure their financial security, but Sylvia wants him to retire and travel with her. 

When Dave refuses, Sylvia decides to go alone.  But it’s a decision that could cost them much more than money.       

You can find this book at Amazon (where you can read the first chapter for free), Barnes and Nobel, or the Astraea Press website.

Patty's other books are available there, too. Her titles, all published by Astraea Press include:
The Legacy, July 2011
The Christmas Phoenix, November 2011
Aegean Intrigue, February 2012
The Samurai's Garden, November 2012

We thank all our readers for their support, and we're already hard at work on books two and three. 

Thanks for stopping by,


Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Photo by David Moir/Reuters

Every year, I make New Year's Resolutions; every year, I break them. This year, I decided to do something a bit different.  Instead of making grandiose resolutions like "Finish my novel", I decided to chose baby step goals like "Write for an hour everyday."

All total, I made about a dozen of these baby step goals then put them in an Excel spreadsheet (I tend to use Excel for all sorts of list making tasks). I listed the days of the year in the left hand column and the goals across the top. I grouped like goals together: Personal, Professional, Home Organization.  These columns are color-coded so I can check my progress.

When I finish my goal, I mark it as "done" with a smiley face. If I miss a goal for a day, I do not mark it with a frown or say "undone."  I just leave it blank.  I believe every positive thing we do should be an occasion for celebration. I want my chart to reflect this.  After all, the world is filled with people who are more than happy to comment on our failures, so we should protect ourselves from the things that could drag us down by giving ourselves a pat on the back for everything we do accomplish.

So, my overall New Year's resolution can be summed up in two words: Celebrate Myself! I hope you do the same for yourself. You don't need to make lists, but give yourself credit for all the things you accomplish. You deserve it!

Have a wonderful 2013. I'll be posting again soon. Meanwhile, please enjoy an excerpt from my upcoming book with best-selling author Patricia Kiyono, The Calico Heart.  It's the first book of our Stitching Post Romance series.

Sneak Preview Excerpt:

     "It was such a beautiful wedding,ʺ Sylvia remarked as she sat at the bedroom vanity to tissue off her make-­up later that evening.  "The weather was perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. This late in June, you never know what you’ll get.ʺ
     ʺI’m just glad to finally get out of this blasted tuxedo,ʺ Dave replied, tugging loose his tie and starting on the button of his heavily starched shirt.
     ʺYou looked very handsome.ʺ She met his eyes in the mirror and winked suggestively. "Sexy.ʺ
     "I felt like a stuffed penguin. I don’t know why we had to have all the fuss.ʺ
     ʺHoney, she’s our only daughter. We had to do things up right for her wedding.ʺ
     ʺShe’d have been just as married with a simple ceremony and reception in our rose garden. Just think what we could have saved on the flowers alone.ʺ
     "We would never have been able to fit all of our friends and co-workers – and Lynne and Ron’s – in our backyard,ʺ Sylvia said, repeating the same argument she’d given him when he’d first suggested a home wedding. ʺThe church hall was the perfect solution. And we didn’t have to worry about rain or having a guest fall in the pool. Besides, it’s not like we didn’t have money already saved.ʺ She grinned. "ʺI think you rushed to the bank straight from the hospital the day Lynne was born so you could set up a savings account for her wedding.ʺ
     "Nah. I waited until the next day,ʺ he admitted, sheepishly. "But we still went over budget...ʺ
     "A little,"ʺ Sylvia conceded, remembering a few bills she still hadn’t slipped into the pile of expenses on his desk. "But certainly nothing that will jeopardize our retirement plans.ʺ
     Dave mumbled something, but with his head buried in their closet, she couldn’t hear his exact words.
     "Look under your side of the bed,ʺ she called.
     "Your slippers. That’s what you’re looking for, isn’t it?ʺ She slathered a bit of extra moisturizer on her forehead where she’d noticed a few deep lines had recently appeared. ʺI think you left them under your side of the bed.ʺ
     Her husband crossed to the bed, bent to look under it, then held up the missing slippers with a triumphant smile. ʺFound ‘em!ʺ
     "Whatever would you do without me?"ʺ Sylvia deadpanned.
     He pursed his lips and pretended to consider the idea. ʺGo barefooted?ʺ
     ʺYou hate going barefoot. I guess you’d better keep me around.ʺ
     "Oh, I don’t know,ʺ he said, coming to stand behind her chair. He leaned down and wrapped his arms around her then rested his chin on the top of her head. Meeting her eyes in the mirror, he smiled. ʺJust think how much I could save on your mascara alone.ʺ
     She laughed and swatted his arm. ʺAs if you’d even know how much mascara costs. That’s one of the things my paycheck always covered.ʺ
    "Are you going to miss it?ʺ
    "The paycheck?ʺ
    "Well, that and the students. I know how much you love teaching.ʺ
    "I did love it. It was great being able to help kids understand math. The looks on their faces when they suddenly got it – when they went from struggling to understanding—" She paused and smiled. "ʺIt was priceless."ʺ

Talk to you soon,
The Stitching Post Romances with bestselling author Patricia Kiyono
Book One - The Calico Heart coming January 2013 from Astraea Press