Showing posts from 2014

Happy Holidays! Onward and Upward

So much has happened in 2014 that it is a bit bittersweet to see it close. So much in my writing world has been accomplished. Some of those celebratory moments weren't planned, but were opportunities that I stepped up and grabbed, while, for other milestones, they were part of my goal plans.

For The Readers in 2014

Into The Pride was my first foray in urban fantasy, which earned an Evernight Reader's Choice award. 
One of A Kind(1st book of Meadows Family), published with Kimani Romance, featuring four cousins and their bid to be independent and finding love on their own terms.
Part of the Executive Assistantanthology, as Michelle Rhys, an erotic romance set in the corporate boardroom.
Carnival Temptress, part of the Revelers series, on my self-pub platform.
Part of the free Tiny Treats Holidaymicro reads with A Holiday Miracle.
Read and recommended over 150 books for the USA Today Happy Ever Blog

Behind the scenes:

Finished writing two out of three novellas for Boroughs PublishingPart…

Fall Out Boy -- American Beauty/American Psycho Album

Fall Out Boy is back with a new album: American Beauty/ American Psycho. Earlier this year, they released Centuries. What do I think? My daughter shared her FOB love with me when she was in middle school. We went to their concert at Merriweather about five years ago when they headlined with Hey Monday, Cobra Starship, All Time Low, & Fifty Cent.  Absolutely loved them. Didn't get to the concert this year, timing didn't cooperate with her college classes.

I'm no expert on indie rock. Do I like the songs? Yep. And pretty much that's enough reason for me...cause I said it's good. LOL

Patrick Stump is quoted as saying: "All I can say is, some people will love it. Some people will hate it. The four of us like it a lot, so we're happy."
Pretty much my sentiments with my books, too LOL

Celebrating--Best Urban Fantasy: Evernight Readers' Choice Awards

Thank you to the readers who remembered this short story, INTO THE PRIDE, and thought positively enough about it to nominate the title in Evernight Publishing Readers' Choice Awards under the urban fantasy category. I'm truly honored and especially appreciative of winning the category.

I look forward to writing more stories that both entertain and remain happy memories with each of you. Cheers, my friends.

Available at major e-retailers and at Evernight Publishing site

December 1 -- Day after NaNoMo2014 Completion

Last year, 2013, I participated in NaNo. I started the process of writing a daily minimum of 1,667 words for 30 days with great enthusiasm. In the first week, I delivered double, even triple the word count. I felt invincible. Second week hit, and the story started flagging. I was writing aimlessly only thinking of the daily goal, instead of the story plot. My project veered in all kinds of directions as I tried to stay the course. But by the end, November 30, I was done. Crawling to the finish line, gasping on fumes, the so-called victory was not pretty. My vow when I hit the button to verify my word count--I would never do this again.

That 2013 novel still sits in a computer file waiting for massive editing to be done. It hasn't quite made into the top five priority of works in progress. But the basis of the story was good and I'm not giving up with getting it polished and salvageable.

So when 2014 NaNo announcements and euphoria hit the social media platform, I screamed, No…

The Writer's Life: My Social Media Blackout

Whew! October is winding down and so is my seclusion from social media, namely Facebook, my addiction.

I went cold turkey. First, teaching myself how to delete my attempt at any response to a post or my post to my status update box. Then, I learned how to read newsfeed and not respond. Finally, training myself not to read or interact, while I communicated with my various Facebook writer groups. This sort of behavior could spell death to an author, such as me, right? Not really.

You see, unless you've made Facebook your one and only way to communicate and promote, you'll be fine with a little social media black out. But, I didn't do this to prove a point. And I certainly didn't do it because I'm anti-Facebook. I wanted to rein in time-wasting elements.

I was cognizant that another year was winding down. I had a long list of goals that were in place from the beginning of the year. Over the months, more projects were added, old goals got pushed aside, and due dates fa…

Outlander--My New TV Show Obsession

For the first time in a while, I'm actually hooked on several TV shows. I watch a lot of TV and movies. Most times, it's way after the show is out, many seasons deep, or has ended.

And now I'm picky with the movies as the ticket price and the outrageous concession prices add up. So with the help of Netflix and my Comcast On Demand, I've fallen hard for Orphan Black, The Strain, Helix, The Last Ship, Longmire, Sherlock, Sleepy Hollow, Bitten, Blacklist.

If those weren't enough, I must add Outlander to the mix. I read the book many moons ago. Here's the blurb, (courtesy of Dell; Random House): Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another...

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an "outlander"…

To MD's Prince George County Police

You would think that with the rash of negative publicity that cops from various states have earned by their own doing that the rest of the fraternity would have a more measured approach when dealing with the community. Apparently three of The Order didn't feel that the rules had to change. Instead, they preferred the "us" vs. "them" attitude and did their best to foster that feeling. For their efforts, they get an A+ for being total dicks. As a public servant, taking the vow to protect and serve, they've earned an F.

Over dinner late last night, after my son returned from work, I asked the obligatory question, "how was your day?" The reply wasn't the routine answer of "played video games," "working at the job is hard," or the latest happenings about a friend. Nope. He said, "I was stopped by the police." I laughed. "What do you mean stopped?" He doesn't drive. "I was stopped by the police. Me an…

Land of Romance Fiction Is Like A Colorful Fruit Salad


Have you ever attended Romance Writers of America 400+ author booksigning event. It's always the Wednesday of the conference week. Quite an impressive sight to see because it's a smidgen of the books and authors who dwell in romance fiction land.

I personally haven't signed at the event in years. But I do go through to say hi to my fellow authors. This year had a massive outpouring of readers in San Antonio, Texas. They lined up for hours, as though it was a rock concert and they had to get to the mosh pit. BTW, next year is in New York City. Keep an eye for the details at RWA's site.

Basically, there were books filling every corner and space of several large meeting rooms.

Paranormal. Erotic. Contemporary. Urban Fantasy. Historical. New Adult. Young Adult.

Over $50K was spent that night in book purchases. Again, this is only a smidgen of what's out there.

The visual of that extensive and diverse list of books reminded me of my delightful childhood food/fr…

Executive Assistant Anthology--12 Sexy, Erotic Romantic Tales

Unleash your naughty side with Evernight's Executive Assistant anthology…
These sizzling hot stories dare to explore the taboo world of office romance. From X-rated job interviews, controlling Doms, to the unprofessional use of office furniture—these twelves stories have it all.

Evernight's bestselling authors are determined to make you squirm. You may never see the office the same way again!
In the Executive Assistant anthology, the authors include:
Doris O’Connor, Leteisha Newton, S.J. Maylee, Michelle Graham, Allyson Young, Lila Shaw, Elodie Parkes, Chacelyn Pierce, Jean Maxwell, Beth D. Carter, Jezebel Jorge, Michelle Rhys (that's moi!)
In Operation Conquer and Seduction by Michelle Rhys, it's one helluva day (think TV show 24). Enjoy the excerpt:
7:15 a.m.    Melissa pushed open the familiar glass doors that changed her life. Her heels clicked along the marble floor as she approached the imposing receptionist’s desk. A familiar face, a mature picture of elegance an…

Sexy, Erotic Executive Assistant Anthology-- Friday, June 20

Release Day: June 20

Meet my 'other' self -- Michelle Rhys.

As Michelle Rhys, my stories are targeted, without a doubt, for the adults who like their characters and plot laden with the uber sexy and tastefully erotic. I debuted in Evernight Publishing's Executive Assistant anthology, among a line up of great writers. Can't wait for you to read and enjoy. Definitely let me know what you think.

EXCERPT: Operation Conquer And Seduction (MFM)

7:15 a.m.

Melissa pushed open the familiar glass doors that changed her life. Her heels clicked along the marble floor as she approached the imposing receptionist’s desk. A familiar face, a mature picture of elegance and grace, looked up at her. The welcoming smile opened the release valve on Melissa’s panic, somewhat.

“Miss Honsou, good morning.”

“It’s good to see you, Laila. And please, stop pretending to be formal. I’m already nervous as hell. Can’t believe I’m back.” 

“To your first job.”

“Yeah, a lot of firsts happened under this roof.…

Why I Switched To Paranormal Romance?--My Answer

In an interview this week, I was asked, "Don't you think you are going into paranormal romance after its peak?"

I can't remember my exact response, but I do know that I didn't say, yes.

The question, however, stayed with me because I mulled it over, bothered by its underlying assumption and bothered that I didn't give a succinct response. As is the case, with me, I'm much better writing my thoughts than spontaneously supplying a fantastic answer.

First, the context of the interview was about the landscape of self-publishing, especially for African American writers who were and in many ways still are marginalized by corporate publishing. So while there are certainly more African American authors in the general romance spectrum, as you break it down into the various subgenres of paranormal, historical, new adult, etc., the percentage gets dramatically smaller. Hence, many authors are turning to self-publishing for their platforms.

Why paranormal in the first…

Re-Branding--Let The Renovations Begin

Have you ever suffered through a renovation of a room, or a house? There is high expectation for the end result, while a growing alarm over the chaotic feel of the removal and addition of various elements. Often times, you have to pull out that proposed plan or the vision photo to remind yourself of where you're heading. That the "under construction" sign is only a temporary transition. And one day, you'll be able to say, voila! and pop the champagne.

That's my current state of affairs. Renovations are underway. I'm undergoing a nip and tuck of my brand, which is more than shuffling sentences around with the latest, marketing buzz words. The intended brand change is a direct result of personal career changes to my writing portfolio. Now, I could wait for the complete make-over and have a grand announcement. That would be too tidy. It's me, we're talking about, after all.

Here's the reality. The thing is that my current brand will take a year or s…

My Official Author Newsletter--Sign Up Invite

Hi Everyone!

It's me, Michelle Monkou.

In addition to writing the next romance book, I'm getting started with my official newsletter. Looking forward to getting the word out, on a regular basis, about my activities and all the fun contests and events planned. Would hate for you to miss anything, so I'm inviting you to join my newsletter community.

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On The Hunt For My Reading-Writing Mojo

Once I turned in my last project, I knew my downtime would be near zero before having to jump into the next project. Instead, I jumped off the hamster wheel to pause, take a deep breath, and continue taking deep breaths (of course, exhaling). What I did was head for the library and grabbed two armloads of books.

Yes, I'm a bookaholic and will always have a book in hand, e-books too. My varied collection, this time, was more than casual reading. I was on the hunt for my reading-writing mojo. What did that mean?

For me, the reading and writing mojo are connected. I read before writing was ever a thought. How would you know how to tell a story, if you don't read? Why would you write if you didn't experience the emotions that you'd felt from reading? Those books that I've read and continue reading always motivate me with the desire to tell my stories, share my what if scenarios.

Over time, that mojo may get stale, lose its strength, or not have enough juice to nourish …

Meet Your Next Book Boyfriend -- David Chastain

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT: Amy B. enjoy your Starbucks E-Card

The Book Boyfriend Blog Hop is back and better than ever!

The authors of Evernight have a brand new team of swoon-worthy book boyfriend candidates. A sexy assortment of cowboys, Doms, detectives, millionaires, royalty, vampires, soldiers, and shifters are just a click away.

Get ready to find your next book boyfriend...

David Chastain

Is he a bookish archaeologist or surviving heir to the Nuuba Pride of Shifters?

Physical Stats:
In his own words: "he had the sleek, powerful design that nature intended, his cock included. At six-five, two hundred ten pounds, body fat at three percent, he was chiseled like a masterpiece."He is a hybrid Panthera-a Leo cosmically linked with humans.Keen eyesight, even in the dark; powerful sense of smell.One admirer in her pursuit of him: "she wanted to fuck Adonis-reincarnated."Left pectoral--inked design of tribal swirls, thick lines, and sharp hooks. Continues over his shoulder and…

The Writer's Life - Taking Time To Revitalize

Another book completed.

Another sign that writing is my career, my calling, a serious pursuit.

What comes with the accomplishment is a major feeling of release. There are lingering effects of physical and emotional stress, understandably. And already there is one foot in the rollercoaster car as I look up at the steep climb of a blank screen with blinking cursor for the first line of the next book. And all of these elements of writer life don't necessarily jive with each other. What becomes more than necessary, but life-saving and sanity-preserving is inserting the space and time to chill.

Regroup. Revitalize. Restart.
Enter writer friend to the rescue with her lake home setting. The sanctuary is important. I'm not in need of seclusion from the world. I don't need a schedule of activities. And I also didn't need to spend hundreds of dollars to find my quiet place. A reasonable driving distance and time behind the wheel were enough incentive to pack my things into the ca…

Get RADICAL Conference Experience -- Part 3, The Finale

All good things must come to an end. And the Get RADICAL Conference not only wrapped up today, but it also was the last time that this conference would be offered after six years.

And I was ready to go home. Had nothing to do with the fatigue or tiredness of the conference, which I didn't experience. Instead, it was the urge to get to work. I didn't want to talk about it. I didn't want to meditate over it. I knew what needed to be done. Some of my motivation was advice taken from the various workshop facilitators. Some of it was my own analysis because I had the chance to have a "retreat" of my own this weekend.

As things wound down, a farewell treat was listening to the women who were nominated for awards. Of course, to be nominated you had to do great things as a business owner and for the community. As each person rose to speak on what they'd accomplished, one couldn't help but be impressed.

They spoke about their businesses with passion, confidence, …

Get RADICAL Conference Experience -- Part 2

So we're onto day two of the Get RADICAL Conference. And I've learned that I'm not shitty. Any small business owner knows that it's hard as heck working that business 24/7. Add being a writer as the career and the crazy, unpredictable life could take you to the mental/physical edge. I'm not perfect, but I'm not all bad either.

One of things that I don't do anymore with conferences is to fill up my schedule every hour for the entire day. From my days of attending romance writing conferences, I would be at a workshop from the start time for the day until the last hour. By the time I got home, I had a notebook filled with information. Sometimes that information conflicted because two presenters had varying opinions on approach. Altogether, I'd be one confused and overwhelmed mess.

For this conference, I knew what would be my focus--business development. I stuck to that priority and selectively opted for workshops that could give me immediate assistance. N…

Get RADICAL Conference Experience -- Part 1

Attending Doreen Rainey's Get RADICAL women's conference in Reston, Virginia. Special guests include Laila Ali, Lori Greiner, Jean Chatzky, Teneshia Jackson Warner. This year's theme is The Heart of A Champion.

The agenda covers personal and business development, along with attaining financial independence and empowerment. In other words, a taste of all the tools needed to make the bold dreams, take the necessary courageous action and get those radical results.

And it sounded like the perfect boost I needed for all the things I want to accomplish in 2014 and beyond.

Yet, the minute I paid for the conference, I wondered if this was for me. I've been to similar empowerment conferences. Get fired up. Go home on the high. And by the next week, can't remember a thing, the buzz has fizzled, back to the same-ole-same-ole thing.

By the day before the conference arrived, I wondered if I should just not go. Who would care? But I had paid. It was practically in my backyard..…

The Writing Process -- Farrah Rochon

(While Farrah is jetsetting in Turkey) Please help me welcome RITA nominee Farrah Rochon who is stopping by to talk about her writing process that leads to those fabulous books.

Hello to all of you out there and thanks to fellow author and friend, Michelle Monkou, for inviting me to talk about my writing process. I love hearing about how other authors go about their writing, and am happy to share my own crazy process.
1)What am I working on? It seems as if I’ve been on a perpetual deadline for the last couple of years. Currently I’m working on a continuity series with two fellow Kimani Romance writers, A.C. Arthur and Phyllis Bourne. It’s about three long time girlfriends--a florist, dress designer, and event planner—who call themselves “The Silk Sisters” and run their businesses from a lovely three-story Victorian in a small, fictional, coastal New England town called Wintersage.
I’m also toying with ideas for the next story in my “Moments in Maplesville” novella series, which I plan to …

A Writing Process Blog Tour

Welcome to a blog tour where writers and authors answer questions about their writing process. My gal pal and talented author, Evie Owens, posted hers last week, where she gives you the insider information on her process and upcoming YA project--Witch Boy -- and she tagged me to join the tour. Thanks, Evie! 

Purchasing the book is easy as pie. You can purchase directly from Evernight Publishing (right now there is a discount), or Kindle or Nook (they are little slow on the link, so I'll update as soon as available), All Romance EBooks.

What am I working on?
I'm working on several projects ALL the time. Stories pop up like dandelions in this brain of mine. With the recent release of my first urban fantasy Into The Pride, I'm working on the next book. At this very minute, I'm also working on my next book for Harlequin Kimani Romance, titled One To Love. It's book #2 in the Meadows Family. I will also be re-issuing several backlist titles in March: Making Promises, Isla…