Saturday, December 09, 2017

Blessing bags and me.

A few weeks ago, I read a post on my local village's FB page. Cheryl Hutchinson, a woman who was starting up a business as a Jamberry consultant was inspired to give blessing bags to the local oncology department  for their chemo patients in December and was looking for sponsors.
She listed the sort of thing she was looking for and the fact that she needed to do 20 bags.  As I know from readers that reading one of my books (indeed any Harlequin/Mills & Boon) can make time go quickly, I offered to donate a signed copy of one of my books for each bag.
The woman agreed and then when she was picking them up, she mentioned a friend of hers was doing the same in Newcastle at the Freeman Hospital and had to do 45 bags. So in the end I donated 68 books. Thankfully after writing 26 books, I had a number of spare copies.
I think that the whole idea is such a lovely one -- it is rotten to have chemo whatever time of year -- and I was pleased to help out.

The bags have now been delivered. My thoughts and prayers are with each patient and their family who receive one this December. May their day be that little bit brighter.
This is what Cheryl  wrote:
You may remember I asked for sponsors for blessing bags I was making up for the patients at Hexham hospital oncology department. I would like to say a big thank you to all those who sponsored a bag. I delivered them today along with a box of goodies for the nursing staff to enjoy. I’d like to thank the following people 

Traybake uk
The Doody Family
Doug Robson
Andy and Sylvia Turnbull
Marian, Michael and Andrew Hutchinson
Karen Morgan
Little Badgers
Denize Designs
Geoff Stevens and son opticians
Mark Ward
Rhoswen Muse
Potts plant hire
Team Rapid Hexham Football Club
Kate Walker

Cathy Duffy for donating goodies for the nursing staff.

The children of Alnwick class at Shaftoe trust primary school for making the lovely cards for the bags.

Michelle Styles for donating many of your wonderful books.

Thank you all for making this possible

With love

If you are inspired to make blessing bags for your local hospital, these are the sorts of things which Cheryl discovered were needed:
FLUFFY SOCKS - For Comfort and keeping warm
MINTS - One if the hardest bits for many is the taste that hits the back of your throat as soon as the infusion starts and the smell
TISSUES - your nose will run all day, and eyes watering without warning
GINGER BISCUITS - Ginger is known to help nausea and with chemo you are pretty sick. Or Shortbread as I’ve been advised bland tastes are often best.
NOURISH Hand cream- Your skin and nails take a bit of a beating with Chemo so a great quality hand cream is a real comfort.
LIP BALM - your lips flake, dry and become quite sore
COLOURING PAD Or Puzzle book & PENCILS - The reality is you spend horrendous amounts of time there and distracting yourself from reality is a blessing.  

Saturday, December 02, 2017

More Bargain Books

There is a fantastic deal on Harlequin box sets at the moment on
. This includes the Harlequin Historical Feb 2017  box set 2. This includes my SOLD TO THE VIKING WARRIOR as well as books by Margaret Moore and Carol Arens for $1.99

Also on sale are:

An Impulsive Debutante and A Noble Captive, again for $1.99.
The blurb for An Impulsive Debutante is

Carlotta Charlton can't wait for her first season—until her impulsive behavior lands her right in the lap of notorious rake Tristan, Lord Thorngrafton!

Tristan is cynically convinced that she's a fortune hunter. But he can't keep away from her. Several heated kisses lead to scandal and, one outraged mama later, they're on their way to Gretna Green.

Catching his breath on the carriage ride to the border, Tristan decides it's time that Lottie learned her lesson. If she wants to play with fire, he'll notch up his seduction and set her ablaze!

And for A Noble Captive:
Strong, proud, honorable—Marcus Livius Tullio embodied the values of Rome. Captured on the high seas and brought to the Temple of Kybele, he was drawn to the woman who gave him refuge. 

Fierce, beautiful, determined—Helena despised all that Rome stood for. In sheltering Tullio, she had to subdue her awareness of him—or she might confess all! The soldier's strength and nobility tempted her to lean on him, but she knew that to succumb would be to betray her people….

Saturday, November 04, 2017

The Warrior's Viking Bride -- Harlequin Historical cover reveal

This is the Harlequin Historical cover for The Warrior's Viking Bride. I am even more in love with it now that I have seen the bigger shot.
Mills and Boon went for a slightly tighter shot.

The cover portrays a scene about 2/3's into the book and does it brilliantly.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Reading about Writing and Emotional Complexity

Currently reading Donald Maass The Emotional Craft of Fiction. It is a typical Don Maass book -- full of seemingly useful info if only the writer is savvy enough to pick up on it, a few sly digs at the shallowness of romance writers, and a number of good examples. HOWEVER I have now reached the point in my career when I can see the research (sometimes).

He mentions 'save the cat' without referencing Blake Snyder. There are also things there from Orson Scott Card's Character and viewpoint book. I also happen to like Karl Iglesias Writing for Emotional Impact which although aimed at screenwriters has a lot to say about getting the emotion on the page and how to make the reader feel. Because ultimately a book is all about how the reader feels and how much the reader engages with the characters and uses that story as outlet for her emotions.

The caveat in this is that nothing is new in writing and not every reader will get the same thing from every book. This includes books about writing. Maass may or may not have read the books. They have been around for awhile. Some of the knowledge does from asking the hard questions -- why does this book resonate? Why do I feel for these characters?

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy Maass. I have heard him speak. He is passionate about what he does. His exercises can be useful but there again sometimes they can muddy the waters. For me it is good to read and think -- ah but I know that and furthermore I know why you are saying this and what the outcome will be. I know where this is leading and that is because in part I have read the above mentioned books and put some of that knowledge into action.

Sometimes though I just need to back my own knowledge and realise that I do know a thing or three about writing. The most important of which is that good books are improved by repeated drafts where the writer engages more with the characters and can tease out threads.

At the moment I am also reading Pat Conroy's Death of the Santini. It is interesting to read about his process-- and not to be recommended as he seems to have suffered various breakdowns as he wrote his novels. There again he dug deep into his family and the dysfunctional upbringing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

UK cover for The Warrior's Viking Bride

Can I say how much I love and adore this cover? It works for the story. And I totally love the new Mills & Boon look.

And in case you haven't read the blurb:
A Viking maiden destined for the battlefield…

…in bed with her captor!

As a female warrior, Dagmar Kolbeinndottar knows she’s not meant for marriage and a family. Until she’s kidnapped by Celtic warlord Aedan mac Connall, who has been tasked with returning Dagmar to her estranged father. Fighting her father’s orders to marry, Dagmar declares she will take no one but her abductor, expecting Aedan to refuse…but he’s intent on making her his bride!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Ideas for Working Smarter

How to work smarter -- 
1. Figure out what you can control and what you can't.
2. Know which monkeys belong to you and which belong to the travelling circus. If it isn't your circus, you do not need to worry about them there monkeys.
3. Know that somethings like brushing your teeth, the dishes and exercise are best done straight away.
4. Always make sure you keep some apples for yourself, instead of giving them all away.
5. Sit down and figure out your process -- if you know how you work, you can work with that tide instead of fighting against it.

Friday, September 08, 2017

More books at bargain prices

Suddenly this seems to be coming as frequently as number ten buses!
This is the first time I have seen TAKEN BY THE VIKING on special discount.
I have no idea how long the super discount will last but thought to highlight it.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Viking romances on special offer

Harlequin has started putting various ebooks on special offer -- I have no idea how long the offers are for (beyond my pay grade) but currently

TAMING HIS VIKING WOMAN is $1.99 on (which means it will be price matched elsewhere)


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Conquer Me 12 Hot Viking Romance giveaway

Love Viking romances (particularly hot ones)? N
ow is your chance to try 12 Viking romances for free.
Included is chapter 8 from my latest SOLD TO THE VIKING WARRIOR.
You can access them  on

In other news: my agent has just sent my latest Viking romance to my editor so fingers crossed.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Secret Valentine Goodreads giveaway for SOLD TO THE VIKING WARRIOR

My #HarlequinSecretValentine giveway is now live on Goodreads and is open to all all around the world.
It is for my latest SOLD TO THE VIKING WARRIOR and includes  as a secret surprise, a book from one of my favourite Harlequin Historical authors.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sold to the Viking Warrior by Michelle Styles

Sold to the Viking Warrior

by Michelle Styles

Giveaway ends February 21, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Friday, February 03, 2017

Four star review from the RT for SOLD TO THE VIKING WARRIOR

Super pleased to discover that Maria Ferrer of the RT Book Reviews has rated SOLD TO THE VIKING WARRIOR four stars.
Her main comment totally made my day Everyone loves Styles’ Vikings! She’s penned another sensual tale, this time about a wary widow and a strong-minded Viking.

You can read the full review here. I am grinning ear to ear as I work hard on the next one!