Blog Tour: Bonded by Michelle Davidson Argyle — November 5, 2012

Blog Tour: Bonded by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Today I’m happy to host a blog tour stop for Michelle and her new volume of work, Bonded. I’ve been looking forward to this book for ages.

1: What influenced you to work towards getting published?

Believe it or not, I was in no hurry to get published. I finished my creative writing BA degree in 2002 and then didn’t write for five years. I was so burned out! But eventually, my itch to start writing again returned, and I jumped into the world of creating novels once again. I think my influence to publish a book was when I completed Cinders in 2010 and realized that it was good enough to share with the world … with a lot of editing and hard work, of course! Now it’s being published in my Bonded collection.

2: What do you hope readers take with them when they read one of your stories?

One of the reasons I write is to share things I have learned. The more I live, the more tough lessons I learn. I don’t set out to put certain themes in my books, but I definitely see them emerge as I shape a story. I always hope those themes are clear enough that they touch readers on some level. For instance, in Cinders, one of the themes is that the grass is not always greener on the side. You should always be careful for what you wish for!

3: If a book was written about you, what do you think the title would be in five words?

My Slightly Shakespearean Life

4: So, you have Monarch, The Breakaway, now Bonded this week. What’s next from you with Rhemalda? From self-publishing?

My next novel with Rhemalda is Pieces, the sequel to The Breakaway. It will be released on February 14th, 2013 by Rhemalda Publishing. I’m really excited about that one! I currently do not have anything else signed with publishers. If I self-publish anything in the future, it will be another collection of short stories (like True Colors), but the project is currently on hold.

5: Can you give us a teaser for any of your upcoming stuff?

This is a snippet from Pieces. Naomi, who was kidnapped by Jesse three years earlier, is meeting him for the first time since his release from prison. Naomi is still in love with him.

She almost didn’t recognize him behind the wheel of his father’s green pickup truck. His hair was longer than she remembered. For a moment, her mind spun. She dropped the box in her hands and it fell to the floor, spilling the pink and white candies everywhere. He was parking almost directly across the street from her now. As stupid as it was, she hadn’t planned this far. Now he was getting out of the truck.

She had long since rolled up her window and turned on the air conditioning, so it wasn’t as if she could yell to him. Instead, she opened her door as fast as she could and tripped over her feet as she stumbled out onto the road. She shut the door and the sound made Jesse stop and look up before he could shut the truck’s door. His mouth dropped open.


“I heard you were on parole.” She brushed a sweaty hand across her forehead. “I … I—”

“I’m not allowed to see you,” he interrupted, taking a step back. But he had nowhere to go except the truck. His hand lingered on the open door. “I’ll be sent back to prison if I attempt to contact or see you. I’m not even sure I can see you after my parole is over. It might be long time.” He looked at his hands. “I have a hearing next week. I’ll find out more then.”

Even from across the street, Naomi could see the muscle in his jaw tightening with anger. She knew it wasn’t aimed at her. “But you aren’t attempting,” she said. “I’ve taken that initiative, so it’s not your fault.”

“Yes, but if my parole officer finds out about this, he won’t be happy. I was lucky enough to be released to my father. If you’re found here, I’ll be in more trouble than you can imagine.” His face was stiff, his body tense. Naomi realized what a mistake she had made, but there he was, right in front of her. It was too much. She took a step forward, relieved the road was quiet with no traffic at the moment. Jesse glanced down the street, then back to her. His expression softened as she walked toward him. Each of her steps were heavy, as if she didn’t believe she would ever reach him.

About Bonded:

What happened after Cinderella married her prince? How did the evil sorceress in Sleeping Beauty turn evil in the first place? Discover these stories and a world filled with magic, forbidden love, elves, sprites, dragons, and the most powerful creatures of all— the fairies —in Bonded, a collection of three fairy tale inspired novellas.

CINDERS: Cinderella sequel. Money can’t buy love, but magic isn’t a sure bet either. Cinderella, now officially a princess, finds royal life is not what she once dreamed. When a mysterious elf from her past stirs up long-suppressed passion, Cinderella begins to wonder if there really is love beneath the spell that captured her husband’s heart. But undoing magic can be harder than casting the initial spell, and the results are even less predictable.

THIRDS: A retelling of the Grimm’s fairy tale, One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes. Issina is surrounded by magic, yet none of it belongs to her. Despised and abused by her mother and sisters, she finds comfort when she meets the beautiful elves living in the nearby woods. The elves want to help her discover her own magic, but it’s not the kind of power she hoped for, and she learns there is more to magic than getting what you want.

SCALES: Sleeping Beauty prequel. The sun never sets in the realm of the fairies. When the young fairy Serina looks into her sister’s eyes, she sees darkness for the first time. After her mother is murdered, Serina defies fairy law to follow her sister to the human realm. There she discovers the strength of a bond, the weight of a promise, and the darkness in her own heart.

About Michelle:

Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She loves the seasons, but late summer and early fall are her favorites. She adores chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in whatever time she can grab between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life.

Michelle likes peanut butter and tomato sandwiches. And cheese. Lots and lots of good cheese.

Author’s Bookshelf: The Breakaway by Michelle Davidson Argyle — May 3, 2012

Author’s Bookshelf: The Breakaway by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Why I read it: I received an ARC from Michelle as part of her pre-release promotional swing. I wanted to read it, which is why I’d signed up for the chance to get an ARC.

Mini-review: I liked the book. I did. Michelle’s writing is phenomenal and the bar by which I judge my own works. It’s not right, but it is. Her writing is so lyrical.

And now I want my own fancy-pants camera. So jealous of Naomi for that one.

Ah, Naomi. I have a love-hate relationship with this girl. So much of the time I just wanted to smack her upside the head and down the other. But it’s the mark of excellent writing to elicit such intense emotions in the reader. I felt every emotion and had to keep reminding myself to read what was on the page and not skip forward for that emotion to be released.

I have to say that the book did start to feel a little long. But that could have just been that it was kind of hot where I was reading it and so that was making me cranky. I did enjoy the book though. It’s definitely worth the time invested in it to read.

The Breakaway is just that, a break from the usual. This is YA but there’s a healthy dose of adult perspective throughout. It’s a fresh perspective in the YA genre and for that it’s absolutely worth the read.

Final say: Thumbs up. If you’re intrigued about it, read it.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: When Naomi Jensen is kidnapped, it takes her parents two days to realize she’s missing. Escape isn’t high on her list of priorities when all she has to return to is an abusive boyfriend and parents who never paid much attention to her. For the first time in her life she’s part of a family—even if it is a family of criminals. But she’s still a captive. In a desperate attempt to regain some control in her life, Naomi embarks on a dangerous plan to make one of her kidnappers think she’s falling in love with him. The plan works too well, and when faced with the chance to escape, Naomi isn’t sure she wants to take it.
The Breakaway is available now! You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere else books are sold, both as an e-book and in print. Find it for a discounted price on the publisher’s website here:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She loves the seasons, but late summer and early fall are her favorites. She adores chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in whatever time she can grab between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life.

You can find Michelle on her blog,

Stories for Sendai Tour Stop — June 28, 2011

Stories for Sendai Tour Stop

Hey all!  Today I’m hosting my friend Michelle and the “Stories for Sendai” anthology she co-edited as it’s taken around the blog-world on tour to spread the word.

Back in March when the earthquake hit Japan, I have to admit that while my first thoughts did go out to the people in Japan, most of the morning my focus was on the tsunami racing across the Pacific toward Southern California.  I have a poor sense of geography and worried about my family down there.  (They were never in any danger.)

The stories that poured out of Japan (and continue to come) are heartbreaking enough without adding in worry about family or friends.  I know I was barely affected by this aspect while so many were on edge for days, and perhaps still are, with worry over family or friends.

Anthology information:

One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded hit the city of Sendai in the Tohoku region of Japan on Friday, March 11.  The magnitude 9.0 quake unleashed a deadly tsunami that slammed into Japan’s east coast, leaving a swathe of devastation in its wake.  Thousands of people lost their lives, and many are still missing or injured.  Thousands more have been left homeless and destitute.

As a testament to the generosity of the world’s citizens, emergency appeals have been swiftly set up in the aftermath of the quake, but I’m sure many of you, as we did, had the same thought: our donations seem so puny.  There must be some other way we could make a difference!

With that in mind, Stories for Sendai was born!

The Stories for Sendai Anthology is a collection of 19 short stories and one poem.  Some are inspired by the events of the earthquake in Sendai; others are simply stories of hope and inspiration.  All are uplifting and worth reading.  Please consider buying a copy of the anthology and spreading the word about this wonderful, uplifting little book.  All proceeds go to relief efforts to aid Japan.

Stories for Sendai is available in paperback or Kindle format.

Kindle [link tk]

You can find a list of the contributing authors and their stories here.

You can visit the Stories for Sendai blog here.

And…don’t forget we’re having a PRIZE DRAW!  Buy the book, email us a copy of your receipt at stories for sendai (at) ymail (dot) com, and be entered for a draw for cool prizes!  Here’s what’s on offer:

1 x $10 or £10 Amazon gift voucher
1 x First Chapter/Query/Synopsis Critique by Michelle Davidson Argyle!
2 x First Chapter/Query/Synopsis Critiques by J.C. Martin!
1 x e-book copies of Celestial Seduction by Jessica E. Subject, donated by the author!
1 x e-book copy of Middlewitch Mayhem by Heather Parker, donated by the author!

Cinders blog tour: Interview with Michelle Davidson Argyle — September 23, 2010

Cinders blog tour: Interview with Michelle Davidson Argyle

Hi folks!  Today it’s my pleasure to host the wonderful Michelle Davidson Argyle on the blog.  Michelle is a bloggess extraordinaire, running regular posts at The Literary Lab along with her co-bloggers Domey and Scott.  She also blogs occasionally at The Innocent Flower and is co-blogger at Adventures in Writing.

Michelle recently self-published her novella, entitled Cinders.  All this week she has been touring around the blogosphere, answering questions and garnering entries in her amazing release giveaway.  For all the details, check out this post here.

On to the interview!

SM: Your life is becoming a book.  Give us your one-paragraph elevator pitch.

MA: Michelle’s life isn’t going the way she planned. She just self-published a book when she would not have considered such a thing a few years ago, and although things are going well, she’s got an energetic child turning four years old who keeps her from moving at the rate she’d like to. Her only wish is to keep her family happy, keep writing, and move to the Pacific Northwest, but it seems as if her husband will never finish school, and she’ll be stuck in the Rocky Mountains forever.

SM: You’ve talked some in the past about the process of designing the cover for Cinders.  [For those who don’t know, Michelle is an avid photographer.  She designed every aspect of the novella, from the cover to the typography.]  What was the thought process that carried you to the choices you made like?  I guess what I’m getting at here is was this your first idea for the cover or did you go through more?  What led to choosing to show Cinderella so far outside the palace when so much of the story takes place within it?  Or any of the other aesthetic choices you made and would like to talk about?

MA: Ah, the cover.  I haven’t received many questions regarding the cover, so this is fun!  At first, I wanted a closeup of Cinderella’s face with her hand held up, cupped, a pile of ashes in her palm.  I did a test photo shoot for this and failed miserably.  The ashes looked awful, and no matter how I had the model hold her hand or hands it looked wrong.  It didn’t match what I was going after at all.  That was when I decided to go for Melissa’s (the model in the cover) offer of making a full-length gown for the cover.  I went ahead and spent the money on all of the material and two weeks later we had the dress.  I then set up my studio and did the shoot.  I really didn’t know what I wanted on the cover until I was browsing around iStock for castles and ended up, on a whim, typing in English Moors.  That’s when the photo you see in the background came up.  I knew it was perfect– exactly what I wanted!  So I figured I’d put Melissa in front of that background in some standing position, and that’s what we came up with.

The flowers…those have to do with symbolism in the story and are quite intentional.

The crown…exactly what I envisioned when I wrote the story.  That was difficult to find!

As far as placing Cinderella outside the castle, yes, that was intentional.  I thought of having the castle in the background but it felt all wrong.  She’s stuck in a constant decision to stay at the castle or leave, and I loved showing that decision in the cover.  I wanted it to feel organic and natural, like the colors of her gown.  I also love the path shown on the cover…leading to the forest where Cinderella ultimately realizes who she loves.

SM: Did you run through a variety of endings for Cinderella to encounter or did the story’s inception include the exact ending you gave it?

MA: The ending of Cinders is interesting.  At first I ended the story at the cliffs…with Cinderella throwing the flowers into the sea.  This was what I had envisioned during the entire writing of the novel. Perhaps that’s where I should have left the end, but the more I thought about it, the more the ending did not feel finished at that point.  It felt unsatisfactory to me in many ways, so at the suggestion of my editor (Sherrie Peterson), I wrapped up several loose threads in the story by adding one more scene at the end.  I also left the story on a more hopeful note with this ending, and I’m very happy with it now.  It feels true to the end I wanted to convey from the beginning.

SM: Do you harbor any regrets with Cinders?

MA: No regrets at all, nope!  There were some formatting and typo errors in the original copies I had printed but they are fixed now.  As far as self-publishing goes, I am absolutely thrilled with my decision! I’ve had one offer from a small press to take on Cinders under their imprint, but after careful consideration, I’ve said no to the offer.  I will be self-publishing two more fairy-tale themed novellas, and I’m very excited to keep them all my own and have complete creative control over everything.  I will traditionally publish other works in the future, but these three novellas will remain my little pet project.

Thanks, Michelle, for a great interview.  I know I’m not alone in wishing you all the best with your future endeavors.  If Cinders is any indication, we’ll be seeing great things from you in the future.

Note from Michelle on the contest: This is SO easy! Just fill out the form below for each time you comment on one of the blogs involved in the tour. Each entry is a chance to win one of the prizes. Only one entry per blog, thanks!

The form can be found here.

Be sure to check out the other tour stops:

Sunday, September 19: Michelle McClean
Monday, September 20: Danyelle Leafty
Tuesday, September 21: Jamie DeBree
Wednesday, September 22: Breanne Braddy (J.S. Chancellor)
Friday, September 24: Authors Promoting Authors
Saturday, September 25: Katie Salidas