Category Archives: Writer’s Life & Journey

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly Made Me Do it

Showing my age, here, but remember Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in To Catch A Thief, a 1955 romantic thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. If you’ve never seen it, try placing a request with your library. Anyway, the story takes place in the French Riviera with glorious scenes of the landscape, which earned an Oscar for Best Cinematography.

So what did this movie do to me?

It made me fall in love with Monaco. It’s the image of a paradise for the young and rich, and those who live and love like there’s no tomorrow. After visiting Milan where beautiful people are wearing beautiful clothes, I imagine Monaco has the same vibe times 1,000.

Imagine narrow winding roads slicing haphazardly through quaint towns and villages, penthouses with fantastic views and opulent floor plans, yachts that are custom designed for particular tastes.  And here’s to the people who are proud of their history and generous with their hospitality.

Writing a three-novella series with the Laurent brothers of Monaco felt perfectly natural. The 3-Ds—Damien, Dane, Dallon—have a bit of the bad boy in them. Confidence, a touch of arrogance, and lots of sexy describe these men who will meet their match with beautiful women who have independent spirits.

All three books—Damien, Dane, Dallon--will be released on September 14 and are now available for preorder on Kindle.

By the way, it was while serving on the U.S. delegation for the Cannes Festival that Grace Kelly met Prince Rainier III, later marrying him and becoming a princess. Talk about fairy tale endings.

Michelle Monkou is a multi-published USA TODAY Best Selling author with over 20 books in print and digital. She began her writing career in 2002 and writes contemporary romances, paranormal/urban fantasy, new adult and young adult. She also writes as Michelle Rhys for explicit/erotic stories. Her stories speak to the heart and offer that happy ever after ending for the romance fiction reader. Michelle is also an active participant with romance writers’ advocacy efforts. She resides in Maryland writing many more stories to fill the hands and e-readers of romantic bookaholics. Her Website:

Damien (Tall, Dark and Sexy, Book 1)

Two worlds collide. And the battle of wills sizzle. Losing?—That’s out of the question.

Damien Laurent is the ultimate bad boy of the Laurent Dynasty. After a series of tabloid faux pas, the family votes an immediate suspension, against him, from the real estate family business. One brother demands that he gets his head back in the game. The other brother suggests that he discovers his passion. No one knows the real reason for his hyperactive do or die antics. And he’s not telling.

Except Anna di Torino, the Italian enchantress of royal blood, knows Damien all too well. Their torrid affairs had set headlines ablaze until she’d turned down his marriage proposal. Her family obligations continue to war with her desire for the man whose family from humble beginnings now owns most of Monaco.

On a modeling assignment, she is thrust into the new world of professional electric car racing—Damien’s new playground. Seeing him again, revives the heady, sensual longing that she thought she’d successfully buried. Their reunion sets the headlines abuzz. But this time, she doesn’t want a bad boy. She wants a husband. Only one man stokes her desire, satisfies her needs, and seduces her heart…Damien!

Available now on Amazon

Write On

Wanderlove_JaxCassidy200BY JAX CASSIDY

Do you want to know the secret to being a successful writer? Ernest Hemingway said it best, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

That’s it.

Yep. That’s the secret. The End.

Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly all. The cold hard truth is that if you DON’T write, you have NOTHING to sell. You can’t score a contract or promote your work if you only have a handful of blank pages. The first step to becoming a writer is to WRITE.

Am I A Real Author



I was watching Jewel of the Nile the other night. It’s the sequel to Romancing the Stone, and not quite as good as the first. But I started thinking about the reason Joan Wilder went off to Africa with the sheik. She was suffering from writer’s block, and thinks that by writing a biography of a world leader, she will be taken more seriously as a writer. After seventeen romance novels, she doesn’t “know how it ends,” and thinks maybe she should move on from her career and her romance with Jack Colton.

The Byronic Hero and Why Every Good Romance Novel Needs Him


Think about your favorite romantic novel and the chances are it contains a strong male protagonist. If this protagonist is aloof, independent, emotionally unavailable, deeply flawed, secretive, cunning yet somehow still loving and attractive, then the chances are he is a Byronic Hero and your favorite romance novel just wouldn’t be the same without him. He probably has several ladies swooning at his feet and maybe has a history of picking the wrong partner or is currently courting a superficial slip of a girl who can’t possibly match up to his towering intellect.  He may even be locked in an unhappy relationship, unable to stay yet unwilling to leave – until, that is, he meets his intellectual and emotional soul mate, falls head over heels in love with her, overcomes any obligatory obstacles and then dashes off into the sunset with his number one lady at his side (or, as with Heathcliff and Cathy, meets a tragic end).

Writing Versus Working Out


I have a confession to make.

When I write, I do something odd. Actually it’s something I’m trying to integrate regularly. Because I sit so much, as we writers do, I realized my regular workout routine wasn’t gonna keep me in shape. So, I upped the ante and started setting a timer. When it goes off, I sprint up and down the stairs a few times and do 3-4 minutes of exercise of some kind.

At least that’s the plan.

The truth is, I often get so immersed in writing, I turn the timer off after the first or second  annoying little beep, and I forget to turn it on again. It’s the neatest thing, though. The more time I spend writing, the easier it is, and the better writer I become.

Treating Writing As A Job


When I began my writing journey, not quite two and a half years ago, I dreamed of having an agent and a NY publisher. Which is exactly what I got. I also dreamed of having my first book published much sooner than this, but that was before I knew anything about the publishing business.

The questions I was asked this year at RWA Nationals boiled down to how did I do it? Quite simply, I treated writing like a job. The type one does when it matters. Having been in the Army, I knew something about that. A friend told me to write three books. Don’t stop to make the first one perfect. I thought that was wonderful advice, and still do. Little did I know at the time that many writers write a lot more than three books before they get published, I had my nose glued to the grindstone. I no longer watched TV, and my husband took to making dates with me so he could have my undivided attention.

Writing from the Circus


Or maybe the madhouse would be a better choice. Between juggling writing, being a mom, and being a wife, there are things that should not be dropped. Though my clowns (the boy and the girl) are older now and more independent, they are still excessively silly and messy. During the day, I’m left taming the wild animals (the dog and the cat) most of the day and cleaning their stalls. Wherever the circus goes, a mess is left behind. As their janitor, I’m left pushing the broom long after the audience has left.

Guatemala – Land of Eternal Spring


Guatemala has been termed the “Land of Eternal Spring”. This is due to the fact most of the country has temperatures that range between 64-82° F and humidity is rarely a problem. The temperature does cool significantly during the night. However the coastal areas and Petén jungle lowlands are hot and humid. The combination of hot and humid can drain you. The temperatures in the jungle are above 85° F giving the lush vegetation the perfect conditions to thrive.

Working Writers


My writing career had a less than illustrious beginning. At least, I’m sure the true creative types, those authors who live by the muse, would think so. Over twenty years ago, I started out in the write-for-hire world of YA series. The publisher and/or packaging house gave me the series bible (setting, characters and key events already written by other authors), then they handed me a one or two paragraph synopsis of what they wanted to happen in the book I was to write, a deadline, and a check. Then it was off to write. I did this for twelve books total as part of 3 different YA series for 3 different publishers over the span of a few years before the packager closed its doors and the series I was working on directly for Western Publishing wrapped up.

One “man’s” impressions of RWA12


It’s 3:05 pm. Friday, July 27. I’m due to present at a workshop attended by tens if not hundreds of professional romance novel writers in 10 minutes. I desperately need to find a men’s room.

And the one I’ve just found has flowers where ordinarily I would… water the flowers.

This could be a problem.

Maybe I should take a step back and tell you how this unlikely scenario came to pass.

It’s March. My good friend Serena Robar, author of the Half-Blood Vampire novels and Giving up the V, asks me to go to have beverages with her to discuss a workshop she’s giving at RWA. (I know the truth: I am a legendary drunk and she wants to hit my wine cellar, but I’ve accepted my shortcomings.) Over a bottle of Cabernet that in retrospect should have been better considering the favor she was about to do for me she tells me that she’s working up a panel on how to convert your book into a Web series or movie or TV show, which makes sense considering she just closed a deal to do a series with Anne Heche, and could she bounce the legal stuff off me. This makes sense too: I’m an entertainment lawyer and also teach it at a law school, and so my ego makes me think I might know this stuff even if maybe I don’t. After a few minutes I say, “You know, I could just go do your workshop with you.”