Happy Post Thanksgiving Day!!!!

23.11.2012 | 09:15

Or otherwise known as – Happy don’t you dare look at the scale Day!

I hope everyone had a wonderful, gut-busting, drama free day yesterday. Every year since my husband and I have been together, we celebrate the holiday with my mother’s side of the family. I love going to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving. Its’ my favorite meal (literally – when I was pregnant with #1 – I asked my mom to make me a complete Turkey day meal – because I was craving it that badly). We eat early in the afternoon and pick at leftovers for dinner. Its far from formal, with everyone sitting on the floor/sofa and watching football. Yesterday was no exception – it was awesome (especially to see the Redskins kick the Cowboys’ behinds!).

When I was growing up, my grandmother – then my mother- would always make Thanksgiving lunch. The house would be a madhouse, with cousins running all over the place, my aunts bickering about how much pepper to use (they use a LOT), sneaking bits of turkey, the smell of candied yams (which, btw, apparently no one likes but me – why I didn’t know this years ago is beyond me), snacking on pickles and pimento cheese laced celery. The dads would be in the garage or in the basement watching football. After they called for lunch/dinner/linner?, it was a huge traffic jam in my mom’s small kitchen. Looking back – it was controlled chaos. And I loved every minute of it.

Now that my mom’s passed (8 thanksgivings have passed), I look forward to continuing the tradition. We go to my aunt’s house, where 2 of my mom’s sisters make the exact same type of turkey, stuffing, and broccoli and cheese mash, that my grandmother and mother made. We bicker about pies and cleaning up. And I love it. It reminds me of my childhood. It reminds me of what I have to be grateful for. As much as we bicker, tease, etc, we are still family. And nothing can change that.

So I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. I hope you got to spend time with loved ones, either by relationships or by blood. I hope peace was forged between families, if only for one day. I hope fights were forgiven and resentments were laid to rest. I hope you and yours created memories that will last for forever.

xoxo melissa
(and I hope you get really great deals today on Black Friday!)

Help the American Red Cross.

2.11.2012 | 19:42

I was in NYC this past weekend to attend the Self-Publishing Expo. Expo was awesome, NYC was amazing – as usual.
I went to the city knowing that Hurricane Sandy was on her way, and slightly worried that I’d might not make it home to Washington, D.C. before she hit. Luckily, I made it out on the 12pm bus.. and home by 7pm to my stressed husband and stir-crazy kids. During and after the storm, we were lucky not to experience any power outages or flooding. But as you know, so many people were not so lucky. Seeing the devastation – on the news, social media and through my friends – makes my heart ache. I want to help. I want to get New Jersey, New York City, and the rest of my New England friends back on their feet.

From November 01 thru November 17, I will donate $1 from each ebook purchase and $2 for each print purchase of The Broken Road to the American Red Cross. The money will be used for clothing, food, shelter, and medical care for all those displaced or in need. And the need is great.

If you don’t want to buy a book, that’s totally cool. But please consider donating to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, or any other legit charity (make sure its a 501-c charity. Beware of scams!).

No matter where you live, or who you are, we are apart of one community. So please help your friends, help your neighbors and help a stranger.

~~Melissa xoxo~~

American Red Cross
Salvation Army
How to check if a Charity is legit

September 11th

10.9.2012 | 22:08

Everyone has their story – where they were on September 11th, 2001. The tragic events of that day will live on forever as everything that we knew it – changed. Some for the better, others not so much. I look at my kids and hope that they never know of the fear we had, the sorrow we felt, or the sense of helplessness that overcame us as the day went on. The country – no the world – came together that day.

Tomorrow is a day of Remembrance. To remember those who were lost on that tragic day. To remember the strength we had and the healing that we had to do as we came together. We weren’t neighbors during that time; we were one. In the ashes of devastation, come healing and solidarity. Let’s remember that tomorrow and keep the feeling of love and country in our hearts, as we mourn for the ones we lost, pray for the ones still surviving, and be strong for those who are defending our country on the battlefield and behind the scenes.

Hug your family tighter tonight. Say hello to your neighbors. Mend a feud. Do something to make tomorrow worthwhile.

Melissa xoxoxo

Ten Interview Questions – The Next Big Thing…

27.8.2012 | 22:43

Did you read The Broken Road? Do you want to know what happens to Megan and Shane? Well, I can’t tell you too much. It’s a secret.

BUT!!! I will give you a few hints. Want to hear about my latest WIP (Work in Progress)? I’ve been tagged by the most fabulous, snarky #badredhead herself, Ms. Rachel in the OC, author of the Mancode: Exposed and A Walk In The Snark, to bring you peeps the latest and greatest on my WIP. Plus I’ve tagged a couple new and wonderfully talented authors to share their WIP too!

Here are the rules:

***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) ***

Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them, and link back to my page (http://www.marksouza.com/2012/08/the-next-big-thing-zombiesaurus-rex/).

1. What is the working title of your book? So far, the working title is The Road Home to You. I have a couple of titles in my head that I’m toying around with. Unfortunately, the titles I love, a million other authors are using. So I’m trying to figure out which best fits the journey of Megan and Shane.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book? It’s the continuation of The Broken Road and picks up exactly where The Broken Road ends. I couldn’t leave The Broken Road with a happy ending, because it didn’t feel right. There is more to their story.

3. What genre does your book fall under? Romance, Suspense, Literary Fiction.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Oh this is funny because me and my friends chat about this all the time. I have SO many ideas. Simply because when I write, I must have someone in mind. Check out my pinterest page for The Broken Road. It gives some ideas.
Megan is hard because there is so much of me in her. Megan’s quirky and a little awkward, especially around men. I love the look of Anna Kendrick; she’s pretty darn cute plus she’s got spunk and Jennifer Love Hewitt has the curves and is beautiful.

As for Shane – I’ve always pictured Charlie Hunnam as Shane. He plays Jax on Sons of Anarchy and he just oozes sexy bad boy.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? It’s a journey of 2 people, trying to re-gain their trust and love, but deceit and deception still wage war in the shadows.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Self-published. I am happy right now with the lack of deadlines and doing my own quality control. In the future, once I get more of the series done, I’ll explore the traditional publishing route.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? The very first draft, took about two years. I work full-time outside the home and I’m a wife and mother to three kids. Finding time to write is hard, but trying to keep the motivation and momentum going is even harder.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? That’s a good question, I’m not sure. Even though books are similar in the “theme” of the story, each writer has a way of telling it differently.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book? I’ve had this idea in my head for a while, after hearing stories from friends and former colleagues. Their stories, pieced all together, ended up creating The Broken Road. I only started to put pen to paper when I helped a friend write his fan-fiction. I got the bug and haven’t stopped writing since.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The Road Home to You will have a lot of the twists and turns that The Broken Road did. There is a lot of sarcasm and humor as well. If you loved (or even liked) The Broken Road, I’m sure you’ll like The Road Home to You just as much.

Now, it’s your turn. Come on and play. You know you want to…lol:

Pavarti K. Tyler, author of Shadow on the Wall

Suzie Carr, author of A New Leash on Life

Daniel Carter, author of The G6 Chronicles

Trish Mccallan, author of Forged in Fire

Eden Baylee, Author of Spring into Summer.

My Guest Post on RachelintheOC.com

17.8.2012 | 17:42

A big thank you goes out to my friend and fabulous author, Rachel from RachelintheOC.com and BadRedHeadMedia.com. Today is a hard day for me and my family but I have found that writing about it helps.

Taken from RacheintheOC.com

I’m honored to host author Melissa Huie (The Broken Road) here today with a touching tribute to her mother, and a cool story about a butterfly. Please give Melissa some love at the bottom in comments and check out her excellent book.

This day holds particular meaning for her. I’m so glad she decided to share it with us.

Flying With The Angels

Everyone has that moment in time, when your life as you know it has changed. That moment was mine, eight years ago today.

Frozen in time, my memories from that day still go thru my mind every day. Eight years ago, I was a twenty-three years old, with a husband and one year old daughter. I had just gotten home from work, enjoying the brief respite from mommyhood as my daughter was with my in-laws for the night. I was making a snack in my grey kitchen and on the phone with my friend Courtney, when a call beeped in. Checking the caller id, I saw it was my then brother-in-law, Xavier. The call changed my life.

“You need to get here quickly. Rocky found your mom, she wasn’t breathing. They took her to the hospital.” My heart stopped and I let out a cry of panic. I screamed for my husband, who ran quickly into the living room. We beelined for the car. The drive to West Virginia was the longest hour and half of my life. As we drove down the Dulles Toll Road in Loudoun County, I frantically made the calls to my mother’s three sisters. Listening to my aunt Barbara screaming her prayers to God to save my mother broke my heart even more. Then, the call came from Xavier, telling me to go to the house and not to the hosptial. I screamed the question, the dreaded question that my family demanded from me. I knew, deep down, the answer already.

“Is she dead, Xavier? Is my mom dead?” He choked on his sobs as he answered yes. I screamed. My husband shouted in disbelief. I hung up with Xavier and made the calls to my aunts. Listening to their sobs, their cries of despair, killed me. We got to the small home that my mother shared with my two stepsisters and my stepfather, Rocky. My younger sister, Laura, had already arrived and sobbed in my arms.

The week was the longest week of my life. As the calls were made and the arrangements were decided, we grieved. I grieved the loss of my best friend, of the best mother I could ever know. My mother was an amazing woman. She didn’t cure cancer; she didn’t go to the moon. She had her faults. But she was my mother; the mom who made me a full Thanksgiving dinner for my birthday because of pregnancy cravings. The same mom who taught me how to drive, to stand-up for myself in the face of bullies, to say no to friends who didn’t have my best interest in mind. The same mom who was there for me whenever I had a problem, allowed me to curse her out then cry on her shoulder, asking for forgiveness. At the funeral, her closest friends, her family, her business partners, all came together to celebrate her life. To tell me stories about how her good-natured laugh and kind heart touched their lives.

At the burial, I stood beside my husband, family and friends, listening to the pastor speak. I could see my daughter chasing butterflies close by, under the watchful eye of my sister-in-law. I happen to glance at the pastor, when I saw a butterfly land on his bible. He said, “Bless you,” and the butterfly flew away.

After the service, my husband, stepfather and I went back to my stepfather’s house, where he lived with my mom, where she died. We walked onto his front porch, and there was a butterfly, very similar to the one that landed on the bible. My stepfather told the butterfly, “I’ll be fine Nancy. I love you,” and walked into the house. When we came back out, the butterfly was still there. Shockingly, he bent down and the butterfly landed onto his finger. Rocky gently pressed his lips to beautiful creature and the butterfly fluttered over to the railing. Amazed, I did the same thing. I held out of my finger, gently brought it to my lips, and said a prayer. A prayer of thanks. And said goodbye.

But I never truly got to say goodbye. My mom was taken from our lives in such a swift and cruel manner; I am still coming to grips with it. It kills me everyday when I can’t call her and ask her for advice. It breaks my heart when my kids ask about her. My kids don’t know her, but they know the memories of her and they see her pictures prominently displayed in the house. She wasn’t here for the births of my sons, my niece or my nephews, but I know she’s watching over them. I know she’s watching over us.

When writing The Broken Road, I put so many elements of my own life and personality into the story. The urge to put my own mom in the book was overwhelming. I wanted everyone to know her, know that she was my rock in life, my guardian angel, my best friend. In The Broken Road, the mom is Norah. But her personality and heart, is my mom Nancy.

I love you, Mom.

*RachelintheOC

Rachel Thompson aka RachelintheOC is a published author and social media consultant. Her two books, A Walk In The Snark and The Mancode: Exposed are both #1 Kindle bestsellers! When not writing, she helps authors and other professionals with branding and social media for her company, BadRedhead Media. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. Buy Now : A Walk in the Snark * Mancode: Exposed

Guest Blogs

13.7.2012 | 19:23

Thanks to Loren @ LKEditorial Services for letting me guest blog on their site! Please check out www.lkeditorial.com for great advice on marketing, editing, and writing your story!

Developing a Character That Your Reader Loves

Published July 13, 2012

Guest post by Melissa Huie author of the Broken Road Series shares her insight on developing a character your reader will love. Her book is sold exclusively on Amazon and is available for Kindle.

Melissa grew up in Maryland by the Chesapeake Bay, where her favorite memories took place near the water. Not having the physical coordination for most sports and the tendency to trip over air, she gravitated to books. She was never seen without a book. With her imagination running wild, she began to write her own stories at the age of nine, with her first book about a pet-loving family and the adventures they had. As time passed and Melissa grew up, reading and writing always stayed with her, becoming her escape from everyday life.

Melissa now lives near Washington, D.C. with her family, dog and a lot of fish. In between the chaos of laundry, chasing after her three children and trying to learn how to cook, Melissa finds her escape by feeding her addiction of reading and writing of love, suspense and sarcastic humor.

LK is excited to have her as a guest blogger!

Every reader has that one character that they just grab onto. The character that they relate to the most; the character that the reader can say, ” I would have said the exact same thing.” As an avid reader, I’m the exact same way. If the main character doesn’t draw me in within the first chapter, I’m hard pressed to finish the book, much less like it. I want to be able to place myself into the story. I want to cheer on the protagonist and kick the villain right in the nuts. I want to be in the main character’s shoes.

I wrote The Broken Road in first person, to bring you, the reader, into Megan’s life. I want you to relate to her. I want you to feel her awkwardness, her worries, her joys and her despair. Because everyone, at some time or another, has gone through the same stresses of love that Megan has. Most romances do not start with the woman being swept off her feet. They start with shyness and angst. Like many relationships, Megan’s romance with Shane begins with a deep crush and unrequited love. Being just friends with someone you’re in love with is hard enough, but seeing that person in a relationship is devastating. When Megan and Shane’s relationship starts going in the right direction, you feel their tension, their desire, and their heartache.

While writing in the first person may seem one-sided, I believe the reader is more invested. The reader is going through this emotional roller coaster with someone they can relate to and it draws them more into the story. They want the main character to succeed, to find love and to have that happy ending. The reader has felt the same feelings or has gone through the same awkward periods that the protagonist is going through.

Find a person to base your characters on. Who do they remind you of? Your Aunt Betsy? That pompous ass coworker? The sweet girl next door? Are they skinny or are they on the constant diet? Are they a smart-ass who always has a one liner for everything or too shy to look a handsome man in the eye? Bring their traits and their voices to the story. Make your characters relatable and give them flaws and quirks. No one is perfect and it’s easier for your readers to relate to your characters if they aren’t perfect either. Use your own experiences to draw readers in. Your characters will come alive when you infuse them with a back-story, memories and a speech dialect. Picture them in your mind, as the movie of your story plays. If you can relate to your character, then chances are, the readers can too.

Melissa can be contacted at:
Email: melissa@melissahuie.com
Twitter: @melissahuie
Facebook: facebook.com/melissahuie

The Broken Road is now available!!!

13.7.2012 | 19:05

After 4 years in the making, The Broken Road is finally available exclusively through Amazon.com for your Kindle! I am so excited and I hope you love it!! (For all you book purists out there, the paperback version will be available next month!)

Update on The Broken Road.

28.6.2012 | 21:23

Thanks to my fearless editor, Jessica at Swift Ink Editorial Services, I have completed the final edits to The Broken Road. I can’t tell you how flipping excited I am right now. The Ebook should be out this coming week – so be on the look out for it. I’m going to print on demand thru createspace.com – and it will take about a month or a little less to get the book ready for printing. Once that is done – I’ll be shouting from the rooftops, so you’ll know when it’s up.

I’m also working with Loren from L.K. Editorial on my media release. I can’t wait to show you what she has up her sleeves!!!

Don’t forget to catch me on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/melissadhuie or on twitter at @melissahuie.

I will be adding a another sneak peek of The Broken Road this weekend, so make sure you check back!!!

Eating some humble pie…What it took to get me here today.

18.6.2012 | 20:36

I finished the manuscript for ”The Broken Road” on June 24, 2011. I was so freaking proud of myself. I had four great friends gush over it. So – I wanted to publish it. I first sent it to a online version of a famous romance publishing house – with no response. Well, seeing as how only 2% of unsolicited manuscripts get published, I figured mine was in the slush pile. I also realized, through a couple other authors, that self-publishing is a great way to have control of your own product, to get your voice heard in a sea of millions and to get more royalties. I needed to go about this on my own. I figured that since I’m a working mom of 3, what’s one more thing on my plate? I can kick ass doing this too.

So I started editing, then quickly realized I am NOT an English major. I enlisted the gracious and wonderful support of a very dear relative who took the manuscript and edited it for me. However, my fabulous and loving relative was not a line or a copy editor, and I naively thought that a technical editor would be the same thing. When she was finished, I thought I was the biggest thing to books since J.K. Rowling. I thought I was going to be rolling in the compliments, that everyone was going to love it.

I first published “The Broken Road” on July 25, 2011. Immediately, a very close friend that has been my sounding board for the last three years, called me and said, ”Dude – your manuscript is full of errors.” AAAAAAAAAH! First attempt at success and already failing in the first 2 minutes. WTF. My editor did a fine job with all the grammar and sentence structure – however, I failed to implement half of her suggestions (You know when you read something a million times, it glazes over). I f’d up. I quickly changed it – and resent it out. I pimped that book out all over Facebook. And I have such amazing friends. Within two months, I had twenty people buy it. They all said that it was great.

So…thinking I am on my way to super stardom, I moseyed my way onto a writing forum, where the majority opinion of self-publishers were that the writing always sucks and the books were crap. One particular comment was that the writer failed at the traditional way of getting it published, so the manuscript must be riddled with errors or not worth reading. That got my biscuits burning, so I argued back. I finally said, Here! Read mine. That my friends, was my very first taste of humble pie.

I.got. RIPPED. One comment was that I was priced too high for a new book, my character was whiny, the sentence structure was horrible, I was too descriptive and basically that the manuscript should have NEVER been originally published in the first place. They told me to take it down and get a real editor to look at it.

My heart broke and to be honest – I felt so. freaking. stupid. No matter how much your friends like you – or love you – they will never be as impartial as the rest of the world. I felt like a failure. And to be honest – I almost gave up. Two days later, thanks to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), I get an email about the Self Publishing Expo to be held in October, in NYC. At first – I was hesitant. I was worried if it was worth it, if I could afford it, etc. I need to make the decision about this. Do I want to do this for a living? Yes, this has been my dream since I was little. Then I need to make the investment in my future. Because if I don’t, then I’m wasting my time.

Thanks to the support of my amazing and fabulous husband; along with some hotel points that I found (4 star hotel for $25!! OH YEAH!), I made my trek to NYC by train. I had a great night with my girlfriend and her husband from the area and a great night sleep. I was pumped and ready to go the next morning for the Expo.

The Self Publishing Expo was SO. FREAKING. WORTH IT. It was so informative. I met so many contacts and gained such a new perspective. I learned so much. As part of my fee, I got to meet with a literary agent, who thought my story would make a great Lifetime movie (Seriously – the second I was out of earshot, I called my husband and screeched!) She really enjoyed my synopsis. I then met with an editor who was extremely excited for my story and would have loved to work with me. And by happenstance, I met my now mentor and editor, Jessica on an elevator. She was the last push I needed to really get my ass in gear. The knowledge that I received and the contacts I made would have NEVER happened had I not gotten my head out of my behind and started investing in my product… and in myself as an author.

Why did I tell you this?? Because, my friends, I want you to get your big boy/girl undies on and kick some butt with some awesome manuscripts. If this is what you want to do.. then you need to invest in yourself. Don’t have $$ for an editor? Find a writing group. Freelance editors are less expensive then the vanity presses. There a million options out there.. just do the research. And don’t forget that behind every good writer – there is a great support system. Don’t give up. =)

Thank goodness for Editors…. and spell check.

14.6.2012 | 21:14

You would think, that as a writer, I would have an extensive vocabulary. Thankfully, I do because I’m constantly reading. However it doesn’t mean that the words are spelled correctly. What did we do before spell check?

I remember in Mrs. Thompson’s third grade class, she told me that I need to look in the dictionary if I couldn’t figure out the spelling to a word. Really? If I didn’t know how to spell it before, why would a dictionary help??? But I eventually figured out the spelling, thanks to my BFF at the time. (Thanks Jenny!)

My friends are flabbergasted at my horrible spelling. You’re a writer, they say. How do you keep misspelling the simplest words? Because my friends, I’m normally not paying attention and I have really chubby fingers. And I am totally reliant on a nifty thing called spell check that I use on a regular basis. And I stupidly believe that everything has spellcheck (Alas, they do not) or I’m typing too fast without paying attention. My grammar sucks too, if you can’t tell. I use Word exclusively so I’m always relying on the little squiggly underlines to tell me when I screw up.

When my children ask how to spell a word for their book reports, I have to write it down to make sure it looks right. Then sound it out and have them sound it out as well. Phonetically is the best way people learn how to read and spell, I tell them. And then pray that I spelled it right. Ever since the invention of texting, misspelled words are even more prevelant than they were before, and even more acceptable. That’s when I’m happy to use the autocorrect feature. It makes me feel and look smarter to my friends.

However, I hate misspellings in books. If you go to the trouble of writing a great story, also go through the trouble of properly editing it. That is when you wonder if the author was just excited to get it out there for the world to see (I was so guilty of this) or if they just didn’t have spell check… or a dictionary. That’s also why having an editor is such a great investment. You can look at a word a million times and have it still be wrong. The editor will come behind you and gently admonish you while fixing your mess. Such a great thing. After a dozen or so rewrites, I had overlooked the simplest of errors. *facepalm* So now I really make sure that I use the trusty spellcheck.. and when I have one handy, a dictionary. (Thank you Mrs. Thompson!)