November 2021 Monthly Letter

Hello everyone!

It’s November!  Time flies when you’re having fun…and even if you’re not.  It just doesn’t seem fair! All we can do is to do our best, even if we’re weary.  I hope Halloween brought you more treats than tricks and now we are heading toward Thanksgiving.  We need to focus on those two words:  Thanks and Giving, especially with the holidays looming.  Many people have suffered a lot over the past year and a half, but as long as you can get out of bed and put your pants on you’re ahead of the game!  I don’t mean to be flippant—just something to think about.

Most of you know I am a news junkie.  Recently I saw an interview with a psychologist talking about all the anger people are feeling, and, unfortunately, acting out in ways that are horrifying. And most of it is displaced, like yelling at the clerk in the grocery store because the line is too long.  Do you really think they planned it that way?  I don’t think so.   I know I talked about this in my last letter but it’s a chronic problem and it’s up to each of us to try to stem the tide. All of us can do a little each day.  I don’t want to get preachy here, but I implore each of you to try a random act of kindness.  Open the door for someone.  Give a total stranger a compliment “Oh, I like your shoes!”  It will make their day, and as a result, it will also make yours.  I know life is very frustrating right now, but if everyone makes a small effort to be nice to one another,  I truly believe we can become more civil and kind, which will truly shift the energy in a more positive direction.

I say this now because as we approach the holidays people are going to be even more frustrated with lack of goods and services.  So, before you blow a gasket ask yourself, “Do I really need that thing?”  (I’m not talking about necessities, like toilet paper.)  Or if your children are becoming too demanding, reel them in.  They will only learn if you teach them.  As Crosby, Stills & Nash said, “Teach your children well.”

Now I shall step off my soapbox and talk about our contests for November.  We will be giving away (5) special links for an audio-book download version of SANTA CRUISE.  There will be a Special Holiday Contest Coming soon. Check back next week for details.

Have a wonderful THANKSGIVING!
Fern

October 2021 Monthly Letter

Dear Reader,

Thank you for visiting my website.  I don’t know about you but as Yogi Berra used to say:  “It’s  Deja vu all over again.:”   It seems like we’re in a hamster wheel trying to move forward and getting nowhere.  Yes, some things have gotten better, but not enough.  People are still arguing over masks and vaccines.  Then when things seem to be opening up,  we get hit with another wave.  No wonder so many people are cranky.  Then there’s the whole school issue.  Virtual?  Hybrid? In-person?  I mentioned once before, I am so glad my kids are grown up and with the exception for one grandkid, they are no longer in school.  It’s a tough time for everyone and that’s an important thing to keep in mind.  We are all going through this.  A friend of mine was having dinner at a nice restaurant and there was a very loud and raucous group of five men.  They were terribly loud and annoying.  Finally she got up and walked over to their table and politely said, “Gentlemen (I know she used that word loosely) could you be so kind as to lower the decibel level just a bit?”  One of the men—who was a bit intoxicated—said “Listen lady, it’s been a rough year and a half. We’re just trying to have some fun. ”  She calmly said.  “Yes.  I agree.  It’s been a rough year and a half for everyone, including all the other people in this restaurant.  They too would like to have an enjoyable evening.”  Four of the men apologized, but Mr. Cranky Pants kept at it.  “And who do you think you are?”  He snapped.  She put out her hand and calmly introduced herself.  He had no choice but to shake her hand, otherwise he would have looked like a bigger jerk.  When she went back to her seat another gentleman at the next table said, “Thank you.  You did something the rest of us wanted to do.”  It takes a strong woman to be soft and reasonable.  I am sure she would rather throw a drink in his face, but that would only have escalated the situation.  My point is, no matter how much you want to smack the snot out of someone, take a minute and think about the outcome you want.  Peace or fisticuffs? And that’s  today’s lesson in tolerance.  It ain’t easy.  Try to be patient.

On to fun stuff.  I am happy to say HIDDEN has been a big hit and has been in the top 3 best-selling paperbacks for three weeks.  SANTA CRUISE just shipped and the cover looks spectacular.  It’s an entertaining read if I say so myself.  LOL.  Lots of shenanigans and a tribute to friendship.  To celebrate the book, each week for the  month of October we will be giving away a signed copy, so be sure you enter the contest. Winners will be chosen every Sunday at 12 PM EST so sign up as often as you’d like!

The kitty patrol are up to their usual tricks like turning on the TV in the middle of the night.  I have to remember to hide the remote, except I forget where I put it.  Need to leave a post-it, but I’m sure Mz. Boo will figure out a way to hide that too!

Be well, be safe, be kind, and try to have some fun.   All the best, Fern

September 2021 Monthly Letter

Dear Reader,

I hope this finds you and your loved ones safe and well.  Hard to believe it’s September.  We’re 18 months into the pandemic, and now Mother Nature is giving us a pounding.  She sure is pissed at us.

It’s been a hard year and a half.  Just when you thought there was a light at the end of the tunnel, it turns out to be an oncoming train!  It’s no wonder people are on edge, depressed, anxious, and angry.  We’ve got to remember the one thing we can control is how we deal with things.  I probably said that before, and now more than ever we need to hang tight and try to be loose at the same time.  Our mental health is major.

I know people are worried about kids going back to school; what is going to happen for the holidays this year; will the pandemic ever be over; should I hoard toilet paper again?  It’s been a whole lot of crisis management.  But it’s important to stop and smell the flowers, find some beauty, choose to find joy.  It’s out there somewhere.  It doesn’t have to be a big thing.  Watching my hooligan cats gives me great joy.  No matter how hard things get or how bad they are, there has got to be something to be thankful for.

Speaking of cats, Mz. Boo, here’s her latest shenanigan.  I have a Christmas tree in my den.  It’s on a timer and I keep it lit year round.  It’s for my daughter, Patti who passed away at Christmastime several years ago.  One night I got spooked when the lights came on at a different time.  Now some of you know about the ghost named Mary Margaret.  For those of you who don’t, I live in a very old house.  Over a hundred and fifty years.  Lots of history, and apparently there’s some about a young woman named Mary Margaret who shows up occasionally.  I’m not cuckoo.  Many people have experienced her presence.  It’s not scary.  Really.  And if it was I wouldn’t tell you.  I’m Fern Michaels, not Stephen King.  LOL.  Anyway, back to the tree.  A few hours after the lights had mysteriously turned themselves on, the lights went out.  A few hours later they came back on again.  I didn’t know if it was a “sign” from the other side. Maybe Mary Margaret was visiting.  But enough was enough.  As I bent down to look under the tree there was Mz. Boo sitting next to the timer giving me a “what?” kind of look.  Somehow she figured out how to change it.  I kid you not.  A friend of mine told me a story last week about her newly rescued kitten and the momma.  Now she has four who create havoc.  Each night she sets her security alarm before going upstairs to bed.  It was around 2:00AM when she was startled awake by loud voices coming from the living room.  She sat up and grabbed the phone and wondered why the alarm didn’t sound.  She listened for a few more seconds and realized it was Andy Griffin!  The fur rascals knocked the remote on the floor and turned on the TV.  At least it wasn’t the news!  That would have been really scary.

I am very excited about the new books that are coming out in the next two months.  Last month I mentioned a new series about sister and brother who have shops in a large art center.  It’s an interesting and quirky set of characters, mystery, humor, and of course a little romance.  The first book is called Hidden and is on-sale now.  I think you’ll find it very entertaining.  Then in October the new Christmas hardcover, Santa Cruise will be on-sale.  Four friends on a singles cruise and lots of shenanigans—a romp on the high seas.  Actually, the Caribbean.  It’s a fun escape.

This month’s contest is a signed copy of Hidden.

Be well, stay safe. Put fun and joy into your life.

August 2021 Monthly Letter

Dear Reader,

I hope this finds you and your loved ones safe and well.  The COVID rollercoaster seems to continue to be in operation.  It’s been so long since this thing started I’ve almost forgotten what life is like without it although my fur family doesn’t have a clue!

Yes, the cats are on a hooligan rampage.  I think they’ve broken everything possible in the house.  I shrug.  It’s just stuff.  So here’s a tip: if you ever adopt young cats lock everything up that has any value, although I think Miz Boo can pick locks.  She surely knows how to turn the water on.  Speaking of which, not sure if I shared this last time but she fell in the toilet.  Henry, my Yorkie was the one who alerted me to the swimming shenanigans.  As crazy as her stunts are she makes me laugh out loud.

August is hot and sticky down here. Every year it seems to get hotter and stickier.  I love to sit on my rocking chairs on my front porch but lately I feel like I’m melting.  Back into the A/C to see what the hooligans have destroyed in the half hour I’m outside.

Lots of new books coming out soon.  Hidden, the first in a new series is coming next month in paperback with an interesting cast of characters.  In October we’ll have Santa Cruise, a madcap adventure on the high seas in hardcover; and then the mass market of The Brightest Star.  Lots of fun and inspiring reading for the fall. I hope you enjoy them.

This month’s contest will be a signed copy of Hidden.  I’m very excited about this new series.

Now on to food!  I’m featuring several recipes from friends for a Southern dinner.  My editor at Kensington, Esi Sogah offered up a flourless cake for dessert.  Many people turn up their nose to collard greens—I for one am one of those people—but this is made with bacon. Everything is better with bacon.  The recipe comes from Ashley Fenimore, a beautiful young pharmacological oncologist who won the Charleston Magazine contest for side vegetables.  Her work is very grueling so she relaxes by cooking.  Another friend Carolyn Williams gave us her family recipe for fried chicken.  And of course, every Southern meal has to have potato salad.

Enjoy the rest of the summer.  Stay cool, stay well, stay safe, and most of all stay sane!

July 2021 Monthly Letter

Dear Friends,

July 4th!  Holy firecrackers.  If you are reading this after the holiday I hope you had a blast! 😊

The weather has been extremely hot and steamy, although that’s not new to South Carolina.  It seems like it lasts longer and gets hotter more often.

I’m not going to use the word age.  As far as I’m concerned it’s a three-letter word.  Therefore I shall substitute it for “mature.”  For those on the “mature” side of life, parts start to wear down or wear out. Not much different than a car.  I have a friend who needed both hips replaced.  She said the doctor told her she was “riding on her rims.”  Now she has two chunks of titanium on each side.  In many ways we are lucky we have those options.  This week I had an option to fix my vision.  I needed cataract surgery.  No fun, but I am on the mend. So for any of you who have gone through it, I feel you!

I trust many of you are getting back to a more normal way of living.  Let’s pray we never have to go through something like that again. Now we can actually laugh about hoarding toilet paper. Talk about counting squares!

Most of you know that I have become one of those “Cat Ladies.”  I refrain from inserting the word “Crazy” but give me time.  I have some fun news. Miz Boo, the three legged maniac, is going to be featured on the Chewy.com social media bulletin board.  I can honestly say I love that little hooligan to the moon and back.

As far as book stuff, this month’s contest will be a signed Advance Reading Copy of my Christmas novel, Santa Cruise.  The official on-sale date is October, but I wanted to offer a little Christmas in July.  I am very excited about this book.  It features four friends from college who meet up at a reunion and they plan the unthinkable:  go on a singles cruise.  Lots of madcap adventures on the high seas. But before that is published, I’m launching a new series about a brother and sister who have shops in a large art center.  The first book is called Hidden and will be out in September.  It’s splashed with mystery, suspense, a bit of woo-woo, and of course romance.  It has a very interesting cast of unique characters I hope you will grow to love.

That’s my news for now.  Be safe, be kind, stay cool, and have fun.

All the best,

Fern

June 2021 Monthly Letter

Dear Friends,

It’s hard to believe it’s June already!  I hope you had a good Memorial Day Weekend.  Time to remember and reflect on those who gave everything for our country.  With all the social media and instantaneous information that gets thrown at us every day, it’s important to stop for a moment and reflect.  Reflect on how lucky we are to live in a country where we can celebrate pretty much whatever we want.  Every day should be a day where we remember our blessings and be thankful.  I know I am.  I am thankful for the opportunity to bring you entertaining stories, and thankful to everyone who reads my books.

When I am holed up in my office with my fur menagerie I get engrossed in the characters and the scenarios I create..  Quite frankly I kind of miss them afterward!  It usually takes about a year from the time I turn in a novel until it hits the bookshelves.  I am always delighted when a fan writes and tells me how much they enjoyed a book and what it meant to them.  It’s like a reunion for me and  heartwarming to know I touch people’s lives in a good way.

I am happy to see we are coming out of  the torturous year of the pandemic, and pray everyone can have an enjoyable summer, spending time with friends and family.  How nice it is to be able to see people and hug them again!

As many of you know, I have become a cat-lady.  Well, almost.  Not quite a “crazy-cat-lady” but they do make me crazy! For those of you who are familiar with the feline species you can probably relate. I have 3 rescued cats.  Well Boo, the three-legged cat with the club foot is a born trouble maker.  She just turned a year old last week.  At 2:37 in the middle of the night I thought I was having a home invasion.  I left the remote to the kitchen TV on the counter and she turned it on.  Her club foot gives her just enough leverage to also hit the SOUND button.  You don’t want to know what happened after that.  Three days prior—again in the middle of the night—my dog Harvey started to bark and bark and wouldn’t stop.  I got up.  It was 4:10.  Harvey was alerting me to the flood happening in the kitchen. Boo, with her magic club foot  learned how to turn on the faucet on the bar sink.  You don’t want to know what happened after that either.  Now it takes me 37 minutes at night to batten down the hatches before I go to bed to keep the three of them out of trouble.   They have just about ruined everything.  I’m thinking of moving out to the barn and letting them have the house. “My name is Boo, my name is Tessie, my name is Winnie and we’re the reason we don’t have anything nice anymore.” Yes, they tear up the house, make a racket at night, but truth be told, they make me laugh.  A lot.

I hope you have an enjoyable June…weddings, graduations, celebrations.  Or just make something up!  Live every day to the fullest.  Be safe.  Be kind.  And keep your sense of humor.  Laughter is the best medicine.

This month’s contest is a signed hardcover edition of the first book in a new series.  The book is called Hidden.  The paperback edition will be available in September.  I’m very excited about this new series and will tell you more as we get closer to the publication date.  Included is a beautiful teacup and saucer from my collection.

All the best to you.

Fern

April 2021 Monthly Letter

Dear Friends,

Hooray for Spring!  The rebirth from the darkness.  Well, it sure has been a long, dark year.  Looking at the flowers starting to bloom gives me hope we will be moving in a brighter and better direction.  We have to think that way otherwise we would be depressed, and I know so many people are feeling down and exhausted.  COVID overload.   It’s been hard, challenging, and a whole lot of anxiety.  When will this ever end?  At least we don’t have to worry about standing in lines hoping to get our one roll of toilet paper.  See?  Things are looking up already!

I know the holidays are once again predicated on COVID, which can be a good excuse to avoid the in-laws!  Kidding.  But…if it suits you, enjoy it while you can.  See?  Another upside to the pandemic!   But seriously, it will be wonderful to get back to some semblance of normal like hugging your friends and family and be able to enjoy people in person.  Enough Zooming, please.

We’re still waiting on some family members to get their vaccine.  I know it’s been frustrating getting appointments but remember, we have never been through anything like this in our lifetimes.  It wasn’t planned and everyone was reacting to the latest news and updates. Yep.  It’s been a drama alright, more for some than others and I feel for anyone who lost a loved one.   I’ve been there and I know.    But we have come a long way and must press forward.  Appreciate what we have and look forward to a brighter tomorrow and the days ahead. Count our blessings no matter how small.

My newest book No Way Out is available now and has been getting very nice reviews. As an FYI, it’s more of a “cozy” than a thriller.  No blood or guts.  It’s a mystery wrapped in a puzzle in a small town.   I want to thank the fans who take the time to read my books and also write about them.

I wish everyone a blessed holiday no matter what you practice as long as you practice kindness in the mix.  Be well.  Be safe.  Be kind.  Keep your sense of humor.  keep reading, and cooking!

This month’s contest will be for a signed first edition of No Way Out.  My publisher just told me they have to go back to press!  Exciting!

All the best,

Fern

March 2021 Monthly Letter

Dear Friends,

Hard to believe it’s March. Even though last month we had Ground Hog day, well here we are again.  It dawned on me that all the ground hog really has to do is look at the calendar:  6 more weeks of winter.  I guess the critter needs the job.  The upside is spring is only a few weeks away.

It seems like everyone, no matter where you live, has been hit with volatile weather. That and the pandemic is what I call a one-two punch.  I hope you and your families are “weathering” all the storms and are safe and well.

I got my COVID vaccine—both shots and I am very happy to report I had no side effects from either. My sister and her husband got their hinnies kicked after the second. Funny how everyone has a different reaction.  If you haven’t gotten yours yet, hang in there.  I know there has been a huge effort in getting them out all over the country and the weather hasn’t helped but keep the faith.  Maybe one of these days we’ll be able to see each other’s mouths moving—although sometimes not seeing it is a good thing.

Next month we have Easter.  Did you ever wonder why it’s never the same from one year to the next?  Here’s why—now pay attention:  It is the FIRST Sunday after the FIRST Full Moon AFTER the Equinox (equal hours of daylight and dark).  Follow me with the math.  The Equinox is March 20th.  The first full moon is March 28.  The first Sunday after that is April 4th.  Voila!  Passover is also on its own calendar and this year it’s the weekend of Palm Sunday.  God sure works in mysterious ways.

My fur-family is doing well, as is my human family.  We’re all getting a little stir crazy but with warmer weather coming we’ll be able to go outside again.

My latest book news is Bitter Pill (The Sisterhood) has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for three weeks.  I remember when I wrote the first novel and my publisher in New York almost had a heart attack because it was the polar opposite of the rest of my work.   He was so concerned that my fans would hate it he didn’t want to publish it.  But then a very smart man in the UK bought it and put it out in hardcover.  He sold 7,000 copies in the blink of an eye, and that was a real eyeopener for my New York publisher who now has 32 more New York Times Best Sellers!  So my most heartfelt thanks to my fans who stuck with the series, and the new fans who have jumped onboard.  I still write my traditional novels, but it’s good for the brain to mix it up a bit.  Keeps me on my toes.  This fall we are going to be introducing another new series but more on that down the road.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Be well.  Be safe.  Be kind.  Keep your sense of humor.  keep reading, and cooking!

We had such a great response to last months’ contest that we will be repeating it for March.  a signed edition of my next hardcover No Way Out coming in April and part of the Mother’s Day promotion at Target.

All the best,

Fern

February 2021 Monthly Letter

Dear Friends,

I hope this finds you and your loved ones safe and well.  It’s hard to imagine that we are almost a year into this pandemic.  I know people are climbing the walls.  I am grateful I have a large enough house that if I had to spend time with other people I could easily hide.  I count my blessings each and every day.  I saw a very funny cartoon with a woman saying, “We’ve child-proofed the house.  But they keep getting in!”   Humor, folks.  We’ve got to cling to it.  Imagine, Spring is only 6 ½ weeks away.  With some luck we’ll be on the other side of this crazy time in history and on to a new season of good health and hope.

Lots of things happening this month.  We have Ground Hog Day.  Funny thing, it seems like every day has been Ground Hog Day for the past 10 months! See, humor.  I’m squeezing as much of it out of me as I can.  Here’s an idea:  Send me your favorite jokes!  If they make me laugh I’ll share them.

Keep thinking happy thoughts.

My personal animal farm is doing well.  Still can’t believe I’m a cat owner.  Not one, but three.  The first one who came along is Winny.  The skinny cat kept showing up on my porch.  I felt sorry for the poor thing so I put out some food.  Hello?  Did anyone ever tell you that if you put food out, they will come?  Just like the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it they will come.”  Same thing goes for animals. Build them outdoor dining and you have a pet.  Here’s the funny thing about Winny.  When I finally got the critter into the house and went to the vet, much to my surprise Winny was really a Winston.  Yep.  She was really a he. Like I said, I’ve never been a cat person.  Who knew?  Now we have Miz Boo and her mama, Tessie too.

Besides Ground Hog Day we also have Valentine’s Day.  I have mixed feelings. As a writer of romance novels I am sometimes ambivalent about it.  I know that sounds contrary but the reason I write those types of novels is because it’s the kind of romantic experience we wish we can have.  And who says we can’t?  If no one buys you candy this year buy some for yourself.  Or buy yourself a new purse.  Something to treat yourself.  We shouldn’t have to wait for other people to do something nice for us. I am sure most of you have had your hands full this past year.  A little retail therapy works wonders.  Even if it’s just a new lipstick.

This month’s contest is a signed edition of my next hardcover No Way Out coming in April.  I’m thrilled to announce that it’s going to be in promotion at Target for Mother’s Day.   That’s all I’ve got for now.  Be well.  Be safe.  Be kind.

All the best,

Fern

January 2021 Monthly Letter

Dear Friends,

Let me start with wishing everyone a happy, healthy, stress-less 2021. If you feel like you’ve been living in the spin-cycle of the washing machine, you are not alone. 2020 was a year where you wanted to hide under the bed as we were bombarded with bad news on a daily basis. So, for this new year’s resolution let’s “resolve” to be strong, and kind. I know it’s hard to be pleasant when your life is in chaos, but remember you are not alone. We are all going through this together, even if we are apart. Hang in there. I truly believe better days are ahead.

I want to thank all of my fans for supporting my books and watching the Hallmark movie this past year. The comments I received about my Christmas decorations were some of my best gifts. I am grateful that I can bring a bit of escapism, romance and a little adventure into your lives. Speaking of an adventure, my new feline family has given me lots of laughs and love. I had no idea cats could be so affectionate and playful. Yes, they play with everything. And I mean everything. It was quite the challenge keeping them out of the Christmas trees! I wonder what they’ll try to conquer this month!

On the book front, Bitter Pill has landed in the stores with a spectacular package. This is #32 in the Sisterhood series but if you haven’t read any of the previous novels do not be dismayed. You can pick this up and get a lot of background throughout the story. All you need to know is that it’s a tight, talented group of women with one agenda: getting justice when the system has failed. From Aspen, to Sag Harbor, to London, the sisters track down a few wicked, greedy doctors who prey on rich widows. There are lots of shenanigans on both sides making it a thriller across America and the Big Pond. I’m not going to give away any more of the story, but trust me, it’s a satisfying read. At least that’s what the early reviews say!

Most of us will be dealing with winter weather so I am going to leave you with a few recipes for comfort food. Please be safe, and let’s look forward to a year of God’s good grace.

All the best,
Fern