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Danielle Miceli

☀️ July 31st, 2019 ☀️
⚡ Happee Birthdae, Harry! ⚡


What’s New?

Not a whole lot happened this July. I did host the Positivity Pass giveaway I announced in last month’s letter, and was honored to read the first chapters of both winners. In fact, the response was so heartwarming and, well, positive, I might make this particular giveaway an annual thing each June for my newsletter’s birthday! 💕

Other than that, I mostly buckled down and snuck in as much editing as I could, tried to keep up with my brilliant CPs, sent out beta feedback, and rode out the waves of Caleb’s sleep regression. Nick also had to go on his first business trip post-baby, and even with parental backup, that was an adventure I don’t care to repeat anytime soon. 😬
  1. Sleep? Sort of?: People are not lying when they tell you how quickly babies change. Caleb’s sleep regression felt like 6 years to my husband and I, but only a month later, my 21-week-old son is starting to sleep through the night. Don’t get me wrong, our nights are still interrupted by fussy intervals that rouse mommy and daddy, but, for the most part, we no longer have get up and put him back to sleep, because he’s learning how to do it himself. So we’re not sleeping through the night yet, but Caleb is beginning to. Baby steps.

    This has allowed me to spend a little time catching up on writing after I put Caleb down for bed, because I’m no longer terrified he might need me every 2 hours. It’s been nice to get some productivity time back, however little.

Novel Update

"Slow and steady wins the race." I just read The Tortoise and the Hare to my baby, and children’s books can’t lie, right?! 🙃

  1. Novel Status Report: It seems every month post-baby I’ve cut another 5k words from my manuscript, and July was no exception. My total word count now sits at 309,889 (down from 355k+, if you're new), and I also shaved off another chapter by chopping 2 chapters in half and combining them. And those words are going to keep dropping! 🙌🏻 
  2. Overseas "Research": Forget the sauna sneak peek, I know this is the bizarre anecdote you’re here for. 😂

    I was reviewing earlier chapters in my manuscript, and a comment from one of my CPs distracted me from my original purpose. Lina and I had chatted about the scented candles we one day dream of having for our characters, and pointed out that a scene where Aeva draws a bath for the Duke with salts, oils, the works, could be a fun opportunity to sneak in a signature scent. (Brilliant idea, Lina 😍).

    So of course, I fell down a rabbit hole deciding what precisely Duke Milandre would smell like. I already had in mind his natural musk, if you will (steel and sunbaked leather). But he’s a noble--definitely the type to also have a “scent” he identifies with.

    He’s a coffee addict, and turns out, fine coffee grounds are great for your skin and a relatively common addition to baths! But I always pictured him having an earthy scent as well, so after scouring the internet, and sniffing all 12 fragrances in my assorted incense collection, I landed on patchouli; a dark, earthy, almost spicy, fragrance. 

    I’m no scent mix-master, but even I know not all aromas complement each other, regardless of how wonderful they smell on their own. And listen, the Duke Milandre has to smell great, okay? So I couldn’t leave this to chance. The internet was a little less helpful at this point. A few people tentatively suggested the combination on forums, in conjunction with other scents to bridge the gap, like vanilla (and excuse my language but fuck no, the Duke would not smell like vanilla).

    Finally I found something. A product on a website for “The Man Company.” I kid you not. Behold, the photographic evidence:
The Man Company product - coffee bean and patchouli shampoo
COFFEE BEAN AND PATCHOULI SHAMPOO. The only thing I found on the market featuring those two scents. If you find something else, yes, it will make me feel stupid, but honestly just send me the link because I need to know. 😅

Of course I had to buy it so I could see if it’s everything I hoped and dreamed or if it’s a bust. One small problem: the company is based in India, and won’t ship to the US. In case you want to know how crazy I am when I get my mind set on something, I checked their Canadian partner site (sold out), Ebay (sold out), and a variety of other shady knock off websites that did not bear fruit.

Distressed, I turned to my husband, who, within seconds, came up with a plan. He works for an international company, and it just so happens that a coworker from his old team moved back to India. So Nick emailed this coworker, asked him to buy the shampoo (and matching face wash because at this point we’re all in) for his crazy wife’s character research (obviously we’ll pay him back), and ship or bring it when he comes to visit the states next month. And he said SURE. Observe, A HERO IN ACTION:
Exchange between my husband and his coworker
I’m still laughing over his VERY REASONABLE confusion. 😂

So now, friends, we wait. It’s going to be a while, but rest assured I will update you on the results of this adventure. Possibly with a moment-of-truth IG unboxing and sniff-test. 😅

July Reads

I finished beta reading Awakening Shadows by Sydney Hawthorn this month, and if you’re a fan of YA fantasy, you’re going to want to keep an eye out for this one! Sydney’s been working on her first book of The Navarre Chronicles for years, and it absolutely shows. This is a polished draft that she has clearly worked her butt off on and poured her heart into. Each character is crafted with a laudable amount of care and attention to detail, and I know fans of the genre will flock to her story one day. 💕

You can follow her @sydney_hawthorn for motivational quotes, and tons of news, sneak peaks, and insights into her world of Navarre. Plus she’s an absolute sweetheart to interact with.



I still haven’t wrapped my head around the fact that any of you might be here to read more of my book. It doesn’t feel like real life. Especially when I consider that, odds are, at least one of you may enjoy it?! (Insane, right?) 😶

The scene below is a small extension of the sauna snippet I posted on Instagram. It’s the first time Aevelynne meets Vas Evan. I’m giving you the conversation that takes place before the excerpt I’ve already shared; you’ll have to wait for the book to read what happens after. 😉

Please let me know what you think! It can be as simple as a 1-sentence DM saying you enjoyed the banter or wanted to smack Vas. It would make my entire week to hear from you. 💖

Legal Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that just because I’m sharing this scene with you, it does not mean I’m ready to share it with the rest of the world. This is an exclusive preview of my work in progress that is protected by copyright laws. You do not have permission to copy, distribute, or sell any writing I share in these newsletters or on any other platform. 

In addition, please understand my book is still being continuously edited, thus, the entire scene below is subject to change before publication.

Without further ado, the featured scene:


          It was, in fact, incredibly hot. A cross between the satisfying warmth of sunbaked skin and the uncomfortable swelter of waiting in line at a summer market. The sauna was one room with all-wood walls and floors. Wood-burning stoves were tucked into each corner, heating sizable piles of dark rocks. A man ladled some water from a bucket beside one stove and dumped it over the stones, which sizzled and cracked and burst with sudden steam. The pleasing scent of cedar wafted through the entire space.
          The room was separated into two sections of wooden benches, one populated, one sparse. As I bee-lined for a seat on the emptier side, I noticed a huge blade taking up space on the most crowded bench. Who takes a sword into a sauna? Incredulous, I glanced at the owner.
          I already knew his face from the portrait of the Evan children. High Lord Evan’s son lounged casually atop his bench; legs splayed so his towel hardly dipped low enough to conceal anything between them. Even dampened by the heat, his golden hair gleamed like a crown. His bare chest was lightly tanned, and he spoke comfortably with people who hung on his every word. I was grateful he didn’t look away from his conversation as I rushed past. I knew my eyes had lingered too long, even though my mind kept repeating, he brought his sword into a sauna.
          Once on my isolated bench, I adopted as inconspicuous a position as I could manage. I was not ready to have a naked conversation with noble strangers and their friends. I resecured my towel.
          Minutes passed with no attempt on anyone’s part to engage with me, and I began to relax, no thanks to the sauna. I failed to see how such oppressive, inescapable heat could rejuvenate someone. I felt like I was slowly running out of air and would’ve given anything for a cold glass of water.
          “Is anyone sitting here?”
          I knew who it was before I looked up. The haughtiness in the voice, though I’d never heard it before, matched the image in my head too well. Vas Evan sat across from me before he’d finished the question. Without waiting for a response, he asked, “Now who are you? I’ve definitely never seen you before. Are you the new help?”
          “No,” I said firmly. No, I repeated to myself as my eyes wandered back to his toned chest. Whether or not he knew how to use that sword (which he’d brought over), he clearly kept in shape. “I don’t work here.”
          “Visiting, then? Attending who?”
          I tried not to bristle at his assumption that I must be someone’s servant, given that I was. “Duke Milandre.” I hoped to evoke the respect and slight fear that usually accompanied his name.
          “Is that so?” Vas made no effort to hide his inspection of my bare legs. Sons of high lords were the closest things to princes Home had right now, and this was not my ideal set of circumstances for interacting with one. “Allow me to introduce myself; I’m Vas Evan. Welcome to my home.” He held out his hand.
          I didn’t want to touch a naked princeling, but if I offended him, the rest of my night could go poorly. I reached out to shake hands, but he captured mine and brought it to his lips, grinning.
          “Oh?” I replied, as if his identity was mildly interesting. “Pleasure.”
          “Let me blunt and say I find you stunning.”
          I swallowed and pulled my hand back. “Thanks.”
          Vivid blue eyes watched my every movement with an air of increasing amusement; his lips seemed to be in a constant state of pre-smirk. “I like you.”
          “Then aren’t you going to ask my name?”
          “I would, if I had reason to believe you’d tell me.” He crossed his arms and flashed a smile.
          Well played. “Aeva,” I said, and the surprise on his face was worth giving up the information. I hated to be predictable.
          “Aeva,” he repeated. The way he sounded out the syllables made it feel like he was tasting me. If possible, the heat grew heavier. Vas still ogled me, and it wasn’t helping.
          “Do you often bring weapons in here?” I asked, a bit more judgmental than I intended.
          “This?” Vas ran a sensual hand over his broadsword. “This is nothing compared to the weapon I’m always wielding.”
          “I honestly don’t know how to respond.”
          “How about with a laugh?” He suggested. “Are you always this uptight, Aeva?”
          I wished he would stop using my name, feigning familiarity—mostly because it was working. “I’m an orphan, you know.” An abrupt attempt to repel him.
          Vas didn’t miss a beat. “I’m sorry for your loss.”
          “I didn’t lose anyone; I never had them.”
          “You are surly, aren’t you?”
          “I’m not surly.” I pushed stray wisps of hair off my sticky forehead. Would it be feasible to ask someone to lower the temperature?
          “Then give me a smile.”
          “Say something worth smiling about.”
          What is wrong with me? Why was it so difficult to remember social status? The Duke would be mortified if he could hear this conversation. Or furious. Likely both. Miraculously, Vas appeared undeterred, which meant he couldn’t be that offended by my conduct.
          “I don’t tiptoe, Aeva.” Vas rested his elbows on his knees. His towel loosened and hung like a hammock between his thighs. “You seem like the kind of girl who could appreciate that.”
          I took a deep breath. “I do. But this conversation is inappropriate.”
          Vas leaned forward and brushed his smooth lips below my earlobe. “You also seem like the kind of girl who doesn’t give a fuck what’s appropriate.” His breath was hot on my skin. I was already so dizzy from the sauna, I worried I might pass out. My own towel slid farther down my breasts, but I didn’t care.
          “Come on.” Vas traced my collarbone with his knuckles. “I have a private chamber where we can cool off. You look like you’re about to faint. I understand—not many newcomers can stand all this heat.”
          He pulled away and a rush of warm air filled his place. One hand lazily gripped his towel to his waist as he ambled to a side door and unlocked it with a small key around his wrist. He dropped his towel and held my gaze as it crumpled at his feet.
          Vas sauntered out of sight, leaving the door ajar.



Caleb tax:


Upcoming fantasy author, new mom, D&D addict, Gemini, Slytherclaw, lover of raw dough, wants to be your friend. 💗

Copyright © 2019 Danielle Miceli, All rights reserved.

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