Workspace Wednesday welcomes Leigh Michaels

 

I am honored to welcome Leigh Michaels on this edition of Workspace Wednesday. Leigh is the best-selling author of more than 100 books, including historical romance, contemporary romance, non-fiction about writing, and local history. A fellow Montlake Romance author, her new Montlake release is The Birthday Scandal, a historical set in the Regency period and featuring the intertwining romances of two sisters and a brother. She’s also just released a self-published sweet contemporary romance, Return to Amberley.

 

Take it away, Leigh!

 

LEIGH: Thank you for inviting me to Workplace Wednesday, Norah. I’ve enjoyed (and envied) seeing all the various offices, and the photos have given me all kinds of ideas for whenever I get around to working on mine again. My working space has gone through a whole lot of changes in the 29 years since I was first published, so I’ve had a bit of a trip down memory lane!

 

 

In 1988, my office was located in the smallest bedroom of our American Foursquare house – a space that was hardly big enough for a twin bed and a dresser. Here’s a photo I saved for nostalgia’s sake – and also to prove that yes, I really did write more than a dozen books in this room. That’s an IBM PC with a 10-megabyte hard drive and a 14-inch green-screen monitor – and believe me, that was a big step up from my first computer! Off to the right is the state-of-the-art printer which tapped out each letter with a rotating ball, just like those old electric typewriters. I’d start a chapter printing and have to leave the room because of the echo.

The photos at ceiling level are the covers of my first few Harlequin Romances and Presents, and the two shelves at the right of the photo hold what I grandly called the Collected Works – one copy of each edition.

My office was right at the top of the stairs, so all the household sounds resonated and I was much too easy to find. If I closed the door so I could concentrate, I soon ran out of oxygen. :)

Those are only some of the reasons that we moved into a new house not long after the photo was taken.

This is my office today.

 

 

The Collected Works (one copy of each of the editions of my 83 romance novels and 20 non-fiction books) now occupy the shelves at left – that’s 62 feet of bookshelves, if you’re counting. The framed photos have moved to the hallway which leads to my office, where they’re limited to one cover from each language – though we had to stop doing even that when we ran out of wall. A few years ago my husband and I ripped up the carpet and laid the parquet floor. (That’s the sort of job which makes you eager go to back to writing.) And as time has gone on, I’ve added the extra filing cabinets and counters so I can spread out with my various projects.

 

 

I now rely on dual 24-inch monitors and a laser printer. I think some of those same reference books are still hanging around, though.

Because I also teach (at Gotham Writers Workshop where I offer online classes in romance writing) and I edit books for our small publishing firm (PBL Limited which specializes in local history books and niche-market non-fiction), I use every inch of the practical desk space. Those piles on the counter are non-fiction book projects and source material, waiting to come together so they’re ready to publish.

 

 

Though I’ve moved on from my original publisher – as well as switching from contemporary romance to historical, and from sweet stories to spicy ones – I’m grateful to Harlequin Books for a lengthy and rewarding career. That’s why the one-of-a-kind Harlequin marionette is still a prized feature in my office. He watches over me as I work.

 

Author Leigh Michaels at Bay Window

 

I haven’t included a photo of my sitting room, where I leave my laptop set up – it’s another book-lined room, and I retreat there when I need to fall into a story and not be bothered by phone calls or email. I do better at knocking out words when it’s not so easy to page back to edit and fix and continually revise – and that’s made much less tempting when I’m working on a smaller screen.

Sometimes I write in other spots – like the bay window in my living room, where I can watch the white-tailed deer and wild turkeys wandering across the acre of back yard that we refer to as The Garden of Weedin’.

Thanks go to my husband, photographer Michael W. Lemberger, for providing all the photos.

 

The Birthday Scandal - The wealthy Duke of Weybridge knows that everyone loves a good surprise…and a good scandal. He has bounteous amounts of both for the guests—particularly for his nieces and nephew, Emily, Isabel, and Lucien—at his extravagant seventieth birthday ball. They think his promise to improve their lives means a generous stipend. But he’s got different gifts in mind: finding them the perfect matches. His task won’t be easy, because the Arden siblings have given up on love.

Bachelor Lucien spends more time merrymaking than looking for a proper wife. His sister Emily, broken-hearted when her betrothal ended in disgrace, committed herself to an early spinsterhood. And Isabel’s marriage has been troubled from the moment it began—with a terrible betrayal on her wedding night.

Though witty and strong-willed, the siblings are no match for their uncle’s wily machinations. And as the celebration approaches, his romantic scheming ignites illicit liaisons and irresistible temptations, sparking enough rumors to keep the ton abuzz until his next birthday.

 

Return to Amberley When her girlhood crush blossomed into marriage, Andie believed in a rosy future with the man of her dreams – until Todd’s betrayal sent her from the beauty of Minnesota’s winters to Atlanta to begin anew. But just a few months later, Todd walks back into Andie’s life – asking for her help. The stone quarry they jointly inherited is for sale, and a good price would secure the future for both of them, paying Andie’s tuition and buying freedom for Todd to concentrate on his sculpture. They need to sell now, but the prospective buyer believes he can pick up the quarry at a discount while Todd and Andie fight through a divorce. Todd wants Andie to rejoin him at the family home, Amberley, and put a false face on their failing marriage to convince the buyer and sell the quarry. But is Andie risking her heart if she returns to Amberley?

 

To learn more about Leigh, you can check her out here:

Thank you for that tour, Leigh! I loved the shot of your old office. I can remember learning to use my first computer which had a whopping 10 mg hard drive. I felt so sophisticated when I graduated to one with a 40 mg drive. LOL!

Okay, folks, Leigh has a nice giveaway for us today. She  is offering an autographed copy of the ARC of The Birthday Scandal or a print copy of Return to Amberley, reader’s choice. All you need do is leave us a comment. I’m anticipating there might be a few about the 62 running feet of bookshelves. Holy cow!

 

44 Responses to “Workspace Wednesday welcomes Leigh Michaels”

  • Yes, I agree.

    HOLY COW!! That’s a lot of books. Kinda makes me tear up with jealousy. No, I’ll change that attitude. Gives me inspiration – that maybe I too can fit in some actual reading time in between writing time. :D

    Love that old computer and printer, Leigh. Retro is in though. My teenage daughter asked for two weird things this year for Christmas: an old typewriter (the kind with ribbon) and a record player. It seems some indie bands actually produce vinyl records. (The stupid thing for me is…last fall I just sold ALL of my record collection too cheap in a darned garage sale. Wish I still had my Eagles album. The shame of it. *sigh*)

    Love the blog! :D
    Lynda

    • Oh, I still have an older computer than that, tucked away somewhere in the bowels of the storage room — a Radio Shack TRS-80 which had a whoppin’ 26K of memory. That wasn’t quite enough to write a long chapter, so if I got rolling too quickly the whole thing would lock up and I’d lose it all!

      Hmm. You have made me think twice about that row of LPs, though. And the stack of 45s…

  • Leigh, OMG, I LOVED seeing the photo of the ancient IBM PC and ball printer! I remember those so well myself. It was a real dose of nostalgia. Your new office is fantastic: all that shelving! And all those “collected works”! What an impressive career! Thanks for letting us take a peek.

    • Of course my eyes were better then — Before Bifocals — so the tiny screen didn’t bother me as much as it would today. The shelving is all redwood — back when you could still buy it, before we were as ecologically-minded — so I figure that’s the most valuable thing in the entire office.

  • Loved all these pictures! And yeah…that old green-screen. Sheesh! And all that counter space…I WANT!!! :)

  • I’m so jealous of all that space! Your office is beautiful and so is the view. What an amazing career. Just reading about all you do makes me tired, and totally justifies that awesome office. :)

  • Wish I could say the old computer reminds me of my beginnings as a writer but I reach ‘way back before that…to manual typewriters. Still have the one I typed my first book on. Wonder if a museum will want it someday?

    Great office and view. And congratulations on your wonderful publishing history.

  • So fun, Leigh!! Thanks for sharing. Over 100 books….I want to be you when I grow up!
    Hugs and happy writing~
    Nancy

    • Thanks, Nancy! If anybody had told me when I started that the total could be so astounding, I’d have been shocked. So — keep in mind, it can happen to you too. One book at a time!

      • Abba:

        I have been absent for a while, but now I reeembmr why I used to love this web site. Thanks, I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your site?

  • Wow, great post! Thanks, Leigh, so much for sharing what your writing cave looks like! You’ve given me some great ideas at just the right time because I’m looking at my office thinking I need a new design to give me the space I need at the desk to work. I have a question though… I noticed you use the dual screen now for writing… is one screen for the manuscript and the other for manuscript notes and miscellaneous stuff? Just curious and trying to figure out if something like that might help me be more productive.
    And huge thanks to Norah for hosting the post! This was exactly what I needed to help me get focused on the office design plans. ;-)
    Elijana (aka, Ellie Mae ;-)

    • Right now, I have my classroom site at Gotham Writers Workshop pulled up on one screen, along with the order page for an ebook I’m thinking of buying, while my email and calendar are open on the other screen, with the blog plus a manuscript I’m reading layered on top. On the days when I’ve got my publishing hat on, I’ll be running Adobe Photoshop and Word on one screen and my page-layout software on the other. The dual screens make it SO much easier to keep track — though just think what I could do with three! I do admit it sometimes takes me a while just to get everything shut down at the end of the day.

  • Vicki Mixon:

    Loved your new office. Gives me numerous ideas for my future office. Thanks for the tour. I’m always amazed when I hear the number of books you’ve published. So honored to have you teaching our class.

  • Ray Tennant:

    I’m totally impressed with your working space. It appears to provide productive ergonomic solutions, and the ability to adjust to changing work demands, or writer’s block. Very nice!

  • Wow, what an amazing collection of books. And what better thing to have in a writer’s space than… books! Awesome.

    :) )

    • Always need those books around — for inspiration as well as reference. There’s just something about a room lined with books — it’s quiet, and yet there’s a sort of murmur just under the surface as if the books are whispering to me. (Yeah, I’m strange.)

  • Hi Leigh, What a view from your front window. And a Great office. I’m just a tiny bit chartreuse! Love all the books—And the idea about the countertop on filing cabinets for desk space. Hummmmm.

    Thanks!!!

    • I bought the stock shaped countertop and had the store rip off the backsplash. The delivery person who brought in the sections and set them in place was quite confused about how I was going to caulk from the back of the counter to the wall in order to make it waterproof. (Bless his heart.)

  • Steve Loy:

    Congrats on your successful career as an author and editor. It takes talent and a lot of commitment. Keep the stories coming.

    • Thank you, Steve! Glad you stopped by.

      • I never get tired of seeing pics of Noa’s home. It just seems so cozy and qurkiy and full of neat things for my eyeballs to stare at.Great photos! What camera and type of film did you shoot with?

      • It’s amazing how a smlpie little thing can mess you up. Recently, I moved an entire building in a chapter. Normally it would not have been that important, but I had wrote the first half of the chapter on one character sneaking from one building to another, running into problems and crossing the street. He does the big rescue and the first building had now moved closer.Next time I will get out the graph paper and make a map! LOL

  • The picture of your 1988 office is priceless. How the world, especially technology, has changed. The view from your sitting room is lovely. It’s nice you have so many places to escape to in your own home. I loved The Birthday Scandal and appreciate all your advice as the instructor at Gotham.

  • Jane Greer:

    Enjoyed your pictures and comments. Feel like I know you better and so much enjoy your teaching at Gotham as I am currently one of your students!

  • Cheryl Bolen:

    How fun to see how other authors have their offices. And what an inspiration (and terrific writer) Leigh is.

  • Hi Leigh – WOW…your offices (both) makes me green with envy…wish I had either one..even the small one..!! But all I have is a little corner in our dining room (supposedly) which I’ve turned into “My Space” – where I still have my Smith Corona PC (still LOVE that little “junk” thing ) – and a corner in my kitchen – which is thankfully large enough to house a computer set-up (MAC) with printer. Love those dual-screen computer set you have – how did you do that…get 2 separate computers side by side…?? WOW…(sigh – deep sigh) I am so envious of your space – good for you..!! I have ALL of you 83 Harlequin books – LOVE them – LOVE your writing style mostly, even though the stories, too, are precious. Good luck, Leigh, with your new historical career..!! Love, Elle.

  • Wow, I’m drooling over all that counter space! Awesome, Leigh! :)

  • Sue Reynodls:

    I love your space and your books. What an inspiration, I’ve been clearing out the sunporch for a writing room ever since I saw this yesterday. Thanks!!!

  • Thank you, Norah, and thanks to everyone who dropped by. This has been great fun!

  • Exciting site. Thanks what you are writing on this forum.

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