Thursday, May 5, 2011

Celebrating A New Tabor Heights, Ohio Novel From Michelle Levigne

Today on our Cyber Launch Party Blog, we're celebrating the release of  FORGIVEN, a new novel in Michelle Levigne's Tabor Heights, Ohio Series.

A story addict since an early exposure to Dr. Seuss, award-winning author of over 30 novels and novellas, Michelle Levigne has been creating her own stories, heroes and adventures since junior high. She ventures into many sub-genres of science fiction, paranormal, romance and fantasy, including Greek mythology, Narnia spin-offs and her futuristic universe, the Commonwealth.

Michelle writes something for everyone! After all, since she likes to read all over the board, why not WRITE all over the board?


FORGIVEN by Michelle Levigne
A Tabor Heights, Ohio Novel

Four years ago, Nikki James ran away from home to be with Brock Pierson. She was 17, and he was 25. They both thought they were in love, but Brock had dangerous secrets that nearly killed Nikki -- and did kill their baby shortly after she was born.

Now, Nikki works for the Arc Foundation, a philanthropic organization. She has her life back on track, and her spiritual life as well. Arc sends her home to Tabor Heights, to assess the Mission and determine if Arc should partner with Nikki's home chuch to fund the Mission and expand its outreach.

Nikki has to face the people who watched her grow up and who know the mess she made of her life. She has to face the boy who broke her heart in high school -- and drove her into Brock's arms.

And she has to face Brock, because he is out of jail and determined to make up for his past crimes -- and win her heart back.

The only problem is that some dangerous men from Brock's past have followed him to Tabor Heights as well.


WIN - Today EVERYONE WINS - Leave Michelle a question today at her Cyber Launch Party (along with your email, so we can get your mailing address) and you'll be sent a party favor that includes a little glass magnet, a pen and a sampler CD from Michelle! And then one name will be drawn to win a t-shirt!!! Be sure to leave your email so Michelle can get you out your party favor!


  1. Super Congrats ! it sounds like a great read that i'll be checking out :)

  2. Super congrats on the new release Michelle!

    What a great cover - beautiful and sad...

    For those who don't know about your Tabor Heights Series, tell us all about it and how the books connect and if they should to be read in any certain order.

    It sounds like this one is a bit of a suspense/thriller too - can you tell us about that?

    Hope the new book is your biggest seller yet - enjoy your day and best of luck with the book!

  3. Like many of my Tabor Heights books, FORGIVEN started as a stand-alone, and was a spin-off from another series. I wrote Nikki's "rescue" story first -- she was found pregnant, working jobs that paid under the table, and working her way home, and very unsure of her reception. She was found by a "daughter" of the Arc Foundation, which has showed up in a couple other Tabor Heights books, and recruited.

    During all the years of writing other stories and "discovering" that they all belonged in one town, I realized Nikki had another story -- of coming home, proving herself, and healing the wounds from her bad choices years before.

    Basically, what ties all the Tabor Heights books together is that the main characters all go to the same church, and most of them live in Tabor Heights. Plus, all the books have dates that run throughout the action, so you can keep track of when the story takes place in relation to the others. And even where action overlaps -- for instance, there are several events that are mentioned in other books, such as the Firesong concert, the White Rose Killer investigation, and the Randolph family's crisis.

    There are 3 more books remaining to be published in what I consider "Year One" of Tabor Heights. I have lots of ideas for "Year Two" events, but nothing concrete yet!

  4. What made you decide to become a writer? How many hours a week do you spend writing?


  5. The short answer is that I'm a book/story "addict," and somewhere along the way, I became a "pusher."

    If you've ever been involved in fandom writing, the progression is easy to see -- you're playing in someone else's universe, using the technology and society that's already established, so all you have to do is play with the characters and situations.

    Then along the way you're tired of playing in someone else's playground, and you set out to make your own, that suits you better. "Sure, Spock and McCoy are great, but MY characters are more interesting, and I'm tired of having to deal with the Romulans all the time ..." Etc.

    I had lots of stories and characters and adventures in my head, and they demanded a way out. Eventually, instead of ideas hitting you at odd moments, you're looking for ideas -- you're looking for odd phrases and interesting situations and descriptions and emotions, and all the tools for putting together a great story, no matter what the genre is. And somewhere along the way from game and hobby to vocation, you've become a writer.

    How many hours? If you mean physically sitting at my computer and typing words onto the screen, maybe 2 or 3 hours a day, if I'm lucky. I do have to earn a living, after all.

    BUT, if you count all the support work -- the research, the thinking, the reading, the daydreaming, the talking with other writers and getting feedback and sudden flashes of insight when you're not ready to write anything down .... it's pretty constant. Even when I'm asleep, because sometimes I do wake up with solutions to story problems, or with an idea for a new story.

    Which is incredible when that happens.

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  7. Congrats on your new release Michelle. Your book sounds fabulous would love to read it. Thanks for sharing your books with us.


  8. I don't really have a question, but envy the opportunity that you have as an author for the research involved in writing a book. It must be so engaging to have the chance to really discover new and interesting facts for a novel.
    Thank you for sharing all of your time with your readers.


  9. Congratulations on your new release. This sounds like it will be a very emotional book what was the hardest part for you to write?

  10. Honestly? The emotional aspect wasn't so hard, because I had written the first draft so many years ago.

    The hardest part, the further along I go in the series, is making sure I don't contradict what I said in an earlier book!

    Here's a secret -- I'm waiting for my editor to notice it. In one of my books where I talked about some of the White Rose Killer's victims, I named the first Gretchen, the second Katrina, and the third Annalee. Then, in another book, I said their names were Rose, Katrina, and Annalee. *sigh*

    So in WHITE ROSES, which I just turned in, to be released in October, I said her name was Gretchen Rose, and sometimes she was referred to as Rose, and other times Gretchen, depending on how well the speaker did or did not know her.

    Such are the tangles we weave for ourselves!

    Not bad, considering FORGIVEN is my 9th book in the series.

  11. Hi Michelle, Forgiven sounds really good! What do you find to be the hardest part of writing?
    greenduckie13 at gmail dot com

  12. The hardest part is about 50 pages into the first draft -- I've worked through setting up the characters and situation, and I'm trying to get from there to the "big problem," but I need to introduce plot twists and secondary characters and avoid the deus ex machina stupidity that will turn my book into a wallbanger ( a book so bad, the reader throws it against the wall and never opens it again).

    The middle of the book slump is always the hard part, when you start thinking "WHY did I think this was going to be a good story?" and you forgot all the great ideas you had for twists and turns along the way, and the tearjerker ending.

  13. Congrats Michelle! Sounds like a really good book. It's got me wondering what he hid that was bad enough to kill their child. Do any of your books that you write come from personal experience or people that you know?
    jessangil at gmail dot com

  14. Just to clarify -- Brock was working for a drug kingpin. After Nikki ran away with him, he started to clean up his act, and started working with the DEA. His boss grabbed Nikki to use as a human shield as the authorites closed him -- and when Brock tried to stop him, he was shot. The chase ended with a car crash. Nikki gave birth prematurely, and their baby died of her injuries.

    Y'know, if I DID base any of my stories or characters on real people, I sure wouldn't admit it! I could get in trouble!

    But that being said, I DO borrow characteristics from people all around me, or things I've heard people say and do, or bits from the news.

    For examples, the White Rose Killer who is mentioned in several Tabor Heights books has his roots in an actual event when I was working for the local paper -- a boy strangled his girlfriend in his bedroom, and his aunt helped him dump her body in the Metroparks. I wondered about his mental state, and what would have happened if he hadn't been caught, and years later he saw a girl who looked like her, and thought she had come back from the dead to be with him ....

  15. Hi Michelle, Congrats on your new book. Do you find it hard to keep everything straight when you write a series? By that I mean continuity.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  16. If I'm careful to keep notes, and I remember to read those notes, no I don't have a hard time keeping track.

    It's the little things -- like naming a very minor character (as in somebody who's dead before the story even starts) in one story and forgetting what I named her the next time I need to mention her -- that's what causes me trouble.......

    For Tabor Heights, I have a big city map hanging on my wall. I have a ring binder full of calendars, and I make notes of what happens on each day, so when I write another book that overlaps on the timeline, I know what happened and I don't write a conflict. For instance, in "Behind the Scenes," Tony is in California when the story starts -- but in other stories that overlapped, he was still in town, working at the daycare!

    I get peeved with authors who don't pay attention to their own "universes" and change details to fit the story. For instance, the POV character in one story describes herself as an Amazon in the first book, able to look the very tall hero in the eye. But in the 6th book, when they're caught in a pit in a real pyramid, suddenly she's this petite little thing and can't reach the lip of the pit when she's standing on his shoulders. *sigh* Yes, this was a real pyramid, and the depth of the pit is quite well documented, but don't rewrite the facts on us!

    It's like when Lucas rewrote the rules for the Force, when he did the Anakin Skywalker trilogy of movies. Grrrrrrrrrr!

  17. This looks like a wonderful book! Congrats on the release:) I will have to look for the other books as well:) Thanks for being a 'pusher' LOL!

    xiaguan at att dot net

  18. Yeee-haw!

    Indians just bean Oakland!!

    First time they've won a series with Oakland since 2002!

    Okay, now I can go upstairs and make dinner. *grin*

    I'll check back in this evening, so please, if anyone else shows up, please do ask questions, leave comments -- I'll check back and answer until maybe 10 or so.

    Signing off -- temporarily!

  19. Thanks, everybody, for stopping by yesterday.

    I'm harvesting the emails, and will be contacting everybody who participated yesterday, to get their postal addresses, to send your "party favors" out to you. (If you don't hear from me, then there was a problem with the email -- so go to my web site and contact me, okay?

    My next Tabor Heights novel is WHITE ROSES, the conclusion of the White Rose Killer investigation, which started with COMMON GROUNDS. It will be released in October, so check back here for the release party!

  20. sorry i missed your release day congrats I loveyour books!