Today I am so pleased to welcome Michele Notaro to Joyfully Jay. Michele has come to talk to us about her latest release, The Shackles That Hold Us. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

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Building this world was very much an escape for me last year. With everything that happened with my kiddo’s health, and then my own health issues, I needed a way to get out of my head and express my emotions creatively, and this world did exactly that.

Every time I was stressed and actually had a minute, I was making notes for myself, coming up with new ideas, changing what I already had, or simply talking it out with my husband and/or our kids, and I’ve talked things out with Sammi Cee, too. I can’t even tell you the number of times my hubby helped me out with little things here and there. He even helped me come up with the way the magic system works in this world. And my 10yo, holy cow, he came up with some really good ideas on how the magi collars work (which you might get to see in book 2). It was the cutest thing to have him brainstorming with me when I was stumped.

All summer, every time we went swimming, my hubby and I would bob around in my in-laws’ pool, world building. There were even a few times when I’d be working or cooking, and my hubs would come running in like “What if you did…” So my family definitely helped me talk it out quite a bit, which was a lot of fun.

So needless to say, this world and these characters have a very, very special place in my heart. I absolutely adore each and every one of them, and I’ve truly loved building this world.

I’ve loved being able to really take the time to work through things and build on top of new and old ideas. The world has grown so big, and I’m excited to show everyone just how big it is, and how full the characters are, as we move through the series.

And the characters, omg, I honestly love each and every one of them. They’re all so real to me, even every single one of Cosmo’s pride members. In book 1, I feel like you’re still just getting a small intro to the shifters because there’s so much going on, but in book 2, you’ll start to see that each of them has a full backstory. I’m looking forward to bringing those forward piece by piece, book by book. And my magi, my poor, sweet, prickly, crazy magi… Madeo, Jude, and Logan. All three of them have my heart.

I can’t express how much Madeo means to me. He’s just this huge part of my heart and a giant piece of my soul, and well, I guess that sort of explains it. I love him so much, and I hope you’ll get the chance to meet him. And Cosmo is just… so sweet and exactly what my Mads needs. I adore him.

But back to the world building. Something that I knew I wanted was to have more limitations and consequences than what I had in my Ellwood/Brinnswick world. My witches and their companions had pretty endless possibilities with their magic, and whenever someone got hurt, they could use healing spells. But I didn’t want that for this world. I wanted it to feel more dangerous and less certain. I didn’t want Madeo to walk into any situation and be able to fix it with magic. So that was different for me, which makes it really fun coming up with spells and trying to figure out exactly what runes will do what for each situation, or if anything will work at all. I must’ve written and rewritten the magic aspect a million times before I finally came up with something that I’m happy with, and I really love the way magic works in this world. This was obviously a huge aspect of building the world because it’s such a base for my MCs. Once I had this set in stone, it was easy to continue growing the rest of the world around it.

Limitations and consequences. Those have been my keywords while putting this world together, and even still while moving forward with the storyline. I’ve kept these two words in mind while working on every aspect of the world, characters, and plot. I’m pretty sure I have multiple pages of notes where I wrote these two words down at the top and circled them so I’d keep them in mind.

I feel like I could continue talking about this all day, but I’m going to cut myself off here, otherwise I’ll never stop!

I’m really excited about this world that’s so very close to my heart, and I hope when you read it, you’ll love it as much as I do.


shackles that hold us coverAs if crushin’ on a shifter wasn’t bad enough, I had to go and date one.

A mage and a shifter walk into a bar… No, that’s the whole joke.

Magi and shifters don’t mix, and yet I find myself in a relationship with Cosmo, a lion shifter. And on top of that, Cosmo, and all his pride members, consider my brothers and me to be a part of their pride. Three magi in a shifter pride. Who would’ve ever thought?

Navigating our connection while trying to figure out what’s going on in the world isn’t easy. Trusting that Cosmo means forever when he says it? Even harder. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned since meeting the Ono-Nais, it’s that taking a risk with my heart will be worth it to be a part of their lives.

The Shackles That Hold Us is a 113K novel and the second book in the MM urban fantasy series, The Magi Accounts. It’s recommended to read the series in order because it has an ongoing storyline.

*Intended for adults only. Please read the trigger warnings at the beginning of this novel.

Buy Links:


michele notaro avatarMichele is married to an awesome guy that puts up with her and all the burnt dinners she makes—hey, sometimes characters are a bit distracting, and who doesn’t plot when they’re supposed to be cooking? They live together in Baltimore, Maryland with two little monsters, three-legged and four-legged fiends, and a little old man (aka their two sons, their two cats, and their senior dog). She hopes to rescue another cat soon, and if her hubby wouldn’t kill her, she’d get more than one… and maybe a few more dogs as well.

She loves creating worlds filled with lots of love, chosen family, and of course, magic, but she also likes making the characters fight for that happy ending. She hopes to one day write all the stories in her head—even if there are too many to count!


Michele is giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Card with this tour:

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