Sunday, May 8, 2016

THE EMPTY JAR IS LIVE!


Finally!

THE EMPTY JAR IS LIVE!  

And what better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than with a book like this, a poignant tale about the power of love.  This is what readers are saying about my new story:

“The ultimate love story.”
“It is a masterpiece.”
“Heartbreaking. Hopeful. Brilliant.”
“Hands down the best book I have ever read.”
“If I could only tell you to read one book this year, it would be this book.”
“After today, life as I know it will be ‘AEJ’, after The Empty Jar. I will not be the same.”

Get your copy today!

BARNES & NOBLE http://smarturl.it/TheEmptyJarBN

ADD TO GOODREADS http://smarturl.it/TheEmptyJarGR



This is a personal note that I wanted to share with you, my wonderful readers:

This book is not a romantic fairy tale. Yet, it’s the most romantic story I’ve ever told.  It’s a journey of pain and loss, of hope and happiness.  It’s both achingly tragic and exquisitely beautiful.  It’s a love story.  A true love story about real love. The kind that sees you through the night and holds you when you cry. The kind that won't give up and never lets go. The kind we all dream about and few find. But it’s real. I promise you, it’s real. I’ve seen this kind of love, and I've seen this kind of heartbreak. I got to see it up close and personal, and quite honestly, I will never be the same.  I hope it changes you as much as it changed me.

The Empty Jar

Three months touring Europe.
Romantic.  Dazzling.  Unforgettable.
The trip of a lifetime.

But some lifetimes are shorter…

We couldn’t have known it would work out this way.  No one could.  No one could’ve guessed that something so beautiful could be so tragic.

But it is tragic.
Yet so, so beautiful.

That’s what sacrifice is—beauty and tragedy.
It’s pain and suffering for something or someone you love.

And this is the ultimate sacrifice.
One stunning act of true love.

This is our story.

Our true love story.





Get your copy today!
BARNES & NOBLE http://smarturl.it/TheEmptyJarBN

ADD TO GOODREADS http://smarturl.it/TheEmptyJarGR


CONNECT WITH ME!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Empty Jar Cover Reveal!

Cover Reveal
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Title:        The Empty Jar
Author:    M. Leighton
Release:   May 8, 2016


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First of all, a huge, heartfelt thank you to every single one of you amazing women who is helping me reveal this cover today.  I appreciate everything you do for me, for authors and readers in general and for this community.

Secondly…

OMG IT’S FINALLY TIME FOR THE EMPTY JAR COVER REVEAL!!!

I feel like I’ve been waiting AGES to share this with you! 

This cover… GAH!  Y’all, it took me forEVER to get it just right. There was a certain “feel” that I wanted to achieve with it and I wasn’t happy until I felt that it jumped right out when I looked at it.  I wanted the cover to speak of the book, wanted it to show the highs and lows, the sweet and the poignant, the depth of it, if you will.  And finally…finally, I feel like it does:) You might not realize just how much NOW, but once you read it, you’ll be like, “Yeah. It’s perfect for this book!”

When I got the paperback proof in the other day, I held it in my hands and I just stared at it. Not only is this story extremely special to me, but this is probably my favorite cover of all my books.  Ever.  When I look at it, I see so much more than just a picture.  I see all the things that I find in life as well as what I put into the story that is The Empty Jar.  It’s a blend of happy pinks and brooding blues. It’s light and it’s dark.  There are highs and there are lows. There is morning and there is night.  But if you notice the sky on this cover, there are little flickers of brightness in the bodies of the lightning bugs.  Life is that way, too.  Even in the darkest part of the night, there is a spark of hope.  There is beauty. There is the romantic glow of a full moon, the silvery face of your mate, the delicate twinkle of fireflies. It’s all there if we look hard enough—that balance of beauty and tragedy.

And love.

Always love.


Below is a little more about the book. It’s hard to tell you much without spoiling anything, but I think you can get a feel for it.  It’s such a special story. So raw, so real.  I honestly can’t wait for y’all to read it!  I hope you love IT and the cover as much as I do:)


Description
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The Empty Jar 

(May 8, 2016)


Three months touring Europe.
Romantic.  Dazzling.  Unforgettable.
The trip of a lifetime.

But some lifetimes are shorter…

We couldn’t have known it would work out this way.  No one could.  No one could’ve guessed that something so beautiful could be so tragic.

But it is tragic.
Yet so, so beautiful.

That’s what sacrifice is—beauty and tragedy.
It’s pain and suffering for something or someone you love.

And this is the ultimate sacrifice.
One stunning act of true love.

This is our story.

Our true love story.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Add to Goodreads

Add this book on Goodreads


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Connect with Michelle
Stay on top of all things M. Leighton and The Empty Jar here:


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A  Little Tease


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Miracles, Family and Work

What a year 2015 has been!  I think it rivals in ickiness what 2012 held in awesomeness.  It has challenged me in pretty much every area of my life.  Part of me wants to share all about it, but another part is hesitant.  I tend to be a pretty private person anyway, but I never know what kind of reaction to expect when I open up a vein a bleed a little bit publicly, whether it be via a book or a confession. It's important that you know the whys behind my decisions, though, so I'm going to tell you about my year.

It began with my mother's diagnosis of breast cancer at the beginning of January.  It progressed to a scare of my own at the end of the month (turns out it was a lymph node- phew!) and then ended with her having surgery. In March, she started chemo.  In June, they had to discontinue one of her drugs because of the severity of the side effects she was having.  She's still taking the other, though, and won't be completely finished with chemo until March of 2016.  That brings us up to now.

Now.

*sigh*

My father has just been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer.  I feel like this awful C-word has come into my life, into the life of my loved ones, like a wolf into the hen house, eating up everything good.  I think I've prayed more this year than maybe at any other time in my life.  But the fact that i can pray at all reminds me that not ALL good things are gone.  I've always got God.  I have a close relationship with Him anyway, but this year He has taken on a whole new role in my life. My faith has been tested at every turn, it seems.  I've prayed for miracles.  More times than I can count, I've prayed for miracles.   And it's not that God didn't answer my prayers; it's just that the answer was "no".  And sometimes that happens.  Sometimes the answer is "no".  Things could've been much worse for Mom, though, so maybe that was a miracle in and of itself.  And maybe there's still a miracle for Dad somewhere in the future. I haven't stopped praying for one, nor will I.  Why?  Because what I KNOW is that, just because my family doesn't get a miracle in this instance doesn't mean that God's not doing them anymore.  I've seen them before.  I know they can happen.  But one of the hardest parts of life is learning that sometimes the best thing for us is the very hardest thing in the world. If that happens, and usually it will at least once in a lifetime, all we can do is pray for the strength to go through it with grace. So that's what I'm doing.  I'm trying to handle this with grace.  And I'm still praying.  Praying for all I'm worth.

What I'm also doing is spending as much time with my family as I can.  I want to be there with them for the hard parts as well as the fun stuff, which I'm hoping the holidays can still be. I really want to have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas for them.  I'm praying for that, too.  That's what brings me to write this post.

I have to address work.

I'll be late in delivering Handful of Tears, the book to follow Pocketful of Sand.  At this point, I'm not even going to hint at a date because I just don't know what to expect.  Also, I've decided to shelve Madly.  A very wise and successful writing friend told me at a retreat in September that sometimes we have to do what's best rather than what our readers want.  This is what's best for me.  This is what's best for Madly. I know this won't be a popular decision, but trust me, you do NOT want me to force myself to write it.  I'd rather leave Madly and Jackson alone right now than to risk writing something subpar for them.  I hope you understand.  And to one particular reader, you know who you are, who recently told me to "man up, Leighton" when I bared my soul a little bit on here, I can only hope that you never, ever, ever, ever have to watch both of your parents struggle with cancer at the same time.  Or AT ALL.  But if you do, I guarantee you that hearing "man up" will be at the top of the list of things you really don't appreciate.

As for travel, I want you signing organizers to know that I'm so, so grateful for being invited to your events! However, I won't be doing any travel for the foreseeable future.  Now you know why.  I hope that things will be brighter next year and I can get back in the saddle in 2017:)

With all this being said, I want to thank y'all for your unwavering support and understanding.  I never want to come across as negative or as a whiner or complainer.  These are simply facts.  Irrefutable, irreversible facts.  No matter how much I wish that weren't the case, it is.  I'm dealing with this the best that I can, but it's time for me to put family first and that's what I'm going to do.  If I don't respond to a message in a timely manner, I apologize in advance. I know it's going to happen.  Just know that it's not intentional.  Y'all have changed my life and I'm grateful for every one of you who reads my work and who takes the time to message me or tag me on social media.  I appreciate you every single day!

Also, I want to thank everyone who has kept my family in their prayers.  I can only hope that your friends rally around you in this very same way when you need them the most. It makes a world of difference!

And lastly, y'all, BE HEALTHY!  Take care of your body.  Eat good food.  Get some exercise.  Laugh. Love. Live every single day like the world might end tomorrow.  It may or may not end, but it sure might feel like it.  So enjoy the perfect days.  Give thanks.  Be kind.  Keep on keepin' on.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Awareness and helping others

Just a warning that this post isn't flowers and rainbows, so brace yourself.

It's about cancer.

Everybody hates that word.  I am no different.

This topic---and ANY variety of cancer---has taken on a very personal note for me.  My family is suffering from it in every direction.  My mother with breast cancer, my cousin and two of my aunts with the same, my uncle and my niece's boyfriend (at 20 years old) with lymphoma.  My best friend, my former boss, my childhood friend, SO MANY of my relatives with skin cancer, and now a scare with my dad (which is all I hope it will be--just a scare), it seems that this awful disease is attacking lives and families from multiple angles these days.  That's why when I was approached by a lovely lady who'd been diagnosed with and BEAT mesothelioma, someone who wanted my help in spreading awareness about it, I felt it my duty to jump in.  We can never know when a life will be saved because a person is caused to look at their symptoms differently and maybe seek help because of them.  We can never know when our story or that of a loved one can bring comfort or hope or just a feeling of not being alone to someone else.  So here I am, broaching a painful subject for most, and sharing with you a little of what Heather Von St. James shared with me.

For a little background on Mesothelioma Awareness Day, I celebrate every year by raising awareness for mesothelioma.  It's often considered a "silent" disease because it can take decades for symptoms to begin to show and exposure to asbestos very easily occurred because the dangers weren't known.  I was exposed by wearing my dad's jacket that had been covered in "dust." :(  -- Heather Von St. James

You can learn more about Heather, her illness and her story by visiting her on social media or tuning in to her tweet chat on Friday (flyer at the bottom).

I'll end with this: For all those who are worried about their symptoms, for those who are awaiting a terrifying doctor's appointment, for those who are preparing for a test, for those who have just gotten the scariest diagnosis of their life and for those whose loved ones are at one of the stages above, please know that you are not alone.  Seek out support, be it in a group or a perfect stranger or a close friend or family member who has been through it before, find someone to talk to.  It can make the weight much more bearable.  You aren't suffering alone.  Only together, through sharing and awareness and fundraisers for research, can we make strides toward beating this horrific disease with all its many ugly faces.

Live every day like it's your last.  I know that's cliche, but it's so, so true!  We can never, ever know when this day, this hour will be the last one of its kind--where our loved ones are healthy and alive, where our bodies aren't ravaged by something we can't understand, where sadness and heartache aren't constant companions.  Enjoy every good day, every good minute. Take pictures.  Write about it in a journal.  Share it with your kids or your parents or your siblings or your best friend.  Whatever you do, grab every second with both hands and make wonderful memories.  I promise you won't regret it:)