Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trick or Treat- Halloween with Trick and Cami

Cami’s told me a thousand times how much she hates to be scared.  The thing is, she loves scary movies.  She loves to watch them through her fingers or over the edge of a blanket, so I know it’s not entirely true when she says she doesn't like to be scared.  I think she just likes to be scared a certain amount and no more.  She likes to control it.
Well, not this year.
I’ve already got it all planned out and Rusty and Jenna are game. Of course.  There’s very little those two won’t do.  Very.  Little.
Timing will be key, but I really think we can do it and it’ll work out perfectly.  Without delay, I set things in motion.
“So, Rusty’s gonna come over tonight to shoot some pool while you and Jenna watch the movie.  Is that okay?”
“Are you sure you’re not mad that we aren’t having a costume party?” she says, looking up at me from her spot on the couch, her violet eyes wide with concern.
I bend down and kiss her forehead.  “I’m positive.  I’m not feeling very Halloweeny tonight anyway. My back’s sore from moving all that hay yesterday.”
She pushes her lower lip out in a pout.  “I’m sorry, baby.  Want me to cancel with Jenna so I can give you a massage after a nice, long, hot bath?”
Oh, damn! 
I have to think long and hard about saying no to that.  But this is just too good to pass up.  And maybe she’ll want some soothing herself after it’s all over.  I could be in the midst of a true win-win situation.  What kind of an asshole would I be to let such an opportunity pass? 
A dumb one. 
“Nah.  That’s all right. You’ve already got your plans.  Maybe tomorrow,” I say with a casual smile.  Inside, I’m rubbing my hands together anxiously, dying to scare the shit out of my lovely mate.  “I’m gonna go stock the fridge downstairs.  Send Rusty down when he gets here.”
“Okay,” she says, tipping her head back for a kiss, which I’m all too happy to give her.  When I feel her tongue hit my lips, it makes me rethink my decision.  A night in the bathtub with Cami?  And I’m passing it up?  I must be nuts.
But I do.  I manage to tear myself away from her luscious mouth and head downstairs to await Rusty and Jenna.  When they arrive, I hear the heavy clomp of Rusty’s footsteps across the hardwoods upstairs, followed by the high-pitched chatter of Cami and Jenna.  Within a few seconds, I hear the basement door open.  The thumping gets louder as Rusty descends the steps.
“Damn, you’re loud!”
“But I can be quiet when I need to be,” he says with a wicked grin.  “Muwahahahaha.”
“Shhh.  I’m counting on it,” I say, offering my fist, which he bumps.
I turn on the music,and Rusty and I actually shoot some pool for a while.  After about twenty minutes, Jenna comes to the top of the steps and hollers down to us.
“You boys sure you don’t want to watch ‘Halloween’ with us?  It’s just now starting.”
That’s our cue.
“Nope, we’re good,” I reply.  I look at my watch to mark the exact time.  There’s a particular spot in the movie that I need to use and I know precisely how many minutes it is from the opening credits, which is what Jenna just alerted me to.
I glance at Rusty across the green felt table.  He’s grinning.  I am, too.  I feel like a kid again.  “Man, you’re evil.  All this to scare Cami?  What’s the matter with you?”
“She’ll love it.  You just wait.  She will.”
I’m confident.
I think.
I hope.
Exactly forty-two minutes later, Rusty and I put on our masks and he takes off out the back door and around to the kitchen window. I walk to the bottom of the steps.
“Hey, Cam.  Do we have any salsa in the fridge up there?”
In my mind’s eye, I can see exactly what she’s doing.  She’ll look at Jenna and roll her eyes, pick up the remote and pause the movie.  She’ll get up and trudge to the kitchen and open the refrigerator to look for the salsa she knows we have, because she just bought it the other day. 
Only I took it out and brought it down here.
Moving as quietly as I can, I tiptoe up the steps and through the door, which Jenna left open per instruction.  In my sock feet, I ease silently through and slide down the hall to the kitchen doorway, which comes up right beside the fridge. 
As I suspected, the door is open and Cami’s bent over looking inside.  For salsa.  She can’t see me where I’m hiding behind the door.
Right on cue, Jenna comes into the kitchen. She asks Cami what she’s looking for, gets Cami to look in her direction.  When she does, she can see the window just past Jenna’s shoulder.
I know the instant she sees Rusty, who is standing outside the kitchen window wearing a Michael Myers mask.  Cami screams her head off. A few seconds later, Jenna does, too.  Just for effect.  Cami backs up just enough the she can see me standing behind the refrigerator door, wearing my own Michael Myers mask. 
The look on her face is priceless. I swear, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone get that scared and not pass out.  She jumps back and slams right into Jenna, then screams and jumps in the other direction. 
At just that moment, Rusty bursts through the front door and yells, making Cami scream yet again.  He walks toward her, as if he’s gonna grab her. 
I expect him to start laughing, like he usually does.  But bHefore he can, Cami picks up a knife from the counter and stabs him right in the center of the chest. 
I feel the world drop out from under me. 
Holy shit! Holy shit! She just stabbed Rusty.  Oh my God!
I jerk off my mask when I see Cami bring her arm back to stab him again.
“Cami, no!  It’s Rusty!”
She turns to me, looking confused, and stares at me for a few seconds before she drops the knife onto the floor. It clatters loudly as she covers her mouth with her hands, obviously shocked.  Rusty crumbles to the ground and lies in a motionless heap in front of the dishwasher.
Jenna runs to him and falls to her knees beside him, crying and screaming and touching him all over, like she doesn’t know what to do, where to touch or how to help.
“Oh my God! What have you done?”
My head is spinning as I rush to Rusty to see how bad the damage is.  When I bend over to check him out, I hear laughter coming from behind me.  Cami’s laughter.
Rusty, very much alive, awake and unharmed, sits up and points to her.  “Dude, that girl’s meaner than you are!”
I turn to look at Cami, who’s standing behind me, holding what I can now see is a prank knife.  She’s grinning like a hungry man who just ate a steak dinner.
“Go on,” she crows.  “Admit it.  I just made you my Halloween bitch.”
I’m dumbstruck for a few seconds while I digest what just happened.  Then, slowly, I rise to my feet.  “You are evil and you must be punished.  You’ve got a three-second head start.  One.  Two.”
Before I get to three, Cami takes off down the hall, squealing and laughing at the top of her lungs.  Another thing she says she hates but actually loves?  Being chased. 
And I’m happy to chase her.  Every day, for the rest of my life. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Taking Back Monday Giveaway Winners

First, let me thank everyone for playing!  I had so much fun with this!  I love giveaways anyway, but seeing what stands out to y'all throughout my book is absolutely fascinating and thrilling to me.  So thank you!  Very much:)

Okay, so 4 winners were drawn at random.  They are as follows:

1. Kendra
2. Christeena
3. Mommasbooks
4. Lisa David


If I I don't hear from each winner within 24 hours, I'll draw again to find a new winner, so be sure to e-mail me your name and mailing address to m.leighton.books@gmail.com so I can send you your book:)  Eeeeeeeeeeeeep

Monday, October 8, 2012

Taking Back Monday Giveaway

It's Monday.  Ack!  It has sort of a death-knell ring to it, doesn't it?  Monnnnnnnnnndaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.  It's like mourning for the death of the weekend begins bright and early on Monday morning.  I feel like everywhere I look today there's ickiness and awfulness and meanness.  Double ack!  And I know that's not accurate. It just seems to rise to the top on Mondays.  Dang it!  So, I'm fighting back with something happy.  Like free books and dreamy guys.  How's that for ammunition?  *waggles eyebrows*  Right???? 

I'm going to make this short and sweet, so here are the deets:

What's the prize?

There will be FOUR prizes.  I'll be giving away 2 signed copies of Down to You AND 2 signed copies of The Wild Ones!  And, of course, I'll throw some swag in there. Y'all know how I love to make people smile unexpectedly.  It makes me happy:)

How do you enter?

1.  Follow this blog

2.  Leave me a comment with your entry statement, which has to be either a Tweet or a FB post, as follows:

Options:  Tweet OR FB tag me (Michelle Leighton) with something you liked from Down to You or a reason you want to read Down to You if you haven't.  Just something happy and fun.  Something that will make you smile and maybe even the people who read your tweet/post smile.  Wouldn't that be pretty cool?  Cash and Nash: On a mission to spread love one tweet at a time.  *snickers*  Okay, that might be a little much, but you get the idea.  You can even copy and paste the following sentence if you'd like, just fill in the blank.

I love ___________________!  #DownToYou  @mleightonbooks

Who can enter?

Anyone 18 years or older.  Yes, it's open internationally. 

When will the winner be announced?

I'll draw Friday evening (October 12, 2012) and announce the winner in a blog post right here by 9pm EST. 

Easy peasy, right?  Right.  Okay, so get to it!  And spread the word if you don't mind.  That's kind of the whole point, right?  To spread something happy and nice rather than something...not?  hehe  Yep, that's the plan. 

Okay, so here we go!  Taking back Monday!  *insert battle cry here*  I hope your day is wonderful and your evening even better:)  And have a great week!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Down to You- Thank God for its heyday

Okay, so it's true.  I can't thank God enough.  Or y'all.  Every single one of you.  Without you, I wouldn't even be writing this post.  So please know, as you read on, that not a day goes by that I'm not DEEPLY and ETERNALLY grateful.  Because I am.  Probably more so every day.  And that's saying a lot, because I'm a pretty thankful person. 

I hope none of this comes across as bragging.  If you follow my blog much, you know I don't post things about sales or ranks.  But today, I'm going to.  Why?  Because I am so excited, I can barely stand myself. I've squealed so much, I've given myself a headache, and I'm pretty sure seeing spots isn't a normal thing:D  LOL  Also, you can't imagine how difficult it is to eat around a smile this big.  All this deliciousness is too much to keep to oneself, so I want to share it with you--the people who brought me and Olivia and Cash and Nash to this point. 

Soooooo much has happened since I quit my job to write full time.  It's been incredibly hard at times, incredibly emotional at times (some bad, but mostly good), but most of all, it's been incredibly rewarding.  As a writer, the last two months have been the greatest of my career (the next one being the day I sold my very first book).  So far anyway.  As a person, they're right up there with a couple of my other dream-come-true moments.  As I've said a dozen times in the last few weeks, to say that this has all been surreal would be the equivalent of calling the moon a shiny pebble.  hehe  You get my meaning;)

I released Down to You, my first adult book, on Sunday, September 23, 2012.  Thanks to Amazon and Barnes and Noble and a whole slew of other sites, authors like me are able to put their work out for readers to (hopefully) stumble upon and (hopefully) enjoy.  They are yet another couple things I'm thankful for.  To say they changed my life seems ridiculously insufficient in light of what's below. 

Anyway, I hope it hasn't already peaked, but just in case it has, I am recording this period of time--Down to You in its heyday! Wahoooooooo!  Things change so quickly and there are so, so many amazing books out there, I feel honored and privileged and extremely humbled to have been ranked among them for five minutes, let alone a few days.

(updated 10-18-12)

Here is is at #3 on Amazon

Here it is at #3 on Barnes and Noble

Here it is at #17 on USA Today Best Seller's list (10-11-12) 

And here it is at #8 (ebook) and #12 (combined print and ebook) on New York Times Best Seller's List (10-21-12)

To say I'm happy today would be a gross understatement.  To say I'm just thankful would be a tragedy.  I am thrilled.  I am gratified. I am overwhelmed. I am excited.  I am optimistic. I am challenged.  I am inspired.  But most of all, I am grateful.  So, so grateful.  My God, my readers, where would I be without you?  I know I say it a lot, but it needs to be said and I MEAN it a lot.  THANK YOU.  Truly.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Decisions, decisions

To say my life has been a whirlwind lately would be like calling Katrina a puff of wind.  Okay, that might be a bit much, but you get what I mean.  I feel...crazy.  That's not so unusual, but this is a good kind of crazy, so I'm okay with it.  hehe

Let me start from way back when I published The Wild Ones on July 30, 2012.  That book was my hail Mary, but that's another story altogether.  This story starts when I reached the top 40 on Amazon and attracted the attention of some literary agents.  *cue the dreamy, rewind-time music*

It all began on August 21, 2012.  That was the first day I heard from Trident Media Group.  I'm gonna skip some things and hit the high spots so that this doesn't take you for-freaking-ever to read! I'm considerate like that:) hehe  Anyway, over the following weeks, I spoke to several awesome agents, but decided on September 5th to go with Kim Whalen of Trident.  Best.  Decision.  Ever.  OMG!

The very next day after I decided to go with Kim, she came with the information that Berkley (part of Penguin) wanted me on exclusive (preempting other publishers, which is a whole other awesome thing altogether) and, after much discussion, we decided to do it.  This is where I'll skip the days and days of working through details and Kim bringing her big guns to the table, making sure to watch out for my best interests.  I'll just say that I'm FOREVER grateful to her and leave it at that. 

So, here we are, weeks later, and the announcement has been made by Berkley that we've reached an agreement for a three book deal to publish The Wild Ones as a series.  I didn't want to say anything until it was a done deal, but I guess the cat's out of the bag now.  LOL  Anyway, I don't know if you're throwing confetti, but I sure am:D  hehe There was a lot of soul searching and late-night talks with hubby about doing this and about what would be best for me as a person, as well as me as a writer.  We finally decided that this IS the wise move for right now.  And one of the best parts is that I will still be able to publish books on my own in the meantime.  Wahooooooo! 

I say all that to say this:  I am committed to writing the next two books over the next 5 months, so I won't be working on anything but The Wild Ones series and book 2 in the Down to You series.  I write fast, but there's no way in the world I can work on anything else until I finish.  Now you'll know why I won't be on Twitter and Facebook as much.  I am contractually bound to get these books done on time, so my days of shopping instead of writing are over for the foreseeable future.  *cries*  But I think it will be worth it in the long run.

Updated:  Also, please know that I am trying my absolute best to keep up with Twitter, Facebook and e-mail.  IF I miss you, know that I am genuinely sorry and it was completely by accident.  Some things just fall through the cracks.  Just know that I'm trying my hardest and that I WANT to respond to every single one:)

The sentiment I want to end this post with is that none of the above would've been possible without all of you.  Every single person that bought and loved The Wild Ones and told their friends about it played a vital role in pushing it up the charts and getting the attention of the big dogs up in New York.  For that I am TRULY, HONESTLY, DEEPLY grateful!  Y'all have helped make my dreams come true and I THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart and the quietest part of my soul. 

I'm saving Down to You gushing and confetti-throwing for a later post.  It has earned its own spot and thank-you shout-out:)

I love y'all.  And I'm more grateful than you could ever, ever, EVER imagine!  I hope you have an amazing day!!