Friday, December 30, 2016

ATTENTION LIKE THE SUN

A new year is fast approaching. Lives will be reflected upon, mistakes and shortcomings will be realized, resolutions will be made. I'm not immune to that. I'll be doing it, too. I do it every year. In fact, I do it multiple times a year. LOL Yeah, I think too much. 

Anyway, I started thinking about the things I'd like to do differently next year, both internally and externally. I won't bore you with my career goals or my health and fitness goals (those are probably just like a bajillion other peoples', LOL). I just want to tell you about one of my personal "Michelle" goals. One of my top priorities for 2017 is to do something GOOD, at least one thing for one person, every single day. It could be anything--helping someone at the store, listening to a stranger chat about his woes, gifting a book, sending a card to someone who needs a lift, praying for someone I don't know--but I want to help someone in some way every single day of forever. That's the kind of life I want to live. It's the kind of person I want to be. That train of thought got me thinking (there is that pesky thinking thing again) about how I want to make people FEEL. 

When I look back over the last year, I remember tons of good. I'm blessed that I CAN remember good. But, unfortunately, there is also quite a bit of not-so-good. I remember seeing so much ugliness out in the world, especially on social media (and we all know how I feel about social media to begin with). That started me thinking about what it feels like to have someone's attention turned toward you. It can be good or bad. I don't believe it can be neutral. People will either feel better for having interacted with you, or they'll feel worse. We all bring SOMETHING to everyone we meet, every day. Good or bad. It has to be one or the other, definitively. This year, I've seen many instances where I'd be willing to bet that certain kinds of attention probably felt like having hell fire raining down on someone's head. I don't like drama, so I usually have no idea what's going on, but I see the fallout. I see the hell fire. That brought to mind how I want people to feel when MY attention is turned toward them. 

GOOD. 

HAPPY.

BETTER.

That's how I want people to feel when they interact with me.

I want to be the type of person whose attention feels like sunshine--warm and happy and positive. When I chat with someone online or reach out to someone via text or email or a quick phone call, I want them to feel GOOD about hearing from me. I want to leave their life a better place, even if it's just for a few minutes. Life brings enough turmoil and disappointment and hardship without me adding to it. I want to be a bright spot.

This is sort of like my mission statement. I hope the life I've lived thus far hasn't been TOO far from this, but either way, this is my goal now. I hope to see you out there in 2017, and I hope that you'll be able to truthfully say to yourself that I'm doing what I set out to do, and that you are left with a smile or some happy, positive thought after running into me:)

I hope y'all had a wonderful Christmas and that 2017 will be your best year yet!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dashing Through the Snow is LIVE!

Need some fun to brighten up the holidays?  Need some heat to warm up the cold nights?  Well,this is just the thing.  DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW, a sexy, snowy Christmas story is LIVE!



A dash of perfect for the holidays!

Dilyn Hart hates Christmas, so when her boss (and ex-boyfriend) hands her an assignment to interview champion snowboarder and gorgeous playboy extraordinaire, Dash Grainger, on Christmas Eve, she takes it. There are several things she doesn’t plan for—a surly driver, a chalet in the middle of nowhere, a freak snowstorm—but the biggest surprise of all is Dash himself.

Dash Grainger lives for the high, and so far in his twenty-six years, he’s never met anyone or anything he loves more. Nothing has ever thrilled him as much as slick snow, cold air, and breakneck speed.

Until he meets Dilyn.

But one perfect night doesn’t mean clear, blue skies the next day. Some storms can’t be weathered.

Christmas might just be one of them.

GET YOUR DASH OF CHRISTMAS CHEER TODAY!

AMAZON-- http://smarturl.it/DashAMZ
BN-- http://smarturl.it/DashNook
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KOBO-- http://smarturl.it/DashKobo
GR-- http://smarturl.it/DashGR

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A political post I hope will HELP

I want to start this with the question below. It's something that occurred to me while I was in the shower (it's amazing how many great ideas and stuff I have while I wash my hair- hehe). Like 99.9% of people, I've been very disheartened by what I'm seeing on social media.  I totally respect other people's opinions, even when they differ from my own. What I often don't respect is the WAY they express those opinions, when they're voiced with hate and bullying and degradation.  Dude, whatever side of the fence you're on, that's not cool.  Anyway, here's the question:
If you were to get in a car accident, fall and break a leg, run out of money for food, have an emergency of any kind, and a total stranger showed up at your side/at your door and offered you help, would you ask that person whether they're a republican or a democrat?  Would it matter to you right then how they voted?  
Likely not.  Why?  Because there are good and kind and wonderful people everywhere, and one just showed up to help you. They're all around, good people. They're black, white, gay, straight, Christian, agnostic. You don't have to agree with them to make them good. That's just who they are, but somehow we forget that during election time (especially this go round).  Not all democrats are bad. Not all republicans are bad.  There are some who are, yes. Unfortunately, the world has a few nasty people here and there, devils even.  They're in your groups and coffeehouses, in your hospitals and workplaces, in your schools and churches.  But those places are also filled with a lot of spectacular people, some liberal, some conservative.
We should all bleed red, white and blue, not only red or only blue.  There are good points to both sides, and many voted the way they did (either R or D) for one or two very specific reasons, not because many (or any) of us agree with every single idea (or personal characteristic or choice) of the candidate.  The thing is, a new president was just elected, but it doesn't end here. It's the nature of the human condition to mess up, to never be completely satisfied. That's why we seesaw back and forth between a democratic leader and a republican one. I daresay that the vast majority of voters voted the way they did because they wanted change of one sort or another. That will be the case again in 2020. It will always be the case.  That's why we can NEVER let a president or any one person define us as individuals.  Being a decent nation starts at home. Being a decent person starts at home.  It starts with an act of kindness to the child in your kid's class who doesn't have lunch money or the old woman down the street who can't get her wheelchair up onto the sidewalk, or the friend who needs a loan or a prayer or a helping hand.  Being a decent nation is an EVERY DAY effort that doesn't change no matter who is in office.  WE make up a great nation.  WE, the people.  Our lives will go on, regardless of the leadership.  I can personally attest to that. I've been alive for several democratic presidents and several republican ones, and I can tell you that my life has gone on after every single election night.   We can't get bogged down in the hate.  We have to reach for the ideal, strive for the better place that we all want to see and live in and be buried in.
I say this because I, too, have struggled with this election, reading the hate-filled posts of people that I like and respect, and fighting to hold onto that respect after I read them.  If we were all as empathetic as we truly should be, there would be no need for laws or government.  We would all so respect and care for one another that there would be no need to provide for the poor. We would all pitch in and do it.  There would be no need for punishment of theft or murder or hate crimes.  None of us would dare hurt another person in that way. But y'all, we aren't there yet.  I doubt we will ever be.  A place like that doesn't exist. But that doesn't mean we can't do our dead level best every single day to be that kind, generous, thoughtful person to those around us.  Change starts at home, one person, one ACT at a time.  Maybe today is the day we can all reboot and start again.  Start being kind to those on the other side of the fence instead of bashing or shaming them, start loving people FOR REAL rather than just screaming tolerance and then showing none.  
I'm not going on social media for a while.  I don't want to see the damage we are doing to one another. I do not invite hateful responses to this post either. I'm just trying to help.  This is just my way of setting MY OWN MIND straight and maybe maybe maybe helping someone else (who is tired of all this ickiness) to find a better way to look at it.  We are all still in this race (the human race) together. Don't tear down the very people who could be your lifeline tomorrow. If you must look away for a while, then do it.  Find your happy place and abide there until the dust settles. Just don't feed into the hate. That is never the answer.
This is all I have to say on this subject, for what it's worth.  I am very anxious to go forward in a positive way, and I think a lot of others are, too. Hopefully we can, starting today.
Love and peace and hope to you all!
M out. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Dashing through the Snow Cover Reveal

Halloween is over.  Thanksgiving is on its way.  The season's are changing, and Christmas is right around the corner.  What better way to celebrate the holidays than to curl up with a hot, sexy story about a hot, sexy snowboarder?  Dashing through the Snow, my newest creation, is coming your way (new release date of DECEMBER 4) and I can't wait for y'all to meet these two!



Dilyn Hart hates Christmas, so when her boss (and ex-boyfriend) hands her an assignment to interview champion snowboarder and gorgeous playboy extraordinaire, Dash Grainger, on Christmas Eve, she takes it. There are several things she doesn’t plan for—a surly driver, a chalet in the middle of nowhere, a freak snowstorm—but the biggest surprise of all is Dash himself.

Dash Grainger lives for the high, and so far in his twenty-six years, he’s never met anyone or anything he loves more. Nothing has ever thrilled him as much as slick snow, cold air, and breakneck speed.

Until he meets Dilyn.

But one perfect night doesn’t mean clear, blue skies the next day. There are some storms that can’t be weathered.

Christmas Day might just be one of them.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Levi's Blue is LIVE, y'all!

Are you ready to #unzip #LevisBlue?

Levi's Blue is LIVE, y'all! 

My brand new super sexy standalone is guaranteed to make you sweat and make you swoon.

"Amazing. Unique. Beautiful. Sexy.  LEVI'S BLUE by M. Leighton is ALL THAT and MORE!" ~~ Shayna Renee's Spicy Reads


Levi’s Blue

Four beautiful days. Three steamy nights. One breathtaking love.

Levi Michelson. He wanted four dates. Four opportunities to prove I could trust him. Four chances to change my mind about him.

I agreed.

Probably not my smartest decision. He was everything I knew to avoid—gorgeous, charming, sexy as hell—but I couldn’t help myself. When he touched me the whole world disappeared. I should’ve known I could lose myself to him, that he could be the one man to destroy me.

I guess it’s true what they say—some things are too good to be true. And Levi Michaelson might just be one of them.

#LevisBlue  #Unzipped  #Sept19  #NewRelease  #ComingSoon  #MLeighton

NOW LIVE and FREE in Kindle Unlimited! 
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

LEVI'S BLUE COVER REVEAL!

Levi’s Blue

Four beautiful days.  Three steamy nights.  One breathtaking love.

Levi Michaelson. He caught me when I fell. Literally.
He wanted four dates. Four opportunities to prove I could trust him. Four chances to change my mind about him.
I agreed.
Probably not my smartest decision. He was everything I knew to avoid—gorgeous, charming, sexy as hell—but I couldn’t help myself.  When he touched me the whole world disappeared. I should’ve known I could lose myself to him, that he could be the one man to destroy me.
I guess it’s true what they say—some things are too good to be true.  And Levi Michaelson might just be one of them.


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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Big, Pretty Fourth of July Sale!





The Pretty Series books have pretty new faces and a pretty new price!  From June 29-July 6, each of the Pretty Series ebooks are on sale for ONLY 99 pennies!  Get your copies here:


I've also opened my store for the week, so you can get SIGNED PAPERBACKS with the new covers!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

All things personal

Let me forewarn you that this is likely going to be a rambling post.  Why?  Because number one, it's emotional.  And number two, I have a habit of going back over something once, twice, three times and then I talk myself out of posting it altogether, which is sort of why I'm here writing this today.  What you read next is NOT an indication of my ability to form a coherent sentence:) hehe  This is just straight from the heart, unfiltered and unedited.  It's that or I won't post it at all, so here goes.
I want to tell you a little about myself, some things that you may have gleaned by following me on social media.  For starters, social media is hard for me. In some ways, I'm a very private person.  My first inclination when virtually anything happens to me or around me is not to share it widely.  I tell my husband.  I tell my sister. I tell my best friend.  Usually, it stops there unless I make myself put it online.  A few things come naturally, like when dad died or when I'm super passionate about something, but for the most part, I just don't share things with the world in that way.  
My family is private, too. My husband has no desire to be "Mr. Leighton" in the sense that he is "The Husband Of That Chick Who Writes."  Now HE is truly a private person. Truly.  He doesn't even HAVE a Facebook account.  My mother is the same way.  She HATES it when we post about her online.  That's probably where I get it.  Like her, I hate having my picture taken, too.  HATE. IT.  I'm the least photogenic person in the world.  I will look at a picture of myself and pick out every single thing I hate about my face or my features.  That's just the way I am. I'm comfortable with who I am, but that doesn't mean I don't still see the flaws.  I've just learned to love myself despite them.  But it's for that reason that I don't post many pictures.  I have to post it and run or it won't get posted at all.  LOL
When I was growing up, my sister was the beauty of the family.   Every family event we would attend, the relatives would just OOOO and AHHHH over her when she walked in.  "Look at those blue eyes!"  "Look at that head full of gorgeous hair!"  "Look at that smile!"  She was also kind and sweet, never raised her voice and never EVER had a temper tantrum. 
I was the exact opposite. 
I was the holy terror of the family. Loud, wild, always getting into trouble and accepting dares I had no business accepting.  I had a temper, too. My parents used to pray that God would take it away from me. Yeah, it was that bad.  Needless to say, I had a lot of insecurities growing up and many of them have stuck.  Many of them have made me overly sensitive or a bit over concerned with how I'm perceived or how I make others feel. For that reason, I go out of my way to try and make people feel welcome and appreciated and comfortable.  I never want to hurt feelings or offend or anger or make anyone feel like less.  Unfortunately, on social media it's very hard to ensure that my tone and intent are conveyed appropriately, so most of the time, I just delete what I would otherwise post.  
I still have a lot of my younger self in me, though.  I'm all about the fun and the socializing IN REAL LIFE, still a bit loud and wild and sort of hyper.  But in the cyber world, I just can't seem to find a footing that I'm comfortable with.  I don't trust easily (been burned a few too *hundred* many times), which means I don't have a zillion author friends. I never make friends simply because of what they can do for me. I don't take many pictures of ANYTHING, much less pictures of my house or car or jewelry or purses or shopping excursions or trips or...anything (I was raised never to brag, so I err on the side of keeping things to myself).  I don't like photos of myself.  I don't like drama. I don't like negativity and I'm always afraid my sense of humor will be taken the wrong way (it can sometimes be heavy on the sarcastic side).  I think and re-think and then over-think every thing I post, which makes even an "check in" post a thing of torture for me.  Anyway, you see where I'm going with this.  Me + Social Media = Not a great combo. LOL
So, you take a person like me and put her in a profession where she has to put herself "out there" for the judgment and criticism of the entire world, not just for her work, but for who she is, what she thinks and believes, what she says and how she behaves, and you have a recipe for a recluse. LOL  Which is essentially what I am.  And yet, in this day and age, social media has a direct correlation to sales.  To a certain extent, we have to sell our books online.  That, too, is very hard for me and I'm sure it comes across loud and clear.  So where does that leave me?
Here. Writing this lengthy, raw-and-real post to explain myself to you.
Y'all, I do this-- ALL THIS-- because I love writing. I love writing stories that Y'ALL love.  It's like crack to me.  It really is.  Almost to an unhealthy degree, I would guess.  I would love nothing more than for millions of readers to devour and adore ALL of my books. I would swear I'd died and gone to heaven.  Seriously.  But when a book doesn't do well and that doesn't happen, I turn inward and start questioning EVERYTHING.  I think about what I could've or should've done differently, what I need to work on, what skill I need to hone, how I can do it better next time.  I'm a writer.  My entire career goal is to write an epic book that makes itself a permanent fixture in your heart, to write "that book" that you never forget.  Never.  But that can also come at a price, a price that can be counterproductive to an author.  There comes a point when it all becomes about sales as a measure of a book's worth rather than writing what I love and pouring my heart into it.  
I hate that place.
I hate it.  
I hate feeling like I have to write a certain thing in order to sell books, or that I have to sell mySELF in order to sell my books.  And I'm being 100% honest when I tell you that I've been told that more than once--that we have to make y'all fall in love with US and then you'll buy our books, that we aren't just selling our work, we're selling ourSELVES.
But I just can't do it.  No matter how much I try to be like everyone else, I can't.  It blows up in my face.  And for good reason. I'm NOT like everyone else.  I'm me, for better or worse.  THIS is who I am.  I have faults and insecurities and flaws just like everyone else in the world. I'm not a jetsetter. I'm not a rockstar.  I don't want to live my life in the limelight, nor do I want to tell the world to eff off.  I'm just me, a regular person with regular feelings.  But I'm genuine.  I will say that about myself.  I'm genuine, and trying to be something online that I'm not makes me disingenuous, and THAT is not okay with me.
I say ALLLLLLL of the above to say this:  I want y'all to love my books. So much so that you read them and want to go straight and tell all your friends about them.  And if you don't, then I'll half kill myself trying harder and harder and harder to give you a book that you DO love that much.  THAT is who I am. I'm an overachiever.  I'm a people pleaser.  I'm a gusher and a squealer.  I'm still part nerd and part cheerleader.  But I'm not a quitter.  I don't give up.  I'm just going to have to do this my way, hermit and all, social suckitude and all.  (Yes, I just made up a word, but that's okay, too.)  Trends and fads will come and go, but I'll still be here writing for you.  Because I love it and this is who I am.  I'm a writer.  I'll be here trying to make you fall in love. Trying to make you feel something.  Trying to make your world a better place, if only for a few hours at a time.  I care what you think. I care what I write.  I just happen to suck at social media.  
Okay, so...  *shakes it off*  Before I end this train wreck-of-a-post, let me say this as well:  I love y'all.  You've changed my life.  I wouldn't even HAVE a blog or a Twitter account if it weren't for you.  I lovelovelove interacting with you.  This wouldn't even be an issue if we could meet in person, but this is the digital age, so it's a necessary evil.  Just please know that I'm much better either in person OR via a message/email/wall post.  If you don't believe me, hit me up and find out for yourself:)  
I'll end with this:  Please don't judge me for things you see on social media. Or LACK thereof.  Some of us are much more than what you see online:)

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


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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Empty Jar Cover Reveal!

Cover Reveal
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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


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

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


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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A  Little Tease