Sunday, August 2, 2015

Strong Enough--an itty bitty excerpt

It is SO FREAKIN' HARD for me to choose excerpts! OMG! I want y'all to read ALL OF IT and I get so excited about it as I start skimming through that I have a really difficult time choosing something to share. I ended up going with this one because I can identify with Muse's pain so much, that sense of spiraling down, down, down and being unable to stop it.  If you could paint, would you ever paint a picture like this?


I travel the familiar road that leads to the river. Even though I’m hissing hostility like a busted radiator hisses steam, something in me yearns for the “homeyness” of the river. It’s the closest I can get to Jasper right now, and even though he’s the source of my current disgruntled state, I follow my instinct and go toward him anyway.
When I get to the river, I’m glad to see that the bank I like is empty except for a few birds. They fly when I wheel my bike to a stop in the grass.
I engage the kickstand and pull out my supplies from the basket, hauling it all to a sunny spot near the water’s edge. With the ease of someone who has done it dozens of times, I set up my easel and place my canvas before taking out brushes and digging out my tray of watercolors. When it’s all ready and a brush is gripped firmly between my fingers, I take one look at the bright, happy scene before me and I begin to paint.
Thoughts about my new life, about my old one as well, circle my mind like a predator, waiting to attack. I think about how I used to think I was happy. I think about the way I felt like I was flying when I was with Jasper. I think about how nothing else mattered when I was in his arms, drowning in his kiss. Not the world outside, not the people within it, not the past or the future, not right or wrong—nothing mattered except Jasper and me and the electricity that was between us. And I think about now, today, and how I’m one step closer to giving up. How I’m sinking deeper and deeper into hopelessness and misery. It’s with all this swirling through me that I paint.
Emotion pours from me like blood, black blood spurting from a mortal wound in some unfathomable place. The trees that take shape are dark and pointed, their branches more like thorns than foliage, and the sun never appears. It’s hidden by thick, rolling clouds that speak only of warning, warning of unpleasantness to come. And the water . . . the water looks nothing like what’s in front of me. The water on my canvas is turbulent, churning, its surface anything but placid and sweet.
I lash at the canvas with my brush, unaware of the tears streaming down my face until another chill seems to freeze them on my cheeks.
I gasp this time, dropping my brush and whirling around like someone tapped me on the shoulder. I look about, three hundred and sixty degrees, but don’t see even one sign of another person.
Eyes still watering and chest now heaving, I reach for my brush, carefully examining this odd sensation that has come over me for the second time. What am I feeling? Anger? Pain? Loneliness? Desperation?
Yes. To all of them. But why? Why would I get such a sudden burst of sensation out of nowhere? I have experienced most of these feelings practically every day since I left America, but never like this. Never all at once and so poignantly that it’s physically startling.

When I turn back toward my painting, I see the unrest of my soul. It’s coloring everything around me, stealing beauty from the beautiful. I know I shouldn’t let this happen, shouldn’t let this go on. But I just don’t know how to stop it.  In fact, I’m not sure I even can.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Strong Enough- See Jasper through Muse's eyes

I seriously cannot believe that, in less than one week, Strong Enough will be live.  If I thought about it very much, it might give me case of the "vaypahs."  LOL  That's why I won't.  No one wants to see me get all breathless and pass out and then have to haul me to the hospital:)  hehe  But I digress.

Okay, so today I want to introduce you to Jasper. I want you to see him the way Muse sees him at their first meeting.  OMG even now--it's been almost a year since I wrote this--I can close my eyes and picture him standing there behind her as clearly as if I'd met him in real life.  Man! I have the best job ever!


And Jasper from Strong Enough, coming August 4, 2015.

When my eyes settle on the interloper, all thoughts of Matt and the past and every trouble in the world melt away for the time it takes me to regain my breath.
A man is standing behind me. I didn’t hear him approach, didn’t smell cologne or soap, didn’t sense the stir of the air. He was just coming through the door one second and looming right behind me the next.
He’s tall, very tall, and dressed in black from head to toe. Other than his lean, dramatically V-shaped physique, that’s all I notice about his body. It’s his face that captivates me. From an artist’s standpoint, he reminds me of a bronze sculpture, something strong and ancient that was carved by the talented hands of Michelangelo or Donatello, Bernini or Rodin. From a woman’s standpoint, he’s simply breathtaking.
His face is full of angles and hollows—the ridge of his brow, the slice of his nose, the edge of his cheekbones, the square of his chin. Even his lips are so clearly defined that I find myself wanting to stare at them, to reach up and touch them. Find out if they’re real. If he’s real. But it’s his eyes that I finally get stuck on. Or maybe stuck in. They’re pale, sparkling gold, like a jar of honey when you hold it up to the sun. And they’re just as warm and sticky, trapping me in their delicious depths.
Despite all my worries, worries that have consumed me for several days now, I am only aware of the raw, primal power that radiates from him like heat from a fire. He doesn’t have to say a word, doesn’t have to move a muscle to exude confidence and capability. And danger. Lots and lots of danger.
I don’t know how long I’ve been staring at him when I become aware of his lips twisting into the barest of smiles. It’s minimally polite, but somehow anything more would seem a betrayal of the intensity that oozes from his every pore. The tiny movement is potent, though, and I feel it resonate within every one of my female organs like the echo of a drumbeat in the depths of a hollow cave. God, he’s gorgeous.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sophie Marks, the woman we love to hate

As I write installment number five in the Always with You serial, I keep getting a mental image of Sophie, the woman that I love to hate.  Her blonde haired/blue eyed exterior perfectly disguises her undeniably devious interior.  She plays the sweet innocent with Cash, skillfully wielding her daughter as a weapon, but Olivia sees through her.  When she looks into those traitorous eyes, she sees the shark that lies just beneath the surface. She sees the woman who seeks only to take what isn't hers--Cash Davenport.

If you're like me and you want a face to go with this devil-in-disguise, here's one for you.  Laura Vandervoort.

The sweet girl she portrays...

...the schemer Olivia sees...

...and the snake she really is.


Monday, April 27, 2015

CASH IS BACK! Starting May 1st...

OMG I just love typing those words-- CASH. IS. BACK.

Wow!  It's like going home:)  Eeeeeeeeeep

Anyway, I digress.  So, back at Christmas, I did a Cash-and-Olivia short story that left you with the promise of more.  Well, in just a few more days on May 1st, you'll get more.  Their last story, Always with You, won't be published as a single title, but let me tell you why so that you don't get discouraged:)

As many of you know, my personal life has been in a certain amount of upheaval since we got some bad family news in January.  Knowing that things will not be settled again for some time to come, I was concerned that trying to concentrate enough to sit and write an entire novel at once might be a bit more of an undertaking than my scattered brain could handle.  So, I decided to do this in parts.  Trying to figure out how best to get you these parts was something of a challenge, as it seemed there was a big down side to everything I considered.  In the end, I found what I think is a great way, though.  I'm going to publish each installment for FREE on my website weekly.

I decided on weekly ones simply for the length, as it'll be easier for you to read them online if they're shorter.  Another benefit is that short bursts of writing seem to work best with my pitiful attention span of late.  I consider that win-win. LOL  At the end of each month, I'll publish that month's installments (4-5 depending on the month) in one novella (approximately 20,000 words) and put it on Amazon for 99 cents.  That way it'll be available widely for those who would rather read it in one sitting on their kindle or kindle app rather than weekly on my website.

Now, because of the content and the frequency of posts, my website is the best place to host these installments.  The page will be password protected so that no pretty little young things can stumble upon it by accident, because let's face it--sometimes Cash and Olivia get a little hot:)  You'll get all this information in the newsletter that I'll be sending out on May 1st.  I'll send out a new newsletter on the first of each month with the new password for that month's installments.  I've tried to think of everything, but you know how the best laid plans work, right?

If you have questions, feel free to ask.  If you haven't signed up for my newsletter, you can do so here.  And if you have and don't get updates, check your spam.  Many email providers see these newsletters as spam.

Last but not least, here's the blurb for this final story.  It's a true testament to my addled brain that I haven't even posted it and didn't even think of it until a reader asked me about it. LOL  #MajorBrainFart

I hope you love spending more time with Cash and Olivia as much as I already am:)  For now, I give you what's to come in Always with You:

Love didn’t come easy for Cash and Olivia.  Forever will come even harder.  But true love doesn’t give up, not even when dreams are crushed and reality isn’t quite the fairy tale you expected it to be.

When Olivia married Cash Davenport, it was her dream come true.  Cash was everything she wanted and everything she needed, all wrapped up in jet-black eyes and an irresistible smile.  She thought since she’d finally found the ideal man, their life would play out like a fairy tale.  And, for a while, it did.

Until she found out that another woman, a woman from Cash’s past, has given him the one thing that Olivia can’t—a child.

For Cash, seeing their baby growing inside his wife would only make a perfect marriage more perfect, but all he really needs for true happiness is the love of his life—Olivia.  She wants to give him a child, though, and when she can’t conceive, it puts a strain on her that Cash can’t seem to alleviate.  That strain explodes when Sophie Marks, Cash’s old flame, shows up at their door with a little girl in tow.  A little girl she claims belongs to Cash.

After all this time, can Sophie be trusted?  Or has she returned with the sole intent of destroying the only real happiness Cash has ever known?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Back in the saddle and catching up

HAPPY MONDAY!  If there is such a thing. I think it's about as likely to encounter as a unicorn or a bad picture of Channing Tatum.  <----in other words NEVER!  :) hehe

Okay, so I know there has been a lot going on in the last two weeks, before Pocketful of Sand released.  I've had a ton of giveaways and contests and comments and posts and all sorts of fun stuff.  I'm sorry that I have yet to respond to a lot of things, but rest assured that I will be catching up with ALL OF IT this week.

When I scheduled the release of Pocketful of Sand, I didn't realize that it would collide with so many other important things.  It was set to come out on March 15th, which was a good date it seemed.  As it turned out, there was a signing on March 14th, but I thought to myself that I could probably work around that, so I didn't panic.  But then I had a small change in a deadline with Berkley, which put my third Tall, Dark and Dangerous book DUE on March 15th as well.  Sooooo, I had to finish that book by March 11th so that I could leave for the beach for a signing on March 14th and then focus on Pocketful's release on March 15th.  Although a bit crazy and hectic, that didn't sound completely out of the realm of possibility, so I was hanging in there.

Then all hell broke loose. LOL

My mom found out on the 12th that her first chemo appointment would be on March 19th, we had an unfriendly neighbor at the condo at the beach, my book went live on some sites a day early and the parking garage ceiling collapsed on my car release day morning.  When we got back home, I had a half day to recover when my editor called and said she had edits for me that she needed by Wednesday, on the day when I was supposed to leave to travel to Virginia to be with my mom during chemo.  So, I spent the following two days holed up in my office doing edits and then left for Virginia by the skin of my teeth on Wednesday afternoon.  I spent Thursday at the hospital with Mom, which was traumatic for her because, among other things, they thought she was having a reaction to the chemo.  I stayed with her until yesterday (Sunday) to make sure she wasn't going to have any problems, as the first three days are critical.

And now I'm back.

I say allllll that to say this:  I'm so sorry I've been so sporadic in my posting and responding.  The only thing I could really do was schedule posts to Facebook so that no one would think I'd fallen off the face of the earth.  But THANK YOU SO MUCH for your patience, because now I'm back in the saddle and ready to tackle EVERYTHING!


If you've been notified of winning something, I'll be mailing out all swag packs, paperbacks and other goodies early next week. I'm going to sort through everything and get packages ready this week.  If you haven't heard back from me after you've submitted something, I'll be doing that today, too.  In other words, expect to hear from me this week and to get your package(s) in about two weeks.

Thank you for being awesome and understanding.  2015 is trying to whip my butt, but I'm determined to stand my ground:)  hehe  *pulls self up by bootstraps*  I'm going in, y'all! Wish me luck!

p.s.  I know I've said it before, but I think it bears repeating.  Often.  THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES FROM THE VERY, VERY BOTTOM OF MY HEART to everyone who read and loved and left a review and told a friend about Pocketful of Sand.  Your love has been incredible and overwhelming and AMAZING.  Just like y'all.  I'm grateful right down to my very bones.  <3 <3

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pocketful of Sand Ma-HOO-ssive giveaway!

The last few days have been CAA-RA-ZAY!  I traveled to Myrtle Beach for a signing on Saturday, my book went live early and then Sunday the parking garage ceiling collapsed on our car and we had to drive home much later than expected.  Yesterday, I got edits back from my editor and she needs them by Wednesday.  O_O  Can you see my head spinning off?  hehe  That's why I'm a little late in posting about this giveaway.  

To celebrate the release of Pocketful of Sand, I'm doing a bagful of giveaways:)  Whoop!  It includes:

  • 2 $50 Amazon gift cards 

  • 10 Pocketful t-shirts

  • 10 Pocketful swag packs plus hourglass necklaces! 

What do you have to do?  Nothing difficult at all!  In fact, there are many ways you can enter.  You can purchase your copy, leave a review, share a meme, or just share your favorite quote.  See? Easy peasy.  The giveaway will extend through Friday then winners will be chosen and posted on the Rafflecopter, which is visible on every participating blog, including this one.  Sooooooo, hop on and get your entries now! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pocketful of Sand IS HERE!!!!

Y'all, I am so incredibly happy to be typing this post because that means the wait is over!  It's heeeeeeeere!  Cole and Eden are finally live!  Wahooooooooooo!

In addition to all the release information below, you'll find a short video from me that explains why this book is important to me, something that I've alluded to several times.  I didn't want to tape it earlier because it's a tiny bit spoilery, but now that the first few chapters have posted, you already know, so it no longer matters:)

And now, without further ado, POCKETFUL OF SAND.

Pocketful of Sand M. Leighton
A story of heartbreak, loss, redemption and second chances: Pocketful of Sand from New York Times bestselling author M. Leighton
Get it on Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play
Add it on Goodreads


“She’s beauty for my ashes. And I’m hope for her heartache.”—Cole Danzer

Pocketful-of-Sand250I don’t know what makes a great love story. Is it that instant attraction when boy meets girl? The passionate kisses and the fairy-tale ending? Or is it a lifetime of tragedy, paid in advance, for a few stolen moments of pure bliss? The pain and the suffering that, in the end, you can say are worth it for having found the missing piece of your soul?

The answer is: I don’t know. I don’t know what makes a great love story. I only know what makes my love story. I only know that finding Cole when I did, when Emmy and I were running from a nightmare, was the only thing that saved me. That saved us. He was more broken than I was, but somehow we took each other’s shattered pieces and made a whole. If that is what makes a great love story, if that is what makes an epic romance, then mine…ours is the greatest of them all.

Contains material that some may find disturbing. Not intended for readers under the age of 18.

Get it on Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play
Add it on Goodreads

This is the sandcastle I was telling you about. I met the man who built it. I saw his raw red hands.  It's as though, even then, Cole was trying to get my attention.  He did.  And I don't think he's left my heart since he dug in:)

mleightonNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author M. Leighton is a native of Ohio. She relocated to the warmer climates of the South, where she can be near the water all summer and miss the snow all winter. Possessed of an overactive imagination from early in her childhood, Michelle finally found an acceptable outlet for her fantastical visions: literary fiction. Having written over a dozen novels, these days Michelle enjoys letting her mind wander to more romantic settings with sexy Southern guys, much like the one she married and the ones you'll find in her latest books. When her thoughts aren't roaming in that direction, she'll be riding horses, swimming in ponds and experiencing life on a ranch, all without leaving the cozy comfort of her office.