Interview: M. Leighton author of Madly and Wolfhardt

I am so excited to have M. Leighton's interview here at Laurasmagicday. She's just released the amazing MADLY AND WOLFHARDT.

Six of Michelle's novels can now be found on Amazon, as well as several other sites. She's currently working on sequels, though her mind continues to churn out new ideas, exciting plots and quirky characters. Pick one up and enjoy a wild ride through the twists and turns of her vivid imagination. Here's my interview with Michelle:

L.A.H.E. : What was the first book you fell in love with?

M.L. : A historical romance called The Wolf and the Dove. It was (and still is in my opinion) everything a true romance should be. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love and I ended up in a state of bliss that I carried around for a week. It was a wonderful, all-consuming rollercoaster that I’ve never forgotten.

L.A.H.E. : What’s your favorite scene from your book?

M. L. : Wow! That is a tough question. I’m always a sucker for a first kiss and I hate to be so cliché and use that as my favorite, but in this case, one of my favorite scenes just so happens to be the one where Jackson and Madly share their first kiss. The reason I like it so much is that Madly gets to see that the Jackson she once loved is not gone; he’s just hiding behind the tough exterior of Jackson the Sentinel. There’s such a teasing yet passionate chemistry between them at that moment, I melt simply thinking about it. *sigh*

L.A.H.E. : Who/what provided your greatest inspiration in writing your book?

M.L. : My husband. As always:) There are bits and pieces of him in all the heroic male leads of my books, but this one (Jackson) is a little more like him than most.

This time the season had a lot to do with my inspiration, too. Summer always makes me think of water, something I have a deep affinity for, and a mermaid tale seemed the perfect topic.

L.A.H.E. : Was there any struggle you had to overcome in writing this book?

M.L. : I wanted to put the first two parts of the book out for free, but Amazon determines what books they will offer for free, so I ended up putting it out at a couple of other sites for no-charge download. I wasn’t able to reach as wide an audience as I could’ve with Amazon’s help, so I had to change my plans and put parts one and two together as one book and then write the rest in a couple of separate stories. I fly by the seat of my pants almost exclusively and this was a great example of how “doing first and asking later” can get me into trouble:) But, all’s well that ends well, so… Here I am, promoting Madly and Wolfhardt!

L.A.H.E : What's the most awkward moment you had [and wouldn't mind sharing] in High School?

M.L. : Nearly falling off the stage my freshman year in a beauty contest. It was positively mortifying. One of the judges spoke to me about my dress. She was going on and on about how beautiful it was so, of course, I was watching her instead of where I was going. If any of you have that disease where you steer your car ever-so-gently in the direction you are looking, you can understand how this happened. I nearly toppled right off the stage and into her lap. I didn’t, but it was close enough to be embarrassingly memorable:D

L.A.H.E : Do you have any advice for new writers?

M.L. : When inspiration hits, run with it! Keep a notebook handy at all times (including the bathroom). Some of my very best ideas have come to me in the shower. I get right out, wet feet and all, and jot it down before it’s gone. There’s nothing more frustrating than having an awesome idea and then forgetting it. Nothing!

L.A.H.E : What fuel flavors your prose? [chips, popcorn, chocolate, etc....]

An assortment that varies depending on day and mood. It often includes coffee or chocolate. Very often!

L.A.H.E : If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you most like to go?

M.L. : Egypt or Italy. It would be very difficult to choose, as I think both are completely fascinating, beautiful beyond description and would look awesome through the viewfinder of my camera:)

Here's a blurb about MADLY AND WOLFHARDT:

Madly is your average nearly-eighteen year old girl—for a mermaid princess, that is.

Madly James is thoroughly enjoying her internship in Slumber when the unthinkable happens—there’s a prison break in Atlas, Madly’s home beneath the sea. A traitor has set free eight Lore, the spirits of what humans know as fairy tales, and they are making their way to Slumber to awaken their descendants.

The first spirit to arrive is that of Ulrich Wolfhardt, a man that was once obsessed with wolves and a young maiden he would follow through the woods. After a bite from a wolf, Wolfhardt’s obsession with the girl became an unnatural hunger and the young maiden’s grandmother cursed him with a fate worse than death. And now he’s back…with a vengeance and a bite that can infect others as well.

FIND MADLY at Amazon

FIND MADLY at Barnes & Noble

Dying for more? You can keep in touch with Michelle here:!/pages/M-Leighton/189192087759491!/mleightonbooks

Thanks for stopping by Michelle!


Site Meter


Treasure Hunt

I went to my writing class on Thursday night. Our teacher Barbara was amazing, as usual. She sent us on a treasure hunt. There were six places to find treasure on the hunt. At each spot, we were told there would be a small dish of candy. I didn't know the other three writers in class. I'd been traveling and unable to attend like regular. There was one new writer and two of the writers had been attending together for a while. We all used the clues Barbara gave us to find the places where the treasure would be. We made our way around the small courtyard of the 19th century home in Pacific Grove. It was pretty fun. But there was one spot where the candy should have been and wasn't, a laundry area. Well all tried looking for it, but had trouble locating the laundry room. Two of us gave up. Two of us went hunting, unlocked an unwelcoming gate, peeked inside a sort of cramped dark space to find a stacked washer and dryer. But, there wasn't any candy where we expected it to be. One of us wanted to get an extra look inside to make double-sure we hadn't missed it. I was part of the pair that searched almost every inch for it. Afterwards, Barbara asked how we felt when we didn't find the candy. Curious, was mostly how I felt. Then she asked us if that's how we feel about our writing. She asked us to think about what our treasure is. And if we know what it is, she wanted us to think about how we stayed connected to it.

Happy Saturday!


Site Meter

  • Current Mood
    pleased playful
  • Tags


[Originally written June 9, 2011] It's time. I've thought about it very carefully. I'm going to epublish my debut novel. I've had impassioned talks about my decision with dear friends, including a wonderful chat with a very dear friend yesterday. We talked about so many things and have known each other as writing buddies since 2005, the year I started this blog. She's so sweet. In fact we call each other the Hawaiian name for sister, we are so close. And my Tita asks me, "But, Laura, don't you want to hold Winnemucca in your hands?"

It's an interesting question. And after hours of gabbing and years and years of writing Winnemucca what it comes down to, for me at least, is the message. It's less about the medium. And there's three reasons why.

One. I worked as an HTML programmer and multimedia designer in 1996 at a start-up company that developed this crazy new thing called online banking for credit unions.

Two. I worked as an multimedia designer at The Los Angeles Times in the embattled newspaper industry and witnessed the clash of civilizations between old school journalism and new media. And witnessed, to a lesser degree, a similar clash working as a multimedia designer at E! Entertainment Television producing online content for the cable network.

Three. So here I find myself at my third crossroads: the changing, developing world of publishing. And what I've learned at all of these crossroads is that one thing never changes. It's the message that's important. Not the medium. There are still banks. There are still printed papers. There will always be books, IMHO. But, for me at least, an unagented, aspiring author of YA and middle grade fiction, [at the time of this writing, I was unpublished but Winnemucca has since been released on] it makes more sense for me to epublish my work and I'll tell you why. So far, it's been fun. So much more fun than not hearing back from people. More fun than having a full manuscript read and dismissed similarly. I'm doing everything for my book that I've always done in my professional life. I've always enjoyed riding the wild wave of the new. Can I ask you to wish me luck? I'll need it:)

It's not to say that's it's been easy. There's been many challenges. The most important one was how I was going to get solid editorial input, since I'll lack the typical, very important back and forth that occurs between an agent, author and editor that takes a story to a whole new level. As a matter of fact, soon after I started working at The Los Angeles Times, my editor asked who edits my fiction. I tried to explain that it's not like that in fiction, that I had critique groups and trusted readers and I attend conferences. He turned to me and said, "Laura, everyone needs and editor." I never forgot that. This has been my biggest challenge. I'm going to blog about how I've tried to meet these challenges. [I've since blogged about said challenges, see Publishing Mountain] But, more importantly, I'm going share the fun I've had in the process.

The party gets started here in the next few weeks. [The party started last Friday with the release of Winnemucca]

Here is the trailer for my upcoming debut novel.

One mistake changes Ginny forever.
One answer sets her free.

Our wonderful YA Indie Carnival fan M. Leighton just released Madly & Wolfheart. Check back here on Monday, I'll have an author interview with Michelle.

Next, take a wild ride with:

Danny Snell's Refracted Light Reviews
Patti Larsen
Courtney Cole
Wren Emerson
Nichole A. Williams
Fisher Amelie
Amy Mauer Jones
Rachel Coles. Geek Mom. Book Reviewer
T. R. Graves
Cyndi Tefft
P.J. Hoover


Site Meter

happy birthday, celebration

As It Turns Out, I've Had All My Babies In The Summer

I hadn't lived in LA for very long, only 5 months. And there I was being wheeled out of Cedars-Sinai Hospital just on the outskirts of Beverly Hills, getting the red-carpet, celebrity leaving-the-hospital treatment. Leaving with the coolest thing, evah! The cute little warm, amazing little gal I'd only just met twenty-five years ago. The ride back home to Echo Park was a sunny one. We made the requisite top at Tommy Burgers at Beverly and Rampart, what my hubby had lived on while I was at Cedars. We parked the car at the street. A huge delivery truck was parked outside our house at the bottom of the stairs too. There were two responses we got when we received deliveries at our house. One, they always called before coming up the one hundred stairs to our front door. And, two, laughter, OK lots of time it was just awe. I was thrilled. Joe brought a chair down from the house for me. My mom took Candy up the steps while I waited for the delivery men to finish delivering the baby furniture. It was one of those in-between moments. One of those beautiful sunny, watching-shadows-dance-on-the-asphalt moments. Watching-the-cars-go-by moments. I was a mother. I had a daughter. I'd stroll the streets of Echo Park with my sweet little girl. And, I'd need to climb 100 stairs, soon.

Luckily they were terraced every ten steps. Joe and I took them ten at a time, each time he'd move the chair up ten stairs higher. I had strict orders not to over-do as the C-section stitches were only removed the day before. But what did I know about overdoing as a young mom. It took two hours to reach the top. And you might think they were the most miserable hours. But, they really weren't. They were amazing. Joe hit the hammock for a two hour nap when we got to the top. Mom asked me what I'd like. I said a Moosehead. I really shouldn't have, but after that climb no one argued with me. Candy slept. Mom and I sat on the deck, seemingly miles away from the center of LA. Enjoying the Cypress blowing in the breeze.

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart.

Both of my girls have been such a big part of Winnemucca, which was born just last Friday. As it turns out, I have all my babies in the summer. I'll update next week.


Site Meter

scary guy

Tuesday trip to Winnemucca and a fictional birthday

So I got curious last week. In between bouts of insomnia and non-stop...OOO! I got to write this downs. I can't really explain what happens when a book is released but there's this weird energy. All of sudden there are so many more things to do than just write. [Which is hard enough to find time to do anyway]. Now there are guest posts and keeping up with emails and requests for interviews, etc. It's all really great. But I guess that part of my brain had never been used before and it didn't really need a lot of sleep. I'm better now. Sleeping well and it's sort of like old times. Except I'm having less time to write.

Anyway, in this crazy frenzy of activity I got to wondering...when did I write the word Winnemucca down the very first time? When exactly did Ginny and her story first show up? I keep LOADS of journals. And with all the moving we've done over the past few years, I made sure to keep them with me and take them everywhere. Lug them everywhere. Joe has been a saint and doesn't say a word when we need to schlep a gazillion boxes of journals with us.

So I pulled out all my journals from 2005/2006 and started reading. And I found it. 10/4/05 was Ginny's and Winnemucca's birthday. I had just returned from Romania that September and had just started taking a writing class with the wonderful Val Hobbs and that's when Winnemucca and Ginny found me. I'm glad I know her birthday. I'm glad I have a record of it. It's the very first time I can turn to a page in one of my gazillion notebooks and point to the first day I had an idea and it turned into a novel.


Site Meter

gilmore girls

How To Buy/Read Ebooks Without A Kindle

A question my Kindle-less friends ask is: "If I don't have a Kindle, how can I read your ebook?" Here are the links that readers have shared with me that have enabled them to buy and read Winnemucca. When I found out one of my friends was reading my book on an android, I was like...what's an android? LOL! Now I know!

For the Mac
For the iPhone
For ipad
For google android

Happy reading!


Site Meter


Drinking From A Cold Spring With Friends

Last Saturday night Joe and I went down to Nepenthe to celebrate the book release. At the end of the book, along with a host of other folks, I acknowledge Nepenthe, and a few other people and places in Big Sur. The people and places that helped me write to The End. Without them, there wouldn't have been a Winnemucca. And so, here's the view from the back patio of Nepenthe at sunset. Some nights, there is a fog river than travels down the Pacific. When I lived in the wine barrel I took a video of it. [I'm the world's shakiest videographer, but it does stabilize pretty quick]

In the background you can hear Tom Petty singing "The Waiting" It really is the hardest part. Especially when you are trying to write to The End. Do you have any "writing to The End" stories?

When we first arrived at Nepenthe there were two belly dancers on the packed front patio. Their tangerine and golden scarves even more vibrant against the twilight sky. Later a band would play. We said Hi to friends we hadn't seen since we moved to town. Erin was out front greeting guests. She is an amazing painter and writer. You might want to check out her book about the creative process called Drinking From A Cold Spring, a little book of hope. Anyway, she congratulated me on the book and said she had a story about Winnemucca. People who've been to Winnemucca usually tell some great stories. Do you have one?


Site Meter