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Fall is here…

  Posted by mlebleek , 15 October 2018 · 16 views

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I’m not great at selfies but this was just such a “fall” moment I couldn’t pass it up.

I love the fall. There is something invigorating about the chill in the air and the trees realizing they wanna have halos of red or gold or orange instead of plain old green, kids’ imaginations coming alive with Halloween fun and adults letting themselves be a little spooky or silly for once in their busy lives. I don’t know what it is, honestly, but the writer inside of me loves this time of year.

In When I’m Gone there is a line that Natalie shares with her husband in one of the letters she wrote during her illness.  This thought comes back to my mind every year when September hits…

“I don’t understand why parents cry on the first day of school. For me, that’s the best day. The anticipation and excitement for what lies ahead. It’s the last day that makes me tear up. The year is over, and my students walk out of the room first graders and into their parent’s arms second graders. It’s the end that makes a beginning, not the first day.”

Maybe that is what I love about fall–it signals the end of something but the beginning of so much more. It is a transition time that makes all things feel possible. Hot days of random sun. Cold days with snow and sleet. The smell of wood burning in a fire place and plans for holiday adventures starting to line up in hearts and minds but still playing outside and soaking up the last bit of sunshine and green grass before snow forces us inside.

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Six years ago, Columbus Day marked a period in my own life just like this. I’d been querying agents for a few weeks and had a few full manuscripts out but had been rejected by nearly every agent that had shown interest. That Monday morning as I was planning a day to the zoo with my kids, I sent a query to Marlene Stringer through her website. I got a full request less than an hour later. This was the beginning and the end but I didn’t even know it yet. Five months later Marlene offered me representation and she’s been my partner and advocate ever since.

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This past Columbus Day I took my kids to the Nickel Arcade. Now, I could sit here and say that I just let them play as I watched all adult like, enjoying their child like joy at a few paper tickets…but that would be a lie. I maybe also got my own bags of nickels and we played for hours and I think I liked getting tickets more than my kids did! (I gave them to the kids–I swear!)

After our arcade adventure we went out for Chinese food. At the end of the meal we all opened our fortune cookies at the same time. I love the sayings in fortune cookies. When I was a teenager I had a whole wall behind my bed of quotes I collected over the years that inspired me and I think fortunes from these little bent cookies are similar to the little snips of inspiration I used to sleep under.

 

These were my favorite two from that day.

 IMG_7301 2I think I need to celebrate this day every year–the end that was also my beginning. The autumn of my querying, prepublication life. It can be scary, I get that. It is hard to put in those nickels and not know what you are gonna get out, but there is a payoff, I promise you. Fall leads to winter, it is inevitable, but there is also spring and summer just beyond the ice and cold. I’ve seen it.

As a writer, mother and human–I fall down a lot. I also hesitate a lot. Gosh, maybe it’s because I fall down a lot that I hesitate and question myself so often when facing a challenge or new adventure. Goodness knows I stumbled down the path to publication. I fell down and hesitated more times that I can count and it doesn’t just stop because I’ve published four books and shared them with so many beautiful readers. As a mother it doesn’t stop because my kids are all in school or because they are getting older. As a human it doesn’t stop just because I’m “growing up” and know myself better than in my youth. At this point in my life all I know for sure is that at some point I’m going to fall, probably more than I’d like. But that is also when I get to choose to get back up.

So next time you fall down, or are too scared to even start because of the potential to fail, remember that if we embrace the ends, we will also be ready for the beginnings.

 



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Party time! Excellent.

  Posted by mlebleek , 11 September 2018 · 5 views

Thanks to everyone who attended the launch party Saturday. It was a complete success from start to finish. Micky Finns was a wonderful host and a lovely venue. Here is a sneak peek into the action! Special thanks to my parents, George and Cindy Sadler, my kiddos and my friends Karen Schaffroth for helping me set up and selling books, Lorena Vazquez for taking these awesome pics, and author Kelli Nielsen (http://www.kelliswoffordnielsen.com) for MCing the reading and Q&A.

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THE WAITING ROOM Launch Party tomorrow!

  Posted by mlebleek , 07 September 2018 · 4 views

 

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Launch party time for THE WAITING ROOM! Had a wonderful launch day last week and now we get to celebrate! If you are local, please come enjoy some fun. Otherwise, check back in after the party and you can live it vicariously!

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Come play with us!!! Meet and greet, Q&A, book signing and yummy snacks!

And now–a few fun highlights from launch week:

— This article from the Daily Herald was so thoughtful and if you click on the link there is a video I didn’t even realize was there till today! You have to open the “show photos and videos” button but it is there!!

https://www.dailyherald.com/entlife/20180825/constable-grayslake-mom-by-day-a-writing-batman-at-night

— An article written by ME:

https://killernashville.com/the-mystery-that-starts-with-a-secret-by-emily-bleeker/

— This awesome event at THE BOOK CELLAR with Lori Rader-Day and Julia Keller

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— These COOL promos:

Stay tuned for the launch party shenanigans (i.e. sitting quietly and listing to me read)



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Goodreads Giveaway

  Posted by mlebleek , 03 August 2018 · 5 views

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Click here 👆🏻 to win! Good luck!!



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The books are here!

  Posted by mlebleek , 18 July 2018 · 5 views

Yesterday I was driving away from my house when I saw a stack of boxes on my front porch. I knew EXACTLY what was inside but little did I know how instantly I’d fall in love with these beauties. My kids helped me record this reveal (even though only a few of them wanted to be ON camera). I will be holding a giveaway of this beautiful hard cover in the next few days so make sure you keep your eyes open!!

Enjoy the silliness that is my kids and I can’t wait till you all are holding a copy in your own hands.

Order Here! https://amzn.to/2O0rvb0

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The Waiting Room–cover reveal!

  Posted by mlebleek , 12 April 2018 · 5 views

I am so excited to reveal the cover for my newest book: THE WAITING ROOM (August 21, 2018).

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YOU GUYS!!! I adore this cover and new look.

Here is a little more about this story:

Ever since her husband’s death collided with the birth of her daughter, postpartum depression has taken hold of Veronica Shelton. She can’t sleep, can’t work, and can’t bear to touch her beautiful baby girl. Her emotional state is whispering lies in Veronica’s ear: You’re a bad mother. Your baby would be better off without you. But not everything can be reasoned away by Veronica’s despair. Can it?

After all, the break-in at her house happened. The disturbing sketches she found in her studio are real. So is the fear for her daughter’s safety—especially when Veronica comes home to a cold, silent nursery and a missing baby.

As she turns from victim into primary suspect, Veronica realizes that only she can find her daughter. Authorities aren’t helping. They’re only watching. Veronica’s concerned mother has suddenly vanished from her life. And a new friend seems to be keeping secrets from her too. Now, reality is waiting for Veronica in a dark place—because someone’s mind games have only just begun.

ARC’s will be out soon and we will have some fun with giveaways! Can’t wait to get this book into the hands of readers. Let me know what you think of the cover and blurb! And I KNOW you wanna preorder so…here is that link too: PREORDER THE WAITING ROOM

 

 



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Tuppence a Bag

  Posted by mlebleek , 14 March 2018 · 5 views

My son was in his first musical a few weeks ago. It was Mary Poppins Jr and I busted my buttons at one of my progeny carrying on the performance bug that is so quickly caught by creative types. Watching those 5th-8th graders perform on stage was such a joy, but something else caught my eye (and ear) during that show that had never grabbed me before.

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If I’m honest, I used to hate the movie Mary Poppins. It was the old VHS my mom would put on for me whenever I was sick so soon I truly believed that just putting on the film could bring on a fever or a bought of nausea. There was nothing WRONG with the movie—it was all in my little six-year-old head, and in fact I’ve watched the musical with my children many times and not one sniffle has broken through during the dynamic score and dazzling choreography. But as an adult, watching the movie and watching the little actors on stage, there was one song that brought tears to my eyes and not because of any imagined sickness. It was “Feed the Birds.”

I’m ashamed to admit that this was the song that I used to refer to as the “fast forward through that one, please” song. As a child I found it sad and slow and confusing in the middle of an otherwise bright and uplifting show. But then, as my middle schooler prepared for his auditions by watching the show over and over as well as the bonus features and commentary, I learned something special about this song that made me listen to it a little closer. I learned during this deep dive into Mary Poppins that “Feed the Birds” was Walt Disney’s favorite song. Songwriter Richard Sherman recalled playing the song for Walt in his office:

“Usually after the hectic week, Walt would ask us how we were doing, and we’d tell him what we were working on. Then he’d ask us to play it, and I’d sit down and play, and he’d look out the window and get wistful. Then he’d turn around and say, ‘That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?’”

The song talks about an old woman on the steps of the cathedral selling bags of crumbs for people to feed the birds. She asks those passing by to spend a tuppence (only a few cents) to feed the birds who took the bread back to their nest. Mr. Banks wanted the children to invest their pennies in the bank so it would grow but Mary Poppins encouraged the children to invest their tuppence into charity and watch it grow differently—in the profits of human kindness. In fact, I think that was what Mary Poppins taught the Banks family—that it was little things like tuppence, bread crumbs, birds and kites that bring joy to life.

From left, Julie Andrews, Matthew Garber and Karen Dotrice in "Mary Poppins."

For years after the success of Mary Poppins, Walt would talk to the Sherman brothers, the team who wrote the score for the show, about how their song embodied the beauties of charity and how it had become a belief system that ran his life. Walt Disney believed that the breadcrumbs from the song are the small acts of service and love we do for others and that the tuppence is the relatively minuscule investment of our time, our heart and our talents (and sometimes our own tuppence) that brings about the beauty of charity.

My friend posted a quote the other day my Marjorie Pay Hinckley that said, “There is no such thing as a small act of kindness.” I think Mr. Disney, the Bird Lady and Mary Poppins would agree.

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How often do we forget the valuable role we play in each other’s lives? How easy is it to feel like service requires spectacular sacrifice to be meaningful?  For me, at least, it is not the size of the kindness that touches me but the love and sincerity behind it.

I had my own experience with just this type of service the other day. I was finishing up my copy edits for THE WAITING ROOM. I was a little behind schedule after having kids home from school with the flu and strep for over a week and driving my oldest back and forth to his last week of rehearsal before his show.

Usually, when my kids come home from school we have a snack and do homework and then spend some time together before either having dinner and getting ready for bed or saying goodbye on the nights they head to their dad’s house. This day after school was different. I explained I was on a deadline, we sped through homework, the kids grabbed their own snacks, and I dove back into my edits. An hour later my kids burst into my bedroom singing “Happy Mother’s Day to you” and carrying a big, homemade and very green cake.

“We made you a cake because we love you,” they said, so so proud of themselves. I teared up and hugged all of the kids but then, mid-hug, I remembered one critical detail.

“But….our oven is broken!” It had been dead for over a month. I couldn’t figure out how they had baked this lovely manifestation of their love.

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Then they told me that after mixing the batter they remembered the oven was broken. So the kids ran next door to my neighbor’s house and asked to use their oven. My neighbor (a busy mom of 3, in the middle of selling her house and a million other projects) stopped what she was doing and baked that cake for my kids. Then, she even donated a can of Christmas themed frosting to top it all off and walked the whole thing back to my house, all while I was working away in my bedroom. That, my friends, was a tuppence service not just for me but for my children and a story we will never forget. Those kids beamed as they presented me with their homemade offering. And their joy was sweeter than any cake I’ve ever tasted.

It doesn’t take much, guys. My day/week was made so much brighter by some kitchen adventures, the donation of some gas in an oven, a few minutes out of my neighbor’s life and a can of frosting.

Ever since rediscovering this song and the meaning behind it I’ve been looking for more and more opportunities to spread my breadcrumbs. Sometimes it is a simple act of service that takes a few minutes of my time, or a few pennies from my pocket like thanking a friend, letting a frazzled mom cut in line with her basket full of groceries while juggling her crying child, or trying to ask about someone else’s day rather than diving into talking about my own. But most of the time it is a smile when a frown is expected, an extra hug, a sincere compliment or responding with measured kindness when anger, impatience and frustration seems a natural first instinct.

I’m still learning the ropes of this philosophy and I’m not perfect but when it comes to kindness, I think it is one of those things in life where “trying” is nearly as effective as mastering. The good news is—I have plenty of opportunities to practice this skill and so do you because it really is true—they come pretty cheap, those breadcrumbs—just a few tuppence…tuppence a bag.

“Early each day to the steps of St. Paul’s,
The little old bird woman comes
In her own special way to the people, she calls,
“Come, buy my bags full of crumbs.”

Come feed the little birds, show them you care
And you’ll be glad if you do
Their young ones are hungry, their nests are so bare
All it takes is tuppence from you

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag
“Feed the birds,” that’s what she cries,
While overhead, her birds fill the skies

All around the cathedral the saints and apostles
look down as she sells her wares
Although you can’t see it, you know they are smiling
Each time someone shows that he cares

Though her words are simple and few,
Listen, listen, she’s calling to you:
“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.”



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WORKING FIRE translation — #3 in Germany!

  Posted by mlebleek , 26 January 2018 · 5 views

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The first translation of WORKING FIRE launched this week! I just got an email from Amazon Crossing letting me know that the German translation, WAS VOM FEUER ÜBRIG BLIEB, translated by Kerstin Fricke, is number THREE in the Kindle Store. Great news!

If you would like to own your very own copy of WAS VOM FEUER ÜBRIG BLIEB or keep up with the latest charts, follow this link: WAS VOM FEUER UBRIG BLIEB

And if you’d like to read the English version of WORKING FIRE, please follow THIS link: WORKING FIRE

In fun news for WRECKAGE fans–Dave and Lillian’s story made it’s way up to 23 yesterday and is still number one in Mystery Thriller and Suspense as well as Women’s Fiction! A fun flashback from when WRECKAGE launched nearly three whole years ago! I think we need to have an anniversary party soon.

Thanks for all your continued support as readers and thanks to Kerstin Fricke for her wonderful translation.

 



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WHEN I’M GONE on Prime Reading

  Posted by mlebleek , 19 August 2017 · 5 views

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WHEN I’M GONE was selected for the Prime Reading program in the U.S.! Prime Reading allows Amazon Prime members to read selected books as part of their Prime membership. You do not have to have a Kindle to participate – you can download the free Kindle app on any iOS or Android device and read from anywhere!

If you have an Amazon Prime membership now is a great time to re-read WHEN I’M GONE in preparation for WORKING FIRE or to introduce your friends and family to WHEN I’M GONE for free! Thanks everyone!

Best,

Emily Bleeker



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WORKING FIRE — Cover and Giveaway

  Posted by mlebleek , 14 April 2017 · 5 views

It. Is. Here.

The cover for WORKING FIRE is here and I have a few (very few) ARCs (advance review copies). So, do you want to have one of those ARCs in your very own hands? Do you want to be the first to read this new and compelling story about two sisters, one who is fighting for her life and one who is trying to save it? Yes?

Then share the cover of WORKING FIRE on one of your social media accounts and tag me (Twitter: @Emily_Bleeker, Facebook: @emilybleekerauthor, Instagram: emilybleekerauthor)! I will hold a drawing and give away two signed ARCs of WORKING FIRE on Monday, April 17th at 9am CST. One entry if you share the cover or the link to the Amazon page or this bog. Two entries if you tag a friend that you think might be interested.

Okay, are you ready? Here is the face of my newest book baby–WORKING FIRE:

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From the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of When I’m Gone comes a compelling novel of a bond between sisters, tested by tragedy…

Ellie Brown thought she’d finally escaped her stifling hometown of Broadlands, Illinois; med school was supposed to be her ticket out. But when her father has a stroke, she must return home to share his care with her older sister, Amelia, who’s busy with her own family. Working as a paramedic, Ellie’s days are monotonous, driving an ambulance through streets she’d hoped never to see again.

Until a 911 dispatch changes everything. The address: her sister’s house. Rushing to the scene, Ellie discovers that Amelia and her husband, Steve, have been shot in a home invasion. After Amelia is rushed to the hospital, Ellie tries to make sense of the tragedy. But what really happened inside her sister’s house becomes less and less clear. As Amelia hangs on in critical condition, Ellie uncovers dark revelations about her family’s past that challenge her beliefs about those closest to her…and force her to question where her devotions truly lie.

What do you think? Don’t forget to share on social media and pre-order here so you don’t miss out!

Click to view slideshow.

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