Spotlight & Giveaway: Dark Moon by Leisl Leighton

Posted March 7th, 2014 by in Blog, Spotlight / 53 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome romance author Leisl Leighton to HJ!

Hi Leish, welcome 🙂

If you were written about in the newspaper, on the front page what would the headline say? Why?



Why? Because it’s true. I had difficult pregnancies with both my boys and ended up having emergency cesaerians for both of them because I got sever pre-eclampsia and a rare complication of pre-eclampsia called HELLP Syndrome. Basically, my body was trying to kill me simply because it couldn’t cope with the baby inside me any longer. My body almost got its way in my first pregnancy, and if not for the efforts of my local GP and my obstetrician, I and my baby would be dead. My baby was born 9 weeks premature and had a number of issues to deal with and we almost lost him at 3 weeks too. It took me a year to recover from the pregnancy and during that time I suffered from post natal depression. The therapist I went to see suggested that given I’d always been a creative person (I’d worked in the theatre industry for years and prior to my pregnancy had dabbled with a little bit of writing) that I do something creative. The theatre was out at that time, so she suggested I do more than dabble with writing and really sit down and let my creative juices flow. When I let go of my pre-conceived ideas about the conditions under which I felt I could write and just took any opportunity to write, it was amazing how quickly I started to feel better and more able to cope with everything that had happened and move forward. Up until then I’d been all about my baby and had neglected me.

Would you rather…have 3 wishes in 10 years or 1 wish today? Why?

Ooh, that’s a tough one. I’m a kind of build on what you’ve got and look to the future kind of gal, so I’d probably say 3 wishes in 10 years. It would also give me some time to think about what they’d be.

Let’s talk about your newest release: Dark Moon

If you had to summarize the book for the readers here

DMCDark Moon is a story about learning to live up to the potential of who you are meant to be and not be afraid of the gifts that you were born with. Skye Collins is a Witch who has been born with too much power – something her grandparents fear will kill her, if the evil they are running from doesn’t get to her first. Because they don’t know how to deal with this, they teach her to suppress those powers, be afraid of them and make certain she is ignorant of the world they come from so she doesn’t try to tap into those powers.

But when Skye meets Jason McVale, the Alpha of the Were Pack her family has been tied to for centuries – a kind of symbiotic relationship that keeps both families safe and strong – she begins to realise there is more to the story of her power than she has been led to believe. She is also drawn to Jason in a way that terrifies her.

Jason also must overcome his misconceptions about their lost Pack Witch and learn to deal with the fact she knows nothing about the powers that can save his Pack if only she would learn to use them. This is all complicated by the fact they’re mates and her powers seem more unstable around him. Not to mention there is an ancient Witch stalking her, who wants to use Skye’s powers to destroy the Witch-Were pact that was created centuries ago.

Please tell us about the characters in your book?

Skye Collins is from an ancient Witch line and has the power of two because she is a twin and her twin, River, has no power because he takes after their mother who was a full blood Were. She has been brought up hiding from her heritage, being kept afraid of her powers by her grandparents who are trying to protect her from the people who killed her parents when she was eight. She is a childcare worker who loves children but who can’t ever have a family of her own because she fears she will pass on the evil that is her powers to her children.

Jason McVale is the new Alpha of his pack. He is coming to terms with the suddenness of his parents’ deaths and believes they were murdered to stop them from finding their lost Pack Witch. He never wanted to become the Alpha, but now that he is, he vows to live up to his father’s leadership and do all he can to stop an ancient curse from destroying his pack. To do that, he must find the lost Pack Witch and bring her back into the fold, regardless of how she feels about it. He is stubborn and determined and totally sideswiped when he meets Skye and realises she is his mate – it changes everything for him.

As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?

It surprised me that Jason was a Were and Skye was a Witch. I’m a pantser – someone who has no idea about what is to come when they sit down to write, but just goes with a vague idea of a scene or character in their head and sees what comes of it. So, when I sat down with a scene in my head about a girl who gets knocked down by a snowboarder up at the snow, I had no idea what story they were about to tell me. I thought I was writing a straight contemporary, but as the story unfolded, it became apparent that Skye had powers she was hiding and frightened of and that Jason turned into a wolf. It changed the whole dynamic and I had to go back and write the opening chapters again with that in mind.

What scene did you most enjoy writing? Why?

I’m going to say what I’m sure many writers say, ‘I enjoyed writing the whole book, so it’s hard to pick just one.’ But it’s true. However, apart from the sparking scenes between Jason and Skye, I think the ones I most enjoyed were the ones where Skye and Jason were joined by Jason’s brother, Adam, and Skye’s best friends, Bron and Shelley. The dynamic of the different personalities was challenging but fun and the dialogue just snapped out without me having to think about it.

Jason caught her as Skye went down, having made the change the moment she stopped shooting blue fire at him and clutched at her head.
The door behind him burst open.
‘What the hell happened?’
‘Can someone get a cool cloth?’ he snapped, carrying her to the bed. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Shelley and Bron at the door looking at the smouldering carnage, Adam standing behind them.
Shelley’s gaze darted to him and then to Skye as he laid her on the bed. ‘I’ll get my things. But when I come back, you’ve got some questions to answer.’ She turned, edging past Adam, careful not to touch him.
‘What are you doing here?’ Jason asked his brother as he wiped the hair from Skye’s sweat-soaked brow.
‘Bron called. Said you might need some back up.’ He stepped into the room. ‘Whoa, I can see she was right. What the hell happened in here, Jase? Did she flame out again?’
‘No. She didn’t. Everything was fine. In fact, the second part of the mating ritual kicked in, even though I never intended it to.’
‘Shit. Well, congratulations?’
If he wasn’t so worried about Skye, Jason would have laughed at his brother’s tone. But any comment he was going to make was cut off by Bron as she walked over and hit him across the head.
‘You’re mating to her and you haven’t told her what you are?’
Jason’s gaze darted accusingly to Adam, but Adam held up his hands in surrender and said, ‘I never told her. She guessed. She reads auras, among other things. Apparently ours were so animalistic she could almost see the outline of our wolves in them.’
‘And you don’t have a problem with this?’
Bron snorted. ‘I’m from an ancient Wiccan family who have links back to the covens who tied themselves to the Weres for protection. I’ve read the family grimoires – although, until I met you and Adam, I always thought they were an allegory of some kind. But after getting to know Adam, it was hard not to believe what was right in front of my eyes.’ Her attention focused on her friend once again. ‘I had no idea Skye was a Pack Witch. Although it does explain a lot.’
Jason’s mind spun as he processed this information. He hadn’t known there were people outside the Were and the Were covens who might know about them and their histories. ‘Okay. So you know a lot more than I ever thought you might. But can you help Skye?’
‘It depends on what you did.’
‘Why do you think it was something I did?’
She shook her head at him. ‘Do you think I’m an idiot?’
‘I don’t know you well enough to think you anything.’
She snorted at that. ‘Yes, well, whatever you may think of me or Wiccans in general, we do know about power even though we might not have any we can truly call our own.’ She edged closer and reached out to touch Skye.
He growled at her.
She snatched her hand back, shooting him a look of outrage. ‘I’m not going to hurt her.’
‘I’m sorry.’ He looked away. ‘I know you’re her friend, but when she’s so helpless like this, my wolf can’t help but be a little protective.’
Bron huffed out a laugh. ‘I don’t think it’s just the wolf.’

What scene was the hardest to write? Why?

I think the scene that was trickiest to write was after Skye and Jason met up for the first time after their interlude at the snow. Skye can’t remember much of what happened that night and thinks it was a dream. So, when Jason walks into her childcare centre and reminds her of the night they spent together and she realises it wasn’t a dream, she is embarrassed, and angry and confused all at once – and also afraid, because if the dreams of having sex with him were true, then the bit where she’d used her power might be too. Also, Jason is there to check if she is recovered from what happened that night at the snow, but he can’t let on the full extent of it, or of his concern, because by this time he is fully aware that Skye doesn’t know who she truly is or what she means to him and his Pack. It was a tough scene to get right because the dynamics of the situation and what is going on between them and what is going on inside each of them is ever shifting and challenging, particularly as they are being observed by Jason’s brother, Adam and a bunch of pre-school children.

Heat flushed her face with something that wasn’t just embarrassment. He was looking at her with a look so hot it made her skin sizzle. His tone, suggestive, knowing, like he remembered exactly what she looked like naked, hot, sweaty – and open to him.
Oh God! It was bad enough when she thought it just a dream. But if he was real and the sex had been real, could her memory of the magic sparking under her fingers be real too? It wasn’t possible, and yet—
She loosened her death grip on the little boy. ‘Shh, it’s okay,’ she whispered, stroking his back. ‘It’s going to be okay.’ She wished someone could say those words to her and they would be true.
‘Do children often fall asleep in your arms?’ Jason’s deep voice rumbled close. He’d edged forward and was now in front of her, looking at Andy.
While he wasn’t looking at her, she took the opportunity to open her senses just a fraction like her grandpa had taught her. She’d checked him up at the snow for magic, but given what had happened between them and the power of the feelings he created just by looking at her, she had to make sure he wasn’t a Warlock trying to bewitch her. Energy flared around him, bright and powerful but with a raw wildness that was kind of beautiful. She shifted, uneasy, and made herself look for the markers of a Warlock. Nothing. No magical signs of attachment to earth, wind, water or fire.
She dropped the sight with an internal sigh of relief. He wasn’t a Warlock. But if the problem wasn’t with him, that meant the problem was with her. The spell was malfunctioning.
For one brief, insane moment, she wanted to push Andy into Jason’s arms and run. But she couldn’t. That would be weak and foolish and stupid. Her magic had sparked in her that day at the snow because she’d been so angry about Morrigan having her followed. Any residual magic that sparked from her was probably because her emotions had still not been stable. Having mind-blowing sex probably hadn’t helped the instability.
No reason to panic. She wasn’t angry now and she wasn’t about to have sex with Jason. She was in control.
She would start by not giving in to the magnetic pull of attraction Jason created in her.
Despite their night together, he was nothing more to her than the guardian of one of the children under her care. She stared brazenly at him, almost as if daring him to bewitch her with those lightning-struck blue eyes again.
And his eyes glowed, a red spark in the black centre, as if to say, ‘Challenge accepted!’
Taking a deep breath to make sure her voice was cool and steady, she said, ‘Andy got to bed late. He’d probably find a cactus comfortable.’
‘You are far from being a cactus.’
‘Oh, I don’t know. My friends say they’d never want to be on the wrong side of me.’
He smiled at her, the crooked smile that made her insides flip. Shoot! She had to end this little tête-à-tête. Lowering her voice, she said, ‘If you get too close, you might get pricked.’
‘I remember feeling the prick of your temper at the snow. It was a flash and then gone. I think I can handle it.’

Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book was optioned for a movie?

I think Steven Ammell from Arrow fame would be good for Jason (as long as he could do the Australian accent!) pretty much because he’s hot, he’s tough and yet can play sensitive as well as that withheld torturous passion and longing. For Skye it would be Saoirse Ronan from The Lovely Bones and The Host fame. I like the fragile loveliness of her looks and I think she can be tough and warm in the same breath. I could also see a younger Jennifer Garner (in her Alias days) or Jennifer Lawrence – they’d all have to have their hair died red though!

If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?

Trust your instincts but also be open to the help offered from others, especially your family and best friends. And don’t be too hard on yourself. Skye is far too hard on herself, as is Jason at times. And they both think they can handle everything themselves, but it’s not true. They need people and they need each other.

What are you currently working on? What other releases so you have planned for 2014?

I am currently redrafting up the second book in the Witch-Were Chronicles, tentatively titled, Healer Moon, so I can submit it to my editors, and I am writing the third in the series, Blood Moon. I am also working on another paranormal fantasy series that has witches and shapeshifters in it, but also vampires as well.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

Giveaway: 3 e-book copies of Dark Moon – they would have to be from Amazon

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: If you discovered you had magical powers, what would you like them to be? Why?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Skye stopped at the crest of the ski run and took a moment to appreciate the beauty of the Victorian Alps laid out before her. A breeze, full of the scent of eucalypts and the cool freshness of snow, blew a lock of red hair into her eyes. She swept it back under her ski hat and took in a deep breath.
‘What a beautiful day.’ She’d skied in Austria and Canada, but even though the ski season was so much shorter in Australia and the snow not nearly as good, there was nothing like the stark beauty of the blue-tinged mountains of the Great Dividing Range. The other ski resorts were breathtaking too, but these mountains were home. They sang to her soul in a way the others couldn’t.
Taking another deep breath, she pushed off over the crest and, with a wild ‘Yahoo!’, flew down the slope, her knees moving like rubber pistons as she attacked the moguls.
She could hear the swish and slide of skiers around her but ignored them, enjoying this moment of freedom on her last day, before she had to go back and face the real world. She sighed, wishing she had an extra few days to gird her loins – as her grandpa used to say – against the responsibilities awaiting her at home.
But she wouldn’t think about that now. This was a rare clear day at Mt Buller, and she was going to enjoy it to her fill.
A strange chill crept down her spine – the kind of chill you got when someone was watching you surreptitiously. She’d been having that feeling off and on all day. She slowed, turning to see if she could catch them at it.
‘Whoa!’ she heard. Then something hard and heavy smashed into her. The sky tipped and an oof of breath exploded out of her as she hit the snow. A large body landed on top of her and then they were sliding, smashing over and through the moguls, until they finally slowed and came to a stop.
Head spinning, she lay, arms flung out wide, crushed under the hot weight of a man, and moaned.
‘Are you okay?’ the man’s husky voice murmured in Skye’s ear.
‘Only if I don’t breathe,’ she managed, surprised she wasn’t winded. Snow inched into the collar of her parka. She shivered.
He shifted, pushing up onto his elbows to look down at her.
Despite the pain sparking through her body – damn, she was going to have some impressive bruises for show and tell on Monday – she became uncomfortably aware of the way their hips pressed together, legs tangled. She hadn’t been this close to a man in way too long. This wasn’t the way she’d imagined it happening again, though.
She tried to move. The action made his board – amazingly still attached to his feet – cut into her leg. She winced. ‘Well, this is a very charming way to meet and all, but can you get off, please? You’re crushing my legs.’
‘Sorry.’ He scrambled back.
‘Oh, fudgy-duck!’ She gasped as his board scraped over the bruise.
‘Are you hurt?’ He ran his hand ran over her leg, checking for injury.
Shivers chased across her skin that had nothing to do with the snow melting inside her jacket. Skye pulled away. ‘No. I’m fine. Just let me stretch it out.’
He shifted back. But instead of getting up and skiing off like most other people would, he stayed, kneeling beside her as she stretched out her leg.
‘I’m so sorry. I usually ski, but my brother talked me into trying out a snowboard this year.’
Rubbing her aching leg, her temper spiked at his words. Glaring at him, she snapped, ‘Are you kidding me? What the hell are you doing on Federation? It’s a black run – or didn’t you notice all the signs up the top, you irresponsible arse?’
His eyebrows rose above his sunglasses. ‘Wow. That thing about redheads and tempers is true.’
She bristled. ‘You could have killed yourself, or someone else. Namely me!’
He brushed snow from his hair. ‘For your information, I was doing okay until I hit that goddamned icy patch. I don’t know why I agreed to try a board,’ he grumbled.
He sounded so much like her twin, River, when he was pouting, that her flare of anger disappeared and she had to hide her grin.
‘So why did you go over to the dark side?’
‘My trickster of a brother said it would be a rush, but I think he just wanted to see me fall on my arse.’
Her lips twitched. ‘That would be okay, except for the fact you fell on mine.’
‘It looked softer than mine.’
She choked on a laugh. ‘Are you saying I have a fat arse?’
Rather than trying to back-pedal, his mouth curled into a lopsided smile – such a lovely mouth. ‘No. In fact, I was thinking how nice it looked before I smacked into you.’
Skye dragged her eyes from his mouth. ‘Is that why you took me for a toboggan ride, with me as the toboggan? To meet me and my nice arse?’
‘That, and the fact you stopped so suddenly.’
She snorted. ‘I thought you said there was an icy patch.’
‘Yeah.’ He laughed. ‘I did. Didn’t I?’ He pushed his sunglasses off his face to look down at her.
She gaped.
He had the most startling eyes. They were deeply blue on the edge, almost black, but lightened to an icy blue at their centre. Lightning bolt striations crazed through the iris, making it seem like his eyes glowed. They reminded her of a picture of a wolf River had put on his bedroom wall when they were young. She’d asked him to take it down. He’d thought it was because she was frightened of big dogs, but it hadn’t just been that. The wolf’s eyes had haunted her in a way that had confused her ten-year-old soul.
This man’s eyes were even more dangerous to her equilibrium. They pulled her in. Her chest ached like she’d been winded.
He broke eye contact and pushed to his feet, allowing her to catch her breath.
‘Here, let me help you up.’ He put out his hand.

Book Info:

Lately, Skye Collins has been unable to shake the feeling that she’s being watched. After a lifetime spent hiding her true nature, she knows that any unusual attention is something to be wary of. And the only attention she’s been receiving lately is from the intense and attractive Jason McVale.
Jason claims to know things about Skye that can’t be true, and it’s obvious he’s hiding secrets of his own. Yet despite herself, Skye can’t resist the attraction between them, and her surrender will set in motion a chain of events that will have consequences for everyone she holds dear.
Gradually, Jason convinces Skye that she has to trust him if she is to solve the riddle of her past and learn the truth about her power. But believing Jason means that her entire life has been based on a lie.
As her enemies gather strength and the danger increases, Skye is forced to accept who she really is. Will she risk everything and fight for those she loves? Or save herself and let them be destroyed by the forces of darkness?
Book Links:

Author Bio

Leisl is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables. A voracious reader and a born performer, it came as no surprise to anyone when she did a double major in English Literature and Drama for her BA, then went on to a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants (one of which she co-owned and ran for six years).

After starting a family Leisl stopped performing and instead, began writing the stories that had been plaguing her dreams. Leisl’s stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others.

Leisl lives in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne with her two beautiful boys, lovely hubby, overly spunky dog, Buffy, and likes to spend time with family and friends. She sometimes sings in a choir and works as a swim teacher in her day-to-day job. Her novels, Killing Me Softly (romantic suspense) and Dark Moon (paranormal romance) are out now with Penguin’s Destiny Romance.
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53 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Dark Moon by Leisl Leighton”

  1. Nicole Potter (@NiiArt)

    Ooooh. Maybe the power to control water? Like on Avatar (the animated series)! That would be pretty awesome!

    Another one that could potentially be cool would be able to find people’s soul mates. I say potentially, because what if they died, or were already married, etc….but still a pretty cool idea, I think!

    I think I’ll stick with the water thing though, haha~

  2. Stephanie Fredrick

    I’ve always thought it would be cool to control the elements. I could make a cloudy day sunny, a cold day warm and actually grow the garden that I always kill, lol.

  3. Lindsey V.

    I’d love to be able to time travel. I’m pretty much obsessed with Ancient Egypt, so it would be really cool to travel to that time.

    Thank you so much for the giveaway! Fingers crossed. 🙂

    • Leisl Leighton

      Thanks Lindsey. Time travel would fascinate me too, but as I commented above, it would be a heavy burden too – I mean, what if you did something to change the course of history? It is a cool concept though, right?

  4. Cari White

    Magical power? Invisibility… I’d love that. Or flying… That’s it! I would love to fly!!,

  5. Glenda

    Being able to control the weather would be great! I could make it rain so no more drought. Keep if from raining too much so no more floods. Take the edge off the polar vortexs so we could be warmer. 🙂

  6. florryalyna

    would like to melt some stony hearts (and heads) and make them feel a pure love (and think normal) as humans are supposed to feel (not thinking of wars and terror etc)

    • Leisl Leighton

      Reading minds alwasy sounds cool, but I’d only like it if I knew when to switch it off. I think if you were in law enforcement, it would come in really handy.

  7. Barbara Hopkins

    I think that if I was given a magical power, I would like it to be true witchcraft powers, like the girls on that old show, I think it was called “Charmed”. Why? To fight for the innocent, the weak, to rid the world of evil, evil things, evil beings. In my years I have come to realize that there is evil in the world and it comes in many different forms, who wouldn’t want the chance to make the world a better place for all of us to live in.

    • Leisl Leighton

      I loved Charmed in the first few seasons. The whole not knowing you have powers only to find them and they’re supposed to vanquish evil is very appealing.

  8. Leisl Leighton

    Wow. Thanks so much everyone for dropping by and commenting. I think the most popular thing to do would be to control the weather or to heal people. I think those would be cool too. Reading minds sounds like a great thing, but like Sookie Stackhouse, you’d probably hear things you just don’t want to hear and having those voices in your head all the time would be pretty hard going. Telekenisis could be fun – imagine the tricks you could play on people when you were younger. Hmmm, everyone. You’ve given me a lot to think about. Luckily Sarah will help me do the draw and I’ll be notifying those of you who have won a copy of Dark Moon soon. Cheers.

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