Posts Tagged ‘witches’

Me and Alex Adsett - super agent

Me and Alex Adsett – super agent

I haven’t posted for a long time, and one of the reasons is after advice from my brilliant agent, Alex Adsett, I became a bit of a writing hermit (when I wasn’t doing family stuff, working or doing presidential things for Romance Writers of Australia!) and was concentrating on finishing the Witch-Were Chronicles so we could go out with them and try to get a publisher as interested in these stories as we are.

And guess what? After a year and a half of hard work, writing my writerly fingers to the bone and wearing out a computer (and frustrating my family when I wouldn’t answer them as I was too caught up in my characters and their problems 😉 ), the wonderful Kate Cuthbert at Harlequin Escape, proved to be just as interested as Alex and I are in this world of Were, Witches, Shifters, powers gone wrong, curses and a prophecy that could destroy them all.

I now have a 4 book contract with Harlequin Escape for the Witch-Were Chronicles – so, really, hard work and being a writing hermit truly does pay off!

You can see Alex’s post announcing this exciting news here:

The Witch-Were Chronicles sells to Harlequin Escape

Or simply read what she said about the sale here:

AAPS is excited to announce that the amazing Leisl Leighton has signed with Harlequin Escape to publish The Witch-Were Chronicles. This four-book series is paranormal romance at its best – brilliant world building, strong heroines, and sexy heroes, with ancient curses haunting the werewolf packs of modern Australia.

Leisl is the much-loved president of the Romance Writers of Australia, and has previously published two titles with Penguin Destiny.

Escape will publish all four books of The Witch-Were Chronicles later this year as a digital box set. This means that Leisl’s fans and new followers can binge-read the whole series in one go – no waiting.

Harlequin Escape is the digital-first imprint of Harlequin Australia, and this represents AAPS’ first official sale to the Escape imprint.


I am really excited that these books, tentatively titled, Witch, Healer, Blood and Ghost, will finally go out to readers later this year and hope that everyone will fall in love with my Witches, Weres and Shifters as much as Alex, Kate and I have.

Happy reading everyone and stay tuned for more news on the Witch-Were Chronicles – I will share publication dates, covers etc as they come to light.

I’m all nervous and fluttery. I’ve just done that hugely difficult thing – pressed ‘send’ to my editors and agent on the novel I’ve been working on for the past year. Blood sweat and tears (both mine and my fabulous critique group – thanks especially to Marnie, my Beta reader on this one) has gone into writing and redrafting and redrafting and redrafting this novel amidst edits for Killing Me Softly and Dark Moon and all the promo blogging I’ve been doing for both. But, finally, it is done.

As all writers do, I felt I could probably have gone over it once again, but I try to keep in mind the very sage words my husband’s friend, and now mine, Mel Scott (MJ Scott, author of the Half-light City series among others) said to my husband one time when he was talking with her about my writing -: ‘Just tell the girl to stop playing with the bloody thing and send it off.’

So, I made myself stop after this last draft, even though the uncertain part of me is screaming at me there were things still to play with, and just sent the bloody thing off.

Now for the nerve-wracking wait to hear what my editors at Penguin’s Destiny Romance, and my agent, Alex Adsett, think of it (sound of teeth chewing fingernails off and stomach gurgling horribly).

I hope, sooner rather than later, I’ll have some good news to share with everyone. But if not, I won’t give up. This is a story dying to be told and I will do my utmost to get it out there to everyone who enjoyed Dark Moon so much.

DarkMoon_coverToday is the day I’ve slaved so hard for – the release day of Dark Moon. Big thanks go to so many people (family, friends, writing groups and critique partners) but especially on this day to my editors at Penguin’s Destiny Romance and my agent, Alex Adsett, who took a chance on it and me and saw something special.

I am so proud of this book because it was the start in a new chapter of my writing. With great trepidation I took it to my writer’s meeting and sent the first few chapters off to competitions in the US hoping to get some decent feedback – but I got far more than that. It immediately struck a chord with judges and with my writing group and it encouraged me to keep trying this new thing I was doing. That all seems like an age ago. But finally it is here and it already has some wonderful reviews written up for it.

5 Star Review on Goodreads and 4 Star Review on Goodreads and BooksnKisses review blog. I’ve had my first bit of fan mail over it on my FB Author page and a great response to the cover and the blurb.

Full moon on Dark Moon's Release Day morning.

Full moon on Dark Moon’s Release Day morning.

So, I was already feeling really positive about it, but then this morning I got up at 5.30am to write and one of my sons woke up around about 6.30am and came into my ‘office’ (the loungeroom where my desk is set up) to say goodmorning and give me a hug when he said, ‘Mummy, look at the full moon. Isn’t your book about the full moon and what it does to the werewolves and witches?’ I looked out the window and sure enough, there was the full moon glowing in the dawn sky. It felt like a good thing, given my son was right (he actually listened to me rabbit on about it! – go figure) and the full moon features prominently all through the book, and in the rest of the series, which I am currently writing. So I quickly took a photo of it (excuse the bluriness, I was being bumped my Mr 8yrs who still wanted a mummy hug)

And, as of today, you can get Dark Moon at:



Destiny Romance


Google Play

and other eBook retailers. I hope you all love Skye and Jason’s journey as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I revealed my new cover the other day and now I have my lovely official blurb for my novel. So here it is – my first ever published urban paranormal, the first in my Witch-Were Chronicles.  It will be out on March 15th. Enjoy.

DarkMoon_coverLately, 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?


I’ve had a really unusual weekend for me this weekend – I’ve actually been out for dinner on Friday and out for lunch today and neither of them were with family or for a family thing.

I was out with friends.

It’s not that I don’t get out, but it’s not something that happens a lot and for it to happen twice in one weekend and not be a family thing is really quite amazing.

Friday night I caught up with some old school friends. It has been 25 years since we were at school together and we have made an effort to keep in contact and catch up at least 3 or 4 times a year. Sometimes we’ve gone to see a movie, sometimes out for dinner, sometimes for a party, but it is always fun and amazes me how easily we slip back into that knowledge of each other. We all do such different things and lead very different lives, and yet we have that thing in common (all those years at school together) that help us to relate on a level that means it doesn’t matter how long it is between seeing each other, it will always be comfortable and fun. Shia and Marianne had both been to America on completely different kinds of trips, so much of the chat centred around their trips, but we all talked work, hobbies, kids, family, movies, books… managing to get through an amazing amount in four hours as we always do and we didn’t even cover everything.

One thing is certain when old friends get together – there is no end to the chat.

The Melbourne based Destineers - (back row from left, Madeline Ash, Sasha Cottman, Mary Costello, Edwina Jagleman, Emmie Dark, Sarah Fairhall, front row from left, Carol George, Louise Reynolds and me - missing from photo Elise K Ackers and Nicole Hadow.)

The Melbourne based Destineers – (back row from left, Madeline Ash, Sasha Cottman, Mary Costello, Edwina Jagleman, Emmie Dark, Sarah Fairhall, front row from left, Carol George, Louise Reynolds and me – missing from photo Elise K Ackers and Nicole Hadow.)

Today I was out with a group of new friends (the Destineers – fellow writers published by Penguin’s Destiny Romance) and while the dynamic is completely different from when you’re with old friends, it was still stimulating and fun and I had a really lovely time and was sad when we all had to wrap up and get back to our lives.

The fun thing about making new friends when you’re older (once you get past the terror of wondering if you’ll fit in and if you’ll have anything in common and will anyone like you – no, none of this changes from how it was at school as you get older, I think you just get better at covering up the insanity that is social uncertainty!) is that you’ve got all this stuff to learn about each other and there are endless topics of discussion and the discovery of people’s interests and the things that you’ve got in common and what you don’t have in common but are fascinating anyway.

With the Destineers there is of course the bond of us all being authors and trying to figure out how to be a writer in the ever shifting sand that is publication today, and an outsider would imagine that this is pretty much all we talk about – but they would be wrong. We all write different genres – contemporary, rural, novellas, paranormal, historical, chic lit, erotica, suspense – so while there are things we can talk about, I’m not about to yammer on about my Witch and Were characters to someone who doesn’t read or write paranormal, just like I wouldn’t do that to my old schoolfriends. And they don’t yammer on to me about what they’re writing – it’s not that it wouldn’t necessarily be interesting, but we discuss writing issues with each other in our FB group. We don’t need to do that face to face.

So, what do a group of published writers stand around talking about if not 100% about writing? Well, just like my old schoolfriends, we’re a group of women, and the idea of sticking to one topic is just impossible. We covered travel, food, moving, families, camping, sports, Scrivener, sex and erotica (not to mention the unfortunate use of goldfish – something none of us are going to be able to forget without having a horrified laugh) books, movies, TV shows, favourite YouTube clips (I have to look up Luke Ball dancing on YouTube according to Mary and Carol – apparently pretty sexy), social media, holidays and more that I can’t even remember now. Nobody really talked about their WIP’s or about the book they’ve got coming out, but we did talk a little about the industry and how changeable and volatile it is at the moment, but how exciting that makes it too.

Everyone bought something to eat and drink, so we had a really yummy nosh and some good wine (I’m still full) and I feel completely relaxed (even though my boys are running around yelling and doing a great impression of wild beasts) because I had a lovely catch up and time out not once but twice this weekend.

I think I need to do this more often. 🙂


After his terrifying experience in the Luna Park Hollywood Horrors attraction (yes, a bad parenting decision – thanks for rubbing it in!), I really thought my youngest one wouldn’t want to go the horror themed dress up this year for Halloween. In fact, I wasn’t even certain he’d want to do Halloween for fear of seeing someone dressed up scary while we were out and about at twilight. He even shied away from wanting to watch some of the ‘scary’ bits in Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (a movie both my boys love but that always leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth as to what horrors can be done to a beloved franchise when producers don’t spend the time really making sure the reasons for adding to that franchise are solid – like a good script, directing, CGI, an actual story that makes sense within the world that has already been built… Don’t even get me started on the Star Wars prequels!! The horror….the horror…)

Anyway, I digress…

Zombie Skeleton and Glow in the Dark Skeleton

Zombie Skeleton and Glow in the Dark Skeleton

My boys embraced Halloween a few years ago when they were invited over to join friends of the family in their Trick or Treating and in the years since, the theme for Hallowween has always been horror.

Well, perhaps not always – both my monsters are boys after all and in the spirit of all boys, zombies, zombie skeletons, vampires and Star Wars characters are usually all the rage for Halloween.

Darth and Chewie

Darth and Chewie


Just like fart jokes are all the rage for humorous gags and Minecraft is the computer game of choice.


Anyway, mostly horror has always been my boys’ Halloween go-to of choice.



Scary Vampires

Scary Vampires

But back to my story…


After the disaster of the Hollywood Horrors, I thought last year’s wonderful make up effort, (the youngest one allowed me to go all make-up artist on him and turn him into my version of a scary blood-sucker) would not be repeated this year.

Imagine my pride that he truly looks like he would suck your blood!

Imagine my pride that he truly looks like he would suck your blood!


Which made me very sad. Turning him into one of the living dead was huge fun for me and dusted off my make-up skills that I’ve not really used since I gave up the theatre before the older one was born. The youngest one was always enthusiastic about being made to look like something horrific (and given my penchance for the paranormal, I was happy to play along with this, especially as the older one wouldn’t even let me near him with makeup in hand.) I was all resigned this year to the younger one wanting to go as Harry Potter (he dressed up as Harry for a fancy dress day at school) and have nothing but a lightning bolt to draw on his forehead. Not that I have anything against Harry – love the books, love the movies – and he really did make a very cute Harry, but it would mean all my fabulous theatre make-up would continue to sit in the make-up bag feeling incredibly sad about being alone and unused and unapreciated (of course, that was the make-up feeling that way. Not me at all.)

I could not have been more wrong.

Red-eyed devil

Red-eyed devil



The older one (who won’t even watch Doctor Who because he finds it too scary) made his usual dress up choice, which involved putting a demon mask on and not letting me anywhere near him with my make-up skills. He wouldn’t even let me ‘demonise’ his hands with some effective blood splatter 🙁  or wear all black – yes, that is a camel on his chest. Very demonic.

However, the younger one surprised the pants off me when he decided he wanted to go dressed as Freddy Kruger.

‘Why Freddy Kruger?’ asked me, a little shell shocked and trying not to bring up the bad experience of the Hollywood Horrors again. ‘Isn’t he a little scary? I mean, do you even know who he is?’

‘He’s the baddy from ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street,’ says the youngest one who has never seen a horror movie in his life, nor has his brother, but they both seem to have an extensive awareness of them, or more to the point, the scary masks that the killers like to wear in horror movies.

‘Well, you know that’s a horror movie,’ says me carefully.

‘Oh, yeah.’

‘Then are you sure you want to dress up as him?’

‘Yeah. He’s scary and cool.’

‘Really?’ says me, incredibly surprised.

‘Oh, yeah. He was the nice man who took a photo with us at Hollywood Horrors. I like him.’

‘But I thought that scared you.’

‘It did, but not him. He was there before the scary bit. Although he is scary and I want to be scary. It is Halloween after all, Mum. You’re meant to dress up scary.’

‘Oh, right. Well… okay then.’

I thought in the weeks leading up to Halloween he would change his mind (he usually does change it about twenty times) but he didn’t. he stuck to this idea of wanting to be truly scary. We couldn’t find a mask for him – they are all adult sized – and the children sized Freddy Kruger costumes only come with a hat, striped top and glove with ‘claws’. The kid on the front of the costume we bought had some make-up on and the youngest one looked up at me and said, ‘You can do better make-up than that, Mum. Remember, I want to be truly scary.’

Freddy Kruger

Freddy Kruger

So, even though I was still a bit bewildered by his attitude to this whole thing, I decided to give it a good go. I bought some great prosthetic pieces to help enhance the awful visage of Mr Kruger and brought some new make up colours and went to town on my version of the nightmare villain. And this is what I came up with…

I was pretty happy with the end results (he is pretty amazing about having it put on – he sits so still and allows me to do his neck and hands as well to create the entire feel.) And he was really thrilled with how he looked – go figure!

Then, when we were out and about with my sister and nephew, I suddenly realised why he wanted to be made to look truly scary. When you have a really well executed scary costume, people respond to it in a really exagerated way (Holy crap, you’re Freddy Kruger!’ ‘Wow, that’s scary!’ ‘Oh my god, that looks real!’) and you get more lollies. In fact, he got the all time best comment, ‘That’s the best, most scary costume of the year, for me – here, have a handful more of these.’ Every young monsters dream!

I have a smart cookie on my hands. One who knows a good scare is worth a tonne of sugar!

My Little Monsters

My Little Monsters


Both boys (otherwise known on the night as ‘my little monsters’ brought in a really good haul of lollies – more than I imagined they could, with little FK coming in ahead of the rest by about a dozen lollies.

He’s pretty good about sharing though, so there weren’t any fights and everyone had a lovely night – it was beautiful and mild here in Australia at the moment with the spring roses out and scenting the air. My sister and I had a great time strolling, chatting and enjoying the boys’ excitement and rolling our eyes over the inevitable sugar overdose and trouble getting them to bed.

I know we don’t ‘celebrate’ Halloween here in Australia like it is celebrate elsewhere, but when you do it, it is really quite a fun, lovely thing to do with lots of generous people who are happy to open their doors, exclaim over the costumes and hand out lollies to the horrifying monsters, devlish devils, bloodsucking vampires, fairies, witches and movie heroes and villains that come to their door. it is more about the ‘treats’ with no sign of the ‘tricks’ that you often hear about happening on the night in the US when people go overboard. In the years we’ve done it with friends or family, goodwill flows and it is a lovely thing to see.

Romance Writers of Australia