Thursday, February 26, 2015

Magic Thursday Steampunk with The Diabolical Miss Hyde ~ Viola Carr



New book, new publisher, new author name. Meet Viola Carr, author of The Diabolical Miss Hyde, an edgy, darkly romantic steampunk re-imagining of Jekyll & Hyde.

It's CSI: Dr Jekyll meets Frankenstein, splashed with Sweeney Todd's blood. Everything you never knew you wanted, right?

So why a pseudonym? 'Erica Hayes' is a perfectly good name, right? And Viola is me. She writes a bit like me. She sounds like me on Twitter. Funnily enough, she even looks a bit like me in her author pic.

But Miss Hyde is definitely Viola's book, bless her bent little heart. It's a new genre – steampunk murder mystery! – that I've never tried before. It's deeper, darker and more gleefully twisted than Erica's books - yes, if such a thing were possible. It's a Jekyll & Hyde thing… but which of us is the evil sister?

Is there paranormal goodness in this book? Absolutely. Monsters, wacky steampunk tech, a dash of alchemy and a luminous magical underworld. Is there romance? You bet. Eliza and Lizzie, my heroines… well, they're the same heroine, but… anyway, there's kind of a love triangle… well, a four-sided thingy… a love trapezoid? Anyway. All you need to know is: hot Victorian dudes in uniform… and a creepy, tragically romantic fellow with a little compulsive homicide problem…

Anyway. Viola's pleased to meet you.

(P.S. If anyone's coming to ARRC, I'll be there… I mean, we… whatever. We'll have chocolate roses.)


Book links – ebook only in Australia until May, when the paperback will be in stores. But hey, that's what the Book Depository's for :)







Cover copy:

Magic, mystery, and romance mix in this edgy steampunk fantasy retelling of the horror classic—in which Dr. Eliza Jekyll is the daughter of the infamous Dr. Henry Jekyll.

In an electric-powered Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with inventive new technological gadgets. Now, a new killer is splattering London in blood, drugging beautiful women and slicing off their limbs. Catching the Chopper will make Eliza’s career - or get her burned. Because Eliza has a dark secret. A seductive second self, set free by her father’s forbidden magical elixir: wild, impulsive Lizzie Hyde. 

When the Royal Society sends their Enforcer, the mercurial Captain Lafayette, to prove she’s a sorcerer, Eliza must resist the elixir with all her power. But as the Chopper case draws her into London’s luminous magical underworld, Eliza will need all the help she can get. Even if it means getting close to Lafayette, who harbors an evil curse of his own. 

Even if it means risking everything and setting vengeful Lizzie free …





Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What We Are Reading February Edition

Welcome to February, the month of romance when we celebrate Valentines Day. But its not all about the romance, and the Darksiders have been reading some varied and interesting books this month.

From Jenny Schwartz:

I recently reviewed Shona Husk's "The Darkling Lord" which isn't out till 19 March. I enjoy Shona Husk's books. She has an interesting ability to introduce an anti-hero and make me believe in his value -- in how he accepts his own flaws, but acts to make the world a better place -- not that he's schmaltzy about it! Henry is a bit of an anti-hero, but more heroic than anything. I liked him. I liked his complicated world (oh Detroit!) and how he navigated the real and ethical minefields. Darah was a very believable fairy; human, but not quite. Her emotional journey was enthralling. Betrayal leaves scars. A fairytale for grown ups.
I've only recently started reading Jim Butcher's "Dresden Files" and the opening of "The Darkling Lord" had the same noir vibe. Noir and fantasy - great combination.





 

From Erica Hayes:

I'm reading Nunslinger by Stark Holborn, this book will explode your head. Very cool in a weird-Western kind of way. It's about this nun in Civil War America who's on this mysterious pilgrimage, and there's this outlaw, and a creepy Union army officer whom she at first mistakes for Jesus Christ, and... oh, its too hard to explain. It's Steven King's Gunslinger, with a nun. Yeah. 





From Kylie Griffin:

1001 DARK NIGHTS:SHOW ME, BABY - Cherise Sinclair (A Master of the Shadowlands novella)
While written as a novella, Cherise Sinclair packs so much into her stories that they never feel short. 
Great characters, powerful plot lines, scenes with powerful emotion, and a feeling of immense satisfaction once the last page is turned.
Another keeper in the Shadowlands series.

EDGE OF THE ENFORCER - Cherise Sinclair (A Master of the Shadowlands novel)
Cherise has the incredible skill of packing so much in one story. I have to admit I was intrigued on how I would view a sadist hero and if this would be an issue for me as a reader (my ignorance over what motivates a sadist) but to be honest, the explanation was interwoven into the storyline of the hero and it was so believably done, without sounding preachy, it was a non-issue part of the story.
This is what I find Cherise does so well - I love her layered characters and the emotional arc's she winds into the plot.
As I usually do when I get a Cherise Sinclair book, I read it in one sitting. It's another one for the keeper shelf.


 

And for myself. Last week I read Captive Prince, by CS Pacat, volume I and II in less than 24 hours because I just couldn't put it down. Bec McMaster had mentioned it and said the same thing, so I was intrigued to see what it was all about. I can't put my finger on exactly what made this book so addictive. It wasn't the first m/m romance I'd read, nor the first slave/master romance I'd read. The world-building was a bit lacking and we never find out much in the way of background as to why these two nations were at war and much of their culture outside of the usual court intrigues remained a mystery. The writing was not bad, but also not great, there was a bit of telling going on, but the way Pacat wove the story was addictive. I guess the old adage is true in this case: if you can tell a great story, even if the technique isn't perfect, then it won't matter because you'll still capture your readers. I was disappointed to find the third book hadn't come out yet, that it was due out last year but there's currently no word on when it will release. Like many other fans, I'm dying to know how the series will resolve. Also, this is the kind of book I'd really love to see made into a movie.  

Happy Reading into March!

~ Jess Anastasi

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Secret Confessions ~ Magic Thursday with the Housewives of Sydney

Tagline: From the hottest writers in Australia comes a scintillating new series. Enter the world of Sydney’s elite, and find out what goes on behind the doors of the most exclusive addresses in the country…

On 1st April 2014 Escape Publishing contacted eleven Aussie authors with an intriguing premise: an erotic continuity based on the Real Housewives tv series. We were each given a brief character description - my character was "New Age/Old Money" and from there we could do as we liked. As long as it was hot and sexy :-)

We set up a Yahoo group so we could discuss ideas and it was So Much Fun. We found fabulous houses and posted pics of our heroes (research is so important :-) )

It just so happens eight of these authors are also Dark Siders, and in fact Tracey O'Hara (along with the fabulous Kate Cuthbert at Escape) was the brainwave behind the idea. 

We hope you enjoy these sizzling stories of secrets, sex and satisfaction...

Meet the Housewives of Sydney. They are wealthy, elegant, poised, and constantly in the public eye. But what goes on behind closed doors, in the private homes and parties where the cameras and paparazzi aren’t welcome? Delve into the most personal details of their relationships, their friendships and their lives. The only question is: can you handle the heat?







Willow has loved Seb for as long as she can remember, but he has a past that she can’t handle, so she’s never done anything about it. But to not have him in her life is unthinkable, so  she holds on to him the only way she can – through friendship. Now his writing career is taking off, and Willow finds herself increasingly jealous of his groupies and increasingly unable to keep her feelings to herself.

An unexpected visit leads to an unanticipated kiss – and Seb and Willow end up in her bed. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to Willow, but can she trust that Seb wants more than a bit of afternoon delight – and can she trust herself to let go of the past in order to gain a future?


   iBooks    Amazon   Amazon UK    Amazon Aus    Kobo   Nook    ARe    Booktopia   Google Play

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Enchanted Orb with Nicole Murphy

Nicole Murphy is the writer of science fiction, fantasy, erotica and romance stories. Today she shares her thoughts on Having an Inspired Life.

Having an inspired life with Nicole Murphy
 
 
It’s what we all aim for – an inspired life. That is, I think, a life that excites us. A life that fills uwith anticipation and hope and wonder and delight. One of the reasons that we read, and some of us write, is because the dreams and adventures to be found between the covers of a book are inspiring.

But that want for inspiration can be drowned out by the stresses of life. Work stress. Relationship stress. Financial stress. Vacuuming stress. Oh, the stress of vaccuming… Even writing, which should be such a joy, hits moments of stress and then the inspiration is hard to find.

What can we do, when those times hit us, to find the inspiration again? It’s something I’ve been wondering about lately. 2015 has started busy, and it’s just going to get busier. So I’m trying to work things out, make decisions now that will hopefully help me continue to be inspired even when things get ridiculous.

So I’ve been doing a bit of research, and here’s some of the things that come up regularly in terms of having an inspired life:

Meditation – apparently you don’t have to do masses of it, but five minutes every day can make a huge difference. Not only does it help settle your thinking, it also opens your mind up.

Planning – I know, that sounds absolutely ridiculous, doesn’t it. But here’s what I’ve found – having a weekly plan, where you work out what you’re doing when (both in work and in your general life) actually frees you up. When you enter a time period knowing what you have to do, there’s no mucking around. You just do it. And when you start planning things out, you might find you’ve got more time than you thought you did. And don’t just plan work. Plan your social life. Plan down time.

Have new experiences – being open to new experiences often results in inspiration, not the other way around. So have a look at the year coming up and work out some new experiences you can have, to blow out some of those cobwebs. It can be as simple as trying a food you’ve never done before, to setting yourself a challenge such as learning to play a musical instrument.

Expose yourself to inspiring people – one of the best ways to become inspired is to interact with people who are inspiring. Luckily, in this day and age, we’ve got the opportunity to hear from thousands of inspiring people for free through the TED talks. So why not make finding a TED talk part of your weekly plan, and then give yourself time afterwards to think about it? Or watch it with a loved one, or friends, so you can discuss it afterwards.

Get outside – with computers and phones and tablets and televisions and airconditioning, it’s so easy to stay inside all the time. But for starters, you can miss some all important sunshine that way. And when you do go outside – stop and look around. The old saying ‘Take time to smell the roses’ is so, so true. Except that most modern roses have had the smell bred out of them which makes you wonder why they even exist. But there are other things that smell nice too. Or sound nice. Or feel nice on your skin.

Celebrate your accomplishments – even if they seem small. It’s so much easier to feel inspired when you feel accomplished, and capable. So figure out a way to celebrate everything you do and do it. Even if it’s just to throw on a song and dance like a wild person in your loungeroom. Celebrate!

I’d love to hear ideas you’ve got about ways to become inspired. Let’s building a repository that all of us can refer to during those moments when even when the sun is shining it feels like the world will be forever dark.

Nicole's latest release is Winning the King:

 
About the author

Nicole Murphy writes urban fantasy and science fiction romance, while her alter ego Elizabeth Dunk writes contemporary romance and erotic. Nicole’s latest release is ‘Winning the King’, book two of the Jorda series of science fiction romance. You can buy it here: All Romance ebooks / iTunes / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Google Play / Kobo / Nook / Amazon Aus

 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Good News Day



Welcome to this week's good news....
coming to you this week by Nicole Murphy


NEW RELEASES

Marie Dry is celebrating the release of Alien Under Cover, the second book in her SF romance series.

In a bleak and apocalyptic future, Julia Benzoni flees the violence-saturated world of her mafia family to build a peaceful life in a No Name Town, Montana. Now, while civilization disintegrates into anarchy around her and evil men prey on the innocent, she's pursued by an alien, whose warrior life thrusts her back into the world where might makes right and violence is the order of the day. Torn, she now has to choose between her need to distance herself from war and violence and the alien warrior who holds her heart.

Purchase Alien Under Cover at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KOBO | All Romance Ebooks

Find out more about Marie's work at her website.


NEWS

Liliana Rose has made it onto the screen! Her script Collection, about a young girl called Tammy, was one of just four chosen to be made into a film by TAFE SA students. 

In 'Collection' Tammy, who has an overactive imagination, conjures some fabulous adventures while taking the rubbish down a very long driveway. Liliana said seeing the film was exciting and the students did an excellent job capturing the essense of what she had written. Congratulations, Liliana!

Nicole Murphy's SF romance Loving the Prince is currently on sale at Amazon Australia and Amazon US as part of the Amazon Summer Sale. You can buy it for less than a dollar. If you've been too scared to try out SF romance before, here's your chance to do so without it costing you too much.



Friday, February 6, 2015

Real Life Paranormal with Kathrine Leannan



Not Our Time to Sever the Threads        

I have always believed in the power and direction of the universe and that the progression of our lives, is a linear state of purpose. As humans, I believe we all have a preordained reason for being - whether it is to be the Prime Minister of Australia, the scientist who discovers the cure for cancer or simply the person who saves the life of another and in so doing, redeems self to the path of right.
The Greeks believed, the Moirai, or the Fates, were three sisters, all incarnations of destiny and life. Named Clotho–the one who spins and weaves the threads of life; Lachesis - the decider, who draws lots and determines the length of the threads and Altropos, also named The Inevitable, chooses how someone dies and cuts the life threads with shears.
The time of death is at the choosing of Fates. Does that also mean that if a death is foreseen and timed, that the decision can be reversed at their choosing? If so, why? Is this a whim? My experience leads me to believe that there are times when the universe intervenes to preserve the life of someone, for some specific reason, only known to her.
Here is my story...
I was twenty nine years old when I had my first child. I was like a she bear - my son was never out of my sight. It was the day of my six week postnatal check up with my obstetrician. His office was in a busy part of Sydney. I made my way through the frantic afternoon traffic and stopped to make a right hand turn. I waited and waited and waited for a break in the traffic. The traffic lights were not synced, so, only one or two cars were getting through at a time.
I foolishly made the decision to make a break for it–big mistake. I misjudged the proximity of the oncoming vehicle to my left, which was on a collision course straight for me. All I could think of was my son who was strapped into his capsule in the back of the car.
It was surreal. I didn't close my eyes. I just stared at the oncoming vehicle and braced for impact. I remember seeing my knuckles gripped on the steering wheel. The bouyant feeling of being carried along by a wave in the surf, washed over me, then an electrical zing flashed through my body. I looked up. I was still in the same position, pointed down the hill, blocking the road. The other vehicle that five seconds before, was only centimetres from my passenger side door, now, was to my right and was powering away down the road.
I wasn't harmed and thanks to the Goddess, neither was my son. I truly don't understand how we weren't involved in a serious car accident. The only way the other car, travelling at speed could have arrived on the other side of me, was to go over the top of my car or through my car. It sounds impossible, but I felt that vehicle pass through me.
I know what I felt. I can still feel that wave and zing as if it happened today. I believe both parties involved had some molecular interchange and we were saved. Who knows, as a forty year career midwife, maybe I was meant to survive to ensure the life of a destined newborn was preserved. Or perhaps it was my contribution to the establishment of governance in Healthcare in NSW. Maybe it is my son who has a destiny that is universe given. All I know is that the magicks are all around us and that miracles do happen. I am grateful that my precious boy and I were one of them.
 


Trailer to Warrior Born - Book 1 of the Katana Series. 


 


 
I smell rain before clouds gather across the sky. I feel the dawn before the sun paints my world the colours of the earth. It is the flit of gossamer wings above my head as I walk through the garden that warms my soul and makes me glad that faeries exist. The universe is my mistress and my strength. Things that growl in the shadows or snap at my ankles in the night are my dark friends—the source of my creativity. I, am Kathrine Leannan








Thursday, February 5, 2015

Magic Thursday with Jess Anastasi



Why I’m a Shipper & Fangirl and How it Helps My Writing

My name is Jess Anastasi and I’m here to admit today that I am a shipper and a fangirl, and I will own up to my addiction.

For those of you not familiar with the terms, a shipper is someone who obsesses with a particular relationship on a TV series, but can also apply to books, movies and other types of couples. This from Urban Dictionary: “The term "shipper" comes from supporting a (relation)ship. To ship something means a person wants two characters to get together and/or shows support for two characters already together. The term "ship" came from the X-Files fandom, when fanfics were written about Mulder and Scully. The fans then called themselves shippers. It quickly spread and is now the title a person gives themselves if they believe two characters should or will be together (The characters can be from anything: Books, Movies, Television, Video Games, and even Actors/Actresses). It is not limited to the couple actually happening, a person can ship something just because they enjoy the possibility of them getting together or even just because they think they would look good together.”
 
As for being a fangirl, that kind of explains itself, but from Urban Dictionary: “A rabid breed of human female who is obsessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Similar to the breed of fanboy. Fangirls congregate at anime conventions and livejournal. Have been known to glomp, grope, and tackle when encountering said obsessions.”

I have never used livejournal, been to an anime convention or had the opportunity to groped the object of my obsession interest, but there are definitely a few characters on TV I am big fan of. 
As an example, it’s well known among my friends that I’m a Dean-girl. I still remember the first episode of Supernatural I saw on TV. I was addicted straight away and knew it was going to be something really special. Ten seasons later, their story is sadly coming to an end, but obviously things can’t last forever. 
 
Dean is a complex character and his relationship with his brother Sam is a thorny web, borderlining on unhealthy fixation. I am seriously not a fan of Wincest, but can see why people ship Destiel. I guess it also doesn’t hurt that Jensen Ackles is easy on the eye.

As for ships, the number one on my list at the moment is Oliver and Felicity on Arrow. There is lots of heated internet debate about these two. In the original comics, Oliver/The Arrow ends up with his ex-girlfriend, Laurel, who also becomes the Black Canary. Unfortunately for Oliver and Laurel on the TV series, they were totally lacking any believable chemistry. And then along came Felicity. Her character was meant to be an occasional regular, but she and Oliver worked off each other so well, and fans loved her so much that the creators decided to make her a main character. In recent months, Oliver admitted he loved
Felicity, but did the old “its safer for you if we’re not together” thing.

The heated internet debates come in because many die-hard old-school comic fans believe that Oliver and Felicity’s relationship is doomed, because eventually he’ll end up with Laurel, as per the comic books. However, the other half are arguing that the TV series is an entirely separate entity that clearly doesn’t need to follow the comic book canon (as highlighted by Felicity’s permanency in the team and on the show) therefore Oliver and Felicity clearly belong together forever and ever and ever. The end.

So, what does this have to do with anything, you might be asking? Because I think most of my obsession comes down to dissecting these characters and their relationships, examine what works, what doesn’t, and why, to file away for future reference when working on my own books. I love getting into the nitty-gritty emotional stuff and watching the way these characters face up to their challenges. But I also love the quiet moments, or the humorous moments. When balanced together in story arc perfection, that’s when you’ve got something people will connect with, something that people will keep coming back to.

As authors, how do we translate this into our books? That’s something I’m still trying to work out…

Available now from Entangled Publishing...
 
Escape Velocity
Ilari, Brannon System, 2436

At first, Dr. Sacha Dalton is simply curious about the prisoner of war admitted to her med-lab...until she sees who it is. For Commander Kai Yang—the commander of the battleship Valiant Knox—has long been thought dead. Killed in action. But after almost a year and half, he's returned home. Returned to her.

Kai is recovering from his ordeal and under the watchful care of Sacha, his childhood friend and the widow of his best friend. Only now, their friendship has grown and deepened into something far deeper, and far more complicated. Yet as Kai's body recovers, his psyche remains broken. How could he ever be the man he was, and the man Sacha deserves? But an intergalactic war has a way of forcing a man to be the hero he was always meant to be...