Lawless In Leather
Winterfall Destiny
Mated to the sapphic orc
Fae's Fate
Broken: A Romantic Science Fiction Eco Adventure
Wolf's Prize
Wicked Ways
Unbreak My Heart
Curiosity Killed the Vampire
From Across the Sea
Angel In Armani
Edge of Night
The Witch's Tangle
Three Vampires And A Baby
Banshee, Death and Disarray: Holly Harrow: A Point Muse Cozy Paranormal Mystery
Damaris: A Scifi Alien Romance
The Shattered Court
Moon Blessed
Falling for Mr. Fake It

2024 covers

Welcome to the Dark Side!

We are writers mainly from Australia and New Zealand who write speculative fiction with romantic elements. Be it fantasy, paranormal, dark urban fantasy, futuristic and everything in between.

Thursday 18 July 2024

Magic Thursday: Writing the Long Novel with Mary Brock Jones!


I write long books. 

For years, I tried everything to bring my books down to commercially acceptable lengths. Then one day I was re-reading an old favourite—I think it was Dune (Amazon page count 890)—and realised most of my old favourites are long books. Top of the list: Dorothy Dunnett’s historical series (500-800 pages) and Diana Gabaldon Outlander series (800-1000 pages). The Amazon page count for my science fiction books is 500-700, so not so long after all. 

I read and enjoy long books, so of course I write long books. 

Not that it gives me a free pass to keep going forever if I’m having trouble finding the end. There’s only one reason to write a long book: To tell the story properly needs more pages.

Not because:  

  • More pages make more money on KU (it doesn’t–I still earn less per ebook read on KU than per ebook sold).
  • Sloppy editing of a long first draft. Dead giveaways for this are: 
    1. Padding e.g. excess fillers, back story, or irrelevant details.
    2. The story feels like it’s rambling. 
    3. Too much plot for the basic theme, premise, or narrative i.e. I’ve overcomplicated a simple story.
  • Genre expectations. Long, epic books are popular for the fantasy and historical genres, less common in science fiction, and not at all in contemporary romance.

Long can’t be forced onto a story; it must be absolutely necessary. 

So how to write the long novel.

Like any other book, long ones have a beginning, middle and end, and the momentum of the story must be maintained throughout. But there are some unique characteristics loved by readers who want to sink into the world of an epic book.

The story must be big enough to support the length – go back to Goal/Motivation/Conflict. These have to be powerful. End of the world is good! 

  • They have complicated plots with multiple subplots, particularly for the external plot lines. Similarly there are more characters. Further, the secondary characters may have their own stories, with plots, complications, and expectations. The only rule is that these must support the main plot and character. There does need to be a pattern to the book, though, otherwise the reader is left floundering and lost. I liken it to the weave of a tapestry, with all the strands interlocking to support the main story. 
  • Details. Readers of long books love details. There is so much room for world building and character backgrounds! But it isn’t a licence for author self-indulgence. Readers who love details pay attention to them. Everything must be there for a reason. It may be more obscure than in shorter books, foreshadowing, to set the scene for a character’s actions, or just to bring life to the world, but whatever it is, the detail must act to move the story forward. A smoking gun is still a smoking gun, but what if it’s battered, rusty, and with heavy wear on the handpiece, against one that is highly decorated, polished to a lustre, with no signs of wear except for the residue from a misfired charge in the barrel. 
  • Variations in pace are particularly vital. You need to give the reader breathing spaces without losing them. 
  • There can be multiple endings for the various characters and plot lines. However, resolution of the main external and internal story lines is still what finishes the story.

The biggest negative of writing long? They take me so much more time to write. I’m mostly a pantser, and that means lots more sludgy periods to wade through when you have no idea what comes next. You have to be stubborn to write long. 

Now to prod along my characters in my next book.


Book 4, Arcadia

A fabled earth analogue, paradise world, or a planet facing disaster?

Arcadia is the most perfect Earth Analogue world in all the Alliance – a world on which plenty are eager to settle in place of the present owners if they keep abusing their world. That’s what the Galactic Alliance has threatened, and the Alliance never makes false promises. Arcadians must change how they treat their world, or they will be removed. But too many Arcadians refuse to believe the threat is real, and a band of conspirators will use any means possible to hold onto their wealth and profits, including kidnap, blackmail, maybe even assassination. The Federal Marshals ask Cumchdach den Coille to infiltrate the conspiracy and expose it.

Cumchdach has known since their teens that he’d marry his beloved Anna one day. But not that conspiracies and business fraud would come between them. When Anna’s father defrauds Cumchdach’s family company, Anna leaves him, taking their baby.

As one the top botanists on Arcadia, Anna den Coille specialises in how plants work together and within their ecosystem to best thrive. Work needed by her government to help fix their world. Then she is betrayed by her father, which doesn’t surprise her. But Cumchdach’s betrayal threatens to destroy her. Even worse, her snarled up family connections and special skills make her a target for their enemies.

Can Anna and Cumchdach survive long enough to expose their enemies and save their world—and save their marriage?


Mary Brock Jones

Mary Brock Jones lives in Auckland, New Zealand, but loves nothing more than to escape into the other worlds in her head, to write science fiction and historical romances. Sedate office worker by day; frantic scribbler by night. 

Her parents introduced her to libraries and gave her a farm to play on, where trees became rocket ships and rocky outcrops were ancient fortresses. She grew up writing, filling pages of notebooks and filling her head with stories, but took a number of detours on the pathway to her dream job. After four grown sons, more than one house renovated, grandchildren, and now a new farm to play on in the weekends, her wish came true. 

You can find Mary at her website: marybrockjones.com

Monday 15 July 2024

DarkSdier News: New Releases & Sales - July 2024!


“Books are a form of political action. Books are knowledge. 
Books are reflection. Books change your mind.”
 – Toni Morrison


Every Vampire Has Its Day
Ava Silvers
Book 5, Creatures of the Midwest
Release: 20 June

The magical Faery book inside Hazel’s mind may turn out to be more of a curse than a blessing when the most dangerous warriors in the Fae realm come to cut it from her head. Literally.

After nearly being eaten by ley line monsters while saving her three hundred year old vampire boyfriend from a bounty hunter, Hazel Goode’s not off the hook just yet.

Her haunted house is full of secrets, a strange illness plagues her witchy powers, her dead sister is exhibiting haunting symptoms, and Corwin's not telling her everything about the price on his head.

Add a thirty year old missing persons case, possible mass human sacrifice, and a dangerous Blood witch, and Hazel’s supernatural cup is overflowing.

Things couldn’t possibly get any worse…

…and then, they do.

When a faery assassin attacks Hazel in an effort to gain ownership of the Leabhar Draíocht stored in her mind, Hazel discovers these attacks aren’t about her, but about something even worse happening in the Fae realm.

Something that could affect her, the people she loves, and even all of Shadow Hollow.

Time is running out to save her town from the lingering effects of Mayor Stevens’ vampire experiments, get the bounty off Corwin, and figure out how to safely remove the Leabhar Draíocht - without losing her head.

Or her life.

EVERY VAMPIRE HAS ITS DAY is the fifth novel in the Creatures of the Midwest, a cozy paranormal mystery that fans of True Blood and Midnight, Texas are sure to devour!

Wolf Bite
Book 7, Outcast Pack
TJ Nichols
Released: 1 July

Mitchell Wright expected to die when he was captured by hunters. When they chained him and left him in the bush, he hoped to die fast. Instead, his fated mate shows up and saves him. Now, he has to deal with his injuries for the rest of his life, and he’s a familiar to a witch he doesn’t even know.

Coven Agent Penrith Flint thought he was saving the wolf shifter’s life, not finding himself a familiar. Because of how it happened—the wolf didn’t consent to become his familiar—he’s desk-bound with his job on the line while praying to the Fates to let the bond fade.

After four months, it hasn’t.

When Mitchell turns up just before Christmas to see him, Penrith must decide if he’s willing to let the wolf into his life and risk his heart one more time. While neither man wants a fated mate, it is the gift they both need.

One wounded wolf shifter and a slightly bitter blood witch come together to discover that while love may not heal wounds, it makes them easier to bear and that finding Mitchell a pack is the family they both need.

Buy Ebook
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Narrated by Casey McLeod
Running time: 2.2 hours

Buy Audiobook
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Cursed Alliance
HM Hodgson
Book 1, Cursed Nights
Released: 8 July

Morgana Fiennes, formidable witch and freelance operative, always works alone and never fails her clients. And she’s not about to break that record when the Seattle Police Department offers a lucrative contract to track down a monster-slaying weapon.

The catch? Her nemesis, the irresistibly enigmatic Arcturus Ravenna, a billionaire entwined with the very tech they're hunting, wants nothing to do with her. Time for a little persuasion…

Arcturus Ravenna, secretly descended from the ancient Greek monster Typhon, despises magic, thanks to a witch's curse that scarred him for life. Yet, with vulnerable monsters under attack, he's compelled to act—even collaborating with the captivating, spellbinding, blackmailing Morgana.

But amid the chaos, and as enemies become lovers, how can two alphas put aside their differences and distrust, and stop the real threat before it’s too late for all monsters—including them?

Outcast Pack Omnibus volumes 1 & 2
Volumes 1-2, Outcast Pack
TJ Nichols
Released: 1 July in ebook format

Volume 1 includes:
Wolf Heart
Wolf Blood
Wolf Soul
Wolf Mate

Volume 2 includes:
Wolf Lust
Wolf Hunt
Wolf Gift
Wolf Bite

Mark Me
Mila Young
Released: 24 June in audio format
Book 4, Immortal Vices and Virtues: Her Monstrous Mates
multi-author series
Narrated by: Stella Rose, Michael Joss
Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins

I’m marked…but I won’t be tamed.

Loss has scarred my life. I’ve trained relentlessly, endured unimaginable pain for one goal—to face the beast who watched me, who came for me. But took my family instead.

There’s nothing I won’t do for vengeance.

Until three sinful and unhinged monsters find me, emerging from the shadows with sharp teeth, and with claws that could pull apart my life as easily as they do the buttons on my dress.

They think they can break me... Absurd.

Yet I’m caught in their twisted war in a world in ruins and fraying at the edges. They won’t leave me alone, insisting I belong to them. That they’ll make me irrevocably theirs.

Resisting the fantasies they promise grows harder with every passing day, and it scares me how easily I’ve started thinking of them as my own monsters.

But I remind myself I obey no one. Especially when I’m starting to suspect that they had a hand to play in my family’s death.

They aren’t the first monsters I’ve faced. They’ll most certainly be the last…

Mark Me is a STANDALONE book.

Author’s Note: Mark Me is a steamy, shifter romance with darker themes, enemies to lovers tension, three possessive and cocky aIphahoIes, a tough and sassy heroine who refuses to choose just one man. Dive in and enjoy this standalone book.

Broken Bonds
Keri Arthur
Book 8, Lizzie Grace
June in Hardcover


Australia - signed copies can be purchased direct from Keri. 
Contact via email: keriarthurauthor@gmail.com

Ring of Ruin
Keri Arthur
Book 3, Relic Hunter
June in Hardcover


Australia - signed copies can be purchased direct from Keri. 
Contact via email: keriarthurauthor@gmail.com

Sheild of Fire
Keri Arthur
Book  4, Relic Hunter
Released: 25 June in audio format
Narrated by: Laura Horowitz
Length: 10 hrs and 22 mins

A new relic hunt. A new evil…

Resident Relic Hunter for Deva’s Fae Council is a title Bethany Aodhán never wanted, but it isn’t like she has a choice. And in truth, the appointment might just aid her quest to find her mother’s murderers—because at least one of those responsible is a member of the council, and getting access to their records could give her the connection and their identity.

But before she can be given her first task or even start her behind-the-scenes hunt, a building belonging to Cynwrig Lùtair—the highborn dark elf who is not only her council liaison but lover—is set alight, and they barely escape with their lives.

It quickly becomes clear that the cause of the fire was a relic belonging to the god of smiths and fire, capable of destroying anything made within a forge, old or new. And the man wielding it is an elf who stirs uneasy echoes of past darkness within Bethany.

As the attacks intensify and draw ever closer to home, it’s increasingly evident that not only do the keys to finding the culprits lie in the past Bethany can’t remember, but he’s someone who knew her very well indeed.

Someone who has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to get what he wants from her.

Even if that means killing Lugh.

AmazonAudible | B&NGoogle Play | Kobo

Departmental Relations
D.D. (Danni) Line
Novella, Artemis Curse World
Released: 29 June

Rivals since their university days, Agents Nixie Veda and Dashiell Tyson have chased the same positions since they joined the Department of Magical Affairs.

Dash, now her boss, hosts an inter-office party to celebrate when the Magical Enforcement Agency closes another high-profile case. The top job should have been Nixie’s. After some drinks, she considers telling him as much, only she’s afraid that’s not the only thing she might reveal.

Dash fell for Nixie in their freshmen year, but their overdeveloped competitive streak has them clashing at every turn. Brilliant at her work, she’s all about the job. He’d give anything for her to see him as a lover, not her opposition. Maybe a party environment will make them relax enough to have an actual conversation, and lead to something more.

But one agent has a hidden agenda, and they’ll do anything to get what they want. Even use a little forbidden magic, and an office party is the perfect cover.

Shadow Throne
LJ Swallow
Book 4, Daughter of the Shadow
Released: 2 July in audio format
Narrated by: Will M. Watt, Ella Lynch
Length: 9 hrs and 26 mins

I am the Ebon Queen's daughter of shadow, but I am not hers.

She has threatened my men, and if she harms them, I will unleash dark magic. Would my shadows defeat the queen—or strengthen my bond to her instead?

The dragon flights have returned but they throw our plans into disarray. Their first-born will destroy everything that stands between them and their desire to end the Ebon Queen—and that could include me. Luin offers to help but I'm unsure he wants to become more than my guardian, and the men now question whether an alliance is possible with such creatures.

We return to our realm to make our next move but not all agree with Leander's decision to return to the stronghold. Devin and Rohan fear for our lives should we walk through the gates, but we may have no choice. Is Leander's position as High Lord enough to keep our group safe if we follow his plans?

The Ebon Queen's forces have destroyed more of the land we travel through, and we face more challenges as we pass through the towns. Ebon elves and her dragon consort Cadenor pursue us as the queen steps up the crusade to bring me to her court. I fear that if she cannot take me, she will take my men.

I'm prepared to face the Ebon Queen and the darkness within myself, but instead, she forces an impossible choice on me.

I am a daughter of shadow, and this is who I must become, or I could lose everything.

Shadow Throne is the last book in the Daughter of Shadow why-choose romantic fantasy series from USA Today bestselling author LJ Swallow. If you enjoy slow-burn, action-packed fantasy romance set in unique worlds, you'll love this series with irresistible elves, a fierce warrior, a seductive lord, a strong magical heroine, and a dragon with a secret.

Non Spec-Fic

Playing Hard
Book 4, New York Saints
Melanie Scott
Released: 11 June

She’s playing it smart and he’d be a bad, bad idea

Amelia Graham has always been the MVP of good girls. Keeping her head down and playing safe have gotten her all the way to Wall Street and the security she craves. There’s no room in her game-plan for bad boys. And New York Saints first baseman Oliver Shields is way too smooth to be anything but bad. His face might be hot enough to melt unwary hearts, but she knows enough about athletes to know they’re usually players in more ways than one.

He lives for the game but she’s changing the rules

Oliver never takes his eyes off the prize. But when he meets Amelia at a party celebrating the Saints finally making the play offs, he can’t help thinking maybe one wild night with her is just what he needs. Pity she’s playing hard to get. But when things go horribly wrong and he’s facing the end of his career, Amelia is the one who unexpectedly steps up to the plate to help him through even though she’s supposed to be focused on winning her dream job. Flirting turns to feelings neither of them are ready to admit, but when faced with goodbye, can they swing for the fences and risk it all for love?

Playing Hard is the fourth book in the New York Saints series, a steamy sports romance series. This series has billionaires, baseball, strong heroines, team drama, the occasional cute pet, and sexy times. Enjoy!

Playing Fast
Book 5, New York Saints
Melanie Scott
Released: 9 July

She never worried about her crush on baseball’s bad boy until he landed right in her lap

Eva Harlowe always figured her crush on Finn Castro would never be anything but her deepest fantasy. Until the Saints send him down to the minors after one too many scandals. And given Eva works for the Sarasota Springs Preachers, that means now her job is dealing with the fallen Saint way too up close and personal. Finn might as well have ‘bad decision’ tattooed on his forehead and she knows she has to resist. Which would be easier if meeting the gorgeous Finn face to face didn’t make her want to learn all the wicked things he can teach her.

He’s trying to learn his lesson, but she makes him want to play dirty

Finn knows he’s on his last chance. Three strikes and the Saints have exiled him to see if he can reform his ways. He needs to keep his head down and prove that he deserves a second chance. But Eva would tempt even a true saint and he’s not even close to that. When the two of them strike a bargain for a strictly one season fling, it seems the perfect solution. But hearts don’t always follow the rules and as their clock starts to run out, they either have to face their feelings or lose everything they are.

Playing Fast is the fifth book in the New York Saints series, a steamy sports romance series. This series has billionaires, baseball, strong heroines, team drama, the occasional cute pet, and sexy times. Enjoy!illionaires, baseball, strong heroines, team drama, the occasional cute pet, and sexy times. Enjoy!

The Hero She Craves
Book 3, Unbroken Heroes
Anna Hackett
Released: 13 June

The last thing he expects on his ship is the off-limits woman he can’t stop thinking about—his best friend’s daughter.

After a tough military career as a Navy SEAL, and a member of a covert Ghost Ops team, Lorenzo “Ren” Santoro now calls a research ship home. The ocean, very few people, and solitude…it’s all he needs.

Then as a favor to his best friend, he agrees to take a research team to sea to test a top-secret Navy project. He’s shocked to discover his best friend’s daughter is one of the scientists. The beautiful Halle Bradshaw who Ren once kissed, who ignites a powerful craving inside him. She’s too young, too innocent, and too off-limits.

When strange things start happening to Halle, Ren suspects she’s in danger…and he’ll do anything to keep her safe.

Marine biologist Halle loves the ocean, her work…and Ren Santoro. Being aboard his ship, she finally has the chance to show the stubborn man how good they could be together.

But someone is targeting the highly classified project she’s working on. One she can’t let fall into enemy hands.

The only person she can trust is Ren. Forced to abandon their ship, they will face the danger of the sea and the wilds of a jungle-covered island, all while being hunted by a relentless enemy.

Ren and Halle will no longer be able to hide from their white-hot desire or their demons. She’s determined to convince him to take a chance on love…but first, they have to survive.

Book 3, Fury Brothers
Anna Hackett
Released: 17 June in audio format
Narrated by: Tim Paige, Nicole Small
Length: 5 hrs and 36 mins

I have one goal—arrest billionaire businessman Kavner Fury.

I’m dedicated to my job as a Treasury agent, and taking down crooked financial criminals. Just like the one who destroyed my family.

Kavner Fury is wealthy, powerful, and ambitious, a combination I know too well. He’s New Orleans’ favorite billionaire. Sure, he’s also handsome, charming, with a hard body no man who sits behind a desk should have, but I have no plans to let that distract me.

He’s my enemy, my nemesis…and pure temptation. I won’t let our scorching attraction derail my investigation. But as my money laundering case leads me into dangerous territory, I find myself under attack.

Injured and betrayed, I’m shocked that there is only one man I can turn to. One man who can keep me safe.
Now I’m working with Kavner, side by side, and I uncover a protective man who’s taking a blow-torch to my icy defenses. I get to see the real man beneath the gorgeous exterior, and I’m having trouble keeping my hands off him.

Suddenly, the only man I trust is my enemy, and we’re both caught up in a fiery attraction that could leave us both burned.

Provoking the Punter
Book 2, Austin Troopers
TJ Nichols
Released: 24 June

For Garrett (don't you dare call me Gary) Stevens getting picked up by the Austin Troopers is the second chance he needed. All he needs to do is avoid another scandal and kick well. That means giving 110%, no drinking and no hookups.

Then he meets Chester Monroe, the owner of the Bathtubs and Blossoms distillery and bar at a fundraiser.

With the current punter pushing to be rid of Garrett and Chester offering to help it soon becomes clear that the most interesting plays happen off the field.

Mel Teshco
Book 3, Gangsters at War
Released: 25 June

One sadistic madman substituted by another.

That’s what happened when I escaped from the don of the O’Malley mafia only to be captured by Valentino Barone, deadly enforcer of the Agostino mobster family. I didn’t think I could hate anyone more than the don who damaged me, until Valentino takes away my freedom yet again and awakens my darkest desires, ones I never knew existed. Escape seems futile. But I did it once I can do it again—or die trying.

I was sent to find and kill Chantilly Alcott, fugitive lover of the don of a rival mafia who is desperate to find her. Ending her life and sending pieces of her body to the O’Malley family isn’t something that should bother me—it never has before—so why my reluctance to do my job? I will do it, eventually. For now, I hold her captive and tell myself I’ll break her spirit instead of her body.
So why is she slowly breaking me, instead?

The above cover is by Eleni Konstantine's alter ego, HelzKat Designs.


Phantasma: The Awakening
Phantasia: A Bad Day on Olympus
Phoenix: The Rise
Books 1-3, Phi Athanatoi
10% off ebook bundle only available on author website! 

Book 1: Phantasma
One night’s transgression. A love unveiled. The inescapable outcome of passion and vengeance.

Book 2: Phantasia
Torn apart by separate missions, can their love survive an impending apocalypse?

Book 3: Phoenix
She wants justice. He wants to make things official. But for a demi-god and vampire there are bigger battles.

The Devil in Denim
Book 1, New York Saints
Melanie Scott
FREE for a limited time! 

He’s not just a curveball, he’s her worst nightmare.

Congratulations to our DarkSiders! 
Happy reading everyone. Be safe & well. 

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