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.

Monday 31 January 2011

3 months on....

Three months ago, we set out on this Dark Side adventure. It's been a pleasure to see more and more people join us here.

Personally, I can't believe it's been three months. Can you?

I think we have found our rhythm now. What with good news, giveaways and blog posts on different topics, and of course a highlight - darklight - on our members.

So how do you think we are doing?

Sunday 30 January 2011

Weekly Overview

Coming up this week

Tues 2nd  – Good News Day

Wed 3rd - Winners announced for H.C.'s giveaway

-  Part Two of a four-part series on World Building with Kylie Griffin.

Thur 4th – Magic Thursday (with giveaway) – Christina Phillips with Captive.

Sat 6th – Darklight On…Denise Rossetti! 

Thanks for joining us on the Dark Side!

Saturday 29 January 2011

Darklight On...Nicky Strickland: Q & A

Today's Darklight On... is with Nicky Strickland. Welcome Nicky!

How did you come to write speculative fiction? 

It just happens. Any story that spills out of my brain has a fantastical element to it. Either the setting (like an alternate Brisbane where mermaids live) or the way events happen (a 21st century woman ending up in 1st BCE Rome).

Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between? 

I like the term skirtser. It’s a little bit of each. I definitely do not plot like some writers I know *grin* however I do need to have at least a ‘mud-map’ for the story. It’s a bullet point list of events that must happen during the course of the story. How it happens, I leave that for the characters to show me. J

Who are you favourite authors? 

Yoinks. The tough question and so many (though tougher would have been asking for books). In no particular order a short list would include, Paulo Coelho, Euripides, Kim Wilkins, Lilith Saintcrow, Aristophanes, Jim Butcher, Joss Whedon, Kelley Armstrong. If I could grow up to be even a shadow of any of these writers, I’d be a happy girl  J 

What are you currently reading? 

I read 3 or 4 fiction books at a time. Managing Death by Trent Jamieson, The King’s Bastard by Rowena Cory Daniells, The Girl with No Hands and other Tales by Angela Slatter. I’m also going through a J.D. Robb glom at present.

The non-fiction books being read are Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and a couple about everyday life in Ancient Rome. 

You attended both the RWAus conference last year and WorldCon – how did you find these experiences in helping you as a writer? What was your favourite moment? 

Any interaction with others who also write helps development. To be able to talk about genre (romance and/or spec fic) and have other people ‘get it’, and you, is priceless. I love how the internet allows for friendships and support networks to develop but nothing beats connecting with others face-face. Writers generally by nature are a bunch of introverts and, I know for me, the conferences are a way to have an intense social time with other like-minded people. I leave invigorated and full of vim to get on with my storytelling (even snatching minutes in my hotel room on occasion).

It is a wonderful gift and creates many favourite moments. A very special one for me was to have my two worlds merge together when the paranormal romance group were able to meet up for a day during WorldCon. 

Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or TV series? 

This question is as tough as favourite authors! So many to choose from, not to mention the rather lengthy list of shows I’ve yet to watch (ie Sanctuary, Fringe, Being Human....)

Fairly common knowledge is I’m a fangirl when it comes to Joss Whedon. So, Firefly, Angel the Series, Serenity, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse and of course Dr Horrible’s Sing-along-Blog are all up there as faves.

TV shows....I’d have to give a nod to Supernatural (Sam and Cas are a close tie for me, you can all fight over Dean), Farscape, Blood Ties.

Movies....Underworld 1 & 2, Hellboy 1 & 2, The Fifth Element, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (both the old & remake).

I know I’ve missed so many, many more. 

Do have a favourite of your characters? 

If you promise not to tell my main characters...I’m very partial to Seda. He’s a secondary character in my Elemental series. Seda is a seadog (think seahorse the size of say a spaniel) who is a companion (and something more) to the very temperamental mermaid princess. I’ve imagined giving Seda a graphic novel offshoot story....but we won’t tell the others that.

What are you working on currently?

I like working in 3s. The plan for this year is...

Edits on Fire Walker, the 1st book in the Elemental series.

Writing the ‘dirty draft’ for WIP referred to as Vestals.

Planning, er I mean my version of planning, the 2nd book in the Elemental series. This is the mermaid one (she’s been waiting a long time – she was gipped a few manuscripts ago).

The Elementals is a series of books where the four elements are squabbling siblings, the disasters they create and the job their keepers have in trying to restore order to the planet.

The Vestal story is a historical with time travelling about a 21st century girl empowering the Vestal Virgins during the civil wars of the Roman Republic. It’s one of (for now) three stories I have involving time travel/historical periods. 

What is your favourite part of the process of writing? 

I love the creation of a new world and the characters coming to life as I play in my art books. I use an A2 art book along with colouring pencils and/or cray-pas to learn about the world, the characters and their stories. Once I have something I can work with, that is transformed into the bullet point ‘mud-map’. The anticipation of how the story is going to unfold I find exciting.

I also really enjoy, in that painful only-writers-get-it way, having written the ‘dirty draft’. When I go into the zone it is wonderful. As many writers (or artists in any medium really) know, the zone can sometimes be elusive and the words have to come out more like teeth.

I can say definitively I am learning to appreciate the art of editing. Back in the early days of writing, I used to get the dirty draft down and hit delete. As far as I was concerned the story was out of my head....I don’t do that now  J 

You are a creative person also being an artist. What type of art do you do? And can we see any pieces? 

Took a long to get my head wrapped around it but I’ve finally accepted the fact I am a creative person. Having said that, I’m certainly not the artist like our own Eleni!

I dabble in calligraphy. It all while on maternity leave, (before the baby, who is now 16, came along) as an outlet. I wasn’t writing yet. I love playing with layout designs, fonts, borders, colour choices and of course the illuminating letters. I have only a couple of pieces on digital camera as many of the pieces I do tend to be gifts. The image here is the card I made for my father-in-law’s 70th birthday. 

Thursday 27 January 2011

Magic Thursday-H.C. Brown- What Do You Want From Me ?

I love to write different genres of erotic romance, Paranormal, Fantasy, Time Travel, Sci-Fi, Historical, and Contemporary. I believe that love is love no matter if you are straight or gay, shifter or Faerie and every story should have a happy ending.

My greatest pleasure is to take a reader on a journey through my eyes, to feel what my characters feel and to experience the worlds I create.

I would really like to know what you like to read. What makes a story special for you?

Is it the strong, handsome, alpha shape shifter that intrigues or do you familiarize with the heroine?

Speaking of heroines, mine are never perfect, I think perfect is boring. My women don't have model figures; rather they are the girl next door type. Okay so you live next door to a Playboy model…well I mean the rest of us J

Do you prefer the female lead to be tough or vulnerable?

Do you like shifter stories? If so what makes you read to the last page?

Do you enjoy a story about gay men? Like the story about firemen in 'Burn'.

Or do you prefer a BDSM – 'Flogger's Holiday Sale', or perhaps a Sci-Fi - 'No Choice But Love.'

Taking into account my books are usually paranormal with shape shifters and big, bad boy faeries; do you like M/F/M ménage with male/ male interaction?

What do you like to see on the cover? A sexy alpha male or the heroine...alone or together?

Or is it the blurb?

When bad boy alpha, Prince Dallin and his lover, Stryker, go 2000 years into the past to rescue Lailii, a Spellweaver, they didn't plan on being captivated by the petite, delicate female.

Strong willed and determined to survive, Lailii has no option but to go with the two stunningly handsome men. Within hours, she finds herself in a world of big cat shifters and sizzling, uninhibited sex. Betrayed by a king to whom she owes no loyalty, she struggles to survive and acclimate herself in a strange, new land. And when a demon follows Lailii into the future, Dallin and Stryker must work together to keep their new lover safe.

Leave a comment on any of the topics above and one person will win a copy of my new e-novel Shifters & Demons plus an autographed cover pic.

Runner up will get the eBook of choice from my back list on Noble Romance.

I would love to participate in Magic Thursday again, later in the year when I will have copies of autographed print books to give away. J 

I love feedback. Feel free to email me or visit my blog.

Thank you for having me today.
H.C. Brown

Wednesday 26 January 2011

What is World-Building?

Two of the most memorable novels I read as a teenager were DRAGONFLIGHT by Anne McCaffrey and CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR by Jean M.Auel. The wonder of McCaffrey’s feudal-like society of Dragonriders and their Weyr’s and the savage beauty of Auel’s prehistoric setting sparked my imagination.

The detail, the unique characters, intriguing cultures and vivid descriptions drew me into their worlds and convinced me I was flying a-dragonback with Lessa and F’lar or walking right alongside Ayla as their stories unfolded.

This is the sort of effect we all want as authors when a reader picks up one our books and spends a few hours sharing our characters adventures. We want the world to stick in their minds so well the memories will last long after they’ve put the book down.

I’ve no doubt Ms.Auel and Ms.McCaffrey spent weeks, if not months or years, world building. And as they wrote other books in their respective series they revealed additional layers of detail and expanded our knowledge of the worlds their characters inhabited.

How did they do it? Is there a set formula or process writers’ use when constructing their world?

Answering these questions wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Firstly, though, what is world building?

The best definition I could come up with was this … world building is imagination with logic, a world unlike our own but with enough familiar similarities that they resonate with the reader and then accept the differences.***

It’s also a term frequently associated with the science fiction, fantasy or paranormal genres. Type in the search words world building on the Internet and you’ll be inundated with thousands of articles and references that assure you the term is synonymous with this genre. In fact, it’s hard to find something that doesn’t mention it.

Sure, it plays an integral role in sf/f/p but it’s not confined to this genre alone. A contemporary still needs a setting, an historical needs to get its facts right, a suspense might be based loosely on a true story or an erotic romance might push the boundaries of what’s socially acceptable.

How can you address these issues, in whatever genre, if you have limited or no knowledge of them? Whatever you write, world building is as important to your book as any other.

So, is there a set process or magic formula to follow so we can get it right?

Do you want the good news or the bad news? Bad news is, there’s no set process or magic formula to make world building easier. You have to figure out what works best for you. This next couple of posts in this series on world-building will provide some ideas on where to start.

Join me next week to find out how other authors approach this process.

Quotes used in the posts:
* “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto” article by Maree Anderson from her website (www.mareeanderson.com)
** Nalini Singh website – web-link called Behind the Scenes re: “skin privileges” (www.nalinisingh.com/psy.html)
*** Worlds of Wonder – How to write science fiction & fantasy – David Gerrold (Titan Books 2001)

Magic Thursday Giveaway winner - Thief of Light

The winner of Denise Rossetti's Thief of Light giveaway is:


Congratulations Maureen. Please contact Denise at deniserossetti @gmail .com (no spaces) and let her know your choice!!

Thanks for everyone's fabulous comments!

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's good news post. 


Tracey O'Hara
The time has finally arrived - the second of Tracey's Dark Brethren novels, Death's Sweet Embrace, is  released today!! (unfortunately not in Australia until April - sad face). 

Jess Anastasi
Jess has received a 4.5 star review for Dead Reality from Manic Readers. Well done!


Nicole R Murphy
Nicole is one of the authors in the upcoming anthology, More Scary Kisses. Lovely cover!

Shona Husk
Shona is one of the authors of the upcoming anthology, Dead Red Heart. Love the sunnies!

For more good news, join us next week.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Weekly Overview

Coming up this week

Tues 25th  – Good News Day

Wed 26th - Winner announced for Denise's giveaway

-  Part One of a four-part series on World Building with Kylie Griffin begins this week.

Thur 27th – Magic Thursday (with giveaway) – H.C. Brown with Shifters & Demons.

Sat 29th – Darklight On…Nicky Strickland 

Thanks for joining us on the Dark Side!

Saturday 22 January 2011

Darklight On...Joanne Vogel: Q & A

Today's Darklight On... is with DarkSider Joanne Vogel. Welcome Joanne!! 

How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre? 
I was attracted to speculative fiction because it is exciting and engaging and when I was reading it I found myself going of in tangents in my mind, creating my own scenarios and offsets of characters. It got to a point where I spent more time doing this than reading! So I had to write!

Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between? 

I wish...I WISH I was a plotter, but I am a pantser. I do plot in my head but not on paper.

Who are you favourite authors? 

Pretty much anyone who writes romance! They are all good. I can't even pick a favourite.

What are you currently reading? 

Errr, I've been slack recently. I have a fine at the library *moves uneasily in chair* and I need to sort that out. So I'm not reading anything at the moment.

Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or TV series?

True Blood and True Blood - apart from True Blood I actually don't watch much television. 

Do have a favourite of your characters? 

Well yes, my favourite is probably my main character in my main WIP - a woman who is genetically engineered.

What are you working on currently? 

I've been working on two WIP's, doing pieces of work on each when I can and I plan to start something with my CP very soon.

What is your favourite part of the process of writing? 

My favourite part is the imagination - I absolutely love it and prefer being entertained by my own brain activity it to any television show etc. It is an amazing experience.

~Thanks Joanne, and apologies for the late post everyone. I had godmother duties :)

Thursday 20 January 2011

Magic Thursday: Do You Like It Face to Face? with Denise Rossetti

That sexy hero between the pages might be the dark 'n' deadly type, or a husky mechanic or one of those ruthless gorgeous billionaires. All yummy, sure - but do you have a mental image of his face?

I'm completely intrigued by how readers visualize characters, especially beautiful men. Which leads me to the question of covers… Specifically, the cover of Thief of Light, Book #2 in my Four-Sided Pentacle series.

The mass market edition of Thief of Light will be released on 2nd February, which is fabulous, of course, (yay!) but what fascinates me is the way the marketing folk at Berkley have changed the cover.

First, here’s the cover for the trade paperback -

Now here’s the mass market cover -

And to give you have some idea of setting and character, here’s the back cover copy -

Some desires are impossible to resist... In the elegant, subtropical city of Caracole, Erik the Golden is widely known as irresistible; his Voice an instrument of incredible pleasure, the stroke of velvet on bare skin. But the Voice is a curse as much as a blessing, for once Erik used it to steal a soul, and now he must pay.
Pruella Takimori McGuire is the business manager for the beautiful courtesans of the Garden of Nocturnal Delights. She deals in numbers, not Magick, and when Erik turns his charms in her direction, she sees only vanity, not a golden gift. If Erik cannot use his power to win Prue's heart, how can he truly possess her? How is it she can resist what others can't? She's either a torment devised by the gods to drive him mad - or Erik's last hope of salvation.
And all the while, a far darker power corrupts the foundations of Caracole - the Necromancer, who feasts on souls. When the Necromancer's hired assassin kidnaps Prue, Erik must harness his air Magick to recover the woman he has come to love more than life itself...

Erik Thorensen has Viking ancestry, he’s big and buff and blond, with eyes as blue as a noonday sky. *sigh* Okaaaay, the artist, the wonderful James Griffin, delivered all that in spades. (He told me the model is a real person, by the way. Good lord!)

So – which do you prefer? Face or faceless? And can you work out why?

I prefer not to see the full face. My heroes are always so stunning – well, to me anyway – that I have trouble visualizing their faces. Bodies I can do (heh heh) but faces? Nope.

Hugh Jackman? I hear you say. Johnny Depp? Well, of course, but my heroes are a combination of all their best features, way beyond any single mortal man. If you’re going to dream, do it right! All of which is kinda weird, because I often ‘see’ a scene in my head like a movie.

One of the things I absolutely adore about writing is that we all bring a unique imagination to what we read, each reader ‘building’ her own hero in her mind’s eye. In the final analysis, what you imagine matters a lot more than what I write.

Which version of the cover do you like best? Tell me why and you can have your autographed choice – trade paperback or mass market.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Magic Thursday giveaway winner-How To Breathe Fire

Using the time honoured tradition of putting names in a hat and drawing one out…the winner of an e-copy of How To Breathe Fire is Skye!

Happy reading!


Missing news....Release

My apologies to Shona - I forgot to add her release to the Good News post yesterday.

So great news - Shona Husk's How To Breathe Fire is out now from Samhain Publishing!!! Congrats Shona!

I will just now crawl back under my rock....

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's Good News post!


Maree Anderson
Maree received a  9/10 rating from Erotica Romance Writers for From The Ashes. Way to go Maree!


Jess Anastasi
Jess is on a roll with fantastic looking covers. Here is her latest cover for Severance, the sequel to Sanctuary. It is due for release on the 14th February!

Shona Husk
Shona's Kissing Phoenix has a cover and a release date of the 2nd Feburary. Check out the sensual cover below.

Release dates

H.C. Brown
H.C's Cyborg Doms: Fane will be released by Noble Romance on the 7th February.


Eleni Konstantine
Eleni's flash fiction story The Bucket, has been read out on the Beam Me Up Podcast. You can hear it here (at about the 6.29 min mark).

~Join us next week for some more good news!!

Sunday 16 January 2011

This week and What's New on the DSDU

Coming up this week

Tues 18th  – Good News Day

Wed 19th - Winner announced for Shona's giveaway

Thur 20th – Magic Thursday (with giveaway) – Denise Rossetti with Thief of Light

Sat 22nd – Darklight On…Joanne Vogel (with Joanne living in Brisbane, we changed things around and Keri Arthur had the spotlight yesterday instead).

What's New

Yesterday we had a blog post about a Book Appeal being run by the Romance Writers of Australia for the flood victims in Queensland. For the most up-to-date information on this, please go visit the RWAus blog page. There is additional information including Q&A regarding postage.

Keri Arthur was featured on the Darklight On yesterday in a change to the program that happened during the week. Thanks Keri!

Thanks for joining us on the Dark Side!

Saturday 15 January 2011

Darklight On...Keri Arthur: Q & A

How did you come to write urban fantasy fiction? What attracted you to the genre?

I actually came to urban fantasy via the traditional fantasy route. I’d been writing novels set in mythical lands filled with dragons and whatnot, all featuring kick-arse heroines, but they never really seemed quite there for me. Then I read a novel called Children of the Night (written before Buffy and Laurell K Hamilton came onto the scene) which featured a kick-arse heroine, creatures of the night, a vamp hero, and all set in a modern day setting. It was my ah-ha! moment and crystallized what I actually needed to write.

Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?

By nature I’m a pantser, but because I’m tending to write such long series these days, I’ve evolved into something of a plotter. I now have an overall outline for the series, and know roughly what I want to happen in each book, but I don’t get into the finer details, leaving that to my pantser nature.

You seem to write a lot of series rather than one off novels--any reason?

I love my characters too much to leave them!

Do you have a favorite spec fiction movie or TV series?

How much space have we got? lol TV loves include X-Files, Supernatural, Being Human, Torchwood, Haven, Primeval, Firefly and Star Trek . Movie loves include Lord of the Rings, Gamer, Star Trek, Serenity, the Terminator series, Gabriel, and X-men

What is your favorite part of the process of writing?

Creating the characters and going on a journey with them, sharing the good times and bad. Basically, I just love putting my characters through hell, then watching them climb back out of it all and stick their middle finger up at the world

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on the third book of my Dark Angels series. This is an offshoot of the Riley Jenson Guardian series, and features a grown up Risa. The first book, Darkness Unbound, comes out in September

What’s your next release?

Next up is Mercy Burns, which is the second of my Myth and Magic series. It’s out in April

Who are your favorite authors?

Dick Francis, James Herbert, Tolkien, Alistair MacLean, Peter O’Donnell, Anne Gracie, Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Kelly Hunter

Any advice for the newer writers out there?

Treat your writing the same as any other job--that is, be serious about it! Have goals, not just small and big (from finishing your first book to getting that first contract) but pie in the sky (hitting the New York Times list). Always keep those goals in mind as you climb each step of the writing ladder. Understand the market, be aware of what is going on, read and understand all the career implications of any contract before you sign it. But most of all, write what you love, because once you’re accepted in a certain genre, you’ll find yourself writing it for quite a while!

Friday 14 January 2011

RWA Flooded Communities Book Appeal

Since the DarkSiders are all members of Romance Writers of Australia, we are posting this to help those in Queensland....

RWA Flooded Communities Book Appeal
We've all seen the devastation the recent Queensland floods have wrought and have wondered how we can help. We know that for many affected families, books will not be high on their priorities list for some time to come.

We also know how valuable books can be in providing time out when reality gets tough.

With the aid of some wonderful volunteers, we've put together a Romance Writers of Australia Flooded Communities Book Appeal.

What we need?
FICTION BOOKS! Romance books, children's books, young adult books, genre books, whatever – either new or in sparkling condition.

Please send them to:
RWA Flooded Communities Book Appeal
PO Box 1717
Noosaville Post Office
Noosaville BC
Queensland 4566

When to send them?
Now! And any time over the next few months. The books will be boxed and delivered to the appropriate libraries/schools/neighbourhood centres/community centres in batches as soon as the communities are ready to receive them. We’ll be liaising with councils, libraries and schools to ensure this is done appropriately. Feel free to pop a note inside, or if you're an author, sign it.

If you have a question about donations, email Jess Anastasi: Jess@jessanastasi.com 

If you work in a library / council / community centre / school in a flood affected area, email Rachel Bailey: rachel@rachelbailey.com.au 

If you think anyone you know is interested in this information, please send it on.

Thank you. 

What We Are Reading

The DarkSiders sharing what they are or have been reading are: Jess Anastasi, Shona Husk, and Maree Anderson. Thanks ladies. Oh and there's something from me (Eleni) too.

Jess Anastasi

I'm reading The Legend of Banzai Maguire by Susan Grant.

Although, I would like to say, the 'hero' is too damn perfect. He's the son of what used to be the USA's top militray leader, an olympic athlete, an extreme sports athlete, made the top 10 most eligible bachelors list, the top ten most extreme sports stars list, is a trained SEAL and treasure hunter who goes searching the world for old tombs and relics... Ms Grant. I think you went a bit overboard, becuase I just can't believe he's ALL THAT. Makes me want to puke. And hope the heroine will get with the other guy.

Sigh. OCD says "FINISH IT!... and then read the second one.

Shona Husk

I’ve just finished reading Blood Rites by Jim Butcher. I love this series. They are my reward books, so yeah, I’m behind but I don’t mind as I know that when I do read them they will be awesome. They are urban fantasy revolving around Harry Dresden a (very unlucky) Wizard PI in Chicago.

I’m currently reading Jazz Baby by Lorelie Brown. I’m about 1/3 of the way through this 1920s set romance. I’m really enjoying the unusual historical setting as well as the chemistry between Kate (a speakeasy owner) and Micah (the Prohibition Agent). Can’t wait to see the sparks fly when Kate learns the truth!

The next book on my towering TBR pile is The Silver Mage by Katherine Kerr. I started reading these when I was about 15 (They’d already been out a few years for those of you trying to do math). This is the 15th and final book in the Deverry series. To say I’m invested would be an understatement; all I can say is Rori had better get un-dragoned and get a HEA or I am going to be well burned. That aside I love the way Kerr weaves the past lives with the present life and the way repercussions from misdeeds play out.

Maree Anderson

I won’t list all the books I’ve read lately, because:
1) there would be a list a mile long -- 31 in December alone!
2) I already post a monthly Recent Reads breakdown on my website.
But I would like to recommend one of my November reads: Shapeshifter by Holly Bennett.

I’m ashamed to say I almost passed on reading a little gem of a book because I judged the book by its title.... And cover. And blurb. *ducks head* I’d recently read a heap of paranormal romances featuring shapeshifters and were-beasties and vampires and the like, and I’d reached overload for the moment. So the title was not something that rocked my boat. The cover was not enough for me go “Oooh! Must check this out!” either. And the blurb? I just wasn’t in the mood to read this kind of a story:

“A woman trapped in the body of a deer. A dark sorcerer in relentless pursuit. A mysterious child, found alond on the slopes of a great mountain. Set in the wild, magical landscape of iron-age Ireland, Shapeshifter is a tale of rapacious evil, quiet courage and the healing power of love.”

But daughter had grabbed it specifically because of the title -- she loves all things shapeshifty -- and insisted it was “unexpectedly different”. She begged me to read it. I gave in to her pleas -- as we parents tend to do when one of our kids makes that woebegone little face.

Shapeshifter was inspired by the legend of Sive -- an episode in the ancient legends of Finn mac Cumhail, famous leader of the Fianna. In the original legend, however, we never find out what happened to Sive after the sorcerer takes her. In Shapeshifter, Holly Bennett gives us her version of Sive’s story, seamlessly interwoven into the bones of the original legend.

This book was beautifully written. It drew me in and in a gentle, sneaky way, compelled me to keep reading. I could almost see myself huddling by a fire at night, listening to a storyteller telling Ms Bennett’s story, and every time he paused, begging him to continue. And when I turned the last page of this little book, I sighed with pleasure and regret that the story had ended. Even DH -- he who reads The Economist to relax -- commented that it was beautifully written.

To summarise: Please don’t be put off by the title. Give Shapeshifter a try. It’s an “unexpectedly different” beautiful tale that’s been masterfully told.

Maree Anderson

Eleni Konstantine

This past week I read one book without reading any others at the same time. Very unusual for me and my CFS brain.  It was Maggie Shayne's At Twilight, which consists of her Books 4 (Beyond Twilight) & 5 (Born in Twilight) from the Wings of The Night series. I had brought a book a year or so ago (Lover's Bite) and didn't realise it was part of a series. But according to her website, you can jump in anywhere. So off to the library - no book 1, 2, or 3 (don't you hate it when that happens?) but there was 4 & 5. So I thought why not? 

It's true you don't really need to read the others to understand what is going on. There's little bits of information that is repeated, such as certain mortals having a rare gene that allows them to become vampires. And characters that reoccur but you don't really need their back story to follow it. I quite enjoyed the two stories. I enjoyed the conflict the notion of vampirism brings to those who don't know this world - that they are still the same people but their physical abilities are what have changed. I also liked the fact that while they have heightened senses, they also have a heightened sense of pain. This ups the ante against the secret government agency (there's always one somewhere *grin*). 

In Born in Twilight, a baby is born to two vampires. It's not a simple as that but let's say there is experiments, bloodlust, fertilisation, a virgin birth, accusations, kidnapping, lust, betrayal, guilt, and love.  Beyond Twilight follows agent 'Ramsey' as he realises the woman who he has been having erotic dreams for months is actually his vampire quarry. 

This series started with Silhouette Books in 1993. So 18 years later, it is still going. So is it true that vampires are dying out? (excuse the pun). It doesn't look like it to me. 


So there you go, four DarkSiders with their reading. Hope you enjoyed.

Thursday 13 January 2011

Magic Thursday Giveaway…Shona Husk: How To Breathe Fire

Today I’d like to share a few behind the scenes glimpses of the making of my romantic fantasy novella How To Breathe Fire, Samhain Publishing January 18 2011.
• This was one of the stories I wrote while redundant in 2009
• It started out as an erotic fantasy but Matai and Camea had other ideas. So while the heat is there it takes a while before either of them makes a move.
• My original plot looks nothing like the finished story—except for the first chapter.
• The theme song was ‘Touch the Fire’ by Icehouse http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gI-xngbtrE
• Matai was originally a fire demon but he became far more interesting as I wrote the story.
• You can read the excerpt here: How To Breathe Fire-excerpt

Freedom comes with a blistering price…

For as long as she can remember, Camea has longed to explore the world beyond the island kingdom of Adar. It is an impossible dream, especially if she follows tradition and marries the farmer her parents have selected for her. But then, Camea has never been one to follow expectations.

When the village witch announces she has been selected to be the Fire God’s next bride, Camea has no intention of sacrificing her life to appease the volcano. She plans to escape and follow the Stars to her dream.

Matai, once a prince of Adar, now pays a fiery penance for seducing one of the Fire God’s witches. He must take a new bride each year, then kill her—or condemn Adar to the lava. Unlike his past brides Camea doesn’t shed one tear for her fate, nor does she beg for her life.

In the face of death she sees the remnants of the man he used to be—and a way to save them both from the Fire God’s never-ending cycle of wrath. If Matai has the courage to trust his heart.

If you’d like to win an electronic copy of How To Breathe Fire leave a comment (and your email). Giveaway closes on the 18th, winner announced here on Wednesday 19th.


Wednesday 12 January 2011

Flood victims in our thoughts

At the time of writing this, 75% of Queensland has been declared a disaster zone. It's absolutely horrible what is happening. It's heartbreaking to watch the news reports.

We want to send our thoughts to all those affected by the disaster floods. We are also sending our thoughts to any of our Dark Siders who are in Queensland. Sending our love your way.

The Queensland government has set up a Flood Relief Appeal and the RSPCA is collecting for the animal victims of the flood. If you are able, please think about giving.

There is also some flooding in NSW, and WA has had some fires. So Australia is on edge at the moment.

We bid everyone to be safe, no matter where you are.

~Dark Siders

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's Good News post and what a bumper of week it has been!


Jess Anastasi
Jess' Dead Reality is released today from Noble Romance Publishing. Happy release day Jess!

Nicole R Murphy
Nicole's Power Unbound is out now. It is Book Two of The Dream of Asarlai series published by Harper Voyager Australia.

H.C. Brown
H.C's erotic romance, Shifters & Demons (The Vane Book 1) is out now via Noble Romance Publishing.


Keri Arthur
Keri has the UK cover for Darkness Unbound, the first book in her upcoming series, Dark Angel! What a fantastic looking cover! 


Jess Anastasi
Great news for Sanctuary fans. Jess has just signed a contract for Severance, the second book to Sanctuary. The release date is 14th February. Yay!

Shona Husk
Shona has sold a story called Mutiny on the Scarborough, about a Vampire convict surviving transportation to Dead Red Heart, an anthology about Australian vampires. Sounds fascinating.

Nicole R Murphy
Nicole's story The Protector's Last Mission will be in the More Scary Kisses anthology. The table of contents was announced this past week. That is two for two for Nicole as her story The Anstruther Woman was in the Scary Kisses anthology published in 2010. Congrats Nicole.


Jenny Schwartz and Janni Nell
Carina Press authors Jenny and Janni are part of a new blog called Here Be Magic, which is by Carina authors who write stories that are fantastical in nature.


Maree Anderson
Maree's From The Ashes, received a 5-hoot review from reviewer, Karia at Nocturne Romance Reads. Go the hoots!

Congratulations to all our Dark Siders with their good news. 

New Member

We welcome Paula Roe to the Dark Side!! Paula writes for Silhouette Desire.

See you all next week for some more good news.

Sunday 9 January 2011

This Week and What's New on the DSDU

Hi everyone and welcome back to the regular posting of the Darkside DownUnder blog.

Hope you are all rested and ready to take on 2011. We certainly are.

Coming up this Week:

Tues 11th - Good News Day

Thurs 13th  - Shona Husk has an e-copy of her newest release How To Breathe Fire for Magic Thursday

Fri 14th -  What We Are Reading post (TBC)

Sat 15th - Darklight On with Joanne Vogel

What's New:

The regular post page has been removed. You can now find the links to the regular columns of Good News Day, Magic Thursdays, and Darklight On... at the sidebar.

A new page has been added called Markets (this page is still under construction).  There is details of an Australian Paranormal anthology called Damnation and Dames.

So have a fantastic week and thanks for joining us on the Dark Side.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

check out all our books on our dsdu-books shelf:
DarkSide DownUnder's book lists (dsdu-books shelf)