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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.

Saturday 30 April 2011

Darklight On…Erica Hayes: Q&A

Today's Darklight On... is with Erica Hayes. Welcome, Erica!

How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?
I think everything I’ve ever written has had fantasy of some kind in it. That’s just the way my brain works. I would love to write thrillers or crime novels, but they’d have to be supernatural ones. I just can’t keep it straight.

Please tell us a little about your road to publication.
I started out writing high fantasy with romantic subplots, before I gravitated towards contemporary/urban fantasy with stronger romance. I didn’t know anyone or take any shortcuts. I just wrote a manuscript and queried agents. Paranormals and erotics were hot at the time, which helped, and mine was a little different (again, at the time) because it didn’t feature only vampires and werewolves. And that book (SHADOWFAE) is dirty and sparkly and a little bit insane. So I think it stood out somewhat, for good or ill. It’s a love-it-or-hate-it book. Once I found an agent, it took a couple of months to get a contract, which was for 2 books.

Your recent release is Poison Kissed (which we featured in a Magic Thursday giveaway on 16 Dec) and your upcoming release is Blood Cursed. Can you describe these books for us.
Dark urban fantasy/romance with erotic undertones. POISON KISSED is about Mina, a banshee whose song can kill you. She works as a gang enforcer, and she’s got the crush from hell on her boss, Joey, a cold-hearted snake-shifter whom she thinks doesn’t know she’s alive. He’s the only man she trusts... but when she finds out he may have been involved in her mother’s murder years ago, Mina decides she wants revenge. Does it go well for her? I think not :) You can check out the cover copy and an excerpt here.

BLOOD CURSED is about Ember, a blood fairy who gets tricked into doing a demon’s bidding. To save her soul, she must track down three of the demon’s most powerful enemies. To find them, she needs the help of Diamond, a flashy glassfairy gangster who thinks she’s just a silly girl — but is he really trying to help her? Or is he stealing her soul for himself? Here’s the cover copy:

To a vampire, nothing is sweeter than bloodfairy essence — and Ember is the most sought-after fairy on the underworld circuit. Selling her blood to the highest bidder — and robbing her clients in the process — Ember has unwittingly become a target of dark and dangerous forces. Her enemies are everywhere. And if she hopes to survive, she needs protection...
Diamond is a glassfairy who, for better or worse, knows his way around the vampire underworld. Smooth as silk and tougher than trolls, Diamond is Ember’s only chance to keep her magical blood inside her body, where it belongs. But he also poses a threat to Ember, a strange kind of danger she’s never experienced before: She’s falling in love with him... 

BTW – you have been blessed by the cover gods, or should I say cover fae ;)
Yeah. Aren’t they awesome? So colourful.

You have play lists for you books – how important is music to your writing?
Not very :) not to the actual process, anyway. I usually write in silence. The playlists are more of an after-the-fact, mood-descriptive thing. A lot of the action in my Shadowfae books takes place in a seedy magical nightclub, and I’ve tried to capture the flavour of that.

Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?
I’m a plotter all the way. I don’t understand pantsing. I don’t get why anyone would choose to do it that way, especially when they’ve got deadlines to keep. Maybe I’m just not clever enough :) Working up a plot in advance is both satisfying and reassuring. You can change your ideas without having to throw out big chunks of words — I loathe rewriting! Characters make more sense when you think them through first. And it’s fun!

Do have a favourite of your characters?
Usually the ones I’m writing at the time! But I admit to having a bit of a thing for Joey, the snake-shifter from POISON KISSED. He’s a very smart man who makes some terrible decisions because he can’t bear the world to see him the way he really is. He’s outwardly cool and calculating, but inside he’s a seething mass of tension and passion. Fascinating.

What are you currently working on?
If I told you that, I’d have to kill you.

What is your favourite part of the process of writing? 
All of it. The initial ideas, the outlining, the drafting and revising. It’s all fun in its own way. The drafting is the craziest part, where I do things like forget to eat, or forget to go to orchestra practice, because I’m so involved. The outlining is probably the hardest work, and the most frustrating.

What can we expect from Erica Hayes in the future?
More books, I hope! I’ve got a few new ideas I’m shopping around.

Who are your favourite authors?
I can’t really claim favourites. Depends on what I’m into at the time.

What are you currently reading?
Umm... I have a TBR pile that fills a shelf, but I haven’t read anything for a little while. The last one was FULL DARK, NO STARS by Stephen King. I do like me some King!

Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or tv series?
Oh, there are so many, old and new. Star Wars (all of them!), Farscape, Supernatural (yay! Sam), Forever Knight, Doctor Who... At the moment I’m rewatching Blakes 7, which is a classic in every sense of the word. Any show these days that involves a bunch of dysfunctional people on a spaceship? Firefly, SG:U etc... Well, B7 got there first, and in many ways better, even if it suffers from dreadful late-70s production values. I’m prepared to argue :) And it has the mother of all unresolved cliffhangers at the end. The first time I saw That Scene, I think it scarred me for life...

Do you have advice for emerging writers?
Write. Don’t make excuses. Time is finite, and you can only use it for one thing at any given moment — so if you want to write, something else has to give. Accept that, and make your choice.

You can visit Erica at her website, on her blog, or Twitter.
Blood Cursed, the next book in The Shadowfae Chronicles
will be released in August.

Thursday 28 April 2011

On Conventions

Hello Darksiders!!!

I'm feeling a bit dark myself, having finally come to a halt after a grueling few weeks of convention attending. Right now, I'm extremely pleased to be at home, in my own bed, with my husband, able to slob around in my sweats and not care about ANYTHING - except the mountain of housework that grew in my absence :)

I've been attending science fiction (umbrella term - also covers fantasy and horror) conventions since 2004 and romance conventions since last year (RWA Sydney). Since March 26, when I zipped up the road from Canberra with Tracey O'Hara to attend the signing session at the Australian Romance Readers Convention, I've been across to Los Angeles for the RT Convention and then to Perth for Swancon 36, the 50th National Science Fiction Convention.

The mass signing at RT Convention in LA, early April. Dozens of authors, hundreds of readers. Numbers swelled because a special teen day was held and hundreds of teenage girls attended as well. YA is HUGE folks!

That's not the end of my convention adventures for this year either. In June, Tracey, Erica Hayes and I will be at Supernova Sydney. On the October long weekend, I'll be at Conflux, the Canberra science fiction con and I'm still tossing up RWA in Melbourne in August.

There are sooooo many things to love about conventions - both science fiction and romance. Similarities include the meeting of minds - the great moment when you realise you're finally amongst friends and can relax and talk all things geeky/romancey. Socialising - often these are friends with whom you only communicate electronically and as author Tansy Rayner Roberts said to me at Swancon "That's a great form of communication but it's only when you get to cons that you realise it doesn't make up for face-to-face chatter". Networking - getting to meet other authors, publishers, agents, booksellers, librarians, readers and making the connections that are sooo important in this industry. Sharing war stories - finding out that you're not mad, but just dealing with some weird stuff in as sane a manner as is possible.

Then there are the differences. First, science fiction conventions have been running for decades, and so there's a lot of history involved. Politics as well as some fans want to cling to the traditions of the conventions while others want to experiment and try new things. There's a larger group of men in attendance and this does change dynamics. Then there's the interesting way that authors, no matter how big, just become part of the crowd. You can sit and chat to someone at a bar and not know they're an author unless they have a name you recognise.

The prizes given out as part of the Romancing the West workshops. I was delighted to see romance writing featured at a science fiction convention. Congrats to Lesley Ann Smith and the RWAers from Perth for organising.

Explicit promotion of yourself is something that's kinda frowned upon at science fiction conventions. As opposed to romance conventions, where it's expected that authors will come with 'swag' to give out to the readers. There's more of a celebration of the role of the author in the genre in romance.

I'm still trying to nut out where this difference comes from. Is it because authors were involved in romance conventions from the very beginning, whereas science fiction conventions were started by and run for the fans? Is it because for the most part romance conventions are organised and run by women, whereas for a long time it was men that ran things on the science fiction side? Does it say something about the genres themselves - science fiction doesn't want to draw attention to itself, while romance stands loud and proud and says 'look at me'?

Whatever the reason for this difference, the similarities mean that I can happily look at both science fiction AND romance conventions and say - love. Love, love, love, love, love.

I've got copies of Secret Ones to give away to two commenters so tell me, friends - have you ever attended a convention, science fiction or romance? If so, what did you love about it? If not - what is keeping you from attending?

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Magic Thursday Giveaway winner - Tracey O'Hara

The winner for Tracey's  Death's Sweet Embrace giveaway from last week are:


Congratulations, Marybelle! 

Please contact me at tracey @traceyohara. com (no spaces) with your details. 

Thank you to those who commented.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's good news....


Keri Arthur
Mercy Burns, the second book in the Myth and Magic series, has been released in the US.

Nicole Murphy and Shona Husk
More Scary Kisses and Dead Red Heart were released at SwanCon on the weekend.
Nicole has a story in former, and Shona in the latter.

Lilliana Rose
Two short stories, that did well in the Shades of Sentience competition are now available online. They are Chimera of Death, and Dream Collector (which placed third).


Bec Skrabl
She's done it again. Bec has finalled in the Sheila contest (Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal section), which is run by the Valley Forge Romance Writers. Good luck!

Emerald (Single Title) - Romance Writers of Australia
We have not one, not two, but three of our members as the finalists for the Emerald!
Bec Skrabl, Michelle de Rooy, and Suzanne Hamilton (writing as S.E. Gilchrist).


Nicola E. Sheridan
Hot on the news of last week's sale, Magical Creations now has a lovely cover.

Cover & Release Date

Janni Nell
The second Allegra Fairweather mystery book, South of Salem, has a new cover and the release date of 30th May 2011. Stunning!

Congratulations ladies!

DarkSider good news continues next week....

Sunday 24 April 2011

Weekly Overview

Coming up this week...

Tues 26th April 
Good News Day

Wed 27th
Winner announced for Tracey O'Hara's Death's Sweet Embrace

Thur 28th
Magic Thursday - Nicole Murphy (prize TBA)

Sat 23rd
Darklight On…Erica Hayes

What's Up....

  • Welcome to our latest member, S.E. Gilchrist!

  • You can 'Follow' us by using the Google Friend connect on the sidebar. 

  • Looking for a blog post? You can use labels to help you look for the keyword you are after. 

We would like to wish you all a very Happy Easter long weekend. 
Eat, be merry, and safe travels.
    Sourced from here.

    Saturday 23 April 2011

    Darklight On...Eleni Konstantine: Fact Sheet

    Name:  Eleni Konstantine

    Writes:  Fantasy and Paranormal fiction

    Current mood:  Looking forward to RWAus's Clayton's conference in August (I am on the conference team).

    Reading:  Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer, The Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh


    Music listening to: Alternative Rock mix.

    WatchingSG:U - final episodes are airing in the next month or so *sniff, sniff*, Sons of Anarchy (Showcase)

    Favourite spec fiction TV shows: Anything by Joss Whedon (all hail), Star Treks (All hail Gene Roddenberry), Stargates, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, Firefly, Farscape.

    Favourite spec fic movies: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Star Wars (original trilogy), The Princess Bride.

    Quote: (makes me laugh)
    "Begin the unnecessarily slow-moving dipping mechanism!" - Dr. Evil, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

    Authors who inspired me to write:  Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, David Eddings, Jennifer Roberson, Diana Gabaldon, and many more.

    Web hang outs:  Dark Side DownUnder, Eleni's Taverna, Eleni's Library,  my website, Twitter, SARA, the RWAus blog.

    Working on:  I'm actually taking a break from actual writing, but I'm undertaking Angela James' 'Before You Hit Send' Self-Editing Workshop. Though a couple of my short stories are beckoning me to work on them *grin*

    Plotter/Pantser?:  Mainly a pantser. My first draft is what I call my skeleton draft. It is where I work out what the story is, and where it is going. I go back and layer it. Having said that, I do have certain sign posts, which grow and change as I go along. Though, I have, with the help of my Bootcamp friends, the plot for a trilogy (well, the first half anyway). I'm sure when I actually start writing it, it will grow and develop and take me in directions I wouldn't have thought of. This trilogy, however, has been in my head for a long time, so it may go easier than others.

    So I'm able to adapt for the needs of the story. 

    Sourced from here.
    Fave character: A dragon named Flora, who just makes me laugh. Oh, and there is the drunk wizard. 

    Currently out there: My flash fiction story, Mirror, Mirror!, on the Mindflights website.

    What's next: A flash fiction story, Dragon's Quest, to be on the Antipodean SF e-zine in June.

    Writing tips:

    • "Never give up, never surrender". OK, so that was a quote from Galaxy Quest. But it is so true. 
    • Go for your dreams. Do not be left wondering 'what if?'
    • Join a writing group that suits your needs, whether this be a large group like Romance Writers of Australia and Romance Writers of America, or smaller critique groups, or even just a critique partner. The best thing I ever did was do the first Bootcamp offered by RWAus. We got along so well, that almost 4 years later, we are still a group. The advice, the support, the friendship were what I needed at the time to get back into my writing after a hiatus due to illness.
    • Set goals.
    • Set up a routine - write, write, write, read, read, read (or a any combination of those *wink*). 
    • Don't be crushed by negative criticism. We need to have thick skin in this industry. I had someone say one of my short stories was 'pedestrian'. Each to their own. Privately get mad, get sad - for about five minutes and then forget about it. So that means being professional, and not responding to the person doing the criticizing. 
    • Same goes for feedback from critique partners - while it might not be negative, it may not be what you wanted. So ask yourself, do I agree? If so, use the feedback. If you don't, why not? Sometimes, feedback can make you think if you are doing what you need to achieve in a scene.
    • Which brings me to, stick to your voice. Don't let others dilute this. Keep that spark that makes your writing fresh in there, and don't overpolish (says one who has done this). Love what you write! 
    • You are you, so don't compare yourself to others. That way leads to misery. So beware, beware.

    Thursday 21 April 2011

    Magic Thursday Giveaway - Tracey O'Hara: Anzac Day

    April is a big month for me. Not only is it the release of my 2nd Dark Brethren novel in Australia and New Zealand, but is also has Easter, my youngest son and my step father’s birthday and Anzac day. It is the later I am going to talk about today.

    When war broke out, the Great War, the war to end all wars. World War I. My Great Grandfather and his brother, like all patriotic sons of the new Australia, followed two more of their brothers to sign up for the fight. They were shipped off to Egypt to train and then put on some more ships and that was to take them to a destination shrouded in secrecy. The boys were about to step into history books as made up the initial landing party for one of the most defining moments in Australian history, the battle of Gallipoli. My great-grandfather was wounded in that landing with a gunshot to the leg. Which is actually rather fortunate for me, because while he recovered in a London hospital, he met a lovely field army girl who he later married and brought back to Australia.

    But the war decimated our family. All of the Keid boys joined up to fight. Of the 6 brothers, only 2 returned. One of them my great-grandfather who bore the scars of war for the rest of his life, to both his body and his soul. I can only imagine the pain my great-great grandmother must have endured after losing 4 of her sons.

    So to honour Anzac day – I am going to give away a signed copy of DEATH’S SWEET EMBRACE

    What does Anzac day mean to you? Is it just a holiday or is there a more significant meaning for you?

    Winner will be announced on Wednesday 27th April.

    Wednesday 20 April 2011

    Magic Thursday Giveaway Winner - A Game of Thrones

    The winner for the 2012 A Song of Ice and Fire giveaway from last week are:


    Congratulations Alison. 

    Please contact me at eleni @elenikonstantine. com (no spaces) with your details. 

    Thank you to those who commented.

    Tuesday 19 April 2011

    Good News Day!

    Welcome to this week's Good News


    Maree Anderson
    Here is the cover and title Desires Unleased for the Secrets Vol 30 anthology which has Maree's story  Kat On a Hot Tin Roof. It is due out in July by Red Sage Publishing and will be made available in print!!


    Nicola E. Sheridan
    The sequel to Magical Gains, Magical Creations has been sold to Eternal Press/Damnation Books. It is scheduled for release on 7th October 2011.


    H.C. Brown
    Hawke's Purr-fect Mate is out now from Noble Romance Publishing



    More DarkSider good news next week.

    Sunday 17 April 2011

    Weekly Overview

    Coming up this week...

    Tues 19th April 
    Good News Day
    Wed 20th
    Magic Thursday Giveaway winner announced (2012 Calendar of A Song of Ice and Fire)

    Thur 21st
    Magic Thursday - Tracey O'Hara with Death's Sweet Embrace

    Sat 23rd
    Darklight On…Eleni Konstantine

    What's Up....

    • Don't forget the Goodreads group (The Dark Side of the Moon) who are using our DarkSiders as a reading challenge. Check it out here

    Saturday 16 April 2011

    Darklight On...Kylie Griffin Q&A

    Today's Darklight On... is with Kylie Griffin. Welcome Kylie!

    How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?
    My heart belongs to the sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal romance genres – I love, live and breathe it.

    I also think I'm genetically predisposed to this genre. I cut my teeth on TV shows like Battlestar Galactica (the 70's version, folks!), Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr.Who (a British TV series) and every fairytale as bedtime reading. The interest grew to obsession the older I became and when I started high school I ended up addicted to authors like Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, Mercedes Lackey, David Eddings and JRR Tolkein.

    About then I decided I could also invent my own stories. My fledging writing career began then an thankfully a couple of very patient high school English teachers encouraged me to pursue the craft. To this day I credit them for inspiring me to pursue writing as a career and to persevere at it.

    What do I love about it? The world-building and the escapism and entertainment value of stories set in other worlds, perhaps with character who aren't human.

    You are a competition slu...I mean, queen culminating in you winning the 2010 Golden Heart (woohoo). What did you find so valuable by entering contests?
    LOL, Eleni! I do have a lovely little pink ribbon with Competition Slu--Queen on it. I don't mind the label as I have entered quite a few contests over the last decade (I lost count after about 85).
    I started out by just entering Romance Writers of Australia contests, then moved on to entering both RWAustralia and RWNew Zealand contests. And in 2010 I only entered in RWAmerica contests. 
    Initially, it was a way of getting feedback. When I first started out entering, I didn't have a writing group or a critique partner service to draw on for feedback, so this was a way of meeting that need.

    Once I started becoming a finalist or placing it was a way of getting a contest resume behind me for inclusion in my query letters to agents and editors. It also showed I had a potential readership out there. Then with the places and wins in the RWAmerica contests it helped get my name "out there" and the wins really looked good on that contest resume when pitching to potential editors and agents.

    Please tell us a little about your call story. 
    Ever had the feeling of being avalanched by circumstances? 2010 was a bit like that for me.
    I'd just lost my first agent (casualty of the recession) and I was on the merry-go-round ride of finding another one. I decided to enter some Romance Writers of America circuit - the Golden Heart and the WHRWA Emily being two of the most significant.

    I won the Paranormal section of the Emily then took out the Best of the Best, of which a partial critique with Leis Pederson from Berkley was the prize. She liked the partial enough to request the full manuscript. I sent my my work off to her, excited because she belonged to my dream publishing house. I waited seven long months to hear from her. More on that in a minute.
    Golden Heart 
    ® Pendant

    In March 2010 I received a phone call to say I was a Golden Heart finalist with VENGEANCE BORN (aka Bloodborn as it was known then). Fast forward to July 31st, VENGEANCE BORN won the GH paranormal section. During August I submitted VENGEANCE BORN to several agents as a result of pitch sessions and queries. By October 13th I'd received several offers of representation and I was organising telephone calls, matching schedules and time zones.

    In the midst of these phone calls, on October 16th, I received an email from Leis Pederson from Berkley offering a 2 book deal for VENGEANCE BORN. I have to admit to being a little stunned at first, but then thought "halleluia, I did it!" before bursting into tears in front of my computer, some of it was in happiness, most of it was exhaustion from some very sleepless nights.

    Long story short, I ended up with 6 offers of representation, and 2 late emails from interested agents, and it was on my last phone call that I found my new agent - Elaine Spencer from The Knight Agency. I really, really connected with her. I ended up accepting her offer at the end of our phone call.

    I had less than 24hrs to accept the deal with Berkley. So, Elaine began working her magic. In that time she sent out VENGEANCE BORN to 3 other publishing houses and contacted the 2 I already had it sitting at as a result of pitch sessions at conferences. Long story short, we decided to accept Berkley's offer - but it gets better.

    Elaine managed to negotiate a variation on the original deal. She asked me for an overview of Bks 2 & 3 of the series (which I wrote the day before I headed off to my sister's wedding), and submitted it to Leis and asked for a 3-book deal, which she successfully received. By the end of the weekend I'd accepted the 3-book deal with Berkley.

    Just an interesting aside - three years ago I entered the RWNZ Strictly Single with the then (only 3 ch.'s) version of VENGEANCE BORN. It won and Leis Pederson was the final judge - she requested the full but I didn't have it finished. It took another year and another ms in between before I finished it. So when I won the Emily in 2010 and Leis critiqued then requested the full ms it gave me shivers. Things have seemed to have come full circle. Weird coincidence or fate? You decide.

    2010 ended up being a roller coaster ride and there's my call story.

    Your first release will be VENGEANCE BORN (Book 1 of the Light Blade series) by Berkley Sensation, out in February 2012. Can you describe it for us?
    There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not pure bred is virtually powerless. Until an unlikely champion is born…

    Annika, half-blood daughter of the Na’Reish King, longs for more than her tormented life among her father’s people. Conceived in hatred and bred as a tool of retribution, she’s gifted with a special talent that can heal as well as destroy…

    With the Na’Reish vastly outnumbering them, Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, knows the future of humankind depends on him alone. Incursions into human territory and raids for blood-slaves by the Na’Reish Horde have increased. As Chosen-leader, he faces the task of stopping the demons—and convincing the Council of aging Light Blade warriors that change is necessary for survival.
    When Annika learns Kalan is a prisoner in her father’s dungeon, her dream of escape seems within reach. She agrees to free him in exchange for his protection once they reach human territory. Now, marked for death for helping him, Annika must learn to trust Kalan as they face not only the perilous journey to the border but enemies within the Council—and discover a shocking truth that could throw the human race into civil war….

    Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?
    I’m a panster when I begin a book. I don’t sit down and plan or write synopsis before putting fingers to the keyboard. I usually know the opening scene and where I want the book to finish but everything else in between is very fuzzy. 

    That doesn’t mean to say I haven’t thought about the characters and played a few games of “what if…” to get an idea of what sort of story might develop, I just don’t have a clear idea of how the story arcs are going to work until I get into it.

    Once I start writing and I get past about 25K I know where it’s headed. I’ve spent a lot of time just thinking about the characters & their GMC, the world, the plot etc. while I’ve been writing that first 25K - (usually when I’m doing mundane things like housework, yard work, grocery shopping or as I fall asleep at night). Again, not a very detailed plan or even anything that resembles a synopsis, just a hodge-podge of thoughts and ideas that somehow come together when I write. 

    I tend to be a scener after that. Once I get a strong impression of a scene I’ll jot down pieces of it ie. dialogue & emotions. It’s the bare bones of it that I flesh out later. I have no idea where they’re going to slot in but as I “get to them” I know when or where they fit (if that makes sense).

    So, with scenes jotted down, I write the rest of the book. I’m pretty linear – I like going from A to B and sticking to that process as much as I can. I edit as I go. And that’s how I get through the first draft.

    Do have a favourite of your characters?
    This is an unfair question! :-( How can I possibly choose? I'm going to play it safe and say I have two favourite characters and it's the hero and heroine of the book I'm currently writing.

    What are you currently working on? 
    I'm about halfway through the second novel in the Light Blade series. I've given it the work-in-progress title of ALLIANCE.

    Kymora Tayn is driven to serve her deity (the Lady) and her people, often at the expense of her own personal desires. But her attraction to Varian, the brooding, aloof leader-warrior of the half-breed Na’Chi, proves a challenge and a distraction to her plans for their two peoples to unite against their common enemy, the ruthless Na’Reish demon Horde.
    After being hunted and marked for death by the Na’Reish and human-slaves for his half-cast heritage, Varian finds it difficult to trust anyone outside his Na’Chi family. Fascinated that the humans would place their faith in Kymora, a blind priestess, he finds himself drawn to her strength and passionate nature but marked with terrible facial scars after a battle for his life against a Na’Reish warrior, his people’s perceptions that he is flawed leaves him struggling with his own sense of worth and questioning whether he’s a suitable lover for the beautiful human woman.
    Varian wants the alliance with the humans and Light Blades to work but Kymora’s insistence that he take a more active part in the socialization and integration of their two cultures challenges his reticence and inherent need for anonymity.

    With the threat of a Na’Reish invasion into human territory growing stronger, Kymora and Varian must overcome the problem of two races divided by ingrained prejudices. When both realise the attraction between them might be the solution, that they must lead by example and show that through their love this alliance will work, they must decide which is more important to them – their own personal demons and desires or the survival of their peoples.

    What is your favourite part of the process of writing?
    The revision process - either my own or those suggested by my editor - as it's the time to really make the story and characters shine. If I'm doing my own process I use Margie Lawson's Deep EDITS system. Using different coloured highlighters I mark things like setting, dialogue, tension, visceral reactions, action, internal thoughts to get an idea of what I have too much or too little of and tweak it accordingly. It's a great system.

    What can we expect from Kylie Griffin in the future?
    Book 3 in the Light Blade series. Tentatively titled UNIFICATION. I'm so looking forward to writing this one (rubbing hands together!).

    Raised in the elite ranks of demon society, Imhara lives a dangerous double life as a Na’Reishi lady and the leader of a demon-caste rebellion. As a child she watched her mother and siblings murdered in retaliation for her father’s blatant abuse and treatment of those less powerful than him. Now she’s an advocate for a caste-free life among demons but to openly rebel against the system would end in her immediate death.
    With rumours circulating among the Blood-slaves about a human leader who granted sanctuary to the Na’Chi, the long denied and maligned half-blood offspring of their two cultures, she realises that an alliance with him would achieve her goals, but first she must find an advocate willing to present her cause to him.
    Renowned for his savage skills as a Light Blade warrior and for his furious hatred for all things demon, Arek has spent all his life seeking vengeance for the death of his parents at the hands of his avowed enemies.
    Captured during a raid for human slaves along the border, Arek is taken into the heart of demon territory, destined for the auction block. When a mysterious Na’Reishi female claims him he prepares himself for death rather than serve as her Blood-slave.
    When Imhara reveals her plans for rebellion, Arek realises her determination to escape and loathing for her own kind equals his own. Torn between his personal feelings and duty, Arek joins forces with her. Unification between the Light Blades, Na’Chi and Imhara's loyal followers could mean the difference between victory or defeat in the ongoing war against the demon horde.
    Arek and Imhara's only chance at survival is to trust in one another and a union fraught with danger.

    Who are your favourite authors?
    The ones I have on my sci-fi/fantasy keeper shelf are - Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, David Eddings, Isobelle Carmody, Sharon Green, and Stephen King's THE STAND.

    Those on my spec-fic keeper shelf - Nalini Singh, Denise Rossetti, Joss Ware, Larissa Ione/Sydney Croft, Pamela Palmer, Marjorie M.Lui, Joey W.Hill, Sherrilyn Kenyon (early DH series), Lora Leigh, JRWard, Angela Knight and Elizabeth Vaughan.

    Keepers on my other genres shelf - Maya Banks, Lori Foster, Debbie Macomber, Sandra Hill, Jo Davis and Anna Campbell.

    What are you currently reading?
    The last book I read cover to cover, couldn't put it down, was Sara Creasy's debut novel, SONG OF SCARABAEUS. I devoured it and I'm slavering to get my hands on a copy of CHILDREN OF SCARABAEUS, the second book.

    Can I just say, few SF adventures rival my Firefly obsession, but Finn and Edie (the hero and heroine in Sara's series) are incredible.

    There's something really appealing about a hero who's a freedom-fighter turned slave and a heroine who has enough computer technology implanted in her to rival the Borg. Throw in a starship load of secrets between them, a greedy corporation, some rebels with dubious motives and you have one heck of story! If you love techno-jargon, suspense, action, and a dash of romance, then these books are for you.

    Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or tv series?
    Again, how can you ask me to choose? (sniffle) I mentioned a few of my favourite TV series above. Here are a few more - Firefly, Farscape, Jericho, and a few movies...Avatar, Pitch Black, The Scorpion King, LOTR trilogy, Mad Max trilogy, Underworld series, Terminator series, X-Men series.

    Do you have advice for emerging writers?
    On writing - well before you get a contract, get into the habit of producing a consistent word or page count on your manuscript every day. Once you have that "real" (not to mention legal) deadline, you're accountable, and you have to write every day whether you want to or not. You don't have the luxury of time up your sleeve any more.

    On agents - during your agent hunting, if you're offered representation don't settle for "just any agent". Even if you're offered representation by one, or six, doesn't mean they're right for you. Don't compromise on what you want in your agent and you do need to connect with them - you need someone who's as passionate about your work as you are.

    On the industry - don't be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they seem silly. You'll find a lot of other writers are very generous and giving of their experience and time because they know what it's like to start out. They'll help you if they can. So ask, ask, ask. Someone will have an answer for you or know someone who does!

    Eleni, thanks for inviting me to Darklight On...it's been a hoot!


    Please visit Kylie at her website and her blog.
    We'll keep you updated with news of Vengeance Born as it comes to hand.

    Friday 15 April 2011

    What We Are Reading

    Welcome to another What We Are Reading post. Today's DarkSiders are: Jess Anastasi (our resident reviewer *wink*), C.T. Green (with her second review), Mel Teshco, Bec Skrabl and our latest member Gemma Kettley.

    Jess Anastasi

    This month I finally got around to reading The Warlord's Daughter by Susan Grant, or at least starting it anyway. I'm about a third of the way through, and the two main characters haven't even caught up with each other yet. Not that I think all books should have the hero and heroine meeting in the first five pages. If there's enough to hold my interest, it shouldn't matter. However, I'm having trouble staying connected. I really want to love this book, but it feels a bit all over the place. We keep skipping to other scenes and characters all over the galaxy. I assume all these scenes are pivitol to wherever the story is heading, but at the moment it feels like there are too many outside elements intruding on the story. I hope it gets better and plan to read Sureblood after this, because that book in particular has gotten really good reviews. I hope its an improvement over The Warlord's Daughter. While it's an ok read at the moment, it's probably not one I'd pick up to re-read later on.

    C.T. Green
    ~ Lover Unleashed ~ J.R. Ward
    I mentioned in my last review that I was a fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward.  So unsurprisingly this review is about her latest release, Lover Unleashed.

    This is the much-anticipated follow on from Lover Mine and takes up almost where the previous book left off.  Payne had broken her back in the last book and we dive back into the Brotherhood’s world to see the race to try and restore her ability to walk.  Cue Manny Manello MD, hated by Vishous for having, ahem, inappropriate feelings for V’s love, Jane. 

    Manny is brought to the Brotherhood’s mansion on a purely professional basis and with lots of limb dismemberment threats on V’s behalf.  Well, the guy did fancy V’s true love and is putting his hands all over V’s twin sister – you’ve gotta feel for the vamp!

    Manny and Payne (who are instantly attracted to each other – as you do when you’ve broken your back/are introduced to the world of vampires) attempt to find the solution to Payne’s paralysis and how a human and vampire can be together.  As usual, the course of true love is a hell ride and Payne and Manny have to find a way through without Vishous fricasseeing the human or Manny having to give up his career and ability to write his own name after his memories are wiped.

    Lover Unleashed also enlarges on Vishous and Jane’s relationship and takes it to both new depths and new heights, with a few unexpected but not unsurprising twists that include V’s best friend, Butch.

    If that wasn’t enough, Ward also introduces new characters to the mix, Xcor and Throe and their little band of misfits, who’ve come to the New World (aka Caldwell) in search of more than one enemy and perhaps even a crown.

    For those who are fans of this couple: Blaylock and Qhuinn do make appearances, which give us hints at to where things might be headed for them.  Awww.

    If you love the BDB, then this is a must read and though the resolution of Manny and Payne’s story is not really a surprise (if you paid attention to the hints Ward drops) it’s still a very satisfying ending.   If you’ve never read the series – why are you sitting there reading this?  Go out and get thee to the first book! 

    Mel Teshco

    I won an e-copy of Maree Anderson's SCENT OF A MAN and really lost myself in her great writing and original storyline. I’ve already done a review for her book:

    Joseph Godwin is an Anglian noble, born and raised into a society that oppresses its women. All well and good—until Joseph discovers the day he dreamed of losing his virginity and becoming a man—becomes his worst nightmare. Turns out he’s a Scentinal, the scourge of the earth; the spawn of the devil according to Anglian law. His very scent sees the chastest of women become depraved and shameless hussies who lust after him without restraint.His father, Lord Godwin, is a cruel and vicious oppressor who turns on his only son when he finds out Joseph’s fêted coming of age reveals his true Scentinal colours. Only Liliana, a Null—a one-of-a-kind woman who renders his scent void in close proximity—is able to save him. She is a gifted warrior, but a pawn to the empress Vashti, who sends Liliana on a mission to bring back Joseph for her own nefarious schemes.Maree Anderson writes a riveting, original tale of lust and betrayal, love and redemption. SCENT OF A MAN is an erotic, fast paced story that is beautifully written, the characters all too believable.


    I’ve been on the lookout for any of Madeleine Ker’s older category books after reading and loving THE WILDER SHORES OF LOVE many years ago. I found FRAZER’S LAW in my local book exchange the other day, first published as an Australian paperback in 1988 — though yes, Madeleine does have recent categories. To say the writing style has changed over the years is an understatement. Even so it’s interesting to note the flicking in and out of point of view, the omnipresent voice etc still works overall. She is an author that keeps me engrossed in her story and makes me feel for her characters.

    Rio Faber is the heroine, a marine biologist studying corals and living alone in a remote cottage on Australia’s untamed Cape York Peninsula. Then Cameron Frazer, handsome as hell shark expert, arrives to check on the lone woman after she failed to make radio contact. A devastating cyclone sees them thrust together once again, battling the elements.

    I’m about halfway through this book, and can’t wait to see how their relationship develops after Cameron’s offer for Rio to stay at his house in Barramundi. Rio has little choice but to accept, her cottage and much of her research has disappeared along with the winds.

    Bec Skrabl

    I’ve been on a bit of a steampunk glom lately, so it’s no wonder that the last two books I’ve read have had some sort of steampunk flavour.

    I must admit I picked up Geist by Phillippa Ballantine, drawn solely by the beautiful cover. Featuring a world where geist’s - ghosts – can possess people, it’s up to Deacons like Sorcha Faris to banish them. With her husband and partner in a coma, she has to work with Merrick, a young Deacon to discover what is going on in an isolated town filled with strange geist activity. Someone doesn’t want them to reach their destination and along the way, they are joined by Raed, Pretender to the throne, and a man cursed with a geist living inside him. I loved the way the characters played off each other, with Merrick’s Sensitive side bringing out the emotions gruff, kick-ass Sorcha feels. The world-building was unusual, and I can’t wait to see more of Raed in book two.

    The other book I recently finished was The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire by Clay and Susan Griffiths. In  1870, a plague of vampires overtook the colder parts of the world and the humans were forced to withdraw to the equatorial countries, where they formed their own empire. Princess Adele, heir to the throne, is undertaking a tour of the northern parts of the empire when she is kidnapped by the vampires and taken away to London. The Greyfriar, a mysterious, legendary figure who fights the vampires from within their territories, attempts to rescue her, and they must flee through vampire-infested territories to the relative safety of Edinburgh. The romance is quite sweet, but of course, since this is a series, there’s a big roadblock featuring the Greyfriar’s secret that I’ll be interested in seeing how it plays out. Airships + Vampires + Mysterious Hero = Rollicking good time.

    Gemma Kettley

    Tales of the Otherworld ~ Kelley Armstrong

    I will admit that I am yet to read a Kelley Armstrong book that I didn't like and this book did not disappoint. If you are yet to try one of her book then I suggest starting with her short stories. The stories vary from Elana - the only female werewolf in the world to Paige who finds out just how fraught a White (Witch) Wedding can be or Eve - a black witch who finds out her soulmate is also her nemesis (don't you just hate that) to Aaron who was only trying to stop someone getting robed and becomes a Vampire who learns the heavy price of his existence these are just some examples of the 9 stories that are in this book. And if you find a particular character that you like they may have their own books in the Women of the Otherworld or Men of the Otherworld Series. If you are a fan of Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, Keri Arthur or Laurell K Hamilton then give this book a try.

    Blood of the Demon ~ Diana Rowland

    This the second book in the Kara Gillian series and I found that it was better then the first book "Mark of the Demon". Kara is a Homicide Detective who has the gift of "othersight" and also comes from a long line of Demons Summoners. Both of which she will need to use to find a murder who also rips the victims soul out. With the help of two FBI agents Ryan (who seems to have some gifts of his own) and Zack (the believer that gets "feelings") and her best friend Jill a Forensic Expert (she has and umbrella and a butterfly net and she is not afraid to use them), Kara is on a race against time to find the killer as the murders become more frequent and more gruesome. Of course you will need to read the first book due to the cliff hanger ending. If you like Jennifer Rardin give this series a try.

    Kitty's House of Horrors ~ Carrie Vaughn

    This is the seventh book in the Kitty Norville series and I found it to be one of the best so far. Kitty is a Radio DJ who hosts her own show "The Midnight Hour" on Friday Nights and also happens to be a Werewolf. Kitty is asked to go on a reality TV show about the Supernatural where she will be living for two weeks in a remote lodge with Vampires, Psychics, two other weres and a non-believer. The first couple of days are fine until they wake up one morning to find that the TV crew are missing then it is a fight for survival for Kitty and the other guests. This book brings back some characters from past books as well as introducing new ones that will play a part in the up coming war. In my opinion this is one of the best Werewolf series around.


    Another great overview ladies - thank you and more than one book on my ever increasing To Be Read pile. Happy Reading everyone!

    Thursday 14 April 2011

    Magic Thursday Giveaway - A Game of Thrones

    I had been racking my brains trying to work out what the Magic Thursday post will be about and then I spotted it - the cover of the 2012 calender for the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series by George R.R. Martin.

    Anyone who has ever ventured to my blog knows how much I love art and I especially love art depicting fantasy settings. So this appealed to me as an art lover. As a reader, I'm very behind in reading this series - I'm only about 200 pages into A Game Of Thrones despite the book being on my shelf since 1996. Gulp!!! 

    Finally it is getting its day and attending a talk by George R.R. Martin at WorldCon in Melbourne last year shunted the book close to the top of the pile. 

    I'm loving it - the complexity, the world-building, the intrigue, the language - definitely a keeper.

    The other reason why this calendar struck me is because this month, HBO is debuting the TV series  Game of Thrones.  April 17th for our US readers. Unfortunately, we in Australia have to wait it looks like until July (on Foxtel) - sniff sniff. But I believe it will be worth the wait. It looks like a marvelous production from the clips and images I have seen. Anything with Sean Bean has to be good :) Doesn't he look great on the Iron Throne.

    So in honour of this epic fantasy series hitting the screens, I am offering a copy of the 2012 A Song of Ice and Fire calendar (as pictured above). Please comment below by Tuesday 19th April for your chance to win. 

    This is open internationally to countries the Book Depository delivers to. However this item will not be available for another 4-5 months, so will be delivered then.

    Just tell me who is your favourite character is in A Game of Thrones and why.


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