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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.

Sunday 31 July 2011

Weekly Overview

Coming up this week...

Tues 2 Aug
Good News Day

Thur 4
Magic Thursday -  Maree Anderson with Secrets Anthology giveaway

Sat 6
Darklight On… Maggie Mundy

DarkSider Trekking...

  • Kylie had the following on her blog:
Mon 25 -  Guest Author: Jean Adams
Wed 26 - Link to a Debut author's take on self publishing
Thurs 28 -  Who's that Girl? Interview Toni Kenyon (from RWNZ)
Sat 30- Conference Highlights 5: RWAmerica Photos...what an experience.
*Mark your diary - Mon 18th July - Guest Author: Jean Adams * 

What's Up...

  • We have a new DarkSider member, Sandra Harris. Welcome, Sandra!

  • Peta has a new website. Check it out!

Until next week!

Saturday 30 July 2011

Darklight On... Keri Arthur

my apologies for being late with this post.

Welcome back Keri to the Darklight On!!

Please tell us a little about your road to publication.

God, how long do you have? lol I was writing fantasy and paranormal romance in the late 80's, early 90's, way before there was a real demand for it. You could say I was well ahead of my time. :)

Though I'd written a number of books by the early 90's, it wasn't until I wrote Dancing with the Devil that I thought I finally had a book strong enough to publish. This is the book that I entered in a major fantasy comp run by Random House Australia (I think it was the George Turner Prize, but I'm not 100%--god, it was 20 years ago! lol) It was a finalist, but didn't win. I was later contacted by the editor, who said it had come down to a choice between me and the winner, and the judges had thought that while there was a market for my sort of book in Australia, it was dominated by American authors, and they couldn't see an Australian making an impact. So I totally gave up on the Aussie market, and headed to the US. Which was no easier.

I sent it out to lots of agents and editors, and lots of rejections followed. Although Laurell K Hamilton's books were on the rise in popularity by then, the genre hadn't yet hit its stride and to be honest, I think an unknown author from Australia was just placed in the too hard basket. It got to the stage where I really had no where else to submit, so I decided to try e-publishing. Now remember, this was 1998. The e-book market had yet to explode, the kindle wasn't even a twinkle in amazon's eyes, and there were probably only three or four e-publishers around. I sent a query to Hard-Shell, who were the 'big' e-publishers on the block back then, (they were e-pub only) and one to Imajinn, who were e-book and trade, and the new boys. Both got back to me with a request pretty quickly, so I sent them off. ImaJinn also rejected fairly quickly, but the editor said if I was willing to make rewrites according to her comments, she'd look at it again. So, I rewrote it and sent it back. She loved the rewrites and wanted to publish me, so I got straight back to hard-shell, told them the situation, and asked whether they were still interested in the e-rights or not, giving them a deadline to reply. It took them nearly 3 weeks to get back to me (and only after numerous emails) by which time I'd signed away the electronic and print rights to ImaJinn. I figured if they couldn't be bothered replying, I wasn't going to leave my writing career in their hands.

I ended up publishing 12 books and 1 novella with ImaJinn, and even by today's standards, they sold really well (up until Bantam bought the US rights for all the books last year, I was still earning mid four figures each royalty half). In about 2003 I started writing Full Moon Rising

I knew from the very beginning that this book had a bigger feel about it, and that if any book was going to break me into the US mainstream, this would be it. But again, rejections followed, although this time, they were good ones. Then I queried one agent who loved it, worked with me on it, but in the end decided she just didn't know where to place it because it was so cross genre. Which was somewhat depressing, but I refused to give up. I was then given a recommendation to the Irene Goodman Agency, and queried Miriam Kriss without too much hope. She sent an almost immediate request for the whole book, so I sent that off (again, without much expectation). So it was rather a surprise when she got back to me several days later saying she wanted to see the second book (which by that stage I'd finished) and that she wanted to represent me. Happy dancing ensued. Two weeks later, Full Moon Rising had been sent out, and we had ourselves an auction between three publishers. Bantam won, and I ended up selling a total of 11 books to them, seven of which hit the New York Times list.

And I've just sold three books to NAL.

What was your reaction when you first hit the NYT Best seller list?
Shock. Total shock. Then a lot of screaming and dancing. And then I went out and purchased some shoes to celebrate :)

Your latest release is Mercy Burns. Can you describe this book for us?
Mercy is the second book in the Myths and Magic series. Basically, in the first book--Destiny Kills--the hero Trae was looking for his sister Mercy before he got caught up with Destiny. Mercy Burns tells us just what, exactly, his little sister was doing.

You’ve had some fantastic covers. Do you get a say in how they look? Also I find it fascinating the difference between the US and UK covers. Have you any favourites?

I have no say in how they look--I can make slight changes, though. For example, the original concept for Darkness Unbound to me made it look like it was an inspirational. They wouldn't change the base design, so I requested they use darker colours and wings, and we ended up with the current cover. As for my favourites--I adore what Piatkus did for the last three or four Riley books. In fact, I used one of the covers as the basis for my website.

You recently went to both the RT Convention and RWA Nationals. How did you find these?
They're two very different beasts. RT is about fans, RWAm is about writers and business. I only went to New York because it was New York, and it gave me a chance to meet my editors--old and new--while writing it off on tax. RT I love, although this year it seemed more writer orientated than reader, and to me, wasn't as good as usual. If they keep heading that way, I probably won't go any more. Next year I'm actually tackling Comic Con for the first time

What is your writing routine like?
I write a minimum of 5 days a week, 5 pages a day, in the afternoon, after I've gone to gym. I also tend to write on the weekend if there's nothing else going on, and generally, I finish a book (first draft) every 3 months.

How do you go about writing your series?
I'm naturally a pantzer, and the first 4 Riley books were actually written that way. By the 5th book, there were far too many plot threads for my brain to remember, and after a major rewrite of the 5th book, I realized I had to at least do a vague outline. So, that's what I did, and still do. For the Dark Angels series, I actually have a 5 book outline (although it'll now be 6 books at least). Each book has about a third of a page of story plot in it. I can't write much more than that, because if I get too detailed, the story feels told to me. If my editor wants a full outline, I tend to do them after I've finished the draft (I'm usually fairly ahead of my deadlines. Right now, I'm writing book 4 of the Dark Angels series, and the first one isn't out until September!)

What’s the latest book you read?
I'm currently reading Burn the FatFeed the Muscles in an effort to budge the last bloody stubborn 10 kilos! But I've also got Jenna Black's Dark Descendant. I love her books, and not just because she's a fellow dame :)

You were recently nominated for the Lynne Wilding Meritorious Service Award. Congratulations. How did you feel when you heard?
Surprised and honoured!

Thanks Keri once again.
You can visit Keri on her website, and find her on 

Mercy Burns is out now!
Her upcoming books are Darkness Unbound (September 2011)
and Darkness Rising (October 2011)

Thursday 28 July 2011

Magic Thursday: Googles, gears and goblins...One Darksider's take on Steampunk with Bec Skrabl

When I first came across the word, I’ll admit, I wondered what the heck ‘steampunk’ was. It seemed it was on every editor’s ‘what’s hot’ list. Now, being of the speculative field, I was instantly interested, especially when I discovered lists of movies and books featuring the theme; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and H.G Wells had a bit of an influence on some of my earlier works and I’m one of the few to admit I *cough* loved Will Smith’s Wild, Wild West. A few other movies I’ve enjoyed are Van Helsing, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Howl’s Moving Castle and the latest Sherlock Holmes. The amazing thing I discovered was, I’ve been watching steampunk movies for years and loving them. I just didn’t know what they were.


So what is steampunk? 
Well, Google it and I guarantee you’ll find dozens of different definitions. From wiki, it defines the term as works set in an era or world where steam power is widely used, sometimes with elements of fantasy or sci-fi. I like this broader definition, as it’s definitely a theme with many, many interpretations. Some writers lean more towards the sci-fi or fantasy scale of things, and there is steampunk set in space or the future, but the technology and the steam-power is definitely something that’s not as negotiable.

Of course, I’m writing in the romance realm, so my own personal formula goes somewhat like this: Take Historical Romance, add Fantasy and Sci-fi elements, a good dash of adventure and you have Steampunk Romance. Its edge-of-the seat action, its fun and you can have some cool costumes and gadgets if you like.

For some romance reading recommendations, I can highly recommend Meljean Brooks The Iron Seas series, starting with the Iron Duke, or for a rollicking romp, try Gail Carriger’s Soulless. Some might argue they’re steampunk (and you will have a lot of purists arguing on the ‘net precisely what is and isn’t) but I quite enjoyed Zoe Archer’s Blades of the Rose quartet too. I’ve also pre-ordered Devon Monk’s Dead Iron, which looks like another great adventure.

In the YA field, I loved Cassandra Clare’s The Clockwork Angel and Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan, and I’m nearly finished Julie Kagawa’s The Iron Queen, which features the realm of Faerie – and the effect the new Iron Fey are having on it.

I think the most interesting part of writing steampunk is coming up with the world and the technology. I didn’t want to have just steampunk elements in my world – a pair of goggles here, an airship or two there – I wanted the whole world to revolve around it.

From Neverlight.com

For my own world in the Devil of Whitechapel, I based the setting in Victorian London – but a Victorian London of my own rules and alternate history. After a mysterious virus was spread from the Far East, London is now ruled by the blue bloods of the Echelon, who must drink blood to survive. When the revolution in France guillotined their blue blood aristocracy, the Echelon decided to take no chances in controlling the populace and have an automaton army comprised of metaljacket soldiers and a Trojan cavalry. With strict ‘blood taxes’ and draining factories, humans are little more than cattle.

Into this world comes my heroine, Honoria, who is the only one who knows where her father’s diary is – a diary which contains the only potential cure to the virus afflicting the Echelon. Every blue blood in London would kill to get their hands on that diary – including the one who murdered her father.

The only person she can turn to is the notorious Devil of Whitechapel, a man who needs that cure just as desperately as the others.

Thanks to my awesome agent, Jessica Faust of BookEnds, it’s just been sold to Sourcebooks in a three-book deal and I’m still in celebratory mode! So keep an eye out, there just might be more steampunk coming in the future!

Congratulations to Bec and her 3 book deal!
We'll keep you posted with more news on Devil of Whitechapel.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Good News Day!

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

Other news

Rowena Cory Daniells
The King's Bastard has now gone into its 4th reprint!

also Floor to Ceiling Books have featured the covers for Rowena's next trilogy, The Outcast Chronicles.


Christina Phillips
Both Forbidden and Captive are over on Novel Adventurers as part of the Top Ancient Historical Beach Reads.


Imogene Nix
A milestone for Imogene as she has had her first full manuscript requested. We wish her luck!

Romance Writers of Australia Top 15 cover finalists
Christina Phillips - Captive
Denise Rossetti - Gift of the Goddess
Erica Hayes - Shadowglass
Tracey O'Hara - Death's Sweet Embrace


Cover & Release Date

Denise Rossetti
Guilty as Sin, Book 4 of the Phoenix Rising series, will be released 3rd August!


Bec Skrabl
How did we DarkSiders know Bec would be picked up by a publisher soon? All those competition finals, perhaps. Yes, Bec has not a one, not a two, but a three book contract with Sourcebooks. Fabulous! So that means she will be hanging up her "contest slu...queen" sash. 

Rowena Cory Daniells
Rowena is delving into the life of crime - well as another writing persona, RC Daniells, and her first crime book, The Price of Fame, is due for release in March 2012 by ClanDestine Press. For more info on the book, click here

Fantastic news everyone! 
Keep the good news rolling in.
Until next week.....

Sunday 24 July 2011

Weekly overview

Coming up this week...

Tues 26th July
Good News Day

Thur 28th
Magic Thursday -  brought to you by Bec Skrabl 

Sat 30th
Darklight On… Keri Arthur

DarkSider Trekking...

  • Kylie had the following on her blog:
Mon 18th -  Guest Author: Ella Drake, SFR Author
Thurs 21st -  Who's that Girl? Interview with Tyree Connor (RWNZ)
Sat 23rd - Conference Highlights 4: Photos - the 'goings on' from past conferences.
*Mark your diary - Mon 18th July - Guest Author: Jean Adams * 

What's Up...

  • A few of our members are now on Google+. This is in testing phase. Apparently it is by invitation only. But if you are already on there, you can find the following DarkSiders: Keri Arthur, Nicole Murphy, Tracey O'Hara, and Eleni Konstantine.

  • I just found out C.T. has two blogs - one her website and another one here

Have a great week!

Friday 22 July 2011

What We Are Reading

Welcome to July’s What We Are Reading column. Today, we have Maggie Mundy, JJ Somerville and Rhyll Vallis.

Maggie Mundy
~The Birth of Venus~Sarah Dunant
I would like to mention one of the best books I have ever read . It is by Sarah Dunant and is called The Birth of Venus. It is based in 14th century Florence in the time of the Medici's. It is the story of a young woman who has to cope with her position in society at a time when woman were chattel of their father and then their husband. Add to this the Bonfire of the Vanities and a mad monk who wants to take over the city and you have an amazing story. Dunant has the ability to capture you from page one and appears to have done the impossible and has sold this book in the literary as well as the commercial market. Her descriptions of the art will make youwant to visit Florence and try to capture some of the world she created. There are no paranormal aspects to this book but if you wanted to write a paranormal historical based in this time it would be an excellent research tool.

JJ Somerville
~Soulless~Gail Garriger
Alexia Tarbotti takes on Queen Victoria's London armed with her not inconsiderable intelligence and a particularly pointy parasol. Scottish werewolves and some exceptionally well dressed vampires conspire to make Alexia's life altogether too interesting. This steam-powered romp has some exceptional laugh out-loud moments, carried along by a fascinating mystery & a simply fine romance. I didn't want to put it down, but when I did I immeditaly picked up the sequel, after stopping for a proper spot of tea of course!

Rhyll Vallis
~Big Bad Beast~Shelly Laurenston
If you like your paranormal heroines to be lean, mean ass-kickin’ machines, then Shelly Laurenston’s Big Bad Beast is for you!

The sixth book in Laurenston’s shifter series focuses on ex-marine shifter Dee-Ann Smith, a hard-case with a talent for killin’ inherited from her ‘Da’—Eggbert Ray Smith of the Tennesse Smith Pack of wolf shifters. They don’t come any tougher than Dee-Ann, who impresses her dad with her wise choice of chest-penetrating weapons at age 10!

Ulrich (Ric) Van Holz is only six when he witnesses this tender father-daughter moment, but is immediately love struck, much to the horror of his snobby Van Holz pack uncle. There’s just a touch of feudin’ between the two families—in the best tradition of southern culture on the skids.

Jump forward some twenty odd years, and Dee-Ann saunters out of the marines and back into Ric’s wealthy stratosphere. Ric is quick to hire Dee-Ann as a member of his shifter security team investigating crimes against hybrid shifters, but finds it takes more than pretty boy looks and Michelin star cooking skills to snag the type of attention he wants from Dee-Ann.

Luckily, Ric’s as cunning and persistent as Dee-Ann is ‘ornery, and not even the threat of the over-protective and heavily armed Daddy Eggbert deters Ric from pursuing his lady love...

Laurenston’s writing is fast-paced and packed with earthy humour, break-neck action and scorching sex scenes. Her characters are uniquely (but endearingly) twisted, and reappear throughout her series to create a memorable supporting cast for the romantic leads.

~Demons of Dunmore~Gia Dawn
Sometimes, after spending a long day replicating genomes, mediating Middle East peace talks, or improving NASA’s space program, a girl (or a guy) just needs to chillax with a little escapist and slightly hot and naughty paranormal romance.

Fellow escapees will be pleased to know that Gia Dawn’s Demons of Dunmore series fits the ticket perfectly. Part of the Samhain Publishing stable, the Demons of Dunmore series is erotic paranormal fiction, but while the series title alludes to demons, the interfering fairy guardians of the trio of lordly brothers are the strongest paranormal element in the books.

Without analysing my preference for gender-bending roles too closely, my favourite in the series is book four, Dunmore Rising, in which the heroine is inveigled by the Dunmore fairies into acting as the hero’s squire.

Naturally, this involves polishing Sir Graham’s weapons, helping him in and out of his armour and, ah, holding his sword.

The heroine, Jili, is no slouch with a sword herself, and is squiring herself out in her quest to become Westmyre’s first female knight. But the need to thwart a royal assassin quickly overshadows both Jili and Sir Graham’s tournament ambitions.

This book is a fun romp all the way from the very first chapter in which Jili picks up her sword (it’s always a high point in a novel for me when a woman picks up her sword) and gets a little medieval on the hero’s ass. Those who like a destrier here, and a joust there, will enjoy the tournament setting.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Supanova Sydney 2011

Ever had one of those weeks where everything hits at once. That is my week. So mega apologies up front for being so late with my Magic Thursday post.

Nicole, Erica and me (thanks Kathy for the pic)
This year I was able to get an artist’s table at Supanova pop culture expo. I had a friend at me for years to go and check it out. I invited fellow darksiders Nicole Murphy and Erica Hayes  to join me as the table had 3 expo passes included. Supanova is similar to the Comic Cons held in the States.

View from our room
So Friday afternoon, Nicole and I set of from our home town to make the 3 hour trek to Sydney with the added bonus of driving my first ever brand new car. The drive went quickly and was fun. We talked lots about books, authors, publishing and just... you know... normal stuff writers talk about when they get together with someone who understands them. We met Erica in Sydney out the place we were staying. We were on the 24th floor and, boy, what a view we had.

And this was not even at a busy time
Saturday morning we drove to the Supanova venue – eventually getting there after my stupid phone GPS took us the wrong way. The Dome at Sydney Olympic park was massive. That should have been a clue. Vendor and stalls were set up all around and we dropped off our things and went to park the car. As we walked back around the front way, this time we saw the line. It was massive.

Bat Man and Cat Woman - me-ow
The atmosphere was awesome. The costumes amazing. And the displays spectacular. I didn’t get to see any of the special guests. I wanted to see James Masters – only if a glimpse – but missed my chance. I should have gone to his chat with the Supanova patrons, but I didn’t. Also there were the cast from the sixties show I DREAM OF JEANNIE, Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter movies), and a couple more Joss Whedon stars, Amy Acker - Fred from Angel - and Sean Mayer from the Dr. Tan from FIREFLY.

I also saw some great writers there, Kevin J Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Marianne De Pierres, Jennifer Fallon, Kate Forsythe, Alison Goodman and fellow darksider, Rowena Cory Daniels. It was great catching up with many of them again, and some for the first time.
Is there a Doctor in the house?

Eek - I'm in trouble.

even Daleks need hugs
anyone for a little 300 or Spartacus

The original Darksider - Lord Vader and friend
My facebook friend Kathy who is the best fan :)
And of course - Indie - for a bit of adventure
Where's Wally?
A little chill from Freeze

But the thing that really blew me away were the costumes, the detail is some of them was amazing. All in all, I had a total ball and have some ideas on what I would do differently next time, but I would definitely go again even just as a patron rather than a guest.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's Good News....

Sales & Release Date

Jenny Schwartz
Carina Press have announced their holiday steampunk anthology, and Support Your Local Suffragette (set in Australia) has been accepted. It will be released 5th December.


Clendon Award (Romance Writers of New Zealand)
They are on fire again. Michelle de Rooy and Bec Skrabl are both finalists. Michelle with 2 manuscripts!

Molly Contest  (Heart of Denver Romance Group)
Michelle de Rooy  is a  second round finalist, and newbie contest entrant Peta Crake also made it to the second round.


Amanda Ashby
Fairy Bad Day was reviewed over at The Secret Book Lover, and given a GREAT rating.  Here is part of the review:
"This was a highly amusing book that touched on the supernatural but at the same time managed to capture the typical dramas faced by any average teenage girl. The plot was original and captivating until the very end. It was a beautiful blend of drama, romance, action and mystery."

Shona Husk
Tasting Thanatos was reviewed over on You Gotta Read Reviews. Here's a snippet:

"Tasting Thanatos was a smooth, quick read that finished way too soon. Ms. Husk didn’t bother bogging us down with unnecessary details; we’re given all we need to understand these two people and what makes them perfect for each other."


Mel Teshco
Galactic Burn was released on the weekend! Check out Mel's first sci-fi story.

Congratulations to all of you. 

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