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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.

Monday 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween Birthday to us!

Last year on this date, we started this blog and site. Now we are:

It's no coincidence we started this blog on 31st October. After all, what better date to start a blog about the Dark Side. And there's the fun side as well - think The Addams Family - it may be dark, but it's a comedy. Our members cover the whole spectrum.

Here, in the the Down Under lands of Australia and New Zealand, we don't celebrate Halloween like the North Americans do. Though it is gaining in popularity. Many stores I've been in this month have had a Halloween items on display. I even grabbed a couple of masks for my godson and his brother.

So this brought me to asking the DarkSiders the question 
"What Halloween Means to You?" 
and here are the replies.

Astrid Cooper
On Halloween Eve my latest book is going to be released - unplanned, but perhaps "topical" given that I have a futuristic romance with villainous aliens causing mayhem and mischief in the dreamscape and the real world ... swirling mists and moans and groans in the ether... And of course Scotland and Halloween are synonymous. 

Halloween means several things to me - the obvious "fun" of dressing up and being weird and no one bats an eye lid.

I was driving home from a Halloween party run by the Star Trek club. I was pulled over for breathalyser -- I had my waist length hair sprayed green and I was dressed in a black kaftan. My mother was dressed up as a Luke Skywalker, but with a vampire bat attached to her blood-spattered costume. The cops didn't react ... just did their job and waved me on.

The other thing that I think when Halloween comes around .... the historical and Celtic connotations. And how that weaves throughout our culture and story-telling. From the oral tradition of Celtic history through to our modern day story-tellers ... now the digital books. How far as a species we have come!

Shona Husk
I‘ve always had a love hate relationship with horror. I went through a phase of reading Stephen King when I was in my teens but had to stop because I was freaking myself out. Buffy I’d record and watch during daylight. When Supernatural started I watched two episodes and couldn’t handle it (I went back during season three decided the plot and the testosterone on screen was too good to miss and watched from the beginning—however it still scared me and any more than two episodes in a row and I’m wired for anything that goes bump in the night). While Halloween has become all about candy and costumes, I love that paranormals and creepy creatures get their own celebration. It wasn’t that long ago that people gathered around the fire or locked their doors against the things lurking in the shadows.

Jenny Schwartz
I like that Halloween acknowledges there are monsters beyond the proof of science. More than that, it celebrates the delightful terror of the unknown.

Maree Anderson
It all started when my daughter turned five. Instead of wanting a fairy party, or a princess party—like all her little girlfriends were having—she wanted a Halloween party. And she wanted to be Mona The Vampire, from her favourite cartoon about a little girl who used to dress up and pretend she was a vampire. Only trouble with that idea? Her birthday is in August... have you any idea how hard it was back then to find Halloween party stuff for sale in Auckland in August???

But I managed it. Thank goodness for old stock, is all I can say! And a Halloween party she had, complete with Halloween Headquarters banner, spider webs, balloon ghosties, home-made cardboard bats, fake severed finger biscuits (amazing how much like a brown icky dead fingernail a raw almond can look *g*), lolly-snake jelly, spider muffins, and ghostie cake. As for her costume? I found a cape and fangs, and with all her different coloured braids (a la Mona) she made the cutest little vampire ever! No surprises the boys from her kindergarten really enjoyed a non-girlie party where they could dress up as Frankenstein’s monster, zombies, ghosts or wizards ;-) The magician we hired went down a treat, too. (You gotta love five-year-olds. It doesn’t take much to entertain them.) But I think the highlight was the little boy whose dad painted his face, arms and hands green so he could be Frankenstein’s monster, and then realized too late that the paint wasn’t going to come off. His mother was majorly unimpressed! LOL.

Since then we’ve collected all manner of Halloween decorations. And every year we decorate our front window with our Halloween Headquarters banner, spider webs, glowing pumpkins and other spooky stuff. Then we fill our pumpkin baskets with sweets and treats, and wait for the knocks on the door. If DD and her brother aren’t going trick or treating with friends, they dress up and hand out the treats, while DH and I lurk in the background, waiting to see the expressions on the kids’ faces. Priceless!

Nicky Strickland
I love the idea of a time of year where the veil is thin. Regardless of our Southern Hemisphere when the season signals Beltane (& we should be jumping bonfires) I love All Hallow’s Eve and the following Day of the Dead. I wonder if it’s due to a lot of endings loom at this time of year (the calendar, academic/school). For me it’s a connection to the primal cycle of life and death and life again.

Of course the ever growing plethora of Halloween candy appearing in more recent years doesn’t hurt either (I say candy as in this context I view it as candy not lollies – thanks to years of US friends sharing what are the yummier options).

Eleni Konstantine
I'd always liked Halloween as a kid - the idea of dressing up as anything ghastly, and I think this rose from my love of shows like The Addams Family and The Munsters, and cartoons having Halloween specials. Fun if not a little scary. Alas, I don't think I ever dressed up as Halloween is not celebrated in Australia, at least when I was a kid. While Halloween has changed from it's Samhain origins, I like that we acknowledge the other side - the dark side. 

The Addams Family

As stated in a previous post, we are going to have a spookily amazing grand prize, and two runner up prizes. 

Here's the clip:

and furthermore, we have announce runner up prize three!!!!
  • Tracey O'Hara is also donating a T-shirt.
  • Astrid Cooper with eBook of Crystal Dreams and a bookmark.

For your chance to win, please just comment on What Halloween Means To You?

We'll close comments on 2nd November so our NA friends have time to comment too.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last year. We hope to celebrate with you again next year!

Sunday 30 October 2011

Weekly Overview

Coming up this week...

Mon 31 
Halloween Birthday Bash!

Tues 1 Nov
Good News Day

Thur 3
Magic Thursday -Nicola E Sheridan with e-book giveaway of Magical Creations 

Sat 5
Darklight On…Shona Husk

DarkSider Trekking...





    • Jenny has started a Goodreads group up for A Clockwork Christmas. You can find it here.

    • Lilliana also has Christmas Wings also available on Amazon.

    Have a great week!

    Saturday 29 October 2011

    Darklight On...Rhyll K (Q&A)

    Today's Darklight On... is with Rhyll K. Welcome, Rhyll!

    How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre? I’m a fairly quirky person, easily bored by the straight and normal, so I like either making the everyday strange (or the strange everyday) in my writing. Speculative fiction is perfect for doing that.

    Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between? I bounce both ways, like to plot like a third world dictator but if my pants grab the reins while I’m writing, I’ll listen to them—as long as they don’t get too silly.

    Do have a favourite of your characters?
    I’m only working on my first paranormal romance manuscript, but already I’ve fallen for my leads. I also have a soft spot for the evil mother of the heroine. She’s evil, really evil...so I think that might be confirmation of my ‘truly twisted’ status! 

    What are you currently working on?
    A tale of inter-realm demon love. Post-traumatic stress, teleportation, tail-pulling and BDSM all make guest appearances.

    What is your favourite part of the process of writing? 
    Getting inside your character’s heads and their world/dramas. You get the fun and the enjoyment of having a little alternate universe at the back of your mind all the time and it changes your perception of real life! Seeing the world through my ‘fiction brain’ makes everyday life more enjoyable. For example, you hear a phrase or see an image, and you can imagine one of your characters saying it, or you see it through your character’s eyes. Or you’re talking a walk and all your characters come out to play (maybe without being invited) and a little motion picture starts rolling through your head. The characters are there all the time, even when you’re not writing. And you get to become a magpie, looking for things to steal from real life to adorn the little nest of your fictional world!

    What can we expect from Rhyll K in the future? 
    A steady increase in her storytelling craft, hopefully! I only joined RWA this year but already I’ve found the competitions and the amount of knowledge circulating the message boards phenomenal, as is the generosity and willingness of members to help each other out. I hope to submit my first paranormal romance manuscript to a publisher next year, once I’ve finished polishing and then polishing some more. I’m enjoying the demon world I’ve created, so I might remain in the Hell dimension for a while. My fascination with Russia means I’ll probably keep writing about Russian settings too. But I’m always good for a surprise, so I could also end up writing about vampire motorcycle mamas or man-on-man lumberjack orgies.

    Who are your favourite authors? Cara McKenna is my favourite at the moment, she’s so cunning in her writing of ‘smart’ erotica I’m learning a bunch just from analysing her stories—after I’ve read them for enjoyment! Other faves are Kelley Armstrong, Keri Arthur, Gia Dawn, Jennifer Estep, Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh, Shelley Laurenston and Gena Showalter.

    What are you currently reading?
    Studs Lonigan, Townie: A Memoir, I is an Other, The Sweet Science, and critique partner chapters!

    Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or tv series? More than one...True Blood and Game of Thrones (roll on series 2!)

    Do you have advice for emerging writers?
    As an emerging writer myself, my credo is ‘do it just because it’s fun!’ It’s good to have goals like competitions and publication, but don’t lose sight of how much fun it is and how damn satisfying it can be even when you’re your only reader!

    Thank you, Rhyll!

    Thursday 27 October 2011

    Magic Thursday: Inspiration by C.T. Green

    In composing this post on inspiration, I had a good think about what inspires us as authors. I believe that we share inspiration with artists, musicians, sculptors, poets, photographers and other authors – everyone who belongs to the creative community.

     We cross genres to obtain inspiration and often do so without really thinking about it. I’ve never stopped to consider, when I look at a photograph of a gorgeous man which strikes me as the image of my latest hero, that I’m being inspired by someone who shares with me a creative bond.

    Quite a few authors I know listen to music and I’ve often found inspiration in lyrics – they’ve helped me visualise a scene or given me new inspiration for a particular area I’ve been stuck on.

    A little inspiration
    A good example of fascinating lyrics is Neko Case’s Furnace Room Lullaby* –

    I twisted you over and under to take you,

    The coals went so wild as they swallowed the rest.

    I twisted you under and under to break you,

    I just couldn't breathe with your throne on my chest.

    All night, all I hear, all I hear's your heart;

    How come, how come?

    I'm wrapped in the depths of these deeds that have made me,

    I can't bring a sound from my head though I try,

    I can't seem to find my way up from the basement,

    A demon holds my place on earth 'til I die.

    The lyrics, combined with the haunting melody are evocative of many things for me, some might love the song, others hate it, but each person who reads the lyrics or listens to the song will take something from the words.
    More inspiration

    It’s a two way street – authors have often been the source of inspiration for artists or musicians. We all share the need to be inspired, whether it’s visual, aural or written.

    It can often make the difference when you’re stuck on exactly what your hero looks like (my cp and I both had a hero who’s name started with ‘D’ and the picture I found suited both our boys – we decided to share * vbg *).

     Art, poetry and music can help us with how to give more emotion to a certain scene – a particular line evokes the feeling we want to portray. This poem is to me, very romantic – Keats wrote it to his future wife when they were separated for a long period of time…

    Inspired yet?
    “I almost wish we were butterflies,

    And liv’d but three summer days –

    Three such days with you I could

    Fill with more delight than

    Fifty common years could ever contain.”

    John Keats

    Inspiration is important to any creative soul and I love the fact that as authors, we can translate a visual image or song into something that will inspire our readers. It’s also a damn good excuse for a break from all those sticky scenes and characters that don’t always do what they’re told!

    *Lyrics have been edited. 

    Wednesday 26 October 2011

    Magic Thursday Winners Announced!

    I'm back quickly to congratulate the winners of my books from last Thursday's post. So, without anymore blabbing....
    Winner of Singularity is... Eleni!
    Winner of Savior is... Coleen!
    Congratulations! To get your copies, please email me at jess@jessanastasi.com with your preferred email address. Well done and I hope you both enjoy.

    Tuesday 25 October 2011

    Good News Day!

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


    Cathleen Ross
    The Lover is the next Forbidden Fantasy tale out now. The cover is sizzling!

    Nicole Murphy
    How Astrid Found Her Passion is a short story released by Nicole. You can get it from Smashwords or Amazon.

    Jess Anastasi
    Singularity, Book 3 of the Sanctuary series, is out now by Noble Romance Publishing.

    Lilliana Rose
    Christmas Wings is by Lilliana's alter ego, Lily Rose. It is a short e-story suitable for 12 year olds or for those adults who love a little dark fantasy. It is available from Lulu. Just in time for Christmas!


    Erica Hayes
    I can't say it better than Publisher's Marketplace....
    Erica Hayes’ new dark paranormal romance series, beginning with REVELATION, set in a decadent, near-future Manhattan, in which a young medical examiner who’s lost her faith must team up with a fallen angel warrior to stop a gang of demons hijacking the Apocalypse and creating hell on earth, in a two-book deal to Leis Pederson at Berkley by Marlene Stringer at The Stringer Literary Agency (World).


    Imogene Nix
    Imogene has finalled in the futuristic/fantasy/paranormal section of the Show Me the Spark Contest by the Heartland Romance Authors.

    Peta Crake
    Peta has finalled in the Get Your Stilletto In The Door contest by the Chick Lit Writers.

    Good luck in the finals, ladies!


    Keri Arthur
    A fabulous review for Darkness Unbound over at USA Today's Happily Ever After blog. Here's a snippet:
    "Keri Arthur has again blown me away. Her worlds are so complex and "real." By that, I mean her characters are not only intricate, but the plots within plots are constantly overlapping one another. We have a kidnapping attempt, a soul stealing, a stalking reaper, an absentee father, the gates of Hell, magic tattoos and so much more. It's all just as complicated as real life, with the paranormal element thrown in to suspend the reader's disbelief."

    Jenny Schwartz
    A Clockwork Christmas anthology got a 5 P review from the Phantom Paragrapher, which includes reviewing Wanted: One Scoundrel. Here's a snippet:

    "Clockwork Christmas was an amazing anthology and trying to come up with a favourite one was difficult as they each brought something different to the writing deck. We had Crime Wave in A Corset which I loved the chemistry between Coddington and Peabody and of course I could imagine the costumery. We had This Winter Heart which shared the love and bonds of Father and Son , Wanted: One Scoundrel which I loved due to the Australian setting as to me it was close to home type story and finally Far From Broken, had that strong theme of Never giving up and Love Never Dies - the passion that was shared despite all odds between Callie and Jasper and as she came out I felt for her and imagined how hard it would have been - its beyond imaginable the pain, hurt and betrayal she felt."


    Amanda Ashby
    Not only have we got one upcoming cover, nor two, but the three covers in Sophie's Mixed Up Magic series. Wishful Thinking and Under a Spell is due for release June 2012, with Out of Sight due September 2012.


    Jenny Schwartz
    The short poem, They Hold My Heart will be part of Dwarf Stars anthology by the Science Fiction Poetry association. Well done, Jenny!

    Well done everyone.

    More good news next week....

    Monday 24 October 2011

    The upcoming Halloween Bash

    Can you believe we are nearly one year old?

    Doesn't seem that long ago we started with a bang. 
    At the same time, the DSDU has become a second home to me.

    In that time, we've had giveaways, featured our DarkSiders in the Darklight On, 
    celebrated our good news, seen the latest releases, and 
    have had fun along the way.

    The DarkSiders have gathered and have got a
     scarily amazing grand prize, followed by a couple of runner up prizes.

    Spookily Fantastic Grand Prize....

    • A copy of Rogue Gadda AND a t-shirt by Nicole Murphy
    • A copy of Captive AND a bookmark by Christina Phillips 
    • Either a print copy of The Goblin King or an e-copy from backlist by Shona Husk
    • Love Bites Anthology volumes 2 AND 3 featuring Alexis Fleming
    • How Do I Love Thee? edited by Valerie Parv (featuring Alexis Fleming)
    • Emerald Ice by Alexis Fleming
    • Scent of A Man (ebook) by Maree Anderson
    • Vengeance Born tote bag from Kylie Griffin 
    • A choice of one ebook by  Cathleen Ross
    • A copy of the King Rolen's Kin Trilogy by Rowena Cory Daniells
    • Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator AND South of Salem (ebooks) by Janni Nell
    • Darkness Rising AND Darkness Unbound by Keri Arthur
    • Death’s Sweet Embrace by Tracey O’Hara
    • Winged and Dangerous series (three ebooks) by Mel Teshco
    • A Song and Fire and Ice calendar from Eleni Konstantine

    Runner ups....

    Heart & Craft includes chapters by Alexis Fleming and Kelly Ethan
    The Crystal Warrior by Maree Anderson
    Guilty as Sin by Denise Rossetti
    Project Man by Alexis Fleming
    A bookmark from Christina Phillips
    Who's Your Daddy? anthology featuring Alexis Fleming

    Heart & Craft includes chapters by Alexis Fleming and Kelly Ethan
    Poisoned Kiss AND Blood Cursed by Erica Hayes.
    Passionate Peridot anthology featuring Alexis Fleming
    A bookmark from Christina Phillips
    Three Wishes (ebook) by Jenny Schwartz

    What do you have to do to win?
    Come along and comment during our blog bash during 
    Monday October 31st, and answer the question. 

    Sunday 23 October 2011

    Weekly Overview

    Coming up this week...

    Tues 25
    Good News Day

    Wed 26

    Winners of Jess Anastasi's giveaways, Savior and Singularity. 

    Thur 27

    Magic Thursday -C.T. Green on inspiration. 

    Sat 29
    Darklight On…Rhyll K

    DarkSider Trekking...

    • Amanda talks lists on Teen Fiction Cafe. 

    What's Up!


    The word is spreading via the blogs as well - Kylie, Mel, Christina, Eleni, Jenny.
    Mark it in your diaries!!!

    • Welcome to our latest members, Jodie C and Lara Galea!

    • Don't forget, you can follow this blog using options on the sidebar.

    Have a great week!

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