2024 covers

Welcome to the Dark Side!

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

Thursday 31 May 2012

Magic Thursday: Confessions of a Failed Romance Writer

Apologies for the late post....

Today's Magic Thursday brought to you by R.C.Daniells (Rowena Cory Daniells).

'Not enough emotionality’ – This is what used to come back from the editors when I submitted my manuscripts to the romance publishers.

Now I understand what they mean, but back then I was scratching my head. Now I know my subplots and sub characters were too strong and, while the main characters were motivated by love, it was not the all-consuming thing in their lives.

I was writing mainstream with a love story, embedded in the narrative.

Which brings me back to The Price of Fame. It’s not a paranormal-romance. There’s a love story (two, actually) and these loves are important to the characters and they run parallel to the developing mystery but they aren’t the dominating focus of the narrative.

So I’m calling this book a gritty, noir paranormal mystery. It’s been a long time in gestation. I wrote my first draft when I was twenty-three. When I was thirty-six, I corrected a couple of spellings and sent it off to the Harper Collins $10,000 Fiction Prize and it made the long-short list. At that point it was the 80s story about the band, the street kids and the taxi driver who tried to help them, with just a hint of paranormal.

In my forties I decided to add another layer to the story. I created the contemporary layer, set twenty-five years later told from Antonia’s point of view. She wants to make a documentary about the band, which rocketed to fame after the murder of one of the girl singers. I wanted the story to work on two levels, the mystery and the paranormal.

Since I began interviewing writers on my blog, I’ve discovered a lot of them write both fantasy and mystery. I think this is because (and here I come back to Eleni’s original suggestion for this blog post) the similarities in writing fantasy and mystery.

What similarities, I hear you say. Well... with a fantasy book I have to build the world with all its back-story and reveal just enough of it for the reader to make sense of what’s happening to the main characters as the story unfolds. With a mystery, I have to build a mystery with all its back-story and reveal just enough of it for the reader to piece together the unfolding story. Both of these things require the writer to have the ability to hold an invented world-picture (fantasy world/mystery world) in their heads and to sense what needs to be known at any given point for the narrative to make sense to the reader and sustain suspense.

I must admit writing a story set in our world, even if it does run on two time lines, is much easier than writing a story set in a fantasy world. If I write about the drug and prostitution scene in Melbourne in the 80s, I can draw on assumed knowledge, but this is set in Melbourne not some generic US gum-shoe underworld city, so I need to give it a distinctly Australian feel. With fantasy if I write about a castle, I need to paint a word picture that draws on the reader’s knowledge of castles, while making this castle distinctive, rather than generic. Actually, now that I think about it, there are a lot more similarities. At least if I write about a laptop in the contemporary story, I don’t have to stop and describe what a laptop is and what it does, which is what you’d have to do if you were writing science fiction.

I have a copy of The Price of Fame to give-away. (It should be printed by mid June). This book revolves around an 80s band and their quest for fame. To win the give-away, tell us what is your favourite 20th century time period for music and why.

Wednesday 30 May 2012

A Bite Of... Warrior Born

A bite of...Warrior Born - Book 1 of the Katana Series.

Mockup of cover. Story is unpublished. 

Today for our fortnightly "A Bite Of..." I'd like to extend a very warm welcome to Kathrine Leannan. Kathrine is giving us an excerpt of her novel "Warrior Born." (Don't you just love that cover?) So please make her feel welcome and give some feedback!

Can you, in less than five words describe your book?
      Prophesy, Scottish, horsemen, Katana, honour

What inspired you to write it?
Having been labelled and punished as a whistleblower nurse, I needed somewhere where I could
get away from the media, the politicians and nursing. The head space needed to write Warrior
Born became my healing place; where I, like all the women of my family, took my place as a
teller of tales.

And here's the excerpt;

It was foretold …

 17th April 1746
The dawn, after the Battle of Culloden.
Connor MacDonald, chieftain – to those of the clan who still breathed:
“In times of conflict the horse is called brother,
In peace he is friend.
The clans are lost, torn asunder by the hand of the English.
The blood of the horseman will survive.
A daughter of the highlands will be born
and the ways of the horseman will be restored;
long after our ways have been desecrated by the enemy.
Remember the ways of the highlands,
for she will come.”


Nimerlin Horse Stud, Australia
Marie MacDonald gripped her enormous belly and grimaced as a gush of warm fluid flowed down her legs onto her newly polished kitchen floor.
“Hmmmmp! Bloody typical bairn! Could ye not have come yesterday before I set to polishin’ the floor?”
            Another pain.  So fast.  “Cameron! Cameron! Get your da! The bairn is comin’.”
Marie heard china scrape across the table as her son pushed his breakfast plate away. She grimaced seeing her ten year son’s face was deathly white. The door slammed as he bolted out the back door yelling for his father.
 “Da! Da! Come now! Mam is in the kitchen and there is water and stuff leakin’ oot of her everywhere!”
* * *
Angus Macdonald, a traditional Scot who, like his forebears, lived by the ways and laws of the highland clans. Calmly, he undid the buckle of the halter and slid the straps free of the three year old mare’s head. Giving her a heavy rub on her long, thick neck, she leaned into his hand. “Well, lass, it seems we are to have a birthin.” The horse nuzzled his hand and snorted as if to acknowledge the legitimacy of the interruption to her ground work session.
He found Marie leaning over the kitchen table, sweating and snorting heavily. Jesus! He could see the labour was hard and she was struggling to cope with the relentless waves of pain.
 “Come lass,” he crooned in his horse-quieting way, “’tis time we went to the hospital, the bairn will be here soon.”
Marie looked up, pain etched across her beautiful face. “Angus, ’tis different this time, the pains are comin’ verra fast.”
He kissed her forehead as he gently tried to propel her forward – towards the front door ... the car ... the hospital...
She refused to budge. 
“Angus, Christ mon,” she grabbed a handful of his shirt,” I’ll no be goin’ anywhere – this bairn is comin now!”
Another pain! She buckled at the knees, overwhelmed by the contraction. He grabbed her arms before she hit the floor. She clung to him screaming in time to the rhythm of her womb. He heard her growl and felt her bear down!
 He lifted her into his arms, when he passed his son while leaving a trail of fluid in their wake. “Cameron, have a care for the bairn and say a prayer for your mam.” He winced when he saw his son’s wide eyed pallid face. “All will be well lad, ’tis the way of birthin’.” Turning his back on the little boy he mounted the first step on the stair case and carried his wife up to their marriage bed.
Undressing quickly between contractions, he watched as she surrendered herself to surreality and introspection – the private place where women go when the rhythm of the pain and the desire to birth becomes absolute.
Angus marvelled at her beauty. Even after four bairns, she was slender and well formed. Her breasts, normally big, round and heavy, were engorged, lined with the blue veins of a woman who soon would suckle a babe.
Sitting quietly, he rubbed her gravid belly and whispered words meant only for her while he reminisced about the last four times he had been in this situation. All of his sons had been safely delivered by a midwife within the walls of a hospital. His job had been to keep the ice chips coming, wipe her brow and reassure her that she was not going to die. Today however, it was just the good Lord, his beautiful wife and Himself!
Angus was jerked back to the present by Marie who held his hand in a death grip which threatened to dislocate his thumb as she pushed this latest baby out into the world.
 “Holy God, please keep her safe. Please help her to birth my bairn safely.”
Marie’s eyes flew open and she screamed.
 He pulled her up in the bed and propped her forward on pillows, positioning her to push. Christ! What in the name of God do I do now?
Marie sucked in an enormous breath, spread her legs wide and pushed again; her face red with sweat and effort.
Angus could see a scrap of wet hair protruding past her womanly folds. “One more push lass and I think you’ll be done.”
She turned and glared - eyes like slits and drew her lips back over her teeth, looking for all the world as though she would like nothing better than to take a piece out of him! “I doona want to do this any fucking more, do ye hear me Angus MacDonald, it bloody hurts and it is all your fault. I am not going to do this anymore!”
He smiled recalling the fact that he had heard Marie say fuck precisely four times before - each time when the latest babe, in the act of birthing, stretched her vagina beyond the point of impossibility. He chuckled at the memory and snatched his fingers back – way, way back from those teeth. “Aye lass, it does hurt. Now push and let’s have our bairn.”
Marie groaned and pushed again. The baby crowned and the head delivered with a wet pop. “Angus. Hurry! Check there’s no cord aroond the  neck.”
Deftly but gently, he pushed his large index finger into her vagina and along the nape of his babe -- no cord. “Nay lass, all is well.”
Marie smiled and gave a final push.
Angus gasped “Oh, sweet Jesus.”
“What? Angus? Is summat wrong?” “Tell me!” She grabbed his arms and dragged herself up from the ruined bed; staring at the child that lay between her blood-stained thighs. “Angus! Sweet Jesus, Mary and Bride! It’s a lass!” Marie fell back to the bed as the last contraction forced the afterbirth from her body. She looked up at Angus – her tears greeting his.
“Aye my beauty, a lass it is, and she is named for her many times great grandsire – Connor.”
Angus waited until the cord had stopped beating to the cadence of his wife’s heart. He tied and double knotted two lengths of clean string; the first an inch away from his daughter’s belly and another spaced about one and half inches down the length of the cord. Reaching over he picked up Marie’s gold embroidery scissors and with a clean snip freed the child of her biological lifeline.
The little girl filled her lungs and roared; mouthing her hands frantically in the primal response of all mammals – seek and suck.
Marie looked tenderly at her babe, lifting the child to her already dripping nipple while cuddling her in her arms.
Later, sleeping in her mother’s arms, Angus cradled the daughter who shared his blood and the blood of his highlander ancestors. The course of her veins thrummed and sang to him – he felt it! Then he heard the thunder boom outside and recognised it for what it was. He knew…the one the clan awaited had come.
In the far distant sky a low grumbling was felt rather than heard as the blood of the ancient horse masters stirred and woke from their almost three-century slumber. The girl child of their blood in her first cry had summonsed them, awakened them, and they smiled.

Thanks very much Kathrine for sharing.
Good luck with it!

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Good News Day!

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


S.E. Gilchrist
S.E. is a finalist in the paranormal section of the Southern Heat contest run by the East Texas Writing Chapter of the RWAmerica. Way to go!

C.T. Green
C.T is a finalist in the San Diego RWAChapter's 2012 Spring into Romance Contest. The manuscript has gone off to Sue Grimshaw at Random House. Fingers crossed!


Nicola Sheridan
Magical Redemption, book 3  in the Magic Series, is due out 1st November and has an amazingly cool cover. Va va voom....

Join us next week for some more good news....

Monday 28 May 2012

Magic Thursday Winner - Astrid Cooper

The winner of Astrid's giveaway from a couple of weeks back is:


Please let Astrid know which book you want as well as a local crystal if you want.

However, Astrid has kindly offered each person who commented a local crystal. The crystals are found around where she lives and also feature in her books, especially in the Monster inK series. So perfect for a prize. 

Please email Astrid at kooperkat AT gmail DOT com

with your details including snail mail address and Astrid will send you out your prize.

Thank you to everyone for commenting and thank you, Astrid!

Sunday 27 May 2012

Weekly Overview


Mon 28 May  - WINNER of Astrid's giveaway


Wed 30 - A BITE OF...with Kathrine Leannan

Thur 31 - MAGIC THURSDAY:  Rowena Cory Daniells with giveaway of The Price of Fame


(Where we've been this week)

Jenny http://authorjennyschwartz.com

  • Tomoto Lentil Curry
  • Steampunkchat - romance themed
  • Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parry


  • Guest Author: Natalie Anderson
  • INVITATION TO SCANDAL giveaway winner announced!
  • TOPIC: In a galaxy far, far away...with Jodi Redford
  • From the Bookshelf - Phaeton Black:Paranormal Investigator series

Eleni - http://eleni-konstantine.blogspot.com.au

  • Super Sunday: Sleep would be good
  • Tuesday Tunes: R&B
  • Stunning Saturday: Photos

Nicole - http://nicolermurphy.com/blog
  • Winner – Conflux One Year To Go competition - at  Conflux NatCon 2013
  • A writer's habits - Shona Husk
  • Self-publishing and learning new skills - at Supernatural Underground
  • A writer's processes - Shona Husk
  • Sometimes, it sucks to be a writers

Shona -

  • A writer's habits - at Nicole's blog (see above)
  • Finishing a series - at Here Be Magic
  • A writer's processes - at Nicole's blog (see above)

Keri - http://www.keriarthur.com/
  • Whatever happened to civility? - at Deadline Dames
  • Darkness Devours ARC Giveaway and Blood Kin ARC Giveaway Winner


  • Something for Everyone
  • Inspirational Recipes & some happenin' things


  • Time for Pretties

Annie - http://annieseaton.blogspot.com.au

Mel http://melteshco.blogspot.com.au

  • Holiday Shots, Part 1

Nicola http://magicalgains.blogspot.com.au
  • Dark Faeries - Glaistig and the Dockalfar...

Louise -

Paula - http://paularoe.wordpress.com
  • Midweek Technique – From No to Yes: The Six Stages of Change for your Characters


  • Finding a publisher - Serenity and Illusion

Have a great week!

Saturday 26 May 2012

Enchanted Orb: Maree Anderson

Welcome to the Enchanted Orb - a look at the inspiration behind the DarkSider's tales.

Our guest today is Maree Anderson, sharing her "Recipe for Inspiration". Take it away, Maree!

A Recipe for Inspiration

By Maree Anderson

A few years back, I was asked to do a workshop on sources of inspiration with a wonderfully talented author friend of mine, Helen Kirkman. Helen kicked off the workshop by admitting that when she first started writing, “[...] ideas seemed to come out of the air, no problem at all. But after a while, I had to work harder for them.” Her solution was to become more observant, to look at things around her and ask, “Is there a story in this?

She went on to explain how she now looks at newspapers, the TV news, documentaries etc., in a new light—searching for “the human interest angle, the angle that gives a good, gripping, emotional story, because that’s what our stories are about, especially romances—the emotional experience.”  So at the time of giving that workshop, part of her inspiration process was conscious. She mentioned, for example, making a point of watching and reading President Obama’s inauguration speech because “[...] he’s a good orator and I want to write a character who inspires people to follow him.” But the rest of her process was subconscious: “Things that used to pass me by now leap out and hit me at unexpected moments because I’ve become more receptive. Part of me is now subconsciously looking at the world in a different way. I watch events and people in a different way.

At the time I remember thinking I was pretty darned lucky because I was obviously still at that “starting off” point in my career where I never had to struggle for ideas—they just smacked me upside the head without any effort at all on my part. I could still zone out on the couch in front of the TV if I wanted to. I didn’t have to watch the news and documentaries, and pore through newspapers etc., with an eye for that human interest angle that would resonate and create a light-bulb moment. Yay! Go me!

In actual fact, every time I read a book, or watched TV or a movie, or flicked through the newspaper, I felt a tad guilty for mucking around instead of working on my current manuscript. Sure, I called my time-out “research” but it was always in a half-joking apologetic way, as though you and I both knew I was only making excuses for goofing off.

Turns out I had nothing to apologize for. Helen’s conscious process was something I’d been doing unconsciously all along—and still am to this day.

Those twenty or so books I read every month? Sure, I’m reading for enjoyment—I wouldn’t be getting through that many books per month if I didn’t enjoy reading!—but what I’m absorbing is random, as-yet-unformed ideas that percolate in my brain and lurk there, waiting for the catalyst that will morph them into a story idea. It’s the same with the science and technology sections of The Economist I skim through during breakfast, random magazine articles skimmed in waiting rooms, ads on the radio or in magazines, song lyrics, snippets of conversation, a phrase—or even just a word—overheard in a cafe or while queuing at the checkout.

Sometimes the inspiration is immediate—an instant smack upside the head that has me scrambling for pen and paper (or as a last resort, the Notes app on my iPhone.) Sometimes it's over the course of a few days. But for me, the process that leads to the inspiration for a story is like some bizarre combination of biology and a recipe. Kinda like this:



One writer 


Step 1: Exposure (to as many mediums as possible... without totally goofing off and becoming a permanent couch-potato or bookworm)

Step 2: Absorption (taking it all in and not even attempting to categorize it or analyze it; just getting swept up and going along for the ride)

Step 3: Light-bulb moment (AKA the “Oooh! What if—? That would be cool to write about!” moment) 

Step 3a: Stir, and leave to ferment (...for as long as it takes, resisting the temptation to poke and prod, or try to force anything because if you leave it be, your weird and wonderful brain will eventually do its thing)

Step 4: Light-bulb moment (AKA the “Oooh! What if—? That would be cool to write about!” moment) 

Extra materials required: 

Paper and a working writing implement (to jot down that awesome idea before it fades and you can’t for the life of you remember it. And if you suspect that tip’s based on personal experience, you’d be right!)


I started writing books in 2003/04 and I can still tell you what sparked the inspiration for all ten of my published books, plus the four unpublished manuscripts on my hard drive, and the story I’m working on right now.

Here are just some of the sources that have inspired my stories:

  • the afterword in Stephen Donaldson’s The Gap series
  • a common saying about how power corrupts people
  • a short, evocative piece of writing about soul lights by an anonymous author
  • a manual on crystals and their properties
  • an email announcing a women’s triathlon
  • a visit to the Chinese Gardens in Sydney, Australia
  • an article about PTSD in war vets
  • an article about slick-rock bike tours in Moab that mentioned statistics for lightning strikes
  • the photo and caption accompanying an article about men’s fragrances
  • a sentient cyborg in Marge Piercey’s book Body of Glass
  • one of my editors begging me to write a ménage (and me being so terrified of the prospect I was inspired to write about an alien with er, extras, instead!)
  • coming across the word “liminal” in an urban fantasy

I guess for me, inspiration is a somewhat magical process that justifies me doing any and all of the following: reading loads of books; listening to music; perusing articles that interest me; eavesdropping on cafe conversations, and, watching far too much TV and far too many DVDs. It’s all research, I tell you!

So the way I see it, whether your journey toward inspiration is a conscious, deliberate process that gets you to that light-bulb moment, or an unconscious process leading to brain-soup that eventually burps out ideas, it’s all good. Whatever works for you!


Thursday 24 May 2012

Magic Thursday: The Road Block

I was racking my brains trying to come up with a blog post. Now, I'm pretty good with coming up with topics, but I have serious brain fog at the moment. It's 1.30 in the morning as I write this. This in itself is unusual. I usually get Magic Thursday posts organised earlier.

Which brings me to my topic of today - Life getting in the way of writing and writing goals.

Yep, life has thrown me a curve ball this year - medical dramas with my parents, and studying more subjects than I expected.

Of course, it is writing gets shoved to the bottom of the pile. Oh, I've been editing this year - entering a couple of competitions, doing first edits for my short story anthology, and currently doing the second edits, BUT new writing has been a no show for a little while now.

I've scribbled notes and passages, but it hasn't been the same as consistent writing. Sigh.

Now, I have myself to blame in some aspects in how busy life has become lately -

  • studying - yes, I decided to do a graphic design course to help me find better ways of doing my designs.
  • conference planning - yes, I put my hand up to help with the Diamonds Are Forever conference, and I've put my hand up for Perth next year. It's my way of giving back to the organisation. 
  • design work - I do love doing this, but it's getting harder to keep up with the workload, but I need this creative outlet to help balance the writing and writing related stuff.
Also having chronic fatigue, the brain fog can hit even more so from that rather than just being busy. 

I started having some success at the beginning of the year when it came to time management, thanks to Kitty Bucholtz' time management course. I could see how I was going to plan and manage my writing. And thanks to that, I did manage to achieve a few of my writing related goals for the year. I need to go back and read my notes and take steps to get things in order.


Right now, I'm just taking one step at a time getting things done for the things due in the days ahead. Not ideal, but I am getting things done......just not writing. It feels like the road ahead is closed for repair.

I think I have to accept the fact that I'm not going to get any done until after conference and even maybe until I'm on holidays from my course in December. But there's that little voice 'you should be writing'. I'm usually good at going with the flow and accepting the processes. But this doesn't feel like a process, but more an interruption. A road block that appeared out of nowhere.

I just have to remember to keep on keeping on. 

How about you - what do you do when life gets in the way? Do you give yourself permission to take some time off writing? 

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Good News Day!

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


Shona Husk
Enchanting Asinthe now this cool cover!! (What gorgeous eyes!) It's the fourth book about the rock band Lucinda's Lover, which has officially been given the series title Sex With Strings! Niiiice! No release date scheduled yet.

Mel Teshco
Galactic Inferno, Book 2 in the Alien Hunger series has a cover. Hawt! Waiting on a release date.


Astrid Cooper
Not one, not two but THREE of Astrid's books have been best-sellers over at Exctasy Books' website this week with Fangs for the Memories reaching number 1. The other two are Vampire for Hire, and The Cat the Vampire Dragged In. Fantastic hat-trick, Astrid!

 & revealing the cover on this blog.... hello biceps!


Rowena Cory Daniells
The Outcast Chronicles gets one great looking advert/bookmark....why not print it out and use?

Great stuff, don't you agree?

Join us next week when I bring you more Darksider good news.

Monday 21 May 2012

Magic Thursday winners

As I said, everyone who commented is eligible for a free copy of 'The Right Connection'. So email me at nicole @ nicolermurphy dot com (don't forget the 'r' in the middle of nicole and murphy if you're just typing it in) and I'll send you the link and the coupon code.

Sunday 20 May 2012

Weekly Overview


Mon 21 May - WINNER of Nicola's giveaway announced


Sat 26 - ENCHANTED ORB: Maree Anderson


(Where we've been this week)

  • Stunning Saturday - Calendar pics continued
  • Super Sunday - Mother's Day
  • Tuesday Tunes: Queen
  • Writing Buddy Wednesday: R*BY nominations
  • Trailer Thursday: Downton Abbey
  • Stunning Saturday - Book covers

  • Well, I'm back...

  • A week of sexy snippets
  • Fabulous freebie - Stone Cold Lover
  • Freebie Fun Friday

  • Guest author: Bronwen Evans
  • From the Bookshelf...The Aristocrat & The Single Mom

Rowena - http://rowena-cory-daniells.com

Mel http://melteshco.blogspot.com.au

  • Stone Cold Lover - Free & Quick Update


  • Old Things
  • Nanoparticles by Charlotte Wood

  • Midweek Technique – writing a novel (or series) for the busy writer

Nicola http://magicalgains.blogspot.com.au
  • A Manticores Pride - an introduction
  • Interview with Sonnet O'Dell


Jess - http://jessanastasi.blogspot.com.au

  • Again with the revisions

Maree - http://www.mareeanderson.com/topic/news

  • Something for everyone


  • Congratulations to Kathrine for submitting her PhD thesis!!

Have a great week!

Thursday 17 May 2012

Magic Thursday - the difference between science fiction and fantasy

By Nicole Murphy

What is the difference between science fiction and fantasy?

Seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? Fantasy is magic, science fiction is science. Sure, they both speculate about alternate worlds and realities, hence some people grouping them under the phrase ‘speculative fiction’, but they’re still very different. Never gonna confuse Lord of the Rings with Star Wars, right?

There’s a famous quote from science fiction god Arthur C Clarke - Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Consider the point of view of someone who died a hundred years ago, coming to our world now. Just think of all the stuff that we take for granted that they’d have no concept of. Wouldn’t things like microwaves, mobile phones, eftpos, seem like magic to them?

So yes, at the extremities of the field, I think that science fiction and fantasy are easily distinguished from each other. But there’s a place that they meet in the middle, a place that is often called science fantasy.

Star Wars can be considered an example of that. There’s spaceships and lasers and aliens, so it’s CLEARLY science fiction. Except them you consider the Force, the mystical power that binds the universe together, and that’s absolutely a fantasy concept.

Sometimes, when you’re writing, it can be hard to figure out what you’re writing. I found that to be the case with my latest publication, ‘The Right Connection’. Ever since I wrote it in 2002, I’ve had it in my head that it was science fiction. It wasn’t until I was getting it beta-read in April and someone said to me, “Um, you do realise that apart from a couple of sliding doors and a floating platform, this is fantasy?”

My confusion came because the basis of the relationship that my world revolves around is telepathy. In my experience, the places I’ve most seen/read telepathy has been in science fiction. Star Trek. Doctor Who. Star Wars. So I’ve always associated it with science fiction.

But there’s also an element of the fantastical in the idea of telepathy, and it’s not a proven scientific fact, so therefore doesn’t it really fit more in the realm of magic and is therefore a trope of fantasy?

In the end, I’ve chosen to ditch the sliding doors and other science fictional things and make this a world in which most technology has been lost and the main weapon they have is telepathy and I’m calling it fantasy. Although in my mind, I’m wondering…

Science fantasy, perhaps?


Because I’m feeling generous and I love all my Darksiders and the readers, I’m going to give EVERY person who comments a free copy of ‘The Right Connection’. So spread the word.


Time after time, the missions to retrieve the stolen children have failed. This time, rules will be broken in a last-ditch attempt.

Taylor Wilson is a respected soldier in the Land Corps with a terrible past that has scarred her. When she’s offered the opportunity to work on the mission to save the children taken by the socolapede, Taylor’s ready to jump at the chance until she finds it means she has to connect with a man.

At first, Roden is everything she feared—brash, overbearing, uncompromising. But as she comes to learn of his honour and strength, Taylor not only loses the fight against connection, she loses her heart too.

Can she form a connection with Roden strong enough to save the children? And if they succeed, do the two of them have a future together?

Wednesday 16 May 2012

A Bite Of... Kiss of the Goblin Prince

A Bite Of... Kiss of the Goblin Prince

This week I'm happy to introduce a the incredible Shona Husk, with a snippet from her new release!

Can you, in less than five words describe your book Kiss of the Goblin Prince?
Virgin hero, magic, heartache, redemption.

What inspired you to write it?
When I wrote The Goblin King, Dai (the Goblin Prince) was a minor character but when he spoke to his brother it became clear they weren’t close and they had very different personalities, and upbringings. While Dai was taken as a good behaviour hostage his brother was King. Dai kept secrets to himself to protect his brother and their tribe which also put distance between them. He was also more than a little bookish J. By the time I’d written Goblin King I wanted to jump straight into Dai’s story and find out how he healed the old wounds caused by the goblin curse and see if he was capable of love…turns out he was he just needed the right woman.

And here's the snippet!

Dai flexed his back as if he could dislodge the persistent weight lodged between his shoulders. Once he got his books back from Birch, he’d need a whole house to put them in. Texts in every language ever written and lore on more systems of magic than people knew about from cultures that had passed without recognition. He hadn’t been able to stomach the thought of all that knowledge being lost in the Shadowlands forever, so he’d deposited his life’s work in the vaults of Birch Trustees. Now they were taking their sweet time returning his books.

He shivered, as if just the thought of the Shadowlands could chill him to the core, and turned on the heater even though it wasn’t that cold. Not like when he’d been forced to break the ice before washing when he was younger. The shower water warmed while he stripped. All his shirts had long sleeves to hide the marks on his body he showed no one. The mirror kept his secrets.

Across his skin inked in black were sigils, symbols, and texts in a hundred different languages. All of them now dead. They were the marks of holy men and voodoo priests, witches and wise women that had marked his progression through the various studies of lore. They didn’t just mark his skin; they marked his very being, pulsing with power, and couldn’t be removed. Not that he would. It had taken too much to earn them.

Cuneiform wedges fell from his hip down his leg, a protection against evil. Sanskrit wrapped his wrist and forearm in a proverb he’d failed to live by. A mark of initiation burned into his thigh; on the surface it was nothing more than a crescent moon. On his chest, over his heart, lay a spider at the center of her web. Today she was upright. She’d never moved in the Shadowlands, but in the Fixed Realm she did. And it was unnerving. He touched the spider but felt only his skin. A spider weaves the web, makes it suit her purpose, but never spins without reason. Pity he didn’t know what the movement meant.

Beneath the magic that had failed to break the druid’s curse were the scars that rippled across him like he was a badly woven cloth riddled with uneven weft and knobbled threads. There were knots and thickenings where he knew his skin showed the thin white lines of wounds healed long ago.

He huffed out a breath and looked at his skin as Amanda would. In that moment he knew he could never let her see. He’d never shown anyone, not even Roan. He would erase the scars, if not the memories. He ran his fingers over the bumps in a rib that had been broken too many times. The urge to use magic burned his fingers, but he hesitated.

If you liked that snippet, there's more from where it came from!

Buy links;

Web hangouts;

Thank you for sharing Shona

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Good News Day!

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


Maree Anderson
Freaks of Greenfield High has been optioned for TV by Cream Drama, Inc.  How mega cool is that?!!!


Imogene Nix
The next installment of the Warriors of the Elector series is Star of the Fleet, and check out the smoking cover! It's due for release in August sometime.



Kylie Griffin - Goodreads giveaway competition!
If you haven't yet discovered the world of the Light Blades, then why not? There's a signed copy of Vengeance Born up for grabs over at Goodreads! - http://bit.ly/ITwCoI


Rowena Cory Daniells
Getting ready for July, August, and September releases of The Outcast Chronicles Trilogy, here is the book trailer for the series. Brilliant work done by Rowena's husband. Very slick.

Youtube link


Mel Tescho
Stone-Cold Lover, Mel's first book, will be available from Amazon and Ellora's Cave for a short time for FREE. Don't miss out!

Join us for some more wonderful news next week!

Monday 14 May 2012

Magic Thursday Winner

The winner of the book pack is Peta!

Peta please email me at shona(at)shonahusk.com

Sunday 13 May 2012

Weekly Overview


Mon 14 May - WINNER of Shona's giveaway announced


Wed 16 - A BITE OF.... with Shona Husk

Thurs 17 - MAGIC THURSDAY: Nicole Murphy with giveaway of The Right Connection

(Where we've been this week)


  • Writer's and First World Problems
  • Winner Kate Forsyth book give-away

  • RWAustralia RuBY Finalists!!!
  • In a galaxy far, far away with...Sharon Fisher
  • Goodreads Giveaway!
  • From the Bookshelf...The Half-Light City series

  • The next self-publication will be a gadda story
  • Some thoughts on feminism… and poop?
  • How to survive self-publishing – a guest post
  • Thanks for the support
  • This week in writing

  • An Interview with...Amanda J. Greene
  • More cover art :)

  • Today's writing adventure

  • RIP of faithful computer!

  • Currently reading....Song of Scarabeus by Sara Creasy

  • Gaff and hook your reader - they'll love you for it

  • Archangel of Mercy - Pre-order at Discounted price

  • Ups and downs in the microcosm of my existance

  • Some BIG news

  • Blood Kin giveaway

  • How motivated are you?

  • A New Map of the Universe by Annabel Smith

  • Tuesday Tunes: Tear jerkers


  • As you can see above I've changed the format of the Weekly Overview posts. I'm putting the blog next to the name and the list of blog posts underneath. This makes it easier for me to compile and right now, with time being tight, it's the best way for me to work. Now, if there is a blog post elsewhere, I will link the title of the blog to differentiate. 

  • Happy Mother's Day to all the mums, grandmums, godmums, step-mums, surrogate mums, second mums et al!!!!

Have a great week!

Saturday 12 May 2012

Darklight On...Chalcedony, heroine of The Crystal Warrior

Maree was “darklighted” back in March last year, and we already know all about her, so I’ve hijacked this post. *evil grin*

Who am I?

My name is Chalcedony—yeah, it’s a mouthful-and-a-half, right? My mom was into all that New Agey stuff, so would you believe she named me after a crystal? It’s supposed to be a nurturing stone, or crystal or what-the freak ever, that absorbs negative energy, removes hostility and promotes feelings of benevolence and generosity. Yeah, riiight. Thanks, mom. *eye roll*. So please, call me “Chalcey”… unless of course you happen to be a cursed warrior from another world who can turn my insides all marshmallow-soft and gooey merely by speaking my name. God. The way Wulf says “Chalcedony”—all sensuous syllables and soft promises. The way he looks at me—like he wants to throw me over his shoulder and cart me off to the bedroom. That man… he should be illegal.

*blinks* Uh… sorry ‘bout that. So where was I?

Oh yeah. Introductions. So I’m Chalcey—or Chalce, as my friends call me—and I'm the heroine of The Crystal Warrior. And before I get distracted by Wulf again—happens far too often I gotta admit—here’s the answers to a bunch of questions I’ve been asked:

Why do you think Maree chose you to be the heroine of The Crystal Warrior, the first book in her Crystal Warriors series?

Well, you might not know this, but Maree used to be a dance teacher—only part-time, but she did run her own Ceroc Dance franchise for a while. And she met her husband, Rob, when he showed up at a class she was teaching… in RNZAF uniform, having rushed straight from the airforce base to make the class. A man in uniform. She didn’t stand a chance ;-)

Writers are always being told to write what they know, right? So a heroine who was a dancer, struggling to get her own dance studio up and running, was familiar territory for Maree. Plus partner dancing is sexy fun, and the intrigues between students are fascinating. It’s all good fodder for a story, don't you think?

Maree says: Chalcey’s doing herself a huge disservice, here. I needed a heroine who was strong enough to fight for what she wanted and not be overwhelmed by a man like Wulf, and smart enough to realize what’s truly important when it seems she’s lost everything.

Here’s what reviewers have said about her:

"She’s independent, witty, and strong. I instantly loved her."
"She’s a strong and independent woman who stood on her own two feet, took no crap from anyone and ran her own business. That I could identify with 100%. I read a lot of romance and I often feel that the women are not as strong as they could be and that they are simply part of a story that involves snaring some hot guy and getting a HEA- almost like their actual character is unimportant."
"Chalce is a girl after my own heart, even if I have two left feet. She’s fun and feisty but not so perky that you want to smack her every time she opens her mouth."
"Chalcey is an independent woman who knows exactly what she wants, and how she plans to get it. She’s worked hard to achieve her dream, and isn’t about to let it go for the sexy stranger who rescues her from the Date from Hell."
"The sexy alpha male hero had me hooked from the beginning and I loved the sassy heroine who tamed him (just enough)."

Awwww…. Thanks Maree. *blushes* You are so sweet—when you’re not being really really mean to your characters and putting them through hell, that is.

Are you ever going to forgive your mother for trying to keep you and Wulf apart—especially now you know she was once chosen for a Crystal Warrior, and she only had your best interests at heart.

One day, perhaps. Like, when cows turn blue and moo their way to Jupiter.

Look, my mother believed she was condemning her Crystal Warrior, Malach, to death when she rejected the bond—like the fact he’d die rather than suffer a few more centuries in his hellish crystal prison made it all okay. Sheesh. Cold-hearted, much? Turned out Malach didn’t die, but it’s a goddamn miracle he retained enough sanity to take advantage of a second chance to redeem himself when the Crystal Guardian decided Jade was the girl for him. (You can read their story in Jade’s Choice, Crystal Warriors 3. And I'm warning you, it's a tear-jerker!)

When I think of what Wulf suffered, and then consider Malach going through that same torture not once, but twice? And when I consider that if my mother had succeeded in tearing us apart, Wulf might still be trapped in that cursed piece of wulfenite crystal? I’m sorry but that’s hard to forgive. Wulf's working on it, though. He's a bit of a softie and he knows Francesca's dying to meet her grandchildren.

At the beginning of The Crystal Warrior, you made it clear you weren’t much interested in anything guys had to offer. To quote you: “Who’s got time for all that angsty dating crap when I’ve got a new dance studio to run?”  What was it about Wulf that made him the kind of man you’d fall into bed with when you’d only just met and you didn’t know him from a bar of soap?

Hey! We didn’t exactly fall into bed. I passed out when that damn bonding spell kicked in—it was like my brain went super-nova, just so’s you know. Not. Fun. At. All. And Wulf put me to bed—which was very nice of him, though I gotta say, crawling in with me was a bit OTT. Men! Then he passed out when he fulfilled his part of the bond—the whole feeling like you've been kicked upside the head by your warhorse tends to do that to a man, I guess. So yes, we did end up in bed, but we didn’t do anything—I’m so not that kind of girl. Well, okay, maybe I am that kind of girl, but that whole letting myself be seduced in the shower thing was a one-off, and—

Getting back to the original question?

Okay, okay. Wulf’s never treated me like a body without a brain, or "tits on a stick" as that asshole Ray so politely termed it. I didn’t ask for these boobs and I don’t appreciate guys speaking to my cleavage and judging me to be a certain “type” because I happened to grow a pair of double-ds. Wulf’s alpha all the way, and given his background, and the way women are treated in his world, he could have been an arrogant asshole who thought he could take what he wanted. But he treats me as an equal and my opinions matter to him. And when push comes to shove (that is, my interfering mother convinces him my feelings for him are only a result of the spell), he's prepared to endure hell rather than take away my right to choose. How could I not love a man like that? How could I not want to try and save him? (And did I mention his delectable pectorals, oh-so-strokable abs, and the way he looks at me like I'm a delicious treat? Le sigh….)

You mentioned Malach and Jade: how did Wulf react when he discovered his 2IC had been given another chance to be redeemed? 

When my mother 'fessed up about Malach, all evidence pointed toward Malach having been destroyed by the Crystal Guardian. And to be quite honest, Wulf believed it was for the best. But when Pieter—the Crystal Guardian—had the opportunity to destroy Wulf, he gave me another chance to save him. So it was no surprise to me to learn that Malach was alive, and had been given another chance at redemption. The old sorcerer is many things, but he's not a murderer.

And Wulf is rapt to bits that his right-hand man has found love and happiness with Jade. Of all his men, Wulf believes Malach deserves happiness the most. But Jade's so young and innocent and sweet I couldn't help worrying about her at first—what the hell was Pieter thinking! But despite their age-gap you only need to see the way Malach encourages Jade to follow her dreams to understand how good he is for her. And without Jade, I really believe Malach would have chosen to take his own life. She saved him—gave him a reason to want to live. So much as it pains me to admit it, that old sorcerer does seem to be able to look deep in our hearts and know exactly who we need to complete us.

Aside from Malach, have you made contact with any of the other Crystal Warriors who were cursed to their namesake crystals alongside Wulf?

The only other Crystal Warrior we’ve discovered so far is Wulf’s kinsman, Kyan. Now don’t you dare tell Wulf I said this, coz he’s doesn’t exactly get on with Kyan, but I gotta say Kyan’s the most gorgeous-looking man I’ve ever seen in my life. And I would never in a million years have guessed that he’d end up with Ruby, but that woman is the best darn thing that could ever have happened to Kyan. She’s humanized him. And although some people might think she’s the one who’s lucky to have snared a man like Kyan, from what Wulf tells me it’s the other way around.

Those two are so in love it makes me all teary-eyed. And when I heard what the Crystal Guardian had put Ruby through? I'm telling you, if I get my hands on that old man I'm gonna kick him into orbit. I thought Wulf and me had it tough. (For Ruby and Kyan's story, check out Ruby's Dream.)

So what’s next for the Crystal Warriors? Has Maree any plans to write another book in the series?

Maree’s busy writing the sequel to Freaks of Greenfield High right now—stay tuned for some super amazing news about Freaks, BTW. *rubs hands with glee* . And then I believe she has plans to revisit an old fantasy trilogy that did quite well in RWNZ Clendon Award. After that, a little bird tells me she’s dead keen on diving back into the Crystal Warrior world. So I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks for stepping in at the last minute, Chalcey.

My pleasure.

And if you’d like to know more about The Crystal Warrior (Book 1), Ruby’s Dream (Book 2), or Jade’s Choice (Book 3), please visit the Books page of Maree’s website.

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