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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 23 December 2013

Magic Thursday Darkness Splintered Giveaway winners!

Because it's Christmas, and because I have a box full of books sitting here, I thought I'd giveaway not one but four signed books. So, the lucky winners, randomly chosen are:

Victoria Morris
Melinda Rose
Jody G.

If you could send me your addresses via kez @ keriarthurDOTcom, I shall get those in the post to you as soon as possible

thanks for taking part in the giveaway, everyone, and hope you all have a happy Christmas and New Years.

Friday 20 December 2013

What We Are Reading

Welcome to What We Are Reading for December! This month it's all about the best book we read in in 2013. So many of those lists that come out now are really only about the best sellers, but there are always hidden gems that don't get the same coverage.

Here's what some of the darksider's thought were awesome:

Eleni Konstantine
As always there’s nothing like reading the work of your writing buddies. The DarkSiders are dear to me so I try to make an effort to read as much as I can.  We have wonderful writers here and it’s a joy to see the good news from this group week after week. Here’s a taste of what I read.

Harbinger by Peta Crake
Wow, this book was such fun to read (despite some of the heavier scenes). Very well written and great take on Greek and other mythologies. A lot going on, which I liked as it kept me intrigued and questioning with our heroine. Phi is a no-nonsense character who has what appears on the surface to be a normal job - a messenger. But she's a messenger for the gods and that ups the ante. LOVED her interaction with Cerberus. It's exactly what would have liked a character to do and finally someone has written it.

Archangel of Mercy by Christina Aschroft
Thoroughly loved this book and not only because I had an acknowledgement at the front of it. Aurora Robinson is determined to step through dimensions to the one her mother came from. But colliding into her in the astral plane is the arrogant archangel Gabriel. Ancient forces go after Aurora and Gabriel grudgingly decides to protect her. Fantastic world building and absorbing characters. Ashcroft has a wonderful style that is compelling, and let's not forget her erotic scenes.

Janni Nell
http://www.amazon.com/Last-Runaway-Novel-Tracy-Chevalier/dp/014218036X/The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier. This is an exquisitely detailed historical. Like all of Tracy Chevalier's books it's beautifully written and a little bit different from the run of the mill. Fabulous characters, a great story and quilts. What more could you wish for.

Jenny Schwartz
It has to be Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett. Steampunk and the Discworld. For this Pratchett fan, it doesn't get any better.

Nicola E Sheridan
I've fallen in love with Cecilia Grant's beautiful historical - A Lady Awakened. If you want to read a very fine historical with all the real bells and whistles without any modernisations - this is the book for you. The language, the setting, the romance was superb and totally unhurried. I can't wait to read her other books.

As I'm a huge fan of George R. R. Martin and his 'Song of Ice and Fire' series, I read Tuf Voyaging which was one of Martin's early sci-fi's. It was a very clever and interesting read. You can definitely see the beginnings of an amazing author in this early book - and it's well worth the read if you like Martin's style of writing.

Shona Husk

I listened to 47 Echo as an audio book and it was wonderful. There were some laugh out loud moments but it was dark humour as they were getting shot at most of the time. It's a military sci-fi set not far in the future.

Assassins in Love is Mr and Mrs Smith in space. I'm not sure I need to say anything more.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Magic Thursday--Darkness Splintered Giveaway

Magic Thursday--Darkness Splintered Giveaway

Hey all! Long time no speak! :)

It's been a somewhat crazy year for me, given that I've edited, copy edited, and galley proofed ten books this year, as well having written three books--2 of them contracted, 1 of them not. Thankfully, the year is coming to an end, as is the long line of editing the Bantam re-releases. Hopefully next year (once the copy edits and galleys are done on these last three books) I'll be back online more regularly!

Anyway, it's my turn to do a magic Thursday giveaway. Seeing Darkness Splintered--the 6th book in my Dark Angels series--has just come out, I thought I'd give away a signed copy of that. Here's the blurb, for those who aren't familiar with the series:

New York Times bestselling author Keri Arthur continues her Dark Angels series as half-werewolf, half-Aedh Risa Jones races to save the world from descending into ultimate chaos....

Risa has angered several powerful people, and she’s starting to feel the pressure from all sides. She also finds herself under the scrutiny of the vampire council, some of whom consider her a monster who should be destroyed. But they offer her a bloody bargain: Take on the lethal head of the council and others will support her.

As the search for the keys to hell heats up, Risa realizes that she has no choice. For the sake of the people she loves, she must find the keys—and get rid of Hunter—before the next gate is opened and brings the world closer to all hell breaking loose....

All you have to do to go into the draw is to leave a comment! Maybe tell me what you'd like to see happen in Darkness Falls, the next--and last--book in the series.

The winner will be drawn Monday December 23rd around breakfast time (Melbourne time)

Wednesday 18 December 2013

A Bite Of... SNOOP

This fortnight it is my utmost pleasure to welcome the amazing Eleni Konstantine, with A Bite Of ... SNOOP.

Can you, in less than five words describe your book?

Noir with vampires and gremlins.

What inspired you to write it?
I wanted to start the story with a spin on the noir femme fatale trope. This led to a female PI. I also wanted it in the paranormal world, and voila the story was born.

And here's the excerpt!

My office door squeaked open. A dame in a tight-fitting red dress sashayed in, the slight lift of an eyebrow the only indication of
her surprise. No doubt she’d been expecting Uncle Bob. Cranky Uncle Bob, with his grizzly face and his cigarette-stained teeth. He was
tracking down a client who’d skipped town without paying.

The dame’s expression quickly changed to a smile.

I wasn’t fooled. I knew her type—a woman who could manipulate a man with one look. This sort of woman was both deadly and dangerous. Unfortunately for her, she wasn’t my type.

“Good evening.” Her rich upper-class English accent reverberated around the room. It definitely sounded out of place in this office, which more often than not had swear words bouncing off the walls. And not just from the men.

I smiled and stood. “Daisy Luck,” I said, extending my hand. “P.I.”

The lady placed her black-gloved hand in mine and shook it lightly.

“Nancy Umbridge. Vampire.”

I knew this, of course. My talent for sensing paranormal creatures is small-scale compared to some, but I had known Umbridge’s nature when she walked through the door.

I indicated for her to take a seat. “Can I get you something to drink?”

Vampires prefer most people to think they only drink blood. The truth is, while they don’t need food or drink to survive, they still relish both.

Umbridge sat regally in the chair across from my desk, scanning the place with her eyes. She politely shook her head. I assumed that a dame like her thought the battered old office needed a cleaning.

Her stunning black hair, red lips, and curvy figure oozed femininity. She would have had a career on the silver screen next to Ginger Rogers and Greta Garbo if the camera could have captured her image. We were worlds apart. I might have curves, but a pants suit and shirt did little for my sex appeal.

“What can I do for you—” I looked at her hand and noted the ring she wore over her left glove. “Mrs. Umbridge.”

“It is a rather delicate matter and I hoped to discuss it with Bob. Is he here?”

I shook my head. “I’m afraid he’s away on business. I’m his niece.”

“And do you have much experience as a private investigator?”

“Many years,” I responded.

Again, her eyebrow curved up.

“Mrs. Umbridge, when other girls were playing with dolls, my Uncle Bob took me on assignments. No one suspected a man with a child might be a P.I.”

“How about SNOOP work?”

“It’s always been our specialty.”

SNOOP stands for Sanctioned Nationalized Officer of the Paranormal. Basically, a big blown out title to let people know we could work on paranormal cases. The title was given by the Board of Supernatural, and only those with a paranormal ability can be certified. SNOOP cases were our bread and butter. I pointed to the certificate on the wall showing my credentials. It wasn’t the agency she was wary of. It was me.

It really bugged me when other women were put off by a female investigator. Maybe it was something that harked back to the cavemen.

“Very well,” she said.

The back of my neck tingled in warning. Whatever Mrs. Umbridge wanted to hire us for, my intuition didn’t like it.
Totally another book to add to my TBR pile - thank you for sharing Eleni.

If you liked the sound of this, you can buy SNOOP Cases #1 at the following links:
Musa Publishing
Amazon | Amazon Australia
Barnes & Noble
All Romance eBooks

And if you'd like to find out what else Eleni is up to you can find her at the links below;

elenikonstantine.com | Elenis' Taverna blog | Twitter | Facebook | G+ | Pinterest  | Goodreads

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Magic Thursday Winner

The winner of The Outcast Prince is
Natalie Mulford!
please email shona(at)shonahusk.com

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's good news...

After today Good News Day will be on hiatus
until January 7th, 2014.


S.E.Gilchrist is running a "Happy 1st Publication Anniversary" giveaway. More details on prizes here.
Contest closes December 23rd, 2013 and winners will be announced on her blog December 24th, 2013.

Kylie Griffin has A New Beginning - a free read, sci-fi romance short story - posted on her blog.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Happy reading!


A big shout out and welcome to three new members to our DSDU blog/website:
D.J. Michaels
Daniel de Lorne
Claire Boston


Christina Phillips has signed a contract with Entangled Publishing for her archangel romance, Destiny Rising. The book will be published through their Edge imprint. Congratulations!


Storm of Fire is S.E.Gilchrist's erotic novella set in the same post-apocalyptic world as Paying the Forfeit, where two tribes must join together to survive a common foe – the Half-dead.

Ordered to protect a Freeber male, Lycanean Wren, is not impressed with her first sight of the gentle scholar. He looks as if he’d never held a weapon in his life.
Besides she has made a vow to never join with another. For how can she, when her warrior mate, Larid, may still be alive?
Trapped together in a Half-dead barrow, Wren and the Freeber, Tobias, discover more than the unruly lust that storms to life between them.
Their enemy has invented a form of Greek fire and the cache must be destroyed before their tribes are wiped out.
But a partially transformed Half-dead stands in their way…Larid.

You can find out more about the novella here.

Mark your calendars for September 2014. Forged By Desire is Bec McMaster's next release in her London Steampunk series.

Captain Garret Reed of the Nighthawk guard has a deadly mission: capture a steel-jawed monster preying on women. He hates to put his partner, Perry, in jeopardy, but she’s the best bait he has. Little does he realize, he’s about to be caught in his own trap.
Perry has been half in love with Garrett for years, but this is not exactly the best time to start a relationship—especially when their investigation leads them directly into the clutches of the madman she thought she’d escaped...

Claire Boston's contemporary romance, What Goes on Tour, will be released with Momentum on 11th February, 2014.

What goes on tour, stays on tour … or does it?
Few people know that socially awkward Adrian Hart is actually rock God, Kent Downer, and that's the way Adrian likes it. His privacy is essential, especially now that he has guardianship of his orphaned, ten-year-old niece, Kate. But when the nanny quits in the middle of his Australian tour Adrian finds himself in a bind.
Until Libby Myles walks into his life.
Libby has only ever wanted to become a full-time author and prove to her parents that she can make it on her own. On the surface, the temporary job as the nanny for Kent Downer's niece looks perfect—the pay is fabulous, the hours are short and Kate is a big fan—it's the rock star that's the issue.
Arrogant and way too attractive for anyone's good, Kent Downer has enough swagger to power a small city. But when he's out of costume he's different—shy and uncertain. For Libby it's a far harder combination to resist. She needs to find a balance between work, writing and ignoring her attraction to the rock star, because if she falls for him, it could mean the end of her dream.
But when a horrible scandal is unleashed—putting young Kate in danger—there's more heat between Libby and Adrian than just sexual attraction. Libby must figure out if Adrian ever cared for her, or if it was all just part of the show…

Jaguar Secrets (menage M/F/M) by Khloe Wren was released December 13th, 2013 with Evernight Publishing.

Who would have thought saving a stray cat could change her whole life? Yet that is exactly what happens when Cammi saves a black kitten from under a jetty.
Jaguar shapeshifter Luca is out looking for his ratbag little brother, Rogue, who has taken off again. He finds Cammi rescuing him and instantly recognizes she is his mate. She passes out when Rogue flashes form so Luca takes her home, to discover his best friend, Nate, is also Cammi’s destined mate.
When Cammi’s self-appointed big brother learns the shifters are after her heart, he takes matters into his own hands and attempts to convince her they are not for her. Who will Cammi believe? Her two new lovers or a friend who is the closest thing to family she has ever known.

You can view the trailer here.

S.E.Gilchrist's next sci-fi romance, Star Pirate's Justice, is due out 1st Feb, 2014 with Escape Publishing.


Christina Phillips' Her Savage Scot received a 5 star review from Pure Jonel.
"Phillips is off and running with this daring, romantic & erotic tale... Myth and reality combine in this unforgettable tale to create a captivating whole. Not only does Phillips tell a lovely story, but she also doesn’t hesitate to throw more than a few kinks into this story. More than once she had me completely shocked with the turn that the story took, however it always fit... There was a bit of a comedy of errors going on for a while that turned into a sweet, perfect ending. She also stays completely in the realm of history while telling a love story that transcends time."
Full review here.

Her Savage Scot also received a 4 star review from My Secret Romance.
"I was drawn into the intrigue of the Scots versus the Picts. This was a new time period for me… I will definitely be reading more on this series and from this author!”
Full review here.


For everyone who celebrates Christmas - have a safe and relaxing holiday. Stay safe if you're travelling anywhere.

Picture from rememberingletters.wordpress.com

From all of us here at the Dark Side DownUnder - Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and see you in 2014!

Picture sourced from 2014-newyear.blogspot.com

Thursday 12 December 2013

Magic Thursday-Lord of the Hunt & giveaway

Nothing says magic quite like fairies! Lord of the Hunt is the second in my Annwyn series which centers around the failing magic of Annwyn and its effects on the mortal world.

Book 1 is The Outcast Prince and Verden, Lord of the Hunt, had a very small role in the story. However he’s back in book 2 as the hero :)

The fairy realm of Annwyn lies between life (our world) and death. Once humans worshipped fairies as gods and they reigned over death….we might have forgotten that, but they haven’t.

With the King dying and boundaries between life and death are blurring and plagues are breaking out in our world. It’s not really the best time for the second most powerful fairy in Annwyn to break the rules and fall in love. Not that he even believes in love. Love is dangerous and can be used against you in Annwyn. Of course no one ever plans to fall in love.

Taryn, the heroine, certainly didn’t she was only going to Annwyn to get a pardon for her father so he won’t die when the power shifts from old king to new king…or queen.

Lust, backstabbing, poison, death threats, magic, gambling…welcome to Annwyn.

I’m giving away one copy of book 1 The Outcast Prince.

Leave a comment to go in the draw! Winner will be drawn Monday 16 December at 7am WST.

Just One Taste Is All It Takes...
This is no ordinary mirror. Caspian caught a hint of color, a whirl of a waltz just past his reflection—a glimpse into the decadent Fairy Court of Annwyn. The home he could never have. It called to him, whispering temptation after temptation...if he could only reclaim his rightful heritage.
To Be Forever Lost...
Caspian has an even stronger reason to stay in the world of humans. He's just met a woman who captivates him like no other. But loving him has proven to be dangerous. And he will do whatever it takes to protect Lydia from the vicious, seductive world of Court—even if doing so requires the ultimate sacrifice: his soul.

Lord of the Hunt is available for pre-order:
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/GVIurC
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1gmIwmI
Booktopia: http://www.booktopia.com.au/lord-of-the-hunt-shona-husk/prod9781402280191.html
Bookdepository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Lord-Hunt-Shona-Husk/9781402280191

She Wasn't Cut Out for His World...
The realm of the fairies might be unbelievably beautiful, but its people are notoriously treacherous. Raised among mortals, Taryn hoped to avoid her fairy heritage her whole life. But now she must cross over to Annwyn and appeal to the King to pardon her exiled parents, or they're sure to die. And to get to the King, she'll first have to face the Lord of the Hunt...
He Can't Imagine Life Without Her...
Verden, Lord of the Hunt, is sworn to serve to King. But the moment he sees Taryn, the attraction is instant and devastating. How can he not help the beautiful, brave young woman who refuses to bend to the will of the court? Yet the power in Annwyn is shifting, its magic failing. No matter how much he may love Taryn, the Hunter knows that abandoning his duty could bring down the mortal world forever...

“Surprising, sensual and full of magic!” - RT Book reviews
"Ms Husk writes a deadly novel of desire... " - Tea and Book

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's good news...


Claire Boston's contemporary romance, What Goes on Tour, has been bought by Momentum Moonlight. It will be released on 11th February, 2014.


Christina Phillips' Tainted received a 4 star review from Romantic Times Book Reviews:
"Phillips’ ability to spark utterly irresistible tension between her characters is showcased in full force in her fourth Forbidden novel. In this taut enemies-to-lovers story, the chemistry is blazing from the first scene and, as their secrets and hidden scars are slowly revealed, the depth of emotion that develops make this story a well-rounded success. Rife with historical detail and a pinch of ancient mysticism, this will surely delight Phillips’ fans and new readers in equal measure."
Full review here.

Christina Phillips' Her Savage Scot received a 4 star review from You Gotta Read Reviews: 
"Her Savage Scot is the first book I have read by Christina Phillips and certainly will not be the last.  With powerfully written characters that the reader cannot help but fall in  love with, this historical erotic romance is one that will keep you turning the pages right to the end."
Full review here.

Monday 9 December 2013

Magic Thursday giveway

Thanks to random.org, the winner of Eleni's SNOOP is:

Maggie Mundy

Congrats Maggie!! I'll be in contact.

Thanks to all those who dropped by and commented.


Sunday 8 December 2013

Darklight On... Christina Phillips

Today's Darklight On... is Christina Phillips.

Welcome, Christina!

The Rocky Road after Publication

When the lovely Cher and Eleni invited me back in the Darklight On… chair, I wasn’t sure what angle to take (this is the repressed Brit side of me. Hate talking about myself!!) I’d already answered the Darklight interview back in March 2011 and to refresh my mind about what I’d talked about I read it again.

Turned out to be quite a revelation J

So I thought it might be fun to compare what I said a year and three quarters ago to the reality of now, publishing wise. Did my hopes and plans come true? Or did they go skidding off the tracks, into the forest, never to be heard of again?

In March 2011 I’d just had my second Roman/Druid romance, Captive, published, and was busy writing my first archangel book. Although I didn’t make it public at the time, my publisher had passed on the third Forbidden book, after I had already written almost a third of it.

I don’t think devastated quite covers how I felt about that. Just a few years ago when a big publisher passed on a project mid-series that was it. The book was dead and there was no hope it would ever see the light of day.

Thank goodness those days have gone!

I never gave up hope it would one day find the perfect home. At one point I seriously contemplated self-publishing the next two books, but a year later Ellora’s Cave picked up books 3 and 4, Betrayed and Tainted.

As I was writing the final scenes in Tainted earlier this year I got quite choked up. I’d lived in this mystical world of tough Roman warriors and magical Druid heroines for over four years. I love this world. But the four books I had envisaged before Forbidden sold had finally been realized. It was, in a way, the end of an era.

It took a while for the planets to align before I sold the first book of another series I had up my sleeve – Her Savage Scot, book 1 in my Highland Warrior Chronicles. This book, set in the 9th century and with the lightest touch of fantasy woven throughout, released on 20th November. I’ve just started book 2 and book 3 is a hazy cloud in the back of my mind J

The publisher passed on my second archangel book, so once again I was left dangling. I absolutely adore book 2 and right from the start was determined it would be published one way or another. Five months later it went to contract at another publishing house and although the process has been excruciatingly slow, I’m hopeful the book will be out next year.

So as far as my hopes went back in March 2011 for having three series published… I’m on track, even if I’m a little behind my projected schedule for Total World Domination J

On thing hasn’t changed at all though – my favourite part of the writing process is still reading back what I wrote the previous day!


Thanks so much for sharing, Christina. It's lovely to hear about how your writing journey is going - and how you continue to be inspired, despite the challenges that many authors face.

To find out more about about Christina and her books, visit her website christinaphillips.com or her blog christinaphillips.blogspot.com.

Friday 6 December 2013

Real Life Paranormal

With Cathleen Ross

The ghosts of Tewkesbury Abbey  
I knew when I went to England last May on historical author, Alison Weir's Lancaster and York tour, I could choose to open myself up to seeing history from a different perspective.

One of the highlights for me was visiting Tewkesbury Abbey, the site where the Lancastrian forces were routed in 1471. While Alison and her historians gave wonderful lectures on the bus about the battle, I closed my eyes and focused on what they were saying. As we drove towards the abbey I had a vision of hundreds and hundreds of crosses. Although this wasn't the site of the battle, which was on a field in front of Tewkesbury Abbey, when I did my research later, I realized we were crossing the site where hundreds of Lancastrians were hunted and cut down while trying to flee the battle. When the Lancastrians were routed, nobles and knights fled into the abbey hoping for sanctuary, but they didn't get it.

On checking the history of events after the battle the victorious York King, Edward 1V supposedly took mass in the abbey, though I don't know how this was done when his enemies were taking sanctuary there too. What I did know, through my psychic senses, is that a battle took place inside the abbey, so vicious that the place still rings with the blood and cries of the men who fought.

Alison told us that King Edward freed the common soldiers who fought for the losing Lancastrian side. Was this true? I sat at the back of the abbey, closed my eyes and asked to see. A commanding voice spoke to me. "You do not have jurisdiction here."
I knew this was the voice of the guardian of the abbey, possibly a priest who is responsible for the dead who still reside there seven hundred years later.
I explained who I was and why I was there. I also asked his permission 'to see'. I'm always very respectful when I communicate with the dead. I wanted to know what had really happened that day in 1471. Had the common soldiers been pardoned and freed by Edward as Alison Weir reported?
What I saw was the floor under my feet awash with blood. It rippled across the tiles like a wave sweeping the shore. Many common soldiers had been slaughtered there by the York army. These common soldiers died hoping their commanders, who they trusted, would be able to save their lives, but their Lancastrian noble leaders were captured and beheaded outside the abbey.

I had my vision verified by the guide who worked at the abbey. The guide sees a priest reading mass when he opens the abbey in the morning and the guide's daughter sees the soldiers' ghosts wandering around the abbey when it is quiet and the living aren't present. If you go there when the abbey is quiet, you might like to - ask 'to see'.

Cathleen Ross' next Harlequin Escape release is Ruby's Fantasy. Available April 1.

Thursday 5 December 2013

Magic Thursday: going Paranormal Noir

Tomorrow (6th December) sees the release of my latest story, a novelette (7 500 words) which is a paranormal noir.

I've always loved those old film noir and have looked at them with a bit of tongue-in-cheek in my story SNOOP.

Lauren Becall: an inspiration
For one thing there is no hard-boiled male detective. Instead I have a sassy female detective who can hold her own.

In fact I wanted to start the story with a spin on the femme fatale trope.

I have set the story in Angel City, location unknown. I wanted the city to be universal to some extent and with the paranormal well and truly a part of the normal world. Or in our heroine's case, in the crime world.

I tend to like mixing things up - usually there's a romantic element in my stories and yes there is a love interest but it was more the noir that I was going for in this story. Or my blend of noir. I had a blast writing this story, and because I really loved the world, I shall return to its motley crew of characters.

How about you - do you like cross-genres?

Please leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of SNOOP.


Bob's rule of investigating: Never take the paranormal at face value.

Daisy Luck is a SNOOP - Sanctioned Nationalized Officer Of the Paranormal. Her latest case involving a vampire and a gremlin has her private eye senses in a spin. Throw in yummy Detective Maroney and her life couldn't get more complicated - or could it?

Available for pre-order from Musa Publishing. Out 6th December!

You can find me at:

Wednesday 4 December 2013

A Bite Of... Her Demon Prince

This fortnight, please welcome the wonderful Cathleen Ross, with A Bite Of...  Her Demon Prince.

Can you in less than five words, describe your book?

Erotic reincarnation story of love.

What inspired you to write it?

My extended family is going through a fractured time and I'm powerless to heal something that happened before I was born. This was at the base of my writing this book. It took me four years to write and it helped me come to terms and move on from my extended family upheaval and also to find forgiveness. My Demon Prince Agrat is half brother to an angel. Although Agrat loves his younger brother, a treacherous event occurs and the blame falls on Agrat resulting in the two brothers warring against each other. By learning to love my heroine princess who has incarnated into a modern woman, Agrat learns to find peace with his brother too.

And without further ado, here is the excerpt!

“I wish you’d focus on carving more angels for clients, especially like this gorgeous male angel you’ve just finished. I can’t stand that demonic sculpture you’re obsessed with restoring,” said Phoebe Larson’s agent and best friend, Rachael Ryan.
               “I don’t see him as a demon. Anyway, look who’s talking about obsession. Running your hands over that angel’s body won’t bring him to life, you know.” Phoebe laughed at Rachael who was staring up at the sculpture’s face with abject fascination as she tenderly caressed his wings.

“He’s perfect in every detail. He looks like he might spread his wings and take flight,” Rachael said, her voice full of awe. “I don’t know how you get that lightness yet that intensity in your sculptures.”

               “I see them that way.”

The Prince, his face full of fury mingled with despair, faced off the angel as the angel’s wing enclosed her. The repetitive snapshot that haunted Phoebe's dreams and she didn’t know why.

Phoebe studied her agent, appreciating the faith she had in her work. Rachael was a curious mix of Irish and Jewish heritage. From her father she gained her wild red hair and fair skin, which burned easily and turned to freckles. From her Jewish mother, she had business acumen, an arresting rather than beautiful face with cut-glass cheekbones and a sharp nose. From both she'd inherited her fey instincts, superstitious nature, and passion for art.

It was past ten pm and the studio in New York’s Meatpacking District was filled with a mix of light from the full moon and various lamps, which gave the room an ethereal glow. Phoebe pushed her hair from her face and continued polishing the marble torso of the sculpture, easing any stains from the intricate carving on the breastplate on the chest, her fingers caressing the lines and planes of the mythical warrior she dreamed so much about that he seemed real to her.

“I think this is my best work, even if he took me a year.”

               Rachael walked from the angel sculpture and came to stand by Phoebe.  She put out her hand but didn’t touch the marble, instead letting it hover over the stone.

“Old pieces carry energy and that marble holds blackness. Evil. I can feel it in my bones. I don’t know how you can touch it.”

               “It’s stone, Rach.” Phoebe gave the torso a pat and Rachael winced. Phoebe knew her agent expected her to take her psychic feelings seriously, and to be fair to Rachael, her friend of twenty years, all of her predictions had come true, even when they had seemed unlikely.

               “It’s more than that.” Rachael waved her hand over it again, concentrating on the torso and frowned. Her eyes widened and she stepped back. “I’m afraid to open my senses when I’m close to this statue. I haven’t dealt with this before but it feels like an ancient evil. Something horrible happened here. Something unjust.”

“I’m not being disrespectful about your gift because I’ve seen your predictions come true, but I don’t get how you can obsess about a bit of antique rock.” Whatever Rachael said, nothing would deter Phoebe from her compulsion to restore the piece she’d felt compelled to buy from an antiquities dealer. It was the only way to prevent the emptiness inside her so that it didn’t open like a bottomless well in her chest.

Slowly, through the cool fall months and the icy winter, she’d carved a face, arms and legs. In spring, she’d meticulously inserted rods into the neck, shoulders and thighs of the marble torso and in summer as the studio grew hot and her New Yorker friends had left for vacation, she joined the pieces so that he was finally whole. She was proud of her statue, whose face haunted her dreams. His hair was shoulder length, his brow furrowed and his gaze piercing over his sharp nose and sensuous mouth.  The torso of marble she’d bought had wide shoulders and the warrior wore a robe over his back, a breastplate and a tunic underneath. On his feet, she had carved marble sandals. It had been tricky to get the dimensions of his head, arms and legs right so that all the pieces fitted together.

“When I look at him, I get that tight feeling in the pit of my stomach like something bad is going to happen.” Rachael clutched her stomach.

Phoebe bit her lip in irritation. Rachael could be so dramatic sometimes.

 “It’s getting worse by the minute. The evil. I can’t bear it. I wish I hadn’t opened myself up to it. It’s coming at me like a roar.” Rachael ran over to Phoebe’s workbench, pulled off her bracelet made of black angular rocks and reached for a pair of scissors. Snipping the elastic string, she pulled ten rocks off the bracelet, raced back over and placed them at even intervals around the statue.

The hairs on the back of Phoebe’s arms stood up when she saw the intense look on Rachael’s face. “What are you doing?”

“Protection. You need it. I’ll sacrifice my bracelet of Moses rocks. They come from around Moses’ tomb on my last trip to the Middle East. They’re inscribed with protective talismans. Don’t move them.”

 “Rachael, stop. You’re scaring me.”

               “You have to get rid of this statue.” Dressed in her trademark black T-shirt and jeans, with her wild, rusty curls, pallid face and slim body, Rachael seemed other worldly. It didn’t help that a beam from the full moon was spotlighting her face. A deep moan left Rachael’s lips and she started to sway. Her eyes had widened as her hand raised and she pointed at the sculpture.

               “Oh shit!” Phoebe had the impression of the studio’s walls closing in on her. She’d seen this before. Last time when Rachael had had a vision this intense, a friend had died.

               “Stay away. Don’t take her.” Tears streamed down Rachel’s face as she stared up at the statue.
               Phoebe looked at her sculpture. Did the eyelids just flicker? She blinked and looked again. They blinked. Fear exploded up Phoebe’s spine. She raced over and grabbed her friend. “Rachael, what’s going on?”

Rachael’s whole body jerked at her touch and she stared wildly at Phoebe. “Destroy it!” Rachael's face had blanched, so that the freckles on her nose and cheeks stood out. Even her lips had lost their luster.

“I can’t. I love the piece. It isn’t evil. I know it isn’t.”

Tears poured down Rachael’s cheeks and she clutched Phoebe by the shoulders. “You don’t understand Phoebe, it’s Halloween! The time when the plane between life and death is thin. Anything can come in. This statue carries death energy.” Grabbing a hammer from Phoebe’s workbench, she pushed passed Phoebe and strode toward the statue. Bang! Down went the hammer right into the side of the torso so that it left a raw gash and bits of marble scattered across the concrete floor.

Jesus, Rachael had lost it. All her work ruined. Phoebe lunged after her just as she raised the hammer again and grabbed the tool from her hand. “Rachael. No!”

               Eyes wild, Rachael turned. “I have to destroy it before it comes to life.”

               Surely she’d imagined the eyelid flicker before? “Are you nuts? He’s stone just like the others,” Phoebe said, waving her hand at the gallery of carved figures of biblical princesses, demons, a hideous monkey-faced sculpture, and a beautiful, proud-faced angel.

               Rachael shuddered. “I don’t know what he is. I’ve never experienced this energy before.”

               Oh hell, Rachael had been right so many times before. Gripping the hammer, Phoebe realized the temperature had plummeted in the room. “Before, in your vision, you said, ‘don’t take her.’ Who’s he going to take?”


               A sickening, twisting sensation gripped her stomach. “It’s stone, damn it.” Phoebe slapped her hand on the torso where the hammer had hit to reassure herself that the marble was nothing more than a cold piece of rock. Something wet and clammy made her draw back her hand and look at her palm. Blood!

               “Phoebe. Get out of here. He’s coming to life,” Rachael screamed.

But she couldn’t move. The hammer dropped from her hand. Sheer, sharp disbelief clouded her thinking. Looking back at the statue, it seemed to be changing color in front of her eyes. The face, arms and legs had darkened and taken on a swarthy skin color. Thick, dark blood oozed from the hole Rachael had made.

A gleam of light from the moon hit the face of the sculpture and the Moses rocks burst into flames. The statue shuddered, heaved a sigh and his eyes scanned the room, coming to rest on her. “Princess.”

“No!” Phoebe said, backing away.

He jumped off his plinth, his sandals making a clacking noise as he hit the boards, but when he strode toward her and reached the Moses rocks, his body shuddered as if he had slammed against an invisible wall. “Princess, move the rocks.”

“Phoebe, run. When the rocks burn out, the protection stops,” Rachael cried.

The man’s dark eyes fixed on her. “Princess, it is I, Agrat, I have come for you.”

If you liked the sound of this, you can by Her Demon Prince at Amazon.
...And if you want to find out what else Cathleen is up to you can find her at the links below;

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's good news...


Eleni Konstantine join the ranks of Alfie Dog with her short story, Enchanted. It's out tomorrow 4th December 2013.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Magic Thursday: Be Thankful

by J.M. Bray

As I neared my fiftieth birthday, life decided to give me a gift. Without changing any exercise or eating habits, it said, “Here, have this extra twenty pounds. No need for thanks, it’s yours to keep.” Since I speak publicly, this meant purchasing at least on new “fat suit.” After a lot of shopping, I decided to order one online, of course to do that they need all of your measurements. My daughter volunteered to assist me.

Everything was going just fine until we got the “measure your stomach at its largest point”. When the tape read forty inches I winced. Ok, I know that may not seem like much (or maybe it does!) but when you take into account that I had a twenty-nine inch waist when I married and only measured thirty-four inches up through that fateful year, it was a shock. The number on the tape mocked me like a schoolyard bully. My daughter, being the epitome of encouragement, tried to make me feel better saying, ‘Ohhhh dad, that not too bad. Here I’ll measure my stomach.’ At that point, she was with her first son. She wrapped the tape around her thirty-five week, basketball shaped week torso. Fourty inches exactly.

“Geeee thanks …I feel so much better!” We laughed so hard we couldn’t see straight.

In the midst of this writing life, it’s easy to focus on the bad things. How much we didn’t write, agent rejections, not finding a publisher, will people read our novels, will they like them, feeling alone in the process or lost… We start to feel like weight-gaining-50-year-olds in need of a new suit. But, hang on for a second. Let’s take the tape and put it around something else, shall we? Each of us, at whatever level, in whatever form, get to take our dreams, thoughts, desires, fears, memories and more, and put them into words. When other people read what we created it changes them, for good or ill, large or small, it happens.

What a wonderful, joyous, smile-inducing thought. In the United States, we are nearing Thanksgiving, so join me and celebrate, we honored few, for we are privileged to see our dreams come to life.


Fall in love, be possessed, hunt a sorcerer and save the world — and Vincent thought calculus was tough.
984 — Vincent expected college to be about freedom and girls, but then the nightmares of sorcery, monsters and other worlds began. Not even the surprising attention from his dream girl, Julie, could shake them.

Before he's even nailed his second date with Julie, he's possessed by Coleman, a warrior from another realm. Coleman is hell bent on defeating the monstrous Kafla who threatens to tear into Vincent's reality, changing both his and Coleman's worlds forever. They have one chance to stop them: Vincent must allow Coleman to share his body and wage war against the sorcerer.

Now it's up to them, the women they love, and Vincent's rag-tag bunch of role-playing and gaming friends to save the world, or see 1984 descend into the apocalypse.

J.M. Bray lives in Southern California with his college sweetheart and their two dogs. After a lifetime together, they are happier than the moment they met.

When not writing or working his "day job", he loves to cook, play the guitar, and travel with his wife. Every chance he gets, he races an old Porsche named "Tuffy" at tracks in the southwest.

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's good news...


Keri Arthur has a giveaway of Darkness Splintered  up for grabs here. The giveaway runs until November 30th, 2013.


Lord of the Hunt by Shona Husk will be released January 2014 from Sourcebooks.

Their love could destroy a powerful reign and change the mortal world forever
Raised in the mortal world, the fairy Taryn never planned on going back to Annwyn, much less to court. But with the power shift imminent, she is her parents' only hope of securing a pardon from exile and avoiding certain death.
Verden, Lord of the Hunt, swore to serve the King. But as the magic of Annwyn fails and the Prince makes ready to take the throne, Verden knows his days as Hunter are numbered. When Taryn and Verden meet, their attraction is instant and devastating. Their love could bring down a Queen and change the mortal world forever.

Carolyn Wren has received the cover for The Secret Family (Bk#7 The Protector series), due for release December 2013.

Amity Clark finds a photograph in her late mother’s possessions of someone she believes to be her long lost father, and posts it online.  She doesn’t realize the man in the picture is Cal Davies, a dangerous covert operative with many enemies.  When her workplace building explodes, Amity is trapped in the wreckage, terrified and hurt. Help seems close at hand as one courageous man crawls through the rubble, pulling her to safety, but he warns her to run and hide instead of announcing her miraculous escape to the authorities.
Peter Sinclair has one mission, to protect Amity Clark.  Injured in the explosion, he must find a safe place to hide her until the scheduled rendezvous.  Despite a growing attraction, Peter knows he has to send her on her way to begin a new life, before her father’s adversaries track her down to take revenge on Cal’s only living bloodline.

Christina Phillips celebrates the release of Her Savage Scot (Bk#1 of The Highland Warrior Chronicles), on 20th November 2013.

When tough Scot warrior Connor Mackenzie rides into the barbaric lands of the Picts on a mission for his king, he never expects to be captivated by a beautiful Pictish widow. Drawn under her spell, yet unaware of her true identity, he risks everything for one passionate night in her arms.
Aila, princess of Pictland, swore long ago she would do anything within her power to help defeat the Vikings who invaded her land and murdered her husband. But after meeting Connor, her frozen heart thaws and once again she imagines a future filled with love and passion.
When Connor delivers the message from his king, Aila becomes a pawn in a deadly game of politics. Her heart belongs to Connor, but she must marry the prince of Dal Riada – Connor’s half-brother. But the fates have other plans for the star-crossed lovers as they fight their enemies and themselves to find true love.

A Romantica® historical erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave


Shona Husk's Lord of the Hunt received a 4 star review by Romantic Times book reviews!
"Surprising, sensual and full of magic! The fairies of Annwyn can be ruthless, so playing the game properly can mean the difference between life and death, especially during such a perilous time of transition. Taryn and Verden try to be careful, neither one expecting to fall in love. Fantastic world-building and compelling character will make readers yearn for another foray into the world of fairy."

Keri Arthur's Darkness Splintered received a great review from Kings River Life Magazine.
"OK, what can I tell you to get you to try Darkness Splintered and the Dark Angel series? ... Friends in danger, really bad fathering techniques–Find the keys for me or I’ll kill your friends!– a horrible vampire boss–Find the keys for me or I’ll kill your friends!–rebel priests–Find the keys for us or we’ll kill you…heck, we may kill you anyway, just because we’re rebel priests!– rebel vampires–Kill the Vampire Queen or…you know the rest, right?…and hellhounds!
What’s not to love?"
Full review here.
There's also an interview with Keri here.


Bec McMaster's Heart of Iron has been named one of Library Journal’s Best Books of the Year in the romance category. Congratulations, Bec!!!

You can see the full list here.

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DarkSide DownUnder's book lists (dsdu-books shelf)