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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.

Thursday 31 October 2013

Magic Thursday: Halloween (+ Blogiversary) Mega giveaway!

Happy Halloween to you all!
Three years ago we started this blog so 
Happy Blogiversary DarkSiders.

We've grown since that time and have a great group of people who love all things 
that go bump in the night.

Today we have a treat for you....

A DarkSider Halloween Mega Pack with many of our authors.

Check it out. All are in e-books unless otherwise specified.
(You can click on the covers to see larger versions)



Ruby’s Dream (Crystal Warriors #2) – The Crystal Warrior (Book One) is available free where most eBooks are sold
Seer’s Promise (Seer Trilogy #2) – Seer’s Hope (Book One) is available free where most eBooks are sold




includes Dance of Flames: An Allegra Fairweather mystery

You have to be in it to win it, so enter by using Rafflecopter below!! 
Good luck. 

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's good news...


Cathleen Ross has sold Ruby's Fantasy to Escape Publishing. No release date yet.

Danielle Sevenwaters has signed her first contract with Evernight Teen for her YA paranormal romance, Of Fire & Roses (Erlanis Chronicles). No release date yet.

Fiona Greene has sold a contemporary novella to Escape Publishing. No release date yet.


Bec McMaster is in the middle of her blog tour for her latest release, My Lady Quicksilver. You can find her talking about the origins of her London Steampunk world at Goldilox & the Three Weres. There's a Rafflecopter giveaway of My Lady Quicksilver running until 30th October, 2013.

Kylie Griffin has a host of Light Blade series giveaways happening, just in time for Christmas!
Over at Goodreads she has 3 copies of Vengeance Born and 1 copy of Allegiance Sworn up for grabs.
There's also a Rafflcopter giveaway of Alliance Forged over on her blog.
All books are signed and the contests are open internationally. Entries close at the end of November (see giveaway links for details).
Newsletter subscribers get the chance to win giveaway swag! (sign up form here)


Breathless is Dakota Harrison's latest release from Samhain. It came out 28th October 2013.

She ran half a world away to escape from her past…and found the one man who can heal her heart. 
It’s been three years since a seemingly insignificant decision destroyed Emma’s life. Western Colorado is a long way for an Australian girl to run from the suffocating guilt she feels, but it isn’t far enough.
So she’s made herself a promise: No men, no responsibility. Ever again. That was before her pipes burst, and the crusty old plumber she was expecting turns out to be six-foot-two of brooding hard body with a killer smile—which he rarely aims in her direction.
Gabe doesn’t like it. Even through a layer of plaster dust, Emma’s beauty shines through and grabs him hard. Her laugh wraps around his lungs until he forgets how to breathe. But he’s still looking for pieces of the broken heart another woman’s betrayal left in its wake.
Pretty women are trouble, end of story.
Too bad no one told his determinedly matchmaking sister. Her efforts could crash and burn, for all he cares. He’s not interested. Not now, now ever. Now if he could only convince his body.

Eleni Konstantine's Snoop is due for release 6th December, 2013. 

SNOOP'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?

Carolyn Wren has a sexy Christmas novella, Ghosts of Grace Cottage, coming out this December with Secret Cravings Publishing.

Eloisa Waters is creating a new life for herself. After travelling for twelve months, she comes home at Christmas, purchasing a small country cottage in a sleepy English village, despite the fact its previous owner was a recluse, the original owner was supposedly a witch, and it’s now rumored to be haunted!
On the first night in her new home, sensual erotic dreams surprise and delight her. Only these aren’t dreams. The rumors are true. Two handsome Regency ghosts inhabit the cottage, becoming corporeal at night, trapped by a curse, compelled to satisfy every desire of the new owner.
Elly begins to fall in love with Anton and Phillipe, her charming ghostly lovers. But is there more? Can the curse be broken? Or does Elly risk her own soul? As Christmas approaches, and memories surface, how will Elly choose? How can she possibly leave behind the Ghosts of Grace Cottage?


Nicola E Sheridan and Shona Husk completed Tough Mudder in Perth on Sunday, 27th October 2013. Well done, ladies!

Saturday 26 October 2013

Enchanted Orb with Eleni Konstantine

Good Morning, DarkSiders!

The wonderful Eleni is here to share her inspiration today - Take it away, Eleni!


This means you all know I get inspiration from reading, watching TV and movies, love cover art - and art in general. So, I’m not going to talk about those here.

What else inspires me? Many things. I’ve always looked at things and wondered about them and their stories.

Today, I’m going to talk about the beauty of the world, which is truly inspiring. I remember as a young girl in primary school, looking up at the fluffy clouds and imagining a realm up there and people bouncing along the top.  

Mountains, valleys, rivers, forests, even man-made buildings can all inspire such dream-like thoughts and stories. All with their own beauty. All contributing to our amazing landscape.

The one place that I find more inspiring than others is - water. I LOVE looking out onto a body of water (oceans, rivers, ponds, waterfalls). I don’t live too far from the beach and even going for a drive along the coast, or taking a moment to stop and look out to the ocean is truly moving. 

The ocean shows the vastness of our world, and instead of making me feel small, makes me feel as if I’m a part of a bigger picture. I love the feeling of the cool breeze teasing my hair, love smelling the salty air, and watching the waves lap onto the shore. When it’s hot and I go into the ocean, I relish the water against my skin as I float and look up at the remarkable sky. 

I have a dream of one day owning a place along the beach front.
It’s no wonder that I have been known to take a notebook, book, or laptop to the beach and work or read. (Though I haven’t done this in a little while :-(

While the stories may not contain the ocean and it’s majesty, they are sure inspired by it.
I do like taking some photos on my phone and have even used one in a graphic design assignment from TAFE. See beach = inspiration!

Friday 25 October 2013

Magic Thursday Winner

The winner of Astrid's Magic Thursday giveaway is

Margaret M!!

Congratulations Margaret. Please contact Astrid at  asti16 @ bigpond.com (no spaces)


Thursday 24 October 2013

Magic Thursday .... Women in Myths

Mythology is such a diverse and amazing subject, yet there tendency in mythology to vilify women.

Hadn't you noticed?

Due to time constraints I'm going to limit my post to looking at Gorgons and Hags, but there are seriously countless other examples out there.


You're probably familiar with these mean 'bitches', who hail from Greek mythology (Medusa, Stheno and Euryale). Depicted most often on ancient vases as three sisters, with wings, broad ugly heads, large staring eyes and pointed tongues, gaping mouths and pig tusks - they are most recognised for their hair, which is comprised of living snakes. According to this particular legend, these Gorgons were the offspring of two minor sea deities.
Legend has it that the blood taken from the right hand side of a gorgon can re-animate the dead, but blood taken from the left is instantly fatal.

The most commonly known Gorgon was Medusa.
The ancient Roman poet Ovid (43BC-17AD) dismisses the notion that Medusa originally the offspring of sea deities, but suggests in his collection 'Metamorphoses' -  that she was beautiful woman. According to Ovid's poems the lovely Medusa had many male human admirers, but alas, had also caught the eye of Poseidon, god of the sea.

One day, the god found her alone and 'ravished' her (read this as 'raped' - as he was so overcome with passion he couldn't control himself) at one of Athena's temples... Infuriated by this desecration of her temple, Athena turned Medusa's gorgeous hair into hideous snakes, and made her ugly (enter the bore tusks and bug eyes). Everyone who  laid eyes on Medusa subsequently was turned to stone.

It doesn't really seem very fair really does it? I'd be kicking Poseidon's butt, not Medusa's... but hey I'm not Athena...
Medusa was ultimately killed by Perseus, and her head returned to Athena, who used it on her own shield as a protective talisman.
Stemming from this, it became tradition to place a carved stone Gorgon head above doors and on walls, coins, shields and grave stones in the hope that it may ward off evil.

We've seen Medusa recently in 'Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief,' and several other films, and all are depicting her as a decidedly malevolent character. Which wasn't necessarily how she started out. I personally feel a bit sorry for her.

There is however, another line of thought.  Some academics argue that the Gorgon is actually a holy image of female power and wisdom.
 - Her eyes, unblinking and staring, possibly could symbolise her ability to see the truth.
- Her pig tusks could come from 'sacred pigs' symbolic of rebirth, which were sacrificed to Athena.
- Her snake-hair a symbolic reminder of the life cycle; birth, death and regeneration, as the snake sheds its skin and grows again.

Whatever you believe, gorgon mythology is certainly fascinating.

I did a post at my blog on these a while ago, if you'd like to read about them in more detail here.

It is unsurprising that Hags (sometimes called Crones) crop up in a multitude of countries. The most common description of a hag is of an unattractive older lady with malicious intent. Hag mythology is characterised by the presence of bad dreams, or uncomfortable sensations during sleep. The traditional hag myth revolves around old ladies being responsible for the poor sleep of their targeted victim.
  It is believed that most Hag myths have been derived from  explanations of a condition known as 'sleep paralaysis' (also known as Old Hag Syndrome!) in which a person feels a weight on their chest and experiences difficulty breathing. Succubi and Incubi are also characterised by this sensation. However the Hag mythology has evolved into more corporeal creatures such as Banshee, Baba Yaga (and their variants).

Why is it women who are so frequently maligned in these myths?

Well I have a little theory.

 In ancient times (and in some modern traditional societies) men die earlier than women and those surviving men (one would assume) be the wisest and cleverest and most able to give advice to the younger generations on running the community (in a patriarchal society at least).  Which is why old men in myths are usually described as being guides and seers of truth.

 Women however, live longer than men as a general rule. Therefore, those women past their useful childbearing years must do something to remain useful in a traditional society or else they are not worth the food they are fed (sad but true).
Therefore women who could heal others and were wise would be kept and looked after (enter the archetype of the old woman healer). However, those older women who were sly, and tricky  could equally survive using wits and deceit - and it is those individuals I believe the negative hag myths have evolved from.

In addition to my "life-expectancy and usefulness theory of Hag evolution", I also believe that myths are created as moral tales to teach people societies 'norms' and in still fear to ensure co-operation. So, what could be more scary than a mother figure being twisted and made into monster? I'm certain it was that twisting of the natural order of motherhood and grand-motherhood, that has made Hag myths so popular and so frightening for people in times past.

If you're wondering is there a male equivalent to the Hag myth, you'll find yourself sadly disappointed. Most old male characters in mythology are either tricksters (never souly malevolent) or benevolent teachers and guides.

It all seems rather unfair doesn't it?

If you're interested in some unusual hag myths, make sure to google, the Batibat (Philippines), Phi Am (Thailand), Boo Hag (post colonial America), Nocnitsa (Poland), Mare/Mare (Scandinavia).

On that note, I bid you a magic Thursday.

Nicola E. Sheridan


Wednesday 23 October 2013

A bite of... The Blood She Betrayed

Today we're grabbing a bite of The Blood She Betrayed by Cheryse Durrant, who is taking a break from her Queensland book-signing tour to chat to the dingoes at Fraser Island.

Can you, in less than five words, describe The Blood She Betrayed?

Demon slayer on action-fantasy quest.
PS: But for the Whedon buffs: Buffy meets Wolverine in happily-ever-after.

What inspired you to write it?

My heroine and warrior princess Shahkara flashed through my mind a few years ago and wouldn’t let go. There’s nothing more delicious than writing/reading about a banished princess on an impossible quest to save her devastated kingdom from evil, heart-devouring Taloners – especially when she’s half-Taloner and embedded with the same heart-lust, despite her human emotions and loyalties.

My readers say they not only love this book because it’s an urban fantasy quest (and a fabulous romance to boot) but because the story is set locally – Brisbane, Sydney and the old-fashioned Aussie farm.

I talked more about the inspiration behind The Blood She Betrayed at the DarkSiders DownUnder Enchanted Orb from July.

And here's a snippet:

Bolts scraped metal, chains clinked through sockets and the door opened all the way.

A sharp breath filled her lungs at the wild glitter of Nick’s eyes as he stretched in the doorway, well-defined abs rippling beneath his shirt. His uncut hair fell in tangles to his neck, matching the stubble shadowing his chin. Reckless blood rode his veins. On her world, he would either be locked up or sitting on a throne.


Readers can download the first 12 chapters of The Blood She Betrayed for free from Clan Destine Press or buy the paperback from Clan Destine Press, Booktopia or selected Australian bookstores.

The eBook is expected to be available online through Amazon, iTunes and Kobo within the next fortnight.

To find out more about Cheryse Durrant, check out her Website, Facebook, Twitter or GoodReads.

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Good News Day!

Welcome to this week's good news...

There was no GND posted last week as there was no content to post!


Kylie Griffin has a host of Light Blade series giveaways happening, just in time for Christmas!
Over at Goodreads she has 3 copies of Vengeance Born and 1 copy of Allegiance Sworn up for grabs.
There's also a Rafflcopter giveaway of Alliance Forged over on her blog.
All books are signed and the contests are open internationally. Entries close at the end of November (see giveaway links for details).
Newsletter subscribers get the chance to win giveaway swag! (sign up form here)


My Lady Quicksilver by Bec McMaster received a 4 Pot rating from Talk Supe.
"My Lady Quicksilver is  such a rich novel...it has great romance and tension but what I loved about it most isMcmaster's all encompassing take on the world she created as a whole. Not only does she titillate her readers with bodice ripping romance, she also adds layers of social intrigue to make the plight of her character believable."
Full review here.


Hervey Bay Book Signing follows pack-out Bundy event
Urban Fantasy author Cheryse Durrant is looking forward to meeting local readers when she signs copies of her novel The Blood She Betrayed at Mary Ryan's Books, Music and Coffee at Hervey Bay this Saturday, October 26, at 10am.
Ms Durrant's Bundaberg book launch last week attracted 90 guests, forcing additional events to be scheduled at Dymocks and a local cafe the following day to cater to locals unable to gain a ticket to the official book launch event.
Ms Durrant is also the special guest at an Author Coffee and Chat at Kingfisher Bay Resort at Fraser Island this week. For a personal invitation to join in, email her via cherysedurrant(at)gmail(dot)com.
More detailed news stories here:
Article 1 
Article 2

Friday 18 October 2013

What We Are Reading

Welcome to What We Are Reading for October! This month we have Eleni Konstantine, J.M Bray and Jenny Schwartz.

Eleni Konstantine
Cityglitter by Carla Caruso
Christelle and her fun loving friends may seem like any other normal 20 something living in Sydney, but they are is a CityGlitters. Those living a city life who come from the Island – where faries live.

Christelle’s life turns to dissaray when her younger sister, naïve Trixie comes to Sydney. Christelle also meets and has an instant connection with her new boss – but who is definitely not available.

I loved the fun nature of this book and enjoyed the easy to follow world-building. It’s magical and I had a few laughs along the way. It’s a book about being true to oneself and following one’s own path instead of doing what’s expected.

Excellent read. 4.5 stars.

J.M Bray
Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead
Currently I'm reading the Raving King trilogy, by Stephen R. Lawhead. It's a re-imagining of the Robin hood saga. He sets it in 11th Century Wales, just after the Battle of Hastings. Historically, I'm an avid reader of his work, and it reminds me that when my writing voice wants to slip into an occasional bit of omniscient, I'm in very good...and very successful company. He spins a great tale, I recommend any of his works, but if you are looking for a stand alone, pick up Byzantium or Patrick: Son of Ireland. He has a way of retelling historical events like no one else.

Jenny Schwartz
Who Needs Enemies by Kerri Arthur
Just read Keri Arthur's Who Needs Enemies and came to really care about the heroine, Harri. Plus there's the fabulously Australian paranormal universe she creates. Ogres really ought to be used in ads for air-fresheners :)

I have read Stephen R. Lawhead's Robin Hood trilogy and it was great :)
Until next moth happy reading!

Thursday 17 October 2013

Magic Thursday: Controlling the Creative Chaos

by Astrid Cooper

Eighteen months ago I embarked on a new writing direction: m/m paranormal romance. I didn’t realise it then, but I would be creating a monster with my guys (and gals) at Monsters “inK”. A “simple” paranormal series began to evolve, because I like to plot and my characters like to take me on unplanned journeys. That’s a paradox: the author plots and the characters take control.

The simple story line began to layer, to evolve, so much so that plots and characters in preceding stories began to influence successive story lines, in unexpected directions.

Before I knew it I had 7 books in the series, and approx. 220,000 words to keep track of. What colour eyes does Kellyn have? Is Sebastian right or left handed? Does Jaidyn have a tattoo? Does Camilla have dark hair, or is she a red-head? These may not be earth-shattering questions, but I need to know, so I can maintain consistency—to maintain control. And I’d much rather that my limited brain cells store plot ideas, than be overloaded with character trivia.

Each book in the Monsters inK series introduces 2 new characters, and usually a new setting, or a new slant on an old setting – such as the Monsters’ Building located in the renovated warehouse at Port Adelaide. The Monsters’ street now has many shops, owned by Monsters characters, or friends of the Monsters guys (such as Luigi the boot maker (a human) who makes customised boots, shoes, and stilettos for the guys and gals).

Maintaining control is not something new for me. I wear several writing “hats”: mainstream fantasy, romantic fantasy and futuristic. My latest romantic fantasy trilogy wip is now at 500,000 words, and that story pushed me hard to research and then keep track of all the myths, costumes, characterisations – every aspect of the world and culture I had created had to be recorded. It was too complicated to leave to memory.

As a fantasy writer I have always maintained character and location files, made maps, created costumes and props and written storyboards. For any writer, especially a series writer, these “tools” can be invaluable. I even have a dedicated room which I theme-convert when I’m writing those long, complicated series, or epic “stand alone” books. When I enter that room and see the props, my mind is immediately taken to the work in progress. My current theme-room has American civil war memorabilia—for 2 books I am planning.

But back to the Monsters… I did not envisage that my m/m series would need these controlling techniques, with the result that I overlooked some plot points, that only came to my attention when my reader asked me “what happened to the twins?” What twins? Oops. The sister of one of the guys was expecting—her gestation period ended up being the longest in human history. I had to explain away this “oversight” with a bit of creative time management. <g>

So, here are some of the tools I use to control the creative chaos: 

1. Storyboards.

Visual aids to highlight the peak plot moments of characters. Not unlike the storyboards that screenwriters use. They can resemble comic strip like action/character graphics. I also add props to these storyboards: maps, pieces of costume, photographs, etc.

© Igorius | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

2. Maps.

Can be hand-drawn (or software generated for the really complicated storylines) to show where characters are at any moment in the story.

Historically, fantasy books have elaborate world-building and maps show the created geography of these worlds (such as JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth, or George R Martin’s “Game of Thrones” series). Tolkien said: “I wisely started with a map and made the story fit…the other way about lands one in confusions and impossibilities.”

This is so true. For example, if an author were to create a world that has high mountains barring one land from the next, but the hero (or heroine) must traverse these mountains to save the world, then the character needs to set off prepared to face the rigours of the next stage of the journey—the author has to devise ways and means of that character getting provisions, clothing, transport to reach the new destination. Maps allow the author to prepare the journey—like a military campaign. To not be prepared will land the author (the worldbuilder), as Tolkien says, in “confusions and impossibilites”.

In my Monsters series, I have developed 3 independent sanctuaries for various groups of characters. Maps help me to remember where they are and what the topography is. I also mark on the maps any special areas of interest (such as the crystal deposits that the Monsters guys tap in to from time to time), and the location of Café Decadence and the location of the tarot shop, etc. Maps help create my world, and enhance it. The more I work on it, the more “real” it becomes—the more it becomes “possible”.

3. Time lines.

These help to keep track of who is where during each story and what is happening “off scene”, so that I can bring in events and not lose them in the layers of other events (such as the overlooked birth of the twins).

4. Character profile.

Each character (no matter how minor) has his, or her, profile page. Here is a sample.

Character profile

(remember to INSERT PICTURE OF CHARACTER from the front cover, or a photograph of a person that embodies your character – a movie star, model, or whomever)


















5. Book profile.

Each book cover is attached to this file, with the story outline (blurb, tag line) as well as the main characters and their physical descriptions. This allows quick reference for when I am writing the next book, should these previous story characters make a cameo appearance. I don’t have to spend time searching through the earlier books to find character descriptions.

These are my main tools. I prefer hard copy and I prefer to hand write. I pin up these pages on noticeboards in my office for works in progress, and on noticeboards/storyboards in my “spare” room, for works that I am planning, “brainstorming”, or researching.

Helping the reader or reviewer:

One lesson learnt—the hard way—in writing a series is to make sure that every book cover in the series clearly displays the title of the series and the book number. If a reader buys book 3 in the series and doesn’t know it is a series, then they aren’t going to be happy. The same is true for reviewers. I also list (in sequence) at the front of each book, all the titles in the series, as well as the characters. This alerts readers to the fact that this is a series, not a “stand alone”.

Catalysts for new works:

I am always on the look out for unusual location pictures and interesting people pictures. I store these in a file: these may be the catalyst for a new story. I see a lot of evocative pictures posted on FaceBook. Obviously, because of copyright, you can’t use these in your work, other than as “stimulation”, but a picture is literally worth a thousand words—or, in my case, two hundred thousand words (and counting).

By using tools to control the creative chaos, your imagination and energy can be directed to other facets of your writing: creating memorable scenes and characters.


Choice of an Astrid Cooper e-book; or a short one-on-one session with Astrid to create a scene.

Please find my books at Extasybooks

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