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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 29 May 2014

Magic Thursday ~ Let's Hear It For The Boys

The DarkSiders write romance so they must all be women, right? Wrong. 

We do have men in our ranks. Today I talk to both J.M. Bray (an American DarkSider) and Daniel de Lorne (an Australian DarkSider living in Canada).

Welcome Gentlemen! Thanks for taking the hot seat and talking to me today.

First of all, how did you come to write romance? 

J.M.: By accident! I’d written a Fantasy Novel (Tearing the Shroud) and was querying it as that. While it is a Fantasy there’s also has a strong love story…in fact just about everything in the novel revolves around some form of love. I see that now, but when I wrote the novel I just wrote the story that was there and didn’t realise the strength of the love aspect. When Kate Cuthbert at Escape Publishing told me they wanted to release it as a Romantic Fantasy, the light clicked on for me.

Daniel: I just sort of fell into it. I'm not a big reader of romance fiction. I like paranormal and fantasy fiction, but being gay, I want to read about gay relationships. Because of that most paranormal or fantasy fiction that has a gay storyline tends to be classed as romance. Maybe eventually that will change. Until then I'm happy writing paranormal stories with romantic elements (and hot men).

(Eleni: I'm with you on the hot men!)

Was it daunting at all? 

Daniel: Not really. What it comes down to is I do this for me. What is daunting is putting anything creative out there and then, once it is, watching the reviews come in. At the moment I'm a bit worried about future books and whether they'll fit within the genre. I'm recognising that as just "fear of the blank page" in another guise. 

J.M.: Not really, because I’d stumbled into it. Book two of the Shroud Trilogy, Mending the Shroud, definitely was. There are certain expectations readers have in any genre and while I knew the Fantasy marks to hit, I had to learn the romantic tropes. Thank God for critique partners and a beyond patient editor! 

(Eleni: there's nothing like a great CP.)


Was it daunting to put yourself out there as a romance writer when 95% of the romance writers are women? 

J.M.:Somewhat. In one respect, people are people, with various capacities to love, lust and lose, but in another there are times when I feel out of place. Not that the women writers are doing anything intentionally to cause it, quite the opposite, they’ve been very welcoming. However, if we just look at your statistic…when you are part of the 5% minority, sometimes you feel like a radish among a bouquet of white roses.

(Eleni: haha, not really a scientific statistic - something I extrapolated. That is, I guessed.)

Daniel: I didn't think too much about it to be honest. I just wanted to get out there. I know I'm the odd man out (no pun intended) but it's not worth worrying about.

Have you experienced any prejudice toward you from other writers or readers? 

Daniel:  None. And the support I've gotten from being a member of Romance Writers of Australia has been great, and I think a good buffer too. All the other authors I talk to have been really supportive as well. 

J.M.: While I’ve found the occasional prejudicial comment or blog post about male writers in romance, none of it has ever been directed at me personally. The community has greeted me with open arms. 

Daniel, you were the only man at the RWA conference in 2010. What was the strangest experience of that conference? J.M., have you had any experience where you were the only man at conference? 

J.M.: Being in the US with my publisher based in Australia has certain challenges. So, I’ve yet to attend a conference, but I’m looking forward to it. 

(Eleni: well worth the trip AND you get to meet so many of the DarkSiders)

Daniel:  Being asked to be interviewed by a journo from the Sydney Morning Herald. I went through with it but I was nervous, being relatively new to the organisation and the romance genre. I got a request from a publisher out of it though, so that was definitely worth it. Just being there was a lot of fun and it did feel a bit like being a rock star. I've made some great connections in RWA because of it too. 

(Eleni: I remember that, Daniel. Talk about pressure.)

What is the advantage of being a man who writes romance?

Daniel:  I'm not sure there's much of an advantage. Having a "male" perspective might help a bit with writing from a male's point of view, but that's problematic anyway. How do you define a man? And on the flipside, it kind of infers that I couldn't write female characters because I don't have the right bits. The best we can all hope for is authenticity in how it all comes out and it doesn't take body parts to do that, just a bit of insight. 

(Eleni: Good point, Daniel.)

J.M.: In writing, I believe it’s my perspective as a man. In general, I prefer the company of women, so I feel right at home.

Of course, you don’t only write romance, but are also paranormal writers. What attracted you to this subgenre? 

J.M.: My reading life. I cut my teeth on fantast, sci-fi and horror. Books are a place of retreat for me, a chance to lose myself. If the story centers on things beyond normal reality, that escape becomes easier. When I write, my mind defaults to something fantastic for the same reason. 

Daniel: I've always had an interest in the paranormal, even since I was little. I like creating characters and worlds that operate out of the ordinary. I find it fun and a bit of break from real life.

Does your other half support your writing romance? 

Daniel:  Absolutely. He's waiting for me to sell a million copies so he can retire (like that's ever going to happen). He's happy when I'm happy, so yes, I get a lot of support from him. He's the one who tells new people we meet that I'm an author, whereas I haven't quite settled into calling myself that yet. Luckily he really enjoyed Beckoning Blood or else there'd be trouble. 

(Eleni: LOL - I think we all have people in our lives who are going to retire on our earnings from writing)

J.M.: Completely. She claims it’s impossible for me not to write romance because according to her I’m, ‘the most romantic man in the world.’ Yeah… I’m a lucky man.

(Eleni: awwww)

What is the most memorable thing you yourself have done in the name of romance?

Daniel:  That would have to be my marriage proposal. I'm not all that romantic in every day life but I organised a very memorable proposal (it involved giraffes and zebras) which left my partner speechless and more than a little pissed off that I'd pipped him to the post. 

(Eleni: Love that, Daniel! and the competitiveness)

J.M.: The most? That’s tough. I’ll let you chose from a short list: Taking her out for a Saturday morning drive then heading to Las Vegas instead (I’d packed clothes without her knowing). Having a ruby ring, perched on a chocolate dipped strawberry, served by flight attendants on a jet to France. Arranging a surprise renewing of wedding vows on our 25th anniversary. Hmm, maybe I am romantic. 

(Eleni: Maybe? I think that's a definite, J.M.!)

Many female authors have their celebrity ‘go-tos’ for manspiration - e.g. Richard Armitage, Gerard Butler, Henry Cavill, Colin Firth. Can you share your inspiration? 

J.M.:  I’m going to go with femspiration if that’s ok. Monica Bellucci…mmmhmm.
(Eleni: more than okay)

Daniel: I've noticed that I don't spend much time on descriptions in my writing so while I sometimes pick an actor or model in the beginning, I rarely refer back to them. I also don't want to get the actor (or their character) mixed up with my character. BUT give me Chris Hemsworth, Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Hiddleston any day.

The quickie questions...

Star Trek or Star Wars

J.M.: Star Wars (Which I saw as a teen in the theatre the week it released.) 

Daniel: If you put a gun to my head, Star Trek. Only because I don't think I've ever seen all the Star Wars all the way through. 

(Eleni: now we don't want to be putting guns to anyone's heads.)

The Simpsons or Family Guy?

J.M.:Simpsons. Doh!

Daniel:  Love both but I grew up with The Simpsons 

Dogs or Cats? 

J.M.: Dogs

Daniel:  Cats 

Twitter or Facebook? 

J.M.: Twitter

Daniel: Facebook

Plotter or Pantser? 

J.M.: Pantser 

Daniel: Pantser

(Eleni: Pantsers unite!)

PS or Wii? 

J.M.: Pffft… Xbox One! 

(Eleni: hahaha - oops left that out didn't i, says she of the not so knowledgable about game consoles)

Daniel: Ummmm...PS. Because of Singstar (not that I've got a PS or any console)
(Eleni: does that mean you're a karaoke fan?)

Wonder Woman or Cat Woman? 

J.M.: Cat Woman

Daniel: Cat Woman

(Eleni: I'm a Wonder Woman girl myself)

Superman or Thor? 
J.M.: For the movie, Superman. The comic Thor (though who I REALLY liked was Elektra!) 

Daniel: Oh geez. Which incarnation of Superman? I'll go for Thor, because he's big and dumb. 

and finally,  what is your dream car?

J.M.: A street legal, race prepped, 2012 Porsche Cayman R with the 3.4L engine Macadamia Metallic paint with matching interior. That said, I race a ’87 Porsche 924S that I know gives me as many smiles per mile as the Cayman would.

(Eleni: you speed racer, you.)

Daniel: Aston Martin, shaken not stirred.

(Eleni: classic car)

Thanks very much to you both! Was great getting to chat and learning more about you two.


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.

Connect with J.M.:

Mending the Shroud - coming 1st July 2014

The second in the fresh, exciting romantic fantasy Shroud trilogy takes up where Tearing the Shroud leaves off – with the lives, the loves, and the mythical world beyond our own.

After accepting bodily possession and saving the world, Vincent thought his life would get easier. He thought wrong.

The Shroud may not have torn wide open, but it did tear a little, and the retribution for the failure is coming hard, fast, and directly at Vincent and the people he loves.

His only hope is to once again accept possession from Coleman and do battle with the deformed, terrifying Kafla. But this time, he's not alone. Jule, the woman he loves and hopes to marry, is possessed as well, and together the four of them become a formidable team.

Together they hope to stave off the invasion and take the fight to the Realm, but only a supreme sacrifice can mend the Shroud and save both their lives and their worlds. 

Daniel de Lorne writes mostly about the loves and trials of hot and sexy paranormal men – and creatures. He grew up in Perth, Western Australia, and developed a fascination for the mythical and magical early on. Daniel wrote stories from a young age but it was high school biology class he remembers fondly as providing an excellent cover for writing stories that were filled with teen angst and fantastical creatures. He now lives in Canada with his partner. It was while in this great northern frontier that Escape Publishing accepted his first book, Beckoning Blood, for publication.

For a free read, introducing you to the “heroes” of Daniel’s book, head to his website at www.danieldelorne.com/the-boys.

Connect with Daniel:

Beckoning Blood - out now

A gripping, blood‐drenched saga about twin brothers, the men they love, and the enduring truth that true love never dies – no matter how many times you kill it.

Thierry d’Arjou has but one escape from the daily misery of his work at a medieval abattoir – Etienne de Balthas. But keeping their love a secret triggers a bloody chain of events that condemns Thierry to a monstrous immortality. Thierry quickly learns that to survive his timeless exile, he must hide his sensitive heart from the man who both eases and ensures his loneliness...his twin brother.

Shaped by the fists of a brutal father, Olivier d’Arjou cares for only two things: his own pleasure and his twin. But their sadistic path through centuries is littered with old rivals and new foes, and Olivier must fight for what is rightfully his – Thierry, made immortal just for him.

Buy links

| Escape Publishing |  Kindle (Aus) |  iBooks |  Kobo | Nook | 


  1. Thanks so much for having us over. :-) The questions were incredibly fun!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it J.M. I loved reading more about the two of you.

  2. Thanks, Eleni, for the fabulous interview, and thanks JM & Daniel, for participating. It was great to peek inside the fascinating minds of a couple of our male Darksiders who write exceptional works.

    1. totally agree, Cher. and I'm glad you enjoyed it!


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