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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.

Saturday 25 April 2015

Darklight On... Rowena Cory Daniells

Today's Darklight On is... Rowena Cory Daniells
Welcome, Rowena

The Author’s Dilemma

We all grow as writers. The book we wrote fifteen years, five or last year is not written the way we would handle the same basic story today.

How much do you rewrite, when a book is reprinted?

The Fall of Fair Isle is a reprint of my original trilogy, and is being released as an omnibus. It tells the story of Imoshen, last of the old royal family of mystical T’En, and how she comes to terms with General Tulkhan when he invades her island kingdom. Intent on smoothing the transition of power, things become complicated for Imoshen when she learns that her once-betrothed, Reothe, has survived and he comes to her to help him reclaim Fair Isle. To who does she owe her loyalty?

The sale of this manuscript sale was the thing that took me from a published author of short stories and children’s books to an internationally published fantasy author. Back then I struggled to be a romance writer. Try as I might, I could not keep the narrative focus on the two main characters, I kept veering off into subplots and action.

This trilogy was written over a three year period and you can see from book one to book three that the focus of the story veers into a battle to save their island kingdom. In fact the ending of book three is not the original ending. I wrote a fourth book at the time and asked the publisher if they would be OK with a quadology instead of a trilogy. They said they wanted a trilogy so I had to come up with an ending to book three and put book four aside.

After book three sold out the publishers closed down the line and the editor moved on, leaving me ‘orphaned’ and book four in limbo. This happens and back then there were less opportunity for authors to self-publish.

Despite this setback, I kept writing using the history of the T’En that Imoshen discovered in book four as a basis for the world building of The Outcast Chronicles, which is set six hundred years earlier. I was intrigued by the idea that what we are told in the history books is a sanitised version of events.

After the success of King Rolen’s Kin and The Outcast Chronicles, my publishers came to me to ask if they could reprint my original trilogy. This raised some interesting problems as readers of The Outcast Chronicles would wonder at the apparent inconsistencies between this trilogy and the world building in Fall of Fair Isle. (Much mystical knowledge had been lost or deliberately hidden and Imoshen had to discover her gifts and uncover her people’s past). In the end I decided to insert a few hints from book four into the trilogy to explain the apparent discrepancies.

After fifteen years there is always the temptation to rewrite but apart from smoothing out a couple of sentences and inserting those clues as to the fate of the T’En, I let the books stand.

Hopefully, this will be enough to please both readers of the original trilogy and those who have read the prequel, The Outcast Chronicles. Has anyone been in a similar position with the re-print of an earlier edition and wondered how much tweaking to do, if any?

Rowena Cory Daniells

Thanks, Rowena 

Buy Links:  Rebellion Books  Booktopia
About the Author:  Website  Twitter

Wednesday 22 April 2015

What We Are Reading April Edition

So here we are in April, a quarter of the way through the year already (now THAT is a scary thought) and if you're anything like me, scouring the pantry for Easter chocolate your kids might have forgotten to eat.
Some of you may have noticed that March's edition of WWAR was a no-show... I'm very sad to say it got sucked into a black hole and is now being read by our alternative selves who exist in a parallel universe. Seriously though, my apologies - last month I was very deep under a writing rock, trying to get a manuscript finished and entirely forgot about it. But not to worry! Onwards to April...

From Kylie Griffin -

I've just finished reading CAPTIVE PRINCE #1 and PRINCE'S GAMBIT #2. There is a Bk#3 but not out yet (darn it!).

C.S.Pacat (a fellow Aussie author!!! woohoo!!!) writes an incredibly engrossing fantasy romance series with complex world-building, twisted political plots, tortured & tormented heroes, Damen & Laurent, whom you barrack for (it's a male/male FR for those unfamiliar with the series), and you get sucked right into their story.

You can't help but be dragged in right from the start when Damen is betrayed by his brother and handed over to be a slave to his enemy (although no one knows that Damen is a prince). Laurent (the enemy prince) is such a fascinating, layered character that you dislike and are intrigued by him at the same time.

I can't say any more without giving away plot spoilers but if you don't mind reading a male/male romance (Bk#1 isn't a romance but there's a LOT of character building and growth between Damen & Laurent) and if you like a gritty, complex fantasy romance then this series is for you.

Book #2 continues the incredible layers of political intrigue and manoeuvring, awesome world-building and complex character development, and there is a deepening of the friendship/relationship between the heroes. The romance is raw & heart-wrenching.

Be warned, Book #2 ends on a cliff-hanger, and leaves you wishing July would hurry up and arrive (release date for KINGS RISING #3).

This series is going on my keeper shelf.
As for myself, I've dabbled with a few things this month. I read Who Wants To Date A Superhero
Admittedly, I don't usually read erotic romances, they're just not my cup of tea, but I thought the premise to this book sounded interesting, kind of quirky and a fun read based on a reality show to date a superhero. 
This was really well written and I liked the author's style of writing, however I felt like the overall story was a bit up and down. Some bits I was really invested in and wanted to keep reading, but there was a few places the story lost me, and I actually put it aside and read another book in the meantime. If you're looking for a light, entertaining erotic romance read, then this book is perfect for that. If you're looking for something with more substance and depth, then this might not satisfy. I enjoyed this for what it was and will be getting the next book in the series because I'd like to know what happens to the other characters in the book.

I also read Homecoming, the third book in The 100 series. Now, I know I'm more invested in these books because of my love of the TV series and all things Bellarke (Bellamy and Clarke's relationship), and I think that if it wasn't for that, I may not have read these books at all. They were a little bit predictable, and despite the premise being unique, the characters and story arc didn't do anything to blow me away. 
In saying that, I ended up enjoying this 3rd book far more than I expected to. It was definitely the best book out of the three so far, because this time there were far less flashbacks and far less focus on the usual angsty teenage love stuff. We got more actual story and interactions with the others on the ground, plus we had a bad guy in Rhodes to hate and a secret villain revealed in the closing chapters. All in all, it was pretty good, with the romance complementing a stronger plot.My only real nit-pick? No sure why Finn is on the cover when he's not even in the book, and they killed him off in the TV series. Why isn't it Bellamy? Or did someone in the cover department make a huge mistake?
I'd like to hope there are going to be more books in the series simply so I can get my Bellarke fix, since the writers of the TV show don't seem to be moving in that direction, but I think I read somewhere that the author doesn't plan on writing any more. 

So that's it for another month. If you haven't already, I'd strongly recommend reading CS Pacat's book, and side note, she's going to be at the RWA conference this year!

- Jess Anastasi

Saturday 11 April 2015

Enchanted Orb with Claire Boston

For Enchanted Orb this week, Claire Boston is sharing a day in her writing life. Welcome Claire...

A day in the writing life of Claire Boston

My writing life has changed A LOT in the last six months. In September last year I was working full-time in a job that I’d been in for ten years. I got up at 5.15am every morning to get an hour of writing in before work and I would spend every second Friday writing all day (I worked a 9-day fortnight). Usually I tried to get a few hours of writing done on the weekend as well. I had one book published and another with my publisher and was wondering how I could possibly write fast enough to get a third book written by the end of the year.

Then I was called in to my manager’s office one day and given the news, “Your position is being made redundant.” As the surprise washed over me, I listened while he outlined the redundancy package and then said goodbye to my colleagues, packed up my things and went home.

I immediately saw an opportunity. I no longer had a full-time job, but the payout was enough that I didn’t have to race out and find a new one. I could write full-time for the rest of the year at least. I discussed it with my husband and we both decided that I wasn’t likely to get another chance like this. We decided I would write until the money ran out.

So grasping the chance I began book 3 of The Texan Quartet, wrote a dirty draft and then started on book 4. For me it’s the first draft that takes the longest. After it’s written, it’s much easier to edit in one hour blocks if necessary, so I wanted to get the drafts done while I had the time.

It didn’t take long to work out a routine. I still get up early – 5.30am to be precise. My husband and I hit the gym for an hour or so and then I get to my desk by 8.00am. I’ll write or edit until midday, take a break for lunch and then keep writing. Depending on my weekly work plan, I might stop mid-afternoon to work on marketing or some other aspect of the business. By that time my brain has been pretty much leached of all its creativity and I need to do something else.

It’s been an incredible shift of focus for me and I feel so lucky to have this chance. In the six months I’ve been writing full-time I’ve written two books, received a three book contract, done copyedits for a book, started a blog and done a lot of business training. My latest novel, All That Sparkles, is being released on 23 April. You can pre-order it here http://momentumbooks.com.au/books/all-that-sparkles-the-texan-quartet/



Imogen Fontaine is living every girl's dream.

She is a fashion designer for her family's haute couture label, lives in a mansion, has a great circle of friends and is the apple of her father's eye. Everything is perfect.

Until the day that Christian, the boy at the center of her childhood heartbreak, walks back into her life.

From there her life starts to unravel, as long-kept secrets are revealed. Imogen learns that her past was built on lies and betrayal, shattering the illusion of her perfect existence. She must seek out the truth if she has any hope of forging a new path for herself and discovering true freedom.

But can she convince Christian that there is a place for him in her new life?
Claire Boston is on a blog tour all of April:

About Claire:

Claire Boston was a voracious reader as a child, devouring anything by Enid Blyton as well as series such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley High. Then one school holidays when she’d run out of books to read, her mum handed her ‘Hot Ice’ by Nora Roberts and she instantly fell in love with romance novels.

The love of reading soon turned to a love of writing and Claire struggled to keep within the 1500 word limit set by her teachers for any creative writing assignments. When she finally decided to become serious about her stories, she joined Romance Writers of Australia, found her wonderful critique group and hasn’t looked back.

When Claire’s not reading or writing she can be found in the garden attempting to grow vegetables, or racing around a vintage motocross track. If she can convince anyone to play with her, she also enjoys cards and board games.

Claire lives in Western Australia, just south of Perth, with her husband, who loves even her most annoying quirks, and her grubby, but adorable Australian bulldog.
Where you can find Claire:

Thursday 2 April 2015

Magic Thursday with Jenny Schwartz

My collection of steampunk and paranormal romance, Indulge, has a new cover, so I'm celebrating by giving it away free. Grab your copy now!

There are a number of cool stories in this collection. In "Fantasy Man" I've mixed the glamour of old Hollywood with a modern day Fantasy Man and the myth of the minotaur. Fabulous fun and genuine romance. Enjoy!
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DarkSide DownUnder's book lists (dsdu-books shelf)