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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 23 June 2018

Darklight On ... Bernadette Rowley

Today's Darklight On is .. Bernadette Rowley,

Welcome, Bernadette

How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?
I was always going to write speculative fiction. I was introduced to the genre when I was a young teen in the form of The Sword of Shannara. I fell in love with epic fantasy and the quest and have been hooked ever since. Apart from The Quest, I love the growing into power themes often found in fantasy. Also the stories are generally in series and as far as I’m concerned, if I love the characters, I want the story to never end.

Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?

When I began writing, I was definitely a pantser but now I would say I’m in between. I do a loose outline based on story structure and have a sense of how the story will flow and broadly what will happen, before I start. However, the scenes don’t usually flow as I expect them to and sometimes the characters surprise me. Occasionally, as with my last book, a dragon pops up from nowhere and inserts himself in the story.

Do you have a favourite of your characters?

One of my favourite characters is Vard Anton from Princess Avenger and Princess in Exile. He’s a shape shifter and can transform into bear, wolf and hawk. He’s such an interesting man and so sexy and capable but flawed as well.

Then there’s sorceress Katrine from The Master and the Sorceress. She’s flamboyant and reckless but has so much integrity and is a super strong woman. I love her too.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a spin off from The Elf King’s Lady called Elf Princess Warrior. This continues the story of the elven conflict with the humans which was explored in Elf King. The heroine is elf Gwaethe Arenil whose people are embroiled in a civil war. She wants peace with the humans of the kingdom but there is an elven faction that wants to take back kingdom lands at all costs. Gwaethe has developed feelings for army captain, Jacques Vorasava, so you can imagine that is a tricky romance to conduct.

What is your favourite part of the process of writing? 

I love editing. Writing the first draft is sometimes like pulling teeth, although some scenes write themselves—I find these contain my best prose. However, I enjoy the whole editing process—love taking my words and adding polish and sparkle to them.

What can we expect from Bernadette Rowley in the future?

In future you can expect more fantasy romance from the world of Thorius. I have a lot of loose ends to tie up there. Also, I would dearly love to keep working on my space opera series. It’s quite unique and I have two out of nine books completed. I believe it would find a keen audience—so look out for a genre change!

Who are your favourite authors?

The authors who have influenced my writing most are Raymond Feist, David Eddings and Robert Jordan- they are all fabulous authors who write/wrote epic fantasy sagas.
Current favourite authors are Marie Force, who writes contemporary romance/romantic suspense and CJ Archer who writes historical fantasy.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading CJ Archer’s ‘Evermore’ which is book 3 in her Emily Chambers Spirit Medium trilogy. CJ is an Australian Indie author who has several brilliant series. I can highly recommend them.

Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or TV series?

Funny you should ask. Dr Who is my all time favourite spec fic series, especially the series with David Tennant and Matt Smith. I also love Game of Thrones and am eagerly awaiting Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series adaptation to television.

Do you have advice for emerging writers? 

Write, write, write. Also write what you know and love- it helps you create more vibrant worlds.


Thanks,  Bernadette!

You can find Bernadette here:

Her latest book is The Master and the Sorceress

Desperate sorceress, Katrine Aranati, no longer knows how to deal with the woman she has become. She runs headlong into a man whose heart’s desire is order and control. James Tomel, master jeweler, is outwardly a pillar of society but he hides more than one dangerous secret.

When they are thrown together on a trip to Brightcastle, fierce creatures from legend pursue them but even more dangerous are the feelings swirling between them. When their hearts and bodies come together, one will flee while the other demands an accounting. Can they find common ground where their love will flourish or will secrets and betrayal kill all hope of a life together?

Find out if love and chaos can defeat order and control in the fourth exciting instalment of the Wildecoast Saga.

Buy links:  Amazon  Kobo  ibooks  Smashwords

Thursday 14 June 2018

Marie Dry Shares a Chapter from her Latest Release

In a bleak future, where government systems are breaking down and poverty and violence reign, on an abandoned farm in Montana, Susannah had a simple plan. She’d capture an alien, sell him to the resistance, and use the money to save her son.

Instead, Susannah had an arrogant alien trapped in a pit who acted as if she was the prisoner. He wanted to kill her dog and insisted she should care for the wound he sustained when he fell into the pit she dug to trap him. On top of that, she had no way to know if the resistance got her message. Every day that passed, she doubted her decision to hand Azagor over to the resistance.

But her son, her baby, was being held by people who considered him unclean because he was conceived out of wedlock—and time was running out.

Read on for a sneak peak at the first chapter of Alien Captured.


Chapter 1

usannah slammed the trapdoor over the crudely dug pit she’d caught her enemy in. “I’ve got you now, devil, you won’t be haunting innocent women in these mountains again,” she crowed. She caught a glimpse of a stick protruding from a muscled green shoulder as the door slid in place with a metal screech.
The trapdoor was designed to slide over the pit with a lock to keep prisoners in. The lock slid easily in place, and she frowned down at it. Did it used to be this clean or easy to slide over the pit? She shrugged. There wasn’t time to think about it now. From inside the pit, something scraped against the dirt wall and a growl rumbled up from the depths of the dark hole.
Susannah inched out of his sight, half convinced the devil would try to climb out. He might be trapped inside the pit, but he could reach through the gaps in the trapdoor and grab her.
“Female.” He sure didn’t sound human.
Susannah sank down on her knees and cautiously crawled to the edge of the pit, trying to see in without the creature inside noticing. Pebbles scraped her knees through her heavy black dress that kept tripping her. “Kick off, already.” She whispered the forbidden words defiantly.
Brother Joseph had said it was a sin to use those words, but she couldn’t see how it was a sin to say the same thing with different words. And she wouldn’t feel guilty for wishing the monster dead.
“Show yourself, human.”
Again, goose bumps spread over her body. His voice, from inside the pit, sounded like a shovel when she shoved it into the dry rocky ground on the east of the farm. It scraped over her skin, invaded her body. It should make her want to run away screaming, but instead she leaned closer to hear more.
She shook off the strange feelings and answered him. “Why should I?”
Never before had she dared be this openly defiant and it was good. Blood rushed through her veins. Large green hands gripped the iron grid she’d locked over the pit and shook it. For one horrendous moment, she thought he would break through the iron. She’d dug the pit deeper, day after day, until she thought her arms would fall off. And this green man with the horn on his head could still reach it.
Susannah jerked upright. Her heart hammered so hard she couldn’t hear her own ragged breathing or any of the everyday noises on the farm. She breathed deep until most of the panic subsided. His hands had disappeared inside the pit again, and she sagged. She’d thought for sure he’d break that door and get to her.
“I said show yourself,” he ordered again. He spoke English with a slight accent, his rough voice grating against her nerves. She’d believed that he was a demon come to haunt her when he appeared before her almost four years ago. Then last year, Caine, a brother who moved from farm to farm, had told them about the aliens. She wouldn’t presume to know better than Caine, the man she’d come to love, but she couldn’t see how an alien that supposedly came from high up in the sky, could speak her language like this one did.
“Don’t order me around, ungodly creature.” This time it would be different. No one would punish her for seeing him like they did four years ago when he’d appeared before her. Instead, she’d use him to get off this farm and find Noah. She fisted her hands in the clumps of grass growing sparsely all over the farm. It had cost her everything, and he had no right to talk to her in that know-it-all way. Ghostly little legs crawled over her skin, and she tightened her grip on the grass blades until her knuckles ached. It was over, the whippings, the punishments in the pit with the creatures coming at night to crawl into her hair and over her body, the endless sermons. She still woke at night, her body sore from her frantic slapping at creatures that came out at night, in her dreams, to crawl all over her with scratchy little paws. She brushed her hand over her braided hair and then forced herself to stop, to lower her hand and rest it on her knee. No insects crawled over her.
An exaggerated sigh from inside the pit. The rough ground scraping against her knees, she carefully crawled closer and peered over the edge of the hole. Straight into eyes that looked exactly the way she always thought evil satanic eyes would look. Her body vibrated, as if she’d hit an unyielding rock with a pick axe. Those eyes had haunted her dreams. He stared up at her out of a face with sharp cheekbones, a big jaw. All those years ago, when he’d suddenly appeared before her, she’d been too scared to notice anything beyond the fact that he was green and large with unholy red eyes. She’d thought him evil incarnate, the devil come to take her for her sins, and had run screaming. She gripped the edge of the trapdoor until her nails tore. If only she hadn’t screamed. If she could go back and change her reactions that fateful day, maybe she’d still have Noah.
“I am wounded female.” He sprawled against the dirt wall of the pit, like a brother newly given his own farm and women to supervise.
He wore a silver uniform, but the skin on his hands, neck, and face were green and gold. It reminded her of the skin of the snake Joseph showed them once when he did a sermon on the serpent in paradise. The being in front of her had the evil beauty that fascinated and repelled at the same time. Worse than those eyes were the horn growing out of his head and into his forehead. She’d never thought demons existed, but that horn almost convinced her. Her demon. No matter that Caine said he was an alien, in her mind she’d called him that ever since that day he’d appeared and destroyed her life.
During one of his trips to the farm, after they’d become close, Caine had given her a TC. A wonderful box with a button you pressed, and then moving images of wondrous things appeared. Next to the gifts from her mother, that was the best thing she’d ever been given. She’d kept it hidden from the others. It told her about the aliens, and still, in her mind, she called him a demon. He’d appeared to her that one time, long ago. One moment she was alone and the next he stood in front of her. Big and mean and glaring at her with red eyes straight from hell.
That was when Brother Joseph’s punishments had gotten worse. Turned more evil than this alien creature. He’d drawn the others into his hatred for her. A hatred that never made sense to her. How could you hate someone because of the shape of their eyes?
After that time four years ago, the evil red-eyed creature never showed himself again. But she knew he watched. Had felt his gaze burn over her. Branding her. She didn’t dare mention this to the others, but she feared the creature wanted her. That he wanted to have relations with her.
She’d almost gotten used to feeling his gaze on her every few days when, a year ago, he’d disappeared. She didn’t even want to admit it to herself, but she’d almost missed feeling his presence. Then, last month, her personal demon had returned. She never saw him, but she knew he was there. Watching her. Always watching her.
Caine had told her that aliens came from the sky and claimed they now ruled Earth. The brothers who ran the farms in Montana didn’t recognize outside authority and had ignored the fact that aliens now walked on Earth. She didn’t know if she believed anyone could fly through space in something like a car. Even if it had wings, she didn’t think it could fly that high. And how did they breathe up there? The only reason she discounted Brother Josephatus’s theory, that they crawled out of hell, was that she refused to agree with the man who took Noah from her. About anything.
She frowned down at her prisoner. “Your wounds are not my concern.” He was frighteningly big, but not close to the size the alien on the TC had been. That one had easily gripped a human in one ugly claw.
“Are you a baby alien?” Was it right to keep a baby alien trapped? Even a scary looking one? It was difficult to judge with him sitting down, but she thought maybe he’d grown since she last saw him.
The alien jerked upright from being hunched over. He didn’t look wounded or weak anymore, even with the blood stained stick protruding from his shoulder. The breakfast she didn’t have scrambled in her stomach. Death stared up at her out of acidic eyes.
“You call me an infant?” He reminded her of the way coals smoldered red when you blew on them. She should’ve dug the pit deeper. Her muscles still ached from climbing in and out of the hole, clutching a bucket of dirt, for hours every day. It was ironic. The pit, where she’d spent so much time being punished, meant she was lucky that she had an existing pit to use. If only she’d dug it much deeper.
“You’re smaller than the alien on the TC, the ones that ate the humans.” The Lord help her if he was a baby alien. What if he grew some more while she waited to hand him over and the trap wouldn’t hold him anymore.
The alien slammed his head back against the dirt wall, and she winced. Whatever rumbled in his chest didn’t bode well for her.
He straightened, seeming unaware of the stick protruding from his shoulder. Did demons, no aliens, even feel pain? “Zyrgins do not eat humans.” He managed to convey his low opinion of her intelligence.
He might say they didn’t, but she didn’t have to believe him. “How fast do you grow?”
“I. Am not. A baby.” He thumped his head against the dirt wall with each word. His neck arched and veins and muscles moved under his tough looking skin. She’d never seen anyone so muscled. Not even the Space Ranger she’d seen on the TC before it broke.
She leaned over farther, grabbing her long black braid before it could hang down into the pit. “If you’re not a baby, how come you’re so small? And you’ve grown since that first time you came here.” She’d thought this one scary big that day, until she’d seen that horrendous monster eating a human. She shuddered. Blood and pieces of meat had flown everywhere when the alien had bit off a human’s head. Crunching on the head with big spiky teeth.
He seemed at a loss for words. His mouth opened and closed a few times, and he eyed the trap door in a way that caused her heartbeat to go all crazy again. “I just came out of my third change,” he gritted out.
She had the strong impression that he wanted to keep thumping his head against the wall. Or jump out and choke her. She eyed the steel grid. Parts of it were rusted. Even if he was a baby, he was still bigger than her. Who knew how strong their young were? “I don’t know what you mean by your third change.”
He glared up at her. “We go through three changes and shed our skins.”
She recoiled. “Like a snake?”
He bared long ugly incisors, and she recoiled farther.
“I am a grown Zyrgin warrior.” He snarled at her, and she retreated far enough that she could still see him, but not so close that he could jump and grab her through the grid.
He was trapped, she reminded herself. She was safe from those teeth. She hoped. “I saw one of you eat a human with my own eyes. He held a man in his claw. So if you’re not a baby how come you’re not big enough to hold someone in your hand?” Never in her life did she expect to see something that awful. She was lucky she’d run into a smaller alien all those years ago, or she might’ve been eaten. At least it would’ve been over with quick. Joseph’s punishments had been never ending.
She inched forward again and peaked over the rim of the hole. This alien sitting in the pit of atonement, muscled arms over his massive chest, fascinated her as much as he scared her. He was built a lot different than human men. Even the space ranger didn’t have that many muscles. Everywhere on his body, they bulged and rippled, and she had to remind herself that evil sometimes came disguised as beauty. Because, despite his snake -like skin and evil eyes, he had a wild, almost hypnotic beauty.
She’d dug the pit deeper and planted sharpened sticks at the bottom. One of the sharpened spears had gone deep into his shoulder. Her stomach turned. It had to be painful. He slouched down every now and then, and she had the awful feeling he had to remind himself to appear weak and wounded. “Where did you see a giant Zyrgin eat a human?” he asked her. He absently wiggled the stick in the wound.
Susannah’s stomach turned again when blood spurted out of the wound. She gritted her teeth. She wouldn’t feel sympathy, she wouldn’t. Because of him, Brother Josephatus had put her in the pit of atonement. What was wrong with the alien? Didn’t he feel pain? And why did he act as if she didn’t know anything that happened in the world?
“On the TC.” It was strange, being able to admit that she had a TC without fear of punishment. It showed this creature that she was modern and informed and not a backward person. Before it stopped working, the TC had been a treasure trove of information about the outside world. She’d been inconsolable when it just died. After everything had been taken from her, it had felt as if she was left naked and bruised.
Another savage noise from his chest, and she inched back a bit. “That was resistance propaganda,” he said, managing to sound as if he knew everything and she said only silly things.
“I saw an ugly green alien that looked just like you, only bigger, grab a human and bite off his head. How can the resistance lie about that?” She tapped her forefinger against the trapdoor. “Tell me that, Mr. Clever Green Demon.”
He stared up at her, and she had the impression he was at a loss for words.
“I would’ve preferred to live the rest of my life without seeing that creature bite of a human head.” She shuddered again. “How can you keep eating with blood spurting everywhere?” She didn’t know which was worse, all the blood or the headless body that was still kicking in that awful claw. She swallowed the bile rising in her throat. It had sucked the blood out of the decapitated human’s neck. “Crunching heads with your teeth is disgusting.”
“You know about the resistance?”
“Everyone knows of them.” He didn’t have to act as if she didn’t know anything about the outside world. In the short time she’d had the TC, she’d learned a lot.
He relaxed slightly, leaning back against the dirt wall. Blood oozed out of his wound. He had red blood, like a human. Did that mean he was one of God’s creatures? Was she evil because she was determined not to get close enough to him to care for his wound?
“The resistance created those films using TC generated images.”
She frowned. Didn’t want to admit she didn’t know what generated images meant.
He narrowed his eyes and clarified. “It wasn’t real, those were drawings that moved, not real Zyrgins and humans.”
She planted her palms on the ground and leaned slightly over the rim to mock. “Drawings that look like real people. That move? Only a baby would believe something like that.” How gullible did he think she was?
He stared up at her, and again she had the feeling he didn’t know what to say to her. He didn’t even react to being called a baby.
“How do you know about the resistance, but not TC generated images?”
There was something in his voice, some emotion, and—so help her—if it was pity, she’d put back all the dirt she’d dug out of the pit and bury him alive.
“Caine told me about the resistance.” He’d shown her a way to contact them, but the alien didn’t need to know this. She rubbed her chest. She missed Caine and Noah so much. What did she do wrong? Was she such a terrible person that she had to be punished like this?
He didn’t move, the only physical sign of rage was the way his eyes glowed like red hot coals. But it emanated from him in a wave so strong, she shuffled back, ignoring the rocks digging into her knees through the heavy fabric of her dress. “Who. Is. Caine?” His voice was so rough she could barely make out the words.
“No one that needs concern you.” She visited his grave every day, but she couldn’t stand the thought of Caine in the cold hard earth. When she stood there, her heart aching, her arms empty, she pretended that he stood with her. Alive and talking to her. Telling her amazing things about the outside world. Assuring her that they’d get Noah back.
“I will find out,” the alien said, and it was a threat. He pointed to the cheese squashed into the ground when he fell. It lay inside the sizable dent his body had made on the floor of the pit when he fell in. “Why was there cheese on one of the sticks?”
“It was to lure you into the hole you evil…Satan.” It had been a huge sacrifice. Her food stores were depleted, and the soil wasn’t yielding anything anymore.
“You think we Satans eat cheese?” The evil pest dared to mock her after everything he’d cost her.
“It worked, didn’t it? You’re trapped in the hole like a rat in a trap.”
He moved, as if he would get up and break through the iron grid. “Do not ever again call me a rat.”
Keeping a wary eye on him, she smirked. It was heady to have the upper hand for a change. “I will call you whatever I want. You’re my prisoner, and you can’t stop me, rat.” She leaned closer. “Rat, double rat.”
He thumped his head against the wall of the pit. Several times. Strange grating sounds coming out of his mouth.
“Are you speaking your language when you make those strange growly noises?” She liked being like this, in charge and not afraid to taunt a dangerous being.
He stilled and nailed her again with those eyes that were sometimes black and then glowed red in an unholy concoction.
“We call ourselves Zyrgins and, yes, that was my language. A language so complicated that no other race has ever managed to speak it.”
If only she had a gun. “Are you calling me stupid?”
It was the one thing she’d promised herself when the others left her behind. Never again would she allow anyone to call her stupid or treat her like she was.
He looked up at her for a long time. She could almost feel his gaze like a physical touch on her head scarf, her face and for the longest time her breasts that were, thankfully, properly covered by her dress. Again, she had the feeling that he understood much more about her than she was comfortable with. “No, my…no, female, I would never call you that. I would kill anyone that dared call you stupid.”
“When you came here all those years ago, why did you appear in front of me and not the other women?” Every time Joseph put her in the pit, when the lashes fell on her back, when they took her baby, that’s what she wanted to ask. Why her?
“I did not choose them.”
“Choose for what exactly?” She scowled at him. When he’d appeared in front of her, out of thin air and she’d screamed and ran, she’d made the second biggest mistake of her life and told the others she’d seen the devil. Even before then, her life had not been easy among the cousins, on account of her being different. But after that, Brother Josephatus had said she was touched by evil and that she should be punished until the evil was purged. Life had become hell. She’d thought it was hell until they took Noah from her.
“I chose you for my—” The alien hesitated, as if he tried to hide something from her. “I chose you as my woman,” he said at last.
She scrambled back, away from his words, her dress trapped beneath her knees, hindering her. Deep inside, where she didn’t want to acknowledge it, she’d known. Even so, it still shocked her that such a creature would want to, want to….
She couldn’t even think the words in her mind.
She jerked her dress out from under her and then leaned forward again. At this rate, she’d wear out her knees. “Never say such a thing again, you ungodly creature. I would never commit such a sin.” She shuddered to think of the punishments the others would mete out for something like that. They might have left her behind, but if she did that, they’d come back especially to punish her.
The silence stretched as they tried to outstare each other. His gaze burned her, and she had to blink. He didn’t. “Your eyes are ugly,” she blurted.
He thumped his head again, harsh sounds coming out of his mouth. At last, he stilled and visibly calmed himself. “I am aware of your beliefs. The human woman who…belongs to my leader explained it to me.”
“One of you took a human woman?” That poor woman. How could she have relations with such a big…
Her mind wouldn’t go there. It was a good thing she decided to capture this one. Who knew what he would’ve done to her if he walked around loose?
“Are you sure you’re fully grown?”
He was big, but if his leader was his size at least the human woman he kept captive wouldn’t be torn apart during relations. Nothing would convince her that the woman went to the creature of her own free will. Tiredness settled on Susannah’s shoulders. After she’d found Noah, she’d have to try and find a way to help the poor woman. She couldn’t live with herself otherwise. Then she’d settle somewhere the brothers would never find her, and, hopefully, life wouldn’t be a struggle every day.
“Yes, I’m fully grown,” he said, long suffering.
“I will not be your—your woman. Your skin is like a snake’s. You must be some kind of unholy reptile. It would be a sin to have relations with you.” She bit her lip. She wouldn’t judge the woman their leader had taken. After she’d found a way to rescue her, Susannah would explain to her that she couldn’t help what was done to her and couldn’t be held accountable for the sin. If her relatives wouldn’t accept her back, Susannah would let her stay with her and Noah.
The alien’s skin changed, the green striations faded, until his skin turned a beautiful copper. “Does my skin please you now?”
“How did you do that, what are you?” In the weak light shining into the pit, his skin glowed, like Cousin Esther’s prized copper pot. The copper shine and the way his uniform bulged with well-developed muscles was oddly beautiful. Maybe Brother Josephatus was right. Maybe she was a woman of sin.
“Only a warrior can change his skin, it should please you that you were chosen by one.”
“The only thing about you that pleases me is that you are safely captured.” Blood oozed out of his wound again, and she sighed. “I will bring you some disinfectant and bandages for your wound.” She couldn’t ignore the fact that he must be in pain and getting weak from blood loss. But, he’d changed his skin color.
“Finally, you react the way my—b—woman should. You will look after my wound and sponge me down when the fever comes?”
She scowled at him. “I’m not coming down there. I’ll drop down what you need, and you can do it yourself.”
He made a low growly sound that scraped over her skin, and nothing could get her to say it out loud, but he was strangely beautiful, sitting on the dirt, his throat arched, those eyes staring at her.
“You are a most unnatural human female.”
I’m unnatural? Who’s the freak with the green skin around here?” A freak that could change it from green and gold to copper.
“A normal female would want to bathe my warrior body when the fever comes.” He ignored her reference to his green skin.
“Are your kind prone to fevers?” She needed to keep him alive until they came for him. Fevers were tricky, she’d seen two cousins die from it, but she didn’t dare go down there.
“Are you about to kick off, is that why you think you’ll get a fever?” she asked and didn’t know if maybe she should hope for that. She could just hand over his body. She rubbed the sturdy cotton covering her chest. The thought of this strangely compelling creature dead made her heart ache.
“Kick off?”
“You wish me dead, female?” He was scarier than the alien on the TC when he spoke in that accented, grating voice.
Susannah stared down at him and had the craziest urge to laugh and laugh until all the anger, pain, and fear escaped her body. They’d stripped her naked, whipped her, threw her into the punishment pit for two weeks. Because of him. Because she told them she saw a green demon. It led to her losing the person she loved more than her own life. And this creature calmly asked her why she wished him harm. As if she didn’t carry the reminders of what he’d cost her on her body.
“You cost me everything, demon. But I don’t wish you dead.” She only wanted him to stay alive because the resistance would probably pay more for a live alien. Not because he was less a monster than she remembered.
Maybe when she had Noah back, she would stop hating him, but now every time she looked at him, she remembered. The marks on her body ached as if the wounds were fresh. She didn’t have it in her not to hate him. But she wouldn’t become like Brother Josephatus. When she found Noah, when she had him in her arms again, she wouldn’t be a monster that knew only hate. “If you die from the fever, I’d give you a Christian burial,” she told him. He looked tough to her, and she didn’t see any sign that he was in pain, but he might be injured worse than she could see from up here.
“Zyrgin warriors don’t die that easily, female.” He moved, as if he wanted to stand up and intimidate her. She was even more grateful now that Brother Josephatus had made the iron cover for the pit. Life could be strange sometimes. When she’d been in the pit, she’d hated it. Now it kept her safe. He leaned back again, hunching his shoulders, and, again, she had the uneasy feeling that he’d forgotten that he was trying to appear weak and injured.
“I will get the bandages and antiseptic.” She needed to be away from him for a while. He upset her in ways she didn’t understand.
“Before you go, tell me about your TC.”
She turned back and frowned at him. “My TC?”
“I did not think your people had technology. You said you saw the propaganda clip on the TC.”
She shrugged. “We don’t. Brother Josephatus—I mean, Joseph—said it was the devils instrument, but I had one I kept hidden.”
Joseph had insisted they called him by that pretentious name. When they left her behind, she’d promised herself that never again would she call him Brother Josephatus.
Even if they took her back, she wouldn’t call him that.
“Is Brother Joseph the male who never did any work and ate so much he became a very round human?”
She smiled, and it felt strange on her face. Properly raised cousins were supposed to work and not give themselves over to frivolous pleasures that made you smile. “Yes, that’s Brother Joseph.”
He cocked his head at a strange angle. “What do you plan to do with me?”
“I think I’m going to sell you,” she said.


 Available now from Amazon


Ever since she can remember Marie Dry wanted to travel. She had had the privilege of living in Zambia, Morocco, and Spain and sees herself as a bit of a gypsy. Every few years she gets restless and has to be some place new.

She read romances since she was nine and was fairly young when she decided she would write the perfect story that had all the elements she looked for in a romance. In 1997 she decided to go all out with her writing and to get published. Being published by Black Opal Books is a dream come true for her.

There are several wonderful moments in her life that she would never trade for anything. One of them is meeting President Nelson Mandela and the second being published. 

Tuesday 5 June 2018

DarkSider News for June....

Welcome to the latest DarkSider News!

Winter is here and it's time to snuggle up with some DarkSider reads...


Rogue in the Making by TJ Nichols is Book 2 in the Studies in Demonlogy series. It was released by DSP Publications on 22nd May.

The blood sacrifices have brought rain to Demonside, but across the void, the Warlock College of Vinland is still storing and gathering magic, heedless of the warnings of the international magical community. The underground is full of warlocks who disagree with the college, but do they care about wizards and demons or only about snatching power?

With a foot in each world, Angus is no longer sure whom he can trust. The demons don’t trust humans, and even though he is learning more magic, he will never be one of them. He is human and only tolerated. Some demons would be happy to slit his throat. It’s only because his demon is powerful in his own right that Angus is alive.

Saka only has a year to prove that Angus’s people can change and that the magic taken will be rebalanced, but the demons want action. His affection for Angus is clouding his judgment and weakening his position in the tribe. Time is running out, and he must make a choice.

Available from: Amazon US | Amazon Aus | 

Wolf Bound by Leisl Leighton is Book 4 of the Pack Bound series. It was released by Escape Publishing on the 20th May.

The ultimate sacrifice, a love that lasts forever…

Five hundred years ago, facing extinction, a group of powerful witches united to create a pact with the Were to save witch-kind. The pact expelled an ancient evil, known only as the Darkness, that was blocking the Were from their wolves. With the Darkness destroyed, the Packs and their Covens grew strong as they thrived beside each other in their brand-new world.

But the Darkness was not destroyed.

Shelley Conners has good reason to hate and fear the powers that connect her to the spirit world and the insanity they foretell. But with the Pack's Trickster, Adam McVale, transformed into a Shade, a creature caught between life and death, Shelley holds the only key to saving him. Opening herself up to the world of the dead will only speed up her descent into madness, but Shelley never expects an even darker evil within—the Darkness, waiting patiently for her and the opportunity to destroy the world.

Available from: Amazon US | Amazon Aus | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo |

Unlit by Keri Arthur is Book 1 of The Kingdoms of Earth and Air series and was released on 16th May.

Winterborne has long been a city divided between those who have magic, and those who do not. Between those who are free, and those who are not…

Though classified as having no magic, Neve March can hear the whispers of the wind and sometimes even control her. But it’s a secret she must hold close if she wishes to continue as Nightwatch—the soldiers who guard Winterborne against those who roam the wastelands and feast on human flesh. But when Neve investigates a faint SOS signal, she not only unearths a woman close to death, but a plot involving an ancient enemy long thought dead. In an effort to expose those behind the plot, Neve goes undercover amongst Winterborne’s elite—a dangerous step that could expose her secret and rip away all that she holds dear. But the trail of treachery leads her from Winterborne’s golden halls to the heart of the enemy’s hive, and it will shake her belief of not only who she is, but what she is.

Available from: Amazon US | Amazon Aus | iBooks | Kobo | B&N

Mack 'n' Me: Blaedergil's Host by C.M. Simpson is Book 2 in the Mack 'n' Me Odyssey series and was released by C.M. Publishing on 16 May.

I stayed off Mack's radar for a good three months, or so I'd thought. Maybe he was just letting me run. He found me, kicked my ass and hauled me right back on board. He'd been doing that on and off for the past two years. Problem was, Odyssey was also on my tail, and, when this job was done, Mack was supposed to hand me back. Not gonna happen. And, now I was back to Square One: Kick free of Odyssey & kick free of Mack... just as soon as the mission was done, because how could I turn my back on *that*?

Available from: Smashwords | DriveThruFiction | Amazon US | Amazon Aus

Harper's Choice by C.M. Simpson is an urban fantasy short story released by C.M. Publishing on 1 June.

“The world turns differently for each of us, and we have no choice but to take its hand and dance the next set of steps.” (Argyllis, 2017)

Harper disagreed. Rescuing pixies from drug-runners, and working alongside unicorns and elves was part of her job. The world had turned, and she had chosen, but, when she is badly injured and taken into the elven realms, Harper finds she has a whole new set of steps to choose—and that time, indeed, moves differently in the Other World.

Buy links available from Books2Read

Dear Tiger: Omnibus by Carlie Simonsen is a collection of all six of The Tiger Letters together in one volume. It was released by C.M. Publishing on 25 May.

Away at boarding school, Simone misses her parents, and she misses her friend, Tiger, but they keep in touch, and it’s better than being dragged from one new world to the next. When a package arrives from her parents, Simone’s excited—but, opening it changes her whole world, and only Tiger can help her… if she can reach him, which is a whole lot harder than it seems.

The Dear Tiger Omnibus contains all six books from the Dear Tiger series including: Dear Tiger: I Miss You, Dear Tiger: I Don’t Think I’m Human Anymore, Dear Tiger: Don’t Look Back, Dear Tiger: I Like Your Lab, Dear Tiger: Let’s Go A-Hunting, and Dear Tiger: Help Me Find My Sisters.

Buy links available from Books2Read.

Non spec-fic titles

As I Am by Mel Teshco was released by Tule Publishing on 21st May.

Molly is no stranger to being sick having been regularly in and out of hospitals since the age of 5. She knows her limits and capabilities better than anyone, until she meets a handsome stranger whose compassion and understanding might just have her questioning her entire perspective.

Insightful, eye-opening, and bold, As I Am explores the story of a woman who must question everything she thought about being independent and fearless.

Available from: Amazon US | Amazon Aus | Amazon UK | B&N | KoboGoogle PlayiBooks

Beach Walk by Annie Seaton is Book 3 of The Bondi Beach Love series and was released by Emerald Romance on 1st June.

Sonia Smith lives in the haunted house on the hill above Bondi Beach. Well, maybe it’s not haunted, but the hint of a ghost in the old house where she reads tea leaves and tarot cards is good for business. When fashion designer, Dave Harris, turns up on Christmas Day, the last thing Sonia needs is a slick business man telling her what to do, how to improve her business, her fashion sense and anything else he has an opinion about.

Dave Harris needs help to organise his charity fashion show and he doubts if he can pull something different out of the box in time. A failed business venture in Japan has shattered his creative confidence. Maybe enlisting Sonia’s help and her quirky ways, will get him out of trouble?

Can Dave convince her to help, but at the same time, can he avoid falling in love with this quirky woman?

Available from: Amazon US | Amazon Aus |


Non spec-fic titles

Dangerous Echoes
 by Leisl Leighton is Book 1 in the Echo Springs series which will be released by Escape Publishing as an ebook on 4th September.  

Blue lights in the red dust…

Echo Springs on the edge of the outback – a town where everyone knows your name, and your business. But the wholesome country living and welcoming community aren’t what they used to be. Echo Springs has a dark underbelly, and it is seeping ever outward.

Brilliant forensic pathologist, Erika Hanson, fled from Echo Springs as a teenager, leaving behind a past of tragedy and pain. But when local police announce they’ve found her beloved brother’s body in a meth lab explosion, she knows she must return to clear Peter’s name and find out what really happened. Because Peter would never get involved with the drug tag sweeping across the small town of Australia and destroying lives.

Hartley Cooper has a past with Erika Hanson, but that’s not going to keep him from doing his job. He’s seen what grief can do, and denial is only the first step. But Erika is convinced that Peter can’t be involved, and her meticulous, professional skills start to convince Hartley as well. When Erika’s digging and questions get too personal, the town turns against them, Hartley knows Erika might run again. But this time he’s ready. And he’s not going to let her go.

Pre-order from: iBooks | Google Play | Kobo | Amazon Aus

Embers and Echoes by Daniel de Lorne is Book 2 in the Echo Springs series which will be released by Escape Publishing as an ebook on 10th September.  

Blue lights in the red dust...

Echo Springs on the edge of the outback – a town where everyone knows your name, and your business. But the wholesome country living and welcoming community aren't what they used to be. Echo Springs has a dark underbelly, and it is seeping ever outward.

A suspicious fire on the edge of town sets Constable Ben Fields on a collision course with firefighter and one–time friend Toby Grimshaw. When the investigation takes a troubling turn that calls the two professionals' integrity into question, the heat gets turned up on Ben and Toby's unresolved history. Ben's got something to prove, but his love for Toby could cost him – and Echo Springs – everything. Meanwhile, will Toby overcome the horrors of his past and find a new future with Ben – or will it all go up in flames?

Pre-order from: Amazon Aus |  iBooks | GooglePlay | Kobo

The print book Echo Springs will be the four stories in the series (the other two by other authors) and will be released by Harlequin MIRA on 20th August.

Story 1 - Dangerous Echoes by Leisl Leighton,
Story 2 - Embers and Echoes by Daniel DeLorne,
Story 3 - Echoes of the Past by TJ Hamilton, and
Story 4 - Hope Echoes by Shannon Curtis.

Wholesome country living isn’t what it used to be… This town has a dark side, but what will these cops sacrifice to save it? A compelling suspense, set in the outback.

Blue lights in the red dust…

Echo Springs on the edge of the outback – a town where everyone knows your name, and your business. But the wholesome country living and welcoming community aren’t what they used to be. Echo Springs has a dark underbelly, and it is seeping ever outward.

Four cops…

The small police station is overrun, and officers are working overtime to stem the tide of illegal activity from graffiti through to murder. From prickly Leila to heartsore Ben, Cooper with something to prove to Mac who’s driven to succeed, the Echo Springs force is determined to keep the town safe.

Putting everything at risk…

But the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been, and it’s not just the town these officers have to keep safe. It’s their hearts as well. With bullets flying and bodies piling up, they will have to decide how much they’re willing risk and what they’re willing to lose.

Pre-order from: Angus&Robertson | Booktopia | The Nile | 

Cotton Field Dreams by S.E. Gilchrist is Book 1 in the Mindalby Outback Romance series which will be released by Escape Publishing as on 2nd July.

Sasha comes to the small town of Mindalby to recover from a traumatic event, plan her next move, and seek out information to avenge her beloved uncle – the last thing she wants is a relationship. But when she meets local single dad, Cole, she can't help but be drawn to his warmth and his humour, and his two engaging children. Cole says and does all the right things, and Sasha finds herself falling, but will all of her secrets destroy the relationship before it has a chance to begin?

Mindalby, a small town, a community, a home. But when the mill that supports the local cotton farmers and employs many of the town's residents closes unexpectedly, old tensions are exposed and new rifts develop. Everyone is affected and some react better than others, but one thing is certain: living on the edge of the outback means they have to survive together, or let their town die.

Pre-order from:  Amazon USAmazon Aus | HarperCollins | Kobo | iBooks

This novella will be part of the print anthology, Heart of the Town, with the first four titles in the series. 

Pre-order from: Amazon Aus | Booktopia


Blood for the Spilling by TJ Nichols is Book 3 in the Studies in Demonlogy series. It will be the final in the series. 

Pirate's Plaything by Denise Rossetti is coming soon.

Non spec-fic titles

Unidentified by Anna Hackett is Book 7 in the Treasure Hunter Security series  and contains two novellas. It will be released by on 12th June.

Unidentified contains TWO novellas. Novella #1 (The Emerald Tear) is the story of how Professor Oliver Ward met his feisty treasure hunter wife Persephone (Dec, Cal, and Darcy’s parents). It’s set in the 1970s (yeah, baby!) and be prepared for a dangerous treasure hunt in the dense jungle of Ecuador on the hunt for a lost Incan emerald.

Novella #2 (The Emerald Butterfly) is set in present day in the Florida Keys. It stars sexy former SEAL Diego Torres who is captain of the salvage vessel the Storm Nymph (from Morgan’s book Unfathomed). Diego has scars from his past and a meddling family, and add in a ballsy DEA agent (who once handcuffed him and boarded his ship!) plus the hunt for a lost emerald called the Emerald Butterfly in a ship wreck, and we have an adventure.

Undetected by Anna Hackett is Book 8 in the Treasure Hunter Security series and will be the final in the series. It will be released by on 4th September.

Fast Lane by Juanita Kees is the Book 2 in the Calhoun Customs Garage series. Book 1, Overdrive is to to be released by Tule Publishing on 26th June.



C.M. Simpson now has an author page on Facebook


Check out the Treasure Hunter Security series book trailer by Anna Hackett.

Claire Boston has listed her playlist for her upcoming book, Nothing to Hide.

Blog posts

Wolf Bound by Leisl Leighton was featured over on the ARRA blog

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