Hell or Highwater
Love Is in the Air
Gluttony and other Hungers
Wicked Dreams
Wrath and other Troubles
The Sinner and the Scholar
The Sheikh's Fake Fiancée
Bought at Auction
Be My Baby
Wraith's Revenge
Outback Hope: The Farmer
One Wolf Next Door
Sloth an other Delights
Outback Dust: The Drifter
Nero: A Scifi Alien Romance
Wolf Mate
Fae's Wolf
A Crown of Cruel Lies
A Clever Christmas
Holiday Kisses

Saturday 23 March 2019

Darklight On .. Aiki Flinthart

Today's Darklight On is ... Special Guest Aiki Flinthart

Welcome, Aiki

How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?

My older brother read spec fic so I naturally picked up anything he read. Which meant I was reading Asimov, Andre Norton, Tolkien, Clarke, Le Guin etc from a young age. When my friends wanted to play make-believe Charlies Angels, I wanted to play Star Wars, or the Stainless Steel Rat (love him!).

My mother read spy thrillers and murder mysteries, so I did, too. But I was always the spy, not the guaranteed-to-die love interest. My grandmother loved Georgette Heyer regency romances, so those became a comfort-read. And I read sooo many of the classics. Some I loved, some I read because felt like I should but they bored the crap out of me.

But I kept coming back to fantasy and science fiction. I think because they combined all of the other genres. And they always held out the hope that I could be something special. That I might suddenly find myself endowed with telepathy, or the Force. Crazy, I know, but one can always live in hope.

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

Definitely an in-betweener. Mostly.

The 80AD series were pantsed but with a known ending. For those, my son is dyslexic and found the really fat Harry Potter books daunting, but he wanted something action-packed. I wanted something educational (as you do when you’re a parent). So I smashed out the 80AD series. When they got crazy-popular, I figured maybe I should actually learn the craft of writing.

The Kalima Chronicles came next after several years off. They were pantsed but, by then, I’d learned enough about story structure to hit the turning points on purpose – instead of by lucky accident like I did with 80AD. Again, I always knew what the ending looked like. A big, set-piece on a movie screen in my head. Then it was just a matter of finding the logical path of most awfulness to that big ending.

The Ruadhan Sidhe (Shadows)
trilogy came about while I was waiting for a publisher to bring out the Kalima Chronicles. They were all much more plotted than anything else I’d done. Still not in detail, but enough that I knew in advance what the major scenes were and where the subplots would take up the slack. The first one was rewritten three times as I tried to work out the right POV and character age, though. Ended up scrapping the first third, entirely because I’d started in the wrong place. Big learning curve.

Do you have a favourite of your characters?

I do love Kett, from the Kalima Chronicles. And Marcus from the 80AD series. Sensing a theme here – the strong, silent men type. But the friendship that develops between Kett and Corin in the Kalima Chronicles was a lot of fun to write as they are such total opposites.

And I must admit that Rowan from the Ruadhan Sidhe (Shadows) trilogy is fun because she’s so damned angry at everyone. She doesn’t take shit and she gets really tired of being kept in the dark because she’s younger than everyone else (by several hundred years in some cases).

What are you currently working on?

After three series of kickass action heroes and heroines, I’ve just finished the first draft of a really challenging tapestry novel called ‘Blackbirds Sing’.

It’s in the same urban fantasy universe as the Ruadhan Sidhe (Shadows) trilogy. And it’s the origin story for a whole new series in that universe.

I wanted to teach myself to write as many unique characters as I could in one novel. But, of course, you can’t have an ensemble cast of 25 POV characters in one novel – not easily. Unless you kill them all off, like GRR Martin.

So I wrote 25 short stories, with 24 unique female characters. Each story is from the first person POV for a different woman. Each character has her own conflict and arc. But each story ALSO advances the plot of an overarching conflict that ties them all together.

I don’t want to give too many spoilers, though.

It’s set in 1486 in London. Late medieval, early modern. So much research! You end up with a view of London from ‘invisible’ women – a baker, prostitute, nun, seamstress, laundress, lady-in-waiting, thief, assassin, pawnbroker, lute player, and more. There’s a blind woman, a dark-skinned woman, a couple of gay women and men. And a small fantasy element in a character who’s one of the Tuatha de Dannan (of Irish folk tales).

Extremely challenging to write 24 different voices from close first person POV.

Who knows if it worked? I like it. My beta readers have all cried in the right places.

Apart from that, I’m writing a non-fiction to go with my Writing Fight Scenes for Women workshop, and a novella prequel to the Kalima Chronicles, plus a prequel for 80AD, and the next in the Ruadhan Sidhe (Shadows) novels.

I think my brain just imploded.

What is your favourite part of the process of writing?

Favourite is tricky. I like it when I fall in love with a character and writing in their head becomes effortless. And I love it when I write THE END, thinking it’s utter crap, put it aside for a few months then come back and go ‘hey, not as bad as I thought – mostly.’

Also I love those ah-ha moments when I can’t see how to tie a plot up neatly and suddenly the fix pops into my head. I find myself grinning and going ‘goddammit, yes! That will work’ and frantically scrabbling for a notebook.

People tend to look at me sideways at that point.

I also like learning the craft. Learning to pull the right emotion out of a reader on purpose. I need to get better at beautiful metaphors. I tend to be literal and blunt (hence the action heroines). So I’m using writing short stories to improve my metaphor usage. Which is also fun.

What can we expect from Aiki Flinthart in the future?

I’ve sent out queries to agents and publishers for Blackbirds Sing, but I’m not going to hold my breath on it being picked up. It’s such a different concept that I can’t see a publisher being able to see where it would fit in the market.

Apart from that, I have about 12 novels lurking in my head at the moment, trying to get out. Possibly even look at converting 80AD, Shadows, and Kalima into screenplays and seeing if Netflix or Prime are keen? Who knows?

Basically, I’ll just keep writing and see what happens. I’m not doing it for the money or recognition. I just like telling stories and helping other authors to tell stories through my workshops and mentoring.

Who are your favourite authors?

I’ve always loved Anne McCaffrey and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s works (although I know MZB had some unpleasant personal life revelations after she died.) And of course Ursula Le Guin. Terry Pratchett! Such a master of the quick character sketch. Sara J Maas is fab. Neil Gaiman. Argh. The list is endless.

What are you currently reading? 

A TRULY terrible spy thriller novel that I won’t name. But I’m reading it to work out what makes a bad fight scene for my workshop. It can be hard to work out why good writing is great, until you compare it to mediocre writing. But, aaarrgh, my eyes are bleeding.

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

It might be old hat and predictable, but I love Firefly. Most TV series are predictable. You can tell from episode one or two what’s going to happen. But Firefly was so beautifully scripted and the characters so real and fascinating that it’s one of the few I’ve rewatched several times.

Star Trek Voyager
was great for the gender balance, even if Janeway got annoying. I even liked Star Trek Enterprise. Enjoyed the first season of Discovery, too.

Oh, and who doesn’t love The Princess Bride?

Do you have advice for emerging writers?

Writing is a creative pastime. But publishing – whether traditional or self-published – is not creative. Keep in mind WHY you write and don’t get sucked into the economic grind of it.

I write because I like changing people’s lives in a positive way – even if it’s small.

When I wrote 80AD – in which the lead 14 year old male character learns to deal with his grief and anger – I had fan mail from a 12 year old boy thanking me because he related and it helped him get through the death of a family member.

And a grandmother wrote that she bought the books for her grandson and ended up reading them to him – giving her a chance to spend time with him in a way she never had before.

And a woman named her son after one of my characters because she loved the story so much.

And a teacher in China uses my novels to teach her students English, because there are Chinese characters in the story.

Those are the things that make writing worthwhile. Not the money. That’s nice, but if you write with money as your WHY, you’ll end up hating writing.

Write because you want to help people understand each other; to empathise with people who don’t think as they do. Write to tell stories that might help change the world for the better.

The world needs to change and authors can help with that. We should help with that.

Sounds idealistic, but I don’t give a damn.


Thanks, Aiki!

Connect with Aiki:  Website / Facebook / Facebook Author Page / Twitter / Instagram

New Release - FIRE: Book 2 of the Kalima Chronicles.

The price of freedom must be paid, but not in coin.

With the immediate threat of war on Kalima averted, Alere, Kett, and Corin must track down Alere’s sister, Mina. But Alere struggles to use her new-found powers, only certain that Mina is in danger. When slavers decimate Mina’s ship, the situation turns lethal. Jarran, the new Jun First of Mamlakah, has been captured along with Mina.

Now Alere and her companions must recover the Jun First and Mina from Hassan Nasim, the most brutal Slavemaster of Melcor, – before Jarran loses his new throne to rebellion.

In the attempt to free her sister and friends, Alere will risk more than just her own life and theirs. She’ll gamble with the sovereignty of her Jundom, and the lives of the people of Mamlakah, itself.

If she fails, it means death or slavery for everyone she loves and destruction for Xintou House.

But succeeding could be even worse. 

Buy Link for FIRE

On special NOW!IRON: Book 1 of the Kalima Chronicles

Kalima, an Earth-colony world with little iron ore and no fossil fuels, is entrenched in a peaceful feudal society. The Jundom of Mamalakah is ruled by the ambitious Hanna Zah-Hill, wife of the Jun First. Deep in debt, she wants technological progress. But Mistress Li, leader of the Xintou House, prefers to keep the status quo. And has the power to do so.

When Alere Connor – failed xintou-telepath but skilled swordswoman – is sent by Xintou House to act as mistress to Jun First Radan Zah-Hill, she unwittingly triggers a revolution against the House and against the throne. On his deathbed, Radan reveals the existence of a hidden iron deposit. With several factions vying for political domination of the Jundom, control of the iron would tip the balance of power. 

Alere is accused of the Jun First's murder and flees for her life. She must reach and warn the Jun Second, Rafi Koh-Lin, on whose lands the iron ore lies. If she fails, all-out war is inevitable - the first ever war in the seven hundred year history of Kalima. 

On the way, Alere will uncover the old and bloody secret of her own existence; the reason for her failure as a xintou-telepath; and unlock and even darker future for herself and her companions.
But only if she survives.

Tuesday 19 March 2019

DarkSiders Around the Web - March: Part 2

Join our DarkSiders online...


M.J. Scott is over at BookBub.

Free Box Set

M.J. Scott is part of a box set, Magic After Dark, which features her story, The Wolf Within.

It's available for free for limited time. Links over at Books2Read.

Kindle Unlimited

Last chance! Get Ruby Heart by Donna Maree Hanson (Book 1, Cry Havoc) on Kindle Unlimited until March 21st! After that it will be removed and be available at other retailers.

Emerald Fire (book 2, Cry Havoc) remains on Kindle Unlimited.

Blog Posts

Juanita Kees was featured in an Author Spotlight feature over at Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA) and also had Tea with Mrs B over at Mrs B's Book Reviews. She talks to Only For Show author Charlotte Marigold, and talks about the book Taking A Chance by S M Spencer.

Cathleen Ross was featured in an Author Spotlight over at the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA).

Lilliana Rose talks about New Recipes and sharing An Act of Kindness. She was also featured in an Author Spotlight over at the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA).

Imogene Nix shares a Six Sentence Sunday from War's End.

Keri Arthur features her very first book, Dancing With the Devil (Book 1, Nikki & Michael) in her Six Sentence Sunday Time.

M.J. Scott is Taking a Break From Social Media for a month.

C.M. Simpson has the following poetry in the blog feature Wednesday's Verse:

C.M.'s  Tuesday's Short blog feature, where she shares a short story on her blog for a week. This week it features Dreams of the Serpent

Follow C.M.'s blog to keep up to date with this feature.  

C.M. Simpson shares chapters from her alter-ego's Carlie Simonsen book, Dear Tiger: I Don't Think I'm Human Anymore (Book 2, The Tiger Letters).

Leisl Leighton gets personal with her post about grief being a strange thing. She also has guest blogger Liv Arnold and Law & Disorder.

JL Peridot has The Soccer Player and The Single Mom by Kyra Jacobs and Law and Disorder by Olivia Arnold in her Fresh Find feature.

M.L. Tompsett featured in an Author Spotlight over at the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA).

Thanks for joining us around the web. 
Until next time, happy reading!

Thursday 14 March 2019

Magic Thursday: The Nuts & Bolts of Designing a Book Cover! (Part 2: Analysing Comprehensive Scene images)

by Helzkat Designs (aka Eleni Konstantine)

This is my third blog post on the topic of cover design.

In the post, You can't judge a book by its cover, right? Umm, Wrong,  I discussed familiarising oneself with what the market - aka your genre - is doing with covers. While you don’t want to mimic it exactly, it gives you a good idea of reader expectation.

The second post, Magic Thursday: The Nuts & Bolts of Designing a Book Cover! (Part 1: Finding Images), I discussed royalty-free stock images and how to search for images for a short story collection.

Today, we're going to analyse images that were added to a Favourites folder for this project. 

Now, in all honesty I haven't progressed with compiling and writing for this short story collection since that last blog post - between family health and renovations, life has been pretty busy. But plans are afoot to move the project forward and working on the cover will surely inspire me.

Looking at the Favourites Folder

I have 542 images saved into the folder named 'Short Story Collection - Enchanted Dreams'.  They are spread over three pages. 

Once again, I look in the first instance for images that are comprehensive scenes that I don’t have to manipulate too much, but there may be part of an image that I like, or I like the concept of an image but not necessarily that image itself. 

I need to keep in mind that the short story collection contains stories which will all be speculative fiction stories. The keyword for the stories is 'Enchanted' as I think it captures the awe of the fantastical - and doesn’t only refer to magic but to generally being enchanted with a story. 

Now you may not choose the same images as I do when you look at the Favourites Folder. That's fine, we are all different in our tastes. But the cover must comply with reader expectation and that means reflecting the content of the book.

So I want something to reflect fantasy, enchantment, mystical, fairy tales, supernatural, paranormal, dreams, and magical realism. The audience is adult. 

I could select an image that would be perfect for one of the stories but then I would have to change the title of the collection to the story's title. For example, 'Angel Eyes and other stories'.  But I want to reflect the collection as a whole, so with that in mind, I'll go through the images and analyse.

Comprehensive scene images analysed

For today's post, I'll be concentrating on the comprehensive scenes.

The more I look at the images, the more I'm drawn to the ones that are more abstract, surreal, or have a dreamlike aspect. 

I choose images that would have room to add text or that it can be manipulated so that the text will not get lost in the image.  I also think about how the image would be cropped (or not) depending on orientation. Some may need more added to in the final design but most of those I consider comprehensive could stand on their own.

I also keep in mind how the image would look as a thumbnail (for book sites) and how it would look at a larger scale as well. Some images that look good at thumbnail may not be exactly the look you want when you view it at a larger scale, or vice versa. 

Normally I would download the Comp version so I play around with the images and do a process of elimination before I have to actually purchase the image(s). In this situation the images that will appear in the blog and will at a later date be used in the mock ups of covers, have all been purchased. 

Let's look at some of the images and talk about why I like them, and why I chose them for the short list or not.  If I find the decisions I make last longer than a day or two, then you know that you're listening to your head (and the selection criteria) and not your love for a particular artwork for it's own sake. 

How amazing is this artwork! I love it but on closer inspection the figure is despondent. This is an example of loving the artwork and wanting it to fit. But it doesn't. 
Verdict = not shortlisted. 

Straight away I think of dreams when I look at this image and enchanted ones at that with the moon and abstract forest setting. I think though it gives more of a fairy tale look than I want, though. 
Verdict = not shortlisted. 

The beauty of the night sky with the moon and fluffy clouds glowing brightly is enticing. The silhouette of the hot air balloon also gives a sense of adventure. I love the colours. Of course being a landscape this will be cropped but that is exactly the part of the image I'm drawn to. 
Verdict = shortlisted. 

I was drawn to this one straight away. The vibrancy of the colours, the abstractness of the design indicating otherworldliness and a dreamlike quality. I love the blue eye colour as well. Most of the stories are from a female perspective so this suits. 
Verdict = shortlisted.

The dream aspect of flying and being carefree attracted me to this image. But having a young female would give the reader the expectation that the stories are aimed at the YA market. 
Verdict = not shortlisted. 

I love the colours, the silhouette and the call to adventure this evokes. While this works all on it's own, if I add a moon or some object in the sky, it would also look spectacular.  
Verdict = shortlisted.

Birds flying free as you can in your dreams. The blue, green, yellow scheme with the silhouette is enticing and ethereal. This would have to cropped and I think that would work. 
Verdict = shortlisted.

 Love the surreal scene. Who doesn't love pink elephants? What could be more enchanting and dreamlike than this scene. Every time, I think I shouldn't pick this one because it may seem too light and fluffy, I keep on drawn to the fun, adventurous, and definitely fantastical tone of the image.  I think I could contrast the colours a bit more to work but is it a matter of loving the artwork more than it suiting the collection?  After some consideration, that is probably the case. 
Verdict = not shortlisted

Looking out into the dreamlike moon. Love the banner down the bottom. I'm not sure of the background colour but I could change that.
Verdict = shortlisted. 

Moon, clouds, stars, and a swing - enchanting aspect, fun, and has a sense of hope, which I have in the stories. It's a landscape scene and I'm not sure it will work as a portrait because of the spacing between the star shining down and the figure. This can be manipulated of course but it'll take some work.
Verdict = undecided. 

Another girl on the moon scene. Fluffy cloud, stars and a bright shining light. It's a feel good scene and who doesn't want to feel good? Again the landscape aspect has me wondering if it would work. 
Verdict = undecided. 

Going along the same theme with the swing and moon, but silhouette contrasts.  It speaks to me of dreams.  
Verdict = shortlisted

The colour scheme and night sky draw me to this one. With the lone tree in the foreground, it's quite enticing and there is a feeling of awe. 
Verdict = shortlisted. 

I just ADORE this one. There's a sense of hope to it despite the cliff and ravine. Unfortunately I've seen the image be used in a banner. Can I manipulate it enough to give it its own feel? Perhaps. 
Verdict = undecided. 

I keep coming back to this one. The muted greyness of the background contrasting with the yellow foreground. It gives me the impression of the a dreamlike quality where dreams can be both vivid and abstract. 
Verdict = shortlisted. 

I feel good when I look up on this image - there's the moon, the stars, clouds, and a ladder reaching up into the land above. It has a contrast between light and dark, and I like that since that's what life is like. I'm not sure how cropping would look with this one as it's a complete scene. 
Verdict = undecided. 

Who doesn't like a comfy place to sit and eat cake! Seriously, I like the colour scheme and the moon. Add some books on the ground (some others in the Folder were similar in scene but had books) and this would be a great place to spend the night away reading and eating.  But are toadstools too fairytale?
Verdict = undecided. 

Going on with the couch theme but this has an Alice in Wonderful motif with the love heart, cards, and the cheshire cat. I kept on being drawn back to this one but it has too much of another person's world.
Verdict = not shortlisted. 

A landscape scene which will need to be cropped but I love moon and the silhouette of the trees. There's something magical about it all. And the colours are lovely. It may need something else added to it though.
Verdict = shortlisted. 

I love the concept of the  doorway with the stars leading to it and the whole night sky. Unfortunately when this image is larger, it doesn't appeal as much.  Perhaps the items are too real looking even though it's an unreal scene. I've tended to go for more illustrated images. It's landscape (but that could be manipulated so the moon is closer). 
Verdict = not shortlisted.

Flying away on an adventure. It has a fantastical aspect and the fluffy cloud background gives it a dreamlike quality. What gives me pause if the reader is expecting Steampunk stories only. Perhaps a modern day balloon would be better? 
Verdict = not shortlisted.

The universe as a person is a cool concept. It has the ethereal feel to it as well as a sense of wonder and adventure. I'm just not sure about the young woman as much. 
Verdict = undecided. 

This is one I keep on coming back to as well. I love the concept. The scene is a little dark but that's okay and of course there would be less doors in a book cover. But the whole aspect of going into a door of bright light where you don't know what adventures wait for you is enticing.  
Verdict = shortlisted. 

At thumbnail, I thought this might make a good scene but on closer inspection the spiders and their webs doesn't suit. But that moon! Totally adore! 
Verdict = the moon is shortlisted. 

I love this concept but the figure on the moon is a man and as mentioned most of my stories are from a female perspective. Again, an example of not wanting the whole. 
Verdict = mostly shortlisted.

Next time and round up

This brings me to another aspect of selecting images. All the above have been comprehensive scenes that in most cases wouldn't need a lot of work to use. In a later post I will be analysing images that only have an aspect or two that could be used in the cover as is in the case with the last two images above. I usually do the two types of analysis at the same time but it would have been difficult to follow in a blog post.

So there we have it. Out of 25 images analysed here (of course more were considered and discarded), 10 were shortlisted, 2 were part-shortlisted, 7 were not shortlisted, and 6 were undecided. 

There are always some images you are just not sure of, and sometimes you need to see them mocked up before you can make a decision. Or it could be they only need to be partly used. 

I recently completed a customised cover and during the mock up stages of that I had a concept that I thought might work on the cover. It ended up that there wasn't enough room for it to look good so I let that concept go. But it wasn't until I saw it in mock form that I was able to view and discard. 

In a few days, I'll have a look at the images again and see if I concur with the above. 

At the end of the day, you have to make the best decisions to help the content inside reach its audience. Which brings me to the point that the collection hasn't been finalised yet. While I doubt there would be much of a change with the new stories that will be added, doing the covers when the content is finalised is best option. 

Oh and asking for opinions is not a bad thing to do as well. Especially with those who know your market. So...


Would any of the above attract you to read a short story speculative fiction collection?


HelzKat Designs (Helen Katsinis) specialises in designing for writers at affordable prices.

She delivers the right look for each project from book covers, banners, business cards, to setting up and customising blogs and websites. She has also given talks to authors on the subject of blogging and navigating in the online world.

She began by designing author banners for her writing persona (Eleni Konstantine) and her writing groups. After winning the 2010 Little Gems Cover Contest (Topaz), she started to specialise in designing for other writers thus combining her two worlds of design and writing.

In 2018, she's entered the world of pre-made covers. You can see available covers HERE

Get 50% off any pre-made cover until 30th April 2019 by using the code: DSDUblog.

Tuesday 12 March 2019

DarkSider News for March


There's something for everyone...


Edge of Eon by Anna Hackett (Book 1, Eon Warriors) was released in audio format on 20 February.

Framed for a crime she didn't commit, a wrongly-imprisoned space captain's only chance at freedom is to abduct a fearsome alien war commander.

Sub-Captain Eve Traynor knows a suicide mission when she sees one. With deadly insectoid aliens threatening to invade Earth, the planet's only chance of survival is to get the attention of the fierce Eon Warriors. But the Eon want nothing to do with Earth, and Eve wants nothing to do with abducting War Commander Davion Thann-Eon off his warship. But when Earth's Space Corps threaten her sisters, Eve will do anything to keep them safe, even if it means she might not make it back.

War Commander Davion Thann-Eon is taking his first vacation in years. Dedicated to keeping the Eon Empire safe, he's been born and bred to protect. But when he's attacked and snatched off his very own warship, he is shocked to find himself face-to-face with a bold, tough little Terran warrior. One who both infuriates and intrigues him.

When their shuttle is attacked by the ravenous insectoid Kantos, Eve and Davion crash-land on the terrifying hunter planet known as Hunter7, designed to test a warrior to his limits. Now, the pair must work together to survive, caught between the planet and its dangers, the Kantos hunting them down, and their own incendiary attraction.

Available from:

Mack 'n' Me: The Transporter's Favour by C.M. Simpson (Book 4, Mack 'n' Me Odyssey) was released 21 December 2018.

Abby hauled me off the ship before Tens had a chance to stop her—and that’s okay, because I already owed Abs a favour. In fact, it was better than okay, because it showed us how much trouble we hadn’t known we were in. But going against the Star Shadow hunt pack? Nullifying their contract to keep ourselves unchained and at large? That was gonna be something else entirely.

Mack ‘n’ Me: The Transporter’s Favour is the fourth science-fiction novel set in the Odyssey universe.

NOTE: The main character swears like a sailor, and the support cast aren’t much better. If swears bother you, this this story may not be to your taste.

Buy links from Books2Read

Miguel Unmade by C.M. Simpson was released 28 January.

Captured by the space wolves and held aboard their battle cruiser, Miguel doesn’t think things could get worse—and then he discovers he’s sharing his cell with the very two psychopaths he’s been trying to avoid. Dragged into their next deadly scheme, he faces two choices—do what they want and live as their captive, or save Earth and die horribly as a result. Either way, he loses. Just how much he loses is up to him. 

Buy links from Books2Read

Trading into Shadow by C.M. Simpson and Michael Anderle (Book 1, The Magic Below Paris) was released on 28 February. It is set in Anderle's Age of Magic world.

After surviving a shadow monster ambush, Marsh must get back to civilization, keep two kids alive, and make a delivery.

But, with shadow monsters and raiders closing the trade routes, she’s out of a job, and lost in beneath the ruins of one of the greatest cities of the world. She doesn’t need a deserted farm to complicate things… or a parentless pup… or to be hunted by a hoshkat. What she needs is to find a way home… through the dark… but the predators are out in force, and home is a very long way away.

Can she discover what happened at Leon’s Deep, in time to stop it from happening again? Or did she escape the ambush, only to see the rest of her world fall to the ones behind it?

Available from: 

Potions, Popstars & Murder by Janni Nell was released on 10 February.

A fun night out ends in murder. 

When small-town witch Maddie Goodcharm attends the opening of a new nightclub, she doesn’t expect to find the body of a famous singer. Maddie suspects foul play, but the authorities are convinced the death is accidental. Case closed.

Maddie decides to follow her instincts and dig deeper, but life doesn’t stop simply because she has a murder to solve. She also has to run her shop, mix potions, and rehabilitate Jason, who is suffering the aftereffects of a spell gone wrong.

Keeping all those balls in the air won’t be easy. Especially when her investigation uncovers old secrets and lies that put her life in danger. Can she catch the killer before the killer catches her?

Buy links available on Janni's website. 

Silver Guardians by LJ Swallow (Book 2, Daughter of Shadow) was released on 11 February.

Calla arrives at the stronghold with her three guardians, but not everything goes to plan. Her unusual magic skills arouse suspicion and, when Calla’s true powers reveal themselves, her life is in danger.

Leander attempts to reconcile his role as High Lord with his need to protect Calla—a girl his advisers tell him must die. Rohan struggles with his feelings for the girl he’s commanded to watch and kill if necessary. And Galen is determined to prove that there is more to Calla’s story while trying to make sense of his feelings towards a human girl.

All believe that Calla's dragonkin Luin holds the key to who she is.

A new elven ally knows more about the situation inside the Ebon realm and promises the group answers. He introduces the four companions to somebody who reveals Calla's hidden background and the source of her power.

Calla faces an impossible decision—risk her life by returning to the stronghold, or travel to a place of greater danger to fulfil a destiny that will change the kingdom forever.

Daughter of Shadow is a slow burn reverse harem fantasy series. Full length, action-packed, sword and sorcery books with a strong heroine, a pet dragon, and irresistible guys.

Available from:

Non spec-fiction

Shadows Over Wongan Creek by Juanita Kees (Book 3, Wongan Creek) was released by Escape Publishing on 1 March.

When the shadows ride in Wongan Creek…

Fenella Rose-Waterman is happy running The Cranky Lizard winery until a broken relationship lifts the lid on the Pandora’s Box of her past. After years of repressed memories haunting her dreams, she is forced to face the truth to find justice. But with truth comes a danger that puts everyone she loves at risk.

Kieran Murphy left Wongan Creek a newly-wed and returned a widower. He believes he and his young son will find healing in the town that healed him once before. Instead, he finds the woman he loved running scared, her life in turmoil and her business under threat.

As the shadows of the past gather on the horizon, will they lose their chance of happiness or will they find healing together?

Buy links on Juanita's website.

Seasons is anthology from the Rockingham Writers Centre and is out now. D.D. Line has a short story included called A Father for all Seasons.

Seasons of life, love and nature are explored in this collection of short fiction and poetry that will touch hearts, inspire and entertain. Featuring the work of 12 writers connected through their passion for creative expression, it is a celebration of the written word. Although the stories and poems are linked by a common theme, they reflect a diversity of styles from light-hearted to lyrical and amusiing to thought-provoking, in settings both contemporary and historical. Beautifully crafted poems that paint vivid word pictures of nature’s changing face are complemented by stories about new beginnings, unexpected encounters, changing relationships and taking chances.

Available from:


Beltane Bliss by Lilliana Rose (Book 1, Pagan Pleasures), will be released on 30 April.

Edi Court is training to be a modern-day white witch, her unique ability is healing. Emotionally wounded from her ex, Anto, she has run away from the covenant with a need to heal herself. Following her psychic ability, she finds herself south, along the coast from Melbourne Australia, where she decides to set up her own healing shop, Crystal Sands.

Voltaire is a down to earth guy, a plumber by trade, he believes only what he sees in the physical world. The loss of his mom and sister to breast cancer and his ex, who stole his money and left him with a debt to work off, has caused him to close his heart.

Can Edi stop herself from rescuing another man and landing in deep water? Or with the Beltane energies thick in the air, can this be the start of a new relationship between two wounded souls?

Volt must become a believer in the Magiks and allow his heart to heal. And Edi must learn to trust herself again.

Will a non-believer and a believer find love over Beltane?

Pre-Order from:

Ebon Queen by LJ Swallow (Book 3, Daughter of Shadow) is expected to be released on 12 May.

Available from:

Non spec-fiction 

Climbing Fear by Leisl Leighton (Book 1, Coalcliff Stud) is expected to be released by Escape Publishing on 12 June.

His beloved home is under threat, and with it the beautiful, haunted woman he's never been able to forget ...

X-Treme TV sports star Reid Stratton has everything-until his best friend falls to his death on a climb while shooting their show. In the fierce media fallout, Reid begins to question everything about himself. Crippled by a new fear of climbing, Reid returns to CoalCliff stud, his family's horse farm, to recover.

Single mother Natalia Robinson is determined to start afresh, away from the shadow of her past. A job at CoalCliff Stud where she lived as a child is the perfect opportunity to live the quiet life she always wanted. But she is unprepared to see Reid, and is even more unprepared for the passion that still burns between them.

But after a series of menacing events threaten the new home she is trying to build, Nat realises that Reid is the only person she can rely on to keep her and her daughter safe. Together, Reid and Nat must face the pasts that haunt them if they are to survive the present and forge a future of hope.

Pre-order from:


Griff by Anna Hackett (Book 17, Hell Squad) will be released on 19 March.

Rogue Retrieval by C.M. Simpson (Book 1.5, Mack 'n' Me Odyssey) is a novella set in the Mack'n' Me Odyssey Universe.

I was doing okay, right up until Mack arrived, with Delight and Pritchard in tow. Retrieved for a rescue mission, I was in more trouble than I knew, and, as if that wasn’t enough, Mack had an agenda of his own. Well, of course, he did…

 by Lana Pecherczyk (Book 1, Deadly Seven) is expected to be released on 12 March.

Crime rages in Cardinal City. The fanatical Syndicate’s answer is to be judge, jury and executioner, even if that means destroying half the world to eradicate sin. The only thing standing in their way is a family of fearless vigilantes known as the Deadly Seven.

Created in a lab with his brothers and sisters, Evan Lazarus can sense deadly levels of envy, but when he’s blamed for a mass tragedy, it tears him and his heroic family apart. As the Deadly Seven self destructs, Evan loses himself in the city’s ruthless cage-fighting scene, slowly falling prey to the sin he was created to fight. His only hope is to find a partner who embodies his sin's opposing virtue, the last thing he expects to find is his soulmate…

Doctor Grace Go almost died in the blast that killed her parents, and learned a valuable lesson: envy eats nothing but its own heart. So she forged a life filled with purpose and now seeks justice for the survivors. When she crosses paths with a fiercely protective but damaged hero, a desire she thought long gone is ignited. But Grace is wary of risking her brittle heart on a disgraced hero, even if she can’t seem to stay away from him.

When a figure from Evan’s past emerges, in league with the Syndicate, their evil scheme threatens to destroy everything Evan holds dear. Pushed to the limits, he will have to pull his family from the brink of oblivion and become the hero the city needs, or will envy drive him to destroy Grace and his only chance at love and redemption forever?

A Stranger's Embrace 
by Imogene Nix (Book 2, Celtic Cupid) is due for re-release on 3 June.

Cupid is at it again with a little more divine intervention, but can love survive the danger ahead?

Jane has been living a lie, with her daughter Frannie. They’ve been on the run from her abusive husband for years eking out their existence while Jane’s hidden herself with disfiguring makeup and unflattering clothes.

Davis Formosa, world famous science fiction author has been intrigued by the quiet and unassuming waitress at the diner he has taken to frequenting, unaware that she is his soulmate. But things change when the quiet woman is unmasked.

But Cupid in the guise of Jake has his work cut out helping these two to find their happy ending, especially in the face of increasing danger.


Anna Hackett has a trailer for her Hell Squad series.

Youtube link


Christmas Wings by Lily Rose aka Lilliana Rose has been the most viewed screenplay once again.

Zarna is a shadow fairy born without wings. To fit in she steals wings from living creatures. This year she’s looking for her own set of Christmas Wings.

See the reading of the Best Scene below (Youtube link).


D.K. Hood has signed a new three book deal with Bookouture for books set in the dangerous fictional town of Black Rock Falls, continuing the Kane and Alton series. The books are scheduled for release in 2019 and 2020.


Enisa Haines is a finalist in the Selling Synopsis competition run by the Romance Writers of Australia. Good luck Enisa!


Aftermath by Mary Brock Jones (Book 3, Hathe) won the  Award for Potent Post-war Setting.

Entropy by Jess Anastasi (Book 4, Atrophy) won the FireFly Redux Award.

Anna Hackett  was a big winner with:
Edge of Eon (Book 1, Eon Warriors) winning 
  • Best Start of a New Series and Kidnapping Scene 
  • Home Again Award (Dance with the One that Brung Ya)
  • Alpha Award: Best New Series

The anthology Pets in Space 3 (which Anna had a story in) won Best Continuation of an Anthology that Makes You Feel Good.

See the full list of award winners here

Congratulations to all our DarkSiders!

Thanks for sharing in our news. Until next time, happy reading!
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