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Welcome to the Dark Side!

We are writers mainly from Australia and New Zealand who write speculative fiction with romantic elements. Be it fantasy, paranormal, dark urban fantasy, futuristic and everything in between.

Thursday 15 April 2021

Magic Thursday: Our Life Journey with Mel Teshco

One thing that always fascinates me as a writer is how our upbringing, our culture and our parents’ behaviours can influence and impact us for the rest of our lives. Not only that but how one decision can change the course of our future, how a move to another city, town or country can transform our beliefs and ideals so dramatically, or how meeting one single person (friend or lover) can change everything. As a child my family of six (Mom, Dad, 2 brothers and a sister) were constantly moving from one place to another. I was seriously introverted as a child and was both crippled by anxiety at having to make new friends at another new school, and exhilarated by the adventure of starting at a new place. I made many wonderful friends and met others who opened my eyes to how mean human nature can be (not that I was perfect, either). As for my upbringing…it was different to say the least. My father was deeply religious with a mental health problem (a not so nice combination), and my mother was busy trying to cope with hiding his condition from everyone including us kids. 

Perhaps that is what attracted me to write my current series, The Virgin Hunt Games. Not only are many of my characters aliens, they come from diverse backgrounds, cultures and environments that ensure each individual is really just that – totally individual. Many of these characters have dangerous flora and fauna or live in barren worlds with not much at all. Others have been at war with another alien world, which makes them tough and hardened. And yet despite all that a few of these characters have overcome their hardships to remain at their core decent human beings/aliens. These are the characters I most love, the optimists who, though hardened on the outside, are quite different on the inside. They are more complex than what you first see. The many layers of a character that as an author I get to peel back for my readers.

In Volume 3 of The Virgin Hunt Games, my heroine, Violet, has no memory of her parents or her planet after being sent to an Earth orphanage via a space pod (which was close to running out of oxygen). No one wants to adopt her thanks to her weird looks (hair, skin and eyes) until a husband and wife from a skin clinic decide she’d be the perfect tool (free advertising) once they change her skin colour back to “normal.” When they fail, she not only feels trapped inside her own skin colouring, the fact she was trapped inside a space pod has left a lifelong fear of the dark and enclosed spaces.

Prince Zel has no problem with his looks. His whole viewpoint is ruled by the fact that as the youngest prince he is considered royalty, and yet he means nothing in the bigger scheme of things. It’s only his amazing career as a combat pilot, along with an endless supply of beautiful and willing women that keeps him happy. Then, in a moment of foolish drunkenness, he accepts a dare to be a hunter in the dangerous and fucked-up Virgin Hunt Games, where he meets his drawn hunted, Violet. He takes one look at her on the other platform and suddenly everything makes perfect sense in his world…

I’ve love to hear what influence/destination/upbringing (or anything else) happened to you, which drastically changed their life.

The Virgin Hunt Games Volume 3


Life isn’t fair. Just ask Violet who mysteriously arrived in a space capsule at an orphanage as a baby. She has one goal—to find her biological parents, and winning the Virgin Hunt Games will ensure her face is plastered on every screener across the universe. Surely, her family will recognize and come for her? If she can only stay away from her Mate, the one man she must elude at all cost to win. But naturally, he’s also the only one she wants to surrender to.

Prince Zel Oscar is used to getting what he wants. But accepting a rival’s dare to be a Hunter in the infamous sexploitative Virgin Hunt Games was a terrible and possibly life-altering mistake. But then he meets his Hunted, Violet...delicious perfection wrapped up in a gorgeous package. Too bad she is totally indifferent to his kisses, his exploits, and his lofty title. He’ll do whatever it takes to break down her steely resistance...but will his subjects see him as a hero, or a total degenerate for having kinky sex in front of billions of viewers?

In the end he must make an impossible choice—keep her love, or his kingdom?


Buy links


Mel Teshco grew up in Australia, where her seemingly gypsy dad and ever patient mother saw her living in many areas of the East Coast, along with her sister and two brothers. Each new home stimulated an already over-active imagination, where she spent as much time dreaming about fantasy worlds as the real world - the fantasy sometimes being much better.

Now living on a small rural property with three horses and a handful or two of cats, she is happily married with three children of wide-spread ages and loves writing gritty, sizzling paranormals and the occasional contemporary with darker tones.

You can visit Mel at her website: melteshco.com

Tuesday 6 April 2021

DarkSider News for April 2021!


Time to get a cuppa, sit back, relax and enjoy our latest news...


Blackbird Rising (Book 1, The Witch Crown) by Keri Arthur was awarded Favourite Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance for 2020 at the Australian Romance Readers Awards.

Soul Survivor by Daniel de Lorne is a Aurealis Awards finalist in the Best Horror Novel category. See the rest of the finalists here.

Buy links


A time capsule of human creativity is being sent to the Moon for future generations and our own Imogene Nix will have her novels sent as part of this. Check out the ABC article for details.  Now that's out of this world. 


Witch Bound by Leisl Leighton  (Pack Bound prequel) was released 6 April.

One Fate, one mate, a bond too strong to deny …

Paul Collins, duty-bound Pack Warlock and seer, must marry a strong witch for the good of Pack McVale. But his hidden feelings for his best-friend's sister, maternal wolf Ivy McVale, make this a more difficult pill to swallow every day. Especially when they begin to mate.

Then Paul has a vision: If they mate, Ivy will die. Desperate, Paul uses his powers to change destiny and make Ivy think she's always hated him. He can deal with any punishment the Fates make him pay for tampering with destiny, as long as Ivy lives.

After recovering from a bewildering month-long illness, Ivy notices her nemesis, Paul, is tormented by something. And strangely, she is the only one who can feel it. Unable to endure such unhappiness—even if he does call her Poison Ivy—she is determined to help him, no matter the cost. Because Pack McVale cannot survive without him, and curiously, neither can she ...

The Detective's Familiar
 by TJ Nichols was released on 28 March 2021. 

Walking out on his husband, and fated mate, is the hardest thing wolf shifter Sam Carver has ever done.

Detective Mark Buchan knows he’s screwed things up with his husband, but he never expected Sam to leave. Now there’s a killer targeting witches, and Mark is worried he’s next. He needs Sam’s help one last time.

Sam agrees, but only because if Mark dies, he’ll pine away because of the bond. He hasn’t forgiven Mark, and he won’t forget. And the last thing he wants is to fall in love, again, with the man who broke his heart.

This time Mark will do anything to prove to Sam that he’s worth the trouble. Even surrendering his magic.

For readers who like second chance romance, werewolves and fated mates.

Buy links:

Maggie Mundy 
has re-released The Midworlder Trilogy. 

Unknown Protector (Book 1) 

Two things have helped Nicole cope since the murder of her husband. One is running her detective agency, and the other is her guardian angel, Mira. When Mira is killed by a demon, Nicole accepts the help of a Ridge, a long-haired, cigar-smoking diamond in the rough with wings. Things go from bad to worse when a replacement guardian cannot be found. She has to trust Ridge, which is tricky when she realizes there are no demons or angels, just parasitic aliens that humans have built the myths of these celestial beings around. Ridge isn't an angel or a devil, but an alien half breed known as a Midworlder. He is also way too sexy for his own good.

Buy links

Scarred Protector (Book 2) 

Angels and demons are not what you think. They are aliens, and the Midworlders are their representatives on Earth. Heath is an Angelic Midworlder with a tortured past where he could not save the woman he loved. Evie is a woman haunted by a dark presence in her mind that allows her to see the angels and demons around her. Heath saves her when she is attacked by Demonic Midworlders but will he fail her like he has others before? These two tortured souls are connected by the past, a past that has left an evil lurking inside Evie that could kill them both.

Buy links

Lost Protector (Book 3) 

Angels and demons are not what you think. They are aliens, and the Midworlders are their representatives on Earth.

Soren is a Midworlder who has no memory of his past. His present life is one of torture where the alien Liliath experiments on him.

Anne is a young woman who has never fitted in. All her life she has had dreams of angels. When she is kidnapped, she is offered an escape by Soren. Can she trust him when he has visions of death and murder?

On the run from her kidnappers, the two of them will have to overcome their differences or the future of the whole world will be at stake..

Buy links

The Final Dawn by Jess Anastasi (Book 5, Atropy) was released 21 March.

They will fight until the last star burns out...

Rian Sherron is a lot of things. Captain of the spaceship Imojenna. Ex-war hero. Ex-assassin. For years, he's traveled from one end of the galaxy to the other, both trying to escape his demons and get revenge on the shape-shifting aliens responsible for his slow demise into hell.

That all changed the day Rian rescued an Arynian priestess from slave traders. Ella Kinton is everything Rian both fears and admires. Ella is everything he never let himself admit he wanted. Together, they must face a harrowing choice—come together and defeat Reidar, or fall apart, leaving the universe in total chaos.

Buy links

Non spec-fic

Breaking Arrow by Khloe Wren (Book 13, Charon MC) was released 23 March.

She'll never survive the coming storm, unless he lowers his guard to let her in.

Bodie "Arrow" Trygg didn't care he was the last officer of the Charon MC left single. He was happy with his life in Bridgewater, Texas. Being treasurer of the club kept him busy, and there were women at the clubhouse available for when he got an itch he needed scratched. What more did a man need?

Tabitha's life has never been easy. Even before she was enslaved by the evil Godfrey, she was struggling to survive. Everything changed when the Charon MC stormed Godfrey's house and freed his captives, including her. At least, that's what she'd hoped.

When it's discovered Tabitha isn't as safe as they'd all first thought, Arrow steps up to be her protector. But is he ready for all that will entail?

Hidden Valley 
by Annie Seaton (Book 4, Porter Sisters) was released on 25 March 2021.

Happily working on her family’s macadamia farm in the rolling hills of northern New South Wales, Dee Peters receives an enigmatic letter hinting of family secrets, and the prospect of her inheriting a cattle station in the Northern Territory outback. Torn in many directions: the request that she meet with a solicitor in Darwin, the evasive behaviour of her parents and the opposition of family friend and her—almost—fiancé, Rodney Andrews, Dee’s contented life is suddenly thrown into turmoil.

The last thing she expects is to inherit a sprawling cattle station in the rugged outback, but she travels to the Territory to find the truth of the inheritance. Intrigued by the vague hints of the elderly solicitor, Dee decides to stay on the station for six months while she attempts to make sense of the past.

Ryan Carey, long-time manager of Wilderness Springs cattle station, has lived on the station since he was adopted by childless owners, Ray and Betty Murphy. Devastated when he discovers the property has not been bequeathed to him, the last thing Ryan expects is the arrival of a woman, and one who is keen to take over the running of the property. With reluctance, he agrees to work with Dee, but as she tries to make sense of why the property was left to her, a chilling secret from the past will shock them both.

As Dee and Ryan attempt to uncover the secrets of Wilderness Springs, it soon becomes very clear that someone will do anything to stop them discovering the truth.

Set in the harsh countryside west of Kakadu National Park, this is a thrilling mystery about hidden family secrets and finding love in the harsh Australian outback.


by Mary Brock Jones (Book 2, Arcadia) is expected to be released 10 April.

Ethan Winter wants nothing more from life than to run his family’s solar energy business. But that business has been attacked, he’s been imprisoned and brutalised, his planet threatened, and to protect his company he must work with a woman set on fighting him every step of the way. The planet Arcadia’s environment is dangerously unbalanced and the Alliance is demanding they fix it or lose their home world. The Alliance of Human Worlds doesn’t make empty threats.

Union organiser, daughter of a workshop supervisor and a fiery politician, Sarwenna Beren is prepared for a fight from the moment Ethan Winter arrives at her remote desert town surrounded by rumours of change. He’s rich, powerful and heir to the family that owns the town’s main business, a massive solar field stretching deep into the desert. His arrival threatens the jobs of all those who have put their trust in her. Sar isn’t about to let him shut down the one place keeping her town alive.

Then a boy goes missing in the desert and they are thrown together in the search for him—only to come under attack from a strange beam and an unknown flyer that nearly kills them both. Ethan and Sarwenna must find out who is behind the mysterious attacks and why. It doesn’t help that both have their own suspicions about who is helping their attackers. Suspicions that must be kept secret, especially from each other.

You don’t betray family.

Pre-Order links

The Spell Thieves 
by Lilliana Rose (Book 3, Lost Souls Academy) is expected to be released 8 April.

Something happened to Zarya’s magical ability. Her spells aren’t working, leaving her vulnerable to an attack from the evil ghost, Abaddon.

Can she convince her new friends at the Lost Souls Academy to help her work out how to get her magic back and protect her against a ghost who could easily destroy them all?

Or will they turn on her to save their own lives

The Soldier's Familiar by TJ Nichols is expected to be released on 28 May. 

Stealing the wrong wallet, puts Bailey’s heart in the witch’s grasp.

Sergeant Kassidy Robinson craves a final night of fun before deploying. But one kiss changes his fate. The man in his arms is his familiar. The snow leopard shifter then steals his wallet and vanishes. Kass ships out, but he can’t escape the longing for the light-fingered thief.

Bailey Fisher is terrified of the power Kass holds over him. When the connection doesn’t fade, Bailey realizes he’s already in Kass’s thrall and he’s forced to confront old fears and ancient prejudices or risk being under the soldier’s spell forever.

For readers who like military heroes, opposites attract and fated mates.

Previously published in the Warlords, Witches and Wolves: A Fantasy Realms Anthology

Pre-Order links:


Redemption by Christina Phillips (Book 1, Realm of Flame and Shadow) is now FREE. 

Can the fallen ever be redeemed?

The Archangel Gabriel’s a mercenary for hire and if the price is right, he’ll do anything. Unless a treacherous human is involved. But he can’t let Aurora be taken, and now she’s his responsibility. Problem is, he can’t get her out of his mind.

Aurora’s mum is sick, and she’ll do anything to help her. Except she accidentally triggers the wrath of the terrifying Guardians who want her dead. Only the quick thinking of a sexy stranger saves her, but the price is high. She can never go home again.

On a mission to find a missing child, Gabe can’t afford to be distracted. But Aurora’s touch is electrifying and the closer they get, the more he craves her. He’s pledged to keep her safe, but she doesn’t make things easy.

As danger stalks them, a devastating secret threatens more than their lives. And with time running out to rescue the child, the only way to survive might be the one thing that tears them apart forever.

This book was previously published by Penguin US under another title and penname, but the current book has been completely reimagined, rewritten, and edited.


Hooked by Christina Phillips (Book 1, Viking Bastards MC) is now on the KISS app.

KISS is a new and exciting way to experience Romance stories of all genres. Enjoy serialized quality content from NYT and USA Today bestselling authors, available right from your phone.  KISS has hundreds of titles and authors to choose from, including new and exclusive content from some of your favorite voices!

Check out in your favourite App store. 


Bernadette Rowley was over at Scrolls and Screens talking about Princess Avenger


Lilliana Rose and Maggie Mundy will be at the Books By the Bridge Author Event in the Barossa Valley on 15 May!

Tickets are available via EventBrite.


Congratulations to our DarkSiders.

Thanks for joining us. Until next time...

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