Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Good News Day!


Welcome to this week's good news post....


RELEASES


Shona Husk
Two releases this week for Shona. You go, girl!

Brightwater Blood is available from today from Samhain Publishing



Sharing Sirius is available from Ellora's Cave from tomorrow.





COVERS

Nicole Murphy
Damnation and Dames (which will feature one of Nicole's stories) has just released their cover. Pretty cool.




Maree Anderson
Here is the cover for Lighting Rider, Maree's upcoming release - designed by Maree's husband. Very striking!





REVIEWS


Mel Teshco
Something Wicked This Way Comes gets a 5 star review from Romance Writers Reviews. Here's a snippet.

"Dragon Heat. Love the characters, and storyline. The story had a perfect amount of suspense that kept the story very interesting. This story takes you on a very different journey, and you just don’t know what will happen until the very end."















~~~
Congratulations everyone!

Join us next week for some more good news.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekly Overview

COMING UP THIS WEEK...




Tues 31
GOOD NEWS DAY

Thurs 2 Feb
MAGIC THURSDAY: Shona Husk with giveaway of Brightwater Blood







DARKSIDER TREKKING...
(where we've been)


Nicola 

Mel

Eleni

Jess
Kylie
Sandra
Jenny
Rowena
S.E.
Jess
Emmeline



WHAT'S UP?


  • Reminder: Kylie has a ARC copy of Vengeance Born as a giveaway on Goodreads. Follow this link - it is open from 7 January to 7 February. Good luck!


  • Don't forget that you can follow the blog by Subscribing to the feed, by subscribing by email, and by becoming a DarkSider Buddy (Google connect). All those are on the sidebar. 

  • Our apologies for advertising a blog post by Astrid Cooper for a Australia Day special. This didn't eventuate. 









Have a great week everyone!



Saturday, January 28, 2012

Darklight On...Jodie C!


Today's Darklight On... is with Jodie C. Welcome, Jodie!


The Pen, The Paper and the Paranoia 


I have to admit, doing my first post about writing is more than a little daunting. It’s like asking someone to write an article on sex when they’re stuck on second base. Yes, I do write, but I don’t consider myself a writer. You see, I’m a newbie. I can’t even complain about my pile of rejection letters because to be honest I’m yet to finish one of my stories.

So today I’m not going to be writing about the hunky, executive type with the Midas touch and the killer eyes – who I’m currently writing about – instead I will write about the rollercoaster ride I have already taken....before publication, before submissions, before the painful synopsis writing and before even finishing a story.

It all started about five years ago. I was pregnant, already on maternity leave and remember cringing when my sister in law handed me a copy of Twilight to read. What the hell was Twilight?? And why the hell would I want to read about teenagers and blood suckers with sparkly skin??

I haven’t stopped reading since – and it’s not the occasional read, a book or two every month – hell no, it quickly grew into obsession. After devouring the Twilight series, I read everything I could find and five years later I am averaging about fifteen books a month.

So, the reading turned into reviewing on www.goodreads.com, the reviewing turned into blogging and the next step after that was to start my own writing.

I have always had an overactive imagination. Like many writers and women in general I fall asleep in the arms of a different man each night. No my husband doesn’t mind – he has no clue. Each night there is a new scene, a new man, a new first kiss, a new climactic event that makes my heart ache. And all these scenes continued to overtake my mind. I started not only living them in my mind, but narrating them as if reading a book. How would I describe these scenes? What words would I use to explain the intimacy of that first touch? The first caress? The first brush of lips?

It seemed only natural to put my fingers to the keypad and start typing away. And it was easy. I wrote page upon page, scene upon scene, the words flowing like a torrent trying to escape my teeny, tiny mind. Then I came across RWA – should I join? Should I take the next step? I ended up finding a competition set to end in only two days time and decided to bite the bullet. Here goes nothing. I tried my hardest to read over my work, had a few friends read it to help me out then submitted it with a chest filled with hope.

Six or so months later and the email came back telling me in subtle terms that I sucked better than a Hoover. Ok, a little over dramatic, there were some great comments, some good comments and a whole heap of depressing comments. Not being the most confident person I took it to heart. I seriously suck total ass. So I pulled the piece back out of the depths of my computer and read over it. HOLY HELL, they were right. It sucked!! No, really. It sucked. In such a short space of time and with a lot of help from a recent RWA conference, I had learnt enough to realise my piece was truly horrible. And I had let my friends read it? It really woke me up to the realisation that you shouldn’t let friends read your work if you are looking for an honest opinion.

But I DIDN’T give up. I agreed with the majority of the comments. It made me grow even more as a writer and almost a year later I am still plodding along.

For me the biggest hurdle with writing isn’t the creativity. I can get words on the page relatively quick – they aren’t polished or perfect, but the story is always flowing – my problem is the paranoia, the confidence, the drive to continue even though the words may never be read. The hours spent perfecting a character all gone to waste if no one wants to read it.

I start a story then get half way and decide....”Hmmm, that isn’t good enough. I need to start something else.” I think it’s a coping mechanism. If I don’t finish anything, I can’t get rejected right? Or I will get into a good writing groove, putting down a heap of words each day then decide to pick up a book by one of my favourite authors – then BAM, I take a detour to Suckville. How could my writing ever compare to the likes of Cindy Gerard, J.R. Ward or Kresley Cole? It’s pointless! I’m never going to be that good.

Thankfully I have a few great friends who keep poking me with really large sticks. They remind me of my goals, they encourage me to continue and they always have my back.

So my goal for this year? Finish ONE piece. Get to the point where I can write ‘The End.’ Bite my tongue through the negativity and reach that coveted finish line. And I am determined to do it. I haven’t set my goals high. I have realised I’m not Super Woman, no matter how much I wear the costume. My goal revolves around a small story and I’m already averaging 500 words a day, so I will get there....I will.

And that’s when all the fun and games will begin...submissions....competitions....rejections....world domination.

~~~
Thank you, Jodie.







Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Celebrating Australia Day

By Nicole Murphy, proud Aussie!

Happy Australia Day!

Today, January 26th, marks the anniversary of the arrival of English colonisation on the east coast of Australia. Gotta be that specific - white man arrived at the east coast 18 years earlier, and saw the west coast 164 years before that.

And then there's the Indigenous Australians - no one's exactly sure how long they've been here, around 60,000 years is the estimate...

But today has been adopted as the day we celebrate how absolutely awesome it is to be Australian, while at the same time acknowledging that we're not perfect and we've still got some work to do. We Aussies love a public holiday and Australia Day is a particular favourite, with most of the others being during the colder months of the year.

So how are the Darkside Downunder folks going to be celebrating Australia Day in 2012?

Imogene Nix said - We get the Australia Day Ambassador for the day usually, taking them places etc.,Last year we did Eidsvold RM Williams Bush Learning Centre, Art Gallery etc., Not sure what the plan is for this year though.

Tracey O'Hara said - I celebrate the birth of my first born. :)

Sandra Harris said - We've just finished attaching the flag pole with the Australian flag to the house. We like to fly the flag each Australia day 'week'.

Peta Crake said - More often than not we head to Kings Park in the evening for the skyshow fireworks. Other than that it would have to be a bbq with family and friends.

Denise Rossetti said - I was married on Australia Day, so we celebrate our anniversary and congratulate ourselves on lasting as long as we have. I'm thinking I should have medals struck!

Kelly Bowerman said - When hubby is actually home and not deployed we have lamb and a bbq at home…

Kathrine Grover said - We always have a BBQ and over the years without really realising it, we have created our own ‘know more about Australia Day’ event. Being patriots, we talk about issues such as Aboriginal culture and its importance to the global Australian culture, about the ANZACS and how much we owe them. We also talk about innately Australian cultural tenets such as ‘do the right thing’ or ‘you don’t dob in a mate’. It is a wonderful thing to be born in this great country. CELEBRATE!

Rebecca Skrabl said - I am sadly unpatrriotic, unfortunately. I get excited because I get the day off - which usually means more writing. This year however, a friend invited me for a barbie, so I am actually doing something this year.

As for me - I'm working (pooey!). But I'm planning on sausage sandwiches for dinner (very Australian) and maybe I'll get some beer as well. And at some point I'll crank up some music and belt out Cold Chisel's 'Keh Sanh' at the top of my voice cause THAT'S the true Australia. To me, at least :)

If you're looking for a way to celebrate Australia Day, why not do it with some fabulous Australian books? Here's a list of some of the latest publications by the members of Dark Side DownUnder (any that have been missed please put in the comments).

VENGEANCE BORN (Feb 7th, Berkley Sensation)
www.kyliegriffin.com
Blog tour happening as we speak so there are giveaways of the book happening now!






Starline – released January 23, 2012
www.imogenenix.com







CAPTIVE
http://www.christinaphillips.com







Death’s Sweet Embrace (audio version)
www.traceyohara.com







Rogue Gadda (Book Three, Dream of Asarlai)
http://nicolermurphy.com







Blood Cursed (Book Four, Shadowfae Chronicles)
http://www.ericahayes.net/







The Outcast Chronicles July, August, September 2012
http://rowena-cory-daniells.com/




The Price of Fame June 2012
http://rowena-cory-daniells.com/







Guilty as Sin
http://www.deniserossetti.com/guilty.html

A Bite of...The Ice Princess



For our very first “A Bite of...” segment, I’d love to introduce Cathleen Ross, with her book, 
The Ice Princess.





Can you describe your book in five words?
Paranormal romance, sexy, alpha hero, possessed heroine



What was your inspiration for the story?
I remember reading about a mountain climber on Mount Everest who passed a dying climber and didn't help him. People were outraged but the climber had spent a fortune to climb and reach the summit and chose to do this instead. When Idid my research I realised that there are bodies of dead climbers littering the mountain because the altitude is too high for helicopters and the bodies are too heavy to carry. I wrote a story about a climber who lost his father on Mount Everest, so he goes back each Spring to give the bodies a decent burial. On one trip he finds a woman and she is alive.



Here’s the snippet!

“We’ve got someone here,” Michael St. Claire, called to his Sherpa team. 

He took his ice pick from his belt and began chipping at the sheer ice. If it weren’t for this forgiving May weather on Mount Everest, he’d never have found this body, which through the wall of clear ice appeared to be curled in a fetal position. It could have lain there for all time if it weren’t for this rescue and burial mission he organized each year.

Blue ice sparkled in the sunshine as he hacked through the glass-like pane, finally opening up a hole large enough to extend his gloved hand. Almost close enough to touch. Could it be his father lost when he was a boy? All these years of wondering where his body lay frozen on the mountain. Muscles straining, Michael chipped away until he’d made a hole large enough to climb through.

His head thumped with the activity and he knew he’d have to use less exertion if he didn’t want to come down with altitude sickness. Behind him, he could hear his Sherpas, their voices an excited hum. At this height, it was impossible to carry anyone down the mountain, but he and his team would cover the body with stones until they made a mound, giving the deceased privacy. Pulling off his oxygen mask, he climbed into the hole.

Edging closer, he could see strands of long, blond hair partially hidden under a black, leather hood. He pushed the stiff fabric away to reveal a delicate face with closed eyes. Her skin was porcelain, her nose petite and tilted upwards and her lush, pale lips slightly open. Her hair was braided in an intricate style he had never seen before and there was a curved symbol tattooed on her forehead. She looked asleep.

Perfect. Her body not ravaged from the excesses of the mountain like he’d expected. Did her eyelids just flicker? His head spun and he took a deep breath from his oxygen mask. In all these years he’d been leading expeditions, he’d never found anyone alive. An hallucination. It had to be.

Thump. Thump. Thump went his heart. He shouldn’t have scaled the last ice wall so fast. It was dangerous to push himself too far on the mountain, but every time he laid a body to rest, a piece of his soul eased, his pain from losing his father lessened. He fingered one of her blond braids. It was even harder when it was a woman. No wonder she had died, he thought, gazing at her unusual, tight black, animal-hide gear that would give her no protection from the sub-zero temperatures. Settling on his knees he brushed his gloved fingers over her cheek. She was strangely ethereal and striking with it.A soft sigh met his ears and the woman’s eyes flickered open. Crystal blue like a frozen lake.

“You’re alive,” his voice came out a hoarse whisper. 

“Alive!” Shock bound his voice but adrenalin seized his body like the rush of a drug. Gloves off, fingers trembling, he touched the soft skin on her cheek. How could the leather, which bound her sylph-like figure, keep her warm enough in this ice cave?

Quickly, he slid his hand back into his gloves knowing what the extreme cold could do to exposed skin and stumbled to the entrance. “She’s alive. We have to get her out. Widen the hole,” he screamed before stumbling back to the woman. She blinked and her lips parted.

“Stay… with me.” He clutched her fragile-gloved fingers in his own.

“I will. I promise.” A rasping crunch at the entrance startled him. When he turned he saw his lead Sherpa staring into the hole. “Dig! Clear the entrance. Help me get her out.” Even with the assistance of the rescue Sherpas, it was near to impossible to carry a person in the high altitude of Everest’s death zone.

Turning back to the woman, Michael unfastened the water bottle at his side and put it to her lips. She drank greedily, covering his hand with hers, but choked on the water unable to consume much. “Careful,” he said, “try a little at a time.”

“Thirsty,” she said. Although the skin on her face was so pale, it was almost translucent, she seemed to have no white patches or purplish skin, signs of frost bite. He put his arm around her shoulder raising her so that he hugged her against his chest.

"What’s your name?”

“Preta,” a strange rasping voice left her lips. Darkness loomed in the blue of her eyes, until the irises changed color to an inky blackness. Michael shook his head, so that his head thumped with oxygen deprivation. He looked again into the woman’s eyes. They were crystal blue again, but cold gripped his spine and a wave of black fear enveloped him. He fought to clear the inexplicable terror.

 Climbing in the death zone did strange things to a man’s mind. He knew he had to move and keep his blood circulating or his mind would continue to play tricks, but he couldn’t leave this young woman here to freeze to death alone like so many others had done before her. Michael raised the flask so that she could drink again but she pushed his hand away.

“No, no,” she groaned. “My name…my name is Maya,” she said, her voice now fluid and soft.

He was sure she had called herself something else.

Behind him, he heard the Sherpas hard at work breaking down the sheer ice wall so that he could see the rock and snow landscape and a glimpse of the dark blue sky above.

“Can you try and stand?”

“I’m so lonely, so afraid.”

“My name’s Michael. I won’t leave you, but you have to get moving or you’ll die.” Dead. Unseeing eyes. Frozen bodies. The images flashed before him, but not this woman. He had a chance to save her and he would do anything to achieve it. A sliver of pain pierced his heart. Perhaps if some stranger had felt the same way about his father, he wouldn’t have grown up without him. His muscles screamed with exertion as he gripped her around her torso and hauled her to her feet.

He felt Maya press her torso against him and she stared into his eyes, her lips parted. An inexplicable urge to kiss her overpowered him. Shame bit hard as a fierce sexual rush followed, so intense that he groaned. It took all his will power not to cover her lips with his.

Six months of dedicated mountain training for this rescue month left him no time for women. Instead it made him lean, hard and edgy, thinking of sex more than was healthy. Women were scarce on the mountain. He wanted to throw her to the ground and drive his cock in hers. Instead, supporting her weight on his body, he started to strap his oxygen mask to her face.

She tried to push it away. “No.”

“The air is thin here. Put it on,” he ordered, fitting it to her face and pulling her hood forward to protect her skin. He wrapped one arm around her slim waist and pulled her arm around the back of his neck so that he could take her weight. “You must walk. The tents are close by. I can get you warm there.” Elation surged through him when Maya took hesitant steps towards the mouth of the ice cave.

When they approached the entrance, Michael turned sideways ducked his head and supporting Maya around the waist pulled her through the entrance. The Sherpas crowded around her, chattering excitedly in their own language. “She can walk,” he cried thrilled to know that she had a good chance of survival if she were mobile.

Behind his group of Sherpas, he noticed that a mist had moved in and he could just make out the tents in the distance. Maya’s life depended on getting her warm and filled with fluids and altitude medication. A shrill cry echoed around him as his lead Sherpa leaned forward and pulled Maya’s hood from her face. Another ripped the oxygen mask from her face before stepping back and talking rapidly to his fellow Sherpas.

“What the hell? Back off,” Michael ordered.

“Preta,” his lead Sherpa cried pointing his finger at Maya. 

All of them edged away. Maya clutched Michael and he could feel her trembling in his arms. 

“Kill Preta,” the head Sherpa jabbed his finger at Maya, his finger poking at the tattoo between her brows. He heard her groan in fear as she buried her face in his chest.

“Touch her again and you’ll regret it,” Michael growled.

What the hell had gotten into his team?

“Put Preta back in cave,” one of the Sherpas cried.

“What the hell is a Preta?” Michael asked, pushing Maya behind him just in case the Sherpas decided to charge en mass.

“Ghost. She ghost,” his lead Sherpa said, his voice trembling. “Make men weak. Drink blood.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Michael said.

“She devil woman,” another Sherpa added, clutching a talisman on his parka.

“No!” Maya cried the terror in her voice reached his ears.

“Put sex magic on man.” The Sherpa put his hand on the front of his pants and gestured crudely. “Give man much sex. Weak man no can fight. Give man pain. Much pain.”

“Kill Preta. Put back in cave before Preta kill you,” the lead Sherpa demanded, waving his fist at her.

Maya walked in front of Michael and straightened her shoulders. “I am the daughter of Mountain Mother.” Her voice sounded clear like bells, her accent strange but intriguing.

“Chomolangma.” Some of the Sherpas muttered the Tibetan name for the mountain.“Trick to kill man. You Preta,” the lead Sherpa said jabbing his finger at her tattoo so that her head jerked backward.

Michael pulled her behind him. “Right. That’s enough. You’re not touching her. Get lost. Get out of here.”

Used to the attitude, the Sherpas strode away, turning occasionally, their faces fearful. Michael pulled Maya close and hugged her.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what has got into them. Don’t worry. I’ll look after you.” Within moments the swirling mist swallowed the Sherpas and the edges of it curled around their feet like tentacles.

“They fear the Preta,” Maya whispered.

“Superstitious bastards,” Michael said, strapping the only oxygen mask back onto her face. Looking into her eyes, the strange erotic pull he’d experienced in the cave, came over him. He wanted to throw off all of his clothes, strip her naked too and pin her under him, grip her long blond braids and slake his lust over and over again. In this light her large eyes changed color to an inky blackness like they had in the cave and he swore the tattoo on her forehead glowed. 

Enticing. Alluring. Darkness.

His head span and he crunched his boots into the snow to ground himself.

Michael focused, trying to clear his mind, disgusted with his thoughts. He was a damn moron to think of having sex like an untamed animal in the snow. Worse, he must be oxygen deprived and susceptible to his Sherpas’ suggestions, given he was seeing things. Death would be his only companion if he stayed outside hallucinating and he couldn’t help Maya then.

“Come on, let’s get going.”He wrapped his arm around her waist, noting her fragility and strode forward half carrying the petite woman clinging to him toward the tents.

With the mist curling around them, he stopped and set his compass in the direction he wanted to go as he could barely see in front of him. Without his oxygen mask he fought for air, his lungs heaving in and out, his breath billowing in front of him like steam. Focus, he told himself.

“Stop,” Maya cried, pointing to something. The ghost-like mist cleared and he saw what she was pointing at. A thin fissure in the snow which widened to a crack. God help them. If they’d stepped on that it could have given way to a deep crevasse.

A sickening, twisting sensation spiraled in his gut.

“How did you know it was there?” he asked, removing the oxygen mask from her face with shaking hands. Putting it to his own he sucked in large gulps of oxygen, aware that his heart was thumping from his near-miss experience.

“I am the Ice Princess of Chomolangma, daughter of the Mother Goddess,” she said, tilting her chin. “My job is to guide climbers to safety.”

Damn it. She had bad altitude sickness, Michael thought.

“The Sherpas did not lie.”

“What are you talking about?”

“A Preta is in my body and I can’t get it out. It’ll make me do things I don’t want to do. Sex magic. You’re a good man, Michael, I don’t want to hurt you,” her words rushed into one another.

“Yeah, right, the Preta again.” Michael slapped the oxygen mask back on Maya’s face. Clearly she needed it more than he did.

Muscles screaming, he veered around the fissure until he reached his tent and pulled aside the flap. All he wanted was to lie in his thick down sleeping bag and feel warmth return to his body and numb feet with Maya beside him. Naked.




If you liked Cathleen’s snippet (and lets face it, who wouldn’t?!) you can find her here:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Good News Day!


Welcome to this week's good news...


REVIEWS

Kylie Griffin
Vengeance Born received a 5 star review from Night Owl Reviews AND was chosen as a Top Pick. Here's a snippet:

"I am completely captivated by this fantastical world Kylie Griffin has created. It is a mystical adventure with demons, Vorcs, and prejudiced humans to contend with. The journey is unpredictable, intense, and suspense filled with each scene easily realized. Add to that the strength, compassion, and underlying vulnerability and innocence of Griffin’s two leading characters and this story is an unstoppable read. Annika and Kalan's stories are revealed in parts throughout, so connections can be made with each of them although I'll warn that Annika's story is particularly grabbing. The pacing is perfectly set to deliver maximum impact on both character development and world-building. In short, I believe in the characters and I believe in their story.

I am so impressed by Kylie Griffin’s imagination and writing talents and I can’t wait to dive into the next Light Blade journey! There are plenty of plot twists and characters with stories yet to be told, so it seems that the ending of this story is actually just the beginning. Fantasy and romance fans will be pleased with this new series!"




SALES


Nicole Murphy
The Black Star Killer is a short story set in the Gadda world and will be published in Damnation and Dames (by Ticonderoga Publications). It is set in Chicago in the 1920s.





RELEASES

Imogene Nix
Starline is out now from Secret Cravings. This is Imogene's first release! Congrats, Imogene!






Eleni Konstantine
Changes is now available in podcast format on the Antipodean SF podast 163 Alpha
(9:55mins).











~~~
Great job, everyone. Congratulations.

Join us next week for some more Good news....


Monday, January 23, 2012

Magic Thursday: Winner of Something Wicked This Way Comes

The winner of the anthology, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Mel Teshco, Jaid Black, Laurann Dohner, Desiree Holt, Kathy Kulig & Eliza Knight is:  

Sandy!


Congratulations Sandy. Please email Mel at: mottrey @ yahoo . com (no spaces)
Thanks to everyone who commented =))

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekly Overview

COMING UP THIS WEEK...



Mon 23 Jan
Winner of Mel Teshco's giveaway announced



Tues 24
GOOD NEWS DAY


Wed 25
New Column: A BITE OF...The Ice Princess by Cathleen Ross




Thurs 26
MAGIC THURSDAY: Nicole Murphy talks about Australia Day.


Fri 27
Australia Day Special with Astrid Cooper


Sat 28
Darklight On...Jodie C




DARKSIDER TREKKING...
(where we've been)


Eleni 

Rowena

Keri
  • On Rowena's blog - see above.

Jenny
Mel
  • Guest on Kylie's blog - see above.
  • Woot!

Sandra
Jess
Shona
Maree
Nicole

Emmeline






WHAT'S UP?


  • Reminder: Kylie has a ARC copy of Vengeance Born as a giveaway on Goodreads. Follow this link - it is open from 7 January to 7 February. Good luck!

  • We no longer have the promo page available. 





 

Have a great week everyone!