2017 covers

The Black Tide
The Black Tide
Cloud Door
Fate in the Sun
Chasing Taz
Silver Reaper
The Starman's Arrival
Ashes Reborn
Beta’s Mark
Secrets at Wongan Creek
Freeman's Choice
Blood Chance
The Years of Voyage
Just a Dinosaur
Necessary Alpha
Fighting Mac
Taken by the Desert Sheikh
Alien Resistance
The Stars to Guide

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

DarkSider News - more for October!

Welcome to more DarkSider News for October!


Fate in the Sun by C.M. Simpson is a science fiction short story. It is Indie Published by C.M. Simpson Publishing on 6th October.

On Canon V, the colonists live underground—those that can, anyway. Those that are born unable, I help guide to the surface, and then I try to warn them of the creatures that come from beyond the rifts. Some listen. Most run away screaming. With the creatures coming more often, the last thing any of us expected was for corporate intervention. Now, we just have to work out if they’re offering a deal worth taking, or if we’d be better off in the caves.

Chasing Taz by Khloe Wren is the third book in the Charon MC series.  It was Indie Published on 3rd October.

The dramatic conclusion to the Charon MC Trilogy is here…

He lived his life one conquest at a time. She calculated her every move… until she met him.

Former Marine Donovan ‘Taz’ Lee might appear to be a carefree Aussie bloke living it up as a member of the Texan motorcycle club, Charon MC, but the truth is so much more complicated. With blood and tears haunting his past and threatening to destroy his future, Taz is completely unprepared for the woman of his dreams, when she comes in and knocks him on his ass. Literally.
Felicity “Flick” Vaughn joined the FBI to get answers behind her brother’s dishonorable discharge and abandonment of his family. Knowing Taz was a part of her brother's final mission, she agrees to partner with him to go after a bigger club, The Satan’s Cowboys MC.
However, nothing in life is ever simple and Flick is totally unprepared to have genuine feelings for the sexy Aussie. When secrets are revealed and their worlds are busted wide open, will they be strong enough to still be standing when the dust settles?

Available from Amazon | Amazon Aus | iBooks | Kobo | B&N | Google Play

You can also see the first two books in the trilogy below in the previous 2017 releases section.

Grave Robbing Gone to Hell by Cassandra L. Shaw is the second book in the Grave Robber series.  It was Indie Published in October. 

Available from: Amazon USAmazon Aus


Cloud Door by C.M. Simpson is a science fiction short story set in the Mack and Me universe. It will be Indie Published by C.M. Simpson Publishing, expected on 3rd November.

So, we’ve done this job, and I’m checking our tails are clear, and I find they’re not—and then I find the only way to kick clear is to find the Cloud Door. Only trouble is the Cloud Door’s a legend, and Mack? Well, he’s not too fond of chasing legends. Fortunately, this one’s a no-brainer: we want to live, and that’s got to be enough to make anyone chase a legend, right?

Pre-order at: Smashwords | iBooks | Amazon US | Amazon Aus


Since we missed out on some of our releases during the year, we'll will continue to feature some every issue.

Ashes Reborn by Keri Arthur is the fourth book in the Souls of Fire series.  It was released in September by Berkeley Books (US) / Piatkus (UK).


The next blazing-hot installment of the Souls of Fire series from the New York Times bestselling author of Flameout

The clock is ticking as Emberly--a phoenix capable of taking human form--races to take revenge against the sadistic and mysterious Rinaldo. The elusive rebel leader threatens to keep killing until he is given all of the research about a plaguelike virus derived from vampire blood.

Forced to reach out to the Paranormal Investigations Team for help, Emberly and her partner, Jackson, must decide who to trust as they follow the trail of dead bodies. When classified information is leaked and their safe house is ambushed, Emberly's suspicions are confirmed--someone at PIT has betrayed them.

A final battle looms and Emberly will need to command all her powers--or watch the world turn to ash....

***Trigger Warning: Rape Scene***

Buy links are available from Keri's website. 

Necessary Alpha by Khloe Wren is a short story and is book 4.5 in the Fire & Snow series. 

These shifter mates must fight together to save their Leap family from its evil Alpha. 

Shifter male Finn has spent his last year unsuccessfully searching the globe for his destined mate. Now Finn has returned home to England, and despite his parents warning him to stay away from the Devon Leap with its nasty Alpha, Alastair, Finn knows he must search the area for his one and only.
Choden, the original shifter, approaches Finn to tell him that he’s certain Finn's true mate is indeed inside the Devon Leap. He also tells Finn he’s destined to be the next Alpha of the Devon Leap, and as such, he must act quickly to not only save his mate, but the whole leap from devastation. For Alastair is more than nasty, he is evil to his soul. He has taken to killing his own shifters to steal their mates for himself.

Shifter female Brooke is over waiting for someone to come to her Leap’s rescue. Her cousin has fallen victim to the cruel alpha, and if no one else has the courage to defy Alastair, Brooke will do it herself. But when he uses his power to freeze her in place, Brooke is trapped. Will Finn and Choden arrive in time to save her from Alastair's foul plans?

And can the three work together to save their leap?

(This book is set after Fire and Snow Series Book four, Fierce Guardian, however it can be read as a stand alone story.)

Buy links are available from Khloe's website.

From Ferret with Love by Astrid Cooper is book nine in the Monsters Ink series.  It was released in January by eXtasy Books.

Love will find a way. Star-crossed mates, torn apart by enemies, find that the cost of love may be too high.

Fabian, a ferret-shifter with wolven blood, takes a walk on the wild side and is rescued by Ashley, a cop who would rather go home alone to his cat, than play nursemaid to a runaway. Soul-mate recognition intervenes. When Fabian’s alpha, together with the pack enforcer, arrive to drag Fabian home, a deadly battle ensues – one that leaves Fabian soul-wounded and Ashley destroyed.
Three years later, Fabian Ferret, private investigator for the blood-kin, is summoned to Monsters inK to work a cold case.

Left for dead by unknown assailants, Ashley has slowly recovered, but has no memory of the events leading up to his bashing. He has found a new life as a member of Monsters inK.

When Fabian and Ash are re-united, Ashley doesn’t remember his mate, and Fabian knows that to reveal the truth will set Ash free, but damn Fabian and their love forever. Ash decides that the little shifter is too much trouble, but Fabe has ingenious ways to ferret out the truth. So begins a teasing and dangerous game of seduction – one that may see them united or divided by love.

Available from eXtasy Books | Amazon US | Amazon Aus | iBooks 

Alien Resistance by Marie Dry is book four in the Zyrgin Warriors series.  It was released 2nd June by Black Opal Books.

In a bleak future where government systems are breaking down and poverty and violence reign, Madison Johnson is about to qualify as a doctor, after years of study and backbreaking work, in order to keep the promise she made to her dying sister, only to have an arrogant alien take over the hospital and decree that she would no longer be allowed to practice medicine. Hassled by the resistance group that’s trying to recruit her and exhausted from working impossible hours, Madison struggles to convince the disturbingly sexy alien, who always watches her, to let her be a doctor. As she and Viglar grows closer, Madison worries that she’s falling in love with one of the aliens who caused her brother’s disappearance—an alien who does not know how to love…

Non spec fiction releases... MC Love...

Inking Eagle by Khloe Wren is the first book in the Charon MC series.  It was released in April and was Indie Published.

The sins of her father will be her undoing… unless a hero rides to her rescue. 

As the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks nears, Silk struggles to avoid all reminders of the day she was orphaned. She's working hard in her tattoo shop, Silky Ink, and working even harder to keep her eyes and her hands off her bodyguard, Eagle. She'd love to forget her sorrows in his strong arms.
But Eagle is a prospect in the Charon MC, and her uncle is the VP. As a Daughter of the Club, she's off limits to the former Marine. But not for long. As soon as he patches in, he intends to claim Silk for his old lady. He'll wear her ink, and she'll wear his patch.
Too late, they learn that Silk's father had dark secrets, ones that have lived beyond his grave. When demons from the past come for Silk, Eagle will need all the skills he learned in the Marines to get his woman back safe, and keep her that way.

Buy links are available from Khloe's website. 

Fighting Mac by Khloe Wren is the second book in the Charon MC series.  It was released in June and was Indie Published.

She’s no sleeping beauty, but then he’s no prince—just a biker warrior to the rescue.

For the past three years Claire ‘Zara’ Flynn has been at the mercy of narcolepsy and cataplexy attacks. But after she witnesses a shooting by the ruthless Iron Hammers MC, her problems get a whole lot worse. She’s now a marked woman, on the run for her life.

Former Marine Jacob ‘Mac’ Miller has a good life with the Charon MC. He works in the club gym and teaches self-defense classes - in hopes of saving other women from the violent death his sister suffered. When the pretty new waitress at a local cafe catches his attention, he wants her in his bed. But there’s a problem. She’s clearly scared of all bikers. Wanting to help her, he talks her into coming to his class. Mac soon realizes he wants to keep her close in more ways than one. But can he, when his club’s worst enemies come after her?

When Zara disappears, Mac and his brothers must go to war to get her back. Because this time, she wakes up in a terrible place… surrounded by other desperate women, and guarded by the Iron Hammers MC. Can her leather-clad prince ride to the rescue in time to save her from hell?

Buy links are available from Khloe's website. 

Hooked by Christina Phillips is the first book in the Viking Bastards MC series.  It was released in February by Entangled Publishing.


I like my sex dirty and disposable. I'm not into commitment or chicks who want more than one night. My brothers and club come first, second and last.

Until she walks into my life. Classy, rich and so out of my league it's crazy. A week together should get her out of my system, but this good girl is so bad when we're all alone and I can't get enough of her.

I don't do forever, but she's hooked me so bad I don't ever want to let her go. Except there's no way a princess can live in my world and I sure as hell won't live in hers...

Available from: Amazon  |  Amazon Aus | iBooks  |  B&N  |  Kobo  ~ also available in Print

Payback by Christina Phillips is the second book in the Viking Bastards MC series. It was released in May by Entangled Publishing.


I don't fuck girls who work for me, but as soon as Amelia turns those big green eyes on me I know she's trouble. I can't keep my hands off her, and the almost-but-not-quite-sex we share in the kitchen is the hottest thing I've ever had. Except she calls it quits, before we've even started.

Instead of moving on, she’s all I can think about and that's bad news. I'm breaking all my rules for her, and don't even care.

Until I find out who she is and what she really wants. She's after payback, but there's no way she's going to get it. No way in hell...

Available from: Amazon  |  Amazon Aus | iBooks  |  B&N  |  Kobo  ~ also available in Print


We continue updating pages on the website. You can find updated pages for Shelley Russell NolanEleni Konstantine, Christina Phillips, Khloe Wren, Efthalia, Marie Dry, Astrid Cooper,  and C.M. Simpson


Juanita Kees was a guest at the ARRA blog earlier in the month, and Under the Shadow of Doubt was also reviewed.

Congratulations to all our DarkSiders!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Magic Thursday: What do the DarkSiders write?

by Eleni Konstantine

We state on our website that the DarkSiders are writers mostly from Australia and New Zealand who write speculative fiction with romantic elements. Be it fantasy, paranormal, dark urban fantasy, futuristic and everything in between.

Let's break this down.

What is speculative fiction?

According to Wikipedia, "Speculative fiction is an umbrella genre encompassing narrative fiction with supernatural or futuristic elements. This includes the genres science fiction, fantasy, superhero fiction, science fantasy, horror and supernatural fiction, as well as their combinations."

That's a pretty good and broad definition.

You can see the attraction of the genre when it includes everything from myth and magic, space travel, discovery of new planets/worlds, ghosts, monsters, zombies, dragons, wizards/witches, scientific discoveries, 'Evil', survival, disasters, and even different societal structures, some to the extreme.

What is romance?

Again, according to Wikipedia "The romance novel or romantic novel...place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending." There are many sub-genres of the romance novel including fantasy, historical romance, paranormal fiction, and science fiction."

You can see the attraction of being able to have a satisfyingly happy ending to a journey filled with conflict for two characters who are deeply in love.

The DarkSiders

Since we are a group affiliated with the Romance Writers of Australia, most of us also have romance or romantic elements in our work which usually contains speculative fiction.

The combination of speculative fiction and romance is a strong one and can attract a variety of readers.

You can see our members categorised by genre on our website. Of course some of these overlap, which is part of the joy of writing genre fiction, but also it made it difficult for publishers and book sellers to know exactly where to place these stories. With the rise of e-books and digital publishing, multiple 'shelving' with categories and keywords has allowed these cross genres to find a home easier.

Let's check out all the sub-genres in the speculative fiction umbrella we DarkSiders write...

  • Dark Fantasy
  • Dark Urban Fantasy
  • Dystopian Erotica
  • Epic Fantasy
  • Erotic Paranormal Romance
  • Fantasy
  • Fantasy Romance
  • Flash Fiction
  • Futuristic
  • Futuristic Romance
  • Gay Fiction
  • Historical with Spec Fiction Elements
  • Horror
  • Humour
  • Male/Male Romance
  • Middle Grade
  • Mythological Romance
  • NA - New Adult
  • Paranormal 
  • Paranormal Adventure
  • Paranormal Romance
  • Post Apocalyptic
  • Romantic Erotica
  • Romantic Fantasy
  • Sci Fi
  • SFR - Sci Fi Romance
  • Short Stories
  • Space Opera
  • Speculative Fiction 
  • Speculative Fiction Romance
  • Steampunk
  • Supernatural
  • Sword and Sorcery
  • Time Travel
  • Urban Fantasy
  • YA - Young Adult

That definitely is a broad range as is our non-speculative fiction areas.

Non Speculative Fiction
  • Children's Stories
  • Contemporary Erotica
  • Contemporary Romance
  • Contemporary Romantic Suspense
  • Contemporary Suspense
  • Erotic Romance
  • Inspirational 
  • Junior Fiction
  • Mystery
  • NA - New Adult
  • Poetry
  • Romance
  • Romantic Suspense 
  • Rural Romance
  • Non-fiction

While we concentrate on the speculative fiction side on the DSDU, we want to also celebrate the non-spec fic that our authors also write, so hence why you see us talking about this as well.

If you enjoy reading any of the above genres, you've come to the right place!


All images courtesy of Pixabay.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

DarkSider News - we're back!

Hello there DarkSide friends, welcome to the very first DarkSider News.

We have had a quiet year in 2017 on the blog, website, Twitter and Facebook.

There had been discussion of whether we would continue in our previous form for a number of reasons. The short answer is not exactly. Find out how after some news from our DarkSiders.


Silver Reaper by Shelley Russell Nolan was released 1st October!
This is book three in The Reaper Series.

How far would you go to save those marked for Death?

When the call to reap uncovers a new threat to Easton and its inhabitants, Tyler is drawn back into a world she thought she’d left behind.

Forced to face her greatest fears, she seeks to uncover the identity of the rogue reaper murdering men employed by her former ally. But the search leads her to a conspiracy decades in the making.

With the line between friends and enemies blurring, Tyler begins to question her loyalties as she fights to stop the storm threatening to engulf Easton. But when the Grim Reaper offers the last hope, death might be the least of her problems.

Who can Tyler trust when even her allies want her dead?

You can buy it on Amazon US and Amazon Aus.


The Black Tide by Keri Arthur is now available for pre-order over at iTunes and Amazon for our North American friends.

This is the third and final book in The Outcast Trilogy.

New York Times bestselling author Keri Arthur brings her Outcast series to a breathtaking conclusion as Déchet supersoldier Tiger races against time to save humanity from darkness and total annihilation….

Though Winter Halo–the pharmaceutical company behind the evil experimentation on both children and adults–has been destroyed, the danger is far from over. Not only do seven children remain unaccounted for, but some of the vampires are now able to walk in light.

The key to stopping the unthinkable lies in finding Ciara Dream, the last member of the trio behind the plot to give full light immunity to both the vampires and the Others. But Ciara, like Tiger herself, is a shapeshifter, able to take on any human form she desires.

To find her, Tiger will need to use every skill in her formidable arsenal, and even that might not be enough to save the city and the people she has started to care about.

Because the vampires are coming, and this time, the lights won’t stop them.

You can pre-order at:


Hell's Bell by Keri Arthur has got an amazing cover!  

It's book 2 of the Lizzie Grace series and due for release February 2018.


Welcome Juanita Kees to the DSDU!

Juanita writes Romantic Suspense, Rural Romance and Paranormal/ Fantasy Romance.

Check out her bio page over on our website.

Her latest release is a rural romance called Secrets at Wongan Creek.

It is book two of the Wongan Creek series.

Still waters run deep in Wongan Creek…

When spray drift ruins his crop and throws his ability to hold on to the family farm in question, Harley Baker wants to confront his neighbour and shout his rage and worry to the sky. But arguments are tricky when the woman whose herbicides killed his crop is also the woman he’s loved his whole life.

Tameka Chalmers knows that her father’s farming methods are outdated, inefficient, and even dangerous, so when Harley charges her with the loss of his livelihood, she can only accept the blame. There’s so much she would like to do differently, but her father’s rule is absolute and if she wants to keep working the farm she loves, she must do as she’s told.

But the simple action of speaking with Harley, the man she wants but can never have, starts an unexpected chain reaction of events that throw everything she’s ever known into question: her past, her family, her life. Dark secrets come to light and when Tameka is injured in a house fire, she and Harley have one small chance to seize a lifetime of happiness, if only they are able to rise from the ashes and claim it.

You can find the buy links here.


Since we missed out on some of our releases during the year, we'll feature some every month.

The Lady and the Pirate by Bernadette Rowley is the third book in the Wildecoast Saga and was released in February.

Lady Esta Aranati, burdened by an impoverished estate, has turned her hand to smuggling. She leads a double life, a mask and wig the only shields that protect her reputation. Swashbuckling pirate Samael Delacost craves her cargo and her heart. But before he can be worthy of her love, he must exorcize the ghosts of his past. An irresistible connection binds them but will that be enough to convince Samael to turn his back on the sea, or for Esta to take a chance on happiness she doesn’t think she deserves? 

The Lady and the Pirate continues The Wildecoast Saga, with popular The Lord and the Mermaid characters Nikolas Cosara and his wife Merielle featured in this latest instalment from Bernadette Rowley.

You can get a copy at Amazon US and Amazon Aus.

Blood Kissed by Keri Arthur  was released in May.  It's book 1 of the Lizzie Grace series.

In a world where magic and science sit side by side, and powerful witches are considered necessary aides for all governments, Lizzie Grace is something of an outlier. Though born into one the most powerful blue blood witch families, she wants nothing to do with either her past or her magic.

But when she and Belle, her human familiar and best friend, open a small cafe in the Faelan werewolf reservation, she quickly finds herself enmeshed in the hunt for a vampire intent on wreaking bloody havoc. It’s a hunt that soon becomes personal, and one that is going to take all her skills to survive–that’s if the werewolves, who hate all things witch, don’t get her first.

You can find buy links on Keri's website. 

Finding Paradise by Juanita Kees was released in March. It is book one of The Gods of Oakleigh.

From the shores of Mykonos to Melbourne Australia, Arian and Ajax find that sometimes in life or death true love is worth fighting for. 

Arian Kendrick has always felt she doesn’t quite fit in. On holiday in Mykonos she rescues a little girl from drowning and discovers powers she didn’t know she had. As her long-dormant mystical talents blossom, so does her heart when she meets Ajax, the handsome, mysterious Greek-Melbournian who swears he is destined to be in her life. 

After falling on his sword after the Battle of Troy, Ajax the Great is banished to Van Diemen’s Land where he must search for a way to redeem his soul. Two thousand years later, he is given a second chance when Zeus orders him to Mykonos to search out and protect the future Queen of the Faeries, Arianrhod. The last thing he expects is to fall in love. 

But every romantic island holiday must come to an end, and the mysteries and fairytales of Mykonos fade into the suburban reality of Melbourne where Arian begins to doubt Greek lore and the magic in her veins. 

Can Arian embrace her mythical legacy in time to save her people as Hades threatens to destroy Paradise forever, and will Ajax rise to fight by her side, or is he destined to fall on his sword for eternity? 

The quiet suburb of Oakleigh may never be the same again. Not as long as the gods are in town...

You can buy it on Amazon US and Amazon Aus.

Now we continue with our DSDU news...

DarkSide DownUnder websiteThe website will continue to host our DarkSider bio pages.  However they will be have a different look as we'll be using widgets from Goodreads for the covers. This cuts down on volunteer time and also gives us another avenue where we'll be located (more on this later).

We'll be slowly working on updating all our DarkSiders' pages in the coming months and we apologise for any inconvenience.

Updated pages include Keri Arthur, Juanita Kees, Bernadette Rowley, and Emmeline Lock.

From 2017 onwards, our covers page will use a widget also.

Feed for the DarkSide DownUnder blogThis blog has also been updated in relation to columns.

DarkSider News (formerly Good News) will be on the 1st Monday/Tuesday of the month. This will feature good news from our DarkSiders as well as any news regarding us in general. This will be run by Eleni Konstantine.

Magic Thursdays  will be on the 2nd Thursday of the month.  This is a column that covers promo, giveaways, articles on any aspect of writing, speculative fiction, feature an excerpt (formerly featured in a A Bite of.. column), or other interesting topics (eg mythology). This is run by Janni Nell.

Darklight On will be on the 4th Saturday of the month. This combines the three columns, Darklight On, Enchanted Orb, and What We Are Reading. It is a focus on the author. This is run by Shelley Russell Nolan.

Twitter for DarkSide DownUnder

We'll have more of a presence again on Twitter concentrating on announcements to begin with.  It will be run by Juanita Kees who has joined the DSDU team. 

Facebook page for DarkSide DownUnderFacebook
We'll have more of a presence again on our Facebook page and like Twitter concentrating on announcements to begin with.  It will be run by Efthalia who has joined the DSDU team. 

Goodreads page for the DarkSide DownUnderWe've created a Goodreads presence where we will be setting up shelves with DarkSider books.  This will be run by Eleni Konstantine. 

Thanks to our volunteers we're re-energised and we are back! 
Congratulations to all our DarkSiders with good news.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Magic Thursday--Janni Nell shares an excerpt of her new cozy mystery Secrets, Spells & Murder

I've been promising to write a paranormal cozy mystery for years and I've finally done it. Here's a sneak peak at Secrets, Spells & Murder.

Chapter 1
The day before Silver Moon Falls had its first murder, the townspeople woke up as usual, had breakfast, kissed their loved ones goodbye and went to work. I did likewise except for kissing a loved one, since I lived alone. After locking the door to my cottage on Appletree Lane, I began the walk to my shop carrying a newly made batch of Green Thumb spells.
On the way, I stopped to pet old Mr. William’s dog, while across the road, Erin called to her kids, just as she did every weekday morning, “Get in the car or you’ll be late for school.” As Erin pulled out of her driveway, she gave me a friendly wave. I waved back then turned the corner and set off down Main Street.
It promised to be a beautiful day. Wisps of white cloud trailed across the sky, and the breeze was heavy with the scent of the woods. I was all kinds of lucky to call this beautiful part of northern California home.
As I passed The Awesome Bean coffee shop, Sara Carter called out, “You want your usual this morning?”
“Please.” A few years ago, The Awesome Bean had been called Carter’s and they made the worst coffee in the entire universe. In an effort to improve their business, Sara had visited me for a custom-made spell. I worked hard at it, but even I was surprised by the results. Not only did she suddenly have the best coffee ever, the spell remained strong years later, which is unusual. As a thank-you, Sara has given me free coffee ever since. Win-win.
I was waiting for my cappuccino when Mayor Danny Blain stopped by for an Americano. He was around fifty, with strands of silver in his hair and eyes of muddy brown. Although of average height, he had an above-average physique and off-the-charts charisma. He was the mayor of both Silver Moon Falls and the larger town of Silver Moon Junction. Too bad he had no love for witches and our craft.
He acknowledged me with a curt nod. “We want to review your permit.” He meant the permit to practice witchcraft, which was at the discretion of the local council. Mayor Blain had been trying to close my shop for years. So far he’d failed, but that didn’t mean he’d stop trying. I wondered whether he’d change his mind if he knew that Sara’s coffee tasted so good because of my spell. I was tempted to tell him, but then he might decide to close the shop down and I couldn’t do that to her.
“I’m happy to meet with the council and discuss the matter,” I said, with a smile to let him know I was prepared to be reasonable.
He eyed the box I was carrying. “What’ve you got in there?”
“Just some Green Thumb spells. They’re very popular this time of year.”
“Hmm. Green Thumb, eh? People just throw it around their yard and a garden springs up?”
“It’s more like a really good fertilizer. Garden beds still have to be prepared, seeds planted and watered. But flowers are more abundant and they last a lot longer.”
“And that’s all it does?” he asked suspiciously. “I thought it was supposed to be magic.”
                I could’ve told him the spell completely eliminated weeds, disease and pests, but Sara was calling out, “Coffee’s ready, Maddie.”
“Excuse me.” I hurried to the counter to get my drink.
Sara handed it over. “Have a great day.”
“Hope yours is even better.” I waved to Sara, relieved to escape from the mayor, and headed off to work. 
My shop—Maddie’s Little Shop of Spells to be precise—was nestled between Kylie-Ann’s hairdressing salon and the Silver Moon Bakery. The aroma of cinnamon buns tickled my nostrils. Unable to resist, I bought one, holding the bag in my teeth as I juggled my coffee, the box of spells and keys to my shop. After opening the door without spillage, I dumped my box on the counter and bit into the delicious bun. I’d deal with the calories later by jogging to the falls. 
When I’d finished the bun and coffee, I got to work unpacking and displaying the Green Thumb spells. The entire back wall of the shop was lined with shelves containing everything from Happy Household spells, which were designed to create a soothing home environment, to Memory spells for finding missing objects. The jars and bottles had pretty labels handwritten by my assistant, Autumn, who burst through the door at that moment in a chaotic whirl of curly auburn hair, sunshine yellow blouse, pink-checked skirt and ballet flats.
“Isn’t it a beautiful day?” she said. “You want me to help stack those shelves?”
“Sure,” I said.
Autumn wasn’t a local girl. She’d blown into town one day with nothing but a small bag, a mysterious past and the desire to change her life. I’d decided to give her a chance, and I’ve never regretted it.
While she finished displaying the Green Thumb spells, I headed out back to the storage room, where a small round table and two chairs stood near our rarely used coffee machine. On the opposite wall were more shelves filled with carry bags, bottles of water, cleaning products, a box of tissues and special orders waiting to be picked up.

I was checking the stock when the bells above the door jangled announcing the arrival of a customer. I heard a woman laugh and say, “What a very strange shop. We just had to come in.” She sounded amused in a superior kind of way, as though she was too smart to believe in magic.


Secrets, Spells & Murder now available for 

Google Play



Janni Nell is the author of fun paranormal mysteries. Before she became a writer, she worked as a personal assistant, receptionist and sales clerk. Now she is happy to spend every day creating stories. When she isn’t writing, you can find her at dance class, Pilates or walking the dog. She is hard at work on her next book.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Magic Thursday--Excerpt of Dead Lady Vanishing

Tash and Joe are back! Mystery, humor and romance combine when they investigate the ghostly goings-on at spooky Wildfinch Hall.

Dead Lady Vanishing is Book 2 in the Bolde and Baulsey paranormal mystery series. Here’s a sneak peak:


My flashlight illuminated the name Wildfinch Hall. Really? Somebody had been reading too many Brontë novels. And we weren’t even in Yorkshire. I wondered whether Heathcliff was at home.
“Stop messing around,” yelled Clover. She was already on the other side of the gates. Unlike me, she could walk right through them. “Come on.”
“The gates are locked,” I said, directing my beam onto the padlock and chain.
“Then climb over.”
It wasn’t the first time I’d trespassed at Clover’s insistence and I guessed it wouldn’t be the last. Sticking the flashlight in my pocket, I surveyed the curls and scrolls of wrought iron, which appeared to provide plenty of hand- and footholds. It wasn’t until I grabbed hold that I realized the metal was dangerously slick with rain. I slipped and banged my knee. Sucking in a breath, I tried again, more carefully this time. As I made my way up, the gates wobbled. The wind whipped around, threatening to toss me on my ass, but I clung on. When I reached the top, I swung one leg over and then the other. For a second I balanced on top then I jumped down, landing with a crunch on the gravel driveway.
Jagged lightning split the sky. For a moment it was bright as day. A large building—we’re talking Pemberley or Downton Abbey—stood on the crest of the hill at the end of the driveway. The scream must’ve come from there.
As I started toward it, Clover called, “No, this way,” and set off across a wide lawn dotted with swaying trees.
Forgetting about the pelting rain, my wet shoes, and the chill that turned my breath misty white, I went after her, flicking on my flashlight again as I ran.
“Is the woman still screaming?” I panted.
“No.” She sounded worried.
“Maybe you’ve gone the wrong way. The scream must’ve come from the place on the hill.”
“It didn’t.” She continued to move away from the house.
“You do realize I’m soaking wet,” I grumbled. Honestly I wished I’d stayed in the cramped car. At least that had been warm and dry. But Clover wasn’t sympathetic. Probably because, no matter how hard it rained, she was bone-dry. One of the advantages of being a ghost.
                I stepped in a puddle halfway up my shin and swore loudly. Mud squelched as I pulled myself free. Clover had gone on ahead. I trudged after her.
Suddenly she yelled and pointed, “Over there. Near the wood. It’s some sort of building.” She moved fast, gliding over the grass. I hurried after her.
The building had been constructed in the style of a mini Roman temple with stone walls on three sides. On the fourth side a short flight of steps led to a porch with a roof supported by columns. By the time I reached the steps, Clover was moving across the porch toward a wooden door. She could easily have passed right through it, but she suddenly stopped and took a step back. Had she met some kind of resistance? I moved closer so I could hear what she was saying.
“What the—?” She squared her shoulders. Then, raising her voice above the storm as though she was speaking to someone, she said, “Who are you? Why did you scream?”
As she listened to the answer, she tapped her foot like she did when she was pissed. “I’ll mind my own business when hell freezes over! Who the hell do you think you are anyway?”
Frustrated that I could only witness one side of their exchange, I yelled, “Clover, what’s going on?”
But all her attention was on the other ghost. She looked it over from head to toe. “You’ve been here a while, haven’t you? When did you die? Nineteenth century?...No, I won’t go away. I heard a scream. Was it you?” Her hands rested on her plump hips, feet apart, in the determined stance I knew so well. She clenched her fists and demanded, “Get out of my way.” A second later, she doubled over. Had she’d been gut-punched?
“Clover!” I rushed up the steps.
“Stay back,” she warned, but I kept going. Her assailant was a ghost. It couldn’t hurt me. Not physically anyway.
I'd almost reached her when her head snapped back. Had she been punched in the jaw? She lashed out, one-two, with her fists. Then suddenly her hands were pinned behind her and she was being pushed toward the door.
“Let her go!” I launched myself at whoever was holding her and swung a punch. I’d never fought a ghost before. I was shocked when my fist sank into something thick, viscous, and bitterly cold. I yelped as the icy sensation crept up my arms and entered my chest. It was hard to breathe. For one terrifying moment, I heard the faraway sound of a woman screaming in torment.
Clover struggled to escape whoever had pinned her arms behind her. She yelled, “You have no right to—” Her voice was abruptly cut off as though someone had her around the throat. I wanted to help, but the icy cold that had settled in my chest moved up through my neck and into my skull. I’d had brain freeze before but this was much worse. I fell to my knees, cradling my head in my hands, moaning. What was happening to me? I couldn’t think straight, could hardly move. I huddled in a pathetic mound, willing the pain to go away.
Clover was in trouble…I had to help her…somehow. With a huge effort I managed to raise my head. I saw her throw a punch then suddenly she was down on her knees, her back arched, head bent way back. Her bright blue eyes locked on mine. I heard her panted breaths, saw her struggling to defeat her opponent, but she couldn’t do it alone.
“Tash! Help me!”
I was on my knees, ice-cold, shivering. My head ached like a thousand knives were stabbing my skull. I could barely move, but somehow I had to help her. Slowly, terribly slowly, I forced myself to move, straightening my back, moving one leg into a half-kneeling position. Then, with a supreme effort, I pushed myself upward. Ignoring my pounding, throbbing head, I launched myself at Clover, twisting a little at the last moment, hoping I’d knock down her assailant. It was like hitting a wall of ice. I staggered backward, lost my footing on the edge of the porch, and tumbled down the steps onto the wet grass. Rain poured onto my face, making me cough and splutter. Groggy and disoriented, I rolled onto my hands and knees.
Clover called out to me again, but her voice sounded faint and very far away. I struggled to make out the words, but all I heard was a name. “Rosalind… ” Then suddenly my head cleared, just like that, and I was no longer in pain. I leaped to my feet. Scooping up the flashlight I’d dropped, I raked the beam over the place where I’d last seen her. All I saw was the little Roman temple looking dismal and forlorn in the sheeting rain. Clover was gone.


Dead Lady Vanishing is available now                    

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017 A-Z Author Name Reading Challenge

Love reading challenges?

Well we have one for you this year.

Place your reading against the First letter of either the DarkSider Author's First or Last Name and you can go into the running of winning a $25 Amazon gift card.

For details go to the Reading Challenge page.

~Happy DarkSider Reading~